Thursday, December 17, 2009

Women are beautiful.

Catalina Sandino Moreno. She was great in Maria Full of Grace.

Sade is forever.

I always liked Wendy O. Williams. Rest in peace.

Nadine Labaki is untouchable.

Chalk another post up to the folly of youth.

And I should mention I don't believe in being a player at all. This post might incline some people to believe that. Eventually I'll write a post about the subject.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tastes, thoughts. Observation. Marketing. Control.

Sebadoh doesn't promote mind terrors.

I always wonder if a necessary element of writing is to exert authority over a topic or fellow author.

It's easier to criticize something than to create something.

I recently read Kathy Acker's Blood and Guts in High School. Just one more example of the violent, domineering Arab to be found within the text. I should've discussed in class how including this stereotype within the book is a burden against the stand for women's rights that the book creates.
Of course Acker was influenced by Burroughs' Naked Lunch. Both were set in Tangier to an extent. But the topic of Arabic identity in either books is something for another time, since it'll potentially attract discussion/criticism and I should be better prepared than I am now.

Reading a synopsis of Suttree, the book doesn't sound that appealing. Cormac McCarthy's one of the writers to know and study (and I'm sure it's for good reason), like a lot of others whose work I haven't read in full. But I should check out his work and judge it for myself, like every other author I hear about(but a character having sex with watermelons?). It reminds me of when I was in my pre-adolescence and watched movies based almost strictly on what critics spoke of them. I printed out reviews by Siskel and Ebert back in the mid-to-late 90s when Compuserve and Prodigy were popular. Back when there were more R-rated (read: realistic) movies being created.
It made sense; I was young, the critics knew what they were talking about, so why not follow their wisdom?
I remember seeing a poll back then about people who followed critic's reviews or not. The grand majority of them chose that they didn't follow the reviews and instead went by their own judgement. I was honestly surprised by this. But it opened a new door even at that age; I was allowed to fully believe what I wanted to believe when it came to media.

Friday, December 4, 2009

At work on Monday there was an overuse of a cleaning chemical that if breathed in for long enough could cause respiratory poisoning and even death.

There wasn't any warning beforehand as to its use, no signs or words spoken. It was being used on the 2nd floor, where I usually worked. Since there was no warning, I breathed it in for a second and my nose started to burn, as well as my eyes. I ran to the lunchroom while covering my face. It turned out that the lunchroom was the only safe place to stay, and most of us sat there for an hour while others cleaned the chemical off.

There wasn't any serious damage, no one had to go to the hospital, no one fainted. Some felt unbalanced, their eyes were red or their lungs were burning, but it was nothing severe. I was alright but stressing out to the point where my heart started to pound and the nerves in my hands flared up. But I calmed down and studied for an exam as the chemical was being cleaned.

...So for people who might think that I'm one of those young authors who's had everything handed to them and never had to work for anything, that's not the case. I've had a lot of jobs in my life and I've had to deal with a lot of rough situations, like most other people.

This was one of them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's recommended that I spend at least an hour to two hours a week updating this site. And I spend one day every two weeks at least. But it's intentional because I don't want the content I've written previously to get lost in the mix, esp. the second post detailing the background of Disassociation. Yet at the same time I don't want to keep things too stale either.

I've erased a lot of posts because they detail my frustrations with being alone and the distant opposite sex. I can't leave those posts up for long.

So...I'm going insane from not being in a relationship and not having the side of me which values romance being requited. I can't stand the idea that the more you care about a woman, the less she'll care about you. I can't handle the coded ways in which women respond to my company. I can't deal with feeling inferior because I'm not over six feet tall, don't know a lot about cars, don't have a lot of money, don't follow the newest trends, considered a pretty boy. I don't want to believe in the idea that no one wants me to succeed because no one cares.

And more than ever, I don't want to believe that when I write things like this, they only serve to push me further into a corner that I don't want to be pushed into.

Even if no one cares, at least I can care about myself and achieve the goals I've wanted to achieve.
But I can't lie to myself and say that I'm perfectly happy being alone, and I don't care about what other people think because I'm not like that. The question of whether this is a strength or a weakness is a very personal and complex one to ask.

I know this is very basic writing, and it doesn't reflect the extent of my knowledge.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sean Connery advocated domestic abuse towards women. Maybe he's changed his stance from the time this interview was conducted. I hope that he has. It's obvious that what he's saying is wrong.

