ahhh... don't stick me in with the trainwreck grandmothers!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I don't want people thinking I'm one of those thousands of angsty blogs filled with people who hate their lives and think there's something special in their misery!

I'm not miserable.

I'm sexy!

wheeee... now I'm off to sleep in my bed alone!

Your only home is in your heart, and even then it's a cold bed you've made.

There are days and there are days.... I've seen better.

It would be unfair to attribute any of what is slithering through my brain, running a steady ourobouros, to an outside source. In truth, I am the font of all my problems.

I'll give you a slip and a whimper in exchange for a couple of notes. Find me in the library after school and I can point you to the most defaced book in the collection. But it's not that we're seeking. No steady thrills, no bad pills, just deadness.

I've stopped smoking and drinking. It drives me to madness. I'm going mad... mad with desire, pain, hunger, fear... actually make that just one side order of hunger and one main of fear.

I was watching television today and they were showing the story of a man who used to sing on the corner of Bloor and Yonge. You guys know him... he's this wizened old dude, looks like a winter wisp of a dead leaf, with his portable amp and microphone, crooning old country songs all day. Ben Kerr be his name. Some brown hair mousy girl, the girl who never says anything in her university lit class and probably works all week just to get her B, that mousy girl in pale blue pants says that Ben Kerr is just like her, always positive. And then we cut to a scene where we see the two of them, singing side by side, about one of them completing the other. Some perfect love duet. Then we cut to a freeze frame of Ben, looking benevolent, actually out of focus, wearing his "better than Viagra" yellow sweatshirt, and it lists 193... to 2005. Just one last love song my dear before I exit centre stage.

Somebody said that it's not easy to do what I've done... you know... take a trip to the old country, revisit the natives, dig up some treasure and hopefully cart it home. I don't know... I'm a time-traveller... a girl on her magic-carpet... dashing from one home to the next. It's not really of my choosing and yet it still seems better than a slow death of stillness. But now...I just want to feel safe. I don't even know how to get there.

It's hard to move from place to place... to make a home only in your heart. To walk blind-eyed at strangers, to hover around a telephone waiting for the ghosts to call...

I was walking up the stairs the other day. People were really in a push and a rush to get on the boat. Each step I took I felt another's breath close by. I put my foot up and the heel was scraped. I put another step up... the other heel is scraped. The movement of my foot is being squeezed out by the movement of an insistent just behind. Finally I turn around. A large girl with slitted cold eyes, her mouth curled flatly down, gazes accusingly at me.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

yup. sucks.

Heart and Soul

Friday, June 24, 2005

Larry Brown

This is Larry Brown in the good old days, when he used to wear colours. These days, Brown looks positively professorial. A lot of things have changed since the 70s. But one thing's for sure: Brown is still one of the greatest coaches alive.

I'm saying this with a slight melancholy because tonight the Detroit Pistons lost their Game 7 against the Spurs. It was a really tough series, a classic series, pitting two of the strongest defensive teams against each other. There was some fierce shot blocking, big body hits, steals, slap aways, and the usually quick breakaway moves by the Spurs were completely stymied by a street-ball playing Pistons.

Technically, the matchup was clearly in the Spurs favour, but when you got a coach like Larry Brown, you play with Heart. Where does Heart come from and how do train your kids to play that way? Heart comes from passion... it is the essential romantic core of sports. It's the pure drive to compete, to pull something from your body that seems to defy the laws of physics, pure animal drive mixed with keen human intelligence in that split second. Miracles are made on the court from heart. It's the reason I love sports and it's the reason I love the Pistons.

Yup, you heard me right... I love them Pistons. How can't you? They look like they just ran up from the street tough as nails, ready to rumble. And, it is Detroit, the Motor City, birthplace to the White Stripes, factory lines, and the donut city. It's the classiest blue-collar workplace to come from. Hockey fans throw octopuses on the ice. I love the Red Wings, and while Bad Boys from Motown which were the Pistons in the 80s didn't always rub me right, they earned from me a certain amount of grudging respect.

