Okay, look, I know I am not the most conventional guy in the world but does that make me weird? For some reason, this little thought popped into my head today and it hasn't quite finished its sweeping arcs around my mental lobes. Thus, I thought, it was worth pursuing a little bit, at least. I don't think I am going to make a whole lot of sense in this post as this is more of a stream of my random thoughts but do keep reading. I am sure there is a gem in there somewhere.
I assume that anyone reading this (hellooooo, out there?) has had a moment at some point in their life where they thought they were some sort of "out of bounds" kind of person. They may have thought they were different in some sort of negative way or thought of themselves as being "different". I think many stumble across such mental musings when and outside influence decides to mention that they may or may not be weird.
There is a scene in the film Stand By Me where the character of Gordie LaChance asks his best friend, Chris Chambers, if he is weird.
"Do you think I'm weird?"
"No, man. Seriously. Am I weird?"
"Yah, but so what. Everybody's weird."
That little exchange has saved me from many situations where some crazy individual tells me that I am weird. Combined with most of these comments are finishing sentences like "grow up" or "start acting your age". It is these comments that tend to hit me the hardest. I have learned over the years to just accept that my attitude about the world is a decent construct of thoughts and personal belief. And that everyone else has just the same structure but not the same content.
There is a simple truth in the world. People are silly. No, seriously, they are silly. I have run into so many inflexible individuals in my short time on this planet that I have determined that we're either all weird or just insane. I tend to lean towards the latter conclusion but that would, of course, mean that I was also insane. It is a twisted world we live in when I can start off talking about whether or not I am weird and end up in the bowels of self reflection of whether or not I am sane or insane.
Of course, I am forced to conclude that I am incredibly sane otherwise I wouldn't be having these little discussions with my inner self. But back to the topic at hand. Are we weird? Or am I myself weird.
I don't think I am weird. I suspect that I may be more comfortable with myself than some others. This usually manifests into more "crazy" behaviour (which I attribute to my many years of improv theatre) and I tend not to be afraid of what other individuals think of me. Sure, there are people I know and respect their opinions but, you see, it is those people who also take me for who I am. I attempt to do the same.
I have also been told that I should never change. I don't ever intend to change. I like who I am and I like where I am going. But, dammit, don't tell me who to be. Most of us out there are full of shit and I tend to be one to call people on their crap. As I get older, it seems I am doing that more freely too.
When will the world "grow up"? It won't. I am sane. It is the rest of the world that let the cheese slip off the cracker.
Well, as most of you probably know, it was sunny today in our fair town of Vancouver, BC. This detail by itself is not amazing but, for those of us who call Vancouver home, it is pretty darn cool. (Oh, and I walked in a shoe for the first time in months. Did I mention that yet?)
Yes, I did. I walked while wearing proper shoes on both feet. I won't be doing that again for another couple of weeks because it hurt like a bastard once I had the shoe on. Hopefully, the surgeons from the St. Paul's Foot and Ankle clinic won't ever read this but -- I assure them -- no damage was done. It was just an experiment for an hour to see how my foot was feeling about the whole "shoe thing" and it told me quite happily that putting on a shoe (is hard) and walking around (is not too bad) is something I need to wait on.
But why would I subject myself to such a torture? (You really need to break your ankle to understand the pain you are able to cause.) We've had a pretty grey winter (more so than usual) and this town has lacked a decent sunny day for what seems like months. There were a few moments in early December where we didn't feel entirely in the dark but that was such a long time ago we have collectively forgotten. You'd really have to live here to appreciate how much sun one needs or desires.
But it was such a nice day, how could I not entertain the idea of stepping out and getting "some D". I won't do that again, however. The pain of getting the shoe on was crazy insane. I never would have guessed that the process of putting on a shoe would cause so much searing pain.
I think, perhaps, a new set of shoes is in order. Something to treat my ankles with. They have worked over time these past couple of months and deserve something with fur and comfy goodness. Any suggestions?
There is something fascinating about reviewing things I have written in the past. I wish I could describe it better than just being "fascinating" but I am having a hard time coming up with a proper way to elaborate on the experience. I suppose an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation may have an easier time at making sure every nuance of my thoughts on this particular experience would be clear enough for those reading this but, as much as I would love to live on a holo-deck, you will have to survive my commentary a bit longer.
If you've been hanging around my web site, you'll know (or at least have an idea) that I hurt myself at the end of 2012. This injury has made my 2013 much different than I had imagined. During my recovery, I have had a bunch of time to catch up on personal projects. One of these projects is my own personal web site. It is the curse of the typical blogger that allows their talent to be sucked up with paying work that is similar to their personal interests. It is almost cruel. Many people find themselves in the same boat. Almost trapped between two worlds.
Of course, there are those who find or create a balance between the work and the personal. They are able to separate their day from their nights (or vice versa). They are able to create for themselves a dividing line to keep their work and life apart. There are also those who are lucky to find that their personal interests are identical.
I wish I were one of those who are able to keep their "two lives" completely separate. I understand that I am not in the minority. From what I had read, the majority of people are in the same situation. There is very little difference between the work they do for a living and the work they do for themselves. This creates an issue regarding either time or money. It depends highly on how the individual deals with finances or personal desire.
But that is not what I started out talking about. As a matter of fact, I don't recall what I was intending on chatting about. How odd -- but not entirely out of the ordinary for this blogger. When I write for my own personal things, I don't tend to plan it out. I prefer the thought of the day as being a starting point. I can usually go from there and, more often than not, it all works out and makes some form of sense.
Ah, yes, my ankle and blogging through the pain. It is fascinating to read things one has written during a time of stress and pain. I wrote everything by hand and having to go through those written pages brings up all kinds of emotions. My broken ankle hasn't been a "huge deal" overall but the moments where I have lost my sense of hope or fell down the rabbit hole of frustration are documented in some fashion and are still very raw. I am not doing the best job at describing this. All I can say is that I will continue to go through them and post them as I get them typed in. There are some that make no sense at all and I will probably ditch those as "drug addled" writing but, maybe, I will choose a some gems from them to share.
I am glad I stuck with writing since I broke my ankle. It has proved to be a time of reflection that will not go unused. Just how I will use it remains to be seen but, whatever I do, I am sure it will be amazing.
There is something disturbing about losing control. I don't know about you but I am not a fan of being unable to control my mental state. I am quite good at it. I am able to talk myself in and out of different mental spaces and I like to feel like I am "in control" of myself in any situation. I don't want to control the situation, just how I am reacting to any experiences I encounter.
But not so much these days.
I have mentioned this before about the whole "not being in control" thing. I don't remember when I mentioned these thoughts (even though I know I wrote them down somewhere)...
"I wrote them down so I wouldn't have to remember."
-- Henry Jones Senior
...but I know I have, you know, thought them. This is what I mean. I don't have the control I normally do. It is either pain, depression, or something worse. Maybe i am being infested with alien bugs intent on taking me over.
Yes, that must be it. Of course it is, Shane. Alien bugs. What else could it be?
It would be almost simpler if it were alien bugs. I wouldn't feel down, out of control, or... anything. I think that is the saddest part of this whole situation. I feel useless and I just want to go to sleep until my ankle is solid as a metal-infused rock again. I just can't help but feel this way.
But I am glad I am documenting it. It makes for fascinating reading, yes? NO? Damn you all! Daaaaamn you! But I know I was thinking about writing something else regarding this loss of control but I can't remember.
Oh, yes. Hot nurses. I mentioned the other day about how it would be awesome to have a hot nurse bathe me. Someone suggested that one's spouse do it.
Let me fill you in on a little secret. When you are grumpy, smelly, and just trying to get through each day with some dignity -- you don't want the person taking care of you all day (cough, all week, er, month long) to wash you. It just isn't in the cards. At this very moment in time, I feel the least sexy individual on the face of the planet. I have never felt so incredibly horrific. I don't want someone I care a great deal about to look upon me any more than she has to.
I want some hot nurses to do it. I want them to look upon my fat, bloated, not-quite-a-corpse to look upon my greatness and bathe me as if I were a Greek god in the flesh. Yes. It is very weird to feel this way about my broken body but, dammit, I want to feel a little more desirable and why not dream about women (I don't have any chance with at all) to wash me down.
Yes. This is what I am talking about. The loss of logic. I hate that. I don't mind a fantasy now and then but can't I have a fantasy where I don't feel gross and broken?
It has been just over two weeks since my surgery. I do not feel normal. I visited the doctor earlier this week for the post-operation "looksie". Apparently, everything is going swimmingly. If I could swim, I would. I feel a lot like drowning these days.
"Tits on a bull." I said to the doctor.
"You'll feel better but not very soon." He replied.
I had expected him to smile or something but he was just an intern or student or whatever it is they call you when you're learning. He was nice enough but my attitude has been really negative. I hate feeling useless but I also know it is good for me to rest and do nothing. Keep myself busy with what work I can do and confirm that I do have some form of usefulness.
Time is also speeding up.
I don't know if it is because I turn forty this year (fuck, turning forty) or if it is because I am sitting on my ass all the time. I wonder if there is some correlation regarding the passage of time and how many showers you can't take.
Ugh. I can't shower yet. This is a problem. I am washing my hair in the sink and sponging myself. You'd think I would at least have a young, hot, and loose nurse to take care of that portion of my day. I think this must be the drugs talking...
"I heard that you were feeling ill..."
I have been attempting a couple of half days the past two days. But I have failed miserably. I have attempt to do some work this week since last week was a write off but I am still finding it difficult to sleep now.
Oh, did I mention this? I don't think I did. Since I acquired my new cast, my ability to sleep has been impossible. I can't sleep with it off and I can't sleep with it on. I have been getting maybe an hour here or there but fractured sleep isn't sleep at all in my opinion. I don't think anyone would agree with me more. So, I am back to feeling like a useless dork and having to survive on little sleep and what work I can manage. In other words, I am still a bump on a log. Who knew I would become so agitated at sitting still. I guess I am having to learn a new skill. I thought for a while that it would be EASY to sit around and do nothing all day. I quote a famous adventurer:
"You sound like someone who has everything they got and, now, they don't want what they got."
Yah, it is true. I think that deep down, there is a small part of us that wants to just sit around and watch Married With Children all day. I don't see a problem with that. But, now that I am being told that is all I am supposed to be doing -- it is driving me slightly nuts.
Anyway. Today, I got a short treat. I was allowed to go out. I was allowed to leave the house and visit the outside world. Allyson is not happy about this because it has only been a couple of weeks since my surgery and she is not wanting me to injure myself but I think she recognized that I was going nuts at home. I was running out of books. I was complaining like a two year old child. Honestly, I don't think she could take it any more. I wanted attachment. I wanted to see the outside world just once this week.
Thus, I was granted a short breakfast visit to The Edge Cafe. It was glorious! I love that place. The people are great, the food is decent, and it wasn't my sofa. It is the small things we fall in love with, isn't it?
While I was there, I was able to get a photograph on my tablet of me looking very... well, me.
I got my third cast today. It is a plastic piece of equipment that I can take on an off. I was told not to take it off for a couple of weeks as it would cause me pain and they would prefer if my leg was motionless for as long as possible.
A weird request, I thought. Why would I take this damn thing off? I don't want to take it off. It may be a bad idea to take it off considering my surgery was only a week and a bit ago.
But, according to what they have told me, there are many people who think that since surgery is done and they start feeling better, they re-break the ankles by stepping on them too soon and do some interesting damage -- titanium screws working on some creative carving. I intend to keep my screws in place and not do anything stupid. I am terrified of messing up the doctor's good work.
As a matter of fact, I am feeling a whole lot more lucid these past few days. I am still in pain and taking medication but I am weaning my way off them. I had a bad incident late last week when I forgot to take my medication and my regular pain killers. You see, something they failed to tell me is why I am supposed to take the Hydromorphone and the Acetaminophen together. The other night I forgot to take the Acetaminophen. About an hour passed when I found out. Unfortunately, it was also 4am.
You have never felt head pain like that. (Unless you've had a large iron bar passed through the centre of your head.) I wanted to die. It was one of the first times in my life when I felt that death would be preferable to the pain. It felt like a small black hole had formed inside of my head -- the dead centre -- and started to suck my soul into it. I cried. Pugs cuddled and looked worried. Ally looked on, unsure of what to do other than say reassuring things. But, wow, I hope never to feel pain like that ever again. I never forgot to take the secondary pain killer after that.
The ankle aches and is still very painful. I can't stretch it too far and the bone is very tender. But, dammit, this drug has to stop. As I mentioned, I am trying to get myself off these pain killers of doom. I am not needing them as much and am attempting to gauge my "real" pain level. Last week was a blur of activity and sleep. I don't remember a whole lot, a few bits and pieces but, really, I should have been hidden away in a quiet and dark place. I wrote a few blog posts and felt they were... too odd to post. If you've been following along with my blog history, that is saying a lot as I have posted some weird things in my time.
Wow. Pain. Not one of my favourite things to experience. I am sure none of you are fans of it either.
The last week and a bit I have been doing nothing but attempting to recover my sanity. It is very surprising just how quickly we can lose it. Since the surgery, my body has done into crazy repair time. I didn't know this would happen (we've all skinned our knee or bumped our funny bones, we tend to recover quickly, yes?) with such intensity. If there is something I have learned about myself it is that I don't understand my body as well as I think I do.
I have been high on pain medication and attempting to function properly. Have I been able to? Not in the slightest. I don't think I was prepared for this. I don't think I was prepared for any of it.
This is also the issue. My ability to think clearly is hampered by the very drug that is trying to keep me happy.
My word. I don't remember the last time I was confused this way. As a matter of fact, I don't remember ever feeling this confused. I do not recommend it. It is terrifying and amusing all in one tiny package. I tried to enjoy it the other day when I was thinking something stupid like "you should work a bit" or "it would be nice to take a walk".
Both are equally dumb ideas when you try to remember the last time you took a leak. I remember thinking that very thought just a few days ago. I was deep into a book (and feeling guilty that I wasn't working) and finding it impossible to follow the story line. It is a book I've read before but, hey, I couldn't recall any details what-so-ever. I was thinking about putting down the book when I mentally jumped into an internal monologue wondering when the last time I had taken a pee.
Normally, you don't really obsess over things like bathroom breaks but I was intense in my thinking. I was wondering about what time, when I had drank something last, and how would I get to the bathroom without crutches (yes, I had my crutches only two feet away). I spent some time going over the logistics of what surfaces I would lean on, would I need to crawl, or should I attempt hopping on one leg.
It was just crazy thinking. I also hear it is quite normal when you're recovering. I have to say, this sitting on the couch all day long thing is getting old. Guilt is creeping in from all sides (working, helping around the house, creative writing) and I have to keep telling myself that I should be taking better care of my ankle. I need to let it heal properly otherwise there will be problems down the road.
Drugs. They are not a good thing. They do help and are able to save us from all kinds of diseases. But pain killer medication is just evil (with a slight silver lining called pain relief) and it made me crazy this past week. I was unable to function properly.
And I lost control a few times. I surrendered to pain and all I did was cry. I didn't like it. I was in pain, yes, but the pain medication made it worse. Not in a painful way, but in way that made me unwilling to write or express myself. I turned inward and felt very alone.
The last six days have been filled with pain, confusion, frustration, and an inability to appreciate just how vulnerable I am. I am grateful, don't get me wrong there. I am pleased that I will be able to walk again sometime in the near future...
(It will take months, I am told.)
...but I wonder if the price of losing small pieces of one's mind is worth it. It isn't the healing I am talking about but the method to control my comfort level. I am just borrowing trouble, most likely, but -- wow -- Dilaudid makes it very hard to concentrate on the recovery I am supposed to be conducting.
(You don't conduct recovery. You surrender to it.)
I am finding it very hard to think straight. I don't know if it is me just sitting around trying to work but failing really well at that or if it is the drug.
(Yes, it is the drug, Shane, it is. Don't you like me?)
There you have it. The drug has control and won't be giving it up for a little while longer. This is why I decided not to write anything this week. It all came out... weird. And not in an entertaining weird. A dark weird that even I couldn't embrace nor publish on my website. That is also saying something about me. Am I thinking differently for the long term or is this something new.
I don't think I even know.
There is nothing like hanging out with people. I have been sitting here for a week now. I have't gone anywhere. I have done anything. I haven't made plans. I haven't had beer. I haven't done a damn thing but feel lazy and out of sorts.
But that is the guilt talking.
But I had some good friends over today and we attempted to play The Game of Thrones board game. I hear this game is amazing once it gets going but we didn't get very far. It took far too long to unpack and I don't think we got through a single reading of the instructions.
It looks great, though. I can't wait to play it. But I have been tired. I think I am tired now. I should go to sleep.
Tomorrow, my friends. Tomorrow.
I don't know what to say. The pain I am feeling today is humongous, evil, terrible, clawing, aching, and just down-right crazy. This is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I never want to experience this again.
I don't like pain medication. It feels like a balloon in my brain. Or was that an image of Richard Simmons on the television.
There is nothing in this world but crazy talk. Do you talk the crazy? Do you talk the method in which those around you absorb it appropriately?
Why did I break my ankle? (Someone asked me this a little while ago.) I replied: "Because this experience will make me a stronger person."
What an idiot. Is this real? Or not?
Yes. He just left. The poor guy. More on that later.
The surgery went well (and I think I will talk more about it in the coming weeks) and, over all, things are looking good. I arrived at the hospital yesterday morning and was quickly processed and was naked within fifteen minutes of my arrival. I hadn't thought about the whole "getting operated on" bit of the hospital visit and I was a little shocked that I was having to give up my clothes almost upon arrival. It is standard procedure but I did have a moment of wonder. But only just a moment.
What else? I was drugged right away with some assortment of pills. Anti-inflammatory and pain medication, I seem to recall. I was then wheeled into the pain management area where they assess you and provide you with all kinds of options for sedation. I was surprised to learn that they, like me, didn't love the idea of putting me entirely under. They wanted me to wake up sooner and without the standard groggy experience. This made me happy.
I was told about the "nerve block" procedure. Essentially, you are jabbed with a needle (a bloody long needle) and injected with freezing near the major nerves in your body. It cuts off the feeling in your entire leg for something like sixteen hours. I opted for this and the mild sedation.
Two hours later, I was groggy and waking up in the recovery room. I wasn't groggy for that long, which was a nice thing. The last time I was sedated I was very young. Yet, I remember that experience well. I cried.
Skipping ahead to this afternoon and evening, Mike dropped in on his way to a conference in Oregon. We had arranged his visit some time ago (pre-ankle breakage) and we felt a little bad with me being on the couch and stoned. But it was the early morning where I hoped I didn't disturb him. My nerve block ran out around 4am and I started to toss and turn and make all kinds of moaning noises. Lucky for me, the drugs were nearby and I think I crashed out quickly. I think I am not making very much sense. I am writing this and starting to drift, mentally, anyway.
I am glad he came. It was relaxing to have him around as I was feeling a little off considering everything. But then he was off to the conference I really wanted to go to this year. Hopefully, it will be back next year.
I must sleep.
I am heading into surgery this morning and I posted this in place of a regular blog post. It is a poem I wrote last year. I should really post this somewhere online but haven't gotten around to it yet. Enjoy.
after the dinner hour
the roar from over the linen
jumped my spark into the ceiling, plaster
the table cracking, splinters
tiles below, pulled apart
sparkles of what was left
tiny fragments, pebbles in
blinded everyone around
a rush of wind broke the building
explosive into misty sky
I will post something about the surgery maybe later today but I think I may be a little out of it. We also have a house guest tonight (not greatest timing for them but if they don't mind pained and crazy minds.
I am not wanting to sound dramatic but I am scared. I don't like surgery but, more importantly, I don't like feeling a loss of control over my body. I think there must be a number of people in the world (if not, well, everyone) that don't like that feeling. That feeling where you are not in complete control over your body nor your mind.
Oh, right, by the way, instead of having the surgery next week, they called this morning. There was a cancellation on Friday (tomorrow) and I am the next in line. Under the knife I go. Back to this irrational fear. I hate it. I feel guilty for feeling apprehensive about this operation. I wouldn't call the surgery "major" but they still need to knock me unconscious and dig around in my ankle innards.
It is bizarre to me that I feel even the slightest bit guilty. I know that I will have to take time off and I will need to heal up a bit before I get "jump into 2013" but I still feel guilty. There are so many other awful things going on in the world that my little problem seems incredibly small. Yet, I think it is more than that, I feel guilty that I am hurt. Everyone gets hurt from time to time but ... NOT ME. Ack, now that I have written it out, it sounds callous and selfish. To feel guilty about something like this. Guilty for being not careful enough, not being in control enough? I am not making sense and I will agree that, maybe, just maybe I am overreacting.
Then again... apparently, I am going to have to rest up for a few weeks and work from the couch. Oh, no, will I be able to make it up the stairs to our loft? Oh, no. There are so many things that I hadn't thought of. There are so many things I need to do... I can't afford to take time off. Grumble. (I have to suck it up, right?)
I don't know if I will have time to write anything tomorrow. I have been told the next couple of days will be hard and I will need to sleep a lot and get stoned on some pain killers. Weeeeeeee.
I am off to follow the drug addled white rabbit... see you all on the flip side.
Not a very inspiring title to this post but that is pretty much where I spent my day. I woke up this morning ready to attack the first day back at the office. We did call the clinic and they told us I had to go through the emergency system at St. Paul's in order to "get into the system".
I thought this was a little silly since I had gone through the emergency system in Regina. I assumed (which was stupid, I know) that the information gleaned from the hospital in Regina could be transferred to Vancouver. The doctor in Regina seemed believe this was the way it would all go down once I returned home. But, it became apparent that I would have to jump through the hoops here as well. (I suppose this is not something that could be solved quickly but in a medical system that is supposed to be fairly decent, you'd think there would be a little more efficiency.)
In either case -- off to the hospital I went. Six hours later, I went home. What did I learn while I was there? That I had a broken tibia bone that would not heal on its own. I tried to smile and be thankful but, the reality was, I already knew this information. What the doctors told me here in Vancouver was exactly the same thing I was told in Regina.
The thing that pissed me off the most about my experience today was the attitude from the doctors. Let me be clear, they were amazing and looked after me very well but when I said I had already been told what they now knew -- they were a little annoyed at me. At one point it was like I wasn't even talking to them but I was talking to the room. They plain ignored me. I felt it was that "god like" thing I have heard about. Doctors sometimes become a tad arrogant. But I am not a doctor and don't have a whole lot of experience talking to them, so, who knows. All I really know is that they didn't really listen too closely. Something else regarding our healthcare system we should fix.
If wishes were horses...
I suppose the good thing is that I have now seen the amazing doctors from the clinic. Why are they more amazing? They listened and wrote notes. The doctors I saw who were doing the diagnosing were the kind of snobby "we know it all" attitude types. I suppose that is why I noted a difference. So, it looks like I will be heading for surgery next week some time, most likely on Monday. I don't know a whole lot about what will happen but I know it will involve metal and pain.
Again about those horses... until tomorrow.
Last year, I seem to remember that 2012 would be the best year ever. It was "my year". I can't say it was a stellar year but it wasn't bad. It was fairly average, actually. I did some cool things, wrote a bunch of letters (although, I fell out of that a bit and intend to rectify this in the coming weeks), got back into role playing games with some cool people, and was very busy at the office.
I also topped off the year with a serious injury. Ack. Not the greatest way to close out the year. It is safe to say that 2012 was the year that ended with a crack.
But, now, we're heading back to Vancouver and back into the reality of the world. No more holidays to cushion my ankle in and, since I can't move around a whole lot, I am wondering what the next step on my road to recovery is. My ankle is still broken, you see. I can't lay back and let my ankle heal the way it is. I've been told by two doctors now that I need my ankle bone "fixated" because it will never heal on its own. It is too fragile and I will keep making it worse should I attempt to walk on it again.
I wonder what an injury like this would be like a few thousand years ago. It must have brought lives to a screeching halt. Granted, a the average lifespan of a human male has risen quite a bit over the last number of centuries. The average human male (after having escaped childhood) was only about thirty for the longest time and, if you survived childhood and were living in fairly modern place, you may hit your sixties without much effort. But to break an ankle must have been a trying experience if not potentially life ending.
The doctors have told me that the injury I have is "pretty standard". It is something skiers experience a lot. "It is a common skiing injury. You should tell people that you took air and landed wrong. Hitting that tree in Regina could be embarrassing." The first doctor said.
He said it as a joke, obviously, but I did think for a brief second that making up some dramatic story about how I broke my ankle may be in my best interest. I don't know why. I am not embarrassed about how my ankle was injured but, really, if you have a chance to make up a dramatic story with fire, explosions, and gun fire -- why not? Unfortunately, I was in Regina. I could not imagine doing this in a foreign country. That would have been immensely stupid and potentially expensive.
In either case, I enter 2013 with a broken ankle and a sense that my year is starting off at a crawl. I will be home tonight and I will know more tomorrow.
We are back in Victoria. We arrived about 30-40 minutes late last night due to something wrong with the plane or weather. Unsure what went on there but once we got on the plane and were in the air the plane ride was gentle and I wasn't in pain too much. I did take some anti-inflammatories right before we got on the plane. That seemed to help. I did find some time to read as well. I haven't been reading as much as I normally do and I think I am slacking off there. I intend to change that in the New Year. I think a bunch of things are going to change in the New Year. Or, perhaps, I am merely going to be adapting rather than full out change.
Who knows with these things. I have been fairly accepting of my new situation and have been trying to just "roll with the blows" but I do run into somethings where I can't do certain things. Carrying stuff. This is one of those certain things that I can't do right now. I can't carry the cup of tea (or bottle of beer) from the kitchen to my place on the sofa.
(Did I mention I can't shower!?)
Anyway. The flight back to the west coast was nice and relatively uneventful. But I had the first pat down of my life. Since I arrived in crutches, the WestJet folks decided I needed to ride in a wheel chair. This was terribly thoughtful of them and they took good care of me. When we got to security, I had to ride my wheel chair through the metal detector (which went crazy, of course) and then was pulled off to the side. The gentleman who patted me down was very nice about the whole thing but what struck me as odd is he patted me down and then proceeded to pat down the entire chair. It was a little weird but there is obviously a procedure for this situation and he went down his checklist and deemed I was all clear to head into the terminal.
I arrived at the gate in Regina and we boarded almost immediately. I haven't become a "pro" on my crutches yet but I was able to weave my way onto the plane (thanks to pre-boarding for those who need a little extra help) and get seated comfortably.
We arrived in Calgary and my adventure of being trapped in wheel chair grew more exciting. While sitting near the gate, I pulled out a book to read a few pages before being shuffled off down the ramp. A woman walked up (stumbled, I think) to a chair nearby and sat down. I smelled booze. She was hammered. I don't know what it was that attracted her attention but she proceeded to tell me her life story.
The lady introduced herself (sadly, I can't remember her name now) and then asked me where I was from. I said I was headed to Victoria. She didn't seem to process what I said easily and then looked me straight in the eye.
"You know how I got here?" She asked.
"To the airport?" I said.
"No, to Calgary." She said.
"I don't know. I only just got here myself." I said.
She coughed. "My sister kicked me out and I have to go back to Grande Prairie early."
"That doesn't sound very nice of her. Why did she kick you out?" I said.
"I was having sex in her hot tub with some guys I picked up at the pub. She said her kids were there but I didn't see them." She said.
I didn't know what to say after that. She started to ramble on about how she was going to Edmonton (and then Grande Prairie) and how she was a trucker in "the old days". She was a fascinating character and I wish I had recorded her. She was quite the character.
But now we're back and it is New Years Eve. I can't really go anywhere and most people are asleep now, so, I can't beg a ride either. Ah, well. I will chalk this New Year's up as a year of rest. Gak. I turn forty this year. Shit.
We are heading home tonight. I don't remember exactly when but I will land in Victoria sometime around midnight. It was a cheaper flight and we avoided some awful "milk run" flight. I have heard stories of such flights where you stop just about anywhere a plane can land to pick up and drop off passengers, mail, livestock, beer.
Oh, yes, beer. I won't be drinking any beer after December 31st, 2012 for a couple of months. I was reading that beer interferes with bone growth or something. I don't know if it is true but I am not going to take any chances with my bones when I can actually encourage them to heal. Oh, yes, I have much to look forward to. I need to get back home and then try and schedule a surgery at the foot and ankle clinic. I am a little worried about when I can get the surgery done.
Did I mention there was surgery involved?
When I was at the hospital, I got a few x-rays done. They looked at them and it was determined that I had broken my medial malleolus. Essentially, this is the internal part of your ankle. You know what bump you have on the inside of your foot? That's what I broke. You don't want to break it. Not a good idea.
In order to fix this problem I have, I now have to have two titanium screws drilled into my leg bone. I realized something after writing my post yesterday. I referred in passing to healing and I thought I was clear about how this process work. (Not the healing process but when I can start this healing process.) I have come to a horrible realization. I can't do this "healing" yet.
I am still broken. My ankle, according to the x-rays at the wonderful people at the Regina hospital down the road, is four millimeters off. I have no idea what that means, actually, but it doesn't sound like a whole lot. In terms of where your bones should be, however, it is a country mile from where my ankle bone is supposed to be.
"That doesn't sound so bad." I said.
"It is a lot in terms of bones." The doctor said.
"Really? Four millimeters sounds like I could just push it back into place and begin the healing process." I said. Feeling a little cocky.
"No. You need two screws in that ankle now to put it back together and maintain stability." The doctor said with a knowing smile.Stability. Do we ever feel stable on our feet? Now, think about it. (Can't you tell? I have been thinking about this for the last few days.) Stability on your feet. It is something we take for granted. It sounds like a Doctor Seuss story featuring a disembodied leg bone hovering around the abandoned halls of a 1970's shopping mall.
"Stability, shmability. I see the floor, it says no more. To walk upon it, don't ever fake it. One little mall cop, tazes your brother with a kiss of electric fire."
Yes, I am bored. There is something to be said for watching television. Oh, did I mention the room I am in has no television? I am happy about this as I won't feel so terrible for not having the ability to do a whole lot. I am checking e-mail and bouncing around the Internet.
Reading. I should update my Good Reads account. It has been a little too long since I was there. Until tomorrow, my friends. Until tomorrow where I am convinced I will be talking about broken ankles and whining like a little girl with a skinned knee.
Oh, how I wish I had merely skinned my knee. That is all for today. I am busy trying to write and then pack. We're heading out very soon now and my trip on the plane will be like nothing I have experienced before. Wish me luck.
Breaking your ankle (and I imagine anything else for that matter) provides you with time to reflect on your life. You have time to think about blog posts, how much beer you would like to consume, and thoughts on where your next plate of evil chocolate will come from. The holidays are also rife with other obligations. This year, being that we are in Regina, one of those obligations are family photographs. Each year we visit the land of living skies (and snow) we head off to a local photograph studio and get some photos done.
To me, photographs taken in studios are a little bland, but with the right photographer, they can be quite awesome. This year, however, it almost didn't happen. After everyone had learned that I had broken my foot, there was a decision that the photos would be skipped. My initial reaction was in agreement. The last couple of days has been trying to say the least. I have enough trouble getting up and down stairs and my sleep pattern has been interrupted. Every time I turn over, my cast-bound leg catches on the blanket and twists me into wakefulness and uncomfortable pain.
(Ah, yes, anti-inflammatories are my friends.)
A joke was mentioned to me a few times: "You didn't have to go to such trouble to get out of family photos." But, I realized, it was silly to not do the photos. I said that I would go anyway. I was able to get around a bit and I was getting used to the crutches. In the end, we headed out to the studio and the photos were taken.
But, once they were done and we were safely back at the house, I noticed a few e-mails asking me about what happened to my ankle. I have now realized I didn't describe exactly how it happened. Well, get comfortable and I will tell you.
As I mentioned earlier, I was visiting The Hill. It is (apparently) the only "good sledding hill" in Regina. It features some gentle slopes on one side and some steep runs on the other. We started (well, they) out on the steeper side and it appeared to be acceptable. I was encouraged to be the second slider of the day and I happily hopped on the sled.
I started down the hill and built up some speed fairly quickly. As I made my way down the slope, I became aware that there was a bottom to the hill... lined with trees. I had noted the trees before but I think I believed they were further along. Regardless of whatever thought I may have had at the time I started my run (my first and only run that day) I saw that the tree line was fast approaching. I wasn't worried. I would get off the sled and stop myself.
But, there was a technical problem. I tried to roll off the toboggan and was unable to do so. Something on my jacket was caught under the sled. I decided to spin the toboggan around and roll off in the other direction, however, I wasn't able to do so in time and my right foot clipped (just barely) the side of one small tree trunk. I felt a rush of warm pain in my ankle and knew instantly that I had some some major damage.
The toboggan stopped and I slowly stood up. I placed my foot down and noted that my foot slid a little bit too far to one side. The pain had subsided and it was numb. (Of course, it was -30 or so below at the time, so, much of my body was numb.) I saw that no one in my party noticed I was in trouble, so, I began the trek up the hill, using the toboggan as a crutch. Eventually, help arrived and I was partly carried up the hill. Once at the top, I could tell something was wrong and I needed to go to the hospital.
There you have it. How I broken my ankle. I have forgotten already what this post started talking about but I am sure it was riveting. Until tomorrow as night is upon me and I still need to get up those blasted stairs to the second floor. And going to the bathroom... oh, my. Who knew you needed your feet for those experiences.
