Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Mess is History!

I feel much more productive after I've slept for 12 hours. I cleaned my entire basement which was desperately in need, vaccuuming up bugs and spider-webs and scraps of paper. I put a box in the middle of the room and just threw everything that didn't belong in it. Gathered up my shoes, flipped my mattress and made my bed, sorted laundry, threw out old socks, tore down insignificant crap from my bulletin board and put up my awards to make myself proud. I put all my school notes and assignments in the archive, filing them carefully (I might need a tidy portfolio some day you know) and sprayed everything in my bathroom, gave the toilet a scrup, got fresh towels, unloaded garbage. How I love the smell of toxic cleaning products!

PS-I know I just killed off like a thousand species that lived in my basement, but my hero of the day is David Suzuki. His insights on sustainable logging strategies helped on my Corporate Responsibility assignment.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hermia in Darkness

The sky is black,
Like your heart,
Maybe it’s grey,
I don’t know.
It’s been a long time since I felt your love,
Or even the tiniest semblance of it

The forest is dark,
There are strange voices, laughing and jeering,
Locked in your mind.
There is nothing to help you hope for salvation
Only the thought of who you once were.

You remember the day that stole your light
How can you not, when you work all year to forget it?
It forced you to cross-examine all your memories,
And damn yourself in an offhand way.
I wish you could laugh.
You’re so much prettier, when you’re not falling apart.

He was your angel,
The one with the light smile
The one who sang melodies and doted on your eccentricities
He softened you with kindness, letting your guard down.
But now that he has completed take-off, you are back in uniform
Campaigning for cruelty

Don’t cry for him jaded darling.
We’re all doomed just a little.
Can’t we make the best of it?
Or shall we repent and die?

Will your heart open its ventricles to peace?
Or how shall the shoulders of justice carry you?
Don’t wait until the dawn to confess your secrets.
It is already much too late.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Eat, Sleep, Relapse, Resume

It's the official day for a blah post. Mitzzee and I both agree about Mondays. Today wasn't too bad all in all, except I woke up 3 hours after my alarm and felt like I was on morphine.

My dance with over-exertion all started last Thursday when the skies dumped 15 centimeters of snow. Visibility was nil, and the roads claimed many lives. The shoulders of streets were lined with tire tracks; the indications of where people had temporarily lost control of their vehicles. I drove to the old grocery store where those who were lucky enough (and insane enough) to go shopping, were. It's kinda unusual, but I sell cell phones there alllllllllllllllll weekend. He sells cell phones in the food store. It's a great job. For the most part I have to convince people that they could save money by switching plans, because everyone has a cell phone, but occasionally I run into Luddites who have never owned a phone, and they can become a little confrontational.

My job is a tongue-twister. I've got people whizzing by me like cannonballs and I have to spit out something attention-grabbing before it's too late. The main key term: "simple cellular solution". Yeah, it's fun to say. Say it ten times as fast as you can. Go!:
simplecellularsolution simplecellularsolution simplecellularsolution simplecellularsolution simplecellularsolution simplecellularsolution
simplecellularsolution simplecellularsolution simplecell, ach, that's enough!

Sometimes people are on homing-missile mode. They see a can of cheesewhiz in the distance, and their one goal is to close in on it. Therefore, their attention is not at all directed at me, even though I am doing my best to smile pleasantly. I have to come crashing in to destroy their little world of selective focus.

"Hello sir, are you seeking a simple cellular solution?" "What?" Then their pupils dilate. They look scared, confused. They look around at all the various models of cellphones which make up my backdrop, then the wheels start turning. "Oh, no, I'm not interested in a cell phone." or "Sorry, I'd like to bury the one I have." Then I'm just a bundle of positivity: "Perfect, well, that's the beauty of our plan. If you ever grow to hate it, there's no contract, so you can throw it out the window!" I both fear and invite all the possibilities of thought and action this question inspires in the customers mind. Sometimes however, I alternate, and simply ask people if they have a phone they're happy with. If you're happy, I'm happy. Great.

I met a nice woman who said she spends $500 a month on her cell phone. I told her that was crazy and why doesn't she switch? Well, while we were talking, she was interrupted twice by her phone. She took the calls and then explained that she was very busy. People call her from all over the world. She works for a GPS company that monitors trucks and tanks. People all know her by the number she has. She can't switch. Apparently.

Sometimes you get the smartasses who like to poke at your euphemisms. You ask them if they are looking for a "simple cellular solution" and they say "so you have figured out a trick to make me live forever?" Ha. Ha. Am I wearing a white-coat? No, I'm not talking about gene therapy. Think of the other cellular. Another quick snapper shot back at my question with the question: "Why? Do you also offer complicated cellular solutions?" Then there are people who you never know which side of the toaster they woke up on. One of these luddites explained to me that it's cell phones, not green house gases, that are causing global warming. We're microwaving our brains with all these wacky particles that are circulating from our communication devices. He had a unique perspective on science and had never heard of the Kyoto protocol either. He was dead against space travel because every time we take off into outer space, we're carrying the stratosphere with us. Eventually, our world is just going to crumble because of the vast vacuum we've created for ourselves. If only we got rid of cell phones, stopped flying space ships into outer space and burnt more fossil fuels, we'd have a nice protective blanket to reverse global warming. Ok. U-huh. Right.

The worst reaction I had from a customer was an old man who looked like he was already three feet in the grave. I pitied the way his one leg dragged behind him. His demeanor was also less than cheery. When I was introducing the product he maintained his far away look and said "I don't know what you're yapping about, and I DON'T CARE!" I didn't mind that he wasn't that into me, but it was how grumpily he justified his ignorance. It was the most passionate I've ever seen someone not care ever!!!

