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August 31, 2008
Scene: Tim Hortons late on a Sunday morning, bustling with the after-church crowd. Your intrepid heroine is sitting alone in a corner minding her own business, knitting away on a lovely skirt over a large mug of Tim's so-called "steeped tea" (not actually steeped, but that's a gripe for another day). A man about fifteen years her senior approaches; he's wearing a t-shirt with some motorcycle company logo on the front, and on the back are two targets with crosshairs, roughly over the lower end of the shoulder blades, and this text: Passenger Safety Instructions. 1. Place one boob over each target. 2. Hold on tight. 3. Enjoy the ride.
The man sits down at the table next to our heroine, ten inches or so away, separated by a low divider wall. He asks, "making me a sweater?".
Ahem. Ladies (I'm assuming no men ever get this question whether they knit or not), have you ever been asked this question in public by a total stranger before? I have, several times, so many times that ages ago I started thinking about how I might answer this question next time, only to chicken out once the next "next time" came.
What I said: "nope". Without so much as a glance up or further acknowledgement of his existence.
What I wish I'd said: "No, but maybe I'll knit you one some day when your membership in the patriarchy no longer entitles you to think you can demand intimate domestic tasks from any woman. You'll need one then, since hell will have frozen over".
August 14, 2008
This is really more of a letter to Peter than a blog post, but instead of sending it to him at work I decided to put it here. Lucky for you all.
The neighbours across the street (the annoying ones who yell at the children, not the nice Lebanese grandparents with the immaculate lawn) are listening to the kind of death metal that sounds like the singer is vomiting, or a monster from Ghostbusters. Or vomiting up a bunch of Ghostbusters monsters. Earlier they were listening to Kid Rock singing about how they used to listen to Sweet Home Alabama all summer long. Can't decide which is less tolerable. Probably the latter, since with the former I at least can't make out words. Wait, now they've changed to the kind of guitar-heavy metal I can handle. Wonder how long that will last.
I don't want to cook tonight. Can we eat leftovers? Or get sandwiches from Green Island? It's times like these I curse Dave Nichols or Loblaws or whomever is responsible for discontinuing those Ancient Grains veggie burgers I liked so much. I also blame them for the fact that our barbecue may not work anymore, because the veggie burgers disappeared right around the last time we barbecued anything, and so clearly there's a connection.
Oh, we're back to vomiting monsters. And they turned it up even though they're no longer outside on the porch. Clearly these people are trying to be assholes, but as the Yoda said, there is no try. Only do. Holy crap, I can hear their front window rattling. I'm not even kidding.
While I'm in a ranty mood, here are a few photos I took in the studio this morning while working on my collaboration with Jessica. This one is for my American friends who think I'm down on their country all the time: here is one area in which I'll freely admit it's better to live in the States than in Canada. Notice the difference in cost to send something from Windsor to Omaha versus sending that exact same something from Omaha to Windsor. Of course I get back and then some all the extra money I send on shipping with the private health insurance I don't have to buy, but still. Our dollars are at par. Why aren't our stamps?*
*rhetorical question; please don't explain, I know why not stamps. It just seems sometimes like Canada Post is a total cash grab.
July 27, 2008
okay, i've learned my lesson: check your sources.
Folks, I don't actually ever read comments on youtube videos, because they're usually puerile and not worth the time. Y'all are right, the Guinness ad wasn't real. Good thing, too: now I can go back to drinking Guinness, participating in threesomes and fulminating against anti-feminist misogyny, without feeling like I'm part of the problem.
July 25, 2008
I used to be a Guinness drinker.
Just to be clear, I don't really have a problem with what the people in this ad are doing. I do have a problem with one of those people being placed in a position of inferiority to the others, a position worthy of disrespect and ownership, and that person being the one person in the ad who represents me. If the makers of what for a long time has been my favourite beer hate me this much, well, there are other beers.
*edit: okay, it's not a real ad. Back to drinking Guinness and participating in threesomes with abandon. Whew!
July 15, 2008
if you're just here for the art stuff then skip ahead to paragraph four
I'd like to begin today's discussion with some clarification of my bitchy rant about the neighbours (for the three or so people who care). I didn't want to imply that I have a problem with poor people living within my line of sight, or that I have a problem with people who live on social assistance. It's not something I talk about much but I have been on social assistance myself in the past, and so have several other people I know, people who have gone on to do things like earn masters degrees or to become university employees or members of the armed forces or of the clergy. It's something that I happily pay taxes to fund (or did, and will again just as soon as I start actually making an income in my own country once more) and something that I wish didn't have such a stigma attached to it.
My complaint is really mostly about one particular man who lives in one of the two adjacent rental houses, a man who sits on his porch shouting things that make my blood boil. I've heard him gender-bashing the kids, mocking a little boy and calling him a wimp while he's "getting beaten up by a girl" (disempowering for both the boy and the girl, and what about telling both kids it's not okay to hit?). I've heard him showing the children that it's funny to be rude and swear at people for no reason. And the other day when four men wearing salwar and kameez came and knocked on the door of the nice elderly couple directly across from me (the ones who are moving away after 35 years here), I heard him making jokes about "men in dresses" (sexist and racist and yes, it was right in front of the kids). And of course I can't say anything because it will just start a fight and create bad blood with people who live close enough to make us miserable if they want to and anyway, you can't go and undermine someone in front of their children no matter how big an arsehole they are.
So, it's frustrating. But, as Andrew pointed out in the comments, Windsor's housing market being in the toilet is part of the problem. In fact, the crappy market is part of why we were even able to buy this house. And of course, those two houses are owned by an absentee landlord who doesn't give a rat's ass about the tenants, so the properties get run down to shit and then only the poorest most desperate people will move in and they don't care about keeping the place nice either because they hate their landlord and it's just a vicious cycle. And I'm going to try to stop bitching about it for now and just hope that somebody nice buys the place across the street. At least we can rest assured that they'll want more for their house than that absentee landlord will want to spend, so no chance of his empire expanding.
Let's talk about something different, because I have a show coming up that I'm pretty excited about. It's part of the Visual Fringe Festival, a series of off-site installations that Artcite is mounting in conjunction with the Windsor International Fringe Festival. For the next two weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to six p.m. I'll be doing a dressmaking performance at 34 University Avenue E, which for you locals is the space where the tanning salon used to be in the little building next to the former Greyhound station and across from the former Armouries (sad how much of our city is "former", although that could be true of every city). It's going to be tons of fun and you should all come. As well, Artcite's going to host a stitchnbitch on Saturday the 26th right in my installation space so y'all can come down and bring your knitting and spinning and hang out and chitchat while I sew dress after dress. Sound like fun? Hell yeah!
Speaking of fun. Peter and I have been working on a project together which I won't talk about right now except to say that it has to do with music and all those things I really love like rules and lists and dates and the internet and cataloguing and rules. Peter gets to be the library geek and I get to make all sorts of rules and also our record collection is in a period of rapid expansion. Anybody out there who's got a box of records in the closet and nothing to play them on, drop me a line if you think you might have something I'm interested in and feel like doing some swapping.
Here's the sort of obsessive pursuit that I love and that makes Peter mental: a hundred versions of the same song. I could totally listen to the same song all day just as long as there's no Rod Stewart version.
June 14, 2007
the windsor ontario bureau of the canadian broadcasting corporation is where they stick all of the on-air personalities that nobody else wants.
