news [archive 26]

17.12.2006: with so many people descending on copenhagen, showing their physical support for ungdomshuset, it was bound to get ugly at some point this weekend. and last night they took the scene to a new level of crazy shit. i wondered how long it'd take before the police started using teargas (note that from one of the videos it is quite clear that it was used before any rioting began).

it's evident that ungdomhuset went out knowing it wasn't going to be a peaceful demonstration. firstly it was an illegal demo (them claiming something along the lines of "a gathering of people should never be illegal" - they should be grateful they don't have the criminal justice act), and secondly they knew the police would intervene instantly since they were all covering their faces (another law i disagree with). so ungdomhuset was showing clear provocation, and were obviously ready for confrontation. but still, i'm confident that that had the police not tried to stop the protest then there would have been no violence. sure there would have been some extra graffiti on the walls of norrebro, but no smashed up shops or ATMs, no cars covered in paint, no bonfires in the street and no people (both police and protesters) in hospital. there'd also be one more person alive and one less dent in a police vehicle (me spreading rumours, this has not yet been officially confirmed).

so what am i saying? that the police shouldn't have interfered? i'm not sure. but either way it's irrelevant, because the situation should never have gotten this far.

i almost feel sorry for the police, because it shouldn't be their fight, it should have nothing to with them. but i say "almost", because i know what a bunch of assholes the danish police have shown themselves to be. time and time again. i find it hard to have sympathy for people who are "just doing their job", especially when they do it with such enthusiasm and vigor. it's a whole different belief system, one led by coercion and other such things i shouldn't talk about because i don't really know what i'm going on about. but if you're going to use force to push your ideals on others you should expect it in return - wasn't it newton who said "every force has an equal and opposite reaction"?

after the riot had calmed the police were still cruising the city and arresting people who looked "alternative", whether they were on their own or in small groups. our good friend (and brother-in-common-law) emil had a similar experience of police prejudice recently. it sounds more like the police are waging war on alternative culture. a quote from "I'm fighting for my right to be who i am. The Danish state have attacked all experimental or alternative cultural places, schools and theatres. This is about more than just a house. I'm fighting for my right to be different in Denmark!"

ungdomhuset has nothing to lose now, this is what happens when people are pushed against a wall. and it's not going to get better either, it's going to get worse. when i say i wish i was there, i'm not really sure if i know what i'm saying.

anyway, politken (who have been covering the struggle reasonably consistently) have an excellent foto galleri. there's several news clips on youtube that are easy to find, and some original footage that is not (1 2 3). it's also good to see ungdomshuset finally making the bbc news, even if their article is an absolute piece of shit. it's a shame that these places only have their story told when they descend into violence. where are the stories about ungdomshuset being a thriving cultural centre, successfully run autonosmously for over twenty years? or is that not what people want to here about?

anyway. packing.

16.12.2006: i just got back from nathan phillips square where i finally caught some of the cavalcade of light, so i'm going to pour myself a bourbon (over ice) and tell you about it. a bourbon, or two.

so my perfect timing had blessed me with only having to listen to the final song of the band, some act beginning with an S and wielding zero passion. i enjoyed the crowd, the inane conversation, and the joy that ice skating emanates. but none of the above were the reason everyone was here, they were here for the fire. and so shortly after the band the display began. whoosh whoosh boom etc. it was less personal than the firework display we caught in copenhagen, so ultimately less impressive, but far more bombastic. waterfalls of sparks cascading over the edges of city hall, embers falling to their pale doom between the two curved buildings, barrages of rockets filling the sky with light and smoke. it's pretty, but the real end of the world will be three times as beautiful. just you wait.

still, fireworks are not something to be witnessed alone. i may have neglected to mention julie's left me. no wait, that sounds terrible. what i meant to say was that she's left toronto, as i will too on monday night (not as planned, but you didn't know the plan anyway). and after a set number of days more than twenty but less than thirty we'll be back together again. so yeah, not what it sounded like at all. slip ups like that start wars, cause all kind of trouble.

but i was mentioning being alone, not just because of the fireworks, but because i'd been to the paramount to watch darren aronofsky's 'the fountain', and why do i always see films that shouldn't be seen alone when i'm alone? actually, perhaps it was fitting, after all, roberta sparrow will have us believe that we all die alone. the quote goes further back than her, but we watched donnie darko the other night and these things all fit together very nicely. but as for the fountain, i'm very unsure as to what i can say about it yet. i came when xibalba died. that's about all.

in parallel with the film, i'm also mixing up my narratives. after the fireworks, and a difficult ten minutes spent acquiring a hot chocolate, i had the pleasure of watching the light projection show on the side of the old city hall. it's one of those site specific art installation things, it takes the image of the building and then messes around with it ontop of the building. if that makes sense. like a graffiti artist's wet dream. by the end it was somewhat like being on mushrooms. and i'm glad i wasn't, because it would have freaked me the fuck right out.

and about me changing my flight plans. i sat in the airport for two hours before finding out i actually had to wait five. so i went home, falling asleep on the subway, and called them on the phone instead. it's all simple enough, unless i turn up at the airport and they can't fit me on the plane. sigh.

this is to mention nothing of my aching tongue, burnt by a rushed latte and rubbed raw against the sharpness of my newly chipped tooth. it's the tooth that bothers me the most. in some ways it's terrifying. my body is falling to pieces. crumbling. i've lost a piece of myself and it's never growing back. i will never be whole again.

um, anyway. i don't know why i wasted my time at university making heads out of lego when i could have been making a robot that solves rubiks cubes.

15.12.2006: walking down yonge street, staring at a pitbull's pink puckered asshole. it was over a minute before i realised what i was doing. perhaps i'd subconciously realised that it was as beautiful as my surroundings got.

and this is also a true story. it happened yesterday while two girls walked past a guy who was wearing your standard issue che guevara tshirt. now, the problem with iconic imagery, or rather the problem with our image obsessed society, is that when an image is mass reproduced it becomes nothing but an image. it's all we care about as its meaning dilutes, floats off into the ether and leaves nothing behind but another logo. we flock to aesthetic pop images like flies to shit, and it makes them worth as much. but back to the two girls, because one of them just asked the other "what was that guys name again?". it's a reasonable question, she was concerned more with pronunciation than anything else. but then the second girl replied "it's william shatner, i have the same tshirt".

oh, and they're not really 'girls'. they're masters students. my bad.

14.12.2006: i never have been very good at christmas shopping. mostly because i hate it. the 'christmas spirit' has turned the highstreet into another level of hell. as if i didn't have enough disdain for it already. and then there's the christmas music. fuck. it's just further evidence that these people aren't even people anymore. they're cattle. no human could endure that shit without going insane. shop floor workers get my upmost pity.

my other problem with christmas shopping is no matter how hard i try i always end up buying more for myself than everyone else put together. it's either because i have better taste than those i'm buying presents for, or i'm as much a consumer whore as those i point the finger at. so to make sure, this here christmas is the last christmas i'm taking part in. and a disclaimer is necessary, because christmas dinner is not part of christmas. right? got it? okay, good.

we stopped opening our christmas calendar on the 7th. we just couldn't take the bad chocolate anymore.

but anyway, my point was that i never meant to buy a guitar, it just kinda happened:

and of course the first thing i do with it when i get it home is take photos of it.

good luck to the ungdomshuset today. the police have moved back the date for the eviction but the protests are going ahead as planned. there are three today that converge on the city. groups from all over europe have travelled to the city to show their support so it should be awesome. either that or absolutely horrible, you can imagine how hardcore these guys are. i heard that most of the people who have been charged by the police during previous mass arrests have all been foreigners. also, the other day faderhuset turned down a second offer from a fund offering to buy back the house and return it to the kids, it was for about 1.5million (3 million dollars). i rarely wish ill upon people i don't even know, but if this whole facade ends badly for ungdomhuset i hope their organisation is utterly destroyed in the aftermath. how they concieve of being able to function in that house (or on that land) is beyond me. unless they have riot police guarding the house 24/7 it's going to be desecrated the moment they try anything. and what contractor would agree to work there when they know full well their equipment will be sabotaged the moment they turn their back?

if only you could see their faces when they realise there is no heaven..

