Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Staticky radio coming and going. Scent of pine through the open driver's window. The roiling brown Fraser below.

Klickumcheen, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Old Pine by the Lytton Ferry Road, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Oh how time flies
With crystal eyes
And cold as cold
When you're ending with diamond eyes

Oh come child

In a cross bones style
Oh come child
Come and rescue me

Cause you have seen some unbelievable things

City Worker Seriously Hurt by Falling Saguaro

"[The victim] also suffered internal injuries and was running a fever. So far, 146 cactus spines had been pulled out of him but more remained."
This may be overstated, and written in some peculiar 2012 version of 1950s Dwight MacDonald English, bringing to mind a man trying to talk with a mouth full of marbles, but it's also not wrong.

"THE GATEKEEPERS whom Amazon especially detests are editors and publishers. Bezos’s letter to his shareholders this year was full of testimonials to Kindle Direct Publishing by writers who (in the words of one) 'get their work in front of readers without jumping through insurmountable hoops' and (in the words of another) 'blow through all the traditional gatekeepers.' I am glad that they are happy. Also I have no doubt that the traditional system of book publishing makes mistakes. The history of taste and reputation is replete with the rejection of talent. But that is not the only mistake that publishers make. If there are unwarranted exclusions, there are also unwarranted inclusions. Too many of those hoops are surmountable: just walk into a bookstore, if you can find one. Perhaps this is the injustice against which the digitals have rebelled: it seems arbitrary to publish one man’s junk but not another’s. In the case of unwarranted inclusions, the problem lies not in the success of gatekeeping but in its failure. For the editor’s interference with the writer’s spontaneities, the editor’s resistance to the writer’s satisfactions with his own work, is a service to the writer. 'Direct publishing' is shabby publishing, because it rejects the improving influence of editorial animadversion. Bezos boasts that his 'powerful self-service platforms' at last 'empower others to unleash their creativity—to pursue their dreams,' but writing is not primarily an affair of self-service (Auden blessed the imposition upon writing of rules that 'force us to have second thoughts, free from the fetters of Self') and creativity is no assurance of quality, and all dreams are not equally interesting. Amazon’s list is notable mainly for its mediocrity. There are many such lists in the good old physical world, too; but the 'Amazonians' should lose the liberationist crap, because so far they have made advances in commerce but not in culture. Their Miltons are no longer mute but they are still inglorious."
Monday, June 25, 2012

Study for After Hetty Dorval, Ethel Wilson, 1947, 2012

"'We never told it during the training, "This is a cat,"' said Dr. Dean, who originally helped Google design the software that lets it easily break programs into many tasks that can be computed simultaneously. 'It basically invented the concept of a cat. We probably have other ones that are side views of cats.'"
Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Thompson at Spences Bridge (Picture for E.J. Hughes), 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012

Wes Anderson's Arrested Development, by Kartina Richardson

I don't agree with much of this carefully written essay -- Richardson's preferred exit route from the suburbs, punk, still seems rabidly conformist, anti-intellectual and unwelcoming to me -- but she's a good noticer of details, and has lots of useful things to say about the deep structure of her archnemesis' imagination.

"We don’t measure the success of a weird 6th grade production of 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,' for example, by its authenticity or the skill with which some kid recites. It’s [sic] worth lies solely in its sincerity of effort. This is how we connect emotionally with a school play and what we find endearing. We don’t lose ourselves in the emotion of the production, and for the same reason we’re not meant to lose ourselves in the story of an Anderson film. Like in a children’s play, we are meant to be aware at all times of creative effort, for this is where its true value lies. Anderson’s ability to blend substance and form and communicate this feeling is his greatest skill. His films look like stage plays: Sets look like sets, the frame becomes the proscenium arch (with a symmetry in the set that exaggerates and enhances the frame’s boundaries), and the action is kept in the center of the frame, usually directed out toward the audience in mainly medium or wide shots."


"The heroic rising of the weird individual’s creative will under the oppressive weight of tradition and history."
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Lamplight in the lane, orange mist drifting down.

The coppery coolness of the approaching front pushing in from the west.  The cat leaning out the window into the rain, tail aswish.

Later: L. leaning from that same window. Her strong backlit profile.