So I did my thing and sold a couple phones. I adored the young mothers affectionately eating their babies in the check-out lines or playing pikaboo and the store people, who'd get a little curious about the promo themselves and come over for a chat. After work, I went out to Guelph to put up this WANTED sign for Howard. I'll admit, I'd really like to figure out where he went missing, and I have to make sure that nothing corrupt has gone down. It's been months, and still I haven't heard a word from him. I talked to the authorities, and they promised me they would lead a little bit of an investigation into his whereabouts. I didn't want to spend too much money on specialized services to track him because you never know what they might do. Howard could be in a really vulnerable situation. Since I don't have a picture of him, I just described him and put them up in the libraries and the pool halls where he used to go. I figure he's unique enough that people might be able to report that they had seen him or they know where he's staying. If anyone else is reading this and knows where he is, please help me find him. You can let him know that I'm not angry about our fight anymore, I just want to know that he's ok. So after putting up posters, I went to the CD release party for the Nate Coles Outfit.

Nate has been playing for about a decade. He writes songs and hosts the open mic with a maturity and experience that comes through. He can also make excellent cricket and other sound effects that he produces with his very own voice box. Richard was there in his cowboy hat and all the fans were kicking their boots up and cheering. Andy was tired, so there was no after concert poker, but I did have the chance to make it obvious to him that we were going to have to watch Clockwork Orange together soon.

Last night I saw Nate Coles again at the open mic. He adjusted my vocals so that I had lots of juicy reverb. It was fairly empty, but that made the sound perfect. I got to play four of my songs and shoot some pool. He asked me if I was looking for Howard and I said "yes why have you seen him?" "No" He had just seen the poster he said, so I was glad at least that someone noticed.

Today was just a day like any other Monday. I was tired and sick of the go go go. I told my partners I wasn't coming in for a meeting, and just sent them some updates from my home computer instead. The dreadful cough was my excuse. It happens every winter until I toughen up. The blood donor clinic called for their supply, but you can't be sick when you do it, so unfortunately I have nothing to give in the way of useful bodily fluids these days. I couldn't get the flu shot either for the same reason. I guess colds keep needles away like apples do doctors. I bought the Fiery Furnaces CD -practicing for my choir, which is a highly entertaining album about the secrets and stories of the Freiburger family. Brother, sister and grandma retell her story in the form of spoken word, singing and through some very colourful notes and textures. It reminds me of a cartoon in a way -like Warner Bros music. The keyboard hammers out some tunes as if they are being practiced on an old stand-up in an abandoned nursery school. "Gather round kids, and listen to this tune. Is it sad?" the uniquely sounding grandmothers voice on the disc asks, as her grandson plays a sombre melody.

Now it seems so delightful an option to eat and sleep and laze. The snow has turned to rain and it is mild. Quite the suitable setup to stay in, read, and rest up for more active days.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Canadian Government Gets Ugly

I was wrong about when we'd be going back to vote. It won't be a vote during the holidays, but we will be heading back to the polls before too long. Probably late January, early February.

Paul Martin has lost the support of the Jack Layton's NDP, the Bloc Quebecoise, and now the Tory government has filed it's no confidence vote, which will effectively dissolve the liberal government before the end of its shift.

We haven't even had the end results of Gomery Inquiry, but already Canadians are tired of waiting. We're pretty sure that there's a reason to blame the government, even though it wasn't this government, for millions of dollars of missing taxpayer money. Paul Martin was the finance minister during Jean Chretiens government, which was in power when they used the money to sponsor the Liberal party during the tumultous near-death experience of our country as we know it, when Quebec was close to separating.

Paul Martin wants an apology from Tory leader Stephen Harper for his defamatory remarks. He who has made the scandal a large part of his push for his own campaign. He says Paul has it backwards: Canadians deserve an apology from Paul Martin.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Treatise on Listening: Your Ear is Worth Something

When I was thinking of a topic for an informative discussion, I thought I might as well teach a skill that is relevant to my program as well as something that you can use on a regular basis, whether you are trying to understand an important client’s position, consoling your friend after a difficult split, or stuck in an audience as you are now (in one form or another).

I thought it would be important to teach you something that I myself was formally trained in. However, it’s been quite awhile since I practiced exercises and experimented to increase my ability, so I had to scrape up some memories from high school, when I was a peer conversation partner, because I had become a bit rusty.

The skill in question is active listening, and despite what you may think, it takes considerable practice. Listening isn’t something that simply requires sitting back and waiting until it’s your turn to speak, but also making non-verbal cues and asking appropriate questions to elicit valuable feedback. So in the next couple minutes, when I refer to listening, I’ll also be referring to the responses you’d make while listening.

The skill set can be broken down into the following categories:
Eye contact

[In rearranged order, that’s:

When you’re sitting listening to someone, you want to make it appear that what they have to say to you is important, so this means: not falling asleep, distractedly playing with your shoelace, or looking off in the distance as if you’re not there. Look them straight in the eyes and nod when you agree with them, show facial reactions, shake your head, roll your eyes or verbally sigh when it’s appropriate. Listening is about showing the speaker that you’ve heard and reacted to what they’re saying, so everyone’s listening style will be slightly different because we all react differently.

However, almost universally, it indicates attention to show good posture. Sit up and lean forward engagingly like you would during a critical moment in a hockey game or a horror movie, though it would be good not to look terrified. In certain cultures it is rude to show your feet, so make sure you don’t have your legs crossed or your body slouched. Your hands should be in front of you and ready to be used as communication tools, so keep them unclasped. If it’s comfortable, you can pose as “the thinker” but don’t cradle your head in your hands, because you might just look like you’re trying not to fall asleep.

Give the speaker cues as to how to advance their topic. Conversations are an adventure, but it’s up to you to put up the roadsides. Say things like “I agree that would be a terrible situation” or “I love ice cream too!” It reminds them that you’re part of the conversation, but that you’re content to follow what they have to say.

