Archive for September, 2007

In Which I Reflect Upon a Most Excellent Sequence of Events

Today may very well be the best day of my life. This is not an exaggeration. Do you want to know why?

I got free meat, found a pick-axe, and went to a pie store.

This bears repeating.

I got free meat, found a pick-axe, and went to a pie store.

Best day ever.

Free Meat: Today was the inter-house Football tournament for my dorm, and they had a big barbecue (called the “Meat Market” for a number of dubious reasons) to celebrate. For merely showing up I was awarded with a thick steak burger dripping with pure delicious.

Pick-Axe Surprise: Later in the day, I was walking across campus to visit friends in a different dorm, when I found a pick-axe lying on the middle of the sidewalk.

A pick-axe. On the sidewalk. Ripe for the taking.

I did what had to be done.

I have to tell you, there’s no greater joy in life than yelling to your friends “you’ll never guess what I found!”, then seeing the look of shock and horror on their faces when you lift your prize to reveal that you’ve found a rusty pick-axe.

I took this sucker everywhere with me for awhile. Random pick-axe is the best kind of pick-axe. Not only that, it led to me having this conversation nearly verbatim with a friend, with the word ‘cake’ replaced with ‘pick-axe’. In the end, I returned my treasure to its rightful place on the sidewalk, because keeping a pick-axe you found in the street is kinda creepy.

Pie Store: Earlier in the day, a friend told me they had some unhappy things in their life, and I told them that pie was a good fix for anything. I even suggested a Foot Trip (like a Road Trip, but without a car) to procure said pie. Honestly, though, I didn’t expect this to go anywhere.

An hour later I find out she Googled the words “Vancouver Pie” and discovered a specialty pie shop a mere fifteen minute bus ride from campus. Within minutes a posse had been rounded up and we were off to get some pie.

It turned out this place was fantastic, filled to the brim with an assortment of organic, home-made pies. Each one was baked with love and filled with delicious. We all got a slice (mine was pecan) and sat down at a table to eat.

Yes, the Pie Shop had tables to eat at. It’s how they rolled.

I can say, without a doubt, that this was the most fantastic shop I’ve ever been into. It was built of dreams and rainbows. Every bite of pie was like eating a small god.

I can honestly say that no other day in my life has been filled with such unexpected wonders. It was like a surprise party thrown by the universe, meant to celebrate the sheer thrill of being alive in a world full of pickaxes and pie.

To my readers; compare your lives to mine, and despair.

September 24, 2007 at 5:58 am Leave a comment

In Which I Talk of Random Things

Two tales of The Beatles, and two episodes of “stuff in my life”. Figure out which is which to get a free pie!*

*Offer not valid anywhere

*****

One of the things that was really liberating in rock music was when the musicians involved realized that everything didn’t have to be a love song. Have any of you ever listened to the early Beatles albums? Every song is a variation of “there’s this girl that I love”.

With John Lennon’s “Nowhere Man”, though, the band suddenly noticed that there was a wealth of other topics they could jam about. On the album “Revolver” alone we got such classics as “Taxman”, “Yellow Submarine” and the incredible “Tomorrow Never Knows” based on this principle.

Perhaps even more liberating, though, was when the band realized the songs didn’t have to be about anything. Who needs meaning if the tune is great and the words have a good sound to them?

And this is how we got John Lennon singing about “yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye”, “elementary penguins singing hare krishna”, and “sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come” in “I Am the Walrus”.

It’s a fantastic song, really.

*****

The most emasculating thing anyone has ever said to me:

“It’s too bad you don’t have a vagina.”

This was once said to me by a girl I had a crush on (ack!). What she meant was that she thought it would be great if I were a girl because then I could go to their all-girl parties.

This is but one of the reasons High School sucked.

*****

It’s one of the central parts of literature that stories will reference other stories, as a way of incorporating their themes. Lot’s of stories make reference to old mythology or the Bible as a way of evoking the ideas those things contain. Bands use the same techniques when writing music.

What was fantastic about The Beatles, though, was the way they quickly built their own mythology.

“I Am the Walrus” references “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, and is in turn referenced by “Glass Onion”. “All You Need is Love” incorporates the chorus of “She Loves Me” as a way of evoking the giddy, carefree days of the early Beatles and what they had to say about love.

By the time they got to the two-disc White Album, The Beatles were going so far with this idea that songs on the second disc actually reference songs on the first. You know that tune you heard not half an hour ago? Wasn’t it fantastic? Doesn’t mentioning it create a sense of nostalgia and wonder?

Fuck, The Beatles were awesome.

*****

One of the big parties of the year, “The Market”, is going on tomorrow. It’s been heavily billed as the “get wasted and have random sex” party. Since I don’t drink, and have no interest in one-night stands, this party has absolutely nothing that interests me. But of course, since it’s the big party, I have to show up so people in my dorm don’t think I’m weird. After all, who wouldn’t want to go?

Being anti-social sucks, but considering the kinds of social obligations people have to put up with I can’t help but feel justified.

