I think god invented porn before he came up with men and then made us so he could blame it on someone else to the wife.
—John’s theory, as we were throwing around ideas for a camera phone that does 360 panoramas, so that callers could get context on who they’re calling
Naturally, this brainstorm session turned to pornography, as it has driven such technology in the past; the lack of pornography on Sony’s Betamax was one of the contributing factors that helped JVC’s VHS win the format war, driving Betamax into extinction. And more recently, Sony, having learned from their mistakes, won the current generation DVD format war with Blu-Ray against Microsoft’s HD-DVD, as movie studio backing, pornography, and games are undoubtedly driving this too.
I want the view. The city lights beneath me, blinking in red and white, to remind me that life still goes on even as we’re unconscious of it.
I want to be in the café with Darren, talking about that which only we could understand about each other.
I want to be looking out the open window of my uncle’s apartment in Hong Kong, to hear the people talking, even through the night. I want to smell the age of the wood, the sterility of the concrete.
I want the strings to be playing just for me. To guide me, through layers of resolution after resolution.
I want to stay on the beachfront. To feel the cool, moist wind blowing through open curtains and doors, completely trusting of the world. To feel the darkness and quiet swallowing me whole.
I want to be rolled up in my sheets with her, pressed together on the couch, naked as we came, as the morning light begins to glow through the blinds.
I want to be downtown in the warmth of summer, with the energy of those around me as if the night would never end.
I want the rituals accorded to those who love and are loved in return.
I want to walk out of the theatre into the deafening night air, my mind racing and humbled from the performance.
I want to ride with John. To speak without thinking. To feel without caring. To confide without worrying.
Back in the summer, John and I went to the Ontario Science Centre. The planetarium was up-and-running, so we got to view the latest Mars landscape pictures in 360 degrees. We also arrived at the Science Arcade just in time to see a girl on the stage with her hand on the big Van de graaff, one of those mystical flagship images you often see in their advertisements.
We hadn’t been there since we were little kids, but the interactive tests and experiments are always fun, even when you’re older.
I’ve had the strangest day. Or week. Or month. Or something.
Not strange in an odd of way, but strange in a confusing way.
It’s like I don’t know what I’m feeling right now. I don’t even know how I’m supposed to feel. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of my life right now that’s doing it. The instability that makes me want to go home and hide in the comfort of my chaise, behind the warm glare of my Macbook Pro.
All day, I think of being at home and finishing my projects. Then I get home and procrastinate — not watching TV, or movies, or reading, or cleaning, but literally sitting around — because all I think about is talking to John.
It’s only after I’m off the phone with him that I feel like I can begin my evening and be productive. I can talk without thinking, without worrying that he may judge me, without feeling like I’m being patronized, without caring whether I’m repeating myself, without fear of offending him, without even having to make sense. Like a small session of therapy, where I need to figure things out for myself, but which can only be done after I’ve put it all out there to someone else. It helps me more than I can understand or explain. Unfortunately, he generally remains unavailable until later in the night, and by the time we’re done, it’s already passed the time I should be in bed.
Even this was only written after he called me on his way home from initiating new pledges at his old fraternity. And it’s already an hour later than when I planned to be asleep.
In any case, I couldn’t even bring myself to cry today. It just wasn’t in me. It isn’t what I’m feeling right now. Or not the only thing.
And when Death From Above1 came on, all I wanted to do was dance.
Back when Iain and I first saw them in concert opening for Billy Talent, they didn’t have the gratuitous “1979” suffix, as it was before the legal dispute. I refuse to acknowledge them as anything else. [↩]
I’m in Toronto right now, at John’s house. He has the cottage for his birthday weekend, so I took two extra days off work to see him. It’s kind of strange how much I’ve been seeing him lately. In the past, we’d go over a year without seeing each other because he was in Windsor for law school and I was in Ottawa without a car. But now that he’s been called to the bar and I’ve obtained the Civic, things have worked out.
We plan on going to the Ontario Science Centre today — something I’ve wanted to do for a while1 — then driving up to the cottage tonight. We’ll spend two days at the cottage2, maybe take a day trip to another town, and drive back on Sunday. Aaron also called me yesterday about his co-ed baby shower on Sunday, which i’m not sure if I’ll be attending yet, since I’ll have driven eight hours that day.
