Friday, December 30, 2011

Seasons Greetings from the SHL



This is what my friends and I at the Strat-o-Matic Hockey League were up to over the holidays. Neil, Dave and Phil are not featured in the video because they were busy with the filming, music recording and post-production.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hooray for pills

On my way to work, a man, younger than I, gets on the bus and sits nearby. He's huffing and puffing and soons starts to lay his hand on his chest.

"Does anyone have a cell phone?" he asks. "Can someone call me a cab? I think I need to get to the hospital."

"May I ask what's wrong?" I asked. I'm first-aid trained but I prefer not to say so. It doesn't make me Marcus Welby. No sense getting people's hopes up.

He muttered something about an operation he'd had recently, said he had to run for the bus and now he had terrible heartburn.

"Would Rolaids help, do you think?"

"Yeah. I'm sure it would."

I produced the roll I keep in my breast pocket, suggested he take two and hang on to a third just in case.

Five minutes later he was feeling fine.


Public Transportation 2
Doomsday 4

Friday, December 23, 2011

Busing into St. Catharines Wednesday the HSR is so hopelessly off schedule that I can not make the connections recommended by the web site route planner -- as usual. So I have to abandon the Hamilton buses and blow money I can't afford on a cab in order to get to the very special pole in the ground known as the Stoney Creek Go Station in time for the GO bus.

It's raining of course and it rains again the next day when I travel home from Welland:

Five different transit systems.
Six different buses.
Seven hours duration.
One soaked body.

The GO driver distracting himself the entire way with constant animated conversation with passengers at the front of the coach while barreling through rain and darkness with two dozen mortals on board and no seat belts: Priceless.

And the Niagara Region driver ducking out the front door for a cigarette while all his smoke blows directly into the bus and up my nose: Also priceless.


Public Transportation 1
Doomsday 4

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Time is cruel

The last time I was taking the city bus regularly was when I was in high school. Sometimes I sat at the front of the bus where, on occasion, I would stand up and offer my seat to an old person.

Last night I got on the city bus. A kid stood up and offered me his seat.

Time...

Is...

Cruel.

But score one for buses.

Public transportation 1
Doomsday 2

I took the seat by the way.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

To buy or not to buy

I was very confident that my trooper of an old truck would be my last vehicle; that I would keep it repaired and running until I succeeded in organizing my life in such a way that I did not require a vehicle for the purpose of employment and other regular commutes.

But I found myself in the rare situation where the vehicle remained operable right up until a moment where the list of upcoming repairs gathered a price tag far in excess of the value of the vehicle.

It was a no-brainer to sell it to a parts outfit for a few hundred bucks. No question about it. And what a relief not to find one's self in the all-to-common circumstance of over-repairing an old car just to discover too late that it should have been scrapped.

The problem is that I am not quite ready for post-vehicle life. And there are honestly only two barriers.

One. I promised the Liberal Theologian that when I moved my belongings into her fine home that I would provide some transportation to her as part of the deal. She has some pain and mobility issues and gave up driving. Based on her comments I'm confident that she would let me off the hook were I to ask. It would not please me though, to break a commitment. Ah? But what about my commitment to the environment? Good point.

If I still need a car for a while, I might at least vow to make it a more ecologically responsible choice than the previous beast. And I might vow to do my errands on foot when the weather is kind and vow to take the bus to work at least when conditions are favorable.

And the other barrier is the volunteer work at the Princess of Schools. Every summer I feel fond of, and committed to, the returning grade seven-come-eights. It's hard to imagine giving it up, and the commute from Dundas to Wellend by bus is strictly implausible. I will buy a car I think, basically because, as Pere Athol Murray says, to close my favorite Canadian film; The Hounds of Notre Dame: "I love those little muckers."

My latest music "video": Working Town

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Public transportation

Saturday

I'm coasting along rather slowly in the Truck of Prominent Yellowness when the light ahead turns red. Naturally I step on the break pedal and naturally I expect this action to have some effect on the vehicle. The pedal thudding against the floor without resistance was not the effect I'd been hoping for.

I had a barrier on the left, cars on the right and one old grey car with lone driver ahead of me, stopped at the light. He and I were about to get to know each other real well.

I pounded the horn a few times. He saw me coming and had the idea I wasn't going to be stopping however their were cars crossing his path and he had no escape route either. The inevitable collision left his bumper dented and left my spoiler and fog lamps discombobulated. Add to that the absence of brakes, the need for new tires, the pending repair to the front suspension, the warning signs of transmission troubles, the engine's new habit of stalling during turns, the gratuitously peeling clear-coat layer, accumulation of rust and the non-functioning speedometer and odometer on a twelve-year-old vehicle and the choice was clear. I called, not for a tow, but for a wrecker to come and get it.

You did well, banana barge. So long and goodbye.


Sunday

I throw on a backpack and hit the streets of Dundas. I walk to the Winchester Arms for a cheap breakfast and watch the Jets demolish their dysfunctional opponent until half-time when it has become unbearable to watch.

I do some banking, then hit the library where I gather my holds and read a few chapters before the long hike home.

At this time I feel great. I'm getting valuable exercise. My feet are green transportation. That's important to me. I've been promising myself for years now that this truck would be my last vehicle for the purpose of regular commuting. Though a vehicle for the purpose of nomadic migration; the hunt for further poetic exploration and charitable opportunity, has always been forecasted with a sense of legitimacy. Though I'm not ready for that yet.

I can not overstate how joyful I felt on Sunday. A very significant measure of guilt had been lifted. The knowledge that I must cease this contribution to the grand pollution game goes back to the time when I still saw global warming as an interesting natural phenomena, less dire than our problems with cancer and asthma for instance. Unfortunately, honest observation over the last few years has left me with little doubt that our natural domination instincts in the hands of blindly mega-selfish North Americans have brought this still infantile human race to the premature brink of catastrophic and irreversible environmental and societal meltdowns.

I know this sounds bleak but there is a certainty that arises from successful poetic exploration: One does not need to save the world to find joy. Saving the world is a great idea but one needs only to accept the inevitable while excusing one's self from the process to garner a significant portion of joyful freedom. People who truly understand Buddhism will understand what I'm saying.


Tuesday

I spend an hour online planning my travel arrangements. Two Hamilton buses, one GO bus and one St. Catharines bus will get me where I'm going. The total cost is comparable to the cost of gas were I to drive, or half the price if I calculate depreciation etcetera.

Unfortunately the hour was misspent. The planning went for nought. The Hamilton buses prove to be ludicrously behind schedule. I have to sprint across an intersection to make my first connection and the GO bus connection is hopeless. I wait for an hour and a half for the next Niagara GO bus at the so called Stoney Creek station which consists of a pole in the ground. By the time the next bus arrives I am uncomfortably cold, choking on exhaust from all the idling trucks that frequent this intersection, and suffering severe back pain. There is not even a single bench on which to sit down here.

I'm severely dehydrated by the eventual end of the trip as there are bathrooms on none of the buses so I dared not drink anything. My first significant public transportation experience of the era of environmental quasi-awareness ranks somewhere between Harmful and Disastrous. The score:

Public transportation 0
Doomsday 1



Wednesday

There is little legitimacy in the idea of "faith in the human race" anymore, but my admiration for the human race is restored as I embark on my charitable endeavors while the people around me treat me also with kind charity. I score meals, rides and a fine bed for two nights from excellent friends. One fine secretary at the Princess of Schools even arranges for delivery of her medication from home so to lend me an important pill of the ilk I have forgotten at my own home far away.


