Angry Robot


Apparently when I was small I was obsessed with masks. (This is the source of many an amusing and/or embarassing anecdote, depending on whether you’re me or not, at family gatherings and the like.) At one point, I refused to go out in public without one on. I also lobbied for the entire family to wear them. I told my mother, “you should wear a mask of yourself so I can see what you really look like.” This last tidbit has only recently come to light. Clearly I misunderstood some aspects of the mask/face relationship, but it also explains certain of my present day opinions, such as what I consider the best Hallowe’en costume ever: my friend Andy dressing up as my friend Brooks.

25 comments on "masks"

  1. king says:

    I’ve been spending a tremendous amount of time at work for someone who’s part-time fuck. I mean, I like it here, but Jesus F. Shit. Tonight the AVID’s kind of fucked up, so it’s taking a LONG fucking time. I’m editing this trailer for this trash show called “Women Of The Beach”….

    …I was away for a sec. I’m turning into a real geek — at this point Filion would say “turning INTO a geek?” Or something like that — but it’s true! I just figured my computer problem out on my own.

    …Anyhow, Women Of The Fucking Beach. It’s amazing, all this trash. Even at my job I’m forced to stare at women’s bodies all day. It’s weird. I know it affects me. It’s not enough that I have to think about sex all the time — I’m given a visual stimulus for it, at work and at leisure. It’s so fucking strange.

    At the very least I think I’ve graduated beyond the point of pure physical attraction. There are beautiful women that do nothing for me because of Nowadays I can….hold on, I’ll finish this later.

  2. D says:

    Finish it.

  3. king says:

    115 hours later.

    I can’t believe how badly I’ve fucked up with money. It’s like I don’t even understand that it has value. My father would punch me in the face if he could telepathically view my various dealings. Today my car got towed, and I had to use $100 of the money that I have yet to pay to rent (it’s the 6th) to get it out of the impound. I was extra nice to the lady at the tow yard, seeing as how it wasn’t her fault that my car got towed. Having worked in a variety of jobs in the service industry, I realise that it is common for people who are having bad days, or bad lives or whatnot, to blow off steam on whoever is unfortunate enough to inform them that the book they are looking for is out of print, or that they will have to wait five to ten minutes to be seated in a busy restaurant.

    I can’t even imagine the shit that your average tow-yard clerk has to eat on a daily basis. But I bet it’s a lot. I mean, they usually keep an attack dog on the premises — that says something. I wish we’d had an attack dog in the restaurant. Especially restaurant #1.

    It was fabulously unpleasant to receive a phone call from FIDO tonight. I should have expected as much though. I can now tell when it’s a call about an unpaid account, partly by the tone of the person’s voice who’s calling me, and partly because everyone who calls to try and collect on overdue bills for FIDO, has a thick Quebecois accent.

    “Allo his dere a Mr. King dere please? Dis is FIDO calling.”

    Tonight I actually pretended it wasn’t me. Pathetic, considering it’s a cellphone.

    “Hello? Mr. King? Oh no, Jeez, I have no idea where he is. I just heard this phone ringing so…yeah. Don’t know when he’ll be back though. No.”

    They’ll find me eventually, I know.

    For now, somehow, the sword has yet to fall, and the collection agencies have yet to attack. But I fear it approaches…

    Last night, while I was meditating, I think I fell asleep, or maybe I didn’t, but I lost myself for a moment, and I had a vision. It was of Satan (known as Lucifer in this vision) and his brother. They were sitting at a large round table, with another man. I don’t know who the other man was. Nor do I know why they were sitting at this table. But that was the vision I had. It freaked me out a bit because for the last three or four weeks I’ve been seeing the number of the beast everywhere — on liscense plates, tape numbers at work, cabs, houses, stores. I don’t consider myself a Christian, and don’t really immerse myself in the iconography of Christianity, so I don’t know what the fuck. I guess I could be subconsciously looking for it now. I wish I knew how all that shit worked. (What shit? You tell me.)


    tonight I have to edit a promo for “Wild On Wants You: The West Coast”. Which is at least ten times as smutty as “Women Of The Beach” was. I’m procrastinating too, as is my nature. It’s due tonight. I haven’t started. My work habits even scare me.

