30.8.06

Title This Post and WIN BIG! -Contest Closes Aug. 29-

Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything. I'd love for you all to think I've just been too gosh-darn busy with my wonderfully exciting life, but no. I've had tons of time to update this blog...hours and hours of nothing to do except update this blog. That'd be fun, eh? Reading about how I'm writing this very post? 90% of my life is too boring to put into words, and the other 10% is too personal. Actually, there's probably a 5% chunk of good reading in there too, but most of it would be in WingDings.

So why am I writing this, if I've got nothing to say? A better question would be "Why are you reading this after I've told you I've got nothing to say?" Still a better question would be "Why do so many people accept it when someone answers their question with another question?"

I hate hearing talk show hosts and newsanchors jack themselves off with crap like "We ask the tough questions", "We get to the heart of the matter", and "CNN: The Most Trusted Name in News".

First off, you don't want to ask the tough questions. The tougher a question is, the more likely it is the overpaid bureaucrat with the shit-eating grin you're asking will compliment you on what a good question it was and then throw a completely irrelevant question back at you. If they're any good at their job, their reply question won't just be completely off-topic, but rhetorical, and filled with so many unnecessary adjectives and buzzwords that you'll totally forget what you were talking about. Keep it simple. Be unnervingly sarcastic. Use "finger quotes" around inappropriate "words". And for fuck's sake, when you ask a yes or no question, and haven't gotten either answer after 15 seconds of "complicated issue this" and "enemies of democracy that", cut their mic and move on.

The "heart of the matter" gripe falls under the general cynical umbrella of Cheesy Buzzwords. The word "heart", though by no means alone in this category, has been "torn out and stepped on" more than any other, with the possible exception of "freedom". Now we can't just blame the newsanchors here. Virtually all of us have glorified that organ at one time or another, in corny poetry or cliches. But there's a certain sickness you get, if not properly jaded, when you see a rich man in a commercial put on his "serious" face, and cordially invite you to "get to the heart of the matter" with him for that one half-hour block that matters to his boat payments. "Get to the heart" of the Mideast turmoil. Watch the "heart" of those "brave, fighting men and women" who have done billions of dollars in damage to Iraq and murdered over 100,000 of its people. Bid your "heartfelt goodbye" to that one single "American hero" you "met" through a "special report". And God forbid, never stop worrying about the "Axis of Evil" striking in America's "heartland". A heart doesn't give you courage. It doesn't stand for determination, or love. And there sure isn't a giant one buried in the Midwest that keeps 300 million people fed and clothed. No, the heart simply pumps blood, while the "heart" simply pimps blood.

As for CNN now, the "most trusted name in news", there's almost too much to rant about this early in the morning, so I'll just stick to that slogan. First off, it's arrogant and patronizing to the viewers. Sure, if you've got a brain in your head, you know they're not talking to YOU directly. YOU don't have to trust CNN. But for every whole brain out there, there are two halfs nearby. THEY have to trust CNN because, well, it said they should. And if more people trust it than any other station, then it must be infallible. And THEY turn to it in times of crisis (real or unduly propogated), and prostrate themselves before the omnipotent voice of Anderson Cooper. But that's more a gripe with half-brained people than with the slogan. The real problem I have with that tagline is that it puts more importance on being trusted than accurate. I'm not saying Paula Zahn is a deceitful bitch or anything, or that Lou Dobbs is a smug bigot prick (OK, I am saying that), but I don't think it bothers Ted Turner or any of the other execs a bit when they watch the neverending stream of American propoganda flow across their monitors and into millions of living rooms across the world, or when one of their drinking buddies from the Senate takes a huge shit directly in the ears of his constituents. No, as long as their key demographic still trusts them, and allows them to charge their advertisers increasingly abhorent amounts of cash, they'll just keep spewing it. Lastly, CNN may very well be telling the truth in their slogan, if you equate ratings with trust, but they fail to admit that they won that fight by default. CNN has been around longer than any 24-hour news channel. The letters CNN are as interchangeable with the word "news", in many eyes, as Kleenex is with facial tissue. Why? What are the options? Sure, Canada has the CBC, the U.S. has FOX, the UK has the BBC, and a hundred or so other countries have their own channels. But CNN is right there with all of them. Not only the sole news channel readily available anywhere on the planet, but the only channel of any kind. You don't need to be a mathematician; common sense alone should tell you that with that kind of global exposure, you're definitely going to get viewers. But so does WWE. That doesn't mean millions of people believe in The Undertaker. That just means at least a small chunk of the population of every country you broadcast in are more interested in listening to people who knew someone who lived next to John Karr's high school science teacher for three straight days, than in seeing what's happening to the world surrounding the United Bubble of America.


