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Haven't slept in years

Friday, January 20, 2017

4:21PM - Well.

He's in.

All this time, I have been hoping that it was all some elaborate hoax or that I, somehow, would awake from this very long and intense dream. But, this does seem to be real.

And now, in Canada, we have our own little racist millionaire demagogues running for the leadership of our Conservative party.

In a lot of ways, I am actually a conservative person. But I seem to have lost the thread where having moral values becomes having discriminatory values; where believing in hard work becomes a belief in the essential decrepitude of the less fortunate; and where a belief in thoughtful government spending becomes a belief that only private-sector corporate citizens and the super-rich are entitled to public subsidies.

This is truly a sad day.

Monday, January 16, 2017

8:27PM - Yep.

Still alive.

Busy but not seeming to get anything done.

Another year is upon me, and I have no idea what it will bring. I have had a ready-made plan for the last two years, and now, with the degree nearing completion, I wonder what will come next.

Not much else to report, in spite of my weeks of silence.

Though I am thinking that I could use some more Rock Island GP40s.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

10:20PM - Christmas.

Well, it's that time of year again.

I am thankful that this will be another year of not worrying about getting back to Calgary for x o'clock in order to stand for my call, and I am glad that this has not been a December of chasing miles (though I did spend mot of it on a train).

I don't think I mentioned that I was working in Stettler for a couple of weeks this month in support of their Polar Express event. We put through somewhere between 10 and 11 thousand people on thirty trips starting on the 1st and concluding on the 21st. One cup of hot chocolate, one cookie, one Santa sleigh bell, and one golden ticket each.

In between that, I was writing a term paper, which I finally finished today. Snowing heavily, long drive home, white Christmas, beer, tired.

And that's about all I have to add.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

6:48PM - Hmm.

I had really hoped that I was a late bloomer.

I don't know when that stops being a thing.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

11:35PM - Regal Beagle 2.0

I was walking by the Beagle this evening and I noticed that H. is working there again.

Seeing as I have nothing to lose, I decide to go in.

She doesn't recognise me, but after a while I "out" myself and we have a nice talk. She asks what I am up to, and reveals that she is working on getting her B. Ed. after finishing her history degree.

I think we will get some drinks in the New Year. Tonight was her last shift before she heads into finals, goes home for the holidays, and starts her practicum.

I don't think that this is "something", but it's better than nothing.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

5:43PM - Hmm.

In light of recent events, I am once again left wondering what it is that I really want.

Every time I think of a woman coming into my life, I think of mornings spent in bistros and cafes, afternoons spent browsing curiosity shops, and formal evenings at art events or wine and conversation at home. These are things to which I almost never treat myself: and, if I do, it sometimes feels good, but never right. My happiness, somehow, is wasted on me; in order to be truly effective, it should be doing something for somebody else. It should be helping somebody else to feel good.

I think one of the most profoundly isolating things that I have had to deal with over the last few years is the lack of intimacy in the morning. Being alone in the evening gives me time to read or listen to music and also to hope that tomorrow will be better. Waking up alone, eating alone, watching the news alone serves only as a reminder of this day being just like every other day. That's really starting to wear on me.

I'm not sure how to find the way out. I can't help but believe -- but hope -- that there is a way out. C. S. Lewis says, "what chokes every prayer and every hope is the memory of all the prayers ... offered, and all the false hopes we had." I'm reminded of an earlier question vis-a-vis Richard Wagamese regarding the "new beginnings" which life offers, and when these might finally run out. I wonder if hope works the same way. Disappointed or not, each day I find myself hoping for better. But if the hope runs out before the good things arrive-- well, let's just say I'm not optimistic about what that world is going to look like.

I'm supposed to be going out tonight. A friend and I have been "co-planning" a party to be held at his place for some time now, and I'm just not sure that I have the energy to go this evening. But I know that I should go. And that there is no excuse to sit at home for one second while true love is still out there, somewhere.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

1:50PM - Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. George Bowering.

A Prayer

Lord God,

if I have but one life to live,
I hope this aint it.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

11:55PM - RIP Stettler Motel

Looks like the ol' motel caught fire in earnest this week (actually the morning after a couple of us left) and it is now permanently out of commission.


I guess that the motel has been quite a fixture in my life over the last ten years or so. I don't know exactly what the future will hold for the rail society now that the worst motel in town is gone. In its day, though, the motel has served as the switching lead on the Ballantine's Turn, the backdrop of many bumbling antics and crises, and muse for the occasional song or poem amid the flying liquor bottles, late night arguments, police busts, break-ins and busted furniture. What a place. Stettler Motel, we perhaps knew ye too well.

All these years, maybe this song has said it the best.