13.12.2006: remember many weeks ago i was exciting because the guy upstairs was finally going to be evicted? his apartment spread out across the street for all to see. and steal. well it was never going to be as dramatic as i'd hoped, but i never expected this. first the sheriff came along and put notices on his door, then someone came in to decorate and the furniture was all placed out onto the veranda (yes, the one which leaks into our apartment). i was secretly, or not so secretly, hoping that it'd all be pillaged and gone by morning. that would teach them, i thought. what actually happened was they decided to smash all of the furniture, tables and wardrobes and chairs and beds and toilet and all, and throw it onto the grass infront of our apartment. they decided to waste a whole apartments worth of furniture because they couldn't be bothered to deal with it properly. they couldn't even be bothered to give it away. so yes, it was me who wrote "thanks for destroying perfectly good furniture xxx" on their door. they should count their lucky stars it wasn't written in blood.

and can you bitches stop trying to run me the fuck over. seriously, you drivers are a fucking disgrace. your aggresive and impatient driving deserves nothing but immediate and violent defensive action. mass destruction of automobiles and reclaimation of all roads. that or city hall makes it illegal to turn right on a red light. failing that i'd be satisfied at a law that allows you to brick a cars window if it attempts to cut infront or through crossing pedestrians.

photos from sunday's march:

i never mentioned that julie's dad visited, nor that we had guests over for dinner last night. both were very pleasant but not exactly fantastic writing material. whatever that is. we've got through far too many beers, but this is okay because we just realised you do get a deposit back on bottles. to think we put them in the recycling bin, no wonder the homeless go through our garbage.

and why would you put icing sugar in peanut butter?

11.12.2006: julie set the alarm clock for five past six. ridiculous, and i was having nothing of it. so she set it back to six, like what makes sense. if anything let's make it five something, throw caution to the dogs. or was it the wind? either way, as soon as the radio comes on julie silences it and i jump the bed (not like jumping sharks of sofas). i'd stolen her trick, two mornings in a row and this is easy game. i've always loved being in the morning, but also loved lazing in bed. the combination of the two is simply irresistible. but not this morning.

it's not even seven and we're standing in the middle of sherbourne road trying to hail a taxi. the subway doesn't run this early, nothing should. but we're soon on our way to lawrence subway to rendevouz with people from CUPE (the canadian union for puplic employees). did you even know it was international human rights day? i didn't, and i was on a coach up to ottawa to protest for female equality. i'm cool like that. but really it's just to impress chicks. you wouldn't believe how many chicks attend womens rallies. but then i guess you would.

ottawa is four hours away, which is plenty of time to be given (almost force fed) bagels, donuts, chocolate croissants, trailer mix, apples, oranges, etc, the list goes on. also plenty of time to read, but unfortunately i only realised when i started reading what a bad choice my book was. "because bukowski hates women". in the first story i read someone tries to rape a woman. the thid is titled "rape rape". but now you hate him and you'll never read his prose. it's your loss.

ottawa, being the capital of canada, is also where all the shit goes down. parliment hill and all that. stephen harper and his inferiority complex at being a minority government, gone wild. all that. does anyone at all like this asshole? maybe it's the crowds i hang around in, but he's not a popular fellow. not content with taking part injust wars and destroying the environment, he's now trying to piss on 51% of the population. he also eats babies (fascinating fact, i met someone who lives with the actual guy who hacked the go transit ad system to say such terrible and hilarious things). so yes, we were protesting again. for what it's worth.

we also got to see quebec, visible across the river from the top of parliment hill. i'm slowly broadening my horizons. so to speak. or something.

did you know i was born nine months after john lennon's death? do you realise what this might mean?

09.12.2006: since i haven't been writing does this mean i've been busy or i've been busy doing nothing?

you must decide. here is the evidence:

the night before last was all clanging from the hot water pipes and our electric heater, which, despite whatever heath apparently did to it and the window being closed, kept switching itself on all throughout the night. after no sleep and in a rage i ripped the cover from the thermostat and firmly wedged a bottletop in the mechanism. let the water pipes freeze, fuck 'em.

two days i read the corporation. that's all it took. and i now feel more like an informed member of globalised society. i understand how it's both illegal and immoral for a CEO to do anything but all in his power to increase profits, and nothing else. milton friedman is an interesting but cold fellow.

then going christmas shopping and me finding a copy of hakim bey's 'temporary autonomous zone, ontological anarchy, poetic terrorism' hidden between two much larger books in pages bookstore. it unlocked a something deep within my mind. the sentence "mort les vache"? i instantly remembered the last (also the first) time i'd seen it and how (like much at the time, included GEB) it must have influenced me on a scary subconcious level, despite me having no clue as to what it actually was. i had to buy it, it had called me. and it felt exactly like the invisibles. now the name 'hakim bey' is haunting me and i'm certain it's been in my head recently, but from where?

also i nearly bought a guitar for $40 from honest ed's. it probably wasn't even made from real wood and it was painted with nasty matt black paint, including the fret board. it was vile but i miss having a guitar so much. i should have bought it though. as it's now started me off on a vast mental journey. i'm currently standing at a crossroads, agonising over whether to buy an electric ($119) or an acoustic ($145) guitar. it's amazing how a throwaway $40 inflates over night. isn't it christmas soon?

you could watch the ungdomhuset trailer, a well put together short trailer for their 'final battle'. whenever that now may be. i really wish we could all be there. it's a shame the comments are so aggresive and ignorant (the 'classical' mix), and if that's what democracy looks like, the sooner we burn the whole fucking mess the better.

and we found a squirrel in the middle of the road. completely untouched. if it wasn't for its dark staring eyes and the small perfect circle of primary red blood pooling from its mouth, you'd think it was sleeping. what i should have done was carry it to the side of the road, but something stopped me. weird, because haven't you always wanted to pull a squirrel's tail? and where was my camera anyway?

then watching the sun turn the sky to chaos. a sunset to herald in the end of the world. toronto on fire. insert your own wanky sentence here.

scott pilgrim is cool. especially his smashing pumpkins / scott pilgrim tshirt.

and finally:

it's about time i completed it. laurence exp+1

05.12.2006: i was going to write about the snow. how this morning it had finally began to settle. how i couldn't help but smile as i walked down the street, a thin layer of white covering everything that used to be brown or green. something to hide the cars so we can pretend they're not even there anymore. and the brightness, like a summer's day, barely a cloud in the sky. the unconditional joy that rises from something as abstract and irrelevant as this moment.

not even the guy on the corner who shouted "hey" at me as passed, seemingly for no reason and loud enough to make me jump, could disarm me and my smile. fuck to what he wanted, i had him down as a weirdo, but perhaps he was being deadly serious, his eyes certainly looked ready to pop. and what i thought was a friendly smile was probably a sneer across my face. round here, maybe i'm lucky to be alive.

but telling this all now would feel more like lying. twelve hours gone it's just a bunch of words i half remember. nothing to write home about. just some other crap i made up. who knows?

well, apparently the camera never lies:

although we all know that to be untrue as well.

