Tuesday, July 5, 2022

My Life (1928)

"... in the month of July of that year 1914 a strange oppression came over the earth. I felt it, and the children felt it too. When we were on the terrace overlooking the city of Paris, the children were often silent and subdued. Huge black clouds gathered in the sky. An uncanny pause seemed to hang over the land. I sensed it, and it seemed to me that the movements of the babe I bore were weaker, not so decided as those of the others had been.

I suppose I was all very tired from the effort I had made to change grief and mourning into new life, and as the month of July advanced L. suggested that he should send the school to England to spend the vacation  at his house in Devonshire. So one morning they all trooped in, two by two, to say goodbye to me. They were to spend August by the sea and return in September. When they had all gone, the house seemed strangely empty, and in spite of all my struggles, I fell prey to a deep depression. I was very tired, and would sit for long hours on the terrace overlooking Paris, and it seemed to me more and more some danger loomed from the East." (218)

Monday, July 4, 2022

A Chip Off the Old Path

Our house is an inversion of the neighbours to our west, and vice versa. Between our houses is an easement that allows us an outside route to our backyards from our front yards, and vice versa. The area pictured is at the south end of the easement, where an ancient piece of concrete was removed after I found a hole that was likely the result of what happens when you bury a large amount of organic matter (cellulose) 110 years ago. Fearing a break in the sewer line, my neighbour dug back a metre to make sure everything is sound (it is). To do so, a section of concrete had to be removed, and the rock work above is my attempt to replace it.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Fire Hydrant Red

His name is Derek, he works for the City. 

Derek's job is to travel between Camosun Street and Boundary Road five days a week (save the three weeks holiday he gets each year) and touch up Vancouver's 1,314 fire hydrants. He did not see me take this picture.

As Derek stood up, I noticed his name tag and asked him what shade of red he uses. He showed me the can. The label said: FIRE HYDRANT RED.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Green House Art Sale

Parking on Victoria Drive was impossible Thursday morning, so I turned right at 39th and found a shaded spot a couple blocks west. The walk to Amir's (my barber) would do me good, especially in the sunshine.

On my way back, a young woman was setting up a table on the overgrown lawn of a small bungalow. "A lemonade stand!" I rejoiced, and she smiled back "An art sale. Twelve noon. You should come." So I did.

The person who invited me is Nico McGiffin, the artist responsible for the invitingly even-tempered "I Love Lesbian" tags that stretch between Victoria and Fraser on Kingsway. Nico works in ceramics, but more recently has taken up painting. Below is a porcelain cast she made and glazed, and below that, a mixed-media work.

Nico's porcelain work attracted me for its lumpy purity, but later, when I got home, I noticed the way its lumps play with the artificial light above -- a celebration of the form's reflective surface through the assignment of its highlights. What attracted me to the picture was the subject's crown. A queen at sea, her raft a mass-produced palette. Our queen (Elizabeth II) will be dead soon, and we will be talking about what it means to be one.

Behold! A wood-cut:

Alyssa Thompson is at times a carving artist who works with wood and its byproduct: paper. I was attracted to this print (13/22) because the colour we associate with what a lamp does is the colour of the picture (my reproduction is much darker). Not just a lamp, but the diamond on which it sits, thus supplying us with three primary shapes: the more-or-less rectangular shade, the more-or-less circular body and the diamond-shaped mat (a square rotated 90-degrees). Moholy-Nagy might also see another form in the out-sized on-off chain, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Nadia Mahamoor's illustration of a woman sitting on a stool attracted me for its energy of presence -- specifically, the simultaneous force of hands and feet, the tension between getting up and sitting down, neither of which the subject is doing. Nor does this tension suggest any uncertainty on the subject's part, for she is in complete control of her situation. A portrait of human agency? I think so. Plus I like the way her bosom breaks from her chest, how delicately it is held by her dress. I like boobs like these.

Bella Roberts had three slip-cast pots on display. This one is my favourite:

I have a succulent for this pot -- and I can't wait to plant it!

It is encouraging to experience events like the Green House Art Sale, and from people so young (at least two of the artists are undergrads at Emily Carr University). I hope to see more activity like this. More refreshing than lemonade. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Pivot Noir

Given the ongoing shortage of restaurant serving staff, the City of Vancouver is now allowing businesses to adapt their previously approved curb side patios to other purposes. On such restaurant is now offering burials. The catch is that these burial plots, like the time limits placed on diners, are temporary, as one brother and sister found out recently when they showed up with their mother's corpse. "I have a seven p.m. interment available," the siblings were told by the maître'd, "but I'll need the grave back for nine."

Thursday, June 30, 2022


I forget what led me to the 1977 Academy Awards presentation for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. I suppose the answer lies in my browser's "History" tab, but I'm too busy to look. It's a beautiful morning. I can't wait to get out in it.

At first I thought this incredible set was inspired by Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), as Award set designs often taken their cues from/pay tribute to movies released that year. But Close Encounters wasn't released until November, and the Academy Awards was held in March. 

Apart from its colours and lines, the set carries with it an illusion (the dotted path that Tatum O'Neal walks to the podium, to read the list of nominees), which is what movies are all about, be it "movie magic", sleight of hand or downright deceit. The colours are especially interesting. A large dome of Caucasian pink, over a smaller dome made up of yellow and brown (it was Awards co-host Richard Pryor who introduced O'Neal).

Wednesday, June 29, 2022



There are a number of fundamentals gardeners learn or dispense with over a lifetime of gardening. One of them concerns composition (groupings) -- plants that look good together.

The picture up top includes a dark blue pot that every year is given two or three plugs of blue lobelia and an Indian Dunes geranium. 

Embracing the pot is a happier than usual lupin that, rather unexpectedly, has backed into a Rosa Sexy Rexy floribunda, a rose I planted four years ago and was late to the game this spring.