news [archive 31]

29.08.2007: you could call yonge & dundas the commercial heart of the city. there is no free space, every meter of every facade is plastered in ever-rotating and glittery adverts, streching up all the way into the sky. there is no night. through all hours the glowing billboards and six tv screens bathe dundas square in flickering light, switching from white to orange as the adverts flip around. the traffic never stops and it never quietens down. directly above you can see only a single star.

every tuesday for the last two months they've been screening science fiction films here (an extra screen couldn't hurt), and what better place to watch fritz lang's metropolis? would you believe i've never seen it before? it's true. i've been saving it for a special occasion, such as now, watching it bang in the middle of canada's largest and 'worst' city (depending on your metrics). tonight it's also trip hop metropolis, which could have gone either way, but didn't. the genre didn't particularly fit the film, nor did the music particularly match the pictures, but neither did it ruin it. but forget the trip hop, metropolis needs to be taken to the stage with an industrial glitch soundtrack and hanin elias as maria and alec empire as fredersen. best show never made. brigitte helm, who plays a silly number of roles (death and the seven deadly sins?) but most significantly the machine-human run amok (also the machine-human not run amok - less cool), is clearly the best thing about the film. she's what they would have called sensational. fantastic eyebrows. as for the politics and the message i'm not so sure. it didn't end on the revolution that i'd be waiting for, and i'll leave it at that.

on monday we (as in toronto) had the pleasure of having julie back for the night. just one. her plan was to take her exchange group to the biryani house (their request) and then to the future cafe. we made it to the indian (mostly), but after dinner they were all too tired to go the pub. super lame. you're in the big city and you don't want to party? and only half of them had even made it to dinner, the others (all of the guys minus one) felt compelled to visit the cn tower. funny that, how the guys were all drawn to the city's giant phallus. or the girls were all scared away. whichever way you want to look at it. anyway..

today is la tomatina, my favourite fiesta that i've never been to. one of these years i'll be there, for sure.

28.08.2007: i used to like penn and teller. i thought they were cool. used to.

i was reading the comments on my favourite flash-game blog. a couple of people had complained about a link the author had made to something PETA related. i'm not sure what the link actually was because, after two comments pointing to and a shitty documentary by penn and teller on youtube, the link was removed.

this is how your front groups and corporate think tanks work. it's how climate change becomes a debate. how fast food is killing your children. how smoking doesn't necessarily kill. you know the ones, you've seen the websites, most of them are run by the centre for consumer freedom (CCF), a non-profit organisation who is in turn run by PR agency breman & co. the CCF say they exist because:

the growing cabal of "food cops," health care enforcers, militant activists, meddling bureaucrats, and violent radicals who think they know "what's best for you" are pushing against our basic freedoms. we're here to push back.

because of course, corporations have your best interests at heart, and it's absolutely nothing to do with money. no. and to give you a clearer picture of the CFF, they're also behind,, and it's not difficult to see what a dirty piece of work they are.

omg, PETA have killed over 14400 animals (way more than NFL star michael vick, who i know nothing about, but can only deduce must be some kind of vegan god). they must be like, the worst most hypocritical, like, animal hating nasty people out there. quick, remove all your links to them. lambaste, lambaste.

then along comes penn and teller. who i thought were cool. their show 'bullshit' was supposed to be good. the wiki says "the show criticizes proponents of what they perceive as nonsense and dishonesty often citing ulterior political or financial motives. the stated aim of the show is to apply critical thinking to misconceptions". it says "often from a libertarian point of view". neolibralism was that? i haven't seen a more skewed and poorly informed documentary since martin durkin raised his ugly fucking head. and looking at their episode list they've taken on 'environmental hysteria' too, along with second hand smoke, recycling and gun control. but on the other hand, they've dissed creationism and given critical views of mother teresa and gandhi (not that i've seen these episodes). a program like that, with topics like that, it should be raising questions and making you think. but the one episode i watched, it was them shouting at the camera and eating chicken drumsticks infront of live chickens. it was propaganda as thick as it comes. maybe they should turn their show against itself.

omg, PETA kill animals. they think chickens have as much a right to life as humans. they think we should all be vegans. they think testing on animals is wrong. quick, sever your links to them. repent, repent.

and i'm not just bitter because they didn't publish my comment, my very reasonable comment explaining about the CCF, and suggesting they put the PETA link back up to let people decide for themselves. i'm angry because it shows how this shit actually works.

27.08.2007: i'm picked up at 7:30am on friday morning, and i'm surprisingly perky. i'm lucky because i'm being taken to another cottage for the weekend. shit, with enough friends i could do this every weekend. we were off to somewhere near penetanguishene, a cottage on the shore of lake huron, it's all well good. and it only took us about two and a half hours to get up there.

the cottage is basic but cute, with just enough room for six people to live comfortably, more if you want to sleep on the floor or sofa. out back there's a raised patio and a gorgeous lawn stretching far down to the beach, five meters behind where the shore should be.

the lake here has been retreating over the years, where the beach used to be is all dry, plants shooting up now they can breathe. the waters moved back so that it's shallow all the way out. there's no diving from the shore. but it's good for paddling. the way it reflects the light it's like walking through liquid silver. after maybe twenty or thirty meters it gets deep enough to swim, once you brave the seaweed that line the sudden drop of the main channel. we swam back in until our bellies scraped the muddy sand.

a sky that dull, what's a boy to do?

we sat out until the rain came, watering down our beers, then retreated to the cottage for nachos and guitar hero. my fingers still ache from hammering those buttons. for dinner we had a korean barbecue which was elaborate and great. after, we played scrabble and i moved onto the dark rum. once enough people had gone to bed we watched hot fuzz, once it was quiet enough.

that night it rained unrelenting and without pause. the way the cottage is, the barrage of rain thunders against the roof and your bathed in the comforting sound of a muffled storm. more than a pitter-patter, but not quite the aggressive machine gun rat-a-tat you suffer in a tent. i lay awake for hours listening to it, rain coming at me from every angle.

in the morning i lay in bed for about half an hour, listening to people in the lounge, hoping they'd talk about me. but they didn't. so i got up and made french toast, after lecturing everyone about what they could and couldn't put on it. no sugar or jam. i'm an ass about breakfast like that.

thing is, sometimes i get overexcited and talk a lot. i worry this makes me come across as rather opinionated. but you know what they say, if you're not pissed off you're not paying attention. and since when were we demonising having opinions? my problem is being caught between two generations, which isn't really a problem at all. i'm not talking about eggy bread, but anyway.

i spent most of the day indoors. reading and playing risk. relaxing. in the evening we drove over the to family farm, owned by an uncle who was hosting a party. they have a nice slice of meadow and forest, which we explored before the light disappeared. throwing apples, kicking down baby snags. chasing frogs. back at the ranch (wait, i always wanted to say that) there was a feast. everyone had bought food. the salads were fantastic, and the barbecue operators (for want of a good word) were more than happy to accomodate my vege weiners. and then there was the dessert table, which was more like six tables. never ending small squares of every kind of evil cake, brownie and slice. there's no need to say i ate myself sick, but it wont hurt. then the band played, the sky diggers. we sat watching from the fence. sitting on fences is cool. not cool like hackysack or fire stick, but cool enough for me. me and my rum.

so you get the scene, there was about 250 people here. i retreated to the fire, because a weekend like this couldn't be spent without at least doing it once, staring into the flames. it was all a lot of fun, and i'd go into horrible detail describing it all, but i'm trying to stop that kind of stupid behaviour, no matter what the previous paragraphs say.

we left the cottage on sunday at around 11am and stopped for lunch in penetanguishene. i had poutine without gravy, which isn't really poutine by any stretch of the imagination or taste buds. so i'm still looking for a place that does vegetarian poutine. here at this "world famous" cafe they had a proper jetty. i was close to jumping into the deep waters, but it wouldn't be fair since i was being driven home. i slept most of the way back and was knackered and lonely by the time we arrived back in toronto.

