Saturday, April 28, 2012

W is for Walking

Various communities serve as venues for my walking for exercise - and invariably - for contemplation.

Blocks are short; the routes plentiful. There is always some new permutation; a couple rows of modest houses which I have not set eyes upon prior.

I see peeling paint; a roof slumping with age. I see the first struggling stalks of perrennial plants in sparse gardens; dandelion flowers; a bicycle hastily abandoned on a lawn; a truck with giant after-market tires straddling an oil stain at the rear of a wrinkled driveway.

Residents are unseen yet some version of them; some spirit of them are filling my head. I sense them. They are confused and frustrated with endless circumstances that refuse to go their way, and bitter over spouses and others who refuse to be who they were supposed to be. There are tears on pillows, swallowed rage, hidden shame, things stuffed into drawers and under beds. I sense the jealousies and insecurities; the outrage at perceived injustices and imagined insults; their malformed guilt battered by the heavy tools of rationalization. I feel their fading hopes; concealed love; dreams abandoned almost unnoticed; their precious things slowly, clumsily crushed in desperation.

I feel the malaise of the lost; the disconnected; the blind; whole lives every bit as real as mine. Will the shock of that revelation ever diminish?

It is nothing psychic of course. It is only imagination, but yet it can not be inaccurate. These hard symptoms of the matrix of society, though so unnecessary, are all here in some configuration or another, flowing and pulsing behind faces made of windows and doors, while pity and affection swell in my throat and behind my eyes.

I laugh for the dirty window pane hiding the love within.
- Bruce Cockburn

V is for Valentina

Valentina and I are both with Ye Olde Security Company, on duty consecutive stints at the Big Empty Warehouse (she Sundays, me Sunday nights) and we both record songs on occasion while on duty. The acoustics there are strong and echoey.

Here's what we don't have in common: She is young, she has a great voice, she writes her songs with career goals in mind and she has experienced musicians arranging and performing her compositions with her. She also performs to live to crowds and has a properly produced CD.

It is called From My Heart To Yours. I really dig it and I now have her permission to share her tunes here. This is Silly Fool:.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

U is for Undescribable?

Google records 536,000 web uses of the pseudo-word undescribable and about 1,070,000 of the word indescribable. Some might take from this, that 33% of people are illiterate. Others would say that undescribable has become a word.

This is one of my recent songs. It is called Indescribable and it may just be the sappiest love song in all history. Beware. Of. Extreme. Sap.

T is for Tati

If you don't know, or remember, who Terry Anne is, I urge you to read this short piece from July 2008. She is one of the most amazing people I know.

She had sent me some poetry which I thought I had lost, having switched to a new lap top and new email address after resigning from Ye Olde Marketing Company. But in a recent fit of illumination I actually started backing up my computer files and discovered that I had in fact imported some of Tati's emails over. I would like to share some with you.

Be advised: They are heavy.

Blatherings of Grayness
November 2, 2008

We feel the light and the dark
We cause the fight that doesn’t leave a mark
We plan it but don’t
We sit in our corner
Sulking, crying dull and well overplayed tears
Energy evades us, life replays us
We blame everyone and no one
Walk by us at the dark time
And you are the villain
You didn’t even do anything
We didn’t even do anything
We don’t even know who you are
We didn’t take the time to know you
We didn’t take the time to know ourselves
Walk by during the light and you are the saint
You can help, but you do not know
Bring us out of the hole to try and make us whole
What can we cover ourselves with now?
A drink, a drug, a robe, a rug
Anything that we can use to hide
What we feel is surely inadequate inside

Monday, April 23, 2012

S is for Sister Moon

He tells of that with which he is most familiar.

He tells of Mother Earth and Sister Moon.
His verses speak gently;
Tales of the forest and the wind;
Tales of the lonesome cabin,
And the solitary figure; the observer in the wilderness.
He writes about the wild things and the ancients and the passage of time
And the growing divide between nature and man.

He is the Lonely Lumberjack.

He is perhaps the architect of his own suffering
But aren't we all?

The wisdom and the peace in his poems seem at odds
With the bitterness that slips into his voice.

I wish to know him better
Though there are barriers to his freedom.

Here is one of my favourites:


They are ghosts now
All that is left
Are ghosts
Of memories
Of the hills
And valleys
Thoughts of times past
Recollections that always last

Faithful animals once raced
Over these hills and dales
Dogs, sharp of nose
And tongue
Now their baying is stilled
As if never begun
Others cannot hear their voices yet
Only one is capable of that
One that is now bent and weary
One that has hung up
His hunting hat
Still, when the days are short
And frost is in the air
One person still can hear
The baying of his friends
Over the hills just over there

Those faithful animals that tried so hard to please
Are the ghosts of the past
Of long, long ago
Until that one so bent and weary
Can join them and make it so

- The Lonely Lumberjack

Sunday, April 22, 2012

R is for Revolution - part one

Who is Mateo Jordache?

How dare I attempt to define a man in a few paragraphs? Especially a man of complexity; a man continually evolving through artistic exploration and self-examination.

No longer is Mateo Jordache the twelve-year-old boy torn between two families; nuclear and professional, a brand new lead vocalist who's soul-lifting voice caught listeners by surprise and inevitably reminded them of.. another M.J.

Nor is he the youth in the good seats at the Juno Awards daring to hope, nor the one on stage at the Canadian Urban Music Awards, shaking hands and unleashing his dreams a little more. He is no longer the youth at the helm of the production studio for the first time, in awe of the new art; the marriage of image and sound. And he is no longer the man who took the leap and put the bulk of his resources and reputation on the line to become the impetus for a new corporation.

And yet he is all those things and more; a young man changed, for better more than worse, with each brave step and new experience. And he is still a self-taught musician; always seeking the next new instrument to make acquaintance with, and the next challenge; the next opportunity to attempt to improve himself and the lives of those around him.

He is a man of warm humour who bares his thoughts and deeds with rare transparency, who pours himself, unvarnished, into the songs he writes. In an unforgiving culture where artists and performers almost universally rely on public facades as a shield; a necessity for self-preservation, Mateo Jordache resists - at what cost, remains to be seen.

Grounded by an R&B base and styled by sounds as diverse as Gospel and New Age, runs the soundtrack to one man's life; an ongoing story of love, pain, desire and dreams; a story not unlike your own and mine.

I wrote the above piece in February 2010 and later that year we conducted the following interview. Here is the transcript. In part two I will reveal the latest evolution of one of the most inspiring people I know:

  RL: Alright?

  MJC: Alright.

  RL: When did you decide that you were a musician? And is that the right label for you?

  MJC: Yeah. That's a loaded question. How do I answer that one? When did I decide that I was going to be a musician: I think it was offered to me, the idea; the prospect of being a musician. Well, I shouldn't say that. It was offered to me; the prospect of being an entertainer. At first when I got into the music industry I can't truly say that I was a musician. At first I was more of a puppet for two masterminds behind the project that I was in, called Unique, which stayed the same band members but we left those guys. Anyway, I'd have to say I definitively knew I was an artist when I started creating music here, which was in ninety-six. that's when I got my keyboard.

  RL: And you were what age?

  MJC: I was sixteen if my math is right. Which it's probably wrong! [laughs] It was either 1998 or 1996.

  RL: So, you said the two masterminds?

  MJC: We had partnered with these two guys. I won't say names. But we partnered with two guys in Toronto who basically wrote the songs, produced the songs, branded us and we didn't have much say - in much of anything, really. We were doing what we were told because these guys had taken us under their wing, right? So there were pros and cons with that scenario.

  RL: And at that time you were working with Dane and Omar -

  MJC: Dane, Omar and Joel; yeah. Joel, being my cousin.

  RL: How long had you been working with them at that point?

  MJC: When we got together with those two guys? We'd been working together for about two years as a band. I was asked to be in the band in May of 1996

  RL: And what were your experiences from that point on? You were singing?

