Book Review: Elin Hilderbrand, The Surfing Lesson

Suffering from reader’s block, I thought this must be the ideal book for me. At 44 pages in length, there was a chance that I could get through it in four or five reading sessions. If nothing else, I could learn some tips that would improve my surfing technique.

The Plot

I think it is common practice to write something like spoiler alert. I can’t be bothering. No one I know, in their right mind, would read this book. It just isn’t worth the effort. Margot is married to Drum, but she is bored with her relationship. Now she is conniving to get Drum in fall in love (again) with his old girlfriend, Hadley. Margot feels that the jealousy and rage this might invoke, just might be enough to convince her to fight for her marriage. Then again, she might just be content to walk away.

I was surprised when the story suddenly ended on page 23. I expected to be about half way through, given the page count.

Here is a summary of the negative and positive aspects of the book.

Negative: 1) No surfing tips. 2) The text from page 23 to the end of the book on page 44 mainly consists of outtakes.

Positive: 1) The book ended.

Goodreads rating: Do you really expect me to put this on Goodreads? If one reads the Goodreads comments, one discovers that most people are offended that they paid $2 for 23 pages of text. In terms of public relations, this is an absolute failure.

Extreme

For something to be extreme, it should be at least uncommon. If not, then one would use a different adjective to describe something, like commonplace or routine.

Thesaurus.com tries to be helpful, putting the origins of this adjective in the mid-15th century, or about 1450. It comes from the Latin, extremus, meaning outermost, utmost.  If you remember your grammar (and your Latin), it is a superlative of exterus (from which we derive the word exterior). Superlative? you may ask. That’s the best in the trilogy of good, better (the comparative) and best.

In English, as in Latin, literary philistines do not always accept it as a superlative in its own right. They add yet another comparative level, more extreme, and another superlative level, most extreme. Fortunately, lexicographer Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) knew what was best, if not for mankind, at least for the English speaking population, and condemned this usage. The use of extreme as a noun begins in the 15th century, when it means last or latest. New meanings develop over time. By the 1540s it also refers to the end of life. An obsolete term, extreme unction (final anointment, one of three last rites) preserves this meaning. More nouns emerge. Extremes being the opposite ends of anything is from the 1550s. By about 1600, there are phrases, such as, in the extreme.

In 2018, ITV broadcaster Chris Tarrant (1946-) is using the term to describe his series of rail travelogues, Extreme Railways. The one I have watched most recently, was a perfectly ordinary train journey through the Baltic countries. There was nothing extreme about it. The only thing extreme about the series is the narrator, who I find rather tedious. It doesn’t help when I learn that he has been arrested twice for assault, has lost his driving license for drunken driving, and his marriage license for close encounters with the co-patron of a charity for the homeless.

This is just one of many series that include the word Extreme (with variant spelling). There is everything from Extreme Engineering to Extreme Championship Wrestling, and X-Treme Sports. There is also Extreme Makeover, an American reality series, and Extreme Couponing, a scripted reality series.

On YouTube we meet the same form of exaggerated importance. There is the Boston, Massachusetts rock band Extreme who achieved great (extreme?) success with their 1990 album Pornograffitti. Admittedly, the title of this album is extreme, combining pornography and graffiti, undoubtedly undertaken to increase sales. I won’t comment further about this musical group, since I haven’t heard any of their music.

I will end this discussion of extreme with a look at King’s Fine Woodworking YouTube channel. It is a perfectly ordinary woodworking show, admittedly a bit long-winded compared to many. Building an extreme miter station takes an hour and a half to describe.  There is also an extreme woodworking bench to make. This is not only extreme, but cheap, costing under $200. More recently, an extreme crosscut miter dado table saw sled with removable zero clearance insert plates, filmed in 4K video, has been released. At least the title is extremely long.

I think I am beginning to understand. Extreme is an alternative concept to important. It represents things that are overly complex, but not offering any benefits for that complexity.

