Friday, December 27, 2002

When I started this blog, I did so with the idea of emulating some other blogs that I had read and which inspired me to create a blog myself. For a while I unsuccessfully tried to imitate these blogs; their style, their ideas, their writing. But I realized that I was pleasing no one by doing this. As far as I know the only people who read this blog are Scott, Rob, and Sean. So now I write for myself, if only to make myself feel better.

There, there. No I feel okay.

Still waiting to hear from two customers to get their orders and process them so I can go home for the day. Reading the War of Art at my desk in the meantime, hoping that no one will notice. Actually, I don't give a shit anymore.
Although it is very lame, I give a lot of gift certificates to people. This is partly because I do not like shopping, and partly because I am often too lazy to think about what the recipient would really like but would never think to buy for themselves. Perhaps that is the art of gift-giving, moving it from a mere transaction to an exchange of energy.

What inspired me to write this is the gift I received from my brother Jim, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. As soon as I opened it, I felt his presence in the room, even though he was a thousand miles away. It was sent as a wake-up call to a man who is only have awake, and living somebody else's life.

Monday, December 23, 2002

The first record I ever bought with my own money was Combat Rock, by The Clash. I paid $2.50 for it in 1983, at Cheap Thrills, a used record store that would go on to provide me with over 100 more albums, cds and tapes. The Clash to me were as far as I could really venture into the punk world, being a white kid from the suburbs, but they had a huge impact on me, both socially and politically. They showed me that there was space in the world for people like me, who were sent to private school but did not want to swallow the bullshit we were taught to believe. They showed me there was an alternative path to mainstream society, other than becoming a headbanger. And for this, I am truly thankful.

Long may you rest in peace Joe Strummer.

Friday, December 20, 2002

I am going to have to get serious here, so there will be no post about the boring life endured in a "business intelligence" sales office. No, you see I originally started this blog to express my views on the world, and in that process hopefully cultivate a distinct view of the world; distinct enough for me to call it my own, but still relevant to many.

I have to put that aside and go on record regarding some current issues. You may or may not care, but it is important that the records show how I felt at this time.

I have never felt worse about the prospects for peace and prosperity in this world. Evil men, (yes, they are evil) are in powerful positions, and are eager to unleash a bloodbath on this world; they have stated publicly that they intend to wage war anywhere, at any time without notice, and for whatever reason they deem necessary. The pending invasion of Iraq will certainly result in hundreds of thousands of dead, even more homeless refugees, and another generation of orphans. Despite these certainties, Dick Cheney and Co. feel it is a necessary cost of doing business in their quest for oil.

I refuse to accept the commonly held belief that Saddam Hussein is hiding weapons, and even if he is, that is his business. Were he ever to use them, his destruction is assured, which makes me believe that he has no intention of launching any attack on anyone.

I am against this war. I am against the war on drugs. I believe that George Bush was not elected by the people of the US.

I do not hate Americans, but I hate what their government does, and what is does to its own people.

Enough ranting. I cannot change the way they operate. But I can help you change the way you think.

Have a peaceful holiday week.
Ah yes, here we are at another quarter-end, rushing to get revenue booked so we can sleep soundly on Christmas Eve. However, there are bigger problems right now, like my pounding headache, brought on by too much Christams cheer and not enough food. I only have three deals to close, but here I am begging like a pauper for a little generosity to be thrown my way.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Because Scott asked for it, and he may well represent 10% of my viewers, here is another Victoria Moment; number 27, taken from March 1998....

The dealership used to be named $1995 or less, but I don't remember seeing a sign indicating its name. But on its lot sat a mint-condition 1981 Honda Civic Wagon ( the long body-type, not the hatchback). Two guys seem to run the place, both in their 30s, but how late into the 30s I can't tell. The older one is talking on the phone with what must be his wife, as he arranging a pick-up or drop off of his children. His partner is in the office, a shack with a sliding glass door, two tiny desks and a cracked radio playing Q-103, Victoria's all classic rock station.
He too is on the phone, making arrangements for the evening, being Friday night. They both hang up to deal with me as I enquire about making payments on a $900 car.

Divorced dad comes on all friendly and warm-hearted, offering to take me out for a test drive. We drive down through Juan de Fuca park to the water, where I can really it open it up, making it into 4th gear. He tells me the CV joint will need to be replaced, and that frankly, for a man of my means you would be hard pressed to do better.

I give him $500 and tell him I will come back with the rest in 2 weeks, and makes me sign a document, effectively transferring the car to his name if I fail to pay. Partner is off the phone now, enjoying a cigarette while telling me how great the car is. I ask them if they make a good living selling used cars. They immediately reply " Oh no, we just live cheque to cheque like everybody else." They looked at me with empathetic smiles, convinced that we all agreed there was nothing you could do in life but just get by.

Thirty minutes after taking the bus to the dealership I arrived home in my Civic to the astonishment of my roommates.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

While he is not an alcoholic in the neglect-your-family and beat-your-wife definition, by the standards of Alcoholics Anonymous, he has some serious thinking to do about his relationship with alcohol. To his credit, he stops drinking for lent each year. My mother has nagged at his drinking my entire life. Some of the more memorable excuses he has come up with for drinking are:

It is St Patrick's Day
It is St Andrew's Day
It is Father's Day
It's Sunday
The Masters is on
The Super Bowl is on
But it's the Grey Cup
It's the playoffs
My son has returned from _______ safely
Your mother said it was okay
Mr. Davey made this wine
I made this wine
This beer is imported

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Right now I am updating my sales forecast for next quarter with Lenny Kravitz wailing "Fly Away" through my cheap Canada 3000 headphones. I should hang on to these, as they could now be a collector's item, just like my Wardair tie. Lenny Kravitz I find a little cheezy, with his cliched 70s guitar riffs, but I bet a 14 year old would love it.

