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Refuge for the rational.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

There’s nothing like getting to the bottom of the glass and finding it dirty. Everything about that makes you feel sick and filthy and a quick ponder over familiar communicable diseases has you scratching your skin in discomfort. Can you get sick from that? But…what is that? You lean over the tan coffee cup, slightly in fear, slightly exhilarated. Had they not been wet, these little clear specks would have been invisible. Sugar dissolves, so it can’t be sugar. But, what the hell else could it be? Who puts anything else into a coffee cup? You look around as if the answer will be demonstrable at other tables, but everyone is sitting silently. A painted goth couple in the the corner opposite you sit looking angry and annoyed with each other. She looks like she hasn’t eaten in weeks, but she stabs at a piece of lemon meringue pie with no apparent intention to consume it. He begins tearing at empty sugar packets and dropping the pieces into his cup. Perhaps this is how the mysterious substance was deposited into your cup. Maybe it is wrong to fear things so. It certainly seems wrong to take out your fears on the cup. The cup is just having a bad day, making the rounds from person to person. The waitress comes to top you up and you force yourself to say “ok”.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Catchy Lingo, Courtesy of Dr. Phil 

There are two different types of liberals. There are the ones who invent phoney catch phrases in order to better understand what is wrong with the world, in order to more effectively discuss it on online chats and in coffee houses while sporting their dog eared copies of Zarathustra. The ones who shake their heads at the atrocities of this world but are so ineffectual as to think burning flags at so-called “peace-rallies” is at all effective. They will whine and complain and take offence to just about anything that smells remotely “offensive”. They are go-getters, they go for hikes, they go running, they have dozens of children whom they fail to raise well. They like soy. They can be easily identified by their empty doe eyes and unfaltering grins. They are the people who would reek of positivity (yes, despite popular belief it does have an odour – kind of like patchouli) while staring down the barrel of a gun.

Then, there are the liberals who believe in similar things with one exception: they actually believe; it isn’t some kind of personality accessory. They have a sense of humour that often “offends” their so-called compatriots and baffles most republicans. They also like soy and they also “love life”, but in a different way than the grinny liberals. This love of life makes them desire real change and express disappointment and often anger at the way in which the world works. In fact, they love life so much that sometimes they hate it.

This first group is the focus of our discussion today. That, and the question, why do we hate ourselves?

There is a term that the grinny liberals have come up with to describe this plague. They call it self-esteem. I think it’s a little too stately to discuss something that is just a tad darker than those gosh-darn fuckers would have you believe. But, what do you expect from the PCs, they’ve never been about honesty.

This self-esteem problem is usually represented outwardly, by dissatisfaction with ones physical appearance. This is why everyone thinks they’re ugly, fat, too (insert fault of the week here) and admire people who are air-brushed and “perfect”. Now, I’m not going to start in on the usual trite bullshit about how media images hurt women. I don’t actually believe this. For one, being ‘hurt’ by a media image requires a certain degree of internalization that a woman with a healthy self-esteem would not subscribe to. The real problem here, and one that may even be perpetuated by people who whine about ridiculous media images and expectations is that physicality matters at all. The problem is not that people cannot meet expectations because they are ridiculous; the problem is that expectations even exist. Applauding a woman for undergoing mutilation in order to “feel good” about herself is like holding her hair for her while she slits her wrists. It is a mistake to endorse physical appearance as a cause for low self esteem instead of a symptom of it. This self-hatred (a much better catch phrase, I’d say) is deeper than that.

It is rampant, though. From what I can see, almost everyone hates themselves, whether it be the school bully, the girl with the implants, the girl pointing at the girl with the implants, the white kid who wants to be black, the rapist, the drug-addict…of all the people I’ve met lately, I can’t think of one who I don’t imagine going home and crying into his pillow and becoming completely absorbed in his woe-is-me nightmare. And all of these people have something in common. They believe in the surface. They believe that the surface will set them free. They believe in the surface and they try to call it practical. And despite what you may believe, the word for all of this is culture. This isn’t low self-esteem; this is our culture.

Friday, January 14, 2005

There's That Bug Going Around You Know 

My question is, when is that bug ever not going around? And what exactly makes this particular bug so special that it becomes that bug? And, are these people aware that there is more than one of that bug; that your body develops an immunity to a virus once it fights it off unless it mutates, becoming a different bug, and that this is the whole concept behind the flu shot, i.e.: immunizations? And that there cannot really be any such thing as that bug? Let's move on...

