Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Evan Lee, Trained Tree, 2007

Evan Lee, Hedge Entrance, Mountainview Cemetery, 2007

(Images: courtesy the artist and Monte Clark Gallery, Toronto. More here. I'm writing on Hedge Entrance as part of this book on photography I keep mentioning, and when EL's chapter is complete I'll post it here).
Sign In, Stranger

"Hey Chris, I think I may have almost hit you with my car a few weeks back. I was making an illegal left onto Main from Broadway, and I think you had to jump out of the way a little bit. I was driving a little piece of shit Mazda 323. Sorry, dude!"
Sunday, April 27, 2008
TRUST-FUND HIPSTER: I'm looking for Roderick Haig-Brown. Got any?

CJB: Maybe. Try "Regional History," down aisle 4, right to the end.

[Tempus fugit]

T-FH: Naw, you didn't have any.

CJB: Sure, most of those books are out of print now and don't last that long on the shelf.

T-FH: You know who he is, right? Or not so much?

CJB: Sure.

T-FH: Yeah, he, uh. . . .uh. Fishing, and, uh.

CJB: And all that stuff.

T-FH: Yeah!
Flying off the Shelves: The Pleasures and Perils of Chasing Book Thieves

"Once, a scruffy, large man approached me, holding a folded-up piece of paper. 'Do you have any Buck?' He paused and looked at the piece of paper. 'Any books by Buckorsick?' I suspected that he meant Bukowski, but I played dumb, and asked to see the piece of paper he was holding. It was written in crisp handwriting that clearly didn't belong to him, and it read:

1. Charles Bukowski

2. Jim Thompson

3. Philip K. Dick

4. William S. Burroughs

5. Any Graphic Novel

This is pretty much the authoritative top five, the New York Times best-seller list of stolen books. Its origins still mystify me. It might have belonged to an unscrupulous used bookseller who sent the homeless out, Fagin-like, to do his bidding, or it might have been another book thief helping a semi-illiterate friend identify the valuable merchandise. I asked the man whether he preferred Bukowski's Pulp to his Women, as I did, and whether his favorite Thompson book was The Getaway or The Killer Inside Me. First the book chatter made him nervous, but then it made him angry: He bellowed, 'You're just a little bitch, ain't'cha?' and stormed out."
Warm grey West Coast spring, rain-scent in the air, deep pink petalled light of the ornamental cherry trees up and down the block. (My little cherry tree still green, its fragile lime leaves quivering). Isinglass. Television's Venus: its slow bridge, the antithesis of rock "style." Hop-skipping from note to note, here to here to here.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Tonight's Youtube:

Oh please don't let these shakes go on

Try it, try my love

Faces in disguise

You may not have a car at all

And several great favorites from the past:

Seems Helen of Troy has found a new face again

I'm sensitive about my height

George Stanley and Peter Culley, two of my favorite poets, reading tonight from their new books Vancouver: A Poem and The Age of Briggs and Stratton, in Pulpfiction's front room, 2422 Main Street, beginning around 7pm. If you live in Vancouver and even remotely share my taste, c'mon down. Cold beverages in the trash-can ice bucket by donation, and free mezze courtesy New Star Books.
Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anodyne Inc. Quarterly Report to Shareholders

Previously unaccounted-for dividends and distributions:

TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units x .04167/unit = $46.21 (15 Mar)

Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 3601 units x .105/unit = $378.11 (15 Mar)

TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units x .04167/unit = $46.21 (15 Apr)

Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 3601 units x .105/unit = $378.11 (15 Apr)

Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares x .21/unit = $45.57 (1 April)

Amerigo Resources (ARG): 1895 shares x .065/share = $123.18 (2 April)

Norbord Inc. (NBD): 1280 shares x .10/share = $128.00 (21 March)

North West Company Fund (NWF.UN): 600 units x .12/unit = $72.00 (22 Feb, special distribution)

North West Company Fund (NWF.UN): 600 units x .32/unit = $192.00 (15 April)

E-L Financial (ELF): 7 shares x .125/share = $ .88 (17 April, world's most generous)

Cash balance, $1410.27

Current portfolio:

Dominion Citrus Income Fund (DOM.UN): 12,346 units
E-L Financial Corporation (ELF): 7 shares
Hart Stores (HIS): 1769 shares
Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares
Norbord, Inc. (NBD): 1820 shares
North West Company Fund (NWF.UN): 600 units
Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 3601 units
TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units
Amerigo Resources, Inc. (ARG): 1895 shares


Anodyne Inc., 25 October 2006 - 24 April 2008: (3.60%) decrease

TSE 300 index, 25 October 2006 - 24 April 2008: 13.19% increase

Relative result: (16.79%)

