Friday, July 09, 2010

advice for the under employed.

I have no advice for you.


oh.

stay off craigslist. no one has money there either.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

damn you, craigslist!!!

Looking for work is not a fun thing to do.

I've tried tricking myself into believing that it is some sort of adventure, but I'm through with that. It's just a lie.

Craigslist, workopolis, jobboom, Monster.ca, Linkedin... none are satisfying my needs. They promise to set me up with a employers with little more effort than the several hours it takes to figure out their website, upload a resume, re-format said resume, correct their server's errors at interpreting re-formatted resume, and then apply to the two or three suggestions for work that pop up.

And then wait.

Then receive updates from these many services (minus Craigslist... and I'll get to that in a minute) that all refer you to jobs in Toronto when you live in Vancouver.

Worse than that is the less than helpful advice you get from people regarding the job search, such as "take a couple of days off and come back to it." "have you tried [insert cute job/career word play here] .com?" "What about some volunteer work?"

Ahhh, friends and family. I know that you mean well. I appreciate the help. But I've already read the books. The ones that promise results, that show you how to polish an already over thought out resumé, and the ones that suggest a positive outlook no matter what.

Well, positive outlook be damned.

I'm not the glass is half empty guy, or a glass is half full guy. I'm the there is a glass and it has some milk in it guy... which is to say, I like to think I'm the realistic one that tries to see things for what they are. Such an attitude has served me well and usually made me laugh along the way.

But I've not been laughing much this last week.

My latest annoyance is with the infamous Craigslist. While I find the site ugly and largely disappointing, there have been some interesting opportunities of late that I've eagerly shot of a link to my website and, if I feel comfortable or desperate for the job, I'll even include my resumé.

Usually there is not business name or direct contact info given, so I never really know who to address the email to. This is a big no no according to every get a job style book I've read, but there is little advice on how to get around this. Why? Because the people who write those books have been employed for some time and it is exceptionally easy to give pointless advice when they haven't had to do what the job seeker has to do in a very long time. If they had, they ironically wouldn't qualify to write the book.

I assume the Craigslist users are looking for actual employees. I have to, otherwise I'd cry myself to sleep.

So to those of you advertising on Craigslist for employees, if you actually want employees as opposed to slaves, or my resumé to call you own, here are some hints:

1. List your company name and at least a contact name. It doesn't even have to be your real name if you are that paranoid. If you want my resumé, I need to know what it is your company does.

2. Tell me what you want. What you really really want. The job title isn't really enough. What job do need done? Is it a contract? Are you willing to pay me properly? Even if you are making porno, I don't mind. I won't judge. I just need to know if I'm the one person you can use up front.

3. Know what is a fair amount to pay and let me know what you can afford up front. I am tired of telling you my hourly rate for contract work, and hearing nothing... I assume it is too expensive. I can change that if you sweeten the offer... but 10 bucks an hour is not going to get you a video editor/ camera guy/photographer.... Can't pay rent for that.

4. DO NOT say this job is for recent grads from design school or design students. That means that you don't want to pay a fair price. Just because it is a visual communication service that looks like tons of fun to you, realize that it is my work and it is not a game to me. I enjoy it, but remember that I was a firefighter for a good long time and loved the work, but I still got paid for most of those hours. You probably wouldn't like it if I asked you to file my taxes for free because you seem to love doing it, or were still one course shy of getting some sort of certificate. You wouldn't go to a law student to represent you in a murder trial to save some dough, so don't expect a busy student to work for nothing and put up with your abuse. Because that is what it is when you don't pay a fair price; abuse.

Finally, and this is my biggest point of contention:

5. Even if you do not choose me for your contract or longer term job, do me the professional courtesy of letting me know not to wait all day for your email or phone call, cause you found someone else. I'd rather you destroy my hope while it is still early in the week instead of no word at all. Remember, I put in the time to read your ad, compose a cover letter, despite often rude 'demands' (one can be clear in what you want without being nasty) and send you a resumé, fully trusting that you have a job on offer and that I'd be a match for the position.

Don't like giving bad news? Well, toughen up, buttercup. From the tone of this post you can tell that I've had to. If I fell short of your expectations, no worries. I understand. You owe me some sort of reason for not going forward with me on board. We aren't dating. It isn't a breakup and I promise not to turn it into a confrontation.

Now I hear you whining that you don't have time to respond to all applicants.

Yes you do.

You put the ad up. You got a lot of responses. You can send out one email to the rest letting them know the position is filled and thank you for your time.

This is the time of the internet and fast computers. You think I enjoy this job search? Do you find it funny to promise to get back to someone and then don't follow through?

Well it isn't funny. Not at all.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Year of the Carnivore.