I'll admit that I watched James Bond movies when I was younger, but I never looked up to Connery or the Bond character in general. It was eye candy entertainment. It was impressive, a rich saga. One man facing the odds of everything against him (despite his backing from the English gov't) and seducing women in the process. I wasn't critical of the politics (gender and otherwise) in the films at the time. Although I can't remember Bond ever physically assaulting a woman, this clip does cast the character in a new and ugly light, at least in my opinion. With the advent of time and maturity, I've become much more critical of the Bond series. But of course I would. Was the series ever designed for 24 year-olds in the first place? Was it instead designed towards the adolescents of the period, to appeal to their disposable income and vicarious experience like so many other artistic efforts?

The amount of Youtube comments advocating Connery's position was pretty shocking to me. They seemed veiled in humour. As if humour softened their concurring views and made them more palpable for the rest of the world to agree with.

As for the actual conversation, I'd like to hear an example of what Connery considered a woman 'not leaving it alone' is. That's not to say that I think he might provide an example wherein I'd agree and say "In that instance, it's completely befitting of a mature male human being to start beating his wife."
The comment by Barbara Walters at the end made me want to watch the entire episode. It reversed the attitude she took on at the time of the interview, for one. Her tone at the end was of eerie cheer. Of course some people are going to say "If he beats his wife, it makes for a stronger relationship," which of course isn't true as many people can attest to. Hitting a woman or members of your family is never justified.

The saddest aspect to this is Connery's large following, and how they could take his views to heart and emulate him. I know this interview is around 20 years old. I'm aware that people have their own minds and don't rationalize violent acts that quickly and easily, but it's still very easy to fall into agreement. Celebrities and movie stars have an inordinate amount of power and importance in society. "If Sean Connery says it, and all these men and women appreciate his position, it's got to have some truth and I can fall into it as well."
Peer pressure. It doesn't dissolve as some people get older, with the fact that since Connery rationalized this behavour, it might have appealed to men with families who are older than I am and who are looking for an excuse to hit their wives. That's never an appropriate way to try and solve any problem.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rest In Peace Nelly Arcan.

A Quebec author who published Putain and Folle. She passed away a month ago.
I don't know much about her but I wish she hadn't died. And I wish I hadn't initially heard about her through the news of her death.
I know these statements could be seen as volatile. I don't mean any disrespect towards her at all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Title Photo.

After 10 months I decided to change the title photo from Jeff Wall's After 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue to the above.

Although no one mentioned it, I had a small amount of doubt and embarrassment regarding my use of Wall's my more cynical moments it felt like I was using his image to brag of my creative prowess, due to the numerous light bulbs hanging above the lone male figure sitting in his apartment.
This wasn't my intention when I first used it as the title; I was in the midst of discovering Wall's photography at the time and I thought After Invisible Man was the most striking piece. And for the art critics who want to pan my former decision based on how I'm attracted to flash more than subtle genius and who want to call 'pearls before swine'...don't.

So now I've switched to another photo I found just as memorable.
I should mention it's not a slight to those who work in cubicles. You might see the great expanse around the desk as a testament to a novelist's creativity, a stark contrast to the labour performed in least that's the stereotype.
It's not true, I don't believe in it. I've just always had an affinity for void warehouses (or devoid, depending on their history...but preferably void). The desk and computer reflect my own lifestyle, but my desk is a fraction of the size and I use a laptop. My desk also doesn't carry as much of an office motif as the one in the photo does. I don't have tape, for instance.
And the fact that nobody's sitting at the desk is an eerie reflection of how I'm not spending as much time as I should on my next novel.

Here were my other choices for the title photo...

This is the Cave of Crystals underneath the Chihuahua Desert in Mexico. You can read about it here.

This is bismuth crystal. There's a copy of this photo that's larger which I almost ended up fit well onto the screen, but the standard black lines on the screen which hold the title photo were sticking out too sloppily to look professional.

Although I really like the snow and power grid in this photo because it reminds me a lot of my childhood, in the end I felt it was another standard sunset photo. Reverberations of what Oscar Wilde wrote about the sunset being too obvious to truly be considered beautiful (which I don't agree with) invaded my thoughts. But I still might use it in the future.

Rest in Peace Roc Raida. I saw him for the first time in Mixtape, definitely impressive.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Draft Collective Reading Series 2009

I was at the Draft Collective reading yesterday afternoon. With only three minutes on the mic (like the other three readers besides me), I read a small selection from Disassociation. The first three photos were graciously taken by Christina Clapperton, who's getting a selection from her upcoming novel published in an anthology entitled Canadian Voices, which comes out November. You can find her website here.

That's a disco ball in the upper middle of the above photo. Is it just me, or can you see a face in it? It looks ominous and smarmy.

