But then I look at my music tastes and I realize that I started listening to The Cars when I was in Grade 7. And I still listen to their songs more often than any other artist's songs. This should embarrass me. Shouldn't music tastes change a little more between Grade 7 and age 36? And, despite my vast musical tastes, why am I still listening to this one artist on a regular basis?
Then I heard last Sunday's edition of... The Sunday Edition where Michael Enright and Robert Harris discussed a couple albums that continue to move them despite decades of distance. Harris discussed how much the recording of Wonderful Town moved him as a child even though he didn't understand all of it, even though he hasn't listened to it for years and years.
So I don't feel so bad about my love for The Cars now.
And perhaps there's someone out there who might be moved by the music I make, despite my own aversion to it.
Every once in a while, I come across a book from my childhood and I try to introduce it to my daughters. And I'm almost always disappointed at how they just don't seem impressed.
This is one such book:
From that book, I learned about Esperanto, Andorra, Alfred Nobel, and the history of candy. I read its articles over and over again and used it in school projects. This book and books like it were my bread and butter for learning and company at home.
There's a long tradition of books like this one:
And here are a few that I've bought for my classroom: my Grade 7s in particular choose them for silent reading time.
So why don't I read them very often anymore?
I blame the Internet.
Because these books were the Internet before the Internet. These books were a wealth of information that a person just might be looking for. There seemed to be so many times when I would wonder something, crack open one of these books, scour the Table of Contents and the Index, and actually find an article that addressed my curiosity. The writing was always edited carefully and written in a lively, interactive tone. They were perfect for knowledge-seekers like me,
Now I first go to the Internet and these books often lay dormant. I feel a little bit o' melancholy about it, as if something's been lost. But that's probably just me being a sucker for nostalgia.
Which isn't all bad. But I miss the careful editing. The Internet's slapdash chaos is useful for finding specifics, but nothing beats good editing and copy for getting big ideas across.
Much of December was spent filling-in for two different roles at the White Rock Players Club's pantomime production of Alice in Wonderland. I haven't done any stage "acting" of any sort since I played Dr. Chausuble in a high school production of The Importance of Being Earnest, but overall this pantomime was a positive experience. I chose to take part because my daughters and ex-wife were also in the play, so it was also a sort of family affair.
I was originally slated to merely fill-in for the Baron/Carpenter character for December 10 and 14—the regular actor was previously booked for those two nights. I went to many rehearsals and learned my lines, but didn't do a full run-through until the night I had to perform. On the two nights I played, I did OK; I missed plenty of cues but the other players on stage were able to help me—and by extension themselves—look good. It was effective and fun, but I was certainly happy that it was all over.
Here's some evidence, in case you doubt me:
On the 26th, however, I was asked to fill-in for the Squire/March Hare role for the last three nights. On these nights, I got to carry a script and had to sing a bit of a solo—one verse from Matilda's "Naughty," which I essentially sung to my youngest daughter who played 'Tiny Alice.' The Stage Manager introduced me before the show in order to explain why one of the characters carried a script; I tried to generally hide the thing behind my "Tea" flask. It worked out well.
Here's a little more evidence:
So there's some evidence to explain my absence from this website and most of social media in general. Well, that, and that I have no home Internet at the moment and have to do my best to use my time wisely.
As far as where does this take me? I don't know. I'll be looking into more localized community theatre opportunities since it looks like a way for me to "get out there" and meet people. I've been pretty lonesome overall living up here in Agassiz despite the presence of good co-workers; it's just been a long time since I had to "put myself out there" and do socialization myself. So perhaps theatre will be a step in the right direction to get some of my mojo back.
Happy 2017! 2016 was rough; 2017 could quite easily be better.
Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen.
I have heard many times over the years that I "get in my own head" and it makes it hard for me to see things clearly and empathically. My ex-wife bought me Hardcore Zen to help me get a better sense of what mindfulness can look like so that I can perceive myself a little better. I finished it in just over a month, but I bet I could have finished it in a couple days. It's a pleasant, easy read, and a sane introduction to the the ways of Buddhist meditation and philosophy. FINISHED READING OCTOBER 13 2016
Marah J. Hardt's Sex in the Sea.
For writers and for scientific laypeople, I cannot recommend this impressively easy read enough. I'd first heard of this book on an episode of Inquiring Minds; the moment I saw it at the local library, I assumed the book would be in high demand and immediately borrowed it. I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer pleasure of reading it; Hardt peppers its pages with effective alliteration, poems, and vignettes that make the content delicious to ingest. I imagine I would have finished it in a weekend if my life didn't seem so stressful. FINISHED READING DECEMBER 5 2016
Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist.
So I heard The Alchemist recommended on this podcast, and I remembered that I had a copy of it in my classroom library. So I read it. It's not really my style, but I loved Coelho's stark language and abilit to leave out just enough information that it feels timeless. The message, about listening to the Soul of the World and following one's Personal Legend, is admirable, if a bit naïve. I mean, it's a nice sentiment, but it's so sentimental. Nonetheless, I feel like this just might be the type of message-by-fiction that I should be picking up more often these days. FINISHED READING DECEMBER 14 2016
I appreciate the song's inner tension: I enjoy this thing, even "crave" it, but it's also wrong, because I have my share of analogous obessions. There are things that I enjoy that are wrong; there are activities that I love to partake in that aren't cut-and-dry in their ethics. Just like there's no clear ethical way to eat seafood, hedonism always carries a few ethical quandaries. And yet we still do them because life simply isn't bearable with a perfect ethical standard.
Be sure to check out the more polished, professional performances of "My Songbird."
The Internet Archive
YouTube: ephemeral ideas