Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer reading. Full of the narative pull and finely planed sentences characterizing King's more realistic work. A book I've been waiting to read; a clear, lucid voice remembered from a long time ago that only emerges intermittently now: in the excellent autobiographical On Writing; in some of the short stories collected in Everything's Eventual; in Four Past Midnight's "The Sun Dog," and a few other places.

A sample of Blaze's plain clear prose:

"The Bowies watched him go over to the chopping block and free the ax. He looked at it, then stood in the dust beside the block. Dogs ran and yapped ceaselessly. The smallest Collies were the shrillest.

'Well?' Bowie asked.

'Sir, I ain't never chopped wood.'

Bowie dropped the zipper bag in the dust. He walked over and set a maple chunk on the chopping block. He spat in one palm, clapped his hands together and picked up the ax. Blaze watched closely. Bowie brought the blade down. The chunk fell in two pieces.

'There,' he said. 'Now they're stovelengths.'"

Free (90), 2007

Free (91), 2007

Free (92), 2007

Free (93), 2007

Winterwerk's Monstrance, all northern lights and glacial groanings, Mr. Andy Partridge visible behind those round smoked shades....
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Pete sends along Ultra Nate's stomping house classic Free, an anthem for sundown, long beams of light streaking the sidewalk, the BOOKS BOUGHT * SOLD * TRADED sign, the poolhall guys playing pass-the-blunt.

Free (86), 2007

Free (87), 2007

Free (88), 2007

Free (89), 2007
Five hundred degrees in the inferno of the sunbaked front room. Fortunately I have a Nalgene full of delicious free Vancouver tapwater. Tom Waits on the deck. And cold pears in the fridge.
Today's YouTube: Yo La Tengo, Blue Line Swinger, esp. the first three minutes, right up until Air Guitar Dude appears and starts posing. Germane to all the photographs appearing here lately, I think.

Free (82), 2007

Free (83), 2007

Free (84), 2007

Free (85), 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
The NYT's Frugal Traveler checks in weekly from the road; a journey I'd very much like to take with the cats riding shotgun.

Peter Culley, Free, 2007

A Letter From East Vancouver to Hammertown


Thanks for that; I put it up on the site with full attribution. In an ideal world I would have resized it, slightly degraded the image, and seamlessly inserted it alongside its brothers and sisters in the sequence, unattributed, as a kind of silent homage. Early on I entertained ideas of making one of my own to go incognito among the others, but all my attempts ended up looking either bad or wrong, or too glaringly like "art photography." I think your piece is an art photograph that reads the good stuff in the sequence back out of "amateurism" into art photography, if that distinction makes any sense; to me, your picture is a good art photograph whose artistry consists of successfully adopting the look of the "amateur"; it performs it, or puts it on like a comfortable set of clothes.

I hope it's clear from the sequence that Free is meant for you, as a kind of long poem, or a response to your poems and photographs. I thought very hard about the distinction you drew between "art photographs" in frames and galleries, and "photography" circulating in the world. In the end, I think I come down closer to the "art" end than the "circulating in the world" end, but that is neccessarily personal, subjective, and hard to explain. Maybe it has to do with context. I wanted to make a work that was right up against that art/world margin, right on the border. What I like most about your in-the-world photographs are the little bits of context that sneak in at the edges, the sort of things that are not neccessarily part of the subject, but which somehow inform your impressions of them. The stray leaks of light, fences, surprised animals, concrete barriers, etc. You see this quality sometimes in Evan Lee's work, in E.J. Hughes' work, and quite often in Brueghel: an acceptance of the world's plenitude, of its endless proffering of subjects. How'd you put it in The Provisions? "A scattering / of minor trash / loaded and sodden..." Nothing boring, or "beneath representation." This is a truly democratic idea, maybe even a revolutionary one. No hierarchy, only successive lateral displacement, endless proliferation of Gustonesque stuff....& of course, too, the notion that some of this stuff benefits from looking with eyes that have looked at Le Va, and Andre, and Judd, and the rest. If you can sustain such close looking in a gallery, and it's so rewarding with those guys, why would anyone ever want to switch off again outside? Maybe the lesson here is that everything should be scrutinized as art, or at least as potential art. I'm rambling. Thanks again for the photograph, I was surprised; a bit moved too.


Free (78), 2007

Free (79), 2007

Free (80), 2007

Free (81), 2007
Pulpfiction's Slightly Abridged Urban Rush Summer Reading List (in order of appearance):

Douglas Coupland, City of Glass / Bruce Serafin, Colin's Big Thing
John Armstrong, Wages
Richard Preston, The Wild Trees
Keith Maillard, Gloria
Robert Charles Wilson, Spin
Robin Bougie, Cinemasewer / Rebecca Dart, Rabbithead
Neil Strauss, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

Displayed but not discussed:

