Friday, February 29, 2008

some words about love.

If my reality was more different, and I had never met French Panic at a famous Edmonton bar 8 years ago, I think I would be busy trying to find Mel and convince her that I was worth stalking. I suppose I would then be stalking a stalker.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

two stores I've never visited.

I haven't been in either of these two stores, but there is something refreshing about the complete lack of slick marketing or signs. I believe the one on the right sells shoes, and the one on the left.... kosher things in boxes.

That is the charming thing about my neighbourhood; all sorts of impossibly tiny shops of mystery. I imagine that either door will open into a different reality, like that wardrobe to Narnia.

Friday, February 22, 2008

the fine art of watching teevee.

I remember the day my dad brought home the family’s first colour teevee. It came in a big cardboard box, which to a kid is reason enough to make a day special. No matter if the box contains something as boring as a fridge – a ready made fort has just arrived at the door and there is no need to borrow the hammer and saw. A pair of blunt nose scissors will do.

He brought it home and together, though mostly I just watched, we set it up. We turned it on and the magic box burst to life with the sounds of a Circus, and elephants and tigers paraded before my little 4 year old eyes. I was sold on teevee straight away; flip a switch and instantly it’s story time, not with mere words, but with actual moving pictures. To this day I regard it as a strange and wonderful miracle. Ask anyone how teevee works and you’ll be lucky if someone can tell you more than ‘you turn it on’. I tried to figure it out once and finally just decided to call it magic and leave it at that.

Television has taken quite a beating as a medium. The hipster and neo-hippy crowd seem to have a hatred for my favorite magic box. Look at your facebook friend profile. I’ll bet there is at least one friend who has listed under favorite television program ‘television rots your brain’ or ‘kill your television’ or simply ‘I hate tv’.

Maybe you are one of those people... too cool for teevee, too self-important to admit to watching cartoons as an adult, too snobby to enjoy what the rest of the masses consume.

I suggest that if you are such a person, you get off of your high and mighty steed. You may claim not to have watched television in 20 years, but I’ll bet that if I throw out an obscure Simpson’s reference, you’ll catch it and give me 4 more before you realize what you’ve just admitted to. Just like masturbation, we all watch teevee. Some of us just lie about it.

I spent 2 years in camera and computer school. It was a demanding course, but mostly fun. The best part was having professional video cameras to play with. We all had our shot at making various video-films. Some were good, most were terrible. We were all learning after all, and using a handicam to record a piano recital isn’t at all the same sort of thing.

One of my fellow students was very vocal about how much she hated teevee. She was a bit like a boring parrot, as most neo-hippies tend to be. If it wasn’t going on about how the dairy industry is drugging us slowly, then it was about the horrible evils of television. She claimed not to have viewed a television screen in over 7 years. This of course was not at all true, and she could list off movies and Simpson episodes she had seen, most aired within the previous 5 years. Apparently if the television resides in someone else’s home or in a bar, it doesn’t count. DVDs don’t count, because if there are no ads, then it isn’t really television. The internet doesn’t count, because you ‘control’ your use. (Perhaps she didn’t understand how a remote CONTROL works).

‘Well, stupid,’ I remember thinking ‘what are you doing here in a media technology program?’

I can’t remember her convoluted explanation. I can’t remember any of her video projects either.

Here’s the thing. The ads on teevee pay for the shows we watch. Your cable bill doesn’t really come close to covering the costs of say Lost.

It is the way you watch that is important, just as the way you listen to the radio or read a book will ultimately determine the usefulness of the information you have consumed. Television cannot be blamed for stupid people believing that wearing loads of after shave will get you laid or that an SUV is an essential part of city living. If you aren’t questioning what you see, hear and smell then you really aren’t paying enough attention, are you? The problem may not be the flickering box in front of you, but perhaps you should check for a pulse and a brain wave.

I get the distinct impression that the anti-tv folk just don’t trust their own self-control. Can you honestly not ignore a commercial message? Are you so easily controlled from afar? If so, heed this message: KNOCK OFF THE SNOBBERY, I’M NOT IMPRESSED.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

snakes, bears and morons.

I have a theory that most every person has at least one irrational fear. Mine is snakes.

Most any other animal will attract my interest, from a lowly beetle to an elephant. I’m truly impressed and enamored with living creatures. Dead ones, not so much - they tend to smell.

