Tuesday, December 26, 2006

We Tell Stories

we tell stories
about how things are
about how things were
we like to play god
we tell about
how Jimmy cracked corn,
how the knight broke into the castle
and wore the Emperor's best clothes
way back when
it was before your time
and mine
Yet how do I know for sure
unless someone else told me?
how we feel about the stories
is a story in itself
it starts with a lie
and just keeps going
but everyone tries to see the truth in it
for the entertainment
or because they're scared of what other stories
would be true
if they weren't
some don't even notice that they're trying
they are so entertained
it's funny isn't it?
what if it could have been?
what you call a coincidence
I call poetic license
it is or it isn't
you tell me
the universe is a song
our lives are a story
the stories survive
and here I am
to tell the tale
about what my life is
the baby Jesus
the immaculate virgin
the angels that look down
it's all just a story
but could we make fools of them
unless they were really listening
unless they gave voice and animation to the grand comedy?
we have to imagine
they are practically crying for our theatrics!
if not, who are we talking to?
no one knows.
But we tell ourselves the stories
to pass the time
say our lines
and just maybe experience that faux moment
when it seems that all the stories have come true.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Frankincense, and Other Christmas Elixirs

The other day I was complaining, being shallow and melodramic about my appearance. I felt old and especially ugly with my holiday pimple that popped up on my face. People would not look at me for fear of turning to stone. I needed a bag to put over my head...or something!

Then today I got perfect gift to cure my hideousness: Witch Hazel! When I thought about it, it was so fitting considering the Christmas tradition of giving that started off with the wisemen who doled out their own set of herbs and natural wealth. That tradition changed after Coca-Cola used the icon of St.Nicolas to don the corporate colours and peddle their product. The modern day Santa still serves to coerce us into buying more and more, transforming the original meaning of giving into a mania of shopping. So in this case, although it was still bought at a store, I thought it was considerate and suitable that the customer gave me my very own herbal remedy for my skin: something to work as an astringent, to turn back time, fight wrinkles, a practical fountain of youth!

The first Christmas gifts were the frankincense and myrrh that were brought to Jesus by the wisemen on his birthday. At that time, it was worth as much as gold, per kilo. I found out that frankincense, harvested mostly in modern day Yemen and Oman, the "incense of the Franks" (because it was them that reintroduced it to Europe) is a resin used in oils, herbal remedies and perfume. Alarmingly, the trees that produce it are under threat from humans over-tapping them and cutting them down. [CLICK HERE TO READ THE GLOBE AND MAIL ARTICLE] It would be a shame to have this sacred resource disappear!

I suppose rarity makes something worth more. That's why it costs so much for reindeer milk...and I've never seen it on the shelves.

The Witch Hazel was a nice gift because it was unusual and reminded me that someone had paid attention to my particular needs. Since it's rainy and grey and everyone seems to be in such a wretched mood today (not at all in the holiday spirit), it brightened my day. I also like how Witch Hazel smells. We'll have to see if it works!

Personal Diegesis

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Wonderland

"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a lightness in the mere darkness of being" -Carl Jung

The thing that I wonder about winter is: where is it? The sun shines, the ground is thawed, so the holiday season has really had its way of sneaking up on me. It's like I got knocked on the head sometime in September and just woke up now.

Since I can't find my snowboard, I suppose this weather suits me fine (although I WOULD like to build the biggest igloo). Today we welcome ample darkness as it is the shortest day of the year. All the better to burn candles. Strange though. It's only three sleeps until Christmas. The time draws near!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blink and Smile

"Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas" -Dale Evans

Revenue Canada gave me an early Christmas present: a bill for $278.26. Merry Christmas to you too! I'm no evader but I suppose I was accidentally incomplete in doing my taxes. A missing T4 means trouble down the road and I suppose I had a missing T4: trouble.

