Phillie

I’ve been speaking with Phillie a lot more than I ever have.  We work together and I have a habit of talking my way through repetitive tasks.  Makes me go faster.

Sometimes Phillie misbehaves and I have to scold him.  I think sometimes he does it on purpose, just to provoke me into setting the ground rules.  We’re still getting to know each other.

Phillie and I have been together nearly four years but we’ve never been that close.  There was always someone else in the picture.  If I needed something done, someone else would work with Phillie to produce it.  Now it’s just him and I in my living room.  We’re really becoming fond of each other.

Sometimes I don’t even wear pants.

Phillie has two Quad-Core 3Ghz processors and a terabyte of storage.  After four years, there’s still nothing I’ve tried that Phillie can’t do.  He’s money in the bank.  He’s my livelihood.  He’s named after a drunken motel manager in a George F. Walker play.

Gonna get him some upgrades soon.  New software, more memory, maybe even a bit of spring cleaning.  There are faster Macs out there now, but the thought to replace Phillie hasn’t even crossed my mind.  Why would I?  We have a good thing going.

I’m reading the first Act of my play tonight at Cafe Orange.  Invited lots of people to come out.  Should be a fun time.  Wish Phillie could be there too, but that’s not gonna happen.  Got him churning out some renderings for a complicated After Effects sequence.

I’ll tell him all about it when I get home.

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It’s Been Four Months

The girl’s been creeping back into my thoughts.  Dreamt about her a couple nights ago.  Plane crash.  We held hands on the way down.  Then we died.

That part sucked, so I called for a do-over.  This time the dream ended with our plane landing on water.  Then I woke up.

She represents the only remnant of my reality that I have no certaInty about.  Was our friendship real?  What did she mean when she said she loved me, only to grow cold and disappear ten hours later?  What am I hoping to resolve by asking these questions?

It’s been four months.  I’ve been burying thoughts of her all this time, looking to move passed it all.  Feels different now.  The sharp pains are gone.  The longing has about dried up.  Not sure what to do with what remains.  Is it too soon to pick flesh off the corpse for meaty chunks of wisdom?

I shall keep my nose down, smile pretty, and move forward one step at a time.  The answers in life are never as interesting as the questions.  Things get missed when you spend too much time thinking about the past, or musing about the future.  All we have is right here, right now.

There is nothing else.

The Problem With NOT Beginning

I need to lower my expectations for how productive I can be in a day.  Either that, or I need to kick myself in the ass and get moving a little faster.

I suspect the later is in order, but that would mean justifying the guilt I feel right now over my (weak) week’s output.  What happens when I’m in production on two-and-a-half projects?  Clearly something needs to change.

The problem stems from my hesitation to ‘begin’.  I have 10 vignettes to finish, each taking me 4 – 5 hours.  I find every excuse in the world to NOT begin each one.  However, once I dive in, hands fall off the clock and I’m locked in.  I’ll work ‘til 3am and not notice the passage of time.  I simply have to commit to jumping in.

It’s the same trick I use with my writing.  Used to take me forever to begin.  Then I started to make deals with myself.  Type a word, add another, then another, then even more until I form a sentence.  Keep going until three sentences exist.  At this point I’m sufficiently locked in to go for a good long while.

Alright.  Starting today, I’m going to make that same deal with my other activities.  But first I got to check my email, then cook lunch, and then maybe see what’s going on on facebook.

Elephant in the Room

When I walk into a room full of people, and I’m the only one who’s naked, I expect to be noticed.  Acknowledged would be even better.  However, when neither happens, I’m left to wonder what kind of sick warped twisted reality I’m living in.

I did another modelling session yesterday.  I tried to be more talkative but the girls were having none of it.  Toughest crowd I ever faced.  Not entirely a bad thing.  I mean, I got through it, and there’s no public situation I can think of that would be more intimidating.

We’ve all had those dreams where we went to school/work and we forgot to wear clothes.  Reality for me (except for the ‘forget’ part).  The idea of public nudity is terrifying to most people.

