First improv show

So that went pretty great. Nothing more to add.




Hi Norway!

Here is your flag.
I have never been to you but I hear good things. Also that you are expensive. It's your oil wealth that does it.

Good work in the Olympics Norway.

Woah! Lillehammer hosted the Olympics and it's smaller than Owen Sound. That's nuts.

Here's a project for you Norway.
(Mum, don't look at the proposed project. You won't be impressed with your son)
Talk to Sweden and Finland and make a hilarious country that looks like a cock n' balls. Or just talk to Finland and stick with the skinny shaft.

Talk to you later Norway.


winter is over

I know there's a storm rolling in. And I know the sky is still grey. And I know February isn't over and neither are the Winter Olympics, but I just shaved off my beard, so winter is officially over.
Why change this handsome bastard? Boredom mostly.

But look at the results! You even get to choose your photo progression favourite. Two stages or three!!!

My only concern is Enzo started trimming my mustache. I think he was excited because the Juventus game was on. I think I preferred it with just a hint more bushiness. As D-Hammer said it looks like a cop-stache now. Oh well, that's what my genetic make-up is for. Grow hair grow!

And if you want to see what I look like in real life, without a bunch of poor edits breaking up my face, I don't have any ideas.

I don't do much these days

Not particularly inspired by anything. Except improv, but there's sadly not enough of that in a week.

Olympics are on.

Meh and Angry Meh would be my main emotional descriptors of late.

Got out of the house today, saw some kids throwing snowballs and that was pretty great. Two kids were on top of the slide and had a toboggan, or maybe just apiece of plastic, as defence. All the other kids were throwing snowballs at them. Everyone seemed pleased.

Then I found a chocolate museum. Then I bought groceries. Then I found a Winnipeg atlas at the Salvation Army store that is a consistent source for random maps and atlases.

Oh, and I also got a membership at the Trinity Community Centre. $40 for 3 months, what have I been waiting for? Holy smokes. And they have a pool!

I did this thing.
Inspiration from Toulouse, Sauveterre-du-Rouergue, Istanbul, some book with pictures of an Italian town (upstairs, too lazy to look) and other stuff.

Sorry about the glare. You're smart. You'll figure it out.


This is not an unvitation

Ever wondered what I'd look like doing stuff while you sat in a chair close by? Do you sometimes think you could do with listening to me talk about things that may or may not make sense?

I didn't think so.

BUT, if you want something to do on Friday at 8:30, you should go to That Friday Show! at the Bad Dog Theatre. It's pretty good, pay what you can as you exit, and best of all you can watch me perform in my first real improv show...EVER.

I might be good, I might be awful. You get to find out!

Please come! However - the unvitation part - don't feel obliged, by any means. I'll let you know when I have a show that I would be personally hurt were you not to attend. This is not that show.

Just bear in mind, if you want to be able to say you've seen every improv show I've ever done then you have to start this Friday.



I used to be big into these things. Really big. I remember 1988, going with my mum to her hair appointment when I was home from school one day. While she was permed I coloured Calgary Olympic bears skating, sledding and skiing.

Mrs. Farrow and Mrs. Cole were intent on discussing Ben Johnson's Seoul in grade 2. I dutifully sat on the carpet.

Barcelona was Tewksbury, and Albertville was hockey disappointment. Or was that Lillehammer? They blur. Although I do remember, at some point, being pleased that an Olympics would begin arriving biennially.

During the Atlanta games in 1996 I hauled my family's black and white television into my room and set it on a stool so I could watch it from my bed. And I did. I would be awake for 9 and watch until 5 when CBC briefly paused sport so they could go to news and supper. Their supper break allowed me to hop on my bike and pedal furiously up Inglis Falls hill and out into the countryside. Sometimes when cars swooshed past I imagined them imagining me. Inspired by the Olympics they would think. Someday we'll see HIM on TV.

That was nice of them. But that wasn't my dream, I just wanted to feel less gross before going home for supper and more Olympics until I went to sleep at the end of the day's coverage at 2.

I was the winner for those games.

Somewhere along the lines I lost interest. When Nagano was happening I was in the midst of army training. I remember sitting up late in the Barrie Armouries to watch hockey before thinking better of it and crashing out on a cot. 4 hours of sleep is more than 2 hours of sleep after all.

Sydney was first year university. I Saw Simon Whitfield win gold from a Montreal hotel room. Later in the games I tried to stay up for a basketball game that was on in a residence common room. The girl I had a crush on was watching too, something I remember more than the game.

I even got to kiss her...

5 years later.

Salt Lake City was me in an empty house over reading week.

Athens, heh, that was me slipping into my girlfriend's house every afternoon (and morning?) while under-employed by the university's housing department.