  MJC: Yeah. We started going into the recording studio pretty much right away. Actually the day I joined the band - or a few days prior to that, we did a photo shoot. And after that we started going into the studio in Toronto called - what was the name of the studio? Prime Time. And there was a guy that owned it; Danny Mazer. And he was such a nice guy. Always a nice guy. That's what I remember about him. One day we got a call. He'd been in a horrible accident when he was on vacation and he was paralyzed from the neck down. Pretty terrible.

  RL: So at that time you called yourself an artist because you had what capacities? What was your contribution to the operation at that time?

  MJC: My basic understanding of being an artist is that you create - whatever your product is, I guess is what it comes down to. We had started out where I wasn't creating. I was singing; performing the product as opposed to creating it. And when I got my first keyboard; the Trinity Plus, which is now classic - it's funny. That was when I started to feel like an artist. That's what being an artist represented. Da Vinci didn't have someone painting his paintings for him. He painted his paintings.

  RL: So at that time did you decide that music was going to be the primary focus of your life?

  MJC: Yeah. When I was asked to be in the band I was fourteen and that's when I devoted my life to music. I would say that when I was sixteen that's when I felt like an artist. Those two years between I felt like I was just an entertainer. I was just performing.

  RL: How important were the influences of your three band mates?

  MJC: I guess I would answer that question by saying that I'm the artist I am today because of them. So, however you value my music. I would say that they're huge.

  RL: Would you say that they were your teachers?

  MJC: I would say that they became more formal, consistent teachers. I would say that my teachers prior to them were people I was exposed to as artists. I was listening to Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra. I was listening to all those artists long before I ever joined the group. That was field research as well, for the artist I am today. But definitely, joining the group created a more formal environment for the teachings I would acquire.

  RL: So those influences brought by you, ended up having an effect on Unique-slash-The Show?

  MJC: Not Unique. Unique was more of a prison environment because you didn't have much room to - it was meant to be, intended to be a very sexual… Jodasy - if you don't know who Jodasy is - only someone in the R&B realm would know but they were very - an ultra R&B band. I can't really describe them any more than that. So we were modelled after them. We wore the shiny pants and leather outfits, You know? It makes for a very funny story now but at the time it was like - ehh, I don't know! This is a little loud! You know? You start to feel like you're wearing a costume!

  RL: So then you got a little more freedom as The Show, after that?

  MJC: Yeah. Absolutely. When we branched away from those guys we were able to become more the master of our domain. Then there was the internal power struggle! You know? Every group, I'm sure has it. I was always far more left than the rest of the guys when it came to musical - but not in every realm. There were certain songs where we just clicked and we would knock it out of the park. But then there were certain genres that I wanted to conquer as well that would have been too -- for some reason it just wouldn't fit the overall image of the band. So there was a lot of internal power struggle there.

  RL: Was there generally a hierarchy in the band?

  MJC: Yeah, at times there were. And that was generally when there was a management figure and the manager tended to be more of that pop culture type of person and wanted to do more of that traditional sound where as I was always wanting to take a more experimental approach.

  RL: Do you think you gained a sort of equality at some point or were you always the low guy on the totem pole?

  MJC: I adapted to the adage - the loudest mouth gets fed! I practised that in the group to the very end. I definitely appeased a lot of things when we did The Show record because we had a record label; a new record label who also had an opinion and there's only so much you can argue with the hand that's feeding you. So all of our hands were tied behind our backs at certain points. And that's a reason to be discouraged from ever signing with a record label. Because my feeling is that if you're an artist then… I don't care that you don't like it. You know what I mean? I don't mean that in an arrogant way. It's just not useful to me. I'm not trying to do this so that it wins everybody over. I'm making it for me and I hope that other people like it. I know that there are going to be people who criticise it and say whatever, but I'm approaching it from a more artistic - now with that being said, you have to consider the business end of it. And I usually don't let the business of it sneak into my music, to tell you the truth. I let somebody listen to a song today and it had a long intro and it was just the piano and they were saying, yeah, you might need to shorten that intro and I said, No. No. I like it. And I imagine if I like it then there's got to be someone else out there who's going to enjoy it just like I do. So no. And it wasn't that their idea was wrong. But I raise my kids! You know what I mean? You don't raise my kids. I raise my kids. I make those decisions. Unless your idea's better than mine! You know? If it's just a simple preference I'm going to go with my preference. Maybe because I'm a greedy bastard but I don't care who knows it!

  RL: Do you have another track to share...? The last track had a bit of unwelcome tension for this sort of -

  MJC: Oh okay, I hear you.

  RL: Not that it's not a lovely song.

  MJC: Cool. Cool.

  RL: So now obviously - sorry - I have to remember that this is not a typical discussion. I'm supposed to let your voice -

  MJC: No worries.

  RL: But you must be enjoying the autonomy you have now, where you're in charge of your music.

  MJC: Ah, but it's a double-edged sword. Here's the thing: I've fought for artist integrity my whole life and now that I have it, I'm insecure with it.

  RL: Is that right?

  MJC: Yeah! I'm insecure with it because I'm used to having validation from people; forced validation at that, where as now I'm the shot-caller and it's so funny because I'm personal to the point where, if somebody criticises it too hard I get offended a little bit even though I don't want to admit it, you know? But with saying that, I'm still insecure about - Oh, I really hope people like it, you know? Deep down inside, as much as I know I like it, I really, really do want people to like it. You know? In my heart I really want people to appreciate it for what it is. Whatever. I'm just a guy that started making music at a young age and I love it. No different than anybody else, really.

  RL: Well, I guess all artists - part of it is making connections, right?

  MJC: For me, music is a diary. Especially in the way that I save the songs. I don't save them with a title. I save them by the date. And so sometimes I'll go pull up a random date - June second. What was I doing June second, nineteen…? I can go all the way back to 1998.

  RL: Do you find that a song that you wrote in the past can remind you of what happened that day?

  MJC: Sure. Sure. I mean - it's not a guaranteed shot but in the very least it will be familiar because I created it. This is what I sounded like back then. This is who I've evolved into now.

  RL: Does it actually tell you what kind of mood you were in?

  MJC: It doesn't necessarily tell me what kind of mood. I was going to say: That can be deceiving because by nature I'm an intense person. It just happens to be the way that I am. The things that raise the hairs on the back of my neck are those intense moments in the movie. So I tend to convey that in my music a lot. The only good thing to that is, there are more people on earth who can relate to depressing music than happy music! [laughs]

  RL: So you're still an artist, obviously. Is that still your primary function in life?

  MJC: No. I decided to get into the entrepreneurial spirit after The Show disbanded in 2006. I recognized an opportunity while working in the family business. My father is a financial advisor and I did all of his marketing for him and I noticed that a lot of financial advisors; a lot of his colleagues didn't have any brand of their own nor had any online exposure. And most people know today that there's billions of people online. Funny update I heard the other day: If facebook was a country it would be the fifth largest country on earth. So I recognised the opportunity in that and looking at the elements that I wanted to draw together to create the business I realized that I was creating the vehicle that could propel my own artistic endeavours.

  RL: We're talking about Mattheaus right now?

  MJC: It was Mattheaus at the time, yeah. There were a couple of other ideas prior to Mattheaus but they didn't come to fruition and Mattheaus stuck; weathered the worst recession anybody in our generation had ever seen. I'm proud to say we stayed above water and we're pre-launch now.

  RL: Did you give up on Mattheaus for a while?

  MJC: I shouldn't say I gave up on Mattheaus but I couldn't work with Mattheaus for a while. I got to a point where I couldn't take it any further and the recession -- my target market being financial advisors, the recession hit the financial industry the hardest and first. So my target market became poor. [laughs] I needed to wait until things came back. And we've done that.

  RL: And that's come with a re-branding?

  MJC: It's come with a re-branding. The new name is Majch Corporation and it's come with tighter partnerships. This time around I feel most content with the people I'm working with. It's hard to work with people who don't share a common goal; a vision. And I don't blame them, you know? Because everybody has their thing, right? So no fault of their own. But it's great when you can find people who you connect with on that level. It's important.

