For you, the dress code is casual.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

i need to do what?

the crunch is on for my article. i have five days and 2,500 words. and six interviews. and one p.r. department. and so much of it left to do.

i have a quiver of fear in me now, but it's all right. i work my best in furious states. i need a little more anxiety and a lot more juice. but i'll be working on it most of the day today.

coffeepot, hear me roar.

here's a photo i took yesterday after i parked. it's nothing brilliant, but i like it.

motor bikes only b&w


oh, my phreakin' head. my old teacher, the one in grade 4 and 6 who pushed us like hell to learn to write, who taught me the beautiful art of transition at the skookum-young age of 9, mrs. potschka, would be so proud of me. for the first time since, i swear to god, grade 6, i've written an outline.

yep. when in fear, regress.

so, my outline for my article (i'm doing a cover-feature story for a local newspaper with a little more than a quarter-million circulation here in the city) is a couple pages, and i'm writing a draft now. i feel like committing hari-kari with my bic pen.

instead, the tunes are blasting, i'm chill-workin' as i bellow my tunes out my bedroom window, half-hidden by my shades, and confusing passers-by. it's "get miles" by gomez right now, which is exactly what i want to do, get miles the fuck away from here.

i love this city, man
but this city's killing me
sittin' here in all this noise, man
i don't get no peace
the cars below my street
take me away, piece by piece

gonna leave everything i know
i'm gonna head out towards the sea
gonna leave this city, man
gonna head out toward the sea

get miles away, get miles away
get miles away
get miles...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Something wicked this way comes

I've gotten two emails with these photos in it this week, and they both state the shots were all taken during a week of horrible weather in Red Deer, Alberta, last week. (Honestly, given the vast disparity between the storm eyes, I think they're smoking crack.)

Wherever the hell they're taken, they're mind-boggling.

No matter what we accomplish, nature will always, always kick our sorry little asses.

(These are all clickable for larger-format images in How could I deprive you? They're 800x600 there.)









and you wonder why i live by the mountains and ocean.

two things.

goodbye, google. hello, self-respect. the ads are gone. having ads on here was stupidly incongruous with who i am, anyhow. i'm pretty anti-the-man, so, ranting about the world, et al, and then having advertisements? not too consistent. i hate inconsistency.

so, fuck the ads. i could've just erased my messages telling you to be whores and click, but that's even more sold-out than i care to be. back to good old-fashioned integrity. nice.

what's steff's motto, boys and girls? fuck the man. that's right. go get yourself a lollipop.

and gayboy is developing a hankering to start his own blog. i'll do my part to goad him into it, but if y'all wanna see what the irrepressible gayboy can get together, i suggest you start hounding him (via comments on here, he reads everything--everything--daily, or by email at

i'll teach you everything you need to know, gayboy... and your public wants you. right, public?

what the hell, i'll add another gayboy photo. there's this house near our places (he lives 5 blocks from me) that looks like the Bates' family home (think hitchcock's psycho) and there's this garage next door that's been converted to a home, but they're very secretive about what's inside.

curtains, though, don't deter gayboy, who has no shame. here he is, peeping into the house. "nice lamps," he said, afterwards.

peak a boo

postscript: today, i have to go and see a korean man whose son i once taught english to. i'd taught for the guy for three years, and after that time, he finally began moving more personal effects to canada from korea. it was then that i finally learned who this man was -- a high-ranking cabinet minister in the south korean national government (i'd tell you his post, but since he was such a significant political figure for three decades, i'd hate to have it get back to him). among his personal effects? photos of him WITH every single american president from Kennedy to Clinton. i haven't seen this guy in a year, since he landed me a job in Korea, but since i'm so anti-authority, i have a college degree and not university--not good enough for a work visa. i was crushed. but he's a useful guy to know... let's see what manifests from today's lovefest. letcha know latah.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What the Fuck's That? Vol. 1


This is the makings of... what?

I was on the beach today and this structure was visible through The Wealthy People's front window. So, GayBoy thinks it's a do-it-yourselfer's "Build-A-Helicopter-In-Your-Living-Room" kit.

I was kinda hoping it was a Gravitron. Now that I've seen the not-a-two-inch-display exposure of it, I'm leaning towards GayBoy.

But you tell us: What the fuck is that?

* * *

So, last week, GayBoy and I were chilling, we had a barbecue, drank some stolen wine, smoked a little dope, watched a movie, chatted meaninglessly about everything, and then wandered up for bevvies and a quick peek in the porn store.

(I've lived here five years and have never been into it. Something about virtually "suburban" porn shops seems dirtier.)

[Both of these photos you can click and get led to larger images on Which is beneficial with the Jerkin' 'cos you can see all the lovely vibes behind him.]

jerkin gherkin

(In GayBoy's defense, this is a terrible shot of him. He's much cuter.)

Has GayBoy adopted me?

He's on his way over yet again. Every time he's come since last Monday, the big layoff day, there has been food in his hand. Pizza, blueberry cheesecake, stolen wine from his father's cupboard, chocolate ganache, more pizza, steaks, and there's even a couple salmon steaks (despite my being opposed to seafood) in my freezer that he conveniently "left behind" last week.

I think I'm on the GayBoy social-assistance plan. I smoke him up, he feeds me. It's far more fun than having taxes deducted, I must say.

Rumour has it he's also bringing along a fifth of rum and some Coke.

Good friends rock.

(PS: The photo's further proof of GayBoy rocking. When I was having trouble with my scoot on a ride with him last week, the mere mention of troubles prompted him to take apart my bike, without me asking, begging, or pleading, as soon as we pulled off the road, some 25 miles/35 km from our homes.)

Losing My Religion

[Ed. Note: I have embraced swearing in this posting. Get over it. In fact, I think I'll add even more swear words now. Therapy, my friends, and on the cheap. A beautiful fucking thing.]

Stephen Colbert is leaving the Daily Show. Sort of. The fucker.

Clearly, my desert island lost cable transmission abilities for a short time, so I’m only six weeks behind in discovering this.

One day, I will begin reading newspapers again and you people will be very, very shocked at the change of pace on this humble little site. I’m a very political girl but I’ve been embracing my apathetic alter-ego since November 2nd, 2004.

There’s optimism that the Bush administration may yet self-destruct, so perhaps my burn-out on politics will segue into a feisty desire to see big, bad Rove Republicans going boom.

In the meantime, though, I get all the politics I need from reading a few blogs (including the always wonderful Transcendental Floss) and by watching the always great Daily Show.

But I’m saddended that Colbert is leaving. Happy he’s getting his own show following the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, (which you’re instructed to pronounce with a faux French accent, as “The Co-Bear Re-Porr” because “it’s French, bitch”), but again, I’m sad, because I don’t get fucking Comedy Central.

No, no, I’m a free-cable whore (among other things). The powers that be in the Vancouver cable industry happen to be such fuckwits that you need to beg like a high-school boy after his prom date’s pussy in order to get them to CUT the cable when you cancel it. They subcontract the work out, so the subcontractors look at the list and if it's cutting a service, they claim they've cut it, get paid for it, but nothing ever happens.

To get the service cut, you basically have to hound the bastards for weeks. So, I went from 57 channels down to a lowly 23 or so, but only after I begged, and begged, and fucking begged for them to cut it.

I think the dialogue went like this:

“Excuse me, I cut my cable six weeks ago, but I still have 57 channels.”

“Oh, well, my records show we cut it off.”

“My channel listing disagrees.”

The customer service guy lowers his voice and says, in hush-hush “what’s wrong with you” kinds of tones, “Um, excuse me, but what precisely are you asking?" And slowly, enunciating, he whispers, "I have no record of you retaining any of our cable services.

“Your records are wrong, bub. Look, I know, you probably think I’m nuts, or on drugs to be trying to get rid of something I’m getting for free, and truthfully, I am. After all, who dislikes free? But I’m an addict--addicted to cable. I’m a writer, I can’t be doing this watching-TV-24/7 shit. You. Must. Help. Me.”

