30 March 2005

for Barker's old, dim eyeballs.

white background. happy now? :]

27 March 2005

things about boys you were never afraid to ask about, but still didn't get a straight answer.

i was poking around in the graphic novels at Pages today, on this Glorious Glorious spring day, and happened across an older work by Chester Brown, entitled "The Playboy".
do i need another book to add to my to-read list? of course not. so i put aside "the Life of Pi" (Bloody Fantastic, thoughts reserved 'til i finish it), purchased "The Playboy" (i know), and finished that book on the spot.
okay, half an hour later, over peppermint tea at the jet fuel.

let me take a moment, dear reader(s), to tell you about it.

actually, bear with me for a moment of digression, before i get to the juicy stuff this post-heading promises.

now, a while back i read "Blankets" by Craig Thompson, a weighty tome of a graphic novel about a guy growing up in a small town under religious fundamentalist parents. and what it was like to be in love with a girl with that righteous shadow hanging over him. and how to feel okay about wanting to be intimate, wanting to be sexual, hell, wanting to be in Love, and to bring sex into the equation without being ashamed about it, or considering sexual propositions to be twisted, perverse or just plain Evil.

later on, about a year and a half ago, i was very fortunate to be in a car ride with two male acquaintances, one of whom was (no doubt still is) an eccentric sort. out of nowhere he started up this Immensely candid discussion about sex, and what it was like to be a male teenager. He talked about reaching puberty and having Utterly No Concept that a girl might even Want to have sex with him at the time, since human coitus is really, let's face it, a bizarre kind of physical union. like, who thought of it? the mechanics of sex. stick A into B = mutual bliss and satisfaction. who knew?!?!
and the idea that a girl might be into any of this action was Completely Unheard Of (in the words of this guy, as i sat in the back of the car listening) , and how disempowering that doubt was to him at the time.
of course the guy who started the conversation made the other guy almost Immediately and IMMENSELY uncomfortable, and it Certainly can't have been helpful to have a girl sitting in the back like a secret agent taking notes, so the conversation didn't last long.

This, dear reader(s), was one of the first times, yes a mere year and a half ago, at the age of 29, that i was given even a Clue that guys (well, some guys) actually worried about this kind of stuff. strange, disconcerting, but True. honesty of this sort is so Unbelievably hard to come by, that the conversation still resounds in my brain to this day.

anyhow, back to "Blankets". Craig Thompson is straight up, unassuming, and Above all, Not so Bloody Fucking macho. forgive me, dear males who may read this, i am unflinchingly dedicated to your gender, but macho is like this strange seething virus that no doubt Our Very Mothers are guilty of propagating. it makes some guys incapable of admitting vulnerability, doubt, or any kind of dissatisfaction with themselves or their world. and it has made some communication, in times now gone, hours ago, years ago, lifetimes ago, well nigh impossible.
now i DON'T think this is the sole responsibility of the male part of our species. in fact, we girls are just as guilty for not being sensitive to the fact that guys might share our own anxiety or self-consciousness.
not to mention the added burden guys have of years of conditioning to keep that stuff under their belts (so to speak).

back to The Playboy. The Playboy is about Chester Brown's relationship to porn, from the age of 15 and onwards. it's short, it's pithy, and it's Completely and Utterly Honest. He revisits himself as a teenager, how he biked across town 'coz he was too embarrassed to buy a playboy where anyone might see him, how he got addicted to them, how he started preferring masturbating to real sex, and was subsequently forced to imagine playboy chickeys when he was in bed with his real girlfriends... if he was going to keep things, how shall we say, Perpendicular.

and, may i say, as a girl who's been known to be quite fond of Perpendicular... WHO KNEW. i mean read the above again. WHO KNEW?!? no one tells us, dear gentlemen, that somehow you've been forced into such a corner with your sexuality, and Definitely no one tells us that it might affect our very relationships with you all, years? months? hours? lifetimes? later.

it seems to me that guys have been forced to downplay their sexuality pretty much across the board, and it becomes this covert, pervasive and troubling secret.
as a result of this imposed modesty, may i say, many girls also end up not understanding how it all works themselves.

the popular conclusions seem to be:
a) that somehow male sexuality is evil and agressive and to be avoided at all costs, in favour of some eunuch librarian true-love charming prince (uh, not so much), or
b), go for the tiger, ladies, but if things don't go right in the sack it's probably your fault.

