Thursday, December 30, 2004

That funny little thing called death

I was at a viewing today for a family friend who's father passed away. I think it's the first time I've ever actually seen a dead body in person, and though it didn't freak me out or anything, it certainly made me think. Mortality is something we've struggled to understand as a species for our entire existence. Life is a fleeting moment, and when it's all over we have no idea what to expect. It's not hard to understand that our body, mind, and soul can wear down, and even die, but to try and wrap your head around the idea of 'inexistance' is baffling. I mean, I am right now. I see, I think, I breathe, I do, I just AM. So what could it mean to NOT be?

This is why we've come up with elaborate fantasies about afterlives and reincarnation and that... It's too hard not to have some concept. Unless you go through your life not believing in anything, you have to speculate about what could be after living. And what makes it more perplexing is that it ties into why we exist at all. If there is nothing after death, then what is the meaning to life? We need to be working towards something, do we not?

Too deep. No more. Here's a drawing. It's a sketch for my game project, supposedly a character for the alien race. I drew it mainly for the clothing design, to get as many different styles out of it as I could.

"To die will be an awfully big adventure." - Peter Pan, JM Barrie

All hopes to those in recovery

It is hard to fathom the immense number of individuals whose lives have been crippled by the recent natural disasters. An anticipated 100,000 people are said to be dead after a massive 8.9 earthquake shook the face of the earth and sent tsunamis hurtling in every direction. One hundred thousand... I can't imagine that many people, period, let alone imagining them dead. It is a tragedy of untold proportions, one which I am thrilled to see the world pitching in with to aid. My heart goes out to all people affected in these last few days.

The scariest aspect brought forth from this unvelievable catastrophe is the revelation that regardless of who you are and where you live, you are not safe from the ravages of this planet. At any moment a freak ice storm could sweep in over our fair country and leave us begging for mercy in the dark and cold. Without warning, the top of Mount St. Helens could erupt once again, spewing ash and magma in an unstoppable explosion. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, heat waves; we don't prepare well enough for these, even though they seem to be happening in record numbers lately. Instead we freak out over potential terrorist strikes and security threats, when in all honesty, how often do these happen? How many lives have been lost to the wrath of terrorism, versus the wrath of Mother Nature? We're pissing off the really powerful enemy, and we don't even care!

All this so we can drive bigger SUVs, use more electricity, and fill more landfills. We're so f***ed it's not even funny. We're selfish, stubborn, idiotic, and ignorant peasants hurtling through space on a rapidly dying rock we have no way off. We don't seem to be trying to survive at all.

So i'm sure that's enough negative thoughts on the matter. I still want to re-iterate how important it is to support revitalization efforts in the far East. That is a fate I would wish on a very select few.

I haven't been able to delve as deeply into these issues as I'd like to, I'm not that skilled at blogging. But I emplore you read Matthew Good's MBlog for views that largely resemble mine. He's extremely devoted and intelligent, and I often turn to his blog first for current news. Please check it out, even if you don't appreciate his music (which is hard to imagine).

I sincerely hope that the quote below is what we come to realize as a global community in the near future.

"It's times like these we learn to love again..." - Foo Fighters

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


No blog content tonight, the drawing took long enough.

"I'm confused, wasn't he dead already?" "Well, I know for a fact that he was UNdead..." - Tauren and Orc, Penny Arcade

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Boxing day classics

An annual tradition for me in the last few years is to go on an all day boxing day shopping spree. It's madness; I can barely haul my sorry ass out of bed for school or work, but for the potential for 50% off all merchandise will have me up and at 'em in a heartbeat.

7:20 - wake up
7:50 - out the door
8:15 - pick up friends
9:00 - get off the subway at Queen street
11:00 - first purchase: joggers @ lululemon
11:30 - grab streetcar to head to distillery district
12:30 - second purchase: nike fleece hoddie @ distillery (forget store)
1:00 - grab streetcar back to Eaton's Centre
1:30 - eat at Mr. GreenJeans
5:00 - hit Bloor street/Yorkville
5:50 - third purchase: jeans @ over the rainbow
6:15 - back at Yorkdale
6:45 - last purchase: shoes @ west49
7:30 - drop friends off
8:00 - home

So that's it, ten and a half hours of shopping insanity! On my feet for that whole time, I covered a good chunk of Toronto. I was so ridiculously exhausted afterwards I couldn't even type up a blog entry, let alone draw a picture. After this holiday week with so many other things to do, I'll be more regular with the updates.

The overly critical part of myself feels guilty when I spend this much. It gives me a little pang of conscious to know I've gone out of my way to spend money, when I didn't really need anything. On the other hand, I did recieve all of that money (and certificates) as gifts, in place of other items, so it's not as bad as I make it seem. Christmas as a whole is much too commercialized, but that's a bigger issue, and it's late. I might give it some thought for tomorrow's blog... probably not, but there's a chance.