I was assigned "couch duty" today. I can't complain too much. In a weird way, this is how I envisioned my short holiday vacation. Sit on a sofa, eat some rich foods, drink some rich beers, and try to unwind.
But, to wish is to something, something, something...
Yesterday, I spent eight hours in the emergency ward of Pasqua Hospital here in Regina. It was the first time in a long time where I had been to any emergency ward as a patient. The last time I recall being admitted into a hospital, I was suffering from abdominal pains. I was either fourteen or sixteen, I don't remember exactly. I was admitted and they did their best to figure out what was wrong with me but, in the end, they never did. My symptoms just "went away". I think it was stress related but I don't remember what was going on in my life then. Do we ever? I don't remember half the things I was doing when I was that young.
Ugh. I feel old now.
The ride from the sledding hill (which is called Mount Pleasant or The Hill) was an adventure in pain management. Unfortunately, you can't avoid the rough ride since the roads are covered in ice and are littered with potholes. The winter climate isn't friendly to the local streets. I tried my best to "keep it together" on the way to the hospital but I don't think I was overly confident in my abilities. The pain was sharp at the beginning but, as the ride wore on, the pain gained more control over my faculties. I wanted my mommy.
Ah, yes, how I wanted my mommy. I have spoken about this before on this blog and I am not ashamed to want my mommy from time to time. I think it is a very natural thing to want to return to the comfort of a mother's arms. It was always a safe place for me and, even as an adult, I find myself just wanting the reassuring cuddle my mother still provides for me to this day. My mother is a strong lady and always was there for my when I needed her.
Of course, as I get older, I find her desire a little smothering and I do get a little "creeped out" but, really, at the end of the day who am I to deny my mother some affection. I think it is selfish of me to deny her. So, I do my best. But, now, having broken my ankle, I knew right away that (as the pain took over) I wanted nothing more than to run back to my mommy and seek a little comfort. (I am sorry, people. You know you do the same thing. If you say you don't, you're an utter liar!)
Face it people, we all want our mommies from time to time. There is nothing wrong with that. I need to learn to suck it up and so should we all. I think the world would be a better place if we all embraced our mommies once in a while and let them baby us even if just a little.
It is late and I have much more to tell you about the hospital adventure. Until tomorrow.
You never can tell what is going to happen over the course of a day. The assumptions we make about the progression of time indicate that we know what is going to happen when we pause to make a plan (or we have a reasonable idea about what we would like to happen). I learned today that no amount of planning can prepare you for the times when the universe throws you a curve ball.
So, what happened to me? The simple answer is I broke my ankle today. It felt like a Velociraptor had torn into my ankle and was quite happy to munch on a few tasty tendons and chew on my bones. But, even with my ankle all casted up, my thoughts today don't really linger on my broken bone. I understand I have many issues, problems, and probably a few frustrated moments ahead of me but I can't help thinking about how plans go sideways.
For example, today my plans were such:
- Wake up.
- Check e-mail.
- Get dressed (warmly).
- Visit a local Regina pub with Tim and Lauren.
- Find a local hill and do a little tobogganing.
- Go home, drink some hot chocolate.
- Read a book.
- Fall asleep.
My plans were simple. I am currently in Saskatchewan for the holidays and, darn it, they should be simple. A little rest during the last week or so of the year. My plans are not overly complex. I seek a little serenity.
But the universe had other plans. You see, I tend to be someone who likes to "know" what is coming. I like to understand as much about my day as possible. (I think it comes from my mother's side of the family. A bunch of people always looking ahead and trying to anticipate the twists and turns of the world. Although, I think that much of the time they fail miserably like most other similarly minded people. Which means that I must fail also. Damn. Why don't I control this galaxy yet?)
But the reality is plans do go sideways. It is a part of life. You have plans, right? Silly plans? Evil plans? Boring plans? How many times have they ever gone off without a hitch? Two percent of the time? Five percent? But they are plans none-the-less. I think as I am getting older, I am finding out a few new things about myself. I love plans but I also hate it when they go by the book. Honestly, some days I would prefer a little adventure. I would welcome some unexpected events where I jump across roof tops or race a truck down a desert highway while fighting off Nazi soldiers. I would cherish the moment when I could remove my shirt and tell a beautiful woman:
"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."
How I long for the invention of the holo-deck. I would get lost for hours adventuring down strange rivers while fighting alien invaders using nothing more than a bagel. (Sure, that may be a little far-fetched but, come on, you could make such realities happen on the holo-deck. Just ask Lt. Barclay.) I suppose what I am trying to say is that I don't mind that my ankle was broken. Sure, it isn't a huge adventure but it is something I never thought I would experience. I welcome the new experience because I know it is a chance to re-configure my internal clock. At the very least, I will get to re-examine bits of myself.
Of course, it could just plain suck. This seems to be the popular theory.
I guess I have come full circle in this little discussion with myself. As usual, a quote has come to mind that, to me, sums up my internal dialogue:
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Man, this whole cleaning and sorting business post tearing-the-crap-out-of-your-entire-home is liberating. I keep finding bits and bobs I had made mental notes to write about but never got around to it -- or my mental notes were erased after being overwritten by some useless nerd triva.
Nerd trivia is not useless!
The things I am wanting to write about now are the 3-D glasses I made for Zachary Levi. The story isn't as creepy as it sounds. You see... we were catching up on a show we like called Chuck. The show was cute and quirky and was just a fun program to watch with friends. One night, we were happily watching a couple of episodes back to back when... tragedy struck. We encountered an episode where the broadcast looked all gibbley. The colour was off... the picture was fuzzy.
At first, I thought our television has just given up the ghost. A few minutes later (and a quick trip to Wikipedia) we discovered that the episode had been originally broadcast in 3-D. But we had a problem (as I am sure you've guessed) we didn't have any 3-D glasses. We read that the original airing had been shown right after the Super Bowl and there was some contest attached where you could have sent away for 3-D glasses after having made a purchase of six hundred bottles of Zima (or something like that). After some humming and hawing, we thought we could stomach the episode just as it was. Less than ninety sectonds, it became clear that our Chuck enjoyment was plummeting. Damn you, Super Bowl Chuck Episode!
I was determined to not let this stop us in our tracks. Off to the Internet I went. I wanted to know how to make 3-D glasses, dammit, and I wanted to know now! Like Chuck and Morgan, I am a nerd. Us nerds must stick together and not let issues such as lacking in 3-D glasses get in our way! A solution must be found! No matter how crazy insane or batshit stupid they are! There are NO dumb solutions! NERDS UNITE!
I quickly learned from my Interwebs search that Sharpie pens on clear plastic more-or-less are the same colours used to create the 3-D effect. Off to the local hardware store I went. I will note that, at the time, it was already 9:40pm. There is something oddly satisfying about walking around a hardware store asking:
"Excuse me, do you have Sharpie pens? Do you have them in blue and red? Do you have them in a darker shade?"
"Yah, it is for this show called Chuck. They made an episode in 3-D and I want to make 3-D glasses."
"Why are you laughing at me?"
"I will remember that one the next time I crawl off your mom."
"You're calling who? The police?"
I collected my pens and headed home. The hard part was about to begin. What do I use for the lenses? The Internet recommended flat, clear plastic. Something clear enough to allow light to flow through the coloured lenses but rigid enough to not distort the image. Preferably, there should be no scratches. It was at that moment when a villain in my life became useful. The villain I speak of is that damn, invented by some bastard after he lost his house in a divorce, hard plastic used for packaging. I hate that packaging more than life itself. You know them, I am sure. It normally requires a small army, a guided missle attack, and nude photos of Ed Asner to open them. I have cut my hands on so these evil inventions more times than I can count. But, in this one instance, they became my answer. My answer to watching a 3-D episode of Chuck.
I cut out two bits of plastic, roughly the size of average glasses and used clear tape to attach them to popsicle sticks we have in our art cabinet. A few minutes and several cuts from the packaging later, I had constructed the glasses. I had only one more step. I coloured up the glasses with the appropriate colours and -- bam -- I was watching Chuck in 3-D. I can't believe how well it worked too. I had a suspicious feeling that it would be a failed effort but I was wrong. It worked like a charm.
(Oh, popsicles would hit the spot right about now.)
So, for you Zach, I made these glasses. Crazy, yes -- but bizarrely worth it.
There is a super-secret project being filmed in Vancouver and, last weekend, we got up super-early and headed off to the movie set where Faith was destined for greatness. We trained her for weeks to get her ready -- and by training we meant get her addicted to a new treat that, once flashed in front of her cute little face, she would be under our spell.
I don't know how much I can reveal about the project but I was allowed to shoot a photograph of her "urn". We didn't know until we saw it that her "character name" was Coco. The script had her sit around and act cute for most of it but while we were there, we learned that her role was short lived and she would be brutally snuffed out. It was a little weird to see a photograph of our baby pug with an urn beside it but I couldn't resist to snap a picture and share it with you guys and gals.
Now that some of the renovating is done and we're in the clean up phase, I thought that Faith's brush with fame was worth a mention. I will can also mention that she got to "work" with a famous Vancouver actor from BSG fame. I just won't say who.
I have been told there is a rule about doing renovations: they take five times as long, cost five times as much, and are usually five times bigger than you could have imagined. I have gone through this process a few times over the years but, this year, I was doing it almost entirely on my own. It all started about six months ago when we heard that a local furniture store was closing. We wandered into one of their locations and found they were selling their stock but also their store knick-knacks like shelving, cash registers, etc. We took one look at the shelving and realized immediately that it would match the decor (well, if we HAD any) of our home.
You see, we have 16 foot ceilings. If you've ever been over, the place doesn't seem or feel all that small. But, when you've lived here long enough, you notice that you can't hide anything. You know those moments. When someone comes over to visit and you want to hide that pair of underwear you had laying around for three days... under that pile of six hundred other bits of junk that you just hadn't put away yet? For a lot of people, there is one place you can toss all that stuff so that guests don't see it -- the bed room.
Yah, we don't have one of those. We have a loft and tossing things out of the way isn't a reality we enjoy.
Back to the shelves.
We had been looking for shelving that did everything we wanted for months. We did the whole IKEA Hacking thing, we looked into custom shelving, and we even thought we may need to build our own. But when we walked into that shop and noticed the shelves they had for sale -- we were hooked. Three car rides and the shelving was in our place.
And then the renovation monster arrived.
"Oh, if we put up those shelves, we'll need to paint that wall."
"I... don't... know."
"What about what kind of paint? Glossy? Flat? What about an accent wall?"
It has been driving me mental for weeks and weeks. We couldn't agree on a colour, we couldn't decide on if we should do a dual tone thing or if we should just do an off white. We ended up deciding that we should just get the shelves up and ultimately paint at a later time. Enter the ladder, hammer, wood, nails, and glue from hell.
Wow. I never knew just how much crap we have. It took us three hours just to put everything we'd stored on the previous set of shelves and bits of furniture into a pile for sorting. We decided it was time to ditch a bunch of stuff and we wanted to go through everything. But, three hours? How much shit do I have? Oh. I have books. If you have ever visited me, you'll notice right away that I have a lot of books. I mean... I lot. We're talking somewhere in the neighbourhood of five hundred or so. I hope I never have to move a long distance... I often wonder how much all of my books weigh.
Then came all of the delicate things. Breakables and the like. Let's just say... we lost a few on the operating table. A few glasses and a plate went bye-bye.
We first put up one wall of shelves and, as luck would have it, everything went smooothly. We went out and bought some nice fur wood to use as mounting plates for the shelving legs (you'd have to see these brackets to understand what I am really talking about) and we drilled a few holes, drilled a few more, and, amazingly, they were up. It took another few hours to get all of the shelves in but, sheesh, what a pain the ass.
Then came the second wall. Did you know that some buildings have steel lined walls? Neither did I... until I tried to drill a hole into it. Just behind our eastern wall is some protected area -- presumable to be some sort of communal thing. Wires from the front door for the buzzer system or, maybe the conduits for power -- who knows. But this caused me no end of grief as I wasn't able to mount the damn shelves! We couldn't do a damn thing. I called my dad and he suggested glue. Good hard as nails glue. Who knew this either... not I.
Sixteen hours later, I could mount the damn shelves on the other side of our loft. More money... more time, more nightmares. I should really act this out again on video... it would be a far more entertaining experience.
Resorting and Remounting
Now that the shelves were up... it took another two days to put everything we decided to keep back on... and sorted. And what more things could we purge.
Anyway... boring notes for the day. I think I ran out of steam on this post. I am going to now go lay down on the couch (that was recently uncovered from under piles of construction crap) and veg out with a book. I may recite more in future posts but, really, how much can you handle of some guy talking about his shelves.
A few days ago, I posted about the new Superman teaser trailer and I noted that the last bit of a song entitled Bridge of Khazad-dûm was used as the trailer's score. I notice this kind of stuff all of the time because I am such a soundtrack nerd. I mean, I have a copy of the soundtrack to Hoffa. No, really, I do. I like David Newman, okay?
Trailers are made to advertise films that may not be entirely complete yet (like the score, for example) -- so, using music from other films makes for decent filler. It works, no one notices, and the movie gets made. I do wonder why they didn't use the Superman theme song, though. For example, below is the same trailer but with the "correct" score.
It works, right? It is already in the written, published, and matches the film's material. So, why not use it? And why am I making such a fuss? The bit of music used from The Lord of the Rings has lyrics behind it. Sure, they are not written in English, but they still do have meaning. If you watch the original trailer again, follow along with the words. The words are as follows:
Fire in the deep!
Flames lick our skin!
Fear rips our heart!
No! No! No!
The demon comes!
Yes. It sounds pretty and I am being the soundtrack snob here, but, really? Really? You couldn't have used the "Superman" music I have known for years? You couldn't have used music that didn't describe Superman as a demon?
Well, I guess not... everything pretty can be used. Everything with meaning... just suck it up, Shane. No one thinks about true meaning these days. "Reality" television took care of that.
I was talking about Stephen King the today with a Jonathon Narvey. He noted that I had read Cell and he mentioned that he had enjoyed it as well. He has been thinking about zombies of late because he is putting together his next writing project and it may or may not feature a zombie infection. I won’t say anything else about it as he is in the very beginning of planning it out -- but I will say it fanned the flames of a small idea about zombies and exhaustion I had lurking about in my head.
Have you ever heard the phrase: “I am dead tired?”
(I mean, aside from the scene in the action movie Commando where the central character asks an airline stewardess not to disturb his friend because he was “dead tired”. He had just killed the man by breaking his neck and was planning his escape from the commercial airliner.)
Jonathon went on to say that there was something in how the Stephen King zombie-like people could fly in single file but were unable to control where and when they went to the bathroom. I agreed. Even if they are being controlled by some higher being, would they not at least try to find a restroom? The conversation was all very amusing and we talked about what we thought we would do should the zombie apocalypse occur and smell like zombie ass. We decided it would not be very exciting and we would have to kill all the zombies on the Earth in order to prevent a stink-apocalypse.
After the conversation, it occurred to me that the zombie characters were tired. There are a few moments in the book where I thought the manic, crazy people were trying their hardest to regain their composure. They were in the middle of their lives when they suddenly were not. They lost themselves and became mindless monsters. King implies that this may be the case and that the zombies may have some recognition of their situation. They are crazed due to the infection yet are terrified that they are locked inside themselves unable to communicate or control their behaviour.
It is possible I am reading into this but it did strike me as an idea worth thinking about. How would a zombie feel if it had some level of consciousness still intact. Think about it. How would you feel if you were not able to control yourself but were able to watch yourself do and say things that you would not normally do. Zombies eating human flesh is quite extreme but I remember there are other Stephen King books that cover similar territory.
In the novel, Dreamcatcher, one of the main characters fights a mental battle with an invasive presence. He visualizes himself locked away inside his mind. The character’s mind is described as a dusty library-like building filled with many filing cabinets filled with memories. He is able to lock these details away by moving them into the central part of the mind and locking the door, thus ultimately defeating the invader.
The second book of the Dark Tower series, The Drawing of The Three, we see characters being able to inhabit others simply by stepping through a door. They are able to control and experience everything the human they are controling does. It is a very Being John Malokvich kind of thing but the device is used a few times within that book alone.
I was thinking a bit more about this later on this evening. It struck me that I felt tired just thinking about it. But not because my brain was tired -- but because my brain must have been thinking about it on overdrive. I remembered that a Stephen King novel, The Green Mile, is a book about being tired. A major character in that book, Jon Coffey, is a wrongfully convicted man. He has a power where he is able to feel other people’s pain. When the other main characters are preparing him for his execution, one of them says they can’t go through with murdering a man who has been unjustly convicted. But Coffey puts him somewhat at ease with the following:
I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. I'm tired of never having me a buddy to be with, to tell me where we's going to or coming from, or why. Mostly, I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?
I sympathize with the character because he is being killed for no reason other than he is different. But there is something else sad. The character is in pain. He is tired. He accepts his death but tells those closest to him that, due to his power of feeling other people’s pain, he has felt enough. He has had his share of what people do to each other. He feels the sadness. He feels the anger. He feels the frustration and violence. He feels the exhaustion.
So, like zombies being tired, I think we’re all tired. I think the world is tired. We’ve all been working too long, stressing too hard, and not doing enough to live and enjoy. We’ve filled it all up with things we don’t need. We’ve fufilled our wants but not what it is that really makes us who we are. We’ve all become tired.
For what it is worth... those are my thoughts for today.
I managed to watch about twenty minutes of the last Superman film. I hated it. It was quite the piece of filmatic shit. At the time, I suggested the executives in charge of that dung-heap have their genitals tied to a pole and twirled around a bit. I do recall reading some time later that many of those involved regretted the decisions to change the film's target demographic at the last minute. I guess it was a "successful" movie but diehard fans would have been disappointed.
I miss the Christoper Reeve versions of the Superman mythos. I haven't watched the Donner Cut of Superman II. I must put that flick on my library list.
So, does this make me hold out hope for this new incarnation? If the Dark Knight films are any indication, I will grasp at any straws I can that promise it will be good.
So, something else popped into my mind today about the festival. One of those "if you only knew" kind of thing. On July 26th, during the second week of the festival, it is Allyson's birthday. She has been incredibly hard to make Neanderthal a success and has sacrificed her birthday three years in a row. The first we virtually skipped her birthday and acknowledged it about two or three weeks later. Last year, we decided that her birthday should not be forgotten and we caked out the shows the night of her birthday. People got cake and a show! How can that be bad?
But this year, I am thinking that it would be a nice gesture to have birthday cards. Not gifts. Just a nice card with a few nice words inside. You could write out some short message about the festival, you could make your own card (again with a few nice words), or it could be just a short letter saying how much you liked the festival or the show you saw. It would mean a lot to her to have something like that. I see her working hard every single year, pouring her professionalism and her heart into this summer event and it would be nice to have someone outside of the production group tell her how much they appreciate it. I know that it may be asking a lot of some people but I think it is worth it. Hell, I will do a card too. It would mean a lot to me to have a few cards appear on the day of her birthday. If you are far away and can't make the festival, you could mail some! It would be awesome!
It kills me each year to see she pour everything into the festival only to have some poo-poo her efforts. Sometimes even those involved don't seem to be as committed as she is. It is amazing that she survives the six months to help put the festival together. I do my part, of course, but I am just the nerd guy. I am behind the scenes and most of what I do goes unnoticed. But that is the nature of what I do and I have long accepted that the nerds get overlooked a lot of the time. But for her to have her work not recognized as much as I think it should (especially since there is a birthday involved) is almost criminal.
Are you game? Are you willing to show up and give a complete stranger a birthday card? If you think you'd be interested in sending out a card or dropping one by, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will fire off our home address.
I thank you all in advance -- but I also hope you can come see a live performance at the festival!
I don’t normally “toot” my horn but I have an event coming up and I hope you will all make an effort to come and check it out. The event is called Neanderthal. Technically, it is called the Neanderthal Arts Festival and it is the brainchild of myself and some friends of mine. Not only have we put a lot of effort into the festival to make it happen, the festival performers, writers, and people behind the scenes have also put in a lot of time. It is going to be awesome and I hope you have make at least one show.
As the kids say today, here is the skinny:
Neanderthal Arts is emerging from the Cave for our third year! We're bringing back summer theatre for Vancouver running July 19 - July 29, 2012 at the Cultch.
Co-producers Left Right Minds and Upintheair Theatre are thrilled to announce the line-up for the third annual Neanderthal Arts Festival which takes place this July at the Cultch. This year’s Mainstage Series will feature four local companies and one national company producing an eclectic range of cutting edge theatre.
Neanderthal Arts is a curated, developmental arts festival. The professional series provides a platform for theatre artists and companies to showcase and try out new and experimental work. Our objective is to feature primarily new Canadian work, although we welcome submissions from companies wishing to premiere new international work or re-interpretations of classics from the theatre canon, especially Canadian works. In particular, we encourage work that takes risks, is creative and has a clear artistic vision. At the same time, Neanderthal Arts is looking for work that is accessible and engaging for our core target-demographic of 20-40 year olds.
For our part, Neanderthal Arts will provide successful companies with venues, technical staff, publicity and marketing, ticket sales, equitable performance scheduling and front of house management. Neanderthal Arts' goal is to provide the best possible production resources at the lowest cost, attract the largest audiences possible to the work we present and create an environment that will support artistic and professional career development.
The festival is opens on July 19th, 2012 and the last show closes on July 29th, 2012. Now, there is a trick to this whole schedule. If you have any thoughts about going, all of the shows are not running the length of the festival. You will need to come back several times to see it all. If you think you’ll only check out a few of the shows, you’d best get over to the schedule and get yourself educated as to what is playing when and on which stage. Don't be lazy -- be a Neanderthal!
I know that a lot of my readers don’t live in Vancouver but I think coming to a theatre festival is a good thing and airfare isn’t all that expensive, is it? I am kidding, of course...or am I.
We lost Ernest Borgnine today. I didn't know him personally (obviously) but I am a little broken up by his passing. I suppose over the last year or two I have become more sensitive to the reality of death. Death has come by and visited (we had tea and a few biscuits the last time) and taken people I love away. I don't hate Death for such visits as I know it is all a part of our experience on this planet and in this universe.
But, Ernest Borgnine - I thought this guy would live forever. He was a rock throughout my life. When I first encountered him, he was in a film called The Black Hole. The character he played was a funny guy who just wanted to make sure everything on his spacecraft was working properly. He was cautious and interested in his survival. Unfortunately, he was also scared of dying and tried to escape from the situation he found himself in. But why did this film stick? Why did Ernest Borgnine stick? The Black Hole always stuck with me because I experienced it both on video and in comic book form. It became real somehow. Even when I was nine years of age I related to the character Ernest Borgnine played. He seemed like an average guy lost in extraordinary circumstances. He acted like he could handle it and adapted to his adventures but, in the end, he cracked under what were some really insane realities in the movie. He was human. He wasn't the hero of the film. He wasn't the love interest. He wasn't the evil crackpot who brought them to his lair. Borgnine played me. He played you. He was the one in the film who got it. He was the Every-man who knew when to cut out when the getting was good. The choice changed the whole direction of the story as well. Sound familiar? I guess it is true that even the smallest person can change the course of history.
Beyond the character he played in that 1979 film, I learned about other characters he performed. He was a military boat captain, a nice guy just back from the war, and the crazy grandfather. Ernest always seemed to play his characters as real human beings even when they were evil and loathsome types. I don't know how else to describe him. He was just the guy next door who found himself in bizarre situations. I always suspected that I could walk into a bar and meet one of his evil characters and say:
"Hey, I noticed you wiped out an entire colony of people the other day to put that space highway through."
"Oh, yes. That was a hard bit of business. Want me to tell you about it?" He would reply.
"Sure. How about I get us a drink." I would say.
I guess I am trying to express is that Ernest Borgnine was always a real guy to me. I don't have any hard evidence to point out why. I've just felt that way for years. His family must have loved this guy madly. Of course, he did have four failed marriages but I can't fault him for that. It takes two to tango and all of that. But what I really liked about him was that he always seemed to "get it". He always seemed to get what life is about. I always had this odd suspicion that Borgnine had lived a full life by a young age. It always felt that his real-world experiences leaked through in his performances. His performance spoke to me at some darker level of myself.
I imagine him saying: "The shit has hit the fan. I saw it hit the fan. I got some shit on me and I don't want to see it again. There is a lot of other things I need to do."
For some reason, I thought he would make it all the way to 100. Or maybe even 200. I hate to use this phrase but he was able to "keep it real". Which makes me wonder what that means. What does "keeping it real" mean? I have seen this phrase in many films and have heard it a billion times - but mainly the phrase is used to indicate that the character using it doesn't "quite get it".
But I think Ernest got it. I know he got it. I saw it. I don't know why but I did.
And then, a few years ago, I was happy to find his interview on (gak) Fox News. If you haven't seen it, the interviewer asks him what his secret to living to the age of 91 was. Ernest was animated and smiled a lot during the interview. Ernest says he doesn't dare tell the interviewer but then he leans in close to the guy and says:
"I masturbate a lot."
I watched that clip a dozen times, over and over. I realized, at the age of 91, did "get it". My suspicions were now proven. We are here on this planet not to save the world. We are here to do what we can. We are here to enjoy the time we have. We are here to make a difference, if not for the world, for ourselves and for those we are close to.
Dammit, Ernest Borgnine got it. He knew what was important. Do check out the video. It will make you smile. I am sorry to see you go, Mr. Ernest Borgnine. You will be missed.
This has been a long time coming. My first episode to The ShaneCast. A podcast where I talk about whatever I want to but with a bit more planning ahead of time. Unlike my other podcasts... this is a taste. See what you think, tigers.
There is more to come... and I will submit to iTunes soon.
I am here in Ottawa and will be crazy busy today at the PAB 2012 sessions. I dug into my HitRecord.org archive and, for the first time ever, this poem makes an appearance here.
the repeated morning
unusual to see eyes?
not on the day we made ours
through morning glory
years it took climbing the iron
fence beside our tree
oak, from the acorns which
found their way down, to be
thrown by little hands crazy
not aware of what could be
those eyes i see with me
something we helped create
between leaves but never
to see what the moment
created for each
Enjoy and I will be back either later today or tomorrow. Hope you are all having a great weekend.
I have a theory.
(That it's a demon. A dancing demon.. uhh, something isn't right there.)
I always have pictured the end of the world being a surprise to the people of the Earth. As a race, we all work hard, fight hard, struggle hard and, I believe, the simple act of living distracts us from the realities of the universe. We have so many other things to look at, to experience, and all of that...we just get all caught up in things that do nothing but make us crazy. We invest time in silly things, grand things, and whatnot - but always forget that, in the end, this rock we live on will burn up and be nothing more than a grouping of cinders lost in space. Sure, it will happen a few billion years from now... but I digress.
This thought about the world ending and no one notices was something I wrote a small dialogue about. I present it here to you, my fine readers.
"So, this is how the world will end?"
"I suppose so."
"What about all that talk? The talk about how I may change the world? I was supposed to save it and make it all better? Heal the sick, help the living... wasn't that all part of the deal?"
"Who said anything about saving it?"
"I don't believe I ever said anything of the sort. Do you really think that you could stop this from happening? This is how it always ends."
"But I thought you promised me that it would be fine. Everything would work out? There is no one left now. They are all gone and you let me watch it happen!"
"No, no. You wanted to help those people and you did. But, where did that all get you? You still ended up here but isn't the journey a part of this?"
"But it all ends up in the same place."
"Yes, it does I'm afraid. This is the lesson. You must let go. Let go before it kills you too."
And, by the way... it must be bunnies.
Do you know who Steve Dotto is? If you don't, you must have been living under a rock in some deep, dark, dank, and mud-filled hole. Steve Dotto has been a fixture on the technology scene in Canada for a very long time. He had his own radio show (which is now his hugely popular podcast), his own television program, and wickely helpful web site.
He called us up the other day to ask us about Northern Voice and said he thought it was a cool idea. I took Jonathon Narvey over to Steve's studio and we chatted about blogging, podcasting, and a whole bunch of things. It was a blast.
But, I need to admit something (as I usually do here) - when he called me up last week to set up a get-together - I had to quickly get over a little case of the hero worship. I had watched and listened to Steve for years. He made a great impression on my teaching style when I show people technology. The level of patience he has is astounding especially talking about technology that can be a little tricky to get working.
Anyway, check out the episode that features myself and Jonathon. We talk a lot about Northern Voice - have you got your tickets yet?
I noticed the other day that we have yet another Les Miserables film adaptation coming down the pipe. Do we really need another? I did a quick count over on the Wikipedia entry and I count about a dozen film or television adaptations from all over the world. This does not count the musical that has been running for a bazillion years.
I think we do.
There is something about a loose history lession wrapped around what humans like the most - human drama. This is not Phantom of the Opera which is a decent piece of work (over done, yes) but it has been produced to a point of silliness. Look at Cats - another work that had its day but it really doesn't hold up well. To me, at least. I find that these musicals have a shelf life of about a dozen years. They are done (re-done and re-done) but, at the end of the day, they have played out their stories. The stories become less interesting and far too predictable. I mean, really, such plays are not 2-Headed Shark Attack bad but they do have their own faults. Faults that should be given a rest.
But, Les Miserables is a story about the core values that we all have. We burn brightly when our values are challenged and the story does that. It has a bit of history, a bit of drama - and it all works. I watched the "dream cast" on stage once and it was pretty damn good. It didn't matter that many of the performers were from different cultures and obviously were not French. i didn't care. The Korean Jean Valjean was just as good as the German guy. The story spoke for itself and kept up an interest for me. Granted, if I were to watch it over and over, I would get sick of it.
One more thing. Yes, I did watch 2-Headed Shark Attack. It was terrible. Shark eats an island... nothing more to say.
I ran into my neighbour the other day and I realized something horrible. I barely know the man. I feel incredibly guilty about this because I feel as if I should know him. I feel as though I should be someone he can count on do help him out and vice versa. Should we not know our neighbours just a little bit better than we pretend to? This opens up many different conversations but the one I want to have today is how I got to know the comic book guy next door.
It is crazy how I have never really spoken to him. We've exchanged a few words here and there but nothing substantial. Yet, he has been my neighbour for many years. I am embarrassed by this. I feel like a tool! Yet, I expressed this point and many have told me it does happen a lot (usually, in that "those are the neighbours and I wonder how many babies they've eaten this year" kind of tone).
It isn't like he is a recluse... wait, what if he isn't a recluse. What if I am the recluse? Oh, no, what if I am the one who has not done my bit for King and country? What if I am the one who has let my social interactions falter and become that dude who talks a good game and... oh, wait, oh, wait. Let me not fall into that trap again. I am not a recluse at all. I am just a guy who works too much and gets tired far too often. I blame the pug cuddles.
Aaaaaaannnnnyway. Back in the town of Shanetopia.
But the other day, we did connect. While he was cleaning out his truck, I parked in my space a few feet away. I got out and mentioned that I had just come from watching the Avengers. What happened next was a half hour conversation about comic books, comic characters, who the next Avengers villain would be, and everything about the world of comic book films
This post originally would have been about comics but what the experience did tell me was that I don't know my neighbours as much as I should. We have a few well known celebrities in the building whom I have run into from time to time - and they were (and are) very normal, cool people. I know them as much as I know anyone where I live and this saddens me.
Over the summer, we have several building parties scheduled and I am going to join up. It is just a mystery to me why I don't see these people as often as I should. Are we really that busy? It seems like as time goes on, people get busier... actually, no. They are not busy. They are tired. There is something about this world that makes us tired and we don't seem to know what it is. Is it the heat? Is it the schedules we keep? Are we just tired of everything? It almost seems like the entire world needs a holiday.
There is more to this hypothesis. I suspect the majority of our continued tiredness is the simple fact that we are not primed or built to maintain an information overload. Where does this come from? It mainly comes from the multitude of devices we have and carry. But it isn't so much the devices, it is the content on the devices. There is so much being thrown at us that that is considered important that we lose sight of what we should be using our precious brain power on. This "other stuff" is what we have in front of us. We have friends, family, and local causes that need our attention. A whole lot of what is being tossed in our direction and consumed by our brains is a lot of "stuff" that is happening thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet.
I am not going to say that this stuff is less important, but there is only a certain group of people that goes off to help. The bulk of people are right here in our backyards. We don't pay half as much attention to them as we do to things we see on CBC Newsworld or CNN. These international issues are important but since that is what gets the most play on the devices we use to consume information, we forget about what is happening around the block from us. We forget about who our neighbours are and I think this is a sad situation to be in. I always knew I didn't know my locals that well but, after hanging out with a bunch of them, I have found that I am missing something.
I am going to have to think about this and see what it is that I can do in a local sense to fix my interactions with people I see quite often but don't really talk to.
I am not a cosplayer and I have never expressed an interest in dressing up as my favourite animated or fictional character and attending a conference. That is, unless you are counting Hallowe'en or some other event. I suppose that would make me a cosplayer at heart - just not a "professional". I do remember dressing up as Indiana Jones for some elementary school October Festival back in 1985 or 1986. But this what I am wanting to chat about. I am talking about the fact that this song struck a chord with me. It is a song I had not heard before from the band Bon Jovi. It is simple and straight forward but I couldn't help but witness it being used as an anthem for those people who enjoy dressing up and pretending to be someone they are not.
