Friday, August 31, 2007

Traditional Christian values

"It is not for lack of miracles that the church is stagnant; it is because we have forsaken the angelic life of Pentecost, and fallen back on private property. If we lived as they did, with all things common, we should soon convert the whole world without any need of miracles at all."

- St. John Chrysostom, 4th century

More on traditional Christian values here.

Fixie bike porn

This thing is beautiful. Click on the picture for more.


For even more go here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Books, check 'em out!

So there's a book meme going around, kindly requesting that we list the books that we recommend to others most often. But as I can't recall a single time when someone asked for my opinion on something to read, this meme doesn't quite work for me. So, I'll have to change it up a bit. The following is a list of books that I hold dear, for various reasons, some of which have to do with the words on the pages. I can't say if I'd ever recommend any of them to others.

Max Flies His Kite by Sarah Lapham and S. Rainaud. This is the first book I ever read, back in 1985. It is about a mouse named Max who somehow obtains a kite and goes out to fly it. The kite gets away from him and lands in a field. He goes to retrieve it and nearly dies from being run over by a tractor. Something like that. A story of the adult world ruining the world of children, kind of like The Red Balloon. I read this book over and over.

The 'A' encyclopedia. When I was little I wanted to be a genius. I thought that the best way to go about this would be to read the encyclopedia. But I only had enough money for one volume, so with my meager allowance I bought a copy of the 'A' Encyclopedia Britannica. The pages had gold on the edges and the cover was a reddish faux leather. It was beautiful. I would stay up all night long sitting in my closet with a flashlight, night after night, reading all about things that start with the letter 'A'. After I had completed it I wrapped it and gave it to my older brother as a birthday gift, but he laughed and gave it back, not knowing the hurt he caused me in so doing.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. Checked it out from the library when I was ten or eleven years old. Read it in a day, I was so enthralled. So confused. My dad found it in my room and I got in big trouble. I started listening to punk rock and decided I wanted to be a writer soon after reading this one.

Into the Great Wide Open by Kevin Canty. This book will forever torment me. I can't really put a finger on why. Because it is like reading about a seventeen-year-old me? Yeah, but there's something more than that. Reading it is like shoving pins in my eyes, but that doesn't stop me from picking it up at least once a year. An honest-to-God curse.

Bone Palace Ballet by Charles Bukowski. My friend Katherine gave me this book when I left home for college. I don't know why, really. But I think it is the best gift I ever received. I kept it with me wherever I went, reading a poem here and there whenever I got the chance, or reading it cover to cover whenever I got drunk. I find it very appropriate that I had to sell this book so that I'd have money to eat. Danica bought me a nice new copy a few years ago.

Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline. A vicious book read during a period when I was feeling very vicious. This just might be the greatest book ever, even though I must admit that I hate it with a passion now. I could never bear to part with it. I guess if I were to recommend any of these books it would be this one.

The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter by Henri Murger. I find it embarrassing to admit it, but this book very much fueled my romanticized desire to get the hell out of Tallahassee by hopping on a bus to Denver. I often had little money for food, and if I did have money for food I often spent it on beer, so I would distract myself from my hunger by hiding out in some deserted corner of that massive and glorious library at the Florida State University, which is where I stumbled upon and read this book. My version of a Kerouac phase.

There are hundreds more. Knulp by Hesse. Letters to Theo by Van Gogh. Hunger by Hamsun. Robinson Jeffers. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. Some book by Paul Valéry the title of which I cannot remember. Rainer Maria Rilke. Tropic of Cancer. Thomas Pynchon's V. But I will stop there.

Shai Hulud

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dear Québec

The future of your precious language is in danger! I'm going to master her completely, make her my bitch. I'll force her to do unspeakably dirty things. You won't even be able to recognize her. Fair warning.

Love,
Matthew

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Psalm 46:1-11

1God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas;

3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof. Selah

4 There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early.

6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted.

7 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of Jehovah, What desolations he hath made in the earth.

9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariots in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

11 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

(New American Standard Bible)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Studies

You know what gets under my skin? When people tell me just to pick one thing and go for it full steam. I refuse to pick one thing. I don't want to just study literature. I don't want to devote all my time to philosophy. I cringe at the prospect of giving in and only studying one subject. As if life is divied up into little compartments, just waiting for students pick a spot and dig in (but don't cross that line!). How can one understand much about literature without studying history? Philosophy without economics? Mathematics without philosophy? Religion without literature? Economics without sociology? And on and on. Compartmentalizing all these subjects seems disastrous to me. I want to learn about everything. I want to study in a university where one finds botany, furniture-building, Marxist theory and culinary arts in the same department.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Question



If churches held the responsibility for preparation and burial of their own dead, as they did in the past, do you think they would be so keen on supporting wars and sending off their parishioners to kill and die?

