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December 2006
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February 2007

Fat lip in the loo

I was visiting my sister a few weeks ago - I had a cold so what better time to visit someone about to head off for Quito, the Rain forest, and the Galapagos. Had been out for a walk and what with the chill of the day and several coffees I had a specific target. Her toilet seat cover, while a nice accessory, adds just enough padding so that the seat barely stays up on it's own, carefully teetering on the event horizon. (Have I mentioned that a pet peeve for guys is that, no matter how often we mention it, women keep forgetting to leave the set up?) Anyways, I was using one hand to aim and the other to hold a tissue for my runny nose, when there was a brief ripple in the local space-time continuum and the seat started to fall.  Reflexes took over - rather than spoil my aim with one hand my body chose to use the other to whap me on the lip. Leaving a difficult to explain lump.

I watched Hex Monday night - on Space. Looks like an interesting series, the promo says it "tells the chilling story of one girl’s exploration of the supernatural and her own sexual awakening at a remote English boarding school". English boarding schoolgirls, sex, witchcraft - just may appeal to a few people. It (and others) have bumped Alias from the 9pm slot to 4pm - a weird time. Seems like a soap now. Space is running the whole series, 5 days a week. We're into the last season. with a lot of new characters - perhaps many of the regulars wanted big raises so it was cheaper to just kill them off.

Went to a party Saturday, after a long walk. Starting at a friends place just after 5, we walked first to the O-train, as I've never ridden it, even though it's been here since 2001. Not fantastic, but fun - and empty. We went south to Greenboro first,  then back to Carleton, just to get a longer ride. From there the train tracks continue under the Rideau River - I'll have to check that out another time, in daylight. There used to be a lot of graffiti along that route, although I believe access is very tightly controlled. We headed over to Brewer Park to check out the speed skating oval  - it was a cold clear night so we could hear the crisp swish of the skates as we got there. They were holding a 40k marathon, which was 100 laps of the oval. Or truncated circle. Whatever. It was maybe -20c out, with a breeze, so their 90 minutes or so whooshing around must have been a bit chilly, even with all that exercise. We were still early for the party (which was only a block away from the park) so we headed over to Bank, then up to Fifth, then across to Bronson and back down to the party just after 7. Some of the guests were amazed that we would deliberately stay outside in that weather for almost 2 hours, since it was winter, and freezing outside. Being a Northerner, I dress accordingly for the cold weather. Back in the old days I had a 40 minute walk to the Northern College campus - whether is was a warm spring day or a -30c January morning. It may have been uphill both ways too. Back to the party, it was a January blues fighter and birthday celebration. There was 20 or so guests there, from a variety of groups, so conversations were varied and interesting. I even met an ex-neighbour there - she'd divorced and moved away from my street a year ago.  It's a small world. When we left we walked the more direct route, took maybe 30 minutes -it was colder and we were tired.

Mike's excellent adventure

Last Friday night on my blog's calendar I had several things I wanted to get to - so I did them all. And as luck would have it a friend was looking for an excuse to get out and dance, so I dragged her along too.

We started at La Petite Mort Gallery, then to the World Beats & Eats fundraiser, then to Disorganized in the basement of the Clocktower, then upstairs for some Timekode. And by 2:30 I was bagged, and ready for a cab to S'Norleans.

La Petite Mort, the first stop, opened back in October of 2005, and has a constantly changing collection of works - it's always pushing the edge. As described by owner/curator Guy Berube:

As contemporary art and industrial design have come to occupy an increasingly larger space in the consciousness of today's consumers, the line between "design" and "art" continues to blur, even at times to disappear. Consequently, La Petite Mort has created a new space dedicated to exploring this shifting, evolving dialogue. The new gallery will present work which bridges these two disciplines, fusing craft and production, art and design, outsider and mainstream, designer and producer. This is an approach which we've followed from the early days of being artists and designers, and we are now positioned to pursue it in a much more focused way.

Last night's vernissage was for a show running until the end of January, by Sherry Tomplaski. It's entitled Jewelled Body Parts, and is in her words:

"Psychological realism. For the past 20 years as a psychiatrist, I have tried to help people make sense of their inner life, and in a sense, my paintings are that inner life made visible.

The Jeweled Body Parts Exhibition is a natural outgrowth of my Body Language Series, which was recently featured in Brazil's psychological magazine "Mente & Cerebro".

Jeweled Body Parts examines feminine beauty, objectification, and the desire to be complete. I have chosen to express this with playful bold designs and subliminal images".

The paintings are a stunning series of voluptuous torsos, covered in bright bits of colour, like jewels. Some have a hint of a small female figure, trapped in the torso. I asked the artist if these all represented patients, with their inner demons and their neuroses and blemishes painted over their skin - she seemed to appreciate my interpretation, but went on to explain what it really was. As a young developing teenager, she had done some sketches like these, so decided recently to spend 6 weeks exploring the concept further. They are meant to show women's focus on the voluptuous figure, and it's adornment with jewelry and makeup - sometimes as a way to release the woman within. Or something like that - sounded reasonable enough to me. So, after it was explained, I "got it", and appreciated it even more. I guess I was trying to over analyze what I was seeing - been reading to many art catalogues. It did get me thinking that I would prefer to understand the concept right off when I look at art, but maybe there is supposed to be that challenge - maybe only art students or other artists all get it right away. I would hope most people do get it - I would think the goals of an artist would be to express a concept, and then communicate that to others. If the latter doesn't happen - what's the point?  I must admit I am a bit of a Philistine when it comes to some more abstract art, especially when I'm told what it all means in equally abstract words, and still don't get it.

