Slaughterhouse-Five

“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, ‘It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.’ It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: ‘if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?’ There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”

Kurt Vonnegut said that in Slaughterhouse-Five, and it was a remains one of the most interesting quotes for me from that book. Another, more famous, quote from the same book stated:

“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”

This quote is especially interesting to me given the happenings south of the border now. In one of my very occasional visits to Twitter, I saw something that reminded me of this quote, and I’m actually still thinking about it now. Maybe I’ll share some thoughts on it with you in a bit. Maybe the quote says all it needs to say. It is a long quote.

We’ll see. We’ll see about a lot of things, I suppose. I just wanted to draw what little attention I could to this quote, as it seemed particularly apt given the…present.

 

Advertisements

A Redundancy of Hyperlinks

Heya,

Collective nouns are fun. They are fun because they are weird. Here’s the wikipedia glossary of collective nouns, and another collection specifically for groups of people. Some standouts, for me, include:

  • an ambush of tigers: because if there’s ever a group of tigers, chances are you are not ready for them
  • an ambush of widows: more funny because it’s also used for tigers
  • an argument of wizards: they seem the sort to argue
  • an ascension of larks: both musically and aerodynamically satisfying
  • a barren of mules: depressing but accurate (mostly)
  • a bind of eels: I imagine many eels together would make quite a tangle
  • a conflagration of arsonists: apropos
  • a conspiracy/storytelling/unkindness of ravens: all equally interesting to me, but then, I find ravens and crows very interesting in general. Speaking of which,
  • a hover/murder/storytelling of crows: it’s this repeated “storytelling” that is especially intriguing to me. Because crows, and ravens, are smarter than you think and do communicate on incredibly intricate levels, to the point that they are telling one another stories
  • a decanter of deans: because, wine
  • a sodom of shepherds: because there needed to be some biblical stuff in there

Anyway, I was looking for a collective noun for hyperlinks. Or just links, when that failed. Suffice it to say, I couldn’t find one, so I decided to make one. And it is “A redundancy of hyperlinks.” Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Some collective nouns have an inherent logic to them, even when the logic is weird. My logic for a “redundancy of links” is quite simple: when there is a large group of links, no one follows them. At the very least, no one follows all of them. Many times, especially when people are making arguments and they link out to supporting materials, the existence of the link is enough to validate the argument. Even if the link goes nowhere particularly useful.

Case in point: this post contains a redundancy of links. I guarantee that you didn’t click through to them. In part because links are disruptive and distracting to a narrative if they’re used as they’re meant to be. If you’re reading a story or engaging with an argument, you don’t want to be taken away from it. And if you do click through a link, and it takes you anywhere with substance, chances are it takes you a while to come back to what you were reading. If you come back at all.

Sometimes the link itself is redundant, sometimes it renders the article it’s linking to or linked from redundant.

So, a redundancy of links.

It’s gonna be a thing.

Love,

B

Mad Max: Fury Road; or, my car is boring and lacks firepower

Heya,

I saw Mad Max: Fury Road yesterday and I have some thoughts. These thoughts do not constitute a review. I will try to keep my thoughts spoiler free, but I can’t make any promises. If you don’t want anything spoiled, if you try to maintain a level of near total ignorance before going to the movies, more power to you. I’m the same way. Don’t read this.
I liked the movie. There, reviewed. Now, on to my impressions and rambling thoughts:

My car is boring. It has neither porcupine spikes nor cow catchers nor any of other diesel punk trappings and I never knew I wanted until I saw this movie.

Driving is also boring. We’re confined not just to roads, but to specific SIDES of the road. And no one is throwing spears at us.

About those spears–are they tipped with gunpowder? Actually, that goes for everything in this movie. I feel like things shouldn’t naturally explode that easily just from getting hit. I get it, there’s gasoline, but it still needs heat or a spark or something.

After seeing this movie, I saw a VICE special on water in India and it freaked me right the fuck out. Because the way the people crowd the water truck in that episode and the way the … citizens? Serfs? People who are neither protagonist nor antagonist but instead act as a demonstration of the tyranny of the latter? Anyway, the way the crowd and jostle for water is alarmingly similar.

