30 May 2009

Oh blog.

You are such a venue for late-night passive agressive email-like postings, aren't you.
That's okay.
It's my blog and I'll qvetch if I want to. 
All in the name of personal history.

29 May 2009

I actually realized on Wednesday

that what they say about tattooed people? It's pretty much True. I used to think not, but I've looked around enough to know now, that yup, it's true. All hail strategically worn long sleeves and turtlenecks.


to Berlin.
And Counting.

These days...

Despite what it must look like, with my life as it is and such, ALL I WANT (no, really) is for weirdos and trainwrecks (and their possibly-normal-but-who-the-fuck-knows-really friends who I DON'T EVEN KNOW) to leave me alone. 
Is it that I am marked for life in the weirdos and their "clever" ideas category? How. How did I get this stigma. And to whom do I write a letter to get it removed.
A bit of peace, and a bit of predictability, and a bit of foresight as well while I'm at it. 
Are these really so much to ask? 
In other words: TROUBLE FUCK OFF.

28 May 2009

I cannot remember where I read this.

But it re-occured to me last night, and again today:
There is no cure for hot and cold. 
(as in, they just are, there's no getting away from them; warm is an unreal and psychologically tepid contrivance)


27 May 2009

Brick 83

Is out in stores now, and somewhere in there I have a new illustration published. (I forgot to ask them what page number). So Go Forth and find it, and be amazed, won't you?

two words.

Pomegranate Sorbet.
Pomegranate Sorbet pretty much sums up (in a suitably awesome equivalency) the sublime nature of my life these past few weeks (the inevitable stef-stress factor notwithstanding)
It's Spring, everything is green, everyone around me is Awesome, I've been eating Most Excellently, and I'm going to Berlin. 
And though I don't have anything profoundly bloggable going through my mind, I would like to record, for the stef-lenk-annals-of-history-at-some-undetermined-later-date, that I'm quite thrilled with all of this, life and such.

20 May 2009


I have an excellent conversation from last week lingering in my mind; this reminder that since we are all predominantly similiar (made from a human template, as it were) the same truth might hold for our psychological makeup. And though this makes me very sympathetic towards the rest of the human universe (I'm sorry, dear reader(s), to think that your brains are likely as fraught as mine often is) it's very comforting as well. 

The key to it all then is to see who has the best coping tactics, and adopt them with great expediency.


24 June - 8 September.

14 May 2009

three times lucky?

So yesterday Mac FINALLY FINALLY replaced my computer, which was still faulty after SIX visits to the genius bar, where they had previously already replaced the logic board, display, and hard drive.
I would like to record here that, even with the botched attempt to use timeMachine, which not only doesn't work, but overwrote my previous auto-backup in the name of "migration assistant", a complete rebuild of my hard drive, applications, backup and all now takes me two hours. Two hours. And that includes defaults and preferences and all that pap, ladies and gentlemen.

Yes. I am proud of this.
Geek with a capital G. MISTER Geek to you(s).

And I spent the weekend at a comic arts festival, and ended it with a motorcycle ride and a viewing of Star Trek. And I'm recording it on a blog. While the sun is outside shining away.
All that's left is for me now is to move into my mother's proverbial basement, build model airplanes, get into D and D chat rooms, and masturbate vociferously to internet porn.

12 May 2009

Better late than never(?), even if it is on a bulletin board in Paris.

Last January I took a trip to Paris, in part as an exhibitor at the Angoulême comic arts festival. I was accompanied by someone I had been dating for 7 months prior to that, and things were unfortunately shaky between us before we even left (Read: we had broken up a week prior)

Anyhow. As a result of said strife, I backed out of a trip down to Spain we had planned months prior, in favour of staying in Paris and wandering around solo for a bit of peace from it all. Our agreement was to meet back up at Shakespeare and Co. on the evening of his flight back in, for the last couple of days before returning to Toronto. 
It was well-planned, giving him five hours or so to get from Charles de Gaulle into the city before we had to meet the woman we were couchsurfing with later that night. All relevant contact numbers for Paris were exchanged (there were three of them, two being people he knew and english speakers), and we went off our separate ways.
Well, I went to said bookstore at appointed hour on appointed day, and he wasn't there. Despite the fact that this tardiness was not at all uncommon, I waited for three hours (not the first time), and as a consequence missed the person we were to stay with and had to find a last-minute hotel on my own. 
I spent my last two days in Paris frantically worrying about what had happened, as he had contact numbers both for two of our couchsurfing hosts and one of my best friends in the city, none of which he used. Eventually, through a bizarre set of postage-stamp sized notes and near-misses at random meeting places, we managed to reconvene.
It ends up he had missed his flight. He didn't want to use the pay phones because to do so would mean purchasing a phone card for a hefty 7 euros. And though an apology would not have reconciled the relationship, it would have gone a long way to preserving a friendship, I felt.