However, you don’t want to merely be complacent or neutral. Dig deeper into the conversation. Ask open-ended questions or make them elaborate on details. No one likes talking to the wall. That’s why it’s called “active listening”

Sometimes people want advice and sometimes people don’t, but either way it’s important to agree on what you’re hearing with the speaker themselves, so that you can form a reaction that’s suitable to the situation. That’s where a synopsis of the main point or the direction of the conversation is helpful to clarify things. Say things like: “it sounds like you’d rather pay for your son’s education than to have him grow up without a good job” giving a summary of the way they’re feeling or where you suspect they’re going. That way, they can then add to what they said or appropriate it to your understanding.

In terms of advice, it can be helpful if the person is asking for it, but otherwise simply make it clear that the person has your support. When you’re listening to someone, it’s not about you, it’s about them, and sometimes just having a person to listen to you vent is good enough, they don’t need any pearls of wisdom. You can tell them that you appreciate their courage at having told you what they have, or that they can always come back to talk if they need to but if you do offer advice, make it clear why you’re offering it, and on what basis of information. Use “I” language and justify your position. Say: “If I had to deal with your situation, I would be tempted to quit” or “I feel like you don’t really believe what you’re saying” this will give them a chance to negotiate with whichever suggestion you make for a certain outcome and why they believe it is the best solution.

You’ll find that active listening can make a conversation more interesting and more passionate. People have to have trust in each other to be able to share how they really feel. So I encourage you to practice it in every day life, with your friends, families, and co-workers. As a medical professional, salesman, policeman, PR person, or friend, communication is a big part of the profession, so when you’re not talking the talk, hopefully you’re actively listening.

HNT gets Anthropological

I was getting skin-hungry, so here is my appeasement. Dr. Thaizentats explains the photo:

As you can see, the hominid is a very peculiar species. This is a female caught in the act of some kind of mate signalling. It appears that althought the hominid tends to be a land animal, they perform a kind of disguise whereby they induce and respond to moist self-acclimatization and adapt to an amphibious environment. The stimuli causes erection of the softer tissues and a general feeling of euphoria. It isn't understood how the glowing energy stick works exactly, whether it emits hormones absorbed by the mucous membrane or acts as a signal for sensation-seeking males but it is here shown clenched between the specimen's oral cavity.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

UKers become 24 hour Party People

Tomorrow at this time, bars in the UK will be open twenty-four hours a day! At least, they will have the right to be open for that long provided they have their licenses. This will allow those people who are unfortunate enough to have to work the night shift the chance to have their own 'night' when it's convenient for them. I can see this as being a benefit to waitresses who have endured hours of watching others become messy go out and blow off some steam at 7am themselves if they feel like it.

But it's hard to imagine. Can you picture waking up for breakfast, then going to a rave? Will this new law be an uncontrollable riot? Will excessive drunkeness and debauchery ensue? What if someone needs to steer the ship?

This news is met with mixed feelings from me. On the one hand, I feel that the last call encourages last minute binge drinking, which can lead to drunk driving and violence on the streets. By having bars open for 24 hours, people have the choice to stay longer and sober up before going home. They also have the choice to become around-the-clock alcoholics. It is clear that alcoholism is a major problem in many European countries. France, most notably, exceeds all others in it's alcohol consumption, and binge drinking has been on the rise for the past twenty years. In Toronto, Canada, politicians have been starting to focus on our problem with crack cocaine, but they also want to crack down on underage binge drinkers.

We debated this in class today, skillfully identifying the opponent's red herrings, non-sequitors, and circular arguments. Emotions were high, and several of my team members resembled their opponents, who looked like they wanted to kill. Everyone has an alcoholic relative, someone they knew who was killed by a drunk driver, or heard a story about someone else doing something stupid when they were drunk. Yet, alcohol remains a popular social lubricant, a priveledge, a luxury, that as people old enough to vote (in this country) we feel entitled to.

Well Brits, for better or for worse, lets enjoy the good times.


Automechanics 101

Time to get your hands dirty. For all those do-it-yourselfers or cheap bastards like me who want to save money, it's important to rotate your tires every 8000-13000 kilometers. Find your users manual (usually located in the glove-box) and your jack (usually in a secret hiding place in the trunk with your spare). When you're switching one tire with another, you'll need to have two off at the same time, which means, you'll probably need two jacks. By the wheels, there should be nooks that are specifically meant for the jack. This is important. If the jack slips off, it could result in serious injury, or the equivalent of a guillotine.

Now, remove the hubcaps, then the wheels by unscrewing the lugnuts. To speed up the process, use a electric power drill. To follow proper tire rotation protocol, the back tires go to the front on their respective tires, while the front tires criss-cross and go to the back (refer to the handsomely hand-drawn diagram above). The lugnuts should stay where they are. If they have rust on them, get out the old wire brush and start scrubbin'. A good way to get rid of rust is to soak the metal in Coca Cola Classic. Only the tires switch.

When you're putting the tires back on, you want to be sure that the tire sits properly. Therefore, tighten one lugnut, then the lugnut directly opposite to that one, then the lugnut as close to the opposite side of that one, and so on.

