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5 Things To Consider Before Murdering Someone

5 Things To Consider Before Murdering Someone

August 18, 2015

I should be working on editing my application to the SFU Writer’s Studio right now, instead I opted to spend an inordinate amount of time crafting a response to my friend Sharon’s Facebook post – and more time still re-working it for my blog. Where better to show off how-to lists about murder than on a public blog? My friend Sharon posted a link to an article entitled, 5 Ways To Stay Positive When Negative People Drain Your Energy on Facebook. Her accompanying comment was, “For those of you who aren’t ready to ask me to go buy the tarp and shovels yet.” Sharon is clearly a bad influence on me (or a positive one regarding murderous impulses), it’s one of the reasons I like her. Usually I find these lists silly and full of clichéd advice, but this one gave me an idea for my own – rather than try to bliss myself out of wanting to throttle the negative twerps in my life, why not just dispose of them altogether? I meditated (no I didn’t) on the idea while listening to this: And then I came up with the following: 1. The perfect murder is possible Committing the perfect murder is no easy feat, but it is possible. We all know of murders that have never been solved, killers that were never caught, bodies that were never found, and cases with  zero solid evidence; these are the ones you’ll want to study and emulate. The Internet is a treasure trove of murder know-how – put that Incognito Mode to good use! 2. Do your homework Most people are creatures of habit. There are multiple times in a given day where it would be easy and even convenient to knock off your target. Be patient, study your target, take careful mental notes of their routines and habits. If you do, I promise you this: the perfect moment will present itself. 3. Tools of the trade You can’t just bop someone over the...

children of air india – thoughts

children of air india – thoughts

July 14, 2015

Title: children of air india Author: Renée Sarojini Saklikar Publisher: Nightwood Editions, 2013 Pages: 125 ISBN: 978-0-88971-287-4 Price: $13.68 (CDN) This is not a book review because I am faced, for the first time, with something that cannot be reviewed in the usual way. Typically, I would read a book and then write a review to discuss what I liked or disliked about it: was the story was good and engaging, the characters relatable, the world immersive and detailed… Even with poetry, I can usually say if I liked a given poem or not, or whether or not it spoke to me in some way. children of air india did more than merely speak to me, it drove the raw edges of grief, anger, sorrow and unspeakable loss right through the heart of me. Air India Flight 182 was destroyed by a bomb at 31,000 feet off the southern coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985. It was the deadliest terrorist attack Canada has ever known – 329 people, a large number of them children under 13, were killed. 268 of the dead were fellow Canadians. At the time of the bombing, I was 9 years old and utterly ignorant of the event that had just taken place. I was probably wandering around my neighbourhood feeling pleased to have the whole of the summer laid before me with no end in sight. Air India Flight 182 wasn’t on my mind that day, or in the days that followed as I did not follow the news – and my parents probably did little more than watch the reports on TV. I learned of the bombing later, as a teenager, and even then – I failed to understand the significance; I failed to connect those lives with my own. Renée Saklikar’s book of poems, along with other reading, has been the beginning of connection, knowledge and some understanding. For me, the poems seem like fragments from which small pieces of picture emerge: the morning’s activities before the...

Writer vs. Author – semantic nonsense or important distinction?

Writer vs. Author – semantic nonsense or important distinction?

