Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Garden Suite

Yesterday morning's crosstown bike ride to my accountant's justified all kinds of snacking and slacking off. Strangely, rather than act on that I happily, if not unconsciously, took on and avoided that which I often feel guilty about doing or not doing. Was it the exercise, or was it getting last year's and this year's taxes off my back? A bit of both? None of the above? No matter. It was a gorgeous day. Today's supposed to be a gorgeous day too.

Monday, March 27, 2023

The Tipper

The Tipper is a greasy spoon located on Kingsway, a couple of shops east of Victoria on the south side. Its interior is darkly-lit (an oxymoron?), and is made up of black-padded booths and chocolate-coloured wainscoting. If you're sitting near the window you can see the mountains of the Sechelt Peninsula.

Breakfasts at the Tipper are traditional meals, reasonably-priced, but I wouldn't want to eat there too often. No more than once a month.

Decorating the Tipper's small waiting area are drawings that at first look like they were made by children, but occasionally include those made by grown ups. The best of these drawings (not sure how that's decided, though I doubt it's a peer-review process) are tucked into the restaurant's clear plastic menu sleeves.

A menu that caught my eye last Saturday featured a drawing by Bob. I asked our server, the wry-smiling Slavic-eyed one, if she knows Bob, and she said, "Oh yeah, he just started taking lessons. Oh yeah, I know Bob."

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Double Bill

Two recent acquisitions, both from AA Furniture & Appliance. In the Bedroom (2001), because Sissy Spacek is a great actor, and Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (2014), a film whose first reviews intrigued me, but I never got around to seeing because some forty-something Creative Writing MFA in a clown suit dismissed the film on Twitter because its lead, Michael Keaton, "seems creepy to me." Not sure how this "seems" stayed with me all these years, but it did, and like syphilis, it can make you crazy. 

The picture up top is Emma Stone's best scene, where she lays into Keaton (her story father) for sublimating his failures by taking her to task on her own. The picture at bottom is a video that went viral only an hour after Keaton's character got locked outside of the theatre's rear exit in his underwear while the play he wrote and was starring in was on a scene break.

Now a social media sensation (his daughter set up a Twitter account in his name that already has 80K hits), the play is no longer in financial jeopardy because the critic who vowed to "kill" it is, as the kids say today, irrelevant. "Believe it or not," says the daughter to the father, "this is power." And indeed it is. But what wasn't power by then was a newspaper critic who could kill a play. That reality was long gone. Especially a play starring a Hollywood celebrity.

Ignorance is said to be bliss. But is it a virtue, a quality? Is there such a thing as an "unexpected virtue"? Forrest Gump (1994) suggests as much, and since the release of that film, we've come to expect it. Donald Trump has made a career off the ignorance of others. The less U.S. Americans know about themselves, the more they will covet ignorance.  

Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Artist Paul Wong

Paul commutes from 20th & Main to his studio in Chinatown. He slows for certain stretches because he knows who has coffee where and when. The Gene klatchers -- Glenn, Lawrence, Neil and Krista -- meet out front at 10:15am everyday. Friday's the day I join them. 

"Hello Paul."

"Well hello Misterturnerrrrr." 

Friday, March 24, 2023

Misha Glenny: Political Analyst and Music Critic

"The event took place against a background of spectacular fireworks, while the music was provided by one of the many Macedonian rock bands who, since the collapse of communism, have devoted themselves almost exclusively to the cult of Alexander the Great. Alexander lived before the Slavs had settled in Macedonia, but he remains an important foundation stone upon which Macedonian nationalists build their myths. Despite the significance with which the musicians invest in their songs, it is impossible not to giggle at these ridiculous ensembles who look like the mutant children of an unholy union between Jethro Tull and Deep Purple and sound even worse as they offer their cacophonic homage of Alexander up to the bright, summery Macedonian skies. Their performance is worthy of the Balkans' endemic passion for nonsense." -- Misha Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia, 1992, pp. 73-74

Thursday, March 23, 2023

"... however much she tried, she could not become stronger than herself"

"And death, as the sole means of reviving love for herself in his heart, of punishing him, and of the ongoing victory in that contest which an evil spirit in her heart was waging against him, presented itself clearly and vividly to her." -- Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877)

And so it goes, or went, for Anna. As for those who like these 1950s and 60s Signet Edition covers, the People's Co-op Bookstore on Commercial has a good thirty or so left, bunched together in the store's Fiction Section.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

21st Century Art: Context and Intent

An angle on the garden not often photographed. At least not this early in the year. I took its picture because I thought I saw something (grief? vengeance? recuperation?). Turns out what I thought I saw, wasn't. But all is not lost. I am satisfied with the composition, and have chosen to share it.