best of palinode 2004-2005

Here is what I call the Best of Palinode. You may call it that if you like. You can also call it the Most Self-Indulgent and Impenetrable of Palinode. You may call it Too Many Entries About Movies. You may call it Where's My Favourite Entry? Whatever you want to call it, these are the pieces that have held up best over the past few years. A few surprised me; one or two rang palpably false, but I've kept them in as curiosities for my Museum of Disingenuous Pleading (I've picked Frank Gehry as the architect).

2006-07 coming soon. Soon, I tells ya!

Note for the newbies: My nickname for Schmutzie throughout 04-05 was The Lotus.

Aboot Me - May 10 2004

Those were distinctly old-fashioned times: the Vietnam War was still on, Halifax was a small and slightly skeevy port city with slum neighbourhoods clustered around the harbour, and I was very very small. We lived on the top floor of a house on Vernon Street near the university campus. A rose bush climbed up to the second story. My biggest fear at the time was the moon, which gazed down through the window with a mournful look that to me somehow signigified ill-will.

The Pubs - May 17 2004
A little girl with dirty hair, dimpled knees and a stained orange T-shirt runs into the yard, carrying a hopeful expression on her face and a plastic bowl in her hands. The wife glances up from her appointment book and screams, "No, Savannah! We don't want any mud!"

Lost Cooking Methods of 1958 - June 1 2004
Braising, according to Craig, is a monstrously involved task requiring the GDP of a medium-sized industrialized country. It is easier to get tritium-3 from the moon than to braise pork and potatoes. You are better off, he continued, trying to gather all the sand from the ocean floor with tweezers. Go to hell, he said.

Anti-darwinians in Darwin - June 10 2004
Darwin is pure tropics, a wet-and-dry season odyssey of heat and humidity, spear grass and mudwasps, ibises, crocodiles that jump from the water (when prompted with buffalo meat), and cockatoos whose call sounds like a high-speed car accident.

Rapid City VI: Cornickles of Riddick - July 1 2004
No matter how crappy a town you've landed yourself in, no matter how much it resembles the developing world, you stand a good chance of being close to a movie theatre. If you're short on luck, the theatre is a whitewashed shack with plastic chairs and a scratchy print of 8 Mile projected on a stained or ripped screen. That kind of bad luck is called "rural Newfoundland".

Countdown - July 12 2004
But, as in the uncanny opening passage of a cascading nightmare, the Chapters is a Barnes & Noble, the surrounding conversations are in Spanish, and outside runs a frantic route 183, pouring vehicle after vehicle into Dallas.

What I've Wasted - July 22 2004
I swear, Olive Gardens must have gigantic underground warehouses that pump soup and pasta up to the surface in fearsome pipes.

Found: Arrival - August 3 2004
This afternoon I found someone's manuscript scattered along the alley behind my apartment building.

A Good Day For Neologism - August 9 2004
Without disclosing full details of its genesis, I will inform you that I've created a new word from handy preexisting ones, the better for semantic range and flexibility: sockbison.

Overseas Still - August 20 2004

The unsmiling man buckles you in and shuts the door, and after a moment of adjustment the helicopter is rocking unsteadily, just a few inches off the ground. A sudden tilt and you're over the city, heading south to circle an active volcano.

There's Another Georgie Deep Inside - September 2 2004
To tell you the truth, I'm growing my very own doppelganger out of handy household materials.

Q and A - September 2 2004
I've been working out some answers to questions that people pepper me with on the job.

Palinode plus Lotus Equals Good
- September 3 2004
Yes it does.

Downhome Badness: Revelation - September 18 2004
My favourite moment in the first Resident Evil movie occurs when Milla Jovovich kicks a dog in the head.

Dutch Dictionary - September 25 2004
If in the morning your cheese man is host to murders of cawing crows, you and your friends may steal a car and get stoned in an Amsterdam coffee shop.

Hit The New Post Link And Now I'm Staring - September 27 2004
I can see at the bottom of the stairs a lone guy chopping at a block of wood with a curious-looking hatchet. The shoe 'factory' is actually an abandoned part of the subway once intended to shelter people from nuclear assault.

Things To See In Europe If You're Me - October 7 2004
Naked (topless) ladies on the beaches of southern France. I didn't stop to investigate, but you know, I saw naked ladies.

Wenn Ich 'Kultur' Höre - October 14 2004
In Holland we were treated with courtesy, in France with apathy, but in Germany we were watched.

Fruit, Mobility, Science - December 1 2004
Bear in mind that I am not a prize-winning scientist with a grant from the Department of Defense. I am just a man working furiously to bridge the gap in his knowledge of fruit.

The Last Cigarette - January 4 2005
Whatever anyone may tell you, it is not easy to smoke forty cigarettes in a day.

No Image Is Currently Available For This Headpeasant - January 9 2005
"Your hair is an outmoded roofing technology. There are peasants living in your head".

Because My Friends Are Voyeurs - January 12 2005
"Ah ha ha ha ha! Oh my - (quiets down for a split second, then bursts out into fresh round of laughter) I was just LOOKING at you! And you were talking! Ah ha ha ha!"

Spamalit - January 22 2005
Let me tell you, TIGERS ARE NOT CHEAP. Where'd you get that thing? It smells and it bites.

