When the swamp burns, the fox can escape

I feel like I am in a burning down phase right now.

That’s the phase where enough of my emotional garbage has surfaced to allow for a good clear burn off. The disgusting gunk is spread out on the ground so that the sun can dry it out, then raked back into piles and ignited with a flint, a tinder, and a little rage.

And then I can just stand back and watch it burn away slowly. Like a peat fire, it’s smokey and smells pretty bad, but when it’s done, everything is clear and clean and better than before. The system has been purged and for a while, I can feel the sun.

Eventually, though, that deep inner process will drive more gunk out of the system and onto the surface, and the whole cycle will begin again.

It’s not as zero sum as it seems, though. That deep inner process is slow but its results are final. The dead intentions and smothered feelings and grimy memories are gone for good, and the system as a whole runs better now that there’s less of my personal bullshit clogging up its pipes.

The burning hurts. But it also feels good. The feeling of relief makes the pain more than worth it. And some kinds of pain are not that bad.

Fear of pain does more damage than mere pain ever could. We are not and cannot be free until we learn to choose pain and thus free ourselves from its tyranny. The ability to say, “I know this will hurt but I am doing it any way because I want the result” is the first and probably the most important step towards adulthood and maturity.

To the childish, animalistic mind, choosing pain is madness no matter what the result might be. After all, animal instinct’s biggest rule is “seek pleasure and avoid pain”. It’s such a basic part of our minds that we can even convince ourselves that blatantly short-sighted and self-destructive actions are the “intelligent” or “sensible” in a deeply cowardly way.

But then again, intelligence has always been able to cloak its cowardice in virtue. Even when the choices cowardice makes are stupid as hell.

Once we can not just choose to do the painful thing, but to do it with eyes open and with full intent, we can cross the threshold and claim our reward.

Because this is not about mindless self-denial or some abstract notion of self-discipline for its own sake. This is about enabling our own happiness by expanding our powers to get what we want regardless of how we feel or whether or not it involves pain or sacrifice or scary,  hard decisions.

The voice of immaturity will try to convince you that whatever is painful (or scary or whatever)  can’t possibly be worth it. After all, you’ve done without it so far. And what kind of idiot chooses to suffer? Better to avoid it.

But imagine you have a toothache. You know damned well that the only way to get rid of it is to go to the dentist. But going to the dentist is scary and hard and dentists do painful and weird stuff to you.

So you just sit there and suffer due entirely to your own cowardice.

That’s a pretty cut and dried example and most people wouldn’t do that. But people do the equivalent all the time. Including me. Especially me.

Anyhow, that’s all old news. Where was I? Oh right, the burning.

There’s this image that recurs to me from time to time. It goes like this : there’s a place up in the mountains, a kind of natural temple where people can climb a twisting path up and down the bare living rock to a place at the end of the path, where it dips down and then just suddenly ends.

People go there and stand on the lip of the abyss to sacrifice their pain and suffering and damage to the gods as a way of declaring themselves to be free of them. They go there and they scream it all out in brutal honesty and call upon the gods to take their burdens from them and set them free.

But this is not an act of servile contrition or self-abasing supplication. This is an act of a very deep kind of pride, the kind that drives out unworthy feelings and puts them in our hands so that we can hold them high over our heads, roar our challenge at the sky,  and let them burn away into the air in a wrenching act of incendiary sacrifice.

I can see it clearly in my mind, as if I’d dreamed it very recently. But it’s not a dream, or at least, not the kind you have in your sleep. It’s something that pops into my head fully formed now and then, and each time, more details are added.

That;s what creativity looks like from the inside, at least for me.

Poetically speaking, I guess you could say it’s a place inside of me. I think of it more as a place I wish existed in the real world. Some place where you can sacrifice your pain and sorrow and all the other things we need to shed if we are to be light enough to fly free.

My desire for personal growth, for spiritual evolution, is very strong. It is, in a sense, what I desire the most, although my methods for seeking it might seem rather circuitous or at least indirect to an outside observer.

I learn. I think. I experience things. And I grow. Not as fast as my ambition desires, but I know of no other way.

Perhaps if I had the capacity for spirituality, I would grow faster. With spirituality (or mysticism, or religion, or faith, or whatever you want to call it), transformation is possible, as is the option of facing your demons directly.

But alas, I must forever toil in the cold light of reason’s ignorance and that means doing everything the hard way.

But at least when I get there, I will remember the route.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.





The urge to snark

snark, v. : to lash out at something or someone with sarcasm and/or wit.

I have been feeling very snarky lately.

And while it’s not fun, I am choosing to look at it as a sign of progress. It means that my deeply suppressed anger and bitterness are surfacing and trying to find a way to express themselves. And by itself, that would not be a problem. Express away.

But of course, it’s not that simple. It wouldn’t be that simple even if I were an average person with average verbal skills. People can hurt one another plenty that way.

But I am heavily armed when it comes to verbal battle and my kind of sarcasm can do a lot more damage to people because it has all my frustration and irritation behind it, which is then being focused by my outsized verbal skills, emphatic insights, and incisive intellect.