September 22, 2007 at 7:51 am Leave a comment

Once Upon a Time in the West

I’m sure you’re all disappointed in my for not posting much here lately, but to be honest I haven’t had anything to write. Life has been pretty regular lately, and nothings been particularly newsworthy. I’m always open to suggestions, of course, so feel free to suggest things to blog about.

In the meantime, I’ll regale you with tales of why “Once Upon a Time in the West” is the most badass movie ever made.

My favourite story about the movie, and also thing thing that sums it up best, is the fact that though over three hours long the script only contained fourteen pages of dialogue. Everything about the Western form is multiplied a thousand-fold; long and epic shots of the countryside, quadruple-crosses, gun battles where the participants spend seven minutes starring each other down.

But rather than being excessive and bloated, the whole thing is actually very minimalist. Those fourteen pages of dialogue? The reason there’s not more is because character’s only talk to be badasses, right before men start dying.

Take, for example, the opening scene, in which our hero “Harmonica” arrives at the train station to find three men ready to ambush him under the guise of taking him to town. Their entire exchange consists of this:

Harmonica: Did you bring a horse for me?
Bandit: Ha! Looks like we’re shy one horse!
Harmonica: No, you brought two too many.

*BANG!*

So badass.

More than most movie I’ve seen, “Once Upon a Time in the West” builds it’s characters into huge, towering figures. Watching their trials is less like watching the burdens of men than the struggle of gods. Everything in the film, from the stunning cinematography to Morricone’s incredible score, builds an incredible sense of epic the likes of which it’s almost impossible to see anywhere else.

Of course, since not everyone gets excited over stunning camerawork or a well-constructed mise en scene, it’s possible no one reading this would actually enjoy the movie. It seems to move to slowly for a lot of people.

Essentially I’ve just reviewed a movie that I love and none of you will want to see. See what I mean about having nothing to write about?

September 20, 2007 at 8:01 am Leave a comment

It’s Been a Funny Day

Things that are weird about the internet: Other people using your screen name.

I just did a Google search and discovered that there are at least two other people, and potentially many more than that, using the name “El Minko”. One is an internet troll with poor spelling and grammar, the resident of an obscure MMORPG message board. The other is a fellow livejournal user, though they went with another name for their blog.

Details on a third, including whether they truly exist, are vague at best. The name does seem to be associated with a Spanish porn star.

I really don’t think I can describe how awkward that is.

In the future, when our brains are hardwired directly into the internet to create a terrifying hive-mind, a central registry system will be created to manage usernames and avoid duplicates. When this happens, I hope to scoop the “El Minko” name before the troll or the porn star does.

Pro-Tip: University means doing and thinking strange things in your spare time.

September 13, 2007 at 12:57 am Leave a comment

Animal Man VS Captain America

Animal Man’s latest hurrah, this time against the dreaded Captain America. I had to do the entire thing in MSPaint, which explains the shoddy workmanship and lack of speech bubbles. Sadly, PaintshopPro is on my other computer and I didn’t bring that with me to university.

This battle’s theme was time travel.

Click to Enlarge

Take that, history!

Editor’s Note: The tournament was cancelled due to low participation right before I posted this. It’s a shame, because I was quite enjoying it. On the other hand, perhaps it’s best that my shameful venture into fanfiction ended so soon.

September 10, 2007 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

Reasons I’m Going to Hell #32,097

Today I pretended to be Jewish to get a free lunch.

Read that over again, and take a few moments to let it soak in.

Right now I’m on a meal plan, but not a particularly good one. I checked in to it, and assuming I eat three meals a day my food-money will run out a month and a half before the term ends. After that, I’m basically screwed if I want food. This has lead to me getting rather… creative with how I eat. Step one was dropping breakfast entirely. Step two was searching for free food wherever possible.

Today, I found out the Jewish fraternity on campus was having a free barbecue in an effort to attract members. I don’t exactly qualify for membership, on account of not being Jewish, but that didn’t mean I was going to pass up a free meal. Luckily for me, “Jacob” is a Jewish name and I allowed it to be implied that this meant I was fully qualified to hold membership.

As you can see, the life of a college student is 90% filled with “trying not to starve”. I need to get a bunch of Kraft Dinner or something; I have a feeling I’m going to run out of well-meaning social groups to take advantage of pretty soon.

It’s been a sad day for all involved, really.

Editor’s Note: This story tells so much about me, and very little of it good. In my defense, I was right; I did run out of money for food a month before school ended, resulting in some very unpleasant circumstances that I won’t get into. Hunger really sucks, guys.

September 7, 2007 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

I’m Not a Rocketman

Something that’s been bugging me lately:

Where the hell is my jetpack?

Seriously, the first prototypes started coming out in the 60’s. They’ve had 40 years to get consumer models on the market. It’s time we as a species took the the skies.

Curse you, fuel/thrust ratios!

Editor’s Note: There was actually a period of about two weeks that year where this was the most pressing concern in my life. What the hell, past-me.

September 4, 2007 at 8:26 am Leave a comment

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