For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


INXS: Rock Star is moving up in the ratings. Why? Because rock'n'roll is alive and well everywhere but on the airwaves, man.

Tonight? Kick ass! Six competitors who ALL deserve a serious chance at the lead for INXS.

Early on, I was saying JD was the dude to beat. I was wrong. I don't think that anymore. I think it's down to Jordis, Mig, and Suzie, with Suzie being the heavy favourite. She's classy, she's hot, she's sunshiney, she's a friend of a friend of mine, and she's a Canadian girl through-and-through. You go, baby.

But tonight was a phenomenal show! Wish You Were Here, Imagine, Bohemian Rhapsody, Live & Let Die, Suspicious Minds, and You Can't Always Get What You Want.

American Idol? Bahaha. It doesn't even compare anymore. It's all hype and egos and undertrained singers who don't really understand how to work a crowd, who don't love it for all the right reasons. These guys have been battling it out on the world stage, fighting and scratching to just get by, for far too long. Each of the remaining six contestants will be fronting serious contender bands in the next year or so.

And unlike the so-called talent that makes it through the ranks over at Idol, they're gonna have serious things to say about the music they create. They all write, they all arrange, and they all play. Idol, they essentially know fuck all except how to carry a note. And sometimes that doesn't even pan out right.

I was reading today where the reason you keep hearing the same dated shit -- not classics, but dated shit and crappy new tracks (can they bring anything other than Mariah Carey and Boys II Men?) -- on Idol is because musicians and bands and songwriters don't trust the Idol kids to pull it off.

Rock Star, they have people calling and OFFERING their tracks. When they let a "competition" sing Imagine and Bohemian Rhapsody -- a couple of the hardest songs anywhere to pull off -- you know the people in the Biz are respecting the product.

And good fucking reason, too.

If you're not watching it, why not? It's only the best reality show going. It doesn't have egos and attitude and hype. It just is what it is, and every week, every show, the contestants bring it. And the thing I love is you can really tell they're rooting for their fellow singers. They're all in love with each other, in a "I'm with you" kind of way, and it shows.

THAT's reality. Not this cut-throat shit you see on every other show. This is about support and authenticity while fighting it out for a spot they all want. It's about rock singers who know their music's history, who know their roots. It's about rock'n'roll -- a form of music that's all about uniting for a cause, about getting in touch with the reality and the passion of what it means to be young in the world today. It's about having soul.

Idol's about selling a fucking image and fitting into a cookie cutter. Notice how ALL the contestants have kept their own looks on Rock Star? That's rock'n'roll, man.

And notice how no one ever belittles the performers? Respect is everywhere on this show. It's classy. All class.

Maybe that's not reality. But don't you wish it was?

A little consideration?

FIRST -- to REJOICE: Repressed Married Man -- my neighbour across the way who has previously SQUEEZED HIS TIT (more than once) as he’s watched me -- is moving out! Fucking hurrah! I have waited for this day for five years! I’m tired of his white trash, wifebeater-wearing, leering, smoking ugly little mug staring across the way at me. Good fucking riddance!

Surely a sign of greater, better things coming in my life. An omen of fortuitous greatness!


I’ve had some incidences in the past week where the inconsideration of the masses has kept coming to light.

People are asking things like, “Is it just me, or are more people than ever before becoming dicks?” It seems contagious. And it ain't just you. It's out there: Stupidity.

There’s been an ‘80s resurgence of late, what with the post-punk pop revolution, the silly fashion rejuvenation of things like Aviator sunglasses and skinny ties, mohawks and all that. Even cocaine’s big again.

All we need now is for Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, American Psycho) to revive his literary career with more tales of depravity and coke-sniffing teen fuckheads.

The ‘80s, if you recall, were called “The Me Decade.”

I’m dubbing the oughts (‘00s) as “The All-Me Decade.”

This post goes out to all those dickheads who do any of the following:

-Park their shopping cart in the middle of the aisle and wander off to find some stupid item. Invariably there's always some granny with a walker stranded until you get your lazy ass back to give her space.
-Walk under awnings and overhangs in the downtown cores of cities with their fucking golf umbrellas open.
-Who use golf umbrellas in the fucking city, period. (What, you need a dictionary to look up the word “golf?” Grab a brain, you twit!)
-Hang out in masses on sidewalks, forcing actual PEDESTRIANS to step into the fricken gutter or get overly personal with telephone poles as they squeeze past. When did "loitering" get so fucking hip?
-Who drive 3km-per-hour as they look for non-existent parking spots. Learn how to SCAN the lot, people, and let's shoot for 10km!
-Talk excessively loud in dining or drinking establishments when everyone else around them speaks in normal tones. Hint: You’re not as funny as you think you are. Cork it, bub.
-Don’t respond to phonecalls or emails when time is of the essence.
-Don't have the respect to RSVP to dinner engagements.
-Assume they can bring an extra guest to a dinner party.
-Who are out the door 10-minutes after their meal that a host/hostess has spent a day to prepare.
-Who arrive empty-handed. (I call bullshit! You ALWAYS bring something.)
-Persist in finding the most annoying ring ever on their cellphone and then neglect to turn it to silent/vibrate mode in dining establishments or films or anywhere else that people deem as a place to get away from it all.
-Will talk on cellphones in movies.
-Will turn on cellphones with the brightly-lit displays and play with them during movies. Hint: they’re VERY noticeable and distract a lot of us from the flick onscreen.
-Don’t take the time to park in a nice straight line so we don’t need to down a couple valiums before negotiating the tight, awkward badly-angled spot.
-Open their car doors without checking for approaching cars or cyclists.
-Do not stop for pedestrians already in the road.
-Overhang the fucking crosswalk when no one's on their ass and some old person needs to traipse around them.
-Park in the street a-la-double-parking when there’s a frickin’ SPACE far larger than necessarily for their vehicle right by the curb!
-Litter, tossing their stupid wrappers wherever they see fit. “Well, there’s already trash on the ground.” So don’t fucking add to it, you stupid, ignorant person! I deserve a beautiful, green world, and you’re fucking it up on me!
-Sit there with their cars running because they’re too lazy to turn it off. Thanks for my own personal ozone hole, you dick.
-Wear copious perfume in small spaces, particularly in offices or on buses.
-Wear spandex when they’re not part of the 5% of society that actually looks good in it.
-Don't shower regularly. You OWE it to us, pal, and maybe, just maybe your self-esteem might benefit.
-Don't wipe down the gym equipment they've just sweated all over.
-Ride bicycles on sidewalks. They're called sideWALKS for a reason, you genius.
-Don’t say thank you when the door is help open for them.
-Don’t hold the door open for the next person who’s less than 5 feet behind them.
-Don’t have their change ready when there’s a line-up behind them at a till.
-Don’t know what they’re ordering, but hold up the line-up regardless (let the person behind you go first, THEN make your decision).
-Work in retail but don’t smile at the customers, nor thank them for their patronage, nor say “Have a nice day.” If that bug up your ass is impeding you from providing SERVICE, then get the hell out of that industry!
-Don't lie and say "Fine" when you ask how their day is going. If I don't have your phone number or know your first name, I really don't care, and I'm just being polite. Whine to your shrink. Have a better attitude.
-When handing you your change, put the coinage atop the bills. What, you deliberately want me to look like an ass when I spill it over the counter? The COINS go in the palm first, and the BILL goes after. It allows the customer to CONTROL the money. Jesus. Learn this, service industry people.

There was once something called “Common Sense.”

Now, it’s “Rare Sense.”

I was raised with manners, with grace, with etiquette. I’m an exception, not the rule. People love talking with me, always are nice to me, and the reason why is because I realize I don’t live in a bubble. I make people's days brighter because I leave my baggage at home. It ain't too much to assume you should do the same.

But no, everyone's so self-important that they think they're above decency, that they can throw their shitty attitudes and moods around like like a kid with a tantrum in preschool.

We’re all on this planet together. Let’s try to make it a tad more enjoyable for others. Let’s drop this stupid self-obsessed mentality and pay attention to the world around us.

Or I swear, I’m gonna get medieval on those asses, man.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Well, plug me in and call me Chilly

I am a fridge!
You are a fridge! You can keep your cool, even when faced with a heated situation. You enjoy being the center of attention, and people come to you for advice or when they want something. People also like to stick things to the front of your body.

What kitchen utensil are YOU?

How cool is this? Apple's got the first trailer for Peter Jackson's King Kong posted.

Jesus, does it look cool.

(That link is for the large-format trailer, for those with high bandwidth.)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

RetroReview: Sin City

Apparently the number one DVD in Canada right now is Sin City. I don't think that speaks so much to the strengths of Sin City, though, as it does to the weakness of all the subpar bullshit being tossed our way by the incompetents currently running Hollywood.

Sin City is a movie I wanted to love -- really wanted to love -- since I really do love dark, gritty films. Unfortunately, not this one. Nope.

There are interesting moments. Some scenes are very watchable and intriguing, but overall, the flick falls seriously flat for me.

The movie’s stylized from the start to the finish. Whether it’s the colourized black and white setting the pace for the retro-style visuals and comic-book feel, or it’s the overwritten dialogue, the movie evokes the gritty detective stories from the ‘40s and ‘50s.