 

Bob Dylan revisited

Back in 2016, Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature, but failed to attend the banquet. Many were critical of his non-attendance. However, there can be many valid reasons why people do not attend. Rather than criticizing, I gave tribute to his award in my blog.
Pascal Kirchmair Bob Dylan
Pascal Kirchmair’s portrait of Bob Dylan, found at Wikimedia Commons, now nominated for deletion as “Out of scope—personal, non-notable art.”
Here is an audio version of Dylan’s lecture: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jun/05/bob-dylan-delivers-nobel-prize-literature-lecture-just-in-time
Einsteinmc2 replied to the criticism, by writing this comment in The Guardian:

“As a person gets older, the energy levels tend to diminish. What was once inexhaustible energies are finite and need to be managed, sometimes eked out. And, what would once have been “absolute must do its” sometimes become just too big to embrace. And, some of us tend to become a bit cranky, not wanting to explain every last thing we do or do not do – its all down to available energy levels.
Who knows what lies behind Bob Dylan’s thought processes? I do not. However, I recall the latter days of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, my father and other old guys, and recall the selective nature of what they did and did not do.
While I would really have liked Bob Dylan to have gone to Sweden in person and to have made a memorable acceptance speech, I’ll give him a pass on this one. It expends less energy to be charitable than it does to get all spun-up criticizing the man.”

I replied to her with this:

“Being at times a bit grumpy, I copied your most excellent comment. Not quite sure where it will be used, but I will credit you, Einsteinmc2. Thanks.”

Book Review: Bjørn Gabrielsen, Jeg skal bare ut i boden en tur (2013)

The title of this book by Bjørn Gabrielsen has been translated as, I Am Just Going Out in the Shed for a While. It is an adequate title, and despite what I regard as a grammatical error using “in the shed” instead of “to the shed”, it is better than the one used in the book’s German translation: Ich bin dann mal im Keller – Vom letzten Refugium des Mannes (I’m down in the Cellar – A Man’s final Refuge).

Bjørn
The author, Bjørn Gabrielsen, with microphone attached for a video about the book and his storage room. The 2m17s video in Norwegian from 2013 can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmgMQdZRZhw

I’ve given this book five stars on Goodreads, mainly because it says things that should be said. It examines an important aspect of Norwegian culture, that will resonate with, potentially, a third of the population, mostly men. One reason that this book will have fairly broad appear, is due to the variety of sheds discussed, along with related topics. Here is the list:

  • The first shed, a mausoleum.
  • The garage
  • Oshiira (Traditional Japanese storage location for bedding)
  • Boat house (Naust, in Norwegian)
  • Woodworking shed, with reference to Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books featuring Emil.
  • Allotment gardens and their sheds
  • New York and its mini-storage units
  • A secret man-cave
  • Keys, and the art of locking sheds
  • Basement rooms
  • Workshops
  • Extreme sheds,
  • Writing sheds
  • Horror sheds
  • Sheds and women
  • Waxing sheds (for cross country skiing)
  • Cycle sheds
  • Building sheds, which looks at keeping it simple, advice for hopeless idiots, regulations, Pythagoras for totally hopeless idiots, lighting, alternative energy sources, building with tarps, ice fishing sheds.
  • Unplugged
  • The accuracy trap

Lets use ice fishing sheds as an example of typical content. Personally, I have no particular interest in ice or fishing. Yet, because of Gabrielsen’s writing talent, one reads with interest and enjoyment, Roger LeCarte’s adventures on Lake Michigan in 1979 when the ice he put his shed on drifted away. The story ends with his burning the shed down to attract attention, and his rescue by the Coast Guard.

Only a small portion of the book actually pertains to my particular interests, woodworking workshops and writing sheds. However, the other sections cause one to reflect, not only about sheds, but about life and how we occupy our time living.

 

 

Bob Dylan’s banquet speech, 2016-12-10

Are Bob Dylan’s songs literature? An answer to that question is provided in the banquet speech written by Bob Dylan but given by the United States Ambassador to Sweden, Azita Raji, at the Nobel Banquet, 2016-12-10.

Good evening, everyone. I extend my warmest greetings to the members of the Swedish Academy and to all of the other distinguished guests in attendance tonight.

I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I’ve been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.

