Friday, 28 September 2012


manipulated out of some pictures I took today, and some stuff from the google. Creepy, ne?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A Day With Gumby

Let me preface this post by saying: I'm sick. Not like that, you twisted bastards. I've had a cold all week and I think the combination of being unable to breathe, running a temperature, and confining myself to bed is starting to erode my sanity.

That being said, today I took the Gumby doll I made Scott buy me last summer in Lawrence on an outing. I even photo documented Gumby's morning, just for you!

Gumby wakes up to a fine Autumn morning
Gumby checks facebook

Gumby helps me brush my teeth

Gumby riding a terrified Penny

Posing nicely for the camera

Penny forgave me

At least until Gumby decided he wanted to ride Penny some

At this point I had to go out and pretend to be a normal person, so I (very normally, I thought) stuck Gumby in my pocket where he would have a view on my world, and went to school. Gumby had a delightful time giving hugs to all of the sick people in the program (not that kind of sick, you twisted individual), and even earned a couple of smiles. Gumby also got to make some new friends, in the My Little Pony figurines carried by Veronica , who is a self-confessed Brony (but NOT, she assures me, a Pegasister). Gumby was also *thrilled* by our metadata lecture, which was great, because I was busy doodling and not really paying attention, so at least one of us absorbed something. 

But down to business. . .Today would have been much MUCH more depressing if I hadn't brought along this silly bendy toy with me. Why is this? What is it in objects, toys in particular (not THAT kind of toy, you dirty person, you) that is so comforting to us when we're feeling under the weather? Why is it that Gumby's goofy plastic smile could put a smile on my face and make six hours of class whilst hacking up a lung seem halfway bearable?

For me, I'm going to say it goes back to sick days as a child, when you got to cuddle up in bed, being delivered soup and hot drinks, with a pile of your favorite toys on hand. You could momentarily forget about your misery as you had Barbie get married to Michelangelo of the TMNT ( I was little, k!) and all would be right in the world in that moment, while you separated yourself from your body and got lost in make believe. 

Or maybe I'm just weird.

Gumby says goodnight, guys.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Just So Stories

Oddly, this mildly offensive little piece by Rudyard Kipling, one of his "Just So Stories" ,was one of my favorites as a child. I know we had a version of it in an old children's book, belonging to someone around my dad's age, on my dad's side of the family, but I have no idea which book that was, or what happened to it.

As to it being mildly offensive. I can't even quite put my finger on *why* its offensive, apart from a general sort of racial insensitivity. However, I feel like this is somewhat forgivable, given that it was originally published in 1902, and Kipling was very much a product of his time.

Anyway, should you want some children's stories to brighten your dreary Wednesday (and it is dreary, in Montreal, at least), here are some more:

Thursday, 20 September 2012


So, every so often, I enjoy watching a REALLY BAD Christian movie. I think part of the reason I enjoy this is because I spent four months too many working at Western Canada's largest distributor of Christian books' warehouse. Anyway, Christian movies (with the exception of veggie tales, which can actually be delightfully witty, and stfu if you think otherwise) have a penchant for being terribly written, and even more poorly acted.

Flywheel, the enthralling tale of a crooked used car salesman turned straight, is no exception.

The movie begins with some epic piano music in the opening credits. It should be noted that this epic piano music DOES NOT STOP AT ALL anywhere throughout the movie. The main character, Jay, has trouble taking his morning shit? You can be damn sure that has its own musical score in soaring piano notes. This is funny enough in itself. What makes the movie even more funny is the fact that it's set in Arkansas, and the actors are all definitely untrained, and most certainly from the south.

Its like if the cast of the Honey Boo Boo show were sort of able to read and sort of act off of a script that had been written by a man who had watched nothing but television preachers and eaten nothing but Chik-fil-a for his entire adult life. Realism abounds as these bible belt idiots fumble through their lines, laugh like wheeeeweeee, make constipated faces and resort to psalms when at a loss for better words (which is frequently). One part did have me laughing out loud, though, and that's when our used car salesman gets his ASS CHEWED by some sassy old black lady and her even older, even blacker mother. That was totally worth it. (Magical African American Friend, anyone?)

The funniest part of this movie, however, is that it was made in 2003, and yet manages to pull itself together with all of the low-budget graininess, bad musical scores, and value-village wardrobe of a B-movie in the 1980's. Now, I don't know how many of my readers have been down south, but the big bible belters do seem to be stuck in the 80's, so , I suppose, realism strikes again. 

Somehow, Flywheel manages to go on in this manner for TWO hours. Don't worry, I was multitasking heavily, so it wasn't two hours of my life wasted. Anyway, its always nice to have the reminder of why I never want to ever get back in the business of selling christian shit again in my life. 


some sketches done in class today.

Mark: Stevie, are you really a fourteen year old boy?
Me: Yes Mark, in my heart, I am.

Let the boobies commence!


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Monday, 10 September 2012


there are so many things wrong with this . . . or maybe
its just me

love these flowers


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Another attempt at things that rhyme

Once I was your story man
your truth and purpose giver.
Once I was the doryman
upon your Pearl River.

