Friday, January 6, 2012

...My grandmother is a terrible driver....

As she gets older its because she can't see past her windshield... but she has always been a bad driver. It's a running joke in my family that she has a magic force field around her car. I think its because she has always driven a lexus. No one wants to hit a Lexus.

But she's always been a bad driver. And as much as it scares me I love her for it, because my Grammy is most herself when she's cruising.

It's hard to imagine. But driving is one of the only times I think she feels a real independence. She becomes full of purpose, destination, activity. She offers me candy, water, new books, a challah. She caters to your every need. All the while singing along to am radio.

And when I am not clutching the dash or wincing at the sight of crossing pedestrians, I sing with her.

My favourite distraction is when she talks about the neighbourhood she grew up in - My great-grandfather bought a little house on Rusholme. She was born there, raised there. She got dressed in her wedding dress in that house. Its such a part of her. I live on the third floor of a house up the street from it. Its so pretty. With these tall bushes out in front.

There is this one great photo I've seen, of my Grammy standing outside that house, with her sister Toby.

But even more than that picture I feel like I know it because of the way she talks about it. And sometimes when I walk down the street to the streetcar I think about how its so much the same as it must have been then. The houses are all old. The trees are so old they must have been tall even in the 40s.

Its so great to hear about the Boyd gang who stuck up the bank that is now the Starbucks at the corner of dovercourt and college with bandanas tied over there faces. It really happened, although probably not in the black an white silent film way it does when I picture it.

I hear a lot of little tidbits that from Grammy.

Like here's a great one. Right next to where the Royal Theatre on college, where the OMNI radio office is. That used to be a chicken yard. Where burds would run around. And you would point to the one you wanted. And they would kill it for you. I have always wondered whether it cost extra to have it plucked.

I wish I could see it. Sometimes I try to imagine it. Its a good way to calm oneself when hurtling through a red light.

I can't see it though. Her world. Not really. Because the trees are older. 50 years older. And there's a starbucks and a multicultural radio station. And the internet and feminism, and facebook and Arab Spring and pop psychology. And I just have all that in my development. It must be so strange to see something over the course of 80 years. What is everything to me is just such a small part of her experience. she sees things as what they were, they way they aren't anymore, but were, to her.

She comes from a world where what was right was to come second, to put my needs behind others. To see it as a badge of honour, a matter of pride, to make sure I could put myself second and never let anyone want for anything, or underappreciate what I had.

I do love her for it. I continue have to shake of the feeling its my duty to "free" her from it. Show her what its like to indulge your indulgences, fill your cravings and say exactly what the fuck you are feeling whenever the fuck you are feeling it. Its really not - my job - that is.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I have a little to learn in the self-restraint department. I don't disagree with them.

I just wish we could meet in the middle somewhere's. There is something to be said for modesty, but sometimes you can't beat following your gut, and just givin'er. But I guess she does have her moments of that to. Like I said.... she's never more free than when she is in the car. So I guess I will just shut up and ride. Even if I have to bite my tongue.

I will shut my eyes, hope that she gets a conservative tester at the DMV next time, let ol Blue eyes soothe me and try to imagine how much you would have to pay me to pluck chickens as an after school job.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

... Urban Adventurist....

... not a new route, but joined by an old friend.... good times in early fall... Robby took pictures, I'll post them once he send.

View Robby And Sam Cycle in a larger map

Friday, July 30, 2010

... let the good times roll...

... Just watching this great documentary on the highly-underrated TCM...

Let The Good Times roll is a documentary about the Rock-n-Roll movement in the 1950s. It was made in 1973, One of the earliest rock docs there is. At least of its kind. It is preceded by films like Lonely Boy and Don't Look Back (one of my favourite films around)

But this documentary is not Cinema Verite, as the others are. Pennebaker and Koenig were chronicling a revolution, a celebrity with their cameras. They determined the film by being present at the moment the images were captured.

Let The Good Times Roll is great because itstitches together live concert footage of a 1973 Rock Revival concert tour with news footage, educational reels, photos and clips from the era in which the bands were most popular. The acts range from Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Shirelles to Bo Diddley... everyone who began the revolution of rock and roll. And it speaks, FROM the 1970s ABOUT the 1950s by reaching back in time and creating a picture of a certain era using the cultural products created at the time. The films message has to be defined entirely through curation and editing.

And watching this film in 2010 adds so much perspective to that type of act of creation. It forces the viewer to become aware of its structure. The construction of the film, the choice of photos, the images from the present (in 1973) laid next to the pieces of the past show just as much about 1973 as it does about 1956. the message the filmmakers seem to be trying to send to Americans living through Vietnam, the Bicentennial and musical revolution in a post-Woodstock america seem to be that this future was inevitable, but that hope was to be found in rebellion.

