Ink & Paper

Friday, April 09, 2004


Well I've finished The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe, a book I started only a few days ago. This novel is flat out excellent, no wonder he has gotten so many accolades for it. Basically, it is an epic tale of travel, revenge, failure and love, all set around the 1850s on the plains of what was to become Sask, Alberta and the upper US states like Montana. I would highly recommend this novel, it is in paperback, so it should go for about $20. I have not read a book like this in a long time. This book has definately cracked Jay's Top Ten list of favorite books.

Next up: The Old Man and The Sea by Hemingway.

I suppose it is a good thing that I finished this book quickly, as I do have exams coming up. I must say, I have little to no desire to study this time around. I will of course, but this is by far the most "blah" I have been feeling towards school in a long time. End of the line I guess, almost.

So Dr. Condi Rice spoke before the 9/11 commission yesterday. Does anyone know what here doctorate is in? Just curious. Anyway, she spoke, offering no apologies or admittance of failure. Pretty much what I suspected she would say, although just once in my life I would like to have a politician come out and say the truth, no fancy wordy footwork. Just the truth. Odd how this administration claims to be about truth and freedom, yet reveals so very little.

Bush and Cheney are scheduled to go before the commission, but much to my surprise, they will not be testifying under oath like everyone else has been. Am I the only one who feels this may be a little shady? Mind you I don't think the whole "raising one hand, other on the Bible" thing holds any water as so far as hearing the truth is concerned. But I would at least like Bush to have to go through the motions, instead of simply refusing to go under oath. Much like the JFK assassination, I suspect we the public will never know the entire truth about 9/11.

Preston Manning, ex-leader of the Reform party, is someone I usually don't like to agree with, but there was an article in the paper today quoting him as saying that Albertan's may been starting to get fed up with Klein, and that we may be headed for another one of our spastic elections that come along every couple of decades and toss the ruling party out. The Socreds were tossed rather quickly and unexpectedly after 40 years of governing Alberta, and Manning suggests that the same fate may be approaching for the Conservatives. Issues such as healthcare, education, water rights (1/4 of all Alberta's water is set aside for industry, and by industry we mean oil, of course)and a general feeling that the Conservatives have stopped listening to people's concerns are what were mentioned. Now I know this all sounds like left wing hippie crap to you right wingers out there, but remember that this is waht Preston Manning is suggesting. I don't think it will happen next election, but it's nice to hear this kinda thing from the right wing old guard.

Lastly the new season of Trailer Park Boys starts this Sunday at 10 on Showcase. It is a rather creatively crude look at the remarkably hectic life that occurs in a trailer park. Do tune in if you can, it's a nice half hour time killer until The Road Home (the greatest radio show of all time) starts on CKUA at 1030pm. Poetry on the radio? Just another reason why I love that radio station.

Have a good Easter, eat well, and sleep in. Cheers.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 11:00 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Wednesday, April 07, 2004

This is a chart of how Cadrin feels I see the world. I do say, old chap, it's fairly accurate. Well done old boy!
All scores out of 10, by the looks of it.....

Jay's Cultural World Rating Reasoning

Personal 10 You are what you do, can't beat that
At home (ie Megan Influence) 9.5 Appreciate having Megan but don't get your way all the time

Apartment building 8 Nice building; problems = lack of personal space, and Bums

Neighborhood (Whyte Ave) 7 Socialist neighborhood, too many drunk students/pretentious hippies

Place of Work (School) 6 Exercising the brainmore than body, but too many dumb undergrads

Edmonton -9 Stupid beer drinking, sport loving, stuck in a time warp, red necks
Alberta -8 Senseless Provincial government, too American friendly
Western Canada 0 Only Vancouver/Northern territories help balance Alberta's uselessness

Canada (Whole) 3 Government corruption/not enough social spending weakens Canada

North America -1 The Canadian / US alliance show's no respect for it's elders

World 0 Neutral, who knows what if the Moon or Mars is better.

Note: Only those places where you'd fear for your life (ie. Chinese torture chamber) would I consider to be a minus 10.

This may also be why Cadrin sometimes suffers during final exams. Thanks Marco!

