Recant Gone Rotten

+ After years of switching around my personal to-do system every few months, I’ve discovered that HabitRPG actually motivates me to do things.
+ Travel! God I fucking love travel adventures. Big, small, close, far, for work, for a vacation, to eat pizza, whatever. Anywhere. Let’s do it. Recent adventures include Vegas, Gananoque, Detroit, North Bay, Montreal, DC, and more (plus Seoul last fall)! On the docket for later this year: NYC, Windsor, Baltimore, Montreal, Manila, Chicago, Prague, Ottawa, Geneva, Portland, João Pessoa, and more. Holy shit you guys.
+ Spending so much amazing time with Audra, and with Natalie, and with Natalie and Audra, and with Audra and Natalie and Chris. I am seriously lucky to have their love and friendship. A+++ WOULD LOVE/FRIEND AGAIN
+ Inky and Clyde, rescue cats. I can’t even handle these guys.
+ I just started mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. It’s a kind of meditation training, I guess? More importantly it’s SCIENCE, and even though it is a lot harder than it has any right to be, I think it’s gonna be good.
+ I moved! I loved my old place but my landlord was literally insane (probably she will read this because she is literally insane), and so it came to pass that I needed to GTFO. Josh and I got a crazy deal on a place that is so nice it is actually kind of comical. And now we live there.
+ My new place sounds great! Literally. The other big problem with my last place is that my room had the worst acoustics in the universe. Everything sounded like garbage and making music in it was frustrating to the point of FUCK IT I’M OUT. My new room sounds like a band of angels hold watch in every corner to exorcise all early reflections and standing waves. Much nicer.
+ There have for sure been (and continue to be) Serious Challenges lately, but every single one of them is looking up.
+ One last + for a rare all-positive status update.

An indelible mark

Dreams are impossible, intimate things. Ephemeralia that come to us and leave unremembered. Thick structures of ironglass and desire that are built upon, night after night.

It would be completely insane if it wasn’t completely normal. What, you mean that you just lie down for eight hours and you can’t move? And the whole time you’re experiencing and thinking things that you have no control over? And then you just get up and have a shower and go to work?

A lot of the things we call dreams aren’t dreams in the same sense. ‘Dream’ is just the coathook we hang our wishes on. Dream house, dream boy, dream life.

In any place that there are dreams, I dream of tattoos. I dream of deep swirls of scarification, magick woven deeply into the flesh and bound tight with scar. I dream of the perfect geometries of elementary particles, smashed together again and again so we can learn by tearing them apart.

I got my first tattoo fifteen years ago. It was at once aspirational and prescriptive, a way to both guide and bind my future self to the things I was worried about losing.

I have a new tattoo now, to guide and bind me. I travelled over 15,000 kilometres for it.

I’ll always be able to find my way home now.

Tattoo

 

Fifteen going on 40

Now that we’ve gotten our POSITIVE EMOTIONS out of the way it is probably time to write a post about how I’m quietly having a secret meltdown.

There is so much going on right now that I don’t have the means, resources, or support system to deal with. I don’t have people I can talk to about it. So much of it is so deeply personal and complicated that I worry even posting this vague update is going to bring down new stresses around my head, even if it’s just trying to explain to hurt friends that I don’t think I can talk to them about it.

I’m also feeling more pressure and demands on my time than I ever have before. I’m working a seriously unsustainable amount of hours right now, and while I’m making Big Changes to bring that down to something more reasonable, I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

With the (very important!) exception of being able to pay my rent and afford food, I don’t think there’s a single aspect of my life that isn’t fraught right now. Everything has sharp edges or a part moving sideways when it needs to go straight.

I’m hoping to get a lot of this shit settled by the end of August. But even then, that’s three and a half weeks of walking through glass doors and hoping I don’t cut anything too vital.

And then it’ll be September.

When do I get summer?

OH WOE AND ALAS

The sensible effect, the feeling to which the mind is subjected

I’m trying this thing where I write about emotions but don’t publish those entries to Facebook. It’s LiveJournal or bust around these parts. So here are some things with an emotion in them.

EMOTIONAL SENTIMENT 01:

I talk a lot about how amazing Audra Williams is in person but I don’t do enough of it online. She is a perfect partner and is loving and supportive in ways I didn’t even know possible.

