Thursday, August 8

Make 'Em Laugh

Today Plinky asks me why I started writing, and is that still why I write.

I don't really recall *when* I started writing, but my goal, I would say, was, and still is, to make people laugh (or at least smile). I'd like to think I have a pretty good success rate.

Except, you know, for this bit of writing that you're reading now.

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Tuesday, August 6

He's My Son He Is

Today Plinky's prompt to write something says: Tell someone you're proud of just how proud you are.

So, I'll do that now. And I'll tell my son Cameron how I am proud of him, hopefully without getting all mushy and embarrassing and "Geez, Dad, I didn't really need people to read that" and stuff.

I could go on about how you're a smart, level-headed, responsible young person, funny and inventive, and strong-willed and opinionated, and junk like that, but instead, I want to focus on how you seem to be your own person - you don't seem to be very concerned with trends and expectations and perceptions. You're comfortable being, and discovering, yourself, and I'm pretty proud of you for that.

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Monday, August 5

From Purgatory to Heaven - the way it *should* work

Sunday morning I had a revelation. I figured out how Purgatory should work. This is, I suppose, only valid for Catholics, since they're the Purgatory believers - but it should be implemented right across the board, imo.

It involves paperwork.

So, okay, you die.  Your soul goes to Purgatory - a solitary room, white with no adornations of any kind. White table, white straight-back chair. Comfortable enough, but very antiseptic and uninspiring.  You are all by yourself. 

On the table is a stack of white papers and a pencil and an eraser.  And a pencil sharpener.  You are instructed to list everything and everyone and anything and anyone that you would like to see and experience for the rest of eternity while in Heaven.  People from your past that you'd like to see; Memories you'd like to keep; Things you'd like to do and/or try that you never got to when you were alive; etc. 

It is suggested that you be as specific as possible with each item.  And it is suggested that you be absolutely thorough, because once your list is compiled, it cannot be altered.

Basically, once your list is completed to your satisfaction, you sign off on it, hand it over, and then you are transported to Heaven, where the things on your list are available to you, whenever you want them, as often as you want them.

Some people will spend a long, long time (maybe forever)  working on their lists, obsessing and making sure they don't miss out on anything.  Others may think they will be content with just a few basics, more eager to move on to their reward.

This is, I think, an interesting approach, and puts the onus on each individual.

Does anyone see any flaws or improvements that should be addressed before I present this to the Powers That Be?


Friday, August 2

From A to Z

"Anyone want to go to The Exhibition?" Terry asked the room.

Beanie wrinkled her nose at the memory of her last time there.

"Can we maybe NOT go to The Exhibition this year?" she replied. "Don't feel like getting my clothes dry-cleaned from all the vomit again, thanks."

Everyone but Gaston glanced away from Beanie, not able to look her in the eye. For maybe ten seconds there was silence, as they each remembered their own complicity in "The Great Exhibition Vomitician", as the event had since been dubbed.

Gaston, who wasn't part of the group last year, looked around at the suddenly sullen faces and broke the silence. "How did you get vomit on your clothes at The Exhibition, Beanie?"

"I don't want to talk about it. Just suffice to say we're not ever going on The Zipper ever again!"

"Kevin hasn't been the same since," said Terry.

"Look," yelled Kevin, "just because a guy vomits and pisses himself AND shits his pants all at the same time, it doesn't make him a bad guy!"

More silence.

"Now I really need to know what happened," said Gaston.

"Okay," sighed Terry.

"Please, no, Terry," pleaded Beanie. "Quiet. Really."

She looked quite serious.

Terry, however, had made his decision. Undeterred, he relayed the story of how everyone who was in their compartment of The Zipper, all threw up in unison, on Beanie mostly, as a result of the smell after Kevin had pissed and shit his pants in fear.

"Vomit!" laughed Gaston. "Who'd'a thunk you guys had such weak stomachs!"

Xerxes, the foreign-exchange student, who, up until this point, had remained quiet and unassuming, in the corner, finally spoke up.

"You should smell MY home town! Zipper-puke all the time!"

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Wednesday, July 31

I, Too, Am an Arthole!!

Some things I can't wrap my brain around.  I find it hard, for example, to imagine people wanting to pay money to see/hear me perform music and songs - especially songs and music I create.  The very idea of me singing in front of people (as myself, not as a character in a play or sketch) weakens me.  Actually doing so has made me panicked and uncertain.

Why, I wonder.

I remember one time at Pat's Rose & Grey, years ago, David Ward (from Island Media Arts Co-Op fame) asked me why I didn't try to direct films (at that time, the medium was still primarily film, not video), and I replied "Because I don't have anything that I want to say right now".

I think that's a large part of my problem - the idea I have that, in certain mediums, I need "something to say".

I have the belief, it seems, that songwriting/performing, filmmaking, and creating art, should require you to do it because you are trying to say something, trying to express something. Yet the same notion doesn't exist for me when it comes to acting, or performing improv (notice that I separate the two) - I suppose because I am relatively at ease doing that - and I believe I'm good at it, perhaps, and I believe I am "saying something" (at least some of the time), I don't have the same hangup when it comes to sketch comedy or similar performance and creation.

When it comes down to brass tacks, I guess the reason I do not consider myself a singer or songwriter is because I don't want to waste people's time with my frivolities.  Leave that to the grownups.

