Wednesday, June 30, 2010
It's raining at Deeks Lake. Fat raindrops stipple the surface of the water. Clouds rise up from Howe Sound, curl above the lip of the valley, and dissipate into the branches of the hemlocks ringing the shore.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"[T]he Prince George E.R. uses the pediatric exam rooms as overflow when busy. The mural on the wall is of dinosaurs - being ridden by people. While there is no plaque that SAYS 'Courtesy of the Prince George Creationist Club,' I have no doubts they're looking to seize the hearts of PG children early. However, I do feel sorry for the poor bastard riding the Velociraptor..."

(via L., upcountry)

"Hi I opened the screen door yesterday and my cat got out and has been missing since then so I was wondering if you are not to [sic] busy you could make a poster for me. . . ."

(courtesy D.)
Dept. of Schadenfreude totally kaput as of 12:33PDT

"At an annual revenue of nearly $27 billion, Amazon faces a potential loss of an average of $51,400 a minute when its site is offline."

The Slow Media Manifesto

I'd sign this in a heartbeat!

"11. Slow Media are auratic: Slow Media emanate a special aura. They generate a feeling that the particular medium belongs to just that moment of the user’s life. Despite the fact that they are produced industrially or are partially based on industrial means of production, they are suggestive of being unique and point beyond themselves.

12. Slow Media are progressive not reactionary: Slow Media rely on their technological achievements and the network society’s way of life. It is because of the acceleration of multiple areas of life, that islands of deliberate slowness are made possible and essential for survival. Slow Media are not a contradiction to the speed and simultaneousness of Twitter, Blogs or Social Networks but are an attitude and a way of making use of them.

13. Slow Media focus on quality both in production and in reception of media content: [c]raftsmanship in cultural studies such as source criticism, classification and evaluation of sources of information are gaining importance with the increasing availability of information."


ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Make Way for Dionne Warwick, 1964 (esp. the orchestration of The Last to Be Loved)
Monday, June 28, 2010
I recall your darkness when it crackled like a thundercloud

In the Land of Make Believe
(Burt Bacharach /Hal David)

In the land of make believe
You’re mine tonight
Although you are far away
In the land of make believe
I’m holding you tight

The silver moon is shining above
And there’s love in your eyes
And I’m kissing you
Like I used to do
Yesterday in paradise

I’ve been living in the land of make believe
Since you’ve been gone
I need you so much
That without your love
I must deceive myself
To go on

Your loving hand caresses my face
We embrace tenderly
Never will we part
Deep down in my heart
You are always here with me
You are always here with me
In the land of make believe
In the land of make believe
In the land of make believe

Your loving hand caresses my face
We embrace tenderly
Never will we part
Deep down in my heart
You are always here with me
You are always here with me
In the land of make believe
In the land of make believe
In the land of make believe
In the land of make believe

Yonge and College, courtesy Richard Lautens

Waste My Time, Please

Shoppers Drug Mart Canada Post counter. Line-up six deep. Our man joins the end of the line, which slowly counts down:

CP LINE-UP: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. . .

CP GAL: I can help the next customer here!

BUDGING GUY: Excuse me! I just need a stamp!

CJB: The thing is, I've been waiting fifteen minutes already. In this line-up.

BG: Yeah but guy! I've gotta get to work!

CJB: Wait a bit. It won't kill you.

BG: Asshole!

[CP transaction]

CPL: ...your change. And your receipt. Have a nice day!

CJB: Thanks!

BG: Wait for me in the parking lot, asshole. I'm gonna kick your ass!

CJB: No you're not. You do, you're gonna be even later for work.
Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The trio is still crafting the set list, but Fagen says he plans to play the Grateful Dead's Shakedown Street and the Band's King Harvest, while Scaggs will cover Chuck Berry and McDonald will do Ray Charles numbers as well as hits from his solo and Doobie Brothers catalogs. 'I think I might also do I.G.Y. [!!!] and some other stuff from my solo records,' says Fagen, 'because I go out every summer doing Steely Dan. The show should move pretty fast. We'll do one or two songs apiece and then someone else will do something.' He says they're considering breaking out some duets, as well."
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Still sounds good!