I would imagine that a sub-culture like cosplay may get a lot of looks or people may judge the cosplayer for "wasting time" on something perceived as being a time killer. I always believe that time spent enjoying what you like to do is not time wasted. If you do something you like, how could it be wasted? Anyway... I can't deny this video does touch on something we all feel about our place in the world.
I recall when I stopped dressing up for Hallowe'en because it was "innappropriate" or I was "too old" for that sort of thing. It was a shocking realization for me as, at the time, I was excited to dress up mainly to entertain my younger sister. She is eight years younger than me and she was still "young enough". She asked me to go with her, so, as her brother, I did. Why not? But one house I attended with my sister, the candy dispenser told me in a very rude way that I was too old. I remember feeling a little out of place but not so much that I should have been off doing something...well, else. According to legend, it was because I chose to dress up as a hobo that caused the stir in local parents. A twelve year or thirteen year old walking around with his sister collecting candy was a scary idea. I remember it quite differently.
But, now...as I get older I see that everything I was told is bullshit. It seems that dressing up and acting crazy is a ritual repeated almost every weekend. We may not take the time to build a costume of a character... but we do exactly the same thing. We're not too old - ever. We should be having more fun. We should be "acting up" and not "being the age" we are. It is horse-hockey. I refuse to grow up. I could be dead tomorrow.
Where is the fun in that when you haven't lived? My two cents.
This is yet another boring web site note but it is something I think quite important. For a long time, I never stopped long enough to pay much attention to how browsers and web trackers worked. It wasn't the technology I wasn't pay attention to, it was more about the "how and why" many web sites track visitors.
Most often, when you visit a web site a lot of information can be collected. Web sites (like mine, for example) only get the basics. We collect things like what browsers visit, what operating systems, resolution of your screen, where you are visiting from; information that helps us to make sure that our sites are working properly and gives me an idea of what content works and what does not.
But web sites (like Facebook) track you even when you are not logged in to their web site. It is potentially something that can be (and is) abused by larger companies and it is scary what Facebook does behind the scenes.
So, how do you fight against this kind of intrusion? A lot of the time, you can't. Mobile devices don't have a lot of choice. Some web sites you want to use require cookies and all kinds of things to be active. Here is something you can do. It is called Do Not Track. It is a way of telling web sites that you don't want them to track you beyond the basics.
Do Not Track is a technology and policy proposal that enables users to opt out of tracking by websites they do not visit, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. At present few of these third parties offer a reliable tracking opt out, and tools for blocking them are neither user-friendly nor comprehensive. Much like the popular Do Not Call registry, Do Not Track provides users with a single, simple, persistent choice to opt out of third-party web tracking.
If you are a regular reader here, you'd know that I do this little podcast called Dyscultured that talks about this kind of stuff all the time. We chat and debate about Do Not Track, Facebook, and all sorts of technology that ties it all together. We've talked about tracking for the last eight or so months because it has been a hot topic in the not-so-mainstream (and, eventually, got some play in the mainstream media).
What is the point of this whole post? I won't track you if you don't want me to. I respect my privacy on the Internet and I would expect nothing less. If you set your browser to Do Not Track, my web site respects this and will not intrude on your privacy...
Just send me money instead. Cold hard cash.
I admit it. I am nervous.
I have been working on my Northern Voice presentation for the last little while and I have realized that I am really, really nervous. I have never been nervous about public speaking. I have years of improvisational comedy behind me. I should be able to walk up on to the stage and knock it out of the park.
But, this time, I want it to be the best. I don't want it to just be "good" - I want it to be awesome.
I haven't done a talk quite like the one I am planning. I am wanting to push the boundaries of how talks work. I love going to see people talk about cool things but seeing someone in person talk about the stuff I do all the time can get a little tedious. You can see they are trying to find new ways to make the material interesting but - more often than not - many speakers can just fall into the "talk trap". Standing around, using slides... it can get a little boring. I am sounding like a broken record but just imagine sharing information in the same way a dozen times...ack.
I am not saying that the talks themselves are boring. It is the presentations that can be a little boring. I want to change this up a bit at Northern Voice. I don't want to ruin it for you, so, I won't tell you that much about it - but I will say that you probably won't see blogging quite the same way ever again.
Talk about building the hype, huh?
Fine, fine, there is nothing about cheese in this blog post but I have been working hard the last number of weeks fixing up my poor little web site here. You probably don't care but I did an upgrade, a few fixes, and made sure that everything is "hunky dory".
I am doing this talk in a couple of weeks and I thought it wasn't fair of me to "represent" without making sure my blog got some love. I won't go into too many details (since it would bore you to death) - let's just say, I caught up on all of the things I wanted to do. I moved them from "gotta do that" to "right, that is what I wanted".
All very boring.
I now return to regular scheduled blog posts.
I didn't realize that Vancouver was (again) the jumping off point for a large-ish band. I think it is amazing that Vancouver has been chosen as "that place" to get your tour rockin' and rolling. The pattern only became clear when I was writing down what concerts I had seen of late and both Spinal Tap and William Shatner started their tours here. I am not sure about The Police but, who cares, the drummer said some not nice things about Vancouver. He can rot, the jackass.
Gotta get some earplugs...
Actually, I don't recall the first time I saw it. I do remember when I saw the first film. It was at the Royal Theatre in Victoria during (what I assume) was the first run of the movie. The memories I have of that showing are somewhat scattered and fragmented as I was only four years old. Yet, I do remember the climactic battle at the end of the film and bouncing up and down on the chairs in the theatre. I also remember that it was the first time I fell in love with movies and Star Wars. Yes, yes, I am very much a child of that era and, if you had any sense at all, you were a fan of Star Wars.
What amazes me about the video is it brought up a lot of emotions of having been that young. We forget as we get older that we were once that young and things did amaze us that no longer amaze us as adults. It is incredibly sad and I feel a bit of a loss at not being amazed about the world any more. I suppose there are things that we all find on the Internet that still amaze us but I don't feel we are as engaged as we once were. Sharing links is no substitute for feeling that stories mean something and we can still be surprised. I guess that is one of the many things (other than space is dirty and stuff does wear out) I learned from Star Wars. It was my first experience with epic story telling and I am glad I was exposed to it when I was four rather than a cynical adult. Maybe I will try to be less cynical..star wa
As for the video above, the biggest question is if the film is fake. Does it matter? I don't care. I buy into it enough to remember when I was that young and experiencing the George Lucas movies for the first (or second or third) times.
A little unexpected news arrived the other day and I forgot to mention it. I am going to a Van Halen concert and, wow, does it make me feel old. I know, weird, right? Aren't they all old too and falling apart? And who is their lead singer these days...oh, it's Roth?! What happened to Sammy?
I don't go to concerts all that often. I tend to flake out about buying tickets because I am either not a fan of the ticket seller or I find out much too late and any tickets I could buy are too far away. I think the last big concert I went to was The Police back in the summer of 2008. I did go to see William Shatner more recently but I don't think that counts as a large concert. It will be a treat to see Van Halen in concert before they get deep into their BTO days.
But, truthfully, I thought Van Halen had fallen into that "we are done" category of band-dom. According to Wikipedia, it seems they really haven't been on concert all that often due to members dropping out (mainly issues around the main vocals) or rockers getting old. For example, one of the Van Halen brothers had hip surgery a number of years ago and it sounds like Eddie Van Halen is having arthritis in his hands. It just rings true with the whole rock scene. From my perspective, large hair bands or "huge" bands are becoming less and less these days. With so much variety available, it is becoming harder and harder to match the popularity of Guns N Roses or any other band from "my era". I lost touch with popular music some time ago and, with a few songs here and there, I tend to listen to orchestral music (especially soundtracks to films) most often. But, in light of this concert, maybe I should seek out some new bands or attend a few more contemporary concerts.
But, at the end of the day, it is all about fun, am I right? I am sure they will be great. New music, old music - bring it on.
Of course, I can't mention Van Halen without quoting something:
Ted, while I agree that, in time, our band will be most triumphant. The truth is, Wyld Stallyns will never be a super band until we have Eddie Van Halen on guitar.
Yes, Bill. But, I do not believe we will get Eddie Van Halen until we have a triumphant video.
Ted, it's pointless to have a triumphant video before we even have decent instruments.
Well, how can we have decent instruments when we don't really even know how to play?
That is why we NEED Eddie Van Halen! Ted: And THAT is why we need a triumphant video.
So, there you have it. I am sorry for those who would want to come along, but these tickets arrived unexpectedly and I think getting additional ones together may be a challenge. We could try? If you want to come, drop me a line. We should hook up. Oh, and I really need to get some earplugs. The Police were murder on my brain.
It is that time of year again when thousands upon thousands of podcasters decend upon Ottawa, Ontario to talk about their craft at the Podcasters Across Borders conference. Yes, thousands. Millions, in fact. I think last year, PAB hosted about 156,000,000 attendees. It was a blast!
In the reality where you exist (and I may only visit) there were about 100 people. The size of the conference is intentional. They keep it small because, really, how can you learn anything from other people when you are being pushed around by potentially thousands of people? The simple answer is: you can't. PAB is not about just being a conference. It is about actually learning something and sharing with others. I also think it is silly to have a conference of more than a couple hundred. When you are talking about learning, you can't do that in a hectic environment. There is too much going on. Not enough focus is given to the important bits in the name of sponsors or money or whatever. For example, Northern Voice, another conference I am involved with, grew to around 500 attendees but when we assessed the feedback, we were told that people who came had a good time but they thought it was too big. It had lost that "get together" feeling. The personal touch was reduced in focus. This year, we then cut it back to about 300 and we feel awesome about it.
Back to PAB. I went to PAB last year for the very first time and I had a blast. For myself, it was a relief to be in a room with people who think very much like I do (or, at the very least, express themselves in similar ways). I was able to hang out with people I know, meet new people, and listen to seasoned podcasters from all over. We were able to hang out, talk about podcasting, but also get to know people better. You can't do that in conferences when they grow too big. People go to learn, hang out, and break out of their every day. To recharge. Essentially, PAB 2012 should be awesome and I am happy to say just how awesome.
If you're not going, you need to. If you have any interest in podcasting, come out this year and hang with me. We'll record stuff. Check out the sidebar for podcasts I am involved with.
I hope that got your attention.
I thought it worth a quick mention that I was playing around this evening with my phone and decided it would be kind of interesting to shoot a few photos of text. Nothing fancy or profound but I was looking around on HitRecord earlier and I was inspired to contribute to a Tiny Stories collaboration. But, I was really feeling terrible that I was not a better illustrator. There are so many great drawings in there and I felt like I sucked.
I mean, really, I do all kinds of graphic design but, when it comes to drawing by hand, my artistic skills are not as good as I would like them to be. I like to draw but I usually draw or sketch something and then import that into some graphic software. I then change and manipulate it from there.
Anyway, I like words. I like to mess with them, bash them around, and organize them in ways that make sense. Or don't. But, why not have some pictures of hand writing? My hand writing it somewhat interesting. So, I present to you the results.
I have been working a lot lately and have written a tonne of blog posts but haven't been able to finish all of them. Since I needed some obvious motivation to get back to my self expression, I took a bit of time to dig out a couple old unpublished blog posts that never made it to the site. This happens all the time with personal writing because there is always something that is either more important to do or life just gets in the way. Below is a lost post from about six months ago.
Do you ever feel like the world is full of idiots? Yah. I am having that overwhelming sense these days. It is like logic and conversation is on holiday.
I wonder what that would look like? What sort of conversation would someone have with logic? Is that even possible?
"Hey, Logic! Where have you been, man?"
"Obviously, I have not been within the sight of your ocular nerve endings."
"Umm, did you have fun... not being in my range of visual range?"
Okay. Maybe that wasn't the best example of how I feel about the world right now but I am overwhelmed with this sense that much of the universe is made up of chaotic thought that, when spoken aloud, sounds much like a feline being squashed but a overweight Dalmatian.
I guess I am being too harsh. I do wish I was not so critical of decisions made without logic proper channels of though being followed - no, really. But I can't help watching (what I perceive as a train wreck) people make assumptions about the world.
I am not saying that every decision I make is the best, I mean, how else to people learn except through trial and error. We can't. And must I let them? Yes. Yes, Shane. You must allow others to make decisions that you think are silly.
It looks like I was thinking about something I don't remember now. It seems I get into these rants (which I have become known for, it would seem) and when I realize I am ranting I tend to redirect them into the realm of the absurd. I think this freaks people out. I got from trying to make a point, vearing into what am I ranting about this for, and then detouring into something about monkey sports and rain clouds. No, really, I have done this.
Anyway, I am going to get back to catching up. So much to do... so much to do.
I thought of this little piece when I was trying to think about something positive to say about the world and where I think we may be headed. I don't think I was successful with the whole "being positive" thing but I think I was honest with it. I am often pessimistic about the future of humanity. I am not worried about the Earth at all. When the Earth decides we should get the hell off, it will get us the hell off and we wont' have anything to say about it.
We can do whatever we want to each other and blow ourselves sky high but the Earth, the actual rock that supports us, will go on living and developing and - who knows - there may be a dozen additional societies that follow us. But that is not to say that I want the Earth to kick us off. I want us to be responsible and take care of the planet we have. I just keep seeing too many examples of our brains not being connected enough to what sustains us.
The morning sun hit the stripped side of the mountain. The light glinted here and there but the beauty was gone. Broken rock with ragged man-made fissures told the truth about what had happened here.
We had gone farther than we thought we would. Our ability to resist was tested and we had failed. The faces I could see, trickled as melded images into my mind. Fractured like the rock, I tried to make the pieces fit. I attempted to form them into some sense.
As I stood there, the orange flag I had been waving with enthusiasm (only moments before) fluttered slightly in the dead air. No one said a thing. We had pushed the world as far as it would bend. Greed and profit margins had brought us to this point. It was all clear now. It was like we had smiled at a soccer game only to watch - still smiling - as a plane crashed into centre field. Our smiles had yet to change.
The dust was settling as anyone would have thought it would. It slowly moved away from what we had done. It diminished and blew away (towards the North, I think). It moved lightly at first and when we could see what had happened. When we could see what happened. When we could see. When. We.
The rock had splintered and transformed in the violence. What had been a solid mountain of granite was now a crater of rubble and smoke. It was unmistakeable what the hole had done. The rock had moved aside and at the very centre - we could see stars.
It was more than thirty minutes before someone broke the silence.
I love to write prose and dialogue (thus, I have recently concluded) but my first love is poetry. I have always loved poems and the creation of poetry and I found some time to construct a few. Poems rule. If you don't think they do, you will buy me a beer to apologize for your lack of vision. (Where is the lightning I was promised that would shoot out of my hands.)
Here are two pieces that I wrote for HitRecord. They are short works that I wrote and they reflect my style pretty closely.
Trading One Place For Another
that drug you made me take that one night
was the night when everything changed
i was suspicious
your lack of a motive to drug me
was the greatest of mysteries
but i went
hoping the buried
would break the surface to haunt me
That Little Trip Over There
it cost me something precious
to break free and become
outwardly interesting, still
phantom asylum, wanting space
trying to stay hidden
grasping at concepts
where men like me
discover themselves painfully
each night in the quiet of
green hills and broken trees
with screaming voices that echo
just as quiet as yours
This short dialogue from the same collaboration is a bit of a cheat. I read somewhere a long time ago about how fate is a dark ocean and we are all strapped to a wooden platform that is constantly turning over and over. One moment we're looking towards a light that hovers over the dark ocean and then the next we are drowning in the water being bumped by unseen aquatic beasts. I don't think this is totally successful but it is only dialogue (and I impose a time limit when writing these pieces).
"I've been having the dream again."
"Oh, have you?"
"Is it the same as before?"
"Exactly the same."
"Tell me about it."
"You already know the details. I've told you dozens of times before."
"Tell me, anyway. I know it will help you to tell me the details. You would like to tell me, wouldn't you? It you do, I will put in a good word with the guards. They may even let you outside again. What has it been now? Three years? Three years since you saw the sky?"
"You'd like to see the outside again, wouldn't you?"
"Yes, but you keep asking me the same questions. I don't know what else you want me to say."
"You know it begins the same way. I wake up. I am wet. Soaked, like I have been hosed down with a fire hose."
"I am strapped to a wooden chair. I can't lift my arms and the chair is attached to the floor."
"And what about the floor? You say there is always something special about the floor."
"Yes. The floor is also made of wood. Planks. Like those rough planks you see in old cabins or in the movies? It is rough against my feet."
"But what else about the floor? What else is keeping you there?"
"I don't know. It is bright. A light. There is a bright light, somewhere above me. It is lighting the floor and I can see the wood is also wet. Along the edge of the light, I can see the floor stops. It is a circle. The floor is in a circle."
"Calm down. What is outside of the light."
"What do you mean nothing?"
"The circle of light ends where the floor ends. I turn my head around, trying to see behind me but the floor is just gone. The wood has been cut and the floor is a large circle around the chair."
"What is beyond the light? Can you see anything else?"
"No, I said already. I can't see anything beyond the light."
"Is that because it is dark?"
"No! There is just nothing. There just isn't anything there. I don't understand why. The floor is just gone."
"It is okay, Michael. You don't need to get upset about the dream but it is important to our work here and we would like to know more about the dream. Please, you know it is important that we know as much detail as you can provide. I will put in a good word for you and you may be outside within the week. Quite possibly two or three hours. A good word from me can go a long way."
"Beyond the edge of the floor. I can hear something."
"What does it sound like."
"Is it the water that made you wet?"
"I don't know. The floor, chair, and the clothes I am wearing are all soaked through. I suppose it could be the same water."
"What else can you see in your dream?"
"I see... an ocean."
"An ocean? Oh, this is new. Let me amend my notes for a moment. Do you know what ocean?"
"I don't know. It is just an ocean."
"You are on this platform above an ocean and it is dark. Is it night? Can you see stars?"
"No, it is completely dark outside the light. I can hear the ocean and, maybe, I can see some of the ocean. It is far below the floor."
"I want you to think, Michael. I want you to think about what you see in your dream. I need more details if we are going to accomplish something here."
"The platform starts to move."
"Are you moving in a particular direction?"
"No. It begins to tilt."
"Tilt? Oh, this is new. Keep going, I will keep up with my notes."
"It begins to tilt. Slowly at first and then a bit faster. I start to see more of the water below. It is far below me. I still can't get out of the chair. I am locked solid. I think I am going to fall."
"This is new. Thank you, Michael. Please, keep going."
"The platform is almost sideways now. I am hanging on to the arms of the chair and I am leaning backwards. I am almost down on the back of the chair. I can see up towards the light but I can't open my eyes for long. The light is terribly bright and it hurts my eyes. I then feel the platform start to flip over."
"Can you see anything holding up this platform? Is there anything to indicate you are suspended on cables? Anything like that?"
"I can't tell but I don't see anything holding up the floor. But I am upside down now. When I look down, I see a dark ocean. It is dark and there are things moving in it. I try to see what they are but I can't see much. Being upside down fills my head with blood and I start to wonder if I will die upside down. It is a stupid thought."
"Can you see the platform?"
"Yes. When I try to look up, I see light coming through the floor. Water is dripping off the floor. I can see the drops from the floor touching the ocean."
"What happens next? Can you see out into the dark? Are there any landmarks or buildings or anything that may tell us where you are?"
"I can't tell. The darkness just goes on. I see the ocean below but nothing else. Like I have told you a hundred times, it is dark."
"But you've never told me the details about the platform turning upside down before."
"I didn't want to."
"Why not? It seems like a significant detail."
"I didn't want the guards in my cell again."
"That was just a one-time thing. We had to make sure you were telling the truth, Michael."
"I was telling the truth. Always."
"I want to thank you, Michael. I believe this new information will help us greatly in our work. I think we will end the session for today. I must analyze this new data. II will have one of the guards take you back downstairs to your cell. I promise, I will put in a good word and see if I can arrange a visit to the outside."
This is an exercise for a collaboration called "Dialogue Tales". The idea is you are supposed to write two characters having a conversation. I started off with a simple sentence of "this will only take a minute" and look where it took me.
It Is Easy These Days
"This will only take a minute."
"Amputations these days are quick and painless."
"Yah, I have heard that. Didn't ever think I would need one until I was older. Or if I was injured in the conflict."
"We get a lot of veterans through here. New torsos, new faces, limbs, just about anything. There your pelvis is off. Did you feel any pain?"
"No. Not at all."
"Excellent. I am just going step out to get your...are you crying?"
"I don't mean to be."
"Did it hurt? Did you feel anything at all? You did say you didn't feel anything."
"I know. I just feel... disconnected."
"But you are here to feel reconnected to your legs. Isn't that right?"
"Yes. You're right. Is that blood?"
"Oh, sorry. Even with the medical blood dams we get a bit of spillage. Not to worry. The transfuser is keeping up."
"I just think I should feel something more. With everything being so regular. Whatever happened to feeling irregular?"
"I don't understand what you mean. Hang on, there will be a slight bump and you may shift on the table. It is only the auto-bone growth medium clamping into position."
"I was wondering what that odd feeling was."
"There we go. All attached now. We just need to give it a moment to connect the nerve clusters to the bio-medium. Do you need me to get you anything?"
"Do you know where the so resides?"
"It is confirmed as fact that there is no soul."
Finally, after years and years of bitching and complaining that I haven't done any writing or have done too little, I am now over-flowing with it. I can't stop. Blogging, creative writing, documentation for clients - it is just plain crazy how productive with the pen I am. Will it last? It feels like it.
What is different now than it has been in the past? Sharing. Who knew. Last year, I discovered this web site called Hit Record. It is a web site that was started a few years back by an actor named of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. You may have heard of him. He is talented and I am floored that he has built up this site. When I first discovered the site, I just wrote the site off as being another industry professional trying to envelope inexperienced actors, writers, or what-have-you, and provide hope of success without much action.
I am happy to say I am so wrong. This community is ravenous. They are very much interested in collaborating on projects and the thing that sets this site apart from others is they have published records, a book, and have also put on a bunch of live events. I can't wait to attend one of their parties... although, I think they primarily happen in Los Angeles. But details, details.
What does this have to do with my writing? HitRecord has provided me with an unexpected outlet. The site has collaborations for all kinds of things for all kinds of talents. Or course, I gravitate to the writing end of the spectrum and it is a bit harder to get things going in that realm (as I think drawing is a bit easier and you don't fight with that left side of the brain as much) and I have been doing exercises to get somethings down on the virtual paper.
Over the next few days, I will post some of what I wrote for the HitRecord site and let me know what you think. They are all not gems but there may be a few shiny rocks in there.
...and the jerk said all kinds of things that make sense. If you know Travis, he is one of the coolest cats in this town. We had lunch at this sushi/curry/tattoo parlour place in Gastown and had some fabulous conversation. We talked about live, work, being employers, how creativity is made/used/destroyed, and why do our bodies constantly betray us. I don't think I will get into too much detail because some of the stuff we chatted about was "man talk". You know... that stuff guys talk about. Normally, the talks start like:
INT. COOL TATTOO PARLOUR/CURRY/SUSHI PLACE - DAY
Yah, stuff is awesome.
Thankfully, Travis and I don't sound quite so terrible as that, but we are guys and guys talk about guy stuff. Now, I don't want to give you the idea that the conversation was all about guy stuff but let's just say that there are some moments in my life that will remain offline. Like the conversation I had at the office with some of my staff. We were hunkered down, coming up with some awesome brainstorms to solve a client's problem and it went something like this:
INT. LEFT RIGHT MINDS OFFICE - DAY
Hey, you know what would be cool?
You dress up in a pussy cat suit and pretend to beg for a saucer of milk. When the client sees it, they will lose their minds!
Did I say something funny?
Not yet, but I will let you know when you do.
Yes, they didn't quite go for my awesome idea. That is the problem around our office. I toss out gems of awesome and they just look at me like I am from another planet. How did that happen? I thought I was the man-generating genuis around the office. When did that turn into man-generating genius with built in critics? And, yes, it is not lost on me that "man-generating" was used in the previous two sentences but I like it and they will stay right where they are, thank you very much. Even if they are... weird, and slightly disturbing images. Deal!
Back to Travis and the reality of the conversation we did have. We talked about the reality of burn out. One of the major reasons, I have discovered from that conversation, was that the work I do every single day is creative and I love it. The problem is, I come home and my brain is so done with being creative it just wants to recharge and not provide any further output. I have complained a lot about this on this site over the last couple of years and I think it was a bit of a reality check for me to have someone say it to me and not have me think it. I believe we get more action out of ourselves when we have someone tell us the things we already know. How cliche.
This post is becoming a very round about way of saying that having lunch with Travis today was awesome. We shall do it again and talk more and provide you with more insights into how the world works because, if you didn't know, Travis controls the universe. Well, maybe not the universe, but a decent sized chunk of the Alpha and Beta quadrants.
I may have mentioned it in recent blog posts (cough, yah, I totally did) but I have started conversing with people strictly through letters. This week, I stepped this up by writing to people that weren't expecting a letter. At least, I hope they weren't. Of course, I hope they like it that I wrote to them in the first place. The letters were fairly generic and personalized to the individuals (obviously) but I kept it light.
I have this bizarre fear that writing letters to people scares them. I don't know why I believe this little oddity but, I do. A few years ago, I wrote thank you letters to people for supporting me in getting into a business school. I couldn't believe the response. I got some phone calls, a few e-mails, and some pats on the back for having done it. It meant something to me and to them. I was shocked. I was happy as well. To bring a smile to someone with just the stroke of a pen across paper is quite astounding. Perhaps we've been doing it so long that our genetics have adapted to seek out letters. Such an interesting thought but I am sure it isn't the case but I like the image. Our souls yearning for a new paper to read that is addressed only to us and not to the world at large.
I do plan on continuing this trend of writing to people who don't know I am going to include them. I really believe that writing by hand is very different and somehow taps into our minds in such a way where you can't hide from who you are and you can't just re-write and re-write - like in this blog post for example.
Don't get bored either. I get bored sometimes while writing out my thoughts and I can't seem to finish them because some other shiny light has gone off nearby and I am dragged towards it. But a letter... it holds my attention far stronger.
Are any of you out there actively writing letters to people? Want to write letters to me? Let me know and I will add you to my list.
Last year, I was so wrapped up in my own little drama during my birthday, I almost forgot to mention that someone very close to me has a birthday only six days onward. His name is Todd and he and I have known each other since we were born. There is so much I could say about how truly awesome he is but I will keep it brief this year. Next year, when we hit one of those milestones where we are supposed to be "all responsible and shit", the party should be memorable. As for that responsible stuff, we may be responsible but feeling responsible is a whole different ball-type-game-thing. Maybe, like Ultimate.
I think it is natural to feel this way. To feel like we are incomplete somehow. Regardless of our ages, I see the same problem - we all strive to have it all together. All of the bits of our lives are supposed to be lined up and put into some order. I remember reading that it is like that for our brains. We want to keep it all together to ward off the fight/flight response.
But, kids, just remember -no matter how old you get, you never "have it all together". The world is complete chaos (okay, the universe is) and we all pretend to have all the answers. We pretend to have the world sorted out and placed in all kinds of little boxes. The problem is that box is always moving and it tends to phase out into other dimensions once in a while, dropping everything it carried. (Yes, I have been watching too many quantum physics videos lately.)
But I am getting distracted... so, this year, Todd - you rock man. I don't say it enough and I live too far away (which is not all that far) to see you as often as I would like. You amaze me, even today. More so. May this year be one of the best and let's make the marking of our birthdays next year... well, a party to remember.
(PS: Yes, I haven't mentioned people in such details on my blog before, but get used to it.)
Catching up on neglected things is quite the feat. Over the last week, I have been searching for old blog posts that "never made the cut". Or, better yet, blog posts that were never completed because I was dragged away into something else, got tired, or decided that playing with pugs was a better idea. I can't say that these other things were bad distractions but I do have a stupid form of regret that I can't help but shake.
Normally, you will see this regret manifested in apologies to people that read a blog. But, that isn't what I feel. This time, I feel as if I have let myself down. With all of my complaining at the days where I am not able to read enough or write enough or spend time with people enough - or just get enough - what have I done to break this cycle? Do I work too much? Probably. Do I over commit myself with personal engagements only to have the work life get in the way? Yes.
It is a silly problem to have, really. Should not those who are blessed with work be happy with the work? We would be bored or eating out of garbage cans if we didn't, I suppose. There is much I am doing these days that is exciting. I will keep you all posted on that.
By the way, have you read The Hunger Games? I haven't yet but I plan on it. But I refuse to see the film until I have. Again... with the silly problems.
For those of you who do not want your childhood ruined, this video is for you. I jest. Yet, I could not resist.
Guess what, fellow writer and nerdy types in the town we like to call Vancouver? It is the Vancouver Blogger Meetup... in, oh, say, about an hour from now. I am particularly jazzed by this March meetup for a couple of reasons. It was my birthday only a few days ago and I made a declaration (at myself) that I would get a little more involved. I have been wrapped up in work and my own little world a bit too much. Secondly, it is such a nice day. It was supposed to rain for the next six months but the sun came out.
What? You didn't hear about this Vancouver blogging thing? Really? You blog and share online and you live in our town? You should really make it out. I will provide you with all of the details you may want below.
Today. At 2pm. Be there.
March Blogger Meetup. Socialize at Trees Cafe in Yaletown.
Did you really have to ask that? I will see you there!
Life's a bitch, isn't it?
Dammit. It was bound to happen. I tried to avoid it this year but, a mere two hours before the hour of my birth, I find I am thinking about my own mortality. Why do people think about these things? I know that another year has just gone by and I have many more ahead to look forward to but - man, oh, man - it also makes me nervous. Aren't we all supposed to be immortal already? Isn't health care technology supposedly going to allow us to all live until we're six million years old? I, for one, will be the first to sign up should that technology be invented in my life time. Unfortunately, the fountain of youth has yet to be discovered and technology can only extend life for so long - and, really, do we all want to be hooked up to computers, tubes, and some form of state run televisions (or visor vision, whatever it may be called in the future).
It is terribly cliche to repeat that we deny our mortality but we all know we do. We don't ever think about our inevitable demise (wow, such negative terminology today). I try not to deny my mortality. I think about it quite often but I think it is because I read too much. People never think about it and we shouldn't have to. All we can do is live the life we should live... and that doesn't mean to live the life that we do happen to live. There is a fine line in there some where but I have yet to find it. Right now, all I am thinking about is family, life in general, and how this coming year will be my break out of the shell year. More blogging, more sharing, more of that whole "get stuff out of my head year" and really connect with people. I fear that my schedule and/or introverted nature has led me to a place where I believe I am not as "out there" as I should be.
I love that scene. Picard says what we ought to think while Riker says what we're all thinking, even if we don't know it. It would be nice to live forever but I don't think we realize what that would mean. I really don't have a clear understanding of why I think these thoughts. I chalk it up to my mind being overly active and having far too much imagination on hand. It is like my mind has a switch that is stuck on "weird" or "shameless". You choose what fits best because we all know that in 100 years, who is going to care. Will we all leave our marks on the world? Doubtful.
Will I? Hell yah. As I said in my earlier post, time to write those cheques.
...because I am cashing in.
"Thus far, you have been adrift in the sheltered harbor of my patience." -- Cobra Bubbles
My last post felt so good to write. I was able to let loose on a topic that has been sitting in my internal sweat shop, knitting sweaters, building up my sense of self-righteousness, and laying around watching television. (Insert evil laugh here.) But, in reality, that post comes on the heels of a conversation I had with a fellow artist earlier today. I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for this person, so, don't get any crossed messages here. It is what he said not what he said. Understand? Good. So, what did this person say? Earlier today I was referred to as a person who "holds his cards close to his chest". For most people, this would have no impact on them and they would laugh or snicker and then go on drinking their over-priced latte. For me, I have been described as such before and (more recently by my mates over on the Dyscultured podcast) and it... bothhhhers me. Yet, it bothers me in a good way and it looks like the universe has had me wait until my 39th year on this spinning rock to say anything about it.
INT. SHANE'S HEAD - DAY
SHANE'S INNER VOICE (VO)
But, Shane? Why don't you just embrace who you are and be happy with what God's given you?
The simple thing is: I want change. I want to change people's perceptions of who I am.
SHANE'S INNER VOICE (VO)
But, Shane? Why do you care? Shouldn't this be one of those things you ignore? Just walk it off. Everything will be fine.
Look, inner voice, let's use a different set of terms. Let's say: "perception" replaces... oh, bite me, inner voice.
Before I continue, I would like to say, this post is something I have wanted to vent about for a long time. I am not complaining, blaming, nor am I pointing fingers. Such posts are more of a personal record of how one feels about their lot in life and most of what is written here is personal observation. The quality of those observations are subjective and not fact. I wanted to clarify before those who are closest to me go off and start building pillow forts and loading up hundreds of water balloons. (Although, that does down pretty damn cool.)
This brings me to how introverts feel about those to interact with them. Most of my life, I have heard there are many different versions of who I am lurking the globe. I have heard what I like to eat from one person, while hearing about what I enjoy to watch on televsion from another. (Yah, it is Firefly!) What I find troubling is most of the answers are so off the mark they may as well have put the target on Jupiter. I struggle as to why I get these kinds of questions, comments, and/or judgements. What it seems to come down to is I have manners. No, really. I do. Well, I have them and I may use them occassionally - but, really, I do have them and it seems that when I use them, I activate a cloaking device that hides the real Shane from the world. That is how it feels, anyway. I am sure it isn't true... but let's talk a while longer.