It was trouble especially since I don't have $278.26 I'm a starving artist and because interest rates are high enough to hack your arms and legs off in one fell swoop should you delay in your pay. But parents are such a miraculous breed that they can be such saviours in these financially taxing seasons -taxing because there are always other expenses that come up. My parents ALSO gave me an early Christmas present. Me mum paid the bill for me AND me pops is getting the internet, bringing me even closer to all you lovely cyberfolks! Two birds, one stone. Down. They rock like Gene Simmons does. (Love the show Rock School immensely BTW)

I know many people who get caught up and frustrated with the season. They watch too many cheesey commercials then feel jaded because they can't buy enough to keep up with the Jones' or they feel lonely and not-in-the-spirit. Like Cartman, the "lonely Jew" in the Christmas episode of South Park where he dreams up the imaginary character of Mr.Hankey (which is actually the animation of a very messy and very stinky being) others feel left out by the very Christianocentric (if that's a word) holiday. I know people who boycott Christmas all together and rightfully so. No one should force you to celebrate that which you reject but perhaps you can get in on some of the values that energize the season? Smile! Blink and smile!

One of the things I like most about this season is that exams are over and I can catch up with old friends. So for the rest of the week I will be working and going out for coffee, making cards, burning holiday candles and trying to spread as much good cheer as possible.

General Announcements

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Truth About Christmas Presents

...is that it's ALL about the details.

Remember when choosing Christmas presents that they are presents. Presentation is very important, maybe even more important than the present inside the box/bag/paper. So consider the details. Don't leave them out to be discovered before the deadline. Don't blow your cover by telling someone who isn't supposed to know. Make a ritual out of it. Keep it a surprise. Keep things under wraps until just the right time. Then infuse meaning and compliment your gift with a card outlining WHY you want to give because it's not about the what it's about the why. It's all about the details.

"Giving presents is a talent; to know what a person wants, to know when and how to get it, to give it lovingly and well. Unless a character possesses this talent there is no moment more annihilating to ease than that in which a present is received and given." -Pamela Glenconner


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Don't Get it Twisted

My day is going by about as fast as this guy's beats. He does a nice impression of Usher btw. I'm on the phone off again like a wild fish in the rapids...because it's Christmas time and everyone wants a phone!

Last night one of my customers came over and it turns out that we have more than just professional interests in mind. In fact, we're practically alternate versions of each other sharing many interests including music, food, snowboarding, biking and scary movies. So we ate a pineapple, something called "sugar cakes" from the Chinese store, watched Blade II and played guitar.

In terms of songs and styles, I showed her mine and then she showed me hers. There's a divergence there...or else you can call it a compliment. She's a metal head and I'm more of a lounge singer. But I'm not going to lie, her riffs rocked me.

I almost had to warn her not to "get it twisted" after she made fun of Stella, my guitar. She said that she hated the way Fender Squier's sounded like they were "tin cans" because of the "cheap warehouse-made pickups" though admitted my Stella is in beautiful shape without a wee knick considering she was made in Korea before Kurt even died in 1994.

So I grabbed her by the hair then I kicked her out of my house, booting her off my porch for being so generous as to bring me food and give me tips on upgrading my Stella. No, I walked her to her work so that she could start her night shift as an office maid. Then I went home and tried to sleep.

But sleep I couldn't. A cold sweat overcame me and I felt like I was on fire. This is bad news considering my manager was off for a few days on the suspicion that she had mononucleousis. I don't want that. She said "you won't know for 6-8 weeks whether you caught it from me." "But ---, I couldn't have gotten it from you. We only had sex. We didn't kiss," I joked. When the results of her blood work came back, it turns out she doesn't have the dreaded "kissing disease" but something else. I suggested maybe it was this instead.

Strangely, today I am feeling as robust as ever. Was it all a dream?

So I warn you children, be weary of siecles in the sky and shrill shrieks from characters other than Santa Claus during this highly stressful season of festivity. I do not want to see the black curtain lain over thee!!

General Announcements

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Day of Zen

Every day one of you dies.
One less sunrise
scrolls off the list
of time.
All your troubles,
giggles and steps gear down and grind into nothing.
Always more things to forget.
What was palpable is memorable,
traceable but
and in the realm of disappearance.
-Except a familiar sense of your ego,
You confuse it because it's attached to the inside of your fingertips,
That's "me" you erroneously remark subvocally
It is that which is yet unborn,
to be recycled,
reinvented and renewed.
You know you have one more chance to make it even wilder
than your wildest dreams,

Yesterday was one of those days that felt complete and that I had longed for.

