29 December 2008

Because no good retrospective is good without some black and white photos.

I'm particularly fond of the last one, as I have a very clear memory of my fervent dedication to that number bowl. Note the gaggle of dedicated childhood friends I was imminently surrounded with. (Hobby horse notwithstanding.)

Moving into adult life...

I did manage, though, at last, to find like-minded souls much the calibre of my hobby horse.
(These ones are for Jody...)


Something was niggling at me, and I thought and I thought, and then I realized that yesterday was my four year anniversary of blogging. That's right. I began Meanderings Through a World-Weary Synapse, the first of four of these things, on 28 December, 2004. 
In the last four years I have posted 1,460 tidbits of useless information, for the incalculable benefit of three? maybe four? readers. Perhaps five, including myself. That's an average of 1 posting for every two days from 04-08. That's 292 posts per reader. Now that's generosity.
I spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half on this thing at any one time, so there is some sort of commitment to the act of writing (if not the quality of it). Well, more accurately it is a firm commitment to navel gazing, but a writerly commitment to it.
But seeing as my commitment threshold for most things seems to wane/Completely Explode after three years, this is quite gratifying. The only things I have been doing longer than blogging are drawing and reading. And sleeping. And eating. And riding my bike.
It seems a bit of a "year in summation" is in order. This is not for the benefit of any other readers, so much as it is for my own benefit. I like to think that when I'm 80 and floating through the solar system in a hermetically sealed suit of some sort, I'll be able to tap into my newly installed intra-corporal internet-wired hard-drive and read what my life was like back in simpler times, so some retrospective is in order. Let's see...

update: yes, well, I never did get to said retrospective, and here we are, well into January. Perhaps next year.

Do you ever have one of those mornings

Where your tea-ball just Does Not Want to be found?
Well, this morning was one of those days-neatly averted. (proverbial pat on my shoulder)

28 December 2008

Preparing for pending blogdom; late 70s

leaves on a chalkboard.

One of my friends (I can't remember which one) just cannot figure out my sense of repulsion when confronted with an accidentally stepped-upon potato chip. I HATE it. It's like nails on a chalkboard. I hear the sound of it in my head for hours. Even thinking about it threatens to bring about the same lingering thought.
WELL. It is for that person, whoever s/he may be, that I post this update: same applies to dried out leaves of the conical variety, on a hardwood floor. I have just discovered. Sigh.

27 December 2008

Lovely PL.

I'm doing my end-of-the-year reading, in an attempt to finish up all unfinished or aspire-to-read books before 2009 begins, and on that list were rereads of the first couple of Mary Poppins books, Mary Poppins, and Mary Poppins comes Back. I ADORE these books of course, though a short venture through google brought this article, and I now officially adore PL Travers as well: Weeping at the back of the cinema after the 1964 premiere of Mary Poppins...trying to adopt her teenage maid at the age of 39, arranging to build the girl a bedroom off her study...then adopting one of a pair of twins from Ireland, (who had been told his father was killed in a horrible accident in the tropics, raised by PL on her own, and met his doppelganger at the age of 17 in a pub)...and wearing trousers, of course, bless her.
Not to mention the look of her (above). Indeed!


I'm not as much of a news junkie as it may seem, but I am determined to keep a record of how often POSITIVE headlines actually make the front page of any given newspaper.
This is a good one.

25 December 2008

Harold Pinter.

Has passed away on Christmas Eve, I just discovered.
Reading the news is not a happy venture.
What a dark cloud on an otherwise lovely day.
What an Unbelievable Loss.

24 December 2008


Shannon Gerard, personage extraordinaire and the truest fan of the bountiful moustache.

Merrrryyy CHhhhrrriistttmmmassss!!


And below is one of my next portraits... of my friend Christina. Usually after about 48 hours the self-criticism takes hold, but I love it still. This may be one of my favourite undertakings so far, this tiny series, partly 'coz I'm NOT, for a change, drawing myself. It is invaluable in this undertaking, of course, to have the most lovely friends. Merrryy Chrriisttttmass, dear reader(s)! (still more pending...)

23 December 2008

Some remarkable fe(a)t.

Despite much worry in their production, I'm actually quite pleased with my homemade Christmas gifts this year. This is one of the drawings I did, for my friend JP, a portrait of yogic extremities.
Did other drawings, but have received the go-ahead to post this one so far. More pending...

Weighing the options.

(otherwise known as profound photographic artwork composed after completing two 3.30am shifts in a row at the big red building that shall not be named.)

"The Mayfield" Conversation Guides

give only those words and phrases which are essential to enable the British Tourist to make himself understood, and are quite free from the bewildering superfluous matter which most guide books contain.
(such as...)

I want to retain a seat in the stage-coach.
Ich will einen Platz nach A- nehmen.

Has the washerwoman returned my things?
Hat die Waschfrau meine Wäsche gebracht?

I wish to hire a horse for - hours.
Ich wünsche ein Pferd für - Stunden.

Will you give me a piece of soap?
Wollen Sie mire ein Stück Seife geben?

Ich will mich waschen.
I wish to wash myself.

Will you give me a candle?
Bitte geben Sie mir eine Kerze.

Those things are for my personal use.
Sie sind für meinen eigenen Gebrauch.

And of course some critical vocabulary for any tourist:

to Deceive



Morocco leather

silk handkerchief
seidenes Taschentuch


The sorts that don't die. Can't kill 'em. Nope. An absolute miracle.
 (wrought by Shannon Gerard, of course...)