The film seems to say that this "Wild and crazy hippie movement" was not so unexpected. The seeds of a life of love and passion, music and Life with a capital L, had been sewn over 20 years earlier. When those who passed laws, sent boys overseas and silenced protests were still young, just screaming mobs of high school students doing the Twist.

watch it....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

... you're telling me....

I'm reading Plan B by Jonathan Tropper right now. After tackling the thought-provoking and subtle words of Ishiguro I felt that I needed a silly, American fluff, full of obvious plot turns and heavy on the sarcastic and familiar pop cultural references.... I went to Chapters looking for something a little more Nick Hornby....

And I found this novel. I am only 60 pages in right now. It seems ok, it is a bit "Jay MacInerney lite", but its exactly what i was looking for. Its about a group of college friends about 8 years after graduation, as they pass their 30th birthdays, with a little less than enthusiasm.

Its hitting close to home I guess, with the 30 staring me in the face. The idea laid out in the early pages about realizing the hopes and dreams of your childhood had become the expectations of your near future, and that you don't seem to be making the kind of progress you should towards becoming an adult. About how hard it is to let go of the enthusiasm of his 20s.

The protagonist, Ben, on first love:

"Lindsey did nothing halfway. She found something fascinating in every experience, and her enthusiasm was infectious. She drew me in with her ardor even discussing the most mundane things, and when she listened it was with rapt attention and an unwavering gaze. She could make me laugh not only with a sarcastic remark but simply by laughing herself. When she cried at movies she cried hard, and I would inevitably deel my own eyes watering. When I was with Lindsey I came out of a shell I didnt even know I was in, and it was as if the world was suddenly in sharper focus, with brighter colors. She gave me leave to discard my insecurities, and buoyed by her wake, I felt as if I was finally getting my moneys worth out of myself. I knew early on that if Lindsey loved me, she would bring the same passion to bear on me, and I spent countless hours in contemplation of that intoxicating possibility."

... i don't know about you, but I hate the idea of reaching a landmark where that kind of thinking is only considered with nostalgia... i want to own a house and all, but I am not sure I am ready to give up excitement.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

... Never Let Me Go...

... y'know when you see a movie based on a great book and it just doesnt do it justice and you are all disappointed? There is only one thing worse.... seeing the movie first, and then reading the book its based on... Knowing it is never going to be as good as it would have been have you not seen the film yet.

That's why I was determined to read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro before the movie comes out in September. I will admit, I  didnt' know the book existed until I saw the trailer for the movie a little while back. And it definitely looks like its totally my type of flick.

But Ishiguro wrote the novel that was the basis of The Remains of the Day, an amazing film that swept the Oscars in 1994, one of the first years I took any serious interest in "grown up" movies.

I am definitely glad I read this book before the film.... Not because I think the film will be shit. It actually has, in my opinion, a 2 in 3 chance of being good, which is directly related to the starring trio of Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightly. Carey Mulligan totally captured me (and the rest of the world) in An Education last year. And Andrew Garfield was brilliant in the totally underseen 2007 film Boy A. Keira Knightly, on the other hand, is the wild card here. As the biggest "celebrity" among the three she has not really been in this kind of character and dialogue driven quietly powerful film in a while. But perhaps being taken out of that element will prove her as an actual talent... She was pretty good in Atonement, which has a similar subtle thrill to its narrative. I WAS disappointed when I went back and re-watched the trailer after finishing the book. It actually shows the entire plot of the book in the minute and a half that makes it up. But I guess thats the point.... there is very little STORY to this book... its how it gets there, how it tells it, that makes it so good.

And that returns me to my original point in this post... THE BOOK... which was amazing.

The story is a wolf in sheeps clothing.... its science fiction done up in the disguise of an idyllic tale of British Boarding School. And the first person retrospective of the narration perfectly teases the weird into the mundane. Its distinctly British... science fiction without a single computer, alien or flying car.

It is science fiction in its truest form. A novel that comments on the world of today by illustrating what could be with one element changed. The whole Butterfly/Tornado bit. And thats the best kind. It highlights the very basic elements of human nature... and does so beautifully. With amazing descriptive passages, metaphors and mental pictures.

I have to say, it has made me even more excited for the film.... But only because I have seen the one the book put in my mind... the one without Keira Knightleys lemon-sucking face on it... seriously, that girl has the BIGGEST lips on the smallest head. I met her once, I thought sneezing would literally knock her over....

Here, watch the trailer, read the book, see the film:

... the Kubler-Ross Playlist****...

y'know when music ain't just music? when you are living some cheesy teen movie in your head and your music collection becomes the soundtrack to your mini-major drama? I just had me one of those....