Catherine Millet, The Secret Life of Catherine M. / Pauline Reage, Story of O
Jorge Luis Borges, Book of Imaginary Beings / Collected Fictions
Matt Ruff, Fool on the Hill
Kem Nunn, The Dogs of Winter
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
Zadie Smith, On Beauty
Don DeLillo, Falling Man
David Goodis, Nightfall / William Hjortsberg, Falling Angel (Millipede Press reprints)
Upcoming CJB appearance on Shaw Cable's Urban Rush, to plug the shop's idea of a summer reading list. Cormac McCarthy, Pauline Reage, Don DeLillo, Matt Ruff, Cinemasewer magazine, Keith Maillard, The Game, Zadie Smith, David Mitchell, Doug Coupland and Bruce Serafin, Bill Gibson, M. John Harrison, Connie Willis, Kem Nunn, Borges, yadda yadda yadda. Probably my first and last appearance on cable television. Anyone excited by the prospect of watching me discuss books about time travel, serial killers, BDSM, nanotechnology, and fictional worlds infesting our own with the show's "hip, urban" co-hosts is welcome to tune in at 5pm.

A young musician interrogates my taste at the counter:

YM: Some [musical] acts are just dealbreakers. If you like X, we're not gonna get along.

CJB: Like who?

YM: Kenny G.

CJB: Fair enough. That's not really music.

YM: Or Coldplay.

CJB: D'accord.

YM: Or Steely Dan.

CJB: Heh.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Anodyne Inc. (USD)

Another stock-picking game, God help us all. A slightly larger-cap and more broadly diversified version of its Canadian cousin. Exactly the same rules apply: "deep value investing," applied with all the focus I can muster. $100,000 USD of play money, cash earns no interest, transaction charges of $25 per buy and sell, odd lot charges ignored, dividends credited to cash as they're received. I may or may not hold some of these securities in real life. One position -- easy to figure out -- is held more for sentimental reasons than for any faith in the business' day-to-day results. The goal is to outperform the S&P 500 Index on a rolling three year basis, ie., to make more money than you could by investing in a fund that passively mimicks the index's performance. 3 month reports on performance, good bad or indifferent. And no, Berkshire Hathaway didn't make the final cut.

Alleghany Corporation (Y) 24 shares @ $409.00 = $9816.00
The Kroger Corporation (KR) 750 shares @ $28.76 = $21570.00
Kansas City Life Insurance Company (KCLI) 200 shares @ $48.10 = $9620.00
Microsoft Corporation(MSFT) 200 shares @ 29.74 = $5948.00
ConocoPhillips (COP) 250 shares @ $80.01 = $20,002.50
Seaspan Corporation (SSW) 300 shares @ $33.34 = $10,002.00
3M Company (MMM) 100 shares @ $88.00 = $8800.00
Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFMI) 100 shares @ $38.21 = $3821.00
Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) 250 shares @ $35.51 = $8877.50

Transaction charges (10 x $25/each): ($250.00)
Cash balance, $1293.00

Today's S&P: 1519.43

Proposal For a Novel By William Gibson

"In his attempt to get over, he's not so much dropped hints as played mysterious."
Ratatouille's animated rats bring to mind yesterday's legendary customer service:

MISERABLE OLD BITCH [of plastic rat family in the window, white rat, black rat, and tiny baby grey rat, all gifts from customers and much-beloved by staff and neighborhood kids]: What are these?


MOB: I can see that! It's disgusting! I won't be shopping here!

CJB AND STAFF IN UNISON: You sure won't!

Dru calls on his cellphone from somewhere on a North Shore trail to relay the following:

MIDDLE-AGED FEMALE HIKER [to OTHER MIDDLE-AGED FEMALE HIKER, viz. some guy]: He's gorgeous...tall and blonde...just like Thor, god of lumber!

To Brad Bird's Ratatouille. "A critic should be a friend of the new." An almost flawless popular entertainment, complete with obligatory Pixar short, pulsing vibraphone-backed score and Peter O'Toole's Anton Ego, a monstrous food critic whose creaky old manual typewriter is shaped like a skull. Segments of the film (including a jolting descent through Paris' sewers, and an exterminator's window, illuminated by lightning and full of rat corpses and bottles of poison) made an end run around all my intellectually-based defenses and totally disarmed me. Think Bambi in the forest fire, or Snow White fleeing through that dark and grasping forest, or most of The Seventh Seal, and you won't be far off. Take someone you love, have loved, or still do, a favorite niece or nephew, the cute boy or girl who chatted you up last week at work, that shy face on the trail, or your favorite stuffed friend, and be happy.
Anodyne Inc.

Distributions and dividends today:

Dominion Citrus Income Fund (DOM.UN): 12,346 units x .01/unit = $123.46
Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares x .21/share = $45.57

Cash balance, $1391.24


Well, people got used to seeing them both together
But now he's gone and life goes on
Nothing lasts forever, oh no
She gets the house and the garden
He gets the boys in the band
Some of them his friends
Some of them her friends
Some of them understand
Lord this is just a small town city
Yes, and everyone can see you fall....

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Free (74), 2007

Free (75), 2007 -- ghost relatives!

Free (76), 2007

Free (77), 2007
Today's soundtrack: The Glove, This Green City

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