The Lincoln Memorial

This is going to be the first of two blog posts for the evening, assuming I remain conscious long enough to write the second one.  This one is about today, and what a fantastic day it was and about other stuff too that’s a bit more esoteric and harder to pin down into nice easy to configure thoughts.

Today I saw the Lincoln Memorial.  I’ve seen it before, twice to be exact, but this time was special.  Long time readers, or friends will know that a couple years back I took a road trip with a buddy of mine to literally find America, or at least to see all the things I had theretofore only seen on television and in movies.  I saw New York (a city that immediately felt like home and one I will go back to as often as I can), Washington DC (an odd city of monuments to past glories and white marble) I saw the Moon Tower in Austin (from Dazed and Confused), I went to Vegas, I saw Mount Rushmore, and so many other things besides.  It was an important trip, a great trip and one that for various reasons was not quite as fulfilling as I had hoped, but that’s another story.

I don’t know why I wanted to see all these things, or rather I’m still not sure my reasons for wanting to see them are the real reasons I wanted to see them, which is a bit oblique, and deliberately so, I’m being facetious and serious at teh same time.  That was a hell of a run on sentence.  Neil Gaiman says something about this sort of thing in his novel American Gods, which is about a great many things and is a fantastic read if the ending does leave you wishing for just a little bit more satisfaction, but I digress.  What he said had to do with America and points of power and roadside attractions and the idea that people could feel things, these points of power and they would make the world’s largest rubber band ball and charge people five bucks to see it in one of these places of power.  I went to see some of these places of power, a bunch of them actually, and if I could change anything about that trip it would be that I would have seen more of them, not just the big ones, but the little oddities along the way that I passed doing 80 in the middle of the night without ever knowing they were there.  The only thing I did see that I wasn’t satisfied with was the Lincoln Memorial. 

The first time I was in Washington I was maybe 9 or 10, it’s a bit foggy in my memory, but I do know that I knew what the Lincoln Memorial was (I’d read about it in a comic book) and that at the time of that first visit it was closed for cleaning/repair and I did not get to see it.  I also remember my dad driving around DC looking for the White House and being completely unable to find it, but that again is another story.  The Second time, the time that was part of the road trip and looking for America and all the rest of that, would you believe, it was also being cleaned, and while it was not closed it was covered in Scaffolding that fairly completely obstructed my view of the massive statue. 

All that is really just my way of pointing out why today was special, and important and yadda yadda yadda.  I saw the Memorial, without scaffolding, and now I am happy.  Also had a great dinner at some Italian place a friend recommended to me and in general had a good day.  It was fun spending the day with Tarfia too, and exploring strange new places, or rather rediscovering places we had both been before.  We also went to Arlington and saw JFK’s grave and the tomb of the unknown soldier, where we witnessed the changing of the guards which was also very cool.

Mason Dixon and Other Thoughts

So I crossed the Mason Dixon line for probably the 11’th time in my life yesterday, but it was the first time I ever saw the sign.  Apologies to Dave if we saw it the last time we drove down and I just don’t remember.  I know it was the line that separated the North and South in the Civil War, or at least I think that’s what it was, but I wonder who it was named after and I’m curious why it’s still important.  I’m not curious enough to wikipedia it, that would be too easy, and the mystery is more interesting to me than an actual answer, but the importance, that is an actual thought.

I’m in Richmond Virginia visiting some old friends cause I needed a break and they were kind enough to let me come stay with them for a couple days.  I drove down yesterday in my new car, which was fantastic, if somewhat dark, lonely and very very rainy.  Richmond is, as far as I’ve been able to tell from my admitedly short tour through the city last night and hour long walk this afternoon, a city sort of divided.

It might be the outsider perspective, maybe native Richmondites don’t notice, but the city seems to be dying from the inside out.  I walked for blocks and blocks without seeing a single white person, and not that that’s a bad thing, although it is a bit shocking to my far more multicultural sensibilities.  I passed block after block of empty storefronts, closed businesses, boarded up showrooms.  I felt a bit like I was in Detroit again, and I didn’t expect to find that here.  And that’s what I mean about the city dying from the inside, there’s something wrong when local businesses can’t make a living in prime retail space, hell there weren’t even any chain stores in the part of town I was walking through.  I walked for over an hour and didn’t see a single business that looked like it was selling anything I would want to buy, and very few businesses at all until I hit the large office blocks down by the river, but even then there didn’t appear to be any retail or restaurants working.  Just empty storefronts and parking lots.  I’ve never seen so many parking lots.  I can’t even begin to tell you.  What I want to know is where are all the people who are parking these cars in these massive parking lots?  What are they doing here, because I couldn’t find anything to do.