I don’t know if these men and women ever thought of the Nobel honor for themselves, but I suppose that anyone writing a book, or a poem, or a play anywhere in the world might harbor that secret dream deep down inside. It’s probably buried so deep that they don’t even know it’s there.

If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I’d have about the same odds as standing on the moon. In fact, during the year I was born and for a few years after, there wasn’t anyone in the world who was considered good enough to win this Nobel Prize. So, I recognize that I am in very rare company, to say the least.

I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn’t have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I’m sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: “Who’re the right actors for these roles?” “How should this be staged?” “Do I really want to set this in Denmark?” His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. “Is the financing in place?” “Are there enough good seats for my patrons?” “Where am I going to get a human skull?” I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was the question “Is this literature?”

When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffee houses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium. If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do.

Well, I’ve been doing what I set out to do for a long time, now. I’ve made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it’s my songs that are at the vital center of almost everything I do. They seemed to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures and I’m grateful for that.

But there’s one thing I must say. As a performer I’ve played for 50,000 people and I’ve played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.

But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. “Who are the best musicians for these songs?” “Am I recording in the right studio?” “Is this song in the right key?” Some things never change, even in 400 years.

Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, “Are my songs literature?”

So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.

My best wishes to you all,

Bob Dylan

© The Nobel Foundation 2016.

Filmmaking with a social conscience

Over the next few weeks Unit One will share exclusive comments by Jade Marmot on the V&P film project. Today’s topic is low-cost filmmaking approaches.

Jade

To understand filmmaking a person has to watch a variety of film types. A good place to start are these four films: Citizen Kane (1941), Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971), The Celebration (1998) and Sicko (2007). These go over more than 65 years. Admittedly some are more low-cost than others, with Sicko costing $9 million.

François Truffaut (1932-1984) devised auteur theory in the mid-1950s. It stated that the director was the “author” of his work. Great directors, such as Jean Renoir (1894–1979) or Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980), have distinct styles and themes that permeate their films. While this invokes a filmmaking style that focuses on artistic intent, it concentrates on a director’s personal creative vision, denying the other participants (cast as well as crew) artistic integrity. Orson Welles’ (1915-1985) Citizen Kane (1941) is a textbook example of an auteur film. Truffaut made his feature film debut with Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959) [The 400 Blows].

 

Citizen-Kane-Welles-Podium
Kane (Orson Welles) makes a campaign speech at Madison Square Garden. Citizen Kane

 

In 2006 David Kipen wrote The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History. He argues that auteur theory has wrongly skewed analysis towards a director-centred view of film. Kipen believes that the screenwriter has a greater influence on the quality of a finished work. Much of Scandinavian television production uses this approach in their 10 episode thrillers, with a number of directors being responsible for one or more of the episodes, but with a co-operating script-writing team.

Many low-budget film colleagues refer to themselves as guerrilla filmmakers. Guerrilla filmmaking involves corporate independence, low budgets, skeleton crews, and simple props. They shoot scenes quickly in real locations without permits, permission or warning. Corporate independence means that the filmmakers are not accountable to anyone but themselves.

“Guerrilla filmmaking is driven by passion with whatever means at hand”, said Mark Hill, Yukon Film Commission Manager. Guerrilla filmmaking focuses too much on technique, rather than on content. For pacifists, there are also problems with the military connotations of the title. Film critic Roger Ebert described Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) written, produced, scored, directed by, and starring Melvin Van Peebles (1932-), as “a textbook on guerrilla filmmaking.” If you cannot find this film, an equivalent example is Robert Rodriguez’ (1968-) El Mariachi (1992). It cost about $7,000 to make, with money partially raised by volunteering in medical research studies. While originally intended for the Spanish-language low-budget home-video market, it received international distribution. Rodriguez described his filmmaking experiences in his book Rebel Without a Crew. The book and film continue to inspire filmmakers to make no-budget films.

