Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lantern Labyrinth


We went to this event being held conjointly with the WestEnd Community Centre and the Coal Harbour Community Centre. While you immediately think of the former as having workshops like "Drag and You. Why it's not just for the Parade Route", and the and the latter having quick seminars like "Corporate Raiding : The Whys, Wherefores, and Whats In It For You", I can assure you, it was most decidely not like that. Mostly.
This being the West Coast, the largest consumer of crystal for non-china dinette purposes (only the great corporate multinational usurp this most aura cleansing heaven material as such), as well as the largest producer of a weed that justifies a multi-billion dollar prevention and incarceration complex south of the border, the Coal Harbour Community Centre didn't have so much a Christmas Installation, as a Winter Solstice Event. It was, in fact, a Labyrinth made entirely of candles.
It was something. One one hand, it made me think about how man creates sacred spaces to experience a connection with some god (or to appease his own self-delusions). Much like the cathedrals of Europe, where the space and architecture reflects divinity. On the other hand, there was the distinct impression that I was walking in this odd path bordered by 1 dollar candles set in paper bags. In a gym.
Andy, may the paper bag inhabiting candle gods of Coal Harbour Gym #2 bless her, was really struck by it. Struck enough by it to walk the entire route. I, on the other hand, was struck enough by how incredibly long the walk was one way. And how easy it was to step over the entire thing on my shortcut out. Miche, of course, decided to hang back and make derisive comments with Danny.
After we were done alternately respecting and denigrating the sacred ritual of long ago persecuted (and most probably roasted) druids of yore, we made our way to the Westend Community Centre. It was, in a word, FESTIVALE! Some sort of caribbean band playing in one room, and ice skating and a small jazz quartet in another. I'm not sure if either of the centres communicate with one another, but if they did, I imagine it'd be like this:

"Dear Coal Harbour,
Remember to have an event that is completely and utterly different from ours. Because we would like to confuse revellers as to whether this time is a festival, or a wildy imagined pagan religious holiday."

"Dear West End,
It's not pagan, it's differently religious. Don't oppress us!
PS We are considering buying out your entire centre, and selling it piece by piece to a large Hong Kong developer at a nice profit."

"Dear Coal Harbour,
Sorry about that previous email. So sorry about that. Please feel free to celebrate the inconsequential turning of seasons in whatever way best instills a sense of gravitas or whimsy, whichever you prefer."

"Dear West End,
Since this is the Holy Solstice of Renewal and Rebirth, the wholesale gutting of your complex is on hold until the major stakeholders here are back from their most sacred holiday in Barbados."

"Dear Coal Harbour,
If you take a break from the gravitas, you are warmly invited to our event. Which is sure to make your booty shake and your rump sway."

Or something like that. Or perhaps I envision the life of a Community Centre Special Events coordinator to be a bit more lively than it is.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Because I'm Too Impatient...

to wait for my literary composition correcting simians. Here is the first draft of my article for my work newsletter:

Failure. What a word. A loaded word, fraught with fear and embarassment. Whether you are an over-achieving toddler, spawn of a wall-street shark and a botoxed new york fashion maven, trying to get into the very best kindergarten; or you are a mechanic working on say, a nuclear submarine; or even if you are a delightfully whimsical brain surgeon, plying your trade, the failure is a loaded word.

We even avoid saying it. "Success challenged", "Otherly talented", "Adjusting modalities". Anything to avoid pronouncing it, like a last name that resembles an unmentionable body part.
And yet, if history has taught us anything (even though CNN argues persuasively that it has not) it's that great sucesses are usually spawned from the most appalling failures.

Take Winston Churchill. He had a little mishap called the Battle of Gallipoli, which led to the death of some 40, 000 men. Forty. Thousand. That's like taking all the runners of the Sun Run, and accidently directing them to say, Highway 1 (granted, even if they were in cars, that'd be a sketchy situation at best). That's the population of a small town: barbershop, hunting lodge, oddly popular crepe house and all. And yet he is hailed as one of the more revered leaders of Britain.

In fact, human history is littered with spectacular failures. It's only through our selective focus on the positive that we don't remember them as such. Thomas Edison, apparently, tried a thousand differnt ways to get the lightbulb to work. Now, I'm not sure about the rest of you, but if after my third try at getting something to work I'm pretty much going to put that endeavour under the "Impossible to Do" column. If I haven't taken my motivation pills that morning, the Number Of Tries Until Abandonment is closer to two.

And then there's Col. Sanders. Yes, he who -- depending on your poltical slant -- either started the most heinous trans-national multi-million dollar empire for killing chickens, or the dapper Southern gentlemen who changed the world for the better with eleven delightful herbs and spices. He apparently tried to sell his recipe to restaurants, going from city to city, and was rejected eight hundred and something times. That's a whole lotta managers telling you "No" over flapjacks and the morning rush.

Now I'm not positing that all great successes had dismal failures. But the law of averages tells me (a useful law that can be used for so many things, baseball statistics, gerrymandering, baking) that the more you try and succeed at stuff, the higher the chance you'll eventually fail. And if anything is pretty clear, its that the great successes tried many, many times.

So what does this have to do with all of you folks, sitting there, reading this delightful reborn newsletter. Well, if all goes according to plan, this letter should be out late January. Also known as the New Years Resolution Abandonment Time. When all those bright eyed idealistic Resolutions get abandoned on the Road of Life. Perhaps to fend for themselves in some Road Warrior like reality, complete with a younger, less-anti-semtic, less crazy Mel.

