Friday, November 09, 2007
Effective immediately, all new books bearing a US$ price sold at Pulpfiction Books will be sold at par. Books bearing a single Canadian price, and books bearing a dual UK/CDN price will, as always, remain priced at 20% off the Canadian price.

This seems to me to be a more reasonable solution than the strategy employed by many of my larger competitors, a very Canadian solution, which involves posting a sign -- 40% exchange rate, many complexities, "our publisher partners," Canadian cultural industry, national survey, letter-writing campaign, close our doors, boo-hoo, boo-hoo, yak yak woof -- and then abandoning the front-line retail staff to irritated customers who aren't stupid.

I was recently in an [LOCAL SUBURBAN NEW BOOK CHAIN] outlet in the White Rock mall. The mall was packed. Not a single soul disturbed my twenty minute browse in the shop. Everything was full price, hardcover bestsellers included. This policy was defended by large signs posted front and center, crying the blues. LSNBC's management is, of course, free to set whatever price they like for their books, just as I am equally free to conclude that they have never studied the price elasticity of demand and might as well replace their signs with a simpler phrase: GOING OUT OF BUSINESS, EVERYTHING MUST GO.

Frederick Horsman Varley, Misty Day, West Coast (North Shore from Point Grey, Vancouver), c. 1928
Thursday, November 08, 2007

Now I regret the times I've spent
In your towerblocks and tenements


Dark now at four thirty, late leaves wet and slippery on the sidewalk. Moist ghost-patterns of recently kicked leaves shining in the lamplight. K.'s betta thrashing last night in his bowl, the most active I'd ever seen him, thrusting his face up and again to break the water's skin. In the morning, the little horizontal corpse suspended among the bamboo's roots. Long magenta fins gathered in a soft heap. Out into the morning, Kingsway raked by rain. Hitting red light after red light. Edmonds cranes hammering new monoculture up into gunmetal sky, the portrait photographs on the new condos' hoardings like Ken Lum photographs drained of all irony, all "aesthetic efficacy," and flaunted for display. Water everywhere. Mist filming the Taurus' back windows and side mirrors. Wet footprints on the shop's front room carpet. A parade of the new people moving into the neighborhood, young affluent go-getters, all ready to describe to me with pride their latest crushes: Michael Ondaatje, Audrey Niffenegger, the Hundred Mile Diet, Douglas Coupland. There's something really peculiar, almost pathological, about the assumption that Douglas Coupland is a Major Undiscovered Talent. "I'm looking for this book? You probably won't have it. It's a cult novel! Generation X?" Two ways to take this, neither palatable: either the interrogator thinks I'm a total moron who's spent the last decade cut off from the CBC, Vancouver magazine, and the Globe's weekend books supplement, or, pricy hipster-chic to the contrary -- man-purse, tweed hunter's hat, stylish quilted jacket covered in enigmatic Japlish -- he isn't actually from Kitsilano or South Main at all, but from some tiny northern community where Coles clerks have never heard of the Poet Laureate of Yaletown.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"Dear Christopher, somebody canceled his reservation for the Jeff Wall edition, and since you were the first one on the waiting list, you can now have no. 41."
Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Q: Are there big trees on Grouse Mountain?

A: CJB (left) poses with three meter wide Western Red Cedar (right) above the western bank of Mosquito Creek Canyon. Photo by Mick Range.

My first day out in the mountains since I trashed my right knee earlier this spring. A warm day spent wandering up the canyon on an assortment of flagged trails, overgrown once-trails, and full-on bushwhacking straight up the creek. Rose T. Cat (bashful as usual, lurking in my pack's top pocket) found a nice patch of Pacific Golden Chanterelles in a secret spot, which made a nice meal dry-sauteed at home with a little dab of butter.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Team Cat, creaky trashed knee finally healed, is presently lacing up its hiking boots, strapping its poles to its pack, and heading for the Seabus to rendezvous with a pal.

Pale blue sky, light wind, sunshine: a fine day to stagger up the local slopes.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saddening glissando strings, featuring ace pianist Mike Garson

(& this little gem, too, same old thing in brand-new drag)


(2005 prequel here)

Press conference from the Porri Jazz Festival, summer 2007. Donald's expression identical to mine when confronted by a deadbeat with a box full of John Grisham and Nicholas Evans pocketbooks -- "I don't need's fine..." -- who promptly sidles toward Beats & Counterculture.

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