news [archive 29]

06.06.2007: every few minutes the cars slide by, slowly in the single lane that's been left for them, the drivers staring in a mix of amazement and confusion - who are these people having a picnic in the middle of the road? if only they knew they might be able to save themselves, and the rest of the world.

it's streets are for people, sitting on blankets, thick enough to protect us from the concrete, and playing giant scrabble that stretches over three lanes of tarmac (i think our team won, but it's not the winning that counts). this isn't quite 'reclaim the streets', the TTC has already done the hard work by tearing up the road and leaving bollards everywhere, but it's about as fun and has the bonus of avoiding hassle from the cops.

a dude in a long black coat and cool hat saunters over and asks me if i'd like to share a cup of tea, and with a grin and a wink he warns me it's spiked. so we pass around a cup of tea laced with amaretto, perfectly sweet and warming on this chilly summer evening. these are the nicest bunch of people you'll find in the middle of any road anywhere.

after the games everyone settles down on the carpets and blankets to listen to some acoustic songs as the sun sets. drinking more tea, the sky over ossington in viscious pinks, bruising to purple and then dark blue, the colours trickle and melt into the horizon. singing "get out of the box" to the passing SUVs, ignoring the odd cop car (looking like a tube of toothpaste with their new design). sharing bread and cheese, grapes and cookies, humous dip. and when it's dark enough a makeshift movie screen is erected and we watched a few short films (including benny zenga's awesome 'skiboys').

we would have stayed for pee-wee's big adventure, but it was already late when it started and we had no idea how we were getting home. we walked up to little italy, all cute with it's green, white and red lights in the trees, and caught the streetcar east. it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

this morning the weather is perfect so i finally got to cycle to work, and it's totally made my day. it wasn't even that complicated. in a city where it's an almost revolutionary act to cycle i thought it'd be a lot harder, but i worked out a route avoiding the main (and lethal) roads that even goes through mt.pleasent cemetary. and now i've noticed i can take the belt line trail nearly all the way home. truly awesome.

go go blockades go! support the troops! and fuck the FCC:

Today, the Federal Constitutional Court confirmed the complete ban of demonstrations against the G8. The alliance "Sternmarsch" (march starting from several locations towards one place) is not going to register further events. A speaker said: "We don't consider ourselves responsible for the course of events in actions and demonstrations. The democratic path has been closed for us".

democracy can wait. and if you can't protest the only other option is what? riot?

05.06.2007: it wasn't even a minute from when i woke up and it started to pour down. 7:01am, i thought, fuck it i'm going back to sleep. so much for my great plans to cycle to work every day. and so much for my plan to sleep, it wasn't many more minutes until the gardeners turned up with their mower and chainsaw to tidy up our garden. and you should have seen the mess they left it in. mud everywhere, torn up rough patches. our living room smelling of diesel.

of course it stopped raining, so had i actually got up at 7am i'd have been able to cycle to work. well, at least i thought that until i got to yonge and eglinton, late again because the TTC is still running slowly for no apparent reason, and it was tipping it down. so now i'm sitting at my desk with wet trousers and a mild swimmy feeling in my head. i managed to dry the rest of me under the dryer in the toilet.

so yes, google streetview is quite the toy. i mean, google earth was impressive, but this takes the biscuit. there's just too much information in there (as demonstrated by this great blog), it hurts my brain. my favourite thing so far is this rubiks cube in sanfrancisco. i also liked the various images of people getting busted by the police (at least a few of these have now been removed). and cats of course, lots of cats to be found. of course microsoft are hot on their heals with photosynth, which would also be amazing, if only it'd run on my computer and i could play with it. i'll just take dan and declan's word for it.

anyway, part valencia is go on my spain travel diary, complete with pictures and things to make you go "oooh".

and it's also time for the last song in emo radio's japanese season, and i've saved the best til last. i turmoiled for hours over which envy song to give you, but in the end it had to be the first one i fell in love with, 'your shoes and the world to come'.

my sandwiches today rock. cheese, tomato and chive.

04.06.2007: it started to rain during our sunday roast, although "rain" is quite the understatement. it carried on through most of the night (i slept terribly) and continued into the morning, meaning i couldn't cycle to work. it's okay though, because i've now got time to find out where i can actually put my bike when i get here, which is nowhere. am i really the only person who cycles to work in this building? i'm afraid it looks like it. i'll sort something out though.

that sunday roast i mentioned was magnificent though, and cooked for six people, all of whom were well satisfied. it all came together rather nicely in the end. and cheers to louise for the nutroast recipe, it was top. it's true what you've heard, we do awesome dinner parties. we finished the nights entertainment off with a game of eve's quest, which was particularly difficult to finish due to a slew of crazy answers. these things happens. thanks for the wine, beer and herb garden.

if you can be bothered, this article is an entertaining read. you'd think with a name like "cockburn" he'd be a bit more careful.

and for some weird reason i suddenly got a burning passion to play crossbows and catapults. i've still got most of the original game (plus expansions) back home in rugby, but i think all the cool bits are broken or missing. shouldn't they reissue it? i mean, it must be the best game of all time. surely?

03.06.2007: whatever you think about the G8, the police or black bloc tactics, please don't pay attention to the mainstream media. if you want any reasonable accounts of what's happening in rostok you're going to have check the alternatives.

my own weekend has been more peaceful. on friday we were going to visit the toronto islands, but when we got down there it was grey and raining and we decided it'd be a waste of a ferry trip (as much as i love being on a boat in the rain). good rain though, rain that dampens the heat. the kind of rain that evaporates as soon as it hits you. and when the rain stopped i kind of wished it hadn't.

we had shopping to do anyway, a cycle helmet and a bike lock, plus various other errands to run. like taking photos to be developed, getting a new bank card (for some reason bmo bank machines give you your money before your card, so of course i'm going to lose it all the time) and picking up gig tickets for that night. i wasn't so fussed about seeing the pipettes, but was well up for seeing smoosh (monster bobby was also supporting). smoosh were great, although they deserved a much longer set and they didn't even play rad. you can tell they're growing up though, getting taller and more confident. it's amazing what dancing on stage with the eels will do for you. they've also enlisted the bass playing abilities of their younger sister, which probably brings their average age back to eleven or twelve. just too cool. and their bloc party cover (modern love) is way better than it should be. the pipettes were fun, but not essential, and i prefered them when they were singing acapella. the background band just kind of get in the way, and i recognised half of them, various annoying brighton people (okay, it's just one of them that annoys me). a few songs in we went upstairs to the dance cave to dance to blur and other fun indie songs until they started playing dodgy electro. is it like this in england now too?

we had other places to be anyway, we walked quickly back to st.james town and to sedric and sofie's apartment. the one with the awesome night view of the city, which i can now enjoy because i remembered my glasses. sedric heated up some dahl, which i ate with cheesey popcorn, and we played dice games, which french guy julian was really good at, until it was actually quite late. at least it was by the time the elevator had taken us down to the ground floor.

i spent most of the saturday thinking it was sunday. we didn't do much until about half three when we went to the cinema to see a very silly and very long pirate film. it was entertaining but not good. pirates are still cool though, and respect to disney for making an epic anarchist vs capitalist film, which glorifies the anarchists and has them winning.

then to the ethiopian place off yonge street, passing the scientology building, but this time there being no one outside to shout "cult!" at. sharing one plate between five people is the best way to dine, and it's definately one of my favourite restaurants. this time we even managed to finish all the food, including the injera. after eating we went back to sedric and sofie's again, to drink beer on their balcony and play crazy french games (jungle speed? probably not french) before walking over to kensington, trying to avoid the busy streets so we could drink beer on the way. only retarded cities don't let you drink beer on the streets. most of them right?

it was lucky because we'd almost ended up going down to richmond street, and those nasty clubs, but we saw sense and went to supermarket instead. i'm sure it's a nice place, and the music was okay, but i just wasn't getting on with it. i got sick of the "hey, you're really attractive, look at me i'm really attractive too" clientele very quickly. and the dancefloor was annoying too, none of this i can justify. there was a tv in the toilet playing adverts though, one about "ignoring global warming wont make it go away" (wwf) and the other about a snazy new car you must have. justify that.

we left early and that pretty much brings us to now, which is sunday, finally. who would have thought three day weekends could be so good?

but is it so bad that i had five bagel meals in a row? after this bagel wednesday there was an abnormally large number of bagels left, so i did a runner with a bag of seven. they're good too. but then bagels are awesome.

that last paragraph was a bit random because i wrote it ages ago. anyway..