I want to change this perception of "me". I don't know if this is possible without fifty million dollars and a publicist but I do want people to know that I do great things with my days (and nights, ladies, rowar!). Yet, I keep running into this perception that I am someone who I am not. First and foremost, I believe all people on this planet (regardless of culture) all wake up in the morning and put their pants on the same way. Sure, there is a technical bit surrounding whether or not people wear pants but this is my website and we will play by my rules. I have a tremendous ability to empathize with people because I really give a shit about people. I care about what they think, about what they need, and about who they are. Some would say I do this to a fault... and I hope that it is true. I have also been accused that I don't talk "about things" enough. Sadly, I wish this was true. I think my issue is I think too much... so much so that I am busy thinking when people want to hear my thoughts. I suppose that this blog is an example of that.
But I do have a fault that I will reveal here: I think that the world is full of blabber mouths who like nothing more than to hear the sound of their own voices. This would include such people like Rush Limbaugh. No, mom, not you. I fear the blabber mouths of the world have wrecked it for everyone. I think many of them should go off in search of Jimmy Hoffa's tomb and lock themselves in. I feel that adding my voice won't bring about any change or provide much impact. I fear my voice will vanish into the void of whate we call the Internet. (Maybe that is why I do this whole podcasting thing and encourage others to do it as well. Shane says, glancing to the right column of the web site and pointing wildly.) I am not saying that everyone I talk to is a blabber mouth. I am quite selective in who I deem a blabber mouth. Lucky for me, there are very few in my daily life. But I point towards the media machine that has created more of these vessels of blabber-mouth-dom. I suppose at some point I became tired of hearing them and, thus, refused to add my noise to theirs. Yet, I suppose, like everyone else, voices can and do make an impact. They can provide wisdom to someone who needs it. Or just maybe someone will read one sentence and go out and make the world better while thinking the rest of what I type is hogwash. I guess I like to listen far too much. I have heard this is one of the best policies to follow: to listen to people. I like to listen. I just don't chime in enough. Anyway, you could write a entire research paper on this part of the conversation. I will now move on.
But I return to my point. At least, I hope I will return to my point. It bothers me that my selective "chatty" gets beat up over how "not chatty" he really is. I like to think of myself as someone who is keen to work things out before saying my bit. If you've visited this web site in recent months, you will note that I have been working on a Happiness Plan. It is more than a simple "make myself happy plan". I envision it more like a "get Shane to say audible stuff" plan. The letter writing has worked terribly well. I have two people on my letter writing list and I can't tell you how open one can be when putting a real pen to real paper. I would guess more so than a web site. At least, so far... anyone interested in joining my letter writing adventure?
Granted, I am making a huge assumption here. There are plenty of people who know who I am and know I am not the silent type. They know I am someone who prefers thought over speech. I am introverted in a huge way but, due to a love of live theatre and performance, it may be hard to tell sometimes. Of course, my clients don't see the quiet side of me. They see the talkative and over-adviced version of myself. Should they read my blog, I hope they can gain a better appreciation of who I am. I want to be open with people but I am not a knee-jerk commentary type. When I allow myself to be a type of rapid-talking person, my brain runs into overtime where connections between hotdogs and skeet shooting somehow work seemlessly together. I hope that illustrates the point adequately.
INT. SHANE'S HEAD - DAY
SHANE'S INNER VOICE (VO)
Umm, Shane. I would like to point out something. Nothing you said in this post is new. Everyone feels this way. From time to time.
Didn't I tell you to shut up?
SHANE'S INNER VOICE (VO)
Well, yes... but I was merely pointing out that everyone is just like you. They always see perceptions of themselves everywhere. From people, in nature, in pop culture.
You mean this post is more of a self indulgent, ego trip?
SHANE'S INNER VOICE (VO)
I was thinking more of a practice in expressing yourself with a creative writing flair.
Inner voice. Your words are filtering into my head. You'd best look to that.
Where'd I put my belt?
So, I can't keep quiet about this any further. And, from a brief conversation today about my hardcore ability to keep quiet, I learned that I hold my cards to my chest far too often. Fine. You're right. I do. Isn't there some old saying that if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all? I heard it stems from some idea that if you let someone talk, they will eventually make sense that agrees with conventional logic and their point will become clear. Well, that is why I tend not to say much. I like to listen to people and formulate a response. I apologize to those who think I do this far too long but, you know what you can go do with yourselves... it involves a sharp pointly stick and a bottle of glue. Unsure if I am being clear enough? Need more detail?
I didn't think so.
There is a new Shane in town, mutha-smokers. If my ability to not say something when I have nothing nice to say is bothering you, I now include "not keeping my mouth shut" as part of my 2012 Happiness Plan. A posting about my Happiness Plan List will be forthcoming in the next few days. But, right now, I want to talk crazy. I want to talk about Mike Daisey because I think the world has lost its fucking mind. Why? Read on, friendly visitor because the new Shane is in mother-fucking-town.
First of all, learn about who Mike Daisey is. I have seen some of his work before and it has always been while I was sitting in a theatre. I bought a ticket, sat down in a dark theatre, and watched Mike do his thing. Some of his stuff has rocked and some of it needed something. At least, that is what my brain as a theatre-goer told me. Did I like his stuff? Yes. Did I love it? Yes. Was it good enough to recommend? Yes. Did I ever take anything he did on stage as something that should be written out, verified, and tossed into the New York Times or the Globle and Mail? Fuck no. If you do, I have a sledge hammer available for your mental correction because of two reasons:
- Don't believe the hype around Ira Glass.
- Sit quietly for a moment and think for your fucking self what the difference between "theatre" and "news" is.
So, what has got me so hot under the collar about this? Ira Glass has left the building, walked off a short pier, and fucking allowed the news media machine take over. Now, I am not going to pretend that Ira Glass is sitting in some dark lair and is laughing his ass off at all the press he is getting for verifying a theatre piece...
"Sorry, what did you say, Shane?"
"Verifying a theatre piece."
"Really? Did Ira really do this?"
"Apparently, he did. He saw a piece of theatre and treated it as a news story that required fact checking and whatever else news people do."
"Yah. That is what these news stories you've been reading say."
"Yah, really, Shane. Ira and his team did this."
"For a theatre piece."
I am going to talk to Camera Two for a moment. Ira. Buddy. Pal. What the FUCK were you thinking? Are you serious? You wasted public money (*cough*) on fact checking a work of theatre? Just because the author went to a location to do research for a piece of fiction that is brining an important topic into the news machine - you think it deserved fact checking? Really? Did we take our pills that morning or did you forget? Thanks, Camera Two.
I am appauled at this whole situation. I am ashamed for This American Life. I am pissed off that people are equating theatre as pure truth. (I saw the show and no where did the performer say his piece was non-fiction. He just said his work was meant to talk about real issues in the real world and it was based on his experiences.) This American Life has broken the story on a non-issue and it is now in the news grinder as if something has happened that deserves all this attention. I am also confused why Ira Glass didn't see where the line between reality and fiction was drawn. It wasn't drawn by Ira. It was drawn by the author - and then Ira moved it. I am sorry but that is exactly what This American Life did. I am also not too sure why. Was This American Life under threat of cancelation or something? Is this really something we should all be thinking about?
Actually, I think it it. Bringing attention to the plight of workers in China is something we should all be talking about. It is important. I think Mike Daisey's next piece should be about minerals that a dug out of the Earth in the Congo. These minerals (or rare Earth minerals) are then put in to the very computers and phones that Ira Glass uses. (And, yes, I use the same technology too so don't get your panties in a bunch.) But who digs these minerals out of the Earth. Well, you'd best talk to Kony's masterbating mentor as he, apparently, likes to run around an teach people things. He covers a wide variety of topics too from kidnapped children to public masterbation.
But, my point is, what the hell happened to everyone's brains surrounding this story? Did we all check into a local strip club and not surface for sixty days? Have we all lost our collective ability to think? It is this lack of thought that floors me - especially by people who say that they didn't even see the work Mike did and then call him a liar. Mike is not the liar. The liar I see runs a show called This American Life. He is the one who has started this whole thing and it is shameful. Ira, I want to tickle you until you pee your pants, sir. I am sad for you. I am sad that you, someone who I respect and admire every week have done this. You have duped the public into thinking that your research into a piece of fiction is revealing some sort of cover up or ruse. The reality is, sir, you are the one who has created the ruse. You have manufactured this whole thing. I would like to pretend that you didn't do it on purpose but I can't believe you are that stupid. You aren't. I am forced to conclude that you fucked up and I hope you, eventually, come to your senses and tell the public so. Shame. Shame.
Basically, here is the new me. The new speaking Shane. Don't like what you see? Then suck it. If you like what you read or hear? Worship me. More to come, my readers... the flood gates have opened, Daddy isn't happy, and I took off my leather belt and we all know what that means.
I can't believe this but back in December of 2009, I was reminding you that the 3rd Edition of Blogging For Dummies was just released. Well, it is that time - we've done it all over again.
Now in its fourth edition, Blogging For Dummies is fully updated and more practical than ever for today's bloggers. Whether you're just beginning or are already a full-tilt blogging maven, you'll find the up-to-date information you need in these friendly pages. Want to integrate your blog with social media? Jump into the fast-moving world of microblogging on Twitter or Tumblr? Choose which blogging software to use? Optimize your current blog for search? This detailed book guide covers it all, and then some. Buy the book, build a better blog, and blog about it!
- Provides up-to-date information on blogging software choices and utilities
- Explains how to identify your unique niche and attract readers
- Walks you through setting up an account and writing your first post
- Shows you how to optimize your blog for search, so new readers find you
- Helps you integrate your blog with social media
- Reveals what you need to know to start microblogging on Twitter or Tumblr
- Explores the ways you can make money with your blog
During the summer of 2011, Susie and I hammered out another set of chapters that talk a great deal more about how social media is playing a huge role in getting attention for your blog and how you can use it to build out your community.
Check it out!
My next step in the whole "happiness plan" idea is to take more walks. I have been wanting to add a weekly hike into my life for a long time. I took my first hike to Iona Beach last week with Jonathon and Allyson. The pugs were, of course, in attendance as well. I hadn't really planned much about this outing but I had never been to Iona Beach before and it is apparently haven for dogs and humans alike. It was amazing. We were walked almost as far as you could go and the pugs were able to run like crazy animals.
We haven't done that for quite some time. The pugs running like crazy things, not the hike itself. It always makes me smile when I am able to watch my beasts run freely and without any concern that they will get run over by a car. Seri is not much of an adventurer and tends not to stray too far but Faith is fearless and will run and run and run without so much of a thought about where it may take her. Amazing. I wish we all could take a bit of her bravery.
So, that is the next step in my happiness plan. Some people have e-mailed me and mentioned that they think this is a good idea. Seize the day and get out there more. Stop hiding because of whatever is keeping me back.
Oh, and I hope to get my first letter soon. I think the mail is backed up a bit and it may take some time to get here. I haven't had any takers yet on joining me in my letter writing campaign. Don't hesitate to join up!
You know, I realized that I never did a Happy New Year posting. It seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. I don't know why. I used to state my resolutions and then review at the end of the year how well I did. That is a little bizarre. Quite unlike me.
This is my New Year posting. But, this year, I am not going to do anything about resolutions. I am going to skip them for one more year and then pick it up again next year. I will even set in my calendar that I am going to do this. It will remind me that I am not a robot and nor am I something for show on the Internet. I don't know why I suddenly think that but something did. Deep within the recess of my highly evolved brain (*cough*) something tells me I need to rethink about how I share information on the Internet.
So, here is to my happiness plan for 2012. Should it be awesome and do very well.
So, I have been giving some thought to my personal happiness plan and have embarked on the first step already.
Something that has bothered me for years has been the lack of communication in our so-called social spheres. We have all kinds of tools to talk at people but nothing that really makes a conversation possible. We have blogs with commenting systems, Facebook walls, Twitter conversations (if you can call them that), and text messages on our portable devices. All of these technologies make it easy for us to communicate and they have their own strengths and weaknesses and none of them are perfect.
But I don't think that these technologies make it possible for communication. I think they provide us an easy way to get someone's attention for a micro-second, discuss something quickly, and then allow us to move on to the next thing. To me, there isn't any communication going on.
So, I am going to try and bring back the writing of letters. Letters that require a pen, paper, an envelope, and a stamp. No typing, no planning, just a plain letter. The letter is a lost art in the world now and I think it really needs to come back. Writing by hand forces people to really think about what they are writing. Letters also allow you to say things that you may not say in a public forum such as a blog or an e-mail. (Yes, people, e-mails are public unless you encrypt them.)
Are you ready to write me a letter? Are you ready to receive a letter from me? I challenge you to get on board with me. My first letter arrived today and I am going to write the response tomorrow. I am jazzed like you would not believe and this is just a letter.
I can't wait to get my next letter.
I have been reading through some of the blog entries I have done over the last number of weeks and, wow, what a sad bastard I have been. It must be tiring to have to read stuff like this or, maybe, you want to know how I am feeling.
I hate it feeling like this. I should have been happy about the holidays.
There is something about being perpetually grumpy that annoys me. This grumpy attitude clouds thought while simple common reason takes a holiday.
But here is the thing. I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a family that loves me, I have a blog that people actually read, and I have a great business that does a lot of cool things.
So, here is my New Year resolution. I am going to be a Happy Bastard again. Yes, a Happy Bastard. I am going to recapture the happiness and make something of it. I will document this process and possibly help someone else who is feeling the way I do.
If you have any suggestions about how to go about this, please leave them in the comments or drop me an e-mail. I am sure anything will help.
As my final Christmas gift to you, you need to watch this video. On Christmas Eve, I was chatting to my sister about video, music, and the Internet. I asked her what she knew about SOPA. She didn't know what SOPA is. Honestly, I didn't expect her to as most people I know haven't a clue that something fundamental is happening to the Internet. I have been struggling often to figure out a way to express the dangers with SOPA and (in Canada) Bill C-11. As Canadian's there isn't a whole lot we can do to fight SOPA but C-11 is Canadian and is similar and we can fight it.
In a nutshell, these bills will destroy the Internet in the name of perceived copyright infringement. Not proof of infringement. If a recording company or label thinks you have something they own, your site can be taken down without notice. At least, this is what the language says at the moment. I beg you all to educate yourself about this stuff. It is important. I talk about this stuff with Andrew Currie, Mike Vardy, and Anthony Marco all the time. Why not check us out and get involved in the discussion?
You all realize that web sites such as Twitter, Google, Facebook, and any other site featuring media you did not create are in jeopardy? You know this, right? If you have a blog and you post a video, it will be taken down. Not the video. Your web site.
There is something about what she said this year that makes me feel like she looked me up, read my web site, and then added a few words just for me.
So, I was outside tonight walking the pugs and looking up at the dark sky, hoping I would see a red light. I really hoped for it.
I didn't see one.
I guess the Christmas Spirit eluded me this year. It is a sad thought but I can't say the holiday season has been all that bad. I just wish I was far more invested emotionally. I long for the days when I was a small child who started vibrating with anticipation the moment I knew Christmas Eve had arrived.
Perhaps I have grown up or too old far before I was supposed to. Or maybe this is just part of the process of healing when tragic things happen.
I also don't want anyone to think I have been acting like a Scrooge or Grinch because I haven't been. I just haven't felt it. That feeling you have when the holidays come around. I miss it. I am sure it will be back next year. I just am keenly aware of how I have been feeling.
In any case. I have been enjoying the time I have spent with my friends and family and I hope that you all have the same experience.
Merry Christmas and I am sure there will be smiles on everyone's face in the morning.
I have been doing something silly today. Every half and hour or so, I have been checking on Santa's progress across the globe. How have I accomplished this feat of amazing genius? Using the NORAD tracking system, that's how.
It is brilliant. It is a system developed to track Santa from the North Pole and all the way back again. Absolutely amazing.
If you didn't know about it this year, try it out next year. They have a mobile application now and the web site has far more cool toys to check out.
I am on a mission. After my last post, I have realized that I need to seriously consider how I am going to capture the Christmas spirit. I don't know how I am going to do this but I have done a little research on this big large Internet thing we have and found various web resources that have a few ideas on how to accomplish the task. There was one suggestion that kept popping up on every web list.
Have an orgy.
No, I am kidding (or am I?).
But I am a funny guy, right? I used to be. Looking at that picture above, I wonder where that guy went. These last few years have been tough with everything going on in the background (you know, that stuff I don't talk about here) and it hasn't been fun. I seem to have lost my sense of humour about people, life, and whatever else you could have a sense of humour about. I have a great bunch of friends who are looking out for me and are trying their hardest to keep me... well, "me".
I used to have traditions around the holidays. For about ten years, we used to meet at a restaurant in Victoria and hang out, exchange cards or gifts, and just have a good time. It was a great thing and I looked forward to it every year. But that is gone now and I haven't any other traditions. Normally, we do the "alternating year" thing between Victoria and Regina. But that never really breeds traditions for me. There are some, yes, but nothing that sticks in my mind enough to look forward to.
Thus, it brings me to my mission. In order to recapture my soul, essentially, I am going to do something silly tonight. I am going to start a tradition. I am going to live Tweet (and/or blog) a Christmas film. I am getting a little late in the season to do this but I am sure I can find a decent film. I have had several suggestions already but I could use a few more. I will attempt this feat tomorrow night. Maybe I should get a charity involved as well. Possibly several tweeters. Raise some money for a good cause.
I will need other things to do as well. If you have any suggestions, don't hestiate to let me know. I will need as many as I can get.
Okay. There isn't much to this posting but this video made me laugh out loud. Do you sense the theme here? I am practically jamming the sappy Christmas antics down my throad. I have never heard of this show but I may need to check it out. It looks decent.
At this time last year, I was live tweeting the Christmas movie, Die Hard. It was the exact moment in 2010 when I was filled with the Christmas spirit the most. It was fun and it made me smile. But, if you've been following my mental blabbering, I haven't yet experienced the same feeling this year. I am feeling very much like I am covered with some sort of plastic sheeting that is repellent to everything.
I feel like I am not allowed to feel the Christmas spirit at all. I have been denied. I function normally throughout my days but when start thinking about the holidays, I just want it to be spring already. Everything that is going on has dulled my desire for Christmas. I have heard that many people experience something quite similar but I have yet to figure out how to break out of it.
So, when I woke up this morning to my cell phone chirping away, I did what anyone trying to capture a feeling for Christmas does. I went shooting. There is nothing like holding a .357 Magnum in your hand and squeezing off numerous rounds into a target 100 yards away. Actually, I think it was 50 yards but who is counting. I had the most powerful hand gun in the world cracking off bullet after bullet in my hand. We then moved to the .22 target range gun thing they use for competitons. Am I any good? Hardly. I don't think I hit the target at all with the .357 but I did not too badly with the .22 and I am sure I hit my dad's target a few times as well. My dad is quite the shot considering he has limited vision in one eye. Sadly, with my great eye sight, I sucked the big one.
When I got home, I hung Christmas lights. Yah. That is what I did. For a few hours. It was good. Finally, in the afternoon, I went off to see my sister sing in Handel's Messiah at the Farquar Auditorium at the University of Victoria.
All in all. A good day. Best one I have had in months. I must dash. Off to the ferry, I must go...
What do you do when you're trying to get back into the spirit of Christmas?
I hung Christmas lights.
This is what I did.
Then I played a board game.
I then went out for coffee.
I was then quite tired from all the stress and am thinking about bed.
Sorry if I missed any of you. I will be back next week.
I realized today that I have NOT talked at all about some of hte things I am doing when I am not writing (sort of) on my blog. There are numerous things that I have been creating and helping to build and I normally tell people these things. Yet, this year has been rough and I haven't really been in the mood to "toot my horn". Are you dying to know what the hell I have been up to? Well, the simple answer is podcasting. I have been recording my voice and posting it on line quite more often than posting things here. I have also been experimenting in different styles and characters.
This little bitty is one of the coolest Canadian podcasts around. The podcast was started by Mike Vardy, Andrew Currie, Ryan Wiseman, and Anthony Marco (I joined the fray about a year ago) and we talk about tech, culture, and how it applies to Canadians. If you want to know what important things are happening in the nerdy world, subscribe and educate yourself. It is crisp. Edible. Wonderful.
The S&M Rants
This is where things get crazy. This NSFW podcast has two awesome people talking about stuff. We review crazy and unbelievable real stories from news all over the world, get other people to review the same stories, and we conclude with a weekly winner. Just listen to know what the heck I am talking about. Monica Hamburg runs this show and keeps me in line.
The Sound of Awesome
This is just me. Raw. Unplanned. Rambling. You will know me better if you subscribe.
NOTE: This post was written some time ago but it isn't "time sensitive" and I thought it was worth posting. This is called "catching up".
Here we are. Just a week away and we will all be celebrating the Christmas holiday. Well, most of us. There are other religions and belief systems on this planet that don't do the whole Christmas thing but I can't speak for those. Why I bring it up? I have no idea but sometimes that is how my method of personal blogging works. I attempt to acknowledge that there are other people in the world and it messes with my prose. I bounce around like a ball and I make little sense. I usually go further and try to explain why I am lacking focus. It is a vicious circle. Terrible.
Today we had my grandfather's funeral at Holy Trinity Church near Sidney, B.C. It was packed! I was surprised the georgeous little church didn't burst at the seams. Holy Trinity is the "family" church and, from what I gather, should I never choose another location for my final resting place, that is where my mortal remains will end up. It is a quiet location near the inlet and I have always liked it. I don't think I have ever mentioned this publically, not that it is a very important detail, but I think with the run of family passings over the last 12 months, how can one not think about such things. It is a little weird, I suppose, but not entirely outlandish to wonder about where you will "end up". I am in no rush to get there either. I plan to out live everyone I know. I quote I famous Starfleet Captain: "Speak for yourself, sir. I plan to live forever."
The service was decent. We then adjourned to my grandfather's home and shared in some wine and food. It was a positive day.
Now, I must move onward to what is next. Christmas. This year is what I call a "Saskatchewan Year" where we fly over to the land of big skies and celebrate with Ally's family. This year, considering everything that has happened, we are coming back to Victoria for a few days. Luckily, Ally's parents treated us to the Grey Cup and they visited us in Vancouver so we did get to see them. We will miss out on the new baby in Saskatoon but I am sure we will be able to catch up at a later time.
I want to send a little shoutout to some of my close friends who have posted me little pick me up notes. I do cherish those messages and it helps quite a bit.
Tomorrow is my grandfather's funeral and I am more than ready to move on with my life. The level of distraction I feel is overwhelming and I have tried to fight through it. I have realized that you can't force yourself through the mourning process. You just have to let it swarm you, carry you on a bit of a detour, and wait for it to drop you back on your previous course.
But it isn't fun. I also have had to come to grips with the reality that everyone in my family is going through the same process but I their own ways. I have always tried to remind myself of that. People react differently and are more apt to go crazy during stressful times.
It has put such a halt on the festivities and my mood hasn't improved as quickly as I would have liked. I thank my years of improvisational theatre for giving me the skills to fake my way through the tough bits. It isn't the best choice but is there really a "right" choice? The right choices fly away on the breeze these days.
Of course, I can't ignore that there have been a few people who had reached out in support. I can't thank them enough because it has helped a great amount. I think my form of mourning is the I feel quite alone even when I know I am not.
I can hope that next year is better and a far more positive experience.
I have often wondered where the desire to do what I do comes from. I write in my little books, I share my photos with the world, and I write on my blog. But where does this all come from? Where is this desire (for myself) spring from? What virtual well is it all from?
Oh, wait, just watch the video and you'll have all the answers. Good night all.
I found my grandfather's obituary and thought I would share it with you.
SLEGG, Eric Robert
Born on May 13, 1920.
Eric Slegg passed away peacefully at home on December 3, 2011 at the age of 91. Eric grew up in Perth, Ontario with his two brothers and two sisters and in 1939 he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served throughout the war in the North Atlantic.
While Eric was stationed briefly in Victoria, BC he met the love of his life, Ruby Webster and they married in 1942. After the war the couple moved to Sidney, BC where Eric started a small hardware store and in 1947 he founded Slegg Lumber.
Eric worked extremely hard throughout his lengthy career and as a planner and visionary, was instrumental in the growth of the family business. His passion for business was matched equally by his kindness and generosity which he demonstrated beautifully through his philanthropy and the loving care he provided for Ruby by whom he is predeceased.
Eric touched the lives of many throughout the years and everyone who knew him was taken by his irresistible wit and charm. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and former employees. Often acclaimed as a man ahead of his time, Eric was a guiding light and mentor to us all.
A memorial service in celebration of Eric's life will be held at 11:00 AM on December 16, 2011 at Holy Trinity Church, Mills Rd and West Saanich Rd in North Saanich.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the BC Cancer Agency.
In an effort to get myself out of the dumps and into a mental pattern befitting of the Christmas holidays, I am going to live tweet a Christmas movie some time in the next week or so.
I requested some suggestions (via Twitter this time) and this is what was suggested:
- Die Hard 2
- Polar Express
- Batman Returns
- Home Alone
- Home Alone 2
- It's A Wonderful Life
Naturally, my instinct tells me to live tweet Die Hard 2 - but I do want to make sure that what happened last year doesn't happen again. When I live tweeted Die Hard there was a surprising backlash from a few of my followers. Some un-followed me, a few sent me random and lengthy e-mails about how I didn't treat Twitter seriously, and others thought I was "ballsy". It is their right to respond how they want but, honestly, I thought it was a little weird.
Anyway, this is your fair warning, I will be live tweeting again quotes from whatever film I am to watch. If you have any other suggestions, please send them my way, leave a comment below, or fire me a tweet. I wonder if this could be some kind of fundraiser and I could take donations. Let me think on that.
If you want to un-follow me, I encourage you not to because I would like you to get involved. Tweet with me, add a quote you think I should have tweeted. Let's start a movie twitter revolution and use this social media device for fun once in a while.
Besides, at the end of the day, it is only a couple of hours and a whole lot of tweets that you can ignore - and I could use a positive attitude injection this year.
Today, I am following in the footsteps of a good friend of mine. He wrote this morning that he has never felt more Christmas-y.
I have been in the dumps this year as has the majority of my family. If you've been following my blog, you'll know why. Last week, we lost my grandfather and it has been hard. Yet, for me, it has been more than just his passing.
Essentially, my entire family watched a family member die. You can't put it any other way. Collectively, we all watched him go from a reasonably healthy man (he was over 90, so, there are health issues regardless) to someone who wasn't awake for most of the day.
It wasn't just that we watched a loved one fail and pass on, it was harder to witness what it did to my family. There was hope, discussion, reasoning, bargaining, and everything that accompanies a visit from Death. It was like Death waltzed into our lives, chose the comfy chair in the living room corner, cracked the daily newspaper and waited. Naturally, he listened to the discussions around him but all he could do was wait and smile. For me, that was the hardest part.
So, the inevitable happened and now thoughts have turned to the holidays. I guess my brain has found some comfort and relief in the knowledge that my grandfather is no longer suffering. Once my synapses figured that out, they probably thought: "Jesus. When did all these sparkly lights show up?" Honestly, it has been a blur. I was visiting him in the hospital just yesterday. Or was that in May or June? Brains are stupid sometimes.
My point is, I have had no interest in the holidays. I haven't wanted to acknowledge them at all. Didn't the month of August just finish? It seems that time has sped up in my mind some how. I don't know why. The world hasn't changed the axis tilt that much and Superman hasn't tried to do anything lately, has he?
In any case, part of what I have been feeling is how powerless I really am in the universe. I also feel a little silly. I wish I could solve all of the problems currently going on in the world and somehow protect my family from it all. I know I can't but I still want that for my family. It has been hard and I want things to be "okay" but I know that they can't. I also live a distance from my immediate family and it is hard not being able to just pop over when they need me. My sister is there and she is a strong soul and is able to do and support everyone a lot but I can't help but feel that I haven't pulled my weight. But you can't do everything. It just isn't reasonable to expect that of one's self.
I hope that next year I am going to explode on Christmas morning and feel like it is the greatest day in the year. I used to do that. I remember that even when I was in university I found it hard to sleep on Christmas Eve. I wonder if I can recapture that feeling this year. I know I will try. If not for me, I will try and recapture it for my family because, with everything that has happened, it is all I can really do.
So, I haven't felt all that Christmas-y and I was glad that someone is. I may try to steal a little bit of that feeling and hoard it for myself.
NOTE: I started to write this blog post a couple of days ago. Sadly, I have had no Internet at home for a few weeks because we're switching providers and I wasn't able to get it done nor posted this past Friday. Pretend you read this two days ago. No, really. It will all make sense.
My grandfather died today.
I went to see The Muppets because it seemed like something that would make me smile. I hope that you all can hug someone you love. They could be gone tomorrow, an hour from now, or in a few minutes from this moment.
I am sad for my family.
I am sad for my mommy.
I am sad for my sister for this was the second year in a row someone important passed on her birthday.
I am sad about the whole thing.
But life goes on. I wish there was something more profound I could add but, unlike my friend Rosie, I can't use my words that well today.
I will leave you with this:
Pippin: "I didn't think it would end this way..."
Gandalf: "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path...One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all change to silver glass... and then you see it."
Pippin: "What? Gandalf? See what?"
Gandalf: "White shores...and beyond... the far green country under a swift sunrise."
Pippin: "Well, that isn't so bad."
Gandalf: "No...No it isn't
Holy crap! I can't believe I haven't mentioned this already but the Once More With Feeling Buffy Musical Sing-A-Long is coming back to Vancouver - NEXT WEEK! This whole being sick thing has some how clouded my ability to remember the most important things happening in this town.
This whole event used to run out of Happy Bats Cinema --
-- well, we won't talk about that.
But, this event kicks ass. I have been three times but, this year, I have to give it a miss! I know, this totally sucks but I have been asked to do "family" stuff on the 26th. I do suggest you go in my stead. I hope that you will find my seat comfortable and you are able to yell and scream and sing your heart out.
A special huge thanks to the coolest dude in the world who has brought it back this year. I understand that this is the only Buffy Musical Sing-A-Long (the only legal one!) happening in Canada this year. I can't say enough about the community that gets out to join in. You all rock.
Get your tickets now.
Yes, I am lame for not going but that doesn't mean you have to be lame too! Stop being lame and go to the sing-a-long. No, really! Vancouver needs this! Vancouver owns this musical - don't let it be the last.
I wonder if there will be a Firefly marathon in a theatre somewhere. Hmmm...
So, I have been fighting this lingering illness for an entire week now. It won't leave me alone and I think that I am going a little crazy. I mean, really, how much cuddling with cute pugs can a person take? I have been bouncing around trying all kinds of things like sleeping, medicine, vitamins to get better. Yet, with all of these promises of "do this and you'll get better" I still am fighting this lingering cough and annoying sniffles.
Of course, I am now going a little crazy.
Do you ever have that experience? You force yourself to rest and, essentially, get bored and then start going a little crazy. Maybe it is just me.
Thus, I share with you the Internet searches from today:
- Is Right Said Fred essential to the survival of the human race? (The video above is the main result.)
- Why do people vote for people they don't know?
- Is Vancouver going to sink into a Hellmouth?
- Is my brain really this fried?
Well, another week is gone. Welcome to the weekend and I hope that I am going to be alive enough tomorrow for the CFL Eastern and Western Finals.
And, yes, I have Grey Cup tickets.
See? Disjointed thinking has resulted in this post. I hope you can follow... I barely can.
I was in Victoria this past weekend and had a good day of hanging out with a couple of friends. Saturday morning. I was sick. Infection, coughing, hacking, gagging - why am I not allowed to have a weekend? Huh body? Huh?
I seem to post weird short posts when I get sick. I refer to it as the "man cold". So, watch the above and learn the finer points of how men should be treated when they are dying of a cold.
We will remember them. This year some asked me where the "Lest We Forget" comes from. Here you go.
God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!
It seems silly to announce something like this but I am now on the Google Plus bandwagon. I resisted for some time because I wanted to join when I was fit and able to do so. (There was also a minor issue that my e-mail account is also a Google Apps account and we were not able to use Google Plus until the last week but such details need not be discussed.)
Are you on this thing? Guess what, I am.
Not much can be said about a social networking platform. I think I have an account on a majority of the "main stream" ones and a few where I don't even speak the language but they all do the same thing. They connect people in a virtual sense with those who they may not see down at the local pub. There is much study that has been done and much that is still ongoing about virtual friendships and if they are of the same calibre as those people you see on a regular basis - but, really, does it matter? I prefer the people in person but I never have enough time to nurture those friendships.
Too much going on. Too much needing my attention. Life and socialization is such a double edged sword. I suppose that is where these virtual fillers come into play. I wonder what the world would look like if we didn't have to sleep and eat.
Regardless of the answer, if you would like to add me to your circles and pluses, check me out over here. I think I am going to go out now.
I was thinking today about how I could use all of this stress I am experiencing and turn it into a power for good... or evil, which ever comes first, I suppose. I think I would make a grand leader of the planet Earth. I can hear the chanting now... All Hail Darth Fartanus! Oh, wait, that doesn't have the ring that I thought it would. If I ever do take over the entire planet, you can just call me Melvin. Heh. Melvin.