04.12.2006: what to say about the body we found lying under the bridge, stretched out and rather grey amongst the dead woody debris? -which is something i learnt from julie's course, 'dead woody debris' and how important it is to forests. but about the body there's been nothing on the news. it wasn't the woman who threw herself and her three year old over the bridge (a different bridge), and nor was it the guy who was shot in the entertainment district. if it was a suicide are they even reported in the news?

to be fair my first sentence is a little misleading. we did 'find' it, but we weren't the first. there was a police car on the scene already. we were just looking over the bridge at the trees when we noticed why the police car was there. a dark lump of tracksuit, clearly not a tyre. it's not my first corpse, but i was surprisngly unphased by it. i didn't even feel the need to make bad jokes, it was just 'okay'. maybe my watery eyes were protecting me from the grimness, or maybe i've been numbed by all the CSI julie watched in copenhagen. who knows.

four days ago was the seven year anniversary of the WTO protests in seattle (or at least the start of them). and last night we watched 'breaking the spell' (purely coincidentally), a documentary of the protests and the anarchist activity surrounding them (distributed by crimethinc). as well as documenting many aspects of the protests, it deals a lot with the issues of private property and "violence" (a term i think should be kept strictly in relation to aggresive and destructive action against life, nevermind). i was very happy it didn't completely over glorify everything, as i'm sure the rather redundant battle in seattle movie will (currently filming in vancouver). considering there's already so much actual footage of the events why would you want to restage it? or put charlize theron in it? (apart from if you were her girlfriend, i suppose). don't get me wrong, if it was filming in toronto i would've signed up as an extra and be down there right now taking photos, but still. a bit weird.

also, crimethinc have just released a seventh anniversary 'memoir and analysis' that you can download (for free, obviously) from their site. i haven't read it myself yet but it does look rather tasty.

"let our crowds be fed on tear gas and plate glass, because the people united is a wonderful thing"

02.12.2006: the light snow is just hanging in the air. like the snowflakes don't want to touch the ground. but who would? still, it's a promise of what's coming (snow, not death. i haven't been completely overcome by my pretentious urges yet). and not rain either, although as the snow melts i'm sure it will equally seep and drip its way into our storage room. no matter what our landlord seems to think, a few buckets and a blanket will not help. i know all about melting ice, as i'll explain in a minute. but for now i'm still happy with the tiny white dots floating past the window, a relatively minute constellation, and the tiny clump on the tip of my finger - the first snowman of the season.

i waited outside the library, besides the chess boards already set up for play, hoping someone else would also feel like playing a random game. y'know, taking life by the blah blah blah. go wild, take a risk, play me some chess. but no.

yesterday was busy and also the main body of this post. the days activities began at 1pm in the medical science building on campus where they were screening 'an inconvenient truth' (also known as 'the al gore movie' by those in the know) before a panel discussion on "predicting looming threats to humankind from climate change and energy shortage". this was organised by science for peace and peace magazine, and since it was a free event i should really mention them. i'll put myself out and say the movie was good, even that you should see it (i'd rather you read george monbiot's new book, but that'd take you longer than 90 minutes i'm sure). it's basically the talk al gore has been doing for the last few years turned into a film. hopefully now he wont have to fly all around the world (as shown far too often in the film, without any kind of self conscience or awareness of the irony) to warn of our environmental doom. the lecture parts work really well (at least as a lecture) but the touchy feely parts left a lot to be desired. infact, after returning to the theatre from a break kindly granted us by the wailing fire alarm i made sure i found a seat far away from the sighing old guy, clearly turned miserable in his old age, who couldn't help voicing his complaints ("oh no", "uuuuurh", "oh please") at al gore's personal interest family stories. he is a politician, you should take this crap as granted. but anyway, the film is by no means revolutionary, but while those graphs are still making audiences gasp it's definately an important film. all the things that make people realise how bad our situation is are important. it's just a shame it's only the big ones - the ones that scream the beginning of the end, the signals of the apocalypse, the freak hurricanes, floods and droughts - that really wake people up.

the panel discussion was brilliant, all of its two and a half hours. there was the pessimist (my personal favourite) who said we're completely running out of fuel, there are no tech fixes and we are completely fucked. then there was the other pessimist, who at least had several solutions (all interrupted by the first guy who explained why they wouldn't work). there was also an optimist, although he pointed out that it's already too late for millions of species of animals. he said the coral reefs have zero chance of survival, even if we immediately do everything in our power to turn climate change around. and these aren't crazy people who stand on street corners shouting words of coming armegeddon, these are top scientists and professors, people who put specialised satellites into orbit to measure the increase and decrease of water across the whole globe. it'll come as no surprise that the major areas of water loss are greenland and the north pole (this is now scientific fact and no longer speculation).

after this we checked out the art exhibition at hart house, a series of paintings done by women with HIV in tanzania. whatever i write wont really do any justice to these rather amazing pieces of art, so i wont.

then another panel discussion ("what solutions are most promising?") focusing mostly on new renewable energy technologies, at least it was when i was paying attention, which began to wane when a graph was bought out showing how we can reduce fossil fuel usuage by a third (maybe more, but no more than 50%) by 2050. it's clearly not enough. but people's questions and comments were excellent throughout the whole day, and one teacher had bought his school class along, it's all hopeful. and after all the talk of improving efficiency in cars (etc) a women pointed how stupid this was - just stop using the fucking things.

and if this wasn't enough for one day, we then went to the cinema to indulge a weird part of our psyche with james bond. i don't really want to say anything about james bond do i? probably not. i especially liked the fractal clovers in the intro, but then you knew that already.

what we missed was naomi klein. nevermind.

at the shop people were buying large amounts of toilet roll and bottle water. ominous. they clearly know something i don't.

30.11.2006: we'd been taking part in some kind of marketing survey. mystery shopping and other things you know better than to go along with. and i had no idea what it was we were doing, not until i was in it deep and way over my head.

taken to a swimming pool that looked eerily like the one back in my home town, i had to dive into the water and collect something. i didn't know what exactly, but i do remember there being a plastic rat in the water, along with a full size plastic bear. the bear was definately yellow, but as the rat floated past my face i couldn't quite tell if it was black or blue.

either way my job was done and i swam towards the surface. only, when i reached it it wasn't the surface at all. it was one of those weird tricks of the light. and then that daunting feeling that swamps you when you start to worry you've pushed your lungs that little bit too far. all you want is to break the surface and taste the air and you panic because the last meter isn't passing quick enough. that's when i realised how disorientated i was, instead of swimming up i'd swam down. three meters down. i grasped for the tiles at the bottom of the pool but couldn't reach them, couldn't reach anything to push myself upwards off. my energy was spent and my lungs were emptied. i couldn't move, couldn't even float. i'd become one of the lifeless plastic animals that littered the pool.

as long as i can remember i've had dreams that end in a watery death. they're normally far more dramatic, an apocalyptic tsunami or a tidal waves of sludge, but after none of them before have i ever woken up gasping for air. and it's that what really scared me, how my body could betray me like that, how my mind could tell my body to stop breathing and it would happily go along.

for the rest of the night i had a song in my head driving me crazy, i just couldn't put my finger on what it was. you know when you have a strange sound or half a melody in your head which wont extrapolate itself out? just like that. i finally worked out what it was this evening. it's the end song to a short film about a girl with nothing inside her but a cold hard breeze. this is selma blair, and at one point she has four guys enter inside her via her vagina and only three make it back. yeah, it's pretty weird. i blame mcsweeney's.

anyway, since i was talking about water:

standing infront of niagra falls is one of those moments you wished you had a bigger lens.

27.11.2006: it's 8 o'clock and outside it's warm and quiet. it'd unnerve me if it wasn't so comforting. and what was that we heard coming out of the darkness of 5am this morning? was it the lesbians upstairs having sex, or was it a stab victim dying in the gutter infront of our house? my thoughts were on the latter (as this isn't me being perverse), and there's nothing above our bedroom but a kitchen.

one of our friends saw a guy get shot yesteday. broad daylight. brilliant.

and me and emil have been playing this game. it's disgustingly difficult and same of the answers are really lame, so i don't know why i'm even mentioning it. i guess i enjoyed the collaborative experience, or some crap like that anyway.

north american milk may make for bad chocolate but it makes for awesome paneer. you don't save any money making it yourself, since milk so so damn expensive here, but you don't have the choice - the only place you can buy paneer downtown is in the spice house in kensington. but anyway, my paneer went down well in the curry we cooked for our dinner guests yesterday, and in exchange for the great meal they game us a rosemary tree, which is just perfect. it's a little christmassy, it partly masks the strange smell, and i can eat it. thank you for the beer and wine as well.

we are the strange trailer, sickness.

