sleep: not only for the weak

Taking in the Laundry
, painted steel, 140cm x 90cm, 2009, by Barcelona sculptor Frank Plant

Went for lunch with a game designer stranger I met on the bus today. It was a bit odd, trying to be social through a mad haze of sleeplessness with someone I’ve never met before, but it was nice, too, to know that even when I’m this wiped out, I can introduce myself with enough panache not to be immediately written off as a vaguely hyperactive nutcase.

The last few weeks have been deliciously fun, yet exhausting and murderous. CanSec leading into the Juno’s? I’m slaughtered, especially given as nothing’s let up. My planned sleepy Sunday, for instance. Lung called at noon, and even that was too early for me to want to wake up after the crazy open bar soiree at The Lift on Saturday evening. I had to, though, to make sure I made it out to Slickety Jim’s for brunch with Emerson. I would have died all over again if I had missed that. Then, banking on an energy drink to win over my four hours sleep, Lung and I went hiking around the Twilight filming at Whytecliff park out by Horseshoe Bay until it was time to drop me off back at Kingsway and Broadway to meet with David and Pia for a bit of birthday-ing on Main before heading over to the Batcave, a dirty whirlwind, to retrieve my hostage bikini, (a failed mission), and try to relieve Dragos of the last of the CanSec supplies, (also a fail, but less so). Given the party, I don’t think I would have made it home if it weren’t for a surprise ride home from Richard, for which I am so obscenely grateful I should give him a pie, (hear that Richard, a pie! E-mail me to collect!), but even so, I don’t think I got to bed until somewhere around the vicinity of two or three.

Given my plans for the next few weeks, I suspect most days are going to feel like that. Busy as busy can be while still having fun. Somewhere in there, I have to cram in more work on getting my computer back up, sifting through photos, and spending time writing. Tonight, somehow, I don’t seem to have plans, but mercy, I am sure by the time I get home that will have changed. It doesn’t rain but it pours.

how casually I enjoy nepotism (hello cirque make-up, hello feathers in my hair)

Work is freaking out today, hysterical in the face of our involvement with the Juno’s this weekend. (Seriously, they’re going ballistic). Passes are being handed out, rescinded, then handed out again. Same with business cards. “No, wait, take these ones instead.” Rounded corners, snazzy, to make it easier to slip into my bra? What? I had no idea my quiet little workplace could get so frantic, or so oddly surreal, as when I was instructed to make sure to “be nice to Nickelback”.

I’ve managed to claim two of the laminated on a lanyard passes to the Quintessential VIP Juno Awards Party tomorrow. (One for me and one for my roommate David as a birthday present.) A description I am amused by, if only because it says so on the pass, right above the cartoon red carpet covered in silver hollywood pavement stars. It should be fun. Work says I have to be pretty for maximum impact, but I know better. Some of the most beautiful women in the city will be there, so as far as I’m concerned, the pressure’s off. Let the diamonds sparkle. I’m not six two and I wasn’t designed in a wind tunnel, so I can show up in whatever I want! Screw you, heels. Screw you in the ear. I’m not going to make a fool of myself trying to pretty. I’m going to be interesting.

work just handed me business cards to schmooze with, telling me to “slip them in my bra”

365: 77 - 18.03.09
365: 77 – 18.03.09

Looking up from my book to step onto a crowded bus, I slipped through everyone to the very back to find an unexpected puddle of empty seats around a very young, equally unexpected boy. No more than sixteen, maybe seventeen, eyes fixed out the window, obviously aware of everyone staring, he would not have been exceptional except that he was dressed as if he was only five minutes out of the Arab Emirates, all flowing, air thin white robes and leather string sandals, except for a light blue, very out of style denim jacket, a bare, acid wash nod to the weather as torn out of place and time as his traditional Saudi white and black ghutra and ougal. In the morning commuter gloom of black and gray and raincoats, his shining white looked completely bizarre, like a theater costume at a funeral, setting him completely apart.

So I sat next to him. We’re all strangers somewhere.

grim meathook future thought of the day (something I was telling people about at cansecwest)

via, again, jwz:

Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe

The most serious space weather event in history happened in 1859. It is known as the Carrington event, after the British amateur astronomer Richard Carrington, who was the first to note its cause: "two patches of intensely bright and white light" emanating from a large group of sunspots. The Carrington event comprised eight days of severe space weather.

