September 2005

Irony Is A Bitch...

Yep.

Sure is.

Iíve spent the better part of two weeks coming up with amazingly impressive things to say. I wrote them all down in a little notebook. You can ask. In the middle of a conversation I would pull out the notebook and start scribbling. It was probably rude, but at the end of the day, if I donít have that, what do I have?

So yeah, wrote it all down in diligent detail. I had some killer lines in there I did.

And now?

Now that I sit down to write it all out, I canít find the bloody thing. Not a trace. It was in my pocket a few hours ago and now that itís time to sound all brilliant I canít track it down.

Ha-fucking-ha.

So Iím working from memory here, and as anyone who has hung around these parts, you should know that itís not all that reliable. If youíre new, let me let you inÖ

My memory?

Not the best.

Nonetheless, itís time to do this, so letís do and youíll have to forgive me as Walter waits a month. While I canít remember what they all are, I know for certain that there are some things that bear my invisible voice to address, so I shall and letís go from there.

First Of All...

So Iíve noticed a trend.

Iím not talking about the whole wearing a golf shirt and flipping the collar up thing. Iíve noticed that too, and to be frank, I just donít get it. To those that are guilty of it, youíre ruining the whole collar flipped up for the weather thing for the rest of us, so please stop it immediately. I know that youíre trying to latch onto the whole ďIím unkempt, look at how spectacularly badass I amĒ , but seriously, youíre fooling no one and you just look like a dick.

And now, when I flip the collar on my coat up, I suffer a completely unnecessary fear that Iím going to get locked in with the bunch of you wankers. I get it, youíre cool.

Rent a sign or something, but youíre messing with my style, and that is utterly unforgiveable. Iíve worked hard not to fit in with you cookie cutter moulds, and I have no need or desire to have some wannabe Fonzie who thinks that by flipping up his collar on his Polo shirt that he somehow raises his badassedness.

You donít. Youíre trying too hard and everyone knows it.

So kindly, fuck off.

But thatís not the trend that Iím talking about.

In fact the trend that Iím talking about is a completely self centered one, so bear with me.

The number of downloads of the acoustic version of Revolution have gone through the roof. If anyone who knows what is going on could be so kind to let me know, that would be great. If youíre shy and itís just an issue of being passed on can I recommend downloading Monster and dropping me a line at nate@natepike.com so I can at least add you to the list of people who get an e-mail from me every month and donít bother to read it?

That would be great.

Thanks.

The Big Easy

You had to know that I would go here.

So hereís what we knowÖ

A couple weeks back, a hurricane hit the good ole U.S. of A.

And it caused some serious problems.

In fact a whack of people have died, sadly, most of them utterly disposable. When I say that, I mean that the vast majority of casualties have been either poor or black or elderly or all three. Those people are those that the U.S. have by and large allowed to suffer the difficulties of foreign policy for decades running. Granted, a good number of white people have also paid a terrible price, but the bottom line is that as always, it is the poor and the disenfranchised that have ultimately suffered.

And usually, in the states, those are the minorities.

In the Vietnam war, a staggering number of blacks died as opposed to whites. Itís not something that we like to talk about, but itís a tragic truth. Weíre talking almost a three to one ratio here.

We should all know at this point that this was by and large preventable. We should all know that while mother nature is completely in control of the grand scheme an enlightened few spoke most vocally more than a couple of years ago that Louisianna and in particular New Orleans and Biloxi were woefully unprepared for a hurricane e of this sort. Itís a matter of public record that those in the know clearly stated that due to cuts in budget for the upkeep and repair of the levees to fund the war in terrorism they would be unable to cope with a major storm.

But those cries, even stated as matter of security and safety went ignored.

Because oil called, and at the end of the day what matters more?

Evidently not thousands of lives. That was only a possibility.

Of course that was as much as a possibility as another terrorist attack.

So we start to see the cost.

There was not a quick enough response. In fact, by and large, there was no response.

And now, in the wake of thousands dead, politicians and celebrities are flocking to the affected areas. If I wasnít a realists, I might think this had to do with aiding the victims of this, but unfortunately, ever since 9/11 my bullshit meter had been set on high, so I canít quite buy it.

Weíre all about face time now.

For all of those Americans that care so much, I simply ask, if the casualties, if the loss of human life is so unacceptable, why does it only count when those that die carry U.S. citizenship? More than 25,000 Iraqi civilians alone have been killed since the U.S. ďinterventionĒ, and that is by conservative count.

It is easy to accept your governmentís policy when the dead are counted on foreign soil. It is easy to turn a blind eye when the reality of the policy of Empire is counted in the dead of another sovereign state.

Well now the cost has come home, and forgive me for saying it, but I am grateful.

For too long, American foreign policy has resulted in the death of countless innocents. It came home on September Eleventh in a tragically direct way, and it has come home again. If the government of the U.S. was more concerned with preserving the safety of itís citizens, the death toll in Louisiana would not continue to climb as it has. But efforts were directed in a policy that was aimed only at redrawing a map that the U.S. had no business redrawing. Efforts were directed at an imaginary foe, and when real threat, real harm came to the people of the U.S. the government had already turned itís back them years before by cutting the budgets necessary (basic upkeep of the construction of a cities infrastructure) and the government was incapable of responding.

I believe that the storm would have taken lives in itís unslaught, but I donít believe that the rapes and murders and looting could not have been prevented.

They could have.

And had not the people of the U.S. been so distracted by the lies of a corrupt administration, perhaps they would have been.

