Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ten Years to This Day

"Around 2009 I was giving a guest lecture at a university — something about the rapidly changing art world in the digital age — and during the Q&A an art student asked about whether having an online presence was a risk to the integrity of the artist and the art. I don’t think of myself as particularly prophetic, but I answered that I believed that very soon artists, and all other people, would be considered suspicious or even punished for not having an online presence. Which of course, now, often feels true. If you’re not online, in the eyes of many you don’t exist."

The above is from "Notes on Disappearing", an August 11th Glasstire essay by Christina Rees. I include it because August 2009 was when I started this blog (ten years ago today, to be exact) and I wanted to mark the occasion, as well as acknowledge the prophecy.

I published a book in the fall of 2009. Before it came out my publicist asked me if I was "active on social media." I told her I was not, and she said I should have a social media presence (Facebook, Twitter), as it would help her do her job (which is to promote the book). I said, "Okay, I've always been interested in blogs. I'll start a blog." She looked at me like I'd said I was going to buy a car and returned with a used Ford Escort.

Not sure how much longer I will keep this blog. Fairly certain I won't be posting daily. All of which is to say please expect less of me in the days and weeks to come.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Heavenly Blue

I'm not sure when I planted the "Heavenly Blue" morning glory seeds. Fairly certain it was in May. But after eight feet of vine growth, nothing on the flower end.

I put the question to my neighbour, whose last job before gallery direction was landscaping. "Lots of leaves and no flowers means too much nitrogen."

I thought back to when I prepared its pot. I remember using potting soil, and that the soil was tucked into a shelf next to an old, almost empty bag of mushroom manure.

"That would do it," he said.

Yesterday a flower came out. A hole in the nitrogen firewall!

Sunday, August 11, 2019


Last night I had another of those market society nightmares. This time it was a search engine data collection agency asking those of us who have ever gone online to pay a fee to keep our logs (after our death) from those willing to pay almost as much to license them.

No biggy, right -- our data has already been purchased and put to use by those who stand to gain from it. But the difference here is that those looking to buy our logs (they refer to us through the primary resource extractive term "loggers") intend to make those logs available in the form of programming.

In all my time growing up I never once thought that, after my passing, I would "return" to life in the form of a posthumous (television) channel. And that if I didn't want that to happen, I would have to pay someone to keep it from happening!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Laughter is the Best Euthanist

There is reason to be hopeful when today's dog owner prefers to rehabilitate a "rescue" dog than raise a just-weaned puppy. Not everyone is capable of raising a puppy. Nor is everyone capable of rehabilitating a rescue dog.

Some of the meanest people I know have raised the nicest dogs. Some of the most well-meaning have made their rescue dogs even meaner.

There is someone in my neighbourhood who, though extremely kind and gentle, insisted on adopting a thrice-rescued rescue dog that was so mean it took one look at my neighbour and laughed so hard it had to be put down.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Ethnographic Record

I found this 1963 New American Library (Mentor) edition of Margaret Mead's 1928 study of adolescence and sex in Samoa at a Kingsway thrift store a couple weeks ago. Not sure what move this nephew and auntie are bustin' on the cover, but I'm pretty sure they're not doing it to the Fireballs' "Sugar Shack".

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Secret Theatre

Last month Secret Beauty Supply (1339 Kingsway) used purple and white paint to bring "new life" to an art deco theatre.

This is what the other side of the street looked like when the theatre was being built:

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Mountain Lore

As a child I knew them as the Lions, two peaks poking up from the North Shore Mountains that (apparently) look like lions in the sunset's orange and yellow glow.

Try as I might, I could never find out who named them. Like a lot of things in the British city of Vancouver, it was just accepted. As in, If you have to ask, you don't deserve to know!

Years later I learned that they are also called the Two Sisters, and that E. Pauline Johnson included their story in her book, Legends of Vancouver (Vancouver: David Spencer, Ltd., 1911).