Friday, April 30, 2004 

My MSN name from Wednesday: 'What a truly excellent day.'

Christa came to Guelph on Wednesday, hitching a ride with James.

They picked me up - pausing here just long enough for Christa to meet the cats - then we headed to her place to pick up the last of her stuff. It amounted to two text books, some pictures and some alcohol.

Shortly later we were leaving James at the University library to do some research and trying to figure out what to do with our afternoon. Christa had to be back in Mississauga in time to pick her sister up from work.

We ruled out the Arboretum because of the overcast day. Eventually we decided to walk to the Boathouse for ice cream cones. From there we walked along the Speed River until we got to Victoria Road, holding hands and talking the whole way. It was kind of cold, but I was enjoying myself too much to be bothered.

Just after we turned around to head back I swore I felt a drop of rain on my face. The clouds were ominous, but nothing more fell.

We stopped at the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre on the way back and strolled through the gallery. Steph was working, so I said hi and introduced Christa.

About a half hour later we met James and Ian in the Bullring, a coffeehouse on campus. It was about then that I realized that I'd blown out a knee on the walk.

There's a band of muscle that runs vertically along the outer thighs. It's called the ITB - illiotibial band, or something - and connects at the hip, knee cap and top of the shin bone. Mine are prone to tightening. When it tightens it pulls the kneecap off track, causing a fair amount of pain.

It's brought on, in my case, by long periods of walking without proper warmup. Which is especially galling for someone who loves to hike.

It can be prevented by strengthening the muscles on the inside of the knee and by improving the flexibility of the ITB. Neither of which I've been doing lately. Both of which I started doing again last night.

After the initial incident back in first year - which felt like someone was stabbing my knee with each step - I had got it under control. There have been brief flare ups since, each with warning signs.

There were probably warning signs on Wednesday. I was just enjoying myself too much to feel them.

After the Bullring, James and Christa drove me 'home'.

If I had to sum up the afternoon, I'd do it by saying that three hours on Wednesday made my entire week.

Thursday, April 29, 2004 

I saw a ghost today

Okay, not really.

I was in the supermarket and I passed this man at a check out. He was wearing ill fitting jeans and a dark shirt. Brown hair cut in a mullet. Chubby cheeks, double chin, angular hawk nose and wide open eyes.

'That looks like Uncle Tom,' I thought.

Then I remembered that it couldn't be Tom because Tom is dead.

He died this past December. The tox results should be back by now. Accidental overdose on pain killers is what we're expecting.

Mom was devastated. He was her brother and they hadn't spoken in nearly seven years. I hadn't seen him in at least that long. She'd always hoped they'd reconcile.

I didn't cry at the funeral. We'd been close once, but he'd been a stranger for nearly a decade. I came close when I watched his sons, who hadn't seen him in fourteen years, lower the urn into the frozen ground.

They looked so hurt. So lost. So angry.

Today I kept walking through the supermarket after seeing his ringer. Unable to make myself look a second time. Eyes burning.

Monday, April 26, 2004 

This week's to-do list

- accept Humber's admission offer
- apply for OSAP
- find a job
- pack up my room
- clean the house
- arrange transport for my belongings
- move to the sublet
- spend time with the people I want to spend time with (Ian and Jer on Tuesday, hopefully Christa on Wednesday, dinner with housemates for part of Thursday night...)
- not fall any more into insanity than I already have


About time!

Dear Aaron:

Congratulations on your admission to the Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

That came today.


Why I'm ticked at the god of timing

Why is it that the more important something is to me, the more difficult I find it to write about?

It may be because the blogs and journals I read regularly have never delved into the area I want to delve into now while I've been reading them. I feel like I'm standing on the edge of unknown territory and am not sure how to take the first step.

So let's back up a little first and take a flying leap.

Until November of 2002 I was in a serious, long-term relationship. It had lasted nearly three years. It ended. Slowly. Took until January of 2003 to die completely. With incredible stupidity on both our parts.

The nature of its ending hurt me very badly.

"Fuck it. It don't matter. Move on."

That was my mantra.

