Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Howe Sound Bush Party!
(Solo ascent of Mount Liddell, Gambier Island, Howe Sound, BC posted to

Back in university, when I had my car, it seems, at least in my memory, that I went hiking, climbing, or off-trail scrambling for most of every summer. Then I graduated, got the entry-level dead-end clerical job that my English Lit degree pretty much demanded. The car, after 5 years of trips to the Rockies and Joshua Tree and every logging road from West Vancouver to Pemberton, died, and languished in the garage at my parents' house, until my dad took it upon himself to sell it.

Sans car, I learned a few things. I learned that the bus is an annoying and inefficient way to get to climbs. Without a car, great whacks of southwest BC are totally off-limits, unless you happen to have three or four days to spend, dharma-style, hitching to the logging road, camping at the side of the road, hiking the logging road the second day, camping at the trailhead late on day #2, watching it cloud over as you set up camp, hiking out, disillusioned, in the rain, on day #3. . .

Most importantly, I learned that most people *with* cars seemed to be much better, not to mention faster, climbers than me. I went on a few group trips, only to watch my new-found friends power off into the distance, leaving my sad puffing silhouette in the dust.

I didn't hike or climb at all for the better part of five years. I learned I have a natural tendency to melancholy, and that this disposition is exaggerated when I can't get out in the mountains. In 2002, I hit upon a method I employ to this day. I look for seldom-climbed peaks close to Vancouver, things that aren't already written up a million times online. Because I travel alone, I usually pick targets that are technically NTD, or peaks that can be scrambled with an 8mm rope and slings.

Last winter, I bought a set of old CAJs and studied up on some neglected and interesting-sounding peaks. I read tons of articles by John Clarke and Doug Kasian, which psyched me up again for solo travel in the mountains. Then I read articles like Mark Rebman's terrific account of climbing Mount Martyn, in Golden Ears Park, a summit I had never even heard of before, let alone ever contemplated climbing. All this study got me ready to go for the 2004 solo scrambling season.

Target #1 was Mount Liddell, the highest summit on Gambier Island. I've seen this peak every year since childhood, circling Gambier in the family boat, but, until a few weeks ago, I wasn't able to name it or to locate it accurately on a map. And, in true DIY style, one can get from my West End apartment to the summit using only a combination of bus, feet, and ferry.

At one point, Mount Liddell was featured in a revised edition of "103 Hikes." Then, apparently, it was dropped from subsequent editions. A mystery!

Net research revealed:

• no on-line source could agree on how to get to the top of Mount Liddell

• it was possible to do the entire climb in a long day, and not miss the last ferry off-island

• the bush was really, really bad

OK, I was psyched up now. I was going to go climb this thing!

I set my alarm for 6am, but woke up at 4am when some loogan pushed over a newspaper box in front of my apartment, waking me, and everyone else in a 6-block radius. Down to the Blue Bus, where I killed an hour reading the New York Times and watching the rising sun slowly stretch along Georgia Street. Then off on the Blue Bus to the Langdale ferry, and, once in Langdale, onto the Wavedancer 3, a passenger water taxi-cum-ferry.

I was a little surprised when the Wavedancer went first to *Keats* Island, but hung in there, studying the Tetrahedrons and the Howe Sound summits from the unfamiliar angle, and eventually the ferry crossed back to Gambier and dropped me at New Brighton Harbour. I didn't bring a watch, but the ferry pilot told me it was 930am, and that the last boat back to Langdale was at 630pm. Move fast!, was his suggestion.

All the Net directions for Mount Liddell are wrong. To get to the summit in 3 or 4 hours, do the following: from the public dock, walk 300 ft up the road to the general store. A dirt road forks left. Follow it as it climbs NW, then NE. After a half hour or so, another road, posted, LAKE, cuts sharp left. Follow it down, generally NNE, for three or four klicks, through recent logging and second growth. The road crosses Mannion Creek (possible campsite with picnic table and running water). At a signposted turn for Mount Killiam, keep straight ahead. At approx. the 4km mark an old skid road, posted, "LAKES" cuts back sharp right into the Mannion Creek valley. It climbs in long switchbacks, some quite steep, then splits in two at a signed junction. Left for Mount Liddell, right for the Gambier Lakes. The left fork now climbs very steeply, soon arriving at a small plateau and Third Lake, a Lost Lake-style muddy puddle full of lily pads and water striders. After Third Lake, the road becomes totally overgrown with second growth pine trees, and washed out to boot. Flounder up through head-high bush, occasionally catching sight of square white plastic markers nailed to trees and red ribbons hanging from branches. Don't try to follow the markers exactly, they simply indicate the general direction of the "best path" to follow, which is usually about 40 or 50 feet away. Use the hillside contours to visualize the path of the old road, then flounder along it, dodging crotch-grabbing trees and unseen rocks and roots as you go.

