Emailing with Bill/Dear Diary…

I email with Bill a lot, often multiple times per day. I don’t know how long we’ve been doing it but definitely more than 10 years. 15 years? I don’t know. Anyway, I like it a lot. Our incessant emailing is a good way to keep journals that we can look back on. When either of us go on trips, we usually email each other once we get back with a detailed account of the trip which is a great for referencing later if we forget stuff about it that we want to recall. We also do the same with mundane, normal day-to-day stuff. Like one time, I couldn’t find an Nintendo game that I was sure I owned. I racked my brain but couldn’t figure out what could have happened to it. I mentioned this to Bill and he did a quick search of his emails and found that I had loaned the game to the bass player of my former band a few years prior. I was so grateful right then to have a pal like Bill to email with about that kind of inane shit, and who was happy to use those emails to help me figure the mystery out.

But one day a year or two ago, I started thinking about what it will be like if Bill dies before me. In that case, beyond being sad for the loss of one of my best pals, I’ll also be sad that I have lost my confidant, my living diary. Emailing Bill is such a big part of my normal day that it will be a difficult thing to adjust to.

So I thought, maybe I could just keep emailing Bill after he’s dead, as if he’s still there reading my incessant bitching about work and the summer heat and how lousy I’ve been sleeping. That seems super weird and morbid though. I’d feel like I was in denial that he was gone. It doesn’t seem healthy. And as much as I like writing Bill, hearing back from him is just as important. I like hearing him bitch about the same things and tell me about his road trips and how great The Doors are and whatnot. It’s nice to have friends to talk about life with — that’s the whole point of our emails I think, so writing emails I never received responses to would lack a crucial, indispensable half of the equation.

Plus the thought of my emails to him sitting unread in the blank void of internet purgatory is a terrifyingly lonely, disturbing thing to me.

I had thought about blogging about this a long time ago but never got to it. Then Ben sent me the password to his email (which I wish I could forget but can’t, it seems — sorry Benny) a few days ago and he made a joke about how I can now log in to his email and reply to all the emails I send him that he is slow to get to. It was funny but it was also sad and unsettling — I thought of how terribly desperate someone would have to be to actually do such a thing (yet I guarantee you there are people who do it), and it reminded me of how I feel about the inevitable end of my emailing with Bill.

So hey, thanks Ben. Now I’m depressed again. Plus it’s hot as hell here lately so I’m about ready to throw myself off a cliff at this point.


please let the sun burn out

So far, we’ve had a cool, overcast June in the Cowichan Valley. And while we had a few stupid hot days and virtually zero rain in May, a lot of that month was cool too.

Thank heavens. Every year, the summer weather seems to start earlier and last for longer, the forest fires grow larger and do more damage, and droughts become more severe. I find summer to be the most frightening, depressing season because of this stuff. Every time we have another hot, sunny day, all I can think about is my escape plan in the event a forest fire forces us out of our home, and I wonder if our water is going to run out this year. For the last few years, the city has been trucking water in to fill our reservoir so if not for that, our taps already would have run dry. It’s alarming as all hell.

And yet, my co-workers all clamour for the hot weather. Just yesterday, one was moaning that it’s too cold, we need some hot sun. I thought, “are you insane? Would you really trade water in your taps and a home safe from a raging fire for a fucking tan?” I can’t understand it.

In these bleak and grim times, the prelude to mankind’s downfall, I take solace in the small victories that postpone the terror and chaos for at least one more day. If I can finish my life without having to witness that shit, I’ll die a happy camper. Let the sun worshippers battle to the death over the last drops of filthy, polluted water after I’m gone. I’ll happily take grey skies from here on out.


