Crawl Across the Ocean

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Little Thoughts

The trouble with vacations is - no, not the work that piles up while you're gone - that's a trouble, but not the trouble. No, the trouble with vacations is that they give some perspective on the blah blah blah that makes up your daily life when you're not on vacation. The kind of perspective that leads one to characterize their daily life as 'blah blah blah'.

Maybe there are people who don't get this feeling. People who are eager to return from vacation to resume all the meaningful and fulfilling things they were doing before they were interrupted. Or maybe this never happens, because the people who would feel that way don't (need to) take vacations.

I don't know. But being back 'in touch', I find that all the disparate irritants - the U.S. government in solemn debate over whether to effectively declare the Geneva Conventions obsolete, tragi-comic newspaper headlines like today's National Post's, "Mother of killer says she feels sorry" and for some reason most irritating of all, the endless stream of banal advertising and television - like the alcohol ad from the 'rebellious' company which take its name from piracy (technically privateering), where someone thought it would be clever to take the already beaten-harder-than-the-proverbial-dead-horse 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' phrase and translate it into a pirate setting ('what happens below decks stays below decks' - with the exception of cannon-fire, and defecation one presumes). Yeah, you're right, I didn't finish that last sentence, it was getting long. Anyway, you can probably guess how I find all that stuff.

Maybe it's because I can't tune it out that I find advertising so irritating. Or maybe what The Beautiful South sang is true:

"The answers fall easier from the barrel of a gun
Then it does from the lips of the beautiful and the dumb
The world won't end in darkness, it will end in family fun
With Coca-Cola clouds behind a Big Mac Sun"

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood, chemicals in the brain a little off, as they readjust from a diet of weisswurst and giant pretzels back to the regular burgers and chicken nuggets, or maybe I just need to wait a little until the preoccupying hum of the daily 'blah blah blah' re-envelopes me in the fog of bore or maybe something else again.

For the moment, I feel like making things a bit more introspective around here, but moments can be small - especially in comparison to the distance between posts, so I guess we'll see. Maybe the current of blogging logic is inexorable and will bring me back to a comfortable downstream heading of mocking, fisking, linking, and one line commentaries before too long. Or maybe it will seem easier just to go ashore for a while, rather than blog upstream. Or maybe this is just a little thought that will seem foolish in the morning light - prompting an internal debate between 'blogger ethics' (what goes on the blog stays on the blog) and just sweeping it under the digital rug.

Maybe I'll leave it at that, for the moment.


  • Wow Declan,

    I hope that this means that you had a really good time in Germany. I felt a lot like that when Kevin and I came back from our first ski trip to Mt. Tremblant. It didn't feel so good. However, that time of introspection and re-evaluation became the start of a lot of changes in my life leading to where I am and where I am going now and that is good. Maybe it is time to start listening to your heart as well as your head and see where that leads you.

    take care,

    p.s. (Don't forget that as you have often said to me, "change is good".)

    By Blogger Trish, at 10:46 AM  

  • "the fog of bore" ... outstanding.

    As for blogging upstream: please do! I restarted with oddthoughts after a month long vacation in France. A month in which tv, news, newspapers, and especially blogging was absent. I felt very much the same way as you. I swore that I wouldn't return to the mocking and fisking. I did.

    With fewer words than you ( none actually ) I've remade the little pact with myself to do a better job of, if not steering clear of the irritants, at least seeing the humour in them.

    Is it possible to observe the irritants, and irrationality of being back in touch, and yet leave them at the arms length distance that their silly nature warrants? I hope so.

    Anyway, IMO, you're always at your best when your writing you're own thoughts and not dismantling the dissembling of others.

    By Blogger KevinG, at 9:20 AM  

  • Y'know, I'm amazed at all of the energy, money, creativity and resources that go into advertising and marketing. I've sometimes wondered what it wold be like if all those billions of dollars were diverted away from trying to convince people that they want or need something which they don't have. What if all that marketing money was spent making people feel happy, content, and secure, instead of miserable, inadequate and wanting?

    Imagine if the guy standing by the side of the road in a silly costume was holding a sign which told you how awesome you were. Billboards which compliment your taste in attire and mental acuity.

    But, hey, who's going to pay money to make other people feel better about themselves? What a waste that would be.

    By Anonymous Famousringo, at 12:37 AM  

  • I had this feeling coming back this summer too.

    For about 2 weeks I was able to follow the advice of Douglas Coupland and get through it by 'narrowing the filter'.

    The thing is, if you are somebody that pays attention to stuff the pull to get back out in the current is very strong indeed.


    By Blogger Gazetteer, at 11:22 PM  

  • You've become a man of very few words Declan.

    By Blogger KevinG, at 4:30 PM  

  • Trish - Not to worry, based on the reaction I think this post came across sounding more 'down' than I intended.

    KevinG (1st comment) - thanks.
    KevinG (2nd comment) - yes, I know, but things will pick up again, gradually.

    Famousringo - Well said. Although instead of someone holding a sign saying how awesome we are, that person could be doing volunteer work for the United Way or any number of other geninely productive activities.

    I'd say advertising is perhaps the single greatest source of inefficiency and waste in our society - and that is saying a lot.

    Gazetteer - You're right. It is hard not to pay attention. And if paying attention, hard not to want to at least say, if not do something.

    By Blogger Declan, at 8:52 PM  

  • Thanks for the plug for United Way!

    After working at UW for a little over a month, I have learned that without the volunteers there would be no way.

    By Blogger Zip, at 5:42 PM  

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