Canadian nuances – Part 2: Worshipping the sun

I arrived in a miserable, rain swept country. In the first four months I was stuck in a job I took out of sheer desperation. I woke up in the dark, left on the bus at dawn, and watched the lethargic sun rise out of the horizon. I worked in a hardware store all day. Often on my lunch hour I had to wade through the angry rain and the frigid air into the toasty Tim Hortons a block away. Sometimes a single slurp of coffee and the sugary bite of a doughnut can kindle a little more life in your eyes.

After six months I began to realize the reason Canadians love their coffee. It feels like a weapon in the cold weather. A swig of magic potion to banish the evil spirits swirling in the wind. I quickly started to figure out that using coffee shops as landmarks helps you learn the layout of a city. Another thing I figured out…winter was miserable.

Some say that hindsight is perfect sight. Looking back at myself in the first Vancouver winter, part of me thought “Oh shit, this is forever.” I’m now writing this in my second winter and the fondest memories I have were sitting outside in the sun on my lunch break. I remember my step mother sending invisible prayers into the sky, asking the sun to come back. Ok, she wasn’t actually praying, although I could feel the urgency in her voice whenever she spoke of it.

For some reason I denied missing the sun at first. Perhaps, I felt stress from too many other areas in my life. Now that the sea of stress is slowing down to a trickle, I can process more of the details that were so bewildering to me in the beginning. I can be a little more honest with myself at the same time. Ladies and Genitals, here it is…I crave the sun.

Allow me to rewind the storyline a little… I’m from Durban, South Africa. For those unfamiliar with the place it has amazing weather. The sun is as plentiful there as the rain is in Vancouver. It’s not the safest city in the country, but if you took away the crime it’s very close to being a warm, balmy, idyllic one. You have very warm and wet summers, and cool dry winters. The summers were way too hot and humid for me, but one thing I now realize is the sun was always around.

The sun (in South Africa) felt like an angry mother-in-law. In comparison the sun in British Columbia feels like an excitable nephew. In Durban if you stayed outside for too long in summer you’d often get burnt, maybe even garner a few blisters in the process. In Vancouver you stay out too long…the most you’ll get is a bigger smile on your face.

My advice to other immigrants can be summed up in three words…it gets better. It really does. In my second winter I no longer feel hopeless because I now have the radiant memories of summer swimming inside me. I have fantasies of lying in the sun, soaking it up again. While I write this and have multiple sun-fuelled braingasms, I’m reminded of a memory…

It happened last summer. Having just arrived home from work I took the graphic novel I had been reading and took a short walk to the local park, about 5 minutes away. Once there I sat in the balmy sun and read for a bit. It turns out my brain was too weary to read a great deal, so I closed my book and lay down on the grass. I closed my eyes and began to listen to the fragments of chatter all around me. It seemed like I lost track of time after a while. It must’ve been about an hour I was lying there. What stuck me afterwards was that “half sleepy half calm” feeling that seeps down into your bones. Some memories are worth listening to, this is one of them.

poetry, Reviews

The world you recognize

Often you want to read something that feels natural. Like it was meant to be. For that reason I struggle to read magazines thoroughly, unless I’m taking a meaningful tour of the toilet in the early hours of the morning. In my area there’s a small second hand book shop that’s run by two elderly ladies. It’s one of those places where you find the most beautiful books, for a reasonable price. A few weeks back I found one of those gems.

This time a book of poetry. A painted field by Robin Robertson. All I can say is…wow. All my life I’m certain that my literary mind grew up elsewhere. I appreciate local and contemporary literature. However, the minute you bury me in anything of English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh decent, you have me intellectually weak at the knees. You remember the first time you met that girl you like, and you felt your legs swimming through a bowl of pudding…that’s me.

By Robin Robertson.
For a more detailed review, click here.

Robertson is Scottish. Well, that’s where he grew up and most of the book I’ve read is based there. The words are crisp and tight. From reading this book I know every word was firmly placed. Parts of it are a bit depressing, where he mentions dealing with suicide, and walking in on a friend of his who had an overdose. Other parts are damn intriguing, and rich. I get the feeling this poet is rooted. He has a firmness inside himself and is prepared to show us some of that. This is the world I recognize, the place I feel most alive in.