Medium gangster

"You got your bitches and you got your hoes,
but motherfuckers can't front on these Nascar clothes." - Matthew, in bed

"I was brushing my teeth
when my dick got hard.
I said, 'Bitch where you at?!'
She said, 'I'm out in the yard!'" - Shawn, at Thanksgiving last year

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Good morning, Westmount

It rained early this morning, so I waited until the streets were dry to take the bike out for a little test ride. I rode west on Sherbrooke, through Westmount. The bike was feeling quite lovely. The new saddle was much better than the original. I felt real good. About five minutes into the ride someone sandwiched the bike between their very expensive Westmount car and another very expensive parked Westmount car. Now the frame is a little bent and the back hub and wheel is toast. The driver did not stop. I had to carry the bike home, which was not too much fun, as it weighs a lot, being an all-steel bike. I'm really upset about this.

Friday, August 24, 2007

So little animal passion

The other day Vald was bitten by a car while on his bike. I called The Black Hand to find out what he knew, which was that V. had a broken leg and stitches on his head. When Danica told me that he had been hit by a car I reacted the same way I have to any and all news that someone for whom I care is hurt. I got extremely angry. Not at anything in particular. Just everything.

When I talked to The Black Hand on the phone he told me that he can no longer drink coffee. He said it makes him feel like he's going to die. I told him that it takes me a couple pots to get to that state, but that it is indeed a terrible feeling. Once while baking bagels at work at four in the morning I drank too much coffee and convinced myself that I had AIDS. I usually drink a half pot of strong coffee a day. In the winter I drink more. The stronger the better. But I know my limits well by now. I stop myself well before I am going to die. That was the first time in over a year that I had spoken with TBH.

Today I drank very little coffee, a single cupful, thereabouts, and I have been feeling anxious all day. "There's an evil in this room." V. being hurt is surely partly to blame. I am angry he is hurt.

But I have been quick to anger for about a week now. I don't know what it is. Maybe lack of sleep. I am a tired therefore a cranky boy. In Montreal cars almost hit me very often. The drivers here are pieces of shit. Normally I do not let it under my skin. But lately I want to smash their skulls in. Instead I shout and show the drivers my middle fingers, proving to the world that Man is fully evolved.

When I was eating some pizza at a shop a Muslim girl wearing a hijab came in to eat lunch. She was a very pretty girl and I saw that the men working behind the counter noticed this as well. When she went to pay for her slice of pizza and Pepsi the man at the cash register told her to put her money away, that her meal was free of charge. She insisted on paying and became visibly upset when he would not let her pay for her food. That made me terribly angry, especially since this was the second time I'd seen him do this.

I've been fixing up our bike (a hideous snot-green Huffy road bike made in, I believe, 1974) the past few days. I took off the derailleur and the gear shifter and everything and put a BMX chain on the smallest gear (16 teeth), turning it into a single speed. I took the back brake off because I never use back brakes. I bought a cheap-o new saddle. I took off the fenders, in an attempt to make this heavy beast of a bike as light as possible. I still need to get a new front brake and a new handlebar would be swell as the one on there is terrible and weighty. I tried to true the wheels but they seem to be beyond repair at this point, so new wheels would be a good idea at some point in the future, especially since the front one wobbles like mad. The tires are showing some dry rot, too. It is a good bike, though. I like it. I hope Danica will ride it when it is all together. I'm good with my hands and I enjoy tinkering.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yo, fuck 'em

The police are accused of using agents provocateurs at the North American Leaders summit in Montebello, Quebec, at which George W. Bush, Stephen Harper and Felipe Calderon were in attendance. Here's the story.

Here's the video:


Update: They were Sûreté du Québec police.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Brothers in poop

People find our blog through some pretty crazy keywords. Most of them have to do with well digging (sorry, folks, no practical information here), but there are some funny ones too: "suddenly have to pee", "absolute fucking idiots", "dating hand on breast", "mary poppins programming satanic", "how do i get rid of my stomach that hands over my waist".