But for whatever reason, snakes, despite their beautiful skin and fascinating habits, creep me the fuck out.

Maybe it’s a combination of lack of legs, fangs, poison sacs, evil looking eyes and poor table manners. I’m not sure. I do know that I have always feared them and despite repeated attempts to face up to my ophidiophobia, I invariably find myself walking away (yes, walking. You should never run away from danger unless it is already chasing you. Remember – never panic). So I accept my fear, and it isn’t wholly unhealthy.

A side effect to my serpent aversion is that I know a great deal about them. I will watch any documentary about them, including Snakes on a Plane.

So when my television jumped up and attacked me while on a self imposed coffee break, I was very happy to find a snake doc on the National Geographic channel. Work day ruined again by working in a home filled with more interesting things than my project.

This show was one in a series featuring a Dr. Brady Barr. It was factual, to a point. Mainly the point being don’t go chasing snakes. That is just stupid. Chasing the 7 most dangerous snakes is beyond stupid. After that it was sheer entertainment watching a grown man scream and holler while acting the exact opposite of any National Geographic sponsored scientist I have ever seen. Did the Fox network take over at some point?

Dr. Brady Barr is an idiot. He is in the same vein as the Croc Hunter.... oh how I loved to watch the croc hunter.

I realize that to many Australians Steve Irwin is a national hero. In my humble opinion, he should only be considered heroic in creating a long series in how not to deal with wildlife. I am prepared for your angry comments, Australia. Bring it.

I’m not the first person to point this out. I hope I’m not the last.

My favorite Steve Irwin moment was when he visited North America for the first time to visit the wildlife. He went to a refuge where some black bears were kept in an enclosure. With a surly ranger at his side, the idiotically brazen Croc Hunter got closer and closer to a bear with open arms, apparently hoping for an actual bear hug . As so many times before, I waited, holding my breath, waiting for that bear to do what I wanted to do; lay a smack down on the schmuck.

Moments before the inevitable and fatal bitch slap, the ranger stopped everything and a stern lecture was delivered.... most of which was clearly edited out.

I am sad that Irwin died, but I sure wasn’t all that surprised. I know there were more than a few sleepy crocs that were probably secretly pleased.

I would agree that we need certain people able to take on dangerous animals that venture into toilets and wood piles. If I had a death adder in my bathtub, I would be frantically calling an Irwin type person, probably from a phone booth several blocks away. But do you need to poke these poor scary animals in their own homes? And is all the screaming and hysterics really necessary?

Perhaps it is, because I must admit that my attention is drawn in to possible disaster. However, I’m not proud of this weakness. I will watch nearly anything on my happy little picture box.

By the way, if you do run into a snake, poisonous or not, the right thing to do is exactly what I end up doing by default... stay still... paralyzed still.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

for my cryptic sister-in-law.

Something fishy is going down in Tokyo town.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I peed in this urinal more than any other.

underused names.

Here is a list of names that were once used, but you just don't hear enough anymore:









That's all.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but America seems to be electing a president again. Apparently yesterday was Super Tuesday, which is possibly the stupidest official name for a day ever. What was super about it? It was Tuesday. As far as days of the week, Tuesday leaves me feeling not much of anything, least of all super.

Turns out that nothing super even happened.

The whole world seems to be transfixed by this presidential television game show. It possibly has more impact than American Idol, and how I still cringe, but in a different way.

Only Americans get to vote, which would be fine except that the biggest anything with a gun on top belongs to America. With that sort of clout and a proven track record of using it, the rest of the world holds their breath every 4 years while we wonder what our planet might look like for the following 4 years. And every 4 years I forget how long and involved and silly the whole process really is.

This time, a lot of fuss is being made over the first black or female US president, which strikes me as almost too embarrassing to even mention. Women have been in charge of other countries. I’m pretty sure ladies can also make unpleasant decisions. Black people have also been leaders before. Nelson Mandela did some very fine work. Why are race and gender even a consideration? It’s sad that the peoples will vote on this basis. I can understand wanting to ‘change’ things. I don’t think it will work though.

Essentially these people are applying for a job, which is never a dignified process. The wrong sort of folk are bound to apply.

And every time we wave a flag supporting one or the other, it is important to remember that we are only being told what we want to hear.

It’s just a show.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

spring clouds.

One of the groundhogs
predicted an early spring.
Groundhog, I concur.