“Uh... you are wanting the cable cut, then?”

“Yes. Like I asked, six weeks ago. For the love of God, people, I’m getting bed sores, laying here nursing my fucking remote control. HELP me.”

Well, it took another couple of weeks and instead of losing all 57 channels, like I’d asked, I still have 23 channels left a year later.

So, I get the Daily Show on this shitty local channel and it airs after midnight, but God help me if I ever get to see the Colbert Report.

But life without the God Machine is too fucking much to ask.

When money dribbles back into this squalid existence I call life, I think a priority will be investing in a Colbert/Daily Show double-dose.

I think journalism today’s a fucking joke. I think journalism, five years from now, has a lot of hope for it, and only because of people like Stewart, Corddry, Colbert, and Bee saying precisely what the hell they think, and calling the “pros” on the shit they’re airing. It won't take long, now, for North Americans to realize that news can be informative and entertaining without having to fucking spoon-feed the masses about the latest Brad/Jen Catastrophe and its equivalent.

I doubt the Comedy Central folk ever imagined it, but the best watchdog we’ve got on the media is The Daily Show. A great thing for Stewart and his team, but a fairly depressing report on the status of the media, don’t you think?

And if you want to hear more about my rants on the media, check out this old posting here.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Two baleen burgers and a side of fries, please

Okay, get this. A chain in Japan has now started offering WHALE burgers. Yes, Moby Dick gets bunned.

First, Japan is still abhorred by the world for its insistence on continuing to research whales, which face extinction the world over. But this fast-food chain insists it's only using meat leftover from that scientific research.

And then, the spoksperson goes on to say that:

"...the whale for the burger is cooked in such a way that �it tastes like beef and tuna, and since it is deep fried it has no odor.�"

Say it with me, kids: What the FUCK?

If you're cooking it to taste like beef or tuna, then why don't you have beef or tuna? There's a thing called principle. Eating whale shouldn't be something that's cool. It shouldn't be something we're trying to encourage. It shouldn't be doable. And whales sure as shit shouldn't be getting researched in a way that involves a scalpel and rubber gloves.

Then there's the stupid argument raised that it's part of Japanese heritage and thus should be protected as a part of tradition. Some religions would call stoning adulterous wives a tradition, too, but it don't make it right. Whales are facing extinction. Even with mayonnaise, that burger's a tough damn notion to swallow.

Here's an idea: We leave the whales the fuck alone, and Skippy across the Pacific there can go buy a fucking all-beef burger like the rest of the goddamned planet.

Make the bastards pay!

Click the ads above. It can be your antiestablishment act of the day. Support the unemployed! I'll tell a dirty joke if I top 20 clicks today!

Dirty, dirty...

And you can even click the TopBlogs link to the right, just to humour me and make me feel speshul.

Hilarious! Those smart bastards at Google caught me for not complying with their ads policies! I've been reviewed and my account's on hold. Apparently I got you kids too darned eager when I promised a dirty joke in exchange, so I guess the spike of nearly a hundred clicks was a bit conspicuous. Don't bother clicking. And I'm not acquiescing to their demands, I'm just killing it. All I'd earned thus far was two six-packs of beer. But I'll lament the loss of beer, for I am Canadian.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

musings of the unemployed

breakers in water b&w
(taken at point roberts, usa, last week by yours truly.)

a horn honks in the distance again and again and again. wind whistles up the alleyway, madly rattling my bamboo windchimes. a gull squawks. his friend answers.

the little girl across the way is playing with a plastic bag. tied to a barely visible string, the bag’s hanging over the solid-wood balcony, at the top of which i can just see the outline of her scalp.

the bag drops, jolts back up, droops down lower now, almost hanging in the middle of the downstairs pad’s sliding glass door, dangling loosely whilst being batted about playfully by the wind.

she just giggled, but to whom? and loudly, too, if i can make it out from 70 feet away with the wind whistling and the constant but quiet drone of nearby city-bound traffic.

alan ball, the writer of american beauty, commented that the whole movie began from the experience of seeing that plastic bag dancing in the wind on a lonely grey day once, memorialized in a scene towards the end of the film.

i wonder what mr. ball would have created had a giggling, mischevious 6-year-old been hidden behind the misadventures of that bag?

throw one small detail into the creative process and the whole thing spirals into a new, delightful little mess. got to love it.
it’s funny i live in the city. days like today are so blissfully quiet and sedate that it’s hard to believe i’ve got two million neighbours.

my oh-so-metrosexual hipster of an ex-coworker likes to taunt me by telling me i’m so far from the downtown core i might as well live in the suburbs. he calls a visit to my pad “a hike.” yada, yada, yada. at least i get to sleep every night, pretty boy, no constant whining of transit buses whinging past me, nor the blaring of fire engines erupting from their stationhouse, blasting on the horn before barrelling through the monster intersection a few stories below his digs.

yes, today it’s almost hauntingly quiet. nice. very.
today is different. it's sunday. not just any sunday, though. it's an unemployed sunday. no corporate blackhole looms dangerously on the horizon, threatening to suck my soul through a straw for eight and a half hours tomorrow. there's no dread or sadness that my time's no longer mine for the next 96 hours.

i've never been unemployed and i'm not sure how i'll adapt to the uncertainty that comes financially. all my life, my parents toed the line with money. there was always a threat of bad things happening, and no safety net to fall back on. somehow, the bad things never did happen, and we always got by. my mother died penniless, making between $7,000-$12,000 in each of the three years before her death. money terrifies me, always has.

but i'm really welcoming this learning experience. i want to prove to myself that i'm resourceful. i want to know i got by, and on my own. there's a great deal of pride that comes from overcoming obstacles. i've overcome a great many, of different kinds, but this is the first that has a lot of leeway as to how to overcome it. normally, how you get by doesn't really allow for a lot of creativity. someone dies, you deal. you get injured, you rehab.

but this? this is so frickin' cool. i get to deal--freestyle.
i was probably going to babble a little longer, but then this strange man stood in his apartment across the way in only a pair of saggy old grey jockey shorts with his gonch all gravity-impaired as he ineffectively bundled up his curtains (at 2:30 in the afternoon).

when he caught sight of me staring at him, agog, and misinterpreted it for awe, and started sucking in his gut and doing the i'm-not-really-trying-to-flex-but-look-at-my-stunning-musclature kinds of poses that shout "when i have sex, it's nothing to brag about."

so i kinda lost my train of thought, and now i feel all dirty inside. when the fuck am i going to get an unmarried hottie that's an exhibitionist move in and experience window treatment-closure challenges? huh? i'm so goddamned due, with hairy-backed artist, repressed married man, and now "gone, gonch, gone"? i'm a woman with a fondness for the aesthetically pleasing, and these are the neighbours i'm afflicted with?

and to think, i thought the cosmos favoured me.

[ed. note: i now have two desires. one, to watch american beauty, and two, to listen to the violent femmes' "gone, daddy, gone."]


no whining
Hear that? That’s the sound of me not shedding a frickin’ tear for these guys.

I’m all for writers being paid and being paid well, but sometimes, there’s a line you need to draw as to who’s entitled and who’s not.

Reality TV show writers are all choked because they’re paid so considerably less than regular writers of “scripted” programs.

Let’s take a moment here. What do we really know about reality shows?

Well, they suck, for starters. And the main course? They were conceived in an effort to reduce the amount of need that the industry would have on writers. They started springing up when a major strike loomed in the industry. The original writers for reality shows were essentially, dare I say it, scabs.

Yep, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t give a shit if some reality show writers are being underpaid. You get what you get, my friends, and when you’re compromising yourself and writing for such incredibly questionable shows as anything from America’s Top Models to Fear Factor, that’s how it works.

When the programmers and producers don’t even have any respect for the audience, how can you expect them to have any for writers who are scripting shows that go against almost everything a writer should want to do for a living?

