Sunday, June 03, 2007


I have trouble enough on the sidewalk with an open umbrella, poking people's shoulders and eyes because I'm not tall enough to avoid them.

No way in hell I'm going to use this (click pic for Toronto Star article, June 3, 2007). I'd probably get run over.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

pirate fascination

I was told that it is National Talk-Like-A-Pirate-Day!

I'm not entirely sure how pirates came to be so well-loved. They rape and pillage, after all. I think it all started with the Disney-fication of Blue Beard (Barbe-Bleue, Walt Disney Productions (1968)) who was a pirate in this version. I remember that though he was most certainly wicked, Disney saved his soul with some act of kindness or other. It's funny...quick research on Google indicates that many do not know that Disney turned this tale into a kid's movie.

Ah ha! Further googling informed me that the movie is actually called Blackbeard's Ghost. I do recall that this was based on Barbe-Bleue, but Disney repackaged the story so that we can love pirates. Someday, I might decide to verify the accuracy of all this, but for now, my memory says it is so.

But, I digress. The point of this post is to provide you with a brief tutorial on "How To Talk Like A Pirate".

I also found this index of pirate movies!

Oh and check out funny pirates at Pirates Making Jokes.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

DVD Advertisements

The other day I rented Brokeback Mountain. When I sat down to watch it, I was instead treated to a car advertisement. Somewhat irked, I pressed skip. The ad continued. I pressed the menu button. The ad continued. Universal Pictures had disabled the DVD. This is akin to selling me a car that only goes backwards for the first ten seconds after I start the engine, allowing me either to sit and wait or back through the wall of my garage. After thinking about this for a moment I realized the only place I could get movies that weren't broken was by pirating them from the internet or buying copies in Chinatown. And that's just what I intend to do. I encourage everyone to copy and paste this simple message onto your own blogs.


Dear Movie and Music Industry Idiots,

Please stop making products that are worse than the products that are available for free. Many of us believe in paying for art and we would like to do so, except all your CDs are fucked up beyond repair with idiotic DRM and your DVDs are defiled by unskippable ads.

I hereby pledge that for each time I encounter an advertisement on a DVD
I will download or otherwise pirate the next three films I was considering purchasing. Likewise, I will inspect the CDs I'm thinking about buying and download any that are encoded with DRM instead of spending my money on a broken product.

Yours Truly,

Matteus Von Mustard

Saturday, July 01, 2006

a little something i read

My Graduation Speech ("Memento Mori")

by Joe Dellosa
May 29, 2006

I'm not really that morbid, I swear.

I was the Inlet Grove Class of 2006 valedictorian, which meant I got to address the crowd at our graduation. This is the text of the speech as it appeared on my notes. There were only few minor differences between this text and what I actually said on May 25, 2006; you can read about that here.

If I can get a copy of the videotape of our graduation, I'll revise with an actual transcript (and some explanation for some of the more unusual parts of the speech).

* * *


I'm honored to address you all this evening, and I appreciate everybody taking the time to be a part of our graduation.

I've got an announcement to make: Within the next 150 years, I'm going to be dead.

I don't know how exactly—personally, I'm imagining some sort of scenario involving a bottle of Levitra and a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos—but I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that it's going to happen.

I'm not a particularly morbid person, nor do I ruminate over things like the inevitability of death very often. My planning has a tendency to extend no further than a week; any consternation I have over the ephemeral nature of life is usually assuaged by eating a gallon of gummi bears while watching Saved by the Bell reruns on TBS.

Still, though, I thought a lot about it while trying to decide what to say for this speech.

I wanted to talk about friendship, because it means a lot to me. I'm more than a little dismayed that friendships can be broken in moments because of a misunderstood comment or a badly timed joke, or because somebody's pissed they're not in someone else's top eight. I'm disappointed when the alacrity to fix a broken friendship isn't there; it's a harsh reminder that the strength of a friendship isn't measured by how happy two people are when things are going well, but how hard they work to understand each other when things aren't. And when one does break, the swiftness to condemn it is disturbing; it seems kind of silly to malign a friendship that probably had more peaks than troughs just because it ended in a trough.

I wanted to talk about what love means, because people say I'm cynical about it, but I'm not. I just don't believe it's merely a fuzzy feeling of nervous, jittery excitement—that's what origami fortune tellers call crushes, psychologists call limerence, and the jaded call horniness. I don't believe it's a mysterious force that stings, and burns, and maddens—although penicillin can take care of that. I do think, however, that real love is observable, and it's expressible. I think it's the product of respect, understanding, and admiration. I think it's a determination to say "I love you" without saying "I love you if." And I know that it's nothing short of an agreement that says "I'll be okay without you, and you'll be okay without me, but I really think that I can make you happy, and I think you make me want to make others happy, too."

I wanted to talk about courage, because, though we've all decided to revere it, we haven't come to a consensus about what it is. Some people label everything as courageous: Chugging a three-liter bottle of Shasta Cola is "courageous"; turning down $100,000 because Howie Mandel convinced you to say No Deal is "courageous." Then there are those who say that anything less than taking a bullet for someone isn't courage. Courage isn't everywhere, but it's not nowhere, either. Not too many of us will get the opportunity to demonstrate the highest forms of courage like taking bullets, or rescuing people from a fire, or eating at Arby's. Even fewer will actually have the temerity to follow through when the opportunity does arise. And that's okay, because it's the smaller acts of courage and selflessness that add up: It's sticking up for someone when you could've just walked away. It's donating blood when the sight of needles scares the piss out of you. It's doing something for someone else when you can't get anything out of it—and especially when you stand to lose something yourself.