    TDM chewed me out this afternoon for delivering the script thirty seconds before he needed to voice it. He didn’t even have a hard copy in front of him. I don’t blame him for being pissed, but it sucked that he was. The script was shitty too. Super-generic because I hadn’t watched the show yet. Gotta be a bit more on the ball I suppose.

    So now I gotta go do this. I still haven’t continued what I was going to continue last time. I promise I will. I think maybe I ought to go watch some tits and ass for a few hours before I do. That way I oughtta be back in the headspace I was in 116 hours ago.

  4. king says:

    2 hours later.

    Okay, I’ve only just digitized all my footage, but now I’m ready to edit. I’ve gotta put something together, fast. Really fuckin’ fast, fuck.

    But first…I’m gonna go get some pizza.

  5. king says:

    21.5 hours later.

    I neglected to post once I started editing. Had to stay focused on what I was doing. Even then it was difficult to do so, and I didn’t end up finishing until seven o’clock this morning. At that point I was in a panic to leave the office, because for some reason I was embarassed that it took me all night. Sometimes when I pull all-nighters, and I do so very regularly, I feel like that…I feel shame. It’s also partly due to the fact that while everyone is all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, jogging perhaps, or sipping some sort of caffeinated liquid, I look like a burned out junkie, and unless I’ve been smoking weed all night, by now I’m getting crankier by the millisecond. I do like working at night (though my shift right now is not technically overnight) but I do like it. When I used to work in the factory it was a seven p.m. to seven a.m. kind of affair. Though sometimes I had to stay until seven thirty or so, because I had to wait for the guy doing the other twelve hours to relieve me. I couldn’t actually leave that post until he walked up beside me and then stepped into my place, grabbing the next stack of port-a-packs — a two litre bottle caddy with a capacity of six — and placing them on the line. The line must never slow down, otherwise, I was told, you would be terminated.

    I would drive home, eat breakfast, then go to bed, and though I experienced very little daylight, I always felt better at night. Going against the flow can be liberating. No traffic, no congestion, no hassles. And little to no sunlight. Except for the sunrise, which is a really wonderful time of day.

  6. 145.5 hours later

    Monster is smoking me a new bong. I’m freaking out. I’ m way too high. Too hig to do anything. Bongs, what a sweet invention. King and I have embarked on a mission to develop a private entertainment lounge somehwere in our faboulous city. Its going too be sweeter than shit lads. Just think how excited you guys will be on opening night eh?? Fuck I cant wait. Anyway Kingie will be leaving soon for a few days to visit some tribe in Australia scouting a few of the exotic dancers. If you need to get a hold of him call me and you can listen to me fart into the phone while having sex. Please leave a message tho, I will call you back. For now fellas think PUSSY!


    I’ll be back in a few days from Australia. I’m not there now, I’m leaving tomorrow but will be back Saturday afternoon. I just have to step off the plane and hand something to a guy in the terminal in Melbourne, then I’m catching the next plane back. In the meantime, Monster said he’s gonna find us a space to rent for this new ripper bar/lounge, so that when I get back on Saturday night, we can start charging money. Both of us need money right now, really badly.

    Do you guys remember Mr. and Mrs. Martin with that old dog Brisquet. Remember how she used to say that the dog had five legs? But we knew all along that it had a really big dick. Remember that guys? They will be there for the grand opening and are expectiing you. The grand opening is Saturday at 2 p.m.–Allllll night long

  7. D says:

    What “guys” are you grassed-out hippies addressing with your gibberish?

  8. Monster says:

    All right D!! I am glad to hear that you will be making it on Saturday. Right on!!! Bring Lots of money and wear somethng really quirky please. Its going to be good. I left King at the airport a few hours ago. Unfortunuately he had misplaced that something he was supposed to give to the guy in Melbourne but he went anyways. I think I have nailed down the place. Its a great location!!! There will be some midget furniture in there just so the guys can get extra low with the ladies. Thats what Im talking abooot!!!!

  9. king says:

    40.5 hours later

    Monster, I forgot to tell you, I never went to Australia. I took a cab back an hour after you dropped me off. Sorry man, I forgot to call you, but I went straight to work, stayed up until 12 p.m. today and I just woke up half an hour ago.

    I was in the airport yesterday freaking out because I couldn’t find that package. Anyhow, then I realise, I don’t even have a ticket for Australia. Then, like a thunderbolt it hits me. I went last week. Remember? You even dropped me off Monster. That’s why I didn’t have the package.

