Monday, February 15, 2016

Sweet Revenge

This an excerpt from an excerpt on the early years... The boat was sold and for a few years, my father rented a cabin on a lake in the Gatineau. That’s when I had my first encounters with naked women. I was all of 8 or 9 at the time. There was an old canoe belonging to my father and his friend that had split in half and had been fibre-glassed back together. It was strong enough, but my older brother used to tease me that one day in really deep water, the boat would break in half and we would start to sink. One time, my father and I were out in the canoe, I was paddling at the front and my father was steering. It was a hot summer's day. My father had stripped down to shorts. We were paddling fairly close to the shoreline, so as to stay out of the wind in the middle of the lake. I looked to my left as we passed a dock connecting another cabin to the water. Two women were lying on deck chairs. They had long dark hair and sunglasses and one of them was wearing knee-length argyle socks. That was the extent of their wardrobe. I remember this vividly because they weren’t more than 20 feet away and I was trying really hard to look and not look at the same time. WOW. I remember that we kept paddling and I really wanted to turn the canoe around and paddle past again. I wasn’t steering though. My father sort of chuckled, like he had seen that every day of his life and this was nothing new. (He probably had, the bastard!) Ha! That was some sweet revenge on my brother for teasing me. I was so casual about it as I told the story when we got back. Yah, we passed two beautiful naked women lying in beach chairs while you were here reading your book. My brother was practically hopping up and down and wanted to get the canoe out and go look for them. No such luck. Besides it was getting late and they had probably gone inside by now. The second time the naked female form was introduced to me was again rather unexpected and one for which I didn't do the proper planning. The cabin where we stayed was simple enough with space for a living room, a small kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. My brother and I shared a bedroom. Our room faced the living room. To the right was my father's room. To the left was the bathroom. There was a bunk bed in our room and I slept on the top bunk.I woke up one night with an urgent need to pee. It was probably no more than 11pm, but it felt like the middle of the night. After using the bathroom, I came back to our room leaving the bedroom door half-way open and climbed back up into my bunk. Just as I was putting my head down, I saw my father’s girlfriend walk past our bedroom door. By the light from the living room, I could see that she was completely naked. I froze in position and tried to keep the bed from making any sound as it was an old bed and tended to squeek whenever you rolled over. I heard her go into the bathroom and close the door. I waited for her to finish using the bathroom and walk past our bedroom again. I waited and waited. It seemed like an eternity. I tried so hard to stay awake to see this beautiful image go by again. But my eyes closed and I fell asleep . I had missed it! I was so disappointed when I woke up. I did tell my brother though, with as much detail as I could remember.

Sunday, May 03, 2015


The listlessness of the blank page. The endless repetition of thoughts and words and decisions. The mind is a high functioning machine designed to analyse, decipher, calculate and execute When it reaches a certain level of expertise, it becomes bored and focuses its relentless energies on itself. To create new problems, new puzzles to solve. This action, this re-focusing comes at a cost to its host. It is an immuno-deficiency. It attacks itself in an effort to create, to fulfil its purpose – analysis, calculation, execution. The greatest minds have punished the greatest souls in a spiralling vortex of worry, anxiety, frustration, fear and depression. It is the most intelligent who are often the most punished because they are of the mistaken belief that their thoughts are a reflection of their inner truth. It is with this intelligence that they worry and fear and fritter their time away – believing in the mind, believing in the thoughts. What is amazing in this discovery is that there is no inner truth. There is no central identity. There is only the Soul’s Journey. At the flick of a switch, one can turn over a new leaf and move away from the endless analysis, the fear, the frustration, the anxiety. Ultimately, my fear, frustration, anger, resentment, anxiety is a story that I have created because of my intelligence. These words are the printed form of a melting pot of energies that I have tried to examine without context. There are energies that come from other people that I have collected as though they were seashells I put in my pocket while walking on the beach. They are nothing more. I can feel each one: loss, fear, grief, heartbreak, jealousy. Like a fog, they invade my head and make my body feel exhausted. And I believe them to be real, to be mine. And that is their hold. That is their grip. Belief! It really is that easy to divest myself of them. The only way to do this is to know that it is that easy. It means that I must make moves to trust myself, to divest myself, to walk away from these energies. There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