Year of the Carnivore opens today. You should go see it for various reasons.

Jian Ghomeshi and Sook-Yin Lee chat about it. Hate to get all gushy, but they are the most pleasant part of CBC.

jerk of the week award.

I now have a new blog. It is professional and looks somewhat corporate and by that I mean clean and not offensive.

Not wanting to be offensive to prospective clients, that could follow a secret link here anyway, I don't feel it entirely appropriate to write about the controversial stuff that rattles about my head. I would like to, but I am keeping this blog alive to allow me somewhere to scream at the information super highway as the proverbial trucks speed by not listening.

I still see the internet in that metaphor of superhighway, because that is how it is treating me... making me feel, lately, like the lonely pedestrian/desperate hitchhiker.... (as in, please pull over and pick up, metaphorically, of course, and hand me a job, in real life, of course).

Even though my opinions written here can now be easily traced to my real name, I choose not to care anymore. Prospective clients who have wandered here by mistake, be warned, and don't hold my opinions against offering me a pay check. Aren't we all owed a little freedom of speech on this internet thing?

The following is today's episode of me screaming into a box with a screen. Good luck to me.

I'm pissed off at how our little/big country treats canadian television and film. This past week, this JERK OF THE WEEK decides to call Canadian television shit. All of it. Oh, except Heartland, which I'm forced to admit that I haven't watched. I haven't watched this one because I don't care about a drama about rich kids and horses, so I have no idea if it is actually good or not. Cute and self serving that the minister chose an Alberta production.

Alberta Culture Minister, Lindsay Blackett (I'm sure some will think this an oxymoronic position... but Alberta does have culture. I know. I grew up there.) isn't exactly worthy of listening to about such matters. He is wholly under qualified for both his position and his comments. But like many Alberta politicians, past and present, he has taped into how many in this country feel, really feel without the usual filters applied to polite conversation with neighbours.

According to the CBC website carrying this story, and the many irrational comments left behind (I'm not sure those writing the comments are the same people who listen to CBC radio), nearly 63% of canadians tend to agree that Canada's television programming sucks.

I ask those of you who believe this to please answer in my comments, in comparison to what?

American television? The nation that creatively brought us Full House for an entire 8 seasons?

You read that right. I even looked it up on wikipedia.

There is something very comforting about canadian tv. While Airwolf and The A-Team were being made, here in Canada we already had the Beachcombers. I hear you laughing even before I post this, but stop and watch the Beachcombers, laugh at how stupid it is no that you are an adult. Now watch the A-Team or Macgyver. Guess what? Just as crappy.

Furthermore, many of that so called brilliant American television had to come up here to film. Thus much of the talent in American television may in fact be borrowing heavily from Canada anyway. Many of the writers of Friends were Canadian. Samantha Bee and her husband are both Canadians working for the Daily Show. (And they worked together brilliantly in the also under rated genius film Cooper's Camera).

I will agree that there is some rotten television created here. Some of it is just awful in my eyes and it is usually because some moron has decided we need to highlight the fact that something is canadian. Hence hockey references thrown in randomly, Good Cop, Bon Cop, I'm looking at you. Or some over the top reference to Tim Horton's out of context. When I see that sort of thing, I can't help but imagine that kid from grade school with her hand up for every question. It appears to be clever, but really is not at all.

From the comments I can tell that many are basing the performance on what people are watching. I'm not sure that is the best measure. Granted, ratings do matter, but the masses are often wrong, and they are wrong now. Just because you decide not to watch and instead would rather watch COPS on the Fox network, or something about little people on what passes for a Learning channel down there (Oh TLC, what were you thinking? Will you air anything with a dwarf in it now?) does not mean that the homegrown shows aren't at least as good, and possibly better.

So to those of you who feel that somehow we are missing out on quality television, let me make you a list of canadian produced television, and realize that you are wrong in your tired little assessment.

1. Kids in the Hall - It came from here. A comedy troupe and then a show and then an under rated movie followed by a recent return to CBC this past year.

2. Twitch City - the best television comedy I have ever watched. Sadly it was neglected by too many and was cancelled. If you are a friend living nearby I will gladly lend you my DVD copy to convince you.

3. Trailer Park Boys - I used to watch this in a room filled to over flowing with forestry workers trapped in Hinton, Alberta. No one dared to suggest it wasn't the best television of the week.

4. Corner Gas - innocent and silly, but I usually giggle at some point.

5. The Red Green Show - I got bored of this at a certain point, but it was still successful even in the United States. I would think the red neck appeal alone would end this little argument.

6. Adderly - Perhaps this one escapes you, but I used to love spy dramas and this one was also sold to the US. It's lifespan of two seasons was the fault of no promotion, not because it was bad. It was very good for it's time.

