Saturday, April 06, 2013
Waste My Time, Please


BUSY CJB:  Sorry, no.

FOP:  Why the hell not?


The Williams Lake Song
Words & music by LJH

Williams Lake, oh Williams Lake
Is it my soul you seek to take?
I tried to escape your evil grasp
Travelling an hour and a half
By fleeing to Quesnel,
a different kind of hell,
And finding that I had to return
A three hour round trip journ...ey

Hotel rooms are few and far between
And everyone was very mean
A convention for concrete is in town
And so my fortunes have gone down
The Sandman's basement room
Cold as a deep dark tomb
I wish it wasn't beside the pool
I wish I hadn't been such a fool
To come to Williams Laaaaake.

I might fly on the 9 am
Or might go through this all again
Quesnel might be my only chance
I'm running out of underpants
The weather's supposed to get worse
Now I'm feeling really cursed
Please feed the waddling pussy cat
And at my house please hang your hat
(At least until I can get back)
From hideous Williams Laaaaaake.

So now I leave you, bid adieu
And hope you know your luck for true
To be at my place in the city
With that wondrous perfect kitty
Without the snow and with hot water
(I guess I sound just like a martyr)
I can't help it and as for your pity
Held captive in this city
The ugly Williams Lake....
Friday, April 05, 2013
This, exactly:

"In this sense, his pieces can be considered parallel systems that generate supplements or excesses of meaning that are superimposed on the work from which he has departed."


"Rather than 'trying to trace a unique originality' he strives to develop 'an expansiveness and productivity of readings.' In other words, he attempts to create a project that starts from a specific space or referent and may be extended in through time, thus giving rise to a combined process of re-contextualisation and translation; a project that at once questions and updates the traditions of institutional critique and site-specificity. We find ourselves before an 'iterable' concept of the work of art, where each successive presentation produces transformations, new meanings and interpretations and where the various aspects related to the dissemination of the work [...] become a key part of the artistic project."
"There was no intention of escaping as there is no real place to escape in Powell River"

There are some stories on the BCSC website whose granular-detail narratives rival Elmore Leonard's and George V. Higgins'.  This is one of them, worth perusing in full.

"[31]         The plaintiff was asked about his current employment and employment history.  At present he helps out his mother, who has a serious illness.  His wife, who formerly worked at a dollar store, is not presently working.  He is not working now either.  His last full-time work was four years ago, working at McDonalds, where he worked for a year but was fired for being late.  Before that he did seasonal work on a prawn boat for a couple of months.  Before that he lived in Surrey and worked for three years at two different mills.

[32]         He is 30 now and his sole source of income is the child tax credit of about $1,000 per month.  His only asset is a car.

[33]         His understanding is that Mr. P. is on disability.  He agreed that Mr. B. has a decent-paying job, has a nice truck, had a lot of cash in his wallet and owns a house.

[34]         Mr. J. has run across Mr. B. on a number of occasions subsequent to the subject incident.  He denied demanding $2,000 from him.  He said he ran into Mr. B. at Walmart once and asked Mr. B. if he had figured out who had done the B & E at his house and Mr. B. said 'You.'  Mr. B. then offered him $3,000 to back off.

[35]         Asked if he said on one occasion 'I am going to get a house out of this,' Mr. J. admitted that he made that statement.  He denied ever threatening to blow up Mr. B.’s house or truck.

[36]         Asked about the dirt road in question, he agreed that anyone could have come along but there are several routes to West Lake and the one they were on was the less travelled route.

[37]         Asked about what marihuana he was smoking he said it was 'regular stuff.'  He said that he smokes marihuana 8-10 times a day and is used to it.  He admitted that it has definitely affected his memory in that it makes it harder to remember but it does not make him remember things that did not happen."

Insert in My Obituary, Please

"[A] researcher, expert viewer, fan, performer and at times, an incorrigible multi-tasker."

Dear JZ:  You are wrong; there are precedents.

Push Comes to Love

"To be normal would be abnormal. To deliver easy-listening singer–songwriter material might just – like Monty Python’s comfy chairs – produce the greatest discomfort of all. The crowd could, of course, find some brainy relief in pondering how the performance rated alongside Prina’s eponymous sculptural installation, one version of which is currently on view in the Whitney’s galleries. But then there was the playlist: which were covers, and which were not? And did you dare admit to your dinner date that you’re not actually intimately familiar with Joan Baez’ oeuvre? 'I’m seeking to establish a stress test,’ Prina told me. ‘Can what I did be lodged within a Conceptual art practice?’"
Thursday, April 04, 2013

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): David Byrd, Clouds, Anthony's Nose, Bridge (178), 1974
I mentioned the Arbitrary collected snowflakes. Actually it was searching for a pair of identical ice crystals. It had - has - a collection; not holes or figure break-downs, but actual samples of ice crystals from every part of the galaxy it has ever visited where it found frozen water.

