Sunday, April 30, 2006

Howard Resolves Wars and Contemplates Skiing in the Desert

It has been so long since Howard wrote. Since I wasn't getting an answer from him, I almost thought either he killed Amman or was killed by him. But no! He lives! Read the following letter that he sent. I'll warn you though -this is not for the light readers. It's a doozy!:

Good day my diligent scribe!

I received your letter concerning my whereabouts and I must congratulate you on completing your scholastic endeavors. Amman and I have been so busy here roving the vast Sahara that I just now had the chance to review the circumstances as I comfortably nestled back into my tender home: Timbuktu.

I will recount the reformational actions that I've taken to re-establish peace in my village but I think part of the tension was merely the hot weather, familial stress and hard work that Amman and I have endured that caused some schismatic and bellicose behavior between him and I.

I took note of him so disloyally squealing about our misunderstanding regarding our right to our own possessions, specifically, my right to my watering hose, in full length. My shower head was missing and the one he gave me was faulty. But, I am a very forgiving person, so kind, astute, mature, artful and very handsome as well, that I have decided that although the details of my missing shower head are still mysterious, I have no reason to consider Amman a thief. Apparently Amman thought of me as a physical threat to his survival, which is quite a shock to this peaceful, rational Howard but I can understand it as a coy excuse for his fraudulent offering, given the heat of the moment. I let it pass!

A month ago minus two days we were standing upon a dune and Amman began an unwelcomed diatribe against me. He felt I violated him by disbelieving that he wasn't responsible for stealing my shower head. I think his fever was just running high but I have never seen the man so angry. I had reason to fear his frustration was taking parabodily form -Amman comes from a family of witch doctors. As with each one of his words, the sky strangely began to diminish in light. He began by using some of the most foul words that I have taught him of the English language to describe both me and my behavior, even going so far as to use the word "disgusting". As outrageous as this might seem in normal circumstances, my attention was distracted by my altered surroundings. Try though I did however, I could not divert his attention from his invective. All I could do, with mouth agape, was point upwards at what seemed a devilish trick of nature. By the time the volume of his rant had hit its peak, the sky had gone completely black. I could no longer see Amman's face in the darkness -only the raging whites of his eyes. I began to think that G-d himself was going to strike me with furious vengeance. Finally, I managed to voice my fear and desperation: "Amman! Please take away this curse! I will be less of a trouble!" Then, like a rock being rolled away from the door to a cave, the sun came out behind its obstruction. I realized the whole charade was an eclipse! Amman had nothing to do with it! This amused Amman greatly. He began laughing and rolling around on the ground. I could have sworn he muttered something about my Western naivete but I cannot be sure.

So Amman and I are, as they sometimes say in colloquial language, "tight" again. The other day he paid one of the highest tributes to me yet and said that I was "a real African". I will admit that this made me swell with pride at being accepted a citizen of this wild and exotic country.

If I were not so intimate with myself, I would be inclined to think doubtfully of my actions. I would chalk my accusatory nature up to my own Howardian over anxiousness which made me point the blame for our dysfunctional relations in his direction. Upon further examination though, this has been a test necessary for my Howardian development and I could not have side-stepped it. I must conclude that Amman is a good natured man, with minor faults. I must also account for the supernatural spirits of the desert which make one act mad. To make a lengthy story brief, there are many factors other than myself to blame but we do not have time to go over them all. Time is an excellent teacher but he kills all his students.

As a further resolution of this misunderstanding I bought Amman a train set from an old barterer to assure him of my resolving goodwill and to amuse him in his spare time. (I fear the poor man has had his childhood nearly ripped away from him, with little time to indulge his creative nature). On hot languorous afternoons, I sometimes allow Amman to take time from his camel-toe cleaning, hair-brushing and general dromedary management to build his brain-children in paper maché, tiny plastic trees and artificial houses. He sets up intricate designs and is quite a miniature architech! I sometimes fancy he would be happier living in those tiny houses instead of this hut in the middle of Timbuktu but frankly, he is not small enough. I have also joined in on the indulgence, and together Amman and I build small chain-reaction mechanizations as a tribute to Rube Goldberg.

These "machines" are not very practical. They are an exercise in innovation. One can make a catapult fire a bullet which topples a figurine, which tumbles into a glass of water, which soaks a napkin, which tears, dropping paper clip which is attached to a propeller which drops marbleel into a toy truck which transports down a ramp and strikes a match as it goes by, which illuminates a candle. There is more than one way to peel a banana. Now I can say I've done it with a process involving tumbling marbles, dominoes, thimbles, cables and matches!

