30 April 2006

i must be dreaming

except that it's all over the internet, so it must be true. check out the reaction to stephen colbert's speech at the white house press correspondent's dinner (or watch the video).

sad to say, the 60 minutes piece on him that aired this evening was stunningly uninformative. there wasn't anything on there that isn't pretty much common knowledge about the man, but i'm glad just to see him getting the coverage. america needs more colbert. we all do.

28 April 2006



you have it all wrong

so many crooks in washington and these are the ones you arrest????

27 April 2006

goths in the news

most goths i know are more concerned about make-up than murder. i mean, they might hurt someone who scuffed their pointy-toed boots, but, more likely, they'd just mope and cast nasty spells on them from a dark, dark corner.

so what's up with the news lately? first, there is the unlikely story of a goth flasher (link courtesy of fark). most goths wear some many layers and have so many complicated buckles and zippers on their clothing that flashing someone would take the better part of half an hour...

then, of course, we have the latest "children wear black because they intend to kill their families" hoopla. because it's the wearing of black and listening to completely insane music like marilyn manson (ok, for once i didn't see manson specifically blamed for these murders, but you know it's coming) that attracts kids to violent acts and not some inherent psychological problems.

i guess this may be a sign of the coming apocalypse, so beware: armies of people in black lace shirts and chipped black nail polish are coming for you. and you can't kill them, because they're already dead.

25 April 2006

with friends like this...

looks like george w bush can't even choose a proper sycophant mouthpiece. i guess he didn't have anyone to read him tony snow's comments on his tenure thus far. i can't wait for this guy to have to answer questions about his own criticisms of bush...

23 April 2006

now that's a surprise

Which Wax Trax! Artist Are You?

oh for the love of...

i really think that the publishers of the washington post (decried by "my republican friend" as a cess pool of girly-man liberalism) have got to be smoking crack if they think that they can continue to take home their salaries while continuously falling asleep at the switch.

this week, their editorial page featured a defense of scooter (i wasn't really fond of his work with the muppets, either) libby using facts in their argument that had previously been revealed as specious by... washington post journalists.

just because you had woodward and bernstein in the seventies does not mean you can afford to still be sitting on your political laurels.

story comes courtesty of media matters.

nothing's scarier than a clown

although ouchy is probably scarier than most... i don't think i'm ever going to feel safe on the internet again...

22 April 2006

it works, if you think about it

i was talking to my father the other day. not surprisingly, he is not a big watcher of fox news. he's heard of the personalities on their network, but he wouldn't necessarily recognise them.

while he was channel surfing recently, he came across something that he thought was a comedy show along the lines of the daily show or the colbert report, making fun of mainstream, right-wing u.s. media.

turns out it was the real bill o'reilly.

viewed as comedy, o'reilly is nearly so offensive.

21 April 2006


this spk video is like watching someone's listing of every industrial-by-numbers cliche in existence. power tools! shirtless men! shirtless men banging on things! footage of nazi germany!

ok, you have to cut them a little slack, because this dates from 1983, so most of the things they're doing were still being established as cliches and have only become funny in retrospect because they've been so overdone.

at the very least, it's a pretty catchy tune.

19 April 2006

it was only a matter of time

so, after sixteen years with a lead foot and an unblemished driving record, i finally got my first ever speeding ticket this morning. apparently, i was doing a little over 20km/h above the speed limit and, while i never saw a radar gun or anything, i'm willing to accept that it was a definite possibility.

the irony is that i was coming off a turn and was in the process of accelerating. in another four blocks, i might have been looking at a truly nasty ticket. i didn't bother to tell the humourless lady giving me the ticket that, though.

a couple of people have said i should fight this, but i'm figuring that the law of averages is that i was bound to get a speeding ticket eventually and it's a minor miracle it hasn't happened before. i'm also aware, while i know i'm a pretty safe driver (don't run yellow lights, don't talk on the cell phone, always check my blind spots), there are a lot more people killed in ontario every year in car accidents than there are by, say, guns.

so tax payers of ontario, rejoice. your police force is keeping you safe from drivers like me, which is exactly what they should be doing. i'll have to hold off on any visits to fluevog for a short spell...

molotov cocktail with chocolate sprinkles

strangely, the story of this anarchist treat made me crave both political change and a helping of ice cream.

18 April 2006

signs of hope

ok, part of this pisses me off because i have a character in an as-yet unpublished story that i wrote who goes around "recontextualising" billboards as political/ social art, so i feel like i got knocked off here, but it's hard not to admire the handywork of the billboard liberation front. the chief danger i see in what they're doing is the potential these eye-catching, thought-provoking boards have to distract the attention of drivers, raising car accident rates. oh well. it's a risk i'll take.

