Friday, November 12, 2004
But One Last Thing Before I Go
The ability to connect with people from all over the world can be a powerful thing for good; and an equally powerful thing for evil. The amount of hate-filled rhetoric I have exposed myself to while reading the blogs and while writing my own is heartbreaking. Humans, despite our greatness, seem to content ourselves with self-righteousness disguised as opinion, with pettiness and hatred, with conceit and fury.
Please let me whisper in your ears for a second, using Chandra’s words.
The dog paces the kitchen, her nails clicking
on the linoleum. Morning sun seeps through
the bamboo slats on the door. The radio is already
full of noise and prophecy. Desperation curls
the edges of all the voices. The balance of the world
teeters and trembles. The cat licks his toes. All
over America people stand in lines at polling
stations, while others go about their lives as if they hold
nothing cupped in the small of their hands. Today
is a good day to chant or pray. I do neither of these.
I drink coffee. I chew last night’s lipstick off my lips.
I put on a sweater as pink and tight as an eardrum. Time
is stretched taut. My fingers pull at threads. The dog
barks out the window. I wish for the power to whisper
in a nation’s ears: Do not choose hate. Do not choose fear.
Cup your hands. Open your ears. Feel the surge of billions
of voices seeping through your borders.
We are waiting. We are counting. Our open arms tremble.
- Chandra Mayor, November 2, 2004
Thank you all for the encouragement. This has been a life-changing experience.
... Read the rest of "But One Last Thing Before I Go"
So Long and Thanks for all the Fish
Although it's an ongoing process, mission accomplished!
... Read the rest of "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish"
Your Everlasting Soul
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Why it is good and healthy to stare at cows for long periods of time
I think it was Oscar Wilde who never said:
'All of us are in the gutter, but some of us are staring at the cows'.
Oscar was an urbane sort of chap, and he rarely saw a cow. His visual field was largely taken up with hansom cabs, fog and flowers. But life is very different for those of us who live in the middle of fields. We know the intense pleasure that is to be attained from furiously contemplating a standing bovine.
Oh. Hang on. There is a voice in my ear.
My apologies. I seem to have been discussing the wrong topic. I thought I was guesting on 'cows_are_wonderful', but that's for tomorrow. Yes. No. Hang on.
My name is Frank O'Connor. Welcome to my world. Today, I am guesting on surly snobby because he is clearly so desperate for content that he will take any old rubbish from anyone, including those of us, who, like myself, are very easily distracted.
At this very moment, I'm supposed to be piloting my nuclear submarine through the Mariana trench. But that's just way too complicated for me to be doing and writing this at the same time. So I've left it on autopilot, and if it hits a rock or something, it will just make a little dent in the hull, probably. Fingers crossed, eh?
So, today's topic is 'Why do I blog'? That's a good question. Up until now, I've never even thought about it. I just thought about it then though, and it is actually quite scary. But, first things first.
Let's get one thing right out of the way right here and now and this minute, now. I really hate the word 'blog'. It is supposed to be a neat compaction of web log, but it ends up trading its soul for only two letters. It sounds like food poisoning and trips off the tongue like a brick. I know this is controversial, but, heck, we all have to live with a bit of controversy, even those people whose bolgs explode.
So, why do I WRITE a WEB LOG? I don't know really. It keeps me off the streets, I suppose. I mean, some big sociology professor would probably tell me that I am compensating for some helpless disjunction between my own world view and the world as it actually is by sending out little cries for help every morning at 2am through the medium of the wondernet. But that's just bollocks.
But really, why do I write a web log? Why don't I do something more practical, like etchasketching, or wobble boarding? Why don't I do something that has the slimmest chance of contributing something to human culture and civilization? Well it's all because of my brain.
I don't know about you, but my brain makes a fizzing sound when I wake up. This sound gets louder and louder throughout the morning. By noon, it is a high pitched whistle, which really annoys all the neighbors. If I don't write something down at this point, and post it off into the ethosphere, my head gets very hot, and that means only one thing: singed pillows. So that's why I do it, see? To avoid singing my pillows.
Next week: The cow, and its role as savior of the earth.
... Read the rest of "Why it is good and healthy to stare at cows for long periods of time"
Monday, November 08, 2004
Sorry, Surly Can't Come to the Blog Right Now
If only I wasn't in this chair.
The reason why I am guest blogging is because Surly is off writing a 50,000 word essay on the benefits of Velcro and during his breaks, contemplating the shrinkage of the waist bands on his shorts. For a Canadian he has quite a lot of shorts, jams and tank tops. Sometimes I try them on when I'm locked in the storage room but they're all kind of baggy on me.
Well since we've got the place to ourselves and while Surly's distracted let's run over to the medicine cabinet and see what we find. Shall we?
