Sunday, May 30, 2004

As you read the first sentence of this particular blog entry you realize that something is different. Though it takes only moments to adapt, you feel the briefest of shocks at being forced from your usual, comfortable role as passive observer into one of active participation. You are not used to this. Your first reaction is a bit defensive: perhaps you scoff at such an obvious gimmick, or, having read something like this before, you write it off as imitation. Perhaps your knowledge of the Author allows you to pin down the source of influence. Perhaps, after a moment, you realize that these are only attempts to recover dignity, control... but surely you have never lost control, you think to yourself, after all, as a Reader, you can stop reading at any time.

However, even as you read the next words you realize that you have not and probably will not stop reading. Perhaps the philosopher in you spies the trick and you experience a small thrill of self-congratulation, but now you are a tad uncertain. You do not know where this is leading, and as One Who Reads, you usually know where you are being led. But there are no clues here. This particular blog entry does not fit into the category of personal disclosure, or public announcement, or even note-to-self. There are no links, no quotes, no structure beyond that of sentence and paragraph to indicate what you are reading. Perhaps by now you think you have discovered The Purpose of this entry: it is an exploration of some sort, an intellectual exercise, a way of pondering the existence of "the blog" or the ways it can be used. Perhaps you are being led by the Author to question control, or to find some insight in the examination of the reading process itself.

But even as you convince yourself of these things and raise your chosen defense of critical thinking or careful apathy, you cannot fully ignore the part of you that suspects you are still being manipulated. You reassure yourself that, of course, the Author cannot *know* what you are thinking... you are reading mere guesses, and if the Author guesses wrong then the spell is broken. However, maybe you find that you don't *want* the spell to be broken, and that in several ways you have already been playing along, "suspending disbelief" as it were-- you are, of course, well aware that this is just another spell.

Still, you don't know why this one is being cast, and that bothers you a bit. Perhaps you are already frustrated at having come this far without a reward of any kind. Why would anyone read without reward? You question how this might end and wonder if you won't be somewhat frustrated. You fear the Author might yet descend into the merely absurd: resorting to a surprise ending, or a non sequitur, or some other cheap narrative device. You hope that there is no profound or cliche climax approaching, but you sense that the ending is near. After all, the ending is being discussed, there is an order to events, surely at this stage you will not be denied closure.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

That's a lot of hassle for thirty cents.

Right, so I'm on my third job in the span of a week... a situation only ameliorated by the fact that this one's the same as the first. Yup, after negotiations with Tom Musselman, the construction contractor that housemate Chris was working for, I told Prestige Acoustics that they weren't paying me enough and left for balmier, more lucrative seas (how come my life is becoming one big Puzzle Pirates metaphor? Kirk?). Of course, those lucrative seas told me on Tuesday that they weren't actually all that lucrative, or rather, they would be, but only if they could find work for me to do. They couldn't. So on hands and knees I told good old Prestige that I would come back... if they paid me more.

Which is why, on a thirty cent raise, I am once again working for the job that I quit last week, pretending to be a Martin brother (both Travis and Taylor worked there) and working out... I mean... working. Seriously though, I am buff. Buff in ways that only a true English major can be, an English major that once sat at a computer for five consecutive years to earn a degree through the drinking of coke and the checking of email, an English major that spends his gloriously deadline-free free time reading more books, an English major that is reading books and getting excited about going back to school to study even more books, LOTS of books, TONS of books, especially in the library, where I can take my shirt off when the girls walk by and say, "Hark! I'm buff!".

Still, buffness aside, it is truly amazing how much I missed "the farm-tired": that feeling at the end of the day when you pry the steel-toe boots from off your throbbing feet, pull that drywall- and sweat-plastered bandana from off that head of hair your great-grandmother paid you $40 to get cut (sorry Oma! soon!), and rinse approximately three pounds of dust and muscle-ache down the drain under a mist of hot steam and hotter water. Let me tell you, after spending a whole lotta time brain-tired, body-tired can feel pretty good.

But utter bliss aside, some have been asking for more details. Well, Prestige Acoustics supplies ceiling tile, accompanying metal bits, insulation, and drywall. People order this stuff, my buddy James (who actually *is* buff... at least, more so than me... if that's even possible...) and I throw it onto a freakin' huge chick-magnet truck (seriously, girls are ALL OVER US in that thing. I'm not even joking; it's kind of scary.), then we drive it to various delivery sites all over continental America by which I mean Southern Ontario and unload it again. My job = driving + lifting. Oh, and buffness (and girls!?).

