[livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball, on reporting that Tampa is under windchill warning because it will feel like 35ºF, says he thinks this is cute.

I say, what is *really* cute, is all the workers I imagine out there rushing to put Snuggies™ on the fruit trees.

On reflection, wouldn't that make an amazing Christo-like art piece? A field of trees, each with a leopard- or zebra-patterned Snuggie™ flapping in the breeze?

Googling the subject tells me of course the Japanese already thought of it, at least with straw wraps and windblocks.

One of the photos on that page, the entirely wrapped trees, look suspiciously like some of the Chihuly sculptures that dan, Tom, and I saw this afternoon in St. Pete.

Chicago: days 2-5

Wednesday, 9 December 2009 01:16 am
After my first 24 hours in Chicago...

Friday night, we were off to Steppenwolf Theatre to see American Buffalo, by David Mamet. I hadn't known anything about it, other than it being a classic, and it turned out to be a real treat. The seats were excellent (even though they were in the back row; it was a small theatre), and the play itself was disturbing and well done. "Disturbing" because it said much about friendship and "business" (read, shady dealings). The set made me smile- the stage was made to be a junk shop in a basement, with much of a real junk shop's worth of stuff cluttering the stage, with amazing lighting coming from "upstairs" or from florescent bulbs. Very intricate, as also were the story and the dialogue.

Saturday, we went for deep dish pizza at a nearby bar and didn't pay much attention to the (American) football on the tube, except when the guy next to us at the bar made a comment in our direction about a play. I burned my tongue on some marinara sauce.

We walked around Old Town, and we saw A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. It was very merry, indeed. Fairly self-referentially funny (it started with a disclaimer about Scientology and Dianetics being copyright, etc etc.) The players were all kids, the set was very simple, and it was a 60-minute show. We agreed 60 minutes was a good length.

Then, to a Mexican restaurant, where our dinner was overshadowed by the blind-date a table over, where the guy really needed a hearing-aid, because we didn't need to hear him strike out.

Sunday: more touring around, including The Art Institute of Chicago, which has added a large wing since I was last there in 2006. High points for me: a temporary exhibit called "Light Me Black" - the floor was drywall punched with a lot of craters, and some hundred florescent tube lights were suspended in the middle of the room. Entering, we were told, "please watch your step and don't make more holes." It was remarkably stark, and I liked that. There was also a wonderful exhibit on Arts and Crafts in Britain and Chicago; not only Frank Lloyd Wright, but Stickley furniture, Tiffany glass, and photos by Alfred Stieglitz and others. I was amazed by two finds: a self-portrait by Edward Steichen, a bichromate gum photograph which appears as a painting- Steichen manipulated the print with brush-strokes to add both white and black shades. I stood there studying it for quite a while. ...And there was a neat piece by Marion Mahony Griffin, a line drawing of a Frank Lloyd Wright house which used space and light/dark in a stylistically Japanese way. I appreciated how the exhibit called out a number of associations between Arts and Crafts and design elements taken from Japanese forms in the mid-1800s- lots of connections I hadn't known of.

In the evening, we popped off to Alinea for the most decadent dinner I've ever had. Twelve courses )

So that's how I ended my Chicago trip; with a hangover, pulling my bags through a new layer of snow, back through the Red Line, Orange Line L, to Midway (a bit concerned about time; the train was slow; but then my plane was late arriving), back to Toronto Island, back to Royal York Hotel, where I sat and read for an hour because my late plane meant I missed the earlier bus back, then dragged myself up to the Greyhound station to catch the 3pm bus home, which got me in the door at 5:30.

Which, I'll note, was just exactly 24 hours after the caviar, champagne, and quail eggs.

This life, it is a good one.

Oh, finally: I think Porter was a good choice, but not a great choice. I didn't pay more for the plane ticket, the departures lounge in Toronto was wonderful; but on the way back, missing that bus meant I got home two hours after I'd hoped I would, turning a 7-hour travel day into 9-hour travel. *shrug* It was a good experiment, at least.
The arts event I went to this evening was... meh.

I slept instead of going to the Cory Doctorow talk. It was a good nap.

I had a funny idea that solves a problem at work. I want to start hacking WWW::Mechanize to make a proof of concept, but [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog is standing at the door staring at me and her eyes are saying, "You haven't given me a walk yet."

I shouldn't write this code, anyway; I should give it to my co-op.

Really I shouldn't.

OK, Rover, time for a walk!

