Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fin de siecle

9 hours ago I watched a man who had been teaching at this university since the early 70s give his last lecture ever before retiring. He finished his career with some Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at the close of day
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

And then he frantically urged us that if we didn't rage now, all would be lost for us in the future.

Jesus, man.

Motivation: caffeine, Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime, Q and Not U - Different Damage, Sex Machineguns - Ignition, Squarepusher - Big Loada, The Tuss - Rushup Edge, The Smalls - S/T, and all the reading I've done on successful urban agriculture programs in Havana, which gives me some hope to rage against the drying of the light myself.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I have a phobia that someone's alway near...

It's all catching up to me now. There is no time for anything but study, caffeine, and grindcore, all day, every day (at least until December 14th). Two days ago this meant staying at the library until 3am grappling with a presentation on Marxist ecology (which went well, thank you very much), which meant that the trains had stopped running, which meant an hours walk home. As I turned off onto a darkened street I hadn't walked down before, a car pulled up behind me. Strange, I thought to myself. Why would pull over here? Nothing here but a chain-link fence, and me, alone, walking beside it, and virtually no lighting. Oh.

I pulled my headphones out (which at the time had Reign in Blood, conveniently enough, playing at top volume). I quickened my pace. I looked back and I saw the driver get out and pull something out of the back seat. Oh. I quickened my pace again, and kept looking over my shoulder. He was following me now. Oh.

Then I saw him cross the street. Perhaps he was going to the seniors centre to drop something off, I thought to myself. No sooner had this thought crossed my mind that he broke into an open run directly at me. I sort of sensed that one coming. Backpack full of library books (so much so, it was literally bursting at the seams) I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. I heard shouting over my shoulder - I'm still not sure if it was "where the fuck are you going" or "what the fuck are you doing", but I didn't want to stick around and find out.

Long story short, I smoked his sorry ass. Backpack full of books nonwithstanding, I could run way faster. I suggest that all would-be muggers of Calgary do mroe cardio, because self-preservation lends my legs more speed than greed or malice lends yours.

Support: Storm and Stress - S/T, Grizzly Bear - Veckatimist, Watchmaker - Erased From the Memory of Man, Darkthrone - The Cult is Alive, Kool Keith - Lost in Space, Fyodor Dosteovsky - The Grand Inquisitor and House of the Dead, Boredoms - Soul Discharge '99, David Harvey - Nature, Justice and the Geography of Distance, debates about the merits of academic inquiry, and the Vietnamese subs from the bake chef that have been a staple of my diet for about four years running.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I am the eggman...

I really liked the graffiti in Germany. It always meant something, it was always some sort of invective or witticism that stirred me, even if I only understood 18.2% of the scribblings proclaiming that "Grüner Kapitalismus is Schiesse" or advocacy "für Sozialrevolution jetzt!". Grafitti in Canada seems so boring. So uninspired. Until today.

Leaving the university I saw a tag that said CUNT in big huge letters. Juvenile, I thought to myself. Then I walked a closer and I could make out some script just over the offensive term that I could just barely make out. Walking closer, I could see that it said WALRUS. Someone wrote Walrus Cunt on the Math Sciences building and I still can't stop laughing at the thought of it. Dear lord.

Stuff, stuffed together: Talk Talk - Laughing Stock, Fuck the Facts - Stigmata High Five, Circle Jerks - Group Sex, Immortal - All Shall Fall, Darkthrone - A Blaze in the Northern Sky, John Bellamy Foster - Ecology Against Capitalism, the brown stock simmering in my kitchen

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deep breath before the plunge...

Deadlines are rushing at me like fear-affected suburbanites rushing towards a truck full of H1N1 vaccines. My stomach is in knots almost all waking hours of the day and I am not sleeping. I am so fucking caffeinated that my hands shake, even though I don't really need caffeine to keep me running - adrenaline and a fear of letting other people down usually takes care of the rest.


Yes, happiness.

I just spent five days (five glorious, glorious days) in Vancouver visiting friends and setting up an academic research conference. Man, that place is epic, although 5 straight days of non-stop rain and greyness was a little wearing. I'm pretty grateful for any occasion I have to take five days off to ride bikes, party like a student (because, you know, I'm much more responsible in Calgary), get excited about academia with other young academics, record music, get intimated some of the most opulent real estate in Canada, get intimidated by the worst urban squalor Canada has to offer, have heart-to-hearts, make new friends, and ride bikes. But...

