My favourite place to never spend money

image

The Chapters at Richmond & John is closing, and everyone is very sad about it. I am very sad about it. This is a marker of how far we’ve come: when big box book stores like the Chapters at Richmond & John were driving the independent sellers like Pages out of business, we couldn’t stand the fucking places; now that they, too, are falling beneath the swords of the internet age, we’re all unbridled in our fury. Well, here we are.

Read more
Watched: Noah; Nymphomaniac

image

Now that’s a pairing; and were Nymphomaniac not its own double-feature, I might propose a double-feature. Both films are splendid. 2014 is off to a rollicking start. I don’t know that either would end up on my top ten list at the end of the year (although there’s ample time for the bottom to fall out of 2014, so who knows), but they are both kindred of my very favourite type of movie: the movie that just makes me glad it exists.

Read more
Kiss map

image

I love the Toronto Kiss Map, and cheers to vasta for pointing it out to me. Sameer is the sort of fellow who knows the value of a good map, and moreover (like me) the value of a good kiss, and I thus naturally find our conflux of interest on the matter heartwarming. And he’s right, it’s fun. It’s fun sticking a little push-pin into the spot in Toronto where, for a moment, the world cracked open and all its thermonuclear energy poured out. Thank goodness the movies weren’t lying to us on this point: one good kiss really does change everything.

Read more
Watched: The Host; White Squall; Veronica Mars

image

I certainly watched the first season of Veronica Mars back in whenever-it-was; I don’t think I ever watched the second (or the third). I don’t “get it.” I watched the movie over the weekend too, and was mostly delighted that - per the flick’s Kickstarted imprimatur - I didn’t have to go to a movie theatre to do it. It day-and-dated on the iTunes store, which for a movie based on a TV show that disappeared into the cracks in the middle of the digital decade, seems about right. Maybe Veronica Mars is a big-screen cinematic triumph, but I’ll never know.

Read more
Tat 2

On March 2nd, about exactly a year after I took off for New Zealand, I hitched a streetcar over to Kensington and got some Dwarven runes carved into my leg. They mean “decide,” or something close enough to it; I fooled around on the internet with various rune generators for about ten minutes a year ago this past February, until I ended up with something that looked like something I’d want permanently scribed on my flesh. It’s a bit like that episode of LOST that everybody hates except me - the one where what matters is what Jack’s tattoo means, not what it says. When dealing in made-up languages and the trade of black ink against one’s own very limited skin, what it means is pretty much the whole thing.

Read more
Watched: Trance

image

I keep circling back to Danny Boyle for no particularly good reason; he hasn’t made a movie I’ve enjoyed since 1997. I guess “no particularly good reason” isn’t accurate, as there are three particularly good reasons, which are the three movies he made before 1997; they’ll be in my DNA until I’m dead, I think, as most of my cinematic obsessions in the film school era shall be. But Trance doesn’t break the streak. I got up a good head of steam to watch it, falling for the “Trainspotting / Shallow Grave throwback” branding, but as has been the case with every other movie since The Beach, the storyteller who made Trainspotting and Shallow Grave is no longer in residence. These movies don’t feel remotely like they were made by the same guy.

Read more
In between the in-betweens

image

So what, then? A few weeks ago I wrote about paralysis and solitary living, and must now admit that over the course of the last three months of 2013, I did more than my fair share of spiraling down. It was a difficult time, perhaps a bit of delayed backhaul for all the (generally magnificent) transition and change at the forefront of the year. Various professionals were consulted in my dudgeon. As usual, though, there comes a point where all the “help” structures are as useless and external as they always are, and one simply must work out all on one’s own what to do about it. I needed a strategy. I found three.

Read more
Watched: Cries & Whispers; Riddick

image

We’ve got The Dew Over coming up, and I picked 1973, so one of my homework assignments was to watch Cries & Whispers, which (for some reason) had been sitting on my DVD shelf still in its shrinkwrap, in a lovely Criterion edition. (I have to assume a Barnes & Noble 50%-off sale, and the attendant panic-fire desperation that goes into title selections at those times, is responsible.) There’s not a whole lot of point in my waxing poetic about Cries & Whispers, in the #Blindspot sense, because I’ll add nothing to the overall conversation. The movie is great, and builds further evidence for my (late-in-the-day, but growing) concern that Bergman might be the best filmmaker of all time. That’s a short race (from my standpoint) anyway, but Ingmar is gaining on Akira.

Read more
The ridiculous story of the flan

image

[Trigger warning for ridiculous stories about the relationship between self-esteem, getting by, and custard.]

So here’s the thing: couple years ago I was in a therapy session and I was trying to describe what I didn’t particularly like about myself, or at least my behaviour in reaction to a certain set of problems that I was having at that time. And the way I described myself was that I was like flan - which in that context meant weak, soft, gooey, pudding-like, decidedly un-masculine, quivering under even the slightest vibrations, laden-over with brown slop, generally stomach-turning to the vast proportion of the general public, etc., etc… you know, things of that ilk. Basically, that I was a wussy-assed loser with the internal fortitude of a pile of curdled egg. 

Read more
The in-between

image

I live alone now, and it is strange to me. I got into this place, a strange little one-bedroom on Queen Street, because it was easy, at a moment when easiness was valuable. There are some temperature control problems and the pipes clack all night, but logistically, it meets all of my requirements.

My upstairs neighbour is a madman. I do not understand his life. He has never not been high, and he makes random noise at random hours which randomly change by random week. It’s difficult. In spite of this, however, this apartment is the quietest place I’ve ever been. It is not quiet, aurally. It is quiet, i.e. still. I have spent the majority of the last ten years living with other people, and in those situations, one is generally looking - avidly - for time to oneself, as there is so little of it. Here, there is too much of it. Too much of a muchness. It is astonishing to me how many times in a given day every single thing can just stop moving. And then I stand there, and don’t know what to do next.

Read more