29 August 2005

rant of the moment

“I think it’s time to blow this joint and start making some serious money.”

I used to have a friend who said that to me. He used to say it fairly frequently, with the emphasis on "serious". He wasn’t a close friend. He was somewhere in that void between good friend and friendly acquaintance that gets so difficult to define. We knew each other because we were hanging out, way too often, at the same bar. We both liked music, we both moonlighted as DJs and we both liked drinking and dancing. Even better, he liked buying drinks for women and didn’t expect anything in return, at least from me.

Because he was nice to me and bought me drinks and didn’t hit on me, I never pointed out to him how ridiculous I found the statement I’ve quoted above. (Ironically, if he had been a closer friend, I probably would have felt comfortable laughing about it to his face.) The first time he said it to me, I thought he was drunk, since it came out of nowhere and I’ve heard drunk people make more ridiculous non-sequiturs than that. The second time, I was sure he wasn’t drunk and, stumped for a comeback, I took the opportunity to ask him what he was studying at university. I think it was business, but I really didn’t pay attention, because I wasn’t interested. I just wanted some conversational distance between me and that horrible line.

It sounded like he might be quoting a parent, which wouldn’t have been that surprising, but it came without the irony one might expect. It was like he was announcing his retirement from club life, having decided that the moment had arrived to become an adult. I had always assumed that coming of age was something that happened over time. But for him, it apparently arrived like the morning newspaper, at a precise and definable moment in time.

I didn’t know what he was planning on making serious money doing and I didn’t particularly care. But I remember wondering what the rush was. I was not even twenty at the time and he was at the very most three years older than me. To my way of thinking, we had years, years before we had to worry about our grown-up futures.

More disturbing was the idea that at some point I was also supposed to choose, that I was supposed to give up the things that I enjoyed, from nightclubs to political rallies to writing, because they were somehow immature. In fact, I did a pretty good job of not making that choice. Or at least, consistently choosing to remain in my state of childish ignorance.

My bar friend may have been onto something. As pretentious as it was to say out loud, at some point, you are supposed to put away “adolescent” things- those hedonistic vices- and become... what? Productive? Mature? All of those things that you were also supposed to hate in your hedonistic youth. You aren’t supposed to ask why you do these things, because that is outside the rules. If you want children, the answer is self-explanatory, because having children does involve responsibility and sacrifice. But my friend wasn’t talking about having children. He was talking about opting to settle down. And he was talking about it in a way that implied that he was more advanced than the rest of us, who would still waste the remains of our youth in this state of sybaritic oblivion. He was getting a head start.

I have never had a comfortable relationship with the working world. I enjoy the perks that a decent salary brings, but I try to leave it there. I’m consistently bothered when people ask me what I do, because I detest being identified with my job. But it’s one of those questions you’re supposed to ask someone when you first meet them. It comes right after asking their name. We are all supposed to be identified through what we do, because we can no longer be identified through what we’re studying in university (which might at least have had something to do with our interests). The truth is, the career I have now came about by accident, when a job I took just to pay the bills unexpectedly morphed into something more serious.

The question of what I do bothers me because of the kind of closure it implies. This is who I am, full stop. I still believe that my life is open, that, because my obligations are relatively light (no children, no martgage, no amassed debt, save what I put on my credit cards from month to month), I have many options, many potential future me’s. I still think about what I want to be when I grow up. Every time I have to answer the question of what I do, I die a little, because I am forced to play along with the charade that what I do for a living is what I do, period. I want to explan to them that I have a lot of other things that are more important, but that’s not how the game is played. At my age, I’m supposed to be set in my path. I’m supposed to have blown off the joints of my youth. I’m supposed to be making some serious money.

