Thursday, December 24, 2009

Recording Preparations

Everything's coming together nicely now. Played a show with Matt McKechnie and Graven on Tuesday. Was a sweet time all around. Now I'm on the usual Christmas tour, although it's not the musical variety. Just hanging around with family and trying to prepare myself for the two weeks that will follow.

I've got a day and a half booked in with Tyler on the 29th and 30th, and then after that it's me and whoever decides to show up in my parents garage. Right now I'm trying to think of what to listen to in order to prepare for the writing and recording. I've made a playlist of songs that inspire me to write better songs and am listening to it on repeat. It's listed below (when I finish it).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Misinformation

I got this chain email from a friend today. You may have recieved one like it. You know those lengthy "inspirational" email forwards that you get that are supposed to make you a) rich b) think or c) safe from some kind of computer virus, and they always have a billion lines tracing the emails lineage back a hundred generations.

Anyways this email was supposedly a quote from Ben Stein. If you're interested in reading the email you can get the text here. The email starts with some comments about Christmas and people being all politically correct and some-such other interesting banter. Then it goes into some kind of rant about how we've turned our back on God as a nation (the USA of course..) and it's coming back to bite us. Now I don't want to speculate on how God reacts to our actions or anything like that but after doing a little digging, I discovered that a) the second half of the email I recieved, though attributed to Ben Stein is not in fact written by Ben Stein and b) there is a fact included in the email that is not true.

I used to be part of this Christian Gaming clan called Christian Team Servers ([cTs]) and they had a forum. On this forum people used to circulate this kind of stuff, among other things. Something else you used to see a lot of was debates that involved facts that were either not true or were misrepresented.

This leads me to a kind of moral quandry. If people are passing along things and conducting debates without thinking about what they're saying and ensuring its true, are they spreading truth? If you pass on a fact that is entirely false in the name of "spreading truth", doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of the endeavour? Doesn't the bible specifically say "Thou shalt not give false testimony against your neighbour" (oh and good luck interpreting that one)? Are some of us sinning in our arguments, debates and evangelism?

I say these words with caution as I recognize my own tendency towards this kind of thing, but if we do not speak up about the problems we see, about our quarrels, where will we end up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

(Insert topical post here)

Dear Mr. Woods

According to Wikipedia your real name is Eldrick. I'm gonna stick with Mr. Woods though, seeing as how I've never met you before in my life and you're 13 years older than me. I hear things aren't going so well. According to various tabloid reports (which I hope you're not reading), you're "on the verge of a mental breakdown". That's heavy stuff for other people to be saying about you. I can empathize with you on a very minimal level. I've never had my family, reputation, and career come apart simultaneously but I have made some pretty big mistakes in my life and I know a little bit of what you're feeling.

You're probably wondering why you're getting this letter from me, or maybe you're not. I'm not sure if people mail lettters to celebrities anymore. I always thought that there was no point since there was no way you would ever have time to read all the mail people send to you, but yet here I am writing you a letter. I was just thinking about you and thought you could probably use some encouragement at this point.

Mr. Woods, you made some mistakes, but you're on the right track to fixing things up. You've taken a break from your job to devote your full attention to trying to repair some of the damage you've caused in your family, and that's a good sign. Things may not necessarily become magically repaired because you've left your job, but it definitely improves your ability to try and restore things.

People are probably saying a lot of things about you right now as people so often do, but don't let it get to you. We're all pretty much in the same boat. Everyone's life is just as messed up as yours and mine is. That's the thing about people; we make a lot of mistakes. We seem to be predisposed towards it. But what's done is done. You can't go back and change what you've done. You can only really change what happens from this point on in your life. You decide whether you keep doing what you were doing, sit there and sulk, or try and make things work.

And not to get preachy or anything, but there's a big man in the sky who's looking out for you. Hard as it may be to believe right now, he loves you and would like nothing more than to hear about what's going on in your life. You don't even have to tell anyone that you're talking to him, you can do it in your head, but he's there. Give him a shout sometime if you need someone to talk to.

Mr. Woods, I hope things turn around for you, and I'll be praying for you, whether you're into that sort of thing or not.

Sincerely
Benjamin Gresik

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Future

I have this theory. Everyone is scared about the future, with this fear peaking around 21, but everyone deals with it in different ways. Some deal with it by not thinking about it, some deal with it with plans, but everyone deals with it differently.

Some times I think it would be nice to turn into a character in a Douglas Coupland novel, reaching that point in life where you look back and wonder what happened with your life. I would like to be there right now, without the intervening meandering. I wish I could skip the back story and go straight to the epiphany.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yeah...

Yeah, sometimes I run. So what?

Sometimes I run in the snow, at night. You already know how I feel about the snow. The white carpet crunching rhythmically as I trot along, the cold nibbling at my fingers, the cool air penetrating my lungs. I run and think about the wind on my face, the stillness of the world, and how it feels great to run.

Sometimes, in the summer, I run barefoot in the grass. I dash, my feet pounding into the soft earth, my legs exploding in a flurry of muscle contractions with each stroke, sometimes cutting to avoid someone else. Once in a while I pull of my shirt while I sprint in the grass.

Sometimes I run in the city. Fully clothed, and in completely useless footwear, I run to shake myself from the complacency of the city's slow pace. I sprint with glee to my destination, home, a friend, a loved one, anywhere worth getting to faster.

Yeah sometimes I run. You would too if you knew how good it feels.

Snow


I'm currently parked in my parents living room up in Westport, studying it up for my exams which are this week and next week (man... how did that happen) and I'm looking at the snow outside my window. Actually more specifically I'm looking at the snow on the ground outside my window and the dirt mixed into it.

There's something beautiful about the freshly fallen snow (before the snowplows come and muck everything up). After the ugliness and death of autumn comes down, there's this little coat of frosting that comes along to pretty everything up. I always loved that about winter. It's the attractive period between brown autumn and soggy spring where everything looks nice for once.

And there's that glow the sky gets to it in the winter, you know the one that comes from the reflection of the streetlights of the surface of the snow. That yellow look outside that makes it look like someone turned on the sky. I can remember being tucked into my bed at night as a kid and looking outside at that yellow sky. I love the winter night's sky.

Monday, November 16, 2009

About Last Night

As I write this entry, it's 1:34 AM. Amanda is parked on the couch having a brief nap. We're pulling an all-nighter in an attempt to finish an essay and a lab report for tomorrow. The harsh reality of real life is biting down on me and I wish I could hold onto the beauty of a good Saturday.

The show was great. There were some major organizational difficulties (I'm sorry but boo on the Artel in Kingston for offering up a venue and then being a general pain in the ass every step of the way there-after), but the music was great. A band of really excited Grade 12's from Kingston area schools opened for us, reminding me of those days, especially the shows with Joe and Owen in the old days of O nO! when it felt like we could have taken over the world with our music.

I ended up working the door due to the aforementioned organizational difficulties (although The Artel was kind enough to provide me with a cup to place the admission money in). It was a little strange seeing old friends and then immediately asking them for money but it was an interesting experience. I've never been able to greet everyone at show due to their crazy nature. This time was different and it was nice.

Silver Speakers (a band on the Graven Records label which O nO! was once a part of) played a great set with Matt on drums, and other than the fact that one of the owners/residents/workers/whatevers at the Artel informed us that the cops might fine us if we were two loud, it was a solid set.

When Graven took the stage, we played some acoustic stuff to start with and it was great. It all seemed to flow together, Matt's easy going tales about how some of the tracks were written made it easy to sit and enjoy the tunes. A highlight for me was hear him tell about the writing of a song called "Last Train to Leamington" and then the playing of it. It was a magical moment.

Then came our electric set where we rocked it out in a very subdued manner to avoid the fine of the Kingston police. It was good none the less though and we left the evening in a wall of feedback, overdrive, and distortion. All in all, it was a really great evening and one I'll remember for a while.

Friday, November 6, 2009

That Show...

It's back on. Please come, it'll be a sweet time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

About the Post Below

The show may possibly be cancelled due to the poor organization of Kingston venues. I'll keep you updated.

