Killer cars

A friend and former Tofino resident died recently. It was especially tragic in that she was young (in her 30s) and a mother of two, including a months-old baby.

And it was jarring, because it was a freakish auto accident involving, according to the police report, an unlikely sequence of events that seemed almost pointedly direct in their selection of her as their intended target. She was one of those people who is loved by everyone she meets, and her death was a blow to many, me included.

There’s a lot of virtual love and sympathy flowing on Facebook, and no doubt in person back in Ontario, where she lived. But what nobody is mentioning is what i see as the root cause of her death : car culture. Continue reading “Killer cars”

Two lousy words from the word crowd

The literary world has two chronic word problems. As writers, we know the power of specific words to shape a reader’s thought and feeling. We spend hours searching for the exact words to capture what we want to convey.

Trashed Technology, from DaCosta1 flickr photostream (click to visit). CC licensed.

Our thesauruses are full of synonyms — myriad, plenitudinous, superabundant synonyms — and we take perverse pride in agonizing over which will be most effective in a given sentence.

Yet in our own hopeful business dealings, we begin and often end with two loose, sloppy words that carry all kinds of unpleasant baggage. Yet we seem blind to their effects upon us. I refer, of course, to “submission” and “rejection.” Continue reading “Two lousy words from the word crowd”

An embarrassment of volume control

Old Radio, by Rob Mac, 2005
Old Radio, by Rob Mac, 2005

The electronics age is saddled with many weird contradictions, brought on as layer after layer of gadgetry or software is pasted onto legacy systems in the holy name of upgrade. Eventually, inevitable, the whole conglomeration becomes so unwieldy that it’s thrown out for a fresh start. Or it becomes  a permanent ironic footnote, like the Windows trope of having to click the “start” button to stop your computer.

Continue reading “An embarrassment of volume control”

Normal life in America (ca 1995)

Going through old files yesterday, i ditched most of ’em. My new modus operandi is that if i’m not engaged in something today, or have definite plans to be engaged in it within a month or so, there’s no point in hanging onto a paper record “in case” i get to it in future. The future has its own fast-evolving set of circumstances, and its own ceaseless feed of interesting stuff, and its own imperative, and it’s unlikely that something i came across today will still be relevent. And if it is, odds are it’ll be available on-line. Continue reading “Normal life in America (ca 1995)”

Attack of the Arts Administrators

This post is prompted by the District of Tofino’s Request for Proposals for a “cultural scan” (on, the 3-page PDF downloads from this link). Scanning the document itself, i am struck by how little it has to do with actual art. In fact, the thing is pure 200-proof bureaucracy in its wording and its thought process, and as such is 180 degrees opposed to art. I suppose i’m not saying it shouldn’t be done; presumably the district’s bureaucratic mill needs it. I am saying nobody should even begin to confuse it with making or advancing art. Continue reading “Attack of the Arts Administrators”