  RL: So what are your goals with Majch Corporation?

  MJC: Well, I'm looking to get into a position where I can train agents that will go out on my behalf, or Majch's behalf and present to financial advisors, and then one day, maybe sell the company. Who knows? But mainly I'm looking to get it to the position where it can drive itself so that I can focus on my music.

  RL: And what are your musical goals?

  MJC: Musical goals? Would be to create my record. I guess immediately, would be to finish the brand, create the record, get it out there, market it, distribute it, get a loyal fan base. Get the attention.

  RL: Do you expect your musical endeavours to be a permanent component of your life from now on?

  MJC: I don't think anything's permanent.

  RL: I see.

  MJC: For now, it's what I love. I don't see how I won't love it. I've loved it this long. It's the most consistent element of my life; at least one of them. So regardless whether it's a success commercially or not, it's something that I'll always do.

  RL: Between Majch and the music, does one of them have priority over the other?

  MJC: The music is more personal to me. Majch is, to me, a great opportunity. It's a smart business venture because it really helps Mateo Jordache the artist. You know, when I look at the reason my band and I didn't get the recognition we necessarily deserved with the launch of our record, it was lack of marketing. It was lack of brand awareness and I've now created those elements internally so now I'm in control; complete control. It's my way of saying, fuck the record label! You know? They just suck the life out of the music. Now with saying that, I do have a price!

RL: I see.

  MJC: If a record label approached me under my terms where I have full veto and artist integrity I would be willing to join a record label but I'm not planning for that. I'm planning to make my own success a little less conventionally.

  RL: Is there something a big record label can do for you that you have no way of doing for yourself?

  MJC: No. I always have a way. There's always a way. A record label would be quicker. Because they have the money but the internet has really opened a lot of doors for the independent artist. If you can be in charge of your brand and come out with a strong enough brand - and obviously the music has to be of equal calibre - I think you have a chance to do it on your own. I don't think you need to rely on a record label. I think if my friends and people who have listened to my music are as honest as I hope they are, then I think a lot of people are going to like it. I hope they do.

  RL: So you view the internet in a pretty positive light - that it creates opportunity?

  MJC: Absolutely. The internet has allowed you to be marketed and presented to people while you're in bed, sleeping.

  RL: And what you've said about the internet's opportunity for musicians; do you think that applies to other art forms as well?

  MJC: Absolutely. One hundred per cent.

  RL: Do you have any other goals in your life right now, outside of the music and the Majch Corporation - of the major goal, long-term variety?

  MJC: Yeah. Sure. Health. I want to be a healthy person. I'm trying to stay committed to my gym routines and I'm trying to eat better. I'm trying to be a better person. I'm always trying to be a better person. I don't know why that desire's so strong. I don't know if I'm unique from anybody else but all I can say is I have a really strong desire to be a good person. Whatever. Just live right. I just want to make this journey the one that counts. It's the only one we know we have for sure.

  RL: Yeah, those are common thoughts that I hear from people in artistic communities.

  MJC: Yeah.

  RL: So, all of these endeavours; is this reasonable? Can you possibly find the time to pursue both the music goals and the corporate goals?

  MJC: About six months ago, I would have said I don't know, but I've been doing it so I guess the answer is, yeah. Is it easy? No. But I'm doing it. I'm moving forward.

  RL: Have you had to make sacrifices in order to do that?

  MJC: Absolutely. Financially, socially; in every sense of the word.

  RL: Is marriage a long-term goal?

  MJC: Marriage a long-term goal? I don't understand marriage enough to say whether I want to use that word to describe that commitment, so I'm just going to say commitment. In the last five years I've started to rebel against common traditions and marriage happens to be one of them for reasons that may make sense or not. I know that I do want to commit to somebody. I do want to meet that person and have that person in my life for as long as I can. You know? I have that desire. I've pretty much lived the single life since I was sixteen. I'm twenty-seven now. I'm still young but I want to experience the next part of my life with somebody. I feel like that would make those experiences that much more enjoyable. Not that it's hinging on them but it would increase those moments, you know? Getting the first pay check, getting the first client, launching to a new country, hearing that my song's nominated for a Juno or a Grammy. For whatever reason I have a strong desire to be in the company of that person.

  RL: Is it an age thing? Do you feel like you're starting to settle down?

  MJC: I designed my life from a young age and this is what the plan was. It's going according to plan. Whether it happened subconsciously or not, I had set out to be ready to settle down, as they say, at about twenty-seven. My dad was twenty-seven when he had me; married to my mom. It just seems like a good age. If people are right when they say the thirties are the best years of your life; the thirties and up, I guess, I want that to be enjoyed with someone who I care about.

  RL: Is life still an adventure though? Is it still exciting?

  MJC: Life is an adventure every day. Life is an adventure every day. Sometimes it's also a sad story for a long time too but there's still adventure within it.

  RL: You were not born in Canada.

  MJC: Yes I was.

  RL: Oh, you were?

  MJC: Yes.

  RL: Sorry. [laughs]

  MJC: [laughs]

  RL: Rewind that!

  MJC: Edit! [begins singing]

  RL: Would you care to name a style or genre for your music?

  MJC: I have no idea. New age? I don't know. It's got an R&B base; a rhythm and blues base. But then, depending on what I sing to it, it can change that too. I don't know. New age R&B? My band and I coined our sound urban reality but I don't like that. Maybe modern reality.

  RL: Do you think that was a good label for what you guys were doing back then?

  MJC: Yeah. I think it was a fitting label because we had a very pop sound. Even though we had cross-over songs, overall we branded ourselves a pop band.

  RL: And the music you're making now; is this a fair example; is this very typical of what you're doing now; this song we're listening to?

  MJC: Yeah. I guess so. This would be a good example of my sound. This is a very intense song. Piano...

  RL: And these labels that we give to describe music; are they useful?

  MJC: Only useful for the sale of the song, I suppose; for search [purposes]. Other than that...

  RL: So this is the sound we can expect in the new album.

  MJC: Yes. this is the sound for sure.

  RL: And what kind of content are we gonna get in the new album? What are we going to be singing about?

  MJC: Well, I decided to do it in a way where I had about... eighty-twenty. So eighty per cent about relationships; the trials and tribulations of them and I was attempting - I don't know if it's going to stay this way but for now, we're trying to keep it - I say 'we' because I have a writing partner; Dane, and I wanted to keep it that it was almost singing about one relationship, you know? And create a story about it, told from beginning to end.

  RL: You were saying eighty-twenty. Eighty per cent to do with relationships and twenty per cent...

  MJC: To do with - I wanted to take it to a darker place. Exploring different thoughts and ideas that I've had throughout my life; suicide and anger and you know , family relationships. I don't want it all to be about a girl and a guy kind of thing; talk about how I felt about my relationships with my siblings. Whatever, you know? The relationship I felt with a stranger on the bus.

  RL: So is it all kind of sober and introspective or are their joyful components too?

  MJC: From what I can see right now the joyful components are going to come from my feelings of excitement within a relationship. I suppose I could write a song that just focuses on - right now I feel great. I don't know if that leaves a lot of room for people to be like - well, good for you, motherfucker! [laughs]

  RL: You're feeling excitement within a relationship right now, are you not?

  MJC: I am.

  RL: So is all of the material from the heart then?

  MJC: It's all from the heart. I was telling you earlier, Dane, who I'm writing the record with, he came up with a line the other day that had something to do with playing poker and I said, I can't say that. I don't play poker. I can't make a reference to playing poker when I don't play poker. I don't want to put my foot in my mouth that way. I don't want to leave room for that.

  RL: Is that dangerous to put yourself out there so honestly?

  MJC: Dangerous. Probably. Because you become exposed to the masses and the masses have opinions but aside from that I don't really want to be famous. Fame is something that was attractive when I was younger but I experienced a very mild amount of fame and it was cool but I would get that same satisfaction from knowing that people were buying my music. I would know that they're buying it and they keep buying it and that means they like it and they appreciate it and that, to me, means more than, you know, the other stuff; being approached at the mall - not that I don't care about that stuff. I mean it's nice when someone can appreciate your music in a public place but I would rather be a little bit incognito and a little more low key than that if I had my preference. I don't want to get to the state that I can't go to the mall unless I call the owner, you know? [laughs] And have them shut it down. How fun is that?

