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07/01 Direct Link
The crowds of sweaty people can be annoying, yet the energy can be thrilling at the same time. I don't feel that I have to join the celebrations or my life will not be complete, but the novelty of it is attractive. And all those deep fried things to eat. This year, they have no fireworks for security reasons they claim. I am not exactly heart-broken but boy does that seem lame or what. I was down there once and it was difficult to see. When I was single maybe I felt the need to be part of something bigger.
07/02 Direct Link
This Vancouver Olympic bid is interesting to watch. Some people are so goal-oriented, they do not see potential negatives or condemn naysayers as being traitors to society. On the other hand, the critics come off sounding whiny. I wonder how it will all turn out. It could be chance to enhance the long term living conditions of the city. I have been reading about the importance of accepting and dealing with complexity, not oversimplifying decisions so they only consider one aspect of a situation. I hope the results can satisfy the complexities of common sense and improve conditions for all.
07/03 Direct Link
Pot luck dinners are tricky if not everyone gets the idea. We had one the other day and it was a bit of a scramble to fill out the menu enough. The probability is maybe better with more people. And then sometimes somebody brings something that turns out to be inedible. These days especially, people are likely just to buy something to bring. You might as well pool your money and get Chinese food or pizza or other things you can take out these days. Having people over is a pleasant idea, but making it enjoyable can be a challenge.
07/04 Direct Link
The thief is falsely accused of stealing a magical book. The prince lays his life on the line for the thief who is a childhood friend. The thief is supposed to return the book. A female ambassador betrothed to the prince sneaks off to join the ship. Outlaws at sea keeping their paws off her strained credibility, but they did sail to the end of the earth and battle giant sea monsters and birds, so who knows? The thief returns to the save the prince. The woman runs off with the thief to retire in Fiji. Does crime therefore pay?
07/05 Direct Link
Two creative minds that once worked together. One has withdrawn to battle his demons in a cocoon woven by a woman he worships. The other tries to re-create what they had once before. They seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, perhaps they complemented each other once. The hermit comes off as nasty and other times as pathetic, afraid of the world. If it's not fun, why do it? says the other. Different kinds of courage — the kind that pushes you through uncertain times and the kind that props your eyes open to look deeply into yourself.
07/06 Direct Link
When someone chooses to leave this world, I feel them poke me in the chest. What makes my life worth living? I dream of moving others, of working with them, spending time together, sharing moments of laughter. Knowing the satisfaction of accomplishment, the joy of self-improvement. If the other does not know these feelings or cannot see them, what can be done? Only live as example, appreciating the good fortune, acknowledging my own talent and effort. Their life was harder than mine. But are we just the puppets of circumstance? As self-organizing systems, we are as we let ourselves be.
07/07 Direct Link
If you travel a certain distance, you should use up the same amount of energy whether you walk or run. If you run, you use more energy per moment, but you do so over a shorter period of time. I wonder if that is linear? So this is basic physics. Then you have the physiology of the body, where going above a certain level keeps the metabolism firing for a longer period of time so that more calories are burned. I am so efficient I don't waste energy. I need a more efficient intake strategy requiring minimal thought or effort.
07/08 Direct Link
The captain Eggbert is a descendent of Humpty Dumpty. He wears slip on shoes because he can't reach his feet. Barnum, the chief tactical officer, has a red nose and orange hair. He comes from a long line of combat clowns. The feisty little Asian woman with an ikebana arrangement of hair is the head science officer. The all purpose android is Ethel, who combines a wheelchair, a washing machine and a neural net processor. They have landed on a planet of dogs and must be careful where they step. Footware engineers built their giant shoe-shaped ship, the Sole Searcher.
07/09 Direct Link
Messiness seems to be a part of my character. Sometimes I defend it as a tool for creativity. By keeping things out, they are a potential source of inspiration. But clutter can be distracting, I know. Some people tidy things when they don't want to do something else. That has never been a default mechanism for me. Maybe tidy people are more neurotic. Still, I would like a bit more order. Part of the problem is having a place to put my stuff. And getting rid of some things. I still have old computer disks i can no longer access.
07/10 Direct Link
Two little boys came over to our house. The younger boy explores constantly. The older boy, six, is quieter and more cautious. Outside, trying to prove how well he could skip, he stumbled and scraped his knee. But he did not cry. Until recently, his mother kept him in a stroller. He wanted me to solve a puzzle for him, but I just gave him hints until he did it himself. To make a card for a girl he liked, we took turns drawing parts. Playing with them is far more interesting than discussing work or gossiping with the grown-ups.
