A Theoretical Exploration of Banter

Bantering with the dudes behind the counter at Atlantis means I can banter with the hot chicks behind the counter and not seem like a creep.  Balance.

It’s not superficial.  Carl and I have had some deep conversations.  We even hugged once (in a manly way).  Ryan’s great for light witty exchanges.  He and his girlfriend just had a baby and since I’ve been there, I can pass on fatherly advice.  Eric and I took a class together and wander through the same circle of creatures.

I’m not quite at that level with the girls.  Most of the ones I got to know have moved on.  Katy’s fun.  Saw her in O’Hanlon’s the other night and I gave her a hug.  She even invited me into the back room once to fix the internet.  Sara’s nice, but just doesn’t seem that interested chit chatting.  Abby owns the place and she’s just happy I’m a regular.  The others I can make laugh, but I don’t even know their names.

I do keep it brief.  They’re working and are more or less forced to talk to me if no one’s around.  Conversations are like a game of catch.  You throw and the other person receives.  If they throw the ball back, it’s an invitation to play.  Back and forth you go like that until it’s time to get onto something else.  I find it’s always better to leave the game early, ensuring they’ll want to play another time.

I realize how lame it seems to be cataloguing my coffee shop relationships in this way.  I would worry about anyone who breaks the nature of their relationships down like that.  I mean, from there it would not be a great leap to expect this same person to be storing his urine in jars, or cheering for the Stampeders or something.  I don’t do either.

As a writer it’s important to pay attention to these things.  It’s also important to understanding coffee shop protocol, lest you be shunned from the place.  Most people know these things subconsciously.  Making a conscious effort to unravel these types of human interactions makes my writing better.  It also makes me more of a social retard.

I get wrapped up in these cause/effect loops.  Why am I talking to you?  What do I want out of the exchange?  Am I having fun?  Does this make me a creep?

Sometimes it’s just betting not to ask.

Nothing Doing

I have 20 minutes to finish this article.  After that I must leave.

Got nothin’ to say.

That’s my vice, by the way.  Nothing.  Specifically, doing nothing… which is something others would consider unimportant.

Having said that, I’m not doing nothing right now.  Nothing requires time to do nothing in.  In 25 minutes I’ll be at my old office selling a desk to someone.  That’s not nothing.  It’s not nothing for a number of reasons.  For starters, there’s the whole clock ticking thing.  You can’t do nothing and watch the clock at the same time.  That’s just a waste of time.

The proper way to do nothing is to have nothing to do all day long.  In that way, you free yourself from the tyrannical grip of time that would otherwise be squeezing upon you.

Actually, that’s pretty much the only thing that qualifies as doing nothing.  Otherwise you’re just doing nothing improperly, which isn’t nothing, as I’ve previously said before.

Gotta wrap this up now.  Got something to get to.

No Pants Allowed

Finished a complicated After Effects composition for a corporate project this morning.  Wasn’t even wearing pants.

I can be pants free in my new edit suite because it’s part of my living room.  More than mere appreciation, I can feel in my bones a significant change in my approach to ‘work’.  It ain’t work no more.

I have a pile of things to get to.  Just like packing up my office or apartment, I got to all of them.  Great big mountains to climb, and I climbed ‘em, one little step at a time.  That’s how my day unfolded yesterday.

Started off playing a backgammon tournament, then I had to meet someone at my old office, then it was off to the coffee shop for some much needed blog time, then to the hospital to visit my grandmother and step monster (I kid).  Then home to eat.  Then an hour of wasting time.  Then it was time to make sense of this composition.  Then Carlie came over to pick up a CD.  Then it was back to work.  Then it was 3am.  Didn’t even notice the time passing.

I’m sure the novelty will wear off soon, but for the time being, I’m really enjoying being in the place I’m in.

Complex Dead Cow Relationships

The single greatest tasting dead cow I ever put in my mouth and swallowed crossed my plate yesterday.  Cooked it up myself.  Seared it on all sides then placed it in a slow cooker.  One can of Campbell’s Beef Broth, Lipton Onion Soup, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic explosion blend, and one cup of water all added up to something truly blog worthy.