She’s a crazy amazing writer and also better at social media than possibly anyone else in the world and I’m kind of not joking there.

She’s my champion when things are great and she sings to me when things are tough. She is part of my heart walking around outside my body.

I love you, Audra.

EMOTIONAL SENTIMENT 02:

It seems totally impossible that it has been less than a month since my friendship with the incredible Natalie Zed became something else, that it happened a week before she moved to Montreal, and that it is somehow still possible for us to have a thing.

I can’t believe how much fun and light and love she brings to every conversation, every hangout, every Facebook thread about whatever weirdo Scottish art-horror movie we just watched.

I also can’t believe just how supportive Audra is with the both of us, and how absurdly reasonable and loving she is to us while we figure out what this is going to look like.

EMOTIONAL CLOSING STATEMENT:

There are still tough things going on, and sad things, and stressful things, and other things. But even while all that is happening, I wake up every day feeling lucky for how amazing the people in my life are.

Audra, Natalie, and everyone else bringing love and trust into my life: Thank you.

There is a season

It is a time of transitions.

- I still miss Mothra terribly.
- Blinky has gotten super clingy since he has never been alone in a house before.
+ So I am fostering kittens from the Annex Cat Rescue that are waiting to be adopted.
- Blinky finds this to be of questionable utility.
+ I’m making big changes to the work that I do, so that I can do more work that is awesome, and less work that is not.
± Audra and I are starting to get more requests for awesome work than we can take on.
+ Audra and I are super in love and working to make our relationship better all the time.
+ I’m in a new relationship with a gal named Natalie and I am super excited about it.
- Anna and I have ended our romantic relationship and I am super bummed about it.
- I agonized over which one of those last two lines to put first so that no one felt dissed by it and eventually had to flip a coin.
± I used a PRNG instead of a real coin.
+ I made a pilgrimage to Bill Watterson’s hometown, Chagrin Falls, which I’ve wanted to do for fifteen years.
+ I got to see amazing original Calvin and Hobbes art at a rare exhibition taking place at the Ohio State University Cartoon Library and Museum.
+ I’m getting a tattoo by the artist that I think is straight-up the best working tattoo artist in the world.
! Restraint turns fifteen years old next month.

Hearts and Cats and Hearts

I’m having one of those days where my heart hurts and I can’t find anything to help. Sad and anxious. Lonely and I don’t want to be around people. Hungry and I don’t want anything to eat. Tired and I don’t want to sleep.

In Mothra’s last few minutes, I held her and walked the length of my kitchen over and over again. The vet had given her a sedative, and soon she’d be relaxed enough that he’d be able to run an IV and give her the rest of the meds to end it all. And I had this crazy panicked moment where I nearly said you know what, let’s call this whole thing off — you can go back to your office, I’ll stay here with my cat, the sedative will wear eventually off, and she’ll still be alive and everything will be fine!

I didn’t say it. It wouldn’t have been fine. It would have been stupid and cruel and selfish. But it was what I wanted more than anything else in the world at that moment.

Instead I told her I loved her, and when I put her down and let go of her for the last time, I made sure she could see me every moment until it was over. If she was aware enough to know something was happening around her, I wanted her to know I was there.

My heart breaks all over again every day when I come home and she’s not here, and I see how totally attention-starved Blinky is. She’s never been alone in a house before and it’s freaking her out. I’m nowhere near ready for another cat, but it’s not fair of me to keep Blinky lonely and unhappy because browsing Petfinder.com makes me sad. So I’ll get another cat. And hopefully they’ll get along and hopefully it’s not as hard as I think it’s going to be. It’s hard enough already.

Status report, day 12784

There is a new Antigen Shift record! Nick and I made it. With our bare hands! You can check it out on Bandcamp and read an interview on I Die: You Die about the album.

Antigen Shift - Brotherhood

Also, we are playing tomorrow at Aftermath, AKA Fake Kinetik. It’ll be nice to play a big festival show and then sleep in my own bed.

Also, It is my birthday. Happy birthday, me!

I am thirty-five years old. Only thirty years away from that sweet, sweet movie theatre senior discount card.

There might be a new meteor shower tomorrow night. I’m going to try to catch it after my gig. Hop in a car, drive as far as I can before it starts, and watch the sky.

