I am embarrassed.

I was fooling around with Friendster this morning. There is a feature where you type in people's email addresses and the search engine looks for their profiles. Instead, I sent a few invites to near-strangers. I am officially a spammer.

You'll have to excuse me while I look for a hook to hang my asshat.

Untitled, or Reading, Thought and Authorship.

Woof. Not much sleep last night, and I don't have that pleasant tired buzz I get when I don't sleep.

Well, the buzz is sort of there.

Summer is reading season. I don't want to go outside that much, so I'm content to just sit and read with a cup of coffee and listen to some Mozart in the background. Not only am I reading from my self-imposed syllabus, but I'm also catching up on some other books too.

I have been thinking about the shape of twenty-first century fiction. Are we living too early in this century to predict what literature will look like? I find most fiction is widening, an acute sparseness in the prose. Nineteenth century literature really attempted to sculpt a thought and show its every contour. Now, prose races across the page by reducing and distilling the language. The colours, sounds and shapes amid the words emerge, and are given greater emphasis. The sounds between the notes.

For example, one common method used in reasoning is called modus ponens. The form is a very simple inductive argument. It looks something like this:

If P, then Q.
Therefore, Q.


If England plays against Portugal, then it is Saturday.
England plays against Portugal.
Therefore, it is Saturday.

The nineteenth century author wrote the complete, unabridged description of a thought. An immediate example that comes to mind is Poe's "The Man in the Crowd," and to look even further back, one can include Austen's work as well. One of her sentences would stretch for several lines, heavily punctuated, teasing out each possible angle and nuance the thought contains. In essence, the reader will see the entire modus ponens argument; however, the contemporary author would only write this:

If P.
Therefore, Q.

Arguably, the early twentieth century author was no different, at least prior to Modernism.

Perhaps the lack of modifiers like adjectives or adverbs, or the chronic insistence to eliminate passive sentence structures are to "blame" for contemporary literature.

More importantly, how will colonialism, imperialism and warfare be treated in global literature? I believe this will be an exciting time for authors. Just as nineteenth century novelists saw an increase in readership due to innovations in printing technology, twenty-first century authors have access to the internet. Although the medium is still somewhat exclusionary (as is literacy, cultural capital and recognition) the possiblities for new and greater dissemination are being explored.

For those who are concerned, I did, in fact, register for the French classes I needed. Thank you, insomnia.



Yes, my ribs are still bothering me. I've been annoying people with the fact and taking a small degree of satisfaction from my complaining. I hope I mend in time for the Big Day.



Woke up at 6 AM. Somehow got to Commercial Drive to watch the England game with Mr. Chris, Mr. Iain and Ms. Kayla. Drank one cafe au lait, one Americano and cheered when Beckham scored. Bought comics. Ate breakfast at Slickety Jim's with Mr. Chris. Had an anxiety attack during the walk home. Had a bath, slipped into pajamas and will go to the park later to read and buy gelato.

Weird, glorious day.


The sun has risen, and the crows settled into the cornfield.

I might as well start from the end and work my way to the beginning.

Yesterday, after waiting two hours for my paycheque, I met Iain for some football practice. We did some passes, then we tried attacking and defending. Iain also practiced his corner kicks, since I want him to be our teams' forward. On one of his last tries, I attempted to catch the ball with my sternum, but I turned and the ball slapped my ribs. They vibrated like xylophone keys when the ball bounced off me. Afterwards I went out for greasy Chinese food and swung by Iain's for a party. I'm still sore today, especially when I laugh or twist my shoulders.

But, more importantly, I finished my ten-day jaunt working for the UN World Urban Forum. At the beginning, the convention had a very energetic atmosphere. People from all over the world would come up to the registration booths, brimming with excitement at being in another country. As time wore on, the participants and the staff began to wane, as exhaustion, frustration and boredom crept up and slithered into the proceedings. Often there were long stretches of doing nothing, or the odd task involving getting more office supplies or convention kits.

I met mayors from Africa, scholars from Italy and N.G.O. directors from Mexico. I must have badged well over 200 people, possibly even more. On any given day I could be seen directing traffic (the human body kind of traffic), registering participants, answering questions and doing whatever the supervisors needed doing. I actually enjoyed traffic control for awhile there. Not many folks are given the opportunity to command a mass of people at one time, like a general leading troops into a battlefield shrouded in acrid smoke. Or something like that. I was surprised by how many people simply don't listen. A person in a semi-formal uniform is politely asking them to walk somewhere that will help make the process of entering a crowded building efficient and expedient. But, no: they would much rather wander haplessly into doors and other pedestrians, or enter a restricted area and be reprimanded by security.

During the slow periods some of us would enter the convention and sample some of the free food (the pecan tarts were the best, I described them as "angels with jet-black wings brandishing swords and spears wreathed in blue flame") or sit in on the talks and events. Or, we would just chat with one another to pass the time. Most of the other temps were recent graduates from UBC so there was plenty to talk about. I was surprised by the number of political science majors working there, and there were a couple of artists working to make ends meet, so to speak.