This blog post was supposed to have some deep meaning to it but then I watched the trailer above and all sense in the galaxy was trapped during a layover in Denver. The trailer brought my typing fingers to a stand still. I was going to write something about how the Phantom Menace was going supposed to be the continued life-adventure for all of the Star Wars fanboys. We were supposed to find out the truth. We were supposed to experience what happened prior to Episode IV and add it to the memories of Star Wars pre-digitial effects.
That so didn't hapen. At least, they got rid of Jar Jar in the trailer.
Has it been that long?
I suppose you could call me lazy but I do have an excuse. I haven't felt, well, chatty. There have been a tonne of things going on in the background of my world that have distracted me terribly. Sadly, I can't get into them right now as things are playing out (where is Spock when I need him) and I would rather remain somewhat mute on the topic of family. I will say this: I am embarassed by it all and quite shocked. Enough said for now.
At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter, I suppose. It doesn't change the fact that my writer's block is going strong and, frankly, pissing me off. I wish there was something I could do that would make it all better. I was talking about it the other day with some friends and someone pointed out that they sensed I as in a state of mourning.
"Mourning?" I said.
"Yah, things are going sideways in your family life and it isn't playing out quite how you anticipated." They said.
I guess they are right. That stuff I can't really go into the details of is distracting me. I am getting through the days and having some moments or clarity but - dammit - I can't seem to get it into gear. Writing this post is helping but why can't I get it all over and done with and get on with my personal life. My work life is fine and I am getting through the work and making stuff rock and roll but, jeeze, I get home and I just don't want to deal with the rest of it.
I am going to leave it at that and try and write something tomorrow. There are many things that have passed me by that I would have talked about and writting my own two cents on but - again with the damn distractions and lack of mental energy. I hate Western life. It would have been so much easier to have just lived on a farm in the middle of Australia. Or so Baz would have me believe.
We have just returned from the woods but our vacation is not over yet. Much fun was had and we talked a lot about vacations and holidays. I have also recorded some of these conversations and they will be introduced as a new fancy weekly podcast called The ShaneCast. I think this will be the last podcast I do because I am doing way too many as it is. (Waiting for the pin drop here?)
I was going to wait and post something tomorrow night but due to the topic of conversation that dominated the last week, I couldn't let this one slide by. The Twitter stream for Shit My Dad Says had this to say the about holidays vs. vacations:
I will also say this: there is a real difference between vacations and holidays. Who knew... I will clean up some of the recordings and post them soon.
It has been a fun filled and exciting time these last few months. We've launched a great bunch of projects and are working on the next batch - but, for the next week, I am NOT available. I am heading into the woods and I won't be back until the 29th of August. I thought you all should know since I am sure you're just chomping at the bit and waiting for my next post. We've got people staying in our place, the pugs are at the Dog Hotel of awesome, and I think I am leaving my phone in a fish tank somewhere.
I intend on writing and sorting some of those posts I have written but haven't published. I am having to call them "From The Vault" or something like that since there are so many of them, I lost count, and quite a few of them are more than a year old. It is one of those things that happens when you're trying to be all "creative and stuff". The creative stuff got a little out of hand and I wasn't able to complete them. That is the way it goes, I guess. You can't let yourself get bogged down in the details until you've got a first draft done.
Thus, I head into the woods to recharge the batteries for a week and get back a little perspective.
So long, suckas! See you on the flip side.
Ack, I always hate writing these posts. Once again, Neanderthal Arts Festival is coming to a close and it is hard to let go. We started talking about the festival about 18 months ago and it is amazing to me that we have done this thing twice since that first meeting. It is a labour of love and I enjoy working on the project.
We hope to continue doing it but we can't do it without your help. If you are not doing anything tonight and you are in Vancouver, you need to head down to the Vancouver East Side Cultural Centre and take in a show or two. We are starting the BBQ tonight for your delicious entertainment.
Hope to see you there!
After months of hard work, we're finally here - the Neanderthal Arts Festival is opening tonight for the second year in a row. This festival is a labour of love and we are all very proud of it and I hope you can make it.
With everything going on in the arts world, theatre is really getting shafted. There is plenty of great stuff going on but not enough resources to go around to make them all successful.
I recommend checking it out. We've got shows for everyone and, I think, you won't be disappointed by the cool things we have off stage. We're doing a BBQ, a photo booth, we have a Grunt Deck, and many other things.
Come on out!
You can tell when Hollywood is in trouble when they release such a trailer. What are they thinking? I don't undertstand the motivtation to remake a movie like Footloose? Why are they not coming up with new ideas or digging into the script archives?
"You know that movie Footloose? You can't see it again."
"Because I've heard it is trouble..."
I'd better get back to my script. Sheesh.
This is quite the pointless but I wanted to toot my horn a little bit post-PAB2011 and show off a lot of the work I have been doing in the podcasting world. Here is a couple of them:
Dyscultured (Episode 139)
The S&M Rants (Episode 7)
Give them a listen and let me know what you think in the comments. I think I am going to go to bed now.
I have had some trouble sleeping tonight, so, I thought I would post up a few blog posts with. This video was passed along to me today and I love it.
I hope VW doesn't make me sad by doing something stupid. Why not work on those electric cars we've been hearing about. Oh, right...
I can't believe the Neanderthal Arts Festival is almost here.
It feels like it was only yesterday that we were setting fire to the Cultch Historic Theatre. The week before it was just the end of the festival. But, in reality, the party was a few months ago while the previous festival was last summer. It is amazing how time flies when you're not paying attention because you're working so hard.
So, this morning, I got up, had breakfast, played with the puggies and then dressed up as a Neanderthal.
Typical day for me.
I can't wait to see the results. Dave Mott, Allyson McGrane, and Danielle Benzon were also in attendance and put on a neanderthal performance that is sure to rock your socks when you come to the festival this July.
In other news, I just got back from PAB 2011. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll have witnessed the exploits in Ottawa. If not, I will be posting some reviews here in the next few days.
I am sure you have heard already but the United States of America has shot and killed Osama Bin Laden. This is one of those moments in history you will remember with stunning clarity fifty years from today.
We have been talking about this for the last hour or so and one of the questions asked is what does this mean to Canada? Ultimately, not very much. We Canadian's will talk about it for a bit, go to bed, and then talk a bit more tomorrow but then head off to the voting booths, fill in a few check boxes, and collectively sigh.
So, I took a quick moment to see what it does mean to Canada. Here is what I found.
- Arczynski, Mike
- Bailey, Garnet
- Barkway, David
- Basnicki, Ken
- Collison, Joe
- Connolly, Cindy
- Dack, Arron
- Egan, Christine
- Egan, Michael
- Elmarry, Albert
- Ewart, Meredith
- Feidelberg, Peter
- Filipov, Alexander
- Gerhardt, Ralph
- Lee, Stuart
- Ludvigsen, Mark
- Mascarenhas, Bernard
- McArthur, Colin
- Pelletier, Mike
- Robson, Donald
- Santos, Rufino
- Tomasevic, Vladimir
- Vincelli, Chantal
- Williams, Debbie
What else does it mean to you?
I thought I should just do a quick shout out to the PAB 2011 (aka Podcasters Across Borders) event that is happening in Ottawa this coming June. It is something I have been wanting to go to for a while (this is their 6th year) and haven't had the energy or push to make it happen. But, this year, it is different for me.
If you haven't been able to tell, I have been getting back into podcasting (my first podcast series was in 2004) and I dropped out of making podcasts for a few years. Not entirely sure why. I guess I ran out of things to say or ran out of a great podcast. When I joined Dyscultured back in November, the fire was re-ignited. Part of it is because I like to talk about technology and whatnot but another aspect of my emerging interest in creating a podcast is I am wanting to create something purely Canadian. I don't know what it is but I am becoming fiercely protective of Canadian identity and feel we're in danger of being swallowed up.
Terribly exciting! So, those are my two cents... see you in Ottawa!
I am thirty-eight. It has taken me a few days to get this post out. I don't know why but I suspect it is because I feel like I should have something profound to say. Sadly, I don't have any words of wisdom that I can think of. At the very least, I can say that I am not yet 40 years of age.
I never really thought much about the aging process until a few years ago. I don't feel any "older" and I certainly don't behave any older. One thing I will note is that in more recent months, I have felt a case of the "mundanes" settling in over my life. I hear this is common right before a "big zero" year. I didn't realize it would be common for me. That is something the younger kids would say, isn't it?
"I didn't think it would happen to me. I don't think I am that old."
Ah, well. I am sorry that I don't have any words that will make me seem smarter or less-that-dumb. I guess this year will be a great year but I just don't know why yet. What have I on the burner? Many things. I just need the time to make them all happen. This time next year will be very different.
There appears to be a Tron 3 movie underway. I am not sure how I feel about this. There is an animated television mini-series coming to television screens in 2012. I am not sure how I feel about that fact either. I suppose if I were to pick just one emotion it would be confusion. My confusion stems from a curiosity about why are there so many remakes and sequels these days? Over the last few years, we've seen movies remaking 1970s and 1980s television shows such as the A-Team and Knight Rider. We've seen the rebirth of franchises like Tron.
What happened to original shows? What happened to original writing? Are studios relying on established fan bases for old movies and television to turn a buck? Look, I am all for making money and I understand the strain these film studios are under in light of smaller audiences and audiences that are diversifying their time between theatres, home movies, and Internet viewing - but, come on! Isn't there an original thought out there?
Did the Writer's Strike of 2008 sour studios that much they don't want to pay for new works? Did the writers of Hollywood get sucked into a Hellmouth and beaten by the minions of Gozer into producing just another series of weak writing? (With exceptions to writers like Jane Espenson who has been doing a whole lot of good work in building current shows as well as making her own.) Probably not. Writers, I suspect, are living and healthy and are not sitting around wondering about what shows they could remake into new and current properties. I think that the current relationship between audiences and the production companies is fractured to a point where no one knows what the next move should be.
Audiences Should Take Responsibility
Something I have been noting for a while is how people choose to interact with the programs they like. Many of us have complained since the beginning of time about commerical breaks. We first had devices like the VCR that was able to record but, at the beginning, these devices could not avoid those pesky commericals. We would either suffer through them or fast forward until the show came back. As technology developed, we had more and more devices that could automatically avoid commericals to a point where, these days, we don't have to watch commercials at all. I am sure that most of you reading this may have already come to this realization but there seems (at least, to me) a fundamental break down of this understanding.
You see, those annoying commerical breaks are how these stations make money. Plain and simple. They buy programs to show you and then they sell time for commercial breaks in order to pay for everything else. Again, this is probably not news to you. What I find interesting is the complete lack of understanding or compassion towards the companies who make these shows. They become the "tyrants" for wanting you to watch these shows as well as the commericals. We should just be able to watch and never suffer through - yet, we audience members still want to have the programs get made.
See where I am going with this yet?
Production Companies Should Stop Being Dinosaurs and Start Leading
I am beating a dead horse with this one but I have a serious note to the production houses - stop being afraid that you're going to be out of a job tomorrow. I think that production companies and television broadcasters should pull up their bootstraps and start thinking about how they can change the way they broadcast while still maintaining the bottom line. There are ways to do it and - granted - very few have found a successful answer yet but I don't see too many innovations into flexibility and creative dispersal of television programs - I see too much focus on the copyright issues and the invention of new DRM strategies. I think this kind of thing is a waste of time and far more dollars should be put into education about how the industry works. Letting audiences know that you need to spend a certain number of dollars to make the shows they like to watch really should be a two way road. We make and audiences should expect to pay something for your work. I don't see this happening successfully all that often.
Get creative or I am glad your shows wither and die.
Essentially, all I am sharing here is that both parties still haven't found a way to talk on even ground. And, sure, I am not an expert in the field of television or movie production and I am sure I am missing a whole lot here but to those in the industry with sets of numbers in front of them - you guys can stuff it. This is not about numbers. This is about education and compassion. I think we've gone too far down the road of numbers and have failed to acknowledge the human factor here - people want entertainment in their homes and they don't understand how you work for one reason: they don't want to know. They just turn on the television and - boom - it is all there. We're making this fight about the details of one side (mainly) and not the side that counts.
That's It, I Am Writing An Original Screenplay
I have been writing a bunch of fiction lately and I am trying to get something finished that I can either post here or publish elsewhere. I just haven't had a whole lot of time to finish anything. But, realizing that 2011 is chock-full of more bland repeats, I am thinking I should turn my attention to writing something worth while. I would have to choose a genre, I would think, but I don't know what that would be. If you have any thoughts about this, let me know.
So, audience, I have one final thing to say to you. Stop being lazy. If you want fewer "reality shows" and more quality programming, start letting the production companies know. I don't mean head over to Facebook and click a "Like" button - get involved. Find like minded people and find out if there is somewhere you can go to voice your opinion.
Don't get me started about UUB or Bill C-32. Augh. For what it is worth, there you have it...
I am prepping a few things today and getting down to some creative writing. Before I do I am having to clean up and organize a few of my odds and ends. One of the things I ran across while sorting was something I wrote about Mr. Hooper. I was a little shocked that I had written any words about Mr. Hooper from Sesame Street. I thought it was rather odd. But, after scanning the text, I thought I may kick it around again and see if I should finish it (and also put it into electronic form).
So, as you may have guessed, it got me thinking about death but, more importantly, about how Seasame Street dealt with the death of the actor, Mr. Will Lee. I looked it up and it is below. It is heart wrenching.
Yes, I know, I keep spouting off about death around here but I did say that I was moving on in a recent post and my recent discovery of a past writing is not about continuing. I merely think it is appropriate since I am cleaning up and sorting old things and putting them away. I did a little more digging about the Children's Television Workshop and found this excerpt from Sesame Street from 1997.
It makes me smile to know that Big Bird never forgot Mr. Hooper and he was able to look upon the picture he drew and never have him far away.
Back to cleaning...
I watched this TED Talk today and part way in I felt that it could be a video that may change someone's life. It could be me, you, or that guy who stands on the corner with the great voice. You should just top reading this and check out the video.
Now that you have watched the video, you will recognize yourself in it. This is the type of struggle of we all go through and the Internet magnifies this exponentially. If it isn't already obvious to you, social services like Twitter and Facebook increase this kind of reality we envelop ourselves in. I am going to digest this a little more but I thought it was worth posting right away.
I am catching up on some posts this evening. Just some house cleaning type of things. But, since I am trying to get my brain into a new gear in terms of my blog, I thought I would write about my short exploits and practice not writing about topics that seem to be skipping around my head these days.
My blog roll. What the hell happened to it? I have no idea either. It took a quick look around at some other blogs and realized that, hey, have blogrolls fallen out of favour? I don't see as many as I used to. I decided that something must be done about this terrible state of the blogroll - so - I am bringing it back.
Yes, you heard me, the blogroll is officially back, muthalovers. I am going to start posting up some blogs that I think are cool and wish to promote. Do you have the balls or skill to make my blogroll?
Try me...submit, I dare you. Join my blogroll and become cooler than you are at this very moment. Check the sidebar and quake with blogroll fear or join my snake worshipping legion of the undead!
Or just let me know you would like to trade blogroll links because you don't think I am a total freak.
In light of my desire to get posting about new topics and things going on in my life, I whipped up a quick tag cloud on Wordle. It is a great web site where you can toss in your web site URL (as long as you have tags and a blog feed) and get a reasonably accurate tag cloud. I find it useful to see where my brain is at.
I love that Firefly is right up there.
I have been writing about death quite a bit lately. I have even been writing about death in posts that I didn't think were about death. Upon re-reading them and a good friend pointing it out, it appears my mind has been quite busy thinking about it - without my permission! I am finding it quite distracting and am ready to move on and think about other things now. I just returned from a "celebration of life" and it was very touching and not "death-centric". It was very much about what happens during life and how to remember those moments.
At one point, a video slideshow was played and the song Time of Your Life was played. I have heard this song a number of times before but in the context of the day, it had new meaning. I love moments like that.
Another turning point;
a fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist;
directs you where to go.
So make the best of this test
and don't ask why.
It's not a question
but a lesson learned in time.
It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.
So take the photographs
and still frames in your mind.
Hang it on a shelf
In good health and good time.
Tattoos of memories
and dead skin on trial.
For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while.
It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.
It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.
It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.
I will also send a shout out to PenMachine.com who held a Living Wake the other day. I really wished I could have attended but my schedule didn't let me. I hope it went well and it was as positive an experience as I had today.
Wow, Toronto, you failed Canadians in a big way.
The security around this event requires some new thinking because, really, these cities suck at it. Enough said about this terrible event.
There has been far too much death in my life over the last couple of years. I have lost both family and friends to disease and tragedy and I tend not to mention it on my own web site. I have mentioned celebrities passing away but that is about it. I am unsure why I do this. It is quite possible that I don't because I like to keep the blog "light". After a bit of soul searching over the last week, I think I am ready to break my rule: don't get overly personal. It is a stupid rule but it is one that I have maintained throughout the life time of this web site. Perhaps it comes from the "blogger/employer" phase of the blogogsphere but, hell, I have been my own employer for the last six years. I am sure that if I was a little personal on my own web site that I would be able to forgive myself.
I think it began back in 2002 or 2003. A relative of mine that runs a web site called Birley.org (a web site of my family tree) had contacted me to find out about his great-great uncle (at least, that is what I recall). According to what he had on record, his great uncle had passed away in Victoria, BC around 1914. The reason he wanted my assistance was to determine if a rumour true. A rumour had started floating around that his uncle had committed suicide and his aging mother was very concerned. Fortunately for us, it has been well documented and we discovered he had died in his late 20s from an infection that had developed post-surgery. It was a sad tale but it put the rumour to. I sought out his grave and located it in Ross Bay Cemetary and that was that.
Over the years since, the reality of death never really left my mind. I felt like I was realizing that there were "fewer days ahead than there are behind". I kept remembering Captain Picard's line from the film Generations (which, in its own way, was about moving on, loss, and aging) where he says:
"It is our mortality that defines us."
For some reason, that line became more to me than some dialogue in a Star Trek movie. Ever since those early years of the 21st century, I have been trying to live better, less stressed, and with a care to what it meant to be alive and to be a human. Sadly, it seems to have bitten me in the ass once or twice where I was taken advantage of in business or in life because I made assuptions that other people think the same way. I try to take notice of important things that should mean more than they do. These days it is about revolution in the Middle East but, hey, the iPad 2 is coming out in a week or so. I don't know what I am saying. I am trying to form a thought by writing it out in a blog post and, I apologize, if it seems like I am scattered. The truth is, I am. I don't think that anyone can really comprehend this existence we live in. What I am trying to do in my head is make it all fit. We live in a time with great technological revolution and social connections while the simplest things like death can make it all go away in an instant. For those who have died in Libya, for example, they no longer will contemplate these things.
Anyway, I am trying to formlate this thought so that it makes sense and I am really having tough time saying what I really want to say. I suppose all I am wanting to mention is that I miss those who have passed on. By my count, I have had six close deaths over the last two years. Sounds incredibly selfish to put it that way but it is how my brain is sorting this information.
To give this post some meaning, a lesson can be gleaned from this for any bloggers out there. Not all blog posts need to have a beginning, middle, and an end. It is perfectly honest and acceptable to start, get lost, and try to find your way back. There are times with topics like this when it is fine that nothing makes sense. For myself, I have some important and selfish reactions going on in my head about death and the situations in parts of the world I have never been to. These thoughts are colliding together and fighting for dominance, cluttering my words in the process. Maybe it will make sense to some but, really, all I really want to say is that I miss those who are gone and I wish they were still here. It fucking sucks to have lost them and I hate death when he comes to visit once too often.
I can't help but think that the ultimate adventure awaits us, though. I picture death being able to do a few cool things: haunt your friends, spy on any girl's locker room, travel the universe at unlimited speeds, and finally have enough time to read everything ever written.
There you go - a scattered blog post for a Wednesday. But, you know what, it is my blog post and if you don't like it, come back tomorrow, I will try to write something better. I have some family to entertain.
I don't know what to think about this. According to some stories I have read, Nathan Fillion said something on Twitter about winning millions of dollars and buying the rights to Firefly from Fox. Wishful thinking, of course, but it has spawned a campaign. A bunch of Browncoats started taking pledges (not money) to help Nathan produce the show should the rights ever be purchased. So, after some soul searching, would I really want to have another bout of Firefly? I guess I am a little gunshy with this show. A few years ago, I live blogged the entire series. We made ice planets and, basically, nerded out. It was the last time I watched Firefly or watched the film, Serenity.
Part of the reason I held the Firefly marathon is I wanted to move on. I have never loved a television show like I do Firefly. There is something about it that makes you want to watch it over and over again hoping that the next time you watch it, there are six and a half more years of episodes to get through. The film came out a couple of years after the show ended and it answered all the pressing questions (except for one) but it still didn't fill that void.
To try and dull the pain when I learned there would be no more Firefly, I watched Buffy and Angel and became fascinated to watch the writers develop their skills over the years and it all made sense. Most of the writers on Buffy, ended up on Firefly. No wonder the show was amazing, these folks had worked for years together. It was a perfect storm of talent. It was something that I don't think had ever been done before or has been replicated since.
We've all become critical and desperate these days when it comes to television. As viewers, we've made the industry jumpy and have driven the addiction to reality (barf) programs which makes it less likely that a show like Firefly would ever appear again. Would a potential reboot do it? Doubtful but I would be willing to give it a try. It just wouldn't be the same. I don't know if I could go through that again. It is only a television show after all but, if you've seen it, you know it is much more.
Back to the marathon. I wanted to get out of my "Firefly head" and check out some other shows that I may enjoy. I have checked out Castle, Chuck, and a few other things. But I can't help but feel a little giddy about the potential of a return. It probably won't happen since we've already had our Cinderella story with a movie. But, I hate to admit it, I still haven't entirely moved on. I don't think I ever will. Losing Firefly was like being kicked in the gut. Do you remember the first time you felt sick to your soul because of some kind of rejection? Some experience it when they break up for the first time. I remember the first time I felt it and it was when they canceled Firefly.
I cry every time I see this scene below. The pain is still fresh...augh.
And, of course, if you ever doubt the love of Firefly fans, just check this one out and it will all be clear just how powerful this show was and still is. We still have more comics to read from The Verse. Have you checked out Book's story yet?
I have been trying to figure what is it that drives my passion for blogging and more so what stops it. I enjoy blogging. If I am not doing it, I am thinking about what my next blog post should be. But, still for reasons I can't fathom, I stop. Days turn into weeks and not one post leaks from my fingers. Does life get in the way or is there something else going on that I am not seeing?
If you're reading this, you are most likely already blogging or are thinking about getting into blogging. It is an addictive hobby that has spread and transformed into other methods of sharing. In the beginning, there was HTML and the creative spirit. You could write text and, if you were lucky, figure out how to post images. I refer to these days as "scratching in the technical dirt". Today, we have blogging software, photo sharing services, audio sharing services, and services like Facebook that take such things to a whole new level. It is in our blood this "sharing addiction". Some say a sense of adventure drives it but it could be anything.
So, what stops it?
Drinking The Coolaid
Yes, we've all done it. You've found something incredibly cool and you want to let others know about it. You become all fired up and start to walk the walk and talk the talk. The problem is, you burn out. Writing and creative expression is hard work and many out there don't believe it is so. I challenge the nay-sayers and want to educate those who think that posting information to the web is an easy task. Unfortunately, there is a down side to being the blogging "guy" and it is the reality of creating quality content. If you sit down and pump out meaningless sentence after meaningless sentence (cough, Twitter) you and your blog become less interesting. I think Twitter is one of those services that has encouraged people to stop thinking and creating and has reduced people's blogs to merely sharing content from other locations and by other people. Not everything is poor, mind you, but Twitter has created a small portion of lazy bloggers.
Finding The Balance
Yet, as exciting as sharing information and knowledge is with others, it can be time consuming and can consume the unwise. I am guilty of this from time to time. I am so busy sharing I can forget what I really should be doing - enjoying the moment! In my experience, I lack a lot of time to blog because I am dedicated to getting things done that I need to get done. Blogging hasn't been one of those things over the last couple of years. Finding the time is hard if you want to create meaningful and useful content for your web site or blog.
I suppose it is about the toys. You have toys as a child and regardless of how crappy the toy is or ordinary, it is still the toy you want to play with. Blogging is no different. We get distracted with all kinds of glittery things. We obsess over the different options, features, and fancy shiny things we may configure and place on our blogs. I am always concerned about bloggers who follow this practice. Many don't think past the glittery stage. They blieve something is so cool to look at that it must have some sort of
Of course, I haven't discovered anything new here. This kind of attitude is everywhere. New gadgets, shiny options, and fancy layouts seem to dominate the realm of the blogging world. I am seeing this leak away a bit these days - which may be why I am wanting to return. My voice has meaning and value but it is like the followers I gained over the years lost their way. They were distracted by the new stuff and forgot what it was they got into blogging for to begin with.
Essentially, I think my biggest issue is that I had lost faith. With so many sharing services, I was personally overwhelmed to "walk the walk". It is very interesting to me as I haven't really gone into this much depth before. I have promised and re-promised that I would return only to get sucked back in to life, confusion, dry mouth, or whatever issue I can make an excuse of. Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in.
This whole post has not gone where I thought it was going. Enough. Off to bed and more tomorrow.
I am getting excited about this whole podcast thing. You get to put on a head set, turn on a microphone and you talk. Actually, this is more of a re-igniting of interest as podcasts are not all that new to me. I have done quite a number of them since 2004 but rarely do I get enough of a chance to sit down and collect my thoughts in order to make one these days. Unlike blogging (just typing stuff on a keyboard) there is more of an art and technology to it; not too much technology but enough to give non-geeks pause. This is getting easier to deal with but even the most seasoned software user may turn away when they realize they have to deal with MP3 files or learn what a codec is.
Why am I getting excited? I have reached a goal of sorts. For the last couple of years, I have been feeling like a non-sharer. I am one of those bloggers who is an introvert. Those of you who know me personally would probably disagree but, yes, I am very much an introverted type of soul. The results of being an introvert is it takes quite a bit of energy to share. I am not really a sharing type. I am a performer and have done improvisational comedy for years. If you have ever seen me on stage (it has been far too long since I graced the floorboards) I can be quite bizarre. Not something an introvert would do, right?
Back in September of 2010, however, I was invited by a bunch of cool people to sit in on their podcast. I was invited back a few times and, now, I have my "name on the label". I remember when that happened a few weeks back. I showed up for a new episode and - bang - I noticed I my last name was on the branding. I was shocked and happy all at the same time. Not just for having a little recognition but because had reached a goal that I had set for myself in back in that very same September - to do a podcast consistently. I quietly checked that one off my bucket list - if I had one.
I do have a self-indulgent interest in having reached this goal - the "tooting" of my horn. I don't want to sound like a whiner because we all hate those types of people but I suck at promoting myself. I can promote the bejeezus out of someone else and tell them how amazing they are but, man, what is wrong with me and why can't I really grab the horns of my own self worth. I have a vast knowledge base in my head, I work hard, I help and educate a lot of people and I am loyal to a fault (sometimes) but I - for some reason - crash and burn when promoting myself.
Now, six months later, I am thinking those "non-promoting me" days are starting to dwindle and I credit sitting in front of a microphone is helping me accomplish that. The power of conversation is incredibly addicting and I am beginning to remember why. I still have some road to walk down before I get to the place I want to be but I must credit the guys at Dyscultured for helping me out even though they may not realize it.
I also cannot say enough about two other people that have been suffering through my lack of self-confidence. Jonathon Narvey and Monica Hamburg, you two have started a fire under my ass to get back into the blogging and publishing fray by asking me and pressuring me (very lightly, though) about doing some podcasting with you both. Jonathon has survived and entire year of stopping and starting a podcast called The Social Nerdcast and Monica and I have been talking about doing a regular podcast about our senses of humour. You guys rock.
And I have to send out a quick thanks to all of those people who continually come back to this web site and tell me to keep going. I have co-written two books with the amazing Susie Gardner but yet I have let you all down with my lack of sharing and my lack of blogging leadership. You probably don't have a clue what I am talking about but, essentially, I feel that I have put myself out there as one who is representing the new bloggers and haven't done my blogging share.
Wow. Where did this post come from? Anyway, before I start repeating myself (as I can do) - I will start showing my face and voice out here more often and I hope you can help me out by supporting me just a little bit longer through the low points and tolerate my rebuilding my confidence again.
I am game, if you are. See you tomorrow.
Hey, tonight is the Vancouver Bloggers Meetup and there is going to be some sexy talk going on. How about you come down and check it out? Here is the low-down:
Vancouver Blogger Meetup. The Sexy Panel
How do you blog about sex? Even if your blog isn’t focused on sex, you may want to at least touch on the topic. Just a little around the rim. Maybe give it a bit of a reach-around? Or just go all in, plowing through the issues, thrusting your opinions into your audience’s face so they can shower in your insight?
Seriously, blogging about sex is tricky. Maybe you’re dealing with taboo topics. You might need to get a handle on issues of privacy and anonymity. At the very least, you want to make sure your blog doesn’t get banned.
That’s why we’re bringing in three “sex blogging” experts to give a moderated Q & A session. Our panel includes:
Monica Hamburg is an writer, actor and social media consultant. She is fascinated by sex and sexuality and has worked as a porn theatre projectionist, trained to be a dominatrix and seemingly blogs a fair bit about porn. Her humor blog is: Your Dose of Lunacy.com, work is: Monica Hamburg Work Blog at work and she's on Twitter: @monicahamburg
A self proclaimed word nerd and queer femme, Danielle Sipple is a writer, performer, media shaker and more. In her free time she aptly cultivates discussion around gender, sexuality and online identities. Having spent 4+ years in the sex industry, Danielle desires to bring the ideas of sex positivity to the tip of everyone's tongues. Notably she also speaks fluent cat and was named as an honorable mention in Violet Blue's Top 10 Sexiest Geeks of 2010. She tweet as @FierceKitty.
Phaedra has been a local blogger since 2007. Her blog style is deep and personal, with a smattering of humour, about her trials and tribulations in this game called Life. A trained professional counsellor, she spends her spare time doing yoga, working out and learning new cooking tricks from The Food Network. She has been involved in the local kink scene on and off for 10 years and is currently working on her memoirs about her life as a professional dominatrix.
Date and Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm on Wednesday February 9th
Location: The Network Hub (422 Richards Street, on the third floor - conveniently located 2 blocks away from the Waterfront Skytrain station).
As usual, we'll begin from 6:30pm to 7pm with the social part (mingling and chatting - we will ensure there are some refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages) and the panel will begin promptly at 7pm. We will go usually until 8:15pm or so, but if people want to stay longer they're welcome to. Thanks again to The Network Hub for sponsoring space for the Vancouver Blogger Meetup.
Your friendly hosts,
Jonathon, Shane and Raul
I am going to have to duck out of the Dyscultured podcast to be there, but if you aren't coming down to the sex romp that is the Vancouver Bloggers Meetup, why not head over there and listen in.
See you tonight!
Went to Butchart Gardens the other day and took this video on the new carousel. The last time I saw it, the structure was under construction. It is an impressive merry-go-round. If you ever have a chance, do check it out.
It is 2am. That is all I have to say. Silly pugs woke me up.
I hate losing things. I don't think many people do. You either freak out like a crazy person or you are grumpy with yourself or someone else. Today, I lost a gift card and a pug - and, lucky for me, it was only for about twenty minutes in both cases.
The first thing I lost was the gift card. It wasn't a $300 dollar gift card but it was enough to make me want to find it. I had it in my pocket the day before and then - poof - it was gone. A bit of searching and I located the card in my car. It wasn't easy to find but hard enough to force me to contort my body in a few positions that would even make me blush. It was under the driver's seat in the car and I then whisked off to the store to pick up some fancy gifts for myself.
I came home and decided to clean up the backyard of my parents home. It was neglected and needed a bit of a scrubbing. This made the pugs happy as they were able to run around the grass and patio and chase each other around in the brief sunshine. I was busy doing my thing when I realized I only had a single pug in the yard. This would not be cause for concern if Serendipity had escaped as she tends to stick around familiar surroundings. Faith, on the other hand, is an adventurer and incredibly trusting of other people - she also hasn't a clue about why cars are dangerous.
I was in panic mode within a micro-second. I was amazed at the level of control I was able to exert but it lasted only a few minutes until panic set in.
- Grab other pug.
- Toss pug into house.
- Close door.
- Leave backyard.
- No panic.
- Check street.
- Push panic away.
- Check front yard.
- Ask mail carrier if she saw a "stupid pug".
- Call the other half. Request back up.
- Panic laughs.
- No pug anywhere.
- Think about where a pug would go.
- Look in neighbour's backyard.
- Pug wiggles.
- Call off back up.
- Lock pug in house, cursing pug all the way.
There is my quick tale of woe. I am going to get back to the yard now but, wow, I love yet hate that feeling and had too much of both today. I think I will block up whatever part of the fence she discovered was open and inviting.