But what do I mean by overwritten dialogue, since that’s the part that irks me the most? The movie’s jammed with unlikely voiceover, characters who speak in that melodramatic style of the ‘50s -- all the fucking time. There’s no break from the pattern, it’s just always there. But it falls apart for me at one point when Clive Owen’s onscreen, narrating his action ON camera, as he debates killing someone.

Dialogue should reflect character, but if they’re all talking in the same slick-dick manner, there is no character. They try to instill “character” by having the actors insert personalizations. Like Bruce Willis’ character narrates his portion of the film and every third line he calls himself “old man” when he’s trying to psyche himself up. I swear, “Old man” is used 30 or 40 times. That’s not character-driven dialogue -- and neither is anything else in the movie.

Just because it sounds good and has alliteration and snappy phrasing doesn’t mean it is good. It means it’s a gimmick.

And this movie is a perfect example of when directors cross the line from stylizing and land squarely in the realm of gimmicking.

Sin City ain’t style. It’s all gimmick. And it’s a tragedy, since I love half the cast and two of the directors -- Quentin Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez.

As an artist, writer, whatever, you need to be consciously aware of the boundaries. You go one step too far, and you make a mockery of yourself. And a mockery of that thing you’ve lovingly tried to bring to life.

Like this movie. The first 15 minutes are crap. Then it improves a bit, but the ending leaves you flat as well. It’s as if it just suddenly ends. And I don’t need my stories all wrapped up with a pretty bow, since I love an unresolved plot as much as any writer would, but there are natural stepping-off points. There was a natural stepping-off point directly preceeding the last scene of the film, so why the fuck did they do what they do? I can’t figure it out.

Also, another problem is that of timeline. I love an inconsistent timeline like in Pulp Fiction. That movie is sheer genius. This movie attempts something similar, but it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up. Not really. One could say, “Yes, X character dies here, but at this point, this character is doing X...” and possibly reach a timeline conclusion that makes passable sense, but it’s reaching. It’s really bloody reaching.

It’s a shame. As a viewer, you get the sense that this is the cinematic equivalent to guys trying to one-up each other with shock-jock antics. It’s too bad it’s such talented directors doing the one-upping.

Apparently, critics did like this. I can't figure that out. I'm wondering if they bought the flash and style, which really is visually stunning and is worth seeing just for that, or if they're simply comparing it against the crap that's coming out these days? See, I'm comparing it to actual good movies, but hey. Maybe I've got it all wrong. That's what I thought critics did. Hmm.

This could have been so damned much better. Too bad. It really is a sin.

A movie I'm dying to see, opens Wednesday, is the Constant Gardener. By the director of City of God, which is fucking brilliant and I intend to write a review of sometime, with a John LeCarre story, and Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Wiesz? Shut up! Brilliant combination! Unbeatable!

Friday, August 26, 2005

And the terror continues

One of the greatest problems with educating people about the war, about the weapons abuses, and so forth is that much of the truly effective visuals tends to be so goddamned depressing to witness.

Like this video. Not for the faint of heart, but important to watch. Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. The residual effects of it causes horrific amounts of cancer and birth deformities. But why listen to me? Watch this.

(I realize people want me to be funny and quirky, but I'm sick of not talking about this war. I'm sick of this war. I'm sick of people not saying "enough is fucking enough" and demanding an end to an illegal action that has cost more than 30,000 lives, not including all those who'll contract cancer or be born with deformities as a result of the uranium dust left behind by all those detonated "smart" bombs and such. I'm sick of feeling like my apathy is part of the problem. From time to time, the soapbox is coming out, folks. But I'll still be funny in between it all. If you genuinely don't care, don't read it. No skin off my ass.)

Iraq for Dummies: A simplified timeline

Okay. Let me see if I’ve got this right.

20 dudes hijack planes and try to kill tens of thousands by planning to selectively crash said planes into major population/strategic centres, including the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and possibly the White House. In the end, the Pentagon plane hits the wrong part of the building and another is foiled completely. A few thousand die.

The public, justifiably, is enraged and demands military response. Very understandable, and I was among those calling for action.

Almost overnight, the Army gets sent to Afghanistan to take the bastards out.

Saudi Arabia, where 19 of the terrorists originated from, is ignored, while oil prices go up.

Afghanistan is beaten but the warlords and Osama run to the hills.

Lightbulb goes off. “Wait a second — there’s no oil here. Hell, they don’t even have beer… stupid Muslims. Let’s blow this popsicle stand.” A slow withdrawal of troops begins, and pursuing Osama seems almost forgotten as the White House schemes for a more fiscally beneficial bad guy to pursue (since Afghanistan’s number one export is opium, not oil.)

Second lightbulb goes off. “Saddam’s publicist left long ago. Holy easy target, Dick. Let’s tell ‘em that Saddam has WMDs. Let’s not mention oil, though.”

UN says “No, don’t do it.” Investigators say the evidence is inconclusive, but leaning towards nada weapons. The world protests.

George continues to shout, “9/11! 9/11!”

For a time, a majority of Americans polled actually believe that Saddam invited buddies to blow up the World Trade Center. The thinking is, Saddam’s got pals who work in terrorism, and god help us if he succeeds in helping them, ‘cos Saddy didn’t just hate George’s Daddy, but all good little Americans.

Popular opinion swells, Bush milks the public’s fears, and a quest to remove the WMDs from Saddam’s grubby little hands is underway.

A “decisive” victory follows the “Shock and awe” campaign. (A codename that means “we’ll drop bombs at night so the media can’t tell we’re accidentally killing citizens, too — and lots of ‘em.”)

Bush declares the war over.

Pesky insurgents put a crimp in that plan. Soldiers continue dying despite the war being “over.”

Troops search high and low for WMDs, resulting in a funny cute clip of the president hunting around the White House to poke fun at himself. (It’s a good thing we got some chuckles since all those dead and dying guys in the desert were putting a real downer on things.)

The public starts to realize there were no WMDs.

The Americans look bad the world over. It seems that the concerns about Iraq being a centre for terrorism weren’t true before the war, but sure as shit was true now. Seems those terrorist guys were smarter at strategizing than the Yanks. It seems their plan went something like this: Don’t let America succeed in Iraq. Discredit them by having it turn into a long, bloody insurgency, so the world sees America as being oppressors.

“Oppressors?” The White House jumps when they realize what’s happening with international perception. Insert metaphorical image of cowboy with white hat riding into the dirty west, bringing with him law and order and protection for the masses.

Tune changes. All we were saying, it seems, was give freedom a chance. Those silly Middle Eastern folks and their dictators… it was time to teach ‘em all the pluses about a political system where the bastards in power lie to the people instead of just outright oppressing ‘em. “They’ll want freedom AFTER we give it to ‘em,” was the prevailing mantra.

The hits kept on comin’. More soldiers kept dying. It didn’t take long for more soldiers to die “after” the war than during it.

Soon, a British intelligence dude offs himself after it comes out that this evidence of Saddam acquiring or seeking to acquire weapons-grade uranium from Africa was a flat-out lie, and the controversy begins: Was there ever any evidence of WMDs?

An inquiry pores over the evidence and soon discovers the truth: Nope. Nyet. George and Dick continue shouting, “We went there to free the oppressed!”

Evidence emerges that troops have been humiliating and torturing POWs at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. Scapegoats found, and with enough tap-dancing, issue disappears slowly, but surely, from public consciousness as powers that be evade complicity in the matters.

Meanwhile, a genocide (oops, don’t call it that — only 200,000+ died) continues to rage in Sudan, and America and all the other powers that be decide to get into a semantics fight about “genocide,” preventing any intervention from occuring as discussion mounts on the “Iraq Quagmire.”

With more than 10 times the amount of soldiers dying “post-war” than during it, the public relations fiasco amounts. George and his boys rethink things.

The “war on terror” becomes “the global struggle against terror” and instead of going to Iraq for WMDs or for freedom party favours, another quarter drops in the jukebox and the tune changes yet again.

As we’re closing in on 20x the wartime deaths in Iraq, it turns out that this was a strategic attempt to isolate the terrorists in Iraq in order to protect Americans “at home, where we live,” said Bush the other night.

Funny, Steff thinks, how fucking up so badly in Iraq has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Funny how the terrorists ARE all there now. (Except for the ones in England, since the poor Limey bastards apparently didn’t benefit from the attempts to isolate the terrorists. Hmm.)

And what we still ain’t got: Osama, nor a timetable for withdrawal, nor peace, freedom, or democracy, what with this constitution thing persistently failing to come together, while Saudi Arabia continues to be a major investor in the American economy and continues to avoid responsibility for the deaths of several thousand Americans (and ex-patriate internationals) on American soil.

And oil? It’s still at an all-time high. Funny how it all works, isn’t it? Like a surrealist comedy gag. How sad.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Good vibrations, baby

My first double posting. Posted this on my other blog last night but it's too funny not to share with those who either don't go there or can't.


Maybe I'm just not getting out as much as I used to, but hey, I thought this was worth a hearty chuckle. Amazon, if you missed the memo, is selling SEX TOYS.

Including this -- remote control-powered vibrating panties!

So, I'm thinking, "Great if you've got a desk job!" And look, it says "discreet and powerful." Oh, MY. Tell me, does it come with a quiet mode? I mean, if you're going to wear 'em to work, you really want them to be the silent-silent partner, don't you?