I don’t know who made up these rules. I’d like to know, because I’d like to ask that person a few questions. Because I don’t understand why working at a job that means nothing to me should make me more mature than believing in the ideals I had when I was younger. Because I am far more interested in knowing what people think about when they’re spending time alone on the weekend than in how they pay their bills. Because I’m fed up with feeling like I’m immature for not wanting to give up my freedom. And most of all, because I want to believe that this is a phase the same way that all the parts of my life thus far have been phases. This is the part where I get to stop worrying about how to pay my electricity bill so I can concentrate on how to get my life to where I can pay the bills doing something I enjoy.

I lost touch with my serious money bar friend eventually, but not because he stopped hanging out at clubs (which he didn’t). I never found out if he managed to get the life he was planning for himself. The last time I saw him, he was still caught between knowing he was supposed to move on and not really wanting to.

tano tribute

steinklang records will be releasing a tribute album (?) in memory of koji tano, the japanese noise music pioneer who passed away from stomach cancer last month. the tribute is scheduled to be released on 31 august and a full list of participants can be found here.

given the sheer number of people involved, i can't imagine the scope of the final project, unless it's a noise version of 99 bottles of beer on the wall with everyone contributing a verse, but the result will undoubtedly be fascinating. it's great to see artists uniting from around the world to pay tribute to such an original.

sleep is overrated


i've been living for the last couple of days on double amaretto "bats' eggs", available from the coffee shop of horrors. they do mail order, so luckily, i'll be able to get my fix when the current supply runs out. their web site also has pictures of their cat, who bears a startling resemblance to my late jennifer...

the coffee shop was one of the vendors i discovered while wandering this weekend's festival of fear with martin, who was visiting for the weekend. there were a remarkable number of interesting people from the world of underground, really underground cinema. how lovely to be able to wash in the fountain of gore for a couple of days.

27 August 2005

what the sixties should have sounded like

i'll post a more detailed review on hellifax, but i really can't contain my elation at skullflower's orange canyon mind. tremendously beautiful, this is what psychedelic music should be like. find it, buy it. Available through a number of distributors, including malignant, who are always a pleasure to deal with.

26 August 2005

i always knew it...

Pure Nerd
86 % Nerd, 21% Geek, 39% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.



The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.



Congratulations!





Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in either of the following:



Buffy the Vampire Slayer




Professional Wrestling






Love & Sexuality





Thanks Again!



My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 91% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 16% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

devolution in action


pastafarians/ noodleists unite! south carolina is considering move that would require teachers in that state to offer alternative theories to evolution as part of science classes. while this, of course is primarily directed at ensuring that the christian "intelligent design" theory receives an airing, it would also open the door to requiring OTHER alternative theories to be taught in schools, including that theory that the universe was created and ordered by the flying spaghetti monster.

24 August 2005

mushroom's artistic inclination


dither craf, aka raffaele cerroni, an Italian artist affiliated with the band Mushroom's Patience, has created an art exhibition, inspired by the band's music over the last 20 years. the artwork is quite fanciful and definitely captures the essence of the band. the band themselves, a collaborative effort from ain soph and novy svet, have a new album out called "water", an excerpt of which is available on their web site.

23 August 2005

excerpt- opus dei

excerpt from a draft/ story i wrote a little while ago. those of you who know me know where the inspiration came from.

Monday

It’s ten after nine and I don’t even remember what it was like to have a weekend. To have two days off without the juvenile racket of this place and without the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing that I am only moments away from the next disaster, the next excuse for those above me to explain in as much detail as their feeble minds and limited vocabularies can offer how I have come close to bringing about the apocalypse and how the world has been saved only by their own ingenuity. They are great and I am small. I should feel grateful to them for the fact that they pay me. I owe them. I owe them everything. Ha. The only thing that gets me through these days is the thought that some day, someone is going to turn these people inside out and let them see the rot within themselves.

It’s there in my inbox, of course, because no one has the guts to say anything to your face. They type their criticisms in big letters, in bright colours, so the words can be seen from across the room and so you know they’re really serious. “Stupid”. “Inexcusable”. “How could you have let this happen?” “Catastrophic.” They’re particularly fond of “stupid”, but they never quite use it to describe a person. It’s always what you do that’s stupid. What you say, What you think. It’s never you because to say that you were stupid would mean that you were something. And you are nothing here.

