An experiment in power and bus driving

I had the most interesting bus driver last night on my way to school. At night, on the Transitway, drivers actually get on the intercom and inform people what stops are coming up next, as it's often tough to tell by looking out the window. This tends to be pretty standard stuff like "Next stop: My house!" or whatever. But last night was really special. Either the driver had some type of mental illness or he was just enjoying his position of power far too much.

This guy decided it would be interesting to speak on the intercom almost non-stop. So, he would announce the next stop, and then proceed to tell people what was around there. "Next stop: Blair...Gloucester Center Mall....Catch a movie at the theatre....they've got great popcorn" And he would just keep on talking. At one point he reminded people not to forget any belongings on the bus when they leave including, for women, children and spouses, because the "road to Fallowfield is a long and perilous one".

The beauty of this is not in the comments themselves, but rather in people's reactions to them. Some people were laughing out loud, commenting on what he was saying, etc. Others continued to sit there with that empty glance that most have on the bus, as if this was actually the train to Auschwitz or something. Either way, it was extremely interesting to see this guy stir things up and try to go out of convention.

The Fundamentals of Weather and Traffic Reporting

I was just thinking the other day how people get so fucking excited over the weather report. Sometimes I'll be in the car, driving with my mom, talking about something. Even if the radio is on a pretty low volume, there's like a weather-radar or something. "And now for the weather, brought to you by Jiffy Lube!"

How fucking rude is this? It's like the weather report doesn't come on often enough or something and it's essential in running our lives. Gee, it's going to fucking snow tomorrow. Oh fuck, better bring a sweater or something. Now all my fucking plans are ruined...I was planning on you know mmmm.... not wearing a sweater!

Let me explain to you some little known facts about the weather. Long-term forecasts are a load of bullshit. Believing in them is like believing in astrology. You know: "The moon is in venus, and my thumb is up your ass, so today you will meet the pope, your car will run out of gas." Jesus fucking christ.... I should check my gas tank or something. Wouldn't want to keep the pope waiting with his pointy hat and all! The truth about the weather, though, is that they can "pretty accurately" (whatever that means) predict the weather for tomorrow. Now, I don't know how many times they've predicted a downpour of plague and that never happened, but you know, the predictions are reasonable, kind of like the Farmers' Almanac and a good steak. The accuracy of reporting drops to less than 50% in two days, and then 20% in 3 days. After that, it's almost zero. Of course, this doesn't change the fact that we treat weather reports as literal truth, and base our weekend plans around the long-term forecasts on a Monday. What really gets me is The Weather Channel in the US does these two week forecasts which never end up looking remotely close to the actual truth.

None of this prevents us from checking the weather about 10 times a day, hearing it on the radio, seeing the forecast for the week in the newspaper, or setting it as your homepage. Like it's the end of the fucking world if it rains on Thursday....but good to know!

My second problem with reporting are traffic reports. So we're stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a Saturday night about two weeks ago, which is rather unusual for Ottawa. Of course, my dad's reflex is to say "Eric, try and see if you can find a traffic report on the radio." With nothing better to do, I try and hunt something down out of curiosity, but to no avail. Of course, then I got to thinking, what the fuck is the importance of traffic reports, anyway. We only ever listen to them when we're stuck in traffic and there's little we can do about it. "Oh fuck, they say there's lots of traffic at this interchange....damn it.....let's do something about it!"
"Yeah, Stan....start ramming the Hummer through it."
"Stop it, Tom...I'll give you a Hummer."

Okay, that last part might not happen. But, either way, it illustrates how futile traffic reports really are. 95% of the time there's absolutely nothing to do about it because there are no alternate routes. But it feeds our curiosity for useless information that can't really affect us, much like tabloids and the National Post.

Oh how I enjoyed writing this...


Distribution of water in stores

Today marked my first day off of work in a week, and I realized I had some shopping to do. I'm not exacly the greatest shopping enthusiast, but I guess I should give it a go and see it in a different light. So I started at the bottom, and found the reasons why I should shop. Things like clothes to me don't take priority, although that was the main reason why I was shopping. The first thing on my list was to get a history book for my History course. It seemed like the right reason to shop, a real reason to consume. A reason to further my knowledge.

Once that was done, I was left with clothes. So I figured I'd also find myself an excuse to shop for clothes. I'm now the youngest and only guy part of a an amazing team that's running a modeling/casting agency. So I figured, a day away from work can still be a productive work day. So with that excuse in mind, I went looking at all article of clothes in the stores.

That's when I realised I should get a drink, since my speed shopping, running in and out of stores as quick as I could, seem to get the best of me. I went for a drink at the fountains near the bathrooms.

Here's my problem. I can never seem to quench my thirst with it. For one thing, I find the distribution to be horrendus. A thin stream of water shooting out of a hole creating an arch is the last possible way I would imagine to be an efficient way of getting a drink. Not only that, but I recall often times having issues with the water temperature in them. Especially when it's really cold and it hits your teeth. It also feels like one sip is the equivilent of three drops.

Also, when I think about it, how did they gage the height on these things? Remember the fountain for the kids and the fountain for the adults? I can't count the amount of times I had to watch parents lift their kids for them to be able to have a drink.

What about tall people? They have to bend at a 90 degree angle sometimes, that's if they're lucky. Imagine bending down to a 45 degree incline!

And all the water that seems to go to waste doesn't seem to add points in the favor of the distribution technique. Most of the time, the water that poors out either ends on my face, or back down in the sink.

So here are the use I found these fountains to have had so far:
1. They are entertaining. You press a button....water shoots out. Lots of fun.
2. They're a kid's flirting tool. Girl gets a drink, you slap her behind the head.
3. They're a kid's prank tool. Same concept as the girl, but you get the guy to break his teeth on the metal shaft.