Sweet-Sweetbacks-Baadasssss-Song
Sweet Sweetback (Melvin Van Peebles). Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

 

The Dogme 95 approach to filmmaking turns auteur theory upside down. It codifies filmmaking in a 10-point Vow of Chastity written by Lars von Trier (1956-) and Thomas Vinterberg (1969-) that prohibits expensive and spectacular special effects, post-production modifications and other technical ploys. Filmmaking concentrates on content: the story and actors’ performances. Here the director is a nameless servant; at best a coordinator. One of the most powerful films is Vinterberg’s Festen (1998) [The Celebration]. Note: It can be a bit too powerful for people with assorted family issues that can be triggered. For those people Italiensk for begyndere (2000) [Italian for Beginners] a Danish romantic comedy, written and directed by Lone Scherfig (1959-) is more appropriate.

Festen

Political cinema may refer to films that do not hide their political stance, but this does not mean that they are pure propaganda. Most films are political, including escapist films offering entertainment. In Nazi Germany, the authorities organized a large production of deliberately escapist movies. Today, Hollywood cinema misrepresents black, women, gays, working-class people, and others frequently in the form of stereotypes. Michael Moore (1954-) is one of many political filmmakers, with Sicko (2007) being one of his most popular, and lucrative. It investigates American health care, with a focus on health insurance and pharmaceuticals. The movie compares the for-profit, non-universal U.S. system with the non-profit universal health care systems of Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Cuba. Moore rejects the label of political activism as redundant in a democracy, “I and you and everyone else has to be a political activist. If we’re not politically active, it [presumably USA] ceases to be a democracy.”

That’s it for today!

Come back next time, when Jade Marmot writes about the institution of cinema itself, and its mission to pacify spectators, and how Joyful Marmot Productions aims to change this. Until then, think about the cinema, and how people congregate but do not to act together or to talk to each other, but sit silently, and isolated from each other.

Soul & Landscape

Brigand Brewer continues his investigation of Cascadian poets, this time looking at the spiritual in the landscape. Most people referenced in the text are teachers or students taking Cascadia College’s Innovative Cascadian Poetry course.

Joseph Campbell’s, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, is a good starting place to understand the relationship between a poem and its landscape. Within the monomyth – poetic or otherwise – a  hero (m/f) undertakes a single supernatural and archetypal journey into the landscape; the landscape being home to innumerable heroes, and some unimaginable number of archetypal journeys.

Wobbly Rock

Lew Welch
Lew Welch (1926-1971?)

With respect to Lew Welch’s poem, Wobbly Rock, I appreciated Joe Chiveney’s reference to Gunter Nitschke’s explanation that the garden of Ryōan-ji does not symbolize. Finally, we have an artifact representing the non-symbolic. The qualities incarnated include materiality, location, abstraction, multiplicity, composition and functionality. Like a fiery orator rousing a crowd to rebellion, this Zen temple garden at Kyoto incites the visitor to meditation.

Greg Bem questions the concept of value. I am tempted to reference Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windemere’s Fan” where Darlington defines a cynic as ‘a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.‘ Perhaps we are all cynics unable – in this material world – to appreciate the beautiful and orderly chaos that sustains our biological existence. Perhaps, a spiritual realm encountered after death will reveal a fuller meaning of the experiences that constitute a life.

Michelle Schaefer interprets “I have travelled, I have made a circuit….. When I was a boy” as an acknowledgement of the past as sacred. Then she goes on to add that every moment is sacred, as shown in  “and now all rocks are different and all the spaces in between. Which includes about everything. The instant after it’s made.”

I appreciated Brent Schaeffer’s classification of the poems being discussed.

Soudough Mountain Lookout

Philip Whalen
Philip Whalen (1923-2002)

Mengyu Li presents two of the key lines in Philip Whalen’s Sourdough Mountain Lookout:

BUDDHA: “All the constituents of being are
Transitory: Work out your salvation with diligence.””

The confluence between the passivity of meditating at the garden of Ryōan-ji and the world of restrained action at the Sourdough Mountain lookout is that everyone, in fact – every organic life form, is marching irrevocably, one day at a time, towards its ultimate death. Buddha suggests that our salvation, perhaps more understandably our status or situation after death, is dependent on our actions while we live. It will be too late to regret or to repent for our mistakes after we have left this organic world!