16 April 2006

winning the hearts and minds

ok, i just got back from seeing jello biafra’s show at the convocation hall. i’d been warned that i could expect to be bombarded with a lot of information and he didn’t disappoint. four solid hours with a quick break in the middle. to try to review everything he touched on would be ridiculous, given the scope of the presentation, but, for whatever reason (some of which were personal, see further explanation below), i was completely captivated.

part of that reason was that this was an opportunity to see someone who i’ve admired since i was an angst-ridden thirteen year old trying to figure out why she didn’t enjoy the same things as everyone else she knew. while my musical taste may have veered in a different direction over time, a lot of the old punk and alternative bands i listened to then have a greater meaning for me than bands whose music excites me far more. so there is something really exciting about getting to see a “hero” in the same room, up close.

and up close i was. sick of always having to experience shows from the very back of a room, i got there when i knew the doors were opening. or at least, when they said they would open. there were some obvious organisational glitches that left me and the assembled crowd standing outside for what seemed like an eternity, an irritation even in the beautiful spring weather. it’s rarely a sign of superior planning for a show when the guy you’re there to see has to walk through the crowd and hammer on the door to be let in.

however, the gates did eventually open and i was rewarded for my early appearance by being one of the first people in and getting to park my carcass in the very front row. this is in contrast to when i saw henry rollins last october (in the same venue), where gen and i were practically in the next building we were so far back. this turned out to be one of my better decisions, because, in contrast to rollins, whose delivery is smoother and more scripted, biafra is strikingly unpolished. he speaks from notes, he rambles from one subject to another, he occasionally loses his train of thought and being right in front of him made the most of what was (surprisingly, given the size of the venue) a very human performance (i could have done without the close-up on him blowing his nose, but hey, the rest of it was great). being at a greater remove would have lessened the experience.

some of the segments are more prepared than others- he read an updated version of “die for oil, sucker” (his best spoken word piece) as well as the full version of “ass clown” (excerpted in the surprisingly likeable new ministry single of the same name). and those pieces allow biafra the showman to come out, which is undeniably fun and appreciable from any distance. but most of the evening was just him, taking the piss out of bush, cheney, rumsfeld and all. some of the funniest portions were those where he took aim at the great white hopeful of the democrats, hilary clinton, who he refers to as “the hilary monster”. as the gentleman i will refer to as “my republican friend” is fond of telling me, the democrats don’t have a great record to stand on. it’s nice to see someone speaking on political issues without aligning himself with either party. i was happy that his tirade against his former bandmates was kept brief- not because i don’t agree with him (does anyone care about any of the other dead kennedys anyway?), but hearing about a band you admired reduced to suing each other definitely takes the polish off your memories of them. he took his shots and moved on in short order.

now, let me back up a little to when we were standing outside. no, let me back up to a previous post here, when i was extolling the virtues of getting inspiration for writing from old journals. i’ve spent a large portion of my time in the last week going through sections of my diaries from years ago with the aim of writing something based on a specific set of experiences. the negative part of doing this is that it has a tendency to rip the scar tissue off wounds that had long since healed. in this case, since i’ve been working on a story about an instance where i had someone rip my heart out and stomp on it (more out of an interest in how people relate to each other than in wallowing in the hurt), this has left me feeling a little vulnerable and has reminded me of what it felt like to go through that. so, when we were all gathered outside, waiting to be let in, i was thrown off by the unexpected sight of the person who did rip my heart out and stomp on it, also in the crowd. this meant that when i did get inside, i was feeling keyed up, a little nervous, off-kilter.

i mention this only because i think my state increased my own sense of engagement with the show. i was a little more open, a little less of a spectator. that, combined with my proximity to what was actually happening on the stage, made the whole thing a more exciting, more envigorating experience for me than it might have been otherwise. i’ve learned through experience at many shows that the very best ones are not necessarily the ones where you heard the greatest music, or laughed the hardest, or cried the most, but the ones where you leave yourself open enough that the performance is able to get inside and excite you emotionally. by the time biafra wound up the show, moving away from criticism and talking about positive options for bringing about change (not all of which involved things that were illegal), i felt personally empowered to rush out and make the world a better place- immediately.

how i’m going to do that is something i’ll start thinking about when i’ve had some sleep, but i think it’s going to start with figuring out how i can extend the emotional high i’m on right at this moment. because if you feel like you can do anything, you’re more likely to be able to do something.