モスラ

I don’t even know where to start.

Under my skin is broken glass and exposed wire.

My home has never felt so empty. I go to sleep expecting her to jump up on me at any moment, and I wake up thinking I’ll see her in the kitchen when I go upstairs.

I have lost my beloved little Mothra and there isn’t anything to be done about it.

There is so much happening that it’s tough to figure out how I feel about anything. A lot of it I can’t write about, because it’s not my story to tell. But it’s there, and it hurts.

I’ve had a lot of work lately, which is good. I’ve been taking more photos lately, which is also good. I went to Chicago last month, which was fun. I got a free Camaro for the weekend last weekend (Thanks, Chevy!), which was ridiculous. Spent the weekend driving to Unionville and Niagra Falls and St. Jacobs and Collingwood and wherever else seemed like a good idea at the time.

I also pulled the trigger on kitchen gear I’ve wanted to pick up for a while; Toronto doesn’t know how to make pizza so I’m gonna have to learn to do it myself.

All of these good and fun things happening make it harder to talk about how upset I am about all the other things that are happening. Sure there are all these terrible things happening but hey I got to drive to a haunted house in a fuck-off yellow convertible transformers car so that should fix it all, right?

Bumblebee and Me

I’m okay. I’m not in danger, I’m not drinking my worries away, I’m not sick, I’m not broke, I’m not homeless. I’ve got friends who love me and all kinds of toys.

I’m not okay. I fight back tears every time I’m in the pet food isle. Being at home makes me sad. People I love are in trouble and in pain. I’ve got so much clutter in my house that I’m drowning.

I’m okay. I’m not okay.

Sit down at a keyboard and bleed

Just over a year ago I wrote a big post about how I wanted to focus more on writing and how I felt sidetracked by the work I’ve put into music production (despite how much I love it).

A year ago.

Just a few minutes ago I started writing the exact same post before I realized I had already written that post. A year ago!

Do you know what I haven’t done in that last year? Finished and published a story. Joined a writer’s group. Shown my work to a friend for critique. Accomplished anything meaningful as a writer.

I enrolled in an SF&F writing course, but I was too busy to actually participate. At least, that’s how I remember it now. I was for sure super busy. But was I so busy that I couldn’t have found an extra couple of hours here and there? How much time did I spend clicking links aimlessly in the Facebook/Twitter/MetaFilter Labyrinth of Lost Time?

The only thing I hate more than writing about writing is writing about not writing. Although if we’re gonna be real about this, I hate actually not writing more than writing about not writing.

And so here we are.

I’ve been taking a lot of photos lately. It’s a beautiful contrast to the problems of writing a new album or a novella. No outlines, no b-story, no character development. Just the briefest moment in time, preserved crystal clear forever.

Toronto by Wire

In which our hero misses his train home

I am very tired.

I’m also in Ottawa! I came down Saturday for the Ottawa Industrial League festival, and stayed a few extra days so that I could DJ at my old industrial night. The festival was a blast. I got to play live with good friends, and I got to see a ton of new talent perform. Two of the acts had never played live before. And they were great! My first show was a disaster.

DJing last night was even more fun than the OIL festival. A ton of people came out to see me play that I haven’t seen in forever. People who haven’t been to Zaphods in years. Years! I played a ton of new music, and somehow also a ton of old music. Is there anything I enjoy doing as much as DJing?

It’s actually quite emotional to go back and be the guest DJ in a place you spun weekly at for close to ten years, which I’m sure is surprising to no one but me. The place seems nicer. When I saw my old book of CDs — my book! — it seemed so surreal that I didn’t live there anymore, that I left all my music behind, that I wasn’t there every week. It wasn’t an “oh my god what have I done” moment; it was more like looking at home movies and thinking it’s so insane that you used to be seven years old and lived in that house and now you’re a grownup with grey beard hairs who has to file taxes and consider intersectionality and whatever else grownups do.

I miss Zaphods a lot. I miss the venue and the community and the everything. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a music community like that again. Probably not, right? It took almost ten years to build that one, even if you ignore everything I did before I started DJing there. If I started a weekly night tomorrow I’d be forty-five before I’d have ten years of history behind me. And the idea of starting a new weekly night in Toronto that lasts ten years is hilarious.

