June 28, 2004

Help with code

Can anyone tell me why the heck all of my links -- web- and blog- alike -- list themselves twice when I've only coded them once each?

S'purty durned annoyin', Jebidiah.

June 23, 2004


After thorough investigation, it has been determined that the mucous extracted from Jason's left nostril yesterday afternoon did not, in fact, look like the Virgin Mary.

Experts almost unanimously agree the fragment of snot more closely resembled Steve McQueen. One theory holds the bodily fluid was trying to reenact a famous scene from The Great Escape, but when it found no motorcycle waiting upon its host's upper lip, it tried to get back into the nasal passage.

Jason has announced plans to charge $5.79 admission to those interested in witnessing the lookalike booger.

Representatives from the McQueen estate were unavailable for comment at publication time.

June 22, 2004

Shirking of Civic Duties

I gave blood on the weekend -- the heat, a randy girlfriend and late night silliness at a friend's place meant I spent the entire weekend woozier than usual. The result? A hangover, a fuzzy tongue and Sunday morning number crunching.

In the 6076 days since I turned 17, I've had the statistical opportunity to donate blood 107.96 times. You're allowed to donate every 56 days from your 17th to 71st birthdays -- my next opportunity, for example, will be August 14th, 2004.

Saturday was exactly my ninth trip to Canadian Blood Services, meaning I've shirked my civic duty no less than 98 times over the past 16 and a half years. This is not including all the days I continued a previous shirk -- case in point, I didn't inaugurate my arms to the donation process until I was well into my 20s.

The last few times I've been, I've dedicated to my grandmother, who passed away a few years back. She was a major influence in my formative years; her British accent and love of Scrabble both inspired my membership in the word nerd club. I wouldn't have been a writer or teacher without her. Thanks, Grandma!

This time, as well, I aligned my donation with the Vancouver TheatreSports League 'donor team'. (I used to do improv, so I figured what the hell, bump up their tally by one, y'know?)

So the challenge, I guess, is for me to push others into giving blood. Maybe, karmically, that will offset the shirk factor?

June 20, 2004

Watership Down

Just finished Watership Down, by Richard Adams. Yes, yes, I know most people read it in high school. What can I say, our Grade 11 English class was deconstructing Pink Floyd The Wall, okay?

Anyway, Adams did a marvelous job of building not just a believable group of characters, but a complete civilization, including class structures, political ideologies, even religious dogmae. Not unusual for a work of fiction -- Tolkien's Middle Earth and Auel's Ayla & the Clan are two examples -- but I can't recall this kind of detail in a story focussed on animals. Animal Farm, maybe?

Feel free to post replies with any other books you've read with such invented animal ideology. (Please, no science fiction or what today is called 'fantasy.' I'm not looking for exhaustive lists of the deities worshipped by the half-men, half-crab creatures of Rigel 4. I want takes on animal philosophy.)

June 17, 2004

Wank on graduation

I often work for a DJ at high school dances, and this time of year that means high school graduation dances.

Invariably, the kids are jonesin' to get the hell outta dodge; posing for pictures in their tuxes and assorted finery; waiting impatiently for their table to be called to the buffet; nervously tugging at their ties, shoulder straps and/or kilts; and struggling to appear moderately interested during the teacher-led plea for sanity, grad committee-led squeal of appreciation for those same teachers and parents they hated the week before, and the principal's announcement that "this class is one of the finest groups of young people I've had the privilege to work with."

What many organizers amazingly fail to see -- or perhaps ignore in desperate denial -- is that these kids just want a pat on the back and a kick on the heinie. Sometimes a teacher with the appropriate memories of their high school graduation actually manages to get the gig, and they encourage everyone to make it short, sweet and for goodness' sake realistic. Last week's math teacher/MC got it right, and I wish more of them would take their audience into account: "good job, now get out and have fun."

As part of the DJ company, I can say it would make our job easier; we could just get down to the business of getting these kids to dance before their limos whisk them off to their "real" parties. We wouldn't have to wake them up after the aforementioned snoozefest.

"This is the best time of your life," they say, as they do their best to bore grads to tears. Hell, at one dance three weeks ago, there were more parents there than grads. Parents weren't even told WHERE my grad WAS, we were so concerned they'd come down and ruin it for us.

I'm all for having a good relationship with parents and teachers, but kids are not invited to 'adult parties' and staff meetings for a reason: they say, "Imagine, like, you know, trying to like, have a 'serious discourse,' or something, with, like, the Grade Nine haircurling team, like, getting their, you know, say?"

Let's have a little respect and return the favour, yeah?