    Anyhow, it worked out for the best cause I wanna get this lounge going by Saturday so we can get some money.

  10. Monster says:

    Wow, what a fucking party that was. I was sad to see that you guys did not pass by. You missed one hell of a good time!!!! The party was fully out of control yesterday at around 2:15pm. There were people lined up from about 9:00am looking for a good time. Kudos to Kingie for getting those hot bitches, I dont know where he found them but they were awesome. These chicks could do things that would make a grown man cry I tell ya. Mrs. Martin had the best time ever she said. It made her feel young again I think. She even got up on stage and did a little strip tease for the lads. Once all her clothing was off and you took a good look at her you realized that she looked fine for an 87 year old broad. The last people finally got out of here about an hour ago!!! I dont know what happened to King though, he seemed to disappear around midnight, it was about the “missing peyote” or something. I hope he is okay. People said that he came back at around 5:00am but I of course was busy in the “branding” room putting my artistic talents to work on a few people. The Fire Eater had to be rushed to the hospital around 6 because he started attempting to blow fire out of his ass. He ended up with third degree burns all over his body but said that it was worth it because we could party like no other. People were chanting “When its time to party, we will party hard!!! The highlight of the evening was Mel Lastman attempting his third Keg stand when he projectile vomitted up into the air only to catch all of his puke in his mouth on the downfall. What a party trick that was. People started chugging Jack Daniels and attempting this party trick, but nobody could get a handle on it like Mel. It was a whopping success, and for the time being we are going to lie low. Something about a liquor license, I dont really know what the cop was talking about, but he was really ruining my buzz, so I let him get it on with Oxanna just to shut him up. Dont get mad at me D, I know I was saving Oxanna for you but, well, you never showed up man!!! King and I made a whopping 178.00 dollars, an ultimate success!!!! For the time being lads, keep it real, and take it all the way to the river!!

  11. king says:

    103.5 hours later

    I’m okay Monster. Yeah, I did come back at 5 a.m. But I didn’t find that peyote. The $178 was sweet though. It will help with the dental bills I should have in a few weeks.

    I had a good long meditation tonight and it felt good, but it was difficult as well. What gets me down the most is that I fear so many things. I want to live with no fear. That’s my goal.

  12. Monster says:

    Maybe then you should lay off the peyote for a while. Maybe you should go for a rub and tug. Or then maybe you should just get over your fears and move it on down the road to the next fag that cares. Start putiing yourself first for a change. Once achieved your fear of “things” subsides and goes by the muther fucking wayside. Snap Snap

  13. king says:

    What do you mean Monster? Anyone who knows me will tell you that 1) I’m totally self-absorbed and 2) I always put myself first. But I’m still afraid.

  14. king says:

    That last comment was 40.5 hours later.

  15. king says:

    615.5 hours later



    I want to get out from behind my mask. The one that I wear all the time. The one that is the most successful creation of me by my own estimation, and therefore the one that I call “me”. But maybe I don’t want to get out from behind it. The question is maybe more like: Who is the me that wants to get out from behind “me”? Is that me too? Is that “me” disguised as me? You see where I’m going with this?

  16. king says:

    0 hours later (although technically 1 hour later than I said in the last post because’s clock is all fucked up.)

    0. Zero.

    I think this decade should be called the zeros because it sucks so far.

    I didn’t make that up. I saw it in a magazine on a T-shirt worn by Cojocaru that ass-sucking wreck of a man who works for People magazine as what? I don’t know. As a bitchy male who rhymes sassy lines as he disses people’s clothes, essentially. I don’t know this man at all, but I feel confident that 2 things I’ve postulated about him are correct:

    1) He loves being compared to/mistaken for Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
    2) He spends a good deal of his harp-earned paycheck on plastic surgery.

    Anyhow, the T-shirt said: “I’m in the zeros” which may not have been a reference to the decade at all I suppose. It could have been a money reference. Anyhow, from now on, I’m calling them the zeros. It’s better than what I’ve been using so far — the two thousands.

  17. king says:

    1 hour later. Almost.

    Tonight I gave two dollars to a guy on the street who was dressed better than I was. I’m an idiot for counting out a handful of coins on Queen (I’m having a deja-post) but the fact remains — he was dressed better than I was.