in fact, there are Many things that some of us girls (read: me) had to find out by proxy, and what a drag that was to our (my) delicate sense of self-esteem.
this idea that an excess of alcohol can be debilitating in the sack? pshaw. i was a 21 year old WRECK (that's right) before that was cleared up and catalogued in the "things not to worry about" category of getting laid.
that the solo porn experience can be preferable for obliterating the confusion and anxiety of another person's presence? didn't know that either. and let me tell you. the mystery was MISERY.

this stuff and more may be old (so to speak) hat to me now, but i'll Never forget the value of finding this stuff out, and what a relief it was to be, even just a little, off the proverbial hook.

so. thank you gay male (and progressive male) confidantes, thank you Dan Savage, and, as i've just discovered today, thank you Chester Brown.

NO thank you to whatever force out there (including us intimidating females?) that has kept guys storing this stuff in the bottoms of their drawers, under their bed, in the inaccessible areas of their own conjecture.

in conclusion, this is my announcement to the world, blessed humble blogger that i may be.

boys, there's MORE THAN ONE OF YOU not filling us in on the machinations of your unmentionables. and it's capable of making our sex lives and self esteem HELL.

girls, there's MORE THAN ONE OF YOU not getting the skinny (or somehow discouraging said skinny) from being discussed, and rendering both parties uncomfortable and anxiously worried about their own sexuality.

as i ponder all of this i can't even imagine how many questions about girls remain unanswered for guys, whether we be teenagers or twenty-somethings or thirty-somethings.
(chuckle) or maybe no one is confused and curious except for me, sitting here with Far too many books and too much solitary time on a sunday night to think about it all.

and, just to top things off, my downstairs neighbours have just started having sex. which, if you have ever seen either of my downstairs neighbours, is the Greatest mystery of all. (shiver).
although their timing is impeccable.

who needs formaldehyde when you've got wendy's?

this found on someone else's blog... just a few gratuitous clicks in that top right corner every so often, to see who else besides me sees fit to pollute the literary cyberstream...

and i quote:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A diner at a Wendy's fast food restaurant in San Jose, California, found a human finger in a bowl of chili prepared by the chain, local officials said on Wednesday.

"This individual apparently did take a spoonful, did have a finger in their mouth and then, you know, spit it out and recognized it," said Ben Gale, director of the department of environmental health for Santa Clara County. "Then they had some kind of emotional reaction and vomited."

Local officials launched an investigation after the incident on Tuesday night and the medical examiner determined on Wednesday that the object was a human finger.

Officials are trying to determine if the finger came in the raw materials Wendy's used to prepare the chili, Gale said.

Wendy's International Inc. corporate office did not immediately return a call for comment. Wendy's is the third-largest hamburger chain.

26 March 2005

the critical mass of synaptic critique.

i mean, i really just wanted to write that heading, which i freely admit is Utterly over the top. which should surprise absolutely no one.

saw "tunnel" on thursday and "american standard" on friday, and i have to say that, as with books, there is a point when you've seen a fair amount of theatre when you begin to understand it beyond a general critique of its quality. that is, i'm finally starting to understand more about what I personally like in theatre, beyond evaluating its quality as a piece of work. which is really cool. i guess this is what curators and art directors access, when determining bodies of work to be shown congruently.
there's a whole lot of good work out there (and a whole lot of crap) but the significance in talking about it with anyone is being able to differentiate between your personal evaluation and an objective one. this is of course the age of GLUT, in all arenas, information, capitalist excess, and also, dare i say it, good ideas. good curating is like good management of information. so it doesn't get lost in irrelevance or on people whose tastes lie elsewhere.

can i just say i'm a huge fan of physical theatre. HUGE. in this case i'm talking about the bluemouth show. sweet jesus it was pretty incredible. and the...how do i not give it away...picture frame with mylar? YOW.

tho' i'm also a fan of storytelling. both of the above were too abstract for me in places. (shrug) i like stories. i'm pretty linear (which is completely bizarre, given my digressive nature, but true, nonetheless) i think it's 'coz i don't process info as well aurally as i do when i read it. so i'm a bit dim when things jump all over the map. i would like to read "american standard" on paper. i was thinking that as i was watching it, and then realized, in a small fit of melancholy, how much great theatre must get lost after the production is over precisely 'coz it's too small a venture to ever get published.

no wonder theatre schools are addicted to studying classical theatre. that's the only significant pile of paper they have to work from. i also wonder if the addiction to studying classical theatre isn't a way to keep even the creative sorts in tow. Let's face it, shakespeare isn't as incendiary as either suicide site or american standard is. not in this day and age. but how do you teach people to revolt? the first thing on most agendas is to teach people to appreciate. which, when i read it like that, seems a noble undertaking...

for an objective moment, may i say the acting in both of the above shows was Phenomenal, as were the production values, and i have reached the end of this week with a whole lot of that all too familiar awe of what people manage to put together with Love and a shoe-string budget. awesome.