Once you're finished, you should feel as happy as a kid at a carnival. Tire rotation ensures that the wear and tear of your tires occurs evenly. You'll get more mileage out of your rubber. You'll get more oomph out of your ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Now you can sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rough Monday

Today was deplorable.
Things were not going right.
I did not get up early and finish editing the contact cards I'm designing for my one job.
The traffic on the way to school did not end.
I did not feel very informative or helpful at the meeting where I was supposed to update about the things I had not updated.
I did not have much to share at all other than my complaints that my program at home did not have the appropriate updates. So when I tried to convert my saved copies, it did not work. I was told it's too bad that I had come at all.
I did not have fun in class.
There was not only a few things to stress about.
I was not the only person who felt like today was a write-off.
I could not simply email my assignment to save myself the torture of completely reformatting it, because
my teacher would not have that. She wanted a physical copy.
The printer was not being my friend.
I did not get my assignment printed properly in the first ten tries.
I did not care about the trees I was destroying.
While the class was not waiting before going on with the next assignment, there I am trying to speak the printer's language, pressing buttons, creating beeps, getting confused, and ultimately frustrated.
I did not think of that scene in Office Space where the employees take the scanner out and gang beat it, kicking and smashing it until the one has to be taken away by his friends because he gets too wound up in violence against machines.
My brochure was not properly sized to use standard paper.
The printer did not have anything other than standard paper.
The printer seemingly did not have anything good about it.
I did not use clean language to express my reaction to this imbecilic machine.
It was not simple trying to feed the paper to the printer when it just doesn't understand.
I did not end the class happily. By the time I got to my next class, I was already not feeling perky, and this is still in the AM.
I did not stay in last night and take good care of myself. No, I went to open mic, played some music and watched some other musicians collaborating who were not doing so harmoniously.
I did not get the chance to present my speech that I spent the weekend preparing.
My classmates did not pay close attention to the time, nor did even the majority stay under the 5 minutes as was required.
As a result, class was not finished at the regular time.
It appeared that even in an extended class, we were not going to finish all the presentations.
It was so late that it was not light outside by the time I left.
Even though I'm several thousand kilometres overdue for an oil change on the car, I did not get to the garage in time for them to do it.
I could not go another moment without turning on my phone.
I was not unhappy that someone had actually called me and left me a message but...
It was not a message from a friend.
It was not Bill Gates offering me a job.
It was not a long lost brother, nor the child I never thought I had.
It was my boss telling me that I had not turned in my reports on time.

Then I called her back and she said I could get them in OK, no problem, so I did.
I filled up my car with gas and set up an appointment for the oil change.
I learned how to rotate tires and jump start my car in the presentations today, which will save me $25 on service charges for someone else to do it.
I felt good having also sat through three hours of presentations where I learned how to dress well, make paper airplanes, do yoga, have long distance relationships, decipher whether 'he's just not into [me]', speak spanish, get what I want passive-aggressively, and train a dog.
I got a gift certificate in the mail from one of my bosses who loves me.
I got home and felt very relaxed and content to go to sleep early tonight.
In the meantime I get to write a script asking for money so that our class can have a good graduation ceremony. So I realize that as Monday nears its end, the upcoming week doesn't look too bad.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I was looking through old photographs, and I happened to find a picture of Albert, one of Howard's friends. It reminded me of him and made me wonder what he is up to. The last time I saw him was during the summer when we had to work on the swing-stage together. We got a big fight and he took off, never to be seen again. Knowing Howard, I'm surprised he hasn't come back or called or anything. He really bothered me sometimes because he seemed to so uppity, but I used to learn a lot of things just being around him. He never ceased to surprise me about what one man can do and see in a lifetime. He could be anywhere right now: Egypt, France, but I'm really shocked that he hasn't even reported back to me. He was a rude bugger, but I hope nothing bad happened to him. I hope he still has his damn Howardianism. I don't have any pictures of Howard because he'd never stay still for long enough to capture him on film, but anyway.

This was his friend Albert who I met one time near the maple ranch which was owned by Howard's uncle. Albert operated the cooling machines and he smoked incessantly. It wasn't a very demanding job. It was maybe an hour of labour a day. Howard's uncle had let him set up his own poker lounge on the side where people could come and play and be offered the best martini's. It was kind of a ramshackle room with lots of posters and lights everywhere right in the plant. Since it wasn't a legal casino, Albert was a very mysterious kind of character who kept to himself. I only heard him say "what happens in this room, stays in this room" in an old raspy voice. Besides that, Albert would just stand there silently watching the people that came in, from behind his big sunglasses.


What do you see in this image?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Martin Sticks it to Bush

I enjoy the rivalry and politicking that goes on between us Canucks and our main trading partner, the US. Prime Minister Paul Martin and President Bush were in South Korea today for an APEC meeting. Martin used the opportunity to berate Bush on empty promises, and his ill treatment of our resources, namely, how he's slapping huge tariffs on our wood. What Martin is saying, is that if US is pushing for Free Trade, he should at least give Canada and Mexico something to tempt us.

Canada is mostly a raw resource exporter, and one of our biggest exports in lumber. Our softwood industry is not heavily subsidized as Bush claims, so he's not playing fair. It hurts us when we're blocked from foreign markets like the US by such aggressive protectionism. Of course, the APEC meeting was not about trade. For the second year in a row, it was about terrorism. Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. Iraq is unstable, Afghanistan is in worse shape than it was in 2001, as it's drug trade and terrorism strains the military, which might even be reduced soon. North Korea's surely has nukes, so do half a million other non big five countries. What's with the US randomly raiding and finding 170 detainees in Iraq who bear signs of torture? If I weren't so naive, I'd think they were planted there by the US military themselves. Is this supposed to boost the war effort morale?

Ok, so I'm not talking about international affairs anymore. I left the comfort of my home and went for a jog through the forest. The leaves were almost all gone from the trees, but they made a colourful collage on the forest bed. My legs dodged sticks and mud, I bounded over the creek, and felt the soothing negative ions that were generated by it, making me feel full of life and energy. My dog followed me along, loyal escort that she is, and I got back home safely.

I started my new job yesterday. I won't tell you that I'm a salesman lest you hate me, but I am. I need the experience. The good thing is that I'm not paid commission, and the product I promote definitely has it's own niche. Customers were generally unfriendly, uninterested, or not qualified to be considered part of the right target market, but I did have some good interactions with several people considering the purchase in question. I suppose this is good training in rejection. They will come back and someone else will be credited for the sale. Oh well, I know I've done my part.