So yeah. I pack lasers beams, y’all.

So I have to be extra careful. I don’t want to hurt people. I want them to respect me, not fear me. And I believe in never hurting anyone by accident. That’s my definition of manners. And I hold myself to a very high ideal on that front.

Perhaps too high. Don’t know what to do about that.

On the other hand, I don’t want to outright suppress this urge to be snarky to people. It’s a healthier form of dealing with my anger than burying it in an emotional hole and having it rot there and poison my mood. I might not have a healthy and non-destructive way to express this snarky rage yet, but I am still better off choking back the words than swallowing them and letting them damage me that way.

It’s like having the things Basil Fawlty says under his breath going on in my head.

I will find am acceptable focus, I am sure. Maybe I will start a political rant type vlog. It would help me to get a lot of things off my chest. Or maybe I will finally go through with my plan to join some major forum or find the right Reddit board and unleash my verbal might on some deserving douchebags with odious opinions.

Both would be ways to work out my anger with words. I don’t seem to have the capacity to do it physically. I have tried the whole “beat up a pillow” school of dealing with your anger and it did not help much, just made me feel absurd.

And all the time, I was thinking “But this doesn’t MEAN anything!”.

So apparently my rage requires a living target. Something deep and primal inside of me needs to lash out at the world that has hurt me so much, and that world, as far as I can tell, does not include pillows.

I’ve always gotten along fine with pillows and their kin.

And of course, I know who the villains are in this rage filled world inside me. They’re the bullies who abused me, the teachers who ignored it, the family that made me feel like an unwanted stranger in my own home and who were never there to support me at all, the random people who froze me out and made me feel like I could never belong anywhere, and the list goes on and on.

None of those elements are things I can address now. The teachers are all dead or retired (or both, I suppose). My siblings, I believe, now know how bad I had it back then and how I felt like I wasn’t welcome in my own home. The bullies are, quite frankly, meaningless to me. Of all the guilty parties, they are the ones who cannot justify their actions or deny what they did. I doubt any of them think what they did to me was A-OK. And the random people were just reacting to a very weird and sort of disturbingly pathetic kid who was as hard for them to relate to as they were to me.

I’ve had my own little planet like the Little Prince for a long time, and it sucks.

Much harder to address than my anger is my very deep nurturing deficit. Men are kind of not supposed to want or need nurturing, even gay men. When we do, people lose respect for us entirely.

Especially women, but that’s not exactly an issue for me. But why do you think women mock men for “turning into big babies” when they’re sick? You think they would say that about another woman? Of course not. But when men want someone to nurture them, they get mocked and rejected.

Anyhow, I don’t know what to do about this nurturing deficit of mine. I fear that it is one of my “thirsty dogs”, aka a deep need acquired young that can never be fully fulfilled. It might well be that I could find a person who was willing to look after me in the way I need and even retain the ability to respect and love me at the same time, and it would never be enough for me.

That could lead to a very dark place where people feel like I used them, and then discarded them when they ran out of love to give. And they would not be wrong.

But I have a lot of love to give too. I have a very strong desire to look after people. I would love to have a man in my life whom I could dote upon. I guess my ideal relationship would be two people spoiling the heck out of each other.

That could work with the right man. I am a very giving person. I would give of myself freely and happily to the right man. And all I ask for in return is someone strong to look after me and make me feel safe.

Wow, that is the textbook definition of daddy issues. I am obviously looking for a surrogate father figure. That could lead to… trouble.

Oh well. Better trouble than this endless pit of loneliness and isolation.

Something’s got to break down these walls.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.





I got a “Most Improved”

Today was better than yesterday because I had something to do.

Namely, therapy. I had my first therapist’s session in a month today. It went all right.

I mean, no huge breakthroughs. Just my therapist telling me things I already know but nevertheless needed someone to tell me because that’s just how brains work sometimes. Things we hear from others seem more real to us than the knowledge in our heads, and in this case, I needed someone to tell me to take sleep more seriously, goddamn it.

I might be paraphrasing a little on that last bit.

And of course, as you wonderful folk know, I already know this. I’ve explained it here. I think my lack of quality sleep is the major cause of how my mental acuity deteriorates over the term and how I need to make some major changes in my life if I don’t want to end up in a semi-vegetative state in a month or so.

Which means both getting more sleep and better quality sleep. I can see that more clearly now that I have had a couple of days of no pressure and no alarm clock. This business with only getting five hours of sleep on the nights when I have class in the morning has got to go. There has to be a workable solution.

But it’s complicated. I also treasure my time watching the Daily Show et. al. with Joe, and he doesn’t get home until around 12:30. Plus there’s those nights when Felicity is over.

If it wasn’t for that, I would just go to bed at 11 pm like a sane person. But I am loath to remove my main form of socialization from my life.

I could try to get three hours of sleep before Joe gets home. Dinner at 6, blogging between 7 and 9, 9-12 naptime… the number work out.

But that would leave me little time to relax and have fun. By which I mean play video games and chat with the fuzzies, of course.