  RL: Back when you were young and going through the Unique experience, did those kinds of thoughts ever occur to you?

  MJC: No. I was too young. I wasn't thinking. I wasn't forecasting like that back then. My forecasting was: what city are we going to next to perform, you know? It was very short. And all of us were like that to some degree because in that phase of our lives we were just happy to be performing and have a fan base and have a song on the radio and videos on Much Music. We were just excited about those things. We lacked foresight.

  RL: Did you have stars in your eyes? Did you have private dreams of stardom?

  MJC: I've always wanted the big life because I was exposed to those things. You know I've always wanted that stereotypical kind of lifestyle, again without the fame. but as I've grown wiser, I think. I've become more realistic and more...

  RL: Practical?

  MJC: Practical, thank you. I've become more practical in my expectations of life. Not that I wouldn't love to be in the situation where I can buy a castle and buy houses for all my friends and family. That would be incredible. I would love nothing more than to be able to meet somebody who needed help and just be able to do that right away. To have the power to be able to change someone's life and circumstances. I think it's a big deal, you know? And I would have fun with that! That's the thing. I'd be the best rich person in the world!

  RL: Without the money though, do you already have an avenue for helping to change peoples' lives?

  MJC: Well, I try to keep my relationships - why are you laughing?

  RL: I'm thinking of your music!

  MJC: Well! Yeah, absolutely. I guess I don't realize the significance that music can have on some people. Not that I take it for granted myself. I feed off of music and I guess I forget that people can feed off my music too. I feel too humble to say that it can change someone's life but if it does then I don't think that there's any greater compliment than that.

  RL: Has that happened to you? Have other artists and their music resonated with you that it...

  MJC: Yeah. Actually, there is one record that I can say - that definitely defined the moment where I decided that I was going to make my own music and that was a 1998 record by a Canadian girl named Esthero and I've been a fan of her ever since and the record was produced by a guy named Doc; a producer named Doc and I've met them both several times since then but it's just that record, A Breath From Another; such an awesome record; such a creative emotional record. Loved it.

  RL: Were there specific lyrics that really spoke to you or-?

  MJC: You know, I'm funny. I'm not so much about lyrics. It's not my strongest suit. It's not my strongest skill. I really appreciate lyrics but I'm far more into the sound of things. I love the marriage of the sounds; you know, experimenting with an organic sound or a natural sound and a digital sound, you know? And the vocal added into that mix and how that sounds together. I love that! You know, I listened to some music, as you heard me play for you; some Afro-Cuban music. I don't know what the hell they're saying. I'm singing along though! You know! They could be devil chanting for all I know! Actually my colleague understands Spanish so we went for lunch yesterday and I asked her, can you translate a little of this? And it ended up, the song I love ended up being about a candle and the candle representing - like - come and get this candle. It was a sexual reference. You know? Like holy shit, that's so funny!

To be continued.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Q is for Queen o' the dairy

And by Queen of the dairy I mean Dairy Queen. And by Dairy Queen I mean ice cream. And by ice cream I mean, of course, junk food in general.

So I mentioned in my last post that I am poised to lose a wack-and-a-half of pounds in the next 18 months or so. Here's how it will be done, and I am most certainly not joking. This is the diet that will do it. We'll start at Day 7:

Day 7

pancakes with butter and maple syrup
coffee, grapefruit Juice

Second Breakfast
2L chocolate milk

butter tarts
decaf coffee

bacon cheeseburger and fries
diet coke

Dairy Queen blizzard with cookie dough and Reeces peanut butter cups

all-you-can-eat Montanas ribs
beans, mashed potatos, corn bread
red wine

anything and everything that gets in my way that once had a pulse.
red wine

Sounds pretty damn good so far, doesn't it?

Days 1 through 6

Bacon, eggs, black beans, onions, shrooms and hot sauce
coffee with cream

tuna fish with mayo and no bread - or chilli or whatnot
diet coke

steak, chicken, fish or pork chops
cauliflower/white bean mash
asparagus or broccoli
1 lg glass red wine

Bed Time
wet dreams about day 7.

If the diet must have a label, it is, I suppose, the slow-carb diet. It is from the book The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss. The author and the science each strike me as particularly trustworthy for various reasons.

The science is much more precise than with other diets. Not all calories are the same and not all carbs are the same. Ferriss derived the truth through personal experimentation. He has a human guinea-pig fetish and rarely does anything without a lot of wires and gadgets attached to himself.

People I know who have tried this diet are doing very well; down by 50-to-70 pounds net in less than a year. They are healthy and happy and not going hungry while burning fat and adding muscle.

Day 7 of the 7-day cycle is knock-yourself-out day because like most diets, it neccessitates a regular spike in order to keep your body from fighting fat loss by slowing down metabolic rate - or something like that. I don't really care; just pass the ice cream.

P is for Peace, Purpose, Poison, Prostates and Procrastination

So I was Planning to do P-Day on Peace and Purpose. They are closely linked in my living experience. But then my security guard Pal at the Big Empty Warehouse revealed to me that, like me, she also does some recording while on duty there, and then responded to my keen inquiries by giving me her demo album called From My Heart To Yours. I loved the album, most especially the track Poison and so I thought I'd do P-Day on that. But any treatment on the song or album here would suffer for lack of a sound clip and I don't have her Permission at this time, to Provide one. So I'll Put that on the Pending Pile for another time.

For now... Procrastination has Put me in a crunch. I must cut corners to catch up. Thus...

P is now for Prostate Exam

So I just had my aPPointment today with Doctor Wigglefinger. My first full Physical in thirty years. Now, I can't honestly say it was the worst sex I've ever had, but it was certainly in the ball Park.

"You've had this done before, right?" said the doc as he Poured lubricant over a gloved digit.

"No," I said. "Why, have you done this before? At least one of us ought to know what we're doing." Har har.

So anyways... I have hardened arteries, Probably high cholesterol, Probably Sleep Apnea and 311 Pounds is Probably too much weight. Luckily I am Poised to lose a whole lot of it over the next year and a half.

And he wants to switch my blood Pressure meds from a calcium-whatnot-wugga-wugga to a beta-blocker instead. Whatever.

And so it occurs to me... If you're a man and you're shopping for a doctor that you intend to employ through your forties and beyond... you want to take a good look at his hands. You want to find a doctor with long fingers. You don't want a doctor with short fingers who has to fight his way inside, now do you?

Wise counsel, my friends. Wise counsel.

Warning: The following image may be disturbing:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

O is for Ormond Close

I am contractually obliged to walk 50KM per month for exercise. The things my friends do to help me to take care of myself...

Today I walked by the same old dog on the porch on Anne Ct but he finally declined to bark at me. I guess I can cross 'achieve invisibility' off my bucket list. Hmm. Or maybe his old eyes have finally gone.

Today I walked down Ormond Close for the first time. It is called Ormond Close and not Ormond Court in order to appease and comfort the corporation executives, surgeons and expendable mafia lowerlings who live there, providing them the warmth, joy and coziness that only confidence in secure property values can induce. Um. I'm guessing at all that.

First observation: The homes are all BIG and new. Second observation: The front porches are all really really tiny. The kind that could not even accommodate a little girl's tea party with a single imaginary gnome guest. The kind that states very clearly: No, dear neighbour, I'm sure you're real swell but you may not pop over and hang with me. There's no room to sit.

Ah but wait. At the throat of Ormond Close there is that trademark suburbia macaroni bend right before the intersection that hides the neighborhood from any potential unwanted types; Sunday Driver Gawkers, Joint Casers, Soiree Crashers or the like.

And to assist the illusion, the first few houses; the ones visible to passers-by on the main street, are smaller abodes. And what do you know? These smaller homes have... big porches.

