Mugs + Bugs

July 27, 2007

~ I’m still a little freaked out about the response to my set last night. I haven’t played solo in a while (all my gadgets at Ramshackle made me feel like I wasn’t alone) and having pin-drop silence during my set was overwhelming. Not that I’m complaining, you always want people to actually be paying attention, but I didn’t expect it. I got a strange fragile Dylan twang in my voice I wasn’t expecting too. 

~ The other day I came home to a kitchen full of houseflies which was entirely devoid of insect life the day previous. I was fully aware that it had to do with some shamefully unwashed dishes and the boxes I’d moved out of the mildewy storage area that morning which must have been full of eggs. Regardless, it seemed like a biblical smiting. I’m not talking about a mere one or two dozen flies but three or four. Needless to say, the flies are all dead now and my window sills look like Cambodian killing fields.


Intersection, dead world + tens

July 26, 2007

~ At the intersection this morning I enjoyed watching the people turning left in front of me. Such a variety of people. BMW driving tropical shirt mustache dude, Jeep driving bad facelift tan woman, beater driving hip-hop trash kids, two cropped-hair, wire-rimmed salesmen in an SUV laughing, etc.

~ Speaking of cars. My car is now visible from space. There’s never any people visible on Google Earth. It’s spooky. Like it’s a planet where one morning everyone had vanished. They must photoshop them all out for privacy reasons. It’s nice to know there’ll be a piece of me left on the internet-hood after I move out of that apartment.

Ten Things About You:

1. Are you in a relationship? 
100% to commence for serious in 23 days!
2. Are you happy?: 
Except for my toothache, very
3. Are you bored?
2nd to last day of work and the boss people aren’t in the office! Interent world here I come!
4. Are you sad?:
I’m sad I’ll be leaving my friends behind.
5. Are you Italian?:
Not to my knowledge.
6. Are you German?: 
50% — but with 100% of the sullen sarcasm
7. Are you Polish?:
I think my relatives occupied Poland for a while.
8. Are you Mexican?:
I like Pacifico.
9. Are you Irish?:
Maybe somewhere in the WASP side of the bloodline.
10. Are your parents still married?:
41 years

Ten Facts

1. Birth Place:
Richmond. In the ballroom of Ikea.
2. Hair Color:
Kind of ash blonde / walnut brown
3. Height: 5’4
4. Hair style:
Scruffy.
5. Eye color:
Stone blue
6. Birthday: 
November 30th
7. Mood:
Not in the mood for work.
8. Crush’s name: 
Nicole
9. Available: 
For musical engagements.
10. Lefty/righty: 
Moderate

Ten Things About Your Love Life

1. Have you ever been in love?:
I am at the very moment even.
2. Do you believe in love at first sight?:
Of course. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and people say it wasn’t “real” and was just “lust” or soemthing. But those people are lying to themselves. I think crushes get a bum-rap and aren’t taken seriously enough.
3. Why did your last relationship fail?:
Well… I was still fucked up from the previous relationship mostly.
4. Have you ever been hurt?:
Mangled.
5. Have you ever broken someone’s heart?:
Yes.
6. Would you date someone of a different race?:
I’m pretty sure Nova Scotian counts as a different race, so yes.
7. Have you ever liked someone but never told them?:
It’s generally the best policy.
8. Are you afraid of commitment?:
Nope.
9. Have you hugged someone within the last week?:
Awkward bro-grab with Andrew.
10. Have you ever had a secret admirer?
I just found out a few months ago that I did many years ago. It was more of a secret crush though. They didn’t send me anonymous roses or anything.

Ten This Or Thats

1. Love or lust?:
I won’t settle for anything less than the combination of the two.
2. Hard liquor or beer:
I’m back to beer because it’s summer. In the fall I will revert to wine. Lauren’s Jaeger-Bombs are kind of tasty though.
3. Cats or dogs?: Cat’s 100%. Especially LOCATS.
4. A few best friends or many regular friends?:
Best friends are called “best” for a reason.
5. Television or Internet?:
DVDs
6. Pepsi or coke?:
Pomegranite juice and Perrier.
7. Wild night out or romantic night in?:
Romantic night out followed by wild night in.
8. Black or white?:
I’m not sure what Michael Jackson is anymore. Sorry, can’t help you there.
9. Night or day?:
The zombies walk by night.
10. IM or phone?:
Phone.

