18 08 2017

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16 08 2017

Not sure if these will resonate with anyone . . . I have just become interested in what we SAY about our childhoods versus the realities. Or in all these cases, MY realities.

The thoughts are coming faster than my ability to (cough) render them, so please excuse the primitive style artwork. Call it my therapy!

Thanks for checking in!




Sex Ed? Pshaw!

13 08 2017

Disclaimer: for mature readers, references to sex and its existence may offend some blog-readers. Clutching of pearls may occur.

I remember this scene quite vividly, as certain events seem to impress themselves into the clay of my brain.

It was recess, and some kids were gathered around in a group looking at something. This would usually indicate that someone had brought an article from home that all the kids would marvel over as one would an early period Rembrandt. There was a strange gravity to the huddled group that day.

Such was the stagnancy of our recesses, I had brought a pair of sunglasses the other day from home (my mum’s) that I had worn and earned myself a meteoric rise to cooldom. This was a necessary boost since I still wore what my mother bought for me and I had a haircut that resembled Dee Dee Ramone’s.
Regarding ‘sex ed’, there was only a dim knowledge, as of a distant country that only existed in atlases. At that point (grade 4 or 5), sex was as remote and unknowable as those tropical islands that had ancient skirmishes that wiped out their entire civilization.

What we had found, were some torn up ‘gentlemen’s magazines’, some of which contained confusing and disturbing images. All the kids were perusing them with interest, turning them around in their hands, as if looking for imperfections.

I distinctly remember one child (a girl in a higher grade, and therefore was secretly in love with) who said in a high piping voice: ‘They’re xxxxing!’ (rhymes with clucking). I felt a weird thrill that was a strange amalgam of fear, shame, and excitement. The word alone (which we saved for special occasions) and its association with these images made its existence all the more unspeakably powerful.

Like pieces of the True Cross, we pocketed these magazine fragments to inspect privately. I did likewise, and they were later turned to mush as they became victims of the washing machine. If my mother found them, she made no indication. Perhaps the trajectory of my life might have changed had she discovered it.


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Work History

11 08 2017

Back in my twenties, I worked an office job for an art supply store, in the marketing department. I put together a lot of advertising, assembled a store catalog, and registered people into various fine arts classes taught by that rarest of birds, successful artists.

There was a lot of down time, especially when my boss went away for weeks on end for artist retreats or trips to Florence. I was given tasks, which I cleverly eked out to last the entire time he was away. I could have done these tasks in a few days but stretched them out, thanks to making elaborate caffeinated beverages with the genuine Italian cappuccino machine. Or miso soup. I made many trips into the warehouse, where grunge music blared, to obtain some products to scan for the catalog. I also, I am not proud to say, took a few items – never anything overly priced (like Winsor and Newton series 7 brushes) but usually more things that there was a surplus of, pens, pencils, paints, and cheaper brushes.

Then I would decorate my ‘office’ with cartoons from the Atlantic or New Yorker. Or some less graphic R. Crumb. My office was really a generous office supply room, but I was happy to have it, given the moods of my mercurial boss. (standing over my shoulder as I toiled away at a layout on my Mac, random yelling followed by abject sobbing when a father-themed song came over the stereo – he had recently lost his) When I ran out of stalling tactics such as these,  I might even leave the office entirely and enjoy a nice mid-morning stroll followed by a chicken salad sandwich at the deli, that I could nurse over for an extraordinary amount of time.

As time wore on, I made less and less effort at maintaining this subterfuge. My boss’s boyfriend, Steve, was showing up after work less and less, leading to even less mood stability. They were in the midst of a long-drawn out break-up.

I remember being yelled at in the stairwell, on my shoddy workmanship, Then, to my surprise, being accused of being on some mood-altering drug! This was probably brought on by my lack of reaction upon being yelled at. (It was definitely not drugs since I had gravitated to the beer-drinking crowd, not the cluster-around-the doors-of the-high-school stoner crowd.) After all, I had been yelled at by the best, my parents, and a few high school teachers.

