Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Not Everybody Wants a Fancy Salad

Dinner soundtrack (electric guitar and prerecorded backing tracks) at Chilliwack's Vault Pub:

Hotel California
Losing My Religion
Brass in Pocket
Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
Down on The Corner
Last Kiss
Let The Music Play

"We're here until 1:30 tonight, so please...pace yourselves."
Monday, August 29, 2005
The Natural Handyman -- straightforward home repair/troubleshooting advice. No entry for "removing heavy drywall drop ceiling," but Gene and I managed to fumble our way through.

The gallery floor is now completely scraped, and I have the enlarged biceps and attendant aches to prove it.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
William Gibson's "My Obsession" turns out to be available in cyberspace.
Five'll Get You Ten+

Someone writes to request a list of my five favorite books of all time. I'm not Oprah, this isn't my book club, and I'm not that big on answering questionaires in the first place, but here goes. Particularly significant titles in red. (Altered overnight after some additional thought). If I had to pick one of these, it'd have to be Dick's A Scanner Darkly. This book is pitch-perfect; its unique blend of classical tragedy, jet-black humor, and stylistic shifts through several different points of view are like nothing else I've ever read.

Other titles on the list are things that exerted an enormous hold over me at certain points in my life, which I haven't returned to lately (Burroughs, Pynchon, Lowry). There are also some omissions that can only be explained by the weird ways I've assimilated certain authors' work. I have never actually finished a book by Henry Green, but I have no problem citing him as a major influence, based on individual paragraphs in Living and Back, and John Updike's enormously useful "Introduction" in a Penguin 3-in-1. Like Christopher Dewdney says, "Certain people seem to stand behind one." So, shout outs to all the other names and titles in the shadows: Dhalgren, Pylon, supernatural Margaret Oliphant, Ulysses, early Stephen King, Falling Angel, Kerrisdale Elegies, John Donne, & etc.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Kem Nunn, The Dogs of Winter

Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly

John Updike, The Rabbit Quartet

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is The Night

Dave Hickey, Air Guitar

William S. Burroughs, Nova Express

Jeff Wall, Dan Graham's Kammerspiel

Charles Dickens,
Bleak House

Roger Lowenstein, Buffett

Russell Hoban, Turtle Diary and The Mouse and His Child (ill. Lillian Hoban)

M. John Harrison, Light

Thierry de Duve, Kant After Duchamp

Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude

Philip Larkin, Collected Poems

Ethel Wilson, Mrs. Golightly & Other Stories

I have read all these titles repeatedly, some as many as twenty times (Buffett, Scanner, Gravity's Rainbow). Expanding the list to include short fiction and non-fiction would generate the following additions:

William Gibson, "Fragments of a Hologram Rose," "Hinterlands," "The Winter Market," "My Obsession."

Alice Munro, "The Bear Came Over the Mountain."

Peter Culley, "Gin and Lime."

Jack Spicer, "Imaginary Elegies I-VI."

Al Purdy, "Wilderness Gothic."

Ursula K. LeGuin, "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow."

Malcolm Lowry, "The Bravest Boat," "Through the Panama," "The Forest Path to the Spring."

Philip K. Dick, "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon," "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later."

H.P. Lovecraft, "At the Mountains of Madness."

Warren Buffett, "The Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rose T. Cat and (distant) Picket Range, Desolation Peak, WA.

Ross Lake and coolers, Desolation Peak, WA.

Slow sky, Desolation Peak, WA.

Desolation Peak lookout, WA. Left to right: Arnold Shives, Ron Dart, Brian and Kevin.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Beat City: Vast Aire's extraordinary 9 minute hip-hop extravaganza, Look Mom No Hands. Would that I could loop 0:00-0:22's and 4:37-5:00's spacy 70s keyboard sound for hours ("Madlib's instrumental sounds like someone playing church organ in a spaceship's engine room" -- Pitchfork).


Home to the apartment.

Shower. Pack groceries, trekking poles, mountaineering boots, stuffed cat.

Off to Safeway for a disposable camera.

As I emerge from Safeway, the 9 Boundary sits idling across the road.

"I'll be responsible and not bolt across four lanes of traffic in the dark," I reason. "Plus the B-Line [express] bus should be along any second. So I'll be safe and at the shop that much more quickly."

