So now I'm back.

Well, first, I got the job at the UN World Urban Forum. Second, Victoria was really fun; I saw old friends, drank too much beer and ate delicious barbecued morsels. I ended up cycling to the liquor store in the dark with Will and spent some time with Robin and Grace. Robin lent me a couple of books and we ate more barbecued goodness for breakfast. I spent Sunday with my parents, and we just hung around their place and ate dinner together. And third, I watched a friendly soccer match between England and Hungary with Iain, and my team (England, of course) won after an exciting second half. As Iain said, they're my team by default.


The result.

I never had a group interview before. I have to say, I kind of liked it. I only talked for ten minutes and, while sitting in the world's most comfortable office chair, listened to a brief orientation and other related banter. The people in the group were mostly marketing or commerce students (with an interest in event planning), some urban studies people (like me) and one dude was a tour guide. No reply yet.

Did you know that when the UN sets up shop somewhere, the land becomes temporary UN property, as though you're stepping into the UN building in New York? Of course, security is as tight as. . .something really tight. I'll leave the analogies to you good people. Prizes for the best one.

So, it looks like I'll be writing more tomorrow, then playing some soccer with Iain. He played his first game today so I figured I should chase him around the field or whatever it is lads do out there.

I'm in Victoria on Saturday, then back on Monday.


Job interview.

Today I have a job interview. I'll be doing customer service stuff for the UN World Urban Forum, happening next month. I'm actually signed on as a participant, so hopefully I can get a chance to attend some of the events.


So what's going on here?

I just sent my writing sample to Bookslut, and now I'm filling in the application form for my scholarship. This thing is a million pages long.

In other news, my dear friends Robin and Grace are having a baby! I just found out this morning in an invitation for a barbecue that appeared in my inbox. Yes, I think I will be attending. Congratulations you two!

I still need to get a belated wedding present for you-know-who.

The short story is coming along swimmingly. Chris and I had a great conversation about our own writing practices, and when I got home I was energized and wrote a couple of hundred words. I have a brief outline and some notes on what needs to get done. Like Chris said, writing is a solitary craft, but writers need to talk to each other on occasion to untangle this messy business of writing.

I don't know what I'll do when I finish the first draft. I was thinking of workshopping it, but then I have to commit to a group and invest time I don't really have at the moment. My other plan is to send it out to friends and get their feedback.

I think my insomnia is pretty much cured.


I will motivate you.

Problematizing the Universal Library: Copyright, Exclusion and Public Space.

Awhile back Kevin Kelly wrote on article for the New York Times Magazine on a universal digital library for search engines. The project involves scanning the collection from five research libraries into a database, which will then be accessible to the public. BoingBoing has a permalink on the story.

When I read this article I initially had some negative responses to this project. Please excuse my sloppy rhetoric; I'm still shaping a strong argument.

When the entire collection from five research libraries is scanned, what happens to those five libraries? I doubt they will be shut down, but how will the libraries be situated in the community when their collections are made publicly available? The inherent beauty of the library (and I'm talking public libraries, not of the research variety) is that they are public spaces centered on literacy. I wonder if the issue of space will be addressed, or is it inconsequential?

The article mentions the Alexandria library constructed around 300 BC. The goal then was to collect the entire sum of the world's knowledge (read: the known, colonized and "civilized" world) into one massive building. What happened? The sucker burned down. Over 500,000 scrolls vanished, and hence the history and culture of the past also vanished. Computer networks are not entirely safe. Hackers, viruses, power outages / surges; I just don't have the faith in digital technology other people have.

Don't think I'm an overly paranoid Luddite. I understand that the internet is stable and reliable, excluding the whole Net Neutrality situation going on. But no structure is immune to entropy.

Lisa brought up copyright issues. When Google wanted to scan and post books online, authors had to speak up. Having five research libraries post their collections online could compromise the already fragile economic balance in the publishing industry. Libraries loan out books to the public because they have paid the publisher, ergo the author gets paid. So, at what point during this Universal Library scheme do authors get paid? Is literary work considered work, or is an author's efforts not given the same value as other types of work? When texts are scanned and distributed freely, the author's legitimate claim of ownership (if the work is copyrighted to the author) loses its integrity.

Another angle one must consider is computer availability. Obviously, high-speed internet access and computers with up-to-date hardware are not accessible to all members of society, all over the world. The Digital Utopia is a middle-class fantasy, and folks who are trying to cover their basic needs (and the number seems to be growing each year, particularly in developing countries that are quickly urbanizing) may not have the same priorities as those who have access to "digital resources."