There’s not a lot of talking. My friend and I talked about that (ha) as we were leaving the theatre. Tom Hardy is good at playing the man of few words, but really there’s very little dialogue across the board. Charlize Theron probably speaks the most, but she doesn’t speak much. My friend and I concluded that, when your life has been reduced to fight, flee, and sleep, there isn’t time for chitchat.

Charlize Theron is, as always, bad ass.

Tom Hardy is master of the wordless noise. He grumbles and grunts and generally reacts to things with telling back-of-the-throat vocalizations that somehow make me think of fist fights on a gravel back lot.

I don’t know if this was supposed to be set in a post-apocalyptic Australia. There are a couple Aussie accents, but for the most part people don’t seem to have made much of an effort. I’m fine with this; I prefer no accent to a poorly done accent. It would have been off-putting if they’d tried to pretend this was the Aussie cult movie it derived from and not a Hollywood production. And I kind of like the ambiguity it gives the setting.

This isn’t really a sequel or a prequel or a remake, but some sort of sideways story with a character who has, to a degree, entered the echelons of pop culture and cult fame.

Going back to the whole no-talking thing, I like that there are never any discussions that we’ve witnessed a million times where one character says, “Why should I trust you?” and the other performs a overwrought soliloquy that acts as an exposition dump about who they are and what they’re doing and why, meanwhile we in the audience work our asses off suspending our disbelief, because you know what? You don’t really know you can trust someone until you see the actions they take. Max and Furiosa never talk trust. The bullets start flying and they act. And later on, when Furiosa is asked about Max and Nux, she simply says their reliable. And is taken at her word.

When you create characters that don’t speak much, the words they do speak have more weight.

That being said, this movie is full of unaddressed tragedy. The water crisis. Who killed the world? The War Boys and their half-lives. The Breeders. The Bloodbags. But despite those things going unaddressed, you get it. Or, you get as much as you need to get.

It’s been a long time since I watched the original road warrior movies. I’m not sure how long, but I know that I watched them on VHS. That should give you a solid frame of reference.
When this movie comes out on DVD, they’ll probably re-release the original trilogy on DVD. Probably with cool box art, and a deluxe metal case with a skull steering wheel sticking out the front. And I will buy the new one and the old trilogy, but not deluxe steering wheel edition. Because I’m not made of money.
Also, I hate box sets that take up space on my shelf with bullshit swag. Like those Simpsons box sets contained within a mold of one of the characters faces. What kind of bullshit is that?
Anyway, go see Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s fun.
Or don’t see it. I’m not your mother.
Love,
B

25 lessons in 25 years

Heya,

I turned twenty-five a couple days ago and in honour of … myself, I’m going to tell you twenty-five things that I’ve learned in my quarter-century of life.

The thing with learning is that the most important lessons are integrated without us really being aware that we’re learning. We don’t remember the moment we understand how multiplication works, but at some point the concept clarifies itself. Most of the things we remember learning are at least a little weird. Did you know that you have taste buds in your small intestines? If you didn’t, I bet you’ll remember it. Because it’s fucking weird. This list comprises some of the weird things I’ve learned in my life, mixed in with some serious things, as they occurred to me, on this day.