This quarter's performance is a good example of why I have no interest in running money for anyone but myself. If I, God forbid, had a CFA degree and investors, even close friends or loved ones, I strongly suspect most of them would have pulled their money out a month or two ago when the short-term results started going south. Fortunately I have no one to answer to but myself (and the few of you who do read these quarterly updates, which seem, judging by the mailbag, to be the least-loved and least-understood topic under discussion here). So once again the usual caveat: I grade my horizon on a rolling three- to five- year horizon, as should you, and "volatility" is a fundamental part of securities analysis. To quote my old high school physics teacher, "Look, it goes up and down!" And down, and down, and down. The natural temptation is to assume the market knows more about the securities you own than you do, and to panic, and to sell out, or "diversify" into something "safer." No shortage of problems: Norbord's bleeding cash; Hart's sales are down; Amerigo's power costs have soared; Dominion Citrus' CFO departed under mysterious circumstances, & etc. Loblaw is vilified in the Globe and elsewhere as a "classic value trap." Well, maybe. My sense is that you pay a price for consensus, and that I know more about the companies I currently own than the market does. Some examples: at its present price, Loblaw is currently trading at about a 10-12% discount to my estimate of the fair market value of its real estate. At its current share price, the grocery business -- the merchandise; the name; the admittedly dented but still tangible goodwill -- is free. Ditto Norbord, leaking money like a sieve, but trading at approximately 50% of the replacement value of its mills. Ditto Dominion Citrus, the most misunderstood and unloved of all my holdings, which just ticks quietly along, earning $ .08-.10/year, eg., trading today at a P/E ratio of 5.5. Insiders at all of these companies have been steadily buying in the public markets (see, a valuable free resource). One assumes that, as rational managers, they have reasonable if not perfect insight into the economics of their businesses, and that they see medium- to long-term value in owning small pieces of them. So, at any rate: not much change for now here at Anodyne Inc. HQ. "Keep calm and carry on." Anyone with specific questions about particular portfolio holdings should get in touch.


Waste My Time, Please

OVERDRESSED KITS MOM: Hello. Do you have any books by Albert Payson Terhune.

CJB: Sorry, I don't recognize the name.

OKM: Really!

CJB: What can you tell me about him?

OKM: He wrote stories about dogs. About collies.

CJB: Really!
August Kleinzahler, an excerpt from his dead-on San Francisco/New York:

What is more touching
than a used-book store on Saturday night,
dowdy clientele haunting the aisles:
the girl with bad skin, the man with a tic,
some chronic ass at the counter giving his art speech?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Useful House Mouse Management Guidelines from UC Davis (my italics):

"Trapping is an effective method for controlling small numbers of house mice. Although time-consuming, it is the preferred method in homes, garages, and other structures where only a few mice are present. Trapping has several advantages: (1) it does not rely on potentially hazardous rodenticides; (2) it permits the user to view his or her success; and (3) it allows for disposal of trapped mice, thereby eliminating dead mouse odors that may occur when poisoning is done within buildings."
ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Long walk 'round perennial Team Cat favorite Buntzen Lake, including a detour along the infrequently travelled South Ridge trail, high above the lake, providing some nice views of Swan Falls and a pocket of massive old growth Douglas Firs that somehow escaped being felled and skidded around the turn of the last century.

ART (Aesthetically Rejected Thing): Evicting the mouse colony that recently set up shop in the back storeroom. Four dead ones, all ripe; six live ones (who fled squeaking into the wall at the speed of light); mouse shit; mouse piss; one sleeping bag chewed to ratshit and converted into a mouse nursery. Nothing says "pride of business ownership" like dry heaving in the bathroom after being overcome by Mus musculus' by-products. "So you're a murderer now." Check, affirmative.
From Ticketmaster

"Hi CHRISTOPHER, The ticket(s) you ordered on April 14, 2008 for STEELY DAN have been printed! They will be shipped to you shortly via US Mail!"
Sunday, April 20, 2008

Be still for a second while I try and try to pin your flowers on
Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gustave Courbet, The Oak at Flagey (The Oak of Vercingetorix), 1849

Christopher Brayshaw, Study for War Game Tree, 2008

Twilight, and uncommonly cold for late April. Just as I finished up the day's photography I heard a noise that I can only compare to a dump truck full of gravel falling out of the sky. Spun round to behold a flat grey wall advancing up the lane. There are pictures after this one on the camera card, but they're all grey monochromes, as a combination of humidity and cold, unstable air proceeded to violently dump five centimetres of ice, slush and hail all over the neighborhood. Visibility: nil. I drove -- wipers flapping, ice pellets drumming off the roof like a stadium full of Guyanese percussionists -- up to Corporate Thrift Store, thinking the storm would blow over in the time it took to go book- and shirt-shopping, and then, when it didn't, drove on to K.'s end-of-semester party in New Westminster in low gear, watching cars slide off the road and into the ditch, as if en route to Whistler.
Friday, April 18, 2008

Little did I know, powering up my digital camera for the first time with the vague notion of remaking contemporary artworks I admired as a kind of folk art, that my "practice" would be anticipated and foreclosed by ace Toronto photoconceptualist Brad Phillips.