Thursday

Another hour online planning my voyage home. The first bus passes through the intersection as I am still approaching. I manage to draw the driver's attention but he goes on by. As I settle in for a thirty minute wait for the next bus, the clouds open up and I am drenched and cold in no time and again there is no bench of course.

On the Hamilton side I wander and squander for about forever looking for the mysterious route 5 bus, coincidentally the 5th of this trip. Who knew that on the bus itself they label it "52" instead of 5? Not the HSR online trip planner apparently.

What would amount to 90 minutes in car rides has taken the better of two full days and left me exhausted. How is one to feel motivated to choose green when our governments do so painfully little to make the choice palatable?

Public transportation 0
Doomsday 2


I'm not feeling good about our chances, humans.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

RSA Animate - The Empathic Civilisation

Though, to my lasting regret, the excellent Skeeter Willis declines to leave much writing here, he has at least sent us this little jewel. There is much I would applaud here and much I would be skeptical about. I am inclined perhaps to break this down into areas and comment on them in separate posts. We'll see about that. In the mean time I would suggest that this is some good testimony as far as getting us thinking about some very critical subjects.

More later.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Fondness for the Pondness




From age 7 to 17 I was a regular player with three separate surrounding street-hockey neighbourhoods and on the rare evenings that all three were simultaneously dormant, I was out in front of my house with my net and targets, practicing with Gretzky-like dedication. Spending far more time at the game than anyone else, it’s no surprise that I developed into a street-hockey star. As a teenager I never met a more skilled player. Whichever side I played for almost always won. I remember being encouraging to other kids. “Nice shot” or “Nice pass,” I’d say, with a clap on the back.

My dominance did not translate to the ice though. I had no skating skills and what worked with a tennis ball did not work with a puck. Whenever we moved the game to a frozen pond I went from king of the hill to one of the players of least impact. The guys who looked up to me on the street were now the ones nurturing me on the ice. “Nice shot” or “Nice pass,” they’d say and clap me on the back!

Obviously I preferred to play on the street then, right?

No. While street hockey was a constant joy, pond hockey was utopia. On the street I’d collect a stack of goals every game. Business as usual. But on the ice, scoring one goal took hard work and good fortune and was cause for great celebration. There is no sense of accomplishment without a challenge.

My friends were better than I at ice hockey because in addition to our pond games they all played “organized” ice hockey in arenas with uniforms to declare who the good guys and bad guys were, and referees to blow the whistle and stop the play, and comfortable wooden benches to sit on during all the shifts they were missing. Because with organized hockey you have to share the puck with 29 other kids so you only play twelve on the ice at a time. With pond hockey you have maybe ten kids total. Everyone plays the whole game and everyone gets the puck a lot.

Organized hockey has stiff boards used for cycling systems and dump-and-chase systems and occasionally you hit the boards the wrong way and you get injured and everyone claps for you when you finally limp back to the bench.

Pond hockey has snow banks which don’t facilitate systems. They merely compose a frame, and what is framed on that icy canvas of imagination is an artwork of creativity; skating, deeking, passing and improvising. And when you get knocked into the snow bank, everyone laughs, you most of all, and no one gets hurt.

Organized hockey has helmets and cages that make it harder to see things.

Pond hockey has toques with pompoms. And if someone laughs at your pompom you knock him in the snow bank.

Organized hockey has a lot of rules to keep everyone safe and reasons to stop what you’re doing and go back to the face-off circle and start over.

Pond hockey has friends on both teams who don’t want to hurt each other.

Organized hockey has red and blue lines so the refs have even more reasons to blow the whistle and stop everything.

Pond hockey says, Really? What the hell is that all about?

Organized hockey costs more money than many families can begin to contemplate.

Pond hockey is free. Sometimes you need a dad to create the pond so you need to buy or scavenge a few boards and some water.

Organized hockey has parents who behave like incorrigible maniacs whose very lives seem to depend on you defeating the evil boys on the other team.

Pond hockey has Dave’s dad who sometimes comes out and plays a game or two, watches another one and then goes home happy.

Organized hockey has stressed out coaches telling you what to do, helping you develop skills or systems and either praising you or giving you shit.

Pond hockey has freedom.

Organized hockey labels you winners and losers. You either go home relieved not to be the loser, or else resigned to being the loser.

Pond hockey has games up to five and then you switch the teams. Everybody wins some and loses some and by the time you get home you don’t remember. And there is no press waiting for the results so they can inform your municipality or your school community whether they too should feel like winners or losers.

Organized hockey has parents giving up lives of their own to drive you to arenas; sometimes in other cities. Lots of cars. Lots of pollution to choke on.

Pond hockey has Scott getting too close to the stream to fetch an errant puck and plunging through the ice, knee-deep in water, and everyone else rolling on the ice, just about asphyxiating from uncontrollable laughter.

Pond hockey also has frozen toes, illegal stick dimensions and brothers playing with brothers despite their age difference. Pond hockey has thousands of kids who will not make the NHL and one kid who stays behind in the gloomy dusk after the others go home, practicing his skating and knowing he’s getting better and pretending, just for a moment that he is Guy Lafleur.

Organized hockey has thousands of kids who will not make the NHL and too many parents who don’t seem to know it.

As I was driving to Strat-o the other night; an enterprise of abject hockey lunacy which I can not possibly defend in this space, I was thinking about organized sports for kids and trying to come up with one good reason why we have them.

I’m still trying.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Homework



In my "past life" I was like pretty much everyone. When a conversation arose and I believed myself to hold relevant information or experience concerning the subject, I would be eager to get my two cents in. It was a very normal ego thing.

These days it's interesting that I usually feel no compulsion to do that around most people. I normally expect that my perspectives are now so different from the norm that there is little point in trying to sell them to confirmed matrix-dwellers. I'm in the regular habit of remaining meek and quiet and letting people trust their feelings and their acquired misinformation and remain comfortably unchallenged. It's one of the very joyful and freeing manifestations of an ego that has been diminished by a strengthened consciousness.

Today though, at the Princess of Schools I decided to speak out to a teacher about my view of homework despite the likelihood that it would not be well received.

I told her that never would any theoretical child of mine be permitted to do homework. I explained that I couldn't imagine viewing a school system as my child's primary educator rather than myself, and that, as a secondary educator, it is ludicrous that a school system be privileged to dictate what my child will do on MY time!

And no, I'm not naively thinking that as a parent I would have all the free time in the world to spend every evening with my kids poring over a set of encyclopedias. Whether I was with my kid at any given time or not, I would approve of a tremendous number of useful activities that would be valuable to their intellectual, physical and/or emotional growth while being properly compatible with my own child's particular interests and talents and prefer him doing such activities rather than memorizing so-called-facts and formulas to be regurgitated at exams and then promptly forgotten.

Memories of my own school experiences are of limited relevance, yes, given the time lapse and the inherent dysfunction of human memory, however those memories are dismal enough in terms of what I now regard as an unenlightened misguided curriculum that I can not possibly today generate enough confidence in the Ontario Board of Education to surrender a young human being to their clutches for any more than the 6-hour-per-day sentence imposed by law. What's that? About 15,000 hours through to grade 12? That's somewhere in the neighborhood of a multiple murder conviction, isn't it?

I was surprised at the teacher's reaction. Her own kids, considered "good" kids and disciplined kids by any normal standards, habitually arrive home from school and promptly complete their homework without being asked. Despite that pleasant fact, she is not a fan of homework herself. In her view, as a teacher, homework is a way to give better grades to the students whose parents do their homework for them and punish those whose parents don't. Apparently the cheaters get away with it but without fooling anyone.