Howard is also a practical man. My evidence is how I have sought to rectify our security problem with an expansion of our camel ranch to include several head of sheep (and their bodies too). Since I suspect my missing shower head may be due not to Amman's misdeeds but to some pugnacious bandits who I have seen terrorizing the neighboring sites, we are training these animals to guard us. These will be no docile, aimless sheep. They will not tolerate being innocently slaughtered or anything of the like! I am training these sheep to be agents of Howardian justice. In a word, I am creating one of the meanest herds of attack-sheep you will find on the face of Africa. You do not want to find out what the sheep will do to intruders, so stay out!

In other news I am very concerned about Amman now and his family. You see, when we went to Egypt, we wanted to go south to Sudan but we were stopped and advised to go no further lest we be murdered by Janjaweed militias, who rape, kill and steal aid. Apparently the situation of the Darfurians has only gotten worse. The government is committing genocide against these people and only the lucky ones can escape. Amman's mother is a Masalit tribeswoman who is in no way connected to the violence yet they have been targeted for elimination by the corrupt bandits. Amman is very worried and perhaps this is why his mind has been under such strain. He doesn't know if his mother lives or not, whether she fled to Chad or held hostage by malicious entities.

The whole situation is an idiotic muddle of Muslims killing one another for no good reason. They burn the country side, drop bombs and destroy mosques. Some say it is an ethnic battle between the Arabs and the Africans but they are all black! (Amman has tried to explain the differences, but I suppose I am too colour blind). The rainy season is about to start, which will further complicate the delivery of aid. Meanwhile, Osama Bin Laden has apparently sent a message to urge fellow "mujahedin's" to fight off the "crusaders in western Sudan". In other words, disrupt UN peace keepers from stopping the slaughter.

When our attack-sheep are fully lethal, perhaps they will have a greater teleological purpose that I can put to use. Perhaps they will even take on an offensive position and conquer the Janjaweed militia once and for all! That is my aim. When they are self-reliant, I am thinking of taking Amman for a little vacation. I have heard of this special place called Ski Dubai which has snow in the middle of the desert! I think it would be a memorable and elucidating diversion and a worthwhile experience for him to touch, taste and feel something which we experience in Canada. (It is called "snow"). My thoughts are that if we took our camels to Egypt, he could visit his relatives and then we could take a commercial freight over to Dubai. From there we could visit one of the biggest malls in the entire world -the mall of the Emirates! Amman would be acclimatized to the desert, which we would stay in but then we could go into the artificialal ski hill for some recreational sport. All that separates the above and sub-zero temperatures are some panes of glass. My Howardian curiosity tickles me. I think it would be an incredible vacation. Amman is a Negro by racial terms but I'm sure he'd still enjoy spending the remainder of a hard day's ski outside sun-tanning.

Anyway, these are my thoughts and fears. Be strong Sir Barrett and do not forget to help some of our friends here in starving Africa! I wanted to ask your advice and anyone you are speaking with: Do you think Amman would enjoy such a venture to go skiing? I leave it to you my son! And remember, in the words of George Sorel:

"Hate is able to provoke disorders, to ruin a social organization, to cast a country into a period of bloody revolutions; but it produces nothing"

Howard Wayword

Filed under Howard

Friday, April 28, 2006

Nursing My Arm and Myself Back Into Action

I apologize for being a lazy blogger. I've gone and missed CHTT, I haven't kept up on the news and I still don't have much going on, but I'll give you a little recap of the last week.


I drove to Toronto for two "PR" interviews which were really sales positions. The first was completely commission-based, which makes me skeptical. I hate having to act as if my attitude is the determining factor in how many people I can sell to. It just isn't. I may be the most exuberant and positive person in the world but I still won't be able to sell you something you don't need. "Would you like to buy this Q-tip? It's only been used once."

Even though I spent an hour on google maps trying to figure out a solid route, I still got lost going to the second interview -about a half hour outside of Toronto, I rolled into Oakville. I knew something was off. I called and explained the situation, then got there late, no big deal. The interview seemed like a score. I had answers to all the questions but got tired explaining what I'd do for each hypothetical situation. Questions like: "what weaknesses do you have to work on?" and "are there situations where you've gone above and beyond your call of duty?" tire me out. I asked the interviewer how many people they had interviewed: "Fifteen." And how many were going to get the job? "Five." "So my chances are one in three? That's not bad." "That's if you're going by numbers," he answered. I still wonder what else you could be going by if you're calculating ratios.

Stayed in Toronto at a hotel where Blondie, an old friend that I lived with in university works. Another friend, The Bad Monkey was down from Ottawa so we went off to a jazz club, listened to music, and chatted the night away. When we came back to the hotel, we were going to order pizza but the next thing I knew, it was...


Drove The Bad Monkey and Blondie into our old town and had a fresh greek salad to satisfy my appetite and my need for vitamins. We all met up with others and it was just like old times, except different because now we're older and things have changed. Not all of us are friends like we used to be, there are new people, and now the Bad Monkey is a successful working man who sanitizes medical supplies in a hospital. It is a high-stress job which requires utmost speed and organization or else people die. The Bad Monkey thrives on the adrenaline.