"Marvin, have you called maintenance yet? I swear, I've heard this buzzing sound all morning... Jennifer, you're looking mighty cheerful today. Good news or something?"

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Capsule Review: The Aristocrats

GayBoy and I zipped out to Silvercity to see The Aristocrats today, and 20 minutes later, walked out and got a refund.

GayBoy and I? NOT squeamish. We're as vulgar as it gets, sometimes. Dirty, dirty kids, and misbehavin', too.

We wanted to see the flick because it's an amazing list of comedians. I was hoping there'd be something about being a comedian in it, since I want to try my hand at stand-up comedy in 2006.

Anything? No, no. Lots of mention, in no particular order, of: shit, piss, cum, fisting, fucking, incest, oral, shit, piss, cum, etc.

You get the picture. In fact, it's the same joke, LITERALLY, told in a myriad of different ways, each version trying to out-do the last as far as filth and debauchery goes. We were laughing as we left, though, just in a head-shaking "what the fuck?" kind of way.

There were five people when we entered the theatre, including us, and when we left, 15 minutes in, there was one. GayBoy called out, "It's all yours, buddy!" as we headed. The guy laughed.

I'd probably watch it on video, but I wouldn't advise spending cold, hard cash for box office prices considering the dirth of variety in the flick.

Fraser Photos

These are a series of photos I shot on a bike ride last Thursday. I was subtly given crap by someone for not having posted anything new in so long. I was a little Photoshopped-out after having to spend so much time on it in early/mid-July.

But here you go. My recent stuff. This is along BC's awesome Fraser River, where it winds through Vancouver/Richmond, just before it spills into the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Politics, plain and simple

I don't talk much about it but I abhor the Iraqi situation. I deplore Bush and his sanctimonious posturing I've just read about in the International Herald Tribune, that the 1871 (minimum) American soldiers who have thus far died in the Iraq war would be "disrespected" if the "task" in Iraq was not completed in their honour.

George, you fucking disrespected them the moment you sent them into a falsely justified military action. You disrespected them long before they fell bleeding on that desert sand.

Don't pretend you care now. In fact, Bush and his boys are said to be behind the orchestration of a five-city tour by other "mothers" of soldiers, under a placard that reads, "You don't speak for me, Cindy," referring to the mother camped at the makeshift "Camp Casey" near Bush's vacation retreat.

On Matt Good's blog (see sidebar, not just a pretty face and a musician, but one of the most passionately politically aware citizens I know of, and someone I'm proud is from my hometown) were a series of very graphic photos showing casualties from the war can be found. But Matt took them from this article on

The images are horrible. If you, for whatever godforsaken reason, don't object to this military action, then maybe you might want to ask yourself why the American government is not allowing images of the war to reach the public.

Why don't you see more of that shit?

Because then you'll learn that using buzzwords like "freedom" doesn't stop the bleeding. Because then you'll learn that these "tasks" don't get accomplished without horror unfolding and citizens dying in gruesome, senseless ways that no one should have to endure.

The lack of awareness in the public is a crime, and the Pentagon's overseas press watchdog is responsible.

If you're an American, it is your duty to know what's really going on.

Go read this.

(Although it's a subscription site, by watching an ad you can have free access.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

My gift to you: Laughter.

No offense to Texans, but geez, I can't imagine this dude being from any other state. It sure as shit explains George Bush.

'sup with that, bitch?

Wow. They say you never really know a person until Things Happen.

I’d worked with a pretty great woman over the last five years. She’s one of these killer cool people who’ve overcome a lot (we had that in common) to get where she is. She’s a mom, was an amateur boxer in her late 30s who made it to the nationals, and so on. All very admirable.

But today I saw a new side of her.

As I mentioned, at the end of June I was laid off. Then work came back in, I was called back, but I managed to set things up so I’d have the time off this month in order to attend this course that I thought would profoundly affect my life (and inside of two weeks, it already has).

But upon beginning the course, some things dawned on me. I couldn’t bear to return to my job in September. I couldn’t handle the stress of it. Everytime it crossed my mind, my chest constricted and breathing became challenging.

Then I found out said woman would be leaving her role as office manager.

All right, that was the final straw. I knew the office would descend into a state of disarray after her departure, and my apprehensions against returning to work evolved into full-grown panic. They would want me to step up -- right when I’m getting my shit together for the first time in my life.

There was a time when I was a primary ingredient in the glue that held the office together. That changed a couple years back for a series of reasons I won’t get into, but since then, the above-mentioned woman has done a lot to kind of stifle my role in the company. I’ve sat on my resentment and even thought, “maybe it’s for the better.” I even swallowed a pay cut in January to secure my job during tough times.

Well, long story short, on Friday I spoke with my physician and we reached an agreement whereby I should not return to the job, that it was NOT in my interest. He signed a note giving me three months’ medical leave.

I spoke with the powers that be in Employment Insurance offices and let them know I would be on sick leave, but that I had no intentions of returning to the job. They advised me to ride out the sick leave and formally quit in November, at which point my benefits would go on four-week hiatus as a penalty, a penalty I can’t afford right now.

Today, said woman contacted me to let me know she had anonymously called the EI Gods to find out how to launch an investigation of EI Fraud against me.

We used to be friends. We had a lot in common, a lot of mutual respect.

Not anymore, I guess. I feel betrayed. It doesn’t matter that she has decided not to pursue the investigation and the complaint of fraud because “the cost to the system would not be worth it,” but the damage is done.

I’ve worked through incredible obstacles in the last few years, gained tens of thousands of dollars of business for the company through my marketing prowess, enough to pay my salary for at least the last three years, and this is the thanks I get when I say I need time?

Goes to show you: You just don’t fucking know.

Launch it, I said. Do it. Do whatever the fuck gets you to sleep at night, honey. I’ll win. Hands fucking down. Even if my claim wasn't valid, I can talk my way into anything. Easily. But even better than winning the investigation would be that I’ll have a STORY.

And I do so love a good story. I’ll keep y’all apprised.

FORTY-THREE? No way should I be number 43 on the Top Blogs. That's just dumb.

Click that and feed my ego! -->

Ignore the signage. Feed the Steffs! :) And then go read my silly lists down below.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Let's talk about sex, baby

A new posting on Transcendental Floss, detailing my conundrum as to whether I need a nom de plume for my upcoming publications on sex (I've been successful in sending out some articles and have been tentatively offered an ongoing sex-advice column.)

The List of Steff -- Volume 2

Unable to sleep, and not wanting to write on all the things I need to write on, I’ve decided to cop out and make yet another list.

When I’m writing or trying to sleep, I’ll often listen to one song on repeat. Right now, it’s Faith No More’s cover of “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” I’m singing it as I type.

I’m the only person I know, I think, without caller ID on my home phone.

I’m also the only person I know with a fully functional rotary dial phone. It’s a 1950s, black, desktop rotary phone that belonged to my grandma. When people are over for the first time and it rings, it always gets a great reaction. I love the sound of it.

My writing desk is 7 feet long. I designed it based on something I saw in a book. The surface is all hardwood, which I stained with loving attention and looks gorgeous.

It’s held up by two 2-drawer filing cabinets that I covered in decoupage. I used only handmade chocolate brown paper and the effect is that the cabinets look like they’re brown leather.

I’ve gotten more spider bites this summer than I’ve ever had. Ironically, I think they’re under my desk. My big fucking long desk. Grr. It’s always my legs that have the bite marks.

I’m a reference book junkie but I’m depressed I have so few of them. Withdrawal. Gasp. The coolest one is my 1,000+ page “Slang” dictionary with more than four pages of “fuck” terms.

Little of my dinnerware matches. It’s all odds and ends. Funnily, I have a 8-piece setting in storage but it bored me ‘cos it was matched.

My silverware is all ritzy antique silverware. I use it daily. New people to my house think they’re getting special treatment. Sadly, no. My mom always said “Using it means not having to polish it.” Fuckin’ a, Mom.

I have a small collection of elephant figurines, mostly from India and the rest of Asia.

The first piece of furniture I ever bought was a giant cow-pattern beanbag chair, which I still own but is residing elsewhere temporarily. It needs to come home in time for winter so I can be a bum and lie around and read in it, just like I did all year in the Yukon, where it first entered my life.

The first antique I ever bought was my Shaker-style plant stand that holds no plants. Instead, a pile of select art books and candles sit on top, and my elephants hang out on the bottom shelf.

I have a stained lamp circa 1890. It rocks.

I once did a roadtrip to California where I deliberately stopped in Ashland, Oregon for their terrific Shakespeare festival on the Bard’s birthday. Willie rocks. It was Othello with Anthony Heald as Iago.

I was the coolest babysitter ever in my teens. I’d tape rock videos and wrestling and take them over to the kids’ houses. We’d bake cookies and dance through the house until it was time to wrestle each other on the living room floor, which we’d cover in couch cushions and blankets. We always had a blast. Then I got paid for having fun.

I once dove into a glacial lake in the Yukon, went into shock, and was rescued by two very cute male friends. Swoon.

When I drove home from the Yukon to Vancouver, a 30-hour drive, I did the whole thing solo in 36 hours, stopping only to eat and to have one two-hour nap, which I took in the driver’s seat with a sleeping bag over me. What a crazy fucking two days.