Over the next six months or so I went out with as many women. Some I told friends about. Others I didn't. Nothing serious. Wonderful people all of them. But no connections. No sparks. Hell, there wasn't even enough chemistry for me to want to kiss any of them. Okay, only one. About a year ago. But that one didn't go anywhere.

Eventually I just said, "Screw it. I'm done with this for now. I need to be single for a while, until I sort some things out."

So I sorted things out. Stopped asking women out. Bitched loud and long about the fact that the only women I was attracted to were ones that were inappropriate to pursue anything with (because of circumstances or what-have-you).

At some point in the last semester I started going to Philosophy Society with Ian. If I haven't mentioned it before, it's an excuse to drink beer, eat curry and talk philosophy in the Grad Lounge at the University Centre.

The first time I went for conversation. Subsequent times also for conversation. But also at least partly because of a cute girl who also went.

At some point I realized that everything I had wanted to sort out, I'd sorted out.

Finally came the last meeting of Philosophy Society and due to a number of things that had gone on earlier that day I sat down with this girl and spent the rest of the night talking with her and a few other people - James and Ian. And found that I enjoyed her company a lot.

Her name is Christa. She has just finished her second year in zoology, a member of Wildlife Club and a number of other groups. Light brown hair and very pretty, with a dancer's figure.

Next week the four of us went to a pub for drinks. A few days later it was to see Big Fish.

That night Christa and I started talking on MSN. Then last Monday we spent the day together. We went to the mall, to the pet store, then to Rogers. We were making a list of movies that she's wanted to see for a while. I ended up going to a surprise party for Christa's housemate that night.

Up until this point I knew I was interested. Had no idea if Christa was. Also had no idea if I had yet again managed to cement myself into the 'friend zone.'

When we ended up holding hands during one of the movies at the surprise party, I was fairly certain I knew where I stood.

Sparks. Lots of sparks.

Over the course of last week we figured out that whatever is going on between us is serious and something we want to pursue.

Oh, did I mention that last Tuesday she moved back to Mississauga for the summer and in two months she's moving to Australia until December?

I said it last week and I'll say it again.

I had better never meet the god of timing.


Lots to write, less time to do it

I'm at the paper helping them paint. Well, cleaning up so that we can paint. The place has been a horrid green and purple for years.

Actually enjoying myself too, which is nice.

I've been working diligently for a couple hours and now I'm about to be rewarded with lunch and booze. Nice.

There's so much I want to write about, all of it important. But not enough time to do it justice. Watch this space for more soon.

Glad to see my post about my sister's cell phone amused so many of you!

And now I'm off to eat and drink. Hurray!

Sunday, April 25, 2004 

The Point

This blog exists for three purposes:

1. To give me an excuse to write on a regular basis.

I'm a writer. Writers write. This lets me do that just for the hell of it, which is good because I get twitchy otherwise. Plus, writing's always been an outlet for me, so I can use this space to dump whatever is in my head, whether it be a psychotic rant or something infinitely more positive.

2. To give people I know another window into my head and my life.

I believe that a blog can help you see who I am. Not just by keeping you updated on the important things that are shaping my life, though that's an important part, but also by letting you see how I look at the world and how I think.

3. To help me find the humour in life and continually remind myself that "the end is not yet."

That's why this blog is named what it is. For a long time last year I kept myself going by repeating to myself, "Fuck it. It don't matter. Move on." I was miserable and unhappy and self-destructive and I hated the world. This blog has helped me work through a lot of the ways of thinking that had been keeping me unhappy. A real shocker to me is that it's also improved the way I look at myself, though I don't want to get into it now. Perhaps in a later post.

Saturday, April 24, 2004 

My sister's cell thinks it's a wolf

And apparently so do I.

I'm at my parents' place for my sister Kelly's birthday, which was yesterday.

She got herself a new cell phone. The ring tone she's picked for it is the sound of a wolf howling. She called it from my parents' phone last night so I could hear it. And promptly forget about it.

Today after she got home we were chatting away when I heard the cat meowing, long and low. At least that's what I thought it was at first. When the sound started I was sitting by the wood-stove. It was surprisingly cold in the house today and mom had lit a fire.

