Thursday, May 29, 2008

the Withdrawal Method


And congratulations go out to mister Pasha Malla, whose launch tonight was an Immense success, not to mention the "after-party" sojourn at Cadillac Lounge, where friends karaoke'd Paula Abdul for him as a hats-off to those inspirational teenage years.
As TINARS is, much as the acronym states, NOT a reading series, Pasha graced us this evening with tales from his childhood, (instead of reading from the book, which comprises more "adult" content than may have been intoned) and some excellent samples of early writing and artwork. The prose was true to form, with two sheets of poetic brilliance ending the presentation: My Feet Smell and You are ugly, written at the tender age of 15 (?) obviously at an early peak of his career.
Well, before "The Withdrawal Method" that is, which now will grace my brain and then my bookshelf. Very Cool.

In honour of the launch tho', where there were in fact a series of writers reading their juvenalia, I (of course) came home and dug up a bit of my own prosaical treasures. The below was written at the age of 9 or 10, and was the outline for an epic story of one man and his..um....epic. And tho' I also have stacks of completed works, this skeleton will no doubt furnish me with brilliance for years to come, when The Details dry up and I have nothing left to say. (click on image for full size)

Belated but true.

It was on Sunday morning, fresh after the Bikes on Bloor ride, that stef lenk, unsuspecting and spring-sodden, ran into Tino et al in the vicinity of the Queens Park rally.
After proceeding down to Kensington Market to imbibe some exemplary Limeade in honor of Pedestrian Sundays, the latter invited the former on one of their urban exploration missions, a building scheduled for demolition and, indeed, half way there.

Upon arrival, miz lenk eagerly clambered through said building, or what was left of it, taking a great many photos and marvelling at the architecture of the place, soon to be replaced by more spit and drywall and then sold off as "luxury condo living". It was, however, during a momentary confrontation with one of the dormant crane shovels stationed outdoors that stef was nearly consumed herself, literally, by an unwieldy pair of steel jaws. The subject is unscathed from the incident, but thanks Tino for recording it and sending her a copy of the photo, if only for insurance purposes, should she have lost a limb or four.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Of norm.

I went to Coach House to print out some pre-MoCCA stuff last week, and the computer kindly gave me this response to an attempt at saving something (click on image for full size):


No No No. Would that I had received this message a year ago. Oh Coach House. How I miss you in my daily life, sometimes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ComMMENTS!

I went to my blogger dashboard today in search of a draft of something, and found that they have a clever little "comments" list for postings with comments. And then i realized, with great dismay, that people have actually commented on more than a few of my postings, and I have most rudely not replied. Back in the day, blogger used to email me when there were comments. (sigh) How is it this no longer happens? Is it the economy? Is it vengeance from some errant technician who was offended at something I said? Is it, is it maladjusted settings? Oh dear.
Anyhow, i had a lovely meander through the last 96 (!) postings, and replied duly, so if anyone out there cares to know it, well, there you are. That's what happened. It's all clear from here.
Dear reader(s), bless your bloggy visits and procrastinatory ways.

Of master hyperbole, brandished rapiers, and unfinished ads.

I've been at the tail end of a job I've had (and loved) for over three years, and, though I am not proud of this, I find myself putting aside the smaller remaining tasks of it in the dire need to create a forward momentum before it finishes altogether and leaves me with that here's your new life-out to sea feeling that I do not do well with at all.
So I was meant to have handed in two things yesterday, a merchant letter and a series of three ads for the magazine, and while the former arrived without incident, the latter was not so lucky. Pushed aside by a trip to the doctor, a day of organizing books, making signs, labels and a parcel ready for MoCCA and my book launch, I decided to have dinner and a rest and then finish them off.
A common enough tactic for me.
Well, i made a spot of dinner, invited Hitchcock's "Stage Fright" to join me, and promptly fell asleep during both.
(My sleep patterns over the last month have become Absolutely Whack. I do NOT understand.)

Dreamt that N.S (my managing editor) had invited me for dinner. Her partner offered me a cappucino (which was odd), and then a thousand men on horseback invaded their backyard (for some reason N'S's new computer was on a raised podium under their gazebo), seeking the ad.
I jumped up on a noble* steed, brandishing a rapier, and charged them, riding through sewage water (my own dream-world self-punitive tactic, obviously) and exclaiming "By God as my Witness You Shall Have Your Ad Now LET THEM FINISH DINNER!"
Which sees me up at this time, the very time I usually go to bed, in fact, to finish the ad.