I chose to listen to this song because it reminds me of the time when I was working for this customer relationship management company as an inside sales rep. I picked a call off the queue, and I was instantly put on speakerphone with some startup company in Silicon Valley. There were three young men around the speakerphone, with Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away" blaring in the background. They seemed so cool and carefree in their e-jobs, perhaps changing the way people buy transit tickets or return pop bottles with their soon-to-be-released zero-client, customer-focused solution. I remember thinking that I wanted to work in such an environment, instead of the one where I was stuck, with an English-born matronly boss, whose face had acquired the permanent scowl wrinkles on her jawline; wrinkles that are acquired only through a lifetime of mean disposition. I wished I too could fly away to southern California and take part in the revolution that promised to change everything but in reality changed very little.

The cool startup workers nonchalantly bought about $500 of software on their Amex, treating me as if I were someone who was just so out of it, so not part of whatever it was that was going on.

Monday, November 18, 2002

I really have to watch my spelling when I am stoned.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

For the first time since the early 1990s, when I felt I was part of the demographic that had the term 'slacker' attached to it, I feel that my lifestyle and many marketing campaigns have intersected. At times it feels like these people are trying to convince me to live their lifestyle. The stongest influencer is the Banana Republic, aiming its ads squarely at people like me and my wife. I have had to impose a ban on that store, just because I now feel each time that I go in there, I am admitting that I can no longer make my own choices, and that they know best for me. Douglas Coupland called this a 2+2=5ism.

Now they have an ad with the young couple and child lying in bed. It screams to me that I should be having a child and living this fast paced yet balanced urban life surrounded by grey flannel and the New York Times; ambitious, aware of the finer things in life, but without forgetting that what really matters is spending time with my well-clothed family.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Two feelings for which there must be a German word that describes each perfectly.

The habit of completely forgetting that you used to live in a basement appartment rife with wood bugs once you have moved into a new appartment.

The feeling of seeing an advertisement on a bus shelter for a rave that you used to attend back in the day when it was word of mouth with no security, no searches, and now you find that it is an all-day event hosted by Ron Jeremy and the Coors Light Girls.
The GDP includes air pollution and advertising for cigarettes, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. . . . It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads. . . . It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. . . . It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Victoria moment #235

We had just moved into a house in James Bay, the 4 of us; me, Carrie, George and the Doctor, as he was known then. In order to get high speed cable internet access, we needed a "technician" from Shaw Cable to come to our house and configure all the equipment. I felt kind of embarassed when he came over to the basement of our house, which was made out like a rec-room, complete with ping-pong, bean bag chairs, and a shiny black coke-dealer entertainment console with no equipment in it. Our ritual after work was to hit the bong immediately upon entry to the house. I remember that I was wearing a suit, as I worked for EDS at the time, who required all their people to wear suits. I looked over to the technician tapping away on the keyboard as I pulled a bong hit, and I thought to myself, he'll understand, this is Victoria. He glanced my way and gave me a look that confirmed my suspicions of empathy, a look that said, "yes, we are in Victoria, and this is what we do, this is how we affirm ourselves".

However, the real affirmation came 5 minutes later, when I came back downstairs and found the technician pulling a bong hit of his own.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

A childhood taunt from my school days in rural Vermont;
You think you're hot shit on a silver platter, but you're really cold piss in a dixie cup.

Children are so blunt and cruel.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

"How can I hurt you?" he says when we finally get down to business. He leans back on his mangy couch or bed/futon; I can't tell because it is covered in dirty clothes. With a stroke back through his hair with his hand, I can see the giant "M" on his knuckles, some kind of ring. I don't like to buy in this "retail" market, let alone having to sit through 5 minutes of whatever pirated dvd is playing.

His two friends on the other couch, nod at me silently, and immediately return their gaze to the television.

"Nice day outside," I say, "you should get out."

"Yeah, maybe we should.....haven't gone out yet today.

I get what I want and leave, so happy that I no longer inhabit their world, but disappointed in myself for having entered it, if only for a moment.
Found, while cleaning out my files at work:

Belief Window

I am good looking
I am immature.
I am athletic
I am capable of achieving anything.
It is best to blend in and not cause trouble.
The world is a corrupt place that is getting worse everyday.
The US is an evil nation.
Money will solve most any problem I have.
I am a procrastinator.
I am not a powerful speaker.
I believe that everyone should pull his or her fair share.
I believe that leadership is sorely lacking in this world.
I believe there is a way to fix all this.
I believe that I will be the breadwinner for my family.
I believe that I should make the major financial decisions.
I believe that I can move the earth with my words…..

Monday, September 30, 2002

Ginger Alert! Now that the hangover has faded, it has become clear that the staff at Ginger 62 not only added a healthy tip without authorization to my bill, and subsequently ran through my card without my signature, and then, took my card and filled their car with gas at 3 in the morning. Thanks Ginger!

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Marked in my daytimer for last Friday was a reminder to "rejoice in my success". What success you may ask? Well, if I have not explained before on these pages, I am in sales, in sofware sales, for a large company, whose performance is graded quarterly. Most of the business comes in during the last week of the quarter, with much of it on the last day.

So rejoice we did, perhaps too emphatically, as I am not used to drinking so heavily. I must have had 5 drinks before I even left the office. Then it was off the a pub with my coworkers to drink on the company tab. We left to have a smoke and perhaps watch a little "ballet", but we slipped into Ginger 62 for a drink. It turned out to be a mistake, as i lost my credit card there, and the bouncer wanted to take out Mike as we lobbied to go back inside to get the card. That will be my last time there. No regrets here.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

And now for you, here is Dry Shave. Go buy the book, NOW.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Oh my christ, is television pathetic. I have tried, really tried to watch tv for the last few nights, but am never able to make it through more than a few minutes at a time. The programming during the evenings seems to break down into the following categories: sports, "news", infotainment, celebrity-based news, game shows, and of course, "Friends". Is this what you get for your $50 a month cable subscription?

I have been wasting much time at work playing gameneverending. Get on it and test it, but have patience as it is still a prototype, or God will smote your ass!

Dean of Textism writes today, or last night, about how much he hated being inconvenienced by film sets in Vancouver, producing the next episode of Hostage Negotiator, or Halloween 8. While I am concerned for his misanthropy, many of his points are valid. I detest the industry with more venom than he, as it holds my wife captive for 16 hours a day, leaving me a bachelor 5 nights of the week. Which is why I tried watching tv. I used to just smoke pot every night and fall asleep, but that left me too hazy in the morning to deal with the uppity midwesterners calling me on the phone to bitch about my price increases. Fuck them all if they can't understand why i am so drowsy. For christ's sake, it 630am in Vancouver, what do expect, complete concenration?

