Monday, January 31, 2005

Douglas Coupland Live in Guelph!

Tuesday, Jan 30/05
So, I don't know what it is that kept me from writing about this for a couple weeks. Well, I do, I'm just too biased and self-serving to admit it. Douglas Coupland explained that for lazy people like myself, there are certain things that we just cannot do. One thing that I can never seem to do is keep my room clean, another is that although I want to get something I really need done, I just can't. Yeah, I'm a procrastinator.

An example of this is that although I went to see the daring, the whimsical, the brilliant writer Douglas Coupland more than a week ago, I just couldn't get around to blogging about the event. It was brimming up in my brain, it was seething to get out, and I was always thinking about it, I just didn’t do anything about it. I just wanted it to be perfect. Then the idea of blogging about it cooled, and then it festered, and now I'm forcing myself to let it out. To ensure success, I followed Mr.Coupland’s advice.

He gave a simple solution for doing things that you just can't do: do them at half speed. Say you just can't seem to clean up those kleenexes you blew your nose with. The rubbish bin is right beside the desk, but you just leave it there because cleaning that one single item gets by in virtue of it not being any less tidy than any of the other things that clutter the room. Well: reach out slowly, grasp, move your arm over to the disposal unit, release, recoil, rest at ease. You can surprise yourself by how simple the world seems when you start with the basics.

So with the blogging thing: I suppose if I had tried to do this at full speed, I would have either done it last week or failed to do it altogether because the initiative of beginning to do that which I needed to do would have shocked my body too much and paralized me in utter fear. Now I just hope the ideas aren't stale, that I can report his presence in as entertaining a way as it was. Just to make sure that the second half of this blog is as fresh again, and so that I'm not overwhelmed by a deadline or distorted out of haste, I'll wait a day and then write the rest of this tomorrow.

It will start with: So, I entred the United Church in which he was speaking and sat up on the balcony, to the left, looking down on the man. The first thing that struck me as seemingly strange is that he looked older than I remembered. I should have expected this before I came. Although books don't really age, authors are real people prone to the effects of time like the rest of us.

Jan 31/05 –The Real Meat
Everyone should get a taste of Douglas Coupland. They'll go away from reading him smacking their lips and making people wonder why they're grinning. He's so random, so funny, his plots are weird in a realistic kind of way that adds insight to life. Just take the premise for Miss Wyoming. A beauty pageant princess is the only survivor of a plane crash that she simply walks away from. In All Families Are Psychotic, a genius thalidomide baby that is a successful NASA astronaut is the first to conceive a baby in space. Among other things, father and sun get into illegal trade with their piece of the Royal Family, they black mail each other, meet Wades lively girlfriend whose name is Shw, they find a prostitute who is immune to AIDS who heals victims with blood. transfusions and they cooperate successfully to save themselves and their psychotic family.

This meeting was scheduled to release Douglas Coupland’s new book Eleanor Rigby, and talk about his upcoming book Jpod.

Coupland was willing to be himself inasfar as he didn’t offend anyone. The theme of the night was “painkillers.” I guess that since he’s always typing and writing, he had quite a case of carpel tunnel syndrome. He was drugged on codeine and he apologized because he felt that he might be desecrating the church that we were in because he “swears like a pirate.” Codeine was his social lubricant. It helped him get through the questioning period because he explained that he doesn’t talk so much on a day-to-day basis. And so that he didn’t have to sign books, he brought his stamp. He gave us this waiver about swearing at the beginning, but I was too into his talk to notice him saying “fuck” more than once. It’s a good thing, or else I would have started giggling and turning red and shrinking from the high ceiling of the Gothic styled church. More realistically, I would have said “Fuck G-d! Douglas Coupland is here in Guelph! Are you getting this down?” His delicate tendon condition gives him trouble when he’s trying to play piano. For him, playing the Charlie Brown Christmas theme is an “atheletic” exercise.

After he explained the thing about doing things at 50% speed: “if you find yourself speeding just slow it down…see…writing my checks…one more random thing” it led right into a random thought, where he said the word “fuck” the one time. He suggested a brilliant thing that I’m sure everyone can relate to. My computer used to freeze, to get attacked by pop-ups, and generally try to mess with me. At those times, he says, it would be really convenient to have a “fuck off” button. The computer could be a jerk as much as it wants as long as it listens when you tell it to fuck off. You could also get more detailed and sophisticated with shift + fuckoff button = “fuck off and die” and so on. He said something else about a button, that when accidentally pressed disallows you from sending emails for two years. Yes, computers WOULD have a button like that!

Douglas Coupland is not just a really smart guy. He’s also a really interesting and down-to-earth individual. He gave some words of wisdom to us under-thirty-year olds and told us a bit about going through his 20’s “medically lonely.” It scares him that there are people out there, really young people, who are determined to be writers. I suppose it is people like me who are still naïve to life in a sense. We want to shape it and arrange it and put it on display, but we haven’t built up a lot of content to know what the patterns mean. I guess there’s nothing wrong with this and how do you know where to draw the line is what I ask myself. He thought he was depressed most of his youth, until, when he was 30, he realized that being 26 is the “absolute worst year of your life.” So he tells me this and I’m 23. I don’t want to believe it. I’d like to be a good writer right now, but to be a novelist, and he didn’t say it quite like this but I agree with him: why not wait until I’ve had the real shit hit the fan? When I’m 26, I’ll write my first novel, unless I get ahead of myself.

Liz Dunn is the main character of Eleanor Rigby. She’s named after a real friend, someone who helped Coupland write Microserfs. In the book, all I know is that she “weighs as much as a ritz cracker.” With Coupland, he admitted he gets ideas for his characters from characteristics of real people, but it may only be one aspect of the person, like, for example, their dangerous driving, while the rest of the character is completely different. Names like Ed show up in the book because Douglas doesn’t want to type long names, hence, Liz. Douglas read some passages from Eleanor Rigby and then quickly turned back to the audience because it made him think of something else.

“What’s the deal with lava?” (Another one of Douglas’ rants coming on) “4 billion years, it’s still not cool yet????????” In Douglas Coupland’s books, his characters are interested in comets and astronomy because they get a kind of cosmic consciousness from looking up at the stars. In Eleanor Rigby, the setting is during the noticeable presence of Hale Bop in our orbit. As Liz lies on the beach staring at the sky, Hale Bop looks like “felt, cut with kindergarden scissors but it never looked natural.” It’s not like a moon or a sun that we just get used to. She’s reminded of how Coyote in Coyote and Roadrunner once attracted things across a desert with a giant magnet.

