Saturday, October 17, 2009

posters i've done

Not to get all post-moderny on you guys anyways, but what is real anyway? That's all I can think of while on a two-day layover in Toronto going back home to Newfoundland from Vancouver. I get to catch a show in the big city, and it's IRON AGE, and smoke is billowing from a PA speaker on a stand, stage right, and the singer, between every song is saying "More vocals in the monitor, please." But isn't the burning plastic smell noticeable and indicative of why his vocals seem quietish? They are the opposite of blown-out and with a shitload of reverb. Is this how they always are?
My friend, a fellow but native Newf, is like "They were right wicked" and I say "But the vocals... " She's like "I dunno, I just figured something was broken."
I guess she liked it anyway. Me, I'm I defensively try not to like anything. Cool, well, being a snob is okay.
Prior to trip to which this layover belongs, I was having a quarter-life crisis. It was such a shock, I didn't know what it was and took it really to heart. I'd managed to avoid most of the usual growing-up milestones and invented my own. An older, wiser columnist (Al Quint, I think), once said, (I'm totally paraphrashing) "Shut about being 30. If I wanted to be bored listening to people talk about what they should be doing at their age, I'd go listen to my sister's boring friends talk about their biological clocks ticking." I totally agree. That shit ain't punk. Still, though, when I was given a printer by a 32-year-old friend who was giving up all his projects and moving to the mainland, and I surveyed the ways I could get ink into this printer, making it usable to me, and even the refill kiosk at the mall was beyond my current financial means. Then the name and logo rang a bell and I realized that this franchise, which had crawled its way, 5000 km, across this big stupid country, was started by this guy whose website I used to write show reviews for in 2000. It's like, one minue we're both high school kids fiddling around ancient versions of photoshop and reading CSS tutorials to make wicked websites while listening to FUGAZI or whatever, and the next minute, I'm 25 and unable to afford the "environmentally friendly" discount inkjet refills dude is becoming a millionaire from selling.
My reaction aims for self-righteousness but stinks a little of shame. On one hand, I'm a success snob, remember? I already don't like IRON AGE. I don't want a profitable business, fuck. Think about it: douche bag investors, boring meetings with charts and stuff. But I'm keeping it real, right? Right? There's nothing wrong with asking my boyfriend to borrow money for my antibiotics because I have impetigo again, right? Right?
So, then, just to throw a huge fucking wrench in my financial furies, I borrow too much money from various friends so I can impulsively fly cross-continent to Vancouver. It all started when my mom called me, crying, about her mom's health. Actually, I should clarify that: I called her and she was crying, because I stubbornly don't let her have my phone number even if this means she files a missing person's report on me whenever I ignore her facebook friend request. It's totally awkward, like it means a cop comes to my door looking at me with disgust whenever I drag myself to the door after a graveyard shit to prove to him that I'm not dead. This weird new routine has also maybe fueled the quarter-life crisis; at my age, you'd think I could maintain a relationship with my mother unlike that of a teenage runaway.
You'd also think the cop-calling would indicate to me a certain level of untrustworthy hysteria, but I panicked and flew in. I mean, it's my gran. She was the one related adult in my life who took all my teenage head-shaving with a total grain of salt and didn't constantly make me feel like a piece of shit for trying not to care about the small-town, high school bullshit standards of attractiveness and whatever. And she's 86, so you know. You know. I can't say it, but you know.
My aunt that she lives with and is her primary caretaker was totally annoyed. "You know," she said when I arrived, "it's not the first time she's been in the hospital. God, your mom called everyone. Even Great aunt fucking Helga's calling in from Mannheim."
But then she looked at me and realized I was like, older than 15, and possibly responsible enough for Gran-Gran to be left alone with me (meaning, my stick 'n poke pizza slice tattoo was strategically covered up with a cardigan), so she made up the guest room for me and went on a well-deserved three-day weed and wine binge. My gran and I had a lot of scrabble to play.
To my grandma, my life peaked when I was 11 and wrote a short story about a hamster that wrote detective stories that won me a $20 gift certificate to Coles bookstore, so she wants to know if I'm still writing.
"Yeah, Gran, I write a column for this, um, music magazine in San Francisco."
She stops the process of finding a tea bag to look at me, super wide-eyed. "Oh my gosh, wow, really, San Francisco. What do you write about?"
I shift my weight from foot to foot. "Oh, um, music, sort of. Feminism? Touring. My life, I guess."
"That's great."
"Yeah, I'm kind of late this month."
"Well, I know, I know a great story you could tell." She's stirring honey into her tea.
"What's that, Gran?"
"You could write about a girl.. a girl who lives in Newfoundland and her mom tells her that her grandma is dying so she flies allll the way there and her grandmother is just fine. I think that would be a very funny story and you could make people laugh."

