Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I was Waiting For You
I was Standing Around
I was Getting Older
I was Going Down

sings Emily Haines.

Late night, air close, humidity amped-up by the high clouds rolling through.

"Power Steering Hose: $172.13. Labor: $172.00. Power Steering Fluid: $7.50. Chemicals, cleaners, rags, and miscellaneous items consumed in quantities too small to quantify: $5.16."

"While many people shift their interests over time, the shy, insecure man she had married seized on one obsession after another. From his childhood obsession of collecting license-plate numbers to reforming the jiggery-pokery of journalism, three roles invariably interested him. The first was the relentless collector, expanding his empire of money, people and influence. The second was the preacher, sprinkling idealism from the lectern. The third was the cop, foiling the bad guys.

The perfect business would allow him to do all of these at once: preach, play cop, and collect money to ring the cash register. . . ." (Alice Schroeder, The Snowball, p.380)
Monday, September 29, 2008

So long, hey, thanks my friend.

"'The Canadian aggregate exports into the California market business model is still really in its infancy,' said Leong, aiming to start production in a year or two. 'Ten years from now, I think that any producer of aggregates that can put it on large bulk carriers will be at maximum production for a long, long time.'

Polaris and Leong pointed to a 2006 California geological survey study that found the current reserves will satisfy only 32 per cent of its projected demand over the next 50 years, creating plenty of demand for B. C. product."

On sale today (and just extracted from a box of Random House receiving): a brand new 1000-odd page authorized biography-cum-how-to-manual. "The theme of total identification with the subject." (qv. Pierre Meynard's idealistic and only somewhat quixotic reinscription of Cervantes).

"Whatever went on inside his mind took place between the lines; it came through in the silences, the flashes of wit, the tremulous flight from certain topics of conversation. His feelings danced behind so many veils that even he seemed unaware of them most of the time." (Schroeder, p.248)

Stonerabbit Peak's SE Face. Approximately 900m. of flawless fourth-class granite. Tomorrow's solo destination. Constant Readers will recall summer 2006's ill-fated trip to approximately three quarters of the way up the face. Photo courtesy dru.
Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tonight's Youtube:


MFSB: Mysteries of the World

GB: Who's Gonna Save My Soul

HM & TBN: The Love I Lost

M: Mandrill

MG: "T" Plays It Cool. Give the drummer some!

A short seamless conjunction of handheld digital video with a higher-end, somewhat better-known aesthetic. Very much in the spirit of The Vampires' Picnic, The Stumbling Block, most of Goya's late pictures, much Yoshitoshi, and some of my ghosts. A.k.a. "hallucinatory realism."
Saturday, September 27, 2008

I said everything's fine you can take your time
What would be on your mind if you knew you was dyin'
I would wanna just feel this a one more time
I said everything's fine you can take your time
What would be on your mind if you knew you was dyin'
I would wanna just feel this a one more time


Farewell Paul Newman, social entrepreneur and dramatizer of one of my favorite Bantam Gold Medals, Donn Pearce's impeccably stylish Cool Hand Luke.

"In 1982, as a lark, [Newman] decided to sell a salad dressing he had created and bottled for friends at Christmas. Thus was born the Newman’s Own brand, an enterprise he started with his friend A. E. Hotchner, the writer. More than 25 years later the brand has expanded to include, among other foods, lemonade, popcorn, spaghetti sauce, pretzels, organic Fig Newmans and wine. (His daughter Nell Newman runs the company’s organic arm). All its profits, of more than $200 million, have been donated to charity, the company says."

