Please send help, and coffee.

We started packing and moving furniture yesterday morning at around 9:00. It is now 3:30 in the morning, almost twenty-four hours later, and we are about 80% finished. The large furniture is packed, and just about every box is gone, too. We have another six hours to finish up before the moving company comes by to pick up the crate. We are exhausted. There were moments when we just wanted to walk away, change our names and disappear in a foreign country rather than face another hour of incessant packing.

I am watching Arsenal play at 9:30 AM. You're damn right I am.

Oh, thank God, we are almost finished.



Boxes and bags and tape and hammers.

Moving day. Ugh.

We started packing before Christmas, and we resumed when we returned from our brief but lovely holiday. I've already taken the bookshelves apart and now we're moving onto the bathroom and kitchen. Lisa is posting some of our furniture on Craigslist, which is remarkably efficient: most of the pieces will be gone today. It seems like people are always hovering around on that site.

It's not like we have a million things to pack, but with only two days to finish we can feel the pressure. Luckily we bought a couple bottles of wine to help with the process. Taking periodic breaks helps, too. There's nothing overly poetic about moving, but I do feel strangely satisfied to throw / give away the flotsam and jetsam we've accumulated over the years.

Sorry, this is a boring post, but really this is the only thing going on at the moment. Moving out is just a cog in the wheel that will roll us into Slovenia. I will really miss this house - the neighbourhood is near perfect and we're very close to downtown; however, I won't miss the moldy windows and drafty rooms. I'm hoping we can find another house in the same 'hood.

Okay, back to it.



It's the most wondeful time of the year.

We are now at Lisa's parent's abode. We arrived this afternoon after a frantic packing and organizing session, which included herding the poor cat into his kennel for the trip. He had to visit the vet a couple of days ago for his annual check-up and vaccinations (yes, I'm actually cat-blogging - if you're already bored skip this part), and he took a couple of days to recover from the injections. He basically slept and refused food, which worried us at first, but now that he's in a new environment the fire has promptly returned to his eyes.

The weather is chilly in the valley, and there are a few patches of snow scattered around. I think that really makes the holiday.

So, a quiet Christmas for me this year. Unfortunately, we can only have a few days off before we return to Vancouver and pack up our house. I wish I could celebrate longer, but them's the breaks.

Also, this was my dad's favourite holiday. He grew up in a Catholic family in Quebec, and Christmas was a huge celebration for that side of the family. My dad would always talk about réveillon, when families, after Mass, would be up all night on Christmas Eve to eat and drink. I'm going to miss his homemade presents and the huge, steaming pot of grog we would make on Christmas Day. I am happy and grateful, yes, but I also feel a little hollow inside, too. This year I'm just going to enjoy a restful pleasant holiday and do some writing and reading. Oh, and my homework.

I think this year I will try to replicate my dad's grog recipe, although he used another type of fruit juice rather than lime (or lemon). That's more of a punch than true grog. I suppose he just liked the word "grog."

Say it now with me: grog. Good job.

I haven't had a cigarette in awhile. Yay me. Of course, now I have this overwhelming urge to consume an entire cheesecake and a bottle of whiskey, but hey - at least I'm not smoking. I'll just gain two hundred pounds while trying to curb my cravings.

Merry Christmas!


Outer Space and Beatniks

The First Fireworks

NASA recently photographed the resonating glow from the first "things" created in the universe 13 billion years ago. Alexander Kashlinsky, the spokesperson from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, made this intriguing statement in the article:

"Imagine trying to see fireworks at night from across a crowded city," Dr. Kashlinsky said. "If you could turn off the city lights, you might get a glimpse at the fireworks. We have shut down the lights of the universe to see the outlines of its first fireworks."

Yes, please, shut off all the lights in the universe.

A Beat Comedy

Pull My Daisy, filmed by Robert Frank in 1959, is what I consider to be the quintessential "text" on the Beat movement. Narrated by Jack Kerouac and featuring such luminaries as Allen Ginsberg and Geogory Corso, this short film is important because the figures in the movement are documenting, and thus, explaining themselves, leaving out biographers and critics.

Also, check out this cut-up routine by William S. Burroughs and Antony Balch:

More on this film and other experiments later.

As I move closer to grad school I've been thinking about future projects. There's been a word bouncing around in my head for quite some time, so I'll drop it in here and listen to whatever sounds it makes when it drops: sociopoetics.

I'll leave it at that for now and rummage through my research.