I enjoyed viewing some sexy HNT pics yesterday, like this one. Many people had creative ways of exposing their bodies, and what's more beautiful than a body au naturale? When I was in Germany, they were much less sensitive about nudity. We could lollygag on the beaches in the buck no problem. Here it's a little cold for that, so I empathize and console all of you that were hit by snow yesterday. 91.5fm 'The Beat' radio station did an amusing rendition of an East Side Boys song, but they changed the words to roughly the following:
"From the K-Dub, to Toronto, the snow just has to fall, drive traffic to a crawl, it's so cold that you can't even walk, your face freezes til you can't even need skis skis skis skis skis, everyone needs some skis skis skis...hey, I have a toboggan! you need skis skis skis."

They did a great job of doing the lil John voice: "OK!!! Yea!!!" and the ski part was great because it almost sounds like the nonsensical word that they use in the real song "skeet." Thanks Big Mike and Mocha for the laugh.

The highlight of the day though, is that I FINALLY GOT PAID!!! I am no longer eating out of garbage pails, grovelling at the feet of innocent pedestrians, or cleaning windsheilds with a squeegee. (I joke). Getting back on my feet feels good. It definitely takes some pressure off of my head.

Have an excellent weekend all and stay cozy! If you need some warmth, why not heat up your fire with a couple Canadian logs?...that is, if Bush makes them affordable.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Snowy HNT

cold, the soft snow lay all on the ground,
a nice white coat to cover the brown,
flowers shuddered under its touch,
grabbed fall by the collar, into its clutch,

shiver me timbers and don't get the flu,
eat ye your oranges, and drink some tea too,
the time is a coming for snowboards and sleighs,
Gone are the all day outside type of days.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Things People Hate

We had an entertaining assignment to do which involved choosing something that you really hate, then delivering a speech pretending you love it. It was a bit of a challenge because it forced us to argue against our own genuine beliefs, but so many of the presentations were hilarious. The sarcasm was so thick you could smell it.

People wrote about how they "love" their mother-in-laws, gas-guzzling hummers, spiders, mean people, bad tippers and debt. I wrote about my "love" of fighting. How I basically like to stir things up whenever the opportunity presents itself. So I put on my macho mask. Do you gotta problem with that? No? Good. Then enjoy:

This is why I love to fight:

I think it’s funny

I like to see others suffer

I like to prove how tough I am

People ask me why I’m so wound up all the time. It’s because I’m looking for a good fight. I don’t care who you are or who you think you are. If you’re in my area, you’re looking for a fight. If I don’t like your attitude, or if you look at me the wrong way, I’ll wait for the perfect moment, then do something dirty like kick you in the groin, or hit you over the head with my 40 ounce. Do you think you’re tough? Well, nobody is tougher than me, so you better check yourself before you wreck yourself.

There’s nothing that makes me feel more alive than hitting someone with a solid punch. I like to watch them as they cascade through the air like a waterfall and smack down on the ground. There is nothing more graceful. I also enjoy the pre-fight aggression. You go up and stare someone in the face, or push your chest out at them. Or you can go up to a couple, and blatantly start flirting with a guy’s girl saying “you’re not with that dude are you? That dude looks like he rolled out of an alley. He looks like a bum. You don’t want to go home with that guy do you?” If he isn’t a sissy, he’ll probably start a fight with you. If he doesn’t you can go up to him and pour your drink on him. If he doesn’t wanna fight, you’ll at least have some bouncers to fight with, and that’s way more exciting anyways. The best trick with bouncers is to remain calm until they surround you, then pull a Matrix on them and go buck wild in every direction.

I like to intimidate people. My favorite wrestler is the Rock and he is the king of intimidation. No one can take the Rock. He’ll give you a stone cold glare with that eye of his, and if you give him any trouble, he’ll take you by the chest and slam you down hard with a rock bottom, my favorite move. Sometimes it knocks the wind out of you, but it will do a lot more to the other person. Are you ready for the Rock Bottom? How about a windmill or a nose breaker? Yeah, taste the blood.

There’s no good reason why I fight except that I like it. It’s an adrenaline rush. If you ask me, you’re not a man unless you fight. That’s how it’s always been. Real women don’t want suckers, they want a man who will go to war if he has to. How are you supposed to have a strong country unless you act strong? To make myself feel strong, I’ve created my own mantra. It goes like this, watch out:
"I represent 100% to fullest extend, I’ll make a dent in your face so watch your space unless you wanna get erased or displaced I’ll spray your eyes with some mace, you better turn right around and save yourself your last grace."

So why am I so wound up? I’m not wound up. I’m just looking for a good fight. I was born to kill, and I love to do it. That’s why I love to fight.

In real life I'm not a fighter. My ancestors were sometimes looked down on by the belligerent type because they were pacifist. During the war, Canadians applied to the government to get conscientious objector status so that they didn't have to fight. My grandfather was exempted from the war because he was needed on the farm, and my other grandfather broke his wrist which might have saved his life, because he got out of the war. Fights usually leave both parties in worser conditions than they were to start, so I see little point other than proving one's dominance in a very archaic fashion.

I "love" judgemental people, mushrooms, neck pain, having to clean, loud radios in the morning, dealing with telemarketers, getting lost and being late.

Maybe you love the sound of chainsaws or the smell of horse maneur. Maybe you love going to your proctologist, or having your new car painted bright pink.

What do you "love"?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Could You Recognize a Mango if you Saw One?

I like my job because I get to see so many different parts of the world. This week I saw a little bit of Brazil and a little bit of Costa Rica. Then I chopped those pieces into bite size.

Apparently many people don't know what mangos are. I had people come up to my booth asking what kind of cheese I was serving, or exclaiming "I love papayas!" These are not mangos here. No, this is a picture of my pineapple booth, but both fruits are sweet and tasty. The mango is good for your skin, and the pineapple is a wonderful compliment for a beef or fish dish because it helps you digest. The older generation especially hadn't had much exposure to mangos. I suppose greater trade liberalization has led to uncommon fruits being integrated into our market over their lifetime. Children swarmed the booth and knew a mango when they saw one. How the mango was greeted had so many forms: "Mango." "Mango?" "Mango!!"