Granted, the current morning show host, Tony Doucette, isn't nearly as irritating as the guy he replaced. Still, it seems not a morning goes by that we don't lie in bed after the clock radio has come on rolling our eyes or laughing out loud at some absurd statement or garbled attempt at describing the weather. This morning's gem (paraphrased somewhat):
Well, you know, a lot of people have blogs. And they write about their day and their life and what they like and what they don't like and about how sometimes life is really hard. Well, three hundred some-odd years ago today, Louis Hebert, Canada's first farmer, arrived here and can you IMAGINE how hard life was for him and his family? (dramatic pause) Somebody should write a novel about that. Or maybe somebody has. I haven't checked.
This was followed immediately by Bill Baker the news guy, Tweedledee to Doucette's Tweedledum, giving the weather thus: "smog advisory today, but that's okay".
These guys are complete idiots, but that's okay. It's only Windsor people who have to listen to them.
show and tell time. And then maybe a little rant about my neighbour.
This morning I finally got the last section of the front yard filled with plants. I've been picking away at it slowly all week, not wanting to work too hard in the heat of the day and finding myself easily fatigued thanks to a cold/virus/allergy/something that's been making my nose run and sapping my energy without just getting on with it and turning into any sort of full-blown illness. I've mostly just been puttering in the dirt for an hour or less each morning and quitting when it gets hot, but after managing to turn in the manure and peat moss last evening while Peter weeded the other bed, this morning I pushed through and finished. It feels good to have all of the tarps off the ground after two years. No, those aren't tarps in the middle! Those are roofing tiles and pieces of tarpaper (so much classier than tarps), and they're marking where our new sidewalk and the cement pad for our new porch steps will go. We might even get that sidewalk laid this year, yet.
Here is more information than you want or need, placed here for my own future use (because I can't remember what we've planted from year to year and also am becoming a bit obsessive about knowing who gave us each plant):
1. sedum, originally moved from Pete's mom Mikell's place. There's about ten times more of this in the back yard. It has pink flowers. She hated the stuff and asked us to take it all out of her flower bed and I happily brought as much as I could here, because I love any plant that is aggressive and no work to grow.
2. pinks, left here by the previous owner, first moved by us to the back yard and now back to the front.
3. daisies, different from the ones in the other part of the yard. These are more the roadside weedy kind, with delicate ferny foliage. They may have come from Owen and Pat's garden.
4. a different kind of sedum, the wormy one. Yellow flowers. I think also from Owen and Pat, although I had a lot of this in my old place in London.
5. hens and chicks, moved from the back yard. I'm not sure where they came from, perhaps left by the previous owner.
6. ajuga that I brought from Mikell's. It was originally bought by me when I lived in London, and moved to Mikell's for safe keeping when we came to Windsor. I'm not sure this is going to live, it pretty much hated the week I made it spend in a pot before planting it here, and is pouting like crazy.
7. a wee bit of a mystery spurge that tagged along with the pinks from the back yard. We're already in danger of having the entire other side of the front garden taken over by this stuff, so a little more won't hurt, right?
8. rue, brought from Peter's herb garden back at Mikell's place. We already have a large one of these on the other side as well, but this little one was lonely and wanted to come here.
9. balloon flower that we bought a few weeks ago, moved to a new spot.
10. cardinal flower, store-bought last year, moved to a new spot today.
11. a chartreuse hosta, moved from the back yard, originally came from my old place in London, via Mikell's (our holding place for all our plants between moving to Windsor and buying the house). These may have originally come from Raven and Laura's garden. I think it has white flowers.
12. more hostas, these ones taken from Mikell's, where they encircle the front yard trees. These originally came from Peter's grandparent's house in Leamington. They'll flower purple.
13. coral bells, bought a few weeks ago, moved to a new spot.
14. false blue indigo, bought and planted a few weeks ago.
15. purple fennel. This won't be its permanent home (it'll get way too tall to stay here), but a spot needs to be prepared for it in the back. It'll eventually be moved to along the backyard fence, next to the valerian, faux-boo and the crazy wonderful roses I can't kill.
16. columbine, the orangey native-to-our-area one. Bought and planted a few weeks ago.
17. blue bells, more from our last shopping trip.
18: mazus, also from that shopping trip. This stuff isn't doing so well, it just wants to act faint and listlessly wave for the smelling salts pretty much all the time. I hope it shapes up, as I can't really abide wimpy plants that need babying.
19. siberian irises, brought from my old place via Mikell's. Originally a gift from Mariella de Peregrino's garden. There are also some smaller irises in front of those that came from Pete's grandparents in Leamington, via Mikell's. Along in front of the irises there is going to be a flagstone path, which we may or may not get around to putting in this year.
Okay. Time for a story, boys and girls. Since coming home, I've been spending as much time as I can out on the front porch, knitting, working and watching the neighbour kids play. A few days ago I noticed a bad smell, like the smell of a dead animal rotting, occasionally drifting across on the breeze. A few cats have gone missing on our street this past week and I began worrying that one of them had got under our porch and died (Peter said he thought it smelled more like regular garbage than like something dead, but I'm not sure if he really meant it or if he was just trying to curb my overactive and paranoid imagination). So yesterday morning I went down the basement and stuck my upper body through the window that is the only access to under the porch, looking around with a flashlight for any gruesome piles of former kitty. None were there, so I tried to forget about it and get on with my day. Still, the smell remained.
Sometime later in the morning, as I sat in my porch chair indulging in the first book I've read for pleasure in who-knows-how-long (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Memories of my Melancholy Whores), my neighbour (this is the neighbour whose house you can just see to the left in the top photo, and not the neighbour with the two adorable children who keep me company) came out on her porch with another woman, talking about getting ready for her yard sale and pointing to various items among the junk filling her porch. I saw a white flash and heard something go thwap!, then the two of them went back inside. Before long, flies had descended on the three feet of space between my porch and hers, and the smell was worse than ever. I looked over my railing and there on the sidewalk was a bag. And the bag was wearing the crown of flies.
Well. I may be a bitch with a big mouth but I'm not all that good at confrontation, so I decided to wait until the neighbour came out on her porch again and then say something about the offending bag rather than just knock on the door and get it over with. Hours went by, during which I went inside for a while to escape the smell, then came back out to watch the school buses drop off the kids (because, yes, I am going to be that old lady watching everyone from the window some day. In fact, Peter says I'm already that old lady). At long last, bag lady came out onto her porch, and the neighbour girls immediately ran screeching to her; she said, oh hello girls, yes girls, and quick like a bunny hopped into her waiting friend's van and away before I could get a word in edgewise.
I could see by this time that I was just going to have to get passive aggressive if I wanted to be free of the smell, so I went over and picked up the bag (no, I didn't look inside) and placed it back on my neighbour's porch (and immediately ran inside to scrub a layer of skin off my hands). And that was that. It's still there, it still stinks, and she hasn't said a word to me about it.
Peter said that it was probably an oversight and that they likely meant to move the bag to the garbage can later and forgot, what with all the cleaning up and yard sale preparation. And I know that I could be more charitable and more tolerant of people in general. But here's the thing. This morning when I finished planting I went inside to wash my hands, and as I went in I saw her coming out her door. And when I came back out to collect the library book I'd left on the table (The Hokusai Sketchbooks: Selections from the Manga) so that it wouldn't get wet while I watered the garden, I saw my neighbour at the side of her porch, hands outstretched holding two grocery bags full of garbage, about to drop them over the side onto the sidewalk. "Good morning!" I sang, and she started, stuttered a greeting and quickly drew her hands back (she doesn't see very well, and likely didn't know I was that close until I spoke). And now she's sitting on her porch, I'm sitting on mine, and bags of garbage are piled next to her in a plastic chair. I don't know how she can stand the unholy stench of death over there, and I don't really care just as long as she keeps it away from my property. But her garbage can is just not that far away, for fucksake.