But that would only apply on days when I I have class till 4. And during the next term, that will only apply on… some of the days.

Damn am I getting frustrated with the lack of regularity in VFS’s calendar.

I had this great idea : to input all my classes for the whole term into my little student calendar app so I would always have the schedule in my pocket, and not only that, in a form that integrates with the rest of the program so that I could put in my homework and my courses all fit together.

And to be honest, anything that makes it faster and easier to input my homework would be extremely welcome. I realized today that one of the main things that leads to me to slipping into not inputting my homework is that said homework is given in class and I have to take my attention away from the class to input stuff (because I am not a multitasker) and then I fall behind in the class and have to figure out what I missed when I was inputting.

And that’s very stressful.

That leads to my strong stance on instructors putting EVERYTHING on Moodle. When it’s on Moodle, I can check it and get my coursework suggestions there, in a permanent medium, as opposed to it just being words in air and if you missed something, tough.

I never do well when there’s no room for error. I’m an error prone dude.

Anyhow, so I go to input the classes only to find out that the program I have been assumes that you will have a single, regular weekly schedule so it only lets you input classes by day of the week.

Well VFS don’t play that. I’m lucky if I have the same schedule two weeks in a row. That’s not been a huge deal in the past because I had no desire to make things regular as long as I knew what class I had next and when.

But now it’s beginning to bug me. And not just because it apparently means I need to find a new student calendar app. Having a regular weekly schedule would make it so much easier to plan ahead for things like, just to pick a random example, regular visits to one’s desperately needed therapist.

Oh well. According to the schedule as it is written right now, I mostly have Wednesdays off. That will have to do.

Been thinking about the “former child prodigy” thing again today. I really feel like part of me is stuck in the past, trying to recreate that golden time when everyone was so impressed with me and I got oodles of praise and validation from all the adults around me.

And all for stuff I found easy!

But the thing is, life is never going to be that easy again. That time is gone and it’s never coming back. My life as it is now is not some temporary thing I have to endure in order to get back to The Way It Should Be. It’s the real thing. Being an adult. Far out.

No wonder so many of us former child prodigies have a lot of negative feelings about the prospect of growing up. We understand that once we become grownups, that last chance we had of going back to being a child prodigy is gone forever.

When you are an adult, nobody is impressed by how smart you are any more. Even if you are unarguably bright, way above average, nobody cares. Nobody is going to praise you for your intrinsic qualities any more.

What matters is what you can do. What you can produce. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I understand the temptation to rail against a world that seems hard and scary and cruel, but all the world is asking for is what you expect of others. That they do their job.

After all, if you go to the pharmacy to get your prescription filled, does it really matter if the pharmacist is really smart and a nice guy if he or she can’t fill your prescription?

No, it doesn’t. What you want is for people to produce for you the results you want.

And that’s what the world expects of you, too.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


Day 1 of the Interregnum

Today is the first day of my four day between-terms period between Terms 3 and 4 of my VFS education. And already, I am bored and depressed.

Not that I don’t know why, though. For one thing, I had laundry to do, and that meant I had to spend the afternoon naked, and that always fucks up my mood.

Even when school is on, it makes me depressed. But with nothing in my immediate future to focus on, I felt it a lot more keenly.

And here I thought four days wasn’t going to be enough! It should be just right, actually. By the time Monday morning rolls around, I will be rested up and ready to take on the world.

At least, I hope so. One of the things I’ve realized lately was that I was not getting back all I put out over the second half of last term. In fact, I was steadily deteriorating, which explains why the number of academic errors per week kept escalating. I was increasingly mentally checked out because I was just not getting enough of the right kinds of rest.

So I will have to guard against this in the future. Luckily, next term I am only taking five courses, so there’s in theory more free time, but from what we have been told, a lot of that free time will be taken up with production meetings and such.

I hope there’s still some extra time left over, though. I would love to be able to go back to getting to therapy once a week. I think I could use someone to talk to, to be honest. I think things have been building up inside me that need releasing if I am going to be capable of pulling myself together and going in to Term 4 as the competent, organized, alert adult I know damn well I am capable of being.

I know it because that’s who I was at the beginning of last term!

The same thing happened at Kwantlen, too. I would start strong, all organized and ready and determined to not let things slide out of control, then as the semester wore on, I would become increasingly incoherent and all those little “oops” moments started to pile up pretty fast. And so I ended up with way lower marks simply because the mental drain was building up and rendering me exceptionally clueless.

So how do I keep that from happening again?

The first step is to pay close attention to how alert and awake I am feeling. My mind tends to push that sort of thing into the background in order to maintain the illusion that everything is fine and there’s no need to worry.

It’s a nauseating and unworthy state of mind when observed dispassionately. The ship is sinking and I am sitting there pretending nothing is wrong because from where I am sitting,  I can’t see the water rising, and all those potentially upsetting noises, like people screaming and the ship groaning as it is torn apart by the tide, can be ignored as the meaningless static it surely is.

And sure, sometimes terrible things happen “suddenly” and then I have to shout for help and get rescued, but the moment that is over, I go right back to my Happy Place, not having learned a god damned thing.