Later that night there were some of us exiting an apartment building. I was at the bottom of the stairs. Odd was at the top of the stairs. Odd had had a drink or two too many and I guess the stair slipped out from under him. In slow motion he went headlong down the stairs before I knew what was going on. First I saw sparks and then felt that my arm was the only thing Odd could catch as he went down. I was yanked down with him at an incredible rate and we went tumbling. For a moment, we didn't move. I actually thought maybe he was dead but my arm was also tangled in the mess and then all of a sudden the pain hit me. It wasn't broken but I hugged it with my other arm and just rocked myself on the stairs. It was an injury alright.


Went for breakfast at the best cheap breakfast place ever. Everyone can make eggs, sausage, homefries and coffee but when you do it for a low price and it still tastes fresh, that's magic!

Breakfast was pretty much the highlight of the day. My arm still hurt, but I got some advice about exercising it from someone who said it was probably a stretched tendon, which "never heals". Great, so my arm was toast forever! No, apparently I could rebuild the muscle to hold my shoulder in place but it would be forever stretched.

That evening, I got out the elastics and put one end on a doornob and the other on my arm. Painfully, I worked it out. I should have been watching to make sure the elastic didn't slip off the nob of the door but I got an embarrassing wake-up when it SLAPPED THE HECK OUT OF MY FINGERS!!!


Got an oil change and applied for part time jobs. Not much luck is happening since my last job fell through. I got some advice from my teachers advising me how to take rejection more professionally. The employers looking for an intern suggested I have a long way to go. They thanked me for the CD but said they wouldn't need any of my assistance, thank you very much. I went back to the drawing board. I decided I wanted to go back an volunteer at the place where I did my Co-op. I liked it there. Of course I need cash but a first step is just being busy and getting experience in my field.

I went for a some Poker with Andy and other gentlemen. I made an excellent bluff with a jack-five offsuit, but besides that there was no more glory and I lost two rounds. We went back to Andy's and watched hockey. Andy likes to predict winning teams for the series. I told him he should be a statistician. He said he'd only do it if it got him on hockey sportsdesk. Even though I don't know anything about hockey, I also chose teams to predict who I thought would take the series for fun. So far, 4/5 of my teams are winning including Colorado, Anaheim and San Jose. I forget who else I picked but Andy has it all written down.


Today I realized I should enjoy this unplanned holiday while it lasts. My shoulder felt better. I went over to Trash's house and saw her adorable nephew, who is a chilled-out one-year-old with excellent style. The little guy can already walk and wave. He didn't say very much to me but I still felt like we bonded as Trash pushed him in his cart for a stroll around the park. Trash pushed him on the swing made him giggle. I took responsibility for her dog, which happens to have the same name as Maddy and played endless games of fetch.

It was a sunny, beautiful day so I sat outside reading a Trudeau (ex prime minister of Canada) biography and soaking up the rays instead of wasting the precious hours sending out cover letters which seem to go nowhere. After being a grumpy old man to Chloe on MSN, she sent me a sweet audio message from halfway across the world telling me to smile which cheered me up. I had dinner with my family and enjoyed spending time with my sister, who will go to Africa soon. Tonight I sat down in my home movie theatre to watch Sin City, which was the perfect way to find exactly what I wanted: some impressive comic book style. I am a fan of Frank Miller, and I thought some scenes in the movie were very Tarantinoesque, which I got a kick out of.

Originally I was going to go to the place that I just graduated from to pick up assignments and track down old computer files and work out in the gym but then I thought: some other day.

Today's break from worrying was much needed to give me a reason not to be so bitter about my as-yet unsuccessful job-hunt. It's only been a week of no school and no work, which isn't so bad but already I am losing my mind.

Tomorrow I will venture out on the tractor with my pops to cut some branches off trees that interfere with his harvest route. Playing music, reading, writing and keeping as busy as possible as to stay away from "the rut" are also part of the agenda. It's easier to get a job when you have a purpose. I plan on keeping active.

filed under Personal Diegesis

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Long Hard Battle

The long hard battle, not easily won,
The quick success, not easily done,
A pen's your sword, your sheild's a smile,
To thwart the worry might take awhile

But when it comes, though no one knows,
Live by passion, learn by throes,
Ache with heart and hold your strength,
When wishes come short, travel the length.

The times may rear their ugly head,
But do not put your hope to bed,
Harness the tact and use your tongue,
It's never over until it's sung.

Filed under Poetry

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Setting Sails and Eyes on Success

Picture courtesy of Beholder Images

"Setting Sail" was the theme of the PR graduation banquet. It was a time for going our separate ways, for testing new waters, and embarking on professional careers, but not until after some schmoozing, good-hearted jokes and dancing.