Desperados Under the Eaves -- Warren Zevon

I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
I was staring in my empty coffee cup
I was thinking that the gypsy wasn't lyin'
All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles
I'm gonna drink 'em up

And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill

Don't the sun look angry through the trees
Don't the trees look like crucified thieves
Don't you feel like Desperados under the eaves
Heaven help the one who leaves

Still waking up in the mornings with shaking hands
And I'm trying to find a girl who understands me
But except in dreams you're never really free
Don't the sun look angry at me

I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
I was listening to the air conditioner hum
It went mmm...
Look away
Look away down Gower Avenue, look away

Friday, November 18, 2016

4:28PM - Because there is always more to say.

So...yes. The title song to the continuing mission that is this blog.

Haven't Slept In Years -- Matthew Good

Make me your animal
Make me your freak
And I will pack them in
It's understandable
After all, you're only human
And all this time it's been killing me
And all this time it's been
Caving in my head
Killing me

You're dead

Haven't slept in years
Haven't talked to anybody else
Haven't slept in years
Haven't talked to anybody else
Anybody else

Make me your cannibal
Make me your product and
I will make you rich
Well, it's still fashionable
Isn't it?
Isn't it?
Isn't it?
And all this time it's been killing you
And all this time it's been
caving in your head
killing you

you're dead

Haven't slept in years
Haven't talked to anybody else
Anybody else


I guess I will say that, after a glimmer of hope, the crush has not ended well. Ayup.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

4:02PM - Yep.

I....signed up for a dance class.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

10:28PM - What more is there to say?

(Not the Cohen version, but rather the best version in existence.)

Hallelujah -- Leonard Cohen (as performed by K.D. Lang)

I heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
You don't really care for music, do ya?
Well it goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
Well she tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and cut your hair
And from your lips she drew Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked the floor
used to live alone before I knew ya
But I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Our love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
It's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not someone who's seen the light
It's a cold and broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah...

Friday, November 11, 2016

10:01AM - ....

Interviewer: So you really are the least interesting man in the world.  I have to say, that's quite an accomplishment.  What is it like?

Me: It's a surprisingly large amount of work, actually.  [Laughs.]  All you have to do is try desperately to be fascinating.  It's harder than it sounds, but the results are pretty much guaranteed.

Friday, November 4, 2016

3:50PM - Thoughts and Prayers

Quite often when it seems like life is veering out of control, I return to the Samuel Johnson's collected diaries and prayers.  Not for their religious content per se, but more as a way of reminding myself that I am not living in isolation, and that I am not the first person to have concerns and anxieties about productivity and moral direction.

I am also interested in the phenomenology of reading prayers as a literary genre, and where "you" fit in to the scheme since, after all, neither the speaking subject nor the addressee are "here".  So, do you play the role of "God", listening to Johnson's anxieties?  Do you become Johnson, confessing your sins?  Does the ethereal, textual presence of Johnson use you to re-broadcast these thoughts and feelings from beyond the grave?

Either way, there are a couple of things that I have been meaning to transcribe: one is his prayer over new study which is somewhat apropos to my current situation, and the other is a meditation of his on the anniversary of his wife's death in 1770.  It is heartening to see anxieities over time well used in a person who was one of history's most prolific critics, and, at the same time, emotionally evocative to see how grief creates something other than mere rhetorical beauty in the writing of a known grumbler like SJ.

So, without further ado (with both sources as printed in the Yale Samuel Johnson, 1967).

1. Before Any New Study. [November 1752]

Almighty God, in whose hands are all the powers of man; who givest understanding, and takest it away; who, as it seemeth good unto Thee, enlightenest the thoughts of the simple, and darkenest the meditations of the wise, be present with me in my studies and enquiries.

Grant, O lord, that I may not lavish away the life which Thou hast given me on useless trifles, nor waste it in vain searches after things which Thou hast hidden from me.

Enable me, by the Holy Spirit, so to shun sloth and negligence, that every day may discharge part of the task which Thou hast allotted me; and so further with thy help that labour which, without thy help, must be ineffectual, that I may obtain, in all my undertakings, such successes as will most promote thy glory, and the salvation of my own soul, for the sake of Jesus Christ.


2. March 28. Wednesday [1770].

This is the day on which in -52 I was deprived of poor dear Tetty.  Having left off the practice of thinking on her with some particular combinations I have recalled her to my mind of late less frequently, but when I recollect the time in which we lived together, my grief for her departure is not abated, and I have less pleasure in any good that befals [sic] me, because she does not partake it.  On many occasions I think what she would have said or done.  When I saw the sea at Brightelmston I wished for her to have seen it with me.  But with respect to her no rational wish is now left but that we may meet at last where the mercy of God shall make us happy, and perhaps instrumental to the happiness of each other.  It is now eighteen years.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

1:35AM - Another installment

Me: I don't know.  You're a poet.  You might get this.  I might just be insane.

Interviewer: Please.

