Monthly Archives: October 2002

Snot. S My head is


S My head is full of snot.
S There was a punk rock band practising in my basement, so I left and went to the public library… in Dartmouth.
S Seven or eight years ago, I was playing guitar and I threw myself down on the stage and landed on my face.
S When I was a little kid, I wasn’t afraid of heights.
S Snot is made out of bacteria and bacterial waste.
S When you were in Grade Four, there was a little kid in your class who always ran around with a little booger hanging out of his nose.
S What goes up your nose at 200 kilometers an hour? A Lambourgreenie.
S I hadn’t remembered a dream in weeks.
S Some people would rather die than give a speech.
S Last night I went to bed thinking that I might be interested in finding a new profession. This morning I woke up and my ears hurt.
S Two of my roommates had nasty colds on consecutive weeks. Maybe I was a little smug. You guys are sick–I never get sick.
S They x-rayed me at the hospital and informed me that my nose was not broken. However, the cartilage is bent to one side.
S During the long walks to work I would listen to Shakespeare’s Macbeth on headphones.
S The Dartmouth library kicks ass over the main Halifax branch. It is a place of immense calm.
S I fell backwards off a stepladder at the age of twelve.
S How do you make your Kleenex dance? Put a little boogie in it.
S Someone posted to tell me I should see a movie called Waking Life.
S Perhaps all fantasies are cliches.
S I was broke and desperate when I took the job. I worked nights and slept all day in a walk-in closet.
S “There’s a guy here who looks just like you.” He did, too. I met him. We didn’t really have much in common other than that.
S Halfway across the bridge, I got off my bike but the vibration of the pavement beneath my feet was too unsettling.
S I read about sleep disorders at the Dartmouth library.
S American Beauty and Fight Club both have scenes in which the guy outwits his boss and leaves the office triumphantly with a salary in return for not working.
S (Q: Fantasy?)
S I have a little reservoir now, at the tip of my right nostril. Snot collects there.
S “Macbeth does murder sleep! …”
S I walked into the living room today, and noticed that my roommate had piled three movies on top of the VCR: Fight Club, American Beauty and Waking Life.
S “Make it new,” said Ezra Pound.
S They put electrodes on my chest to monitor my heart rate throughout the day.
S I like to sleep alone, because I would be embarrassed if someone heard me snoring.
S It’s a bad cold. It makes your arms and legs feel sore.
S My childhood bedroom contains many trophies from oratorical contests.
S I sat down and watched Waking Life.
S After I finished talking to her, I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. “Ahh, damn… my perma-snot.”
S There is nothing that genetically predisposes you to recognize a cliche. But when you see it again, elsewhere, you will feel a secret shame at having used it.
S “A deviated septum may cause the airway to become blocked.”
S Lucid dreaming was the topic.
S “Maybe you have an ear infection.” “An ear infection? What the hell is that all about?”
S “Judges, fellow competitors and honoured guests.”
S Should you try to kill your own fantasies?
S I stayed at the library until it closed.
S While I was in midair, in free-fall, it’s as if a white light went off and something fused in my brain.
S “…Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
S What did I mean when I wrote “I Took The Dead Man’s Name”?
S Last time I went to the doctor, it was for tendinitis.
S I made it to the provincial finals. There was a guy in the audience who looked like me.
S “Thank you.”

I was biking up Gottingen

I was biking up Gottingen Street, on my way home from the Marquee, when I noticed a cellphone lying on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up and started fooling around with it.

I’ve never really used a cellphone before, so I was surprised to see how many features were on it. Quite a few pages of menus and so on.

I came to a menu that said 1 missed caller. Pressing the ‘select’ button yielded the following information: Shawn, 2:49am. It turns out I had only missed his call by a few minutes.

I pressed the ‘dial’ button. On the third ring, a groggy-sounding man answered.

“I know who’s a big slut,” he said.

“Hello?” I said. “Is this Shawn?”

“Oh, I know,” he said. “I know you want it… I know you want the big dick.”

The line was a silent for a while.

“Shawn,” I said. “Shawn, listen…”

“Hunnnhh,” he said. “I know who’s a member of the Take-It-Up-The-Arse Club.”

“Shawn,” I said. “Shawn.”

I heard somebody in the background saying something, and then the line went dead.

I took the phone home and left it on the kitchen table with a note for my roommates saying, “PHONE CHINA.”

A woman walked up to

A woman walked up to me on Gottingen Street today. “Hi there!” she said.

“Umm, hi?” I said.

“Did you know that this was Waste Reduction Week?”

I glanced over my shoulder. I was afraid she was going to give me hell for the gig posters I’d just stapled to every telephone pole on the street.

“I did not know that,” I said.

“Well it is!” she said.

I stared at her. She gave me a big smile.

“I’ve been going around giving out prizes to people I find doing good things for the environment,” she said. “I see you have a bicycle, and bicycles are good for the environment. So I want to give you a prize.”

