Bonjour, Mes Blog-Readers

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Hello to all orange leaves, tumbling softly from autumn trees, hung-up laundry, and people from distant planets.
It’s been a while. I’m sorry. Many things have happened in the past few months, and on top of that I may have… lost my password… so I can only access my blog on my grandparents’ computer due to a confusing series of events, and therefore my blogging is going to be a little stilted in future, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I have NOT disappeared off the face of the planet. I do continue to exist. Probably. I’m going to work on a better blog post to make up for the past months, (hopefully), but for now I will happily direct you to the Youtube channel I’ve recently set up. Find it here. I’ve decided to pursue a career in the art of video gaming. I’m currently uploading the first video (only 3978 minutes left!) and I have no real idea of when it’ll be up, except that it may be next week. Or later.

In other news, the new Arcade Fire is coming out at the end of October, just before my birthday, so you know… If you want to get me something… and also I’m turning sixteen, which I find so weird. Sixteen is one of those landmark ages that everyone always talks about being really special, and it’s the age that about every single teen fantasy character ever is. I don’t think anything particularly exciting is going to happen to me, though. I really want to get my driver’s license, buy one of those 60s style Volkswagen buses, kidnap my friend and ride across the country playing music at little roadside restaurants.
What else? Well, it’s fall again, my favorite time of year. It’s a beautiful day outside, and laundry is hanging in the backyard, blowing slightly in the breeze. Things feel pretty good. I remember when I started this blog I wasn’t doing so well, but that seems like another lifetime. I’m back at school now, and much happier than I’ve been for a pretty long time.
Here’s to things staying this good. Yours truly (and I mean it this time), ~Onceabasementdog

The Terrible Teen Section, Part Two

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Hello to all elephants standing on mushrooms, caterpillar men also on mushrooms, and half-eaten bowls of raspberries sitting on my computer desk.
I don’t know if you recall the first time I went over the Terrible Teen Section. It was quite a while ago, and now I’m living in a different part of town and going to a whole different library. However, despite my best efforts, I have been unable to glean any information out of the librarians as to WHY, exactly, no matter where I go I just can’t escape the terrible teen section. It’s like it follows me. I can’t avoid it, it and its horrible books.
Don’t you know what I mean? Haven’t you ever walked around the teen section? All you get are blaring eyefuls of vampire-romance this and kissy-lovey-dovey relationship crap that. I feel like there must be good teen books somewhere, but they’re buried three hundred feet underground in a cave infested with man-eating bats in a treasure chest, and there’s a note that says ‘Only the Worthy Are Allowed Here.’
Because look. I’m tired of crappy books. I go to the library to find worthwhile books, not to gaze helplessly at the cover of “The Vampire Story Where They Make Out In A Valley Every Five and a Half Pages”. I’ve read that one. It’s not so good.
But I don’t know what to do about it. I think the world just needs stricter publishing cridentials, that’s all: like for instance, only publishing books that have at least some semblance of quality to them. If that happened, we’d never run into this kind of monstrosity:

Oh Gawwwd...

I mean WHY!?! Why? Why why why why why why whyyyy? This is the sort of thing that makes me want to find some sand and stick my head in it until I can face the world again, which would probably take quite a while. I just can’t believe people read this sort of thing. Granted, I didn’t actually open the book and read any of it (my brain would have been instaneously vaporized probably), but I can tell, all right, just by that cover. I can tell quite profusely that it isn’t the sort of thing I like to read.
What’s even worse about it was that there was a whole shelf full of these books, all by the same author, with titles that varied in degrees of utter horror. 1 being mild gagging sensations and nausea, 10 being instant vaporization due to exposure to lameness.

And then I saw this thing. At first glance, it doesn’t seem so horrible– and I agree, it isn’t. Until you read what’s over the title.

Is he a boy? Or… is he… a beast?
Omygawd I don’t care.

Now the last one is the worst, in my opinion. It outdoes Boys R Us in every way– which, I know, you wouldn’t think would be even remotely possible. But it does. There’s just something about it– I think it’s the complete and utter lack of any sort of creativity or originality. Everything about it goes against what I live for, what I fight for, what I would gladly die for, which is the appreciation of good books. Obviously whoever let this get published was not an appreciator. It’s just… it’s just so bad. It hurts me at a profound level. The frilly title, the models on the cover, it all fills me with a sadness I can barely explain. It’s like the worst after school special ever that two fifty year old men in suits think kids will like.
It is…

Everything is wrong with this.

