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What would it take to make you die?

Posted 12 March 2002, 6.45 pm by Alexander

In my admittedly stupid world-view, the meaning of life is thus: DON'T DIE. Primary motivation number one - to continue to propel the human unit from one crisis to the next. Just to see what happens. I believe there are enough outside forces competing to end your tenure on this mortal coil without jumping the gun, pardon the pun.

Still, people kill themselves every day. I guess because they see it as the only remaining option. Suicide being, as it is, the ultimate form of self-expression. Take control of your life - end it. That said, I've always contended (check the archives if you like) that suicide is a cowards' way out. There's nothing in life that would make your life untenable. Nothing that, without superhuman perspective and detachment, wouldn't solve itself or cease to be an issue anyway.

Or am I wrong?

What would it take to make you end it all? Think carefully. When you think of a scenario, picture it ten years after, then twenty, then fifty. Still worth the bullet?

This is a serious question. I suspect there is something I've overlooked, but I can't for the life of me (ho ho) think what it is. Your thoughts, please.

Theatre

Posted 11 March 2002, 5.43 pm by marilee

I was born into the theatre. My mother was an actor in her youth and a director for most of my life. My father is a lighting designer and a theatre consultant, and he also designed many sets when I was younger. Because of this, my childhood was constantly filled with lights, Shakespeare, double espressos and triple shot cappuccinos, late nights, costumes, magic and most important, theatre folk. Actors, directors, designers, stage managers and technicians make up a group of people like no other.

When I was growing up my role models were all young actors; my extended family, directors and technicians; and my friends, their children. We're the kids you saw sitting up in the very back row of the theatre, with that slightly bored look on our faces. Or maybe you spotted us out in the lobby, commenting on how in Act 2 one of the lights was obviously and painfully hung wrong or how Miss. Perfect missed her line in Scene 3. It is also possible you saw us sneaking into the after party and mimicking the actors, trying our hardest to look as cool and fit in.

You would think, because we never had the privileged illusions that most children do when it comes to the theatre, that we would steer clear from the profession. I mean, we're the ones that know first hand there is very little that is glamorous behind the scenes and it is no way to make a decent living. We have been subjected to the truth. We've fallen asleep, curled up on the floor, during hundreds of tech runs. We see the actors without their makeup, their eyes baggy and black from exhaustion, downing coffee and chain smoking to stay awake. We know how frantic mom and dad get before opening, trying to pull everything together at the last minute. We know there is nothing easy about art and we know it makes nothing in the way of pay. "Actors make just enough to stay alive and that's if they're lucky," mom and dad have told us a million times.

My parents joke about whispering things like "doctor, CEO, lawyer . . . " into our ears when we were falling asleep, trying to steer us away from the family profession. No parent in the theatre realistically wants their child to follow in their footsteps. They will support us if we choose to stay in the family business. They will help us get auditions, go over our lines with us, teach us breathing tricks and bring us flowers on opening night. They will pay for our schooling, classes and private training. They will help us, but no parent wishes for it.

With all the discouragement and knowing everything the theatre is, why do most of us end up following in our parent's foot steps? Maybe it is because of the magic on opening night, the perfect make-believe of it all. Maybe it is the beautiful actresses with their dresses and makeup, the fairies and spells, the fight scenes and the tragic endings. Maybe it is because when everyone dies at the end, they can all get up to bow. I got to travel to a million different places as a child and never once did I have to leave the theatre.

So now we're all grown up, actors and technicians ourselves. Our parents and their friends are the ones who sit in the audience and clap, giving us flowers as we bow. Remembering, maybe, being in the same show and playing the same parts. We come back because we never want to let go of the magic we knew as children. The magic that lives somewhere between the blinding lights in our eyes and the sound of amazement and appreciation.

Couples

Posted 8 March 2002, 12.38 am by Alexander

This is a reader submission from Alamias...

Saturday, March 9th would reflect the 7th year of my wife and my love for each other. Would. You see we separated last July. So instead of candy, or flowers or jewels I get guilt trips, threats and general depression.

It all goes back about 10 years. My wife (We will call her C.) and I met through mutual friends. We were all going to a theme park (Magic Mountain if you have heard of it) and the group were staying at my friend's girlfriend's house. That is where I met her. She was the best friend of my friend's girlfriend. We started talking, found out we had much in common,
and ended up talking all night. Neither of us got any sleep. The next day, we (C. and I) spent the entire day together...and then ended up kissing at the end of the day. That was the start of it.

