I walked from Marlo's to Kingsway & 22nd to Pulp Fiction

Today was a very bad day.

Actually, it was bad starting last night at about 10pm. Right after the mediocre “Honeymousers” Loonie Tunes episode.

But other episodes are cheering me up. Plus I got my new “Octopus, Squid & Cuttlefish” poster which only cost me about 80 bucks*. But man, is it sweet like candy, and thanks to Stewie for making saving my bacon with its delivery. Also I got $30 for a HPL Letters book at Pulp Fiction.

*I forgot the cardinal rule to make sure things don’t get mailed to me over the border using UPS.

He chose…poorly

If you have a poor experience at a business, what do you do? What would you LIKE to do? What do you think you SHOULD do? This has come up in conversation recently. My position is: it’s okay to bring problems to the attention of the business owner (even through his employees), so that the business improves. If the business improves, theoretically, service will be better, more customers will return, and the business will thrive. If the business thrives then, again theoretically, the boss will be happier, the staff will be happier, and maybe they’ll even get paid more or new benefits. Now it could be the business owner doesn’t care, and that’s up to him. It could be the boss is a jerk and he won’t share returns. However, if it’s a business I know nothing about, I give it the benefit of the doubt. My policy on WalMart and Chapters is not a secret – the company has bad business practices and I don’t go there. Likewise, if I find out that the management of a café never gives good employees raises and screws them on their shifts, I have no compunction about boycotting said café. However, I don’t think that a business hands out comment cards as an excuse to fire their wait staff. I don’t have the point of view that every boss is a jerk and exploits his/her workers, although I am sure there are many out there. I base my actions as if I am the business owner. I would want to know what the majority of my customers like and don’t like about my business. I would keep in mind that there are some people that you can never please. I would understand that everyone has bad days. In my world, people who do a good job are rewarded, and people who do poorly are replaced. Is that naïve? If I don’t like an experience in a restaurant or store, should I keep my mouth shut, avoid rocking the boat, and try to find somewhere else to spend my money? What’s your take?

Thank you Bohn Jurton, for bringing this to my attention: http://www.beyondrobson.com/city/2006/02/mutiny_at_the_cafe/

I'm one to talk – I stood up the Developmental Disabilities people because I spent the night at Marlo's

Chilliwack – the good, the bad, the extremely ugly. Chilliwack. It was where I was raised for about half of my childhood. The mountains are beautiful. There are trees all around it. However, the ratio of beautiful people to the not-so-beautiful falls far in favour of the latter. Now I’m not talking about physical beauty, though there is that. The friends I value in Chilliwack aren’t models but they’re the most reliable, good-hearted, honest people that I know. It sounds like I’m picking on Chilliwack, and I guess I am. I only associate it so because I spent the weekend there, and I was in a restaurant/pub with a lot of dybbuks. Certainly there are a lot of people who are superficially nicer to look at in the big city, but just as much twits, jerks and snobs. There are a lot of things about people that bother me. A lot. That’s old news. The basics of course – ignorance, violence…most people I know are against that. One thing I think that bothers me more than others is the absence of reliability. Unreliability, if you will! I’ve known many such people: many cool, like-minded, fun people with lots of good traits, but one bad one that I cannot abide. Over the years they have been culled from my regular associations, by my choices or by chance. I always give new people the benefit of the doubt, and lots of chances, but if after a while it becomes clear that they chronically and habitually say they’ll do something and then fail to do it, my esteem in them drops dramatically. Many think it’s okay to bail out of commitments – no real harm done. A flippant apology patches up any wrongdoings, to them. But to me, it’s not just a disappointment, it’s a big disrespect.

