It Begins

Yesterday was the day the game changed.

An email from CBC showed up in my inbox yesterday morning.  Development on ‘Crimes of the Art’ will begin immediately, and will conclude Mar 1, 2010.  We could be in production on the series by June 2010.  This series represents our biggest, most ambitious project to date (Urban Future is still at the proposal stage).  It’s real.  It’s really real.

As if that news wasn’t enough to take in, I still had a conference call with PJ and Ken to conduct in regards to The Mother’s Day game.  The game was selected by Multiplat-forum to be presented to a panel of experts.  The call went very well.  We have solid momentum, and there is a tangible excitement in the air.

The day required some quiet reflection when all the dust settled.  My thoughts were bouncing off the walls… everything from bringing Jazzy home for Christmas, to shooting another teaser in Bucharest, to hiring team members, to logistics, to… Courtney.

She came by the office to work on her psychology essay and over the course of the evening we covered off everything from cognitive dissonance to the deceptive nature of baby seals.  We danced to Harry Belafonte and we cuddled on the futon.

In a day full of awesomeness, the absolute highlight was holding her close to me, being perfectly alone with her on the futon, and crafting a perfectly formed moment.

Chantel

I spent most of my walk to Atlantis this morning, composing a single text message on my cell phone.  I’m kind of slow, and my phone kind of sucks for texting.  I pulled my phone out at Broad & 13th, and didn’t finish until I reached Vic & Hamilton.  I cut through two parking lots, so the distance is pretty much a straight diagonal line from my apartment to the coffee shop… about 2 blocks.

Driving while texting or talking on a cell phone will be banned in Saskatchewan, come January.  Given the difficulty I had just trying to walk and text, I generally support the legislation, though I will have to buy one of those stupid looking wireless handsets for my car.  My thoughts turn to Chantel, one of my friends who might completely lose her ability to communicate with the outside world when this legislation comes into effect.

Chantel is like the Stephen Hawking of cell phone users.  Like Hawking, she is brilliant in her own right, and also like Hawking, she communicates with the outside world using an electronic device.  Looking into her eyes and trying to read her thoughts is a completely futile exercise.  You get nothing.  She would be an amazing poker player, if you could actually pry the cell phone from her hands.  She’s also a really good driver (unless you ask her to parallel park).  She loves her truck.

I’m really really worried about her.  In forty five days, she’ll be faced with an identity crisis.  She’ll have to give up her ability to communicate, or give up driving.  We simply have not developed the technology to allow her to do both and this reality might force her to move to some dusty 3rd world country like British Columbia, just so she could continue to be herself.

I’m thinking of starting some sort of awareness campaign.

Useless Tits and Dead Weights

All cows have six tits.  The last two don’t work.  No milk comes out.  They’re useless tits.  They just hang there doing nothing and they tease young calfs with their potential.

It’s the same thing in life.  I know people who spend their whole lives trying to make something out nothing.  Their work ethic might be legendary, their belief unshakable, and their desire, unquenchable.  But no matter how hard they try, they just ain’t gonna get anything out of that hind tit.  It never occurs to them to switch to a different tit, one that might work better… one that could even become a cornutitcopia when matched with their previously mentioned work ethic, belief, and desire.

I’ve been helping Shy with her english essay, but I’m afraid I’m doing more to discourage her than anything.  She wants to approach the work in the same manner she did in high school, and it’s not working very well.  She’s got to break down a short story, and in helping her, I might be overwhelming her.  I only know one way to break down a story… it’s how I make my living, and it’s a very thorough method.  However, for what Shy needs from me, I might be asking her to pull a tent trailer with a semi truck (metaphorically speaking).  Maybe we both need to switch tits.

I also added 5 lbs to my bench press today.  I’m up to 125, and I lifted it 22 times.  I think I’ll stay at this weight for a little while.  My goal is to hit 170 by this time next year.  I’ve had that goal for three years now.  Maybe I’ll find a way to stick with it this time.

Happy Thoughts

It’s Friday the 13th and I couldn’t be having a better day!

My mind is swimming in beautiful thoughts about the girl of my dreams and my lips curl into a smile as I think about the words we say to each other, the string of perfect moments we’ve made together, and the dreams we dream of having together.

I am also writing to you as an award nominee.  InJustice was nominated as best history documentary series for the Showcase Awards.  My cell phone and facebook account has been bombarded with well wishing messages.  It feels good to be loved.

Later today I’ll be at O’Neill High School teaching my media arts class.  I gave the kids an interesting assignment, and I’m anxious to see the results of how well they’ve taken to it.