April 03, 2007
Dear Milledge Avenue drivers
I know it pains you greatly to have to slow down, pay attention to driving and share the road with cyclists, and to have to unclamp the cell phone from your ear and steer the six inches to the left to go around me. I know you have important keggers and big box stores to get to and that having to concern yourself with my personal safely doesn't really fit with your self-centred lifestyle. But I have as much right to drive my vehicle on the road as you do yours, and the route I choose to take and whether or not I wear a helmet is none of your damned business. If you think that bicycles belong up on the sidewalk getting in the way of (and possibly endangering) pedestrians and joggers and people in wheelchairs and puppies on leashes and children in strollers, then I'll say the same thing to you that I said this afternoon to the woman who pulled over at a stop light to lecture me about hit-and-run statistics and to tell me I belong on the sidewalk: FUCK OFF. The sidewalk is for walking, a bicycle is a vehicle. And even if you do call me "sister" while delivering your lecture, you're still an asshole.
While we're on the topic, dear Milledge Avenue drivers, let's just clear up one other thing: Milledge is a party zone where people drive fast and goof off, and the side of the road is often strewn with the sorts of refuse that might send me headlong into traffic if my wheel hit them. So, for future reference, the things that I will not drive over on my bike in order to spare you the trouble of steering around me include, but are not limited to, the following:
-the windshield wiper from a tractor-trailer
-crushed beer cans
-dead snakes (yes, dead snakes plural)
-anything else dead
-joggers (do you pull over and tell them to get on the sidewalk? just wondering)
Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
March 31, 2007
am i boring you?
I've been busy but for some reason haven't felt like I have anything to record here. I'm working on some new etching plates, and started printing one:
This is a detail of the plate: soft ground linework with tonnes of foul biting created by carrying the grounded plate around under my arm while walking Billie the dog, letting the soft ground get scuffed up and damaged by my hands. This has been etched once, and after I print it a few times I'll scrape out some areas and draw into them some more.
Here is the first print off the plate:
After the plate is reworked I'll print it again on top of this. I've also got another plate to layer in with this, plus two new shina woodblocks I ordered in the same size to layer underneath.
Some random annoyances:
I hate how flickr resizes images so that you can upload two photos that are the same size and the medium sizes are not the same. It makes my blog look all jinky. Also, I hate that the people at flickr have some sort of absurd bias against artists. While they seem to have stopped marking people's photostreams "private" if there are more artworks than photos in the stream, they have now come up with a "safe search" option that blocks images of people's art from coming up in searches. This is the default, by the way, so all you flickr users should go turn off the safe search so you can look at art. I'd love to know just what their problem is, when a lot of the people who post their art are paying for this service. Arseholes.
This morning my roommate got out of bed at 9:00 to ask me to please not make so much noise while I (quietly) washed my dishes in the kitchen. This is the same roommate who wakes me up every single night, slamming into the house between one and three a.m., banging pots, sending things crashing into the recycling box, stomping around with shoes on outside my bedroom door and watching t.v. with the volume cranked up louder than my semi-deaf relatives crank up the queen's address at xmas. It is to fucking laugh.
We had originally planned for Peter to be down here visiting me this week, but we pushed that visit back until next week so as to take advantage of the stat day next weekend. I'm so glad he's not here right now: it's pollen time, and the entire town is coated in a thick yellow dust. My eyes feel full of grit every time I bike anywhere, the piles of pollen-covered wormy-looking flower things rolling around in the streets get stirred up every time a car goes by, and the air is filled with the holiest of stenches. I hope it's settled down a bit by the time he gets here.
February 16, 2007
a very expensive line on my curriculum vitae
This morning's task was to frame these two prints and ship them off to Peoria Illinois for the Bradley International print and drawing exhibition. To ship them cost me a fortune, because the work needs to be there by Thursday the 22nd, and the very reasonable USPS rate for 2-3 day delivery can't be guaranteed because Monday is some kind of holiday (the stupid kind, a holiday I've never heard of that totally inconveniences me and makes me have to pay an extra 30-plus dollars to ship my artwork, but does not give me a day off from teaching). And also because "they've got some bad weather up there right now". Argh. So the snow-o-phobes got me again.
Whatever. This erases the last stress of a very stress-filled week. This week I thought I was going to have to cancel my registration for a conference (due to not being able to afford to go), I thought I was going to bounce a bunch of cheques and run my beloved into the ground with the weight of keeping up with my debt, I thought I was going to make enemies of pretty much everyone I have to work with for the next year and a half, I thought I was going to fail to get the prints framed and sent off in time for the show, and I thought I was going to have to pound a pencil through my eye in order to not pass out while teaching my class with a migraine. But none of those things happened, and tomorrow I'm taking the day off from studio, from grad school, from my colleagues and from worrying about anything. I'm going to make some bread, put up a batch of pickled eggplant into jars, go out to the Grit for lunch with a couple of friends, and have a spinning lesson on the Lendrum wheel that Darilee so generously loaned me. Never mind now that the spinning is for studio work (and Sandy and Mouse are coming up to my studio to play on the wheel, rather than doing it at the house); this is as close to a day off as I'm likely to get, and I'm bloody well going to enjoy it.
September 29, 2006
crazed dawgs fans can kiss my ass.
rush hour traffic can kiss my ass.
bank employees who change my billing address in the bank's computer system but neglect to change my mailing address (so that not only do all of my statements get mailed to some place in orlando florida but dick blick won't fill my sumi ink order because the cheque card address can't be verified) can kiss my ass.
on a related note: seven dollars shipping on an eleven dollar item can kiss my ass.
people who unthinkingly say things like "when you are pregnant/have kids" as if they don't even consider a woman might choose not to be a baby factory can kiss my ass.
people in ontario who still vilify bob rae can kiss my ass; bob rae was an excellent premier and he will be an excellent prime minister and i can't fucking wait.
sorority girls wearing sunglasses so gigantic they don't even notice that they have seriously endangered my life and limb by cutting me off in their shiny little cars with the "uga princess" bumper stickers can kiss my ass.
migraines can kiss my ass.
people (especially bus drivers) who crank up the air conditioning can kiss my ass.
anybody who feels the need to mention the names tie domi or belinda stronach or any disgusting unholy connection between the two ever again can kiss my ass; please, stop talking about it! IT MAKES ME WANT TO VOMIT. So stop. globe and mail, I'm talking to you.
July 06, 2006
fuck fuck FUCK
Okay. Those of you who live in Canada, I want you to tell me something. You know those annoying people who have been going door to door for several years now representing different energy suppliers, trying to talk homeowners into locking themselves in to a fixed rate for their gas and/or hydro? When you have one of these little pests on your porch and you've told them you're not interested in being locked into any five-year fixed rate plan, that you don't mind paying what things are worth and to please go away and leave you alone, do they go, or do they stand there and argue and treat you like you must be stupid to pass up the deal they're offering? Do they bugger off and get the message faster when it's a man who answers the door, or do they treat everyone the same? Because I could swear that the last time I saw Peter deal with this nuisance they didn't put up the same sort of protest that they do with me. I just had to tell a guy to get off my property and not come back and slam the door in his face to get him to leave me the fuck alone. In the past I have said, flat out, stop treating me like I'm stupid, do you think your rudeness is going to get me to sign your damned agreement? And they still stand there and argue. Is it something about my face, do I look like someone who can be badgered into submission?
I want a little cartoon hillbilly to sit out on my porch with a shotgun across his knees and scare these buggers off. I want energy to be regulated again so they all go out of business. I want to have to say something only once and have that be the end of it.