Many, many years ago, I remember waking up at 4:30am in order to get in line at A&B Sound's Boxing Day sale. It was quite the event and making sure you were in line as early as possible was critical to your (perceived) success. I remember waking up to a friend (the one who had a car) jumping up and down in front of my parent's living room window. We managed to wake up and fifteen minutes later we were in the A&B Sound line. I recall we were the tenth people in line and I felt like I was one of the coolest people in the world. I was filled with Christmas excitement. I was taking part in a tradition that has been going on for years and I was a part of the season - it meant something.
I was reminded of this story yesterday when I was trying to get active and leave the comfort of my parent's home (with pug cuddles) and head out to join in on some Boxing Day sales. I struggled against the warm and snoring pugs but I wasn't able to break free from their tractor beams until the early evening. I made it to a couple of stores and did pick up something useful but the magic was lost. It wasn't cool any more. It was just shopping with a bunch of other wandering zombies. I am sure there were people enjoying the experience but, somehow, I finally realized the miracle was dead. It clicked for me. The season of shopping on Boxing Day was gone and the infection had already spread to the rest of the holiday.
I have struggled the past couple of holiday seasons because I haven't felt excited. When I was seven, the holidays were exciting - I vibrated with anticipation. As the years went by, I was still able to hold on to that excitement. For example, only a few years ago, I remember driving on to the ferry to Victoria and I started to vibrate again! But the last couple of years have been very hard. I have to expend a lot of additional energy to get into the spirit of Christmas and it has taken me some time to realize why - the season of Christmas has lost its' soul. I am sure this is nothing new for a lot of people but, for me, I finally picked up on it. I used to love the holiday and wish I was celebrating with the most joyous part of it but, I can't lie, I haven't enjoyed the holiday to the fullest for a while. I thought it was that I had forgotten the "reason for the season" but that isn't it. It is because the commercial exploitation has tread over other holiday territory. This creep effect has killed the holidays for me.
In October 2010, about a week before Hallowe'en, I witnessed something horrible - a Canadian Tire employee hanging Christmas Tree ornaments on a Christmas Tree display. I mentioned it was October, right? I remember saying to whomever I was with: "Come on! It isn't even Hallowe'en!" I was shocked. I couldn't process how any one would think of setting up a Christmas Tree in October. I could understand maybe setting up a tree display in preparation for the holidays on November 15th or so but October 24th? I finally realized it is this type of behaviour has been eroding the special feeling that one gets during the holidays. I became frustrated as December drew near and declared that no Christmas carols would be played at the office until after December 1st. I thought this would help get me in the spirit when it was it was appropriate. I fast forward to November 10th, 2010 - in a Starbucks near my office. Christmas carols were played over and over again in the store. November? Are they serious?
I don't know what to do about this feeling I have that the world has gone commercially crazy. It has been going on for a long time but, wow, is it really that bad now? Have the retailers felt the pinch that much that they need to start advertising their wares in October? I am sure this is nothing new for a lot of you out there but, for me, it took until the feeling was stomped on one too many times. The sad thing is, when I left the store on the Boxing Day I woke up early, I only bought a couple of compact discs - one was AC/DC's Razor's Edge. I don't remember what the other one was but it was something significant. Most likely, it was a soundtrack to some movie that I love.
This season I decided to force myself to feel the spirit and start formulating a plan to claim Christmas back. One part of my plan is to make sure I blog throughout Christmas. What else can I do? Thoughts?
Good morning, everyone, and Merry Christmas to you. Yes, I did post something yesterday that covers the holiday but I must tell you one thing about the holiday season. I only just realized I had forgotten a ritual I particularly enjoy around Christmas - watching the Queen's Christmas broadcast. You can watch it below, if you like.
I have watched the Queen's broadcast for years but have missed many of them as well. With the Royal Family having their own Youtube channel now, I suspect we'll be able to see more messages like this and far more accessible than ever before. Lucky for us, you can watch all of her broadcasts here.
As I sit here with a cup of tea and a shortbread butter cookie, I am going down my list of things that I need to do before the holiday hits tomorrow.
- Wrap presents.
- More nothing.
- Open presents.
- Perhaps more nothing.
- Drink good coffee.
I love it when I come up with a list like that. I have very little to do for the next week (enforced, of course) and will be resting, reading, and doing a whole lot of nothing. I hope you all have a great holiday and are able to take a bit of time to do as much nothing as I am going to be doing.
I discovered the best candy store in the world today. For many years, I have tried to find one particular candy that my father adores and it seems to get harder each year to purchase it. This year, no one at all seemed to carry it. I was sad. I had looked in two cities but the candy cabal was against me. That was until I wandered through the Uptown Mall (of Zombie Apocolypse Doom) and found Candy Cures.
Holy awesome candy store, Batman. I waltzed in with very little hope that I would find what I wanted and I asked the question:
"Do you have (insert candy name here since my parents may read this) because I haven't been able to find it anywhere."
"Why, yes, we have some right beside you there. They are Dutch made."
I bought some immediately. The man in the store (one of the owners) was awesome! He had all kinds of candy knowledge and even gave me a free sample to try a different brand of lollipop. It was amazing.
Okay, enough praise. If you want candy and the knowledge to go along with it try them out.
This isn't a very Christmas-y post but, the other day, couldn't help but notice there seems to be an increase in Firefly references in current television shows. I watched an episode of Castle the other day and there was a blatant reference. I had to rewind it several times to enjoy it and I laughed quite hard.
To celebrate this occasion, I found a few references for you to check out.
And, by the way, if you are not a Firefly fan already, you should pick up several copies of Firefly this holiday season and give them to your friends and family. Don't forget the film Serenity either as it wraps everything up in a nice bow. I would also check out Chuck and Castle. I haven't seen Big Bang Theory yet but, if they are Browncoats, it can't be all bad.
I mentioned the other day about Christmas movies that I liked to watch and what kinds of holiday rituals I have. That conversation inspired me to create a new ritual. I live tweeted the Christmas film, Die Hard. It is the first in a series of (from what I gather) could be six films. If you have never seen the film and don't mind the odd action flick, I would check it out.
What I found interesting about my tweeting a film (and something I did as a lark) was the response. I was sent e-mails that wanted to start "serious discussions" about the merits of business and Twitter. There were a couple of grumblings in the Twittersphere about unfollowing me (which is understandable and I do the same thing to people I follow who fail to amuse me) but it was the three raging e-mails that mentioned I was being "just weird" or I didn't "take Twitter seriously". I began to wonder if those people who took the time to e-mail me their thoughts had gone outside any time in recent years. I was understandably grumpy with them to tell me how "serious" Twitter is.
It struck me as bizarre that people couldn't take my posts with a grain of salt or, at the very least, understand that there is some fun to be had using social media tools. Where did the fun go, people? Did it die with Yahoo? (Oh, too soon?) It made me sad (and a little grumpy, to be honest) to think that there is some level of expectation that everyone on Twitter must be serious or "share serious links" at all times if they work in the "social media market". I also don't want to insult the people who did send me an e-mail about my Twittering habits but - dudes, come on - rejoin us individuals who live in reality.
If I were to take these rants at face value, the message I was sent boils down to Twitter having become the jurisdiction of "serious Twitter people". I dispute this claim 150%. If you do a survey of Twitter accounts and their related content, Twitter has some serious posters and some accounts that are made into television shows.
Anyway, I don't want to be overly gumpy about it (can't you tell?) but I was surprised and happy all at the same time. You like me! You really, really like me - and think I am smart! S-M-R-T! Perhaps I need to start a business and social media Twitter feed and reclaim my personal space.
If you want to see the live tweeting of Die Hard, click to read more!
Below is that live tweeted version of the movie:
shanebeeAnd credits roll.11 hours agoshanebee"Oh, the weather outside is frightful... but the fire is so delightful..."11 hours agoshanebee"...did you get that?"11 hours agoshanebee"Oh, I hope that's not a hostage."11 hours agoshanebee"Happy Trails, Hans."11 hours agoshanebee"We're gonna need some more FBI guys, I guess."11 hours agoshanebee"Blow the roof!"12 hours agoshanebee"Yeeeha! Just like Saigon, eh, Slick?"12 hours agoshanebee"I read about them in Time Magazine."12 hours agoshanebee"Hans! Booby! I'm your white knight!"12 hours agoshanebee"Take this under advisement, jerkweed."12 hours agoshanebee"Oh, my God! The quarterback is toast!"12 hours agoshanebee"The police have themselves an R.V."12 hours agoshanebee"If you are who you say you are, you'll know when to shut up, when to listen... and when to pray."12 hours agoshanebee"...and enough plastic explosive to orbit Arnold Schwarzenegger."12 hours agoshanebee"Eat it, Harvey!"13 hours agoshanebee"Jeezus H. Christ! God, dammit! I'm under fire at Nakatomi! They're turning my car into Swiss cheese!"13 hours agoshanebee"...dom, dee, dom, delightful."13 hours agoshanebee"You are done! No more table! Next time you have a chance to kill someone, don't hesitate."13 hours agoshanebee"Who's driving this car? Stevie Wonder?"13 hours agoshanebee"Come out to the coast. We'll get together. We'll have a few laughs."13 hours agoshanebee"Now I know what a T.V. dinner feels like."13 hours agoshanebee"Bag it." "Big time."13 hours agoshanebee"Thought you guys only had doughnuts."13 hours agoshanebee"...did I sound like I wanted a pizza?"13 hours agoshanebee"Now I have a machine gun. Ho. Ho. Ho."13 hours agoshanebee"Also, your Mr. Takagi didn't see it that way and he won't be joining us for the rest of his life."13 hours agoshanebee"I promise, I won't hurt you."13 hours agoshanebee"I am going to count to three. There will not be a four."13 hours agoshanebee"It's a very nice suit, Mr. Takagi. It would be a shame to ruin it."13 hours agoshanebee"You didn't bring me along for my charming personality."13 hours agoshanebee"Mr. Takagi, I am not interested in your computer."13 hours agoshanebee"Sort of fill in the blanks questions, actually."13 hours agoshanebee"Rumor has it that Arafat buys his there."13 hours agoshanebee"Now, where is Mr. Takagi?"13 hours agoshanebee"Heh, fists with your toes."13 hours agoshanebeeTurned on the first Christmas movie of the season: Die Hard.13 hours ago
I just realized something about one of my Christmas rituals - when I lay down in the snow, there is silence. Not an absolute silence but enough to get my attention. Weird, huh? It takes silence to wake us up from our noise filled lives.
This is one thing I love to hate about the "big city". I think there is too much noise. I can't hear myself think some days when my brain is in overload with typical life things. When I come home and there is a slight break in the noise, my ears will sometimes ring. (It is highly annoying and, from what I have learned, is quite common in cities. I should really go see an audiologist or something. It has been a while and they told me it was normal a few years back.)
But that silence. That silence is amazing. For even a brief moment, I am able to think about what it must be like to live out in the country where city backgound noise isn't a factor in daily life.
Has any one ever tried those sensory depravation tanks? I wonder if there is any in town. I wouldn't mind doing it again. I tried it a long time ago and it was a wild experience. I highly recommend it.
To long for silence. Isn't it true that silence is the mother of truth? Or so says Benjamin.
This is a Christmas present for nerds. If you are not a nerd, you can just give this posting a skip. There would be no reason for you to be here otherwise - unless you are interested in learning about something very, very cool. It is also quietly historical. I barely heard anything about it.
I won't apologize for being excited about this news: Voyager 1 has officially entered the heliosheath. Why is this excellent news? In a few years time, Voyager 1 will be the first man-made object to enter interstellar space. This means we've become a space going species. We're not quite at the warp drive level yet but - oh, wow, we're doing it. This is a historical moment!
I await your collective gasps.
Fine, fine. I hear your unnerdy shrugs from here. Why is this important to the world? It is important because we are a race of individuals who all love a good story and, more importantly, a good journey. Voyager 1 is on the greatest journey that man has ever taken. Nothing on Earth can ever compare. Sure, being on Earth is cool and I personally regret not being able to experience it more often but - this, this, this, this, is the greatest adventure we're on!
How could this not be the best Christmas present ever? It is very cold and dark out there in the black. This is something that our race - not our countries, scientists, or NASA types - is doing. This is the first time that something we made has gone somewhere that no one has gone before. Yes, I am quoting Star Trek lore but think about it. I have always wondered what it would be like in a space craft, just floating around in space. I have always wanted to do that. To have that sense of ultimate freedom. It is at times like this when I think of the movie Silent Running.
Silent Running is a film about these large space craft that are, essentially, large trucks that haul stuff around. In the case of the movie, they are hauling plants and animals. The problem is, there is really no life on Earth any more. The plants are gone as are the animal populations. The company that owns the space craft decides to off load the cargo (nuking it, actually) for some reason and this sparks the main charaters humanity into over drive and he protects the remaining cargo bay by killing the crew. It is quite a powerful film and, if you are a science fiction buff, you should check it out. I don't want to spoil it any further but the character had a great respect for life and for the universe. Much like the feeling I have... standing here... with you.
"I am Captain Kirk! I... am... Captain Kirk!"
Ahem. If you get that reference, I will love you forever. See, I told you it was a mystery even to me why my brain works the way it does. Off to bed. Good night, Voyager 1. Don't get too lonely out there. You're making history and, I think, no one noticed. You rock, Voyager program.
Unless V'Ger comes back to kill us all in 200 years.
I received a comment yesterday that reminded me of an old ritual that I had forgotten about: Christmas Lights!
For the longest time, we had a family ritual around viewing Christmas lights. We would all jump into the car and drive around Victoria, looking at people's Christmas lights. I loved it. I don't remember the last time I did go on a lights night. There must be organized routes in town here. I know there is in Victoria every single year. Perhaps I will head out some time and investigate the lights situation this year.
One thing about viewing the lights is being able to check out places in your town you never knew existed. It is like expanding your brain a little bit while looking at creativity on people's lawns. I kind of miss putting up lights. My dad was a fiend and obsessed with making sure the family homestead was decorated. His knees can't handle it any more and I do feel guilty for not being able to help out. Maybe I will put some up this year if we can squeeze it in.
I am glad I remember that ritual now because it was long, long, forgotten. Thanks, Cheryl!
Gift giving. I love it or hate it, you have to do it some time. I love to give people stuff. I don't know why. It is just something I like to do. I don't give stuff to everyone I run across, just to those people I care about. But, as with every year, you have to keep yourself in check. You need to make sure to give gifts to those people closest to you while you shun those you despise. Well, not really. You just need to make sure you don't give so much that you decide to become a monk and live the rest of your life in solitude in some mountain range in Asia. Actually, that sounds kind of cool. Taking an oath of silence and living day to day.
In a mud cave.
Barely any water.
Wild animals waiting for you to collapse.
No pug cuddles.
Maybe, that isn't such a cool idea for those of us who haven't, you know, lived in damp caves. You can't feel good about giving gifts to your friends and family if all you give them is a rock with a scratched smiley face you made with charcoal you found from a previous fire because you can't light your own because it is so incredibly cold and wet that you just want to roll over in the muck you've created and die letting the wild boars who have been watching you for weeks and are to patient enough to wait for another several weeks just so they can eat you, can you? Okay, brain, back to gift giving.
It is like a game with human psyches at stake. You need to make those people closest to you are happy while still maintaining a no-man's-land balance with those people on who aren't your immediate family. You also need to take into account all of those people far away. Do you send them a present? Do you wait until you see them again? What about those people who want to give a meaningful gift to but you don't because you think they might think it is weird? Not to mention the people who don't give gifts at all either out of the fear of obligation or they just aren't very good at it. How can you not be good at giving gifts? I always get a kick of joy when I see someone get something I know they really want. I even get a boost if I give someone a gift but that it is so unexpected they just light up! It makes me want to give presents to people all year round.
Family tends to be easy. They always tell you or drop enough hints at what they would like to receive. My family is normally plain as day. We suffer from that typical thing that families do:
"Oh, you don't need to get me anything."
This is normal but there is a trap here that I sure many of you have run into. They tell you that they don't need anything but then ask:
"But what would you like for Christmas?"
Oh, that drives me crazy! Don't tell me that you don't need anything and then ask me right away what I want. Bah! Humbug to that! I am never sure what to do with those individuals except send them to a damp cave somewhere and make them want something like a hot bath and , maybe, a towel. Or soap.
I am sure I am guilty of doing the same thing. What I really think is going here is you've asked them at the wrong time. If they are busy talking about politics or eating breakfast, they don't want to have to think about receiving gifts. Receiving gifts is hard work. Giving them is easy. Isn't that whacked? You'd think it would be easier the other way around - unless you are a heartless individual worthy of being drowned in your own pudding. (I have always wondered what kind of pudding would be best for drowning the average human being. Weird, huh?)
Close family being relatively easy, what about those groups of people who are your friends. When it comes to the holidays, they are always deserving but, depending on their experiences with gift giving growing up, they may or may not have learned to give presents to friends. I don't know what else to say about this except that I give gifts to my friends when I can and I don't expect them to give me one back. I think a pint at the pub is enough. Yet, I have learned one thing, it is never enough to just go to the pub. Which leads me into the next paragraph.
And then there are the crowds of people who fear obligation. If they get a give from you then they feel they must give one back. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Just because I give you something, doesn't automatically force you into some sort of subordinate role where you must give me something in return. How twisted is this, anyway? This is what the commercialism of a religious holiday has done. It has made people resort to buying stuff to make them feel good even if they don't know that other person well or don't tend to give gifts. A brief word about people who never give gifts - I blow you a raspberry. Bttpptttpfff. (Is that how you write a raspberry sound?) Don't fear the obligation. Don't feel you should. But don't not give someone in your family something. You don't need to give anyone else anything. I will make it easy for you: give them towels or VCRs. VCRs are like three dollars these days. Trust me, they will love it!
What about if you give someone the wrong gift? That is the worst feeling ever. You think you're scoring some big points with a gift you thought they would like only to find out they thought it was lame. To those who think such things, you can go jump into a large body of water filled with sharks with frickin lazers on their heads. You're lucky you got anything at all! Now, where is a vat of pudding when you need one.
This makes me think about re-gifting. You've all been there. You get something that you either already have or it is something you really didn't need. You decide to re-gift it. This brings up a million other issues. Who do you give it to and if you give it to that certain person is there a chance the person that gave it to you will see it? I suppose it doesn't really matter since they gave it to you originally and you are then free to do whatever you want with said gift. But we all know that if you re-gift something and the original giver of the gift finds out, they will make you pay emotionally. Unless they give you a re-gift. Hmm, makes you think, doesn't it?
I haven't mentioned anything about people giving me gifts. That is a whole other blog post entirely that I will get to in the coming days. I love getting gifts but I hate the feeling that they were obligated to give me something. I don't want to get something because they thought they had to. I would like to get a gift if they felt they wanted to give me one. Doesn't matter what it was. Give me a cookie and we're even. So, I will give this little tidbit some thought and post about it some time in the next few days.
Over the last couple of years, I have gained yet another level of nostalgia around the holidays. Today, I started thinking about where my nostalgia for the holidays comes from. Why do I feel this way? Is it the food? Is the the presents? Candy canes? It could be about the fact I am getting older and beginning to realize it. Perhaps it is something else entirely. The end of the decade has come and we're about to venture into 2011 - so, that may be it. I am not sold on any particular holiday experience being the catalyst. I don't think I ever will truly know as I stopped wondering how my brain worked many, many years ago. I just let it go crazy and do whatever it wants. You should try it some time. You might scare yourself into being happier or something, something, something.
Anyway, when started thinking about it, I came to the realization that I have formed a few rituals in recent years. For example, two years ago, I began listening to Dicken's A Christmas Carol as read by Patrick Stewart. This is not entirely unusual as many people most likely watch or read some form of the story. For me, I put it on my iPod (after a quick jaunt to the library a couple of years ago) and have made sure to listen to it either on the 23rd or the 24th. I can't seem to bring myself to read it after Christmas Day, it just isn't the same. Something else I noticed last year was I always watch Mickey's Christmas Carol even if it is by myself. It is quick and I like it. I am a Disney guy, after all. I think this year, I will check out the 1938 movie. I saw it years and year ago. I suppose I am due for another viewing of the old black and white edition. I seem to be addicted to that one story. I did look for a collection of Dicken's other Christmas stories (they were quite short, if I recall) but have yet to find a copy. If you have a line on one, please let me know.
Another of my rituals is to lay down in the snow on a cold night and stare at the stars while watching my breath slowly curl into the dark. I find that this activity is required. There is something about taking a few minutes to just do nothing and let your mind wander the sky. I have done this for years. I recall, one Christmas Eve when I was maybe ten years old, going out into back yard (possibly the outside deck) and laying down in the snow with my Star Wars snowspeeder. I loved that thing. I always thought it was so cool that I could put a toy snow speeder in real snow. I think this was how I broke the two main guns off the toy by crashing it into the snow and then pretending an AT-AT was going to step on it.
One more ritual I have identified is also movie related. I like to watch Home For The Holidays and Home Alone. Home Alone is just a good film. Not amazing. It is just entertaining. Home For The Holidays is a Thanksgiving film but I find it astoundingly bizarre and hilarious. It is like someone tore a page out of my life (or how I perceived it at one time) and made it into a movie. I do recommend it because, no matter how many times I have watched it, I laugh out loud. The performances are great and it was directed by Jodie Foster who seems to touch anything and turn it to gold.
There you have it. Three rituals that I have identified. I think to qualify as a ritual it needs to be a very personal reaction. I find interactions with family don't count if they are just the traditional "jamming" everyone in as much as you can during a Christmas visit (that is assuming you don't live near your immediate family). I think of these rituals as quite personal and not necessarily something you share openly with others. With that in mind, do you have any worth sharing?
Have you been thinking about what you want to do in 2011? I have - a lot. I have been thinking up ways to get my time back.
2010 has been a busy year of growth at the day job and we've been more than just busy - we've been uber-crazy busy. We've been so busy, you can't seen our feet any more as we're most likely running - well, mentally, at least. Our great bunch at the office have been helping me out to try and gain a little sanity back. I also own a lot of blame for this as I have been doing such a good job at making sure I am doing non-work related activities as well. But, it is hard. When it comes to my work, I am ultra-responsible to the point where it drives some people bonkers.
- "Take some time off today, Shane."
- "Dude, do you really have to do that technical thing right now?"
- "You're going home at some point, right?"
- "Ummm, you look like a crazy person. When did you last shave?"
I kid you not, there are days (thankfully, very rarely) when I get questions like that. So, I declare, here and now: "2011, you and me are going to have words."
So, to get me fired up again, and re-claiming a bit of my day - I present to you a video I put together over the last weekend. It is made up of some videos that I took when Serendipity, our oldest and most princess-like pug, because sick when she was only about seven months old. I did have these videos online some time ago but Google Video lost them for a year or so. Nothing fancy, just a good tale.
Oh, and by the way, we spent about $12,000 on her due to her spinal issue. Now, if that isn't responsibilty tied with love, I don't know what is.
This year has been a bit rough for my family as we've had a few family members pass on and, as we're getting closer to Christmas, I have been looking for ways to cheer myself up. One of the things I re-discovered today was Bob & Doug McKenzie's 12 Days of Christmas. I popped in the CD and listened to the whole album and was happy to sing along to the "Christmas part of the album".
I then did a quick search online and found this:
Enjoy and let's have a positive holiday this year.
I found this little video somewhere the other day about the history of fossil fuels. I thought this was important enough to share. It isn't anything you probably don't know about oil, cars, and the environment already but it is a a clear reminder of where we are headed.
End of speech. Let's get to work.
Guess what, people? It is that time of year again and it is time for the Stanley Park Ghost Train! This year's theme is Alice In Nightmareland – how frickin' awesome is that? What would your favourite characters recently back from the dead would you like to see? I hope Alice digs her way out of the grave to kiss my chainsaw blade! Hahaha!
*cough* But, seriously, I am a lover of the train in Stanley Park and it is always a pleasant distraction. I am heading there tonight if you're at all interested to come and hang out.
Here is their verbage:
All this and more is in store for those who dare to climb aboard this year's Stanley Park Hallowe'en Ghost Train. Since 1999, the Ghost Train has been an annual tradition for thousands of families craving thrills and excitement. Reinventing itself each year with new themes, sets, costumes and many more surprises conjured up by the creative team at Mortal Coil Performance Society, the Ghost Train is a uniquely wonderful and fun experience every trick-or-treat season.
Directors Sharon Bayly and Peter Hall of Mortal Coil head up this year's crew of actors, dancers, stilt performers, and puppeteers. Don't worry, even as you venture with Alice into Nightmareland, you'll be out of harm's way in the safety of the Ghost Train…..trust us!
See you boo-night…! Okay, enough, already…
With my schedule being so incredibly crazy the last six months or so, I have almost dropped off the face of the Interwebs. Weird, I know. But there isn't much I can do about it. I have been working really hard these days on a couple dozen projects, catching up on some family stuff, and getting some writing done on yet another dozen writing projects. But, you may wait no more – here is my first little bounce back into the online world. Am I making any sense? No? Good. I have to keep you all on your toes.
I was invited by Mike Vardy of Dyscultured fame to come and chat with the cast of the Dyscultured podcast and it took us quite some time to match our schedules together – but we finally hooked up. I was the special guest (cough) and hadn't a clue what to expect. What I got was amazing – they are crazy and I fit right in.
The best part was my website was offline. People crashed it! It was so popular! Actually, no, what happened was a tech over at the hosting cloud forgot to remove something from DNS and my site went out – kinda. Anyway, all is well again. For the amazing return to the world wide interwebs, listen to the show below or head over to their website, or subscribe on iTunes.
It will be a welcome change to get back into blogging and creating content – for real this time. Yah, you've never heard that before.
I have been quite busy with the day job of late but I have had some time to get back to writing some new posts. I was intending on starting this coming weekend but I couldn't not share this song.
For all you literary types, you will really get a kick out of this.
What does it mean to be a Canadian? Superman.
A few weeks ago, my mother asked me a question about Twitter and, during the conversation, she mentioned a Twitter account name that I didn’t recognize. I recognized it somewhat because it was my name. But what I didn’t recognize was my full name being used as a Twitter account.
I pulled out my trusty phone and pulled up my mother’s “following” list and was horrified to discover that indeed someone had registered @shanebirley and it appeared to have been registered for a while (a few weeks at least).
At first, I thought it must be an account I must have registered at some time in the past and had just forgotten. A quick password request fixed that notion as I didn’t receive any password request via e-mail. I decided after that to forget about it as no one was using it. That decision lasted all of twenty minutes as I began to have all sorts of horrifying thoughts about what someone may do with the account. I mean, it is my name, after all. I have never found anyone with my name which leads me to believe that I am unique! (Finally, I can say that out loud! I am ME and there is only one ME! Thanks, Interwebs.)
So, here I am. A guy without his real name as a Twitter account. For now, just know, that account is not me. I will relate my story as it unfolds.
Still getting back into the blogging schedule for myself. It isn't easy, I can tell you. So, for now, here is my most favourite song ever from the Muppets.
If you are a blogger and you're anything like me, I tend to slack off when blogging for myself. This doesn't mean I am not thinking about blogging - I am normally blogging for others, the company, or teaching someone how to blog without burning out. So, here is a cute pug video.
I have something to share. This "something" is a shocking experience in my world. Some small bit of my worldly foundation has been rocked and cracks have appeared. What could this shocking experience could have been?
Yah. They did.
Early on Monday morning, my phone rang. I reached over to grab my handset but paused when I saw "CIBC" on the caller ID. I thought for a moment:
"Why would the CIBC be calling me?"
A moment paused and, somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain, a penny (or perhaps a few thousand pennies) dropped. My "red alert" alarm went off. My internal DEFCON level zoomed to the hightest setting. Shields went up and the battlements were manned. Somewhere a group of elven archers notched a few hundred arrows. I was a little surprised at the level of anger that rose inside me. My fight or flight decision went instantly to raging fight and I was ready to give whomever was on the other end a piece of my mind.
Of course, all of this happened in an instant. I picked up the receiver.
"Left Right Minds. Shane speaking." I said.
"Hello, Mr. Birley. This is so-and-so. I am calling you from the CIBC customer service department and I would like to talk to you about your experince with CIBC."
For the first few moments of the conversation, I thought they were out to "get me". I was waiting to hear words like "slander" or "defamation". I was expecting to hear phrases like "break your kneecaps", "cement shoes", or a "pair of pliers and a blowtorch".
But I did not get these words nor the phrases.
In a very positive and upbeat tone I heard words like "unacceptable" and phrases like "ashamed about the poor levels of service".
I didn't know what to say. "Was this really happening?", I thought. Was this bank that I had been demonizing for years actually calling me to ask about my experience? Never in a thousand phone calls had I thought CIBC would respond to me - and in such a personal way.
According to what the lady on the other end of the phone said, here is what happened on their end.
Apparently, someone at CIBC had found my blog and had reported it to the customer service department. They read my postings and checked out some of the comments and then they sought me out. They called me at my day job number (the only number I post publically on the Internet) to apologize for my experience.
I was shocked and a little humbled. In my mind, I had painted this bank as being an uncaring corporation that was blind to the front lines. I had concluded that CIBC hired nothing but robotic space monkeys from Iscandar and reaped the profits their army of numbskulls acquired.
We had a pleasant conversation (once my hackles settled down) and she seemed genuinely upset that I had such experiences with CIBC.
Here is what the conversation boiled down to:
CIBC has a problem.
CIBC needs to train their "trench staff" better. (My words.)
CIBC should review how they share information from the top.
CIBC needs to rethink how their branch managers deal with training tellers and their office staff. It is obvious (to me) that the training standards of CIBC are very poor.
CIBC staff should "know" the system they use every day and should be able to have process and procedure information at their fingertips. They should not have to seek out other staff for simple procedures such as the closure of accounts on weekends.
CIBC should think about how to solve PST and EST issues so that PST time zone clients are not penalized for living on the West coast of Canada.
She pointed out that the PST/EST issue is eluded to in the terms of service (as being 6PM EST) but I said that this was stupid to expect clients of banks to read every little detail in their terms of service. In today's world, most individuals will read the big print and walk away thinking they know everything. Writing such an important detail is not clear enough. Expectations like this will create can arise. And before those of you out there start commenting that "it is the clients responsibility to read every detail" - let me stop you before you start. Why? Well, simply put: I don't care. What I do care about is a company needs to assume that their clients are NOT going to read things like a terms of service. Details as important as:
"Hey, buddy, by the way - if you pay at 3:01pm in your time zone, you'll get a penalty because you don't live in Toronto."
To me, putting those kinds of details out for all to see is important (and no, terms don't count) enough to invest in a little more paper and ink. They should also make their services more obvious. Terms of service are written to cover a whole lot of issues that a typical business needs to struggle with. But they are not a solution.
Anyway, in regards to the call, that was about it.
I hung up the phone and didn't know what to think. This call had put a human face on CIBC. I won't publish her name but the person on the other end of the phone wasn't some vampiric character from a Poe (or Rice) novel. She was sorry. She didn't fight with me or try to tell me I had just missed some small type here or there. She listened and responded to my typical commentary. There weren't tears or anything like that but she was genuinely interested in how CIBC could learn from my experience and how they could do better. I know CIBC won't be able to solve such issues overnight but, wow, the fact that someone - a human voice - took the time to call me about my online blathering was shocking. (Have I said "shocking" enough for one post?)
Does this change my mind about CIBC? It does a little bit. I still think the CIBC has some head office to branch issues and I still think that such a large bank should launch themselves into the 2010s and use some of that online juice to let their employees know what is what. Their clients base is changing. People are more connected and "choosy" than ever. Those who used banks and accepted how banks did business is changing. In this economy, maybe banks should be a little more active in their outreach as well.
Anyway. There you go. A little heavy for a Saturday night but I have to give CIBC a few kudos for trying. They came far to late but I can't ignore that they didn't try. Will they take my comments to heart or, at the very least, read them. I hope so. It won't bring me back to CIBC but - dammit - I can't say they are 100% demon spawn either.
Damn. I was hoping CIBC was ruling the legion of the undead.
You know what is stupid about this post? I had a great idea and some thoughts that we so amazing that the fabric of reality would have bent slightly to make room for the most brilliant ideas ever conceived. Sadly, this is not the case now since I was distracted reading something mundane (about how to control comment spam on a blog) and have since forgotten what the most amazing idea I had was. Thankfully, my quick witted self has come up with a back up plan: here are a few shots of the things I have been doing during the Vancouver Olympics.
A very good friend of mine, Lock, dropped in last weekend and we also headed downtown to check out what was going on. We found out: lines, lines, lines. Oh, and a zipline too.
It is amazing what you forget. I never considered important memories being lost to the murk of time. Yet, today I was reminded of such a moment that, I believe, defined my belief that space travel is one of the greatest things we do. It was only the other day that I was reading an article about the plight of the Spirit Mars Rover and how it has become stuck in a sand bog of some kinds. The NASA people are trying to get it out but they are facing a reality that the rover may be stuck where it is. I was saddened by this since I have thought of these rovers for some time and I do check on them from time to time. Much like a mother hen. As long as they are running and working on the deserts of Mars, everything about the world is okay.