but at least it was pedestrian sunday in kensington , so i had something to do. except on my way there i passed through church village to find it's the queer literary festival, and joey comeau is reading in half an hour. i consider that a hard decision. i was verging towards staying, but then realised i was wearing my asofterworld tshirt and suddenly felt like an awkward fanboy. so for the second time i missed him read for a stupid reason.

kensington was pretty chilled though. apart from the baking sun. i walked around aimlessly feeling lost for the most part. the best music was courtesy of a couple playing a sitar and a didgeridoo. he was particularly cool sitting there with his sitar and nirvana tshirt. their child sat beside the amp, playing with her toys and waiting patiently amongst the sitar dub. waiting to be old enough to replace the computer on drums. around the corner was another good band, who i think were called 'in support of life', but i can't find their website despite them telling me it'd be easy (that'll teach them to use myspace). they were all reverb and high-pitched computer beats. like a mellow 65daysofstatic with vocals. i also a band playing outside the moonbeam cafe, even if half of their set was rage against the machine covers (with the odd slightly altered riffs). and i sat for a while watching bike polo.

by the time i got back i was too tired to cook and clean properly. i went for a crepe, then cleaned what i could without collapsing. i gave up at around half nine and retired to bed with my book. rant.

24.08.2007: as mentioned the other day:

i love words. and i mean it with an urgency that's beyond what i'm capable of relating to you. i love words more than anything that can be concisely and completely described in a sentence.

"word" is autological, perfectly self-referential, in a way that nothing else can.

words frustrate and infuriate me. i am not their friend, they don't come easily. words are a prison that limit our communication, forcing abstract and chaotic thoughts and concepts into rigid quantifiable and acceptable processes.

but they are all we have, and what can be created and built with them is beautiful and moving in ways that anything short of action and interaction can convey. a photo might say a thousand words, but it wont have the violence and passion. sentences are beautiful how snowflakes can only aspire to.

through endless permutations the perfect sentence will destroy everything you thought you knew. it will be a word that starts the fire that torches this whole fucking mess. the word will bring the storm that ravages and cleanses.

and a crucial definition, from the pages of my new favourite magazine:

disorder: a disruption of the anarchy that otherwise characterizes our world. any organically ordered system - a rainforest, for example, or a circle of friends - is an anarchic harmony that tends to perpetuate itself; disorder, on the other hand, can only be maintained by ever-escalating exertions of force. the precarious discipline of a high school classroom, the factory farm in which sterile rows of genetically modified corn are defended against weeds and insect by a host of technological innovations, the fragile world-domination of a superpower - these are not examples of order, but of disorder imposed from above.
some confuse disorder with anarchy, misunderstanding it as the absence of any system. but disorder is the opposite of anarchy: enforced over a long enough period of time, it systematizes itself, stacking up hierarchies according to its pitiless demands. one of the most developed forms of disorder is capitalism: the war of each against all, rule or be ruled, sell or be sold. one might call capitalism a social disorder in the say way that bulimia is an eating disorder and sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder.

i got to see julie, over a muffin and tea. it was only brief, about half an hour, but the rushed and last minute trip out to the airport was well worth it. now i am off into the country again, to a farm for the weekend. again i don't know exactly where. surely that is half the fun.

23.08.2007: i want to stand in the middle of a busy shopping street handing out free t-shirts to everyone who will take one, shirts printed big with mirrored messages in the dullest of font - "run away", "repent", "kill yourself".

because i'm nice like that.

we could sew them with RFID tags. track the 'victims'. create a database. make sure they do as their told.

22.08.2007: i got goosebumps watching this video from the SPP protest. it shows a union leader confronting three masked men who were apparently trying to incite violence. at first it annoyed me, the privileged and oppressive stance of the preacher of non-violence - big up the guy who's delusioned about the effectiveness of his own peaceful protest and will stamp on others from his safe moral high ground (disclaimer: i'm totally ignorant about the CEP, my comment about the ineffectiveness of peaceful protest is a general one, not a specific one). but then no, the three masked men are outed as cops by the crowd. there's no conclusive evidence, but it's convincing enough. especially in combination with the photo showing their boots being identical to those of the riot police (the yellow mark is a CAN/CSA Z195-02 protectice footwear standard) and that they weren't included in the official arrest count (two men and two women).

what i don't understand is why police use such dangerous tactics. and it is dangerous, whether they fail and get exposed like they do in the video (dangerous to them), or when they succeed and cause a riot (dangerous for everyone, especially them). are they trying to paint what's actually an intelligent and organised movement as nothing but a bunch of thugs? to trivialise the violence, making it appear as violence for its own sake? and where do these orders come from? how clandestine can the police get in a country like this? it makes no sense.

the story was picked up by the the star, which is good going, but i bet the coverage stops there. come on you fuckers, you can't let the authorities get away with behaving like that.

i will not get a cold, and i shall go to the ball.

my girlfriend's voice is all distant and quiet at the other end of several thousand miles of telephone cable. all that metal and wire criss-crossing our cities and our countryside. i can hear the traffic rumbling in a different city in a different province that may as well be a different country. you can hear the air moving. and nothing inbetween. you can feel the weight of all those wires. it's the future visiting us all the way from the 1870s.

you can almost here "mr. watson come here" reverberating amongst the background hiss.

21.08.2007: the next person i catch not washing their hands after going the toilet in a cafe or restaurant, i'm going to follow them out to the table where they're sitting. i'm going to tell every person they're sitting with exactly what they didn't do. and if it was a shit they took, i'll tell them that too.

so we were talking about the the SPP and NAFTA. he was asking what people are actually going to achieve by protesting. i rephrased his question to ask what are they going to get away with if we don't protest. i was explaining why democracy doesn't work and i was doing a reasonable job. we had just started talking about media democracy when the following happened:

"you know the biggest cover up in america, that the government has discovered and is hiding extra-terrestrial technology"
"but that doesn't exactly help or effect the billions of poor, starving and oppressed people"
"well it does"

at which point i stopped listening. there was no way i was having that conversation. no fucking way.

there's a car parked outside with the license plate "overpayd". someone actually owns that. they thought it was clever and funny enough to stick it on their big over-sized car for everyone to see. that's the kind of jackass who works here.

i watched an hour of tv last night. it was rubbish. i wont be doing it again. i only did it because i was too tired to do anything else. and then i still couldn't sleep.

20.08.2007: summer has broken. or autumn has, depending on how you are supposed to use the word. but either way, something has broken. these idiots pushed it too hard and now it wont go. i have to cycle to work in the cold. my summer has been stolen from me. lament lament, etc.

it was a nice sunday though. i spent the early afternoon hanging around the area of the toronto comic arts festival. i didn't go back in, i'd have just been wandering around being geeky and awkward. it was nice enough sitting outside reading my book, excited that i might see someone 'famous'. something like that. on the way back to my apartment i came across the bondage fair on church. i walked through it but there wasn't really much for me. if only i had a need for paddles or gags i'd have been made. i was disappointed i missed the game of twister though.

in the evening i armed myself with a couple of books and cycled over to cherry beach. without the tree fluff hanging in the air it wasn't quite so picturesque, but i cycled along the front and found a nice bit of beach to occupy. i'd half planned this to coincide with the cherry beach promise party, which happens every sunday. it was nice and chilled out. i read my book (the secret world of dubvo) and ate my peanut butter sandwiches, watched people dance and play badminton. there was a band setting up and i should have stuck around, but i'd run out of water and was wanting a beer. i probably left just as the party was getting started.

but damn, there is so much going on at the moment and i'm totally missing all of it. indymedia uk is covering the climate camp action (i love news tickers) and it sounds amazing. you people out there are the coolest. and right now is also the SPP (security and prosperity partnership) meeting, featuring three of your favourite leaders - bush, harper and calderon. i have no viable excuse for not being there. but then i guess getting arrested is not option for me. of course there's an indymedia site for this too. i can't believe i miss the action even when it's right next door.

go go pga bloc. etc.

