Life is weird. One thing to the next and whatever. Good to be writing. Soon I’ll be on a beach at night and my bed or hammock will be up from the beach not too far. I don’t know where or when in time, but there it is, the epicentre of that sphere. This isn’t a mental plan; I see it, I’m catching the ripples from that sphere of time as they ripple through my brain.Read More
Sitting at the Beaches, at a picnic table. Sitting with a notebook and pen and CIUT playing Dig on my phone. I don’t have headphones, so I’m using my phone’s speaker, but I don’t think anyone else can hear – we’re spread out here at the Beaches.Read More
We’re paddling to Gibraltar Point, the south-west tip of Toronto Islands. This is race practice – so no leisure paddling – Serge, in the seat ahead of me, calling “hut—ho” for us to change sides, and he’s on top of the yelling: “Reach, bury that paddle, long and strong...hut—HO!”
The sun is beaming from its mid-day position in a cloudless sky, but it’s cool enough with the mild lake breeze that I can still wear my touque. I say to Eric in the seat behind me, “Am I splashing you?”Read More
Yesterday I went to the Toronto Canoe and Sailing Club to join my Outrigger-Canoe group, only to find we were thunderstormed out. That was unfortunate, because I spent so much of the afternoon drinking coffee, and was unlikely to get to sleep that night without exercise (or alcohole, but I’m on a health kick).Read More
Dino is halfway up the tree. Kidd stands near Tess’s truck in the driveway, Tess sitting in the driver’s seat with his coffee and newspaper. Kitty, Cecilia and Gabriel stand near the front door, watching Dino, Kitty hoping their presence might help with his obvious anxiety. He has moved up at a very slow pace, tentatively pulling out the spike of each climbing spur and pushing in only inches higher, then tentatively moving the climbing belt up the same small incremental distance. He yells down to Kidd, “This belt is frayed. It looks weak. Every time I move it up I can see strands of material breaking. I think I should come down and get a new one.”
“There is no other one, and you should feel lucky I even gave you a belt. Now come on, we don’t have all day.”Read More
“Guess what! Guess what!” Kitty, hanging up her phone, yells to her daughter Cecilia, who has just finished chopping up carrots and onions. “That was the principal; Gabriel’s not going to have to repeat grade eight. Oh yes, we’re celebrating tonight, celebrating with a big meal of, um, Cecilia, what are we eating?”
“Carrots and onions.”
Kitty frowns. “Ugh, at least make some rice, and maybe some protein. Cook the chicken fingers in the freezer.”Read More
I just finished Pride and Prejudice. The really obvious ending happened – Mr. Darcy saved the day – but it’s interesting to consider both Mr. Darcy and Wickham’s characters, that Darcy is a good person and Wickham is a bad person. I like that the difference is subtle. They’re not the insane bad guy and god-like super hero that helps the audience keep the two defined.Read More
So the reason Dino chases Kidd in the path: Kidd told him to cut the tree, and that it would fall the way he said. The broken arm causes him to loose his job. Maybe not the broken arm, but...
Maybe Tess needs to go back to the absolutely disgusting, evil, antogonist he was originally supposed to be. Forget the whole muddled antagonist thing, at least for now, and just make him straight bad. Kidd’s story still works.
What’s interesting about this scene aside from the story? Dino falling from the tree. So exactly how does that happen? Dino cuts the branch, the huge elbow shaped one with a split at the base.
Maybe the scene should start with the accident. They’re cutting the tree down, not just the branch – cutting the tree down is probably better than removing a branch.Read More
I need to get comfortable with this Dino character. What is he now? Young, long curly hair, big eyes, tall, lanky – okay, the other ideas: Dino lives in the city, is from the city, but doesn’t have family to stay with.