Actually, the bar’s pretty low for what’s deemed blog worthy, but still, this was really, really, REALLY good.  I had no idea I could serve up something so tasty.  Generally, I consider myself to be an okay cook, but this was truly exceptional.

The only downside is that I couldn’t find someone to share the meal with.  Insert sad smiley face here.

I don’t really have a lot of friends.  I get along well with almost everyone.  I can easily plug myself into different ‘groups’ of people.  I can make everyone laugh.  My life is not lacking for people to have meaningful relationships with.   I can put myself out there, and find something to do in a heart beat.

Picking up the phone on a Monday night and finding someone to come over on a moment’s notice… that’s a tricky proposition.  Actually, it’s more complicated than it sounds.  If I pick up the phone and invite one of my guy friends over, it would be kind of gay.  I don’t have a problem with gay people, but single straight men don’t invite other single straight men over for supper.  This isn’t ‘come over and watch the game with me,’ or ‘check out my new toy,’ or ‘help me hang my art.’  It’s ‘come over and eat a dead cow with me, and maybe we can find something to talk about.’

Inviting a woman over for such an activity requires a special approach.  If she’s just a friend, and she’s got nothing else going on, no problem.  If she’s someone whom I’d like to be more than friends with, well… such spontaneity requires calculations of a thinky thought variety.  I mustn’t look too desperate, or too casual, or too thoughtless, or too… desperate.  It has to seem like a special effort, without seeming like a special effort.  And then she has to be free for the evening.

Tall order.

One final category is ‘fuck buddy’.  You don’t invite fuck buddies over for dead cow supper because you risk clouding the relationship.  You could accidentally communicate that you want the relationship to progress beyond a casual easy thing.  Things get dramatic.  You need to have ‘the talk.’

So as I said… I wound up eating the greatest dead cow meal of my life, by myself, and all alone… with no one around but me.

Simple White Spaces For All My Faces

Something’s off.  Not enough white space maybe?

I’ve been hanging art in my apartment.  Got these 8’ unstretched canvasses.  Four of them.  They were a gift from the artist who painted them.  I’m into every single one.  Problem is they dominate every room they occupy.  Put two of them in the same space and they have a very strong ‘affect’ on the vibe.

They all feature these gynormous faces.  Two of them are looking at you.  Faces green and orange and white with red and blue hues.  Strong black lines with india ink streaks (sprayed from a syringe) running down overtop the acrylic colours.  In places there is no colour at all, just bare canvas filling the vacuum between spaces.  They are truly beautiful.  You can stare at them for hours and see a million different things.

Previously they were hanging in my office.  Lots of space there.  One for each room.  In my apartment I left them to the last.  Put every last room together and now I can see where the white spaces are.  I think I moved too fast.  Big damned hurry to hang ‘em without letting the room speak to me.

I think maybe it’s a healthy thing to give a room time to breathe.  Previously it was empty white space.  Now it contains my whole life.  That in itself is a hellova shift.  Add the personalities of those dominant pieces of art, and you have something bordering on culture shock.

So now what?  Do I take them down?  Do I leave them?  More change to address the problem of change?  Does that make sense?

No.  One has to go.  Perhaps two.  I have two bedrooms that have nothing hanging in them.  The canvasses can go dominate their respective rooms and everyone will be happy.  White space.  Simplicity.  Stick to the plan.

Putting It Together

Wow.  It’s been a week since I last wrote in my blog.  I’ve been putting it off, hoping to get myself moved and settled into the new place before embarking upon yet another clear beginning in my life.  I suppose I thought my next article would mark the occasion.

Not quite there yet.  Packing and moving went very well.  I remember standing in the middle of my old apartment with an empty plastic tote in my hand.  In mere seconds I would begin the process of tearing it apart, purging, saving, packing, and moving forward.  But first I took a moment to look around one last time.  Three years and three months.  I learned a lot about myself in that time.  This place gave me the space to do so.

