Saturday, April 21, 2007

Checking out the quick descent routes
Friday, April 20, 2007

Azalea porn. A title that showed up mid-afternoon along with six liquor store boxes full of art catalogs. Promptly purchased, pilfered from the shop, and stowed in the ailing Legacy, for my next visit to the Secret House of Heritage Perennials. Memories of stacks of Sunset magazine in the living room of the old house in West Vancouver, by the fireplace, where Charlie the cat could scramble up and knock them down over and over again. A "lifestyle magazine," sure, but still a lot more attractive vision than that currently on offer from, say, the Georgia Straight or Vancouver magazine. Redwood, post-and-beam construction, batik hangings, Asian-themed California stir-frys, pots with delicate celadon glazes, and a big patch of sativa somewhere out in the back forty. Which -- sans the paranoia- and depression- inducing sativa -- sounds pretty good to me.
Anodyne Inc.

World's stingiest dividend:

E-L Financial Corporation (ELF): .125/share x 7 ($700+) shares = .88 (record date 17 April 2007)

Cash balance, $49.45

Brilliant sunlight through huge pink trees. Yesterday's forced march ongoing as "body memory" = a deep comfortable ache in my quads. Guided By Voices on the box, doing their thing. Azaleas in bloom all up and down 10th Avenue, little purple star-shapes cupped in dark green foliage. And a few changes in buying policy at the shop, a shot across the bow of my local competitors, spurred by yesterday's very useful reading on the ferry. Happy today, I guess, or as close as I ever get, anyway.


Cates Park magnolias. Courtesy guest photographer Michael Hayward, who was actually taking West Coast magnolia photography's narrow window of opportunity seriously yesterday, instead of piling yet again onto a grubby old B.C. Ferry bound for Duke Point. Another 16km walk in bright spring sun, accomplished at fairly high speed, in order to make the 9 o'clock boat home from Departure Bay. Brief detour into Gina's Mexican Cafe for a cold Corona and the vegetarian platter. Tangy green tomatillo sauce; cheese and tofu burrito slathered with molé; free chips and pungent tomato-and-cilantro salsa. Then on through sundown, out along the waterfront and Stewart Avenue to the ferry, pale pink afterglow visible above all the mainland peaks. Crescent moon over Newcastle Island's dark trees.

Recent reading (& re-reading):

Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn, Competition Demystified: A Radically Simplified Approach

Bruce Greenwald, Judd Kahn, et. al., Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond

Thursday, April 19, 2007
The Ontario Food Terminal

Warren Buffett, Robert Smithson and the Center for Land Use Interpretation meet with a bang somewhere high above the Gardiner Expressway.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Warm light overcast, leaves green on the local trees. One of my good-until-filled market orders closed out this morning, courtesy some panicked "investors" who apparently can't read a corporate balance sheet to save their lives. So, a little extra spring in my step. Off momentarily to Simon Starling and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy at Presentation House Gallery, along with a handful of useful papers printed off the net. And then? A high-level walk through North Vancouver, and a wander down the Capilano River, followed by corporate espionage at a Park Royal Village coffee counter. Another CSA studio visit tonight. Sounds like a decent day off to me.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What a Shame About Me

I said babe you look delicious

And you're standing very close

But this is lower Broadway

And you're talking to a ghost

Take a good look it's easy to see

What a shame about me.


E-Flora BC: An Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia

Lots to see here; a resource I keep returning to. Invasive species, too, including Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed, above. Photograph by Hugh Griffith, from the atlas.


The mouse is back. Today's unenviable task: unplug the keyboard, walk it to the trash container behind the front desk, shake out numerous little brown fecal crumbs. A great-looking day so far. Beginning with a burnt-toast smell in the apartment around 2 a.m. Lights on, stuffed animals blinking sleep out of their shoebutton eyes. Not us, nossir! Blue smoke coiling lazily out from under the front door. Out into the hall. Idiot neighbor fanning thick grey clouds out of her apartment. "Fell asleep, left the toaster on. It happens, y'know?" Do I ever. Back to mumbling sleep, head under the covers, the thick scent of carbon still hanging heavily in the air.

Lights off, power off at the coffee bar. What do you order when there's no hot water? "Iced drinks." Cold scone and the NYT, SWAT troops fanning out across a green Virginia campus. A video clip on Steve's laptop last night at the Whip, the flat harsh crack of each shot, campus police crouched uselessly behind their vehicles. Meanwhile, an authoritative-looking woman walks around the restaurant, tapping a knife against the side of a highball glass. Some lame-ass New Age West Coast ritual? No, speed dating, and the tapped glass is the signal for every man in the restaurant but Steve and I to get up and move to a different table. All the participants have little scorecards, and some of their pens start moving even before their prospective partners sit down. Hipster A doesn't sit in the chair provided, but cozies up to Bachelorette B on the couch. Smoothie C slouches in his chair with his legs splayed out under the table. Women outnumber men, so Bachelorettes D and E stare moodily off into space, or frowningly study their scorecards. Cougar F is all physical -- lapel brushes and cleavage flashes that make me wonder why she and Rude Boy G are even bothering with the scorecards, instead of just exiting the premises. Lost Guy H sits down opposite Ice Queen I, who shakes her head, offers him a tight-lipped smile, and indicates her "friend" next door, who doesn't seem too thrilled by Lost Guy, either, but at least allows him the courtesy of a 2-minute chat. Everyone smiles and gestures over-animatedly, as if auditioning for the job of host on a Food Network show.

"Never doing that," is Steve's and my resolution, as we roll out of the high-pressure world of meeting total strangers into the equally high-pressure world of trying to be usefully critical of the work of artists we admire, while not wanting to destroy their legendarily fragile self-confidence, nor our own.
Monday, April 16, 2007

Brad Phillips, Nature Morte

Studio visit tonight with this great local painter.
Born Under Punches

Steady grey rain, stripping the petals from the local trees. A clump of bright green grass at the foot of the little tree outside the door: Durer turf! The usual procession of Monday morning drive-ups: FedEx, Canpar, Canada Post's delivery guy, the one with the duty-due-on-delivery parcels and his hand out. Today, though, a useless freebie: bad movie posters from the promotional service John signed us up for years ago (a 300 clone, by the look of things, starring hordes of CGI-generated demons, someone named "Moon Bloodgood," and a prominently displayed "18A -- Frequent Gory Violence" warning). Talking Heads' Name of This Band on the deck, all I seem to play lately, really. The shush of tires in the rain. Lost souls, wandering in with that distinctive funny walk that says selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in block capitals. A perpetual questioning air. As in, I'm not really making statements? I'm just contemplating them?

"I'm looking for this novel?"

All I want is to breathe, thank you.
Thank you.
Won't you breathe with me?
Find a little space so we move in between.
I'm so thin.
And keep one step ahead of yourself.
I'm catching up with myself.

And keep one step ahead of yourself.
I'm catching up with myself.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mouse turds on my desk this morning, on the keyboard and my Everyman's Kafka. A little fecal bread-crumb trail across my papers and the staff's T4s. The stuffed cats lurking guiltily nearby: What did you expect? We're inanimate....

Brief murderous thoughts of adopting a lean and vicious SPCA stray. Or of sending #54, below, by to sort out Mus musculus.

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