Right, but all of these asides aside, the story of my life can be encapsulated in one tiny anecdote: I delivered drywall to Mitra the other day. I worked at Mitra as a Software Developer a few months ago. If that isn't a clash of lifestyles, I don't know what is. I even met some of the *hot* air conditioner boys that several of my fellow high-paid corporate deskjob coops were mooning over. Ladies, they're actually quite nice in person too ;)

Anyways, moral of the story is, I really like my current job. I'm starting to remember what I used to believe success was, and I'm learning a lot in the reevaluation. Money and Success won't fulfill your life, and just because you haul drywall doesn't mean you deserve to be patronized (and whoa, are ya)... course, societal pressures and pride will forever tell us otherwise. I'm still the arrogant prick university graduate sometimes... eesh, disgusting... but at least I don't have that moment of defensiveness anymore, the moment that immediately proceeds the question "so, what are you doing this summer?". I've rediscovered the dignity in labour that I'd forgotten about... more's the pity for me.

So if I ever pull up beside a GMC 3500-HD dooley flatbed with my IPO-earned, caffeine-burned, computer-sciencey/englishy-result-of-whatever-the-heck-type-of-career-I-end-up-in Lexus, remind me of the place that big old truck came from. Because that was back when I was buff.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

So, I spent the weekend down near Beamsville with a Grandma, a Great-Grandma and approximately one million cousins in celebration of Mother's day. Lots of good times, including some quality English graduate time involving a server built from the ground up and a Debian install. Granted, it beat me, but only because I ran out of time... darn integrated graphics and the needless attempt at KDE.

Regardless, life is as wonderful as the weather, which is to say, wonderful indeed. Looks as though I'll be taking over for my buddy Travis at Prestige Acoustics, where the job description is drywall, ceiling tile, and customer relations. Your guess is as good as mine, but hey, as long as the deadlines don't involve "compare and contrast" or the word "trope", I'm all in. Besides, a little bit of buff can't be all bad. Gotta maintain my ability to trounce the wrestling Charlotte ;)

Further, the official Summer O' Ultimate commences this fine fine evening. Disc, you and me gonna get together. In ART'S FACE.

So, Monday at 7am, my new sleep-life begins. Until then, books, games, and movies. Well, after that too...

Thursday, May 06, 2004

And May is upon us. School's over and done with, which feels great, and the house is slowly recovering from the end of term crunch, which also feels good, so bring on the Spring. If anyone knows how to get ahold of the Langeman Cwik Ultimate Boys house, let me know... looking forward to some sweet Ultimate all summer long.

Of course, all Ultimate and no work makes Jared a poor boy, so the job hunt is beginning to kick into high and somewhat desperate gear. I appeared to have unemployment on the ropes earlier this week with an interview at a company called Creative Options, but after generating excitement with an interview, the "whoops, government grants to hire new grads only apply to long-term hires (and not those planning on grad school)" shoe dropped. Also, desperate emails to an old friend of mine (Mitra) aren't being returned... last hope is that the email recipients are on vacation.

All of which leaves me in somewhat-more-interesting straits. I've been holding out on a drywall-hauling job and a gravel-shovelling job in hopes that I can land something without a hyphen and more capitals, like Writer or Coder. But, as time passes, options begin to run out.

And of course, I keep finding all these wonderful opportunities all over the continent, all of which are behind the glass wall of the two-month-notice clause of my lease. Unless you know of a distant place of work that will pick up two months of rent, well (hmm... or maybe a willing subletter for the summer?). Heck, I could even go prepare some of the exotic cuisine Google carts out every day. Man, and I thought Grebel was revolutionary because they put the hamburgers into the soup the next day...

Oh well, things will turn up as they always do. In the interim, I've managed to see a couple good movies (including back-to-back Kill Bills) and read a couple good books (including John Fowles' The Magus... don't think I've ever free-falled through a book in exactly the same way before). In between there are weddings and board games and books and lots and lots of email to catch up on, so, well, here we go.

All I know is, not having an essay due can be a beautiful thing :)