Young Chronicles XX: Vancouver to Toronto

August 10-13, 1983 Mileage 2896 miles

The Young Chronicles details my 1983 hitchhiking trip across Canada. Having completed the bulk of my journey, I spent time in Vancouver before heading back to Toronto. Once I had worn out my welcome with university friends, I moved to the Vancouver Youth Hostel and paid for room and board by doing the dishes.

On the porch of the Vancouver Hostel

I had dinner with an old friend, Ellen, and her husband on their sailboat docked at the marina and impatiently ducked under a moving train to get there. The caboose man yelled after me that I was an idiot. I have thought about that moment many time since, wondering what might have happened.

I lined up early at A&B Record store where the first 30 customers got three albums for $10 and bought 1999 (Prince), Time Fades Away (Neil Young) & Security (Peter Gabriel).

I went to the inaugural concert at BC Place with The Tubes (T&A show), Peter Gabriel (great lights) and David Bowie (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Space Oddity, Fashion, Stay, Scary Monsters, China Girl, Putting Out Fires, Rock and Roll Star, Young Americans, Station to Station, TVC15, Stay, Breaking Glass, Let’s Dance, Heroes, Jeanie Genie, Rebel Rebel).

Ride One: Vancouver to Winnipeg. Van. Met group at hostel, including Obbie (owner), Stephanie and two English guys. Paid $35 for gas.

Me, Obbie and the guys from England.

Ride Two: Blue truck. Winnipeg to outskirts of town. Middle-aged man told me to open the glove box where there was a porn magazine and asked if I wanted to go to his cabin to get a blow job. “I know a lot of guys who aren’t gay but liked to be sucked off.” I declined. He asked if I just wanted a sandwich. I declined again.

Ride Three: Outskirts of Winnipeg to St. Anne. 1955 pickup truck. Dean, a Native guy who ate sunflower seeds and got me high. Offered me a place to stay. I was anxious to get home

Ride Four: St. Anne to Falcon Island Provincial Park. Two young women who were unsure of me. I confessed to them that Dean had got me high.

Heading into the hills North of Lake Superior

Ride Five: Falcon Island Provincial Park to Toronto. Brown Rabbit. Di and Wax. Listened to Def Leppard too much. Had dinner at A&W. Was asked to drive but I had never driven stick shift. Wax tended to drift into oncoming lane on winding roads and almost hit a truck. Took me right to my house. I should have invited them in but I didn’t. I was tired and being selfish.

Killing Character: Writing Process

Killing characters in a story needs to be a random thing. As godlike as it seems, it isn’t. Unless it seems so, and then it is. Yes, killing something, is an senseless act, leaving me to wonder why I bothered to create them in the first place. A character is not flesh and blood. It’s just words, if even that.

To get to the point: Tragedy occurs at the midpoint of Anori, a spaceship crash, and a personal connection is needed to Dee. Initially, I made this Saarva, the sole Greenlandic character Dee had come to know. And then I realized the stupidity of that, to kill off my only decent Greenlandic character! It was lazy and a cliché.

More powerful and relevant was the death of Val, Dee’s closest friend. They were connected as individuals and character types. Losing Val is highly affecting. But what? How is that random? The death I need is of someone Dee knows. That’s it. And I thought of Nico, the founder of the enterprise. Why not that? Impactful for sure. And random. Calculatedly so.

Rising Fjords

A pair of snowboarders, Macro and Vartex, went into the record store, a relic from those long ago days, after the fire. They found a pigeon – and an actor portraying the same – which had been stomped with iron-studded boots, brutalized, all but murdered and maybe even that.

Messed-up bird

They took a couple of pictures that they would post when they got home and slid a couple of records, warped by the heat, into their backpacks. I stood with them by the garbage reviewing my footage of their excursion, thinking it might be a good film if only because of the carnage.

Fuck Pedagogy: The Book

I started teaching 22 years ago as a fallback position. The truth is that I hated everything about high school as a student. I hated my principals, teachers and fellow students. I was just killing time until I got the hell out.

The iconic clock tower of Upper Canada College, where I spent seven miserable years.

15 years later, it came as a great surprise when I went back as a teacher. My relationship with my fellow teachers was much improved, and my students too. It was the administrators who I despised this time. They made me think of getting the hell out again.

I was removed from my teaching position three times by my administrators – told to resign, fired and laid off. I have mixed feeling about all of this. Having never really wanted to teach nor ever having worked with a competent administration and yet having enjoyed working with my students – and some colleagues – it is a bittersweet thing.

Looking down the stairs from the 21st floor at Leman Manhattan Preparatory School

As I said, teaching was a fallback position. I am writer. And it’s time I wrote about this teaching thing. Fuck Pedagogy. That’s what the book is called. And that’s what it’s about.