There was also that class race thing that I always notice when I’m in the southern US (well except for Florida, but that’s because the only time I’m in FL I’m at Disney or Universal and the class/race thing doesn’t really impact theme parks).  Admittedly it was lunch time while I was walking around, but there were an awful lot of African Americans just sitting at bus stops and perching on stoops with no aparent place to be, and for every well dressed professional looking black man, I saw fifty others in wife beaters and old jeans smoking cigarettes and basically doing nothing.  What is that about?  I don’t pretend to be an expert on Race relations, not in my own country let alone in someone else’s, and I have no solution that doesn’t sound pretentious or naive, but seriously, get a fucking job.  When I did walk far enough to find white people they looked like most of the people I work with, dressed in business cas, walking with a sense of purpose towards this office or that, basically they looked like they had places to be and things to do, which would make them the polar opposites of the aformentioned stoop perching African Americans.  Maybe my view of race relations is coloured by the fact that I am a middle class white male living in a country that is significantly (though not entirely) less racist then our neighbor to the south.  Maybe being white means I can’t or won’t understand.  Maybe being male means I’ll never quite get suffrage either, who knows.  But what I do know is that life is what you make of it, and carrying a chip on your shoulder because three hundred years ago someone you are barely related to was taken hostage and sold (and fuck that is a deplorable thought, but it was three hundred years ago) might not be the best use of your time or energy.  That’s just my two cents, what the fuck do I know.

Anyway, I’m in Richmond, I think I’m going to go see Roanoke, because it interests me, have to hit DC only to see the Lincoln Memorial (again, but that’s a whole other story and probably a whole blog post about that one thing) and I’ve been told I have to go to Williamsburg and Jamestown, though I don’t know exactly why.  Would also like to see the beach while I’m here.  It’s been too long since I was in an Ocean.

Anyway, I’ll report on my vacation as it happens, at the moment I’m going to settle in and read a book for a bit while I wait for my hosts to return.

-m

Wow, and Then Some

So this blog had it’s best day ever yesterday, with people reading about Martin Streek, or about my memory of him and my sadness that he couldn’t find another way out.  Apparently people are searching for reasons or an explanation of how he died, and I’m not sure I even have the right to comment on that, I wasn’t there, and I have no first hand knowledge of it at all, but I’m going to weigh in anyway.

Martin Streek started working at CFNY when he was still a teenager, and given the timelines and the way these sorts of things work that made him 40ish last Monday.  His bio at the Edge website was almost certainly only half true, so you can discount the fact that it said he was 55, I don’t believe he was that old, unless he had failed a number of grades in school.  So far as I know the only job he ever had was working for The Edge, which he did for 20+ years.

Last spring he was fired, or let go or whatever euphamism you would like to use for, as far as I can tell, no FUCKING REASON AT ALL.  He didn’t get to say goodbye, he just vanished a month before Edgefest, his bio was removed from the Edge site and his time slots were given to other DJs.  No one talked about it, it was like a dirty little secret.  I’m guessing, and this is just a guess, he either pissed off the wrong person, or was a victim of Corus making a decision about direction and branding and whatever and deciding that Martin no longer fit the corporate mold.  Corus is the huge entertainment conglomerate that owns CFNY. 

Now, I’ve never had a job longer than a couple years, and I’ve never been fired, so I can only imagine what that must have felt like for Martin.  In all the years I listened to him, all the years I would run into him at clubs the only thing I can honestly say about him was he loved his job more than anything, save music, which he loved in a way that is usually only possible for a 14 year old.  Martin never got old, he still loved his music the way we all did in highschool, when it was important, when we cared, before 9-5 bullshit bogged us down and we got old.  I think that certainly it took a toll when he was told he would have to grow up, when he would no longer be the longest running DJ on CFNY.  I think Martin had a lot of demons, but I think that is what ultimately pushed him over the edge, so to speak.  This isn’t to say it is the management of Corus Enntertainments fault that he did what he did, but it stands to reason someone is going to blame them, and that’s not too far fetched. 

It’s not the way I would want to go out, but like I said, I wasn’t there. 

That’s my 2 cents, and probably a couple other people’s 2 cents too, just for good measure.  I maintain that this sucks more than I can put into words, and that I am deeply saddened by his sudden exit not just from radio, although that pissed me off, but from life in general. 