12 April 2006

meaning what, exactly?

the other day i was walking through the kensington market area, going to pick up coffee at my prefered dealer and i passed by two men having a rather drunken middle-of-a-saturday-afternoon discussion. i'm not sure what they had been discussing when i approached, but one of them, a rather grungy looking middle aged rocker-type with a spectacular black eye looked at me and said:

"-like there. THAT'S something i wouldn't mind taking home to my mother."

now, i'm not sure at one point i became a thing instead of a person, but i won't quibble. i'm just surprised because of all of the things i expected to be able to do in my life, i never factored in the possibility of being a nice-girl beard for aging rocker dudes. in fact, i never knew rocker dudes would be so eager to reassure their mothers that they had a nice, non-rocker girlfriend.

what was it that made him point me out on the crowded street? the blonde hair? the fact that i had obviously showered this week? being in possession of all my teeth? i'll never know. but apparently, i have some ephemeral quality that rocker-dude mothers look for.

07 April 2006

never trust anyone over 30?

apple, the venerable snob of the computer world, turned thirty on april 1. in celebration, fark.com has a series of photoshopped images from readers with ideas for what the minds that brought you all those little white boxes will come up with next.

06 April 2006

particularly dear diary

one other point on getting inspiration that has and continues to serve me well: read old diaries/ journals.

after all, what's the point in going through all the emotional turmoil in your life if you can't turn around and use it creatively (or for revenge, that's your business)?

05 April 2006

making brain space

there are problems when you travel for work in a large group. you can get sick of the people you’re with from being around them too much. you can end up bein the one who’s left out of everything and feel as isolated as you did you did back in junior high school, something no one should have to relive. you can end up feeling like you’ve had no time off work whatsoever, because it’s personalities and issues have taken up every waking moment of the time you were travelling.

the last week has contained elements of these things. there were, in the end, very few people who got on my nerves to any extent, so the annoyance factor was mild at best. in fact, the majority of our group were decent enough and easy enough to have a conversation with. i did not feel isolated, although i did feel, as i usually do in any large group, that i just really don’t have a lot in common with most people. as far as having downtime for my brain, while this definitely could have been worse, it did tend to be the preoccupying factor.

it’s that last one that bothers me the most. this isn’t a slight at the place where i work, since, as many of you know, i’ve been in far worse places, but the time away from the job is really where i am able to let my mind do the things it wants to do. lately, that has not been happening. the results of this are evident even here. how many posts recently have dealt with writing, about creativity? not many. because my brain just isn’t detached enough from that world to allow space for much else.

we all go through this, i know, and we all get irritated with it, some more than others. what is particularly galling to me at the moment is the assumption people around me are making that the past week should have been in some way restful, that i should feel motivated to do more because i’ve had the chance to recharge. for these people, i have news: working with customers while drinking tequila is remarkably like working with customers in any other setting, it just goes on longer and ends up giving you a headache. (this isn’t a slight against the people who i was with, either, it’s just that work is work, not relaxation.)

the skill i’m having to acquire now (having been successful in “learning to sit on your ass on the beach 101”) is how to get my brain unplugged from work and thinking creatively about other issues. anyone will tell you that creativity isn’t just something you can turn on like a faucet. it’s now my mission to prove them wrong because, unfortunately, walking away from the working world would only generate a lot of other problems for me at this point. so far, these are the methods i am trying to employ, just to see what works:

1. try to imagine everyone you speak to as a character in a story. at the very least, it’ll probably make them seem more interesting and make it look like i’m paying attention to what it is that they’re saying. at best, one of the stories will be something i actually want to write.

2. create a buffer zone- i live in toronto, which means 30-45 minutes of commuting hell on either end of my work day. i tend to just listen to music that i love and let my mind wander (which usually results in it wandering away from work pretty quickly). good for creativity, bad for pedestrians.

3. try to spend more time reading- i have to keep reinforcing to myself that reading is not something that takes away from my time writing. seeing what other people can do makes me better.

4. write down every scrap of a thing that comes into my mind and archive it- yes, most of it will be useless crap, but somewhere in there will be an excerpt i really like, that will later be connected up to other parts of an as-yet-unimagined whole.

is this going to work? hey, it can’t hurt.

in the eye of the beholder

i'm not so comfortable in my relationship with insects that igor siwanowicz's photos don't give me the creeps a little, but they are beautiful. he's actually captured what looks like a perfect femme fatale pose on nature's ultimate femme fatale, a praying mantis.
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