21 December 2008


THIS is what I want to read about in the news.

The PEC's battle against "pointless and meaningless waffle"

A link to this article about Obama's environmental policies (bless him) brought me to the Independent this morning. One might wonder why an anglophile such as myself has been perusing the New York Times when the Independent lurks but a URL away. I too, wondered at this phenomenon when I found this headline on my visit to the latter: 

Call to end 'Gobbledegook' language on food

It seems that the Plain English Campaign (PEC) (THE PLAIN ENGLISH CAMPAIGN. GLEE! ) says that  too much food is dressed up with "pointless and meaningless waffle".

(and I quote:)
"We've found 'all butter mince pies', chickens which lived in 'small mobile arks' or 'spacious barns with windows to allow ample daylight and straw bales to perch on'," said the spokeswoman "What does any of it mean and how does it help people make decisions about which food to buy for Christmas? What on earth is a 'small mobile ark' and how can a mince pie be 'all butter'?"

Other snippits found on packaging in the UK include:

:: Fresh British Whole Duck: "Ducks have access to water in order to preen themselves."
:: Organic Fresh British Chicken: "(Farmer Albert) cares about his chickens" and "(Farmer Tom) is particularly welfare conscious".

Personally, I would be very happy to read on my food labels that what I was about to eat had had an opportunity for a good preening before it's fate was sealed by Christmas packaging. Would that tofu had the same lease on life.

20 December 2008

Of Winter and jackets and boots, oh my!

Winter. Winter. WINTER!!

I have, today, purchased, with the help of an expert (my mum, who has finally figured out the trick to getting me to go shopping with her, (she navigates me through the darkest of consumerist vortices in under 2 minutes per shop, and pulls me out into the outside world for tea the minute I start getting aggro, which is like, every 15 minutes) )
...where was I....a NEW winter jacket. Like, new from a New store, a store that sells New Things, untested by time, tempests, and smelly people. No second-hand this time, tigers, it's a NEW winter jacket.
AND new winter boots. NO.JOKE. 
This is my first NEW winter clothing in must be 10 years. (Winter specific, that is, I have of course bought new boots as the need arose, one must never be without a good pair of docs.)

The aforementioned fact is so tragic and lame and makes the most pathetic statement about my priorities in life, I know, but now it's all SO EXCITING, all at the same time.

And Blessed Blessed SNOOOOWWWWWW!!

19 December 2008

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

So I'm a huge fan of analog clocks. The reason for this is that they are cyclical in nature, instead of the relentless forward motion of their digital siblings. This idea that you will always and forever return to twelve, but it will never quite be the same twelve, not really, not outside the clock, is one of the most comforting thoughts I have. Things will always change, but they will always also be the same. You can choose at any given moment to recognize which is the more relevant circumstance.

There used to be an exemplary antique shop below me, and for almost two years I covetted one of a row of old mantel clocks they had in their window. When the proprietor was mercilessly ousted by our fascist new landlord and had to sell off all his wares fast, I finally made my approach. 

The decision was between two clocks, both of which, I found out, were broken. I was discouraged, and almost walked. He picked one of them up and wound it to see what would happen, and ends up he wound the alarm by accident, and i kid you not, the most astounding sound of bells came out of that thing that I have ever heard in my life. It sounded like tiny church bells, but softer, almost. I was completely seduced. I decided that even if the clock didn't work, with an alarm like that, it couldn't possibly be anything but a welcome addition to my chattels.

For the past year now it has sat by my drafting table, and whenever I look at it, (fortuitously stopped at 8 minutes to twelve), I think about my "ever returning to twelve" theory, and since the hands aren't moving, how immensely important that present 8 minutes to twelve moment must be. My hands move for it, I guess. And though I think I broke the alarm (I'm awesome) after borrowing a book on clockmaking from the library to try to fix the bloody thing, I will one day get it repaired properly, and hear these exemplary bells that live inside this beautiful beautiful clock. 

another cozy evening at home, lounging amidst the paperwork and listening to Weinachtsgeschicten.

(never you mind that severed hip joint)

Madame Ovary

by artist Richard Russell. Sent to me by a discerning sort.

the Best thing about snow-mageddon

Besides this Magical magical view from my cozy little apartment (see below | as ever, click on image for full size), is the fact that all my meetings got cancelled and I made the most AMAZING korma curry, from scratch, EVER. GLEE!!

14 December 2008

10 points (or two shoes) for freedom of expression.

And this in the news tonight...
(woof woof)


to Shan. Come back to town, let me take you for drinks!

13 December 2008

Since tonight seems to be about childhood wrath...

Before the onset of Girl Guide wrath (there was alot of it actually...not just the life-size cookie incident) there was the matter of other kids' birthday parties. 
Birthday parties were highlights of my year, as I went out very little otherwise, when I was a kid. So upon being invited by said children, invariably better off than I, my mum would take great pains to buy fantastic presents for me to bring to the party so I wouldn't feel left out for the duration of the festivities. Said presents, however, were almost always unwrapped and then tossed into the corner by the ungrateful brats (cough cough), and they were almost ALWAYS the illustrated books that I wanted for myself and didn't get.
But there it was. 
So. The night before each party, I would sit at the dining room table with a pencil and a huge stack of paper and the book in front of me, and endeavour to copy out all the pictures and poems before we had to wrap it up and give it away the next day.
And there would invariably be sweat and tears as paper after paper would get scratched up with mistakes, and then crumpled and tossed away, 'coz for some reason I felt like without a perfect replica of each page of every book, there was just no further reason to live.