Besides, how much talent does it really take to write the rules of an obstacle course race on Survivor?

You want better treatment? Get a real job.

(But honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that the TV industry treats them like shit. Is it fair? No, a job's a job, really. But it’s not surprising.)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

jumping jesus on a pogo stick

The Five Stations Of The African Cross 13
(a doff of the cap to the dead milkmen, for the line above, from their classic, "stuart".)

whew. thank god the catholic church is modernising.

in romania, a 29-year old romanian catholic priest ordered a 23-year-old nun crucified because she was “possessed by the devil.”

yeah, you heard right. crucifixion's making a comeback. and people wonder why the former eastern bloc still has the rep for being a bit backward? let's hear it for romania, kids.

so what happened? the priest and four nuns had the possessed nun bound and gagged, sans food or water, for several days before they tied her, still gagged, to a crucifix. she was found dead, starved and dehydrated to her death.

turns out that corporal punishment is still widely practiced in the romanian catholic church. but when pressed for reasoning on why the priest said the young nun was possessed, no clear answer was forthcoming.

a parishioner did say, though, that she’d argued with the priest during a mass and then insulted him in front of his congregation. let me guess, this priest uses kool-aid in his chalice, right?

but here’s the kicker, taken straight from the original article.

Vitalie Danciu, the superior of a nearby monastery at Golia, called the crucifixion "inexcusable", but a spokesman for the Orthodox patriarchate in Bucharest refused to condemn it.

"I don't know what this young woman did," Bogdan Teleanu said.

he refused to condemn it? what the fuck? he doesn’t know what “this young woman did”? yeah, let's do wait for all the evidence to come in, because after all, crucifixions are such rational ways to deal with issues.

i mean, it sure worked well for that jewish carpenter, didn’t it?

fucking people.

oh, hey, i know. i know exactly what their next p.r. move should be in the catholic church: pick a former hitler youth officer for pope.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Someone named Henri out there invited me to join a photo blog and when I hit "decline," expecting to be able to share why, it didn't give me the opportunity to do that, and now I no longer know where the URL is, either.

Sorry, Henri-- too much on my plate these days, but thanks for the invite. Best of luck.

Batting a thousand?

My first query was accepted within two hours. I have a deadline now, but no promise of a kill fee, since I'm new to the bigs.

I will simply have to ensure it's not killed, then.

If I'd have known it'd be as easy as smoking a bowl of pot and writing a query during a rerun of Oprah, I'd have done this long ago. Fuck, man.

Mini Rant: Ammy Awards

Can be found on Transcendental Floss.

The Deed is Done

(Feel free to click the ads above to help my unemployed ass. ;)

I've finally gotten off of my 'fraidy-cat ass and sent in my first professional query. I think it was good. I think I should've re-read it in a few hours or something before I hit "send," but I figured, what the fuck? It was the third time I've written the thing, and the loosest (and sadly, the most long-winded) version yet.

I'd been writing a sort of existential little meandering earlier, after thinking about a particular bit of voiceover in the series Grey's Anatomy, which I might post later, but for now, I'm mulling it over.

In the query letter, I decided to be a hard-ass and tell them they have until next Friday to decide whether they want to pursue it. If not, I shop that badboy around town. I can't handle the wait-and-see shit. I try to be patient, but I'm not. Deadlines deserve to go both ways, don't you think? If I'm good, I'll be worth it. If not, they can tell me to fuck off.

By the way, this jobless thing will be good for getting back in touch with music again. Right now I'm tackling the Canadian indie scene, which is hot internationally right now, and my recent finds are ones who've been covered in the not-so-mainstream press for awhile, like The Stars, Metric, Junior Boys, and so forth, all reaping rewards from Montreal's hot music scene, as led by the irrepressible Arcade Fire. I was starting to feel a little dated, as much as I'm still enjoying Britain's low-fi blues-rock sound with the 22-20s, BRMC, and the Kills, et al, and having been depressed by the eventual cookie-cutterness of Bloc Party (they tricked me at first and had me buying the myth of the next-great-thing). Nice to get some new tunes again.

And I promise to spend money on all the artists I'm loving, as soon as I get it. In exchange, for now, I'll let them read my blog for free. Quid pro quo, man. All good. It's all good.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

It's a Weird World After All: Volume Three

Gun to head
The border guards in Maine let an American-born dude back into the country despite the fact that he showed up at the border with a collection of knives, other weapons, and a chainsaw that appeared to have blood on it.

They could find no legal reason to hold him, despite trying for all of two hours, so they let the guy go and enter the great US of A (but they kept the weapons and the chainsaw).

The next day, a couple Canadian maritimers were found brutally murdered, the male victim’s severed head in a pillow case under a table, and other freaky details came to light.

Later, they found our nutty chainsaw-totin' traveller wandering the streets of Massachusetts, still with "rust-coloured stains" on his warddrobe. (Pretty slick CSIs they got in the hood there, I guess.)

Needless to say, he’s in jail now, awaiting extradition to Canada.

But it’s nice to know all those pretty laws about bad people taking bad shit into the US don’t seem to really apply, as long as you’re white. Betcha our buddy the murdering bastard could’ve been detained longer if he had the Koran in his back pocket.

* * *

A half-million dollars for the fucking Runaway Bride to tell her “life story?” What the fuck is the publishing world smoking? Who cares?

Her life story? She’s one of two things, eikher a shallow, vacuous, snivelling little middle class bitch who doesn’t care about hurting people who invest their emotions in her, or two, she’s too much of a pissy coward to face her fears and it just happened to expose her to international scrutiny.

Either way, who fucking cares? There are people in this world who achieve things, who do things that are worthy of admiration and emulation, and this woman ain’t one of them.

* * *

“I’ll show you my Force if you show me yours.”

Sometimes, things just make you want to invent dialogue. I had to look this place up, but it’s near Malaysia. In Seremban, Darth Vader has taken to flashing little old ladies at bus stops.

Clearly, the Rebellion has entered a slow period and the dark lord has a little free time on his hands. I wonder if he has a regulator so he can do the heavy-breathing / I’m a bad-ass thing that makes Darth so fucking cool.

Now, the reports say nothing of this, but I hope to God that Darth Flasher has a penis worthy of en evil overlord. This is one instance where size really would matter. I'd hate to have an image of Darth whispering to his lady ho, "Is it in yet?"

* * *

Management interrupts this programming with this subliminal message telling you to click on the above ads in order to support this unemployed writer, who will gratuitously reward you with further inanity. We now return you to your subpar literary fare.

* * *

You thought you liked breasts before? Ha. You don’t know the half of it.

A woman in Staten Island used her breast milk to put out a fire on a one-legged Vietnam vet who’d been set alight by a bunch of heartless little fuckers. The vet was on his way via public bus, strangely, to buy a copy of The Exorcist at the mall.

He was in his wheelchair when the punks used a lighter to flame his plastic bag that contained the Greek classics the Odyssey and the Iliad. (That’ll teach you to be a reader, eh? Fuckin’ books are nothin’ but trouble, man.)

Reacting to the flames, he cried out for help, and our quick-thinking hero, New Mom, ran to his aid, throwing her bottle of freshly-pumped breastmilk onto the flames, followed by another bottle of water.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I had this image of this woman standing in the middle of the bus, squeezing her tits, with milk spraying at the fire. I knew it was an unrealistic image at the time, but damn, there’s a hero worthy of a comic book series.

Let’s call her “The Nippler.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wow! 10,000!

Some dude in Russia was looking for information on gay boys and he happened onto my site. Ah, well. Still, 10K! Cool!

Steff does the Book Meme

(There are certain ads that may or may not be above you that would be a nice thing to click if you knew that a certain scribe [AHEM] had lost her job on Monday... NUDGE, NUDGE.)

Super Andy, formerly Intern Andy, has tagged me for the book meme thingie-thing. Normally, I don't go for this "tag, you're it," shit, but it's about books!