Well kids, the Bad Boys were back this season. Big Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace gave a lot of body in their game. Big Ben especially, so strong, so physical. His incredibly high wideset cheekbones setting off a fine protruding chin, he of the royal fro, he of the insane blunts, Big Ben is still your man on the court. Leader in offensive and defensive rebounding on the Pistons, this man steals and slaps away balls with such regularity you'd start thinking it was normal to see that in basketball. Chauncey, so cocky and wicked, crazy finger rolls, and one of the toughest point guards, was their pressure cooker man. Give him the ball in the 4th quarter where he lights up the town. Rasheed, brooding, passionate, physical... you can get him on 5 fouls in the 4th quarter and he's still doing pressure defence on one end while killing 3 point shots on the other. Tayshun Prince, Richard Hamilton (ye ole faceguard man) were pretty amazing players too, but they're pretty players. Not out for setting the body in but looking for a quicky field goal, and a pretty play.

But even they weren't enough to stop Obi Wan Ginobili, the killer from Argentina. That guy is so flash fast he rips in for a dunk down the lane where there's still two defenders. So many times he would do this tiny dribble, rock forwards, and suddenly rock back and pull up for the shot. He has moves, and he's got a nose. Yes, I'm down with the nose. Together with Tim Duncan, Robert Horry and Tony Parker, the Spurs had their talent giving in full swing tonight, and it showed... on the scoreboard, where it counts.

And what's with Horry? Dude just won his 6th NBA Championship! Think about it... Karl Malone, John Stockton, Reggie Miller... all sitting at home without ever touching the bald gold, while Horry is grinning merrily on his 6th Championship. Why? Because when you can shoot 48% on 3 pointers in NBA Finals you are the real Mailman. Being lucky is also useful.

So while Detroit is all heart, San Antonio is all soul. I felt that just in the opening minutes, with the call in. Detroit was doing shoulder bumps, and careening off and around like rappers, the bad boys... while San Antonio was just walked in all quiet intense and concentrated, knocking knuckles. I mean, I'm all down with the heart and the toughness, but there was something very sweetly impressive with Duncan's slightly scared elephant face as he knocked knuckles.

I think the only player I don't like, ironically enough, is frenchie Tony Parker. He didn't light up the house tonight, and he never makes me scream HOLY F*CKIN' CRAP! MVP! at my screen, not like Ginobili does. At the end of the game, his last line to the camera was "Salut à tout la France... Nigga!" Yuck. And he's so happy nice boy bland he makes me think of margarine. Double yuck upchuck. Ok, les français, I know he puts France on the map in b-ball, but somebody dirty him up a little. At least iron in a crease for good luck...

Ok... I'm drifting... I'll just say this:


Is it France or Celibacy that's spoiled me off food?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

It's a cliche that when someone spends a bit of time in France, food in North America will seem vulgar in comparison. I don't necessarily subscribe to this way of thinking, but there is most definitely a difference in what is perceived as good food.

Case in point: just down the street from me is a new fromagerie that just opened. The decor is rustic chic, all habitat. Everything in this place screams borrowed and blue. I can't stand it. I mean, if you want the real thing, you have to earn it, with time and tradition. Otherwise don't fake the old world charm.

Then, the cheeses themselves. I've just come from a place where we can fight over the appellation of cheese. It's not necessary to do things experimentally, or with "individuality," (everybody is so generic in their individuality) or mix with abandon, but to search for the best possible product in what is already there. For example, a really excellent Maroilles or Mimolette comes unadorned. It's not dressed up with cumin, maple syrup or blueberries. At a house party the other night, I tasted a very lovely Gruyère which was ornamented with maple syrup and blueberries. Sorry kids, but that's not how you win me over. If you make one amazing cheese, all you need is one amazing bread.

Second travesty happened last night while somebody was discussing wine. She went on and on about lichee liquor, which I have always thought was disgusting and irredeemable as a food product, and suddenly she blurted this out "oh, you have to try the blueberry merlot." What the hell! It's like vomit shot out of her nose and she just blinked at me. I don't care about merlots or zinfandels... I care about where it's from, what it tastes like... I don't want wacky flavours, I'm tired of fruity wine. I'm sick of these baroque inclinations in the North American palate.

There has to be an end to this fusion madness. There has to be some control.

I mean what I'm looking for is actually subtlety, refinement, delicateness. That the difference between good and great is perceptible only to those who really are paying attention. The slightest breeze of inklings, like the glance of one sunflower turned it's head shyly while the others sun themselves with abandon, the difference between bread densities, or even the succulence of a fruit so ripe and real it actually tastes like the fruit it supposed to. That's what I'm looking for. Not for everything to be hidden by sugar, salt, fruit, herbs and spice.