Gah. Bleh.
(That’s the sound of me dying.)
No, but really. I mean, who lets this stuff get published? I think whoever it is, they need to be thrown into the underground cavern with the man eating bats and the treasure chest of good books and left there for a while to regain their wits.
I guess some people just don’t mind as much what they read. But I do. I most certainly do. I am a literature snob who goes around sneakily taking pictures of silly books in the public library and giggling to myself like an escaped lunatic. Maybe the point of all this isn’t that there needs to be less terrible books in the world, but that I need desperately to find something valuable to do with my time.

Oh, well. Such is life. Good-bye, and Blog-Reader, before you go– remember that there ARE good books out there, no matter how scarce, and that among the fields of First Dates and Boys R Uses and Werelings there can be found the shining golden form of something worthwhile to read.
Yours truly as never, mwahaha, ~Onceabasementdog

My Brain, and Other Curiosities

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Hello to all cats, valiantly attempting to find the newly sprouted bean plants and eat them, slippers on floors, and harmonicas in the key of C.

Part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is because I got this video game called Skyrim, became desperately obsessed with it, sucked up all the internet time, and then lay shivering in a corner from Skyrim-withdrawal. It was a dark time. Also, it’s spring, and I’ve been enjoying the springiness. I’m going to start softball on Wednesday, and boy am I nervous– last night I had one of my super-realistic anxiety-ridden dreams about it. I went to some sort of tryout in a large abandoned parking lot in Montreal, where I had to wait in line all day for various skill assessments and never got a turn, and then there was a giant squid that ate everyone except me and the coach, who blamed it on me and killed me with a softball made of fire.
I figure Wednesday won’t be QUITE that bad.
Anyway, spring is nice– it feels more like summer than anything, though. Spring no longer exists in this part of Ontario– it’s been burned away by global warming, is what I figure. It’s nice to be out and about, though, and tomorrow my friends and I are going to Comiccon to be nerdy and stuff. Wil Wheaton from Big Bang Theory (and Star Trek TNG) is going to be there and I’m going to try and get his autograph, possibly on my hat. I’ve got another hat that was signed by Brett Spiner last year. I am so cool, man. I’m going to take pictures, too. I won’t even be embarrassed by the fact that my entourage is three nerdy teenage boys, two with braces, all in shorts and sandals. One possibly in shorts and sandals with socks. I love my friends.

I’ve been feeling good lately. The world seems promising to me. Everything seems funnier, too– I could fill up a whole volume with funny things I’ve noticed, which I guess is sort of what this blog is, but I swear– there’s funny coming out of my nose lately. I can’t keep it in. There’s way too much funny. And most of it isn’t even funny, it just is in my brain, but the minute I say it out loud I realize how non-funny it really is, and then everyone looks at me and politely doesn’t say anything. Up there in my brain, it’s like a never-ending, not entirely well-directed B movie.
In fact, if you took a diagram of my brain, it would probably look a bit like this:
my brain

I forgot stuff like for instance “family” and “friends” and “good-heartedness” but let’s say they take up the other side. This side that you see is the left hemisphere or something.
So I’ll see ya later, Blog-Reader. I’ll probably put some pictures up from Nerdfest tomorrow, and who knows, maybe you’ll even get a post about how Wednesday will go. If there’s giant squids…
… I promise I’ll tell you about it.
Yours truly, the most truest of them all, ~Onceabasementdog

The Dubious Coming of Spring and Softball

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Hello to all dogs running in excited circles, rocks being thrown at windows, and reindeer standing in backyards.
It’s sort of spring now. Sort of. There’s a two foot high pile of snow in the backyard, but you know. Spring.
I haven’t blogged in a while, because I’m embarrassed about my previous post, where I rambled on about God only knows what for five minutes or so. I THINK I was trying to get across some point about green energy but I’m not even sure anymore. Anyway, I’ve finally faced the embarrassment and here I am, bloggeging again. (That’s definitely how you spell it.) Anyways, a lot of stuff has happened in the last few months, which I’ve neglected to write about– less than a week ago there was a SNOWSTORM, because you know, IT’S SPRING AND EVERYTHING, but the good news is that the sun is melting most of it away and winter seems, finally, to be retreating to let spring take over. There are flowers growing in the yard and squirrels running to and fro. I like spring a lot, because it always feels like you’re waking up from a long cold dream.
This year I’m going to be playing softball. Let it be known that I despise softball. But I’m not even sure if there’s a baseball league for girls my age, or if there is it’s probably not in Canada– and I really wanted to play some sort of game involving a ball and a bat and a baseball field. I settled for softball, and I’m excited. And nervous. I keep having these unfortunate softball dreams to reflect my anxiety– in one I was on a team where everyone else was dead, except me. They were still playing and running around and stuff. Just… they were dead. Last night I had a dream where I forgot to bring my glove to a game and couldn’t find one that fit me; I was forced to put on this tiny pink glove and it didn’t end well.
I think I’ll be all right. I’ve played baseball for five years (with the exception of last year) and I am by no means an awful player.
I’m already all out of words. I’m serious. The words just aren’t flowing today. Maybe I’ll write a poem, and call it a day:

