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Archive for June, 2010

Tights

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Don’t be fooled. These two don’t actually like eachother. They just both miss Mary-Lee. I think we all do. She didn’t take up much space but the house is pretty empty without her.

Today’s post is over at here at Indie Ink. I had a lot of deep thoughts about my tights.

And ballet. Ugh.

Frankenstein

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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More pictures of our silliness with cherries on Saturday.

I’ve been reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and I must say it’s a lot better than the movie. For a short novel there’s sure a lot of things that get missed really often.

What does surprise me is how much of an impact popular representations of the monster have influenced how I imagine him to look like. The description in the book is very brief – not really the way that we all know Frankenstein looks like.

And yet – we all know what the monster looks like. The monster is very iconic. I don’t know the history, but it does seem like it didn’t take very much time before the representation of him got standardized.

Now it’s not very difficult to draw or describe Frankenstein and have everybody know what you mean. But at the same time it’s hard to imagine the monster looking any differently.

I think that’s what annoys me right now. The pop culture Frankenstein keeps walking into my book.

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Toronto

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Peaceful G20 protest at Queen & Spadina from Meghann Millard on Vimeo.

I’ve spent all weekend watching things like this.

I’ve spent all weekend following my twitter feeds, reading current news and personal accounts of what has been happening in Toronto this weekend, tales of people being cleared out of ‘free speech’ zones, boxed in and held in the rain at Queen and Spadina, or chased from location to location, hemmed in and shot with rubber bullets.

Right now I’m still reading tweets from people being released from or still stuck in the detention centres, which by most accounts seem to be poorly equipped and inadequate for the number of people arrested and the amount of time they’ve spent there.

I think that this article in the New York Times comes very close to describing what I saw. The police let the violent protest go unchecked as they instead cracked down on peaceful protesters, journalists, legal observers and bystanders.

This article in the Georgia Straight comes part way to summarizing my thoughts. I support the use of police force against violent protest, but nothing that I can find indicates that this happened. At best, the conduct of the police indicates that the management was incompetent and incapable of handling the situation in a rational manner. At worst it’s intimidation and the brutal suppression of free speech. I hope it was the former.

I am disturbed by the suspension of peoples’ Charter rights and by the Toronto Police’s tactics and unnecessary arrests. It’s hard to watch and not to be angry about it.

Cherries everywhere!

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

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This year has been horrible for tree fruit. The spring was so cold that the trees all flowered before the bees were out, so of all the trees that my parents have, the only fruit produced this year is a single cherry.

They came home and announced that I had a photo assignment. They gave me a box of cherries and a roll of string and told me to hang cherries in all the trees and then send the pictures to my sister in Fiji.

A lot of silliness ensued as we put a lot of cherries where they clearly don’t belong.

I’ve been gradually working my way through a bunch of little projects and I had a pleasant day of digging out the turntable and putting on a few records. Vinyl’s great for when I’m hunched over the computer because it forces me to take breaks to change sides all the time.

My day was punctuated with a constant stream of #g20 tweets from friends and others in Toronto. It’s been the dark, depressing undercurrent of what was otherwise a nice day. I’m watching because I can’t seem to turn away.

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Animal whisperer, I am not

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

On my way home from the skytrain after knitting group tonight I watched a skunk cross the road half a block in front of me. I slowed down hoping that we wouldn’t cross paths, but when I approached, I found that it was standing under a tree maybe three feet from the sidewalk. I decided to give it as wide a berth as I could and stepped across the grass to the curb.

It noticed me, though, and it bristled, alert. I stopped. It stared. Neither of us moved.

We were at a standstill. “Mind if I call you Mark?” I said. It didn’t break eye contact. I continued.

“Look, Mark, I don’t really want to bother you. I just want to get home. If you could just let me by it would be much appreciated.”

Mark continued to stare at me. I took a step forward on the edge of the curb. Mark tensed, his tail up.

“Okay, then. Well, have a nice night, okay?” I beat a hasty retreat.

I considered crossing the street but the people in the house across the street have a large dog that isn’t always tied up. A couple weeks ago it ran after me, barking. I didn’t speed up. I walked a couple paces forward and turned around to face it, my hand on my umbrella. The dog stopped and growled at me. I stared for a bit and then walked away.

I’m not really scared of big dogs much, but I don’t really want to do that again.

Instead I took a big dog leg down a street that seemed very well lit and quiet but for some strange reason it creeped me out. I heard something rustle in the bushes at one point, and it was only then that I realized how jumpy I was. I just walked faster.

The reservoir

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I’ve been busy working my way through a backlog of photos to post on myFlickr. These are from Harrison Hot Springs, in the forest just up the hill from the little pool where the springs come out. It’s an old reservoir, probably made of asbestos, covered in mineral deposits from the hot water that has leaked out. There was a little hole in the tank where a stream of water gushed out. It smelled like sulphur but it felt like shower temperature.