I once worked at one of the best independent bookstore chains in Canada, ergo the world. We Canadians take our books seriously, and we have more writers per capita than any nation in the world.

So I feel great pressure in having to conjure a list such as this up. Like our national pride or something's on the line. When books are such a broad and crucial element in your foundation, top-fiving them is a bit of a bitch.

But this girl does love a challenge, so let’s see where this goes.

These are my bookshelves. I designed 'em and my dad built 'em. Used to have them natural wood, but the white really zipped 'em up. If you look at it actual size (click this and go to Flickr, where it's in 16x20 format for a change) you'll even make out photos of my mom.

First, you might want to read this post I wrote a while back when I unpacked a number of books and got reminiscent about them. I think it’s entertaining, but hey.

The Number of Books I Own

Pfft, you wanna count ‘em, knock yourself out. I’ve given about eight boxes of books away in the past year and a half. I probably have six to eight more in storage in various places. And what I have now, you see here, plus the 50 - 70 in my bedroom at any given time. (Writers’ reference books, a couple shelves thereof, line my wall near my desk in my bedroom.)

The Last Books I Bought

It’s been a while, seriously. Last ones I remember are The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin (brilliant but dark as hell-- click here to read the first chapter online) and the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon (brilliant-- read my review from way back right here).

The Last Book(s) I Read

I’ve been reading a few at the same time for a while now. (I do this.) They include: Drinking, Smoking, and Screwing: Great Authors on Good Times, Going Down: Lip Service from Great Writers, King Leopold’s Ghost, and Smile, a little-known French book by an Arab-French man. The first two are anthologies, with the first being obvious but the second is about oral sex (or as I said another time, “it’s not about elevators,”) and Leo’s by Adam Hochschild, the co-founder of Mother Jones magazine, and it's a horrifying look at the genocide of Congo peoples around the turn of the 20th century, when more than 10 million died during the Belgian king's pursuit of the rubber trade, a short-lived gold rush type madness about rubber trees.

*Anthologies are good. They always break up your mix. And if they’re about sex, they’re doubly entertaining, of course. But anthologies are never very consistently good. You have to look for the nuggets, I find.

Five Books That Mean A Lot

Wow. Now? Then? When? Hmm.

The Underground Railway, which I don’t think is the right title. This was a book my father bought for me when he was on a hockey trip one weekend, back when I was 10 or 11. It was stories about blacks that escaped slavery up to Canada, but it was written for mid-teens. I remember it really opening my eyes to equality and civil rights. I no longer own the book, but I think it was reading things like that at that age that shaped some of my fierce moral values. Every now and then my dad did something surprisingly influential like that. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Regeneration by Pat Barker.
What a brilliant trilogy. Based massively on fact, but fictionalized for obvious reasons, the Regeneration trilogy was a stunning work set in World War I in Britain, with the cast of characters including Siegfried Sasson and Robert Graves, as well as other British war poets of the age. Mostly homosexual, the literary soldiers were forced to hide their sexuality in a massive hunt for homos that transpired at the time. At the centre of the book, though, is Sassoon’s proclamation written against the powers that be because he felt they were prolonging the war for financial gain.

A decorated Second Lieutenant in Her Majesty’s forces, Sassoon was too well-loved to be court-martialed. The government convened parliament to discuss him and it was decided he was “unwell” and he was sent to a psyche ward in Northern Scotland and treated by Dr. Rivers, one of the true-life early pioneers of Freud’s methodology.

I fucking loved this series. Brilliant, clean, sparse prose with a very journalistic style but incredibly insightful psychiatric observations, as well. Harrowing read. The third book in the series won The Booker Prize, which I find is consistently the best-reading prize-winning books every year. (I sometimes find the Nobel winners too inaccessible, and the Pulitzer winners too ordinary topic-wise-- go figure.)

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
Fear & Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72
both by Hunter S. Thompson

My friend, Whipped Boy, who I don’t talk about much but is as huge a presence for me as GayBoy, just not a “character,” blew my fucking mind when he introduced me to F&L in Vegas. I’d never read anything like it, and Hunter opened my eyes to a whole new literary style. Until then, I’d felt repressed and lost about language. I loved it, but not enough, like a kid on the other side of the glass from a kitten at a pet store, I guess.

I read this book in the morning before work and spent the next eight hours tripping intellectually about all the shit I’d never heard about, all the stylings I’d never seen done before.

Unlike other fans of Hunter, I saw him for the broken and sad man he was, and his suicide didn’t shock me too much. The timing, yes, but the act, no. Still, it broke my heart when he blew his brains out, and you can read my tribute to him here, written the day the news broke.

In Praise of Slow by Carl Honore. It’s a way of life, the Slow Movement. It’s about forgetting about time, descheduling yourself a little, planning a little less in advance, and living life as it happens, not just when you get the chance.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s a little fluffy, but I love it. The story of a young Spanish shepherd who sets off to the pyramids of Egypt to find his dreams. It’s a beautiful fable, an easy, quick read, but very exquisitely translated from the Spanish, which is always a refreshing change. Coelho’s work, especially the earlier pre-Veronika books, were effortlessly beautiful and always touching. But I loved the teachings in this fable.

**Then there's Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, Wicked by Gregory Maguire, Jon Krakauer, Jim Crace (fucking brilliant Limey), Chinua Achebe, Sebastian Junger, Ayn Rand, Ken Kesey, Tom Robbins, and so many other writers that have turned me on at different times of my life. This is like ignoring half the loves of my life and saying only some of them mattered. It's hard.

***There are writing books that have influenced me, too-- Story, The Courage to Write, the Renegade Writer, the Observation Deck, Bird by Bird, Escaping into the Open, Why I Write-- but you either write or you don't, and if you write, you should read about writing. Period. Every bit helps. All of the above are worth reading, particularly The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes, which likens writing to extreme sports, and is a fascinating (at times) look at the psychosis behind writing.

So now I’m supposed to inflict this on others. They are:

Blog Ho Love him or blow him, either way.
Digitalicat Ann Coulter tossed his salad.
Hermes He’s a Dive Bar bard
Shamus o’Drunkahan Dude’s got issues
and the always fabulous Guyana Gyal on life in Guyana

If you wanted to be on this list, I’ve picked people who I specifically know are readers, and who might turn me onto something I’d not heard about before. So it’s ulterior motives, pure and simple. ;)

ps: pink slips? not pink!

who knew? not i. more of an off-grey with light charcoal grey, and a couple light red fields.

but absolutely not pink.

the wonders never cease, my friends. never, ever.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Something good, at least!

My wallet was returned! Two weeks passed, but it came in my mail today! No money, sadly, but at least my two-for-one movie coupons, my birth certificate, and my driver's license are there-- and I'm such a slacker I hadn't pursued replacing any of it. Hurrah!

A couple photos

I'm going to write something uproariously funny, I hope, tomorrow. That, or a rant. But not until later in the day, probably.

Until then, you get a couple photos.

This one goes out to Blog Ho. It's a naughty tree, I think. Looks something like a woman up in one of those S&M swings I've seen in shows I used to work on. Perhaps my imagination is too vivid.

naughty tree small

These guys are morons. If you're operating a meth lab or whatever, maybe you shouldn't have a rusting Caddy in your front yard. And maybe, just maybe, if you've foiled over all the windows, you want to make sure the telltale chemical yellowing from your grow op or meth lab isn't staining the street side of the tinfoil, so your neighbours can't tell you're the neighbourhood drug provider.

My photo of their windows didn't work out, but the Caddy looks cool.

ratty old caddy small

This is the glass dome on the Bloedel Conservatory for exotic plants.

bloedel conservatory small

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Unemployed Scribe

Sadly, my little minions, Steff has lost her job today, thanks to the slow season in the film industry.