I miss Toronto too. I miss my house, and Josh, and Audra, and Blinky and Mothra, and the Jamaican woman who sells me my beef patties and everything else. I should be home right now, in fact. Except I ended up trapped in Orleans and wasn’t able to make my train home. So now it’s the 1 AM greyhound for me, which completely fucks everything up because there was a ton of work I wanted to get done on the train before I ran out of steam. And I’ve got Things To Do tomorrow from 10 AM onwards, including a job interview that I am going to be wiped for. Not to mention buying the extra ticket wipes out all the cash I made from selling merch, which is depressing. The only saving grace of the whole fiasco is that a May Day protest rolled past the bus station when I was buying my ticket, and I got to spend the next couple hours marching and chanting with young punks and old commies.

Aside from missing my train, which has resulted in me being that weird guy in a sports bar wearing nail polish and writing journal entries at midnight, it was a fantastic trip.

I’m looking forward to coming home.

Flash and Thunder

I don’t know exactly where the line is between history and experience, between something that happened and something that’s still happening. Is an explosion still happening while the shockwave is racing towards a building? While you can still hear echoes of it across a river? Is it still happening when you’re dreaming of it, years later? When all you can hear on a still night is the ringing in your ears that you’ve heard since the first flash and thunder?

I think a lot about family. I struggle with it. I struggle with the challenges that family has left me, with sacrifices family have made for me, with the hole in my experience where family should have been. I live with Josh, my brother, who I grew up with. We lived together for eleven or twelve years as kids, and now again for the last two. It’s comfortable. It’s friendly and loving. It has all the things that you should have in a home.

I’ve never lived with my father (not for any meaningful value of ‘living’, at least), but he was always there in one way or another. He was the reason we would be followed home, or why we had to move, or why some of us had so much more than others. When we spent time in the same space, we would inevitably end up at a nightclub, at a recording studio. The music was always loud, painfully loud. I’d yell and ask him to turn it down, my hands over my ears. I could never hear myself yelling. He would never turn it down.

Part of me remembers him telling me to toughen up, to not be such a baby; those memories are cloudy and suspect, just as likely to be a projection of what I assume he’d say as they are to be a recalling of fact. When we would leave the studio and step into the street, everything was bright, muffled, and far away, my skull stuffed with cotton and sawdust.

No matter how hard we try, we’re all defined in some way by him. From my own hypervigilance to my brother Oliver getting locked up at Fenbrook. (It’s his birthday today. He’s 28.)

And now we all try to figure out our own damages, try to find answers where we know there aren’t any. A kind of ritual therapy for blood relatives.

No matter how many years and miles separate me from the boy stepping into the street with a head full of dust, on a still night all I can hear is ringing.

I am not good at following advice

I’ve been thinking a lot about Other Jairuses. (Other Jairii?) If I had made different choices, focused my energy on different things. What would I be doing now. What would I be good at.

Eight years ago I was trying to decide where I should put my creative efforts. In design and visual art, which I had done professionally off and on — In writing and storytelling, where I felt very confident and capable — or in music, where I had been DJing for a while but I had no idea if I had any of the necessary skills to put together a song that anyone might want to listen to.

I asked a lot of people which they thought I should focus on, and almost everyone said writing. It was my ‘strength’. A few people said design. No one said music.

Eight years later and I have a couple of releases out, I’ve done a lot of touring, and I am for sure Jairus The Electronic Musician to a lot more people than I am Jairus The DJ. I haven’t been writing regularly or doing any design that isn’t paid work. I didn’t realize it while it was happening, but I traded those outlets in to make music.

One of the things that happens when you don’t do something for eight years is you stop being really good at it. Or you stop being good at it on demand, at least. I can still write things that I feel good about, but that’s the exception rather than the rule, and oh my god is there anything less interesting than someone writing about how challenging they think writing is.

Eight years later and I feel the hole left in me where I used to tell stories. Eight years later and I remember how good it felt to be up late creating something beautiful in photoshop that wasn’t for anyone but me. Eight years later and I’m not a writer, or an artist, or even really a DJ anymore.

Eight years from now, what I am going to wish I had spent more time doing? What am I going to wish I had gotten better at? What art am I going to wish I felt comfortable making?

That’s what I need to work on today.

