news [archive 28]


29.03.2007: if you know me, you know i'm very angry about climate change. i'm very angry at how badly our governments are dealing with it and i'm very angry about how you're dealing with it too, because almost no matter who you are you're not doing enough. and you've got to understand, this is why it's so hard for when i'm trying to convince my friends to come on holiday with me in may. it makes me hate myself to the core.

take grilly as the perfect example, he's hardcore like i should be. his refusal to fly deserves upmost respect. so why am i trying to pressure him into flying to croatia? (pressure in the softest way possible). maybe it's because it costs over seven times more to get there by train than plane. justify that european union, you bunch of fucking monkeys.

so my plan is this, and it's yet to be agreed upon by anyone. we take the plane for the completely unrealistic price of 50quid (return). the money that we save we then donate to charity (be it environmental or not). now before you start screaming at me for being a hypocrite (well, yes), this is not offsetting. i'm not talking about giving a token amount of money to some well-meaning greenwasher. i'm not "making it okay to pollute" by offsetting my carbon, planting trees that wont be replacing my carbon until it's way too late. i'm talking about donating a serious amount of cash to charity that can actually make a difference now. if there's five of us and we donate 150quid each (and we're sitll in pocket) that's 750quid. because climate change is a moral issue, right? it's the rich people fucking it all up for the poor again. so how does this effect that moral decision?

i actually emailed george monbiot about this, because yes we see him as authority on this kind of thing. i don't expect him to reply (he has far more important things to be doing), but i did tell him a single word reply wouldn't be offensive.


then last night me and grilly spent way over an hour trying to get multiplayer doom working. the software is far too complicated, and clearly written by computer grad students who didn't take the HCI course. it would also help if it didn't kill my computer a minute into every game. once we finally worked out how to set up our server we had a blissful thirty seconds of pure co-op play. it was beautiful. but then my screen froze again and i placed a curse on my machine - it will never reach its tenth birthday. at least i didn't smash it. ten minutes after grilly left i discovered i could stabilise it by dropping the resolution to an embarrassing pre-historic level. pixel madness, and most of them are red.

and why is there no thirteenth floor at mt.sinai hospital? and no smart answers like, "it only has twelve floors", because there's way more than that. last time i was there i asked a woman in the lift but she had no idea, she just gave me a weird look. i guess when you're in a hospital you have better things to worry about. like keeping people alive, or not wanting to be trying to be kept alive on the thirteenth floor? are jews superstitious?




28.03.2007: the el mocambo is a venue with many flaws, but despite them it still feels good. inside it's darkly lit, but candles are cool, as are the fancy lamp shades dotted around the ceiling. it's such details that seperate it from the dingier venues, a touch of decorative style. and dragons defending the bar. also clowns. but what's with the motorbikes arranged down the sides of the entrance hall? hopefully no one knows. the beer here is expensive too, and only comes in bottles, so there'll be none of the plastic gig-pint that i love so much. this isn't atypical for toronto venues. another minor quibble is the ceiling support column positioned slightly too near the 'dancing' area. my major quibble is the volume. call me old (and i have been feeling old the last couple of days), but it's just not comfortable.

but enough about the venue (which is depressingly my most frequented venue in toronto, and depressing because i've been there only twice), i'm supposed to be writing about the band. 'stars of track and field', a three piece (four if you count the phantom bass player) that made me instantly think "the male sleater kinney". it's the rickenbacker, right? the image faded as soon as they started playing, they may sing like girls but they don't rock like them. which is a terribly mean sentence, because they don't really sing like girls at all, and they do know how to rock out. hiding behind all that reverb and dreamy melodic riffs lurks some absolutely monstrous distortion. makes me wish i'd spent more money on my guitar ($200 ibanez from china) and amp ($10 computer speakers from goodwill).

they got me thinking about reverb though, and how we're lucky it's not accumulative, like paracetomol. you could die from listening to sigur ros, and that would be tragic. but this still doesn't sufficiently explain what the band sound like, but why would i bother trying when i could just direct you to their myspace page? (and hate myself for it, stupid myspace). i can make it worse though, by telling you what band they reminded me off, scarfo, because really they don't sound anything like them. when i liked scarfo i would have really digged 'stars of track and field'.

what i wish i'd taken though was my camera. unfortunately, being a pretty boy doesn't just make the main singer (can i say that? is it a bit unfair to the other guy?) photogenic, it also warps my memory so that he now look like gavin rossdale. now that is mean.

the second band bored me pretty much instantly so we cut loose early. on the way home we watched a crazed kid attempt to take on the traffic hurtling down yonge street. determined to cross the road, he nearly ran straight into a big white van and stopped all the traffic. i half salute his anti-car stance, taking direct action to supress these supreme evil do-ers, but his technique left a lot to be desired. i also doubt his altruism. he made it across 'safely', with the cars waiting less than patiently, but unlucky for him the white van happened to contain a policeman. busted. and what a great forehead slapping moment.

someone on the radio just said, "if you're worried about the environment buy a new car". this is the news.




27.03.2007: it's 9:42 and the smell on the street makes me want to listen to my oldest mixtapes. it's a nostalgic atmosphere, damp and heavy spring. and it's not at all like i feel i'm walking to school or anything.

it's weird dream season, i must have clocked up three hours of strangeness last night. i went to my grandparents' wedding and then my parents decided to give me a brother (and i was pleased). some kids stole a mattress from the back of a truck, which they rode around town on, and we had a 36 hour party. after that i was walking lonely along the beach, watching the whales. oh, and we had a maths lesson on a wide strip of concrete. many hundred meters up in the air a carousel spun, suspended by what? a floating skiier dropped a bomb and a women fell through a complicated series of free falls, including a bungee jump and a parachute. the third only made sense in dream-logic and has no place being written about here. i think the feeling of freefall was just me needing a piss. it made for a great photograph.

some annoyingly stupid people felt compelled to comment on my bear eating horse head photo. anyone care to click through to kurtise's photos (the first one of the horse would be nice) and leave a "hmmm.. tasty!" comment. there's a prize in it for you. i'd do it myself but it would appear as retaliatory instead of funny.

today i'm restless as fuck it's so nice outside. what the fuck am i doing here anyway? why don't we all go down the park, spin some poi and some frisbees and kick some sack?




26.03.2007: leaving the house this morning and it's dark like it's night. i've never seen the city so overcast. so glum. if it wasn't for the car headlights you wouldn't be able to see anything at all. and then the sky flashes in neon blue. an arc of lightning across the sky, horizontal, and a rumble echoes between the buildings. the streets are already slick with wet and people quicken their pace. then it starts in fat drops.

it's passed now, but it was exciting whilst it was imminent. and watching my monitor shake in time to the thunder, something that only happened in my mind, i'm sure. on the subway i was crossing my fingers for us to be struck by lightning, shorting out the whole system. stuck in a tunnel with the lights out. commuter chaos. people freaking out and babies screaming. the best excuse for being late for work.

nevermind

the weekend was fleeting but good. on friday i danced between pubs. i had a brief stint at scallys before dashing home to eat old pizza and listen to beautifully agonizing music. thirty minutes later we were munching on nachos upstairs at the artful dodger and fraternising with the britist expats. i'm clearly not an expat, i never was patriotic to begin with (and before some smartarse like martin wants to point out the difference between expatriate and ex-patriot, well i've done it already).

saturday was built around dinner, as all good days should be. we (actually mostly julie) had invited a worrying number of people around to ours for a british style vegetarian sunday roast, despite it being saturday. so after an expensive trip to the beguiling and at least a couple of hours of doom, the potatos, parsnips, sprouts, broccoli, carrots and peas were arranged across the kitchen work surface and i got to work. also rocking our roast were demi-homemade yorkshire puddings (i cheated and bought a pack of pudding mix, which i doubled with the standard recipe, a successful experiment) and louise's nut roast. about four cups of gravy. also beer and wine. and then apple crumble and custard for dinner. it was supreme in all respects. so much it hurt for a good hour afterwards, while we all struggled to play eve's quest, the hardest feminist board game of all time.

when our guests had trickled off to bed and to work (no really) we decided to check out the house party at declan's place, which declan was avoiding, so it was all a little awkward. y'know, not really knowing anyone and there not being a big enough crowd to disappear amongst. i sat on a crappy chair and drained the remains of krista's wine from the bottle. i shook a guy's hand that was exceptionally large. and then after about half an hour we left as subtley as possible.

sunday was just like sunday is. it comes and goes. etc. you all know the song.