(heheh) N.S, I think the t-shirt was "stef lenk: master hyperbolist"

(*of course)

Monday, May 26, 2008

of Chroma and an early morning blood test.

I left the house at 7.30am feeling very clever, thinking I'd go get my blood test at the top of the morning, 'coz who on earth would want to get a blood test at 8 in the morning, the place would be empty.
Ahem.
An hour later I was still in the waiting room. Dear Reader(s), those of you who know me will perhaps find this chuckle-worthy; my hands went numb the minute I walked in there. For the whole time. I practically couldn't keep my book open. My toes started tingling as I had to walk into the actual blood-letting area, and honestly, I wondered if they'd have to wheel me out in a bloody wheelchair.

There was a woman sitting next to me with a cell phone that rang three times in the course of my wait. The ring volume was on "deafen me motherfucker" high, and yet every time she answered it, she put her hand to her mouth in a near-whisper, and gave a running update to the person on the other end.
(1) "no, no, we're still waiting." (2) "no, he hasn't gone in yet" (3) "yes, he's gone in now. Should be soon"

Fucking cell phones. It's like we're all dying out and technology is holding its finger to our pulse to record the last throes.

There was a man with a huge orange container that looked like a reserve oil tank from a car trunk, that he kept trying to give to the secretary, who was mortified, and she kept explaining that he would have to hang onto it 'til... I couldn't figure out what was going on, until i realized it was urine. It must have been 2 litres of urine, in a bright orange plastic carton, wrapped in a plastic bag.

There was a sign behind the counter "H(ear) E(mpathy) A(pologize) T(ry to resolve)." which is ironic, since hospitals are about the coldest place on earth. Everytime i get a blood test (over the years, i mean, it is not a habit) i tell them i'm really bad with needles. Then the nurse rolls up my sleeve, gets a look at my tattoos, and gives me a malicious grin like she's caught me in a dirty lie, and just jabs the needle in.
This time, thankfully, they rolled up the other arm, saw no ink, and were sympathetic. Although I had to sit across from someone else getting blood taken. I've never stared so hard at the color-coded plastic caps of row upon row of sample tubes in my life.

I brought Derek Jarman's Chroma with me for company. Perhaps that's a bit bleak but My God, what an amazing book.Chroma is this (Heart-Aching) treatise Jarman wrote while he was in the hospital dying of AIDS, and progressively losing his vision as a result of the preventative medication etc. It is a running panegyric of colour, starting with white, ending with black, and eulogizing all the colours in between, that are gradually fading out of his sight-lines over the course of the book. I still can't read it without crying. I have never been able to get into Jarman's films that much; I find them just a bit too abstract. But this book is so tactile; i can practically taste it every time i read it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I've posted these quotes before, i'm sure, but again today in honor of A Thousand Bells on Bloor:

Consider a man riding a bicycle.  Whoever he is, we can say three things about him.  We know he got on the bicycle and started to move.  We know that at some point he will stop and get off.  Most important of all, we know that if at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle he will fall off it.  That is a metaphor for the journey through life of any living thing, and I think of any society of living things. 
~William Golding

Most bicyclists in New York City obey instinct far more than they obey the traffic laws, which is to say that they run red lights, go the wrong way on one-way streets, violate cross-walks, and terrify innocents, because it just seems easier that way.  Cycling in the city, and particularly in midtown, is anarchy without malice.
~Author unknown, from New Yorker, "Talk of the Town"


Saturday, May 24, 2008

be still my beating bicycle.

I have googled and googled but am yet unable to find the vision of beauty that rolled up next to me at a red light today. This is the closest I could find:

And as I stared at said Norton (the one i saw was a Triumph, specifically), hovering beside my modest velocipede, i suddenly felt the fictional anxiety of what it is to be a conventional man with a proverbially small penis. I understood everything.

Of course, being a girl, somewhat non-conventional by nature, and having no penis to speak of, i just gawked lovingly as it zoomed off into the distance.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The latent genius of a modest tea kettle.

There was an odd moment today when we were trying to print something from the external hard drive and it seemed as if it was hooked up to the kettle.
We agreed that it would be Crazy if the kettle had just started printing things.
But imagine. Imagine what kind of things a kettle might print, were it given half a chance.

Fire.

FireFireFire...Fire Fire FIRE.

FIRE!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh, Harpers Weekly.

"... A poem written by [Barack] Obama in 1981 was discovered and republished:
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance,
Tumble in the
Rushing water
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.
"

(although shouldn't that be "written in 1981 by [Barack] Obama"? Tsk Tsk.

update on the desk treasure.