I’ve myself been criticized, not for breaking commitment, but for my lack of MAKING a commitment. I used to gauge–vocally and openly– the likelihood of my attendance or commitment on something – even going so far as to assigning a percentage value – rather than saying “I’ll be there” and then not showing. This was not received well by one of my friends. She took my saying “there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll be there” or “there’s a 95% chance I can do it” to mean that I didn’t value her time/friendship. She asked me to stop doing that and I did out of respect for her wishes and feelings. But still, I would rather be told “there’s a chance that I can’t do X” than “For sure totally I’ll do X” and then, of course, be let down.

Around This Time Last Year

Around This Time Last Year

I save calendars. At the end of the year I take down the calendar from my wall and put it on the pile. Years later I’ll look at my 2005 calendar and say “wow” or maybe “bollocks” or perhaps “mewt” because it will be 2015 and that’s the new cool thing to say. Around this time last year I was getting Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor shoes in the mail, and my Tomorrowland DVD which I still cherish. Planning for the Saturday Morning Cartoon Party. Visiting Aberdeen mall (it’s already been a year?) and the peelers. Marlo was learning how to DM (hey….). Playing Star Trek: DS9 the rpg. The plush beholder doll came out. Saw House of Flying Daggers. I tried a MacDonalds “deli sandwich” to much disappointment. I was defending my cheapness.

It's Weird to Not Be Poor

I’m making tons more money than I have for years. It’s weird to be able to afford to eat out for every meal, to be able to afford to buy a DVD when I want to buy a DVD, to go to the gym whenever I want, to go to the dentist, to get my passport, to pay off my library overdue fines. I can finally patronize the game stores that I tell everyone else to patronize. I actually bought a game book new off the shelf at Drexoll’s. It’s nice. And I don’t mind my job at all. That’s double nice.

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it. -Shaw

I am not patriotic. I think Canada is, comparatively, an excellent country in which to live and work. But I don’t feel I owe anything to a region of the planet that is marked by abstract boundaries from other such regions, that is governed by a bunch of rich white people who don’t care about me or millions of others like (or unlike) me, and that is founded on the blood of many people of all sorts of races and creeds, but particularly the aborigines.

Patriotism actually irks me. It seems such a backward, outdated idea. Why can’t we get past it? I’m sure different people have different reasons to feel patriotic, but quite often my sense is that it’s just a team spirit mentality – no different than being on a sports team whose motto is, essentially, “we’re better than you.” People around the world are pretty much the same. People of every skin colour, every religion, every nationality can be nice and can be jerks; can be humanitarians and can be rapists. I’ve known Asians and Native Americans and East Indians and they all laugh and say ‘good morning’ and jerk off and have their crabby days (presumably not all at the same time). Now if none of those groups of people are any better or worse than the rest of us, how silly is it to think that a group separated by an imaginary line on a map is any better or worse?

The other reason patriotism bugs me is its association with war. I don’t like war. I am against war. War is hell. And whenever war pops up, people start waving flags around. I guess my logic is a little flawed with this criticism of patriotism – it’s like being against hats because I don’t like the heads they’re on. Except hats keep people’s heads warm – patriotism has no practical purpose that I can see.

To be patriotic is to have pride. Now, I have pride in certain things – I’m proud of the book I wrote, of some paintings and drawings I’ve done. (I’m also critical of these things but that’s beside the point.) But to have pride in your association with a geographical location, or a body of people of whom you actually know only the most minute percentage? That doesn’t make much sense to me. But I have patriotic friends. You know who you are. You have your reasons, I’m sure, which I assume make sense to you and maybe someday they’ll make sense to me. I’m not expecting everyone to have the same beliefs as I. If you’ve got a good reason to be patriotic, besides “because Canada ROCKS!”, I’ll respect that. But for the time being I just wanted you to know that even though my birth certificate and driver’s license say I’m on the same team as you, I won’t be waving the “where I was born is important” flag. I am proud to associate with you for reasons that have nothing to do with nationality. And you’ll find I can be just as much a friend to Americans (and presumably others, should I get to know them).

What is that saying that I like to quote all the time? “There can be no world peace while patriotism exists.”

