28 February 2005

what i think might be a Very Interesting thought.

this rumination comes on the heels of a varied and wonderful dinner conversation last night on fictitious demons of the brain. perhaps we (well, some of us) find it so much easier to dwell on the past and its regretful perambulations, because it makes it easier to appreciate the good stuff Right Now.

that is, what kind of a state would we be in if all we could remember about the past were the great things, the things we still want to be with us! the nostalgia would be Utterly Crippling. at least regret or the desire to dissasociate with past mistakes helps us to see our way forward in the present...it makes the work to be done very clear.

27 February 2005

the landlord's son-in-law.

the landlord's son-in-law came over to fix my ceiling last week. at Last. he wasn't in my home for five minutes before his cell phone rang. he picked it up and was on the receiving end of what seemed like a Very sketchy conversation. finally he was like, "sir, what tenants do is their business, not mine, i'm not responsible for what goes on...sir, if you get a lawyer i will talk to you. sir, i don't mean to be rude, but i'm going to hang up now, sir...sir...okay i'm going to hang up the phone now."
he hangs up the phone and informs me that he thinks the russian mafia have become the new proprietors of a very profitable rub'n'tug in the basement of the building. one of them is after him to get the previous owners ousted from the lease,said owners being two very nice ladies, one of whom has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
he seemed more than a little preturbed about the whole thing so i tried to break the ice by offering him some tea and telling about the last time someone was sent to fix my ceiling.
the repairman the first time around was nice enough, slightly rotund, square-ish face, fish-eye spectacles covered in paint, unfortunate shoes. i let him in and turn back to my work.
a moment later i smell toothpaste.
i turn around to see him perched on the top of the ladder smearing my freshly plastered ceiling with crest.
the fluorescent blue kind.
i asked him... calmly, i thought... what he was doing.
"it stops the stains."
the stains.
yes. if roof leaks again plaster won't turn yellow... water damage. (sic)

you see,dear Readers, it wasn't just toothpaste, it was toothpaste with Whitener in it.

but back to the landlord's son-in-law.
who also, may i say, found the toothpaste theory a little shy of sane.

he takes his turn as he's scraping my wall and covering my floor in muck to tell me about a recent incident with hell-ga.
hell-ga, for those of you new to my blog, is a schizophrenic who used to live beneath me, until her death threats,late night tirades,no-legged alcoholic boyfriend and soiled undergarments just became too much for us and we convinced the powers that be to move her out of the building and into a space further down the alley.
anyhow, it seems that something was wrong with her sink and joe, (landlord's son-in-law) had to go fix it.
so there he was, doing his best, stuck under the sink, arse out, fiddling away with the pipes....and hell-ga sitting on the sofa behind him looking on.
you need to picture a woman whose closest relation is the marshmallow man, crew cut, antagonistic stare, Large eyeballs, consistent and vaguely horrifying sweat pants, complete with camel toe, and about three different aural incarnations in any one single conversation. ugh.
landlord beneath the sink, feeling vulnerable and a homeless guy asleep on the floor a few feet away, coughing and wheezing like a son-of-a-gun, and hell-ga overseeing the whole thing, and muttering.
muttering what? you may ask.
muttering about an ex boyfriend who took pictures of her and sent them in to penthouse and so now she's in penthouse and it's all over the internet and she isn't getting any money for it at all, none at all.

and all i could think was poor poor man beneath the sink.

21 February 2005

well, at least i'm not the only one.


this excellent article link sent to me by jp, who knows me Very Very well. thank you, kind sir.

20 February 2005

yes, i'm afraid it's another bicycle story.

prefaced by a saturday night realization that no matter how Cool what the cool kids are doing sounds, i'm just not the disco party type. i Planned to go, i was excited to go, and then, as usual , i just didn't feel like it.
not to mention the fact that the closest i could come to a disco costume was a 7 year old self-made poodle skirt with a huge superman emblem embroidered onto its front, and some highly unfortunate fluorescent hair elastics.

strangely, the only problem with me Not being into cool events is my seeming complete inability to be Cool with not being cool. i skip them, have a lovely evening at the cineemah or reading (surprise surprise) a book, and then beat my psyche senseless for not getting out more.
so, in a remarkably progressive move, i forewent miring myself in regret for missing the chance to hang out with fellow schoolmates and revelling in debauchery, and contented myself with a comic artists' show opening at propeller (quality) followed by soup as big as your head in chinatown with true compadres.

as we left the restaurant i saw some guy across the street hammering away at a bike lock.

