Just read the first post of my old blog - yikes.

Man's dominion over the earth

"...painting after painting of Turner's of the most shameful sort - the pudenda of women - utterly inexcusable and to me inexplicable".

I was going to end this year with several lists detailing the year that was, but the recent developments in South East Asia have left my mind completely blank. I have found requests for funds all over the internet, and while the desire to help is undoubtedly a good one, it has left me feeling a little cold. I feel the same way about the rush of charity that always accompanies the winter holiday season of your choice. Like the money counter behind Jerry Lewis' head, the death toll from the tsunami keeps rising: first 14,000, then 25,000, then over 80,000. While this number is big I can't look at it without being reminded of the approximately 17 million children who die every year from malnutrition, or the hundreds of thousands of Hutus and Tutsis killed in Burundi, or any of the other tragedies scattered around the globe. I can't help but feel that the money being raised for this particular disaster is less an indication of humanity's united spirit and more an indication of the West's need for instant gratification. A natural disaster isn't as complicated as genocide or politically sanctioned starvation. It does not require long-term solutions, or negotiations, or disarmaments. Clear up the debris, build another shack and its business as usual. We can then easily forget that thousands in the region are fucked anyway, tsunami, earthquake, or both notwithstanding.

Don't get me wrong - I don't do anything either way. Starving children in Africa, genocide, the war in Iraq, it's all pretty much the same to me. I wonder how long till they start making black wristbands with "Fight Tsunamis" written on them, and how much longer after that till Paris Hilton wears one.

Edit: The above does not mean I feel people should not send money to help those in need. Further, while the tsunami certainly affected a large region, I am most familiar with South East Asia.


Why Christmas Should Be Banned

1. Every year the sad sacks come out of the woodwork and release Christmas albums which have about as much to do with music as chocolatey flavour has to do with chocolate. This year's crop includes the frighteningly Muppet-like Clay Aiken and the strangely expressionless George Huff. Fuck you American Idol.

2. Something that's crappy 364 days of the year doesn't become magical on Christmas. Putting reindeer onto a crappy paperweight does not make it a Faberge egg.

3. Why is it okay for strangers to call me and ask for money? Does that actually work? Because if it does, I have a phone book, a phone, and I'm dirt poor. Gimme money.

4. Children in Africa are starving to death all year round.

5. Buying an environmentally-friendly gift doesn't help the environment any more than an electric car. The only thing that would actually help the environment is if we all suddenly died and stopped making environmentally-friendly gifts.

6. Do they know it's Christmas? Probably not, because they don't celebrate Christmas you culturally insensitive, ethnocentric fuck. Stop singing about it.
On the other hand, how could they not with the Christmas music blasting every mother-loving day since November?

7. Your screaming child with the over-heated Santa suit doesn't want to be in the mall. Why don't you tie him outside with your dog so he can get rained on? That way neither of them will detract from your enjoyment while you shop.

8. If you can't be bothered to buy a gift for your wife, maybe you don't really want to be married. Just a thought.

9. It took me an hour to pick up a litre of milk.

10. I've read the Gospels, and not once does it mention the death of Jesus having anything to do with letting the jerk in the SUV cut me off while I smile and wave at him. Not once.

11. Cell phone companies making me feel guilty for not calling people more is bullshit. That's like crack dealers laying down the shame card to get me to buy more crack.

12. I can get a chocolate orange any time of the year.

Coming soon - things I am thankful for, new year resolutions, and best of lists. DON'T MISS OUT PEOPLE.

And G - we'll talk. Word.


The Incredibles

Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible):It's not a graduation. He's moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade.
Helen Parr (Elastigirl): It's a ceremony.
Bob Parr: It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity.

