Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Burt Reynolds in The Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II. He has a love of performing and a palpable glee that the camera loves. (Kevin Spacey has it, too, but it's distracting in a drama.)

Running in the five a.m. darkness of a Phnom Penh morning.

Sleeping in and not running in the five a.m. darkness of a Phnom Penh morning.

The hot fudge sundaes you get at Mcdonald's. (Actually, everything you get at Mcdonald's.)

The sound of the starter's pistol.

The moment before the present is unwrapped.

The smiles of Cambodian children.

The moment the airplane takes off, and you realize that there's no going back.

The moment the airplane lands, and you realize that you're here, you've made it, it's real.

My parents.

Waiting for my INBOX to open.

The first drink of Gatorade after a run.

When the lights go down in a movie theatre.

The smell of books. New books, old books, used books, bad books -- all smell great.

Dreams, as in the sleeping ones.

A blank screen.

My grandparents.

The comic books of the 1980's.

Dreams, as in the aspirational ones.

The black-and-white Spider-Man suit that caused quite the controversy when I was a kid.

The original Spider-Man suit.

The fact that I won the 1991 Southern Ontario Junior Boy's Cross-Country Championship on the same course, on the same day, that my brother won the Southern Ontario Senior Boy's Cross Country Championship, because he was my coach, and he deserved all the fruits of those successes, his and mine.

The smell of root beer.

My brother and his wife.

Pushing buttons. (Literally.)

Speaking words in a foreign language, forgetting that it's foreign, not noticing that it's foreign.

Listening to words in a foreign language and not understanding what they mean.

The original final episode of Magnum P.I., before the producers found out it'd been renewed, where Magnum is shot and he wanders around limbo and he gets to see how much his friends love him.

The episode of Magnum P.I. where they (plausibly) brought him back from the dead.

The memories of going to the comic book store with my mom.


Meeting celebrities and having them be very, very cool (or at least civil) to me (Samuel L.Jackson, Oliver Stone, Al Pacino, Pierre Trudeau, Norman Mailer, Charles Bronson, Spike Lee and Tom Hanks).

Meeting regular people and having them be very, very cool (or at least civil) to me (too many to list -- almost everybody, really, except my Grade 11 Math teacher, who I still don't really like).

Taking out your winter coat in the fall and finding a five dollar bill in one of the pockets.

The cinemas of my hometown.

The goodwill of orphans.

The writers who inspire me.

What failure teaches you.

The cinemas of Tokyo, because, when you buy a ticket, you can look at a little map and choose where you want to sit because they have numbers on them, the seats do, and that's cool.

The green fields of Cambodia.

The streets of my hometown.

The fact that people sometimes take a chance on you, even though you don't deserve it.

The last couple of pages of The Autobiography of Malcom X, where he says that he wished he had studied languages more, because he thought that Chinese and Arabic would be the languages of the future, because it makes me wonder what kind of a man Malcolm would have been had he only lived to forty, and beyond, and what he would have done with his time.

The kindness of strangers.

John Irving's The Cider-House Rules.

The feel of a good indoor track beneath your feet.

Do the Right Thing.

The last line of a book.

The first line of a book.

Japanese punctuality.


All of Oliver Stone's stuff.

Joyce Carol Oates.

The last couple of pages of Don Robertson's Paradise Falls.

Pierre Trudeau, especially his "Just watch me."

Trying to remember Japanese kanji.


The Canadian flag.

Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, probably my favorite movie.

Forgetting Japanese Kanji, then remembering it again, then forgetting it again.

The fact that when J.FK. visited Berlin, to express his solidarity with the Berlin people, he said, famously, "Ich bin ein Berliner", when he should have said "Ich bin Berliner", because 'ein Berliner' was a casual term for 'jelly donut', so what he actually said, translated, was something like: "Let the word go forth, that the proudest thing a man can say is that today, I...am...a jelly donut!"



Having someone read what I've written.

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