I woke up to the sun streaming through the windows and took myself out for lunch at a fifties-themed burger joint where I was privy to orders like the 'Jimmy Dean' that include coffee, soup and fries.

It was so bright I had to keep my blue-tinted shades on (a beautiful colour to view winter through) so I nestled into the booth and browsed articles about Canada's place in world perception. The Angus Reid index shows us as up from what we were ten years ago in terms of countries continuing to view us as a tolerant, positive, charitable country for the most part. However, most countries still fear our cold and have a skewed perception that we provide more foreign aid than we actually do.

Then, because I like Christmas browsing even more than I enjoy shopping, I took a bus ride and then looked around the downtown shops and had myself a flaneurish afternoon then stopped by the library to pick up Benjamin Britten, Neil Young and Ravel CD's.

Then, and this is a highlight: I discovered yoga for the first time.

I didn't drop a bunch of cash to join a club or anything. I just learned some moves from a friend who's pretty into it. Apparently there are different forms of yoga (or "YOGA") according to some of the cogniscentis I'm acquainted with. It seems like a pretty politically charged thing -whether one yoga is better, whether it's spiritual and the whole attitude surrounding it. It kinda gave me the impression that if I were to totally dedicate my life to yoga training, some day I would be entitled to be a snob.

I'm sure that if there is a right way to do yoga I did it wrong. Some of the movements I couldn't, with my generous figure and lack of flexibility, do. However, there were others that really stretched my muscles and felt relaxing, especially along with breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. There were, for example, "sun rises" or something like that that were a type of stretch ending in something of a sagged push-up position with your head stretched high up as far as it can go. Another involved turning your neck to the side and "stretching" your gaze by turning your body and looking as far to one side as possible. I was amazed to find out that I was capable of near 360 degree vision, looking directly behind me!!

I brought the yoga-master and Lucifer over for a refreshing taste of greek salad, made from scratch with cheddar cheese my makeshift switch since I didn't have feta. It contained the saltiest of black olives, which is my glee. Feels good to eat fresh.

So today I'm definitely feeling it. The muscles between my shoulder blades are sore but firmer and more relaxed. I have a bounce to my step and more oxygen in my brain. The world seems more attainable and even when spending hours on hold because customer accounts slip out of my control, it all washes over me.

I leave you with the history of what I call: THE SLIM SLIDE

I was musing just now about the significance, to me, of how we have a phone called the "slim-slider". It is called that because the one part of it swivels on the first. A few years ago I thought I had coined a new verb called the "slim slide" which I used as an expression for just barely getting out of tight situations. A comparable expression is "by the skin on my teeth" (and if you want to know the origin of that one, click here.) Situations where you might say that was a slim slide! are when you just barely managed to convince your boss that you were sick or get out of blind date after being informed that they are incredibly stupid or dig yourself out of a grave you were about to inhabit.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Curling up with Comics

Page from Chester Brown's Louis Riel

I've never been much of a comic book collector though I started after realizing how amazing the whole genre is. Now that it's finger-freezing cold outside, I'll be staying in more and reading. In university, I got a credit for reading and studying some of the best graphic novels and comic books like Maus, Watchmen some Batman comix, and Neil Gaiman's Sandman and others.

Even though he's often accused of being racist and sexist and well, a little weird, I still think Robert Crumb is an amazing artist and innovator. His comics are like brain garbage. They will make you deranged, obscene and morally impaired but they will also make you laugh. They are fun to indulge in.

The more 'cultured', conservative reader will enjoy more historical comic book writers/illustrators like Chester Brown, who created Louis Riel, which was nominated for a 2004 Eisner Award.

Today I just added Weltschmerz to my sidelinks. It's "Canada's premier satirical comic strip"-Exclaim! Local talent Gareth Lind draws up prime minister Harper, David Suzuki and other fictional characters to poke fun of Canadian politics and issues like Kyoto and Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan. He pumps the strips out every Thursday.


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