26.11.2006: there's no hiding that dundas square is the most over-commercialised space in downtown toronto. it's where the tip of the eaton centre, the largest multi-level super-mall i've ever seen, meets the busy streets of yonge and dundas. already decked out for christmas, since when halloween was a fresh memory even, it's a brutal reminder that all what matters around here is money. it's where sears and bestbuy dominate, and where billboards larger than your house stretch up and burn holes in the sky. it's the brightest corner of the city, and even on the clearest of nights you'd never see the stars. not the real ones. three over-sized screens showing constant adverts make sure of it.

so what better place to celebrate buy nothing day, an international holiday against consumer culture and the ever worsening unsustainability of our lifestyles. a day to take a break from capitalism and see what an alternative could look like. to this end, and primarily organised by globalaware, we set up a barter market on the pavement infront of sears and h&m (you may have noticed i've become less sensitive about case on acronyms, but h&m deserve capitalisation less than god does). people came along, armed with anti-dollar badges, to trade unwanted goods for others - old clothes, mix cds, books, random crap, it's all good. the local food not bombs even made an appearance, although to our dismay they don't dumpster dive their food (as claimed by now magazine).

some people thought what we were doing was cool, some didn't. some just gasped at the statistics scrawled across a piece of cardboard attached to a street sign - "we consure 80% of the world's resources but make up only 20% of the population". some just couldn't grasp the concept of being anti-consumerist. and some didn't want to, apparently being rich is fantastic and science will save us from out terrible future. this is what they told us. the security guards in particular had no patience, they didn't even want to argue, they just wanted everyone to move away from sears. although they didn't seem to mind the anti-captialist graffiti chalked across the entrance. overall it was great fun and most people were super friendly.

and to slowly churn out the photos from when ben and mim visted, here's a set of photos of us (but mainly ben) playing jenga:

and why not?

24.11.2006: did i really hear this morning, in my half awake state, that they want to fire sulphur high up into the atmosphere to slow down global warming? apparently i did. didn't they do that in the fucking matrix? oh nevermind.

after doing a terrible graffiti job on my site, do i need to remind you that saturday (tomorrow/today/yesterday) is buy nothing day. apart from aimee, who is to buy cheese and berries, none of you are excused from buying stuff. i don't care how busy you are and how convenient saturday is to do your shopping, you're simply not allowed. and you're getting off lightly too, if i had it my way we'd have none of this pathetic buy nothing day nonesense. it'd be a buy nothing week.

and if you think i'm being a hypocrit, the ads on my site will also be 'spray painted' over. see, i'm so hardcore it hurts. that, or a self-important trendy counter-culture wannabe with no original ideas of his own and no higher purpose what-so-ever. but now i'm just being mean as well as stupid.

important note: cheap peanut butter is not the best means of making spicy pumpkin and peanut soup

22.11.2006: it's a piercing blue sky day. one where you forget it's winter in favour of spring. where the cocktail of smells leaking out from kensington market aren't surpressed by the dampness. the air's crisp and the sun warming and it's the perfect day to have a nose. ben and mim should have stayed an extra few days, for this it would have been worth it.

no more cakes though. except for the free ones from the forestry building.

in town an armada of car drives around, signs stuck to their windows reading "shelter and food is a right", and peeping their horns like we're not annoyed by the traffic enough already. it's a shame "clean air" isn't also on their list. apparently in toronto this is the way to reclaim the streets. or perhaps they've truely given up. or perhaps they're so tied to their cars they can't even leave them to go on a protest. their cause may be righteous but their method certainly isn't.

and yesterday i found a robot on the street. he'd fallen onto a pile of rubbish bags and couldn't get up, was rather sad looking amongst the trash, like he really needed a friend. and yes it was definately a 'he'. his hard plexi-glass outer shell hid no secrets. where his heart should have been was all circuit board and wires. the plastic skin on his arms encased industrial looking hydraulics, going all the way down to his fingers. his legs however were nothing more than hinged metal rods. no wonder his escape hadn't taken him far. his eyes pointed towards the sky, unable to shedd a tear, his mouth rusted into a child-scaring grin. he looked a long way from happy. i would have wheeled him home but where would i have put him?

then there was a fight in the library. it didn't come to fists (at least not whilst i was there) but the insults were violent enough. an oldish foreign woman was refusing to give up a computer that someone else had reserved. she was way over her fifteen minute time limit. apparently one of her younger relatives had died and she was searching the internet for the last photo of her, while this agitated guy called her a fucking cunt and worse. it sounds bad, but she was attracting less sympathy than he was. she then told him "i wished you'd died instead of her". well duh. the library staff were useless, but then why should they have to deal with shit like that? i wanted to see how it ended, because it couldn't have been good, but then ii also didn't want to be one of those mouth gaping spectators.

oh, and while i'm talking about robots. this article about a healing robot is worth a read. not because it goes on about tacky stuff like robots self-healing (although it couldn't resist mentioning the terminator, and the dream stuff is pap) but because it talks about robots having internal models. that's fascinating. i'd love to read their actual paper, if anyone knows where it can be found? (why can't news articles reference properly?)

21.11.2006: you can tell when i'm busy because my website is left unattended. neglected, it'll roam the internet and get into all kinds of trouble. and if you want someone to blame you may as well blame ben and mim, who came to visit on thursday and left late last night. that's four and half days of fulltime minding, not to mention touring, eating and bird watching.

the duo arrived about an hour late at the airport, but this was okay because it gave me time to make the "ben & mim" sign to hold up in the waiting area, like i always wanted to do. i thought it might make them feel important, and it was more personal (and catchy) than the "don't forget to offset your carbon emissions" which i wanted to do. plus i didn't fancy being escorted from the airport. we made it back to our apartment just in time to meet laura and we headed downtown to buy a duvet. did you know a duvet costs less than a duvet cover? it's a crazy world and the line of people queueing to buy playstations at midnight really aren't helping. nor the crazy preachers who seem to congregate around dundas square, even in the rain.

following the useful now magazine's "best of toronto" we ate at an indian just down the road, and although it's only my third in the city i can see why it won the title of toronto's best indian restaurant. we ordered five dishes and shared them out equally between us, how all good meals should be partaken, and they were all magnificent. they were even super friendly when we accidentally underpaid, whoops. the rest of the night was spent losing at trivial pursuit, unless you're female, in which case you were winning.

as well as the indian, during their stay we also ate at the future cafe (getting sick on cake, almost literally), wanda's pie in the sky for more cake, maggies for uber breakfast, the spicy food place beneath the bloor cinema, a sushi place on yonge, a dunkin donuts (where we had six donuts), a tim horten's (where we also had six donuts), an english pub just off bloor for nachos, a hotdog stall, a pizzapizza and the pizza place on spadina and harbord. if you think that's a lot, we actually cooked dinner at home two nights as well, one of which consisted of full-on bangers and mash, pumpkin pie and cheese and crackers (six blocks of cheese, gone). toronto is a great place to eat.

lucky for ben and mim, laura's spontananeous visit was a good practice run for showing off the city. we spent most of friday wandering around its different neighbourhoods - the expensive yorkville with it's huge wholefood store, mirvish village with the unbeatable honest ed's (except they don't currently stock quilt covers) and the beguiling comicshop, then kensington market with it's many cheese shops and general emanating coolness. further city exploration was done on their last day, when we rocked the cn tower (photos and such to come at a later date) before narrowly avoiding getting drunk in hooters and then shopping along queens west for music, books and wool. i hate to admit that second cup's ginger bread lattes are well nice. all i need to learn now is to be able to enjoy them whilst knowing where they came from.