1am: walking across the Granville bridge, singing Dusty singing Bacharach.

Rain stronger now, the city all asleep, only a few lights showing in the towers by the bridge.
Words and music by Buck, Mills, Stipe

If the storm doesn't kill me the government will
I've got to get that out of my head
It's a new day today and the coffee is strong
I've finally got some rest

So a man's put to task and challenges
I was taught to hold my head high
Collect what is mine,
Make the best of what today has


Houston is filled with promise
Laredo is a beautiful place
Galveston sings like that song that I loved
Its meaning has not been erased

And so there are claims forgiven
And so there are things that are gone


And some things, they fall to the wayside
Their memory is yet to be still
Belief has not filled me
And so I am put to the test
Twenty-six boxes, phone ringing, rainy.  Here on my own.  Must be Saturday.
"Hey now, its not just simply you old fools in matrimonial distress who listen to Steely Dan."
Thursday, June 14, 2012

(after E. Ruscha)

Sketch for Ocean Avenue, 2012


Courtesy L.

What a great picture.  Expressive body language; complicated fabric patterns; light and growth; the little green tree; and old Mr. (or Ms.) Supervisor in the corner, making sure that whatever work is performed is up to snuff.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Sense of wonder

War Game Tree, installation view, Presentation House Gallery

"These artists—most of whom currently reside in Vancouver, or have studied here recently—exploit the deceptions of the photographic through experiments with analogue and digital processes. The human hand working with decidedly analogue techniques to fix image is evident throughout the exhibition. The installations and sculptural works in particular reveal how basic means can produce hallucinatory uncertainty. Strong material sensibilities are also present in painterly treatments of surface and collaged pictures. Verisimilitude is even set against optical accuracy in one apparently seamless photograph that is in fact patched together from over two-hundred fragments."

A ways away from the Ballardian world of CJ, but maybe not so different, after all:

"Beyond the empty restaurants was a ruined boardwalk of bricks steered apart by the moving sand, vegetation leaning away from the wind, and a dance floor under a collapsed pavilion filled to the wall tops with sand, nobody in any direction. At dinner, the teenage son of the landlords lay in a hammock from which he seemed to have never risen, telling us it was open war to the north: his cousins from San Antonio robbed in daylight of everything including the car; a girl kidnapped last week found dead despite the ransom paid; narcos going onto buses and taking migrants for their armies; the dead found month after month in the hundreds; they will shoot you just for fun.

We drank beers as the sun went down, and then the rest of a bottle of Presidente brandy I'd found in the van, and a hundred yards away, the police were driving up and down the surf looking for somebody to rob."

"A form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with [...] meanings that lie outside the narrative itself."
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I love this stuff, especially after having performed a similar calculation twenty-four months ago and reached an identical conclusion.  A classic Graham-and-Dodd play.  Currently approx. 10% of the real [read: seldom-disclosed] Anodyne Inc.

Q:  Value catalyst?

A:  Nothing immediately on the horizon, but the dividend's credible (2%).  A better way to think of Guardian is as the equivalent dollar amount of BMO stock, with a scratch-and-win ticket stapled to it.  Even if the stratch-and-win is a loser, you still have the (not inconsiderable) BMO retained earnings for the length of your holding period.

"The company’s easiest-to-value asset is a 5-million-share hoard of Bank of Montreal stock, worth about $280-million at the end of the first quarter. Guardian received the stock more than a decade ago when it sold its mutual fund business to the bank. The BMO stock holding alone works out to $8.20 a share, or nearly the same as the current stock price. Also easy to visualize are the company’s holdings of cash and other marketable securities, worth $104-million or $3.06 a share.

The money management arm of the company makes for a relatively easy assessment, too. Wealth managers catering to institutions are typically valued at about 1 per cent to 3 per cent of the assets they oversee. Mr. Hardie took some of the lower assessments in that range and calculated the worth of Guardian’s operation at $274-million, or $8.10 a share, once again not too much different than the current share price Adding up the sum of the assets and subtracting the debt, you come up with a very inexpensive stock. Conceptually, investors are either getting the BMO shares or the money management business almost for free."
Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm 42 tomorrow. PFB is 12 years old. 

Ask Me
by William Stafford

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say. 