Great tans, though.

ice cream dinner

lots to talk about today.

i was just cleaning the kitchen while listening to what i believe is the latest aphex twin release, orphans. i like it. i put it on because it was recommended on youtube and i liked the artwork for it, and because i generally like richard d. james’ stuff. i don’t listen to electronic music much because i find most of it boring and derivative but when i do find something in the genre i like, i get pretty excited about it. it’s also usually summer when i get pumped on electronic stuff so i always associate it with summer, which i think is interesting. i should make a conscious effort to listen to it more in other seasons and see how that makes me feel.

so i’m listening to EDM on a summer day, cleaning the kitchen, feeling pretty good about summer 2017 so far. jenn and i have been taking the dogs swimming lots lately, at the quarry, the koksilah river, and various beaches at shawnigan. we’ve also done some great hikes around here in the last few weeks to some awesome, out of the way places that we’ve never seen before. after one of those hikes, we stopped at ice cream mountain and both got double scoop waffle cones. they were fantastic. we didn’t even eat any dinner after that because we were still too full. i felt terribly guilty about it. but then last night, we had a few friends over to watch trick r’ treat on the side of the house and guess what — i ended up eating nothing but ‘extreme cheddar’ old dutch crunchys. that’s two junk food dinners in a week. my god, i’ll be as big as a house in no time at this rate.

all signs of a decent summer.

other stuff: here is the artwork for that aphex twin record.


i really like it. it’s subtly weird. if i was a kid and saw this in my dad’s record collection, i would have been unsettled by it though i can’t explain why. so it makes me sad that digital music doesn’t allow us to hold physical pieces of visual art in our hands anymore and have those kinds of experiences. i mean, i have an old hawkwind album on vinyl, warrior on the edge of time, and not only are the covers of the record beautiful but the sleeve unfolds into a fucking warrior’s shield. it’s amazing. album artwork like that gives the aural presentation a whole other layer and opportunity to make an impression on the listener. i miss that.


the fantastical cover art on one side…


…a shield on the reverse!









i think that’s all i wanted to say right now. back to cleaning.

spring a ding ding

lately i’ve heard a handful of people say stuff like, “holy hell, when are we going to get some warm weather??” as if they expect beach season to begin in april. comments like that lead me to believe that the last three or four years of droughts and heat waves have warped peoples sense of seasons to the point that they now expect to jump straight from winter into summer.

that bums me out. i like having a normal spring, with cool days that can be sunny and warm one second and pissing rain the next. i like it because, even though i hate that kind of inconsistent weather, it means we are that much closer to avoiding yet another drought this year. i’ll take rain in april and may in exchange for decent water levels and less forest fires in july and augst. i mean, shit — a few years ago we had a stubborn forest fire just a kilometer or two from our fucking house because the summer had been so damn dry and hot. that was really scary. the real, legitimate terror inspired by that kind of event is not worth the luxury of tanning in april.

so yeah. there isn’t a damn thing wrong with the spring we’re having on vancouver island so far. everyone can stop complaining about it, and find something else to complain about that i can then complain about.

summer starts tomorrow but i’m ready to pull the plug on it today

jenn and i are going on a big road trip at the end of the summer and it’s going to be awesome. we’re going to head east to the rockies and see some shit there, visit friends along the way, then see dinosaur bones and hoodoos in alberta, then head down to montana and wyoming to see glacier and yellowstone national parks, then head back west through idaho and washington. we’re going to see and do so much awesome stuff, that i just want to sleep through all of this bastardly hot weather and get to the pleasantly warm, feel-good sunsets of september.

i think i made almost the same post last year. here it is. i basically bitched about how i get so pumped for the end of summer that i want to hurry through it, even if i’m having a great time in it. so far this one is going the same way. we’ve done a few nice summer things with friends so far and haven’t even gotten into the bowels of the season yet. i’m sure it’s going to be another great one…

…but that road trip at the end of it and all the dried up little ghost towns and golden light  and wicked sights and the general children of the corn-vibe is going to be the highlight of summer, no doubt.

oh no. i’m getting my hopes up. that’s a bad sign. i better rein it in before i end up coming home disappointed and blogging about what a shitty letdown the trip was.

i guess it will be ok, maybe. i don’t know. probably not.

happiest in desolation

i continue to accumulate wonderful summer experiences.