Huh...this thing turned out to be pretty long. By the time I finished the first paragraph, I thought for sure that was it, and there was no point. But lo and behold, I asked myself a stupid question, and had to respond with another.

Anyway, fuck Lou Dobbs!

26.7.06

Why Do I Always Need A Damn Title?!

Either I think of a title, and then have to tailor my post to fit it, or I write the post and then completely forget to add a title after I'm done. It's enough to drive me to drink...as are most things, to be fair. Nothing moreso than my lack of beer money recently...cruel poetic injustices.

So I've decided to buckle down, swallow my pride for the moment, and attempt to grow a beard. The first couple of weeks or so were rough, and I tried to stay out of the public eye as much as possible. If you've ever seen Team America: World Police, and the main character's (I could probably think of his name, if I wanted to) Arab disguise, you can imagine the hell of a patchwork on my face. You'd think that part of me in my brain that manages hair would consider all the parts of my face pretty much identical and do its work accordingly, but nope. At least two seemingly random sections have apparently been designated as "bald zones", while two other comparatively sized sections are growing at double speed. Lousy genetics. But I'm starting to look a lot better, at least in my somewhat biased opinion. I'm looking "rugged" without so much "ragged", and look older, in a refined and mature way, not in a homeless and hopeless way. If I still had my digital camera, I'd post a picture. Without checking, though, I can't even remember if I have a picture in my profile already to compare it to. Just take my word for it. I'm looking good.

I've been getting an alarming amount of junk e-mail lately. It used to be I'd be offered Viagra, free diapers, or "horny gurlz 4 U" about once a day. Now I have about 20 new messages in the morning, and 20 more at night, with about one every two days coming from someone I know, or give two shits about. I'm no expert on spam or how they get their mailing lists, but something seems strange about this sudden jump after years of relative peace and quiet.

And finally, tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2006 Voyageur Days festival here in Mattawa. Sure, I'm broke as fuck, but it still should be a good time. Hard to blow up the population of the town by four or five times and add drugs, alcohol, and music to the mix without coming out of the weekend without at least a few good, hazy memories. Wherever you're from, and whoever you are, you're welcome to get your asses up (or down) here for a few days if you can spare the time. Check out www.voyageurdays.com for more info.

Oh yeah, I meant to apologize. Sarah, I've gotten totally behind on reading your blog, and haven't posted a comment in a dog's age. Part of it I can blame on my slow computer, and other stuff keeping me busy, but mainly, I've got nobody to blame but myself and my forgetfulness/laziness. I do really like the way you write, and even the boring stuff seems interesting enough when you say it. I'll put it off for at least a few more days, but on Monday I'll get to everything I've missed and throw in a few good comments where needed. Although I'm sure the future of your blog doesn't hinge on my "subscription" to it, I'd ask you keep up the good work nonetheless. And get on Messenger sometime, you're getting to be disturbingly conspicous by your absence...

23.7.06

State of Emergency

So, this was a week out of the ordinary.

This past Monday seemed like any other craptacular hot and humid day here in Mattawa. I figured the highlight of my night would involve me sitting on the couch, watching RAW, and trying to justify being a wrestling fan to myself as the show continues to fight for air from the toilet. But there would be no RAW that night in this house.

It was around 5:30 when I got off the phone with my unfairly institutionalized ex-girlfriend. If I knew it would be the last time we talked for a while, I probably would have said more. But, like I said, Monday seemed like a Monday, so I basically just said hello and goodbye, then hung up the unusually static-filled line just as the sky went black.

Within minutes, it was obvious some serious shit was hitting the fan, weatherwise. Almost as soon as the rain started pouring down, it suddenly changed course and fell sideways instead. I literally couldn't see ten feet ahead of me out the window through the massive flying waterfall. Every now and then I'd see a flash of brown or green when a twig or branch rocketed by, but other than that, it basically looked like I was at the bottom of a dark and raging river. The power lines didn't stand a chance, and that heart-dropping cessation of the fridge's humming happened almost before I knew what was going on.

And then, almost as suddenly as it started, it was over, and the sun was out again in full bloom. Having no electricity, I figured I may as well go outside and have a look around. It was not a pretty sight, but it did look pretty cool at the time. Basically the entire forest behind my house was leaning over, with at least half of the trees snapped, branchless, or twisted around the one next to it. My yard was littered with the missing pieces. Dog bowls and deck furniture were further away from where they'd been than I'd have thought possible. My house was missing shingles, eaves, and siding. Looking down a ways, I could see trees, power lines, and phone lines strewn across the road. Within minutes, sightseers were getting out of their trucks with chainsaws to clear a path so they could get on seeing more.