(Image: Brad Phillips, ME TOO PETER DOIG ME TOO, 2008)
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Magnolia on Commercial, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Burnaby trees

An Obstruction in a Fence, 2008

Untitled (Carport), 2008

Local author Teresa McWhirter reads from her new novel Dirtbags in Pulpfiction's front room -- 2422 Main Street @ Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia -- on Saturday April 19th at 6:30pm. Everyone's welcome! Co-presented by Anvil Press.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some terrific New York Rock and Soul Review dates:

Chain Lightning

Pretzel Logic

Drowning in a Sea of Love

"What do you see in that guy anyway?" Watch Chain Lightning. You tell me.

Just finishing up 12 hours of nonstop BUSI 121 statistics. A cold Stella in the fridge. And two not-quite-front-row tickets to the Steely Duo in Washington on the 30th and 31st of July.

Join Peter Culley and George Stanley for a launch & reading to celebrate publication of their new books:

Vancouver: A Poem
by George Stanley

The Age of Briggs & Stratton
by Peter Culley

Pulpfiction Books

Friday, April 25, 7 PM
2422 Main Street, just north of Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Free admission

For more information about the launch, call 604.738-9429, or visit
Monday, April 14, 2008

WGT, cont.

To Kingsway and Edmonds to start the hunt, spurred by the shape of a very distinctive tower block (above center). Heavy traffic in flat grey light. Kids running across the green lawn of the BC Hydro right-of-way. Apartment balconies with little nests and rafts of stuff on them. Woodpiles; chainlink fencing; open garages so full of "storage" that the cars that once parked in them now litter the lanes' edges. An endless proliferation of detail. I've lived in Vancouver my whole life and never driven 13th Street before. Nor admired the curve of the cul-de-sac protruding into Ernie Winch Park, a "spatial balloon" that would make Cezanne proud.

The sense of driving into the photograph.
Sign In, Stranger

Michael Turner likes the Vogels, too:

"Mr. looks like he just stepped out of Van Gogh's The Potato Eaters (after a quick costume change); while from her gesture, it would seem that Mrs. acquired most of their collection at auction."
Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another installment in what's slowly become a semi-serious game: trying to track down obscure locations depicted in certain Vancouver-based art photographs. Last night I discovered that Google Earth's satellite feature actually has pretty good resolution down to street level, and spent a productive half-hour inventorying big trees and empty lots in a local suburb. Next step: checking out the suspects one-by-one with the car.

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): The Look of Love

They Knew What They Liked

"Herbert and Dorothy Vogel married in 1962. They are a diminutive couple, plain on the outside but complex and passionate once you make that first effort to shake hands and engage them in conversation. The Vogels don't loom large and showy like some collectors or shrink away, either, when the conversation turns serious. My own conversation with them began on a less-than-serious note. 'Have your cats [there are five] ever destroyed any of your artwork?' I asked Dorothy. 'No, but the fish have,' she replied. Dorothy has a way of answering the most ordinary questions in the least predictable way. She was a librarian. Her husband was a postal worker. They lived on his salary and bought art with hers. Both are now retired. They have no children. 'We bought art we could afford and that would fit into the apartment,' they say. Water from the fish tank once splashed a Warhol they owned. It later had to be restored."
Friday, April 11, 2008

You think you got it all set up (esp. 1:08-28)

Possibly misremembered and misattributed Jack Spicer line:

"When I saw you in the morning my arms were full of paper."
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Unexpectedly hot light. Mounting cloud-tops. The funny visual consonance of the blossom-covered arms of the little ornamental cherry tree outside the front door and Grouse Mountain's snow-covered treetops, visible through the usual tangle of electrical wires/condo exoskeletons/gantries and cranes interposed between Main and Broadway and the North Shore.

To the barber. Buzz of the razor across my bald dome. Drifting, half-asleep, in the warm light. Clumps of hair landing on the wine-colored sheet puddled in my lap. Their silver threads. A razor-scrape across the back of my neck and upper shoulders. The whoosh of the vaccuum's scrubby brush. (Like most mammals, I would happily pay double for a brush/trim if it included fifteen minutes of the scrubby brush, or, even better, the coordinated application of the hair-dryer and the scrubby brush).

Neil Wedman's show installed without incident. Jessie Caryl's lucid pithy essay retrieved from the printer. Lighting tweaked, liquor collected, DJ gear assembled. Upcoming: a pure hour of downtime: Anodyne emails; no-limit ring; this video, which puts a lot of so-called "contemporary video art" to shame.

