It Happened to Me

A Conversation I Had Last Thursday, Done in the Style of "Death to the Extremist"

Photo: Me at the 'Planet Simpson' book launch last Thursday.

Me at Chris Turner’s book launch.

While at the launch for Chris Turner’s book, Planet Simpson,

I ran into Samantha, who was one of the people who decided to hop into

the Hot Tub Truck when it was parked outside Lee’s Palace after the

White Cowbell Oklahoma concert. It was during this encounter with the

Hot Tub Truck that I booked it for my 2003 birthday party.

(Here are two entries on the event, and you might want to check out the

photo album — there’s an album version and a slideshow version.)

I was feeling inspired after having been contacted by M. Zole, author and illustrator of one of my favourite webcomics, Death to the Extremist. I’ve decided to blog the conversation with Samantha in the form of a Death to the Extremist comic, shown below:

Comic: A conversation done in the style of the webcomic 'Death to the Extremist'.

Sam does not look weird in the photo, she looks good. As for Luke Skywalker, here’s a profile shot, and here’s the dry-humping shot [some boy-and-girl-in-wet-clothes groping — may not be safe for your workplace].

In the News


Photo: T-shirt design - 'I'll Bet You Vote This Time Hippie'.

[via MetaFilter] Thomas Schaller’s essay on Bush, Believe: Why I Believe in Our President, is considerably sharper than the essay from which it borrows its form, Michael Kelly’s I Believe (written about Clinton). Schaller has an unfair advantage, though — he’s got better material to work with.

In the News Music

R.I.P. John Peel

Photo: John Peel.

BBC Radio’s legendary DJ, John Peel,

has passed away. Without his work, we may never have heard of the Sex

Pistols, The Clash, The Undertones, The Fall, The Smiths, Joy Division,

New Order, The Pixies, Pulp, The White Stripes, The Strokes and many other wonderful bands who exist off the Top 40 radar.

(His taste was as eclectic as it was good: he even played Kylie Minogue!)

So long and thanks for all the musical discoveries, John.


300 Love Letters

A handwritten note that reads: “The girl at the coffee shop is half in love with you and too shy to tell you. Just thought you should know.”

One of the letters in the “crush” category.

300 Love Letters is a project of Asia Wong, who explains…:

So I’m telling this boy, one of the boys that lots of these love letters are to, about this project. “I’m writing three hundred love letters and sending them to strangers. The letters are going to be glued to the outside of the envelopes, so that the mailman, and presumably whoever the recipient lives with, will be able to see and read them. The letters aren’t to the strangers, they’re to people I know.”

The boy looks at me. We’re walking around, after work, deserted streets. He says, “I don’t understand. Why are you doing this?”, and I answer vaguely, talking about crossing space and the kind of intimacy that I believe is lacking from our society. And I’m left thinking: Is this project complicated or simple, idiotic or interesting?

It turns out that there are actually 400, not 300 letters. Once again, I’ll let Asia do the talking…

When I got to 300, I re-read my explanation and I was unsatisfied. It felt like it was only within the last hundred letters that I had started really writing to strangers, acquaintances, family, it felt like I had just started getting to the hard part. So in a month of no lovers (well, nothing serious) I wrote another hundred letters, felt better about what I was doing, finished the project for real.

The user interface of the site is a giant field of coloured squares. Clicking on a square will show you a letter. The colour of the square indiciates the type of letter associated with it:

  • red and pink ones are addressed to lovers
  • orange ones are fan letters
  • yellow ones are for strangers
  • green ones are for acquaintances
  • blue ones are for friends
  • purple ones are for crushes
  • indigo ones are for family
  • brown ones are for people she doesn’t really like
  • gray ones are for anyone
  • black ones are for everyone
  • white ones are for her
  • flesh ones are for her dream lover

The letters make for some fascinating reading. If any of you need a Cyrano de Bergerac to assist you in writing missals of love, lust or infatuation, you could probably find a letter in the collection to use as a starting point.


Weblog Etiquette

If you comment in my blog and stick advertising in it, your comment will be deleted.

I don’t mind if you plug your company if it’s on-topic. For example, if

I were to comment on restaurants in Toronto, it would be perfectly

acceptable for post a comment and say “Hey, check out my restaurant!”

However, it is not acceptable for you to comment to the same article

and link to a site for financing a housing purchase. That’s spam, and

it will be terminated with extreme prejudice.

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me

Homecoming 2004

I’d been so busy over the past few weeks, what with Wendy’s birthday

and our engagement, that I hadn’t given any thought to attending

homecoming at Crazy Go Nuts University,

which took place this past weekend. On Saturday night at about 6 p.m.,

I went “Oh, what the hell,” threw my accordion into the car, ran a

couple of last minute errands and motorbootied down to Kingston.

A couple of hours later, I pulled into town, where I joined Eldon and

the gang from Science ’94, after which we went to the student ghetto to

check out the street party taking place on Aberdeen street. It turned

out to be a four-block long bacchanal, with the street blocked off from

traffic and packed with people. People began to yell “play something on

that accordion!” (one guy mistakenly called it a “banjo”), I broke out

the rock and roll, and that’s when the fun began. I snapped a few

photos and Eldon snapped more while I played; you can see them in album or slideshow format.

Photo: Me playing accordion for the students at the Crazy Go Nuts University homecoming street party.

The accordion: social hardware!

The crowd joined in and sang along. There are two videos you can check out:

Every other person seemed to have a digital camera, a

technology that wasn’t readily available during my years there (1987

through 1994). A zillion flashes went off in my face, and I spent half

my time playing “snowblind” and feeling the keys.

I was surprised to find that a number of the students, perhaps ten or so,

came up to me and said, “Hey Accordion Guy! I read your blog!” One girl

clung to my sleeve and tried to drag me to a party until her friend came up

to her and said “Don’t hit on the Accordion Guy! I read he’s engaged!”

Who needs social software when you have a blog and an accordion?


"Oh yeah, AWAY from the volcano…"

From the U.S. Geological Survey’s What to Do if a Volcano Erupts page:

During an Eruption –

Move Away From A Volcano – Not Toward It