Friday, August 29, 2003
Crazy week, what with classes, painting, working, and calculating how the hell I'm going to afford all that photography equipment. The Toronto vacation already seems like the too distant past, I can barely remember the details. Spent the first day with my dad just catching up. He told stories, I listened and we were both just really happy. Took him to a small restaurant (La Hacienda
) on Queen W for lunch and then waited for his train in a cafe (Lettieri) in the St Lawrence Market area. The following day, we packed the bags and went over to M's mom's. That night was Japanese in a small Beaches restaurant where the chef kept saying "Torlonto, like factorly; Montrleal, so verly fashionable.", doing that r/l roll that so many Japanese do. I'm sorry, I can't remember the name but it's the second last Japanese restaurant on Queen E (north side) before you reach Scarborough.
The following day, we walked down past the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse
, where Sarah Polley was getting married that weekend, and went to the newly opened Distillery
. It used to be private and only available to film crews. Now, you can walk around desperately looking for a reasonable place to eat or have a cup of semi-burnt coffee in the only cafe. If you do that, be prepared: you may just find yourself locking eyes with someone like Woody Harrelsen, just like I did. I just about fell off my chair, I was so unprepared for my reaction. Having met some famous actors and musicians, I'd learned how to not react in any geeky embarrassing way; blame it on the blue blue eyes. That man has miraculously blue eyes.
Stopped at the Jane Corkin Gallery (also located in The Distillery) where I saw Montrealer Serge Clement's work
. He also has an exposition at the Galerie Simon Blais
in Montreal that I plan to see. This photographer works primarily with complex reflections that make me think of seamless multiple exposures.
Which reminds me. It is the Mois de la Photo
in Montreal. Get off your ass, unglue yourself from the monitor, and go see some photographs!
The following and final day in Toronto included some superhero fans running around dressed in costumes at the Comic Convention and afternoon tea with M's grandmother before we hit the road with J who kindly let us crash in his far off the beaten path cedar cabin so to break up that monotonous 6 hour drive back to Montreal. One more pit stop in the picturesque Kingston and then home, sweet home.
Posted 8:38 PM
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Classes begin today. Yesterday was orientation, which is always an unsettling experience, that first day in a room full of people you don't know. They introduced the instructors, then distributed class schedules and handbooks, including a preliminary list of required materials, the cost of which exceeds $2000. Lucky I have the camera, lenses and light meter. Lucky I took a vacation before classes began when I still had money!
Some thoughts on my vacation... Toronto has a certain appeal I'd forgotten. Montreal is just so very dirty and dilapidated in general. Walking through the Plateau yesterday I was more than usual aware of the litter on the street, the worn buildings, which usually do charm because they are old, and couldn't help but wonder why a lot of people here seem to care less about upkeep. In a parallel neighbourhood in Toronto, you'll find some of the wear and tear but more effort to maintain their property. I guess it goes back to the fact that the majority of residents in the Plateau are renters and not owners, and much too often the landlords don't care to spend that extra time and money to improve dwellings, instead choosing to pave over the teeny bit of green grass in front of the building.
Speaking of green, I'd always been under the impression that Montreal was more green. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Maybe it was the ice storm that wiped out the trees, or maybe my memory fails me, but Toronto was shockingly alive with trees and grass and gardens. Another shock was that rent in Montreal and Toronto are also on par now. I don't know if it's because rent has come down in Toronto. The final shock was during the last day when we drove all the way from the CN Tower area along Spadina up to St. Clair W in 15 minutes on a Saturday afternoon
. Not once in my 13 years of Toronto experience have I ever seen such little traffic on the streets. Word is that SARS did a real number on Toronto the Good.
Back to painting the spare room. Say hello to nice kitty
Posted 8:32 AM
Sunday, August 24, 2003
Wow. Montreal is crowded! Just read
that this area, which is known as the Plateau, is the most densely populated neighbourhood in North America with 101 364 residents living in a 7.74 square kilometre area. Mind boggling.
For the record, Montreal too suffers from pollution but still has a chance to not deteriorate further à la Toronto.
Will tell all after I relax and recover from the drive.
Posted 7:53 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Wow. Toronto is smoggy! Driving in yesterday around 8 p.m., I was impressed with the disgusting layer of brown obscuring the skyscrapers and today the toxic fume grit tickled my nostrils and made M rather naseous. Montreal is no way near as bad as Toronto. For now, that is. Just give us gas-guzzling car-crazy humans another few years and we'll ruin the quality of life in another great Canadian city.
Briefly seeing my father was well worth the trip.
Posted 8:42 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
This is part of photographer Bill Owens
Suburbia series shot primarily in the 70s in California.
Looking at old photos, especially from the 70s, reminds me of my childhood, but I don't remember much about guns. Maybe it's due to being Canadian and not growing up in the suburbs?
I talk to a lot of American clients at work and when they learn they're talking to someone in Montreal, Canada, there is always a pause followed by curiosity or excitement or wariness (those foreigners!). There's always a reaction of some kind, and questions, or a relaying of their Canada memories. The other day, a friendly guy from Chicago tells me Canada was the final Jeopardy question: What is the largest country in the world bordered only by one other country?
Having travelled so much and having the unique privilege of growing up near the Detroit
border crossing and being fascinated by that skyline enough to lie to my parents and cross the border when I wasn't supposed to in highschool, because you know, it's so dangerous over there
, I've never thought of Americans as anything other than those people with more buying power, more things, who are sometimes charming, usually loud, and more often than not who have a rather limited knowledge of things not American. Luckily enough, I've also had the privilege of close friendship with Americans who defy the stereotype but grant some truth to my lifelong observations, laughing and embarrassed at the clichés.