It's Impossible to Discuss the Subject Without a Common Frame of Reference

Our show on the weekend went well. We made some money. I sold some CDs. In between the time I arrived in Chilliwack and the show began I had a couple hours to kill, so I spent a lot of time at the Save-On-Foods ogling the bulk section. I bumped into Amber and she told me about the Rotary Book Sale the next morning. While I was actually looking at The Book Man window some tall lanky guy came up to me offered me a pamphlet which I refused and he said “Question for you: do you know where you’re going when you die?” There were a lot of things I could have said, “Yes, the cold cold ground; No and neither do you; It doesn’t matter because I’ll be dead.” What I did say was “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“All the people in Hell do.”

I turned away from him and he walked off. First off, I hate being talked to by strangers on the street. About pretty much anything. I don’t want to be asked for spare change. I don’t want to be wished a nice day. I don’t want to be asked to join Greenpeace (I’m already a member). And I certainly don’t want to engage in religious or philosophical discussions. But even if I did want to talk to strangers, why would I want to hear your zany fairy tales any more than you would want to hear mine? If you’re not the kind of guy who, like me, believes in only what can be proved, what is the basis of Christianity besides a) taking everything you read in a book written by a host of dead guys from HUNDREDS of years ago who have no reliable references and b) hearing voices in your head, which if they weren’t the status quo would get you locked away so you couldn’t interact with society?

Yeah, so there’s this huge white guy with a beard who created the human race in HIS own image (except for women which make up more than half of the species and non-caucasians which make up like 95% of the species) because it’s such an awesome design what with the back pain and the hemorrhoids, and he lives up in the clouds with his swan-winged buddies and then one day one of the swan-winged guys shows some independent thought and he gets turned into a bat-winged guy and he gets his own realm that’s constantly on fire and if any of the human race don’t follow the white guy’s rules they’ll be tortured for all eternity. Oh yeah, and every human has an invisible, intangible version of himself which lives forever, but not animals because people are inherently superior to dogs and cats and blue whales and amoeba and even the planet that sustains them was only created by the Big White Guy for the humans to carve up like a roast. And you can pretty much be as much an asshole as you want as long as you give 10% of your wages to the head spokesman for the Big White Guy and only worship him and don’t commit suicide and on your death bed ask for the forgiveness of his kid who had magical powers.


The universe was created when The Great Space Hedgehog sharted out a big rainbow and all the poop particles became the celestial bodies. The stars came from his dinner of a Red Hot Burrito and the planets came from undigested carroway seeds. The Holy Roundworm came with them and created all life on the planet Earth by sloughing off its molted skin. He gave his one species, humankind, intelligence by giving them a big old sly WINK! And then he went on the internet (just like the internet of today but much bigger and, like, totally 1000 years old, and with less popups) and downloaded a program to randomize how long everything lives. And when a person dies his left patella absorbs all the memories and feelings from his entire life and flies to the center of Neptune and there takes one of two forms: If you’ve said “yup” more than 4000 times you become a robot which will live on the bright side of the roundworm where everyone reads Time Magazine; If you’ve said “yup” less than 4000 times you become a mummy on the dark side of the worm and read Maclean’s. If you’ve said “yup” exactly 4000 times you become a bowl of tiger stripe ice cream.

Now how is one of those mythologies any more or less arbitrary and ridiculous than the other?

Anyway, back to my story. There were some people at the show who I recognized but, naturally, couldn’t remember their names. But that’s okay. So after the show I went back to Chris Woods’ and we played some Godzilla: Save the Earth on his XBox and then I became sleepy. In the morning we went to the Rotary Book Sale and I bought a book on weird insects, a photo book of birds, a huge National Geographic photo book of everything, a book called What’s What which is kind of a “How Everything Works” kind of book with illustrations, a photo book on elephants and other large animals, and a book on the atomic structure of matter — all for $12. Then we had breakfast at the Airport Cafe and I had the pie recommended as the healthiest – pumpkin. It was damn yummy.

