Wednesday, October 31, 2001

I watched Evil Dead last night, after hearing so much about it. I had no idea how many people have devoted web sites to the adulation of this masterpiece of cinematic horror.
So many of my childhood fears, of basements and of carnivorous vines seem to have stemmed from this film.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

I just started rereading Erich Fromm's Escape from Freedom, which I first read in my last term in univeristy, Theories of Totalitarianism. Since I spent much of my time hungover or in some state of daydreaming, I picked up little from the chapter summaries I read, and put it down without truly understanding the fear of freedom.
It was only when I was entering my fourth fall season in Whistler that I realized I was afraid of the responsiblities of being free, so I chose to be bound instead.

Bound by what, you may ask. Bound by the comfort and security of belonging to a small community, where everyone knows who you are; a place where advancement is difficult if you work for someone else, in fact it is likely you will struggle to develop professionally and personally. Leaving Whistler terrified me, because I was leaving a world that I had figured out, and there was comfort in that familiarity. I may have been driving a cab and lifting rocks for a living, but I knew how to interact within a certain framework. It was strangely comforting to be able to exist in the white bubble that is Whistler, like lying in bed late into the afternoon, with a pathetic satisfaction in the warmth of your cocoon.

I was heading towards a failing grade in this class very late in my final semester. A failure would have meant either summer school (not a possibility) or taking a course part time in the fall. It came down to one final exam and one final paper. The night before the paper was due I ran into Professor Tucker in the parking lot of the Provigo. He told me we had a 4 day extension. We also watched Swept Away and Seven Beauties, both Lina Wertmuller

Somehow I scraped by with a 54. Thank you, Dr. Tucker.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Why am I writing this? Why do i feel the need? Sometimes I refrain from posting to the blog because what i put here is lacking in hmmm....literary quality?

My wife is watching Memento. I have already seen it, and have even watched the scenes in reverse order. (Thank you for the DVD player, Jim)

This weekend I'll be helping Jim with his film, Helliwell, in the capacity of Transport. Actually, I will be all the transport there is. Hey, he's doing this on a credit card.

Monday, October 22, 2001

Reading the Sunday NY Times this morning, I came across the newly expanded wedding announcement page. Each couple's description had the same format. Bride and groom's name, alma mater, occupational status, parents occupation. In some cases, it seems the only reason they placed the announcement was to show that their father is CEO of this or that company. So very American. It reminded me of an article I read in the now defunct Spy magazine, which revisited these announcements several years later. Few of these marriages had survived.

I am slow today. I was slow yesterday. In fact, yesterday, I should not even have gotten up from bed. Monsoon season has hit Vancouver hard, and it poured all day. I wish I lived above ground so I could stay indoors all day and not feel like I am living in a bunker.

Saturday, October 20, 2001

Sneaky little worker I am. In times of chaos and confusion, there are a few who prosper greatly. However, I am only doing what they tell me to do. My moves are going to benefit The Business more than myself. Besides, I am quicker than most people. A lot of the new hires are just here to work, and think that it ends every day when they leave. They don't realize that what we have is a situation that comes along a few times in a lifetime. It is the opportunity to become the #1 of #2 in a fast growing industry. I suppose they would rather go home and work on something more important.

Monday, October 15, 2001

My company recently hosted its sales conference, which was concluded with a "motivational" speaker. This speaker is always scheduled for the last slot of the conference, after everyone has been subjected to 5 days of all you can eat and drink on the company dime. Attention spans wane during this slot. Last year we were treated to a school board superintendant who espoused us with the wisdom of Wayne Gretzky: "You miss all the shots you don't take."

This year we are lucky enough to listen to a man who fell off a ferry while vomiting over the side (he claims he had sunstroke) and turned it into a motivational speaking career. It seems this man floated in the Straits of Georgia for 8 hours. The water temperature in this strait is rarely above 5 degrees Celsius, yet he still maintains that he was immersed for 8 hours, until rescued by an off-duty Washington State cop. I find this hard to believe, having fallen in this water and nearly frozen in 5 minutes. Whatever...

