Four-letter words

2001 11 23 - 22:35

Like is a four-letter word,
Linking in kindred empathies.

Love is a four-letter word,
Like opulent, voluptuous entanglement.

Hate is a four-letter word,
Helps aggravation to eternity.

Fear is a four-letter word,
False evidence appearing real.

Pain is a four-letter word,
Pulsating, acute, intense nausea.

Hope is a four-letter word,
Having opinions positively expanding.

Time is a four-letter word,
Trust it mends eventually.


The love of money

2001 11 22 - 22:37

I think I'll long for a life of near-destitute academia, where one's importance as a person is not determined by the size of one's bank account.

I'm as much a capitalist as the next person, in that I want money and all the joys it can bring; but I'm enough of a socialist to be disgusted by money being treated as some sort of sacred cow. The struggle for money for no other purpose than to have more of it for its own sake, is repugnant to me.

I discovered just the other day - while listening to someone describe a friend of theirs only in terms of job status and bank account - that I actually loathe people who seem to only be impressed by, or want only to impress others by, their money and "importance" of job. It also made me wonder if that person could think of nothing else to say of someone they call "friend". I don't know about you lot, but I define my friends by means other than the superficial nature of their existance.

Certainly money is an important thing, and certainly having a decent job is also important; but if those are the only things you can think of to define yourself as a person - if that's what you've become slave to - then you certainly have a lot of empty places in your self; don't you?

Coming from the perspective of one who's had very little money her entire life, the prospect of having a lot of it is certainly attractive; but not having money seems to do one of three things to people. Either it makes you realise how unimportant it is in the fulfillment of a person; you become a slave to getting it and become shallow; or you become totally repugnant of it simply because you are a have-not.

Not having money has helped me personally to realise what things do have real worth in life. Value is not solely defined by something worth its weight in gold bullion.

Not having money has also made me extremely conscious of security. Certainly I want money so that I do not have to worry about what will become of me when I'm elderly, where my next meal is going to come from, and not having to turn my friends down when they want to go out because my last dollar has to go towards buying a litre of milk rather than a bottle of beer down the pub.

Mind you, that's where the debate of worth and value really comes to the fore. I will, and have, starved myself for a few days so that I could spend time with friends. People are more important than money. Reading good books and improving the self are more important than money. Doing something so that you have somethng to share with others, is more important than money.

It has always seemed to me that a person who only talks of their financial resources, doesn't have very much to say for themselves. It's not merely repugnant, it's also boring.

Then again, you have to wonder about any person who obsesses so constantly about any topic. We all have our obsessions; we would not be human without them. There are, however, reasonable limits.


Dr. Fraser prescribes Mother Nature's medicine

2001 11 10 - 08:44

Feeling down? Feeling blue? Me too...

... but I have just the thing to cure what ails you!

As silly as it might sound, but just hear me out on this one, go outside and find a nice expanse of lawn covered in the fallen leaves of autumn, and scuff through them. I don't mean walk, stroll, kick, or run, no; I mean scuff.

You wouldn't believe the restorative that is. Go on. Go out and try it. Let me know how you feel after a good scuffing.


Today's minor story of woe (or: whoa, you're a dipshit!) (or: maybe you should be more observant)

2001 11 02 - 08:53

I went downtown today, to practice the ancient art of shopping as a celebratory ritual. I thought to myself that I should buy some books as my reward; so off to the bookstore I trotted with atm card in hand.

I poured through the stacks and shelves and sales tables, picking myself out some nice literary treats, and went to the counter to pay for them. Lo and oh-woely, my bank card had managed to disappear between my home and the bookstore's check-out desk.

"Shit," says I, "I'll have to go across the street to the bank and get a new one." I was only minorly put out by this disappearance, since one no longer has to wait six weeks to get a new bank card; they'll do it for you right on the spot.

Today was the day of the Really Long Bloody Queue In The Bank. After half an hour of waiting in line between the old Scottish lady who wanted to gossip, and the young man with a run-amok toddler, I procured my new atm card. "Damnit," says I, "Now I'll have to memorise a new bank card number. Bugger."

I got back to the bookstore to pay for the stack of books I'd left on the counter, only having had my starvation genes slightly teased by the smell of greasy foods from the mall's nearby food court. Madame le Check-out Lady picks up my Dickens and rings it through, proceeds to pick up my Homer and ring that through, and right on top of Wilkie Collins' Moonstone is, you guessed it, my (now useless) old bank card.

It's now resting a useless death in the garbage bin of the bookstore, after being cut in fours by a whopping great pair of scissors the lady lent me for the task.