So, ranting aside, the evening continued at World Beats and Eats - usually held at the Mercury Lounge in the Market but this time "due to the expected overwhelming success" was moved to the larger SAW Gallery, on Nicholas. Good plan, as it was very popular, as usual.The art consisted of collections of posters from a number of recurring events in the past year - including those by La Petite Mort, Spins and Needles, and World Beats and Eats. Nibblies were great, especially the chocolate-chili cookies. Beats started with Emily Jones, as usual - I meant to get a better pic this time but missed her before she took off for her regular Friday night at e18hteen, at 18 York. I guess I was too busy sipping my beer and flirting with all the charming ladies and passing out business cards to my blog and pics. The next DJ, Benmore, was ready to start the dancing, so Brad started pushing back tables after the raffle. Unfortunatley, we had to move on - places to go, people to do.

We got to the Clocktower around 10:15 - as it was to start at 10, but when we got downstairs there were only a few there already, mostly to help set up I think. Someone came over to where we were sitting there to clarify that it was to be DJ's and dancing - if we were at the pub for food we should go upstairs. We assured him we were there for Disorganized. He seemed surprised for some reason - might have been all my grey hair, as the crowd tends to be mostly in their 20's. The music had started early but for the next hour, although a lot started to pack in, all the kids looked like they were at their parent's cocktail party - standing there with drinks in their hand and talking. Some had the occasional spasm of dance, but it never lasted more than a few beats. However, eventually a critical mass was attained, and the chain reaction started. We joined the crowd, and spent the next hour or so prancing and dancing up by the DJ's. Spinning for us were Juiceboxxx and Dreskull, and a few others. Ir was a great blend of hip hop and samples from back as far as the 60's, they kept it rolling along and the crowd pumped up. My partner was very energetic and appreciative of the music so we just kept on dancing - until I REALLY had to go to the can. By then it was waaay over the legal limit in there, with a line of the fashionably late waiting all the way up the stairs. So, if you left for the can - that was it, you were out and at the back of the line. We figured we had danced enough for one night anyways, so just headed upstairs, where it was much quieter (and cooler).

Timekode was playing, and so were some bgirls - from Decypher Cru and such. I stayed to watch and enjoy a quiet beer and then faded. It was too late (2:30?) to walk up to Slater on the chance of still catching a 95 bus home - so it was a cab for me.
Be sure to catch Timekode at the Eri Café / Pan-African Social Club Jan 19th on Somerset by Preston. It starts at 8 but get there early for some of the foods from Eritrea. And contact the bgirls as to when their next classes start.
The pics from some of the evening are up on Flickr.
I'm listening to CBC3 again, just heard a cut by Masiaone - great. Check out her Myspace too, and the video for Split Second Time.

End of a year - and more

Hope all had a good end to their holiday season. With not too much (define too much?) fun or calories. Mine went mostly well, except for Saturday.


Our very elderly cat Tara had been fading slowly over the last few months - she was at least 20 (96 in human years and collecting pension checks for me) and had a hyperthyroid condition (note the tense used).  Her pills kept that pretty well under control, but the high metabolism still meant she was pretty thin and scrawny looking. Especially last summer when I had to get her body shaved to get rid of all her matted fur. All except her head, you could count her ribs and each vertebra. She had lost the flexibility to groom herself - and probably the initiative too.  Still a loving and affectionate friend, but the poor thing had hardly any fat or muscle left, living close to the edge - the vet had said likely her heart would just give out on her. The last few days she'd not been eating or drinking much, just sleeping and and leaving the occasional pool of pee or diarrhea in the back hall. All day Friday she was very quiet, would just look up once in a while with a very small meow. Saturday morning I woke at 8 - NOT to the sound of meowing at my door. I went downstairs and found her lying peacefully next to her food dishes in the kitchen. Still warm, so I think she'd been dead only an hour or two. And still flexible enough that I could curl her up into a cozy little ball.

She used to lie by my bedroom door and call in the morning "Hellooooo? Anyone there???? Time to get up!!!". As annoying as that could be - I'll miss it. I'll also miss checking under my office chair before rolling back (in case her tail was trying to block the wheels), or nudging her away from the front of the fridge door (she liked the warm breeze blowing out the bottom), or finding her asleep in a cardboard box, or watching TV with her cuddled up warm against my side, or being greeted at the door by her insistent "where have you been all this time and where's my dinner?" A lot of good years, a lot of great memories, but it was time.

I talked to the kids, we're having her cremated, and then this spring we'll bury her ashes in Fernwood, in the back yard - she used to like to lurk there and pretend she was a fierce jungle cat.