Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year in Good Things

Here is the requisite year end post containing my favourite things from this year. I'm terrible at explaining my choices so I leave them for you to interpret.

Top 5 Albums of This Year
1) Tokyo Police Club-Champ
2) Broken Social Scene-Forgiveness Rock Record
3) Vampire Weekend-Contra
4) Gorillaz-Plastic Beach
5) Sufjan Stevens-All Delighted People EP

4 Favourite Movies (That I saw)
1) The Social Network
2) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
3) Inception
4) Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

3 Favourite Games
1) Modnation Racers
2) Red Dead Redemption
3) NHL 11

2 Favourite TV Shows
1) Community
2) Caprica

1 Favourite Moment
1) Hugging a complete stranger after Sydney Crosby scored the game winning overtime goal during the Olympic Hockey tournament.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Christmas Gift (1 of 2)

Foreword: This year for Christmas, my family decided to exchange gifts that were made by us instead of buying things for each other. I was to make a gift for my oldest sister, so I decided to write something. This post is the first of two for my sister. Merry Christmas Ali


Sitting in the back of a coffee shop seemed like the smartest idea right now. A coffee shop is like the ultimate place where you can be quietly anonymous but still be around people. Sometimes it’s the safest place to be. Besides, I needed something to clear my head and figure out what the heck I was doing. Caffeine seemed like a suitable drug for this purpose.
As I sat there in the back of the coffee shop I thought about what to do next. I thought about if I should do anything next. Plans began to wander their way into my mind and I started carrying them out in the privacy of the coffee shop. I think if people could read minds, people would instantly become much more interesting. Instead of blank faces on the subway, you could see people reliving their dreams of flight from the night before, and thoughts of evenings filled with german board games and dive bars. People’s deepest secrets revealed with only a glance.
I idly began playing with the stir stick in my now lukewarm coffee. Having a moment to myself meant that I was finally able to pause and enjoy the weather outside. Snow had been lazily dropping from the sky for the last couple of hours. When I was outside I hadn’t really noticed it but now that I was inside it seemed like the only thing worth paying attention to. As I watched the snow fall, I wondered what would happen if it never stopped. Snow constantly rising until it reached above the windows, leaving all of us stranded in this coffee shop. From there I immediately started thinking about who would take charge in this post apocalyptic scenario. The overly friendly barista who made my drink seemed a likely candidate for panic. The guy in the suit who was obviously engaged in some type of meeting would probably try and take charge. Who would we eat first once we ran out of food?
This is why I’m here. I take things too far. We were just talking about what movie to watch and all of a sudden my whole life flashed before my eyes starting with a proposal and ending up with me laying roses on a grave stone. It was like I had temporal diarrhea and couldn’t keep my brain locked in the present. Instead of occuring in slices, time got squashed together like roadkill, and I thought about it without any divisions. So I ran away and ended up here.
Sometimes it’s really easy to identify your dysfunction, but impossible to deal with it. Also what do you say to someone when trying to apologize for something like that? “I’m sorry I can’t view time in a linear fashion”? Not a very convincing apology scheme. I can see that whole argument right now and the ending feels really familiar.
I pick up my mostly empty cup and dispose of it, heading out the front door. I feel the blast of cold air on my face and the prickle of snow on my face as I leave the coffee shop. Words start to scramble together in my head which I will say when I get home. I breathe in deeply through my nose and let the air chill the back of my brain. Maybe the cold air will keep my mind from it’s time travelling ways.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Morgan Freeman Shares his Thoughts on Racism (which mirror my own)

I think this explains my thoughts about racism a lot better than my earlier post.


Monday, December 20, 2010

The Continuing Saga of my Inevitable Breakdown

I'm having a hard time finding purpose these days. School keeps me so busy that when I don't have something school related to work on (like right now) I wonder what I'm even doing. I don't get the same level of pleasure that I used to get out of things, and it's very unsettling.