Punks whose grandmas help them write their punky content, get it touch. Also welcome are offers to mail me the MENANCE - G.L.C. record.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Being a normal human trying to have realistic expectations of myself, I originally opted out doing my column this month. You see, the deadline is the 5th and around then, I had just finished two consecutive three-week tours and I was in the middle of getting my gigantic, gas-devouring van (Nine-seater, motherfucker!) from New York City back home to Newfoundland. I was driving an average of like, I dunno, 500 miles a day, my computer wouldn't turn on, and when I was using someone else's, I was trying really, really hard to convince flaky craigslist losers to join us for the drive as to thin out the insane amount of gas required for such a van. It didn't really work out, my boyfriend and I went most of the trip alone. I guess all the potential ride-sharers could sense the stank of nine punks and a lack of windows during a June east coast and backed out. Squares.
Anyways, I'm not a machine! I'm a broke-ass kid lacking the proper technology to keep up with all this shit. One day, when I get a real adult salaried job and don't live in a region with a monopolized
phone service run by corrupt super-corporations taking advantage of our geographical isolation from the rest of the world, I'll do my columns via text message, like those novels in Japan that are ruining the traditional structure of Kanji. Mobile phone novels. You know what I'm talking about. But for now, I'm sharing a 30-buck land line with my two roommates and buying a yearly shitty $200 used laptop after I do something stupid with the last one, like drop it when I'm all shaky during 7 am. security check-in a JFK airport because I chose shitty Brooklyn drugs over sleep.
Blah blah blah, so I got home on the 10th, check up on my square-mail (that's "e-mail" for you squares), and find lambasting from coordinator-in-femi-fascist, Layla Gibbons, for dropping the ball on the cause this month. I guess the boy columnist to girl columnist ratio is way out of whack and when one of us precious few opt out, the scale tilts just that little more towards the Maximum Gender'nEquity. That was two puns in one paragraph. I'm sorry. I'm really grasping at last-minute content here.
Anyways, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I will re-burden myself with the struggle of a consistent
wimmin voice in punk and thank you to the new columns editor (They exist and put up with our shit and do a lot of work and probably representative of the vast and invisible behind-the-scenes work punk ladies do that keep all this shit going), Judy Bawls, for allowing me to submit another gripping segment of My Bands Played Places Yours Probably Didn't an entire week late.

Peterborough, Ontario: I'm not a fan of the "Why live in this place when you can live in that supercity
over there?" ideology but I kind of think it when I go to Peterborough. It's like a sleepy suburb half an hour out of Toronto, a bustling metropolis the scene is young and enthusiastic and the cheap food is delicious and plentiful. But then, shelter is expensive, you can't park fucking anywhere, and it's kind of a suffocating, busy city. And Stu lives in Peterborough, Stu who does FREE SOCIETY zine, which is long-lived, and interesting, and smart. And Stu does DIY shows. He prefers all-ages even though he's, like, old, like 28, but sometimes he'll have to do a show at a tiny bar, where the owner will stand outside and yell FUCK YOU at the upstairs neighbor who calls the cops to complain about noise (although that first band doing a brutally poor mash-up of NO MEANS NO meets the MINUTE MEN did play for over an hour [nobody is allowed to play for over an hour except NAS and FLEETWOOD MAC] and I almost called the cops too), and the bar is next door to a delicious pizzeria that donates pizzas to touring bands, and the 20 people who come will go fucking nuts when you play. So whatever, Peterborough is pretty okay. Recommended.

