So one things has been sitting on my ToDo list for oh… three years, maybe four. Taxes. I haven’t done my taxes since I moved to Montreal. I used to do my own taxes in Alberta because… well there’s no income tax in Alberta so its pretty straight-forward. I was scared of dealing with A) splitting my income over two provinces for 2007 and B) Quebec’s labyrinthine tax regime. So I delayed, I postponed, I ignored.

Finally today I dug out my files. It didn’t take long. Periodically filing all the junk that comes to my mailbox is a good thing. And I’m ready. I’m not doing it myself (to hell with that), instead I’m going to take it to an accountant and get them to deal with it. Not a shoebox of random receipts though. I’m sorting it all by type and by year and including notes on when I moved, what receipts go with what, etc. I don’t entirely trust anyone to not fuck it up, but at this point I can’t be bothered to do it right myself either, so if someone’s going to fuck it up it won’t be me, and I’ll make them redo it if they do. That’s worth spending a few bucks on. I hate math.

Fortunately my moving expenses from Calgary to Montreal should swallow up anything I might owe along with my RRSP contributions. Here’s hoping for some kind of return, but as long as I don’t owe.

Getting away from this insane taxation system is yet another great reason to distance myself from the default economy. I recently read an article about how gold is totally on fire with investors right now. Seems everyone is expecting the economy to tank even further with either another recession/depression or runaway inflation. Maybe its just a crapload of hype and gold ends up being the next bubble. Either way I want nothing to do with it. I want to rid myself of as much stock and fiat currency as possible, and I can’t eat gold. Instead I’m going to focus on investing in tools that will allow me to produce value, to build and repair things, to make videos, etc. What good is a gold brick?

I’m also going to take another, closer look at alternative and complimentary currencies. I think if there’s another recession/depression/crash whatfor that I’d rather have money in my pocket that relates to actual resources and wealth rather than speculative value and a shiny metal from the periodic table. Once I’ve picked a currency (or three) I’m going to incorporate their use into my business. If the dollar or gold or whatnot plummets at least I’ll still have a reserve of currency that I can use at farmer’s markets and other local businesses. With the Internet’s new prominence I think there’s even some alternative currencies that are gaining traction unbound by geographic limitations. Bring it on!

So tomorrow. Go participate in some psychological research at McGill for money. Then go to an accountant to get my money back from the government. Then, start finding alternatives to this whole money business.

Its Good whatever happens

Recently I was thinking about how Burning Man really hasn’t caught on in Quebec and how my insistence on using “Burner” as such a central part of my identity might be blinding me to all the other amazing stuff I moved here for in the first place. Montreal certainly isn’t lacking in the arts. If anything it has an over-abundance of it. There is art everywhere in every conceivable form, and its accessible and encouraged and easy. So things have been hard getting les Bruleurs de Montreal to a kind of critical mass. Yes taBURNak! was amazing and Midnight Poutine was also a wildly successful theme camp, but I can’t help but feel like the momentum of our community is a little bit forced, which is strange when you consider the creative maelstrom going on all around us. Or is it?

Maybe it makes more sense to just get caught up in everything else that’s already going on, rather than trying to create something that frankly just isn’t needed in this city. People aren’t afraid to express themselves artistically. People do sing in the streets. There is a pedestrian and bike culture here already. Why would you go halfway across the continent to get what you already have? Festivals, buskers, circus, beautiful parcs my oh my.

So. Thinking that someone just posted about this new BMesque festival taking place between Ottawa and Montreal. Its called Open Mind, which… well all things considered is a pretty appropriate name. Not 100% sure what its about but it looks like more than just another forest rave, it looks quite a bit better than that. Now there’s a chance that I won’t be able to make it to the Burn this year if I get accepted to be on Junk Raiders season 2 on the Discovery channel. They’re shooting in September and that would pretty much wipe Burning Man off the calendar, but if I can go to an alternate festival in August closer to home… well, that ain’t bad. In fact its kind of welcome. At least there when I meet people and ask them where they’re from they’re more likely to say “Montreal” or “Ottawa” or even “New York” than they are to say “San Francisco” or “Austin.” Not that I don’t love San Fran Disco and Austin (’cause those people are cool), but its nice to be plugged into a community closer to home.

