These are the lazy days.

Lazy days, for sure, but I'm worried that this easy living will rot my brain. Looking for a job is not easy, but writing and catching up with friends is terrific. Today I just slept in, made scrambled eggs (with lots of mushrooms, as it should be) and chatted online.

On Monday I need to roll up my sleeve for another blood test and hunt the job boards again. Oh, and make another doctor's appointment. Fun.


The weekend.

With exams finished and essays turned in, I'm feeling a little of the anomie today. I know what I have to do, but there seems to be no purpose for doing any of those things.

I'm still looking for a job, yes.

My weekend was fantastic. Lisa and her family invited me to stay with them on their friend's property near Duncan. Lisa and I shared a beautiful cabin with her brother, and her folks stayed in their friend's place. All I did was eat, sleep, read and write for a couple of days in very scenic surroundings.

I wrote a couple of pages for a new story, a sketch for another one and I organized my other projects for the summer. I also tried to write a poem in Emily Dickinson's style and voice:

Piano keys - strike
- as Bees hum in hot glass
Dropping - thick and straight -
a little Thunder -

Not the most successful, since I tried to emulate her meter and the lines fall short by a few syllables. Dickinson played with meter quite a bit, throwing off our expectations by suddenly introducing a line that was too long or too short. I think I'll be writing some sonnets over the summer as well.



This is kind of old news, but I"m beginning to believe there's no such thing as old news. Information will always be unheard by someone.

Anyway, I've been enjoying a very fascinating website that exhibits drawings by Gilles Trehin, who lives in Cagnes sur Mer in south-eastern France. Trehin has envisioned an entire city which he calls Urville, and has an impressive number of drawings that display some of the architectural features and street layouts. He has also written extensive essays on the geography, history, economics and demography of the fictional city, bringing his creation to life.

I keep thinking about Georg Simmel and Walter Benjamin, and maybe some Freud, too. This is such an amazing project and I can't stop thinking about Trehin's creation. I will definitely be writing more about this wonderful city and the implications of this project. The website is here.


The call for new media was heeded.

Amazing. Chris sent this my way, and now the rest of you must watch this and learn how to make animation that works. Take the classic black and white side-scroller found on hand-helds, mix in some over-the-top anime conventions and shake vigourously. What you get are gory zombie battles and the most sinister end bosses in history.

Go ahead and watch Paul Robertson's Baby Pirate's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006. BEWARE.

Press your finger inbetween the arrows and send fun things for J to look at. => <=


The sun comes out when you study.

Two nights ago I managed to get some writing done. Something, like, 500 words maybe? I wrote the opening scene and some dialogue that takes place mid-way through the story.

I did see No Great Mischief last night on a media ticket. The performance was really enjoyable, with some memorable lines throughout, but I had a hard time accepting the physical aspects of the play. The actors would use mime rather than using actual props, and the set was completely sparse, but I wasn't entirely convinced. I understand that when a story takes place in different time periods and the actors must make quick shifts the use of an elaborate set would just get in the way. The transitions through time were well done, but there were times when the actors got sloppy.

Maybe I'll write more later, but right now it's back to the books. Two more exams, people.


I want to go outside.

The tree just outside my office window is beginning to bloom.

I've been studying since 11:00 this morning and I feel as though I haven't made much progress. I'm almost finished reviewing the debates we have to cover for my crime and society class (and some of the arguments are really painful to read) and then I have to move onto my notes. I like studying, I really do.

How are you?


I will be busy.

Who doesn't enjoy being busy? I do. I devour busy like a freshly-baked pie, smothered in whipped cream. I'll be preparing for my exchange program, doing medical related stuff, studying for exams, consolidating my finances and, somehow, trying to fit in some writing.


Should I die before I wake: more books bound in human flesh

I wrote a little on anthropodermic bibiliopegy awhile back, which lead to some black humour and then some ruminations on how the materials, or the medium (and I'm thinking of McLuhan here) far outweigh the text, since the medium conveys the embedded cultural meanings that inform how the medium is shaped and presented. If the book is bound in human flesh, then what messages are being transmitted here?

This particular book, pictured above, was turned over to the West Yorkshire Police after it was found in Leeds. Police officers are asking for someone to come forward and claim the book. The text is in French and is dated to be around the 1700's, which is interesting because books like these were common during the French Revolution. Between the 18th and 19th century, anthropodermic bibiliopegy was regularly practiced as a legal procedure: murder trials were inscribed in the accused's skin.

My earlier post on the topic is here, the BoingBoing post is here, the Warren Ellis post is here and a BBC report is here.


You will know me by the stink. Of victory!

Man. I've been to two parties, a sociology / anthropology conference and now we're waiting for Lisa's folks to come by so we can head for a birthday celebration at the Naam. Michael (Lisa's dad) has a birthday four days from now, so we're getting together this afternoon. This weekend has kept me from sleeping in pajamas; I just crawl into bed in my clothes and then slide out in the morning to arrange myself for the day. Rinse and repeat.