It's lovely to see that I haven't changed one whit in my thirty-five years. Of course, now, instead of copying childrens' picture books, I copy photographs manufactured from my life. 

Funnily enough though, something has gone either very right or dreadfully wrong; I once could never get close to the perfection of the subject, and now I actually often prefer the drawings I make to my real life.

Which brings me to a gratuitous posting about cookies.

Before my life as a fruite creme addict (which has in fact passed, until this evening when I saw Shan's crocheted ones at City of Craft, was my life as a Girl Guide. And a discussion of Girl Guide cookies at City of Craft today brought up what discussions of Girl Guide cookies always bring up, my memory of dressing up like a giant Girl Guide cookie for a rally at what was once Maple Leaf Gardens, when I was, like, 10. 
There were a couple of hundred of us, and there was some sort of performance where we all had to run out from the different entrances onto the hockey rink or whatever it was, and circle around one special bit of work who got to be the dreaming Girl Guide in a gigantic bed.

I was pretty jealous of that girl who got to be the dreamer in the giant bed in the spotlight in the middle of the Maple Leaf Gardens hockey rink when I was ten. 
In fact, I think if i think hard enough, I still harbour resentment, despite the fact that I got to be a giant chocolate Girl Guide cookie.

Love Love Love

and tea and cookie.
Courtesy of Shannon Gerard.


So. The New York Times.

Yesterday there was a headline about kids of rich parents actually going out to get jobs 'coz their allowances had been cut. (insert failed attempt not to fill this posting with petty bitter grumblings here)

Today, I read that cash-short consumers are eating out less and buying at supermarket, and buying STORE-brand stuff, which means the smaller stuff is finally topping the main name brands.

These headlines THRILL me. The world, which looks like it is completely collapsing, might well be in better shape then it's ever been. In my books anyhow.

Also, this. Just 'coz.

Kramers Ergot 7

is LOVELY. Alas, I'm still saving for volume two of Little Nemo in Wonderland, and KE7 is the same size and full colour, so I'm curious to know who is actually able to collect these books, but bless them, and bless Buenaventura and Sunday Press for publishing them.
At the launch for KE7 the other night though, I couldn't help but notice the ratio of contributors that sat on the stage for a presentation/q&a. Six men, one woman. All amazing artists of course, but genderedly-inbalanced (sic) nonetheless.
There was a point in the evening where someone in the audience asked the editor if he had made any enemies during the selection process for the final book. He said yes, and followed it with "I'm not responsible for being the wife, the babysitter, the mother-in-law...." at which point Shari Boyle (the aforementioned female contributor, up on stage) piped up and said "yes, you aren't responsible for being the woman of this book." 
At that moment she officially became my Hero(ine). 

In a further discussion about a seeming rift between fine art and comics, she also brought up something which I had never been able to put a finger upon, but which I believe might very lucidly explicate my fondness for comics in the first place. It is the love of drawing. It was pointed out, that evening, that there is slim to nil room for drawing in the contemporary art world, at least in Toronto. And this is true. I have NO affection for contemporary art in this city, and for ages I have felt like some sort of traitor to cartooning as well, as I do feel some sort of legacy from the fine art department...so it's been an odd sort of placement.

I love drawing, hands down, and there is practically none of it to be found in the "fine art" world. Comics are about drawing. Well. Drawing, writing, books. GLEE!

06 December 2008

It's almost too great.

These simple logical plans Obama has to create jobs etc. It makes me really really wish I had been reading Bush's intentions when he was President-elect. And it makes me nervous. Har. It's almost too positive for me to handle!

05 December 2008

for the love of strangers

Last week sometime I got into a conversation where it suddenly occured to me just how often complete strangers have shown me love that at times even exceeds that of friends and family. 

I have a friend/art teacher with whom I used to go life drawing years ago who to this day stands out as a person that understands me in ways my "family" does not. I haven't seen him for years, in terms of our lives we have practically nothing in common, but if I had to think of people who share a sympathy with my most fundamental of interests, he would be one of the first people to come to mind. Probably for the rest of my life.
In January I stayed with a complete stranger in Paris who let me into her home when one of my closest friends decided he was unable to do the same, and the situation in general was, well, dire.  We spent almost a week discussing every manner of things in a strange hybrid fren-glish, and she is another like-minded spirit the likes of which is totally embedded in my psyche.
In June of this year I had a couchsurfer stay with me who somehow divined from my meagre profile my love for graffitti art and brought me a Banksy book as a token of thanks. I'll probably never see this person again, and also share little to nothing in common with him, but the unprecedented generosity of this person taking a thoughtful moment to look, and then to actually reciprocate the favour of staying at my house was so so lovely to me.
And, years gone by now, I can't even begin to catalogue the Amazing Amazing experiences I had hitchhiking by myself though Europe. 

It was Stunning. 
The Kindness was Stunning.