I've been seeing some disturbing things on television lately. Now, don't assume that I harbor any naive surprise when faced with advertising that uses fear to hook its audience. My surprise, or rather the reason it becomes of note in my blog, is due to my usual imperviousness to said techniques and my sudden vulnerability to them. One commercial (and this will teach me to watch television as I usually do not), depicted people sneezing and hacking all over their hands and then touching something that some unknowing person eventually came along and touched as well. As I’m sure you can deduce, the product appears in all of its gleaming glory, slowly descending from the heavens, and the pleasant and unambiguous voiceover informs the audience that this product is necessary in fending off the bacterial refuse you can’t see but have no choice but to interact with. I shuddered. I reeled. Then I went and washed my hands.

My last customer at work today sounded very ill. He also looked and smelled very ill. I developed a sudden choking feeling in my throat at one point as I listen to him struggle to speak through the mucousy (now, even though this isn’t really a word, how would you spell it…ey or y?) obstruction in his throat, hoarsely whispering so he didn’t strain his vocal chords, which I momentarily imagined to be swollen and ripping with pain. My brain even talked me into a headache and an itch in my sinuses. These things vanished as soon as he left. I sprayed the air around his chair with Lysol (because it kills 99.99% of germs) and proceeded to wash my hands thoroughly. It was only once the dangerous chemicals diffused enough to be olfactially undetectable that I began to breathe normally.

So, my question is, do we really need to be so worried about these germs to the degree we are? Do we need products to keep us safe from them? The WHO has, after all, cited antibiotic resistance as potentially creating a worldwide epidemic and yet antibiotics are still seen as a convenient and safe way to combat illness. I know people personally who see no harm in popping a penicillin whenever they feel they are at risk of making contact with a little bacteria. Antibiotics have become so trusted that people in the third world will purchase one of the coveted pills when faced with infection. All this does, is allow the bacteria to develop a resistance to the pill, thereby making it absolutely ineffectual in exactly the same way immunizations make us immune to viruses. Due to the rapid reproduction rate of bacteria, many formerly easily treatable bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis, are now completely resistant to many of the most affordable and safe antibiotics available.

This may sound completely redundant to those of you who are aware enough of this problem, however, I think it’s worth mentioning since I’ve met university students who don’t know what antibiotic resistance is. So, educate yourselves! If you put it in your body you should have some knowledge about it (I won’t even start critiquing the way some people eat). Don’t take antibiotics unless you absolutely need to; 70% of throat infections are viral and bacterial ones can usually be fought off by your immune system in the same amount of time, whether aided by drugs or not.

This concludes my sudden moment of advocacy.

Monday, January 10, 2005

At Least Sex is Still Free... 

...well, for some of us.

Here I go again.


I have spent the day in rapidly increasing confusion. Money suddenly seems to be at the centre of my life and I can’t really do much but follow the suddenly explosive trend of blaming the man.


Despite being a paradise to people who think driving a sports car down Miami Beach with formulaic music blaring is the opposite of obnoxious and ostentatious, this is a worthless society whose only cultural achievements come from the people who are too appalled and/or economically frustrated/incapable of participating in it as good little consumers. True, we are all consumers but this is arguably because we have to be and not because, like the guy in the “sweet ride”, we choose to be. I don’t value money, I value freedom, and any society that blurs the lines between these things is truly sick.


I cannot practice my trade because the cost of living in this city requires that I work until I am literally exhausted. It could be the specific job I suppose. This is why I quit today. I woke up this morning with an enormous amount of rage building up inside of me. The thought of going to that place again made me feel so sick and miserable I thought I was going to throw up. I feel completely helpless, but things have a way of working themselves out. I am taking a huge risk and maybe (just maybe) I will get kicked out next month for not paying my rent but it isn’t like I live in the third world and it isn’t like I’m not a whiny little brat with relatively wealthy parents, so why worry? The risk is worth more to me than my own house, and so is my sanity. The things we seemingly can’t live without are only things.

The irony of all of this is that if I can’t pay my phone bill one month I get penalized through an additional fee. Yet, at the same time, my old landlord can rent me a house full of asbestos and not be penalized whatsoever. He’s a businessman and apparently those people are worth more than us mere artists. Art is not important until the artist is dead and the subject matter is kosher enough for an executive flat.
I don’t think most people who live in this city realize the vapidity of the situation when it comes to affordable housing.