7. The Beachcombers - granted this does not stand the test of time... but when I was little, it was the best television ever.

8. SCTV - Sooo much talent flew out of this production. Yes, this was fully a canadian venture and launched onto the world the modern buddy comedy in the form of everyone's two favourite hosers, Bob and Doug MacKenzie. Here is the rich irony; they were created solely because the government insisted on Can Con (canadian content) which mandated how much obvious canadian culture is on screen. This is controlled by very uncreative people who probably are responsible for much canadian television turning to shit because they want the obligatory shot of a hockey stick in a show about doctors... or take an american show and 'canadianize it'. It only worked for SCTV because the boys were mocking the whole premise. And let that be a lesson to all of us; mock rules that make no sense, because one never knows what will come out of it.

9. Death Comes to Town - I alluded to it with the Kids in the Hall entry because I forgot the name of the show. Brilliant work.

10. Danger Bay - same quality as Beachcombers and filmed only a short ferry trip away... but it made me want to be a vet as a child... a dream I abandoned due to bad study habits and, well most medical jobs involve shit. I'm not a fan of shit.

11. Four on the Floor - genius comedy. All those guys have disappeared into producer roles, I think. I'm sure they feel quite hurt by the thought that Canadian television is getting such an undeserved bad rap.

12. The Friendly Giant - This was where my love of television began. It was fully canadian. No purple dinosaurs. No baby einsteins. Just an effeminate rooster in a bag, a giant with a love of antique furniture and a strange giraffe. Loved and truly missed. I would watch it today if I could.

13. Mr. Dressup - I think I wept when he died a few years ago.

14. Degrassi Junior High - although I'm giving away my age a bit, I grew up at the same rate as the kids on the show did. So I ended up living their issues in real time. The first original version was full of real looking goofy kids with zits and problems that matched mine... though I wasn't getting girls pregnant.

15. The Nature of Things - how can you mock this show. It is hosted by David Suzuki. Enough said. America wishes they could have this.

16. The Passionate Eye - timely documentaries. Canada has always been a leader in documentaries long before that hack Michael Moore picked up a camera. The NFB was born here and has nearly always had something on the Oscar short list.

17. The Tom Green Show - good experimental television.


This is only a list of the anglophone programs that I have loved. The francophone list is equally as interesting and I'm not even including all the other shows that I haven't watched.... because I also need to get away from the tv now and again.

If you've scrolled down this far, you'll notice that I do love me my Canadian television and I will admit that there is a heap of shit out there. But that is true no matter where your programs are coming from, and it should be fairly noted, that it is a matter of perspective.

So shame on you, Mr Blacknett, and the rest of you commenters who claim that canadian television is bad because it requires subsidies. Not a measure of good or bad at all. It does indicate that you are all turning the dial because the show is canadian irrespective of the quality. You kids don't even wait for the opening credits to finish rolling before you change the channel to a re-run of 3 and Half Men. Just cause you don't bother watching, doesn't mean it isn't good stuff.

You all are on my list of very short sighted, narrow minded jerks.

why wasn't my high school experience like that?



I didn't create any of the above. I just like it.

Here is who did.

Réalisateur: Jérémie Saindon
Directeur photo: Christophe Collette
Directrice artistique: Valérie-Jeanne Mathieu
Styliste: Olivia Leblanc
Coiffure/ Maquillage: Antonio Corral
Directrice de production: Véronique Denis
Producteur: David Valiquette

Friday, June 04, 2010

when the bell rings... just go to my new website.



I made a website.

I talked about making the website for months... years, really.

But now I made it.

It's not like this blog.

It's all professional and shit.

Here it is: www.schmidtandweston.com

See how clever a name that is? Like smith and wesson but not exactly.

I could work in advertising.

Maybe hire me.

And when the bell rings call the fire dept. OR police.

You decide.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

feeding ducks.



I am not afraid of the rain.

I like to feed ducks in the rain.

I probably break rules by feeding the ducks in the rain.

All of those sentences make me happy individually and together.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

another of Brule's rules.

Gender has become a confusing topic since I grew up.

Seems things aren't as straight forward as they were in kindergarten.

Seems a lot info from back then turned out to be overly simplistic at best, outright lies for the most part.

In confusing times like this, I like to go to my current physician for advice; Dr Steve Brule.

Monday, May 24, 2010

lost finale leaves me lost.

I am a torn emotionally today... thank you television addiction.

It all started a few years ago when C brought back a DVD from our local video shop to our humble little Montréal apartment. At the time, I was unemployed (familiar theme), C was still in school... and we were getting used to living together after several months apart. I vaguely remember being skeptical at the time, thinking that I was above hype and becoming a 'fan boy' of anything.