God, I wish I could do it again.

Some of my favourite words in real life, when talking, include: Groovy, spiffy, peachy, ducky, swank, nifty, and anything else you can dig up from the ‘50s.

I really want to learn to surf. When I lose a little more weight and have some cash, I’m gonna do it the Canadian way: In Tofino. I’ll go to the only all-girls surf school in Canada and learn on the waves in the ancient virgin temperate rainforests of Clayoquot Sound. God’s country.

When I chat with my 9-yr-old nephew, I don’t mince words. I’ll explain philosophy and such to him without even batting an eye. He always looks at me baffled-like, but digs the non-patronizing tone I use. Sometimes he even gets it.

I introduced my nephew to punk rock music. He now loves Me First and the Gimme-Gimmes and the Ramones.

I did an interview with the director/editor/producer of End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones. It was cool. So was the movie. Check it.

I don’t look like a sex advice-column writing punk-rock girl. In fact, most parents love me to death. Everyone trusts me implicitly. Silly people.

I was once told that my honesty is “disarming.” I don’t lie. I don’t even try to soften the blow. I say what I think. Some people can’t handle it. Tough.

My bedroom is a creamy-sand colour with one wall chocolate brown.

When I eat my Smarties, I eat the red ones first.

I’m a very scattered, cluttered person in day-to-day life. Organization is the bane of my existence and the thing I strive for most right now.

I don’t own a calculator.

I’d love to have a talk show one day. Something on the radio, I think. Anyone, anytime, on anything. It’d rock.

I have a pretty deep voice for a chick. A cross between sultry and husky, I guess, with a Bostonian twang, apparently. I don’t know what the hell that’s about. My voice fluctuates a lot depending on my mood, though.

I once walked several kilometres up a Californian beach in order to see a beached Baleen whale. I don’t know why it fascinated me, but I felt compelled, so I did. The person had told me that the lungs had floated several hundred metres down the beach from the corpse. They were right. It was strange, surreal.

I stole a bag full of pebbles from that beach, next to the whale -- Pebble Beach, actually -- and later fashioned a bottom to a glass table that would allow me to have the pebbles as the filler. Looked cool. Still have the pebbles.

I stayed in a lighthouse once. It was one of the most haunting experiences I ever had. It was like you could feel the souls of all those who’d died off those rocky crags in the centuries past. I shuddered in my bed and left the next day. I sort of loved the experience, though.

I like travelling alone. I love travelling alone. I always meet the coolest folks. It never, ever feels lonely.

I once hit a teacher in the face with an elastic band. I was trying to hit my boyfriend in the back of the head and missed by 10 feet.

As a kid, I played baseball for years. Usually second base or outfield. I’m wicked with a bat.

When I was eight, I flew across the country alone and didn’t know I was supposed to wait for a stewardess to take me to the waiting area to meet my uncle. I sauntered off all alone into Pearson International in Toronto and wandered the airport for a half-hour, completely unconcerned about myself. I saw a giftshop and bought myself some Garfield writing paper. My uncle saw me and nearly fainted with relief.

My parents went up one side of the airline and down the other. I never did bother to find out what they got out of their hassling of the airline for all those weeks after I’d returned home.

When I was six, I wandered off from my parents in Tijuana, Mexico. I was gone for an hour and a half or more. Meanwhile, my parents were in the police station trying to get help to find me and some fucker stole $500 from my mom’s wallet. This was 1979 -- a lot of dough. I don’t really remember what I did with my travels that day.

My favourite dish to make, which I only do once every year or two, is chicken b’stilla, a Moroccan chicken dish that sets my heart a flutter and puts my wallet into convulsions. Almonds, chicken, filo, currents, ginger, and lots of awesome stuff. God. Now I’m hungry.

I don’t care about money. I’d love to be rich and I’d be an incredibly classy, cool, and hip rich person, but I only want money if it comes without me compromising my values or selling out to a system I loathe. But if it comes... Man. I’m down with wealth.

I wouldn’t buy a new car if I had the money to buy a car tomorrow. I’d love to get an old Ford Fairlane or a GT or something else from the late ‘60s.

I had this crusty history teacher in high school who always had these too-tight poly-blend shirts that wouldn’t really let him raise his arms. As a result, he’d have these long b.o. stains under his arms. He spoke in a fake British accent (and had never even left Canada -- I knew his daughter), and was very proper. I remember him talking about the Russian revolution in this nasally fake-Brit voice, and recounting the the events of 1917 when the revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace and began to overthrow the powers that were. He said, “Thus, the czar was basically toast.” It was the only time in three classes over two years that we ever heard him using slang.

From grade one to grade seven, we had spelling tests every Friday. I never, ever got a single word wrong until grade seven. It was “czar.” I put “sar.”

In grade 5, I tested at a grade 12 vocabulary level. Like, big words and such. ;)

I was reading at 3 years old.

The second time I ever shaved my legs, in grade 7, I pressed too hard and went too fast and cut all along my shinbone from ankle to knee. It hurt like a bitch.

The first time, though, I thought I should shave my arms as well as my legs, since it seemed like the point was to de-hair myself. To this day, some of the hairs on my arms grow in a strange direction. No one’s ever noticed.

I have one pointed eyebrow. I used to hate it. Now I love it ‘cos I think it makes me look mischevious. (I take measures to deemphasize it. It’s just a slighty teasing mischevious-looking brow now.)

I have a scar on my nose where my nostril was cut in half when I tripped in a hole in the driveway and fell on a can of paint. No one ever notices the scar until I point it out.

I’m listening to Tom Petty and belting out “Free Falling.”

Now I don’t want to sleep.

Now I’m going to go for a long walk and look at the stars.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The List of Steff

I’m not going to count this shit out. If I reach a hundred, whatever. If I don’t, I don’t.

I’ve been proposed to but have never married and never lived with a guy, and am in no rush for either. Particularly not marriage. Maybe never.

I don’t want kids. Period.

I have a brother. He’s weird.

I have a nephew. He’s hilarious. He’ll be nine soon.

I like papaya but mango tastes weird to me. Sometimes I like it. Kiwis rock. But strawberries are the bomb.

Dark chocolate, not milk. Really, really dark. Mmm.

I’m a coffee junkie.

When I sleep, I monopolize my whole bed but when that’s not an option, I sleep on the right.

I have no pets. The only pet I’ve had as an adult were fish. They didn’t take. I gave them the 21-flush salute. It was sad. One was named “Sushi.” Apparently fitting.

As a kid, I had a cat, a rabbit, a dog, fish, and a hamster. Believe it or not, they all died or were taken from me tragically. The dog was a long story. The cat was killed by a pitbull. The fish, well, you know the routine.

I don’t like perfume, but I do wear scented natural oils, my favourites being called “Tantra” and “Aphrodisia.” You do the math.

When I was in grade 5, I won a writing contest and got to be in a special group of school kids who got to sit front and centre when Pope John Paul II visited Vancouver in 1984.

My favourite movies include City of God, Donnie Darko, Casablanca, State and Main, and many, many more.

I don’t really like slapstick comedies despite considering myself pretty funny.

I played hooky like nobody’s business throughout high school and college. I once skipped three full weeks in high school and managed to talk my way out of it. “You know, we legally are not required to let you take your exams and graduate.” “Great, then I can not attend and waste more tax dollars all year next year. Did I mention I’ll get 85% without even studying?” And it worked. And I got 87% on 2 hours sleep in 2 nights. The boyfriend was leaving town for the summer. Sex got priority.

I’d rather be alone than in a less-than-perfect relationship.

I’m a concert junkie. I like it hard, fun, and good.

Among my faves have been Santana, the Kills, Wil, Matt Good, BRMC, Ed Harcourt, U2, and many, many more that I was apparently on too many drugs and am having trouble recalling just now.

My first concert was Tears for Fears in 1985. My favourite concert before hitting 18 was George Michael's Cover to Cover tour.

I've probably seen a couple hundred gigs or more.

My favourite bands of recent past include The Stars, Arcade Fire, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the Kills, Interpol, Gomez, and the Von Bondies.

My favourite music of old include Pink Floyd, the Tragically Hip, Sublime, the Butthole Surfers,
the Detroit Cobras, u2, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Nirvana, Oasis, Pearl Jam, REM, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tom Waits, Vast, the Verve, CCR, and much, much more.

I once accidentally stole a camera. I had borrowed it from the camera store I worked in (we were allowed to) and on my second last day there, I showed up and my boss told me to fuck off. I sort of "forgot" to return it. It was an awesome camera. (Canon Rebel G.)

I don’t really have a favourite colour. I’m very situation specific with colours and aesthetics.

I’m a candle gal. Some nights I’ll have 20 or more going. “Ooh... she’s romantic.” Yes, I am. Quite.

I once was stranded clifftop with a boyfriend on a 6 foot-by-4foot ledge for an entire night when the sun set too quickly and we got trapped after our hike. It was fucking awesome.

I’m a good cook. Scratch that. I’m a great cook.

I’m a barbecue fiend. I’m an hour away from ribeye bliss.

I don’t drink girlie bevvies, never have. Red wine and beer, with the occasional hard alcohol for good measure. Martinis are good, though.

I love stargazing. Love, love, love stargazing.