Ten Have You Ever

1. Been caught sneaking out?:
No. I grew up in Coombs. If I snuck out it was a 45 minute to 1-hr walk anywhere worth being.
3. Done something you regret?:
I don’t harbour regrets. I’ve done bad and/or foolish and/or generally regrettable things which I’d rather I didn’t do and have felt remorse for, but to hang onto the regret is a waste of time and energy.
4. Bungee jumped?:

5. Been on a house boat?:
I don’t think so…
6. Finished an entire jaw breaker?:
Prolly.
7. Wanted something/someone so badly it hurt?:
Lately even.
8. Wanted an ex bf/gf back?:
Yes. I had a bad habit of actually taking them back too.
9. Cried because you lost a pet?:
I think when my dog died. My dad asked why I was crying because I didn’t even like the dog. Then I realised he was right and I stopped crying.
10. Wanted to disappear?:
I spend most of my life assuming I’m invisible. But I’m not it turns out.

Ten Preferences

1. Smile or eyes:
I can only picture a big mouth fill of eyeballs here…
2. Light or dark hair:
I’m not sure I have a prefernce anymore.
3. Hugs or kisses:
This seems like the same as the “this or thats” section. Kisses without hugs are pretty lame.
4. Shorter or taller: Short is good.
5. Intelligence or attraction:
I’m not attracted to stupid people.
6. Romantic or spontaneous:
Don’t see how this is an either/or thing.
7. Best friend or mysterious stranger?:
Could this be rephrased as “Good time or being hacked up in the back of a van”?
8. Hook-up or relationship:
Relationship. Though the worst relationship of my life started as a hook-up. Though I didn’t realise it was a hook-up. Therein lay the problem it turned out.
9. Rough or tender?:
I don’t like being crushed.
10. Play the guitar or in to sports: 
Uh… GUITAR.

Ten Lasts

1. Last phone call you made:
Must have been Nicole…
2. Last phone call you received:
Nicole
3. Last person you hung out with:
Stephen and Carissa dropped by the other night.
4. Last person you hugged: 
Asked me that already.
5. Last person you kissed:
Nicole too damn long ago
6. Last person you IMed: 
Erin
7. Last text message you received: 
Never done.
8. Last person you went to the movies with:
A theatre full of random people ar Pirates 3.

Wtf happened to 9 and 10?


Apocalypse, mermaids + shadows

July 25, 2007

~ Yesterday I saw an important thing. An empty SUV was idling in the Save-On parking lot so that the AC could be left on while the driver went grocery shopping. It was the first time I’d ever been tempted to “key” a car in a parking lot. Maybe leave a note on the windshield that read “People like you are the reason God doesn’t talk to us anymore.”

~ I heard through the grapevine that also singing at the Mug tomorrow night is the duo of  Susan Young and Mary Lee. Susan is buying my lamps and bookcase.

~ Today my replacement at work, Alice, is shadowing me. I keep saying things like, “Well, that’s how we do it until everything goes to hell. Then we improvise…” and “They won’t tell you what they want, just to change it. So then add more starbursts. They love starbursts…” and “Just get things done fast, aesthetics is secondary to deadlines. But try to be creative so that your head doesn’t explode from doing the same thing over and over…” and “Linda doesn’t come in until 9:30 or 10:00 so mornings are the time you check your email and take it easy before she throws some random job at you she’s dreamed up in her SUV on the way to work that should take you a day but you only have an hour to do.”


