Thursday, September 30, 2004

Just as I could easily make my blog exclusively about dreams, so could I also make it about cycling. Although it might sound dangerous, I often get my best ideas when in the saddle. My best lines of poetry often come late at night on Bloor Street as I negotiate the space between the parked and moving vehicles. It is faster to cycle on Bloor than it is to drive at times. Believe me. It is often faster to cycle than to take the subway. My best short story opening came on College Street near Queen's Park. I have had to stop and take out a pen and paper to preserve the thought. It's almost like dreams: they fade so fast. On the downside, I often remember all of the things I forgot to do at work when I am cycling home, but that is another story.

This morning, I was riding in along Bloor (not my usual route, mind you), with fragments of a Bill Reiflin CD passing through my head. Ahead of me, I watched a cyclist find herself in that terrible space between a taxi turning right and the curb. Her handle bars, and maybe her hand, hit his side mirror. There was that moment of reflection on both sides. She didn't get angry, well, not vocally. Just the day before, I watched a guy unload on a driver on Bay near Grosvenor, and so I marveled at her composure. The taxi driver sat there, and I sensed that he was hoping that she would just leave and not make his day difficult. A couple of blocks after that, a blue Honda flew by me closer than any car ever has (short of the two that actually made contact). I wonder if she just didn't see me, or if she didn't care. Maybe she was too busy chatting with her two companions in the car. I had the opportunity at the next light of saying something, but I didn't.

A few blocks later, I cycled past the construction at the Royal Ontario Museum. Doesn't it bother them that they have razed a piece of the institution that won a Governor General's award for architecture? It amazes me that they were allowed to destroy it. I liked the part they tore down too. What is someone wanted to burn all of the copies of a certain book that won a GG? No one would stand for it.

And, when did Lenny Briscoe leave Law and Order? Am I out of the loop, or what?

The good news has got to be that Toutatis missed us by 1.6 million KMs. That was close.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Yesterday's post about that guy buying that triple x guide made me think of my local video store. It is run by an ancient couple who drive two or three hours every day to get to the store. The store stinks of cigarettes, 'cause they puff away all day, and it is not air conditioned. Maybe these two factors encourage people to make their choices quickly. The store is ugly, made worse by what appears to be diseased carpeting. But, the store has a good selection of films and it is much cheaper than Blockbuster. The owners are very knowledgeable about film, very friendly, and helpful. What I have never been able to understand is why this mom and pop operation has an adult film section. I just can't believe it.

These people know all of their customers by name, and all of the customers know them by name. And yet, he tells me that adult sex film rental is a very lucrative business for them. Is that not like renting porn from one's parents? It makes me shudder.

By the way, I forgot to mention my dream. (I know, too many dream posts recently). Anyway, I had a dream in which people were disappearing in a rather x-files-ish manner. In fact, some appeared to be vapourizing or combusting. After seeing this go on, I realized that I was not going to suffer the same fate, and so I offered to switch places with a woman. I am not sure how that was to be accomplished, but I made the offer. However, there was soon smoke or steam rising from the inside of her grey trench coat and I felt that it was too late. Despite the offer, I had a feeling that my act was selfish. How bizarre is that?

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Monday, September 27, 2004

I started using Haloscan for comments because Blogger didn't have a commenting system. Now it does. I just discovered that comments older than four months will disappear from my blog unless I pay an annual fee to Haloscan. I have had problems with Haloscan recently anyway. But, if I switch to Blogger's service, I will lose all of the comments. Yikes. What to do? Help.

I made my annual trip to Word on the Street. I like the event, and I think the new location is a good one. At one booth, some dealer was selling off magazines. I got a couple of great mags on black & white photography. There were also selling off huge directories of xxx stuff (movies, places, etc.). It was weird. The chap in front of me flipped through the pages and quickly put down his loonie. I got the sense that he had made a real "find." He looked happy. Well, I think it was happiness that I was sensing.

I have new CDs. I got Fly Pan Am's first CD and, finally, the latest from Do Make Say Think. I am happy now.