After watching the latest offering by Pixar I have but these words: Fuck Disney. That's right. Fuck the Mouse House. Bend it over and work it baby! Pixar makes Disney movies look like student projects, the kind of students who like to film themselves kicking around a suitcase tied to a giant elastic and call it a grad project. Seen the trailer for Chicken Little? The latest Disney fiasco? Don't. Remember Home on the Range? Atlantis? Mulan? No? Because they sucked donkeys in Mexico!

The Incredibles is the kind of project done by people who actually watch animation. Michael Eisner does not watch animation. I'm not even sure he likes it. He certainly doesn't like children; just look at the unending stream of doody Disney has visited upon the world since Walt's death...er cryogenic encapsulation.

Unfortunately, The Incredibles was preceded by the trailer for the next Pixar film (and the last with current partner Disney, god willing). Cars looks like a bad film. It's an animated version of...NASCAR. NASCAR is the number one growth sport in the U.S., which both explains why Bush won a second term and why Americans are literally driving the planet into the crapper. NASCAR is one long left turn. Tom Cruise lent his thespian talents to a dramatic interpretation of NASCAR in Days of Thunder, notable not only for its overt homosexuality, but also for introducing the future and former Mrs. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman. The pair went on to make several crappy films like Far and Away, ending with Stanley Kubrick's last and worst film, Eyes Wide Shut. Why am I telling you this? Because Cars looks about as good as the now dead Mr. Kubrick, which is to say - not so good.

Now I have faith in Pixar, and I believe that there must certainly be more to this film than a wise-cracking southern accented tow truck and a stock car who sounds suspiciously like Owen Wilson. But I also have no faith at all in John Lasseter. Yes he helped create Pixar and yes, he directed both Toy Stories and A Bug's Life. But you only have to see the introduction to the U.S. version of Spirited Away, which comes with annoying English voice-overs, to see that Lasseter is well on his way to Eisner status. Lasseter's intro makes it seem like he made the movie, and when he tries to interview Hayao Miyazaki ol' Hayao looks like he's trying to escape. Actually, it's worth watching just to see Hayao's "who the fuck are you" expression when Lasseter wraps his arm around him.

The Incredibles in India is called Hum Hai Laajawab.


Spaces and the revolution

Recently I read about someone who had received a publishing deal based entirely on her blog. I'm going to guess she had more to say than half-baked comments about the Canadian Legal System and movie reviews, but we can always dream.

We can always dream.

Toying with the idea of starting a communal blog with other people, but I wonder if I'm the only person I know who would be interested...hello? anyone? someone?

...will you hang out with me?

Someone left a comment about the LSAT. Rest assured noble reader that you spelled it correctly, since it is an acronym for Law School Admission Test. As for it "being for everybody," I think it's safe to say it's really only for people interested in going to law school.

Them clever peoples at DesignObserver have a few choice words for Microsoft's late entry to the blog game.

In its defence, Microsoft is really, really stupid.


Don Hertzfeldt

Time to vote.

Captain Galactic.

Just a dream.

How to spread the word

Talking about Jesus


In the days of my youth...er...

As the last exam was drawing to a close I had but one thought, one pressing issue on my mind.

When can I start drinking?

Nothing will drive you to alcoholism as surely as easy access to the delectable nectar. After a night of scotch, brandy, rum, rye, beer, and “the hobbit weed,” I woke this morning with a distinct hankering for more brew. I know the wheel is regularly touted as the greatest human invention, but think if you will on the first man who, on coming across a potato or some such vegetation sitting in a pool of water, decided to take a sip. What says delicious more clearly than a puddle of rotting sod?

I have no idea if I’ve learned anything, but my mind is pretty much useless for anything other than law. Whenever I read a news article, or watch a movie, or even read an album review my mind is cataloguing all the possible legal issues. I see class action law suits standing in line for the bank machine. So if no one will hire me at the end of this you might find me sitting on Granville with a sign reading: FORMER LAW STUDENT. WILL LITIGATE FOR FOOD.