Brisk west wind, light cloud. Waking in scattered grey light feeling better than I have in years. The sense of some anger lifting over night. In the street it's business as usual: a citizen tugging his dog away from the puddled puke at the bus stop; the Japanese tourist incredulous at the driver who can't change her $50 and won't wait while she hits up every passenger on board with a complicated pantomime request for coins. Pigeons bank and flutter above the stalled vehicle, tracing a complicated series of arcs across the brick face of the hotel opposite. What I'm after here is a Dave Gibbons picture: this fits there, and this behind it. A Renaissance perspective drawing, the "deep frame" of space beyond the picture plane. The pigeons don't fit in, they complicate things. "Morality is a matter of remaining consistent with oneself within the complexity of social relationships." (Robert C. Morgan). Spatial relationships too. Things interlocking. Stephen Shore's scrubby Texas arroyos and green Montana hillsides. "One thing that makes [these] later landscapes successful. . .is the illusion of depth. In these, I learned a new way of creating that illusion without relying on the spatially articulated structures found in a built environment." (S. Shore in correspondence). So a good picture (or word picture) should articulate the spaces between things, the places where different objects (different people, different social relationships) meet. The brush of skin on skin. "Erotics of sight." Dilla's Donuts (the morning's soundtrack, remember?) and its conjunction of minor elements: A's drums; B's strings; C's keys; D's scratches. Dan Savage's campsite rule: leave your lovers better than you found them. Art, too.
Local crackhead loudly berates the German Shepherd barking in the back seat of a car parked outside the shop's front door:

CRACKHEAD: SHUT UP! Guard the car. Don't do a job that isn't yours! Don't police the sidewalk! That's not yours! It isn't!
Thursday, September 25, 2008

This Just In. Thanks, Internets!

"A US Illuminati black op to seek, locate and disarm a Soviet nuke disguised as a blue plastic cow sculpture ended in failure when the special agent charged with the task got stuck in an air duct at the Knoxville Museum of Art, and was obliged to call for traditional law enforcement assistance."
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Eli Langer, New Clock, 2008

The author in his stacks. Inexplicably profiled in today's national edition of The Globe & Mail, and in a 3 1/2 minute audio interview/slideshow on the Globe's website. I can't listen to the audio, which was recorded on Saturday at the height of my cold, while high on a combination of muscle relaxants and antihistamines, which might explain the stream-of-consciousness free-for-all dictated in a gravelly Tom Waits-meets-William S. Burroughs sub-baritone. But the photographs, by the Globe's John Lehmann, are superb, providing a good sense of what the shop actually looks and feels like.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
More Sight Reading, courtesy Constant Reader Rudy Mason:

Michael Ondaatje --> The Three Tenors
Margaret Atwood --> Alanis Morissette
Yann Martel --> Gypsy Kings
Thomas Pynchon --> Steely Dan
Henry Rollins --> Henry Rollins
Saturday, September 20, 2008
A paragraph I really wish I'd written. Courtesy Uncle Zip.

"Twelve minutes past six it rains once, very quickly & heavily; but the garden bench is left dry except for the horizontal slats, which, slicked & mirrored, reflect the clouds. The whole garden is in light again. It’s a grey light. The garden wall, swagged with ivy and clematis, bowed under the weight of them & of the quince, looks like a tranquil graveyard just after rain. You’re being shown something. The thunder – which passes quickly into the distance, where it stays – is telling you something about what was never here, the gap you were already trying to fill. The light, decades old, issued from another garden. It spent many years arriving here with its meaningless postcard message, 'Wish I was there.' In a minute you won’t even be the person who received it. The thunder will crawl off east, people will start coming home from work, or going away for the weekend. They’ll slam car doors."


Sight Reading -- bookstore fun, slow rainy Saturday afternoon. "If Dan Brown was music, what kind of music would he be?"

David Foster Wallace --> J Dilla

Nick Hornby --> Phil Collins

Paulo Coehlo --> Zamfir

Anyone else?
Voices From the Street

KITS DOUCHE (on cellphone, late night): Listen. Listen. LISTEN. Kim. Kim. Kimberly. That wasn't me calling you a 'piece of shit.' What that was was my anxiety--
Friday, September 19, 2008

In across the desk an hour ago. God bless British reading taste and graphic design c.1959.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The author in the field. Approach route more or less dead center to the col. Photo: MOW.

Mad Owl Woman neatly encapsulates a day out with Team Cat:

"Total time of trip was 9 hours, 45 minutes including numerous breaks, a couple of naps, lounging at the summit and a mellow pace. Over the course of the day, I lost track of the number of times I heard 'almost there,' 'just like, 10 more minutes,' and 'this'll be easy,' none of which I believed for a second. So CJB's enthusiasm wasn't infectious, but I appreciated the effort nonetheless."