Hmmm - this is curious. It's not even his shade. Erm - maybe I'll just put this back. Oh look - self- tanning lotion. Oh I can see where that shade in that other case might just work now. The poor boy - not even a bottle of sun block, no wonder he's been looking dry and puffy lately. And here I thought he was simply working too hard on that essay. What's this, "Apply three times daily to ________"? Oh now that just sounds painful. Let's leave from here.
I was hoping we could rummage through that drawer next to his bed, but I can't get this damn wheelchair up the stairs. If only I wasn't in this chair. I can take a pretty good guess as to its contents though - his diary and a pen. I saw his diary once - it's a really big book with a combination lock and bars, sort of like a bank vault really. Once a picture of Jim Carey fell out of it but I was too afraid to ask. Just forget I said anything, okay?
Growing up, I remember him being quite an accomplished yodeler. He won a regional competition doing a remarkable yodeling rendition of Flight of the Bumblebee. A few girls actually fainted from the excitement. Oh wait a minute - I think it was he who had fainted. It's a difficult piece to yodel so that makes more sense. That's right, I remember now, one of the judges plucking off little Surly's clip-on bow tie, plaid and quite the fashion statement, in order for him to get better air flow. He had turned rather orange, much like when he wears too much of that tanning gel, then green and blue. It turns out he also does quite the impression of a mood ring. Fortunately for all of us, he had won the Yodeling Cup - it came in handy on the ride back to his house as he had gotten car sick. By the time we arrived back his skin had cycled through the rainbow twice. He's quite the talent. It's a good thing he had forgotten the bow tie in all of the excitement as it would have clashed.
Now I know some of you think that my relative can sometimes be hyper-critical according to the notes attached to the rocks that often come flying through the windows. As a writer he tends to notice things. He's a much harder critic of himself than anyone else - well other than me that is. He's pretty mean to me, but that's only because he still feels guilty about the accident we don't ever talk about. I don't mind really especially after a few hours in the closet with the bottle. But make no mistake about it, although he presents a certain image here on his blog - I'm here to tell you he really is a decent, loving, affectionate - oh sorry, once I get giggling I can't ever finish a sentence.
I think for the next installment I may interview one of his babysitters if I can find any willing to speak on the subject of Surly. There may be some legality which may prevent this, but I'll do my best. At least we can see what he has in his ice box.
Oh - I think I hear him now. I better roll.
Until next time dear readers - if there is a next time…
Warmly - Aaron
... Read the rest of "Sorry, Surly Can't Come to the Blog Right Now"
So I asked some friends to remind me. Over the next few days I will remain silent while some of my favourite writers take over for me. The suggested topic is "Why Do You Blog?", but any topic is just ducky as far as I'm concerned.
Until then, here is some more Hebrew. One of the cutest men in the world, Israeli singer Harel Skaat:
... Read the rest of "הראל סקעת"
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Well if it's for your well-being, I’ll answer your question.
Blog Explosion is high school . You pretend to make a lot of friends by going to visit as many sites as you possibly can for 30 seconds, while feigning interest in pictures of someone’s chinchilla Mr. Foopy Face. And in return, precisely one half of your new ‘friends’ come to your site and feign interest in your brilliantly witty observational discourse on the state of the humanity and the world at large.
After they’ve stayed the exact minimum amount of seconds they're they’re obliged to stay, and maybe even after having left a comment stating how much they just love your blog and how gorgeous your blog is, they will turn around and backstab you by clicking on the banner all Blog Explosion bloggers surf by and give you 2 Blog Explosion stars out of a possible 10 Blog Explosion stars. The goal of Blog Explosion is to be voted Homecoming Blog. You see? High school.
I admit that I found it fun at first. I enjoyed the comedy of some of the absolutely atrociously mundane things out there that people think should fascinate others. I also have found some lovely reads (Merry Meet, Robyn the Good Witch of the East! היי , Ani! Howdy, Joshylin! Hi … um … Mud Woman and … erm … Bollocks Guy!), and some very friendly folk have left some very sweet comments here. It was also fun at first to see the amount of my daily visits shoot up to the sky.
For the most part, however, Blog Explosion involves slogging through the “Evangelists”, the “Democrats are evil”, the “Republicans are dumbasses”, the teenage girls who think they have the deepest, darkest souls in the whole wide world, the “Let’s go hunting” hetero cliché guys, and the people who think that everyone will be just thrilled to pieces to read all about their fecal occult test, complete with pictures (If you don’t already know what this is, you don’t want to know. Please trust me). I actually take the time to read most the blogs shoved in my face.
So there you, Blog Explosion social climbers. Give me 0 Blog Explosion stars out of a possible 10 Blog Explosion stars. Block me. Go tell Teacher on me, complaining about how I said mean things about you. In high school, I spent a lot of time on the front steps smoking while managing straight A's. Some things never change, I suppose.