To digress for a moment, a friend I've had for over 10 years now has taken a divergent path from mine for the last while. Despite living close to each other, we've seen each other less and less. I had always assumed this was just circumstance, and not thought too much about it (surprisingly). 
However for the past year, it's become almost a game to see if she will even say "how are you" when we meet, or whether or not she will launch into complaints about any and every aspect of her life from the get-go, until the very moment we part ways.
Finally I managed to broach this subject (in person), and said it felt very hurtful, that I was happy to talk about all of her concerns, but even a "how are you" would make me feel like less of a tool in the matter. She explained that she didn't want to talk  with me about my problems anymore (sic), and changed the subject because she didn't want to be a "bad friend". Given my ability to rant, I figured this was a valid complaint and left it at that.

Anyhow, the "how are(n't) you" game continued. Oddly enough, I also realized it wasn't even problems in my life that were the "problem", as things going well in my life also had a life span of about half a sentence before the subject got changed. 
A few more times subsequent, and I broached the subject again, saying the equilibrium was off in such a way that I felt discouraged from even making small talk, given the distinct feeling of distain I felt whenever the subject veered away from her. I got no response, so decided that was response enough.

And then it started, the finding out all the "big life events" via Facebook.  Which is fucking weird, can I tell you?
And then, tonight, I had my very first experience of being "unfacebooked". I found out inadvertently. It's kind of amazing; one hears about these things and kind of chuckles. I mean, it's Facebook, for fuck's sakes.

But I'm actually really hurt and astounded.

This very posting is of course in some sense a huge cache of passive agression in and of itself. Despite having attempted on prior occasions to address this all in person.

But my intention is actually (believe it or not) unrelated to the matter directly; it is cited to contrast the following point, which is much more optimistic:

The point is this: I have, over the years, suffered from only child syndrome a great deal, feeling huge amounts of anxiety going to social gatherings where I feel like I'll know no one, I'll make an arse of myself, etc etc. Tedious but true. It's improved a great deal over the last three years, mostly 'coz the people I know are Undeniably Awesome, and so tolerant, and there's just no way to maintain that kind of angst around them.

But still and also, when I am out with strangers, more and more, I realize how innately Good people are. How kind, and giving, and genuinely open, when given any indication that such interaction or communication is welcomed.  People are encouraging, forgiving, and often as open as the people they are speaking with, given half the chance. I realize I'm just a big bloody hippy, citing all this stuff, but So Be It. Tonight I was out with complete strangers, and I had SUCH.A.GOOD.TIME, for all of the above reasons. English, german, there was a bit of everything, all of it far from perfect, all of it interactions between strangers, and it was so wicked.

My point (long winded as it is) is that it's a sad and weird mystery to me how we are so often so much crueler to the people we love, when we can manage such beautiful and honest interactions with strangers, at any given time, in almost any situation.

and while my hangover still, um, hangs on...

My latest book is winging its way to a fan in Amsterdam.
Thank you etsy. You are TOO awesome.

02 December 2008


I am about as ignorant of politics as it can get, and yet, since the last election, followed by the US election, I have been newly obsessed with it. This intrigues me. Why the sudden interest, I wonder, when my newsless bubble has seemed so adequate for so long. 
But as opposed to previous times, when the news seemed to just report more and more stupidity and atrocity, the daily NYT Obama updates are some of the scariest and yet most positive news I've encountered in the world of news. The problems are real (real, Real) but FINALLY someone is in office who seems reasonable, intelligent, and ready to work with others to solve them. 
Let's face it, it's the biggest bloody mess in known history, but imagine watching Bush were he to be confronted with these issues before even taking office. CHRIST. Reading the news has actually become interesting, instead of cause for further nausea and disgust with american ideology and politics in general.
However. More importantly right now, THIS.
Coalition government. Holy fuck is it possible everyone is following suit and smartening up at a federal level?
Here also is the link for the petition, should you wish to forgo the relevant facts in the link above. Sign this. Really.

Anyhow. Enough political soapbox. Weird. What is this posting, anyhow. WEIRD.

I remember that website way back when...

So I was updating my website this evening, particularly the illustration page, when something made me think of a website I was told about some time back, a kind of internet time machine that archives old websites. I was feeling procrastinatory and so googled away, found it, and with wouldn't ya know it, some internet-robot somewhere has decided to archive steflenk.com, from 2002 until 2007. 

I should explain that I taught myself (rather rudimentarily) to build websites, back in 2002, with HTML coding for Dummies or some such animal. I clearly remember calling my then-roommate up out of bed at some unmentionable hour into my room to look at my first successful web page, a red background with the word hello on it, which, when clicked on, linked to another red page that said "how are you" or something profound like that. And BOY i was proud. That bloody working link took me at least 8 hours to succeed at.

This page from 2002 is exceedingly embarrassing, but was one of my very first gos at building a website. And while the design is abominable, it was rather amusing to find this little cache of long-ago-almost-forgotten mail art, that I somehow thought so important at the time.

27 November 2008

Amplifying boobage.

My friend J (as yet unconfirmed on the privacy/blogging front, and therefore initialized for safety) invited me to come play in her wardrobe trailer, parked at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, last week. And THIS is what we found for my entertainment. Actually used to amplify actors' boobage.


24 November 2008

Topographical Disorientation (take 2)

And I took down the first one, as I had to do the whole thing again. But I think this one turned out even better.

(and for those of you just joining us, the original post: I have just, with both excitement and trepidation, completed an illustration for Canadian Geographic magazine on the topic of topographical disorientation, a condition whereby people find themselves constantly disoriented in their very own lives. There is no physiological/neurological condition associated with this illness, the hypothesis is that people are somehow just not able to construct proverbial roadmaps of their personal lives, and so constantly feel lost.