19.08.2007: i've been getting all nostalgic about when we first moved here, those beautiful first few months spent exploring the cities cafes, book shops and desserts (although mostly just dodgy confectionary). so for my friday i decided to recreate my early days in canada.

i woke up and listend to CIUT in bed until gone ten, as was my old bad habit, and after a quick breakfast and email session i walked out into the late morning sunshine, listening to china drum's cover of wuthering heights and being inexplicably happy. but not too inexplicable. my first stop was the goodwill store, which i hadn't been to in ages. i used to go almost every other day looking for another square frame. i never found one, but right there on the shelf was two.

i walked down yonge street and then through the eaton centre, stopping by the phones to try and call julie. no luck. i walked along queens west and stopped for a brief sit down at university, where i admired the fountains and realised how much my calve muscles were aching from walking up and down the stairs in the building where sedric and sophie live (i was trying to get onto the roof, also no luck). then up spadina and through kensington. i bought some malt balls from the sweet shop and took a coffee and croissant at louie's. i sat and read 'tales from nowhere' until a sentence ("we threw fire into the throat of the balloon") gave me the urge to write about how much i love words.

then i realised i was supposed to be calling maria, and since i'd lost her number i walked up to their house but had missed them. i sat and read for a while in their garden before returning to kensington for a pasty. they do the best pasties. and if you've noticed i'm walking instead of cycling, well it's because i used to walk. i was going for authenticity.

i decided to get another coffee at the moonbeam, and sat out back on the garden patio. i wrote a letter to someone, but didn't know exactly who. i figured i'd write down six names and roll a dice. i figure i probably wont, not given the poor quality of the letter. then a squirrel jumped on the guy sleeping on the bench and everybody jumped. it was a gorgeous day.

but i can't remember the walk home.

in the evening was the memorial ride for charlie, which i'll write about elsewhere. and i'm house sitting again, so i moved some stuff around the city. finally getting to talk to julie. it sounds like she's having a good time. obviously it would be better if i was there. sure.

18.08.2007: it's not that i didn't mean everything i said last post, it's just that it was terrible timing. terrible. today is the first day of the toronto comic arts festival, my first comics thing, and as well as being totally awesome it has burnt one fat hole in my wallet.

as it was my first comics festival i had absolutely no idea as of what to expect and how to behave. what are all these people here to do? what do they expect from me? what is it cool and not cool for me to say and do? i wandered around in awe, quickly exploring the whole building, before attempting to try and talk to anyone. the first person i recognised was joey comeau, which is a shame because y'know, i'd like to make a good impression. how do you tell someone who has a violently beautiful way with words that you love their work? whatever you say will come out dull and insincere compared with what they are capable off. i should have just asked him to step outside, how cool would it be to get your ass kicked by joey comeau? ignore that last comment, he's the perfect gentleman i'm sure. "i hope you like the book. it is pretty good" he wrote. it is. and it turns out he lives in my area now, so he better do readings all the time.

then i saw rstevens, but didn't want to talk to him since he only really exists on the internet. then i mistook a woman for becky cloonan and she probably hated me for it because she knew i wasn't really interesting in her books, and looked through them only out of politeness. i made a bigger ass out of myself by explaining my awkwardness on it being my first comics festival and i didn't know what i was doing, like she was interested.

in the next room i found kevin huizenga who i had a nice chat with. he said i was doing ok, but really i was babbling rubbish. i told him stupid things, like how my friend didn't understand glenn ganges. why did i even do that? he drew me a cool little glenn head that i was very happy with.

i actually recognised jason kieffer from his comics on he draws himself well, but he's more smiley in real life. i bought his comic to make up for me dissing the blog (not entirely true, but there was dissing). the girl he was with looked like beth.

then in the corner i spotted a few copies of 'nil: a land beyond belief' and got very excited. nil is fantastic and i'd always wanted to believe it wasn't actually written by anyone. it was too something. but no, it was written by james turner, and he didn't understand what i meant either. i asked the girl next to me to help me out in explaining, but she was equally lost. i told im it was a compliment anyway and left it at that, buying two nil badges and the first issue of rex libris. he wrote "sapere aude" inside, which i decided to not ask him the meaning of (in retrospect that was surprisingly unfitting).

the next person i spoke to was hope larson, who made me feel more comfortable. she is as at least as cool her superstar partner, as proven by the super cute bunny she drew for me. the brush lines are perfect and it took her seconds. she also promised me (actually she didn't promise as such) that when bryan was back he would draw me a billy corgan, finally.

and it's strange because straight after i bought a comic by jason loo that contains a character who looks just like billy. i bought it for the gorgeous cover though, and he didn't seem to mind that. i also bought a comic from mk reed (cross country) and issue one of papercutter. i felt sorry for those two because their table was in the corner. it was at this point i realised i was going to spend a lot of money.

i spent a while admiring steve macisaac's work. i could tell he could tell i wasn't really into big naked men, but his style is great.

downstairs i spoke to marcel guldemond. he had a selection of small but perfectly formed comics. i bought two of these and he drew cute little panels in the front of each. i like that. i also bought one of his mini-prints, of a guy staring out to sea. it's corny but beautiful. i should have bought the mondrian one, but i knew at the time i'd think that later so it's okay.

the next table was rosemary mosco, who i've seen around toronto and always suspected of being particularly cool. she is, even if she didn't have drawings of giant squids. her dinosaurs are enough though. plus she knew the dimetrodon wasn't actually a dinosaur. whatever, it's still my favourite. and they're extinct, they can't argue.

i didn't go to the 'end of the world' launch party on thursday, figuring everyone there would be at the TCAF anyway, and luckily they were. i was relieved to find out that claudia davila's 'spoiled' was only tiny and totally affordable. unlike therefore repent, which i bought anyway once i'd determied the writer was at least agnostic. plus the ink smelled fantastic.

in an almost hidden room i met tomasz kaczynski. i had no idea who he was until he showed me the stories he'd had publish in mome, which happened to be my favourites of the last two books. they are awesome and i told him so. this made me feel bad for the people next to him, but nevermind. i bought one his mini comics which he kindly doodled in. in the same room was gia-bao tran, who i'd never heard of but was selling an amazing print i couldn't resist. i also bought his cute little mobile comic.

the next corridor was hiding shannon gerad. i'd read hung no.1 and really liked it, but never been able to find any following issues, here they were. and they were the only books i bought that i didn't get signed or scribbled in. i figured she was too busy knitting a penis for me to bother her.

then i finally found jeffrey brown. you'll be pleased to know i bought the $15 version of his new awesome book, not the nice hardback $30 one. nice guy though, i probably shouldn't have told him my girlfriend didn't like him for being whiney and obsessive (i didn't use those words). we mostly talked about how cool the tshirt he'd made for grilly was. he drew me a cool incredible change bot, "okay seriously, who took my gun?". next to him was jeff lemire, who i hadn't expected to see here. i have a copy of lost dogs which is already signed, numbered and doodled in, but i figured i could get it personalised too. he also was a very nice guy and thanked me for buying his book.

i found another mome person and started wishing i'd bought my copies with me. i wanted to read eleanor davis' 'the beast mother' anyway. she also had a gumball machine dispensing mini comics. i want one.

all that was left then was to go find becky cloonan and get bryan lee o'malley to draw me billy corgan, which he did, exploding. go him. becky cloonan was opposite and i waited patiently whilst an embarrassing guy told her she was cuter in real life and had his photo taken with her. after that all i needed to do was keep my mouth shut and she'd think i was cool enough.

and that was that. fucking awesome. and with minimal nerdiness. it was super-indie and there wasn't even anyone dressed up (i thought that kind of stuff was obligatory). chris, and whoever else organised the event, did an awesome job. go them.

now i'm absolutely exhausted.