Why am I bothering to write about Blog Explosion? It’s because I’m taking a break from my NaNoWriMo thingie, which is going rather well, and the ols Explosion seemed like a really fun target. The word count is a little below where I think it should be on Nov. 6 although I’m already a little more than 10% finished. As far as first drafts go, I think it’s looking pretty good. I am a very severe critic (has anyone noticed?). I’ve posted an excerpt on The Event Horizon, where I am an irregular contributor. At the time of writing, the excerpt had been read by approximately zero people. I’m telling myself that it’s because everyone is intimidated by my obvious genius. Yes. That must be it.
But back to Blog Explosion. Can you believe that some people actually want this eyesore to be the first thing you see when you alight upon their blog? It’s like being assaulted by Las Vegas! No. Wrong imagery. Too classy. It’s like being assaulted by a video lottery terminal:
And if you click on the banner above and sign up, I get more traffic. Not that I care or anything. Really.
... Read the rest of "Blog Corrosion"
Thursday, November 04, 2004
More Good Housekeeping
So if any of you Americans who said you’d move here after a certain election result want to sublet a large one bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto, let me know. The cat, computer, 900 books, and 900 cds come with me. Everything else, the concept of true equality and a federal government that once again has a surplus rather than a deficit, is all yours. I’ll be playing with the elves on the South Island (mmmmmmm ... Legolas ... ).
[***UPDATE*** Before another irate person gets the urge to send me a gracious, politely worded e-mail (link now deleted indefinitely) questioning my right to free speech, let it be known that I am an American citizen as well as a Canadian. But that shouldn't make a difference. I have as much right to be unapologetic for my beliefs as you have to click away when you run across something you don't like. Lighten up and if you don't agree, at least laugh at the ridiculous idea of Canada attempting to assimilate almost 50% of the States' population!]
I had decided not to write something long and boring, and I see I have already failed. Instead I bring you a repeat of something you read and just loved, something that reminds me of a simpler time, a time when my worries over the state of the world were like an annoying cat, not like the loud clanging and banging keeping me from sleep that they are now. So please enjoy again “Good Housekeeping” ...
Good HousekeepingThe strangest thing has happened to all of my shorts. I first noticed it last week when I finally dragged them out of their winter seclusion in my storage room that’s so big it could be a bedroom for a very short roommate. Yes, I have a large storage room in my apartment. This is one of the many reasons why a bout with unemployment won’t scare me away from it despite its hefty rent.
But to get to my point, I had to drag my shorts out of storage. Now, I have a very elaborate filing system. To the untrained layperson it may appear as if I have simply thrown those objects I am too silly to throw away into boxes (or never bothered to unpack them) and then piled the boxes in precarious, quivering piles in the very large storage room. When nosey visitors open the door to the very large storage room they invariably look at me with a quizzical mixture of horror and condescension.
In truth, the only entity aside from me who isn’t displeased with my arrangement of the very large storage room is Noudnic the Cat. He gets very excited every time I open the door, which isn’t that often, and he immediately bounds in, transmogrifying into the vicious untamed beast his ancestors were when they ran wild over the Elburz Mountains in the days of yore. This is when he’s not sleeping on his back in the bathtub (I wish I had a digital camera). In any case, he leaps over mountains, lurks in caves, and dodges avalanches (caused by him, might I add). Once while hunting he attacked and eviscerated an entire colony of old hair elastics I had kept from the days just after the days of yore when I wore plaid and ripped jeans and had hair that grew past my titties. I'd saved them because I thought they might be useful one day. Brave, regal Noudnic.
This acknowledgement of the inherent usefulness of all used objects permeates my entire outlook towards happy housekeeping. It is my philosophy that if an object has been useful, one should simply leave it precisely where one used it last because it will undoubtedly be useful once again. This applies to all objects. CDs should remain outside of their cases in tall unsteady stacks on my desk because I play them on my computer. Plates should stay on the coffee table in front of the TV because that is where they are utilized. Envelopes from hateful bills need not be discarded: they, or the bills themselves, can easily be transformed into wacky cat toys in one smooth crumple-and-toss movement. C'est simple comme ‹‹bonjour››.
This is a philosophy, you realize, not laziness as some have deemed it. One of these naysayers is my future husband, Ajay. He objects to my practical house-keeping style, believing for some reason that special places should be found for every object in a household and that things should be placed in these places when not in use. It’s a theory. And it’s also very easy for him to accomplish such a meaningless task since he is a model/Bollywood star who has servants to do these things. So whenever he scolds me I simply say, “Well then, fantasy fiancé, send over some of your fantasy servants!” We are then both so stimulated by the charged atmosphere that we make sensual, passionate love in the piles of clean laundry on my bedroom floor. All of this probably goes a long way towards explaining why housecleaning remains a fantasy in my household, along with other fantastical things, like future husbands for example.