Our teachers put us afloat, sending us off with good wishes after sharing the stories of our past two years: staying up late working on assignments, making up excuses for late assignments, getting together to discuss how we were going to handle PR crises and presenting speeches. We rehashed some of the PR bloopers that happened over our six week co-op placements: trying to barter at Dollerama over supplies, driving through a park to get out of a chained parking lot after a magazine launch, having a dog rub it's hindquarters on you while interviewing a client at the Humane Society or having to clean out a barn as part of the less glamourous "PR" tasks.

Monique was my pricelessly perfect date with her polished manners, looking absolutely fabulous in her pink dress and being sure to liven things up on the dance floor. She agreed to rescue me after another date realized her schedule didn't match but I should have asked her in the first place!

Even though she is several years my junior and her training is not in taking questions, she managed amazingly well. When meeting the head of the Alumni association, she even jumped in sometimes to answer questions for me, quite assured that I was "going to be so successful in whatever [I did]." This threw the listener for a loop and they jokingly asked her: "have you already got the job for him too?" She could make even the most unfeeling creature fall in love. She explained her background working on a pirate ship off the coast of Mexico and explained she was there to "lighten the mood" amidst too much business talk. After talking to her for a few moments, he looked at me and said "she's a keeper."

So, we had a few drinks and listened to speeches written by teachers and fellow students. We had to laugh (at least those of us who understood the inside jokes) through a trash talk roast, pegging everyone's stereotype in the class and giving them a playful jab. There were short jokes about our teacher not reaching the microphone: "was this set up for a midget?", remarks about the nerd who is obsessed with Zehr's/Electronics/Loblaws, the overly outgoing Drew who was "most likely" to come out of his shell, the pregnant girl who is "just lying about being pregnant to cover up the winter weight" and me, the "tough guy" for my speech about how I "love" to fight -it's my favorite way to relieve post-exam stress. Yes, we are a sarcastic, cruel bunch. We all know each other a little too well.

To help us navigate in the future and remember where we came from, we recieved a compass with the college logo and a framed picture of our class. Things started wrapping up early around 1am. I handed out contact cards and assured everyone I'd keep in touch. That won't be hard, after all, we are in communications.

It will be interesting to see what happens to us. Some of us will go on to influence government, to support charities and not-for-profit foundations, some will entertain, some will critique, some will lead corporations and others will write speeches. Our teacher who wrote her own speech got past the point where she had scripted that she would cry. Having it written down made it avoidable. However, just because there weren't tears it felt like she was no less proud of us.

We don't have all the time in the world together so we've got to make the most of it. Thanks to everyone's hard work, we did. In a reminder to continue doing so, one student cited James Dean: "dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."

This is a picture showing how my hair was before I cut it off. Today I am done school, I feel a mix of sadness and happiness and anticipation. I will be back to writing cover letters and thinking about the movie Capote, which I just saw. The weather outside is cool and rainy. My dog has pollen all over her making me conclude she went running through flowers. Life goes on as it always does. New hairs sprout, flowers bloom and things change but never forever.


Filed in Personal Diegesis

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sir Barrett Finally Finishes School

News Release
-For immediate release-
Kitchener, Ontario, CAN -Sir Barrett wrapped up his nineteen years of schooling today amidst a flurry of giddy students after passing the final Capstone project with flying colours.
His group presented the case of We-Recruit, a fictional recruitment company that was facing potential reputational damage for referring an employee that turned out not to have the engineering degree like he stated he did in the interviews. Their presentation outlined the strategy for communicating and rectifying the issue. It included a Powerpoint presentation, media kits (prepared by Sir Barrett himself) and bottles of pure water for the panelists.
Sir Barrett and his group waited anxiously in the hall while the panel of judges decided whether or not they had prepared and presented a good 48-hour crisis management plan or not. If anything was amiss -a faulty measureable objective or a verbal blooper in answering a question, it would have meant failure. This meant that tensions were running high for the group at that moment, with one of their members remarking that "if [they didn't] pass, [they] would cry and probably throw up." Thankfully, Sir Barrett and his team were congratulated on a job well done!
Now that his educational career is finally complete, Sir Barrett can turn his mind to more long-term goals such as survival, procreation and overall enjoyment of life. When asked how he feels about being done, Sir Barrett chose his words wisely, commenting that he was "glad."
Hugs were shared with teachers and co-students alike, and a picture was taken of the PR stars together. The students will still have another chance to see each other later this week as they celebrate their achievements at a graduation ceremony organized by the first year PR class. They will also have one more web design class where they will get to mingle with each other one last time. According to anonymous sources, Sir Barrett will be bringing guacamole to the potluck, although at this point that information cannot be confirmed.