65 people checked this blog yesterday looking for answers to a question we are all asking and to which there probably is no answer.  That’s the biggest day this blog has ever had, and that should say how much he meant to so many of us.  Remember the man, thevoice and the music and the halloween costumes and fuck the rest.  None of the rest matters.  Don’t be angry and don’t look for answers, use that time to remember him, put on London Calling and kick back and remember.  Do something good with that energy, don’t scrounge it on wasteful things.

I’m listening to London Calling now, and I’m sure somewhere Joe Strummer and Martin are looking down at all of us while they chat about killer guitar riffs and awesome bass lines.  Keep a seat warm for us up there, we’ll see you again one day.

Martin Streek

It’s been a while and I know I said I’d update this more often and more regularly but frankly I’ve been busy and sometimes the last thing you have time for is writing things down so you’ll remember them, it’s more important and more fun to be out doing things.

That really has nothing to do with why I’m writing this now, though.  This has been a fantastic week for me personally, and yet it has also been a very sad week for me too.  For any of you who don’t know Martin Streek, former DJ on 102.1 the Edge (or CFNY depending on how old you are) a local Toronto radio station, and the only one I listen to, killed himself a couple days ago.  Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking that’s too bad, but really, it’s not like I knew him why would it be overly sad.  And that’s the part I’m not 100% sure of myself. 

Over the years it seems that a great many fantastic things that have happened in my life have been done to a soundtrack made up largely of bands I first heard on the Edge, and since Martin was my favorite DJ a lot of them were heard with his voice introducing them or commenting on them.  I think in some ways I can link almost my entire musical taste to the music that he played for me first.  He loved the Clash and NIN and Queens of the Stone Age and was just so passionate about music.  I was playing his live to air broadcasts long before I was old enough to go to the clubs he was broadcasting from, and when I became old enough I tended to frequent the clubs he played in.  Whiskey Saigon and Joe and of course my all time favorite, the Phoenix.  I met him a few times, I doubt he remembered me from time to time, but he was always very friendly and would talk to you like a normal person, which I always thought was about the coolest thing in the world.  I even played a game of pool against him once, a very long time ago, he won, but bought me a beer anyway. 

When I look back at the last couple decades of my life his voice is a constant refrain in the background of my best memories, my most fun times, and I’m just sorry he’s gone.  He loved Halloween, I think even more than I do.  He loved music and made other people love it all the more for his enthusiasm and spirit.  I can still here him saying “nice” after a hot set by DJ Dwight at the Phoenix, or breaking some new band on the Thursday 30. 

This isn’t probably getting the point across that I was trying to make, so I’m going to cut it out here, but first, my condolences to his family and friends and fans, I missed him the last time I was at the Phoenix, and I miss him now too.

Rest in peace, Martin, thanks for the music.

-m

Welcome to the Wonderful World of New Beginnings

Hi everyone, assuming that anyone is left that is.  I’m aware that I haven’t updated this blog in a reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllllllly long time and there are reasons for that, most I will not frankly discuss at any length here.  It has been an absolute shit year so far, but I’m guessing you figured that out on your own.  My life has been tumultuous at best, and frankly if I could go to sleep right now and wake up being someone else I probably would.  Hell if I could go to sleep and wake up in another decade I probably would.  But hiding from life is never a good idea, it will keep going even if you try to divorce yourself from it so you might as well just ride the wave and see what beach you’re headed for.

That’s a more positive statement then I’ve been able to make in a long time.  At least I see the future as a beach and not a never ending abyss of darkness and pain and regret.  So, update time: I’m starting to write again, this is a first step, but not the only one I will be making in the coming weeks.  The comic book is still in the works, though Andy has had life changes of his own that have caused him to slow down on his output, I’ll keep you all advised as to when to expect to see something.

I’m also working on a new book idea with my screenwriting partner, collaborating on something we think will be a ton of fun and completely different from anything else either of us has done in the past.  So it’s all been a bit hectic, despite the fact that I at present have absolutely nothing to show for it.

I’ve decided I think I should write for TV.  I think I could really flurish in that sort of collaborative writing environment.  The most fun I have writing is riffing off of someone else’s idea and having them riff right back.  I love that.  Only works with people who play on my level though, and it helps if they’re a bit off, cause well, I’m a bit off and that’s just the way that works. 