Me: I know this sounds crazy.  But, what do you do when you look at someone, and you see a golden light shining from them.  Like, you look at them, but see something that just shines through them.  And when you look at them long enough, it's all you can see.

Interviewer: That's easy.  You do everything you can to have that person in your life.

Me: It's like, you've been wandering in the wilderness.  You don't even know for how long.  For years and years.  And you feel like you have been doing fine.  And then, when you see them, like, when they just appear out of nowhere, you suddenly realise that you have been hanging by a thread all this time.

Interviewer: Yes.

You do everything you can to have that person in your life.

Me: Yes.  Yes; that's what I thought, too.

1:00AM - Changes.

I listened to Brothers in Arms the other day for the first time since Kate left.  Which, for those keeping track, was 2007.

After all this time, it's not exactly the album I remember it being.

But, still, listening to it all the way through is something.  A small something, perhaps, but still more than nothing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


The Thrills -- Deckchairs and Cigarettes

Well, what can you do
When all that surrounds you
Says slow down
Deckchairs and cigarettes

Lets go to San Diego
Hey thats where all the kids go
Just don't change a thing

Well the bottom fell out
On our summer
But we knew
What we got ourselves into

(Theyre sayin)
Lets go to San Diego
Where all the crazy kids go
Just don't change a thing
Lets go to San Diego
Where all the crazy kids go
You build me up so high,
My darling
You bring me down so low,
You know it

Just don't change a thing


It still kind of amazes me how much I like this album.  And I hadn't really noticed until yesterday that it has hardly any lyrics.  It's also rather strange that a band from Ireland would write almost exclusively about California.  But, somehow, it works.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

11:30AM - The Stick

An unusual fit of productivity seized me this morning at 02:20 when I could not sleep and decided, instead, to look after some train society business. I also read a chapter in Bruce Dowbiggin's The Stick, a history of the development of the hockey stick.

While the book might sound like an appropriate read for someone trying to get to sleep, it is actually more interesting than it sounds.  It traces the construction philosophies of the stick from the crude tools hewn from tree roots, to the two-piece white ash stick of the 1970s, through the development of the wood/fibreglass composites of the 80s, to the carbon sticks of today.  I can't say that the disquisition on glues and fibreglass wrap was especially thrilling, but, like a lot of things that don't seem like much on the surface, the the book's nominal subject is as much a commentary on the politics of the NHL, forces of globalisation, Canadian history, and, to a significant degree, ecology and environmental management, as it is a discussion of how to use a piece of wood to make a puck go fast.  A lot of innovation in the stick-making process has come from the simple fact that there are fewer and fewer sources of "good wood" in North America out of which sticks can be made.

I'm still really disappointed that he kind of went off his head to become an incredibly reactionary blogger.  I don't know if his site is even still up.  And, if it is, I don't care. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

9:29AM - Ugh.

Like everyone, I am still wondering what the US presidential election is going to look like once the dust settles.

Trump has done everything possible to lose, and is still maintaining about the same popularity he has always enjoyed. Clinton has basically done nothing to win, and is still hanging on to a slim lead.

While the country is basically on the brink of narrowly rejecting an egomaniac and fascist as leader, one has to wonder what message this is going to send to the GOP. No doubt there are many who will think that the problem lies in Trump's not being right enough. And these will be the loudest and most insistent voices representing conservatism in the next four years. Anything but a wholesale rejection of everything Trump has to offer still suggests to me a looming crisis in the western world. We are on honeymoon here in Canada while our Ken-doll Prime Minister poses for selfies, tries on different clothes, and searches for a good hairstyle while various media outlets, in a strange perversion of the Canadian Content legislation, try desperately to get us all to fall in love with his wife. I don't know what's going to happen next: if the Grits keep sliding gradually into reverse on the election reform thing, then we will probably be stuck with them until the 2030s. This might not be so bad, with Conservative leadership hopeful and quondam Labour Minister Kellie Leitch looking to run on an essentially Trump-style platform (though with a softer stance on immigration).

Anyway, this is kind of a pointless ramble, other than to say I just watched a Trump ad which claims that Hillary Clinton will derail Washington through catering to "special interests." Donald Trump, of course, represents one of the smallest minorities in the world and also enjoys the benefits of just about any legislation -- tax, business, public opinion -- imaginable. Not to get too far down the rabbit hole of politicizing the female body, but he has basically got away with denying the very existence of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. Yet, somehow, he is "the public": he is just like you.

Monday, October 24, 2016

8:02PM - It could always be worse.

Just when you think that you are inhabiting the least respected, least interesting, least relevant and otherwise most obscure zone of academia, you are suddenly reminded that Critical Dance Studies exists.

Yes...it could be worse.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

11:12AM - Why...

Why did I wake up with Kylie Minogue in my head this morning?

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