Afterwards we rented a video game called Republic Commando which was pretty good for a first person shooter, but we couldn’t figure out how to be on the same team. Finally we went to see Magnificent Desolation which is a 3D Imax film. It was so-so. Too much filler and not enough tech talk. It didn’t really need to be in 3D, but that said – the 3D was amazing. We saw a trailer for some 3D undersea documentary and if I don’t go see that I think I’ll die.

After that Chris drove me home and we watched some DVDs here with Stewie and Darcey. Lots of fun but I couldn’t stay up too late as I had to work on Monday.

It looks like I’m going to be doing some more web design in the near future. Can anyone recommend a good online store service? You know, the “add item to shopping cart” deal and something that can take credit cards securely. Etc. Any advice on that would be appreciated.

Hope for the future

On Wednesday I borrowed Stephane’s car and drove to Chilliwack. On the way, I stopped at the Yellow Barn and bought some Chilliwack corn. I bought 6 cobs because they were six for whatever instead of whatever each, and Marlo is mad at me because I didn’t buy more, and apparently she told me to bring her back some, but I don’t remember that. When I brought Stephane his car back, I gave half of my corn to him and Sheri as a gesture of my thanks for the use of the vehicle. That left me with three cobs. Well Marlo, they’re all yours but you’re going to have to seduce them out of me first. Corn is after all the ultimate aphrodisiac. Isn’t it?

I also bought a pineapple but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

I drove to Chris’ house and I looked at his latest painting and then we played video games for about an hour. Then I drove to Mario’s. Warren gave me directions but Mario didn’t return my phone calls so I didn’t actually have an address, so I was driving up and down Industrial Way trying to figure out which RV lot was the correct one.

I enjoy driving but it is stressful. I had three cars in my lifetime – a Chevy Nova, a Reliant K car, and an Austen Mini. The Nova I sold for $50 scrap. The K car I left on the highway in flames, and the Mini was never actually mine. My dad had this habit of letting you use something with no stipulations and then springing a “now you owe me this much money” which is the sort of thing I see on Judge Judy and The People’s Court all the time. Anyway, instead of buying the car I gave it back to him and the rest of my life has since been car-free. Being carless was like a tremendous burden being lifted from my shoulders. Suddenly I didn’t have to pay for insurance, maintenance, gas, parking (not that that was a big deal in Chilliwack), and I didn’t have to worry about getting in an accident or getting a speeding ticket or having the engine burst into flames on the highway (see K Car) because I don’t know how to take care of a vehicle. I am not in the least bit mechanically inclined. Give me the magic crayons that allow me to draw a car and the car becomes reality. So, when I drive Stephane’s car a bunch of that come back, specifically: speeding tickets; accidents; mechanical failure. But, happily, every time I have driven it there has been no problem.

Band practice was the reason I was going to Mario’s. Merrick told me there would be a PA there, but there was not, so I didn’t actually do any singing. However, we didn’t actually do any “practicing” because we didn’t practice any of our songs – it was strictly a writing session to make up some new ones. I have this tape of melodies that I add to whenever I think up something, and I made a tape of about dozen or so good ones to give to each band member. The first thing we did when I got there was listen to the tape, and Jordan suggested we start working on one immediately. Mario liked one, Warren liked two different ones. We worked on one of each. There were also three songs that they had been working on themselves, although one of them I have my doubts about. So that leaves four proto-songs that are on their way to becoming new Thickets tunes. I’m going to try to go into the wack again on Saturday the 30th for a weekend with the Woods and another jam session.

Also, Bob cancelled at the last minute AGAIN. We need a new bass player. Anyone know of one?

Also, Garett is buying the band touring van which will get us about 1800 to spend on new costumes and merchandise. Are you excited yet? I want to think up a new t-shirt design. Why is it I often have awesome shirt ideas, but when it comes time to make a shirt, I don’t remember any of them? Maybe I should come up with some sort of pencil-meets-paper contingency.