About half a second later I was off the bricks and moving toward the sound, because if it was the cat, something was very wrong. That's about when I realized it wasn't the cat, but a coyote. And it sounded like it was in our front yard. I immediately thought 'coyote' because there are no wolves around here.

I next thought, 'What the fuck is a coyote doing in our front yard in the middle of the afternoon?'

Kelly had started for the front door as soon as the sound started, and I just thought she was going for the same reason I was.

Then she reached in her purse and the howling got louder as she pulled the cell out.

"Jesus!" I said, exasperated with myself.

Dad burst out laughing at that point. I joined him.

Shortly later I was thirsty and felt like some orange juice. So I opened the fridge and saw three cartons lined up along the right inner wall of the top shelf. The first was milk, the second was grapefruit juice and the third was orange juice.

You know the old style cartons of milk that you used to rip open along half of the peak? The new ones have the same look but have a cap and spout set into one of the slanting panels. I get the new ones. Have for years. To pick those up I put my middle finger in under one corner of the peak and my thumb in under the other.

Guess what happens when you pick up a carton of milk like that when it's the old style and has already been opened.

After having cleaned up the spilt milk - no, I didn't cry over it, you bunch of smart asses - I tried again. Didn't spill the milk. Got the grapefruit juice out of the way. Brought out the orange juice and shook it to mix up the pulp. Quickly found out the last person to drink orange juice hadn't screwed the cap on properly.

As orange juice spilled on the counter I snarled at the mess. Literally.

Mom started laughing and asked what I'd done now.

Kelly piped up to say, "You sound like my phone!"

So I lost it and started laughing too.

Friday, April 23, 2004 

Pasta and wine and a movie... Oh my...

Yesterday was a good day.

Christa had James, Ching and I over to her place for dinner. The food was excellent. Chicken with pasta and tomato sauce. I even enjoyed the wine, which was odd as it wasn't as sweet as I normally prefer. Maybe I've had enough in the past few years to actually be acquiring a taste for it.

After dinner we all sat on the couch for a while looking at James' enormous binder of black and white photos. Then we watched Empire Records, which I had never seen.


Yesterday was Earth Day

And today we go back to killing the planet.


The Weapon Project

Is it odd that the words we repeated in unison at the start and finish of each class still come easily?

"As a dedicated student of the martial arts, I live by the five black belt principles: honesty, courtesy, self-discipline, perseverance and a positive attitude. I promise to use what I learn in class constructively and defensively to help myself and others."

The cognitive stuff is coming back. I still have to remind myself about the proper way to scan a room when I enter it, or how to turn a corner properly. I still have to think too much when I scan a person.

However, I never did lose the habit of being aware of what's going on around me. It's probably part of why people keep describing me as 'calm, cool and collected.' If you let yourself get too excited, you can't be aware of everything that's going on around you.

I find it strange to be thinking in these terms again. I guess the reality is that I'm not doing this just to get back in shape.

There were times in the last month or so when our favourite idiot from the second floor and I would come face to face and I knew he wanted to hit me. He's quite a bit larger than I am. Heavy and obviously strong. But stupid too. So this didn't scare me.

I doubted very much that he would. And even if he did, I wasn't exactly afraid of the pain. Dumb as it sounds, having passed a kidney stone recently had kind of inured me to the idea of pain.

I also knew I still had enough residual fitness and training that so long as I didn't let him surprise me I'd have a shot. That's the key.

People look at someone with martial arts training and think that it's all about when fist meets flesh. It's not. A lot of it is, but not all.

We're trained to think strategically about how we move through space. To minimize the chances that we will be trapped in positions that are difficult to defend from or easy to be surprised in. Failing that, we're trained to respond immediately to attack.

The problem was that I recognized that while the strategic thinking was still there when I called on it, the tactical responses were no longer up to snuff.

"In a life or death scenario, we don't rise to our expectations. We fall to our level of training."

My current level of training is not as high as I'd like it to be. I've been vaguely uncomfortable ever since I realized that.

The reality is that I'm training myself to fight. The fitness benefits are just a means to an end.