Karma, dear readers, was not just calling, Karma had come Right up to me, hiked its shirt 'round its neck to get my attention, and was now beckoning me to cross forth and do my bit for the fellow victims of imminent bike theft in this city.

i ran across the street and asked said individual if this was his bicycle.
of course it was. hammer hammer.
"then why don't you have a key for it?"
"i lost it"
"whose bike is this then?" (beckoning to another bicycle next to him.)
"oh i see. you have two bikes. are you going to ride both of them home at once?"
"how clever."
"look." at this point mister bike thief with the ratty old trucker hat and unfortunate proboscis has abandoned his task and walked 'round the bike to threaten me vaguely with his hammer. "why don't you fuck off and mind your own business?"
while it's true that i aspire to be a renegade saviour of bikes, even Karma wouldn't begrudge me the need to save my fine features from a shameless beating with a metal hammer.
so i turned on my heel and marched right back across the street into the restaurant and called the cops. kari, bless her, came with me. but while i was giving the officer a short summation of the circumstances, mister thief seemed to be packing up.
"well, (said the cop on the other end of the line) is he taking the bike?"
(me) "i'm not sure...hang on a sec"
"he's loitering, hang on"
"is he taking the bike?"
"i'm sorry, but i can't speed him up on his mission, i just don't know....ah, it seems he is not. we have thwarted him and i'm wasting your time. very sorry."
"oh, that's okay."
i hung up the phone with a chuckle, the guy gets on his first bicycle and turns a corner RIGHT INTO an oncoming cop car. Yes Yes YES. two officers promptly get out and begin grilling him. FANTASTIC.

now THIS, dear reader(s), is MY ideal saturday night. cheap thrills, if ever there were any.

19 February 2005

website update.

i should of course be working Non-Stop 24/7 on the crippling pile of school assignments i have at present, but, having just completed one of the biggies, i took a break for an hour or so to drink veggie juice and update my infamous website.
mostly the freelance section, but take a peek, if you feel so inclined - all critiques welcome.

17 February 2005

15 February 2005



drawn in the dark during some highly unfortunate vd sketch comedy show at passe muraille tonight.

14 February 2005


decided to ttc to school today (freezing rain).
walked into pape subway station on my way home to see police cars everywhere and yellow tape as well. saw an officer standing in the stairwell asking some guy questions.
descended the stairs and looked over the tape to see blood sprayed all over the white floors and white tiled wall, and a female officer with a paper towel doing her best.


an Apt quote for the day, found a mere ten minutes after conceding the truth that one can only be utterly sure of one thing: being misunderstood.

"a man has control over many things in his life; he has control over enough things to be the hero of a novel. but if he had control over everything, there would be so much hero that there would be no novel...
the thing which keeps life romantic and full of fiery possibilities is the existence of these great plain limitations which force all of us to meet the things we do not like or do not expect."
gk chesterton.

i love synchronicity.

12 February 2005

11 February 2005

on gertrude stein and the judicious edit.

this book, written by Gertrude Stein and first published in 1933, is one of those cathartic oxymorons that has been a long-time favourite.

Ms. Stein wrote this book about her lover (Alice B. Toklas) and their life amidst the bohemians of Paris in the late 1800's. Picasso, Matisse, Rousseau, the whole lot. she writes from a first person perspective as Alice B. Toklas, and records all indications of herself in the third person.

I remember hearing, somewhere or another, that the publication of said book caused an uproar at the time amongst Ms. Stein's friends, who felt mispresented, insulted, or or just plain ignored in her literary masterpiece. they felt like she had crossed the line of good taste and privacy, all for a paltry writing project. she had misrepresented Real people as fictional characters. what right did she have to give Picasso a green sweater during his blue period, or to call Juan Gris a "raw, effusive youth" when perhaps the rest really found him quite Boring, thank you very much. It's Just Not Done. the subject of "others" is reserved for gossip sessions around the water cooler, not for the yellowed pages of an early 20th century penguin classic.

all this gives me pause.

in our vast life experiences, only two things stand out about people we have known- about "others": the things that made them unique, and our emotional connection to them. i can't even begin to count how many times people i regard as my closest friends have commented on my "new" (3 year old) tattoo, my relations (long defunct) with some lad or another, my lifelong (changed yesterday) aspirations.
people don't Remember me (or anyone else, for that matter), from one encounter to the next; they remember Their Perception of me.

Perception seems like this proverbial bridge. on one side lie our rational views of people, on the other, how we see them relative to our emotional needs.

