A1 Great! Part lies, part heart, part truth, part garbage.

what the mirror cannot see

I’ve spent the better part of the last six months working to develop my “professional” identity – improving my business website, adding a blog and writing about business stuff, polishing up the look-and-feel and getting my avatars in order. (Social media is important these days, you know.) But a professional presence doesn’t allow for writing about emotion, reflecting personal experience, discussing opinions that are difficult to express, unless you just vomit it all right out.

So, hello, A1 Great! I knew I kept you around for more than opportunities for sticker vandalism. Vomit sentiment, coming right up.

Oftentimes, I will hear, or read, that people are angry about whatever, and I often think that that’s a pretty strong word for what must surely be a lesser emotion – miffed? Peeved? Bothered? Pissed off? I recall only a few times where I was ever truly angry about something, most notably sometime in the summer immediately following grade six… just turned twelve, which indicates the maturity level of all involved in this anecdote.

I was being goaded by a few of the neighbourhood bullies to get into a fight with a sort-of friend who I was hanging out with a friend behind our school one evening. All the usual inflammatory language came out, as was always the case with these jackasses, who were a known entity at that point – faggot, pussy, homo, and so on. I don’t remember exactly why I reached the boiling point, or how long it took to get there that night, because my usual MO was to get the hell away from people who were intimidating to me – avoid, avoid, avoid. So maybe my fuse blew after only a minute or so? In any case, I shoved the lead villain in this story, knocking him over, screamed like a motherfucker, grabbed his bike, sent it tumbling down the hill on top of which we were standing. I remember that tumble seeming to take forever, as the bike flipped end over end, crashing to the bottom of what seemed, as a kid, to be a huge hill (but what actually is barely a rise in the horizon – I checked. See it there, behind the walking path and trees? Spatial memory is tricky stuff.)

Anyway, that forever tumble gave me time to contemplate the ass-kicking I was sure to receive after having pulled that stunt, but what actually happened was that those three kids looked at each other and walked away, leaving the bike at the bottom of the hill for another time. My sort-of friend and I stood there for a minute, amazed at whatever energy it was that I had tapped into in that moment, and kind of felt jubilant at having won one encounter, one time, with the sorts of people who meant to make our lives miserable as often as possible.

Then I went home.

That my most memorable experience with anger is so distant in the past – some of you should be able to do the math on this – is indicative of a life that is being pretty well lived, I think. For the most part, I have surrounded myself with people that are easy to love, easy to spend time with, easy to find the good in. Professional contacts are usually of my choosing, making it simple to discard those whose money is not worth my time. Persons on my periphery are treated as such, acknowledged as they draw near, and left to their own devices when they fade from view. It’s all pretty OK with me.

Disappointment, however. Yeah. Disappointment is difficult for me to handle.

Everyone who knows me knows that I like to have a plan. I like to know what’s happening, where people will be, what needs to be done in order to have the optimal experience at any given time. I’ve sort of always been like this, though being too close to tragic situations over the past few years have sharpened this wish – need – to be spending my time with the right people, taking advantage of opportunities, and doing my best to reject any attitude of “we’ll do it another time”. Another time is not promised to you or I, and it’s not a promise any of us can make to anyone else, either.

So, when a plan falls through, disappointment tends to hang over me. And when disappointment hits because people are aloof with their respect for my role in their lives, that turns, for me, into feeling like I am being taken for granted. And fuck, if that one isn’t a stone that’s I just can’t pass, dear reader. Being taken for granted. I’m burning up just thinking about it.

Because being taken for granted causes you – me – to take stock of what I thought was in place. A quick list is taken, favors and kind gestures become points of resentment, and you – I – start to wonder why I have given so much time, energy, money, love. Days, months, years. Is the gratitude I have received in the past genuine, or am I just kind of convenient to have around sometimes? Do I not ask the right questions, talk about the right subjects, show that I’m listening? Am I not there when I am needed, make commitments and mean it?

Are we family, or what?


Yesterday was my birthday, and yesterday I was made to feel as though I am being taken for granted. The exact details are unimportant, and the reason why doesn’t matter much to me, either – I can’t believe anyone would be thinking of ways to make me unhappy, but in my mind, “whoops, we just didn’t think of you” is worse than a specific person having a specific problem. I can shove a specific problem, throw it down a hill, cause it to fall over and fade away.

I thought I was already doing all the right stuff. This disappointment, this feeling of being taken for granted, has me taking stock. Maybe not.

your beat is nice

You know what’s not supposed to be all that difficult? Recommending music to friends. Particularly if you have an interest in music, as astute observers of this netwebblogpage have no doubt, uh, observed.

But when my old pal Kirsi, who has recently established a new weblog after years of just lying around the house all day or whatever, told me that I needed to suggest some music for her to check out as part of her 101 Things, well. It’s like a gauntlet was thrown, and that fucking Gauntlet was heavy like the arcade machine that used to be at the shitty convenience store on the corner, next to the magazine shelves where you couldn’t help but glance the porno mags lining the top rack, because you’re a teenager and that’s what teenagers did back in the days of carrying quarters to play video games that weren’t in your living room and sneaking peeks at naked people on paper because they weren’t readily available like they are now, on basically any electronic device invented since the 1990s.

