Sunday, February 29, 2004 

Beer. Yuck.

Okay, after Ian, Jer and Nat all did it, I got curious...

You're a Harp!

What Type of Alcoholic Beverage Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, February 28, 2004 

A different street

You're walking down a street, trying to get to a building because someone told you should go there. You don't really know where the building is, but you've been given directions that brought you to this street.

The problem is, the street leads to a dead end. There's just a wall there that you can't get over. You know the building is on the other side because you can see it, but you just can't get there from this street. The wall's too high to climb over, too wide to walk around, and too empty of doors to walk through.

Later, you leave your house and visit a friend across the street. You glance out the window at the back of the house and with a start see the other side of the wall that stopped you earlier and realize you're in the building you were trying to get to earlier and that you actually did know how to get there all along.

That's how I felt when I read Ian's latest post in our discussion. The way we were talking about whether romantic love is necessary was just not going to get me to see his point. It was taking the form, "You don't need romantic love to live a complete and happy life." Those directions just weren't working for me. The words "you don't need" were a wall I just couldn't get past.

Reading them, I'd automatically and unconsciously switch them to "you shouldn't need..." Ian made that distinction in his first post, but I didn't see the significance then. The problem was that reading in "shouldn't" changed an impersonal statement of how things are (Ian's point) into a personal directive for how I should feel (my understanding of Ian's point).

I didn't even realize this was happening (and would argue that it was impossible for me to) until Ian's point was phrased differently and I was able to take a different street to it.

For me, for some reason, there is a world of difference between "you don't need romantic love to live a complete and happy life" and "anyone can live a complete and happy life without romantic love."

When put the second way, I agree for the most part. I'm not sure about the "anyone", but acknowledge it could be true. But the basic point is something I've known about since second year when I took a psychology of family and couples course. I went back and reread the section of the textbook about a month after I split up with Bronwyn. Hell, I think it's still on my shelf. Give me a second.

Here we go.

"Singlehood can be a happy, healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, for many single individuals loneliness can be a challenge."
- marriage and the family: diversity and strengths; david h. olson & john defrain; p. 147
It then goes through a number of different strategies that single people use to stave off loneliness. All ones that I've employed.

In retrospect, Thursday's rant came out of a shitty mood I was in for a number of reasons, one of which being that I'm struggling with a very specific kind of loneliness these days.

So, to clarify (mostly for my sake):
1. I know I can live a happy and complete life without romantic love (which I'm just going to call love from here on out because I'm tired of typing the whole thing). I think it was Ian who said that part of doing that is actually believing love is not a necessary component of such a life. A lot of the time I do. I go through many bouts where I don't. Thursday was one of them.
2. It's not that I think I'll never love again. That's ridiculous. I will. I have few doubts about that. "The end is not yet."
3. It's not that I think that love will make me happy. That's a very dangerous belief because it makes you rely on something outside yourself for happiness.
4. I do rely on myself.
5. As Thursday's rant might suggest, it's not always the easiest thing to do.
6. Some of this may contradict what I've written before.
7. I'm comfortable with that.


The Hitch Hiker's Guide to this Discussion

DON'T PANIC! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

For those of you just tuning in, Ian and I seem to have engaged in a discussion through our blogs.

It started Thursday night when I posted a near psychotic rant that mentioned something that Ian thinks about the necessity of romantic love which I disagreed with.

Friday morning Ian posted a response clarifying what he means and calling me on having been an ass in my post.

Later the same morning I posted a numbered, itemized response that contained two third points.

Last night Ian responded, tactfully pointing out that I couldn't count. I fixed the number problem and am about to respond to his response to my response to his response to my rant.


Gay marriages in the States

"Marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal," President Bush said on Friday.
- 'california gay weddings can go on'; bbc online; saturday, february 28
George W. Bush is a man terrifying in his ignorance. But the mayors of San Francisco and New Paltz are proving that politicians can be decent people.


A snapshot

I'm sitting at the computer having just read through a bunch of friend's blogs. I want to write. But I also just got 'home' from a party and am hung over and need to go do something about that (like eat, exercise and shower). So, more will be coming. Not that you care, but I had to get a writing fix. Even if it was just a nonsensical paragraph.



I'm preparing a response, but first this. Two threes? Well shit, that sucks. I can count folks. I've gone back and fixed that now.

Friday, February 27, 2004 

My apologies

As I knew I did, I oversimplified Ian's point and was a prick over how I did it. Not for one second did I think that he's a cold fish. He's not. To better understand what he believes on this, please read this.

And my response.

1. "Not that I'm saying Aaron is saying this last point [about being a cold fish], but it's not an unreasonable thing to infer from the easiest, quickest ways to describe some of my beliefs." Ian's right, it's not an unreasonable thing to infer. But I don't and never did think Ian's a cold fish. And if you do from reading my post, you don't know Ian. And by the way, the way I described his beliefs was how I understood them. In the middle of a rant I used a description which while oversimplified was nonetheless an accurate description of how I understood Ian's point. Not that it was an accurate description of his point. I think there's an important difference there.

2. I think where Ian and I disagree is over the validity of an individual's feelings versus his assertion (as I understand it) that you don't require love "(and in this particular statement, we mean a very specific thing by love, a culturally standard romantic monogamous relationship)" to live a complete and happy life. What I don't understand and what he would have to convince me of to persuade me of his point, is how any individual's feelings in this regard can be valid if his assertion is true. How can they both be right? Because if nobody does, but individual feelings are valid and I say that I do, then there's a problem there. If instead Ian is saying that he doesn't require love for a complete and happy life, then I withdraw all opposition and apologize. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding him and hearing 'nobody requires love for a complete and happy life' when what he's actually saying is 'I don't.' Is that it?

3. "I don't deny the validity of how you feel about this, please don't deny the validity of how I live my life by saying it 'might even work for some people.'" From (2), it should be clear that I wasn't trying to deny the validity of how Ian lives his life. However, rereading my statement now, I can see how it comes off as belittling. If I could go back and rewrite it, I'd write, "I'm sure that statement accurately describes how some people live their lives, but it doesn't apply to me."

4. "Why should being alone be shameful?" Ian's completely correct here. There is nothing wrong with being alone. Some people prefer it. Absolutely nothing wrong with that or them. I didn't mean that being lonely was embarassing, I meant that admitting it was embarassing for me.

5. "I'm certainly not worried/upset/annoyed or anything like that. But hopefully you're aware that when you put that sort of thing out there, you run the risk of starting a dialogue, whether you were just blowing off steam of not. Hence this post." I'm glad you're not. I didn't want to start a dialogue, but knew I was risking that. I was... howling at the moon, I guess. But if dialogue comes of it, so be it.