Filed under General Announcements

Monday, April 17, 2006

Let's Talk Fashion!

How can you make the transition back from maternity clothes?

Will bellbottoms and flowery shirts ever make a come back?

How do you make a fashion statement with glasses?

What's the fate of Fashion Television?

Jeanne Beker has been an actress and public character since she was 16. I asked her what she thought about Harper wanting to be left alone. If there's anything she knows well, it's how to put on a smashing appearance. See what the ultra fashion-conscious judge of Canada's Next Top Model, Globe columnist, children's writer and ex-mime has a say about style as she takes questions from readers. Join in the conversation!

Filed under General Announcements

Friday, April 14, 2006

What Does the Cup Mean?

There is a girl who I've been friends with since we started our studies in the same program together. From the first day I met her, we fell into a comfortable closeness and mutual pattern of teasing each other and checking up on what's going on. To this day, we still disagree on who introduced themselves first. She is very attractive, a good personality and naturally someone who I'd be interested in seeing. There has been that playful air of flirtation at moments but nothing either of us would rush home to write in a diary, unless perhaps, you count online diaries...

I've asked her out on dates before, waiting for the right time when it's both convenient and when I could make a special event of it but because of the way I've phrased it casually, you have to put the quotation marks around "date". Maybe I'm just too aware of the fact that she never really took me seriously that way. Either that, or I can visualize taking a number for my place in line. Well, that's fine with me, we're just friends. I no longer insist on a label for our hang out sessions. I've been there for her throughout her breakups and small failures and vice-versa. We both build each other up when we know we could do better in relationships, jobs, school etcetra and I appreciate her the way she is.

So tonight she invited me to go see The Easter Story, put on by local Baptist church. I like that part about her that is down to earth yet very mysterious. She is one of my few friends who openly believes in miracles. Since I've been out of the habit of going to church, I no longer have many friends who take religion seriously. I discuss questions like "does God exist?" with the philosophical types, but usually it gets into a highly skeptical diatribe against the bible, into a technical overview of Darwinian evolution and back towards an X Filesish egnosticism of "the truth is out there" or it devolves into a bitter venting session about how all religious people are hypocrites, how none of them practice what they preach and how, cynically, Jesus was just a gay schizophrenic who liked to fish for men.

Getting right into the question about what I think of the whole religion issue, she kind of stumped me. Is it a problem if I believe the values of Christianity are good but I question the miracle aspect? She explained that believing in Christianity while being raised Christian has made it that much harder for her to explain it to others. It takes away from her credibility. People assume she's been brainwashed. Yet, how can you believe a story is important if you don't even believe it's true? I mean, how do you explain someone who goes around asking cryptic questions, curing blindness, bringing dead children back to life, hanging out with prostitutes and then claiming to be the son of God? Nuts. Then again, this world is nuts. Look what we're doing. Still, for me, my skepticism has grown over the years, and I voiced to her my frustration with people who get wrapped up in the miracles of the Christian story without really taking any insight from the lessons of Jesus, how for example, it wouldn't cost you so much to be a good neighbor, to be nice to your parents, or to be a good servant to your employer. Evangelical preachers get on my nerves though. I always want to prove that people who speak about the coming doomsday are wrong. But I don't know...

I explained that I get angry about people believing if they can't even explain it to themselves. If you don't have at least one plausible theory about who smuggled the hemlock into Jesus's sleeve or whether there was a graverobber or whether it was Celtic, Black or the Newskool magic that Jesus practiced, then what? I realize though that I'm critical of my own faith. The part that I like about the Jesus story is his personality. To me, he was peaceful. He made people think of possibilities they wouldn't have been able to without him. The Old Testament compared to the new stressed such a vengeful, stubborn, righteous God, whereas the Testament that Jesus ushered in seemed to be the seeds of modern democracy: the ability to compromise, to make peace, to be kind and to give to Caesar what is Caesars and to God what is God's. One example is the woman who has been caught for being adulterous, who according to Moses law should be stoned to death. Jesus says "let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

He made a point of living for the moment and not carrying grudges over until death parts us all. He separated the material world and the spiritual worlds, which, to me, are both certainly real aspects of the same universe. The story of his crucifition showed a very true characteristic of humanity to be utterly cruel. The mobs misled themselves, the disciples denied him against their word (like Peter) or sold their friendship for money (like Judas), the governors washed their hands of responsibility (like Pilate) and the murderers asked for forgiveness. Some things don't change very much over history. We're still starting rumour mills, mismanaging our environment, and starting wars for no good reason. However, maybe it's not so much to believe that at least a part of Jesus lives on in the world in the form of faith. I saw it in the smile of a little girl who was walking down the hall the other day when she asked her mother "do you think the tooth fairy is a man or a woman?" The mother answered "I'm pretty sure it's a man". The child wasn't blindly faithful mind you. She asked: "but how do you know?" I saw the mother look over and smile at her husband.