But the complacency of a people that thought themselves above the laws of man and nature have come home to roost.

I weep for the people that have paid this price. But it is one that has been well past due for some time now. The people of a country are responsible for the way that itís government conducts itself. The U.S. government has only been concerned with the details of business and has ignored itís own homeland.

You reap what you sow.

And it is an ugly reaping. It is a horrific one, but is one that I hope might just wake up the people of the U.S. into the nightmare that it has created.

There are many people talking about raising funds to help the victims of this recover.

I will not contribute one penny to this.

If I did, it would be covered in the blood of all the people who have died because of U.S. foreign policy. The bottom line is that the government allowed the people to be weakened in its sick search for control and domination of states that it had no business interfering in.

As I said, I weep for those that have paid the price of their governments decisions, but at the end of the day, the tragic fact is that they are paying a price for a government that they elected, or at least allowed to remain in control.

All bills come due, and now that this one has, I can only hope that the American people choose to see the damage that the cost of an empire has brought them.

But I will not pay this bill.

And despite the damages, I hope that you donít either.

Because in the end, if the bill is not paid before interest comes due, we will all pay it, in ways that neither you nor I can begin to imagine.

And Speaking Of BloodÖ

Iíve been on vacation for the last week or so. At least, thatís what they told me. Vacations are what you make of them I suppose. I was able to weave a few strings of vacation into a few pieces of time off I suppose.

I should tell you about the interesting bits I suppose.

Among other things, I managed to assure myself that a crab was still kicking by building a damn out of more than a metric tonne of rock, I killed enough spiders to keep the good city of Victoria awash in rain for more than the next seven years, I stood on a cliff that had seen more than a couple of corpses was up on itís shore (quite literally, believe you me), caught a live show for which I was one of five people in attendance (donít believe a word of what they tell you about the flourishing west coast music scene), met the woman who did the whole ďPaging Doctor Bon JoviĒ bit on an album that dates me a little too much as well as some serval cats which seemingly wanted to take my throat out (and I donít doubt for a second that the more aggressive of the two could have had I not run like a girl).

I also took in a Chinese street festival wherein you could buy weapons of minor destruction as well as three t-shirts for less than ten dollars.

I was let into the world of a major Canadian artist where I think I bought a more than disturbing painting. In the face of bad timing I was met by surprising kindness and a cat who felt the need to wake me at ungodly hours by thumping on my face and later drawing blood by bouncing off of a windowsill and my arm.

Evidently I look like a tree of sorts.

I was also told that I am unfit to climb a hill that yuppies make a habit of climbing to prove that they are still in good enough shape to be desirable.

Thatís no news to anyone. It was to me, but I spend most of my time out of the loop about myself and all of my inadequacies, so thatís ok I guess.

My personal favorite however was driving through what is called Pigeon Square.

I was not allowed to get out of the car, because I was told this was a ďbad area of townĒ. but if I wanted to stop anywhere on the entire trip, this was it.

Among other things, there was a junkie with eyes so hollow you could see right through her without seeing anything. She had the burned out circles of years on heroin abuse drawn in blood like they could have been eye shadow. Dark circles that betrayed things seen and done that were long forgotten but burned into flesh nonetheless.

I couldnít help but measure the stumbling walk and altogether vacant eyes with the fact that at one point or another she was someoneís child. I couldnít help but think to myself that somewhere there was probably a picture of her full of life as a small child. And then, from there, I couldnít help but wonder if there wasnít.

I watched the tired form of a man (who looked at least sixty but due to the ravages of heroin I couldnít be sure) sigh in relief as he injected himself. The body drops when you get a decent dose and I have no doubts that the image of his arm dropping so quickly as he filled his veins will be in my head for a good long while.

I could tell you almost every detail about him, and it saddened my heart that I was probably one of few that could, and I only saw him in a passing car.

These are places that nice people donít go, but it is the brutal honesty in them that I find most reassuring. No one in these places hides much of anything, and in these days, that is a rare find. A damn shame it is that to see the real human condition and the tragedy of it you have to seek out the places where people kill themselves the best, but if you ever need to believe that we are so much better than what we are, take a walk down one of these streets and think of your world and how very lucky you are.

I treasure them and of all of the people in them because I know that it is only circumstance that sets me apart from them, and for that I owe them.

We all do.

On A Final NoteÖ

So thereís this store. I saw it when we were walking around one of the larger malls in Vancouver. Now Iím not one for malls at all, but there I was and there it was. Walking in I saw a sign that nearly made my blood curdle and I found that I was actually nauseas. This also doesnít happen very often for me, so that should make a nice little introduction.

Iíve thought of many ways to write this and it was going to be quite the rant. Sitting down to do so and having looked at the pictures that I took before the manager and staff could kick me out, Iím pretty much speechless again, so Iíll just give you the basic facts and you can think on it yourself.

The store is called Urban Behaviour. It is a trendy large-scale store aimed at the 12-early twenties demographic. So basically, theyíre going for the young and impressionable set. They carry the run of the mill fashions that you could find in other ďcutting edgeĒ stores. But what sets them apart is their marketing. They have come up with a campaign that is something out of an Orwellian bad dream.

To reach their target demographic of the young and impressionable, they have come up with a marketing campaign based around the first picture. The second is one of many support pictures that they have around the store.



You can contact their marketing department at aj@cmt-canada.com

And as always you can contact me at Nate@natepike.com