My ex-girlfriend got married last weekend. I was not invited, which was great, because I would not have attended, seeing as how I am married anyway. Strange how you can be with someone for 5 years and not even care in the slightest for them. Man, she was country.

I will upgrade this damn thing to blogger plus, or blogger de-luxe, sometime soon, as soon as I cancel my porn subscriptions.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Hello, I'm today's guest editor of Schoolboy77. Andrew's fingers are badly sprained as he is suffering from an acute case of carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a warning to us all: if you don't use your whole arm muscles the nerves-and-tendon passage in the wrist can become inflamed. Actually that's a lie, I’m a 13-year-old computer hacker from Cape Breton and have decided to wreck havoc in the Blog community. Be warned: the CIA wants me to work for them.

I have this quote that my history teacher keeps taped to the front of his classroom (he's got a ponytail):

We are only geometricians in regard to matter; the Greeks were first of all geometricians in the apprenticeship of virtue. Since force corrupts even the righteous . . . the only worthwhile strategy for the true radical is the interruption of force wherever it appears.
-Simone Weil

What genius of political analysis recently said this: “The root causes of terrorism are terrorists.” Hint: he's the same Canadian Prime Minister who bares an outlandish chin and pooh-poohed the idea that free trade (question: more or less cool than the BareNakedLadies?) would limit Canada's room for manoeuvre. I cannot decide if this is solipsism or a tautology. But I'm only 13. Vexing, it keeps me up at night.

That said I'm not worried for Canada, because ‘the Americans’ will undoubtedly let us keep our bureaucracy. Not even US military might could defeat something that entrenched and obstinate. Saddam could use a platoon of clerks from any number of Canadian ministries; once they're dug in they never give up.

I used to think that Canada was the “North American Alternative” but now it seems we're more “the convenient Northern fiction”. That's it got to get to class.

Friday, September 13, 2002

See if you can guess who I am:

I have at one time been supported, or am presently supported by the US military.

I have bought many weapons from the US.

I have used these weapons against minorities that annoy me and get in the way of my agenda.

I have used these weapons against other countries.

Who am I?

If you answered Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu, General Musharraf Parvez or Saddam Hussein, you are correct.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

No matter how much I try, I can't let go of my love the Grateful Dead. Rob came by my workstation ( i can't believe i just wrote that), pinned a picture of the band from the Donna Jean and Keith period, and walked away without a word.

Things are getting pushed to the edge in the arena of world affairs. GWB is on the brink of starting a major perpetual war (the US having already started and funded several smaller perpetual wars), and no Americans seem to voice their disapproval. I say this not to call Americans apathetic. I think they care much more deeply than the press reports, and that is exactly the problem. The American media is not actively asking for justification for this war. This is being left to a handful of politicians and to the general public, who are largely excluded from influencing the opinions expressed through the major news media. Rise up and shout!

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I love Canada.

Friday, August 23, 2002

I could not have said it better. It is time for Americans to wake up and blow off the mind dust from a lifetime of mind-numbing consumption.

Friday, August 09, 2002

What earthly good can this possibly serve?

Friday, August 02, 2002

Ahhhh, still recovering from Island Style 3, my first real outdoor party in several years, and my first time going off since I saw Ritchie Hawtin at Sona last September. I was quite anxious upon arrival, as Anya and I were stumbling around in the dark gaggle of youths, looking for west coast funky house....we found it.

My favorite moment of the night was when the DJ mixed in Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Were Made for Walking". Everybody loved it, even the kids. Speaking of kids, a 23-year old came up to me and asked me how old I was. When I said "31", he said "cool, I would love to see my parents at this type of thing".

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Too much work and too much worry make for a boring life. I refuse to sit around and talk about mortgage payments and investments, like people from southern Ontario. Well- they're not all like that, in fact only a few are, but I seem to know too many of them.

Boredom has spread through my office like a virus. The so-called War on Terror continues unabated and seemlingly unopposed. I am just glad Canada brought the troops home. I have been hesitant to post comments of a political nature here, but I can no longer ignore the political animal raging and seething underneath my button down existence.

Favoritism shown or patronage granted to relatives, as in business.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Two years ago today I made the best decision in my life and married Anya. I love her more than ever.

According to my research, the second anniversary calls for a gift of cotton. This severely limits the gift selection to clothing. I bought her a Fred Perry t-shirt from the Pharsyde It's a tight light blue top. I think she will love it.

On another topic, my 4 year old nephew is now speaking like a 10 year old. Says he, " you would be impressed with the serious tennis we're playing."

Thursday, July 11, 2002

I look to the south and pray it won't happen here, that we won't become what they have become. I don't think we have that in us, but i do worry seriously that the American tradition of extraterritoriality will continue with brutal measures against Canadian social values.

For the first time in a long time, i worry for the state of the world.

Monday, June 17, 2002

As I toiled in the sweltering heat of the summer of 1994, in various hellholes scattered across northern BC, I dreamed of escape. Escape from the gruelling phyical labor of treeplanting, the monotony and uselessness of replanting clearcuts that were only going to be logged again in 60 years if the trees actually survived, and the spirit crushing reality that we were so very far away from anything.

I sang in my head to rid myself of the pain of this reality. Reggae, the music of 400 hundred years of suffering, offered little other than eventual but distant salvation, and the occasional dose of revenge. What I love to sing was Steely Dan, and while looking through my CDs tonight, I saw a track I had to play, if only to make me feel grateful that I am not out there with the cold, heat, bugs, bears, stinging nettle, devils club, and rednecks.

This is what I would sing:

Bad sneakers and a pina colada my friend

stomping on the avenue by radio city with a

transistor and a large sum of money to spend

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Perhaps you are wondering if I managed to beat coffee.

I did not.

How much time are you wasting?