When Jesus broke bread and said "do this in remembrance of me" whether symbolically or literally, his body turned into bread. Now, for those who believe, the bread turns back into the body, and the wine the blood. For me it does so symbolically, because I think about it. If I was more of a believer in miracles, the next time I was at a party where they ran out of wine, I'd be asking where Jesus was at.

For everyone else who either doesn't feel that there is a coherent question to believe in decisively yes or no, or who have other prophets or heros, this story nevertheless cites an example who was merciful enough to say in a way: don't worry about it. It's OK, but I have a vested interest in you. You don't have to understand everything to want to understand more. To enter a new world, you have to be born again.

Since this play inspired a change of thought in one way or another, I think I was reborn.

So much of what is wrong with this world is the judgements we get caught up in, the disagreements, the arguments, that we don't ever shut up and listen to the other person's point for what it is. It may be a different point but I'm not sure it's always a contradictory point. What if all religions got it right?

Anyway, after the show, my friend freaked out because she noticed her ex boyfriend happened to be there with his new girlfriend. She's over him but not used to seeing him with anyone else. They said hi to each other, and I did my part by standing there and shaking hands so that the sense of awkwardness could be buffered. She then said she'd walk home so I knew she needed time alone.

I drove home and the roads were empty and foggy. I thought: how strange it is that we live in this world of science and technology, where we expect everything to be explained or else not exist at all. I can't believe that someone over 2000 years ago came to life from the dead but yet I have a friend personally who was clinically dead for over half an hour in a hospital, with machines hooked up to him and no explanations why besides it being a miracle.

Fittingly, I was listening to Tori Amos:

Why do we
Crucify ourselves
Every day
I crucify myself
Nothing I do is good enough for you
Crucify myself
Every day
And my heart is sick of being in chains

I felt downtrodden thinking about the sin in my life, the chaos and irresponsibility I sometimes exhibit. I think it's not identifying experiences in the right light to acknowledge them with an open heart. I get cold, frustrated and cruel. I never think of it with that word, but "sin" is what it is. Then again sometimes I get breaks in this rat-race of a concrete maze we live in. Does that make me better prepared, or just lucky? It's so miraculous and mysterious! Like Virginia Wolf, I wonder: wouldn't it be worth it to believe in doing good for the sake of it? The practical problem is coming up with a reminder that is consistent. We all struggle with trying to live our lives better while we have it, trying to calculate and strategize and get in the mood as best we can because we only have one rehearsal.

The question is, in thinking of Nietzsche's concept of ad nauseum: what play are you preparing to watch over and over again, into eternity?

religion and philosophy

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Spontaneous Combusition: Funny Clips make the World go HA!

This wins the Sir Barrett Commercial Award!

The summer weather in it is perfect timing. Jimmy comes out of the store and sees Parker Posey, who's naturally in the dancin' mood. She's such a party girl! Where she goes no one knows.

I don't really give a flip about the OC and apparently someone else is starting not to either. Misha Barton has been dying to get off the show, not only because the ratings are falling faster than the Dow Jones did on Black Monday but also because she's in a new movie with Parker Posey!

This is music to my ears. I think the girl is hilarious. Her outrageous behaviour on Party Girl, and then the way she played that neurotic on the Best in Show!

Apparently there are some other movies that I have to catch up on as well, including:
Adam & Steve
Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

Do you remember her in Will and Grace or when she played Tom Hank's girlfriend in Sleepless in Seattle?

Trivia question: In which movie does Parker Posey play a vampire?

Anyway, if you're the curious type, you might also want to know where fishsticks really come from, and I've got the clip for you! They might repress the memory when they get older, but every little kid who likes fish knows Captain Barnacle.

Movies and Silly

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

CHT Tuesday: Microscopic Trauma

When I was a budding young lad, my parents wanted to culturally indulge in sending me to a summer day camp. They thought it would be a good experience for me to see nature, interact with other little kids, and have fun. The thing was it was a French camp. I had been studying in a French immersion school for a full two years since grade one, being introduced to words like "tu" and "pomme" or "escargo", being able to ask "comment ca va?" and write it all down with my "steel-o" but it was difficult for me to understand what people around were telling me half the time, nevermind express what's on my mind. I tried to remember words, but they just didn't stick. It was like they floated over my head. As a result, I gained a knack for watching people who actually knew how to understand French. I watched them like a hawk, taking note of their facial expressions to try to read the conversation through their eyes. If I recognized words, then by putting them and the actions together like a puzzle, I sort of knew what was going on. Sort of. The smart people were like the bait though. If they didn't seem to know what to make of things, I was out of there.

