Oh very well.
Fifteen years ago
- I was nineteen years old. I had left the Maritimes one year before and was still coming up with all sorts of pretentious adjectives for the prairies.
- I had flunked grade 12 (whoo-hoo!) and so had just finished my extra year in high school. I made it through with decent marks, partly because the relentless disorientation of adolescence had calmed a bit, and I was able to show up every day and sit in class. It was still very difficult to do, but I managed.
- After I moved to the prairie city, one year beforehand, I'd started to lose interest in dating - or did dating lose interest in me? I went out with a few girls but it felt a bit mechanical. By October of 1989 it had been close to a year since my last girlfriend.
- I was skinny. I think I was thirty-forty pounds under my current weight, and currently I'm pretty slim. I was skinny because I smoked too much and frequently forgot to eat. I slept little, which is pretty much how it's been since I was a very small child. I do not remember ever being hungry during my late teens, but I recall feeling constantly overheated, as if I were running a low-grade fever.
- On the day before my 19th birthday I visited a place called the Big Muddy, a coulee-ridden swatch of patchy grassland just north of the US border. You could stand right at the border fence and look south into the US. The land was equally bare but tinged with red towards the southern horizon. It was the beginning of the badlands. I had never seen America before.
- I had thick curly hair, which at that point had not begun to thin. I smelled of leather and American cigarettes.
Ten years ago
- If you've a mind for arithmetic, you'll figure out that I was twenty-four at this point. I was living a bigger city at this point, having left university midway through an English degree. Up until two years before, I had never lived on my own, never payed a bill, never gone grocery shopping for myself, never run out of cash midway through the week. I was managing a used bookstore and making enough money for an apartment, tobacco and sufficient food to maintain my weight (although my weight dipped to under 100 pounds not long after I first moved there in mid '93. I was horrified to see such a number on the scale and began to force myself to eat regularly. I still felt overheated most of the time, but at least I filled out).
- In the summer of 1995 my dry streak with dating ended with a bang. I had a fling with an girl who was unnervingly similar to my first great highschool love. I have no idea what I was thinking. It was not so much a relationship as it was an exorcism.
- I had just left one roommate and moved in with a friend of mine named Tony, whom I can only describe as a cross between Lenny Bruce and a Prussian general. I'm not certain how our personalities meshed, but somehow they did.
- On my 24th birthday a friend painted the Zig-Zag man on a t-shirt for me, partly because I smoked Drum all the time, and partly because I looked like the Zig-Zag man whenever I grew a beard.
- In September I moved back to the prairie city that where I lived at nineteen and live now. I went back to university and met a girl named Friday whom I dated for three years. I learned the fine art of campus drinking.
Five years ago
- What was I, twenty-nine? By this time my hair was no longer thick, and I was keeping my head shaved. I had begun to look like all those other guys out there with shaved heads, hoop earrings and little tufts of hair beneath their lip. Mind you, I made it look good.
- I wasn't married by then, but I was only months away from getting engaged, on an absolutely ice-cold winter's night, to Schmutzie. We were doing a kind of yo-yo dating, taking buses on weekends between each other's cities. I did not know at the time that I was going to marry her, but she had figured out that she was going to marry me, so it worked out nicely.
- Autumn of 2000 was the last time I got ID'd for anything. The Schmutz and I walked into a casino lounge and were promptly asked for ID by a guy in a black suit who was almost certainly five years younger than either of us. I could've out-experienced that bastard any day of the week, but we were so flattered at being ID'd that we just walked out and wandered around for the rest of the night. There's a strong possibility that we saw The Way of the Gun that same weekend. Remember that slow motion car chase scene? That was awesome.
- By this time I had started working in the telefilm-o-vision industry, doing research and writing treatments for a small company that made historical documentaries on the Holocaust. Those were cheery times.
One year ago
- Colour me thirty-three. I had been married three years at this point and living in a cramped apartment with Schmutzie and some finches. With the exception of the apartment, I'm a happy man.
- If it's early October, then I was in the passenger seat of a Saab 95 going north through France on my way to Karlsruhe in southern Germany. I had just spent a week in the Netherlands and a week in the south of France, interviewing survivors and family about the North Sea Flood and the Malpasset Dam Collapse. I knew when we left Fréjus and St-Raphael that I would miss those places for a long long time. And I do.