I was so happy. We both were, we talked all the time, spent as much time as we could together and life for the both of us was generally grand. We dated for 3 years, and of course had our ups and downs but we generally were happy. We got married, March 9th, 1995..it was something that we never expected to happen to either of us.

The first year of marriage was hard...but then isn't it always? We fought over stupid things like how to fold towels, what TV shows to watch, and general crap. Then there were the bigger fights, mainly over money and the lack of it.

For our first year anniversary we went to Monterey Bay and had a good time....and ended up conceiving our first child. 6th months later, things had started to get strained in our relationship. We were not seeing eye to eye on anything, and I even was starting to think about divorce. In fact, I started spending allot of time talking to a female friend of mine. C. decided one night she had enough, removed her ring, and left. The separation lasted for a week or two, but it was enough time for me to get involved with the friend I mentioned. When C. and I finally started to talk again, she chalked it up to pregnant hormones and we made up and gave it another go. I told my friend, and broke her heart.

2 years ago, we had our second child, ended up moving to San Diego due to my work, and left all her (and my) friends up in LA. She was in Michigan at the time, visiting her parents when I made the move for us. She never saw the place we were going to move until she came back from her visit.

She didn't say anything, but I could tell she hated it. It was also the only place we could really afford. We made it livable, and made it a home. We were happy again.

At least that is what I thought.

A year and a half goes buy, she once again is off visiting her parents. I go online to check our bank account balance, to do our finances and find a startling discovery...

A $30.00 charge to DivorceSource.com

Imagine the shock and the confusion that goes through your mind at that moment. Your life has been fine, you and your spouse are happy as far as you can tell, and then you find that.

Well, I called her in Michigan, and asked her if she had anything she wanted to tell me. She said "No.", so I asked her about the charge, wondering if someone had gotten a hold of our credit card or something and she said "Oh...I just bought a book...its nothing to worry about."

After the phone call, I write her a long letter, telling her that you don't order a book from a divorce website for no reason, to please talk to me, seek counseling with me, and try to work things out. I leave the letter where I know she will find it when she gets back. I walk in on her reading it. I wait for some type of response from her for 3 days.

I get nothing.

So I ask her one day, after the kids are asleep in their room. "I'm leaving you." Is the only response I get. I can't get any reasons other than things "aren't working out". I ask her if there is anything I can do, if we can go to counseling, anything. Her response was "There is nothing you can do. I'm leaving Saturday." That Saturday...July 8th, 2001...was two days before my birthday.

Well, Happy birthday to me.

4 days later my best friend gets married to the girl he met at the same Party 10 years earlier.

They are the happiest couple I have ever seen.

1891

Posted 6 March 2002, 6.24 pm by Shaggy


A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. I was walking with my girlfriend in downtown Halifax, along Barrington, when I stopped at one of the coolest book shops on the planet (I heard they have a $20,000 set of original Greek/Latin texts from such literary smalltimers as Plato). Since I am taking Latin and Greek, I figured I would try to find a book written in one of those two languages that was under 200 bucks. So my girl and I dug, and dug. We found this beat up old Plautus text of the play Rubens.

Incidentally, if it was not for Stasia, I would have never noticed the clever little spelling of the title in the first letters of the opening argumentum.

At any rate, I simply adored the text to begin with. It had a certain charm to it, and looked as if it had seen many a day underneath the sun. I brought it home rather excited, as I had just bought a Latin/English dictionary to help with my translations (and for any who had never taken any Latin, simply having the latin/english dictionary will NOT guarantee that you will be able to translate if you do not have at least a rudimentary grasp on the grammar).

So there I was, staring at my first copy of original Latin I own. Sure, the spine was almost nonexistent, but with a little glue and a homemade leather spine, it will be as if it is new. I opened the book and smiled at the soft, dusty crackle of the spine's netting scraping against itself.

Those are the reason why I love books. It is one of very few things on this earth that gain so much character when they are past their time.