I wanted to talk about sanguinity and optimism, and how people seem to prefer "Know Your Limits" to "You Can Do Anything." I know, it pisses me off too whenever the Dr. Philian jackass du jour tries to convince me that I can do anything, but I'd rather hear that than "here's what you can't do, deal with it." I just can't take this near-nihilistic realism seriously, because whenever these realists speak, there's an implicit "as far as we know" attached to whatever they say. And what we know just isn't all that far.

I wanted to talk about all these things, but whenever I tried to write anything meaningful about any of them, I just kept thinking: I'm going to die, probably sometime in this century. My friendship, love, courage, and optimism probably won't even really matter too much. Most everybody I know and care about will be dead with me, and soon my name and any mark I left on this world will be forgotten. All that I am, all that I've experienced, and all that I've contributed will vanish into the ether.

And that kind of sucks.

Some people turn to religion and faith to handle this. The idea that there's some greater purpose for all of us, and that what we do is being tracked and guided by someone is comforting. Or, at the very least, it offers a reason to get up in the morning. And that's all right. But I worry when someone says that it's fear of eternal punishment or offer of ethereal reward that dictates what they do—that's selfishness, dressed up in dogma. And besides, your religion could change: a tragedy could shake your faith, a Tibetan monk could inspire you, or two really charming people carrying copies of Awake! might make you rethink your beliefs. Or hell, maybe Earth really is just a little cell in some huge macro-organism, and we're just a virus infecting the planet, no more meaningful than a strain of avian flu.

I've thought about it, and I don't know what to think. The best I could come up with is the paradoxical idea that none of this could matter, so everything matters all the more.

If I'm going to be forgotten by everybody a couple of centuries from now, then maybe I should do my best to help make the lives of the people that are around me now better.

If my contributions are going to be meaningless after I die, then maybe I should start making some contributions that'll help someone else down the road do something great.

And if I'm going to die sometime in the next 150 years, then maybe I should start appreciating the time I do have—without the constraints of fear or misplaced anger hanging over me.

I know saying "I'm going to die" sounds macabre and horrible, but it's really not. It's liberating. And it's inspiring. And it's plenty scary, but it's the kick in the ass that I think I need more often than I'm willing to admit.

If I'm going to die, then fear of failure doesn't have the same paralyzing power it once had. Failure happens with such frequency and ferocity that not trying something because I might fail is like not trying to swim because I might get wet.

If I'm going to die, then pettiness and grudges become kind of pointless. I'm thinking of all the people with whom I've been angry or frustrated, and I can't imagine that it's worth wasting any more time fuming or whining about it.

And if I'm going to die, then I can't imagine the product of any sort of greed or avarice will do me good once I'm dead if I didn't use it to help others. I'm just taking a stab at this here, but I doubt that whatever god does exist takes PayPal.

Different societies, cultures, and religions set different standards for what is a life well lived. And there's a good chance that none of us have it exactly right. But what small common ground we can find with the diverse, disparate people of this world—those with good hearts—usually is no more than, "What have you done with your life that has made someone else's better?"

That could involve friendship, or love, or courage, or optimism. I don't know; I think we all have to find our own way there.

But what I do know is that I'm going to die. But first, some stuff is going to happen. Some of it will be good. Some of it will be bad. And I hope that, by the end of it, more stuff will have been good than bad.

And I hope the same for all of you guys, too. Good luck.

[Raise can of Shasta; toast.]

~ from

Congratulations Peppy Giuseppe! I'm so proud of you and I'm glad to see that your early work at the Milla News (recall its banning!) has paid off!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

in the morning

I started this post on April 8, about the previous Wednesday morning, and put it aside. It makes me cringe to read it now, not because of the memory, but because I often don't like what I write after a while. Here it is after some revision, despite which, I'll still cringe soon after posting ...

My lips were a flushed pink in the mirror, making my complexion look a shade lighter.

No one noticed the difference. I'm sure of that.

Something new had started. It was trying to get my attention, but I was sleepy, so I didn't quite feel the occasional, softly pressured, index finger poke. It followed me around and I sensed it peripherally, making me smile. At various intervals, I think it settled into a plush corner in my brain and fell asleep.

And throughout the day, there was the occasional throb of fear, wrapped in the felt of timpani sticks.

Thankfully, I like the timpani. Keeps the suspense. Makes things richer and drops out at the right time.

Hmmm...In all likelihood, no one will be able to tell what the hell I'm talking about.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


That's supposed to be the sound of everything being drained right out of me.

Except that I'm not actually physically tired, though it's almost 9 p.m. and I still have one more meeting to attend. I would be content to just sit and breathe for a while. No phone calls, no e-mails, no movement.

My ...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

one of those days

I'm having one of those days where I'm second-guessing everything I do. Did I say the right thing? Was that an intelligent comment? What if that's taken the wrong way? Did I just ruin a connection I was doing so well at forging?

I've been switching gears as I've gone from meeting to meeting, making impromptu comments and decisions in between. I was even tuning out at the last one. I'm pretty sure no one noticed.

I just hope I'm not screwing anything up. I like spaces to think. I'm not getting that today.

It's tiring and I'm hungry.

And I can't believe I've just turned down the opportunity to be a pirate!