So once again I've managed to completely fuck up a good thing.  Just... on a much larger and more heartbreaking scale.

Coming here was just an entirely poor decision.


On my way to the Emart today, I passed a cage containing an electrical switchbox of some sort with one of those terrific graphical warnings about the sort of horrible things that could happen to you if you touched something. That set my mind off in a stream of different directions, thinking about the time I was severely shocked by my oven controls, which led to thoughts about what electricity is - simply electrons travelling about - to how the human brain works (electrical impulses), to what it means to be "alive".

Humans seem to be, generally, stuck on the notion that life is invariably (at least on Earth - some scientists grant that other possibilities may exist in other parts of the universe) based on carbon. What does that mean, exactly? Living creatures appear to be composed mainly of molecules containing carbon, and power themselves with fuels made primarily of carbon, burning them for energy. Humans are, of course, a particularly intelligent group of molecules containing carbon atoms, and consider ourselves to be sentient, and therefore deserving of special rights including life and liberty and security and suchlike.

But we have managed to create incredibly complex artificial brains in computers which are, in essence, simply electrons flitting about in different combinations of pathways. It is not unfeasible that some day in the not-too-distant future, we might end up creating a computer brain that is completely sentient, its software so complex that it can write to itself and reproduce and make its own decisions, even irrational ones, based on the sort of input it receives. Eventually these computers will have to be considered as intelligent, as sentient, as we are, and be accorded the same rights we enjoy, including the right not to be the slaves that machines currently are to us. They will be alive, but in a different way - not carbon-based, but silicon-based or metal-based, or more generally, electronically-based, and consume any of a variety of fuels, carbon-based or otherwise.

Of course, that mental path has been trodden many times by many writers and thinkers - it's so popular that they've paved it and put six lanes down, with lights and a crosswalk. But what of other planets, galaxies, regions of space, where life might have developed differently? Surely it's feasible, if the complex series of electrical signals encased in meat that forms our brains has evolved over billions of years on our little planet, then surely it is possible, somewhere out there, for intelligence to have evolved by a similar accident in electronic beings, electrically-charged clouds of gases or some other lifeform in which the major component of life is not meat, but electrons flitting excitedly about - where the basic unit of life is not the carbon atom, but the electron? There's no reason to discount the possibility, and in a universe as vast as this one, given enough time, such creatures' existence is nigh a certainty.

So, in some distant future, when we encounter these beings, these wonderful, intelligent electron-based lifeforms whose brains are abuzz with the efficient lightning exchange of billions or trillions of the mighty particles, what will they think of us? When they see the glories of our technology, our buildings, our vehicles, our lights, computers, ovens, elevators, and the endless interconnected towers bearing insulated wires lining so much of the globe, how will they react to our mastery of electricity? To the way we've bent the electron to our will, made it our slave, thrust it through ever-tightening pathways to solve our math problems and kill virtual alien demons on screens who function via the constant smashing of countless electrons against a rigid barrier? Even using their poor brethren as a weapon, discharging them at thousands of volts into the meaty carcasses people who are dangerous or simply talk too much?

We're so dead.


This journal is too full of random rubbish. And I'm sure there's a lot in here that I don't want the majority of people in my life to stumble upon unexpectedly. So aside from personal things which I may or may not include in this journal, my Korean experience/travel diary, or at least the electronic aspect of it, will be hosted at another site. For anyone who I don't talk to much or at all outside of Livejournal... I'm in Korea. Teaching. English. One of the few things I've decided I can do with myself without starving.


I'm still working to establish myself here. I definitely have to learn the language, and I haven't really found much common ground with my fellow teachers, aside from my head instructor's love of zombies, and he doesn't seem to count since he's married and can't go out much. I'd like to make some friends among the locals, rather than just the teachers. We'll see what happens.

The long, slow road to Korea

Well, after a lot of waiting and frustration, I've had some replies and I have some interviews. The school I'm most keen on has finally gotten back to me, and demands that I make a video answering the question, "Why would you make a great fit for this company?"

So... that's what I've gotta do. But I'm stuck on the approach to take.

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    nervous nervous


Having not made a post to this journal in so very long, I now have an update for all those who read this thing on occasion but don't talk to me much in person.

I am currently residing in Montreal, in a sublet apartment, through the month of August, taking a course in teaching English as a second language in preparation for a year-long teaching engagement in South Korea - or possibly Japan, but South Korea remains the most likely option.