#MP3Tribute

I think Aaron Swartz’s death hit us all differently. I felt like we weren’t just dealing with the loss of an incredibly talented and driven mind, but also with having our collective future robbed of all of the things Aaron had yet to do. People wouldn’t have the same access to music that they do today if it wasn’t for Aaron, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I’ve had as an artist if it wasn’t for Aaron. I want to celebrate what he’s given us.

I’m asking artists to join me in making 100 albums free to download in Aaron’s memory.

Yukon Ho!

When I was ten or eleven years old, I had a Pennysaver paper route. It was the worst thing. Every Sunday morning they drop off a bundle of papers (98 in my case) and a dozen bundles of advertisements. So you open up all the bundles and separate out all the different advertisements. Then you open up a newspaper and put one of each of the dozen different flyers inside of it. Stick the finished newspaper in your little newspaper cart, and repeat 97 times. I actually cannot even begin to describe how miserable this is. It takes hours, and there’s a crazy amount of paper strewn everywhere and it is a total disaster zone from start until finish.

It was through this weekly process that I first learned to recognize the emotion we call ‘dread’.

After you’ve got your little newspaper dolly full of the freshly-stuffed papers, you wander around the neighbourhood and drop them off in people’s mailboxes, often while people inside yell at you about how they don’t want more junk mail. Because who does, right? Also, the dolly doesn’t fit 98 stuffed newspapers, which means that you need to go back home in the middle of your route at least once to re-up. Eventually you deliver all 98 newspapers to all 98 homes, you get back home hopefully before the sun sets, and you phone them to let them know that it’s all finished.

This is all a lot of responsibility for someone in grade 5.

Once a month or so, we’d get these ‘specials’ where there’d be a full-on second newspaper to deliver along with the first. So you pack your cart with the stuffed newspapers and the special newspaper (which takes up twice as much cart space, which means you need to re-up twice as often) and try to jam both of these things in people’s mailboxes while they yell at you.

One snowy and grey Sunday morning, I opened my front door to get the papers and saw we had a ‘special’ that week: Phone books.

There was a hill I had to climb on my route, and I remember trying to drag my stupid cart full of soggy phone books through this thick wet snow, crying all the way. My hands were red and raw from trying to pull the cart, and completely numb from the cold. I ended up leaving the cart there and going back home to ask for help. My mother’s husband drove me out to the cart, picked up the phone books, and delivered them all himself — probably the nicest thing he ever did for me in the many years we lived together.

The worst part about all of this is that you make something like thirty cents per paper delivered. Not lucrative. After fees and whatever else, for a full day’s work I would get a cheque for twenty-odd dollars. (Years later, I worked as a delivery boy for the Citizen and got cheques ten times that amount for a route a fraction the size. This is how I learned about ‘exploitation’.)

But, at the time, twenty-odd dollars was a lot of money. And it was the first money I had ever earned myself. I took my first cheque across the street to the mall, cashed it in my TD Bank Junior Savings Account, and went to the bookstore where I bought the Calvin and Hobbes Yukon Ho! collection, mostly because I saw the title and thought it was cool that a comic might be about Canada.

Buying that book changed my life. I read every strip and bought every book after that. Calvin and Hobbes is a fucking subversive comic, man. Sexism, racism, environmentalism, war, death, friendship, bullying, love, an existential crisis, labour issues — they were all in those books. Before I learned about any of that stuff from Asimov or Aristotle or anywhere else, I learned it from Calvin and Hobbes.

I got a Calvin and Hobbes tattoo when I turned 19 because I was terrified of not being a teenager anymore. I was so scared that I wouldn’t be as the same kind of person as I got older, and I wanted to leave a reminder to future-jairus that ‘growing up’ means whatever we want it to mean. And to leave myself something like a litmus test:

If, when I got old, I didn’t like Calvin and Hobbes anymore — then I was right to be afraid as a teenager, because it would mean I had become someone else entirely.

We’ll never have to clean a plate
Of veggie glops and goos.
Messily we’ll masticate
Using any fork we choose!

The timber wolves will be our friends.
We’ll stay up late and howl,
At the moon, till nighttime ends,
Before going on the prowl.

Oh, what a life! We cannot wait,
To be in that arctic land,
Where we’ll be masters of our fate,
And lead a life that’s grand!