17.08.2007: i'm not sure what i was thinking before i had this thought, but it must have been something really stupid. and i ignored this thought, because it was also really stupid, but it wouldn't go away. for some reason i felt compelled to attempt to create a list of all the books i've read in the last year. and for what? for no reason at all. but it was keeping me up at night trying to remember the name of one book, so i sat down and hammered it out. i have no doubt there's a few important books missing, but the list must look something like this:

don quixote - cervantes
the heart is a lonely hunter - carson mccullers
post office - bukowski
tales of ordinary madness - bukowski
the trial - kafka
down and out in paris and london - george orwell
the three incestuous sisters - audery niffenegger
candide - voltaire
anansi boys - neil gaiman
the player of games - iain banks
less than zero - brett easton ellis
black coffee blues - henry rollins
helen and desire - alexander trocchi
the big over easy - jaspe fforde
harry potter and the deathly hallows - jk rowling
polaroids from the dead - douglas coupland
it's too late to say i'm sorry - joey comeau
in the garage - alma fullerton
tattoo this madness in - daniel allen cox
chicago stories - by aaron cometbus
no holiday - martin cohen
how nonviolence protects the state - peter gelderloos
the bolivia diary - che guevara
the zapatista reader
autonomous media
censored 2007
heat - george monbiot
freakonomics - stephen dubner and steven levitt
blink - malcolm gladwell
design anarchy - kalla lasn
the corporation - joel bakan
temporary autonomous zone - hakim bey
the god delusion - richard dawkins
the revolution will be accessorized
governments of the future - chomsky
mcsweeney's 12 through 21

about 44 books. not bad. that's 3.6 a month. and don't forget the comics. so since that wasn't hard enough already how about i try and recount all the graphic novels and trades i've read too, which is going to produce an even sketchier list but nevermind. comics are generally much quicker to read so quickly forgotten, and since i borrowed a lot from the library i have no record of them either. there's also all the small books (physically) that are impossible to keep track of. so, here's a damn good attempt:

notes from a defeatist - joe sacco
at wars end - joe sacco
fun home - alison bechdel
tiny giants - nate powell
it disappears- nate powell
please release - nate powell
rusty brown - chris ware
jimmy corrigan - chris ware
don't go where i can't follow - anders nilsen
the end - anders nilsen
big questions - anders nilsen
glacial period - nicolas de crecy
promethea - alan moore
supermarket - brian wood
dmz - brian wood
doom patrol 4 & 5 - grant morrison
alice in sunderland - bryan talbot
it's a good life if you don't weaken - seth
i never liked you - chester brown
mister x - dean motter
maus - art spiegelman
baraka and black magic in morocco - rick smith
le cage - martin vaughn-james
southland tales - richard kelly
scott pilgrim 1 to 3 - bryan lee o'malley
black hole - charles burns
epileptic - david b
garage band - gipi
regards from serbia - aleksander zograf
flight 3
mome 4 to 8
spx 2000, 2002, 2003 & 2004
meathaus 7 & 8
top shelf asks the big questions
project romantic
afterworks 2
the three paradoxes - paul hornschemeier
red eye black eye - k thor jensen
recidivist - zak sally
commune - maxeem
king city - brandon graham
dark adaptation - lorenz peter
grey horses - hope larson
way off main 1 - josue menjivar
curses - kevin huizenga
ganges - kevin huizenga
or else 4 - kevin huizenga
chimera - lorenzo mattotti
tales from the farm - jeff lemire
lost dogs - jeff lemire
akira - katsuhiro otomo
the invisibles - grant morrison
new xmen vol 1 to 3- grant morrison
lucifer - mike carey
jar of fools - jason lutes
berlin - jason lutes
y the last man - brian k vaughan
finders talisman - carla speed mcneil
hellboy weird tales
embroideries - sarjane satrapi
cat getting out of a bag and other observations - jeffrey brown
i am going to be small - jeffrey brown

earlier yesterday i decided it was time to stop buying books. they are my final material vice and the one thing i get irrationally overprotective about. i've said it before and not meant it, and i don't mean it now, but i can move in the right direction. so firstly i can refuse to pay cover price, i can focus on second hand and overstock. secondly i can narrow all purchases to independant publishers only, which can only have a huge positive effect on my comic buying habits. and what about books with really nice covers? i failed at not buying chuck palahniuk's new book for that very reason (which you'll have noticed i haven't read yet), but also because it was 30% off. oh, and mcsweeney's don't count.

i can see this isn't going to go well.

i plan to start with the new william gibson book. it's an easy one because i hate the cover. no but seriously, i just couldn't see why i needed to own it. it may seem obvious to you, but i have all his other books and have been waiting for it a long time. it's like that time i felt compelled to buy the last skunk anansie album (wasn't that a charlie big mistake). but anyway, encouragement not criticism please.

16.08.2007: mid-conversation J. reached down into his pocket, and with only a brief pause between words, his hand brought out a clunky blue object which he placed on the table between us. he did this as if it was a completely unremarkable object, as if it wasn't thomas the tank engine. when he saw my expression he chuckled a little and shrugged at what's become an almost alien object to me. and in that moment i understood something about having kids, something that felt more fundamental and important than any other thought i've had on the subject, and it involves being able to carry around a grinning blue train with you wherever you go.

the free flowing beer helped, and also the endless flow of pasta salad. my vege burger was brilliant.

here's me sitting around a table with a group of people i very nearly didn't know, again, outside amongst the sound of crickets, the distant expressway, and a dog that was cooped up in a car for three hours too long. the same applies to the child, who slips seamlessly between english and swedish depending on who he's talking to. i wanted so bad to speak to him in danish to see how he'd respond, in what language, but i didn't want to confuse the poor guy. besides, he was way more interested in the football to pay any attention to me.

it was another well satisfying meal, and i've still not been to the supermarket since julie left on saturday. looking in our fridge we would have said we had no food, but since then i've cooked swede and carrot pasta, made sweet potato chips (with peas and beans) and survived on various breads. every meal has impressed me. on saturday i'd eaten on the danforth, and on sunday i'd had leftovers from the tree volunteer party on friday, from which i also still have cake (although not for long). who needs supermarkets anyway? tonight i'll have pasta with the remaining tomato sauce, sweet potato and beans. it will be glorious.

you can read about my post-midnight cycle home on my cycling blog, if it at all interests you, which it shouldn't.

and thanks for all the super positive comments on my most recent batch of photos, it was really appreciated.

15.08.2007: if you'll ignore the over exaggeration, the wiki scanner is the best thing the internet has seen the wiki itself. virgil griffith has created a search app that enables you to browse wikipedia edits by IP block. the beauty of this is that it enables you to search through all edits made by any particular corporation or organisation. wired has an article listing some of the more blatant attempts at corporate whitewashing (i.e. deleting a whole criticism section), and also a few good examples of smaller changes that delicately shift bias and subtely change criticism. i haven't had time to play with it yet, but most of the edits i found appear to be completely unrelated to (and likely not sanctioned by) the organisation they're attributed to. i mean, who doesn't edit the wiki while at work?

i suppose all you evil PR agencies, corporate think tanks and lobby groups will just start using proxies and other anonymising techniques. the evilest are no doubt using them already. but nevermind, it quantively demonstrates the wiki's falliblity and its abuses at the hands of corporations. it shows nicely what these groups are like and how low some of their employees will sink. hopefully some good stories will come out of it, you can read some here.

i wonder, can you use google's translate tool to edit the wiki through? just a thought.

anyway. i'm fed up today and not sure what i'm playing around at. honestly. i need to sort it out. i just don't think i can before the summer's over, and then it'll be too late anyway. oh fuck it. fuck. it.

this blog broke my heart.