Pause to wonder what the sign, "BRIDGE CLOSED," refers to. Inch ahead to survey a very old, very manky-looking logging road bridge, now totally rotted through, with big air under it, and, somewhere way, way down in the big dark gully it spans, devil's club. Scamper across, whistling Curtis Mayfield. Move on up!

The old "road" circles around Mount Liddell's northern flanks, which, contrary to the summary, are just as steep as anything found on Mt. Killiam. The roadbed (bush carpet?) eventually climbs to a broad col between Mt. Liddell and an unnamed bump to the NE. From here, a sign marked, "PEAK," points right, up a stream gully. Follow this -- much loose boulder-hopping, but, thank God, no bush -- for approx. 500 feet of elevation gain. The gully now intersects another overgrown road, running due W and perfectly flat. It is, if such a thing is possible, even more overgrown than the road down below. Swim through waves of baby pine and cedar. Scramble over logjams full of hornets. At one point, scrambling under a log, poke a big cigar-shaped "fungus." Wonder why it buzzes. Run away fast!

From the end of the road, white plastic markers lead SW onto Mount Liddell's summit, about 20 minutes up. Hop over fallen logs and scramble up short but irritating rock steps, reminiscent of the old Deeks Lake trail. Finally stagger up onto the (mostly) forested summit, which features great views of the Tetrahedrons, the Rainy River valley, and, surprisingly, the southern Tantalus Range. Bask in the sun. Take pictures. Disturb hornet's nest and retreat. . . .

The worst part of reversing your steps is the heavily overgrown road below the summit. Once off it, the trip goes fairly quickly. Flail downhill through the trees, always trying to stay dead center of the old roadbed. Collect bush scars on your hands, face, and legs. Disturb more hornets. Run downhill through the bush as fast as you can on your aching knees. Collect stings on your neck, arms, and the backs of your legs. Learn that pissed-off hornets move way, way faster than you do. Soak your stings in Third Lake. Contemplate missing the ferry. Flail downhill, & etc...

To save your aging knees, attempt to flag down rides on the New Brighton road. Hop in the ditch as Gambier property owners aim, grim-faced, straight at you with their decrepit 4x4s and ATVs. Disturb the cousins of the hornets up the hill. Surprise the drivers who stiffed you for a lift by actually keeping up with them as you run.

Stagger, dust-covered and sting-ridden, into the Gambier Island General Store. Mmmm, ice cream. Mmmm, cold pop. Apply sweaty can of ginger ale to wasp stings. Wipe road dust from forehead. Go sit on the public dock in the freshening afternoon breeze. Soak feet in seawater, change socks. Read Dickens' "Our Mutual Friend" while awaiting water taxi. Decide it's a pretty good life after all.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Off to Mount Liddell, Gambier Island.

God willing, trip report here Thursday.
Sunday, June 27, 2004

Every I-5 Interchange in Oregon State (thanks Oregon DOT!) Posted by Hello
Mental Health Afternoon-evening

I-5, Vancouver/Seattle w/ Dan Bejar and Mr. Otis Clay for company. Thai food at my favorite cheapie takeout stall under the monorail, and, later, nighthawk browsing at Magus Books. Found two (of four) volumes of Orwell's collected essays, letters and journalism, and an Oxford illustrated Dickens. Big lineup for Farenheit 9-11 in the U district. Clouds drifting in off the Pacific, farm smells in the dark near Mount Vernon and, inexplicably, fireworks all the way home, rising up from ball fields and deserted overpasses, glittering green-gold showers sputtering over the trees.

"Seven hours?" asked the customs guy. "Was it worth it?"