I remember that every morning they rounded us all up on a big yellow schoolbus and headed out to a country farm, more than an hour away for the day's events. We would go on scavenger hunts, finding little bugs under logs and cutting and glueing lots of construction paper together with popsicle sticks in the main dining hall when it was rainy outside. There was something strange about the propane tank that was across the dining hall that made everything smell like rotten eggs. Maybe it was the water at that place. What is it that makes it taste like rusty metal?

I have no memories of friends or of nice counsellors from that time unfortunately. If someone was trying to be nice to me, it was probably blocked by the language barrier. At that innocent and uninformed age of approximately eight, this whole thing seemed like a strange abduction, like I was part of some experiment. There weren't parents but rather strangers leading us in tests and sessions, directing us down one mysterious hiking path or another, speaking, pointing and yelling in a foreign language. Of course they were our "friends". I tried my best to follow along, engaging in sports without knowing the rules, trying to figure them out by trial an error (which sometimes meant a skinned knee). Suddenly we would all be lined up, people in front and behind me but I would be lucky if I knew why. I can't remember now, but I picture them using megaphones to get our attention. A terrifying volume of indecipherable lyrics. What was going to happen to us next?

Then I observed that it was lunch time through the movement of the crowd. Today was a special day for an outside barbecue. I remember having to get my parents to sign a permission letter. That morning my mother had packed a hotdog in syran wrap for me to take to the occasion. One of the leaders got out the giant cooler that we had turned our hotdogs over to in the morning. There were probably about 300 different individual hotdogs, one from each camper. She handed me my dog, which was marked with a piece of masking tape that had my name written on it in purple marker. The hot dog itself was a bit of a comforter. I was homesick and my mother's writing and the familiar stick of the raw meat transported me back.

Meanwhile, two others were opening and closing what looked like a big metal tomb standing on legs. It had little doors that they looked inside and made strange faces of confusion over. My hotdog was cold and I was standing alone, unsure what was happening. I was also very hungry. I unwrapped the syran wrap and looked at the pink fleshy meat and thought about how soft it looked. People around me were caught in the process of sorting out whose hot dog was whose. I was used to cooking my hotdog before eating it, although I had eaten pepperoni's before without cooking them. Perhaps this was the same? I supposed we were expected to eat them like this. Time to fit in with the culture.

I took a bite of the cold hotdog and immediately felt disappointed or maybe not disappointed, but somehow wrong. I guess the language sets it up to be an oxymoron. It didn't taste very good, certainly compared to a hot dog roasted over the fire. Chewing slowly didn't make it better. I looked back at the tomb and they had opened it back up and there was smoke coming out of it. The lady who had been handing out the hotdogs was taking them back again and putting them into the smoking tomb. It was a barbecue!! I looked back at my sad hotdog with the missing chunk that I had bitten out of it and felt scared, ashamed, embarassed, unsure whether to give it to her now or hide it somewhere. Stuff it in my pocket. Before that could happen, the lady noticed and walked up to me with her hand out. Then it felt like she was demanding something back that I had stolen. I gave her the hot dog and when she spoke to me I understood what she was saying: "Aww, honey, you know we could have cooked it for you. Now you're gonna get sick from all the germs!" It surprised me that she could speak English, but even in my own tongue there were words that I didn't understand. I didn't know what "germs" were, or at least not the way a scientists knows what germs are, or someone who understands how people contract a cold. What I thought was "Oh no!"

I pictured little insects festering inside my body like maggots. Shapes that were "alive" even though they were invisible. "Germs" sounded kind of like "worms" so I worried that little snakes might just start growing in my belly until one day they were so big that they chewed their way out and attacked anyone that was nearby. That whole day the thought tormented me. They barbecued the rest of the hotdog for me and gave it back with a bun but I still thought about the "germs" that were going to get me. I ate the rest, trying to cover as much of it with ketchup as I could to hide it. How were they going to get me? I didn't know. I wanted to ask the lady but I was afraid. Was I going to get sick? Then everyone would stay away from me because they wouldn't want to get the germs. But what if it was already too late? Would they know? How was I going to warn anyone if I couldn't speak French?


Monday, April 10, 2006


Saturday, April 08, 2006

I Wear My Jeans to Bed

UPDATE: Sorry for being away for so long after your requests for more poetry. I've been really busy applying for jobs, finishing school and going to interviews. However, since you asked for it, here's more poetry. These words are not an example of my serious writing style but I'm thinking of using them as song lyrics. Hopefully you will be entertained.

I wear my jeans to bed,
cause there ain’t time to change me.
dust the dirt of my reason,
as if the stuff ever saved me.

I’ve listened to all the sermons,
but keep my eye curtain closed.
My dog died in my basement,
So now I piss on a rose.

I shaved my face with an axe.
I threw my wig in the punch bowl.
I ate my rice with a knife.
I caught my foot in a hog hole.