  1. Be polite.
  2. When paying for parking, if there is an option to “Add time” to your spot, always try that one first. The worst that can happen is that it tells you it can’t do it. And sometimes you only have to pay for an hour and you get six.
  3. If you speak with conviction, more often than not you will be believed. Even if what you’re saying is that “ghost” is pronounced “g-aw-st”. They won’t always believe you for long, but they will believe you.
  4. Other people know the conviction trick.
  5. You know how you’re not really paying attention to other people a lot of the time? Other people are the same, so don’t worry so much about how you’re coming off to them because chances are they’re thinking about themselves.
  6. We are all narcissists. But knowing and admitting that you’re a narcissist is a huge part of not being a dick about it.
  7. Despite being narcissists, there is such a thing as altruism. Don’t believe the economists.
  8. If you’re at a buffet, LEAVE THE SALAD FOR THE NEXT ROUND. Seriously, they’re not going to run out of salad. You know what they are going to run out of? Bacon.
  9. On the theme of buffets: you know how there is always a bewildering platter of cold cuts midway along the table? Yeah, what you want to do is, grab a bun (there will always be buns, if there aren’t buns, drop the plate and walk away, you can’t trust the quality of that buffet), put it in your left hand, and balance your plate on top. Do as you will until you reach the cold cuts (and sometimes there’s cheese, take cheese at your discretion). When you get to the cold cuts (and possible cheese) grab a few, put them on the edge of the plate. When you get back to your table, make a sandwich with your bun and cold cuts. Wrap it up in a napkin. Put it in the pocket of your coat. Because usually events with buffets last a long time. You’ll eat, you’ll get seconds, some people will talk about whatever. By the time you go home, hours will have passed since you at dinner and you’ll be starting to feel peckish. And then you’ll remember: your Road Sandwich! Glory in exultation and eat said Road Sandwich.
  10. Women’s jackets tend to have sub-par pockets.
  11. Unless you’re in a hospital or a McDonald’s ball pit, there is no reason for anti-bacterial soap. Bacteria is good. Bacteria is necessary. Just use regular soap, it’s fine.
  12. If you’re tired and on public transit, sit in a two-person seat next to the window. You can lean your head against the window, and while someone weird might sit next to you, no one will make you get up.
  13. You are statistically unlikely to be trampled, no matter how short you are.
  14. That being said, maybe avoid the pit?
  15. “Perfect” isn’t a real thing.
  16. There is nothing new under the sun, there are just movable pieces and interesting configurations. Don’t stress out about originality, because it doesn’t exist. Anything that seems brand new only appears that way because you didn’t see how the sausage was made.
  17. The world doesn’t owe you anything.
  18. You’re never done learning.
  19. Celebrate the little moments. Sparklers are pretty cheap.
  20. Glitter is the herpes of arts and crafts. It never really goes away. You’ll think it’s gone and then *BOOM* glitter. That shit is viral.
  21. If you park your car in the sun, crank your wheel around so the top is facing down. That way, when you get back in your car after it’s spent hours baking in the heat, you’ll be able to steer without burning your hands.
  22. Never say, “I’m the kind of person who–” unless you follow it up with something self-deprecating. Otherwise you sound like a douche. Sample sentence: “I’m the kind of person who can’t be with just one person.” Douche. “I’m the kind of person who sharts when they’re nervous.”
  23. “Shart” means to shit a little when you fart.
  24. In the same vein as #22: you do not get to give yourself a nickname. That’s not how nicknames work.
  25. Make the last words you say to the people you love “I love you.” No one can ever hear that enough, and at any given moment the last words you say to someone may be the last words you ever say to them.

I’ve learned other things, like algebra and the difference between “affect” and “effect” (helpful alliteration: “The arrow affected the aardvark. The effect was electric.”) but this is the list that came to me in the moment and I think it’s legit.

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 call  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

The Blue Pen Dilemma

Heya,

My pen died today. I use cheap black BIC pens, because every time I get a more expensive one it dies immediately. You know those Seven Year pens? Yeah, mine lasted seven days.

I went to my boss and asked if I could borrow a pen. But, more specifically, I asked if I could borrow a black pen. Because I hate blue pens.

She had to hunt around a bit for a black pen, which made me stop and think about why even the idea of writing with a blue pen was so repellant to me. Why couldn’t I just take one of the four blue pens she had found and go back to work?

Because of those stupid PaperMate erasable blue pens, that why.

My school sold back-to-school kits. I don’t know if this is a common thing or if this was just because I went to an inner city school, but I remember that every year my parents would buy a kit that contained all the school supplies I would need for that year from my primary school. It usually included a pencil case, glue, etc. And I think second grade was the first year that, instead of just pencils, we got pens.

But they weren’t really pens. They were half-assed erasable pens.

I hate doing things by half measures. I’m a “go big or go home” kind of person. I set my goals high, and either accomplish everything or nothing. Which is admittedly not always the best way of doing business, but it’s just how I am.