She rummaged around in her bag and took out a small blue card and handed it to me. “It’s a gift certificate worth fifty dollars at Wal-Mart.”

I stared down at it. “Thanks,” I said.

“You’re welcome!” she said. She continued up the street.

I don’t even know where Wal-Mart is in Halifax. Probably because you have to drive a car to get there.

Ahh, the power of the

Ahh, the power of the Mind.

My roommate Gerry had a headache for three days. On the third day, he walked into the kitchen and declared, “The Mind is stronger than the body.” He then started to whistle and to putter around with the dishes in the sink.

“I have decided not to have a headache,” he said. “I have decided that I will make my headache go away, solely by using the power of the Mind.”

That afternoon, I went down to the studio to work on the Spinoza CD. Some of the songs that will be on the disc: “Blood Count,” “Bloody Pile Of Bones,” “Killed By Another Inmate,” “The Door to Nowhere.” These are just working titles, mind you. I had gotten quite cocky over the weekend because I’d been playing bass a lot and my tendinitis hadn’t been a factor. Things were looking good for finishing the CD in time for the show on Thursday. Unfortunately, that all changed on Monday afternoon.

Blade Runner is a movie where Rutger Hauer plays an android who is about to die. There’s a scene near the end of the movie where his hand starts to clench up involuntarily. If you’ve seen the movie, that’s how my right hand was starting to feel after a few hours of jamming on the bass.

Rutger becomes quite upset and drives a nail through his hand to keep it open. I stopped short of that, but I did shake it around quite a bit. Then I sat down on the studio couch and chewed on a thumb tack for a while.

What to do? I sat there and tried to focus the power of my Mind to come up with a solution. I suppose I could sequence all the basslines on a Yamaha tone generator. But then it wouldn’t be Spinoza… it would be A/V… or something equally wussy.

I decided to put off the whole “record a CD in three days” idea and save my hands for the show on Thursday. I wound up just sitting in the studio and surfing the net for three hours. It can be hard to snap out of a mood like that. I spent a long time reading, clicking “reload” with my left hand on the mouse:

“It might have cost me over $30, but I spend yesterday afternoon at the local internet cafe, submitting my ex’s primary email to every spam/porn/list site I could find. His work email, too.

Once in a while I found a good porn one, though, and kept it to myself.

Fuck him, let him get his own good porn.”

Finally I had to pull away from the computer because I was getting square eyes.

“My hand feels fine,” I said out loud. I would get back to work. All things can be overcome with the power of the Mind, I told myself.

I fired up the Spinoza sessions on the digital audio workstation. This brief moment of optimism came to end when the smell of frying electronics reached my nose. I was presented with a sound that was much worse than silence. One of the studio’s main amplifiers had chosen this moment to self-destruct.

I went through the whole “music hates me, life has no meaning” thing again and then I just sat there in the control room for a while longer and strummed on my unplugged bass.

I was still thinking about Blade Runner. The androids were very realistic-looking. Some of them had been implanted with other people’s memories, so that the androids themselves were fooled into thinking they were human. The Mind must be a very powerful thing indeed, if it can fool a person into thinking he’s another person, when he’s not even a person at all.

The androids in Blade Runner have special powers. When I was a kid, the one super power I always wished I possessed was the ability to levitate.

I used to work at it for hours. I would try my hardest to harness the power of the Mind, but the best I could do would be to hover three or four inches off the ground, never for more than fifteen seconds at a time. My fears and insecurities always stood in the way of achieving full levitation.

Only in my dreams would I be truly free. I would crash through the living room window, thrash madly through the tops of trees, and soar off into the night.

In sleep, the Mind is free to roam without limitation. The same insecurities that prevented me from levitating would eventually contribute to the sleeping disorder of my early twenties.

(A fantasy.

She sits down beside me at the bar. She doesn’t say, “Are you a Scorpio? You’ve got to be a Scorpio.”

Instead, she looks at me and says, “Do you believe in the power of the Mind?”

I look at her, and I notice that she is hovering a couple of inches above her bar stool.)

In those days, I must have been afraid of the Mind’s dream-freedom. So I would doze off and abruptly stop breathing in my sleep, until life choked itself back into me. Turns out this was happening twenty or thirty times a night.

There was no rest in those days. There were no dreams, no nightly spectacle of the Mind in full flight through the rarefied air. The earth alone bore my weight, six feet above my inevitable resting place.

Sometimes I walk to the top of Citadel Hill and look out over downtown Halifax. I want to float upwards, two hundred feet above the clock tower. I’m sure that if I could see the whole city at once, I could hold all of Halifax in my Mind.

I once read somewhere that there is a theoretical limit to the height of creatures on this earth. It has to do with the volume-to-mass ratio of bones. If you created a scale model of a human that was two hundred feet tall, its bones would have to be of such a massive circumference that the body would collapse under the weight. All you would be left with was a bloody pile of bones.