Something like happiness.

(Image: shamelessly pilfered from Pete)

An Excavation, 2008

An Ethos
by John Latta

Out under the “single gory punctum”
Of Venus and a Maxfield Parrish

Sky, tromping the spatter’d dropcloth of
Earth. The Cooper’s hawk kek-kek-

Kek in the oak canopy, hid.
The dog’s uneasy 4:30 a.m. pawing,

Distant ten-pin thunder, brief white
Room lightning, onrush and scurry of

Rain running up into position, biggest
Drops first. In an unending period

Of torn attention and shoddy goods
Slapped together out of perishables, a

Period of shot memory, the cake
Dunk’d in tepid coffee “with slightly

Sour cream” only to dissolve completely,
Any act of attending, the murtherous

Slow mechanical seeing of a thing
Bestuck in all its surround is

Consolatory, dunning of the age itself.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Some even say he might need some puh-psychiatrist

I hear you in the background whenever I phone

You've been dippin' around uptown with some fancy clown

Put your sister on the phone!

Like, Say, James Patterson or Nora Roberts

A book by RM Vaughan is worth two by, say, most anyone else.’ – Eye Weekly
Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Think Fast 2008

Walt and Don are playing Woodinville, WA on the 30th and 31st of July. Tix on sale April 14th. I'll be in the audience both nights; anyone who wants to carpool down and go book shopping in between should get in touch.

A Keyword Search By Which Someone Recently Arrived Here:

dom casual

Not quite, but not totally out-of-the-ballpark, either.

Neil Wedman, 8 April 2008, 2008

A New Westminster Tree, 2oo8
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Saturday morning, store packed:

LOST DUDE: D'you have Fear & Loathing?

CJB: Sure...a used copy...right down there.

LD [holding entirely different book]: So that's...uh...$22.95?

CJB: That's the new price. Mine is inside, in pencil.

LD [checks]: $13.95?

CJB: Yup.

LD: I can almost afford that...I already bought some shit! [Waves drumsticks clutched in hand] Can I put it on hold?

CJB: Yes, for a day.

LD: Aw man! No longer?

CJB: No longer.

[LD's name and phone number recorded]

LD: Do you have mythology books?

CJB: Down the center aisle...about half shelf on your right.

LD: Do you have werewolf books there?

CJB: Which books?

LD: No, man. Werewolf books. Not witch books.

PULPFICTION'S ACE MANAGER, CHRIS C.: He was asking what you meant, not "witch books."

LD: Yeah, man, like I said, not witch books. I'm past that shit now!

[LD's "hold" promptly filed back out the moment his drug-addled brain and drumsticks left the premises]
Friday, April 04, 2008

Magnolia in a Public Park, 2008

Study After Jeff Wall, Concrete Ball, 2002, 2008

(Thinking, too, of Stieglitz's great Spring Showers, New York, 1902. Nb. the little puddle at the pedestal's foot!)

Recent reading. Smith's first book. Much better than Scream-meets-Little-Shop-of-Horrors, opening tonight at a multiplex near you. A competent ersatz Jim Thompson novel, well-paced and competently told. Four million dollars' worth of small bills leads first to one death, then another, and another. . . .I devour this kind of hubris-nemesis melodrama, and Smith's is a pretty good example of the genre, with its frequent wild shifts from spooky deadpan violence to black comic violence and back. If dour old Richard Bachman hadn't died of cancer of the pseudonym, he'd be writing books like Smith's.


10 April -- 11 May 2008

Opening Thursday, 10 April 2008, 6-9pm

Curated by Steven Tong, with an accompanying text by Jessie Caryl

Neil Wedman is represented by Equinox Gallery

CSA Space
#5 - 2414 Main Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada. V5T 3E2

Open 7 days: M-W 10am-8pm, Th-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun & hols 11am-7pm. See Pulpfiction Books, 2422 Main, for keys and directions
Thursday, April 03, 2008

"You're going to dance like you've never danced before."
Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Recent reading:

Scott Smith, The Ruins
Richard Pipes, A Concise History of the Russian Revolution

Q: Is that really a cell phone ringing?

Q: Way out here?

Q: Way down in the bottom of that dark pit?

Q: Audrey? Is that you?

One Hundred Famous Ghosts (67), 2008


T.W. Adorno: "[T]radition itself, as a medium of historical movement, depends essentially on economic and social structures and is qualitatively transformed along with them. The attitude of contemporary art toward tradition, typically reviled as a loss of tradition, is predicated on the inner transformation of the category of tradition itself."

One Hundred Famous Ghosts (66), 2008

Magnolia After Midnight, 2008

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