The timing, it seems to me, is oddly good yet terrifyingly bad, considering my current financial picture. Resiliency, though, is one of my greatest assets, and it will see me through this period of upheaval.

If you're some bigwig out in the world and you need words tailored for you with pizzazz and snap, my labour can be yours. Email me for quotes. No job is too small.

If you want to buy my photographs, feel free to drop me an email. You can have any print you like in 8x10 format for $30, and any print you like in 11x14 format for $45. All printing is done by professional, top-quality prhotography labs. Shipping, depending where you are, is nominal and will transpire as soon as I get money in my PayPal account. Email me for further information.

And if you can't hire me or buy my shit, and you think I deserve to be a little more flush with cash, then the boxy things at the top of this page can be CLICKED and every little click is theoretically going to put money into my presently threadbare pockets. I'm just saying.


I haven't begun to drink yet, but there's a couple beers lurking in my fridge. Once they're gone, I shall be truly broke off my ass, my friends. But it's all right. I have this strangely hallucinogenic feeling of calm. Yes, I smoked a little dope, but I'm rather well schooled at that sensation, and this is a tad otherworldly.

I think the chaos might be just what I needed. Can I say this now? I really fucking hated my job lately. I just really, really hated Monday mornings. I wanted to jump off my desk and commit hari kari with the nearest colleague's scissors-- every single day. I felt my skin growing pasty and cold and my heart was shrinking into Grinch-size territory, and my will was nearly completely beaten.

I think I'm going to have one of those screaming-from-the-rooftops "Thank fucking God!" brushes with unemployment. I'm not saying I'm going to up and turtle and nestle my bong next to me on my couch as I ebb into a meaningless existence fuelled by daytime television and hallucinatory fogs. No, no, never that. Just on weekends.

Now's my opportunity, though, to put my money where my mouth is. So I can sell anything to anyone? How about myself? Well, let's just see now. If I had $20, I'd fucking put it on me. But you, if you've got $20, feel free to send it to me. Consider me your personal charity. Sure, why not?

But I'll still blog. In fact, my unemployment could be a real boon to all of you poor working bastards forced to surf subpar personal weblogs for your woefully inadequate corporate wageslaving. This lack of employment-based oppression might really unshackle my fragile little psyche. With it running rampant over the landscape of cyberspace, this could well be a catastrophe in the making. Or entertaining, at the very least.

Watch-- now I'll never reach 10,000 hits. "Don't go there. She's beyond morose. She's unemployed."

Gasp! But thank God I'm Canadian. Hey, and now you can hear about our social safety net from the inside out. Lucky YOU. Oh, to be a fly on my wall. But wait-- you already are.

(This is so cool! Now when I call myself a slacker, I'll no longer be a poseur! I'll have a pink slip to prove it!)

OooHh! 10,000 served?

On the verge of my 10,000th hit. I put a counter up mid-April, and maybe if I tried harder and posted more comments on more boards, whored myself around more, and just generally gave a shit about developing an impressive readership, I might be further along. But between you and me? I'm happy with the few people who come by and are regulars. Y'all rock. Thanks for tuning in, thanks for putting up with my cliched artistic panicking, and thanks for the encouragement during this "I think I can, I think I can" phase of my life.

Why, if I owned the Starship Enterprise, I'd beam you all martinis.

There's been a lot posted since Friday. Make sure you catch up! There's about three or four recent postings below this. Happy Monday, kids.

The Celtic Shipyards

Near my place is an old stretch of land by the river where the Celtic Shipyards once operated. Today, it's owned by a band of Native Indians and is used as live/work space for artists. It's in terribly run-down condition, and is now on the books for a development proposal, to be turned into a bunch of luxury condos for those wealthy enough to buy in Vancouver's exclusive Southlands.

The Southlands is the last of the city's agricultural area, and is largely used by horse owners to train and house their animals.

You and I know the petition to save Celtic Shipyards is going to fail. No one's going to do the right thing and preserve what's been started at Celtic. Pity.

This first photo needs to be reshot for a better size format for commercial uses, but it's adequate to share with y'all, and I think it's cool. Yes, it's essentially just a "storefront" with no other walls. Would've been a better shot with clouds in the b/g. These both are from the shipyards.

panther decor small b&w

celtic shipyard office b&w smal

I still don't know whether the money gods are aligning to allow me the funds to do my showing. I should get the news today, at which point I'll need to fly into action. Whee! Stay tuned. Meanwhile, my camera goes everywhere I go.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Search for Spliff

One of you people has officially requested a new GayBoy story (via email-- see how appeasing I can be?). So, then, here you go.

But I have a favour to ask. I'm going to be doing a photo show soon, if my luck pans out, and if so, I need to start a collection. Can you tell me which of the photos in the grouping below this most strikes you? Just post a comment saying which one you like, and if you want, why. And coming soon is a new site for my photography. The link will be posted this week, when I complete the project.

* * *

It was the summer of ‘98, and I’d taken my car off the road with the intention of cycling everywhere that season.

Once in a while, I’d borrow my mother’s car, an Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra.

This was one of those nights. GayBoy and I were planning to take in a movie, There’s Something About Mary, and if there’s anything the Farrelly Brothers should require when you’re watching their flicks, it’s that you be high, high, high, like the clouds.

Enter Mary Jane.

That night, GayBoy and I headed down and we parked on Hornby Street, next to Robson Square. I posted photos of the Square last week, and this one reminded GayBoy of this night.

angle on stars b&w

We rolling a little dope (making joints) in the car, instead of smoking my trusty old stone pipe given to me in ‘95 by my big brother.

What you probably don’t know about GayBoy is that his alterego is Butterfingers. The dude’s a screaming klutz. He breaks shit left, right, and center at my place. He’ll knock plants off the table, drop wine glasses, spill milk, leave a mountain of crumbs in his wake. The boy is a portable natural disaster is what he is. I love him regardless, but this is what you need to know: I have house insurance for a reason.

So, naturally, boasting about and displaying his now-perfectly-rolled joint, GayBoy drops the fucking doobage. It bounces off his knee, and falls into the Crevasse of Things You Don’t Want to Touch between the seat and the car’s console.

“Jesus Christ!” shouts GayBoy.

Next thing you know, we’re on our knees in the gutter and on the street, trying to find the damn spliff. After about five minutes of pawing through the car, trying to find this nondescript piece of rolled white paper in amongst a plethora of nondescript shreds of white paper, we finally meet with some luck.

But not before GayBoy has a near-breakdown. “Your mother hates me! She thinks I’m a bad influence! Oh, my God, if she finds this-- Shit, shit, shit, motherfucker! Fuckety fuck-fuck!”

So, I found it, naturally, while the drama queen was off on a rant. Shaking my head, I suggest we tackle a Plan B so we’re not scuffing up our kneeds worse than they already are.

Naturally, we took it to the Square, right next door.

Sitting at the bottom of the stairs you see above, if you’re on the left side of the bottom, you’re actually on the very edge of the rooftop pool/fountain that cascades over the roof, dropping down three-storeys of terraced ledges. This is the bottom.

We took our seats, were joking around, smoking our dope, enjoying the warm fragrant summer’s night, when a security guard approached. With lightning-quick reflexes I always display when trouble’s about to find me, I hid the joint under my ass, just as the guard stopped beside us.

This is probably a good time to mention that I have never, ever been caught smoking dope, except if you want to include this event. I think it’s partly that I feel absolutely no shame about my habit. It’s not like I’m killing kittens, beating kids, or robbing the blind. I’m smoking herb, dude. That’s it.

But I’ve got incredibly good peripheral vision and know how to get away with things, and if I was caught? I’d probably charm myself out of it. But I always note positions of security guards in concerts, for instance, where I’ve smoked up at probably well over 150 events over the years, all without ever getting caught. Once in a blue moon, I’ll catch a guard looking at me quizzically, as if “Did she just do what I think she did?” but they’ll shake their head and move on.

