Monthly Archives: January 2012


I lost my cell phone last month and in that space between figuratively and literally, I also lost my shit over it.  I checked EVERYWHERE and when that initial effort failed to solve my problem, I did what anyone would do: I went to social media and complained about it.


December 30th, 2011 

What’s on your mind?

Dear Cell Phone. Please come back. We can work things out. You bastard.

My relationship with my cell phone is certainly an “it’s complicated”.  The truth is, I actually hate being on the phone.  Never really got the hang of it.  I’d rather talk to people when they are being people in person or yell to them from Very Great Distances.

There’s also the imposition.

I don’t like the convenience that other people have to contact me whenever they want wherever I am, even if that’s nowhere in particular and I am doing NOTHING there.  Whether I’m single-handedly perfecting cold fusion in a bunker somewhere in the mojave desert or sittin’ around in dirty sweatpants at my mom’s marathoning Buffy and no matter what time it is, I just don’t want to be bothered simply because I can be bothered.

There must have been a procedure in place to call on someone when you needed to call them in the Before Time before cell phones but no one, it seems, can remember exactly what that was.

I think it involved pigeons.

Some sub-speicies of dove maybe?

But having a cell phone is pretty much an obligation now, and I’m just not bigger than that.  So, yes, I have one.

My Methuselah is also my Lazarus (plus three days).

Seven days off the grid and it's back to status quo. Again.

I say “cell phone”.  I don’t have a smart phone and in point of fact this is exactly where I will draw the line until they move it again.

There are good reasons why I refuse to get a smart phone.

Is it fear of the new?  Some kind of existential distrust of what we might call “progress”?

Yeah, probably.

What’s that Thing Kurt Vonnegut says?  “We are here on Earth to fart around” (1997: 219) and, see, I can’t really do that if you’re going to talk past me through your smart phone or – worst of the worse – if you’re going to fact check the Things I say offhand,  just because you can now.

That whole “Welp! Let’s just look it up, shall we?” that kind of started as a lighthearted game amongst friends is, I think, being played with too much predatory zeal to be any fun anymore.

It’s a trial now.  It’s an interrogation of small talk.

These are exactly the Things I’m trying to avoid, as futile as that is, for as long as I possibly can.  After all, just because the Romans are at the gate doesn’t mean you have to let them in.

With a cell phone, especially a crappy one, especially my crappy one (it’s over 3 years old, the camera is 2 pixels and is broken, and sometimes and especially during peak hours it sounds like I’m talking to you through a wet pillow), the excuses for non-engagement are of the best kind: trite and endless.

The battery ran out; I turned off the sound and the vibrate is broken; I dropped the call; there were no towers nearby; I was slightly underground; there was so much mist out there; SOLAR FLARES.

It all adds up to a marvellous buffer zone – a kind of heaven, really – where I can just fart around unless and until truly needed.

So, yes.  I kind of hate having my phone but I hate not having my phone because I’m expected to have it.

Such a modern romance.

As it turns out, I had dropped my cell phone in the garden. It spent a full seven days under dirt, then snow, then dirt and snow, then, like, ice for a while, then melt runoff and, eventually, my own sad realization at what had happened.

January 7th, 2012

What’s on your mind?

Cell phone!  You are back!!! But you smell like cigarettes and whores and are as dirty as rotten hell. There is water where there should not be and a “gritty” I have never before experienced against my fingertips. I am impressed and horrified. Or, as the Chinese say, imhorripressifed!

It took over two days before my cell phone was fully charged again and there are still tiny beads of condensation on the screen, here and there.  If left unplugged, I can now only have a 15-minute conversation on my cell phone before it shuts down completely.  If no one calls me, it stays on all the livelong day, cheerfully letting me know the time any time I want.

Forget heaven.




Vonnegut, Kurt. (1997).  Timequake. Putnam Publishing Group: New York.

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Stratigraphy of the heart.

In my chest, beats the heart of a geologist. Or maybe it's a rock.

I imagine the same person at different times with different pens.


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I was over at a friend’s place a few nights ago, and he said that he had read the classics but not Jane Austen because her books are “all about marriage or something.”