For those wondering what the hype is all about, I’ve typed out two of his poems. If you enjoy wrestling with words, this might excite you. 😛



Visiting my Grandfather

In a room as dark as his
you remembered color, in amongst
brown bakelite, teak,
and felt for furnishing,
the black-out curtains from the war.
I saw the blue cuneiform of the crossword
looming under the magnifier
for my father to finish;
the slow valves of the radio
warming like coals
into English voices;
the rainbow spills, for his pipe,
in a beaker by the hearth.
And the fire, of course, when lit,
full of all the usual pleasures:
caves, dragons, life.
But being children
we were out too far to feel the heat,
kicking our legs on the high chairs,
nursing our flat lemonade
and trying not to see our blurred ghosts
in the dresser’s unsilvering glass.

Once a year, though, it was summer,
and in the great window
were the white yachts of Stonehaven,
the yellow yachts in the bay.
As if colour TV
had come to Scotland, all afternoon
we watched a testcard
of acid primaries
on wavelengths of green
and a lemony blue.

It was a chill parlour, despite the fire,
but leaving was like opening
the door of a fridge: cold
dumping on your sandaled feet,
your bare legs.
Finding my way back from the kitchen,
arms out in the dark
for the connecting door.
I came against
a womanly thing,
some kind of shawl
or handbag dressed in feathers,
which I felt all over,
putting my hands down now –
till I touched the wetness,
neck and sudden beak,
left it swinging as I ran,
leaving half my life behind
with the hung pheasant
and half in my hands with blood:
cinnabar, carnelian,
rose madder, rust.

New Gravity

Treading through the half-light of ivy
and headstone, I see you in the distance
as I’m telling our daughter
about this place, this whole business:
a sister about to be born,
how a life’s new gravity suspends in water.
Under the oak, the fallen leaves
are pieces of the tree’s jigsaw;
by your father’s grave you are pressing acorns
into the shadows to seed.


Reviews, Technology

Could ’social viruses’ ruin your company’s reputation?

Link: http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/business-brains/could-social-viruses-ruin-your-companys-reputation-how-to-build-resistance/8972/

Social networks, as the name says, are “social,” and thus subject to the shifts in behaviors, norms, and attitudes that affect any group of people. There are both constant negative and positive streams surging through these networks that can change minds and re-mold opinions.

Organizations attempting to harness the power of social networks need to be aware and prepare for the ways social networks — which can be notoriously fickle — can quickly impact brand perception, or sow fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Boris Pluskowski in a recent post, raises the possibility that some companies may attempt to manipulate social networks to undermine competitors. In considering this really dark side of social networking, there is a possibility that competitors may purposely attempt to plant “social viruses” to attack or convert the social networks of competitors. Imagine one company proliferating negative statements and accusations about a competitor’s products and services within a network. It happens in sales circles all the time, right?

Yes, social networks have innate self-policing and self-editing capabilities to put the kibosh on such behavior, but still, damage can be done in the meantime. And, unlike a situation in which a sales representative disses a competitor’s product in the privacy of a customer’s office, the diss goes viral across the globe.

Pluskowski references the work of James Fowler, co-author of Connected, who demonstrates the powerful influence social networks have on attitudes and behavior. (”Your colleague’s husband’s sister can make you fat, even if you don’t know her. A happy neighbor has more impact on your happiness than a happy spouse.”)

“I can certainly envision ways in which companies could manipulate a few key individuals to enable them to corrupt a competitor’s user community,”Pluskowski explains. “Sowing seeds of discontent, and setting up the consumers to be virally vulnerable to the possibility of alternative realities.  Could we then be on the verge of a new weapon in the corporate strategic arsenal?”

The best defense against such lowly tactics to to develop a strong, social virus-resistant social network. Pluskowski provides this advice:

“Engender a strong goodwill and feeling within your community, and you’ll find that it’ll be resistant to negative vibes… Cross your community though, and that bad feeling will spread far and wide like wildfire.”