And we’ve booked a Hallowe’en Show at UBC.

After the jam sesh (that’s short for session, in the same way that mench is short for mention and OMG is short for OMGORRHOEA) Chris and Warren and Jordan and I went to the Husky House and I had a moderately passable chicken burger. Husky has been less hit and more miss these past few visits. Although I did get a lot of fries, which is both good and bad. And I asked for vinegar and the waitress never brought it! So I sat and quietly judged her, and wanted to rip off her “Marlo” name tag and give it to someone more deserving. Airport Cafe is clearly superior in every pie way.

After that I went back to Chris’ and we played video games some more until I had to leave at about 10:37. I got back to Sherane’s at exactly midnight, which is what I told Sheri, so I totally fucking WIN!

Also, Angie gave me a big bag of video tapes complete with black plastic cases, so I doubly won. DOUBLY. And that was my trip to Chilliwack!

100% fun weekend

Chris Woods’ birthday party weekend was full of gifts to me. He came to my place to pick up Marlo, Stewie and me. We drove to Chilliwack and shopped around for games for his new XBOX. The pick of the litter was the Godzilla game, for which I proceeded to slip away from many social expectations throughout the party. I saw my brother, Tara & Jordan, Bob & Karen and spawn, Josh and his gal, Tasha and Chris’ parents. Birthday dinner was tacos and I ate constantly, including cake and ice cream. We slept over and on Sunday we drove out to Metrotown to watch Revenge of the Sith. My biggest complaint was the child who sat next to me and kept idly caressing my arm with his fingers as he fidgeted during the non-action parts of the film. I won’t say anything else about the film on this blog for the time being, because I know certain people are holding out before they watch it, except I really want to watch episodes 4-6 in a row, right now, and that the acting was far better than eps 1 and 2. Then they chauffeured us home after a late dinner at Denny’s. It was so satisfying for me to watch Sith with Chris & Marlo, my closest friends and definitely the two biggest Star Wars nerds that I know. It was perfect! We even got good seats, and only the occasional baby “wah” from the back of the theater interfered with the enjoyment of the movie. But that’s the price you pay for going to the cinema, along with the obligatory, “let’s show up to the theater at the last minute so that we can scour the theater for the three disparate remaining seats in the dark, so that everyone else who arrived 90 minutes early so they could get a good seat are too distracted to enjoy the first scene of the movie.” Chumps! The only bad news is that Marlo left her umbrella in Chilliwack, and the whereabouts of her cute brown cardigan is at present a mystery. So if you see it, grab it! Marlo will no doubt post on her blog the many photos we took of the weekend.

To cool for drool

When I was young, it wasn’t “cool” to be in love. Certainly not to show it. Love was for suckers after all. Love was what they sold us on TV. And anyway, falling in love always lead to heartbreak, so it wasn’t worth it, and anyone who was in love was weak! Therefore, showing affection in public, especially to your friends, was an embarrassment. It simply wasn’t done.

Happily I grew out of that, though it took a little time. Tinessa also gave me some wisdom while we were dating. She said something to the effect of ‘if somebody gags at or is sickened by or otherwise doesn’t like public displays of affection, that’s his problem,’ and she was right. Obviously I’m not talking about pulling your pants off at a dinner party. Although….

I’ve always been a romantic (and even as a nihilist, I’ve been a romantic nihilist) so I don’t feel like I’m going back on anything now in saying that love is, in fact, good. Just like pineapple, it tastes good, and it’s good for you. And it grows on trees. And there’s nothing wrong with celebrating it. I’ve certainly had times when I scoffed at love – especially when I’m bitter over a recent breakup, and that’s natural, to some extent. But I think it’s selling oneself short to adopt a “holding hands and kissing should be kept behind closed doors” attitude as a general modus vivendi.

It’s true, love has made fools of us all. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I only regret that I had such a difficult time embracing it.