(no subject)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009 10:43 pm


Wednesday, 25 March 2009 08:07 pm
So I'm preparing for my portion of a presentation on Quakers and Equality tomorrow. I did a text search on my computer for something, and it found me this quote.

Bill Hicks:
""I asked this guy, I said, 'Come on man, Dinosaur fossils. What's the deal?' 'Dinosaur fossils? God put those there to test our faith.' 'I think God put you here to test my faith, dude. You believe that?' 'Uh huh.' Does that trouble anyone here? The idea that God might be fuckin' with our heads? Anyone have trouble sleeping restfully with that thought in their heads? God's running around, burrying fossils: 'Hu hu ho. We will see who believes in me now, ha HA. Im a prankster god. I am killing me. Ho ho ho ho.' You know, you die, you go to St. Peter, 'Did you you believe in dinosaurs?" "Well, you know, there was fossils everywhere.' [Bill makes sound effects with his mic] KOOM Aaaahhhh. 'What are you, an idiot? God was FUCKING with you! Giant flying lizards, you moron! That's one of God's easiest jokes!' 'It seemed so plausibleeeee! Ahhhhhhhh!' Bound for the lake of fire. . . .

While I appreciate your quiant traditions, supersitions, and, you know, I on the other hand am an evolved being who deals soley with the source of light which exists in all of us, in our own minds, no middle man required. [laughs] But anyway, I appreciate your little games and shit, you putting on the tie and going to church, a de da de da. But you know there's a LIVING GOD WHO WILL TALK DIRECTLY FUCKING TO YOU-- sorry --not through the pages of the Bible that FORGOT TO MENTION DINOSAURS!" - Revelations (1990's comedy routine)

Maybe I should just play that.


Sunday, 11 January 2009 03:03 pm
[livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball and I just took a fairly long Sunday Constitutional. We passed by the regional children's museum, which just opened an exhibit on Andy Warhol. So, it's interesting that Warhol has now become acceptable to teach to kids, which I suppose means they've built up enough socially-acceptable history or pseudo-history to paper over any hint of dangerous unacceptability? Or maybe that's just the cynic in me. We'll probably go see this some time soon to give us a better idea. As d. pointed out, the exhibit we saw with [livejournal.com profile] metalana in '06 did have a bit of the scary, but was fairly tame and "family friendly" (for certain values of family).

It's also interesting that they've programmed quite the speaker-series for Sunday afternoons through April, (jumping out for me: "Feb 1st – Kathy Battista, Director of Sotheby’s Insistute of Art, New York with Marie Burns and Amanda Kesner on Warhol, Wigs and Women: Identity Politics in Warhol’s Practice"). No mention of when on Sunday these talks are, though.

But I think the most interesting part of this was, one evening last week, Dave FM had a very long (3 minute?) discussion of why you should go to this exhibit and what Warhol is most famous for (Campbell's soup can, product design, "many films", no mention of sex). On the pop radio station. Which feels surprisingly subversive to me, pop radio talking about pop art.


Tuesday, 5 August 2008 03:41 pm
da: (black)
The Pastor Phelps Project: a fundamentalist cabaret, opening in Toronto this Thursday, could not ask for better publicity.

They are being picketed by Westboro Baptist Church on opening night.


The text of their PDF, in case you don't want to hit their server:

Westboro Baptist Church
(WBC Chronicles- Since 1955)
St.Topeka, Kansas 66604 785-273-0325
Religious Opinion and Bible Commentary on Current Events
Friday, August 1, 2008

WBC will picket The Pastor Phelps Project
7p.m. to 8p.m. - Thursday, August 7
-at the Cameron House, 408 Queen St. W., Toronto, Canada.

In religious protest and warning: "Be not
deceived; God is not mocked." Gal.6:7.
God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers. Ergo,
God hates The Pastor Phelps Project, and
all those having anything to do with it.

The Pastor Phelps Project is a tacky bit of filthy
sodomite propaganda, with no literary merit
and zero redeeming social value, masquerading
as legitimate theater. It is of the fags, by the
fags, and for the fags- designed only to mock
the word of God and the servants of God. "He
that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord
shall have them in derision." Psa.2:4.

God Hates Canada-
Land of the Sodomites.

Um, like, yeah.
As mentioned, our dining-room is haunted by the world's most trivial poltergeist. Only, now maybe I pissed it off by soldering the clock?

[livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball returned home to discover the clock face-down on the dining-room floor, shards of pottery scattered around.