Mister Jalopy: "Everything you love, everything meaningful with depth and history, all passionate authentic experiences will be appropriated, mishandled, watered down, cheapened, repackaged, marketed and sold to the people you hate."


Writing is love.

writing is love
brought to you by the isLove Generator

Good morning heartache.

I'm applying as a poetry reviewer for Bookslut. The submission guidelines recommend sending either a general review or a straight-up book review as a writing sample. Since I haven't had a chance to write about books, here's to hoping my other reviews would be adequate. I reckon an experienced lit critic would be preferable.

Insomnia has kicked in. I get to watch the sunrise.


Anyone need a tutor?

Since I'm still looking for work, I'd figure a little freelance tutoring would be in order. If any of you or someone you know is taking college or university courses this summer, and you need some feedback or editing strategies, then send an email my way.

I'm capable of tutoring students studying sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and literature. I have experience addressing content and grammar in academic essays, as well as some creative writing. I can also tutor other subjects, but let me know in advance. My fee is $20 an hour, and most sessions don't go beyond two hours.

Email: ghostofjason [at] gmail [dot] com


Stop complaining and touch the keyboard.

So, I'm still looking for a day job, though I received some "thanks for applying, don't hold your breath" emails today from prospective employers.

I've been writing very little, only snippets here and there. Lately, I've been a little down, mostly because I'm unemployed but I think a big chunk of it is my lack of focus and purpose. Easily solved, I'm sure.

I've mostly been looking for audio / visual / textual stuff on the intrawebbs, whatever is pretty or interesting, and reading blogs and journals. Why should I leave my house or be productive? The entire planet is nestled on my lap! Like a STD!

Time to do something interesting. I'll have to write more tomorrow.

And see a dentist.


The Skeletor Show.

My dreams have been realized.

Chris and Carla's Wedding Photos.

Lisa took this great shot of the house where the ceremony was held.

Chris and Carla's Wedding Report.


First, let me congratulate the bride and groom. I hope the two of you have a wonderful life together, and you both enjoy good fortune and good times.

Since I want to retain the facade of civility, I won't describe the events that occurred during the bachelor party, expect to say that Lisa was invited to join us, which is probably the first time in history a woman joined a bachelor party. Before the boys (and girl) hit the town, we swung by Kevin and Tania's place to celebrate Tania's 30th birthday party. There was a roaring barbecue and lots of beverages, and I was enthralled (yes!) to see old friends again. Once again, happy birthday Tania!

The next day, Lisa and I showed up early to the ceremony. We met at a heritage house in the West End, and the couple kept the ceremony short and intimate. The Justice who conducted the ceremony was the first to marry gay couples in Vancouver, which is incredibly cool. Chris invited me to join the other guys to share some aged whiskey (Lisa was invited to that too!) with him. We're quietly standing in a circle, enjoying the last few minutes of Chris' bachelorhood, when his mom stepped into the room.

"Chris, I need to talk to you."
"Not now, mom."
"I just want to ask you - "
"Could you - "
"Mom, we're having a moment."

That, dear friends, was perfect.

During the ceremony, Lisa teared up a little, and I was very proud of my friends making such a commitment. Chris got a choked up, and I knew they made the right choice to share their lives with each other. Like most weddings, the ceremony flew by, but the photographers had the proverbial field day. I swear, there must have been ten thousand photos taken that day.

We went home to change, and met the reception at the Anza Club. Okay, let me just say this: that was probably the best wedding reception I will ever attend. Seriously, Chris selected the music (no Chicken Dance!), there was plenty of food and booze, and there were so many people I knew: Will, Kevin, Marlo . . . yes, there were more, but I think I drank enough to forget. I danced, I was the one who caught the bride's garter, and I drank. And drank. By the end of the evening, Jeff, the best man (who is a great guy, Chris chose the perfect man for the job) poured me two massive glasses of wine. Not only was he the best man, he was the best bartender.

Oh, yeah. Apologies to Curtis, who I mistakenly introduced as Colin to everyone. Um, sorry man.

Anyhoo, I got to chat with Kevin and Will, which involved camera antics and a tearful confession on my part. Will, Kevin and Chris definitely changed my life for the better, and being so drunk that dignity was conveniently tossed out the window, I told Will what was on my mind for a long time. Thanks for listening, man.

