Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Living it to the Fullest

I'm talking about my hair. It is damn thick, brown (with a [small] grey patch on the one side) and fluffy. It's down past my ears now, sticking erratically out of the sides, like a profile of Einstein in the wind. It's kinda afro, but I kinda like that. "It looks Amish" as my father commented. I am big hair, but I'm coming to terms with big hair. Embracing it. Celebrating it's full body. Sportin' tha dew. When the cement dust and shredded paint and errant caulking is caked on, my waves lap it up like a hungry puppy and become gunky. In the shower I purge it of the day's rustic history, shake it clean and bring new life to roots. I part it in the middle, but it ends up curling in all directions. It's like a meandering river, made up of dead telomeres.
This is my hair description.

Here ya go ~c and friends. This is your low-key, not-too-serious, narzisistic, indulgent post. Now rock, paper, scissor, to see who comments first.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Trials that Never Were, at Guantanamo

BBC news report discusses US treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. They have been criticized for capturing and detaining prisoners without giving them any charges. The US has tried to justify their actions as priority to security over civil rights (as far as I can understand) and by suggesting that their actions are appropriate because they are dealing with "illegal combatants", a term they've coined which is not recognized by Geneva conventions.

This situation reminded me of a popular work of fiction: The Trial, by Franz Kafka where a man is woken up to be informed that he has been charged and that he is to be arrested. The authorities cannot explain to him what he's done illegally because criminals are not even to have the right to information, but then it becomes a cache 22 for the prisoner himself, who cannot defend himself. It is comically tragic, but also painfully resembles current realities.

"The only right they [prisoners at Guantanamo] have, is to be kept in a humane manner...this is not a legal matter, it is a matter of security, it is a matter of war...this is a global conflict, they are prisoners in that conflict" -Jed Babbin, ex senoir figure of US Defense Department and powerful ally to Guantanamo Bay. His thinking is questionable considering that by the same reasoning, I myself could be detained for 3, 5, 10 years or whenever the war on terrorism is over, without any charges. I might have the "humane" rights to food, water, and maybe even a run around the track, but I wouldn't have the right to legal representation, or the opportunity to defend myself against charges that aren't even made. There are examples of people working on behalf of charitable organizations, like Khalid's son, who was captured by bounty hunters who turned him over to the US for money. It is easy to see from this example that whether or not they are terrorists, the systemic mechanisms that motivate others to label them as terrorists are not justice, but rather, $$$.

I am not naive enough to believe that Freedom is also a human right, but I think it ought to be for law abiding citizens. Unfortunately in most cases though, it seems it is merely a priveledge acquired by class.

How long the war lasts, is, according to Babbin "the choice of the terrorists, not ours." With that thought in mind, I presume that he has nothing in the world to worry about until all the terrorists are dead.

On the other hand, it is obvious that authorities take responsibility and possession of people they deem as terrorists. Therefore they should also be accountable. There are concerns that the inmates at Camp Delta, which is part of Guantanamo Bay, are terrorists at all. But the father of one of the detainees has one simple request, representing one of the aims of the Kuwaiti Freedom Organization: "What we ask is the role of law, due process, if they are guilty, trial them, if not, release them." -Khalid al-Odah

Filed under News Reviews

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Lovers and Friends

I walk solitary, up to my house in the dark of night. The strange thing is that my house is surrounded by nothing. There aren't any other houses around, no taverns, no stores. A crow flies overhead and caws once. It is as if I'm walking through nothing but abandonned trenches and gravel from a war so long ago that time has killed all the soldiers that it left behind.

As I approach my front yard, I can see the slippery naked bodies of two men under the moonlight. Their skin looks like the texture of lung, and they are smeared with mud, it being cold enough to see their breath puffing up above their oscillating shovels. One of them coughs and hacks but pushes harder to dig faster, neither of them look up or notice me.

I mount the stairs. It smells of vanilla and lavendar but on the door is a gargoyles face, wearing an expression of disapproval. I knock but no one answers, so I push the door slightly, and it squeaks open. I walk in. A man wearing a plaid flannel shirt with pens in his breast pocket and a toolbox of some kind in front of him meticulously and self-absorbedly busies himself brushing out the eye-sockets of a human skull. There are all kinds of rocks and skeletons and even some test-tubes filled with various coloured liquids. Then turns it upside down to get at the temporal bones. He is smiling and peering down through the bottoms of his bifocals, then, without turning, he gives an eccentric little laugh and says: "you are just about in time."

