The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Monday, February 28, 2005

More Free Time Than I Can Shake a Stick At

Everyone wishes they had more free time, until they find themselves in a position where they have more free time than they know what to do with. I used to jokingly say that being put in prison wouldn't be so bad, because at least you'd have a lot of time to catch up on your reading.

Well, here I am "between jobs" (nervous laughter) and I have 24 hours a day to do what I want. You may be surprised to hear it, but I have been using my time somewhat less-than-effectively. I watch a stupid amount of television (90% of it completely forgettable) and waste most of my time that way. Perhaps the only useful thing I've been doing has been studying Japanese. I'm focusing on kanji (Chinese characters) because I want to take the next level of the Japanese Proficiency Test in December.

In addition to studying, I have been doing a lot of reading. I've started reading Ulysses again, and this time I made it to about page 50 before giving up. Someday... someday... I've also been doing some drawing, painting, and model-making. My latest project has been a bust of my great-grandfather, based on a photo of him when he was in France in 1916 as an engineer in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. I made the bust out of a kind of modelling clay that you can harden in the oven. Now I just have to track down some clear pictures of the insignia that he would have been wearing and I'll be able to start painting. It's been going well so far, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. But I've been experiencing a mounting feeling of dread that, with every consective step, I'm running a greater risk of ruining the work I've done so far. This is the curse of perfectionists everywhere, and the reason why we rarely finish what we start.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Originally, this was going to be a "diary from Japan" but I guess I can include random thoughts as well, right? So this is what's going through my head lately:

The NHL season just got cancelled, and it's getting almost as much news coverage here as the tsunami did a month ago. I can't believe that anyone cares that a bunch of spoiled, mega-rich owners couldn't resolve their monetary squabbling with a bunch of spoiled, overpaid hockey players. Everyone is moaning and complaining that this is going to hurt minor hockey somehow, as if the only reason that kids play minor hockey is because they actually think they're going to make it to the NHL. If that's the case, 99.99% of these kids might as well give up right now. Anyway, maybe if some kids get disillusioned by hockey, they'll get other interests, like learning how to read and write, for example. It just seems that we've lost sight of the fact that this is a GAME! A HOBBY! There are more important things in life.

And it kills me that this is the lead story. We live in a country that has agreed to the Kyoto Protocol, but is the leading per-capita polluter in the world. (Our leaders admit that there is absolutely no chance that we'll meet our pollution goals in the next 6 years, either.) People are dying by the thousands in Sudan, but nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Refugees are being denied food for the most imbecilic bureaucratic reasons ... but this all has very little if anything to do with chasing a puck around the ice, so let's not think about it. Canada has announced plans to send troops to Iraq ... I haven't heard any details about this plan because the CBC is too busy interviewing Don Cherry. (To think that he was a leading contender for the title of "Greatest Canadian" speaks volumes about this country.)

In short, this country has a lot of more important problems to think about, and it makes me sick to think that we're all really upset because a bunch of millionaires who get paid to slam each other with hockey sticks don't think they're getting a fair deal. We Canadians like to think that we're a real, "grown up" country, with an important role on the world stage, but until we extract our heads from our asses and get our priorities straight, we're a laughing stock.