07/11 Direct Link
In some tropical place, a woman was cleaning her house when a cockroach flew into her mouth and down her throat. What was she doing with her mouth so open, singing opera? Brilliantly, she used a fork to try fishing the thing out. Somehow she ended up swallowing the fork. They had a picture of the x-ray in the newspaper. Ow, that must have hurt. I'm not sure how they got the fork out, but they found that the insect had already been digested. Seems like a classic example of an intended solution being much worse than the perceived problem.
07/12 Direct Link
Intriguing to watch a movie where I don't like the characters, or am unable to sympathize. When people are too messed up, I don't seem to understand why they do what they do. So they can become simply irritating. Still, the movie itself was interesting, with some of the shots, and the situations. Something that might be funny if a normal person did it seems kind of pathetic when this unstable guy does it. Ultimately, it was a love story. But when the guy has violent tendencies, you wonder if it might not end up ugly in the long run.
07/13 Direct Link
The church was beautiful. The ceiling reached up to the heavens. The pipe organ with the filigree was magnificent. The singer had an angelic voice. As a friend and daughter shared their memories, we shared their grief. The priest admitted he didn't know what it all meant, though he did think it meant something. When you don't believe in God, or at least severely doubt the likelihood of His existence, then all the spiritual babble sounds pathetic, idiotic even. Normally i would have been glad to chat with old friends. Today, I felt dumb. I only had one lemon square.
07/14 Direct Link
What is style? And is it a good thing? When our writing group writes about a given topic, without saying who is who, it is difficult to tell who wrote what. Does that mean they are all the same? Some people try to write differently on purpose, to trick the others. Maybe writing as yourself would be a more useful experiment. They were mostly all able to tell mine. Does that mean I am in a rut? Phillip Glass told an interviewer he was disappointed to hear that people could tell his work. Maybe it is a sign of integrity.
07/15 Direct Link
Some people rebel for the sake of rebelling. They point to great people who have met with resistance. They are making some kind of logical error. One is the possibility is that the observed correlation is irrelevant. Great people might all wear the same brand of underwear. Okay, maybe that could have an effect. Anyway, the other thing is not considering all the people who do this thing like rebel, and don't have a good idea. They might just be stupid or crazy. I think if you are really smart, you can get people to change without them realizing it.
07/16 Direct Link
We both ordered tasting menus, me the land, she the sea. The amuse bouche got me salivating: little filo pastry with shrimp and pineapple. Such skilled assembly. Mousse of fois gras on an apple jelly. Such subtlety of tastes and textures. Marinated pork. Such design of the presentation. A blue cheese and a soft cheese with figs and a compote. Such imaginative combinations. Raspberries with a chocolate fudge cake. Everything is exquisite. The petit four was a little raspberry shortcake and a chocolate truffle. Eating like this everyday would be overwhelming, but once in a while, it is a delight.
07/17 Direct Link
The ambiguity of goodness and badness. The attraction of outlaws in Hollywood movies. Something to do with the romance of freedom. Questions of what is right and wrong usually hinge on loyalty to individuals. This is probably what escalates problems in the long term. Beautiful women can be used to justify just about anything. Conscience seems tied to intuition, something distinct from reason and law. Maybe this depends on your sense of priority. What were pirates really like? Their code implied they simply followed different rules. The curse extended to the monkey, suggesting that it was also morally culpable. Fun.
07/18 Direct Link
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the sort of book I wish I'd written. But you could never plan things the way they turned out. He did a radio script and these got modified for TV and then again for the book. Interesting to flesh it out according to the medium. I like Terry Pratchett's Disc World books, the creation of new worlds and playing with it. Perhaps I might develop both a book and a comic. I continue to bumble, somehow believing something good will come of it, if I don't chicken out and dive for security.
07/19 Direct Link
We strolled through galleries, for the first time actually looking to buy. One of decent size was generally more than we planned to pay. If you shift how much you want to spend, then a number of possibilities open up. Many of the places let you browse. Others engage you, which can feel weird when you don't really know what you're doing. It's different from buying a washing machine. Aside from size and price, it's mostly about how we feel. Are we feeling representational or abstract? What do we want it to say about us? A different kind of thinking.
07/20 Direct Link
As a random appendage, I attend my wife's reunion. I notice other bored spouses, as their spouses jump up and down. It's easy to begin chatting about. If I begin with the attitude that I can learn something from them, then it can be an interesting encounter. I find out about good places to golf, the psychology of small children, trends in paint colour and the market for wood organizers. I could have pushed the practical networking thing a little more, but I was still practising my elevator speech. I 'm still not sure how to describe what I do.
07/21 Direct Link
Of course keeping track of what goes in and goes out is reasonable. But somehow it seems more effort than it is worth. My mother is a bookkeeper so she knows about these things so I will listen to what she says. One day, when I have gobs of money, I can have somebody else deal with the bean counting. Or maybe it is a Zen thing to me mindful of details. Maybe it will be good to slow me down and reflect on what I am doing and why. Or maybe it will be an endless source of irritation.