6. I'm not upset or annoyed with Ian or his post either. This is how my friendship with Ian works. One of us will say something the other doesn't understand or doesn't agree with and then will call him on it. Debate results. And I'm often left spluttering as I try to clearly say what I mean. It's one of the things I enjoy most about being friends with him. Hopefully I didn't cause him offense this time.


Relax. I'm alright.

I woke up and logged into Blogger to erase the posting I put up last night. It's so unbelievably harsh and personal that I couldn't subject others to it.

But I re-read it and just couldn't take it down. I feel better now than I did last night, but what I wrote still stands.

I won't always feel like this. Each day I do a little to make things better for myself and each day gets a little better than the last. This is merely a temporary slump.

I can handle this and am handling it, so if last night's post worried you, please put your mind at ease.

Thursday, February 26, 2004 

Staring through a windshield

I've just got off the bus from Ian's. I'm crossing the street to go 'home.' The light has barely changed. And a car is speeding up to the intersection so fast it's about fifty-fifty whether it'll stop in time.

I stare at the driver and step out in front of him. I'm half daring him not to stop, but I know he will. The fucker's got to behave by the rules, doesn't he?

Did I mention I'm in a shitty mood?

This happens to me periodically. I'll just have had a good night, and for some reason the mere fact that I've enjoyed myself with people I care deeply for will have driven home the fact that for the most part, I hate my life.

It's like I can't appreciate the depth of my disdain for my daily existence until I've experienced a spike in how good things are going, even if the spike only lasts a few hours.

What's wrong with my life? Glad you asked. Wish I could answer briefly. And knowing I can't, I'm going to try anyway. I sneer as I type this, for that is a common trait of mine that has contributed to the situation I'm in.

One, I have now what a year ago I would have described as my dream job. I'm the news editor of a student newspaper. It's not what I would have wanted to do for the rest of my life, but a year ago I thought I'd love the job. I fucking hate it. Misunderstand if you want. I could care less. But understand this: I love training volunteers, interviewing sources, writing stories, editing pieces, deciding what's news. I just hate the fucking radical politics. And Guelph is not the place to be if you hate radical politics. Those politics invaded the paper and corrupted something I once believed in. Now I just go through the motions, trying to make my tiny piece of the paper as good as I can make it. Never mind that nobody ever takes the time to say, "I appreciate all the time you give this and think you're doing a good job." But fuck it and fuck them and fuck me for being annoyed at that.

Two, I'm lonely. There, I've said it. It's the most embarassing word in the entire language as far as I'm concerned. And I've finally reached the point where I can admit it. I have many great friends and an amazing family. But I am alone. There is nobody with whom I feel I can share myself completely. There have only ever been two such people, both women I was in love with. That I love no longer.

Ian says that you shouldn't require love (and I'm probably grossly oversimplifying his point) to live a complete and happy life. That's a nice intellectual statement that might even work for some people. It doesn't for me.

As far as I'm concerned, romantic love is a required part of a complete life. And it's not a part of mine. So take from that what you will. And if you conclude that I'm wrong about whether love is necessary, then fuck you. I'm talking about my life and what I consider necessary. You don't get a say.

Three, people are stupid, and that includes me. They're so wrapped up in their own lives that they won't step outside to look at the bigger picture. They're ignorant and uninformed and uninterested in being anything else. But for me to be who I choose to be - a journalist - I must act as if they're not.

Fuck them too.

I'm so angry right now. And to be honest, I'm considering not posting this because I don't want to worry anybody who might read this.

But fuck it. Honesty wins. As a writer, you can't be afraid of what comes out.


Twiddling my thumbs into lunacy

It's gorgeous outside. The sun's blazing, the sky's blue and the god-forsaken snow is melting.

I'm at the newspaper waiting for the editorial meeting. And I'm bored out of my skull. Restless as hell too.

Emma's feeling a bit of it too.

"I think it's the weather," she just said to me. "Doesn't it make you just want to..."

She paused for a second, bouncing slightly.

"...I don't know, just DO something?"

I laughed and said yes.

Just do something. Anything. Anything at all but what I'm doing. This year feels like a complete waste.

I've got six weeks left here. Then four months and then college hopefully for two years and then a job.

Lovely isn't it? Today's just an 'x' on the calendar. I don't remember when that wasn't the case.

No wonder I've been saying for as long as I can remember that life is just about killing time. To myself of course. You don't say stuff like that outloud too often unless you want to start worrying people.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004 


I'm researching a feature on creative solutions to roommate problems and came across this discussion thread. It's hilarious and disgusting. Who the hell would urinate in a roommate's Coca Cola?


American joke

I found this on my laptop late last night. Now, I like individual Americans a hell of a lot. I know quite a few and they're all really nice people. But I love this joke. You've probably read it before; it went around on email a few times about four years ago.


Riding on a passenger train, there are 4 people in one compartment. A Canadian, an American, a beautiful blonde, and an older, somewhat ugly lady.

The train passes through a tunnel - the compartment goes pitch black. Suddenly the sound of someone being slapped is heard in the car. The train emerges from the tunnel and the American has a large red hand print across the side of his face.

The American thinks: "That stupid Canadian tried to grope the blonde, and she slapped me instead."

The ugly woman thinks: "It serves him right. He probably tried to grope the blonde, and she slapped him."

The blonde thinks: "That bastard. He probably tried to grope me, but got the ugly woman instead, and she slapped him."

The Canadian thinks: "I hope we go through another tunnel so I can slap that stupid American again."


More space stuff

Europe's Rosetta space mission, which aims to chase and then land on a comet, is standing by for blast-off...
- 'rosetta probe set for blast-off'; bbc online; wednesday, february 25


Asteroid close call

Astronomers have revealed how they came within minutes of alerting the world to a potential asteroid strike last month.
- 'earth almost put on impact alert'; bbc online; tuesday, february 24
Apparently they thought there was a one in four chance of it striking North America. Can you imagine Bush's response?

"My fellow Americans. Do not be alarmed, but alien terrorists have launched an attack..."


"Which of these things isn't like the others? Which of these things just isn't the same?"

This is from BBC Online's news site today.

Other Top Stories
- US helicopter crashes in Iraq
- Ugandans in massacre 'revenge'
- Quake rescuers hunt for survivers
- Istanbul bomb suspects charged
- Muslim groups at barrier hearing
- Billions suffer from tooth decay

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read about tooth decay.



My laptop died last September.

No, it wasn't sudden. It had been sick for a long time. It was very old. It was two years old when I bought it, and I bought it the summer before going to University.