Final shows

July 20, 2007

~ Next thursday (26th) I’ll be playing the Shack Records acoustic night at the Mermaid’s Mug. Not sure how I’m being billed. I’m not sure they actually make handbills or posters anymore anyway…   Die Schadenfreude will be playing Rock For Benson III in August if that actually happens. I understand the Legion hasn’t gotten back to Thibs yet. Hope it does because Die Schadenfreude has the potential to be a miserably good time. I hope we play and the set ends slightly more violently than the New Yaki set. I’m not sure anyone else in the band wishes that though… Summer Ramshackle will most likely be on Thursday, August 23rd. 


Wisdom and Noise

July 17, 2007

~ I’m getting my pesky wisdom out on the 30th of July. I got in on the sly. Who needs wisdom? My wisdom has holes in it and I want it gone before moving to Toronto. Toronto is no place for faulty wisdom.

~ I still think there hasn’t been enough discussion devoted to Matt O’Halloran’s booze holster from the Noise Nanaimo show. Only in Nanaimo can packing a mickey like you’re the Clint Eastwood of happy hour not raise an eyebrow.

~ Playing in New Yaki was pretty fun and the fulfillment of a life-long dream. When Andrew and I clashed guitars like randy unicorns or, perhaps, rabid mountain goats, I managed to rip a fret right off my guitar. I was kind of hoping we’d get more violent than that. But I was lo-batt. because I was kind of hung-over from the night before at Jack’s. It was a sneaky hang over that didn’t hit me until about 3 o’clock. 

~ I don’t think I’ll ever look at pink satin the same way again. In fact I may shudder a little every time I see it.

~ I’m formulating plans for Summer Ramshackle: The Long Goodbye. Which, hopefully, won’t be overly long and tiresome. And it might be the final Ramshackle ever.


Assassinz of Light

July 9, 2007

~ I think my favourite review regarding my performance in the EFE set on Saturday was “Sometimes what you were playing made no sense.” I had to agree. There were times when things went horribly wrong. I don’t know if it’s because I could hear myself better because Ken’s amp was further away but I realized my riffs sounded like I’d gone insane. In practice, I had a sweet, sweet sugary-like-honey riff for the chorus in Anxiety that turned out to be in just  entirely the wrong key. So I thought maybe I’d gotten drunk on that beer I drank in Blood Alley and started playing it on different strings. But they all were in the wrong key. Oops, sorry Ken.

~ Last night while going through files on my computer (transferring them to my new Lappy 486) I discovered THIS old guerrilla art website of mine is still live… I’m wondering how many of my other ridiculous sites are live and need deleting… for which I’m sure I’ll never remember the passwords…

~ Pins of Light yesterday was a glorious shambles. A return to form, if you will. Songs getting cut-off mid-point, segments devolving into hysterical giggling… it was tight like a noose.

~ Also the The Choir Practice is the first time I’ve been excited about new music in months. And the first time a Vancouver band (on the atrocious Mint Records no less) has held any interest for me in years. Since The Organ, I suppose… Divine.


Take my cat (and my job)… PLEASE

July 6, 2007

~ I’ve lately become intrigued by the white guys in the Family Stone. Particularily the guy who appears to be wearing a tablecloth. Strange times, huh?

~ It’s time to get serious. My cat, the venerable Dame Gertrude von Muzzlepuff, needs a new home. She’s loving and gorgeous. If anyone would like her or knows someone who might, they should contact me. Lookit that muzzlepuff! I’m not going to be able to bring her to Toronto! Don’t make me give her to a hobo!

~ Also, my job‘s been posted. I can’t take my job to Toronto either. Check it out at this LINK.


Holes filled, holes emptied

July 4, 2007

~ Got some fillings at the dentist today. I will be going to Dr. Soroccan to have some of my wisdom removed after all. My wisdom is growing holes. The dental assistant had some spunk and was busting the dentist’s chops over some apparently unorthodox method he was employing in my mouth. Also the Exorcist Theme was playing on the radio while I was in the chair. That was a little odd. The assistant later said regarding a Doobie Brothers tune, “This station sucks.” To which the dentist grunted non-commitally.