Oh, why was I celebrating? Because I got accepted to Athabasca University.


To sing...

2001 11 02 - 08:46

I've been reading Henry Miller's Tropic Of Cancer (and I will shortly move on to Crazy Cock when the library has it in); and to backtrack somewhat to the first few pages of the book, I just want to share a passage with you all:

"To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to <i>want</i> to sing."

Sometimes the tools, trappings, and talent, mean nothing; sometimes the desire is all there is, and all there should be.

, ,


2001 10 31 - 09:01

For my friend Diane, there is no greater holiday than Hallowe'en. To her it's better than Christmas and birthdays combined. That said, I'm sure it'd come as no surprise that every year we celebrate it as extravagantly as we can manage to do. This year was no exception.

The house was decorated with the requisite decorations of strobe lights, spiders, cobwebs, and other assorted goodies. Diane had even arranged a "bike accident" by placing a bike on the hood of her car, with a dummy under the front wheels. The front yard was covered in piles of fallen leaves, lit candles, and other lighting; and a chair was placed next to a half-dead half-clown thing near the sidewalk. On this chair I sat, warty old witch mask on, and sitting quite askew as if I were dead or not real. Diane was somewhere behind me wearing a killer clown costume, Greg - wearing a Jason from Hallowe'en outfit - was standing obscured by the tree in the front yard, Stephen, in similar dress to Greg's, stood on the other side of the yard from him, and because Diane's husband was the last to come home, he got stuck doing candy duty.

Any screaming done on that street tonight, was done in front of Diane's house. Why? Because it's very easy to pretend not to be real, and jump or move at people at precisely the right time in order to maximise the effect. That's particularly easy after people come right up to you, ask you if you're real, even poke you, and you still don't move - then you scream, jerk your arms at them, or otherwise offer scaring inducements.

It's very satisfying to watch supposedly brave ten year old boys scream and run. It's also amusing to watch people stand at the end of the walk, stare, then run. It's even more fun to scare adults.

For next year we've already got the hanging corpses, floating ghosts, and fountains of blood, all worked out.

Footnotes: The problem with most people, is that they've forgotten the reason this particular holiday exists. The dead walk the earth - and we give them treats so they'll leave us alone. The roles reversed tonight, for us, and we became the walking spirits giving treats to our spectators. It gets better every time.

After we'd packed it in for the night, Greg changed from that costume to his other costume, as he was going out to a club. His costume consists of a number of stuffed baby chickens attached all over his clothes. What is he going as, you ask? Why, a chick magnet of course.


We don't know where we're going, but isn't it fun to go?

2001 10 24 - 09:06

Most of the time when you wake up in the morning you never think that your life could change by the end of the day; or even within the first few minutes.

Out of the past decade of my life I've wasted a lot of years. I've done nothing with them and spent most of the time spinning my wheels and hoping for miracles that never came. Somewhere along the line I'd forgotten that a human being has to, on occasion, make their own miracles happen. Sometimes you have to search them out.

And sometimes, picking a direction - any direction - is better than sitting around doing nothing. It doesn't matter what is at the end of the road you choose; it only matters that you move.

It all leads to something. In my case it leads to self-respect and the battling of intellectual inertia.

You see, if all goes well, I'll be heading back to college in January. I blew it the first time around, but I'm not the same person I was a decade ago. I'm a little embarrassed about the school I'll be going to; it's not The Big University With A Good Reputation (where I blew it the first time). It's a local college with somewhat of a joke reputation around here. "You don't go there unless no one else will take you."

It fails to matter in the end, though; it's a step forward and a foot in the door to other things. It may be late in my life, but I've always been a late bloomer.

It's a lovely program, too. It's a Liberal Studies program that will let me sink my teeth into literature again, psychology, and sociology; and that's just in the first term. These subjects are somewhat of an intellectual wet-dream for me; they are what, in my own small way, I excel at. (I've just never been a good student.)

I just remembered this one woman I went to high school with; and when I say woman, I mean woman. She might not have been the nicest person on the planet, but there she was in her 40s going back to high school during the day rather than night school or correspondence, with people who were a third her age. You have to give that woman a lot of credit for doing it. She deserves a hell of a lot of admiration for it; especially considering she was going to school with one of her own children.

What's my advice for the day? If you're feeling stuck, check into the continuing education and distance education departments of your local college - or even ones not so local. You never know what's hiding in the dusty back pages of their course catalogue.


Battlestar Galovetica

2001 10 16 - 09:11

Who knew? You can learn nifty new phrases from watching re-runs of Battlestar Galactica.

