Tuesday, March 18, 2008


From Sunday night:

Some very peculiar dreams last night. One involved shooting up heroin. I woke up terrified of the health and safety risks involved, and scared that I'd never be able to give blood again. It was only after a few panicked moments of wakefulness that I realized it was only a dream. I think that dream was a reflection of overblown health concerns I have in waking life.

Another dream: I was at a banquet of some sort. It had a science fiction feel to it; perhaps it was on another world. I think the other revelers must have had a substantially different biochemical make-up; they drank alcohol to stay sober and water to get drunk. I remember wondering about this in my dream. I think I had a hard time finding my way back home, or to my spaceship or whatever, after leaving the party.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wind of Change

The title of this post refers to the Scorpions song from 1990. In my memory, this was an exciting time. I was 15; walls were falling, families were being reunited, the cold war was ending. The whole year felt like spring to me. A lot of this feeling came from the fact that my parents, too, were (temporarily) reuniting (though less dramatically than those families long separated by the Berlin Wall) after a (long, long, long overdue) year long separation. My father had cleaned up his act, and everyone seemed hopeful.

Actually... this post wasn't supposed to be about my family stuff, but I felt I had to mention that as background. The theme of this post was supposed to be: what the hell happened? So many good things (well, except Gulf War I) seemed to be happening in the late eighties and early nineties. Then we had the boon years of the Clinton administration, then everything went to hell. How the hell did we drop the ball? And how do we pick it up again? Maybe I'm misremembering the sense of optimism I perceived back then. I was young and unjaded (well, less jaded), and my memory of world history might be coloured by my memory of my own history (cf: above).

I attended a talk on the four noble truths and the eightfold path of Buddhism a few weeks ago. Afterwards, I had a private moment with the speaker, and he gave me the following dharma advice: tell more jokes. Corny ones. In rapid succession. It was damn fine advice, so here's a joke for this post: How many Iyengar teachers does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but she needs a mat, a bolster, a blanket, an eye pillow, a chair, a strap, and two blocks.

It's kind of funny if you've studied yoga with Iyengar teachers.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A mix for the big appointment

So, I have this morbid ongoing project that I like to think about at odd moments, for reasons at which I can only guess, and which I won't go into right now. The project: selecting songs that would properly eulogize me if I were to meet an untimely end. In no particular order, here's what I've got so far:

  • Wave of Mutilation - The Pixies. This is the first song that I knew would make the cut.

  • American Tune - Paul Simon. Very grounding and humbling. There's not a shred of ostentation or pretension in this song.

  • The Darkest One - The Tragically Hip. Hard to explain, exactly, but for me, this song has the character of a love song that one could sing to oneself during moments of despair.

  • Membership - The Tragically Hip. Like most Hip songs, I have no idea what this is about, but it feels like a theme song for me. Something about a river.

  • O Canada Girls - Dar Williams. "I'm so sick of forgetting myself to remember who I am; and you say, 'Yeah, but why so cold, and so Canadian?'"

  • Finlandia - Indigo Girls. The acapella version of this is beautiful.

  • Hasn't Hit Me Yet - Blue Rodeo. The last time I went on antidepressants, I remember driving to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription, listening to this song. I wasn't very familiar with it yet, but I knew it fit the moment perfectly. Still makes me cry sometimes.

  • Brothers In Arms - Dire Straits. Makes me think of my friend Byron, for some reason. I never discussed the song with him, but I think he would have gotten it.

  • If It Be Your Will - Leonard Cohen. A prayer, a dirge, a love song all wrapped up in one neat package.

  • Watershed - The Indigo Girls. I don't think I heard them play this song in concert until the 13th or 14th time I saw them perform. It was a long time to wait.

  • Lord, I Have Made You A Place In My Heart - Cry Cry Cry. The only convincing gospel song I have ever heard.

  • Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life - Monty Python. Good to end on an up note, I think...

  • Secret - Meryn Cadell. ...or not.

  • Slightly less morbid line of inquiry: if there were a movie made about my life, who would provide the soundtrack? Right now, I think The Tragically Hip. They write beautiful songs that are almost impossible to understand; sort of the REM of the north. Readers of this blog (both of you)... who would you choose?