OT_AWA Tourism


I may be developing some misanthropic tendencies. Outside the window of my workplace there is a giant Ottawa sign, only it’s missing a “T”. OT_AWA. If you stand between the T and A you can extend your arms and become the missing T. I was against it immediately and time and repetition have only hardened my heart. It’s like I’m being waterboarded by a lazy sight gag. I spend my day glaring out the window, wishing sunburns and sandal blisters at this ceaseless caravan of Letter People.

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The Wrong Lesson


A contemporaneous photo from the era in question


I used to keep folded print outs of poems I had written in my back pocket, so I could accidentally discover them while talking to women at parties. This was before the proper internet and everything was harder then. The idea was bad and the poems were worse, but I was handsome so women slept with me in spite of it. I learned the wrong lesson from this. I was a late bloomer with terrible instincts so I attributed my success to my newly discovered art form[1]. My personality was intense, or rather, I was intense in lieu of having a personality, and my writing reflected this.

A broken thought just trundled by

A twisted thing that once was mine

And now it’s cast adrift within my madness

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Old Man Valliant


I can’t tell if I’m having a midlife crisis. I am not acting out, but I find myself needlessly confessing my age at the start of conversations; my name is A.J. and I am forty one years old. I don’t know if it’s a nervous tic, or a means to extract qualified praise for my appearance, but I present my age as if I expect to be challenged on the point and persuaded otherwise. I think about the fact that I’m forty one more than I think about sex, and when I think about sex I think about the fact that I am forty one.

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The Company You Keep

free candy

If the city announced an new law that barred unaccompanied adult males from public parks I can see myself getting a tad riled up. The unfairness might even drive me to attend a protest at a nearby park, where I could air my grievance around like minded citizens. But once I arrived, were I to notice that the parking lot contained an unusual amount of sleeper vans with the window blacked out, and several greasy creeps were unfurling a king sized NAMBLA banner, I would quickly realize things had gone terribly wrong…and by the time the “The slides are made for ookie hugs, let us fuck your children” chants began, I would be ten blocks away and fully aware that I had momentarily been on the wrong side of history.

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Terrible Monsters: The Cherubim


  As a young man I was led to believe that the villains of the bible were mainly disloyal friends and roman functionaries with an over-zealous commitment to centralised governance. The text was dry enough that I checked out once I absorbed the Christmas pageant/Easter sections, and assumed that I had missed nothing of note. In retrospect, bailing on the bible before reading revelations is like turning off a porno because you assume that broke housewife will never be able to afford that pizza. Once the rapture kicks in the bible’s closing act is a grind house monster thriller with abominations that would make H.R. Geiger blush.

It’s from this blood-soaked, apocalyptic soil that we will cultivate our next batch of Terrible Monsters. First up: The Cherubim.





The Cherubim were the guardians of the gates of Eden, set there by God to ensure we could not return to our early place of grace and immortality, lost to us in a moment of careless fruit consumption. It seems harsh, but snatching apples is the biblical equivalent of taking someones else’s clearly labeled lunch from the work fridge.There are a few cursory descriptions of the Cherubim early in the bible, but it wasn’t until Revelations that the mad Prophet Ezekiel laid out the Cherubim’s convoluted physiology in a compelling, if confusing, freestyle verse. 

Ez 10- 8 The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings…  As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle. … Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels.  And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle… Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and beneath their wings was the form of human hands.

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