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 3:43 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


In all the time I've been writing this Blog, not once have I talked about my brain. And seeing the word "brain" is in my web address, I think it is about time.

Frankly, I am in love with my brain. It's a good brain, not great, but certainly passable. It does the job. Somewhere I read that the average university student has an IQ of 115. I like to think that I am average, although if I were smarter, I would probably have remembered where I heard that particular stat. I hope that I'm not the 100 IQ balancing out the guy (or girl, snicker) with the 130 IQ, but you never know.

Like I said, it is a good brain and I enjoy feeding it. No, I don't eat whatever food du jour is that they claim helps with my smarts. What I mean is that I enjoy making my brain work, feeding it the good stuff like novels, creative music, and CBC. It seems that my brain is getting stronger, although not to the superhuman/rule the world kind of power that I wish for. But I'm definately smarter than when I was 6 or 12.

I'm kinda glad that I'm not an idiot, but on the other hand, ignorance is bliss, to a point. I'm also rather happy that I tend to use my brain, writing and reading, instead of just staring at the wall. I don't think that I fully appreciated my brain when I was younger, as I was more concerned with sports and making sure my jeans covered my shoes just so. But as I get older, and running my ass into shape gets harder, I find I have gravitated towards my brain.

I don't know if I'm being egotistical, I hope not. I never did claim to be the smartest tool in the shed. It's pretty obvious to everyone that Megan is smarter than me. Well, she's not street smart like me, as I grew up in the hood, while she grew up as the daughter of a tyrannical mayor in a kingdom-like protected atmosphere. But I do love my brain and so far, he loves me back, offer weird little insights than make my day more surreal. I suppose if my brain was a dud, I wouldn't see these little things that cause me to write furiously at night. Nor would I offer my thoughts on the interweb, if I didn't think that at one point or another they would hold water. So my brain seems to be holding up his end of the deal.

Thats what I've been thinking about lately. So be it, I guess. I do now have to wander off to class, looking around and into the sky, thinking fleeting thoughts and trying to understand more of what I see. Cheers.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:38 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Monday, April 05, 2004

All that ranting, and not a single comment. For shame.

I had a relatively good day today, got my passport info started with a trip downtown. And yes, I did see Cross, lying in the gutter drinking wine from a box. He said it was a coffee break, but there is no way that EPCOR would let him work there smelling like he did. Just kidding Cross.

I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude tonight and I must say it was one of the tougher reads I've encountered. Lots of detail in the novel, so I really had to read it closely so as not to get lost. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the author and won the Nobel Prize for Literature for the novel, which has sold over 20 million copies in numerous languages.

It basically examines the life and death of a mythical town as well as the main family in the town, throughout all the changes that come along in one hundred years. It has been compared to the human race, with our violence and love, heros and villians, and the way that we remember history. It is a sweeping novel, one that I would recommend simply because it is unlike anything else out there. Plus he won the Nobel Prize, which is almost as important as my endorsement. It recently made Oprah's book club, but don't let that turn you off.

So now I am going to start reading The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe, a Canadian. This book recently won the CBC Reads Competition, so I'm looking forward to it. The Booky Book link gives you the low down on it. I also just picked up (although Megan paid, she's such as sweetie) Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea as well as a collection of poetry by Pablo Neruda, so I'll get to them in due time I'd imagine.

On the fascinating story front, I would like you to check out this story, which proves that perhaps this world isn't doomed after all. Well, it is, and humanity will probably be driving the SUV through the gates of Hell, but this little town shows us the way things could have been. Read on about the little town known as Gaviotas.

Time for bed. Hope this finds you well and that you managed to show up for school/work/AA meeting on time after daylight savings. Spring back, fall forward, right?


A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:19 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Sunday, April 04, 2004

A Jumbled Collection.....

Mordecai Richler, in Dispatches from the Sporting Life said: "The capital of Alberta is a city you come from, not a place to visit, unless you have relatives there or an interest in an oil well nearby. On first glance, and even on third, it seems not so much a city as a jumble of of a used-building lot, where the spare office towers and box-shaped apartment buildings and cinder-block motels discarded in the construction of real cities have been abandoned to waste away in the cruel prairie winter. If Canada were not a country, however fragmented, but instead a house, Vancouver would be the solarium-cum-playroom, an afterthought of affluence, Toronto, the counting room, where money makes for the most glee; Montreal, the salon; and Edmonton, the boiler room."