~ What with all the sorting and packing and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of I’ve been thinking about attachments again. Trimming the fat off my life has really started to take on a surreal quality. If, as Mr. Blackman suggested, I only keep things I love or are useful, I’m really going to end up owning very little. So much of what I own, things I assumed held great importance to me, I’ve come to realize this week really hold noimportance for me at all. It’s made me view various aspects of my life and past relationships in a whole new light.

~ Some Buddha stuff:

1. Life means suffering.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment.

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

1. Life means suffering.

To live means to suffer, because the human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in. During our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death; and we have to endure psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression. Although there are different degrees of suffering and there are also positive experiences in life that we perceive as the opposite of suffering, such as ease, comfort and happiness, life in its totality is imperfect and incomplete, because our world is subject to impermanence. This means we are never able to keep permanently what we strive for, and just as happy moments pass by, we ourselves and our loved ones will pass away one day, too.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment.

The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof. Transient things do not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and -in a greater sense- all objects of our perception. Ignorance is the lack of understanding of how our mind is attached to impermanent things. The reasons for suffering are desire, passion, ardour, pursue of wealth and prestige, striving for fame and popularity, or in short: craving and clinging. Because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow. Objects of attachment also include the idea of a “self” which is a delusion, because there is no abiding self. What we call “self” is just an imagined entity, and we are merely a part of the ceaseless becoming of the universe.

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.

The cessation of suffering can be attained through nirodha. Nirodha means the unmaking of sensual craving and conceptual attachment. The third noble truth expresses the idea that suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion. Nirodha extinguishes all forms of clinging and attachment. This means that suffering can be overcome through human activity, simply by removing the cause of suffering. Attaining and perfecting dispassion is a process of many levels that ultimately results in the state of Nirvana. Nirvana means freedom from all worries, troubles, complexes, fabrications and ideas. Nirvana is not comprehensible for those who have not attained it.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

There is a path to the end of suffering – a gradual path of self-improvement, which is described more detailed in the Eightfold Path. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism); and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. The latter quality discerns it from other paths which are merely “wandering on the wheel of becoming”, because these do not have a final object. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to karmic conditioning. Craving, ignorance, delusions, and its effects will disappear gradually, as progress is made on the path.

1. Right View Wisdom
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech Ethical Conduct
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort Mental Development
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration

The Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by Siddhartha Gautama. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. Together with the Four Noble Truths it constitutes the gist of Buddhism. Great emphasis is put on the practical aspect, because it is only through practice that one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana. The eight aspects of the path are not to be understood as a sequence of single steps, instead they are highly interdependent principles that have to be seen in relationship with each other.

1. Right View

Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.

2. Right Intention

While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.

3. Right Speech

Right speech is the first principle of ethical conduct in the eightfold path. Ethical conduct is viewed as a guideline to moral discipline, which supports the other principles of the path. This aspect is not self-sufficient, however, essential, because mental purification can only be achieved through the cultivation of ethical conduct. The importance of speech in the context of Buddhist ethics is obvious: words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends, start war or create peace. Buddha explained right speech as follows: 1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully, 2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others, 3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and 4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth. Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.

4. Right Action

The second ethical principle, right action, involves the body as natural means of expression, as it refers to deeds that involve bodily actions. Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind. Again, the principle is explained in terms of abstinence: right action means 1. to abstain from harming sentient beings, especially to abstain from taking life (including suicide) and doing harm intentionally or delinquently, 2. to abstain from taking what is not given, which includes stealing, robbery, fraud, deceitfulness, and dishonesty, and 3. to abstain from sexual misconduct. Positively formulated, right action means to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, to respect the belongings of others, and to keep sexual relationships harmless to others. Further details regarding the concrete meaning of right action can be found in the Precepts.

5. Right Livelihood

Right livelihood means that one should earn one’s living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully. The Buddha mentions four specific activities that harm other beings and that one should avoid for this reason: 1. dealing in weapons, 2. dealing in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution), 3. working in meat production and butchery, and 4. selling intoxicants and poisons, such as alcohol and drugs. Furthermore any other occupation that would violate the principles of right speech and right action should be avoided.