An Ode to Softball

Softball, softball,
A ball large and green
Never such an unsightly thing
Have I ever seen.
Thou art far too big for my hand
And also difficult to throw;
I want a regular baseball
You get me? Y’know?
But alas, there’s no league
For a girl to play baseball,
And I don’t know what rhymes well with baseball
Except maybe, “face stall”.
This year as the spring comes,
And to the diamond all us softball players run
There will be no baseball
And definitely no face stalls.
Whatever a face stall is.

There’s my half-hearted poem. Happy spring. This was a terrible blog post. Don’t hurt me. ~Onceabasementdog

I Babble On About Green Energy

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

I really hope I know what I’m talking about.

Why, Hello Spring

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Hello spring, today I will say hello to no other, for thou art the center of mine attention at present.
Ha! It’s spring! Well, not officially, not until the twenty first of April (unless you’re one of those weird people who defy the calendar and think it’s the twenty-third), but boy does it feel like it already is. I went out with the Mother for a long walk around Onceabasementdogville, and I actually got too hot to wear my spring jacket. No, not too hot to wear my WINTER jacket– too hot to wear my SPRING jacket.
My SPRING jacket.
Can you comprehend how unbelievable this is? Where I live, spring only hesitantly pops its head around the corner around mid-April, when finally the snow stops falling and things start melting. But this is March ninth! Dude, it’s not supposed to be spring yet! Us poor, poor, frozen Canadians always expect the frigidity and the evilness of winter to only melt away after Easter, never before. I’m probably jinxing the entire country by being so positive that it’s already spring, but who cares. It’s spring dammit.
I just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book.’ I wasn’t actually very impressed, which is kind of surprising, since I would’ve thought I would really enjoy his writing. I mean, I love him on principle because he’s dark and depressing and writes about graveyards. But I did not totally enjoy The Graveyard Book. Also I think he’s stealing my ideas, because I wrote a book that is uncannily similiar to his. People have to stop stealing my ideas, seriously– I had the idea for Avatar (the animated show) waaaayyy before it got on TV. I mean it. I wonder if Neil Gaiman and others have put a camera in my head so they always know what I’m writing about. Seems unlikely, but who knows? Writers have connections, man.

Anyway. I realize it’s been a month since I’ve last bloggeded. (That’s how you spell it: bloggeded.) I think I’m either getting lazy or just can’t find inspiration as easily any more– I’m still writing a lot of stories, but the waters of the blogging well have become dangerously shallow. Yes, I have a blogging well. Don’t you? I dug it last year, it’s right outside, but not for public use.
So what HAVE I been doing lately, if not blogging? Well, I’ve written lots o’ songs. I have one of those Bandcamp things, and put up one of my recordings. As I said I’m also writing pretty steadily, trying to finish off my one trillion page fantasy story, and I just realized something amazing: a mustache emoticon is possible to make. Like this:


Do you see? The equal sign is the eyes, the semi-colon is the mustache! That HAS to catch on. How could it possibly not catch on.
I don’t have much else to say, because it’s SPRING here in Onceabasementdogville and I’ve got to go and appreciate the sunlight some more because I’m sure I’ve jinxed Canada and tomorrow it’s going to be minus twenty.
Yours forever I, ~Onceabasementdog

