Has Anything Changed In 7 Years? (Or, learning from the past)

I discovered a container full of my old writing, drawings, and a variety of other things!

I found a few things I really liked, but a lot of the discoveries made me worried. I began to wonder:
Have I changed?
Have I grown?
Have I learned anything?

I’ll get to that. First, the backstory:

I’ve been wanting to own an amp
so that I could run my speakers through it.
I know, funny, right? Speakers but no stereo.
And it’s a crime, really, because I LOVE music,
I can’t even begin to describe how much I love music, how important it is to me, to my happiness, to my survival, to my inspiration.

Well, today, as I was cycling home, I noticed a neighbour having a yard sale.
I bought a big ‘ol amp for a few bucks,
and returned home all smiles.

Now the work to be done!
Connect my speakers – I have 6 total, thanks to donations from friends,
including a switcher, so I can have speakers in my kitchen only, or my bedroom only (which in itself is hilarious – I live in a bachelor apartment, so I’ll hear the music no matter what “room” I’m in)

I decided to place the amp under my desk, to be close to my surge-protected power bar. In order to make room for it, I pulled out a shallow rubbermaid bin. I thought it’d be a good size to set the amp on.
But before I placed it there, I wanted to know what was inside that bin. I believe I may have put it under my desk when I moved in here almost 2 years ago.
And I don’t think I’ve touched it since.

Wonderfully, it is full of all sorts of things that are whizzing me through recent-memory lanes:
My divorce certificate,
my proposal to SFU’s writing program (which was rejected),
a few forgotten drawings (which I’ll scan and throw on my Flickr page tonight),
my University transcripts,
magazine clippings of cute girls or cool graphic design.
And writing that just makes me chuckle and shiver at the same time.

I chuckle because when I find these writings, I realize how little I’ve changed.
I shiver because, goddamn it, these writings remind me how little I’ve changed.

For example,
something written about 7 years ago
(with my present-day comments following in brackets):

Remember these as inspirations in life:

  • continue to write down dreams, everyday, even if nothing but a glimmer, a whisper, a glance is lingering

(I truly feel the benefits of emptying my head first thing in the morning, yet I haven’t devoted myself to this practice since I was in my early 20’s)

  • exercise everyday, wrestle w/ Lucy, a game of frisbee, dribble football – anything to pump fresh blood through my body & free the way for improvement on all levels (yoga…!)

(exercise comes and goes.
I’ve tried boxing, weights, running. Currently, I’ve found great satisfaction from yoga, and am trying to practice it as often as possible.
Plus I love swimming. I swam length for the 1st time in months today. I plan on getting back into the swim of things now)

  • exercise the body, exercise the mind. Continue to write, to think, to question, to read, to progress. A balance must be met & at this moment the body is more fit than the mind

(right now, my mind is more fit than my body, but still the same quest for balance, and same knowledge that mental stimulation, mental challenges are critical to my happiness & growth)

  • meditate. Ask Lucy for help & take time to slow time down. Give myself a chance to sigh  – relax. release. refresh

(I’ve always struggled with my incessantly active mind. I constantly feel under pressure to be doing something important. Rest isn’t an option. But I have been (inconsistently) meditating)

  • buying music is never a waste of money

(Hallelujah! This has not changed, and thank god.
Truer words were never written, but this may have been the 1st time in my life, at the exact moment that I wrote those words, when I truly understood the priceless importance of music)

  • learn to type faster, w/ more confidence. This will help me not only w/ emailing & school, but always and forever in all aspects of life

(how true! Well, I can actually say that I accomplished this one!
Through school, both SFU and Langara, as well as working full time for ShowMakers for almost 4 years, I’ve been on a computer nearly every waking moment of my days.
I challenged myself in the early stages, to type with my fingers in the correct positions (rather than chicken peck).
Then I increased the challenge by forcing myself to not look at the keyboard. My type was an indecipherable mess for many months, but it improved, and I’m pretty damn good now)

  • take time to myself everyday – not just every few days & not just for a few minutes – get in touch brother

(ah yes, here is where I shiver a little – because I haven’t been respecting this knowledge like I should be.
The days I take time out for myself, I am happier, calmer, more focused. I know this, but I forget it so easily. There are always things to be done! My ideas! My art! So much to be done!
But when all I do is do, I burn out. Or lose focus. Or get depressed.
7 years later, I say again, “Get in touch, brother.”)