Highwaymen to Honour Commissioner’s Heroics

Media Release

For Immediate Release

HIGHWAYMEN TO HONOUR COMMISSIONER’S HEROICS

November 12, 2009 (Yellowhead, SK) The Yellowhead Highwaymen will be honouring the efforts of CFLFFL Commissioner Lord Jeff Fritzsche during halftime in their upcoming CFLFFL home playoff game at sold out American Express Kim Jong Il Butcher Boy Meats Stadium.  Last week the Commissioner vetoed an ownership bid between the Highwaymen and regular season champions, JJ Barnagle.

“The JJ Barnagle franchise made a lucrative offer to purchase a stake in the Yellowhead Highwaymen.  Unfortunately they were doing so using the Commish’s credit card,” said Highwaymen owner/coach, Captain Jarrett Rusnak.  “Lord Fritzsche then organized an undercover sting operation using razor sharp guile and incredible intuition to save the day.  The rest is history.”

Police reports state that JJ Barnagle owner, Richard Kies showed up at the prearranged meeting wearing nothing but a speedo, a smile, and man bag holding Lord Fritzsche’s platinum visa.  He was covered head to toe in vaseline.  “I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with Rich until he pulled out the credit card,” began Rusnak.  “I phoned the Commissioner right away.  I was really scared because Rich is an intimidating presence when he’s wearing vaseline.”

Lord Fritzsche swooped in and kept Kies occupied with party balloon animals and Las Vegas strippers until the police arrived.  The Highwaymen intend to name a special section of the stadium in his honour.

-30-

Remembrance Day

In 2007, I sat among an audience of 60 people in the Estonian Embassy in Washington DC for the world premiere of the documentary, ‘The Singing Revolution.’  This documentary is the story of Estonia, a Baltic Republic, whose citizens over the course of several decades, clawed back their freedoms from the oppressive influence of the Soviet Union.  The story climaxes when these citizens formed a human chain in November 1989 that spanned their entire eastern border.  They held hands and they faced down Soviet tanks.  Their only weapons were their traditional songs.  They sang as one tiny Nation, throwing down the tyranny of the entire Soviet Union.  Estonia won its freedom that day, and not a shot was fired.

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada.  It is a day to reflect on the lives of Canada’s war dead, and war veterans.  I’m sitting in a coffee shop across from Victoria park where I just came from a Remembrance Day ceremony.  Thousands were in attendance.  At 11am, we observed a long silence.  The sound of distant gun shots rang off the walls of Regina’s modern glass towers.  The sun shone bright, and the air was brisk, yet refreshing, making for a truly beautiful day.

As I stood in my spot, my thoughts turned inward.  I have never seen a war in person and I hope I never will.  I simply cannot imagine a theatre where humanity presents the worst of itself, for the sole purpose of destroying itself.

I don’t buy into the bullshit of ‘our side’ verses ‘their side’.  ‘We’ are no better than ‘them’.  As soon as we start to draw a line in the sand, a border on the map, a distinction in our ideology, as soon as we start to believe that ‘we’ would be better off without ‘them’, we begin the process of destroying ourselves.  The world needs all of us, warts and all.  All perspectives are equal, even if they appear to be wrong.

Nothing good comes from trying to resolve differences with war.  Throwing one army up against another is a poor way to settle a difference.  It’s like trying to swat a fly with a cannon.  I believe the best way to bring about change is to move the hearts and minds of human beings.  You do it with art, with music, with literature, with ideas, with patience, with mindfulness, with humanitarian efforts, with bridge building, and with empathy.

Force of any kind, be it violence, or of wills, will never win any conflict.  It only shifts the underlying problems to different theatres.  Where individuals take it upon themselves to bring destruction into the world, Nations ought to be using mindfulness, patience and savvy to target the individual, his environment, and his cronies to affect change, not his army.

A bullet takes a fraction of a second to hit its mark.  It will land and kill an individual, but it will not change the hearts and minds of an entire people.  Ideas, presented in the most non-threatening manner possible, and disseminated freely from any oppressive influence, are the only means by which to affect real change.

Being Good

The following is an excerpt from my philosophy article, ‘Boredom, Assholes, and God’s Big Swinging Balls’.

***

All we can do, it seems, is do.  This isn’t just a moral position, but also a practical one.

Think about it.  If we try to act against God’s laws of nature, we always wind up taking it up the ass.  The effort it takes to move all the balls in the air, bend them to our will, is mammoth.  And even then, the success of such an effort is usually a mirage.  History shows that God’s big balls always return to their natural orbits over time.

It seems we’re at our best, when we work within the system, a system that has perpetuated itself for billions of years.  In taking our eyes off the wall, in choosing to join in on God’s big swinging ball party, we figure out that we are at our best, when we do our best to keep the party going.  There are rules in place, not because God’s a control freak, but because things are more enjoyable when everyone takes responsibility for everyone else’s fun at the party.