But you've set your silken sails
and left me in your wake:
you saw your ilk in tales,
and now their path you take

If I could have the time again,
when at your side I lay,
no such tales would I spin
and by my side you'd stay.

You think you're cured of me,
my dear.
My dear,
 you think that you are free.

But I will tell you this:
Your cancer isn't in remission;
It dances in these story mists.
It dances, twirls, and twists.
And it charges you admission.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Seven Wonders of My World

A few things that never fail to stop and leave me breathless:

1.) Unconditional love: So rare, but so beautiful when found. Unconditional love is truly one of the most beautiful things in the world, whether it be unconditional love between a couple, between parents and their children, between friends, or between a boy and his dog.

2.) Optimism: The world can be full of downers. As someone who has struggled with depression, I find optimism, especially optimism in the face of adversity, to be an amazing thing. People who are consistently optimistic, while sometimes irritating to the more cynical really deserve respect for trying so hard to keep it positive.

3.) Tenacity: Tenacity is amazing in the same way optimism is. When life gets you down, and you keep getting back up and punching life in the ovaries, you're tenacious. And worthy of being one of the seven wonders.

4.) Creativity: Think about it. How cool is it that human beings can create whole worlds, or detailed works of art, or soul-touching music with our minds, eyes, ears, and hands?

5.) Sensitivity: Almost as rare as unconditional love, the ability to intuit what another person is feeling and, maybe more importantly, to interact with them accordingly, sensitivity is another wonderful capacity we all have (though not everyone practices).

6.) Laughter: Really is the best medicine. If you have the ability to laugh, and make others laugh, count yourself doubly gifted.

because for me, he embodies all of the above <3

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Catharine Parr Trail

Further exploring Canadian history today, I decided to delve a bit into the life of Catharine Parr Traill, sister to Susannah Moodie, and I must say, I think I am in love.

Gotta say, having read a couple of excerpts from The Backwoods of Canada. Being Letters
from the Wife of an Emmigrant Officer, Illustrative of the Domestic Economy of British North America
(London, England: Knight, 1836), lady's got sass. In letter II, she is constantly pestering her husband, the captain, the surgeon, and anyone else who will listen for opportunities to explore ashore in the New World. She describes in detail the flowers and fresh fruits that are brought to her to mollify her (I should note here her interest in botany). Once having begun their homestead, she maintains that same spirit and optimism and sense of adventure, it seems, reading Letter VII. Although I am certain, had I read the whole book, I would come across her down phases and periods of lost hope, I am also certain she would have conveyed these with the same dry wit she exhibits in the two excerpts, rendering her depression palatable to the reader. Yes, I just said that. Although ultimately, the Traills, like the Moodies wound up moving to the city, abandoning their dream of homesteading, you can tell, just from photographs of the elderly Catharine, that for her, at least, life in the New World was a blazing success. 

Should you like to read the excerpt I read, you can find it in pdf here.

John By

The unfortunately-named for the Google era, Lt. Colonel John By was a British military engineer who lived from 1779 to 1836. He was the big mind behind the Richleau Canal, and although somewhat underappreciated at the time, he is still recognized as an important figure in the development of Eastern Canada.

BUT! I'm not here to talk about John By. Nope, I am simply using him for an example (its ok guys, he's used to it). Searching for information on By this morning (which, as I said, is difficult thanks to his last name . . . you get everything from "Little John by the river" to "the long John by the bathtub") I stumbled across this:

This is a sketch by By (lol) from 1826. I rawther like it. BUT! I'm not here to talk about the image either.

I am here to talk about the way it is presented. Obviously, the McCord Museum has taken steps to ensure that this image cannot be easily stolen from the website (ignoring the potential for screencaps, as frequently happens). This is a good thing to do, especially when an image is copyrighted (this is beyond copyright, however). At the very least, it is a way to force people to come to your facility if they want to lay eyes upon the real deal (if it is in the sort of condition where laying eyes upon it will not dissolve it into a pile of ash). So I suppose you could say that this concern for security, while still allowing users to view, and become intrigued by elements of McCord's collection is what they are doing right here. I also like the consistency of the presentation here with the rest of the site, although having the picture a bit closer to the middle might make it more of a focal point on the page.

But what are they doing wrong? My big issue with the way this image is presented is that it is not accompanied by a detailed enough description. Do we know why By drew this? Did he draw many of them? Where are we, exactly? And who the heck is John By anyway?

I know, I know, I've worked on digitization projects. I know how tight on time and money these things can be. Stopping to describe each image in detail besides the credit line and generic caption might be a nightmare. But at the same time, if we aren't helping people to learn, then what the hell are we, as the keepers of history, doing? I know the page allows for tagging and for commenting by users, which is all well and good, and which may indeed lead to some more pertinent information making it onto the page. But the archivist is able to see the original within a context that is lost to online viewers. This context (ie. the role of such sketches within By's collection) should also be shared with those users. I would argue that the inclusion of such information, rather than the simple showing of an image, makes the contents of an archive or a museum seem more approachable to the general public, rather than remaining within the realm of the academic.