June 05, 2006
Dear London Free Press
Regarding your Sunday, June 4 cover story, "The face of terror?":
It's no wonder the Islamic community feels targeted; your article mentions the fact that the seventeen young men arrested all sport "traditional Muslim beards", but the five men pictured in the accompanying court artist's drawing could also be sporting the "traditional" hipster beard of the young urban Canadian male. A beard is not an indicator of criminality. In this same illustration, a hijab- and veil-wearing woman waving her hand in the foreground seems to be present for the sole purpose of confirming to readers that the accused are Muslim, presumably to identify them as "terrorists" rather than just ordinary criminals.
A neighbour of one of the arrested is quoted as saying that when he saw police cars he knew it must be "drugs or terrorism"; would he have immediately jumped to the conclusion of terrorism had his neighbour been white, or black, or First Nations? Of course not. And where do Canadians get this racist thinking from? Perhaps from reading the papers.
June 01, 2006
Dear Globe and Mail
Regarding your Saturday, May 27 cover story, "Details surface of U.S. 'atrocity' in Iraq":
I find the use of the phrase "women and children" in stories such as this disturbing, as too often this phrase is trotted out in an attempt to ratchet up the horror of events being reported. Not only does it characterize women as helpless and weak individuals, something less than adult, but at the same time it implies that it is somehow more "okay" for male civilians to be killed than for women. It may seem a small quibble, but journalists of all people ought to be sensitive to the subtleties of the words they choose: had women and children not been among those civilians so brutally killed, would the events of last November then be less of an atrocity? Your language suggests that it would.
April 15, 2006
Everything is broken
My laptop won't start up, which means that I can't access my jodigreen.ca e-mail right now. So if anybody was planning to write to me about anything, please use firstname.lastname@example.org for now.
This means that the patterns I promised to have done by the end of this weekend are totally inaccessible, and I'll have to go back to my chickenscratch notebook and decipher my notes and write the whole damned things out again, then redo all the math for the sizes. All tomorrow.
Wish me luck.
*Edit: it seems I still have some intermittent laptoppage. The geek dudes at Big Chain Electronics Store got it working without too much problem, changed some settings to hopefully make it not poop out again and told me some ways I might be able to troubleshoot the problem in future. Just to make sure that the computer would still work for me once it had been taken outside the magical geek zone, I fired it up in the parking lot; so far so good. Half an hour later (yes, I was in the parking lot for half an hour, don't ask) it wouldn't start up, and I had to take it back inside to the geeks, who promptly got the thing going with the sheer power of their nerdy vibes. They laughed like they thought I was joking when I suggested that I stay with them, behind the counter, all night until my work is done, and they suggested that heat might be the problem. So I took it back to the studio, where it resolutely refused to start up all night. I did, however, partake of the geeks' wireless long enough to e-mail my patterns to my gmail account so that I can finish them up on the school macs if I have to. Whew! What an ordeal. And, guess what? At 3:30 am when I got back to the shack, the laptop started up. So I guess it's just the studio. Hmmph.
January 24, 2006
the cool light of morning
Having slept on it (and sobered up) I feel a little better about this, and considerably less melodramatic (sorry about that, y'all. Blame the beer; while I didn't have much, I drank it FAST). However, anything shitty I might have said last night about certain Ontario women who chose to support the patriarchy, I still stand by. Those women are stupid.
This government will be weak and can't last any longer than the previous one; the margin by which they won is so slender that they're essentially hobbled, and won't be able to do as much damage as I'd feared. And I can't wait to see that smarmy jackass Harper have to wheedle and make deals with the opposition; good luck with that, asshole.
January 23, 2006
citizens of Canada, I am not above begging
Please, please don't give Stephen Harper a majority government today. Please. I know the Liberals are corrupt, but Harper is against everything that Canada stands for. He will take away your right to marry. He will take away your reproductive rights. He has said in this election campaign that he will not privatize our health care, but he lies. He has also said that he would not send Canadian troops to Iraq, yet he was fully in support of the US invasion. He has shown contempt for Canada's ethnic minorities. He will scrap our Kyoto objectives. He is against women being paid an equal wage to men. (In fact, go dig around that site a little bit, and also this one and this one, to hear just what Harper stands for in his own words). You might have thought that Rick Mercer's proposed Conservative cabinet was a funny joke, but it could be horrible, horrible reality.
Please don't give him the power to make these sweeping changes to our country simply as a knee-jerk reaction to the Liberal government's current scandal. I want to come back home to the same Canada I left, not to a Canada that looks just like the United States.
Why not try this instead?
January 11, 2006
Childhood landmarks and favourite places, vanished
This barn used to have a huge sign on the side that asked passersby "Where will You be in Eternity?". It's just south of London Ontario, and I have no idea how long it's been gone; Peter drives past there much more often than I do and he says it's been a few years.
This empty expanse of nothing is out on Highway 4 between Clandeboye and Centralia. There used to be a little yellow brick church here which sat empty for a while and was in bad shape, and when I was a teenager some Franciscan monks moved in, erected scaffolding and started fixing the old place up. I would see them in town sometimes, going to the bank, shopping, always friendly, always smiling, and always dressed in brown cassocks, just like real monks from storybooks. There was some sort of dispute with the diocese in London and the Franciscans got kicked out; the building eventually died of old age and neglect without them and ended up being bulldozed.
The churchyard is still there, looking a bit lost with a big empty space next to it instead of a church. Still, every time we drive past the spot I look for it, and usually point to it and say to Peter "there's the Franciscans", as if they're still there. Or as if he's going to forget that they were there, when really how could he if I insist on telling him every single time? Jeez, I just now realized how annoying that must be. Sorry, Pete. But ten bucks says that by the time we head up that way again I'll have forgotten I'm sorry, and I'll be pointing at a bare spot once again, saying "the Franciscans. . . ".
Sorry about the poor photo quality, but they were all taken from a car on bleak December days. That sort of suits my mood today though; today someone I care about decided to throw in the towel and quit blogging because of a totally undeserved, unbelievably cruel flaming he received on some asshole's blog. It reminded me of my dear friend M., who was driven from LiveJournal years ago by some stalkerish shits who hurt her pretty badly and then followed her around and continued to harass her as she moved her blog to different locations around the internet. It seems this place is just one big playground, complete with all the stupid, petty bullshit and abusive recess-time dynamics we all thought we'd left behind in grade four. I thought this was a place where I could find my own friends and not have to stand on the sideline wishing those girls would let me jump their rope, but I guess if you get a large enough group of people together you're bound to have some shithead bullies in the mix. Gah. It all makes me so mad. R., I'm really going to miss you.
October 15, 2005
Studio Saturday: frustrating day
First of all, if you're waiting for an e-mail from me, I apologize for my slowness. It seems I cannot send e-mail with my craptastic new Bell South dial up service, and had I known this last night I would have done more e-mailing from school. So please be patient while I begin the long and frustrating process of changing my service with these jokers, who already took two weeks longer than they were supposed to to get my phone hooked up, and then when I tried to set up the dial up I discovered that the day before, the billing department had cancelled my order for the dial up service because I didn't have a valid phone number. Because they had not hooked up my phone. Last week when Peter told me that a Bell South worker had left a note in my door saying it was going to be another three days, I shouted "goddamn these southerners! Why can't they be more uptight?", which Pete repeated all weekend because he thought it was so funny. But, really. Is it too much to ask for people to do their job, and on time? You don't even want to hear the story of the month-long wait for the Office of International Education to pull a form letter out of a file and photocopy it and write my name in with a pen. Really, you don't.
Ahem. So this is supposed to be about what's going on in the studio.