Sunsets and Audiobooks
The drive was absolutely amazing. The weather was perfectly cool, and the sun took its glorious time setting over a few hours. I think the most satisfying part is getting to the section of highway where the 417 splits to the 416, and one can stay in the left lane and accelerate through the turn, leaving all the traffic behind.
I listened to some audio CDs of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking on the way over. The concept is that our first reactions (made within a few seconds) are often intuitively correct, and that even after thinking about something for a long time, we end up going with our gut feelings anyway. We’re made to believe that the more important something is, the longer we should take to make a decision. I’m especially guilty of this3. Wally lent them to me in an effort to help me act faster so I don’t miss any opportunities. Not sure if they’ll help me, but the way it delves into processes of the human psyche is a very interesting listen nonetheless.
Left Dolly lots of food, and I’m hoping she doesn’t eat it all. The reason why I feed her by hand is because she doesn’t have any sense of how much to eat, and balloons up if not controlled. In either case, I expect a lot of poo in the litterbox when I get back.
I bought John a copy of Assassin’s Creed for his birthday, which thankfully was on his list of games for which to watch. It was developed by Ubisoft Montreal, the same studio who made Prince of Persia, and plays very much the same way. An open-world concept with lots of stealth elements. Certainly a game I could get into. We take turns playing, and it’s made me realize that I haven’t been playing much myself in the last few months.
A Sense of Overstimulation
Life has been somewhat overstimulating lately, and I can’t blame anyone but myself. After spending a day shopping for housewares with Julie last weekend, the house is a big mess, with things scattered over the counters and floors. I haven’t even had a chance to write about the last time I came to Toronto. It seems like life is going faster than I can keep up. I’m just trying to enjoy it, especially when the weather is this beautiful.
After all, life is for the living. This won’t last forever. I get to look forward to some time alone when everything is settled.
I don’t think I’ve been since grade 4, so over 18 years ago. [↩]
I hope John’s wrong. Not because he’s a pessimist, but because he’s a realist. I came to him overflowing with excitement, perhaps with a bright naïveté, only to be brought down in seven words, and the words have been ringing in my ears ever since. I use to think he was tactless and unsupportive. Maybe he is. But he tells the truth, and instead of my hopes, I can only turn to him for this.
That doesn’t change the fact that I’m a fantasist, who wants this right now.
I’ve been reading your blog and calling you all weekend…I know you need attention and I’m sorry I’ve been so neglectful of you that it’s reminded you of the way your parents treated you. Please stop contemplating suicide as a realistic course of action in order to remedy the problem. I love you and would really miss you and at the end of the day in a selfish way I’m scared that I’d hate you if you left me here by myself feeling as guilty as I’d feel if you did it. I think you have fundamentally misordered the priorities we all come hardwired with. To rank the absence of sadness or the presence of happiness or whatever suicide would gain you as goals higher than survival is the first error and then to seek those first goals using the methodology of suicide is the second. You’re a little Chinese man who drinks fruit shakes and is definitely intended to live longer than the genetically predisposed to die in his early 50’s Caucasoid over here. Lets keep it that way shall we, I haven’t got your eulogy polished to nearly the degree you’d want it to be.
At the time, I couldn’t get past the first few sentences because the pain was too fresh. And his words too poignant. Whereas I’m very vocal with my feelings, John is the opposite, and for him to say these things made me feel like my heart would burst. I read it tonight because I wanted to be reminded that I’m important to someone, the way I need to be.
It made me realize that a little part of me still defines myself through others. But I don’t care anymore. I have someone who loves and needs me the way I love and need him. That’s what matters. That’s what makes me feel important, like my life means something.
After attending Opus 01, I knew I wanted to be a part of this.
John, as a true friend, flew from Toronto to be there for the night. Alex, who was doing a medical internship at a family practice in a nearby city, drove there. Even Pearl also dropped by and I got to meet her.
I was so busy talking with my guests that I didn’t even have time to go into the other rooms to see how the other artists were doing. The house was packed with people again, young and old.
Jacqueline’s second piece was Sonata in A Minor, by Franz Schubert (unfortunately, her first piece was over ten minutes long, which isn’t allowed on YouTube). I found it to be a rather masculine piece, beginning like a sombre funeral march, leading to a journey of bubbling emotion, so it was mesmerizing to see a girl play it with such conviction. Pay special attention to the burning trill at 5:28, which leads back to the main theme.
Misun told me that when she handed Jacqueline a rose after the performance, it looked like she had run a marathon.