Well, I have come to the conclusion that Edmonton reminds me of the little kid at recess who is trying mightily to be included with the other cool kids, but just doesn't fit. Edmonton is a cultural wasteland. Firstly, the Oilers missed the playoffs. Boo-hoo, they just would have lost in the first round anyway. But, true to form, the media and the populace get all revved up about a sub-par team of overpaid millionaires, who by the way vastly underperformed the entire season save for the last 15 games.

And when they lose, as they always do, Edmonton comforts itself with one of two thoughts. Thought #1 is that next year, things will be different. Yeah, it'll be the same sad story next year, just like it has been for the last 13 or so. The other thought is that comforting blanket of memories, where we will recall "glory days of the past." It's almost as if we are an old man, telling exagerrated stories of whatever makes the current disillusionment fade away.

Oh not me, you say. Bullshit. This entire town ground to a halt in November to watch the outdoor game, which was more hype than talent. But it was hockey, and we all got to reminisce, talking of pond-hockey, Canada's treasure etc etc. It was as if the only thing that ever happened in this backwater city was an outdoor hockey game. And now we see the city crying over the missed playoff opportunity. Look, I understand that economically, the Oilers making the playoffs is a good thing, but thats not the point of my rant. I just think it is rather sad that our city is so hockey bound. Now we'll get a week or so of post-mortem bemoaning before we start to watch the playoffs which may feature teams such as Tampa Bay (a hockey hotspot!). And we'll sit in front of our tubes, thinking of next year and hoping that Gretzky may come through town just one more time.

Onto point #2 why Edmonton is not unlike that loser kid at recess. When we do get a notable event like the Junos, we try oh so hard to drudge up some culture, as we know that Canada will be watching. And while the underground music scene in Edmonton is pretty good, we instead watch for Nickelback and write stories of how Shania couldn't make it, as she was buying another castle in the Alps. Everyone goes to the Mall, which is our slim grip of fame, and screams a lot for overproduced bland bands, while Ben Mulroney talks about, well, how big the mall is. And after all the stars leave, we will sit back in our chairs, hope we looked cool to the rest of the country, drink our beers and watch the playoffs. Perhaps we should try to develop a little more culture, instead of having notable people "bussed in" for breif performances that don't get any press anyway.

And finally, as more of a side-note than anything, how can Edmonton claim to be a great city when you drive down Calgary Trail (north and south) and see mile after mile of ugly billboards that are missing letters. Ugly "power centres" such as South Edmonton Common and poorly paved main thoroughfares simply announce to anyone new driving into the city that we are vastly unprepared to emerge as a notable city. We al know the LRT expansion won't ever go beyond the hospital. And I'm not even gonna get started on the industrial parts of Edmonton.

Culture? No thanks, we have oil and spend our money at one big chain store after another. MacCleans magazine did a survey a few months back of the top cities in Canada in which to live. Edmonton didn't make the cut. I'm sure that people sat back, bitched about the myth of western alienation ("That f**king easterner magazine doesn't understand the west") and turned on the hockey game. But here is the kicker: Calgary was on the list, as was Vancouver. Almost all of the cities that made the list were noted for having some strong, locally based cultural scene. Obviously Vancouver has more to brag about than Edmonton, but Calgary has moved itself onto the forefront of Canada's cities because it, well, consistently acts like a big city. It is not longer the second city in Alberta. It is the city. Where Edmonton tries to put on it's best suit and act like a contender whenever something or someone is coming through town, Calgary assumes people are coming on a regular basis and consistently holds itself up to big-city standards. And that is why Calgary made the list, wearing a well-cut suit, and Edmonton failed again, trying to fit into an old tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, hopeless out of touch and content to remain a fat kid at recess because getting our ass into shape to run with the big boys is too much work.

Now that, that is a rant ladies and gents. I've also updated the links.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:31 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


© Ink & Paper 2005 - Template by Caz.