one night's entertainment revolved around a 24 crate of cheap beers and the velvet underground, a half decent club just west of spadina (not east of sherborne). i got to dance like an asshole and ben got to dance in his boots. it felt like we left quite early, but for those guys it probably felt like 7am. another night became game night, featuring twister, jenga, myer and cards. there would have been further trivial pursuit, but with the beer running out and the clock ticking it wasn't going to happen.

on saturday we went bird watching in the tommy thompson park, the peninsula that stretches out into the lake and hugs the toronto islands. it's half conservation ground and half dumping ground, thanks to some of the nasty shit that's been left out there. tv's, vacuum cleaners, concrete and rusting steel. nice though, the lake finally looks like the ocean and the constant drone of the city recedes (only to be replaced by bird talk). it is amazing how ben has embraced (typo'd "embrassed", haha) his inner anorak. and his binoculars are the shit. we walked way too far, hence the donut binge, and then had to wait ages for the bus in the cold.

the sunday was our trip to niagra, probably the least nice place i've ever had the pleasure to visit. excluding the falls, which are awesome, it is one grim town. half of it has been bastardised by casinos and haunted houses, horrible flashing lights and bad memories of blackpool (actually my memories of blackpool are quite good). the other half, the area around the couch station, is largely compromised of boarded up hotels and dilapidated buildings. imagine the most miserable town and you'll be close. yeah, like a cross between milton keynes and coventry. in my mind niagra falls has always been surrounded by forest, how wrong i was. it's still worth the visit though, especially if you like water, gravity and enormity. feel the thunder, etc. there was lots of birds too, so ben was happy.

and that was pretty much it (to be honest i'm bored of typing). sounds fantastic right? well then maybe you should visit too!

15.11.2006: it felt like a school morning. deep under the covers in a freezing cold room, comfy but for the clock that's slowly approaching alarm time. desperately not wanting to wake up and begging myself not to fall asleep. because the moment i did the alarm would instantly ring, but as it stood i still had seven minutes.

i remember one time, it must have been when i was about 13, and it was winter because i was in the dining room getting dressed where it was the warmest, i fell asleep while putting my shirt on. that's what it was like getting ready for school. but it's so long ago now i can barely even grasp the concept of a school day. so why a school morning and not a work day? it probably has something to do with freedom, lack of responsibility, and nothing i'm going to extrapolate on. perhaps i'm regressing. perhaps not, ey?

today me and laura walked around the whole perimeter of downtown - down jarvis, along front, up spadina and across bloor. i figured what better way to see the city than looking in from every angle. we ate cheese pancakes and potato latkes in st.lawrence market, wandered along harbour front and watched the first half an hour of monsoon wedding on campus. we bought cheap and fantastic mugs at goodwills and then cooked roast root vegetables. i know all this because i'm lying about the date.

if you keep an eye on my flickr profile you've seen these photos already:

the first photo is our street, and i'm not happy with it. we were in a rush to get to the cinema and i didn't have time to do it properly. i went out the night after at the same time with my tripod but it was too cloudy. the second and third photos were taken down in the financial/business district, all those stupid highrise ugly things.

the blurred photo is the toronto path, that i've told you about before. then there's the corner or bloor and yonge, i've seen a hundred photos like this knocking around the internet. the last one is yonge street with as few cars on it as you'll ever see in the day.

that first photo, the one with the house and car, it pretty much sums up the car's relation to the whole city. it's ugly, in the way and totally throws off the composition. if it wasn't the point of the photo it'd completely ruin it. the final two photos were both taken on queens st.

14.11.2006: continuing along the theme, i don't know whose theme, but still. last night was the launch party for the worldchanging book ("a user guide for the 21st century") at the berkley church, clearly the coolest venue this side of town. also thumbs up to the locally produced organic beer.

the first speaker was edward burtynsky, the photographer featured in 'manufactured landscapes' and on the cover of george monbiot's new book (which he didn't mind autographing for me). his talk was a brief summary of the documentary, a little odd since we're in canada not china, but it can still be vaugely related.for instance, although china's rate of industrial developed is terrifying, their per capita carbon dioxide emissions are currently a tenth of canada's. we can barely point the finger. but then china's population is 40 times that of canada's, so the rise is potentially far more damaging.

ron dembo's talk seemed to center largely around offsetting, which was also kind of surprising as i thought we'd realised that it wasn't such a great idea. people need to change their lifestyle and attitudes, and not just think that they can carry on destroying our environment aslong as they pay for it. also, as george pointed out yesterday, reforestation takes decades and it's decades that we simply don't have. the atmosphere isn't going to wait the 50+ years while the trees we've just planted grow. so sure it'll reduce carbon, but 50+ years after we need it to. i can't believe this is the main initiative they're pushing. still, it's a very nice book and i'd love a copy, if only i could warrant the decadent purchase.

walking home, after a couple of pints of guiness with laura at the irish embassy (where we'd had to rotate our rectangular table to create a rather more socialable seating arrangement), i finally realised what my "world changing city" looked like (a question that had been asked by a small box accompanied by small sheets of plain paper). i was going to write "not toronto", but that kind of negative attitude never helped anyone. the longer i thought about it the more the question fell in on itself and became meaningless. in my "changed world" there are no cities. these ugly monstrosoties just shouldn't exist. and when the cars stop moving and suburbs finally die they'll hopefully take the cities with them. what chance has our dense commercial-urban environment have without them? it's as simple as conway's cellular automaton. the cities will crumble and burn and it will be beautiful.

and before i forget, our ungdomshuset solidarity demo made it into the danish press. well, because of it toronto was mentioned in this article. it's a good read, if only you could read it.

13.11.2006: tonight toronto had the pleasure of being graced with the awesome presence of george monbiot. he's had my respect ever since i read 'captive state', and my love ever since 'age of consent' (a "manifesto for a new world order"). he's one of the sharpest of activist/social/critical writers, perfectly balancing anger and rationale and he's much easier to read than chomsky. he's better looking too, because y'know, sometimes these things can be important.

lucky for us we arrived ten minutes early and managed to find a small amount of space to set up spare chairs, the sofas presumably having been taken hours ago. fortunately it turns out it's not just me who thinks he's the shit. it's a shame he didn't attend the climate chaos march the other weekend because he would have doubled the numbers. he did a talk, generally summing up his new book, and then an interview with linda mcquaig followed by audience questions. the usual, but better.

i've only read the first three chapters of his new book, heat, but they are exactly what the world needs - well thought out, realistic and shocking words. to give you an idea of what he's talking about, the kyoto protocol's target is a 5% decrease in greenhouses gases by 2010 (as compared with 1990 and representing about a 30% cut in 2010's emissions based on current predictions), but the first chapter of heat is dedicated to explaining why this needs to be more like 70% (by 2030). and that's a global average, america and canada's necessary reduction is more in the region of 90%. sounds ridiculous but the maths, science and arguments are all there. and i'm begging you in the sincerest of ways to read them.

also at hart house (but last friday) we saw a talk by omoyele sowore, a "nigerian democracy activist", on peace, justice and ending torture. it's not so often you get to hear about these things directly from the people who suffer from them. his story was one of political awakening and violent oppresion, and yet all told with a smile. unfortunately we had to leave early (um, the beer store closes at 9pm) so we didn't catch the end.

also i missed the take the tooker street party, which seemed immensely fun, but was also met a small amount of resistance (the details aren't to hand). it's great to finally hear of some decent action being taken in the city. the coolest thing they did was draw their own cycle paths in chalk along bloor street, and amazingly the cars did exactly what they were told (for once) and didn't drive on them. hats off to the tookers, fucking brilliant.

