Tuesday, October 30, 2007

and last but NOT least for this evening.

I Absolutely CANNOT resist.
Watch this.
Oh Dearest Moog.

of the shameless flaunting of pants, bums bums BUMS, and a sweet bunnyhole of nostalgia.

What a fine evening it is turning out to be.
If not a collosal waste of self-absorbed time.

Researching picture books is, as indicated above, a sweet bunnyhole of nostalgia.
(GALES of laughter)
"Sweet Bunnyhole of Nostalgia"

Next on my list of discoveries (whilst avoiding the tedium of re-examining hundreds of photos of old toys and shop interiors) has been a series of photos of my astonishing trousers from days gone by. One of my many dead-end career aspirations.

And so, for your edification, and 'coz really, when the hell else will these photos ever see the light of...erm...computer screen, I post a bunch of gratuitous bum shots/exemplary apparel, made some years ago.
I would particularly like to direct your attention to the what-i-once-hoped-to-patent velcro bike-friendly arrows (on grey trousers below), which unhook and re-hook up to tuck your trouser leg away from threatening greasy bike chains.

Coco, if you are reading this, forgive me. There you are in Montreal, wondering, WHY Is your phone so silent. WHY?!!?
I know. But it's so close to bedtime, during these days of 3am rises. And so, here I am, cavorting around the internet, ignoring friends, phone calls, responsibilities, dishes, all in favour of this bloggy navel-gazing, and in the name of "Doing Work."
Ha. It's a wonder you put up with me.

Oz, if you are reading this, the moon boots have been gathering dust beneath my bed for many years. So do tell me it's not over.

posting to appendages.

In searching my picture archives this evening for reference material for my booklet, i happened upon a file entitled EnglishEpistles.(oldLetters).
And I had to look.
I found a bunch of archived mail art (I guess I photocopied it? borrowed my letters at some point or another?), and one scanned letter from me to my dear friend Scott, dated 14 July, 1993.

Sent from France to B(o)r(e)lington on purple stationery.
And within, on a separate piece of paper, this (click on pic to enlarge):

What a long way it is, down to one's foot.
And to France as well, which is where Scott now resides, 14 years later. Wow.


Ran into Marc Ngui and Magda Wojtyra at Canzine on the weekend, and was reminded that I had yet to visit their website chronicle of their world travels and nomadism happysleepy.com, which Shannon Gerard had mentioned to me a few weeks ago, during a discussion about travel-bugginess.
Anyhow. It's awesome, i suggest everyone go hither, but I really must quote one small passage from it here, as it's a lucid and perfect description of all those things I love about travelling but had yet to see put into such adequate words:

By adopting a semi nomadic lifestyle we would be forced to deal with issues that could easily be avoided by a sedentary one – you become much more aware of all the baggage you cart around, as well as being much more appreciative of any opportunities to eat, sleep and shit.
Cooperation, submitting to the good will of other people, becomes a regular fact of life. We are ejected from the cocoons we tend to build for ourselves in times of abundance and security.
Also by removing ourselves from a known and secure environment we are attempting to train ourselves to be able to deal with the unexpected, to recognize opportunities that will enable us to thrive in uncertain conditions and to take those opportunities without hesitation.

For me, having spent 1992-1996 not being in one place for more than a year at a time, and then upping and leaving again for a year in 2001, I think there is a different kind of lesson to be learnt by staying still; investigating what can be done when one commits oneself to one place, and therefore to oneself, but I want the above on record for when I feel comfortable enough to set out again into the wide world with a bit more personal focus.

and this from Harper's Weekly...

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling revealed that Dumbledore
was a gay wizard.
"It's been terrible," said an English
father of five who was teased by coworkers because of the
$1,200, two-foot-tall Dumbledore tattoo on his back.

"I've always liked Dumbledore - just not in that way."

Friday, October 26, 2007

today: headline of note.


Researchers in the United States have discovered that brief daily exposure to vibrations suppress fat production in mice, and hope to use their findings to help treat obesity in humans...The mice were put on vibrating platforms for 15 minutes a day for 15 weeks. While the reduction in fat cell production did not translate into weight loss, the researchers said the vibrations helped change the distribution of fat in a beneficial way.

Note time.
At work.
That's right.
And contemplating potential benefits of vibrating chair as I look up past the router (which i have baptised "Big Green Machine" for clarity's sake) and up at the moon, which is positively Racing across the sky in front of me. Woosh.

(a bit later)
I have been given an Exemplary cupcake by a stranger.
It's a Good life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

beneath my window; Wednesday; 2.06pm

someone is whistling the Muppet Show theme tune.

wind-up clocks.

If people had to wind up their clocks every couple of days they would return to a direct involvement with both the passage of time, and the fact that their own time cannot move forwarrd without them. They are Directly responsible for it.
Not to mention the cyclical nature of wind-up clocks, which also remind us that we may return again and again to the same hour, but never quite in the same way.