Douglas Coupland seems to revel in stringing along his readers, sometimes self-reflexively saying things like: “the moon is on probation…waxing, waning, for godsake make up your mind!” His world seems to change and contradict our impressions of it right before our eyes. He critiques the writer who smothers their characters with obsessive attention to detail because the result is that “out come our heros, as bland as channel six news.” Is the news so boring?

Wondering about life and death, Douglas Coupland asks whether it matters if you know where you’re going after you die. We never think of the fact that we don’t know where we came from before birth, or perhaps, we don’t want to think about it. “Why should I care?”

Somewhere in his talk, he stops mid-sentence and says: “k, it’s a church confession time.” I come out of my reverie and remember that we’re in a church. He admits it. He watches The Swan. You know, the show where they take people who are desperate just to change their outer appearance, and they all end up crying and saying that plastic surgery has changed their lives after they’ve seen themselves in the mirror. Well, he watches it because it provides him with something to talk about with his dad. Apparently, they sit at the dinner table and discuss whether or not contestants have “swan spirit.” Can they be made over to look like porn stars? “Doug” he says to himself, “you’re in a church.”

The highlight of his readings came from his upcoming book JPod. Bri is the main character of Jpod, which is the name of a cubicle. He’s 26 and lonely. He just wants a call. Mark, who’s in HR encourages him to write but Ronald is having a detrimental effect on those around him.

It included 6 fictional love letters to Ronald McDonald from various characters searching for that special someone. Jpod explores corporate ID in a new way. Someone brings in supersize McD’s fries and puts it in the drawer of their office desk but the boss smells “the taint” and quickly shuns him for his actions. Rationalizations put forth during the discussion between characters as to why McD’s tastes the way it does, are possibly because of Ronald’s loneliness, his age (although how does he always look so young?) and other clown factors. They begin to speculate that he must drink, because all clowns need to drink “to blot out the terrifying children.” Douglas summons up an image of Ronald McDonald drinking scotch just as the burgler comes in with the orange drink. Do you remember enjoying that ghastly stuff that was so orange it was well, really damn orange? Imagine what it looks like on the inside.

So, now that I’ve finished this blog, I know that Douglas Coupland, though eccentric, expresses many truisms. (And when I say eccentric, I mean from its Greek root, which is “to the core” or of the core, being his inner self). I didn’t mean to give anything away about the novel that will ruin it, but I don’t think I have, because I still need to read them myself! If they are as addictive as Girlfriend in a Coma or All Families Are Psychotic then I’ll finish them in no time. Check him out. Also, check out the pictures for God Hates Japan. You’ll smack yourself for not doing so earlier.

Filed under News Reviews

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Passports photos. Which one is not like the other? Posted by Hello

Canadian Passports and Other Failed Items of Bureaucracy

So, I just felt like listing some news clips since this week has been so busy. I've been listening to CBC the last couple days, which some may criticize as ultra-left-wing because it usually undertakes socialist issues, but since I usually identify with it, and because I like it, why, just call me a bleeding heart pinko why don't ya?

It was -25 today, but with the wind chill it felt like -35. AGAIN! Whoever reported in had just enough time to get off their cell phone before it froze to their face! The windsheild wiper fluid from my car is still frozen. That's why I stop at gas stations, to use their squeegies.

They had a very nice list of the best Canadian songs from the past including Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, and the song "Four Strong Winds" which was touching but just wasn't that original. Going forward in time they got to "These Eyes" by the Guess Who ("These eyes, are crying, these eyes have seen a lot of love but they'll never see a love like the one that I had with you") and will most surely site Stan Rogers as a musician who tells about Canada.

There was a little exposé on the Canadian dialect. Apparently we do have an accent. You can tell when we say we've been out and about. Although we've lost many of our Britishisms and many of us don't say "chesterfield" (we instead just say "couch" like everyone else), there are still some things that distinguish us from North Americans in general. The diversity of ethnicity and accents in Toronto being one.

Stephen Harper has gotten some ridicule over his statement this week that since the Liberals are still working at legislating gay marriage, the next thing they'll want to do is right a special clause to include polygamy into marriage. What the hell? Does he think all gays are ravaging nymphomaniacs with no desire to marry without cheating? Has Harper ever come across anyone who's openly gay? Well, us heteros have enough problems keeping our marriages tidy as it is so I'm assuming that if gay marriage is passed, then gay divorce will be too.

Aside: I don't get this issue though. Is gay marriage already legislated or something? I know it's legal in progressive countries like the Netherlands. Wasn't there some Canadian lesbians that were the first gay couple in this country to divorce?

Some think that conservative leader Harper is just scaremongering (although it's a warped kind of fear-inspiration that seems more like confusion) but others have raised the issue that perhaps he's just against the Charter of rights taking supremacy over the power of the parliament. In the Charter we can't discriminate between sex, race, gender, or sexual orientation, so if it is what it is, then how can you entitle people to marry based on their sex or sexual orientation? That's the issue. The way traditionalist/conservative arguments see to run is that after all, the "four pillars" (or chair legs) of marriage in our current understanding is monogamy, something else, something else maybe sharing of assets?, and something between a man and a woman. We just can't challenge that rigid thinking. Our minds won't take it. The man demonstrating the properties of this imaginary chair was saying, and I think we should all very much fear it, that if the 'between a man and a woman' part is taken away, the chair would topple over. Oh no! What will we have left to sit on?????????? (Perhaps real chairs)

Another interesting story I heard today involved a 16 year old Canadian from Isreal who is angry at the government because it won't allow him to have that on his passport. What his passport now says is "Jerusalem" but it doesn't go into any more specificity. As he was coming back to Canada from the States, customs officials were invariably confused about where he came from, considering there are about 27 different Jerusalem's around the world. Germany has a Jerusalem, New York has a Jerusalem, so if you say you're from Jerusalem, that doesn't really help. When security is such an issue, don't you think Canada would like to have its passports be as informative as possible? Or we could just put "birthplace:momma" on ALL passports.

Aside: I had a beef with customs officials after 911 when I was coming back from New York and they harassed the man in front of me presumably because he wasn't white, asking him such questions as "what were YOU doing in Jersey? Celebratin' Mecca? Sellin' hash?"