The conference was fantastic. The presentation on the use of soundscapes as sources for empirical social research, as well as cultural research, was so damn incredible. The fact that sound is directly connected with processes that occur in society and should be regarded (like the sounds one hears in a war, on the street, or at home) is so bloody interesting I've been mulling ideas around in my head since Saturday. One notion I remember from the presentation was that our range of hearing is the same range our voices can carry. How does this connect with protests, performed poems or conversations? The dialectics of spoken discourse, of listened discourse. Low frequencies induce calm, high frequencies cause pain. The possiblities are endless.


Poetry Friday.

Since I'm going out tonight, now would be a good time to post for Poetry Friday.

I was introduced to Richard Hugo while chatting on MSN. We were discussing Stephen Crane and somehow, and I think it was the booze, Hugo's name came up. After looking him up and reading his most well-known poem, I immediately liked the man. I did a brief presentation on him for the school poetry club, and even now I let the poem roll and tumble in my head from time to time, especially the last stanza.

Degrees Of Gray In Philipsburg

You might come here Sunday on a whim.
Say your life broke down. The last good kiss
you had was years ago. You walk these streets
laid out by the insane, past hotels
that didn't last, bars that did, the tortured try
of local drivers to accelerate their lives.
Only churches are kept up. The jail
turned 70 this year. The only prisoner
is always in, not knowing what he's done.

The principal supporting business now
is rage. Hatred of the various grays
the mountain sends, hatred of the mill,
The Silver Bill repeal, the best liked girls
who leave each year for Butte. One good
restaurant and bars can't wipe the boredom out.
The 1907 boom, eight going silver mines,
a dance floor built on springs--
all memory resolves itself in gaze,
in panoramic green you know the cattle eat
or two stacks high above the town,
two dead kilns, the huge mill in collapse
for fifty years that won't fall finally down.

Isn't this your life? That ancient kiss
still burning out your eyes? Isn't this defeat
so accurate, the church bell simply seems
a pure announcement: ring and no one comes?
Don't empty houses ring? Are magnesium
and scorn sufficient to support a town,
not just Philipsburg, but towns
of towering blondes, good jazz and booze
the world will never let you have
until the town you came from dies inside?

Say no to yourself. The old man, twenty
when the jail was built, still laughs
although his lips collapse. Someday soon,
he says, I'll go to sleep and not wake up.
You tell him no. You're talking to yourself.
The car that brought you here still runs.
The money you buy lunch with,
no matter where it's mined, is silver
and the girl who serves your food
is slender and her red hair lights the wall.

Richard Hugo (1923-1982)


I like this picture of Whitman. I'll be shooting for this look when I get to that age.

I've been drinking the coffee at school for a few months now, but this morning I brewed my own in the new Bodum. Forgetting the potency of home-brewed coffee, I succumbed almost immediately and experienced something like a PCP-induced state: my heart rate shot skyward and all the colours outside were vivid and shifting. I think I need to adjust the coffee-to-water ratio until my metabolism gets habituated to real coffee.

Okay, poetry question time. If you were to teach a class on 20th century American poetry, what would you put on the syllabus? What about 20th century French poetry?

Notes on Afghanistan.

So what's been going on lately? Not much. I've gotten into a self-absorbed headspace since I've started this essay, and I always get this way. The outside world tends to blur and spiral away, leaving me with a laptop and some books.

The essay is coming along just fine. Some facts I uncovered during my research on forced marriage in Afghanistan: 54 per cent of girls under 18 are married and the women’s rights organization Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) reported that there has been an increase of girls under the age of 18 victimized by rape or forced into a marriage to an older man, with some girls being as young as eight years old. Only half of the girls under 18 years old living in Kabul attend school, and the school attendance in rural areas is as little as nine percent. Also, of the 1,038 hospitals and clinics in Afghanistan, only 40 percent have women working on staff. It's pretty damn depressing, and I'm shocked at the lack of funding and support from higher-income countries. I may be wrong about that, so perhaps a lone voice from the intrawebbs can correct me?

At this point I'm going to draw in some theory to perhaps explain the why and how of this phenomena. I'll be using Marcel Mauss' essay on gift exchange and how the exchange is a pervasive social activity that encompasses all social institutions. However, I'm going to drop the proverbial bomb when I bring in Gale Rubin's "The Traffic in Women." She not only references Mauss and places him in a greater critical position; she draws on Marx, Freud, Levi-Strauss and Lacan and places them into her theory. Her "sex / gender system" (transforming biological sex into cultural activity) is relevant for my paper, as well as her use of Levi-Strauss' ideas on kinship as institutions for gender reproduction. Well, I may not use that particular theory after all.

Damn, I gots to get me to school. Laters.


Brief briefs.

No, I haven't seen V for Vendetta yet. There's a plan to see it this weekend, possibly on Sunday.

I'm just slogging through the last essay at the moment.

My girlfriend is popular on the internet.

Lisa's news tip has just appeared on BoingBoing.