Shuttle Launch as Seen by Skydivers
Monday, June 21, 2010

Florida Room

A great late birthday present: video of Donald Fagen's induction, on June 15th, into the ASCAP Jazz Hall of Fame. Long acoustic performance, with lots of improvisation, of an obscure track from Kamarkiriad, and a short autobiographical speech.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Q: What about morels? Aren't they a bourgeois ingredient?

A: No, 'cause they're easily foraged from the local landscape (I once found a whole bunch growing in a vacant lot beside the American Hotel down on Main) and because even if you have to purchase them they are mostly air; despite being $22-$28 a pound, seventy-five cents' worth was more than enough for the eggs.
Questions for the readership:

What does it mean, today, to "submit an artwork to judgment"? What constitutes judgment? Whose judgment? Surely not only my own? When I asked Peter Schjeldahl a variation on this question last year he said, in effect, you're thinking too much. Just make your work. The work will instruct you. Which is fine as far as it goes, but it would be nice to see the works (which are not only arrangements of pixels, but also physical objects) out in the world, where strangers could see them, and shit-talk them.

(Remembering everyone who ever mailed a "submission package" into the VAG's curatorial department -- slide set; CV; statement -- in the hope of getting a show, who would probably have been better advised to buy a LottoMax ticket)

Simple; seasonal; fast. French-inflected. Explicable in shorthand English. My photographs are made with consumer-grade digital cameras and presented tacked to the wall, or in simple, inexpensive wooden frames. So: no bourgeois ingredients (no foie, no lobster, no caviar). These ingredients arrive dragging a train of historical baggage behind them, just like bronze and transmounting.

(Thinking of Bill Buford's Elisa Sarno: "Her dishes were high in protein and very salty. When making them, she got a slightly distracted look, as if a tune were playing in her head. These moments seemed important and were the only times Elisa relaxed. She didn't smile -- she never got that comfortable -- but you could tell that she was thinking of smiling.")
Egg Curd With Morels & Fennel

Breakfast, after blood-testing the diabetic cat next door. Made from scratch (ie., not from a recipe) and delicious.

Unsalted butter in big pan. Low heat 'til the butter foams. Fennel bulb: very fine slices. The idea is to produce tiny matchsticks. Briskly whisk three eggs with a pinch of salt and combine with the fennel. Half a dozen morels, sliced into quarters. Into pan. Once the morels release their juice, add egg/fennel mixture. Stir, gently, until eggs obtain a curd-like consistency, about four minutes.

You could take this a lot of ways from here. I warmed a pita in the microwave, poured the curds on top, and added some chopped fennel fronds and fresh ground black pepper.

Reading: Cooking: The Quintessential Art, by Herve This and Pierre Gagnaire (California Studies in Food & Culture, 2008, trans. M.B. DeBevoise):

"Let us raise our sights, then, and try to create a new form of criticism appropriate to the talents of true culinary artists. Because we cannot avoid dealing with the question of 'beauty' -- a term that, in view of the difficulties it conceals, requires more quote marks than I have given it here -- we need to adapt aesthetic analysis to the subject at hand. Theories of beauty have been elaborated for painting, music, sculpture, and literature, which some deny is an art at all. Insofar as it concerns cooking, aesthetic theory is not so much backward as absent. . . ."
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Tonight's theme: Summer, by the Vista IV

All this momentum keeps stealing through


If Cambie Street Grows as Hoped, City of Vancouver Will Lose Big Bucks
- great article by the Vancouver Sun's Don Cayo. This is exactly the kind of analysis I'm performing in my Urban Land Economics studies out at UBC, clearly summarized and articulated for a general audience. The article's key point: infrastructure development along Cambie (Canada Line; high density residential) will generate additional revenue for the city in the short run, but, in the long run, will produce far less revenue than today. My guess: the city will be thrilled by the initial revenue boost, promptly treat it as a given, and then profess surprise when it starts to decline. Who will make up the revenue shortfall that's the inevitable consequence of the city's inability to distinguish between short-term growth and long-run sustainability? You; me; all of us.
Friday, June 18, 2010