3 points for the fountain, and lots against it.


Christmas Desires, Scheduling and Convenience

Christmas has, let's face it, become nothing more than the time of the year when the neoliberal economic order kicks into high gear. By strategically releasing all kinds of new and improved products each year in November, the onslaught of advertising by retailers and "Hot Gift Ideas!", and all types of peer pressure, we have in fact geared ourselves toward this holiday. We stress each other out because we have pressure on us from others who demand to know what we want for Christmas, and we demand to know from others what they want so that we can buy them something adequate.

I'm a bit split on the issue. On one hand, I think that the concept of a "Christmas List" is a pretty good one, as I've always hated getting random crap which just ends up sitting in a corner. On the other hand, gifts are supposed to be from loved ones, so you hope that they might know you pretty well, and think of something original or interesting to offer you which would be a surprise. This is how I always wanted it to be, but that often means you get a knitted sweater instead of something you might actually use.

The fact is, when I want or need something really bad, I'm not the type to push it off to Christmas or my birthday, I usually just buy it for myself. I therefore find that I get in a bit of a situation each year at Christmas where I almost have to invent needs for myself, or things which I wouldn't mind getting, but probably wouldn't buy for myself otherwise. While it's certainly fun to get free loot, I think that if this has really become the purpose, I should just tell people any time of the year when I want or need something, and they should buy it for me then. There are several things which I know I'll be wanting or needing a few months down the road, but I don't want to ask for them now for a variety of reasons. It just annoys me that I end up waisting this "opportunity" on contrived needs.


Our Fascination With Penises

Men have a fascination with penises that we are not aware of. More specifically, I think we are all in love with our own penises somehow. I only came to realize this today, for whatever reason, and I'm surprised. So I was stuck in the typical scenario, 4 guys standing next to each other, pissing at urinals. Now this is often a bit taboo considering the close proximity, but for whatever reason I look to my left and notice that every single guy is just staring at his penis. Of course, your choices are limited when you're pissing, stare at the ads on the wall or stare at the urination process.

I was quite shocked to notice that we all just kind of stare at our penises 90% of the time when we piss. Of course, this is normal when you're using a toilet as you want to "aim" properly, but there's no real reason to do so in the context of urinals. So, somehow we enjoy watching ourselves piss or getting a rare occasion to look at our penises in a public place.

Persistent Unoriginality In Music

I'm fucking sick and tired of rap/hip-hop and the persistent unoriginality and lack of musical qualities in it. I'm especially talking about the most commercial forms of it. Now I just had to endure the latest Black Eyes Peas single on the radio as my sister picked me up tonight. It's called Pump It. Being in the good mood I was, and the DJ having announced that "Pump It" by Black Eyed Peas was next, I started imitating on the fly what I thought the song would sound like. Amazingly enough, I was almost fucking dead-on about the style of "singing" and also the "instrumentality" that accompanies it. What fucking annoyed me the most is you get this worthless mumbling dipshit singing for almost the whole time. You can't even make out a word he's saying, but not that it matters, it's probably completely retarded anyway.

What aggravated and interested me the most, though, was that the music playing in the background during the chorus is probably surf-guitarist Dick Dale's most well-known song (in part due to Pulp Fiction, for our generation), Miserlou. I think that one of the reasons this song is popular is because they're sampling and basing the rest of the song around something that is actually good, musical (gasp!), and popular. This appears to be a tradition in this type of music now, starting in the 80s with crap like Ice Ice Baby (aka Queen's Under Pressure) and now falling to ever-persistent lows. Rap and hip-hop are especially guilty of recycling songs and coming out with new singles which would be worthless shit that I'd wipe my ass with if it weren't for the stolen parts. Not that it completely redeems the songs. The uneducated are no doubt impressed at how fucking genius this song is and fall completely in love with it, but it's repetitive and unoriginal, just like all new music. On top of Miserlou, Black Eyed Peas added the ever popular clap as "instrumentation" just for good measure. Nothing says a good song like clapping!

Winter brings out the best in all of us

I'm not quite sure why, but girls seem to become more attractive in the fall and winter. Girls that I would probably not find attractive at all during the summer somehow start to look pretty good in the fall. It seems that fashion-wise, it's much more original and classy, and I think this is extremely appealing. To me, a girl is attractive when she looks good wearing no matter what, and even when she wakes up in the morning without makeup, whatever. I still don't understand, though, why I seem to like "winter girls" more. Whatever it is, coats, scarves and sweaters bring out the best in all of us.


Camera's on me

After reading the last post, I feel I should add a few pointers here and there.

On the one hand, I have to say that after a while, it seems a lot of us tend to lose focus of our main objectives. Using what is said below, teachers are often the first to fall it seems. Assuming they started off meaning well, it looks as if teachers often prefer to make classes based on their own analyses of themselves. So the class content will often end up being about things the teacher believes to be relevant or important to mention. The issue is that often times, students are ahead of the teacher and the teacher ends up pointing out the obvious. Another thing is that if a teacher ends up building his courses on his own foundation, he/she will have major issues understanding how it is possible that the students aren't aiming for the same goal.

Education is a precious tool in society, and it is a tool we often seem to have very little control over. It is a tool that isn't precise or very efficient sometimes. If somebody began with the mind set that he/she wants to educate people, that he/she wants to teach, then I find it difficult to understand how somebody who is teaching can't possibly build his/her foundation based on the students. Even more important is the objective point of view he/she would bring to a class room. The purpose of education is to bring the new generation up to date with our findings so they can set out and perfect what we've built already, if teachers give subjective courses, not to mention subjective material, then they are simply furthering their education and aren't teaching.