(That convenience store isn’t there any more, nor are the two houses that were right near it, or even the tiny street those houses shared addresses on. Whole thing was bulldozed for some reason, even though the shiny new Pioneer gas station was built and opened before the houses and street were removed, so it’s not like they were an obstacle to construction or something. See these houses? Gone. Thanks for coming out! Farewell!)

The main issue with this request is that Kirsi and I are of roughly the same age, have grown up in the same time and similar geographical area, and even lived together for a while. So there’s a lot of overlap when it comes to awareness of and taste for popular culture, and I can’t just throw out a few of my favorite albums and be done with it. Kirsi already knows Achtung Baby and Automatic For The People, and anything I might suggest by the Tragically Hip would have to be old news. She lives in Kingston, for christ sake!

So, it’s taken me like two weeks to figure out what to suggest.

Alice in Chains is a band I’ve written about before, and their catalog overall would probably be considered too dark and heavy for most. But the Jar of Flies EP, from which “No Excuses” was the lead (only?) single, was a signal that something else was going on here, and the musical talents of the group extended beyond the grunge/metal fusion recorded on previous albums Facelift and Dirt.

The Constantines are probably a dude band, and their recorded stuff is inconsistent at best, but having seen them live while opening for the Hip in Ottawa, I couldn’t help but get hooked on their 2005 record, Tournament of Hearts. It accompanies us whenever we put the family into the family van for a long drive, and might best be enjoyed while staring down dividing lines on a highway somewhere.

There’s no way Kirsi doesn’t know about Sam Roberts, but Collider, which is the new disc that was released a couple months ago, is particularly great. I have said before that the Sam Roberts Band has never put out a bad album, and I feel pretty confident in recommending any of his earlier work, but Collider is on high rotation around these parts at the moment, and perhaps best enjoyed while enjoying an altered state.

Kirsi is a responsible parent and probably isn’t in an altered state very often, but it’s nice to have something to look forward to when the time comes, isn’t it?

ten taken

Slash was, like, a month ago. Though that was a great show, and the cloud of smoke in the crowd was fragrant indeed, I cannot claim to have been high, or drunk, or otherwise incapacitated for the past four-plus weeks – just too lazy to update, I guess. Poor weblog.

Never fear: the mighty A1 is resilient, and Great, too. And I’ll take advantage of this fun idea to kick-start the creative process, or whatever it is that we call taking pictures with your mobile phone at set intervals.

Not actually hourly on the minute, though. I’m not a robot, OK?

ottawa roads, boulevards, avenues, and so on

Lifted from the typically-useless Ottawa Sun, here’s a neat-o chart that shows (sort of) how street names are, uh, named. For instance, I’m on a Road – a major through highway! Should probably petition for a overpass or foot bridge or something so that I can get across safely. Won’t someone please think about the children?

Category Description
Boulevard  A four lane divided highway separated by a median
Parkway A four lane divided scenic highway characterized by extensive landscaping and controlled access
Drive A two lane scenic highway characterized by extensive landscaping and controlled access
Driveway A highway under Federal jurisdiction
Road Major through highway
Street Generally characterized as a straight collector or through highway
Avenue Generally characterized as a straight or curvilinear collector or through highway
Way Generally characterized by curvilinear collector or through highway
Circle A loop highway, generally “P” shaped
Crescent A loop highway which intersects with the same street at both ends
Bay A short local highway including bulbs and cul-de-sacs
Court A short local highway including bulbs and cul-de-sacs
Place A short local highway including bulbs and cul-de-sacs
Grove A short local highway including cul-de-sacs
Heights A short local highway including cul-de-sacs
Ridge A local collector highway
Terrace A local collector highway
Walk A local collector highway
Lane A substandard highway under public ownership

This is probably only interesting to me. Oh well.

saddle: back in it

Been using my fingers here at home, keeping myself warm at the ol’ Comfort Curve keyboard, as a change in vocational plans have meant that I’m not riding the #1 to and from the office any longer. Freelancing! Contracted services! Dicking around with WordPress templates!

Yes, I am perhaps best described as semi-employed going into the year 2010. Though I wish my work as an Unregistered Nurse was going to lead to big bucks, all it really does is keep the people at Jack Daniels in coin (to mention nothing of the local pharmacy). Speaking of Jack, I signed up as a ‘friend’ on the website today. Check this questionnaire – those people really want to know me well, I guess:


Maybe I am too honest.

Anyway, given that I’ll be working on my computer instead of everyone else’s for the time being, I thought it best to crank up the ol’ A1 Great and give myself an outlet for a few sentences every now and again. Of course, like everyone else, Twitter is where I’m at these days, but I have helpfully fed my five most recent dashes of small-budget brilliance into the top of this page. Not sure if that’s where it’ll stay – my peers on the internets seem to prefer the sidebar, which I’ll admit might make more sense – I guess we’ll see.