A better assignment couldn't have dropped from the heavens. GLEE!


It's an endless struggle. In dealing with the Stuart Little incident now a few weeks past, I took the opportunity to oust all kipple from a closet and another little cranny that has become repository for all manner of junk. 
The worst habit comes out of environmental concern, believe it or not. I somehow acquire such things as I do not want to put in our landfills, and so hang on to them thinking, "at some point that will be useful".

Like this:

Sealed air.

I'm not sure who was kind enough to give this to me, but three bags of it were found. As my friend jrbi pointed out it might well be worth keeping. When armaggedon hits and the oxygen supply dries up, I'll be three breaths ahead of everyone. So as people die all around me, I can pull out my sealed air and live smug in the knowledge that I survived three breaths past civilization.
Be prepared, they said in Girl Guides. Always be prepared.

22 November 2008

It is a new thing in my life

To be excited, nay, THIS excited about a politician. Particularly an american one. But WOW.

21 November 2008

The most ambitious teabag in the world

Happened upon this photo today, taken with a REAL (read: pre-digital) camera, in Cornwall, England, in 1999.
This teabag was discovered by one stef lenk and one Scott Treleaven on a meander out to St. Michael's Mount. Upon sighting it, the latter exclaimed loudly (on behalf of the teabag)

which would make this, perhaps, the most ambitious writer in the world.

Especially given the wind, that November day. Cornwall, England, the second last month of the 20th century. (that partially obscured white object is a typewriter, by the way, complete with sheaf of papers)

20 November 2008

Jaques Bossuet, who are you and why are you so insightful.

So I subscribe to a thing called bite-sized languages, as a part of my daily email procrastination. Every day I get a sentence (in german and in french)with which to whet my ill-adept linguistic mind.
Today's quote was this:

Man kann in einem einzelnen Leben sämtliche Extremitäten menschlicher Beziehungen erkennen. - Jaques Bossuet

(tr: You will see in a single life all the extremities of human affairs.)


17 November 2008

And on the topic of books: TEATIME 2; the launch at last.

I have finished it. The sequel/completion of TeaTime. I have sent it to the printers, looked at a proof, and am going in tomorrow morning to give press approval. And despite the hair-pulling frustration that some of those bloody pages gave me, I have to say, I'm excited. After a couple of hard months on a few fronts, things are LOOKING UP.
Which brings me to the launch.
On Wednesday the 3rd December I will be having a launch to set this little whim out into the world, generously (most most MOST generously) co-hosted by Brick Literary Journal, who will concurrently be launching issue 82 of their revered publication (and also the last issue that I have had any hand in making...sniffle)
Doors at 7.30.

• There will be readings by Michael Helm and other significant personages that I can't remember at the moment, although many of those significant personages that edit dear Brick will be present for you to gawk at, should you be that way inclined. Actually it will be a lovely assortment of people, given the crowd that read Brick and, well, the crowd that know of my little books.
• There will also be clever lessons in paper-cutting (thank you, ghost of H.C.Andersen)
• And there will be...erm...my little book. For sale. Crying out for attention, and perchance offering some visual edification for those who give in.

Really I just want to get drunk with my friends and anyone else who might have a fondness for silent sequential drawing and literary journals too, so won't you please come out, if you know me, know my books, live in Toronto or are simply a functional and socially adept human being looking for something to do on the evening of the 3rd?
And won't you also look at page 81 of Brick and tell me how lovely it is too?


Brick 82.

I received my copy of Brick today, Blessed Brick, with Hans Christian Andersen papercuts on the front, a wealth of literary brilliance inside. And I thumbed through it, and tried not to feel sad and nostalgic and like it looks much better than when I was at production's helm (Damn you, MB!)...and then I got to the end and there in a 1/4 page corner of the ads section was this photo, (which, Vain as it is, is one of my Favourite photos on earth, that blessed linotype)

with the words "here's to stef lenk, master of hyperbole" beneath it.
I felt like I had won a bloody oscar. I really did. It was SO awesome. SO.SO.AWESOME. It was the best thing in Forever. I swear to God.

09 November 2008

fiction or fact; or is fiction fact?

I was chatting with someone the other day who asked me, "you mean you don't have to be somewhere every morning?". 
I answered no, and she was both surprised and envious. 
The lyrics from an old James song came to mind "You can have/whatever you want/but are you disciplined enough to be free?"
This past week I have been wondering exactly that, noticing the distinct irony of someone else's jealousy that I am presently not involved in anything that is important to anyone but me. Which is in fact a very difficult undertaking, believe it or not. And not necessarily as blessed as it may seem.
But to be fair, stepping outside of myself, this does seem so great. People (frequently non-arts workers) have commented before to me on my exciting ubercool life, which I frequently seem quite inured to. And when I see other peoples' lives, I feel envy myself, without even stopping to realize I share much of the same advantages as they.

So which is the fiction, then? Peoples' thoughts on my life, or my own consternation over it?

05 November 2008

320 to 141.

So far, but enough to know.
More than slightly overwhelming, in Every Way. Obama Obama Obama.

03 November 2008

Goodness, I FORGOT!

Shan! (and other possibly oblivious bloggers.)
Go to "settings", then "comments", then scroll down to the bottom. There is a "comment notification email" and if you put your address in there, blogger will faithfully notify you when someone has been kind enough to read and comment on your posted wisdom.

02 November 2008

A thing that makes me happy.

