Saturday, August 07, 2004

Devil's Club, a.k.a.Oplopanax horridus. Still picking spines out of my legs with tweezers a week later.

"The stems are thick, crooked, almost unbranched but frequently entangled and are armed with numerous large yellowish spines up to 1/2 inch long. The leaves are large, up to almost 3 feet across in its most favorable growing conditions. They are alternate, deciduous, maple-leaf shaped with 7-9 sharply pointed and heavily toothed lobes. In our local area, these leaves have the most beautiful translucent golden yellow color in the autumn. The veins on the underside of the leaves are again armed with numerous spines.

"It is wise to avoid contact with this plant as the spines produce wounds that can easily become infected. If I remember correctly it has been established that Devil's Club is one of the plants that accumulate silicon in the spines which means that the wounds resemble those experienced from slivers of glass. Tweezers are a good addition to the day pack in Devil's Club country but it has been my experience that the spines break off easily at wound entry level. Gloves are the best preventive medicine."
Posted by Hello


Michael Mann's Collateral, or another West End evening of fireworks insanity? Well, if you put it like that... Posted by Hello

Friday, August 06, 2004
Dear Young Women... (thx!)

By Sara Bauer
December 4, 2003

Dear Young Women Who Work at Chain Bookstores,

The first moment I saw you, I knew you were different. Here, in the midst of this multinational chain bookstore, was an independent soul. Look at her black-plastic-framed glasses! Look at her fierce unwillingness to conform! My heart went out to you.

I know it's hard for you. Most customers are middle-aged middle managers buying a copy of Who Moved My Cheese? I know that daily you deal with women buying kitten calendars, and parents buying American Girl books for their little sorority-sisters-in-training, and teenagers sitting at the café, pretending to like coffee, trying to impress one another and you. Your coworkers like you, but they tease you, because they don't really understand you. They've never heard of the bands you like; they continually recommend best-selling chick-lit novels for you to read; they want to talk about the season finale of Friends, not the season finale of Enterprise. I know that sometimes you go home and cry, and I feel for you.

You're lonely, Young Women Who Work at Chain Bookstores, and you want to find someone who understands you. You dream of a man who will hold you in the dark, listen to you talk about your deepest fears, and take you shopping at Hot Topic. You size up customers as potential allies, and you try so hard to make friends with those who are like you, who bear the cross of Not Fitting In. You tell them you love their T-shirt, that no one around here listens to Indie Rock Band Depicted on Customer's T-shirt; you try to smile, take deep breaths, and not appear desperate. It's hard—it's so hard, I want to take you into my arms and promise that it will get easier, but it won't.

Young Women Who Work at Chain Bookstores, here is what I am saying: stop hitting on my boyfriend. For Christ's sake, I am standing right next to him. I am not his little sister. I am not his best platonic friend. We are going to talk about you in the parking lot, and we will laugh. Tonight, while he is holding me in the dark, I will consider how you and I are really rather similar. Then I will drop off to sleep, and never think of you again.

Sincerely, Sara Bauer

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Clouds of acrid-smelling white smoke, knife fights, public drunkenness, crowd noise, breaking glass, sirens...must be time for this year's Symphony of Fire! Posted by Hello

The New Yorker's David Denby recalls what was good about John Frankenheimer's Manchurian Candidate, in order to work over Jonathan Demme's sad mess of a remake of same:

"The movie’s style—authoritative voice-over narration at the beginning, sombre black-and-white cinematography—was at times uncannily reminiscent of the public-spirited features produced during the Second World War and immediately after. Yet all this sobriety was undermined by some of the strangest scenes and words ever to appear in a mainstream Hollywood movie: a brainwashing episode in which American soldiers were convinced by their Chinese and Russian captors that they were being addressed by floral-hatted members of a New Jersey garden club; bits of unaccountable neo-Dada dialogue like “Are you Arabic? Let me put it another way. Are you married?” It was as if Lenny Bruce had mated with the Office of War Information. "

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The only two songs I've ever performed at karaoke: I Started A Joke (Bros. Gibb); Bad Sneakers (Becker/Fagen). Occasioned by dinner with Scott, Michelle, and their "exclusively 70s" MP3 player.
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W.P. Weston, Mount Cheam, c. late 1930s, Hart House collection, Toronto. I was actually thinking of the woodblock print Weston made from this painting, but the painting does give a pretty good sense of the play of lights and darks on that huge eastern face that moonlight brought to the fore. Posted by Hello


Eastern aspect of Mount Cheam, showing 6000-odd feet of local relief from the Fraser Valley floor.  Posted by Hello

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