Oh yes.
Friday, June 25, 2004
When you're young you find inspiration
In anyone who's ever gone
And opened up a closing door
She said:

We were never feeling bored
'Cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
And we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought, then thought: "Make amends"
And we were never holding back or worried that
Time would come to an end...

Tennant/Lowe, Being Boring, from PSB Live at the BBC on the office speakers tonight.

WPA Florida guide from the early 40s. Starting to think about putting a set of these together, with the West Coast and Southwest high up on the list.  Posted by Hello
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
The Hustle makes me happy. Thanks, Van McCoy!

Cornelia Parker, Hanging Fire, 1998.  Posted by Hello
Remember the unwritten science fiction novel everyone kept hearing about, four or five years back? The one with the neon-strung ultralights, and the artists' colonies on Gambier and Anvil and Hornby, and the Republic of Quebec and the big black towers from space?

Found a 1000-word fragment on the hard drive and tinkered, and lo and behold it's underway again. It's called Hanging Fire (thanks, Cornelia Parker!) and it goes a bit like this...

Early one cold February morning in 2035, a young woman waited on a railway platform built out over the sea. The wind that had almost scrubbed the Gambier Island ferry’s morning run was heaving breakers, chilly green and glacially cold, at the pilings under her feet. The steady sound of the waves and the damp, salt-splattered dress clinging to her thighs brought the ferry crossing back to her mind: the boat’s uncovered deck heaving and plunging about in the stormy winter sea; cars and trucks shifting ominously from side to side; lattices of windblown frost on bumpers and windshields, salty spiderwebs that sparkled as the sun slowly rolled into the sky. The smell of vomit was everywhere in the passenger lounge. It was no better out on deck: freezing walls of green water came exploding in across the rail like bombs. She recalled, too, the appalled faces of the embarking passengers in the mainland terminal, their shock at the pale wet figures filing past them like refugees from some remote and vicious war.


Jeff Wall, Pipe Opening, 2003. Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery.  Posted by Hello
Goodbye Surfing, Hello God

"Brian sat down at his desk and began to draw a little diagram on a piece of printed stationery with his name at the top in the kind of large fat script printers of charitable dinner journals use when the customer asks for a hand-lettered look. With a felt- tipped pen, Brian drew a close approximation of a growth curve. 'Spector started the whole thing.' he said, dividing the curve into periods. "He was the first one to use the studio. But I've gone beyond him now. I'm doing the spiritual sound, a white spiritual sound. Religious music. Did you hear the Beatles album? Religious, right? That's the whole movement. That's where I'm going. It's going to scare a lot of people.

'Yeah,' Brian said, hitting his fist on the desk with a slap that sent the parakeets in the large cage facing him squalling and whistling. 'Yeah,' he said and smiled for the first time all evening. 'That's where I'm going and it's going to scare a lot of people when I get there.'"


Just back from Bowen Island, half a day spent in downtime at my parents' nearly-finished retirement home, sitting out on a shady deck overlooking the sea, drinking lemonade and working my way through George Orwell's Collected Essays. A gorgeous day, the last of the sun and a high pinkish-grey haze from the Lillooet fires spread from horizon to horizon.

A few changes from last year. Development is steadily chewing its way up and around Cates Hill; so much for the 2 acre lots the developer blue-skied when first seeking permission to build. Soon Snug Cove will resemble nothing so much as another West Vancouver subdivision, all winding cul-de-sacs and spectacular Howe Sound and mountain views for the lawyers, computer programmers, stockbrokers and upper managers who live there.

I don't want to live on an island -- any island -- but I have no problem visiting. Especially on a day like yesterday, with the huckleberries and thimbleberries out in full force, and ripe blood-colored Himalayan blackberries in the overgrown ditches, and coolish winds off Queen Charlotte Channel.  Posted by Hello
Tuesday, June 22, 2004

God Only Knows
Words and music by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher

If you should ever leave me
My life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me
God only knows what I'd be without you

I may not always love you
But as long as there are stars above you
You'll never need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I'd be without you Posted by Hello

chanson pour sgb
Monday, June 21, 2004

Rockin' the house Posted by Hello
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion

One of the loveliest lines of found poetry I know
More detailed reportage on the steadily unravelling political situation in Iraq, courtesy the New Yorker's Seymour M. Hersh