It is most important for a teacher to be close to his students, because they are the ones who are leading the course, not the teacher. Which would then entail that no question is a stupid question. Of course, the phrase is told all the time but is barely applied. How can an individual keep up being a teacher for a lifetime if it is impossible for them to understand the people that are sitting in front of them? After all, teaching is a hard job. You have to reajust yourself several times because you will be teaching to several generations.

Another issue that comes to mind is the duration of classes. I feel it unessassary to have classes go above an hour. Especially this semester, I have teachers who take attendances all the time (except for 1...and of course, his class is always full since he's an amazing teacher) and who somehow believe that they must fill all of the time they are given. At the end of certain classes, I wonder why it was even worth sitting down for the duration, I walk out with my mind emptier then when I walked in.

Anything But Me

My business teacher is a fucking moron. I have such a difficult time dragging myself to that class and, when I do, I can barely stay awake. First of all, the classroom has about 400 students, so the room dynamics are horrible. If you're sitting near the back, all you have is this tiny-looking teacher in the front talking for three hours about the business world. He is also a really horrible communicator who does absolutely nothing to make the material interesting.

So, here is where my problem comes in. He does these Powerpoint slides each class, and he tries to make some of them available to us online so that we can use them as study aids. That's really a good thing to have. Now, of course, since the teacher is so boring and the class is so big, he actually has major discipline problems. People are talking and not paying attention. I even saw two girls watching a TV show or movie of some kind of an iBook last night. Of course, he gets pissed because people are not listening to him. I was planning on going home after the break anyway, but right before he announces that he has changed his mind and will not be making the slides available to us because we have not been attentive and that hopefully this will improve concentration in the second part of the class.

Now, this is where this "anything but me" mentality comes in. Or, as I had written in an earlier entry, the blame game. Essentially, this teacher refuses to believe or consider the fact that he might actually be the problem, and not us. If we're falling asleep, doodling in our books, and generally just there in case he kind of drops a bomb and says something very crucial, then it's his teaching methods that are flawed.

It also ties in to the dislike I have of teachers who take attendance or, as this guy does, has problems with discipline. It's a really good indicator of just how well you're doing, in fact. But this guy is far too arrogant to believe he could be the problem. I have classes at 8:30 am which I have to wake up at 6 for, and yet the classes are so engaging that I drag myself to class no matter what because I know it will end up being interesting, challenging, and that the teacher will always present material in a passionate manner. Attendance has not dropped at all in this class, and is packed all the time. In my business class, people often show up for the first 15mins just to get a preview of what will be on the menu, if it is useful, and then just walk out once the guy actually starts his lecture. People also just get fed up and often walk out halfway through. Even more people will just leave during the break. Well, this fucker probably just thinks the students are flawed, uninterested, and determined to fail. If you don't properly engage people or interest them, of course they're going to leave. This guy just doesn't get it and he thinks that because he tries, he deserves our respect and admiration. On the contrary, any teacher who ends up having attendance or discipline problems in his class is probably just a fucking horrible teacher, or he covers material in such an inappropriate way that people don't feel they're missing out by skipping classes from time to time.


This Week in God

1) From an article in today's Dose on President Bush's visit to China.
The devoutly Christian Bush and his wife, Laura, visited one of the few recognized Christian churches in Beijing yesterday morning as a statement of support of religious tolerance.
Isn't it funny how this is framed by the media. Bush is a good guy, he's saying how great it is that Christianity can have a place in China. Well, fuck, it's funny how Bush couldn't give two shits about Islam or any other religion in the US. It's funny how the US is supposed to be secular but clearly is still "one nation under [the Christian] God" and that all his decisions are based without any regard or tolerance for any other religion's (or atheistic) values. But it's fuckin great that China has a couple of Christian churches now, no doubt Bush believes this is a step in the right direction.

2) In my political and social thought class today, the professor was interpresing St. Augustine's view of God by qualifying what slavery meant in the City of God. He argued that, given the traditional view of slavery as forfeiting the right to live, in many ways, that this could be looked at in terms of Augustine's writings. Augustine believed that we were in fact not really living until death, and that life itself was in fact a type of pilgrimmage to God. Of course, many religion concepts such as judgement in the afterlife also stem from these writings, which is contrary to the older Hellenistic view that we are not conscious in the afterlife.

The professor further argued that, based on these assumptions, that we are seen to be in a position of slavery to God and that, given traditional master/slave relationships, it is not considered to be immoral for a master to select the outcome of slaves. This was used at the time as a sort of justification for this whole heaven/hell concept (aka. the human good or lack thereof).

Augustine also said that, as we are slaves of God, and that we naturally do not do the good, that we are only at home after death, when we are with God. We are alienated in the current world from our true nature and our souls in fact belong to God. He must intervene in everyday life through the church and the concept of grace in order to guide us along the right path (since we can't do it ourselves, obviously).

Funny thing about this, notwithstanding my personal beliefs that this is a fucking ridiculous argument considering we're supposed to be moulded in God's image and that God created this place in his image so why would he make it so flawed, but it's that people are almost offended in hearing this concept of God as a master of slaves. We are essentially evil at heart and must prove our worth to God in order to not be burned in eternal hell. What a fucking pleasant and contradictory view of the world this is. Augustine never specifically stated anything about this master/slave relationship, but my professor was implying that you could certainly make these assumptions based on his writings.