The same goes for art - only moreso.  Whereas I *can* envision a world where I do sing on stage in front of people, I simply cannot fathom myself as someone who creates art - paintings, sculptures, drawing, photography, abstracts, etc.   It is beyond me and my abilities.  Or it *should* be beyond me, perhaps is what I think.

I see lots of art that I like, where it is obvious that the artist has a clear point of view and a talent to express it. "That person is an artist" I think.  I also see art that I consider lazy, boring, unmotivated, pretentious - frivolous - and I think it's this - uninspired art and artists - that keeps me from even contemplating attempting something in that vein.  I don't want to create something where, were an alternate-universe version of myself were to see it, I would consider it frivolous and trite.

Which brings me to tonight.  Tonight, Arthole is opening in the Gallery at The Guild, and I have a piece in it.  Yes, a piece of art.

That damn David Stewart is to blame. And praise, I suppose.  A year ago, he basically forced me to confront my "singing in front of people" fear and bias by having my wife and me sing at his wedding ceremony.  Now, almost a year to the day later, he basically forced me to display "art" that I have created myself.

I like the way it turned out. I expect it will confound some people and I like that.  I expect some people will consider it frivolous and simple and stupid, but for me it is none of those things (well, maybe stupid).

 And now that it exists, I don't even care what an alternate-universe version of me would think of it.

David's objective in curating this Arthole project is to have the artists a) challenge themselves; b) challenge the viewer; and/or c) express or represent themselves as artists.

For a) I certainly challenged myself - even contemplating that I was worthy to be part of the project was the biggest challenge I faced.

For b) it's not really up to me to say whether viewers will be challenged - but I believe the potential to be challenged is definitely there.

For c) I think this piece absolutely represents me, as it is basically a non-descript container that contains hidden and unknown elements that possibly nobody will ever see.

Tuesday, February 12

Dealing With A Zombie Apocalypse, Part One

If The Walking Dead teaches us anything, it's this: during the initial stages of a zombie apocalypse, it's the zombies that pose the biggest threat to your life.  Later on, it's The Living (specifically: egomaniacal insane dictatorial zealots and their posses) who ruin life for each other.

Another thing it teaches us is this: spending any extended period on a farm is really boring.

A third thing is: you will probably go crazy.

Still, in those initial months before one entirely loses oneself in a miasma of hopelessness and despair, one must really do all one can to protect oneself from being devoured by zombies.  Here's one trick:


First of all, find yourself (or your small group) a nice house with a nice yard, away from other live humans. Somewhat secluded, but not 'cabin in the woods' isolated.  Make sure it is empty of zombies.  Keep it well stocked with necessities (food and weapons, mostly).  Only go out, sporadically, to restock.

When the coast seems clear enough, carefully, go out and explore warehouses, packaging plants, any type of business that utilized these:


The roller tracks, not the box. Bring as many tracks as needed back to your home.  (The next step will take some time, but will be totally worth it.  This is a DAYTIME ONLY activity.  DO NOT WORK ON THIS AT NIGHT)  Set the roller tracks up on your lawn, tightly packed together and radiating outward on a declining plane (higher at the house, lower away from the house).  When finished, the entirety of your home will be surrounded by roller tracks, much lilke rays of sunshine eminating from the sun:

Once set up, this will keep zombies from accessing your home.  AND it will be hilarious!  Watch them constantly stumble and fall as they slip and slide on the rollers.  There is no way they can get up those rollers.

You might need to have one segment of track open so that you can come and go as you need. Or, for 100% security, dig a tunnel from the basement of the house, to a safe distance away.  Use that as your entry/exit path.  Or, set up a speaker system outside the house, a safe distance away from house and, when needed, play noises (yells and whoops, etc. "Hey you zombies, over here!" "Come and get me over here" etc - these can be prerecorded and on a loop) - this will cause the zombies who are congregated around your house to all leave and follow the noise, allowing you to leave in the opposite direction.  (if you don't have access to power for the speakers, set up a long fuse from your home to a pile of firecrackers that are situated away from your house - light them to create the noise diversion)

And there you have it: a perfectly secure homestead.

Next up:  The Demographics of the Perfect Survivors' Group

Monday, January 28

Here You Go, Hollywood: TV Show idea: Food of Job

My friend, Dave Stewart, and I went to lunch on Friday.  The temperature in the restaurant was very cold; we had to keep our coats on.  The experience (cold atmosphere + good food) caused us to come up with a horrible new reality show:  

The Food of Job

The basic premise is: contestants provide a list of their Top Favourite Foods or Meals of All Time. They are then forced to consume their favourite foods in terrible, terrible conditions.

"Trevon, you listed Grape Gatorade as your most enjoyed beverage.  Well, this week, we're flying you to Antartica where you'll undress down to your underwear, be dropped into a Kiddy Pool full of Grape Gatorade.  You must consume the entire pool full of Grape Gatorade before you get rescued, or before you freeze.  This is... The Food of Job!!"

"Tammy, you Love popcorn!!  You said it was your 2nd favourite snack food.  Get ready to... Pop To It!!  We're tying your hands behind your back and putting you in a human-sized popcorn popper.  It's up to you to catch all the popped popcorn in your mouth, while trying to avoid the melted butter and salt raining down on you.  This is... The Food of Job!!"

You get the idea, Hollywood.