Archive for October, 2009

Post #67: “Why Do Good People Do Bad Things”

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Dear Alice,

I’ve been reading James Hollis with serious intent. His book, “Why Good People Do Bad Things” caught me off-guard when the preface started with an existential slant.

“When I say I, which I is speaking? Which part of the whole is, for the moment, dominant? When I say myself, which self is speaking? How can I say I know myself, in every… or any moment?”

Sometimes, this turns me off, but I was impressed by his personal touch scattered throughout the book. Have you ever been given a book from a friend with some pages dog-eared, or some phrases underlined? Hollis has written his book as a simple book - without notes-in-the-margin or bullet points every other page. However, I was touched by him having a few important phrases written in italics. I felt like he had a point he wanted to drive home to the reader, and this was not just a book he wrote to pass the time.

“What I had learned… was that who I had become was my problem, My pathology was the same as my accomplishments. No wonder the ego is less than thrilled when it confronts the Shadow.”

I love it. Like a performer with bad form, that problem is what gave them that sound.

The main point of the book is that we all have a Shadow. “The Shadow is not just what is unconscious, it is what discomforts the sense of self we wish to have.” Once we’re conscious of it, we can either disown it through projection, become possessed by it, or integrate it into our consciousness. Basic stuff, admittedly, but I love when an author can turn the wishy-washy into something structured.

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Post #66: First Thursday off

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Dear Alice,

How have I spent my first Thursday off? Nothing like how I expected to. I planned to have my G1 by the end of the day.

The night before, I came home to find a note near my computer: it’s not starting up properly. I spent the morning searching for Windows XP, driver CDs, etc. and burned out by 2 pm. It’s 6 pm, and I just finished installing my speakers.

Is this a bad thing? No, it’s my first day on (off) the job, and disaster struck. I don’t feel like I wasted anything. Heck, even if I had spent the entire day in bed, I don’t think I’m losing out. Having an extra day off is enviable by pretty much everyone, even if you factor it into your salary as paying $X/day off. The physical and mental health benefits are going to be the envy of the town, I tells ya.

Alright. Off to lie in bed and read.
But first, a listen to I Pagliacci

David =B~)

Post #65: How to Appreciate Opera

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Dear Alice,

I went to see Madame Butterfly at the Canadian Opera Company, as my first opera. While I liked the experience, I disliked the opera itself.

The story is just sad. A fifteen year old Japanese girl is in love with an American. He marries her, with the intention of leaving her for an American wife eventually. She waits for him for three years, bearing his child in the meantime, only to find out that he’s found another wife in America. She kills herself. The end.

The characters have no depth. There’s almost no humour. The plot never twists. Yet, this is one of the most frequently played operas at the COC. I don’t get it.

Now, I do have to admit one thing: my eye-sight is going. I spent the evening trying desperately to bring the actors’ faces into focus, but it rarely happened. My friend, Chris, told me that his wife’s godmother is all about the facial expressions when it comes to opera. We were just took far back for when, instead of taking a second intermission, the production decides to have us wait with our heroine, as she spends from dusk to dawn awake, awaiting her husbands’ arrival. “How long do you think he’ll be? One hour? Two hours?”

How do you enjoy an opera? I did some quick searches, and found this little post. The writer explains how his role on an operatic set eventually led to him enjoying the opera: How I came to enjoy opera

David =B~)

Post #64: Lengthy e-mails

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Dear Alice,

Based on the length of my e-mails, I think I’m either a girl or a philosopher.

David =B~)

Post #63: Organic Love In The Works

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Dear Alice,

So, good news. I’m at the beginning of another relationship. It’s going extremely well. Nay-sayers would warn me that if something is too good to be true, then it is; but something about this just feels so natural/organic, as opposed to magical/fated.

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Post #62: Stefan Sagmeister Sabbatical

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Dear Alice,

A few months ago, I mentioned to my previous manager that I was considering my options, as I was coming up to my third year. I told him that I was thinking about taking a few months off to see if I could really focus on my music. He said to me that, if I’m anything like him (and I think I am) I’ll drop work, but end up stumbling onto other things that’ll fill out the time and keep me from my hobbies all the same.

I think it was a fair assessment, but I don’t buy it so much. Like, I think it’s possible, but I don’t think it’s unavoidable.

There’s this TED talk by Stefan Sagmeister about taking time off, and he explained how useful the time really is.