I'm back.

I'm doing alright today.

We buried my dad on Friday, and I came home yesterday afternoon. The interment was brief but ceremonial: I carried his urn to his site, and everyone present helped me lower his remains into the ground. My dad's grave is under three trees standing close together, so we decorated a branch hanging over his marker with Christmas ornaments. That was his favourite holiday.

Now, I move on.

I'm leaving soon, and although I'll probably implode by New Year's, I'm confident we'll get everything finished by the end of the month. To make everything easier I tried to set up tangible goals. I took the liberty of putting up a blog for our Slovenia trip. That way, I have something to look forward to when all my obligations are fulfilled. Also, I love tinkering with websites and text.

The blog, entitled Spare Winter Hours, is here. Bear with me - it's still under construction.

Um, what else? I actually did a fair bit of writing in Victoria. Not just school-related writing but also my side projects as well. I edited some stories, reformatted a comic book script and added more material to a second script. I was quite proud of myself.

I find editing my work to be somewhat therapeutic. No one can control the random events that pummel the soft, fleshy exterior of their day-to-day lives, but to create something from nothing, and to have a degree of control over that creation, makes the world a much more comfortable place.

Also, I need to want to write 4000 words by January 9th. Ugh.

Addendum: I hope I don't sound insensitive - I'm terribly sad, but I need to return to my life if I'm going to survive the rest of the month. When dealing with a distressing situation, going back to a routine actually helps.


In Memoriam, Michael Kenneth Webb

On Friday, December 8th, at approximately 9:30 PM, my father quietly passed away.

My mom, Lisa and I left his room at around 9:00 to get food, and when we got back to my parents' place we got the phone call. I haven't cried like I did that night for a long time.

According to the nurse, it's very common for people to wait until they're alone to pass on. My dad wanted to leave with dignity, and he did.

The memorial will be held on Wednesday. I will be reading a eulogy.

I want to give a huge, heartfelt thank you to friends and family who have supported my mom and I during my dad's passing. On behalf of my family, we appreciate all you've done and said.

Take care of yourselves.


Message from the Island.

I have to be quick before my laptop's battery dies:

I rushed to Victoria Monday night, after dashing off an email to my profs explaining that I won't be around for my two exams this week, and the exam on Monday. Or, to be more exact, I won't be able to hand in my two take-home exams and my final paper.

My dad has made another turn for the worse. I'm not going to add further details - my family deserves their privacy. I can say it's only a matter of time.


Everyday Should Be Like Sunday

To wake up late and sip coffee while reading the news online as winter blows into town is, quite frankly, the best way to spend a Sunday.

So, this is what I've been up to lately:

Still writing my essay, I am. I have two take-home exams, one is 1500 words and the other is 1000 words, which is terribly easy, and three in-class exams in-between. I finish on the 19th. For one essay I'll be explicating a passage from Nietzsche's "On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense" and the other will be on Barthes' (and two or three other theorists) take on textuality.

I prefer the take-home exam. It seems unrealistic to ask someone to write down something smart in two and a half hours. Academic work is not done on the fly; the best work is done slowly and meticulously, like tending to a garden.

One of these days I should find a way to upload my successful essays so others can plagiarize enjoy them and insult me mercilessly give me feedback.

I am designing a website for myself. Lisa has iWeb on her laptop, and I've been piecing it together in my spare time. It's part vanity site and part work site, and I'll be showing off published work and hopefully some podcasts. Since I have three radio plays mapped out it might be fun to get some people together and record the rehearsals.

That's the problem with school: I find it hard to juggle creative work with school work. This has been a big dilemma for me, and I could use some heckling advice.

I've updated my links today. Friends, if you have blogs or websites I should know about, email me right away. Thanks.


No wrong could come of this.

I am drinking beer from New Zealand, watched a little of Little Miss Sunshine and I am confident about my remaining paper.

All is good. Good-night.

Connection: GO!

Some bits from the internets:

2006 Blip Festival

30 artists from all over the world gathered in New York City yesterday to put on shows, installations and workshops featuring low-tech digital music, and will be there until Sunday. Old Nintendo and Sega game systems are just some of the mediums these artists use, representing the next generation of circuit bending.

Antikythera Mechanism

An astrological computer dating from the second century B.C.E was recently reverse-engineered, and now its inner mechanisms are no longer a mystery. I discovered this news item awhile ago, and I've been sort-of following it across the internet. Here's another link to Nature.