Wednesday, March 31, 2004 

Smooth chinned and drowning

I dreamt last night that I was bobbing up and down in the water after having fallen off a pier. I went under once and then all the water disappeared and I was left to wade through mud to get back to dry land. The wooden uprights of the pier dwarfed me as I walked. I put my hand to my face at one point and found smooth skin. I thought, "But I haven't shaved my goatee off yet."

Then the dream changed and I was in a grungy gas station washroom spliced into my old residence hall. I was fighting someone who was trying to perform some sort of medical procedure on a doped up person in the hall. One of us kept trying to stab the other with a syringe, but it kept bending like a piece of rubber.

Monday, March 29, 2004 

Have I turned into a big ass-hole?

Ex number one emailed me out of the blue last week. We've been done and done for four years. She wants me to ask my dad for the name of the guy who heads up the HR department at his company so that she can apply for an internship there for her college program.

I've heard from her one other time in the last few years. This was to sponsor her in some mother-daughter fundraising walk she's doing with her mom.

I know two instances do not a pattern make, but it seems the only time I hear from this woman is when she wants something.

I tell her, sure I'll ask dad, so long as we're clear that it's just the name I'm getting for her. No vouches or good words.

I mean, come on. It's been four years. I've changed a lot in that time and would be shocked if she hadn't too. I'm not about to ask dad for something unless I'm clear what I'm asking him.

She emails me back saying, um, yeah, don't worry about it. I didn't think it'd be a problem or that you thought I'd expect the whole nine yards or blah-blah-blah.

I email her back saying, no skin off my nose either way. I just wanted to make sure I knew what she was asking for. If she lets it be an issue, that's her choice.

I'm not one to speak poorly of exs, but she always was really touchy.


How to bend people to your will

So I'm compiling a piece that's to be part of a two page spread in this week's paper. To do it I sent an email to each commissioner of next year's executive committee on the CSA, asking them to respond to a question about how they're going to deal with student apathy next year. I told them I needed no more than 150 words and that I needed them by 4pm today. Everyone got me 150 words or less, with the last one coming in at 3:34pm.

That's unheard of. Ask for 150, expect 300. Ask for 4pm, expect 6pm.

Want to know how I did it?

I said that I'd cut every word from the 151st on. Even if it was the middle of the sentence.

I said that if it wasn't in by 4pm, it wasn't going in.

Nothing gets the results you want like threatening to show how stupid people actually are.

Sunday, March 28, 2004 

"Die or live and be great"

There's a great passage in Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination where a character rants at the masses in his gutter dialect. It's one of my favourites in the book.
'You pigs, you. You rut like pigs, is all. You got the most in you, and you use the least. You hear me, you? Got a million in you and spend pennies. Got a genius in you and think crazies. Got a heart in you and feel empties. All a you. Every you...'

He was jeered. He continued with the hysterical passion of the possessed.

'Take a war to make you spend. Take a jam to make you think. Take a challenge to make you great. Rest of the time you sit around lazy, you. Pigs, you! All right, God damn you! I challenge you, me. Die or live and be great.'


Welcome to my online mind

An interesting side effect of posting random thoughts in a blog is that every so often, out of nowhere, someone will comment on something you wrote but have since forgotten writing. It's happened a few times this week and I've been left wondering for a few seconds how people know what I've been thinking about. Strange feeling.

Saturday, March 27, 2004 

Yeah, well I'm an emperor too!

And before I knew you were one, Jer! My first nation,
Roehampton, was too goody-goody for me to be entirely satisfied playing this game. So last night before going out I formed the Empire of Stone Hearts! Now I have two nations. Truly an emperor!


Death to Chatterbox

I get all sorts of pop-ups when I go to your blog if you have a chatterbox. It's making me dread going to your page.


Zoning out

I've been sitting here zoning out for a while. I've had a lot on my mind lately and it's all kind of hit me now. I'm not in a bad mood because of it. Just kind of stuck in my head.

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to handle the last two weeks of work at the paper. I don't know what to do.

A friend talked me out of quitting yesterday. I was very frustrated over the issue I can't discuss here. Was fed up and willing to make a statement. The friend talked me down and suggested working to rule.

Late last night another friend emailed me with thoughts on why that might not be the best idea.

I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm just so frustrated. We all give so much to this paper, but we get nothing back from our supervisor or the board. What's the point continuing to give our best to something that's not worth it?

Just some thoughts that keep me up and at my computer.


So apparently the CSA is angry at me

Or at least angry about an article I wrote that reported on how they responded to concerns from students at their Annual General Meeting last week.


I mean, I sympathize. But it's not my job to make them look good. If they do something good, I'll report on it (and I have). If they do something bad, I'll call them on it (and I have). That's what news is about.

I think some of them thought I was their friend. Unfortunately, as much as I like and respect certain people in the CSA, we cannot be friends while I work at the paper and they're elected officials. If I do that, I risk forgetting where my loyalties lie. Too bad other people I work with don't follow the same principle.

Them not following that principle caused a problem this week that has left me considering doing the bare minimum to get through the remaining two issues. I can't talk about the reason here.


Really freakin' tired

Nat's right, having someone laugh as you kiss can be enjoyable. I wasn't thinking of that though. So, I revise what I said in the earlier quiz to: the worst thing someone can do while kissing is laugh at the person they're kissing.

Friday, March 26, 2004 

I'm a ruler

Check this out. It's kind of fun.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004 

So tired

But somebody decided they wanted on my shit list... *grins*

*called you: can't remember
*slept in your bed: other than me? we'll have to go back a bit for that one.
*saw you cry: Bronwyn
*made you cry: Bronwyn
*spent the night at your house: nobody
*shared a drink with: Ian
*you went to the movies with: Ian, Jer and Kiernan
*you went to the mall with: Shannon
*yelled at you: I can't remember
*you yelled at: I can't remember
*sent you an email: Bradley
*said they were going to kill you: Probably dumbass down the hall at work.