This Used to be a music blog

Once upon a time I started this blog as a place to report on my musical endeavors. Somewhere along the way I just started writing about whatever. Every now and then I remember that it's technically a music blog. So here's some music related news.

A buddy of mine who I met at camp name Matt McKechnie (gravenrecords.blogspot.com) writes songs under the name of "Graven". He plays with a band sometimes, and he plays by himself sometimes but he's always playing something. Recently he asked myself, talented guitarist Brendan Lorrimer (whom I used to live with), and GravenRecords label mate Tyrone Warner to play a show with him in Kingston featuring some new songs he's written, a few covers, and some old favourites. Naturally I was honoured to be given the opportunity to play with Matt, so I accepted. I've been spending the last week preparing for the show on and off by listening to the songs he's interested in playing and working on learning them, and I'm getting really excited about playing. I haven't played a live show since the O nO! days a long time ago and so I'm stoked about this concert.

The show's on November 14th at The Artel in Kingston if you're interested in coming. I'll keep you posted until then.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Music Project for this Year

I haven't really done anything with "The Priory" (the new name for Prior Peter since I've grown less attached to the name "Prior Peter since RPM) since RPM 2 years ago and making a single album which, while it was ok, has some large portions that I refuse to listen to. This is why I've formulated a new plan for making some more music this year.

Starting in December (December 19th to be exact) I'm going to spend a chunk of my Christmas break recording a new album. There's an idea behind this album though. I don't just want it to be me. Last time I did that, I was unhappy with the results. I want this to be something that any musician I know can contribute to. At this stage, I don't really know how that will work out but I have a mobile recording unit, so I'm sure it'll be fine. As I get closer to the actual recording time, I'll get more specific on the details of when and where I'll be recording things, but for the time being I'm just planning and sketching song ideas. Come December though, it'll be some madness.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trouble Afoot in Higher Education

So I dropped a class. This will no doubt be news to my parents who haven't found out yet (don't worry mom and dad, I am getting a refund, and it's not as bad as it sounds). I dropped it because my marks weren't high enough in it (low 70's...it's complicated), it was taking up time from other courses, and I really didn't need to take it.

Dropping the course has sent me on a whirlwind tour of educational options though. Questions like "If I had to drop this course because the marks weren't high enough, what's to say that my other courses will be high enough?" and "Am I really good enough to go on to do anything academic or am I just average?". I had a dream last night that I scored a 50% on a midterm for one of my more important classes. Needless to say I awoke in a cold sweat wondering if it had really happened. I'm now waiting to get the mark back for the class so I can see if my dream predicted the future or not. I hope not.

Higher education is just frustrating. I just want to work but the world wants me to jump through all these hoops first and it's frustrating.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Episode #115 in which Ben's Education and Procrastination Fight to the Death


(Random side-note: TV shows have episode names but you would never know what they are unless you look them up or watch the shows on TV. What's the point?)

I constantly face an uphill battle with procrastination. Just when I think its squirmy head is under my heavy boot, about to be curbed stomped into a pulpy mess, it slithers away to attack again another day. Procrastination is one of those things in my life that I firmly have no interest in doing but that I do all of the time anyways. While I give myself ample time to get work done well, it's only when I am under stress or pressure that things actually get done. Give me two days to get some stuff done that would probably only take a couple of hours and I can guarantee you that only one of those two tasks will be finished, and I will have done it between 10PM and 12 AM on the second day I had to do it. Being responsible is so difficult sometimes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lost in Translation


I used to watch Digimon when I was a kid. I remember an episode where one of the main characters runs upstairs to his room and there's a shot of his house and his room and such. I remember thinking "I wish I lived there, in that cartoon house that's attached to a bakery in Tokyo somewhere".

So I was watching "Lost in Translation" today and there was a scene where Scarlett Johansonn was looking out over one of the areas of Tokyo and I started thinking about that house again. I don't really know why but I did. It's really weird for me to think about that house now because I know I'm beyond the stage in my life where I fantasize about being someone else all the time but I still am really attached to "that house" and would still very much like to live there, wherever "there" is. I feel like I'm looking for a home when I don't even know what city it's in.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Wednesday Evening Post

It appears that every year I end up with some kind of strange gap in my schedule that is too short to be useful but too long to prevent boredom. This year that gap is this evening. 2 hours of approximately nothing but no way to go home and I'm too burnt out at that point in the day to do actual work. Thus I am refashioning the Wednesday morning post into the Wednesday evening post. Prepare yourselves.

Last year I had this strange problem. I tried desperately to make friends with people, be friendly, and capitalize on opportunities. I failed miserably. I made very few friends last year. This year I am experiencing quite the opposite. I'm not trying to make friends but the keep popping up from all kids of places. I make them in labs, in tutorials, from my spring course, from friends of friends. It's the strangest thing. I don't get it at all.

It reminds me a bit of something crazy Jesus said once. Jesus is always saying crazy things, and for some reason I always find the wisdom in them long after I read them. He said "Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will gain it". This whole reversal kind of blows me away. It's like trying to use reverse psychology. If you want something, you have to stop wanting it. It confuses me. I wonder what Jesus was getting at here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What sorts of things do normal people talk about?

Seriously, I'd like to know. Recently I've discovered (from sitting around at university) that the topics my friends and I discuss (Jesus, Camp Iawah, great bands, life, etc.) are not the topics most people discuss. "Normal" people discuss things like clothes, parties, school, and other fun things like that. Am I just getting a really biased sample of people's conversation or does everyone just talk about shallow superficial crap all the time? Am I abnormal? Not that I care but I'm really curious to know if everyone talks about nothing all the time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All Filler, No Killer

I haven't updated this in a while and so just in case you still check back here periodically, here's a new title and some random text.

School has begun, the summer managed to relax a little but it was pretty crazy. Now I'm working, trying not to get bogged down by stress (which kills any productivity I do have). Things are happening, stuff is moving, my mom was in a car accident (she's ok but the car is totaled), Amanda moved to Kingston, my sister got a sweet job, my parents are moved to westport, my old house has been sold. It's pretty crazy. Ask me about it sometime.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

140 Characters

I never thought I would understand twitter. I always thought it was dumb. I figured if people had something important to say, that they would take longer that 140 characters to say it. I also figured that with facebook status updates, Twitter was basically just a stripped down version of facebook. It turns out I was wrong.

Twitter is about saying what you have to say concisely. Sometimes it's clever, sometimes it's just plain random. Sometimes it means nothing, and sometimes it means everything. There are times when it feels like you have a cool community of people around you on twitter even if you're only following like...4 people, and there are times when you just feel like you're all alone in a sea of celebrities with too much time on your hands.

Today someone tweeted something and it made my heart pound. 140 characters and I've got a physical and emotional response going. Twitter isn't dumb like everyone says it is, it's just misunderstood.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sometimes I want to throw something off of a building. Today is one of those days. Then I relive the glory of smashing things by watching this video.

Monday, July 27, 2009

This Whole Jesus Thing

Working in leadership at a non-denominational Christian camp leaves one with little time to muse and philosophize. Being busy generally just leaves me feeling exhausted instead of curious.

I've been thinking more about this whole Jesus business that I'm in as of late. I think that the way Jesus taught is the best possible way to live. But I have difficulty with living like this. I am weak, I need to vent, I feel awkward, and I don't know how to approach people. When I find out that person x is doing something that I feel is wrong I know that Matthew 18 teaches that the first thing I need to do is go to them. But what if I don't really talk to them and don't have any previous relationship? Does that change how I respond?

The way the verse is written doesn't really leave any room for alternate interpretations. I must go to the person first, that's it. This is a pain in the ass. Being a follower of Jesus is really hard sometimes. The part of me that wants to do these things clashes with the part of me that is human and the human part usually wins.

So here's my question. If I approach a person that I am only mildly familiar with and want to confront them about something, do I do it?