23.03.2007: so i never actually posted this on friday, because i ran off to the pub due to nice weather, but i guess that doesn't really matter when i'm in control and can warp time on my website as much as i like. it's true.

on thursday night i was going to go to a lecture titled something obscene like 'one nation under google'. it could have been interesting, but actually seemed to be more about the effect of our technological society on citizenship. under scrutiny it became boring. so instead we went to see talks by brian alters and dan brooks, hosted by the freethought association of canada. the title was a question when it should have been a statement, "is intelligent design ruining science eduation?" well, duh.

the good news is that these guys are fighting back. starting later this year springer is publishing a new journal, 'outreach and education in evolution', aimed at aiding teachers in teaching evolution. the idea is to provide them with extra ammunition with which to gun down all those pesky classroom creationists (i've been playing too much "doom patrol", clearly). creative lesson plans, critical essays and hardcore information, it sounds exactly like what the kids needs. and none of that pappy god crap. brian alters, who's an alert and witty speaker, talked about the 'history' of the creationist movement, detailing the court cases he was involved with, and how it's not just america who's in danger of losing all sense and rationality. last year he was denied funding by the social sciences and humanities research council (of canada) for a project to look into whether teaching intelligent design has a negative social effect on children. it would have been quite reasonable, had they not given the reason as him not providing an "adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of evolution, and not intelligent design theory, was correct". whoops. SSHRC retracted their comment on evolutionary, later saying that indeed it was fundamental to all biology, however they also claimed they would not be entering the 'intelligent design debate'. one up for ignorance, but nevermind.

also, wu ping is my hero




22.03.2007: through the haze of 8:30 you can just make out that it's 9c. a warmth to purge and nurture. already you can see the squirrels emerging from their hiding places, mangy from losing their winter coats. it brings a calming feeling, but also one that beckons escape. isn't that what winter is all about? revolution?

it was almost 9pm last night when a strange guy knocked on my apartment door. before he knocked he was standing on the other side of the door for about five seconds, trying to determine if i was in. he almost saved me the hassle, but no. i knew this because i was already watching him through the spy hole, i'm nosey like that. but curiousity got the better of me, so i counted to four and opened the door. he started talking too fast, explaining how he was from 'summitt energy' (yes, with two t's) and he wanted to see my gas bill to check i wasn't being overcharged (or something, apparently). i wasn't in the mood, and was obviously sceptical, so i told him we throw away all our bills. three times, once for each time he asked me if i'd try and find one. he really wanted those bills. but what i don't understand is, shouldn't they be doing this at enbridge's end (our gas supplier)? why do they have to go door to door and check every bill when they can gleam this from a database in one fell swoop? after i'd finally got rid of him i checked out their website - a single page with bare bones content. plus it only has three crappy links pointing to it. who even are these people? and why are they bothering me at 9pm?

and who are the 'canadian friends of ungdomshuset' who held a solidarity demo outside the danish consulate here in toronto last week? and who do they think they are? this is our turf, bitches. no actually, it's very cool that there's other people out there who care about this, but it would have been nice if they'd contacted us first and got us involved. we're not that hard to find.


been listening to aboriginal radio all day. it's been cool, but not exactly good.

the stupidest comment i ever read on youtube (excluding all comments that are too stupid to actually comment on):

"all in all true or not, this was a bad movie to put up. We don't need anymore controversy on youtube. And in the world for that matter. People are better off not knowing things they don't need to know. And unless you can post both sides of one argument, you leave people without a choice of their own to make."

that was referencing the dolphin slaughter video, which really you don't want to watch.




21.03.2007: so, the portland indie band 'stars of track and field' (doesn't their name make you want to play sega?) are playing the el mocambo next tuesday (that's march 27th for the calender-minded). i heard that their performance at the canadian music week (yeah i missed that too) was a huge success. anyway, i'll be down there if anyone wants to join me and hang out. buy me a beer, that kind of thing. action kicks off at 9m and you can check out them out in advance with a small amount of google work.

this is what the weekend's anti-war protest looked like:



actually it didn't look anything like that at all. but whatever. that last photo is an almost ceremonial smashing of nazi punk music. it was too spontaneous for me to get the photo i wanted, but the smashing was good. and of course, we cleaned up the mess afterwards.

and a series of portraits:




i only realised afterwards that the composition is almost identical on all of these. i clearly need to drink more when taking photographs. and also not have my subjects facing into the sun, sheesh. but really, it was just great to be able to do some intersting portrait shots. it's definately something i want to get more into.

and wednesday is bagelicious.




20.03.2007: an advert for soap just asked me if i was a revolutionary. i wanted to answer in permanent marker, but i need to pick my battles more wisely.

and on the subway the train filled at bloor. i had a seat, which was okay, except the woman standing infront of me, with her pelvis at eye level, had her fly zipper all the way undone. what can you do? i just kept reading my book.

outside it's so cold it makes my teeth hurt.

then mimi's sold out of vege paninis before i got down there for lunch. so i had to go to pizza pizza, which every decent canadian knows is awful (not that if you disagree it makes you a bad canadian, it just makes you a bad person).

again thanking krista for a lovely gluten free dinner last night. in exchange for wine i can now make an ass kicking cake, utilising only eggs and crushed hazelnuts (er, plus some other boring white stuff).

if my rants about ungdomshuset left you feeling a little in the dark, with all those words not quite explaining the situation, then you might want to watch this comprehensive six minute info-riot. you can almost feel the lick of the flames, the sting of the tear gas, the police man's boot. but this is not intended as riot porn. it's intended to illustrate and illuminate, to show you exactly how fucking big this was, in a way that a news article can't.




19.03.2007: you can't feel chipper all the time. sometimes the things you could have been doing are overwhelming in your desires. sometimes it's hard to forget what you've left behind, the wave you could be riding, the battle you could be fighting, the differences you could be making. the things you held dear that you let slip through your fingers. and it would be okay if only the radio would stop playing that stupid song.

and sometimes i don't know why i use 'you' instead of 'i'.

just another miserable defeatist shit this morning. you have to have these moments to ignite passion in the others. like, some people think you have to have sadness or else there's nothing for happiness to contrast with. but those people can generally fuck off.

i haven't lost my spirit, i've simply neglected it.

so who wants to party somewhere in europe sometime soon? and where do you want to be on may day? i want to kick your ass and break your heart. getting arrested is optional.




18.03.2007: this protest is becoming pitifully repetative. it's four years since the invasion and occupation of iraq began and we're all still here. every anniversary of every event. afghanistan, iraq, palestine. iran. you'd think people would get bored and give up, or just shuffle around in miserable hopeless despair. but no. there's still positivity and people are still coming out. still.

the canadian anti-war movement has the benefit of having kept their country out of iraq. that success was amazing, and it acts as a great booster for protester confidence. they're not thousands of people screaming into the nuclear wind for nothing. or at least they weren't back then. the incredible youth of some of the speakers is also greatly inspiring. that dude isn't a day over 14 and he's the best speaker i have ever heard at an anti-war demo. or any demo.

the '911 was an inside job' crowd were out in full force, more of them than ever. and more annoying than ever too. when i first saw them i thought they were cool, who wouldn't? but i'm worried they take themselves far too seriously. i over heard one of them comment on the number of 911 banners, and his friend replied, "more people are waking up every day". you don't need this ridiculous conspiracy shit to make the american government look bad. the consoling factor was that one of the 'peace punks' had scrawled "stop discrediting the peace movement with your stupid conspiracy theorys" (or something much like that) across the ground.

the peace punks were brilliant. as the speakers talked the same old talk opposite the american embassy, the colourfully dressed peace punks went to work on the court house building, decorating the entire facade in chalk anti-war and anti-nazi slogans, much to the joy of the vulture photographers. but this is exactly what the over-familiar peace protests needs. fun and action, and dancing too, right in the middle of the giant human peace sign at nathan phillips square.

i spent most of the afternoon hanging out with them, feeling young again. not that i don't normally feel young, it's just that you forget sometimes. working full time induces all kinds of abstract concerns and characteristics. you forget spontinaety. you forget the joy of throwing caution to the wind. you forget the troubles of trying to buy alcohol.

but there was that wind again. the brash weather is effecting me on strange psychological levels.

a quick photo in solidarity with ungdomhuset:



i feel bad because i didn't fit them all in, sorry. i have many other photos though, saved for another day.

i also hung out a bit with the youth communist league, and me and julie ended up going to their low-key house party in the evening. they're all such lovely people. also they have an awesome bookcase.

anyway, on with the remainder of the weekend.