The Wonders of the MP3 Converter

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Hello to all cats curled up on chairs twitching in their sleep, snow on rooftops, and rubber bands in the shape of Yoda.
I discovered this beautiful, beautiful thing yesterday. It’s known as a Youtube to MP3 converter. Shall I explain? Well, basically, any video at all on Youtube can easily be converted into a glorious MP3 that I can put into a happy little playlist and listen to on my computer. Is it legal? Dunno. Don’t care. I’ve been in Arcade Fire bliss this morning, listening to all their unreleased demo songs… sigh…
So yeah. I also downloaded a Camera Obscura song and it’s seriously great. The name of one of their albums is ‘Underacheivers Please Try Harder.’ That made me laugh. While we’re talking about underachievers, I had a bunch of weird dreams last night, containing a really neat car with flames coming out of the wheels, and also another one of those classroom-school dreams that tend to invade my unconscious sleeping mind once in a while. In my school dream I was filling out some math questions, and then I got fed up, ran outside, and got lost in a strange factory with antelope running around as The Shins played an odd rendition of the Harry Potter theme song on a stage in the corner. I have a feeling that’s one of those dreams I’m going to have to repress.
Anyway, getting back to the MP3 converter. I’m so, so happy. I’ll never understand people who don’t like listening to music– for me it’s an essential part of existence. Finding good songs is like discovering new worlds, stepping into a black and white movie or experiencing a neat dream. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by a particularly great song– like everything by Arcade Fire, basically. I’m greatly jealous of songs that can do that to me, I wish I could write music like that.
One of those songs is King Rat by Modest Mouse. They’re the weirdest. Band. In the universe. The guy who sings sounds like he’s insane, but it’s such an AWESOME INSANITY! When I listen to that song, I feel inexpressibly happy in a crazy way.
So that MP3 converter thing is pretty darn awesome. I could listen to weird unreleased Arcade Fire songs forever.

A List Of Weird Unreleased Arcade Fire Songs I Could Listen To Forever:
1. Winter For a Year
2. Cars and Telephones
3. Sonata
4. In the Attic
5. Cold Wind

That’s all I have to say this cloudy Tuesday. I’m listening to Cars and Telephones as I watch some dark birds flying against the white, snowy afternoon sky. Ah. Bliss. ~Onceabasementdog

Some Old Poetry

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

The old computer from nineteen thirty something that I still have in my room is filled with a labyrinth of poetry, not to mention endless books and little nothing-stories that I’ve almost completely forgotten about. While wandering through the maze, I came across a poem I wrote about a year ago. Most of that old stuff is pretty terrible, but this one stuck out to me. I present to you…

The Forests

When I was young the village put me in the forest,
Turned their backs and said, “We wish you all the best”
They left me to live with the birds and the bees,
In the company of tall, wise trees
And I learned secrets that
They will never know.
The height of summer came with the whispering of rain,
The trees leaned in and murmured, “The wild beast is slain.”
Up where the river crashed down to the lake,
I went to look under the statues of the snakes
Where the beast was lying, her head on the ground
She was as still as a broken toy and making not a sound
The rushing water told me what they’d seen,
How the villagers came up, like monsters in a dream
And struck her down and left again,
With their torches and their guns.
So the next day at dawn I went down through the forest,
And into the village, I entered like a ghost
And was met with metal guns and killing iron fire
I said I knew what they had done,
And they said “You’re a liar!”
So I went back up and I talked to the trees,
And with groans and creaking moans they came to walk with me
And we went back to the village, as dusk fell swift and black
Under the opening eyes of stars, we went for the attack.
With shots like fireworks dancing in the dark
We brought down the villagers, and their village with them
And in the morning light which seeped red all around
Were the broken bodies lying on the ground
And back into the trees, they went with me
As the glow of our victory was swallowed like a dream.