That’s what it has been like in school. I keep flaking out entirely then going to my classmates to bail me out. It’s patently absurd, and things need not be this way. I am perfectly capable of doing all the things I need to do to keep on track.

But the center does not hold.

Even right now, after having a day where I could sleep all I liked, I don’t feel like I am really here. This disconnected feeling makes it very hard to concentrate and interferes with my executive function, and without that, I am a total fuckup.

Like I have said before, what saves my ass is that I am very good at the actual writing part of the equation. Just like how at Kwantlen, what saved me was actually being good at the academics themselves and so I scraped by.

That’s just plain not good enough.

So I have to start taking this sleep apnea shit seriously, and make a strong effort to get back to using the CPAP machine. If I keep my goal of being well rested and clear headed in mind, I should be able to find the motivation to overcome my psychological block and get back to being able to breathe in my sleep.

I am also pondering getting those Breathe-Rite strips to see if that helps. I know that my sleep apnea is of the obstructive kind, and I am hoping the obstruction is happening in or near my nose. That way, the strips would clear up the problem, especially if I made sure to clean out my nose before I go to bed.

hat’s not the usual kind of fat-guy sleep apnea, though. Usually it’s the kind that involves part of your throat relaxing in your sleep and when it relaxes, it obstructs your airway.

Or something like that.

Oh well. Point is, it’s worth a try. This bad sleep thing is a huge drain on my life and it’s high time I did something about it.

It’s getting to the point where I don’t feeling like I am breathing entirely right when I am awake, either. I think the CO2 builds up in the bottom of my lungs overnight, and  normal breathing does not get it out of there.

So I have to purposefully empty my lungs if I want to breathe properly. And I don’t always remember to do so, so I go around in a fog.

And the fog, of course, makes it harder to remember to do things you should do, like for instance, empty the CO2 out of my lungs.

And let me tell you, I make some god awful noises when I do it. Sounds like I am dying, or possibly that I am already dead and my ghost is trying to haunt someone but can’t seem to get enough breath for a good unearthly scream.

No wonder I am so afraid of suffocating.

It happens to me every time I sleep!

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



I can’t write worth shit

But I’ll get over it.

Today was the day my feature script for my movie (which is linked here) was workshopped by my Feature Script class, and it was nasty.

Not that anyone was mean to me. Mean is easy to deal with, especially for someone with highly combative nature that is always bubbling just below the surface like me.

So there was no battle, no war damage, and no coup de grace. Instead, it was the death of a thousand cuts as my prof and my classmates listed all the flaws they could find in the darn thing. And that takes its toll.

But that’s how this thing works. I have scads of notes for the eventual day I rewrite the darn thing and actually produce a SECOND draft. I am thinking I might type them all into a text file in bulleted form so I can go through one by one and decide which ones have the highest priority versus which ones deal with something I just plain don’t care about.

That would go a long way towards alleviating the enormous amount of anxiety that I feel at the prospect of trying to apply all those notes. While I know I could apply them one by one, in order, if I wanted to, my brain insists on trying to assemble them into a logical plan of action despite their being simply too many variables for conscious thought.

That reminds me of an issue that came up today. The fact that people give me a ton of highly useful notes but I never use them,. Many of my classmates have complained that they have told me about something over and over again with no result. Teachers too. It’s like nothing they say penetrates, and I think the above is why.

I just can’t face a ton of notes. And I don’t seem to retain instructions. It’s a serious problem and I don’t know what to do about it.

I have been having trouble concentrating lately, and I know why. I don’t get nearly enough sleep. I give maybe five hours a night, and that’s just plain not enough. The reason we sleep for around eight hours a day is that it takes that long for our minds to reach the really deep kind of sleep which restores and refreshes us. Add in my sleep apnea, currently untreated. That insures that the sleep I do get is of poor quality and quite low in the kind of sleep that leads to alertness and codifies memories.

So no wonder I can’t remember anything. My brain is full!

I will try to catch up over the break. I have tried getting back into the habit of taking naps, which would at least be a kind of solution. But it’s hard for me now, at least on a school day. I find it very hard to relax. I want to be doing stuff, and yet, I get caught between that and depression’s fucking inertia so I end up just depressed.

Al least while I’m awake, I’m breathing properly. More or less.

It would be amazing to have a clear head for once. I think I have forgotten what that is even like. I feel like I have been fighting to focus for my entire life, in all senses of the world. I have always known what it would take to get my excrement in formation. I know the steps. I know what’s wrong.

But I am starting to think that I may not be able to fix it due to the nature of the problem itself. Hard to fix a broken mind with that selfsame mind.

But there are simple things to try. Like finding a quiet spot and just letting my mind go slack. Give myself permission to do nothing but process that big backlog of mental processes that need to be run in order for me to finish processing things.

That’s what meditation is all about, by the way. Most people are walking around with a high persistent cognitive load from incomplete thoughts, repressed emotions, and other mental garbage. Meditation lets you clean that stuff out of your mind by stilling your conscious mind in order to leave as much mental CPU as possible for processing what is already in there, just waiting for a chance to finish.

