Anodyne
Friday, May 06, 2011
 
Rodney Graham anticipates my whole career:

"Here's a story [...] that might serve as a cautionary tale for emerging artists: after an expression of interest by a European curator who wanted to include a version of [a] work in a group show in Vienna, I crated the piece myself (an architectural model, a large framed photograph, documentary material), drove it to the airport, shipped it to the museum in Vienna - I believe it was the Wiener Secession Museum - and waited for the stunned response of the art world to this startlingly original addition to the canon. After several months - nothing. I knew the show was over and wrote to the museum to enquire about the return shipment. I received a very harsh letter from the museum director informing me that I had never in fact been invited to exhibit in the exhibition, that the work was never shown, and that they were unwilling to pay for the work to be shipped all the way to Vancouver, only as far as New York. Which they did and this is where it languished in some customs warehouse because I couldn't afford a broker, and where it languishes still as far as I know. How could such a thing happen?"
Thursday, May 05, 2011
 
"The rules I've made, or the categories I've made, just apply to me.  They're not necessarily for anyone else."
 
"If I remember correctly we had a huge fight in the middle of that hike; weren't we always having huge fights? You are a romantic, or getting old. But yes, good times."
 

Jeff Wall, Boy Falling From a Tree, 2010
 
I don't often post about food -- zero interest in turning Anodyne into a cranky "food blog," and I enjoy eating with L. more than pointing a digital camera at my plate -- but I like eating, reading about cooking, cooking for myself and others, and turn out to be pretty good at it.  Not "professional" by any stretch of the imagination, but, as Larry says, pretty, pretty good.

Here's a few places where I've had great meals.  Not a greatest-hits list, and not inclusive by any means, but if you live near any of these, go now, while you can.

Laurent Quenoiux's Bistro LQ, Los Angeles.  Probably my favorite restaurant ever.  French-California fusion.  Like the French Laundry, but affordable, and weirdly unfussy.

Portland's Cocotte.  French-influenced bistro in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  Three owners, all in their late 20s.  Assured cooking; feels like it's been there forever.

Bo Laksa King, East Hastings Street, Vancouver.  Three words: fermented fish ovaries.  Thanks, D.!

Daniel Humm's Eleven Madison Park, New York City.  If I ever proposed, I'd do it here, in this big mirrored room full of light.  The staff were absurdly generous and welcoming to the shy Canadian gastrotourists in the corner.
 
Tonight's dinner: fresh shrimp, 45 seconds in microwave.  Toast sunflower bread.  Mix shrimp w/ a generous dollop of Hellman's mayonnaise, a tiny bit of grainy French mustard, some spinach leaves.  Lift cat off kitchen counter, spread shrimp mixture on toast.  Eat on the couch, big rumbly grey cat on lap, while reading Frederick F. Reichfeld's The Loyalty Effect (Harvard Business School Press, 1996), the best recommendation a customer has made to me in 11 years of business ownership.

Also: http://www.bcliquorstores.com/product/485557
 
Last night's dinner: Pot.  Butter.  Arborio rice.  Turn frequently to coat.  BC white wine.  Fresh English peas, shelled.  Wine, fine YVR tap water, salt and pepper slowly.  Shelled peas in.  5 min. Big handful of fresh pink shrimp in.  Slug of cold gin from the freezer.  2 min.  Remove from heat, knob of butter in, lots of fresh chopped dill stirred through, garnish of dill & fleur de sel.

I know it's de rigeur to make risotto with chicken or vegetable stock, but in my judgment these powerful flavors would have killed the more delicate flavors of the shrimp, the peas, the gin and the dill. 

Good last night, and even better reheated today.

CULINARY INSIGHT:  If I make this again, I'm going to squeeze half a cut lemon over the salt and dill garnish.
 
Man is Who He Hears He is At Keyhole

GOOD CUSTOMER:  Still making photographs?

CJB:  You bet!  I'm going to show some upstairs in November.

GC:  You know, I don't think I've ever seen one of your pictures.  What do you shoot?

CJB:  Uh.  The everyday.  People working.  Trees.  Cactus!  [INSPIRATION]  Want to see one?

GC:  Sure!

CJB [swivels desk monitor around, shows Thicket, 2011, below]

GC:  Huh.  It looks a lot like...

CJB:  Atget? Evans?

GC:  That guy who shot his nude son in the forestWynn Bullock!
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
 

Thicket, 2011
 
Critter photos.  Some pretty amazing ones halfway down the page.
 
Yesterday afternoon, on foot: PFB to Seabus to mid-Lonsdale to Edgemont Village to the Cap River highway bridge to Whole Foods, Park Royal at dusk.  With Steven Tong.
Monday, May 02, 2011
 

Under Harper, Canada has become a meaner, smaller, less welcoming place. Please do your part by voting for the non-Conservative candidate of your choice today and showing "our #43" the door.

(Image: your taxes at work. Downtown Toronto, summer 2010)
 

The New Yorker's excellent Steve Coll and Lawrence Wright on UBL:

Coll: "[T]he million-dollar, heavily secured mansion where bin Laden lived was constructed in 2005. The maps I looked at had sections of land nearby marked off as 'restricted area,' indicating that it was under military control. It stretches credulity to think that a mansion of that scale could have been built and occupied by bin Laden for six years without it coming to the attention of anyone in Pakistan’s Army.

The initial circumstantial evidence suggests the opposite is more likely—that bin Laden was effectively being housed under Pakistani state control."

Wright:  "[W]ith bin Laden gone, we will be able to test the truth of the observation that radical Islamist terror is a manifestation of the repressive governments that dominated the region.

Democracy and civil society are the cure for the chronic misery of Muslim countries that has fed the rise of Islamic extremism. The death of the most notorious terrorist the world has ever seen, whose mission was to create a clash of civilizations, will allow the door to open more widely to the tolerance, modernism, and pragmatism that is so badly needed and so long awaited in a part of the world where despair, corruption, brutality, and fanaticism have laid waste to so many generations."

(Coll's Ghost Wars and Wright's The Looming Tower are models of modern investigative journalism, and important antidotes to the ahistoricized spin of the Bush-Cheney-Fox axis).

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