I’ve stood on the Halifax Commons and watched hot air balloons as they deflated. What if my Mind was the size of one of those balloons? Would that be enough to hold up a two-hundred-foot tall body, with its roving eye and supreme view of everything?

Would a Mind the size of a hot-air balloon be enough to levitate a six-foot tall body to a comparable height?

Steve Fossett was the name of an American millionaire who tried to be the first person to fly solo around the world in a hot air balloon. His attempt was thwarted when he crash-landed in Hampton, New Brunswick, not far from where I grew up.

“The most embarrassing day of my life,” said Fossett.

Perhaps my childhood levitation problems may be attributed to New Brunswick’s stronger gravitational pull. I’m still feeling it, even as far away as Halifax. It prompted me to get a beginner’s driver’s license last week, at the age of thirty-one. In six months, I can take the road test. Hmm… work hard for six months… buy a car…

(The woman at the counter took my picture and showed it to me and I was surprised at how tired I looked. But she screwed up printing the license, and I had to go through the procedure again. With the benefit of a second chance I resolved to look a little perkier in the photo. The picture popped up on her computer screen; the phrase “grinning like an idiot” comes to mind.)

There’s a famous line in Blade Runner where Rutger’s character says, “I want more life, fucker.” I was thinking this is also what it might say on my gravestone.

On second thought, my gravestone will probably just say “Fucker.”

Short grey days. I get

Short grey days. I get up at 3PM feeling like an old man.

No matter. There’s work to be done. In the past two days, I’ve written enough music for thirteen new Spinoza songs; I’ll probably narrow it down to seven or so. (A message to bands who put out 78-minute CDs: no one listens to more than fifteen minutes of it.) This is the most fun I’ve had writing music all year. It’s a totally new style for me.

I’m going to arrange the riffs tomorrow, write lyrics all weekend, record it all on Monday, mix it on Tuesday, tweak it on Wednesday, and Thursday night is the CD release party. Yup. Ya gotta keep it fresh.

One year ago I started a website called I quickly realized I was over my head as far as trying to design a working website is concerned. The project fizzled out.

The site is scheduled to expire in a couple of weeks. If anyone would like to take over halifaxstories, please get in touch; I still think it’s a good idea, even though I’m not the one to put it into practice. I’d be willing to contribute to the costs of hosting it (and write some stories, for that matter). Otherwise we’ll chalk it up to another great idea that went nowhere.

That’s probably what it will say on my gravestone: “Another great idea that went nowhere.”

The descent beckons, as the

The descent beckons, as the ascent beckoned.
-William Carlos Williams

~ It was Thanksgiving weekend for me and my fellow Canadians. Monday morning I scraped myself out of bed and had a shower. When I got out, I wiped the condensation away from the mirror and looked at myself and said, “LIFE HAS NO MEANING.”

Then I gave thanks for the privilege of being able to go back to bed until 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

~ I have a show on Thursday, October 24 at Reflections. It’s the Swordfight Records second anniversary party. I was thinking that it would be fitting if this show were also a release party for a new CD on the label. So I typed up an email to tell people all about the new Spinoza CD. (Spinoza is my one-man band with distorted bass, drum machine and throat.)

But there is no new Spinoza CD. There aren’t even any new Spinoza songs. Spinoza hasn’t written a new song since August 2001. I haven’t been playing the bass as much, ever since I got tendinitis last year. Writing songs on the bass hurts.

Putting out the CD will involve writing and recording at least seven new songs in a week-and-a-half.

I pushed the “send” button on the release announcement and thought, “Let’s see if I don’t write some songs now, by Christ.” Then I picked up my bass, banged out a few chords and promptly broke a string. There were only three strings on the damn thing to begin with. I just sat there in the studio control room thinking, “Music hates me. Why do I try? I’m an idiot. Life has no meaning.”

I sat there and played my two-string bass for seven hours.

~A/V is playing outdoors tomorrow

~A/V is playing outdoors tomorrow afternoon at 4PM, in the Granville Mall right beside NASCAD. Dig it! Also, I’m thinking of doing a renegade live PA of 9Volt Sound System. Possibly tonight at 2AM (after the Marquee show). Possibly in the St*ples p*rking g*rage (across from the p*lice st*tion), heh heh. If you go the Marquee or Hell’s Kitchen tonight we’ll see what’s up.

~I let him move into my house. I buy him breakfast and host his blog. I tell him what parties to go to if he wants to get laid. And now… I’m helping him fight for his freedom.


~Here’s some video of The

~Here’s some video of The Plan live in the Bloomfield basement the other night. The show rocked. If you weren’t there, you must have been someplace else.

davey blows a fuse

~I’m all the way up in the Halifax Pop Explosion this year, even though I’m not playing an official showcase. Sara Spike, whom I am positively in love with, asked me to be the technical director. The answer to any question this woman asks is “yes.” Anyways, I’ll be making some noise this weekend, I’m sure.