I don’t like change

Heya,

Immediately after writing the last post, I updated to “improved posting” because Apple has programmed me to obsessively upgrade and then wallow in regret. To the point that it’s almost masochism. Oh, and look, there’s a new update for iOS! Thanks for the info, Apple, I’ll get right on that.

The sad part is, I actually will. I just plugged my phone in. I am on it.

I don’t like improved posting. I mean, it’s like anything, I’ll get used to it. It’s not like I’m being stabbed in the eye with a pointed stick or anything like that. It’s fine. It’s just change. And change is never good. They tell you it is, but they’re wrong.

Oh, look, there’s an option to switch to classic editor.

Let’s do that.

Ah, yes. Now I can languish in my inferior nest and sneer at the newfangled “improvements.”

Actually, what are the improvements…

Okay, this might actually be worthwhile. I’ll get back to you.

Love,

B

How did Martin Luther write 95 of these things?!

Heya,

I’ve been MIA, and I apologize. I would say it’s not going to happen again but, let’s be real, it’s going to happen again.

For the last few months I’ve been working and trying to care about my thesis enough to write it. The first has been going well, the second not so much.

The problems with writing my thesis are plentiful but they largely boil down to the fact that my program doesn’t do theses the way that many other programs do. I’m not supposed to make an argument or prove a point, I’m supposed to clinically lay out the process of completing a large project I undertook during my work-study period. The project that I’m talking about started in May of last year, launched in mid-December and concluded in mid-January. It’s psychologically so far in my rear view mirror that it’s practically indistinguishable from the horizon.

I’m trying to find ways of making it entertaining for myself but, of course, as it’s academic writing, I can’t use the first person, which I’m discovering is at least a little bit necessary for peppering in off-kilter commentary and inside jokes.

I’ve been alright, other than the existential angst of non-writing.

And yes, my title is a joke about one of the foundational moments of Protestant faiths. Because everyone love a good Martin Luther joke, right? Right?!

Right.

I have a history of getting bored with essays and, as a result, doing weird things. I had one class in undergrad that no one understood the point of. I don’t know that the prof understood the point. It was an interesting class, don’t get me wrong. It was about connections between German and Japanese literature. We read Nietzsche and Mishima (both messed up dudes, though only one attempted a military coup and followed it up with ritual suicide. So messed up is a pretty broad landscape, I suppose), and it was all very interesting and engaging in the classroom when we were having discussions and debates, but when the time came to write papers, we all realized that there was no point. And not in a nihilistic, Nietzsche, existential crisis kind of way. In more of a “what kind of argument am I supposed to make here? Is this class just an intellectual fan-gasm?”

I wrote my paper entirely in aphorisms. Because Nietzsche.

I also wrote a paper called “The Transgender City” about the city of Thebes in Antigone. I can’t remember why. It was an undergraduate lit course, so probably something about the male gaze and … I don’t know. Oppression.

I’m kind of scared of what I’m going to do with this paper. I’ve already contemplated writing it entirely from the perspective of a post-it, but I can’t think of a title that’s appropriately academic (or, in layman’s terms, “douche-y and pretentious”) for a thesis. Though this thesis is supposed to be helpful to people in my field of study. Maybe I should just callĀ  it “Post-Its Are Important”.

Because they really fucking are. If you’re not on the post-it bandwagon, you need to sort your shit out and climb on up with the rest of us. Post-its are life. They are king. They are the only way I remember anything at all these days.

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Anyway, that’s me. How are you?

Love,

B

Do you see? DO YOU SEE?!!

Heya,

Long time no speak.

About…a month ago I came on and deleted all the blog writing prompt posts where I didn’t actually say anything and got rid of the posts in the queue, because I know I’d be super fucking annoyed if I kept getting writing prompts sent to me on a daily basis (though I know some people would probably pay for that). I then planned on writing a post about how that experiment had failed.

Then I got distracted.