  • learn something new everyday – pursue my quest for French (& Polish) bilingualism

(okay, yes, this is lofty, to learn something new everyday.
Yet maybe it isn’t, because aren’t we learning everyday? Each day is never exactly the same as the last, even if it feels that way.
I must say: I tried Polish, took some night classes shortly after writing this, and it was really really tough. Even the instructor, a nice Poland-born lady, admitted to us that Polish is a very difficult language to learn.
Do you know that every noun has 7 different ways to say it? That even your name has 7 variations, depending on the circumstances in which it is said? And that one of those is when your name is being shouted?
Ha ha – that one killed me)

That’s one thing I found.
Maybe I’ll write about others.

It’s fascinating stuff to me.
And hell, writing this entry has truly accomplished what this blog is all about:
keeping me in THE MOMENT.

I was feeling pretty overwhelmed when I started going through that rubbermaid bin.
Feeling full of emotions, good, bad, and confusing.
Well, those emotions have every right to be inside me, but at least now I’ve written them down and I feel free. And grounded, somehow, at the same time.

Can we be grounded and free? Is being grounded also being free?


Return To The Culinary Arts

I’m rediscovering the art of cooking.

It’s fantastic, really. Because I grew up eating very ordinary, dull meals.
My mom admitted she didn’t like to cook.
Bless her, we were always fed, we never went hungry. So I’m not complaining, by any means.

But what my inexperience in the kitchen meant, was that I didn’t know how to cook once I lived on my own.
It was only thanks to the culinary pursuits of my girlfriends that I learned to bake bread from scratch (I even received a huge kneading bowl, that I still own), I found out what zucchini and sweet potatoes and eggplant were, and how delicious they could be. Hell, I even learned how to dice carrots and mince garlic!

But then I started to waver a little – living with roommates who didn’t embrace cooking, or more recently, living on my own.

Being a bachelor is what truly killed the chef inside.
Because I didn’t have anyone to impress, no one to share and appreciate a meal with, I began cooking as simply and as quickly as possible.
This meant a lot of canned soup. Or Annie’s pasta (a “healthy” Kraft Dinner) if I was feeling like a treat.

But I’ve been blessed – my girlfriend is a fantastic cook & I’ve been bitten: I WANT to cook now, I want to do more than boil water, I’m baking veggies now (a baked veg salad the other night), I’m par boiling, I’m broiling, I’m excited about honouring the luxury of cooking – of having a kitchen (no matter how small), and vegetables in the fridge.

I’m writing this tonight because even though my girlfriend is at work, I’m preparing a green curry stirfry for myself.


I’m putting in a lot of time to make something nice for myself, rather than just think, “I’m hungry, need to eat, then need to get on to important stuff” (I’m always pressuring myself to draw more, to work on & upload my photos more), but I know that eating IS important, and that cooking, the process of making the food that will sustain me, IS important, and tonight I am proud to be honouring my return to a lifestyle that includes the culinary arts.


Art Trickery & Truths

Thanks to Canadian Art mag,
I’ve been exposed to Iris Häussler (,
Gregor Schneider (,
Christoph Büchel (,
and Janet Cardiff (,
all because of an intriguing article, Brilliant Disguise: Iris Häussler’s fact-meets-fiction odysseys.

For the reopening of the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2008, Häussler created He Named Her Amber, an archaeological “discovery” of early 19th century art by an Irish maid.


But the discovery was not credited to Häussler. It was presented as a legitimate discovery.
Not surprisingly, this was met with mixed reactions once the truth came out.

This fascinates me because I want my art to be as true as possible.
I have considered enlarging journal entries, exposing my frustrations, questions, and failures to the world.
I am tired of the public personas that we are all expected to put on each day of our lives.
I believe that much of our depression is caused by living false lives.
We hold so much in, for fear of how the truth will be interpreted, for fear of what the truth may cause.
But perhaps that fear and the stress it causes is much worse than living open, truthful lives.

In this article, there is a quote by Häussler that stirred another aspect of art in my core.
While speaking about channelling her fictional characters to create sculpture, she says:

It’s like taking off a corset. These characters give me permission. You allow yourself to play, then things come up. Play is what our society is missing so much – it is almost healing.

For months, I have been pursuing my art like never before,
and while it excites me, it also fills me with dread and stress every single day.
Instead of playing, and letting things come up, as Haussler suggests,
more often I am fretting about whether what I am doing is worth it, or whether it’s in the right direction, or even “why have I waited so long to work on my art?”

I long for a return of play to my art.
Perhaps, by relieving myself of the stress of fear, and instead revealing complete truths in my art, I will find a sense of play…?

Below, from the same article, is a shot of the bedroom from The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach, another work by Häussler from 2006.