As a child and teenager myself, I almost never did my homework and almost never studied for exams. Thus in high school I scored terrible marks for projects and exams but still scored decent grades by acing quizzes and tests. I had all kinds of difficult issues growing up and I got through it all by playing sports, reading novels and engaging myself in a great host of imaginative pursuits. Had I given up a lot of those experiences by doing homework instead I have no doubt I'd have grown up a sadder, less intelligent, less enlightened human being and certainly more selfish and less caring; no doubt whatsoever. I also might have grown up less lazy. Oh well. Can't win 'em all.

Granted, all people are unique. My experience may not have been common.

I wonder what "normal" parents do? Do you question this whole idea of homework or do you just assume it is legitimate because you had to do it when you were a kid? I wonder what percentage of parents have gone to visit a school principal and said, "Sorry, dude. But six hours a day is all you get with my kid. I suggest you make the most of it."

I look at kids who are making their way to school carrying giant textbooks and binders in addition to their lunch, musical instrument, gym clothes and what-not and I imagine they're going to live to be 90 given the medical advancements of their generation but spend their last 60 years with broken backs.

Here's an idea for schools: Why don't you teach kids how to carry things without risking bodily harm?

Want another? How about you teach kids how to not let credit cards ruin their lives?

How about you teach them the realities of the global marketplace and how diabolically greedy our society is for mortgaging the earth out from under the feet of the majority of earth's peoples as well as our own doomed descendants?

How about you teach them the difference between truth (experience) and testimony (traditional schooling?)

How about you teach them the most significant of realities; the stunning miraculous rarities of this planet, life itself and the human imagination?

How about you teach them about the most absolutely vital two criteria for finding any truth in life whatsoever: The omnipresence and omnipotence of cause-and-effect and the absolute necessity of the universal perspective (context) in all legitimate thought?

How about you teach them how to think for themselves instead of what to think?

I got a hundred more ideas if you're interested.

And if you are in fact teaching them these things, than I apologize and applaud you. But if not, you're not qualified to be dishing out homework in any household of mine.*

This said, I hope that none of the teachers and principals I know personally will take offence should they read this. They're all thoughtful and caring people who do the best they can given a hell of a challenging task! I don't know how they even find time to sleep.

*The above writer does not actually possess any households. It's the thought that counts!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Poets versus scientists

With people who I much respect for their courage and intelligence, I sometimes allow subject matter to slip into conversations which I would otherwise keep to myself for the reason that it is useless to introduce testimony which your audience (generally due to strong instincts and weak consciousnesses) will not possibly be open-minded to considering, except just to show off, which I must despise as I know how mortally hopeless it is to be enslaved by ego.

One of these "priveleged" topics is my observation that since the new millenium has arrived, scientists are starting to make discoveries which were already claimed by poets up to 1700 years ago which makes this a potentially epoch-changing time; a time of significant evolution of consciousnes but only if enough people would take notice of it that a succesful movement is generated. So far, there's me.

Some of my cherished associates have asked about this phenomena and deserve a decent answer. The following shall hopefully constitue a good start at the least:

Firstly: By poets I mean, as always, certain individuals, mostly long-dead who in general practiced multiple pursuits, commonly some combination from the pool of poetry, writing, journalism, philosophy, painting, teaching and politics. They are those in particular who have a healthy respect for the power and predominence of humans' "dark side"; that side of our minds which are not known to us consciously, and also for the illusions, flaws and illegitimacies in almost all "normal" thought. And they are those who adhere to strict discipline and integrity and a process of strict logic and reasoning.

Those integral poets I am so far aware of lived anywhere from 50 to 1700 years ago but for one who is still alive today as far as I know and who became my own mentor for a year until I could no longer overlook what I considered problematic flaws in his otherwise excellent work. In my opinion they would include Francesco Petrarch, Dante, St. Augustine, El Greco, Blake, William Cowper, Georges Bernanos and probably Nietzsche and Goethe and certainly Einstein even though he was primarily a theoretical physicist.

Are there more alive today? Almost certainly I predict, but I have so far been unable to discover who and where they are. As for myself, I will not be falsely humble. I consider my own work consistent with that which I've described though without a satisfactory tenacity at least until now. Inherent laziness is something which I currently battle and with significant optimism about the outcome given recent happenings in my life.

What was that? Einstein a poet? In essence, I say yes. In fact, in my view, the nature of the scientist and the true poet are almost precisely the same. They both are in the business of isolating pure truths and by very similar process; the difference in methods being only physical and logistical but having the same purposes and effects.

The fact that poets and scientists seem to have held each other in enmity for many generations; likely only an unfortunate product of ego, seems to have fooled a lot of people into thinking them opposites and left few people around these days who have a healthy respect and keen interest in both contemporary science and ancient poetry.

What have these poets been saying for more than a thousand years that scientists; for the most part neuroligists, are finally able to consolidate (or to discover in their own immodest view)? A full explanation would be impractical here in blog country. I am inclined to summarize:

- That human beings are not what they think they are.
- That human consciousness is largely, if not wholly, illusion. (Let's remember the core meaning of illusion. Not a 'mirage' but a thing seen that is truly there but not in the form which is believed to be seen.)
- That humans are almost entirely enslaved by a superpower.
- That human "feelings" are unworthy of trust; almost always misleading or wrong though we are not prone to discovering them so.
- That societal organizations (governmental, corporate etc.), the way we construct them, are unsustainable; doomed to corruption and failure.
- That almost all human thought and activity are in no way consistent with reality or truth.

Off the top of my head, I'd say those are the highlights.

As one who has explored these issues and many others - all from completely organic exploration and not from subscribing to anyone else's ideas, I can tell you with pristine honesty that the effects of such exploration are vastly life-changing; beyond what you are ready to believe, frankly.

And I can tell you that the problems which arise from just the short list of disguised realities above are profoundly relevant to every corner of human life and arouse extremely real concerns regarding the nature of human life and human society and the prospects for their continued existence in the forms that we know them.

I have explored a tremendous amount of undocumented material over the last six years or so and I adamantly intend to start revealing more of it on this blog with as much regularity, depth and organizational prudence as I can muster. I intend to let the questions of both personal associates and blog-readers help dictate future subject material as was the case above. Thus I should soon tackle a subject that has generated many questions lately; that of illusion. Boy, will that be a doozy...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Office of Letters and Light

Friday, November 25, 2011

First win in five years



I made the 50k word count on the 24th of November with a rather staggering 5567 word day. The challenge is not over though. I need to finish the novel by November 30th. There's only about four chapters to go.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November is National Novel Writing Month

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wonderin' where the lions are

Life is really good right now. Sorry, life is cellular organization. My circumstances are really good right now. The news flashes:

New Residence
I'm now living in Dundas Ontario. Very cute place. Great arrangement. Renting a room - well - a room and a half - in a large townhouse; I have a ground floor bedroom that walks on to the yard. My newish pal-slash-landlord is a supremely cool woman of substance; a writer, counsellor, theologian and someone who defies my immediate attempt at assigning her a meaningful blog-friendly nickname. Apparently some thought is required here. The main thing is - I'm now in an environment of significant peace.

New Job
I think I mentioned that I'm now working security at a minimum security correctional centre where the security truly is minimal and the writing is maximal. I'm now working straight nights on weekends with extra gigs here and there. I'm making great progress on the current novel. Hurray. Soon I will be finished the first draft and be looking for volunteers to give it a read and provide some basic feedback.