17.03.2007: since it was friday i thought i'd treat myself to a proper lunch break. a proper meal at a 'proper' restuarant. where i work, yonge and eglinton, is relatively business orientated, so the eating options are pretty good, if not a little pricey. i thought i'd scope out 'springrolls', which, as a chain, is not a proper restaurant (hence the quotes above), but it's 'proper' enough for me.

but as if i don't already feel awkward enough eating on my own, the waitress sits me a table next to another guy, around my age, who's also eating alone. we both take out our books at the same time, and start to read. it's sad really. he was australian and i was english, we must have had fascinating stories to tell each other, but instead it's two quiet meals and opportunities lost

this is not the way society should be societying. and of course it's all our faults, especially mine. or yours if you're you.

later that night we visited louise in the hospital, which was nice, for lack of a more imaginitive word (i don't think it's the words fault, laurence). we also dined out with lorien at the vegetarian haven, that fanatastic restaurant on baldwin that we must go to more often. the vegan cakes and icecream are the best vegan cakes and icecrea myou'll ever try. i'll bet a vegan cookie on it.

it was also nice to spend friday night not drinking, and walking around downtown with the fresh snow falling around. i wasn't dressed for it but neither did i care.

and if you're wondering what '69' is, well you haven't been paying attention. actually that's a little unfair. jagtvej 69 was the address of the now demolished ungdomshuset, now known as "ground 69". since the eviction and levelling of the house people have been spraying '69' everywhere. people have also been renaming as many streets to 'jagtvej' as possible. i figured it only made sense to tag my own website. ungdomshuse everywhere!




15.03.2007: for the longest time now google's been reporting one of my internal pages as having the highest page rank of my site. it seems kind of crazy, but maybe it goes to show the power of .edu links (not that i've really looked into it, btw). what's even crazier is that google's now telling me a different internal page has the highest page rank, and this one is only two weeks old. way to go and eclipse all the links pointing to my homepage in one foul swoop.

please take note that i'm not complaining here.

so what's my new trick for link building? you'll love this one. you find a current news event that's hot topic ("explosive") but being almost solely reported in a foreign language (or where there's very good minute by minute coverage but only in the native language). then you get busy translating and publishing, whilst at the same time telling as many related news wires, forums and blogs where people can find your english translation. obviously, this will be much more effective if the event is happening in a country speaking a language that google can't translate. it's harder for you but harder for everyone. it also makes it easier to pick your news, unless you're one of those cool people who speak too many languages - don't your dreams get confusing?

i'm not boasting (i am), but for the sake of documentation and example, in the space of three days i recieved three PR7 links (one to my homepage, hurrah) and a fat wad of PR5 links, along with links from countless forum and blog posts. i had links from a large portion of the global indymedia sites and many other alternative news networks. yahoo is currently reporting 780 links (or 572 depending on something) to my new page. of course these aren't all links that'll stick, most of them will be buried or removed when the action fizzles out, but since when do you snub your nose at PR7 homepage links? like, never.

however, if you do try the above and you're not actually interested in what you're reporting on, you're probably an ass, so forget it.


check out the kids home i helped build. it's good to see amani kids finally get a new home, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy to think how i helped (and all of you who assisted in raising money and donating etc).

i missed all the seal hunt protests today. nevermind.




14.03.2007: you could almost say it's muggy out. you'd be wrong, but it is disturbingly warm. the sky's miserable grey pout doesn't match the 10 degress of the air. the ice can't recede quick enough. but the "yah, don't you think it feels like summer already?", over the social phenomena that is the free bagel trolley, was pushing it a little too far.

it reminds me of something though, the weather. i think it might be brighton. that promise of warmth and the anticipation of summer. it's hard to explain, because it's just a feeling. but i wish i could.

while i was trying (and failing) to put my clothes away this morning i suddenly found myself humming the 'sharky and george' theme tune. it's the weirdest thing that's happened to me in a long time.

actually tell a lie. last night we were looking through julie's collection of passport photos when she passed one over and pointed out how different she looked in it compared to the others. sure enough, she looked a bit weird, "when was this taken?". i studied it for a moment before noticing there was something wrong with her eyes - "this girl's eyes are brown!". we debated for a while whether it was possible to distinguish eye colour from such a small photo, but it was pretty conclusive. this was not her. so who is she? and how did a photo of this girl who vaguely looks like julie find its way into julie's wallet? and what are the probabilities of all this anyway? how long has the photo been there and how long has julie thought it was her? and what if she'd actually used it on an ID card? the whole thing is beyond abusrd.

oh, and i dreamt i met corin tucker. it was wonderful, she drew and scribbled over all of my sleater kinney CDs and didn't break her smile once. she was much cooler in real life than she was before. wait, did i just seriously type that? no.

also the subway has been driving me crazy this week. one woman was tutting at me and brushing the 'dirt' from her trousers when i had to push past her to get into the seat she was blocking. what did she expect? any normal well-balanced person moves up so other people can sit down. i didn't take her up on this, i simply apologised because it's the reasonable and polite thing to do, no one wants the tension escalated on the subway anymore than it already is. i did nearly elbow her in the face when i left though.

don't forget this saturday is march 17th, the fourth anniversary since 'we' invaded iraq. yes, that's four years of occupation. there will be a demonstration near you if you don't join it you're an asshole. my logic is impeccable.

stupid but fun japanese game.




13.03.2007: i've been reading eye witness accounts from various people in copenhagen. people who have been treated badly by police, or have seen others harassed and beaten. needless to say they're horrifying, and these aren't even coming from people arrested during the house raids - those people all still incarcerated, and mostly on the basis that the buildings they were in (irrespective of what they were doing there) contained weapons. whose house doesn't contain weapons? the pushing and bending of laws such as this is completely unacceptable (shit, even the existence of them is sketchy) and deserves full condemnation from all angles. it's nothing new, but it's nothing that's supposed to happen in an apparently civil and democratic society.

this is me complaining about police practice that is deemed 'legal' by the danish state. the worst of what you'll hear from kids clearly comes under 'illegal' no matter how you look at. being in the police force may give you powers over freedom of speech (not that it makes any sense that you can be arrested for telling the police what you really think of them), but not the right to punch, hit or headbutt someone. especially when provoked. they're paid to remain calm and in control of situations, to act professionaly and without bias, to do their job without getting over excited and breaking kid's noses, arms and whatever else. if you can't act responsibly then you have no right to be in the police.

i'd be willing to bet not a single police office gets reprimanded for their misconduct during last week's trouble.

and i've been a little pissed off with people trying to explain how the police are a neutral force in this. how they're only doing their job. that's how it should be, sure, but it's hard to agree when every story you hear portrays them as overly aggressive power-hungry psychopathic bastards. there's something very rotten about the danish police force. i honestly think a lot of them (i'm not saying most) perceive the ability to get away with beating the shit out of commiting violent acts against defenseless kids as a job perk. it definately seems that way.

you can read at least one eye witness account on our ungdomshuset updates page.

please don't applaud the police for doing a difficult job succesfully.

incidentally, if a plain clothes police officer refuses to show you his badge or give you his name and number, and you resist arrest (because they could be any crazy mother fucker), can you really be charged for it? and what if you resist using violent means?

y'know, i don't drink enough milkshakes. especially considering we have a blender. and the microwave on our office floor always smells of popcorn.

it's true, adcab. they've got it coming.




11.03.2007: the street-car between union station and harbour front is about as frightening as public transport gets. the cave it takes you down is something between an industrial nightmare and everyone's favourite scene from the temple of doom. it's a dirty claustrophobic brown tunnel illuminated with creepy yellow lighting and coated in cables and pipes. in my mind i see black and yellow stripes decorating every edge. in my mind it's where raccoons go to die.

i'm down there because i realised how much i miss the sea. and whilst the lake is by no means a sea substitute, it is the best i can get. i also wanted to see a thick layer of ice all the way to the islands, the birds slipping around on its surface, but i'm a week too late. shame for me, but lucky for the ducks. especially any that happened to have been trapped beneath.

i'm always surprised at how long ducks stay underwater when they dive. the water's surface has long forgotten them by the time they return.

friday night i found myself around declans house, just off yonge street, an apparently legendary building of wild parties and rock bands. at least, according to some local person who someone met once. i play guitar stupidly loud considering it's half eleven at night, and declan drums even louder. the tv was on when we arrived and remained on during my whole visit. occasionaly it would be stared at, but no one could actually hear it, it was all very futile. but that's tv for you. this about five pints of guiness into the night, and not to forget the garlic bread. some guy had already complained at me for pissing at the middle urinal when no one else was there. it's against the rules? i can understand his point, i just disagree with him. i seem to find a lot of people disagreeable these days. he wasn't one of them exactly, but whatever.

i've actually felt very comfortable this weekend. walking through church park, a light smell of bonfire in the hazy early evening air. the setting sun kissing the sides of the buildings. the peace and calm of 5c. the trickling streams that follow every path. and later, a subway full of drunken youths screaming and shouting all the way to bloor, falling over themselves and each other. the girls already given up on their stupid high heels, walking bare foot along the platform.

not that i was so sober myself.