"Stanton suddenly remembers he left his car back on earth parked in a 'Two Hour Zone.' That was three years ago..."

"The bio-weapon is a black, DNA-based weapon that doesn’t react the same to all types of alien DNA. So when it touches its maker - an Engineer - it drives them mad and eventually makes them explode. Hence what we see in the movie with the holograms when the infection spreads and all the Engineers are running around trying to get to The Head Room (rooms?) - specialized chambers that are atmospherically programmed to keep the bio-weapon in stasis (it’s not that the Prometheus crew springs a trap, it’s that they leave the door to The Head Room open).

We don’t see any sexes amongst the Engineers and considering that they seem to have made this weapon without thinking what it would do to a female, I suggest that they have no sex. So the Engineer brain trust on this military base created a bio-weapon they could drop on a planet. This bio-weapon would alter the victim’s DNA and cause the infected to go full berserker (the males we see infected in the film, the worms) against anything else with no direct purpose. It’s possible that it spreads infections male-to-male when it causes the head of an Engineer to explode in a fine mist.


What the Engineers (and if you believe Genesis, God himself) didn’t count on was women. Or, specifically, that these things they would attack and kill have some way of reproducing a complex set of DNA (in our case, a very similar DNA strand to the Engineers). Being that the bio-weapon is DNA-based, every time the bio-weapon interacts with the DNA building structures in another life-form, a new species is born. Note the vagina/womb at the top of the alien life-cycle mural.


The concerning thing in Prometheus is the sculpture in Engineers' stasis room that looks like a xenomorph head. That implies that at some point the Engineers realized what was possible with this virus, because I am convinced (and the film has nothing to disprove me) that the xenomorph-style head is derived from when an Engineer is infected by one of the new species. They’ve discovered this and it - rightly so - scares the crap out of them as a race. They’re a group of things that have gone around the universe creating life in a fairly normalized manner and now they’ve created something that creates a NEW something when it turns on them.

Too complicated? Let me try to break this down.

The Bio-Weapon (Black Goo) has the following characteristics: When it infects you, it has two purposes: kill and spread infection. It needs to be inside of the thing in order to start changing it, so it has a biological imperative to get INSIDE you. In it’s weaponized form, it has no consciousness that we know of. Instead, it’s more like parasitic DNA that re-purposes the things it infects.

However, when the bio-weapon comes in contact with a female capable of giving birth (or…say…LAYING EGGS), there’s the unintended side-effect that the monster gains the ability to reproduce. Hence Cuddles the squid baby having the same biological imperatives as the bio-weapon (Kill, reproduce), but the chest-bursting aspect is wholly new because the bio-weapon has mutated. It can’t transform DNA anymore, it needs to reproduce, to create another version of itself, a new species.

It was this aspect of the bio-weapon that I think took the Engineers by surprise, and it’s this aspect of the bio-weapon that makes me think we’ll have to deal with another, more insect-like species before we’re done with this universe.

What we see in the last, crappy shot of this movie is NOT a xenomorph like we’re used to. First - it doesn’t incubate for long enough and emerges a quadruped. Second - it’s internal jaw is close enough for us to recognize, but it’s not the same. Third - it’s head is too pointy.

It’s not like the xenomorph doesn’t exist in numerous sculpts, this is all on purpose because this is a version of the alien we haven’t seen before. It’s a Weapon-Human-species-Engineer life cycle.

In order for the bio-weapon to produce the xenomorph, the bio-weapon must have infected a female (or queen) of a more insect-like race. A race of aliens that lay eggs (it’s not human, because Shaw gives birth to Cuddles; the eggs are wholly absent in the human/Engineer weaponized species), has acid for blood, makes “hives.”

That’s why the face-huggers exist and don’t look like squid. That’s why there is a larvae process instead of fully-formed xenomorphs being birthed (with the exception of the Dog Alien in Alien 3, but a lot of the bio-weapon continues to adapt to whatever species it infects, the chest-burster is designed sort of like a tape worm with a mouth and the capability to use it’s tail as a spring, so it makes sense).


So - what happened before the beginning of Alien?