The thing served me well, doing everything I asked of it. Which wasn't much. I used it faithfully through to third year when I moved in with Bronwyn.

Her desktop PC was newer, had more memory and was faster. I switched over. My laptop sat in its case, unused and forgotten until last spring when it came time to move out. I fired it up and it ran gamely for me, eating file after file as I fed everything I had on Bronwyn's computer onto the ancient laptop. Everything seemed fine.

I wrote on it all summer. And it grew sicker as the summer wore on. First the internal mouse went. Then it came back. And stopped working again. And came back. Randomly.

Then the keyboard stopped working. And started. And stopped. And... You get the picture.

Stupidly, I kept putting off the data dump I knew I had to do. Until it was too late.

In September my laptop died. One day it just wouldn't wake up.

And I was pissed.

On it was four years worth of University work. Every essay was on it, including my undergraduate thesis.

On it was four years worth of fiction. Ten short stories with multiple drafts of each. One aborted novel attempt. Another novel that I had started over the summer and had every intention of continuing.

And it was all on a dead laptop.

Furious, I buried it in a corner of my room and got another computer to work on. I was so busy with the newspaper that putting off the data retrieval was very simple to do.

Until today when I started talking with Shokes about writing and the stories I'd written a few years back.

I exhumed the old laptop and watched disbelieving as it woke up at a simple flick of the switch. I calmly copied the most recent drafts of each story, the ongoing novel, and my thesis onto disk. I fired up the new computer and scanned the files for viruses and copied them to the hard-drive.

I'm an extremely happy person right now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004 

This makes me wonder

A report by the UN's refugee agency reveals that the number of asylum seekers arriving in the world's richest 36 countries fell by 20% overall... The UNHCR attributes the drop to improved conditions in countries such as the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.
- 'asylum applications fall by 20%'; bbc online; tuesday, february 24
I want to comment on this, but first I need to learn more about immigration and refugees to make sure I'm not talking out of my ass. Give me a few days.

Monday, February 23, 2004 


Trophy hunters are being urged to shoot only lions with dark noses so as to do the least damage to big cat numbers.
- 'dark-nosed lions are "fair game"'; bbc online; monday, february 23


Hyde said it before you did...

In the penultimate episode of a six-part series entitled Age of Empire, the BBC's Jonathan Marcus examines how US culture is as crucial a weapon in the American arsenal as its military hardware.
- 'exporting the american dream'; bbc online; monday, february 23
This reminds me of the That 70's Show episode where Hyde listed Hollywood as one of the three branches of the US government.


I've been reading too much tech news lately

Human players of The Sims, which gives them control over virtual people, can now have their creations run their own cities full of virtual people.
- 'virtual people get their own games'; bbc online; tuesday, february 17
I've really got to start reading more 'real' news again.


Digital planet

The US Army is building a second version of Earth on computer to help it prepare for conflicts around the world.
- 'us military creates second earth'; bbc online; monday, february 23
This goes in the scary but cool file. Incidentally, the gaming company that's doing this for the army is also developing a digital Earth for gamers. The military project is supposed to be finished by September of this year.


None of the other sandwiches look any good

I wondered if Ian would be annoyed that I used the same template he did. But, on careful examination, you'll find that mine is slightly different.

Sunday, February 22, 2004 

I got tired of it

The last template for my blog, that is. Too much bold, rounded type. I like this better.

Saturday, February 21, 2004 

Q's latest toy: lie-detecting sunglasses

Portland, Ore. — It may not be long before you hear airport security screeners ask, "Do you plan on hijacking this plane?" A U.S. company using technology developed in Israel is pitching a lie detector small enough to fit in the eyeglasses of law enforcement officers, and its inventors say it can tell whether a passenger is a terrorist by analyzing his answer to that simple question in real-time.
- 'lie-detector glasses offer peek at future of security'; ee times; january 16, 2004


Bone phone

Japanese mobile phone company Tu-Ka has developed a phone that conducts sound through the skull to the inner ear instead of hitting the outer eardrum with noise, as regular phones do. Users just need to hold the device against the side, top or back of their head and plug one or both of their ears. The technology has been available for two years in landlines.


More RoboSnail

Just another story on the snail brain cells they meshed with a computer chip. This one is more indepth than the last I linked to.

Researchers have discovered a technique for communication between snail brain cells and a microchip, a breakthrough that may one day help restore sight to the visually impaired, turn back the clock on memory loss and allow better control of artificial limbs.
- 'breakthrough sees brain cells talk to microchip';; friday, february 20

Friday, February 20, 2004 


This is very weird, but they're saying it could be the first step toward implanting chips in people's brains that would allow them to control prosthetic limbs. And if you can implant a chip to allow the control of prosthetics, what else will they be able to control? Cars? Computers? Spacecraft? Will the control be one way?

Sorry, I've read too much science fiction. Check this out anyway:

CALGARY - Canadian and German researchers have grown snail nerve cells on a microchip and showed the cells have memory and can communicate.
- 'calgary scientist grows brain cells on microchip'; cbc online; friday, february 20
From later in the article:

"Syed said in a broader sense, the study shows data can be imparted to the brain through an electronic rather than a biological link."



That was my mind blowing. Check this out:

A Canadian insurance company is offering home invasion, stalking and child abduction insurance.
- 'insurance for home invasion, stalking'; cbc online; friday, february 20


Artificial Intelligence not just in science fiction

A good case can be made for regarding all three [spam, pornographic text messages and video games] as some of the smartest artificial intelligences around. Some may even have beaten the legendary "Turing Test" by convincing thousands of people that they are human.
- 'has text-porn finally made computers "human"?'; bbc online; friday, february 20


I have a Mafia landlord

Not really. My landlord is actually a corporation ran by a very well-mannered, middle-aged guy.

My housemates and I are moving out at the end of April. This means we have to give notice by the end of this month, which we haven't done yet.

The night before last I dreamt that we hadn't given notice in time. I was upstairs. I walk downstairs and am startled by a large man with very little neck between his head and torso. He stands in the front hall in a dark suit.

"We hear you think you're moving out?" he says.


"You didn't give notice," he says.

"My housemate was going..."

"It's not going to happen," he says.


"And you're not gonna try," he says.


His eyes go dead.

"Understand?" he asks.

The dream changes and I'm somewhere else.

Thursday, February 19, 2004 

Life without Google?

Having made it my New Year resolution to break my addiction to Google and get better at searching the web, I have spent the last couple of weeks looking at the state of search and alternative places to go.
- 'finding what you want on the web'; bbc online; friday, january 2
In a previous article on the same topic, the writer - BBC's Bill Thompson - points out that he teaches his journalism students never to rely on only one source, online or off. And that includes search engines.

