Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Vending Machine

Unfortunately I didn't post something for the blog, but I will post something I wrote for another purpose. It's probably too long for one post, I'll chop it in half to add suspense and intensity (not). I had to hand in a piece of writing that related to Utopia. So I wrote this story and handed it in. It's not very good, but it's more interesting than an essay:

Mr. Hall was quite an ordinary man. He lived with his wife on the outskirts of the city in a small lemon coloured house. He had a neat white picket fence along a tidy green lawn and a small dog that often barked at the shifting laundry on top of the lawn. Mr. Hall was a husband, and a father of two well-mannered children. He wore tiny, smooth glasses above his nose and his well-kept brown moustache. He was a thin man who was perhaps a little less than six feet tall in height. He wore plain cotton shirts and long beige slacks.

Here was a man who lived a very ordinary life, not ordinary in a monotonous repetitive sort of way, but there was nothing particularly exceptional about Mr. Hall. Although, perhaps one might notice that Mr. Hall had a very interesting occupation. You see he was a specialist; Mr. Hall spent most of his adult life restocking vending machines. When he left school and became an adult he decided to get a job that didn’t require a lot of effort, but gave him a consistent salary. This is the reason why Mr. Hall began his long career of restocking the vending machines. Employed by the refreshment businesses his job was to drive his truck to a list of various establishments, schools, hospitals and offices. He visited each institution every workday and saw the same, faceless people who acknowledged him with a mild look of familiarity and boredom. Sometimes the children at the school would ask him if he enjoyed his job, if he ate any of the candy from the back of the truck. Mr. Hall would just shake his head, no. Although they might dream of being around candy all day, his life was much too tedious for the shock of sweetness.

Each day Mr. Hall would wake up at five forty-five in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. He would shower, put on a clean uniform, brush his tidy, thinning hair and eat his breakfast. He ate the same breakfast every day, a piece of unbuttered toast, black coffee and two hard-boiled eggs. After he was finished he would put on his little cap, and make his way to the factory that supplied the refreshments. This factory was his home base and everything began there. He would find his truck at the factory and stock it with the candies. When he finished loading the plain cardboard boxes inside his truck, he would drive past the cold metal gates and out into a world that needed him.

Mr. Hall’s first stop was a school; every morning he would enter this dull parking lot. He grabbed his cardboard box full of bright candy and headed toward the cafeteria with its blinding fluorescent lights and dirty, speckled floor. He arrived at this school very early; he wouldn’t have to take the chattering and questions of the students. Days happened like this, they just came and went so repetitively they faded into a single blur. He moved through red doors and stairways, cafeterias and waiting rooms, walking through his entire way with a fast pace that never changed. He didn’t notice his day was over until he reached the last name on his list, the name of a school in the middle of the town. Mr. Hall had never cared for the schools, but they were an important part of his occupation. He made his way into the school cafeteria, the same as all the others with white cinderblock squares, brown tables and the bright glow of the vending machines. Vending machines like big aliens, out of place in this dirty and dull cafeteria. He moved from one bright glow to another, blue, red, yellow. They were all different, candies, cola, juices. There was one that sold different flavours of milk. Banana flavoured milk was a very odd concept to him. Mr. Hall had memorized each product, each row, each of these machines. This was not because he particularly enjoyed the products but because they had been repeating in his view since he began this job. He moved to each vending machine quickly and with all the skill one can acquire after years of doing his job. He finally reached the last vending machine and he was looking forward to coming home and resting. The last vending machine was a standard brown one, with a clear front so the bright candies it sold were visible. He was finishing the last row of candies, neatly placing chocolate bars on the rack. Mr. Hall was pushing the cold metal rack back into the heart of the machine when he felt a tremor run through his hand. He looked around for any indication of what caused it. Then, without a second to think he found himself lying on the floor, in intense pain with bright lights blurring above his head. He came to his senses with an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia, the pain and the brightness was clouding his senses. He realized now that he was stuck, his legs trapped beneath the heavy machine, his face inches away from the metal racks and their bright candies. Amazingly, the racks hadn’t severed his body and left room to spare for his arms. Perhaps this was because he was so thin, he wondered if he was that lucky to be spared.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekends are speedy devils

My weekend went by a little too fast. I haven't even caught up enough to finish my math homework. Yesterday I recall waking up late and seeing my friends school play. Then... I believe I spent the rest of the night watching TV. What a dreadful, horrible thing to do. Oh well, first I watched One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest on APTN. APTN is Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and I watch this once and a while because if a movie features someone who is aboriginal or partially aboriginal they'll play it. Like Cher movies, they play Cher movies. But last night they were playing Cuckoo's Nest because "Chief" is in it, that is Chief Bromden. I have never seen the movie before, but I just finished the book so it was appropriate timing. This movie was number 1 on my to-see list. Number 2 is My Beautiful Laundrette, does anyone know where I can attain this? Anyways, the movies a bit different from the book. In the book Chief is the narrator and everything that goes on is from his eyes, which makes it very interesting because Chief sees a lot. The book was very good though, it took me a couple days to get through which is a good sign. The movie was also amazing, Jack Nicholson was excellent. The theme of the book crossed over really well into the movie. I never cry in books, and rarely in movies, but for some reason I was really sad at the end when Chief's talking to McMurphy about leaving. I'm going to try to use this book as a base for one of my utopia projects coming up, about "Planned Societies".