The iPhone 4 is a great example of a community resistant to negative vibes, Boris illustrates: “Despite all its difficulties and problems, people are still buying it –- not because it’s that much of a better phone than anything else on the market (nor even its previous version the 3GS) –- but rather because Apple’s conditioned its community to be resistant to negative viruses by ensuring that they not only respond, but also try to over-satisfy the customer whenever possible. As a result, the community of Apple buyers continues strong, and continues to grow in number.”

Pluskowski also recommends that organizations nurture a new skillset – that of the “social doctor, able to diagnose potential viruses prior to them taking effect and injecting the corporate social world with the virtual equivalent of vitamins to re-enforce it.”

Business leaders also need to be eternally vigilant about showing sensitivity and concern for customer communities, Boris adds. Unfortunately, this sensitivity and concern “is currently alien to the majority of companies who still treat their social networks as a sales and marketing tool rather than a living, breathing symbiotic organism.”


Reviews, Thoughts

George Carlin and the 10 Commandments

Here’s the full transcript…Why we don’t need ten commandments!

This (script) is from George Carlin’s HBO show, Complaints and Grievances (2002)


Here is my problem with the ten commandments- why exactly are there 10? 

You simply do not need ten. The list of ten commandments was artificially and deliberately inflated to get it up to ten. Here’s what happened: 

About 5,000 years ago a bunch of religious and political hustlers got together to try to figure out how to control people and keep them in line. They knew people were basically stupid and would believe anything they were told, so they announced that God had given them some commandments, up on a mountain, when no one was around.

Well let me ask you this- when they were making this shit up, why did they pick 10? Why not 9 or 11? I’ll tell you why- because 10 sound official. Ten sounds important! Ten is the basis for the decimal system, it’s a decade, it’s a psychologically satisfying number (the top ten, the ten most wanted, the ten best dressed). So having ten commandments was really a marketing decision! It is clearly a bullshit list. It’s a political document artificially inflated to sell better. I will now show you how you can reduce the number of commandments and come up with a list that’s a little more workable and logical. I am going to use the Roman Catholic version because those were the ones I was taught as a little boy.

Let’s start with the first three: 




Right off the bat the first three are pure bullshit. Sabbath day? Lord’s name? strange gods? Spooky language! Designed to scare and control primitive people. In no way does superstitious nonsense like this apply to the lives of intelligent civilized humans in the 21st century. So now we’re down to 7. Next:


Obedience, respect for authority. Just another name for controlling people. The truth is that obedience and respect shouldn’t be automatic. They should be earned and based on the parent’s performance. Some parents deserve respect, but most of them don’t, period. You’re down to six.

Now in the interest of logic, something religion is very uncomfortable with, we’re going to jump around the list a little bit.



Stealing and lying. Well actually, these two both prohibit the same kind of behavior- dishonesty. So you don’t really need two you combine them and call the commandment “thou shalt not be dishonest”. And suddenly you’re down to 5.

And as long as we’re combining I have two others that belong together:



Once again, these two prohibit the same type of behavior. In this case it is marital infidelity. The difference is- coveting takes place in the mind. But I don’t think you should outlaw fantasizing about someone else’s wife because what is a guy gonna think about when he’s waxing his carrot? But, marital infidelity is a good idea so we’re gonna keep this one and call it “thou shalt not be unfaithful”. And suddenly we’re down to four.

But when you think about it, honesty and infidelity are really part of the same overall value so, in truth, you could combine the two honesty commandments with the two fidelity commandments and give them simpler language, positive language instead of negative language and call the whole thing “thou shalt always be honest and faithful” and we’re down to 3.


This one is just plain fuckin’ stupid. Coveting your neighbor’s goods is what keeps the economy going! Your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays “o come o ye faithful”, and you want one too! Coveting creates jobs, so leave it alone. You throw out coveting and you’re down to 2 now- the big honesty and fidelity commandment and the one we haven’t talked about yet:


Murder. But when you think about it, religion has never really had a big problem with murder. More people have been killed in the name of god than for any other reason. All you have to do is look at Northern Ireland, Cashmire, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the World Trade Center to see how seriously the religious folks take thou shalt not kill. The more devout they are, the more they see murder as being negotiable. It depends on who’s doin the killin’ and who’s gettin’ killed. So, with all of this in mind, I give you my revised list of the two commandments:

Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie.


Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course they pray to a different invisible man than you.

Two is all you need; Moses could have carried them down the hill in his fuckin’ pocket. I wouldn’t mind those folks in Alabama posting them on the courthouse wall, as long as they provided one additional commandment:

Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.


Emmy Winners and Nominees 2009

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/arts/television/21emmylist.html



“30 Rock” (NBC)*Winner*

“Entourage” (HBO)

“Family Guy” (Fox)

“Flight Of The Conchords”(HBO)

“How I Met Your Mother” (CBS)

“The Office” (NBC)

“Weeds” (Showtime)



“Big Love” (HBO)

“Breaking Bad” (AMC)

“Damages” (FX)

“Dexter” (Showtime)

“House” (Fox)

“Lost” (ABC)

*Winner*“Mad Men” (AMC)



“Generation Kill” (HBO)

*Winner*“Little Dorrit” (PBS)



“Coco Chanel” (Lifetime)

*Winner*“Grey Gardens” (HBO)

“Into The Storm” (HBO)

“Prayers For Bobby” (Lifetime)

“Taking Chance” (HBO)



“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)

*Winner*“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)

“Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS)

“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)

“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)



*Winner*“The Amazing Race” (CBS)

“American Idol” (Fox)

“Dancing With The Stars” (ABC)

“Project Runway” (Bravo)

“Top Chef” (Bravo)



Jemaine Clement, “Flight Of The Conchords” (HBO)

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

Tony Shalhoub, “Monk” (USA)

Steve Carell, “The Office” (NBC)

*Winner*Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock” (NBC)

Charlie Sheen, “Two And A Half Men” (CBS)



Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “New Adventures Of Old Christine” (CBS)

Christina Applegate, “Samantha Who?” (ABC)

Sarah Silverman, “The Sarah Silverman Program” (Comedy Central)

Tina Fey, “30 Rock” (NBC)

*Winner*Toni Collette, “United States Of Tara” (Showtime)

Mary-Louise Parker, “Weeds” (Showtime)



*Winner*Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)

Hugh Laurie, “House” (Fox)

Michael C. Hall , “Dexter” (Showtime)

Gabriel Byrne, “In Treatment” (HBO)

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” (AMC)

Simon Baker, “The Mentalist” (CBS)



Sally Field, “Brothers & Sisters,” (ABC)

Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer” (TNT)

*Winner*Glenn Close, “Damages” (FX)

Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC)

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men” (AMC)

Holly Hunter, “Saving Grace” (TNT)



Kevin Kline, “Cyrano de Bergerac (Great Performances)” (PBS)

*Winner*Brendan Gleeson, “Into The Storm” (HBO)

Ian McKellen, “King Lear (Great Performances)” (PBS)

Kevin Bacon, “Taking Chance” (HBO)

Kiefer Sutherland, “24: Redemption” (Fox)

Kenneth Branagh, “Wallander: One Step Behind” (PBS)



Chandra Wilson, “Accidental Friendship” (Hallmark)

Shirley MacLaine, “Coco Chanel” (Lifetime)

Drew Barrymore, “Grey Gardens” (HBO)

*Winner*Jessica Lange, “Grey Gardens” (HBO)

Sigourney Weaver, “Prayers For Bobby” (Lifetime)



Kevin Dillon, “Entourage” (HBO)

Neil Patrick Harris, “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS)

Rainn Wilson, “The Office”

Tracy Morgan, “30 Rock” (NBC)

Jack McBrayer, “30 Rock” (NBC)

*Winner*Jon Cryer, “Two And A Half Men” (CBS)



*Winner*Kristin Chenoweth, “Pushing Daisies” (ABC)

Amy Poehler, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Kristin Wiig, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock” (NBC)

Vanessa Williams, “Ugly Betty” (ABC)

Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds” (Showtime)



William Shatner, “Boston Legal” (ABC)

Christian Clemenson, “Boston Legal” (ABC)

Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)

William Hurt, “Damages” (FX)

*Winner*Michael Emerson, “Lost” (ABC)

John Slattery, “Mad Men” (AMC)



Rose Byrne, “Damages” (FX)

Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)

Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)

Dianne Wiest, “In Treatment” (HBO)