New Haircut
My head is now asymmetrical thanks to the spectacular work of Magicuts at Ancaster Meadowlands. I came home, found scissors and a mirror and made significant improvements.

New Outlook
I'm getting more exercise. I'm eating more healthy. I need more improvement still on these fronts but I'm getting there. There are certainly no more excuses. And I must blog more. Too many useful explorations are going through my head and then being forgotten. This blog is supposed to be a catch-all for useful stuff that doesn't fit into current projects. I need to be here much more often.

The volunteer gig; the young reading and writing groups are on again this year. I'm spending almost all of my time being creative and/or useful with regards to the pursuit of harmony and evolution of consciousness. With everything going so well, one wonders - as Cockburn sang, where the lions are. I thought for the period of a day that I'd found out, when young Neo announced he was pulling back from the poetic mentoring we'd been engaged in for some time now. This is something of profound importance to me.

But I came to realize that this was almost inevitable given the nature of a high-schooler's schedule and priorities and general lack of freedom. I had to remind myself that there was a time when I doubted he could succeed, poetically, at such a young age and that the best I could do was leave him with significant clues, and to look him up again when he became an adult and make myself available at that time if he were interested.

As it turns out, his talents are far greater than he seems to realize but I'm comfortable returning my head to that previous space and to wait. In the mean time I'm confident we will remain creative consultants to one another with regards to music (he is an astounding composer), and that the time will come when he's ready - and able - to revisit our noble aspirations.

And in the mean time I must not stagnate. I must do the work.


"If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing."
- Saint Augustine

"Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street."
- William Blake

"I had another dream about lions at the door. They weren't half as frightening as they were before and I'm thinking about eternity. Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me."
- Bruce Cockburn

Friday, September 16, 2011

Muskokaville

My little video slide-show from our cottage vacations over the last five years:


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Change of Name Notice

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The figure formally known on this blog as Peter Pan shall hereafter be referred to as Whitetrashpornopartyfiend and within about a month will probably never be referred to again.

In other news, I shall be moving out of my tower cell at the Palace Of Grim Insanity just as soon as possible. I assume my tenantship will then be replaced by someone more appropriate to the environment such as - I don't know - Pee Wee Herman or maybe Doctor Ruth's evil twin. Or Satan. Or maybe just a massive quivering lump of brain matter injected with 800 kilograms of amphetamines and Viagra who just sits up there in the attic oozing puss-of-anarchy through the walls and floors - into the neighborhood, hypnotizing its minions and plotting the apocalypse and never showing up at work.

Yeah, I think some creature like that would get along real peachy with Whitetrashpornopartyfiend and his little fiend friends. I wish them luck together.

Oh - Speaking of roommates from some new-and-improved hell, I was reading about Social Anxiety Disorder, and wouldn't you know - it's the life story of my very own biodad. It's bang-on. No question about it. So I mentioned this to my best psychology friend only to be told that biodad is too old for help... Right... So what do I do with this now? Where was Wikipedia forty-five years ago? Moving on...

In still other news, I am now doing my security gigs at a special corrections centre; a half-way house for two dozen emerging convicts not welcome at other traditional half-way houses. It's an excellent gig. Love it. And it's so awesome to have somewhere to go for a little peace and harmony and people who are nice to you. Yes. At a half-way house. I trust you appreciate the irony.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Strange disappearances plague Hamilton Man

September 4, 2011. Hamilton, ON -- Forty-two year-old security guard Rich Landriault, resident of Hamilton's famed London Avenue South; soon to be renamed Interesting People Avenue, is publicly voicing displeasure with Hamilton Wentworth Police Service after alleging that an "inexplicable entity" has been methodically stealing all his bath towels from the basement laundry room of the house in which he rents the attic space.

Landriault claims to have moved into the unit in October 2010 with no less than seven mid-quality bath towels ranging in condition from newish to fair, of which only one remains. He describes police response to the crisis as "apathetic and uninterested." When asked if he was putting all of his security training to work to guard his last remaining towel, Landriault responded, "No. It's clipped to my attic skylight in order to block out the sun. I work night shifts. The towels only disappear from the basement, either while waiting to be laundered or after being laundered and waiting to be taken back upstairs." He responded to suggestions that vampires also work night shifts and seek refuge from the sun, with a long silent stare followed by a deep sigh.

Sgt. Big Mac of HPS defended police inaction, stating, "This is clearly a domestic matter to be worked out between roommates. And for the last time: No, I'm in no way related to Sheriff Big Mac of MacDonalds restaurant fame. Now _ _ _ _ off."

Landriault shakes his head emphatically at this suggestion. "No. My roommate is a solid citizen. He would never touch another person's belongings. No way." When asked if the roommate could have mistaken the towels as his own and disposed of them due to to some as yet diagnosed psychotic delusion, Landriault became defensive, declaring, "Hey! He's a good guy! Sharp as a tack, smart as a whip and not at all deluded or suffering from intense Peter Pan Syndrome marked by various uncontrollable addictions. No way man. Not at all. This is clearly the work of demonic towel-eating fairies." This reporter responded with a long silent stare followed by a deep sigh.

Will Landriault be replacing these towels out of pocket? "No," he insists. "I'd rather walk around wet. Though if anyone had a ridiculous stock of old towels lying around, I'm not fussy or opposed to a little charity."

Hamilton city planners announced the name change to Interesting People Avenue upon growing public discussion around the exessive numbers of misfits and outcasts currently living on London Avenue South, the most recent addition being Queen of Brooms, also known as Broom Hilda, Broomzilla, Broomtilla the Hunn and Psychosweepingwacknut Lady, who seems bent on sweeping the entire planet Earth into oblivion beginning with the entirety of her London Avenue property exterior including lawns which she noisily attacks with whisk brooms multiple times daily. Planners have also announced that a canal will be built, to be completed August 2018, joining Interesting People Avenue to Hamilton Harbour in order to better service Chinese ocean liners delivering monthly broom supplies.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Oh look, it's the TV Guy

So while I'm waiting for the ghouls at Canadian Tire to finish greasing me for 440 unearned dollars, I get trapped in a waiting room with a woman buried in her personal texting device but who can't possibly tolerate the occasional glimpse of a television set not turned on. Thus I'm forced to listen to the latest sad dull-minded patronizing baloney to seep from the lips of one Barack Obama. Just when did that particular dream fizzle down the tubes?


Why doesn't he just go on and say, "Uh, yeah. President here. Just wanted to say: Keep buying shit. Keep the wheels turning. And I'll work on a bill to keep the Wal-Marts open late on Saturdays and closed on God's Day. Oh - and a big shout-out to all the American boys and girls out there in Iraq and Afghanistan shitting their pants and crying for their moms while they're getting killed and mutilated. We call you heroes here because it makes us feel better."


Oh well. What are his choices really? I guess it's either do what he's supposed to, or else steal the Heart of Gold and make a run for it.

.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time there was a very ordinary man who for the first time in his life did something courageous. He dared to confront every dark accusation he could make of himself. He chased the spectre of his instinctive mind through a hell of self-realization. He dared to perceive then, that he knew nothing for sure. He dared to begin learning all over again with a most tenacious questing for truth. And this journey over several years time, changed him entirely. He allowed new perceptions to be built slowly and solidly from sound foundations. And having shed the capacity to take anything for granted, he absorbed the profundity of the miracles in his life and in the lives of all those around him. He learned to see through all the illusions of human mind and society and to understand their nature. He found himself less and less affected by all the societal ills that plagued seemingly each and every human every day, and he began to see how these ills had all been products of those illusions to begin with. He was overwhelmed with pity for these monumental realms of needless suffering still going on all around him. And as he absorbed awareness of the multitude of connection he was a part of, he became overwhelmed by love.