Orono, Maine: I took these Irish bands on tour, drove them around. I'm tour bossy, it's pretty annoying. But do you need to drink in our van outside the community center that is being surveillanced by cops looking for any excuse to put the kibosh on all-ages hardcore shows? Is it me? Do I drive you to drink? But anyways, it didn't matter, because when my Irish tourmates got busted by cops, they charmed and distracted them with their passports (22-year-old smalltown police: "What?! You're from Ireland?! No way, that's wicked!! Want to try out my night vision goggles?") My friends got to see the world a in new, neater, brighter night-visiony light, the show still happened, everyone got to play, the kids responded to every band with an outrageous two-step circle pit, we got to all sleep in a giant punk farmhouse owned by an extremely young married couple who chainsmoke, run a record label, and hold up the infrastructure of their small scene on their shoulders, and all was well with the world. Highly recommended!

Coming home: My upstairs neighbor is freaking out, he's this borderline-juggalo cab driver that got beat up really badly 18 months ago after kicking two dudes out of his cab 'cause they called him a fag. The situation was a wake-up call for tolerance awareness in the community but now dude walks with a limp and is prone to crazy rages, yelling so loudly the house shakes. That shit is fucking heavy, huh? My bike has a flat, the hole is right on the valve so it can't be patched, so I need a new tube and I'm pretty broke but too dejected to try take my old stressful job back, a kid threw a boulder at me right before I left for tour. Well, a big rock. Anyway, I'm sick of driving, I vowed never to drive again but I've got a half-tank of leftover gas and no other transportation. I predict too-hot summer in-town traffic jams on my way to shitty cross-town food banks and job interviews. So far, I've lined up a paid smoker's survey that I will have to re-learn to smoke for and an interview at the medical university where, if hired, I will have to pretend I have various disorders while medical students touch me a lot. Not recommended.

stay stoked,
juls generic

Friday, June 5, 2009

My band played in places yours probably didn't (small, weird places on tour feature series)
Marystown, Newfoundland.

In the middle-south of Newfoundland, there's a little leg of land jutting out into the sea with a burgeoning hardcore scene. Burgeoning means we had to watch something slow and metallic and with keyboards. But it's the Burin Pensinsula, isolation stacked on top of isolation crammed in a corner behind some more isolation. That shit happens. Anyway, who cares? We were stoked. These kids obtained permission for our crappy bands to play in the gazebo outside of town hall. Ambulances and firetrucks, on duty but with not much going on, pulled over to see what was happening. Teenagers moshed from the rafters. There were pile-ups. Dog piles. Overheard: “That was the most fun I've ever had sober.” What more could we ask for? A place to stay? Whatever.
An unfortunate but wacky-fun aspect of playing in Marystown is that although the local townspeople seem to want to encourage these alcohol-free youth events, the general public (as in, the parents everyone lives with) is completely terrified and/or disgusted by the scumbags who make the trip to play these shows and are uncomfortable with having them in their homes or establishments. Before the show, we followed the kid putting on the show in his car and he took us to an unpaved cul-de-sac on a hill overlooking the town WalMart and ate some apples and watermelon he had for us in the trunk of his car. After the show, we had the most respectable-looking members of band/road crew book a motel room for six of us to sneak into because the hotel has a “no-band” policy. (“No skinny jeans, no bandannas, no tattoos, no lip rings.”)
Of course, yes, staying in a motel on tour is not punk, but snowing at the end of May is also not punk, so we had to make some compromises. C'mon, judgers, lay off. It was mitten weather and we slept three to a bed.
After the motel was secured, we were taken to see the town, which was mostly a mall gutted of the normal shops and replaced with the business ventures of now: A call centre that employed a giant chunk of the local young and a bar across the hall with a doorway of vertical blinds. We checked out the bar. Some local men guffawed at me on my way in. The bar tender gestured at me with a poolstick, saying to one of the kids, a regular, I walked in beside, “I needs to see some ID from the little missus.”
He's 18. I'm 25.
I said, “I'm 25!”
“Soes am I.”
“Wells, I looks older than you.”
I stand there, wondering if I'm really being asked to leave a bar for being underage.
She says, “What was on da go there at the gazebo with all youse emos after?”
What do you say to that? I left and went back to the motel to watch C.S.I. with our roadies.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I wish I'd timed this better. I'm going to talk about my brother Dan because I've been thinking about family because Mother's Day is the center of everyone's next weekend. My mom is a million kilometers away, both in the cross-continental sense and by way of years of disappointment, on both our parts. Like the kind of shit that leads to a sort of strained relational-apathy that hasn't led to a complete estrangement in order to avoid sudden moves. So we still exchange e-mails; I say, Hi, I bought an old junky van, I got a raise, it's still snowing, how are you? She says, It's raining, my back's out again, your dad was layed off. I say, Oh, Happy Mother's Day.