- I was two days away from buying a nice second hand SLR camera in Karlsruhe. I spent the next four weeks mostly taking photos of Smart Cars. I came home from the Europe on Halloween. I'd been paying so little attention to the goings on in the outside world that the costumes worn by airport staff in Calgary completely flummoxed me.
- It's hard to sum up or make sense of my life one year ago because details are so fresh in my mind. The autumn of 2004 marked the beginning of a change in my life, from traveling field producer to stationary show producer. The long periods away from home combined with weeks of inactivity were difficult to deal with - I ended up restless but tired, sitting at home but wanting to go out, wanting to pack my days with something purposeful but too disconnected to do it. Mostly I wanted to do something that would impress The Schmutz, but I didn't know what. I only knew that I couldn't continue on this way.
- In November of the year the road trips started to dry up (production slows down from November-January) and I started filling in as a producer on the show. It was largely a make-work project, but I turned out to be good at it.
- Christ, yesterday was Sunday. It seem unfair to have to talk about Sundays. I went for brunch with some friends (not least among them Politiko and Tahini Monkey) and walked around a little bit with The Schmutz. In the afternoon I read How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World and Elaine Scarry's lecture On Beauty and Being Just. Schmutzie appeared to spend the entire day doing laundry. I made Moroccan carrots and black beans and rice for supper. We watched an episode of The Family Guy as we ate. Later on The Schmutz went to bed early, falling asleep on the couch with her faux-converse on and her cheek smushed up against my shoulder. I was restless and watched an episode of Firefly. That calmed me down some.
- This weekend I watched Serenity, A History of Violence and Land of the Dead. Is it wrong that I found them all to be very similar films?
- I got some feedback on a short story I'd been working on from The Schmutz. She liked it.
- We're now living in a much bigger and better place, in an old brownstone with high ceilings, unpainted baseboards and transom windows above the doors (the brass latch informs us that the patent dates to April 1899). We took an undersized sick black cat home from the Humane Society just a month ago and named him Oskar.
- I picked Oskar because I got a vibe from him that I thought of as 'levelheaded'. The vibe was actually 'sick and malnourished'. Obviously my catdar needs some work.
- I've been producing the show officially for six months now, and I've weathered a pretty stressful transition. This life, it's a good one.
Five Songs I Know All the Words To:
- "Holiday in Cambodia" by Dead Kennedys
- "Casimir Pulaski Day" by Sufjan Stevens
- "Ziggy Stardust" by David Bowie
- "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley
- "Both Hands" by Ani Difranco
Five Snacks I Eat:
- Smoked oysters with white cheddar on crackers
- avocado on toast
- salsa and chips
- rapple chaps, no dap
Five Things I Would Do with $100,000,000.00:
- build a golem that actually works
- accentuate the positive by buying lots of stuff
- pay off the debts of family and friends and make them feel really bad about it
- with the increased leisure time, stalk Alan Greenspan
- buy a stable of fine Arabian horses and dip them in gold
Five Places I Would Run Away To:
- Costa Rica
- Big Sur
- St. John's
- south of France
- Schmutzie's choice, but it better be warm and near the sea
Five Things I Would Never Wear:
- the acid wash ensemble
- the fuscia tank top
- the baggy zebra-stripe pants
- the "Don't Argue with Your Wife, Dicker" baseball cap I saw one day in a discount department store window
- the activewear
Five Favourite Television Shows:
- them Whedon shows
- Deadwood, motherfucker. Godamnit!
- The Wire
- that shiny new Battlestar Galactica
Five Great Joys:
- It's hard to pump the snark out of this category, but I'm trying. First great joy is finding a book you've forgotten you were dying to read.
- Second great joy is the autumn afternoon with no wind and bright-leaved trees.
- Third great joy is spending lazy afternoons with The Schmutz.
- Fourth great joy is a well-turned phrase.
- Fifth great joy is effortless, free-flowing conversation, jumping back and forth from subject to subject, sawing away at the limb of afternoon until it breaks.
Five Favourite Toys:
- not a toy guy, but I liked the Death Star model when I was a kid.
Five current Reads:
- HA! by Gordon Sheppared
- The Iron Council by China Méaville
- How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World by Francis Wheen
- On Beauty And Being Just by Elaine Scarry
- Not in Front of the Children: Indecency, Censorship and the Innocence of Youth by Marjorie Heins
Five People I'm Tagging
- Uh-uh. Tagging is the pox of blogs.