01.06.2007: i'm off into the sticks. out into mississauga. i take the 32b bus from yonge and eglinton and it's full so that no one can even breathe, apparently it makes the journey more bareable, and about an hour later i'm the only person left on the bus as it snakes around desolate streets, what i'd call a wasteland, in the sense that it's been completed wasted. i lower my face to the crack in the window, trying to find the breeze that's warm and clammy.

mine is the last stop, and stepping from the bus you're confronted with endless highway. when you look away from it the void consumes you, disappears off into the heat haze. out here is all road and strip mall. it's another world, one you never need or want to see. there are so many power cables they obscure the sky, blocking out the sun. i'm barely even over-exaggerating.

but i'm the strange guy you see walking along the side of the road as you speed by, listening to fucking bon jovi because you're a prick with no taste. i'm the guy who should have a cowboy hat and his thumb out. i'm the guy who should have a gas mask and a bottle of water, singing to himself to pass the hours it takes to get to my destination.

and soon enough i reach the suburb, it comes out of nowhere, and feels fake like cheap ice cream. and who named these streets? i personally would hate to live on either indian summer terrace or tranquil drive? it'd make me cringe every time i left the house, my beautiful big perfect house, with my two kids and my huge car. they come as standard round here.

i'm here to pick up my new bike, courtesy of a guy with a cool name and craigslist. it's blue and has lots of gears. it need a bit of tweaking but i think it's a bargain. and once i have it it's only 10km back to the nearest subway station, kipling, to ride home. whoosh. the whole journey only took nearly four and a half hours, and people say they need cars? bullshit.

anyway, now it's friday, the new saturday since thursday is the new friday. and whatever it is, it's my new favourite day.

31.05.2007: standing on the street for hours, just staring at this building:

waiting for the strong gust of wind that will send it crushing to the ground.

and being waken up in the night by the smell of burning. the distant sound of sirens tells you you're okay, but i still want to get out of bed and go find the fire. but not on the wrong side of 4:20. i fell straight back to sleep, but in the morning you can still smell it in the air.

you know what though? my office isn't as fun as it used be. i no longer get electric shocks whenever i touch anything, and my old terror campaign involving the loose bolt in the urinal is over. i used to pull it out so it looked like a limp dick. yes, that was me. but now the bolts have been replaced by white caps, which also come off if you pull hard enough, but to less comic effect. also, someone thought it would be funny to play the 18 hour u2 marathon on the radio. like i don't hate bono enough already.

what is exciting though, we recieved our first organic food box. the box is huge, but the contents aren't quite so impressive. the foods good, but there isn't as much as you'd expect for $36. there aren't many meals worth of veg. the fruit and leaves are good though. we'll see how it goes.

30.05.2007: a beautiful and enraging summer evening, as much my music's fault as it is the season's. i could just punch every car and passer-by. that or kiss them, because there's nothing wrong with being diametric. walking into the sunset, it blinding orange through the skyscrapers. not stopping at any stupid traffic lights. "hitting the canvas, the floor is law, corporate america awakes, the city's on fire in the pouring rain". everywhere smells of paint and flowers. sometimes it's all you can do to not break down in the street and start pulling the concrete from the earth, taking everything apart slab by slab, brick by brick. ripping the structures to dust. how many meters down and you still haven't found any fucking soil?

the goosebumps on my arms will never cause a revolution. but i enjoy the tingling all the same.

and i was sitting the future cafe, staring out the open walls or reading my book or whatever it is you do when hanging out in a trendy cafe. students and hipsters, ugly people don't come round these parts. vines hanging up all the walls and candles on all the wonky wooden tables. it's all about wood and aesthetics, and a cake selection to die for. or die whilst consuming, it's not safe. this is where couples come on dates, feeding each other cake. it will only end in heart disease. they leave all their food infront of me, begging to be eaten, if only it wasn't covered in meat. if i had any bullshit left in me i'd write an ode to ambient lighting. instead i'll discuss rape and sound like i'm defending katie roiphe, which i'm not.

and another million points that disappear into obscurity.

i was already going to mention this incident, involving a "road rage" attack on a cyclist in toronto, but when it was announced that it was actually a cop who did the assualting.. well, what else is there to say? except that, unfortunately, the kids who recorded it were doing a project on the benefits of public video surveillance. can we please file this one under false positive?

29.05.2007: due to a date mix up it turns out i was in europe within two weeks of the G8. i thought it was happening at least a month after i was over there. fuck it. i mean, it's not like i could have planned it any better and been able to go anyway, had i not got all confused like, but it's still annoying. especially since there seems to be absolutely nothing going on here in toronto, and there's already loads of action going on over there.

next year japan? i'm not so sure.

last night rachelle took us climbing at the place down on king and bathurst, so today i'm obviously having a little difficulty typing. actually i don't ache that bad at all, but i do think rachelle was trying to get me back for kicking her ass at 'eve's quest', twice in a row (sunday, during out waffle party). but it was exciting climbing again. i used to love it as a kid, climbing pretty much anything i could, with a child's disregard for any dangers, so i was quite surprised at how hard it was. 18m is a lot higher than it used to be, which doesn't make sense since i'm taller. not that i climbed that high (julie did), by the time we were experienced enough to try the harder walls my arms had completely lost their strength. i just couldn't hold myself onto the wall. it's a great feeling though, a mixture of exhaustion and very mild terror. i'd also like to blame the overpowering smell, it's the worst smelling place i've been here.

afterwards we sat outside a pub drinking beer (luckily i could clasp my pint just fine) and eating chips. that was real nice, and i'm going to be seriously enjoying these endless warm summer nights. we gave some beer (two full glasses left by some other people) to a cool french-speaking punk kid. the pub owner wasn't too impressed, and was unnecessarily rude, but fuck him anyway. the punk kid was determined to get his ass kicked by this guy, but nothing came of it but nasty words.

anyway, after a dodgy schedule the japanese season on my stupid radio-crap-thing continues with muga, and a track off the brutal japanese assault compilation (or is it an anthology?). i don't listen to that CD enough, but this track will lead beautifully into envy, which is what you've been waiting for. be honest.

yeah, now i have to go the library and convince them that i did actually return the book they're trying to fine me for not returning. hassle.

27.05.2007: friday went well. as well as could be expected. this is a very important point, and as such it's going to be mostly ignored. if i was a prick i'd talk about victory for the working class, and other such absurd and hypocritical things, given my disgustingly beourgeoisie lifestyle.

dude, i don't even know what the word means.

but while exploring down the path to summer we've taken a major wrong turn. pissy weather abound. it nearly ruined our trip to riverdale farm early, except we went to goodwill instead and nearly bought a stunning raygun gothic toaster, with a sleak metallic finish and temperature needle meter, only it didn't have a plug.

other fun has included sneaking into the robarts library and looking at photo maps of toronto, who knew there weren't any houses on earl street ten years ago, or the james town community center was a car park? we also started making our own "ADCAB" tshirts, which are going to look sweet (photos coming to a browser infront of you soon). then sedric came round and we drank and played eve's quest and debated his "smiling baby" flag for many hours.

on saturday we went in search of cheap wool and comics, then took them all to high park to sit in the cold. the sun just didn't hold out. we walked around instead and saw huge fish swimming in the shallow waters, jumping and rolling over the low branches and fighting in the reeds. they're probably just trying to get out of the polluted water. in the evening we went over to sedric's new flat, just down the road and up 23 floors, and then to velvet underground, where we danced for three hours straight. they played some great tunes, but not enough angry ones, and without enough reaction to the ones which were. if that makes any sense. we left after a spate of terrible and innappropriate electro-house and walked home, via cora's pizza house.

my feet fucking hurt.

all this and more.

and finally, part madrid (with guest appearance from london) of my spain travel journal is up. the rest is already written, but i thought i'd roll it out with the photos, and if it goes out in one go it'll never get read. not that it'll be read anyway, it's far too long. and only gets longer.

now for waffles.