So, we left pretty late and walked a bit with Curtis and then turned down Main Street. Now, the wedding cake, it wasn't so much a cake but a few dozen donuts arranged in layers, topped with a Batman and Wonder Woman in action figure form. Lisa got a few donuts to take home, and was carrying them in a conspicuous Tim Horton's box. As we walked down Main Street, we were suddenly surrounded by clowns. Yes, clowns. The make-up wearing, bicycle horn brandishing type. When they saw the box of donuts, they formed a circle around us and Lisa sheepishly offered the floppy shoed bastards our donuts. They took all but one, then proceeded to dance on the sidewalk and invited us to their clown party. We refused. Not because of any clown prejudice on our part, but because I was already fall-down drunk. After the clowns went their separate way, we stumbled upon a fire coming from one the rooms at the Ivanhoe. A crowd formed outside, and the street was clogged with fire trucks and police cars.

We finally got home. I sat in my office and cried. Partly due to the booze, partly due to the wedding, and partly due to the realization that my friends and I are getting older and our world is changing, but for the best.

On Sunday, we went to the Naam to celebrate Suzanne's (Lisa's mom) birthday and later we went over to Jess' place to celebrate Jason's birthday. Yes, I was very hung-over, like for the whole day. I'm sorry if I can't do these two celebrations any justice, except to say that I was happy to see so many lovely friends in so many hours. Happy birthday to Suzanne and Jason, all the best in the future!

Now, go outside and play in the traffic or something.


Notes towards a Weberian Thesis on Work.

Work is defined as a process that alters one's environment or manipulates resources to fulfill a particular need. To work is a cultural practice, and culture, being paramount to human livelihood, must be made and reproduced. However, there is more than one immediate, material environment. Being human, we are immersed in several overlapping and intersecting environments that are not visible but coerce individuals and groups nonetheless. Other animals, and I am thinking of mammals in particular, do not share these environments with us. Political, social, economic, cultural and even aesthetic spheres have environmental features. They have an effect on us, either physiological (we experience stress and joy) or socially (we become isolated or connected). My focus is on social environments.

We build social networks or maintain those we have already established. This is work; we actively transform our social environment. Even the verbs used in describing the processes have connotations related to work: build, maintain, establish. We work on our relationships, we work out problems we have with others, we work to build trust.

There is a Weberian term to describe this phenomena, but I don't remember it at the moment.


My summer course work.

This is my curriculum for the summer:

1. Re-read Foucault's History of Sexuality.
2. Re-read the final three chapters of John O'Neill's Five Bodies.
3. Read several essays on Jane Austen.
4. Re-read the final chapter of Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
5. Using the syllabus from the Introduction to Literary Theory class, read the selected essays from Criticisms: Major Statements.


That last sentence has a Dickinson feel to it. Discuss.

So, yesterday, I bought a suit. I haven't bought a suit for well over a decade. Sure, I've owned ties and crisp white shirts and blazers and flashy pants (flashy pants!) but not as a complete package. I even picked up shoes. Pointy shoes!

Now I am a grown-up, a grown man!

Why so many exclamation marks? My friend is getting married, and other friends are coming to the reception to celebrate. It will be a friend-party. The best kind!

I'm not sure about the tie, though. I was looking for something thick and vibrant, either green or light red. The one I chose is too muted, like an old man's tie. Not that there's anything wrong with that, no, I just wanted a splash of colour to contrast with the dark suit. Ah, we'll see.

Also, I don't know how to tie a tie.


Blood and books.

I finally went into the lab and got my blood test. Although I've gotten used to them, I wish patients can have a regular lab technician like you would have a regular hairdresser. The woman who took the sample last time was so good, I didn't even feel the needle. Today I really felt the needle slip into my vein and my arm started to ache. Not pleasant at all.

I did write today. I'm gathering some lit theory terms I need learn, and I'm putting together a self-study curriculum for the summer. I am teh geekiest.


---------------------> NOW!


Editing woes.

You can call someone an asshole or an areshole. I have yet to decide which is better. Suggestions are gladly accepted, as are gold nuggets, red wine or those fortunate enough to work in an university administration office.

Okay, I'm talking to myself at this point and that's okay. Lately I've noticed (only recently, Lisa has been pointing this out for some time) that my editing skills have diminished over time. I write the piece, leave the bastard alone and then when I return to the page I miss enough errors to fill a respectable four-door sedan. Case in point: I read a plot synopsis I wrote (don't ask) and noticed that these little typos or repetitive phrases or poor diction chip away at the overall effectiveness of the work. So stupid.

What to do. Be more careful? Sure. There has to be a better solution. Last weekend I noticed how Lisa formats her page as she types. She doesn't go for the whole double-space, just the half-space. When the text is compressed on the page I really can't pick out the nasty little bits, they just meld with all the other words. Giving them some breathing space might give my editing eyes (which is connected to the editing brain) a fighting chance, yes?

That, and get used to reading my own work millions of times until it's perfect.

Oh, right. It's never perfect. That, I'm used to.