First, this big bitch. I decided to change the image on this plate, and carved it on Thursday. Yesterday, with just the lines carved, I pulled a proof just to see where to sand it. Wiping this plate took me an hour, and my shoulder hurt afterwards. Oh, and the proof looked like shit, uneven and way overwiped, but I stapled it up on the wall to draw on after it dries. I may not be quite so in love with sintra now that I know what a colossal pain in the arse it is to wipe.
After that I tried to print the litho, which was a total disaster. The prints were so bad, I swear they were worse than some of the big screw-ups I've seen intro litho students do. It's so hard to get into a groove of making work here, when every single thing is different. I'm in a new town, new school, new apartment, new studio, using a new press and a new stone and dealing with totally different humidity conditions, and also a different kind of gum arabic, different lithotine (it smells different, which is really disconcerting). If only one thing were not new, if I had my beloved Griffin press instead of this infernal Takach, if I had Josie to print with or Peter to come home to, or even just some lithotine that didn't smell unfamiliar and weird, maybe I wouldn't be fucking up all my prints. Maybe.
Anyway, something sort of bad might have happened to that litho image. Here's a hint:
So after a nice long break to read blogs, I went back into the studio and printed the first colour of one of my woodcut panels.
Finally, something that looks exactly the way I wanted it to look. There's a lot of woodgrain showing, but that's why I'm using cheap plywood, to get that look. I like for the process to show, as long as the prints aren't CRAP. Like, you know, everything else I did yesterday.
There are four panels to this image, and each one takes two sheets of paper to print. Last night I made ten prints of this block, and then realized while counting out sheets to tear down for the other blocks that this means I will be using eighty sheets of paper to make ten prints. At two dollars a sheet (a phenomenal price, less than half of what I would pay in a store for the same paper) that gets kind of expensive. I did want to make more than ten but I'm not sure I can afford to use that much paper for this project. I have to decide soon though, because this is a reduction woodcut so once I change the block, there's no going back. Argh. I really need to find more funding.
I guess it's my own fault that I insist on working so BIG, but what can I say. I'm a size queen.
Here's the block after printing:
I feel like I need to come clean about Tuesday's self portrait image. Thanks, everybody, for the compliments on my legs, but I have to tell you that my legs don't really look like that. I was lying on my side on the floor, and somehow all of my thigh fat was pulled by gravity away from the camera and hidden from view. My legs are a lot fatter and a lot lumpier than they looked there. Sort of more like these drawings in progress:
Griffin, I really miss you.
September 08, 2005
I had planned to write about this on Tuesday, but I only had time to throw my self portrait up here before running to catch the morning bus. I've been doing a fair amount of bitching lately about the South, and the racism that is so much a part of life here. The catastrophe that followed Hurricane Katrina really lifted America's carpet to reveal all the filth that has been swept under it, exposing the racism that this country was founded on. But tonight I want to talk about Canada a bit, because we're not all that innocent ourselves.
You see, in Canada we're still living under an apartheid system; it's just not something we talk about too much. We're too polite, I guess. [Other countries mock us for our politeness, so it must be true. My friend Kerri, from Atlanta, used to say to me, "sorry! oh, so sorry! I'm sorry, I apologize! So sorry! I'm working on my Canadian, how'm I doing eh?". Just fine, baby, just throw a few more sorrys in there and you'll be fluent].
So here are the things that until recently we haven't talked much about in Canada: our aboriginal people are treated like second class citizens. They live in segregated communities. When an aboriginal woman is raped and murdered, there isn't as much effort put into finding her killer that there is if the same happens to a non-aboriginal woman. When an aboriginal man is taken to the edge of town by police in the middle of winter and left there to freeze to death, nothing happens to those officers. And when an unarmed aboriginal protestor is gunned down in Ipperwash Provincial Park by police who were ordered by the Premier of Ontario to remove the natives from the park by any means necessary, the shooter goes to jail while the Premier gets off scot-free.
Ipperwash Provincial Park is near where I grew up; all I remember from my childhood visits there is that I didn't like the beach because it was full of pebbles rather than nice, soft sand. The park is situated on land that was appropriated from natives during the Second World War in order to build a military base there. After the war the government promised to give the land back to the people who had lived there, but the land was never given back, and when I was a teenager in the 1980s I had friends who went to cadet camp there. In 1993 the natives quit trying to get their land back through legal means and began squatting in the park, eventually causing the military to leave in September 1995.
On September 6, 1995, Ontario Provincial Police raided the park, and Dudley George was shot and killed. The officers were acting on the orders of then-Premier Mike Harris. There is plenty of evidence of his involvement, but still it took ten years for an inquiry into the shooting to be launched: while Harris was Premier, he refused to call an inquiry, because he had his own precious ass to cover.
I think (hope) we are getting better. There is an inquiry under way into what caused the death of Dudley George. There was also a public inquiry into the death of Neil Stonechild. I hope that we are beginning to be more aware of the iniquities of our justice system. But still I think that Canada needs some Truth and Reconciliation, and that the United States ought to follow suit. For that, I won't be holding my breath.
July 22, 2005
Forget grad school. Why don't I just go join some shake-a-rock and roll band?
Warning: long rant ahead. Lots of tiny frustrations, all snowballing. A snowball this size is liable to crush me.
In order to be able to register for my courses, I have to prove that I've been immunized against measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus and chicken pox. I knew that I'd had the MMR as a child and the tetanus five years ago, and I've had chicken pox, so I started calling around to find my immunization records, which turned out to be an almost complete waste of time. My mom managed to find an old record from 1973 that I'd had a shot for measles and rubella, but not mumps; the receptionist at my old doctor's office, where I had my most recent tetanus shot, pretty much refused to give me my records. And I couldn't prove I'd had chicken pox, since nobody goes to the doctor for that, so I had to get a blood test.
Since it's impossible to get a family doctor in this town I've been relying on the university health centre for the last four years, and now that I've graduated, they have cut me off. So I went to a walk-in clinic near where I live to have the blood test ordered. Apparently I chose the wrong clinic, because when I got to the blood lab and handed over my form, they all looked at it and started rolling their eyes and sighing and saying they'd had nothing but problems with this clinic. . . the doctor didn't fill out the request properly AND they couldn't read his writing, and where he had meant to write "tetanus" it clearly did not say tetanus. Of course, the clinic wasn't answering their phone, so the lab drew my blood anyway but had to wait for confirmation from the doctor before sending it away, delaying my test by several days. And, of course, now I'm stuck having to rely on the crappy unprofessional nothing-but-trouble clinic to get my results, because the lab won't just send them to me or forward them to a different doctor.
That was a month ago, and the MMR is the only test for which I've seen any results. The others are things they don't often test for, and one was sent to Toronto and one to Hamilton, apparently by bicycle courier or possibly pony express. Because, hello? I could have taken all of my blood to Toronto in four hours. It has been four weeks. And I have been panicking because there's a special course I want to take that I was convinced would be really popular, and I really don't want to be shut out of it.
I called the clinic about a week and a half ago and was told my results were in, so I walked over, and found that only the rubella was back (my levels were just on the borderline). The doctor was able to call the lab and find out that I had tested immune to measles but not to mumps, so he went ahead and gave me the shot. I asked him to just give me all the shots but he refused and told me to wait another week for the lab results (he said they don't give a chicken pox shot to people who have had it, but the test was going to take a long time because they don't often test for it, so how the hell else are people supposed to get proof of immunity, for fucksake?). So I waited. And when I called back in a week the clinic was moving to their new location and the phones were not working.