Why?  Folks might see our flaws?

People pay money to jump out of airplanes.  People race down the sides of mountains on snowboards.  People undertake maneuvers on highways that would make a Formula 1 race car driver blush.  People run into dangerous situations to protect the lives of others.  People take huge gambles with money.  Walking around naked is the most natural easy thing in the world, yet it remains beyond the scope of many who would otherwise be seeking their thrills elsewhere.

One I returned to clothed form, I fell into a conversation with one of the girls again.  It was a nice easy small talk type conversation.  We asked questions and showed a genuine interest in each other as human beings.  Maybe being the only naked person in the room is weird for them too.

I have one more session with this group next week.  With a freshly refined set of expectations, I’ll have to see how it goes.

In and Out

It’s been a colourful couple of days, though this has been the first time I’ve been out of the apartment in 36 hours.

On Friday afternoon I met Dean at Bushwakers.  He invited me to an O’Neill High School staff party.  Teachers are a mixed bag.  You know how when you were in school and some teachers were dicks, while others were cool?  Guess what?  Nothing changes.  You can take the teacher out of the school, but you can’t take the school out of the teacher.

Dean’s friend Bob showed up later.  He gave me a free ticket to the Pats game (our hockey team).  We had a private corporate table to ourselves with a private waitress to boot.  Turns out she was one of Dean’s students a few years ago.  On top of the beers she brought us, she dug into her private stash of homemade jello shooters, 15 all together.  No exaggeration.

It just occurred to me that sometimes Dean’s current students read this blog…

From the game, we went to O’Hanlon’s and prayed to St. Keith’s for the strength to become better citizens.

At 5pm today I finally left the apartment to fetch my car.  It had been sitting in the parking lot behind Bushwaker’s since Friday night.  I walked.  Only took me 30 minutes.  Now I’m sitting in the window of Atlantis.  Can’t remember the last time I stayed home for more than 36 hours.  Guess that means I’m in a comfortable place.

Properly Considered Decisions

You and I are standing in a room.

ME: So… do you want to go out with me?
YOU: I’m not into ‘dating’.
ME: No.  I meant outside.
YOU: Don’t know.  I’m terrible at making decisions.
ME: The roof is on fire.
YOU: Yes.  Indeed.  That is a problem isn’t it?
ME: Depends on one’s perspective I suppose.  It’s certainly a negative from our point of view because we may burn to death, along with the rest of the roof and die.
YOU: Unless dying in a roof fire is one’s objective.
ME: Certainly.  However, dying in a roof fire is not my objective at this moment.
YOU: Nor mine.
ME: Good.  However, from the perspective of the person who set the roof on fire, said roof fire would certainly be a positive outcome.
YOU: Provided said individual who set said roof on fire actually set out to start said roof on fire.
ME: Well said.
YOU: I think I need more information before I can render a decision.
ME: The roof is on fire and we’re going to die if we don’t move.
YOU: It certainly appears so, however, are you familiar with Plato’s Cave Metaphor?
ME: There’s a fire in that one too.
YOU: Yes, but that’s not why I’m bringing it up.
ME: Sorry.  Just trying to hurry things along.  The roof is on fire and we’re going to die if we don’t move soon.
YOU: Would you like some tea?
ME: Tea sounds lovely.

We sit down at the table.  Two steaming mugs of tea magically appear.  At this moment a shirtless man walks into the room.

SHIRTLESS MAN: What’s up?

You roll your eyes.

ME: We’re trying to make a proper decision about when to leave this room because the roof is on fire.
SHIRTLESS MAN: Yeah I know.  Set it myself.
ME: On fire?
SHIRTLESS MAN: Yeah.  It was fuckin’ cool.
YOU: Why did you set the roof on fire?
SHIRTLESS MAN: (annoyed) Cuz it was fuckin’ cool.  Wanna go out with me?
YOU: Outside?
SHIRTLESS MAN: What?
YOU: What?
ME: No.  We’re going to stay here and make a proper decision about when to leave because the roof is on fire and we’ll burn to death if we don’t leave soon.
SHIRTLESS MAN: So… do you want to text or something?
ME: Me?
SHIRTLESS MAN: No.  Her.