Rational observation sees others from their outside in,subjective, but empirical. rational observation is about surface, actions, reactions.

our emotional needs, however, filter how we see people from our inside out...not objective either, and rational thought has long since made a modest exit for better times.

how does one Accurately record one's observations, then. and how does one deal with one's "others", without transgressing boundaries of privacy and respect?

usually, it's not a problem. that's what those cute little locked books on chapters' gift shelves are for....

but what happens when you want an audience, when the need for feedback, for interest beyond your own, exceeds your journalistic tendencies? what happens, dear readers, when you decide to forecast all daily trivialities and cathartic revelations on ...(clap of thunder in the distance)...a BLOG?
the public, the reader, the Stranger,reads about people, places, things, that they are in no position to judge. they only have the Truth the author gives them. hopefully, caveats, reminders, and renunciations in the prologue force readers to read with care...to be conscious of the limitations on their own perspective.

but is this enough?

judicious editing assumes that it isn't.
judicious editing respects Every potential reader.
judicious editing Loves every character it touches on.
judicious editing is a downright Necessity.

10 February 2005


decided to walk home from work tonight; queen and bathurst to parliament and gerrard.
(38 minutes!)
(chuckle. timing myself on an aimless meander even...of Course.)

started with a glorious evening...sat in on "poochwater" (play presently at passe muraille) and, as the inertia housed in 18 patrons filed out of the theatre i was just incredulous. HOW...no, better yet, WHY...WHY?!? GO TO THE THEATER AT ALL WHEN ONE HAS MADE A STAUNCH DECISION TO REMAIN UNMOVED?!?!? WHY?!?!GAH!
i'm not talking about people watching a bad play they have no interest in...i'm talking about a Good play, a Solid play, well written, Fantastic characters... not universe shattering, But, for that 70 minutes, Completely engaging. and a house of 18 patrons, letting loose the occasional errant titter, then allowing it to be quelled almost immediately by the mournful weight of a 158 seat house with only about 10% of its seats occupied.

people become determined, i guess, that they shouldn't be heard...no laughing, no engaging, at any cost. that would draw attention to them, like it would work against the production. it makes me Crazy. had i thought of it at the time, i would have stood up during the curtain call, turned around to everyone sitting behind me and yelled "Wake up, you bastards, Respect these actors, Respect this work! or Don't Come Back!"

an empty bar post-show, of course, and i took the moment to revel in my day: i had regular wednesday volunteership at my little publishing office, sorting catalogues for hours (Christ), and then assigned the writing of an april fools letter to the indigo head office. i was ready to Maim someone with the futility of it all until my boss, most likely feeling my despondency, proffered a copy of "jonathan strange and mister norell" as reward.
(yes, i have enough books. i Do. i Know. but what can i say? i'm a sucker for anything of verbose quality insinuated between soft covers).

then convened to execute one half of a barter with Brennan to get slides done in exchange for web-sitely favours, and how Glorious it feels (i don't do this often, if at all) to hand off a job you are Completely incapable of (copy work) to someone who's Amazing at it, and to feel this Utter relief and awe, that you can get something you need without having to suffer through doing it yourself, and you can return the favour in kind, but differently (inasmuch as the skill is different) and how Cool that is.

and then i went to work, and Then i thought about how frustrating it is to be around a person where your heart literally Inflates as a natural reaction to their presence, and knowing that you can no longer act on it (for practical reasons) but you still can't ignore it (for Completely Impractical reasons) and what the HELL to do?
we humans have figured Everything out, Everything, but we have No idea how to handle this conundrum.
is the healthy thing to ignore this feeling? to say to oneself: "i've walked away, i have no right to nostalgia."
no. i don't feel it is. (that's probably selfish) (shrug)
but to acknowledge this inflated heartiness (sic) and then not act on it seems just as irresponsible, or dishonest.
GAH. this is not the first instance of this in my life. Get On with it.

four of us lollygagging at the bar in an otherwise empty theatre somehow got into a discussion about grief, about the world's inability to allow us our grief, to allow us to be sad without feeling guilty or being worthy of remonstration for going public about it, and then Mark suddenly talked about his training as an international care-giver, on call for an obligatory three weeks if there should be a national disaster where people are in need of emotional support and counselling. and this is a Real job in the world. FANTASTIC!
and then i thought maybe the world was doing better than i thought...

and then, two blocks from my home, i approach a huge area bound in yards and yards of police tape, and a melancholy (and very probably bored to tears) officer beckons to me, saying i have to cross on the north side of the tape...there has just been a shooting, some crack head, no, no one's fine, he died.

and my heart just Capsized. Just Like That.
Physically Capsized.