25 March 2005

and the illustrator chosen to create images for Theatre Passe Muraille's 05-06 brochures...

(dabbing corner of eye with hanky)
i'd like to thank the academy, my mum, my cousin...

24 March 2005

shortcut to revisit my astonishing story of bike recovery.

and this to Mike, the Awesome courier who fixed my flat and trued my wheel and reaffirmed my faith in human nature this morning, after the second busted inner tube in less than a week (at 9am in the morning, no less) had me feeling despondent and all wintered-out. this is the story you are looking for, to send out to all bikeys who've ever had a bike stolen. rest assured there is some justice in the world.

i'm a bloody hacking genius.

ok. almost a genius. when i can get rid of the title atop the title i'll be a full-on self-learned einstein of the blogging world. ha. i mean really. who needs television when you've got html?

yes it's a new background colour.

and as primitive a hacker as i am, i am now determined to figure out how to put my own picture where the header bar is.
but i'm not so determined that i won't post this in the hope that some clever soul can help me out.

well, some people have tv, i have futile aesthetic changes to blog templates.

you have to admit it's better than crack.

23 March 2005

should i take a moment to discuss my strange predilections?

who knows. but seeing as there is a great deal of what might be considered dark matter in the last couple of weeks, i'm feeling a bit concerned. gods know i've probably got some government file out there somewhere, what with outstanding student loans, questionable credit card purchases, and countless library renewals from the "...for dummies" series. and, of course, tonight, as usual, it's late and i'm feeling ponderous.
or preponderous, as the case may be.

i'm not quite sure where this interest in anatomy comes from. to make myself sound deep, i'm going to say it's because my father was a doctor, and the preoccupation became marked around the time i found out he was dead. maybe my attempts to make peace with him are now relegated to studying strange organs floating in fermaldehyde (that's Definitely spelt wrong).
heheh. i don't really believe that.
but this half nausea/half fascination is a real mystery. a funny one; the former finds the nerve endings in my hands going too numb to draw, and the latter keeps me going back with sketch book in hand.
Willow and i were marvelling the other day about this process. taking dead things and putting them in jars to look at them.
we are probably the only machines on this planet that are this curious about ourselves.
Barker (i think) told me that he read somewhere that porn was invented by Eadweard (sic) Muybridge this need to record the things we can't see while we are participating in them. the same too of all facets of the human being. i always remember johnny's armageddon speech in the film naked (mike leigh), when he's going on about how quiet our functions are. i mean the internal ones. aside from the occasional gurgle, belch, or sneeze, we hear nothing. Amazing.

one disgruntled canadian.

i mean, do we really need any more snow? Really?
obviously no one got the memo. grr.

22 March 2005

nostalgia...(the series)

it's only with a slight ironic chuckle that i notice my computer's default inclination to add a number after i type the word nostalgia in the title section. this is not the first time i've used that heading.
well, SO BE IT! sitting around with Barker and ice cream on a sunday night, he pointed out that the word nostalgia is in fact not a positive term, etymologically speaking. i, of course, did not believe him.
so i pulled out the old oed and stuck my nose in it, to come out with this:
nostalgia n 1. severe homesickness. 2. sorrowful longing for conditions of a past age; regretful or wistful memory of earlier time.
hmm. it's a strange definition to me. honest to gods, very few things give me greater joy than nostalgia.

of course i also draw dead babies.

baby making machines.

now THIS, dear reader(s), is what the female human body is all about. if something starts growing in our ovaries, (even if it isn't a child), all our body thinks is "living creature, give it defenses"
this is a drawing of an ovarian cyst.
with teeth and hair.
and they are far more common than anyone would like to think.
these cysts, that is, not drawings of them. :)

let's start with some dead things, shall we?

the funniest thing is when you've gotten away with breaking a rule for so long that you are a regular. the guy who closes up the anatomy labs every night now recognizes willow and i, and i think i would be almost insulted if we were asked to leave, despite the "personnel only" sign on the door. heheh.