*danced naked: Don't dance.
*had a dream about something really crazy and it happened the next day: Nope.
*stalked somebody: Don't think so.
*had a mud bath: Nope.
*wished you were the opposite sex: Nope.
*had an imaginary friend: Nope.


*apples or bananas: Apples
*blue or red: Blue
*Rob Zombie or White Zombie: Rob
*walmart or target: Meh.
*spring or fall: Like them both, but prefer spring.
*Santa or Rudolph: The fat man.
*Math or English: English


*What are you going to do after the survey: Sleep!
*What was the last meal you ate: Food from the student government.
*Last movie you saw: Ferris Beuller's Day Off.


*Been so drunk you blacked out? Unfortunately, yes.
*Missed school because it was raining? Nope.
*Set a body part on fire for amusement? Nope.
*Been hurt emotionally? Yes.
*Kept a secret from everyone? Yes.
*Cried during a Movie? A couple.
*Had a crush on a teacher? Yes.
*Ever thought an animated character was hot? Only if you mean "would be hot if real."
*Had a New Kids on the Block tape? Nope.
*Cut your hair? Nope.

When was the last time you...

*Peed your pants? Can't remember.
*Kissed someone? About a year ago. Starting to worry I've forgotten how. *grins*
*Danced with someone? The same night.
*Hugged someone? Can't remember.
*Cried over someone? Just before Christmas.
*Stressed? A couple weeks ago.


*Shampoo? Meh. Shampoo doesn't excite me enough to have a favourite.
*Soap? Irish Springs.
*Colour? Blue.
*Day or Night? Both for different reasons.
*Summer or Winter? Summer
*Cartoon Characters? Can't think of any.
*Food? Curried chicken.
*Ice cream? Mint chocolate chip.
*Subject? Philosophy
*Normal Drink? Water. I don't really drink anything else.

Right now...

*I'm wearing: T-shirt (with the paper's logo; I BLEED INK!), jeans.
*I'm feeling: Tired and pissy. I was at a CSA Board meeting tonight.
*I'm Eating: Nothing. Damnit.
*I'm Drinking: Nothing. Damnit.
*I'm Thinking of: Why the hell I'm not eating or drinking.
*I'm Listening to: My roommate harangue the cat.


*Cried: Nope
*Worn a skirt: Nope
*Driven a car: Nope, but I have in the last week. My parents got a new car and damn its a smooth ride.


*Yourself? Most of the time.
*Your friends? Yes.
*Santa Claus? Nope.
*Tooth Fairy? Nope.
*Destiny/fate? Nope. Yes. I dunno.
*Ghosts? Never seen one.
*UFO's? I think it's improbable we're the only life in the universe. Don't know about UFO's though.


*Who's the loudest? Caitlin on our phone message at work.
*Who's the shyest? I don't have any shy friends. Maybe Claire.
*Who do you go to for advice? Shannon.
*Who do you cry to? Nobody.
*When did you cry the most? When grieving for my dog who was hit and killed by a car (on my 21st birthday). Feel free to call me a wuss for it, but if you do I'll fucking slug you.
*What's the best feeling in the world? These days? Satisfaction.
*Worst feeling(s): Shattered dreams.

1. Have you ever kissed anyone? Yes
2. How many people have you kissed? At least 4.
3. Name the people you have kissed? J., Mel, Bronwyn, Joanne. There are a couple of random girls from bars that I never knew their names.
4. Who is the best kisser? Not your business.
5. Who is the worst kisser? See above.
6. Do you prefer to peck or tongue? A little of both.
7. Have you ever kissed someone with bad breath? Over the course of a relationship, it's bound to happen.
8. Who do you want to kiss? Unless it's you, not your business.
9. Are you a passionate kisser? Need I refer you to the "Starting to worry I've forgotten how" comment? *chuckles* Seriously though. Passion, yes. But also gentle. Kind of depends on the woman, the moment, etc.
10. How old were you when you had your first french kiss? 14.
11. What is the best movie kiss? Can't think of one.
12. Describe the perfect kiss: I'm willing to bet that most people's answer will be quite similar. Starts off slow, builds in intensity, gentle yet passionate, more contact than just lips, open mouth (but not TOO open), tongue (but not TOO much).
13. What is the worst thing a person can do while kissing you? Laugh. Never happened to me, but that's what came to mind.
14. Do you prefer your eyes open or closed? Depends on the kiss.
15. Do you like to kiss a lot? I'm a great fan of it.
16. Do you prefer kisses or hugs? Depends on the moment.
17. Do you like your ears and neck to be kissed? Neck, yes. Ears, not so much.
18. Have you kissed someone with braces before? No.
19. Who is the last person you kissed? Joanne.

Monday, March 22, 2004 

Uh oh

Gaza City — Tens of thousands of Gaza residents, many of them in tears, poured into the streets after Hamas announced the death of the quadriplegic Sheik Yassin over mosque loudspeakers. Masked fighters at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where Sheik Yassin's body was taken, shot into the air in rage.

Hamas vowed revenge against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

- 'hamas leader killed in israeli airstrike';; 12:47 a.m., monday, march 22, 2004


I'm undecided on this

Is a Reporter's E-mail Address Really Anyone's Business? You bet it is, if you work at one of the growing number of newspapers and their Web sites that are publishing the addresses with each story. Not all news organizations agree on their benefit, and some reporters are downright outraged by the amount of junk mail and spam they receive.
- 'is a reporter's e-mail address really anyone's business?'; online journalism review; march 16, 2004

I've now linked to two articles from this site and have only read a grand total of two articles from this site. That qualifies it for place on my link list on the right side of my blog.


