Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FWG: Relative Size

Sat in the dirt and muddied my jeans
And didn’t care
Wore holes through the knees
And didn’t care

Carved pathways in the dirt
Streets and driveways
And parking lots with little twigs
lined up as parking stones

Tufts of grass became trees
Houses and buildings only vaguely imagined

Arranged all the matchbox cars within the network

No racing strips, no pile-ups
No hot rods.

Just sedans and vans and pick-up trucks
Moving faceless citizens about a miniature village
Perfectly civilized, slowing down to turn the corners

Where the grass became dense,
This was cottage country.

Playing cars on a Saturday morning there existed only Saturday.
Monday with its morning bell and its lawless incarceration
So far away it did not exist.
Monday morning might just never come.

Took the little jeep and kept on driving
Patiently trekked the breadth of the yard
Inch by inch, and then
Broke the ground for the next village.

Today I have only one car
It encloses me
And takes me where I’m told to be

Now I am the faceless one
In clean respectable clothes
With Monday mornings always looming over me

How was it that cars
Became so much bigger
Or am I just that much smaller?

Photo courtesy of Eternal Exemption.

Monday, July 28, 2008

An important message from Marjoram Stinkpot

Recieved this email today. It's not often something slips by our extensive quarantine/spam systems so kudos to this guy. Unfortunately this is about as sensible and relevant as any other email I've received today.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Avitable Scramble

Okay - here's the deal. You start with a blank mind - so to speak, and then try to belch out 13 separate thoughts in 13 minutes. It's blogging by the seat of your pants. You pretty much have to spit out anything that comes to mind no matter how stupid because you won't have time to wait for 13 gems!

I'm calling it the Avitable Scramble because I discovered it on the
Avitable site. I have no idea who deserves proper attribution. I presume Mister Avitable will give me proper heck if he so wishes and if he even finds out about it!

My strategy is to keep an even pace. If the clock marks the next minute prior to completion of the thought, the thought dies where it stands. If I finish a thought early I get to start the next one early.

I will permit myself to go back at the end and fix spelling (but not grammar) and perhaps add any formatting, links or images if inclined. But the first-draft words shall be preserved.

Here goes:

1. I love watching clouds at night. Moonlight can create amazing effects with clouds when the positioning is right.

2. I probably shouldn't stare at the moon so much when going for walks. Especially when it’s a full moon and I’ve just had a really big meal because the way I stagger sort of slowly like that - I'm lucky I haven't been mistaken for some kind of monster and had a stake driven through my heart or something.

3. Saw the coolest spider web on my last night-walk. Hung under hydro wires with one massive thick strand stretching right down to the middle of the street! Crazy. Must not have lasted long after I saw it. Quiet street but one car is all it would take...

4. Mind is blank. The blankness of mind. Argle Bargle. Burdle nurdle. Shelob was the giant spider queen from LOTR.

5. Pan’s dog, Zee is fortunate to be alive, lucky that humans were willing to spend thousands to keep him so. He spent much of his puppyhood in doggie intensive care, on IV, getting plasma transfusions and what not.

6. Zee’s latest adventure: He knocked the screen out of an upstairs bedroom window. Pan arrived home to find a crowd on the sidewalk and the pooch looking down at him, standing on a section of roof. Pan just looked up at him and said, ‘You’re an idiot.’

7. My new pal Matman is pulling out of the media business to concentrate on his music. I'm absolutely delighted. Loss of income opportunity for me but I don't give a shit about that. Musicians have a lot better chance of saving their soul than corporation executives according to my calculations.

8. Everyone at work thinks I love cars because my cubicle is filled with Mattel Hot Wheels posters. But that's only because they're free from our client and they cover up the god-awful pea-green-grey military prison theme decor. I hate cars. Loved them as a kid but then I grew up.

9. Cadbury has had a couple recalls in the last year or so - one because they accidentally used waste-water as an ingredient (I think that was in U.K. - not here) and the other was because plastic material got into the chocolate. I could probably get fired for saying so. Which would be excellent.

10. My coffee tastes a little bit like paint remover but not as much as it sometimes does. Yikes, I'm falling behind.

11. I hate voice mail. I can't tell you how much I hate voice mail. For the love of god let us allow voice mail in no heavenly or earthly place but only in hell where it so perfectly belongs.

12. I have a decorative stone on my desk that was surely a gift from a travelling coworker but for the life of me I can’t remember who or where it came from.


Crap! Ran out of time.