I began my translation. Proud that I somehow managed to completely and confidentally translate the first line (hey... I only have one year of latin to my belt, I'm not exactly about to jump into writing Penguin translations), I became curious as to the date of publication. So I peered over, and low and behold, 1891. The writings that are littered throughout (with little marginal notes such as "this guy was a part of this bit of history yadda yadda yadda) was 1921, meaning he would be probably long-since dead at the point that I had bought the text. This book is literally older than even the oldest person I know. It is the oldest book in my collection. The last person to leave evidence of owning it is also literally older than most of the people I know. In fact, my grandparents are the only ones to have even have been born at the time that the last person left evidence of owning Plautus' Rubens.

Now, I know this isn't really all that old in relative terms. However, I am not really a historian. This is the oldest text I have ever had in my possession, and you know what... it makes me feel empowered. Lying between my fingers is something almost forgotten, and I wonder how many years it has sat in the book store, lost from the world. I wonder how many different teachers have perused through it's leaves, taking pride in studying something new in a different language.

I wonder if Latin was more predominant than it is now, and I am almost certain that it must have been. I wonder...

We often take pride in what is new. "I have the newfangled xboksation with the vibration-functional discombobulator!" loudly proclaims a tech-head somewhere as we speak. I take immeasurable pride in something that has survived the ages, and relatively well. With a little restoration, it will be hard to tell this book from a rough edition of a decade or two ago. Indeed, I have found books only a year old in almost the shape that this visitor from time has found itself.

I wonder what secrets lie in that bookstore, secrets that are waiting for the right person to uncover them.

I think I will take a trip back there before I return back to St. John.

Up close

Posted 6 March 2002, 2.17 pm by Sickan

Heheh remember that article I wrote about the media..?? Some of you might, I do because it was my first here… but that’s beside the point! Now my roommate is one of those persons you see in the media.

Well it all began one afternoon I came home from school and my roommate and her friend was sitting in the living room, immediately I stepped inside I could feel something was up. My roommate, flew up and came out to meet me by the door, she hugged me and shouted something about being in some sort of contest… I was like, “Umm… ok… well good for you…!” When she calmed a bit down she told me the whole story. She had enrolled herself in some sort of music-competition as a guitarist. The competition was for a TV-station who needed 4 to 5 talented young people who would play in a band and let a camera follow them around. You’ve probably heard of this thing before…

So some days later she went and did the competition and stuff… I waited in anxiety for the result, because this could be the push she needed as an artist. So after two days she came home, and had been selected as guitarist in this concept-band. I had to keep it as a secret as well as a few other selected individuals ho knew about this.
So now my roommate is living in an apartment with 3 strangers whom she has to work with for a pretty long time and whom she might have to have a professional career with.
Imagine yourself in that position; having a camera on you all day long, living together with people you just have to get along with and overnight you are a celeb! Damn…
She actually is coming home this weekend for the first time since she left. And the camera-team is with her… damn… I'm going to be there… heheh that’ll be fun!!

Savoring the moment

Posted 5 March 2002, 10.47 pm by Alexander

This is another superb submission from Alfalfa.

In the dark, smoky, light of the coffee house she stood out from the others. There were a few small tables that cluttered the crowded room. Her head was bent down; her long brown hair gracefully fell in front of her face, resting on the table in front of her. She was writing, her beautiful hands skimmed across the rich, creamy paper. The pen was held in between her perfectly rounded fingertips like it belonged there. Those pale white half-moons on her fingernail seemed to tell her future. She was very absorbed with the words that so smoothly flowed from her hand to the journal. Her little pink lips puckered when she was stuck, and her forehead showed little worry wrinkles. She seemed to find inspiration from the world around her.

Every once in a while, her dark green olive eyes slowly scanned the room taking in all its details. The room was quiet; all of its occupants seemed to be in their own little world, one with out the hustle and bustle of the outside. As she observed, she sipped her chai tea. Her cute little lips barely touched the side of the large mug. The tea was hot, and it steamed up from the cup in small white little wisps. She took very small sips to prevent the warm liquid from burning her, as well as to savor the tea. It seemed more like she was savoring the moment though.

Her hands were clasped around the mug, like clutching it it gave her security,although she was calm. Her perfectly rounded fingertips of her soft silky hands intertwined as she gently held her tea. Her hands were amazing; they had youthful flair and excitement in their soft playful movement. There were slight wrinkles on her palms that only can belong to a woman wise beyond her years. Her left index finger had a small callus that fit perfectly upon the interior of her last knuckle.