14.08.2007: it's a chilly morning. and there's an air of sadness, like it's the first morning of autumn. sliding into september. even though we're not. but it was too early and i didn't want to be awake. 30 minutes before your alarm goes off is the worst time. when the bed isn't providing any of its usual comforting embrace. a pathetic excuse for a sheet letting the cold air chill your shoulders. and something about my wrist felt suddenly fragile and awkward. the squirrels jumping against the window and rattling the grill. you know you've got to get up soon and you haven't slept enough, and then you look over and realise you've snoozed the alarm already and it's time.

if only i could leave the house and suddenly be in france or spain.

photos from the other weekend are up, i've even created a nice little jack lake photo gallery for you to browse. but if you can't be bothered here are my vague favourites:

and you'll notice that most of them are of julie. but what did you expect?

if you're wondering what my editorial process is like, that's the selection from 269 photos. i also deleted a lot from my camera, so i probably used about one in ten photos i took. i'm sure my ratio is probably normally higher than that though, i did a lot of messing around when taking those photos. messing around in the sense of trying different settings etc. there's over 100 of just julie on the swing. anyway..

13.08.2007: yesterday pretty much everything went wrong. and i blame it all on the rain, which started around the time sophie came over. we were going over to see the ed mirvish celebration and check out the local comic shops. with the weather it took us about an hour and half to get along bloor, stopping under whatever shelter we could find before deciding again we may as well just walk through it.

and for what? the celebration was underwhelming. nothing much was going on. there was just a big stage and a stand that looked like it was at some point giving away hotdogs. what was worse was that the beguiling had decided to close because of it. wet and miserable. at least i wasn't the woman who spilt her coffee everywhere in the cafe.

my plan was to then go to cheery beach, but that wasn't going to happen either. instead i stayed in and did whatever, i can't even remember.

even my early night went wrong and i had a terrible time trying to get to sleep.

yes, i'm just being grumpy.

here's an image i was playing around with, whilst being grumpy:

for no reason.

12.08.2007: this feeling reminds me of when i was doing my dissertation. when i'd be up working, or whatever else, until 5am in the morning. being exhausted, hollow and numb. but happy, in a way that only makes sense at the time. perhaps the word is content. in a weird way i've missed that feeling. it's almost comforting to be in that same space again.

i can do this because julie has gone away and i can stay up til whenever i want.

actually it's not necessarily self-inflicted. on friday evening there was a party style gathering for the harbord village neighbour-wood volunteers. people bought food and wine, and i mostly ate and drank. but the dips were so great, and the vine leaves so edible. the wine so tasty, and plentiful. i blame the cakes. all three of them, times however many helpings i had (small slivers of helpings, i'm not a total fatty). the last beer at the green room probably didn't help either, but we couldn't resist going for a drink with maria and larry. somehow we got into discussing my future and it all went wrong. i really don't know what i want to do, do i? the difference is i think that it might be ok. but then, it's easy to say money isn't important when you're in surplus.

anyway, the culmination of all the above was much pain at half seven the next morning when julie wanted me to get up. we wanted to go for breakfast, but i could barely move without my stomach sending angry messages up to my brain and down to my bowels. i managed to stay in bed until about nine, not sleeping but nothing you could call awake. but i wasn't going to let too much cake stop from seeing julie to the airport.

so yeah, julie has gone travelling around again, this time to various distant canadian provinces, and i'm left to water the plants. when i finally made it home from the airport, after obligatory trips to the printers and comic shop, i was determined to have a nap but all kinds of bureaucracy seemed to get in the way. in the end i managed about 15 minutes before leaving to count trees, which was also a terrible failure because it was saturday and no one was in to let us into their gardens.

i'm not sure how i managed it but i was then out the house for the rest of the day. it was 'taste of the danforth' so i spent a good hour walking along that and enjoying the festivities, then another hour walking back and not enjoying it quite so much. the high sun running down the length of the street mixed with the obscene number of people and the smoke from a hundred barbecues, it's not so fun. i spent an hour or more chilling out in a park buried deep somewhere in rosedale, one of my favourite secret places. i stayed there until the light went.

not long after that you could have found me on the patio outside the artful dodger eating sweet potato chips. i managed to stay awake, but only just. it would have been nice to go back to sedric and sophie's, but i couldn't function on any acceptable social level. i tried to sleep when i got back but i'd broken my sleep centre. it was 4am when my brain finally caved in and let me pass out, happy to be able to subconsciously process all the comics i'd just read.

and then i walk into the bathroom and it's the exact same smell from when we first moved here. i'm instantly transported back 12 months, making it seem so long ago, like it was only yesterday. time goes quickly because you forget and ignore how much things change. it's amazing how smells break the spell. how they resurrect the feeling as well as the memory. smells are the best thing.

10.08.2007: recently i've noticed a growing number of references to the omega point, in magazines and on the internet. even in graffiti. mostly unaware and subtle references, but references none the less. it's like we're actually building up to something. to 2012. like the noosphere is actually beginning to awake. like our sentence is almost up.

it's about the only good thing about social networking. you can see how right these people were. you can see almost quantative steps as everything begins to collide together. where masamune shirow was wrong in ghost in the shell is this isn't going to birth a self-aware and intelligent entity, it is becoming one. it's just scaled up gaia theory, and then bang. like the explosion of xibalba in the fountain only without all the special effects. mogwai may remain.

back in the real world, we had a very pleasant dinner last night. so thank you to all the people involved and i'm glad you all enjoyed the awesomeness of the biryani house's indian cuisine. my favourite dish is definately the wala kofta, but i suppose you don't need to know that.

and i finished reading harry potter. the last chapter was terrible and completely unnecessary, but otherwise it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. at times i even decided it was my favourite book of the series. i also respect rowling's dedication to not allow any further harry potter books by attempting to kill off (woah, spoiler warning?) as many characters as possible. did i mention one of the first things julie did when i was lent the book was to read the last page out loud. she got through seven words before i'd gagged her and locked her in the cupboard with no food or water.

anyway, wtf am i talking about harry potter? rubbish.

09.08.2007: coolest banner drop you've ever seen:

the six people responsible were promptly arrested but have since been released (and deported), presumably because they're english, american and canadian, not chinese or tibetan. lucky them.

i've been having disturbing dreams recently. it's not very often i'll find myself needing to sit on the edge of the bed in the middle of the night trying to calm myself down. not over corny shit like a zombie attack or being buried alive. repeatedly stabbing someone in the face and them just not dying. i can't even remember the dream i had last night but it proper shitted me up. something brutal and agonizing and nsfw. something involving impossibly tiny doors.

it's probably just a phase. just the deathly hot weather. the vitamin a tablets. work stress. harry potter. mosquitos. zombies.

i'm sorry. i have photos but no time to process and upload them. and by processing i mean filtering the 300 down to 15. i'm too busy sitting outside cafes reading and chatting to communists to be bothered with staring at a computer screen.

08.08.2007: hurray:

"1965: sailors on a soviet whaling ship witness a fight between a sperm whale and a giant squid. after some ferocius thrashing on the surface, the sperm whale disappears into the deep with the squid wrapped around its head. when it finally resurfaces again, the whale is dead. the squid's huge head is later discovered inside the whale's body."

also from mcsweeney's is my favourite short story, also involving a giant squid. it's a twisted love story revolving around a dead giant squid. which is not why i like it, but it helps. it's called "after the disaster", by ben ehrenreich, and you can read it too if you can find a copy of mcsweeney's 12. it really is beautiful and worth the effort.

if you like that kind of thing. giant squids.

and since i don't have anything to actually say, i may aswell start emptying out the text file of crap i wrote but never published, which includes:

what kind of pathetic person am i? i'm 25 and i've never been in a riot. i've never set fire to anything significant or symbolic. never thrown rocks at fascists. i've never had to run for my life or hide silent in a bush or dumpster. i'ver never waltzed through city hall and taken a shit right in the middle of the lobby. never set zoo animals loose causing havoc, mayhem and freedom. or set zoo animals on fire. i've never kissed a nun or punched a horse. or vice-versa. i've only ever hallucinated once and then i nearly shat myself.


i keep thinking i feel like shit today. the trick is in the 'today' bit, subconciously suggesting that i didn't feel like shit yesterday, and i wont feel like shit tomorrow. it's just 'today' and that's okay.

but don't worry, they're pretty old. i also found "my tea tastes like banana custard" in the most random file. and "i used to drink earl grey to calm myself down at work".

also a note about a conversation me and grilly probably had, "blog as a struggle against mortality through presevation for posteriety".

the shit i come out with sometimes..