Well, this weekend was wonderful. I trained for my new sales job starting this Thursday, I got out of town and had some voyaging to Toronto. I went to Guelph to see Wintersleep, but then by Sunday night, I was exhausted and full of anxiety. All this man go man go man go made me man gone. I started panicking because I have a huge essay on the UN due tomorrow that I was going to work on last night. So what did I do? I went to sleep and didn't wake up until 14 hours later. In that time, I dreamed that I met a self-proclaimed doctor. He didn't do anything you would typically associate with medicine, but we sat and talked for what seemed like hours. I didn't recognize the man, but it was comforting.

I woke up today feeling seasonally depressed and emotionally numb. We had to do peer editing on our fundraiser letters, and so my partner wanted more advice on what to do. I couldn't help her and I ended up telling her that it doesn't matter what she does. She could do it this way or that. She asked "well which do you think I should do?" "I just don't care." Yes, today I am not much fun to be around. I feel like it doesn't matter lately that I am so busy. I am not excited. Quantity can never replace quantity. The colour of things has faded. I want to be out of school. I want to start up my own life. I see couples with children in the mall and it makes me jealous. Families must know something I don't, I think. I feel like I'm behind.

It's been a really long time since I had a good long talk with someone, not the talk where you're merely keeping track of the trivial details: work, school, schedule etc. It's been a long time since I've met someone new. I don't feel like anything can happen in the romance department, because I still have misunderstandings about the past. My ex told me (so long ago now!) that every word that comes out of my mouth is me, me, me, and right now it's true. People say mean things when they break up, but I'm not impressed with myself either. I have to do something to have something to talk about, and open up. What is there to have faith in when everyone I've ever loved has ended up lost or hating me? I know part of it has to do with choosing the right person and treating them right, but what if you just don't like the right person? I get to the point sometimes where I wish I could at least fight with the person I miss to know that they cared. Sometimes people just give up on you. I try to maintain old relationships, but they've gone stale lately because I haven't put enough of myself in them. I saw the article that I've been trying to publish forever in the school newspaper, but it's old to me now. Excuse me, I self-indulge. Though, it's comforting to know that other people feel this way.

I watched the Alice in Chains DVD with Andy. Lance Staley expresses the cyclically negative feeling in Down in a Hole. It's not so wonderful that he became a recluse, lost his arm from injecting too many needles and eventually died of a drug overdose, but his voice is amazing and his words were honest. Right now I feel like this poem from antivicieux (Nov 8/04) reads:

i cannot often

turn sullenly

tired gestures
full of
catastrophic promise

In the end
I will be nowhere


caught up


a tavern of possibilities

a headless body
a bodyless head

no matter

will never know
past pity

for my mortality.

I ran to my horoscope to try to reaffirm how I already feel:
"The next three weeks may be frustrating, but it won't be for lack of trying to work things out -- not on your part, anyway. You may want to straighten things out with your elders, but you can't do it alone." (

Great. So maybe I will need some friends.

Ironically, today is what CBC radio has proclaimed "loosen up, lighten up" day. Let's see if we can turn things around. Things you can do when you're feeling down are:

The activation of the facial muscles will actually trick your brain into thinking you're happy.

Go for a walk
It's good for you physically and psychologically. It counteracts the going nowhere feeling.

This will give you a natural flow of endorphins.

Eat chocolate
This will give you an artificial flow of endorphins.

Eat something healthy
My favorite appetizer using fresh fruit is to cut some pieces of mango, place them on a round flatbread with pieces of bri cheese, put another flatbread on top (like a fajita) then place in the oven for 10 minutes. For more info on Brazilian fruits, visit here

Do something nice for someone
Open a door, say hello, take your kids bowling, write a letter to your grandparents or send someone flowers with a note about why they're important to you.

I've about exhausted my list of things to do to lighten up and loosen up, but I welcome your suggestions. I hope you all have a happy, care-free day today.


 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 10, 2005

This Week's HNT Photo Winner: we have lots right around us to Remember

Originally uploaded by Frankieboots.
I liked this picture for the shiney legs and casual/comfy vibe it gives off. She's reading a magazine by the lamplight in what looks like a humid hotel some summer night, with her guitar sitting in the corner.

This contrasts the current feeling of war and terror as we near Rememberence Day, which started when the armistice was signed following WWI aka "the war to end all wars" on November 11, 1918. The death toll for American soldiers killed in Iraq reached 2000 last month.There was a loud series of explosions that ripped through hotels in Amman, Jordan, last night, killing 56 people, and disrupting a wedding.

Many cities in France have been in flames this last few weeks, after two of one of France's marginalized region's poorer youths were electrocuted in a power-box, hiding from police. Car burnings and a string of arson resulted, persuading the French government to impose curfews. Even immigrants who have lived in France for several generations still feel mistreated by French society, and racism continues. Nicolas Sarkozy had said that the community needed to be cleaned of "scum".

Canadians wear the poppy, because regardless of whether we know what it is like to die for our country or for freedom, those who did fought with the hope that some day peace would prevail. What is there to remember though? Cruelty and bloodshed? Idiocy? Some of the most remembered acts of heroism seem to also be the most controversial. The amount of lives lost by Canadians gave us political leverage after the war to influence the Treaty of Versailles, but the cost was massive. For example, in April 1917, Canadian troops held a few square kilometres of mud during the Passchendaele offensive, which cost them 8134 lives. History just keeps repeating itself. In many cases, people emmigrate to try to forget horrible pasts. Is it really necessary to remember, when the powerful people of the world keep choosing a strategy of militarism to combat their enemies and fears?

