Friday, 9 December 2005

Brace Yourself

Brace Yourself Brace yourself for Autumn, Yes, and brace yourself for fall Because there's no one calling No, there's no one here at all Rise and retire while it is dark And silence fills your air Now and again must make a sound To tell that I'm still there.

Monday, 21 November 2005

from Neil Postman's "Teaching As A Subversive Activity"

  "Those who are sensitive to the verbally built-in biases of their natural environment seem "subversive" to those who are not. There is probably nothing more dangerous to the prejudices of the latter than a man in the process of discovering that the language of his group is limited, misleading or one-sided. Such a man is dangerous because he is not easily enlisted on the side of one ideology or another, because he sees beyond the words to the processes which give an ideology its reality."

Sunday, 13 November 2005

Roger Waters (originally of Pink Floyd) voices his feelings on religion in his upbringing:

By the cold and religious we were taken in hand
Shown how to feel good and told to feel bad.
Tongue tied and terrified we learned how to pray
Now our feelings run deep and cold as the clay.  
(The last two lines are in the liner notes but aren't heard on the CD of "The Final Cut" by Pink Floyd.)

Friday, 21 October 2005

Comfortably Numb Again

I first saw Comfortably Numb, a local Pink Floyd cover band with elabourate props, prejected images and stageshow, at a small club (The Upstairs Club) a few years ago. It was amazing. I walked in halfway through, not expecting much, only to see what looked like Stevie Nicks, 8 months pregnant, standing dressed all in the black in the middle of the stage lit by an overhead spotlight, doing the vocal part of "Great Gig In The Sky" for all she was worth. This time they were in a larger venue (Barrymore's Music Hall). They didn't fill it as well. It was still good. I think they lost their lead singer, who did odd and interesting things with pig masks and monk robes and so on before. They weren't trying quite as hard to be graphic without him, but their show was now more polished and carefully put together. All performances are like car racing. If the audience has no belief whatsoever that any cars will ever crash (or, that any figure skater will ever fall, at figure skating) then most of the interest is gone. You need to give the impression that you're putting it out there hard enough that you might drop the ball. Still, a good show.

Friday, 18 March 2005

St. Paddy's Day

Michael is visiting, so for St. Paddy's Day Dave and Troy and he and I went to The Rainbow blues club in Ottawa (the Irish places were packed) and after we left we sang for about 30min with a busker who was too drunk to play his guitar, getting him some change and cigarettes tossed into his case. He had long hair, contusions all over one side of his face (he told us some Somalian rappers knocked him down and kicked him repeatedly) and was wearing glasses and a giant greet balloon-animal hat. Troy and I played his guitar and we all took turns singing. The guy went up the street "to drain the lizard", leaving us with his guitar and change and stuff. When he got back, we were still there. Trust.

Saturday, 26 February 2005


Main Entry: des’o’late Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English desolat, from Latin desolatus, past participle of desolare to abandon, from de- + solus alone 1 : devoid of inhabitants and visitors 2 : joyless, disconsolate, and sorrowful 3 a : showing the effects of abandonment and neglect b : BARREN, LIFELESS c : devoid of warmth, comfort, or hope synonym see ALONE (a girl.  It always is.)

Saturday, 19 February 2005

Thinking you're in love

A man can believe himself to be in love with a woman, purely because of how it makes him feel to be allowed to appreciate a woman, and to do things to and for her. A woman can believe herself to be in love with a man, purely because of how it makes her feel to allow a man to appreciate her, and do things to and for her. This isn't love. It can't be, so long as the whole thing is focused on the woman, on what she likes, if she's happy and ok, what she feels, what she'll let the man do, say and feel about her, what she reciprocates. Sometimes those two roles are reversed. I can't prove it, but I'll bet that's the exception rather than the rule.

Tuesday, 15 February 2005

Snow Day Again

ANOTHER snow day (freezing rain, actually, as we're well-equipped around here to deal with snow) at school. This is getting ridiculous. Glazed roads and gentle rain falling and freezing. This means the lessons I had planned for today can be taught tomorrow, if the kids show up tomorrow. If there are only a few, I guess I'll take them to the library and help them get their Independent Novel Study Novels.

Monday, 14 February 2005

Feeling Unfortunately a Bit Like This:

Behind Blue Eyes  
The Who
No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free

No one knows what it's like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you
No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through
When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool
If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat
No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

 (this is all about a girl, of course)

Saturday, 5 February 2005

My first End of Semester

Well, this is another first for me in my first year teaching high school English: finishing up my course and sending my little delinquents and darlings on their way. I'm going to miss them. I have a lot of ideas about how not to be so disorganized at this point end of second semester. Right now it's like pulling teeth to get the missing assignments in and graded. Drinking red wine and making lists of an evening seems to be the way to go.

Thursday, 3 February 2005

School Talk on Ice

Today was a cold, sunny, clear-skied day, so when asked by a teacher or two at the high school "Are you coming ice fishing?" I surprised myself by agreeing. I don't have proper winter gear, so I stood in the middle of a frozen lake with them as they fished and the sun set. Chips were eaten, beer was drank, talk that was inappropriate for school was talked. I came home with very cold feet.