08 February 2005

penny dreadful.

In nineteenth-century England the penny dreadful was a form of popular literature, lavishly illustrated with garish and grotesque pictures depicting lurid crimes and shocking romance, circulating cheaply among the lower classes.

All Hail Penny Dreadful! what a wonderful genre to resurrect! lurid crimes! shocking romance! lower class! (and perhaps, occasionally, no class at all! woohoO!)

this idea coupled with some my recent research forrays into fetus in fetu, promises to be fruitful.

...a belated thank you to shannon gerrard (shannongerard.org-bookmaking Genius) who, instead of finding my interest in questionable anatomy repellant, prompted me forth with this small term in hand, to discover the strange phenomenon wherein full grown adults have been found with traces of human bits within their own physiognomy..."fetus in fetu"...some indication that they may well have been sharing the womb with another.


06 February 2005

13 reasons why i love my credit card.

• the notebooks of leonardo da vinci. (two volumes. illustrated)
• the disasters of war • goya • etchings. (Gaping Astonishment and Glee)
• toulouse lautrec. •  paintings and drawings.
• the doyle diary:with a holmesian investigation into the Strange and Curious Case of charles altamont doyle. (illustrated)
• a case of curiosities. (allen kurzweil) (not a clue...seduced by the title.)
• the strange case of doctor jekyll and mister hyde. illustrated. published 1945. incl. box case.
• amnesia.novel. by douglas cooper. expat torontonian last heard of trying to make it in new york, frequenting my cousin's ex'es watering hole. wrote delirium, Fantastic book 'bout crippled girl entombed beneath the TD building at bay and king, and a weird guy trying to kill his biographer.
• quarantine. by jim crace. (devil's larder. need i say more?)
• esssays of montaigne AS ILLUSTRATED BY SALVADOR DALI. i Kid You Not. (eeeeeeeeeeee)
• egyptian jukebox. nick bantock. who may well be a one-trick pony, but Damn it's one Good trick.
• 5 booklet box set handbooks of plant drawings. (botanical/animal etc.) japanese (?) edition.
• the vagabond. colette. (finely chosen token female author).
• and last but Not Least, oh, Definitely NOT least, the adventures of Baron Munchausen, as illustrated by Gustav DorĂ© dedication inside front cover christmas 1932. yellowing and smelly indicates same.

contact editions. ladies and gentlemen. moving at the beginning of march. 75% (that's right. 75%!) off All used stock.
all of these additions to my library, my brain cell count, and my Dead intellectual weight only put my credit card company out $60 odd bucks.

be Still my Parsimonious and Bibliophilic heart.

05 February 2005

a (fri)day in the life. (sincere Blogging.)

6.30am. up.
7.45am. at school, my ailing computer in tow. have lost all work so far on illustrious school magazine design grid plan. fellow classmate (BLESS HER) suggests i add suffix to file name, recovering 4 hours or so of ('til now) lost work. Glory Be.
8.45. Sussed. one computer going for school assignment, one computer burning cd's to back up harddrive etc etc., one computer aiding and abetting classmate with quark queries. hypothetical rhythmic tablas in background keeping pace with my multitasking.
12.40 (20 minutes after official class end) first break of the day. lunch and tea.
1.05. back to open workshop. two computers and a fiery printer two rooms over. one box following lesson, one editing fire spinning footage, one sending off all manner of portfolio material for gratuitous printing two rooms over. back and forth back and forth. i think i crashed the printer 3 times with impatient overloads, but can't be sure.
3ish. if i look at a computer for one more minute my brain is going to LEAK OUT OF MY EARS. leave the premises.
3.20ish. danforth and broadview. 'bout 15 feet westbound.
Flat Tire. Rats.
4. arrive home. new inner tube purchased, bike at the ready.
4.15 distracted by something else.
oh yes.
Chicken. i decided the other day to buy drumsticks, for something new, which i would marinate and cook. the marinating was no problem....
bbrrrrrrrr....bbbbrrrrrrrrr..... hello?
hi mum, i have a question and i'm only asking you 'coz you're my mum and you're not allowed to laugh at me.
i would never laugh at you!
i have this chicken here, and i don't know how to cook it.
(spontaneous chuckle at the other end of the line)
in the oven, 350, 'bout 45 minutes, tastes Glorious. ('xcept meat is Too high maintenance for me to ever purchase in such a grievous fit of gourmet spontaneity) had asparagus too.mmmmmmm
(this is only a Real blog if i say what i had for dinner, right?)
6. to work. opening night...all is adrenaline and glee. stuffed cat appears in one of the flower vases, looking out to all bar patrons from betwixt the dried flowers. last week same stuffed cat was found hanging from red ribbon noose in stockroom doorway.
2am. taxi home. chicken and wrong size inner tube hindered replacement of flat, bike lamentably unavailable for the evening's transport.
3am. to bed at last,"perfume" lingering in my synapses.