I don't know who he is or what he is doing but I'm still thinking of the men outside. "What are they doing?" I ask. "No need to worry." He says. "We are doing some excavation to find the heart of your heart." "The heart of my heart?" "Yes" He explains, "It is what controls you. It is what keeps your dreams and wishes strong. Without it you will be left behind. Impermissible. Carbon dating should reveal that your heart of hearts has been buried under memories and ideas that have undergone a dramatic cultural shift, forcing a top-down processing halo effect of your true feelings. In other words, your actual heart has deteriorated so much that it has given your heart of hearts quite a battering. At the moment there is a dangerous chance that the charge on your heart of hearts is leaking to other members of your species, giving them violent epilepsy. That is why it would not be sufficient to leave it completely autonomous unless we were to fertilize the entire area, which would interfere with the magnetism you'd feel naturally. In other words, you'd feel too drugged up. So, instead, I have summoned you here to commiserate with your heart of hearts personally. Even when I take off my coat as a palaeontologist, I still have a human-like interest in seeing your reaction. Please follow me."

He took me through a long hall, dimly lit by a single bulb, hanging high above. I heard groans and muffled talking. There were voices that sounded as if a man were beating a woman. She screamed "Stop it! Stop it! You animal!" I started feeling worried again. I feel bad for the woman. As if sensing my unease, the man turned around and said: "those are the hostels of sick hearts. Trust me, you don't want to end up like them."

Somehow we got to the front doorstep again. I heard the man hacking away again and then one of them shouted "Ho! There it is!" There was a clinking of shovel as if it had hit a metal box. I noticed that the men who were digging had gone quite a distance. I looked into the mouth of the hole and saw only their eyes gleaming way down. The man beside me put his hand on my shoulder and said "It is time." There is a blinding light from inside the hole, becoming exponentially brighter as my eyes go through superhuman adjustments. I see flashes like sparks of fire, children laughing, and the roots of flowers sucking up the water from trenches, so loudly it crowds my ears with noise. Then the sound of thunder shoots up through me and I feel like I'm getting punched in the stomach.


I shot up from my bed and realized that someone was knocking on my door. Oh no! It's 7:10am!!! I've slept in!! What the hell was I dreaming?@% Did my alarm even go off???I'm already supposed to be at work. I ran upstairs and told my driver I'd be there in a minute. I put on some pants and my big heavy workboots, two T-shirts, and ran out into the car.

At work I am a mess. I am the slow one and I feel like a crusted wench. Because of my sleep deprivation (no more than 4 hours of sleep for about a week straight) I have to watch myself that I don't fall asleep standing on the swing-stages. I've seen the injuries I've inflicted on myself increase statistically as my amount of sleep has decreased. This week I've butted heads with S, smashed my elbow into the steel shed, clocked my shin on some swing-stage pieces and grinded through my work glove and into my finger with a grinder pad on a swiftly revolving motor.

I am working with S, who's house I'm supposed to go to after the shift to watch a movie. I feel moody though, and tired. I tell him I can't. I know he's not pleased with my lack of coordination today, nor my muddy thinking. Yesterday I was so energetic in my manic state, doing the inane and amusing things like slo-mo-Bono: singing U2 songs in slow motion with the low-pitched voice of an impeded record player. I would take a running leap over the balcony panels, effectively performing something that looked like a roundhouse. Today I am more down though. I just feel down.

I am listening to Michael Bublé in my head. Considering that I lost most of my CD's and my knapsac, it's much more convenient and portable to just play songs off of your brain. He's singing: "I'm just too far, from where you are, I wanna come home...." I'm stooped over a crack in the concrete slab. Then I think about love again and I feel my chest constrict.

My baby was the best. She was the smartest, the funniest, she was gorgeous, she had style, she was well-mannered, she conducted herself like a god. That's the thing that hurts about it. She's not mine. She never really was my baby but to me she was because I always felt like there was that possibility. I'd be so wired at the end of my day just to go talk to her, and she'd always be there for me. The problem was she was wise enough to see that I wouldn't cut it for her. We liked each other in a way that couldn't ever be broken, but at the same time, it was too unestablished to properly express either. I loved her in that young, naive, unstable way. The kind that makes obstacles for itself. The kind that's not coordinated enough to give proper respect. It's a desperate love. Often women are interested in having me around. They enjoy what they see as flattery, then they feel pressured by it, they lose interest, and offer up friendship as a parley.