I still remember meeting a very young American cousin in Detroit one Easter. She'd been looking at me curiously throughout the day and finally asked, "What it's like to live in an igloo?" Oh! I nearly fell of my chair in disbelief and laughter. "Where'd you learn that", I asked. She saw a photograph in a book.
And that's why I love photographs. They never lie. Some
Canadians have been known to live in igloos. Some
Americans like guns.
Posted 10:26 AM
Monday, August 11, 2003
A lot of people hate Mondays. I even once knew someone who hates Sundays. Maybe I'm not normal, whatever normal means, but I love the slow mellow Sunday mood that allows me to recharge, and I like the fresh start to another week, another chance to get right what you didn't get last week. I must be an optimist. Good thing because I had a bloody emotional weekend raking through the past and present. Nothing like having the flat to yourself to do some uninterrupted mental house-cleaning. Even managed to throw in some real house cleaning. Just one more thing; the nasty oven job.
By nature, I'm highly contemplative: turning thoughts in my mind, looking at them from multiple angles, cross-referencing one with another, comparing and contrasting ... This can get me into trouble, especially when I decide something must be said or done. This time that something was said to my father. I don't remember when, nor does it really matter, but maybe five years ago, my mom left on vacation and never came back. I wasn't living at home. Haven't in ages. Her departure was long overdue. Classic case of Unhappy Marriage.
Now my father refuses, that is, Refuses to speak to her. He happens to be in the same city as her at this very moment. The first time, in fact, since she left. All that contemplation peppered with some old family photos found me on the phone for the first time since the split almost pleading with him to please see her and at least talk! (No, not reconcile, just be civil.) You'd think, after 25 years, they'd have something to say. If nothing else, set a positive, mature example for the children seeing as he stayed married for the children, especially this particular, eldest child.
No. No. And no.
His only defense was that She left him.
The pain and anger must be formidable, this I'm only just beginning to realize. Perhaps he is setting a positive example; sparing himself further and absolutely necessary pain by keeping the door closed and the known demons out.
Thank god Monday finally arrived.
Posted 9:56 PM
Friday, August 08, 2003
Yay! Many hours and worried buckets of sweat later, his plane and he have safely arrived in the windy city. Phew! Nothing like a little travel, ETAs and 30 minute holds on Air Canada's information line to get the blood pumping and remind you how much you love someone.
Posted 9:18 PM
Thursday, August 07, 2003
Iris Murdoch's The Sacred and Profane Love Machine was a pleasure to read. Some writers are plot writers, others are language writers, and then there are the few who marry the language and plot plus throw in a dash of magic, a certain way with mood, scene, and character, a lovely turn of phrase and wonderfully thought-provoking ideas and philosophies. I can still see Harriet and Blaise and Monty and Edgar and Pinn, little Luca and David too. The only character I can't immediately remember is "the other woman", the profane lover, and I wonder if it's because the idea of the other woman is threatening to women, to me, in general. (I just looked. Her name is Emily. There was once an Emily, a friend's girlfriend constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I did not much like.)
Other than reading, working, getting used to my new computer, researching camera equipment, registering for school (eek!), and thoroughly enjoying the weather, can't say much is happening 'round these here parts.
Posted 10:01 PM
Sunday, August 03, 2003
Grass per Iris Murdoch:
"Monty was lying in the orchard grass. It was the afternoon. The sun, which had filled the whole sky as if attempting to blot out its blue with sheer gold, sizzled through the green leaves in sudden stars and needles of dazzling light. A very very distant cuckoo drew attention to the silence. Under the canopy of the leaves the air was hot and sultry and smelt of hay. The little haystack in the corner of the orchard exuded a damp delicious almost burning smell as if it might burst into flames at any moment. There could be thunder later but there was as yet no menace in the thick sweet air. The grass was still green and lush in its second growth. Though sun-warmed, it had a jaunty seeming of coolness. ..."
From The Sacred and Profane Love Machine: The Wittiest, Profoundest and Most Compulsive Black Comedy
Posted 8:47 PM
Saturday, August 02, 2003
Canadiana 1947 - Youth Protest Chocolate Bar Price Hike
Is it a legitimate protest about the rising price of chocolate bars or is it a communist threat? Young people informally affiliated with the National Federation of Labour Youth flood the streets bearing placards protesting the 3-cent candy bar price hike.
Posted 5:25 PM
All the hipster bark...
Cute, but still! $100+ designer shades for dogs
Posted 2:05 PM
The other day, we finally biked up the mountain
, which by Alp and Rocky standards is really an ant hill. We took it slow and easy, a nice 35 minute low-grade climb, and then a 20 minute break at the top where there is a paved terrace look-out and people just sort of standing there and looking at Montreal's downtown, the Lachine canals and, in the misty distance, more of the soft and undulating peaks that are the Adirondacks. The ride down was cautiously fast (ever heard of gravel burn?) and fairly cool because of the thick trees nestled in the nightfalling darkness. Although, once we were back "in the city", even though we'd never really left the city since the mountain is smack dab in the middle of it all, the stale humid pollution settled on our skin for the duration of the ride home, and then some.
Today, however, is bizarrrrely cool. Usually Montrealers are gasping for air in a thick sweltering pollution-enhanced humidity for the latter half of July and beginning of August. This feels more like Vancouver, washed-out white skies and a pleasantly moderate warmth cooled by an ocean breeze. Damn straight I like not gagging through my summer!Want to know more about Montreal?
Posted 9:05 AM
Powered by Blogger