On a completely unrelated note, summers at camp are much more difficult without a certain bearded man. Here's hoping I make it through the next 5 weeks without swearing at staff meeting and then driving off property (I was thinking about it today).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Away

Now comes the part of the year where this blog changes gears into being discussions about how the summer at camp is going. Or at least, it would be if I was at camp right now. I'm not though. Instead I'm stuck here in Kingston waiting for my wisdom teeth to stop swelling up and drain out so I can get my ass back up to camp where it belongs. This week is the first week of summer camp at Iawah that I have missed in almost three years. I have been present for the majority of twenty four consecutive weeks of Summer Iawah programming. That's two full summers on staff, three weeks at the end of ILT, and a week-ish of staff training this summer. I am never not at camp when it's running.

I know that the camp that's currently running is not all that special. It's family camp meaning that there are inevitably families running around making unreasonable demands of staff members, and tensions are likely high due to too much work for some and not enough for others. Boredom at camp creates a plethora of problems.

But I want to be there anyways. I feel so completely helpless and useless being stuck here in Kingston with nothing to do but swear about how frustrated I am and talk about stupid things. I hate not being able to be involved and be a part of a solution to problems that I hear about only tangentially. I don't want to be here in Kingston where I only get bits and pieces of the story. I want to be out there where I can be a part of the problems and help get them fixed. That's the whole reason I'm at camp this summer anyways; to try and make staff better than it was for me last year. And yet here I am sitting in the guest room of my parents kingston house, feeling totally helpless.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Overloaded

(This will likely be the last post for a few weeks as I'm headed off to camp and won't have my laptop with me. Oh simplicity...)

Every now and then I think about getting some kind of scaled down form of transportation. Once I thought about getting a scooter since I was driving around in my car by myself a lot. But the thing that always stops me from ever trying to ditch whatever car I have access to and getting something smaller is the issue of cargo carrying. I have to much stuff to transport to give up a car as my main form of transportation.

This strikes me as odd though because for years before cars existed, people were quite able to get around without having this issue of cargo being a problem. In first century times they just walked places with not much more than some money in their pockets and maybe a walking stick. If you needed cargo space you'd bring a donkey along but I'd imagine that this wouldn't happen all the time.

So what happened? Well here's my thought. We became obsessed with stuff. When the car became a widely accepted and widely owned form of transportation, people suddenly realized that they could bring more things with them on trips. Society suddenly decided that the norm was to bring a change of clothes for every day you were away on a trip, and it was normal to bring all this extra stuff that people never used to bring with them.

And this touches on something else. North Americans own more crap in general than other people. I don't know who invented the walk-in closet but they were probably North-American due to the large space requirements, and the unnecessary nature of this item for most people (i.e. not many people have enough clothes to fill a walk in closet). So suddenly, in our modern time we expect people to have all of this stuff and to be able to move it around, thus requiring us to have cars to move it around it. And when we want to move away from our cars, we find ourselves stuck because we don't wish to live outside the norm of society.

So there's the kicker. If we ever want to improve things, we have to break outside the norms of society. We have to decide "no I will not drive a car and bring 8 suitcases because I don't need all that stuff". One of my former housemates took this to its fullest and decided to get rid of all but one set of clothes. He amazes me because when he would go away for a weekend, he would be able to fit all he needed in a backpack.

Breaking the norms can solve so many problems if only we have the courage to do it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Marriage and Fun Things Like That

We live in a sexual culture. Society is saturated with the act of sex and sexuality (in a very narrow sense of the word). The majority of people (around 90%) lose their virginity in high school with someone who is not likely to be their spouse in the future. Many people wonder why this is. Some blame it on our very publicly sexual culture and our style of dress. Understandable, but is that the root of the issue? Some blame it on the attitude of sex education in our schools (whatever you do, do it safely). Others blame it on peer pressure and that it’s “weird” to be a virgin.

Me? I find it strange that we encourage youth to “wait until you’re married”. A simple enough instruction. But then when the youth want to get married we say “wait til you’re older”. We live in a culture where the average age of marriage is between 30 and 35. In 1959 47% of brides were under 19.

I wonder if the problem is that we encourage youth to wait until their married, but at the same time encourage them to get married even later, thus increasing the chances of them not waiting.

But I’m just a teenager (soon to be a 20-something) without much wisdom in such things. Perhaps someone else knows better.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Watching History Unfold


Time rolls onward, things change, and what was once new becomes old. Communities are formed, communities are broken, and everything continues forward.

Before radio communication became widespread, news updates occurred slowly at best. If you were lucky you'd be close enough to receive the news by word of mouth, or see it first hand but this only happened to a select few. Newspapers became the way to know what was going on in the world.

Then things changed, someone invented the radio, and suddenly more people could be a part of experiencing history and information as it happened. If you were in the south of London and there was a fire raging in the north, you could hear about it before you saw the smoke.

Then a raving scot when off and invented the television. Now suddenly, instead of knowing what was happening, you could see what was happening. People around the world watched man land on the moon live. If the event was important enough you could see it happening as it unfolded.

Then came the internet, and social networking, and now the practicality of things being big doesn't matter anymore. With twitter and other networks like it, anyone can participate in a dialogue with those around the world. You can see peoples messages live from where things are happening from people things are happening to.

Riots in Iran break out and you can watch the demonstrators organize them. History has suddenly become more participatory. You now have a chance to make an impact on events that you wouldn't have even heard about 100 years ago. What are you going to do about it?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Myth of Redemptive Violence

I recently realized that I ramble on a lot about various things that are happening to me on here but it's very rare that I talk about things I believe in, or things that I find wrong with the world. In some ways this could be considered a good thing seeing how having opinions and beliefs is messy, however being clean and safe are not necessarily good things. So let's sit down and talk about messy things for a minute here.

I'm staying at my sister's house this weekend, and she was talking to be about some fiction that she's writing. Through our discussion of what she's writing, we came on to the topic of redemptive violence. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term let me explain for you. Redemptive violence is the idea that violence can redeem things or make things better. Example: fighting wars solves problems.

Let's me explain how this works in very simple terms. Let's say that you are friends with Franz (who for the sake of this story is quite accepting of his German name). Franz one day, in a fit of reckless abandon, says something quite hurtful to you. He assaults the character of the person you hold closest to you verbally.

In a fit of rage, you decide to react. Upon hearing of Franz's act you decide to go "teach him a lesson". You catch him off guard one day and start beating him physically. You leave him fairly uncomfortable. Satisfied you walk away. That's not the end though. Now Franz, feeling this beating was unjustified, decides to get you back. He collects a few friends, and "returns the favour", with him and his friends beating you unconscious.

You wake up in the hospital with a few broken bones. Now you're very angry. You decide to get revenge on Franz and his friends for this "undeserved beating" because after all, the first time it was "totally justified". Can you see where this is going?

Belief that violence is going to solve a problem never really works. When you use violence to try and solve a problem, the problem gets pushed aside and instead, everything becomes about the violence. Things escalate so quickly that you stop caring about what the root issue was and everything just becomes about getting revenge for the violent act. Violence takes the focus away from the root issue and simply creates new problems, and before you know it, the root issue is lost in a pile of other problems.

So then the question is can violence actually solve anything?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Creation

Somedays I have no idea what I'm doing. I laze around the house, purposeless, aimless, wandering seeking purpose but avoiding responsibility. I think about blogging or homework but it seems like too much work, but then videogames or tv-watching just seem like useless diversions.

I listen to the creations of others, wondering if it's physically possible for me to create. I sit down and try sometimes but my fingers and ears fail me, frustrating me and leaving me with this craving to create the things that I feel but being left unable to do so.

Sometimes your struggle as an artist is to create. You know it's a joy somewhere deep down inside but somehow it still feels like work, and creating becomes difficult. I long for the ability to create with ease, but for now it looks like it'll just take some work.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

100th Post-Changing Perspectives

Recently a girl from my high school graduating class decided to organize a time on Monday nights where we could get together and discuss big issues that we're all strugling with. She called it... "Monday Nights" strangely enough. Such a descriptive term.

Being a white person I am naturally predisposed to have bad memories of high school and so my first response to hearing about this group was "I'm not really sure I'm interested, because it'll be all awkward and we won't really get into anything" but then I decided to ignore my first reaction and run headlong into this group to see what would happen.