    Now I don’t make any bones about the fact that I’m not the world’s best-dressed individual. For instance, the shorts I’m wearing right now have a cigarette burn in the crotch. But I don’t walk around with a paper cup either.

    A lot of people have it hard, that’s for sure, and begging for change has certainly helped some people somewhere eat a few meals or find a place to stay for the night, or, if nothing else, it’s gotten a few people loaded on booze or smack or something, and they’ve successfully gotten through another day without having to experience the full reality of their suffering. We’re all trying to do that.

    But nowadays, it seems like everybody’s doing it.

    The other day I saw a guy in a Karl Kani tracksuit sitting on Queen street with a bucket in front of him and a sign that just said: “thanks”.

    Thanks. This guy could have walked into a nightclub the way he looked. He was tanned, lean, muscular, and he’s just sitting there. Thanks.

    The thing that pissed me off about the guy I gave money to tonight was that 1) He was dressed well and couldn’t have possibly needed the money. 2) He was in motion. He wasn’t stuck in his dirty spot on the filthy street putting in the hours like most of us have to in our jobs. He was just walking around, walking to wherever he was going, holding an empty paper cup (maybe he just finished a coffee) and just thrusting it in people’s faces, barely breaking stride. It was easy.

    Cause I do feel bad about people on the street who are hungry, and I did have money in my hands, and I’m either too distracted, too apathetic, or too afraid to look into the eyes of somebody who approaches me on the street, or even, in this case, to look at their clothes. Even if I do wise up, and so does everyone else, the guy in Karl Kani just needs to throw on a few rags for the afternoon and the problem is solved. I can no longer be sure that anyone is a legitimate bum.

    I guess it’s always been that way. I can remember a guy in Montreal who looked and acted pathetic by day but lived in a high priced high-rise on Parc.

    But that’s what I’m talking about. If I’m gonna give you my money, the least you can do is pretend that you are a hopeless derelict, and my kindness is a blessing to you. I don’t wanna think about how I’m helping you lease an Acura you shameless pieces of garbage.

  18. tv says:

    When I was in Montreal recently, I noticed that their bums looked a lot more in need than ours. Most of the ones I saw were actually unemployable. It seems that all of Montreal’s fake bums move here.

    We do have real bums, of course, but most of them seem to live away from the city centre, and they don’t seem to beg. For instance, there are lots of bums in the Queen/Parliament area, but they never ask for change! And these guys could really use a couple of bucks.

    What bugs me about the bums I run into coming and going from work is that in many cases, they’re better fed than me – and getting more exercise. People 30 pounds heavier than me ask me if I can spare change for food.

    On a side note, I find it funny that a lot of bums ask if I “can spare enough for a coffee”. I would like to know when not getting enough coffee became a serious social issue.

    I realize that I sound insensitive, and maybe even irrelevant. I know homelessness is not funny.

    And sorry for invading your interesting monologue, king.

  19. king says:

    Thank you D and tv. The future of vagrancy is clear to me now.

    First, fat men in Brooks Brothers suits will leave their highrises for higher paying bumming gigs and roam the streets begging for steaks and chai lattes. Then androids will kill all the men and bum money for coffees that they can’t even drink, forever affirming the pointlessness of caring where your money is going.

    Giving money to bums (or BEG9s) is trying to feel good about yourself. Eventually McDonalds and Radio Shack will own the begging business, but we’ll still feel like we’re saints when we give them our money.

    Someone should just name a business “Charity”, sell low-grade nicotine-spiked hamburgers and start counting the millions.

  20. D says:

    Weirdly, got in a long conversation about this last night. Started when the band we were witnessing did some sort of “pass the hat” moneyraising guilt-inducer. J. and I put in money in such a change-getting, mutually confusing manner that we started a long argument over who was owed the $5 we had left. Finally, B. determined that I should take the fin but at this point I was convinced the money was cursed if either of us took it. I sure wasn’t going to. Anyway we got talkin’ about begging and income and guilt and so forth.

