Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Why am I spending so much goddamn time in front of a workstation? I think it is starting to have adverse physical effects on me. My jaw locks and my eyes glaze over moments after I sit down and rest my arms on the desk. My body does not like it when i do this.

I turned 32 the other day, and for the first time really feel like I am in my 30s. I have recently noticed how creeping changes have now become distinct shifts...

Hip hop (am i supposed to capitalize both H's?) no longer holds any interest for me.
I don't care what people think I look like, or how i dress, or whether women think I am hot.
I spend a lot of time looking at young couples with children.
I am much more left than I was at 19. Isn't it supposed to work the other way around?

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Yesterday, for the first time in months, I rented a DVD. It was raining torrentially, and I had nothing to do while waiting to meet with someone later in the day, so I headed to Independent Video and picked up the documentary film Biggie and Tupac. I have enjoyed Nick Broomfield's other documentaries, but was excited for this one, having missed it at the Vancouver Film Festival last fall.

It is typical Broomfield guerilla-style film making, where he puts so many of his interviewees in an uncomfortable position with his direct questions. His soft English accent makes him seem less aggressive while dogging his interviewees for their stories.

Before seeing the film, I had bought the idea of a East Coast vs West Coast rivalry as the reason for the killings. However, Broomfield shows that if you want to solve a crime, follow the money. In this case the money leads back to Suge Knight, and two of the dirtiest cops to ever wear a uniform.

In the end, it was all about money and power, and two talented young men paid the price with their lives. This got me thinking about how many people have been murdered in the US with the full knowledge of the police of FBI, simply because they had grown too popular, and thus too dangerous.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Ever recognize yourself in a book?

On a cold night in February 1995, I sat curled on my plaid couch reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. My friend John had loaned it to me in the attempt to help me change my life. I recognized myself in what the author called Quadrant IV: activities that are neither importnant nor urgent. He did not waste much time on people who lived in this quadrant, stating only "these people basically live irresponsible lives". That was me. But what really hit me that night was his description of relationships gone wrong. There it was on page 182, my relationship described to me as if he was living in the next room. Two people leading separate lives in a fairly respectable and tolerant manner. I put the book down, looked at my girlfriend of 4 years and said, "We need to end this. Now".

I saw myself again in The War of Art.

Guilty as charged, on every page.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Leaving time! I get to go home. I didn't get much done here besides see customers, drive from one customer to the other and eat a lot of take out food.

Some things I learned: there are liberal Americans in the least likely places, Cleveland should be wiped clean off the face of the earth (although I have been told constantly that it is much nicer than it used to be) and that I I am sick of seeing American flags on every car.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Do you ever feel like you don't belong? I feel that right now, mired as I am in the midwest, surrounded by suburban sprawl, traffic, landfills, malls, and an alarming number of obese people. I have a skill at fitting in and looking like I am part of everything, but inside it is painful. Perhaps that is why I have been asked to join fraternities I despised, political parties I opposed, or churches whose gods I don't believe exist.

Whenever I come here I blend in with the rest of the people, but I simply cannot wait to get back to Vancouver.

I am staying with a friend, who, despite his intelligece and success in life, likes to watch Fox News. He has a home office in his basement, and there is a wall mounted TV above his desk, about 25 feet away from me. I have never watched it before, so it shocked me exactly how skilled they are at taking real events ( and fictional events) and dumbing them down to their most simple forms. It is the like turning healthy food into junk (there must be a word for that process). I had to turn it on mute because I found it so offensive.

And to think that I contemplated a move to Columbus, Ohio.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

While flipping channels late last night, I came across ESPN, which was showing a clip of some WWF wrestlers making an appearance on US Navy aircraft carrier, ostensibly to bolster morale. One of the officers was being interviewed, and he mentioned how much this means to the sailors, because being on an aircraft carrier is extremely boring. The only thing we have to offer the crew, he said, "was the odd war and the occassional celebrity visit like this." What kind of people see the odd war as a mere escape from boredom?
I could not believe that I had actually heard him say that.

But when I looked at the wrestlers, who were addressing the crowd wearing makeup, masks and headgear, I realized that most of the people on the ship were still adolescents.
I am scheduled to meet a client at Case Western Reserve University next week. However, due to the recent events there, I wonder if it is still appropriate. This is the building where the gunman shot 2 people. The SWAT team had a tough time subduing him because there were no straight hallways in the entire building.
I was getting bored yesterday, just sitting around listening to the rain, so I got in my car and followed the neverlost map system to the nearest large mall. Since I was stuck in the suburbs of Cincinnati, I thought I would get out and see the country.