Now, what amazed me is that instantly after saying this, about 10 hands went up in class of people who were seemingly offended by this. Now, it's interesting to see how rats like these students will not listen to what is an educated opinion based on a Catholic authoriative figure's writings. This specific professor is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met in my life. He has read every single word written by every single significant philosopher, many of it in its original language (latin/greek/italian, whatever, he speaks those languages) and so his interpretations are often far more to the point than a translation could ever be. The man has an extremely complex understanding of historical factors surrounding philosophy as well as current research in the field. He is also the author of many books and papers, some of them in german, greek, or other languages.

Of course, when you're going to challenge his opinions on something, you'd better make sure you're not spewing shit, obviously. So this is when it got interesting. A few people started screaming about freewill and all this shit, which the teacher basically struck down very simply by referring back to specific points in the texts and whatnot. The problem with religious people in an argument is that they don't really listen. Those who were offended by these comments and trying to back up their personal distorted visions of the truth would not listen whatsoever to the corrections the teacher was making to their statements. While it was great to see him demolish their ridiculous opinions so easily, I think it illustrates a greater problem with debate.

Religious people are so indoctrinated in believing that this is the only way it can be, that they will spew such garbage in order to protect their sacred beliefs. If you question them on it or criticize their values, you will be shouted at for being intolerant, wrong, or that their beliefs are "personal". The fact is, I have never had a debate with a religious person where I was unable to completely destroy every argument through polemics. Only by using simple logic, the arguments of religious people can almost always be revealed to be completely contradictory and not based on facts but rather strange word-of-mouth stories and concepts that have been passed down through generations. If you are a good listener, you can basically take all these arguments and twist them 360 degrees in order to defeat religious concepts. Try it sometime.


Pets and Companionship

The closest I've ever came to owning a pet was some fish I had when I was 3 (one who died, the other committed suicide after...) and my sister's hamster, who died a year after we got it and my dad threw the corpse in the sewer, much to my sister's chagrin. However, through my arrogance, I still feel that I have the moral authority and knowledge to comment pompously on those who own pets.

Lots of the people in my neighborhood have pets, and I see them walking dogs at all times of the day, something which didn't happen in Montreal. It got me to thinking generally about the situation of domesticated animals. I somehow think that pets end up bringing people closer together in many ways. It somehow becomes the focus of a household in a strange manner and also a common bonding tool. For example, most people would not think of going for a walk at midnight around the block if they didn't have a pet, and yet it allows them to occasionally walk with their significant other and communicate in a different venue.

I also wonder if a pet doesn't fulfull some type of companionship which we can't find in each other. We can't verbally communicate with our pets (no matter what kind of baby voice you make!), but I think there is a physical connection. A pet will always "listen" to you, in the sense that it can sense things much better than humans have. Furthermore, it provides a type of silent companionship and understanding which humans cannot provide to each other. I'm probably dead wrong about these thoughts, but I still believe there is a type of social void in the lives of many which pets end up filling.

What's going on with our youth?

I've got a bad taste of reality last night. It's my friend's birthday and I haven't been going out to clubs or bars in a long time. Notice I did use to go intentively, so I do consider myself as being part of the problem a while ago. Last night, I noticed just how ridiculous the lives of our young adults are.

Here's what a conversation could sound like if I was honest:

Person a: "So, what did you do last night?"
Person b: "Went clubbing...went to system!"
a: "So...what did you DO last night?"
b: "Got drunk."
a: "Ok...how long did you stay at system for?"
b: "Until 3am."
a: "You got drunk until 3am?"
a: "Do anything when you were drunk?"
b: "Don't know...don't remember."
a: "...so what did you DO last night?"
b: "Danced."
a: "Learn anything?"
b: "Don't remember."
a: "Got any better at dancing?"
b: "Kinda followed the crowd you know?"
a: "No...I seriously don't.
b: "It was so much fun..."
a: "But you don't remember it..."
b: "I remember it was fun."
a: "So you waste 5hrs of your life, not to mention your liver, on something you can't remember, and you haven't improved your own life at all? So you basically wasted your life and time. How can you possibly tell me this is something you DID last night? Sounds like a comotose, or a bad dream.
b: "my head hurts..."

Fucking brilliant, how can you justify having spent a night like that? How can you possibly be proud of even spending a night like that? I use to go clubbing 3-4 times a week at some point, so I can say I was an idiot. And I can surely say I'm glad I'm not part of the labotomised group anymore.

And if you say you go clubbing because you like to dance, let me explain something important. Dancing is a form of expression, it's an art. If it takes clubbing amongst a bunch of zombies to get you to dance, you don't like dancing. If it takes you 4 drinks to dance, you don't like dancing. Think of it as being religion, if the church goes away, and you lose faith, you never believed in God. So don't play that card you stupid, unartistic bags of ants' cunts!


Little problems

After the post on interruptions I'd like to add a few things that bother me as well that seem to fit in the category.

- Have you ever stretched in the morning so hard that you get this pressure of blood flow to your head? What's going on here? I hate that. Nothing makes me want to pass out once more then stretching and getting that. I just woke up, I don't need pressure in my skull.

- Ever had that itch at the top of one of your fingers...and couldn't find the right spot to scratch? What's up with that?

- Ever been stuck with a cold...and you end up running out of breath when you eat? You look like a fucking out of shape asshole when it happens. Fucking embarassing to be fighting for air with stuffed turkey down your throat.



There are two kinds of interruptions I really hate. I wish there was a way around these. First of all, there's the moment when you finally decide to relieve yourself and take a shit. Of course, then the phone starts ringing halfway through, and you realize you're home alone. There's the brief moment where you think to yourself if it's worth it, if it's important, whatever. Generally I end up limping out of the bathroom at about 100 miles an hour with my pants around my waist to try and answer the phone. Even worse is that for some reasons it's usually my dad, who ends up wanting to have like a 10 minute conversation on random bullshit.