Friday, April 03, 2015

A New Chapter

My GoG, It has been bloody ages since I sat down to write. Honestly, it feels like years. I often wonder where all that time has gone...ahhh to the unblessed, to the heathen, to the faithless -- "...curse them! They stole it from us..." "What? What did they steal?" "Myyyyy Preshusssss!!!" Gollum. Truly he has a fine flow of language. I too can relate to Gollum's high emotion when it comes to what I have been losing -- some might call it wisdom -- others might call it time -- others still might call it life. Life. Life force. Life force in trade for money. And prestige. The medical benefits. The pension. The call of the corporate state. A grown-up's job. Join the working week. Spend your time navigating egos, Cover your Ass (CYA) (Also Canadian Yachting Association) and be creative with Excel spreadsheets. I really had no idea how fundamental a role Excel Spreadsheets would take in my day to day life. And incompetence. Huge swathes of incompetence at all levels of business. It's really quite extraordinary. Well, let's look on the positive side. I have made a good deal of money -- much of which I have spent. Let's put that into different words. I have spent a good deal of money (from my higher salary). I have kept a sailboat in the water and paid for all expenses. I have gotten my car back on the road (soon to be sold). I have learned about Excel. Sharepoint. A number of other software programs. I have gained skills and insights into the onerous and methodical task of schmoozing, learning to never so 'no' even when it is abundantly clear that the request being made is not only completely undoable, but is childish in the extreme. Most importantly, I have gained valuable insight into mud-slinging, bullying and back-stabbing, behaviours which are measureably rewarded at the most senior levels. Oh yes, and I learned a new career at some point in the bargain. It has been benevolently illustrated to me that the last point is totally irrelevant when it comes to getting promoted and achieving job satisfaction. Any yet, given this tirade of abuse, this aggressive praise, this distinguished collection of verbiage levelled at a place of work, which I have stated in no uncertain terms for over 6 months to virtually everyone I know, there is still surprise and chagrin when I tell those same souls that I intend to leave my job. Why do you want to quit? What will you do? Can you work there part-time? Is there somewhere else in the company you can go? What about your car, your boat, your rent? Are you sure this is a good idea? Yah, but it sure is good to pay the bills! You know, those questions NEVER occured to me! Thank you for mentioning it. I never thought once about how to pay my rent or pay down my line of credit or subsist off the meagre savings I have. I just didn't think about it. HUH! But I digress as I am wont to do. Digressing is where I shine. I SHINE AT DIGRESSING. I can start to work on a project and digress so furiously that I have to sit down in consternation so as not get utterly overwhelmed by all the possible outcomes in front of me. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a wonderful skill. It takes practice. It takes rehearsal. One must rehearse at digressing before one can shine at digressing. I'm lying of course, but it is something that has always come naturally to me. Perhaps a bit of Attention Deficit Disorder. There is medication for that I know. It's called Conversations with Undergraduates. No, that is the malady. Anyway, it has been a long time since I have written. I miss it. I miss communicating with words, like actual words instead of semi-automatic gunfire of three letter acronyms (did you know that TLA is the acronym for Three Letter Acronyms--I'm not kidding). I miss conversations that are creative, that flex the brain -- conversations on philosphy, language, film, the things we cannot touch except with our minds. It has been 10 years since I started this blog. That is quite extraordinary. I wonder.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Someone else's me

Listening to ThisAmericanLife with my sweets. A show starring Jonathan Goldstein. I let out a bitter moan and told the sweets that I couldn't listen to a show with Jonathan Goldstein. The reason being that I interviewed to do an internship on his show just when I was graduating University and I didn't get the job. I will say that I didn't get the job because I listened to someone else's advice on how to do an interview at CBC. I listened to this person because she worked at CBC and I thought she would know. It turns out that she knew about her field and that was about it. Following this person's advice, led me down the route of not getting hired by Jonathan Goldstein. And I blamed that person for giving me such crap advice. That was the cause of this bitter moan. Mind you, years later I applied to do an internship at thisamericanlife and they didn't even reply, so I can't be sure that someone gave me crap advice or that they just didn't like me. The point is that the blame is in the wrong place. I made the decision to trust someone else's opinion over my own, someone else's advice about how I should think or behave or act over my own judgement. That is the really depressing thing. Not trusting myself! Ugh. Looking back, I don't remember choosing a career path that I really wanted to do. Well, that's not strictly true. Let me reflect on that and get back to you...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Composure and the Risk of Keeping It