09.03.2007: things you can get away with sometimes, like eating sticky toffee pudding for lunch. wait, i don't know where this sentence is going.

i spent about a minute outside in just a shirt today. sounds like spring, but last week it looked like this:




pretty, but give me warmth any day. it also looked like this:



whoosh.

and if you wanted proof that japanese stuff is automatically cool, even when it isn't, just check out the new avril single in japanese. except you can't because viacom are fucking idiots.




08.03.2007: today is international women's day, the 97th of its kind since it was proclaimed at the first international women's conference in 1910. that first conference was held in copenhagen's labour-movement building and what, until two days ago, was known as ungdomshuset. it's now known as a pile of police protected rubble.

in the 1970's, when brugsen wanted to replace it with a supermarket, the historical importance of the building that used to stand at jagtvej 69 didn't pass the council by. but now, 30 years later, they can't forget it quickly enough. the building is desecrated on the whim of a right wing ultra-christian fuck who claims god speaks through her. in two days, with a city under panic, the most important landmark in denmark's left wing socialist history crumbles under the right wing's wrecking ball. it's not just a defeat for the anarchist youth who were openly weeping in the streets, and less openly in the prisons. it's a defeat for anyone who believes in justice and liberty, who wants a world that revolves around culture and diversity instead of money.

denmark's social and liberal nature is finally given its grave and buried. look upon what your country has become and tremble (lol, sorry, couldn't resist).

but have a good international women's day anyway, please.




07.03.2007: pulling into bloor station, from my vantage point sitting at the front of the train (i'm a smart commuter, i walk south to travel north to avoid these chaotic intersection), i could see nothing but people. like sliding into a human sandwich, both platforms filled end to end and front to back. another train arrived, this one travelling south and already full, you could feel the bad vibes rising from the people and falling into the void of the subway network. the stress of those trying to leave the train. and my mind is full of nothing but lemmings. our train pulls away, struggling under its extra load, and every other train we pass is as full as the first.

not wanting to feel left out, we also did a banner drop in solidarity with ungdomhuset:



the savvy amonst you will notice that's on our apartment. unlike the lucky italians, russians and norwegians, our danish embassy is not very accessible. it's on the 22nd floor of a building with very tight security. they also have our names and addresses from the last time we took our banner up there. the time for diplomacy is over, but there'll be no ungeren graffiti in toronto.

also, i liked the artcile david rovics wrote for truth out, which is a good read if you're not bored of ungdomhuset already.

happy birthday to you, happy birthday to yoooooooooooou.




06.03.2007: before i left the house two emails had already warned me about the cold. but stepping out the front door it wasn't so bad, a beautiful sunny day to greet me. i walked a joyful halfway down the street before my knee joints began to seize up and the wind froze the breathe from my lungs. it's a colder world this morning. it's a poorer world. but not one without hope. spring is on its way and there are sparks of action all across europe. and beyond.

it's hard to be optimistic and positive when all you're being thrown are images of pointless destruction:



tell me where the meaning is in that.

maybe it's "just a house", but don't forget what oppression looks like. don't forget the police on every corner, searching and hassling anyone who looks 'different'. the hundreds of people imprisoned because they had something tangible to really believe in. the people whose homes have been raided and trashed, not because they broken the law but because of their lifestyles.

every instance in history where people have been incarcerated because of their ideas, rather than their actions, has been viciously condemned. this is one of them. sure, not all people the police are holding are 'innocent', but none of them deserved to by fed mcdonalds. you can't call the police a neutral force in this mayhem. and if you think it's only demonstrators who throw rocks in denmark watch this video from 1993 (yes that's a gun being fired near the end [ref]). and if you still have sympathy for the danish police watch this video from last november. watch the mess the police make of a peaceful demonstration (btw, the paint was already on the building). if you don't have the patience then at least watch between 2:00 to 2:20 for completely unprovoked police brutality. that's only what the camera caught.

and you thought denmark was bad because of a few pathetic shitty drawings? it seems denmark can only make it into the news by being the bigoted right-wing capitalist asshole of europe (between the lovely cheeks of germany and sweden? lol).


i've actually written plenty of my usual garbage, but never got around to posting it. i wrote the following on sunday but never formulated it from its disjointed state into something, er, a little more linear:

after a night of virtual rioting it was my dream come true to breakfast at flo's diner. tucked up in the centre of yorkville it's my new favourite saturday morning hang out. mushroom, caramelised onion and feta omlette with eggy bread (going all out) and fat potato chunks. banana pancakes with real maple syrup. friendly efficient service and real booths (not that we had one). they even do root beer floats, but i thought it best to avoid that one. for now.

and this concludes the week of eating out (for free, shush). hurray for a week of top nosh.

later, on my trip across the city, a girl on the subway manages to say twenty four "like"s and eight "duh"s between yonge and sherborne. not only that but in the most annoying voice. mouth hanging open and eyes rolling. yes, like a retard. it's not just me, everyone on in that car wants to punch her into silence.

my toes hurt from kicking icey lumps of snow along the pavement, crumbling them like they were asteroids. some pavements are coated with thick ice, cracks as you walk on it. shifting water and air bubbles beneath.

riding the street car through china town, not a clue where i'm going. every random song perfectly chosen. perfectly fitting. theif, true love waits, you'll never get to me, weak and powerless, 3 away.

blah blah blah.




05.03.2007: a plague on both your houses, where one of them is faderhuset and the other is city hall. a wrecking ball leaves an ugly scar, and yet all the politicians are surprised? them pulling down ungdomhuset liks this, it's like removing a tumor from a leukemia patient. like tearing the heart from a zombie, one that knows how to kick your fucking ass.

it's nothing i condone, and it'll only worsen a bitter situation, but i hope they burn city hall to the ground.

"flowers not cobblestones", was beautiful. but as the hippies demonstrated, a bunch of flowers will get you nowhere. you heard about the WTO protest in seattle in 1999 didn't you? was that because the protestors ran floral rage through the city? and you took part in the peaceful global anti-war protest on febuary 15th 2003, along with 8 to 30 million others, and what did you achieve? this morning on page 18 of the toronto metro:

European anarchists throng to riot site: Anarchists from across northern Europe joined protesters in the Danish capital Saturday after two nights of riots sparked by the eviction of squatters from an abandoned building that had been a centre for young leftists and punk rockers. More than 500 people, including scores of foreigners, have been arrested since the riots began Thursday.

global news isn't made by obeying the police and moving along quietly. don't get me wrong, making news isn't an achievement, but taking the struggle to the international level is. and showing the monday morning commuters that there's an alternative, a strong and meaningful one, and just look at how passionately we're willing to defend it.

the police claimed that last night was quiet because they've systematically arrested all of the ungdomhuset ringleaders (raiding every squat and commune in town, like in terry gilliam's "fictional" brazil). what they don't understand about autonomy is there are no ringleaders. idiots.

and me? this morning i felt like i drank too much coffee last night. in the empty elevator, i stare into its mirrored walls and i'm haggard. i look like a bum.




03b.03.2007: just to let you know, we're translating the constant live news updates from modkraft.dk into english here, for all your ungdomshuset copenhagen info needs.

just doing what we can.