I lived in the house across the street from where the writer of this poem, John McCrae lived. He served in WWI and in the Boer war, as a surgeon, dressing wounded soldiers. This is what it says on the Canadian ten dollar bill:

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Your Seduction Style: Sweet Talker

Your seduction technique can be summed up with "charm"
You know that if you have the chance to talk to someone...
Well, you won't be talking for long! ;-)

You're great at telling potential lovers what they want to hear.
Partially, because you're a great reflective listener and good at complementing.
The other part of your formula? Focusing your conversation completely on the other person.

Your "sweet talking" ways have taken you far in romance - and in life.
You can finess your way through any difficult situation, with a smile on your face.
Speeding tickets, job interviews... bring it on! You truly live a *charmed life*

This is definitely not right in terms of the speeding ticket. Cops are impervious to charm. Sweet-talking is a skill that some people are just good at -they make conversation delightful, they stroke others egos. Sweet talking can de-sour a deal or increase intimacy between two people, if it's genuine. I think of Jack Nicholson in "As Good as it Gets" or Romeo and Juliet. However, when there is only one glass of water left on the planet, or when the sky is crumbling, will sweet talking make a difference?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

On Food Sampling

Food Sampling is not a difficult job, which is why I like it. The time goes fast, people come to you, happy and eager to try things, and you usually see people you know. On occasion, there are the people endowed with curiosity that come up with a disapproving look, only to tell you what the product you have to offer really is ie. junk, crap etc, or that they don't want to try it. They are the exceptions who figure there is always a catch to everything, especially if it's for free. Well, I'll tell you a secret: the only catch is that you'll like what you're tasting, then you'll choose to buy it.

You have to be quick with your hands and welcoming with your smile, but beyond that, it's simple.

This weekend's product was Fruit Loops Winders. They are a 50% fruit roll that separates into strings when you un'wind' it. I credit the brand on the creative name, and they're fun to play with (I know) but I don't like anything that gets stuck in your teeth against your will, and I wouldn't say that it's a first-of-it's-kinder.

It was delightful to see children's eyes light up at the sight of a rainbow-coloured strip of candy. I was encouraged to be creative, so I busied myself making different shapes and arrangements with the food -squeezing the strips together into triangles that I would stack upon eachother, thus effectively making a David's star, or writing things with the edible string like "cool" and "fun". My favorite was seeing little tikes sneak up after they had already had one sample, grab another, and dash off with their loot. I was reminded of the innocence of children, how they were too shy often to take a sample themselves. In contrast, their parents were hardened by the world, harshly berating their children for taking too much time or not saying 'thank you'.

Speaking of rude adults, I was having a great day yesterday, until lunch, when I scooted over to another parking lot to get Subway. It's been raining all weekend, and I sense snow soon. In the dreariness of it all, I parked in the closest parking lot available. Right beside me was a car straddled over 3 parking spaces, diagonally, but it didn't really phase me, I just thought: chaqu'un son gout.

I put on my parking brake and I was getting out of the car when I heard a muffled noise coming out of the car beside me. The noise was a man shouting "What?!@ Are you f#$king blind?" He was furious. I guess because my car was parked in front of the nose of his car, he was upset. The fact that he was upset made me upset. Territorialize much? I walked up to his window and asked straight up: "What?" The tone I asked him with could have been more neutral, but I suppose my feathers were already ruffled. "There's a million spaces in this parking lot, but you had to park right in front of me." He complained, using an exaggerated inflection in his voice. It was true, the spot I parked in was in front of him (it was not true that there were a million spaces in the parking lot), but I was not in front of him directly enough that it would have affected anything, and he wasn't parked in a parking space at all! He was parked in three spaces. He could still have turned and made it out, so I figured this was a something else kind of confrontation.

He went on: "all it would've taken is just a little thought" again raising his voice really high on the word 'little'(insulting my intelligence). From my point of view, his anger seemed completely unwarranted. "I don't see what the big problem is. Would you like me to move somewhere else?" "No, what I want is for you not to have parked in front of me." At this point, my impatience was growing. I had offered to move, and he was just being a jerk. Here's a guy who obviously wanted to start a fight and wouldn't be happy anyway, because his lottery ticket hadn't won, or his girlfriend wouldn't listen to him anymore. "All it would take is the same amount of thought to back-up and pull-out as it would take for me not to have parked here" I told him. Then he grabbed his window and looked livid and waved at me furiously saying I-don't-want-to-hear-its and buddy-I'm-warning-you's. Typical. He wants to complain but doesn't want to hear any solutions and he just wants to rage on me even though he knows he's out of touch. I HATE THESE WRETCHED ANGRY PEOPLE!! Then he said I better walk or else I'd force him to do something else that he apparently didn't want to do. "Don't make me get out of my car, just walk." This made me feel indignant, and even though I never fight, I was on the brink of inviting him to step outside of his comfortable mobile home, but I didn't. I clenched my teeth, turned around, and walked away.

It irked me all day, but I tried to think of the positives, like the fact that he didn't smash my windshield in or slash my tires after I left. He was just likely a disgruntled guy with a short temper and no ability to think outside the box who parked in an opportune spot to get into a verbal battle with someone over it for the sake of it. I just happened to be the convenient guy on his half hour break. It doesn't bother me when people get heated over real problems, but when a man twice my age is willing to beat me up because I parked in front of him, that makes me stew. He was gone within 2 minutes, so what the flip? I didn't think it was even comparable that someone was getting on my case for parking in the wrong spot when they themselves WEREN'T EVEN PARKED!!!

Today I went back to my job and everything was fine again. The job itself is easy but my incident reminded me that it can be difficult to be nice to people all the time. I am being paid for my emotional labour. When someone is yelling at you, it can be hard to smile. Threats and violence are the simple man's power.

Because I am emotionally complex, and often times too moody according to my friends, I needed therapy to calm down after my weekend. I listened to a version of "Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair". I don't know who the original was written by, but Nina Simone sings a variation of it.