Anyways... I'm whining. I can't find good bread, pate, duck is brutally expensive, I get depressed going to buy cheese... the only thing I can get is good olives. Even the vegetables are more watery and tasteless. I've started eating a lot of tofu because I found this really great tofu place and the tofu there is so fresh and creamy. I buy tiny snap peas in Chinatown and stick tomatoes against my nose. It's ridiculous. I'm so bereft.

It's almost as if I've lost my taste. Do you remember that Taiwanese film, Eat Drink Man Woman, where the cook lost his sense of taste. Well, it's just that. Maybe my taste is related to sex. Since I'm not having any sex, my tastebuds are going flat. Maybe if my husband comes over, suddenly I will find myself in an oasis and orgy of tastes. The best oyster will suddenly cringe its crinkled head, begging for mercy. The sweet young onion will hurl obscenities and shriek as I slowly slice away it's body... The fanciful duck leg will moan in ecstasy as it bathes in a pool of its own fat... Hmmm, maybe it's not sex I'm missing... but some sadic pleasure... Well, that's less problematic than celibacy, but still irritating.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm an Aquarius

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Don't overdo it, Aquarius: alcohol + hyperactivity - good sense = humiliation."

- from Celia Knowles's Sign Me Up Horoscope.

But then I realise I'm a Scorpio, and that all good sense in social interactions usually gets thrown out the window. Luckily enough, humiliation only seems evident once the alcohol wears off. Hence, continue drinking.

La Famille Ensemble

Monday, June 20, 2005

la famille
La Famille

My family likes to move. My parents have moved a lot in their lifetime, from China, Singapore, Canada... my sister as well... though not quite as drastically, and I suppose you could include me in that merry gang of carpet-bagged rascals. What this means is that since I was 15, we have rarely been together as a unit for more than 2 weeks. So, it's always an occasion when we are in the same room.

They are loud. Actually, my sister and my mom are loud. My dad, if encouraged, can pontificate for hours but these days he seems to be a rather sober timid man. My mom can't stop telling you when she likes or doesn't like something. So eating meals together has to take place in a restaurant where you can guffaw unabashedly, or exclaim. A restaurant where dishes are always banging and clinking... a place than can accomodate these unruly unreasonable bunch.

One of the big reasons I came back this summer was to see these crazy folk. My mother, who has since let her hair go back to white, my father, ancient and croaky, and my sister. This Sunday, we had dim sum together in Oakville. Dim sum is that fun way of eating breakfast Chinese-style. People run around pushing carts full of food, and you hail them, bark at them, they bring you miniature plates full of goodies, and you eat and eat and eat until you've had enough.

Dim Sum

In the centre is steamed tripe, my favourite. So soft, delicate tasting, flavoured with salt, wine, sugar and pork lard, hot peppers and green onions. Off to the right is steamed pork topped with shitake, and the left is garlic squid. This was just the first 3 of maybe 17 -20 dishes. I stopped counting when I couldn't breathe anymore.

Anyways, my family had a really good time, and made a big mess on the table. Later, I went shopping with mom at Yorkdale. That was scary. Suburban mall pleasures are not for me. I half imagined all those tight-jeaned turkey legs to explode from their made in Myanmar clothes. And the horrors of blank faced fat thigh shuffling is not to be under-estimated. But, mom was surprisingly resistant, and it's funny how she thinks my taste is tacky. I like my taste in clothes. I like my shirt with the painted tie. Shirts with painted ties are cool... especially when the painted tie features some cyclists racing down a hill.

The Bedroom Series - #1

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Guess whose room this is?

damn impractical but oddly functional

rocking chair
"Sometimes I swear I'm living in some Shaker Hotel."

fingernails and the power-breakers

a bird in the window
We used to live in a birdcage, swinging 2 cm off the ground.

his lightbulbs are turned on, day and night

Lunchtime Cruise

Friday, June 17, 2005

So I was hanging out at the market, and I bumped into Sandy Plotnikoff, who seems to have taken some age-defying drugs because boy doesn't look a day older than 26. Shocking, but same old wacky weirdo art guy that I love. And then bumped into Josh. I'll explain Josh later, when I've figured him out, but he's the big braino these day behind Tangiers, the band he started with my ex Yuri. We then headed over to Aunties and Uncles, which I remember for their Belgian waffles and back bacon, for some Tom Cruise impressions.

