5 Things To Consider Before Murdering Someone

5 Things To Consider Before Murdering Someone

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 head with the base of an unusual and distinctive lamp; you need to have the right tools. Keep the tools simple and common – something widely available at popular chain stores (Dollarama, Home Depot, etc.). Bring extra plastic sheeting, shovels, lime, and cleaning supplies – you always need more than you think you will. If you weren’t (or aren’t) a Boy Scout, keep their excellent motto in mind: Be Prepared! 4. Have a plan B No matter how well you plan, something could go awry. Your target might switch jobs, coffee shops, gain/lose a significant other, or experience some other unexpected change that breaks their usual routine. It’s especially important to be adaptable to change, and to be able and...

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children of air india – thoughts

children of air india – thoughts

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 flight, the thoughts of both passengers and their families as they got ready to leave for the airport and all the small moments that string together to make a life: the goodbyes, the squabbles, the worry of being late. Among these moments are the clinical words that describe death: the vocabulary of coroners and lawyers and investigators; the language and words that piece together what happened, even as they cut apart the soft unprotected parts of those left behind to hear them. Toward the end of the book, the poems explore the feelings of being left behind: the reporters, the questions and the futures that will go unlived. This is where attempting to review this works falls apart for me....

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Writer vs. Author – semantic nonsense or important distinction?

Writer vs. Author – semantic nonsense or important distinction?

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 when they speak) who play with the big boys and by god you had better appreciate that fact, or b) they are terribly insecure about their writing – and their desire to write – possibly due to lack of support or even open derision about writing being a silly artsy-fartsy hobby for people who want to avoid having to grow up and get real jobs. If publication is the only barrier to being able to call yourself an author, then that barrier was torn down as soon as the self-publishing industry opened its doors. To say that an unpublished writer is also not an author simply because they aren’t available on Kindle or in paperback format is just a lot of...

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A Monster Calls – a book review

A Monster Calls – a book review

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 I think it’s safe to reveal that the monster wreaks all the havoc you expect of monsters, while also moving Conor toward facing his nightmare and revealing his truth both to the monster and himself. To this end, the monster tells Conor three tales, and Conor is expected to provide the fourth tale – the deep truth of his nightmare and his feelings about it. I was particularly struck by something the monster tells Conor: Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truth that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both. This is something that hit home for me personally. I have lied to myself times without number about so...

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FHRITP – a vulgar and dangerous trend

FHRITP – a vulgar and dangerous trend

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 logic and reason Are guilty of the same behaviour – or encouraging others in that behaviour – and would rather defend it than admit they were wrong Are incapable of empathy toward others But the responses that troubled me the most were the ones that simply read, “I don’t see what the big deal is.” I’d like to explain why I think this is a big deal; why this whole ill conceived FHRITP prank is, not only stupid and vulgar, but actually dangerous. When I was 15 or so, I went on my first ever date with a boy from my art class. I don’t recall what we did – probably went to see a movie or something – but...

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The Room – a book review

The Room – a book review

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 for him and his co-workers. At first, from the descriptions, it seems that the room is real and merely an unused office. But as a reader, I never felt absolutely certain of its existence because Björn had already established himself as a character I couldn’t trust. Later, when it turns out his colleagues can’t see the room at all – and see nothing more than Björn standing in the hallway even when he insists he’s in the room – you feel almost sure that the room isn’t there, but not enough to say so definitively because Björn is always so insistent that it does exist – and his insistence about the room’s existence is the only time his emotions seem...

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