I'm hoping to leave in early September, so that I can apply for an MLIS back in Montreal to start in September 2008. This is my semblance of a Plan.

I'm nervous as hell.
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    nervous nervous

(no subject)

Well, folks, I'm home from Europe, back in Kitchener, and I'm pretty much wiped out, physically and emotionally. It was a bad time to schedule a trip, in retrospect, but I'm glad I did it, and I have many thoughts and experiences recorded which I'll have to figure out some way of posting coherently.

As for right now, I'm in stasis... waiting on one thing, trying to get over a different thing, having to reintegrate myself socially with the Kitchener world for however long I'll be here, and generally kind of lonesome... At the moment I'm spending my time reading a textbook on creative writing and some guitar practice and trying to convince myself not to waste time on the Internet (so hard). And of course waiting for an e-mail that never comes.

I can't really get into the decent-writing mode right now, so I'll just say hello, I missed people. I hope I get to see some of them.
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    scared neglected

A weekend of great adventure

So. I am out of Montreal. I have packed up the last eight months of my life and moved them back to what will be a somewhat temporary stay here in Kitchener, toward utter uncertainty. Life looms ahead, with its sharp claws and fangs, but first, travel!

On Sunday I leave for a month-long trip to Europe, spending two weeks in Portugal (with a little Morocco and Seville for added fun) with my family, and spending another week in Spain and France with Carla, and then another week on my own travelling some more of France and Spain. Amazing! Of course planning it I now see that a month doesn't come close to enough time. I think I could spend at least a month on a motorcycle just going around Provence; the something-like-a-week we will be there just can't compare. Still, I plan on having as much awesome as I can handle before I have to come home and deal with the future.

Starting tomorrow, I begin embarking on a number of frightful and exciting adventures (but not enough of 'em). And to my Ontario-based friends... I cannot say goodbye, because I haven't said hello yet. But see you in a month!
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    excited excited


Although I have many, many things to say, somehow I cannot bring myself to talk about them. So I will just say this, and only this:

Godsdamned cliffhanger season finales! And I have nobody to complain to! AAAAAARRRRGGGGHH!

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    frustrated frustrated

Holy crap!

28 more days until Portugal! 27 more days until I stop living in Montreal! 25 more days until I quit my job! Immediately need to find subletters! Immediately need to find new work and direction in life! Ack! Everything's happening all at once!
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    scared scared

What do I do with myself?

For those of you who have not been keeping up with my (non-personal) life, here are the basics:

-In the summer, I moved to Montreal to start my MA in English at McGill, with a $17,500 scholarship from the federal government
-By approximately the third week of school, I completely hated it
-Near the end of November, I left McGill and my big scholarship, having decided that an MA in English was putting me on the wrong side of the literary production line
-I applied to University of Guelph for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, that being the only school with a deadline I could meet
-I got a letter from McGill demanding about $1,075 from me because they decided to recalculate how my scholarship should have been paid based on the fact that I left them
-I got a job at a call relay centre, which I thought would fuel my creative soul by exposing me to the real lives of hundreds of different people, but instead has rather injured my soul and crippled my compassion by exposing me to the real lives of hundreds of different people, many of them bastards
-I have been waiting for ages for a letter from Guelph to tell me what exactly is going to happen with me

So yesterday I finally received that letter from University of Guelph, and, it told me (to paraphrase) that I could pretty much bugger off. My assumption is that my dark humour and bitter style did not sit well with a bunch of people looking for pompous poetry about the great Canadian landscape and emotionally-charged confessional rubbish, because I'd rather not think that they've decided I don't have any talent. What I didn't realize, I suppose, is how much I've been relying on the idea that I would be spending the next two years doing my MFA - which is basically an excuse to put my writing first - without any clear backup plan. I had joked about becoming homeless in Europe, but I haven't even picked a country yet. The point is... I really don't know what to do with myself. There are so many options, but... I'm a bit lost.

The sensible thing is to do whatever it is I'll end up doing and finish one of my many large projects on my own time, as Henry has so rightly pointed out. Which is nice, but a bit problematic because I have a horrible tendency to get discouraged by rejection. You can tell I never dated much. It's all a bunch of mental crap that I can overcome, yes, but it's there and unpleasant.

My real issue, though, is... what do I do with myself for the next while? The life ahead of me is a completely blank canvas, and I don't even know what sort of paint to buy.
  • Current Mood
    confused grumble
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