Thursday, June 21, 2007

30 Over 30 #4: The Rhetorical Moustache

A lot of people think my suave 'stache is a joke. It's not (but if it was, it would be a very funny joke, from the sounds of it). It's actually a rhetorical device.
I've been reading Thank You For Arguing, Jay Heinrichs's super-entertaining book on "the art of persuasion", aka Rhetoric. Heinrichs writes in the same casual tone that made Will Ferguson's Canadian history books so much fun.
So what's that go to do with the 'tache (as my Briton friend Phil calls it), Emmet?
Well, this sweet piece of lip grooming makes me more pathetic. Oh it, certainly does that (especially as far as Nicole's concerned). I meant rhetorically pathetic.
The moustache, especially the push-broom model I am sporting this week, has fallen out of fashion (and not without good reason--channelling Nicole again). Oh sure, hipsters have their ironic handlebar moustaches, and then there's the issue of those moustache-goatee combos, which only look good on superheroes and jewel thieves. And even then...

The point is, the moustache, my moustache belongs to a bygone era. By wearing it, I give the appearance that I am removed from the fickle hurly-burly of fashion. The moustache says that I have adopted a stance and that I am sticking to it, whether or not public opinion favours it. It says, the bearer of this moustache is both individualistic and reliable. Which creates the sense (perceived or real)of that powerful tool of rhetoric, disinterest. It also emotes a bit of melancholy, a weltschmerz of whiskers, which never hurts.
The hypothesis is that I wear this moustache (or the moustache wears me), and people are more willing to trust me. People should find it easier to open up to me.
Of course, the moustache is a chimerical thing. Let it grow a little too long, and you become Nietzche or Stalin. Too narrow, you're Hitler. If you let a five o'clock shadow grow around the moustache, you become desperate and creepy.

30 Over 30 #3: The Further Adventures of a Man with a Moustache

Moustache by night, sailor's delight.

Moustache by morning, sailor takes warning.

MP3: Shockwave Rider - Royal Trux

30 Over 30 #2: Today I Has A Moustache

I'd been wearing a beard pretty much since the beginning of June, and frankly, it was getting a bit repugnant. Not to mention the patches of gray on the chin sending disconcerting vibes of distinguishment and codgeritude. So what the hell, let's have a moustache, if only for a day.
I forgot to use the new shaving gear I got for my birthday from Skye, but I do look forward to using it.
I think I look kinda cool, like young(ish) Jim Gordon, my favourite Batman character, as played by Gary Oldman in Batman Begins.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

30 Over 30 #1: The Day (Alone)

I wake up at 8 a.m. My cell phone is ringing. Actually, my phone has just emitted a short beep. Like a truck backing up, but only once. For a moment I reflect on the horror I might have visited upon myself if the phone beeped repeatedly, like a truck backing up. Imagine being awoken to the sound of a truck backing up beside your head.
I'm a light sleeper, but a heavy dreamer. Sometimes, especially now that I don't have to go to work as soon as I wake up, I linger in a half-dream-state and can't tell the difference between conscious and subconscious memories until well after my first cup of coffee.
My phone beeps again. Maybe a truck really is backing up beside my head! I snap open my eyes. No, it really was my phone. The second beep means I've missed the call and it's gone to voicemail.
"Blocked ID" reads the tiny screen on my flip-up phone. A third beep, which means the caller has left a message. sounds. But I don't need to check the message, I know who would call me at 8 a.m.: the phone company. Sometime on Sunday my landline stopped working. I didn't notice for nearly 24 hours. This made me sad and reminded me of Richard Brautigan, the American poet who died of loneliness (via a self-inflicted gunshot wound) in his own home. His corpse wasn't discovered for an estimated six weeks.
I check my message anyway, and I was right. The phone company had sent a serviceperson to fix the phone. When I called them the night before, they said someone would be by "between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m." I had imagined the visit would fall somewhere more centrally between the two inconvenient extremes.
I lay in bed a while longer. I hear a van pull up and then footsteps along the side of the house. A few minutes later the real phone rings--a sound I'd not heard in days. I don't answer that either.
Eventually the van pulls away, and I lie in bed, contented that the phone has been fixed as invisibly as it stopped working. Sometimes, the waking life holds as much mystery and wonder as dreams. You just have to put the effort in.

Friday, June 08, 2007

30 Under 30 #13: Under 30 Under 30

Well, that was a bit of a bust, wasn't it?

On the bright side, 30 Over 30 is gonna be a breeze.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

30 Under 30 #12: Closing Time

Says Travis Bickle:
I don't believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people.

Says Jon Ronson:
[T]he internet gives us the illusion that we're wonderfully gregarious people. When we type away on discussion boards and post comments on one another's blogs, it feels as if we're sitting outside a pub in the evening sunshine with our attractive, cool friends. But we aren't. That's what we did before we got addicted to the internet. Instead we perform some empty, unsatisfying facsimile of that. We sit alone in our rooms, becoming more and more isolated from society. And, inevitably, this turns us into mad, yelling, wild-eyed loons.

And that, more or less, is what happened.

MP3: Diary of a Taxi Driver (album version) - Bernard Herrmann

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

30 Under 30 #12: Regrets, I've Had a Few...

Things that I wish I had done, but am also glad I didn't.

1. In November 1998, I received an advance copy of Smog's Knock Knock, which wasn't released until January 12, 1999. As such, the fine print read "Copyright 1999". Even though I loved that album (and still do), an opening presented itself. I decided that I should record my own version of the album without delay and copyright it 1998, and then turn around and sue the pants off Bill Callahan and Drag City. It's not like I had anything else going on in my life then.
2. I've always (always as in since the other night when I thought of it) wanted to get the words TIME and MONEY tattooed across my knuckles.
3. I would like to wear a (real) moustache for long enough that people would begin to doubt I was doing it as a joke.
4. When I was 19, and in Vancouver the first time, I thought it would be a good idea to sign on as a dishwasher or something similarly non-skill-requiring on a freight ship. I would see the world and avoid contact with people--except for the other people on the boat, of course.
5. My other big career aspiration when I was 19 was to become a hobo.