25.05.2007: airports and aeroplanes, nothing but nightmares. and riddled with annoying contradictions. for instance, you're going on holiday so you should be excited, but really you're just stressed. on the plane they pack as many people in as possible, it's so crammed you can barely eat your shitty complimentary meal. it's infuriating, but filling the planes with as many people as possible is more environmentally friendly (cough). of course, that's not why airlines do it, they do it to make money. and all that security, it's a hassle and i hate it and it makes me feel less safe and paranoid, but really it makes me safer. (controversy warning) if you add up all the inconvenience and grief caused by extra security, does it really total less than that caused by successful terrorist attacks? it's a fair comment until you have quantively compare a death with missing your connecting flight, but that's what economics is all about, right?

my flight was full of mainly old white english people, a complete contrast to air india. it was people moaning for eight hours. an old guy in my row kept shouting at the person in front for tilting his chair back and squashing his legs, he was getting rather offensive, but the guy infront just ignored him. also i had to change from my nice window seat to the middle of the middle row so a couple could sit together. i didn't mind doing it, it's only fair, except the woman who moved so the family with the two screaming kids could be together got offered all kinds of free stuff (headphones, which you had to pay for, and cocktails, etc). the people on either side of me were okay, except they kept trying to talk to me when i was clearly reading my book. this was after i'd already heard their live stories, so it wasn't me being pathetically antisocial

anyway, i'm here now and that what matters. only i found out that chuck palahniuk did a reading/signing in toronto and i missed it by a day. it was at indigo though, who support israeli apartheid don't forget, and you could only get a book signed if you'd bought it from them. the capitalist bastards.

but moaning aside, it's great to be back. the weather is astounding. we spent all day wandering about town, lazing in parks, boiling in the shade, catching up on comics, eating icecream, all that fun stuff. shopping at 'no frills' again, what a joy. feeling like i'm on holiday again. still.

my last day in england was pretty similar. going out for big breakfast (finding an awesome place in rugby that even has vege sausages and vege bacon), bumming around town, getting some new and essential clothing, going to the allotment, having a nice meal, etc. shame the weather got so nice as i was leaving. well, it's nice everywhere, so no worries.

anyway, now i have some clerical matters to attend to.

22.05.2007: i've come a bit late to the bbc vs scientology farce, but what a mess that turned into. if you haven't heard about it, panorama were doing a documentary on scientology, investigating whether they've changed their menacing tune since judge breckenridge claimed that scientology "is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo scientific theories... and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with their sect", when journalist john sweeney lost his temper and made a bit of a fool of himself, and the bbc. that's the short, rather unfair story.

i feel sorry for john sweeney, and i don't think should be criticised for his little 'mistake'. it has nothing to do with his journalistic integrity, and that's now what people should have focused on. that shady tommy character was trying to censor him every step of the way, in the the most frustrating manner, and he deserved a lot more than just being shouting at. i think people should be applauding sweeney for not punching that fuckhead (technical term), and not doing it sooner.

it all seems to hang on the "cult" issue. i think these scientology pricks need to actually check the definition of the word "cult", admit it and just get over it, or would that have too big an effect on their tax haven business model, if they were to be classed as cult rather than a charity or religion? "religion" is a washy word anyway, and i don't see why it has to be mutually exclusive with "cult". and how can they call themselves a religion anyway, when on their own website they claim "in scientology no one is asked to accept anything as belief or on faith". cult. what's the big deal? just say it, cult.

what i think is a shame is that the documentary they had to make now focusses around this stupid incident, and the methods by which the scientology goons harassed the panorama crew, rather than focussing on the ridiculous stuff they actually believe and do. obviously it allures to it, if they had nothing to hide then they wouldn't be such assholes about it. but people who don't know anything about scientology still know nothing about it, only that they're creepy manipulative bastards. it's not exactly material to ridicule them in the streets with (hail xenu!). if you need material that is, i mean, there's plenty of rubbish lying around you could try throwing.

my favourite scene in the documentary (which you can watch on the page linked up top) was when sweeney confronted people in a parking lot who had been following him. the people in the car refused to wind down their darkened windows and after ten seconds drove from the parking lot, along with two other cars (all in scary unison). scientology, it's bollocks isn't it. let's be honest.

so what is the london police chief doing talking at the opening of the new scientology building in london? what do they think it is, fight club? that's the shit that scares me. celebrities are all wankers anyway (this sentence doesn't make sense, since i don't believe in the celebrity), but the police? it makes so sense. (please notice how i didn't make the obvious quip about all police being wankers too)

it's a shame grant morrison didn't write scientologists into the invisibles, i'm sure the outer church would love them.

20.05.2007: more fragments of my time in rugby. at random.

of the two times i was in fopp, scouting out their 'cheap' books, one time they were playing the new incubus album and the other they were playing avril lavigne. both too loud. i'm not sure which i enjoyed more.

playing and finishing shadow of the colossus. gotta love big things. it's a stunning game.

finshing the invisibles, again, but for the first time sequentially. "sequentially", it seems a rather shaky concept. but i have to be careful, because holding it all in my head is tricky business. thought is too fluid to keep it stable, the whole is altered as its parts reassemble and dissolve. and it'll make me make a stupid comment about the sun in a minute.

also reading 'less than zero', because lots of people told me it was good. by the end i was reasonably satisfied, but it was mostly boring, i'm afraid to admit.

then i dreamt i had an ant farm under my hotel bed. and teems of cockroach like insects, crawling and writhing, threatening to break through to the surface and envelope me.

before this the gailes descend on rugby and we have two great nights of interaction. if i could possibly word that any more pretentiously. catching up with them after so long is good, and easier than i'd thought. have we all changed that much? or is it just a trick time plays? i'm blaming "time" again. but my experimental fruit curry went down well, and all the soups and pizzas we put together. i spent a whole game of poker losing, right up to the very end, when i predictably lost (i was just being stubborn). but then i won at buzz, after also spending a long time losing, it all rode on the last question and any of us could have won. i can't even remember what the question was now. 3am does that to you. and everything else.

and amidst this chaos, there was aimee too.

watching the light bulb quickly cool and fade through brown into black.

watching the strip of sunlight trying to crawl through the gap under the door, slowly fade and give into the night.

on a long enough time scale..

hundreds of billions of years from now, watching the sun slowly cool and fade from a white dwarf into nothing. all numbers are infinite, what difference does it make?

14.05.2007: incase you'd be wondering what i've been doing, or incase the me in the future is, i thought i'd give you a few vague ideas.

i've spent a lot of time rearranging things in ways that aren't important. standing in my room it reminds me of shattered pigeons, but not in a way that'd make sense to you. i've shifted all my books from upstairs onto my new shelves, moved them around until i'm happy with how they lie. but why? what kind of legacy is this? and what happens when my parents sell the house and move? i do it all again? it's weird because it's so against how i want to be living my life, without materialism, and here are all these books dragging me down.

and of course martin and corey came to visit. that was the eurovision weekend when i nearly took my eye out with a beer bottle cork that exploded in my face, skimming my eyebrow. or forehead or whatever. i was too in shock to notice. okay, it wasn't that dramatic, but it might have been if it had smashed my glasses. but back on point, martin bought over his russian big muff and it was fucking fantastic. i should have bought one of those ages ago. and then we noticed that 'raise the roses', the throwing muses song, is basically belly's 'angel'. i can't believe i never noticed that before. i swear there's a bit of 'sexy s' in there as well. we stayed up until dawn.

i've also spent a small amount of time on the allotment, weeding or hoeing or whatever it's called. picking radishes and planting stuff, covering the ground in straw to stop weeds. deheading the onions, or whatever that's called.

and then there's the silly amount of films we've watched, all of which i've either seen before or don't want to admit to having watched. as an example, i gave in a watched 'the queen' with my mum, which is sickeningly pro-blair and more about princess diana than the queen. well, it's not really about princess diana, else there'd be even more crap about her in it, but she still manages to steal the show. it was interesting looking back on it, and how i knew absolutely nothing of what was actually going on at the time. it's comforting to know that i haven't changed my mind on how ridiculous the whole thing was.

yesterday i was in birmingham catching up with matt and ad, after what? over four years? it was good though, things felt same as they ever did. i can't believe all that time's gone. and considering how different birmingham is it's weird how little it's actually changed. it's about as grey as it ever was. but since there's so much i'd like to say about this, i'm going to have to say none, else i'd go on all night.

although i did get freaked out by the sloppy sounds of the wrinkled couple kissing on the train, not quite fucking. the wet sounds not matching the dryness of their skin. them falling about in their seats, shifting repetitively and uncomfortably. for forty five minutes. slap slop smack. an inappropriate groan. when he stood up he couldn't even keep his eyes steady, they jumped from the train and only made it by holding onto each other. they were brilliant but everyone else on the train hated them, the guy in the seat behind them made a point of moving further down the carriage.

and i can't get out of my head the face of a woman in town. the palest skin, a faint purple bruise slashed across her nose and both of her veiny checks, like a bad makeup disaster. her boney knuckles gripping a pushchair infront of her. for the briefest second i panicked and thought she was shouting abuse at me, but it was just her child further down the pavement.

some people have the most fucked up stories, it's almost good that we'll never know them.

