My shameless plug.

I have a new blog. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird is my online notebook for social and literary theory. My goal is to spare readers of my other blogs the drudgery of having to endure my theoretical ramblings.


Changing of the guard.

Once again, my attention is diverted elsewhere. Come join the fun at Spare Winter Hours.


Workblog and other updates.

The second draft of the script has been finished for awhile. I need to add another puzzle or two and crank up the challenge factor and then voilĂ , I'll be finished. Deadline is Monday.

I almost have all my books for my three distance courses and I pick up the rest tomorrow. The finances are in order, and Lisa was kind enough to do my taxes. I have a doctor and dentist's appointment next week. By Tuesday everything will be completed and I'm surprised by how quickly and efficiently all these predeparture chores were taken care of. I must be a grown-up.

By the way, I saw Hot Fuzz last week and I was very impressed: violent and fast-paced and crammed with references. I recommend it to anyone with a sweet tooth for cop films with improbable premises and over-the-top mayhem. I suppose liking this film negates the "I must be a grown-up" statement. Meh.

Need more coffee.


New look.

Black and green. Let's see how this works out, yes?


The script is finished: yesterday I had a brief meeting with the project heads and they really liked the first draft. The words "hilarious" and "inventive" were tossed around. Normally I feel queasy when I boast about getting such praise, but my self-esteem took a righteous beating recently and I needed the boost. Don't worry, my excessive bragging will stop now.

I'll be finishing the second and final draft this week. Then I can move onto other projects I have lined up. Here's the work currently simmering on the burner:
  • A script for a graphic novel. About a quarter done.
  • A stage play. The first draft is finished and now I need to put it through a cold reading and some tightening up in a few parts.
  • Two short stories. One finished, the other half -finished.
  • I've had to put the radio plays out to pasture. That's just how it goes sometimes.
  • A friend of mine got this crazy notion to do some animation. Since geography and time is against us at the moment, I really don't know when this will get rolling.
  • One article I have swimming in my head.
So, what are you folks up to? I'm tired of talking about myself.


Summer school report.

According to Student Financial Services, my standing deferral crisis will be "taken care of," whatever that means. I sent all the appropriate paperwork before the deadline, now I have to sit on my hands and wait for all this to play itself out.

In other news, I completely flunked my French class. I should have known I couldn't absorb five chapters of a French textbook in three weeks. Oh, well. Luckily, grades from summer courses don't count towards the overall GPA, graduate school admissions only look at so many grades and I'm not exactly planning to enter the French graduate program. C'est la vie. I will just have to take the class again, that's all. A minor setback.

I should point out that I'm a little obsessed with my GPA. I wholeheartedly admit it. If I wasn't planning to attend grad school I would just shrug my shoulders and be content with a long string of C's on my transcript. So, yes, I'm counting the numbers this time. In high school I didn't give two shits about my grades. "The wheel is come full circled," quoting Edmund's dying words from King Lear.


Call off the reinforcements.

After running some last-minute errands, my conflict with my school is almost resolved. All my profs have gotten in touch with Financial Services, and my account won't be evaluated until next week. The work I owe from the previous semester is finished, too. I can take a breath now.

Which means I get to enjoy my Shakespeare class at my leisure. Did I mention I'm I have a writing job contract? I'm writing a script for a game that the library will use to teach students how not to plagiarize. Not so terribly exciting but I was given free reign over the format and content.

Tomorrow: attending Robin and Grace's wedding and spending some time with my family.



Okay, maybe if I blog a to-do list I won't feel so terribly worried. I have a busy summer:

1. Write three papers I owe a semester ago. Two will be done this weekend and the other . . . well . . . with my intensive French class taking all my headspace (which, by the way, I'm not doing so well in) for the next week (it's five days a week for two and a half hours and I have to study for the class every night) so I'm freaking out because . . .

2. . . . I just got this lovely letter from the government stating that I need to have my grades in from the classes I deferred by August 3rd or else I will have to owe them a catastrophic amount of money and possibly threaten future funding.

3. That means I need to contact five profs, tell them to get my grades in by the 3rd (and hoping that they haven't disappeared for the summer) and write three papers (they're not so bad, really - rather short and one of them is almost finished) in time for them to receive said papers, grade them and give me a final mark. I have just over a week to do this.

4. I need a plane ticket back to Ljubljana.

5. I need to extend the storage company looking after our stuff.

I know, this was poorly written and rant-y but I REALLY NEED TO SCREAM TEXTUALLY.

Thank you.



An excellent animated video for Tom Waits' "Starving in the Belly of a Whale," a graduate project by a student from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.
Interesting new discovery: A baby mammoth unearthed in the permafrost of north-west Siberia could be the best preserved specimen of its type, scientists have said.