He points at you.

YOU: I have made a decision.

The Art of a St. Patty’s Day Appreciation

A procession of pipers and drummers marched through O’Hanlon’s passing throngs of beer swilling St. Patty’s Day patrons to continue a long beloved tradition in Regina.  Every other bar in the city (indeed the world) had some sort of Irish themed festivities going on, but O’Hanlon’s is a special place.  You’re always welcome.  It’s a home to all sorts, from white collar professionals to no collar hippies.  All ages, shapes, and sizes are made welcome.  On the rare occasion when old friends aren’t around, friends you haven’t met yet are waiting to say hi.

Earlier in the day I taught a class at my old high school.  We’ve been working on story design and appreciation.  I’m constantly looking for ways to reach my students.  For the most part, I think I do alright.  To this end, I tried something which actually provoked a lot of discussion.

Throughout High School and University, we study brilliant films, plays, novels, and other works of art, hoping to emulate their brilliance in our own work, or at the very least, be able to talk intelligently about them.  This approach can be intimidating to the average person.  Why not study giant pieces of crap and try to figure out what makes them so shitty?

I played an episode of ‘Firefly’ (brilliant) followed by an episode of ‘Stargate SG-1’ (shitty).  I asked the students to consider the things we learned about the principals of good story telling, and how those principals applied to each show.  A couple of the kids thought ‘Firefly’ was awful, which provoked a debate that took us to the bell.  It put a smile on my face.

I stumbled home from O’Hanlon’s at 12am (a 3 block walk).  Wasn’t quite ready to hit the pillow.  Stared at the TV for a moment, popped in an episode of ‘Firefly’ and did a little art appreciation before calling it a night.

Mysterious Interestings

I told Danica on Sunday, that I would be able to tell her next Sunday, that I made phone calls and set up meetings towards the goal of putting on some writing workshops at an inner city community centre.  Gonna make my first phone call as soon as I’m done here.  After that I’m back at the high school teaching a media studies class.

The art class on Tuesday went alright.  I walked in naked and the professor welcomed me.  The other artists barely acknowledged my existence.  They just looked at me like I’m an object to render.

After a while the ice started to melt.  Made some funny observations and got them to snicker a bit.  I have two more sessions with this same class.  Got into a semi-normal conversation with one of the girls.  I plan to be even more talkative next time to help the time pass easier.  As I mentioned in previous posts, the most difficult part of modeling is staring at a spot on the wall (or floor) for an hour.

I’m also ‘this far’ away from finishing a corporate project that’s been hanging around for a few months now.  All it needs is for me to track down 5 seconds worth of footage, do the sound mix, and issue an invoice.  About an hour’s worth of work.  A few days after that, I’ll be wrapping up another corporate project and then my focus will return to my television stuff.

At yoga last night we were asked to do the yoga equivalent of ‘thinking happy thoughts about the things we want for ourselves’.  I had a hard time with this one.  I put lots of projects out the door with the hope and belief that they will see the light of day.  Tapping mystical god-powers for help seems wrong to me.  Not sure why.

To start with, I’m a bit confused about the nature of God.  I like it that way and I choose not to put much thought into the subject.  God could simply be the watch maker who caused the Big Bang 14 billion years ago, letting everything unfold naturally.  God could also be the bureaucrat watching us in the shower, tabulating our sins.  I believe some things are best left a mystery.

I believe if I give my best to every pursuit, that should be enough.  Some things are better off failing while others may take flight.  I’m not in a position to know which of my ambitions should fall into either category.  That’s another mystery I choose to embrace.

Life stays interesting when you don’t know how the story ends.

Remembering Yesterday

Yesterday I spent 90 minutes musing and writing in my blog.