Well, Lost grabbed me from the first episode. I cannot resist a good story and not since the X-Files had I felt that I was watching something so worthwhile that wasn't a documentary. It was an exciting weekend of living on the futon, watching the entire season one together, not dressing or answering the phone. It was a spectacular waste of a long weekend and I still look back with a strange longing.

We watched the entires series, which is a rare thing these days... my attention span has been in decline lately. And despite C stating that she was now impatient with the show and frustrated, she still managed to get emotional at all the predictable points as the music swooned and we get the close up of a kiss or tear or smile between characters. Up to last week, my curmudgeonly television sidekick was bitching and moaning about all the hoopla and mystery and wishing for it all to be over. I had to remind her about sticking by a show to the end and that this would say something about our character. It does not.

Personally, I was unconvinced that my questions could possibly be answered in the 2 and a half remaining hours. Fuck me if I wasn't right to be concerned.

Here is where I become torn between two thoughts.

First off, the internet has not made us closer together, it has bonded nasty nerds together in being jerks since no one can actually bunch the world wide web. Try. You can't, can you?

But I logged on, with watering eyes (I got something in them... popcorn probably) to see what the mean spirited dweebs were saying. I gotta say, what a bunch of jerks. No one was satisfied.

So my first thought? Why does anyone figure they have some right to finish the story the way they want to? This wasn't your tale to tell. This was a few select creative types that made a show. Remember the last movie that was written by thousands of dorks on the internet? It was Snakes On A Plane. That's right. A complete waste of time except to make me terrified of airline bathrooms. You just shouldn't write stories by giving up creative control to the masses. We as humans should all realize that in mass groups we are incredibly stupid. In fact, we are dumber than those lemmings that old Walt Disney pushed over a cliff.

Humans just work smarter in small groups. Of course, your average family might put my theory to a serious test.

However, that said, I am not impressed this morning. I feel like I was somehow manipulated. I have questions that demand answers, and I am left with my theories.

The worst of these theories is that there wasn't as much thought put into the writing as it seemed. Some of the mysteries don't have answers... or the answers are hinted at, but large blanks are left out due to lack of care for the audience.

This logic leads me back to my first point about it not being my story to tell. Still, explain the polar bears better. DO IT NOW! Be very clear about it please.

What was the real point of the Dharma Initiative? Yes they were there to study the island... that doesn't answer a damn thing though. Humankind went to the moon to study it, but they had a plan and a reason (to embarrass the Russians, it turns out... please refer to my theory about large groups of humans).

Why did those seemingly in the know, such as Ben, Desmond, Desmond's father in law, at least try to explain what they each knew. Not like any of them had the full story about any of this. Couldn't they come to some understanding? Perhaps an island conference. They had enough Dharma houses and compounds to meet at.

There is still the matter of those two who were buried with diamonds while paralyzed. That will haunt me since no one ever, ever tried to explain the reason to even show their plot twist at all.

Before the finale, I watched a couple of cute interviews with the master minds behind the show. It became clear that they included 'easter eggs' which I guess is the current short hand expression for facts which do not lead to answers and only serve to give the geeks a thrill. I confess that I was thrilled with some of them, but thought they would lead to some sort of explanation. Apparently they never intended that to be the case. It was a tease that could have easily led me to studying many philosophers and physicists in a fruitless effort to understand what the writers of Lost were trying to say. I don't like being tricked into education. It makes me want to punch someone.

I still don't know why not every character was in the church at the end, though I'm somewhat certain it had more to do with the fact that the producers could not get all the actors together. Kinda gives you the feeling that these guys were the cool kids and all those other folk on the plane, and all the others, and the Dharma dudes and so forth were not cool.

What pisses me off isn't the odd ending, cause I did feel emotional last night when they all looked into the bright light... hoping actual death is that calm and maudlin (it probably won't be. I expect death to involve that creepy old man from the commercials for six flags... you know, the guy with the tuxedo and bald head, forever dancing to that horrible song... yup, that is how I imagine death). What pisses me off is that I can see how someone will try and make this into a movie franchise. So much is left to our imaginations, mainly what happens as Hurley and Ben rule the island together.

See, if they had bothered to finish it up tight and answer most of the questions, I would have forgotten a few of the ones that keep popping up in my head now that I'm slightly pissed at the finale. (Note I said slightly pissed off).

A further clue into the franchising fear is that on the american channel we were watching, Lost managed to sell out to Target, with Lost themed adverts. Not good. That would be one of the tackiest of sell outs by my count.