After eight and a half hours of teaching my mum to use a mac, It's a wonder I'm standing. I have to say though, there is nothing like days like these to make one feel rather clever. Christ, we barely got through the ins and outs of the OS and iTunes.
This picture (below) makes me happy.

And now, to bed.

more effective than I had intended

As forwarded to me this afternoon. I implore my friends not to turn me in, I never thought the anthrax leavings from my salt shaker would carry so far. Or with quite the odour of babies' bums as they did.

it's funny to realize

that the nights I go on like the most righteous gasbag are also the nights I feel (likely with reason) like the Biggest Loser. 
(shrug) Don't judge a book by its cover. No truer words were ever spoken.

01 November 2008

Halloween antics

About half way through yesterday I decided that going out for Halloween really was becoming a necessary endeavour. But I had nary a costume. My first thought was to go as a schizophrenic, but didn't know if any apparatus I could think up could hold an extra head of mine, even if it was just a photo depiction. So I settled in the end on anthrax, which seemed ironically fitting for a Halloween costume, given the antics of the year. 

Not bad for a half-hour's work about 10 minutes before I ventured out for the evening.
I had a small salt shaker filled with anonymous white toxin, that smelled only slightly like baby powder. The funniest ("funniest") moment of the evening was when I was approached by a man dressed as a postman, who offered me a letter. I opened it up; written on the paper were the words "everyone needs a bosom for a pillow". 
Yes, thank you Cornershop, no truer words were ever spoken.

31 October 2008

7.23pm, 31 October, Coach House

drawings all scanned, DVD burning (attempts to control hyperventilating...)

3.49pm, 31 October.

status. Drawings wrapped up. In portfolio. Scanner booked for 5pm today. 

30 October 2008

and at 4.30am....

I woke up. Third day of this insomnia, for god knows what reason, and I've finally decided that there is nothing for it but to get up and do useless things. Like make a masthead for my blog. See above. Pictures from the "likely-never-to-be-finished-but-maybe by-tomorrow?-TeaTime 2"

29 October 2008

Vain AS.

I was just introduced to these lovely photos, taken by a guy named Derek (no last name yet, sorry!) on Toronto Island this summer, during the Burning Man fiesta held for those of us who couldn't swing the flight and the 300$ ticket to attend the real one.
And I love 'em. 
Of course.

28 October 2008

And the footage.

New Model Circus Army, Clay and Paper theatre, Kensington Horns, Night of Dread.Here.

Oh, of course. Fascist facebook. If you log in and search for "Night of Dread", there's a video. (shrug)

Oh, and just one more.

It's hard for tiny animals, it's true. Facing imminent extermination from technological menaces everywhere.

and in the news...

...The British funeral-services industry faced a backlog of hundreds of corpses as undertakers, unable to obtain credit, refused to perform burials for the poor until the government guarantees reimbursements...and the big counter in New York City that tracks the national debt ran out of digits...Harpers Weekly

Given the nature of my previous posting

I will take this early morning to return to a more bloggy forray of sundry items.

Woke up at 5.30 this morning, (which I suppose is an improvement on yesterday's 5am rising, due to a dream ending with me opening my eyes in real life and trying to picture the view outside my window (which is right by my bed), and only coming up with the view outside the bedroom of the apartment I grew up in.)

I have, in the last week or so, aside from feverish drawing, battling ultimate evil in Dufferin Grove Park, frittering with the indie-eratii (sic) at Canzine, being dramatic as usual, eating cheese and reading the Economist, been migrating stuff to a nnnnniiooooooo computer. That's right. I have, after six long years, moved from the equivalent of a cardboard box into a digital palace. It is very exciting. Fieberhafterliche Aufgeregtheit, in fact. I no longer have to pedal to make my computer work, and my tea-drinking habits will obviously shift as well, now that I no longer have time to boil the kettle while files are opening and such.
One finds the most fascinating kipple at times like this though. Like this picture of a baby stingray, entitled "weeeeeeeee" (not by me), found obviously during some errant googling one day.

And then there are these, 'coz let's face it, nobody hates tiny bunnies.(Except serial killers.)

And just to round out the Too-Cute-For-Manson quota, there was this pic, of a tubby wee me, back when life seemed so much simpler.

25 October 2008

Night of Dread.

So tonight, myself, the New Model Circus Army, and other variegated and lovely people fought Ultimate Evil, with fire of course. (photos pending, I hope) It was a remarkable feat. 
After that, the Night of Dread parade moved on, and after a short break for whisky and weehoos, we rejoined to watch people burn paper-box effigies of their fears.  Amongst my favourites were "mediocrity", "Sarah Palin", and "loneliness".  And bobbing up and down near the back of the crowd though was a paper-box with "a broken heart" written on it. 
This got me thinking, of course. We throw around the term "broken heart" so flippantly sometimes. It translates so easily to getting dumped, getting cheated on, time's up, a bad date, any number of mundane disappointments, etc etc. But here's my question.
What happens if you heart actually DOES get broken. I'm not talking about the aforementioned. I'm talking about the cirumstance where, for whatever reason, your heart ceases to work. This is not even necessarily related to a romantic relationship. What if, somehow, human relations (of all and any sort) involve so much misleading, so much taunting, so much selfishness on the part of others, so much negligence in self-caring (and therefore not SEEING the selfishness of others), so much egotism, so much lack of communication, that one day a person's heart just shuts down, 'coz it just no longer knows what to do or what it's looking for. Everything it knows is wrong. Everything it wanted has ended up being wrong. It just doesn't work anymore. 
The term "broken heart" should not be used for people who have been dumped, or whose relationships have reached the sell-by date, or who play at one relationship while they've got three other fuck-buddies or "other relationships" on the back burner. It should be used for people who are genuinely incapable of using an organ that must, at some point, have known how to work.