03.03.2007: you can hear copenhagen waking up to the cries of a "a plague on both your houses".

they spent the night torching cars and choking down tear gas. fighting police, causing havoc, running amok. all as promised many months previously, with a conviction and passion that the public can't begin to understand.

we spent the night following it minute by minute (props to modkraft), getting agitated to the soundtrack of aphex twin, alec empire and asian dub foundation. after a hundred photos, burning streets become passe. but it's novel to watch a riot unravel and actually have a connection to it. this isn't french carnage ripping through the projects, this is people i know in a place i love, fighting for a cause i believe in as much as they do. i may not always agree with their tactics, but i deplore the police's tenfold. the new police technique comes in the form of terrorizing normal folk from taking to the streets. charging them with vans and threatening them with constant tear gassing and beatings. they raid all the local communes and raid the anarchist black cross office, arresting everyone inside. they turn foreigners away at the border and arrest protesters en mass (most being released within 24 hours as they've commited no crime). the prisons are full and there's talk of curfews. cracks appearing. the police borrow new vans from sweden because their own fleet, which they rely on so heavily, is being trashed, a wheel or windscreen at a time. one of them is set ablaze and i feel no pity. at 4am you can hear the police pleading to the protesters "go home for fucks sake". a thousand people spread across norrebro are unstoppable. more fires and barricades, north to south, covering the length of copenhagen.

of course we all condemn burning down schools, as does every person involved in ungdomshuset i'm sure.

these are not kids looking for an excuse to fight. labelling them so is offensive, ignorant and patronising (especially when most of them are trying to protest non-violently). this is what anger looks like. a rage born from love and ignited by indifference and injustice. "no justice no peace" means exactly that.

give them their fucking house back

it's as simple as that. it's the only solution that makes logical, economical or political sense. your mistake is costing the city more than just millions of kroners. what they are asking for is nothing to you and everything to them. the chaos can end in an instant with the right decision.

give them their fucking house back




02.03.2007: this morning it's a very different version of toronto. yesterday it was one seized in the excitment of a coming storm (much like copenhagen). now it's a city ravaged by one (likewise). falling trees and powerlines, the radio warning people to stay indoors. the difference between here and copenhagen is we don't have burnt cars at our intersections. we have snow instead of ashes.

jarvis is transformed into fast flowing river, six lanes wide. the north side of wellesley is blocked by a tree that's been torn in half. i'm told queens park is worse. i stand on the corner of yonge and eglinton, watching as sheets of ice fall fifteen floors into the oncoming traffic. the blinding sun of this fresh morning melts the city and fills the sewers.

this is the reason our restaurant was closed last night (getting back onto this weeks theme, ruined due to tear gas and plate glass), despite us booking a table the day before. they may be defeated but we wont, instead we dine further up yonge at the ethiopian house on irwin avenue. apart from the traffic light decorating the front of the building, this restaurant feel about as traditional as it gets (disclaimer: i've never been to ethiopia so whatever). you eat with your fingers and the coffee takes 40 minutes to make. incense burns on your table and everyone eats from the same plate.

i'm a strong believer of the social and cultural importance of food. i'm big on the sharing of food, and ethiopian is its pinnacle. not only that, but it's damn tasty too. did you not know that lentils have magical properties when combined with certain spices and injera? well it's true. the 40 minute coffee was also divine, despite me only having two sips, and today all i want to do is drink more. my only criticism of the restaurant is their lack of a dessert menu, but not that i could have eaten anymore.


anyway, this is what you get..

with ungdomshuset now standing empty (still standing for now) it's status as a temporary autonomous zone is both confirmed and concluded. hakim bey will tell you this is okay, and someone else will tell you that it's the people and their network that make a movement. but this is of little condolence to the people who know how important their house was. as a working autonomous space, with the sheer scale of its achievments, it's completely irreplaceable. nearly every proposed solution fails to meet the requirements for a replacement on a fundamental level. it's not because people aren't trying or that they don't care (i'm sure the council would love a peaceful solution, and anything is cheaper than cost of the current operation), it's just that they don't understand the concept of autonomy. talking about property ownership, civil society and democracy is meaningless. the values that ungdomshuset holds dear don't translate into their language.

i guess if you can't have a house you have to take the street, right? while there are so many people unified there can't not be a solution. whether the coucil likes it.. well that's another matter entirely.

welcome to fortress copenhagen.

please don't forget that property damage is not violence. and if it's targetted then neither is it barbaric. however, random destruction and throwing rocks at cops is. as heitham said "do what you can" (resistance now mp3).




01.03.2007: you think your having a bad morning? you should see copenhagen..

well, we all knew it was coming. indymedia dee-ko has constant english updates (scroll down) and politiken has a photo gallery of this morning's events. they also have videos, but they're not for the faint hearted. if you ever needed a clear demonstration of police psychopathy, now you have one. and if you don't know what i'm going on about then you can read up sharpish on ungdomshuset here.

i wonder if they were prepared for a helicopter dropping riot police (referred to as "anti-terror para military forces" by indymedia) onto the roof?



i wonder if copenhagen's prepared to be turned into a police state?

so the morning's been awful, but the rest of the day is just going to be ugly. as is the weekend, and probably from here on in. the way i see it, if the law acts irresponsibly then the only option is to fuck the law. what else are you supposed to do when treated like that by the people with power? dissent (verb) with a vengeance.

your uniform (mp3) does not impress me.

photos from previous ungdomshuset protests.




28.02.2007: there's a theme to my posts this week, see if you can spot it.

where the cn tower restaurant should be posh, the bodega shouldn't. the image i get when i hear the word 'bodega' is a dingy smokey hole where danish people play dice and drink large quantities of lager. it's about as far from the bodega restaurant on baldwin st as you can get. some people may lump france and denmark in the same european boat, in which case they're not so dissimilar. but those people can go fuck themselves off and everyone is happy. anyway..

focus on the food.

being a french restaurant vegetarians are begrudgingly welcomed, but only because they're not vegans. all french chefs hate vegans, it's not their fault, it's just part of the job. obviously the menu is limiting but we manage. we share a main, the wild mushroom rissoto, and take a selection of three modified starters, including a goats cheese crostini (without ham) and a stack of roasted vegetables. thinking about them now is making me salivate fat chunks of saliva.

the dessert menu is where the real magic happens. always. i'm torn between the flourless chocolate, espresso and baileys cake and the triple serving of creme brulee - a perfect trinity of grand marnier, amaretto and baileys. the lemon cheesecake baked in phyllo pastry is also causing difficulty but julie goes for it and saves me the pain. i can't resist creme brulee, and when they arrive i realise that these three creme brulees are the culmination of a hundred thousand years of evolution. they are the crowning glory of our race, the peak of civilization, the final result of all that's good about humanity. and also the best thing about the french. the accompanying calvados is as equally exquisite, and i now know i like it warmed. thank you posh restuarant.

i take a break from the plasma and platelet discussion, all very medical, and in an alcohol-happy daze i suddenly realise my urine smells funny. i'm instantly suspicious of what they'd put in the food. the other day i panicked when i thought i'd detected that familiar burnt smell of coffee, "shit, i know i can't drink coffee, what have i done?" it was okay, i'd been mistaken. it was only the porcini. but what now? there was no asparagus, so what could it possibly have been? i blame the other assorted roasted vegetables. and yes you guessed it - this week's theme is smells in toilets.

incase you're now worried about me, i can drink coffee, it's just that i have to sacrifice a night's sleep. most of the time that isn't worth it. give me a good reason though, and we can party til 5am.




27.02.2007: walking into the toilet i'm overwhelmed by the smell of cinnamon, this could be my favourite washroom yet, and at 351 meters i'm totally stoked about the distance my urine has to fall too. i like a restaurant that makes an effort with the fragrance of their toilets. a good smell screams quality, whilst a bad smell just clashes with the wine.

or perhaps they're fronting, a posh facade for the tourists and wannabe bourgeois (which tonight, without a doubt includes us) through a simple but pleasent smell. you're already 351m up in the air, with nothing supporting you except a giant concrete spike, also known as a phallus, how much effort do they think is needed to impress?

apparently minimal in terms of the actual food. the food was good, but not a shade of good that matches the scenic and decadent location (nor the price if you ignore the free elevator ride, which would otherwise cost you $20). and that's despite the weather, we are literally eating in the clouds. if you fell you wouldn't bounce back, but the clouds are thick enough to hide most of toronto (unfortunately we were not allowed out onto the open air viewing platform to experience the weather conditions in full force, poor show). the view is still fantastic, and whilst sitting there slowly rotating in a mild-nausea-inducing manner, you have plently of time to contemplate your fear of heights. i've never suffered from vertigo, but letting imaginary but vivid disasters free reign of my mind is enough to unsettle. at least for a few minutes or until i stop enjoying it.

we ate a tasty tomato rissoto with butternut squash cubes (cooked in apple juice?) and posh mushrooms, and spinach and potato dumplings sided with asparagus, artichokes and other tasty vegetables. it's worth noting that they have a seperate vegetarian menu (including at least four starters and four mains) which they will not show you until you've asked for it. why they hate vegetarians i can only guess, but there you go. i'm sure the chef is very good with his meat. the dessert menu was suitably exciting (aren't they always?). i went for the sour cherry and something apple crumble. i would have thought they'd have taken extra special care when choosing ice cream flavours, so as not to have ice cream that tastes like the toilet smells, but no.

overall it was an fun experience, despite the rather strange circumstances. also the music was verging on the offensive, it should have been light jazz.

sixteen hours later i'm eating about as far away from the cn tower as i get, in a small cafe near yonge and eglinton. the panini is okay and the salad is fantastic, but i'm put off by the girl who almost bought an oatmeal cookie. "does it have protein in it? no?" she wrinkles her nose, "i wont have one then". and she steps away from the counter slowly. it's a fucking cookie. julie told me yesterday a scientific paper had concluded that for many young girls it's more important to be thin than happy. you have to worry when what should be your success value ends up as just another metric.

i'm just pissed off today cos i've had a meeting placed where my lunch break used to be.