Carol Blackbird Edson notes that she experiences “a resonance of a changing consciousness” in the poems and commentaries selected. My understanding is that she regards the poems, despite their temporal and cultural limitations, as maps to explore the Cascadia bioregion, allowing the reader to enter into deeper relationships with primal nature found therein, and to gain a better understanding of themselves. I’m not quite sure how primal nature differs from other forms of nature, but that is one of my limitations.

Michelle Schaefer comments, “… our bodies are as sacred as our surroundings and they interact together.” I’d like to respond to this by bringing up the Baha’i concept that the essence of human identity is a rational and immortal soul, with the body being a temple temporarily housing the human spirit.

Brent Schaeffer adds to an understanding of the poem with, “Whalen’s exploration of ‘sacred’ is the folkloric/bildungsroman idea of returning to where you are, but seeing it different again for the first time. That only after touching the sacred can we see that our ‘mundane’ has always been sacred.”

Things to do …

Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder (1930- ) photo: Beth Nakamura, 2011

We have all had an opportunity to write our own “Things to do …” poem. One non-poetic of Gary Snyder’s poem is that it provides a template that anyone can follow. The real advantage of this form is that it allows a juxtaposition of events that break with chronology. Michelle Schaefer comments on the line, “Do pushups. Sew up jeans. Get divorced” I am not sure that I agree with her that these represent sacred moments, even if I do admit that they provide insight into human vulnerabilities.

Oceans

In Wobbly Rock, Welch refers to the Pacific Ocean with the lines:

“I like playing that game
Standing on a high rock looking way out over it all:

“I think I’ll call it the Pacific”

Wind water
Wave rock
Sea sand

Thankfully, Welch makes no mention of the Atlantic, which is a foreign intrusion into Cascadia. In contrast, Whalen makes no mention of the Pacific, in Sourdough Mountain Lookout, but does mention the Atlantic, with these lines:

“Everything else they hauled across Atlantic
Scattered and lost in the buffalo plains
Among these trees and mountains “

Oceans are important in terms of our sense of identity. One can regard a continent in its uninhabited state as a succession of barriers, inhibiting movement. An ocean is a flat surface, encouraging movement. Admittedly, storms happen, and there is a need for some form of propulsion. Oceans connect people. The connections may be good (trade?) or bad (war), but mostly somewhere in between.

I have difficulty using the word Pacific in creative works. It invokes a feeling of alienation. Originating with Ferdinand Magellan, who first used it in 1520, finding calm waters after rounding Cape Horn in a storm.

Teresa Lea Schulze brings up the point that, “We are shaped by what is around us…. Humans may think they are unique, but we are connected to all around us. Poems and poetry strip away the ‘over word usage’ and uses the minimal amount to convey the largest picture…” One of the most effective ways we have of conveying the largest picture is to use names. Yet, the name Pacific is presenting a false image – peacefulness. Peaceful is not the essence of this vast ocean, as can be attested by countless sailors. Cascadians have managed to find an appropriate name for the Salish Sea. I hope they will also find an appropriate name for the Ocean that touches their shore.

Markers of Time

Mount Saint Helens
Louwala-Clough (Mount Saint Helens)

As seen in the poems studied this week, places are sacred or, at the very least, have a spiritual component. Just as places in the Cascadian bioregion function as markers of place, so too do events function of markers of time. As the world experienced on 18 May 1980, with the explosion of Louwala-Clough (Mount Saint Helens), Cascadia is an active participant in the Ring of Fire. This event was one of the most important regional time markers. A larger eruption 500 years earlier (1480) was another time marker.

I’d like to thank all of the people who posted before me. They have given many ideas to reflect on.

Brigand

Fake Authenticity

Real authenticity requires too many virtues.
It need continuous maintenance.
Time costs money,
and I haven’t found a store
that sells virtues
at a discount.

Fake authenticity requires only a vice or two,
and comes with automatic upgrades
included in the price.
Stores selling fake authenticity
are found everywhere
at an affordable full price.