I have noticed recently that events that unrelated to work that occupies people's time during regular working hours are now being measured for their negative impact on productivity. I first noticed this with Star Wars, but have seen it measured again due to England's positive showing in World Cup 2002. Some predictions are drastic, but never fear, for any problem, whether real or percieved, there is a consultant waiting to bill you.

If David Frum had his way, every sporting event will have its productivity cost worked into its project justification. I can't wait.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Today is my first day without coffee. I will make it. I will win.
Why am I quitting? Oh, the headaches, sleeplessness, and not to mention the ulcer-like feeling in my stomach.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

This only reminds me why I don't live in the US. Has anyone heard Ashcroft sing? Do you Americans out there not realize this only encourages other nations to despise the American government even more intensely?
From Gary Shteyngart in this week's New York Times magazine.

"The past 100 years have been just horrific for Russians. They're history's losers. Their country has become a third-world cesspool. Yet the Russian people survive somehow. I'm not excusing criminality, especially the violence., but I do try to understand it."

If you have not already done so, GET YOUR WAR ON!

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

I hate writing proposals. The client only reads the last page anyway. They just want to know how much, not why we are buying this. I just spent 4 hours writing some crap on what a CPU license is, and how 5x12 tech support differs from 7X24 support. Can you figure out that one?

This pays my way but it corrodes my soul.....

Monday, May 27, 2002

And the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and the hills shall melt.

Friday, May 17, 2002

i am off to see Attack of the Clones tonight. Part of me is bracing for disappointment, while part of me is bracing for the annoyance of standing in line with hundreds of children and adults alike, dressed in Darth Vader costumes and sporting light sabres.

Do you ever blow off work? I did today, and I don't feel guilty, which is unusual because I feel guilty taking an hour long lunch break. My absenteeism was for a worthy cause, as my sister is visiting from Montreal, and I feel I have to help her babysit my 2 nephews. I am not much of a babysitter; i just put a video on the tv and them come up here to use my brother's computer.

Our public speaking club was booted out of its meeting room yesterday, even though we booked the room. No one respects our Outlook bookings. Actually, I was glad it was broken up because it was starting to really annoy me. The topic of the day seemed to be "luck" and people were talking about moments of luck in their lives.

Moments where I have been tremendously lucky:

Falling over a cliff while skiing and landing in a soft pillow of snow between to jagged rock pillars

Crashing my truck at 50pmh and missing that snowplow by a few feet.

Never having contracted any STD or caused any women to be "up the stick", despite frequent unprotected sex.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Sometimes I need to be left alone. Today is not one of them, but sometimes I would like to be able to bring my plate of prawn vindaloo from the common area microwave back to my desk without any comments from my coworkers; " Oh, that smells good", "What's that, did you make it yourself?" I was doing just this last Tuesday, walking quickly to avoid their glances, picking the loneliest route through the labyrynthine layout of the cubicles, thinking to myself that the first person who comments will be told to fuck off.

No one said a word.

Perhaps it was the scowl I wore to scare them away. I have perfected this scowl from my interactions with panhandlers, who are littered on Vancouver's corners; discarded humans on welfare, or long-term disability, former and current heroin addicts, "displaced" forestry and fishery workers, who all seem to have said "fuck it" and now spend their days pushing shopping carts full of pop cans (this is the real reason Vancouver is so clean). As I approach them I let my face turn mean and sour, and I stare right into their eyes. The point is to challenge them, and they will not even bother asking for the change.

Friday, May 03, 2002

The first real day of spring in Vancouver. Not today, of course, as it is chilly as November outside. On April 30. Warm breezes for the first time since early September. I am happily paying my taxes, so delightful a citizen to pony up right away, right by the time i said i would. how noble it seemed for something that so many have tried and failed to avoid.

Giving the government all that money had lifted my spirits and had me in the mood to give more. Tim Horton's offered me the perfect chance to treat my colleagues with a family pack of Timbits. I grabbed a box of them and a coffee and headed out into the mid-morning sun, convinced that life was good. The Canadiens had only the evening before defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1 to win the best of seven series in six games. It is not truly spring in Montreal until that happens.

Spring. My best spring ever had to have been 1996, in a place called Morgins, crammed into a valley next to the French border. Teaching a group of 16 year old American and Egyptian girls from Cairo how to snowboard. Days were spent jumping off a quarterpipe that we had convinced a groomer to build for us. It was a perfect vertical launch, with a soft and easy landing. ( I pulled my one and only 360 on this jump). My students were more interested in learning to be snowboarders than actually snowboarding. But that was okay with me, who saw my role not only as a snowboard instructor (a job for which I had no training; I had never even taken a lesson), but as the facilitator of their memorable vacation to Switzerland. If that meant 5 nights of drinking but snowboarding every morning then it was fine with me.

This ski camp for wealth expatriates and diplo-brats was run by alcoholics and lunatics, unable to find suitable employment that would tolerate their bizarre personal skills and excessive drinking. It is unpleasant to deal with people who are hungover all the time

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

It always starts this way; with a simple admission, an innocent remark that "mistakes may have been made". There is no doubt the truth will be revealed, but it is doubtful there will be anything done about it. Not with Dubya looking out for his dad's friends.

Come on France, you can do better than this.

As for me, well life in corporate servitude continues. This job is so boring, yet I get up every day and can't wait to do it. It must be that how well I work has a strong correlation with how much money I make. As that famous 1980s chanteur said,
this position i hold

it paves my way but it corrodes my soul

i must leave here, i must go quickly

i want to go down in celluloid history

Alright then. Too jacked up on late afternoon coffee to get any thoughts processed right now. My Aeron chair has been returned to it rightful owner and now I am back in my spine crunching, circulation-blocking stool.

Right then.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Ahh yes... all that technology on the American side can't compensate for their grade 2 educations. And these are our friends?

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Although I am repulsed by the vapid writing in Leah McLaren's columns, I am drawn to it every Saturday, if only to remind myself how ahead I am of whatever curve she is describing. I am not alone in this strange repulstion/attraction. My wife read it once, (I think it was the column on black maxi-pads) and asked why I would waste 3 minutes every Saturday reading something that annoyed me. "But it's only to make myself feel cooler. By reading about someone else try to define what is cool, I can feel cooler if I have already identified, assessed and judged the trend in question as coo/uncool. The point is that I know about it before she writes about it."