“Right now, we spend about, in the best, 25 years of our lives learning, then there’s another 40 years that’s really reserved for working, and then tucked on at the end are about 15 years for retirement… and I thought it might be helpful to, basically, cut off five of those retirement years and intersperse them in between those working years.” *applause*

He goes on to explains the benefits, he talks about his insights from the year, and has a few great samples/videos of work that were from these insights. He also mentions two things: (1) ask someone who has already done a sabbatical to hear how to do it properly, and (2) don’t go without a plan, because it will go just like my manager described.

So, I’m trying to take one day off every week. Is that going to do it? Part of me is tempted to look at my long-weekends to see what came about from those extra days off, but that’s not a fair comparison. First of all, they’re usually filled with family and/or group plans. Secondly, they’re somewhat sporadic, as opposed to a regular occurrence. I don’t get enough practice at making a plans this way.

What’s on my list? Guitar, yoga, stretching, meditation. My reading is becoming rampant, and I’m not sure how healthy it is for me to be constantly reading. I feel like the rat in the experiment who pressed that button, ignoring hunger and all other physical warning signs, until it died. I’m reading, ignoring the fact that my brain should probably take a rest. (It might also be from having my headphones plugged in from 9 to 5 every work day… but the jury’s still out on that one.)

Alright. Nearly 1am. G’night.

David =B~)

PS. My guitars are all out of whack, in one way or another. I took a small step towards fixing Big Black Mariah, by buying the right tools, but they aren’t working. Wrong tools, or wrong application? No idea.

Post #61: In Love With Anything That Moves

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Dear Alice,

My sister and I got into a discussion on my relationships, and I ended up leaving upset. Having these talks is like inviting old ghosts to come back in, to haunt the very foundations of your soul. I already dealt with these doubts and fears. I was looking for her to shed some new light on the situation.

I went over to hang out, and we began chatting about mutual friends, including Jackie’s friend whom I had a crush on. It’s hard to stay friends with someone whom you’ve liked (to the point of convincing yourself that you’re going to marry them) after they’ve flat out told you fat chance.
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Post #60: Canceling to live again

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Dear Alice,

I’m doing well, actually. I think I realized the purpose of vacations. New York gave me some strong resolve to put a few things in motion. For instance, I canceled my guitar lessons and I turned down a 1-year gym membership. It’s interesting to see these things happen.

I went to Free Times today to play covers of some of the artists who are regulars there. Neither artist were there tonight, so I evoked their spirits. (George Meanwell and Noah Zacharin). I got nervous and wasn’t able to pull in any of the soloing techniques I’ve been delving in with my instructor, but the songs were still well received. As usual, they want to hear my voice more than my guitar, which only makes me want to do more on guitar! :)

No news on the Thursdays, but I’ve got my plans lined up. It’ll have to be Cubase first, with Russian second, with getting my driver’s licence making a cameo appearance. I have a friend, Vlad, waiting on a tune from me. He wants me to create an infinitely increasing sound, similar to this ever-increasing sound. I don’t know if I can do so on guitar, but it’ll be a fascinating experiment. We’ll see.

David =B~)

Post #59: The Sword of Truth mortgage

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Dear Alice,

I’ve finished the Sword of Truth series, and it feels great. The weight of the world has lifted off the shoulders of Richard and Kahlan, and so has it lifted off me.

There’s something very satisfying with finishing a book, let alone finishing an entire series. It’s almost like paying off a loan. Perhaps a better analogy is a mortgage. You start the series, and you move into your brand new world, with that brand new world smell. You read the back of the book, and so you’re aware of the surface issues of your series, but that’s what intrigued you in the first place. You invest in the main characters, and sooner or later, you’ve settled in.

As time goes on, however, you start to notice the things that you only seem to gain from long term exposure. The dialogue seems rather stiff, or unvarying from character to character, and the subplots in each novel seem to play out the same. The world gets too big, and the story follows too many of the dull characters - dull, especially in comparison to the shiny happy flawless hero you fell in love with at the beginning. Your series has officially lost that “new series” smell.

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Post #58: Chocolic

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Dear Alice,

Two slices of chocolate cake are not better than one. I think I’m beyond hyper… which is awesome, because I’m still at work, and it’s like trying to pretend like you’re sober when you’re drunk or high or euphoric. It’s like a big inside joke which (you think that) only you know.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

David =B~@