Five days off has crippled my academic process. Or at the very least hobbled it, in a similar way to how Russian peasant used to pay people to break their ankles so they couldn't get conscripted to fight on the front lines in World War I. Or maybe in the way Duane Allman (and probably quite a few others) shot himself in the foot so he could keep playing music and not get drafted for Vietnam. People with foot fetishes might not make good draft dodgers based on these experiences. I don't know. Maybe?

The gerbil racing around powering the wheel in my noggin is going at Mach speed. I like all of this, actually. I like being wired on grindcore and coffee and new knowledge, and I think that a little forlornity and confusion and heartache makes those end-points so much more satisfying. I like sitting down and writing something like this, a letter to the void, with no preparation, just sincerity that stream of consciousness writing provides. This might not make sense now, but in a few months, it will.

Currently enjoying: Lock Up - Hate Breeds Suffering, Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock and Roll, Patton Oswalt - My Weakness is Strong, Various Artists - This Comp Kills Fascists, Vol. 1, Femme Fatale - Fire Baptism, Venetian Snares - Filth, Thomas Pynchon - Inherent Vice, and my ongoing successes with French cuisine.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Food and Jedis

A couple days ago I promised some friends I would give them a recipe that I used to cook for them the other week. This seems like a good space for that sort of thing, so I will probably use this in future to upload some of my favourite recipes, because the only thing I like more than cooking (and eating) is sharing knowledge.

Anyway, there is just one problem: I don't really measure when I cook. Measuring is really more for baking than cooking, and I think that an important part of cooking is learning how to get a feel for your ingredients, kind of like Luke Skywalker learning how to deflect laser bolts with his lightsabre with that helmet on in the first Star Wars. That's right, I cook like a goddamn Jedi.

So here is a recipe that is quick, easy, and a good way to maximize the use of a cheap cut of beef. Pomegranate juice is super fucking expensive, and I am assuming this recipe would probably work with blueberry juice (good concentration, lots of antioxidants) or maybe cranberry juice in a pinch (lots of antioxidants, similar tartness, but concentration is a little lower). If you are going for cranberry juice, I would probably recommend springing for the good stuff (read: anything but that gross, sugary Ocean Spray cran-cocktail stuff).

Without further ado...

Striploin With Pomegranate Reduction

You'll need the following:

Two medium-sized striploins
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Pomegranate juice
Brown Sugar
Black pepper (or a peppercorn melange, if you can get it)
Good salt (kosher salt or better)

1. Chop a couple sprigs of rosemary. Coat the striploins with the rosemary, salt and pepper (and when I say coat, I mean really rub that stuff in there).

2. Heat olive oil (a tablespoon or so) in a frying pan to a medium-high temperature. When the oil starts to lose its viscosity and smoke a little bit, it's talking to you: throw the steaks in. Remember, you want to sear both sides to get a nice crisp texture. For medium-rare, it will be about three minutes or so per side.

3. Remove steaks from pan, set aside. Add 2 cups of pomegranate juice, 4 cups of brown sugar and 2 and a half tablespoons of balsamic to the pan. DO NOT throw out the juices from the steaks - that stuff is like liquid gold. Bring content of pan to a boil and then simmer until reduced to desired thickness (approximately 5 minutes or so). Keep your eye on the pan - if you let it reduce for too long it basically caramelizes.

4. In a seperate bowl, toss arugala with olive oil and balsamic (a tablespoon and a half of each, perhaps, pending on how many servings you are preparing). Add salt and paper.

5. Slice steaks into strips and drizzle reduction overtop. Plate with argula mixture and a big chunk of bread.

Reccomended pairing: a good New Zealand Pinot Noir will make this one sing. An entry-level Villa Maria pinot, for example, should have the right balance of acidity, herbaceousness, tannin and fruitniness to make this dish work out.

Enjoy with two friends, depending how big your appetites are.