I have a job now. I mean, I had a job when I started this blog, but it wasn’t a show-up-at-an-office five-days-a-week kind of job. It was more of a part-time, fit-it-to-my-schedule kind of job. And my job has been in the process of moving offices for … oh, all summer up to the present. We’ll be on our third workspace in as many months soon.

There have been problems. There has been a lack of office supplies and space to spread all my stuff out in (I like to spread out–it’s a big part of why I always try to be early to … everything. If you’re early, you get first dibs on the available space).

But that’s not what I want to write about today.

I want to write about what I’m working on that isn’t work. As a rule of thumb, I don’t like to talk that much about creative projects. Not out of any sense of proprietorship or anything like that; more because I like to keep things loose and not feel like there’s any kind of structure being imposed on me. I feel like telling people about what I’m working means that I have to do what I tell them. And I don’t like feeling like I have to do things a certain way.

I think there’s also a danger of spending more time talking about the project than actually doing the project, and that as valuable as dialogue is, sometimes you have to just take the leap on faith that you’ll figure it out. Sometimes people introduce problems that make the project seem like something unattainable. And not in a sexy way.

Okay, so

Looming Projects

  • The Quarter: my friend turns twenty-five in the not-too-distant and her apartment is full of empty walls and canvas that she keeps meaning to paint, so I’m painting her a picture of a 1989 Canadian quarter. I was originally just going to paint it, but after a while, that started to seem like something that would only be interesting to look at for a brief span of time. Then I got something in the mail that was packed with a bunch of sheets of cardboard. I’d already painted the background of the painting. So I decided I’d paint the cardboard in varying shades of grey and jigsaw a quarter together out of pieces of cardboard in different tones of grey.
  • The Journal: my other friend is going on a Bedouin adventure across Western America. She has no particular itinerary, she just knows it’s going to be across Western America. She’s going to work on some farm communes along the way. I’m trying to restrain the part of my brain that is saying, “Cult, cult, cult, cult” but it’s hard. I’m trying to set up a weekly Skype date for us, both so that we can keep in touch and so I can subtly check her for signs of brainwashing. I’m only somewhat exaggerating. Oh, the journal! So, I bought a really plain, hardback journal and a road atlas. I’ve scanned a bunch of the maps of the west coast, and I’m in the process of covering the journal with them. So she can write in her journal, and also mark the places she’s been on the cover.
  • Dustwallets: I have inherited a hatred of dustjackets from my dad. When you try to read a hardcover with a dustjacket on it, it gets all bendy and slips off and is just generally a giant nuisance. About a month ago, I was reorganizing my bookshelves and found a cache of dustjackets that I’d stripped off my books. I was going to recycle them, but that seemed wasteful. So I googled paper crafts. One of the things that came up was how to make a wallet out of paper. So I’ve been gradually working through a pile of dustjackets, making them into wallets. Some are more complicated than others – you want certain things to fit on the front and back, certain things to be in the pockets, etc., for the look of the thing, and sometimes the dimensions just don’t work and you have to figure something else out. It is both engaging and kind of mindless. I’ve just started sewing them rather than just taping them together. Fucked my fingers up really bad on the first one. I’d never done enough sewing before to appreciate thimbles. I appreciate them now. That’s an ongoing project. When I have time or I’m feeling the urge, I paw through my pile of dustjackets and make one. I don’t know what to do with them. I’ve give a few away to friends and family members (I’m really proud of how the one I did for California turned out). I’m not entirely sure that it’s better to turn them into wallets if I don’t do anything with the wallets, either…
California by Edan Lepucki