"Who then is a valid journalist?"

Many journalist-run blogs have small but dedicated followings of opinion leaders and influencers, the key people that PR companies are trying to target. In their niche-geared, serendipitous way, blogs reach a significant proportion of the Web's mindshare. In so doing, they may exert an influence rivaling that of traditional news outlets.
- 'blogged down in the pr machine'; online journalism review; may 16, 2001

Friday, March 19, 2004 

This page will self destruct in three seconds...

Wait a second. No, it won't! Nat, clear your browser history!


Flashes of first year

My interview went well. My subject was one of those rare people who from one question can ramble on and tell you everything you need to know and were going to ask anyway. Most either ramble on about nothing relevant or require teethpulling techniques to get what you want.

His office was in the FACS building in the north end of campus. It's a gorgeous old red brick building with tons of character. The double doors at the front are heavy wood with expensive beveled glass. The front foyer leads to an old, solidly built wooden staircase that goes straight back, splits in two and doubles back on itself.

To get there I had to pass MacDonald Hall, the only all girl residence on campus. Highschool students from all over are doing campus tours today so some of the women living in Mac Hall were out front doing spirit cheers.

Mac Hall is what? Dynamite!
Mac Hall is what? Dynamite!
Mac Hall is tick-tick-tick-tick-BOOM! Dynamite!

Reminded me of Frosh Week back in first year.


Rushing through the day

I've been rushing around gathering information for my volunteer writers, printing off emails regarding something stupid a member of the CSA Executive did for a story I'm writing, emailing Nat regarding the CSA watchdog idea and now I have to jot down some questions for an interview I have with the Dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences for the university's Research magazine in an hour.

So much to do, so little time!


Time for bed

Paranoid posts like the last tell me I'm too tired to type. Alliteration also.


Smart ads worry me

The ads at the top of my blog alarm me a little. I'm not sure why. I think it's because I'm vaguely uncomfortable with an ad that reads my posts and designs its content based on what it finds there.


No more '(' or ')'!

I use parentheses too much.


My evil plan

I love when ideas collide. It's an oddly gratifying experience.

As I may have mentioned earlier in the blog (and as most of you are aware anyway), I'm the news editor of a student newspaper at a Canadian university. I am the entire paid staff of the news section. I've been continually frustrated with space, content and manpower (sorry, I'm not sure what the inclusive term for that is) constraints. I've wanted (in my dreams) a reliable news staff to which I could assign beats, more room in the paper and freer reign over what goes in. In lieu of more room in the paper, I wanted the chance for more stories to be posted online. There's just too much happening to cram any meaningful amount into three pages of a tabloid sized paper. Needless to say, most of that was untenable.

Last night Jer and I went to the Annual General Meeting of the Central Student Association (CSA). They needed to get 150 students out of 16,000 to get quorum. They needed 50 students just to approve the Auditor's Report. They got only 45 or 46. Truly pathetic.

While sitting there in the meeting I got frustrated that I couldn't focus the entire news section on the student government. It was only a momentary frustration since there is so many other important things to be covered.

Later Jer and I went downtown to a bar and ended up talking about the weaknesses, strengths and potential of online journalism. He's got two excellent blog entries up right now on his thoughts about online journalism on his blog. He's been messing with the format and the current incarnation doesn't allow me to link to the specific entries. Look for Blogology, parts 1 and 2, under Thursday, March 18.

So I get home eventually and was struck by an idea that wouldn't let my mind go until after 4am.

This university needs a web zine completely devoted to taking the CSA to task for everything it does, and I want to start it.

It wouldn't try to be the definitive source for all the news relevant to the students on this campus. It would apply the highest standards of journalism in being a watchdog group for an organization that has managed to completely alienate a majority of it's membership.

Ideally, this would be the role of the campus newspaper. But the newspaper must also act as watchdog on a number of other groups that exert power within the university community. When it comes to students' interests the campus paper's news section is supposed to be a monitor on the CSA, the administration, the Board of Governors, the university Senate, the organization that represents students living in residence, the city and a bunch of other groups.

On top of that it must provide information about current events that students need and don't have the time to find for themselves. And there is one person responsible for sifting through all of that, digging into each organization's actions and deciding what three stories get covered each week.

Yeah fucking right.

There is no way that there is enough attention given to any one of those groups, let alone the CSA.

What the web zine would do is devote all its time to keeping the CSA accountable to the student body. It would call CSA members on stupid and offensive things they've said about the student body, question decisions, poll students on their opinions of the CSA & what it does, post op-ed pieces pointing out problems with how the CSA does things while also offering solutions or suggestions for improvement. It would tell students which elected officials skip meetings and which ones are there slogging it out in their name. It would also look at what the CSA does well too. But most important, it would strive to engage students and to make their own government interesting and relevant to them.

It would also provide some healthy competition for the campus paper. And maybe flag some important issues that the paper could then pick up on and devote its greater resources to tackling.

Unfortunately, I'm having this idea near the end of the school year. Not the best timing.

Anyway, this is just a thumbnail sketch of the idea. An introduction to it more than anything.


Tuesday, March 16, 2004 

Big surprise

What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla


Seeking: henchpeople

It just doesn't roll off the tongue like 'henchmen.'

Anyway, I'm looking for people to accompany me to the student government's Annual General Meeting tomorrow at 6pm. I plan on going somewhere for drinks for St. Paddy's either immediately following the AGM or whenever we get sick of it. For the sake of secrecy, only those who come will be let in on the plan. The rest of you will have to wait for next week's issue of the paper.