You ask me why I'm weary
Why I can't speak to you
You blame me for my silence
Say it's time I changed and grew
But the war's still going on, dear
And there's no end that I know
And I can't say if we're ever
I can't say if we're ever gonna be free

(Guitar solo)

You see me now a veteran
Of a thousand psychic wars

My energy is spent at last
And my armor is destroyed
I have used up all my weapons
And I'm helpless and bereaved
Wounds are all I'm made of
Did I hear you say that this is victory?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Drew Weigner, a cat specialist in Atlanta, believe[s] that outdoor space offers cats emotional benefits. While it is safer for them to stay inside, 'in an enclosed yard, they’re going to get more exercise,' Dr. Weigner said. 'Plus, there’s the intellectual stimulation, quote-unquote.'"
The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

East Van Magnolia, 2010

The emaciated man heading into the VGH cancer clinic has forgotten his lunch, and the woman who just dropped him off now calls to him from the open driver's window. He turns, surprised to hear his name. She puts the Windstar's flashers on and gets out in the rain with a bright green plastic sack. Passing it over, she reaches up and cups the side of his face in her palm.
BOBBY FISCHER JR. (at desk, age 7 or thereabouts): Do you have any books on chess? I'll spell it for you. C-H-E-S-S. A game.

CJB: Thanks for that.

Flamingo Park, by "David Scamit"

"[T]he Rabbi calls Haaretz, he calls the Post, he’s on fucking television complaining that the Palestinians sent a hippopotamus to wreck the settlement and eat the Hasids or whatever they are. Plus, it’s not kosher. And this guy, this bright guy with the ten-dollar words reads this on the internet in fucking Hollywood where he lives now and decides he’s gonna be a hero and shoot the goddam fucking hippo. He packs up his big Barrett 50 and a crossbow, gets on a plane and flies eight thousand miles to shoot the hippo. Because the hippo’s not kosher."

Like Daffodils in Motherfucking Spring

"You don't like that your coworker used me on that note about stealing her yogurt from the break room fridge? You don't like that I'm all over your sister-in-law's blog? You don't like that I'm on the sign for that new Thai place? You think I'm pedestrian and tacky? Guess the fuck what, Picasso. We don't all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros. Sorry the entire world can't all be done in stark Eurotrash Swiss type. Sorry some people like to have fun. Sorry I'm standing in the way of your minimalist Bauhaus-esque fascist snoozefest. Maybe sometime you should take off your black turtleneck, stop compulsively adjusting your Tumblr theme, and lighten the fuck up for once.

People love me. Why? Because I'm fun. I'm the life of the party. I bring levity to any situation. Need to soften the blow of a harsh message about restroom etiquette? SLAM. There I am. Need to spice up the directions to your graduation party? WHAM. There again. Need to convey your fun-loving, approachable nature on your business' website? SMACK. Like daffodils in motherfucking spring."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Robert Storr: "The museum as revolving door for new talent is the enemy of art and of talent, not their friend — and the enemy of the public as well, since it refuses to actually serve that public but serves up art as if it was quick-to-spoil produce from a Fresh Direct warehouse."
Well I'd like to tour the southlands in a travellin' minstrel show. . . .
Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summit register, Mt. McGuire. Yesterday. Thanks to the culprits and to everyone who called, emailed, or showed up in person. Thanks, guys. I especially like the mis-date of the ascent, because it makes me (improbably) still 39.
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barber's Shop Window, Burnaby, B.C., 2008-10
Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Genealogy of a New Obsession

Jeff Van Geest and Dan Tigchelaar, Aurora Bistro

Bill Buford, Heat

Thomas Keller, Bouchon

Keller; Marco Pierre White; Alfred Portale; Elizabeth David; Heston Blumenthal; Paul Liebrandt; Pierre Gagnaire; Hervé This; Ferdinand Point; David Waltuck