I’ve lost track of my version number.
Fortunately, Google knows.
Version 271 is available today
at a variety of prices.
There are not many choices
for fake sustainability.

I opt for fake pseudo-sustainability
that comes in two versions
and a variety of colours.
Which should I choose?
A Zenbook with contrasting Zenfone
or a Macbook Air with matching iPhone?

A Prison Diary

verdal fengsel
The School at Verdal Prison

Four social classes: Prison staff, Inmates, Externals (teachers, nurses, doctors), Visitors.
Day shift: Five guards, five administrators.
Sixty inmates (fifty-four men, six women).
Two teachers, a cleaner and a nurse (two on Mondays).

Four buildings surrounding a square.
Behind:  the pallet workshop.
To the right: the cafeteria with offices (above).
To the left: the warden’s house, now the women’s residence and school.
Built in the 1950s as a civil defense camp.
Shared in the 1960s as a winter prison,
for speeders and drunk drivers.
Now, it is a year round prison
for crimes involving violence, vice and drug addiction.

The gate:
A student, hired as a temporary guard uses his card and pin code,
the gate magically opens.
A teacher, at the prison for an eternity, presses a button and waits
“Yes?”
I answer what they already know, “It’s Brock from the school.”
“Welcome, Brock.” And the gate opens by remote control.
Driving in, I park beside the nurse’s car.

The guardroom (part 1):
Using my card and pin code I enter building 2.
The card works here, but not at the gate.
Social distinctions.
The guards assign me an alarm and a key
mostly the pink one, seldom the green.
I leave through the entrance used by the inmates.

The school:
If the classroom is dark, I turn off the building alarm.
If the lights are on, I know S has been cleaning, and turned the alarm off.
My tasks:
Empty the dishwasher, make coffee and boil water for tea.
LB arrives. Today she will select inmates for the forklift-driving course.
We sit near the entrance, drinking coffee.
At 8:30, five of the six inmates arrive at the school. Usually, one is sick.
LB and I welcome them by their first names.
(The guards use their building, cell and bed numbers)
Most go to their PCs, log in, and read online news.
Some drink coffee, others tea, each year a few drink nothing hot.
Some want to sit down and chat.
Some want to avoid the teachers.
At 9:00, school begins.
LB goes upstairs to her office and calls in potential fork-lift participants, one by one.
In the classroom, each student works alone on his or her studies.
One is eager, but most are not.
Some days I teach some math.
Most of the day I listen.
At 11:45, lunch.
The students go to the cafeteria, and sit at their fixed places for a head count and lunch.
LB and I sit downstairs, eating, drinking water and chatting.
At 12:30, school begins again.
At 13:00, a documentary screens.
The latest was about the Klondike Gold Rush.
Before that, it was about women pop-art painters.
At 14:30, the school day is over (for the students)
I make notes on each student’s work.
I load the dishwasher and turn it on.
I turn on the building alarm and lock the school building.

The guardroom (part 2):
I turn in my key and alarm.
I wait for the guard to let me out of building 2.
I drive to the gate, and wait for the guards to notice me
The gate opens.
I am a free man.

Poetry

I used to write poetry. Was it at Lester Pearson Senior Secondary  School, or was it Vincent Massey Junior Secondary School? Some of my poems were even published. To find out when and where will undoubtedly involve offline research.

Currently, I am undertaking an exploration of my soul, in yet another MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Innovative Cascadia Poetry, offered by Cascadia College in Bothell, Washington, through the Canvas Network.

Looking for cargocollective.com, a personal publishing platform, memory failed me. I thought Cargo was called Canvas. Reaching the Canvas network I realized my mistake, but spent a few minutes looking at the free courses on offer.

We all know that just a few minutes of innocent diversion can have serious consequences, and so it happened once again. Another enrollment in yet another course.

Mindstorms

The past is such a haze.
I cannot remember
which are the true memories.

False memories are overrunning my mind.
Which are the deliberate lies?
Which are the innocent distortions?

It all would have been so much easier
If I had recorded it all:
video, audio, photos and words.

Film, tape, paper and hard drives
are more reliable than brain cells
with their endless mindstorms.