Indulgences: Guided By Voices - Human Amusements at Hourly Rates, Jay Reatard - Matador Singles 06-07, Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein, Aphex Twin - Hangable Auto Bulb and Windowlicker, Grand Belial's Key - Judeobeast Assassination, Thomas Pynchon - Vineland (finally finished this one!), Manuel Castells - The City and the Grassroots

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cargo Cults

There are two Tim Hortons right beside each other in Mac Hall. As in, less than 20 feet away from each other. Apparently one of them is owned by the Student's Union and one is owned by the University. These two Tim Hortons are competing with each other, and both establishments are totally lined up at all times. This is the sort of coke or pepsi "choice" that is slowly driving me insane.

I have never bought a coffee from either of these places, and I never will. For an extra 20 cents or so I can buy fair trade coffee from a locally owned business. Sure, my 20 cents isn't changing the fucking world, but if it can help me feed my caffeine addiction without completely selling myself out to the system I hate, then that should be enough.

Also, I've written a ton of songs lately. Like six or so. What the hell? I haven't been writing for months, and all of a sudden I've had a weird rush of creativity. What new thing or person in my life is causing all this creativity? Some days not only do I not know the answer, but I don't think I really know the questions either.

Support: Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights, Daughters - Hell Songs, David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, David Harvey - The Right to the City, HEALTH - Get Color, Horse the Band - Desperate Living and the 1987 Ridge Monte Bello Cab that made last night so fun for me (and is making this morning excruciating).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Question of Degree

Everything I know how to do well, I know from my experience drinking wine. That's where I learned how to deconstruct things around me and reconstruct them in way that makes sense to me. It's where I learned how to practice restraint when necessary, but also how I learned that when appropriate, to always tend towards indulgence.

Indulgences - No Age - Nouns, J Dilla - The Shining, American Music Club - The Golden Age, We Are Wolves - Total Magique, Fugazi - Repeater, and wine, good lord, wine. Villa Maria 2006 Cellar Selection Pinot Noir tickles my fancy right now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Going Off the Rails on a Swayze Train

I will seriously never understand our culture's obssession with celebrity death (as a quick side bar: for anyone reading this who has already picked up on the self-defeating irony of this first sentence, please respect my right to contradict myself every once in a while. After all, it's necessary to breach this subject anyways). I suppose that if we celebrate the life of a celebrity it is only logical that we pay them their respects after death, but Christ on a bike, the amount of attention that film/TV/music stars recieve upon death is disproportionate bordering on farcical, even worse so than the attention they recieve during life. The fact that Michael Jackson was nothing less than lionized immediately following his death (which of course was tied into a massive marketing campaign for Jacko paraphenalia) is a little revealing about a cultural response we seem to be conditioned into, wherein we seem to be justifying to ourselves that these figures are worth paying so much attention to in the first place.

So, Patrick Swayze. The fact that man dies of cancer may indeed by tragic, but it is perhaps more tragic that this death is like to grab front pages across the world, while buried on page A26 lies unread news about issues that should be of real concern to us. The death of celebrities is painted more often as the death of an ideal rather than the death of a person, and it is shameful that we should have our ideals about issues such as social justice or environmental stewardship so tightly wrapped up in people who often unqualified to address these same issues. Perhaps this is the result of culture that has become acutely delocalized and can no longer fix its gaze and attach its ideals to community leaders, but rather to a large and grandoise body of jet-setting celebrities upon, whom we can collectively imprint our values.

Here I turn to sarcasm, to ridicule. Certainly we are worthy of healthy amounts of it. So please, when I crack a joke about Patrick Swayze over the next week, don't look at me like I'm some kind of monster - after all, why should a man who lived most of his life as a wealthy playboy capture our gaze when there are far more needy people still living that require our attention? I'm just holding up the mirror so we can see how stupid we look.

The goods: Encounters at the End of the World, DJ Shadow - Endtroducing..., Madvillain - Madvillainy, Deep Wound - Deep Wound 7", Siege - Drop Dead, Liars - They Were Wrong So We Drowned, Charles Bukowski - Ham on Rye, John Coltrane - Coltrane, Fugazi - In on the Killtaker, Sun Ra - The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra Vol. 1

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heart is Everything

Where are all the people who aren't afraid to be sincere? We're socialized into it early enough, on schoolyards and in sports locker rooms - mask your sincerity behind thick walls of irony and sarcasm. It's much easier deal with the put-downs that follow when you declare that, yes, I really do like Band X, with a sly wink and a "just kidding" than to bear the full brunt of these assaults on your taste and character with honesty. If there is one thing nobody wants to be thought of as being, its boring (or a leper, I suppose, but that's neither here nor there). Of course, the ultimate irony is that over-reliance on the handy crutch of irony itself is possibly the most boring form of self-expression there is!