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Friday, September 24, 2004

The Politics of Dancing

There are certain things that one should generally not engage in with co-workers. At the top of that list is dancing. Drinking and carousing are ok, but not dancing. Well, I suppose that there could be certain circumstances under which it might happen, say at a dance club where it is dark and there are other people around. I was really thinking about parties or small gatherings that include dancing, like a work Christmas party I went to at my director's house some years ago. There were only 12 or 13 of us, and someone got the crazy idea that we should dance in the living room. I almost ran screaming for the door. The following year's party was even more bizarre because we went to see a belly dancer. Co-workers of both genders got up to dance with her. Not me.

Another is sharing hotel rooms at conferences. This has happened to me twice. No boss should ever make that a requirement. What if you are trapped with someone who snores or who has a chronic gas problem? What then?

Oh, and here is my favourite line from The Family Guy:
Brian to Peter: "You are the Spalding Gray of crap." I mention this because the show has been uncancelled. This is good news.

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, or is it? I keep focussing on dreams, for some reason. I should rename this blog the Dream Blog, or something. Anyway, I had a dream is which I was smoking a big fat cigar. This could be because I have watched four seasons of the Sopranos in a very short period of time, or it could be something else entirely. Freud smoke a cigar, did he not? Anyway, I was puffing away, and then the butt end seemed to suddently permit a lot more smoke. I began to choke.

Believe me, I'll understand if no one comments on this entry.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

LC at 70

I can't believe I forgot to comment on Leonard Cohen's 70th birthday, which was yesterday. People who know me well, know that I am a huge Cohen fan, and have been for over 20 years. Wow, that statement really dates me, but I should add that I discovered him at a young age, a very young age. :-) I have seen him sing in person three times, once from a very very close range. I have his autograph on a CD.

Why do I like him? I would say because he is a poet, a novelist, visual artist, and singer/ songwriter. I like all of his output (although I have some reservations about that Phil Spector collaboration, but so do others). For some reason, his words really connect with me. He is cool. What else can I say? If you don't know his music, check it out.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Recurring Dream

I have recurring dreams. In one, I find myself in an old house where my family lived for a while with my grandparents. It is an extremely large house with six or seven bedrooms. It has a grand, curving central staircase in a foyer that has 14 foot ceilings. There is a living room, a parlour, two kitchens, plus a summer kitchen. There was a stream that ran beside the house where, despite the heckles, my brother went fishing and, against all odds, he caught a large trout.

I regret that this house is no longer in the family. My grandparents sold it for a small amount of money just prior to a real estate boom. In my dream, I find myself wandering the house, and discovering new rooms I never knew were there.

I knew the people who later moved in. In fact, I went to school with their son. He told me how they had found "stuff" in the attic - artifacts, books etc. They donated everything to a museum. I always wonder what was up there. I know that a cousin, much older than me at the time, managed to get a steamer trunk out of the attic before the house was sold. If only I had been older.

This reminds me that when my great grandparents moved from their house, they held an auction. Antiques were sold for next to nothing, or so it seemed. I was very young, and I wanted to take away something so badly. A lot that included a plaster representation of the Last Supper came up. I begged my mom to bid on it, because I wanted that plaster statue even though I am not religious and never have been. She went up to $5, and then backed off. To my surprise, she went over and bought the thing from the successful bidder. It sat on a window sill for years. The tragic thing is that my mother sold it at a lawn sale when she thought I had outgrown it.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

I didn't watch the Emmys. In fact, I watched nothing last night. Instead, I got out one of my guitars. I have been neglecting them. I played some of my favourites, like Lazy Flies by Beck and Stories of the Street, my favourite Leonard Cohen song. Oddly, I know some Bruce Springsteen songs, mostly early ones. I played Yellow Submarine, and some others. My fingers hurt a bit. I feel I need to spend more time with my guitar.

Madonna has called for world peace. Who does she think she is?

If you have a Kryptonite lock, like I do, you should be worried. News that a pen can open the lock has spread, and put Kyrptonite on the defensive. I no longer have the receipt for my lock, and may have to shell out cash to replace my lock. I really can't believe that a $60 lock can be opened with a plastic pen.