I propose 2 possible stories:

1) The Engineers are off killing races (for reasons even Prometheus leaves you hanging on) and one or a few of them are piloting a ship full of bio-weapon to a planet. They drop the bio-weapon on the planet, hoping to kill the insectoid race. Something goes wrong, the pilot gets infected and as he’s returning home to report victory or rally the troops to finish the job, a queen busts out of his chest, he crash lands on LV-486, dies. The Queen is like “WTF, no life forms?” so she lays as many eggs as possible, then dies. Then, the Nostromo arrives…

2) The Engineers have realized that their bio-weapon has crazy consequences when turned on themselves. “Why are we using the same weapon to create as well as destroy when we could make a whole creature that would just kill everything?” they ask themselves. One of their experiments goes wrong and they unleash the first proto-xenomorph (with the penis-shaped head). It takes forever to kill it, but they’re like: “HEY! If we mix this with the right species, we could create something really deadly.” Thus begins the search for what to combine with their creation-weapon to make the ultimate new weapon. Facilities like the one we see in Prometheus are launched. At some point post-Prometheus, they finally discover the best species to make a hybrid with - some sort of insect like species. The Space Jockey goes to the “Alien homeworld” collects as many eggs as he can so The Engineers can mass produce this new weapon, but something goes wrong and he’s infected, crash landing on LV-486."
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Owner's hours: 8am Saturday to 3:20am Sunday.  Back now!
Saturday, June 09, 2012
Bill Buford is the author of Heat. He is completing a book about being a French cook, provisionally titled Dirt & Dinner: Hauling my Sorry-ass Family to France for Three Years (and Counting).

"We found a flat. It had no oven. The windows didn't shut. It was cold. Bits of semi-frozen Rhone Valley river scum floated into our lungs and infected them with microscopic bronchial suicide bombers. We went to A&E. We got lice. We got lice again. One of our children walked on a taxi seat in his tiny three-year-old shoes; the driver hit him with his fist. I swore at the driver. He thanked me. I swore at myself. Why did I think I spoke French? The plan had been to stay six months. What about six days? Six days passed. Six months passed. Did we forget to leave?"
Housing Market Jitters Keep Lid on Genworth's Share Price

Q:  What impact would a 15-20% housing market price correction have on this thing?

A:  The one that is already priced into it.

Q:  Would Genworth make any money in a market correction?

A:  Not much, but, yes.  Slim profit or approximate break even.

Q:  How long might a market correction last?

A:  3-5 years.

Q:  When did you say you might need that RRSP money?

A:  2035, or thereabouts.

Q:  Interesting.

"It’s easy to forget that Bradbury wrote a lot of horror stories, too. Having been through the Depression and war to emerge in the anonymity of postwar America, how could he not? An emptied world where the smart machinery grinds on, yakking inanely, as the mainstream consumers are nuclear blast shadows stenciled on the outside of their suburban home — a vision from a smiling guy in short pants who spoke reverently of Buck Rogers comics.

People elided his dark, mournful side, because his affect was so brisk and boisterous. He was the sharpest of social critics, but never mean-tempered, like Orwell or Huxley. He was, rather, like that other great portraitist of hard-life Middle America, Edward Hopper, painting horror with an affect of stillness, bleakness, loneliness, bereavement and deprivation."
Friday, June 08, 2012

Found study for Ocean Avenue, 2012, c. 1950s.
Thursday, June 07, 2012

TRANSGENDERED PERSON CARRYING GIANT TEDDY BEAR [after five minutes of complicated wrangling over two dollar-table books]: Do you carry [INSANE LOCAL FREE PUBLICATION]?

CJB:  No.

TPCGTB:  Why is that?

CJB:  Because [INSANE LOCAL FREE PUBLICATION] is like an unmoderated Usenet group, only in print form.

TPCGTB:  Huh.  [beat]  It's not the six o'clock news, that's for sure!
Borges' Preface to The Martian Chronicles - via @jwomack

"Other authors stamp a coming date and we don't believe them, because we know it is a literary convention; Bradbury writes 2004 and we feel the gravitation, the fatigue, the vast and vague accumulation of the past - the 'dark backward and abysm of Time' from the Shakespeare verse. Already the Renaissance had noted, by mouth of Giordano Bruno and of Bacon, that the real Ancient Ones are us, and not the men from Genesis or Homer.