An Owl and Two Pussycats Climb Runner Peak, 15 Sep 2008

[Trip report posted to; photo courtesy North Shore bushwhacking guru and friend Mick Range]

[ members] Team Cat and Mad Owl Woman climbed Runner Peak, just north of Mount Seymour, yesterday, on what was possibly a perfect day. Blue sky, warm temperatures, awesome views of the Five Fingers Group, Judge Howay, etc., and, alas, active swarms of assorted biting and stinging insects. Sam said she'd write up a trip report in the not-too-distant future, but asked me to put together some directions and observations about how we actually went about it. So, here's the Coles Notes version of an involved but not terribly difficult scramble that should appeal to anyone looking for some off-trail travel and 4th class climbing within a few hours of downtown.

Park at the Mount Seymour parking lot. Plug the defunct meter, which will neglect to give you a ticket, or change. Leave a note on your dash.

Start up the ski run as for Seymour. Get lost early on and follow flagging past downed trees and black bear scat off toward De Pencier Bluff. Re-orient yourself and scramble steeply up to rejoin the main Mount Seymour Trail, occupied by 60+ screaming schoolkids and their adult minders. Outwalk the kids along the sidewalk of a trail to reach the Elsay Lake Trail junction at approx. 2.8km from the parking lot.

Descend steeply along the Elsay Lake Trail, by-passing the "express route to Theta Lake" (qv. many previous trip reports). Runner Peak and the east face of Mount Seymour now come clearly into view. Descend Wes' Staircase into the valley, then make your way due W toward the huge gully dropping from the Runner-Seymour col. Lots of boulder-hopping, but no real difficulty. There is a pretty impressive dry creekbed about halfway across this bowl, which, judging by the size of the boulders strewn down it, must work up a pretty good head of steam in season.

At the bottom of the gully, climb easily up rocks along the left hand side of the gully, then enter the gully proper about a third of the way up. Thrash up the gully until it forks. Don't take the left fork, which is full of loose blocks. Instead, head up the right fork, or just right of the right fork, through a few hundred feet of unappetizing pricklebushes and blueberries, which soon brings you to a boulder field. Boulder-hop up to the Seymour-Runner col.

Now head straight up a gully on Runner's S face. This brings you, after a ten minute thrash, to a nice position behind a huge free-standing gendarme. Directly above you is a steep rock face. Scramble up the incredibly textured and friendly rock (low 4th class), heading, in general, up and left. You soon reach a large bush ledge. Walk across the ledge to its eastern edge, stepping around some krummholz with a steep drop below, then double back up some lower-angle bluffs to the wide friendly summit. Don't leave your stuffed friends on the summit cairn and then fall asleep in the sunshine, because a local raven will mistake your friends for dinner and try to make off with them.

Descent: reverse the route. This might be a little unnerving for those without much scrambling experience. If in doubt, go slow, and take advantage of the fifty million holds available on the grippy and excellent rock.

To rejoin civilization, thrash west down the ascent gully to the col, then keep going west until you reach the huge talus field below Runner's south face. Snow lingers here late in the season. Unless you have crampons and an axe, it is a lot easier, not to mention safer, to contour along the S edge of the field until you reach a prominent "boulder gully" dropping in to reach the talus field at its western edge. Scramble straight up the boulders to reach a flagged trail that contours south, then east, steadily gaining elevation and passing several huge mountain hemlock groves. This trail will go on for much longer than you really want it to; comparisons to Crown Pass are not overstated. Eventually you'll reach the Mount Seymour Trail right at the junction between Second and Third Peaks, approx. 4.8km. from the parking lot. Grit your teeth and hammer down to the parking lot as the light runs out of the day, covering the last km. or two in darkness, admiring the full harvest moon.

A great day out, and way more fun than it sounds. Anticipate the cold drink machines in the parking lot being either "Sold Out" or "Out of Service"; stashing a Gatorade or ginger ale in the car in expectation of your return is a not-bad idea.