I hated those blue erasable pens, just like I hated training wheels. Maybe part of it was because they didn’t actually erase very well, so they were this weird, unpleasant thing that straddled the line between pencil and pen.

Whatever it was, it felt like I was almost-but-not-quite being trusted. I could almost be trusted to write in permanent ink, but I wasn’t quite there yet. Blue pen, for me, is childish. But not fun, scented-crayola-crayons childish. Being told to stay out of cupboards childish. “Don’t touch that” childish. “You’re so adorable for trying” childish. I fucking hated those pens. Those pens were condescension.

I don’t know if all of this was apparent to me at the time, but I do know that as soon as the option arrived to pick between black and blue permanent pens, I picked black. And I continue to pick black to this day for anything remotely serious. There was a brief window of time in university where I kept all of my notes in one notebook, when I used a different coloured pen for each subject, but my “to do” list was always written in black ink.

There’s no grand overarching point to this story, I just felt like offering you a glimpse of the neuroses with which I live every day.

Love,

B

Global warming and incipient terror

“Do you wanna get really terrified? Ice caps are all melting, and we’re gonna die.”

– “Do It With a Rockstar” by Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

Heya,

Just read this article on President Obama’s move to reduce US CO2 emissions. I’m not from the US, and the bypassing of Congress and “checks and balances” and potential American job loss are all things I’m not going to comment on in this post. I’m not going to talk about strategic positioning relative to China.

What I’m going to talk about is more on the personal Sword of Damocles side of things, so buckle up for safety.

The article talks about how climate change has generally just been paid lip service in politics. It’s a talking point, that gets touched on at the tail-end of speeches made during campaign season. It’s an annual gathering of a select group of world leaders that leads nowhere.

It’s also the Made in China tag on more than half of the products in North America.

It’s Respirator Masks.

It’s terrifying, and I’ve been feeling a kind of incipient terror about it for most of my life, a low-level anxiety that means I will carry around an empty can for blocks rather than throw it in a garbage can. Because that shit is recyclable, and the ice caps are melting, and I need to “do my part.”

“Do my part.” Like it’s a war. And in a sense, it is. But a war on who? Certainly not the environment. The environment in Private Ryan in this scenario. The enemy is established patterns of behavior. In laziness. In legislation.

And I’ve been frustrated because, despite my desire and the desire of nearly everyone I know (and I am a Canadian in the province that birthed Greenpeace, so I might be a biased sample, but I don’t think I am) to “do our part,” the problem is bigger and scarier than our efforts can address. There’s a book I own but haven’t read yet called The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, and part of why I haven’t read it is because, from what I have read, it seems to confirm a lot of the boogeyman I’ve been living with, and likely to introduce more.

The majority of pollution comes from the industrial sector and there are so many things that people making most of the money could/should be doing before any one person needs to feel anxiety about their aluminum can. But most of the people making most of the money will do what they’ve been doing, what’s been making them money, until they’re forced to stop. Until they’re legislated to stop. Until it becomes so inconvenient and illogical and costly to do as they have been, that they have to rethink the way they do things.

It sometimes seems like political parties are more concerned about who will get the credit (or blame) for legislation than in the passing of it. Even if something is generally accepted as fact (like climate change) and it is widely felt that something needs to be done, nothing is accomplished. A politician would rather hamstring their opponent than help their constituents. Which is, I guess, sort of talking about the bypassing of Congress, but really it’s just a general statement about politics and general confusion about the term “public servant.”

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you right now. Except to say that I want to be more hopeful about this legislation, about the potential for humanity to become more conscientious denizens of the world, than I can find it in me to be.

Love,

B

Work-life balance is an ugly phrase and we need to find a new one

Heya,

As you may have gathered from the title of this post, I don’t like the phrase “work-life balance.” I think, aside from the inescapable clunkiness and the self-help-y tone of the phrase, what bothers me about it is that it suggests a dichotomy between work and life that I think is less and less present, if it ever really was. Work is part of life and life part of work. Just because it’s not always fun doesn’t mean it’s not life.