True, this morning, I tweaked the clock's batteries because it had stopped overnight. (This time, the pendulum was running, and the clock had stopped. Why? No idea. Electrically, they are on the same circuit and every other time it's stopped, the hands kept going and the pendulum stopped.)

True, every time the Via Rail train comes through, the whole house shakes. And true, the nail on the wall is loose in the nail-hole, because it's plaster and I've re-hung the clock more times than I could count. But- I hung it on the nail, and it stayed there, like every other time I've hung it up. And then, some time in the day, it leaped to the floor, in the process landing on a single ceramic bowl on the shelves underneath, but not hitting anything else on the way, and remarkably not smashing into a pile of wooden and glass shards. Even though the d-cell batteries were flying around inside the case.

And dan came home to a clock in a pile of ceramic shards. And I came home to survey the damage (the poor bowl!), and the clock is fine, in fact it was still ticking. Even though the two D-cell batteries were sitting in the bottom of the case (*boggle*)

...And then I remembered the 3rd battery, a rechargeable, which I had stuck into the mechanism as a shim, but had stuck tape on the contacts so it wouldn't mess things up electrically. And the tape had worn through.

And now the clock is rehung, and I'm slightly on edge waiting for it to leap from the wall again.

Perhaps we should take [livejournal.com profile] the_infamous_j's advice and permanently attach it to the wall. Perhaps I should just countersink a sturdy screw into the wall. [Stop looking at me like that, [livejournal.com profile] dawn_guy...]

Perhaps we should declare the house haunted and move to Tahiti.

(no subject)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007 04:03 pm
So our house is being haunted by the world's most Trivial Poltergeist. Particularly, the very pretty wooden clock in the dining room is haunted (see the top-right of this photo from d's citizenship party). The pendulum is entirely for show; it's powered by a battery. The Trivial Poltergeist will stop and start the pendulum at random intervals. Recently, the pendulum has been mostly still, and it bugs both d. and me that it won't work. For d., mostly because it looks bad, and for me because it looks bad for my mechanical abilities that I can't figure out a fake clock pendulum.

On Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] bats22 jokingly wondered what would happen if I doubled the voltage. Ding! (actually, *clonk*): two batteries increases the electromagnet's pull, but it doesn't change the frequency. So it swings rreeeallly wiiiide now. Next I'm nudging down the voltage, now that it's kept itself going long enough for me to know this isn't a transient fix (like the last 8 or so have been). Poltergeist bug us not!

There is a punchline, which is that this morning I was going to simply post this entry as a haiku:

The pendulum swings
Under doubled batteries
Faster than we'd like

...I reconsidered, on grounds that cryptic poetry in livejournal may look more dramatic than I intended.

...Not connected to the previous, a note to myself: If you find yourself saying, "I am a river of peace, water washes over me goddammit." You're Doing It Wrong.

cri de fridge

Tuesday, 29 May 2007 10:36 am
http://noonebelongsheremorethanyou.com is great.

I've read one of her stories, "The Swim Team" in Harpers (Jan '07). It was clever, but I need to re-read it before I decide to buy the book.

Now I want to see "Me and You and Everyone We Know."


Tuesday, 30 January 2007 10:00 pm
I really like the word artifice. Not only the word, but qualities behind it- cleverness, craftiness, subtle deception. My fascination with Almodóvar is at least in part a fascination with his statements on artifice.

I think I first decided this while reading Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling, some years back. This book shows the next 75 years' science being adopted by mass culture, such as mass-market "tincture sets" to make home-brew concoctions that are partly food, partly drug, partly art. Life is mostly recreational, in this world which has solved the problems of disease and overpopulation. But the cost is an elderly majority who have dispossessed the young. The main characters are a roving collective of young people, devoted to creating artifice and art, instead of subscribing to the mass-media-consumption culture. It's partly about hacking culture, one of those topics Bruce Sterling treats pretty well. It's also about taking what one needs, when society is unwilling to share.

To be honest, the book didn't come anywhere near "changing my life"; but it pointed me at a particular quality of the arts, and possibly of culture, that makes me happy. It's really hard to describe (and I've been sitting on writing this entry for... quite some time).

So, what does artifice mean to me? It's not "art," which is broader but includes much of what I mean. It's not lying, specifically; but it's telling truth through lies. It's the cleverest storytelling. It's "cool"'s egghead next-door neighbour. All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. It's Almodóvar for certain. It's The Yes Men. And it's a pile of other things, which may or may not be important.