Some words you will not find useful:


bona fide purchaser for value without notice

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that there are no Constitutional objections to gay marriage. Well thank goodness for that. It’s so heartening to know that the founding fathers of our country weren’t against a little legally binding same sex cohabitation. Or maybe the idea was so far outside of their reality that it would never occur to them to put it in there. Maybe, and this might be a stretch, but maybe the Constitution is such an outdated document that it has nothing to say about the most pressing issues facing Canada today. Or maybe gay marriage is such a non-issue that it shouldn’t take a Supreme Court reference to figure it out.

Why shouldn’t homosexuals be just as unhappy and doomed to relational failure as heterosexuals?

Listening to…

The Arcade Fire – The Woodland National Anthem
Death from Above 1979 – Romantic Rights
Damien Rice – The Blower’s Daughter
Ray Lamontagne – Hold You in My Arms
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Biomusicology
Blink 182 – I Miss You
Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
Jin – Learn Chinese
Libertines – Vertigo
Rivers Cuomo – Annie’s Song
Kelis – Milkshake

The La’s – pretty much every band right now called The Any Ol’ Word owes its existence to the The La’s. Isn’t it time for the noun bands to give way to the verb bands? The Running, The Shouting, The Kneeling, etc…


Arrested Development – “She does this thing where she squeezes a package of mayonnaise into her mouth, and then eats a hard-boiled egg, and mmm mmm mmm…she calls it a mayon-egg.”

CSI and CSI Miami – New York blows.

Good Eats – If Alton Brown did a guest spot on Arrested Development, the television universe would collapse. Instead we’ll probably see the King of Queens make a delivery to Everybody Loves Raymond.

(Speaking of Everybody Loves Raymond, a show I still have never seen…what is driving this trend of releasing really shitty television on DVD? I saw a Beastmaster collection recently, and today I saw the aforementioned ELR. Who is buying collections of a show that is widely syndicated?)

If you go to San Francisco, be sure to wear a flower in your hair.


Songs for Singing

Listening to Willy Mason's Oxygen:


I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they've got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

I wanna see through all the lies of society
To the reality, happiness is at stake
I wanna hold up my head with dignity
Proud of a life where to give means more than to take
I wan't to live beyond the modern mentality
Where paper is all that you're really taught to create
Do you remember the forgotten America?
Justice, equality, freedom to every race?
Just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy
Make up and hair to the truth behind every face
That look around to all the people you see,
How many of them are happy and free?
I know it sounds like a dream
But it's the only thing that can get me to sleep at night
I know it's hard to believe
But it's easy to see that something here isn't right
I know the future looks dark
But it's there that the kids of today must carry the light.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

If i'm afraid to catch a dream
I weave your baskets and i'll float them down the river stream
Each one i weave with words i speak to carry love to your relief.

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they've got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew


Chamber of Fear indeed

An interesting sidenote to the Nike/Singapore article I posted earlier:

China to Nike: Not in our house


We take...because we love.

When you ride the bus as much as I do, you get to hear some pretty enlightened statements about Indigenous peoples. It would be easy to attribute such statements to ignorance, were it not for the existence of similar statements made by some very well-educated people, both past and present. Here for your pleasure are some enlightened views on the First Nations in BC:

"When the whites first came among you, you were little better than the wild beasts of the field."

"...were undoubtedly at the time of settlement a very primitive people with few of the institutions of civilized society, and none at all of our notions of private property."

And from Chief Justice Allan McEachern, recently describes as "a great reformer who revolutionized court procedure," who I like to call Big Whitey, or The Honkaloid:

"Similarly, it would not be accurate to assume that even pre-contact existence in the territory was in the least bit idyllic. The plaintiffs' ancestors had no written language, no horses or wheeled vehicles, slavery and starvation was not uncommon, wars with neighbouring peoples were common, and there is no doubt, to quote Hobbes, that aboriginal life in the territory was, at best, 'nasty, brutish and short.'"