After trying to reach them for three days, finally yesterday I stormed down there, and was told that the tetanus and chicken pox were still not in and that their phone was down but they would call the lab as soon as it was fixed, or I could call the lab myself. I said, but the tests were sent to Toronto and Hamilton, and she said, the lab in town will have the results. So I went home and called the lab, knowing full well that the results would go directly from Toronto to the clinic, not to the local blood lab. And I was right. Just for fun I asked the woman at the lab, do you think the people at this clinic are assholes? would I be better off never going back there, and just getting the shots at some other clinic? and she said, uh, maybe?
In the meantime, I thought I'd better call the school and make sure that this was indeed the last hoop I had to jump through before I could register, and after having to dial the admissions office and go through the labyrinth of recorded options six times, I finally reached a human being who was able to tell me that my transcript had arrived and that restriction had been lifted, but the art school hadn't processed my advising form thing yet (the thing I did in early June when I visited the school). Because apparently the art school can't clear me to register until graduate admissions does, it all has to be done in a particular order, you see.
Finally, in a complete tizzy by now, I called Andra at the art school, and can I just say, Andra? My favourite person. She took care of the advising thing, helped clear up a few other things regarding course registration and my assistantship job, and also checked on the class I'm worrying about and told me there's still room in it for me. I wonder if the school has already flagged me as high-maintenance? There's probably a note in my file, this is the girl who was so stupid she had to come all the way down from Canada to get help filling out forms. File under "high-strung". Shit.
So last night I went to the after hours walk-in clinic to get immunized. After a (remarkably short for health-care deficient Windsor) 40 minute wait, the doctor told me that he could give me the tetanus but chicken pox isn't something they normally give to adults, and hadn't I ever had it? I said, yes, but I need proof and I can't get proof so just give me the damned shot, please. He asked me why I needed proof and I told him, and he reached for a blood test request form. And I FREAKED. I seriously freaked. So the guy gingerly put the form back, leaning away from me a little, and wrote me a prescription to take to the pharmacy next door. And assured me that when I came back I wouldn't have to sit in the waiting room again.
Well. My drug plan doesn't cover the chicken pox vaccine. I had to pay eighty dollars to be immunized against a disease I have had. And I'll tell you this: if the clinic calls today to tell me that my blood test results are in, I am going to go down there and smash their window. I'm that high strung.
But all restrictions have been lifted, and I'm cleared to register. As soon as the fucking online system decides to play nice and allow me into my classes; the only one it will let me into is the one I was afraid of being shut out of, but it won't actually put me down in the class until I've selected a full course load of classes, and it keeps saying I still don't have the department's permission to take the teaching practicum (I do so) and that printmaking is full (AS IF I can be shut out of printmaking. As if). Gah. So now I'm calling Andra again ("hi, Andra? It's me again, the moron. Can you hold my hand?")
Oh, and I woke up with some intense throat pain this morning, after sitting for 40 minutes last night in a waiting room next to a woman who had some kind of infection in her throat and sinuses. So, back to the clinic (a different one, as if I'm going back to the asshole place, no way!). The doc says maybe it's just a virus but gave me an antibiotic anyway, and I'm just going to take it. Fuck it.
June 30, 2005
[Reuters photo, Alessandro Bianchi]
I'll bet you that right now Benedict is angrily stroking his invisible demon familiar and seething under his breath:
"I'll get you, Spain. I'll get you."
You can't stop progress, Bennie, and you and your obsolete religion can't squash human rights anymore. Why don't you do something useful with your life, like maybe going to Africa and handing out condoms?
May 12, 2005
Look at what the fats did.
They broke my cup.
This may seem like a small thing. But it is not.
I bought this cup in the Salvation Army store twelve years ago for about a dollar. It's a replica of a CE 1200 Anasazi black-and-white pottery mug, originally sold as a souvenir. It holds about 25% more than an average coffee mug. Its base is fatter than its rim, giving it a jaunty air, and its handle is thick and sturdy, with plenty of room for all four fingers. And it has this amazing zigzag design. This cup saw me through years of caffeine addiction, and since Peter and I gave up coffee in December of 2003 it's held several cups a day of Irish Breakfast tea instead. I am unhealthily attached to this cup, so much so that I've actually spent time worrying about whether I should take it to Athens with me or leave it here so I'll have it when I come home to visit (because I couldn't imagine drinking my tea from a different mug here in my house). I even dream about my cup sometimes, that's how much I love it.
I know it's just a thing, but I cried bitterly when I came home and found it smashed on the floor this afternoon, and briefly considered tossing the culprits into the path of an oncoming bus. I cried way more than anyone should cry over a thing. The fats, of course, were trying to get at some knitting I'd left next to the computer, and in pulling it down off the desk they knocked the cup onto the floor. Yes, I left my mug out on the desk, and yes I left knitting out too. I am a little piggy in a pigsty. But there must have been at least ten different knitting projects scattered about the room, plus umpteen more balls of yarn kicking around, and they always go for the stuff on the table, never the computer desk. And I always leave my mug next to the computer.
Peter says that cats are an engine of destruction, and they will work methodically through everything you own until finally they reach the things you love. I would rather they had broken every dish in the kitchen and leave this cup intact.
Look, the handle is indestructible.
I think I might be able to replace it. From Mesa Verde National Park you can get replica mugs, and you can even order them by mail. But while the website says there are eight designs available, only one is pictured. So I am going to phone them tomorrow, with the product number, to see if they still make my cup. Because I care that much. I wish I could just get all eight, but I'm a poor student, so that's not happening.
I'm feeling miserable about the loss of my beautiful, beloved tea cup, and annoyed with myself for being such a baby about a thing. And I really don't want to go to bloody Leamington tonight.
May 02, 2005
Keeping girls in their place
I bought this charming little book at a local church rummage sale the other night, thinking my stepmother Sherry (a nurse) would get a kick out of it.
Here are some interesting things I learned from the nurse book: all doctors are men; all nurses are women; all patients are men, except for children hurt in accidents, who are always girls. Nurses "are always cheerful and smiling", even if they are tired, even if they have to clean up someone's shit, even if they've just sustained a serious back injury trying to lift a flailing old man into a bed, even if they hate their crappy job and their stupid uniform. Nurses will bring you your breakfast and sing you to sleep, because they are just like another mommy.
It's a "carefully planned book which will help to answer the many questions that lively children ask".
"Mum, can I be a doctor when I grow up?"
"No dear, you're just a girl. You can only be a nurse."
My favourite part:
Because, after all, they will only be working as nurses until they can find a husband and become baby factories themselves.
On playground accidents:
The message here: girls should not roughhouse in the schoolyard, because they are more delicate than boys and when they fall down they may break a bone (on another page, the child hit by a car while riding a scooter was also a girl; clearly they should just stay safely indoors and dream of the day when they can become nurses and find doctors to marry).
Before you write and remind me that this book was published forty years ago, let me say that I don't think a lot has changed in the way that children are subtly influenced to view themselves: the son of some friends of mine recently said to me "I have all the trucks, and my sister has all the dolls. My mommy said boys can't play with dolls, and girls can't play with trucks". And remember, "math is hard".
One thing I did like in this book was the spiffy endpaper:
I'm thinking of trying to talk Sherry into getting a tattoo of that prim little nurse with all the parts of her uniform labelled. Sherry, I'll get the telephone if you'll get the nurse; we can go together! Deal?
Here's where "careful planning" went a little wrong:
When you are asleep they can do anything they want to you and you will not know about it. Reassuring, no?
April 23, 2005
Why I love Canada
See all those white dots? Snow.