Tom Cruise was recently on Oprah to promote his new film, and to talk about his new relationship with daughter Katie Holmes. Of course we can never be sure if their relationship is like Nicolas Cage and Patricia Arquette, or MJ and Lisa Marie. Only time will tell. Still, Mike LeBlanc managed to give a fair impression on the Cruise freakout that is only one of the side-effects of his anti-gay drug.

tomcruise on oprah, exhibit 1
well... well...

tomcruise on oprah, exhibit 2

tomcruise on oprah, exhibit 3

tomcruise on oprah, exhibit 4
everything's so funky!

josh tomcruise
Well, that's pretty good but I think you need a third fist pumping in the air, like a boomerang fist, or like his hand gets chopped off and turns into a machete then he suddenly gives his little guy voice and says "I'm not a happy leprechaun"...but that's too weird. Did you notice how being too weird became uncool?

Alon + Sam

Lalonie and Sam

This is Alon, my first gay boyfriend. We met, maybe 10 years ago, at the Second Cup at John and Queen. At that time, we were both ravers. He was sunning himself at an unstable metal table on the pavement terrace. In those days, you fought for a place on that terrace.

There is a comfort in Alon that you immediately get when you first meet him. He seems ready to tell a silly joke or turn into one of the muppets. But it's never in a loud way. That's one thing that's Alon: he's not aggressive. And so it was that upon first meeting that I liked him.

Anyways, so we started to go to a lot of parties together. The first time I did poppers was with him. The only time I cracked on mushrooms, he came over at 4am. I still remember the two of us, huddling in my miniature music box apartment, staring at the ceiling and crying over lost loves.

Eventually, after the first year, when we were inseparable, we decided to get a place together. We looked at lofts in the west end. At that time, the west end was still grundgy and uncool. But we found a three storey loft apartment, maybe 2000 square feet, and 30 ft high ceilings, and took it.

It should have been paradise. It started out that way. The space was too big. The kitchen was so big that we let mountains of dishes pile up all over the counters, on the stairs, and on the island. We threw a party where so many people showed up I started to introduce myself as the girl who's bed you're sleeping in. The worst part was that we lived right behind one of the best places in town to buy second hand clothing. Since the dryer didn't work, and we were too lazy to go to the laundromat, both of us got used to buying a new outfit everyday from the warehouse. Needless to say, my bedroom was knee deep in clothes and the cat almost suffocated under a stack once.

We even had this thing where both of us would censor our outfits before leaving the house. "Do you think this is too raver rodeo clown," he would say as I stared disapprovingly at the mixture of pink checked western shirt, creamy taupe big pants, and blue hiker boots. The shapes were disconcerting. In the course of the 6 months we were there, I'm pretty sure neither of us was ever on time for any appointment.

Probably the culminating stage of the first phase in our relationship was New Year's right before we moved in together. Both of us had gone to a party, a dance party of sorts, in some converted gigantic basement. At first we were ok, and everybody was laughing and talking. Suddenly, Alon sat down. Everybody around was fine, but he just crossed his legs and meditated. Soon after, I dropped down, and my eyes became heavy. I then stayed awake, but with eyes closed, and steadily hallucinated a series of mind-blowing images for awhile. Alia came over and started to rub my shoulders. At some point, Alon took over. And then, maybe an hour later, I opened my eyes, looked at him, and we kissed.

There are kisses you remember and kisses you forget. Perhaps the sharpness of this memory is enhanced chemically, but the kiss is still the kiss. Very soft, calm, without pressure. Very loving. We made out for a couple of minutes. I thought I was in love with him. I started thinking that I would become one of those characters that succeeds in converting their gay boyfriend and would eventually make a guest appearance on Donahue, or maybe even Oprah.

But, life is strange. We shared a brief two weeks of bliss, very sweetly, and then, as chance would have it, I fell in love with Yuri two weeks later.

Alon had to share an apartment with me the whole time I was going through the early throes of love with Yuri. If you've ever been a roommate to someone falling deeply in love, heart and body, you know what it sounds like. And keeping someone awake consistently, especially when they're single, by various muffled sounds can make anyone excessively grumpy.

After 6 months, the first phase was over. I moved out of the loft and into a converted California beachhouse. Alon moved to a cute 1 bedroom in an old Portuguese brick house. We didn't speak for several months after... such was the acrimony of the split.

And then... as things are with good friends, we kissed and made up. Alon became a regular part of my life, and probably always on the top three outgoing numbers from my phone. We ate a lot of dinners together, listened to a lot of R'n'B, giggled and cackled, made fashion, made art, got angry, forgave each other, bought each other rare Japanese ceramics, etc. etc. etc. Life went on. He fell in love with a man named Sam, a boy Sam, blond Sam.