I know.
But what's a Night of Dread without a good old-fashioned serving of cynicism.

The Economist? The Economist.

You know something is SERIOUSLY up with the world when I purchase (PURCHASE) a copy of The Economist to fill my free moments with.

23 October 2008

Bringer of tears on a Thursday morning.

You'd think it had been long enough that it wouldn't feel like such a tragedy still...

22 October 2008

Peur(s) du Noir

In January, I saw this film at the Angoulême comic festival, and it was Stunning. It was SO SO SO amazing. Practically silent, six short films told almost completely in images, and STUNNING images to boot. I came back here feeling really melancholic that it was probably one of those jems that will never make it across the ocean. Then this morning, the above link was sent to me, the movie is opening in New York next week. GLEEEE!!!!! I recommend it (so help us when it ventures northward) so much, it hurts.

11 October 2008

Blue and blublu.

Well, I'm still unwell. It's making me the shade of this posting's title. I've had it with being energyless and morose. Although, as I am finally at the point where my resolve is gone, and I don't have energy for much more than movies and internet links and such, I suppose the life lesson (um, relax already!) stands in stark enough contrast to my usual demeanour; perhaps I'll learn a thing or two. Anyhow.
Someone I haven't spoken with in years emailed this link to me the other day, and I finally sat down to check it out in detail. IT.IS.SO.COOL. AWE.SOME.
It's ironic. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with the amount of stupidity and bad taste I see all around me on an average day. Other days I'm overwhelmed with how many people are doing stuff that's Too Amazing. 
It's a shame they rarely coincide, and the Too Cool stuff frequently seems to be far away and unaccessible. Or so I see it, anyhow.

09 October 2008

From Aberdeen to Anchorage

It's always an odd and unsettling moment for me when I have to acknowledge that I am just sick enough that everything actually has to slow down, that I'm just not functioning properly, and deadlines may have to shift; basically, that things aren't going precisely according to plan.
It's intensely depressing, truth be told. And that's been my last WEEK. What do i need to do, dammit, send out a petition? "Dear virus-of-unseeable-origin, cease and desist these activities immediately, under threat of a firm-talking-to and social duress from surrounding friends and colleagues."
Anyhow. Waking up this morning to two book orders from my etsy store was a small Thrilling palliative, and further realizing that one was from Anchorage Alaska, and the other from Aberdeen, Scotland (!!!) was Beyond Awesome.
Every so often one needs evidence that the world keeps you in it, even when you are hiding in your house, dragging yourself desperately from task to task. SUPREME.

03 October 2008

to the sea!

The other night, on my birthday in fact, some writer at a book launch I stopped in on was describing her past (?) year spent in England. And I quote: I lived one block from the prison and two blocks from the sea"
Sounds like my life, sometimes. And yet, two blocks isn't really that far, is it?

If I had money to waste.

I would buy this:

Discovered today when I was trying to find the formal name for the Doctor's sonic screwdriver (which is, erm, "sonic screwdriver") A more ridiculous USB hub I have never seen, and yet, it brings me Such glee, for some silly reason.
I must have been a video-game-sci-fi-excess-porn-watching-british teenage boy cooped up in a basement in a previous lifetime. And now I'm reliving it with excessively boyish looks, a whole lot of time to myself, and an odd taste in computer accoutrements. Sigh.

For some reason

the existence of this page and the fact that someone sees the need for it to exist, makes me remarkably giddy.

01 October 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, a breather if you will.

So. I am, today, officially THIRTY.FIVE. Is this even possible? The rain is falling gently outside, the mailbot hums down the hallway, a freshly picked pear and a cup of tea and some squishy brownie by my side.
And, as I find myself here at the grand master Castle for the day anyhow, I am going to make good their broadcasting mandate (whatever it is) and regale my loyal reader(s) with a few clever words.
Alas, they will not be mine, as I have none to impart.
No, I am taking a moment to transcribe for you the beginning of one of the Best Books of ALL Time, entitled "Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass", by Bruno Schulz. As it is my Favourite Book Ever, I feel it is only fitting to spend my birthday with it, at least in the quieter moments at this strange job that goes from being busy to not busy to busy again.
Think of this, dear reader(s), as a reverse birthday present, as the following cannot fail to evoke something most reverent and wonderful in even the least book-biased of all of you.
And now, Mister Bruno Schulz. Bless him.

"I AM SIMPLING CALLING it The Book without any epithets or qualifications, and in this sobriety there is a shade of helplessness, a silent capitulation before the vastness of the transcendental, for no word, no allusion, can adequately suggest the shiver of fear, the presenti....

ring ring. and there was a happy birthday a la Coco! How Very Fitting. Now, where was I?)

...the presentiment of a thing without name that exceeds all our capacity for wonder. How could an accumulation of adjectives or a richness of epithets help when one is faced with that splendiferous thing? Besides, any true reader-and this story is only addressed to him-will understand me anyway when I look him straight in the eye and try to communicate my meaning. A short sharp look or a light clasp of his hand will stir him into awareness, and he will blink in rapture at the brilliance of The Book. For, under the imaginary table that separates me from my readers, don't we secretly clasp each other's hands?