Watch what happens with large committees made up of ever larger groups of humans try and make money off a creative endeavour after the best before date. There will be a movie... it will be called Lost: Hurley and Ben's Big Adventure. It may include a bike and some comic relief at the golf course... and trips in the microbus looking for a Whitespot for Hurley.

When all the mystery has been sucked out of the story.... we may find ourselves even less impressed. It is the danger of knowing too much. I will now attempt to accept that mystery is good and not turn into a ungrateful dork screaming into the internet.

PS I should point out that I went out of my way to create a Lost meal that was delicious. I used ingredients that should grow naturally on a south pacific mystery island. Mango salsa with chicken rubbed in pepper, salt and coriander. It was good and I refrained from using Dharma logos on anything.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

quote of the week.

"My hero, Dog the Bounty Hunter...."

I can't remember what my friend said after that cause I was laughing too hard.


photo stolen off the internet. I have not been lucky enough to get a shot of him myself.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

screaming into the internet.

Well, I did it again.

I screamed into the internet before I gave life enough time to gimme back some of that karma I've been accumulating by petting every cat I run into and smiling at strangers.

That probably isn't karma at all.

Regardless, the producer in question that I mailed my new and improved resume and explosive cover letter did in fact get back to me. He did not have a job for me, but he was friendly, did meet with me, and did welcome any new submissions on my part.

Thus there is hope yet.

So another cover letter has been sent out. This time for a more corporate job. Perhaps soon I will be too busy to continue with this self absorbed and generally neglected blog.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

job search.

There are things that are more depressing than being on a seemingly endless job search, but I can't be bothered to imagine them right now.

In the past couple of months (well much longer actually, it's just been a couple of months of concentrated work) I have surrounded myself with books on writing cover letters, and resumés. I've even worked very hard on a demo reel. Would you like one? I'll gladly send any out in the mail. It would be helpful if you are or know someone who is looking to hire a video editor... or just an assistant editor... or just a production assistant willing to go out and get/make coffee. I'll do anything, short of blow jobs, to get a serious job with a future.

You can see the desperation here, I'm sure.

All the books have advised me to be aggressive in my search, which is does not mean fighting past receptionist and confronting the all important potential boss demanding immediate employment and benefits. That would be fun until the cops show up. Sadly, it means writing boastful letters along with resumés that make the most insignificant old job responsibilities seem enormously important and exciting. Hence my stint as a helicopter manager, although cool sounding, really meant me sitting in a truck filling out forms and then waiting... and waiting, and ultimately doing very little for a week and bit while fires burnt, my hands tied by ridiculous red tape.

But according to my resume it looks as if I was actually making management decisions and saving the day.

I didn't lie. I just didn't explain what being a helicopter manager for the US forest service really means.

Just the same, not a lot of call for helicopter managers, and no one so far can relate the experience of trying to get things done while working within bureaucratic red tape and failing, with a currently available job. Go figure.

So a couple of weeks ago I bravely wrote a cover letter that was way out of my comfort level. I suggested that me working for a television production company was vital. In reality, this is not so. I even said I would call him. Which I have. No answer yet. Don't send me advice about calling again... because I will again on monday. It fills me with dread because I picture the busy producer not wanting to hear from me at all.

This is far worse than when I was young and trying to get laid. Although I didn't really know what I was doing then either and there were no helpful books for that, I never really believed I would be a virgin forever. Looking for work though... I'm not so sure I will find a job. And the books aren't so helpful as my imagination has me picturing a very annoyed man in an office sneering at my letter full of piss and bullshit.

Looking over several job boards, seems I need to know how to write computer code, know 3 other programs I haven't heard of and somehow already have 3 years experience in these obscure programs that I'm not so sure have even been available for 3 years. Also, I need a course or two for a couple of positions I know I could do tomorrow. Apparently each course, even if it only last 3 days costs 1000$. Very helpful. Thank you.

So now, despite having a volunteer responsibility that I keep avoiding, I find myself bummed out and stressed when I have to seem happy and easy to get along with and ever so industrious.

HEY YOU MONEY BAGS OUT THERE READING THIS... FUCKING HIRE ME! (please)

Look, it's is on your interest. Eventually I will run out of money and have to hunt squirrels and gather dandelions in the park. And who wants to see that?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

hey... i found a good band on the internet.

Fucking blogger!

I just wrote a long bit about my neglect of this blog. It was brilliant and led into my discovery of a Texas Band.

I'm afraid, because I hit a strange key board shortcut entirely by accident, my brilliance is forever lost.

Blah.

Anyway, here is a band I discovered because some francophone discovered it at the South by Southwest music fest that sounds like something I ought to go to. Texas seems like an interesting place; death penalty even for the mentally challenged, concealed firearms and outlawed sex toys, who wouldn't want to take a vacation there?