I live out about 15 minutes from town, and my brother had the car, so my sightseeing was limited to where my lazy feet would carry me that first night. I didn't think much of what Mattawa looked like, anyway. I'd figured the worst happened here. It didn't really even cross my mind till I turned on the portable radio and realized the music stations weren't playing music, but the DJs were in "breaking news" mode. After hearing updates that would eventually go on for days about the damage done in not just Mattawa, but the entire North Bay area for about 160 km either way, it struck me that this was not just another big storm. Trees down everywhere, debris blanketing the ground, roofs torn up, cars, trucks, and even one plane tipped over; an entire lighthouse in Callander had been levelled. Apparently, Mattawa's theatre and bar lost their roofs.

The next day, I got into town. It wasn't the same place. Nobody had power, people were lined up for blocks waiting for gas, food, and supplies. Trees were everywhere; on the roads, tangled up in power lines, on buildings, in buildings, through buildings. Nearly every inch of the town was damaged in some way.

The town (along with two others in the area) declared its first ever state of emergency, and finally got nationwide attention on the CBC. Until Saturday evening, anyone without a generator was living in the dark, and without air conditioning, perishable food, or clean water. Opportunistic merchants got right in on it, selling batteries, water, and generators for a good chunk of profit, and got the prices they were asking. Helicopters were constantly flying overhead with trees hanging from their winches, and the radio just kept on with the new updates on damages. Luckily (I guess) only two deaths and two serious injuries were reported. It looked like it could have been worse.

So I've got a newfound respect for weather, and a regained love for my TV, fan, and food. Mattawa is getting cleaner each day, and soon we'll just have this storm in our memories.

There's so much I'm forgetting to mention, but I need to seize this opportunity to leave the computer. Pot beckons. More later.

10.7.06

Let me start this one off with a disclaimer: If you're reading this, and you're not completely sure I'm talking directly (semi-directly, I guess...OK, not nearly as direct as you'd like) to you, that means I'm not. For the most part, this blog is a public service, and every post is for everyone who cares to take something from it to share. However, this one post, and this one only, is inspired by, and written for, one particular black magic woman out there in the Prairies (I'll assume). For the rest of you, you don't necessarily have to avoid this post, but I suggest if you must read it, you skim over it quickly and pay as little attention as possible to anything.

...

Ok, so that was pointless. It became increasingly apparent that a blog isn't a good place to say anything to one specific person, especially when you have that person's e-mail address and phone number. Part of me reasoned for a minute or two that this made sense, and I actually got a pretty lengthy post going before I couldn't help but delete it. If you happen to be the girl I was writing this for, how about some props for not going ahead and publishing personal shit (albeit with fake names, and in a near-indecipherable metaphorical rambling style)? If you can't give me credit for the things I did, at least give me some for the things I didn't do.

So as to not make this the most pointless thing I've ever wasted time writing, I'll leave everyone with a bit of advice, which I can't stress the importance of enough.

When someone amazing falls into your life unexpectedly, it's crucial to not overthink things, or think much at all, but it's far more important that you don't give them any indication, however slight, that you're going to kill them in their sleep.

That's all for now.

1.7.06

Oh Canada! My Home and Waterlogged Land

Before I start, I'd just like to momentarily whine about how it took about two minutes to get this "New Post" screen loaded from the "Dashboard". I'd also like to reiterate my view on how the Dashboard in no way resembles or has anything to do with an actual dashboard.

Now that that's out of the way, I can get to bitching and moaning about Canada's 139th birthday party, or lack thereof. I'm sure it went down, and is still going down, great in other places across the country, and I raise one of the four lonely beers I have to my fellow hosers who are actually enjoying the day. Consider yourselves lucky not to live in Mattawa.

For the sixth straight year, July 1 has happened to be a great day for torrential rain in this town. So, yet again, spitting in the face of the gambler's logic that we're due for a break, there will be no live music, beer gardens, or fireworks on Canada Day. I guess what they say about birthdays seeming less important as you age is true, and that we'll never be able to throw this country a decent bash again.

Sure, I have a few extra dollars that I could spend getting loaded at some indoor party with a bunch of highschool kids, or just tossing some back at the bar, or at one of what I'm assuming are inevitable get togethers with people my own age, but I don't think I'll bother. It just wouldn't be the same. Actually it would be the same...as any other Saturday. That's the problem. Once a year, I'd like to be able to get plastered and feel like I'm supporting the country by doing so. Sure, since alcohol is federally taxed, I guess I'm always supporting the country, but never feel very patriotic doing it that way. And sure, I've still got Remembrance Day, IIHF tournaments, and Steven Harper's birthday (I guess, if I knew what day that was...and didn't consider Harper an American), but those are far away (I think), and just don't have the same flavour.