So, it took me a little by surprise when, I was reminded about the Space Shuttle Challenger. I hadn't thought about it for years and years. My memory of the incident are somewhat vague but I will never forget the Time Magazine cover of the disaster. The Challenger explosion was the first time I think I had any thought about death. I had pets that has passed away but it was never quite the same thing. I remember the main reason I remember anything about the Challenger was that we had done some kind of project at my school about the Space Shuttle since a teacher was going to be a member of that trip. It was a big deal. A "non-astronaut" was having the chance to do something that mere mortals such as myself were not allowed to do. It was like stealing from the cookie jar knowing you wouldn't get in trouble. In other words, it was exciting.
But, here is what happened:
I think this is one of the most terrifying videos that exist. We've all seen terrorist suicide bombers (even back then) and whatnot but I think the feeling of utter helplessness is more terrifying. Imagine having been inside the shuttle and hearing something go wrong and then - nothing. It happened to the Columbia a few years ago and it was a reminder about the dangers of space travel.
You know what? I think he did say it best. As much as we like to make fun of "Ronny" nowadays, this was one of his shining moments. I think that is enough for one night. Off to bed.
I can't believe it. I just found out that the Bloedel Conservatory here in Vancouver is closing its doors because of alien invasion or something. Of all the places that are going to CLOSE because of the Olympics - this is one that should have received some money to help maintain and promote it during the city wide event. I could also say something nasty about the city council but I won't because they are the best we've had in some time - maybe. Also, if you know me at all, I am not a lover of the 2010 Olympic Games. As time has gone on and the preparations have mounted, money has been spent and spent and spent, far outside of the budget. VANOC has also admitted they are way above budget and are now dipping into their emergency fund. If you live in Vancouver, who know who's pocket that is. With taxes on the rise because of the games, this is one of those situations where money has not been allocated properly. Can anyone say athlete's village?
Do you want to help? Here are some links:
I have a wide variety of interests. Just ask anyone I know and they will tell you with no uncertainty what-so-ever: "Shane is interested in that?" I think about obsecure stuff all the time and I am sure I think far too much for any healthy human being. I think about things I am sure no other human being on the planet (or just those I interact with regularly) would consider to be situations that could exist in this time-continuum. Which, of course, begs the question: what am thinking about today?
I will happily tell you with no uncertainty what-so-ever: do you ever think about Norman Fell?
If you're around my age and took a moment or two to catch an episode of Three's Company, you would know him. Remember Mr. Roper? That is Norman Fell. The guy (according to the little information I can find) was a rock solid kind of guy. He was able to match wits with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin while having the comedic funny bone to pull off the thankless job that was Mr. Roper. I suppose it wasn't that thankless since his Mr. Roper role landed him a two season stint on The Ropers, but who is really counting. So, what the heck am I talking about a guy who passed on just over twelve years ago? The Rat Pack, that is what.
I am sure I have written about this before but, over the last year, I have been reading a lot of autobiographies and a few biographies. I have read about dancers, singers, actors, writers and, more recently, been interested in learning about the Rat Pack. It all started when I checked out a couple of autobiographies from the library (Alan Alda and Jerry Lewis, I think) and, for some reason, I loved reading them so much I haven't been able to stop. I have become somewhat addicted to this style of writing. What I think I love about these books is the fact I am reading about a real person (or as real as they will let themselves be). What surprises me is the "six degrees" that seems to happen. So and so met up with another so and so and - bam - they did a flick together or recorded a duet. There is really nothing suprising about this but we're talking about famous people here. God, I am starting to sound like those stupid shows like Entertainment Tonight. Moving on.
As I was saying, I am reading about the exploits of the Rat Pack. I mean, people, this is the frakin' Rat Pack! If I were around in those days and involved in Hollywood I would have killed a guy to have been granted membership even if it were for a few moments! And this is what brought me to the subject of Norman Fell. According to a couple of things I have read, the guy was a member. If they had some kind of lapel pin he would be one of the few who wore one. And, well, there you have it. Pointless trivia for your day.
I guess what is driving me to learn about "famous people" is a desire to understand what will I leave behind when I go. Dean Martin left behind music, a voice, and an impression that he screwed Jerry Lewis over after ten years together on the Hollywood circuit. William Shatner appears to be completely oblivious to the resounding fact that his co-stars (during the 1960s, anyway) didn't like him at all. (With the exception of Nimoy.) They thought he was a jerk and I believe the one who the most annoyed was Walter Koenig. If you ever get to reading his book, this first five pages are like an advertisement for how much of an asshole Shatner was.
Anyway, I wonder what people will say about me fifty years down the road. Anything nice? Drivel about how they didn't really know me? I know what they are saying about me currently and you can all take a full mouthful of some dirty cheddar. I am kidding, of course - or am I?
I am rambling, as I normally do, but I can't escape this feeling that I have been reading the words written by people I could have run into on the street and it has touched me somehow. A kind of time travel has been experienced (to paraphrase Stephen King from his book On Writing). Norman Fell was just a guy who worked as an actor and became known as that role and, for some reason, it left a lasting impression on me. It just makes me wonder about my lasting impression - on the ladies. (Cough.) I meant to say, "on the world". I have a bunch of thoughts colliding at the moment and, as usual, it is quite late and I really should head off to bed.
Strange little tid-bit about Mr. Fell. The guy was a tail gunner in World War II. Of all the places in a B-17 (or whatever plane he served in), I would not want to be in the tail. You've got the guys on the side guns and in the ball turret underneath - but the tail. It is like wearing a bullseye on your forehead.
I don't watch The Tonight Show. It hasn't been on my television watching schedule for years and years. These days, if I find myself awake and in the mood for some mindless entertainment, I normally tune in and watch The Hour or Late Night with Conan O'Brien. (Yes, I know he has not had that show since 2008, but if I DID find myself up that late.) I never really watched Jay Leno. I do remember catching his first night and I have vivid memories of his one year anniversary show but that was a long time ago. Other than those two nights, I haven't watched.
Jay just "didn't do it for me". He has a smugness that is only amplified by his well known garage. But, really, who cares. It is late night television and that format hasn't changed since it started. I do think Leno is a decent guy and he has a lot of talent - but I prefer Conan O'Brien. I think his comedy style is far closer to my own taste and I believe he takes more risks that pay off. Jay Leno just isn't funny any more. He became stale somehow. He became a product.
I think this whole situation has received far too much coverage. It is a business dispute and, for whatever reason, NBC felt Conan was not working for their ratings. Of course, if Jay is as popular as they think he is, his audience would have followe. But what do I know, I am not much of a watcher of television that isn't on DVD these days. The Conan/Jay is just some silly situation that has produced a lot of content both over the airwaves and online (hey, look at me, I am adding to it!) and it makes absolutely no sense. For the record, this is what Conan had to say:
Then I started thinking. When did I last enjoy late night television? Have I fallen off some virtual wagon I am supposed to be on? Did I stop watching because I was getting older and felt I had some weird responsibility to get to bed early? I don't think so. What I do know is that I have cried thinking about the departure of Johnny Carson from The Tonight Show. Has it really been that long since I was dedicated to watching the late night programs? I suppose so. I thought I would look it up and this is what I found. My heart broke all over again.
I don't know quite what to say. I am - again - having one of those moments where I stare at the computer screen and wonder what it is I am suppose to be writing. I guess I am just one of those bloggers who struggles with what to write on some soft of semi-regular basis. I think it is a personal thing that can never truly be explained in a public forum. In fact, it is so personal, you can't find any level of confience that will let you release your inner fears. I think the most interesting things I could tell you about is who I am in love with, who I want to beat to a pulp and who I would love to slander on the Internet. Sadly, I won't be posting that information here. I am a nice guy, after all. All of the things you would like to know about me will remain safely behind the bars of my inner soul - or some such barrier I have yet to articulate in a fashion that makes sense.
In the meantime, here is a trailer I am quite sad to say exists:
No one appears to remember that the world was better with Ralph:
I have had an interesting week, however. It was quite fast but still had time to meet up with long lost people and still be productive. Jacket on, jacket off.
Oh, wait, I didn't make any. I suppose that means I have been sticking to them quite well. How have you been doing with your resolutions? I was wondering where resolutions came from. I did a quick search and this is what I could find:
A New Years Resolution is often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect from New Year's Day. Some examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive, or to become more environmentally responsible.
I think that about covers is. Thoughts about your resolutions for 2010? Are "new decade" resolutions more important? I think they may be since it is clean slate for everyone.
This past year has been great. The year of 2009 was filled with ups and downs and all kinds of twists and turns. But now, we are down to it. The final hours are ticking away and, when we all wake up tomorrow morning, it will be 2010. Are you excited?
For us Vancouverites, it will be a bittersweet opening few months with the stress and jubulation that surrounds any city hosting the Olympics. We love it and hate it all at the same time. It is like the holidays. When you first start shopping, all you can think of is the smiling faces of your family and friends. The perfect gift will be opened and, without warning, their face will light up with joy. They will (practically in slow motion) wrap their arms around you and plop a loving kiss on your cheek and whisper loving things in your ear. Of course, reality will strike with a lightning bolt borrowed from Zeus. Imagine, for a moment, sitting down at your kitchen table, a fresh coffee steaming in the light of a January morning, and you open yor credit card bill. All of the loving thoughts you've been harbouring for months will disappear into the morning air and you will wonder how in the Hell did you manage to spend so much money!
That is what New Years Eve and Day are all about. Two final days that we can use to live out a few additional fantasies. We allow ourselves to forget that, within a few days time, we will be back to whatever activities dominate our "normal" lives. We will be enjoying the sound of the office again or the classrooms of some foreign university or finding the perfect pitch in a remote recording studio. Let's make this last bit of our 2009 something to remember. What are your plans for this eve of the New Year? I remember the last few have been quite tame in their execution. Last year was hanging out and drinking heavily at a friend's place. The transfer into 2008 was something I don't remember. It must have been uber-tame.
For 2009, this year is strange since we decided to fly on the cheapest days of the holiday season: Christmas Day and New Years Eve. Christmas Day wasn't too bad since we arrived earlier in the evening and with plenty of time for gift openings on both ends but this New Years is going to be a little problematic. We arrive after seven in the evening and, with the weather being what it is in the mountains and in Saskatchewan, we will most likely end up being late. I hope not. I believe my family isn't picking us up. They are heading to their New Years events and dropping our car at the airport before we arrive.
And, yes, I think we all need to get together and view the movies 2001 and 2010 to see how much those fictional worlds are like our reality. Didn't someone have a dolphin for a pet? Where is my dolphin? Happy New Year, everyone!
Like so many bloggers before me, here is my look back on 2009. Yes. 2009. Okay. Let's get to it! Any time now. Fine, now type! Toss those thoughts onto the screen, my man. Come on, Shane. Let's do this thing! Boo-yah! Write!
(Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.)
2009 has been an odd year. I have learned much about so many things and I have accomplished many, many things. I have reached goals I thought I would never achieve. I have let myself be who I really am. I have helped others accomplish their goals. Was this reflected in my blog? Not so much. It is a little weird, isn't it? Or am I just giving some lip service to a sense of guilt I have about not writing on my website as I think I should be. I have thoughts and things to give. Links to provide. Pictures to share. I do it all.
But this website is neglected. If it had feelings, I am sure it would look up at me with sad eyes and whisper quietly: why have you abandoned me? Oh, it breaks the heart. But it is only a website, isn't it? Those who only read blogs may think so. But a blog is different somehow. Not only are you throwing a bit of writing out into the gray mass that is the Interwebs, but you're displaying a little bit of yourself. You are opening yourself to complete strangers (no, not you, Mommy!) and websites like that deserve a little more respect. Not a lot. Just a little. That is, of course, if you write posts like I do.
I will always remember 2009 as being one of the worst blogging years to date. I suppose every year for the last few has been less than stellar in the blogging department. I do recall promising from time to time that I would write more (which I have, just not here) and interact more. I guess I have done that. So, what have I done that I haven't posted about on this website? Let's see:
- Started guitar lessons.
- Have written several books (unpublished as of yet, still shopping them around) of poetry.
- Launched some kick ass websites for clients.
- Read a whole lot.
And I bunch of other things that I haven't written about here. What I am trying to say is that I have been doing a whole lot. I just don't understand why I haven't written about them here. I am a blogger, aren't I? Shouldn't I be writing here more often? Am I not a kind of spokesperson?
I shall continue this thought process in my next post. I shall call that next post: Part II.
I am a published author and have been for a few years. Since becoming one, I have thought long and hard about the future of books. Most of the time, I think about how I love to have books around me. If you've ever been to my house, I have a lot of books. I wish I had more shelves to stack them on but I have been told my book addiction needs to be kept in check and, apparently, shelves only make my addiction worse. So, then, I stack. The books find an empty space on the floor to inhabit and I continue on my merry way.
And this is the problem. I go on my merry way and ignore one simple fact: books are in danger of disappearing. Not because people will stop writing or publishers will stop publishing but because technology will not be free enough to let today's publishing industry continue. I found this article via Digg.com today and here is a snippet to get your brains on my wavelength:
When I buy an audiobook on CD, it’s mine. The license agreement, such as it is, is “don’t violate copyright law,” and I can rip that CD to mp3, I can load it to my iPod or any number of devises—it’s mine; I can give it away, I can sell it; it’s mine. But when you buy an audiobook through Audible, which now controls 90 per cent of the [downloadable] audiobook market, you get a license agreement, not a property interest. The things that you can do with it are limited by DRM; the players you can play it on are limited by the license agreements with Audible. Audible doesn’t do this because the publishers ask them to. Audible and iTunes, because Audible is the sole supplier to iTunes, do this because it’s in their own interest....
Anyone who claims that readers can’t and won’t and shouldn’t own their books are bent on the destruction of the book, the destruction of publishing, and the destruction of authorship itself. We must stop them from being allowed to do it. The library of tomorrow should be better than the library of today. The ability to loan our books to more than one person at once is a feature, not a bug. We all know this. It’s time we stop pretending that the pirates of copyright are right. These people were readers before they were publishers before they were writers before they worked in the legal department before they were agents before they were salespeople and marketers. We are the people of the book, and we need to start acting like it.
You can read the full transcript of Cory Doctrow's speech here. I shared this elegy about the book with some people (within earshot) and their initial reactions were that:
- It would never happen.
- People would fight it.
- Cory Doctorow is being too sentimental about books.
This got me thinking. Could books disappear? Is Cory being a turd and just trying to make a speech sound interesting? But then I remembered Bolivia and the water protests that happened there in 2000. But, Shane, you're saying. That incident was about water and you're talking about books! Oh, really - I may retort. My point is a bunch of very smart people got together and made it virtually illegal to collect rainwater because a company wanted to make the water system of an entire country private and controlled. Smart people. They let it happen. They wanted it to happen. I could make mention of Germany and World War II but, I think, most people would agree that somewhere along the way something went wrong. And now I can hear you saying: but Shane, that was a situation where millions of people were murdered and you're talking about books! How are these things possibly related? Again, I submit to you: smart people let something horrible happen. No one sat up and said to the person across the table that something was wrong until it was much to late to do anything about it. In any case, books are important. They are as important as our entire civilization. Books revolutionized everything. And now you're thinking that I am being more dramatic than Doctorow and, maybe, I am. But I feel very strongly about the disappearance of books.
Let me tell you why.
There is a technology created for DVDs that allows an individual to purchase (or rent) them. They can take the DVD home, unwrap it, and watch it. 24 or 48 hours later, the DVDs destroy themselves and make themselves unreadable. The user them tosses the DVD away. Firstly, that is a complete waste of materials. Secondly, what is to stop publishers (or some governmental body) from inventing a similar technology for paper? It will happen, mark my words on that. If an entire country can make it illegal for people to collect rainwater, what is to stop them? Imagine, books that erase themselves. It is not outside the realm of possibility. By the way, if you don't think it is possible for things like restricting rainwater collection to happen in more "civilized" country, I suggest you tell that to the state of Colorado.
Again, I return to my point. Sure, Cory Doctorow may be more sentimental about books than you are, but he has reason to. Situations where laws about who controls water rights normally belong in the pages of your favourite fiction book. But, as they appear to say, truth is stranger than fiction. Things we take for granted each and every day are under threat and we should stand up and take notice now before things like water and books are gone forever. When a monumental change like this happens, we may never get it back.
We are in a new economy and, as I am sure you've noticed, most content publishers are struggling to make ends meet. Newspapers, book publishers, and music producers are all thinking up ways to make sure they are rewarded for their efforts. They should be rewarded. Publishers and digital rights management advocates need to embrace the technology as well. They have been fighting, suing, and making merry with courts for a while now and it needs to be re-thought. I don't mind people protecting their work but there comes a time when the work needs to be free to the masses and we need to reinvent how we reward people for the work they create. I am not going to pretend I have the answers but I want people to recognize that this future is coming and, before you know it, you will wonder where all the books have gone. Don't kid yourself. It will happen if we're not watching and doing something about it. It did happen to water and the people of Bolivia were lucky to get it back. We may not be so lucky next time.
This entire rant makes me think of this scene from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade:
I just remembered that I haven't made much of a splash about the third edition of Blogging For Dummies. I will start with the publisher's verbage:
The blogging bestseller, now fully updated to reflect the latest tools and techniques
Blogging is forever evolving, and remains essential for anyone who wants a distinctive Web presence. There are many options that surround blogging-on everything from blogging software to hosting services-and this fun and friendly guide gets you started so can begin logging in hours of blogging!
Building on the success of the two previous bestselling editions, this latest revision includes essential blogging basics, the elements required of a good blog, and the tools you'll need to get started. You'll discover how to determine the right blogging software for you, whether you should run your own blog or use a full-service hosting site, and how to set up an account and write your first post.
- Builds on the two previous bestselling editions and covers the latest advertising tools to attract an audience, methods for making money with your blog, and ways to measure your blog's success
- Includes updates to the major blogging software utilities including Google's Blogger, TypePad, and WordPress
- Walks you through the latest search engine optimization techniques for increasing your blog's visibility
- Reviews the newest plug-ins and gadgets that will allow you to extend your blog
If you're in a fog about how to blog, then this easy-to-understand guide is the right book for you.
This is something that Susie and I worked on back in the summer and we made quite a few updates. There are a bunch of new chapters and a whole lot of revisions to existing chapters. We added a lot of stuff on social networking and whatnot and I was surprised how I had naturally adapted to newer technologies. Getting it all down on paper was awesome and quite difficult at times to sort out all the details. If you get a chance, why not head on down to your local book seller and get a copy or two.
I also have a shout out to Susie who is, as usual, totally amazing and rocks my world all the time. The book comes out in January 2010.
I woke up this morning and realized it was December 28th. December 28th is one of those days I consider to be a day meant for sleeping, watching television or movies, and doing very little. I have held this belief for years. Every year, for as long as I can remember, my energy levels seem to crash on this day. As a result, I have considered this day to be a useless day. Today, this year, I decided to check out what value December 28th may have had in the past. Here is what I found:
- Westminster Abbey was consecrated back in 1065.
- Toronto's Yonge Street construction begins in 1795.
- The Lumiere Brothers perform to their first paying audience marking the birth of the cinema in 1895.
- Endangered Species Act is passed in the United States in 1973.
It looks like quite a few important things happened on this day. I mean, really, how often does something as important as the Endangered Species act get passed? How that happened on December 28th, I will never know. Doesn't everyone stop on this day? I thought this was true since everyone I know seems to also stop on this day. So, when I was asked to go cross country skiing, I was stuck. I wanted to rest but, I suppose that due to this knowledge, I decided to take some people up on their offer to go outside and enjoy the sunshine. This left me with one other problem, I hadn't been cross country skiing for at least 25 years. Quite an odd memory to come up with on a day like today.
The last time I went cross country skiing, it was around 1984 on the Cedar Hill Golf Course. I must have been about ten years old then. I went with my friend David and his family and I don't think I was very good at it. My parents weren't much for skiing and I never learned. It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties when I finally learned (not very well, though). I learned to fall down, anyway. I remember that I was run over with a large inner tube at some point.
There you go. The weird memory of the day. I won't go into much detail since there isn't much to describe about skiing. I put some wood on my feet and moved my feet forward and backward. I did have fun.
I took a little time today and cleaned out the comments queue. I was surprised to find so many CIBC related comments. I posted them all, so, if you are at all interested, head on over there and join in. I haven't spent much time thinking about CIBC since I don't deal with them all that often (we have a business credit card left with CIBC) but, the other day, I logged into the CIBC website and found that one of my accounts wasn't closed as I had requested. Initially, I thought the account was just showing up because of some computer glitch. I called the toll free line and asked if the account had been closed and they confirmed it wasn't. Normally, I wouldn't have thought much of it because it was just a small error. But the gong show that I had to endure to close that account (at least, I thought it had been closed) was too funny not to mention. I didn't blog about it intially because I thought I had said enough about CIBC. But, here we go.
Back in August, I called up and asked the branch how I could close one of my final accounts with them. They said that I should come down to the branch and sign some documents in order to finalize the closure. It sounded very straight forward and I headed on down to the branch a few days later. I walked in and, as instructed by the person on the phone, grabbed the first available financial advisor. The advisor said they would be happy to close the account. We sat down and I provided him the appropriate documentation and identification. He started typing away and then stared at the screen for a few minutes. I sat quietly and waited for him to tell me what I was supposed to do. Another minute or two went by and he said that he needed to get a supervisor to confirm the closure. He disappeared and fetched another person to come and stare at his screen. The original advisor and this new person stared at the screen, typed a few things into the computer and then looked at me to say that they needed to check with yet another person.
I sat and began to laugh quietly. My better half told me to be quiet. I remained silent for a little bit longer.
A third person came in and did almost exactly what the second person did. She typed a few things, muttered a few things to the others, and then said that they would have to bring in someone else.
I started to laugh again but I wouldn't be silenced this time. With all of my experiences with this bank, I had had enough and was not going to be afraid to let them know that I was unimpressed. The scene unfolded again one more time and a fifth person was brought in. After almost forty five minutes, they all left the room.
I was laughing hard now and was making fun of them in a good humoured way. They smiled and continued on with their work but it was obvious that they were frustrated with whatever problem they had run headlong into. To me, closing an account should be easy. But, at CIBC, this appeared not to be the case. At just over the one hour mark, the fifth person came in to the office and said to me that they were embarrased. It turns out that CIBC can't close accounts on Saturday because Saturday is "not a business day".
I replied: "Then why is this branch open?"
She said: "Saturday isn't a business day."
I again said: "Then why are you open today? If you are not in business today, why am I standing here?"
She laughed. I told her that there must be some way to close the account because I didn't want to have to come back. She then disappeared and returned with the original advisor and we arranged that some other guy (this guy being number six on the roster) call me on the Monday and tell me the account was closed. I said that this arrangement was acceptable.
The following Monday, I called up the guy and chatted on the phone for a couple of minutes to confirm that my account was closed. He said it had been done. Boom. A completely stupid way to go about closing an account but, whatever, I had come to expect very little from CIBC at this point and it was merely a source of entertainment for me now. If I wanted a laugh, I should just go to CIBC ask them a very basic question (like how to open an account) and see how long and how many employees it took. (Which, incidently, I did ask this question the other day when I had to go back and yell at the manager of the branch about the lack of a closed account and it took over ten minutes before the teller returned with a brochure and I asked for some details about an account and the teller didn't know anything and said for me to just read the brochure.)
Anyway, back to my original commentary. When I found out that over six months later, my account was still not closed, I went back to the bank and asked the manager why it took six employees of that branch to NOT close an account. I told him that I was pissed and that I felt it was completely idiotic for me to have come to the bank, dealt with five employees directly and then a sixth on the phone to confirm that my account was closed. Then to find out that six months later, it wasn't even closed! And I had to come into the branch again to yell at them when I didn't want to deal with them in the first place. How stupid is that!
I just couldn't not talk about this now that I have ignored it for so long. I mean, come on... six employees to screw up the closing of an account because it was Saturday? And none of them knew this simple tidbit?!
CIBC, not only do you suck, but you can also suck my big sack of sweaty balls. Enough said.
It is that time of year again and I have decided not to do any resolutions this year. I have come to this conclusion because over the last few years, many of the New Years resolutions I have made rarely get accomplished. I don't know why but that seems to be the "way I roll". Last year, I was able to accomplish a a bunch of my resolutions but many of them were only "half assed" and I was never 100% happy with how they turned out. 2009 seems to be the year where everything has changed.
On a personal level, I took my health much more seriously this year and commited to losing some weight and getting my body into a much better position to start off on some extreme sports or some kind of program where I am getting to do things I never thought I would ever do. So, in June, I was able to settle on an eating program (which is currently being put to the test because of Christmas cheer) and continue with my morning workout routine. This has made my ever so happy. I never really thought I would be able to look at my body in such a way where even I go: "Hey, not looking too bad, my man." I think I want to slap my own ass just like all the sports greats but I have resisted so far. I hear that Sham Wow guy already. Bam! Bam!
Professionally, we've done very well this year at the old day job and I can't be prouder of the group we've got. There have been some ups and downs of course (how could there not be, if everything was even keel I would be suspicious) but we've weathered them as a group and it has made us stronger. 2010 promises to be an awesome year for Left Right Minds and it looks like our careful planning over the last few years has been paying off in spades. Yah, I don't know what that means either.
As for blogging, I am a little shamed since I have fallen off the radar again and again this year. Many starts and stops have come and gone but - wow - talk about slacking. I suppose what happened (at least, for me) is I helped to re-write a bunch of the Blogging for Dummies book and the 3rd edition is coming out in January of 2010. Head on down to your local book shop and pick up another copy. There are some great tidbits about social networking and how you can combine your daily activities into your blog. I suppose I could write about this kind of thing more often but I won't until January. And if you don't pick up a copy soon, it will make me cry like a little girl with a skinned knee. No, really. Go buy one now.
I guess this is me saying that I am not dead and I am still around but I have been hiding a bit due to schedules, being busy, and also making sure I remain sane and get some offline time in here and there. It is one of the most important lessons I have learned and share with every group I talk to about blogging: if you don't like writing or find yourself without enough time to dedicate to it, you may need to rethink your blogging strategy. Participation is the key.
I think I will leave it at that because I need to return to the party. If I don't see you, enjoy the rest of your holidays and I will blog like a mad thing in 2010.
I wish I could head out and do a little trick or treating. But I am too old. At least, that is what they keep telling me. I don't recall ever getting old and I don't remember my trick and treating rights being revoked! I thought I was like that guy in Lethal Weapon 2 and had some sort of Halloween candy gathering immunity. It makes you want to go out knock over a few kids and sneak away with pillow cases of candy.
But you can't knock over those kids. They carry knives these days to protect themselves against all those people giving away free candy laced with acid and razor blades. Of course, I suppose, if there was acid in the candy they may not care so much about the razor blades.
Anyway, have a great Halloween!
I was mentioning a little while ago that the Once More With Feeling episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer has returned. And, guess what, Hallowe'en is this coming Saturday and you know what that means - if you aren't there, you are totally square and may a vampire sneak into your home and eat your ass off.
Need details? Well, here they are:
Saturday, October 31st, 2009 and
Sunday, November 1st, 2009
The triumphant return of the Buffy Musical screenings - you know, the ones you can SING at, ALONG with everyone else - ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING!!
Pacific Cinematheque 1131 Howe St
DOORS: 12 NOON, SHOW 12:30 PM
You can purchase tickets here!
I also kid you not - they sell out. The two times I have gone tickets were history a few days before, so, don't slack until the day of. If you're going to attend - chop chop - get your tickets now.
Of course, you can also check out the Happy Bats Being There blog for more up to date details should my excitement drag me into the Ninth Level of Hell or something strange like that. Hey, it is Hallowe'en - it could happen.
According to Facebook, today is the actual day the Goonies from the Goondocks had their adventure into the underground of Astoria, Oregon. I just happen to have watched the film (hey, what else do you do when you're sick, you watch movies!) just this past weekend and I never get tired of it.
The film is one of those movies you always remember. It is up there with Indiana Jones, E.T., and a bunch of other films that I love.
I hear there may be a sequel brewing but, somehow, I doubt it. Do we really need another adventure with them? Don't get me wrong, I would love one to be made, but I also have that feeling that the magic would just die on the vine. Perhaps not.
Well done, Goonies, and I hope to get to the 25th anniversary in June of 2010. Never say die!
My sister told me yesterday about Carrie Fisher's one-woman play, Wishful Drinking. I thought: "Hey, cool, she is on stage and doing some incredibly cool." What I didn't expect was this video that promotes the performance:
Absolutely hilarious. It proves to me that Fisher is a class act and is a nerd. Don't ask why, just go see the show. Sadly, I may not get to go as I don't have any plans (at this moment) to head on over to Broadway.
Okay, people. What the hell have you been doing with your Friday nights? Actually, I don't care. What you should be doing is watching Dollhouse. What you should do then is go out and buy a copy of Dollhouse on DVD. As a matter of fact, you should head to your local retailer now. Don't wait. Just go. Right the hell now! There is also the online shopping option. Go there and get two copies!
Not sure what Dollhouse is? Well, have you bought your copy yet? Dollhouse started back in February 2009, and I admit that I didn't have much hope for it. I am a hard core Joss Whedon fan but I have been kicked in the gut a few too many times to rush out and watch an awesome show just to have it canceled and yanked before its time.
So, this time, I waited. I heard a few bad things, and waited some more before checking it out. Finally, I couldn't take it any more and decided that I needed to watch it. The first few episodes were okay and I always give a pass to shows in their first season. Then, all of a sudden, BANG. About five or six episodes in, WHAM. The story kicks in, the feet are more solid on the ground and I was rockin' this show like there was no tomorrow.
Don't let this show become another Firefly. Let's show these television executive types that we like to watch this show. Don't let this happen to this show!
This show is good and I don't watch that other bullshit known as "reality television". So, don't cancel something of quality and replace it with garbage.
Looks like Buffy The Vampire Slayer's season six episode Once More, With Feeling is hitting the screen in Vancouver - just in time for Hallowe'en! I can't believe it but it looks like there hasn't been an event like this since 2007? Is that right?
Our friends over at Happy Bats Cinema are hosting the event at the Pacific Cinematheque this October 31st and November 1st, 2009. Both shows are at noon and will feature all kinds hilarity. I got my tickets already. Have you?
Yes, I am a Joss Whedon nerd and quite proud of it. You can check out some of my nerdy pics from the last sing along.
A little while back, Allyson was bouncing around on Red Flag Deals and found a deal for cheap rooms at the Fairmont here in Whistler. It was quite the find and I wish we'd signed up for a few more weekends up here because I have been having a blast. I didn't realize that a few days in a place (sans pugs) would be such a treat. I suppose I have been locked up in that "world" of work and more work. Anyone who knows me knows that I am addicted to making sure everyone is happy and there aren't any stones left uncleaned (before being turned over).
This, of course, means we haven't had a holiday since 2003. I have heard this is a bad thing and I can't believe I haven't had more than a few days here and there to relax and not decide to kill. I am going to get back to that relaxing and will add a few more thoughts as the day goes on.
One thing I plan on doing is posting photos while I am up here in Whistler. You can find them on my photo blog on my Flickr steam at www.Flickr.com/photos/shanesworld.
UPDATE: Yes, I know, where the hell have I been and what the hell have you been doing talking about posting photos and then not following through? Good god, man! Get with the photos!
It has been well over a month since I tinkered around here, but that doesn't mean I haven't been active on the web. Without further whining and complaining, here are some of those photos I was promising.
Ack! There is no excuse. I haven't been blogging at all these past few weeks and months. I am not entirely sure why. I suppose I have fallen into that trap so many other bloggers find themselves. Periods of self-loathing take over and beliefs are inserted that tell our internal critics that anything they create is either no good or is simply garbage. There is never a silver lining in any of these situations. Nothing is ever any good. Some go so far as deciding they are themselves no good. I could be only speaking of myself but I have a hunch that there are many of you out there going through what I am going through - blocked blog syndrome.
In truth, such thoughts are rubbish. Here I am in the trenches, one who has "proven" himself by being involved in the creation of a manual that helps people start this bizarre career of "blogging". Yet, I find myself lost in a cavern of creativity. I have written hundreds of blog posts all over the Internet and I can't seem to get one finished for my own website. How cruel is that? I guess there is some comfort I can offer. It is a well known fact that writers of all levels will star blankly at a page (either on a computer screen or a piece of paper) for days before putting down a single word. They can get blocked up just like the average blogger. It is a natural part of being a writer. (Sorry, what was that?)
I am here to tell all of you that the act of blogging is an art. Plain and simple. Your ability to write is what makes blogging possible. So, how do you break the blockage? By doing something I haven't done in a while. You sit down, look at the screen with a little bit of defiance and you start typing or you start writing away from the computer. Write by hand (yes, you can do that!) and then type in your thoughts later.
And, please, don't feel bad in the slightest if you don't have anything to say. You can always follow a standard blogging formula and write a list of some kind. Fill out a meme about yourself. Offer advice (as I am right now) and keep that chin up.
I have been reading also a disturbing theory running around the Internet that is claiming that the days of blogging are over.
I hear them say: "Who blogs anymore? It is all about micro-blogging now."
As cool as micro-blogging is, it isn't the full kind of writitng that people enjoy the most. Sure, you can "tweet" a story out but the act of writing can't be touched by these technologies. Don't feel "afraid" or "less of a writer" if you are told that blogs are "not where it is at". I don't subscribe to such theories. Blogging is writing! To claim that the days of writing are over is such nonsense. Maybe we're in a collective slump but blogging or writing is not a dead art and I would guess that it is here for some time. You can change the technologies and the format but you can't change the truth. Human beings love stories. We love writing. Micro-blogging may be here for a while or it may be a flash in the pan. Who cares. Writing doesn't change. We change and get lost once in a while but we always come back to what we love.