She sat up straight and stretched out her legs in front of her, as if she was a cat, rising from an afternoon nap. She was gorgeous, in that unsuspecting way, like the small flower covered by the rest but it still manages to be absolutely breath taking. She had long brown hair that moved like an ocean, graceful and calm. Her beautiful light brown skin fit perfectly with her enchanting green olive eyes. Her lean, muscular body was curvy and graceful. When she walked she stood tall, her long legs strode with confidence.

Everything seemed to fit together when one looked at her. She had a very unique and calming style of dress. It seemed as though she shop at many different shops, some thrift shops, some in the mall, but wherever she bought her clothes-they fit her perfectly. This day she wore long black baggy pants and a dark gray tee shirt. She was also wearing a well-worn knit sweater. It seemed like her grandparents could have made it, it was long, extending a few inches past her waist. It was made of maroon, blue, and teal wool, but by now all the colors faded into one ocean of color. She had with her a large shoulder bag. It was made of an Asian silk print. The bag was large enough for her to carry her journal, books, and even her sketchbook within it.

She sat up straight and stretched out her legs in front of her, as if she was a cat, rising from an afternoon nap. She stood up and strode towards the large window facing the street. For a few moments she stood there and watched the activity of all the people outside, the window was like a television screen. It was a screen into another dimension; the real world. She often got caught up in the peacefulness of the coffee shop. They ran about quickly, too many people rush through life and don't take the time to sit and observe, she thought. Her mysterious, intense eyes looked out into the crowds. Her pupils were bright, hopeful. Into rain of the dark day, she was seemingly searching for someone. Her groomed eyebrows were raised in curiosity. One could only wonder what her eyes were expecting to see.

Suddenly, her face lit up, like the sun shining on dew, in the early spring mornings. Her companion had arrived. They enjoyed a beautiful embrace, they held onto each other like they were never planning to let go. There was nothing sexual about it; you could just feel the warmth and friendship radiating from the pair. Her other was a man, slightly taller than herself. They seemed to be floating on a cloud as they made their way over to her small familiar table.

They noticed nothing but each other. Her nose pointed a line at his, it was rounded just at the tip and it widened when she smiled. She was intently listening to him, her eyes were bright and they shone with joy. She had lit up since he had arrived; she was always smiling this little smile. The smile was barely there; her lips were parted only a bit to where the bottoms of her top teeth showed with her lips slightly curled upwards. Every once in a while, when something delighted her, she smiled a smile so big it seemed to brighten up the room with happiness.

Her and her companion were in their own personal world. It was a world that cared not for the troubles and strife's of its surroundings.

IRC Quotes

Posted 4 March 2002, 7.25 pm by Alexander

I don't know how much this will interest you, but this here site is a database of humourous quotes from IRC channels. So dubious is their quality control, there's even some from our very own channel, #akpcep.

Have a browse, see if you can spot em.

Create a Username and Password

Posted 4 March 2002, 3.52 pm by Berly

Wow. I have just experienced something for the first time. I have been…I think I can type it…I have been…

fired.

Fired, laid off, let go…it’s all the same thing. The paychecks will cease to come from a known and familiar source.

This is a strange situation, in that I’ve been given until the 15th of next month to find another job. I still wake up every morning and go into the place that wants me to go away.

I’ve posted my resume on every relevant job finding website I know of. I now spend my time matching the websites to the username/passwords I created. It feels like a vicious game of Memory.

I’m feeling pretty numb at the moment. We all know the typical stages one is to experience when dealing with loss. I can say that this experience is anything but stage-like for me. I’ve felt angry, hysterical, frightened, depressed, enthusiastic, optimistic, excited, saddened, confused…some for days at a time, others for minutes. Other days, I feel them all at the same time. We have been taught that no two things can occupy the same space at the same time. Can two or more emotions occupy the same mind at the same time?

I could be cliché and end this post with a “what is important in life becomes clear when things like this happen” type of line. Instead, I will say that losing your job has this amazing effect of making your last 5 purchases, no matter how worthy they might have been, feel so superfluous. On second thought…perhaps I should work for a greeting card company.

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Doggybag/baggy_dog is an artist living and working in Barga, Italy. Click here to read about this piece in his own words.


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80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

* Alexander wonders if this still works

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