Hope Davis, “In Treatment” (HBO)

*Winner*Cherry Jones, “24” (Fox)



*Winner*Ken Howard, “Grey Gardens” (HBO)

Len Cariou, “Into The Storm” (HBO)

Bob Newhart, “The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice” (TNT)

Tom Courtenay, “Little Dorrit” (PBS)

Andy Serkis, “Little Dorrit” (PBS)



Marcia Gay Harden, “The Courageous Heart Of Irena Sendler” (CBS)

Jeanne Tripplehorn, “Grey Gardens” (HBO)

*Winner*Shohreh Aghdashloo, “House Of Saddam” (HBO)

Janet McTeer, “Into The Storm” (HBO)

Cicely Tyson, “Relative Stranger” (Hallmark)



Phil Keoghan, “The Amazing Race” (CBS)

Ryan Seacrest, “American Idol” (Fox)

Tom Bergeron, “Dancing With The Stars” (ABC)

Heidi Klum, “Project Runway” (Bravo)

*Winner*Jeff Probst, “Survivor” (CBS)

Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, “Top Chef” (Bravo)



Julian Farino, “Entourage” (“Tree Trippers”)

James Bobin, “Flight Of The Conchords” (“The Tough Brets”)

*Winner*Jeff Blitz, “The Office” (“Stress Relief”)

Millicent Shelton, “30 Rock” (“Apollo, Apollo”)

Beth McCarthy, “30 Rock” (“Reunion”)

Todd Holland, “30 Rock” (“Generalissimo”)



Michael Rymer, “Battlestar Galactica” (“Daybreak, Part 2”)

Bill D’Elia, “Boston Legal” (“Made in China/Last Call”)

Todd A. Kessler, “Damages” (“Trust Me”)

*Winner*Rod Holcomb, “ER” (“And in the End…”)

Phil Abraham, “Mad Men” (“The Jet Set”)



Susanna White, “Generation Kill”

Michael Sucsy, “Grey Gardens”

Thaddeus O’Sullivan, “Into The Storm”

*Winner*Dearbhla Walsh, “Little Dorrit”

Ross Katz, “Taking Chance”

Philip Martin, “Wallander: One Step Behind”



*Winner*Bruce Gowers, “American Idol”

Chuck O’Neil, “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”

Hal Grant, “Real Time With Bill Maher”

Jim Hoskinson, “The Colbert Report”

Jerry Foley, “Late Show With David Letterman”

Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live”



Roger Goodman, 81st Annual Academy Awards

*Winner*Bucky Gunts, Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Don Mischer, Bruce Springsteen Super Bowl Halftime Show

Glenn Weiss, “The Neighborhood Ball: An Inauguration Celebration”

Marty Callner, “Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush”



James Bobin, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, “Flight Of The Conchords” (“Prime Minister”)

*Winner*Matt Hubbard, “30 Rock” (“Reunion”)

Robert Carlock, “30 Rock” (“Apollo, Apollo”)

Ron Weiner, “30 Rock” (“Mamma Mia”)

Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, “30 Rock” (“Kidney Now!”)



Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, “Lost” (“The Incident”)

Robin Veith and Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men” (“A Night to Remember”)

Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton and Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men” (“Six Month Leave”)

Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men” (“The Jet Set”)

*Winner*Kater Gordon and Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men” (“Meditations in an Emergency”)



David Simon, “Generation Kill”

Michael Sucsy and Patricia Rozema, “Grey Gardens”

Hugh Whitemore, “Into The Storm”

*Winner*Andrew Davies, “Little Dorrit”

Lt. Col. Michael R. Strobl and Ross Katz, “Taking Chance”

Film, Reviews

Educated Detectives

I’m not talking about men with guns that’ve gone to Harvard or Cambridge. Everyone complains about the police, and most of the time they’re not honest enough to be educated. Think more in terms of the medical industry, and you start getting somewhere…

I’ve always hated hospitals. I find it kinda spooky to be around a spotless room…and yet there is still an anesthetized death floating about the place. There are people with masks, people who are prepared to wrestle you down against your will, deceptively attractive nurses who aren’t afraid to administer something delicious into your veins.