So all this to say that I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m sure its going to be awesome. Heck, maybe Midnight Poutine at Burning Man can turn into Bacon Wrapped Sausage at Open Mind. LOL.

But if you ask for a raise is no surprise they’re giving none away…

Feeling frustrated and a touch worried. Talked to someone at the EI office today and they’ve rejected my application. Fortunately I got to them in time to inform them that there’s more information to be had before they make a final decision but who knows…

I was very careful about asking before I left what my ROE was going to say about my departure. I was assured that it would say Lack of Work, because indeed shifts were being cut and expenses rolled back. Times were tough and I was sick and tired of fighting for shifts. I asked repeatedly as to whether I would be eligible for EI or retraining and all indications were yes. Ultimately this turn of events shouldn’t surprise me since bureaucracy be it corporate or governmental always seems to stomp the little guy. Someone doesn’t dot an i or cross a t and you lose this, that or the other thing. I feel like I spend more time on the phone, on hold, trying to sort shit out than I get anywhere half the time. I think Bell still owes me $100 for Internet that never worked at my last apartment.

Fortunately I have been finding odd jobs here and there to make some money. I’ve also got quite a few resumes and feelers out there, and with any luck once my camera arrives with Stella from San Francisco I’ll be able to start doing video and photography gigs again. Yet again however some small business training from the government would have helped out immensely.

So I’m going to hope for the best and plan for the worst. If I don’t get the EI I’ll spend a few months bouncing from small job to small job working in between on getting the video business up and running. If I do get the EI (and I think I can convince them) then I’ll get some small business training and start really making a dent in things rather than just flailing around trying to make ends meet.

The frustrating part is knowing at least three other people who were in almost exactly the same circumstance as me who didn’t have this trouble with EI. They were up and running with EI payments and retraining programs with no problems, no interrogations, no accusatory tone. I know of a lot of EI success stories, not the least of which being the Reverend who went from laid off to millionaire running his own business thanks to an EI program in five years. I mean shit. Why do they get bones and I don’t? Well you know what. This dog is going to get his bone even if it means a crapload of barking to do it. I’m not a lazy good for nothing trying to take advantage of the system. I’m a hard working fellow who knows that he’s going to do some amazing things but who’s time is being wasted by hoop jumping.

Okay, rant over. I’m going to win this thing and then you can get back to taxing the bejezuz out of me, but at least I’ll be in a high enough tax bracket that I can afford it.

Here, Today

I will admit that at times I worry. I worry about the usual things. Money. Love. And whether I’m doing right by my fellow, my species, my planet. Yes, despite all appearances these things do plague some of my otherwise empty thoughts. Not all the time. Not often. But now and then.

Now lately.

It boils down in this instance really just to money. The needing of it. The resenting it because I need it. Do I need it? Does anyone need it? We have created in our world an amazing limiting factor in our great human factory in the form of scribblings on pieces of paper, keyboard strokes & piles of thin round metal. I wish I weren’t so damn engrossed in the game because I know that it convoludes my thinking and separates me from the abundance all around me.

In running up credit card debt I have sidetracked my 20% investment plan & sixth-year sabbaticals. Work five years, save 20% of my earnings, take a year off. It would be a great way to live. Lots of little retirements which I can use to my betterment and enjoyment of life rather than stockpiling for Eris knows what forty years from now. We’ll be living in a world unrecognizable by then. Instead to focus on today’s projects, which include…

When I get my camera I will spend a day walking back and forth on Rue Ste-Catherine, taking photos, recording observations. I’ll do it again on Rue Saint Paul in Old Montreal. I’ll do my subway series. I will do what I’ve wanted to do and profess my love for this city in art. Then I’ll sell trinkets to tourists. Laugh, but why not?

Some people have real jobs…

I do not want to be some people. I want to be me. Uniquely like everyone else. Making connections. Changing the world one little action at a time. I’m no longer interested in revolution. I’m interested in evolution. Of how I can become a person living in a world of their own making, with grace, peace, love, sincerity, strength and unity.

Defeating oppression begins in hearts and minds. Ours.

And I really want to be on that dumpster diving show.