But he also felt very alone in his circumstance. He knew that the story of his experiences would not be believed, just as he learned the great harm in the practice of belief itself. But he had little now to achieve for his own benefit. He'd become largely, though not perfectly, free of ills; free of slavery to society's ruling forces and slavery to instinctive mind; free of illusions. He was joyful. There was nothing now to do but try to help free others. He struggled to find useful ways to reach out to others; to identify individuals who seemed to be moving in parallel directions to the course he had taken, and to offer them the right advice at the right time to help them along; to nudge their own courses on to useful paths.

But this was slow uncertain work and he found himself unsatisfied. Without a means to leverage his knowledge, he knew he would only accomplish so much usefulness during the remainder of his life. Many old friends and family wanted his time and they saw him as still the same man he used to be before his journey began but he understood that. He expected it and did not fight it. But he began to mourn the time he spent with them to some degree. Though he loved them, his time with them was time not being useful enough. It was time wasted in a large sense. And more wasted time would mean less useful knowledge passed on to others by the time he would depart from the world.

While his newer friends and associates saw him as the more enlightened man he had become, and dealt with him more on that level, this time spent with old loved ones seemed wasted because they had little or no perspectives to share with regard to the things that now interested him, while he had no more interest at all in most "normal" things. Normal things were all buried in layers of illusion. They left him mired in conversations that depended on illusion while he meanwhile knew that there was no simple, linear, succinct way to demonstrate the falseness of the particular illusion at hand, so he would just nod and play along, not wishing to upset them.

One particular normal fascination began to wear on him especially; their fascination with bad behaviour stories. Everyone wanted to tell him the particular details concerning the failings of other particular individuals. Everyone wanted to complain about the specific little wrongdoings of those around them; their particular little instances of victimhood. This became a very unfortunate bore. Sometimes the stories were funny and that was fine because it was always good to laugh! But usually it was just a way for people to feel superior to other people, and the man could not perceive this as legitimate. The man saw with certainty that they were all, including himself, in the regular habit of harming others, but also in the regular habit of helping others. Everyone, without exception, participated in both harmony and selfishness. He saw with certainty how blind everyone was to their own failings; how useless it was to complain about others; how the only way to be useful in the world was to examine one's own actions and motivations with courage and the will to improve; how every single person was a hypocrite in that way. But what was the use in telling people this? They only had ears for his approval; for his assurance that they were being mistreated; that they were better than the other guy.

Sometimes he would let himself fall into this game; this recreation, and tell a bad-behaviour story of his own, and then go home - not so much ashamed; but laughing at himself for his own fallibility. It was easy to hand himself back over to the illusions of the instinctive mind and be taken along for a ride for a while. He knew he was no better than anyone else despite his grand and earnest intentions. He was perhaps worse than others, because he could not claim innocence through ignorance. He knew better. And though his own behaviour had generally improved as he participated more in harmony and less in chaos, he there too felt he was more guilty, in a way, than others, because he knew better. He could not feign ignorance of his crimes. He could not plead victim to illusion.

But did he want to keep evolving? Did he want to become a perfect agent of harmony - if this was even possible? He felt the gap, more and more, between his circumstance and that of others. He found it more and more challenging to craft useful ways of communicating these many layers of uncommon understandings because of that gap.

What he did know, is that he needed to be more useful. He knew that he would have to be more bold; be truer to his understandings. Perhaps then some old friends and family would surprise him and demonstrate some capacity to entertain his ideas. And perhaps others would find him intolerable, and no longer ask for his company. Both scenarios would increase his usefulness!


"Who are you to condemn another's sin? He who condemns sin becomes part of it, espouses it." - Georges Bernanos

"Half the work that is done in this world is to make things appear what they are not."
- Elias Root Beadle

"The matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. When you're inside, you look around. What do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, those people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand: Most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And most of them are so inert; so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it."
- Morpheus (from film, The Matrix)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Full Moon Fever




So Ye Olde Security Company is treating me like gold lately; giving me exactly what I want: Plenty of night shifts in comfortable quiet places. I'm literally getting paid to do my own writing while in perfect environments - better than home even; air-conditioned and with fewer interruptions - as in - zero interruptions. They probably don't realize that what they're paying me to do, I would otherwise happily do for free! I've actually been receiving overtime paychecks while I feel like I've been on vacation!

But last night I sort of earned my pay for a short while. Here's what happened:

I'm on duty all alone at a big old factory full of big old machines where they manufacture tractor tillage. It's way down by the harbor, nestled between steel plants - far from any housing. Frost fencing and padlocked gates bar the perimeter although there are bottom gaps where meddling teenagers venturing far from home could crawl through if they really wanted to. All the factory doors are locked but everywhere big low screenless windows are open for ventilation. If anyone really wanted to hop in, it would be a breeze. Never do I think anyone would though.

I make my regular call to another manned guard location; standard practice - so they know that I'm okay, alive and awake. My call-in associate tells me he has been watching coloured lights moving in the sky in strange patterns not akin to any human aircraft he's personally aware of. Well, there is a full moon tonight. Ha ha! Spooky!

So I go on patrol; a twenty-minute affair done once every two hours. First I stop in the middle of the plant to throw a Flaming Lips CD on a stereo. I place the CD case on top of a speaker, crank the volume and do my patrol to the sound of the very catchy tune Race For The Prize which repeats four times. Okay, so someone must have left the stereo on repeat mode, right?

I leave very few lights on in the plant. I figure it's my job to protect the client's financial assets and I'm not afraid of the dark. Toward the end of the patrol, the light directly above me suddenly goes on.

What the f-?

I stop, turn and look around. Is someone messing with me? I know for sure there are no motion sensors of any kind here and I've never known any lights here to turn on or off on their own before. I stand still there for a while looking across the gloomy plant, through and between all the big machines, toward all the locations where I know there to be circuit breakers. But why on earth would any guard or employee slip in here at 1:00 AM just to mess with my head? And no intruder would possibly know which switch would activate which light. The light suddenly turns off again and I remain there looking around and thinking about it. I figure there must be a ballast problem or some other defect with the light or what-not and so I carry on.

Patrol complete, I return to the stereo, lower the volume, remove the CD and -- well fuck a duck. The CD case is missing. I know with perfect certainty that I placed it right here on top of the speaker. It's gone. I check the floor. It must have fallen off. It's not on the floor. It's gone.

Fuck.

Me.

Silly.

This is so not cool.

I'm standing there looking around, trying to spot an intruder and trying to figure out what the logical explanation is. Gradually I move toward the far back corner of the plant. I have one hand on the duty cell phone considering whether to call back my UFO-watching friend - or 9-1-1 for that matter. I decline and instead slip out a back door to check the lots. If there's an unauthorized vehicle on site I will call the police. Outside the full moon looks down on me.

Great. A werewolf with a playful sense of humour. This is definitely not in the security procedures manual. I circle the factory. No suspicious cars. The main gate is way too far away for me to see whether it is still locked or even closed or not. A long hike does not appeal while meanwhile my car keys are still inside at my desk - and oh - so is my wallet with $495.00 cash inside. That thought bolsters my courage. I find a nearby unlockable exit and make straight for the office. The wallet, car-keys and cash are present. I pocket them. I think about the speaker on which I placed the CD case.

