Yearly Archives: 2009


Cohen and MacBook Pro

I’m cur­rently on autopi­lot. Doing with­out think­ing, and just being.

It’s a strange feel­ing because I’ve been try­ing to get to this level where I’m no longer con­scious of try­ing to be at this level1. It’s a recur­sive night­mare. But now that I’ve been here for a few days, I’m not sure if I like it. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m not used to it, because I feel like I’m miss­ing some­thing, or because I feel way too overstimulated.

I tried to sched­ule a day of rest, aka me time, aka her­mi­tiz­ing in my house, in between every event, but that didn’t work out. I won’t have a sin­gle day to myself until the 3rd of January. I was hop­ing for a hol­i­day where I could sit and do noth­ing for two days in a row, just so it’d be like a long week­end at least. I’ve been try­ing to cel­e­brate because I fin­ished my con­tracts early, but I sup­pose these last few days have been enough of a treat, even if it’s left me with­out any time to with­draw and reflect.

One day I woke up at Darren’s house, went down­stairs, turned on the TV, and Serendipity had just started. I remem­ber watch­ing this generic hol­i­day dri­vel set in a New York Christmas at Vicky’s house back when I was in uni­ver­sity. It was def­i­nitely Christmas back then cause I was back home in Toronto, before my par­ents divorced, and we went to house par­ties as a fam­ily. It was it’s own lit­tle serendip­i­tous sign, remind­ing me the hol­i­days were here, and I should take it all in for a second.

  1. Croupier, star­ring Clive Owen, is com­pletely based on this idea. Go see it. []

Ryan's First Birthday

A video I shot as a Christmas present for Aaron and Karen. This was the first day I tried my “poor man’s steady­cam”, and aside from a few shaky shots from fid­dling around while try­ing to cap­ture every­thing, the pan­ning works very well.

I was think­ing about sav­ing the video for when Ryan gets mar­ried, but fig­ured I may be dead before that hap­pens, so I decided to give it to them now. There are so many notes in the pro­duc­tion of the video that I feel like I need a 10-minute direc­tors com­men­tary to cover all the details. Alas, I’ll leave the insight up to the viewer.

How can so many peo­ple love one lit­tle boy? It seems almost impossible.

Lye and Vinegar

(Just like old times, eh?)

Tyler licks his lips until they’re gleam­ing wet. He takes Jack’s hands and KISSES the back of it.

I fig­ured it out.

I had too much want.

The saliva shines in the shape of the kiss. Tyler pours a bit of the flaked lye onto Jack’s hand.

I started out self­lessly — doing with­out expect­ing, giv­ing not to receive, work­ing not for reward1 — because all I wanted was to live in the moment, to expe­ri­ence as much as I could while it lasted. Eventually, that turned into a desire, a belief that I couldn’t live with­out what (or whom) I wanted.

One could call it love.

The old me would have blamed myself for falling into that trap, but I’ve since rec­og­nized that I’m human. That I’m prone to falling, espe­cially when I’m so amorously intoxicated.

Jack’s whole body JERKS. Tyler holds tight to Jack’s hand and arm. Tears well in Jack’s eyes; his face tightens.

Now that I’m able to stand back and rec­og­nize my long­ing, and I can also see how much that long­ing that was start­ing to tear me down.

It’s like in Fight Club, when Tyler Durden is about to pour lye on Jack’s hand. Jack already knows he’s going to die; it’s an unde­ni­able real­ity we all come to real­ize as we grow out of child­hood, yet are rarely forced to deal with (or even embrace). For Jack, that real­ity doesn’t truly sink in until he’s faced with the chem­i­cal burn on his body.

Jack, snap­ping back, tries to jerk his hand away. Tyler keeps hold of it and their arms KNOCK UTENSILS off the table.

I was told it was over before it started, but that real­ity didn’t sink in until recently. It’s taken this long because I dared to dream of some­thing greater, and a large part of me didn’t want to give up the won­der­ful mem­o­ries. Unfortunately, those mem­o­ries are mixed and insep­a­ra­ble from every­thing else that’s been hold­ing me back. The fact that I think too much doesn’t help either.

At some point, I real­ized that I sim­ply had to let go. Truly let go.

Tyler finally says to Jack:

Listen, you can run water over your hand and make it worse or, look at me, or you can use vine­gar and neu­tral­ize the burn. First you have to give up, first you have to know — not fear — know — that some­day you’re gonna die.

I used to think I had lost some­thing spe­cial, but now I have no desires and noth­ing left to lose. It’s like I’m start­ing back where I was two years ago, which really wasn’t a bad place to be. The world is finally lucid and clear.

Now I know, and it feels like happiness.

Congratulations. You’re a step closer to hit­ting bottom.

  1. Readers of the Tao Te Ching will rec­og­nize this lan­guage. There’s so much of this Taoist idea of para­dox and con­tra­dic­tion in Fight Club. []

Two (and a half) Days in St. Louis

Day one

At secu­rity, I’m selected ran­domly for a screen­ing. The guard asks my age. “Twenty…”, I begin, try­ing to remem­ber if I’m 27, 28, or 29. “Twenty. Okay.”, he says, cut­ting me off. Somehow, he believes I look nearly a decade younger than I am. For two days, I’m packed light, with no checked bag­gage. In my rush, I for­get to get some American money. This wor­ries me.

Ottawa airport

Plane in Ottawa

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