I don't know much about this band other than it is called The Strange Boys. They have a MySpace page, which I do not, nor will I. They are also younger than me. I will not become bitter about this, I don't think.

Monday, March 08, 2010

partial youtube success.

I am trying very hard to be a short documentary film maker. Apparently, there is no money in it, but there is an academy award for such a thing... so maybe that means some respect. Of course, everyone with a mac lap top and a camera is also trying to be a filmmaker, so it is a tough slog. I think perhaps I may find myself building coffee for people with better jobs than mine soon.

I always thought the difference in quality would be noticed by the masses, but it really hasn't happened yet. Why? Because I put some misplaced faith in the youtube viewing public. I now realize my mistake. Youtube audiences are only interested in cute animals and sex... or some random act of violence. Substance is not rewarded.... at all.

Much like this blog, it is too easy to get lost in the internet... so I tried to get noticed. This time by shamelessly adding a true but misleading title to a video of my parents' new puppy.

Well, it hasn't gotten many hits, but I can proudly show this image from a quick search I made... it was on the first page of results, snuggled between porno results.



It will be a slow rise to viral status, but you 5 to 10 readers a day can help. Send a link to it around (it's only 3 posts down. Write the address on bathroom walls... or in library books, especially those of a more tawdry nature. Help a camera kid out and get those result numbers up from 51 hits to 51 000 hits.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

lick a lolly.

I couldn't sleep last night, which led to a scotch fueled adventure on the youtube.

And I found this gem, again from The Electric Company.

Decide for yourself, but I think this is a cautionary tale about herpes. If you listen to the lyrics enough times, like I did, you realize that these 1970s actors with creepy tongues probably did lick each other's lollies. Damn.



See what I mean? Herpes. Solly should never have licked Lilly's lolly. Bad news.

It's a really catchy tune though. Can't get it out of my head.

it's top to bottom and left to right, readin' stuff is out of sight!

Oh Morgan Freeman, is there nothing you can't do?

I'm actually happy to say that I was alive during the Electric Company years. I barely remember it.

If this youtube gem doesn't get you back into reading.... then you probably can't read. Loser.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

BC Forestry invades downtown Vancouver.

There are many strange events going on in Vancouver, and not everything makes a whole lot of sense. The complete lack of logic and absurdity is fun, although I'm a little bored of it at this point.

One of the oddest and least advertised events was put on by BC Forestry, and I had the best view in the city. Through the magic of youtube, you also can enjoy a shittier version of what I saw.



I shot this from the control tower overlooking Coal Harbour.

Currently I am very frustrated with youtube. I searched for the above video and could not find it. Granted, it isn't my finest work and the encode youtube puts on an already encoded file does do it any favours, but I get 5 hits at the time of this writing, 2 being mine for testing purposes, and a crappy video taken from North Vancouver where this huge bomber is only a dot gets 45.

Youtube is showing me that the power of the internet is not something one can always control and leaving things up to the masses is risky business. On that note, the Olympic Dissent documentary I put up is currently stalled at 301 hits, which I was proud of until I found other shitty videos on the side bar getting several thousand hits... and they had no interviews. Just shots of cops grabbing idiots who chose to attack said cops.

Really? Is this how shallow the public is? Cute kittens, porno and people doing stupid shit, is that all the internet is? And I had such high hopes with wikipedia and the like.

I believe me and the internet will soon be parting ways.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

olympic dissent.

You may be wondering what I've been up to given my erratic posts.

You may also be wondering why I haven't rambled on and on about the olympics (I prefer calling them the 'pics).

Well, I have been busy working with an old friend on this blog here www.vancropolis.mudlovemedia.ca. It is largely an image based blog.

We are both trying to remain neutral, which has been surprisingly easy. It's so much easier to observe a protest than to be a part of it.

You can view it on the vancropolis blog, or just watch it here. My favourite moment has to be the confrontation with the people in black. These represent the small minority of protesters that were out looking for confrontation. They were not peaceful, not friendly and rather silly in terms logic.

I encourage you to comment here or on youtube.




Saturday, February 06, 2010

time to lay off the president.

Ahhhh, America.


My natural web habits lately have involved a quick stop at my news RSS feeder... or whatever the current jargon for such things is. I can’t seem to help myself. I blame it on my parents raising me with CBC always on the radio, a year long job in the media industry, and a sick need to always know as much as possible... mostly about things that will only marginally affect me if at all.


At the moment it is the current opposition to Barak Obama that has me transfixed with wide open eyes of incredulity.


Just one short year ago, everyone down south of me (and maybe 5 people in Alaska) was so excited about all the ‘change’ that was coming down the road. It was the second coming of the messiah - an appropriately bi-racial one at that. I was never quite sure what Obama’s race had to do with anything. Nelson Mandela was also black, and so was Idi Amin. Race got nothing to do with how well or poorly you manage a country.