It was one of three speakers and it was the largest. Okay. So it must be a sub woofer, right? So it would vibrate like a sonofagun, wouldn't it? The case must have vibrated its way off and took a funny bounce and landed somewhere out of sight; like underneath something. So I grab a big big wrench - no not as a weapon but to use to drag the case out from under its presumed hiding place [Editor's note: Yes, as a weapon] and I march back to the stereo.

And of course - a proper search reveals that the CD case is on the floor and in behind some tricky gadgetry that masked it earlier. I shake my head, laugh at myself and go about clawing at the CD case with my weapon - I mean - tool.

"Lose something?"

The voice was inhumanly deep. I scrambled to my feet. He had to be seven feet tall with long fur hanging off of him in every direction. Yellow eyes. Huge teeth. He crouched down. I was literally paralyzed with fear. He reached past me with his enormous arm and pulled the CD case free. "Here you go."

The CD case was covered in grease and something else - something red.

"Is that blood?" I asked.

"No," said the beast. "I've been drinking cosmopolitans. I'm kinda sloppy."

Okay. Sorry. I'm just kidding. There was no werewolf. I dug the case out myself, brought it back to the office, washed the grease off of it and spent the rest of the shift writing the Eye Of Atchooah heroic adventure parody novel, drinking coffee, eating canned beans and farting. But everything else was true and I admit I was spooked for a bit. So there.

Bye now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Olympia

Oh Captain Vino. Where were you when I needed you? You would have had a hay-day with this one:




So young Neo and I cut school for an hour today and hit The Olympia for fries and cokes. I wish I could tell you that the Olympia lived up to its name; that its spires transcended the clouds. Alas it is a wilting crapstand of a joint that has perhaps been cleaned since it was built - oh perhaps the same day they invented cigarrettes - which is perhaps why the aging regulars still feel entitled to smoke them.

We were the only patrons in the dining area. Our hostess emerged from some back area, moved behind the bar and shouted to me, "What do you want?"

"Um... lunch?"

"Yeah."

I nod my head to reinforce the idea that we would like lunch.

"So what do you want?"

"Um... a menu?"

She turns and grabs a menu. One menu. I go to the bar and get it from her. I return to the table and Neo and I share it. In a fit of profound generosity, the Grim Hostess comes around to the table. We order. The food comes quickly and is good and it is cheap. Afterward I approach the bar, settle the tab and hand over a 50% tip for which she remains silently thankful (I presume).

She' sprobably a really nice person. She probably just mistook me for the local cat murderer.

The experience was so sociopathically entertaining that I actually can't wait to go back.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Novel: A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Madeleine L'engle (1978)

Nice story. Nice idea. Sort of along the lines of the "we're all connected" idea that has grown in popularity since this work; one of the follow-ups to the Newberry Medal winning A Wrinkle In Time was written.

L'Engle, who passed away in 2007, was probably a gentle grandmotherly soul. Her narrative suggests such. Unfortunately most of her main characters come across as gentle and grandmotherly, be they man, woman or child. I struggle with any book where the characters do not seem to have independent voices.

Though touted a keener of modern science, she here makes the most pedestrian blunder in missing the most primary relationship between time and space, in effect, placing planet Earth at the very centre of the universe.

The greatest challenge though is this partial cast of characters: Gwen, Gwynedd, Gwydyr, Gedder, Gaudior, Matthew Maddox, Madoc, Madog, Mad Dog, Bran, Branwen, Branzillo, Zillo, Zillie, Zyll, Zillah.

It's probably a way better story than I could have appreciated given there was almost nil hope for keeping the characters straight.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not much to say

Conversation ten minutes ago:

Cleaner #1: "Good evening!"

Me: "Good evening. How are you tonight?"

"Yes!"

"What time are guys here until tonight?"

"Yes!"

"Do you understand what I'm asking?"

"Yes. Good evening!"

"Good evening."


Conversation two minutes ago:

Me: "Good evening!"

Cleaner #2: "Aaeeehhhy!"

"Right then."


Employing my remarkable analytical skills, I hereby deduce that the cleaning staff and I do not speak the same language.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicken Soup

This is my own recipe for chicken soup. It's none of your business but I just couldn't think of where else to store this information without it getting lost. I don't have a recipe box nor do I want one.

red onions, sauteed
chicken broth
tapiocca
mushrooms, sliced
BBQ chicken, skinned and whittled
half-n-half cream
sage, thyme, oregano,
celery salt, pepper,
tobasco, worchestershire
Labatt 50

Drink the Labatt 50, eat the chicken skin and dump the remaining ingredients in a pot. Simmer all afternoon. Inflict on unsuspecting guests.

Documentary: Food Inc.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Imagination

"Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality."

I stumbled upon this quote from French philosopher Jules de Gaultier and was immediately put off. How morbidly unwise. But in learning that de Gaultier was an afficianado of Flaubert's Madame Bovary, We must interpret that he is referring to escapist imagination and the war against circumstance. As always, with our language of duality, what is true is also false - and vice versa - as you alter the context. This is why, when I find myself in a conversation bearing some hope for usefulness, I attempt to take it to the most universal of perspectives.

In my undeniable living experience I look at all that I once thought was reality and see that it is all illusion. All that I now experience to be true, I never would have discovered without imagination.

Imagination is absolutley key in the war of reality. But it is on reality's side; not against.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Self-fulfilling Prophecies

As I ponder the spectre of terrorism and the wildly intangible idea that it is threatening to steal our freedom; as I ponder the ludicrousness of speeches from the mouths of presidents and political leaders and how the quotient of propaganda and fear-mongering becomes ever-more obvious and detectable with the passage of time and the opportunity for informed reflection; as I ponder the mounting incontrovertible evidence of torture committed by the American military machine in Bagram, Abu Grayb and Guantanamo Bay; as I ponder the inconceivable numbers: 83,000 "suspected terrorists" abducted. Zero brought to trial for terrorist acts; as I ponder the joke in that idea that torture and the trampling of privacy and constitutional rights are somewhat okay as a temporary war time measure - oh - oh my sides - as if a war against ghosts is temporary - as if it will ever - ever - end; and as I ponder the incredible volume of hatred, outrage and the conviction that America is evil, surely held by the friends and families of each of those 83,000 detainees, not to mention those of all the dead who were at the wrong place at the wrong time when the war on terror came to town - I must ask myself:

Is the American military complex - so hugely financially profitable to all those individuals behind it, really out there hunting for terrorists? Or are they just manufacturing them?

Just asking.

.

Seeing anybody?

I am endlessly amused by every one's fascination with my relationship status.

"Seeing anybody?" is one of the first questions I get whenever I encounter a friend for the first time in a while. To me, it's a silly question. How can you think you know me and yet ask something so inappropriate?

But I know why. People ask me this because they care about me and are locked into the assumption that this is some significantly relevant factor toward my personal happiness. People believe in their fundamental normalcies. In a society where things are labelled legitimate not because they are sane, logical and truthful but because they are the norm, few question the legitimacy of the Western world's marriage/relationship model, which truly, can not be said to be legitimate or not. To be truthful, you have to break it down into its many components and judge them individually.

I can not support this all-pervading relationship model for many reasons. The mandatory reciprocity component goes against my personal instincts. Some components create flawed expectations and demand phony behaviour to compensate. Some demand exclusivity which become barriers to maximizing the other relationships in my life. And mostly, it fails to incorporate what is to me the most profound kind of love in existence that I know of - the state of radiating lovingness.