Your sincerity is not boring! Your honesty is not banal! Let them dismiss you lazily as a bleeding heart, let them chastise your tastes for being threatening. If it helps, maybe try the strategy I've been using: don't be scared to return their scornful gaze with a mirror to show them how fucking stupid they look. Is it stupid to listen to music with screaming in it, or is it stupid to ignore the screams of the most desperate social strata? Is it it silly to refuse to own a car, or is it silly to be party to the construction of cities that are undeniably vulnerable to energy shortages? Can your philosophical underpinnings be any more questionable than those of an socioeconomic world order that coopts dissidence and protest as quickly as they are produced and transforms them into shallow ephemeralities?

I, for one, am ready to be judged on my readings of my environment, for my expressions and for actions. Activism is the only honest response I can fathom to the inequities that assail the integrity of our social networks and environmental life-support systems from all concievable angles. I'm talking about an activism that eschews irony and stabs at the heart of uncomfortable and difficult issues. I'm talking about sincerity, I'm talking about direct, honest dialogue. If you care enough about my expressions to be reading this, surely you care enough to participate. If you contact me at I promise I will do everything I can to coordinate your own activism.

Refuge: Converge - No Heroes, Burnt By the Sun - Heart of Darkness, David Foster Wallace - E Unibas Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction, Robert Kirkman - Walking Dead vol. 10, Mare - S/T, Jesu - Lifeline, Robert Putnam - Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Staying Naive

OK, so anyone who knows me is pretty aware that sometimes its difficult for me to live in Calgary - I find the arts sluggish, the politics insane/suicidal, the popular (and "indie") culture self-involved and superficial, and the city itself to be a monstrous, sprawling behemoth that is propelling us towards an unhappy future indeed. Judging from the first sentence of this post, you may have sensed a massive "but" coming. If so, good for you! You are correct. In spite of these shortcomings, summer in Calgary has a special appeal to me. Staying out late without a coat, reading in the city's handful of reasonably well-appointed parks (Riley Park, looking in your direction), people-watching by the river, driving a car down busy downtown streets with the windows down and Agoraphobic Nosebleed cranked to 11 - yeah, it's the simple things, isn't it?

I've experienced some truly wondrous things in some truly wondrous places over the last few months, not the least of which involved early-20th century expressionist galleries, copious volumes of dunkel, making new friends, making new friends over copious volumes of dunkel, riding bikes, hallmarks of modernist and postmodernist architecture in direct proximity to one another, picnics on the steps of the worlds most prestigious art galleries and narrow, winding streets that twist in an organic, mystical logic/illogic. The depth and scope of these experiences defies my ability to relate them here, and they were all fine and well, but there are things about Calgary too that entrance me. I am sad that it will probably be a decade or more before I can eat meatballs in Sweden again, but there is something to be said about staying up late and gorging myself on Canadian beer while watching The Big Lebowski with best friends. I mean, the Swedish meatballs were reeeallly good, but there is a certain amount of timelessness and transcendance attached to the things I can do here with the people I care about the most, and I think that if I dig deep enough under all the ennui this city has to offer I can find most of the things that are good and right and "fuck yeah" about the world.

I'm headed out of some truly inspiring places and I'm launching myself back into all the placelessness that Calgary has to offer, hoping to land softly in soft coccoons of forlonity, earnestness and all-out sincerity. Hopefully I'll be able to abscond from responsibility for a little while longer and savour the fleeting gratification of being young for a little while longer.

Substance - The Big Lebowski, Aura Noir - Black Thrash Attack, Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs, Peste Noir - Ballad cuntre lo Anemi francor, Japandroids - Post-Nothing, Thomas Pynchon - Vineland, Cobalt - Gin, Liars - Liars

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009


My, my. Busy, busy, busy. I have the privilege of leaving in five days, but (as per usual) I've made little to no plans. I've also (as per usual) squandered the time I have to get a large amount of schoolwork done. The 80-20 rule (do 80% of the work in 20% of the time) is (as per usual) a real bitch.