07/22 Direct Link
A black woman who lives in Toronto gets involved with a criminal. She believes she is one with the poor folk of Jamaica. A bold effort when you don't know what you're talking about. Interesting discussion about using imagination in fiction. Especially if they are extreme personalities, can you understand them? A murder mystery involving a woman who falls in love with a cop and then dumps him. Who knows what lurks in the heart of a woman? I enjoy speculating on imaginary worlds. Then commenting on an editorial. What makes for an effective argument? So many uses for words.
07/23 Direct Link
Job postings in the paper hint at different possible futures. Most I have no interest in. A few seem intriguing possibilities, though I am only marginally qualified. I consider applying for them just to keep in practise of selling myself. But getting a regular job now sounds like selling out myself, a cop out for sissies, compared to the path of adventure through an economic hinterland, living by my wits. Occasionally my confidence sags and I grow tired of explaining my life to average citizens. The vortex of mediocrity is powerful. Not to forget the privileged cushiness of my circumstances.
07/24 Direct Link
My breakfast cereal has some skinny brown bits like rusted pieces of wire, some little shiny brown seeds, and puffy brown forms of some kind of grain. Oh, and the dried blueberries. I'm sure this must be good for me. I get something different every time I buy a new box, or at least cycle through maybe five different types. If i have them with banana, I notice I burp a lot more. I read a book once that said the fruit and grain combination produces gas. I wonder if any kids have done a science fair project on it.
07/25 Direct Link
They took a while to figure out it was there. I hung the feeder on the tree among the branches so it was not conspicuous. Then after a rain, I noticed a bunch of birds huddled in the tree. Maybe they discovered it then. They devoured the seed in a few days, when it had sat untouched for a few weeks since I had set it up. I've only seen sparrows so far. Hopefully we'll get something prettier eventually. What a prejudiced thing to say. Maybe I should focus on studying their behaviour. I wonder if I can distinguish individuals.
07/26 Direct Link
The day before, and I still hadn't bought a wedding present. A jumbo box of Corn Flakes from Costco would probably not cut it. At Granville Island, I checked out the various artisan shops. I don't really know the couple that well, so I looked for something nice, not especially clever. They might be moving, so I thought something light and durable. I don't like being too utilitarian, but something just decorative might clash with their tastes. I found some blue woven place settings made by a local artist. A reasonably priced and sized solution. I was pleased with myself.
07/27 Direct Link
My Dad questions our judgment, our abilities. Occasionally, he will begrudgingly acknowledge we have done something well. Then you know it must be good. The rest of the time, you have to defend and maybe overstate your case. Mom expresses concern about practical things, but can ask in a less threatening way, although you still feel the need to defend your decisions. It's good practice. I know they are concerned about my welfare. If I lived closer to them, maybe their concerns would make it harder to take risks. I miss them and enjoy the freedom at the same time.
07/28 Direct Link
The restored old house where a Japanese-Canadian family of twelve once lived was about the size of our kitchen and family room. The pieces on display looked ancient and mysterious. Then my Mom said, "I baked bread in an wood-fired oven like this. You learned how much wood to put in for the right temperature. We used a grinder like this to grind soy beans for tofu." My Dad said, "We had a bath like this, made of cedar, only it was about half the size. The floor had wood planks and you washed outside of the tub before soaking."
07/29 Direct Link
For some reason, the question of homosexual fantasies came up. I didn't recall having any. Maybe I am simply repressed. I don't know, such a pre-occupation with sex just seems so simple-minded. Two women have lesbian daughters. Neither of them expressed interest in a lesbian relationship, although one enjoyed the thrill of a gay men's magazine. One of the guys had been approached by a lesbian when he was in drag. Another who has a gay brother said his situation has just been a part of their family's life. One said he is uncomfortable with public displays of any sexuality.
07/30 Direct Link
They seem to be related. They must take turns because three of the four are there at any time to cut your hair without waiting. They are two generations of chunky Filipinos. They seem to have some kind of interest in the military and advertise military hair cuts. i ask for a number two all over. The TV has some show with a woman getting her breasts modified. He cleans up the edges with a straight razor and uses this vibrating gadget to give me a head massage. I feel like a new man. My brain is ready to sizzle.
07/31 Direct Link
John Ralston Saul's book On Equilibrium is not an easy read. He advocates uncertainty and complexity, so my response is consistent. He writes about the need to balance our qualities of imagination, intuition, memory, common sense, ethics, and reason. He mentions the importance of being aware of others and the existence of society. He complains about corporations and losses of individuality and democracy. He seems to criticize both left and right for their ideological approaches. So much to chew on. So much resonance. I haven't yet digested it. How can I apply it to make the world a better place?