What say you?
da: (bit)
While [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball is learning the very useful R statistics environment, I'm learning just enough about Piet, a graphical language whose programs look like Mondrain paintings. I foolishly volunteered to present on this topic for my local Perl Mongers group. I'd hoped I could reimplement my quilt-building program to make executable programs, but that part has fallen by the wayside. If you want to know what I present on, either show up [1], or ask me after the fact what went down, 'cause I'm sure I'm not going to have time in advance to write up proper slides.

[1] google for our town and perl, should be easy to find our website. The talk's tomorrow night at 7pm. Pizza's on the house. Beer, after, probably at McGinnis in the Plaza.

Come watch me make a fool of myself!
Last night: more insomnia. This time, preciptated by the dog howling in her sleep, twice. And one 'o them late-night headaches. Hate hate hate.


this (People Bowling, thanks [livejournal.com profile] miss_chance)

and these gorgious animations:

FAA Flight Paths (thanks [livejournal.com profile] ckd)

made the time pass.

Gah, but it's cold and wet out. Tonight, d. and I are going to see Rocky Horror at the Princess; first time for both of us in at least a decade. I'm looking forward to it- apparently they don't care what we toss, as long as it doesn't hit the screen. Wow.

No stage-show, though. Boo.

I'm... trying to decide whether to take another nap. This morning we got a fair bit done (bagels, food-shopping, shoe-shopping, hardware-store) but I don't really feel like anything too complicated for the afternoon.

Oh right: I need to finish our costumes for tonight.

Worhol at AGO

Monday, 14 August 2006 04:55 pm
PSA for people interested in seeing the Warhol at the AGO: when we were in Oakville, the nice Oakville Gallery2 employee passed on the rumour that there were free tickets for the AGO Warhol exhibit available from the Eaton Centre. I googled it, and this:


suggests that if you're lucky and go at the right time, there may be free tickets if you are willing to stop by the Eaton Centre. It apparently involves filling out a survey; and they get new batches of tickets, according to people who've investigated. ...Go, redflagdeals.

I don't think we'll be going this weekend, but perhaps the next? *shrug* ...the Oakville exhibit may have fulfilled my Warhol itch, actually.

...hm, there seems to be a little old lady with a butterfly net walking back and forth in front of my office window. How odd. Though I suppose it is a university.

Feeling sort of disjointed; this evening's plans include a talk from EFF Canada at the LUG. I should leave now to do a few errands beforehand, but I don't feel like biking home. History shows that my energy levels don't tend to go up when I stall at work, so I should leave. But I want to finish fixing up something, too. Meh. It'll be here in the morning!

Don't shake the art

Saturday, 12 August 2006 06:15 pm
[livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball, [livejournal.com profile] metalana and I went to Oakville to see the Andy Warhol exhibit (at the Oakville Art Gallery). It was excellent- some Warhol I hadn't seen before, including "Black Lenin", probably my favourite piece there.

None of us had been to Oakville before (my fingers keep writing Oakland)- it's a tony town, full of old ladies with badly behaved dogs, but lots of good bakeries and galleries. The Oakville Gallery is split into two parts. The part with the Warhol was 5 minutes out of town at "Gairloch Gardens", whose grounds are pretty spiff. Except, it's a public garden, public parking, and there were five or six weddings trying to happen there simultaneously. Imagine trying to get out of a parkinglot blocked by stretch limos, and that was our last taste of Gairloch Gardens. Grr.

The other "huh" moment was just after leaving the gallery, we discovered a piece of outdoor art, sort of a tall cage, sort of designed into chairs. It evoked the inside of a church; and if you sat in the chairs and shook them, they each made different tones, like a church bell. How cool? Very cool.

Then the security guard walked by and shouted, "Hey! You! Knock it off!" Huh? "You're not allowed to do that." Oh, it looked like interactive art. And it was so cool. Oh well.

We went back into town and hit the downtown part of Oakville Galleries, which had Montréal artist Isabelle Hayeur. The exhibit was a dozen and a half wall-sized photshopped prints of suburbia. I liked it; I may try to describe it later, but I want to give Alana a chance at the laptop so I'll stop.

Before we left, we talked to the person at the desk, who gave the scoop about the non-interactive interactive art. Turns out they're trying to preserve it; they just lack signs to say it. Sigh.

Oh well. Great art; I can recommend the trip if you're able to get there by the end of the month.

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