And then, suddenly, I decided to move to France. Alon was doing a lot of fashion styling at that time, and he was suddenly busy. I saw less of him right before leaving, but he still managed to show up to my T-Bone Steak Going Away Bonanza at The Tulip. I came back briefly in the first year, and he had just broken up with Sam. I had broken up with Yuri. Both of us were in too rotten a shape to keep well each other's company.

But now I'm back and married, and he's dating a new man. When we speak, I know him so well. This is something I miss from France. Knowing your friends for so long that you barely have to know what you're joking about and there's a comfort in a certain body language being more important than what's said. Now he is a fashion editor for a national men's magazine, fashion editing being a job he was born to do. It's nice the good guys win every now and then.

He's still Alon.

alon in his private jean commercial
Lost in his Private Jean Machine Commercial...

Me and My Casio

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I borrowed a pocket Casio digital camera off my sister last weekend. Hence the sudden influx of photos on the blog. Hot damn... I need to buy me one of these things... they're so addictive, and easy to use.

Chez Skee






Today I went over to David's again. It was the end of the afternoon, and the skies had been threatening rain all day. We went to the back and immediately met our old friend, Cecilia, otherwise known as Nigger Head Bag. It's a rather strange ashtray, with the head of a kewpie doll. I don't know why I'm so attracted to this object, or why it signifies something so wonderful, but I feel close to Cecilia. She's an old fart.

David, Cecilia and the Eiffel Tower Shit

Somehow when we're together, we always bring out the best in us. Some people tell me we might be spending too much time together, but on a humid afternoon, in a deeply green backyard, Cecilia and I have many laughs. But, sometimes I'm just forced to admit that while she's exquisitely physically wrought, she's quite politically incorrect. Aesthetically I can accept her presence, the colours, the vibrance. But for what she says politically, it's quite a shame. Sorry.

Me and Cecilia

My Lover

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? - W. Blake

The Tiger

This is Tiger, the best bike a girl could have. He's been slumbering in Chris's garage the whole time I've been romping around France, but now that I'm back, I got him souped up. He's ten years old, so he's getting up there. When I got him there was nary a scratch on him, and he was this brilliant blue. I took him home and immediately gave him a paint job. In this city, you pay for having a pretty bike... you pay the people who will eventually steal the bike off of you. I wrote "tiger" in nailpolish on the side, and made the bike mine with black spraypaint.

But Tiger never minded. Tiger's a slut for me. He knows I'm an excellent lover, that I know all his lines and moves, that I can stop on a nail, rip through traffic like a speeding bullet or sweeten down low for a curve... He knows I'll always come and get him, even when it seems too late.

He's not your straight up bike. He's a hybrid... small narrow tires on a light frame... a city bike. Large wheels, but small frame means light and fast. The guy at my bike shop was dissing it, calling it names, saying it was junk. I don't care. What's junk in his eyes is my purring satisfaction.

Nigger Head Bag

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A very blurry and stripey picture of Alon and his bf at Saturday night's party at David's. His pants are actually just grey jeans but, weird how they look in those pics.

Alon and Co.

Yeah, so what's new? We get drunk, we get high... yada yada yada...

well, for starters, the house has central air conditioned, exposed brick, gigantic ceilings, french windows, the cutest back yard... Secondly, David has the best ashtray, one of those kewpie doll heads, all red lipped and white eyed. It's so racist. There are these two straps on the side of the head, and it suddenly struck me what a wonderful handbag/coin purse this thing could be. Except it's really a nigger head... yeah.. that's racist to say, but that's how it comes out. Anyways, Tara, the only chick there with any black blood, was cackling so hard she almost wet her thong.

But, imagine if you really had a nigger head bag... and then you started collecting them... and lining them up, row after row... why then you'd have died and gone to Nigger Head Bag Heaven!

This has nothing to do with real flesh and blood descendants of Africa so don't come running with your PC bludgeons after me.

Lunchtime Zoom

nathan phillips square
Walking around Nathan Phillips Square

I came across this guy, suntanning himself behind the band. I wasn't really sure if the thing on his crotch was a squirrel or his boner....

But his boner couldn't get me all hot and bothered the way a nice tray full of fries, gravy and ketchup could. Yum!

Vote for your favourite

After an exhausting day that involved shopping for work clothes, getting locked out of the house, gawking like a chicken with its beak cut off, getting awed by an early summer thunderstorm, and only one beer... I'm too pooped to write. So photoblog it is. Presenting some people I talk about some of the time: Annie and Alex, Slav, and my bum and tits.

the peeps
1. The Peeps, Annie and Alex. Haha... had an AA meeting today!