Hell, I’ve been in concerts where I’m standing next to friends (right, WhippedBoy?) where I’ll suck in a monster drag off my pipe, having lit my lighter to do so, and even they don’t notice I smoked a toke until I exhale my drag some 20 or so seconds later.

I owe it all to Nixon: “Don’t get caught.” Absolutely, Dick. It worked so well for you.

I am the dope-smokin’ ghost of the Pacific coast, my friends. I could be a spy, man, I’m just that good.

“Um, good evening,” the guard ventured.

“Yeah, nice one, huh?” Says GayBoy.

“Oh, very,” says the guard. “Nice night to be hanging out in the square, which brings me to my question. You wouldn’t happen to be smoking mary-wanna, now, wouldja?”

GayBoy and I exchange glances.

“Why, no, sir-- Well, hypothetically now, if we were smoking marijuana, what would you be forced to do?” I asked.

“Well, I’d have to ask you very kindly to leave the premises is what I’d have to do.”

So, GayBoy and I grin at each other.

“Now, we weren’t smoking the evil weed, but were were feeling oddly ready to leave.”

“Now that you mention it...” said GayBoy.

We dusted off our asses as we got to our feet and the security guard just sort of grinned, and let us swagger off, which would’ve been awsome all by itself, except for one thing-- the stashed joint I had under my ass?

I dropped it halfway across the courtyard. I casually picked it up, smiled back at the guard, who mock saluted me, and let us carry on.

The night was young, yet, and there’d be more trouble we’d find (including dining-n-dashing, tripping over a group of junkies shooting heroin in an alley, and more), but it’s hazy and I’ve lost most of the details, including the email record of it, the only recipient of which was WhippedBoy, years ago. Sigh.

[Feel free to refresh my memory over some drinks later this week, GayBoy. Perhaps a Soho? And it leaves me thinking I should tell these poor schlepps about the Bitter Moon/MC Hammer gum/stormchasing night.]

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Black-and-White Abstracts

I need to form a collection of photographs for showing. If there's any that stands out at you, please let me know. Also, I'll soon be telling you how you can buy my shit via PayPal. If any strikes your fancy, you might want to make note. Thanks!
Took an excursion to the downtown eastside today. I took in a little of Chinatown and Gastown, but I mainly did "abstract" photography, so there's no real landmarks per se.

Also, I decided to focus on composition, so I decided to go with black and white only today. The photos don't need much explanation.

A rundown shack in the middle of Chinatown:

flaked paint on window b&w tld

flaked paint on support b&w tld

mossy vines b&w tld

Overlooking a construction site:

metalwork tld

**Do you ever wonder if the people who laid these metal rods into formation realized how beautifully asymmetrical their work would be? There's a beauty to be found in this sort of chaotic order.

The old BC Sugar Refinery on Powell Street:

sugar refinery b&w tld

flower barrel b&w tld

My headlamp:

headlamp with buildings b&w tld

Not really a very good photo, but for some reason amuses me, and I call it "An ominous sign for the vegetarian":

meat store sign b&w tld

in answer to a comment

jasmine asked if i'd ever been to the shakespeare & co. bookstore in paris, and no, i've never been to the city of lights. i will, though, and the photos will be spectacular. i dream of that sometimes. money's never been a friend of mine, but one day, we'll buddy up and i'll get lavish and continental.

the bookstore, though, was started by sylvia beach, a lover of authors and literature. an american expatriot heiress, she started the store just at the turn of the 1920s, and before the decade was out, had befriended every great literary author in the city, which was flooded with the great americans and other expats of the day-- hemingway, ireland's joyce (who slept on a cot in the backroom as he pounded out his opus, ulysses), fitzgerald, et al.

she'd loan her books out to the impoverished writers she loved so much, but would sell 'em to the masses. when all the world mocked the amorality of ulysses and refused to publish it, she did. when it was banned in the US and other nations (never Canada) she spearheaded the campain to smuggle it into the ignorant nations. even hemingway would smuggle copies, trip after trip, under his coat over the ferries from ontario to the states.

no one loved writers more than sylvia beach. and writers loved her more than anyone, too. when the city was liberated in the second world war, hemingway personally killed all the nazis in the closed shop, which beach shut down instead of agreeing to sell books to nazis, when she was asked to do so one day early in the occupation.

there's a hotel now, in newport oregon, named the sylvia beach hotel, and it's perhaps the greatest place to be if you love books. and you can't afford to jaunt to paris to see the store. ;)

More of the same

That seems to be the order of the day: More of the same.

Another routine weekend breakfast, another underwhelming weather day, another round of "Can I afford to do this?" internal debate, and another day of nothing pressing, nothing needed.

But that's all right. I like my same old, same old. I like the quiet constancy that propels my life. Some days I want surprises, and I seek them out. Some days, I want nothing out of the ordinary.

Today, I want a little bit of both. Despite the inconsistent light falling of rain, the scattered pattern lighting offered by the mix of dark and bright clouds, I'm heading out on a photo excursion.

Chinatown, here I come. Vancouver has the second-largest Chinatown in the world, next to San Francisco. We have a massive Asian population in this city, and it stands out. The neighbourhood sprung up more than a hundred years ago and has retained its distinctive sense of community, like a tiny otherworld within our now-sprawling metropolis.

I remember my mother and I hopping on the bus from way, way out in the suburbs and travelling down to Chinatown for the day. I'd always get the same things every time-- a new paper umbrella to hang in my bedroom, a new pair of flat black strap-up slippers, and a bar of Bee & Flower brand Jasmine soap. Once or twice a year, I'd get my new silk Chinese pajamas with embroidery on 'em. Wonton soup would enter the mix somewhere. After all these years, our Chinatown trips remain one of my favourite excursions, the memories of them all just blending easily into one.

Years later, in the final few years of her life, my mother would work there, selling real estate with an Asian firm, whom she'd travel to China with, and who would teach her the enigmatic Chinatown inside and out after she became trusted implicitly by that normally secluded Asian community.

I never go to Chinatown these days. I don't really know why, but I don't go, despite it being 15 minutes from my home. I'm curious what a photo excursion will do for me, what my eyes will see now that they saw those decades ago, what emotional triggers will fire. I find myself wondering if my first photo excursion will just be self-involved crap, or if it'll be a goldmine.

There's one way to find out. And I'll post the outcome later tonight or tomorrow.

(...And now a deluge begins. Rain's bouncing off the asphalt. It isn't exactly the sort of weather that beckons you to bond with a camera or hop onto a scooter for a cross-town drive. Perhaps, though, it might yield a rich bounty. And then again, it could all be shit. But we'll soon know.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

From Playboy to utopia

So, I talked to the head of programming for the Playboy Network today.

No, no, I wasn’t applying for a “job.” It was work-related. But that’s pretty fucking cool. I’ve talked to some swank directors and shit over the years, met some impressive writers, all of that, but the head of programming for Playboy? Ha!

Cross THAT off the list, man.

My company puts me in kinda a PR-type role from time to time, and it’s cool. I dig it. Fact is, I’m charming, witty, and funny as hell. I really ought to use it to my advantage more than I do. I’m not really sure why I don’t go after sales and big business as a career. I know I could really do well.

I said to a friend once, “I want the trappings, but not the trap” of a high-salaried career. I’d be a great rich person. I’ve got style, class, and I’m gracious and generous. I’m an excellent hostess.

If I was rich, I’d have the most bitching parties, and often. Free booze, free grass, live tunes. It’d be killer.

But no, no, much to the loss of everyone, I simply get by. It’s an affront to the fine people in my life that I happen to be relatively impoverished. Even three or four years ago, I’d have great dinner parties all the time. I’d spend a hundred bucks and do it up right (always BYOB, though).

Now? “Hey, wanna come over for a burger?” Yep. Livin’ large, man.