may i just say how AWESOME it is to work with a quill pen? is that what they are even called? christ's toes, i'll get spontaneous in my manner of drawing yet. YAHOO!

patient and loyal reader(s)!

it's been at least a couple of weeks since i have been able to pay due attention to this beloved blog. gah. another niggling reminder of how much work still remains to properly balance dire and personal ruminative activity with the Unexpected and not Altogether pleasant chaos that sometimes is my Other life. in this instance we are speaking of school, dear reader(s). school. which i am Actually Done with as of next tuesday, but really, as of thursday the heat will be off. glory glory be.

in the midst of my pile of school projects, which i unfortunately take as seriously as environmentalism, brushing thrice daily and the atom bomb, i suddenly realized i was growing hesitant to blog, thinking how futile and useless posting incomplete thoughts and vague ideas is.
'til yesterday, somewhere in hour 17 of my 22 hour day, when i realized that i had just inadvertently applied to this little addiction the same damaging expectations i have been guilty of imposing on writing, relationships, and all other manner of sacred activity in the past.
which is, in short, Rubbish.
tonight's meanderings are for those of you tenacious creatures still reading; friends, compadres, near strangers, and the occasional pervert. the management thanks you for your forbearance, and we now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

19 March 2005

18 March 2005

ok, it's not that this blog is some staggering work of genius...

but somehow it's strangely gratifying. this little guy's dad just started a blog for him, and he's only a week old. it's like the modern day time-capsule or something.
it will probably end up to be no end of repetitive baby pictures, records of drool, worrisome diaper contents, and non-stop pablum reports, but ... who knows? who knows what time will contribute to the mix.
strange and captivating era we live in, non?


i decided the other day that i was going to start keeping a record of time. literally. a list of how long it takes for me to do things.
this could be common practise for the larger part of the civilized world, but alas, not so for me.
i'm such a parsimonious wench when it comes to dealing with money, but not so with time, it seems. It's not a consideration when i'm doing a project i care about. or even ones i don't, sometimes. i start something, and i go go go go go, and it's a bit Nuts, really.
anyhow, rarely can i give myself an accurate sense of just how many hours i wiled away on any one thing, until nights like this, at work After spending nine hours straight on ONE project with nary a cup of tea in the interim.
it can't be healthy. one loses perspective with this way of working.
as with life, now that i think about it.
anyhow, the interesting thing about breaking time down is actually having a numeric value to that ethereal notion that there is always more time, or that there is never enough.
both are true.
to think before one spends it.
time that is.
there's the rub.

love and money (and bartending, i guess)

i'm in a business program. there is no denying that. but what Amazes me is how deprecatory publishing sorts can be about the very creators of material they are seeking to reproduce and disseminate. all year long, little scathing remarks about how self-centred authors are, how Mad. and very few observations about how these traits are quite possibly the very survival mechanisms that actually keep writers going, when business types are so willing to walk if the numbers are wrong.

the statistic is somewhere around 3% of authors that actually make a living at this trade.
there's a number for you.
that's a whole lot of bartenders.
or a Whole lot of people working Really Really hard for the Love of their work.

ah, once again, love or money. is that really the choice?
to make money you make compromises, so too with love. are they really any different?
of Course they are.
a friend pointed out to me a few weeks ago that money and love are not related, and i was pretty horrified to realize i had trouble comprehending the statement. something, probably, to do with how closely money, or lack thereof, was associated with care when i was a kid.
no wonder it's a hard choice to make.
humans are animals above all else. we learn the terms of survival, and that comes first. the Biggest challenge i suppose, is to actually Define survival.

12 March 2005


this rather delayed posting is a heads up to Timothy Comeau's website www.goodreads.ca. It fortuitously came to my attention as a result of the Suicide Site debate below. he has selected bits from the debate going on at this site to add to an already comprehensive collection of interesting articles and pontifications of his own. check it out.

08 March 2005

ridiculous behaviour.