I feel like the monolith from 2001 is sitting on my chest right now. I know that I'll get done the things that need getting done, but the anxiety is starting to disrupt my sleep cycles. I've been waking up a lot at night and I've started drinking more coffee again. Even though it's warm outside, the library of the University feels as cold as ever. What is with this place? Why do they keep it at the same temperature as a fucking mortuary, year round? I think its uncomfortable atmosphere mirrors my discomfort with the University/city in general. It'll be good to get out again.

I'll be keeping updates to a minimum while I'm gone. Sorry, but if you want to know what I've experienced abroad you'll have to call me up and hear it from me in person. I'm also deleting my fucking Twitter. What a stupid idea. I'm not really sure I can compress the complex spectrum of emotions I feel or the context of my varied life-happenings into 160 words or less anymore.

"I'm eating bacons and eggs rite now, soooo good"

"Getting arrested, LOL!"

"Come to my house for ultra-beer-bong goat debauchery"

I would rather just focus on the bacon and eggs, arrest experience and ultra-beer-bong goat debauchery than focus on what clever ways I'm going to write about them. And really, if I want to share an experience with you I will probably pay you the minimal courtesy of contacting you directly. Sure, I feel the need to document some shards of existence, but not to circumscribe or truncate it. And on that note...

"... because in life, very little goes right. Right meaning the way one expected and the way one wanted. One has no right to want or expect anything." -Paul Bowles

Supplements for May anxieties - 2001: A Space Odyssey (in case you haven't noticed), 8 1/2, Trap Them - Seizures in Barren Praise, Cursed - Two and III: Architects of Troubled Sleep, Man or Astroman? - A Spectrum of Infinite Scale and the 2000 Frescobaldi Brunello I drank with my family on Thursday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


1993 or 2009?

I can't stop thinking about how everyone is repping early- to mid-90s fashion hard this summer. I can't count how many kids I've seen frontin' the nearly ubiquitous lumberjack shirt with Nike high-tops combo, sometimes with baseballs caps (half of which have the lids flipped up), John Lennon sunglasses and even dreadlocks. Everywhere I look, I'm seeing weird tones of purple and pink that I haven't seen since I was 11.

The fact that a lot of people are looking like Pearl Jam roadies is no big deal: we all know that fashion moves in cycles, yadda yadda yadda, but the cycles are feeling like they're getting a little closer together. But in the late 90s it seemed like it was more about mid- to late-1970s fashion, with the mid-2000s ushering in a revival of mid-1980s fashion. If we have moved into an era where everyone is dressing like its 1995, then where will we be in two years? Will everyone be dressing like its 2003, when people were starting to dress like it was 1983? This is the part where my brain 'splodes.

It's got me thinking about postmodernism a bit. Yeah, pastiche is fun, and it's liberating in the sense that you don't need to be slavish to meta-narratives whose applicability is pretty questionable. But on the other hand, when it becomes normative I think it's more or less a free pass to be gleefully self-indulgent and superficial. When everything is so aestheticized and the traditional concept of narrative is subverted, then isn't there a chance we are just moving towards this dystopian scenario where the meaning of all cultural symbols get lost, as the aesthetic of the symbols are recycled ad nauseam with no regard for context?

I know it sounds like warmed over Frederic Jameson/Baudrillard, but it's worth thinking about, I think. I mean, I'm not sure how down I am with every song title/band name being a tongue-in-cheek pop-culture reference ("Walk Before You Run DMC". What is that shit?). Then again I play in a band called Baader Meinhof Overdrive. Then again, I don't think Jordan and I pretend that BMO is supposed to be super-meaningful or insightful. Then again, we have a song about how somebody should resurrect Zombie Reagan, so punk rock can have something to mobilize against. I don't know, my brain hurts. The answers aren't easy, but then again maybe they aren't supposed to be. But then again, isn't the idea that things are "supposed to be" a certain way indicative of a meta-narrative or higher order? If my brain was 'sploding before, then my brain just went supernova now.