She told me that she's seeing someone new. You might ask: who isn't? I saw someone new today. She was wearing sunglasses and walking to her car carrying a bottle of French Cross. This isn't what she meant though. She meant: there is someone else who takes priority over you, someone who romances me like you don't. Someone who can offer things you'd only dream of having.

The point is, she was honest. Whether or not she said the exact words, or told me the first time I was suspicious she was seeing someone else that in fact she was at that time, I had guessed correctly what it was she had to tell me. It's not like it was easy for her. It's wonderful for her to meet someone new, and she deserves a good man, a good head-on-his shoulders kind of man with a sweet heart and a couple good jokes up his sleeve who can treat her properly. I can't be him. It would be pointless to try. I would have wanted her to love me but I'm just not that skilled. I'm not going to lie. I have trouble picking out birthday cards. I know how to ride a bicycle and get places fast in order to exploit myself for my muscle power. I like to play guitar, watch TV and entertain people, but I don't have a career in aquisitions, real estate or marine biology. I like curry, Jeff Buckley and fine whiskey. Some women are a little more complex though. They are a little more difficult to operate than a jack-hammer.

The time is just weaving by and I think of all the crazy things she says and I get a lump in my throat. There is nowhere to go to be alone on the balcony working with someone else except in the corner. It's not that I won't hear her say those things again, I guess I'm just getting used to the idea of things being different because I don't know that difference yet. Yes, I am unlearning. I've done it before.

Slowly throughout the day Michael turns off and switches to Britney Speares. It is a relief to have light music, the kind that reminds me of my ex, the one that suddenly unblocked me the other day from MSN, after having not talked to me for close to a year, only to tell me to send HER an email!!! Well, "sometimes I run, sometimes I hide." Right. That must be what she was doing.

Anyways, I guess through all this mulling I come to the conclusion that being single really is a lot less of a stress-factor on all other peripheral issues. Since I don't have to increase my offspring just yet, or become anything other than a perverbial "Daddy" to someone, since I have no one that's really touching my life right now other than the meaningful friendships I've gathered from the failed relationships, I can see that as success. It's worth it to keep those relations going even stronger. They may not be passionate in the same way, though they are caring.

My grandfather knew the importance of friends. He was the most generous man I knew. He would always have us over to play board games or just talk about school or whatever. He'd give us a cookie. He lived just next door. He had a plaque in his house that read:
"There's a little cozy corner
In my heart all tucked away
warmed by the light
of friendships' smile and song and laughter gay,
A little sacred nook I keep for just a favoured few,
but there is always "open house" within that place for you."

It is like that for those of you who actively read me, read my thoughts, think about what I'm saying, converse with me, even engage in argumentation with me. If you understand me even just a little, you know that I don't really discriminate or split hairs about just how many I can have to favour exclusively. I like all different sorts of people, and it is not so much a type of person that I like as a person who can be upfront about who they are. I know it's not easy either to "just be real". Anyway, all I'm saying is don't be afraid cause if you are I'm sure there are other humans can relate. I think that that is even more of a point of relation as our earth globalizes, but that is another discussion. To put it to you straight: my blog is always open. Come in and make yourself welcome!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hurricane Season

Grimacing against the wind. This summer better warm up a bit, cause it just seems weird. This is the season when the Eastern coast gets some catastrophe. On the other hand I have no complaints. I don't live in Newfoundland. It usually gets TOO hot and humid in the summer. I am non-humidifiable animal, but I do enjoy sun, when I get so dark I look like an "A-rab" (D, my boss). I'm a man of all seasons. Posted by Hello

Slam, Bam, Thank you Ma'am!

That's right kids. Daddy is back. Daddy flew up out of Waterloo in a jump-started mini van. Before he ever needed to give it the juice, daddy packed the telly, clothes, bare essentials, a few reminders from daddy's daddy and mommy. It was parting day. daddy headed west and daddy's daddy and mommy went to Scotland. They gave their good luck wish, daddy remembered all his equipment, microphones, head-sets, envelopes, CD's, mementos, books, tables, chairs, a thirty year old rusting pocket-knife left behind from his uncle, (the one who laughed and whistled, walking through the lawn with his firm and tanned potbelly exposed. The knife is the one handy thing around that's tough enough to cut cans open with), but the van's battery was dead, so luckily there was someone still around to jump-start it. Ay Jeremy! The helpful hand. With a little luck and some of his wits about him, he made it, and here I am.


I have been here for two weeks already. It doesn't seem so. This is the fast-lane. I am always running, biking, working, eating, drinking, hardly sleeping, walking, singing, and getting used to my new place.