    Long and short, up and down: short of administering ‘begging certificates’ and opening the field up to study, we can never know much about beggars, individually or as an industry. You never know if your money is going to the right place. (One example: most people wouldn’t want to give money to a heroin addict, as their money will go towards a drug purchase. But is that cat so unworthy of sympathy? Doesn’t he eat the odd sandwich now and then to stay alive? Think of how shitty his life must be. People rarely wake up one morning on the deck of their yacht and declare, “I’m going to get addicted to heroin now.”)

    This fear of shoddy investment conflicts with the need to buy karma and generates the usual dynamic we feel around beggars. I think a whole ton of people are just waiting to be taken by one obvious scam artist so they can declare all beggars unworthy assholes and no longer have to bother with the administration of their guilt and pocket change. Many people got to this stage some time ago after hearing “some story some guy told me about this guy who…”

    If you don’t give them your money – and I rarely do, there’s way too many around where I work – give them some words. The big risk is beggars can turn schizo simply for lack of regular conversation with their fellow humans. Even if all you say is, “sorry, I don’t have any money, pal.” Also, don’t do that thing where you look the other way and ignore them. That sucks.

    But back to the story. When we left, no one was taking the $5, and I didn’t want it, but I sure as hell wasn’t leaving it for the old washup busboy at the Cameron. It had to be given to a beggar, it just made sense. I took off on my bike in search of worthy beggars. There were none immediately available. I went past Queen & Bathurst thinking of all the dudes who hang out on the corner, but they were deep in conversation with some guy in a van, which I didn’t want to interrupt with my shitty display of premeditated kindness, and besides, all those dudes are heavy drunks and brawlers anyway. I go up bathurst and there’s no begging going on. At this point I’m getting annoyed since I have to go out of my way now to ditch the cursed money. I’m also thinking, the longer I hold onto this thing the more likely it is I’ll fall off the bike or get hit or something. There’s a few people asleep on doorsteps, but what do I do there? Try and tuck the bill into their shirt and get a shiv in the neck? I stop by Supersave and there’s a semi-grubby guy opening the door for people and standing about, so I try and loiter until he asks me for change, but he never does. And you can’t just offer money to someone who doesn’t ask, that just isn’t on.

    Finally I spot a ghostlike old man drifting along the other side of the street. Long grey hair and beard. I walk right up and startle him – he looks at me like I’m about to kill him. But he manages a quiet “spare some change?” So I give him the fin and walk off. “Oh, thanks…” slightly bewildered.

    I think I got the right guy, but the whole affair was pretty sordid. So much uninformed judgment on my part, and all over some stupid $5 that really doesn’t go very far anyway these days.

  21. marijke says:

    There are a number of alternatives to giving beggars change, if you are the type of person to worry about where your money is going (though frankly, if a homeless guy is using all his change to get completely ‘faced, can you blame him? I’d do the same thing in his position):
    1. Food: that doggie bag that’s going to sit in your fridge until it’s a science experiment? hand it over. even the street kid down the way likes to have shrimp pad thai now and then. Bonus: your date thinks you’re thoughtful and sweet, and your hands are free to take advantage of her.
    2. Smokes: generally my charity of choice. Nearly every street person I pass gets at least two cigarettes, and sometimes the rest of my pack. If I can’t afford to share them, I shouldn’t be smoking them, right?
    3. Pot: why not? if you’re worried that your money will go to buy illegal substances, then cut right to the chase… Plus, they’ll LOVE you.
    4. Smile: I’ll admit this works better if you’re a woman. But even if you don’t have money, smile when you say “sorry”. And for chrissake, say “sorry”. or something. acknowledge their existence. Which brings me to….
    5. Conversation: sit down and talk to them. you’ll be surprised at how well they respond to being treated like a normal human being. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn about yourself by talking to them. And how much you learn from them (what the hell do you know about what they’ve been through, anyway?) Some of the most amazing and interesting people I’ve ever met were street people. I know several by name. I know about their families. I know why they’re on the streets. And they know about me. And they care about me as much as I care about them. Bonus: once you know a few of them, you won’t find them as scary/dirty/despicable/whatever as you do now. Which makes options 1-4 that much easier to do…

    Hmmm… good topic, D. you clearly touched a nerve.

  22. marijke says:

    On rereading the above: It was meant to sound passionate and helpful.

    If it happens to sound condescending and patronizing to anyone who reads it, I apologize. That was not the intent at all.

    *slinks away*

  23. D says:

    It’s all good, you homeless-loving freak.

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