Fred Varley, Moonlight at Lynn Posted by Hello
Sunday, June 20, 2004

Jasper Johns, Painted Bronze (Savarin).  Posted by Hello

Mangosteen fruit, courtesy a good customer. Pretty hard to describe, but try picturing a freakish lychee-kiwi cross, with a bit of fig thrown in for good measure. You peel the thick, plum-colored skin and extract the soft white seeded cloves inside. Each clove has its own individual flavour; some are mouth-puckeringly bitter, others are sweet, like cherry or raspberry sorbet. Yum! Posted by Hello

Stephen Shore
Sutter Street and Crestline Road, Fort Worth, Texas, June, 3, 1976,
20 x 24 inches
courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery, NYC
 Posted by Hello

Forest interior, Brothers Creek, West Vancouver, B.C. Posted by Hello
Saturday, June 19, 2004
Bill Drummond Said

"Bill Drummond, by his own admission, suffers from the Pop Disease. It's a fairly common contemporary condition, although it's probably fair to say that few suffer as acutely as Drummond, or indeed any number of my own dear friends. Personally, I think this is why he has decided to slice up his Richard Long piece into 20,000 sections. I think it's to do with the ideas of ownership in a Popist world, wherein there is a strange contradiction set up whenever Pop sells, or maybe I mean whenever someone cursed by the Pop disease buys. Specifically, I'm thinking about the Pop single. I'm thinking about how when you buy a Pop single you are buying into the multiple by default, except, and here's the interesting bit (well, it's interesting if you're a bit sad and maybe bitten by that disease): the relationship you have with the multiple is singularly personal. Your copy of the multiple becomes invested with meaning. The meaning lies in emotions, memories, flashes of perfume and shivers of light. It lies in the way the sound of an organ dips and rises, the way a voice cracks and creaks. They way the vinyl crackles on the old Marconiphone record player."

Tim Lee, Untitled [James Osterberg], 1970, 2004, C-print, 72 x 96". Courtesy the artist and Cohan and Leslie, NYC.
 Posted by Hello

More Totoros Posted by Hello
Bar Yourself from an Antiquarian Bookstore! (5 Easy Steps)

1. Spend 10 or 15 minutes making a big pile of one-of-a-kind items, the sort of high end material the dealer sees once or twice a year.

2. Try to wrangle a discount on the pile, including an item clearly marked, "Sorry, no discounts, no trades," priced at close to the dealer's original cost.

3. Go apeshit when politely rebuffed. Scream and holler. Storm outside.

4. Wait 30 seconds or so. Storm back inside. Continue yelling and screaming. Tell the dealer (who doesn't recognize you, let alone know your name) that you're "one of his best customers," and that you're "never comin' back." Pause for full weight of this threat to sink in. Scream at a few of the dealer's employees, for good measure.

5. Storm outside, hop in your Porsche, and drive away.
Friday, June 18, 2004

Botrytis cinerea, a.k.a. grey mold, microscopic view
 Posted by Hello

Scott McFarland, Inspecting, Allen O'Connor Searches for Botrytis Cinerea, 2003
 Posted by Hello

Climbing at Pump Peak, Mount Seymour, a few Septembers ago. Photo by Dru, courtesy  Posted by Hello

Snowhooping, from 100 Views of Mount Baker Posted by Hello

Paterson Ewen, Thundercloud as a Generator

Found the AGO Ewen retrospective catalog in a last box of Doris Shadbolt's things yesterday afternoon.

Michael Ondaatje, from the catalog introduction:

"These great metaphors of the heavens, made with simple utensils from hardware stores, feel like cargo cult objects put together by a man who has walked back into the darkened cave after staring at the sun." Posted by Hello
Thursday, June 17, 2004

Jack Shadbolt, Owls for Doris, a Christmas gift. Note the resemblance of the crate contents to the Incredible Talking Cats Posted by Hello
Neil Wedman -- Watercolours of the Bizarro World
Re-revised and re-edited "author's preferred version" of the Kelly Wood review for the Straight. Some changes mine, some the Straight's. I've retained those that are useful and ignored others. The Straight's editing process is actually pretty good -- an editor calls and works through the changes line-by-line, inviting the writer's participation in the process, as opposed to, say, my experiences at the Vancouver Courier, where a now-fired "editor" would truncate paragraphs more or less at random, recombine them a la Burroughs, then call to lecture me on how the resulting stew didn't make any sense.

