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Showing posts from October, 2016

When There Is No Santa Claus

The Shiny Side Stayed Up

From high in the passenger seat of a Peterbilt truck, the featureless expanse of the Great Plains stretched to the horizons. Beside me The Cisco Kid, a Canadian trucker, my ride, a lonely soul who spotted me hitchhiking in Sacramento, thumped the steering wheel, keeping time.

 It was March, and Cisco — I never learned his real name — kept the cab cold and the music loud, just above the CB chatter.

 “Ooh, I'm driving my life away, looking for a better way, for me”, Cisco sang in his scratchy voice.

It was the hundredth time I’d heard Eddie Rabbitt’s song since my road adventure started. Behind us an 18-wheeler carried a load of concentrated juice. Cisco drove and drank sweet creamy coffee, while I smoked and told stories to keep him awake. Eddie Rabbitt was fading away, but never very far. Cisco reached for the CB and increased the squelch.

 “Breaker 1-9, Westbounders on the I-80, how’s it look over your shoulder?”

 “Lake Rat here. Y’all look good back that way,” a disembodied vo…

Check Out This University of Saskatchewan Gender Role Reversal Project

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This culture jam is a school project that was created for a Women and Gender Studies class at the University of Saskatchewan by Sarah Zelinski, Kayla Hatzel and Dylan Lambi-Raine.

It begs the question about the sense of our gender representations in advertising. If they are strange for men, they must be for women too, but we are conditioned to ignore them (well, men are anyhow)


Garbled Dispatches

It’s a sunny afternoon in April 2004. Although I’ve consumed three doppios since rising at noon, I’m half-asleep when I grope for the telephone from behind three code-filled monitors — one buzzing with dangerous static. The phone’s chirped five times before I answer.
“You sent a letter to my son.”
It’s Jim, my oldest brother. We haven’t spoken in months. He doesn't sound drunk, just furious. The webs inside my brain lurch.
“Um, yeah. I'm sending him a board game and some recordings. I'm a taper, you know.”
“He forwarded me the letter. Young man, what the hell were you thinking, saying you don’t agree with the war. He puts his life on line every day to save your cowardly ass! You liberals are all the same: griping about President Bush who has the backbone to defend our country, spouting views that we’re better off without Saddam Hussein, but moaning about the only person who has guts to fight back.”
I ignored his hostility. He'd had a stroke.
“I thought some entertainment...…

What’s Gone Is Gone. Next Please

Security: When I was eight, Susan, a classmate, was kidnapped, raped, and murdered, and her severed fingers mailed home. I remember Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King getting shot. The Zodiac Killer haunted our region. The Vietnam War was raging. Horror was my childhood’s backdrop. My first friends: after moving to Sacramento in 1972, becoming an outsider and never fully recovering. Governmental faith: watching Watergate hearings — Nixon’s “I’m not a crook” seems quaint nowadays, doesn’t it? Invulnerability: spending six months home with osteomyelitis: a swollen arm, pulsing pain, fever, interminable blood tests, x-rays, nuclear scans, and, finally, a successful operation. I listen to doctors. All my possessions twice: one backpack stolen, another accidentally traded with a lady in the desert while hitchhiking. Almost none of her clothes fit me. Equilibrium: Ugh. My friend Stuart and I complained to the bartender about the quantity of tequila in our margaritas. I staggered home, fell …

My Worst Job

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How I Lost Some of My Life

Once upon a time, I became a systems analyst for the now-defunct Banco Nacional. Dias, the R&D department manager, hired me, assigning me, the "resource", to a gringo-hating division manager. They asked me to validate a network system to be installed in over 400 branches, a deal worth millions, the saving grace for a company in São Paulo. Nobody explained I was supposed to rubber stamp it, or that the president's brother-in-law owned the company.



The system was a mess of obsolete microcomputers with shoddy networking capabilities. I broke the code in several hours, but writing the report was difficult. My savvy partner-in-crime, Ronaldo Pinto, helped with translation so the board could understand my hacking. To prove the system’s weakness, I transferred representative funds from and back into my personal account without creating transactions, but with documentation showing different balances. This is a bank’s nightmare scenario.
Ronaldo called…

Be Amazing

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