These next pictures are of the same reading, but taken from my own camera by one of the coordinators of the event. I'm reluctant to put these up because I also put them on Facebook, and since they're contributing (more or less) to the career I'm hoping to forge I'm wondering if Facebook is going to claim some absurd copyright infringement and demand money from me in the future. I'm not being paranoid; these really are the backwards technological times my generation has to claw and flail through. I've done extensive research into social networking privacy issues and I'm still not entirely sure. But I guess I'll risk it.

There's mysterious occurrences in these photos. I'm pretty sure that black bat-like form in the middle of the above image is a blurry side view of the head moderator coming up on stage to let me know the time. You can't see me reading in either of the photos, but I like them nonetheless...

I was also at the Word on the Street Festival this year, and although I took some pictures they aren't anything worthwhile; it was more me meeting different magazine editors and publishers instead of anything photo-worthy.

The Canadian Authors Association meeting is on the 15th, so hopefully I'll be able to attend it if my new part-time factory job permits. Yes, I work part-time, and go to university, and write, and maintain my apartment's cleanliness and take care of my health and my cat's health as well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Words Alive Festival 2009

I read a short story of mine entitled Cry Much?, as well as two passages from Disassociation.

After my reading the MC of the Open Mic stage, a writer named Malcolm, gave me some very high accolades and the audience gave me a loud ovation. A photographer from Snap Newspaper took me aside and asked me for some information regarding Disassociation, and then proceeded to take two photos of me holding it. I hope they use the photos and info. So it was all worth it in the end.
But when I left the Festival alone, just like when I came in alone, I thought more about how I wanted a girlfriend to share the whole thing with.

I'm in the far middle. There was a larger audience behind the shots as well, about twenty-five people. Modest, but enough to make me nervous.

The shots of my reading were taken by a music teacher also named Adam. I don't know if he'll see this, but if he does*, thanks and I appreciate it.
*originally written as 'is', just now corrected. Better late than never.

Poet David Glick reading from his book of poems inside a restored old house.

Some performers around my age. The woman in blue was giving spoken word to music.

The left side of the Festival.

This woman also performed some simple, clean poetry on the Open Mic.

York Professor Priscilla Uppal reading from her latest novel.

The entrance to the Festival.

I'm also going to be at the Draft Reading Series here in Toronto in early October, so hopefully I'll be able to have some shots from that as well.

I was also at the Word on the Street Festival, and will post the photos soon. I don't know why I thought the International Writer's Festival was this week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Cry much?"

What if our bodies could never heal themselves?

What if commercialization/commodification were viewed in the same regard as molestation and rape?

What if people could at least respond with their real feelings and thoughts? What if the women I've tried to talk to did so?

What if people never played the game of 'Don't contact them, wait for them to contact you'?

What if I disregarded my social values based on how they can easily lead to ugliness, weakness and depression?

What if I never reach my goals of being able to reach and sustain a career that allows for me to provide for myself, my future wife, our future children, and my parents?

What if people remembered what it actually was, as much as what it should've been for them?

What if I broke free of the shell that the Past has tried to slowly construct for me?

What if I received a comment on this website that was actually positive?

Imagine existing only to, at the end of the day, be so grateful and thankful of the slightest response from people whom you've contacted repeatedly and whom you don't owe anything or haven't disgraced (if you even receive a response at all). People whom you've changed your life for, have stressed out over and generally have placed way more thought and importance in...and you know they haven't placed a fraction of the thought and measure in your life as you have theirs. Is it better than nothing? Does the world need people like you in order to revolve?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Words Alive Literary Festival/ 'A Novel' / What Women Want

I'll be heading to the above, the Words Alive Literary Festival, in a week from now on the 20th. I don't have a table nor am I one of the featured authors but I do intend to attend the open mic and read from Disassociation, as well as a short story I submitted to Rampike which I'm not sure has been accepted.

So it'll be 3 1/2 hours taking four different buses from Toronto to Sharon, ON (where it's being held), and 3 1/2 hours back...all for five minutes (I'm guessing) on a microphone, and I don't even know if there's going to be that large of an audience. And I have to pay 5$ to get in. And I'm pretty sure that people will immediately discredit my work - or label it as a fluke - based on the stigma surrounding the 'young author'. But on the other hand, maybe people will take genuine interest. But I should never really count on what I think I deserve, right?

I've never read this novel. I'm guessing it falls under the unnerving portmanteau 'chicklit' which I don't really read. Not to say that the book isn't good though, it may very well be.