Yes, I DO love wind-up clocks.

the news.

my personal favourite today:

snippit: "As soon as the babies are born, we dry them off. And a bigger baby can tolerate the wetness. But the little ones — they're so fragile. Even though we dry them off really quickly, they still do get cold," Reilly said.
Small pilot studies have shown that wrapping these babies in plastic — plastic bags or even cling wrap — can keep them from cooling down while they undergo X-Rays, have intravenous lines inserted or are put on a ventilator."

Researchers are now investigating if there is any long term benefit from wrapping babies in plastic bags...

Most Ridiculous:

Two words: SO. WHAT.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

the financial district.

Having now been in this vicinity daily for almost a week, i can safely say that it is a zone of what I think i'll call Perpetual Visual Screech. I don't know how people do it. It's too much. Exhausting for my head.
There's this constant implicit agenda: into the building: make your money, out of the building: spend it.
And it's easy enough. People do like easy...
And, not to deny you my little ponderous philosophical thought garnered from all this: money/financial gain is like evidence for the faithless. It's empirical, evaluable (word?), visible, and exchangeable.
For a wealth of goods that are Completely Fucking Useless.
I know. A Remarkable Talent for stating the Obvious.

If i ever needed more evidence of what part of the menu to look at (ingredients vs. cost), or whether to just stay home and cook, this is it.

a philosophical thought of (cough cough) Great Significance.

it's a fine line between Fear and Faith.
Though sometimes, it seems to me, the outcome is the same.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

an afternoon at the IFOA.

paraphrased from James Sturm:
They say you've got "to see it to believe it", but i think perhaps you begin to see it once you have started believing it.

Somehow I feel like I should have this reminder posted EVERYWHERE in my home.

And this paraphrased (very badly, i might add, i hope it's even vaguely accurate) from Rutu Modan:
The buildings of Jerusalem are so lovely but so rundown. That's what I love about drawing, I can draw them and fix them. It's like a marriage, where after a long time you only see this image of the person, all the bad days, the problems, are not what you actually see when you look at them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Of Emergency Packages and Philatelic "Services"

Coco has pneumonia. Sweet Balls of Christ. In an attempt to allay the panic of being too far away to do anything about it, i sent off an emergency package to get her through the weekend.

Too late to my post office to catch a glimpse of the (thumpa thumpa) letter-carriers, I was greeted by an extraordinarily generous postal lady who allowed me to purchase 7$ or something worth of small-denomination stamps, making a special selection to maximize the variety and sort with which i could cover my envelope. (Many postal workers get decidedly stern when I ask for non-sticker stamps, much less a whole bunch of them)
Noting my excitement, she suggested I get the Canada Post newsletter/catalogue thingy.
Perusing it a few hours later in an idle moment, i came upon a survey.
Question three was How well does your local post office serve your philatelic needs?


I scrawled "AND HOW!" across the whole thing and sat back to have a satisfactory cup of tea.

oh, the internet.

Well, I managed to marginally update my website this morning (only losing half my hair in the process; i'm such a charlatan-geek), with some details about the Operation gameboard end of things and the censorship fiasco up at York U in general.
Very general, that is.
For any of you following the whole thing, there is no doubt nothing new here, and for a much better description of Shan's boobs'n'dinks, a visit to her website is really the best thing for it.
Heheh. It's all rather ironic. Poor Professor Prudent.
Seems like the removal of the artwork means his son will hear all about the hush-hush pierced penis and public nudity in next week's issue of NOW.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

you can't touch peoples' apathy.

So said my dear mum this evening, over drinks.
So wise, as ever, so succinct.
Not one thing in life will hold peoples' attention if they are indifferent to it.
Yes, this is perhaps obvious.
But what is so nefarious about it, is our collective attempts to make our own pain/pleasures apply to other people, just so they will listen to us.

Everything must be Pertinent.

And yet, as I so bitterly realize, it is not.
NOT everything is pertinent.
And I feel like this is important to remember.

and more excitement on the subject of our unacceptable artwork.

This courtesy of Chris Butcher
and This courtesy of (thumpa thumpa) Stacey May Fowles

i have Just started working

at a place that has a mailbot.
Or a mailmobile, rather.
NO joke.
I was walking out of the lunchroom, and thought someone was pushing a huge mail cart in front of me, only to have the thing beep and shuffle and continue on its merry way sans operator.
It might as well have had a toilet plunger aimed at me and "WE ARE THE SUPERIOR BEINGS! EXTERMINATE!" issuing from its buzzing corpus, for the look of Shock on my face.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

plumbing the depths of York University's "educational" prowess.

So in late August, the brilliant Shannon Gerard and I launched our latest comics at the Gladstone, me with a giant working Operation game board, and her with two cut-outs displaying crocheted genitalia accompanying cancer-self-exam booklets.
That evening, we had the honor of being asked by Emelie Chhangur of the Art Gallery of York University if we would allow said "accoutrements" to be moved in the AGYU bookstore window come autumn, to be exhibited in conjunction with a Fastwurms exhibition housed in the gallery proper.
We were Totally Thrilled.