"Combat is movement," said Bruce Lee.

So you have to train yourself to move. With as much speed and strength as you can, for as long as you need to. You train to use your mind and body however they need to be used to defend yourself and those you care for.

Let's be honest here. This project, in the simplest terms, is about making myself back into a weapon.

This makes me vaguely uncomfortable since I loathe violence and machismo and this type of thinking appears to reek of it.


Week one: wad of cookie dough

At some point during Fight Club, the narrator says something like, "A guy came to Fight Club for the first time, his ass was a wad of cookie dough. After a few weeks, he was carved out of wood."

I've been getting up and working out every day this week. I alternate between martial arts drills one day and calisthenics the next, with thorough stretching daily.

I've come to the conclusion that however healthy I am, I'm just a wad of cookie dough.

My wind is gone, so after a mere half hour of light drills my heart is racing and I'm nearly out of breath.

My muscles, while still firm, are of little use. I'm straining by my thirteenth pushup.

My flexibility... Jesus, it makes me shudder to even think about it. With one foot up on a bar that's slightly higher than my waist, I'm getting a stretch in my hams without even having to lean forward.

However, the flexibility is improving already since the beginning of the week. I could lean forward a little today. Sunday, I couldn't. Sunday, my hams were screaming before I'd even fully straightened my leg.

My sleep patterns are still out of whack. Some days I'm up at 9am, others I'm asleep until 11am. One day I was up at 5:30am. Today was good. I woke before my alarm sounded at 7am. I need to stabilize that before I actually get a job.

My technique is improving. Kicks were incredibly inefficient early in the week with a lot of motion wasted just trying to stay balanced. There was little of that today.

Footwork still leaves a lot to be desired. I still have to think about where I put my feet, compared to a long time ago when I just had to think about where I wanted to be and how quickly I needed to be there.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004 

Mission accomplished

For Leaf fans everywhere, Ian, Jer and I sacrificed watching the game last night so that they would win. You see, it seems that every Leaf game that Jer watches ends with a loss for our boys in blue and white.

Instead we went to see Kill Bill, Vol. 2.

Yes, I hated the first. Yes, I swore up and down I wouldn't see the second.

Fortunately, enough people said Vol. 2 was different from the first that I considered changing my mind. Then Christa made me promise to see it.

Thank god.

Everything that drove me mad about the first - excessive violence, minimal character development, minimal dialogue, etc. - was reversed in the second. Vol. 2 was character-driven, not plot-driven. The dialogue was excellent and the fight scenes, while few and far between, were choreographed with a savage grace made all the more beautiful for how it contrasted the rest of the movie.

In conversation with Ian and Jer afterword, I realized the thing I hated most about the first was that Bill was this disembodied representation of evil. If we've ever discussed how I feel about 'evil' you'll understand why that drove me crazy. In Vol. 2, he's human.

I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet, but I will say that I liked it until she goes to confront Bill. What came after made me love it.

That's all you'll hear from me. Go see the damn movie.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 

The joy of pet stores

If you're ever given the opportunity to tour a pet shop with a zoology student, take it. It's a hell of a lot of fun. If you can ignore the fact that you're in a pet store, which we managed to.


I hope I never meet the god of timing

Because he and I will have an unpleasant conversation if I do.

Monday, April 19, 2004 

I need an address

I have a place to live for the summer. I think.

I'm moving late next week. The problem is that it hasn't been confirmed yet. Until it's been confirmed, I don't have an address to put on my resume or job applications. Which means I can't go apply for jobs.


Sunday, April 18, 2004 

Movies, movies, movies...

I just saw The Punisher. Not bad. Lots of action and very dark. Exactly what I was expecting.


Insult to injury

I woke up Friday morning extremely stiff and sore. Twelve hours of moving furniture, appliances and boxes had left me a big bundle of pain.

"I'm out of shape," I said to myself.

Later that day I ran into the bodybuilder prof. I don't know him, but I've seen him around a lot. Enough to recognize each other and nod in hello.

The guy - who is actually built like a bodybuilder - was in front of me in line at the grocery checkout.