I'd like to discuss something that's been in the recesses of my mind for awhile, and it's the subtitle 'A Novel' that's included on the front of book covers. When I was first selling Disassociation through consignment deals in Ottawa, the representative at Chapters told me that it might be a good idea to include 'A Novel' on the cover in order to tell people exactly what the book is.

I didn't end up doing it. I like the cover as it is. At the time when it was first mentioned to me, I felt embarrassed - as though I'd committed a gaffe so obvious and I was getting off on the wrong foot from the very start. But as time passed I noticed more and more novels without the use of 'A Novel'. Watership Down, for example, has nothing more than the author's name, the title, and a nice image of a rabbit behind a blue, cloudy sky. It works just as well - I'd even go so far as to say it adds a bit of intrigue and mystique to books.

They'll never chase other women, they'll always make as much time for you as they can, they'll value your interests and your intellect, they'll treat you respectfully and equally.
It's all a joke.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I'm starting university in a couple of days.

When I wrote nothing more than 'university is..." in the Google searchbox, the results it displayed were overwhelmingly negative. University is a waste of time, university is useless, university is bullshit, and so on.

I've been hearing this sentiment for years, spanning decades of thought and opinion. For example Bukowski spent about one year at higher education: "The only damage they did was to your mind", he wrote although that isn't verbatim. And he wrote much more in his courses than what was expected and was considered an A-grade material student, yet he dropped out. I don't see him as the be-all-end-all of literature but he does write the occasional good line of poetry. Hey, everyone loves him.
I remember my first year of university at the U of Manitoba, how my Economics professor joked that you'd only be able to get a worthwhile job if you weren't in university, and the whole class though they knew their degree would guarantee them a dream job, or as though they went through the System and knew the time/money (because they're one and the same) put into university would have the biggest payoff...Were they right to laugh?
When I worked as a dishwasher in Ottawa I clearly remember a fellow employee of mine lamenting how post-secondary education was a money-grabbing waste of time - and he was in university...
I mean the real secret to success is that (spurred on by a quote by a former American president - Coolidge?) what really matters in the world is how much guts you have...

For the arts? Universty is a waste of time for the arts, of course. Even moreso for writing. I mean I should've realized that people want youthful artists to create MUSIC- and they want people who are older to be their writers. It's futile to even try and be yourself and not conform to what everyone believes by writing. If I'm not conforming to what everyone else believes, how do I expect to have any appeal? Do I think I'll be so immersed in the 'other side' that people will actually care and try to live vicariously through me?

A writer needs experience in order to write. You can't gain experience in a classroom. Just like the best way to interpret art is to be in front of the art yourself (instead of having someone tell you what it's supposed to mean), the best way to write about life is to experience life itself rather than have a teacher tell you what you're supposed to infer from what a writer inscribes. "Go back to school, little Starling."

After all, that's what one of my professors once told me: that the author's intention is irrelevant, and only your opinion of the text counts. Barthes, anyone? "The death of the author is necessary for the reader to make sense of the text", he wrote. But when I created Disassociation, I wanted people to bring up their stereotypes (both negative and positive) of Arabic people and re-evaluate them. To realize that the Arabic person walking down the street actually might not be a terrorist and not agree with terrorist values, and could be their own individual person. And just as importantly, for the young Arabic person to understand what their belief in blind violence could lead to...Do my intentions push my novel into the 'useless trash fiction' category of writing, since they aren't supposed to have any value? And more importantly, does my lamenting of this problem onto the Internet somehow undermine my future? Did I ever have any future to begin with? Would anyone even think to themselves, "I want to broaden my perception of Arabic people and not think of them in a stereotypical fashion?"

...So with all this weight against me and my writing as I get ready to start another year of university, I really don't know if the money and effort I put into York is going to be worth it in the long run. So let's have another chastising comment tell me the opposite!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I'm not above reading any children's literature, but it's usually only the literature that I enjoyed as a child more than a decade earlier, and it consists solely of my old Tintin books and the Bone cartoon books. Lately I've been reading my Tintin books again. I have them all except for Tintin and Alph-Art, and the original Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.

When I was eleven I first heard that Herge, the creator of Tintin, was affiliated with the Nazis. And he did work for the newspaper Le Soir which was under Nazi rule, and he did believe during that time that the Nazi regime was going to establish world control. I don't think that he was anti-Semitic or fascist, but there are theories supporting those thoughts.
I've noticed for awhile that some of the Tintin books don't exactly portray Arabic people in a positive light. For example in The Red Sea Sharks when the Emir doesn't fully express sympathy for African slave-trading; Tintin says it's horrible, and the Emir responds 'Er...yes...' as if he's implicitly taking some part in it as well. Pretty strange.