What repulses me is that she acts like my little sister did when stealing my Grateful Dead tapes, or my cigarettes, or weed. Suddenly something is cool, but it is cool for my younger sister, (read "the masses") and then I have to wonder if I really want to stay attached to this cultural item.

She particulary enraged me with her recent piece on Ali-G, and the Queen Mum "getting" hip-hop. It's a spoof, the Queen Mum got it, but would Americans, she asks. This is her nudging attempt at exposing how much more subtle, satirical and stylish the Brits are, perhaps in anticipation of her announcement to more to London. No, Americans would not "get" Ali G; rather, Ali-G would "get" shot. It would be impossible for a white boy in America to ridicule hip hop in the Ali-G does, simply because every white kid in America is emulating their hip hip idols.

Her latest article is now on how she has moved to London and how expensive it is, and how "our" generation is defined by its record debt levels. Well, have fun Leah. Find a rich Brit with an inverted, white and pasty chest to pay your bills. Turn a blind eye when he needs to get surgery on his buttocks due to his spanking obsession. While you are over there, why don't you go work with the rest of the Canada-hating, ink-stained wretches under the watchful guise of Lord Black. This nation bids you adieu.

Friday, March 29, 2002

Quarter end. Stress like I have never felt before. Is there something that I can do tell these people at the University of Toledo that I need them to bend to my wishes- today. Right now, in fact. Please get up from your desk and do as I ask. I have been reasonable. I have been flexibile. You have been inflexible, intractible and unyielding. I do not want to go through this again.

Of course, the blame lies on myself. i am like the university student late submitting a paper because the car broke down on the way dropping it off at the prof's house 10 minutes before the deadline. Well, you should not have left it to the last day. However, sometimes it works out that way.

Recently I have been watching a lot of movies, mostly because we don't have cable tv. So this week I watched All About Eve and Pusher. I had seen Pusher before, but I loved watching it for the second time. Perhaps I still feel the twinges of my youthful obsession with European track suits, drug dealing life gone wrong, and bad Serbian gangsters. What exactly is a draftpak schemie?

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

I have ignored this for far too long. What has happened in my life, let me repeat MY life since I last posted? Well, Scott and Eva came to visit our lovely city, and were treated to the most bizarre three days of weather in Vancouver. Torrential rain, clear blue skies and then snow. Finally it seems that some sense of spring has arrived in Vancouver, and with it my new spring wardrobe, which really consists of my 3 pairs of chinos rotated every other day. Only, now I talk about it. Oh, yeat there was that one spring-y looking shirt I got at the Banana Republic, which led to numerous comments at the place where I get my hair cut. I don't want to say "salon", but then I can't honestly describe this place as a barbershop either. It is staffed with homosexuals, blares either house or disco on the stereo, and I have to endure an assortment of innuendos from the male owner.

My style really hasn't changed since I was 16. I have tried many different styles, but I have returned to the only one that ever worked for me: pseudo -outdoorsy-prep-West-coast-malcontent. Nothing else has ever worked for me but chinos and a button down. Sounds really boring, but that is all I can muster up. Let me list the styles I have tried:
Surfer (only surfed on one trip to Costa Rica; cannot rightly claim to be one)
Snowboarder ( I have been snowborading for 7 years, so this is one style I could claim as my own. However, the rebel attitude does not match my Richie Cunningham face)
Mountain man ( having lived in Whistler for 4 years, I could also make a legitimate claim to be a mountain man. Don't like the Sorels or the fleece. I once owned these purple fleece pants that were floods- oh the horror)
Raver (didn't give this one too much of a chance. I was already 27 when I came along this scene. the clothes were so expensive for such poor quality)
Hippie - never actually owned any guatemalan print clothing or birkenstocks, but I did have long hair and a bandana. the waspy face and freckles assured that I would never pull this one off without people thinking I was a trustafarian.
Redneck- Kodiaks and jeans, ball cap and mack jacket. What the hell was I thinking.

Which brings me back to the age of 16 and chinos and button downs. Please note however, that I have never owned Topsiders.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

It's true. I have always wanted to know the lyrics to this song.

Saturday, March 09, 2002

How sad that Leah McLaren is on vacation. I was looking forward to reading her column to work myself into an frenzy so I would be awake by the time I got to the office.
Yes, the office. Sadly, I am at work on a Saturday, again.

Do you worry about the youth of today? What generation has not worried about the generation behind it? On a visit to my 97 year old grandmother earlier this year, I was lectured on how the young people today feel they can walk away from any commitment that has become inconvenient. She was specfically referring to my cousin, who had recently left her husband and young child. For what, I don't know. Because my family is old-school Catholic, there were immediate assumptions that she had become a lesbian. I asked my mother if it was true, that my cousin was a lesbian. "Well, I'm not sure", she replied, citing how she had moved in with old friend who was a lesbian.

Anyway, back to bad kids. The Atlantic has an article about young men turned killers in the normally staid state of Vermont. Having lived in Vermont, I can say that boredom must have been the reason.

Since one depressing story of teen violence and moral depravity deserves another, I watched Bully, Larry Clark's follow up to Kids. Simliar to Kids, only it takes place in south Florida. a stranger place I have not visited.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Sorry about the gap in everything here. I have been working too much lately. Now for my follow up on Free Trade. Vancouver and BC are in a sorry state, and the only solution I can see to end our dependency on natural resources is to create a free trade zone in Vancouver. We shall become the sister city of Hong Kong, complete with exorbitant real estate prices ( we already have them), a booming illicit drug trade, sweatshops and hot pot houses.....

Friday, February 22, 2002

In all my life of being a Canadian, I have never felt an event having such an impact on our national identity and self esteem as the Olympic mens hockey final on Sunday. The Free Trade Agreement comes close, but a gold in the hockey is badly needed by the country. It has been battered about lately, from softwood lumber tariffs, alleged control of our military, to the downward pressure on our loonie.