Further reasons to go: It'll be fun to watch them scramble to meet quorum. What genius decided to put the AGM on St. Paddy's Day?

Prospective henchpeople (argh, it just doesn't FLOW!) may apply by email, phone or in person.


"Cry 'havoc' and let slip the dogs of war."

Mark Antony's words keep me awake tonight.

In the last week I've continued the Villainy Project, taking three television and movie villains as the prime examples of those villains who have more fun than anybody else around them. They are Angelus of Angel, Castor Troy of Face/Off and Tyler Durden of Fight Club.

I haven't posted on this much because I've been preoccupied with malfunctioning organs and hating my job. But, dear reader, the Villainy Project continued, if only in my mind. And here is its fruition.

(No, I'm not in a better mood than earlier today. This is my way of working through that mood.)

Principle one of this brand of villainy holds true for these three. That is, of course, don't give a fuck what other people think of you or what you do.

Principle two: find humour in every situation, even if its only a cynical, sarcastic kind of humour. Nothing is so bad that it can't be laughed at. Find a way to laugh at any situation.

Picture Angelus chuckling in his cage as he misses the end of the world.

Remember Castor Troy awakening to find he has no face and then laughing his ass off (after screaming, of course).

Think of Tyler Durden, his face a pulpy mess from Lou the mobster's fists, still cackling madly. "Please Lou, can we use your bar?"

Principle three: act in your own best interests. How can you have any fun if you're too busy saving the world? You can't! Because you're spending all your energy working for the dull stupid masses who will never notice your efforts, let alone thank you for your selfless deeds. So don't make them selfless deeds. Make them selfISH! And if your selfish deeds increase the good of the many as well as the good of the one, don't let that stop you. Who says villains are all bad?

Castor saved millions by defusing a bomb to make himself a hero and reap the rewards (never mind he set the bomb in the first place...).

Tyler had a blast plotting the end of corporate America. And not for the masses, but for himself because he hated corporate America.

And even Angelus killed the Beast and ended Armageddon (or was it the Apocalypse?) because it suited his purposes.

Decide what your interests are and pursue them without shame! After all, who gives a fuck what people think? (Remember principle one?)

Principle four: find a way to turn every situation to your advantage. I'd argue that this one follows naturally from the previous two. Finding the humour in every situation keeps you optimistic. Optimism in every situation plus an unflinching drive to pursue your own interests will give you an edge, letting you turn every situation to your advantage.

Got a pesky slayer out to drag you back and "re-ensoul" you and a Beast that wants you to be his bitch? No problem. Set them against each other and when the slayer's had her ass whupped, sneak up and kill the Beast. Problem solved.

Just woke up to find your face has been surgically removed? Hey, you're still alive. Quit yer bitchin'. And isn't that pink thing in a vat the face of your worst enemy? I smell an opportunity! (Or is that disinfectant?)

And how does Tyler react when he realizes he's a figment of Jack's imagination? Does he whither up and die? No! He has some fun with the poor bastard.

Principle five: be a little nuts. This one needs little explanation. You may think I should. But what does principle one tell me about what you think?

Principle six: have an evil plan. Whether it's tormenting the slayer bitch who loves you, stealing the life of that boring cop who stole your DAMN FACE or something so ominous it's only referred to as Project Mayhem, you can never do one thing. And that, of course, is share it with the audience until you're damn good and ready. Cryptic comments are alright. Example: fuck you second floor. Another example: Mark Antony's words keep me awake tonight.

Possible principle seven: a little melodrama never hurts.

(Okay, NOW I'm in a better mood.)

Monday, March 15, 2004 

I'm serious

I'm sitting here at work trying to think of a reason not to quit.

I've been trying for five minutes. Five minutes ago I got the urge to stand up, put on my coat, hitch my bag over my shoulder, say loudly "I quit" and walk from the office.

The only reason I can come up with not to is financial. It would be very nice to get another couple of paycheques. And really, that's all that's left. Maybe two more pay periods.

But try as I might, I can't come up with another reason. My job doesn't matter. Students don't care about it. I don't even care about it anymore.

To care I would need support from my editor. But any support I get from her is meaningless because I can't ask for any support in nailing the bastards down the hall in student government for doing shitty jobs because the bastards are my editor's close friends. I can't ask and she's sure as hell not going to offer. It galls me to admit it, but I (News) need a different kind of support from the editor-in-chief than any of the other section editors (Arts & Culture, Features or Sports). And I'm not getting it.

I'm so damn tired of the petty politics of the second floor and of the apathy of the self-involved students at this university.


I hate my job

I'm in a "fuck off and die" mood. So, please don't anybody offer me advice of the "suck it up and do your job" variety.

Saturday, March 13, 2004 


Sometimes I think the border between awake and asleep is closer to dream than it is to reality.

As I was drowsing before sleep last night, I had a strange thought. I pictured each human body as a cell in a larger organism that was the planet. I couldn't see what divided us from it. All I could see were the connections. Air, water and food pass into and out of us, binding us to the planet. Information and emotion pass from human to human, binding us to each other.

Then I fell asleep.



Q: What animal would you be if you could be an animal?
A: You already are an animal.
- Douglas Coupland



Unsurprisingly, I've been thinking a lot about pain this week. I can't seem to stop. I guess a second kidney stone in less than a month will make you do that.

Maybe putting this out there will help cleanse my mind of the topic.

Sunday night sucked. I'd never experienced such pain. Back in highschool I earned my black belt in Kempo. The test for that wasn't one of skill or knowledge. Sensei John wouldn't ask you to take the test until you had already demonstrated both to his satisfaction. That's not what separates a brown belt from a black belt. What separates them is force of will.