So, I could be a corporate whore. I could be so frickin’ in the black right now. Man. After all, I can sell anyone on anything. People just don’t say no to me. Hell, I had this woman come in a toy store I once worked in, and she was spending $7 on a wooden train whistle. Twenty minutes of conversation later, she was walking out with $1900 worth of toys to be shipped by freighter to her preschool in Korea.

I once sold $2200 worth of everyday books to one man. Sales? A walk in the park.

I don’t mind selling when it’s not a pressure thing, but I’d hate to have my soul in my pocket when I went to work everyday. I’d hate my job to be all about the bottom line. And I hate the duplicitous world of big business.

A perfect life, for me, would probably living in a little seaside town, writing at my leisure, doing photography, and probably something involving a little boat where I take tourists around the coastline a little. I’d love that. Or owning a literary coffee shop. Stained old books on shelves, worn plank flooring, muted earth tones on the walls.

Yep, that’d be all it’d take. I’d still want to be close to the city, just not in it. Not anymore.

Countdown’s on. By 40, says I. And you? What's down the road for you?

Morning meanderings sans coffee

My mind is whirling in a million ways, despite it being my Friday morning.

Money is still the predominant theme, the axis my world spins around. I’m not destitute, nor am I in danger of missing rent, but I’m definitely hand-to-mouth these days, and a little behind on bills. How I’d love to buy some wine and fancy foods, have a luxury night in, let alone buy clothes or silly wants.

If you’re a regular of mine, you’ll know I’m not a religious person, but I do tend to be spiritual in my own way. Part of that includes thinking things happen for a reason.

I’m not happy in my job, despite it being a fun and neat way to earn a living. It does nothing for me creatively. All it offers are a few great coworkers. It was once a really lowkey place to work, but it’s become a little too bureaucratic for me in the last year, and it takes a little more joy out of my day than it once did.

The flexibility in the job is the best thing going for it. I go in when I want, so long as I can do my required hours. It’s perfect for a creative person.

But my lack of money these days-- a recurring theme. It’s so ominous, the way it seems like I keep getting a handle on things, only to find it’s slipped right out of my grasp once again.

It seems, though, like the world is conspiring to force me to be creative and come up with additional income. It’s almost as if my financial needs are finally forcing me to pursue my creative dreams in a desperate attempt to make cash, so I’m finding it hard to be angry at my constant lack of cash.

So, yesterday, casually ordering my coffee, I chatted up the Starbucks folks like I always do. But this time I asked about displaying my photography in their shop, a high-traffic shop in an expensive neighbourhood of the downtown core. I described it as being “more accessible, and more local landscapes” than what they have been showing. And I got a yes.

Now, I need to conjure about $400 so I can do a display. This is what my mind’s whirling on today-- a visit to the bank, how to convince them to feed me money. I’m charming and persuasive, and I’ll figure it out. I think.

In between all this are a couple other things. One is a query letter I’ve been trying to send out (I’ve been avoiding your email, Guyana Gyal, until I send it in) for about a week and a half, but the drafts have sucked. Finally, I wrote something workable last night. Tomorrow, I tweak and send. Tomorrow, I see the bank. Tomorrow’s going to be a big day for me, emotionally.

Taking any step towards what I want is better than I’ve done until now. It’s an exciting time, but it leaves me distracted.

I wish I could post what I feel is one of my best photographs to date, the one I took last Saturday that has inspired me to say "Hey, I could sell this shit, man!" It's b&w, wide on the city from the beach, a rocky outcrop in the foreground, the city across the water, low clouds mingling in the mountains, and the haze from a rainstorm that's falling only over downtown Vancouver, the buildings of which are lit from the west by some stray sunrays. Some skimboarders ambling across the foreground. All together, it's a perfect b&w composition. STUNNED me, really.

It didn't work in colour, but in black and white, it's the first time this has stopped feeling like a hobby for me in a while. I wish I could share it with yas, but the resolution is very key in seeing about 50% of the important detail, and reducing the res to protect my copyright destroys what makes it great, so there's no point in posting it. Sorry.

However, this photo was posted two months ago, and it’s still a favourite of mine, one that would be in my “show.”

Pop in on the weekend, when there’s bound to be several postings. Today and tomorrow will likely be dry, posting-wise, but hey. Girl’s got thangs to do, man. ;)

(This photo looks a lot shittier with low res, too, and it kills me to inflict substandard photos on y’all due to resolution, but I’ve got no choice. It’s all about covering my ass, creatively.)

girl on sand small

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This bud's for you

This time, I really do got nothing. So, a true cop-out post. But I'll add in some filler, and this cake might just rise yet, man.

Not too far from my place is this local landmark. I think they should only be allowed to sell VW Camper Vans and Vanagons and such, stoner vehicles.

"What do you plan to use your vehicle for?"
"Sorry, we can't help you. And you, sir, what are your plans?"
"Oh, we're cashing our welfare cheques and going to Disneyland!"
"May we interest you in this fine Vanagon? It comes with 'pea' interior and a mint-condition shag. The carpet's nice, too."

bong's motors

And then there's the "Weed Man." He probably runs a profitable business here in Vansterdam.

That's what this city really needs. More dealers that deliver. Really, it's such a hassle busting up your wake'n'bake day to book it down to your dealer's "office."

If he had commercials, the jingle might go like this:

When you're in need
Of primo weed
Just give me a call
And in no time at all
You'll see me and my van
For I am... your Weed Man

(If it was my dope-delivery company, though, I'd name it "Rolling Stoned.")

weed man

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lawsuit: The Failure to Fuck

An Italian man has been ordered to pay his now-ex-wife damages for failing to disclose to her before they tied the knot that he couldn’t get it up.

Apparently the courts have told him he’s guilty of abusing her "right to sexuality."

Now this is why I believe in getting sex out of the way. Pfft. I mean, wait? Yeah, that's gonna happen.

But you gotta wonder: You’re abstaining, but you make out, right?

So, there you are, you’re makin’ out, gropin’ a little, wandering around, pressing together, getting all heated up... and you never once notice he doesn’t have a stiffy in response?

Honey, do you have any powers of observation?

What chick, getting kissed against a wall, doesn’t notice a guy’s degree of interest? Which chick doesn’t judge its rigidity at that time? And if the guy ain’t putting it out there in a covert yet obvious way? Something’s up, and it ain’t Dick.

Honestly, it’s a pity they’re divorced. They seem impeccably matched.

If you haven't checked in since Friday, then it'd be a pity for you to miss the always popular ADHD Chronicles I posted then, since I've had several postings on the weekend. You can find them here.

And if you've not figured it out yet, I post virtually every single day, sometimes more than once a day. This place? It HAPPENS, man. And most of the time? It's even readable.

If you haven't made The Last Ditch a regular part of your daily diet, then what the fuck are you waiting for?

An invitation? Well, then you are cordially invited... Yada-fucking-yada. And make sure you read the next posting about marijuana, and maybe even check out the numerous photos that follow it. Thanks for reading, people.

OH, and I'm a comment whore. Show me the love. Come on. Lemme know you like me. I've given my therapist the month off, it's a money thing. Help a girl out. ;)

And you should vote me top blog in this completely meaningless weekly ranking of blogs. Click on the tab at the top of thesidebar.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

It's only fitting I write this post on dope, on this fine lazy Sunday. I've got the Fun Lovin' Criminals playing, and I've got a couple political issues with dope from this past week. But let's take the long way, shall we?

My dance with Mary Jane never began till I was 21, so I've always had a problem with a lot of the stereotypes people throw onto "potheads" like myself.

Unlike most drug users, I stayed completely clean until my 20s. When I did enter the realms of drug use, I did so with a far better understanding of what I was doing than I imagine most people ever have. I read up extensively on marijuana until I realized that the majority of what was thought about dope was pretty much full of shit.

Marijuana Myth, Marijauna Fact by Zimmer & Morgan is one of the most annotated studies of pot you’ll find. It's somewhat biased to the pro-pot side of the argument, but it's also considered The Source on marijuana research by the Dutch, English, Canadian, French, and Australian governments.