My conflict is that by the time you read this, mother's day was last month and you're over it, I bet. Not me. I'm awkward. I want to go to the Sunday flea market to buy stolen car stereos but my friends are doing brunch and/or lunch and/or tea. Lame.

I wish I researched this better because I wanted to start this column by talking about outsider punk bands as a source of camaraderie that I feel like I need at this time in my life. A sisterhood with other isolated devotees living in a region of “Who gives a shit?” and “What are you listening to?” I mean, I could point out that, paradoxically, I feel it's impossible to write about outsider punk as an outsider because if you were an outsider punk you would not know about other outsider punk bands. But this is the 00s and there's the internet and a new issue of MRR gets sent to my remote home every month so I have no fucking excuse. The truth is that I'm still confused because I don't have punk handed to me on a silver platter anymore, like I'm not all overstimulated from having the chance to see all the bands from the top ten list of this magazine playing up the street or in my back yard or, if the band was too lazy or criminally-recorded to cross the border, it was just a two-hour drive to Seattle or Olympia anyway. What's two hours from here? Come By Chance, Newfoundland, an oil-refinery town with population of 265. No joke.

Anyway, so I'm recovering from being a spoiled scene punk who is still in shock of the idea of having to research things for my column or having to seek out bands for myself, which I haven't had to do for myself since I was like 16 and doing Lookout! Records mail orders with my brother. Because of involvement with “actual punks,” dedicated research has given way to grandious generalizations based on personal anecdote that are presented as fact. Like this: One of my favorite parts of outsider punk is the prevalence of siblings within bands. You know, like how weirdo punk bands from small towns, from faraway places, always have siblings in them. Seriously, have you been to Ireland? Every single band there has a set of brothers in it. Every single one. It's a fact.

I used to find that annoying, things like twins playing music together. It seemed too convenient. Shouldn't we challenging the status quo of who we are stuck with and rejecting nuclear family and whatever? But now I'm in the thought-camp of punk being about getting shit done with what's around. Like not giving a shit about who's the coolest and who you know that writes the most blazing riffs, but instead, just starting a project with whomever you end up spending the most time with and writing blazing riffs together. Siblings. Your best friend from grade four that you made because her dad moved in next door to you. Your roommates. Your partners (does that make me a total nerd? Come on, guys, DEAD MOON?!).

I wish I was in a band with my brother, but I don't think it'll happen, although he recently face-booked me to tell me he created a simulation of me in his RockBand band. I hated RockBand with a hardline punx stance until I worked with an eight-year-old who I could only be sure wouldn't try to stab me when he was concentrating on playing the fake drums along to the YEAH YEAH YEAHS. His name was coincdentally also Daniel, but my brother never would've tried to stab me, no sir. Vice versa? Sure. Maybe. I had an extreme seein' red phase. Call it puberty, call it the realization that every thing was fucked and nothing would ever be fair. Whichever.

Despite my violent pubescent rage period, my brother and I started to get along the summer after I ended junior high. I wonder how opportunistic that was on my part, since that was also the time when my he got his driver's license and we were given reign over our parents' old mini-van and its cassette player. It was also right after he had shaved his head into a mohawk to spite his ex-girlfriend and was consequentially given some dubbed tapes by these socially anxious punk nerds eager to find new recruits. I was especially into this one tape mistakenly dubbed MUSTARD PLUG. It was actually OPERATION IVY, which I didn't figure out until years later. Man, I think I even listed MUSTARD PLUG as one of my top favorite bands on my ICQ profile. Boy, is my face red now.