And they talked about the Iraqi election. Many aren't sure what it will lead to but most agree it won't be democracy. There are so many separate interests that any piece of the pie chart wouldn't feed a mouse and the candidates that would probably make the best leaders seem to have better things to do then getting assassinated.

Meanwhile, what's going on with Ukraine's democratic election with Yuschenko? Will the choice stick this time?

We'll see how all this pans out. Now I have to renew MY passport, making sure that all 8 pages of my "e-pass" are filled out properly, that my two references have known me for TWO years, and that I do not sign outside of the lines, and that I pay my $87 or so fee, and that I include two photos of myself not smiling, and that my guarantor is a lawyer, doctor, optometrist, pastor or someone with appointed authority. I can't tell them that I'm from another planet. That would be wrong. I'm from Canada. I'm from Canada. I'm not an alien. I'm from Canada.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I Need A Message this Instant!!

The transformation from actual to virtual interaction between people started subtly in the 90's. The ‘computer geeks’ were the first people to start using chat-rooms and sharing each other’s files, but it didn’t take long for others to catch on. Now, it’s hard to imagine that the introduction of the Internet for home use happened just a little over 10 years ago. Today, it seems like everyone is a computer geek.

If you want proof that the internet has changed our lives, look at the way it’s infiltrated everyday vocabulary. It’s not uncommon to tell friends we’ll “MSN” them later, and if we want to find information about someone or something, we just “google” it. Instant messaging has changed the way people communicate, build relationships, and stay in touch with the one another. For those who are less inclined to go out, they get the upper hand in the social scene because it’s easy to update their friends on gossip, exchange files, or share pictures with another person anywhere in the world, provided they have a computer.

A famous Canadian once said that “the medium is the message”. (McLuhan, 7) He was Marshall McLuhan, and considering that he died long before computers were small enough to fit into one room, his statements were prophetic. The meaning of the statement has been widely argued. It applies to instant messaging though because we have a new social space: the internet. What we communicate through it, and how it is communicated, influences what the content is, and that is the message. To take another one of his terms, since the internet is effectively collapsing the space connecting the “global village” to the point where there is no real space, but only ‘cyberspace’, everyone in it is immediately accessible, without having to travel anywhere.

Everyone knows what MSN is. For those we haven’t met, and even for those we may see on a daily basis, MSN works as a 24/7 locating service that allows you to see the status of the person you are looking for, whether “online” “offline” or possibly just “out to lunch”. Instant messaging has even changed the process of democracy. People can reply to radio shows and express their opinions about politics or vote for their Canadian Idol candidate via text messaging. For many, MSN automatically signs in for them as soon as they sit down to the computer. And if you are the type of person that uses it, not going online for a few days might arouse suspicion in others that something has happened to you.

For some, talking to people over the Internet just seems shallow or insincere. You can’t see the other person, so how can you judge how they feel or even if they are who they say they are? And since it’s not face-to-face it can often mask intended sarcasm or change the meaning of the message on the other end of the wire. It’s easy to say one thing and have it ending up meaning something else. Therefore, the intended message is not the message, the medium is. This is why dating someone you’ve never met in real life can sometimes be a big mistake. Ontario schools have had to launch a campaign to teach children how to identify someone who is trying to lure them over the Internet so that they can avoid the situation.

Others claim that being on MSN is addictive, and since the bright computer screen keep us awake, insomnia abounds. But there are lots of benefits to instant messaging. It serves Canadians well, since we have great distances separating us that couldn’t otherwise be overcome, except with the simple click of a mouse.

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man New York: McGraw Hill, 1964.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Big Pops Turns 60 This SATURDAY!!

So my Dad is really going to become a senior citizen on Saturday. He's an old wise-cracker now. Last night around the dinner table he was getting all excited about it, I could tell. However, stupid me forgot to book it off from work. So here is my hasty letter to ask for time off so that I can party with my old man.

To the manager,
I am kicking myself because up until yesterday, I thought that my father's birthday was on Sunday. No reason to think I'd miss it, I thought. But then I find out it's on Saturday, and my father is turning 60!! I really don't think I can miss this. He only turns 60 once. Is there any way you could get someone to work for me? Please puppet-master, pull the strings and see who you can make dance,

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Howard's Colour Forecast

Howard has been getting a lot of attention recently for his unique views about colours. I've known that he's a big lecturer but I couldn't believe it when I saw him on channel H last night! I caught it after it had already started, but I managed to get down some of the interview. Howard was speaking:

"Very well-to-do with-it people, the Winslets the Trumps etc, the kind that may not walk down the red carpet themselves but know very well there's a reason for its particular color have seen what I'm talking about. We often neglect the significance of how our own bodies absorb photons and the balance of wavelength that it requires to really hone in on our colour instinct."

"Well, I was about to ask you, since you're the author of A Whole Range of Colours, From White to Black what you would say to the average person who wants to get a better feel for colours. Do people have colours that fit them more then other colours?"

"If I didn't think so, you would not see this man in front of you. No sir, I am your proof that colours aren't something to be chosen improperly. But also what has to be figured out, is how you can fit your colour. Each colour has its own purpose, and only when we listen to the messages in the colours that our environment sends us, will we have colour harmony with the environment. In terms of your question about getting a feel, that is the word kids are saying today is it? Well, yes, a 'getting a feel' for colours is precisely that. Some people just shouldn't be left alone in a purple room, and for others, it could be the best thing for them. What you need to do is internally verbalize your colour dialogue, and then you make better choices about what colours to see, and how to see the ones that afterall, you're just simply forced to see day-in and day-out. I mean, what can you do if your office is topaz? Someone else painted it. You learn to like topaz and there are many techniques."

"What are the techniques?"

Howard:"I cannot go into detail about them now, but they are outlined in my book."

"Ok, then I'm sure I'll get to it soon. I guess what everyone really wants to know is how we should choose colour?"

Howard:"Well, you don't limit your colours ever. That would be a rock-headed mistake. It's more a matter of WHEN. WHEN can you engage WHICH colours? That is the question. But I will tell you what I think of some colours, because this will hopefully wake up your own sense. Red says something. It's not angre and it's not fury, -people often exaggerate the power of red, and this is intolerable enough, but as well, they don't understand its potency. Red is a very concentrating colour. You look at it and there is a connection. That's all it is. Red is a very fierce colour."

"Well, red IS the colour of blood. It's primal, war-like. Could that be how it is?"