Maybe to get comfortable with Dino, I just have to think of him like a traveller. He’s just a guy checking out the world. Grew up in Mexico, maybe in a suburb. His family was, or is, well-off. They sent him to university and he got a biology degree. At the end of it he was primed to do something crazy, like anyone would be. And the craziest thing he could think of was leave the country (more importantly, the family). He left with Tess. Nobody wanted him to leave, especially not with Tess, but he was like, “hey, I’ll be back in six months.”Read More
I’m on the subway, returning from the warehouse wastelands of Kipling (the furthest stop west), where I picked up my new phone, but I can’t switch it on because I need a charged phone today. My parents are without power since an ice storm crushed Toronto last night and left a lot of the GTA without power, possibly until after Christmas, so I’m traveling to their house in Markham to roast sausages in the fireplace.Read More
I’m full on lamb, squash and asparagus – I love lamb – and listening to Greg Proops, expecting he’s going to do a Nelson Mandela obit. He’s reading an article about some pig protest in Italy. He’s singing a lot in this episode. I’m drinking Guinness.Read More
At Drift with friends drinking oatmeal stout and heavily engaged in conversation about the NSA, network encryption, Russian tragedy in World War I, The Gulag Archipelago (and what constitutes an archipelago, Toronto Islands? my friends think not), revolution, the coming fall of the Western World, HTML, Calvin and Hobbes, mountain biking, getting old before the revolution, pinkos (never heard the term, think I might be one), and food.Read More
Exactly one century ago James’s great-grandfather built the Blind Family Tomb into the bank of the Don Valley. The plot of steeply descending ground he purchased from Necropolis Cemetery was chosen for the view it provided, or the view it would eventually provide. At the time the Bloor Street Viaduct was in mid construction, with the web of black steel beams forming only one of the eventual four arches. Great-grandfather Blind would have known that the complexity and immensity of that web of steel was not simply there to hold the road and pipelines; it was built with the foresight that one day the city would build a subway, and that subway would want to cross the valley. The tangle of black steel that arched beneath the road was built to hold a subway track within it, and, sure enough, sitting in front of the Blind family tomb, anyone today only has to wait a few moments to see a silver train appear from one end and traverse the arches to the other.Read More
James pictures this scene: a metamorphosis and he becomes the hawk, perched just outside the apartment window. Nothing is visible, just rain and white. Dropping off the ledge, keeping his wings tucked in, he dives down twenty-three floors plus the valley wall to the wide open field below. The blur of apartment windows passing fades quickly into the thick rain, and the field appears only just as it’s about to meet with James’s beak. He pushes out his wings, their ridges catching in the air, and glides above the field. The field is flooded—a lake, rather than grass; a broad sheet of glass perpetually shattering beneath the downpour.
Where the field meets the creek, the creek bleeds into the field, so it’s difficult to see the creek itself. James flaps heavy rain soaked wings to the end of the field. Rows of trees reveal the now submerged banks of the creek. He flies between them and above the creek going with the current. The valley walls close in, making the trees of the forested banks visible through the rain. A wall of trees appears ahead, too, and James sees that it’s a sharp turn in the valley. He banks with it.Read More
Over the last two years most of the space in the house has degraded to somewhat of an organized disaster. All the non-essential rooms are covered in piles: piles of books, magazines, and piles of newspaper; piles of gardening equipment, art pieces, and piles of craft supplies; piles of floor mats, baskets, and piles of pots; piles of pillows, sheet sets, and piles of blankets. There are many piles of shoeboxes: some are filled with screws, piping, and old burnt out light bulbs and batteries; some are filled entirely with recipes on cards. There are piles leaning against the walls: paddles, skis, ski poles, camping equipment, exercise equipment, inflatable pool things (though strangely no pool in the backyard), and unused furniture. Some of the furniture still has the plastic and Styrofoam packaging from the store, never removed, as the furniture was purchased by Kitty, but not actually placed somewhere by Cecilia on the ever shrinking floor space.Read More
Corridors and corridors, retailers and restaurants, travel agents and dentists, granite and marble, benches and fountains, kiosks and coffee, corridors, corridors, corridors. Corridors, James realizes, are his rabbit hole. With only two directions anything could come from they never raise The Fear in him, even when flooded with people. Here crowds are a comfortable buffer around James, and he likes to people watch, likes to sit on a bench or stand in the centre of a floor and watch the river of people pass him. He imagines what their universes are like, what the confines are, where their walls are built. Over time, in a collective kind of way, James has built a conceptual understanding of the landscapes beyond his own universe in the faces of the underground crowds. He has built it by reading what they must have seen—the contours, slopes, and depressions of the world’s places in the contours, slopes, and depressions of their faces. Their words build landscapes for him too, particularly in the languages foreign to James. In the passing consonants, inflections, and rolls of tongues he hears deserts, slums, Tokyo, fjords, Ireland, water, waves, Ethiopia; cities mixed with forests, cut by waterways.Read More