So we spent like a year driving to all-ages shows in the city and listening to tapes. If there were boy and girl parts, we'd do them respectively, like BLATZ and SUBMISSION HOLD. It was great. It was a good year. He had my back. We lived together. And then summer after he graduated, he went to basic training so that he could promote pacifism within the Canadian military and then went to college the next year to try to be an engineering major but just drank too much instead and failed out and moved back home. But by the time that happened I had gotten kicked out of there after my mom and I got in a fight and I was too stubborn to ever move back in with her again so instead I went to live with my internet boyfriend's parents. And my brother and I have never lived in the same city since. Now I have bands and he has RockBand. Oh well.

Stay punk, start a band with your little sister.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dear international punk and hardcore community,

Well, here I am, still in Newfoundland and becoming obsessed with ice pans, an obsession that started after I heard this awesome and pleading “Please Talk to your Kids about Ice Pans” public service announcement. I guess each year when these broken-off bits of ice bergs drift past the coast of Newfoundland, local youth jump on them for kicks, leading to a few annual helicopter rescues or deaths by cold, cold drownings.

I tried to go see the ice pans last week, despite the fact that I was so tired I'd get head rushes from turning my head. Strings of graveyard shifts. I cannot pull that shit off. On evening three, after a day of failed napping, standing over a stove and preparing a pot of espresso seemed too much, so I hopped on my bike and coasted downhill towards the harbor and just paid for some smiley 20-year-old in all black in one of those extremely lame nouveau rich-fancy fair trade establishments to make one for me instead. Sure, I am in theory for the move towards all-organic food industry, but in a place wherein the the term “organic” has no regulation at all, it's just an aesthetic, some cheesy St. John-ers with ebay-bought Prada and fake mainland accents buying twenty dollar appetizer sampler plates. I ordered that double espresso to go. Yes. Let's burn this fucker down one non-sustainable cup at a time.

Anyway, the coffee did nothing but turn some stomach some more and I went around by the harbor and I couldn't see nothing around the fishing boats, so I forced myself up the stairs of a parking garage, six floors up, about half the height of the tallest building in town. I tried to see out, but it was getting too dark, maybe, or they'd passed through the harbor and were gone by now, but anyway, I couldn't see much. Nothing I could possibly jump on, at least.

Not like the ice pans I saw on the news that night, watching TV at work. Ice pans were so thick in some parts, ferries were marooned. Featured was the Bell Island ferry and a group of people trying to get back into St. John's― they'd flown in for a funeral from all the usual ex-expatriate spots: the Alberta oil fields, Qatar, Nunavut. The denseness of the ice pans were so thick, the ferry delayed its trip to wait for an icebreaker. But when the icebreaker didn't arrive and flight times loomed closer, the ferry decided to go it alone and trudge through the ice, constantly backing up and rerouting, a 20-minute trip dragging into well over an hour.

It just defies conventional seasonal logic, you know? Like, I see an ocean full of ice that thick and I'm like, fuck. That is fucking cold, man. But here, it's just a usual occurrence, symptomatic of warmer weather, see, because the ice bergs a little north are breaking off and drifting southbound. Ice pans and glacier-thick water means summer is a-comin'.

“Are you upset about the delay?” the funeral goers were asked.

“Oh, heck, no, Newfoundland, ice comes with the territory.” with a calm casualness, a genuine indifference to armageddon-like conditions.

Just like my landlord says when I hand him my rent late because I'd been stuck at my home care job for an extra day― yes, in my new life, blizzards lead me to sometimes work for a straight twenty-four hours. Anyway, he responds, in pure small-talk demeanor, “Well, no one said it would be easy, b'y”

Which is a funny thing to say to someone when taking their money for rent. Oh well. In international standards, this apartment is underpriced. Go upstairs and listen to this floor stereo unit with a broken record player that I got for free out of the Buy & Sell magazine. I listen to cassettes on it by connecting my Walkmen to it with a Y-cord via the aux inputs on the back. My old best friend/roommate circa early-2000s just sent me a mixtape. I always forget she's not 17 anymore until she sends me a mix tape that's all “Burn out” by GREEN DAY and that Bruce Springsteen song waxing nostalgia about teenage sex.