"The evidence does not disclose the beginnings of the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en people. Many of them believe God gave this land to them at the beginning of time. While I have every respect for their beliefs, there is no evidence to support such a theory and much good reason to doubt it."

"Brown reports some minimal levels of social organization but the primitive condition of the natives described by early observers is not impressive."

"The evidence suggests that the Indians of the territory were, by historical standards, a primitive people without any form of writing, horses, or wheeled wagons."

"...all aboriginal life revolves around the chief, clan and House system, and around aboriginal use of, and connection with, House territories. I do not question the social importance of these institutions but I regret to say that I believe the plaintiffs' evidence in this connection was overstated. I would not go so far as to characterize these institutions as a club..."

"...it would be incorrect to assume that the social organization which existed was a stable one. Warfare between neighbouring or distant tribes was constant, and the people were hardly amenable to obedience to anything but the most rudimentary form of custom. Brown held them in no high esteem, partly because of their addiction to gambling, and Ogden, about whom there are different views (Dr. Sage called him "kindly," while others refer to his "scorched earth policy in Oregon country"), described them most unkindly."

"The evidence suggests the land was seldom able to provide the Indians with anything more than a primitive existence."

But what about the Church? Surely Jesus has something to say about all this:

"The problems with the Indians is one of morality and religion. They lack the basic fundamentals of civilized thought and spirit, which explains their child-like nature and behavior. At our school we strive to turn them into mature Christians who will learn how to behave in the world and surrender their barbaric way of life and their treaty rights which keep them trapped on their land and in a primitive existence. Only then will the Indian problem in our country be solved" - Rev. A.E. Caldwell


The head is a terrible weight...

Seized by insanity, Lani and I went shopping today. It was, to put it mildly, a disastorous affair. It wasn't so much the crowds, or the endless Christmas music, or the new Gap policy of introducing yourself by name ("Hi. I'm Cindy. I stand at the front. If you need help with anything within a metre of me I'd be glad to help you!") that was so annoying. It was the conversations. The endlessly mundane, impossibly inane conversations.

Mother: Do you like the skirt?
Daughter: I don't know. It's just a skirt.
M: Well, will you wear it?
D: I don't know. I guess.
M: I think it's pretty.
D: (Rolls eyes) Whatever.

Girlfriend to boyfriend in parking lot:

You know what you can get me that isn't big but that I'll love and won't cost that much...?

The best moment was the store employee telling me she had my back when I was looking for a size for Lani. Good to know that in that tense situation, someone is watching out for me.

Nice to see Don Hertzfeldt will be hitting Vancouver with the Animation Show and his new film, and bringing himself and Mike Judge along.


To Coin a Phrase

A few of my favourite case quotes:

"...tyranny, bad as it is, is better than anarchy, and the worst of governments is more tolerable than no government at all."

"...residential development presses relentlessly on the surviving descendants of a forested past."

"A photograph her husband carries in his wallet indicates she was an attractive woman despite her weight...."

"I am content to reach a conclusion which reeks of simplicity..."

"Surely, unless language is used to conceal thought, this is an offer."

"A person does not give notice in writing to another person by sitting down and writing it out and then telephoning to that other saying, 'Listen to what I have just written.'"

"This caused at the time some eyebrows to be raised in high places. But they have been lowered since."

In other news:

"The idea is to do something naughty like wild-postings to disrupt the neat environment of Singapore and stay in line with the street-feel of this LeBron James basketball campaign," Nike spokeswoman Ann Kositchotitana said in a statement.

It's nice when an American company goes overseas to piss all over another country's laws and standards. It's even nicer when that company has such eloquent people speaking for it. In return, I think Singapore should send a couple of its officials to Nike head office to give Ann Kositchotitana (if that is her real name. C'mon!) the caning of her life. What's more "street" than a beat down?

Do American company's look at Asia and think: Suckers! How else could McDonalds trademark I Am Asian?