Archive for November 2010

Walk in the snow

November 14th, 2010 — 8:54am

Back in May of this year I set up this blog to record and report the progress of my Bus Stop project – photographing all the Greyhound bus stops along the Crowsnest Highway from Hope, British Columbia to Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Since finishing the travel part of the project I’ve kept this blog alive first by continuing the road trip theme, then, after I arrived in Saskatoon, to report the development and execution of other projects. Unfortunately, and unseen, this has slipped into a series of “what I had for breakfast” posts. It’s all too apparent that’s where they remain today.

I thought perhaps I could treat my everyday activities in the same way as my road adventures, a good psychological health method to boot, but finding meaning in my everyday and reporting where I’ve travelled are very different things despite the effort to maintain a “holiday state of mind”.

I am no longer an anonymous loose cannon somewhere out there, I’m the guy next door doing much the same things you are. Who reads my blog besides close friends and family, search engine spiders, and the occasional hapless picture thief? I thank you all for your loyalty.

And yes, writing is taking up too much of my day. I’m settling in to the hard part of the project now, the Grind: editing; printing; publishing; preparing for exhibition. I’ve got to keep focused on that.

So you’ll be hearing less from me, at least here. I’ll send news by email but this blog is slowing to a crawl for the winter. See you on the road next spring though, and thanks for reading.


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November 13th, 2010 — 8:50pm

Are diamonds really a girl’s best friend? Marilyn Monroe sounds very convincing. Is this a matter of locked in hormonal response? I’m feeling light headed. Ah do believe I am suffering a bout of the vapours.

Went shopping today for a daybed and I came very close. Instead I came home with two teapots (a Brown Betty and a Sadler), four graduated cylinders (2 for long stemmed roses, 2 for pasta), a crock pot, a chrome GE hybrid slot-load toaster, a Blue Mountain bowl, an 8 ounce weigh scale with a Canada Weights and Measures certification seal still stuck to the side dated February 1967, a Pernod waiters tool, an Erlenmeyer flask with glass stopper for my irish whisky, and a candle powered translucent back-lit orange sunset cowboy and stray dogey silhouette lamp with flanking cactus topped by a five point star.

Sixty bucks.

So, life is beginning to make sense again.

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Shopping list

November 11th, 2010 — 4:16pm

I saw Garry and Janice Shoquist at work on Monday, Janice was in for an eye exam. They own and operate Northland Books just off Broadway here in Saskatoon, an antiquarian book shop. Keith and I had been in last September looking for Andrew Suknaski poetry books, I believe there was a sale on then. At any rate there’s a sale on now so I hopped over the Broadway Bridge yesterday to see what I could see. This is a list of what I brought home:

  • A very clean copy of Kenneth Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems From The Chinese, for Keith, who has been admiring a copy I brought in the Westfalia’s summer library (I have transferred all my domestic goods out of the bug into my apartment: one set of cutlery, a mug, can opener, etc.)
  • Hong Yingming’s Vegetable Root Talks, here titled Back To Beginnings by translator Thomas Cleary, a “collection of meditations on fundamental things in human life”. Huanchu Daoren, the author’s Taoist name, translates as “A Wayfarer Back to Beginnings”.
  • A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, an account of the travels of Fa-Hien (Faxian), a 5th century Chinese Buddhist monk commissioned by the Emperor to retrieve dharma texts from India. He spent fourteen years travelling through war zones, deserts, and mountains to the Gangetic plain of India, the island of Sri Lanka, and back again by sea. This was 200 years before the more famous voyage of the monk Hsien-tsang (Xuanzang) for the same purpose, whose travels inspired the enduring legend of the Monkey King. Translated by James Legge.
  • 3 books by Lafcadio Hearn, all in exceptionally good shape: Exotics and Retrospectives; Japan: An Interpretation; Out of the East: Reveries and Studies in New Japan. Hearn (1850-1904) was an Irish-Greek journalist who worked briefly in the United States before travelling to Japan, where he spent the rest of his life as teacher and author. He is highly regarded in Japan, where he is known as Koizumi Yagumo.
  • Ch’i Pai Shih by T.C. Lai, published by University of Washington Press, including the painter’s autobiography, facsimiles, anecdotes, seals, poetry, and recollections of his life and work.
  • A Book of Good Poems, my high school poetry text, edited by C.T. Fyfe. It’s in pristine shape – no dog-ears, notes, cartoons, boredom scribbles or nose-pickings, and the binding is solid.
  • And last, The Real Old West: Images of a Frontier by JoAnn Roe, and I think the treasure of the lot because of the curious nature of the subject, photographer Matsuura Sakae, or ‘Frank’ to all who knew him in the Okanogan of western Washington. He was a mysterious remittance man whose joy for life shows clearly in his photographs. He purportedly died of tuberculosis at the age of 39 with no family contact, but standing-room-only at his funeral, for, as The Okanogan Record apparently put it at the time, “he surely did not have an enemy in the world.” (p.5)
    Or did he? Lot’s of fun ahead.

And that’s it. Now I have only to wait for my bookcase (and my reading lamps, and my wing back chair) to arrive from Vancouver Island to enjoy the satisfying naps I’ve grown accustomed to. It’s been a long time, over six months.

Here’s a night view looking northeast from my balcony toward the university:

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Feelin’ chuffed

November 6th, 2010 — 3:20pm

If you’ve been reading the comments you’ll have noticed I finally found LA, or rather she found me. Yesterday we had lunch at the Park Café on 20th Street and spent the afternoon walking and talking. She’s just as delightful as ever she was; we had a great time, and we’ll do it again.

This morning I saw Bill Perehudoff’s retrospective at the Mendel, Saskatoon’s civic gallery, which I am proud to point out is open every day except Christmas day, from 9 am to 9 pm, and there is no admission charge.

Saskatoon has a strong history of modernism. I was brought up on it, not only as a kid interested in art but as a student in art at the University of Saskatchewan. It’s good to see walls covered in brilliant colour-field paintings; it puts a zing in my heart.

As always, if you have any hankering to say something, even if it’s just “hi”, leave a comment. Maybe we can have lunch at the Park Café; the reuben was really good – they make their own corned beef.

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November 3rd, 2010 — 8:02pm

I’ve moved into my new digs, but I don’t have a lot of furniture yet; a bed, a lamp… that’s about it. My body’s always looking for a place to sit down. Tomorrow Kelly’s bringing in some chairs and a desk.

I’m at the library (a block from my place) using their internet connection. My telephone and internet get hooked up next Tuesday. I got a pretty good deal with Shaw: $25 a month for both phone with voice mail and high-speed wifi, including the router. Not bad.

I realized today the work I’m doing is portraiture. I don’t mean this from an abstract point of view, although that might be interesting to pursue, but as a point of fact: I employ the same camera and people skills as a portraitist. The satisfying part is pursuing results based on specific criteria rather than second-guessing a client’s aesthetic wishes. A welcome relief, as any wedding photographer would tell you.

So things are going well.

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