He nodded at me and then started to make conversation.

"Do I know you from the gym? Working out?" he asked.

I saw him at the athletic centre locker room a lot last summer. He was there after lifting weights or something. I was there herding children from the camp I worked at. They swam at the pool for an hour each day.

"I don't work out there, but yes," I said. "I was there with the day camp last year."

He grunted and we exchanged some more words and then he grabbed my shoulder as he said bye. He looked down at it, cocked his head, and raised an eyebrow.

"You're too skinny," he said.

I prefer to think of myself as lean, but decided to keep that to myself.

"You need more meat on you," he said.

I agreed with him there, and said so.

"You should work out more," he said. "Bulk up."

Then he left.

I don't feel a need to be super muscular. Which is a good thing since I don't have the right body type for it. However, another ten to twenty pounds wouldn't hurt me at all.

There are three classes of "in shape", as far as I'm concerned. Decent, good and excellent.

I used to be in excellent shape. I sometimes think of it as being in 'fighting shape', since it's the ideal state to be in if you're going to be in a fight. Extremely high levels of flexibility, strength, stamina... All of it. I trained with weights, I taught martial arts, I jogged, I hiked, I swam. Then I went to University. Moved away from my weights, from my dojo, from my large property, from my pool. Lost myself to academics. Got physically lazy.

Many times I managed to get back into good shape. Exercised regularly, maintained flexibility. But that's about it.

I'm still in decent shape. I'm healthy. I eat fairly well. I walk a lot. I'm lean.

Compared to how I used to feel, I feel like crap.

That's why my new project is to get back into good shape by July and into excellent shape by September.


Hello? Anybody out there?

The following people seem to have dropped off the face of the planet, or at least my chunk of it:


Where have you all gone?


Big Fish still excellent

If you haven't seen Big Fish, go see it. If you have, go see it again.

Ian, James, Christa and I saw it Saturday (still technically tonight). It's just as good the second time around.

Saturday, April 17, 2004 

The Villainy Project

A new category of links now graces the right side of my page ("Projects").

The first link in the new category ("The Villainy Project") will lead you to this post, which is an overview of that project.

The Villainy Project was something I did to kill boredom and try to find a way of having more fun with my life. I looked at the fictional villains that always seem to be having more fun than anybody else they're around and derived the general principles they seem to live by. Here are links to each of the posts that made up the Villainy Project:

How to be a villain

Cartoon villainy too psycho for Jacklin

Origins of the Villainy Project

Memory fragment

Random background research

Labelling theory to the rescue

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

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

The last is the one where I outline the seven principles of villainy.


In other news...

I've been banned from lending books to Ian until he finishes all his exams. The last one kept him up finishing it until 5am today. He's got an exam at 7pm tonight.


Soaking in the apocalypse

Every once in a while, I'll come across something that describes nearly exactly how I look at the world when I'm being my most honest and probably my most pessimistic. This happened this week, while watching Angel, of all things.

This season, 'the senior partners' at the law firm that's been their principal enemy for years have offered top positions to Angel and his buddies. They took the positions thinking they could change things from the inside. Make a difference. Save the world.

Sound familiar? Sounds like every recent generation's ethos to me.

Most of the season has been quite monotonous, with no great enemies to fight. Just them making one perfectly reasonable compromise after another.

*Spoilers ahead*

Through the course of her work, one of the gang - the most innocent of them - has been taken over by an evil demon. She's no longer the same person. She's bitter, angry and hates the world.

Another has been trapped in a suburban hell dimension where every day is the same (literally) and he goes off to be tortured (literally) after breakfast with the wife and kid.

The following conversation takes place between Angel and Lindsey. Angel & co. have just rescued Lindsey from that hell dimension - leaving the team member behind in a trade - so he can give them information about the 'coming apocalypse.'