In any case, last week my goal was to extract my shorts and my expired passport from the very large storage room. I also thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to put some order in the room, much to Noudnic’s distress. Fortunately I was saved from this task because the shorts were on top of the whole domestic topography. The passport was in the first box I opened, along with some term papers from my undergrad when I wore ripped jeans and plaid and I had hair that grew past my titties. I’d saved them because I thought they might be useful one day.
And so as I walked to the passport office in my brand new fashion sandals and my brand new fashion blisters, I noticed something odd about my shorts (Ha! You thought I forgot what I'd written in my first sentence). Their waist appeared to have shrunk over the winter. It’s very strange. The shorts are no shorter than they had been last summer. I cannot explain this odd phenomenon. Perhaps there’s something about the atmosphere of an overheated, closed storage room that causes cloth waists to shrink. I am completely flabbergasted. Has anyone else noticed anything similar?
'Cause You Liked It So Much the First Time ...NaNoWriMo (track my progress on the metre in the top left and things that I actually get paid for are weighing down on my shoulders. One thing that happens when you only pay half attention to your personal e-mail for several days in a row is that you’re late foe the party. So here, a little late, are three new Bunnies in 30 Seconds movies, almost pillage from Daniel until I noticed the e-mail from The Genius herself (Not really; I’m on a mailing list)
"Freddy vs Jason"
"Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
... Read the rest of "More Good Housekeeping"
Monday, November 01, 2004
Robyn's Halloween Thoughts
She was late. I guess Halloween is a busy time of year for a witch. The moral I’d learned in my initial contact with Robyn was do not piss off a witch, even a good one. So I didn’t rush her. I’d already learned my lesson. I just sat in the corner and ate all my Halloween sweets. That’s what Halloween means to me, sweets and sloth. This doesn’t make for a very interesting topic. Luckily, she finally sent me her thoughts
But what you’re about to read is what it means to others, and, presumably, where it comes from. So like a Simpsons Halloween Special, which always broadcasts after Halloween, here are Robyn’s Halloween thoughts. Thank you, Robyn!
Samhain: In Times PastYou can smell it in the air as the West wind blows. The end of summer. The Death of Light. The time of long nights has arrived. The harvest is over and it is time for a great celebration to thank the Gods for all their aid in bringing the harvest to fruition.
All of the house fires in the village are extinguished and you gather in the field. The great common fire is lit to pagan hymns. The ancestors call this time of year. Remembering perhaps the harvest festival, they walk the night and sing the songs with you.
This is an inbetween time. The time between the Light and the Dark of the year. It is perfect for talking with loved ones who have passed. They will answer your questions if you know how to ask. You toss the bones of the cow your family slaughtered for winter on to the bonfire (bone fire) in hopes that you will see the future in the flames coming from them.
The shaman or druid of your village comes forth to tell of the year past and the year ahead. He takes a torch lit from the common fire and walks toward the second pyre of wood. In the center is the large image of a man woven from branches and vine. He is a fine large man this year. He is filled with everything a person needs to live. There are vegetables and grains, cloth and candles, meat and drink, sometimes there are people in the wicker man as well. This year was good though so no people are in the construct. With reverence the shaman lights the pyre. The other villagers sing loudly and dance around the wicker man. You join in as well. This sacrifice will insure that the Winter goes well and that Spring will come soon.
After the wicker man is consumed it is time to feast. You move to log tables. This is a mild year so it is outside and not in the common house. The rough hewn tables contain all manner of food. Once everyone is gathered, the Druid speaks to ancestors. He thanks them for their love and guidance through the year. He sets a place at a lone table for the ghosts. Everyone then begins to mill about taking their own meal. Before you eat though each person moves past the table of the dead. The first bite and first drink is given from you to those who have gone before. It is only respectful that they should eat first from the plate that gives you life as they gave you life.
Stomachs full and the moon high the feast is ended. Each family gathers according to their rank. They each file past the great common fire and light a torch or take a coal to go back home and light the fire in the family hearth. You marvel at the strength it gives you to know that the fire that will warm you this dark time will warm your neighbors and kin. You feel a belonging here, a kinship with each of these people who share your fire.
You walk home with your family feeling not quite so alone. You are happy. It was a good celebration. You could feel those you loved. You know that your bit that filled the wicker man will help to feed everyone in the year to come. Though the night is dark you can feel the light within glowing warmly. Your sleep will be peaceful tonight.
Want to learn more? Check these links.
Love and Light,
... Read the rest of "Robyn's Halloween Thoughts"