But I recognize that humans in mass form are notoriously stupid, and thus race often becomes part of the equation. I don’t agree, since you can’t do very much about how you were born, but I also recognize that I’m in the minority here. If you read this blog regular like, then I expect I’m preaching to the choir.


I guess America, and for some reason the Nobel committee, decided he really was the black Jesus, and big things were expected. Change.


I should also point out that I’m fully against one word slogans that are largely meaningless, but that is another post.


Well, Mr. Obama applied for, and got the crappiest job ever. He’s in charge of a mess that he did nothing NOTHING to create. He knew that going in, and I suppose I just assumed that most Americans were quite aware that the majority of them voted in an self-admitted c student frat boy a second time after George proved that he was not quite competent the first 4 years.


But now, according to the many news items I have been absorbing, America is no longer thrilled with Mr. Obama. Some still think he can do no wrong, which is moronic since he is a politician after all. However, even more are angry and disappointed. Apparently Mr. Obama is somehow to blame for the recession, the two ongoing wars, and pretty much anything else bad in the world.


This story from the Washington Post claims that President Obama is out of touch with the middle class, and if you bother to read it, goes on to explain how he rides around in Air Force One and has snipers around him and has a limo caravan... and thus he is out of touch with the common American.


I’m not really sure what happened to logic in the US media. Perhaps someone lost it these past 10 years or so, but let me clarify this ‘issue’ if only so my own brain can process this: The man is raised by a single mom, who does a pretty good job of making sure the boy does well in school, only ends up smoking a little pot, goes to a good school, turns down the richy rich jobs and instead works as a community organizer, has a wife and kids and I presume in-laws from the working class that drive him crazy when the stop by for a visit, becomes president of a mess.... and he’s the one that is not in touch with the middle class? Are you shitting me, Washington Post?


He doesn’t get to say no to security and all the other supposed perks. I would agree that the level of security is disproportionate to the risk and terribly wasteful, but does the american public really think that he can ask the Air Force to proved a cessna prop plane instead of a 747 to get around? Do they really think that he can force the secret service to change the huge limo for smart cars?


And if you think he is all powerful, remember that Barak can’t just get up one morning and say, ‘I’m gonna sleep in today, go for a quick walk around the park, maybe have a beer with my lunch and feed some ducks.’ Nope. To do that would create a commotion of secret service guys, helicopters, media... critiques of what beer he had, “was it an import beer? Oh my god, it was a Heiniken. He hates America. why does he think he gets to sleep in on a Sunday? He works for us. Why is he feeding ducks? What was the name of the duck, and what does it mean?” And so forth.


That is not power. I have more power over my day than that. So do you. (Unless you happen to be reading this Mr. Obama.)


It is beyond belief what the public has done to this guy. Build him up to something that is impossible for anyone to live up to, offer him a Nobel prize for peace before he has time to even figure out the mess of bubble gum George left him under the desk, and then get unreasonably mad at him for not being in touch with the supposed ‘common man’ of America.


If the story wasn’t enough to enrage me, I unwisely clicked on the comments section. Comments from the ‘common folk’ he’s supposed to be in touch with.


Oops.


Had I not done that I wouldn’t be writing this now.


One of the nastier comments accused Obama of being a communist. Another said he was a socialist, a liberal. It goes on and on, none of it making much sense.


There is nothing wrong with being a communist. It is just an economic/political model. I realize that many still believe in those moronic statements by Mr. Reagan, but a political theory is not in itself evil. On paper (paper only mind you) communism is actually a pretty good deal for those of us who happen to be lazy. It mostly doesn’t work in practise, but history has largely taken care of that. Get a grip.


Regardless, Mr. Obama is not a communist. He may indeed have socialist leanings, but America, look north a moment, we (Canada, I’m canadian... not proud, just am) are a socialist country, current idiot in charge not withstanding. Socialism is not a dirty word. Medicare is a good thing. It is considered progress when most of a population can get medical help when they need it for mostly free. Free is good. If your local Walmart gave away free hotdogs, I bet most people would think that was a pretty damn fine deal. Ultimately there is a price, but for an entire nation that has an obesity problem, I really thought you’d all be pretty excited about this.


I don’t think it is reasonable to expect perfection out of a politician ever. It isn’t even all the reasonable to expect honesty out of them. They got to say bullshit because the average citizen of anywhere demands that they promise things that they can’t possibly deliver.