That's all I need to say today.

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Friday, September 17, 2004

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Sponge

Continuing my recent theme of sexually-oriented messages...

I remember when I was in grade nine health class (part of phys ed). Notice that I did not say how long ago that was. The teacher asked the students to give him examples of contraceptive methods. Suggestions were offered from the class: the pill, condoms, IUD, rhythm method, coitus interruptus, diaphragm, etc. I offered, "the sponge." My teacher insulted me. He said, very sarcastically: "what does she do with it, put it between her knees?" The whole class burst into laughter. I knew that here was a contraceptive sponge, but no one else was aware. It was embarrassing. Now, we have the term spongeworthy, thanks to Seinfeld - yet another TV reference). Clearly, my teacher was never spongeworthy, unlike me.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I was thinking about Kinsey (the movie, starring Liam Neeson) recently. It is playing at the Toronto International Film Festival. I haven't seen it, but I was thinking about the propaganda war that continues to be waged against Kinsey and his findings. Charles Rice of Notre Dame has stated that Kinsey's research was "contrived and ideologically-driven." Dr. Laura has called it an "assault on our children's innocence." Dr. Judith Reisman is, perhaps, the leading critic of Kinsey. Anyway, this is by way of saying that I want to start a think tank.

There are hundreds of these, and most are fronts and public relations exercises. The Fraser Institute springs to mind. I am sure that this organization believes that it is independent, but the truth is that it blatantly supports a conservative agenda. Its recent report advocating the decriminalization of marijuana might seem liberal, but in fact, it supports the conservative ideology of small government. And, speaking of that, the government should just get on with decriminalizing pot. Making criminals out of tokers is ludicrous.

So, anyway, I want to create my own think tank. I just need to invite a group of like-minded individuals (bohemians, poets, and the sort) and we could publish periodic reports on important issues. For example, I am anxious to release my opinions (in the form of a carefully crafted policy suggestion) on public nudity and arms sales.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Reality TV, Churches, and Sex Toys

At the risk of portraying myself as some sort of reality TV junkie, I will mention that I am looking forward to the next edition of Survivor. It is one of two reality shows that I watch, the other being the much maligned and justifiably vilified Canadian Idol. Not that I have seen every episode, mind you. It is far too painful. As I have said before, the early shows are more interesting than the later ones. After a few episodes, it suddenly begins to take itself much too seriously. Someday, people will understand that this was really a comedy show.

Why are so many of the churches in downtown Toronto locked? Last year, I was on a photographic expedition and was amazed to have been confronted with so many locked doors (heavy, imposing wooden doors). More recently, I continue to notice that they are, more often than not, locked tight. Why, just today, a friend and I tried to go in (not for praying purposes, mind you - I am very anti-religious), and the doors were locked. We experienced the same thing a while back too. I thought that churches were places of refuge. What if we had been seeking asylum? Our quest for sanctuary would have died. Who can help me get the doors opened?

Why is it that male sex toys are so ridiculous? In contrast, vibrators are culturally important. They are a sociological phenomenon. It seems that many women are comfortable with others knowing that they own a vibrator. No one seems to care. It is almost expected. And, there is a good deal of time and energy devoted to teaching woman and their partners how to use them. Good For Her is a good example. They have a course called Women's Sex Toys 101. No one would be surprised to learn that there is no corresponding course for men.

Is it because women's toys can be shared? What I mean is that men enjoy helping a woman use her vibrator. Can you image a man asking to include his toys in the love-making? I think inflatable dolls and rubber vulvas aren't really that interesting or fun for the woman. I can't imagine that they would be much fun for me either, not that I know, since I have no experience in that area. I am not suggesting that someone improve sex toys for men. I am suggesting that they are kinda dumb. But, who am I to say; they are probably lots of men who are thankful for that rubber doll.

Suddenly, I am reminded of two songs: Be My Girl Sally (The Police) and Rubber Girl (The Pukka Orchestra).

So that was a weird entry.

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Friday, September 10, 2004

After yesterday's post, I feel that I should take a posting vacation. I am sure that the Freudians would have lots to say about that dream. It's a good thing I am so well-adjusted!