There were eyewitness accounts of stunning auroras, even at equatorial latitudes. The world’s telegraph networks experienced severe disruptions, and Victorian magnetometers were driven off the scale. […]

According to the NAS report, a severe space weather event in the US could induce ground currents that would knock out 300 key transformers within about 90 seconds, cutting off the power for more than 130 million people. […] The truly shocking finding is that this whole situation would not improve for months, maybe years: melted transformer hubs cannot be repaired, only replaced. "From the surveys I’ve done, you might have a few spare transformers around, but installing a new one takes a well-trained crew a week or more," says Kappenman. "A major electrical utility might have one suitably trained crew, maybe two." Within a month, then, the handful of spare transformers would be used up. The rest will have to be built to order, something that can take up to 12 months.

Even when some systems are capable of receiving power again, there is no guarantee there will be any to deliver. Almost all natural gas and fuel pipelines require electricity to operate. Coal-fired power stations usually keep reserves to last 30 days, but with no transport systems running to bring more fuel, there will be no electricity in the second month.

With no power for heating, cooling or refrigeration systems, people could begin to die within days. There is immediate danger for those who rely on medication. Lose power to New Jersey, for instance, and you have lost a major centre of production of pharmaceuticals for the entire US. Perishable medications such as insulin will soon be in short supply.

Hurricane Katrina’s societal and economic impact has been measured at $81 billion to $125 billion. According to the NAS report, the impact of what it terms a "severe geomagnetic storm scenario" could be as high as $2 trillion. And that’s just the first year after the storm. The NAS puts the recovery time at four to 10 years.

Previously, previously.

because I need distraction after being kicked in the teeth

Six-Word Reviews of 1,302 SXSW MP3s
via jwz:

“You know, when I listened to all of the 2007 and 2008 SXSW torrents, I thought that was kind of hardcore.

I was wrong.

Paul Ford is hardcore. He listened to all of the 2008 songs, all the way through, and wrote six word reviews of each.

Brilliant reviews, even. Fun, sparkling, delightful reviews like “This guitarist has too many feelings.” rated with a well thought out yet amusingly arbitrary rating system gently broken into sections by band name anecdotes, clever charts, perceptive bon mots, and the occasional entertaining short-yet-rewarding paragraph about a particular song/artist/title/genre, like, “ANTHEM: This song by Born in the Flood is inexcusable. Consider: (1) It is called “Anthem,” and it is an anthem. (2) It sounds like Bono and the Edge riding around on Sparklehorses. (3) I can’t understand the lyrics but there’s a crown mentioned. It was heretofore considered impossible for any singer to overcome these cognitive challenges in order to create a distinct and memorable song. And yet this man does exactly that. Or to put it another way: When you were 23 and living alone without many friends and definitely no girlfriends, did you ever jerk off and cry at the same time? This is your song.”

In a word, the article was glorious. Even better, thankfully, oh so thankfully, Paul Ford has done it again. Click. Read. Enjoy.

ps. Dan‘s review, four out of five stars, “It’s difficult, living as an automaton.”

richard has the best grin on the planet

“The music business is a cruel and shallow trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men lie like dogs. There is also the negative side.”

-Hunter S. Thompson

I assumed, somewhat foolishly, that when Cansec was over, I’d get to rest, have a space to breathe. Apparently not. I just took a minute to chart out my next few weeks with a calendar in front of me and realized my weekends for the next month have already been assigned.

This weekend I’m going to the Juno‘s for work, bringing David along for his birthday. Next weekend, April 4-5, I’m going over to Victoria. The weekend after that, April 11-12, I’m going to be in Seattle ghosting Norwescon. The weekend after that, April 18-19, I’m again in Victoria with Ray, Nicole, and maybe Wayne to drop in on Esme and Nicholas, who has a gig. Then again the weekend after that, April 25-16, for his next gig, playing strip-club funk at Monty’s, and, even more bizarrely, for the grand opening of the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club, which has apparently been completely taken over by oddball hacker friends who all wanted a shot at the Olympics and free downtown parking.

Given this sort of schedule, I’m not sure when I intend to eventually sleep. Perhaps when I’m dead. Or better, when I’m dancing. Mercy knows I need the exercise, given how erratically/oddly I’ve been eating. First there came the week of meat, then the weekend of ice-cream breakfasts topped with chocolate and raspberry liqueur. Nothing I would ever complain about, though I am beginning to forget what a vegetable looks like, except that now that I’m not continually on my feet, all I want to do is sort of laze around until my break down the door weekends, an option that, though attractive, will simply Not Do. So, given that I work nine to five, and Tuesdays are Secret Film School, who wants to go swimming?

you make me feel so happy, so real. you beautiful moment in my life, as we wrinkle in time, so let’s stretch this thing out