14.05.2007: politet on the rampage again. burning cars and tear gas rising.

first i hear is aimee's in copenhagen, then i hear that the police have just torn down a house in christiania. i'm always in the wrong place at the wrong time. let's hope aimee is too.

i don't know the backstory on this one, why the police have dismantled the house, but whatever their reason is it's bullshit. haven't they caused enough trouble recently? taking on christiania straight after ungdomshuset is crazy, but then it's not like the people's anger is ever going to fade. it's rubbed in, tattooed on. sometimes literally.

perhaps the police are trying to get all their ethnic cleansing done in one violent swoop. but haven't they filled up all the prisons already?

barricades have been set on fire in the streets surrounding christiania (video) and the police have fired tear gas inside. they're getting remarkably trigger happy aren't they? and the house isn't even anywhere near pusher street so what the fuck are they doing there? they've got no business to kick around causing trouble like that, shooting their grenade launchers and beating drunk men unconscious.

if only throwing shit at them wasn't so damn satisfying.

13.05.2007: rain. it's just so typical. i wouldn't mind but it makes it so difficult to drag yourself out of bed in the morning. that's still no excuse for getting up at quarter to one, that's more to do with me not having a clock in my room. also going to bed at 4am after post-eurovision partying. shit happens.

but less said about eurovision the better. if only i could help myself. this year was the best one in a long time. the english entry was disgusting (so much for trying to curb unnecessary flights and reduce our carbon emissions, also do i detect a nod and wink to good old imperial conquest? we'll fly a flag for you all over the world? fuck off, seriously) but the entries were nicely varied. we all had our favourites, only this is no place to divulge them. it's cool that serbia won though (presuming their economy can take the vile and decedent expenses, i actually have no idea), maybe it'll make it easier to travel there. top holiday destination for next year? i wasn't keen on the song at all though. (yes, actually i hated it, but nevermind). and terry should really shut up about the balkans all voting for each other, surely it's better than shooting at each other.

which reminds me, someone's made some stupid voodoo charm things that attach to your mobile phone. i wouldn't mention them except there's a 'ninja' one. check it out, that ninja is clearly a zapatista.

also, emo radio's 'japanese season' has been going slowly (due to holiday etc), but there's a new song up by mad capsule markets. it's not their best but it's reasonably representational and the intro will give you power enough to crush all enemies. or at least headbutt your younger sister.

i might be alright if only i'd stop dreaming of you.

10.05.2007: don't worry, everything is beginning to stabilise. it's all under control and i know where i'm sleeping every night. whether that's a good thing or not is yet to be established. and i still don't know what time it is when i wake up.

so i'm back from my travels across spain. i heard from an australian guy that this is about finding yourself, but if anything i feel like i've lost myself. i don't know where. that's why it's a feeling instead of a.. er, whatever

and i suppose you'd like to hear that i've got it out of my system, but no. it's only made me want to be a hobo more. maybe i mean a nomad. maybe i don't know what i mean. again, it's just a feeling.

and that's not to say it's not nice to be back, but rather it's saying let's do it again. bigger better grander grandiose. colossal.

let me just get my immune system back and my feet fixed, then i'll tell you all about it (with unnecessary detail and artistic license). and then we'll get lost once more.

27.04.2007: of course i could probably come up with eight things i like about you too, but there was never a poem called that, was there?

i feel jet lagged already this morning. maybe when i land in england tomorrow morning it'll cancel out and i'll be feeling peachy keen. the shit i took for my headache this morning (5am) didn't help much either, i probably hadn't eaten enough but that's no excuse for it making my feel so sick. and weird. i haven't felt normal since. i'm throwing them pills away (incase this worries you, they're nothing abnormal)

the sound of the rain helps. i miss the soothing crackling it makes against tarpaulin. ever so much. rain's the last thing you want when camping, but there's also something special about being trapped in a tent all day. surrounded by felt tips and scrap paper, playing endless cards, reading in the green tinged light.

anyway, every now and again i do something incredibly dull (maybe it's more often than "every now and again"), like creating a graph of how many words i've written on my website every month:

it looks logarithmic to me, what do you think? and i have no idea what the reason for that big spike was. if you're wondering what the area of that graph is, it's over half a million words.

this would also be a good time to mention my new linguistic theory (we all know that's too grandiose a title, whatever). i've noticed myself becoming slightly dyslexic ("not diabetic.. er ..dyslexic", and using the word loosely too), when i'm typing i'll punch in words that sound similar to the word i meant. here's a list of examples i've noted down:

  • although way / all the way
  • simple / symbol
  • since / sense
  • luck / look

i'm thinking it's all to do with how brain process the sounds of words and maps their phonemes to patterns on the keyboard. it makes sense that your fingers learn the key sequences for common words, it's also reasonable that your brain would take as many shortcuts in this as possible. does it also make sense to process words as sounds rather than symbols? since we communicated through sound before writing i think it does. it'd be interesting to analyze mistakes made by realtime captioners. maybe i should put "interesting" in quotes. anyway..

by the time you've read this far i'm gone. you know my plans and you know my number.

26.04.2007: ten things i hate about you (if you're canadian):

  • you love your car
  • you're happy to drink coffee from the corporate chalice
  • you spend so much time thinking you live in a progressive country you haven't even noticed you don't
  • it's okay you're in afghanistan because you're not in iraq
  • you get fat and ride the subway
  • celine dion
  • you think i'm australian but are annoyed when i can't tell the difference between you and an american
  • your per capita CO2 emissions are practically the same as an americans
  • you can't count

so there. please let me back into the country on my return.

25.04.2007: smelling 5:30am, i prefer it much better to 6am. it's like late evening except no one's around and the birds are more excitable. i didn't know what to do with all my new time so i went for a jog. i thought it suitably american. it niether helped nor hindered.

i've been thinking about how change relates to time a lot recently, and how drastically my feelings towards change have changed. i need to think more about this before writing about it, i just wanted to jot it down so i don't forget. time does things like that.

how about i tell you what a prick our landlord is? oh wait, i've already done that a million times. (julie, don't read this because you don't really want to know). so as i leave the building there's a sign on the front door informing me that mine and several other flats are to be treated for bugs. i clearly told the superintendent i did not want them coming in to gas the apartment. under absolutely no circumstances. in a calm rage i phone the landlord and tell him i don't want it done. i lie because in this case it's justified. you're not filling my apartment with toxic gas, it's quite simple. he says he still needs access through my (or the neighbours, note) apartment to treat the back entrance. i hint quite unsubtley to not use my apartment for access, but of course he does. and i wouldn't have even noticed had he locked the door when he left. if this was a film all my neighbours would have come out into the hallway to see what i was cursing around. of course i phone him up straight away and he acts like you'd expect. it's not like he can do anything anyway. i demand that next time someone is going to come into the apartment that we're given proper notice. he thought the sign was enough, and it might have been if it had on it a date, a time, a contact name and a phone number. nothing. he tried to fob me with off with how he phoned last week but there was no answer. what, before i told the superintendent there was even a problem? then he asked for my phone number, which he must already have else he wouldn't have been able to phone right? right?

a curse on all landlords. don't you know that property is theft?

want to know why i love george monbiot? because he kicks ass

too many bagels.

i've spent all day walking around with $800 in my various pockets. you torontonian pickpockets and muggers are all rubbish. come get some.