When I showed up at the first meeting it was almost exactly as I had pictured it. There before me stood 4 people I hadn't spoken a word to since Graduation and the girl who started the whole thing (Who I hadn't seen in almost a year). We proceeded into the obligatory early discussion about what we were all doing with our lives, and then someone threw out the topic of hell and it all kind of went from there.

I have to say, I've never had an experience like that where I've walked into a room of unfamiliar people and shared quite honestly about a lot of things. It was like we had all grown up all of a sudden or something and now we could sit down and have good solid discussions like adults.

Monday of this week we had another meeting with twice the number of people, and again we had very intimate discussions about some very personal topics and some of us shared our stories of where we were at and what was really going on in high school when we were all worried about making friends. It was really refreshing and I was really kind of sad when it was over, but I know that these discussions are starting to build on me. I'm waking up to the reality of God around me again and thinking about things I've been to lazy to think about for a while.

Sometimes God picks you up and slaps you upside the head to get you out of a funk. When he does it's a great feeling.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reversals

I was hanging out with some friends and someone told a story about a mutual friend of ours had alcohol for breakfast. We all kind of laughed nervously about the whole thing but some part of me was very unsettled about the whole thing. It's partly a product of the fact that I have a distinct memory of this person making fun of someone else for supposedly drinking at a party. 2 years ago this person was making fun of someone for drinking alcohol, and now this person is drinking for breakfast.

Then this got me thinking about another situation in which another friend was making jokes about the things I was doing on my computer. A few months later I found that this friend was a little involved in these things that he was joking about me doing. Making jokes at someone else, while being guilty of the very thing you're joking about.

Is this unique to Christian culture, where we value good morals and think of some things as very bad? I know that there are other instances where I've seen people become the very things they used to make fun of. What happens to us? Is there some kind of reversal going on?

Or maybe it's all just a cover-up. We project our perceived failings into the humor that we use with those around us. We try to reassure ourselves that it's ok with humor. I don't really know the answer right now. I wish I could figure out what causes this and reverse these reversals.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Redness

I get hung up on being embarassed.

I'm not really sure why this is. It's only really struck me in the last couple of days. I keep thinking about situations where I've been embarrassed either directly or subtly and I always get really emotional about it even if it was like..a year ago or whatever. For some reason embarrassment gets me worked up. It's stupid when I think about it because I know that the other people probably don't even remember the situations for the most part, but for some reason I get worked up thinking about stupid things I've done.

I'm not really sure how to get over this though. I thought dropping this problem here might help me to think about it a little bit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Board

Wednesdays are the worst. Not only do I have a lab which means a whole bunch of extra work, but I usually end up having to stay on campus later in order to finish either the Monday or Wednesday lab. This means I'm on campus from 9 AM til about 5:30 PM depending on the day. I am essentially working a full time job. I love life...

I'm actually super bored right now. I forgot the book I'm reading right now at home so I'm stuck just chilling here and waiting around for lab time pretty much. I have my laptop but its entertainment value is limited at school (Actually I do have some movies...). What's an organic chemistry student to do?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Good Life (and the Not So Good Life)

I actually can't remember the last time that life was this good for this long. It's been a few solid months of very good times. It's not just me either. I see a lot of my friends who are really enjoying life (unless they're lying to me) and it makes me happy.

For a long time I felt like God was pretty much in the mood to just poke me and prod me all the time whenever life got good, and then when things were bad he just kind of walked away. Now that things are good I have a lot more perspective on why things went the way they did. I can see the bad times as experiences which contributed to life being good now and helped me to grow a lot.

During my "interview" for my summer job, the interviewer was asking me about seeing the good in really shitty life experiences. I'm working with a lot of kids in mid-high school who are in varying stages of growing and pruning whether it's spiritual stuff or just life things in general. As I was explaining how I felt that my life had finally gotten "good" and how these past experiences, however bad, had contributed to my current state. He asked me if that would help me in my work. I told him that I thought it would because I've been in this spot of feeling like life was just pointlessly awful and God was playing games with me, and now being in a place where I'm past that and I see what good came out of those things, I feel like I can honestly tell the kids I'm working with that if they stick it out and hold on to God, things will get better.

That's the hardest thing to tell someone who's going through rough stuff. When you're in it, you really don't see how it could possibly get better, you just feel like you're stuck in this awkward position. That's the delicate balance that you have to walk. You need to be able to tell them that it'll get better, but you have to be with them in the moment.

It's not unlike a verse in James, reproduced below. (James 2:15-17)

15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Life is a delicate balancing act, and once again teenagers get some of the toughest struggles.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On Lunch (I guess this is the Wednesday Morning Post...)

The Wednesday morning post has gone back into hibernation for a while, seeing as how I'm in class on Wednesday morning instead of having this really awkward block of time to work in. I'll still try to update periodically when I feel it will improve my sanity but don't expect a post every Wednesday morning. That way you won't be disappointed.

Right now I'm debating whether or not to go track down some lunch. You're probably thinking this is a bit strange, but you need to understand my thought pattern on this. It doesn't (which apparently is not a really word) really make any sense but it does in my head. I didn't pack a lunch this morning which I don't entirely understand given that I had a full 30 minutes in which to pack a lunch. Something must have come over me. So, lunchless, I sit on campus where I could eat but campus food is largely crappy. This problem is compounded by the fact that I currently have no cash on me, thus preventing me from eating on campus. I could go somewhere else and eat but by this point in my lunch hour I don't really have time. So I'm sitting here instead with mild hunger pangs and blogging about how I can't decide to eat lunch.

Sometimes I wonder how I get into these patterns of thinking. Some things should be really simple, but somehow in my brain they get more complicated. I don't know how things all when so terribly wrong, but they did. What's a young man to do?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

To Do List For Today

-Finish eating lunch (PB&J, YUM!)
-attend tutorial about IUPAC names until 4 PM
-work with lab partner on lab write-up
-finish pre-lab for lab tomorrow
-finish 3 online assignments
-prep for lecture tomorrow
-make dinner
-return car to parents
-sleep

I knew that I wasn't going to have a life once I started orgo but it's finally starting to sink in. Yesterday was the last tame day I'm going to have for a very long time. The weekend can't come soon enough.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yeah, I know

It's been a while. Life got pretty crazy back there somewhere and in between crazy exam days and playing catch-up with the rest of my life this fine little blog got lost in the shuffle. These things happen sometimes when you're a university student.

Now that first year is over what is there to say. I'm glad it's done and I'm glad I can get some rest while I prepare for Organic Chemistry. I'm still not sure what to think though. My head is still awash with stress and craziness. I'm trying to mellow out but it's hard to when I'm moving out, trying to finish up my last things at House Famous, and trying to keep tabs on camp's full-time staff. Someday there will be rest, and I get glimpses of it, little days of peace here and there, but right now it's time to finish things. Like this post for example.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Wednesday Morning Post (Later Than Usual Edition)

Yes, it's that time of the week again. The time when I get by butt down to a location with internet access (I.E. the library or my parents house) and write this little piece out for all of you who still happen to be reading. I actually almost forgot to write this today but then I looked at the clock and realized that there's only an hour left in the morning so I better write it out.

What is there to be said about life right now? One word: Exams. Every December and April, university students get to go through the time honoured tradition of cramming large amounts of information into their brains for the purposes of cramming into rooms and writing lots of things on legal sheets of paper. It's a wonderful time of year, and the best part about it is that it signals the end of my time in first year.

While it's a little early for retrospect at this point (Seeing how I actually haven't written any exams yet) I will save that for a post after I'm finished exams but I will say this. University has been good and I would go so far as to say that it's been everything I've been looking for and a whole lot more reading.

Sadly my friends, that's about all that's going on right now and seeing how I still have a pile of reading and studying left to do, it's best that I go now. I hope you enjoy this most auspicious of Wednesdays though. Fight on brother.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Don't Panic

Tomorrow, come hell or high water, there will be a Wednesday morning post. Exam studying be damned!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Wednesday Morning Post

This Wednesday morning is a great Wednesday morning. I am awake, I have had a delicious breakfast (care of McDonald's), the library is empty, I am at school to write the Wednesday morning post earlier than normal, I am nearly finished the winter term, and I am going to visit my girlfriend in two more days. Life is good.