After the amazingness that was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest I watched TLC for about 4 hours. It's a horrible channel, but it's always somewhat interesting. I watched a bit of W too, they had some sort of Johnny Depp theme, with Benny and Joon+Don Juan de Marco but I've seen them both. So then I watched about 2 hours worth of "Little People, Big World" which is easily the most pointless show on TV. If they want to promote tolerance of people who are different, why is there a show about the fact they're dwarfs? But for some reason I kept watching it, maybe it's addictive or something. Remind me never to watch it again, once I was in Vancouver with my mum, and I watched a five episode marathon until 12 o'clock. I worry about myself once and a while. I also am worrying about finishing my math homework (I hate this entire unit), who needs to know about Rational numbers?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fake Fire

So a while ago, I talked about a movie being filmed a couple blocks down the street. Well, a couple nights ago they finished filming. This was interesting because, they finished with a fake fire. From my bedroom window I could see the spotlights, and we walked down to the set to see what was going on. There was a pretty big crowd off on one end of the sidewalk, and we joined them. About 20 minutes later, there was a flame that came out of one of the windows, then died out. Then they had to take the shot again, this time the flame lasted longer, and there were fire fighters running into the building. The final time there was a flame was after many people left, and this time it lasted longer, with a huge explosion in the middle. It was a pretty interesting experience. I'm excited to see the movie, not because it's a made-for-TV adaptation of a romance novel, but because my neighbourhood's posing as little Italy in it. Very cool.

And to an unrelated subject, I was in the car today, listening to my Satellite radio and I decided I would listen to "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'", from Scissor Sister's latest album. I turned up the volume and was soaking in the dancingness of this song, until I had to go into the "Midtown Market" CO-OP. So I was in CO-OP, getting some milk and as soon as I opened the freezer door, this very song was playing behind the freezer. I stopped for a second and listened to it, before closing the door becuase I realized people were staring at me. It was very cool. So here's a Scissor Sister's song that makes me happy whenever I listen to it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Left-handed with scissors

Today I tried to cut my first hairs. My brother, who has icky shoulder-length head-banging hair. My mum and I were sick of it, so we persuaded (I don't know how) him to let us cut it. So I got the scissors and started cutting the back of it. Meanwhile, I'm not doing very well, and my mum's totally exaggerating how bad I'm doing. Then James starts to get scared, and we're laughing at him because his hair is lopsided. Finally, it's finished (My mum took up cutting after that). He didn't like it very much, and it wasn't exactly fabulous... but at least it's not past his shoulders. So it's a bit of a bowl cut, but his bangs are kind of... stylish? Well probably not, but at least we tried. *Update: We took him to the hair dresser's and now all the long greasiness is gone! I can actually see his face, wow. It's about 5 inches shorter though, so he'll take a while to get used to it.

Parent teacher interviews went well last night. My parents spent time talking to James' teachers too, so I hung out with my friends for a lot of the time. There was a used book sale going on in the lobby, and I went to look at the books they had for sale. 75% of them were cheap romance novels, so I understood why they weren't doing very well. But they were fun to read, and my friend and I were reading them out loud, cause they were so corny. I bought one, to support the food bank or something... It's called "Inadmissible Passion". I haven't read it yet, and I don't think I will. But it would make for an interesting conversation piece.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just finished a quick conversation with a certain Mr. Ghomeshi, for something coming up on CBC. I hope I was satisfactory... gotta represent the "hilary m". I gave him a hard time again, poor guy, getting picked on by a 14-year old. The people at CBC are always really nice, they told me I did well.

Tonight though, I have parent-teacher interviews. I don't know why, but I always have kinda liked parent-teacher interviews. Maybe I'm afraid that if I don't go my teacher's will talk behind my back. Or maybe I just like to show my parents around to the classrooms, and see some of my friends. Going to P/T interviews is probably one of the nerdiest things I do. Oh well, I don't have a lot of homework this weekend so that's good. =)

Sunday, November 12, 2006


When I was a young boy/My father took me into the city/To see a marching band/He said, "Son when you grow up/would you be the savior of the broken/the beaten and the damned?/He said "Will you defeat them/your demons, and all the non-believers/the plans that they have made?"/"Because one day I'll leave you/A phantom to lead you in the summer/To join The Black Parade."