24.04.2007: of course it doesn't work like that. i should know by now that you can't out run a good storm.

there was no twister on my tail but i still got soaked while sprinting down the street, dodging the puddles and those people with stupidly large umbrellas. the odd idiotic dog. do umbrellas get bigger as dogs get smaller?

unrelated, you might not have noticed but it's tv turn off week. that means you turn off your tv. i can't wait for them to upgrade it to 'screen turn off week' so i can actually take part. or they could just upgrade it to 'smash a tv week'. it'd probably piss of my neighbours but fuck them anyway, i'm sick to death of listening to their fucking tv coming through the floor. sick to death like i've never been sick before.

how come wherever i go today all the fluorescent lighting is flashing?

and if you're wondering what i'm doing up at 6am it's because i'm trying to ready myself for european time. there's a clever word for this, but i don't know what it is. and if you were wondering what my plan is then keep reading. i'm leaving canada on the 27th and arriving in england on the 28th. i'll be going down to london on the 30th to see 'a silver mt.zion' and meet up with grilly. we're then travelling to spain on the 1st of may. we're going to madrid first, then valencia and finally barcelona. we're coming back to england very late on the 9th, so late it's actually the 10th. i will be free for visitations during the week, but it's safe to presume i'm mostly fully booked. of course, that depends on who you are.

or who you're not.

23.04.2007: the weekend started on friday with that gorgeous death from above sunshine. i was let out early due to good weather and headed up yonge to go furious on guitar hero. hear me rock out, etc. this was at john and margaret's house. they'd invited me to a local high school's production of 'guys and dolls' which johnny was playing double bass for, and obviously i couldn't say no.

and you know what? it was well good. my memory (or imaginary image) of school productions has them absolutely panned. kids just showing off, making up for their lack of talent with popularity. they're allowed to be rubbish because it's expected. but no, it's not like that at all. it's scary, the voices these kids have on them. all that choreography and acting. it was also weird being back in a school. it really is just like in the movies, those wide halls lined with lockers. trophy cabinets. "boys" and "girls" instead of "gents" and "ladies".

and then sunday was earth day. did anyone even notice? a few people down spadina and queen did. you can't miss a few hundred people marching, playing all kinds of noisey instruments and waving big goofy banners. the strongest image that stuck in my head, a funky guy in a rather nice jacket going crazy on his trumpet, serenading the stopped traffic infront of him. facing the SUV straight on, both entertaining and teasing. just him, his trumpet and five meters of tarmac.

i'd sooner slash their tyres, but this isn't what it's about. and nor am i cool enough to "fuck shit up".

the march started at metro square hall, where everyone had gathered for sun and speeches. these people are all awesome, if only there were more of them. there's so much energy and creativity and optimism, which is incredible given the turnout to these events. i just sit on the grass and sulk and get sun burnt. it's the biggest city in toronto and all the people care about is their fucking cars. their pay checks. their stupid ipods. for now we'll just have to party without them. a section of john street just south of queens west was reclaimed for all kinds of fun. there were games and chalk and debate. it's not very often you see that in the city.

the funniest thing i heard though, one of the speakers said we should try and encourage drivers to do what they do in europe and switch their engines off at red lights. i actually laughed. how come they think europe is so progressive when it comes to climate change action?

later that day louise and her dad dropped her stuff off for us to store and we all went out to the indian down the road. it was cool hanging out with them. different company, different conversations. and i sometimes miss some good old british humour.

anyway, i have a storm to outrun.

22.04.2007: every saturday at st.james community center they have free chess (they seem proud that it's free, but it's chess) from 10am to 1pm. i've half wanted to join in everytime i've been there but always chickened out. and for what reason? i have no idea. so since i'm on my own and it's a beautiful day for adventure i was determined to play a game. so i went down under the guise of taking my books back (well actually, that was my main reason). damn it though, there were only a few people there and all of them already engrossed in games. i hung around feeling a bit awkward, went the washroom etc, and just as i was deciding to leave a guy appeared looking eager. i'm guessing he was a student, and not to stereotype asians who play chess, but he looked like a badass programmer. i tried to hide my freshly loaned copy of megatokyo (i haven't read it yet so have no idea if it's acutally cool or not) but failed.

the moment we sat down to play the saturday drum club starting thundering from upstairs, adding an extra war-like atmosphere to the game. and of course i'm pushing it a little bit, but despite my age my imagination is still good. i was black, it's been so long since i played i couldn't have worked out what move to do first anyway, and i quickly realised this guy was going to kick my ass. but not without a fight. as soon as i could i pulled off my favourite special move, the "take my queen with your queen" snare. with our queens off the board i could relax a little bit. for the rest of the game i was trying to defend myself as aggresively as possible. i was sure he was going to win right up until he gave me a free shot at one of his castles. was it a trap? i'd made enough thoughtless moves already (being unpredictable is a technique i've learnt from playing/writing too many computer programs using alpha-beta pruning algorithms), so i went for it. his poker face crumbled and the game swung to my favour. after a few moves (which i was quite proud of) i managed to win, and not let him force me into a stalemate. yes, i get very paranoid playing chess.

it was a great game though, and i enjoyed it immensely. i hope me smiling at his good moves didn't make him think i had evil plans planned. i would have hated that. and i learnt a lot about my playing too. i learnt that i don't value my pawns enough, which leads me to ignoring my opponents pawns until they fuck up all my pieces. i also learnt i love my horsies (technical term) too much. i jump them around the board going crazy, and of course lose them straight away. at one point i'd taken two of his pawns and both his bishops, whilst he had two of my pawns and my knights. i think that's very telling.

later in the day i was at high park and sitting next to two hilarious old jewish guys playing backgammon. a game would have been perfect but i didn't want to push my luck. and they were arguing enough over their own game, nevermind worrying about playing me. it would have been super cool though. damn.

21.04.2007: summer finally cracks its shell and falls clumsily onto the city. maybe it's more like it spills. in the morning it's still young and timid, but by midday it's realised its power and is going at it full of rage and happiness. spring never looked so pathetic. there is no spring, we killed it dead.

i take a walk and it feels as if the world is pulsing. you can feel it running through everything. rejuvenated and reanimated. and in the middle of all this new found warmth i find a pile of snow. what do you make of that? it's over 20 degrees outside and there's snow on the ground. tell me we're not fucked.

i feel like i've survived the summer. like i've been hibernating and now i'm free. i've had a feeling for a while, like i'm in a chrysallis, and i just need to decide what i want to be before ripping myself free. i don't know what that is exactly, but fuck it, it's summer.

summer explodes, goes boom. everyone dies. the world lives happily ever after.

i may be a lonely git but i've had the best fucking day. i ran errands all morning (including playing chess, more on that later) and by 2pm i'd solidified my plan to go chill in high park. i walked around the whole park trying to find a quiet and secluded place to read, but one doesn't exist. there isn't a single spot in this park, the largest in the city, where you can't hear the distant roar of traffic. a curse on the gardiner expressway, which also spoils the otherwise beautiful view, a strip of concrete and sliding metal an inch below the horizon.

i'm lying on the side of a grassy hill, surrounded by pines, at the bottom is a glassy lake and beyond that what looks like the sea (lake ontario). it'd be idyllic if it wasn't a lie. the heart of the park is all concrete, and all for the cars. but hey, if you squint you can still smile at the view. after a few hours i realise the sun is going down and decided to try and get to the water front for sunset. it's like walking into a new world where everyone is chilled out. it was just what i needed and made me so happy. even if the beaches are lame, it's still sand and seagulls. even if it is cookie cutter, all the more to make me feel like i'm on holiday. i walk the 7km back to the city centre along the lake shore as the sun sets behind me. beat that mother fucker (no wait, don't tell me, you hung with friends and had a great time?)

it was gone nine when i got back and i didn't really fancy anything for dinner, so i just ate a lot of fruit. is that okay? what about if i washed it down with beer? should i not mention the butter tart? i guess not. actually i'm just trying to make myself sound bad so i'm cooler. i actually ate quite well today. i had chips and ice cream in the park.