April 22, 2005
Wicked, wicked bigots
I find this new pope to be profoundly iniquitous. No surprise there. Why can't people just be left alone to live their lives?
|Marriage is love.|
April 15, 2005
I wanted to write about this yesterday, but I'm always reluctant to talk about political things here because I feel that there are so many political webloggers out there who are more knowledgable and more articulate than me that I would not be adding much to the debate. However, this is a very important issue that I don't want to go without mentioning. So go read this report on the utter nonsense that is being taught in place of real sex education in American schools. Some "sex education" curricula contain frighteningly bad science, falsely inflated statistics, absurd scare tactics and outright lies, as well as promoting a marital model in which women keep their mouths shut, act stupid and stay home making pot roast.
Then go read Susie Bright's post on the topic, because she has said everything I wanted to say, only better (and thanks to Susie for the link to the report). The culprits? Right-wing Christians in Texas (link courtesy of Sarah over at All About My Vagina).
April 05, 2005
Just to recap. . .
My WIP Challenge is officially over. I did. . .okay. But not great.
I started with nine things I hoped to finish (notice how the language is changing, from "vowed" to "hoped"? This is code for "I give up now").
The green skirt and evening diamonds got dropped off the list for no reason other than I was crazy to think I could finish nine projects.
The olive cotton top down raglan got dropped because I tried it on when it was all but finished and it looked frumpy, which is not really the look I'm going for. I think the yarn is too stiff for this style, and I'm planning to use it for Alison Hansel's uber-cute t-shirt instead.
The red skirt has to be ripped back to the crochet part and redone; I'm not happy with the fit. It's close though, and only needs a bit of tweaking. My hope is to be wearing it in May.
The near misses:
Must Have Cardigan: almost done! I'm on the second sleeve, and would be wearing it right now if I hadn't spent more than a week too sick to knit. All that time spent on the couch seems like perfect knitting time, but just holding the needles made me queasy.
Granny square purse: close. It's put together, but I've still got about twelve inches or so on that endless garter stitch strap. And the whole thing needs to be lined with pleather.
But among all this failure, some success:
Funnel top, Clapotis, recycled skirt: done! I'm choosing to ignore the fact that I only finished the things that were easy, and had the least amount of knitting in them.
So. I'm not going to toss the unfinished items back in the stash, I'm going to set myself a new schedule for them. I am, however, going to allow myself to start a few new projects. First up: a couple of kerchiefs and hats, to cover up my funny looking head while I grow my hair out long. It's a curly mess right now; I cut off my blue bangs, and it's getting too long to spike up anymore. Once the curls take over it'll be time to hide it. Maybe I'll show a picture, just for laughs; it's looking pretty goofy already.
I have four more interviews to do: Anna, Mandella, La and Ghita. Hopefully I'll be able to get those up tomorrow night. I'd do it now, but I've got an article to finish for Jae that's already a little late. Woops.
One more thing: I'm sorry if I upset anyone with my joke about the Pope the other day. I certainly don't mean to mock anyone's mourning for the loss of their religious leader. Even if he is the leader of a church that has caused countless unwanted babies to be born and countless people to die of AIDS because of its refusal to condone the use of condoms. And even if he is the leader of a church that believes that men have a right to control women's bodies, and that rather than calling all the best candidates to the priesthood, god only chooses from half the population: those who have a dick. People still have a right to mourn him.
March 10, 2005
Paedophiles I have known
I've been thinking about a discussion we had in my CanLit class a little while ago; we were talking about the short story "Evening in Paris" by Blanche Howard* and it raised some questions for me that I'd like to hear what others have to say about. The narrator in this story recounts her experience with a neighbourhood paedophile and looking back on her childhood, is surprised at her own apparent lack of innocence, that at age five she "knew peril when [she] met it, even then, even though it appeared in such affable guise" (293), that of a trusted adult acquaintance. Mr. B., the paedophile in the story, is someone that all the kids know about and avoid.
What baffles me is not so much the worldliness of the children but the innocence of the parents: if children are so savvy, why are parents so oblivious? For as long as there have been humans, and sexual urges, there have been adults who act out those urges on children. Our parents were no more sheltered than we were, and surely for all of them there must have been some adult that the kids "all knew about" (296). How could growing up and becoming parents make them forget about this danger of childhood? In Howard's story, when the adult narrator tells her mother about Mr. B., her mother is shocked, unable to believe that no-one ever told. But perhaps their blindness to the truth made the parents seem complicit somehow; by failing to recognize this man's behaviour they were, in a sense, condoning it. If it seemed that way, would you tell?
There was an old man at our family camp whom I'll call Grandpa Smith, because that was his name (I don't think I need to protect a man who diddled kids and who has been dead since the seventies). He was NOT my grandfather. He really was the grandpa of some of the kids at camp, but all of us called him that, and we all loved him. He would tell us stories, and give us quarters for the jukebox in the games room (you could get three songs for a quarter back then). When we were in our mid-twenties, my girlfriend Shar asked me if I remembered Grandpa Smith ever doing anything strange, and instantly a memory surfaced of sitting on his lap in the cool shade of the pavilion on a hot afternoon, Grandpa Smith speaking softly in my ear, telling me a story while his hand moved gently inside the front of my shorts. I must have been six or seven. I think this was the only time it happened, but I guess I can't be sure. I don't remember ever thinking that it was wrong or bad, and when Grandpa Smith was dying in hospital, all the kids made paper tulips in little pots to fill his room with, and much love was put into them. None of us ever told our parents, and I'm not sure if I told mine after Shar and I had our talk, either. They'll probably find out when they read this.
Grandpa Smith had worked in nickel mining, or smelting, and gave me this little blob of nickel slag. My dad put my initials on the back, and a hole through the little baby blob so I could wear it as a necklace.
So I guess this story does nothing to further my point or make this essay in any way cohesive, since we all trusted and loved this guy. Oh well. Let me tell you about the other one, and maybe that will get me back on track.
The other paedophile I knew lived directly across the street from us; I don't remember his name. He lived alone, and would invite all the little girls in the neighbourhood to come into his house to play in the basement. He had Pop Shoppe pop for them to drink, and a little cart on wheels that he would let them play on. That summer I was too busy playing with the boys (Dukes of Hazzard, and I got to be Daisy!) to care much what the girls were doing, and the old guy gave me a really creepy vibe so I stayed away. I only went there once; a few of the other girls talked me into going in, took me down the basement and showed me the wheely-cart and the many red crates of pop. I had only been there a few minutes when the old guy beckoned me upstairs and into the first floor bedroom and instructed me to sit on the bed. He then picked up an object from the chest of drawers and showed it to me--it was a salt-and-pepper set shaped like a man and a woman, and he demonstrated how they fit perfectly together. I jumped off the bed, hightailed it out of there and never went back.
I can kind of understand the parents not knowing about Grandpa Smith; we were in a privately owned campground, so there wasn't any perceived danger in letting the kids run around all day, and there were lots of places that were fairly private. And in the seventies people weren't afraid to let their kids out of their sight like they are now. But how could the parents on our street fail to realize that there was something weird about an old man who let little girls play in his house all day, every day? (I don't want to sound like I'm blaming my own parents for any wrongdoing here, or any lack of protection. We lived in a very small town and knew everyone; it should have been safe).
I wonder, if I had a child, would I be any more aware of the dangers than our parents were? It's true that people are a lot more paranoid than they used to be, and don't really allow children the freedom to run around and get lost and hurt and engage in any kind of imaginative play away from grownups. But I think maybe that has more to do with a fear of harm coming to kids from strangers. These people were our neighbours.
*Howard, Blanche. "Evening in Paris." Fresh Tracks, Writing the Western Landscape. Ed. Pamela Banting. Victoria, BC: Polestar, 1998. 292-299.
February 06, 2005
I might LOOK like a whore, but. . .
Everything I do is done for love, not for money.