I took a lot of pictures of it but these are my favourites because they’ve got a lot of texture to them. I’ve always been drawn to textures.

I don’t have a lot to say today. I’m all tired out.

Flea market

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

The flea market is always fun, though it’s definitely nowhere near as exciting as it used to be. At its best you can find all sorts of weird and wonderful things there. At its worst it makes you lose faith in humanity because it exposes how much junk people create and consume. Seeing tables piled high with useless trash that should never have been created in the first place is pretty depressing.

The lady in the corner with the giant beauty pageant rhinestone crowns was gone. That doesn’t surprise me much because she looked pretty ancient the last time we were there.

But some of the characters never change. The lady with the rhinestones clipped into the curls of her wig offered me a big discount but there wasn’t anything in her display cases that interested me. Another woman who has been at the flea market since time immemorial dozed off in a chair near one of the fire exits with her hands planted firmly on her belly.

We visited the Sikh guy who has also been there for a very long time and picked up a bunch of new tools. I didn’t really take very many pictures because I was carrying a set of steel punches around.

I ended up at one table of assorted ephemera with my mom, pointing out different things that we saw there. I can’t remember what it was but she was talking about something that she’d had in her house as a kid. I absentmindedly picked up a small wooden model iron and discovered that the underside had the enameled image of Jesus on it. I stifled a giggle.

“You see,” she said, pointing toward some paintings, “we’re surrounded by Jesus. There’s mellow pastoral Jesus over there and writhing-in-pain Jesus over there-”

“And iron-on-transfer Jesus here!” I said, brandishing the iron, but because I suck at telling my own dumb jokes, it took me four tries before I could get it out without laughing my head off, which was probably funnier than what I was actually planning to say.

Why would you put that on the bottom of an iron? It’s not like you can hang it on your wall. It makes no sense.

om

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

I went with Wesley to one of his friends’ album release party. On our way there he tried to scare me by telling me all about all the things I would be expected to do, like chant om, talk about sprouting beans and express gratitude for life. None of this scared me so he eventually admitted to making stuff up.

The funny thing was that everything he said turned out to be true. The crowd was new-agey, friendly and colourful. We were treated to strange sounding Bjork covers and hip-hop with participatory chanting to open our crown chakra. Wesley’s friend played acoustic guitar and sang songs about positivity.

We sat in a little art gallery with an exhibit of portraits of Ol’ Dirty Bastard in various media and possibly by various artists. My favourite piece was a set of brass teeth with rhinestones and other really impossible dental work.

Later on I became really enamoured with the woodgrain on our kitchen and sat up late sketching it. I think I’ll turn my sketches into an art project, but at the time I think I really confused and upset people with my weirdness. I don’t know. Since when is sitting up late and drawing weird?

Levuka

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

My sister is now in Levuka, which is a place that Google can’t find any photos of. She says she likes it better than where she was before because it’s very pretty and the temperature is a lot lower, hovering just above 20. She says she misses dairy products but that she heard rumours that there was goat cheese available somewhere on the island that she is on.

She hasn’t stayed in a place yet that has wifi, so she is at the mercy of whatever she can find at internet cafes. Whatever she ends up with never seems to give her enough time to upload some photos for people to see. We’ve had a bit of luck using the screen sharing feature in Skype. She can share her screen and then dig through all her files of photos and explain a bit about them as she goes. It works really well because she can show us a bunch of photos and we get the commentary right away.

But for the past while we haven’t heard much from her and Skype hasn’t worked so I have no idea what this Levuka looks like. I’m sure I will eventually.

This morning I woke up at 8am to the sound of a lawnmower. I wondered who could possibly be so inconsiderate as to mow their lawn at 8am and immediately thought of our neighbour who does it every day. But it wasn’t him. At least he waits until 10.

No, it was a guy cutting our lawn. Wonderful. The first thing my roommate said when he got up was “Erin, your grass is gone.” True, it is.

Empty house

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

the lawn again

Our neighbour has taken up mowing his lawn every day at 10am. Since we haven’t lived here for very long I’m not sure if it is just something that he does or if he’s trying to send us a message that our lawn is too long.

Everyone’s feeling Mary-Lee’s absence. She’s not noisy at all but somehow it’s been a lot quieter around here. The cat disappears for long periods of time and then suddenly she’s stuck to me. She does a thing where she’ll jump onto a table or chair, stand up on her back legs and plant her paws firmly on your chest so she can rub her face all over yours. In spite of living with cats all my life I’m actually kind of allergic to them so she makes my face itch and my eyes water.

I had a dream about her last night where she was stuck to my back and I couldn’t get her off so I wandered through tents and pavilions at a fair with some friends with her there. This may have been because she was sleeping in the small of my back at the time.

Mye is taking it in her own way. She no longer has a francophone to talk to so she’s been trying to accelerate our French acquisition by sticking post it notes with phrases all over the place. She stuck one on the cat but it didn’t stay for long.

Besides, I already know how to say cat.