I love this piece of news. George Dubya, in a speech about health care, said: "Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practise their love with women all across this country." I am not sure who is worse: George W. Bush or Dan Quail. It's a tough choice.

OK, I admit that I watched the first episode of Joey last night. I was never a big Friends fan. The show always seemed mediocre to me, although I do remember laughing from time to time. It seemed to me that there were certain plots that were obvious attempts to catch up to Seinfeld. Anyway, I watched, and I don't think I'll bother again. It's just another typical sitcom. The show shares one annoying characteristic with Friends. Joey lives in an apartment that he could never afford.

It was interesting to see Drea de Matteo in a comedy role, after her role in the Sopranos. Incidentally, this is my favourite quote from her: "I love men, and they're who I go out with, but every now and then... well, I can't say I've never been with a woman."

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

A (very strange) Dream

Last night I dreamed that I met Lou Reed in a rather strange manner. I was walking north on Yonge Street, planning to go to an autograph session that Lou was doing at a downtown record store. I know, this seems out of character for Mr. Reed. Anyway, his limo passed by and then stopped. He started signing autographs on the street. I was second in line.

The really weird thing is that, in my dream, Lou had enormous breasts. They were Jayne Mansfield large, and maybe even larger, and covered in a nice crisp white blouse. Suddenly, I feel that I shouldn't be writing any of this... I mean, I like Lou's music, and I am aware of the vague gender phases that Lou has passed through. Perhaps the less said about the gender ambiguity of this dream, the better. Enough people assume that I am gay or bisexual (not that there's anything wrong with that) and this might make things worse.

At first, I asked Lou to sign my watch, but that seemed weird. I discovered that I had one of his CDs with me and asked him to sign that. I remember nothing after that.

Is that strange, or what?

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I am Superman?

Warner Bros wants me for Superman the Movie. I just received my personal invitation to "participate as an 'Act' in the induction, casting and making of 'SUPERMAN THE MOVIE' which
will be In Theaters by july 2006." Wow! What luck! But, I hope someone can tell me what this sentence means: "We will acknowledge your altruistic effort and appreciate your recognition. Selection of applicants and first shots of SUPERMAN V" will hold in three locations which includes Spain, London and Grecce [sic]." Needs a proofread, but who cares? I'll be famous soon.

Not only am I invited, I am required to send my CV. Clearly, Warner Bros has recognized that librarians are Super people. I am also required to send a fee of $150, with this warning: "NOTE: Failure to oblige will result to cancellation of your application."

I always wanted to be in pictures.


Monday, September 06, 2004

Is listening to music while grocery shopping anti-social? I often listen to music on my MP3 player while shopping. Recently, someone told me that this is anti-social behaviour (this person has an iPod, by the way). And so, I followed up with someone else who wondered if this might indeed be anti-social behaviour. I am perplexed and I am stunned. I stop listening when I am in line waiting to pay. I see others who keep on listening even while paying for their food. It's not like I know anybody in the supermarket, and even if I did, what's the big deal?

So, when can I listen to my MP3 player? Walking to the store, or maybe not 'cause that, too might be anti-social. Is this not a free country? Can I not listed to music while I browse for avocados or books or wine or lingerie?

Before I had these conversations, I was trying to determine if certain types of music influenced my shopping preferences and behaviours. Does listening to Houses of the Holy make me buy more or shop faster? Does listening to Brian Eno make me linger over the pineapples? Does listening to Leonard Cohen make me consider the despair of the lonely people overcome with indecision in the breakfast cereal aisle? I was working towards a hypothesis, but now I think I am being forced to re-evaluate the whole process. Why, just last week, I bought extra bananas, and I wondered if it was becuase of Bauhaus.

So, my conclusion is that listening to an MP3 player/walkman is either anti-social whenever there is a chance for a social interaction or that you can do whatever you want.

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Friday, September 03, 2004

Here in an old photo, taken with my Holga.
© 1999 Zydeco Fish

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Leonard Cohen has a new album coming out in October. This is the best music news since Leonard Cohen released his last album three years ago. The new album is called Dear Heather.