20.04.2007: you'll be happy to hear i can walk properly again. infact, i walked all the way home last night. i needed the head space. i'd spent too long speaking to johanna and grilly about various crap until 7pm, and that's too long to spend in the office.

you'll also be happy to hear it nearly ended in disaster. as i was passing the reference library i thought i'd check in on my account and see how things were going. shock and horror, turns out the next invisibles book was waiting for me at st.james library and the hold expired in ..fifteen minutes. how did i miss that? i'd been waiting in a queue for the book since october. my leisurely walk home quickly turned into a run and i made it to my local library just in time (also avoiding the indian i was tempted to get dinner from). this was great because i now had something to do all night, but it doesn't excuse the dinner i ended up having. i can't tell you what it was those because it's too terrible (pasta with baked beans and cheese).

i can look after myself when my girlfriend is away, it's just easier not to.

so i read the whole of 'kissing mister quimper', begrudgingly ignoring the bits i didn't understand because i know they're covered in the final volume, and then couldn't sleep. i lay in bed reading about sunderland but it wasn't engaging me, so i decided to read 'helen and desire' instead. but then got too engrossed in the story and annoyed at the very abrupt compartalisation of the chapters. it's a book to be read a single chapter at a time, clearly.

when in finally fell asleep, sometime after 2am, i had a messed up dream about going to japanamerica. in the open air airport i was commenting on how weird it was that we'd come to japan and there were no japanese anywhere. and i was being terrified by the huge planes taking off from the tiny runway floating on the sea, surrounded by yachts. inside a huge (no, huge) mall i suddenly realise i'd forgotten my camera. no wait, why am i writing about this? it's really not very interesting to hear about me taking photos in my dreams. i'm just happy i got through the night without a headache.

what i can tell you about is radio emo.ware (shit, how pretentious does that sound?) is having a japanese season. i thought it was about time, and it started yesterday with melt banana's 'shield for your eyes, a beast in the well of your hand'. it's not classic melt banana but it does have the best nought-ten-twelve riff, and you know how much i love those.

19.04.2007: the best thing about the other day was the last slice of lasagne. i got home and realised i was either going to be eating it cold or wasting twenty minutes of gas heating it in the oven. i just couldn't justify warming it. and it's these sad bachelor moments when a microwave makes sense. but then i figured that since i live in a building with 15 apartments there must be someone willing to lend me theirs for three minutes and thirty seconds. so i went next door to interrupt their phone call and try to be as polite as possible. so guess what, here's a strange coincidence (or a brilliant piece of stalking), it turns out they just bought a new microwave that day and was more than happy for me to take the old one. i've got no idea where we can put (maybe the storage room?) but it's definately a useful thing to have.

shame you can't use microwaves to kill ants. fact.

worst comic ever?

also, how fun is spinorial theory. i think i prefer superstring theory because it has more dimensions, and the more dimensions there are the better. but then this one has extra negative dimensions, which is also cool. what do you think about that?

which reminds me, i bought this cool game/puzzle, some kind of maze/rubik hybrid. it looks awesome right? well i started playing with it and found that a few of the stickers had been placed so badly they stopped the balls going through the holes. some of them were clearly in the wrong place too. so i took it back and swapped it for another with better stickers, only halfway through the maze i noticed there was a sticker missing. i completed it anyway but was thoroughly underwhelmed. where was the challenge and why were there two balls? it's a brilliant idea but badly realised and shoddily implemented. several of the chambers are identical, which makes them completely redundant, and the whole thing is generally far too linear. it's a real shame and a criminal waste of a patent. they really had put no thought into it at all.

anyway, so i took it back again and swapped it for a flipside, which is much more interesting, tactile and orange. i nearly smashed the fucking thing in frustration, but that's all part of the fun. right?

18.04.2007: is it necessary to say that after yesterday's ant incident i skipped breakfast this morning? (don't worry it's bagel day). well, it was neither the start or the end of that story..

we first saw the ants about a week ago. there was just a few of them but, they were always there. worst of all it appeared they entered the kitchen from under the living room carpet. it just screams of dark and terrifying secrets. i added it onto the list of things to sort out and we endeavored to clean the kitchen floor more often. and that was the start of the story.

so when i returned home last night i checked the cereal cupboard, finding it teaming with the little bastards (after much discussion i decided against calling them 'little black bastards', not because it's in any way racist, but because it sounds like it is. i know it's okay, but i don't know if you do). and not just the cupboard, the box of bran flakes was also full of them. i just wanted to gag. the whole lot was thrown out.

still, the actually problem could be dealt with later, at least before i went and dropped a crumb of halva on the floor. ten minutes later there were hundreds (file the 's' under artistic license) of ants crawling across the kitchen floor. it was too much, so i did the worst thing i could have done. it's very unlike me, but i bought a can of raid and gassed the fuckers.

something had to be done and every possibility ends in ant genocide anyway. now, i don't like killing things. i hate killing spiders. if i step on one, for the rest of the day all i can see is it's legs and thorax snapping in slow motion under my heal. it leaking out onto the carpet. spiders are machines, just like ants, but they have the benefit of being somewhat autonomous. the ant is a highly optimised machine, it's neural system is so refined you could actually map out its neurons. there is no room for feelings or emotions, just instructions and mappings. and on it's own it is nothing. how i see it, killing an ant is the moral equivalent of switching off your computer (now, killing an ant nest is very different. imagine the hive as a single individual with a distributed nervous system, or just read chapter 11 of 'godel escher bach').

that doesn't make it any easier for me to do. but at least i didn't buy the lemon scented spray.

i left it until this morning to clean them up. by this time they didn't even look like ants, just abstract black dots. curled up death. my biggest fear was walking into the kitchen with the vacuum cleaner only to find them gone. ants are good at arranging and tidying up their dead, it would have seriously spooked me. and also upset me. picture me on my knees in the kitchen crying for the poor ants, carried by their comrades back to the hive for recycling. it goes completely against everything i've previously said, so don't.

now all i have to worry about is the thin but lethal poison layering several of the surfaces in the kitchen. unfortunely i couldn't get any ant bait, which would have been better because i wouldn't have to have dealt with so many tiny corpses and it could have wiped them all out proper.

insect sprays are fucking despicable. i'm having trouble forgiving myself.

17.04.2007: what you might not realise is that i love that shit. sometimes i even crave those feelings. it's not like i'm splashing around in my own misery, i'm just kicking back and wallowing a little. it's all good. exhaustion can be your friend when no one else can.

but my body was so tired yesterday my eyes were forgetting to blink. i'm armed with nothing but a blank and dry meaningless stare. and when my subway train finally arrived my legs could barely lift me from the platform floor. having spent a few hours dehydrating in the library hadn't helped either.

bryan talbot was doing a talk and signing at the merril library. i was determined not to buy his new book but his talk was so interesting i couldn't help it, especially since i could get it signed and special. the woman in the line behind me was saying that you can't have too many copies of a book if they're signed. i disagree, but then they do make nice gifts. the guy who really annoyed me was the one who flopped out over 15 comics and five books on the table, like it's his right to force the poor artist to sign them all. his three original hardback editions of the sandman trades were fair game (of you?), and they were each signed by all the other artists already. i imagine when he has the whole set of ten signed by everyone it'll be quite the collection, and almost worth being the asshole for. but 15 comics? it's just meaningless, and ruins everything that's special about having something signed. it also takes the piss out of the artist. and if you're doing it to sell them you're just an asshole.

because the queue was so slow people were leaving in ones and twos and i got to walk around the library in the dark, it had closed an hour earlier and was completely empty. just like in some shitty horror movie, but better because there was nothing evil lurking around the next book shelf. just bad fiction (actually the merril is mostly full of great fiction). i wanted to go exploring and find an interesting hole to hide in, but then that's not exactly respectable behaviour.

back home i tried to calm myself down and relax with a hot shower and a bourbon on the rocks, but of course ice and steam don't mix very well. lying in bed the wind outside like jet planes and missiles and air raid sirens, my apartment felt far from safety. the other day the wind was strong enough to literally blow the snot out of your nose whilst crossing the road.

and then this morning, with a mouthful of breakfast cereal and already lifting the next spoonful to my mouth, i notice something black amongst the flakes. i'm often rushed in the morning and eating quickly, but unfortunately not quick enough to not notice the ant writhing and drowning in the shallow milk. then i noticed another one in the bowl, curled up and all desperate looking. i buried the fucker with the mush that was in my mouth and poured it all down the toilet. i brushed my teeth with my eyes shut.

between my teeth, no thorax, no abdomen, no antenna. nothing.