I'm going to have a contest
Explain these lyrics to this song (Welcome To The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance)
1. Clearly
2. Rationally
3. Creatively
4. So I can understand
I will post all of your suggestions, and the best will win... umm. Pride and the knowledge that they definitely have superior intelligence. I'm not participating cause I have no clue what the hell they mean.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

We are reminded that Remembrance Day is nearing because of the red and black poppies that are on shirts, in stores and on the newspaper. I also was reminded of Remembrance Day because of the Remembrance Day assembly we had last Thursday. I remember the assemblies we had in elementary, they were pretty lovely. We carried candles, and sang songs and somebodies grandpa came in and told us stories about the war. It's very different in high school. We are filed down to the gym (a lot of kids just skip the assembly and leave) and we get in the fold out seats that were set up earlier (this is one of the only times in a year when more than 3 grades are in the gym together). The president of student council usually does the talking. We sing "Oh Canada", some kid from drama recites "In Flanders Fields" with umm.. gusto. Than some guy wearing a uniform tells us about the importance of remembering and if we don't remember then the souls of dead soldiers will come back from the graves and cause havoc on our brains. Well, not exactly the last part. But pretty much. Then we get some more war propaganda, and then we watch the worst music video in the world. Some old bearded guy is seeing about how we have to remember and if we don't little girls with big eyes will give us sad looks, and the ghosts of dead soldiers will march through the supermarkets and make everyone sad.

Don't think I'm anti-Remembrance Day. I think Remembrance Day is important. But I believe that we should be able to remember in any way we want. And we're remembering how horrible these wars were, how sad it must've been for the people who participated in them, their friends and relatives. Then we can reflect on our own lives, how we should try to preserve peace and how important peace is for everyone in the world. This isn't a time to force teenagers to do anything, they are allowed to reflect on this on their own way. It's great if you attend a remembrance day ceremony, but you don't have to. You just need to remember, in your own way. Today I stopped for a coffee in Kensington with my parents, and the store employees reminded us that there was a moment of silence in 10 minutes, at 11:00. At when it came to the moment of silence, the employees just turned the machines off and stood in a circle, silent. Soon everybody realized what was happening, and stopped talking. I thought it was cool that they didn't have an announcement, order anyone around or anything. A man walked in, during the moment of silence and he must've been very surprised. No music, or talking, or coffee machines. But he clued in, and stood in the middle of the floor, silent. I thought it was good, how remembrance day should be. There were no parades, or wreaths, or propaganda. Just people remembering in their own way, silent, thinking about what's important to them.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Walking into the middle of a movie set

This morning, as I left for school I got a call from my parents, telling me that there were trailers all down the street by our house. So I left a bit early, to check it out. I looked down the street, a block away and there was a line-up of trailers and trucks. I kinda thought it was the city at first, fixing some pipes or something. But as I walked I noticed catering trucks... I figured city workers don't do catering. When I reached the cafe on the corner, I turned and saw a whole bunch of people milling about the tent. I didn't know if I was permitted to walk past the pylons and people, so I kinda of stood there looking confused. Soon after, a man saw me and said I could continue walking. So I walked even further into the crowd, and there were a couple cameras pointing at me. I saw those little director chairs, and people were giving instructions to the actors. It kinda clicked that I was in the middle of a movie set.

There used to be an old corner store that sold candy down that street, and they tried to sell it unsuccessfully for a long time. A couple weeks ago, we saw the building it was in painted from an ugly blue, to a classy aubergine colour. And an italian family restaurant plus a "panna fresco" bakery came up in about a week. This was just a little suspicious... but I was informed last night that it actually was a movie set. The cameras and actors etc., definitely explain this. But it's cool that a movie is being filmed in my neighbourhood. Last time it was a Matthew Perry movie at the school. I'll try to post pictures later though, because I'm writing this in Humanities class.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

November snow brings... lots of homework?

Our report card marks for term 1 had to be filled out 2 days ago, which is probably the reason that school's been so intense the past two weeks. We're still doing the Utopia stuff in Humanities, our deadlines are independently made. Unfortunatly I've had to hand some work in late, a day after my own deadline. Err. And we had a unit final in science recently, as well as a whole bunch of quizzes in Math. Oh well, at least I'm not that bored. We've got plenty of books to read for Humanities, that I'm actually interested in reading. And I'm playing guitar again, which is nice.

I went to see Borat with a bunch of friends yesterday. It was at the really big theatre, which I'm not used to. And we were late so we got those seats that are a couple feet from the huuuge screen. I could still see the movie though, it wasn't too bad. It did mean being really close to the huge, hirsute and very naked obese man when that scene came. So you might be automatically turned off from Borat once I've said that, but don't be. If you're like me and you can take incredible politically-incorrectness and laugh really hard at it, then you'll like this movie. It's kinda brilliant, like South Park but smarter in my opinion (and I like South Park). The movies basically making fun off how crazy the values of people (in this case Americans) can be. And some people are pretty ridiculous. One of my favourite parts is when Borat's in the huge warehouse-like Penticostal church, and they "save" him, by grabbing him and speaking tongues and yelling things about the Lord, etc. It was very funny. I laughed harder than I have laughed at a movie for a very long time. Because a lot of the comedies today are crap; gross, stupid and through all that money and effort they still don't manage to make me laugh. Hopefully nobody actually takes Borats racism and sexism seriously, although as this movie shows, amazingly a lot of people are already just as bad

I have an interesting question for you guys. If you could have a little 10 minute radio segment on something, once a week or so, what would you do?