The second interruption is during stretching. There is nothing worse you can do to a person than interrupt them mid-stretch. Either by somehow pushing them or touching them or tickling them, whatever. It throws you all out-of-whack and kind of unbalances the tension which should have been released during the stretch. Don't ever do it, I'll bite your head off.

All black people should dress like this

Let me present to you....er.....Dwayne. He's got a great sense of style. All black people should start wearing this retro 80s Nike stuff again, it's brilliant. Seriously, though, I found it funny that in this movie I was watching, Dwayne here was rapping about the poor and social inequalities and whatnot, and yet every black person in that scene (a mockumentary, btw) was wearing Nike or Adidas clothes. Well, that seems pretty ironic that they whine they're poor and yet they all wear these expensive name-brands made at the expense of other people in poor nations. Oh, the joys of living before the whole sweatshop thing came to light.


Bad timing

Something about timing can be funny, you see, life does have a certain flow and does repeat itself quite often. It is these repetitions that we base our decisions on. They're cues for us to change the routine or align our lives to head in a specific direction.

Sometimes these cues are a little out of sync, take my day for example:
I decided that I hadn't smoked up in a while and it'd be enjoyable to be present at my Public Speaking Event with my ipod at hand, a some THC in my blood. The 10 most liked speaches that dealth with rated G material were to be presented in front of a panel of arrogant judges which contained a writer for the Press. I knew my speach was rated R so I knew I wasn't going to pass in front of everyone. Naturally, the nice weed sitting in my car felt like heaven.

The problem is that although my speach was rated R, my teachers do appreciate my speaches. So it turns out, while I'm walking through the door, stoned and wearing a suit (the event required a dress code) my teacher approached me to ask that I greet the judges. Problem with cues is that they get worst. I hadn't smoked a lot, basically was finishing a bowl I hadn't finished a few days earlier. So I was ok, but that's when I realized I had already gotten this far and my buzz was wearing off. We took a break, and I decided to smoke a smaller bowl. The second I get back into the Agora, I'm asked to go to security and aquire a parking pass for one of the judges. Double-fuck, I'm not only stuck having to care for the Official People, but I'm also stuck having to deal with security. No problems enssued, but I tried to get out of the room as quick as possible once I was no longer required to attend.

Also, given the fact that a cheap buffet was available to me, I thought that if I got away with being stoned so far, I wouldn't get away with it if anyone would see me eat.


Predicting Music

The Globe and Mail has an interesting article about some researchers at MIT who have developed a software which in fact predicts the success a specific song will have on the market. It has been accurately doing so for years now. The software looks at pitch, rhythm and other characteristics and compares this to factors present in already popular songs in order to make a prediction.

This is extremely interesting and scary at the same time. It somewhat confirms what I've thought for years, that commercial music in itself is formulaic in conscious and subconscious ways and that we in fact seek the same things over and over again in our music. Certainly this could open new avenues in terms of sociological analysis of how and why we like music and if there are physiological factors associated with this. Ah, humans....creatures of habit.

You can read the full article here.


Shoot me before I turn 46

I've been a bit down lately. My new problem is that I realized how much I do act like my parents. I feel a bit off that I haven't broken the cycle and still have taken from them on some levels. The simple reasons are two fold, let me explain this to you with wonderful category technology:

My dad:
He's a useless 46 year old bitter man. He basically has no goals, no objectives, no hobbies, no life. He just abides by the rules, and complains that the world is shitting on him. He isn't going anywhere and isn't motivated to do so. He's got no real plan set up for himself but always bitches and moans about how better the world could be for him.

My mom:
She's an anti-social, unsure of herself, 47 year old woman. She also has no dreams or aspirations in life and is quite dependant of my father. She's emotional and watches decorations shows all day.

I do find that some of their attitudes and behaviors have translated into me. I do have my father's bitterness and lack of patience, and I am as cold as he is. The major difference is that I am motivated to get things better so I can live a better life. I prefer to take control of my own life and chose what I believe to be important and not. I also happen to take my time and enjoy music, food, smells, films and the touch of things. I go out. I do activities, and I still create art. I play music, I cook every once in a while, I draw, I write and I try out new things.

So here's the latest stunt my father pulled. He was angry because nobody changed the oil on the Corolla. So he parked it in the garage, disconnected the battery and blocked it off with the snowblower. He didn't tell this to anyone. He just did it, and staid quiet about it. He walks around the house avoiding conversations and so far we've yet to exchange a single phrase today. This is it? A 46 year old man, solving his problems the way a child does by getting in his corner and crying? Come on, please, if anyone has any shred of decency out there, shoot me before I become this man.

My dad has recently baught himself a new car, put quite a few bucks in it. He basically kept responsibility for our 96 Caravan and our 98 Corolla. When he baught those two though, he put very little money into them and got the basic of the basic packages. We don't even have head rests in the van! He complains that it's not fair that he be stuck with taking care of the vehicles. He always bitches and moans.

On some occasions, the cars aren't deemed safe to drive. He doesn't care, since he's so bitter that he'd have to put some time and money into fixing it. He'd rather have us drive them and 'learn our lesson'.

The cars should be taken off the road and they're are many solutions that can be taken into account to get better cars and not waste money. But my dad doesn't understand any of it, he's too busy being mad at the world to realize their are alternatives.

He won't stop complaining that we're stressed individuals, lately, I couldn't agree less with such statements of hypocracy. He left for a week, and they're wasn't a bit of tension in the air at home. Now that he's back, the world's got awry. Everything is becoming a big drag, and the stress has multiplied.