Started in the kitchen.  Filled four totes and wheeled ‘em down the hall, up the elevator and into the new space.  Took another moment to stand there before disturbing the emptiness.

Emptiness is the ultimate state of being.  A moment frozen in time is completely empty without the context of the history which came before, and the future which lies ahead.  This space will see me through the next two years of my life.  One last step before making the ultimate move into my condo.  It also marks the beginning of my new corporate identity.  Office, home and studio become one.  Fusion.  Balance.  Harmony.

I’ll also save a boatload of cash.

The first item I unpacked and placed was a tiny little bird house that Jazzy made for me.  Set it on a shelf above the kitchen sink.  It overlooks the whole apartment.

After that, the game was afoot.  A voracious surge of unpacking, placing, moving packing and placing once more.  At times it was disorienting.  The kitchens in both spaces are identically laid out.  I kept experiencing deja vu whenever I took something from one drawer in the old place, and replaced it in the same drawer in the new place.  Couldn’t tell if I was coming or going sometimes.  Disorienting and fun at the same time.  I’d stand in front of the elevator and wonder what floor I’m on.  I’d have to look at the load I was carrying.  Full totes meant I was going up.  Empty totes meant down.

Jeff, Rich, Ryan, Kate & Shauna showed up on Sunday to help with the big move.  We emptied out the old apartment within an hour.  Simplest, easiest move in history.  The office was slightly more cumbersome.  My office furniture and equipment are very expensive and heavy.  We had a freight elevator and a truck backed into the loading dock.  I couldn’t imagine a smoother way of loading out.  At the new building, I backed the truck right up to a hallway that led to the elevator.  Again, super simple.  No impossible corners.  No stairs.  I rewarded everyone’s efforts with beer and pizza.

Shauna commented that my living room fit together like a Tetris puzzle.  I was pleased.  I measured things out last week, but to see reality match my expectations… well that’s a rare treat.

After everyone left I took all the time in the world to put my edit suite together.  This space would become the hub of my creativity.  Next was the living room, the hub of the rest of my life.  After that it was the kitchen… my nourishment.  Put on an episode of Joss Whedon’s ‘Angel’ then slept on the couch.

Been slowly pecking away at the rest of the apartment ever since.  I’m in no hurry now.  Some things should be savoured.

Where It Fits

I am home.

Picked up my keys to the new apartment today and wandered around the empty space trying to figure out how best to use it.  I decided that my edit suite would live in the living room, and the rest of my office would fit inside the spare bedroom.  My living room furniture in its current arrangement, would fit almost exactly the same way in the new space.  Just gotta make sure it doesn’t feel too cramped.  Theoretically, I think I found the handle.

Friends are lined up to help with the move on Sunday.  Haven’t even started packing yet.  Nothing like a hard deadline to motivate oneself.  Rented a cube van, and I even figured out the order in which to move things in.  Also took care of some odds & ends, and now I feel like I’m ready to stop thinking, and start muscling.

Toronto was as great as Washington.  I remember how nervous I felt when I booked the trip.  It seemed like the right thing to do, but the hit to my cash flow would be profound.  The decision proved not only correct, but beyond my wildest expectations successful.  More than ever before, I feel I’m on the right track.  Been saying that all along, but maybe just being ‘out there’ in the market place on a regular basis is the trick.  Thinking happy thoughts on an island somewhere can be a lonely place.

Setting up my new office in my new apartment with projects blossoming, ready to green light at any moment… it’s the ultimate clear beginning and ending.

Being NOT Lame

It occurred to me that I’m happiest when I’m sitting in the window of a coffee shop somewhere and my nose is buried in my laptop.  Doesn’t matter where I am, or what city, or how far I’ve travelled.  Coffee shop.  Laptop.  Muse.