California by Edan Lepucki

  • My Mother Says: This is a play that I’ve been working on for years now, at the behest of a friend of mine. It’s about the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII. I’ve done a lot of research into it, but I have a lot of trouble connecting with it. I come at story from a place of character, and I’m struggling to get a grasp on the characters. I also don’t want it to be limited, thematically or in terms of the time it’s dealing with. Because the larger implications are of history repeating itself. The internment is not widely known of, and it’s not the first time the government of Canada has done something like this. If you ignore your mistakes, if you believe you’re above those who came before you, you blind yourself. Everyone likes to think they’re not capable of bowing before that kind of pressure, that kind of fear, but most people have never been put in that position. And you never truly know what you would do in a situation until you’ve faced that situation and acted.
  • Merde Creek Chronicle: Is a graphic novel. It’s an online graphic novel. It’s sort of the inverse of My Mother Says. I feel like I understand the characters and the setting, I have an idea of where everything is leading. I have the URL (and now so do you – there’s one post on there right now. It’s from 2012 and it’s about building an author platform. Holy fuck, it’s almost 2015.) I just don’t know how to execute it. I can draw, but the amount of time it would take me to draw something that I would be satisfied with far outweighs the amount of time that it would take me to write something that I’d be satisfied with. And I’ve always been particularly attracted to the idea of doing really rough sketches, just pencil sketches, the minimum required to get the point across, maybe with some concept/character art on another page that’s had a bit more energy put into it, and letting people fill in the blanks. Use there imagination. That would also let me play with the format a bit more, with the minutiae. Make it part comic, part script, part short story.
  • Kindred (working title): fantasy with some sci-fi, in the Arthur C. Clarke sense. I don’t want to get too into it (commitment issues and all that), but I can say that there’s a civil war, a desert, and genetic engineering/mutation. At present. I’m not entirely sure what’ll get slashed in the end. If I get to the end.

And there’s the rub, really. The juggling. Always the juggling. In some ways the job I’m doing is deeply satisfying, in large part because it is so different from my creative projects. But it does absorb a lot of the energy I’d like to dedicate to these projects. It’s not a matter of finding the time. It’s a matter of finding the energy, both physically and emotionally.

I’ve started doing cardio in the mornings, in part because it’s good for my heart and lungs and anxiety levels, but also because I’ve been told that it raises your energy levels. We’ll see, I guess.

Oh, and in case you missed it, the title of this post is referencing South Park when South Park referenced Silence of the Lambs.

Love,

B

Reading: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (why the fuck is everyone called Petrov(na) or Romanov(na)(vich)? What is Russia?)

Listening: Zaba by Glass Animals

Watching: The Cornetto Trilogy on repeat, because I don’t have the mental capacity for anything more complicated, and I like how they make fun of movie cliches without being dicks about making fun of movie cliches

I just want to be a girl assassin

Heya,

Been a while. How are you? I’m alright. Super busy. And sleepy. I’m not a morning person, something I may have expressed to you before, but I’ve been forced to be one for the better part of … holy shit, over a year. Oh my god. You’d think I’d have adapted by now, right?

Anyway, today it occurred to me to check into when the next Assassin’s Creed game is coming out and I saw, with some excitement, that there are two expected to be out in the fall. Then I was sad because neither of them are expected to give me the option of playing as a girl.

This is not something that I generally care that much about, but in this case the fact that they went to the trouble of including cooperative multi-player gameplay but didn’t offer the option for one of those avatars to be a girl bugs me.

I just want to kill people as a girl. Why can’t I kill people as a girl? I beat that new-ish Lara Croft game and the new Final Fantasy forever ago. I need my fix of carnage wrought by another imaginary woman.

Aside from everything else, I feel like they’re missing an opportunity by not offering a female playable character. It opens up an opportunity for different kinds of interactions, different fighting styles. I’m thinking Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers franchise. A lot of the protagonists of the Assassin’s Creed series have conformed to a certain body type, and some of them have essentially been tanks.

I also think the Assassin’s Creed people would do a solid job of not making a female avatar all improbable tits. Aveline didn’t have improbable tits. Which makes sense, because if she had, they would have been an impediment when running/jumping/fighting/etc.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for you.

Any gamers here? Any girl gamers?