Kelly Wood - Modern Decor for the Poor
By Christopher Brayshaw
At the Western Front until July 3

Photographer and critic Kelly Wood's new installation at the Western Front is easy enough to describe. Wood has plastered the gallery's walls with shopping fliers, transforming the colourful come-ons for safety razors, antiperspirant, and mixed nuts into wallpaper. She's also suspended from the ceiling black plastic garbage bags stuffed with paper. Whether either intervention constitutes successful art depends on two things: how knowledgeable you are about art history and Wood's place in it, and how much intellectual leeway you're prepared to grant her thinking.

For those viewers with little or no familiarity with art history, Wood's exhibition will be a slap in the face. Its gestural poverty and total lack of anything resembling traditional artistic technique seem like cold, sneering provocation, a refusal to make unique or beautiful things. "This is all you're getting," Wood seems to say, "take it or leave it."

Other, more historically savvy viewers will recognize a variety of sources. The black garbage bags reference the silver, helium-filled Mylar clouds Andy Warhol created for a Leo Castelli Gallery exhibition in 1966, and Wood's own photographs of garbage. The flier wallpaper refers to Warhol's wallpaper-patterned pictures of flowers, Coke bottles, cows, and Chairman Mao, and, perhaps, Vancouver photoconceptualist Ian Wallace's late-'60s Magazine Piece, which simply consisted of an issue of Seventeen magazine torn up and taped to the gallery wall.

Some might suggest Wood's Modern Decor for the Poor is a tongue-in-cheek or feminist subversion of conceptual and Pop strategies. I disagree, precisely because these subversions are now so easy to accomplish that they are almost beneath an artist of Wood's ambition. Fans of contemporary art register art-historical citations with the same sensitivity that other, better-adjusted people recall sports stats. Local artists like Ron Terada or, internationally, Martin Creed and Michael Asher seem to be in competition to create an almost invisible art, an art of ideas, not things. This gamesmanship is by now an established genre in its own right, a history of artistic gestures demonstrating that the apparently empty gallery is not really empty, even if all your senses suggest it is.

Wood doesn't play this game. Against neoconceptualism's dematerialization of art into thinking or writing about absent things, she asserts the messy primacy of objects: trash bags, colour photographs, and biographical details, hidden in the things she throws away.

Wood's thinking is, in this respect, conservative, but historically defensible and grounded. This conservatism makes her a strong critic. Her recent writings on artists like Terada, Jeff Wall, and Mike Kelley are strikingly original. Her own work, astringent and off-putting as it often seems to me, emphasizes the amount of intellectual work that she employs to create her art. This is not a popular stance these days (it's far easier to manipulate codes, to sample from art history as if from a buffet) but it is a necessary one, and Wood, of all her local contemporaries, seems most willing to shoulder this burden.

Bill Reid and Beyond: Expanding on Modern Native Art

New Douglas & McIntyre title, which I ordered for its transcript of a speech Doris Shadbolt gave in 1999 on Bill Reid. Having just spent the last three weeks surrounded by Doris' books I wanted to hear her own voice one last time, before dispersing her things to others.

The transcript in the book is a suburb example of Doris' intellectual concision and poise, but not, having now read exactly half of the book on the bus and in 5-minute breaks in Surrey, the best thing in it. That honor has to go to 'Namgis Doug Cranmer's description of working with Reid at UBC in the late 1950s:

"Before we started carving the poles, Bill came up with this idea that you've got to forget everything that you ever learned about carving from other people, because we're going to do it his new way. Herman Collinson was there too; Reid had brought him down from the Charlottes as a helper. We sat and listened to what Bill had to say. Bill took a whole length of brown paper. He had blocked it off and drawn what was going to be on this pole -- exactly, as to what he thought. We said okay. We had this log all rounded off and we stuck the brown-paper drawing on there. He said, "Okay, every time you cut out the line, you take the template and stick it back on, and then draw it back in. Never lose the line." I said, "I don't think it's going to work, Bill." After a couple of whacks at it, you know what the hell's going to happen with this thing: the more you hack away at the wood, the smaller it's going to get. All of a sudden the paper isn't going to fit any more. That's when I found out that Bill had tantrums."
A deep greenish-gold?