Howard:"No. Actually it has to do with a more scientific reason then that. It is not related to some namby-pampy nonsense notions about an association to the things that are red, because redness itself is something else. Ok, you are wearing periwinkle right? Well, that tells me you didn't just wake up empty-headed this morning. Periwinkle is a very determined colour. I can tell you had this interview planned. You knew that you were going to do it. So on some level, your instinct broke through with its power of colours. You see? They haven't proven all this yet but you know why I know it? Because. I. AM. In. Touch. Unless you become very familiar with colours you cannot really understand the essence of them or not confuse them often with their appearances. You will though. But first you must believe."

Interviewer:"Hmm, yeah. I hope so. You do have a point. I did know about this interview ahead of time, but does that mean I chose this colour because of it? I was assigned to wear this shirt because it suited the lighting on camera. I didn't choose it."

Howard:"Well, your crew did."

Interviewer:"And do you mean that when you see orange it's not necessarily orange? It could be another colour that was supposed to be orange but someone failed to choose orange and made it green instead? It sounds complicated. What you're saying? Should we really take colour very seriously? If it's out there, why do you have to understand the 'essence'?"

Howard:"Well, there are many oranges, and most people have seen a hand-full of them, but most people haven't found the time to pick an orange that they really liked, or they're desensitized to it. How can they be happy unless they were satisfied with the colours around them? There are some people who have a taking to orange and they often go on to become crossing-guards because they gravitate towards the orange uniforms. I know a chap who has a re-painted wheel of fortune that he meditates to as the colours spin in his field of vision. For him, he needs many colours at a time, swirling. (He was a gambling addict before that and it works as therapy). He can somehow type reports while watching them. However, for most, colour is not something they go out of their way to find or bond with. We don't even do colouring books anymore. It's hard to think of orange and not be distracted, so often after a certain age many people just don't bother. They turn a blind eye to orange."

"That's sad"

Howard:"It can be"

"Yes, well..."

"Well, do you have any more questions?"

"How about you just give us a few tips before we wrap this up?"

Howard:"Very well. My mission really is just a very fine-tuned way of doing whatever you want. If you are anarchic you will never settle down to one colour. If you are devilish, you will always crave red, if you are serene but lazy, you will find yourself with blue. Green is a very dangerous colour to get involved with because it means that you will be going non-stop. Yellow is an unlikely but lucky colour to have in emergencies. So what I want everyone to do is become more comfortable addressing your colour needs and acting on them quickly. Colour is not something to waste. Because colours are a manufacturing concern, they are always coming up with new dyes and ways of changing the colour in sync with our colour rhythums. This year there will be a lot of skepticism around the colour mauve, but it should be cleared up by late June, just in time for summer, and a rebirth of light green in Western consciousness."

Interviewer:"Alright, I'll be sure to look forward to that. Well thank you Mr.Wayword for taking the time to come in here today."

"It was my pleasure. "


"Bye now"


Filed under Howard Wayword

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Nights Can Get Better

Last night I was expecting work to just really suck, so I didn't want to go. I was tired and already having a bad day after a run-in with my obstinant template, which is now fubared but at least has a site metre. Wait, now it works again (Lioness is sending me multiple options of edited templates as we speak.) She told me to just do the Zen thing and control my mind to like it. I thought, what the hell? But the effects wouldn't rub off immediately, my being was still looking for things to get frustrated at.

So I went into work and the first thing I do is take a little sweep of the place, just making sure all my little customers are happy as can be. It's not too busy but I appear to be the only busser on. So, since I clean up for everyone else, I investigate where they are making a mess.

The bar-runners job is to clean up the bar, and cut limes and stuff. In their minds however, they own the entire back room, which is in a constant state of what they're getting around to doing. So for example, (and this always happens) I go in the back room, and of course: there's bottles piled up to high heaven, and no one bothered to bring in a recycle bin! It's as if they thought the bottles would just dispose of themselves somehow. I put on my coat and trudge out to find another recycle bin.

One of the men who works in the kitchen isn't really a waiter and isn't really a cook. The fact that every other employee is wearing a black dress shirt and he is always wearing a different plaid flannel shirt should tell you something, but I haven't figured out what. He prepares meals and generally bosses others around, busy standing talking to the cooks or yelling at a waitress to speed it up.

So, after I cleared the waitresses bottles, cleaned the bar-runners garbage, gotten a recycle bin, I am wheeling it through the kitchen, banging into things because it's not designed for this and the flannel shirt guy starts yelling at me. By this point I'm already frustrated enough not to care if he's mad. I simply explain the situation to him, "There's no recycle bin in the back room, and we need a recycle bin. I can't take this through the restaurant so the only place to do this is here."
He looks stumped but still tries to save his ego by muttering something about how I shouldn't be doing it now or something and then becoming frantic and waving his hand: "ok, just go quick then!"

I rolled into the back room to find that of course, the bar-runners had piled boxes of water right where the recycle bin was to go. Since I didn't have keys for the fridge I would have to pile them right in front of where I sorted glasses, to be repiled again later. That's precisely what I did. The night was frustrating, and I was feeling dangerously clumsy with a tray in my hand. Everyone just seemed off, like the waiter. I saw a empty dessert plate so I cleared it. The waiter was right at my back. I noticed him pacing beside me as if I had done a terrible thing. Apparently I had. "Don't ever clear my tables unless I ask you to." I thought he was joking but no. "Ok..." I said, thinking "why???" Soon my question was satisfied, but not with a dignified answer: "the reason is," he began, having an air of overconfidence in what he was about to say "that if you take the man's plate away, the woman feels fat, and she stops eating."

So boys and girls: If you're ever hosting a dinner at your house, never clear any plates until all the men are done eating because otherwise the women "will feel fat." Women apparently think that men can be distracted enough by their own plates not to notice that they're still eating. Nevermind that if they were fat they probably never felt the fat before until you so rudely snatched someone's plate away and left her still picking away at her cheesecake. Maybe there's some truth to this, but how was I ever to consider it? I was just doing my job the simple way which is clearing plates that need clearing.