That's when I realized I use Google almost exclusively.

I'm going to start experimenting with some of the engines suggested in the above link. Look for links to them nearby.


Public ignorant of computers?

The coverage of Microsoft's woes has shown just how little people really know about computing, argues technology analyst Bill Thompson, and it is starting to worry him.
- 'microsoft leak exposes computer ignorance'; bbc online; friday, february 13

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 

Insomnia sucks

I can't sleep.

Yes, it's only 11:44 pm. But two hours ago I was nodding off in front of the television so I thought I'd go to bed. Big mistake. I may be the only person I know who goes to bed to wake up.

I spent far longer than twenty minutes tossing and turning and trying to slow my mind down. I can often do it. I couldn't tonight. It just kept going, racing from one thought to another. I finally had to get up.

Twenty minutes? Oh, that's the maximum amount of time you're supposed to lie awake before getting up to do something else for a bit and then try again.

This is the 'something else.'

Wish me luck.


Repeat after me, 'correlation does not imply causation'

Violent video games have a much more damaging effect on children than parents would like to believe, leading them to perform poorly in school, argue with teachers, condone aggression and get into physical fights with their peers, according to a series of new studies.
- 'do video games breed violence?';; wednesday, february 18
At one point the reporter uses data that essentially says that higher levels of violent video game play tend to go along with lower levels of empathy to instead say, "greater exposure to violent video games causes lower levels of empathy and stronger pro-violence attitudes" (emphasis mine). This is false thinking. It may be true, but the type of data given after this statement does not give us enough to conclude that yet.

However, other than that point, I was impressed overall by the article.

Later the reporter writes:

"The final study shows that even brief exposure to a violent video game (Doom, in this case) can lead people to associate themselves with aggressive traits and actions. Half the students in the study played Doom for 10 minutes, while the other half played a non-violent puzzle game. They were then given a series of tests, designed to measure how aggressive they felt, and how they'd react to other people."

Because the study was experimental, we can actually say that the data from it suggests that violent video games may cause aggressive behaviour.

I hate it when reporters screw this up. Are they not given even the most basic training in science? In my first year of university there was one principle that was pounded into my head from every professor I had, whether they were sociology, psychology or philosophy. That principle was, "correlation does not imply causation." How hard would it be to teach reporters that?


Photographer's image used in bid to discredit Kerry

The photographer whose image was used to try to discredit Democrat frontrunner John Kerry, says mainstream media can help to expose dirty tricks... The fake photo combined two images to make it seem as if Mr Kerry shared a stage at an anti-Vietnam war rally in the 1970s with the actress, Jane Fonda.
- 'media urged to fight dirty tricks'; bbc news online; wednesday, february 18



Taking the contraceptive pill appears to change women's taste in men.

Psychologists have found that women who are taking the pill tend to fancy macho types with strong jaw lines and prominent cheekbones.

- 'pill changes women's taste in men'; bbc news online; january 20, 2003


No comment

It appears all really is fair in love and war for women - scientists say they are programmed to be critical of rivals when they are looking for a man.
- 'women slate rivals to win a mate'; bbc news online; wednesday, february 18

Tuesday, February 17, 2004 

From the ER waiting room, part two: Saturday television

While waiting to be seen in the ER waiting room Saturday, I thankfully had a book. Otherwise I would have been forced to watch nearly five hours of television. Tuned to an American station, no less.

It started out with terrible, terrible cartoons. None of which I could bear to watch long enough to get a name.

Then there were the non-animated, Saturday morning sitcoms and children's action shows. The two shows I happen to remember were the new Power Rangers and a sitcom with the actress who played Olivia in the Cosby Show. She still annoys me. After watching random samples from both of these shows, I can only conclude that that class of television exists to provide jobs to crappy actors and writers.

There was a four-year-old with his parents there for a while. Little guy with light brown hair and intelligent eyes. When a new character would come on screen he'd say to his parents, "Who is that?"

When the Power Rangers came on and were about to fight the villains, the kid gasped.

"No! Don't hit him!" he cried.

His dad grinned and looked down at the child.

"Have you seen this show before?" the dad asked.

"At Nana’s," said the kid. "It's a bad show. I don't like it."

After that were the infomercials. Dear God, the Americans must love their beef. The entire hour was devoted to these slow-cooking home rotisserie things that came with a variety of extra items. Two syringe like things were for injecting stuff into the meat before it cooked. One was for solids like garlic or cranberries. The other was for liquids, like lemon juice.

These great big plastic mitt things came as well. I think they were called "barbecue mitts." They'd protect your hands from burning when taking out the enormous slabs of beef that these home rotisseries held. Then you could wash them in your dishwasher or something.

I swear the "audience" was either well paid or well brainwashed. The host would close up the rotisserie, twist a dial and say, "Set it..."

And then the audience - all smiles, all eager eyes - would cry, "and forget it!"

This happened five times.


Was waiting for this

Hundreds of gay couples who have queued in San Francisco to be married will find out later today whether the weddings are to be ruled illegal.
- 'gays await san fransisco ruling'; bbc news online; tuesday, feb 17
Knew this was coming. I'm just surprised it took so long.



A controversial technique for identifying a criminal mind using involuntary brainwaves that could reveal guilt or innocence is about to take centre stage in a last-chance court appeal against a death-row conviction in the US.
- 'brain fingerprints under scrutiny'; bbc online news; tuesday, feb 17

I'm not at all sure what I think of this.


All things considered

Other than finding out I didn't get the job I wanted, Friday was a damn good day.

After many failed attempts - because I always forget something - I left the office early.

Shannon and I had been trying and failing to connect all week. I had given her a hand in the lab on Wednesday. We agreed that we'd get together for a coffee or something Friday, regardless of whether my news back from the hiring committee was good or not. I met her at her lab and we went to the mall to do some shopping.

We started in Chapters, where I found two books that I've since plowed most of the way through. We went trawling through La Senza, Shannon finding nothing she wanted. We ended up in some women's clothing store searching for a new shirt for her Valentine's Day date the next day with her boyfriend Dave.

I parked my keister on a cushy stool and started one of my books as Shannon modeled shirts she liked. It wasn't long before she decided she needed a skirt too, so I got the role of honest straight boy, critiquing each outfit. Shannon being fit and good looking, that was hardly a chore.

I'd read a page or so as she changed, she'd come out and pirouette, I'd give her my opinion of how good it made her look or how it didn't flatter her, she'd pout if a skirt she particularly liked was too large for her waist (which happened often), I'd commiserate, she'd go try on the next one, I'd read another page or so.

"Is it a bad thing that I'm actually enjoying this?" I asked at one point.