It opened with me standing bare feet and soaking wet on a pile of snow wearing nothing but swimming trunks.  It was -3C and I stood there for a few seconds, bare chest to the wind, before laying down in that snow.

Danica and Matt watched from the nearby geo-thermal mineral pool.  We all took turns.

I met them three weeks earlier in my yoga class.  They came over to look at some stuff I was giving away, and after a spell, it simply turned into hanging out.  Danica mentioned that she’d never been to Moose Jaw and the light bulb went on.  Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is a 35 minute drive from Regina and is home to the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa.  Seemed like a perfect way to get to know someone.

But now it doesn’t say that anymore.  Nothing was published because the software crashed just as I was about to hit ‘publish’.  Nothing was saved.  Couldn’t even bring myself to re-write it.  Gonna get all wordsmithy about something else now instead.

In three hours I’ll be bare-ass naked in a room full of people,  modeling for an art class again.  I’m on their email list and they seemed pretty desperate for ‘undraped’ models.  I finally responded after repeated requests.  I’m not nervous about it.  Been there.  Done that.  Doing it again.  I guess this means I can officially add ‘nude model’ to my resume.

Woke up at 6am this morning.  By 8:30 I felt like I had a half day’s worth of work finished.  What’s got into me?

I did meet Andre last night at my old office.  He picked up the desks he bought from me.  That bit of business concluded the last of my business in my old office space.  Took a moment before walking out for the last time to just stand in the emptiness.  One phase of my life complete.

Thanks for the memories.

Sad News Stories

In 36 hours Japanese nuclear technicians have seen their facilities rocked by the largest earthquake in the country’s history, plowed over by one of the largest, fastest moving tsunamis on record, and exploded as a result of their efforts to prevent a meltdown.  Multiple systems failures, meltdowns, explosions, and radioactive leakage are either taking place right now or remain on the horizon.  Oh… and 10s of thousands of their countrymen are dead or missing.

If this were a video game, I’d have hit ‘reset’ by now.  If it were a Hollywood screen play, the writer would have scaled it down to make it more believable.

Unfortunately, it is reality and I just can’t wrap my mind around it.  My world is a million miles away from that news story.  Woke up this morning, played backgammon, recorded voice over for a project, and now I’m sitting in Atlantis musing about world events.  My small little world keeps on turning.

But for this nuclear disaster, I truly wouldn’t have given it another thought.  Seems like there’s always trouble somewhere.  Revolutions, natural disasters, biological epidemics, and global economics, measured in death tolls, injustice, and humanitarian relief campaigns.  More of the same, over and over again.

Water is wet, the sky is blue, and some future disaster looms on the horizon.  Hearts will pour out.  News will cover it.  Broken humanity will be on display for people like me dissect in conversation over water coolers.

I’m drinking coffee in a nice cozy place while some poor bastard is sacrificing himself so that others may live.  Does feeling guilty help?  Perhaps I could write some impassioned article about the completely unimaginable events transpiring across the world from me.  Would that accomplish anything?

WHAT CAN I DO?

I choose not to empathize with their situation.  I don’t mean to be callous.  It’s just that, they don’t need my pity.  I don’t have any skills or means whatsoever to help their situation.  Instead, I choose to focus on my own backyard.

I do have the means, skills and ability to help people in my community.  I volunteer at my old high school and I try to help kids find themselves through their art.  Some of these kids are inner-city, low income types.  Maybe in some small way I can affect a positive change in their lives.  Maybe they’ll go on to do the same for a handful of others.  Maybe those handful of others will go on to do the same for others yet.  Maybe, without even realizing it, the simplest effort can yield the greatest force of positive change.

The world doesn’t need revolution, disasters, and other sad news stories to remember to care about the rest of the world.  The world doesn’t need super-human efforts from a handful of ‘heros’ to become a better place.  The world needs all of us to put forward the least little effort to make our own communities stronger.

Imagine what kind of world we’d live in then.