The ca-razy postmodern (and not so postmodern) things I'm hyped on right now: Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow, Charles Bronson - Youth Attack!, Spazz - Crush, Kill, Destroy, Stephen Hawking - A Breifer History of Time, 2005 Duckhorn Decoy (perfect mid- to high-range good times steak wine), Planet Earth, Metric - Fantasies (what can I say: this album is shit-hot. It contains no less than five perfect window-down, sing-a-long anthems good for cruising in your white Camaro in 2009 like its 1986. Wait....)

Monday, April 13, 2009


What I've been feeling on a day-to-day basis as of late

The next two weeks of my life will be completely insane. I keep saying to myself, "well, this is the life you chose", but somehow that cheery affirmation of my self-possession and stoic self-determination seems a little muted in the face of the veritable tsunami of work I am facing. Ultimately, is what I've learned this semester worth the payoff of sleeping in the library, losing sleep and having the quality of diet last seen in a Charles Dickens novel?

I think I can answer that question with a resounding "fuck yeah!". The cliche "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance" is tired, but completely true. Working for positive change in Calgary has lead me to face up to some rather pushy, ill-educated individuals. This leads me to lead to two conclusions:

  1. There is a positive correlation between ignorance and brashness
  2. There is a negative correlation between taking a well-informed position in an arguement and my desire to punch you in the fucking head
Right now I'm not sure which is the bigger headache: the ignorance of the stubborn ideologues I contend with, or the enormity of the course load I am currently bearing. What I do know, however, is that the semester will be over on the 24th, and the ignorance of some people goes without an expiration date.

A few of the things that are currently keeping my stick on the ice, as they say: Agoraphobic Nosebleed Agorapolocalypse, Metric Fantasies, Yeah Yeah Yeahs It's Blitz, Faust S/T, Non Phixion The Future is Now, William Gibson Virtual Light and a surprisingly large amount of the 80s hightop thrash I grew up on in the early 00s.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Miss Fortune

It was 13 degrees yesterday.  It's fucking snowing right now.  I was just out barbequeing and I could hear the pained yelps of birds who clearly flew home too early.  Nothing sucks worse than being on the recieving end of an enormously unfunny cosmic joke, I suppose.

I will basically be unavailable for the next month.  This week, especially, is fucking insane.  Jordan and I have a show this coming Thursday - we're going to meet tomorrow and hopefully finish writing our 10 minute set.  At least there will be lots of in-jokes about black metal dudes in wheelchairs, zombie reagan and om nom nom-ing things.

I've taken a weird liking to krautrock lately.  It contributes heavily to the following things that are currently keeping me grounded: Can - Tago Mago, Faust - Faust, Neu! - Neu!, Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk 1, 100 Bullets and the massive host of Italian wines I just came across

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Go (anywhere but) west, my son.

Sometimes I think to myself, things aren't so bad here.  Mostly I think that when I come out of meetings with the small collectives of progessive, open-minded people who are taking an active interest in reource management and planning.  Then, I read the paper.  Or the latest National Geographic, for that matter.

The first jolt came to me as I attended a Calgary Regional Partnership symposium last a few weeks ago.  Ted Morton, our Minister of Sustainable Energy, tried to cover up the fact that he had, that very morning, whittled a $2 billion regional transit fund (enough to start thinking about regional light/hevay rail transit) down to $50 million (not enough to do anything more substantial than buy some more buses).  He did this using jokes about his age and inaptitude with technology, neglecting to mention exactly how much he had cut the budget by, also neglecting to mention that the government was still leaving a $2 billion carbon sequestration plan intact.  That's right - a plan that targets the source of emission-demand was scrapped in favour for a quick-fix that might not even work.  Wtfbruger?

Then yesterday, I read that province is providing an extra $3.31 billion in tax breaks to the oil industry.  In 15 years this province is going to look the Rust Belt in the states - a string of former boom towns that have become large slums.  Mortgage rates will climb and then drop as our oil supplies run out (our conventional supplies are already WAY over peak), leaving people owing more on their houses than their houses are worth.  Oh right, and we aren't collecting any taxes from the driver of our province's economy, so we really have no way of implementing our grand plans for the future.

After graduation I'll be on the first flight out of this town.  I'll be headed to place where people understand what the consequences of deregulation, bling idolatry and ignorance are.  Ugh.