"I don't think so," she called back through the change room door, laughing.

She decided on a black silky button down shirt and a loose black and white patterned skirt that went to her knees. With her hair down, the effect was stunning.

We went back to her apartment after stopping at the liquor store and a bakery. We watched television, made and ate pizza, drank some peach shnapps & Sprite. We watched a movie, Dave called, I checked my email as they chatted. We watched the rest of the movie, I did most of the dishes, I thanked her for an excellent day and went to Ian's.

Ian, Jer, Kiernan and I drank until late in the night. Jer walked home and I crashed on the pull-out couch. I woke early, rode the bus home and had pain so bad in my lower back that I could barely move or breathe. I spent the rest of the day in an ER waiting room to get it checked out.

I seem to be fine, with only a minor twinge in the area the pain was centered.

Monday, February 16, 2004 

Bush good for something

When President Bush told the nation he opposed marriage for gays and lesbians, San Francisco's new mayor decided it was time to let his opinion be known, too.
- 'bush stance led mayor to back gay marriages'; the miami herald; monday, february 16

This is a great story. It details how the story I posted Sunday developed.


Lies, all lies

ITHACA, N.Y. - Liars are more likely to spin their yarns in a telephone call than in an e-mail, a psychologist says.
- 'reach out and lie to someone'; cbc news online; friday, february 13


Yes, our fault. Completely. So sorry.

WASHINGTON - Canada is "a favoured destination" for terrorists and organized crime groups because of lax law enforcement, proximity to the United States and a generous social welfare system, a U.S. report says.
- 'terror groups flourish in canada: u.s. report'; cbc news online; monday, february 16

The article points out that the report relies on media reports and public documents. It only cites two examples of terror activity in Canada. The report pinpoints Canada's concern with civil liberties as being one of the main problems.

I'd love to see the U.S. government doing a similar report looking at why they're so hated around the world. It'd never happen. But it'd be great to see.


Riot in Sydney

SYDNEY - The streets of an aboriginal ghetto in Sydney were turned into a battle zone early Monday as residents angry over a teenager's death rioted for nine hours.
- 'rioting erupts in sydney'; cbc news online; monday, february 16

Sunday, February 15, 2004 

It took this long?

But the ones who sign their critiques only as “a reader from (fill in the city)” lost their anonymity this week when their identities were revealed on's Canadian website,

Among those named were authors who posted glowing reviews of their own work, apparently to boost sales.

- 'up north, anonymous reviewers revealed'; globe and mail (ap); february 15, 2004


From the ER waiting room, part one: senior protest

Yesterday while waiting to be seen for hours at the Guelph General Hospital's ER, I watched what may have been the most ineffective protest I've ever heard of.

At first I didn't even know it was a protest. An old man was marching up and down the sidewalk in front of the hospital. I thought he was waiting for a bus and was walking to keep warm. A bus drove by. He continued walking back and forth.

Claire, Ryan and I then thought he may be crazy. But there was a small sign planted in the snow facing the street, so we were quite puzzled.

Eventually three more older people showed up. One carried a half-sandwich board sign that read 'Abortion Kills Children.'

The four of them marched up and down a thirty-foot stretch of sidewalk for nearly three hours.

I kept hoping more people would join them. I wished I had my voice recorder and a camera. Hell, even just a notebook and a pen.

But then again, my name might have been called at any moment and if I was out interviewing senior citizens I would have missed it.

Oh well.


One word: awesome

Since Thursday, the decision of San Francisco's new mayor, Gavin Newsom, to administer same-sex marriages has drawn a growing throng at the doors of City Hall. By Saturday afternoon, the crowds had blossomed into a festival of matrimony, with gay couples, joined by friends and families, waiting as long as five hours to tie the knot.
- 'in a "scene not to be believed," same sex couples tie the knot'; washington post; february 15, 2004; page a17

Saturday, February 14, 2004 

Valentine's Day sucks

Being single and not being all that happy about it, I knew that Valentine's Day was going to suck. I just didn't think it would involve a trip to the hospital.

I crashed at Ian and Kiernan's last night, sleeping on their couch. I woke up early and caught a bus home at quarter after seven. Halfway home the pain started. Sharp, crushing pain in my lower back that had nothing to do with the alcohol I'd consumed last night.

Walking from the bus-stop to the house was difficult. I barely made it upstairs to the toilet where I went because I was sure I was going to vomit. The pain got worse, to the point I could barely breathe and where moving at all was agony. I didn't vomit, but became dizzy.

That's when I decided the pain was too sudden and too severe, that something was seriously wrong and that I had to go to the hospital.

I staggered to Claire's door and knocked several times. Eventually, she woke and I told her I needed to get to a hospital. She said she and Ryan, her boyfriend, would take me but she just had to use the washroom first.

While she quickly did that I went to my knees in the upstairs hall. She came out very quickly and asked if it'd be better to call an ambulance. I didn't feel I could stand, so I said yes.

She called the ambulance and I lay down on the floor, breathing hard and moaning. Ryan took down my parents' number and I told them how the pain had developed in case I passed out before the EMTs showed up. Claire sat beside me, stroking the side of my head.

After a couple minutes the pain almost completely went away, just like that. For no apparent reason.

The EMTs arrived and hooked me up to a machine to check my vitals. Everything seemed fine. They suggested I go to the hospital anyway, just to get it checked out. They said I could go with them or go in on my own. After Claire and Ryan said they'd drive me, I took that option.

We got to the hospital at about nine o'clock this morning. Claire and Ryan, great people that they are, stayed two hours and wouldn't leave until I made them. I told them I'd call when I was done. They told me they'd come get me.

At around two o'clock this afternoon, they finally got to me. It took nearly an hour and a half to finish.

The doctor was puzzled. It sounded, he said, like kidney stones. The urine test came back negative though. Which didn't necessarily rule kidney stones out. It could have been an intense spasm in the muscles of the lower back, but the amount of pain didn't make sense for that scenario.

He said to drink lots of fluids and to keep an eye on it for the next few days. The remaining pain will either peter out on its own, or it will get bad again. If it gets bad again, it might be kidney stones and I'm to go back to the hospital. They'll run further tests - ultrasound and x-rays - then.

I feel like I should wrap this up with some kind of moral or insight, but the fact is I'm too bloody worn out. This is just a journal entry.

I hate hospitals. They're scary places that I associate with loved ones slowly but surely succumbing to illness and then dying. I was scared at two points today.

The first was just before waking Claire. The pain was terrible and I had no idea what it was. I'd never experienced anything so severe. Stupid as it seems looking back on it now, it passed through my mind that I might die today. Which scared me for a second, but then I accepted.