What amazed me is how frontal and complete the assault is upon the average American here. They are told at every turn through radio ads, visual ads and television that they need to get out and spend money at this mall or that mall. Everything is in malls, and everything is designed to be done with a car.

While wading through the massive parking lot at Kenwood mall, I came across a family waiting to use a crosswalk. The crossing was duly marked with paint on the asphalt and a sign indicating that it was a crosswalk. But no car would stop, and the family made no move to signal their intention or need to cross.

I just walked right out into the traffic and made the cars stop. Everyone looked at me in disbelief. What is the point of having a crosswalk if you don't use it?

Saturday, May 10, 2003

This just found in my other blog archives...from July 2001:

It's been a while since I discovered this forum for solipsistic expression and theater of the self absorbed. Well, now I am charging into its swollen ranks. Initially my intentions were to fashion this blog from the very beginning with witty and informative quips on the human condition that were oh-so-spot on. However, I've realized the point here is merely to express yourself. If I go for being the Moredcai Richler of blogland, I will only ever look like a cheap imitator.

Someone was fired at work today, which I think is a good thing. Good because they are finally realizing that there are many people who do nothing at our company, and have been doing so for many years now...
Being from a middle class Protestant family in Edinburgh, it was natural that my grandmother was warned and persuaded not to take up with my hardscrabble grandfather. He was Catholic, he was from Glasgow and he came from a “questionable” family. That I know almost nothing about my grandfather’s background suggests to me that he came from a long line of criminals.

However, when you’re a 22-year-old girl growing up in a repressed Protestant family, you are a sucker for a bad boy from the wrong part of town, especially if he is riding a motorcycle. Sure, he might be a little rough around the edges, she explained to her parents, but he has an engineering degree from the University of Edinburgh. How respectable is that? Unfortunately, the degree was not worth much in Edinburgh, at least not in the hands of a Catholic, and he was shut out of the shipyards, the natural place for a recent grad to seek employment.

One day while they were riding on his motorcycle (made entirely from “found” parts), the brakes failed, and they both crashed into a brick wall. My grandfather was not hurt, but my grandmother had knocked out all her front teeth on the wall.

Time to make a run for it, thought young Jimmy Smith. He booked passage on a ship headed for Canada, with a job arranged for him in Vancouver, some small town way out on the west coast. My grandmother did not want to leave her sister behind, but staying in Scotland was no longer an option. So the three of them came over, but on the way my great aunt nearly died of pneumonia. When the ship docked in Montreal, Auntie Alice was too ill to get on the train for another 6 days to Vancouver. They settled in Montreal.


The last time I saw my grandmother was in August 2001. I pulled up to her house and parked, and was immediately asked by a neighbor what I was doing. I walked over to the man and told him that I was Mrs. Smith’s grandson. He shook my hand and introduced himself as “Gary”, and said that he lived across the street. He told me to have a nice day, and put his hand on my bicep and gave me a little squeeze.

I thought nothing of it at the time. When I went in to see nana, she asked me if I had talked to Gary. I said yes, and that he seemed like a nice man, looking out for his neighbor like he did.

“I think he’s gay son” she replied.

Clementine Lavin Smith died on May 8, 2003. She was 98 years old.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

I guess what bothers me, or what makes me feel inadequate, is reading all the other blogs that seem so much better than mine, by people who are probing the outer boundaries of CSS development or developing new ways to post text, and who seem to live lives that are so much more interesting. Well, at least they make it sound interesting. The problem is, and I have known this for a long time, is that what I am doing is not what I am supposed to be doing. I put on a pretty good show, but in the end, I really don't care about helping some company sell more hams and more effectively manage their supply chain, or their sales forecast.


They all wore pleated pants, and all were double pleats. The corporate American uniform- pleated pants and a button down shirt or even better, a golf shirt with a logo. Most of the my other attendees, being 33 year-old American salesmen, wore pants with double pleats. The pleats create the appearance of a smaller waist by inflating the area around the thighs.

I have only pants with single pleats or flat front pants. I can pull this act off for another few years, but it is starting to get a little painful.