2. Slav and ze moustache. She's also from Toronto, actually more precisely Etobicoke. She visited Paris recently and tried out the moustache cup out for size. Nice one Slav!

3. Me and my office clothes. Minor T'n'A.

Vote for yer favourite.

grumpy and sudden realization

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Alon is grumpy. He's getting the vodka, we are not eating together, and something is yuck. Oh well... I'm sure I'll hear about it soon enough.

And sudden realization, on reading ancient bits of somebody else's blog, that maybe people say they don't want to have children because really they're not sure about the person they're with. I mean, I never wanted to have children with my ex because I think, deep down, I knew it wasn't going to be for long. Meanwhile, right now, I find myself wanting to have children with dacnar, but he says no??? Should I be worried? Do I need to hunt down a man who wants to have children with me? Do I make any sense when I don't eat dinner?


Avoiding the Disaster of Sobriety

As we speak Alon is probably peeling himself off his sodden bed where his surely naked man is still slumbering. We need to get to the liquor store by 9, and it's already 8, and I think Alon's face routine takes at least 37 minutes... 30 minutes of which are devoted to pore staring.

It's a well known fact that you can stare down pores. For example, it's obvious from the number of geeks spotting pimples that they don't spend enough time staring down pores. Or, maybe they just didn't learn to wash their hands before doing the pore staring.

Anyways, it's still bleeding hot and humid in the city. I'm wearing a pair of puffy camel coloured knickerbockers, gathered below the knee with pleats with a fitted black tank and camel heels. I can't decide. I'm torn up inside. When I was walking around a group of young black male teenagers screamed "ewww" while a group of Brasilian boys whistled and asked for my number. Am I a fashion faux pas? Do I have to change outfits?

Last night I went to Annie's art opening. It's only the second one since arriving and already I feel the fear rising. I don't know why I feel I need to perform for these occasions, but somehow, I do. That at least explains part of the drinking. Well, at least last night I had quite the outfit: a one piece kelly green t-shirt dress that dropped off the shoulder.

So the opening is fine... Luba and her man are there. We talk about how hard it is to find proper jeans. I can see that her man is trying to be interested, and that he can talk a bit about fashion... in fact, it's strange, but I get the feeling I've worked for her man before.... Anyways, yeah, so we talk about stuff, and then people start showing up. I get bored, go for a ciggy and pick up on Orangina.

For you see, at this moment, I was still under the delusion that packing a night full of art openings could be done alcohol free.

Eventually head off to Paul Petro to see Eli Langer's new show. That arriviste has packed them in. He's with his new gf too, a fluffy breasted socially ambitious girl who I remember from past days. There's the guy who's joints are dissolving because he grew up on Twix... he's now a fairly successful painter. There's some people I still like around, like Jamie, the puppet master. He's still a barrel of laughs, and I enjoy getting propositioned for a playdate with finger puppets. There's Raz, Dana, Jay, Rosemary, and Joanne. There's Jowita, who hated me because one day I told her that nobody had the right to torture cats for art... and that was just the idiotic megalomania our stupid society breeds. There's Will, who's hair is now black because he says it "allows him to wear brighter colours." There's Barry, who is still a good one. There's Andre, my actor from the film and leaving to play his show with the Deadly Snakes. He looks sweaty and boyish in his wife-beater. There's Jeremy and Micah, film dudes. Jeremy is still extremely handsome, though emitting distinct waves of self-torturedness. Micah is still twitchy, nervous, and steps on my shoes. I have to give him a little California bitch to get those dirty dress shoes off my heels. All in all, a full crowd.

I creep my way back to Annie's, which is much more civilized, and much more humane. I meet this girl Chloe, who used to design stuff for Adidas, until she realized that she didn't want to make anymore landfill products. She's cute, moppet-headed and funny. However, she has some hairbrained idea to organize a camping trip. I'm not a camping kind of girl... I don't like it when my back is sore, or when I have to trek somewhere to take a cold shower. I don't always smell like posies in the morning, and I don't like sharing that with people. Plus I hate bugs. But, this girl, she almost makes me want to try it out.

Then I hang out a bit with Sam, who I really am starting to like. She sorts out my dutch silver necklace, and we chat. I like her... she's, well, very easy to talk to. The mark of any good conversation is when you spend quite a bit of time giggling, and the day after you have no idea what the conversation was really about. Anyways, yeah, she's one of the porcelain complexioned brunette beauties that gets bred in Canada and England. Very clear-eyed.