L: Look around. The world's a cesspool filled with selfish, ingratiating beasts. We live. We die...
A: Yeah. Hell's on Earth. Holland Manners tried to sell me that line three years ago.
L: Did you ever prove him wrong?
A: All how you look at the glass. You know Lindsey, we can philosophize all night. Hell, we can do it forever. I don't need to eat, sleep, [or] drink. How about you?
L: That's what I like to see. Angel of yore. Takes no prisoners. Suffers no fools. How about this? It's here. It's been here all along. Underneath. You're just too damn stupid to see it.
A: See what?
L: The apocalypse, man. You're soaking in it.
Spike: I've seen an apocalypse or two in my time. I'd know if one was under my nose.
L: Not AN apocalypse. THE apocalypse. What, did you think a gong was going to sound? Time to jump on your horses and fight the big fight? Starting pistol went off a long time ago boys. You're playing for the bad guys. Every day you sit behind your desk and you learn a little more how to 'accept the world the way it is.' Here's the rub: heroes don't do that. Heroes don't ACCEPT the way it is. They fight it.
A: You're saying, everything we do... It's a distraction to keep us from looking underneath the surface.
L: Bing. We have a winner. The world keeps sliding towards entropy and degradation and what do you do? You sit in your big chair and sign your cheques. Just like the senior partners planned.

Any big surprise the big boys at the WB have cancelled Angel?

Friday, April 16, 2004 


Busy week.

Monday involved a trip to Toronto, a stop at Humber, and a long overdue visit with Brian.

Tuesday was a day spent in all manner of vehicles (subway, train, various buses and a jeep). Went to the Pennywhistle with Chista, James and Ian then we all went back to Ian's to talk for many hours.

Wednesday night I spent watching the hockey game with Shannon. Steph had asked if I wanted to join her and hers at Van Gogh's later that night for some live music, but I had a staff report to write and had to be up early to leave town.

Thursday involved an hour and a half drive to Kincardine, twelve hours spent helping Ian's dad move and another hour and a half drive back to Guelph.

Today involved a lot of muscle soreness. I'm stiff as hell. Now I'm off to watch the hockey game.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004 


I don't work at the paper anymore but I'm at the office, bored out of my skull. What's wrong with this picture?

I came in to finish cleaning out my desk. Done that.

I've still got some work to do on an article for the Research magazine. Haven't done that. Don't want to do that.


Just want to go to bed and sleep.


Humber, here I come?

Hurry the fuck up and get back to me.

In so many ways, I'm a very patient person. In this respect - waiting to hear back on a college application - I'm not.

I had the thing at Humber yesterday. It was a twenty minute orientation session followed by basic tests of grammar and general knowledge as well as an essay on why journalism interests me. We could show our portfolios if we wanted and I did.

The tests and essay went fine. The guy seemed to be impressed with the portfolio.

Now I just have to wait to hear back.

The best practice would probably just be to forget about the damn thing.

Saturday, April 10, 2004 

To random nights!

I love random nights. You know the kind. They're the ones where you don't have anything planned, but something comes up, which leads to something else, which... You get the picture.

Wednesday was one of those, and it actually started at about 1:30 in the afternoon.

I had gone in to clean up my desk a little when Shannon dropped by with her cousin to kidnap me. We went next door to the Brass Taps (A.k.a. "the keg"), for a drink and some conversation. Then Ashley bought us each another drink and we talked some more. Then I went to buy us each another drink and Shannon asked if the drink was for her birthday, which was the previous week. I felt awful, but she wasn't upset.

As I was paying for the drinks, Ian dropped by and I bought him a beer. We all sat down and talked for a while. Jer finished work and joined us. Had a beer. The girls left. Jer and Ian played some pool. I left to use the washroom and email Steph, asking her to the Grad Lounge for five. I went back, watched them finish their game and then Jer left. Going to Toronto, I think.

Ian and I played some pool and headed up to the Grad Lounge for the last philosophy society of the year. One of Ian's profs was buying students pitchers of beer, so there were a ton of people there.

Christa, an attractive science student who often goes to philosophy society, was slogging away at a photocopied crossword from the Star and I leaned in to try to help. Emphasis on the word 'try.' I'd had enough to drink already that the crossword was a little beyond my abilities.

Steph stopped by briefly, saying she couldn't stay long. She bought a beer, stopped to say hello to Dave and Erinn, came over to sit beside me, finished the beer and had to go.