As a Jane Austen fan and something of a reader of myself, I was slightly offended but not utterly surprised.

We often belittle the Things we only possess and are only really inclined to possess a passing familiarity with.

Here are some authors and books – CLASSICS – which I have not read:


Charles Dickens

Yeah.  Never got around to anything of the Dickens.  But I can surmise.  Urchins, cobbling, buggies and blacking factories, a magician…?

And a stacked audience.

You should see what this man can do with the Statue of Liberty!

If I were to write an autobiographical novel, I’d call it Siegfried & Roy.[1]  It would, naturally, draw on my childhood experiences of big cats and the men who love them.

Here's a secret: the Tiger is me!

Sexy Sandwich!


White Fang

Jack London.  Right.  I actually watched a Canadian TV show back in the 90s called White Fang, which starred an unhyphenated husky instead of a wolf-dog.  Kind of like Memoirs of a Geisha, which had Chinese people playing Japanese people, all of it and everyone caught up in a lavish production.

Memoirs of a Geisha is not by a geisha just like White Fang is not by a wolf or a dog.  But canines at least – and in any form, so far as I know – cannot write.

I’ve never read Memoirs of a Geisha either, and neither has Jack London.

It’s safe to say that we both never will.


Plato’s The Republic

I “read” this only in the sense that I had a first year university lecturer who summarized The Republic from her wonderfully meticulous and wondrously vapid notes, verbatim. It was a weekly, three-hour long class in the dead of winter and my only real accomplishment during the whole Thing – the whole ordeal – was that I lost all my vitamin D that semester.

These were the days before the easy wisdom of Wikipedia, you see.  I guess I could “wiki” Plato right now and impress the shit out of all of you (unless, of course, you all “wiki” it too and then we’ll all be standing, exposed, in a pool of our own inadequacies).  But simple ease has never been much of a contender to absolute laziness.

I just don't need to know how deep the rabbit hole goes, you know?

WHOA! Just take blue pill.

So…yeah.  According to Plato, this – everything this – is, um, The Matrix.


Walden (or Life in the Woods)

What I know of Walden, I’ve managed to piece together from fractured coffee shop conversations, The Simpsons and a snippet or two from CSI (who knew?). Not to mention my own prejudices, which can be shockingly astute.

Yes.  They are.

So, ok.  Deep breath.


He sits on pumpkins and thinks that that is just neat.

If  you're doing Walden, would you also have to read Walden while you're doing it? Or would that be too much?

"March 15th. I wish I brought a TV. Oh God, how I miss TV!"

I think this is really a book that is about having your cake and eating it too, even if you have to bake it yourself (and not entirely from scratch).

Although I have not read Walden, I have read A Walk in the Woods (1998), in which Bill Bryson writes that “Henry David Thoreau thought nature was splendid, splendid indeed, so long as he could stroll to town for cakes and barley wine, but when he experienced real wilderness, on a visit to Katahdin in 1846, he was unnerved to the core.”

Sounds apt.  Exactly apt.



What is with wolves and literature?  How about something kicky and new?  Steppennarwhal!  Steppenmanatee!! Steppenhippopotamus!!!  I’d be all about that.  Totally.

Anyway, the internet tells me that Steppenwolf is this:

 A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life.

It is also this:

I like to dream, yes, yes

Right between the sound machine

On a cloud of sound I drift in the night

Any place it goes is right

Goes far, flies near

To the stars away from here

Perhaps I should read Steppenwolf while listening to Steppenwolf.  Maybe they’ll sync up.


Moby Dick

This is a kind of a cheat because I am always continually trying to read Moby Dick. The intent is always there, nice and solid, but the execution is always sloppy at best.

"Who had had his fill of K-OS' Crabbuckit!  Except that was not true, Crabbuckit is 'coo.  They should teach it each day at the skools!

"There once was a man from Nantucket" is not, incidentally, the way this book starts. But it should be.

10 months later and, like, 280 pages in, and it turns out it’s about a whale.

And revenge.  Or something.

Sweet revenge.



Bryson, Bill. (1998).  A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. Broadway Books.


[1] (The Cindy Phan Story!)


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