No more of parental rules!
We’re heading for some snow!
Good riddance to those grown-up ghouls!
We’re leaving! Yukon Ho!

We can do better.

It has been a very long and unlikely week.

Last Thursday Nick and I got on stage at Kinetik and played the best set either of us have ever played — a 50 minute performance, but it’s the last five that everyone’s talking about.

We had a message we wanted to deliver, and we did it. And a week later, the conversation about it is still going strong. It’s funny, before Nick and I went on stage we were talking about what could happen. We thought maybe a few people might get behind it. We also thought maybe we might get booed off stage. Worse yet, we thought maybe no one would notice or care.

Seven days, hundreds of shares, and 10k+ views later, people are still talking about misogyny and racism in industrial music. We’ve had hundreds of people get in touch to tell us how much they appreciate what we did. I’ve lost count of the number of women who’ve told us that this kind of imagery is exactly why they left the scene. And if I told you how many people (men and women alike) cried when they spoke to us about it, you wouldn’t actually believe me.

So, it’s a week later. The message is as clear as I could make it. Andy and Thomas have both said their piece on it. There have been articles, interviews, and editorials. And people are still talking about what it all means. About sexism, about racism. About art, communication, and community.

What does it say about our scene, that this resonates so strongly with so many people? What does it say about the conversations we haven’t been having? And what will happen if more people continue to say: We demand better.

I hope we’ll get to find out.

I don’t believe bad things come in threes (except when they do)

(…or, Why I Haven’t Answered Your Email Yet.)

1: Leslie

Leslie, with whom I spent almost a decade attached at the hip, nearly died a couple of years ago when a couple of her vertebrae collapsed. She was in the hospital for a long time, and surgeries and months of intravenous antibiotics left her severely immunocompromised. A couple of weeks ago I got a call saying that she contracted an infection which went septic. Her heart valves were infected, her liver and kidneys were in serious trouble, and she was in a coma, on life support.

After a couple of days of her getting worse, I packed a suit, made a few phone calls to people who needed to know, and headed to Ottawa. The first few days were brutal. A lot of sitting around with other friends of hers and talking. A lot of thinking about what the funeral would look like. Much to everyone’s surprise and great relief (including the doctors), things slowly started getting better.

Leslie’s illness (and my visit) also coincided with the Zaphod Beeblebrox 20th anniversary week, which means that I filled in for Leslie as a guest DJ for the 20th anniversary edition of Industrial Strength Tuesdays. I’ve been part of Tuesdays for about ten of those 20 years, but it was really fucking tough to be in that booth without Leslie.

All told, I was in Ottawa about a week before I headed back home.

2: Graham

A few days after I got back to Toronto, I got the call that Graham had died. (My bag from Ottawa was still packed, suit untouched.)

I don’t even know how long I’ve known Graham. I met him at the first couple of 2600 meetings I ever went to, which means it was a loooong time ago. Mid to late 90s. We were teenagers. Not only does the cafe we had them at (Cafe Wim) not exist any more, but neither do the next two cafes it moved to after the first one closed.

The meeting I remember most vividly from those early 2600s (aside from the meeting where I was congratulated by Graham and Mike on how my ‘Hack of the Year’ had hit CNN and thinking “CNN. Well, I’m going to jail.”) is when we ran a telephone line from our table at Cafe Wim down to the payphone in the basement. We stripped the payphone wiring with a lighter, got some alligator clips, and one hastily assembled beige box later we were ringing up the payphones at the 2600 meetings happening in California or wherever the fuck it was we called. They couldn’t understand Paul’s accent (“No, I said Canada. CANADA! WE’RE CALLING FROM CANADA! WHERE SANTA LIVES!”) and Graham took the handset and became our ambassador for the rest of the meeting.

But the reason losing Graham is excruciating isn’t because we were hackers. It isn’t because we were going to the same raves as teenagers, or DJing the same raves a few years later. It isn’t because of the roadtrips we took, or the terrible movies we watched, or the fact that we always had each other’s backs when one of us was calling someone out for sexism/racism.

This is why losing Graham is excruciating: When you put all of those things together, when you’ve shared so many important and formative environments, you end up with the rarest of friends — someone who understands you. Not just someone who understands what’s important to you, but someone with an intuitive sense of who you are, someone shaped by the same things that shaped you.

