Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Joe No

When I was a kid—maybe grade 7 or 8—an unusual school assembly was held. We gathered in an auditorium and listened to a man talk about something that was ostensibly educational. I don't remember the topic; maybe it was about the political system or something. What I do remember is that this man talked more about himself than about anything substantially informative.

Even back then, I remember having the thought: dude, why are you campaigning to us? We're children.

I vowed never to vote for him.

So last night, in London's mayoral race, I voted against Joe Fontana.

This morning, I woke up and he was mayor.

It's not exactly terrible news. Change is always exciting, whether for better or worse. And nothing encourages artistic expression better than rallying against a leader that creative types tend to despise. I'm not opposed to lower taxes, though I'd rather see equal or higher taxes spent properly.

Plus, at least he's not Rob Ford. Ouch, Toronto. Just...ouch.

Still, it would have been nice to have a mayor who doesn't have a really crappy web site (really, I think you can tell a lot about someone by their web site). Can someone awesome please step up in the next 4 years? Thanx.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

London Ontario Zombie Walk 2010

The sun may have been out today, but it didn't keep some delightfully dark Londoners from hitting the streets for the annual zombie walk

This. This is what makes me proud to live in this city. 

Bwahahah. The foot. THE FOOT. Bwhahah.

Kevin probably took much better pictures.
Zombie Elvis + zombie Elvis fan.

Nothing in this photo makes sense.

A different Day of the Dead.




Wait what?

This girl has the crazy eyes down pat. I hope she doesn't always look like that.

Cutest cannibals ever!

You shouldn't crowd surf with zombies.

You know, even though it's all makeup, there is something actually-scary about having a crowd of hundreds of undead clawing and growling at you. The kid above, he might have a few nightmares. Forever. And I'm not sure if he got that shoe back.

I say this every year, but for real this time, next year I'm going as a zombie. Someone kill me for real if I don't.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


If there is one thing I've never fully understood, it's extravagant jewelry. Nothing says "human existence is pointless" like working your ass off to save enough money to afford a bauble that serves no purpose other than to show how much you worked your ass off.

Sure, an expensive diamond looks pretty. So does a fake one that costs a fraction of the price. Yes yes I know, you can tell the difference, but only when you're looking at it up close, right before shoving it in your friends' faces and subtly hinting at how much your fiancé spent on it. That kid brewing in your belly? Oh, he can get by without a college fund.

Bling is about displaying excess wealth. Showing off the ability to dig up something shiny and not starve to death may have served a function in our evolutionary past, but the associated thrill that nature programmed us with makes little sense today. Today, when the wealth locked up in one of those functionless rocks could keep several less fortunate people from starving for a year.

I'm not above this. I spend money on plenty of things that serve no greater purpose. I look forward to spending a retarded amount of money on a trinket for some future love-of-my-life, if that is what she really desires, instead of giving it to charity. I am human too, but I'm working on it.

Similarly, I am not above being manipulated by flattery. So when I was contacted by someone from Gordons Gold Jewellers (not one of the Gordons, unfortunately) saying they keep up with my blog over there, and thought of me when setting up their little contest, I couldn't help but be softened up enough to be inspired to write a ranty post about diamonds that includes this poster:

Plus, supporting local business is kinda like charity, right?

Go forth, human. Win your own pointless rock.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Old People: The New Young People

One of the cool things about kids is that they see magic in everything. Because it's all new, it's all exciting, so even the most mundane observation can be a revelation. A rainbow isn't just a rainbow; it's a mystery with potential for leprechauns and riches.

However, after seeing the same thing a few times, it becomes normal; everyday things are revealed as everyday things. A rainbow is just reflected light gone wrong (unless it's double, in which case, whoooaaa oh my god).

This is why old people no longer get joy out of the world.


Except that's not true. Rapid progress in technology puts a wrinkle in the ability to experience magic in modern mundane life. Consider this: a kid born in the 90s has never known a world without the internet. The ability to draw on something close to the entirely of human knowledge using a pocket-sized device, to anyone under 20, that's just the way you figure something out.

Whereas at 30, I remember when figuring out a single unknown fact involved a trip to the library, looking through a card catalogue, carrying a stack of books to a table, and skimming through them until you stumble across what you're looking for. So to me? Being able to reach in my pocket, type half a misspelled search term vaguely related to what I'm looking for, then instantly get an answer? That's magic. All the way.

Old people, born before the turn in the curve of the exponential rise in technological complexity, have experienced both sides of it. We can always see the way things are in the context of how things used to be, and re-experience the magic in them. We can gawk at a new iPhone the same way a baby gawks at a toy she has never ever seen before.

Of course, I think a key to happiness is to find this joy in everything, regardless of whether it's because you're young enough to be seeing it for the first time, because you're old enough to remember its predecesor, or because you appreciate the awesomeness of life's riches both natural and man-made.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

David Sedaris

I don't usually admire people. Maybe it's cynicism or maybe it's a large ego, but I see the vast majority of celebrities as equals; average people who got lucky.

Yet I found myself in awe of David Sedaris when I saw him perform live on Friday night at Centennial Hall. His way with words was inspiring. His sentences were carefully constructed yet natural, weaved into not-quite-fables that jump and twist yet always feel cohesive.

It was clear that it wasn't just a well-rehearsed routine. While answering audience questions, he was able to produce pure improvised wit. And while reading from his diary—which was kinda like hearing someone read a blog, except one actually worth reading—he still had enough cognitive resources left to simultaneously ponder and write down notes for improvements to future shows. That sort of mental athleticism impresses me far more than any sports star or guitar shredder.

When I met him at the book signing after the show, somehow, within a minute, he had me confessing how much I cried when Willow died. Then he predicted that I'd get a cat soon. So, you know, he's not perfect.

Still, it was nice to admire someone for a change.