26.02.2007: for lunch today i had the largest burger i've ever eaten. i was having difficulty understanding what any of the staff were saying, so to save myself the trouble i told them i'd have it with everything. gerkin, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, chillis, every type of cheese and sauce, whatever. it was as high as it was wide. it was like a ball. it took me twenty minutes to eat it, and afterwards i caked in condiments. all this to the background music of the beach boy's "wouldn't it be nice", and other american diner-friendly milkshake drinking happy-go-lucky mind-numbing pop. all i needed was another chocolate and peanut butter milkshake. two in as many days would have been too many. maybe even two too many.

did you know seven people subscribe to my blog feed through google? hurray (i'm happy with this, i'm sure others will laugh). and if you're wondering where this data comes from, when the google feedfetcher fetches your feed it lists your subscriber count in its user-agent. simply do a search in your logs for 'Feedfetcher-Google'. it's cute right? unfortunately they've only been doing it about a week so you can't check how your subscription compares with last month. i imagine next month mine will look depressingly similar. not that depressing.

not to harp on about hotlinking allthefuckingtime, but i thought i'd let you know that 0.016% of my logs are hotlink requests (out of about 61000 a day). unless you know logs that wont seem much, but then if you don't know logs you don't care anyway.

i really wish i had something interesting to tell you but my life just isn't interesting anymore. lol.




25.02.2007: does al gore calling toronto a "beacon of hope" help? i don't think so. this city has far to go before back patting can be justified. i like his optimism and his fantastic motivational punch, but (and unlike when listening to george monbiot) i still feel something is missing. we have no reason to feel good about ourselves, and being told we can save the planet with little compromise doesn't make sense to me. no matter how big a beacon toronto might be, while the roads of downtown are full of cars you're not going to be able to see it for the smog. this isn't rocket science.

and you heard al gore flew in right? by plane. those things that fly around the world and are the single most environmentally destructive thing we all do on a on-going basis. apparently this is okay though because al gore is offsetting his travel. setting a good example? i don't think so. offsetting is not a solution, it's an excuse for a lack of one. it's a method of making yourself feel better whilst doing something you shouldn't. it's what you do instead of making the right decision. this isn't hard to understand, it's very very simple. and if you think i'm being an ass then ask yourself what can possibly be done with your money that will remove the carbon you just released. if you plant trees they'll take 60 years before they start efficiently sucking it up. and if we all planted the necessary amount of trees to zero our footprint we'd need six times the amount of land that we have (at least). so shut the fuck up about offsetting like it's a solution. and now you've got me angry. cock sucker.

disclaimer: i think what al gore is doing right now is brilliant. while people in his audience are still gasping at him his speech is still important, and if his message is conveyed clearer and more effectively in person then that's okay too. but he doesn't need to fly to do it.


also i made my first latkes, which were far from impressive (maybe because they were cooked in the wrong oil, but most likely because god only lets jews cook them properly), and my first jambalaya. hopefully the first of many. i rock creole cooking and have conquered the roux. i've also destroyed another pan in the process. it's all good though, and with yesterday's transylvanian casserole and tonight's borscht i'm feeling quite culinarily cultural.

on friday, after the jambalaya, we went west to the lula lounge to see telmary, a cuban hip hop jazz poet. the night was very salsa oriented but telmary is nothing but cool. as is the venue, very posh. but killer prices on the tequila. her band was fun to watch too, if you could see over the ring of eight photographers surrounding the stage. i'd like to see her team up with heitham from senser.

then on saturday we went east to krista's house and watched 'thank you for smoking', which is witty enough to overcome it's post fight club ostentations. not that i really know what that word means (unlike nefarious, thanking you muchly). what i liked best about krista's house is the orange colour of the walls and the blue mounting of her photo. also the popcorn machine (pure genius) and her gluten free banana cake (you would never guess).

a few blocks south of us, while investigated a bad smell (no shit) the police found over 100 dead sheep locked in an abandoned house. no wonder you don't get squatters round here.




23.02.2007: my new plan (new and best) is to rove the city collecting all the dead pigeons and squirrels. then i'll bury them under the snow on the front lawn of someone i don't like. when the winter draws to a close and the city thaws, one special morning there will be a delightful surprise waiting for them on their doorstep. an army of the dead, the city's lost and forgotten. perfectly preserved in their dying moment. you better book ahead for your children's counselling.

anyway, what to do with a few images that are being hotlinked by over 50 seperate pages? obviously you put your web address in the bottom corner. so i apologise if i ruined, even slightly, your lovely myspace layout for a measley 8% increase in my traffic. but at least i said sorry. and at least i didn't steal your bandwidth or cost you anything. the beauty here is that if someone doesn't want to use my image anymore i lose nothing. if anything i gain, because then my bandwidth isn't being hammered quite so badly.

and here's another reason why i love google images (and visitor tracking). i can see in my server logs that three days ago someone in australia did a search on google images for [dumpster diving] and happened to find my site (i wonder why?). i can see they bookmarked my site because they came back another couple of times during the following day with no referer. the next thing i see is the same person coming to my site via a link from another site. intriguing huh? so i check it out and turns out it's a newsletter, with the top article about freeganism and featuring my link. two hours later and i recieve a huge spike in traffic, right after their mail drop. it's not just free advertising with a boost in traffic, it's a boost in relevant traffic. and all because i ranked for a good phrase in google images.

so there are two examples within the last 24 hours of why a ranking in google images isn't a wasted ranking.

also i just realised you could do a backlink check in google blogsearch. it's a whole new world of 'excitement'.

also i've had a very good day so far. and it's going to get better. thank you.




22b.02.2007: i hate this. i should be out taking photos whilst the blizzard rages on. i actually got wet this morning, from the fist sized clumps of snow (slight exaggeration) coming down like god herself has dandruff.

you know me better than that, i only used such a stupid simile because it allowed me to be mildly controversial.

whatever

last night i took a quick venture through my log files. i don't do this very often and it was the first time in several months. needless to say, little has changed. they're just a bit longer these days, no doubt thanks to the google image update. i wasn't a sixth of the way through and i'd already identified over thirty hotlinkers (mostly myspace of course, and a few from xanga). i had to give up. it's a real shame that hotlinking doesn't count towards your link equity. it doesn't even seem to effect google image rankings, except for when your picture ranks on some other fucker's domain, which is fundamentally treacherous. having said that i do see these hotlinks showing up in yahoo site explorer sometimes, but i doubt they count for shit (very important seo technical term).

so what to do when you find an ever elusive giant squid? you drag it on board and freeze it for scientific research. apparently it was nearly dead anyway, but i'm not sure how they could know for certain. giant squids ('colossal' in this case) tend to come nearer the surface when they dead or dying, so yeah. has there ever been a more poetic animal?




22.02.2007: when i started writing about this it was just as an aside, but the more i thought about it the more i realised this needs its own post. here's a major freedom-of-speech flame-fanning event, and i can't believe i didn't hear about it sooner.

it looks like being dooced has just got more extreme. it's one thing confessing to manslaughter (or whatever it was) on your blog and getting busted (doing a blake?), but another to be jailed because you criticised religion and the state. being kareemed.

abdel karim nabil soliman has just been sentenced to four years imprisonment in egypt (oh it's just fucking ridiculous), "three years for contempting religion, and one year for defaming the president". if you feel inclined then please visit the free kareem website for up-to-date information. you could even sign the various petitions. and for completion, here is his blog, but unfortunately it's in arabic.

this blog certainly demands the immediate and unconditional release of abdel karim nabil soliman.