He sees his kids as a threat. Like we're overthrowing him. He can't stand up for himself.

So if I ever head down that road, shoot me. I'll thank you. Call it, assisted suicide, or, helping out the dellusional.


90s Playtime Language

I was thinking how interesting it is that kids' playtime language has changed through the years. Thinking back to when I was younger, the names we used to think up for playtime and pets was absolutely hilarious and yet kind of appealing. Typical childhood conversation:

A - I have a dog!
B - No shit, what's he called?
A - Spike!
B - Wow, that's so cool!
A - Yeah, and I have a cat named Killer.
B - Sick!

Something like that anyhow. I'm just wondering what happened to these kind of funny agressive names that we used to have for pets. Role-playing games were kind of similar. I remember being in 1st grade or whatever and playing some type of role-playing game in the park when with some friends, someone would always call their "character" Spike, Raptor, Killer, Venom or Sabretooth. This probably stemmed from the larger importance of comic books back then, but I really don't know. It seems like these things contributed to our creativity and imaginations when we were younger. What the hell to people name their pets now? Davy Crockett and Steely Dan?

Shut the fuck up with the Napoleon Dynamite shit

Listen fucktards, I'm sick and tired of hearing about Napoleon Dynamite and how it's the coolest thing since sliced bread. If you just woke up yesterday and realized how amazing it is that a movie is ever-so-slightly outside of the Hollywood format, you're a fucking uncultured shitface. Stop trying to imitate the character because, face it, you're really not funny. Your name is not Napoleon Dynamite. You're not cooler because you're blatantly imitating this or wearing Vote for Pedro shirts. In fact, if I'm laughing, I'm laughing at how fucking moronic you sound trying to imitate this bland, quirky character. Speaking of Vote for Pedro, isn't that fuckin funny. Pedro was a name I thought was funny when I was 9.

I haven't even seen the movie (oh no, for shame!) and yet I feel like I've seen the movie about 20 times since every fucking person I know has given me a plot summary and proceeded to horribly cite lines from the movie at least 20 times a week. If you stopped watching shit like Old School, maybe you'd also be amazed that Napoleon Dynamite isn't all that innovative or interesting, it just caught on for some reason. And yet, you're still in theatres watching Zorro or some shit this weekend.


How to fix consumerism

I got this idea today. I always believed that the problem with people is consumerism. That it stresses them, that it makes them forget about their senses and makes them think with material things. And so today, I came up with a solution. Since women are the ones who seem to be focused on consuming more then men, I think we should simply let the average Joe make clothes.

I got the thought when I noticed the bottom of one of my pants, at the left ankle, had the fabric slowly being detached and unfolded. So the obvious idea came to me, I should stapple this. Of course, something in my head clicked that said that sewing it back was the right idea, but the effort seemed so big that the stappler felt like my new best friend. That's when I realized that if people like me were to make and design clothes and control the entire industry, quickly things would change around the world. I'm afraid consumerism would take one major blow after that, but hey, that's just me...offering a solution.


The Gayest Situation

Picture this: I'm on the bus this morning and it is unusually packed. I squeeze in and put my bag down between my legs so that others will have more room and I don't end up continually smacking someone in the face with it (which has happened to me on several occasions). Everything was reasonably comfortable until a few stops later, when the bus really filled up. I squeezed in as much as I could in order to give others some room. This was probably my first bad decision.

As the bus starts rolling, I notice that some guy is behind me and his bag (or back?) is resting and pushing on my back, which is slightly annoying. So, I do as I always do, I kind of lean back and give the guy a nudge so he gets the fuckin message. After a little while, the guy keeps leaning against my back each time the bus moves, so I'm getting really pissed off. Eventually, a few more people come in, and we're even more jammed. I then notice that the guy's ass is basically rubbing up against mine, and I'm starting to feel extremely uncomfortable. I try and move away but I'm basically locked in. To make matters worse, each time there's a slight movement, our asses somehow pound against each other, and I thought I was going to turn around and cut this fucker's throat. So it went on like this for about 10 minutes until I got off, and I had all these painful images of double-sided dildos in my head. I couldn't help but think that this was the gayest situation I had ever been in.

The beauty of art and creation

Well, I'm adding a little cheezy note to add to the whole 'art is important' theme.

I'm a big fan of creative writing. I love to write scripts, short stories, poems, you name it, I write it. A theme I usually never touch upon is myself, I use creative writing as a means to express myself, yes as it is an art, but I never use it to translate anything too personal. So I decide to set up an experience and challenge for myself, the results of which I'd like to use as evidence in our case.

The experience is simply and somewhat arrogant: Write a semi-autobiographical script loosely based on different events of my life. I got the chance to sit down a full two and half hour of none stop creativeness. To be honest, I feel the results to have been extremely productive and helped me reflect on my life quite a bit. As a matter of fact, the semi-autobiographical script turns out to be quite a comedy but it turns out to have seriously organized some of the parts of my life I hadn't bothered to stop, think and directly say what I thought about it.

In the end, I had to add a voice-off narrator who actually turns out to be more of a commentator. He speaks on three very different levels:
1. He directly states what his character is thinking as the script narrates parts of his life.
2. He reflects on the actions and thoughts that he had at the time the script is narrating.
3. He also interacts with what the writer is thinking about writing the voice-off narration.

This three dimensional puzzle of narration works amazingly to help transitions between the several 'sketch-like' scenes, that aren't chronologically ordered, with the 'real life' scenes, which also aren't chronologically ordered.

I surprisingly started off the script with parts of my life that I hate speaking about the most. The main character that is loosely based on me is shown as a very pathetic and emotionally unstable individual, while the voice-off of this character resembles more my own personality and my own train of thought when I am quite unemotional and observant of my life.