Afterwards, Jacqueline told me after she couldn’t stop looking at my penis through her performance, then quickly corrected herself and said the penis picture, which was hung across from her.
Louise plays the harp by feeling only. She doesn’t have formal any musical training, so she doesn’t write any of her compositions down. It just flows from her fingers, and quite well I might add. As a result, her music is semi-improvised.
John kept telling us how not drunk he was, even though you can clearly seeing him downing glasses of wine in this video.
The after party
When the people left and the doors closed, the real party began for the artists, their guests, and the volunteers. Frédéric and Misun broke out the cold cuts, the fresh and fancy bread, the wine, the cheese and we celebrated a successful night. We had been standing for five hours, so it was time to take a break.
When Dan gave me a reading two years ago, and said that I would be making money off my art within the next 15 years, I never would have believed him.
Note: All media in this post has an extremely warm colour tone. I decided to keep it instead of balancing it to neutral white, because I enjoy the cozy feel of it, which expresses the mood of the house-gallery.
The rite of passage for the males of our generation — the generation of the metrosexual and hairless pornstar — is getting waxed. As an act of true love for Sheila in enduring the pain, John asked me if I would clean up the hair on his back and arms. I agreed, as long as I could film it.
Even the times when I know I’m stupid or illogical. Especially those times, I just want someone to listen and agree.
I remember Aaron going through a rough patch a couple years ago. He told me he couldn’t let Rob know, because Rob would have jumped in his car and busted open some heads. Aaron confided in me because he needed an objective opinion to work through the situation, whereas Rob may have hurt more than help.
Even though I agreed, I felt like Rob’s ardent personality was a sign of true brotherhood. It doesn’t matter what the logic is, it doesn’t matter what the reasons are, your enemies are his enemies. It’s almost like he’s blinded by his love.
And as much as there are times when Aaron doesn’t tell Rob something, I’m sure there are times when doesn’t tell me things either because he needs an fervent friend. He needs someone who will take his side no matter what. I know I do.
Don’t get me wrong; I have plenty of friends I can go to for an honest opinion. In fact, I go to them more often than not. John’s always there to contradict me and keep me in check, Pat’s there to rationalize the situation, and Aaron’s there to help me find a solution. But every now and then, the unconditional support of an ardent friend gives me strength and courage more than anything else.
Everyone should have such security. To be able to call someone at any time of day who’ll be there in a heartbeat1. Everyone should have a friend like Rob in their lives.
The ardent friends are just as important as the objective ones.
Of course, you have to earn that kind of respect from Rob, because he doesn’t give it to just anyone. [↩]
Note: I asked John, as a guest writer, to give his opinion. It’s funny to read his writing; the style is completely different. It’s obvious that years of law school have changed him.
When Jeff asked me to write about the “Old Boy system” at UCC, the first thing I asked was, “what system”? To me, “system” implies some order or plan or organization, and the alumni of UCC have no special kinship or bond. An “Old Boy system” connotes one that is different from the ones that exist in every graduating class from every school I know of.
I had mentioned to him that one of our classmates is in my year at law school and Jeff wondered aloud whether I would have mentioned it, or noticed it perhaps, if that classmate and I had not gone to UCC. I replied that I would have noticed him notwithstanding our attendance at UCC, as long as we’d been a part of the same high school class as I’m sure most people would.
My perspective on the “system” is that there isn’t one.
I find it interesting that many people seem to think that one exists, and note that the main evidence used to prove their case is the seeming prevalence of UCC alumni in the halls of power in this country. In response, I would point out that the two things, attendance at UCC and later professional success, more likely have the same root cause — money, family connections, or dare I say it, intelligence.
The likelihood of those things being the cause of one’s professional advancement is greater than or equal to the likelihood that some system of quid pro quos or school ties. Ockham’s Razor is a principle that I would bring up in this context to dissuade those who would claim that any system is behind the rise of Old Boys in their occupations, the tenet of that principle being that the simplest explanation is more often than not the accurate one, and in this case which explanation is the simplest and most elegant.
That Old Boys get together in some nefarious Cabal to chart the course of the country and select from amongst their number the chosen to lead it is a myth.
Or is it simpler to say that chaos reigns supreme and individual old boys make their own way in the world, without the kind of help that the phrase “Old Boy system” connotes?