But then the night got better. I had a meeting where I ratted out the guy who held me up in the kitchen and then got in MY way later on. There was a new dish-washer who was like speedy-gonzales compared to the old. It wasn't busy, there were no freaks. We got out early. I went home and slept. Ah!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Tamil Terror Threat Felt by Some: Paul Martin Comes under Fire for Giving

The U.S. State Department says that the Tamil Tigers are a terrorist group. So, since Paul Martin, prime minister of Canada, is giving money and help to the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, a charitable organization, so that they can repair their country after the worst natural disaster of our time, his foreign aid policies have been criticised. Martin was also allegedly accused of having ties to terrorist organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which is supported by some Tamils.

Paul Martin could have opted to support other areas like Bangkok, which are just as effected as Sri Lanka but instead, not only is he reaching out to the needy, but he may also be thinking of the 200,000 person Tamil community in Toronto.

Before 1948, Sri Lanka was Ceylon and it had been colonized by the British, Dutch and Portuguese. Tamils were Hindus. When it then gained independence, the Sinhalese officially declared Sri Lanka Buddhist and revolted against the minority Tamils, stripping some of their voting rights.

Many Tamils came to Canada as refugees in 1983, when their houses were being burned or they were attacked by Sinhalese mobs in Colombo. Of course Paul Martin feels a responsibility to help both the Tamil community of Toronto, their families, as well as ALL those who suffered in the tsunami. But because much of Sri Lanka may be controlled by the Tigers or a terrorist organization as deemed by the department, it is not a reason to withhold aid for the area. There are always children and those who are peacefully trying to survive. I think places that are politically volatile need just as much if not more help to rebuild their stability.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

We've all Gone MAD COW

This country has been waiting for several years since the US closed the border to Canadian beef exports due to cases of Mad Cow disease or BSE. Now, just as the US was announcing that it will reopen its border there are two more cases, again, from Alberta. could things be worse?

Passions fly high. Some people have chosen to go vegetarian in order to avoid all possible avenues of contracting the human version of Mad Cow, Creutzfeld-Jacob disorder. There are those who smugly say: I don't trust the beef industry. Ralph Klein, the Alberta Premier has offered to do a culling of cows, incinerating cows older than 2 and a half years as far as I can tell, and further destroy the beef industry. Now he might be changing his mind because many, including myself, view this as extreme. Besides, what's the purpose of killing thousands of cows that are old enough to show symptoms of Mad Cow disease regardless of whether or not they do show symptoms when as far as research into this disease goes, it's not confirmed whether or not younger cows already have BSE, or whether BSE can be passed through milk, or occur in Pigs for that matter? The only thing doing a cattle cull would be to instigate the mass suicide of farmers and give Ralph Klein an air of good PR and calm the irrational emotions of people who don't know enough about the situation to know one way or another whether that would solve the problem.

People are critical of the beef farmers and the inspection requirements that we have in place but I don't know if they realise what a tricky situation it is to deal with. They've cited Japan as a pragmatic country, one who inspects all cattle before slaughter, perhaps we should give them a halo, but perhaps they're forgetting that there is not a test in the world that can confirm or deny cases of BSE. The only indicator is symptoms.

I know, because I gave blood this morning and had to answer a questionnaire, that Creutzfeld-Jacob syndrome is a terrible thing that results in loss of motor activity, brain function and eventually, death. I'm not trying to downplay people's concern over the cases of mad cow and the fact that if prions from the brain of an infected cow were to entre the bodies of humans, it could give them CJ disease. However, the known cases of Creutzfeld that I've heard of have all come from brain-grafts or from eating human brains. A now banned product that used to be used to cover the brains of patients was made from the tissue of cadavers and made in Germany. I wanted to get a sense of how easy it is to monitor the spread of these prions so I asked the nurse who was verifying my answers on my questionnaire: "so, we could all have Creutzfeld Jacob disease and none of us would know right?" "That is correct." You, see, the only way of confirming a case, is when it's too late.

What about prevention then, you ask. That is the key, I answer. This doesn't mean that I've stopped eating meat. In fact, I'm quite confident that I won't end up resembling a mental zombie. Many are outraged that cattle were fed small portions of bone meal from other cattle to give them extra protein. That has stopped since the first cases of BSE. What hasn't stopped is the feeding of animals altogether to other animals. If that grosses you out, I don't blame you. But now, they want to ban the use of animals ruminants in all feed and even fertilizer. Sure, I'd be for that but I don't think it's necessary to eliminate BSE.

My reason is this: you can't get BSE from muscle tissue as far as I know. It comes from prions that are in the brain and the spinal cord. These are risk cuts that should never be used from any animal unless you're butchering it yourself. The Canadian system has removed the brain and spinal cords of animals that are slaughtered for food that entres our market. The problem we have here then, is not a food crisis, but a feed crisis. Animals could still technically be fed risky parts of other animals, even if it's just a millionth of an inch, and they could contract BSE.

We have a lot to sort out here before the consumer confidence in Canadian beef is renewed. The first problem though, is getting people to understand the issue and take notice of the fact that as far as we know (and yes, I wish we could be sure but we're not even sure whether we all have the human form of Mad Cow yet or not) no cow with BSE has entred the food supply. It should give us more confidence that cases of BSE have been admitted. What scares me though, is that politicians seem to be rushing to solutions which aren't really solutions to the problem, but seem to be merely a solution to the public frenzy and controversy caused by the BSE crisis.

My recommendation is that no animals are killed unless they show symptoms of BSE and even then, they would be more productive for study than incineration. Stop the use of animal ruminants of any kind for feed and fertilizer because it just grosses me out to be eating omnivores that are supposed to be herbavores. Figure out how the systems of other European countries operate other than the UK, and copy them.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

"Do Not Keep your Light under a Basket": The World Needs Help

I was reading
Savtadotty's letter to God. It contains many good questions. I couldn't answer them, but they got me rambling a bit more.

I really hate it when people attach certain events to the hand of God while ignoring the idea that god is everywhere, in everything. God doesn't just pop in to teach us a lesson here and there. God is with us.

I thought of this because of what Savtadotty says about blaming: "If this tragedy gives rise to better communication among the world's scientists, bureacrats, politicians, if it shrinks the global village so we all better understand that no one is really safe until everyone is safe, if we who are privileged to have enough food and shelter for today learn to share what we have with those in need today, without self-seeking, without status-seeking, even without tax-deductions, then maybe the hundreds of thousands will have died for a purpose. Blaming can never bring them back."