The Book...Somewhere in the dawn of childhood, at the first daybreak of life, the horizon had brightened with its gentle glow...the wind would rustle through its pages and the pictures would rise...page after page floated in the air and gently saturated the landscape with brightness...The Book...

Oh happy happy day. I LOVE birthdays. And since my entire life Revolves around the above, I Love them too!

24 September 2008

Don't give me E-balls. Even if they are german.

The germans, we have discovered in times-gone-by of gratuitous procrastination at the Brick office, have a great affection for Little Britain. Or so says youtube, anyhow. And why, by gum, wouldn't they. It's bloody fantastic.
Though today, after using the expression Don't give me E-balls! in an email, the proverbial procrastinatory gauntlet was thrown down: E-balls in german. Translated. If i'm so clever as I seem to think.
I confess, I had to approach the dear old Langenschiedt on this one. But find the answer I did.
E-Hoden. Pronounced Eh-H-oh-den.
Literal translation: “E-testicles”
I’m a bloody great Genius. Hallo, Mein Name ist Stefanie, ich bin aus Kanada, ich spreche Englisch, Franzozisch, und ein bisschen Deutsch.
Ja, aber nein, aber ja, aber nein, WAS FUR ANSEHST DU MIR? GIBT MIR NICHTS E-HODEN!

Helvetica, german acuity, and rump-watching.

I have finally finally gotten to see Helvetica, this most Excellent documentary. It has, until now, been perpetually out. I've tried to rent it like, four times, and finally started checking in daily to catch it upon its return. Its perpetual absence, though, excites me, in some subversive way, that normal human beings have some strange predilection for a documentary about a typeface.
Anyhow. I must say the highlight of the documentary was one dedicated fellow named Erik Spiekermann, who confesses that his love of type is a disease, and likely a mortal one, and definitely disturbing. "Other people look at bottles of wine and girls' bottoms, I look at type"
I was watching the doc with the german subtitles turned on, and would like to point out that girls' bottoms is in fact one word in german (aren't they efficient): Frauenhintern. Commenting on this in one of my aforementioned gratuitous emails today, I was asked, then, what the word is for mens' bottoms. THAT WAS MY FIRST QUESTION, I had to confess. But I couldn’t look it up, I mean how does one look it up? Under men? Under bottoms? I could surmise that it might be Männerhintern oder männlicheEsel (manly ass, literally translated). But here we are. It's like the unfortunate (or very fortunate) truth that there is no antonym for misogyny.

By the way.
I’m so clever they moved me up three levels in my german class last night. No Joke. I had to call and organize this morning a formal switch, after an earnest post-class discussion where I nervously confessed that I felt a bit too comfortable with telling people my name, where I come from, and what language I speak over and over again, and would we get much further?
The teacher agreed that I should check with the administrator and revise accordingly.
Who knew my ten year old german would loiter so tenaciously in what really is an overused and exhausted brain?
Must have been the MännlicheEsel.

23 September 2008

On hearing the drawing through the pimply monologues.

So all this blogging will not regain momentum until i get this BLOODY.BOOK finished. But eine moment, bitte, a moment of respite. Partially in celebration of the fact that after four and a half hours today of Tearing My Hair out, washing and re-washing my dishes, assaulting friends and colleagues with countless useless emails (yeah, sorry about that), negotiating my way through some funny german podcasts (more on that to come), and setting up strange dioramas with my comforter and travel trunk to recreate a dress climbing out of open luggage, i finally sat. I resigned myself to the blank page. The fucker. This last page, last drawing, is in fact the first (ironically) page of Teatime part 2 and it has been staring, nay, sniggering at me for weeks. WEEKS. Today is my second go at it, a new piece of illustration board, as I finally had to concede that my first final was unclear rubbish.

Anyhow. I got into it. Somehow I did. Four hours later, and now what stares at me is an optimistic work-in-progress, rather sensible, relatively competent rendering, and (thanking the ten tiny toes of Christ) NOT in need of being completely erased and redone over and over and OVER again.
I am writing all this useless information, dear reader(s) so you will... nay, not feel my pain, as part of the pain of having a whimsical and useless trade like illustration is that noone else can feel your pain. There is no help to be garnered. No colleague who can say, "oh, just move that widget a bit to the right" and suddenly the drawing/story is back up and functioning.
I am writing this so that if ever in the universe more than a dozen or so people see these little books of mine, instead of uttering the usual "you are so lucky to be an artist", or "what FUN it must be", you will know, or have some indication, anyhow, that it is not only as frustrating as any other job on earth, but it is as unsure of itself (and hence as awkward and painful) as a pimply teenage virgin on a first date who has not realized yet that a world exists beyond his own, and one must therefore engage in Conversation, not monologues.
The above is a good analogy, in fact, 'coz, as with most things on earth, everything goes better when you listen to the task at hand. In this case the drawing. Flakey as it may sound, the drawing has more important things to say than I ever do, and were I to shut up for a minute, I might save myself alot of time and frustration. Just let it have it's way, already. It has my best interests at heart.
Alright. Enough whinging. Onwards to lighter bloggy topics. Woop!

18 September 2008

my german class.

How much do I love saying mundane things to complete strangers in foreign languages. HOW MUCH.

Oh yes. Welcome to my new blog.