Then it occurred to me that I might be lame.  Travelling to all these places, seeing two oceans, putting on a kazillion miles and all I’m doing is living inside the walls of a million different coffee shops…  It’s like eating at McDonald’s in Chinatown, or buying your music from Wal-Mart in Nashville, or some other third thing that’s lame in a completely NOT lame place.

I’m writing this while sitting in the window of a coffee shop in Toronto by the way.

I suppose I am doing other things.  I watched ‘The Green Hornet’ in 3D on Friday night (alone).  I also hung out with three different friends, in three different parts of the city thus far.  Took public transportation to get around and walked everywhere else.  An hour ago I concluded a positive meeting with CBC.

Not only that, but I have been writing in pubs too.

Business is good, and my new office is the world’s drinking establishments.  I suppose I could be doing worse.  My next meeting is at a place called, ‘Friar the Firkin’ with Bravo.  Don’t even know where that is, but finding it and figuring out how to get there is half the fun.

Being Sill(y)

“I am sitting in the window of a coffee shop.”

How many blog articles have I started that way?  Countless.  Well… countless in the sense that I haven’t counted.  Still, there’s been more than a handful.  Today is special.  I literally am sitting in the window of a coffee shop… as in the window sill.  It’s about 3′ wide and has a great view of Young Street.  It has officially become my favourite place to drink coffee in Toronto.  All it needs is a friend to drink with.  We could just sit in the sill, facing each other.  There’s enough room for three (or four if you’re very good friends).

Superbowl starts in about three hours.  I’ll probably watch a bit of it in a pub I passed on the way here.  50 cent wings.  After that I’ve made plans for the evening.

Last night I dusted off the Cuba proposal and spent several hours re-writing it in a pub on Young Street (a different pub).  Kind of strange trying to write when there’s a UFC crowd about.  I didn’t quite fit in.  Didn’t mind so much, they still made me feel welcome.

This morning I met Kaitlyn in Dundas Square.  She’s another actor friend whom I’ve worked and studied with extensively.  She was also the ‘face’ of my crime series (while Kate was the ‘voice’).  Coincidentally, her and Kate grew up together.  She’s back in Toronto auditioning and looking to continue her acting career.  She’s what they call a ‘triple threat’ (sing, act, dance).  She’s got a real fire under her butt.  Been featured on national television, and she’s got business smarts too.

We fell into an idea to produce a show together, featuring her as a solo performer.  It’ll be a throwback to the prohibition era.  She’ll sing old Jazz tunes from the era and I’ll write bits for her to do between the songs… craft some sort of a story arc through it.  Something along the lines of ‘what you see isn’t necessarily real’.  Beer served in coffee cups, compliments served as daggers, ambitions served as insecurity, etc.  Could be a powerful show, especially if we can get the audience to participate.

The only thing that would make this window sill better is a power outlet.  Battery appears to be about spent.  One minute of power left.  Can that be real?  Best save this and check out.

Change of Scenery

In the last 21 days, I’ve seen two oceans, spent significant time in three cities NOT named Regina, slept in seven beds, and shook too many hands to count.  In three more days, I’ll be packing up what remains of my two previous mailing addresses, and moving into a third (which I’ve only seen once for about 3 minutes).

My career feels like it’s going through changes as well.  Spent the last year and a bit developing new projects.  Time to put ‘em into production.  Spent even more of the previous year deconstructing my corporate identity.  Stripped away the trappings of self importance to replace it with something much more practical, simple and satisfying.

I’m celebrating my friendships, keeping the channel open with old ones, reaching out with new ones, and cutting my ties to dysfunctional ones.  Where there are only perfect strangers, I’ve been doing my best to bring the light… a smile or a kind word goes a long ways.  Biting my tongue goes even further when times are tough.

I’m in Toronto.  Had the whole day to do nothing but nothing.  Kind of a break between Washington’s meetings and Toronto’s follow-up.  It’s a good time to gather my thoughts before diving in once more.  They’ll be no time to check my bearings for the next little while.  Between the big move(s) and harvesting the fruits of these recent labours I have much to do.

In a week, my world will be nearly unrecognizable.  Feels good.