We simply must win this as a matter of national pride. I have never felt it this strongly before. This one is going to be tense.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Somehow I doubt that after Dubya wakes up in the morning, and while shaving, peering into the mirror, fancying himself as Chuck Norris sorting out the Taliban once and for all, he thinks of this.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

As I mentioned earlier, I don't have any access to cable television, unless I go over to young Robert's house and get my fix of documentary television. Because of this lack of cable, I miss the boat on all the latest commercials. Which is not a bad thing in any way.

Friday afternoon I was tired and cranky, due to a minor hangover and a lack of sleep. I think I have been working too hard lately, and by Friday at noon, I am ready to pack it in. Oh, yeah, there was that beer at lunch on Friday that further lowered my productvitiy level. Well, by 3pm we were in the Shark Club, a place I would not normally frequent, but since this was the opening hockey game of the Olympics, I was there, pint in hand, eyes glued to one of the 25 television sets they have mounted on the walls. The game was forgettable, as Canada lost 5-2 in a miserable display of ineptitude. What remains clearly in my mind is a Visa advertisement that aired near the end of the game. It shows a couple driving to the airport, the man driving, the woman clearly angry at him, as she stares out her passenger window. They arrive at the departure drop-off, he opens the trunk, and surprise! there are two suitcases in the trunk. She looks at him in astonishment and he whips out a second plane ticket. The man has a look of relief on his face, which fades to a mesage about how Visa can get you out of the doghouse anytime.

I thought about this for a while after. How many men have gone into debt on their credit cards so that they can get their nagging girlfriend/wife/whatever off their back?

Ain't love grand...

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

A few weeks back I read this column in the National Post, about a young right winger who can't get laid. He blames his sexual defeat on his political views, stating that women find left-of-centre men more attractive than those who are concerned, perhaps passionately gripped, with fiscal rectitude and the freedom of markets to define and shape the world. I can't understand why this was worth writing, but then again I was reading the National Post. Like it is any revelation that most right winger in their 20s and early 30s were lonely losers through most of their adolescence and college years. They are exacting their revenge for the teasing and the exclusion they endured as teens. Now they work for the Fraser Institute.

I once almost bought in to the idea that markets should decide everything, that if only government got out of our way everything would be alright. Ahhh the free market. Your friend and mine.....

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

My favorite comic strip is back, and with an update for the latest crisis gripping our hyperactive friends down south.

Speaking of espresso, here is an alternative to caffeine in the morning. Get your rage on!
I hate to be a know-it-all, I really do. But the word is "espresso", not "expresso", which is likely an overnight delivery service and not a strong caffeinated drink. People around me use the term expresso, and irregardless and "I could care less". Oh really? You could care less? How much less could you care?

Perhaps I get frustrated by the people that sit around me because I feel I have let myself down. Oops, there goes my self pity again.
Now this is the sickest joke of all.

Saturday, February 02, 2002

With each passing day, I watch our neighbors to the south spiral into madness I am becoming happier and happier that I live in Canada, where freedom is still not something you learn from a commercial, nor has it been trademarked yet. The US department of Immigration has barred Ross Rebigliati from entering the US because he admitted that he had once smoked pot; not because he says he still smokes pot, or has some in his shoes, or is planning on a packing a bowl when he gets down to Salt Lake City, but because he once did.

Whatever happened to "when I was young and foolish, I was young and foolish"? The real reason he is being barred is that he is proof that smoking pot did not lead him to a life of drug addiction, crime and moral depravity. He smoked weed and he still won the gold medal. And John Ashcroft just can't have that. Shit, if he had his way, we wouldn't be able to play cards or even dance.

So screw the Salt Lake City Olympics. I just want Canada to win the gold medals in hockey and curling.

Peace, Order and Good Government for all!

Thursday, January 31, 2002

There are reasons people like me don't eat at McDonalds. It goes beyond the absence of any nutritional value in the "food", I discovered. Just the other day I was feeling peckish mid-morning, as my healthy cereal breakfast high had worn off. Houston tells me it is hypoglycaemic, or however it is spelled, which I think means that it is high in natural sugars. At any rate, I got horrible craving for a sausage McMuffin with egg. I walk the block and half to McDonalds Express, which servers a limited menu (no shakes) and I was confronted with their breakfast menu. Not only did I get the McMuffin, but I bought a McBurrito, or whatever it was called; powdered egg with sausage-like material in it. On returning to the office, I hid the bag under my coat so no one would say anything. Slunked down in my desk, I gorged back the greasy foodstuff, feeling twinges of guilt and shame.

Only a few hours later, I began to itch all over, as I felt like my skin was covered in an oil slick. Sure enough, the grease in the breakfast was now finding its way our of my body through my pores. I twitched and rubbed like a junkie waiting for a hit. I guess the little "McDonalds in Me" was looking for a way out.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Anya and I are one step closer to being buried in debt and working to make payments. Ahhh, the joys of adult life.

We have been watching a lot of movies lately, among them:

How to Get Ahead in Advertising
Richard E. Grant at his annoyingly dramatic best. Why is that only the Brits seem to be able to master satire so well?

House of Mirth
Overblown schlock that feels like a Harlequin romance novel set to the screen. Poor little rich girl slut-wannabe pays the price for her outward loose image when it is revealed she is just another tight goldigger.

Bread and Roses
Ken Loach takes on Hollywood with his left-wing assault of the corporate world, led by immigrant janitors. A nice little white boy union organizer inspires the janitors to organize and unionize. It is supposed to be a true story, and I don't doubt the veracity of it nor do I think the exploitation was exaggerated. Some would say it is a very biased film, but Loach feels that the balance in Hollywood is so far on the right that one little left winger will do relatively little harm.

The Anniversary Party
Solipsistic crap. Each new character more annoying and loathsome than the previous. I guess that is the point, but what is the point in watching it?

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Not that I was ever really into it, but I definitely understand what it is like to be high on gasoline fumes. It was never intentional, and it was an affliction that crept up on me, so insiduous that I never knew it was affecting me unitl it was over.

It can all be blamed on my car. Well, I should take some blame as I chose to drive the car and leave the muffler in a heap by the garage and not attached to the car. But these were desperate times. If only you knew the poverty. The warning signs were there from them beginning....