The test is designed to make you quit. Wind sprints, continuous drills, hour long fights. All you have to do to pass is refuse to quit, no matter how tired you are, no matter how much pain you're feeling. You keep getting up until the test is done. It's meant to prove to you that whatever situation you find yourself in, you will not quit until you've made it through.

My test was eight hours long and I don't remember most of it. I do remember passing.

Sunday night was worse. It was a classic example of taking things one step at a time. After finally deciding the pain was bad enough to warrant a hospital visit, I woke Claire. The first step was standing the pain until we left.

The track playing over and over inside my head: 'Just make it until we leave.'

Probably only five minutes, but it seemed an eternity.

Then a necessarily slow drive across the city through snow clogged streets. Some gasping conversation with Claire as we went, but mostly the near silence of my heavy breathing. Often punctuated with moans of pain.

'Just make it to the hospital.'

I cycled through every pain management method I know and even made up a few. I went to Jack's special place from Fight Club. The ice cave melted and I was back in the car.

I built a wall between my mind and body. The wall crumbled and I was left gasping.

I pictured the six sides of a box closing in on the pain from the top of my head, bottom of my feet, front, back and sides of my torso to separate it from me. The pain intensified.

I pictured a flame and fed all the pain into it. That worked for a while, but then didn't.

I breathed deeply, imagining the pain dissolving throughout my body and leaving with each breath. Unlike all the other methods, this wasn't refusal. It was acceptance. That worked the longest.

We got to the hospital and I hobbled the twenty feet from the car. Two feet from the door I started puking and didn't stop for a few minutes. Imagine what a convulsing stomach does to an already screaming 'left flank.'

'Just make it in the door.'

There were no nurses at triage. When one finally came she had me sit down as she took my history.

"Please tell me painkillers are in my future," I rasped, chuckling drily.

She smiled. "Son, painkillers are most definitely in your future."

That nurse handed me off to another.

'Just make it to the hospital bed.'

They had me change into a hosptial gown and hooked me up to an IV. Still no painkillers though. Five minutes later I got a shot of anti-inflammatories. That eased the discomfort by a fraction.

'Just make it until the morphine.'

Another five minutes later she brought the first shot of morphine. Two minutes later the pain dissolved completely. A half hour later the shot wore off and it came back, just as bad. And so on for the next four hours.


Mine was jagged and spiked

A kidney stone develops when certain chemicals in our kidneys form crystals and bond together. They range in size from a grain of sand all the way up to a golf ball, and range in shape from smooth and round to jagged and spiked.
- 'preventing kidney stones';

Friday, March 12, 2004 

Don't read this

I just found out that it was a kidney stone.

It passed. About 10 minutes ago. They gave me a bunch of strainers to urinate through and it was caught in the strainer.

It's a 3mm, beige crystal. It's all jagged edges. I have to bring it in for them to analyze. Something about figuring out how to adjust my diet to prevent it from happening again.

Apparently the painful part is when it's moving around and going into the bladder after having traveled through the ureter from the kidney.

Two word sounds to describe my reaction: "Phew" and "Yuck."


Excellent. Just excellent.

When that kidney stone makes its run for freedom, it makes grown men scream, women swear and NFL linebackers thrash on the ground like a babe. Severe pain from a kidney stone approaches the threshold of human endurance.
- from here.


E-mail pruning

A half hour ago I had 498 email in my inbox. I now have 1. How many do you have?


Just spent

This fucking job has spent all my ambition.

I'm so tired. I neither feel like doing anything, nor want to do anything.

Granted, a big part of that is this junk with my "left flank" (what the ER calls my left lower back). First, I've spent so much time away from the office this week that I started enjoying not being around it. Second, it's left me just exhausted. And when exhuasted, it's natural not to feel like doing anything.

Fuck it. I don't even feel like elaborating further.

Thursday, March 11, 2004 

Charting your politics

Go here and do the test. It's quick. Then tell me what you got (by email or by posting to your blog).

My readings were:

Economic Left/Right: -6.12 (Left)
Social Libertarion/Authoritarion: -6.87 (Libertarion)


Grandmothers good for evolution

It appears that older women are essential to the survival of the species. The grandmother hypothesis holds that a grandmother, even though she can no longer bear children herself, has a decidedly beneficial effect on the reproductive success of her children and the survival of her grandchildren.
- 'role of grandmothers crucial for tree of life'; globe and mail; thursday, march 11

Wednesday, March 10, 2004 

My transcripts have left Guelph

I've applied to three different colleges for their journalism programs for this September.

Each got back to me saying they had received my application.

The week after finding out I didn't get the EIC position at the campus paper for next year I got my highschool and university transcripts and sent them out.

Since then, Centennial had me schedule an "Orientation and Interview Session" for next Monday, Humber told me they never got my transcripts and Sheridan hasn't said another word.

I got the letter from Humber about the transcripts late last week. I was going to call to clear that up Monday morning, but then ended up spending it asleep and doped up on T3s. Then yesterday I just put it off until today.

I just called the Ontario College Application Service to check on the transcripts. They went out earlier this week, so all is well.

Maybe I will get to spend another two years in school after all. Which while good, sucks because I don't want to go back to school. I've had my fill.


Another update

Well, my first experience today (it's still Tuesday as far as I'm concerned) was intense pain. I woke up to it. And then spent an hour waiting for my Tylenol 3's to kick in.

I had enough time to edit my section of the paper before they wore off. An hour early. The pain came back just as I was filing my section by email. It was all I could do to finish sending.

The next dose took effect quickly and I haven't had another spike since, though I get twinges if I twist the wrong way.

I spent a good chunk of the day watching Smallville on DVD. Shokes has the first season, which I watched the second half of. Research of Lex Luthor for the Villainy Project.