21.02.2007: it wasn't two seconds before they'd labelled me as a geek, they had me down and i was barely through the library turnstile. i didn't even get a chance to look around and they'd directing me down the stairs to where bryan lee o'malley was talking. does it hang off me so blatantly? am i so obvious? to be honest i'm disappointed i'm that transparent. what is it about me that screams "i read comics" and means that's the only reason i'd be hanging out in a library?

it was a great evenings entertainment though, the beguiling boys know how to put on a good (and yes, geeky) show. also bryan is taller than i'd imagined, which has nothing to do with his writing or drawing talents. except i never did get him to draw me a billy corgan. i mentioned it to him at the start but didn't want to push the issue during his signing session. next time for sure.

then i slept badly again. at half one i was convinced i was coming down with something. everything was getting confusing. i kept thinking/dreaming i was writing emails. but in the butthole of the morning my legs managed to just about work and the shower mildly revived. i still feel crap, but it's a more optimistic flavour of crap. but it still feels like a spider web i've fallen into.

so to justify my comments about stalking, you should see it as glorified data mining. and who doesn't find that entertaining?

with five types of cheese on 'bagel wednesday' i'm lost in a world of ..actually, i'm starting to feel a little sick.




20.02.2007: this is just a test, relax:



i hope that was as good for you as it was for me. if it wasn't blame johanna.

i slept real bad last night, nightmares i'm blaming on facebook. and for all the wrong reasons. i'd love to divulge (indulge) but it just wouldn't be right. i'd never get away with it.

i just love stalking old friends on the internet (i'm a bona fide stalker hobbyist). too bad they all seem to have much better things to do than network 'socially'. which reminds me, joey was talking about secret admirers, how these days they're more likely to be labelled as stalkers. i blame the internet. i blame the climate of fear. i blame you. and that girl who drove me to stalking that one time. maybe twice.

but i also miss the secret admirer, as a concept of course, it's not like i ever had one. oh wait, i suppose i wouldn't know that huh? actually, apparently i did have one once. except it wasn't much of a secret. she was sick all over the stairs. it would have been a beautiful start to a perfect relationship, only i didn't particularly like her.

it's warm outside. do you believe it? it's like four degrees above.




19.02.2007: as you might have expected, my saturday went slowly, dragging along the ground somewhat due to minor damage incured by friday night flooding into saturday morning. no day likes being invaded by its brothers and sisters, having its toes stepped on, but sometimes it's just the way it goes. poor saturday and sunday.

first up was the demonstration against israeli apartheid, which was good for quite a few reasons, the speakers were predominantly women and damn good, and they managed to get the go ahead to march along bloor street. for those who don't know toronto, bloor street is the north boundary of 'downtown' and always busy. the cars were backed up as far as you could see. it was all friendly though, cars stopping as they passed to take flyers, and the few pro-israeli people who came out to vent kept their distance (although i can't call constant flag waving at the march anything other than hostility). it ended outside indigo bookstore, where we demanded they cut their ties to heseg (the foundation for lone soldiers). i've never bought anything from indigo anyway, but i'll be doubley sure not to from now on.

later on we eat tacos and then watch battle royale, with julie translating the danish subtitles. ludicrous but fun. it turns out the script isn't so important after all, all you need to know is everyone is in love with someone else (the actual person is unimportant).

sunday was all about the skiing, my hands still hurt from clasping the poles. pathetic isn't it? we travelled up north again, out into what i'd like think of as back country (but clearly isn't). ballroom dancing, water rides, snowed-in diners (complete with dinosaur in the parking lot), all seemingly abandoned. jugernaut snow plows. the craziest weather i've ever been driven through, who knew canadians could drive in zero visibility? it's a talent, for sure. a terrifying and exhilarating talent.

out in the forest, up the hill, i was cursing myself for not bringing my camera. the tonal ranges out there were beautiful - between the trees, their thick clumps of snow (like strange growths, like insect nests) and the frosted sky, the sun trying and failing to burn through. but realistically it's just not viable, carrying it around and stopping every five minutes to take a photo, it'd double the time taken to complete a circuit and i'd probably freeze through. it was damn cold out. my scarf froze solid and on the final straight my eye lashes froze my eyelids together. we did about 10km in total, which was enough for me, and we did it pretty quick as well, apparently. my favourite part of skiing will always be returning to the cabin and getting a hot drink. maybe a pastry. enjoying the post-exercise exhaustive bliss. some crap like that. it's great.

on the way home i fell asleep listening to neil young and woke up to the same song, the tape on repeat. maybe sleeping through the album is for the best, what do i know?




17.02.2007: the most interesting parts of my day had been spent trying to explain eschaton, timewave zero, the noosphere and alan moore's ideaspace (i'm sure that needs a 'tm'). not to mention the five dimensional aliens and how they fit into all this crap. needless to say i was a miserable failure. even after x amount of pints, wherever the fuck they came from.

we ended up walking home, searching for food amongst the restaurants all closed for the night, any old pizza or vege burger or both or niether. i can't really remember. i barely remembered the most amazing thing that happened that night. i'd tramped off to find a vaguely secluded spot to colour in the snow and noticed a trail of a foot prints running along the wall, up the bank and to.. where? you couldn't not follow it. i struggled with the incline, but reached the top just in time to not get hit by the train. it whistled out of nowhere, thundering and glorious along the brick wall, illuminated in all shades of excitement, every speck of snow bright in its headlights. the rush of air and snow flake turbulence. whoosh. just like that, my first ever ghost train.

further down yonge i saw a park and went for it, sliding giddy down the embankment, lost a glove and got snow up my sleeves. part of me wished i'd tumbled and rolled, landed face first, embraced it in full childish glory. it's not childish, it's remembering what it's like to let go and enjoy yourself in the world with reckless immortal abandon, disregard for consequence or anyone else's opinion. it's remembering the pain of snow between your teeth and gums.

the wish stayed with me until we were nearly home and i was determined to prove a three meter high pile of snow was infact a pile of snow and not a snow covered slope. i wasn't very convincing as i slid down on my back, from huntley street down all the way down to mt.pleasant road. still unsatisfied, there was another mound of snow nearer our house, this one under two meters. i conquered that fucker proper. stumbled, dropped, rolled, drunk idiot, fantastic.

back in the warmth i fell over trying to take my wet trousers off, grazing my knee on our industrial carpet. a perfect ironic moment of "i'm not that drunk, honest".




16.02.2007: all this week there's been a series of panel discussions and talks around the subject of israeli apartheid. we missed the first three for various nefarious reasons and were determined to make the one last night, the only problem being julie was waiting for me in the graduate student pub, and as soon as i'd sat down and drained an inch of beer that's all i wanted for the rest of the night. so the fourth was missed for a lame reason, and the fifth will be missed for the same. we will make the indigo/chapters boycott protest on saturday though, i promise.

it's just that it had been a while since i'd had the pleasure of sitting and relaxing in a nice cosy pub. pitchers of beer. steamed up windows. huddling round an open fire (okay i made this one up, but the artful dodger near us does have one). ranting about communism and creationists and crap like that. then when we got home we found all colours of fantastic junk thrown out on the street. our apartment is now decorated with snow covered furniture. lush. yes we are.

i'd write more and better rubbish for you, but the other pub is calling. i'm not drinking too much, don't worry about me, honest.




15.02.2007: a distressed couple stand on the corner of wellseley and church. they look up and down and every which way, along every possible route they could take. all permutations. and despite her best efforts to hide it behind designer sun glasses and an expensive hair cut, she looks ever so concerned. holding fast to her partners arm, is he concerned because she's wrinkling his coat? i should give them the benefit of the doubt, but they're going nowhere. there's just no way she'll brave the pavement, covered in its slippy slush, snow and ice. i can only presume she also had no option but to wear those high heels. thos tiny narrow shoes with no grip. barely a shoe at all. barely anything.

and i thought i had stupid shoes.

my photos from the badly lit orchid fair the other day:




what really is beautiful though, and the best thing about 5:30pm, is the sun setting along eglinton. the sun howers between the buildings just inches above the road, smacks you in the face and blinds you all the way to the subway. everything's a solar blur and the street's bathed in gold. either that or the tiny slip of sky is fetish pink and all consuming. it's enough to make braving the cold worth it. that and it's in the direction of home.