Gotta keep your feet planted
an’ reckon something can grow.
Dig up the weeds in your garden
Besides that I don’t know.

I just do what they tell me,
I don’t listen to hearsay.
It’s as confusing as all hell.
It’s cause I’m having a weird day.

Bombs dropping like anvils,
ordered straight from downtown.
The CEO on his high horse.
The general watching the ground.

I filled my pockets with hope,
emptied my legs of their steam.
I walked all through your alleys,
then forgot to get clean.

It’s amazing I can’t talk
with all these words in my mouth.
Once I had an idea
but then it all floated south.

You can’t trust your own leader.
They’ll mix up your staff.
Your jokes aren’t funny
but your life makes me laugh.

You shouldn’t be a real poet
with your side-slanted face.
You should stand on the big screen
but stay away from the lace.

You should stick to your business.
Don’t tell me what to do.
You wouldn’t run this whole country
if you stepped in my shoes.

I ain’t saying it’s plenty.
I’m just laying it plain.
If you think you’re so serious
then you should stop with your game.

I don’t write this for nothing.
In fact it takes quite a drive,
being gentle and nice-like
as not to clear out the hive.

The anarchists they are burning.
They don’t have their alarms.
I guess it’s better to listen.
Then to take up those arms.

Put a castle in small town.
Drop the bridge on the moat.
Tie a donkey to lame folks.
Buy a really big boat.

Raise a glass to the old times.
Get set for the new.
Break the ice with your sunbath.
Patch your heart with some glue.

Smile a crack if you’re willing.
Break a hole if you ain’t.
But spend some time for the milling.
Cause staying home’s for the faint.

I get a quarter for waiting.
A whole dollar to die.
If I can vouch for Sam’s cooking.
I’ll get a whole piece of the pie.

So are you glad you can read?
Some think of it as a sin.
I guess it depends who’s the writer
for just what you get in.

You can spit on the pavement
if you don’t like the road.
If you feel the rhyme weighing
Is it too much a load?

I thought you had the big muscles.
I thought your chin had the jut.
I delivered a healing.
Now who’s got a cut?

You can tell me in person
Or send me a note.
Strip it down to the naked
Or offer thoughts a nice coat.

To get specific is split hairs.
To make a point without slop
you have to do it right firstly
cause once you start you can’t stop.

If you’re feelin’ so lucky
then who will you be?
It’s time to let up now
I genuflect on my knee.

@Copyright 2006 SirBarrett
Filed under
poetry and play

PS-Hair cut before and after pictures to come.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Jealousy of the Nameless Darkness

Turning off the light at night
I know this is the last time I will see myself today
or anything for that matter

I hold onto the moment
wondering whether there is anything more to elucidate on
whether there might be something I can solve
some mystery or
anything pretty enough to want to burn into my retinas
before I turn myself over
wanting a life-boat to float on
until the waves of impression crush all my memories
scatter thought

I dawdle like a child at the edge of a swimming pool
I don't want to act out death
I don't want to end the dream that wakes up in another
I am not afraid of the dark, it is just a surface
but I am afraid of what it might bring

maybe I am stubborn

I try to see something in the light
that is better to savour
because it is saved for last

is that superstition?

maybe I should just spend everything I have
heave myself carelessly
unravel and give out

Because I didn't see your face today, or the sun catching the soft down on your arm, or
even hear your voice for that matter
So I suppose those questions are better left to experts:
People who never starve for your affection
People whose skill somehow surpasses their intellect
People who get away with everything

They never go to sleep worried

If they do
They keep secrets well tucked under eyelids

Filed under Poetry
@Copyright 2006 Sirbarrett

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I Invited the Scissors

Call me Mr.Clean Cut.

After about a year of solid growth (with minor trims here and there) I did away with my curly locks, NOT completely, but enough to tidy things. My hair now sprouts down to the top of my ears, not the bottom of my chin. This will lessen the pressure sustained on my neck (I had a heavy mop).

It is difficult living with wavy hair. It always billows out near the ends. The age of the duck bill just isn't in either. I had no luck looking like Johnny Cash. Confession: to deal with the recalcitrance of my wave, I would sometimes put gel in it then comb it down forcefully and hope it stayed straight. It hardly worked. When I'd wash it, the tangles were torture. I'd end up ripping out clumps that I'd find everywhere from the drain to my counter, in the sink. Pantene-pro-V helped somewhat. You'd think I was an animal or something with all the shedding. I guess in a way that's true.

Anyway, there is something refreshing about a haircut, especially as part of the spring cleaning routine. Now I don't demand such high maintenance. The trees got a hair cut too, so now I get to go clean up their limbs. It's 20 degrees C outside! Time to be active, get in shape and enjoy the great outdoors after all of this hibernation and gothic brooding.

Filed under General Announcements
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