Okay. This was a failure but I think I shall try again some time. I challenge all of you, my weird little blog friends to give it a try.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eramosa Eden

Just a few pics from a recent day-trip with a bunch of writer friends. I love this place.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

BAPS Swaminarayan Temple

Spent an afternoon at this place:

Been reading the Bhagavad Gita, core writing of the Hindu faiths, and finding it wildly fascinating. I figured this temple, with it's new 40 million dollar Mandir addition, might be an interesting, if not useful environment in which to further explore the work. I was not disappointed.

Whatever dogma necessitated I leave my shoes in one of the couple thousand numbered cubby holes in the entrance area, I'm grateful for it. From a practical standpoint, it makes for a quiet environment with so many visitors padding about on stone floors.

I hadn't realized my visit would coincide with the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Mandir. The occasion drew large crowds. The main meeting hall, filled not with pews, as this former Catholic might have assumed, but with vast rows of comfortable chairs, presented the most welcoming working space but I didn't want to take up a valuable seat with so many faithful present who might understand the language of the orange-robed clerics who addressed the congregation from the couches that shared a high stage with many spectacular statues of Indian deities.

Instead I set up shop in the stunning stone and intricately carved Italian marble Mandir - a meditation hall. I sat on the floor, off to the side, back against the wall and studied, hoping that such an activity in such a place contravened no rule or custom.

The many gated alcoves held brilliantly crafted and adorned figures; strikingly lit likenesses of Krishna, Vishnu, Ganesh and a host of other divine personages. They were the focus of much prayer from the many worshippers not otherwise engaged in cross-legged meditation.

The sacred syllable, 'OM' issued always from surrounding speakers.

A couple short years ago I would have felt awkward or intimidated to be here; like an intruder perhaps, but not now. The connection I've made with this book is profound. It describes rather involved processes perfectly which I have myself experienced in these last couple years of purely organic exploration; things I do not hear from my living associates.

I also read things in here that are of concern and alarm but I must be very careful not to judge the Gita. My connection here is not with the Gita or its creator(s) but only with a collection of words that have arisen through multiple translations; first a paraphrasing from Sri Aurobindo; a Guru/Yogi/Philosopher that you will undoubtedly hear me speak more of; and then a translation to English by one Anil Baran Roy. I profess no thorough understanding of the work.

It is amazing though, that in rejecting all religion and embarking on a journey of truth-seeking; one dedicated to the evidence of first-hand observation and regard to scientific process, that the core revelations emerging from these explorations two years onward, so profoundly mirror some of the original poetic testimony of religions and quasi-religions, despite what fallible human priests may or may not have done with their institutions over time; for better or, much more apparently, for worse.

Interior photography is strictly prohibited here. I yanked these photos from their web site; surely the lesser of two evils.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The World According to Steve-o

As usual -- random snippets from the roommate; his songs in italics:

I visited my mom today. Sometimes I try to be a good son. But it's not easy when SATAN COMMANDS YOUR SOUL!! MWUHAHAHAHA!! ARRRRGGGHHH!!

Mr. Furley, that's my name.
That name again is Mr. Furley.
Mr. Furley, that's my name
And you can call me MISTER FURLEY!

Every time a bell rings Jesus gets his wings.

Jazz! Who doesn't like jazz? Acid Jazz.

All my potato farmers seemed so far away.
All my potatos were made out of clay.
Oh yesterday was heroin day...

What, are you fucking with me? You can't smell the cigarette smoke on him? It's like the smell of baby oil on a child molester.

Everyone loves the danish.
Who doesn't love the danish?
Danishes come in a can
From a factory down south.
I eat my danish every day.
I'm moving to the danish.
Gonna eat my corn of plenty.
Potato makes the dairy.
Everyone loves the dairy.
Potato makes the dairy.
Who doesn't love the dairy...?

This Polish beer's delicious. It tastes like Poland. I had a Polish friend once. I regret not licking her more.

How much is that window in the doggie?

Everyone loves Magical Trevor
Who doesn't love Magical Trevor?
Everyone loves Magical Trevor
Except for the cows.
Cows cows cows cows cows.
And maybe Bill Gates. Cause he's a cow.
Cow cow cow cow cow cow…

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Heavy Water

(2000) Martin Amis

Maybe I've just been spoiled lately - by the likes of TC Boyle and Atwood and Neil Smith. Or maybe Amis and I just don't share a compatible sense of humour.

I got very little out of this collection. The title story, Heavy Water caught my attention. Bravo. And Janitor of Mars was somewhat intriguing but whatever wisdom went into these stories - I didn't catch it. Two stories are cheap simple inversions I wish I hadn't wasted my time with, two others I had to bail out of half way through and 'What Happened to Me on my Summer Vacation' is a literary train wreck. Unreadable.

