My Summer Book Report

My Summer Book Report

I had the time to read a lot while travelling this year. Fiction is such a personal thing, I won’t bother writing to you about any of that, but I thought those of you without unlimited leisure time might like to hear about some of the big ideas I culled from the dozens of non-fiction books I had time to go through.

read more
A Democratic Enema

A Democratic Enema

My voting history is sketchy. Federal, usually. Provincial, sometimes. Municipal, never. I’m educated, upper middle class, reasonably intelligent, I should be the one beating the drum, “Get out and vote!” Instead, I opt out of the political process, and I’m most... read more
Obscene Gestures Of Alberta

Obscene Gestures Of Alberta

When you travel extensively through foreign lands you hope it changes you. Otherwise you could just look at photos of far away places on the internet and save yourself the airfare. If I can hold on to anything from my travels I hope it’s the desire to let go of everything.

read more
Snake Wine

Snake Wine

If you are in a foreign land, and you are encouraged to eat or drink something disgusting, it’s about boners. This is true of all cultures, but they really embrace this concept in Asia. Men’s virility is tied to eating the heart of your enemy stewed in his own skull. It’s never about chocolate cake. Crispy duck breast, a nice curry, maybe a salad, those things will make you as limp as a noodle. No, if you want wood, you’ve gotta drink dragon’s blood, preferably warm.

read more
Internet For Everyone Everywhere

Internet For Everyone Everywhere

When planning a trip to Cambodia I knew I wanted to visit The Killing Fields. They held a strong attraction for me and I wanted to try figure out why that was, it seemed an important thing to understand. I have an appetite for the macabre, and maybe I needed to convince myself that I wasn’t just rubber necking a genocide, so I was determined to find something to say about the experience. Why do I want to see a pile of human skulls and what is the point?

I thought I might contemplate deep fundamental truths about life and translate that into feelings about living in the moment and finding beauty in the small things. Instead, I ended up thinking about the internet. I know. I didn’t see that coming either. Here’s how I got there.

read more
Everything is Temporary

Everything is Temporary

I’m looking at huge jungle trees envelope a giant stone monument, like some giant snake swallowing it’s prey. I can’t help but think how the people that built it felt as they stood on these walls. It’s magnificent, even 2000 years later. They must have felt they had created something timeless, something permanent.

read more
Crazy is Universal

Crazy is Universal

In North America we don’t like the number 13. It’s bad luck. Best to be avoided. Many buildings house elevators which don’t include the number 13. The floors are numbered sequentially, but the 13th floor is labeled 14, and we pretend like that’s reasonable.

read more
Bad Reviews Can Be Good

Bad Reviews Can Be Good

This is the second in a series of posts about opportunities in challenging well worn beliefs in the food and beverage industry. I think the people with experience get it wrong sometimes. It’s good to question conventions.

Not all customer complaints are created equal. Some are bad for business, but sometimes negative reviews can be good marketing. Sometimes bad reviews can be good for business.

read more
Negotiating With A Child In Poverty

Negotiating With A Child In Poverty

Many travellers revel in the back and forth of bartering, they love the feeling of getting the upper hand, or at least getting a great deal. I’m not a fan of haggling, it’s my least favourite part of Asia.

I either want something or I don’t, price is not the key factor for me, even back home, so when prices fall to Asian standards it means even less. “Mister. Mister. You want? One dollar. One dollar for you. Good Price. Mister. Hey. Hello. Mister. One dollar.” Lady, I don’t want a dried lizard on a stick. I’m sure that’s a great deal, but that’s not the issue.

read more
A Crisis Of Identity

A Crisis Of Identity

We walk into a building called the Reggae Mansion, it contains a pub prominently advertising Guinness, called O’Marley’s. The place is entirely staffed by Indians, serves Malaysian food, and plays Top 40 Pop at nightclub levels. Our Server suggests a bottle of the house white wine, the quality of which we can be assured of, because he tells us knowingly that it is German, when the bottle arrives it is labelled Santa Carolina. I can’t stop laughing, what the fuck is going on in this place!

read more