I can't remember the last time I sat down to has been a time. I'm trying to recall how I felt, where I was, how I was feeling, what I was thinking. So much has passed. It's like an old friendship that I have with myself. I want to pick up my pen or train of thought and start writing where I left off. Which I may have mentioned was probably 2 years ago. I am also eager to correct my grammar, but I will be my old sloppy self and forgive the hapless errors in favour of a conversationalist style. I have been listening to Writers & Co. . It reminds me of where I used to sit and listen to the radio. I listened to the radio every night for years. I listened to the radio while I made my dinner which consisted of two bowls of food: salad and some sort of stir fry / curry. I then went to the other room and sat down in front of the telly, a small 20 inch TV that Stephen sold to me for $30 ten years before. I had a VCR and I watched movies which I had seen a zillion times before, either from the beginning or from other places in the film which I would fast forward to on screen. It wasn't all that terrible. It was relaxing actually. It was like seeing old friends and reliving their triumphs, their losses, their love and their betrayals. Even if the themes I knew by heart, I could easily slip into their world and watch for awhile. And now, these days I spend on Netflix when I get home, desperately searching for something that will enlighten me or amuse me or engage me. It's the old video store search. Picking up a video box and carrying it with me around the store as I look for another one in the New Releases or the Documentaries or the Drama sections. Happy. That's the word I focused on today. Something I have not felt in so many moons at this place where I work. Quite extraordinary to have gone without being myself for so long at this place. There is so much seriousness in this place, it is so utterly dry, so utterly with emotion, without inspiration, without love. I have been so keen to save my humour and my absurdity for another time. Watching my back is at least 75% of my job. But today I forgot myself, and a few people laughed including myself. I was doing software training and some of my fellow trainees were marring my work through the network. The trainer pointed this out to me and I said aloud to the whole room "The Basards!" and a few people were surprised and laughed. My brain was fuzzled and the information was coming at me so thick and fast, that I forgot to put on my serious face and I blurted it out. It was the first time I had seen myself, well for some time. It was wonderful. It lasted until I recovered my composure and put my armour back on without even noticing. So long I have worn it, for so much of the day. Which is almost just as astonishing. I would really rather lose my composure more often. It has made me so unhappy to keep it. I will soon leave it behind me and sit and watch myself and others reactions to that. Is it risky to lose composure or risky to keep it?

Monday, August 20, 2012


LAWYER: On the morning of July 25th, did you walk from the farmhouse on the footpath to the cowshed? WITNESS: I did. LAWYER: And as a result, you passed within a few yards of the duck pond? WITNESS: I did. LAWYER: And did you observe anything? WITNESS: I did. (Witness remains silent.) LAWYER: Well, could you tell the Court what you saw? WITNESS: I saw George. LAWYER: You saw George *******, the defendant in this case? WITNESS: Yes. LAWYER: Can you tell the Court what George ******* was doing? WITNESS: Yes. (Witness remains silent.) LAWYER: Well, would you kindly do so? WITNESS: He had his thing stuck into one of the ducks. LAWYER: His "thing"? WITNESS: You know... His thing. His di... I mean, his penis. LAWYER: You passed close by the duck pond, the light was good, you were sober, you have good eyesight, and you saw this clearly? WITNESS: Yes. LAWYER: Did you say anything to him? WITNESS: Of course I did! LAWYER: What did you say to him? WITNESS: "Morning, George.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I knew I was a writer