So why is life good? Well it wasn't always like this, let me tell you. There was a while back there where life was not good. In fact, I would go so far as to say that life was bad back there. However, while it is unfortunate that life was once bad, life is now very very good.

I recently purchased my Organic Chemistry textbook. As lame as it sounds, sometimes I look over to it's fresh crisp pages and its inviting green colour and I pick it up and read a few pages. Some part of me is thoroughly confused as to why, when I'm not in a course, I find reading the textbook fun, but as soon as I have to do readings and such, I immediately don't want to read the textbook. It's outrageous.

Yesterday and Sunday I spent some time sitting down and writing down on a page all the half finished songs that I had. I found that somewhere in the last year or so since I did my RPM album, I managed to write 16 half-finished songs of varying quality. I think if I actually put my mind to it and set about to finish a group of them that sounded similar I could probably have a decent start on a full album. I don't know when I would ever have time to do this but I thought it was interesting that even when I'm not trying, I manage to write songs. It's like some kind of habit now or something.

My browser keeps crashing and I'm afraid I might lose the rest of this edition of the Wednesday morning post so I'm gonna call it a day folks. Happy hump day and enjoy the rest of your week. It's all downhill from here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hilarious Excerpt

While hunting through the archives of the Queen's journal I came across this gem of a quote from one of my biology professors.

"Biology professor Virginia Walker said students often complain that the work they put in and the grade they receive don’t match up.

“Students come and say, ‘I attended all your classes, and I studied for your exam for three whole days, and I didn’t do well,” she said. “Students feel that if they do all their readings and their work there is some sort of entitlement that they should do well.”"

I sort of understand what it is that she's getting at but I can tell you right now that if most students attended all their classes and studied for their exam for three whole days, they should do well, and if they don't then there might be a larger issue there that's not related to their work, and more related to teaching or evaluation.

But maybe I'm just crazy. You can read the full article for yourself here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Everything is Amazing and No One is Happy"

Today (Sunday) we had our weekly drop in from 5:30 PM til 8:00 PM. We sat around and shared our home with anyone and everyone who decided to drop by. In our time together we had seven friends drop in.

During our time together, almost everyone present shared with us their stories. Stories that sound intricate enough to be woven by a post-modern novelist, but are the lives of some real people. We spent 2 and a half hours with these people and they told us their life stories. That’s nothing in our culture. That’s the length of your average crappy blockbuster movie. That’s how much time I spent watching “Watchmen”. And yet in two and a half hours these guests of ours felt comfortable enough to share with us their struggles and where they’re at. What does this say to me?

People are crying out inside to be heard and no one is listening.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Wednesday Morning Post

Good morning WMPR's (coloquially known as wimpers) it's Wednesday March 25th, so slip on your Hanes, lace up your Nikes, take your Wheaties and your Gatorade, and we'll grab a Big Mac on the way to the ballpark. Now as you take a moment to recoil in horror at a sentence that contains every single brand Michael Jordan ever endorse let me launch into this, the Wednesday Morining Post.

What is there to say that hasn't been said? A lot my friends. Just when you think you've heard it all, something new comes along. Today for example a man told me a talk over breakfast of how he plans to pull a trailer across Canada using a 1991 Caprice Classic. Stories are everywhere, you just have to know where to look for them, and you have to know what questions to ask.

My father is an expert at this. A couple of years ago I realized that my dad was amazing at his job, not specifically because he's a good dentist, but because he's awesome at conversation and the telling of stories. When you're sitting in a chair with 3 pieces of metal in someone's mouth you really have to be good at telling stories because the person in the chair can't say much except "ahhh" and "gmhgnfgf" which really aren't very descriptive words. So you become an expert at asking yes or no questions, and telling tales to people which you've heard elsewhere. This is all rather off topic of my normal topic of discussion but people need to think about these kinds of things sometimes.

My girlfriend and I celebrated our 1 month anniversary on Monday. It actually wasn't much of a celebration since she was travelling and we weren't able to talk on the phone or anything but there was some text messaging going back and forth through the course of the day. It's very strange to me that 3 months ago I felt like I was going to be single for the rest of my life and now here I am, 1 month into a very healthy relationship. It feels very strange to me.

I'm also nearly finished the Winter term. I would say that I'm almost done school but that's a blatant lie. I'm actually only going to be finished winter term, and then there's a 2 week break in there which is looking like it's going to involve a lot of moving around with a trip to brockville to take my dad to a doctor's appointment, moving all of my stuff out of the house and into my apartment, and possibly a visit with my girlfriend.

I don't drive much anymore but when I have a car I always seem to end up doing lots of driving in a very short period of time. For example, between January and February I managed to go to Grand Rapids, Grosse Point, Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa, and Iawah. I've been trying to figure it out and I think in those two months I probably drove close to 4500 kilometres. That's a lot of time in the car for a guy who walks everywhere at home.

I think I'm pushing the word count for this week so I'll stop here. But don't forget kids, come back next week for another fun-filled episode of the Wednesday Morning Post.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Tipping Addendum

I think I messed up this topic the first time so here’s some clarification

First off, I was specifically upset about the situation in question, not because I had to give a tip, but more because of the attitude the waitress had about it and the way the situation was framed. I’m used to leaving a tip in secret or on the table after I leave the restaurant so that you don’t have to talk to the server about it. But our waitress wanted us to pay by the drink so the tip had to be exchanged at the time of the drink purchase, allowing for her to complain about our lack of change available for tips, and giving her an opportunity to tell us that she would no longer serve us because we weren’t giving her sufficient tips to make us worth her time.

Second, I did a little research on this topic after posting and discovered something else that’s very strange. Even though tips are “considered” optional and are not included in the price of your meal, the Canadian government keeps track of them, and your tax return is likely to be highly scrutinized if you work in the restaurant industry and you don’t report your tips. If the government is going to tax it then it should be included in the price of your meal, like some kind of service charge.

I hope that makes a little more sense.

The Wednesday Morning Post (Terrible Waitress Edition)

It's Wednesday March 18th. Slap yourself in the face, throw on a pot of coffee, and get ready. This is the Wednesday Morning post.

This should probably get relegated to a separate post but it's going here right now so that I can stop thinking about it. Myself and a few friends went out to a bar for pints last night seeing as how it was St. Patrick's day and all. There was good conversation happening (including a very interesting discussion I had with one of my housemates who's very interested in Women's Studies) and we were just enjoying ourselves in general. There was one problem though; our waitress.

(Matt I apologize in advance if any of this makes you cringe) See, we were just buying pints, and three of us were paying together since ATM's only dispense 20's. So then once we figure out exactly how much it costs, I give our waitress (who ironically enough used to work at Megalo's when I worked there last year) the money and she says "That leaves me no money for a tip" and proceeds to explain that it's actually costing her money to serve us.

Now HOLD ON A SECOND! Tipping is a social convention. I understand that it's proper etiquette to tip people but since when did you get the balls to demand a tip from me? And also, why is your restaurant set up in such a way that not getting a tip causes you to lose money on a sale? What the hell? Needless to say, this put an unneeded damper on the night for a moment.

Rants aside though life is good right now. I'm busy, as always (I'm always tired and busy) but things are coming to a satisfying close this year. I finish my last bio lab write up this coming Monday, I write my last math test on Monday, and we're in our last modules for all my courses so life is a party right now, only 31 days left of school, then a 2 week break, then spring term starts.

I've also been thinking about how much I miss my drums as of late. There is something about having this ability to unleash this primacy in musical expression on a bunch of cylinders of nylon and wood. That always used to help me feel better after work, and good jam sessions always made me feel slightly euphoric. I just wish I lived in an area where I had a space for them.

The library is super quiet right now (one of the side-affects of going to a party school) so I'm going to take the opportunity to enjoy the emptiness. Until next Wednesday folks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Peer Pressure
















You know what I'm talking about. That word has mighty connotations. It seems like every single children's organization has some piece of literature about how important it is to resist peer pressure. It's like this thing that you have to fight with all your might when you're a kid.