The only other guest I've had it in besides myself has been the landlord. I come home from work and his is in the house, painting the walls. Sometimes I come home and there is no one at all, but I smell paint.

I've been doing some painting as well, but not the artistic kind. As a restoration technician I've been doing painting, grinding, mortaring, cement mixing, caulking, jack-hammering, xyloxaning, e-vapouring, stage-swinging, and safety training. I work 7am til usually 6 or so pm. It depends how we feel. We are a small crew of 5 under one supervisor. My coworkers are students and the same friend and supervisor who hired me last year for the summer job. Because I worked last year, I got a 50 cent raise this year, which actually makes quite a difference.

There are other payment methods and managerial politics that have been getting my supervisor down lately though. As a result, we take extra long coffee breaks and discuss the heated issue of the company we work for and the company that owns that company.

As a group of guys it seems natural that there is the jocular feel and competitive spats and jokes that are shared. There is the son of a priest, the quiet one, the funny one, the youngest one and the one that got me the job, my friend S.

An example of the kind of conversation that doesn't always occur, but can result from my boss's highly technically and mathematically and logically oriented mind compared to mine, which is often seen as deranged:

Me, filling in the atypical lull in conversation, commenting on the snow one day and the 25 degrees Celcius the next: "So, the weather seems to be going through lots of transformations." My boss D, looks perhaps a little irritable and he is seemingly called to give us one of his mentorship speeches having to do with understanding of the political order of things, or how you can calculate the needed amount of cement mix for the volume of a bucket by taking its radius and applying pi r squared, keeping in mind the added water and how much gravel is used. He retorts: "Well, that's what weather is right?" From the question, I'm not sure exactly what he is asking, but it seems like a challenge. I know, deep down somewhere, that if I agree with him about weather just being a "transformation in weather" then there not being any need for the comment because it is so blatantly obvious that weather is weather is weather. I edit my comment, fashioning it to his supposed liking: "Ok, so the weather is becoming more itself then" Then there is a pause. Then S bursts out laughing and says: "B, you're the only person I know who says things that are just completely impossible to reply to."

It's true. I feel both proud and ashamed. We all have our own warped realities and methods of communication. So do I.

So a lot of the time since I've gotten here, I've been with friends, aquaintances, people. Lots of people. I've gone to dinners, barbeques, poker games, had chess games in my house (I love my chess board) listened to music, and celebrated birthdays. This weekend I got drunk twice, wrote a new song, and stayed up late by candle light. I was reading this book called "Active Measures" about a surgeon/assassin who's hired by a special organization targeting a Swedish doctor who believes in a Sweden for the Swedish, performing sterilizations and torture techniques to persuade and manipulate youths to his agenda. I lost it though along with my knapsac with my time sheets for work. Can you tell I'm organized?

Now that I have my keyboard back I can actually write. That's why I've been gone for so long. It wasn't because I was mean. I HAD NO KEYBOARD, until yesterday. However, I'm not sure this is a good thing noticing the health warning that is on it. Perhaps this explains some of the neck problems and migraines I had more regularly during the schoolyear:

Use of a keyboard or mouse may be linked to serious injuries or disorders.

When using a computer, as with many activities, you may experience occasional discomfort in your hands, arms, shoulders, neck or other parts of your body. However, if you experience symptoms such as persistent or recurring discomfort, pain, throbbing, aching, tingling, numbness, burning sensation or stiffness, DO NOT IGNORE THESE WARNING SIGNS. PROMPTLY SEE A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL..."

I've had all these symptoms before at different times and all amassed as an army of pain. It COULD be the keyboard, but in this case I haven't been using it and my shoulders are just a bit sore from lugging 60 pound weights for the anchors on the roof of the apartment complex.

These days I am very conscious of the posture of my body everywhere I go. Wearing a hard hat and finding the need to adjust it regularly because it slips down to the right is another indication that I need to keep my head straight. I spend lots of time lifting, pulling up line, or crouching in front of balcony panels pretending that instead of a grinder, I am holding a Jedi sword, and using the fluid motions of kung fu to pass the time, as paint and sparks fly hitting my plastic glasses or getting clogged up in the pads of my respirator. Howard watches over as the health and safety rep, distinguishing himself with a blue instead of a yellow hard hat. I think it gives him something to do and is actually a pretty good position for him. He needs a sense of self-importance which it supplies fine. My back is sore on the left side in the middle. The kung fu balance got disbalanced and my dismorphic muscles took over the way they are habituated. So now I'll watch CSI and lay down.
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