Research for The Cx Trilogy: Alloys and Polymers

Researching speculative fiction is a wide open thing, all about imagining a future far beyond the here and now. As remarkable as the SpaceX launches have been, they are well short of my vision in The Cx Trilogy of an intergenerational journey to a planet light years away.

Aqaara is constructed in outer space, specifically in the Lagrangian orbit between the moon and Earth, thus eliminating the problem of leaving the planet’s atmosphere. Aqaara is composed primarily of anorthite, a high-grade mineral found in abundance on the moon.

Anorthite is a rarity on Earth but found in abundance on the moon

An anorthite-obsidian alloy is used for the exterior of the craft while an anorthite-rubber polymer is the primary material for the ship’s interior. Is this believable? Yea or Nay? The power source is a much bigger challenge. To be shared soon.

Young Chronicles XIX: Whitehorse to Victoria, BC

July 23-25, 1983 Mileage 1468 miles

The Young Chronicles details my 1983 hitchhiking trip across Canada. Having completed much of the journey west, I head south from the Yukon to Vancouver.

Greyhound Bus: $99 one way. My fear of isolated country and bears continued, as did my complacency. My rationale was based on saving on two nights accommodation.

As I have mentioned previously, I wrote a lot of drivel on my journey. The bus ride was no exception: In despair, the mind searched for an answer, for a reasonable excuse for a positive outlet, for a viable possibility. It is hard when one is alone. Alas, the sun sinks slowly down past the horizon’s wall.

July 25 – July 31 Stayed at Marco’s house in Vancouver. Monday: Beers in hot tub with Ranald, Gareth and Dave. Drinks on Granville Island with Marco and Graham. Tuesday: Caesars with Fiona, Graham and Hug. Wednesday: The UBC Pit with Sandy, Jackie, Graham and John. Thursday: Helped Marco move. Friday: Listened to Anthem of the Sun and Blues For Allah at Stewie’s house Saturday: Lighthouse Park with Gareth, Stewie, Ranald and Dave.

Jumping off cliffs at Lighthouse Park

August 1, Mileage: 135 miles

Ferry and public transit from Vancouver to Victoria.

Ride One: Victoria to Elk Island. Big car from Alberta. Driver hit on me. “Want to spend the night?

Ride Two: Elk Island to Schwartz Bay. TR7. Worried woman. “Don’t you try anything. I have a gun under my seat.”

Schwartz Bay Ferry Terminal

Ferry back to Tsawwassen and Vancouver.

Ari Aster’s Haunting Imagery

Cormac McCarthy writes in The Road: Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.

Such is the case with Ari Aster’s films Hereditary and Midsommer. Make no mistake about it, these are both very well made films. Perhaps too much so. It isn’t just the visuals – although sawing off one’s own head is hard to forget – but more so in the music, especially in the majestic, almost comic finale of Midsommer,

I want to forget the images of Dani wailing as her boyfriend is roasted in a bear suit, but that damn music by Bobby Krlic keeps creeping back into my head. It’s that good.

Sex Meanings of Emojis III

Given the popularity of Sex Meanings of Animal Emojis Parts I & II, the sequel was inevitable. After all, there is nothing more important than the real meaning of these cute little critters.

Bat – Small Penis
Centipede – Group Sex
Dolphin – Hairless
Hippopotamus – Threesome
Horse – Large Penis
Panda – Foot Fetish
Peacock Public Sex
Shrimp – Bisexual
Turtle – Analingus
Wolf – Masturbator

The Music in Dee: Writing Process

I am fascinated by Dee Sinclair, a character I have worked on for some fifteen years. I would go as far as to say that I actually want to be Dee, just like I told Peach so many years ago.

It isn’t a sexual thing – although it is that too – as much as a fascination with what I believe to be divine. Dee might be hard to empathize with – given her intransigence, anger and sharp tongue – but there is no person more fascinating in my eyes.

Oddly enough, I have yet to fully describe Dee. Her features remain nebulous, and I want to keep her like that. She is like music. And there is no jawline in that.

Confluence of Experience and Research: Writing Process

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, researching a book is a state of bliss. Jon Gertner’s The Ice at the End of the World is no exception, detailing a history of European exploration on Greenland’s ice sheet over the past couple of hundred years.

The details of various expeditions including Fridtjof Nansen’s intial crossing in 1888 and Knud Rasmussen’s establishment of Thule at the northern-most tip are fascinating as the description of scientists Georgi and Lowe spending an entire winter dug into the middle of the ice sheet.

Johannes Georgi and Fritz Lowe in their mid-Greenland ice cave

However most interesting to me personally is the description of the Jakobshavn Glacier calving several icebergs in two days, cutting five miles from the glacier’s front, in 2015.

Disko Bay with a typical amount of icebergs

I had visited the glacier at that very same time and witnessed the result of the calvings, Disko Bay suddenly clogged with ice as far as the eye could see.

It was a stunning thing to witness, almost apocalyptic, the entire world transformed in moments.