So why am I rehashing this unsavory story now, dear reader(s)?
I am part of a housing list that sent out a posting this morning, as I am looking for a subletter for my place during my Berlin stint. A few hours ago I got an email from someone who recognized my name (on the housing list), and on the off chance that I was the same person, sent a photo she had taken of a note she found taped to a bulletin board at Shakespeare and Co. last May (five months after the whole incident!)
This note.

So a belated thanks goes out to Oz, I guess. It's a very sweet note.
Apologies, such as they are, are always appreciated; and  better late (I guess) than never. 


I'm embarrassed with myself at how long these drawings took to complete, but they are finally done. To appear, along with this one, in Descant Literary Journal's winter issue (theme: Dance) (They are accompaniments to an amazing prose-poem by a ballet dancer, forget her name...)


Pas De Deux

TCAF: a roundup of sundry thoughts.

opening night.

Friday night's opening event at Harbourfront included an address by Adrian Tomine and Seth, followed by an interview between Tomine and comic artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Seth's speech was rather protracted. Though I'm not a fan (obviously) of his tendency to deride people who wish to draw accurately or naturalistically in comic narratives, I did truly appreciate his observation that comics (cartoons, specifically) are a coalescence of graphic design and poetry. It's true. They can't quite be called drawing; cartoons are collections of shapes designed to represent people, places, things, and to convey a message, meaning, story. And it does become poetry, when one can successfully convey something human through a strategic co-mingling of non-human shapes. An excellent medium.

the event itself.

The festival was at the Toronto Reference Library, which is so my frequent haunting ground it was like showing up in my living room and inviting the public in for a look. The festival represented the same mix of exhilaration and melancholy I find doing all most book fairs this last while. Really overwhelming how much Good work there is, and sometimes hard to feel at home when what I'm up too seems rather out of place with the predominance of more cartoon-oriented comics. I also envy peoples' ability to tell stories simply.

The melancholy was, however, completely trumped by checking out the GOLD that is the work/publications of Tom Neely, Brett Warnock (Top Shelf), Dylan Williams (Sparkplug comics), Brian Musikoff and ever Shannon Gerard.

adolescence vs. real life.

And then there was Anke Feuchtenberger, (visiting from Berlin) who did a talk about her work. She and Renée French make me understand the phenomenon of fanboy-ism, when I actually went and lined up for the first autograph of my life. Embarrassing but true.

Anyhow, when Feuchtenberger was discussing her "W the Whore" series of books, it was commented on that the main character changes guise in each episode, almost to a point of being unrecognizable, except for her name. (In one of the books she looks a modern full-grown woman, in another a small child, etc.) This is only possible in visual narratives, as a written book doesn't do the work of description quite as accurately. A name is a name, and the reader fills in the rest.

The effect of this is of creating a really timeless narrative of this character in these surreal environments. Anyhow, this idea came up that during adolescence we live in a haze of clichés and ideas, and it is with adulthood that these are tempered by what is actually possible. Hence the development of this character whose only real consistency is through her name.

Just thought that was neat.

the word "hobby".

Feuchtenberger also pointed out whilst speaking on a panel about European comics that she still considers her comics-making to be a hobby. As the pay she receives is never commensurate with the work she does, she said that her books were really a "gift" to her publisher. (She is an art professor in Hamburg, I think, by trade) It was an important moment, to have someone whose work I revere a great deal point out that it is not her living; that comics are not a realistic trade. Yes, 35, and I still labour under ridiculous delusions, 'tis true. 