I’ve stuck only to organics-- hash, pot, and shrooms. I’ve always thought of peyote as an organic and might one day try it, as well, but up until now, I’ve not. Chemicals though? Keep that shit away from me.

I’m told I’m unfashionable now. One of my friends stated, “All my fashionable friends do cocaine now.” But I don’t care. Pot’s a classic. It’s like Pink Floyd-- it’s right for almost any occasion.

And as you may or may not already know, Vansterdam’s one of the finest places in the world to do it, and there's never been a greater example of the polarity between Vancouver and the United States than this week's happenings.

What you need to know about us is that our present mayor, Larry Campbell, is such a renegade guy that there’s been a dramatic series on air now for seven years called Da Vinci’s Inquest, based on Campbell’s time as the Coroner for the City of Vancouver. The guy always fought for everything he believed and he felt that drugs were the scourge of this city, but not in a Republican “Oh, the amorality of it all!” kind of way, though. And he may be way leftist, but he's one of the most principled men I've ever seen in politics.

Campbell’s gone on record with his beliefs that Vancouver’s heroin crisis is a civic health issue. And he’s right, we’ve got a very high AIDS rate amongst our addicts, and it’s not something to toy with.

Campbell rose through the ranks, first as a cop, then the Coroner, and then he was named Chief of Police for the city, and finally, he ran for mayor on a radical platform and was elected. He's never been a bullshitter and is the rare sort of politician you could see yourself having a pint with.

The man wants to legalize prostitution, has already gotten safe injection sights for heroin, pushed in the needle-exchange program for users, and now he’s asking Ottawa (Canada’s capital) to legalize marijuana.

(We’re already moving towards decriminalization of weed, but I’m fairly opposed to the move. Keep it as it is, I say, or else legalize it. But that’s another issue for another time.)

Campbell’s request to the Canadian government comes the same week as the US Supreme Court’s decision that federal government has jurisdiction over state drug laws, ergo it doesn’t matter if a state wants medical marijuana to be legal, the feds can still shut it down.

As a Canadian, I’m proud to see my government headed in the direction of either legalising or decriminalising dope, regardless of my hesitancy on the latter. But I'm disgusted by the latest moralistic posturing found in the courts of the US, ruling that people get to suffer through their chronic or terminal pain just because the asses in the offices want to keep on riding their moralistic high horses.

Dope contributes in innumerable ways for the sick and the dying. Fuck, it contributes in innumerable ways to my life! I pay my taxes, do my thing, get by on what I'm getting by on, and one of the only things that calms my savage beast is dope. It keeps me chill.

So it's no coincidence that science has now proven that marijuana clinically assists in the quelling of nervous disorders, which means bringing possible mental and emotional relief to the sick and dying, let alone the rest of us.

We all laugh and chortle at the idiocy behind Reefer Madness, that classic piece of propaganda, but the reality is that the American government changes its tune with every passing generation. The first generation of stereotype was that dope made you homicidal. Then, it made you stupid. Then, the story changed again and it made you completely unmotivated and pathetic. Now, it makes you a failure and impedes your judgment, opening the door to crime, lying, and escalating addiction.

It’s so sad that the myth continues to reperpetuate down in the States, that the Big Lie Machine keeps on spinning new tunes to try and sell its version of amorality to the masses, that Big Brother sees fit to monitor so heavily what it is you do with your private life, particularly when it hurts no one.

But it's awesome that my country continues to set the benchmark for enforcing personal freedoms of its citizens. I’m happy to know gays can marry here. I’m thrilled to know I can stand on the concrete in front of my law courts, smoke dope, and know it’s unlikely anything will happen to me.

It’s nice to know that the words “land of the free” in our national anthem isn't just another line.

By the way...
I realize I have a lot of international readers by now, (thanks for playing) but StatCounter tells me more than half my audience is American. Go figger. So, "you" simplifies it for me. But they know who they are.

Where's Amnesty when you need 'em?

free michael

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Plethora of Photos: Robson Square and Spanish Banks

More photos. I decided to just wander around downtown and the beaches, since it dawned on me that the trails would be super muddy after our recent rain. Here's my booty.

The beaches were nearly empty, which is always an amazingly cool thing in a city of a couple million. I call this "Slow Lifeguard Day."

slow lifeguard day b&w

When the tide is low here, it's low. An interesting point for those who think our water's freezing. Due to all the protection from islands and such, our water's pretty damned warm. Today, it was about 62 degrees (16 celsius), warmer than the air temp.

cloudy north shore b&w

I love when low clouds obscure the mountains but you can see the outline of 'em behind the city still, like this.

panorama downtown in clouds-tld

No, we don't have surfers. They're skimboarders. But they still look cool as a frontdrop.

panorama d-t w surfers-tldsmall

Robson Square is a fascinating architectural centre of Vancouver's downtown core. It houses a great civic area that includes a lot of places to sit and walk, lots of greenery, an ice rink in the winter, and the impressive Law Courts. Designed by local reknowned architect Arthur Erikson, the Square has all the modernistic qualities of any Erikson design. Some sources claim that the two universities designed by Erikson have the highest suicide rates in the country-- which some speculate are because of all the enclosed areas Erikson designs into his creations, enabling people to always find a private place.

It's those qualities that make Robson Square one of the finest places to hit the bong in the city. Thumbs up, Arthur.

robson square stairs-tld

From the highest point in Robson Square, the Art Gallery is dead ahead, and your standard highrises are scattered around.

wide on square w gallery

Behind where I stood in the photo above, a couple hundred feet off, is the Law Courts, seen here. If you'll notice, the exterior of the structure is entirely made of glass. Erikson reasoned that he felt the glass reflected the philosophy that true justice should be transparent, which he hoped would be the case here.

law courts

More stairs for ascending up towards where the Law Courts are.

angle on stars b&w

I got to listen to a bit of sax blues before I headed into my movie. (For those keeping score at home, this is also shot on my digital 7.1 megapixel Canon PowerShot S70, but I use the software it comes with (a little more user-friendly, and faster, than Photoshop-- ArcSoft's PhotoStudio-- to convert to 8-bit greyscale with anywhere between 10% - 35% film grain [found under 'Effects,' and "fine art"] to give it that authentic b&w look.)

sax guy

Ed. Note:

The sax guy was so worth my dollar. I totally forgot how much I loved shooting b&w during the day, and shooting that photo reminded me of a roll I shot in San Francisco, with this incredibly jazzy old black dude blowing on a sax in front of San Fran's MoMA. I'd earlier published the top two photos, Slow Lifeguard Day and Cloudy North Shore in colour, but I realized later on-- and far into a bottle of wine later-- that black and white would better suit the mood of those melancholic shots.

This is one of those rare moments where I actually feel self-satisfied. I totally forgot how much I love black and white. Wow. It strips away all the interpretive elements of a shot and you're left with the two most important things-- the lines and the light. It's all it is, man, and there's nothing left to cloud your judgment. But should you believe something silly, like it's too simple, then you should know there's at least 63 shades of grey in any black-and-white shot.

Black & white photography's essentially the fine art of implied simplicity. Composition is more important in black & white. Nothing else can really compensate for it, not even light. But if you can master light and composition, then that's all you can do. My photography teacher once said, "If you can shoot a beautiful sunset in black and white and not lose any of the potency, then you're a photographer." I did, once, at the Midnight Dome in Dawson City, Yukon Territory. Nothing but hundreds of miles of horizon and a split in this wispy-thin band of northern clouds, with the sunset at 2am, and us camping on the top of the highest point for a hundred kilometres, the Northern Lights flaring above our heads, south of us.

Fuck, the city blows sometimes. And God, I wish I could spend the summers in the Yukon. God's country? You don't even know the half of it. What a fortunate time in my life that was. Nothing makes you wonder about a higher power more than a miidnight sun and northern lights.

What can I say? In vino veritas.