And on the subject of African stereotypes...When I went to New York for the first time I visited a comic book shop and was surprised to discover Tintin in the Congo, a book I'd never even heard of before. Yet to this day I haven't read the whole thing because of how stereotypical the book portrayed African people. There's a scene where an African fails at doing something and Tintin responds "I'll show you how a real man does things", and that pretty much turned me off from the rest of the book. Tintin doesn't talk like that.

I know that some Tintin books refute stereotypes though, such as The Blue Lotus which clearly disputes widespread European beliefs about the strange practices of Chinese people, such as women dumping their babies in rivers. But it seems Herge was advised to refute these stereotypes, rather than doing it of his own accord...

And Herge should've given credit to his whole staff and not just put his own name (which is actually a pseudonym) on all the books.

I admired Tintin so much as a kid that I went to the Tintin Store in Montreal with my mom once and bought a Tintin watch and a couple of books. And when I read The Beach by Alex Garland I found his discussions on Tintin pretty cool (he also references the series in The Tesseract with the Karaboudjan and in The Coma with the word puzzle).

And even though I plan on buying the Alph-Art book, I still find the realities behind Tintin a taking larger and larger presence.
That's adulthood.

And no, I don't plan on seeing the movie. Why aren't there more original movies being created rather than remakes of what was popular in the past?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Time after time.

Things I appreciate nowadays:

1) My cat Grvslv making a soft 'mah-mah' sound (hence the above photo, which I'm reluctant to put up because it's not the most masculine image. But I think it's funny, who cares.)

2) The songs Time after Time (Cyndi Lauper, also not the most masculine) and Nighttiming (Coconut Records).

3) Receiving a pair of winterfresh scarlet red OG DC Kalises in the mail that I bought off eBay for $20.50. I'm so proud of the adjective 'winterfresh'. In fact, I'm going to copyright it. Wait, gum companies already use it?

4) The good weather here in the Toronto area, and the strong sunscreen I've been using to keep it at bay.

5) Random pieces of information. I passed a golf course on the way to my apartment building this evening and saw a golfer playing in the dark...and he was using glow-in-the-dark golf balls. I had no idea. I can just imagine the connotations between a glowing golf ball and a shooting star start to arise, most likely in golf magazines. Golf.
And I found out today that Spam is actually an acronym for Shoulder of Pork and Ham. I don't eat pork, and I'll never eat Spam in my entire life. But this factoid is interesting due to how it's a contender for the most useless piece of information I've ever come across. No offense, but I just don't like Spam. Sort of like a certain Monty...

Simple pleasures...for a simple mind? I don't think so, contrary to popular belief...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Famous photos.

These are images by photographers whose work I've pored over in public libraries.

By Don McCullin.

By David Plowden. Industrial Landscape is one of my favourite photo books, although this particular image isn't from it.

Both photos by Yousuf Karsh. He took multiple portraits of Albert Camus. In one of Mr. Karsh's books he shares personal anecdotes about his subjects. Although it wasn't during the above picture, Karsh asked Camus what he thought of the growing Arabic world (Camus was Algerian). Camus responded simply by saying that the Arabic world had a long way to go...
...Simple doesn't necessarily mean devoid of thought and intelligence.

I remember hearing a certain reason why people hold their hands to their head while posing for photos. I can't remember what it is offhand but I'm guessing it's because it makes us look more thoughtful and therefore more intelligent. I heard cosmetically it can give us a tiny 'facelift' and compliment our features...
...I'm not sure if it goes deeper than that, though.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

That poem by William Carlos Williams - the old woman (the narrator's mother? I can't remember) who says she's grown tired of seeing trees...

...This came to my mind when thunderstorms were tearing up the sky this evening, and I enjoyed seeing thunderbolts connected like veins on my hand suddenly flash in the dark sky...

The thought came to my mind that I've always enjoyed seeing lightning. And then the Williams poem came to mind. After that, I wondered if I'd grow tired of seeing lightning in my old age.

Internet watchdogs trying to pinpoint the interests of their target demographic please take note.
As well as other writers who steal ideas.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The News.

Today I read in the news about Ronnie Biggs, one of the main criminals of the Great Train Robbery back in 1963. He's getting released from prison due to his ailing health in his old age.
The article I read described the robbery as 'daring'. At its end, it explained that Ronnie came back to England after escaping from jail and traveling the world, finishing off with his quote of how his 'last wish was to enter a pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter'.
The article seemed to portray Biggs as a rapturous, whimsical ne'er-do-well with a wink in his eye, swooping down from a staircase and catching your woman along for the ride, leaving her breathless and exhilarated and stealing her away to exotic locales with his large fortune he acquired from his gutsy adventures you would never attempt to try, so timid are you. A real man, this Biggs - grown up from his days of bullying others at school and making all the girls secretly swoon, wanting to tame and change this wild Alpha Male.