So, though it may be late, here is a little something.

So 10 1/2 hours and about $300 later, I'm done buying anything for a good long while. For as much as I say how things like overeating and oversleeping and overspending are just terrible, I sure don't seem to heed my own advice ;). But hey, it's only once a year that I do this, so I think it's okay.

"I am a consumer whore!" "And how" - Various stick characters, Don Hertzfeld's Rejected

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Food, glorious food

Holiday goodies... the cookies, the candies, the enormous feasts, it's a revolting, gluttonous tradition I cannot believe I partake in after all of these years. I dread it going in, I regret it coming out, and the whole rest of the duration I'm just feeling bloated and ill. It struck me this thanksgiving when a good friend pointed out how this is essentially a largely eastern tradition. He said something along the lines of "Only in North America do we just eat and eat and eat until we're sickly full with food. It's like a contest" and it struck so true with me. We vainly celebrate this over-eating fad, and seem to ignore the fact that those are both two deadly sins. I'm not going to state that naybody who celebrates with a feast a Christmas time is going to hell, but I think we overdo it more than a little.

So those are some little thoughts on Christmas. Don't mean to be down, I had an amazing Christmas, just wanted to rant a bit bout how very much I ate. Ugh, resolution: exercise (like every other year, yeah right).

Here's the picture for today:

This is Paris from a game project I'm working on. I'll have that website up some day and publish all of this work (well, selected pictures, it's too large a body of work to publish it all for $0.00 a month).

Best wishes for the holidays!

"Oh Lisa, that's a load of rich creamery butter." - Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

Friday, December 24, 2004

The true spirit of the season

It always irritates me that no matter what I spend on a gift, that amount manages to really bother some person or another. I can't spend too little, because then I'm ungrateful and thoughtless, but I can't spend too much, because then I'm being wasteful and materialistic. I don't spend more money than I want to, or that I can, and it really makes me angry that with all the money I make working at my co-op jobs, I can't splurge a little.

Case in point: this year I tried thinking of things everybody would really really like, that maybe they might not have thought to ask for. One thing that I know my mum would really like is a new camera flash, to replace the ghetto-assed busted up antique she now has. It might be nice to have one that works more than 10% of the time, doesn't weight 50 lbs, and isn't clinging to the connectors with it's last ounce of strenght, precariously balanced by two dirty rubber bands from off of old produce. Of course a flash is expensive, but why is it that the first thing out of people's mouths is "do you know how expensive that is?" and not "Oh that would be a great gift, she'd love it"? This kind of attitude really bugs me because of how much we find fault rather than appreciate. Christmas season or not, it seems that the good spirit is gone, replaced by cynical criticism and hopeless negativity.

I like to think I avoid having this kind of attitude most of the time, although I do sometimes succumb to the nonstop hate-fest that is reality television. Today I finished my co-op job, we were blessed with at least a foot of snow, and my granny made the long 5 hour trek to spend Christmas with the family, despite her threats not to. I could focus on the fact that my job was a bit of a joke, I have a work report to write for it in 2 weeks which I am simply clueless about, that the snow today caused me to spend at least 3 hours waiting in traffic to get anywhere I needed to go, and that granny's arrival meant I had to have a present for her ready for Christmas morning, but I'd rather put the positive spin on it all and just let the good of the season sink in.

Christmas trees... strings of lights... fresh fallen snow... loved ones... rest and relaxation... holiday baking =P. Just some thoughts to boost bright spirits!

And with that, it is my pleasure to post a violent crude sketch for the day. I really just wanted to do something with an element of action to it, so forgive its inappropriateness.

It's an alright drawing. The perspective on the guy flying away isn't what I'd hoped it would be, and the speed lines are a mistake. But hey, it's something; better to have drawn and sucked than never to have drawn at all... or something to that effect.

"So hang a shining star upon the highest bough//And have yourself a merry little Christmas now"

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Finishing on the 23rd of December means that I get 11 days before my ass has to be back in a lecture hall at 8:30 in the morning... in Waterloo... in the winter. Somehow this little week long break isn't exactly lifting my spirits like it should.

I'm going to try and make the most of the time I have off, despite wanting more of it. I'm going to start one of my new years resolutions early this year, as there's no point in waiting around for the arbitrary day of January 1st. The resolution is simple (or so they seem at the beginning): draw something new every day. Doesn't matter what, but every day I have to fill at least one piece of paper with pencil (or some other medium, really.) This is to keep my skills in drawing up, and to boost motivation for working on a really lare-scale project of mine (more info in the links to the left, soon to come). I think that blogging will make it even better because I'll feel motivated to put it on the web too, so with that, I'm making an addition to the site. Each day I will post (one of) the picture(s) I draw, in addition to a written entry.