They are abandoned because you, at some point, failed. Experienced failure. Well the good news is that, given the law of averages, you are not alone. The bad news is that you will in all liklihood decide to wait until next New Years to give it another go. May I be so bold as to suggest you give another go sooner? Embrace failure. Try and see if you can get to 1000. I mean, where would be if the likes of Thomas Edison, Colonel Sanders, and Winston Churchill gave up? We'd all be sitting in the dark, eating bland chicken, and speaking some germanically based language. And I dont' think any of us want to live like Governor Schwarzneggar.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm SOOO Going to be Published

In a miniscule work newsletter, but still!! Here, for posterity, is one of the many emails, 'sealing the deal' if you will.

Hi ,

I'm afraid I'm not one for meetings. It's not that I hate them -- well, ok, it's because I hate them. Well, not hate them, I'm simply deficient in committee skills and/or experience which is seriously hobbled by a lack of desire to increase said skills and/or experience.

But thanks so much for the invite, as much as it struck fear into my very soul.

Looking forward to writing an article for the Enrolling Stone (it won't be about commmittees, I promise (mostly)).

Cheers!
J

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Book

I'm working on a new novel. Because editing my first one can get me down. A lot. But so far, this new book is just a shit ton of dialogue. Just endless reams of it. I hope it's entertaining, I'm never really sure if it is. But dialogue seems to be the easiest, and sometimes, when I'm really really tired, the dialogue just seems to write itself. Metric tons of TV memories of stereotypical characaters chatting away. So it's more like transcribing, actually.

The genre is still Fantasy, but a different sub genre. Because I felt humour fanatasy wasn't obscure enough and embarassing enough to talk about at cocktail parties (what is this? 1961? who goes to cocktail parties?). And I like a challenge. Writing in what are effectively dead genres is a bit of a downer. Very hard, as in impossible to find anyone who is writing in the same genre. Most folks who do fantasy that I've chatted with, are doing epic/high fantasy (think Lord of the Rings) or adolescent fantasy (harry potter). Oh well, this writing thing is just a hobby, something that I amuse myself with, so I'm not worried about the viability of the books. And sometimes, I actually believe that lie :)

I might post a snippet of one of my books sometime on the blog. But in a blatant attempt to find out how many of the 200 unique visitors or so I've had, let's get a vote of hands, via comments, on who would actually want to read a bit of either?

So, sleepy. But must. write.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Notice to Staff Re: Christmas Party

What follows is an entirely fictional email.


As the season approaches, we are all very excited about our upcoming Seasonal/Winter/Solstice/Kwanzaa/Hannukah Event! And by committee meeting and quorum vote, everyone is officially not-liable for calling it a Christmas Party!

Please note a few things to keep in mind for this year's Winter Celebration:

  • the new extended waivers are should be in your inboxes by now, please sign then and return them to the HR rep. Because of the high spirited nature of last year's party, GlobalNetWorkInterCorp will not be hosting the event. Instead, it will only be a highly coincidental grouping of all the staff from Shipping, Accounts Receivable, and Sales showing up at the same place, with drinks paid for by (again, coincidentally) your managers (managers, please fill out corresponding petty-cash requests (again, unrelated)).

  • this is not a costume party, so can those of you who wore delightful Star Treks uniforms please keep those at home.

  • the wait staff at Ye Olde Inne Bar & Grill would like to remind everyone that all spirits, while they CAN be lit afire, should not be.

  • the same staff would also like to pass on to please stop asking if the 'hourly hotel room' is available. That was under the previous management.

  • inflatable adult toys of any kind are not permitted on the premises of ye Olde Inne Bar & Grill.

  • even as a date.

  • servers are called by name, or the term "server", not "barmaid", "meadwench", or "lusty, buxomed wench of spirit serving"

  • on a related note, although the staff enjoyed the sentiment, the IT staff is reminded that medieval garb is a bit flowy, and is a fire hazard. Also that their replica Lord of the Rings weapons do tend to worry customers.

  • another reminder to the IT staff that dice, of any kind, is considered a form a gambling, and is not permitted at the bar.

  • regardless of how convincing Carl from Sr. Sales is, not everyone's scarves are a valid candidate for 'flossing'.

  • Naked Congo Line and Strip Down Limbo are NOT officially sanctioned GlobalNetWorkInterCorp office games.

  • a general notice that cock-fighting is illegal in this state, and that the bar officially denies any knowledge of any closed door rings it may or may not be rumoured to have. So GlobalNetWorkInterCorp kindly asks certain members of its staff to leave their roosters at home. Although plausible deniability dictates that they are not fighting cocks, the liklihood that the VP of Marketing just happens to have a rooster in his Audi A4 for no particular reason at all certainly stretches the spirit of the law.

  • on a related note, whlie the bar does deny any affiliation with a cock fighting club, if there were one at the premises, they surmise that the ante is set at $200, entrance fee would be raised this year to $75, and they might be setting 5 to 1 odds to any newcomers.

  • GlobalNetWorkInterCorp will not be paying for paternity tests.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stupid Evite Character Limit

Here is my reply to dawn's invite :
WTH? Dave a vegan? He better be of the joking and such. Also, super funny evite! Almost as funny as the WoW Cosplay thing you tried ot invite us all to last christmas. Except that wasn't trying to be funny. However, it did manage to be so sad it was funny.

I"m also shocked. SHOCKED that MC Hammer isn't pictured in a Hammer Card. I'm also pretty sure the phrase 'hammer' is featured in Top Gun. So you really have no excuse to have just a lame actual hammer covered in what looks to be fresh columbian white. I mean really. Heavy metal tools and blow, when has that even been a good idea (except in Scarface, that Tony, *guffaw*).

In that vein, will devans be bringing us all crisp $1000 bills as is the custom for bank employees at Xmas?