July 11, 2015

Last night I was chatting with members of my writing group over Skype when one of the members said, “Actually, I am a writer; I just want to be an author.” I asked him for clarification and he said, “One has published, the other just has books.” I’ve always been annoyed by this distinction between “writer” and “author”, but I did some research – and there are an astonishing number of people who agree with this distinction; who feel that writers are people who haven’t been published and they are therefore not authors. There are others who feel that “author” is a past-tense only way of referring to completed work and that if you’re calling yourself a writer, it’s because you’re currently working on a project, and not dealing with work that’s already done. I also looked up the definitions in my copy of the OED: “author n. & v. 1 a writer, esp. of books.” and “writer n. 1 a person who writes or has written something. 2 a person who writes books; an author.” So, basically, writers and authors are the same thing, and I believe that this is true. When used as interchangeable definitions, I have no issues with people saying they’re an author, and often that sounds better when talking about a writer’s works. For example, “Stephen King, the author of dozens of novels…” sounds more natural than, “Stephen King, the writer of dozens of novels…” For me, the problem comes in when ego (or lack of confidence) gets tossed in the debate of “author” vs. “writer”. Obviously, I haven’t met every published writer ever, so I don’t believe what I’m about to say applies to everyone who calls themselves an author, but in my experience, people distinguishing themselves specifically as authors (and not as writers) do so because a) they want to distance themselves from the hoi polloi who are merely dirty little scribblers without fashion/publishers while they are Published Authors (you can hear them capitalise the title...

A Monster Calls – a book review

A Monster Calls – a book review

May 27, 2015

Title: A Monster Calls Author: Patrick Ness Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2011 Pages: 105 ISBN: 978-0-7636-6065-9 Price: $10.00 (CDN) I was hooked on this excellent book from the opening line: “The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.” For me, that’s an opening line right up there with, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”, and given how many times I’ve read that particular book… Ness’s story focuses on Conor, a 13 year old boy whose mother is going through medical treatments for an unspecified illness – I thought “cancer” as I read – and about Conor’s recurring nightmares since the treatments began. On this particular night, at 12:07 am, Conor meets the monster for the first time when it comes to his bedroom window: it is “something wild, something ancient” in the form of the yew tree that normally sits in the centre of the graveyard on a hill near Conor’s house. The tree monster tells him in no uncertain terms: “I have come to get you, Conor O’Malley.” Conor’s story is accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Jim Kay, and our first look at the monster shows a wild and almost primitive looking monster; the kind that isn’t borne out of watching too many silly slasher and zombie films, but the kind that comes from your very deepest and most primitive fears. Looking at the drawings, I thought, “Somewhere, in the history of the human species, there were people living in caves who were probably drawing pictures of the exact same monster.” This monster is older than time and more wild – and when it goes walking in the world, it goes in search of truth. And not just the easy truths; the difficult ones that make you squirm uncomfortably, the ones that make you feel sick to your stomach with holding them in; the ones that can set you free if you’re brave enough to give them a voice. I don’t want to spoil the plot entirely, but...

FHRITP – a vulgar and dangerous trend

FHRITP – a vulgar and dangerous trend

May 16, 2015

Trigger Warning: In addition to vulgar language, there are also references in this post that might be triggering for survivors of sexual assault. Nothing is spelled out explicitly, but there are some descriptions of feelings and thoughts that might be difficult for some. Proceed with caution. The whole “Fuck her right in the pussy” debacle started as a stupid hoax set up by John Cain pretending to be a reporter who doesn’t realise he’s on live television while talking about a missing 20 year old woman. In the video he talks about how he’d “fuck her right in the pussy” – complete with a vulgar pelvic thrust – the camera then cuts back to the network host who apologises and moves on to the next story. Idiots everywhere decided this was the funniest thing ever and began harassing reporters with the vile phrase. The most recent case involved CityNews reporter, Shauna Hunt, while she interviewed soccer fans after a Toronto FC game. Ms. Hunt was brave enough to confront the men on camera; they continued their disrespectful behaviour by saying that the phrase was “fucking hilarious” and that Ms. Hunt was “lucky there [wasn’t] a fucking vibrator in [her] ear” (a reference to  another FHRITP prank in the UK). One of the men from the Shauna Hunt video, Shawn Simoes, has been fired from his job, a decision that has provoked a lot of responses on social media. There are the usual “freedom of speech” arguments (and to those people, I invite you to read this comic), and “This is all PC nonsense – it’s just a joke.”, and false equivalency arguments like, “So, if my boss loves Stephen Harper and I don’t – and I say so publicly – does that mean I can be fired too?” None of these arguments hold water for me. These are the arguments people make because they: Have no understanding of what free speech actually means Are incapable of sound arguments based on...