The second was right after they had me piss in a cup. The nurse had asked me to change into a hospital gown afterward and I lay waiting in the curtained room. Again I had no idea what was wrong and feared it was going to be bad. I rationalized it all, pointing out that I was likely fine and whatever was wrong was unlikely to be serious. Then it hit me that however good the news was I would someday be back in a gown like this, on a bed like this. But unlike today, on that day far from now, I would be dying.

I came to terms with my mortality a long time ago. Like everyone else, I had to. Eight family members - three great grandparents, three grandparents, an infant cousin and a middle-aged uncle - have died on me in the last fifteen years. Two weeks before I turned sixteen I watched a car fishtail and roll over six times down the highway. I was sure I was going to die, that we were going to plow straight into the rolling car. We didn't. Shortly after, I watched the coroner pull a blanket over the bloodied and broken passenger.

You don't go through that without coming to terms with the facts that you will die and that you have no idea when that will be.

All the same, for a moment today my vivid imagination conjured a picture of how my life will end and I was afraid. It's passed now. Hell, it was only there for a minute. But still.

And the pain may come back, as bad or worse. But at least I'll have a better idea of what it is this time. That's the key. Knowing makes it easier to manage.

Friday, February 13, 2004 

The Missing

I've left out a lot. First among those are Lindsey, NeilPeet, Judy, Kason, Marissa, Amanda, Violet, Liz and Katie. Great people all of them.


The Love Interest

Sorry. Nobody currently.

I've loved two women. Mel I dated from grade ten until first year of university. Bronwyn I dated from first year until fourth.

And after Bronwyn I've been out with over a half dozen women, all of whom were great people, but none of whom I had a spark with.


The Paper

Holy shite. This is a long one. I'll abandon the person-by-person rundown of this post until this point.

Last year there was Chris and Nat. Chris was editor-in-chief and Nat was the news editor. Both taught me a lot about journalism and both became dear friends.

This year they have been legion. I'll travel from cubicle to cubicle around the office. Lorrie, our business manager. A rock and the binding force of the paper.

Emma, administrative assistant. The cutest little hippie I've ever met. A singer and novelist. Perpetually upbeat.

Erinn, editor-in-chief. Political radical and controversial figurehead.

Caitlin, features editor. Crazy and hyper and silly and calls me "luv" when she says bye on MSN Messenger.

Me, news editor. 'Nuff said.

Ian, arts & culture editor. My best friend on staff. A philosopher, music nut, comic geek and rocker. He rocks out.

Chris, "sports guy." Nice guy, awesome cartoonist, a football player that plays chess and the guitar. And that's about all I know of him.

Steph, photo & graphics editor. Calm, cool and collected. Blonde, beautiful and has a great smile. Professional with a capital 'p.' I consider her a friend and would feel privileged if she thought the same.

Dave, layout director. Political radical. Often acts like a nice guy. Drives me a little nuts at times, but I'm not going to go into that.

Meredith, ad designer. Enigma.

PK, ad manager. Tough, passionate and freaking out. For good reasons.

Brandee, copy editor, fall semester. Mature, thoughtful, excellent writer. I respect her a lot.

Jer, volunteer extraordinaire. Jer is our clinch guy. He's the one we depend on and take for granted. The best writer involved at the paper and a great friend.

Susan, copy editor, winter semester. Don't know a thing about her, other than her passion for em-dashes. :) She was just hired.

And, mentioned last because she works outside the office as our circulation director, is Kiernan. Ian's her boyfriend, so we spend a fair amount of time together. Honest, blunt and takes no shit from anyone. She's a real sweetheart.


The Past

Every few years I seem to purge my friends. The ones that remain are the ones that I just can't let go of. These are - in chronological order - Taylor, Jon, Shannon and Brian.

Taylor and I went to the same highschool. We didn't know each other well at first, and I think he may have feared me for the first few years of highschool. Near the end, however, we started hanging out with the same group of friends. We all went off to University. I lost track of them. For reasons I can't begin to outline, Taylor and I stayed in touch. I miss him dearly.

Jon was my neighbour in first year. We spent a lot of time together that year and a little less the next year. God knows where he is now. For a long time he was closer to me than most people. I wish I had his contact info now.

Shannon I knew through my ex-girlfriend Bronwyn’s group of friends. I knew of her for a long-time, but I didn't get to know her until a fairly major formal dance held at the University two years ago. Less than a week later I was sitting in an easy-chair in Pages when Shannon plopped herself down on the coffeetable before me and we chatted for a good half hour. We spent random amounts of time just hanging out and she came to be the friend that I will turn to when things have taken a turn for the worse and the first person I'll call when I've received excellent news. In the last two years I've hung out with her more than anybody else I know. Consequently, I think she knows me better than almost anyone. People who don't know us keep assuming we're a couple, and an old friend of Shannon's keeps referring to me as her 'pseudo-boyfriend.' We've gotten good at identifying the look when someone assumes. We're not though. I love her dearly and dread the time when our lives diverge.

And Brian. The fucker. He may be my best friend in the world. Yet he frustrates me to no end. It is through observation of and friendship with him that I formulated my theory of "random honesty." According to which, you say whatever comes to mind, when it comes to mind. Without fear of judgment. And are bonded to the other person so strongly that neither distance, nor time, nor annoyance can break. He's had a tough last year and I haven't been as good a friend to him as I should have been.


The Blood

My parents and sister are Jim, Trudy and Kelly, respectively.

Dad is probably the toughest and nicest man I know, though he and I butted heads a fair amount when I was a teenager. He's been through shit I can't even imagine and has worked a job he's hated for the majority of his adulthood for the sake of his family. I love and respect him more than I can articulate.

Mom I take after in a lot of ways. We're very similar in temperament, outlook and interests. She - and dad - are supportive almost to a fault. When I broke up with Bronwyn - the last "love of my life" - it was harder to tell her than anyone else. She's had more heartache than anybody else I've known and hasn't let it grind her down.

Kelly is quite possibly the funniest woman I know. She is sweet, smart and tough. Nobody else I know can tell a story so well that I end up near tears in laughter. She knows me so well that she can slice me open or stitch me back together with a mere handful of words. And she has a better head on her shoulders than most people I know.


The House

Three people live with me. Claire, Shokes and Erik.

Claire I lived with two summers ago. She lived in a house that I happened to look into to sublet. She showed me the house, I got a gut feeling that we could be great friends, I gambled on that and won. Big time. She's a dear, dear friend and I love her a lot.

Shokes moved in last September and he's proven to be a great guy and a good friend. We share very similar tastes in movies and television shows.

Erik is a nice guy that I know through Claire. He's in a completely different zone and we don't really connect all that often.


