November 25, 2008
red and orange
I'm now doomed to get Simon and Garfunkel's "America" in my head every time I pee, because I foolishly pasted up a photo of the New Jersey Turnpike beside one of penguins. Right next to Mr. Flushy. Whoops.
November 23, 2008
glue stick heaven
We live in a 97 year old four-square Craftsman house. It's a pretty nice house, especially given what we paid for it, but it's got some serious flaws both structural and aesthetic, and we've got a to-do list as long as our arms and far, far longer than our budget will currently allow. Previous owners made some crazy-ass decisions in this place, and for 5 1/2 years now we've pretty much just been living with them. I mean, they cemented a toilet to the basement floor with chunks of marble, for crying out loud. They stuccoed half the dining room and plastered up fake brick on the other half. The whole upstairs is a patchwork of ugly linoleum flooring. They covered up the bathroom window on the inside without removing it or even taking down the blind first. It could take the rest of our lives to set it all right. And we have big plans, from building a photography darkroom (with toilet!) in the basement to finishing the attic and making it a master bedroom to knocking out some walls to make two bedrooms into a spacious second floor studio with bamboo walls and Japanese paper sliding doors to elaborately decorated ceilings and subway tiles in the bathroom and a broken-crockery mosaic backsplash in the kitchen; all stuff that future owners of the place will curse us for, no doubt.
So. Next weekend we're having a party, and I've suddenly decided that I can't possibly have people see our hideous and embarrassing bathroom (even though they've all seen it before). Because the longer we wait to rip out and renovate this eyesore, the more people might think we actually like it, and of course you know that like all new homeowners, we have far better taste than the owners before us. I think there's some kind of universal law about that.
Here, have a look at this bathroom and tell me it's not puke-inducingly bad:
Plastic-coated masonite fake tiles and artfully uneven faux-sauna wood trim.
A vanity that juts out in front of the doorway and also partially covers the floor heat vent. Smart.
And a barely functional jacuzzi tub with a shower head placed so that you have to sit down to use it. Sideways. With scrunched-up crossed legs because the tub is narrow. Oh, and the water runs straight through the wall and falls on the dining room ceiling below, which is actually in less danger of collapsing on our heads than the living room ceiling is (from before-our-time sink and toilet leakage) only because we never, ever use this tub. So it's not only an eyesore but also a totally unusable waste of valuable bathroom real estate.
A few days ago I floated the idea to Peter of painting the bathroom black. All of it, fake tile walls, wood trim, tub, vanity counter, everything. After some negotiations we settled on bubblegum pink, planning to leave only the toilet and sink unpainted and to spray paint the toilet seat a glossy red. But Peter had misgivings about the whole thing, which culminated in some marital strife (or, the living in sin version of marital strife, whatever that's called) right in the paint aisle of Canadian Tire and ending with me being bitchy and pouting at the mall and spilling my Tim Hortons tea on my skirt and using profanity right in front of a doe-eyed ancient old lady who happened to be wearing the least convincing wig I've ever laid eyes on. So. The upshot of all of this is that we decided to instead cut pages and pages out of the hundreds of old National Geographic magazines we inherited from Peter's mom and wallpaper the whole bathroom in them. Which, I might add, is a good deal more labour intensive than just painting it all pink.
Choosing images is harder than I thought it would be. I don't want it to be all gorgeous boring landscapes, or to be too wild kingdom. But I also don't want to use images that fetishize indigenous cultures, and I don't want a lot of piles of half-dug-up bones, and I'm hesitant to use images from stories that have to do with intense human suffering of any kind. Also this whole task is a bit risky for me because I freak out if I see a picture of a fish, especially freshwater fish. Especially dead ones or dying ones, so stories about Alaska or about bears are particularly dangerous. Hey, those fish are SCARY, y'all. Still, after going through not even a third of the magazines I have a big stack of pages to start with plus lots of smaller images and words that we'll cut and paste into something funny once the background layer is down. Then I can draw on the whole thing with markers later on too. The funniest image we've found so far is a man sitting on a Ronald McDonald head. The funniest photo caption: L'afrique le chic.
November 13, 2008
new, old, abandoned, in progress. in no particular order.
1: sweater recycling centre: set up a knitting machine in a gallery space. unravel discarded/secondhand sweaters directly into the machine and knit one long continuous panel (full needle bed width). cut and sew new sweaters from the panel. leave panel attached to machine, spread across the floor with garment shapes cut out. sort of like the study for a remnant factory installation/performance, only with knitting.
this one is a go just as soon as i get off my arse to find a space to do it in. right now it has to be a space that i don't have to pay for.
2: sarkasmatron: a giant box decorated like a carnival ride/vending machine, set up in a public space. sit inside and wait for people to put in a coin then dispense little slips of paper with handwritten sarcastic messages or insults.
this is something i've been talking about doing since ten years ago or more, back when i lived in london. i can't imagine it going over all that well in london. this project will probably never happen but it would be loads of fun.
3: listening project: listen to all of our records in chronological order. blog listening experience; host listening parties so others can join the conversation.
peter and i now have all of our records (587 as of last entry, not counting all the classical stuff which isn't being included in the project) entered into a database where we can organize them by release date. still working on expanding the collection but we should be ready to start listening soon.
4: waffle house north: buy the empty lot next to the mcdonalds at huron church road and college (or even better, buy the mcdonalds itself) and open a waffle house franchise. this will make waffle house the first thing travellers see when they enter canada via the ambassador bridge.
planning to start playing the lottery to fund this project; benefactors welcome.