So instead, I stay home alone, dry and virtually sober, and play season after season of NHL 2K6 until I finally find out how long Franchise Mode lasts. I get some escape from seeming to continually lose to the Atlanta Thrashers by writing this here blog, and having conversations no guy should ever have to have with my girlfriend's mother (or ex-girlfriend's mother...I really have no idea anymore).

On the plus side, as of today, Canadians get a much-anticipated tax break with the GST going from 7% to 6%. Of course, to you Yanks, we're still getting the shit end of the stick with any federal sales tax at all, and that one percentage point doesn't mean all that much unless I'm buying a car or a house or something else I still can't afford. Nonetheless, I look forward to buying a bag of chips for $1.13 instead of $1.14. Benjamin Franklin once said a penny saved is a penny earned, and although in his days a penny was worth something, I still feel slightly better about saving a penny than spending one. What else am I going to flick at unsuspecting people? A dime? Hah! Not on my budget.

I was just notified that I'd received an e-mail from "Get-A-Bigger-...". Unless that last word is anything but what I think it is, that's just the last slap in the face I'm taking from this computer tonight.

Regardless, I'm done anyway. Figure I'll find something to eat, and hopefully something to do other than play video games and sleep.

30.6.06

Yet Another Mildly Triumphant Return

After a brief 18-month hiatus, it would seem that I'm back in Blogland. Not that I particularly missed wasting time with a blog. As much as I'm for wasting time, I've been finding other ways of doing it that better suit me. But hey, I like to write, and I don't necessarily hate talking about my boring life, so why not get back to it? And apparently at least one person out there gets some kind of sick pleasure from reading this thing. You know who you are.

So anyway, I'd love to say that since I last slipped back into the real world, I've really turned my life around and I'm on top of the world, and enjoying each day to the fullest. But nope. Still living at home, just older now. Still wasting my days on the couch or lounging around Main Street, high as a kite and more cynical than ever. Still meeting crazy chicks and getting some sort of masochistic pleasure from helping them carry their baggage. On the plus side, I'm out of a dead-end job. On the minus side, I'm still in a dead-end town, only without a paycheck each week. Still wasting each dollar I scrape up by putting it in my stomach, lungs, or liver. If I had a piggy bank, I'd have PETA storming the place to rescue and feed the poor neglected thing. Every day, it seems, another of my old buddies is leaving town for greener pastures, and the kids I'm left to hang out with are just getting perpetually shorter and stupider. My back aches, I have constant heartburn, and I can't grow a decent beard if my life depended on it. Not that I want a beard, but it would be nice to know I could if I changed my mind. No formal education, no car, no real reason to get out of bed. And to top it all off, my computer is slowing down so much that I'm getting actual lag just from typing this.

On the bright side, I'm full of hope. False hope, probably, but it's better than none. I have a good looking, creative, fairly intelligent girlfriend, and try to ignore the fact that she's been locked up away from me miles away in a psychiatric hospital for the last 24 days. I have a semi-new miniature goat that was raised half by dogs and half by cats, making it a rather unusual and amusing pet. If only I could get the shit machine to wear a diaper. I've still got most of my brain, and even more of my body. I live in a very laid-back and friendly town where I don't have to worry about being robbed or shot. I've found a guy who sells cigarettes dirt cheap, so I don't have to worry about shelling out almost 10 bucks just to stay sane for a day. After years of playing guitar and keyboards, I'm starting to finally sound half-talented. And best of all, I have my bar set so low that the shortcomings of my life seem tolerable, and any minor accomplishment makes me feel like I flew above and beyond my wildest dreams.

Anyway, I'm damn tired at the moment. I know I can't sleep, but I'd rather play some hockey on the PS2 than get off on a rant or story of any significance tonight. Maybe I'll have a memorable Canada Day tomorrow, and there'll be something worthwhile to write about. If nothing else, I'll get you fine folks a true-life public service announcement about the dangers of taking in paranoid seductive hitchhiker chicks, how to enjoy a fire with them atop a powderkeg, and what you can do to get their claws out of you in an emergency.

So get going now, it's the end of the post. Grab some summer air, enjoy good company, and do whatever it is you do while there. Just get off the damn computer already. You're going to go blind.

26.12.04

Another Christmas Come and Gone

Wasn't quite as disappointing as I'd expected. Even got some things I actually like. But I'm really not into writing right now, so I'll save anything I thought I'd say today for another time.

What a great post, eh?