So, fine. Sometimes I feel like I exist only to be ridiculed and/or imitated, as people respect and admire criminals and those who use others.
"You're his servant now".
"I lose interest in a man as soon as he begins to care for me."

Codes, games.

The boxer Arturo Gatti committed suicide recently and one of the speculated reasons was his problems with women.

What follows is a true anecdote. I was on the bus about a week ago and behind me were two elderly women talking about the affair with Arturo Gatti. I hate eavesdropping but I forgot my mp3 player and they were loud. One of them mentioned how Gatti's wife was plotting the whole thing.
"Women are evil", this elderly woman said. "My son had to deal with his wife divorcing him and taking his things..." She kept repeating it. "Women are evil". "Women are evil, my son had to deal with..."
One of Gatti's family members was quoted as saying "Even if he had problems with his wife, there were at least twenty other women waiting in line..."

There was a terrible shooting in Pittsburgh a few days ago and my condolences to everyone who was harmed by the tragedy.
The shooter had a website and on part of it he wrote about his long sufferings with women, which I think authorities believe was one of the reasons of his violence. He ended his website by saying "Death Lives".

Suicide and violence. I would never consider either.

"It doesn't hurt as much when you're young".
It will never hurt that much.

"Writers are the loneliest people in the world", Anais Nin wrote in her diary.

What can I say? I need a woman in my life, but aside from that?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Body Break.

I went to Popeye's the other day and ordered four pieces of chicken, a biscuit and a 7Up. It was the most fast food I've had in a long time, a couple of months at least. It was a long walk as well. Reason being for this journey was that I simply felt like eating some fast food, which is a craving that arrives from time to time, yet it's not strong/justifiable enough for me to satiate it. And this time around when I did acknowledge the urge, it reminded me of why I don't eat it more often.

The one thing I can safely say about being twenty-three is that during this year I became a lot more health-conscious. Aside from that, and finishing another year of university, there's nothing else I can really be proud of in my own life. I did start this website and Disassociation has garnered more attention, my mother's healthy and positive and that always gives me support, my dad's taking care of himself...all these factors give me strength as well. Being health-conscious is certainly one of them.

I started weight training at the university gym last September and I haven't stopped since. This is a clear contrast to when I was an adolescent and teenager and tried to exercise for a couple of weeks and then stopped for months, even years, then started again for a little while...and then the pattern would continue.
But when I started university last year I started weight training to build muscle mass, for two simple reasons. The first is that it cost less than twenty dollars to go to the gym. The second and infinitely more important reason is that it provides a strong feeling of stability to my life. This is a time where I don't have a wife or girlfriend for support, I don't have a clear and bright path for my future, and where I truly believe I'm at the age where I need to start practicing the habit of maintaining/developing my good health, to prepare for my future. And when I do achieve what's lacking in my life now, I'll still be performing workout routines because it really is a part of who I am now and nothing can change that.
When I was fourteen I (along with my class) was informed by my teacher that guys start working out either because they're actively involved in team sports (which I wasn't), or because they want to attract women. The latter, my teacher went on to say, quit after a couple of weeks or so. But I'm doing it for neither of those reasons. It gives me peace of mind (no matter what physical strain I go through at the gym) to know that I'm properly developing my body.

But what's important is health, and diet. My optimal diet is one that holds about 3600 calories, yet with no trans fat intake and a 90% daily recommended saturated fat intake at most. I'd list all the different foods I eat but that would take too much space (available upon request). The drawback to my diet is the sodium intake, which is higher than 100%.