Most meditation experts make it sound like something complex and mystical, when really you can skip the mystic bullshit and just train yourself to relax the mental muscles that hold all that stuff in, and finally let your poor mind dump its waste processes.

I think it’s especially bad in this heavy stimulation era. That adds a kind of sensory exhaustion to the mix. With the Internet at our fingertips, we all can feast on an unnaturally rich amount of stimulation and I think that has long term effects we don’t even perceive yet, let alone understand.

And the thing about stimulation in complex mammals is that we hate any sudden change. Especially us introverts. So when you go from the unnaturally high stimulation level of the Internet to the much lower stimulation level of real life, you will instantly want to go back to the higher stimulation level as fast as you can.

And that, children, is why the Internet is addictive. Now you know.

So far, I have found no ideal cure for this. Obviously, the solution is to taper off your stimulation levels. But it’s not like there’s a pre-made series of gradually decreasing stimulation level tasks.

Incidentally, I am pretty sure the stimulation level issue is why so many people I know bitch about not getting enough sleep because they keep staying up till the wee hours of the morning even though they know they have work early in the morning.

If you want to get to sleep at a decent time, you have to unplug, as hard as that will be.  And do it two hours before your bed time.

That sucks, but it’s worth it for decent sleep.

And now, I need a NAP.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




Dropping off the end

Tomorrow is the last day of my third term at the good ol’ VFS.

That means that after class tomorrow, I will be exactly half way through my education at VFS. It feels amazing to have come this far. Each new term has brought a higher level of tension and challenge, but it didn’t take me long to adapt.

So while I am rather intimidated by the increase in responsibility that the whole production deal next term, I am sure I will be able to rise to the challenge.

The whole “get my thing made” thing does add a lot of tension. But I am learning to turn tension and anxiety into ambition. So I am equipped there.

More importantly, I am learning to let myself care. I have suppressed my desires and ambitions for a very long time. Under the fascist regime of depression, desires and ambitions are subversive and must be suppressed lest the security of the nation be threatened. After all, desires lead to want to do things, and doing things means leaving the inner fortress of depression, and that cannot be tolerated.

One day, I will write a whole story based on that metaphor.  And I hope it resonates with other people who suffer from depression.

Right now, I don’t feel that great. I have been having IBS issues, and that has lead me to do dumb shit like skip meals because I have no appetite, and that only makes things worse. So I am not doing great.

No severe attacks yet, thank goodness, but I have had this bullshit going on for 23 years and I have learned its ways. I am trying to think of a way to restore balance to the force, but usually, all I can do is wait this kind of thing  out.

At least I got my checks cashed today. One was my GST cheque, which as usual will go to saving my ass in this five week month. And other was… my second check for the sale of one of my stories to Polar Borealis!

It is, of course, a very VERY small publication, and I do happen to know it’s editor, publisher, and president personally (they’re all the same person) , but the point is that I got paid $10 for a short story and to me, that makes me a professional writer.

Or at least, semi-professional. Like a farm team recruit.

So I got $121 to see me through the next week. Boffo. Maybe I will even gather the will to go do something fun over my four day inter-term vacation.

Speaking of which : it says something about how my education is progressing that in at the end of my first term, I was like “4 days? Fine! I’ll probably get bored, and after my second term, I was like “10 days? Fine! I’ll probably get bored (and depressed)” and now, at the end of my third term, I am like “4 days? Oh God, that’s not nearly enough. ”

But I knew this was a marathon long before the starter’s pistol went off.

So in the precious space in between the terms, a glorious space where I can be absolutely guaranteed that there is nothing I am supposed to be doing,  I will have to make sure to relax and be good to myself.

No pressure, no ambitions, no plans, just real, genuine, honest to goodness rest and relaxation, whatever that might entail.

Historically, I have not been good at this. When I have time off, I just sink back into the exact same kind of depression that I had before Kwantlen.

That’s not exactly restorative. True, I often get a lot of rest, in that I sleep a lot (one symptom of depression), but it’s not a healthy sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed. It’s a sick sleep that leaves you feeling worse and leads to tertiary effects like feeling disconnected from reality and trapped in your own mind.

That’s nobody’s idea of fun. I hope.

Maybe Germans. I guess.

The thing is, I can feel a great ambition and enthusiasm rising deep inside of me. But it’s weighted down by my depression and what depression whispers in my ear. It says “Wouldn’t it be so much easier to let go of wanting, to just squash that desire and sink back into my embrace, with its false optimism and misty minded feebleness?”.

Well, it doesn’t use those exact words, but you get the idea.

The mist is the enemy. I want it to go away. I want to finally be fully awake after all these years, But it will only go away if I stop needing it.

And that’s a tricky proposition.

Everything I want is on the other side of that fog bank. Love, acceptance, vitality, connection, affection, and everything else. I know it’s all out there but I don’t feel it. And without being able to feel it, it’s hard to summon the ambition to pursue it. It’s like a blind man trying to find a light source. If it doesn’t feel it on his face, he’s stumped.

