Enroute to Riverside, November 10 1998

Have you ever noticed the clouds from an airplane window? Oh, I don't mean when you're in flight. Grounded on runway L2, the clouds above Vancouver International seemed to suddenly gain depth, texture. Layers became distinct, clearly separated by the quiet currents of wind that circulates Vancouver's greyscale weather. Seated in these upholstered chairs with their lift-clasp belts, we are conditioned to discard our 2-dimensional concepts of sky, to visualise the clouds as they really are. I wish I could take this chunk of airplane wall home with me as a portal to better perception. Our ability to limit our views of the world is astonishing. As instinct goes, it must be a survival tactic, and blindfold necessary to maintain a simple and clear understanding.

Why is the United States ugly? I press my face against the window in concentration, wondering. I decide that America is the geographical equivalent of a supermodel; very impressive externally - but wasted from the inside. I wonder if this qualifies me as a Canadian snob. A glance, and oh my God, it's Seattle...I can see the tower thing. From this height, the city seems painfully frozen, cold and poised like an unwitting artic explorer caught wearing only acrylics in the snowstorm of apathy. I wish California touched Canada instead. On good days, it does in mindset.

Even Mt. Baker looks Americanised, but that could be Paramount's fault. The happiest places I've seen so far appear to be self-contained suburbias, where it is naturally easier to cultivate your own illusions: If I had to live in the continental US, I would live somewhere on the west coast of California, within the fringe of a forgotten suburb.

And we take to the air again... sunset, and the cloud horizon is spread out beneath me in a perfect line of purple slate. A thousand miles away, this slate meets sky in an arc that spans from north to south, unbroken... and here the sun is caught in a burning orb of light, poised upon the very edge. RC5 cracks codes quietly in the background as I stare beyond this plexiglass with speechless awe at the symmetry of accidental beauty...