You know, it's interesting and ironic that whenever a disaster occurs, it always seems to be viewed as an opportunity to someone else for some other reason. Call it the mystery of iniquity. When the World Trade Towers collapsed in 2001 for example, investors in gold all ended up making lots of money. On the other hand, supposed successes have their drawbacks too. Our Canadian dollar has been steadily rising in value because the US economy seems to be going down but that means we have less business opportunities with the states so it's a lose-lose situation. It could be a blessing in disguise though afterall. Blessings don't seem to flaunt themselves. With the dollar, the Toronto Film industry can't compete with New York etc because it now costs others too much relative to their own currency. These examples highlight merely that goodness is subjective and that there don't seem to be correlations between good people and good outcomes. I don't believe in providence in a material way anyway. And I'm not really talking about natural disasters but are there really any natural disasters anyway? By naming one thing a 'natural' disaster and not other disasters, are we not, just like the God we would blame for being a clockmaker god who sits back like a father who never wanted to be a dad, distancing ourselves from the responsibility we inherently have for everything around us? Because you can always blame someone or something for the result of whatever even if it's not their fault. I yelled at my mother for waking me up this morning because I had already woken myself up 5 times before that and it made me crabby, which according to me at the time, was her fault. We do that kind of thing all the time. With the tsunami crisis, it was interesting to hear the different takes on it by former US president's Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. They both seemed to see an incredible potential in the disaster to inspire hope and change. The idea seemed to be (translated into my own words), that those bad things that face us as a community of human beings all living on the same planet are meant to strengthen us and root us to the active duty we hold to one another. The belief in catharsis. It is impressive to some afterall, that within days, the international community had raised billions of dollars. Sometimes it takes something big to get people's attention before they're compelled to show any empathy, before they break out of their selfish shell. Thousands of people die every day from AIDS which makes up about as many deaths every few months as the tsunami disaster but the public perception of AIDS seems to be that that is not a natural disaster even though it's an epidemic. The reason for that may be simpy prejudices and fears about the sexually-transmitted disease because it's unimaginable that in some places the life expectancy isn't more than the mid-thirties as a result of AIDS. The elders are dissappearing and their wisdom goes with them. Now as the generations fold over and over again, we are slowly taught to care, because at the end of the day, everything we know is gone and all we have left is merely a sense of things. The question posed is: why would a benevolent God give something terrible to humankind or not prevent that which is preventable from happening? Now, do you want my answer or would you rather tell me yours? Why is it that you care about this world? All the prosperity over and above heaven could present itself, but if there are no hearts to house the treasure then what does it matter? We might as well have nothing.

I had an interesting night of music listening at the Chinese Music Festival held in collaboration with Wilfrid Laurier University. There were many instruments with unique, suspenseful, sometimes frightening music. For example, the yang-qin is an instrument that was developed in the 80's by Samuel Hong, one of the performers. The instrument depicted here, the pipa, is held upright in the player's lap. Wong Ching played songs on this instrument with incredibly fast fingerpicking. Unlike the classical guitar which uses a centripedal finger motion, this is centrifugal, using the outsides of the fingers. The rhythum and sound is indescribable for me with my Western ear. Another piece entitled "Nature/Nurture" by Ka Nin Chan was inspired by an experience where the composer randomnly produced melodies by tapping on a computer keyboard. As the nature of events had it, he quite liked the melody. He used it as a spring-board theme and then changed notes here and there throughout the rest of the piece to mold it. That part he attributes to nurturing. It was a pleasure to go to a concert with such talented musicians and creators. As it appears, I will be getting my dose of culture this week as I originally thought I was going to see Douglas Coupland because I had the date mixed up but, alas, that treat has been saved for tomorrow. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Yes. He DOES need to explain

Some of us won't forget the
excusethat was forged to justify war. (Search for "weapons of mass destruction" that were apparently going to wipe us all out unless we did some intervention) I don't rule out the possibility that GB thought there might be weapons and he was just being cautious, but I don't believe that.

He looked tough on camera, telling Saddam that he had 48 hours to dissappear from the face of the earth and then the military was coming in. Saddam made a choice not to be immediately annihilated by guns, bombs or whatever, and for a long long time, he hid in a hole presumeably to stay alive. Maybe I'm going too far to even empathize with the most publicly hate-encouraged figure for awhile, but this is not about any particular leader or lack of one. It's about another more general issue: do we believe politicians? Maybe that's too naive a question to even ask but that's because we're forced to be so cynical now. Politicians can't do any special magic that normal people can't do. They aren't the gods responsible for public opinion. We are. The events that make us act crazy give us reasons for more crazy events to make us who we are. At least it seems that this is how things happen. What made us this way? Us. We gotta turn it around.

The end of the search that could have been more suspenseful just dragged on. It is a quiet affair now that the news is old news and everyone's on to the next thing. The issue no longer grabs our attention because it's just the same old killing, harassment, degradation etc. As a culture we seem to think that if we can move on after living vicariously through the world's wars and disasters, then they're not problems anymore. Out of sight, out of mind. But is there genuine improvement? I'm not there to say.

However, there's a certain time to give up things that aren't helping. Thank goodness that at least now the search is over. It's been way too long. Now after it seemed so damn obvious to some for such a long time that the suspicion of weapons was just an excuse, not a reaction to a real American need to 'protect' itself. Protection in one thing but the international community would all benefit from an international investment in mutual security standards. Be weary of popular responses to things because the popularity doesn't include everyone. There is always someone who someone else insists that they shut up. It doesn't mean that they don't have something important to say.
Johnny and I had a great time. I learned some navigating tips in my own home town, got lost a couple times even, but our intuitive sense of direction and lucky turns carried us through. (She is frighteningly good with a map. Watch out!) We managed to go to Toronto, Niagara falls, play in the snow, she fed my dog pepperettes, and my dog loved her for it. She is very handy to have when I get lost. I just pull up to an innocent bystander, hopefully someone who looks like they know, put down her window and then she asks where to go for me. Her slight accent makes me feel less stupid in places I should know how to find. I just sit like the listening chauffer, pretending not to speak English.

We had three different cameras but none of them all worked at once. There are other pictures but the ones we have now are more beautifully displayed and narrated on her site. Please view the Portie-Canadian exchange

Lioness comes to get the whole experience of how Canadians do dinner down at the CCC (Cressman Cattle Company Ltd.) My dad slices the meat. She's thinking: don't they know how to cook gizzards or use proper olive oil? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Driving on the 401 highway

Car bumpers threaten to collide in explosive kisses, the catastrophic ignition of gasoline, or the dislodging of wheels that could pepper the asphalt with a reason to panic would be terrifying. Split second decisions govern the maneuvering of zipping gizmos, the pilgrimage as less-speedy creatures physically triggering clunky encasements to exaggerate and carry out their encoded motions. The need for extreme vigilance, resulting in rubber tendons and wired nerves, heightens the tension from managing and reacting to the eternal crossing of paths as others come in and out of it. From anticipating potentially life-crippling accidents.