The Cast

Thanks Ian, for the idea of this.

Basically, if I mention someone in passing during a post, you should be able to find them here.

[Edit: This and the following six posts were originally one long post that could be accessed by clicking on the link “The Cast” at the right side of the page. Things have changed since I wrote this, so it’s now time to update. I’ve broken up the posts so that I can refer to what is still relevant and avoid what isn’t. May 23, 2004]


"Who can say what is good and what is bad."

Not me.

So I applied for a job that I really wanted and didn't get.

Oh well.

All that means is that the person who did was better qualified. (And good for her, by the way.)

Yes, I'm disappointed. Yes, I'm upset. But I'm also exhilarated. Getting the job would have been the easy path for me. I do not know what the next year will bring me. Whatever it is, bring it on.

Thursday, February 12, 2004 

That's strange...

I dreamt last night that I was engaged in a staring contest with God where the loser would die. I'm not particularly religious, so this was kind of odd.

He glowed, had long white hair and beard and eyes of flame. He spoke to me, but I don't remember His words. I do remember that He seemed pissed.

I also remember thinking, "This was a bad idea."

Monday, February 09, 2004 

Who can say?

The following story was told last year in my Chinese Philosophy course by professor Ken Dorter. Dorter couldn't remember where he had read it. The story was told to illustrate a passage from the Tao Te Ching. Actually, now that I think of it, the passage it illustrates is the one just below the title of this blog.

I've told the story to nearly a half dozen people close to me during hard times and they've all claimed it was helpful. I just told it to a friend today and decided to post it here.

One day a farmer's horse ran off. Hearing of this, the farmer's neighbour paid him a visit to basically say, "Sorry 'bout your luck."

The farmer shrugged and said, "Who can say what is good and what is bad?"

The next day the horse came back. It brought a herd of wild horses with it. The neighbour paid another visit to say how great that was.

The farmer shrugged and said, "Who can say what is good and what is bad?"

The next day the farmer's son fell while breaking one of the new horses. He broke his leg, prompting another visit from the neighbour. The neighbour commented on how terrible it was that the son had broken his leg.

The farmer shrugged and said, "Who can say what is good and what is bad?"

The next day the army came around drafting all young men into service. Because of his leg, the son wasn't taken. Again came the neighbour saying how wonderful it was the son hadn't had to go fight.

Again, the farmer shrugged. Again he said, "Who can say what is good and what is bad?"

Sunday, February 08, 2004 


"There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and statistics."
- Benjamin Disraeli


Bush's brilliance

Washington — Defending his decision to invade Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush said that although stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons have not been found, Saddam Hussein had the capacity to produce such arms and could have developed a nuclear weapon over time.
-today's Globe and Mail, Bush admits inaccuracy of prewar intelligence

Ahem. Hussein "had the capacity"? He "could have"? "Over time"? Now, this isn't an original point, but if Bush is applying this logic consistently, what about North Korea?


Noises in the dark

When I was eleven, I used to go camping by myself at the back my parent's 50 acres.

One day I set up my tent and then walked back to the house. I wanted to talk to Sara, a cousin, but couldn't do so until late. She was working, I believe.

Also, I had brought my dog Sable back with me when I set up the tent and had to bring her back to the house for the night. I didn't trust that she'd not freak out and wreck the tent through the night and I'd be damned before I'd have made her sleep outside.

As a camp counselor years later, I'd tell my kids that I was sung to sleep by coyotes when I grew up. The kids would laugh. Until they realized I was serious. The coyotes would yip and yowl in the fields by my house most nights. They were why I wasn't going to make her sleep outside.

It was dusk by the time I went back. I wasn't concerned. I had a flashlight and the tent was a mere hundred yards into the forest.

I reached the edge of the bush and ventured in, the feeble light from the flash illuminating barely a few feet ahead of me. The bush was far darker than I expected.

You see, it gets dark in the bush much faster than it does in the open.

The only path to follow was an old game trail that was plainly visible in the daytime and near invisible by the light of a flash. It didn't take long to lose it. And then I was lost.

I didn't panic yet though. I unfolded my locking blade and held it in one hand and the flash in the other. I must have walked around the bush in the dark for nearly a half hour. And didn't find the tent.

To make matters worse, I had been in the bush long enough that the animals had started making noises again. The normal noises of a forest at night, but made twice as loud by the adrenalin pumping through me.

That's about when I started to panic.

Really freaking, I whipped the light around from one noise to another, only seeing the light bouncing off of the eyes of the nocturnal animals all around me, worrying that the light was going to draw something to me that I didn't want.

So I turned out the flashlight.

Then it happened. What started as one of the many noises became louder, became clearer. Leaves crunched in a steady rhythm as something heavy ran through the bush toward me.

I remember shaking and holding my little three inch blade tightly in one hand and a huge branch I'd found in the other and thinking, "Shit."

Then I snarled and yelled and pounded the branch against the nearest tree.

Nothing happened. When I stopped my ruckus, the forest was dead silent.

With the flash turned off my eyes adapted to the dark and I could make out where the horizon was lighter, indicating which direction I should go to get out of the bush. So I took it and left.

I stood at the edge of the field for a moment looking towards the house that I couldn't see. Orienting myself. Then plunged back into the bush with the flash still in my pocket and found the tent in five minutes.


All gone

"Some aspects of language acquisition are puzzling: Children almost always learn to say no before yes and in before on and all children everywhere go through a phase in which they become oddly fascinated with the idea of 'gone' and 'all gone.'"
- bill bryson, the mother tongue: english and how it got that way


Fuck it. I choose being happy.

It's always amazed me how many memories get tied in with a particular song or album if you listen to it a lot. It's funny what kind of memories are called back up if you listen to such an album after a year or so.

Claire and I just watched Mr. Deeds and then I popped Dave Matthews' Busted Stuff in so we could listen again to Where Are You Going?

We listened to song after song, talking about which albums we associate with different parts of our lives.

As each song by Mr. Matthews played, I realized that the dominant memory being called up was of being happy.

I got Busted Stuff for my birthday about a year and a half ago and listened to it quite a bit. Often when I was working alone at the gas station, reading The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy between customers.

It was shortly after Bronwyn, the girl I was in love with at the time, returned home from Europe and a couple months before that love died.

I was happy then, and that's the feeling I remembered tonight while listening to the album. It made me realize that I haven't really been happy since.

Which is bloody stupid. What a way to waste more than a year.

You know what I say to that? Screw it. There's too much good in the world for me not to be happy.

I once heard someone say that being happy doesn't mean that your life is perfect. Instead, it means accepting that it never will be.