What has this man from Illinois done, I ask myself when closing the pages of his book, that episodes from the conquest of another planet fill me with horror and loneliness?

How can these fantasies touch me, and in such an intimate way? All literature (I dare reply) is symbolic; there are a few fundamental experiences and it is indifferent that a writer, to transmit them, recurs to the fantastic or the real, to Macbeth or to Rascolnikov, to the Belgium invasion in August 1914 or to an invasion of Mars. Who cares about the novel, or novelry [sic] of science fiction? In this book of ghostly appearance, Bradbury has placed his long empty Sundays, his American tedium, his loneliness, like Sinclair Lewis did on Main Street."
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
"[H]e found the inmates kind and curious. They gave him soap and a toothbrush, taught him to play Aces, offered fist bumps and words of encouragement. They threw their arms around his shoulders and posed for mock-photographs, miming a camera; they brandished newspaper articles on his arrest, and asked him to autograph them.

On his final night, one man, imposingly muscled and taciturn, who hadn’t yet spoken to Mr. Miyakawa, broke his silence, telling him, 'All these famous artists suffered before they became famous.'"

Overheard in the street: "Photoconceptualist...ASSHOLE."

Goodnight Ray.  Thanks for the Martian standing at the edge of the desert, and the mail-order mushrooms in the suburban fridge, and The Hallowe'en Tree, my favorite of all of your books.  And for the weird image/music/text sequence at the Expo 86 Californias [sic] pavilion, which I still think of every time I cross Grants Pass into those unmistakeable grey-gold tawny lion-colored hills.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
2012 BCCA 241 R. v. Barrett -- split decision; win!

"It follows that the conviction depends on the judge’s failure to appreciate the significance of this evidence and that Mr. Barrett did not receive a fair trial – he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. [....] I would allow the appeal, quash the conviction, and direct a new trial."
Monday, June 04, 2012

Found study for an in-process picture (After Hetty Dorval, Ethel Wilson, 1947, 2012)
Sunday, June 03, 2012

Barnet Highway, 7:30pm, 3 June 2012

And the light they always show to them
Is green, green, green


Peanut gallery, Lytton, BC
Friday, June 01, 2012

CJ (21), 2012

Neo-Ballardian space.

"Deserts possess a particular magic, since they have exhausted their own futures, and are thus free of time. Anything erected there, a city, a pyramid, a motel, stands outside time." (JGB)

Chickpeas, Kale & Sausage With Oven-Baked Egg

"You can certainly make this with canned chickpeas and even frozen spinach. Your egg and sausage can be supermarket bought and that would be fine, too. But I must confess, I feel part of the reason this is so good is that I cooked the chickpeas from scratch, got my pasture-raised chicken eggs at the farmers' market and a bunch of fresh kale there, too. And my sausage came from a reputable butcher that uses local, sustainable meat and makes them in-house. Still, with all those so-called fancy ingredients, I reckon this dish came in at about $3.00 per serving. And it was a good, fill-me-up kind of serving too."

A crystalline polyhedron shaped residence is cantilevered over the edge of a 200 million year old cliff in New Jersey

"The Palisades are a line of steep cliffs along the west side of the lower Hudson River in northeastern New Jersey and southern New York in the United States. The cliffs stretch north from Jersey City to near Nyack, New York. They rise nearly vertically from near the edge of the river and are among the most dramatic geologic features in the vicinity of New York City, forming a canyon of the Hudson River north of Fort Lee, as well as providing a vista of the New York City skyline."
"Addison & Sarova Auctioneers is proud to announce 'The Last Book Sale.' This shelf-lot auction is to be held on-site in Archer City [Texas], the location made famous by McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show and the film based upon that novel. The sale of hundreds of thousands of books, housed in Booked Up Inc stores numbers 2, 3, and 4, will be held over two days: August 10-11, 2012. A week of preview will precede the sale.

Larry McMurtry will be on-hand and, more than a shelf-sale, this will be a true celebration of the book trade and a collective renewal of vows to our labor of love [sic]. Did we mention there will be music, Texas BBQ, cold beer, and warm weather?"
Overcast.  Light rain beading on the azaleas' pink blooms and on the hoods of all the cars along the bike path, the individual droplets reflecting the sky.

The cat's black 6AM eyes. 

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