I love latenight beach-bound conversations with good friends.

I love leaving for roadtrips long before the sun rises. I like being somewhere new when light finds me and the day.

The most important factor of a roadtrip is the music.

I love staying in youth hostels, whether I have money or not. It's the experience and the cool people and the chaos that turns me on.

I wish I could travel constantly.

I’ve never broken a bone.

I’ve shredded a few muscles, and every serious injury I’ve ever had has been on the right side of my body.

I’ve had three concussions. The last one took four months to recover from. The first one was GayBoy’s fault. Damn you, GayBoy! :)

I decorate a lot. I love my apartment and invest time in it when I have it to invest.

I’m an assertive driver and when in a car, I like to go fast. I’ve put probably about 400,000 kms on the five cars I have owned. (One was a ‘74 Mustang. Loved it.)

The place I most want to visit is Morocco.

The place I least want to visit is Nebraska.

My favourite smell is vanilla.

I have no particular favourite kind of man. Many men are sexy. Sexy, to me, is an indefineable quality. You have it or you don’t.

Poetry isn’t really my bag. There are days when I enjoy it, but they’re few and far between.

I sleep in the buff year round. The pluses of living alone. Lovely.

My favourite activity is biking. I have a Kona Muni-Mula, which they no longer make, but it’s fucking awesome. It goes like butter, baby, and is lime green.

So is my kitchen.

I’m a perfectionist and I’m very competitive, but I’m relaxed about it.

I don’t like roses. They bore me. I’m a wildflowers girl. And lilacs.

The most amazing things I’ve ever seen are the Northern Lights. I feel like I’ve found god every time I see them.

My favourite writers include Ken Kesey, Paul Theroux, Wallace Stegner, Chinua Achebe, Hunter S. Thompson, Mark Twain, Jim Crace, Pat Barker, Colum McCann, William Dalrymple, JK Rowling, Paulo Coelho, and Adam Hochschild.

I’m suspicious of people who smile all the time.

My eyes are green.

I don’t wear much jewelry. My favourite piece is a 70-yr-old platinum ring with a very simple design and three mini-diamonds that was my grandmother’s engagement ring. Once I was talking about her and twirling the ring and it snapped in two. It got fixed and is happy now.

I won a car once. A 1979 Chevy Monza. It broke down three days later, resulting in a chain of events that caused me to meet one of my best friends ever, Whipped Boy. (Hi!) That’s a story I’ll tell someday.

I’m not interested in men with fancy jobs and fancy cars. Give me a free spirit with a shitty old car and a zest for life, and I’m happy.

I don’t like bubblebaths. I like hot baths with oil. Lots and lots of oil.

I became friends with GayBoy because a guy we were both friends with became a dick and we needed to bitch about it. The rest is history.

I’ve lost about 60 lbs in the last couple years without really changing my eating habits. Exercise, mainly. Still have some more to go and now I’m finally behaving. Still, I’m cute!

I would love to take a woodworking course and learn how to make my own furniture. I have some designs in mind that I’d like to bring to life. I will do this by the time I’m 35. Guaranteed.

I had a barbecue at Charles Schultz’s house once. (The Charlie Brown creator.) He was one of the nicest celebrities I’ve ever met.

I sold Michael Hutchence of INXS a schwack of toys about three weeks before he died in his bizarre sex-strangulation episode. He was totally cool, too.

I don’t give a shit about celebrities, though. I’ve seen a lot of them, having worked in Vancouver’s upscale Yaletown neighbourhood for five years. The hockey players I always enjoyed seeing (yum) but not the rest.

When I grow up, I want to be happy.

When I garden, I grow herbs. Flowers bore me.

My dream house would be on the water with a lot of glass, a huge library, an arts studio, a woodworking shop, and a herb garden with wildflowers everywhere. There would also have to be an arbutus tree. That part is not negotiable. At least one. Preferably a weeping willow, too. A cyprus would also be nice, but that might be pushing it. A sexy man tied to my bed might also make it really feel like home, but hey.

Trees rock.

So does the ocean.

My family has lived on the ocean for several generations -- in Ireland, the Normandy coast, Prince Edward Island, and I’m the first generation to be on the west coast of North America.

Speaking of Ireland and PEI, I’ve therefore never met a potato I didn’t like.

I could never be a vegetarian. I scoff at them.

I came THIS CLOSE to going to culinary school a few years back.

I hate, hate, hate making lists.

I’ve written this in 55 minutes.

I need a beer.

I’m going now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's a Weird World After All, Volume 4

Not feeling well, I've been home today. After whipping some things into shape for hopeful publication and getting them off, I've decided to blow off some steam.

If you laugh at ALL in this, please click TOP BLOG and keep me in the top 5. It's in the sidebar, under my eyes. Thanks!

Here you go:


You wanna be in the pictures? All you gotta do now is die.

Vidstone, a new company, is launching a new high-tech tombstone that comes with a video monitor and footage of the dearly departed. With the push of a button, you can watch the footage. It’ll even come with a headphone jack (but no external speakers, fortunately).

It’s nice to know that we’re so utterly devoid of imagination and the ability to think for ourselves that even our tombstones will bombard us with images.

You gotta know when to let go. This dumb fuck didn’t.

A fisherman in East Germany was enjoying a day on the lake, fishing, when a feisty little bastard of a fish got hooked on his rod.

Clearly, Mr. Fisherman didn’t get out to the gym that often since the fish was able to not only get away, but get away with the fishing rod in tow.

The fish raced off, towing the rod over the lake’s surface, until it was more than 100 metres (300+ feet) from shore.

Freaking out when the fish swam off, the German jumped into the lake and pursued the fish.

The man had reached the now-floating rod, and then he just suddenly stopped. A 54-year-old witness noticed he’d stopped moving, swam out, brought the man back to shore, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities describe the fish as "just a fish." Well, that clears that up, then.

Must’ve been one hell of a fishing rod.

Gotta say, reading the original story, I had this image of a couple of fish chomping on the dude's digits, commenting, "Hmm. Tastes like chicken."
The Bush administration is objecting to a new Internet suffix of .xxx to be used for porn sites. Why? Because they’re concerned it’ll create a new “cyber redlight district.”

It seems a massive 6,000 letters has poured in from concerned parents and citizens. Clearly 6,000 uptight people out of 200+ million is an overwhelming number.

Yeah, I can see where that concern’s coming from. I agree. Things are so much better now with porn sneakily embedded in the mainstream internet with easy access to just about anyone. That whole “Are you 18?” question viewers must answer before they enter is so obviously an effective measure.

Don’t you ever feel like you’re the only person with a functioning brain cell? Why the fuck is .xxx a problem? I think it’s a solution. God forbid you actually know before you click on an URL that it’s all sex.

But then, what do I know? I’m as guilty of moral turpitude anyhow, since I write smut myself.

I’m all for voyeurism, but...

A British chef was spotted fucking a goat in a field by a trainload of passengers as the train stopped at some signals.

The chef, 23-yr-old Stephen Hall, had his way with the grazing goat, much to the chagrin of all the unwitting train-riding spectators who then flooded the local cops with calls to complain about the antics.

Hall, a gay male, pled guilty to sex with an animal, but doesn’t seem too put off by the whole episode as he states his friends are all taunting him about the incident.

The goat doesn’t seem that put off, either. As they tell it in the Sun:

British Transport Police Detective Inspector Dave Crinnion, who investigated, said: "I saw the goat the next day — it did not seem too upset but it is difficult to tell.

What happened to the good old days when guys would use their Hoovers to get off, huh?

Most people move to Montana for the nature.

Seems to be a hit with toads, too.

Thousands and thousands of quarter-sized toads have descended upon the town of Big Sandy. So many toads are in the town that the streets are covered with sticky slime from toads being run down, and lawns look as if they’re moving, the blankets of toads are so thick.

The locals aren’t that concerned. Karen Jesperson says, “They’re pretty cute.”

Another local, a merchant, says "Poor little toads. Everyone keeps running them over. They have nowhere to go."

No, they don’t, and some other locals are beginning to use the little critters as fishing bait, figuring they may as well get a little use out of 'em, especially since they're really too small to be opening up French restaurants in the 'hood.

Big Sandy seems to be a magnet for strange invaders. Last time, it wasn't quite so biblical though. A decade ago, Big Sandy was overrun by tumbleweeds. The locals claim that the weeds were a bigger problem than the toads, which they cite as being merely “a nuisance.”

Can I be the first to suggest that Big Sandy doesn’t sound that sandy anymore? How about renaming it to Kermitville? Maybe Froggy Flats? Or Amphibiside? Maybe even simply Hopsville? No? Hmm.

The dying dream of America

You can read my lament for America over on

Cool. I'm 3 hits away from 15k. Nice. My new bloggie has had 3k in 3 weeks, though. Strange.

Heartbroke a Stranger

days come, days go by
so it matters, so you say
but it's all coming back in a new way
and nothing will ever change

Some days, I can’t help but live in my past. These days, though, I’m being forced to.

Although I’m loving the experience of this course I’m taking, which delves into the pathology of artists and the mental roadblocks they face in pursuing their dreams, here I am, lost in this world that mingles my past with my dreams of the future, and I can’t tell you when I last felt so many emotions washing over me.

the words exchanged for revenge inside
you know these things take time
now and then, these words
make me laugh, so powerful

I have known a lot of people in my time, and I have been a lot of people in my time.