I've got a dye test tomorrow morning, which involves a dye being injected intravenously. It's filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and passes through to the bladder. A series of x-rays is taken to track the dye's progress and map any problems. Those who are interested in such things can find out more about the test, called an IVP, here.

Personally, I can't wait.

Monday, March 08, 2004 


Back is tender, but pain is minimal. The last pain spike was three hours ago. I have Tylenol 3's for those and so far they've been up to the task. Each spike feels like someone is squeezing my left side with a giant pair of vice grips just above my hips. Where as the original pain on February 14 was just in the lower back on the right side, this one started in the same spot on the left but eventually made it to the front.

I go back for the dye test on Wednesday morning.


The blog infection is spreading...

My good friend Brian has a blog now, which is quite cool. The guy has more justification for calling himself a journalist than I do, but prefaces it with the unnecessary 'would-be.' Who would of thought he has more humility than I do?

Anyway, I'm off to await the next pain spike.


The problem was not muscular

The pain got worse. It didn't go away. Claire took me to the Guelph ER at about 3am, where I stayed in a hospital bed all night. She stayed by my bedside all night too. X-rays, blood tests and a urine test. A continuous IV drip. Morphine every half hour or so. No sleep yet. Claire had to go to class, Shokes picked me up.

The pain has passed for the most part now. I have a perscription for Tylenol 3's. They're calling in the next day or two to book a dye test, whatever the hell that is.

They're thinking kidney stones. Apparently the closest a man can come to feeling the pain of childbirth.


I'll probably go into work for a bit this afternoon. I need to nap first though.



Thanks to Kiernan, Ian, Cait and Nat for posting. Jer, who is out of town, is forgiven.

Kiernan: Curses! Foiled again! But seriously, thanks.

Cait: Hope you're feeling better soon kid.

Nat: 'Snow Crash' has been on my list for years. Now that you've recommended it for that reason, I'll have to bump it up to the top. (Oh, and I'd totally kneecap someone if I was in Wes' situation from two episodes ago.)

Ian: Fair enough.


It's back

The pain in my lower back, that is. Not nearly as bad as last time though, as evidenced by the fact that I'm typing right now. It's going to pass soon. I've been fairly lazy with my posture the last few days and think it may be something muscular. I'm sitting with perfect posture sipping water (to hydrate myself in case I'm wrong) reading blogs until it passes. Or gets worse. I'm hoping for the former. I may take a trip to the hospital later this week.

Sunday, March 07, 2004 


I'm going offline before I lose my mind completely. I'll probably be back later.



You are Joshua Abraham Norton, first and only Emperor of the United States of America!

Born in England sometime in the second decade of the nineteenth century, you carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out your fortune in 1854. After this, you became quite different. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when you expressed your dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring yourself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. You remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.

Within a month you had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, you summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, you decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, you disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname "Frisco" for your home city.

Your days consisted of parading around your domain - the San Francisco streets - in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. You dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. You were a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord's Prayer quietly, head bowed.

Once arrested, you were swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute you on the street. Your renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for you and your two dogs. (As an aside, you were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of your faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed your occupation as "Emperor".

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of your attire, replaced it at their own expense. You responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. Your death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline "Le Roi est Mort". Aside from what you had on your person, your possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, your correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. Your funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.

The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.



I'm a whiny bitch for wanting people to update their blogs or livejournals?

Not whiny, just bored.

Oh, and go here.


Post more often

Cait, Ian, Jer, Kiernan and Nat:

Post more often!


It's snowing

Since I can't see the grass anymore for all the fucking snow, Jer must be thrilled! He's been waiting for the last snowfall that comes after a thaw and pisses everyone off for a week and a half.


I'm no innocent (Villainy Project, Assignment 1)

After hearing Ian unknowingly echo something tonight that Brian has said many times about me, I came to believe it.

Kiernan referred to me as one of the few people she knows these days that she'd describe as being close to a gentleman. (Thanks, by the way.)

You really don't know him as well as I do, Ian basically said.

Brian has said similar things, all amounting to something along the lines of: anybody who thinks I'm a naive innocent really doesn't know me as well as they think they do.

Villainy Project, Assignment 1

It seems to me that the villains I'm talking about don't give a fuck about what people think of them and what they've done. So, my first assignment is to confess to what I would normally never share. And as a result be forced to develop an attitude of indifference to people's opinions of me.

Confession time:

1. Let's start with something small. One of the reasons I'm so calm most of the time is because when roused, my temper is fearsome. Back in grade ten a teacher offended me somehow and I yelled at him.

2. Like most guys, I have a dirty mind. And before a year ago I had been in serious, long-term relationships for the better part of a decade. So sex is a topic I'm fairly comfortable with. If we haven't discussed it, it's because I'm assuming you're not comfortable doing so. The truth - and I'm sure it's a shocker - is that I'm a healthy young male who enjoys sex and has a healthy libido. If the fact that I appear uncomfortable with physical contact confuses you, consider this. I'm not actually uncomfortable with it. I just avoid it to avoid offending those of you who are.

3. I was a bit of a pyro as a kid. I made hairspray flamethrowers, played with firecrackers and made Molotov cocktails. A good Molotov thrown onto pavement will cause a surprisingly large mushroom cloud of flame to fly up (more than six feet wide, maybe). If done at night, the light thrown off is impressive.

4. Alcohol is an old friend of mine. We have fun, but sometimes it gets me in shit. A year and a half ago I lost a good friend because I got drunk off my ass (imagine $1.50 mixed drinks and $40 in your pocket that dwindles to $5 by the end of the night) and flirted heavily with her in front of her boyfriend. *Grins* I don't drink that much anymore. My rule is no more than three in an hour. That keeps me in the sane zone.