I don’t live below the poverty line and yet I can barely afford my bills every month. What about those who work full time at McDonalds? At the same time, I was paying a ridiculous amount of money to live in a run down house that was making me sick. My landlord wouldn’t even fix my goddamn window. Where the fuck is the justice? You shitheads told me that if I was a good citizen, got a job, paid my taxes, I wouldn’t have to live this way. I’ve never even collected unemployment insurance…so where is your capitalist justice?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

duh-duh-Done With all the fuh-fuh-Fucking Around 

Shrink-wrap is the bane of my existence. It would seem that no matter how much I gnash and bite and claw at the fucking thing the little “tear here” strip simply will not allow itself to be utilized in its intended way. Face your destiny…I simply cannot take this ad-riddled “classic” jerk-off rock radio station anymore. It doesn’t seem to bother anyone else who works here, but I was so gripped by my desperation that I went out and bought a CD that no one would consider too “weird”. The college radio station was certainly too much to take, and then the classical station was dubbed too “boring”, so this is the resolution (yes, you can listen to whatever you want to at your job - and we’re all proud of you - but have you ever considered just how much of a wanker you are?) I hate my fucking job. All in all, it’s just a bad environment for me. If you’d like a list of reasons why, feel free to read all about the delightful office Christmas party HERE. What this amounts to is a basic and fundamental clash of values. No matter how much I try, I simply cannot see the world in black and white, with dollar signs preceding everything and with a mistrust of my own perceptions. There is no joy in cell phone sales, there is nothing creative and nothing pure. I don’t care how they work, and I’d rather not even own one. It seems like such a tirade – my faithful departure into a mental and creative vacuum from nine-thirty to six, five days a week. Is this not incongruous?

Valiant steps have been made towards a less abrasive outlook on the world, towards something more fulfilling. It seems like every time I decide to abandon my usual cynicism someone has to go and fuck it all up. Case in point: I spent the last month doing yoga and eating properly, sleeping well and reading more. Things have improved, slightly, but there is still something standing between myself and the Zen state of mind I so desire. I’m very disturbed by the fact that I could ever hate anyone as much as I hate my boss. And I don’t use the word lightly as I used to be prone to do…I mean bold, underline, italic…I HATE my boss.

Debbie, (and this may be passive-aggressive, but I only call her that here because she hates it so) has a mop of crazy, frizzy, bleached hair, is in her mid-forties, has fake nails, and wears clothes that I suppose may be somewhat stylish to someone. She has a dozen children (or, at least she would have you believe that by the way she complains about the “army”) and a husband who, so far as I can tell, does nothing but hang out at the office and get in the way of my work. She often complains about being broke in order to excuse her workaholic tendencies despite the fact that she makes at least two-hundred grand a year. She is one of those people who thinks that she knows what the finer things in life are has staunch standards. What this means is that she likes painfully consistent and uninteresting restaurants, moderately priced alcohol, has a housekeeper come over once a week, spends a lot of money on things that really aren’t up to par, but doesn’t know that a liberal self-professed snob such as myself finds her completely and utterly absurd. Simply put, she embodies everything I claim to resent. When it comes right down to it, she’s like everyone else who comes into the store – a redneck with money.

Most of our customers work in construction of some kind. I’m sure somewhere in the mix there is a lone worker who feels isolated and lonely because he finds the humour of his co-workers strident, their hygiene disgusting and their intelligence lacking, but as of yet I haven’t come across any and therefore I grant myself the unfair liberty to speak about them in rash generalizations. It’s incredible how naïve I used to be. I used to think that the average person wasn’t racist, sexist, etc. What I’ve come to discover through a series of painful conversations with the aforementioned persons is that this is quite untrue. I’ve never been treated so belligerently as I have been at this job. This is probably the root of my hatred for Debbie. These uneducated, arrogant fucks come into the store and Deb goes out of her way to cater to their every desire…yes, she’d probably do that if they paid her enough. Everything is funny and is accompanied by a desperate cackle that tries to ask “can we pretend we’re friends?” This would only be a minor annoyance if it weren’t accompanied by an expectation that I do the same. I don’t and I won’t. I only have two arms and I’m already doing the job of two people since she hasn’t bothered to think about replacing the employee who left three weeks ago. She also has no qualms about blaming others for things that go wrong.

This entry was hard to write. I thought I had writers block but now I realize that it was just because I don’t care. I don’t want to hate or even dislike anyone. I just want a little peace, I want to spend my time doing something I actually care about. Why do we do this to ourselves? I need to eat, so I’m in the midst of looking for something else, but going to another job I hate seems like a complete waste of time. So, I plan on taking a huge risk. That’s the only way to recover from this torpid period. If there are any of you out there who are having a similar experience, I urge you to think about how you will remember the time you had when you are old(er). It seems somewhat suicidal to just let it slip away.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Thank-you, thank-you...it was hard, but we pushed through and look at us now. One month and no posts. It's been a long and tough road with many battles won and lost, but this month of no posting has proven to be one of the best non-posting months we've seen in recent history. Let's give a nod to all of the pointless shite that has kept us from posting this month...here's to all of our dedication and team-work finally paying off. Go team.

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