Rad Lobster - January 30 2005
In Brampton I penetrated the armoured flanks of a Jack Astor's and a TGI Friday's to get to that Red Lobster in distress. A Red Lobster high up in a tower let down a meaty Alaskan king crab leg for me to climb up.

New Brunswick - February 17 2005
The Super Decker has some good fried clams.

On Having The Courage To Open Up and Share Thoughts - February 22 2005
I think it’s the nouns that confound me.

The Chairs of Constantine - February 24 2005
Chairs point to the dual nature of hospitality, the grimace beneath the grin, the skull beneath the skin, what have you. Chairs are the tool of the hostile host, simultaneously offering ease and threatening to bind and harm.

No Image Is Currently Available For This Firepea - March 3 2005
"There was a fire at my work today". "Are you burned beyond recognition yet?"

They Think It's People - March 14 2005
But it’s also about the permeable boundaries of human compassion and the mysteries of death and eternal life. Not to mention the importance of getting your pet neutered. You'll even find out where circus animals go when they die.

Give Us Your Slick, Your Broken Shouldered - March 14 2005
"I didn’t want to shit you in the first place anyway."

My Living Will - March 22 2005
In the event of brainsucker attack, carefully remove whatever is left of my brain and leave me with only a stem and a spinal cord, the better to respond to stimuli with random smiles and occasional eye tracking.

The Dumbest Picture In The World - April 8 2005
As you prepare for your weekend, I'd like you to take a few minutes to sit down and contemplate The Dumbest Picture in the World.

Debeakotheque - April 11 2005
"Why? Why would you want to debeak a puffin?" "You want to eat puffin with the beak on?"

On The Jetty - April 15 2005
As a bonus, La Jetée also features people from the future with buttons glued to their foreheads to indicate how advanced they are. I love this film, and I understand that it was made in 1962, but did we ever think that far-future humans go around wearing black turtlenecks and glueing buttons to their foreheads?

Salad - April 19 2005
Somewhere in the past thirty years, during the orgy of brand diversity and the wild outflinging of supply chain tentacles to the last arable lands on earth, salads got fancier along with everything else.

Absinthe Trash - May 11 2005
3 AM house party? Sure! Long-abandoned drug? Hell, just this once. So it was that I ended up Friday night drinking absinthe with a bunch of lawyers and up ‘n’ coming neoconservative power politicians.

Socks, Rocks and Chanklemas
- May 13 2005
"And there are those argyles I bought from that angry woman in Chicago."

Jedinomics! - May 22 2005
Certainly the harsh and greedy economic policies of the Empire must have funnelled a good deal of wealth away from many planets, but I think a more fundamental explanation is at hand: The pre-Imperial galactic economy was supported by a heavily subsidized trade in Jedi cloaks.

Just A Good Example Of Why I Shouldn't Keep A Weblog
- June 30 2005
"Oh yeah? Here's some Mexican habanero sauce from the FUTURE, you condescending barbarian! C'est l'avenir pour vous!" "Mes yeux! Ils ont chaud!" "Yeah, that's the supply chain in action. Be glad I didn't bring a Kalashnikov".

The Summer Blockbusters - July 5 2005
A sudden profound blackness makes you stumble into the person ahead of you, but as your eyes adjust you make out the terraced rows of hunched figures crunching away on great tubs of food. The strange submarine light makes you think of a submerged pyramid in Atlantis, the popcorn eaters in the seats the ghosts of a doomed and slovenly race.

The First Family Plot - July 11 2005
I thought I was a worldly guy, but I'd never had the experience of struggling in a bed and being held down by several strange women

Bird Facts - August 2 2005
The truth is that there is only one species of bird, and since birds were never real in the first place, there is only one bird. But it is everywhere.

Basement - August 4 2005
...the finished basement, where the polyvinyl armature of civilization suffers the expeditious sowbug.

Shed - August 12 2005
There were no purple jackets with gold emblazoning on the back (where had I gotten that idea?), no great vistas of coolness. There were only a few old Playboys and Mayfairs, which in a fit of guilt I handed over to my parents. My dad spent the afternoon leafing through them at the dining room table.

Bag-el - August 25 2005
What laws will this baker's dozen flout as they build their own alien society, unrecognizable to humans but a shelter for the inscrutable bagel mind?

Falcon Powder - August 25 2005
"Is it powder made of falcons, or is it a powder for falcons?" "It isn't - it wouldn't be made of falcons. Foot powder isn't made of feet, you weirdo".

How I Go From Trash To Robot Vaginas In One Entry
- September 27 2005
An open chip bag, all shiny with grease. It's like a robot vagina. Chip bags are the future skins of cyborgs.

All My Terrible Aching Needs - October 9 2005
Palinode needs more tummy time

The Creepy Bargain - October 15 2005
This post - a conversation between me and Schmutzie - is notable for having been plagiarised by some blogger. Go read it and ask yourself: would you want to take responsibility for this conversation?

A Few Things - November 13 2005
"Hello? Community Gardens? I can't bring the apple core in. Will the children be alright? Will they - Oh good lord. I'm so sorry."

A Reason To Live From The Conservative Party - December 14 2005
But we're not really talking about Canada here; we're wandering through Stephen Harper's funhouse, where the politicians kick back in the faculty lounge and ignore the hordes of plumbers and drywallers and electricians out in the street. Either that, or he's exploiting a non-existent class conflict for political gain by making it all up.