[19 minute wait for hypothetically "once every 12 minutes" service]

The B-Line driver then proceeds to drive as if his bus is actually a big Yellow Cab: 30 miles an hour or slower, plus a stop at every light.

[6 minute wait at Granville]

In front of the Dennys just east of Granville, someone throws a stone the size of a baseball through the bus' side window, showering glass over half a dozen passengers and narrowly grazing one startled guy's head.

[10 minute wait for transit supervisor and security]

[10 minutes' worth of instant replay between passengers, supervisor and security]

"Sorry, this transfer's expired."
Monday, August 22, 2005

Sleeping overnight at the store, then leaving at 4:50am to go do something I've wanted to do for twenty-odd years: climb Desolation Peak, in the North Cascades. Jack Kerouac spent the summer of 1956 on the summit as a fire lookout, an experience he movingly recounts in his novels The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels. "Desolation in Solitude," the first 70-odd page section of Angels, is a mini-epic, striking themes sounded elsewhere in his work with even greater clarity and humor:

"Those afternoons, those lazy afternoons, when I used to sit, or lie down, on Desolation Peak, sometimes on the alpine grass, hundreds of miles of snowcovered rock all around, looming Mount Hozomeen on my north, vast snowy Jack to the south, the encharmed picture of the lake below to the west and the snowy hump of Mt. Baker beyond, and to the east the rilled and ridged monstrosities humping to the Cascade Ridge, and after that first time suddenly realizing 'It's me that's changed and done all this and come and gone and complained and hurt and joyed and yelled, not the Void. . . .'"

My artist/mountaineer friend Arnold Shives is driving us out to Ross Lake, where we'll catch a motorized barge down the lake to the trailhead. After that, it's your typical Team Cat outing: over 1300m of relentless elevation gain to the summit and the fire lookout, originally built in 1933.

(Desolation Peak lookout photograph by Pete Hoffman, from his terrific Desolation Peak webpage. There are other views of the summit on the Web, but Pete's looks most like the one I've imagined ever since reading Desolation Angels in my teens).
Sunday, August 21, 2005

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Lulu & pearls

Mr. John Tweed made me a 74-minute Steely Dan mix for the shop including a lovely live version of What a Shame About Me, its lyrics in my head tonight for any number of reasons:

What A Shame About Me
Words and music by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker

I was grinding through my day gig
Stackin' cutouts at the Strand
When in walks Franny from NYU
We were quite an item back then
We talked about her films and shows and CDs
And I don't know what else
She said, yeah, Hollywood's been good to me
But tell me - how about yourself

I'm still working on that novel
But I'm just about to quit
'Cause I'm worrying about the future now
Or maybe this is it
It's not all that I thought it would be
What a shame about me

She said, talk to me, do you ever see
Anybody else from our old crew
Bobby Dakine won the Bunsen Prize
Now he's coming out with something new
Alan owns a chain of Steamer Heavens
And Barry is the software king
And somebody told me in the early 80's
You were gonna be the Next Big Thing

Well now that was just a rumor
But I guess I'm doin' fine
Three weeks out of the rehab
Living one day at a time
Sneaking up on the new century
What a shame about me

What a shame about me
I'm thinking of a major Jane Street sunrise
And the goddess on the fire escape was you

We both ran out of small talk
The connection seemed to go dead
I was about to say, hey, have a nice life
When she touched my hand and said:
You know I just had this great idea
This could be very cool
Why don't we grab a cab to my hotel
And make believe we're back at our old school

I said babe you look delicious
And you're standing very close
But like this is Lower Broadway
And you're talking to a ghost
Take a good look it's easy to see
What a shame about me
What a shame about me
Pickled peaches -- attractive Sunday night side dish from my pals at Aurora Bistro
Offered For Sale

"The following books are being offered for sale and wil be available until sold or removed from my inventory. Please feel free to call me at 604.XXX.XXXX if you have a query. For a nominal fee of $2 dollars and without a commitment to purchase, the book(s) will be brought to your store to be examined." (my italics)

Highlights of this remarkable list include:

His Holiness Pope John Paul II (A Celebration of His Visit)

Crossing The Threshold of Hope, by Pope John Paul II

• Assorted paperbacks by Salvation Army Thrift Store favorites Margaret Atwood, Mary Renault, and James Michener

& etc.
Saturday, August 20, 2005


ART (Aesthetically Rejected Thing)
: Vanity Press Spam Email

(verbatim as received)

"Hi, I'm trying to promote my book called Zellah by D.C.Zapata from publish Its about a witch who needs to change her ways. Does she do it? There are white winged horses and a dragon that flies from a portal in the sky. The witch then turns the mountain and animals into stone. If you like Harry potter then you will love Zellah. So buy a copy and sell it at your own price. Part two will soon follow. You never know it may be the next hit. Please help I have too sell 20000 copies. Thanks!"