For those who couldn't divine it; it is a silver-plated chalice. Duct taped beneath the desk of the gift-giver by the recipient, who decided he didn't want it.

of course.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

treasure beneath the office desk.

So yesterday, I went into work, crawled under my desk to plug in my laptop, and what do i nearly hit my head on?
This:

Just, taped there, you know.
And see, do i even want to ask why? wherefore?
No.
No, i do not.

real news

Having, as per usual, heard quite enough about people dying in China, idiot politicians in the Middle East, and bodies found in Ottawa, I was THRILLED to find this out via the news:
3 girls at sailing camp in Bedford, Nova Scotia threw a message in a bottle into the ocean last July. Nine months later, it has just washed up on Ile de Re, France. The woman at the other end was utterly thrilled, has kept the bottle, and invited the girls to come visit her.

Friday, May 16, 2008

of dairy products, inappropriate web browsing, and gay men.

This morning I got the "you are restricted from viewing this site until further notice" when I attempted to open a blog entitled "fromageblog.com" via my work computer. The restriction given was "adult content". And though I am not home to see what's so racey about said dairy products, I was amazed that a hunk of brie and some smoked gouda could possibly be found contrary to the tenets of the motherland broadcasting corporation.*

Though this does bring me to the topic of attractive gay men and cheese.
There is some preternatural connection between the best cheese shops in Toronto and attractive men, very often gay. It's true. Many's the thought of yesteryear when one of my best friends (homosexual by trade) and i invented the need for countless cheeses on a weekday, so he might more tactfully overture a leather garbed gentleman behind the counter of Cheese Magic.

Yesterday I went to a little cheese purveyor around the corner from me that I have been fearing for some time, due to light-walletedness, and the inevitable desire I would have to clean the place out. But dreams of a bit of bocconcini prevailed, and in I went.
To a Lovely and of course very Gay man (alas no leather, it was khakis, if i remember rightly, I suppose we've all matured a bit as we've moved to the west end) behind the counter.

I felt at home instantly, and of course spent everything I had on dairy galore.

*update: have visited fromageblog, and while the cheeses were titillating, it was only to the tastebuds. They were fully clothed.

Monday, May 12, 2008

And tonight's words of inspiration

"...pure and well-balanced...like a nun on a tightrope.
This is one wine you do not want to have sex with."

Oh, Posh Nosh.

last night's exclamation of the evening

ALERT THE AMPHIBIOUS SQUADRON!

Angelina Jolie, no less.

Friday, May 9, 2008

t-shirt.

i would also like a t-shirt that says "noisette" on it. This courtesy of an insightful N.S.
"Noisette"
That's me.
Mad as teeth.

a delicate balance.

So, for anyone who has had to deal with me over the past three weeks or so, i've been a Royal Mess, particularly more so this time around with this booklet, which i feel much more pride over than the last two. Probably 'coz i've solved alot of drawing issues (some perspective, also using watercolours for the first time, etc etc)
But, as is my wont, knowing that I had a few days leeway to get this book to the printer, had me revisiting problem pages repeatedly, at risk to personal health and sanity, and for NO apparent public reason.

That is, I am well acquainted with a few people who know no bounds in their neuroses for perfection, myself included, and it is remarkable how frequently that perfectionism is invisible to a normal human eye. Seeing the self-imposed torture other people put themselves through, you would think i would know better, but, of course i don't.

And moments like this make that line even blurrier.

This (the BEFORE shot) was one of my last drawings, that i did AT LEAST four times, to no avail.


It's the top panel i was concerned with. It's kind of a big moment in the book, the Faceless Lady has just arrived, ominously of course, bringing the Boy with her, and he notices the Cowardly Lion and is coaxed away from her towards it. But, as is obvious, i couldn't get it. All i was getting was some weird snot-faced drawing of a weird looking kid looking over his shoulder.

Then. ONE final attempt the night before getting the book to print. Exhausted, I decided to abandon all reference photos, quality paper, and literally make it all up (something i do NOT traditionally do well) And this is what i came up with.


Probably, to normal humans, not much different, on the "successful drawing" richter scale.
But to me, honestly, it was Worth it. That is the difficult part. It really was worth it. If only to me.

It's funny though, the mood of them both is significantly different. There are moments when i wonder if the original one was a better one to go with, for my own selfish reasons. Then i feel like the second was a kinder, more honest alternative.
The above, of course, will make no sense to anyone but me.

Much like my books.
(sigh)