If these are supposed to be highlights of his short-story career then yikes. Stick to novels please. What you do with the pen, the typewriter or keyboard is important but what you do with your mind and what it is you have to say to the world - is far more important. Unfortunately the only message I heard was, "Look how easy it is to be published when your dad's a famous writer."
I hope I'm being too critical. I hope there's all kinds of good stuff in there and I just missed most of it.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Movie: Wanted

Director Timur Bekmambetov may have killed actor James McAvoy's career. He's forced to whine, groan, scream, cry, sniffle, drool and hyperventilate for the first solid twenty minutes of the movie; twenty minutes of intense irritation for this viewer who never wants to see McAvoy's face again.

The remainder of the film is entirely shot in red. As in blood. Everyone takes enough punches, bullets and knife wounds to kill them twenty times over but they take regular baths in some kind of special healing sauce that makes them all better so they can run right out and get torn to ribbons again.

Cineplex bills this a thriller/fantasy/action movie. It is in fact a comedy but one to be laughed at, not with, if at all. And I couldn't, being too nauseated by the most gratuitous violence since Kill Bill and by the thorough distaste from tolerating heroes neither likable or moral.

This film is a triumph in pure unbridled idiocy to be loved and adored by pure unbridled idiots.

Okay. I'm done.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Aequitas: Fallen

Several things were revealed to me
But I turned a blind eye, refused to see
What was there, awaiting and alee.

Home was not where I thought it was,
Instead it was elsewhere, and all because
I turned my back on those in need,
Succumbing instead to lust, and greed.

And I think I know of all my flaws;
Sins, weakness, and disregard for law,
And so the pit opens and I fall into the maw.

I've fallen before, but never this far,
My dignity lost, and my presence barred
From where I want to spend my life,
And all I can do is whine and gripe.

And the failure I feel seems so unreal
Except for the loss of one so costly,
But mostly I feel that you weren't there,
Frigid, distant, without a bit of care,
And stealing from me was something unfair.
For you, I feel spite, but never despair,
Because you have hardened my heart.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Breakfast with an incredible shrinking woman

I hadn’t seen her in many years. Her little adopted son is now a university freshman with all of the dilemmas that teenagers invariably create for themselves.

Of all the coworkers I immediately lost touch with when the ops centre closed down, she was low on the list of people I thought I’d see again. We were both different people then. I had sensed conflict around her and shied away from that.

But bumping into her on, I asked how she was doing and her answer compelled me.

I’m not well. But that’s okay...

I picked her up at her modest old home. She’s a fraction of the size she used to be but her eyes have not changed and that’s enough to recognize her. She brought her parking tag with us so we could park at the restaurant door.

I had been very familiar with the little charity organization she’d created. She financed insulin pumps for diabetic children in need while lobbying the government health insurance to assume this much-needed coverage.

I learned today that she succeeded a few years ago. Now no child in Ontario needing an insulin pump will go without one and Ministry of Health literature recognizes her efforts to this end.

She remains tight with the ministry, providing a buffer of reality between they and the self-interested, self-promoting national diabetes organization and all of their spin, while still lobbying, now for like coverage for adult diabetes sufferers – a service she currently provides to the best of her growing charity’s capability.

She’s allergic to insulin but takes a small amount, a calculated compromise, in effort to stretch her mortality a little further. She declares herself a medical wonder to have survived this long.

Each morning that she awakes to, is a bonus day for which she’s grateful and which she tries to make the most of – by logging onto the computer and dispensing vital counsel and assistance to fellow sufferers.

She ardently praises her husband. They’ve shared a deeply satisfying marriage built on unconditional love and tolerance. She worries about he and the boy and how they’ll deal with her absence. She begs that there be no funeral.

“If too many people come he won’t be able to handle it,” she says. “And if too few come, he’ll be hurt. If people want to pay respect, they know where the house is. They can drop by.” The lump in my throat silences me. “Don’t be sad,” she says to me. “It’s all okay.”

But I already know it’s okay. In essence I do not pity the sick and the dying. To suffer and die are the natural states of all life. I understand this intrinsically. I will desire no pity when my time for suffering or death comes. My pity goes to all those millions of people who are not celebrating their circumstances; their privileged health and wealth and security and who squander it; having no real understanding of their own lives and no connection to real happiness. I pity all those who are wasting their lives away – as I did for thirty-seven years.

“Tears don’t always mean I’m sad,” is all I managed to say.

These days I am easily overcome by any of a great many emotions, including, I now know, intense admiration.