Highway signs clutter view, indicating multiple options that are mutually cancelling, eye-exercises that seem to be inspired by the will of madness and goals which are directionally challenging at best. Open to so many possibilities but limited by the width and clearance of lanes in the short time that passes by when travelling at break-neck speed in a swarm of metal boxes. Trying to orient a vehicle in accordance with randomnly placed and only sometimes displayed early enough to be helpful signs. It is always a toss-up whether you should travel in the right lane or not. Once you do it, the exit you need is on the left. And there are about 50 obstacles between you and it! You can't even use your horn. Too late. In a honk you're going west instead of east because you thought the sign said so or just couldn't do a thing about it.

There are always the risk-taking weavers. You know them. You can tell who they are when they cut you off. Impatient to penetrate the openess out of this clausterphobic nightmare. They are ennerving to the calm, focused drivers, because it throws them off. (It throws anyone off. Unless they are in a coma most people grip the steering wheel) Space is up for competition. Obeying the rules saves others from you, but will everyone drive the speed limit? There is an untrustable body language between vehicles, and there are invisible facial expressions, felt and thought behind the windsheilds, though not expressed by the glint of the blinker.

Traffic makes so many things ineffective, while hindering other dysfunctional systems from functioning. Speeding is not a problem in traffic-jams. Stopping, because it's very repetitive and sometimes you're too bored to pay attention, is. Most you can do is be careful and watch. Become familiar with your brakes. Mirrors are neat, heed their view.

The highway is a place to be rid of after too much exposure. Let me make it to the garage. Thankfully I have already exited from it. Driver needs rest. He's a bit delirious now. It is fun to get lost sometimes, or cruise over a hill, mind you. Tonight my passenger seat was empty. Strange. To the someone who wasn't there it was like: you can let your window down a little bit. I'll close mine. It is cold, but that's how it is, in a car in the winter in Canada. I would be explaining this to you but then I remember.

Summary This is the thing: The highway to Toronto has signs that are most ineffectively placed and so confusing and frustrating that it's very frustrating in a way that I don't think anyone should be confused about.

To the one who has to fly: contrast between the 401 and the sky:
After I drive to the airport I drive back. As I step out of my vehicle, you sit on something that is not seated on anything else inside yours. I hope your feet are comfortably resting on the seat in front of you.

I drive a short distance as you fly above the clouds. I hope Asian cuisine tastes good eaten over a dinner table whose legs are made up of two wings. I forgot how bizarre and wonderful going to the airport was. So many connections to the atlas. The idea is to be set down lightly, like all successful astronauts. When you do, you touch down to that which severs all distance on this globe: the cord that is attached to everything: the information highway: that which can be travelled without physically moving anywhere, where there's no need for airbags: the internet.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Hello and Thanks for the Second Hand Books

I haven't been writing for awhile because I've been holidaying in my own country. I relish in not going to school, lazing, reading and shopping. Johnny now has over 100 books that she's purchased including many Piers Anthony, Martha Grimes and others for as low as 50 cents which she just can't get over. She's hopeful that they'll fit the requirements of a 30 kilo weight or under so that they can travel back to Portugal with her on her flight. Today I'm sure she'll want to go for more books but I'll not have it. I'm a stern Sam. I've put my foot down and decided that she should not be encouraged in her serious addiction although I fed her the opportunity for a week almost daily. Books are her opium but now it's time for recovery.

I got a book on grammar which has already taught me what subjects and predicates are. In the sentence Barrett writes a blog. Barrett is the subject or the doer of the action. The predicate is that which the subject is engaged in doing. In other words, it is everything in a sentence that the subject isn't. I suppose that is why there are so many jealous subjects. writes a blog is the predicate since it explains what the subject is engaged in doing. There are also stative predicates that unlike dynamic predicates, have subjects that aren't responsible for the action of the referent. For example, The task at hand is worth be bothered about has The task at hand which as far as I can tell is the subject. is worth being bothered about is not an activity but is still a predicate related to the subject. The definition of a subject as the doer is also problematic because sentences can be about things without them being an activity My structure easily how ridiculous it is mixed up gets a sentence doesn't make much sense but is the rearrangement of It is ridiculous how easily my sentence structure gets mixed up. which is a sentence that contains a stative predicate. (My little mix up shows how important syntax is. If it weren't, my blog could just as easily write me as I it)

I prefer simple sentences like Barrett slaughters grammar.

This book is very technical and I haven't gotten more than a few pages into it. However, I figure it's good to learn these kinds of things especially since I've always struggled with them so arduously. I will learn structure, types of sentences, adjuncts, interjections etc and syntax and argumentation. These exercises will hopefully reduce my dependence on you dutiful few who help me notice my boo-boos.

Where is Johnny my fateful sidekick? Johnny is out shopping in St.Jacobs right now where she is hopefully satiating her desire to encounter old order Mennonites. I am at home after having taken my SmartServe test. I passed her off to a certain uncertified tour guide that I know, a relative, in hopes of making a win-win deal between her and Johnny. Our itinerary comes to a close this coming week but we still have a Toronto trip in mind and a rain-check on a snowman (as long as it doesn't rain). Now I see the snow is falling off the roof and I'm glad I'm not standing under it. Johnny notices our ingeniously slanted roof-tops which are perfect for the purpose of letting snow drop. They are so ingenious that they are imitated around the world in places where it doesn't even snow. I'm sure it has some other benefits. Anywho, as school starts next week and I orient myself to studiousness I'll have some more grammar lessons to share.

Thanks to those who have given feedback on my letter (now I am ashamed of it). It helps me to see how erratic I can be. Oh! I hear a door open. There is a crash, the sound of a stubbed toe, some moaning...could that be Johnny coming in???

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Why am I the bomb for PR?