Love,

B

Ripped from the headlines

Heya,

Sorry for the posting fail the other day, I thought I’d have wi-fi on the train back, and I did but not anything consistent. And, to be honest, I completely forgot. I slept most of the trip back from Seattle, folded up in a weird little ball with my knees jammed up against the seat in front of me.

Train beats bus. It just does.

I just looked at the prompt for that day, and I probably wouldn’t have done much of anything with that. Did you use it?

This is just a little check-in post, I’ll tell you about my trip to Seattle tomorrow when I’m a bit more rested.

How was your weekend?

Love,
B

Between you and the world

Heya,

I’m in Seattle at the time of this post. When it posts, at least. I’m not there now. While I will probably take pictures, or at least someone will, my friend has a pretty packed schedule for us, and I can’t see myself breaking away from it to do this:

“Run outside. Take a picture of the first thing you see. Run inside. Take a picture of the second thing you see. Write about the connection between these two random objects, people, or scenes.”

I don’t really take many pictures. I have an Instagram, but … what was my last Instagram post? Oh, it was a picture of “The Roughrider” that I took nearly two weeks ago.

1 1/2 oz. Wiser's Whiskey 1 oz. pureed black raspberries 1/2 oz. Chambord 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice Ginger Beer

1 1/2 oz. Wiser’s Whiskey
1 oz. pureed black raspberries
1/2 oz. Chambord
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
Ginger Beer

There it is. It was delicious, by the way. I’ll put the recipe in the caption (note: Chambord is fucking expensive. I’ve been putting a shot of it into my gin & tonics lately, and that is also spectacular. It probably exists as a drink of it’s own).

Anyway, I don’t take many pictures. I think my Facebook page has two pictures that I took on it, the rest are friends’ photos that I’ve been tagged in. It’s just not something that occurs to me to do. When I’m genuinely enjoying myself, I don’t think to myself, “I’m having so much fun! I should take a picture of how much fun I’m having and show it to people!” It’s like Twitter–I only really use it for work or when I’m super bored. Or when the train is being sketchy and I want to keep track of it. I never believe people when they say things like, “Having a blast!” with a selfie of them somewhere. Because if I were really having fun, a selfie would be the last thing in my mind.

But I wonder if that’s just me. Or if that’s something that’s gradually changing. My younger cousins seem to document their lives on social media, in occasionally painstaking detail. “Pictures or it didn’t happen.”

Maybe it’s that I don’t really care if anyone knows that something happened or not. I know what happened, I was there. If I were to get a picture with someone in a band, what would I do with it? I saw the band. I have that memory in my head. If I met a member of the band, I would also have that memory.

Also, pictures steal your soul.

Also also, putting a camera between you and an experience seems almost like a self-defense mechanism, a way of removing yourself from the role of participant and setting yourself one step back. Of becoming a voyeur of your own life. Because when you’re taking a picture, you’re probably thinking not so much of yourself but of the person or people that you want to show the picture to. About what this picture will tell other people about you. About the persona you present. And what does that say about the experience that you’re having? One of my cousins is a dancer, and I’ve been to so many recitals where there was a wall of parents ahead of me, holding up their cameras or their phones and recording every second of the performance. And I always wonder, what are they going to do with that video? Force polite but disinterested friends and family members to watch it? Probably it’ll just live on their computer, until they get a new one and forget to transfer it. Or they’ll put it on a DVD, which will go on a shelf, and eventually be unplayable because of the forward march of technology, which leaves obsolescence in it’s wake.

I’ve taken this to a weird, bitter, pretentious, and probably quasi-dystopian place. That was likely not the intention of the prompt.

I might just leave this as my response to that prompt, actually. And I might stop telling you guys what the prompts are. I might have said that before…

Do you take a lot of pictures?

Love,

B

1984

Heya,

Have you ever read No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre? If you haven’t and you intend to, don’t read this post, because I’m going to spoil the plot. No Exit is a play with three characters in a room. It eventually transpires that they realize both that they have all died and that they can never leave the room. It’s famous line is, “Hell is other people.”