The Second Arrangement
Words and music by Becker/Fagen

Pour out the wine girl
I've got just two friends in this whole wide world
Here's to reckless lovers
We all need somebody
Smashed in the yellow Jag
I've got my life and laundry in a Gladstone bag
You should know the program
Just one red rose and a tender goodbye (one last goodbye)

And I run to the second arrangement
It's only the natural thing
Who steps out with no regrets
A sparkling conscience a new address
When I run to the second arrangement
The home of a mutual friend
Now's the time to redefine the first arrangement again

It's a sticky situation
A serious affair
I must explain it to you somehow
Right now I'll just move back one square

Here comes that noise again
Another scrambled message from my last best friend
Something I can dance to
A song with tears in it
Old friends abandon me
It's just the routine politics of jealousy
Someday we'll remember
That one red rose and one last goodbye (one last goodbye)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hungover but largely content, Team Cat heads out into the dusty blue sunshine.

Photo of Runner Peak, today's destination, courtesy Mr. Range.
Sunday, September 14, 2008

When the dream came
I held my breath
With my eyes closed
I went insane
Like a smoke ring day
When the wind blows
Now I won't be back
Till later on
If I do come back at all
But you know me
And I miss you now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008
Bring Me The Disco King -- live 2003, a Pulpfiction front room favorite, featuring ace pianist Mick Garson.
Overture Melody, c. 1993. Not the world's most charismatic line-up -- Drew Zingg's beret and clenched "emotive" teeth really have to go -- but still an awesome 8-minute instrumental mash-up.

Green Flower Street, Third World Man, and Reelin' in the Years, all from the same date. Sound: terrific. Stage presence: non-existant. And those Chevy Chase glasses!

OK, Black Friday too. Much better, Mr. Fagen overcoming massive stage fright by clutching his trusty Keytar.

Long must-read NYT article on obnoxious Sarah Barracuda's management style. Given her recent TV performance -- Bush doctrine? Huh? Whuzzat? -- Osama must be killing himself laughing in his cave.

"At an Alaska Municipal League gathering in Juneau in January, mayors across the political spectrum swapped stories of the governor’s remoteness. How many of you, someone asked, have tried to meet with her? Every hand went up, recalled Mayor Fred Shields of Haines Borough. And how many met with her? Just a few hands rose. Ms. Palin soon walked in, delivered a few remarks and left for an anti-abortion rally.

The administration’s e-mail correspondence reveals a siege-like atmosphere. Top aides keep score, demean enemies and gloat over successes. Even some who helped engineer her rise have felt her wrath.

Dan Fagan, a prominent conservative radio host and longtime friend of Ms. Palin, urged his listeners to vote for her in 2006. But when he took her to task for raising taxes on oil companies, he said, he found himself branded a 'hater.'

It is part of a pattern, Mr. Fagan said, in which Ms. Palin characterizes critics as 'bad people who are anti-Alaska.'"

RIP David Foster Wallace, postmodern novelist extraordinaire, and author of several terrific pieces of creative nonfiction, including an Anodyne HQ favorite, a carefully detailed visit to the Illinois State Fair. . . .
Friday, September 12, 2008

Well I do my best to understand dear
Thursday, September 11, 2008

(via CO)
"Photo by Christopher Brayshaw"

(Awesome caption in the new issue of Canadian Art accompanying an installation shot of Neil Wedman's Untitled Flying Saucer Monochromes at CSA Space, alongside a thoughtful, well-written review by Ben Reeves). Benign document or Michael Asher-esque "intervention," your pick.

And speaking of CSA Space, we're opening a new video projection by Rebecca Belmore, Making Always War, tonight from 6-9:30pm. Y'all come!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing) (& made in YVR, to boot): Green Earrings (Fat Camp Scratch Re-Edit)
Saturday, September 06, 2008

San Juan Island Risk -- courtesy the Strategy Game Network

Friday, September 05, 2008

The author in his stacks. Photograph by Grace James.

One of the staff meets the pint-size fences I ejected last week:

"Three little eight-year old kids came striding through the front door, all with backpacks and all holding skateboards under their arms. One in the lead, flanked by two of his buddies.

Now, I already knew who these little kids were. The week before, I heard they were peddling obviously stolen graphic novels to the bookstore and the comic store a few doors down. How obvious? They tried to sell the comic store three copies of the same graphic novel. When they got called on it, Lead Kid loudly reminded his buddy about that time his mother bought him the same copy of a comic he already had for Christmas, by accident. The comic in question was published in February.

Lead kid looked me up and down, and since I visibly wasn't my boss who had kicked them out last week, decided to play Grand Theft Auto: Toddler.