Friday, August 19, 2005

Steely Dan -- the Gaucho Outtakes

"Aja came out in 1977 and Steely Dan took three years fighting with their record company before they released Gaucho in 1980. Unknown to most fans was the 'lost' Gaucho, a complete album vastly different to what was released. Of the songs that appeared on Gaucho only three appeared on this lost version in different form."

(thx Pete)

Christmas in October: Dangerdoom, a new collaboration between MF Doom and Danger Mouse.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
My violently racist, homophobic, aggressive panhandler nemesis Manson (q.v. many previous entries) lurched out into Robson Street's traffic early Saturday morning, where he was promptly hit and killed by a drunk teenage driver.

Anything I could add to this news is superfluous, so I'll refrain.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Comics Publisher Blows Up Lawnmower. Film at 11!

Stephen Waddell, Man with Tar, 2001
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Building handyman/wiseguy Gene, leaning in through the open CSA door:

"Now you know that manual labor's not the president of Mexico."
Monday, August 15, 2005

The gallery's wooden floor is coated in sticky, asbestos-laden black tar.

I pour out patented Foam Away ("EASY TO USE! ENVIRONMENTALLY SAFE!") from a square metal can. A pale, piss-yellow liquid that smells like oranges. Brush it on with a $1 paintbrush. It foams up, turning the tar to coffee-colored froth.

Leave it sit half an hour, then scrape, with a sharp-bladed tool. A thick black sticky resin gathers along the edge of the blade.

Scrape, clean the resin off, do it again.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Working late, refinishing the CSA Space floor.


Six police cruisers, the paddy wagon, two ambulances, and a fire truck all converge on the porn theatre across Main Street.

Eight cops, two firemen, and three ambulance attendants go inside.

Justifiably curious, Gene and I wander over.

Through the open front door:

Eight grinning cops kneel on the carpeted lobby floor, holding down an unhappy, handcuffed, totally nude and seriously hallucinating man.

"What's your first name?"


"What's your last name?"


"We're going to lift you onto this stretcher now, okay?"


Hallucinating Guy exits the premises handcuffed and rubber-banded to the stretcher.

"Show's over, folks."
Thursday, August 11, 2005

A thorough, fair & thoughtful postmortem on Granville Books

"Before 850 Granville St. housed the Granville Book Company, it was home to the Mall Book Bazaar.

One of the employees then was Bob Cole, an American antiwar activist and library technician who fled from the draft to Canada in 1970 and moved out west with his wife. 'Mall Book Bazaar was the last of a chain of bookstores that a man named Benny Smith owned, whose family, I believe, had invented the Jolly Jumper, and had made a great deal of money as a result,' he says. 'He had built a series of bookstores called the Julian books chain, and Mall Book Bazaar was the last one of those stores in existence. It inherited the debt load of all his previous failures.'"

Your Loved One

"[CNN correspondent] WOLF BLITZER: You had a chance to meet with the president, we're told, last summer. Is that right?

CINDY SHEEHAN: I met with him, I think, about June 17th last year. It was about two and a half months after Casey had died. And it was me...

BLITZER: Was that a private meeting, just you and the president?

SHEEHAN: It was me and my family, my other three children and my husband.

BLITZER: What did you say...

SHEEHAN: And we met with about 15 other -- about 15 other families were there also. But we got to -- he came in individually and met with each one of us individually.

BLITZER: And so, what did you say to him then?

SHEEHAN: It was -- you know, there was a lot of things said. We wanted to use the time for him to know that he killed an indispensable part of our family and humanity. And we wanted him to look at the pictures of Casey.

He wouldn't look at the pictures of Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name. He came in the room and the very first thing he said is, 'So who are we honoring here?' He didn't even know Casey's name. He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear anything about Casey. He wouldn't even call him 'him' or 'he.' He called him 'your loved one.'

Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject. And he acted like it was a party.

BLITZER: Like a party? I mean...