Adults -- and yes, I am one of you -- there's a reason our kids have a blank expression on their faces most of the time. We're trying to impose on them our values and beliefs, our expectation and disappointment, our work ethic and priorities. Quite frankly, to them we are what our parents and teachers were to us: boring, out of touch, even lame. If we let these guys do a little more of what they want, when they want, how they want -- without letting them flaunt the law, of course -- we may just see more flicker and less dull glare in their eyes. Do all that while making them work for what they get and earn the time spent with computers or Playstations, and I'll bet you'll even see a few fires back there.

June 9, 2004


So I'm on this five-day fibre cleanse.

What the hell does the English language need with two so similar verbs? Am I cleaning my body, or cleanSing by body? And a 'fibre cleanse?' So, will I end up with the cleanest fibre on the block?

Needless to say, day three is Irritation Day. Now THAT would make a good movie about alien intrusion.

-- Fade to mission control room; UFOs float menacingly on screens as many people scurry this way and that --

Supermodel in Normalizing Glasses for Supporting Role (TM): "Sir, the aliens have reached the planet's surface."

Bill Paxton: "Where did they land, dammit!"

Supermodel, taking off glasses to show sudden uberhuman beauty: "They're... they're in the building, sir."

Bill Paxton: "Don't let 'em in, man, I'm on day three of my cleanse. If they get in here, there's no telling WHAT I'll do."

Bill Pullman: "Hey, I thought I was supposed to be the lead in this film."

-- Paxton kills Pullman with bare hands --

And the cleanse continues...

June 5, 2004

Wha the fa?!?!?!?!

When I'm not teaching English in a classroom, I tend to tutor foriegn students in their homes. I was doing so the other night as the Calgary Flames took a 3-2 series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the biggest game of the most entertaining Stanley Cup final series in 10 years.

Needless to say, I taped the game. So I finish my lesson with Jun (Korean kid, 14, has trouble pronouncing P and F, but does okay with L and R), and start the trek home to watch the game. I get in the elevator, and an OLD man says, "what did you think of the game?"

"Oh, please, don't say anything, I taped it and I'm going home to watch the..."

"Calgary scored in overtime, what a game!"

*stunned silence*

"Yeah, it was one of the best games I've seen in a while. Enjoy watching it!"

I drove home and watched it anyway. Of course any excitement of the end-to-end, offensive contest was muted since I knew the outcome. Any tension was absolutely sucked out of the game. I suppose this guy walked around for weeks, braying "Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze," and "Going to see the Crying Game? Great flick -- she's a guy, you know."

This isn't the first time someone's told me the score of a big game I've got on tape. It's like people LIKE to ruin a big game for someone -- "Gonna watch the Canucks game, are yeh? I know you don't want me to tell you the score, but they won 4-1." "Man, did Cloutier ever get lucky to throw a shutout tonight." "It's a good thing Marcus scored that late goal, we needed those two points."

Would someone PLEASE tell me what part of "Please, don't say anything," could possibly be construed as, "Tell me the fucking score!"

... I'm waiting. Someone's sure to spill the beans, if only to ruin it for me.

June 2, 2004


What an abysmal waste of time.

Acting, direction, script, even the battle sequences -- they were all utterly awful.

How can you assemble all that money, all those actors (Peter O'Toole? Robert Cox? These guys should know better), and all that historical research, and still churn out a bloated turdfest with soap opera dialogue?

At best this is a poor man's Gladiator -- at worst it's Beverly Hills 90210 Reunion, Rumble on the Aegean Sea.

June 1, 2004

Brain Ruffage

As anyone who regulary puts their thoughts, feelings, ambitions, rants or raves into words will attest, the process of writing changes immensely if you trade the keyboard for the quill, or vice versa. I, like most, find my writing seems to depend as much on the mode of record as the mood or subject portrayed.

My prose becomes more abstract, even bizarre, when I put pen to paper. Give me a keyboard, and everything straightens up. I go limp (read linear), unable to jump over the chasms of logic I've for so long leapt with glee.

I started to notice this when I was still writing for the Westender. My best work, in my opinion, was always written on paper, usually at a coffee shop or in transit. The work my editors preferred, on the other hand, always came through a mild QWERTY haze. The ol' brain just can't stay active with the bluish glow of the monitor to hypnotize the user. Too passive, this.

Also, I experience far more blockage in front of the computer. The Artist's Way suggests three pages of morning writing to burn the crap off the top of your brain. I liken it more to a laxative than a controlled burn. Pulp and paper, as cerebral fibre. Typing all the time's like a steady diet of filet mignon. Great for a meal or two, but the colon just doesn't appreciate an -- ahem -- regular regimen of beef.

My headal colon, then, needs a rest. Out, damn clot! Get thee to a diary!