Most of us spend the majority portion of our (conscious) adult lives at work. With coworkers. Doing work. Thinking about work and worrying about work. We build our vacations around our work. Many of our friends are our coworkers. Some of our spouses started out as coworkers, or friends of coworkers. For many of us, there aren’t firmly delineated boundaries. Personal and professional relationships can blend and change.

People say they need to work on their work-life balance when work takes over a greater portion of their lives than other things, other interests. When family suffers, when friendships deteriorate, when you’re just fucking exhausted all the time because you’re stressed out and on call all the time, that’s a poor work-life balance.

I’m not saying that it’s not a thing, and that it’s not important to figure out how to balance it, just that the phrase might be part of the problem. In suggesting that work and life are separate things, you make them into two opposing forces that need to be measured against one another. It becomes a “versus” situation, where work is up against family, friends, fun, etc., where it should be work and family and friends and fun. I think the need for balance comes back to anxiety, to the feeling of being overwhelmed by conflicting responsibilities. Of trying to manage on an ever decreasing budget of time.

Did I ever talk to you about the Culture of Character and the Culture of Personality? It’s mentioned in the book Quiet by Susan Cain, which I recommend whether you’re an introvert or not. If I haven’t, I’m about to, and if I have, get ready for redux:

In the Culture of Character, people are admired for internal traits, like honesty or temperance. There is a stronger delineation between public and private life, with greater weight being given to the person you are in private than the person you are in public. In the Culture of Personality, it’s much more external. How you present yourself in public is given more weight than your internal characteristics. Which makes charm very important. The book argues, and I would agree, that in the latter half of the twentieth century we moved from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality. Nothing wrong with it, but I do think that phrases like “work-life balance” relate to this. Because as we live our personal lives more publicly, as there is more overlap between our persona and our character, it can become a more difficult thing to balance all the different elements of your life. It can be harder to “switch off,” “unplug,” or whatever you want to call it. And not just because most of us never have our phone’s more than an arms-length away.

I’ve gotten a little off-track. The point of this post was, I don’t like the phrase “work-life balance,” and I want a new one. But I need help.

So, right now I’ve got “Anxiety Meniscus,” “Human Factor” (this one would be a measure of how close your were to being a computer in a flesh suit), “To-Do List Measure” (if your to-do list goes past a certain length, chances are you’re work-life balance is a drunk guy on a balance beam), ummm…

Okay, what you got?

Love,

B

Things that are not helmets

  1. A hat (jaunty or otherwise)
  2. A headband
  3. A turban
  4. Your hair shellacked to within an inch of it’s life into a beehive do
  5. Your sunglasses, put on top of your head because the clouds didn’t burn off like you thought they would
  6. Any other thing that isn’t a helmet

Heya,

I don’t know if this will convince anyone to wear a helmet. I don’t imagine it will. In my experience, people on one side of a divisive argument pick their corner and stay there, but I just had to throw in my two cents.

It is Bike to Work Week in Vancouver (and possibly other places, I don’t know), and in my pedestrian wanderings around Vancouver, I’ve noticed that only about a third of the people cycling around are wearing helmets. That’s just a guess, I don’t have hard numbers on this, but I made an informal study while eating lunch at my favourite Mexican-restaurant-masquerading-as-a-cafe. The street it’s on is a main bike route, and I watched a lot of cyclists creepily from behind big, slightly tinted windows.

Not a lot of helmets. Lots of newsboy caps (I think that’s what they’re called, anyway) and fedoras (it’s that kind of neighbourhood), but not a lot of helmets. Of about thirty cyclists that I saw in the half hour or so that I was there, eleven or twelve were wearing helmets.

Many of my friends cycle as their main method of transportation, and I understand from them that the cycling community is divided on how important helmets are. I’ve heard the argument that when a cyclist gets into an accident it’s usually with a car, and the injuries sustained aren’t usually the kind that would be helped by wearing a helmet.