I also talk briefly with somebody else.. while Alex and I reminisce about those good ole days in Roubaix. Eventually we head to the bar... though I am miffed to find out that there was a Tangiers show that night, and Shelton had neglected to tell me, let alone put me on the guest list. Schmuck... He's still pencilled in for an ass-straightening session.

Ok ok... I'm tired now... so yeah, got drunk... walked home. Today... worked on stuff, talked to Thibault and Voin (I totally love those guys), and met up with Nancy. I'll talk more about Nancy, but that's for tomorrow.

Now it's 8:20pm, and it's time for me to call Alon and kick his ass out of bed so we can buy booze... otherwise this night will turn into a disaster.... a disaster of sobriety. Oh, and maybe some food would be good too.

awwwwww FUCK!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Weekend is not sane. Bloody drunk. This is the fault of art and those fucking openings... like art vaginas... come in and enjoy the swooshy liquid... except its steaming with beer. I've got alcohol pouring out of my veins. I'd like to say this is soooo not my fault... but maybe I should just stop seeing my friends for a bit.


but fun, even though I didn't get into the sold out Deadly Snakes show, or to the Tangiers show, which I should have been on the guest list for. Shelton, I will skewer your sorry ass tomorrow.

dirty Thursday with bitches in $400 jeans

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thursday (whew... almost done!):
Work on the CV and it's prepped to go out. Work on my translation job... because I'm going to need cash soon. Clean the apartment from head to toe... washing floors, vacuuming, sweeping, squeegeeing. Wash self... then Annie comes over and we go to Nick and Sheila Pye's opening. I see the Pyes, who are looking very delicious, Max Danger, and Ben. Max tells me a bit about Yuris' scary gina girlfriend who he's engaged to, and Ben tells me that he always thought Yuri had poor judgement in relationships. Thanks Ben. He tries to dig himself out of that one... whatever.

Then back to the Drake... which is soooo awful. The upstairs patio, which is the only patio that has free space right now in the city it seems, is covered with creepy crawly advertising types. Girls with $400 dollar jeans, matching blond streaks, and bad dance techniques. Guys with long hair and a baseball cap, underneath of which is some designer shirt with flower prints and cargo pants. I hate these types of people.

Somebody comes over and asks me if I think Anish Kapoor is a sculptor or a conceptual artist. I'm taken off guard. I don't really follow Kapoor, continentals and Brits staying far apart, but I've seen some red condom-like piece. I say conceptual because, damn, you can make a case for conceptual with any contemporary artist... but noooo, I'm wrong, and I get told so. Anish Kapoor is a sculptor, and for an artist not to know that is baaaaaaddd.

Actually, to tell you the truth, I keep a small eye on what's going on in the art world, and a larger eye and what I see around me in life. I don't want my work to riff on an accepted genre, but I don't want to be ignorant either. This Kapoor question puts me off because, first of all, I was wrong, and second of all, it shows me up as the art-ignoramus I am becoming. It's not like I think I should be rushing out and getting Artforum every month, like I used to, but I do think my level of contemporary art knowlege has dropped. Or maybe it's just more selectively focused on Europe... who knows.

After drinking, I pass out on my couch. Then woke up at 6:30am to the sounds of cats fighting just outside the window. Creepy sound... Now I'm tired... I've been writing for the last two hours straight. ... I'm sick of writing now. I'm all caught up.

I am not drinking today. I will not drink today. I'm sick to death of alcohol and cigarettes. I want my weekend to be sane.

Mojitos done me in.

No drinking allowed!!! Must detox... So spend practically whole day in bed, with book. Eating a bit, but damn... alcohol is giving me a tummy. So sit-ups it is. Then field phone calls. One of them drives me into a state of fury so sharp and cutting I almost immediately hang up the phone. Unfortunately, my reaction is to grab a bottle of beer from the fridge. I drink it. Then I cry. My life is falling to pieces. I have to stop smoking, drinking, and wasting my time on television. I need to get a job, finish writing, and generally get my life in shipshape order.

Then I call Alon. I offer to make him dinner, which is fried chicken liver salad... but he politely turns it down and offers to take me to Julie's Cuban instead. So, half an hour later, I'm at a table opposite my first gay boyfriend. He's so Alon, so nice, so funny... so North York. It takes a short time but we drift back into the same jokes. It's like the story of this trip so far... drifting back into old jokes. I hope I don't have some old joke involving money coming up.