16.04.2007: feeling like shit this morning. all the usual reasons. someone has wound the winder on my body too tight and all of my tiny cogs, springs and wheels are about to snap and recoil. poing. from a minutely detailed perfect machine to chaos. back to chaos. most of my clockwork pieces will probably fall through the cracks in the street, down into the sewers and out to the sea.

or lake, because this is stupid toronto.

also my legs ache. deep within, unknown and previously unused muscles. i'm trying to walk properly but i can't. and i walked some mammoth walks this weekend. i just don't want to seize up. that's why i'm sitting here in this here chair for eight hours of my day today.

the woman in the lift with her terrifying car crash eyes doesn't help either.

i spent most of the morning trying to sleep and failing. then my alarm went off and i was trying to not sleep, also failing. where's the balance? i guess mine just went out of the door and flew away. like reverse jetlag. in my head that makes sense, but i also realise that's about the limit of it.

it wasn't a relaxing weekend, i didn't manage to recharge. i was desperate for a nap all sunday, but couldn't bare to waste a single of those fleeting hours. and i never did like the word 'fleeting'. you know what i'm like when i'm exhausted, you can use that to follow the scenario through to its logical conclusion.

not to be all gloom and doom, the weekend was a good one. we met some faculty friends on friday night at the artful dodger, officially now our local, and chatted about denmark and england and the world in general. it's such a rush to meet knew people and have so much to talk about. i couldn't hold my grim back when they'd asked if i'd read any dawkin's. we've also pencilled in for a cuisine swap, they know their north and south indian cooking and we've perfected the sunday roast.

and on the topic of food, i had my first experience of overly meaty food. the happy buddha restuarant is located just around the corner from my office and boasts a 100% vegetarian menu full of beef, pork, chicken and seafood. i didn't know where to begin, i've had no training at ordering from such menus, so i just picked the buddha rice special which came with almost everything. now, i'm not one of those wussy vegetarians who shy away from uber-meaty fake meat, probably because i've never really eaten meat so i'm not reminded of how fucking gross it is, but this was just too much. the prawns especially i couldn't cope with. it was good, don't get me wrong, it just made me feel weird.

saturday night we were the only people who came to rachelle's gathering. that's okay though because it means we get to discuss nazi bitches like prussian blue (hey, there aren't many blonde pre-teens i'd like to beat the shit out of. and no don't quote me on that) and ameircan apparel's dodgy branding/marketing. forestry was kept to a minimal. when we ran out of beers we moved out of rachelle's place and found the green room, a hip but cosy bar hidden along a bloor backstreet. not a place you'd find by accident. i'd be happy to find it again. then to finish up we braved a nearby irish pub and ended up surrounded by unpleasant people. not all of them were so bad, but the nicest guy was quite serious about carbon dioxide not causing global warming. to avoid that conversation i talked to a crazy woman, which would have been just as bad only i couldn't understand a word she said. the irish guy put his pint on the pool table, in the middle, and then dropped it all over the floor. right infront of the barmaid, who he completely stonewalled. shadey bars, not my kind of place.

then i didn't get caught writing on that wall.

did i cover everything? well, no. but i'm boring myself, nevermind everyone else. also i have to leave. it's at times like these i wished i had a cape.

or a spine.

13.04.2007: i've been reading henry rollin's 'black coffee blues'. it's a good book for the commute, it's small chunks are perfect for reading between subway stops, but overall it's not particularly great. the first half is like bad hubert selby jr (the comparison should still flatter), i can't recommend you bother reading it. there are moments of genius, but i just got bored (and squashed by the subway fatties) whilst waiting for them. the second half of the book is much better, more of what i dig, a gritty and personal journal. that he's not an incredible writer (i'm not saying he's not good) just makes it more real. more better.

so i recommend the second half, not the first.

i also recommend drinking beer. not as flamboyantly as chris-tt might, but with conviction enough. and when you're stuck in ontario i'd go for the pitcher of creemore. you don't have to drink it all yourself, in fact it's better if you share it. last night i crashed the forestry 'end of term' drinks and it was all very pleasent. except i don't actually have anything to write about it.

and who wrote "when are we going to wake up?" on the very white front of the chanel boutique on bloor? i guess we'll wake up when we stop writing on walls and start actualising the fucking revolution (yee-haw, and all). i wish i'd written that next to it, for full ironic effect. better than writing it on my website at least. i'm such a prick. but then aren't we all?

but anyway, all this and more.

12.04.2007: so goes kurt vonnegut. he is/was my favourite author whose books i've mostly not read. i've only read three, but i loved them fiercly and wanted to take my time with the rest. now i have all the more incentive. and although it doesn't make any sense to mourn someone who had such a great concept of death, i'm still a bit gutted. no doubt the term "so it goes" has just seen a massive surge in the blogosphere. you just can't help it.

and now you can call me an asshole for using the phrase 'blogosphere'. party on.

i still doodle:

still with no skill.

and you can't beat a licks nature burger. not in toronto anyway. it's just a shame they're so hard to eat. it's a bit like trying to eat your fist, if your fist was inside a huge mitten. and burgers should be burger shaped, not ball shaped. but it's still the best burger you'll get.

11.04.2007: just to fill the void:

various photos from around toronto. the first is from the cn tower. obviously going up there during a foggy night isn't so smart, but it's not like we actually had to pay for it. i like the photo despite the reflections on the glass. i really wanted to go outside but the doors were all locked. the second photo is from the skywalk, the part of the path system that leads over to the cn tower. then there's some cold photos of the harbour i took last month. yes, these are all old. and cold. the two thumbs look identical but actually they're not. whatever.

the rest of my time is just planning and procrastinating.

sitting in a quiet room, i'm supposed to be paying attention, the sudden image of me on a train rattling across spain has my heart exploding with joy. we have plans and they're wonderful.

punch the fucking air, it's summer. you're all beautiful.

does anyone know the mayday climate in madrid? and when i say 'climate' i don't mean the weather, duh.

also this game is genius. why did i never thinking of turning conway's game of life into a shoot 'em up?

09.04.2007: i'm either not doing anything or doing too much. or like this weekend, both at the same time. i know that doesn't make sense, but fuck it.

on thursday there was too much to do. what i couldn't do was the speakeasy indie comics meeting, which upset me mostly because i can't go to their photography one next month either (i wont be here, didn't you know?). what i did do was go and see margaret atwood talk about forests. apparently margaret atwood is a canadian douche bag and a boring speaker. i'm sure those are fair opinions, but i personally thought she seemed quite likeable. taken out of context at least, i'd never even heard of her before, let alone read one of books. but she kept me reasonably entertained for about an hour, talking about forests and those typical kinds of things.

the after-show party wasn't really "after-show" or even a party. a few of us (me and a number of foresty students) went in search of a few pitchers of beer. the pilot was too busy downstairs, and just weird upstairs, but it suited our purpose until we noticed how expensive the beer was, at which point is was obviously too late. we moved to the duke of gloucester, by which time there were only about seven or eight of us. by which time i was also having trouble counting. i was annoyed because the person who was researching sexual selection in insects had left, and i'd really wanted to talk to her about it. that's my idea of perfect conservation fodder for a drunken thursday night.

especially when friday is a holiday. i spent the best part of it wandering around downtown looking in bins, then another hour writing about it. we also ate too much cake, when all i really wanted was ice cream. then we found my new favourite sushi restuarant. toronto has many places to get sushi and most of the pretty sub-standard. and what else? i don't know, probably nothing. we were going to go the cinema but there isn't anything worth seeing. i wish i had a more exciting story for easter friday, but i was too tired or apathetic or just pathetic, any one of those things. saturday also evaporated and will never be found again.

i did make up for inactivity on sunday though. we walked all the way out down danforth and back, also to be chronicled elsewhere. somewhere in cabbage town we found a farm zoo thing, with horses and chickens and people who looked amish but weren't. all terribly exciting. and then all the shops were closed so we had to buy very expensive vegetables for dinner. louise turned up with rachelle and we played feminist games until late, eating too many salty crackers and pretzels. it's nice when people go out of their way to look at the things on our walls, i like that.

the most unpleasent experience of the last few days was just now, sitting on the toilet at work listening to some poor girl being sick, the sound of her wretching and spitting travelling far too well along the ventilation shaft. and then me walking around the office floor, eyeing up the blemishes on the shirts of everyone who walks passed, trying to work out who it was.