I don’t have much in my experience to compare that feeling to. It’s a bit like how I feel about my siblings. It’s more like when I read about people who have been through a disaster (or a war, or a cult, or…) and they describe the experience of running into someone who has been through the same disaster/war/cult/whatever. They’re a kind of family, because they understand so much about each other.

Graham was that kind of family. We understood so much about each other. And I’m having a hard time coping with the idea of a world where I don’t share with someone the experiences that Graham and I shared.

3: Jairus and Joshua

I don’t believe bad things come in threes. Still, I said to Audra when I got back from Graham’s funeral that even though I didn’t believe bad things came in threes, I was still anxious, I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

A couple of days later, it did:

Please consider this your notice to Terminate the Tenancy at the End of the Term for Landlord’s Own Use as per the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act. Once you vacate the premises, we will be renovating the property and moving in after the work is complete.

Now I get that it may seem weird for me to post about having to move in the same category as people dying and almost dying, but if I’m going to be honest here, I actually find moving more stressful than people dying and/or almost dying. I’m not being hyperbolic, either. I can’t deal with things that threaten the security of my living situation. All of my life’s most-stressful-events involve my living situation being threatened. (I was going to add an exception for ‘being kidnapped as a child’ before I realized I should probably pencil that in under ‘security of living situation’ anyway.)

So now we’re looking for somewhere new to live.

Postscript

I don’t want to write an entry that is all doom and gloom, so I’ll end with this:

Every day this week, I have eaten my lunch outside in the sun, reading. Spring is here.

Status Update

A few things.

  1. I have started a new amazing gig, which is keeping me very busy. Details soon.
  2. I am still in the process of moving, and am living out of boxes in the interim. Moving Day #2 is June 29th. Any Toronto volunteers will be cherished and/or fondled.
  3. My internet access at home has been down for a week, and I’m way behind on email. Please don’t be offended if I haven’t replied.
  4. As of today I haven’t DJed in 4 weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone without DJing in almost ten years. I might start podcasting to scratch the itch.
  5. It took me A Very Long Time, but my Toronto phone number is (647) TROUBLE. How amazing is that? The answer: Quite.

More to come!

613 + 416

Announcement.

I am leaving the fair city of Ottawa at the end of May.

I was born here, I spent my formative years here, and I’ve been back eight years or so now. I’ve been here more than anywhere else in the world, and I live about a ten minute walk from where I was born. I’m returning to Toronto, in the hopes of being closer to rare family members I want to spend time with, and in search of web communications work that doesn’t require bilingualism.

I’ve parted ways with my employer, given my notice to my landlord, and have started the search for a June home base in Toronto while looking for work and a July 1st apartment.

I love this city, and I will be back eventually. It might be five years, ten years, or twenty years — in the meantime there are streets to explore, and adventure to be had.

Forward.

Seoul tears down an urban highway and the city can breathe…

Seoul tears down an urban highway and the city can breathe again:

Fast-forward to 2001. As Dr. Hwang said, “some crazy people got together” and dreamed up the project. Hwang developed a traffic model to see what would happen if they took out what was considered a vital traffic artery carrying 168,000 cars per day. In the model, he included adjustments to other streets and increased transit to see if Seoul could survive without the freeway.

The results of the model surprised him: not only could it work, but it would actually improve travel times in downtown Seoul.

(Photo by Christian Senger)

[08/30] Of cities in dust

Day 08 – A moment, in great detail:

It was snowing now, light flakes betraying the morning sun’s promise of spring. I took a long moment in the doorway before I joined the crowd, fifty people moving in a hundred directions. To work. From work. To a friend’s home. To pick up the baby. To start a new job. To break up with their lover. To light the fireplace at home.

I feel insulated, now. The crowd protects me from the snow, the snow protects me from seeing anything too far away, and anything too far away doesn’t exist in any meaningful sense anyway.

I duck into a coffee shop for caffeine and quiet reading. I’ve spent so many hours of my life here, but it’s somehow different now, and there isn’t a flicker of recognition in the faces of anyone who looks up. I’m still insulated by the snow, by feeling like you’ve come home and found some other family watching your TV and eating off your plates.

I make my order and open the book to page one. It’s a beautiful place to be — fresh coffee, crisp pages, a new story in a familiar setting.

Toronto.