The very best thing to come out of it, I can now see, is the on-the-go playlists I created on my ipod. I will spare you the "10 Things I Hate About You" details and just tell you the tunes:

Sam Cooke - You Send Me
The Kinks - Strangers
Guster - Center of Attention
Tragically Hip - Long Time Running
James Taylor - Walking Man
Smokey Robinson - Cruisin'
REM - Stand
Loggins and Messina - Same Old Wine
Ratatat - Tacobel Canon

Tokyo Police Club - Favourite Food
Sleigh Bells - Rill Rill
The Love Language  - Heart to Tell
Menomena - Dirty Cartoons
Dashboard Confessional - The End of an Anchor
Phil Collins - That's Just the Way It Is
Vampire Weekend - White Sky
Good Old War - My Own Sinking Ship
Dispatch - Riddle

Van Morrison - If I Ever Needed Someone
Good Old War - Coney Island
Good Old War - Tell Me
The Kinks - The Contenders
Samantha Crain - The River
Mos Def/DJ Dub - Respiration Remix f.Talib Kwali
The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo
Hold Steady - The Weekenders
Florence and the Machine - Girl With One Eye
Dr Dog - Jackie Wants a Black Eye
The Gaslight Anthem - We Did It When We Were Young
The Kinks - Got To Be Free
Three Blind Wolves - Hotel

Florence and the Machine - You've Got the Love
Lady Gaga - Again Again
Two Hours Traffice - Sure Can Start
Miike Snow - Sans Soleil
Mos Def - Kalifornia
The Beatles - Come Together
Jett Valentine - Outlaws
The Powder Keg - Mariposa

Sally Seltmann - On The Borderline
Hark The Herons - New Start to Start
Matt Ponds PA - Ruins
Mos Dub - Kampala Truth Work
The Crookes - Backstreet Lovers
Otis Redding - Down in the Valley
Born Ruffians - What to Say
Florence and the Machine - Dog Days are Over
Her Space Holiday - If You Want to Sing Out
The Futureheads - Heartbeat Song
Folded Paper Figures - Invent It All Again
The Hoof and the Heel - Lets Hangout
Otis Redding - Amen

I made a youtube playlist for the whole shebang, which you can find here

**** the Kubler-Ross model is the proper name for the five stages of grief

Sunday, June 27, 2010

... manifest....

I had the opportunity to take part in a Wiccan Full Moon Ritual tonite. Totally outside my box. After having participated I can say that, like any organized system of belief, it may not be entirely for me. But I am also happy to say that many aspects and rituals from the ceremony spoke to me. I can see the natural way that life presents itself to me as it unfolds each day in the practices of the wonderful women I met tonite.

As a part of the ritual i had to pull a Goddess card. And I am not embarrassed to say, I owned a pack of these. I fully believe in one's ability to subconsciously direct ones world, and to connect with a larger energy. It the best decription i can give of fate, or better yet, propinquity.

I also fully believe that interpretation is key when it comes to these things. And it is built into the Wiccan belief system. Everything is tied to the way in which you interpret the symbols and to the world around you. It is your energy that affects the world around you. It may sound very "new age", but could anything be more true?

You receive back what you put into the world.

Thus I will not be able to fully explain why drawing Eireen from the deck meant so much to me. Not without admitting much more than I am comfortable sharing with the Internet (or more specifically the random person who is bored enough to have read this random blog this far down). But suffice it to say that it was perfect for me today.... and most days.

Meet Eireen, who represents Peace and Calm:

Goddess Eireen – Peace- There is no need to worry, as everything is working out beautifully. Even though appearances may seem chaotic, I assure you that a higher plan is in action. This all loving power carrying you and supporting you completely.Your gratitude attracts even more blessing into your life.
Even when we feel bogged down by life we have to remember a few things. 

One we are all human so we will all experience the human qualities of over thinking, worrying, and analyzing things over and over again. This process is really not helpful, over thinking just leads us to be depressed and then leads us to feel negative and then we bring more of that into our lives. 

The second thing to remember is “guess what we are all here to learn, grow, and perfect our souls!” So part of the reason that we go through hardships is to do just that mission that we have all come here to do. I mean how could you perfect your soul if everything always was perfect all the time?? How would you know great joy if you never felt any pain?  How would you appreciate and love laughter if you had never shed a tear in sorrow? 

Third - yes it is hard to be away from the Source/Goddess/God. When we are away from home that loving bond is very missed. What we have to remember is that, that love is truly all around us, in us and with us, everyday.
Spend some time to day in Gratitude. Look at the positive things you have in your life and let the rest go!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

... G20 insanity....


has the police presesence (and the cost of the security) been a self-fulfilling prophecy?