When the metal ones decide to come for you. And they will.

Back for awhile.

Hey there.

I've only been in town for a couple of weeks and I'm already worn out. Not that I'm complaining, because I love being busy and having multiple projects on the go. I've already taken a trip to Victoria to visit the family, and I've seen friends, and now I just finished my first week of classes.

I'm taking two intensive summer classes, meaning I go to class every day for about four hours, and the classes run for six weeks in total. You can imagine the frantic reading and lack of sleep that comes with intensive classes. I'm taking Shakespeare and another French course, by the way.

Besides that, I got a writing contract from the university library. They're setting up interactive software (read: a video game) to help students avoid plagiarism. Basically, I get to write the script for one of the scenarios in the game. I get free reign, and I think I have some input on the format. I was thinking of using a comic book layout. Each scene is framed like a panel in a comic, and players choose which route their characters should take as they write their paper.

So far, the project is amorphous. That is, there is no solid story, no format, no tone, no nothing. This is sort of fun. The project leaders want something comedic and possibly campy (so maybe throw in some pop culture references?) so I have to build this sucker from the ground up. I have twenty hours to produce something.

I actually feel as though I turned into my father. He spent his life working from contract to contract, hired on the basis of his specialization. In his case, it was building staircases; I use words instead of wood. I like that.

Anyway, hope is all good on your end.

Spare Winter Hours will updated infrequently until I get back. Stay tuned.


I'm over here.

Just in case you're just tuning in, I've been hanging out around here.


Tired of being tired.

I've been depressed the last few days. It comes in waves, sometimes lasting for hours then fading away. One of my childhood fears have crept back into my consciousness and has invaded all my waking thoughts, making my life difficult.

When I was, say, ten years old, my family at the time were not exactly rich or even middle class. We didn't own most of the household appliances some people take for granted, like a VCR (this was the eighties), microwave - that sort of thing. So, when it came time to pick a summer camp for me, my parents chose a Christian camp. Either it was cheap, or free, I don't know. I don't really remember wanting to go to summer camp in the first place.

Anyway, this camp made the kids go to a church service on Sunday. I wasn't impressed. I daydreamed my way through most of the service (I was, and am, a diehard dreamer) until the end, when some of the older kids reenacted the Rapture. Yes, that's right, they put on a little play about the end of the world.

I knew I wasn't a Christian. My parents didn't go to any church and we never talked about religion at home. I didn't know I wasn't baptized until a few years ago. So, yeah, religion never played a major role in my life. But when I heard about the end of the world, and the fact that non-Christians burned in hell (the kids in the play emphasized that point) when the time finally comes, I became terrified. That night, in my bunk bed, I cried thinking that my family and I will suffer. One of the camp counsellors heard me and took me aside. When I told him I was scared of hell because I wasn't a Christian, he had me recite a prayer to induct me into the fold. I was relived after that, knowing that I was safe from eternal punishment.

Shoot ahead twenty-odd years and now I'm in Slovenia. I don't know where these thoughts are coming from, but they have bubbled to the surface. I've been obsessing over "Doomsday events," or scenarios where our species, and possibly our planet, will be wiped out of existence. I'm not so worried about human-made disasters, but rather ones of the natural variety. Rogue asteroids and gamma ray bursts don't present that large of a threat, considering that contemporary science does view them as real and potential dangers, but not imminent. Black holes are a possibility, but whether or not they are mobile is still debatable and I don't think it's probable one would open up in our solar system anytime soon. There are other events as well, but I don't want to describe them here. I need a break.

I see everyone I know disintegrate in a flash of light, their flesh blasted off their frames. They don't even have time to scream. This is what is racing in my head as I lay in bed, trying to sleep.

I'm only writing an abridged version here. I'm worried that these thoughts will persist and eventually take over my life. I'm worried that I will spend the rest of days huddled in a bunker, watching the skies. At the same time, I find myself counting every moment as my last one. I'll be enjoying my day, then suddenly I find myself looking up at the sky, dreading the coming cataclysm.

Why am I writing this? I don't know. This a diary, of sorts, and these are the thoughts that are overwhelming me. Maybe this is preliminary therapy, approaching my conscious self as an objectified moment and seeing it as truthfully as possible. I know I'm still facing my own mortality. Since my father died, I've been wrestling with this. Our parents act as "safety nets," shielding us from the grim reality that is mortality. When one (or both) of these people are gone, we must face death straight on. We must stand on our own feet. Being in a foreign country, I feel vulnerable. I'm not afraid of dying, but I want to die after living a full life, not because of some cosmic event.

I hate this.


Watching football in Ljubljana.