And if any of that bothers you, that's not my problem.

Wow, I'm not sure why but I feel slightly liberated after admitting the above. Like I no longer have this standard I have to live up to for fear of alienating people. Interesting.


Labelling theory to the rescue

Lemert argued that people tend to see themselves as others see them and that people tend to act on their self-definitions. Hence, if people are socially labeled as deviant, they come to see themselves as deviant and behave accordingly.
- perspectives on crime and deviance, 3rd ed.; allen e. liska & steven f. messner; p. 118


Random background research

Well, it's easier to dismiss someone who's not like you. Of course, they're wrong, of course, they're evil. But someone who thinks the way you think, who believes what you believe, but uses these talents and thoughts in an evil way… well, that's a harder villain to dismiss. We have a natural affinity for those who are like us - who think like us, act like us. Looking in the mirror and facing a foe who reflects their qualities, will force the heroine to confront the dark inside themselves.
- From here


Memory fragment

A night in a kitchen with a girl last spring. Her kitchen. Alcohol on the table. Wine in her glass, rye in mine. Tattoos the topic of conversation, examples of which twist up her left arm.

She nods at something I've said. She says, "There's a certain appeal in exploring your own dark side."


Criminal mastermind? You mean Evil Genius.

You're a Criminal Mastermind!
Criminal Mastermind

What Kind of Villain are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Origins of the Villainy Project

I don't remember when I noticed, but at some point it struck me that fictional heroes don't have any fun. They're a grim, brooding, introspective lot who just troop through life doing what they think is right for the good of humanity.

Then I noticed the villains were the ones having all the fun.

[Tangent: I think the next story I write will be about a hero who is having a blast thwarting the grim, brooding, introspective villain who is doing what he thinks is right but is unsure of the morality of his methods. On second thought, maybe not. Probably wouldn't catch anybody's interest. On third thought, screw whether people are interested or not. It might be fun to write.]

It struck me that all of the things I was describing the heroes as also applied to me. I think I'm a fairly grim, brooding, introspective guy who's just doing what he thinks is right because its the right-thing-to-do.

No hero by any stretch of the imagination, but far from a villain.

From there it was a fairly short leap to: No wonder I'm having less fun than I could be.

Out of that came the Villainy Project. And if you're skeptical about me using such a silly approach to putting more fun in my life, then you're MISSING THE POINT.



Ian, Kiernan, Steph and I went to a party tonight for Scott, a member of the newspaper's board of directors. He's moving out to Manitoba to do his masters degree. This was his goodbye party.

It was fun, though I was tired. There was a lot of good food.

Just a second, the cat is meowing like mad. I should go check to make sure nothing's trying to eat her or something.


Mmmm. That was a good sandwich.

Anyway, there was all sorts of excellent food with cheese in it that I couldn't really indulge in because I'm a stubborn mildly lactose intolerant person who doesn't get those stupid pills you can take. I had some food, though. Not enough to bother me. I'm pretty good at judging that.

So I'm still hungry. Even now after getting a sandwich after making sure the cat was alright. (I went downstairs to find her sitting on the back of a couch staring out into the dark. Weirdo.)


Cartoon villainy too psycho for Jacklin

Thanks to Jer for his link to the top 11 80's cartoon villains. If you watched cartoons in the 80's I highly recommend checking this out.

It was enough to convince me that cartoon villainy isn't for me. For those just tuning in, I've launched the 'villainy project', as Ian called it tonight. Basically, I'm looking at a bunch of fictional villains that have more fun doing what they do than anybody around them and reverse-engineering their approach to life for application to my own. Why? For the hell of it.

Now, you have to understand, I'm a university trained criminologist. I have the skills required.

First I need to narrow my sample set a little to make sure I'm looking at the group I want to look at. And as bad-ass as they are, cartoon villains just don't qualify. They're a little too frothy-mouthed for me. Not to mention their eccentric fashion sense. If you're not sure what I mean, check out Jer's blog and go to the site linked there.

So, tomorrow - today - I will look into comic book villains, novel villains, movie villains and television villains. I hope to narrow the pool down to only two forms of media.


Spiritual purity by default.

I live like a monk.

Saturday, March 06, 2004 

Restless as all hell

I'm feeling very antsy. I need to DO SOMETHING.

I have no idea what though.


"Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

Seriously, you're twisted.
You are: THE JOKER!

Which Batman Villain Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


*Cackles madly*

What Type of Villain are You?


I'm not Edward Norton

When I was in University there were a group of girls who didn't know my name, so they called me 'the Edward Norton guy' because they thought I looked like him.

A number of other people in the last few years have said the same thing.

Last Friday I was at a party where a girl I had never met spent all the time that we talked saying some variety of, "My god! I can't believe how much like Edward Norton you look!"

Later, at the same party Nat said I didn't look like Norton, but that I do look like Wesley from Angel.

Tonight I was telling Shokes about the party last Friday and about the Norton stuff. He's never talked to Nat, but he said, "I don't see it [the resemblance to Norton]. Who you do look like is Wesley from Angel. Not stuffy, prissy Wes from the beginning, but Wes from recently after he went dark. Especially when you get kind of scruffy." Shokes has said this before. As have others.

Tonight I went to the bar with Shokes, Claire, Ryan and a bunch of their friends. At the end of the night, after they turned off the music, a waitress I'd never met came up to me and said, "Has anybody ever told you before that you look like Edward Norton?"

We chatted for a bit and she said I look like he did in The Perfect Score and The Italian Job and those kind of movies.

I don't see it.

Weird shit.

Friday, March 05, 2004 

How to be a villain

Okay. I've had it. I'm fed up. Let's try something new.

This month's tongue-in-cheek project takes the following statement as a starting point: fictional villains seem to have more fun than most of the people around them.