Check, say the Housemartins:

The Light is Always Green

We dig our models with the brains the size of models
And cars that we can trust with out wives
And we dig converstations with girls from every nation
But not the ones that whisper or tell lies

Wherever there’s a will there’s a motorway
Wherever there is greed there is speed
And they’ve always got to be there for yesterday
Welcome to the new scalextric’s breed

And the light they always show to them
Is green, green, green
And the heels they always show to me
Are clean, clean, clean

We’re only flying past so we dig our sevice fast
From the waiters to the women to the wine
Never mind the match, I’ve an urgent date to catch
Get me to the concert hall on time

Pretending to be pilots in a war
Pretending to weave between the flak
No-one knows what the mission’s for
Blinkered horses on the track

And the light they always show to them
Is green, green, green
And the heels they always show to me
Are clean, clean, clean
Back from another two days in Surrey, mostly spent skirting the Surrey-White Rock Border, and the little winding roads that run from Highway 99 to Crescent Beach, whose tiny houses and small green yards haven't changed appreciably since I was last there in the mid-1970s. Gorgeous late light through the cedar forests skirting the shoreline, a deep greenish-gold that triggered off all kinds of associational memories.
Monday, June 14, 2004
Ubik-quitous ebay

Posted by some wit:

I am eBay.
Before the universe was, I am.
I made the suns. I made the worlds.
I created the lives and the places they inhabit;
I move them here, I put them there.
They go as I say, they do as I tell them,
I am the word and my name is never spoken,
The name which no one knows. I am called eBay,
but that is not my name.
I am.
I shall always be.

Buffalo Exchange, Seattle and Portland -- where old Kenneth Cole shirts go to die
Wax Poetics, found the new issue in Portland's Reading Frenzy. Looks like hours of reading ahead, a thick, squarebound format plugged with text, reminiscent of the old Comics Journal specials, 100-odd pages+
Friday, June 11, 2004
The Toyota Echo Hatchback -- not as small as it appears; 8 or 10 banana boxes of pocket books fit quite nicely behind driver and passenger with the back seats folded down
The Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon -- might be going for a walk in the rain here tomorrow
Kelly Wood, brief biographical summary and images from the Catriona Jeffries Gallery website
Kem Nunn's Tijuana Straits -- a new novel, after 7-odd years of silence.

"The woman appeared with the first light, struggling across the dunes, a figure from the Revelation. Fahey saw her from the beach. There was a pack of feral dogs loose in the valley and Fahey had been hunting them for the better part of three days, without success. To complicate matters, he'd attempted to work behind a little crystal meth and it had left him in a bad place. He supposed that buying in the parking lot of the Palm Avenue 7-Eleven from a kid with a head shaped like a peanut and a hoop through his nose had not been the best of ideas. He watched as the figure crested a dune then disappeared from sight, still too distant to be properly identified as a woman. From the beach she appeared as little more than a hole in the dawn, a spidery black cutout in the faint yellow light just now beginning to seep from the summit of Cerro Colorado on the Mexican side of the fence that cut the valley into halves, and Fahey took her for one more clueless pilgrim stumbling toward the river that would most likely mark the end of the road. She might weep in bewilderment upon its banks or drown in its toxic waters. In either case there was little he could do, for he'd accepted as his charge the protection of certain migratory birds, most notably the western snowy plover and light-footed clapper rail, and within this jurisdiction the ubiquitous pilgrim was hardly a concern. Still, on the morning in question, Fahey found his obduracy mitigated by a kind of relief. It was, he believed, helpful to share the dawn with someone whose prospects were at least as fucked up as his own."
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Not Quite a Business Model

Shamelessly cut-and-pasted off an Amazon discussion board:

In brief:

A seller lists a book for $.01

Amazon collects $3.50 from the buyer and gives $2.27 ($.01 + $2.26 shipping allowance) to the seller.

The seller is a ProMerchant, so doesn't pay the $.99 fee.

The 15% fee on 1 cent is zero.

The seller pays $1.42 or $1.84 in postage for a 1 or 2 pound package (or less, if it is very light weight and can go First Class).