They say that a proper diet is 80% of the equation to gain mass, and excercise is the other 20%. Not scientifically proven, but a large diet is definitely important. But with an increased diet comes inspection into what ingredients are within it, and from this I learned all about MSG, or monosodium glutamate. It was initially revealed to me after watching a Youtube video that explained how Muscle Milk contained a large amount of MSG and was detrimental to people's health (a lot of protein powders contain MSG as well). I didn't know much about it prior to my studies into proper health, only noticing that Oriental restaurants promoted their foods as being devoid of it. Studying MSG, I found that even though it's naturally occurring in foods, strong amounts of it can act as a neurotoxin on the brain. Fast food chains are especially notorious for adding MSG to their foods - it becomes addictive to the human palate, making us buy more. In order to hide the name 'monosodium glutamate' from their ingredient lists on products, food companies use names like 'hydrolyzed vegetable/corn/etc. protein', or 'natural flavour' or 'calcium caseinate'.
KFC is one of the foremost perpetrators of MSG. I haven't eaten KFC in years because I couldn't stand it (but I don't look down on people who do like it). And as for Popeye's...I'll be honest, I'm not sure if Popeye's uses this neurotoxin, but it seems very likely. I ate all the food I bought but I had grease on my hands and face and felt like I knew better the whole time. There was also a piece of aluminum foil - I believe - on a chicken leg.
It wasn't a case of "I'm doing it so I can remind myself how much I hate it". I was merely hungry for chicken and wanted to eat a lot of it to get a lot of calories, despite the consequences. So after my experience I won't eat fast food again for who knows how long. I also went for chicken rather than beef due to how much of the world's resources are improperly allocated towards cattle production.

I'm not perfect, though. I sometimes use a protein powder that contains glutamic acid, which is a lesser form of MSG. I don't eat as much as I should be in order to gain more mass (I only weigh 150 pounds and want to reach 200 - I used to weigh 140). I drink alcohol a bit more than I should. And sometimes I feel that people see my efforts as an attempt to fit into the brutish, dominant Man that's aligned with violence and idiocy, rather than a path towards stability and assurance. That it's just another factor to distance me from other people, or to make them jealous of me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shyness, nervousness...

...I've been entertaining thoughts of increasing age allowing for a decrease in these emotions. Just to get to the point where I tell myself "I'm too old to keep feeling these feelings". Of course the question that then arrives is whether or not the current situations which cause me to feel these emotions are the same ones that have arrived in my past (or different in some areas, but essentially the same). And the other question of how much I need to overcome these emotions arises; how integral overcoming them is going to be in order for me to create a stable future for myself. It makes me wonder about the balance of age, where a stronger sense of self and importance is weighed against the problems of maintaining responsibilities and the strength of your name.

We all have our own definitions of work. There is no basic definition of work, aside from perhaps doing activities that you earn money from. But even that last part of the sentence is debatable. And I don't even want to delve into this lest it cast me into some 90's slacker neo-hippie that a fair amount of the world would believe it does, but it still gave me pause for consideration today after going to the bank.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This is not a case of rodomontade.

Disassociation seems to be a favourite among eBook customers...

...which can be found by clicking here. It's number 17 on the list of Customer Recommended eBooks.

It seems too good to be true, but I hope it is.
There have been a lot of times where I say to myself that I just have to move on, and focus on my work. That's the only thing that matters. To look forward and put my energy in my work. If something's not panning out, in the end it doesn't matter - the work survives.
There's a certain amount of comfort and esteem in thinking like this - at least there was, for me.
But recently I thought about how thinking like this is only causing me strain - how it's unhealthy. If there's a problem, I wouldn't have to know why - I'd just forget about it and continue with my work. It's not appealing any more.

I was at last year's Toronto Small Press Book Fair, but I didn't go this year. I was worried that it would be the same people, doing the same thing - that it wouldn't be a new experience any more. The same audience and the same writers. I don't mean to call down the Fair, though. And this is where a flaw of mine comes into play - I shouldn't be worried about the same things. There was a large potential for new opportunities but I didn't see them, I only saw what was potentially negative.

I was going to mention something else, but I can't remember. I still haven't taught myself to immediately jot down what comes to my mind all the time. I do it most of the time, but haven't now...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Today I was thinking about how people can start from the bottom and be seen as unkempt and ugly, and then slowly rise from this muck and be considered prestigious and worthy and all of them deserve it?

I hope most future literature is based around social networking, because it most likely will in order to appeal to the widest audience it can in order to sell more books. At least the book industry isn't as shallow and trendy as perhaps the music industry - even though they're both considered arts/entertainment. That label Arts and Entertainment has always bothered me. As if a piece of art that was created to inspire and evoke brain matter is on the same level as shallow vicarious eye-candy entertainment. But it's too late to reverse the two words from becoming synonymous with each other, right? May as well get used to the relation because you can't reverse it...

It's funny how my generation is the first one to be born around computers, since they were integrated into my everyday life for as long as I can remember. Back when I was 9 - 10, computers were normal; we used Encarta to research topics we were studying in school. But this was before social networking. It's definitely important to be critical of it. In the 'developed' world more than other countries...

As you can tell, I don't have that much to say here.

RIP Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. You didn't influence me as much as others, but your impact is undeniable.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

28 to 45, double-digit fixed income.