Beijing was Beijing and honestly feels like 30 seconds ago. I must be getting old.

Now Vancouver. I always felt the Vancouver selection was made easier because of Toronto's repeated snubs, or maybe awareness of Olympic politicking has just jaded me. Not that Vancouver didn't deserve the games, and I'm sure they're ready to go, it just always felt rushed to me, a bit manic. And then with the economic collapse and all the snow melting...

Well, it's too bad they scheduled this right in the middle of an El Nino. Now we get the environmentally 'green' Olympics where we collect rainwater and heat buildings with sewage, but because the environment is green and not white we are bringing in snow via helicopter. It all feels funny.

I wrote a lot more about the Olympics, Canada and what the opening ceremonies and commercials on the television mean for both but I've left it all out. It was a bit too confusing and lacked anything but my brain as proof.

For the time being I'll just hope for the best; that the snow arrives, events run smoothly and Canada does well. I'm even pleased that they're mentioning periodic protests on the Olympic coverage, something that I wouldn't have been surprised if they had ignored entirely.

And if our big finale for lighting the Olympic flame is Wayne Gretzky riding in the back of a pick-up truck, at least we haven't lost our national sense of humour.


The King Mother

They call her the Queen Mother,
but she's really the mother of the current king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck,
and first wife of the former king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
Two men who know how to wear a gho.
(Thanks for the pics friends!)

So really that makes her a Queen and mother, or Bhutan's King's Mother. The King Mother is a great title. Not in terms of who your son is though, I just mean, if you walked down the street and people were shouting, "Hey King Mother! What's going on?" that would be a pretty great thing to happen.

Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck is quite the lady. As should be expected from a lady who is the mother of one Dragon King (Druk Gyalpo) and the first wife of another. First wife because she and three other sisters are all married to the king as queens.

Also, she's a big Elvis fan.

Good ol' Bhutan. Did you know "India is 'intensifying military penetration' in Nepal and Bhutan...[because] the Himalayan Kingdoms have become theatres of conflict between military strategists from India and China?"

Well, believe it!

Also, India is encouraging Bhutan and Russia to get together on military matters. Makes sense when you think about it. Russia and India share a lot of concerns over a strong China, so they should team up. Moscow can so easily be distracted by Europe so it's good to have an ally out east keeping an eye on things.

And Bhutan? Well, like always they're going to play it smart and milk all sides like a a bunch of over-filled yak udders!


For those interested in who your fellow readers are, we continue to diversify and can now count Japan, France and Brazil amongst readers. I tell you, from Ajax to Islamabad and from Port Elgin to Belo Horizonte, with some Montbeliard and Hodogaya thrown in for good measure, we're doing just fine.

And while I still love the British Indian Ocean Territory, Nunavut's my new passion. It's a Canada thing I guess.
Or perhaps a narwhal thing.


Skip-Skip-Skip to my letterpress and poetry

So remember back when I made this?
Good times, right? Well, check this out.
Imagine all the pebbles and battle beasts I could store in those jobbies. Too many!

The photo is courtesy of The Sweetie Pie Press, and is taken in the workshops of the Trip Print Press. Self described "Practitioners of the black art, letterpress."


And fantastic.

Mostly fantastic, because those are not just wondrous wall decorations, no sir. Solely a great place to store toys? NAY! (Although they could do that.) We are of course looking at a lovely set of type trays.

You know how you scroll through your word processor options and can make words look however you want? Well, in real world publishing each of those choices would mean an entirely different tray with a pile of each letter in a particular, coherent style (a font if you will) so you can say whatever it is you want to say and make it look nice too. And of course there are different sizes, so there's that to consider as well.

I may be mis-placing certain terms in the description but I'm hopeful the people that are wiser about these things will lodge their corrections in the comments section.

It's all pretty straightforward, but I'm still excited because this reminds me of the time I spent standing and staring at all the toys in the Black Creek Pioneer Village printing office prior to Christmas, fantasizing. And I'm pleased that such things still exist as viable entities in the real world. There's no reason they shouldn't but like a lot of stuff, until a functioning letterpress is shoved in my face, I don't think about it.

It all makes me want to get married, just for the invitations, or successful enough that I need business cards.
Hell, I'm just really jealous of their drafting table and gigantic rules. Everything is relative of course, and I'm calling them gigantic because I've just spent the last 30 minutes scratching and re-scratching the same, almost 3 mm twinned lines into my next drawing. 3 mm is too small, the margin for error on length and angles too big.
Mercy. I need a drafting table, or a bigger pieces of paper and a regular table would work too.