I guess it's a good thing, not feeling the same way about things. If I got the same level of pleasure out of playing Halo for the 50th time, then I would probably never do anything else and my life would be very meaningless. It's just such a jolt every time it happens because I get to the part of the year where I have no school and I have to reevaluate my purpose in life.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Endless Documentation

Remember in the old days how photos were special. It cost fifteen bucks for 24 pictures and took time. You had to go to Wal-Mart and even on a good day, it took 24 hours to get your photos back. Instead of snapping every picture possible, you took time to pick photos and selected carefully. Then once you had your photos, they went in an album on a shelf to be pulled out once every year to look at.

Now we live in a world where everyone documents everything endlessly. Everyone has 8 cameras on them at all times and uses them to take pictures of just about anything (ex. lunch, a dog walking past, the newspaper on the front porch). Then on top of that they get posted everywhere. It is very rare for an event to occur where people just go and don't document it. I'm usually quite surprised when I attend something and discover that no one has posted pictures on facebook.

Sometimes I like the fact that there are pictures of lots of things, but at the same time I get sick of it. I didn't need to see a picture of your lunch yesterday and did you really need to take a picture of it? I didn't need to see 35 pictures from the same event featuring the same 5 people in different goofy poses and variations on the duck face.

This is why there are few pictures of me from recent times. Its because I'm actually participating in events instead of documenting them to death. I'll let time sweeten my memories and allow them to change over time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some Thoughts on Being White (Part one of several)

Sometimes I have to fill out these forms and put down my race for one reason or another. I usually look for the box marked "white" or "caucasian", but I always feel silly putting that down. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. What is a white person. If I ask you about white people, I get the feeling that you'll probably talk about things like how we're wealthy, oppressive, and with a religious background that's rapidly turning into a split between Christianity and Atheism. It's very vague though. We're not very well defined as a race and I don't think we ever will be.

This creates the problem of identity for any white person. How do you define who you are in a historical context? Where do you hail from? I have the problem of coming from an assortment of European countries (Germany, England, Poland) with so little cultural transference that I can't identify with any of these places. I usually tell people I'm Canadian, but my family hasn't been here for very long so that's tough to glean an identity out of too.

It doesn't help that just about everyone seems to have some kind of beef with me and my loosely defined collection of people and our "race". Some people that came before me and had the same colour skin as me did some really stupid things, and it appears that some people want to continue that, while others want to apologize for it. How are you supposed to be born into something like that? Maybe asking the question is just playing on my ignorance, but from my perspective, how am I supposed to answer for the crimes of some people who've lived here before me?

I think I'm just trying to figure out who I am and why everyone seems to be so angry at me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Clothes and Some Other Stuff

Sometimes it's tough for me to come up with things to say here. I like to make posts that get to some kind of point or speak about a specific event. Do to the average-ness of my life that means that some weeks, there's not really a whole lot to say and so there's a lack of posts. Sometimes I don't post for other reasons too like work load or depression but usually it's just because nothing has happened that I can talk about.

This week I didn't post because most of the week consisted of staying up til 2 AM working on assignments and studying, and then when I Wasn't doing that I played a show in Coburg with Graven and with Silver Speakers so I was just busy.

I wandered around Toronto for a while yesterday though. I was killing some time and thinking about Christmas shopping but just got totally overloaded. I ended up at the Eaton's Centre just walking back and forth and exploring while witnessing the craziness. How do people get anything done there? It's like an explosion of people or something.

While I was wandering around I started thinking about how it looked like people got all dressed up to go shopping. I don't know if this is just because I'm a guy or if its because I pay very little attention to my appearance but it seems like girls put a lot of thought into what they put on just to step outside their door. It must be exhausting. It seems the same for some guys in Toronto as well but not to the same extent. I don't know how you people do it. I feel tired as is, I can't imagine how much worse off I'd be if I paid more attention to my appearance.

I was thinking about this while I was watching the Kingston Symphony play Handel's Messiah today too. I was just wearing a sweater and jeans and the one pair of shoes that I wear outside these days, which is not to say that I was dressed poorly but I was dressed about as nicely as I get without putting on a suit. I was dressed down from the rest of the crowd though and I couldn't help but think that any widening of my "style band" would require a lot more thinking and a lot more consistent laundering.