Despite all of this, I find doctors fascinating… They are our modern day detectives. They can kick your ass, wear a mask, and feel okay about it all. They are the only people who have enough degrees to give you the right to feel like some kind of respect is due. In case you are wondering, this means I’ve been watching too much House.

All I can say it two thumbs up for this series. I’m generally not a fan of medical films and series, although this one proved me wrong. The series gets its name from Dr. House (Hugh Laurie). He is the Sherlock Holmes of this story. He is abrupt and grumpy. Some go as far as to say that he’s uncaring and harsh, but just like any good detective…he gets the job done.

House has an addiction to Vicodin. This is due to an accident that left him limping in one leg, and holding a cane wherever he now walks. Despite this, he still manages to solve most cases that his peers, provided his patients are prepared to sit through his black humor along with other idiosyncrasies.

In real life Hugh Laurie is in fact a British Actor, a veteran in the field of comedy. I’ve been a fan of his back in the days of Black Adder, and now to see him flawlessly pull off the American accent…I think I’m got a new favorite character to add to my list! 😉

The story goes that the Director was originally looking for an American actor to play the role. Laurie went along with this and sent off a tape of himself, acting with an American accent. The Director didn’t know who this actor really was, and so told him to come in for an audition. Laurie then proceeded to act out his version of House (with an upside-down umbrella used as a cane). The Director bought this and went away raving about Laurie as the best American actor his EVER seen.

I had a quiet chuckle to myself about this…since I’ve got a huge soft spot for British comedy. 😀


poetry, Reviews

Ted Hughes – Macaw and Little Miss

I’m an image whore. I love poetry because it achieves this almost immediately And of course you don’t get much better than Ted Hughes. I enjoy him because he’s the Beethoven of poetry. He creates the storminess and ferocity that many other are afraid to mention and talk about. He uses the animal kingdom to reveal the dark side of humanity. He can be tender at times, but generally he’s vivid and intense.

This poem is probably more suited for a horror film, but I really like it. Comments are always welcome 😉

Macaw and Little Miss

In a cage of wire-ribs
The size of a man’s head, the macaw bristles in a staring
Combustion, suffers the stoking devils of his eyes.
In the old lady’s parlour, where an aspidistra succumbs
To the musk of faded velvet, he hangs in clear flames,
Like a torturer’s iron instrument preparing
With dense slow shudderings of greens, yellows, blues,
Crimsoning into the barbs:

Or like the smouldering head that hung
In Killdevil’s brass kitchen, in irons, who had been
Volcano swearing to vomit the world away in black ash,
And would, one day; or a fugitive aristocrat
From some thunderous mythological hierarchy, caught
By a little boy with a crust and a bent pin,
Or snare of horsehair set for a song-thrush,
And put in a cage to sing.

The old lady who feeds him seeds
Has a grand-daughter. The girl calls him ‘Poor Polly’, pokes fun.
‘Jolly Mop.’ But lies under every full moon,
The spun glass of her body bared and so gleam-still
Her brimming eyes do not tremble or spill
The dream where the warrior comes, lightning and iron,
Smashing and burning and rending towards her loin:
Deep into her pillow her silence pleads.

All day he stares at his furnace
With eyes red-raw, but when she comes they close.
‘Polly. Pretty Poll’, she cajoles, and rocks him gently.
She caresses, whispers kisses. The blue lids stay shut.
She strikes the cage in a tantrum and swirls out:
Instantly beak, wings, talons crash
The bars in conflagration and frenzy,
And his shriek shakes the house.

-Ted Hughes

Reviews, Thoughts

Use what is yours, just because you can

This seems to be the general rule of post-modernism. Race and the gender have fallen away and they no longer determine what job we should have, what music we should listen, or how our beliefs should be structured. Nowadays its a blend of what ever you want. Although it also goes beyond this superficial conclusion.

We are living in a world of multiple realities. Events are happening everywhere all at once, and now we’re finally part of it.  This quick ranting brings me to the topic of an authors whose fast becoming one of my favourites…Don Delilo.


He’s a post-modernist and a highly skilled writer. Currently I’m reading Underworld, which is a modern critique on American culture and the Cold War. It’s a book I (among many others) recommend. At times its a bit of a headache, simply because the prose is so incredible on every page.