And that’s as may be. But I also know that concussions are more complicated than most broken bones. You can set a broken bone and mend. Concussions can negatively impact your life for years. My aunt got a concussion three years ago and was troubled with migraines, vision problems, memory problems that continue to a degree to this day. She wasn’t able to go to work for about a year, and when she did go back, it was in a more limited capacity for quite some time. She can’t look at computer screens for too long without getting shooting pains in her head. Her and my uncle are very outdoorsy. They climb mountains and ride bikes and ski and snowboard, but all of that had to take a backseat to her recovery. I know she felt a lot of frustration, and still does, at not being able to do the things that she enjoyed because of her concussion.

The world of professional sports is starting to take concussions seriously, pulling people from the field who are suffering from concussions where in the past they were less likely to take them seriously. As we learn more about concussions, about how much long-term damage can be done by even minor head injuries, pressure is being levied to protect the interests of athletes.

But if you’re a cyclist, the only one protecting you is you.

You don’t have seatbelts. You don’t have airbags. You don’t have four metal walls around you. Bikes built for the city can get some pretty good speed going. If a professional football player can get a concussion, wearing a helmet, wearing all kinds of padding, by being knocked down by another human, it seems like asking for trouble to ignore the one bit of added safety you can afford yourself while traveling 50km/h down a busy street.

There are some valid arguments that helmets don’t provide much protection, but I’ve yet to hear an argument that suggests that they provide a risk. Maybe they won’t stop you from getting a concussion, ultimately, but they might help keep you from splattering your brains on the road.

I’ve also heard arguments (in Vancouver) that increasing the amount of infrastructure for cyclists would reduce the need for helmets. Maybe, maybe not. But arguments for a hypothetical future don’t change the present, and at present we don’t have the best infrastructure for cyclists. Don’t close your eyes to it. Don’t risk your safety.

Wear a fucking helmet. Please and thank you.

Love,

B

UPDATE: A friend of mine was hit by a car while riding her bike the other day. She was in a bike lane and got T-Boned crossing the street by a guy in a BMW. The police said it was lucky that she was going as fast as she was, because it meant that she hit the bumper and rebounded in the direction she was going. If she had been going slower, the car would have run her over. As it is, she flew several feet, and cracked her helmet on the concrete. If she hadn’t been wearing it, her brains would have decorated the road. Luckily she has no broken bones, and they don’t think that she’s concussed. Wear a fucking helmet.

Gonna make a record in the month of May

Heya,

I’m not, I’ve just been listening to a lot of Arcade Fire. Do you listen to Arcade Fire? They’re awesome, you should listen to them.

So…been a while. Sorry about that. I have good, valid reasons, which are different than excuses because they count. Except they also kind of don’t.

I have three jobs right now. And all of them know about one another, which is nice. I remember being concerned at one point that it would be a kind of “cheating on my job with my other job(s)” sort of thing, but nope, totally cool. It helps that I’m not full-time at any of them. Though with three, I think I may nudge into overtime hours most weeks. One is a publisher, one is a newspaper, and one is a media company. And I’ve signed NDAs with all of them (I think), so that’s as specific as I’m going to get. I’m sure you could figure it out if you wanted to, but why would you want to?

Anyway, in trying to sort out my “work-life balance” (terrible phrase, let’s all remember to think of a better one), the life side of things definitely took a bit of a hit for a while there. Or, at least, this blog took a bit of a hit for a while there. It’s been near the top of my to-do list pretty consistently, but is continually pushed down by more time-sensitive things. Today, I had a brief window of time that was free of pressing responsibilities and was feeling what a friend refers to as “Phantom Homework Syndrome” as a result. PHS is when you feel like you’re forgetting to do something important, and you feel both guilty and panicked. You can’t do other things, because you’re sure that you’re forgetting something. Something is due, you just know it is. It is a common neurosis among students and … well, neurotics. Of which I am certainly one and possibly both. A handy trick to remember it is the acronym is also the sound people make when you tell them you have Phantom Homework Syndrome. “Pffs.”

I decided (and believe me, it was a decision) that the important thing that I was forgetting to do was write a blog post. Which is both true and bullshit, as are so many things in life.

I’m going to write a different blog post now, I just felt that my failing to write a single post in over a month should be acknowledged before I launched into a diatribe about cyclists not wearing helmets and the phrase “work-life balance” (oh, yeah, you thought that was just a throwaway comment? Nope.)

Love,

B