There is no "arrival" in this business. Or rather, doing the work="arrival". It is easier to accept this, unfortunately, when it come from further up the proverbial ladder. It took some of the sting out of the word "hobby", to have someone use said word, who so obviously is dedicated to her work as Work.

thank god(s).

The calibre of work at the festival, and the quantity of it made me realize how long it's been since I've been around people concerned with pictures/words co-existing as a medium, and was fundamentally inspiring. Thank God(s).

08 May 2009

Tomorrow! Sunday! Toronto Comic Arts Festival

That's right, dear reader(s), it's that time again. This year's TCAF festival is happening tomorrow and Sunday at the Toronto Reference Library, where I (along with a veritable plethora of brilliant comic creators) will be exhibiting/selling my little booklets and prints of strange and disturbing artwork for your cultural gratification. 
Free event for all!
Scads of comic book creators! 
Visual stimulus for everyone! 

07 May 2009

The emergency of the western world.

So I had a completely fascinating conversation about medicine over the weekend, where it was pointed out to me that the emergency room is the only real place where western medicine with its drugs and machines and "immediate" cures has significant relevance. 
So what does this mean when a visit to the doctor, an average check-up, is handled with the same palliatives, the same emergency measures.
No wonder everyone is so stressed.

Teatime part 1

now online at TopShelf 2.0.
Would that I could produce new work as fast as this.

05 May 2009


Went to see this documentary last night, by the same guy who made Helvetica

It was fantastic, needless to say, and of course prompted a few sundry thoughts on objects, people, and grace.

This idea that what designers have been ignoring for so long when creating goods is the art of dying gracefully, so to speak. We create all these new things to satisfy our fetish for novelty, for new stimulations, ignoring the fact that there's always more, there's always the need for more, and dead things don't decompose organically the way people do.
At some point during the documentary someone asked "why do we create anything to be permanent?" People aren't permanent. Our love for things isn't permanent. Why the need for permanence?

Of course to me the question of far greater importance is the quality and function said thing provides during its time in anyone's life. This also applies to people. If you give someone shit while you are with them, no function, no kindness, you cannot expect anything back in return. 

Of course this does not apply to objects, and herewith lies the fatal misunderstanding. 
Living amongst things guarantees an impunity from selfishness, non-reciprocity is just a given in the relationship. 
Eg. I have a chair, it's lovely and comfortable, and I don't owe it anything for that service.

There are people who've been living amongst things (computers are things) for so long that they cannot distinguish, and behave badly. 
As someone who is on a computer constantly, I worry about this.

The very end of the documentary pointed out that the most valuable things  for people are the ones with attached emotional significance, that have had an intrinsic effect on peoples' lives...an old key, a teddy bear, a letter. 

The doc ended with a shot of a small wooden cupboard and on its drawers someone had etched the words: 

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

If only.

04 May 2009

new lease (well, chain) on life.

My bike chain derailed mid-ride this morning, and only the trickiest of swerves saved me from splattering all over a white car. But THIS is luck, it all happened half a block away from my bike shop. I went in, the repair guy looked at me agog, and said WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THIS CHAIN. Nothing, I insisted, that's what 365 days/year will do, I suppose.
He replaced it immediately, no wait at all, marvelling at the fact that it had not in fact snapped yet. I marvelled at the whole situation, given that I had had no intention of getting my chain checked, being quite lazy in this department.
He also secured my beloved Brooks saddle with some sundry chain links as well.
The moral of the story? Bike people are the Most Awesome, as are near feats of human flight in close proximity to a white car and a bicycle repair shop.

02 May 2009

Clean Sweep

With things going as they have lately, I feel much like it must be a very marked end of an old chapter and beginning of a new. As if to verify this, my computer, but 6 and some months old, needed to be brought in for repairs again today, not a month after the last time I brought it in due to perpetual insomnia (the hard drive refused to go to sleep. No, the irony is not lost on me, dear reader[s])
Anyhow, thankfully the mac technician was very lovely, and replaced both the display and the hard drive in one day (last time it was the logic board). On a Saturday, no less!
Of course this still means reinstalling all apps from scratch, rebuilding preferences, files, etc etc. Which I would like to say I have just managed to do app. 80% of in just under four hours. 
Ladies and gentlemen, I am up and running again and I am officially a MACHINE of macintosh computer restorative powers.