I think the thing to do is not put the dude on a pedestal, since that creates the illusion that he is somehow better than you, but be reasonable. Keep the critiques logical and on topic. I am a firm believer in reasoned dissent. Maybe it turns out he is a jerk, but so far, he is doing a much better job than the last US President. You’d be hard pressed to argue otherwise.

Monday, February 01, 2010

about catcher in the rye.

A very fine friend of mine has written an excellent post about Catcher in the Rye and its recent deceased author.

There are many things that ought to draw me to Catcher in the Rye. First of all, it is somewhat short. My reading habits as an adult have suffered a great deal. I would blame tv, but I can't do that to my precious picture box. It is my problem with sitting in one spot and only reading. Got to get over that.

The second point is that my favourite people have talked about this novel a great deal. Wes Anderson was inspired by it for the character in Rushmore. Holden Caulfield is referred to by many people. I see it all over the internet with handles that must be in the thousands now.... h_caulfield_1887 and so forth. Clearly there is something about the literary figure that has caused so many to believe that they don't merely relate to Caulfield, but that the character was written with them in mind.

Probably the biggest potential draw is the author. I admire anyone with the restraint to fall for allure of fame. I didn't think JD Salinger was alive at all. I had heard so much about how mysterious he was... much the way I've heard so much about Thomas Pynchon (which I also have the guilt of never having gotten past page 287 of Gravity's Rainbow... another failure of reading on my part). I adore mysterious people. Those who insist on being different, who embrace their less endearing qualities, who are comfortable accepting others calling them assholes. I'm genetically predisposed to becoming a crazed hermit, so it makes sense that I study such people. I may find myself living at the top of a mountain in a comfortable little shack myself.

I feel like I'm missing something because I can never be bothered to get past the first 3 chapters. For whatever reason the writing did grab me at first. I've had a copy that I've kept with me and travelled great distances with, and yet have never finished reading.

My friend suggests that reading Catcher in the Rye should be done in one sitting... I suppose that is the problem for me. Despite many grey days here in Vancouver, and no employment at the moment, I still cannot relax with a novel. What happened to those long days at the family cabin where my mother could never get my nose out of a book? I used to absorb anything that came along. I started with Hardy Boys, but when I discovered dad's copy of victorian erotica.... well I learned a great deal more than a 13 year old boy ought to about sex. The knowledge that humans are all perverts and that it has been going on a long time didn't help me much through the trials of junior and high school.

I do remember three novels that did impact me and I must have read in my early 20s when my university english prof was inspiring for a time. Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers was tough to get through, but ultimately made some sense. I'd have to re-read it to explain more... but I did like the idea of being a beautiful loser myself... which gives you some sense of the damage ultimately done by the aforementioned junior and senior high years. I also read and re-read A Soldier in the Great War. It explained to me at least the simultaneous disgust and adventurous draw towards violence. I am now so grateful that violence in my life is mostly limited to video games. And the final novel that I can say has had a lasting impact was/is Been down so long it looks like up to me by Richard Farina. He only published this one novel, to my knowledge, and then died after a fight with his girlfriend and an unfortunate motorcycle ride... which to me is number two of the most tragic deaths that I have heard of. (number one is still too personal).

Farina's novel was possibly the most inspiring read for me, and I read it because of a fellow treeplanter, right in the thick of questioning my existence. Those hard days seem so simple now in hindsight.

The point is, I've lost my reading habits and my love for literature, but clearly I long for it. I must get back to reading before I get too much older.

Currently I'm reading Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, in hopes that it will re-inspire my love of stories. Otherwise, I fear becoming dull. I'll try to read faster. I've got a few Salinger novels to absorb.

Monday, January 04, 2010

lazy post.

I couldn't remember the name of this song, but my 'roommate' happens to be a information professional and managed to track down the very song I meant with only the following description: 'I don't remember the name of it, but I think it was in a macintosh ad and she has a jewish name... i think she is Israeli. Do you know which song I mean?'

In the interest of proper credit, I have nothing to do with this video other than admiring it. I found it on youtube. The singer is Yael Naim, she is in fact israeli, and this song did show up on teevee selling various apple products. Steve Jobs himself picked it out. I always thought he was a robot with an apple designed friendly chip installed.

Friday, January 01, 2010

boxes and resolutions.

The kindest words ever said about me were "Some people talk about thinking outside the box. Pamplemousse doesn't even know that there is a box."

This year, after having my life turned upside down and all around, I am resolving to stay out of boxes, even the pink ones and the green ones and the blue ones and the yellow ones... that all look just the same, even though I went to summer camp, and then to the University were I could have come out all the same, but didn't.

I mostly have my habit of being contrary and my disdain of most authority to thank for this.

Perhaps you want to have the same clever resolution. You can steal it from me and I don't mind, since I just stole half the lyrics from Malvina Reynolds anyway.