I feel that surge of bile in my throat reading these things about myself because I don’t want to care. But I’ve been here too long to have anything else to care about. It starts with one message, copied to a large number of people, people who are hardly involved in this issue at all. Because what good does humiliating someone do if it isn’t done in front of a crowd. They might be able to shake off the shame if there are only a few people who getting to see them tarred and feathered. There are more messages, they go in sequence, one voice, different screaming fonts. What I’ve done is a crime. What I’ve done is unimaginable. It takes on a life of its own and the life it takes is mine. I try not to care. I fail.

22 August 2005

it's official!!!



here i am holding the official certificate from tall tales press that "an honest day" was given an honourable mention in their "hidden talents short story contest". all of the winners, me included, will have their stories published in their "tall tales and short stories vol iii" anthology due out in the autumn (more updates as they become available. i would like to congratulate myself for not completely freaking out in this photo, which is what i feel like doing. i'm being published! do you hear me, world???? published!!!!!!!!! ok, i will now resume being the reserved person you see in the photo.

getting religion


well, i've never been what you'd call a devout anything, but i may finally have found a cult, ahem, religion, to which i can dedicate myself. pastafarianism, a little known religion, has been able to explain everything about the creation of the universe, including all those pesky mysteries as to why the universe seems older than it is when those charlatan scientists investigate it. i guess i've seen the light. i've been touched by his noodly appendage. all hail the semolina lord!

21 August 2005

40163

that's the word count on the latest writing project (tentatively entitled "tricky", for reasons i won't bother to get into now). i did some reading on the subject and apparently at 40,000 words, i can officially call it a novel. when i started, it was just another short story with a fairly elaborate outline... still not finished, and it's going to need some major overhaul once the first draft is complete. but at the moment, who cares? i can call it a novel. today, life is good.

metal mayhem


ok, i have this problem. i don't like metal, i've never liked metal, but to me, it's like seeing someone with really bad plastic surgery... i know it's wrong, but i just can't look away. it would be one thing if people like this realised that they were funny, but the fact that most of them seem to take themselves so seriously is what really hooks me. i can't listen to them because the music strikes me as roughly the aural equivalent of these pictures, but i can't deny that i'm glad they're out there, somewhere, as long as it's far away from me.

faux faulkner

if you're a fan of author william faulkner (and if you're not, you should be), this is sure to delight. "the administration and the fury" had me laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.

(you have to be familiar with faulkner's "the sound and the fury" or this won't work for you. go out and buy yourself a copy. the web site will still be there when you're done and reading is good for you. reading cures erectile dysfunction and stops cavities from ruining your teeth. really. go read.)

in late breaking news, the ending of world war two has been overturned


found this site on an exhibit by serbian artist aleksandar macasev. the premise is that nazi propaganda minister josef goebbels "is the ideological father of contemporary mass communication". look at goebbels' theories regarding the role and function of propaganda. turn on your television and watch the news. contemplate. repeat as necessary. while you're at it, buy a copy of manufacturing consent, which illustrates very effectively the role of media as a propaganda system, even in the "free" world.

nice weather we're having...


i was out in the pouring rain and tornado conditions the other day, wandering around the parking lot of a mall (not my favourite activity or location, even when the weather isn't crazy, but i had to pick up a gift to bring to a bridal shower the next day), trying desperately to find albert, my car. i'm tramping around, soaked to the skin and feeling the leather on one of my favourite pairs of boots get completely saturated and then, literally, i see my life flash before my eyes. i say literally, because a prong of lightning hit about three feet in front of my nose. standing in water up to your ankles is just not a good plan of action when there's a storm.

it was quite a storm, too. at three-thirty in the afternoon, it was as dark as it normally is at night, which is disconcerting.

i got soaked, i had water pooling under me once i managed to get into the car and two days later, my clothes are still not entirely dry.

so this is what i would have looked like if i'd been rescued after the sinking of the titanic.
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