Just for the record, I hate this show. I'm trying to remember what my feelings on it were when it was first aired some twenty years ago, but I guess the part of the subconscious that blocks out traumatic memories was in full working order for me. Okay, it's not so much that I hate it, as that I find it ridiculous. Why was everything in the seventies so big and chunky? Had they not discovered sleek neatness? HMMM? Hair was big, furniture was big, cars were so big (though not quite as big as your average 1950s Cadillac, perhaps. Don't quote me, I don't really know anything about a car that isn't going at least 200 kph around a racetrack in Europe.) that you could have quite the comfortable orgy in daddy's borrowed backseat. (Blame the baby booms on the cars, my friends; it's because of the back seat.)

Today we learned the phrase romantic malnutrition.

One could take that in several different ways, I s'pose; but it really is just what it says it is - someone who is starving from lack of love. Mind you, in the show it was used in reference to some woman who was desperate for a husband - so her level of starvation could only be illusory, or perhaps even comic - remember, there are people who think the highest goal of a human's existence is to get a mate; and they will do or say anything to get one - for the sake of having one. This attitude seems to be falling more by the wayside as decades pass, thankfully; as people realise that there might be other facets to existence other than proving yourself only through the attainment of a partner. The idea that a human being who failed to get a mate was an abject failure always bothered me; but when you think about it, our biological imperative is to procreate. You can't exactly do that without someone of the opposite sex to help you.

It's true, though, that we as humans cannot survive without love, affection, and attention. Well, we can live without them, but it can become somewhat of a dry bones existence. We're social creatures built to be, and have, some kind of companionship. We need it.

We're still trying to figure it all out though; what is healthy, what isn't, what's good, what's not, what's proper, what's wrong... I know any number of people who equate unwavering attention with love; who think devotion is someone pandering to your desires and wants alone, with seemingly no heed for anyone else; themselves included. I don't think we'll ever be able to analyse it to some quantifiable result. I think it's always going to remain a haphazard mystery; and perhaps that's just how it should be, including all the pain and hardship it can sometimes carry with it.


A live addiction

2001 10 06 - 09:18

Spinning trapeezes with scantily clad women; raised platforms with more of the same; women dancing in feathers and under a giant wedding gown; a sneaking ninja; glow in the dark spinning lights; hippy floral gowns and Davey Crockett hats; a mirrorball suit...

... Jane's Addiction.

It's a stunning visual display; almost too much in some ways. There's always some place for your eyes to be. If it happens that you look at the stage, you might see Perry spinning with the girls on the trapeeze, or you might see Dave Novarro, or you might see a giant wedding gown out from under which people would dance and gyrate.

They switched sides, so to speak; during the show. They appeared - after a small break - on a stage set up at the other end of the arena. They played a slightly more relaxed set from that end; the slower songs. Diane and I termed that the "Lillith Fair" stage, and the main one was the "Lollapalooza Stage". During another song, all of the band members - excepting Perry - came out and played some bongos for us.

The only disappointments from that part of the show were the missing songs. They didn't play Been Caught Stealing or Standing In The Shower Thinking. I'm bothered by the lack of the second; I really like that song.

Live's stage setup was very simple, but very neat in its own way. They had it set up to look like a living room; complete with couches, tables, and lamps. The guitar player sat frequently on the sofa, almost like someone's basement jam session.

And Ed's vocal range is still astounding.

We got there late, so if they did play that depressing piece of crap I hate so much, we were fortunate in being spared hearing it.

All in all, a very fine evening. Once again I am indebted to Diane for letting me tag along.

Ahh, and the rain; did I mention the rain? It's been pissing it down steadily all day. And the Air Canada Centre almost feels like a small place when the lights are down - but when the house lights come on, you can see it's four levels of seating going straight up to the ceiling. It's near freakish.


Today I...

2001 10 04 - 19:30

Today... today I watched with keen interest, listened with surprise, read with intrigue, laughed heartily, and wept with anguish.

Today... today I flashed with anger, felt nauseous with disgust, felt weighted by envy, weak with angst, and learned a profound truth.

Today... today I spoke with honesty, opened a door, felt elated, remembered the past, feared the future, and helped a friend.

Today... today I was inspired, felt downtrodden, lifted, fell, was ignorant, understood, was pleased, was hurt, felt ugly, and longed for loveliness.

Today... today I did something destructive, did something with potential, birthed a dream, killed a hope, wished for love, gave a hug, ached, soothed, woke, slept, ate, and hungered.