Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Its a feeling like this that makes you architecture.

I found this remarkable text glued to a wall in Kensington Market the other day. At first glance, it looks like a classic specimen of paranoid schizophrenic writing. (Bizarre coincidence: I spent some time casting about on the web looking for a sample of a paranoid schizophrenic text, gave up, and then someone posted one in the comments section of my last blogpost. So for a very fine example of the kind of thing I'm referring to, just click back one post.) On closer examination, though, it lacks many of the hallmarks of texts of that kind. There's very little reference to massive global conspiracies or thought control, and little sense that the writer feels persecuted. Instead we have what sound like fragments from promotional, journalistic and literary writing -- that might even be a Ulysses reference in the lower left-hand sheet. Pathology, or procedural poetry? Anyone want to hazard a guess?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why Pocky never caught on in Quebec

I was in the Japanese shop in Kensington Market with Emily and baby Clara on Tuesday, and Emily spotted this strangely unappetizing French translation on a box of Pocky.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Layers of posters past

layers, originally uploaded by squiddity of toronto.

Someone knocked over one of those poster display things on St. George the other night. You can see years' worth of accumulated posters from this angle. For some reason the bottom looked singed. Lying on the pavement, the thing looked like the discarded shell of a space shuttle booster rocket, or possibly a huge burnt-out Victoria Day firecracker.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Draw on the walls at the Koffler Gallery!


So, as I mentioned in the last post, I visited the Koffler Gallery last weekend. It's pretty far out of the way, but it is transit-accessible, and the current shows are worth checking out. "My Square Foot" is a "collaborative drawing installation," a lot like a comics jam. Four artists have begun drawing on the walls; visitors are encouraged to contribute. I particularly liked Jon Sasaki's contribution. He's painted a wide stripe of blackboard paint around one of the rooms, and plotted out the stars on it in glow-in-the-dark paint; you're invited to connect the dots in new ways, and invent your own constellations. That's mine above. I don't think those are actually the Pleiades, and I realized afterwards that a Pleiadosaur ought to have flippers rather than legs, but you get the idea.

If you go, go outside & have a look at Simon Frank's installation Imprint also. Frank poured sawdust on the early spring grass in the shape of trees, leaving shadowy tree-ghosts when the sawdust was swept away a few weeks later.


Square Foot runs till July 15, and Imprint to September 9, so you have plenty of time.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

So that's where they went

Last Saturday, in Etobicoke, on the bus that took us to the subway station, there was an angry bearded man yelling into his cellphone. At least, we initially thought he had a cellphone. Dylan was the first to notice that the man was just holding his hand up to his ear with his thumb and pinky extended. At first I thought I'd misheard what the man was saying, but he kept yelling the same thing over and over, so there was no mistaking it:

"I got sidetracked, and I left my socks in a tree! I am disturbed in my mind! And I LEFT MY SOCKS IN A TREE!"

The next day I took the Performance Bus up to the Koffler Gallery to see the "My Square Foot" exhibit. (More on this later.) 3 of the 4 artists in the show were also on the bus. It's quite a long ride from OCAD to North York, and some of the artists brought refreshments to share, because they are nice like that.

Jon Sasaki: I have a bag of sesame cookies, does anyone want one?
Kathryn Ruppert-Dazai: I have a big pack of gum, if anyone wants some.
Seth Scriver: I have a bag full of socks!

It was true, he did. A lot of socks. If you are missing socks and you can't figure out where they went, they might be in Seth Scriver's duffel bag. Unless you left them in a tree.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Escape from YYZ


Most people are only ever in the airport on their way to somewhere else. On Saturday, the Toronto Psychogeography Society decided to make Lester B. Pearson our destination. For one thing, we wanted to check out the newly expanded Terminal 1 -- and the closed, scheduled-for-demolition Terminal 2. For another thing, we wanted to try walking away from the airport. Generally, one leaves the airport in a limo, bus, car or plane. Would it even be possible to leave on foot? We were going to find out.

We started out in Terminal 1. I haven't flown since early 2001, and I felt like a hick tourist from the 20th century, gawking at the newfangled computer check-in stands. We were mesmerized for awhile by a sculpture filled with water and plastic cubes stirred constantly by jets of air. Then we went looking for an exit. We went into a parking garage, down a very long stairwell, and... out the door. That was easy!

We found ourselves in a green space, underneath a tangle of overpasses. There were no sidewalks or footpaths, but nor were there any signs saying DON'T WALK HERE. So we walked, and soon came to the disused roads leading into Terminal 2. Acres of empty tarmac, cracking in the sun, with weeds growing up through the cracks; meticulously landscaped lawns and gardens starting to look overgrown.

Outside the abandoned terminal

We walked on into Erindale, in the heart of deepest Etobicoke. It was a glorious day, all the trees and tulips and daffodils were in bloom, and the dandelions were at their peak. The suburbs looked like suburbs are supposed to look: lush, quiet, with children playing in the streets.

Liz had a pedometer, which told us that by the time we got onto the bus that took us to Islington subway station, we'd walked over 12 km! It was epic. Lots more pictures on Flickr! Also, click here to see psychogeographer Charles's pics from the walk.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

High upon the church grounds

Sunset on church grounds
Tons of pics from this weekend to upload, but I thought I'd get these stragglers from last weekend up first. After our visit to the donkey sanctuary, we went to Guelph for burgers and beer (and nostalgia -- Alison and Jamie went to Guelph U). These are photos of Our Lady Immaculate Church, in the heart of Guelph. (The church itself is completely encrusted with scaffolding right now and is not very photogenic, so you get pics of the grounds and a closeup of the facade.) The great cultural significance of this particular church is that its grounds are where the young folks of Guelph go to drink and smoke up. If you're talking to someone who went to school in Guelph and they start reminiscing about evenings spent "up by the church" (which they probably will), this is that church. It has even been immortalized in the Hidden Cameras song "High Upon the Church Grounds." (The audio stream of this song on that page doesn't seem to work anymore, but you should click the link anyway to see the terrific animated video for "Death of a Tune".)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

When someone saves your ass, this is where it ends up

OK, I'm back again! With pictures of donkeys!

An ass behind another ass's ass

On Sunday, Alison and Jamie and I went on a road trip to the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, near Guelph. You wouldn't think Canada would need a donkey sanctuary. We were joking about it on our way down. DONKEY ABUSE: OUR NATION'S HIDDEN SHAME. But apparently donkeys fall victim to the same problem that affects many other pets: people buy them for their kids as cute little foals, and then neglect them as they get bigger & turn out to be a lot of work. Also, they're still used as work animals in rural areas, and sometimes their owners overwork & mistreat them. Over 50 rescued donkeys, mules and hinnies currently live at the Donkey Sanctuary. ("When a male donkey is bred with a female horse, the offspring is called a mule. When a male horse is bred with a female donkey, the offspring is called a hinny." Just one of many fun donkey facts on the Sanctuary's website!) Also, sheep and goats.

You can go right in to the barn and fields with the donkeys, and scratch their ears and groom them with brushes. They're very docile and friendly. One donkey decided it looooooved Alison & put its head on her shoulder:

Donkey luv!

If your nerves are frazzled from Toronto living, I highly recommend a road trip to the Sanctuary, especially if the weather is gorgeous like it was on Sunday. The rolling farmland is lovely and tranquil to look at and wander through, and the donkeys are usually snoozing or grazing, and it is all so relaxing you could fall asleep standing up.

Sheep may safely graze.

Click here to see more photos.