Hmm. Are home builders of the impression that poor people are friendlier than rich people? Or just more outdoorzy?


Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Neurons

I don't know precisely what neurons are. As a poet I need to know about things to the extent that they affect my living experience. As far as unwitnessable scientific properties go, that falls under the nice-to-know category. And if I may be permitted a lame generalization, I do find science both interesting and useful.

My understanding is that neurons for the most part are brain cells and we probably have billions of them and they are divided into colonies, or perhaps, agencies is a better word.

[Editor's note: Billions? Try a hundred trillion.]

I know that neurological activity goes on constantly. There's a whole lot of it and it's going on outside of my conscious awareness.

I know that these agencies are always communicating. And I know that they are not communicating in English.

Nor, I suspect, are they communicating in the same language in which my consciousness thinks. Otherwise my consciousness might eavesdrop, might it not?

But I suspect it is a very similar language and here's why:

I have a theory and like all my theories and other understandings they are of original construction though I would never suspect that they are unique to me nor that I am the first to come up with any of them.

I sense that my consciousness does in fact eavesdrop and that it does so constantly, or at least, always has the opportunity to, but that the communications, being in a different though similar language, are wildly mistranslated by the consciousness. And I very much suspect that this is what we experience as dreams. Which is why dreams often make little or no sense yet seem to mean something.

I think that we dream all the time (because the brain is in communication all the time) but that we only ever notice the dreams when our consciousness is in a specific state; where it is active yet unencumbered by any input of greater significance; such as while we are awake and overwhelmed by the input of our senses.

It's like looking out a window at night. If the light is on in the room, then the window is like a mirror. You only see the inside of the room. When we are asleep, the light is off and we can then see through the window into that dream world; that outsider's view of the secret brain.

Switching back and forth from night shift to regular hours every week, I am very frequently tired. And thus I'm often falling slightly asleep for a second at a time. Each time this happens I catch a couple frames of some dream (always different) that seems to have been playing for some other audience - like walking past an open door to a cinema and catching a glimpse of a movie but without context. I think of them as dreamettes. This is why I can't help but feel that we actually are dreaming all the time.

Anyways.. It seems to me like a fairly obvious explanation.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

M is for... well... you'll see:

It's actually been about four years since it caught my attention that the naming of planets in mankind's favorite solar system is relatively uniform except for one glaring exception; that ostentatious little brat of a planet called Earth.

The other eight orbs are labelled in the realm of mythology, six of them of the Roman variety. But Earth? When has there ever been such an obvious and unapologetic display of subjectivity?

Of course, given our natural evolution out of complete ignorance, this is all entirely understandable. Nevertheless, four years ago I wrote on my bucket list: Rename Earth.

Don't worry. I'm not starting a movement. It's strictly an academic exercise though one I find truly interesting and quite likely relevant to a series of sci-fi short stories I have been planning, plotting and researching for quite some time.

The objective: Given the existing pattern of planetary nomenclature, what is the most obvious name for this third planet of the system?

"Easy," says my pal, Killer. "Terra."

"Won't even make the short list," says I.

"It's Latin," says Killer.

"Yeah?" says I. "What's Latin for Who gives a rat's ass?"

Killer: "I'd have to get back to you on that."

It didn't take long to find the solution which satisfies me.

The first step was to decipher a pattern into which Earth could fit. Immediately we see that it will be the name of a god, probably a Roman one.

Next, there are three things that stand out:

1. Earth is, for many reasons both scientific and poetic, the sister planet of Venus, thus Serena makes the short list. Ha ha! Just kid'n. We're looking at Roman, possibly Greek, mythology; not tennis mythology. It is Artemis and Athena who make the short list, among others.

2. There is an obvious lineage running toward the sun. Saturn fathered Jupiter, who fathered Mars. The previously-named Earth comes next. This presents a strong case for naming us after a child of Mars. For various reasons then, it is Romulus on the short list. Hmm. Not pretty. No Earthling I know is likely to wish to be renamed Romulan. It would totally screw up our coveted Star Trek mythology, at least without a terribly clever plot twist.

3. The Gods already represented in our system, with their various spheres of influence, cover most of mankind's most passionate and arduous pursuits. They are politics (Jupiter), media and commerce (Mercury), food (Saturn), water (Neptune), religion and family structure (Uranus), wealth (Pluto), war (Mars), love and sex (Venus).

The most obvious missing human obsessions? I must suggest they are education, art/music and, perhaps, pop culture.

As criteria 1 and 2 are obviously exclusive (Mars did not father Venus nor presumably any of her sisters) there is no way to resolve all three criteria with a single name. The next ideal then would be to find a name that satisfies two of the three; still an unlikely possibility, it occurs to me.

Well, it turns out there is of course a Roman god of art and music; more specifically, a goddess. And lo and behold: She is the sister of Venus! Two of three criteria satisfied!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:


L is for Labels

American, Canadian, gay, straight, Catholic, Jewish, Conservative, Liberal, white, black, Torontonian, Hamiltonian, Blah blah blah.

I am morbidly tired of all these words. I hear conversations based on these words, sometimes conversations that are being inflicted on me while I nod politely or simply fight to stay awake. And invariably they are conversations not bearing the slightest shred of truth. They are exercises in the softest thinking; Nonsense. I could record every sentence and craft a report that demonstrates the sad falseness of every sentence. But why would I do that?

Not everyone is a committed seeker of truth, and why should they be? They are occupied, doing what they feel they must to survive. They are raising children, raising roofs and raising their salaries. I can not complain about this. They are keeping the race alive and keeping me in coffee, wine and automobiles which I readily accept. I am no hero. I make use of their offerings, for better or worse, and I offer them the fruits of my own poetic labour, whoever may listen; whatever use they may make of it.

So why sometimes, am I inclined to slap them in the face by telling them that everything they believe is wrong? Perhaps by the time this rambling is done I will have some answer for that.

Labels. Wretched things. It is unarguable that every living thing is unique. Yet so few wish to acknowledge it. We insist on having easy peasy simple conversations full of generalized nonsense stemming from the feeling that labels are something real; that labels actually tell us something real about someone or something.

Example: Nationalism.

Masters of labour and commerce have dictated the bond between "Americans" and "Canadians" while bubble-headed politicians strut around pretending that they have something to do with it; while average "citizens" bash each other across the 49th parallel; insulting their imaginary neighbors to the south or north for whatever imaginary faults the airheads at CNN have planted in their meagre little minds this given day.

Do you want to know how the average American citizen and average Canadian citizen compare? I know plenty of each by the way.

The average Canadian citizen spends his day chasing the objectives of his greed, guarding his reputation with undiagnosed neurotic obsession and paranoia, obeying constant directives from obsolete survival instincts and mistaking the simple biochemical processes that bind him to his children as some glorious holy love while blindly orchestrating the ruination of their little lives. Then he goes home and learns nothing of his plight because he's distracted by a mob of talentless television twits, while his brain, once young and vital and curious, now grows softer and softer.

Meanwhile the average American spends his day chasing the objectives of his greed, guarding his reputation with undiagnosed neurotic obsession and paranoia, obeying constant directives from obsolete survival instincts and mistaking the simple biochemical processes that bind him to his children as some glorious holy love while blindly orchestrating the ruination of their little lives. Then he goes home and learns nothing of his plight because he's distracted by a mob of talentless television twits, while his brain, once young and vital and curious, now grows softer and softer.

How am I doing so far? Am I winning any new friends?

Just the fact that you are reading this blog is an indication that you may very well not be *average*, by the way, so please don't feel insulted.

I have a friend who graduated from a prison environment where he was well acquainted with a group of individuals who were all loud-mouthed, foul-mouthed, garishly dressed, infantile-minded gangster types and who all had black skin. Now he goes around angry at the world for calling him racist when he complains about black people.

He defends himself stating he has made honest and consistent observations.