The prompt for today is: “You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.”

I think my nightmare scenario would be to be locked in a room with two perfectly incompatible strangers, in perpetuity. No books, no television, nothing but those two other people.

It’s not that I’m socially awkward or anything like that, I just feel like even the two most interesting people in the world would inevitably, eventually, become boring to me. And boredom makes me anxious. And anxiety can make me panic. The lack of alternative external stimuli would be such that I don’t know that I could keep from becoming a lunatic. To constantly be watched, to have nowhere to really be alone to gather myself, to have to choose between an endless performance for others or the raw vulnerability of being completely myself in front of others…terrifying. And I don’t know that we are ever completely ourselves, but our ourselves in reference to others. Facets of our personality are illuminated in reference to others. Self-hood is not a stable construct but shifts relative to our relationships to others.

Or, at least, that’s how I feel about it. I think you reach a certain point in your life and you change less, become less adaptable, but that human interaction is akin to chemical reactions that goes well or poorly or just produces a null result. Whatever the case, I think an eternity with two perfectly incompatible people would produce reactions on both sides of the spectrum. Which, when balanced over that eternity, would ultimately balance to an infinity of zero. Which would eventually drive a person crazy. So maybe what I’m really afraid of is losing my mind, and I think that this scenario would inevitably lead me there.

Or a room filled with wasps. But I feel like I would either become envenomed and die, or else dethrone and take the place of their queen. Like Sarah Kerrigan in StarCraft. And then I would conquer the wasps, then the world, then the universe. Though that might also drive me insane…

Well, this was a fun prompt. Fun fun fun.

Love,

B

Definitely Not Teacher’s Pet

Heya,

I did not like my kindergarten teacher and she did not like me. She was one year away from retirement (the classic “cop who gets shot in an eighties movie” refrain), and not especially interested in dealing with the trouble I presented.

It’s not that I was really a troublemaker. It was that I went in knowing how to read and write (not a lot, but at least kindergarten level). I knew the alphabet. I could count to a hundred. Basically anything she would have to teach me.

Worse, I would finish my work before the other kids and then want to play. Which would have been disrupted, and therefore wasn’t allowed. But, wonder of wonders, a five year old forced to sit at a table with nothing to do is about as disruptive as a five year old playing while the other kids are working. Kindergarten was the only time I remember being sent to the corner.

I hated school. I hated my teacher. I pretended to be sick a lot in that year. In fact, if I hadn’t come in ahead of the game, I probably wouldn’t have “passed” kindergarten. I think, altogether, I missed just shy of a year of school.

My kindergarten teacher had a huge impact on my life. She taught me that learning could be done outside the classroom. She taught me patience, and how to bite my tongue. She taught me how to fake sick, which may be part of why I enjoy acting and telling stories. I learned how to entertain myself. It taught me not to blindly accept authority.

I was probably a bit of a shit, I don’t know. No other teacher or caretaker ever seemed to have the trouble this woman had with me. It’s definitely contributed to me being a bit combative in classroom debates. A little punchy. But never, I hope, a dick.

She taught me that while I had to go to school, if I really wanted to learn I couldn’t make it my sole source of education.

Probably not the things parent wants their kid to learn when they go off to kindergarten for the first time, but it is what it is.

Do you have any teachers who, for better or worse, have greatly influenced you?

Love,
B

Fate and fatality

Heya,

Are you a fatalist? I’m not sure if I am.

I read an article a few days ago; I can’t remember what the actual topic was, but the part that stuck with me was a bit talking about fate. The author made the argument that being fatalistic was dangerous because if you accepted that something was going to happen anyway, even if it was a bad or unpleasant thing, you would let it happen and in some instances even help it happen.

I don’t have much else to say right now. The skytrain was down for much of the day, and navigating crowds of seating, angry people in an enclosed space has left me pretty exhausted at this point. Maybe I’ll talk to you more about this at a later date.

Love,

B