It only ever collects a few flakes each time, of course; a saturation pick-up would be ... inelegant.

I suppose it must still be looking. What it will do if it ever does find two identical crystals, it has never said. I don't know that it really wants to find them, anyway.

But I thought of that, as I left the glittering, grumbling city beneath me. I thought - and I still dream about this, maybe once or twice a year - of some drone, its flat back star-dappled, quietly in the steppes or at the edge of a polynya off Antarctica, gently lifting a single flake of snow, teasing it away from the rest, and hesitating perhaps, before going, displaced or rising, taking its tiny, perfect cargo to the orbiting starship, and leaving the frozen plains, or the waste of ice, once more at peace.

Dear IMB,

Walking on Glass changed my life when I found it, aged fourteen or thereabouts, in the "New Arrivals" section of the West Vancouver Memorial Library.  I reread it a year or two ago; it still holds up, all those correspondences between the three narratives, the games' complexity & futility, the way far future & Scottish present alternately stand apart & intermingle.

I bought all your first editions for years, even going so far as to track down UK hardcovers of the Culture novels, which weren't widely available in Canada.

On my first cross-Atlantic trip I went to Scotland.  I bought the UKHC of Feersum Endjinn on the day of its release in Aberdeen and read it on the overnight ferry to Shetland.  That phonetic Riddley Walker-esque voice will stay with me the rest of my life, along with the flat North Sea, the summer fog, the unfamiliar islands rising up out of the mist the next morning.

I suppose this is all a way of saying, thanks.  Your careful, imaginative, and deeply humanist writing touched me at a time in my life when I was badly in need of a wider, more ethically inclusive perspective on the world.  Culture, plural, rabidly Other.  Identification with the transgendered; mad; kinky & obsessive. Without your books I would be smaller, narrower, more conservative.  So thanks again, from someone whom the fine example of your writing helped grow.
The People Who Make Things To Appeal To Everyone Vs. Everyone Is Much Weirder Than We Initially Thought

"Choice rules. The dominant realization of the post-Cable, Internet age is that You Don’t Have To Be Here. There is nothing holding you here. You can click out of the window. You can wander off and eat a sandwich. Appointment viewing? You can watch it on your own time. Want to watch something before you go to bed? You can watch Anything In The World.

The fact that this was not always the case explains a lot of the most popular television in the past. You want to watch this show about David Hasselhoff and a talking car? Is anything else on? Well, fair.

We want Everything Now. I want to watch an episode of a TV show and I want to go online and be able to figure out what that thing was that Jim whispered just before the commercial break and What It All Meant For The Season Arc and I want it Immediately! And it’s there.

We live in an era where I will become actively upset that a five-minute Google search has not instantly brought me, for free, footage of an obscure television episode from the 1970s.

But then, you were at the mercy of whatever they had for you."

"If this exhibition should come to pass, it has the potential to mark yet another turning point in our city, where artists and the institutions that serve them are less an autonomous presence than co-opted agents of emptiness, motivated not by curiosity but by its opposite: fear."

Citizens vs. the water table.  August's motif visible at far left.  Undepicted: birdsong, yappy little dog, the steady thrum of a nearby freeway.
Monday, April 01, 2013

Amazon Announces Purchase of English™

"Oral speech will remain free, Bezos said, so long as it isn’t written down or recorded by an electronic device. Every English™-speaking person will be allowed a 'fair-use' quota of 500 words per day, which he or she can use to send emails to friends, make grocery lists, comment on Facebook posts, or write self-flagellating journal entries. For those who exceed their daily quota, Amazon will offer a variety of licensing options ranging from a simple per-word fee to so-called Unlimited Scribbling™ plans for novelists, bloggers, and others who can’t stop writing even if no one is reading their work."

Pigeon Photography

"When one of his pigeons lost its orientation in fog and mysteriously arrived, well-fed, four weeks late, Neubronner was inspired with the playful idea of equipping his pigeons with automatic cameras to trace their paths. This thought led him to merge his two hobbies into a new 'double sport' combining carrier pigeon fancying with amateur photography."

The peanut gallery adds, helpfully (hopefully): ROSE TRAIN?

Culver, 2013.  A site I've been searching for off and on for approximately seventeen years, finally located via Street View and a lot of driving around. The field grass is soaking wet and, in places, more like standing in a shallow brown lake with vegetation growing up out of it.  It's not a spot I'd personally choose to recline. The little bare tree by the gate, the real subject of this picture, was not yet in leaf, but should be by August, when I hope to make its approximately life-size portrait.

Scrim, 2013

Picture for Rose, 2013

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