The seller cost for the book is zero, because he got it for free somehow.

The seller used scrounged packing materials, so those cost nothing, too.

The seller ends-up with $.84 or $.42 profit (or more if Expetided or International is involved).

The seller is happy with his "profit".

Amazon ends up with $1.23 from the shipping.

Amazon is even happier than the seller.

128 Monroe Street, New York City -- former Jack Shadbolt residence! (courtesy note in J's handwriting in flyleaf found in portfolio of Henry Moore drawings)
Pricing a long o/p Greg Curnoe NGC catalog.

"The studio is full of things which interest him: things which he has found or bought, which have been given to him or which he has made."

For instance:

"Pile of objects on work-table and beer cartons to the right of the west door of the studio."
Review of David Pirrie's mountain paintings, fresh off the Straight website:

David Pirrie - Subduction Zone
By Christopher Brayshaw

At the Verge Gallery (152 East 8th Avenue) until June 26

A friend saw David Pirrie's paintings in the artist's Strathcona studio last year and tried describing them to me. Pirrie was a mountaineer, like me, and while the pictures of Coast Range peaks he'd climbed showed his firsthand knowledge of each summit, they weren't slavish photo-realistic re-creations. Instead, the pieces owed as much to computer-aided topographic mapping and 3-D rendering software as they did to the summits themselves. "I think you'd really like them," said my friend. Having finally seen them, I do.

Each of Pirrie's paintings scissors a Coast Range summit out of geographical context, placing it against a monochrome backdrop. The jagged peaks' rocky escarpments, alluvial fans, and glacial tongues are rendered with what initially seems to be photographic precision, but which, on closer inspection, is an abstract compression of space, a pushing and pulling of the eye through the scene.

Pirrie's paintings are conceptually up-to-date. They seem more informed by computerized architectural rendering programs or stereographic air photography than by the mountain paintings of artists like Ferdinand Hoedler or Lawren Harris. Pirrie accomplishes this break from historical mountain painting by using very small, lightly flickering brush strokes that drain expressivity out of the pictures, and also by setting the mountains off against geometrical patterns that shift the landscape forms in space, so that they seem to spin in place, like a computer-generated 3-D modelling program's rendition of a landscape.

The artworks' palate is also restrained: mostly blues, greys, browns, and greens; the monochrome backgrounds are greys and beiges, the colours of an overcast autumn sky. The overall effect is of topographic accuracy but of a peculiar, hallucinatory kind. The landforms seem compressed, as if squeezed together by powerful geological or historical forces.

Pirrie has painted other subjects, including car crashes and grotesquely twisted cartoon bodies, but none of these subjects strikes me as being as satisfying as his mountains. They seem overcalculated, designed to please the contemporary art world with familiar subjects and themes. The mountain paintings are informed by, but stand apart from, that world, reporting back on things the art scene couldn't care less about: a lovely knife-edge ridge on Mount Sloan; the steep and scary icefalls that scar Mount Garibaldi's flanks. Pirrie's mountain paintings maintain a respectful distance from the crowd, and this cool, slightly reserved quality is their greatest strength.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Dream: walking out to the highway in Omaha, across a sun-baked, empty concrete bridge, the river below the washed-out color of denim, like the sky. Little eddies in the water the only sign of movement. Insubstantial green trees. Unspecifiability of the geography: half west Richmond, half Omaha, with a memory of crossing the Mississippi twice last year thrown in for good measure. It was baking hot but I felt strangely calm, as if the half-sensed, but not yet seen car awaiting me on the far side was something I'd been waiting for my whole life.
900 degrees on the deep blue and green West Coast. Last night's gorgeous mackerel sky has given way to a solid blue roof, and that warm smell of wet salt from English Bay that reaches up and unfolds you on certain days like these when the temperature is right, letteing you know you really do live beside the water.