SHEEHAN: Yes, he came in very jovial, and like we should be happy that he, our son, died for his misguided policies."
The difference between a fairy tale and a climbing story?

The fairy tale begins, "Once upon a time..."

The climbing story begins, "No shit. There we were..."
New poetry from Mosses From An Old Manse's Peter Culley. Great short breath-lines, like overhearing someone humming in the house through an open window, and complex interlocking internal rhymes, which only seem simple...

"Just but one bee
on the paler
other kind of

sweet-pea, orange
chevron very
circa '83, &

you'd think the boys
at Last Call Towing
would be glad to

see their girlriends
(Wednesday PM

scented August)
but they won't climb
down or let go

their pneumatic
long enough

and won't discuss
who said what to
who last weekend

on innertubes
that flattered them
but made us look

like our dads, tits
up on the couch
and these maroon

uniforms itch
more and more as
threadbare summer

wears out its buzz
and welcome mat
and baseball hat."
An anonymous reader of Juan Cole's Informed Comment contributes a well-reasoned examination of the kind of decisions faced daily by American troops in Iraq:

"One of the ways we train our Marines is by going over scenarios with them. In one, I propose that they are traveling down the highway in a convoy. As they approach an overpass, they see a MAM (military age male) standing on the middle of the overpass with something about the size of a baseball (grenade-sized) in his hands. When he sees the convoy, he freezes. What should you do? Most of the Marines will say, 'He's demonstrated hostile intent, you need to waste him. He could be holding a hand grenade and be intending to drop it into one of the trucks as you pass under.' (This is an actual tactic used by the insurgents).

I change the scenario and say that when he sees you, he drops to the ground on the overpass. Some Marine will invariably answer, to the acclaim of his fellow Marines, 'That's a hostile act. He's taking cover because he's about to detonate an IED on you. You need to take him out.' (Also something they've actually seen.)

Finally, I change the scenario to say that, when he sees you, he turns around in the direction from which he came and starts running off the overpass (you can see where this is going). The answer is usually that that too is a hostile act or hostile intent because he is clearly trying to get off that overpass before the IED goes off.

Apparently, the only safe action for the MAM to take is to have Scotty beam him up. As far as some Marines are concerned, the presence of an Arab male in proximity to an American convoy may be all you need to find hostile act/hostile intent. This is, of course, highly reminiscent of that quip in Michael Herr's Dispatches, 'The ones who run are VC. The ones who don't run are well-disciplined VC.'

It would be easy for anyone who doesn't have to drive those highways in a US convoy to castigate our young troops over there for their trigger-happy mentality, but it's just not that simple. Those young Marines are doing the hardest thing the Corps has ever done. At least in Viet Nam there were places where anybody in front of you was definitely a bad guy. Oh, for the simple (though not easy) days of Tarawa and Iwo Jima. They're not a bunch of amoral killers. They're just a bunch of well intentioned, highly trained, and highly armed young men and women stuck in a Serbonian bog with minimal clarity of purpose."
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Williams Peak, Goetz Peak -- lightly annotated trip report originally posted to
August 9-10th, 2005
Participants: [ members] cjb, tash

I routinely spend forty to sixty hour weeks at a busy retail job where I interact with people all day long, and people are a mixed bag. So, in my spare time, I like to go where other people aren’t. In practice, this means visiting places that haven’t been written up a million times online. The Black Tusk is a fun hike, but there is nothing new that my trip report or photographs can add to it. Remote and obscure places, on the other hand, allow me to get out and feel like an explorer, let me contribute new details to the online world, and help focus my attention on all the things around me – plant and animal life; physical geography; even weather – slighted by a culture that valorizes Hard! Extreme! Climbing! over everything else.

I found Goetz Peak last year by browsing for peaks with little or no online documentation. “Oh yeah,” said [brother] Dru, “you’ll have a good time. The approach is kind of bushy, though.”

Three attempts, 2004:

1. Drove to Foley Lake in torrential rain. Tried to drive up the Williamson Lake road for a better view of the south side of the valley. Got the rental car stuck in mud.

2. Hiked along the Foley Creek FSR past the lake. No sign of the logging road supposed to lead to the scree bowl below Goetz’s northwest face.

3. Hiked to the end of the Foley Creek FSR and up into the drainage between Goetz and Northgraves. Almost stepped on a surprised and unhappy black bear in an avalanche swath. Retreated with Mr. Bear huffing and bluff-charging me.