12.11.2006: we're always looking for sensible ways to spend away the weekend. but really, how interesting is sensible anyway? we should be joy riding or base jumping, or maybe we could go down the firing range or take a chainsaw course. along those lines, just pick one. how about chainsawing?`well, my teacher this weekend was called tyler. he's a professional logger and he has the scars to prove it. he's cool though, and manages to terrify me within ten minutes so i never ever want to go near a chainsaw. these things are fucking dangerous man. who knew?

so now i know how to inspect, maintain and 'safely' use a chainsaw. i'm certified and dangerous. we only got a small amount of practice, but it's enough to be able to defend myself if i'm ever 'in a pickle' and the only avaible weapon is a chainsaw. i also know what causes kickback (the secret terror of the chainsaw), which could work to my favour if i find myself in an awful horror film (probably a remake at that) and under attacked from a chainsaw weilding psycho. priceless info.

the night before was another forestry (but not exclusively forestry) house party. a proper one with grown-up nibbles and itunes and everything. one of those. it was even a photo exhibition. all very friendly and there was dancing, albeit the hard kitchen floor. now my soles hurt.

elsewhen we went to the cinema to get drowned in the same adverts over and over again. movie trivia time! coca-cola's fruitopia, a real fruit utopia which contains a gob smacking 5% fruit. pause tv not life. pause tv not life. pause tv not life. what's wrong with this picture? the film itself was entertaining, but not enough for me to warrant telling you what it actually was. afterwards we dragged the peeps back to ours for trivial pursuit. amanda's geography knowledge is impeccable.

i'm really getting into root vegetables. maybe it's just a seasonal thing.

oh, and it turns out laura is in town tomorrow. not to mention george monbiot. spontaneous action, go.

10.11.2006: photos from the anti-war march last month that i only just got around to looking at:

but don't expect any from the climate chaos march, there wasn't anything to take photos off.

anyway, my nan is brilliant. she listens to george galloway on the radio twice a week and thinks he's a right bugger. i can discuss with my nan the ethical problems of bringing children into a world which will end in their lifetime. and given half a chance i swear she'd like 65daysofstatic as much as me.

meanwhile, i tricked my parents into giving me a credit card, the use of which will provide me with an endless stream of free cash. just like in the movies. if anyone was wanting to visit me but can't afford it, just let me now.

i stopped posting links to stupid flash games a while ago (probably about the same time i stopped playing them), but i was bored last night i really liked this one. and not just because it's in french.

09.11.2006: my waking process is laboured and complex, it's ruled by a dichotomy i simply can't overcome. i want to experience the morning, in the most thrilling and heartbreaking ways, but i'm also never comfier than when between those lovely warm sheets. why throw yourself from bliss onto the cold tiles of the bathroom?

i only mention it because this morning, my internal struggle raging, the part of me wanting to getthefuckup vaguely winning, i pulled on the cord that opens the blinds to be greeted by a deep and consistant nothingness. last time i looked there was a highrise apartment block there, but now just greyness. needless to say it didn't contribute to me getting out of bed.

but down to business. during the last mexican election i started thinking about the voting process. nothing too serious, don't worry. but these thoughts arose again during the recent american midterms (which i still don't understand) and so i want to flesh them out. basically i want someone to tell me why what i'm thinking is a bad idea and why it wouldn't work.

the problem i see is in deciding whether to vote for the party you want or to vote against the party you don't want - to tactical vote or not. for instance, in england no one ever votes for the liberal democracts because "it's a wasted vote", thus creating a two party system where everyone is constantly voting for their lesser of two evils. or, in 2000 had the people who voted for nader voted for gore then bush wouldn't have "won" the election, right?

so, my thought was this. if when all the votes are counted there are two (or more) parties/candidates with significantly close numbers of votes (wishy washy conditional, but someone else can do the math) then the vote is retaken, but this time people can only vote for the tied parties. this encourages people to vote for parties they actually want, but with their vote still counting towards or against the final decision if necessary.

infact, i would have suggested having a primary and secondary selection when you vote, but that presumes you always know which parties will tie (easy in england and america, less easy in mexico perhaps?)

so what have i missed? i've missed something, i know it.

08.11.2006: for reasons that have escaped me, i've found myself with a small collection of photographs themed around absurd labels on food. food isn't the right word, but you get my meaning:

the big selling point of the coconut seems to be that it's naturally grown. as opposed to what, being grown in a vat? (and containing a source of milk?). then the bizarre statement "sugar is an all-natural way of making most everything we eat taste better". i'm sure i can remember from my science lessons at school that sugar makes things taste sweeter, not better. and from my english classes i remember that "making most everything" ain't so hot either. the manwich shit is just scary. and the trutaste milk that tastes like homo? that's just a puerile cheap shot and i apologise profusely.

kalle lasn on CNN talking about buy nothing day (november 25th), if you ever wondered what he looks and sounds like. he's doesn't come across as impressive as galloway did, but at least he's getting BND air time. it's a shame they couldn't have found him an interviewer with an ounce of intelligence though. if i had any faith in CNN i would have lost it the moment she said "oh come on, environmental problems?"

and does this count as me getting published? i mean, it's my name in print right? i said all along evomusart should have accepted my paper, now i'm getting referenced in other papers and books and all they can do is point links to my old site.

07.11.2006: it's a brilliant title. people who find the words 'manufactured' and 'landscapes' appealing really are the only people who'll enjoy this film. and as for everyone else well, unfortunately for them, i think they should see 'manufactured landscapes' anyway. welcome to chinese industrialisation. it's something you hear about all the time; the acrid and sprawling mass-production uber-factories, the cities like tumours, the ecosystem ravaging 'three gorges dam'. but it's not something that's comprehendable, it's too big to be percieved in a way that gives it justice, but that's what edward burtynsky (photographer) and jennifer baichwal (documentary filmmaker) have attempted.

the opening shot is a dolly along a factory floor, one that makes 20,000,000 irons a year. factory isn't a nice word for anything, apart for maybe 'sweatshop'. this is a steady shot that must last for at least five minutes, and passes row after row after row of workers. they cut, twist, test and assemble all day, everyday. this isn't new, but to see it is horrifying. and it doesn't get better, as the team journey from factory to dumping ground to shipwrecking yard to construction to destruction, photographing and documenting it all, it just gets worse.

i've always loved the visuals of stark industrialism, maybe that's why i enjoyed the film. but 'enjoyed' really is the wrong word. it's a mix of awe and terror (hey, what does that remind you of?!). so if i made you go and see this film, which is admitedly rather ambient, you'd just dislike me. but it really does convey so much more than burtynsky's photos do on their own.

if it helps, the guy who shouted "boring" after every trailer was silent throughout the whole film. although maybe he fell asleep. from behind, i just alternated pretending he was grant morrison and richard o'brian (when he was younger).

i was up late last night working on a new part of my site. i'd like to think you've already noticed it, it's just over to the left there with the cute animated logo. i was reading about autonomous radio and it inspired me. although what i've done here is a far cry from anything you'd call 'autonmous' or 'radio', and is drastically lame considering this year's boom in podcasts, and is more like the "currently listening to" of livejournal, i still quite like it. i've traded in innovation for actual quality. so on a vaguely weekly basis i'll be uploading a new mp3 that regular visitors should feel obliged to listen to on repeat until the very 0s and 1s are burnt permanently into their neurons (how this binary/chemical mapping will work, i don't know). recommened listening, soundtrack, whatever. and it wont always be this noisey. maybe.

and i feel obliged to say that i never have and never will agree with the death penalty, no matter what the crime. of course it didn't surprise me when i heard that's what they've sentence saddam with, what surprised me was the hanging part. what are they going to do, draw and quater him as well? actually that's a british speciality, but honestly. i almost feel sorry the guy.