07.08.2007: and you may find yourself sitting around a camp fire with a group of people you barely even know, completely unsure as to how you got there, how you made it this far. the fire intensifies the darkness that streches off across the lake. and you're swinging out into it between two trees and trusting the rope wont break. broken social scene. this is the best of both worlds, of loneliness and companionship. and then later, when most people have retired, listening to the squeal of the logs over the gentle crackle of the fire. wishing for dark rum instead of cheap beer. pop crackle fizz. sizzle.

last to bed, first up. you couldn't resist the lake either. and only hesitating on the dock to drag out the anticipation of the water. beautiful warm water. goosebumps from the morning breeze. french toast for breakfast, and leftover chinese for the bravest of the group. we'd stopped off in a small town to eat at a friend's parent's chinese restaurant the night before. they'd given us free rule over the buffet and all of their leftovers. terribly friendly people, and good humoured too. they even sent us cheese curds and chocolate the following day, because the cheese and chocolate factories had both been closed the night before.

all weekend eating cheese curd. straight from the bag or fried.

dragonfly sex. hemlock stands. mosquito bites. scratching away at whatever epidermis i have left.

taking the paddleboat out to the small island. or swimming out there, even better. and when the reconnaissance party gets back with supplies (food and beer), taking the speedboat out for a run, being thrust at stupid speed across the water and into the strange life of a much richer and decadent person. dirty pleasures. it's a culture i'm thrilled to experience for the weekend, but overexposure could be dangerous. and anyway, i prefer my lakes free of petrol fumes and silent. when the motors die down and you can hear the hoots and howls of the loons it's magic. it really is beautiful here, but you can only call it's idyllic or serene until a jetski zooms past or the neighbours jump in their hot tub.

and sure it's hot, but nothing in comparison to the city. before we'd left toronto we'd stupidly decided to walk the length of college between our house and theirs. nearly died. the street is a manmade death valley. but here in the forest you can breathe. the lake brings a breeze and the trees suck up the humidity. the temperature difference is startling.

walking through the forest to a perfect swimming spot, a sheltered part of the lake and a babbling river leading to it, not quite ruined by the small camp playing way loud dr.dre and bad metal. or the ATVs, thankfully sitting silent on the crest of the hill. it's almost easy to blur the line between escaping into the wilderness and running away to another spot of spoilt up nature. but it's good enough for me, the contrast to the city is still extreme. you still see deer. and all of this disappears when snorkling in the pool, staring at the fish swimming between everyones legs. getting water right up your nose.

drinking middle-eastern coffee. more cheese curd. grape leaves and rice for dinner cooked by chris, fresh home from palestine and ghana.

back into the night. drunken wood chopping, not really for me. skinny dipping, julie standing on the dock in the spotlight. swigging rum. three power boats moored at our dock and our fire is under seige from various drunken 'locals'. at 2am roasting marshmallows and trying to make s'mores, which is harder than you might think. at 3am listening to mogwai, young team, and soon i'm the only person up. staring into the flames and out into the lake. sitting on the dock, bobbing gently up and down, staring up into the stars. a toast to absent friends. quiet like you could never get in the city. even the crickets have gone to bed. i nearly slept out there, but no.

last to bed, first up again. excluding mike and his singing in the shower. morning swim. scrambled eggs. then some proper log chopping. i'd never split a log before, so there's another first. crack, manly shit. and all there is to do after sweating over chopped wood is jump back into the lake. then go tubing, which is shockingly rough on the arms. who knew being dragged around on a big inflatable donut by a speedboat could be so exhilarating. more dirty pleasures. and just before sun sets, taking a much more modest boat out to a secluded corner for fishing. it's not for me, but i'd never been fishing before and was happy to watch other people. happy is the wrong word, but watching people trying to rip worms into halves is disturbingly entertaining. jason caught the smallest fish anyone has ever caught ever. a calming sundown. good bonding time, over hooks in the mouths of fishes.

roasted corn and burgers for dinner. no fish, but so much food we didn't even have room for s'mores once julie had the fire rocking. she did good, splitting all that wood and attempting wakeboarding too. and we played trivial pursuit. told bad jokes. we all had a relatively earlier night.

and first up again for my birthday swim, which i took on my own. floating around with my eyes shut. swimming underwater upside down, the sky rippling beneath me. completely disorientated. and then pancakes for breakfast, expert pancakes courtesy of angus. the rest of the time spent lazing or cleaning. reading. grilled up leftovers for dinner. my third norwegian birthday song. and peel yourself a boat.

and after so long that it could have been forever we were in the car again, rocking along the rollercoaster road out of there. staring out the car window at the rushing empty countryside, listening to the cranberries and wondering where all the time went. or something way less corny. so happy-sad. with mike singing along i can't help but grin. "i'm such a fool for you", the timing not quite right, somehow better. feeling content but lack of sleep taking it out on my emotions. i could have let a tear roll over my smile, but not to the cranberries. please. or vanessa carlton. jimmy eat world.

back in our apartment and not being able to face it at all. luckily, just before i knocked out julie to make her easier to drag out the front door she suggested we go out for dinner. himalayan.

decompression sickness. itchy too. my eyes aching from the inside. and sad i can't eat my own birthday cake.

super weekend. and such lovely people.

02.08.2007: i dreamt about bees. big fucking augmented bees. the over-sized hairy queen with her hundreds of legs, knawing at my face. a feeler going into my eye.

the perogies were good, even if the service was rubbish. he was too busy chatting up the female clientele to pay us much attention. and being bought perogies with bacon twice isn't particularly forgivable. perhaps it wasn't his fault, i don't care. we met an interesting guy though. called david or peter or carl or something. he was a physicist with crazy eyes and crazy stories. his conspiracy theories were fun, but him handing the waiter his plate and asking him wasn't it nice we'd given him perogies? that was not cool. it was nothing like the time we gave a french kid beer, the waiter responded "yeah, but you could have come sit on this side of the table". stupid licensing laws. needless to say we had no cake.

and then for lunch i got talked into going to the italian place next door. another buffet, but with a twist. their dining experience is a little complicated, involving a weird disc you are supposed to flip depending if you want to be hassled with more food or not. the best part of the restaurant is where you get to build-your-own-pasta (tm?). you pick the pasta you want (from a list of about ten, i chose gnocci), the sauce you want (four or five? i went for rose), and then what extras you want. and the ingredients board was huge. i added goats cheese, pine nuts and mixed mushrooms. i should have added basil. then after pasta they bring out pizza. and after that a dessert pizza. it's sick, but i couldn't resist a chocolate sauce pizza topped with raspberries, bananas and strawberries. we'll be rock and rolling all the way to the morgue. or at least the emergency ward.

hurray for two hour lunches.

from here i'll be going to the artful dodger to hang out with laura and drink (erm, i think maybe creemore, since it's what i've started with). i'm telling you this so i don't have to tell you on tuesday. i'm sure i will anyway. then we're off north somewhere to a cottage or cabin or whatever. i'm hoping there's a lake so i can go drown myself swimming on my birthday. that's right, it's been a year. don't worry about it, i don't.

..dances off into the weekend a day ahead of all of you (excluding the fantastic people who don't work)

01.08.2007: the weather has turned incredible. and here's me sheltering from it under fluorescent lighting and air conditioning. eight hours a day, torturing myself. when i wrote "my sympathy for your self-imprisonment only stretches so far. if you're going to waste one more day of your life dedicated to a salary then you can forget it. summer is screaming you in the face and all you can think about is your pension", was i writing to myself?

i had to go for a walk. walking clears my head like nothing else, it's what i'm missing now i have a bike. but then i came across a swimming pool, all those people splashing around in the cool blue water, the kids screaming and the adults laughing. i nearly cried.

yes, i'm just being melodramatic.

elsewhere i'm off. binging on all you can eat perogies. hoping the cheese survives the ride home. catching my teeth on what remains of the afternoon and hoping no more of them break. and if i'm lucky tay hasn't ruined my evening.