Off momentarily to Surrey, to those few last bus stops that have somehow escaped Sylvia's attention.
(From) Leslie Scalapino's On the Comic Book, conceptual lightyears from yesterday's Fury
Monday, June 07, 2004
Squarehead Redux -- skyblue stack from the Tate
Hey Bernadette!

bernadette is baptised
bernadette is being recognized for her years of service to the university and the alumni association
bernadette is a profound source of inspiration and of mystery surrounding the ways of the lord
bernadette is a determined capable and responsible woman
bernadette is quite chilling
bernadette is difficult to pin down
bernadette is most famous for a series of apparitions in which she claimed to have seen a young lady appearing to her
bernadette is either real or she's imagined

Old Squarehead -- Donald Judd, not too much of a positivist to forget beauty.
Language falls from the air -- Rodney Graham "production still" stuck in my head late tonight
The Fury. Can't really believe I'm looking this up. Proof positive that socially maladjusted 14 year old boys don't change dramatically from decade to decade.
Sunday, June 06, 2004
Acronym guide, long-promised:

KSW = Kootenay School of Writing. Long standing love/hate relationship with these guys. Props to Peter Culley, Dan Farrell, Deanna Ferguson, Charles Watts, Michael Barnholden. Less time for the Office of Soft Architecture's dreary excavations of civic history.
Subduction Zone -- mountain paintings by Vancouver's David Pirrie, up right now at the Verge Gallery, just across Main Street from the bookstore. "I think you'd really like these," said Sylvia when she saw them last year in Pirrie's Strathcona studio, and now, having finally laid eyes on them, I'm glad to say I do. Photorealistic at first glance, not at all upon closer inspection, heavily indebted to 3D modelling and stereographic air photography. Contemporary painting in the term's best sense, and far better than the mannered and none-too-successful figurative paintings also up as part of Pirrie's web portfolio.
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Recollect that signed and dedicated copy of Gary Snyder's Axe Handles, previously owned by Charles Watts? Just sold it to the Charles Watts Memorial Library at KSW. Hot tip on a pile of Watts-McClure correspondence up in Special Collections at SFU in the bargain.

Acronym guide coming for all you non-Vancouverites.
Downloaded a soundboard copy of the 2003 Everything Must Go tour overnight. Crystal-clear sound and great improvisation from the whole Steely Dan band, esp. the horns, Dr. Ted Baker, and late saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus. So glad I got to see this iteration of the Dan in Toronto last September.

A little Godwhacker for this grey Vancouver morning, the best of the new songs:

In the beginning
We could hang with the dude
But it's been too much of nothing
Of that stank attitude
Now they curse your name
And there's a bounty on your face
It's your own fault daddy
GodWhacker's on the case

We track your almighty ass
Thru seven heaven-worlds
Me, Slinky Redfoot
And our trusty angel-girls
And when the stars bleed out
That be the fever of the chase
You better get gone poppie
GodWhacker's on the case

Be very very quiet
Clock everything you see
Little things might matter later
At the start of the end of history

Climb up the glacier
Across bridges of light
We sniff you, Big Tiger
In the forest of the night
'Cause there's no escape
From the Rajahs of Erase
You better run run run
GodWhacker's on the case

Be very very quiet
Clock everything you see
Little things might matter later
At the start of the end of history

Yes we are the GodWhackers
Who rip and chop and slice
For crimes beyond imagining
It's time to pay the price
You better step back son
Give the man some whackin' space
You know this might get messy
GodWhacker's on the case

Vocals, Wurlitzer, solo synth, percussion: Donald Fagen
Bass, solo guitar: Walter Becker
Drums: Keith Carlock
Guitar: Jon Herington, Hugh McCracken
Rhodes: Bill Charlap
Background vocal: Tawatha Agee, Catherine Russell

Friday, June 04, 2004
ACT #3: Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation installations
Nine Questions for Carl Andre
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Just purchased Doris and Jack Shadbolt's book collection, our first really big collection of antiquarian material, ever.

Digging through boxes of (mostly) Canadian poetry, literature, and art books late into the evening
Irritating Phone Call:

"Do you have a copy of Anna Karenina?" (Strike #1: new Oprah pick)

Of course.

"How much is it?"

$4.95 and GST.

"For a used book? That's far too much! Why, Store X has the same book for $4!"

Sounds like Store X just made a sale!

"Oh, I can't buy it there. They're too far away."
Charles Watts -- just bought a copy of Axe Handles signed and dedicated to Watts by Gary Snyder. Also found the "Some Vancouver Writers" issue of Raddle Moon in Jack and Doris Shadbolt's estate collection this afternoon.

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