The crossword ended with me deciding we had to cheat. The Grad Lounge has four computers, which we used to search for the right words. On the way back to the philosophy people, Christa found another crossword.

We all went down to the keg, the crossword was finished and we all talked and drank and I settled into an excellent mood. James, another philosophy society person, showed up. Ian seemed to be enjoying himself, having received a great mark on the essay he'd written for the prof who was buying people beer.

Eventually the decision was made to go downtown, with the philosophy people opting for mildly illicit drugs at someone's house and Ian, James, Christa and I choosing the Albion instead. I had another drink, we continued shooting the shit and polished off two plates of onion rings before catching the last bus to our respective homes.

Friday, April 09, 2004 

I now feel much better about the grammar test Humber's giving me Monday

Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Incidentally, that was hard. I didn't even know what a bloody modifier was until I took the test. All I know is what sounds right to me.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004 

One good thing came of this year

Our last editorial meeting at the paper was yesterday. I had intended to tell our editor what a useless experience this past year has been. Then I had forgotten I was going to do that until part way through the meeting. At that point I just couldn't bring myself to do it by the seat of my pants.

I don't know. I'm really conflicted about the whole thing.

The year was a waste in terms of becoming a better writer.
I made many friends though. And I also grew a spine. Which is nice.

Should probably explain the last, shouldn't I?

Those of you who know me would probably agree that I'm a nice guy. I treat people the same, regardless of whether I like them or not. More than once, people have asked Brian if I liked them. Not because I was an ass, leading them to wonder I didn't. They couldn't figure out if I was treating them well because I liked them, or because that's just how I treat everyone.

Every time I open my mouth to say something, I run an unconcious check on the words I'm about to say to make sure they're as inoffensive as I can make them.

I'll nearly always put the needs and wants of others over my own.

Part of this is that I want others to like me. Another part is that I very badly want to like everybody. Another is that I don't like it when people are mad at me. A huge part of it is that I have very high levels of empathy, so any type of negative emotion in others really bothers me.

All of these get me into a lot of pain in the ass situations.

The one good thing about this year is that I was forced to stop being such a nice guy.

At one point I thought to myself that if I was going to do the job the way I had to, the process was going to hammer my personality into a slightly different shape.

I've worked in the most toxic work environment I've ever been exposed to. I've dealt with a blatantly partisan editor in chief who put her political agenda ahead of journalistic integrity. I've reported on a corrupt student government. I've called people on their mistakes, canned articles for arriving late, and written articles about improper conduct of the adolescents in student government.

I've pissed people off, made some hate me and came to dislike some of them.

And none of it bothered me as much as I thought it would. I'm not sure I would have learned that had I gone to journalism school for the last year instead of working at the paper.

So if I'm such a badass, what's the real reason I didn't tell my editor what a useless experience having her as my editor has been? Because I'm no badass at all. If I'd said that, it would have been with the intent of hurting her. And I just couldn't do that.

And in the end, I guess it wasn't a completely useless experience after all.

Turn every situation to your advantage, right? (See principle four.)


Kids are funny

On Sunday I went to Brooklin, Ontario for my cousin Lisa's surprise 32nd birthday party.

Her husband, Grant, put it together. He told her a few people would be there, but didn't tell her that a half dozen family members would be making the two and a half hour trip to attend.

Lisa is pregnant, was very surprised and looked happy to see us. Then she cried.

After wishing her a happy birthday I went into the kitchen to say hi to other family members that were gathered there preparing food. In the midst of them my baby cousin Gavin was standing in front of the kitchen sink. For his age, he's a blond giant.

Several feet from him, I squated down until my eyes were level with his, smiled and said, "Hello, Gavin." And waited.

It's the same strategy I've always used with small children, animals, and... Well, just about everybody. It's not a consciously thought out strategy, just the one that worked when I was little and that continues to work. In most cases. Keep my distance, make a small gesture that shows friendly intent and then wait. If they want to come closer, cool. If not, I'm not going to force myself on them.