Laurent Quenioux, Bistro LQ

Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park

Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon

Daniel Newell, Restaurant Zoe

Out in intardnets reviewland, it's apparently de rigeur to bash chefs and waitpeople like crazy. For the record, L. and I have never been treated with anything other than great courtesy and attention at the establishments listed above, even when it was obvious that our table's check was going to be far from the largest in the room. A special thanks to the front-of-house staff at Bistro LQ and Eleven Madison Park for their genuine interest in the wide-eyed Canadian gastrotourists in the corner, and for all the unsolicited advice and extra courses.

Last night's dinner:

Calves' Liver With Broccolini, Spanish Onion Puree and Onion Confit (CJB after Waltuck)

Big pot. Hot. Four onions, 1/4" chunks. Big lump of European butter and a half cup of Gewürztraminer, though any good white wine would do. Turn to coat the onion pieces in the hot fat. Chicken stock. Simmer, never browning, for around an hour and a half. The idea is to make the onions as soft and sweet as possible, which leaves time for urban land economics homework, farting around with the cat, sweeping out the kitchen, etc. Onion mixture into blender, pulse to consistency of mashed potatoes. Fail to lock lower blender ring down; delight cat by spraying onion puree all over self and counter.

Three onions. Fine dice. Pan on high. Glug of neutral oil. Small knob of brown sugar. Onions into hot oil and left to brown. Deglaze with a couple glugs of balsamic vinegar, scraping all the tasty brown bits up off the bottom of the pan. Reduce by half to a "jammy" consistency, add a shot of sherry vinegar, pinch of salt, and pull off the heat.

Broccolini in microwave, 1.5 minutes.

Generously salt and pepper liver slices. Hot pan. Neutral oil. 1 minute each side.

Assembly: circle of onion puree on plate. Two slices of liver on top. Onion confit atop meat. Four green broccolini branches arranged to create diamond pattern & intriguing textual contrast. Serve with crusty bread and the rest of the wine.

This was delicious, inexpensive, and rivals anything I've ever eaten in a local "fine dining" establishment.
Saturday, June 05, 2010

William Gibson lunchtime talk at Book Expo America. The recent novels don't do that much for me, but Gibson's careful eye for the quotidian and his precise, slightly melancholic, all-too-infrequent nonfiction pieces continue to exert a lasting hold.

"The synthetic genome, arguably artificial life, was somehow less amazing. The sort of thing one feels might already have been achieved, somehow. Triggering the 'Oh, yeah' module. 'Artificial life? Oh, yeah.'

Though these scientists also inserted a line of James Joyce’s prose into their genome. That triggers a sense of the surreal, in me at least. They did it to incorporate a yardstick for the ongoing measurement of mutation. So James Joyce’s prose is now being very slowly pummelled into incoherence by cosmic rays."
Wednesday, June 02, 2010

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Nepalese boulder hovel
Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Just announced: Minnesota State Fair, September 6th, 2010

CJB: So I signed us up for the Urban Grain CSA.

CJB'S SWEETIE "L": Who's this "we," white boy? And what's a CSA?

CJB: Community supported agriculture; Agassiz farm; "100 mile" grain; localism.

L: How much are we getting?

CJB: About 20kg.


CJB: What's so funny?

L: Know what's in my cupboard? A 1 kg bag of flour. Know how long it's been there? Three years. You just ordered enough flour for the next sixty years of our relationship. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

GUY RIDING BY ON A BIKE: I gotta hear that one!

L [still convulsed]: My city slicker boyfriend just bought us sixty years' worth of flour.

CJB: 100-mile organic flour. And whole grain.


"At [some] point, the parties remembered some fragmentary Internet accounts of a reputed traverse from Upper Shannon Falls to Petgill Lake, and decided to go 'check shit out.' The following is a reconstruction."

(Photodocumentation courtesy Sam H.)

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