But how do you hammer away at a numbing fog? I suppose one visual metaphor would be a strong, gentle wind generated from within blowing the fog away.

Or a sunrise, I suppose, that burns away the fog like so much dew.

For now, though, it seems like the forces that want to get rid of it are not stronger than the forces that cling to it, so for now, it stays.

At least I have a therapist’s appointment on Friday. Maybe he will help me nudge myself in the right direction for further growth. I feel rootbound and restless and trapped, and I need to get my poop in a group and start getting rid of all this fucking emotional ballast.

That’s the Maritimes version of emotional baggage.

Plus I need to pull myself together and be more organized. Like last term, I have lost a ton of marks for simply not remembering to do stuff that I totally could have just looked up.

But the fog, and the fatuous vapidity it can produce, keeps getting in the way.

Anyone got a really big fan?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


The show went on

The skit show with my jokes and my skit in it happened last night, and it was fab.

The audience laughed like hell. The performers were frigging brilliant. They got every bit of comedy out of the skits, plus some they came up with themselves. Everyone had a great time and the whole thing was a smashing success.

Got lots of laughs with my skit, which is linked here.

Still wish I could have rewritten it one more time. Make it less verbose. I think I get carried away with the fun of playing with words and forget that these are things actual live human beings are going to have to say.

Oh, and here are the desk jokes of mine that got used in the “News” skit :

3. Hundreds of people are coming forth saying Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills. Top psychologists agree this is because Trump suffers from a psychological condition known as “being an asshole”.


14. A Russian charity was horrified that the pamphlets they ordered did not say “Do good!”, as intended, but instead said “Exterminate Beavers”. The charity is refusing to distribute the pamphlets out of fear of sparking a war with Canada.


18. The city of Montreal has recently enacted a ban on pit bulls, sparking international outrage. The organization behind the ban released the following statement : “Meow. “

I thought that we were all getting five of our jokes into the skit, not three, but I am guessing that seeing as 5 jokes times 18 students equals 90 jokes total, the number of jokes per student had to be lowered in order to make the skit a more manageable size (54 jokes).

Actually, that still seems like too many jokes. I mean sure, the jokes are very short, but to me it feels more like there were around 30 jokes.

Hmmm. I hope that doesn’t mean some people had none of their jokes make it.

Anyhow, the point is, people laughed at the jokes, and that’s a good thing. I am one funny dude. It was a very affirming to know that I can write desk jokes as well as skits. From what Jackie says, there’s a lot of work in that field because talk shows need to have roomfuls of writers to come up with enough good jokes for a monologue.

And that kind of work sounds pretty fun, but pretty competitive too. I would really have to hone my skills if I wanted my jokes to make it into to monologue.

And I would very. very much want that.

Come to think of it, it’s like how badly I want my short film (whatever teh fuck it ends up being) to be one of the ones that gets produced.

I have never considered myself to be a highly competitive person, but then again, there has never been something I really wanted on the line either.

So I am not competitive so much as I am very, very greedy, and when there is something I want bad enough, I am determined to be the first little piggy at the trough.

Plus, I might not be competitive but I am definitely ambitious. The sky is the limit as far as I am concerned, and seeing as my ultimate dream is to be the next Disney, I think it is safe to say that I am aiming for the stars.

Which means the sky is not the limit after all. Hmm.

Anyhow, that brings us to the sticky question of just what I am willing to do in order to get what I want. It’s a question that is easy to ignore when you are not in direct competition with others. It’s very easy to imagine that you would be a saint and never do anything even remotely unethical in order to get your way.

But most people’s lives to include the sort of competition that we in the entertainment arts have to face. The sad truth is that it’s a buyer’s market for writers, actors, and so on. For every opening there are a hundred or more people with stars in their eyes and dreams in their hearts ready to do whatever it takes to make those dreams come true.

So I have to ponder the issue of what I will do to get ahead. I know, without a doubt, that will compete as hard as I can by making my stuff as good as I can, no problem. I don’t care if that means I outshine others to the point where they disappear from view. Tough titties, losers. I win.

And I am pretty certain I would be willing to use at least a portion of my power of diabolical deviousness to get ahead. Figure out ways to get close to decision makers and ingratiate myself with them. Maybe figure out the competition’s creative weaknesses and make sure my stuff is good in those areas.

But when it comes to actively hurting others by trying to sabotage them… I dunno. I think I could only do it if it had been done to me first by the person. If that was the case, I would say to myself “Oh, so that’s how you want to play” and then it’s freaking ON.

And I am pretty sure that I can be crazy dangerous if my ire is aroused. I am one of those people for whom anger does not necessary cloud the mind. In fact, it can focus it into a deadly laser that strikes the heart of my enemies as if their defenses weren’t even there.

But I don’t want to have to go to such dark places. I don’t like that side of myself and I would rather not encourage it. I would prefer to be a nice, sunshiny, happy dude who gets ahead via charm, talent, and carefully applied sycophanty.

The idea is to support other people’s egos, but not in a way that makes you seem weak, servile, or grossly dependent.