Anyway, last week, my new band played someone's twentieth birthday party in their mom's basement. Awkward occasion. If someone quotes that Greg Ginn via Henry Rollins quote about playing the fuck out of a show despite only five people in attendance maybe never played a show to said amount of people while an equal amount of college girls stood in the adjoining kitchen, smiling politely and drinking Big-8 brand lemon-lime sodas, waiting for this to all to be over. I'm wishing I was still in the study watching youtube videos of juggalos. Everyone says every year prior, the 17th birthday, 18th and 19th, this party was bumping. Something else I missed. I'm hoping the raging punk heyday of this place isn't over. I don't want to move somewhere cliche-punk because I want to be 25 and enjoy a sweaty and insane house show with my peers. I'm looking for something to jump on here.

Hopefully, next month, my column will be punker.

xo juls generic

Friday, March 6, 2009

What Makes a Nine-Year-Old Start Fires?

“You can sing any song you want / but you're still the same / I can't think of anything that makes me more upset / People talk all this rhetoric” (Hüsker Dü, “The Real World”)

I'm at work. I'm always at work this winter. I work with foster kids with no foster parents. Like, when they are taken away from their parents but have nowhere to go, social services here in Newfoundland will rent them out a house and hire a staff.

I'm in the last hour of a graveyard shift. It's 7:45 in the morning. A nine-year-old is sitting on the couch, glaring at a TV. His hands are around his neck, choking himself. He is turning purple. I'm pretending I don't notice.

“So do you want your eggs boiled hard or runny?”

He stops choking himself and rubs his throat.

“I said I'm not eating anything.”

“Dude, you gotta eat something before school.”

“I'm not going to fucking school.”

“Sure you are.”

“No, I am fucking not!”

The amount of sleep I caught amounted to a two-hour nap on this kid's couch last night. I'm trying to be all level and shit, like be nice and just try to get him fed and not escalate the situation, because I know from reading the report of his last night's behavior that he started one of the recliners on fire with a lamp bulb. Smart kid. He's pissed, but not really at us, I don't think. Angry, nine-year-old destructive pissed.

I put his eggs out on the table.

“They're boiled hard.” I tell him. 'Just how you like 'em.”

I'm getting fucked annoyed but I feel shitty about it. I'm worried that I'm annoyed because it's my duty as the graveyard worker to get him ready for school and I think I'm afraid that the day worker will come in and think I am bad at my job, as if a nine-year-old too fucking fed up with his life to go to school would be seen as a fault on either of our parts. Mine or his, I mean. But maybe I'm annoyed because I slept next to nothing and my teeth are started to grind together. It comes out before I catch it. I tell him, “Well, dude, you don't have a choice, do you?”

It's 7:45 in the morning. This is my job. I'm telling a semi-suicidal 9-year-old he doesn't have any choices.

Right now, it's the end of February. A year ago, I was rowing a pretty similar-feeling boat. I was spending a half-week holed up in a secret fancy hotel in Vancouver, wrapping up a stint of jury duty with three days of sequesterment. That was weird. I got my summons right when I was in the middle of looking for a job that didn't involve riding a bike. It was for a month-long trial, paid $70/day, and started immediately after this little tour I was doing. Perfect, except, you know, it was jury duty. Well, whatever, I'd try out.

How did they get your name? Everyone wondered. I turned red, cringed, was embarrassed. Voter registry, I admitted. I swear, it was just once. A referendum about the Olympics. I voted no, my side lost, I was disappointed, I did nothing later except I think that MASS GRAVE show I attended at that infoshop that one time was No Olympics on Stolen Land fundraiser.