last night i went to liz’s bbq and met some of her pals. after dinner, we walked a little path along the water and it was beautiful, an instantly classic, warm memory. it was a lovely time spent with smart, funny, charming people in a lovely place. afterward i drove genevieve home and finally saw her place in chinatown. from the moment we got out of the car i was enamoured, and the feeling continued growing as she showed me the building and her place. the views from her windows of fantan alley, the roofs of neighbouring buildings, and the empty street at night were absolutely mesmerizing to me. all i wanted to do was spend a night sitting by those windows with a bass in my hands, writing music.

this morning i was emailing bill about it when i realized why i think i liked it so much. the street and alley were almost completely empty, yet there was traditional chinese music playing loudly from somewhere, and all the cool old stores on the street were glowing with neon signs. it was like the place had been bustling and then everyone had suddenly disappeared, leaving the lights and music on, like a ghost town or some kind of post-plague/apocalypse scene. it was eerie and hauntingly beautiful. if it was like that all the time, i would absolutely adore living there.

this is where i was last night.

while working out this morning, i was thinking more about why i’m having such a good time this summer. i think part of it can be attributed to the fact that in the last few years, i have had too many projects lined up, the most notable being the constant chain of project vehicles i have taken on. i love working on them but there comes a point when they feel like more of a burden, something i simply need to get done, rather than a fun hobby. since i sold the last project tercel, i have had way more time for everything else i want to do, and with far less feelings of guilt that i should be home being more productive, catching up on bullshit. it feels really good to be so much more free. i will try to keep this in mind when i come across the next potential project vehicle.

summer’s almost gone. not really but i keep thinking about it.

it’s been a really great summer so far. so many old friends have returned to shawnigan, some cool new ones have entered the mix, and there has been much hanging out and summer fun such as swimming, camping, soccer, bbq’s, outdoor movies, campfires, etc. i’ve been having a swell time.

having swell times is weird though. it’s making me nostalgic for moments right as they occur or even before they have occurred, and fearful for the end of the current era.

for example, i’ve been thinking about the doors song ‘summer’s almost gone’ for about a month now.

to me, it really captures the waning heat of summer, dried and yellowed fields, brilliant orange and red sunsets. it’s really bittersweet because it’s such a beautiful time but it also signals the end of all the fun and vitality of summer. i guess it’s similar to how i feel about death, like i mentioned in my post about my grandma: it’s sad but it’s an integral part of the incredible web we weave. so i’m having a wonderful time this summer and feel like i’m doing a good job of making the most of it…but all the while, i keep thinking about the end of it, how bittersweet the transition to fall will be, and it bothers me that i’m even thinking a month into the future at all. i wish i could shut my mind up for a while and stop over-thinking stuff like this because it makes me ask myself stupid questions, like “am i being present? am i really appreciating these moments or am i allowing myself to be distracted thinking about future possibilities?” i HATE those kind of questions. they’re way too meta or post modern or whatever for me. i figure if i’m happy, all is well, end of story. and yet, my mind won’t shut up. it’s frustrating.

and occasionally, i find myself bummed that summer is going to end. now that’s just plain stupid considering i just explained how much i’m also looking forward to fall — i guess i want to have my cake and eat it, too. i’m also embarrassed to feel like that about summers impending end because it’s not like it’s a big god damn surprise. every season ends pretty soon, duh. but it’s like some part of me is still an 8-yr, maddened from a candy high, having a little freakout that someone is going to take my nice thing from me, even though they’re going to replace it with another nice thing.

i’m not quite this bad but you get the idea.

an interesting thing to note is that even without mentioning any of this to jenn, she showed me a new poem she had been working on that touched on all of this ‘end of summer’ stuff. as a side note, i think she did an excellent job of capturing the feeling of it in that poem. anyway, it’s clearly on her mind too, and dana and i were talking about the same thing this last week and he totally relates too. so i wonder if these feelings have something to do with the fact that this is the most old school summer we have all experienced in 10 years or more, what with all the friends and fun and activities. maybe we are feeling hyper nostalgic because at the heart of this summer, we are simply revisiting the very things that we enjoyed so much back then and have missed since.