So, this month I will devote a sizable chunk of time to figuring out what principles fictional villains live by that makes life so damn much fun and experiment with applying those principles in my life. Stay tuned for case studies, analysis, and stories about my attempts.

Now, I expect these principles to break many of the rules for being a good guy. Makes sense, doesn't it? Villains aren't exactly good guys, now are they?

There's a thing in writing about breaking rules that transfers to design. Steph and I talked about it once recently. It probably applies here too. Before you can get away with breaking the rules, you have to have a firm grasp of what they are.

Dissent if you like, but I'm fairly certain I've got a grasp on the rules for being a good guy.

So, my goal is to become a villain and get away with it.

I expect disaster to ensue.

It should be fun.


Thank you Douglas Coupland

I am a "cross-platform highly transportable binary object." Translation: a cog.


It's not, "Thou shalt not kill."

If you ask a number of people what the most basic ethical directive of our culture is, most would probably quote “Thou shalt not kill.”

I’d argue that isn’t true and if it ever was, it isn’t any longer.

It seems to me that the most basic ethical directive of our culture is not “Thou shalt not kill” or “It is wrong to kill” but instead, “We should not die.” Or formulated differently, “It is wrong for us to die.”

I’m not saying that I agree with the following observations. I’m just making them.

First, who’s who? ‘We’ or ‘us’ are anybody that we identify as being a part of our community. ‘We’ are the ones protected by the ethical directive. Anybody can be a part of our community. It just depends how you split up the world. The other could be anybody from outside our family, nation, social class, ethnicity, species or any other arbitrary distinction you can come up with.

The defining feature is that if you’re a part of ‘us’, you’re protected. It’s acceptable for you to die if you’re not a part of ‘us.’ In fact, if we’re okay with you dying, you’re not a part of us. But if you are a part of us, then it is wrong for you to die.

I’ll post more on this (supporting examples and the like), sometime in the near future. Bug me if I don’t.


True, but...

Ian: "I don't care if 80% of Americans were homophobic, that doesn't suddenly make it alright to deny them their rights. What Bush is doing is very, very directly a parallel of a political leader in the South during or before the Civil War continuing the allow slavery simply because it's popular: that doesn't make it right."

I agree with this. But it makes me wonder if we can any longer denounce anything that Bush does that we don't like because a majority of his consituents also don't like it. Ian's point would seem to nullify such an argument. I've heard such arguments used to shoot down things that Bush has done. ("Oh, his own people don't support this or that.")

If the right or wrong of an action is independent of the democratic will of a nation (and I think it is), then you have to argue things on whether they're right or wrong, not on whether the public supports it or not.

This raises two major concerns for me.

First, how do you determine what's right and what's wrong? When studying ethics it drove me nearly mad when I realized that most actions can be ethically justified if you use the right ethical standards. So, who decides which standards you use?

The second concern I have is whether that point invalidates democracy or not. If the will of the people cannot be used as a guide to the course of action a government takes, then what of democracy? A problem posed by my Advanced Problems in Public Policy professor last year: two democratic communities are in peaceful conflict over a water source. If community A, which is at the base of the mountain, takes a vote, they'll decide they should get most of the water. If community B, at the source further up the mountain, does the same, they'll decide they should get the majority of the water.

In a lot of cases, democracy isn't the way to solve a problem.

And neither is science, when you come down to it.

Science is excellent for explaining how things work and why they work that way. But it is really quite bad at saying what you should do. Because once you start talking about what should be done, you're no longer doing science. (Ugh. "Doing science." I don't like that phrase, but for simplicity's sake I'm going to let it stand.)

Science can say, "If you do x, in many cases y will result." It can't say, "You should do x because y will often result."

"Should" implies a value judgment on an outcome. It implies y is a better outcome than z. And whether y is better than z depends on your standards for judging better, for judging good and bad. (Which brings me back to my first concern...) That's not science. Science can act as a guide. Nothing more.

That all came from the Advanced Problems in Public Policy course. And it's made me want to pull out my old readings from that course now. Excellent. Like I don't have enough to do. Like sleep.



I love accidentally sharing too much. It's one of my favourite things in the world.

My roommates and I were talking about an episode of Sex and the City where Miranda was faking orgasms. Shokes and I admitted to having faked it before. Claire was a little surprised that guys could. I don't know why. Guys fake for the same reasons women do. Just not in the mood, or it's going on too long, or it's not actually going to happen. Not that it happens often. But anyway.

The conversation went into discussing the relative merits of male and female orgasms, with Shokes and I weighing in that while men have it fairly easy in terms of getting there, women 'get more bang for their buck.'

That was contested a little which led me to say something along the lines of, "Look, if a woman's orgasm can last for nearly two minutes..."

"Isn't that the upper range?"

"I guess, but I've personally seen it happen on a fairly regular..."

Sometimes you just share too much without realizing it.

It's like your mouth is motoring along without any concern for your internal censor, which hears what comes out of the mouth and goes, "Damnit, not again."

Maybe I need a seven second delay.

P.S. Yes, I'm aware I just shared the thing with you that I just poked fun at myself for sharing with my roommates. But there's a difference between sharing something like that to make a point and sharing something like that as a necessary element of a self-deprecating anecdote. I'm more comfortable with the latter.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004 

Myers-Briggs meets Cupid

If you haven't given this a shot, do so. It's fun and kind of silly. A good way to kill time. People with too much time on their hands have redone the Myers-Briggs personality tests for your dating personality. I'm a "Slow Dancer." Be warned, a quiz with a fair number of questions is involved.

(As I'm addicted to the damn things, the next person who sends me somewhere that involves me doing a quiz goes on my shit list.)