Thou shalt not leave turds in the punch bowl

Thou shalt not fuck up the vibe in the room with drama

Thou shalt not play shitty Wal-Mart music on the stereo system

Thou shalt not pig out on the Hors d’oeuvres

Thou shalt not brood about shit that don’t matter

Thou shalt respect every asshole in the room

Thou shalt share thine booze

Thou shalt move thine ass on the dance floor

Thou shalt laugh

Thou shalt bring the best of thineself, and share with the room for the pleasure of all

It’s All Good

It’s Monday morning in Atlantis.  The sun is shining bright, and the temperature is going to hit 8 degrees today.  Not bad for November 9 in Saskatchewan.  You couldn’t ask for a nicer day.

Last week I entered my play into the Spring Festivals of New Plays, and find out in January if it’s accepted.  I also submitted The Mothers Day Game for consideration at a Showcase competition.  I changed my facebook status to read, ‘in a relationship’.  I deposited some long awaited cheques in the bank.  I found a way to bring new life to an old project.  I met my new printer.  I took my writing to new heights with a philosophy exercise.  I watched history unfold before my eyes in Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field.

Last week was a pretty good week and I think this can be the beginning of another good week.  I am keen to get started on writing the episode summaries of a new series we’re doing for SCN.  I also find out if InJustice will be nominated for a Showcase Award.  News may yet come down the pipe in relation to a project I talked about last week, and in two hours, I enter what could be the biggest meeting of the year for The Mothers Day game.  I also plan to add 5 more pounds to my bench press and see how I do.

Someone should write a song about this week.

Number One

I was at the Rider game last night with 30,000 other screaming football fans when the team clinched first place in the West for the first time since 1976,  It was an historic evening and the accomplishment was not lost on the crowd.  Pandaemonium ensued as the minutes ticked down and it became apparent that we had the game in hand.  I just stood there in the stands, taking it all in.  Fireworks went off, the crowd was cheering, and we all collectively felt something special going on.  It was almost unbelievable.

The event transcended football methinks.  Regina, Saskatchewan has been shit on for as long as I can remember.  We suffered for decades as a have-not province.  We withstood the insults, we watched our people leave for better opportunities, we watched the Riders miss the playoffs and become the joke of the CFL for years.

But not anymore.  Our economy is the envy of North America.  People are moving here because we offer a great life.  The city is expanding with ambitious projects, and we’re even getting a new domed stadium.  And now, finally, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have established themselves as an elite team.  We are number one!  One more win, and we’re in the Grey Cup.  One more win after that, and we’re champs!

It’s a really good time to be from Regina, Saskatchewan.

Abusive Relationship

I cashed in my favorite son discount at Staples and ordered a new Multifunction Laser/Fax/Scanner/Printer.  I actually placed the order whilst sipping from my pint glass at O’Hanlon’s earlier in the week.  I phoned mom at home and gave her the details.  She works at Staples Call Centre.  I saved $20 on a $307 order.

It was waiting for me in the office when I arrived yesterday afternoon.  We spent several hours getting to know each other.  The printer it replaced looked on from a distant, forgotten corner.

A part of me felt bad, but in reality, that printer had been using me for too many years.  It cost nearly $5,000 and it didn’t do a very good job of photocopying, faxing, or sending documents electronically.  I put up with this behavior because I figured that it’s a $5,000 printer, and therefore its shortcomings must be my fault somehow.  For six years I continued this averse relationship with my HP 4100 until finally, last week, it swore at me.  Not directly mind you, it said it in printer speak.  Something like “-62 Error.”

Something in me snapped.  I thought back to all the memories we had together.  Those late nights of printing, clearing jams whenever I tried to use the duplexer, finagling with settings so photocopies would show up as readable, and sacrificing chickens so that important faxes would go through properly.  There were so many disappointments, and yet, every once in a while, it would reward me with a job well done.  I came to live for those moments.  It was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and I forgot that other people in ‘normal’ relationships with their printers don’t have any of that drama.  I realized that I was in an abusive relationship.

I looked back and saw myself in the past making excuses for my printer’s behavior when my friends were around.  There were times I even lied to cover up for its mistakes.  Month by month, year by year, I slowly distanced myself from my friends, until there was no one left in my life to talk ‘printers’ with.  “-62 Error” was like a slap in the face and I made the decision that enough was enough.  I needed to break free.

They say that sometimes in life, “The asshole printer you know is always better than the one you don’t know.”  I think that’s what was holding me back.  But I’m free now.  I’m ready to start a new relationship, with a new printer, a $307 printer that came with a $20 discount.  It does everything the old printer did, but better… and nicer.

I feel like it respects me, and that’s all a guy can ask for.