Peer pressure is funny because as an adult, this idea seems totally ridiculous to me that I should care how other people feel about me based on the way I dress and my outward attitudes. I will do what I feel is aligned with my values. But let's ignore that fact for now and discuss peer pressure.

I'm all for teaching kids that they shouldn't do stupid things just because their friends are doing it. Smoking is a stupid idea no matter what your friends say. But when we're telling kids to resist peer pressure what are we saying? What's the danger that could come when we teach kids that they shouldn't listen to the opinions of their peers on certain issues?

I heard a guy explain it once like this. The best defence against peer pressure is being an asshole. A more technical explanation would be that you don't value anyone's opinion on anything. So when we teach kids that they should resist peer pressure, there's a danger of them becoming unteachable.

There's these two extremes that kids have to navigate. On one hand there's the extreme of doing things just because other people tell them to and become hyper-sensitive to the feelings and opinions of others. While on the other hand, kids might completely ignore other opinions and become not very pleasant to be around, and somewhere in between, kids need to find this happy medium that they can hold onto until they become an adult.

Kids get the toughest problems in life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Wednesday Morning Post

This week on The Wednesday Morning Post, relationships, busyness, and other such fun topics.

But first I need to respond to a text message on my phone...

Ok, now that that's taken care of we can go right into it. What's going on in the often mundane life of Ben Gresik, the first year ArtSci student at Queen's University? Well for once, a lot is going on. As you may or may not know I recently started dating someone. Seeing as how this is a public blog and I generally try to stay away from specifics I'll refrain from commenting further on this topic but I wanted to mention it so that if I ever mention my girlfriend on this blog in the future, no one will say anything crazy like "What!? Since when do you have a girlfriend?". You've all been informed.

Then there's the sheer amount of busyness (which is quite different from business) in my life. I just got an email this morning reminding me that I agreed to help lead a leadership retreat at camp this weekend. Sometimes I forget these things. This actually aids me in another predicament that I had though. I was supposed to go to a frosh reunion on Friday called "Slosh the Frosh" aptly named for its sole purpose of getting first years drunk. I was planning on going, if only as an opportunity to stay in touch with my frosh group, and not out of a desire to be sloshed but alas, with this leadership retreat business it looks like I won't be able to make it. It's unfortunate but sometimes my life pans out this way.

Speaking of busyness, part of my recent busyness (that's a really funny word when you say it alot) has been due to the sudden realization that I've been slacking a bunch in school. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this seeing as how I'm all laid back about most things in life and very rarely stress about things, but I was thinking about the rest of my life on Monday. You know, that nebulous time period that occurs sometime after you've chosen a career path until you retire? Yeah, well I was thinking about that and I decided that I wanted to focus on trying to go to dental school. [Ben pauses for laughter and stunned responses due to the fact that his father is already a dentist]

Yeah, see it turns out that if I get all the right courses and if I can get organic chemistry in this spring, then I can at least apply to Dental School in the middle of next year and then there's a very slim chance that I would be able to go then (very slim). The reason why this motivates me to be less of a slacker though is because when I apply to dental school I discovered that they will look at my first year marks which, while ok, are not really competitive when you're talking about dental school. So I've got 4 weeks of classes left and 5 exams to try and improve them. We'll see where that gets me.

And I think that's about it. This is getting a little long anyways. I'm Ben Gresik, and this has been The Wednesday Morning Post.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Get Ready

Tomorrow is Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Wednesday Morning Post (The Afternoon Edition...)

I was going to do the Wednesday Morning post this morning but then I decided sleep was more important than the WMP, and classes so I slept for 13 hours last night (aroused only 3 times to turn on my phone and receive text messages [ironically enough my phone just vibrated], delicious text messages). It was a much needed rest, especially after my weekend of concerts, homework, soup kitchens and such.

So now I take some time to answer the critical question that causes you to rush to your computers every wednesday morning (this time sadly in vain). What is going on in my life?
Well a lot frankly but I'll do my best to focus on some key areas.

There's this weird thing that Queen's does where you enter first year without a major and then you get through first year and declare a major. This whole process is actually really stupid because after going through all the trouble of getting into university, you have to get into a major program after first year, which can be hard because of how little information the departments provide on the specific entrance requirements into their specific programs. It's not a big deal for me because I'm just going into Biology which has very few requirements but it's still messed up because if I want to take certain courses in upper year I have to be in specific major programs, which means I might not get to take some courses or that I'll have to fight with the guidance department. In short Queen's is a really stupid univerisity when it comes to registration and course selection. I pay tuition to come here. They should let me take the courses I want to take instead of doing all this registration juggling and class size reduction bullshit. I realize that this is all because Queen's previous principal dug us pretty far into debt and now endowments are dropping but that shouldn't screw me over as a student.

I'll stop ranting though. What else is there to speak of? I'm making a trip to Ottawa this weekend, for the purposes of visitation with friends and family. There's something homely about Ottawa for me now. Whenever I go there I always end up running into people I know and I get to spend time with fine folks that I don't see nearly as often as I would like to. I wish I could move some people from Ottawa to Kingston but alas, this is the way life works sometimes.

I'm writing a song right now. It's a slow process just because I'm so busy with other stuff right now and song writing is normally pretty slow but I'm very motivated to finish this one. I've recently decided that if I'm inspired by someone, songs that I write don't all need to sound like them, so I've stopped throwing out half-finished songs that don't live up to my expectations anymore. I think this is more healthy than what I've been doing.

And now I leave the Wednesday morning post with a rousing quote/saying/dribble of text. This week, a scene from the 1969 Batman movie featuring Adam West

[Stuck to Penguin's magnetic buoy, with a torpedo approaching, Batman pries loose his utility belt transmitter.]
Batman: If I could just reverse the polarity... send out waves of super-energy...
. . .
[An annoyed Penguin observes the destruction of his torpedos.]
Penguin: He must be using his Super-Energy Reverse Polarizer!
. . .
[A third torpedo approaches, but Batman's transmitter ceases its screeching.]
Batman: Confound it! The batteries are dead!
. . .
[Moments after an off-camera explosion, we see Batman and Robin speeding in their Batboat.]
Robin: Gosh, Batman. The nobility of the almost-human porpoise.
Batman: True, Robin. It was noble of that animal to hurl himself into the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life for ours.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm Not Even Going to Bother Trying to Come Up With A Library Title For This One

I'm in the library but it recently occurred to me that since I don't have internet at home at present, I pretty much always post from the library. This is going to make library titles increasingly difficult to come up with.

I'm here in the library on a Sunday because I went to a concert last night and thus, got pretty much nothing done with respect to the massive pile of homework that I have to get through between now and tomorrow. But this isn't really the point of the post. The point of the post is to tell you about the concert.

I went to see Anathallo last night in Toronto (note the links I now provide to subjects of interest. It's like Wikipedia except not quite as useful). They played this club on Queen Street called The Drake Hotel which I discovered is pretty much just a club. The actual space they played in was tiny but this is an environment in which Anathallo functions best in, since they have this amazing capacity to absolutely fill a room with sound an energy. And it was an absolutely perfect concert. The crowd was really into it, singing along with some parts that were very complicated and doing there best to clap along when appropriate. This was made difficult by the fact that Anathallo is very good and coming up with strange clapping rhythms but everyone was surprisingly good at it. The opening bands were excellent and set the mood for the main act. The bartenders were nice, the smoking crowd was amicable, and the band wandered around among the crowd, tending their own merch table, and rubbing shoulders with me a couple of times.

And when they took the stage it was truly a sight to behold. The lead singer Matt Joynt was really on his toes during the show and made a slew of really funny one-liners in response to the crowd's shouts. He messed up the tuning on the first song (Italo) and had to start over again, but it just made the official run through of the song that much better. They put together a great setlist of some of their best numbers and filled the room with sound and bliss. It was a sight to behold.

As I sit here, studying partial derivatives in multi-variant calculus, I am jolted back to the potent images, sounds, and feelings of last night. I can't shake the feeling of what is now the best show I've ever seen.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Reporting from the Reading Room

I like to think that the posts I write from the library are the most interesting posts that I write, mostly just because because I always have to come up with some kind of alliterative title that I haven't used before.