I should like to discuss three American cities that have always remained mysterious in my mind: Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

I've never been to said cities. As a matter of fact the only American towns I've been to are Minneapolis, New York and Fargo. Yet B, P, and C are intriguing to me due to how I've built them up in my mind, starting from childhood. When I was seven to ten years old I collected baseball cards, and enjoyed the names and logos of their teams; the Orioles, the Pirates, and the Reds. I had an old Game Gear baseball game that I played frequently and all three of those teams were on there, cementing the cities in my memory. I never had a great urge to visit any of the cities, but they still interested me.

Thinking about them now, with the exception of Pittsburgh having a strong hockey team (but I'm never really sure of how large the role of hockey is in American consciousness - when Anaheim was playing Ottawa for the Cup a couple of years back, I jokingly remarked that the series was rigged so Anaheim would win due to how it's located in California, the most densely populated state in the US, and if California received the glory of the Stanley Cup it would exponentially increase interest/sales in NHL tickets and merchandise which would be strongly needed for the franchise because of loss of revenue from the previous lockout - but enough of sports theories. I actually rarely pay attention to sports, but still appreciate them from time to time), I don't really know much about them. I never hear anything about said cities in the news, and I haven't noticed anything based in or around them (aside from the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, but I'm not researching this so I'm not sure of other outlets. There's most likely a lot of history and achievement throughout the three cities, but I'm just discussing my initial thoughts). But without research, I can safely say that Baltimore is in Maryland, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and Cincinnati in Ohio. Aside from these most basic of facts, the well quickly runs dry.
I was tempted to include Detroit in the mix because it has the same vibe in my mind, but I know more about it than the other three - medium to high crime rate, a large automotive industry (immortalized in David Plowden's photography book Industrial Landscape), and of course Robocop. I'm not speaking ill of Detroit when it comes to the crime rate, once again I'm donating my first impressions.

There's just a modicum of intrigue and secrecy about Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati to me, someone who's grown up in Canada and rarely visited the States. I'm not trying to be whimsical, I'm only trying to be honest and critical of my own views.

And all the cool kids shout out, "No one cares!"

Plese leave comments so I can increase my popularity at school. They'll like me once they get to know me, I just need an 'in'. So no one will take me aside and say, "You're trying too hard."

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Tyndall Effect.

What's up, John? You pointed out the fact that I need new entries here and I've responded because I'm cool like that (even though I have an English paper, a science experiment, and four final exams to complete from the 20th to the 27th). See you in about 12 days, blood.

Kiki Smith is a great artist. And Nan Goldin, who is a great photographer, took the photo. And yes, I know this website seems to only be a showcase of my tastes instead of my work but this will change in the summer months...

P.S. And the Amazon link has been revitalized as well. I just clicked on it to see if it still worked and it didn't, who knows for how long, who knows how this negatively influenced my reputation/credibility as an author...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New content?

Coming soon...

...As you can see, the hype machine is in full effect. Like billboards that initially display cryptic phrases that eventually become full-on advertising slogans...

...No, but seriously, in the midst of university work ("The reason you go to college is to learn how not to work" - An Albatross), I'm just not sure what to put up next on the site. But hopefully I'll be able to come across something interesting soon..

...something like this , maybe...

...with a discussion to follow.

P.S. The title photo is by Jeff Wall, and no, that's not me in the photo.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fine arteeste.

I watched My Kid Could Paint That a couple of days ago and thought about this Kids in the Hall sketch. I don't know if I can recommend the movie due to how it cast me in uncertainty regarding how much Marla, the girl who paints, was being helped with her work. But I can, on the other hand, recommend this sketch. And I know this has nothing to do with writing and literature, which is what I'm focused on; I just find art interesting. And isn't writing a blog about sharing your interests so that internet watchdogs can report back to their marketing companies?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Reading at the University of Toronto.

Last night I read two passages from Disassociation at the Hart House at the U of T. It could've gone better, it could've gone worse, but I was still comfortable nonetheless.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Social Problem photos.

Social Problem is a rare book of paintings by Mark Gonzales. It also contains his first-ever published poetry. It was published in Japan by Little More. When I met Gonz last year at an art show he had, he signed my copy for me, which is shown in the top photo. I took photos of the show as well, but I'm saving that for later. This post and a few future ones will be comprised of photos I've taken of random pages of Social Problem.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Two years and counting.

Two documents of material, all of it going towards my next novel. Three books planned after I finally finish this one. But this novel I'm writing now deserves the appropriate amount of time and energy required to make it the best I can make it. I don't know when it'll be done - most likely a little while after I receive my degree - but I've been working on it for the past two years and will be for years to come.

Dinosaur Jr. concert June 2007