Things keeping me from smashing my head through the computer screen I'm currently looking at: Genghis Tron - Board Up the House, Frank Miller - Ronin, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, Swans - Cop, Godflesh - Streetcleaner, Phillip K. Dick - The Man in the High Castle, 'cheap and cheerful' Spanish wine.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Aperature of Pinholes

I lost my effing ipod last week. Curses! I've become basically dependent on it, and it seems strange to walk around without my own personal soundtrack constantly running. Without this constant distraction, however, I'm hearing lots of things I've forgotten about. The sound of a train car full of strangers, for example, all shuffling feet and throat clearing, everybody trying to discreetly surveille everyone else. The muffled roar of far away cars racing while I pace unlit streetscapes late at night. The sound of my own breath when I run. It's like people who work in a machine shop gradually tune out the sound of the machines: what have I tuned out?

That being said, I just bought another ipod today. It's nice to be reminded of all these processes I'm wont to forget about, but certain experiences can augmented (or even overpowered!) by music. It also helps for those times you don't want to be left alone with your thoughts, right?

Things keeping me from becoming unglued: Absu S/T, The Wrestler (brilliant!), Arckanum Antikosmos, Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale, Pilsener Urquelle and the Luis Felip Edwards Malbec I'd been cellaring for three years.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


We are forgetful people.  I think our feelings of rage at the creator and impotence in the face of what we feel to be massive injustice can largely be attributed to collectively letting our guard down.  We forget.  Marx called it alienation, and attributed it to the loss of creativity and identity through the processes of industrial capitalism.  He was pretty close, I think, but I also believe it goes a little deeper.

We forget that on all sides, at all times, we are beset by forces, neither benign nor malign, that propel us towards unexpected and sometimes grievous misfortune.  At best, it's what Camus referred to as the "gentle indifference of nature"; at worst, if we are to believe Werner Herzog, the unifying elements of the  universe are chaos, hostility and murder.  I try to believe the former more than the latter, although sometimes I'm not so convinced.

In a sense Marx was right; we all feel alienated, but to attribute this simply to the faceless toil of industrial capitalism is a little naive (this doesn't mean, however, that this system is totally off the hook).  I think the feeling of impotence and futility against amorphous and implacable tragedy is fundamental to our existence.  At all times are we being hastened towards our own ultimate misfortune, our own death, which is often without meaning and without poetry.  And when we are smote by the heavy hand of disease, physical injury or personal loss, we feel this futility at its most potent.  We glimpse the world for what it actually is for one cruel instant, and feel the strain of struggling against the current for the totality of our existence.  We remember.

Of course, it's easier to forget.  It's easier to invent a narrative that will make these things feel meaningful.  But isn't that lying?  It seems a bit much like setting ourselves up for dissapointment.  I'm not saying we need to all turn into depressive nihilists, but I don't think we can stumble through our lives in the darkness of this forgetfulness.  As much as possible, I think we need to saturate ourselves in the terrible knowledge of our fragility.  It makes times like these a little more tolerable, but not completely so.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Too Old, Too Cold

Not actually me. I wish!

I'm beginning to think my references are getting dated. It started last semester, when I made a Captain Planet joke to three girls in geography class, none of whom knew who Captain Planet was. What the fuck? I'm not that old. In fact, I'm maybe two years older than those girls from last semester, tops. What gives?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my teenage years are somewhat of an anachronism. I guess everyone I went to high school with came of age with Outkast, 50 Cent, The Darkness and Justin Timberlake, while I was wired on Minor Threat, Anthrax, Bad Brains and Iron Maiden. High school for me was spent listening to 80s thrash and hardcore while wearing white high-tops, Megadeth shirts and a denim jacket covered in heavy metal patches; in short, emulating movements I had missed by a good 20 years (tragically a year or two before emulating those movements somehow became cool again). Maybe all those years spent intentionally shifting my frame of reference to a time before I was born has eroded my ability to find contemporary references people my age can identify with. Or maybe that's why most of my friends are older than I am?

I don't know. I guess maybe I should shelve the Andrew Dice Clay and Escape From New York references for a couple years and shoot for something a little more relevant. Then again?

Supplements for January living: Ampere "The First Five Years", Isis - ALL, Immortal "Sons of Northern Darkness", Transmetropolitan, The Invisibles, Hypnosia "Extreme Hatred", These Arms Are Snakes "Oxeneers ...", Grinderman "S/T" and lattes, all day, e'ry day