I needed a car for a job that I needed to keep. Had I not gotten this job, I would have starved or have ended up working in a convenience store. It was a sales job in Victoria, and my boss was quite adamant that I have a car. Okay. I was too old to borrow money from my parents, so I borrowed from my roomate John, who incidentally, was a student. My budget was $600, which placed certain limitations on my choice of a car. I needed something reliable, practical and inexpensive to repair.

Why I chose a 1980 Cadillac Seville, I still wonder. There were so many warning signs when I went to look at it. The engine was covered in oil, a result, the owner explained, of a previous prospective buyer who had attempted to loosen the oil filter in the hopes of lowering the price. I chose to ignore this.

The interior roof was ripped so that a yellow foam was exposed, tiny pieces of which were always falling off and sticking to your clothes. Worst of all, the muffler fell off about 3 weeks into my owning it. When I took it to Budget Brake & Muffler, the mechanic advised me not "to spend a dime on this car.". You made a mistake, he said, now move on. I asked what was wrong.

Well first of all, the engine is about to die as you can hear the camshaft bumping into something else. There are maybe 3 or 4 of 6 cylinders firing. The gasoline in the dead cylinders is simply dripping out the exhaust system, which in your case no longer exists, so it simply emitted from a hole in the engine where the catalytic converter used to be (this had been removed). You're inhaling raw gasonline fumes when you drive this car, he warned, but I didn't seem to take notice. He leaned into me and said loudly "THAT SHIT'LL KILL YOU!". I thanked him for his advice and decided to drive the car until it died.

It lasted for another 4 or 5 weeks, when on a sunny day just after St Patrick's Day, the engine seized. I pulled over, walked to a tow truck company and asked for some help. The driver tried starting it, only to hear the sound of pistons locking in an eternal embrace with their cylinders. I bummed a smoke from him and he gave me a lift to the bus stop.

Days later, I began to notice an increased awareness and heightened senses and alertness. It was then that I realized I had been in a permanent state of lethrargy and intoxication since I had started driving the car.

Sunday, January 13, 2002

Advice for entrepreneurs, by Tibor Fischer:

Jim could see how being an employee was a wondrous thing, and how he envied humble, lowly employees who could walk out of their offices and not have to think about work until the following day. The joys of employeedom overpowered him.

The adventureres who thought they lived dangerously by biking through civil wars, sky-diving, mountaineering, bungee jumping, freebasing finally didn't know real risk. There was nothing more dangerous than having your own company. You jumped out of an aeroplane, you were merely wagering your life; you ran a company, now matter how small, even a cornershop, you were risking your soul

Thursday, January 10, 2002

Why Schoolboy77, you may ask? There isn't much of a story behind this one. No fetishes or obsessions are at the core of my identity with this moniker. I first came across the term "schoolboy" used in a unconventionable or figurative sense in a book called Everything You Need to Know About Recreational Drugs. Part How-To guide and part objective descriptions of the chemical processes taking place and the consequences of using substances that people of all cultures use to get high, low, agitated, stoned, cranked, wired, drunk, chilled, freaked and fried. Written in the mid 70s by a trio of doctors it stated on the back that "neither pro nor con, we realize one thing: drug use is booming. The chance that it will subside in the future is virtually nil." It became my drug bible, and I read about every possible way to get high and some substances people ingest in the hope of getting high, such as banana skins. Why would anyone think that smoking banana skins, known as "mellow yellow" it states, would get you high.

The entry for codeine listed all of its street names, one of which was "schoolboy". I liked the idea of a drug being called schoolboy. I was only 16 at the time, and imagined seasoned drug-takers in the mid twentys reminiscing about the schoolboy days of popping Tylenol 3s and sucking back half a fifth of cheap scotch. I never actually tried codeine, but the name fascinated me.

The number 77 has no significance to me, other than being visually appealing.

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

Quite recently I was visited by a ghost from my past, long forgotten in a life I thought I had buried years ago. It came to me in the form of a wild-eyed vagrant outside my office at 700 in the morning.

When I was 19, I spent my first summer away from home working as a dishwasher at the Chateau Lake Louise. It was my first time away from my insulated, upper-middle class world of private school, early university acceptance and good sets of teeth. After 19 years of this, I was shocked by the people who worked at the hotel; to me they seemed like freaks in circus. I had never seen people so ugly, or stupid, or poorly dressed. I am not being cruel here, it was the truth. There were people there that could only have been inbred, at least I hope they were, as at least that would be an excuse for their bizarre faces and strange body proportions. Many of these had no hope in life but to work at a hotel in the middle of a national park, make minimum wage or above, and after years of dutiful service rise to the level of middle manager, taking home $40,000 (this seemed like a loft sum in 1990).

Of course for me, this job was merely a way for me to see the Canadian Rockies and party with other university-bound students. My shift at work was a way to pass the time between waking up and drinking, and the monotony of the job was perfect for a hangover. Once I had "mastered" the job, meaning that I could do it quickly and without having to speak with anyone, I simply went on autopilot, trying to fly under the radar and be left alone by the sadistic French sous-chef.

This led to boredom, and as I just could not get any sense of fulfillment from improving my work surroundings or empowering my colleagues (although I did teach one man to do long division), I turned to tormenting the coworkers who bothered me.

Rodney was one of them. He showed up one day looking for our manager. He knew my manager's name, as he had worked for him as a dishwasher previously, and now he was back here, unannounced, probably directly from prison, to get back on his feet working as a dishwasher. He was an unwelcome addition to our team of Asian students, French Canadians and newfies, so I sought to make him feel unwanted by ordering him around. Rodney constantly told us that he had 6 years of dishwashing experience under his belt, and that he didn't need me to tell him what to do. I liked telling him what to do, being an arrogant little fuck at the time, but he always shot right back at me with his "6 years of dishwashing experience".

I should point out here that Rodney was a wiry but sinewy man about 30 years of age, with black hair and and a black beard that made it difficult to visually determine just how greasy it was or how long it had been since he showered. His teeth had not seen dental floss since his early teens, and he constantly reeked of a body odour than can only be acquired through years of poor hygiene.