05.11.2006: after the march yesterday, which was a joke, i really needed something invigorating. less like a bad shampoo advert and more like a 'pretty girls make graves' gig. the crowd was smaller than they deserve and they took to the stage at nine, so it was a strange gig. but better early than never, it sounded like they only just managed to make it across the american/canadia border. lets hear it for bands without borders.

anyway, they came on more prog-rock than i remembered and were totally awesome. all of my favourite songs were played, at least the ones i can remember, and my thanks to the girl who got them to play 'the get away'. i only wished once during the whole gig that they were sleater kinney instead. and it's funny because their bassist really reminds me of ben and the guitarist of corey. not from their photos, but how they play their instruments.

after the gig we went for drinks with amanda and sendric at the ferkin which we were previously turned away from for not having valid id. this time they didn't even ask. the night was spent discussing cool stuff and places, like new zealand and kerala. and we had multi-coloured nachos. before we left they played emf which made me happy. it was a good night for music.

and today is november 5th, one of the most aesthetically pleasing of the annual anarchist holidays. except technically it's not anarchist (despite alan moore's best attempts) and not even a holiday. but we all love guy fawkes and should spend a few moments to remember his brilliance, in the explosions and pyrotechnics that he himself was so cruelly denied.

04.11.2006: i keep being told that 2006 was the year the climate change debate finally made into the mainstream. you wouldn't think it though, given that today is the international day for demonstrations on climate change and i'm here in toronto surrounded by barely 200 people. the biggest city in canada and it can only muster up a measley 200? when i discuss my concerns with someone they reassure me by telling me last year there was only a hundred. brilliant. london plays host to 30000 whilst in north america you can't even hear the shouting over the cars.

one of the speakers tells us to be optimistic and cites the kyoto protocol as his main reason. i presume this is ignoring the fact that canada has dropped out of it and america wont even join. and also ignoring the fact the the kyoto protocol isn't enough by anyone's standards. i'm not sure where this optimism is coming from. because what i'm hearing these days, coming from the places that have been warning us about our environmental disaster for decades, is not that we're finally sorting out it. it's that if this isn't taken seriously right now, if people don't immediately start taking responsibility for our environment, and if governments don't act instantly and stronger then ever before, then it's already too late. and no matter how mainstream the debate is. clearly, debating is for assholes when it's action that's needed.

sit on this and it will fuck you. within your lifetime, don't doubt it.

sometimes i can't wait for the oil to run out.

03.11.2006: i trust you've been following the ever depressing story of ungdomshuset - i've been forcing you to as much as is in my power. and finally here is something you can actually do with hardly any effort at all, you can sign this petition. i'm starting to think a peaceful ending to the tale is less and less likely, but that's no reason to stop trying. and since you're not going to be down there on the frontline you can at least do this. please and thank you.

scarier in death than he ever was in life:

today i finally buried the poor sucker. i didn't want the neighbours complaining. there's only so many crying girls a street can handle before they take drastic action. "halloween's over asshole!"

and here is why joey comeau is one of my newest heroes. or maybe just famous-author-to-be i'm most excited about:

"I've been doing my part to save the trees. I've been making a map of my city, a map of every tree that ever meant anything to me. The tree closest to where I first kissed someone. I measured. The tree closest to where my brother had his foot crushed in a gate and I was terrified. The tree we buried my first dog under. The tree closest to where I first played Nintendo. All of the most important trees are on this map of my city. And I'm going to check in with them once a month. This is a different sort of environmentalism. These trees are my family, and god help the motherfucker who cuts one of them down. There will be no picketing, no petitions. There will be violence." - from untoward

you can even read his first book, lockpick pornography, for free if you wish. but it's nicer in the flesh. i recommend you check out his writing either way.

now all i need is to find a liqour store. cos tonight i wanna party..

02.11.2006: i didn't trek all the way out to the end of queens street west for nothing, i went to help the ontario coalition against poverty reclaim a squat. only they went ahead and did it yesterday night without telling me (or even updating their website), so there i was outside the parkdale activity recreation centre looking extremely stupid. luckily there was a thick smell of cooking chocolate in air, molten and gorgeous, so i didn't mind too much.

since i was in the neighbourhood i thought i may aswell check out the pope squat anyway. and i can safely say it's the best looking (ex/potential) squat i've ever seen (especially from the front). it's huge. the provincial government are clearly insane to have evicted people based on it being unsafe for habitation. or am i being naive? more like they're simply greedy and emptied the house so they could sell it, which they did. and despite it now being owned by a private landlord it still remains unused.

i guess they weren't very successful in occupying it.

anyway, it was a nice night so i decided to walk home. i had my camera for company (julie is currently at the cinema watching saw3) and i calculated it couldn't take more than two hours. it didn't, not quite. and this is what the squirrels had done to my pumpkin when i got back:

the other exciting news is that the arne nordforp (the danish consul) replied to our letter:

"Thank you for your letter regarding Ungdomshuset. We much appreciate being informed of your points of view and shall immediately forward a copy to the municipality of Copenhagen."

a copy of this letter was also sent to copenhagen and the royal danish embassy in ottawa. i think that's pretty cool. quick too. what else made me happy is that i've also been contacted by a journalist from politiken (a danish newspaper, one of the better ones) about our support for ungdomshuset. i got a bit excited about talking to a journalist and wrote back way too much, but nevermind. it's to be expected.

01.11.2006: the moon's so large in the sky it's making me feel sick. and this truck, it's careening down the road, horn blaring, veering across both sides of the road like it's completely out of control. a few of the pedestrians around me pause, not knowing either to play it cool or which direction to jump in. turns out it's okay though. turns out that's just what they do around here.

and right now i'm so angry with sleater kinney i could scream. how dare they split up after producing one of the best albums of all time? and without even giving me the chance to hear it live. aaaaaaaaargh. it's a crime against humanity. nuremberg, where are you now?

somewhere in bavaria, at a guess.


for dinner we're having pumpkin and butternut squash chips, roasted with pinenuts, slices of apple and rosemary and accompanied with a roasted whole garlic head. this is also an excuse to make our apartment right toastie warm.

31.10.2006: this time last year, i'm currently getting lost in a cemetery in budapest. just me, grilly, uncountable insects and well over a thousand graves, each one illuminated by it's own personal ensemble of candles. i'm hoping for spirits, lost souls and faithfully departed, but the scariest thing i discover is my own heartbeat. perhaps it's my camera that scares them away.

it was so much fun running around we almost got ourselves locked in, and looking back on it now i kind of wish we had. the story of two travellers who become trapped in a hungarian cemetery on halloween is one of magic. perhaps they'd sneak into one of the crypts to seek shelter for the night, from the chilly winds that bring the cold of november, that rustle the trees and extinguish the candles. or perhaps they try and scale one of the perimeter walls, end up breaking legs or falling into poison ivy. one of those fantastic cliches.

it would have been brilliant, no matter how miserable we'd have been at the time.

take a picture, it'll last long.

but the scariest thing tonight is the smell of coffee still on my skin and it's buzzing voice still a murmur in the back of my head. and the disappointment in myself for drinking it despite knowing the consequences. what are you to do when the things you love turn against you? and what's next, paper?

and you think next time i'll just ask for a decaf? well you're wrong, this is fucking war.

31.10.2006: just don't ask me how long i spent doing it:

it's technically the first pumpking i've ever carved, at least as far as i remember, so i thought i'd make a special effort. and especially since we had paint left over from our ungdomshuset banner. so there's my best attempt at a jack skeleton pumpkin. he's sitting on our balcony over looking the street if you feel like making the trip to come see him. he would be very happy if you did. but don't come knocking for candy cos all you'll get from us is raisins.

i'm so commercial. happy halloween.

30.10.2006: i decided it was a nice afternoon to walk, so that's exactly what i did. ploughing through the smouldering orange leaves, at their best in the golden sunshine of early evening. joining the subway dots of the city. with the light burning up the left side of the street like this, who would want to be tunneling underground? and when the city's trying its hardest to be beautiful you should be giving it half a chance. besides, eglington to bloor isn't that far.

and then i decided what would be brilliant - a coffee. it would complete my twisted romantic vision, a warm beverage to go with the brisk autumn and no matter about the regret i'll be feeling when lying awake in bed tonight. that can be worried about later, but to look at me now, i'm one of those business men marching past you, each of them a coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other. always a coffee.

ceci n'est pas une pipe.

and some advice for people wearing ties who aren't used to them, when you wash your hands make sure your tie doesn't dip into the sink. it will only lead to trouble.

coming up next - a pumpkin carving extravaganza!