Surely there are useful components to the standard model: Financial security; stability; a useful framework within which children can be raised; the promise that you will not be left alone. And perhaps most notably: The feeling of having someone or something special.

But allow me to play devil's advocate:

Unfortunately all these good things above are to varying degrees tainted when I view them from outside the matrix of illusions. The level of financial circumstance we think we need is unnecessary, greedy, corrupt and undeserved when viewed from the global, not national, perspective. Stability is a solution to a problem that is largely illusory to begin with, and on the balance, one that stems from the very mindset that suppresses organic love and promotes marriage to begin with. There have been cultures in which children were raised more by communities then parents. Akin to the superior health of cross-bred dogs, might not such children emerge healthier mentally; freer from the particular biases and derelict views of the biological parents and exposed to greater volumes of ideas and with a capacity for choice? No matter. The biochemical programming that binds parents to children is currently far too powerful to mess with. Let's not even discuss the illusions that stem from it.
With regards to the remainder of the pro-marriage list, let me offer my own living experience; that from a marriage-type relationship that failed in its thirteenth year. Yes it failed ultimately but it was a successful, non-failing relationship for twelve years; full of good times and bad times; loving, fighting, negotiating and compromising.

Yet these days I am less alone. I'm surrounded by special people. And I am more guaranteed to not be alone precisely because I do not put all my eggs in one basket. I do not live in fear that divorce will topple my life. And there is no jealousy present within my home to temper my adorations with-out.

People in healthy marriages feel they are so lucky, their partner so special, partly because - well maybe those partners are! But partly because of the barren emotional landscape they were accustomed to prior. We come from an ass-backward society that says No, you can't love her. She's not the correct age. No, you can't love him, He's not the correct gender. No, you can't love her because she's already obligated to a relationship contract. No, You can't love her because you're already bound to a relationship contract. No, she's too rich. No, she's too poor. No. Wrong race. Wrong religion. Wrong social class.

No! You can't love her because she doesn't love you back!

How much organic love is suppressed because of our mandatory reciprocity model? 95%? 99%? And where it isn't, where someone brave speaks out - well, they're just creepy. You're a creep if you love when you're not supposed to. Shame on you.

Well, I don't listen to those rules anymore. If you know me personally, you might just want to watch the hell out. I might just say I love you any time now!

Am I saying marriage is wrong? No. If you feel marriage is right for you and yours, go for it. I will gladly come to the ceremony and celebrate your love. I'll even surrender a wad of cash and be oddly touched by your in-laws' goofy speeches. But if you dare to put me on the podium you will receive from me a healthy dose of loving sincerity; not an embarrassing good-time anecdote.

What I'm saying is that marriage should be understood for what it is and what the sacrifices are and most importantly - that your marriage is yours to custom design. Allow for organic legitimacy. Don't demand to be the number-one partner for all of a hundred categories every day. Don't redeem your contractual promise to be loved every day. Instead, earn it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Novel: Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet


Despite a single mystical element this work is solid literary fiction with a special appeal for youth. At forty-two, I found it meaningful and thoroughly worthwhile. Kids as young as twelve find it compelling and appropriate although some of their parents may unfortunately not be ready for the abundant street language and sexual references, all of which, Proulx handles responsibly, tastefully and with a healthy respect for genuine reality. How she captures the voice of one rough-around-the-edges teenage boy so convincingly is a marvel and to her significant credit. This itself becomes the style of the book.

Like so many of the best stories this one tracks a character with clear flaws through a period of crisis; a period of transition in life. Will 17-year-old Luke ovecome his significant obstacles; so many of his own creation, and emerge a better person?

Startlingly real characters, heart-wrenching moments, sharp humour, and some very useful wisdom around the legitimacy of death and the profound miraculousness of life. It's one of those great and noble books that is finally noticed as such when you get to the end. Great read. Valuable experience. Thank you Joanne!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book: Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge


(2008, editor Damien Broderick)


Here are fourteen essays by leading scientists and science writers who were asked to predict the look of human existence come the year one-million. Their responses are consistent: The task is impossible but the exercise in trying provides a remarkable wealth of material to ponder for those more interested in the question, who are we, than who will win American Idol. They write with generous restraint, allowing the reader to ponder ramifications and ask the big questions for themselves.

Dougal Dixon's non-partisan perspectives on carbon dioxide cycles bring some clarity to the contentious global warming arena. Wil McCarthy's handling of matters concerning the rarity of life and of intelligent life and the scope of cosmic time and distance are of critical relevance to the alien question. Journalist Jim Holt delves into the nature of mathematics. Fundamental reality or human invention?

Amara D. Angelica explores the digital and analog natures of all things and probes the inherent compatibility of computers, human beings and galaxies while Robert Bradbury and Rudy Rucker "debate" the eventual restructuring of star systems into inhabitable super computers versus the eventual rejection of computers as humans meld with the computation of nature itself.

For those with a view to the parasitic nature of mankind's dominance over the earth, beware of Robin Hanson's treatment on the plausibility and rapidity of space colonization.

Dr. Steven B. Harris's insights into evolution leave apparent the gaping flaws in any notion of grand design theory while he, Pamela Sargent and Anne Corwin delve into biological science and technology, promoting an inevitable confrontation with polymorphability and immortality. Meanwhile Sean M. Carroll, Gregory Benford and George Zebrowski arouse the greatest life-or-death question of all, exploring the troubling matter of entropy and the fate of the universe.

A brilliant collection.





Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Roger Weekend

In October 2009, Roger of Rogers WoodWorks created what I call, the Roger's Weekend. He took on a hefty to-do list and surprised himself by getting through 75% of it. I vowed I would emulate him and dedicate a weekend to getting caught up on my own list of life's annoying little chores (along with some properly useful projects).

Being one of the premier lazy bastards of the entire worldwide community of lazy bastards, it took me only a year and a half to get around to this.

And being one of the premier lazy bastards of the worldwide community of lazy bastards, it took me only half of day one to get around just to announcing my intention, which is this:

My list:

- clean bedroom
- clean bathroom
- clean out truck
- replace spare tire
- laundry
- return library materials
- reserve cargo van
- download borrowed music
- settle "herb and wine" arrangements
- settle cottage arrangements
- email study materials to Neo
- required reading and prep for young readers club
- editing and lesson plan for young writers group
- vacuum and sweep house
- shampoo carpet
- write review for book Year Million
- recreate lost outline for novel-in-progress The One
- create budget spreadsheet
- blog (Saturday - this not included!)
- blog (Sunday)
- walk (Saturday)
- walk (Sunday)
- post another song on the web
- organize and backup writing and music files
- check blood pressure
- finish mind-mapping the poetic compendium (don't ask)
- update resume
- create online questionnaire
- order a SCENE card
- update song journal
- finish lyrics, arrangement for song Indescribable
- finish composing Down Slide and give it a better title
- finish composing He's All Right Now
- Learn to play fave Beetles tunes Strawberry Fields, Ticket to Ride and Day in the Life

Oh yeah - So why now after 19 months?

'Cause the three shifts I was scheduled to work this weekend got cancelled because of my request to drop from full-time back onto the spare-board finally going through yesterday and I found myself with a wide open schedule and no socializing to do on account of having a cold I don't want to share and having, all day yesterday, accomplished absolutely nothing other than a long series of naps and the watching of a couple really dumb movies. I was starting to feel kind of useless.

Okay. Got to go. Got stuff to do.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

What if there was never anything?

I have no idea where I'm going with this. Just a dumb question in my head.