Monday, 31 January 2005

Spenserish Weekend

Had a pretty relaxed and uninspired weekend. Graded my Grade 9 exams and finished my Grade 10 grading. My Dad came over and made my front door weather-proof, which was needed, as snow tracked in on the carpet in front of it wasn't even melting, due to the chill draft getting in. Several people called me that are always good for mental stimulation, which I always need more than anything else. I read three of my old Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" novels today, and one yesterday. I baked corn muffins and had steak with mushrooms in a honey/garlic sauce and the last of a bottle of Piat D'Or.

Friday, 7 January 2005

Chipping Away at the Mess

This weekend I bought some more cheap DVDs of old Hammer House Of Horror films. Christopher Lee as Dracula, Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, and so on. I'm really into those ever since I bought a two-disc set of 8 Hammer films. 
     These cheap horror films (with unconvincing rubber bats on visible string) have more characterization and dialogue than any modern blockbuster movie could ever think of. It's because they aren't going so damn FAST that they have time for good stuff like that. They aren't streamlined into a vacuous little wisp of vapour, so they have room to breathe and be solid and somehow more real, despite the rubber bats. They aren't Shakespeare, but they're light-years closer to Hamlet than the latest Hollywood offerings. 
      For some reason I wrote a whole 4-page thing about being a teenager in high school for my kids at school to read sometime. I rewired my telephone connection. The trouble in my apartment was that there was only one telephone outlet, and it was by the door. I needed Internet access all the way across the apartment in a different room, and was running wires everywhere. I bought wire and those little clips with a nail in each to hammer them into the wall along the moulding to make it look tidy. I bought a video switching box so my VCR can record (and display on my TV) signal from my DVD player or my computer with the touch of a switch. This means I can play my computer's stock of mp3s through my stereo in the next room, watch movies that are in my computer on my larger TV and so on. 
     I moved my filing cabinet (and the mixer board that sits on it) into my bedroom behind the door, from the living room where it made little sense to have it before. I bought an internal battery for the music keyboard a friend has loaned me for years and managed to replace it. It took some disassembling of the keyboard inside before it could be replaced, but it's all back together. The instrument voices aren't labelled now, but I can access them all. I started moving my piles of unpacked boxes all around and bought some stacking shelf-crates and so on. This allowed me to unpack my boxes of CDs and store them in the closet. I moved some boxes out of the way so I could put a bookshelf where they'd been piled. I took two end tables, two stools and a thing my cat wasn't sitting on out to my parents' for storage. This cleared up more space than you'd think. 
     While at my parents, I talked to them as a violent thunderstorm went on. My father is proof-reading the religious writing of an old guy who wants to publish a book of it. My father did something he's never done before: he asked my advice repeatedly about his proof-reading, asking about proper semicolon use, archaic uses of dashes--which the guy seems to use instead of brackets--and the like. 
      I came home with a bag of Hallowe'en candy my mother insisted I rescue them from eating all of. I hadn't gotten any on Hallowe'en, so I was happy, though now I'll eat it all myself. 
     I planned some very fun English class stuff and have plans for more. It seems I'm putting a lot of effort into planning stuff for them that is more fun than the already-prepared stuff I've inherited in the course from teachers now retired. More fun for them and for me. I put my new giant Middle Earth map (Lord of the Rings) on the wall in my bedroom. I have plans to hang my framed degrees and pictures next. I need to find where I packed away my nails before I can do that. 
     Joel was over Saturday evening. We looked at and laughed like little kids. Superdickery is a site with a collection of comic book covers that seem strange in this day and age, either because they now sound like they have a sexual or drug meaning, or because they follow the usual "Why is Superman acting like a dick to Lois/trying to kill Jimmy?" marketing ploy. A villain vigorously punching a bent-over Spider-man right in (up) the anus (with a huge white "impact star") had us both in stitches.
Robin flying-tackling everybody with his face buried in their buttocks amused us as well. Childish, perverse, silly and a waste of time? Sure, but laughter seemed to be good medicine, at least for me.
   I cooked supper, and then marked a bunch of student writing while listening to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and Animals albums playing from my computer through my stereo.


It's the New Year and I'm still trying to get full-time work, pay bills, find ways to not be alone all the time, and buy DVDs of old TV shows that I like. Haven't worked on my album for a bit. Need to get back at that. I find when I slack off for months on that, when I get back to it I'm full of ideas. I did record a surprisingly good demo of a song that is not on the first album (it's on the second one). The weekend before Christmas was spent in a lovely apartment in New York with most of my favourite people in the whole world there. The latest DVD was Magnum, P.I. Season One. My buddy told me "Magnum P.I. is a show about a guy in his thirties that was shipped off to Vietnam and never had an adolescence, so now he's having the perfect one. Hot car, girls, great place to live, and no bills or responsibilities. He doesn't own anything and is broke all of the time, but he has this perfect adolescent fantasy of a life." I think he's right. Here's a pic of me with my niece:

The Arcade Cabinet is Done!

The control panel needs to be attached and the stuff put in, but the cabinet is done.