But I suggest it is not the black part that is the problem. It's the loud-mouth part or the foul-mouth part. So perhaps he should complain about "foul-mouthed people" or "loud-mouthed people" instead of "black people." Perhaps that would be a bit more intelligent and a bit more accurate. perhaps it would also be more kind with regards to all the millions of black people who are polite and quiet and who wear their pants in the general vicinity of their waist. And perhaps it would be a lot kinder to me, given there are intelligent, kind, inspired black people who are my friends and whom I dearly cherish and respect.

But that's tribal instinct for you. As useless as it is ubiquitous.

Every person I've ever met is utterly unique in the universe, and the universe could not be what it is without them. And for all my above bitching about the general failing of the dull masses they are all in the habit of occasional feelings or acts of kindness, love, empathy and generosity, each of these incidents a small miracle given the once-necessary, but cruel, nature of life.

Beyond the propping up of our own brittle egos, we will never accomplish anything truthful or useful in conversation without recognizing the reality of uniqueness; without passing up the tyranny of labels and getting at the specific realities of specific persons or things, which usually means suppressing our own illusion of enlightenment and deconstructing our own selves. Dangerous work though that may be!

Even the label human is a generalization. We might assess it a useful label because it is 99.9999% or so reliable but it is worth understanding that it is not 100% reliable.

If you're a human does that mean that your children will be human? Does that mean that both your parents had to be human?

Yes and yes, obviously. Right? But what's the problem? The reality of evolution which we have now observed too long in action to be dismissed as theory, is the problem.

If you're a human then your mother had to be human. So her mother had to human. So her mother had to be human. And so on, infinitely? Of course we come to a problem, don't we? At some point in your great lineage, your great great great (etc, etc...) grandmother was not human but something resembling a chimp and which I know not the name for. Look further into your family tree and you will find a shrew or few! Look much further and your own personal ancestors were all sea polyps.

Even our own status as "human" is likely only temporary. Look forward in time. For how long will you and I maintain the label? Whatever unfamiliar creature our kind evolve into, assuming we survive this decadent and dangerous adolescence of the human race, may just want to keep the label human for themselves and may relegate our generation, post-mortem, to some kind of "pre-human" term.

The lesson is that all labels, to some degree are a cheat. Some much more so than others. It's worth remembering. Because at some point we will need to become smarter than our instincts. I'm pretty certain it will become necessary.

I mistrust all systemizers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

To generalize is to be an idiot. To particularize is the lone distinction of merit. General knowledge are those knowledge that idiots possess.
- William Blake

Everything popular is wrong.
- Oscar Wilde

Saturday, April 14, 2012

K is for Keen

Well, here's a cheap throw-away post if there ever was one. I'm falling behind in the A-Z Challenge and must catch up. On the upside, M-Day is already written and you must come back for that on Saturday - or maybe Sunday. it is a very special post. Well, to me anyway. It's a subject I'm very keen on.

Ah, yes. K is for Keen. And here are the kinds of things I'm keenest on:

quiet solitude, red wine, Rush, steak, Settlers of Catan, space exploration, the Ybor City Tabaqueros, ziti tagliatti, art, astronomy, Bruce Cockburn, butter chicken, cigars, cosmology, creativity, the evolution of consciousness, guitars, garlic, harmony, imagination, jerk pork, Lord of the Rings, music, Montana's ribs and Monty Python.

And speaking of Monty Python: What are King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table most keen on? Why, finding the holy grail of course. But is the "master" of the French Taunter keen on joining them? If you don't know, then you must find out here:

And now, if you watched the video, you will understand the mystery behind this man: Alex Steen; property of Skeeter Willis and the Port Credit Cardinals of the SHL:

Why his nickname is I Don't Zink He'll Be Very Steen...

Friday, April 13, 2012

J is for Justice

I'm sitting here, right now, watching an employee of Beaudry Landscaping wander up and down a very long and bare sidewalk blowing air at it from a gas-powered leaf blower, removing, now and then, I presume, the odd mote of dust. One thing is for sure: Humans will get the planet they deserve. Natural justice.

I was young. Maybe twelve. The two eldest boys decided how to divide us into teams for a neighborhood football game. They put all the best players on their team.

"That's not fair," I said.

"Well, kid, you need to learn that life isn't fair."

"Because of people like you?" I said. It was a rhetorical question.

Lawyer and poet Ed Wildman once wrote that the city streets were a safer place than courtrooms. Because on the street a man got what was coming to him. In the courtroom it was a crapshoot.

Fairness and justice are interesting concepts. They are human ideas and every bit as real as any other human ideas: Oz. Narnia. Santa Clause. Next-day delivery.

As ideas, fairness and justice make excellent ideals to pursue but they are useless as expectations. Fairness connotes equality; another lovely unattainable idea, while justice traffics in retribution and disincentive. Slippery concepts.

At the same altitude of the social stratosphere is harmony. Now there is a concept that is far clearer and measurable than fairness or justice, at least if you're a poet. Where I once stood in relation to harmony I have no recollection. At this moment I have no idea what you might read into that word. It would have been a great topic for H-Day had I thought of it. In essence, from this poet's view it is the pursuit of prosperity without harm to others. And as far as I know, there is no concept that I can not examine in real terms with regards to its capacity for and/or against harmony. The trick is to be able to break it down into its (potentially conflicting) components and to treat its network of cause and effect with due diligence.

Am I making any sense to you?

Let me get to the point.

Neither fairness or societal justice mean much to me any more. Nor does the law. I live and breathe the scales of harmony and the scales of natural justice. It is my undeniable living experience.

When my poetic journey; my search for truth, came together in a huge way, my life changed completely. Illusions vanished. Twenty societal illnesses went with them; some completely, some almost completely. The freedom and the peace that I feel everyday, to varying degrees, is perhaps beyond explanation; perhaps beyond belief. Either way, I decline to go on about it presently, but I had to bring it up because it is essential to this hard reality of natural justice. I am pretty much out of the societal game; the game of reputation. I am the only real judge of myself and there is no escaping judgement.

There are still sins I commit which are rarely recognized as sins by most people and certainly not against the law. And I pay for these sins every time. There is no impunity. I am witheld from the freedom and I am witheld from the peace at the times of these reckonings. That is natural justice and it is brutally efficient. It is an experience most people probably never consciously realize their entire life though I am sure we all experience it. It's like a man born in jail and never ever being lawful enough to earn parole. He is punished by being made to stay though he doesn't acknowledge the punishment because he doesn't know what he is missing.

We will pay the price But we will not count the cost.
- Neil Peart

Men are not punished for their sins but by them.
- Kin Hubbard (1868-1930)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I is for Indecision

Well, what a mess I've made of this. "I" was for Ice Cream, I had thought, but then I moved Ice Cream to Q (don't ask) to make room for the subject of Illusion, or more precisely, Illusion Part Two. Illusion Part One already came out - when was that? - looking it up... hang on... Damn. It was January 19. I've made you wait way to long for part two but the reality is, I really have dreaded finishing the illusion article. There is just no way to do it justice. It requires a vast amount of explanation to pull together so many unfamiliar concepts and to explain barely enough about each that the whole message might somehow bear a shred of credibility in the ears of the uninitiated. The blog culture demands a degree of brevity and frankly the whole exercise amounts to a lot of hard work.

...I is for Inertia...

In my defense, I would probably not be quite so lazy if only I wasn't so tired all the time.

... I is for Insomnia...

In truth, I am barely awake right now. My security gigs are night shift, my volunteer work day shift. The constant sleep adjustments are Teh Suck according to west coast cool kid jargon that surely went in and out of style before I ever picked it up.

The other big problem with the illusion topic is that I am spilling answers that come from years of sustained, courageous, extremely honest observation and contemplation. It is in a sense, a terrible cheat (on my part) to just hand out the answers as if they'll be accepted. It should be my mandate to assist in guiding people toward their own poetic leanings so that they are more likely to make useful discoveries on their own, for that is what happened to me. No one gave me the answers. Likely that is the wise way to do it. But how much opportunity exists for that and how unlikely to find the connections? If I throw out answers then perhaps the right people will take notice and say, "Hey, I think I know what you're talking about. Let's get together." Anyways... Who knows?