We watched the Chelsea - Tottenham match this afternoon in an English pub cleverly named "English Pub." We sadly missed the first half and when we arrived Tottenham was leading with three points, Chelsea trailing behind with one meager point. We sat down, ordered drinks and before we could settle in we noticed some lads behind us. They were Tottenham fans. One young man was quite vocal, cursing the Blues and what-not. All the power to him - being a supporter means shouting down your opponents.

However, we felt a little stupid being the only Chelsea supporters. Luckily there were only a few of us watching.

Then Chelsea scores. Then again shortly after, tying the game.

I really wanted to say something to our Tottenham friends, but I kept my mouth shut. The Spurs did play an excellent game after all.


Subliminal Video Gambling Machines (from Ontario) and other news.



Anyway, I recently upgraded to the Beta, and now my old link list disappeared. In time, I'll have it back, angrier as ever.


Hacking public transit infrastructures.

A link to HeHe Association's designs for personal transportation using abdanoned railways.


A message from management.

I'll be mostly updating the travel blog, at least once a week, so consider this blog defunct until I return. I may occasionally post something here.

Take care, now.

To see for oneself.

Yesterday was a whirlwind, yes it was. We woke up relatively early to continue arranging our finances overseas: our respective student loans require some bureaucratic shuffling to get them cashed, like having them sent to Slovenia then back to Canada. Lisa's parents have kindly taken power of attorney over our administrative documents so they can deposit them into our accounts.

I should take a moment here to thank our wonderful friends and family for helping us move, driving us around, providing company and support and all the other favours that have made this whole process easier. You know who you are! You are a nice and wonderful!

Later, we met with Chris for a coffee and a chat at Trees (which, by the way, has an incredible apple pie) and then we met Kevin and Tania for dinner at their place and then a late-night excursion to Science World for the Body Worlds exhibit.

What can I say about this exhibit? Well, I was thinking about the secularization of the body. For centuries, the body was considered sacred (and, of course, the male body was privileged), since the body was considered the center of experience (indeed, it is) and hence the center of the universe. Furthermore, human dissection was limited or outright banned until the Catholic church deemed it acceptable in the 17th century. Body Worlds posits that the body is malleable, made of common components found in other living beings. By lifting muscle groups to expose organs or cutting away at the cranium to display sliced brain tissue, the exhibit is presenting the body as a biological wonder that is understood and thus controllable.

Although other cultures practiced body modification for centuries, "Western" culture is only now catching up. Subdermal implants and plastic surgery are here (for extreme examples see ModBlog, but be careful: definitely NSFW) and new methods are approaching fast. Surgical techniques enable doctors to perform radical facial reconstructions or attach severed limbs. The body is up for grabs.

Kevin problematized my idea. By removing the sacred from the body, the danger lies in how the body is intellectually conceived. The body can be abused by feeding it unhealthy food or not exercising it because there is no real investment, nothing to protect. Post-modernism counters metanarratives; if the body was confined by narratives defining its sacredness, then is the secularization of the body a post-modern endeavour?

Autopsy is derived from the Greek words "auto" and "opsis," meaning "to see for oneself." We really did see for ourselves.

Okay, I am packed. We only have a few small details to finish up. Our flight is eight hours away. Here we go.



I'm Nicola Tesla! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Belated 2006 summary.

I've had wonky internet access for awhile, so now that I have a decent connection it's time for some catch-up.

I spent New Year's Eve with Chris and Carla (Lisa went to the wedding reception) and we watched cartoons, movies and ate snacks courtesy of Carla. I had a lovely time.

We got back from Victoria last night. Nothing too big, we just hung out and exchanged presents. My mom rented a half-hour trip on a horse carriage for us through James Bay, Victoria's oldest neighbourhood. We thought it was fabulous. The driver told us about some of the architectural curiosities in the area, and the weather was perfect - a little breeze and a little sun. Hearing the rhythmic clip-clopping of the horse's hooves as we cruised through the serene streets was a great way to say good-bye to the Island for six months.

I just finished writing a make-up exam. I did okay.

Carla asked me what my highlights were for 2006. I initially said "nothing," then made a few remarks afterwards. Now that I've thought about it, I came up with a much more comprehensive list:

1. My 30th birthday party, sans head injury.
2. Gaming with friends and trying to get a gaming crew together.
3. Seeing friends get married.
4. Spending time with Lisa.
5. Getting a form letter from the English department asking me to be an English major. They liked my grades.
6. Moving out of our God-forsaken house.
7. Being accepted to the University of Ljubljana.

Ah hell, there's probably more but I'm stuck for ideas. Overall, a fine year. Lots of adventure and experimentation, I met new people and continued to stay close to old friends. You've all been great, you know that?

Alright, see you when I see you.