The script is a semi-therapy which ends up creating some interesting scenarios of bizarre half-made up events that represent my dreams and a more down to earth look at life which is on par with my own vision of it. In the end, this form of creation and art has blended my conscious and subconscious together and seriously helped rationalizing my life. Which is the reason why I believe that someone without artistic hobbies may seriously have several stress related issues if not mental illness.


Too Much Free Time

What the fuck? Is it actually possible to have too much free time? My dad informs me tonight that I should start looking for a job this week because, according to him, I have "too much free time". Well, I do agree that I will have to look for a job shortly, but not for reasons of having too much free time. It depends what your definition of free time is, of course. If by free time you mean sitting on your ass doing nothing productive, I would suggest to my parents that they have far too much free time and should find some hobbies. If my free time you mean "not contributing to society" or something of the sort, then of course I have too much of it, and it's done on purpose.

It seems to me that this whole concept of free time is really absurd. I arrange my schedule and accomplish tasks as quickly as possible so that I can devote time to a gazillion other things which I actually want to do and which are enjoyable to me. My parents spend their weekends walking around the house trying to find what ridiculous tasks need to be accomplished, and then essentially do them in the least time-saving manner possible.

Often times they will drag me into it and it's fucking annoying. I will be called at random intervals during the day to help out with something which has taken them just as long to explain to me how to do it than it would take them to do it themselves. For example, today my dad was changing some light fixtures. He somehow wanted me to stand around and hand him tools and random parts, a complete waste of my time and not really all that helpful for him, in the end. If I'm in my room working on something, they will enter no less than 10 times in a day, commenting on the layout or something ridiculous, repeating known facts ("That desk seems pretty good after all, eh!" or "What do you think of your bedroom furniture?").

My parents often spend hours just discussing projects instead of actually trying to do something about a problem. Questions like "Do you like this table?" or "How should we arrange this room?" or statements like "I think we need to buy a nice lamp to go here". Fucking ridiculous. My dad is especially guilty, though, of just walking in at random moments to see what I'm "up to". Generally I can't really explain to him what I'm doing because I know he's not really interested, nor will he actually understand most of the time. He just walks in here because he wants to have a grasp on people's positions in the house, if they're "productive" (ie. screwing in a lightbulb, doing homework, or doing chores), and so that he can have something to do.

After these random tasks, then we have supper, they watch tv, and go to bed. You're living like kings you fucking schmucks, no doubt about it! And I have too much free time...

Seating Arrangements

There's something comforting about seating, or so it seems. I've observed this in two areas: at home and at school. First of all, it appears that, even though we have not spoken about this or determined it in a logial manner, a seating arrangement has developped at the kitchen table in my family. We always take the exact same seats every night for whatever reason. Even more interesting, though, is that this phenomena is visible in larger environments such as school. After an initial skirmish, people feel compelled to lock into a seat and hang on to it for the rest of the semester. I'm not sure why this occurs.

While on one level there is a subconscious preference for seating on the right or left side of the class, and a conscious one of being close or far from the front, specific positionning is quite an interesting phenomena to observe. Could this be some type of social convention? Do we like to be acquainted with our immediate environment so we choose not to move around? Does a secure position make us feel safe?

I think we should kill the elderly

The title says it all, I'm a strong believer in simply putting certain people out of their misery. Lately, I've slowly and slowly lost all remorce or respect for certain individuals. I feel as though the life of so many are wasted and are simply beyond saving while lives that do deserve a future are simply lingering and waiting on several things. The best examples of this? All one has to do is look at the amazing talents, gifts and leaders of the past and see how many of them died pre-maturely while morons kept living.

Now, I'm not the firing seargent, but I will be a judge. First and foremost, my parents should seriously be listed as useless individuals. Here's the scenario:
While at the dinner table, my brother started to discuss a photo he's seen in one of his classes. He has been studying this photo and other works by the same artist. In this photograph, one can see a crucifix in a jar filled with the photographer's own piss. My dad thought it was completely inappropriate and a stupid thing. To persue the matter and to actually discuss the subject further, I briefly mentionned how one of my friends, and the co-writer for this blog, has taken a shit on the Bible.
My brother and I had a good laugh, my dad had a straight face. He was seriously annoyed. He stated that "J'comprends pas ce qu'il y a des droles la-dedans" (I don't understand what's funny in that) To which I simply reply I don't understand what's NOT funny in that. My dad's a very narrow minded individual. Extremely stressed out and simply loves to abide by society's rules. (and Buddha's teachings of course)
He then went on to explain that the Bible is 'an object of respect'
To which I replied makes no sense. That an object deserves respect is ridiculous. An object is a tool, an object can be taken care of, an object can save a life, but it isn't worthy of respect. Respect if for individuals, not objects. Consumer society anyone?
Then of course my mom intervines adding that these acts are disrespectful to the people that do believe in God. So again, I give them the flip side and explain that the mere presence of these objects are insults to those who don't believe in God. So why would we favor one group and not the next? Besides, nobody threw the shit filled Bible on anyone.
Of course, it may be worth mentionning that my father threw out at least 10 bibles a few years back to be burnt or simply trashed.

Now, with his wonderful respect for objects, he's now burning gasoline outside while breaking the cycle of life by picking up leafs. What a great example of modern living this fucker is.


Efficiency in Shopping and Packaging

My mom bought some type of weird rack thing yesterday. When she got home, she asked me to put it together. No problem, I don't mind assembling stuff. So I get at it, find the tools needed, start unwrapping all the pieces and putting it together. My mom comes down and tells me to wait a moment. She takes a piece with her and starts looking around at where it might go. She then concludes that the rack won't be "fancy enough" for the main entrance, it's too big, and it doesn't fit in my sister's room, which was plan B. So, after all this, she tells me to stop and just put it all back into the box.