Convinced that attempts at patronizing Rodney were only strengthening his position and his resolve, I resorted to more effective and more cowardly tactics. I drew crudely rendered pictures inside the bathroom stall of Rodney in various forms of copulation with easily identifiable coworkers, all male. It didn't take long for him to catch word that his manhood had been taken in some form in view of hundreds of employees. Humiliated and enraged, Rodney burst upon our manager to find out who had made these drawings, threatening to "kill the motherfucker" who made them.

I was terrified once I saw the look in his eyes. I have never seen anything like it since. He had nothing to lose and was ready to go back to prison to show his coworkers that no one messes with him and gets away with it. I can imagine that you can only acquire such an expression after witnessing extremely disturbing events. Rodney would have no reason or mercy once he went off.

He was calmed down by the manager, sent home to chill, and the drawings were removed from the bathroom wall. I ignored Rodney from that day on, leaving him to live in his fantasy world of moving up the dishwashing ladder. Until one day, while I was on pot-washing duty (as opposed to the conveyor belt dishwasher- that took a team of 6), Rodney asked me to mop up the inch of water on the floor that was leaking into his work area. I told him to do it himself if it bothered him, threw my rag in the sink, and went off to look for my afternoon hiding spot to kill the time.

While I was gone, Rodney slipped on the water I had left behind, fell and broke his hip. He was hospitalized for 3 weeks. The next time I saw him he was in a wheelchair at the hospital in Banff, having a smoke outside, enjoying his newfound addiction to morphine.

I never though about Rodney again. Until one day last fall, I was walking to work when a bearded, long-haired vagrant approaches me outside my office. He asks for change, I say no, but I look at the eyes and realize it is him. I am still walking but frozen. He notices that I know who he is.
He says, "hey man, don't you know who I am ?"
No, I say, ready to throw my hot coffee in his face and run into the office.
"Want me to take my shirt off?" A bizarre offer, but he pulls up his shirt to reveal his prison tattoos.
I yell at him to get the fuck away from me.
He backs down, and goes slinking down the alley.

But the eyes; I could not get over the madness in those eyes.

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

I am all about individual autonomy. Perhaps it is due to my education by draft dodging lefties, but I feel we should be free to make our own choices provided we are able to deal with the consequences.

It therefore bothers me intensely when I see others concerned with limiting the choices of others. Choices that have no impact or consequences on anyone else's life. Hence my strong convictions regarding the "war" on drugs and my complete lack of interest in moving to the US.

This morning a co-worker comes in to our work area and mentions that he needs to speak to our HR department about our hiring practices. Heads pop up from their cubicles and ask why. Concerned co-worker says that he was walking into the back door of our building ( it is in a long, wide alley that is popular dumpster diving spot), and a woman in front of him was walking towards the door, and as she reached into her pocket to pull out her security badge, something dropped from her pocket which turned out to be a joint.

Why would anyone care about this? I mean, sure it might even shock me but it's none of my business. The woman was still in training, so it's not like she was going to drive a forklift or talk to customers. No one bats an eye when new recruits show up for training hung to the gills every day, barely able to see through the blood in their eyes, in fact people think it is funny when this happens.

Friday, January 04, 2002

Man, do I sound pretentious in that previous post about having dinner at Republic? Like its name carries so much cachet that people will immediately assume I know everything there is to know about New York. And then the part about going to Spa? Who the fuck do I think I am?

If I committed some crime of pretending to be someone I wasn't, I have most certainly paid my debt to society, as I spent all of Wednesday night curled up on the bathroom tiles, hugging the toilet bowl and praying that I would just vomit. I have never felt such stomach pain.

I think I was the victim of food poisoning, most probably at Republic. I had ordered my meal by the number, and I am convinced that the waiter brought me the wrong meal. Beef noodle I wanted, chicken I got. After sending it back, it returned, with a little attitude and a firm statement that I had ordered the chicken, worded and with the tone that I was not able to remember what I ordered.

Unwilling to argue with this arrogant fuck, I accepted the chicken ( it's all noodles anyway), and was about to dig in when the waiter reached in front of me and planted a squeezable bottle of hotsauce next to the bowl. "I always use this sauce with this meal."

Perhaps I was overzealous with the sauce, but most likely it had gone off. Lucia had a bit of it, and she could not sleep due to her stomach ache. She got off easy though, because I spent from 1:30am to 5am in the bathroom, writhing, aching, bitching about that waiter as I was convinced that he planted the sauce on me to make me sick, just to show me that no one questions his waiter abilities, especially some provincial fuck from Vancouver with last year's Campers shoes. "That motherfucker, that motherfucker..." I kept repeating all night.

I had to sleep all yesterday, but I was well enough to get to the play Flicker, put on by the Big Art Group. All I can say is that I would never see anything like that in Vancouver.

We did end up going to Spa, which I recognized immediately from the movie Made. I only had one drink and went home, but it filled my checkbox under the "visit a club while in NY" category.

Wednesday, January 02, 2002


Decades ago, the old Nazi, Hermann Goering, leaned in to his microphone at the Nuremberg trials and held forth on war and propaganda. "Why of course the people don't want war," began Goering. "That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along."
The Nazi leader paused, then continued. "All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."

Sound familiar?

Thanks to wood s lot for this one.
Anya and I made it safely to NY, although I was on the verge of being sick during the entire flight. The combination of raw oysters, chocolate fondue, copious amounts of wine and beer, no sleep and extreme turbulence caused me to hold the air sickness bag in my right hand for 5 hours. The one time I got up from my seat to use the bathroom I was sent back to my seat, despite my pleading about sickness. However, the flight attendant flashed a radiant smile and displayed an impeccably sunny disposition while sending me on my way. Hey, this was Cathay Pacific.

We spent the day exploring SoHo, Greenwich Village, The Guggenheim, and the East Village. After a day of walking we were exhausted and famished when we got back to Chris and Lucia's appartment; salvation was found at Republic, a noodle house in Union Square. A little

Tomorrow we're off to the MoMA and then to Spa later in the evening....