The one I heard was long, emotional and glorious. Here are the words:

Black is the Colour of my True Love's Hair
Black, black, black
is the color of my true love's hair
Her lips are like a rose so fair
And the prettiest face and the neatest hands.
I love the grass whereon she stands
She with the wondrous hair.

Black, black, black
is the color of my true love's hair
Her face is something truly rare.
Oh I do love my love and so well she knows
I love the ground whereon she goes.
She with the wondrous hair.

Black, black, black
is the color of my true love's hair
Alone, my life would be so bare.
I would sigh, I would weep,
I would never fall asleep
My love is 'way beyond compare
She with the wondrous hair.
Black, black, black
is the color of my true love's hair.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Strange World, Brought to you by a Radio

I drove to London yesterday to see my long-time friend Kaz, possibly for the last time. Because of VISA issues, and despite getting married to a Canadian, it will take 7 months to get the paperwork complete, so he can't work in this country. He's going to Japan to work with the producer of Duran Duran, and advance his music production career. He wished me the best in case we never see each other again (we've known each other since highschool) and promised that at least our msn relationship will "slip into eternity".

On my drive, I was listening to the news, and learned some interesting facts.

1/ Supposedly the whole line of hand-sanitizer products are useless to solve the problems that people generally use them for. They can even make matters worse because some break down into dioxins, which are poisons in the environment. Products like Purell hand sanitizer DO kill 99% of bacteria (in lab conditions), but because colds and flus are VIRUSES, it does nothing to prevent the spread of the coughs or fever. While it kills bacteria, they've found that in hospital conditions, the harmful bacteria that aren't killed are worse, because they've built up resistence to these products. Therefore, these products could be INCREASING disease. What scientists suggest is that since bacteria is everywhere anyway, we increase the good bacteria to counteract the bad.

2/ Canada is proposing burying radioactive waste in the Canadian sheild. While this is probably the safest way of dealing with a huge problem as opposed to shooting it off into outer-space, it is still scary. All it would take is one crack for the waste to leak out into our groundwater. How do we know that some geological disaster won't happen in the next thousand years to make our country a uranium pool? By the time your coffee tasted funny it would be too late. Strange birth defects and grand-scale environmental degradation would ensue. It would be something like the fictional situation in The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, where three-armed freaks live on the fringes.

And, my last newspoint, about how children and parents as a legal relationship:

3/ New laws are being drafted as a result of a car crash that resulted in a child developing dysfunctions. They are now making it legal for children to sue their parents for damages that were sustained while they were in the womb. This could grow to include suing mothers for drinking or doing drugs while they were pregnant.

Filed under News Reviews

Thursday, November 03, 2005

HNT is Back

All that glitters is gold, well, sometimes it's rhinestone. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Midweek: Crawling Over the Hump

My neck is sore. My nose is running. My lungs feel like they just had a thunderstorm. I'm exhausted from an issues assignment, though it felt rosy researching some of the World Wildlife Fund projects and seeing lots of happy wild animals in their natural(?) habitats.

I'm doing a study on potential stakeholders that are affected by Weyerhaeuser's wood, pulp and paper-producing operations. Obviously, when you're a multi-million dollar timber business, it might seem out of the way of economics to think of the forest in terms of the trees, and all the animals, and all the natives, and all the neighbours, and all the protesters that chain themselves to trees, etc. but a responsible business should consider all consequences of a decision, to do their part as a good corporate citizen. That's issues management: identifying potential threats or opportunities so that you can strategically plan as to not be destroyed by unforseen disasters. It's about solving problems before they become crises, and part of that requires communication and researching the public so that you can treat them better as a business. But is there a commercial benefit to acting honestly and straightforwardly as a business? Isn't capitalism about ripping people off?

No. There are new trends in the market that suggest that people's conscious choice to invest in businesses that deal ethically, will change the game in terms of what types of businesses dominate the market. Since businesses today depend on many connections with partners who are themselves profitable because they've garnered the support of a public that demands certain things, they are forced to abide by codes and environmental standards for example, to be recognized and invested in by an environmentally conscious public.

Whew! There's too much to get into. I could have a babbling fest. Issues are everywhere. I have health issues. I'm drinking some microwaved orange juice with Sanhwa citron tea maralde and honey mixed in for good measure. My conversation partner gave it to me, and apparently it's some kind of cold remedy. If it doesn't work, at least it's psychologically soothing and so deliciously sweet! It's always a little cheery to read about environmental protection, a necessary value of Weyerhaeuser, even when you feel like muck.

My ecosystem has gone awack, and I can't think anymore. I've just been whizzing around, like a fly through the blades of a ceiling fan, floundering. Now I'm just about up to speed -with the completion of a major portion of my midterms, but I'm still a little testlagged. My throat feels like I swallowed a chainsaw while it was still operating.

I'm taking care of my dad's cows this week. They are good cows. Always so anxious to see me! I walk up the alley with my pail of grain, and some of the youngers almost gallop up to me. I say "almost gallop" because afterall, has anyone ever heard of cows galloping? Of course a horse gallops. Of course a horse! But do cows gallop? NO! Anyway, they are calves practically, so they're cute, but getting pretty big. They're like teenagers who have grown faster than they're used to, who carelessly trip over their own feet. Their minds are still catching up with their bodies. When they run up to me in their bovine way, I say "hello" and "good to see you" and they gather round.

My dog has been almost trotting a lot lately. I say "almost trotting" because afterall, has anyone ever heard of a dog trotting? A dog can't trot anymore than a snake can run. But she looks proud and valiant as she marches out to the barn, ready to lead me on to my duties.

Now I make my duties to myself. I must relax and NOT sit hunched in front of the computer anymore. I need to have a brain bath. I'll watch The Mask of Zorro, and vegetate.
Who Links Here