Gregariously Awful Fan Art

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Hello to all fruit trucks passing by (note: obscure music reference), holes in the carpet, catnip mice, and bumps on the ceiling.
Well, it’s yet another ridiculously frigid day here in Onceabasementdogville. I got a call from the people who work in our co-op this morning, and the guy talked to me in French for a few minutes, before I had the chance to tell him I was only understanding twenty percent of what he was saying. What I got from the conversation was, ‘les toilettes sont geles’ and something about the heaters not working. So great. That’s awesome.
Anyway, so as I write this he’s in here poking around looking at the frozen toilets, or whatever.
I was going to talk about gregariously awful fan art. Yes, that’s right.
Well, you see, I draw sometimes. Nothing special. I draw dragons and guys with swords and vests and cool haircuts– I’m no master artist, but I am in some way talented, I do believe. Anyhow, I have an account on Instagram, and DeviantArt. What I find on both sites is that there’s a heckuva lot of fan art. Now what is fan art, exactly? Basically it’s a whole lot of teenagers scribbling out kissing characters from Japanese manga. Sometimes it can be pretty good– other times, it isn’t very good at all. Sometimes it’s so bad I want to run outside in the snow in my bare feet, hit my head against a tree, and scream at nothing in particular.
Like, for instance. The other day I was glancing at fan art for The Kane Chronicles. For no… particular reason. And what did I see? Well, for one, lots of kissing. Shudder. And what else? Lots. Of. ANUBIS.
Who’s Anubis? It’s actually a jackal-headed Egyptian god. But in this age, it’s been reinvented as a very dreamy hero from a kid’s series of books by Rick Riordan, author of Percy Jackson. And he’s SOOO dreamy that all the fourteen and fifteen year old girls just can’t help drawing him and putting him up on fan art sites. And that’s fine. On one level I enjoy staring at endless pictures of a dreamy death god. But on another level, it makes me want to scrape my brains out.
I was going to show you some examples of terrible fan art, but Instagram won’t let me steal its pictures. Jerks.
There’s actually little point to this blog post… in case you haven’t noticed. I feel like I need to vent about how bad fan art can be, and how ridiculous it is that there’s 586 thousand and something pictures of Naruto (a Japanese manga and anime) on Instagram all by, probably, teenagers, and most of them are pretty gregariously awful. The kissing. The KISSING! Yeeeauauuughgghhhhhh…
All right, let me just say this. Let me just– just listen. Okay? Just sit yourself down and listen to this.
In comparison to all those never-ending hordes of hormone-crazed fifteen year old girls, (the Hydes to my Jekyll), I feel oddly superior. I’m probably not, but it feels like it. I’m probably hopelessly conceited. But I don’t spend my time trying to think up the most painfully embarrassing drawing I can possibly create. I have healthier obessions. (I guess.)
My Healthier Obessions:
1. Star Trek: The Next Generation.
2. Collecting books.
3. Arcade Fire.
4. Baseball stats. (Joe Mauer hit .354…)
5. Dreamy death gods.
6. The openings to TV shows. I have the entire Avatar The Last Airbender opening down by heart. Even the punctuation…
‘Long ago, the four nations lived together in peace. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most… he vanished. A hundred years passed, and my brother and I discovered the new avatar, an airbender named Aang. Although Aang’s airbending skills are great, he still has a lot to learn before he’s ready to save anyone. But I believe… Aang can save the world.’

Wow, am I off topic or what? I’d better get out of here. ~Onceabasementdog

We’re Not Idle, Canada.

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Last Friday the Mother and I went to the Idle No More protest in Ottawa. It was something to see. Thousands of people, mostly First Nations, walking right down the middle of the street right in front of the Parliament buildings. Drums were beating with a deep, rollicking energy; people shouted and whooped and waved flags. At the center of the sea of protestors were the chiefs– wearing headdresses and beating on drums and singing. I felt out of place (note: total whitey McGee here), but I still found myself standing, locked in amazement, at the edges, almost grasping the power of the situation, but maybe not completely. I would have loved to be right in the middle of them, hitting a drum, singing a booming, unforgettable call to war. It felt like war. Like a calm, collected war, marching with incredible composure past the towering buildings of Parliament, the center of Canada’s power made delightfully insignificant under the rolling beat of the First Nations’ drums. Thousands of them. Of us? I’m not sure.

Anyway, I got some great pictures. I would try to explain the energy of that crowd, but it’s something you had to have felt, I think. It wasn’t a frenetic, violent energy… it was so calm, so collected, so fantastic. What a way to stage a protest! I think the whole world should take a look at how First Nations fight the power. No bombs, no guns, no violence. Just drums and singing.

At the end of the day, I’m so glad I went, but I’m also frustrated and angry. Why do thousands of people have to assemble and walk right in front of Parliament to get our government’s attention? Why does it take that much? There’s been so many problems with the First Nations and our government. I won’t say I perfectly understand it all, but my somewhat ingnorant understanding is that Harper is a moron and the First Nations people have been treated very badly, not just recently, but apparently since Canada has been a country.

So what do we do about it? Well, I’d ship Harper off to a small island off the coast of Somewhere Really Far Away From Canada and Up North Possibly Past Antarctica– but I don’t think anybody could actually pull that off. What I really think needs to be done: Government, DO SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR FIRST NATIONS CITIZENS. And Regular People: Respect your fellow Canadians, even if they don’t look like you and are considerably better at staging protests than you are.
That’s what I think about this whole thing. Just do something already. Change the way things are, for the better. Come on, Canada– you can do it! I believe in you!

Yours truly, Onceabasementdog.

Idle No More.