Horoscopes, Heralds and Land Wars In Russia

Pieces of historic Russian battlefield lostThe mornings are the difficult ones; the coffeemaker’s sluggish drip does little to slow the time that passes even if you believe it to be an hourglass. Through the cracked-open bathroom window you can hear the sound of the children next door practicing the piano, scaling up and down while dogs from the adjacent yards share the morning news one bark at a time and the crows cry murder over the quality of the leavings in the garbage bins. It’s been twenty days since she called it quits and I’m still dragging concrete feet around the apartment.

The sheets are always bunched up in a tangle near the foot of the bed, the pillows mauled or thrown off in the middle of the night for some somnambulant reasoning I couldn’t grasp in the daylight. The day crackles like old newsprint; it already feels stale by the time you get to it, the rough texture of the coming hours laid out on your kitchen table but you could swear you’ve read this horoscope before. The setups are obvious, the conflict pre-ordained, the scratched records keep skipping in the same places no matter how we try to see them through to the end of the old saxophone song. We slug it out on busses and in boardrooms, exchanging shot for shot until our clips are spent and we retire to our Netflix cues and rehearsals and kitchens and bedrooms. Our cellphones are the Heralds, arriving on cue to trumpets and horns, delivering missives from what may as well be foreign fields before stepping back and silently awaiting your reply. In this way, we are all kings of empty courts, rulers of all we survey but so isolated the notion of stepping out to borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor seems tantamount to declaring a land war on Russia.

Side note. Dear Russia: Please get your act together. Your comportment over the past little while has been getting to that borderline medieval level that makes you wonder what exactly has gotten into your heads. North America is armed and fully prepared to deal with you: if you don’t relent, we’ll send over Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Lynch and Hannah Hart for the Olympics. You cannot repel firepower of that magnitude.

Ahem.

Some days it would be better to just be the crabby old fellow who issues scathing comments on the daily news in his housecoat and slippers before returning back to bed for the rest of the day. Why can’t there be a job like that? Don’t need benefits, but a decent salary and reliable hours (mornings and some afternoons) I can handle. After going the extra mile at work for so many miles, I’m starting to wonder if I’m on the death-march I read about in a Stephen King novel back in high school. Can’t place the name of it. You know the one. Or maybe not. It was a little obscure.

In case the tone of this post has been dipping a little too severely into the negative, I should mention I’ve been in sunnier moods before. Fighting an oncoming bout of depressiveness is akin to fighting a land war in Russia; seems like a valiant thing to do, but in reality, I’m probably just going to freeze up for the winter.

Carry on bravely, y’know?

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Project Project: Prairie Storms

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So here’s a notion:

Awhile back, I put together a videopoem for a friend setting out on a grand journey. I used a lot of stock footage from the Prelinger Archives, Garageband and some shoddy home recording; the results of which can be seen here.

I’d like to do another one, and this time I’d like to use different sources for my footage. That’s where you, the reader, come into the picture.

Since I’ve been living in British Columbia, I think I’ve experienced one, maybe two good thunderstorms, and that’s one of the things I miss about Alberta the most. I wrote a piece, “On the Subject of Prairie Storms,” about missing those things, and I’d like to lift that off the page a little by adapting it into a videopoem. Specifically, I’m looking for footage of prairie storms, from small showers to huge thundering calamities of nature. Anything from any summer storm, digital footage you shot yourself on anything from an iPhone to a 7D and are okay with letting me slice into and paste together into a new videopoem, which will then be shared online (you will of course be credited for your contribution.) If you have any such footage and would like to contribute, please get in touch with me either via the comments section below, or through email or facebook and we’ll work something out. I’ll be collecting footage as best I can for a few weeks before combining them all, recording the voice track and finding a musician or two to round out the piece. The text for this project can be found here.

And that’s the long and the short of it. Thanks for taking the time to read this little pitch, and carry on bravely.

Three Days Off In A Row (Is A Very Bad Idea)

I don’t manage to drag myself out of bed before ten AM, foregoing my anticipated morning run for the comforts of a pair of pillows and a blissfully quiet cell phone. Even the email alerts, likely from a plethora of spambots, can be safely ignored until, at last, sunlight claws it’s way in through the blinds and yanks any vestige of rest out of the equation.

It’s not like I’d done anything particularly draining the day before, either.

The Lady is hammering out a string of opening shifts, which means for the next seventy-two hours I’ve lost her to the diabolical espresso bar and it’s lineup of endless needy clientele who wanted two shots of vanilla in their mocha, damnit, not just one. And in the absence of structure, form and a murky sense of motivation, the days collapse in on themselves like hastily-stacked dominoes, falling in on itself before the picture can even begin to form. There’s the great outdoors, sure, but there’s also Xbox and Facebook and the news feeds tick tick ticking away the seconds of the day. Zimmerman walks free. Egypt undergoes the equivalent of a controlled detonation. Cory Monteith checks out in a Vancouver hotel room, his last tweet about something called a Sharknado.

Life moseys on ably enough beyond my four walls. Every attempt to sit down and write is jarred out of sync by dishes that have crept up onto the horizon, tweets and notifications stabbing their way onto my screen and the phone calls from the occasionally-worried parents, who want to know how much to sell my bike for back in Edmonton.

Three days off should be automatically liberating, an excuse to grab the first bus out of town and tackle something unhewn and unexplored. But everyone’s got their thing, off chipping away at their own battles or unraisable by telephone. Maybe the invention of caller ID was the worst thing to ever happen to humankind; when I was a kid, I raced to answer the ringing telephone at home because it still held some manner of mystery… it could be anyone.

Maybe I should see what this Sharknado is all about…