One day I might put words to paper, rather than just screen, but in the meantime here we are. So why not tack on a poem a poem to the post? It's my blog, so sure!

Here's one that's part of my spit it out while the spitting's good and call it poetry because you're still not totally sure what poetry is or what constitutes good poetry so you may as well show the world what you wrote and maybe the world will tell you it's all right or maybe the world will tell you it's complete crap but it'll be good either way because then you'll know someone read it poetry project.

This particular poem was belched upon the paper in a furious scramble of penmanship, followed by minimal editing. Hopefully said belching is something more than white noise.
Backpack full of groceries

My arms are buzzing
below, above
everything there is to think of
a mash of tortured
black & white
in a world that's the grey clarity
of a nuclear powered mud storm

Malleable is an intention
but to
fight & struggle
against the brain
wrong & tiring

So much effort except when
walking & walking
and all the problems are there
but fine,
far off at the
destination & nothing
until it's reached.


Maps and architecture and cities and me and an artist named Alice

I'm never sure how I get onto things, but at some point I found myself on this blog, which led me to one Alice Aycock's website. I thought some of her stuff looked really neat, and not just because she is using a grey background on her page and an awesome orangey-yellow colour for her main title. I'm also excited because her work ties in, however tangentially, with some of my interests in art, urban form, architecture, etc. that I've been reading and thinking about of late. (All the pictures I show below are from her website, where you can find more of her work and lots more information.)

Her stuff is farther down but first...

I recently finished this:
That is a drawing of a city. It's pencil on paper and as you can see my efforts at going over the lines were more aggressive in some parts than in others. I think I might do a series of these, maybe start inking them.

In my map I've largely blocked in spaces in terms of grass, concrete or water. There is also just a bit of detail (roof lines and some differentiation for docks) in some of the 'built' blocks. I've added some colour below so you can see what I'm talking about
For the most part, the areas without colour are human structures of one form or another.

This blocking is similar to how a Toronto mapmaker dealt with the problem of describing a city in 2-D from above. Leaving most blocks as blocks and restricting built detail to the ghosting of large institutional footprints. No little lines for house roofs in this one.
But then I came across this image on Aycock's site. What would I do for a building with a hat on?
Low Building With Dirt Roof (For Mary), 1973
I never considered how green roofs or any rooftop park would play in a map until I saw this picture. The traditional top-down view for maps works because things are simplified, often with the notion of single land use. But when there's a significant built park in a city, even if it's high in the air, it needs to be acknowledged. People following a 2-D map and finding a building where they expected green space would be surprised, so there needs to be differentiation of some type, whether it is colour, shape, labeling or something else.

And if I decided to take on a utopian mapping project (I quake even at the thought) I would need to consider the mixed land use that might be taking place on a very fine scale. Methinks I need to start drawing on bigger sheets of paper. More to follow on this theme, no doubt.
"The City of Walls", Isometric, 1978
The Garden of Scripts (Villandry), 1986
Maze, 1972
Walled Trench/Earth Platform/Center Pit, 1975
A Simple Network of Underground Wells and Tunnels, 1975
Project for a Circular Building with Narrow Ledges for Walking, 1976
I like these pieces because they are able to experiment with ideas of structure and architecture, without being concerned with eventual tenants. It's like she gets to play more freely with the signs and signifiers (pardon my weakness in semiotics) of architecture because she's building in farmers' fields. I'm sure she still takes human form into account, but unlike a 'proper' architect she has fewer restrictions. An architect must consider daily human use and if they don't think about how people will live in their built spaces, said spaces stand a good chance of failing.

Looking through the site, I'm definitely a bigger fan of her earlier work. She seems to focus more on architecture and structure than in her later stuff. Starting in the 80s her work begins to take on a more sculptural and decorative air. By decorative I mean there is less concern with function (as vague as it might be) and more with aesthetics. Her sculptures are still fantastic and full of use, it's just that the architecture that remains as a theme in some pieces is often more abstract and less obvious.

I'm always wary of venturing opinions on realms foreign to me (at least in writing, when speaking I venture insupportable opinions on things I know nothing about all the time). I worry I lack the vocabulary to express my notions accurately. Oh well. No offence intended anyone!
Functional and Fantasy Stair and Cyclone Fragment, 1996
And I'm not saying her sculpture is bad. Just that I like the themes she's exploring in her earlier work more.

If someone knows what I'm talking about, feel free to tell me.

Also, everyone should look at the artist's site. There are so many cool things there, even a machine that makes the world! In the meantime, play on this...
The Game of Flyers, 1980
Note at the bottom (that is here): I did an experiment and didn't promote the previous post. The results of the experiment tells me no one has looked at it. If you're interested, it's there and it's about food!