Gavin cocked his head, looked me straight in the eyes and toddled over until his nose was two inches from my own. Still staring me in the eyes. Grinning. He babbled something at me and let me hug him.

Kids are funny.

Monday, April 05, 2004 

Bu-bye facial hair

I shaved off my goatee on the weekend. I forgot that I have a cleft chin. Weird.


Foul tasting beverages

If a taste must be a acquired, it's not worth acquiring. (Acquired tastes: beer, wine, coffee and tea.)

Friday, April 02, 2004 

Fuck you computer

I just realized that for all intents and purposes, I've been plugged into the Net all day. My computer is on, I'm logged in to my email and I check for new email with the same mindless reflex that I check my watch.

I don't like that.

So, in five minutes my computer goes off until Monday.

Good bye.


In Guelph 'till tomorrow

I was supposed to go back to my parents' place tonight after work. But mom called to say she and dad aren't feeling well today, so it'll have to be tomorrow. So I guess I'm free tonight after all.


Grin and bear it

That's the kind of mood I'm in today. Nothing to do with work. Just generally disgruntled and having trouble finding the humour. Blah.


I have messed up dreams

I'm barely awake in my dream. I'm in bed at home, except it's not home. It's the Bullring too. There's a blizzard outside and, for split seconds, inside too. Two people I know are getting ready to go see a movie. I know them well, but I don't know who they are. I do know that they are a couple. They've asked me to come along and I'm being slow in getting up. We will meet up with friends at the theatre.

I finally get up in time to see them drive off into the blizzard. I'm annoyed and angry and decide to walk. Time skips and I'm halfway to the theatre and there's no blizzard anymore. I'm at the side of the road looking at a set of animal tracks that weave back and forth and go around in circles. They look like racoon tracks. My friends show up and they're eating meat oranges. There's no actual animal meat involved, that's just what they're called. They look like someone has taken an orange apart and stuck all the segments and pieces of peel back together in a vaguely brick shape. But that's how they grow. I look down and find a bunch growing out of the ground. I eat one and it's excellent.

We all get in the car and then we're at the theatre. Except from the outside it looks like my old public school and on the inside it looks like my old residence hall. We never make it to the movie. The dream ends first.


The Code: Women and Dating

Women in the following categories are off limits (i.e. first moves cannot be made toward them):

1. Co-workers.
2. Women in romantic relationships.


To all DJs...

... and people who set the volume levels of music at bars:


I go to bars to socialize with friends. Not to be deafened by whatever music you think I should hear. Keep the damn volume down.



Apparently I posted Wednesday.

Thursday, April 01, 2004 

True brain tap

I haven't written anything since Monday, so I think it's about time. Unfortunately, I have no topic. Which means I'm going to do a fifteen minute free write where I just write whatever comes to mind for fifteen minutes without worrying about spelling, grammar or content. These things are fun, but dangerous.

Fun because you never know where your mind is going to take you in one. Dangerous for the same reason. You might end up writing something that you really wish you hadn't.

For example, Brian seems to think that I am attracted to women that are in some way unavailable because I'm trying, on some level, to protect myself from being burned again. When he said that I went silent. Not sullen, but silent. Thinking about what he was saying, trying to prove it wrong in my head. I really couldn't.

Because it fits. All the women I've been interested in lately have been unattainable. They're in relationships, for example. Or I know them in such a setting that makes it inappropriate to pursue anything.

Very safe. Very frustrating.

Don't want to think about this anymore. Why did I decide to do an online free write? I'll have to make sure I keep these on paper from now on. Then I don't have to worry about what you think when you read them. But then again, why should I care what you think?

I spent about an hour today talking to someone about the CSA. She's involved in the insurance committee and our favourite idiot in student government had told her yesterday that the CSA was above the law and didn't have to submit a SRM form and blah blah blah. It amazes me that we let these people get away with the things they do.

Guelph has the oddest mix of apathetic and politically rabid people that I can imagine. Some people can't be dragged out to vote and other people live and breathe student politics to the extent that nothing else seems to matter. There seems to be very little in-between. Makes my job a pain, because the most important stuff is also that which most people find the least interesting.

*times up*