Some time in fall 2004 ace solo scrambler Don Funk posted on to the effect that he was also eyeing Goetz. What was it about this scruffy, seriously obscure peak? At any rate, I figured I’d better go climb it fast, before Don beat me to it.

Late summer, 2005: I posted a trip for my only two free days in August, a Monday and a Tuesday, thus eliminating 99% of clubtread’s membership as companions. Only one brave soul, tash, signed up. I’d never met or climbed with her before, but her trip resume sounded pretty skookum.

We rendezvoused at tash’s house in Burnaby and drove out to Chilliwack with a stop at Tim’s [Canadian doughnut chain] to examine the map and at Save-on-Foods to pick up a disposable camera. Tash was politely incredulous at my misguided three-peaks-in-two-days plan (Williams, Goetz, “Porcupine”), and my sixty five pound overnight pack.

We parked at the Williams Ridge trailhead, mounted the obligatory DON’T BOTHER BREAKING IN – ALL VALUABLES REMOVED FROM VEHICLE sign on the dash, and set off up the 26% grade trail. Tash had climbed Mount Price the previous day with a group of female triathletes, but that didn’t stop her from pulling ahead of me in short order. Then the bugs, blissfully absent at the trailhead, started covert surveillance runs. I struggled into my new MEC [Mountain Equipment Co-Op] “Original Bug Shirt,” only to discover that this was like hiking in a scuba suit, and that it is very hard to avoid veering off the trail when the bug mesh over your face is totally covered in a thick film of sweat.

The Williams Ridge Trail lived up to its reputation for steepness. We took a lunch break in the shade shortly after reaching the ridge crest, and checked out great views of Webb, McDonald, Rexford, the Illusions, and Slesse, shimmering across the valley in the heat-haze. tash particularly admired Mt. Rexford’s two huge mid-fifth buttresses, and quizzed me on the approach beta. Then we were off again, tash leading the way and me sweating and cursing in the rear.

Another hour or two, and we reached the knob at the end of the ridge overlooking the infamous “scree bowl” between Williams Ridge and Williams Peak. We climbed up above the knob for a better view, and to enjoy the super-concentrated ripe blueberries that were everywhere on the ground. The scree bowl looks strangely reduced in photographs, like something you could cross in ten or fifteen minutes. It took us about an hour and a half to descend into it, cross it, and then slowly work our way back up under Williams’ west face. Matt Gunn’s Scrambles guidebook identifies a distinctive “dirt ramp” leading up onto the south face from the top right hand corner of the scree bowl. We cached our packs at the base of the ramp, then scrambled up the ramp and traversed several hundred feet across the south face to reach a distintive heathery gully dropping straight down from the summit. We climbed straight up the gully, exposed but never difficult scrambling, until level with the summit ridge, where we enjoyed the late summer sun, swapped VOC tales, and surveyed the ridge north toward Goetz. A long way to go, much longer than I’d expected, with lots of complex micro-terrain. The ridge walk from Goetz to Northgraves or Porcupine looked even hairier, thin in places, dropping over a thousand feet in others to forested cols. My plans for a grand tour around the ridgeline took a beating.

“Well, we can always come back,” said tash tactfully. We deployed Rose the stuffed cat, took some summit shots, then scrambled back down the gully and back to the packs, arriving just as the sun was setting. We camped on a flat little heathery platform just west of the appraoch ramp, tash in her tent and me in my new bivy sack. How, I wondered, had tash managed to fit so much gear into what looked like an ordinary daypack? The bugs were fierce, so we quickly turned in, waking several times in the night to gaze up at Williams’ huge silhouette looming blackly overhead in the starlight, the Milky Way spilled out in a north-south line, and the occasional glint of a satellite or redeye flight passing high overhead. A warm wind blew through the night, gently rocking the trees.

Dawn. We struggled up, and, with a daypack between us, hiked up to the col between Williams and a subsidiary bump to the west [GR 097430 on 92 H/4 (grid reference on federal 1:50,000 map sheet)]. Goetz looked a long way off. I mentally anticipated the trip there, the trip back, and the long slog down the ridge. Then tash and I looked at one another, nodded, and we set off.