31.07.2007: i have a history with grammar, as the "were not wasting paper [or grammar]" comment at the top of my site testifies. not a problem, in the sense of me finding it difficult, more in the sense of me finding it redundant. more in a hubert selby jr kind of way. i never did much like commas and apostrophes.

incidentally, the wasting paper comment is a legacy from the original incarnation of my current site, which had a tree for the main image on the top left (top middle?).

but i grew up a little, started enjoying the rhythms introduced by the comma, and the smugness of being able to uses apostrophes mostly properly. so these days i use a lot of grammar (and should really change the "were" to "we're"), but i still have a certain beef, and that's with how full stops and commas interact with parenthesis and quotes.

actually, nix that. i just investigated it (talked to mith), and what i thought made sense, and was about to rant about, is actually how it is. phew, saved faced there. i'd have nothing to write about now, except i have backup - "its".

"the cat has its mouse" is both grammatically correct and logically retarded. it is the cat's mouse. the mouse belongs to the cat. it is its mouse. the mouse belongs to it. so, it should be "it is it's mouse". but no, because that would be confusing when i went on to say "it's it's mouse".

you might argue it's because of the "his" thing. but that's rubbish as well, it shouldn't be his mouse. it should be him's mouse, because it belongs to him. in the same way that the poor mouse belongs to her and is her's mouse. right, i'm glad we've sorted that out.

i think i better leave it at that.

30.07.2007: as a respite i'm not going to tell you about my weekend.

and it's a shame because we did some real neat stuff, like going to angus and jason's for homemade pizza and cheesecake, drinking durian milkshake, doing critical mass and hanging out at the community bike network, eggs benedict for breakfast again, going shopping and drinking parisian chai, eating sushi and renting movies, dying in the heat, hanging out in kensington because it's pedestrian sunday (with all the pirates and street scrabble), walking/cycling around drinking iced coffee and watching drum circles and random bands. a woman singing 'no woman no cry', reminding me of that time in brighton. clasping at the weekend as it vanishes away. the weekend and whatever. but mostly just lying in bed and staring out the open window into the night, falling asleep listening to the crickets.

trying to fall asleep..

for anyone who might care, spencer has been put down. to rest, whatever you wish to call it. julie really like him as well, where i was mostly just annoyed by him. i guess he was being needy for a reason. i still liked his soft punches though.

the book i'm reading is scaring me. it's by peter gelderloos, who is currently being held in spain awaiting trial on flimsy charges after being arrested in april at a squat demonstration in barcelona (in his own words). if you will write a book on how nonviolence protects the state you shouldn't be surprised when the authorities don't believe a word you say. the book is chillingly brilliant though, and i really need to read a good critical critique of it.

i'm trying to eat my baguette here. like it's a rubiks puzzle or something. how do you eat something so large and crusty? i'd complain it's too rough on my lips but i don't want you thinking i'm a bit wet. and i just lost a chip off a tooth. another tooth. do i not drink enough milk? do i bite my nails too aggresively? what the fuck is going on? it's the last time i ever eat crusty baguette from the bin.

28.07.2007: one of the best things about house sitting (after posh kitchens, excellent locations, hot tubs and well stocked alcohol cupboards) is getting access to a lifetime's worth of books. it's a bit like your own personal random library. but despite having access to all these great books, i always seem to end up reading national geographic on the toilet. or rather just looking at the pictures.

the most recent issue is a real treat though, with an article about carl linnaeus, the swedish dude who started the ball rolling on taxonomic classification (i.e. kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species), and who apparently was also a creationist, which i'll ignore for the time being and laugh at later (since his original classification system included a category for dragons and unicorns, most likely invisible pink ones). but what really caught my attention is this genetic tree from the university of texas:

it shows the relationships of 3000 species (chosen as a sample representation for all organisms) based on a single gene, and is the most compelling diagram i've seen in a long time. in your face creationist, look upon it and tremble - the eye of a god that never existed.

you've seen similar genealogical maps before, and this one proves nothing more than they did, of course, but it's simple beauty is undeniable. and it raises some interesting questions, because there's the science and that's what you need to explain before you start talking about intelligent design.

so why did god create such a complex system (genetics) that produces such a simple mechanism (evolution) that ties all species together with such a neat explanation for the origin and development of life? did he do it to on purpose? to test us? to see if we could be swayed by logical and scientific thought? to seperate out the rational people so he could dispose of them in a clean and precise manner, because clearly there's no place in heaven for critical thinkers, right?

everything is so much more beautiful when godless.

26.07.2007: filling the sink with ice from the freezer, filling it full. and ice all over the carpet burning the soles of my feet. where's all this ice come from? like bacteria breeding exponentially in my freezer compartment.

reading kafka in the bath. my empathy scares me. not empathy, but something else. it feels disturbingly familiar. i might stop reading it.

bagpipe pipers marching down the street, in full highland gear. really i just wish they'd leave me in peace.

and i'd be going to ottawa to fuck the shit out of george bush and his security and prosperity partnership of north america (i only swear to filter out people who are bothered by such things. and to upset my parents), except all the organisations going are charging $60 for seats on their coaches, which seems rather excessive. if that's actually how much it costs (50 people per coach = $3000) then it's simply not worth it and we need to find alternative transport. can we go by horse? anyone car sharing? get in touch.

but hey seriously, it's not my fight.

photos from detroit & windsor. and some favourites for the lazy:

have a good weekend.

25.07.2007: fuck it guys, let the fish take over. let them have their fun. let them have their time. you've already wiped out 90% of the oceans large fish (tuna, swordfish) and groundfish (cod, jake, flounder), and you didn't expect the remainder to fight back? you didn't expect that with the added 118 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in the oceans (since the industrial revolution), plus all the other pollutants (mercury, nitrogen, etc), the fish wouldn't take the fight to your doorstep? or your living room, i hear in some cases. you didn't think that when you polluted their water supply they'd destroy yours? they want their habitat back, but since you've been destroying an area of the sea floor 150 times larger than all forest clearcuts each year, and there are now over 150 manmade nitrogen-caused dead zones around the world (the largest in gulf of mexico, at 8000 square miles in 2001), they want your habitat in exchange.

at least, that's the only explanation i can think of for all the rain and flooding. it's clearly nothing to do with climate change, we've disproved that thanks to 'clever' documentary making.

martin durkin's head on a spike, anyone?

sometime during the night the street cleaning machine (robot) drives past our house, the noise from it fills our room, loud like there's no walls and it's bearing down on me. the noise continues to grow and for a second, in that half-awake state, i consider fleeing. like when you're in bed and the aeroplane's engines are getting louder and louder and any minute it's going to hit you, destroying your bedroom and all evidence you ever existed. and this long before planes actually started to crash into buildings, maliciously at least. i wouldn't mind, it makes me feel like a child, but again at 6am they start up with the machinery across the street. they're fixing up the school, but it's like the whole neighbourhood mowing their lawns. at six fucking in the morning. after this another small vehicle, beeping its way up the street. then the alarm goes off and i have to repeat yesterday, all over again.

except this morning is all about free food. declan gave me a muffin and brendan gave me decaf latte. bagels are on the house. let's see how far i can take this cheese. the smart bets are on all the way to the weekend.