Here's my application essay about why I think I'd be an asset to Public Relations. This is as much an exercise for me as it is to prove myself to others. I hope it is professionally written since if there's going to be one skill I hope I gain it is that: professional writing ability. Please comment and rip this apart if it doesn't match up with good reasons for me to be a PR practitioner or if my grammar is the pits. Anyways, it's interesting to hear myself give my reasons and for once I'm not asking or hearing what anyone else has to think but you.

Application Essay


Like Nancy Geddie, the program coordinator for Public Relations at Niagra College, my educational history and my passion is for English Literature. I did a four-year Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honors, writing essays and doing presentations on cultural and literary subjects.

After completing my degree, I considered doing Journalism but instead pursued Public Relations at Conestoga College because it appealed to me as a dynamic career option and it uses many of the skills I gained studying English, though applied differently. Instead of teaching, which was the popular choice among my peers, I thought that the mix of theoretical and practical skills that I would gain from combining a university and a college degree would allow me to be aware of ‘universal’ thinking while being mindful of the particular business trends and practices around me.

One of the most fascinating projects I did was in my dissertation on the holocaust, presenting Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and discussing the graphic novel as an emerging medium for the study of history. The skills gained from doing presentations like these are applicable to PR because by advocating comic books and changing their reputation as a gaudy, low-class form of literature by using examples from class where we saw that the comic book or “graphic novel” could really be a useful tool for historical documentary, dissemination of myth and literary genius I was doing what any organization should do when it promotes its product or service. In this case, it was a particular product but it was also comic books in general. By showing instead of telling, I wasn’t forcing catch-phrases down anyone’s throat or making up cute little jingles but I was, in a sense, giving them an opportunity to see and try out the genre itself. Since Public Relations involves increasing awareness, gaining acceptance and influencing action, doing presentations of this kind definitely gave me an understanding of how communicating information can encourage others to do their own investigation and influence their perceptions.

Throughout school, I did contract work for the Community Mental Health Clinic in Guelph. There I had clients with disabilities who I taught life skills and helped them build confidence, autonomy and other abilities. One of the most valuable and applicable skills I learned for PR is that communication involves an active knowledge of its intended audience. By communicating strategically with a purpose in mind and by carefully selecting the vocabulary, mode of speech and delivery for the audience, I could effectively communicate with my clients. They would be much more open, helpful and enthusiastic about the activities of the day as a result and much more likely to excel in whatever task they faced. Because PR involves consultation, mediation and other communication skills, my experience, along with my leadership abilities demonstrated through my history of working with children in both the public and camp setting make me more prepared for a career in PR.

I feel that my resourcefulness, creativity and analytical thinking will benefit me a great deal in PR because while I enjoy debate, I think that Public Relations should be a two-way dialogue between an organization and its publics. In order to execute campaigns, clarify key messages and issue News Releases, it takes a thorough application of the RACE formula: research, analysis, communication and evaluation. Since I’ve now had some experience at the entry level of education in PR, I’m determined to devote myself to more intense and beneficial opportunities in post-graduate studies within the field and I found that Niagara College offered just such a program.

Barrett Cressman
595 words

No Fun at Home, Fidgeting and Gnashing

I'm stranded at home right now on one of those days where you do little things and mostly wait for other people, organize tasks and worry about things. I drove my father to go get the car fixed, filled out insurance forms and drank coffee. There's nothing in particular that I'm worrying about except my future.

Yesterday I wrote the essay for my application to yet another PR program in Niagara. I'm not happy with the one I'm in and although applying for another one because it's post-grad as opposed to just a college diploma and because it's one year (even though by the time I start it this one will already be wasted and I'll finish at the same time) and because I could get away from my least favorite teacher once and for all, it doesn't make any sense to my parents or me really, but I'm doing it anyways.

I feel like a headless something. I don't know why I'm doing anything anymore except I just know that I have to do something and everything that I'm forced to do instead of choosing to do is a result of me not previously having done something important, so I'm trying to avoid that. It's holidays and I'm out of the loop and I'm dreading going back to school but I would dread being unproductive and not going back and I don't want Johnny to leave and I'm nervously calling temp agencies for job opportunities even though I already have a job. Should I be trying something else? Yoga?

Look at me. I'm very angry and snappy as of late and it must have something to do with me not sleeping. No matter how much work I do or tasks I accomplish it never seems to be enough and I feel like I'm just sinking in confusion and waste. It's like my neck. Johnny gives me infinite greif about standing up straight but I just can't seem to get in the habit and even though I went to the chiropractor and all I just keep slipping. She says that when I stand up straight it adds inches and I'm well aware that chiro treatments adds "years to your life and life to your years" but somehow I can't keep up in maintenance or structure what my body quickly destroys.

I stopped going to the chiropractor because I couldn't wake up or I spent too much money or because I just started to feel doubt and now it seems like hell to get all the bills sorted out and make the professional realise I don't care for the services if they're not going to magically and instantaneously fix me.

Today I will wait for my parents to have errands to run and then I will act as their chauffer. Maybe I will nap to shut myself up. Tonight I will go to friends of the family for dinner and talk about how nothing seems to be working out. This friend, who is like a godfather to me and has always inspired me and has always looked out for me, had given me a contact at the beginning of the year through whom I could have found out a bit more about PR. Unfortunately, I called him, found that he never answered and left him a message, but he never phoned back. I think in the message I remember saying something like "I know you're very busy but..." which now seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyways, apparently the fellow is unaware of me ever calling and that bugs me. Another example of how I failed because I didn't persist. And tonight we'll talk about more things that I should have done and could have done and all that stuff that is all well for children when they're sleeping and the bells are tolling and Jimmy is cracking his corn but is just such a drain in real life and just such a downer that seems to reoccur when you are least pleased with it.

Well, I'm sure that this is really perversely good for me that I feel like crap right now and I can't figure out if my life is completely derailed or just starting to locomote. When the glass is half empty the glass is also almost more than half full. At least I have another week or so to decompress. I had a lovely Afgani dinner at Yusuf and Scott's yesterday with Johnny. We watched Pingu the penguin and tried to decipher baby penguin language. That was nice but what is my plan for the rest of the week? Johnny and I still have to go to Mennotown in St.Jacobs. If I could plan...

It doesn't help much that my work doesn't even know yet whether or not I work tomorrow and seems to expect employees to just come in spontaneously when they feel like it. How about I never come in? But having them not even give me my schedule more than a day in advance just gives me one more reason to be angry and apparently I like that right now. Although, it's getting tired and so am I. Here's to napping and killing two birds with one stone.
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