In six weeks, I’m 32. I know I’m supposed to lie and say I’m 20-something ‘cos I’m female and somehow my age should be an anathema, but I don’t subscribe to that bullshit.

I’m proud I’m alive after one hell of a decade that ended with two coulda-been-fatal accidents two years in a row. I’m proud I’ve been through all the things I have, and instead of being older than my years, I’m having the time of my life on a journey of self-discovery like none I’ve ever known.

I’m proud I’m still hip. I’m proud I look younger now than I did three years ago. I’m proud my health is getting better. I’m proud I’m as wise as I’ve become. And I’m proud I know as much as I do about heartache and loss and I’m still down with falling in love.

going through several lies
they've never been so true
i know that I'm used to time
you know what it is, don't you?
ome words make us all cry
t's so talented

But all these remembrances of places I’ve been, people I’ve known, dreams I’ve had, loves I’ve lost, and lies I’ve told are stoking my psyche into overdrive these days, and I feel like I’m growing a troubled but good mile a day.

This song, Heartbreak a Stranger by Bob Mould, makes me want to weep. I’ve got in on repeat and though I’m typing furiously, my eyes are closed and I’m belting out the vocals, my neighbour’s sleep be damned.

if anybody could read my mind
and share with me these thoughts
of all the enemies left behind
and friends that time forgot

So much of this song calls to mind all the events that shaped me in my early 20s. Back then, I was a different person. I was more selfish, less aware, less smart, less witty, and far less grounded.

I had a lot of friends. A lot. I was busy constantly and never, ever stayed home. I didn’t really write, didn’t really try to push my envelope. I was in and out of love on a daily basis, enmeshed in a torrid on-again-off-again relationship with a poet that lasted the better part of seven years, punctuated with an assortment of artsy guys with great smiles and minds to match.

There aren’t a lot of people I miss in my past, but some break my heart every time I realize they’re not around. Somehow, if they were, it wouldn’t be the same. And this I know.

But what if it was? What if I had been more humble? If I had been more open to people’s imperfections? If I had seen my own more clearly? What if I saw past the surface hurt and saw into what was really transpiring within them? What if I understood others’ pain then like I do now? What if I could’ve been a bigger person? What if I could’ve had more faith? What if?

retending nothing could ever faze you
well, some things never change
tell me why do these words ring home
ow can you heartbreak a stranger?

I’ve loved and lost a lot of friends over the years. Not that I’ve been out there shattering friendships like pinatas, but I’ve been very judgmental. When my old friends fucked up, I usually judged them harshly. I tried not to, but I definitely failed. I suspect that I was right to do so at least 70% of the time. But a few of them... man. I wish.

days come, days go by
so it matters, so you say
but it's all coming back in a new way

And so here I am again, remembering things that can never be, that never will be, and wondering if, in the grand scheme of it all, that pain and frustration, those betrayals and forgettings were all so very worth it.

Sometimes, I’m sure they were.

and everyone knows a way
and everybody runs away
from somebody who cries

Sometimes, I wish they weren’t. And sometimes, I know they weren’t. Yet here I am.

and if anybody could read my mind
and share with me these thoughts
of all the enemies left behind
and friends that time forgot

how can you heartbreak a stranger?

Monday, August 15, 2005

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Click Top Blogs just below my eyes.
Thanks! -->

Encore: The Legend of Tagish Elvis

I've had an awesomely good day, and I'm taking a couple blog-free days from TLD so I can do some editing on some submissions. Life rocks and the King is dead, man. In honour of Elvis's death day, I'm bringing back Tagish Elvis.

Originally posted this on April 17th of this year, this got the most enthusiastic response I've ever had to my writing. I read it to a roomful of folks today who howled out loud at it. I've had more comments on other postings since, as I've had a much larger audience since, but I've never had this kind of enthusiasm.

Of course not -- he's a legend, and this is some of the funnest writing I've ever done, with one of my favourite lines I've ever written. (Can you guess which?)

I will never be able to publish this, at least not until he's dead, since Tagish Elvis knows his way around the legal system and my sorry ass don't.

Here's the link to the prelude to this crazy shit, so you learn how I came to know this wacky motherfucker.

Even if you've commented on it before, let's share the love, man. Say something. :)

Tagish Elvis
Originally uploaded by scribecalledsteff.
Meet Tagish Elvis.

Until the '90s, Tagish Elvis was just another guy, Gilbert Nelles, who had an affinity for bingo and karaoke. He just got by, just living off his proceeds from selling tacky tourist items, the most popular of which were his sponge-painted goldpans, which are probably hanging on walls all over Germany as I type.

I loved living in the Yukon, but as poet Robert Service once said, the winters there envelope you with "a silence that bludgeons you dumb." It's an incredibly beautiful and mystical place to live, but even today it is a cruel and violent land.

There are those who succumb to the bitter cold and dark winter nights, who lose their tether to reality. They adopt the quirky mannerisms of the lonely and the lost.
And then there are those like Gilbert Nelles.

In the late '80s, Gil had found a stockpile of discarded telephone poles that he learned were publically up for grabs. He took the countless poles and made himself a log cabin out of them. This was not abnormal behaviour in the North, where the packrat mentality is a holdover from the days of the Gold Rush, when a little extra scavenging could mean your ability to survive those bitter winters of legend.

Some will tell you that it was the fire in the stove on those endlessly, brutally cold Yukon nights that made Gil what he became: insan--err, Elvis.

And if asked, they will tell you that Gil's mental instability is most likely thanks to all the toxic chemicals those telephone poles were treated with. All those long cold nights where the cabin would be heated up nice and toasty by fires in the hearth, all those chemicals in the log walls off-gassing into his environs, toxins wafting around that rustic room as he bent over his goldpans, stamping out art that he felt would become his legacy.

People would talk at times about those who’d visited Gil’s home, who'd testify it smelled funny, whether he might've used some of those toxic poles for firewood and ingested those fumes directly.
Elvis, though, will tell you his mind was fucked long before this. It was the FBI. Or the CIA.

There was no cocaine, no toilet, no naked King, no untimely death. No, the government had realized in the '70s the power that Elvis had over the American people, but knowing he could be useful to them, They decided not to kill him, not like They did with John Lennon and Jim Morrison, who They found were no longer of use, just trouble.

No, They reprogrammed The King for the good of The People. According to Elvis, They thought, “Where can we send this powerful mofo that he’ll be out of the way?”

Canada, naturally. Not just Canada, though. Way-the-fuck-out-there Canada, some 2,800 kilometres north of the American border, to that isolated community of Tagish, 30 kilometres from the capital of Whitehorse in the Yukon, surrounded by trees and silence. As isolated as it really gets.
And we all know what happens in those isolated places: Close encounters of the third kind. And The King was no exception. Everyone loves royalty, even the little green men.

It was around '90 that Elvis reports his first alien visitation. On that first encounter, they took the King for a galactic spin.

The cosmic critters told him how the American government was interfering with his destiny. That Elvis didn’t have to go back to his life as it was in the days of Graceland. No, they said he had to forge a new life here, in the wild, but he needed to be The King. He was Elvis.

The Man couldn’t take it away from The King. He had to be strong, yo.
Enter the Caddy festooned with epoxy-crusted angels. Enter the gone-Native Elvis jumpers. Enter the ducktail, the shades. The monotone-mumble-drawl he sputters at you with. Enter the vanity license plates that read simply, "ELVIS."
When Elvis came into town after those visits, the locals didn't call him Gil. Not anymore. No, they addressed him as Elvis, and sometimes more rightfully as The King. When he'd saunter down the street, goldpans in hand, they'd mutter about "That crazy fuck," but to his face, they feigned the respect he so longed for.
Sadly, morphing into The King didn’t have the effect he thought it might have on his wife. In fact, she liked it better when he was reprogrammed. She decided to split.

Elvis didn’t take kindly to this and tried to shoot his wife dead when she tried leaving him in the mid-’90s. He claimed she was just another pawn of that scheming American government. She survived that night, but the Epic of Tagish Elvis was just getting started.

That fateful night, a responding RCMP officer on the scene suggested The King should “seek some help.”

Enraged at this assertion of insanity, Elvis then sued the government, suggesting he was the victim of defamation, collusion, and harrassment.

Elvis continued in this vein over the next several years, suing the government at his leisure, his legal briefs maxing out at over 400 pages most of the time--filled with wild accounts of his abductions, the conspiracy of his reprogramming, citations of their inability to protect him from the constantly meddlesome aliens, the Canadian government's collusion with the American government in trying to obscure his true identity from The People, and so on.
The last real news on Tagish Elvis came when his last attempt to sue the government for defamation and collusion was dismissed. They King was found without sufficient evidence. The courts fined him $10 for “wasting everyone’s time” and he was thereafter forbidden from launching any more laughable legal claims.

I don't know where he is today, whether he's still huffing chemicals in his cozy cabin, churning out his garish goldpans and faux dreamcatchers... but I'd lay my money on exactly that. The crazy shit never goes away in the North. It's bred in the bones.

All the world's aswirl... soon

guy on rink floor small

Where to begin?