Saturday, February 07, 2004 

Grinding my teeth

I just woke from a dream.

In it, I'm doing an endless online application for a job I'm not sure I want. But the text I can't make out and end up guessing what boxes to check. And there's so much that I'm stuck there scrolling down forever. At one point I'm so frustrated that I try to erase my answers with a pencil eraser. It works, but when I go to brush away the bits of eraser from the screen they won't come away. They're a part of the online application, which is now smudged from being erased. The smudge moves up the screen as I try to scroll down to the next part of the application.

Friday, February 06, 2004 

Dropping from the sky?

From today's Globe and Mail (UN doubts bird flu linked with pigs):

... China investigated mysterious reports of finches' dropping dead from the sky, and villagers in Indonesia set thousands of chickens ablaze as they tried to rid the resort island of Bali of the deadly disease [bird flu]...


Bush to name impartial commission

Today, from CNN Online (Bush announces intelligence panel):

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rejecting criticism from some Democrats, the Bush administration on Friday said the new intelligence commission it is forming could objectively assess pre-Iraq war intelligence, even though President Bush has the sole authority to name its members.

Yeah right.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan is later quoted in the article saying the members of the commission will be "highly qualified individuals with integrity who have a lot of experience that they bring to the table."

That's all well and good, but that doesn't negate the fact that the man selecting them believes without doubt that the war in Iraq was justified. Do you really think he'd pick people that don't think the same thing to begin with?



I find it mildly irritating that on my blog there is currently an ad for those wishing to fight white collar crime charges.

But, the ad is what allows me to do this for free, so who am I to complain.


Guelph sizzling

I left the house this morning to discover that my neighbourhood was being cooked. At least, that's how it sounded.

It was raining lightly. Rain on snow sounds like steak on a grill.


Oxygen found on extrasolar planet

From CBC Online:

Scientists have discovered oxygen streaming off a planet outside our solar system, but its form has dashed hopes it may have been produced by life.

Despite the no life aspect, this is still cool.

Thursday, February 05, 2004 

Disjointed and craving

I'm very restless tonight. I feel disjointed and a little wild.

I want to go out and get drunk, but I don't want to do so alone. Everyone that I'd want to do that with is otherwise engaged. Shannon's in Ottawa, Steph was swimming and then sleeping, Ian's at a concert in Toronto, Jer's busy and my housemates seem pretty mellow tonight. I don't feel mellow.

I feel good. But also exasperated with my empty life and restless to fill at least this one night with something that doesn't involve me crawling around inside my head.

I was in a good mood all day, mostly because this morning I decided I would be. I finally decided that this stuff at work shouldn't have the power to wreck me as much as it has. Not long before deciding on a good mood, I woke from a strange dream.

In it I was taking two iron plates from a high shelf, but they were very hot and burned my hand. I yanked my hand away and they teetered for a moment on the edge before falling toward my face. I swatted them to the side and burned my hand again. I fell to my knees screaming, but couldn't bring myself to look.

People were around me, looking at me. They couldn't understand what was wrong. Looking at them, I wondered if maybe I was over-reacting. So I forced myself to stop screaming and look at my burned hand.

The parts that had touched the iron plates were covered in hollow, ugly, white blisters the size and shape of golf balls. It hurt like hell.

I want a drink. I'm going to get one. Maybe I'll write more later.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004 

Calvin="Jack", Hobbes=Tyler Durden

It always irritates and yet gratifies me when someone independently makes the same observation I have and then actually does something with it.

Thanks Ian, for sending me to this site.

Calvin and Tyler

Tuesday, February 03, 2004 

The point of this

Okay, so I've talked to a few friends who read yesterday's blog entries and were worried the world was ending. Do not worry.

This blog is for me to dump whatever is in my head when I need an outlet. Therefore, sometimes it will be like a personal essay, sometimes like a newspaper column, sometimes like a journal and sometimes like a psychotic rant.

I don't remember who it was, but someone once said that writing is basically like opening a vein and letting it flow. You can't be afraid of what's going to come out. To mix a metaphor, you can't pull your punches.

That's what this blog is for, though sometimes I will not or cannot go into details about my personal or professional life.

Monday, February 02, 2004 

Taking the frozen path

Things at work suck and they've sucked for a very long time. This is public, so the details aren't going in. Those don't matter. This isn't about the causes. It's about the effects.

During any prolonged stressful venture that depends on the work you put into it, I've found that there's one point that determines how you deal with the situation for its remainder.

There's a long build-up to this point where you go a little nuts from caring too much. The situation seems to be the most important thing in your life and you divert all your energy into it.

This is the hot phase, where you react like a flame. Everything just acts as fuel.

Things go wrong, you divert more. The situation gets worse, you pour more of yourself in.

The entire time, you're thinking that it can't get much worse. This situation is crazy. It'll let up soon. It's got to.

But it doesn't. And you keep burning.

You think about quitting. But you don't. The reasons change. Sometimes it's because there are people counting on you not to. Others it's because you can't afford to, or you're just too fucking pissed off. Still others the only reason you don't quit is that you've put too much in to do that.

Then you reach that point. The one where you spend days in a rage and when you finally fight it off, one element is missing and you take one of two paths.

Down one, the flames consume you and as far as this venture is concerned, you're ash. There's nothing left. You quit.

Because you no longer care.

Down the other, the flames go out and you freeze over. You keep going, but the stress is gone. You do what you've got to do to finish the task and get on with your life. Oddly, you perform better than you did before. But it doesn't touch you anymore.

Because you no longer care.


Waiting for service...

So, I'm waiting for the Ontario colleges website to load it's log-in page. I've been trying for the last hour and having no luck. In fact, it's been taking so long that I thought I'd write an entry while I wait.

Looks like I've just caught a break. The log-in page just loaded.

Then again, maybe not.

OCAS' Online Services are currently busy

After typing in my username and password, it's told me they're having capacity problems and that I should try again later.

This is fucking marvelous, but shouldn't be a god-damned surprise.

Today is the deadline for equal consideration for all those applying to any Ontario colleges. If you apply after today, then you get put on a waiting list. I'm applying for Humber's journalism program.

Let's try getting in again.


I'll process you, you fucking piece of software.

And now there's just a blank screen. Great.

So why didn't I apply before now? I had a rather large job application due Friday afternoon. It took far more time to complete than it should have. Then, when I finished, I'd spent my ambition and didn't fucking care anymore. Which has me scrambling on Monday morning.

Can you tell that I'm in a bad mood?

Tentative success. I'm in...

The troubles with today's application aren't the cause of the bad mood, but they surely aren't helping.

And I'm in no fucking mood to write about the causes for my mood.

Fuck it. This post is over.