Of course, knowing how things are packaged these days, I looked at the small box in awe and wondered how I would fit everything back in. It seems like just about every square inch of the thing was used and I simply could not figure out how to put everything back into the box. I spent 20 minutes trying to figure this out, then my mom tried some really ridiculous ideas which I knew off the bat wouldn't work. Eventually I gave up and signalled to her that "I think you bought it now...".

My mom often has this problem. She's one of the annoying types of people who will buy tons of stuff without really thinking it through in a logical manner, get home, try it out, and then realize quickly it won't work at all. To begin with, she didn't measure this thing or figure out how it would look once set up. She didn't even bother. Just waste 30 minutes putting this thing up and then we'll see...

So now my mom figures she can just take this thing back to the store (which she bought in Montreal, I gather, which is even dumber) with a bunch of loose shelves and other pieces which just won't fit in the box. Real smart.


The Problem With Democracy

I hate to sound like I'm skull fucking Aristotle lately, but here's another topic of interest in regards to his philosophy. It blends in with what I've been discussing on and off for the past week or so.

I was commenting a few days ago how it is essential to pursue leasure time in order to achieve proper rational thought and, as Aristotle argues, to become and effective citizen. So, here is one of the inherent problems with democracy. We pursue a good end but do not have the means to achieve it. The perfect household is one in which the leading male can be freed of manual labour in order to pursue this quest for rational thought and cultivate himself. The problem with democracy is that the poor who pursue leasure time have no time because they are forced to work more simply in order to sustain themselves. They have no time, so they cannot cultivate reason. Without reason, we cannot seek the common good of society or develop our own intellectual potential. The problem here, too, is that, if aristocracy is the rule of the rich, then democracy is the rule of the poor. If the poor don't cultivate reason, then it will essentially be a flawed system not working for the common good. In case you're wondering, no, we don't live in a democracy. Just some food for thought.

Collectivism vs Individualism

It might surprise some people that I am about to argue we need to become more individual and less collective in society. The common view, generally, is the opposite. In a world where the gap between disadvantaged and privileged is ever increasing, it seems that we need to include more and more people in a larger society in order to ensure everyone has a decent standard of living. Also, it seems that people generally only care about their own self-interests with little regard for others. While this is absolutely true, I am speaking more specifically within North American culture and especially of social interactions.

It has been somewhat of a common theme on this blog in the past little while with both of us discussing different aspects of artistic vs. social beings, the quest for rational thought and happiness, and now collectivism and individualism. All of these are somewhat related to a larger concept of a quest for knowledge and how best to achieve this. While there are obviously huge benefits in learning from other, wiser, people, the truth is that our society is not properly adapted to do so in an efficient manner. For example, we generally worry more about issues of social acceptance and interaction, of relationships, and of judgement than we do of our own personal accomplishments and intellectual evolution. We do things because we are asked to do them, not out of our own willpower and desires.

A rational human being must, first and foremost, be in pursuit of his/her own knowledge in order to properly interact with others, and extract the most possible from the world. We are only alive for a limited amount of time, and yet we waste so much of it to external pressures instead of personal satisfaction and internal motives.

We don't do enough in order to properly experience the world in front of us on the level of senses and feelings. We don't submit ourselves to enough variety in our lives. I think, for this reason, we need to become more individual. We need to forget many of the external forces and somehow go through a phase of self-discovery. So many people have no hobbies that they end up being very dependant on others for their entire lives. People end up doing what is easiest in life simply because they have no goals or interests to pursue other than the bare essentials. Television is a perfect example of this. I find it disgusting and sad that so many people would waste hours of their time with such unconstructive "entertainment". Of course, we all need to wind down and relax, but it can be done in an equally productive manner.

We must go out and learn things on our own and through the distribution of knowledge much as was done hundreds of years ago with the likes of oral storytelling, an art that has almost completely been lost. We can no longer properly communicate to each other, but we feel dependant on each other's presences nonetheless because somehow it is easier to do so than be lonely and hobbyless at home. We have no interests other than self-preservation interests. Will I succeed in school? Will I have a job? Will I get married and have children? What do my friends think of me? Will I have money to pay for food, rent, and my car this month? These common questions are the basics of life, and are, of course, essential. But at the same time, they consume so much of our lives that we cannot cultivate ourselves properly.

Our society will never change because the structure is inherently flawed and it is flawed in such a way that it will stay like this until there is a conscious collective awakening. Nevertheless, I have to stress how crucial it is for us to experience things on a primitive level. Re-do activities as if it were the first time you were doing them and reflect on them. Seek out new knowledge and see where that brings you. Look at common activities with a different perspective. Examine your own life and see how you can improve on it. Find ways to constructively use your spare time and find ways to maximize the amount of time that you do have for these activities. Eliminate waste and wasteful activities. I'll have all the meat, but none of the fat, please.


Fat Bitches and Public Transit

I could never stand sitting next to fat people in public transit. They always end up huffing and puffing away like werewolves, sweating, and generally taking up about 2x as much space as a normal person. This usually means that I'm stuck up against the window with my crotch really hurting after about 5mins, and this person being completely oblivious to the fact I have no room whatsoever. Even worse, their weight just throws around like nothing. Any minor bump and the person's whole weight comes crushing against me, bodychecking me into the window. As if there wasn't enough room on the bus already, we have to deal with fat people. I think there's handicapped paratransit for people like them... and if not, there should be.