Sunday, August 27, 2006

curtains drawn.jpg
Originally uploaded by rowdyman.

When we moved in, the first thing I wanted to change was the curtain in the living room. Well, three years on, we finally replaced that with a blind and finished it off with these curtains... ah relief.

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Gerald McBoing-Boing

God bless Bob Cannon and UPA. Hopefully this cartoon will stay on uTube for awhile - it's such pleasure (especially the sequence when Gerald runs away).

Labels: , ,

Friday, August 25, 2006

Before thinking that you might want to upload a video for discussion, search to see if it's already posted. I know this sounds obvious, but a few weeks ago, I searched for this Daft Punk Video (Around the World) directed by Michel Gondry and found nothing. Now here it is. Like using stop-motion animation and information design set to music - Gondry assigns a different set of characters for the different components of the track (giants are the bassline, bathers the synth keyboard, mummies are the percussion, skeletons the guitar hook, space men are the vocals), all in front of a light display programmed by Gondry's brother. So simple, so logical and so funny, it makes you want to laugh, cry and dance all at once.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, August 20, 2006

(comic) book shelf
Originally uploaded by rowdyman.

After a week or so of having pieces of cut plywood leaning against the wall, then another week of applying paint, then sanding, then adding layers of varathane, I decided to put this project out of its misery. I guess I shouldn't have thought a few layers of paint would have hidden the flaws of some crappy plywood or that such an endeavour would be a quick fix but by Friday I could take it no longer. Because the bookcase was destined for the third floor, I assembled it on the deck - in the afternoon sun. Perhaps not the best idea. What should've been an hour of assembly became a 4 hour Sisyphean ordeal. I'll never understand why they sell 'knock-down' hardware in sizes that don't match common drill bits. You know you can't put a 3/8" nut in a 3/8" hole so why should I need to buy a 7/16" bit? Couldn't they just make it that much smaller - say 5/16"? It's the whole, 6 buns/8 hot dogs math of it all that drives me nuts. Anyway, after much dehydration and cursing a streak blue enough to remove paint, I eventually got the thing together. I photographed it almost as much as proof to myself as to the rest of the world.

When Angela suggested I move my comic books from the living room to the new bookshelf, my first thought was, "What? Embarrassed by having comic books in full view?" but I quickly realized she was right. I like having these books close at hand. I refer to them all of the time. It's a strange thing that I rarely re-read my comics, but I'm always perusing them, tracing their panels for revelation or truth like Champlain trying to find the route to the Pacific. It is a sorry admission, that some of my favourite comics are not the new classics like Maus or Jimmy Corrigan (stories so depressing, laying in front of a moving car might seem a reasonable response), but the cheesy 70's style comics.

There is a single "Conan the Barbarian" that has several panels of our anti-hero atop a galloping horse, or a Conan knock-off, with a name and premise too stupid to mention that has a stringy, messy inking style that I can never take my eyes from (maybe it's the sexy witches in their fur bikinis). Even stranger is my affection for an Italian comic, pulp detective novel, Dylan Dog - I actually swiped a scene set in an abandoned rail tunnel for a student film while at Sheridan. The story seems absurd, even though I can't read the Italian text, yet the absolute black and white (not a single shade of gray), the balance of the heavy and fine line, holds my attention for ages (and after). Lastly, there is a wildly convoluted story of Cadillacs & Dinosaurs drawn in emulation of a Wally Wood sci-fi comic that I love so much that it pisses me off to have to flip through the inferior filler sections drawn by a lesser (much lesser) artist.

What's the worst part of these trysts? All of these books favour style over substance. Comic books must be the only medium that can get away with this. Few music fans put up with protracted guitar solos and certainly there are plenty of films that have amazed the audience with their beauty, but disappointed with their plot, or characters. We watched a poetic, eccentric and vision filled film last night, The American Astronaut, that was like a cross between Plan 9 from Outer Space, a Guy Maddin film and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but without a reasonable story or characters, large portions of the film, that on their own may have been charmingly odd, just seemed tedious. The style alone could not carry you for 84 minutes. Comic books never have to worry about this as you don't have to read it all - just look, if you feel like it. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of my comics that I love both the style and the story; Chester Brown's "Louis Riel", the Hernandez brothers' "Love and Rockets", Dan Clowes "Ghost World", Seth's "Palookaville" or Joe Sacco's "Palestine". Still, it persists that there are some terribly vapid comics that I can't let go off.

Thankfully, I'm not obsessive-compulsive about comics, I wouldn't even call the few I have as a collection (THIS is a collection). Still, I may have to build another book shelf.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Monkey on the bed
Originally uploaded by rowdyman.

Yesterday was an awful lot of fun. Bernice came by in the morning to assemble Gina's cake, Ang baked cookies, and I sketched up this card. Then we headed over to Nona Park, and enjoyed the quiet, treed environs of a suburban back yard (trimmed and pruned into an earthly paradise by Angela's Mom). There was good food, good company, beautiful weather, a sound nap, a cool beer and entertainment provided by a cake fuelled three-year-old. It was certainly a lovely day under the shade of Nona's crab apple and pear trees.

I'm feeling as close to normal as I've felt in eight months. Unfortunately for Chris that my better health spilled into his kidney, lodging a painful stone only to be flushed out after a couple of painful days. I didn't mention we had just seen an episode of Deadwood wherein a major character suffers greatly while trying to pass a stone. It seems trite to say, "I know what you've been through - I saw it on the TV, I did, yes sirree". All I know is in this day and age, you have to be in a lot of pain before you get Morphine, and I haven't been close to that prescription at all. After what I've been through this year of minor (or less minor) annoyances, I'm looking forward to just being level and my own version of healthy, wealthy and (hopefully) wise.