5: wall of boggle: replace a wall in our house with stainless steel, then paint over it to match the other walls. glue magnets to the backs of thousands of scrabble tiles. fill the wall with scrabble tiles, randomly placed. play giant games of boggle.
peter and claire got bored one day and magnetized one set of scrabble tiles and stuck them on the fridge. i think peter has given up on the wall idea. not sure if i have but also not sure how to actually make this work in our 4-square craftsman house, which doesn't actually have many big walls.
6: footpath tapestry: have all of the people crossing a busy park or intersection carry a long (really long, skein long) ribbon, string, yarn, whatever. when two people meet one will pass his/her ribbon over, the other under. a weaving will be created across the space that draws its pattern from the way in which people move through it. kind of like a maypole dance only less uniform, stretched out over a broad public thoroughfare.
this too is something i wanted to do years ago, since my first year of university, inspired by jostling encounters with disconnected people hurrying across the space between university college and middlesex college on western's campus. after i moved to windsor i wanted to instead create a weaving (on a smaller scale) from patterns of traffic approaching and crossing the windsor-detroit border.
7: food spectrum: only eat red foods for one month. only eat orange foods for the next month. only eat yellow foods for the next month. and so on. see if my skin changes colour, or if certain colours cause me to lose/gain weight.
blue and indigo would have to be one colour or i might die from not getting enough to eat. i don't like blueberries.
8: wrapping: wrap all of my stuff with string or strips of cloth. or ask people to loan me things and then wrap the things i borrow in strings/strips of cloth. walk down my street and wrap all the things i see in cloth. maybe not people's cars.
i don't know what this is about, really, i just have been thinking a lot lately about wrapping things. i think my hands just want the feeling of wrapping things. i suppose if i just start wrapping things i'll figure out why i'm doing it eventually. anybody want to loan me some stuff?
November 08, 2008
new drawings in progress
November 07, 2008
Twitter broke my blog. Spending my days typing light little ditties of 140 characters or less has brought on a massive case of the lazy. I don't want to think, don't want to write. I just want to make my noise all day. In wee little blurbs, leaving pictures of rutabagas at the top of my blog for whole weeks. Can I even muster up the energy to craft one of my trademark ridiculously run-on sentences anymore? Dunno. Srsly. @somebody.
So: this week. Of course we spent Tuesday glued to the tee vee like the rest of the free world. Drinking beers, hoping, hoping, then rejoicing. The trouncing of South Dakota's proposed abortion ban is a victory for all who believe that women's health doesn't belong in derisive air quotes. My heart does hurt for all the people who had their constitutional rights stomped on by a bigoted majority (isn't the state supposed to protect people from this?), but I have hope. Bigots will all die off someday. And, Mormon church: go fuck yourself.
I've started a new routine of spending every weekday morning working in the studio even if I'm working on something that I could just as easily do at home. It probably goes without saying that I get a lot more work done when I can't check the blogs and the twitter and the facebook and the flickr and the e-mail and the goddamned games and the rest of it. Just in the last few days I finished up a pile of drum leaf journals and put them up in the shop and got a couple of copper plates ready to print. At home in the afternoons I've been working on some new drawings that I'm pretty excited about. I'll show you those tomorrow morning, maybe. We're well into the days where there's only a short window of opportunity for taking decently-lit photos in the house.
This morning I spent some time with a couple of other people fixing a broken press at the studio, and as a result pretty much the whole day the Judas Priest song "Breaking the Law" was stuck in my head, only with the words "fixing the PRESS fixing the PRESS fixing the PRESS". The mental juke box can be such a pain in the arse.
Tonight Peter told me that he'd rather listen to The Who than Judas Priest (for context: we hate The Who. And I like Judas Priest). It caused me to wonder how the two of us are even compatible. But then I pretended that my yoghurt was cum shots on my face and he responded by pretending to deep throat his banana, and I was reassured. We're clearly meant for each other. Cue romantic music and chirpy bird sounds.
I almost forgot. Here's your Soctober Surprise:
For anyone who knows me, the surprise is not that I failed to finish the Soctoberfest mystery socks. Y'all may have noticed I'm not a very good -alonger. I knit the cuffs and then decided to knit a bigger size, then took the yarn with me for Thanksgiving weekend family-visiting, but I somehow only brought three needles so I had to knit the cuffs flat and couldn't start the legs until I got back home. Ah, there's one of those excruciating sentences. Still got the touch. So the leg pattern in the sock wasn't very intuitive at first and I hate looking at charts and the Dream in Colour Smooshy yarn, while it's lovely and lives up to its name in comfy smooshiness, is a pain in the arse to cable-without-a-cable-needle, and then it all got set aside in favour of some work knitting I'm doing. Finally, the pattern clicked in my head and I was able to set aside the chart and just knit the thing just in time for October to end and for me to really have to focus on the work knitting now. So it goes on the half-socks pile for now. In the meantime, I've just been seized by an intense desire to rip out my nearly-finished Noro Kureyon knee sock and make the Ziggy socks instead. At the end of Soctoberfest. Don't even bring up Norovember, it's just not gonna happen.
Normally Little Miss Picky who can't send text messages because I'm all hung up on grammar and spelling and complete sentences, I'm not even going to proofread this. Going to watch some Trailer Park Boys instead. That's the way she goes, boys.