So I’m going out Saturday night, these are new plans, you see, so I thought I would tell all of you.  I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m going to do.  it should be fun.  I’m being vague, I know.  I think the evening will start with sushi, but that is really all I know so far.

As for my real job, my regular full time day job, it’s fine, and might lead me to the career I want.  Of course it might not, but that’s the nature of any career, it’s always a gamble at some point.

In case you were wondering, and I’m only going to say this once, mostly just to say it, my wife and I have separated and are planning to get a divorce.  It has been a very long process to get to where we are now, and our daughter is now the only thing either of us cares about, and we struggle to make this as easy for her as possible. 

I will not mention that again.

I will however blog more regularly now that I’m starting to get back in the swing of things.  Promise.  Information about the upcoming book idea with my screen writing partner as soon as we finalize some details.

-m

Interesting Times

Confuscious once said “May you live in interesting times.”  I think that’s as much a curse as a blessing, a vicious double edged sword that can cut as easy as protect.  There’s something romantic about living in a simpler age with fewer concerns, though all such remembrances are hopelessly filtered through rose tinted glasses and I’m sure people in those simpler ages spent a lot of time worrying about getting enough to eat or plugging the hole in the thatched roof, so I’m not completely daft.  I know that life was never easy and is not likely to get any easier despite the improvements we make.  It also isn’t going to get harder, just different. 

My own times are becoming more interesting (and here I use that term somewhat ironically) as I type this.  For those of you who know me you might know that my wife has decided to leave me, that she announced this decision on Facebook of all fucking places and that I learned of this turn of events (not entirely unforeseen) in an email.  Interesting times my ass.  Now I am as much at fault for the breakdown of my marriage as she is, perhaps more, and I really wish her only the best, but at the moment I’m angry, hurt and not sure quite what to feel. 

So now things get sticky.  How do we tell our daughter, what do we tell our daughter.  What kind of visitation rights is my wife going to give me, do I have to sue her for full access, it’s all a very large mess.  My hope is that it resolves itself in time to a solution that provides maximum visitation for me and minimal irritation for my wife.  That’s the dream, lets see what actually happens. 

I had intended to post more, but frankly I don’t want to.  I’ll post about completely meaningless stuff soon as I wrap my head around all of this and begin to have the impulse to do something else with my time.  Sorry about Rabbit Hole day, if you were looking forward to what I might say, this sorta happened instead, so I unofficially declare Feb 27 2009 as my rabbit hole day, as hopefully a day I can start to climb out of the hole I have dug for myself and get on with my life.

You can’t be happy with anyone until you’re happy with yourself.  Remember that, it’s true, and good advice to boot.

-m

Rabbit Hole Day

I will update on my life and bitch like normal soon, promise, but in the meantime, this struck me as interesting (Cross posted from www.warrenellis.com)

Dan Curtis Johnson:

Let’s face it. You’re in a blog rut.

Most of the time, you write about more of the same kinda stuff that you usually write about.

Maybe it’s your day-to-day life, the stuff you did. Maybe it’s topical news response. Maybe it’s short fiction. Maybe it’s re-linking random stuff you see on the internet. Maybe it’s LOLCAT porn. (I hope it’s not LOLCAT porn.) Maybe it’s here on LiveJournal, or it’s over on Vox, or Blogspot or Blogger or Blogblog or Postablogablowablog, or WordPress or Facebook or FacePress or FacePlant or maybe it’s just your Twitter account. It’s what you’re comfortable with, I know, I know…

…but why not try doing something different, just for a day?

Two weeks from today, Tuesday January 27th, is Lewis Carroll’s 177th birthday. Carroll, you’ll recall, wrote about a girl who fell down a rabbit hole and found herself in a place where all the rules had changed. In two weeks, on Lewis Carroll’s 177th birthday, you should do the same.

That’s right: the 5th Annual Rabbit Hole Day is coming.

When you wake up on the 27th, instead of writing about your usual work and school and politics and friends and news and stuff, experience life down the Rabbit Hole and write about the work, the school, the politics, the friends, the news, the stuff that you find there instead. Travel through time. Turn into an animal. Flee from assassins. Talk to your goldfish. Conquer Greenland. Sprout some extra limbs. Learn how to walk on water. Marry an insect.

Take a break from the Every Day and write about your Rabbit Hole Day. Your normal life will be waiting for you when you get back.

 

On the off chance that any other bloggers read this, I think they should follow Dan’s advice and see what happens.  And if you do please drop by and leave a comment with your blog address, I’d like to see what comes of it.

Real post to follow shortly.