Reviews, Technology

The Father of Cyberpunk

I’m sure there are many authors to who I could give this honour, although there is one who does stand out in my mind. That man is William Gibson. I say this because I’m currently reading The Neuromancer, but also since the Matrix is really designed and thought up back in the 80’s. Most people believed in the Matrix after they saw Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss strutting around in leathers with attitude and really big guns. The whole idea of civilizations-fighting-machines-because-they-themselves-are-unconscious is not a new idea. If you look at Science Fiction, its a pretty common thread that most geeks were following, while everyone else went about being normal (i.e. holding down jobs, having kids, and feeling grown up in general).


William Gibson

What is cyberpunk?

It is an Armageddon genre. Most of the time is about the end of the world dawning on us. There are two common elements that separate it out. The first is Aritificial Intelligence. We’re a culture that is developing faster, than we can control and sometimes understand. You can go ahead and put technology in the same category. The machines have developed faster than humans, and this now brings me to the second theme in cyberpunk…Races and War.

What the End-of-the-World is really about is the termination of human life. There are many scenarios and theories as to how this will happen. Cyberpunk is about the human race fighting to survive and the conflict between us the enemy. Its a recipe for disaster as you can imagine… For a writer its a marvellous opportunity to create a whole new storyline and characters.

Back to the Book

Case has found a cure for the Matrix. It’s a very confusing read at first, because you’re thrown into an alien world with extreme technology and fast action. The more you read though, you start to identify with the characters. It’s a landmark in modern literature. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction and fantasy. Below I have included a more detailed review from geocities.com


Link: —>http://www.geocities.com/nelle_1_2000/neuromancer_review

The main character is Case, a washed-up cyber cowboy who’s expertise is jacking into computer systems and stealing whatever his employer wants. However, along the way, he gets too greedy and steals some for himself. When his employer finds out, his neural functioning is purposely damaged so that he can’t work at the same level again. The book opens when he is down and out, addicted to drugs, and scraping by with whatever job he can find. A strange character named Armitage offers him a job with the additional bribe of being repaired so that he can jack into systems again. However, it comes with a cost that literally forces Case to do what Armitage says, or die. He is teamed with a bodyguard-cum-partner in Molly, herself enhanced with computer electronics and weaponry. What follows is a wild ride through a future dominated by computers, biotechnology, and a dark, over-riding gloom. If you’ve ever seen the movie Blade Runner – that’s the feeling this story evokes.

This book can be enjoyed strictly as an edge of the seat thriller, but there is more to it if you care to look. As the story unfolds, we are introduced to an artificial intelligence that rivals the humans who created it. We also get a look at the damage done to humans by technology run amok. The issues raised are what we face today: the ethics of combining technology with human biology, our growing reliance on computers, the development of artificial intelligence, our growing reliance on technology to communicate, and the growing lack of human one on one connection.



Global Social Networks

This is the twentieth century phenomenon. You can talk to someone instantly, share intimate thoughts and feelings with them, but still be a country or continent away. Internet chat rooms, were the beginning where some level of secrecy and mystery could still be held. Now with facebook, and other social networking tools, you can exchange photos, and even talk to someone with text or actual speech. It’s crazy to think that we’re exchanging information with people we consider safe just because we’ve spent hours with them online.


According to psychology an ape can only fully remember 55 people it meets. Humans, the number gets slightly bigger…our number is 150, but it still makes me wonder, when the average person on facebook will have 300 contacts. Also nowadays people are hiding away in the technological world. Why should we rush out and see a rock concert when we can  hide in our beds and listen to our iPods? Why go out and socialize when we can poke people on face book, and tell everyone our moods on Twitter?


I have to admit, I have a few contacts that purely exist as online contacts. They are people I’ve gotten to know really well. Or at least as well as you can with a keyboard in your hands.  It’s a crazy thing to interface with someone you’ve never seen, but you still trust them! Here’s another weird thing, people actually want to know how I’m feeling throughout the day. I’m not sure myself sometimes, but it’s very addictive. It also allows people to start to express themaselves more freely. Giving a short message about how you feel isn’t just like writing thoughts down in a journal, is saying something and knowing that you’re going to be heard by someone out there.