07.04.2007: it was a bird that woke me this morning, squawking into the bitter cold air. not the air of a fresh spring morning. the bird had been caught off guard, betrayed by the weather, forced to defend it's nest from snow. hey, i'd be pissed off too.

but i'd already been thinking about birds. and not just because of the fat robins that have returned to the city. something much more morbid. the bird is the most visible animal we share our spaces with, no matter where you go there's always a pigeon, every city in the world. and thanks to cars i've probably seen more dead birds than any other animal too. those fragile birds die so damn easily. of all the various animal deaths i've witnessed, it was that stupid baby seagull that messed me up the most. it's not like i still dream about, a tortured nightmare spent waiting for someone to just break its neck and put it out of its misery, but its cries are still burnt firmly into memory. it still giving me shivers when i think about it, an alien sound with a disturbing amount of human emotion. but to be fair, it's not just us who feel pain, fear and desperation. i can almost see all if its broken bones, crushed and splintered, pushing up and tearing through nerves and organs.

this monologue didn't come out of nowhere. it came from the saddest scene. flittering around in the gutter were two birds. small ones i'd know the names of if only ben lived around here. with a bit of imagination they could be dancing, or playing tag. two birds, only one of them's dead. one bird jumps and hops around the other, thrusting its beak into its feathers, the ruffles of its neck and belly. jab jab jab. it was unrelenting, and no matter how close i came it paid me zero attention. its whole world was this one perfectly formed but very dead bird, being scraped across the tarmac, rolled over, poked, stabbed, and opened up to the evening air. but what was it looking for? a response or its dinner? was it desperately trying to revive its only friend or just trying to eat? in my head i flipped between these two scenarios but couldn't land on whichever upset me the least.

05.04.2007: i don't see why it had to start snowing again. like a blizzard. and i don't see why they had to start shutting the subway car doors before half the people had even gotten off. we had to fight our way out, and for those beautiful five seconds we were all fighting for the same thing. our unity was a thing to behold.

i'm just feeling frustrated because.. i don't know. my usual reasons. whatever reasons.

i want to go on an adventure.

last night was good though. after work i rode the subway all the way to coxwell, somewhere down danforth, and went out in search of mexican food. or to be more specific, the el sol art cafe. after waiting over an hour for julie and course mates to arrive, i wasn't so keen on waiting another half an hour for food, but then good food is nothing about rushing and everything about being awesome. and el sol is awesome. so awesome i get to eat it again tonight, because our vegetarian platter was super huge, with quality to match its quanity. i'd had a craving for mexican food for a long time, but i thought it wasn't an urge worth following. finding good proper mexican food is difficult, tex-mex is a curse upon this world. so i'm chuffed to have found el sol.

it's stopped snowing. knowing this town and this season it's probably 15c outside already.

have you noticed i have absolutely nothing to say yet? i have, so i'm going to stop trying.

02.04.2007: i've been wasting my time. actually wasting. like playing doom, staring at my guitar, rereading comics, walking backwards and forwards. three nights of feverish dreams have left me mostly uninspired. plus i'm beginning to worry i wont be travelling further than england when i'm back in europe. can no one save me from this fate?

so yesterday i read both 'the cage', by martin vaughn-james, and 'blackhole', by charles burns. and actually it was 'la cage' (a french language edition that i picked up in belgium), so i didn't so much read it as look at the pictures. peter at the beguiling told me the words and pictures were quite seperate elements (actually he said something that sounded a hell of a lot cleverer than that, but i can't remember what), and since it's so abstract i think it makes little difference anyway. it's a beautiful book though, and quite terrifying. everything constantly shifting and falling apart. but what is it about? i have no idea. a cage, i think.

and then blackhole, which i'm not sure i understood. the themes are obvious enough - growing up, alienation, anxiety, prejudice, obsession. lots of sex and drugs. but what's with the sexually transmitted disease? what is he trying to say? i don't think it speaks strongly enough or explores the issue to work as an aids metaphor, but then what do i know? i think mainly what i didn't understand was why it was dave's comics best selling book of 2005 (along with 'shaun of the dead', sheesh). the artwork is great, and the covers on the individual issues are gorgeous, but i don't see its great appeal.

what i really liked about it though was how well it goes with 'the cage'. how some of it even feels like it's almost paying homage, the motion through the dream sequences, the bits of abstract crap lying around, the shed skin, the plants, broken glass. probably i'm just making it up, my cold making me a bit dellusional. for instance, i also see it in vincent stall's piece in meathaus 8. it's clearly the fever talking.

another fantastic book i read recently is aleksandar zograf's 'regards from serbia' (a cartoonist's diary of a crisis in serbia). he provides a very personal account of what life was like under sanctions, and how the continued (and absurd) bombing of his country and town effected day-to-day life. i learnt more about the balkans while reading his 288 pages than i ever did listening to the news. 288 pages may seem a lot but many of them are single page comics, the only non-illustrated section is the collection of emails, which aleksandar sent out between march 1999 and march 2000. the emails are a brilliant addition to the collection, providing extra context for the rest of the book. and perhaps it's necessary. i've always thought the biggest problem with the comics medium is its apparent distance from reality, almost all you read in the comic format is fictional, and non-fictional comics look as unreal as their fictional counterparts. the emails reminds you that this is real and happening, actual and non-cartoon violence. anyway, i'd highly recommend it.

jeff lemire's new book, 'tales from the farm', is also on my highly recommended list. it's a lovely piece of story telling, short but dense but still with plenty of breathing room. if those contradictory words make sense. his scribblings carry the emotions of the story beautifully. anyway, give it a flick though. i tried to buy one of his other books (lost dogs) on saturday, but because there was no price on it they said they couldn't sell it me and i'd have to come back another day. how lame is that? i went to sulk in a nearby coffee shop, for a latte and the washroom, only to find someone had shat in the urinal. nice, huh? and runny too.

and while i'm catching up this kind of stuff, i finally got around to watching the second third of 'power of nightmares'. here is a documentary you absolutely have to watch, whether you're a democracy-loving chomsky-loving liberal or a war-loving asshole (sometimes things are that simple). adam curtis traces back the origins of the neo-conservatists (can we call it american fascism yet?) and extreme islamic fundamentalists and discovers they both have very similar beginnings. we all know our governments use terror against us, but no one else has dealt with it so coldly and historically. there's plenty learn, and it exposes many misunderstandings on both sides. which aren't really sides, but whatever. it's all way too complicated for me to explain right now, not when you could just go and watch it (you can download it from numerous places).

on the cash machine i used earlier it said "9-11 is a lie". and it's grammatically shit too.

anyway, shower.

30.03.2007: sitting on the street, basking in the sun, the saddest looking dog i've ever seen. a scottish terrier i'd have called max or dave, if he was mine. even if 'he' was a she. and more scruffy than fluffy, but both words spring to mine. he sits and stares blankly into the cafe through the huge glass windows, through eyes buried in darkened fur, like a lifetime of tears has stained his cheeks. he looks like the child who's been excluded from the birthday party. the dog not allowed in the cafe.

and down the hall from me, three or four people sit in silence in a small windowless office, basking under fluorescent lighting. they're waiting to be interviewed for the new security guard positions. there's not a single smile between them, and not a single word spoken. i want to go in and ask them for their life stories, demand to know why they aren't sharing them amongst themselves. they could be passing up the opportunity to meet the greatest person of their life, but they'll never know.

it all makes me sad, also because i could be too.

and my glands are swollen like babies floating face down in the canal, my throat sore like the uterus they came out off.

i wasn't going to write that but julie convinced me.

were not wasting paper [or grammar]
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