So we live in this thing called a universe which is so freaking big it's beyond our comprehension to grasp just how mind-blowingly big it is. It's so big it's just stupid.

And whether it exploded from God's hand or because that's just what universes do; both perfectly equal mysteries if you think about it, it's pretty obvious that we live in the aftermath of an explosion.

But what if it had never happened?

Well that's easy. If it hadn't happened we wouldn't be here. Simple. But is it? If there were no gods, no explosions, no universe or universes - what would there be?

Well there'd be nothing. Ever. Simple.

Why does this not work?

I can not, no matter how I try - imagine a reality that is utterly vacant of time and space and matter. It is strictly unimaginable. I can not admit such a scenario possible yet I can not offer a shred of explanation. It's like I'm a robot programmed not to question it's prime directive. There's just a blank wall. I try to process the idea of there never existing anything and I'm left with a disctinct impression that such a concept is strictly impossible. But I haven't the first idea how to prove it nor the notion that it's a correct presumption to start with. Surely anything that can exist can also not exist. But take away everything and what are you left with?

Nothing.

It makes sense and yet it just can't be imagined. Is that how everyone feels?

For that matter, what happens at the perimeter of the universe? WHat's after that? Nothing? Well what does that mean? What if you drill a hole into the nothing? Do you even get a hole?

Frankly, it's hard to imagine a perimeter to the universe.

I guess you'd never get close to the universe's perimeter given how fast it expands. But what if it's going to collapse again? What happens after the Big Crunch? Another explosion? What exists between the moment of final contraction and the next bang? Nothing?

It's a popular theory - that the universe continually bangs and crunches; cyclically expanding and contracting, almost like a beating heart, locked in a constant battle against the nothingness.


.

Postscript: I wrote this some time ago before I realized that the big crunch theory is swiftly losing popularity as evidence mounts that the universe is expanding at an accellerating rate. This news struck me as hard as any news ever has, including the death of loved ones. It was comforting to think of a renewable cosmos where life, human or otherwise, could exist, if intermittantly, at least eternally. An eternity of equillibrium however, with every particle of matter isolated by light-years of darkness - is the coldest thing I've ever contemplated.

Monday, April 25, 2011

March of the Pines

I really don't have any use for Easter or for birthdays but I gave mom a card with an astronaut on the front, congratulating her on her successful mission to Pluto, and spent two days at the parents' place to celebrate. It had once been my grandparents' place and I'd spent portions of my childhood summer holidays there. Today mom and I went for a walk around the property but I suppose I was not entirely present.

Of the six-paned window of the spring house, one pane remains. I remember when they'd built that raised hut to shelter the old bathtub that received the fresh spring water piped in from it's remote source. I'd used the remaining materials, and more scavenged from the barn, to build a ridiculous little fort of my own. It's any one's guess now, which bits of debris might once have been part of that little endeavor.

Inside the hut, old Uncle Ernie's mug still hangs from a nail above the outlet pipe. I remember his 96th birthday party at the village recreation hall. He'd looked down at me and couldn't remember who I was.

I've never seen the old tub before, not brimming with water, the constant overflow splashing into the pond of its own making; source of a winding stream that turned the non-tilled low-elevation north-west field into a myriad wetland; home of ducks, frogs and fireflies. Now the White Pines have taken over. They grow and proliferate like weeds, turning the scrub field into a little forest home for coyotes. The tub sits empty but for a dark layer of sediment. Staring at the pipe I finally catch the fall of a single drip.

From the doorway I look down at the dry bed outside. I used to pry large rocks from the ground and hurl them in to the little pond. The splash they'd made was nothing compared to the one that followed. Cocoa would leap in after them, submerge his head and bound joyfully out again with the slimy rock clamped in his jaws. We'd do it again and again. Later we'd return to the house, wet and green and smelling like algae and grandma would give the dog hell for going in the "crick" but he didn't care after all the fun we'd had.

One wing of the two-storey bank barn is gone now; collapsed and hauled away after too many years of wind and rain. The remainder is a patch-work of expensive repairs. Inside I spy a few remaining relics from childhood memory but we don't stray too far. It's dangerous with the floor rotting away. The warnings have come. The barn's days are numbered. It is just a facade now; something to block the view of the suburban style housing development that now looms on one horizon; something to preserve the feeling of a country sanctuary that is starting to become an illusion.

Returning to the house we pass the row of maples that have matched Uncle Ernie in their longevity. They're beginning to fall apart. My favorite one; the one I once climbed religiously; the one we'd fixed with rope and bucket so I could eat my lunch in the sky - is the first to go. Even the stump has been burned away.

For the moment I feel like a boy made old too suddenly.

Inside the house, the only man who deserves to be called my father is thinking about hawks and turkey vultures. "Did you see anything?" he asks.

"Just the sobering passage of time," I say.


.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Food Glorious Food

Tomorrow I'll receive my first paycheque in well over a month. Well - it'll be half a paycheque strictly speaking but it'll feel like a fortune.


Through the last week and a half I expected to finally be testing the weight-loss effectiveness of the good old-fashioned starvation diet but it never quite evolved as such. Two different co-workers each invited me over to dinner and one sent me home again with a bucket of delicious leftovers. Another slipped me a box of crackers for no apparent reason. Another dumped a handful of winning Tim Hortons food prize tabs into my hands along with the lame excuse he wouldn't use them. And coworker number five asked me frankly if I needed to borrow some cash and then handed over a tidy stack of twenties.


As I see us all coveting our jobs, fearing unemployment, belittling ourselves before our so-called superiors, working overtime (itself a significant contributor to unemployment if you think about it), distancing ourselves from our children, etc., in order to "make a living" or some overblown facsimile thereof - it's interesting to me, speaking cautiously and subjectively of course, in the wake of my own personal experience: that it's pretty hard to actually starve to death around here.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

song: The Line

Not my newest song but a recent one. Like the many primary stages in life and life's endeavors that I have initially skipped but later returned to, experiencing them from an atypically mature standpoint, I missed the whole major G-C-D chord phase through my first two years of songwriting exploration. Lately I have been enjoying its lively simplicity. After catching a little flack for using 'I walk the line' as the song's chorus, I considered changing the title to "Johnny Cash Can Kiss My Ass" but settled finally on simply "The Line." I have a proper USB mic now which improves the sound quality very much and reveals the ample imperfections of my sorry excuse for a singing voice quite sufficiently. ...................... ................................. ............................. ..................................
video

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

FWG is still alive...

... just hasn't had proper internet access since November 2010, making blog-posting rather a pain in the butt. Articles have been piling up on my own computer while I borrow others' every once in a while to access the net, all the while ignoring the existence of jump drives, flash drives, USB sticks and USB keys - which I suspect are all precisely the same thing. Can someone please pick a term and lets stick with it? Honestly, you elite tech developers are coming dangerously close to joining the lawyers, politicians, auto mechanics and white rappers who will have their corpses dragged through the streets on the Glorious Day Of Purification.

Anyhoo... this is my promise that I shall somehow persevere and start posting regularly again - yes, as if I have any credibility on that matter and as if anyone was actually around to read this.

And that's all I'll say for now because one of the dobermans that comes with the laptop I'm currently using, won't stop playing "Look-I'm-a-Rubber-Chicken" and trying to flop on my head. I'm not even kidding. He's a complete freak.

Oh - but I was kidding about Purification Day. No such thing as far as I know. And I don't support the practice of corpse dragging at all. I also don't support use of the word anyhoo but I thought I should try it once just to be sure.

Later,
NDR