Before I tell you the story of what happened to me walking home today, I should say hello to everyone wandering by here from the RAOK group, which I just joined, and also to all of my new Bloglines subscribers (I'm assuming that my recent surge in Bloglines subscribers has something to do with joining RAOK). At any rate, welcome! I hope I don't drive you all away with my trashy stories and bad language. Because there's some of that coming up.
So. Walking home. You have to picture it: I was wearing jeans (okay, they were tight, but not really enough to offset the frumpiness of the rest of my look), tan coloured sneakers, a thick black sweater with an unflattering kangaroo pocket and one of those black fake ski jackets with the thick ribbing on the cuffs. And carrying my knitting and the Globe and Mail in a plastic bag. I did not even style my hair today, let alone wash it--just sprayed some water to soften up yesterday's gel and moved some hair over to cover the flat spot I slept on (oh, baby, you gotta love the way I tart myself up to go blow up balloons for a living). Plus my long blue bangs, which stick out because I'm lazy and can't be arsed to force them straight, make me look like one of those expensive little dogs.
So here I am walking home, and this car pulls out of a side street, right in front of me, and sits there blocking the sidewalk, and the driver (a good looking guy) puts down his cellphone and stares at me. I give him a dirty look for blocking my way and go to walk around the front of his car, and he says "can I ask you a question?".
"What?" god, I'm charming.
"Tell me you don't have a boyfriend" he says. WTF?
"Why?" I say, giving him my best ninth-grade "you're a stupid shit" look.
And he says "Because I'd like to ask you to lunch".
So I said, "no, I can't" and he said "okay" and drove off.
Um, did you want to fuck me first and then eat, or buy lunch first?
Actually, what pissed me off was not the assumption that I was a whore, that happens all the time. I live on G. street, in a nice friendly neighbourhood with lots of happy children and families, very wholesome and normal. But just one block away (about the length of two regular city blocks) where our street intersects with W. street, is a major pickup corner for street whores. There are two bus stops here, one I use to get to school and one I use to get to work, and I have been mistaken for a whore many times while waiting for the bus. At the W. street bus stop (a busier street), the guys usually just pull up to the bus stop and wait and if you ignore them they go away. Around the corner on G. street is the major ho stop, with an alley right alongside it, and they come around the corner off W. street, cruise by the bus stop and turn into the alley and wait. Sometimes when they do this and I ignore them, they will call out the window "working?". Dude, do whores knit while they wait for clients? Do they wear party store shirts? Jeez. Except for the party store shirt thing, it's kind of understandable for someone to mistake any woman standing at the ho stop for a prostitute, because around here they don't dress up like in the movies; most of the regular prostitutes I see here wear jeans, sometimes even sweat pants, hoodies, frumpy winter coats. So that when the police give them a hard time they can pretend they were just waiting for a bus.
No, what really pissed me off was partly the boyfriend thing, and partly the offer of lunch. First of all, lots of prostitutes have boyfriends; does having a man to protect me make me off limits? If I want to get in a car with someone and go for a drive, have lunch or have sex or whatever, I will do so, boyfriend or no boyfriend. But I certainly will not get in a car with someone who doesn't even have the courage to just say "I want to pay you for sex". Man, I've been waiting all day to have lunch with a wimp like that.
January 22, 2005
Please allow me to masturbate for a moment
First of all, this morning I Googled "slap the beaver" and my blog was the only site that came up. But now there are two more! Damn. Oh, and someone found me by searching "smarmy bastard". Funny, I don't remember talking about N--- G--- here.
Okay, let's get down to the meat and potatoes of this post (or how about just potatoes; I'm vegetarian). Today I received my very first nasty, insulting comment on the blog, and in a fit of pique I stupidly deleted it, which I am very sorry for. So I'll just tell you what it said:
"Well I just glanced through the past few months of your rambling on, I must say boo hoo to you. your hands should be tired and bruised from masterbating, not knitting. I will let you know when my masterbation blog starts up, call it an independant orgy if you will. I promise to have pictures, as you are my inspiration. Love your friend in "building hand strength", BooHoo"
Okay, first of all, dipshit, your barbs would sting a little more if they were spelled correctly. Second, this is a PERSONAL BLOG. That means it is about ME. Sorry if it seems like masturbation to you (note correct spelling for next time, please) but what exactly do you expect people to write about in their personal blog? If you don't like what I have to say, don't read it, simple as that. Third, I see from your ip address that you and I attend the same university. So next time you see me on campus, please introduce yourself so I can tell you what a lameass you are to your face. Fourth, did you go to the trouble of creating that email@example.com e-mail address just for the sake of telling me off, or is that the address you always use when you're too cowardly to give your real name? Feh. Fifth, masturbation is a pleasurable and therapeutic activity which in no way damages the hands. You should try it sometime.
Oh, and thank you for your concern about my wrist, Mr. BooHoo. It's feeling much better.
November 05, 2004
Beginning the countdown in earnest
All this week I've been trying to understand what motivates people to do certain things. For instance, do people really believe that bible thumping strangers on the sidewalk works? Apparently some do, because it happened to me the other day, but I find it hard to understand why they think this method is effective. Has anyone ever invited Jesus into their heart just because somebody accosted them on the street and told them to? (qpaukl says he has, but I'm pretty sure he's lying to confuse me). And why, why would so many people stand in line for three hours, IN THE RAIN, to vote for Bush? And this is the country I (think I) want to go live in, for graduate school. I try really hard not to be one of those anti-American Canadians, but how can they look like us, and talk like us (sort of) and yet be so different?
Hah! While I was writing, Peter sent me this. I wouldn't say dumb, though, but uninformed. And anyway, there are a lot of dumb people here too: Paul Martin got re-elected.
There are twenty-two days until my graduation show. I'm not very stressed out about this yet, but I will be soon, don't worry. I'm trying to buckle down and not waste so much time. I'm still finding time to spend whole afternoons arranging printing surfaces on the floor and taking pictures of them.
I did some printing today, from the linoleum block on the left. I printed it on eight sheets of clear vinyl, three pieces of canvas and some wacky 70s bedsheets. The vinyl ones are for a piece that will hang in the hallway at the upcoming show. I was going to use the bedsheet ones in a gigantic quilt that will fill a whole wall, but now that I've got a few printed that I can stand back and look at, I'm thinking maybe I'll make each one an individual quilt and bind all the edges, then attach them together somehow so they still cover the same space. This will make it more like my print piece with the thirteen figures all lined up side by side. I don't know what I'm doing with the canvas ones yet; I'm going to do some embroidery on them and see how I like it. Because I only have about fourteen or so large scale works to finish in the next three weeks, I think I'll have lots of time for embroidery.
I've put up as many prints as I can in the studio, so I can wallow in the sensory overload for a few weeks and think about all these pieces together. There's so much going on in there that I can hardly stand to be in such a small space with this work all around me.
This is only looking in one direction; there's a whole row of figures behind the camera too. It's too much.
I haven't been allowing myself to knit, except for some scarves I'm making for Artcite's holiday fundraiser, and even that I'm only allowed to knit on the bus or in meetings. Here's the one I worked on at last night's meeting:
At the rate I'm going I won't have many to sell, but it's really just meant to placate my anxious fingers, who desperately want to knit; I'm disturbed, though, that the yarns I grabbed at random out of my stash are the same colours as the two sweaters I most want to work on (the Must Have Cardigan in orange, and Rogue in red). I had to hide the Rogue yarn in a room that's been closed up for winter just so I won't touch it and black out and suddenly find myself swatching. I'm not even allowing myself to wind it into balls yet; I get to do that on November 29th, after the show is over and documented and taken down.