... or just a really good idea.

Obviously, we can never know, and generally its probably a little bit of both.

But it is safe to say that the violence and chaos erupting at the Eaton Centre and in the financial district is basic mob mentality and less and less about the issues or democratic free right to speech and political expression.

The problem is that whats happening in Toronto today is not being represented in the news, which is the way the world IS, in fact, watching this unfold.

What they do not see is that there are over 9000 people in the downtown core who have no violent intentions, have only something to say, and a ghost town in which to shout it out.

There is literally no reason to go into the business and financial district today unless you are in some way drawn to the arena which has been created for the G20. I am not sure that all 9000 know what they are saying when they are chanting the slogans such as "Down With the Wall" or "Economic Sovereignty Know" but each one of them is participating in the democratic process while doing so. And its what makes it work.

Unfortunately, just as old as the democratic system are the ways that people in power exploit it, and the lengths that those who feel powerless will go to express that and regain what feels like freedom.

They have ripped up an American Apparel - and given the free chance, who of you wouldnt love to take a shit on Dov Charney (except he'd probably like it)

But the ridiculously idiotic actions of a black bloc have ruined the exact point of the demonstration... and those fucking morons who donned a black mask as a disguise rather than a safety technique. Who enjoy the destruction more than the message. Its these asshats that have necessitated the ridiculous spending on security. Without the ridiculous police presence, fences, crowd control measures, it would be buildings burning, not cars... There is no limit to a mobs capability, except if it is stopped.

Those police are protecting peoples daughters, fathers, brothers, and friends... perhaps yuppies, or capatilists, pigheaded consuming morons with big carbon footprints... but people. You guys are the reason they need to leave Police Cars in the streets to serve as decoys and draw the destructive element, and leave the police some freedom to move on the busloads of bikes i saw being unloaded at the Delta Chelsea earlier this week.

and if you assholes put them in harms way you DO need to be stopped.

The news makes it sound like "Activist" is a dirty word. but you stupid morons with rocks and bricks and lighting fires and throwing feces into broken store windows are making it look like one.

But the rest of you. Those of you with things to say and are willing to stand behind them, no bellaclavas needed. you keep to the streets, you say what you mean, and stay safe.

this is making me fucking mad... I love this town, and you guys are seriously scratching it up... you small group of morons are making it look dirty and angry and it sucks.

tomorrow the 100 of 25000 protestors in bellaclavas. using masks to commit violence will have left black stains, broken glass and angry cops for the rest of us to deal with.

You call yourself protestors, but you cheapen that term for all the true protestors out on the street, you are the fucking problem... you think you would make a better world? in Ghana or Rwanda or India you would be the warmongers and slumlords.... it makes me sick.


It happened in Seattle, it happened here. I know it will be fine. We will still be Toronto.

I wonder if Twitter and Facebook will be used to find perpetrators later


Mayor Miller in a press conference. Last violent protest in Toronto was 15 years ago... and you can find one at least once a week.

He ain't lieing. Toronto has a political assembly on the lawns of Queens Park, Nathan Phillips Square or University Ave at least that often. Political expression is a part of everyday life here. That is one of the only things I thought may make toronto a good site for a G20 summit. There is a knowledge here, a group memory of peaceful protest and freedom of expression.

But Mayor, you have just made yourself look like a moron by saying you learned about the 5-metre rule from the Toronto Star. Its true, Dalton McGinty was like the asshole older brother that didnt tell you he was holding a party when mom and dad were away... but c'mon, you should have been reading his diary or hacking into his email... thats your JOB!

Thats because those required political opinion and actual brain cells.... G20 is like the Michael Moore documentary of a protest... All you need is a general idea of issues (at least a soundbyte or slogan) and a really big anger to enjoy it.


Police Cruiser out front of Steve's Music on Queen is on fire and fire department cant get anywhere near it... May burn one of the last independently owned business left in the area.... way to go Black Bloc, was that your point?

Your violence is literally making more room for the GAPs and Starbucks of the world to take over...

fucking morons.

Intelligent passerby on CityNews. They are by far the best coverage i've seen. The woman is saying the Black Bloc IS distracting from the peaceful protest. But its hard because they are a product of the very thing that so many are protesting against. The product of a world that is raping its natural resources and selling its soul for power.


cops showing up at the fire at Steves... should be ok... probably tonnes of smoke damage to hundreds of guitars, pianos, etc... which fucking sucks....

police on the scene... in droves! but its pretty peaceful... looks more like order than oppression, thanks to both the police and the crowd. bravo on that, at least

Mayor Miller yelling at CTV newscasters for trying to misquote him during a live interview broadcast: Priceless!