Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bathroom Reading


Thanks for the copy of George's Writing and Reading. Perfect for bathroom reading -- and I mean that in the best possible way. Brief pieces. A book for those who don't read blogs.

Couldn't find a credit for the cover photo. Was it Alex W-H (as well)? I assume so.

Have to make sure I place the front cover down after reading this book. Don't like going into the bathroom and seeing George staring at me from the cistern, peering out from the shadow of his hat brim, awaiting his cape at the cleaners.

And what's in his hand? It looks like a microphone (George taking a break for the sax solo?) It's too tall for a cane -- unless it's Ryan Knighton's cane. Or maybe George is sitting on the toilet, like I'm about to. But if so, a bit over-dressed, dontcha think?

After thanking Fawcett for catching the fallacy in 9x11, he wrote back: "I think I’m turning into a guerilla epistemologist—I want people to understand the logic by which they claim to know things. Having to stare down the reaper every day has its rewards (Nov. 23, 2019)."

I wonder what George is turning into, if indeed he's turning. Not away from the reaper, but as it -- as imagined by Armani.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

This Is Not My Vancouver

I forget the movie I had paid to see that night, but I remember the trailer: a 1920s era Angelina Jolie in a cloche hat and red lipstick, looking this way and that; men getting out of cars, barking at her; her screaming at them, "This is not my son!" then looking away and biting a knuckle.

The trailer was for Changeling (2008), and it promised to appeal to those who loved Polanski's Chinatown (1974), but were more interested in following an attention-indifferent Frances Farmer (played by Jessica Lange) than an attention-seeking Jake Gittes (played by Jack Nicholson).

Directed by Clint Eastwood, Changeling is based on the true story of a woman whose son disappears, only to be returned to her by a corrupt Los Angeles Police Department -- but it's the wrong boy. When she complains, she is deemed crazy and institutionalized -- until a sympathetic cop finds evidence of a sexual predator and, with the help of a radio evangelist, she moves from courtroom to courtroom staring down those who had wronged her -- including the sexual predator, who, though he kidnapped and imprisoned her son, may not have killed him.

Changeling has all the ingredients of a great story -- but it is not a great film. Like a lot of Hollywood films over the past thirty-odd years, it has more than one ending, each one tacked on to the one before it: the sutured-ending, the schadenfreude ending and the open-ending.

The best part of the film, for this viewer, is the period recreation of late-1920s Los Angeles and, because the story takes us there for a brief but unnecessary instance, Vancouver (where most of the film's visual effects were generated), as pictured above. Just where in Vancouver that scene was shot has more to do with digital imaging than location scouting. Never before have I seen the North Shore Mountains so low on the horizon!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Drafting, Photography, Design

The first known photograph of a figure at an outdoor drafting table (above).

The Multitouch Drafting Table of today.

Sunday, December 8, 2019






Just the first four lines of the fifteenth poem in the third section of Danelle LaFrance's excellent and exhaustively it-specific JUST LIKE I LIKE IT (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019).

As for the photo, well, I read the poem and went searching for its referent. No evidence of Carter (above) mounting a tuna (this is as close as she comes), only Lizzy Jagger (below).

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Marker of Change

Yesterday I visited East Vancouver's Thornton Park to sit seat-by-seat around Beth Alber's monument to women. Entitled Marker of Change (1994), the work consists of 14 benches -- one for each woman executed by a gunman at the l'Ecole Polytechnique, University of Montreal on December 6, 1989.
  • Geneviève Bergeron (1968–1989), civil engineering student
  • Hélène Colgan (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
  • Nathalie Croteau (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
  • Barbara Daigneault (1967–1989), mechanical engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Edward (1968–1989), chemical engineering student
  • Maud Haviernick (1960–1989), materials engineering student
  • Maryse Laganière (1964–1989), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department
  • Maryse Leclair (1966–1989), materials engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Lemay (1967–1989), mechanical engineering student
  • Sonia Pelletier (1961–1989), mechanical engineering student
  • Michèle Richard (1968–1989), materials engineering student
  • Annie St-Arneault (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
  • Annie Turcotte (1969–1989), materials engineering student
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (1958–1989), nursing student

Friday, December 6, 2019

Where Cracks Meet (Abbas at CJ's)

To make the arched window, a passage had to be filled (in). But materials shift, and cracks appear.

Before the gallery opened, a concrete floor was poured. The earth adjusts, and cracks appeared there too.

Nothing is static, everything is in motion. The same applies to sentence structure: I typed a semi-colon to link the (independent) clauses in the previous sentence, but the dot fell off, and now I can't find it.

No matter, says Strunk and White; for shorter clauses you can use a comma.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Participation and Stories

I was reading up on the remarkable life of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade when I found myself in a November 26, 2019 Vulture interview with Margaret Atwood. Here is Atwood on the topic of "gender traitors," participation and stories (my bold):

MOLLY YOUNG: Many women have an emotional response of revulsion, a kind of “gender traitor” response. Is that a naïve reaction to someone like Ivanka Trump or Kellyanne Conway?

MARGARET ATWOOD: What is naïve? Going back in time, looking around at Hitler’s entourage, there were a lot of women in it. Of people who participate, there are usually three motives. The first is they’re a true believer; No. 2, opportunists — this is the only game in town; therefore, we’re going to play this game because that’s the only hope of advancement. And the third is fear: “If I don’t do this, I will be punished in some way. I will be excluded, I will be killed, I will be jailed, I will be disappeared.”

In really thorough going totalitarianism, fear is a big factor. In the America of today, it’s a factor but not as large a one. I don’t think we’re poisoning people with radioactive tea, but you would lose your job, be unable to get another one. You’d be blacklisted. That has certainly happened in this country. Those things are not to be discounted or sneered at, because they motivate a lot of people. And you don’t know what you would do until those are the choices offered to you. So are they wrong to be disapproving? No. Are they consigning these people to the category of nonhuman? That would be a mistake. Because this is human behavior. Usually it’s a bell curve, like everything else. Somebody who became an instrument of the totalitarian regime, had that opportunity not been offered, would probably have been an insurance salesman or running a vegetable store or something like that.

There’s four kinds of stories: extraordinary people in extraordinary times, extraordinary people in ordinary times, ordinary people in ordinary times, and ordinary people in extraordinary times. And if you wanted peace for life, you should vote for ordinary people in ordinary times. Handmaid’s Tale is ordinary people in extraordinary times. The book is. The television series is turning that ordinary person into an extraordinary person. And that too has happened. For instance, history of the French Resistance. There were two of those instances. One was called the Alliance. The Alliance was run by a woman who never got caught. It’s a pretty cliffhanging story. A number of her friends did, and they were killed. They almost got this woman, but, due to her size, she wiggled out through the bars of a window, ran away, and hid out.