The Room – a book review

The Room – a book review

May 12, 2015

Title: The Room Author: Jonas Karlsson Publisher: Hogarth (2009, trans. 2015) Pages: 186 (not incl. discussion guide) ISBN: 978-0-8041-3998-4 Price: $11.17 (USD, Amazon.com) The Room is the absurd, slightly sad and intriguing tale of Björn, who finds a strange room in the office where he works. From the start, I suspected that Björn would be the sort of insufferable jerk that we’ve all had the misfortune to work with at some point or another. Björn was transferred from his previous work place for reasons never made entirely clear: It wasn’t my decision to move on. I was fairly happy at my last job and felt comfortable with the routines, but somehow I outgrew the position and ended up feeling that I was doing a job that was way below my abilities, and I have to admit that I didn’t always see eye to eye with my colleagues. It became clear very quickly that Björn was going to be a very unreliable narrator – after all, if he were really “happy” and “comfortable” in his job, it seems absurd that he’d suddenly “somehow” feel the work was beneath him. I can only assume that his old boss was all too happy to see him go and become someone else’s problem. By page 14, Björn cemented my dislike of him with his petty observations about his co-workers: Slowly but surely I built up profiles of my closest neighbours, their character and place in the hierarchy. Beyond Håkan [Björn’s desk mate] sat Ann. A woman somewhere around fifty. She seemed knowledgeable and ambitious, but also the sort of person who thought she knew everything and liked being proven right…Opposite Ann sat Jörgen. Big and strong, but doubtless not possessed of an intellect to match… In addition to his nasty little asides about his co-workers, there is the room – a strange puzzle of a place which increasingly becomes the focus of Björn’s working life (in good and bad ways) to the point of a being an obsession...

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – a book review

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – a book review

December 12, 2014

Title: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Author: R. A. Dick (Josephine Leslie) Publisher: Vintage Books Pages: 174 ISBN: 978-0-8041-7348-3 Price: $14.95 (USD, Amazon.com) I didn’t discover this gem of a book until after I’d watched the movie on Netflix – I’ve now seen it seven times and counting, it’s a really good movie – and learned from the credits that it was based on R. A. Dick’s novel of the same name. I ordered a copy of the movie and the book, and read the book over two days. The story begins with newly widowed Lucy Muir who, after discharging the debts left behind by her late husband, decides she wants a life of her own – preferably one that is far from her pushy and interfering in laws who insist on treating her as though she were a silly child rather than a grown and widowed woman with two children. After enquiring at the local house agent’s, Lucy learns of Gull Cottage, a beautiful little house by the sea in Whitecliff that is supposedly haunted by the former owner, Captain Daniel Gregg. Despite attempts at interference from the house agent, Mr. Coombe, who tells Lucy exactly what he thinks would and wouldn’t suit her, she is successful in renting it. As it turns out, all the rumours about Gull Cottage being haunted are completely true. Captain Daniel Gregg, a plain spoken sailor who “lived a man’s life” and then died in Gull Cottage unexpectedly, has terrified previous prospective tenants out of their wits – and out of his house – but Lucy is determined to stay and the two come to an agreement as Lucy settles into her new and independent life in Gull Cottage. I admit that as I read the book, I did picture Rex Harrison (Sexy Rexy!) and Gene Tierney in the title roles, but here, Captain Gregg’s language is even stronger and more appropriate to the way you might think a former sea captain would talk (when he was practising...