I knew I was a writer when I found myself one morning, perched on the toilet like a popinjay, reciting lines of the “Breakfast Club” over and over in my head. I knew that there are people in the world who do this and would understand and appreciate our connnection. What kind of writer, I thought to myself. Well not a writer of novels. That’s for sure. I could no more write a novel than I could climb Kilimanjaro with a penguin balanced on my nose. It takes a certain amount of focus, plot, theme, story – some of which is the author’s, but most of which is not. All of these essentials bog me down and I go back to reciting movie lines in my head. A very unprofitable way to spend time, I might add. A script writer then. No. Not a script writer. This involves rather a lot of good dialogue – all of it in fact and some stage directions. I tried this once and that was enough. It is actually pretty tricky to do well. And I enjoy doing things well. Or at least mildly appropriate. No let’s be clear. I like doing things well. So I decided to be a writer for radio – it’s a form of story-telling. It reaches a good number of people and there’s a fair amound of work writing for the radio because as my favorite author Douglas Adams, once said that the reason you can still find radio work is that it pays so badly. This is true. It does pay badly or in the case of my brief contributions to radio story-telling, it doesn’t pay at all. At least, it doesn’t pay in the monetary sense, which is pretty essential when it comes to buying groceries. Though it might be tempting to say to the grocery store clerk when asked if I have payment for the groceries, “Not in the monetary sense.” But only, in my mind. I did do some radio work for a couple of years, not as a writer, but as a recording engineer, which isn’t particularly rocket science, I just have a perfectionist streak when it comes to sybillance and plosives. This perfectionism is lost to many people who work in community radio, largely because people don’t know what a plosive or sybillance means. But we all hear the radio (host or guest) making that sound when they have the pasties and their tongues are glued to the roofs of their mouths and they have to unstick them and make a god-awful noise comparable to the image and sound of spit hitting the sidewalk. That’s what I think of when I hear it and it really puts me off the show, even if it’s about amateur dramatics in the sheep-rustling community. This is why community radio remains inevitably community radio. I was struck last night by a thought that momentarily escapes me. How often does that happen I wonder. How often do you think of somthing brilliant and decide to attach some kind of train of thought to it like a mental place-holder only to instantly forget it because you are looking for the milk in the refridgerator and you discover that your roommate has drank it all. It’s just maddening. This brilliant thought that could revolutionize the way we communicate or harvest renewable energy in exchange for what??!! – a totally useless, random discovery that there is no more milk in the fridge and you are going to have to drink your tea, your lovingly steeped black tea, flown in from England, made from purest tea leaves, picked and packed by some really underpaid, indentured Indian peasant farmer who works for 2 dollars a week – without milk. Now that I put it like that, it seems that there is a reason for that thought. Absolutely! The hell with renewable energy. There’s no milk for my tea!! Damn it! Who would do such a thing? What inconsiderate, selfish, mean, greedy, heartless bastard would finish off the milk, last thing at night, so there is none to be had in the morning? I probably do that all the time. The thought that did escape me was something to do with my roommate. It was something to do with cooking or eating or breaking up with someone. These are usually the topics of conversation in the kitchen – and dishes. Let’s not forget dishes. Though I do wish that I could forget them – most of the time. Yes, we chat about eating, cooking and breaking up with people. The reason being that she has broken up with her partner somewhere in the 10 times mark. And the only real reason to be in the kitchen is to cook and / or eat and gossip. The thought however reminded me of something DNA wrote (this is going to happen an awful lot because much of what I love about writing and books comes from Douglas Noel Adams and Kurt Vonnegut whom it turns out, was one of the things DNA loved about writing and books. So I’m just going to quote him again and again and you might as well get used to his initials rather than his full name), in a book called “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”. The quote is to do with someone breaking into someone else’s flat and doing a really bad job of it. The character Dirk Gently thought to himself (I’m paraphrasing here) “...that if we have to have burglars, they may as well be trained. I am there would be grant money available...” I thought of a similar thing that if we have to have (blank), there may as well be training, I am sure there would be grant money available. I just don’t remember what (blank) is, because as we now know – THERE IS NO MORE MILK IN THE FRIDGE! The thought that does really amaze me is how disorganized my brain really is. It’s just staggering sometimes. Interesting slipup here that as I was writing that last sentence, I wrote ‘who’ instead of ‘how’ twice. Could be some kind of Freudian slip or it could be nothing. Anyway as I was saying, I am staggered by how much information is filtered out, some of it vital information to my day, to my future, to my relationships, to my work, to my family, to my very survival in favour of information which has a half-life of a few (dramatic and egotistical) seconds. Usually this information has ZERO import. It’s just so meaningless. Life is. When examined more closely – the chemicals used to propel me from a place of profundity (saving the human race and so on) to total bewilderment as to who and /or why drank all the milk, is so meaningless. So random. This begs the ultimate question that we can never and I mean NEVER answer, which is: why? In coming to terms with this....situation, I wonder if there are patterns to my own behaviour which would help me find understanding of the chemical actions and reactions which so often lead me to this place of bewilderment. I have just discovered that the two words which begin the last three paragraphs have been: the thought. There is something to be gleaned from this. I’m sure of it, even if I am sure of little else at this juncture, save that I need more milk, I need to do some gleaning. More on this next week....

The problem with reading other people’s stories, especially conversations, is how boring they are. It’s annoying because I have so far spent more than 3 hours reading and editing a Douglas Adams Story I was going to send everyone for Christmas. I started editing out all the retakes and breaths and bits and decided that it was one of the most boring things to listen to despite the fact that the writing is excellent. Or perhaps because the writing is excellent. Because Douglas Adamses writing is so good, the enjoyment is reduced by reading it aloud. The only person who should read Douglas Adams, is Douglas Adams, because whenever I read it, I hear his voice in my head. I do not hear my own voice. Not that there is anything wrong with my voice. I don’t mind hearing it, I just don’t want to hear it reading Douglas Adams. I would much rather hear it read something I have written, because it sounds more natural. In fact I would rather quote Monty Python to you than read Douglas Adams. But don’t worry, I’m not going to do that because you would simply stop the CD player, eject the CD and lovingly and loudly began to stamp on it. I understand. I hate it when other people quote comedians to me, strangely enough I can’t help myself – quoting Monty Python. It’s in my head ALL THE TIME, even when I don’t want it to be. For example, when I hear someone say “What’s the Point?” All I can think of is, “What’s the point of him having the right to have babies when he can’t have babies?” See there I go again. I can’t help it. I need help. Help Help. You think you need help? If you need help, press the Help key. Didn’t there used to be a Help Key on a keyboard? There should be one. I could use one. I am going to add one later, when I have gotten to the point.