14.02.2007: stepping out of the building this morning was like stepping into another world. a whiter and softer world. our street's topography has been transformed into acute peaks and troughs, and i sank several contours with my first step. sure we had snow pilling up against our windows (tomorrow we'll have no windows at all) but i wasn't expecting all the previous footprints leading away from our front door to have been erased so quickly. where has toronto gone?

oh boy did i wear the wrong shoes.

and walking along wellesley i couldn't help but laugh at the cavalcade of snow plows, the man with his lawnmower/snowblower. just laughing at the absurdity. in england we'd all be frowning and shaking our heads, how are we going to deal with all this stuff? what even is it?

the weather here is delightfully barbaric. snowdrift across the derelict tarmac, making patterns of chaos. isn't that all we really are though? strange attractors or something? i've started to see myself as a wave, it's an exciting and refreshing way to view your life. as a wave you're seperated from the object, you're no longer a commodity, you're more like a service. you're a flow that came from nowhere and will return there when you're done. if you scale this up we're all part of one big wave, the same wave, all riding a bunch of atoms that enjoy banging into each other.

but this week's rant goes out to the fatties on the TTC. it may not be fair that the subway trains have been designed badly, but it's not fair either that i get squashed unbearably in my seat or don't even get a seat at all, and just because some fattie decided they want to take up one and a half seats. sitting between two fatties is terrible, but not as bad as having one come and try and squeeze in between you and the other person on the three seater. normal people don't even try and do that. what are you trying to prove? anyway, i'm not all asshole this morning, i'm prepared to offer a solution. i propose a 'fatty zone', much like the first class zone in england. if you like it can even be by the escalator so you don't have to walk far. when the train arrives you can consider that carriage the fatties carriage, for fatties only if it makes you feel special and less discriminated against.

the obvious next step is people who fart on the subway during rush hour. you worthless pieces of shit.




13.02.2007: i beg you to watch baby squids, born like stars. (and next time you're round mine i can show it you in high-res). you know that squids are my favourite animal right? the giant squid especially. and using this knowledge, combined with my adoration of mcsweeney's, you might reach the conclusion that i'd love to be bought animals of the ocean, in particular the giant squid. you'd be right too.

update: more terrifying squid action

i'm worried i might turn into a bagel. "better a bagel than an asshole", that's what my pops always used to say.




12.02.2007: this morning it's more like shards of glass falling from the sky. tiny glittering crystals, refracting sunlight, microscopic rainbows filling all nooks and crannies. every corner of the world illuminated in a vast wash of colour. only, it's a load of wannabe poetic/scientific crapshit. the world's as ugly as ever, and sometimes it's just too hard to make it pretty again. other times it's not even worth it. who's going to stop for a minute and appreciate it if one of us turns the sidewalk into a theatre of joy? blocking the way, spilled coffee, crazy homeless person, just get a job, where's my fucking mcmuffin?

'crapshit' is indeed my new favourite word. make it yours today for only $10 a month.

so a bunch of funked up individuals crashed the 'shell wildlife photographer of the year' exhibition at the london natural history musuem and smeared oil-like paint over the works on display. it could go either way but this one definately gets my complete approval. shell have no business putting their name behind wildlife photography, who the fuck are they trying to fool? there's a bad video here and information about other protests that happened over the weekend, er, there.




11.02.2007: the weekend is a pair of lip smacking beautiful days. as long as you keep your eyes off the dirtied oilslick of a pavement at least. the sun is loving us so hard that i'm commenting how warm it is to myself as i'm walking up jarvis, a less than ruthless -5c. you see the words 'snow squall' bandied around, and you see new york buried in snow, but here it's almost tropical.

in terms of events there was the erotic fair and the orchid fair. both suffered from being over crowded, too hot, too far away and not quite what we'd expected. but a bit of suffering is good for the soul and i enjoyed them both. the erotic fair wasn't exactly bursting (throbbing?) with eroticism, but entertained just plenty. there was some gorgeous art decorating the walls and all of it too expensive. lots of wooden penises, an impressive vagina cake and a few great tshirts that wouldn't suit me. also weird is the number of people there who i recognised. that and the gladstone hotel is a well nice.

the orchid fair was all about people taking photos, people who i presume missed that there was a set time dedicated for photographers. every other person had a camera and nearly all of them were clearly shite. too many times i wanted to point out to people that their cheap camera has zero chance of focusing at a distance of 10cm, but nevermind. of course the people with posh cameras who know what they're doing annoy me more, i'm that kind of person. yes, jelous. as for the orchids, there were far too many and it was quite overwhelming. and then ten minutes later you've seen a couple and you've seen them all. that's not to say they weren't amazing.

saturday night was decorated with dinner at john and margaret's, which is always a pleasure. this time we took around cat grass in a bid to sedate the cat. i didn't get bitten so it might even have worked. after dinner and before dessert we played guitar hero, their new family hobby. it's so good it almost blew my mind. it blew something in julie too, a fuse or something, i don't know (this is me being mean, she did get better). on the driver home police had placed red flare along the road and were stopping everyone, asking them if they'd been drinking and how much. it was straight out of a movie and i was totally high. i don't believe in not finishing a bottle of wine once it's been opened. it's just not polite.

and since i haven't been giving me camera much loving i went a bit skitz on the TTC:




that will all have to do. the weekend in review.




09.02.2007: sometimes i miss the certainty of exams. sometimes i can't help laughing at bad news. sometimes i don't shower after sex.

none of this matters though when you know the secret of tofu. how it works is this, a block of tofu is essentially a sponge, so if you want it to suck up more of your flavours you need to compress it just before cooking. you squeeze the water our leaving room for whatever joy you have prepared for it. this isn't the secret, i'm just giving you the back story. but if you accidentally put your block of tofu in the freezer (or in your and my case, read about it somewhere and have to try it) the water expands and totally fucks up changes its consistency. when thawed your tofu is now chewier and more absorbant and has ten times the rock and roll.

last night was the delightful annual dinner at the faculty of forestry, organised by some very nice man whose name i have completely forgotten. when i said 'dinner' what i meant was indian feast. just a big bunch of friendly pleasant people, then me and julie in the middle having a heated conversation about property damage and ineffectual peaceful protests. "no peace no justice" means that without justice there will be no peace. put your first where your mouth is.

richard branson in greenwash shocker. rather than offering $25million to someone who can solve his problems, why the fuck doesn't he just solve them himself? there's a thousand ways he could make virgin airlines and virgin trains more environmentally friendly. what is he waiting for? i say send in monbiot to rough him up a bit. if you read the article properly (unlike me) you'll realise it's actually a reasonably decent venture, despite its western style treatment of the symptoms rather than the cause - the idea is to devise a scheme to remove gases that have already been released into our atmosphere. it's no excuse for not cutting emissions, but in the end it may be the only way to save the planet.

sorry, didn't you hear? we're all completely fucked.

the blind photographer breaks my heart.




08.02.2007: i'm on the subway glaring through the scratched window at mt.pleasent cemetery. it's decorated in winterness, every grave capped by snow, and i'm deciding that however great a word "searing" is, it's just not the right word. it's a word you come up with after the fact, one lifted from a hundred other texts, one that feels like it should describe what you feel, but really it's just pattern matching.

when a shocking or painful thing happens the last thing you're thinking about are the words you'd use to describe it. an image, like the blood running down the plug hole, is easy. the car on its side with the front left wheel spinning, glass probably litters the tarmac. the knife popping out between your ribs. more cookie cutter images, but if it's what's burnt into your memories then so it goes. still it says nothing of what you felt.

the less than gentle rocking of the train helps to remind me. the shooting pains, another word stolen from countless locations. commuters slouching in the hard seats of the TTC, leaning against the poles, being pulled carelessly by the momentum. i wish i could have their posture. be able to bend down and pick up the copy of the metro rustling around at my feet.

seething is another good word, sounds like searing.

but back in the shower, for a minute there (nearer a minute than a second) i wasn't sure what to do. fighting the cold air and muscle spasms, a contorted spine with a history as bad as any. dizzy from the pain. just being dramatic as ever, i'm sure. i'll never shower naked again.

the radio plays joy division and the jesus and mary chain. it makes me happy in the most perfectly miserable way.




07.02.2007: welcome to bagel wednesday, what'll likely be my favourite day of the week from here on in.

so did you get around to seeing 'children of men'? i caught it last night and thought it was brilliant, down to every little detail. even the kula shaker cover on the radio and the ridiculous aphex twin. battersea power station and tate modern's turbine hall, complete with banksy graffiti. for a mexican cuaron sure knows how to make a british movie. think of 'y: the last man' crossed with brazil. pesonally i could have done without the action at the end, but it was sure impressive. is that what all action films are like these days? i don't think i could take two hours of that. but really, i was chuckling all the way through at the references and dry british humour. and michael caine? he just gets better with age.

but why is it that people in radio adverts are so fucking dumb? aren't you sick of being insulted and patronised and lied to?

it's a shame i'm going to miss monochrom's "premature burial as a field trial for near death activities". i mean, i don't particularly fancy being buried alive tonight, but it sure would be a hoot.

none of this explains why i'm waking up and half four every morning, sometimes five.






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