Possibly it was my ‘Japanese stoicism’ that I had inherited from my father that so enraged him. My mother had recently taken some assertiveness classes, the handouts of which I had perused through. This enabled me to test-run some techniques which were partially effective as it allowed me to stand up for myself, even though I was half-ready to bail on the job. I didn’t have the courage to leave the job cold.

Eventually, I was laid off, owing to ‘a lack of work’, which I was beside myself with joy over, as of a released prisoner. (Reminiscent of my leaving home at 18 to rent a basement suite.) I walked on air for a few days, until certain fiscal realities came to light. A need to pay for food, shelter, all that. I later found out that no one could work with my boss, and there was a long history of quittings and teary departures. I had the dubious distinction of sticking it out the longest with him, which says more about where my head was those days.

The funny thing is, outside of work, my boss was a great guy, lent me his (piece of crap) pickup truck  and trusted me to housesit and keep his parrot fed, when he and Steve went on occasional cruises to LA. I learned how different  people can become in a work environment. Interestingly, towards the end, he did have a revelatory moment when he said, ‘I get it. You’re stoic!’ This seemed to mollify him since the mood-altering drugs theory didn’t really hold water.

I never held the fact that he could be a dick at work against him, as unpleasant as that was. Then again, I’ve steered away from office jobs ever since!

Thanks for reading!

lazy yoga

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People Watching

9 08 2017

Who doesn’t enjoy people watching? It is relaxing, without the pressure of engagement.

For introverts, like myself, it is an excellent way of picking up social cues, and perhaps giving them a try at some theoretical future social occasion. I may be out of practice, thanks to all that screen time. Is eye contact still a thing? How much is too much? What do I do with my hands?

I ate a lemon meringue pie while talking, the other day. A remarkable feat of multitasking, and I kept my end of the conversation up. The trick is to engage yourself in some manner, then one can be as erudite and conversant as Jimmy Kimmel or Jello Biafra. Now I just keep pieces of cake on my person.

There are more ways to avoid social interaction than to engage in it. There’s the old standby of sitting in a motorized wheelchair. Try it! It’s like you’re invisible! Pretending to be talking on your phone is one method I use occasionally, especially when I see that guy walking around with the rapturous smile on his face. He’s likely secreting a clipboard that will become instrumental in our ‘engagement’. In all likelihood however, he will be stoned, thanks to the extraordinary availability of cannabis product in our city. He will gaze at me with benevolence, tell me that ‘we’re all the same inside’ and patiently wait for an affirmation.

Sticking your tongue out of the corner of your mouth indicates that you are concentrating, and therefore do not wish to be bothered. I employ this method but I find that it works better when holding a copy of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Another good method is to marry someone who is an extrovert and will pull all conversation into their vortex, like one of those neutron stars that suck everything in their vicinity, like a rude guest at a dinner party. This is my method of choice. My wife is an excellent conversationalist. I am just an expert at steering the conversation into my narrow area of expertise. It takes a while sometimes!

Thanks for reading.


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Somewhere I Have Never Travelled . . .

7 08 2017

Somewhere I have never travelled . . .(E. E. Cummings) And possibly never will again. (me)

We were passing through Seattle recently to stay with friends near Tacoma. This is the famed gum wall in Seattle. It is below Pike Place, the epicentre of the Starbucks empire. The gum wall is not to be mistaken with that bridge in Paris that lovers attach padlocks to. It is the same sentiment, though. You may park your Frappacino infused gum here, in the absence of a handy underside of a school desk. Then you may return to it year after year until they need to blast it off in 20 years when it becomes an environmental disaster.

The smell is quite indescribable. Not in a good way. It is situated in a tunnel, that amplifies this smell. The gum wall has been described as the ‘germiest’ such place, possibly by one Niles Crane. Still, such places fascinate and intrigue me. I watched as tourists pass through, hankies over mouths, marvelling at the existence of such a place.Image 2017-08-07 at 1.08 AM.jpeg

Time Crunch

5 08 2017

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