Today we got one that I had to google myself: "poop on my head song". There we were, number two on the list. Awesome. But wait! Who is that at number one? Why, it's Bruno! Yes, Bruno the Brazilian, my former coworker, is number one of the 1,180,000 results for "poop on my head song". Way to go, us, and super way to go, Bruno!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Short film: Charlotte et son Jules



By Jean-Luc Godard, 1958

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hey, Le Devoir, wtf?!

Congratulations, Benoît Dubreuil, you're a dumb racist fuck!*

You, too, Antoine Robitaille.

Seventeen-year-old Noël Landry shows that the kids are alright.

This is so saddening. Sometimes this place makes my skin crawl.

*Everything I am linking to is in French. If you cannot read French, you should learn it so that you can read them.

Short film: Darkness, Light, Darkness

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Plea for help

I've got to get away from existentialism. But, apparently, I can't escape. That's too bad because most of the time I think it is pretty much wrong and I don't even find it all that interesting. But by some twist of fate I most often find myself reading the existentialists. I know Fear and Trembling back and forth, better than any other book by far. I read it over and over again this summer. The first chapter of The Sickness Unto Death seems only too obvious to me now. I re-read The Brothers Karamazov, very closely this time, until I felt so comfortable with what was going on in the book that I thought Dostoevsky was wrong about things. I pored over the Genealogy of Morals, the Gay Science, and the Anti-Christ until I couldn't do that anymore.

Now here I am reading Being and Time with Walt. So far it seems much like Kierkegaard all over again. When I'm through reading Being and Time I'm going to put my foot down: no more existentialists for at least five years. And I refuse to ever read Being and Nothingness. I own it, but I will not read it.

I'm feeling the need to read something where the theology is not totally fucked, as is the case with Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky. I need something ultra-ultra-uber-orthodox. I need something anti-humanist. And orthodox.

Any ideas?*

*Please no Radical Orthodoxy recommendations.

Short film: The Tyger



By Guilherme Marcondes of Brazil


THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)
By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

1794

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I wonder

On Quantum Leap when Sam was in someone else's body and he wrote something down, was it in their handwriting or his?

Short film: Monde de Gloire



Sorry, I could only find it with French subtitles. I couldn't resist posting it as it is absolutely and terribly ruthless. It was directed by Roy Anderson.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

"Art is dead, Godard can’t change that."



I feel like I should be ashamed of enjoying the films of Jean-Luc Godard, but I'm not. Point your mouse this way and you will find his Alphaville, which you too should love shamelessly.

Also: Alphaville exists.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More about the heat

I woke up cold this morning. Yes, it's August 7, and I had to put on slippers and a hoodie this morning. I guess this is what Canadian summers are like. By contrast, one year ago today was our last day in KC. It got up to 97F (36C) with a heat index of 105F (40.5C) that day. One year ago yesterday was the day we returned our borrowed air conditioning window unit, so one year ago today was quite miserable in our hot little house. I, for one, am extremely grateful that today I am not hectically packing and cleaning the house, while sweating up a storm. Dirt, dust and cat hair stick to sweaty flesh. I am grateful that I don't have to bathe in a shower curtain-less shower. I am also grateful that I won't be trying to sleep tonight in clothes I've been sweating in all day on an air mattress that keeps sticking to me.

I just checked weather.com, and it looks like folks in KC are having the same sort of weather again today. I truly hope that there is no one in KC going through what we had to go through a year ago today. It was miserable.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Good eats

There's a new recipe for ya'll on my myspace recipe dump. Yeehaw.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Music For Saturday: Welcome to my head edition

These are all songs that I endlessly sing to myself, silently and otherwise. They inhabit everything in my world. You know: when you smell poop that means there are little bits of poop in your nose.

Froggy Went a Courtin' (Performed by Bob Dylan)



Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - No More Workhorse Blues



L'Internationale



Show me the way to go home



Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat



Dobie Gray - Drift Away



Mountain Goats - Against Pollution

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sweat till you bleed

I knew that if I just waited long enough, Canada would deliver. And deliver it has! It's finally hot! Last night the weather didn't cool off as much as it usually does, so we are facing a hot day in our non-airconditioned apartment. It's certainly not nearly as bad as in our non-airconditioned house back in KC where we faced a kind of oppressive heat I hesitate to wish upon even my worst enemies.

Luckily for me, and now for you, I have some tricks up my sleeve for finding comfort in an overly warm apartment. I wrote an article about it over at the green site a while back. Give it a read and try out the techniques if you too are feeling the heat at home. Remember that it takes time for your body to adjust to the heat, especially if you work in a cold building all day. So be patient. You may want to eat ice cream or drink cold beer while your body adjusts!