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

My neigborhood is becoming gentrified. I don't want to sound like a whiner, but I liked the way it used to be. Now Black Dog Video is crowded with aimless souls staring at the walls, unable to select their 4th video rental of the week. How superior I feel when I march through them to the nearly empty DVD section (thank you Harry and Barb and Jim for the DVD player). And these same people comment on why my dog Shrub is in the store. Why do you think they have dog biscuits on the counter? If you don't like dogs in your video store then go to Blockbuster.

I really noticed it last night, as I was in Choices, a store I normally don't patronize, but had to because I needed to replace the overpriced natural cheezy puffs that I had taken from Anya's arsenal of snacks. It is 8:30pm and the store is full of "good white liberals" that have moved into the neighborhood to pay $500,000 for a shack that was built in 1962 and has retained all of its original features, including plumbing, wiring and heating. Now they are in front of me pushing their strollers and talking on their cell phones, looking for the best organic chocolate, debating which flavor of Ben & Jerry's to eat while watching PBS, discussing various cleanses and generally getting in the way of one very aggressive and hungry young man. There are two young lesbians sitting cross legged in an aisle,in the aisle, examining which flavour of organic chocolate to buy.

As I place my groceries (curried lentil wrap, Barbara's All Natural Cheezy Puffs, 2 green peppers) on the check out counter I have to push out of the way a raggedly dressed couple who are deep in discussion about their diets. Raggedy woman confesses to raggedy man that she has been eating tomatoes, who responds that tomatoes are "bad food".
"I know", whines RW, " but my aunt grows organic tomatoes and I just couldn't say no. Secretly I have been eating them for a while."

I turn around and look at them. These people are worrying about their diets to the point of excluding organic tomatoes because they are "bad food". What do these people eat? They are both dowdy and dumpy in appearance. The woman looks overweight, despite her strict diet.

The cashier wants to roll her eyes, but she can't because she is facing them. So I roll my own for her and she nods in agreement. God I hate this place I think. These people are so soft that I relish a confrontation with them. I get back to the car and turn on Physical Graffiti.

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Ever since Napster's servers became unreliable, my MP3 file growth rate has stabilized. Declines are leading advances in almost every sector and genre. However, all is not lost, as I have started using this thing called KaZaA. There is something creepy about it though; for some reason I don't like it, I don't trust it. Whatever. I actually had to buy two CDs last week, but I don't mind paying for quality.

For the first time in years, I actually played Physical Graffiti. I was on my way to Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws (well actually, my wife's aunt's second husband's family made up most of the diners) and was feeling like I needed to rebel against something, so I went with something tried and true. Dinner was as predictable as a Swiss train schedule. Guests sat and made awkward conversation about cruise ships, Puerto Vallarta, and Osama bin Laden's speech. An attempt at debate was made, but one loudmouth, who always feels the need to show that he is smarter, and always, always has to have the last word made me so angry that I had to leave for a breath of fresh air. I just want to have a normal family.

Saturday, October 06, 2001

I recently bought myself some new shoes, about which I have received many compliments. I don't have very many pairs of shoes, but the ones that I do own are the product of quality work and should last a long time. As I was checking my Campers for scuffs and stains from the bar I had been at the night before, I noticed a gum-like substance stuck to the sole. It looked like a tobacco flavored gum, only with raspberry seeds in it. I took a whiff of it to ensure it wasn't produced from the end of a dog. The gum was an olfactory collection of tobacco, alcohol and sweat. To inhale its pungent, filthy odor made you feel as if you were waking up on the floor of the bar, your nose mired in the putrid carpet.

This gum made me think about a substance known as "pubscum", which was the ruin of many pairs of pants when I was at university. The dance floor in the student pub, which was simply called "the Pub", would get covered in a viscous gray liquid that caused indellible stains on any clothes. This was known as pubscum, and its composition we could only speculate, but it was safe to assume it was a mixture of beer, hard alcohol, sweat, urine, vomit, tobacco and blood. You would come home from the pub with gray stains at the bottom of your pant legs, which is why everyone simply wore jeans to the pub.