There you have it. A blog post. How about that? No preparation and no cause for celebration. I just sat down to do a bit of research and look at what I created. It isn't Shakespeare but I think I can use it.
A number of months ago, I experienced a very low point in my life. I don't think I had ever experienced something quite like it before and I was glad for it to be over.
I gave up.
I didn't give up on my life. I gave up on the world's life. I gave up on you, gentle reader, and I hope you can find the wisdom to forgive me. I was weak and unable to cope for several hours.
I do offer some context. What started me down this path of utter dispair in regards to the current status of the world was I had read too many articles about how the world and how it is going to "Hell In An X-Wing Fighter" and I decided that it was time for me to just wash my hands of the world. I didn't mean it.
I do remember having a brief conversation with myself.
"That's it! We'll never learn. It won't matter anyway. The world will just buck us off the sadle when it feels like it. The universe will unfold as it should and if that means we're not part of that then so be it."
That night, the universe fought back and kicked me in the ass. It was one of those nights where you catch yourself reading or watching something that you wouldn't normally do. You may even pause to ask yourself why you're doing it. This particular evening, I found myself watching The Hour and who should appear but David Suzuki.
The interview was typical of that show. There was gentle conversation about what Mr. Suzuki was doing and, of course, there was talk about the environment. I was feeling quite self justified that Suzuki was telling stories about how he had been drinking out of a plastic cup and some onlooker said that he shouldn't be considering who he was and what he stood for.
Ha! I thought. You jerk! You drink from bottled water too! You dime store hood! It was then that a question was asked about what people should do if they are feeling tremendous apathy about the universe and the world. I was expecting some kind of: "Come join us. You can help heal the world."
Suzuki became very serious and said: "Go be that way. Do what you need to do but get the hell out of my way. I am not perfect but I am doing my part. If you don't want to help, then stand aside and let me by."
Thank the world for David Suzuki. If it were not for him, I would proably be still feeling the way I did all those months ago. Have a great Earth Day and, Mr. Suzuki, I am sorry. I am doing my part too.
My site has become very, very, Firefly-centric of late and I have been trying to stop blogging about anything Firefly related. But I can't ignore this.
About ten minutes ago, I posted to my blog.
About seven minutes ago, I did a few last minute edits.
About three minutes ago, I realized I had edited out an entire thread of that post - and left a mention of it in the title.
Right now, I am adding that text back in an expanding on it because I am obviously brain dead.
This past weekend, as a part of my "smelling the flowers" movement, I went out to a movie with Jonathon Narvey. Now, if you don't know Jonathon, let me point some things out about him. He is a nerd. Not just any nerd. This guy is hard core nerd. We have a nerd bond. He and I nerd out. This bond is strong. Nerd power! (I am just waiting for his rebuttle! Hee hee.)
The film we checked out is called Fanboys. It is a film about a bunch of Star Wars fanatics who try to steal a pre-release print of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace before it hits theatres. Pretty cool, huh?
What is interesting (and scary) about this film is that it is an accurate depiction of me, my friends, and everyone I knew back in 1999.
(cue dramatic music)
Some will say that there are times in a person's life when they know their exact location when some kind of life changing event occurs. My parents know where they were when Kennedy was shot and I knew where I was on May 19th, 1999 at 11:59pm. I was in a theatre line up in Langford waiting to be let in for the next Star Wars movie.
(cut dramatic music, a few broken notes)
Hmm. Having just written that out, it isn't so exciting. I mean, look at what Phantom Menace became. Mee-sa-saying itsa maybee not-a that-see citing, Shane.
Well, in either case, go see the movie. It had a long hard road to getting into theatres and deserves some support. And I give it a thumbs up.
When you are part owner in a small start up company, it can be very hard to make time for yourself. You work a whole lot in an attempt to make sure that you are on top of practically everything. Whether or not that is a smart thing, as a business owner, you can't help but want to make sure everything is looked at once - at least. The drawback to this is you find it hard to make time your life and, rarely, do you get to "smell the flowers".
I suppose this is why I haven't been blogging here like I wish I did. I have a rich life and a great number of opinions. You'd think I would be lathering up and chattering about something every single day. (An aside: I also hate writing these kinds of posts where I try to explain why I am not here as much as I would like - but what can you do. It seems to be a blogger trait. We love to think that we have a readership that cares - but, apparently, I am an ass.)
So, what is with my melancholy? When I woke up on Saturday morning, I did something very out of character. I hit the snooze button. A few minutes later (about 9 minutes, isn't it?) I reached over and hit it again. The third interruption found me turning it off. The next thing I knew, it was 11:30am on a Saturday morning and I hadn't even taken the dogs out for a walk yet. They didn't seem to mind, though, as they were cuddled together between us and happily snoring away. This, my friends, is highly unusual for me and I have a little nagging guilt about it. I don't remember the last time I slept in past 7am. I had a birthday marathon that kept me up until 2am a couple of weeks ago and I was up before 8am the next day. How crazy is that? My last visit to my parents home was the same way. Normally, I sleep like a baby and take as much time as I want. But, dammit, if I wasn't up at 7am every single day.
I don't want anyone who reads this to think that I am complaining. I am not. I am rewarded for the hard work I put in and if sleep is getting a back seat, then who am I to argue. I get to meet new people all the time. I am able to work on interesting projects. It is just that, some days, you wish you could fit everything into your life and, somehow, I am either blaming a lack of sleep or my ability to squeeze more things into my day by not sleeping. What I think I am really writing about here is a post about my recognition that I can't fit everything in and to force myself to remember that I do get a lot of joy from what I am managing to do.
I think I will end this one off by saying with something a famous engineer once said: "When it's important, you make the time." Damn you, Mr. Scott. Damn you!
This is the last episode of the series. It is almost painful to watch because it deals with many different aspects of existence, relationships, and how people perceive their own reality. I won't get into the details about the influence of Jean-Paul Sartre in the writing of this episode but, if you like, read about it here.
For me, this episode reminds me of the times I feel detached from the world around me. I don't feel like I fit into the world much like a square peg trying to squeeze into a round hole. I think everyone feels like this from time to time but, for me, it is all about the internal re-evaluation of the physical world.
Have you ever taken a close look at the objects, space, and people around you? I mean really looked at them? Ever mulled over a piece of wood, a marble, or your big toe? Sometimes I am fascinated by such things. I can stare at objects and see them in entirely new ways. I remember a time when I was exploring a new part of my childhood neighbourhood. I saw my street from a new direction. When I came home everything looked different. Lighting fixtures were glowly more brightly. Surfaces felt different. It was like I was seeing these common objects for the first time.
It was a powerful experience that I remember to this day. Being able to see things all over again sounds quite simple but it isn't.
Ah, yes, Ariel. There are two things I think of when I watch this episode: hands of blue, and the Ariel Ambulance.
If you've dipped feet into the world of the Browncoat, you'll know that the hands of blue villians are underused. They are scary, methodical, and have the coolest and goriest brain melting weapons - ever. These villians appear in two episodes and are scary as hell. They are very terminator like and feature blue gloves which, by itself, isn't all that scary but just watching them work makes my skin crawl. Unfortunately, we don't see them at all after this episode (unless you've read the comics) and we learn what happens to them afterwards.
The Ariel Ambulance from this episode also has an interesting story as a prop. A guy who was driving by a junk yard stopped to take a look around. He saw some common aircraft frames and one frame he couldn't identify.
He answer came from Firefly.
The craft he has found at a junk yard in the desert was what remained of the ambulance prop from this episode. To make a long story short, a bunch of Firefly fanatics pooled their money together and paid for the prop to be shipped to them to be refurbished.
Crazy? Nah. Cool? Yes. I gather that the ambulance has been fixed up and is making a few appearances at different conventions.
Out of Gas is the "pivotal episode" of the series. We learn how everyone managed to find their way onto Serenity. I like this point in the series because the show has "found itself". As we learn about how each character found their way onto Serenity it is also as if the writers, directors, and the performers have settled into the production. Everyone knows their roles now. Everyone knows what to do without thinking. A well oiled machine of a show has finally surfaced. What makes this even more interesting is that the show was like that from the very first episode.
When I think if Out Of Gas, I think of the many times I have imbued an object with affection. Sometimes it has been my car while other times it is something like a favourite t-shirt. For myself, there is a level of comfort I feel for certain objects. I like to keep them close or, at the very least, know where they are and that they are safe. Sounds weird, doesn't it? But, don't you have favourite "thing"? It could be a book, a night light, cookie jar, teddy bear - just about anything. For me it is my old security blanket. I have sealed my blanket in a plastic bag and keep it in a drawer. I don't take it out daily for a cuddle or anything - I have pugs for that. The majority of the time I don't think of my security blanket. But when I need a little pick-me-up when life is getting me down all I need to do is think about my blanket and remember all of the times I used it to keep me positive. It makes me feel better. I think of Mal's instant love for a derelict spacecraft as the same as I love my derelict security blanket.
The very last scene of the epiosde hurts my heart each time I view it. I just want to cry because I know what it is like to "find yourself" in something. To see the same qualities you have in something. It is hard to explain but when you feel it for the first time, you never forget it.
What can I say about Jaynestown other than:
The Ballad of Jayne
Jayne, the man they call Jayne
He robbed from the rich
And he gave to the poor
Stood up to the man
And gave him what for
Our love for him now
Ain't hard to explain
The hero of Canton
The man they call Jayne
Our Jayne saw the mudders' backs breakin'
He saw the mudders' lament
And he saw the magistrate takin'
Every dollar and leavin' five cents
So he said "you can't do that to my people"
He said "you can't crush them under your heel"
So Jayne strapped on his hat
And in 5 seconds flat
Stole everythin' Boss Higgins had to steal
He robbed from the rich
And he gave to the poor
Stood up to the man
And gave him what for
Our love for him now
Ain't hard to explain
The hero of Canton
The man they call Jayne
Now here is what separates heroes
From common folk like you and I
The man they call Jayne
He turned 'round his plane
And let that money hit sky
He dropped it onto our houses
He dropped it into our yards
The man they called Jayne
He stole away our pain
And headed out for the stars
He robbed from the rich
And he gave to the poor
Stood up to the man
And gave him what for
Our love for him now
Ain't hard to explain
The hero of Canton
The man they call Jayne.
Come on, let's face it, guys. This episode is a wet dream for most men. We have all the elements here:
- the blushing, innocent bride who needs a man to take care of her
- the blushing, hot innocent bride who needs a man to take care of her
- the blushing, ever-so-willing bride who needs a man to take care of her
- did I mention hot?
Also, this is the same bride who wants to do nothing but please her man in any way she can - even at the expense of her freedom to choose! Oh, wait, that's bad.
What I really like about this episode is the true strength in the character of Saffron or whatever her real name is. I cheer for Yo/Saff/Bridge when she proves that she is not what she seems. She turns the tables on all men (sure, Mal is a nice guy but he is rare in this Verse). She is a survivor. I only wish we had learned more about this character. Her past must be very interesting. I suppose it doesn't really matter because Joss Whedon writes women characters that can kick ass. Only this time, she is a woman who kicks ass for her own survival.
Of all the episodes of Firefly, Safe is probably the one I watch the least. I don't know why since there are cows in this episode and, really, who can resist cows on television? This episode has two the the most interesting moments (for me) of the entire series:
- Jayne stealing all of River and Simon's stuff and mocking Simon's diary.
- Shepherd Book has an identification card that can help him whenever he wants.
I think this episode is where we really begin to wonder about Shepherd Book. And, don't we all want to want to have a secret just like that?
Shindig is an episode that reminds me just how cool Kaylee is. She is one of those types of girls you want to take home to mother. She is cute, adorable, and down to earth and tries not to take crap from anyone. It just kills me when her feelings get hurt. But even after having her feelings hurt, she is able to chat up a bunch of men about their "cars" and we see her fit right in.
You know what this episode reminds me of? It reminds me of all the school dances I went to. I hated them and was alwasy grumpy about it. But I still had to go because the girls I was seeing during my high school days wanted to go. I always felt out of place (hey, I was a geek) and was a total dick. We can all be jerks from time to time, right? Well, those dances were my place to shine at being a loser. I think I will end this post on that note because I don't want to be seen as someone who hates dancing.
Well, I don't!
Ah, yes - The Train Job. What can you say about this episode except that it was written in a weekend and was an attempt to do everything the pilot was supposed to. I like this episode as it really shows us the true nature of all the characters.
As I have mentioned before, I didn't see the Firefly series until after I had seen the Big Damn Movie. I was a little confused when I saw the film because it was apparent these characters and the situation they were in had some kind of history.
Lucky for me, there were some very cool people in the theatre that shouted: "What? Where is the Grr Argh!" I had to ask what the "grr argh" reference was about. (Remember, this is also before my exposure to Buffy The Vampire Slayer.) They explained to me the history about how Firefly had been broadcast out of order and then unfairly canceled. I was hooked before I even watched the show - how is that for crazy.
What can I tell you about this episode? I believe this is one of the best opening episodes of any show I can think of. The dialogue and story lines were solid from the beginning. Sure, a lot of people would say that about a show they admire and love. I don't. Of the shows I have watched, including ones I watched as a kid, the majority have shaky scripts. The characters are not fleshed out, the shows are not overly developed and the structures of the show are not fully thought out.
I remember watching some shows I loved as a kid a few years ago - and I hated them! They were terrible! Why did I like Dukes of Hazzard? What was I thinking when I watched Knight Rider?
My parents arrived last night and they took us out for a steak dinner in honour of my birthday. I enjoyed a t-bone steak with a baked potato and some red wine. It was delicious!
I don't think anyone would complain about a steak dinner. I certainly don't. What I can complain about is the question my parents asked me this morning before they headed off back to Victoria. in the morning: "So, what is this Firefly thing you're doing tomorrow?"
I was horrified. I have been talking about Firefly for the past few years and I thought it had sunk in just how cool Firefly is. They are my parents. Shouldn't they be interested in everything that I enjoy? I mean - really. There was soccer, baseball, and (for a brief time) hockey. They took a great about of interest when I was involved in those activities. But why don't they remember Firefly?! They didn't even remember me talking about it. Sheeesh.
I decided I had to take action. As they were packing their things, I put in the Done The Impossible documentary. I thought they would only stick around for a few minutes of it but they stayed and watched the whole thing. I told them a little bit about the series and what it was about and they showed some genuine interest. Take that, soccer!
You are bloody well correct on all counts with that! I am utterly choked, cheesed off, and I may even be a little bit grumpy! Is it just me or can I never have a Friday that just works. Let me set this up for you.
- I was planning on taking a trip to Victoria to visit a friend’s new baby.
- I was supposed to have new phones installed.
- I was supposed to feel good about said new phones.
Did I feel good about said new phones? Of course! But what happened? Nothing that didn’t require me to fix it. What do I mean? Well, when you invite a company into your office and you determine that they have services you require – wouldn’t you expect them to come in an instantly know what it was they needed to do?
Of course you would. They are the company providing you the service!
Sadly, this didn’t happen in my case. I was left to do a whole bunch of things myself in order to make what they were supposed to do happen. I shouldn’t rant to brashly against the nice man you came but you would think the people assigning him work would make it all worth while.
I remember that a number of years ago, the television man refused to come to the house in order to fix something that they broke which made it impossible to watch television. I a had to threaten to smash the television box off the house before they agreed to come. Should consumers have to resort to such threats?
Unfortunately, it has become far too common in this day and age.
I will end my rant now and go to bed and combat the issues of a new day tomorrow. Until then, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow will be a better day.
I think the weather in Vancouver best describes my brain when it comes to my blog the last couple of weeks. Of course, at the turn of the year, you want to start new things, get writing, get blogging, get something - anything. But I haven't found the time nor the desire.
While I try and sort out my head and exercise my writing muscles, here is a photo I took this evening.
I headed out into the night with Travis and we got a few shots in.
New Years Eve was very cool this year. I headed over to Alan and Erin's place and we had a few too many with Jim, Todd, and Elizabeth and played some Playstation.
The evening was casual and we just blabbered about whatever it was that popped into people's minds to converse about. The one thing that struck me about the whole night was people kept forgetting that it was New Years. I was thinking about it today and realized that New Years was more important a long time ago. In recent memory, my friends get together to bring in the new year but there seems to be a collective forgetfulness.
I suppose it is because we enjoy hanging out with each other so much and the actual ticking over the midnight hour becomes less so. But I do recall a long time ago I used to hit pots and pans in the front yard of my parents house. It seemed like such a big deal. We prepared for the new year by getting noise makers and whatnot.
Maybe I just miss the act of making a big deal about another year rolling over. 2009 to 2010 should make a return to those days. What kinds of noise makers do you use? Or am I just old fashioned?
2008 is now over and 2009 is upon me, slapping my psyche to make sure I do better this year. In order to determine how I have done this past 12 months, I have decided to review my 2008 resolutions. I hope it isn't like watching a traffic accident but, regardless, let's watch together, shall we?
According to my post back in January of 2008, I was going to:
I am happy to report this has gone quite well. I have written almost daily (not necessarily on this blog, thought - and I do intend on making improvements) and have put together a few more poetry collections that I still need to finalize. Surprisingly, this takes more time than I thought it would but it is enjoyable for me. Oh, and I helped write a book so I can add that to my list.
Swim At Least Three Times A Week
This was going very well for some time and, I think, was accomplished for most of the year. I fell off the band bandwagon in the fall, unfortunately. January 6th is already scheduled as a return to the water so fear not.
Drink Less Beer
This has been quite the year for beer. I have almost cut it entirely out of my diet to the point where a single beer tells my body that it doesn't want that single beer. 2009 will see me eliminate beer from my diet.
This has been an awesome year for reading. I have read somewhere in the realm of 50 books this year. The most notable of them were autobiographies and biographies of the Star Trek cast (yes, very nerdy, but you can shut up now). I only have a couple left and I will be a virtual library of information about the original cast of the Star Trek franchise. Now, if I could only remember to open my mail on a weekly basis.
Hmm. It appears I almost made my entire list from last year. Should I do one for 2009? For some reason, I haven't a huge desire to make resolutions outside of the ones I did last year. Perhaps in a few days I will make a new list but, I think I have done a bang up job in 2008.
More praise for me!
We have officially lost our minds. We have a new pug. Over the past weekend, I was visiting my parents when we got "the call" from the breeder: Serendipity's new little sister was ready for pick up. This time around we had already chosen a name: Faith. A couple of days later, I was back in Vancouver introducing Serendipity to Faith. (Snicker.) But, let me back up a little bit and fill you in on how this all came to be.
Almost three years ago, we got a puppy. We named her Serendipity and everything was awesome. She was healthy, excited, happy, cute, and full of beans. Unfortunately, about five months later, she got sick. It was horrible and stressful and it took major surgery to correct her illness. (You can read more about that here.) She is now almost three years old and pulled through with flying bells, whistles, and other things that may fly if you do something amazing without too many problems. She is still cute, happy, and full of beans.
So, what happened for us to get a new pug? The breeder called us up about a year after Serendipity's surgery and commented that if we wanted another pug, she would provide us one for free. We instantly jumped at the chance to have another pug. A year went by and now we have another cute little puggy.
I will take a few more pictures and some video in the next couple of days and give you an update on her cuteness.
I have a hard decision ahead of me. It shouldn't be a hard decision. It should be an easy decision. It should be a question like: what shirt am I going to wear today? or should I watch three Star Trek movies this week? But, I am forced to seek advice. If you read my post about my Vancouver bootcamp exercise program (which rules, by the way) a few weeks ago, you may be aware that I am trying to get into a shape that doesn't resemble overweight and blob-like. It is going well and I am starting to feel a whole lot healthier. I haven't really "lost weight" yet since I am bulking up in the muscle department and someone mentioned that I am looking "thinner". I don't see it, but hey, you need to start somewhere.
This brings me to the beer question. I have been doing a little reading on exercise and how to make it pay off and I found some literature about alcohol and how it keeps your body from exercising successfully. According to what I was reading, drinking two drinks effectively prevents your body from burning fat for up to 48 hours.
This discovery has horrified me! So, if I have a couple of beers on Saturday night, my exercise on Monday won't do very much. Yikes! So, I have been tinkering with the idea of stopping my consumption of beer and wine. I think I can do this successfully but I was taking stock of a lot of the social gatherings I attend and many of them are booze-centric. I suppose I hadn't realized the extent as to how much liquor is central to socializing in this town.
I think I have made my decision to cut booze out of my diet (yes, I reallllly like my beer) and I think I can stick to it but it will be hard. What do you all think?
I was reminded this morning via my Facebook account of a personal experience that I try to forget. The incident is known (at least, to myself) as the rubber egg incident. It has not been forgotten by those involved nor has it been forgotten by me. Who was involved? My entire family with a possible exception to my mother. Actually, scratch that, she didn't put a stop to the rubber egg incident, so, she doesn't get by on her motherly virtues this time. To give you an idea of how deep this event scarred me, let me just say that, I will never enjoy the love of a rubber egg ever again. Never. Again.
It all started at a family party. I don't recall what the party was celebrating (probably Christmas or some such holiday) but I do remember there were a sizable number of people in attendance. The evening was quite happy. Wonderful food and delicious dessert was served. Coffee, beer, and harder liqour was in abundance and, I remember, I was having a good time. You can't put a price on the happiness that you may feel at a family gathering but, in retrospect, perhaps I was merely lulled into a false sense of security for their simple need for cheap laughs at my expense.
This brings me to the egg in question. The egg was made of rubber. This much was established that evening but I know there was more to it. I had found the egg earlier and it was revealed to me to be a trinket of one of my cousins. (When I say cousins, I mean, evil doers.) The egg was white and it was indecipherable from a real egg. This fact will come into play a little while later but, for now, let's all picture the image of a rubber egg. The egg you've now pictured in mind's eye is evil. Evil drips from the egg you are now thinking of. It seethes with evil thoughts, pulsates with slimy puss, and smells much like you would imagine an evil egg would smell like. Let's just say, and I may be jaded in my memory, but I know, deep down, that rubber was indeed evil - pure, condensed evil.
We come to the incident. The evening progressed as my family gatherings normally progressed and I was able to wander their home, full of all kinds of scrumptious food, to my heart's content. But then, without warning, my typical family supper experience changed. As I made my way down the hallway from the family room to the living room (yes, I don't know the difference either) I was caught unaware that I was being stalked. From what I could only assume was a secret hidden room complete with arrow firing slits, a rubber egg, seemingly harmless, bounced off of my forehead. I fell down or, as what I like to recall, ducked for my life. It was like slow motion. My life, as short as it was then, flashed before my eyes. The time I bruised by spleen after running into a baserunner during a baseball game (or he ran into me, we were never really sure) was, up until that time, the most horrible event in my life. But the egg changed all that. I hit the ground and laughter ensued as my cousins, who shall remain nameless in this retelling but you know who you are, fell about themselves as they witnessed the hilarity of my reaction. The rubber egg bounced along the floor where it was retrevied by one of my evil doer cousins. I regained my composure (as much as a young child can) and proceeded to go about my business. I think "about my business" may be roughly translated as I ran for my life into an adjoining room. I believe this was the kitchen. But, the kitchen held no comfort as, from the door opposite to the one I had just entered, a small rubber egg flew with precision and impacted itself upon the side of my head once again.
It wasn't long before my head met with the rubber egg again.
And, as I am sure you may have already guessed, the egg bounced off my head again.
And, I believe, again.
Several egg beatings later, the egg assault wained. I would like to think the egg attacks were just getting old. But, alas, it was not to be. The weapon was changing as was the intended target.
You see, since the rubber egg was just that - rubber - someone thought it would be a good idea to use a real egg. Fortunately, for me, the real eggs were not to be used on my person and I was spared. These newly acquired eggs were hollowed out with some magic that I don't remember (something to do with a pin and sucking the yolk out) was used and they were substituted for the rubber egg. Several were thrown, a few were mashed, and the evening escalated until a fully armed and operational egg was used upon my uncle's head. His unhappy response ended the egg invasion and, I hoped, it was over. Fun had been had. People had laughed and a few experienced real egg on their faces. But, what I can only was two or three moments, it happened again. Sitting on a black couch with an orange floural motif, I had cuddled into my mother. I thought, for some reason, that my mother would protect me from the rubber egg. Sadly, no, this was not to be. The rubber egg, again, found my forehead. More laughter was had. This new barrage of rubber eggs continued for some minutes ending with my uncle squatting over my face as I lay on the couch (in a futile attempt to evade flying rubber eggs) and letting out a trumpeting fart. Additional laughter.
Over the years, I have looked back upon this event as a character building exercise. I thought I was over it. I thought I had put it all behind me. But, today, I realize, this is not so. I have never sought revenge for this egging but, now, all these years later, I shall have it. I am reminded of Shylock, the persecuted Jew from Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice. He was assaulted by uncaring Christians and picked upon. I am sure you may remember his speech to Salarino:
If you prick me, do I not bleed?
If you tickle me, do I not laugh?
If you poison me, do I not die?
And if you bounce a rubber egg off of my head a hundred times in an evening, shall I not revenge?
I did take a few liberties, of course, but I will have my pound of flesh! I will revenge! Or they can buy me a beer and call it even. I make myself laugh sometimes, I hope I was able to entertain you as well. Damn those rubber eggs.
For the last few days, I have been asking some people to see if they may be interested in live blogging the Creative City Cabaret. I realized I hadn't posted anything here about it.
So, what do I want? I want bloggers to cover this event that Left Right Minds is presenting at the Roundhouse in Yaletown this coming Saturday, November 8th, 2008 at 9pm onward. I am looking for bloggers, photographers, and even some audio and video bloggers. If you are interested in politics, love to blog, like to take photographs - drop me an e-mail.
The goal is to talk about how Vancouver is now a "creative city" and what this means for the arts in this town and arts in Canada.
I need help and I know you will want to help me! A friend of mine sent me an e-mail today asking if I could send a postcard to her daughter. Why? It is a grade three class project and she asked if I would send a postcard so that her daughter can see where they are coming from. I think this is such a great idea and I want to see if I can get cards from all over the world.
So, I am asking if everyone would be able to help me make her smile and send her a postcard. I am not going to give out the address here as I want to make sure that all volunteers sending postcards are serious and understand I don't want cards inappropriate to a grade three student.
If you want to help out and want to send card, drop me an e-mail and I will get in touch with you and provide you with the address where you can send your card.
This is something that I posted on the Left Right Minds blog. I thought it was important to let everyone know as it will be very cool.
If you haven't figured it out already, we've been busy. I suppose you could look at our blog and make such a conclusion but, I assure you, our silence has been worth it. One of the cool things we have working on is the Creative City Cabaret! A few weeks ago, we were all sitting around discussing what could the Vancouver arts scene do for the mayoral election coming up this November. The arts in Canada have been a hot topic recently and we wanted to do our part and promote the arts in Vancouver and prove that the arts are not just a "niche" issue. Then the idea hit us. Vancouver had been branded the "creative city" only a short time before we started chatting about an event like this and we thought it
would be a great idea to feature those individuals running for mayor and for council in a way that was fun and creative.
Here is the press release we've been sending around.
Mayoral Hopefuls Get Creative
Candidates Perform at Creative City Cabaret Vancouver, BC - October 28, 2008 - We've been dubbed the "Creative City" and on November 8th at the Roundhouse Community Centre, Vancouver's mayoral candidates will jump on stage and show off their creative chops at the first "Creative City Cabaret", presented by Left Right Minds Initiatives.
Candidates will have three minutes to perform on stage in any manner they wish. From playing an instrument to telling a joke to reciting a poem to tap dancing, this year's mayoral hopefuls will get the chance to showcase their artistic talents for an enthusiastic audience. Independent mayoral candidates, including Marc Emery, Scott Yee, Leon Kaplan and Gölök Buday will be strutting their stuff along with Betty Krawczyk (Work Less Party) and Patrick Britten (Nude Garden Party). The NPA and Vision Vancouver parties have also committed candidates to perform, including the NPA's Sean Bickerton.
"This evening is about having fun, being creative, and showing a different side of the candidates," said Chris May, Touring/Production Manager for Left Right Minds. "Vancouver has branded itself the "Creative City"- they want to run the city, they can prove it!"
The evening will begin at 9 pm on Saturday, November 8th with the candidates performing followed by two questions being taken from the audience for each candidate. After the show, audience members will be able to meet and greet the candidates in the Cabaret's backstage lounge. Admission is by donation with proceeds benefitting the creation of a shared theatre production centre in Vancouver spearheaded by NERB (Neworld Theatre, Electric Company, Rumble Theatre and Boca del Lupo).##
Left Right Minds is a creative solutions company based in Vancouver, BC offering full arts management services, project-based support and business consultations. Left Right Minds also provides comprehensive web services including design, development, hosting and skills training. It is our goal to connect arts, business and the web.
Does it sound like fun? It should be! We will be live blogging the event, taking and posting photographs during the evening and getting some videos up as soon as we can. It should be a positive and fun night for everyone who attends. Go join our Facebook group for the event and keep checking back here for additional details as they come in. And, please, come on out on November 8th and check out what those at city hall can really do! We expect this event to get busy, so, come early and bring your friends.
[Cross Posted on Left Right Minds]
Web Serve Canada, you are on the receiving end of my wrath and I have one thing to say to you - your customer support system sucks worse than a rancid Tiberian bat with an infected toenail trying to screw in a flaming light bulb while encased within fifty tonnes of concrete. It sounds like that sucks, doesn't it? It makes as much sense as your support department's availability. It also makes as much sense as why it takes them forever to respond to anyone they actually need to talk to: like customers. Do I hear you asking "why"? This can't come as a surprise, Web Serve Canada. I am here to tell you exactly why:
Live Chat System Free From Pesky Live Chat
I want to comment on your 24/7 live chat support system. Of course, I think you need to remove the "live" and "chat" portion in that statement as there is never anyone there. Thus, it becomes a "chat window" with no response or communication. You should replace it with one of those madlib auto-complete systems that provide auto-responses to questions.
Question: "My web site is down!"
Response: "I am down with potato-stuffed chicken."
It is important that you actually have someone there to chat with. I have posted (and left messages) on your chat system and have never once heard back from anyone. If you advertise it, why not have some people there? Otherwise, I suggest you drop the chat support. It feels like you're trying to be something you are most definitely not.
Support Phone System That Forwards to People Who Sound Like They Are Driving Down Back Country Roads While Speaking Through A Garden Hose
Now, I am sure you are saving money by farming this service out to another company (at least, this appears to be the case) but why not choose a company that has a decent phone system? The phone quality of the support group has got to be one of the worst I have ever encountered.
Question: "Hi, my web site is down and I want to know why I haven't heard back from tech support since I called last week?"
Reponse: "(static) I can't (static) beer (static and some dude asking about stock tips) whales and corn (static with a rendition of a tune from the 1980s I'd rather forget) your phone connection is terrible (static with the wooblies)."
This usually leads to the eventual hang up.
I have called support using Skype, my cellular phone and two different land lines. But the quality is always the same. What is really funny is the tech support people blame not their phone system but our phones. Don't they realize their phone system is pitiful and horrible? No matter from which phone or communication technology I call with the person on the other end sounds like they are sitting inside a tin can placed in an empty hockey rink at three in the morning. The phone system you use for your technical support team sucks anal hairs of a rabid goat.
Support Ticketing System Treated Like An Ex-Girlfriend
The people on the other end of the phone (the three I have talked to) know there a ticketing system, right? I provide them with ticket ID numbers from the online ticket system and they sound stunned or confused like the number I read out was spoken backwards and I threw in a few random click noises as I spoke (probably the crappy connection). Actually, I wonder if you really use this system. The only response from one of the tickets I posted was for a different client about a domain I have never heard of. Let me repeat: I got a single response for a different client for a domain I do not have. How screwed up is that?
And Just Who The Hell Is Level Two Support?
I know, I know. I understand the joke. They don't exist! Is level two support meant to placate me until I just give up all together? I have been escalated to level two twice (and now a third time) and I have never heard anything back. Nothing. Not even a "piss off" letter. I would appreciate any communication.
Suggestion for a Solution
I really don't care if you don't want to talk to people (you know, those pesky clients?) but, please, at least fake it that you care during office hours. If you need to drop the 24/7 support to do this, fine. I don't care. You don't need to remain open that length of time to please me. Just be there during the day. I don't care what my web site is doing at four in the morning. I need to sleep. You need to sleep. Any horrible down time isn't going to spontaneously set people on fire. But, you are not going to maintain any sort of customer base with support that appears to be on line and available all the time.
What I suggest is that you hire some more staff or find a new support provider. (I am still running on the assumption that you farm support outside of the company.) If you really want to run a company like yours, I am sure you have enough money to hire some staff to take on support responsibilities. It isn't hard. They don't need to be paid a whole lot. Just, please, get some that aren't unhappy to help.
I also didn't do this review lightly. I did check the company out to see if my experience was unique. Sadly, it wasn't. Read this site for more people complaining about Web Serve Canada. (There are some decent reviews in there as well, but they are written in a similar fashion and I am a little suspicious. You be the judge....)
This is for you, Web Serve Canada.