14 km on my bicycle today. in this INSANE cold. part of me feels smug, a much bigger part of me is beginning to understand that i am truly Off My Tree.
so when i left the house this evening i decided to walk.

saw Finding Neverland. Wept shamelessly.
this too a sign of lunacy.
Real artists don't weep at johnny depp movies.

earlier today: a disconcerting meeting with the administrator of my program re: this fast looming internship of mine.
her advice re: portfolios and whatnot?
"when you go in for your meeting, you have to show them work that has less of your personality in it. (pause) of course your personality is going to be important, but you need to show them that you can shift out of it."

sigh. why do i find this notion gravely disturbing?

bits on books.

i'm going to at last take a moment to try to extract myself from the attentions i'm giving to the suicide site debate (see a couple of postings down) and get on with it.
but before i do, a tip of the hat to them; for any/all of you torontonians who may be reading, check out "suicide site guide to the city" at buddies, it's a thought provoking piece.
and weigh in, by all means, on the discussion below.
had a guest speaker from kids publishing in this marketing class of mine today. kids' publishing seems to be the hidden rock beneath which all individuals with strong opinions go to work.
that sounds deprecatory; i mean the Opposite though. he was Fantastic.
one of the few speakers with spine we've had in the past semester.

a few notes of significance:
(on why book banning is so much more incendiary than other kinds of censorship; we are terrified of the word because the word is so PRIVATE. "i read this book separate from you and you and you..." and there is no telling where that word goes when it is absorbed in private, what influence it may have, as opposed to the influence of media messages disseminated in darkened rooms with a fellow audience, or at public rallies with coercive leanings.

fact: the toronto public library system is the largest library board in the world, second only to hong kong. that's the statistic. but only 18% of these libraries are manned by a full time librarian.

and from yesterday: "in the western world we've never trained consumers to understand the VALUE of what they are purchasing." what it COSTS to make it in the first place. in a realistic situation. magazines, for example, are sold at next to nothing (subscription rates anyhow), and they are sold as something disposable, some fleeting temporal entertainment. this says something to the consumer, it makes a tactful statement about how much all the work that goes into them is worth.

06 March 2005


for the record. Just in Case.
still enamoured with embryos and all that oddity, but from a purely incidental standpoint.
good point, jp.

03 March 2005

six embryonic stages.

as promised from wednesday, "sketches to follow" from one of my pilgrimages to what i affectionately call "the dead peoples' museum".
look at this stuff. this is a HUMAN BEING.
jesus. this is how it Begins. talk about putting your ego in check.


after sitting 90% finished for over a month...see saturday 15 january for the original sketch.
gods i love reading week.


see february 12th for the original sketch.

...i don't know, you know, it seems like something always gets lost from drawing to painting. sigh.

02 March 2005

ex-lefties and suicide site guide to the city.

i don't quite get this blogging thing. i mean, there's no index, no table of contents, no page numbers....so the other night, in a fit of distraction and lethargy to the tasks at hand, i Finally clicked on this"next blog" phenomenon in the upper right, to at last discover its purpose: the portal to a vast and random gagillion of other forrays into online-journaldom.

found a bunch that verified my niggling doubts about the habit, "what i had for breakfast and the state of my underwear" type stuff (oops that must have been mine) and one posting that stuck in my mind.
i of course clicked onward without the necessary bookmarking, and now couldn't find it again if i tried.

it was by a person of left leaning politics gone rightist. the only thing i remember which grabbed me was his observation that for all the leftist-qvetching, we ignore the glory of free speech, social assistance, feminism etc that has come in part with the predominant structure of our western world.

i'm NOT saying i agree with this co-relation.
but i find it thought provoking.
we've been doing something right. to some extent. i don't know what it is, but i can't deny some of the developments of this part of the world that i profit from as a human, that keep me relatively safe.
i definitely Know that i can't be content with an "us vs. them" set of conclusions on the whole thing.

saw "suicide site guide to the city" tonight.
parts were great, parts were not. i'm definitely not convinced maintaining this elitist circle of artists and corraling them together against the "opposition" is the answer

the problem is this Creating of the opposition in the first place, instead of trying to understand them, how they work.

this one idea did stick with me; that all us artists might be under some group delusion, fed social capital since we don't seem to be worth any of the money from the ones that have an abundance of it.
we keep on chasing down the attention and waiting for our resultant riches, but in the end just get creatively milked dry.

the old "dance,monkey,dance" scenario.

watery luggage.

spent 4.5 hours in the anatomy labs today, examining embryos and such (sketches to follow) and as i was looking behind me, at a cupboard full of skulls, i thought how odd it must be to be the person scooping all the mush out of them to preserve them.

perhaps that's part of where evil comes from, this revelation that it's all really just mush.

at the end of the day we are all capable of being hollowed out and put on display.

just a fleshy suitcase for 99% water to wander around in.