We descended from the col, sidehilling across a mix of boulders and talus below Williams’ west face to reach the base of a 120m bump northwest of Williams [GR 098436]. We scrambled up through stunted trees, heather, and small rock bands to reach a fine position overlooking Williams’ huge north face and a beautiful small blue hanging lake, surrounded by enormous white granite boulders (This lake is shown on the TRIM mapsheet but not on the federal 92 H/4). The eastern edge of the “bump” is sheer, overhanging in places; we saw no easy way to descend to the lake. From the bump’s summit we descended north along the ridge through small bluffs and rock bands, then back up toward Goetz proper. Much of this terrain is complex; the best route to follow wanders back and forth on both sides of the ridge crest, and involves scrambling up and around rocky defiles, small sets of bluffs, and thickets of stunted trees. In every case, we were able to find a 2nd class route up, with the exception of a half pitch of 3rd class scrambling right below the broad summit ridge, which involves climbing loose rock using tree roots as handholds, with a steep drop below.

Once on the summit, we added a few stones to the pitiful cairn (3 stones when we arrived!). We lingered for half an hour on the summit, naming peaks and swapping stories, then carefully downclimbed the ridge. The heat was now fierce, and we were both out of water. We slowly made our way back along the ridge, resting here and there in the shade, climbed back over the “bump,” and dropped down to the boulder field, where we refilled our water bottles from snowmelt and I interrupted two flies busily copulating on my leg (tash: “Jeez! Get a room!”). Rehydrated, we crossed the col and dropped back to camp.

By now it was midafternoon. We packed quickly. Tash found a 10 cent Euro coin in the heather by her tent, I struggled with my pack’s compression straps, and then we were off again.

The descent down the scree bowl in the blazing afternoon sun left a lot to be desired. The trek across the baking white rocks in the middle of the bowl wasn’t much fun, either. I stalled out halfway up the gully on the far side and simply lay with streams of sweat pouring off my forehead, puffing like a steam train.

Ten or fifteen minutes in the shade provided enough incentive to stagger up the rest of the way to the knob and the beginning of the marked trail. The descent down the ridge was almost pleasant, with more VOC adventure stories and a shared dislike of the Gordon Campbell government to pave the way, but once we started the final descent from the ridge tash powered on ahead and I was left hobbling, leaning heavily on my trekking poles, with my toes knocking against the ends of my boots. More than once I had to sit down, wipe the sweat out of my eyes, and continue, until at last I staggered out of the forest right at twilight to find tash and the unmolested rental car. Quick stops at 7-11 and Starbucks and we were on the highway home, hydrated and happy, but a little puzzled at civilization after thirty-odd hours without seeing or hearing anyone but ourselves.
Just returned from climbing Williams Peak and Goetz Peak with my friend Tash and Rose T. Cat. Approximately 2100m of elevation gain over two extremely hot days. I have a pretty good sunburn ring around my neck, two purple toenails, and three extra notches in my belt. Fierce bugs and very little water. Tash found a Euro coin at our bivy site -- a boulder field at 1800m in the middle of nowhere!

Photos and professional trip report once the disposable camera returns from London Drugs.
Sunday, August 07, 2005

Off climbing with friends Monday and Tuesday. Photograph courtesy regular Shakey, a better than usual view of our intended route. Up right hand ridge to summit of Williams Peak (rock horn at extreme right). Back down ridge to snowfield. Follow ridgeline right to left to summit of Goetz Peak (rocky bump at extreme left). Bivy on top of Goetz Monday night. Tuesday AM, descend southwest along ridge in middle distance to "Porcupine" Peak (dead center between Goetz and Williams). Descend south down thickly forested cliffs into a seldom-visited hanging valley full of old growth cedars. Prime spotted owl habitat! Continue on down through waterfalls, bluffs and shin-eating blueberry bushes to the Chilliwack Lake Road at dusk. Negatives: 1600m elevation gain from the valley floor with an overnight pack, and swarms of kamakazi bugs. Positives: my new MEC "Bug Shirt" and a chance to see the night sky undisturbed by Greater Vancouver's lights.Posted by Picasa
Friday, August 05, 2005

Jack Chambers
Toward London No. 1, 1968-69

Another great London painter, not that you'd know it from this afternoon's half-assed description masquerading as analysis.Posted by Picasa

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Polar Bear Baby, by Elizabeth Ortolan

"The painting I chose to copy onto my paper maché polar bear is called Gong 88 and was painted by Claude Tousignant. The painting is made up of several rings, one outside the other. These rings seem to resonate. The colours of the rings are both warm and cool. The painting reminds me of a large target. I chose to hide my polar bear in this insensitivity toward the environment and thus, the safety and survival of an entire species. The issue of humans pouring toxins into the environment, which affects all living things, resonates like Tousignant's rings of colours."