I’m running on five hours sleep, which I’m sure is fine for the rest of the world, but doesn’t do much for me. Call me old-fashioned, but I love my rest.

I ran out of dope yesterday. This means last night was the last non-psychedelic dream night for awhile. “Shouldn’t that be the other way around?” you ask.

Well, no. When I’m smoking dope, I have no dreams that I can remember or am even half-conscious of playing on my mind’s theatre. When I stop smoking dope, the subconscious repression, I guess, seems to lift and my dreams become a psychedelic kaleidoscope of swirls and madness. It takes a couple days to slip into that mode, but I suspect the games begin tonight.

It’s a money thing, the no-dope status. But I intend to not buy it for a month or two while I get a fire lit under my ass with submissions and such. Tonight, I edit one thing to send into a certain party for publication. The content isn’t appropriate for here (but oh so appropriate for my other blog. Email me if you want the URL.

Today in my course I get to do Show & Tell for the first time in 20 years. I havne’t done this since I was a kiddie.

We’re all artists so our art is obviously hugely representative of who we are. I’ve got to read a couple things to the class today that reflect my style and such. The two I’ve chosen are the harrowing piece on my mother’s death from a week and a bit ago, and my classic on Tagish Elvis, which I will post here for a repeat read on Wednesday, the real King’s death anniversary.

The photo is one I took during a lunch break from class last week. It was too out of focus, so I manipulated it, but I still love the shot for some stupid reason.

Probably because I feel like that -- alone on a cold floor with a great perspective of the world around me, and totally chill about it all... most of the time. It’s a great way to feel when you’re really taking in the world.

I've LOVE if you could click on TOP BLOG and vote for me. It would be a hoot! Near the top of my sidebar. Go and click freely, little reader! :)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

(the kills and bloc party are touring together in the next several weeks. if they do not stop in vancouver, people will die at my hands. seriously. a promise.)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Some thoughts on 8 Mile

If you haven’t seen Eminem’s 8 Mile yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

I just watched it for the second time, but both times, there have been scenes I've watched at least a couple times in a row thanks to the good writing.

Now, I’m white on white, man. I’m as white as a girl gets. Rap/hip-hop have never been a thing for me, but that's because of ignorance. This city has no black culture to it at all. Everything else but.

The older I get, the more I learn about hip-hop, the more it appeals.

I avoided 8 Mile for a really long time and only saw it this summer. (I can be really narrow-minded. It’s something I’m actively seeking to change.) Watching it then was one of those moments when I’ve cuffed myself and said, “You silly bitch, you should’ve done this long ago.”

I’m glad I didn’t, though. I've never been in a better position to relate to it than I have been this summer.

The story’s inspirational. It’s a classic tale of the underdog stepping up and delivering. The writing is strong, the characters are believable, and Eminem is a surprisingly understated, calm, sophisticated actor.

It wouldn’t matter if rap was your bag or not, it’s simply a great film. There are undeniable attributes that every great movie has to have: a strong cast, a confident director, a tight score, tight writing, and a story the public will embrace.

8 Mile’s got it all, and great editing, to boot.

Personally, I think it’s one of my favourite movies right now. I doubt it’ll last in that spot, but it’ll probably always be a film I identify with in small ways. And if I’m lucky, it will mark what I hope to be a milestone in my life.

As far as the plot in the flick goes, well, the artistic struggle’s the same no matter what class you come from, no matter what discipline you follow, and this movie captures that struggle so well-- the crisis of confidence, the need to examine how badly you want your dream, the quest for identity. And the movie doesn’t talk about it, it shows it. Eminem’s incredibly believable in the role.

It’s fitting I’ve seen the film this summer, because this course I’m in right now is about the artistic struggle and the artist identity. I’ve had to live my life with a lot of courage and strength over the last 10 years, just to get me through all the shit that’s come my way. And I’ve done that now. I’m good. I’m happy. I love my life. It fucking rocks.

But finding that courage and strength again, to tackle something new, to pursue the things I really want so I can be happy and content on a level I’ve never known before? A whole new kind of hard. It’s challenging, exciting, daunting, freaky, but that’s what art is. I think that as an artist I’ve been bred to have this inner ego that says “I bring something different... I contribute something meaningful... I can affect your worldview.”

Like anything, though, I find my voice is getting stronger the older I get, the wiser I become. I’m never going to sit here being some lifestyle swami and dictate cosmic truths to my minions or anything, but I feel like every now and then I tap into something like no one else can. And I have to believe that, otherwise why bother, right?

And whether we want to admit it or not, all artists feel some kind of compelling need to put themselves into the world. It all comes down, though, to who can sell themselves better and who’s hungrier. It’s about finding that need, being motivated to take those risks.

8 Mile captures that brilliantly. Artists don’t need adversity to create, but it’s from adversity that some of the greatest art springs. B-Rabbit’s adversity in 8 Mile might be that of white trailer park trash, but true adversity is universal. It’s so easy to relate to the characters in this film.

It’s the risk-taking and the confidence in pursuing things that have held me back (apart from the "just dealing with my shit" thing). It’s a hard thing to work on, a hard thing to overcome, and I found that 8 Mile captured it like few films have. It also shows one very important thing that too many artists forget when they're beating themselves up for not following their dreams -- you gotta be ready. Sometimes, it's just not time.

Good fucking movie.

Huh? Huh? Likey?

Pretty fuckin' snazz, yeah? Meet the new digs, kids. I posted it last night with a too-dark sidebar, but Digitalicat has fixed THAT, too. This is the final product. Whee!

Digi got me giddy by doing all these wonderful fix-its to the underlying template that should now have this place FLAWLESS, baby. Flawless. I'm proud of the outcome, and without Digi's help, it'd still be languishing in the bad place it's been.

So, the design's mine, but the BRILLIANCE... ha, all Digi. Digi, thanks, man. You've been a frickin' godsend, dude.

Now, I have about four or five different banners. I love this one, but I'll display the others over the next couple weeks. This one's cool, though. A train switch I photographed in the spring. All the banners are my photos. The "ratty old caddy" has also been made into a banner and it's tied with this one for being the two coolest. Very fun. I'll post the caddy in a week or so.

I'm probably going to make a few more. I love switching out the banner. It's like dressin' up or something. Matching your socks to your shirt... Heh.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Livin' like I kinda like

In today’s fine parlance, I am, as they say, broke off my ass.

Money? I ain’t got it. Hell, I’m five minutes away from running out of dope. Breaks my freakin’ heart, baby.

But it’s all right. I’m down with it all. Apart from the not-being-able-to-pay-bills thing, I don’t mind poverty.

Couple years ago I was buying 16-year old balsamic vinegars and 20-year-old tawny ports. Now? Lipton Sidekicks and if I’m lucky, maybe a six pack a month. And it goes slow.

But I’m having the most fun this summer since I was about 22, the year in the Yukon.

I don’t know, man.

got no credit and i got no fear
and I got about a buck so i can buy a beer

We get so fucking mired up in having all the hot shit, being the hot shit, and playing that role that we lose who we were.

Today, for the first time in years, I had a couple buck-a-slice pizzas and a cigarette on the Art Gallery steps, watching the passers-by with a couple cute boys from class. I couldn’t have spent a better 30 minutes anywhere.

I know I’m supposed to be a gold-digger and go after men with money, but man, from my experience, the guys with the mortgages have a little less fun. Give me a renter with a free spirit, and I’m over the moon.

I’d love to have money. Hell, it’d be great, but the reality is... this summer, being broke as hell, I feel better than I’ve felt in years. It’s simple, it’s a little stressful, but my god, is it ever fun.

Lose the complications, people. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Worked for Thoreau.

(And eventually I'll get back out for $20-a-plate meals. Sigh. Eventually.)

*From Butthole Surfers’ 'Dracula from Houston.'

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Just once...

Wouldn't you like to see someone on TV pick up a big cardboard box actually filled with something? Wouldn't you love to see them actually flex muscles, instead of acting like an empty box weighs something?

Why are garbage cans on TV only filled with paper and stuff? Don't they recycle in Hollywood? Doesn't anyone throw out moldy peaches? Where are the half-eaten slices of lasagna? Huh?

Wouldn't it be nice if someone on TV had to actually look for a scrap of paper with information on it instead of magically opening the first drawer they find and producing said scrap? Naturally, that check stub the IRS is requesting from eight months ago is sitting rigbt on top of the drawer's contents.

Wouldn't it be nice if you lived in TV land and every piece of paper magically appeared when you needed it, your garbage never smelled, and the boxes you lift would always be empty, hmm?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Done like dinner, Martha

I did it. I quit my job.

I'm so fucking terrified. Security is everything to me. But so is self-respect and autonomy.

So. Moving on. I won't be looking for work immediately, but hope to happen upon something in the near future. I've never had to "look" for work. I've never submitted more than three resumes at a time in my life. I always get what I want -- if I really want it.

So, then, why worry? Uncertainty, I guess. Possibility. Probability. It all bunches together into one big quake of wow.

Optimistic but scared as shit. Whew. What a day. All good, though.

(Ed. note: Have decided to apply to book publishers. Maybe someone's going back to school next month, hmm? Whee! Suspense is cool, y'know.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How did you get so annoying?

There's this dude at the Canadian "Weather Network," named Chris St. Clair.