28.10.2006: i was dreaming i went to one of julie's economics lectures. it was surprisingly realistic, the lecturer was drop dead boring and i spent the whole time doodling and (rather bizarrely) writing my website. although i can only remember the opening sentence "weather like this, the second you step outside it makes you feel instantly alive", which is what i should have started with today. but nevermind.

thursday was so busy that i've only just managed to catch up with it. after the ungdomshuset solidarity demo we went costume shopping (although the "we" in that sentence doesn't really include me) and then ate last night's pumpkin soup. i imagine i then had a long nap or something like that before starting to cook dinner. we had lasagna and louise joined us. then they dressed up as dead trees (which was a brilliant costume for forest conservation halloween party, give it up for the snags) and we went over to mark's place for the pre-party party, which included vicious card games and drink mixing.

the rest of the night blended into an episode of twin peaks, i blame it on the maclachlan look-a-like (who luckily had never seen twin peaks because he didn't really look like agent dale cooper). the free candy was disgusting but you knew this already. there was also free table football which entertained me immensely, especially since i won my first game in ages. then i noticed some guy playing two people, thought it a bit unfair and joined him. to be honest he was probably better off without me.

friday was spent taking it easy. we explored bloor street and yorkville, the weird malls and the posh shops. we bought organic tofu and a posh tartlette. then there was wine and trivial pursuit and the kingdom.

and today was the demo against the war in afghanistan. it was our first experience of a north american demo and it was a little strange. i think it's sad that they have to pander to the "support our troops" propaganda. there were hundreds of placards announcing "support our troops - bring them home" and nearly every speaker mentioned how they supported the troops but thought they should be bought back home. it completely stopped it feeling like an anti-war protest, like these people are just against the war in afghanistan but not war in general. why the fuck else would you be supporting the troops? i can't believe how deeply the phrase has managed to bury itself in the collective concious. i wanted to shout "support the resistors! fuck the troops!", but i never have been one to shout at demos. or have i been brave enough to do something like that. i'm all talk.

another interesting point, we asked a policeman if it was illegal to cover your face at protests and he told us very seriously "no". i believe the right to cover your face and protect your identity is of crucial importance, and now more than ever with the almost chaotic outbreak of surveillance equipment and police monitoring. a law against covering your face already exists in denmark, and from what i've heard it's only ever used to trample on people's freedom of speech (the recent 260+ arrests during an ungdomshuset demo is as strong an example as you need). now i hear talk of it in england. every day some racist/fascist/nazi fuckhole in government seems to come out with some terrible new idea to impinge on freedoms, turn the country into a police state, or offend the muslim world.

europe's becoming the frog that slowly boils to death. what the fuck is going on?

26.10.2006: delivered in person to the danish consulate:

Danish Consulate, The Honorary Consul General, Mr. Arne Nordtorp,

We are writing to you to express our concern about the imminent closure of Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen. In case you are unaware of the urgent situation with Ungdomshuset, a number of political parties, including Socialdemokraterne, Socialistisk Folkeparti and Enhedslisten, have been encouraging Faderhuset to sell Ungdomshuset to "Fonden Jagtvej 69", a private fund created to buy back the house and secure it as Ungdomshuset. The fund's offer runs out this Friday 4pm Danish time.

Ungdomshuset is one of the last remaining truly public and communal spaces, and an undeniably important part of the community and culture within Copenhagen. The loss of the house will leave hundreds of youth with nowhere else to go, and be a tragic end to its 24 years of successful autonomous management.

We request that you do all in your power to aid in the encouragement of Faderhuset to sell Ungdomshuset, declare our support for Ungdomshuset to the Danish government, and inform them that this is not simply a national issue - it is one that concerns people across the world (i.e. a similar 'free house' in Chile, La Mansion Siniestra, was raided last month) who are struggling to keep their autonomous community space. Copenhagen Council are setting a terrible example to other countries, and have created a dire situation which can only end well if they can come up with a radical solution that will satisfy the users of Ungdomshuset, or if Faderhuset stand down, allowing Jagtvej 69 to continue to be run autonomously as Ungdomshuset.

We request that you respond to our letter.

there was only so much planning we could do given the short time we had, and what with the consulate being on the 21st floor of the RIBC building on bloor, and us having no idea what to expect inside. so it was a very polite and diplomatic solidarity demo, nothing quite as dramatic as what people managed in ireland or norway. unfortunately the consul general only comes into the office once a week to pick up his letters (what is his job exactly?) so weren't going to meet him, no matter how long we waited. the secretary agreed to fax the letter to him straight away and let him know we'd been there. although, quite resonably, she wouldn't agree to be in the photos:

any excuse to put on a suit..

if you're wondering what ungdomshuset demos usually look like then i have a gallery of protest photos.

so thanks to the people that came along to support ungdomshuset (and take photos for me, cos if i'm dressing up i've got to be in the photos, right?). and sorry to the punker girl who i chased into the coffee shop. we figured if she had a swedish flag on her bag she'd be swedish and know about ungdomshuset, but apparently not.

25.10.2006: venturing out across town, to the stop community food centre, and into the exciting world of volunteer work. it took me a while but better late than never, i'm finally doing the right thing. i just hope they pick me as a suitable volunteer, there was around 15 of us there and it didn't sound like they needed quite that many people. and i hope they can see through my rather obscene ramblings on why i want to be a food worker and how my relevant experience is in fact relevant. i'd cringe if i told you exactly what i wrote, but what i didn't quite write was "i believe food to be a crucial part of the community, and also one that is lacking in our modern society". that might have been a bit too much.

and while i'm talking about banks, which i'm not but nevermind, turns out i can only open a bank account with two forms of ID, which for me is my passport and a credit card. except i don't have a credit card. maybe like the pubs/bars here, the bank will also take a photocopy of my passport? (alongside my actual passport, sure)

anyway, today will be remembered as the day that seven soldiers #1 (both the first and concluding issue) was finally released. i'd be raving about it right now, but unfortunately the pace and excitement have run off hand in hand during the last six months of waiting. at least this means it isn't disappointing. and the artwork is nothing short of stunning. unfortunately i still don't understand all of it, and buying comics in north america means i don't have the benefit of going straight onto barbelith to decode and understand all the subtleties.

it doesn't make up for the authority and wildcats. pieces of shit.

and i was wrong that garbage i was going on about last night, the image on my site. i do all the date calculations based on the date of the server, which is in england, so all daily changes on my site are linked to midnight gmt. i bet you're happy for knowing that aren't you?

now i'm off to make pumpkin soup. if you have a good recipe you have about five minutes to email it to me.

24.10.2006: did you know - popeye's fast food restuarant doesn't have a single item on the menu that contains spinach. it really makes you wonder where they got the name from, and what were they thinking?

i don't really know what i've been doing.

on sunday we went to see 'the last king of scotland', a kind of "inspired by real people" story about idi amin's scottish advisor/doctor. i'm always a little suspicious of the "inspired by" tag, it basically gives you free reign artistic license, so i have no idea how historically correct the film is. it was believable enough though, with some excellent performances. i'd definately recommend it, especially if you want something a bit more sensible than 'the prestige'.

blah blah. i particularly like the new picture on my site today, but since i'm GMT-5 and it's already eight o'clock it wont be the picture you're seeing. nevermind. actually, if you wanted to see it you could click here. but if i were you i probably wouldn't bother.

i'll be going to the filth, which i should know better than to read before going to bed. grant morrison never fails to give me nightmares, and the filth is truly ninghtmarish.

i wish i had something interesting to tell you. but really you'd be better of reading the news or something. go and read about hungarian history, it's absolutely fascinating. hungary is definately one the most interesting european countries. but then really, if you look at any country's history enough you could say the same thing. bah.

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