In a pocket

There were two prompts really… One, writer self-care, was to write in a place you don’t usually write, notice the difference in self and mood. I took myself to the river, to the place where the fishermen’s have trampled the grass and left me a place to sit, and the river runs a bit deeper and slower.

The other, the writing prompt, was about what do we carry with us, what is in out pockets or purse. The only thing i really carry in my pockets are work related (knife, phone, paper scraps, malt bag strings), so I’m using the far more interesting talismans I carry in my messenger bag.

The first is an oracle coin; hamsas, clouds and the word YES on one side, a winged skeleton and the word NO on the other. It’s big and weighty, like two toonies weighty. Substantial. I don’t use it often, but I like having it for when I want to put some randomness into my life.

The other is a tiny version of the Travellers Notebook, released for their 10th anniversary. I refused to buy a tin at $40, but bought two at $10. Once I put it together, I got caught in my what if I wreck it what if I run out of pages, it needs to be perfect loop of inaction. After staring at it for months, I hand wrote the Laughing Heart poem by Charles Bukowski in it. It’s my reminder to live my best badass life.

The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.
— by Charles Bukowski

Culture jamming

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs. — Banksy, from Cut It Out

Long day

july 9

 

My feet are tired and my face hurts.

The feet are sore from all the mileage that Keith and I put in around downtown today as we walked between venues at the Toronto Fringe Festival. See those six gaps in the FitBit activity log? Those represent the six shows we saw in one day. All but one was very funny, and even the one that wasn’t very funny was still pretty funny. Which is why my face hurts.

We laughed. A lot.

More tomorrow, as right now all I want to do is drink the beer that is included in the above MFP log before I fall asleep.

Grocery store sushi

Grocery store sushi only sounds like a good idea, until it isn’t.

Honestly, I should know better, but I was at work and could not look at another crappy 5 Guys burger or crappy Tim Horton’s sandwich. The sushi tasted good at the time, but let’s just say that there is not one area of my gastro-intestinal system that is currently happy with my good idea at the time.

The plus side is that I do not feel like my usual late night snacking. There will be NO PROBLEM keeping under my allotted calorie limit today.

Sharp contrast to yesterday when all I really did was snack. Actually, I’m going to use the term graze. It just sounds nicer. Oh, and drank. Brian and Stacie, friends from Atlanta, are in Toronto being tourists so I met up with them in the evening and went through some of the $5 Sunday pint menu at BarHop. I am both sad and happy that I do not live closer to BarHop.

I hit the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Nathan Phillips Square before meeting them to scope out all the lovely creative pieces I cannot afford. There was the usual same-old-same-old (oh, look, another painting of the Great Canadian Shield done in the style of one of the Group of Seven), but there were some truly spectacular artists that piqued my interest.

One is Becca Wallace who does some great photography with old toys (robots!!). I showed Keith some of her work, and we’re going to commission her to shoot some of our old childhood toys in the same fashion.

Another artist I spoke to for a while was Blair McKean who does scorched wood art – think kid’s woodburning kit all grown up.

But the one exhibitor that really fried my noodle were these wire work sculptures by James Paterson. Words fail to express how full of delight they are.

Yes, I know it’s sideways. Believe when I say it will be easier for you to tilt your head for five seconds than it will be for me to remain seated long enough to find and apply a fix. Someday I will learn to rotate my phone 90 degrees.

It’s pretty nifty though, eh?

*************************

And before I forget, here’s my tracking for the last two days.

Yesterday:

july 6

 

And today:

July 7

 

Now I’m off to bed in the hopes that the Imodium and Gravol I’ve taken start working soon. Fucking grocery store sushi.

Go Downtown to See The Bowie Exhibit At The AGO and Then Go To The Ballet Day

So glad I tore through a big chunk of my crap-to-do list before taking myself out. I don’t think I would have enjoyed my outing so much if I’d still had a bunch of things still hanging over my head.

I didn’t get to see the Bowie exhibit though. It was the second last day, and I could tell by how busy the ticket desks were that it was going to be packed. I decided to take a pass since 1) I’m not a fan of crowds and 2) I’ve already seen it. I was getting my general admission ticket at the member’s desk when the nice man asked me if I wanted to see the new Guggenheim exhibit that opens on Saturday. Yes, please! Membership does have it’s perks.