Despite doubts that I would even get picked, I did, based entirely on my appearance. No questions asked. First juror. Fuck. What was embarked as a weird, funny job I thought would be hilarious to try to get turned out to be simultaneously incredibly boring and morally overwhelming employment I couldn't stop showing up to one day, like all those other crappy jobs. I couldn't quit because a sheriff would show up at my house and a warrant would go out for my arrest. But maybe if I stuck it out, I could expose police corruption and racial profiling and blow the whole bullshit justice fucking system open, you know? Yeah?! Fuck yeah!

But as it turned out, the rest of my jury was also concerned about these things and we talked about them a bunch and tried to pick out the biases and bullshit in this big clusterfuck trial, a go-between between the racist-slanted prosecution and the classist/fucked-up-about-mental-health defense. I sat beside this Irish man, him and I wanted to rip down the arrogant police chief, this smug, condescending monstrous lady. We were going to tear her from her self-righteous throne of assholism. We were going to expose the utter incompetency of the whole fucking police state. We would find her prime suspect not guilty, we'd embarrass her, we, the people, would have her tarred and feathered. But in the end, we didn't have a lot of choices, we just got to say “guilty” or “not guilty,” and in the end, we sent a man to jail for 17 years because we were convinced, he was guilty, he did the crime, a crime I couldn't even call bullshit. I couldn't say the crime was a tool of the man, meant to protect the rich. Because he was cutting open the throats of homeless people, see? And if there's anyone I think should be removed from society, it's assholes who prey on the helpless and disabled and vulnerable, cold, hungry. But there were a lot of assholes out there preying on the helpless: the fucking city of Vancouver and its cops and the real estate developers. And how does this one dude going to jail help this situation again?

7:45 in the morning, telling a nine-year-old he has to go to school. On one hand, there are some perks about school: a break from a kid's home life, and elementary schools these days seem like a day camp with rotating fun activities. And he's genuinely reading/writing smart and does well when he's not punching his friends. But overall, school fucking sucks. I hated it, you hated it. And here I am, in charge and making a some poor kid go. I'm making him go to school because that's my job. I'm making him go to school because there's no alternative. I believe in a child's capacity for self-teaching but not this kid. Sorry. I've seen him stay home and it only involves Disney's Family Channel. Yeah, sure, I believe the school system should be torn down and kids should be allowed to learn in a casual, open-minded environment outside of a classroom setting wherein their individual talents and passions should be nurtured and explored, but that isn't available. This kid is parented in 8-hour rotating shifts by me and some college girls and some retired nurses, and his mom's parenting- privileges were just rolled back a notch on account of a missing $37 she lost or whatever out of her kids' clothing fund that I signed off to her during one of her visits. We had report it as unaccounted for 'cus otherwise one of us would get fired for stealing.

When I got this job, I was like, yeah, sign me up. Subconsciously, I probably thought I would open some minds on account of my progressive and alternative world view. I'd open some minds. Turns out, everyone is concerned that school sucks, that a nine-year-old wakes up so angry he wants to choke himself. But nobody can provide an alternative. My hands are tied. All I can do is make him eggs and juice for breakfast because I know he likes them and vitamins and protein are good for everyone. But his life is the same and I'm some asshole telling him to go to school.

Quit? I can't, the evening worker is going to quit next week anyway, the recliners on fire were the last straw for her and that'll already freak him out. Plus I know some days he will be happy and we'll go to the mall and he'll point out all the sharks for me at the pet store and be shocked when he overhears someone in the food-court using the eff-word.

“Dude,” I say, “you use that word all the time when you're angry.”

“Yeah, but not in a mall.”

But I'm glad, I'm fucking stoked he's not throwing around fuck while we're here, while I'm buying him at hot dog from some crappy mall food stand. But it's shitty that I'm stoked, I'm worried it's because the girl in the New York Fries kiosk thinks I'm his mom. I'm saying to him, “Do you want anything else, sweetie?” and the girl is trying to make sense of my YOUTH OF TODAY shirt and looking at my dumb hand tattoos and I don't want him to swear around her, around anyone, because I don't want her to think I'm a bad mom. As if that matters. As if a nine-year-old too fucking fed up with his life to watch his language should be seen as a fault on either of our parts.