Monday, August 07, 2006

living room
Originally uploaded by rowdyman.

This is a quick note to let everyone know I'm feeling much better - and my diet is increasingly solid - scrambled eggs no less! Last week I was in some pain, but after talking to the doctor he prescribed something that helped. It was a strong anti-inflammatory drug - which really helped with the pain. I guess it acts as a pain killer without any of the usual drowsiness or hallucinatory side effects (shame really - I was sort of hoping for a "Beatles go to India/ Timothy Leary" type of experience). It allowed me to sleep the whole night through which I think really improved my disposition. That drug is done now. It can be quite harsh on your stomach so you can only take it for a few days in succession. It got me through the rough spot and today I've just taken a few Advil and it hasn't been that bad.

Other than that, things should return to normal this week. We finally got our new blind for the living room and replaced the dreaded main sail that had been an imposing presence for 3 years. Of course, when we moved in, I said that curtain was the first thing that had to go. We'll be adding a curtain soon, but it looks nice without it. I've started building a new book shelf and I've got a couple of contracts lined up and if this fantastic weather holds up (sunny days, bearable heat, cool evenings) then August should be a very fine month. I'm looking forward to starting physio on my hand, which is healing well, and looking forward to general Santé! It would be nice to just be healthy for awhile.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Originally uploaded by rowdyman.

To cool me off in the slightest, I've posted a couple of pics of our more comfortable vacation.

It's funny, I did a similar posting last year - but this year is much worse:

Temp : 35.5°C
Partly Cloudy
Humidex: 46.4° C - that's 10° C hotter than last year.
Relative Humidity: 50.0% (although at home, both hygrometers read closer to 90%)
Visibility: 24.1 km - this is obviously a number from outside Toronto. I'd say you can't see beyond 10km (I can just make out the CN Tower in the haze).

Hopefully the heat will break before I do. I decided to get out of the house and seek a little TLAC - Tender and Lovely Air Conditioning. So I headed to a local coffee shop, Tinto, that advertises its creature comforts on their sandwich board. It's cooler in here but not cool - just comfortable - and they have internet access so it's a win win. It seems I'm not the only one who fell under their considerable marketing charm. The place is busy today. Lots of people who are probably, normally at home have decided to seek a cooler refuge. Including Cameron Bailey (Alert alert - minor T.O. Celeb spotting - hmm that's a little pathetic, no?). Who knew such people of import, took refuge in our humble part of HogTown. Yet, I digress, Dear Reader. I think the sleep depravation, lack of solid food and the heat have combined into a foul, Mutiny-on-the-Bounty-type madness. "We take the ship at dawn, arrrggh (that's me gargling salt water, by the way)."

As to my current state of mind, it is clear, that I am not clear (more of an outlaw state than say a peaceful state, like Vermont for instance). As for my health, it can be summed up thusly:
hand improving steadily,
tongue swelling decreasing slowing,
pain in tongue, severely incessantly persisting...

With that typed (for speaking is something I'd rather not do) - I've been kind of bitching to my doctor so he wants to see me tomorrow... I want Tylenol 6's - if there is such a thing! He'll probably not prescribe anything... - he'll probably say "tough it out for another week" or in his par layance "ye ye ye ye ye - but we see much worse - and they don't complain, why just yesterday a little girl..." he's always comparing me to a little girl. This little girl must've survived the Battle of the Somme, Viet Nam and the Gulf War without a tear...anyways like i said, i think it's the combination of not sleeping + not eating + pain + this heat that has combined to wear me down.

Still, in the last 10 months - I've almost lost the tip of my index finger (7 stitches), had a broken collar bone (3 weeks in a sling - 8 weeks physio) and now have a tongue that looks like something David Cronenberg would have shown talking to William S. Borroughs ("Rub a little powder on my lips, Bill") and I've never gotten more than a Tylenol 3? I mean, where have all the good drugs gone? Where's the morphine, the Demerol, the Vicodin, the Percocet, the Percodan? When I was 13 I had an angiogram done, and after I barfed up my supper, and writhed around with one of the worst headaches this side of Lebanon, some kind soul, whipped up a Demerol and a Gravol - crushed it in sugar and let it dissolve on my tongue. Actually, I think it was added to my intravenous - but who can remember the details? And yet, here I am today, in the grips of a pain that does not permit swallowing without the sensation that my tongue is being filletted and what do I get? Oh, take an Advil. Man. I am really tired of being so stoic. Okay, okay, writing a journal entry describing your pain to everyone you know may not fall into Socrates' definition of stoicism, but hey, he took the easy way out (well - I mean, after the extremely painful stomach spasms of drinking the hemlock, he died - he wasn't prescribed a smoothie).

And through it all, Angela has continued to put up with me, despite her troubles, she is still willing to whip up a smoothie, heat some soup or simply say, "I know, I know" to my madman whining. There's a lesson here - no wait, there's a lesion - and it's on my tongue and I want to be drugged up, put down, and comatose until it's done it's course.

On the bright side, I've lost 5lbs! I'm reminded of the only funny Saturday Night Live sketch in 20 years where Ana Gasteyer impersonates the whip-thin, octogenarian Helen Gurley Brown saying, "I've never felt better. I died two weeks ago, and I've finally reached my target weight."

All is vanity.

Labels: ,