Friday, March 21, 2008


Finally, Nova Scotians are permitted to enjoy a Friday off with a beer at a their friendly local. The fact that it's a Good Friday shouldn't matter. If you have a chance check out this article on CBC, if not for the item itself then for the comments by CBC readers. I never really think of Canadian Christians as being, you know, "out and proud" as it were, but reading through these online comments you certainly get a picture of the divide between the "haves" and the "have nots" (as in "having faith" and "haven't any faith").


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why Conservatives Suck

Hey hey kids! Who wants to learn about a shameful period of American hegemony and a regrettable indictment of partisan media concerns? Now I'm not talking about your Danny Williams here, I'm talking about your Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney types (see Project for the New American Century). It's not just the unelected officials you need to be wary of either, this CBC documentary also sets its sights on the likes of Richard Novac, Bill O'Reilly and the easily hated Ann Coulter (who else would call John Edwards, a father of three whose wife is fighting cancer, a "faggot"?). Well if you need to be reminded of the terrible times we are living through, watch this:

watch this

References in this program:
The Fifth Estate
The White House Alternate Reality
The Center for Public Integrity
Seymour Hersh

Also see:


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

in a darkened room

Museé d'art de Joliette: 19,800 seconds, 2007
Code: DR1

People: David Ross, Contact
References: Dark Rooms, Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal

For over two years now, Dave Ross, a good friend of ours, has been engaged in a futile task. He has been photographing darkness. Not just any darkness, but the darkness of artists' storage spaces. The surprising thing about darkness is just how much it reveals. The results of these long exposure photographs (and I do mean long — sometimes days in length) are often amazing and mesmerizing. The images are made by the almost imperceptible drips of light that, over time, eventually saturate the film and are not only a document of the unseen but of the passage of time it took for the image to be created. Looking at the photos you become increasingly aware of the emerging detail you begin to see, in much the same way your eyes adjust to diminished light in say, a dark room. The longer you absorb the blackness, the more your mind wonders what you are in fact seeing. You may even feel as though you are actually only looking at black and the details are more like the after image burned on your retina. Then, if you've been staring long enough, the image becomes an after image that you see even when you've looked away — as if your own eye is behaving exactly as the film did, slowly having the room interior burned into your rods and cones.

This summer, eight of the images will be exhibited at the Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal as part of the Quebec Trienniale. Yet the cost of photographing, printing and framing these pictures is noteworthy. To offset these expenses the artist has made available two smaller scale prints for $125 each. To order prints contact Dave Ross before March 21st and indicate which of the images shown here you're interested in. Find out more about the project here.

Museé d'art de Joliette: 1,260 seconds, 2007

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Thursday, March 13, 2008


Best comment yet – from Lewis Black, "Here's what I think, the hooker comes, the hooker leaves, then they bring in a new couch." and that's how you get your $4300 worth.

Why can't Canadian politics be this much fun?

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Snow Stroke

It does seem a tad whiney to complain about 30 cm of snow when Ottawa got 52 cm. I'm never sure if I should say, "storm be damned" or "I give in", but as of yesterday, I have entirely run out of witty things to say about the weather. This latest blanketing of snow has bullied me into a state of numbness where I stumble through the streets doing my best to cope while falling down or walking into things – like sun stroke but with snow.

Perhaps I've been weakened by my time in Toronto, or maybe it's an age thing, but whatever it is, this year I've completely lost my sense of snow. For years, there have been false claims that the Inuit had 17 words for snow (place whatever number you like in that estimate), but right now, I only have one word for it, and that word has four letters.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Is the Room Being Projected Through a Hexahedral Kaleidoscope or is it Just Me?

Reference to: Oliver Sacks
External link: Patterns - Migraines
NY Times Migraine blog

Unfortunately, Dr. Oliver Sacks, author and neurologist, is a migraine sufferer but fortunately for us, he's also a talented writer and has written about his own and other people's experiences. Recently, an article of his described a "visual migraine" (also called an "aura") when someone sees distinct patterns or loses some vision or even brief periods of blindness, during a migraine. This article was a posting on the times site which hosts a blog just about migraines (claiming 28 million Americans suffer from migraines).

I've had migraines since I was about thirteen. For years, I thought they were just bad headaches but at times they've been much more. That's when the headache is not just intense, but well, feels like what I imagine a hot axe blade lodged in your skull might feel like. Other common symptoms I've had include sensitivity to light, nausea, ringing in my ears, dizziness, seeing spots and crystalline patterns. That last one, is strangely very frightening. At times the visual patterns appear to be projected in front of me, while at other times it's as though I'm looking through textured glass. Patterns, in general, fascinate me and there are some wall paper patterns that have triggered migraines. For some reason, I'm particularly susceptible to fine hounds-tooth which I find oscillates uncomfortably. When I see these patterns during a migraine I also have alarming vertigo. I'm not sure why it scares me, but it usually makes me ask, "is this IT, is this how it ends?"

Last November I had an even stranger moment. I was working on the computer when I noticed that the cursor kept disappearing, but only on the left hand side of the screen. Then I noticed that a part of the file I was looking at was simply not there. I saved the file, restarted the application and then noticed the same thing happening in every application. I was pissed. I restarted the computer. That's when I noticed it wasn't just on the screen. A poster on the wall appeared to have a hole in it where the wall was showing through but only in my left eye. Now I'm not pissed, I'm scared. As a test, I close my right eye and hold my left hand in front of me. Sure enough, I could see my palm, but not my fingers. Moving my hand to the right, I could now clearly see my palm and my finger tips but not my fingers. It was as if my fingertips were floating there (to be more accurate, it looked as if someone had run the erase tool in Photoshop over my hand).

My thoughts? WTF! That was my thought! While I was trying to decide if I was nuts or having a stroke, I was struck (and I mean suddenly struck) by one of the most depilating headache I'd had in years. My knees buckled and I actually crawled to the sofa, covered my head and passed out. By some miracle, when I awoke about two hours later, I had only a mild headache. The next day I made a doctor's appointment and was reassured that I had suffered a migraine and the symptoms I had were typical.

Despite medical dismissal or perhaps because of it, I found the whole thing disquieting and it wasn't until I read Dr. Sacks piece in the New York Times that I discovered many people suffer this. As a someone who depends on his vision for every facet of life and work, losing sight or having difficulties recognizing colour and patterns is disturbing. Yet, knowing that others go through this and worse is much better therapy than my physician casually saying it was nothing. If you've ever had anything like this, you should know you're not alone.