There was much there that I liked. I spent a lot of time in front of Red Eiffel Tower by Delaunay and View From a Paris Window by Chagall. There were pieces by Kandinsky and Mondrian that I think I have to go back to.

I am however, still filled with meh at Picasso. Perhaps I just haven’t seen the right piece yet.

I visited my usuals; the Draped Seated Woman sculpture by Henry Moore (reminds me of the orbiting giants from MirrorMask) and Lake Superior III by Lawren Harris, then went for a surprisingly good coffee in the member’s lounge and got some writing done.

Gehry staircase, Draped Woman Seated, and Lake Superior III
Gehry staircase, Draped Seated Woman, & Lake Superior III

I wandered down to Chapters and killed some time until doors opened at the Four Seasons Centre. I went to the ballet talk, which was interesting but a bit much in spots.

The show was called Innovation, and had four short pieces. All were good, but the second one called Being and Nothingness (Part 1), a 7-minute solo set to Philip Glass’ Metamorphosis, was by far the most moving IMHO.

The view from Ring 5
The view from Ring 5

 

The Gladstone Hotel

I headed to the Toronto Indie Arts Market today to check out some of the wares. As anticipated, I did buy anything for Christmas presents. I did however buy some great hand-made beer soap and a wallet from brewersCRAP, a company that recycles  brewing materials – the wallet is made from an old malt bag, and the soap has spent grain in it as an exfoliant. Can’t wait to use it.

I also got to meet Sheryl Kirby, who I have twittered and emailed back and forth with. She’s one of the driving forces behind Beer and Buttertarts, the new food zine that bought one of my memoir pieces. She had a proof copy of the initial issue; it felt slightly surreal but incredible to hold the tangible piece and to see my name in print on page 26.

Photo Nov 09, 11 33 29 AM

One of the most interesting things about the Indie Arts Market was the venue. The Gladstone Hotel was built in the late 1800’s and has been in continuous operation every since.

Like many hotels, it’s seen it’s share of hard times. I used to deliver Meals on Wheels there in the 80’s, and always hated going in. It was basically a flop house by this point with all the smells and disrepair that go with that designation. The old gentleman I delivered to had a room on the third floor, and was blind as a result of complications due to diabetes. He had been a musician with one of the more famous big bands in the forties and fifties and had drank his money and his health away. He was lonely, and wanted to talk. I would have loved to stay and talk with him, but the strong smell of old urine and black mould made my eyes water and I always beat as hasty retreat as I could back down the wide wooden stairs. I lived in the neighbourhood and occasionally would join some of the other old guys int he cowboy bar for nickel draft. Not because I liked the bar or the cowboy music or the beer, but the price was right.

I knew the place had been bought and had undergone major renovations. The company that bought it had renovated other old buildings, but this was the first that still had residents in it. There was a documentary made about this period, Last Call at the Gladstone Hotel that is “… a riveting and extraordinary human portrait of the effects of urban renewal upon the poor and the unintentional roles artists play in the process of gentrification.” I’m going to watch the full version this week.

Now the place is lovely. The manually-operated Victorian elevator has been fully restored – the brass glints as it slides slowly between floors. Each room is unique, designed by local artists. There are permanent and temporary art installations in the lobby, the stairwell and other public spaces, and original features like wood floors and trim, brass fixtures and wooden columns have been wonderfully restored.

Photo Nov 09, 10 15 05 PM

It really is visually lovely, and I enjoyed comparing it to my memories while I talked with the artisans at the Indie Arts Market. But frankly, the smug hipsters at the check-in desk annoyed me, and the smug well-to-do moms seemed to make a job of blocking my way with their SUV strollers, and good lord man, where the hell did you find plaid skinny pants that clashed so horribly with that slightly-too-small plaid jacket, all put so artfully together with that fedora to look just so?

It’s just not my aesthetic. I’m more a run-down bar with old guys and cheap draft kind of girl in the end.