And we did it, and it was awesome, and, well, it lasted about a week.
A week, and then the exhibit was forced out of its home by some clever professor who was concerned he could no longer bring his son by the bookshop. Or so we hear.
And now, sitting in the York University bookstore window, we've just been informed, are TOILETS.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen of blogworld, TOILETS.
Thanks to Richelle Forsey for a wicked article about it on blogto.com.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

still got it.

It's been over two months since I picked up a pencil. Literally.
So today, a reunion. And 3 and a quarter hours later...

on the immeasurable value of paper and ink.

Put in a locked empty room with a hundred-dollar bill or a poem, which would you choose?
This question should be asked earnestly of all people in times of greed.

three impossible things before breakfast.

Alice was a clever thing.
In the practise of believing three impossible things before breakfast, one prepares oneself for the occasional and exceptional moments when impossible things actually do take place.
I am, of course, a Skeptic and a Cynic, had done no such preparation, and was greeted by the Impossible and Exceptional with hair askew, boots unpolished, and tea barely steeping.
I think i have recovered somewhat. Tea now at the ready, a quiet moment at hand, I will chronicle at least a few of the more unlikely events of the last couple of months, if only for the merit of other cynics who quite possibly have allowed the milk to sour, their hair to demobilize, and their composure to ruffle in the face of what seems like the eternal relentlessness of the everyday.

I made the aquaintance of a letter carrier at the beginning of this year, a dapper and lovely gentleman fresh back from a year studying abroad. He had been (most fortuitously for me) reestablished on a letter route along the edge of the park most enticingly near to my humble abode. A ponderous sort, with much on his mind after the end of a profound sojourn with a long-time love in exotic lands, it took some months for me to get up the gumption to insist on tea, but take tea we did, and onwards we have (ahem) plundered. He is the founding member of the Upper Canada Chaps Society, rife with chivalry and wit, a Skilled writer and deliveryman of the Queen's Mail, and, dear reader(s), he took me to the CIRCUS for my birthday. THE CIRCUS.
And though i promise not to overrun this bloggy chronicle with excessive panegyric on the man or the matter (in fact, I will make every attempt to do the opposite, as he is a man of privacy in matters of cyberspace), i am, i Must Confess, Truly Smitten.
If not (after an exceedingly long and, ahem, dry era) quite overrun with disbelief.

Preface: Approximately 11 months ago I was permitted to sign a lease on an apartment in a building I have been wanting to live in for eight years. Populated by artists (of course), not the least of which is an art-school colleague/dear friend of nine years running, i was THRILLED.

A few weeks later, when the previous tenant had finally vacated, I walked into my new home and realized that said previous tenant had spent the last 14 years settling himself nicely into a veritable dung heap.

(some of the less offensive photos of the dung heap in question, the last two being walls we didn't rebuild.)

An exceedingly clever friend of mine (named Ishmael in prior blog references) conferred with me, and we decided there was nothing for it but to rebuild. And this, basically, is what we did. Four walls, to be exact. I then repainted floors, ceilings, walls, pulled up horrific plastic tiling to expose the hard-wood floor beneath, etc etc.

(I'll have you know i installed this light switch. Don't ask me if it stays in the wall though.)

It took a month of working by day, rebuilding by night, as I stayed in my previous abode up the street and became acquainted with the perpetual chafing of drywall dust and paint residue on most articles of clothing i own.

Below are photos of the result, although not necessarily parallel to those crannies recorded above, perhaps they will give some idea of the transformation.

Never to ignore the ever-presence of time and immortality, we left a small token of our travailles behind one of the walls of my apartment, for those who may make the unwise decision to destroy this glorious old building.

At the end of August, this building was sold.
To an upstanding gentleman who handed out eviction notices four days later, raised rent for three tenants by 40%, and forced two antique shop owners into retirement. So far.
Panic reigned, until a few of us began to realize that the stories/plans for the structure were being described to each tenant differently, the eviction notices weren't signed, and tenants were being backed into corners with such pseudo-sympathetic entreaties as "I can't afford this building on the rent you are paying now; what can you afford to pay me?"

A two hour visit with a lawyer at Parkdale Legal (we LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM), afforded us proof of more than a few laws that were being broken at our (literal) expense. We formed a tenants association, wrote a collective letter, and sent in our rent cheques via registered post.

The new owner has now very kindly shifted his plans, acknowledging that "[he has] an obligation to the street and the community". It seems he is a self-professed "art lover" as well, how fortuitous for us.

Preface: Sometime last year, Coco and I decided to send each other telegrams, if only to know that we had been accorded the honor of such an antiquated form of communication before it altogether disappeared.
Except, erm, it had already disappeared.
Not a day or so before we googled it, Western Union had officially discontinued their telegram service.
We were crushed.

Two mornings after the alas-less-than-exemplary Nuit Blanche, I received a telegram from Paris.
A TELEGRAM. FROM PARIS. (click on image to read in detail)

Delivered by one Martin de la Rue, Facteur Exemplaire, (NOT to be confused with the "facteur" mentioned above...) who will be making an appearance in the next beloved issue of Brick Literary Journal.

Bless him.

My dear reader(s), it has been a Remarkable Year.
And now it is Autumn, and I must to work. My next booklet beckons.