In other words, support their ego without losing their respect.

I think I can handle that.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Oh, and P.S. : looks like there’s a lot more of you out there than I thought. I checked the stats for this blog and it looks like I am getting 90 visitors a day, mostly via Google.

So um…. hi everybody! Don’t forget, if you like this entry, you can always read all the previous entries via the calendar on the right hand of the screen.

And thank you!



Tonight, it happens

Tonight’s the night when the VFS sketch show with my skit in it happens. I’m kind of nervous about it.

Not that I am really worried it will suck and everyone will hate it. I know it’s a decent skit. I know it’s a tad wordy and I wish I could have rewritten it before it was too late, but it’s funny and weird and definitely not the sort of skit one normally sees, so… it will do.

No, what makes me nervous is that I know I will be struggling hard with my own issues. A lot of emotions are gonna come up when I am watching the skit. I will undoubtedly have to fight me way through waves of crippling self-doubt and anxiety, and that won’t be fun.

But that’s the price we pay for being artists. I was hanging out in the writer’s lounge last week, and one of the new students was talking about something he had submitted and how he didn’t like it and thought it sucked and wished he could take it back.

And I said “And now you know the price of being a good writer : gnawing self doubt!”

In retrospect, that was a tad cynical. That’s not the sort of trip I should be laying on the young ones. I don’t want to rain on their parade. I couldn’t lie to him and say the self-doubt goes away, because I don’t think it does. But it is what drives us to greatness. It goads us into trying fanatically hard to get it right.

And that means we are destined to forever walk the razor’s edge between overconfidence making us poor artists and self-doubt overcoming us and making us unable to be artists at all. It’s a tricky ride and one of the reasons why writers tend to drink.

It helps us relax enough to believe we can write something worth reading.

I don’t have that problem, obviously. I have never made liquor a part of my life. All my drinking has been social, and I am not very social, so not much drinking. I would never take that fatal first step by starting to drink alone.

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Still, I understand why it happens. The internal pressures that lead to my writing are extremely intense. I sometimes feel like I live in a steel mill with very little regard for safety measures. So everywhere around me, molten steel flows, enormous presses flatten red-hot steel into flat sheets, and enormous dump trucks dump thousands of tons of slag without any regard for the safety of those below.

None of this shows on the outside, of course, except possibly to those who know me well. As far as the outside world is concerned, this steel mill of mine is a pleasant, harmless looking park with green grass and comfy benches and a fountain or two.

The only giveaway that something’s not quite right is the humming high tension wires nearby that gives you a feeling of power and danger when you get too close.

But in the deep dark factory below, mighty forces are tamed to produce the products that I desperately want people to buy and like, despite how unusual they are.

Now if only I had a marketing department….

Vast elaborate metaphors aside, today is going to be quite the day. Felicity is very worried that we are going to run into nightmare traffic on the way there (it has happened before) and so we will likely be leaving Richmond at 3:30 pm in order to make it to VFS by 7:30, which is when the doors open for the show.

That’s a four hour gap, but part of that will be taken up by us going out to eat.

This puts me under a significant amount of unexpected time pressure. I figured we would be leaving at 5, not 3:30, so I didn’t have lunch till 1 pm, and now she is gonna want to eat at maybe 4 o’clock.

Oh well, what must be, must be. I just hate feeling rushed.

Honesty, what I could use right now is a nap. I have not been getting enough sleep during the week, and I would really like to be able to snooze enough to catch up.

And I am lucky in that I am feeling healthy enough to experience healthy sleepiness. A lot of the time, I am too messed up for that and that means I only get the sort of weak, sick sleepiness which is like the kind that comes when you have the flu.

I like the healthy kind a lot more. It’s soothing.

But no, no more sleep for me! When I finish blogging, I have to shower, then get dressed and ready, then wait for Felicty to message me.

After that, I might, if I am lucky, have half an hour to do with as I please.

(When you read this, Felicity, know that I am not blaming you for or accusing you of anything. I am just bitching about the situation in general. )

I am kinda worried about the shower. I can get sleepy after a shower, and I am already sleepy right now, so I am worried that the shower will make me SUPER sleepy.

Why am I always sleepy at the worst possible time? I went to bed at 2 am last night and had all the time I wanted to sleep after that.

Instead, I wake up at 10 am, go bacl to sleep at 11 am,  wake up at 1 pm, eat lunch, and then sit down to blog, STILL sleepy after like ten hours or sleep.

I guess when you’re in sleep debt deep enough, all that deferred sleepiness grabs you at the first possible opportunity and wants payment in full, NOW.

It’s like owing money to the mob.

Makes me wish someone would invent the Instant Shower. Some kind of high tech gizmo that completely washes and sanitizes you in one second.

Like, with a fine tune energy beam that just vaporizes everything within a millimeter of your skin, including bacteria, viruses, loose skin cells, sweat, and pore goblins.