Working 8 to 10 hour shifts for ten days straight was very much like living a monastic existence. I hardly saw anyone I know, or even went out. I would wake up at around 6 AM (completely uncivilized, yes), work, come home, eat, sleep then repeat the process the next day. I did have some time to read poetry and the odd article, but any writing was done entirely in my head. Which means I have to remember as much as possible and transcribe everything soon.

So yeah, that's about it.


Monday afternoon.

Today is my last day of freedom. Tomorrow I start my temp job and that goes for ten days.

My weekend was pretty laid back, although my health fluctuated from time to time. Either I was exhausted or light-headed, or both! If I'm going to feel lousy, at least give me a choice between symptoms.

I'm feeling much better now.


Something else. . .

That's not to say that the "astronomy computer" mentioned earlier is a fantastic device, but rather the mystery behind the artifact does have fictional tones to it: discovered in a mundane fashion, hidden in a rather exotic locale (underwater no less), persisted to elude researchers as to its true nature and ended up being a sophisticated tool. However, that tangible feeling of mystery underlies both mythology and nature. But mythology was used to explain the world around us, which was partially replaced by science. So one explanatory discourse is being used to understand the previous one, and then discovers that ancient people weren't that far off the track.

As "L" pointed out, my extended holiday precluded any freelancing. I guess I'm not as ambitious as I thought I was earlier. When my temp job is over I'm going to take a more active role by tossing out a few articles along with finishing up my first draft.

Which I'll stop mentioning anytime soon.


Artifacts as fandom?

Just a couple of interesting items.

Researchers find hidden Greek text on "world's oldest astronomy computer."

This story has a cinematic feel, doesn't it? The artifact is found in a shipwreck and baffles scholars for over a hundred years.

The science behind Raiders of the Lost Ark.

My problem with this story is the fanboy subtext going on here. Everyone loves Indiana Jones, but I'm not convinced that the Ark of the Covenant was an ancient super-weapon of some kind. That type of technology requires a particular ideological and epistemological framework; that is, a working knowledge of natural laws and the intellectual tools to harness said power and design such a device.

These two stories have divergent yet similar themes: the quest for fantastic or mythological features in human history, and an explanation of those features using scientific methodology. The language of science is the language of explanation, a cool, measured and reasonable voice. So it's interesting that scientific discourse is employed to explain the esotoric.


Drinking coffee, writing.

I received my contract for the UN gig this morning. Now all I have to do is fill in the blanks and fax it off.

Iain and I signed up for soccer (henceforth referred to as football) at the community centre yesterday. I'll be playing once a week starting July. If anyone is also interested in throwing in for a match or two then by all means sign up. We'll also be catching the first England match this Saturday at, like, six in the morning.

There's a meeting for Discorder tonight, but I don't know if I can make it out for that.

One of my goals is to start an organization of some kind. Not a non-profit kind, but one centered on activities. Whenever I want to join a group I always find they lack something or they simply don't exist. So, here's what an afternoon of brainstorming produced:

East Vancouver Football Brigade

Pretty easy to figure out. We get together, play football then go out for drinks later. I was thinking of hosting a gear swap now and then.

Eastside Reading Society

My friend Tania once suggested we start a book club. Although I liked the idea, I never acted on it. Basically the group meets once or twice a month, reading from a selection of literature that is anti-imperial, post-colonial, feminist and critical. Of course, lighter material would be included too. Members can also present books they enjoyed, and we can have local authors or scholars come in and speak on various topics.

East Vancouver Tactical Squad

A gaming group that caters to tabletop and video games of all kinds. Although I'm aware of the Vancouver Gaming Guild (a fine organization), I would like to see more groups out there. Somehow we can have a central "headquarters" where players can meet regularly. Folks can connect with each other, swap, sell or buy gaming gear and host events on occasion. I know, this one seems the least realistic, but a man can dream, yes?


The unnecessary black thrust of my birthday.

My thirtieth birthday is in roughly one month. There will be a celebration, two in fact, so expect emails soon. The plan? Party at my house, then a climb up the Black Tusk the following day.

I've put together a birthday wishlist.

- Soccer cleats, socks and shin pads *
- New watch (silver, no velcro!)
- Silver ring
- Wine glasses
- Tumblers (for whiskey)
- Whiskey
- Books: Dorothy Parker, Arthur Rimbaud
- Day pack (one that holds a hydration pack, black only)
- Money for clothes (mostly jeans)
- Money for sunglasses
- Dayton boots **

That is all, my friends. Since I have a small house and I'll be departing for Europe soon, I chose items that are not terribly huge or useless. This will be the last year I ask for presents, including Christmas and whatever else.

* I prefer Adidas gear, but don't go to their website. You have to navigate Flash sites and listen to horrid music. I won't do that to you. Black shoes and black socks, please.
** Or money towards them. However, this is totally optional. I love them but I don't ride a motorcycle, so I would feel like a poser wearing them. I really hate running shoes.


Pirates stole my intrawub.

Does anyone else out there have a tribes.net account? I joined so I can connect with a couple of friends, so I want to know the benefits of having a presence there.

I'm going to see a show tomorrow night at Cafe deux Soleils. Chris and I are meeting up to see a band wearing pirate costumes and playing sea shanties about downloading MP3s. Pirates R Us, I believe they call themselves.

Show starts at 9 PM.