He'll do his segments where he updates us on the meteorological world, and then at the end of his segment, he always STRUTS out of his shot.

Normal people, they stand there and the shot fades out on them.

Not Chris. Nope. Chris'll be there in his suit -- the nicest of all the on-staff meteorologists, of course -- doing his thang, the segment ends, he turns his body 90 degrees from the camera while he continues to stare right into the lens, and marches briskly off-set. Not even smiling, just staring into the camera like, "I'm so cool, I don't need to watch where I walk."

I can't even begin to tell you how much this irritates me.

What, did I miss the remake of Neil Young's classic, now retitled "Better to Strut Away than Fade Out?"

What the fuck, man.

Now that I think about it... it reminds me of all those old Nazi propaganda films where the Nazis are marching in formation past Hitler on a stage, all staring sideways, Sieg heil! and marching forwards.

Come to think of it, Chris is blond and blue-eyed. Coincidence? Only Chris knows.

The verge of change

I'm minimizing this place. Waiting on my new template.

And I've had a crazy idea that I think I might follow through with. I think I'm going to pare down my archives by about 50%. There's an awful lot of filler.

If, for some neurotic reason, you need to make your peace with that shit and go through it all, knock yourself out. There's more than 300 posts, I think, so y'know, have at it. I don't think it's necessary. I think I'm a decent judge of what's worth staying, so, maybe just let it go. :)

On the weekend, the knives come out.

I want to make this place radically different, in both content and style. The ride should be interesting. We'll see what I can do.

I don't like boredom. Variety has always been the spice of my life. So too with blogging? Let's find out.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

i'm steff, and i'll be your pilot

(it's top blog time again. please indulge my silliness and click it, top right of the sidebar. vote pour moi! i come with a world peace plan. something about "just add beer" or something. we're working out the details. thanks for playing!)

hey, kids.

i've had the most exhilerating week in a long time. all writing, all the time. eight out of nine days off, and writing for at least two hours a day. (six hrs, some days.)

i haven't gotten this amount of decent writing in one bunch since the summer of '98. i remember that, it was a heatwave like this, too. it's brilliantly good to have a creative streak that pans out for you. it's so gratifying.

let's call it, "the great summer of the litgasm." works for me.

so, i'm having a terrific time. writing the piece below, on mom, was an incredible experience. i'm not sure i've ever been that honest on the page.

it was, essentially, an emotional enema, for lack of a better descriptor.

(there was another chunk that long that was not, and never will be, posted, and it got pretty intense in there. one day, it will sneak out in the guise of fiction, but some of that is so raw i'll never want to own it.

there's something wonderful about being able to dress your worst self up in the finer garb of fiction and calling it art.)

and tomorrow, i start something new and exciting. i'm beginning a very enigmatic one-month program, a journey of artistic discovery, that i feel could not have ever arrived at a better time for me. i'm as giddy as a schoolgirl, to tell the truth.

(it's covered by the government as part of employment insurance. these days, they're tailoring job-finding/creating programs towards disciplines of all kinds. thus, even artists get special treatment these days. it's a much-lauded, much-respected peer-mentoring workshop. should be groovy.)

with any luck, there will be hot men. unlikely, but one can hope. seeing as they're all artists, the creativity in that room probably abounds -- so too the frustration of being creatively challenged. nothing like people with something to prove.

but it's said to be a demanding, emotionally exhausting four weeks that has a profound effect on your artistic mentality and your drive to pursue your ambitions. i'm not sure i've ever been hungrier for it. things are going well, it's a great week for me.

for you, dear readers, i don't know what it holds. i may need an artistic outlet more than ever, or i may dry up. or something in between. can't make promises. but i'm hoping for needing an outlet, honestly. this ride's too damned fun to get off now.

(despite the moodiness of the last two pieces. you gets what you gets, my friends.)

for a laugh, visit gayboy and read about games of debauchery the whole family can play! click here: my, what firm balls you have...

love and laughs,

ps: oh, and i've got a new template designed that the magnificent digitalicat is tweaking for me. once he has the time to whip the bugs into shape, it'll be put up pronto. it's quite brighter and cheerier than this one, and a little more minimalistic, but with pop-culture colour scheme. and the cool shit? i've designed about 6 different custom banners i can switch out at my leisure.

still working on creating a masterpiece one, but i'm also trying to create cold fusion, and that's not going so well either.

Friday, August 05, 2005

an open letter to my mother

this is two really heady postings in a day. i'm taking the weekend off.


blackness. utter blackness found me as i rocked fetally in the corner, on the cold hardwood floor that february night.

rocking, rocking. alone in blackness. perhaps a metaphor for my future, i wondered? blackness. aloneness. isolation. fear. nowhere to go.

because of cancer. angry cells gnashing and clawing at what little health lived in you. mutations eating you from the inside out. tumours spongeing up your blood, leaving you in the throes of anemia, a wasted, pallid mockery of the beauty you once had been.

the prognosis? grim. rare, they said. aggressive. “mysterious.”

“a rare, mysterious killer,” as if that somehow made my fear more palateable.

“we’ve done what we could,” he told me. the liar. the fucking rat bastard. what they did was break the tumour, dropping the grapefruit-sized mass on your ribcage. they spilled the cancer’s seed back into your fertile belly.

it burst. it spilled. it took hold. you produced a harvest of cancer. a veritable bounty. a cancer crop.

you succumbed to a web of tumours so large, so intrusive, that they obstructed and shut down every major internal organ.

but the rat bastard never told me he dropped the ball, and with it, what little chance you had at life. no, i had to wait as my rage consumed me, drinking myself into increasing stupors nightly. months later, i learnt the truth: butterfingers.

i sunk to new lows. cavernous lows. sub-terranean.

i drank more after that. filled with fucking hatred for a medical system that almost works. for doctors working too long of shifts, having too shaky hands. for that slip of the finger.

i gulped through a nightly bottle of red through much of that first year, lost in a whirlwind of that angst and hatred.

my future held blackness.

i’d been down so long, with love, at the bank, and now this, the threat of being rudderless. a daughter without a mother.

and six years have passed in the longest time of my life, in a heartbeat, in a haze. i don’t know where those years have gone, but i’m stunned at all they encapsulate.

and i’m so glad to be on this side of it now. my god, the changes i have seen, the depths i have gained.

i don’t expect this grief to ever leave me, and truth be told, i hope it never does. knowing what i’ve lost keeps me tethered to what remains. keeps me holding on to that which i still have.

and what i still have are the lessons you taught me. the woman you were. the woman i should become. that i have become. and the bounties it all brings.

in your dying days, a clarity of values found you. you realized what you had squandered, that you played the game well finally, but far too late in the game. how great this gift of life is, how important dreams and desires are, and since your death, i have striven to hold those values as my own.

but this year, this time, your death day is different. this time, it comes after the steepest, sharpest incline of growth i've ever had. brushing with death and dreaming of greatness, this past year has been the year that has finally given me a sense of self like none i’ve ever known.

that sense that you yourself only obtained within months of your death. the sense of self i only gained from escaping mine.

there’s a strangeness to my grief this year. i have imagined you on a payphone in heaven, in a cloud of whiteness, beaming with a proud smile as we talk of my small accomplishments, of the dreams taking shape before me, and a warmness fills me.

then i open my eyes and the flatness, emptiness, this strange new normal returns.

but that’s just another part of me now, a part i sometimes embrace, when the time is right.


...six years.

come 4:14 a.m. tonight, it’ll have been six years.

six years since i awoke with a shot in the dark, confused why i was sitting up in the night with this sudden unavoidable sense that all the good in the world had been snuffed in an instant.

six years since my door cracked open and your neice entered to find me awake, a faint stream of light pouring in the door, hitting me in the eyes.

“steffani...” she started, tears in her eyes.

and then i knew what had been snuffed. across town, in a hospital, you wheezed your last breath and expired the moment before i awoke.

devastated, i was consoled by one thing -- even in death, we remained tangibly linked.

and no matter how alone i ever feel, that stays with me, that mysterious bond that keeps you in me.

like that moment during your memorial in that rented space on jericho hill, as the clouds broke, the sun began to shine, and the reverend said, “i’m sure shirley jean left this life thankful --” when a gusty wind crashed a window open and roared into the service, blowing copies of my eulogy across the checkered floor.

silence befell us all as just sat there for a few brief, miraculous seconds as the breeze worked the room, then quelled, remaining calm for the remainder of the service.

but we all suspected the weather had little to do with it. it was a rare moment where disbelievers suspend skepticism and, without speaking of it, everyone knows something slightly inexplicable just occured.

since then, i’ve always suspected you’ve been in my life in some capacity, though i’ve never been conscious of how.

some days, you’re a feeling. a fuzziness that hangs over me and covers me in a soft coat of contentment. a haze of easiness that leaves me impermeable to the cruel world outside.

other days, i remember the woman i lost, the mother who made me who i am, and a tsunami of sorrow engulfs me, pulling me under, leaving me turning, churning in a tidal wave of terror, alone, reaching, trying to break the surface, but choking, suspended a wall of liquid horror.

fortunately that fear seldom finds me now, but it’s still something i know will return. after all, it’s what loss is, and that i understand.

but in that loss i have found so much of myself, and i’m grateful.

for that, thank you. x