...I is for I Don't Know...

I is also for Internet Freedom. Lot of talk about that lately. It has always amazed me that the internet has remained as "free" as it has. People are now saying, "Hey! Keep our internet free just like our democracy! Don't take away our democratic internet!" People are wildly confused, I think. Our democracy is little more than the illusion of freedom if you don't think about it too much, which people are really good at. The internet seems much more legitimately free to me. I've always assumed that the masters will seize control of the great webbery any day now, but I suppose the process will be a slow and insipid one with occasional tests like these to see if the sheep - sorry - I mean citizens - might just tolerate a sudden overhaul. It's kind of nice that so far, we are saying no.

It seems to me that the math indicates that man must make evolutionary steps real soon or else kiss its ass goodbye. The internet is a recent phenomena that offers the possibility for the masses across the globe to bond and to dismiss artificial borders; to disempower the mighty who can not resist their greed and who would continue rushing us toward the dark end. The barriers are steep though. We use the net to play at superficial things. We are so blind.

Well, enough talk of gloom. Have a nice day!

Monday, April 09, 2012

H is for Helping Hands

My volunteer work has recently expanded beyond the kids' book clubs and writers groups to the criminal justice community. I'm working with two groups of individuals who are in transition out of federal custody. One is a creative forum, the other an extensive idea-sharing forum.

I have just come to realize, I think, how critical the volunteer community is to the successful "rehabilitation" of former offenders. Basically, if the volunteer programs are not strong enough with regards to reintegration-to-society efforts, the *other* volunteer community will instead prevail; that circle of supportive criminals offering to assist reintegration to criminal life.

I say this without cynicism. I perceive there is intended kindness in both forms.

Still I can't help but suspect that the largest influence on this equation lies in the actions of parole officers. And while I never witness their interactions with their wards, I do see some of the fallout from their decision-making.

I see them try to create positive motivation through stiff rules rather than effective counselling; surely a delinquent concept by any school of psychology. That concerns me.

And I see the physical state of the environment inside one community correctional centre for residents who are on conditional release. It is one barely tolerated, I imagine, by the mice who share the residence. Yet the tenants, to their significant credit, treat their meagre comforts with gratitude and care.

Does this send any messages do you suppose, when parolees are treated at par with mice? Are they to feel they are viewed as potential contributors to society or are they to feel viewed as hopeless and unwanted?

I know which circle of volunteers I would slink back to if I were to be treated as hopeless and unwanted by the mainstream. Let us hope that my limited observations are not representative of the norm.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

FWiG books a day off

Saturday, April 07, 2012

G is for Grudges

So the Countessa needed someone to look after Biodad's dog while she vacationed for a week. I volunteered though certainly not without reservation. This mutt has never been trained in any way or form that I can detect.

Immediately upon entry to the Liberal Theologian's home where I rent the ground floor, he ascended to the shared second floor and pissed all over the place and refused every command I issued. I considered the options.

1. Snap his little spine.
2. Deliver him to the nearest animal shelter
3. Confine him to my ground floor (where there are no carpets).

The Ouija board chose option 3 and for the rest of the week we got along pretty good and he only peed outside or on the allocated puppy pads. Good boy!

The situation was still a royal pain in the ass as I had to let him in my bed and put him out for very frequent piddles and poopies. He's a drink-a-holic and a walking sprinkler; probably stemming from a poor diet and gourd-knows what untreated medical conditions.

When the Countessa failed to pick him up on the Friday morning as promised, I was unimpressed. I work 36 hours of night shifts over the weekend and need every available moment to attempt enough sleep to get by. A full-bladdered furball in the bed with me does not help the effort ever one tiny bit.

She again failed to pick him up according to the new plan; on the Saturday and finally came through on the Sunday morning.

Will I ever do a favor for her again? Out of the question.

Does that mean I am holding a grudge? Not at all.

Can't I forgive her? Of course. She was forgiven immediately.

I am not telling a bad-behavior story here for the sake of feeling superior to someone. It is a case in point to assist demonstration of what I observe in terms of grudges versus forgiveness.

Are our living experiences constructed of choices and consequences or of causes and effects? The answer, of course, is both; Just as matter is made up of molecules and simultaneously of atoms. It just depends on the magnification of the microscope.

Poetic observation tells me that choices and consequences are the manifestation of precise causes and effects which exist minutely and beyond a human's conscious mind to precisely track. The view in terms of the (significantly less granular) pattern of choices and consequences however, is somewhat accessible.

The Countessa chose to shirk responsibility. A consequence is that she will no longer receive any favors from me.

I chose to do the favor in the first place, knowing the risks, or else eventually acknowledging that I should have known the risks, which is why I was largely at peace with the circumstances despite the difficulties.

As a matter of fact I did do some brief bitching about it which is very rare for me but it was really only recreation and not stress of any measure.

From poetic examination I understand that human beings are not what they think they are; they are not independently sentient, consolidated mini-me godlings. Each human is a society. Each brain actually a collection of brains of constantly transforming hierarchies of which the conscious awareness is a small and rather insignificant portion but yet the only portion that "we" can truly latch on to as our "self".

I have found it difficult to explain to people why I must always forgive.

To forgive, by my understanding of the word, is not to pretend the offence never happened but to simply be at peace with the fact that it has happened and to allow natural justice alone punish the perpetrator without any useless spiteful reaction from me.

I am forgiving the "self" of the perpetrator because the self is largely a slave and a victim of the greater society-of-one which operates almost entirely by the manifestations of survival instincts in accordance with the omnipotent cause-and-effect web that began with the big bang (or whatever singularity that is our origin). In other words, all offenses against me were always inevitable.

That I am not being charitable to the entire society that is the Countessa does not mean I am holding a grudge. It is simply a reasonable policy decision on my part. There are many many people more deserving of my favors and I can not be everywhere at once.

When I once tried to explain to the very excellent Renaissance Kid why I can forgive people for murdering cows and destroying the environment and sifting undeserved wealth through corrupt capitalist slave systems he responded, "No, no! People must make better choices!"

I understand his reaction. I agree entirely. I can forgive while still attempting to help people to evolve consciously and to make better choices in the future, starting, of course, with myself! To forgive is not necessarily to walk away and forget about everything.

It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels but because they do not expect holiness from one another but from God only.
- William Blake

Friday, April 06, 2012

F is for Fail

Oh dear.

Do you ever look at a photo and not grasp for the longest time what you're actually looking at?

There are a whole lot of really nice sweet people on the interwebs who blog about the simple pleasures in life; their relationships with family, their relationship with God. Their dog. Their church. Those sorts of things. The A-Z Challenge led me to That Corgi's blog where E-Day was all about Easter eggs and the church easter egg hunt. That Corgi contributed to the event by buying plastic eggs and then hiring her young son to stuff them full of candy (she didn't want to tempt herself with the delilcious morsels).

Other nice sweet people commented on her nice sweet post but I was paralyzed from doing so. Something seemed incredibly wrong to me.

Have a look at her photo of her plastic eggs and then come right back here and read my conclusion. Okay?

Did you see the photo?

I swear to god.

I swear...

To god.

I thought they were dildoes.

I thought she accidently enlisted her son to stuff dildoes.

Does this mean I'm going to hell?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

E is for testicular Elephantiasis

Sorry about that. I just always wanted to work "testicular Elephantiasis" into a sentence and I've been waiting a long time so I figured this is might be the best I could do. And I confess, I thought it was called testicular Elephantitis until I looked it up on wikipedia but regardless, I have nothing to say on the matter. So... Start over!

E is for Embrace

And we shall now banish the word Embrace from the room and call it instead, Hugs.

Now... I don't really want to do this 'cause it's probably going to be embarrassing but I don't care because I'm a damn poet and I know very well what an illusion it is for anyone to think they can possibly know me or judge me so here goes:

I love hugs.

And depending who the huggee is, it's better than sex. Or at least a lot less work.