The people singled out in Fitzgerald’s book are just that — singled out. There are, if I’m not mistaken, 71 old boys profiled in the book who graduated from the 1920’s to the 1990’s. In that time more than 5000 boys have graduated. The idea that 1.4% of those graduates are somehow a reliable and representative sample is ludicrous. Such a sample should not be used to draw any conclusions or to make any generalizations.
Much like my end-of-year photos, I had a few miscellaneous video clips that didn’t seem to fit in anywhere.
Parental Sit Rep
This is the typical thing that happens when I first see John in person. Since it’s usually only once a year I get to do this, we do all major updating. The minor issues are taken care of on a weekly basis over the phone.
I didn’t realize what sit rep meant until I heard it again while going through my footage.
And, of course, John gets his turn at catching me up with all his drama. The way John expresses himself often ends up making me laugh at inopportune moments, such as when I’m trying to swallow solid foods, which then tries to make its way through my nasal cavity.
PDA = public display of affection.
Trolley makes a good attempt at juggling two vials of bubble mix, then gets served by a passer-by.
I had John in a tender state, telling me about his mothers last moments. Even though I found out on the first day of school in grade 10 that she died, he never told me the details until that rainy summer day.
300 km, Windsor to Kincardine, from the border of Detroit to the doorstep of the cottage. Due to the break-up, John was too jittery to drive. I took the wheel until he could compose himself.
This weekend was especially important for John; it was his birthday and an overwhelming number of families wanted to visit in celebration, including his father. Being the maternal cottage, Dr. Lea hasn’t been up since his wife died, and this was more important to John than anything else.
By May, the weekends are already booked past August at the cottage. It’s filled with rooms, beds, cots, couches that can accommodate more than a dozen people. Families come and go, and only Gramma Currie remains constant. For most of the year she lives in an apartment in town, but when it’s warm enough to live by the fire, the cottage is opened for lodging.
This time there was Ross, the cousin who’s since finished paying off his tattoo. There was Ray, husband of Fran, father of Heather, uncle of John, who eats his hard-boiled eggs by regimented routine: dash of salt, dash of pepper, scoop of margarine, scoop of yolk in sequence. There were all the associated families, about five in total, and even a few kids running around, making four generations of the Currie family.
I couldn’t even remember the last time I was here, but my last entry in the visitors log shows that it was three years ago.
The best cottages are off the beach, and the beginning of fall is the best time of year to appreciate such things. Even though the wind coming off the water keeps the area relatively cool, the summer heat can still overwhelm such delights.
There’s nowhere else like this.
My house was 650 km away, nine more hours on the road by car, bus, and taxi. On Sunday night, it was good to be home.
We met up with Sandra for dinner. Prior to this, I only knew Sandra as John’s “best friend from school”, the one he spends most his time with when he’s not with his girlfriend. On the drive up my curiosity was killing me. Was this Sandra person a threat to my friendship with John? Would she eventually replace me as the one he goes to with his problems, his insecurities, his excitements, and would I lose my best friend in return?
Social graces dictate that you don’t strike up a dinner conversation on which not everyone can opine, but when you get two legal-minded people together, there’s isn’t much non-law-student can do but listen and observe.
They got along well, but there’s a certain level of intimacy missing. They still feel each other out, whereas John and I have conversations with a single look. When we left, I was reassured of my position as best friend, and felt silly about how I could be so insecure about a bond so strong.
300 km, Hamilton to Windsor.
I had never been to Windsor before. It’s always remained a place in my head, never tangible, because it’s always John who visits me. Windsor is where he goes to law school, where he spends the majority of the year, and where he works. This was the first chance I had to submerge myself in his life and lifestyle.
I went to work with him at the community law office. It’s here that he shares an open office with a dozen other students, who defend clients from bad landlords, tenants, parents, children, shoplifters, or any other type of living thing.
Law students are a different breed. They’re people who have initiative, who can be extroverted at the right time. After work, they meet at a pub, sit on the patio, and talk about their cases, about the crown attorneys who have vendettas against them, about moronic clients who speak out of turn and plead guilty to a charge before a bargain can be reached.
I was a fish out of water.
Given a short tour of the University of Windsor, I took a few quick snaps.
The first night we arrived in Windsor, John noticed the window was open, with a note from his girlfriend about caring for the hibiscus just outside. He stuck his head out the window to see. “How fitting”, he said. “The plant has fallen over, and died”.
Minutes before leaving for the next part of our trip, they broke up.