Oh wait, you’re not supposed to know about those. Forget I told you.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



A list of alternatives

First off, some alternatives to “basket of deplorables” that I wrote in reply to a Facebook post earlier today :

  • A handcart of troglodytes.
  • A busload of pussy farts.
  • A shopping bag of degenerates.
  • A potato sack of crotch leeches.
  • A infestation of eyeball weevils.
  • A gallon and a half of supersaturated manure.
  • A truckload of chucklefucks.
  • A steamload of inbreds.
  • The exact opposite of America.
  • A Republican Convention full of the morally retarded unfit to even call themselves adults.
  • A Trump rally full of the kind of people who go to Trump rallies.
  • A hearse full of the nearly dead and the poorly bred,.
  • A diaper full of turds with mouths.
  •  An example of what happens when you have people who will believe absolutely anything as long as it means they don’t ever ever ever ever EVER had to admit they were wrong or change their minds.
  • A graveyard full of victims of history.
  • A stupid thing full of stupid people.
  • A bumper car full of evil clowns.
  • A Taco Bell wrapper full of puke burritos.
  • An overcast day where it rains stupid.
  • A cataclysm of crapulence.
  • A decorative chess set of moronic pawns and nothing else.
  • A bucket of whale droppings.
  • A Voltron made of five different colors to be racist against.
  • A bunch of sheeplike, submissive, anti-democratic, traitorous, anti-freedom authoritarian Statists who make Jesus weep for how little of His message they have learned and yet they still say they worship Him.
  • Or worst of all : Trump supporters.

Fun things happen when I get the right creative stimulus.

In a perfect world, that (to me) hilarious post would attract a buttload (OMG, I forgot to use buitload) of new Facebook friends and I would become Internet famous overnight.

But I guess I will have to wait.

Whee, I don’t have class tomorrow! The only people that do have class is two of the Feature Film classes. The rest of us get the day off.

And then, after the weekend, I have three more days of classes and then the term is officially over and I have four days off before term 4 (!) starts on the 24th.

I’ve already checked out a little. For example, it was very freeing to realize that my Feature Film class no longer matters because I am going into TV. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that next Feature Film class will be the one where we FINALLY get around to my feature script, I probably would have lost interest entirely.

Actually, that’s not true. I would still be mentally there to help my classmates by contributing to workshopping THEIR scripts. I could never let down the team by failing to contribute to the group endeavour.

How very Canadian of me. Letting people down by not doing my share is unthinkable to me. Even if I was stuck in some kind of group work situation where I hate my partners because they aren’t doing any of the work and I end up having to do everything myself and they are total dicks about it, it would still be unthinkable for me to not do at least my part of the job.

And the highly driven, goal-oriented, compulsive-completer, secret keener part of me would ensure that I do the rest of the work too.

Besides, the control freak part of me would LOVE to get to do the whole thing without having to deal with input from others.

It would makes things so much simpler.

I wish I had been able to get my shit together enough to make an appointment with my therapist for tomorrow. It’s way too late now. I will probably see him next Thursday or Friday for my  “end of term” visit.

Come to think of it, I have my schedule for next term now, and there is a LOT of free time in it. Sort of. Next term is where this TV shit starts in earnest (yay!) aaand that means I will be knee deep in producing a short, five minute film.

And there’s roughly a 1 in 4 chance it will be one I will write.

Being the creativity freak that I am, I really don’t want to work on someone else’s project if I can possibly avoid it. My overflowing creativity needs an outlet, plus I plan on using this as an opportunity to test out my obvious intelligence/natural leadership superpowers and I am just gonna assume that the person whose script is chosen get to be the leader of that particular group of students.

4 films will be produced and there’s eighteen of us left (and we started with 34!), so I imagine it will be two groups of four and two groups of five.

Hope I am in one of the groups of 4. Less competition.

The idea is that everyone will pitch their idea for the film, and then the whole class votes on which ones they like, and the top 4 get produced.

I want, no, I NEED to be in that magic 4. Which means I have to come up with a skit whose pitch will have great popular appeal. I am not sure what that might be yet, but I am sure I will think of something.

And of course, once I have the right idea I am just going to write the fucking thing. I mean, we’re only talking five pages here. I’m already written a 73 page movie and a 58 page episode of Bob’s Burgers. Five pages is nothing.

There’s a few of my better skit ideas that I would LIKE to do. But there’s no point in writing them if they are not going to win. And I know my sense of humour is a tad “out there”. So unless I figured out a way to give them a KILLER pitch, they are out of the running.

It will have to be something that appeals to Millennials. Something that expresses my rage at the people shitting all over the young generation. Fuck you, assholes, you had it easy compared to these kids who were raised like veal then thrown to the wolves.

That’s good, I should use that.

More immediately, I will have to come up with a five minute pitch for an original series over the (for me) long weekend. Which means I need an idea for one.

I am pondering something along the lines of a fresh angle on a proven formula type thing. That’s what sells. I definitely would like to write some kind of “secret war” type show, where there is a massive power struggle going on that most people don’t know about. And with a sci fi or supernatural angle.

Wait… I just remembered an idea I had a while ago that would fit the bill perfectly.

Mua ha ha… I might just have a SHOW.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.