Now you might be wondering what I'm doing in the library at 6:50 PM on a Friday night. Well let me tell you friend. It appears I have let myself get behind far enough that I'm completely screwed right now. I just finished a Psychology exam ten minutes ago and here I am listening to a CD a friend burned me and working on Chemistry homework that is due at 1 AM tonight. Once I manage to get that finished, there's a bio lab that I need to pull some scientific papers for, and then once that's done I have the actual bio lab to write, and a math test that really needs to be studied for. How did I end up here?

Well friend, it comes down to taking on more than you can handle. In hindsight I should have dropped a lot of the things that I'm doing this year so that I could focus on school. Sadly I did not and now I'm in a position where I need to just stick it out and fulfill my commitments to various people while I figure out how to stay on top of school at the same time. All of this means that giving up coffee for lent was a bad idea seeing as how I won't really be sleeping a lot over the next couple of weeks as I try and get caught up sufficiently to avoid drowning. Who in the world thought that this was a good way to spend four years of your life?


Click for full size image

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Resurrection of The Wednesday Morning Post

The first time I tried to write this post I actually just submitted the title without the actual post. Sorry for the confusion. It's Wednesday February 25th and this is the Wednesday morning post.

Now you might be asking yourself "Why is Ben suddenly resurrecting the Wednesday Morning Post so long after his last one?" or perhaps even "What's the point of the Wednesday Morning Post without the rival Monday Morning Post (may it rest in peace)?" Well friends I'm here to say that I'm reviving it because it was fun, because I have Wednesday mornings free again, and because there's this awkward gap in my morning classes on Wednesdays that needs something to fill it.

So here it is, my life currently in several paragraphs. What's going on you might ask? School is crazy. It's currently midterm season and I have 2 exams/tests to go before I'm through all of it. I feel like I have no time for anything right now (which is ironic because I'm blogging right now) and it's very stressful. It will be wonderful when first year is over and I can start next year with less on my plate and be more on top of things.

Also, I've decided to go to school in the spring. I was made aware that Queen's is offering Organic Chemistry in the spring term this year and I decided that this would be good. This is mostly because Organic Chemistry is really hard and so it's generally a good thing if you can make it easier via any means possible. So instead of doing it over a whole year with 4 other courses simultaneously I will be doing it over 6 weeks all by itself. It's going to be awesome. 6 hours of class a day for 4 days a week. Woo Hoo.

In Music news, nothing is going anywhere. I'm currently supposed to be recording an album in one month but actually have no time to write/record/play or anything right now. I'm not going to finish. I'm perfectly ok with all of this though. I will work on the album later, when I have time, and when I can get the help of some other people (Matt McKechnie offered to contribute and I'd like to take him up on this offer, I just don't have time right now).

And that was Wednesday Morning Post for this Wednesday February 25th. In next weeks issue... words.

Friday, February 20, 2009

In Limbo











Despite the fact that I'm away in Quebec on a ski trip, I'm waiting around for Monday. I know that it's stupid for me to be away on a ski trip but then in the back of my mind always thinking about how much closer I am to Monday but that's how this is going down and there's little you or I can do about it. Sometimes these things pan out this way.

So since I'm in limbo (which by the way, is a great Radiohead song) I've been thinking a lot about being in limbo. One thing I've noticed this week is that when I'm not skiing I'm pretty much doing random monotonous tasks. I don't know why waiting around for something has suddenly made me write off all of my productive capacity for this week but I'm getting very little of the homework I have to do done and it's not bothering me at all. It's like I'm content to just sit around and be stir crazy.

This makes me confused though, because when I was a kid and I was waiting around I was constantly looking for things to distract me. Like around Christmas for example, I absolutely had to have something to do all the time otherwise I would just sit around and stare at the Christmas tree and drive my parents nuts. I wouldn't sleep the night before either. Now, as an adult, I love sleeping because it speeds up the waiting time, and I can just sit around and do nothing (as I am already doing now).

What causes me to write of time like this? Does anyone else do this? Will Monday ever arrive?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What People Say


















I was talking to somebody the other day and I said something that people often say, and this person asked me "What are you really saying?"

It was an interesting question because often times some phrases or words get said so often that they gain all sorts of strange meanings, or worse yet they lose their meaning entirely. They become part of that terrible grouping of words that don't mean anything.

Sorry is one of these words for some people. Have you ever heard someone (even if it was in a movie) say that sorry is just not good enough? That might be because people say sorry when they nudge you in the supermarket, but they also say sorry when they've just cheated on you and completely broken your heart. They apply in both situations but when you're dealing with some incredible hurt, it must be difficult to hear what you hear at the supermarket all the time as an attempt to make amends for what's been done.

It comes back to hurt me a little because sometimes I catch myself saying things without really thinking about what it is that they mean. I will hear words coming out of my mouth and I won't even catch the full effect of what I'm saying. I mean what I say but sometimes I forget exactly what it is that I'm saying.

So here's to saying what we really mean, and meaning what we really say, even if it is cliche.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Day?

There's this strange phenomenon in Ontario. It's called Family Day. The sole reason for its existence is to bridge the statutory holiday gap that occurs between new years and Easter. In a lame attempt to disguise this fact, the Ontario government decided to call it family day. You know it would have been so much less deceitful if they had just called it "New Statutory Holiday". That's roughly how applicable "Family Day" is to this particular holiday.

Anyways, I'm off to go prepare for "Family Day". The world is wonderful on Reading Break.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Know, I Know

It's been a while, what can I say. It's bee a stressful couple of weeks in the world of Ben Gresik. I had to find an apartment for next year since I'm moving out of The House Famous in March, I had to go to a funeral, and I had a whole pile of school work that all piled up at the last second. It was not a good week for my sanity.

But I managed to get out for beers with my housemate Jason, which was good. It's amazing how relaxing a few pints with a friend and some conversation can be. It really helped me mellow out after a high strung couple of days.

Jason and I also decided to go to a concert by a grand old band called "The National". You know what that means! Relevant Youtube video time!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Foggy Week

So it turns out that being busy for more than 7 days is the worst idea ever. I got home on Monday and I was just in a fog. I didn't get too much sleep in the first little while after being home either so that probably didn't help. Things are warming up in my foggy brain now though.

As of right now I have exactly nothing done for the RPM challenge. Stuff is written but I have zero time to record anything at the moment which is a little sad. I might have to put it off until reading break, but hopefully I can get the first couple of themes out. We will just have to see. I feel less confident about this thing than I did about finishing last year but the fact that I have better equipment this year makes me think things will be better. (Update: I recorded my first guitar part today. Hooray!)

I'm also attempting to play more music at church now, just because I'm really starting to miss being able to play. I learned a lot of random songs last year and it would be nice to do that again. I'm playing this Sunday and I'm preparing a couple of songs to do (one of which is "Dead Letter and the Infinite Yes" by Wintersleep and probably a sufjan song somewhere in there) so that will be nice.

Hopefully I can make it through the fog to Saturday.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Relevant

I've finally been given a moment of rest in order to breath, eat, and post. I just got back from lunch and so the first two are finished now, but I haven't posted three posts this week have I? I would post about the worship symposium but I've been getting so much information from separate sources that, if I were to post about all of it, it would probably seem like one jumbled mess.

I think the one clear message I seem to be getting is that I am no longer irrelevant. I somehow have been placed in situations that put me on kind of the leading edge of some of the things going on in the church right now, and I have a lot to say about these things. I'm definitely one of the younger people here at the conference but I've had some very interesting discussions with people much older than I am about the new-monastic movement, and the emerging church.

All my life I've felt like I've had nothing important to say to those older than me, and now I can't seem to shut up. I feel almost like I say too much now. It's very nice to be able to share my experiences with people who are interested, and to try to offer what wisdom I have gleaned from these experiences. I only hope that people take what I say to heart.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Stress

If you're wondering why I haven't posted this week, it's because I'm away at a Worship symposium and in between school and prepping for that I have had zilcho time. But regular updates will start up again once I get back and get on top of life again. Until then enjoy this fine performance from one of my favourite bands. Anathallo.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sleepy


(It's amazing what a google search for a specific word will turn up)

So here I am in the sleep lab at school participating in a study for fame and fortune. No, not really. It's actually for school credit and possibly money, which is always nice in these trying times.