Now one could easily feel uncomfortable hearing a man talk like this, eh? Because it's kind of regarded as a feminine trait to prefer cuddling over squealing-and-rutting but I really do. So there. And I don't care who knows it.

And I like hugging friends too, you know, without the intimate overtones. It helps me communicate to them that I love them.

When someone is sad; upset, I feel compelled to hug them to demonstrate that I truly care about their suffering, and yet, I can't do virtual hugs. When an online acquaintance has some suffering to share, I can not bring myself to type *hugs* across the wires. It really feels wrong to me. It's too easy. There is just no way to demonstrate the sincerity of it. And I know that we live in a society where very little is as sincere as the shades of perception which we paint. Human beings are primarily puppeteers.

Throughout my life from high school forward I have now and then loved very very dearly to the point, you might say, of infatuation. And if you're inclined to say that infatuation is not love, well then, you can just head on out of here because that is an enormous pile of horseshit which I'm not inclined to tolerate just now. Love is like molecules. They are of a tremendous number of permutations. There are a multitude of possible connections from which love can be built. To judge some patterns of connections as illegitimate is to be an incredible ass.

Wow. That was a bitter little tangent.

What I wish to say about these occasional longings in my life is that when I have thought of my beloved - and these few individuals have ultimately related to me in different ways, by the way, from avoidance (in high school) to friendship to "very special friendship" to an affair of significant physical intimacy.

As I was saying, when I have, in moments of solitude, indulged in feelings of intense longing, it has always been thoughts of a warm hug that has moved me, and moved me to a point that I can probably not describe. It has on occasion been a desire so dear and overwhelming, it is a projection of bliss; of a heavenly state no godly offering could possibly eclipse in any afterlife reward.

Our widely-held superstition that love should only count if reciprocal is a mathematical nightmare and an occasional fascination to me, with shades of survivable torment.

To be permitted to hug my adored has at times been a yearning so deep it confounds and contradicts. On one hand how could a gift so easily given but worth so much to the receiver possibly be withheld? It is like a penny that turns into a billion dollars if freely given. So how could you not give it? But at the same time, how could I possibly deserve; how could anyone possibly deserve such a Utopian reward? And that is the reason I rarely make such a request.

Now... Look at this poor guy. Don't you just want to give him a big hug? As long as you could find a way to stand clear of his you-know-what?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

D is for Dining rooms

So lately I've been making a lot of plans to meet people at restaurants which I'm previously unfamiliar with. Being an interwebs-savvy, plan-ahead kind of guy, I like to go to the restaurant web site and try to get a feel what kind of joint it is so that I can temper my expectations. I actually prefer just to see what their dining room looks like, which tells me much of what I want to know.

Unfortunately many restaurants don't have this idea on their radar and their web site will not feature useful image of their dining room, but then I'll see that their web menu will feature a photo gallery so I'll go there with high hopes only to discover it is pic after pic of gangs of red-faced drunk people with their arms thrown around each other. The flash usually lights up their red faces and leaves the background in darkness.

Somehow I never find this useful. Once you've seen a few dozen gangs of red-faced drunk people you've pretty much seen 'em all.

So my excellent young brother has chosen a place called the Tin Cup for our family Easter celebration this year. Naturally I hit their site and in search of the elusive dining room photo I was suckered into opening their online photo gallery only to find pic after pic of this:

Hmm... Massive terminal food poisoning? Are their cups really made of tin? I'm a little nervous about what we're getting into with the Tin Cup Sport Grill or whatever.

Perhaps I'll order a "platter of sleeping ass holes" and see what reaction I get.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

C is for Cars - no - Creativity. No, Cars!

Good grief. I want to write about both. Cars could instead be Autos or Creativity could be Art but A is long gone in either case. Cars could be Vehicles but I really wanted to do Volunteering. I suppose that could be Helping Hands but I really wanted to do Hugs. Yikes. What a pit of tinkering and negotiation I've fallen into with this A-Z thing.

Okay. I have E still open. Hugs can instead be Embraces. Done!

Now, where was I?

Ah, yes. Creativity. I could talk for hours on this subject. In fact I have talked for hours on this subject. But let me be succinct here tonight, and it doing so, I will speak boldly without the added verbosity that comes with qualifying my opinions. I'll say it once. All that follows are my opinions. Though they are understandings based on very honest and arduous exploration. Here we go:

What makes us human; sets us apart? There is nothing special about the human body. Every feature exists in other species and in some, much superior versions. Intelligence? We are more intelligent perhaps but only by degree. Plenty of intelligence exists in other mammals and perhaps their levels of intelligence are actually superior because perhaps their levels are sustainable whereas our capacity to invent and technologize may very well spell our undoing.

No, it is imagination and creativity that set us apart. It is these that are uniquely human.

Every person is a poet, a writer, an artist, a musician, a dancer, an actor. We all have these rare, strictly human capacities and yet most of us deny it.

"Oh, I have no talent for that..."

Bullshit. We can all do these things but we lose sight of that because we don't practice such art forms for years or decades. And we think we have no talent because we compare our self to the masters of our global pop-culture. We think we can't compete with Stephen King or Ansel Adams or Norman Rockwell or George Clooney but compete how so? For money?

The great money-winners are largely false artists. They only do what is perceived as marketable, which is to cater to the lowest common denominators of the dull masses.

True art is not about money and it's not about pleasing the dull masses. It is about the process. It is about facing the blank page. It is about solitude. It is about asking the big questions or the scary questions and slowly discovering the big answers - or the scary answers. It is about true learning; that which stems from your honest observations and which only can be devised and constructed through sustained contemplation. It is about revelation and enlightenment. It is about real intelligence; about empathy, the precursor to real love.

Most people who have no creative outlets are just part of the big ugly economic machine with no vision for making life better for themselves, other humans and other stakeholders in the planet. They're slaves to their greed and ego. They're all about chasing false promises of happiness, making more money, buying more useless crap and burying it in the ground and training their children to be equally useless in their own lives. With no real intelligence they borrow sound bytes to pass as an illusion of intelligence while they blindly follow the asinine preaching of the so obviously corrupt leaders of society.

William Blake and other poets have claimed, in essence, that mankind will never climb out of this pit we have dug for ourselves until everyone becomes a poet.

Now - that said: There are plenty of exceptions. I know people who don't seem to be creative and yet they are intelligent and loving and contribute to efforts to make the world a better place. How do they do it? I don't know. I don't know everything. I know how writers and artists and musicians do it and it makes sense to me. To you exceptions out there: You have my admiration.

Okay. I think I'm missing a lot here but I've been half asleep the whole time and I must get to bed. I have to be up early tomorrow to go to the Princess of Schools and work with a bunch of excellent kids with their novel reading and creative writing; to hopefully instill in them a permanent habit for creativity and imagination!


There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease. A cancer of this planet; a plague.- Agent Smith (film: The Matrix)

For the first time he contemplated, lovelessly but with pity, the lamentable human flock, born to graze and die.
- Georges Bernanos (novel: Under Satan's Sun)

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
- Albert Einstein

Monday, April 02, 2012

B is for Beer

And I have a new favorite. Newcastle Brown Ale. B is also for Brown, by the way. Newcastle now replaces Kronenbourg as my personal fave, which replaced Guinness around 2009, which replaced Molson Export circa 1999 which replaced Schooner Beer as my misguided fave in 1988.

Wow. This a completely useless post. B also stands for Banal and Boring. I promise to cook up something more substantial for C Day.

A is for Apologies

1. I'm sorry for the preceeding post which was indulgent and rude but sometimes I just feel like being a blabbermouth because it's cheap and easy entertainment.

2. I'm sorry for missing Day 1 of the April A-to-Z Challenge which I probably should not have signed up for, but I didn't even hear about it until today. You have to blog 26 articles in 30 days and I'll guess you can decipher for yourself how that relates to the alphabet. As if that alone wasn't enough of a pain in the ass, they actually expect you to stick to a very precise schedule. I don't know why they have to be so fussy about it.

Anyhoo... That's all I have to say. So there.