LEAD KID: You work here?


LEAD KID: Can I show you some books for cash or credit?

JNADIGER: Sure, what do you have?

LEAD KID: I have some graphic novels.

And on cue, all three kids empty their backpacks to reveal these shiny new hardcover graphic novels, all from the last two or three months. They were all from Marvel or DC, pretty mainstream stuff like Wolverine or Justice League of America. All the while, Lead Kid is totally sweet-talking me, trying to stop my questions before I ask them.

LEAD KID: These three are mine, and those five belong to my friend there.

I was alone in the store, my boss was around that day, but he had stepped out for lunch, so I couldn't abandon paying customers to fuck around with tiny thieves. I was going to make him identify the Martian Manhunter or something, or quiz them as to what happened in one of the books. But I was busy. So instead, I just said:

JNADIGER: No deal.

LEAD KID: What do you mean, 'no deal?'

JNADIGER: I'm not taking your books.

LEAD KID: Why not?

JNADIGER: Why do you think?

LEAD KID: You tell me.

Most kids that are annoying or pushy will usually back off when confronted with a flat out 'No.' They don't give you attitude normally reserved for strip club bouncers. I didn't really feel like getting into it with him, mostly because this kid had ice in his veins. I didn't want to get beaten to death by skateboards.

JNADIGER: Take a hike.

LEAD KID: What? I don't want a hint.

JNADIGER: No, take a hike, kid. Fuck off.

Most kids that are, you know, eight years old will either laugh because you made a swear or get nervous and rat you out to their closest parental unit. Lead kid just put his hot comics back into his back, shrugged his shoulders, and said:

LEAD KID: Let's go, boys.

And calmly made their way to the comic store next door. It was some Charles Dickens shit happening there, let me tell you."
Thursday, September 04, 2008

Brad Phillips, 4 September 2008, 2008

Peter Paul Rubens, The Entombment, c. 1612

Three Anecdotes

1. Neaera doesn't want a symphonic art, or a totalized, overdetermined one, just something capable of blowing through the local hothouse atmosphere like a summer shower. Half-listening in between the demands of the ringing phone and the back-to-school hordes seeking Atwood and Bronte and Orwell and Harry Potter I recall my friend Pete describing Evan Lee's photographs in an old essay, remarking on their visible lack of intention, their refusal to traffic in the usual cliches of signification (ie., the symbolic representation of things the art-audience already intuitively knows how to "read": the monster house; the skate park; the crushed and upturned car). Take a picture like 4 Oranges (1999; on the artist's site). This is far from my favorite Lee picture, but I would take its plain reticence -- its reluctance to speak to much beyond what it nominally signifies (color; volume; quantity) over pictures with supplementary texts that rehearse, in often exhausting and mind-numbing detail, the significance of each element of pictorial signification. Good art can be informed by research, but art objects that put research on display, or (worse) equate research depth with aesthetic efficacy, seem to me to lack faith in the representational systems that constitute them as art in the first place. Victor Burgin aside, it's hard to footnote pictures in a way that enables picture and footnote to maintain an independence from each other. In the language of power exchange, good footnoted pictures (Burgin's US 77; Douglas' black-and-white photo-text Monodrama diptychs) are switches.

2. "I have to do it first to not do it," says Isabelle Pauwels, frowning at me from under her paint-splattered ballcap. (The question of externalizing one's concept of art as form and thereby changing it).

3. "Meaninglessness." Freedom from intention. The canon's usefulness only as an aid to plain sight (bright blue and purple pigments; space tipped, a la a Cubist table; cracked driveway concrete). Realism's demand to look and not reflexively prejudge. The "dead weight" of Rubens' Christ and his green skin. And John, in his red robe, who notices and doesn't turn away.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Jamie Tolagson, The Myth of Counterculture, 2007

From the exhibition New Work 1973-2008, opening tomorrow night at Jeffrey Boone Gallery.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thelonious Monk, Don't Blame Me (1966)

Nb. the hard-working sidemen in the background, first lurking not-so-unobtrusively, then striking up a whispery conversation as Monk bobs, ducks and weaves his way through the melody.
Monday, September 01, 2008

"Elegant soul" -- Gene Harris & The Three Sounds' Book of Slim

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