saturday morning. 8.44am. up again. step and repeat. :)

01 February 2005

judicious decision.

just realized that i will have to hold off on publishing my one-pager for now, for reasons of diplomacy and timeliness (it's for a scholarship application that hasn't gone in yet.)
to my critic and encouraging voice, i besiege you wait and see. sorry...

on the nature of criticism and the word extraordinary.

before i start i would like to put in a quick and shameless plug for montaigne's essays, to whom i dedicate the title of this posting. YAY MONTAIGNE! you may be dead and rotting (well, rottED) in the earth beneath france, but i love you i love you!

i would like to thank anonymous (?) for his/her declaration that i should leave my exorbitant attentions to editing behind, and just finish my precious page of Writing and move on. (chuckle. i don't know how to comment Back at people in this blog thing, so here it is..)
i think this is true and valid criticism.
i must temper that assertion, regretfully, with the caveat that it is a somewhat uninformed one, since part of my problem with writing of late has been part of a bigger issue i have with many aspects of being me, most of which revolve around my addiction to anxiety and my inability to Focus.

my that was wordy.

there are some writers who get stuck in editing, and some who Never edit at all, and pile up stacks and stacks of ink-stained darlings, which they can never quite fit anywhere, partially because of a lack of commitment to do so, or a disbelief in the value of objective reworking.

and I, dear readers, Belong (hook, line and sinker) to this latter category.

this addiction of late to seeing something through, to sticking it out when the process gets repetitive and almost boring, to actually cutting out extraneous matter to further streamline a True Story, this is not a practise i have engaged in before. i'm all about writing a whole wack of little darlings on napkins and doilies and taking scotch tape and trying to piece them together and then pinning them to the wall and saying proudly "HAH! now don't these little bits of pithy brilliance make sense?!"

uh..No, actually. (shrug)

Now. All of this Said, i am making NO like-minded assumptions about my advisor, and i Do Very Much Value the input, so with nary a further re-read i shall enclose my treasured little ditty in my next posting, for the edification (or not) of all.

and now.

i went in to speak with the administrator of my program yesterday about my upcoming internship. i told her where i wanted to be placed, assuring her that i was aware my ideals might be unrealistic, but i was willing to canvas said publishers myself for my placement.
she was dead-set on organizing my internship herself. to each publisher i mentioned she said "leave them to me". (i should point out that our last conversation had me anticipating a placement in some two-woman feminist publishing company, housed in the editor's living room. a circumstance i did NOT (shiver) embrace at all)

finally i pointed out that perhaps my sending a personal email might prove my interest in actively pursuing the companies i was into, as opposed to having it done for me.

there was a pause, and then she looked me square in the face and said: "you're NOT extraordinary, you know. Everyone is passionate about where they want to work. you are NO different from them."


i Am an only child that has a fair amount of difficulty reminding myself on a daily basis that the universe Does Not in fact revolve around me.
that's fine. (believe it or not, that's actually a Great Bloody Relief)
and there is still much shedding of ego and stef-centricity (sic) to be done, and perhaps this comment was a clever superior's way of trying to help me out with that — humbling me into acquiescence.


what the FUCK kind of comment is that?

and HOW, Exactly, may i ask, is this comment Productive to any of the parties involved?
does she tell ALL her students "you're nothing special?"
and WHY did she let me into a program that only accepts 40 students out of 300 or whatever applications, then?
and WHAT, in fact, am i DOING in a program that takes on students if they are Not (AS IF they're not!) Extraordinary?

what rubbish.

standing back (as much as i can, since my back is up against a wall) i think she might have been trying to point out that my personal efforts would do me no good ingratiating myself towards strangers, hence the attempt to take the wind out of my sails.
and i could always use a bit more humble pie.
but some lessons in diplomatic wording and respect for people modestly trying their best are definitely recommended.

lastly but not leastly.

"in eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. his story will be told here...."

i've begun "perfume" at Last. AT LAST. Glee and Bliss!