With that, I'd like to post the first one tonight.

As a side note, I'll try to find quotations to go with each of my drawings, but this to me seems much harder than finding them for written entries, so no promises. Or better yet, I'll put in unrelated but amusing quotations instead of something relevant.

"If you ever find yourself in the presence of a hungry bear and a midget, remember... you don't have to outrun the bear..."

Good grief, vacation and holidays at last

In 6 hours I will be heading off to my last day of work at Loctite Canada. For those of you who don't know (read: everybody), Loctite a leading supplier of industrial adhesive solutions. My job essentially consisted of reporting to 5 engineers who can each tell me to do just about anything involving harmful, toxic products I have no idea how to use. Sounded fun at a passing glance. But the main point is that I'm done, how exciting is that? The job was pretty great, it exceeded my expectations by far, but that doesn't mean I'm not waiting to get the hell out!

Each time I have a work term I can honestly say that I learn more valuable, real life lessons than when I'm in school. While at my previous co-op job, I came to the conclusion that - while it may be amazing work with great potential - management is not something I am going to be able to do. It involves being cut-throat, demanding, authorotative, responsible, timely, and a whole slew of other traits which I definitely can not say apply to me.

This time around I learned the pain of working with real engineers. Now it may be possible I had simply come across a bad sub-set of these creatures, but from what I dealt with over the last four months, I am not too endeared by the profession.

First of all, engineers, above any other group of people I have met, love the sound of their own voices. Not one of my co-workers knew when to just shut up, stop talking about trivial and irrelevant technical nonsense, and face the facts that I could deal with a problem myself given a very short set of instructions. In the time it took them to go over exactly what they meant by their work instructions to me, in precise scientific deatail mind you, rewording it several times, I could have been halfway through the damned project.

Secondly, engineers are intrusive. They stick their inquisitive big noses into my cubicle a few times an hour to make sure I know they have higher expectations of me and that they would know how to complete any task I'm working on more effectively. If I pick up a tool or some product or a friggin piece of paper to do some work with then they immediately want to know what work it is I'm doing, and then offer their opinion as to why what it is that I've picked happens wrong. And it always is!

Now despite these examples of co-worker grief, I remain impressed with what I've done on the job itself. I dabbled in robotics, CAD, machining, project design, materials engineering, and a number of other fields. It's been more technical than any of my other jobs, so that's a step in the right direction.

Counting the hours until it's all over...

"Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems." - Scott Adams, Dilbert Author

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Sleep habits

It's not that I really want to get fewer than 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis - truth be told I love sleep, I am sleeping with sleep on a nightly basis - but I am forever staying up to all hours playing some mindless video game, watching the idiot-box, perusing inane websites, or a sick combination of al three. It's scary that I trade something that is so enjoyable, healthy, and sensible, for habits that I can only describe as obsessive, unhealthy, and wasteful.

The media overload in this day and age is killing my sensibility. It seems to me that this must affect more than just a few of us nocturnal subterrainean technophiles... when is too much screen-time actually too much?

I can only derive from my ludicrous actions that I have some form of a media addiction. It is preventing me from waking up to my alarm clock, forcing me to skip breakfast, arrive late for work, and just feel crappy all day. I then oversleep on weekends in an attempt to 'make it up', impossible as that may be, and I lose half of a perfectly good day.

What's worse is that the rest of my day is filled with enough of this crap... sleep ought to be a delighful break, not something I avoid. With that, I think I'll stop writig this blog at 1:30 in the morning and heed my own bitching... 6 hours until the next alarm. Ugh only 2 more to go until the end of work... but that's another blog.

"In my opinion, television validates existence" - Calvin, Calvin&Hobbes

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

On your mark...

First post! Onward and upward!

A rant, a story, an amusing anecdote... what is blogging for if not to vent feelings and thoughts? That's what this will mainly be for; a simple bit of drivel from my deep muddled psyche. It was going to be in a full fledged website, but I hardly have any patience left for that these days. I hardly have patience PERIOD these days... but that's a topic for a seperate blog. This is an introduction.

So we'll see how this thing evolves. Most blogs have some focus, be it political outrage, random comical entries, or relief of personal grief... I think this one will settle somewhere in between. I am going to try and supply each entry with a relevent quotation from... somewhere... The Sky's the limit. Hurray for another pointless weblog! Let the excruciating minutia of people's lives be immortalized on the internet forever!

"I can't come over here every day and pore over the excruciating minutia of every single daily event!" - Elaine, Seinfeld