23.07.2007: there goes another great weekend. a model weekend. one to revel in whilst you have it. and one to celebrate it when it's gone, which is what i seem to do these days. here's my tribute to the weekend and all we did.

the evenings were well spent. we played free pool on thursday with some friends at a bar on college. i surprised myself with two great shots that no one else saw. i was surprised because physics doesn't normally work for me whilst playing pool. but not only did we still lose, we lost whilst i was having fun melting the ice in the urinals. i like hanging out with masters and phd students because they know so much about their specific topic, and no matter how boring it may be they can make it interesting. i can find fitlration fun, UV and e.coli are cool. also talking to someone who properly understands OPEC and the international oil market. i wonder if he could also explain the thinking behind the terrible OPEC logo.

friday evening was spent dining on the patio of the middle-eastern restaurant on harbord, enjoying their gorgeous roasted vegetables, vine leaves, baba ganoush and home fries. good food and super friendly service, that was a top feed. then we rented some films which we spaced evenly through the weekend. they included death of a president (which had nothing interesting to say and was way under researched), road to guantanamo (which has plenty to say but also seemed under researched, since it relies soley on the story of three men with no backing evidence. but still, it made me very angry. you can watch it here) and snakes on a plane (which involved snakes on a plane, and the best thing of which was the short snake documentary).

saturday evening had us treated to quality french cuisine at la palette, an exciting restaurant on augusta run by the impossibly friendly shamez. being french their vegetarian options are limited, but dazzling. the pea soup made no sense, peas aren't supposed to taste that good, even with creme fraiche. and the polenta business was fantastic too, and those fried things. i'd be more descriptive but i didn't know what most of it was. that or i've forgotten. something about butternut squash. or chestnut squash. it was truly great. also the local ("nearby") wheat beer. the triple creme brulee rivals that of the bodega's on baldwin. they wanted us to have a good evening and we did. and after that we cycled over to sedric and sophie's apartment to play difficult french games involving the word "biscuit", which apparently doesn't mean anything in french. we also attempted to play charades, but it's unpredictably difficult when played across cultures and languages. we ended up doing jobs and animals, but even they were too hard. biscuit.

the days were also action packed. i started friday helping julie with her tree measurements (actually we started with pancakes, but nevermind), and then went for a big bike ride around toronto exploring all the secret bike paths and discovery walks. there's a whole different city out there, and unless you look for it you'll never find it. there are beautiful hidden stretches of parks that are largely unused. there are forest paths that go for miles, cutting through the heart of the city and under it's roads, so as if the city doesn't even exist. you could cycle for hours without seeing a car, you just have to know where the paths are.

after the cycle i needed my cafe fix. i started reading the trial, which i've had for ages but never dared pick up. i figured it's old and it'll be hard to read and i'll hate it, but none of that's true. over the course of the weekend i got over halfway through it. and to think i could have been reading harry potter. no, the real reason for my frown was the guy who collects the plates wouldn't let me have any cake. he thought i was being odd, he couldn't even fathom it. he didn't understand what i was asking until i spelled it out for him. no worries, i have too much cake and eat it anyway.

saturday was all about the tree liberation at oxford and spadina. it's an ugly corner on the fringe of kesington market, which 'streets are for people' had targetted for beautification. the row of trees that the council have planted are dying, and it's primarily down to a lack of water caused by them being buried under concrete. the logic behind this isn't logic at all. the new idea was tree liberation. i turned up early and nearly broke myself helping lever the concrete blocks out from the pavement. those blocks are fucking heavy. i was there for about five hours trying to help effectively, mostly failing, but at least i didn't break anything. the slabs were turned into benches and the new holes filled with fresh soil and decorated with flowers. the neighbours said they would water them when it doesn't rain. and they bought us watermelon and beer. everyone who walked passed thought it was brilliant. so job well done.

i also got my bike pedal fixed at bike pirates. those guys and girls are brilliant. they're not about fixing up your bike, but rather teaching you how to do it yourself. their tool rack is startling and their spare parts basement rocks. next time i bust something it'll be my first call. and if i bust enough stuff, i may just donate my bike to them when i leave toronto, whenever that might be.

on sunday we decided it was about time we visited the toronto islands. we've been here (oh, wow) eleven months soon, and it was our first time there. shame on us, because the islands are incredible. even on a busy sunday, with huge queues for the ferries, you could find many a quiet corner to chill out and enjoy an easy escape from the city. it's one huge park with space for everyone. we cycled the length of it, exploring all the little nooks, and then found a cute spot to go swimming. getting out of the city? it was like being in a different country. except the water was damn cold. and my skimming is terrible. and there were no coconuts.

actually we found a coconut on friday night. we smashed it on the road, but the flesh didn't taste so good. i think we put it in the green bin.

but back on the islands, the eastern tip is less of a park and more of a little community. it kind of reminded me of christiania, several of the houses have that self-built feel and the are no 'proper' roads. it's definately the coolest place to live in toronto, despite having to ride the ferry to get to the mainland and it costing $5 for an icecream (nearly double). before the summer's out we need to go back there with a large number of friends and beers.

19.07.2007: photos of the abandoned building we explored the other weekend:

email me if you want any non-succinct info about it.

and photos of spencer:

who isn't house sitting with us anymore. he went off to the farm to race through corn fields and chase butterflies. it's late afternoon, so right now he'll either be teasing cows or dancing in the rain. that crazy little tiger. shame he broke his bladder and can't help but pee everywhere all the time now.

18.07.2007: some photos of julie from a couple of saturdays ago:

and i also feel obliged to put these up:

what a slogan though, "for today's image conscious elite". it leaves nothing to be said about the cow tales. tails?

photos means i haven't been doing anything. except maybe watching the new harry potter film, which i unashamedly thoroughly enjoyed. gary and raplh were fantastic, whilst emma has stopped acting with her eyebrows and daniel hasn't got worse, which is something i suppose. anyway, it's at least as good as the previous two, and all i have to do now is ignore everyone talking about the book until someone lends me a copy. any offers?

oh, and incase you hadn't noticed, i started another blog (a cycling blog), because there's always room for more. and really it's a mini-blog. just as long as this doesn't turn into a meta-blog it'll all be okay. i promise.

17.07.2007: i'd just finished work and spent my last $5 on an international phone card. it had taken me two quarters to discover my old phone card had been terminated, but luckily i'd borrowed four from someone in the office. it also didn't help that my regular phone booth is out of service, and has been for almost a month.

so the last thing i needed was some woman standing behind me while i was trying to punch in my pin code. as soon as i got connected i turned around and asked her if she was waiting for the phone, i was going to warn her that i may be a while, but she shook her head and i ignored her. only she didn't go away.

five minutes later she's talking at me getting annoyed and i'm all like what the fuck. i tell her i'm going to be a while and she says she needs to use the phone, getting all exasperated. i tell her i'll be twenty minutes, half to piss her off and half because i probably will. but this bitch she just wont shut up. i'm trying to talk to my mum here, it's an international call and it's costing me a lot of money i tell her. she keeps shouting at me that it's a public phone, and i'm telling her yes, it's a public phone, which is why i'm using it. she even stops someone walking past to point out how terrible my selfish phone appropriation is. to get them to help her get me off it. the guy ignores her like the crazy that she is. my mum asks if it's okay, so i look this woman up and down and almost laugh, i'd love her to come try kick my ass. she'd probably put me in hospital, but it'd be damn funny. if she fell on me i might suffocate.

you got to let me use this phone. get off the phone. this is a public phone. only five minutes. only five minutes.

i'm just about to tell her she's beginning to really piss me off, and to tell her to actually just fuck off, which would have felt great because i've probably never threatened anyone before, and then the stupid phone goes dead. i got disconnected? i was tempted to start smashing the phone handset into the keypad, but there were witnesses. if i'd had a long thin object i could have stuck it into the coin slot to fake a jam. that would have taught her to not be so fucking rude. she might also have learnt where the other phones in this area are.

and then cycling through the don valley i went past this toddler wallowing around in a muddy puddle. his hands and feet were cacked in thick mud and he had it all over his tshirt and shorts. his mum agreed with me that it was probably a lot of fun. if i was her i would have joined him.

were not wasting paper [or grammar]
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