Birthday monsters

Birthday monsters

November 12, 2013

When I was a kid, I LOVED having my birthday. I’d go to bed on November 10th absolutely sure that when I woke on November 11th, I’d be obviously older, smarter, wiser, and worthy of more adult privileges like staying up later and not being treated like the kid I no longer was. And even if none of that happened, there would still be presents and cake to enjoy, so I couldn’t lose even if I did have to be in bed by 8:30 p.m. and keep being bossed around by grown-ups. Now that I’m 38, I’ve lost a little of that excitement and hope. I have gained a little wisdom, but only by putting myself through difficult things that Little Me would have disdained (“If that boy is mean to you, or makes you feel sad, just don’t be his friend any more.  Now let’s colour, OK?”). Still, despite the dumb things that my older self has done (or not done) that have made my life more difficult than necessary, I do still enjoy a nice gift and a slice of cake (though, I no longer expect these things the way I once did). So, yesterday I met up with my lovely friend Ms. von Bossypants, and she presented me with this awesome, three-eyed little monster from the Monster Lab on Salt Spring Island:   His name is Acme, and he’s got stringy legs (so he can’t stand without some serious assistance), but he can see pretty well out of all three eyes, so that makes up for it. Plus, he’s a friendly looking little guy and he seems to be getting along pretty well with my Murloc and other critters. Joe treated me to a great sushi dinner, and then made me some chocolate mint brownies (instead of birthday cake) for dessert. We spent the rest of the evening eating brownies, listening to Jonathan Coulton, and playing video games with the sound off. OK, maybe I haven’t grown...

Is this thing still on?

Is this thing still on?

October 21, 2013

It’s been awhile since my last post (seven weeks and six days, but who’s counting?).  What have I been doing in that time? Well, a number of things: I went to Ontario to see my family because it had been two years since my last visit. I had a great time. I saw two plays at the Stratford Festival (Merchant of Venice and Othello) with my Dad – and we had amazing seats for both. I also drank a fair bit of home-made wine on the back patio (really good stuff), while tossing a bright orange squeaky ball for my parent’s dog, Dodge. The only bad part was not getting to see my sister as much as I would have liked. I have been making things with crochet hooks and knitting needles (teddy bears, octopi, dishcloths, and felted wool bags) – and getting requests for these things from people who see them. I cooked a 20 lb. turkey for Thanksgiving for Joe, and some friends, and it turned out really well. I discovered that you can only eat so many turkey leftovers for lunch and dinner. I am really very tired of turkey now. I cleaned up all the half-dead plants on the balcony, dried the herbs that survived my neglect, and scrubbed down the balcony and my now empty plant pots. My balcony looks really bare and strange. I re-caulked the bathtub because the old caulk was peeling off and it looked nasty. It was actually quite easy to do, and it looks about a thousand times better (Note: pay more for the stuff that makes you tub usable in three hours instead of 12 – it’s worth the extra money). I have been working with the City of North Vancouver to stop the patrons of a certain restaurant across from our building from screaming/yelling/shouting etc., in the street from 7 p.m. to damn near midnight every night in creation. Things are in the good part of the...

Shut up and write

Shut up and write

August 27, 2013

I’ve been debating for awhile now about whether I should use this blog to talk about the book I’m trying to write. I’ve mentioned before that I’m working on one, but I haven’t gone into details about it. Today, I made the decision that I will not be blogging about the book on here until it’s finally done (which right now feels like ‘never’) – instead, I’m going to shut up and write. I read a great post on the New York Times website by Mark Slouka called Don’t Ask What I’m Writing in which he brings up the dual nature of writing and talking about it with other people: I hate being asked what I’m writing about, or how it’s going, because when I talk about it, it all sounds stupid and improbable; but I also hate not being asked because I want to hear that I’m not just wasting my time writing nonsense. So far, I’ve erred on the side of, ‘tell me I’m not wasting my time/life’, and gave a mostly done draft of the book to some friends, who all gave me feedback, which I then tried to incorporate into the unfinished book. This was a really terrible idea. The feedback was mostly positive, and most people want me to hurry up and finish so they can find out what happens – but you know, so do I, and trying to incorporate feedback into an unfinished story is making hard to go forward. My poor little ego liked the praise, but actually doing the work is harder now that I am trying to crowd please by taking into account criticism I asked for – much of which is actually pretty spot-on for the chunk of the book that exists. Add in the inner critic (made up of equal parts of bully and helicopter parent)and hardly a new word has been written in months. What have I done to try and work my way out of the...