(Grade 9 class hybridizes semi-canonical Canadian paintings with paper maché animals) Posted by Picasa

Greg Curnoe (1936-1992) View of Victoria Hospital, Second Series

Oil, rubber stamp and ink, graphite, and wallpaper on plywood; in Plexiglas strip frame, with audiotape, tape player, loudspeakers, and eight-page text

"The work plays with several ideas. One is a reference to painting by numbers. 'The numbers relate to actual events in Curnoe’s life,' says Leclerc. The coloured figures correspond to every kind of phenomena that Curnoe viewed from his studio window: weather conditions, light effects, birds, traffic. Not all numbers represent actual events. Look in the upper right area of the canvas: you’ll see an American B-58 Hustler bomber being shot down by a Canadian. Curnoe, like many of his Canuck cohorts, was virulently anti-American. Ironically, when Curnoe was killed in a cycling accident, his body was taken to this hospital."

Misdescribed this afternoon to a visiting Gwynedd Elaine and posted here for completeness' sake.

"Why art?" I only wish I knew.Posted by Picasa

Christopher Rowe, his short fiction the best thing in this year's Year's Best Science Fiction, beating out a new M. John Harrison story just by a whisker.
CSA Space

Short for "Chris, Steven & Adam," or "Contemporary Sophisticated Art," or any combination of your own. #5 - 2414 Main Street, directly above Pulpfiction. Owned and operated by Adam Harrison, Christopher Brayshaw, and Steven Tong. Inagural exhibition of photographs by Mike Grill, in early September.

Presently I have a floor full of asbestos-laden tiles to remove, so I may be scarce for the next few days, or posting at unlikely intervals.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
On sunny Bowen Island with my mom and dad. Back Thursday.
Aerogare Sud

"Le bâtiment de l'Aérogare Sud est un centre régional pour les petits avions, les hydravions, les hélicoptères, les avions de société et l'aérospatial. L'aérogare a subi d'importantes transformations en 1999 afin de mieux servir les usagers d'YVR."
Noble Precedent

Adam Harrison writes: "Came across the name Anton Zwemmer, a London bookseller who opened a space above his book store in the 1920s to mount shows by the likes of Dali, Picasso and Miro."
Eight or nineteenth day straight on the job, up at dawn, the north light all changed in the last few days, that dusty creeping quality that says, "Fall." Just a whisper, really, like the lone cricket peeping outside the apartment door at 2:45am. Or the trees along Quebec Street by Science World already gone to gold, leaves scattered curbside "like shook foil."

Down the hill Sunday night. Glimpse of a long-lost face. Emotion deflected into landscape as per usual. Paying closer than usual attention to the sky, high mackerel-colored cloud rolling through. Slant light on the green mountains, illuminating ridgelines typically compressed by distance and haze.

The office smells of Pet Deodorizer and Recently Deceased Mouse. The shop smells like Aurora's pilot light. I smell like Old Spice stick deodorant, sneaker futz and sweat. Beard stubble higher on my cheeks than ever before, on the back of my neck and shoulders, biceps, knuckles and ears.

Joe McDuphrey's "Papa," Otis Jackson Jr.'s fingers slow on the electric keys.
Monday, August 01, 2005

John Hawkes and Miranda July in character, from July's amazing directorial debut, Me and You and Everyone We Know. Hawkes' Richard the shoe salesman held my attention all the way through, with his nervous squinty eyes and almost supernatural attention to natural phenomena -- to stray birds in the branches outside his window; to the full moon, which, in a wonderful cut, transforms into light reflecting off July's compact, which she aims round the darkened shoe department, hunting him.

The only downside to this otherwise well-written, wonderfully acted, and stylishly directed film is the cheap shots July lobs at the world of contemporary art. I don't blame the film's creepy curator and even creepier assistant for initially blowing off July's overemoting "video performance artist" character; given identical circumstances, I'd do the same without a second thought, having encountered many folks who think they can land gallery shows through sheer force of will. July seems to acknowledge this quandry when she shows her character watching her own "autobiographical video art" in a museum -- "art" which seems much more formally limited, technically impoverished, and uninteresting than the film framing it. Posted by Picasa

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