You may be wondering what exactly it is that I'm doing at school at this ungodly hour (well, it's not ungodly now but it will be eventually at some point tonight). I'm here participating in a study on sleep deprivation. This study involves two parts on my end.

1)Staying up very late

2)Looking at dots

I know. You might be thinking "Why, that's so simple. I could do that". and the fantastic news is that you can. For the low low price of zero dollars you too can stay up all night in a university building and do nothing.

But I digress. Things are going on in life right now. I'm house hunting, with my new-found roommate James (who coincidentally was sitting next to me about 5 minutes ago until he got called in to look at dots). It's been interesting. Yesterday I went to try and find a landlord to see if I could look at a house and I discovered later (after giving her the wrong address of the place I was looking for) that she is the most infamous landlord among students. Apparently she has crazy rules about housing and evicting students and such. It's madness. So we're not renting from her but looking elsewhere. I'm sure I'll announce when I actually manage to find a house so watch for that.

That's all for now but I'm sure I'll think of something else to post in the next couple of hours....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Complicated

Wouldn't it be awful if I started this post off by quoting "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne at length? That would lose me a few readers for sure. While we're on the subject though I once heard a Ben Gibbard (lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie) cover of Complicated and both the audience and he laughed throughout the whole song. Hilarious.

Shoot, now I can't write anything that doesn't sound like the first line of that song. Why did I do this to myself? Maybe it would help if I changed the title.....no I can't bring myself to do it.

Anyways, sometimes my life has this tendency to get really complicated. I don't know if it's just because I put my fingers in too many pies or I'm not clear about my feelings or I just have the absolute worst timing ever but I somehow manage to get myself into these situations where I don't even want to ask people for advice because it would take me like an hour to explain.

It'd be nice if there were quicker fixes for the problems I get myself into but all I can do is grab a shovel and start throwing poop until things get better.

Wow...that is the wrong way to end a post. Uh....Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Word on Writing

Once upon a time when I was in Grade 10, my computers teacher required everyone to start a blog on a network called Xanga. It was supposed to be so she could keep tabs on this we were getting done and other such business like that, and most people used it for that but there were a bunch of us who continue writing after computers class was over.

I was part of that group of about 5 or 6 people who continued blog, well over a year and a half past computers class ending. Not to be prideful or anything but I think the reason our group kept going was because I used blogging as a way to unload whatever happened to be going on in my life, and ended up being pretty open, to the point where it got me in some serious trouble a number of times. To quote my friend Adam, who was part of our blogging ring at the time

"That Ben Gresik kid...went and deleted his xanga...what a weiner kid. :P But yeah it seems like now that Gresik left xanga that everyone else has decided that it isn't worth posting anymore, including myself, and I think the main reason was that Ben had sweet posts and actually thought them out. So here's to you Ben, for leaving Xanga and ruining it for the rest of us. :P"

At the time, I thought it was the right decision. I made a bunch of really stupid calls in terms of what to post and what not to post, and as more and more of my family started reading my blog they started to get upset with some of the things I was writing and it got to a point where I would write a whole post, not be sure if it would offend anyone, and then I would end up deleting the whole thing.

In hindsight though I wonder. Partially because, though I save all my blog posts initially, I ended up losing them somewhere in the transfer between my old computer, and first laptop, and the theft of my first laptop. And also partially because I don't really write down thoughts on things very much anymore, I just let them stew in my head which is usually pretty unhealthy.

I've been inspired by Matt McKechnie's blogging commitment for this week and, though I don't think I can post every day, I'm going to try and put 3 posts a week up. Enjoy folks, and don't be surprised if the quality level drops off a little initially.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Didn't This Start out as a Music Blog?

In a couple of weeks I'll be attempting to partake in something that I participated in last year, and that's something called the RPM challenge. It's this absolutely insane idea of creating an entire albums worth of music in a single month. I did it last year and produced a pile of songs that currently amount to my entire catalogue of songs.

To be honest I don't really know how I'm going to pull it off this year. It'll certainly be an improvement on last years attempt where I had no recording equipment until 3 days before the deadline, but at the same time I'm trying to be way more ambitious this year in comparison to last year.

My plan for this year is to write a concept album/score based around a book that my sister gave me for my birthday. It's really ambitious because the amount of music I have to write to get this thing done properly is probably somewhere in double album land and I have absolutely no idea how that's going to work because I have to write and record everything in 28 days but this isn't going to stop me from trying regardless.


Friday, January 16, 2009

A Ridiculous Essay on Female Guitar Players

I was listening to Jill Barber today. I consider myself somewhat of a Jill Barber fan even though I don’t own any of her music, largely because I love the one song of hers that I have, and because if I hear that she’s playing on the radio I will listen in. This is of couse besides the point that I’m about to make. As I was listening to Jill Barber today I was thinking about how much I love a girl who can play guitar.
It’s important to note that, especially within the 70’s rock context, and moreso in the culture of 80’s hair metal, the guitar has become this sort of expression of masculinity. It’s all about lots of distortion, flamboyant paintjobs, throwing the guitar around your neck, and strumming it in increasing suggestive poses. One could almost say that the guitar became a replacement for the mideval tradition of using increasingly larger codpieces on the armour as a display of manliness (look at that, you probably feel really smart for reading this right now).
So when I say that I love a girl who can play guitar, part of what I mean by that is that I love a girl who is comfortable and confident enough in herself to enter into a male dominated world, ignore historical contexts, and play anyways. I love the Feists, KT Tunstall’s, and Liz Powell’s of the word, and how intense they are. And I have to say, if I was going to start a band tomorrow, the first person I would look for would be a good female guitar player.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Surviving School

The idea of scholastic success is something that's only ever been a novelty to me. In high school I went at things with the attitude "well, if I do good then that's cool, but I'm quite happy to just get by and enjoy myself". In a certain sense that idea worked out good for me. I made friends, didn't feel like a keener, and enjoyed some of the finer aspects of High School (like riding the bus for 2 hours every day). This whole attitude seems to be carrying over to university though. This doesn't really surprise me or bother me, but it's something that I notice more now that I regularly meet people who tell me that they are going to become doctors and if I get in the way of that goal I will likely be shot and killed. These people are driven, driven in the Rocky Balboa sense of the word, and it makes me wonder if there's any merit in that. 

Would I be any better of a person if I decided that I was going to be driven to get really good marks, beat out all my peers, and get straight on the fast track to making boatloads of moolah? Maybe you think differently but the kind of people that I meet that are really driven just end up coming of as really pompous assholes to me. I would much rather hang out with someone who, while caring about scholastic success in a way that is appropriate, is much more laid back and more amiable. Rather than feeling like I'm supposed to compete with these people, I feel like we can just relax, talk about school, and enjoy our university years with a sense of brotherly love, and maybe a beer or two. 

So while I may not have the university level A's to get into the finest medical schools in the country, I have a feeling that I'm going to enjoy this part of my life, and enjoy the things that are to come happily with my (currently) B average proudly in hand.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

After Decemberween, the Real Party Begins

















Now that this whole excessively length holiday we all call Christmas Vacation is over I feel way too rested. I need another exam period to get stressed out again. While I realize that in a couple of weeks I'll think that was a really stupid thing to say, I feel like it's true right now. Right now I want to be assigned more work than I am physically capable of doing so that I can at least feel like I should always doing something productive.

I made a couple of New Year's lists up last night. I won't post them here because I'd rather not subject myself to the possible public ridicule that the readership of this blog provides but I'm quite excited about this year. I feel as if I can do anything. I'm not sure if that's true or if it's the last bits of turkey and beer in my system that's making me think these things but that is how I feel at the moment.

In other news I'm trying to plan my summer right now, and it's the most uncertain I've felt about summer in a long time. I don't know if I'll be working at camp, working elsewhere, or planting trees in Northern Ontario but being uncertain about these things doesn't really bother me. It's actually kind of exciting to be uncertain of what the future holds.

Here's to the new year, let it be more awesome than the previous one.