6. Right Effort

Right effort can be seen as a prerequisite for the other principles of the path. Without effort, which is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence. Mental energy is the force behind right effort; it can occur in either wholesome or unwholesome states. The same type of energy that fuels desire, envy, aggression, and violence can on the other side fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness. Right effort is detailed in four types of endeavours that rank in ascending order of perfection: 1. to prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states, 2. to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen, 3. to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen, and 4. to maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen.

7. Right Mindfulness

Right mindfulness is the controlled and perfected faculty of cognition. It is the mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness. Usually, the cognitive process begins with an impression induced by perception, or by a thought, but then it does not stay with the mere impression. Instead, we almost always conceptualise sense impressions and thoughts immediately. We interpret them and set them in relation to other thoughts and experiences, which naturally go beyond the facticity of the original impression. The mind then posits concepts, joins concepts into constructs, and weaves those constructs into complex interpretative schemes. All this happens only half consciously, and as a result we often see things obscured. Right mindfulness is anchored in clear perception and it penetrates impressions without getting carried away. Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process of conceptualisation in a way that we actively observe and control the way our thoughts go. Buddha accounted for this as the four foundations of mindfulness: 1. contemplation of the body, 2. contemplation of feeling (repulsive, attractive, or neutral), 3. contemplation of the state of mind, and 4. contemplation of the phenomena.

8. Right Concentration

The eighth principle of the path, right concentration, refers to the development of a mental force that occurs in natural consciousness, although at a relatively low level of intensity, namely concentration. Concentration in this context is described as one-pointedness of mind, meaning a state where all mental faculties are unified and directed onto one particular object. Right concentration for the purpose of the eightfold path means wholesome concentration, i.e. concentration on wholesome thoughts and actions. The Buddhist method of choice to develop right concentration is through the practice of meditation. The meditating mind focuses on a selected object. It first directs itself onto it, then sustains concentration, and finally intensifies concentration step by step. Through this practice it becomes natural to apply elevated levels concentration also in everyday situations.

The precepts are a condensed form of Buddhist ethical practice. They are often compared with the ten commandments of Christianity, however, the precepts are different in two respects: First, they are to be taken as recommendations, not commandments. This means the individual is encouraged to use his/her own intelligence to apply these rules in the best possible way. Second, it is the spirit of the precepts -not the text- that counts, hence, the guidelines for ethical conduct must be seen in the larger context of the Eightfold Path.

The first five precepts are mandatory for every Buddhist, although the fifth precept is often not observed, because it bans the consumption of alcohol. Precepts no. six to ten are laid out for those in preparation for monastic life and for devoted lay people unattached to families. The eight precepts put together number eight and nine and omit the tenth. Lay people may observe the eight precepts on Buddhist festival days. Ordained Theravada monks undertake no less than 227 precepts, which are not listed here.

I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from …

  1. …harming living beings.
  2. …taking things not freely given.
  3. …sexual misconduct.
  4. …false speech.
  5. …intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness.
  6. …taking untimely meals.
  7. …dancing, singing, music and watching grotesque mime.
  8. …use of garlands, perfumes and personal adornment.
  9. …use of high seats.
  10. …accepting gold or silver.

(adapted from The Word of the Buddha, Niyamatolika, The Buddhist Publication Society, 1971, p xii)

The above phrasing of the precepts is very concise and leaves much open to interpretation. One might ask, for example, what exactly constitutes false speech, what are untimely meals, what constitutes sexual misconduct, or whether a glass of wine causes heedlessness. And, the grotesque mime watching of the seventh precept sounds perhaps a bit outdated. The Buddhist master Thich Nath Hanh has formulated The Five Mindfulness Trainings, which are an adaptation of the first five Buddhist precepts. These are practised by Buddhists of theLam Te Dhyana school. By virtue of their sensible phrasing and their relevance to modern lifestyle, these “trainings” provide a valuable foundation of ethics for all of humanity.

-First Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.

-Second Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am committed to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

-Third Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of myself and others, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct.

-Fourth Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticise or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

-Fifth Training-

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practising mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I am committed to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practising a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.


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