We drink mojitos, so much for my non-alcohol day, and eat Rellena (one giant deep fried potato ball stuffed with ground beef), shrimp and avocado salad, and calamari. This is the standard battered deep fried calamari, and it's better than yesterday's tempura sister. The shrimps are garlicky and tender and the avocado at the right point of maturity, all dressed with lime juice. The Rellena is nice... a bit expensive for basically a fistful of mash potatoes and ground beef. Dessert is a key-lime coconut pie.

Over dinner Alon tells me about his new bf, this stunning 19-year old Italian stallion from Sudbury, on getting cheated on, on Danilo's threesome thursdays, and the other sordid bed-swapping stories from the gay-art community in Toronto. I sit back and wonder how I've missed out for so long, how lousy an emailer he is, and the priviledge of having old friendships intact.

Don't Shop When You're Drunk!

I meet up with Natasha in the late afternoon and we immediately head off for Margaritas at Hernando's Hideaway on Baldwin. Chowing on guacamole fresh off the pestle, sipping watermelon margaritas, smoking Avantis, it's like nothing has really changed. But eventually guac becomes inedible in the wilting heat, and once the margaritas are shot, it's time to move on.

Trawl on Queen St., looking essentially for a bra. How does a girl leave her country without a bra? When she's almost as flat-chested as a Thai transvestite that's why... We make a pit stop at some Prom Queen's shop, where Natasha buys a white bag I guilt her into, then at Mendocino she gets a call from her boyfriend telling her not to shop when she's drunk, then we make it to Kiehl's where she dumps more cash for skin products, and finally to American Apparel, where she gets a top. I dump serious cash there for a green dress, a white bra, and a white t-shirt. It's all too sexy and comfy.

Then, looking for a patio, we are forced to go all the way back to Baldwin, where all the patios are full. Still, manage to score half a bottle of Zinfandel. I am turning into a lush.

Meet parents and sister at University of Toronto. The mother is taking a class in latin. Ever moving forwards, that should be her motto. I decide to go to Ema Tei, supposedly the best Japanese restaurant. We get the sexy calamari legs tempura, some umeshiso sushi, hamachi with green onions, and salmon sashimi, and then sukiyaki for two. The father gets grilled unagi dinner. I sample that unagi... it's perfect... soft sweet creamy and rich. Mother wrinkles up the nose... too fishy, she says.

The umeshiso is very good, as is the salmon sashimi. But the hamachi and the sexy calamari are both letdowns. The standard has dropped. This leaves me less than excited for the sukiyaki. In retrospect, I gave in too easily to this demand. I didn't want to eat Japanese hotpot after my day in the sun with guacamole and margaritas. I wanted just sashimi. But alas, bad decisions are made when impaired by alcohol. My sister and mother have a lovely time with the beef and cabbage. I'm more drawn to the fat giant oyster mushrooms. I mean, the food was good, but I felt disappointed that I didn't get exactly what I wanted. Such a brat.

Manic Monday

I am completely falling behind on the days... they're wizzing by at lightning speed. At this rate, I really will have to find a job, just to slow myself down.

Temple wakes me up at 9am to tell me we're on for coffee at 10:15. So, I meet her at the Concord Cafe at 10:45. Luckily us artsy types are homogenous with our disrespect for punctuality. The coffee here was supposed to be the best. I remember raving about it to friends when I lived in the area. Winnie and Fernando were always giving us the best of Italian-Ethiopian coffee in a cafe that stands almost completely bare: white walls, ceiling fans, doilies on the table, a pinball machine in the back, a tv mounted in the corner. It was so special to me then. Now, after my Euro experience, this coffee sucks. Still, Winnie is still the nicest.

Temple and I chew on deep thoughts. She's been living in Montreal for the last year and a half, and is getting ready to move back. One of the few people who can really sympathise with my stranger in a homeland sensation, Temple and I make unlikely friends. She's quite smiley, a bit folky, and very girl. She makes me darkly serious. Anyways, she tells me about her film with the heads popping out of boxes, and I tell her about my film with pigs shitting gold.

Later in the morning, I go for a walk in the old neighbourhood. Longo's, my vegetable market, has disappeared. As has the funky strange pet store I used to frequent for my Mountain Kitty Cat Litter. It's basically glued together sawdust where the glue is dissolved by cat pee and thus emits it's usual woody smell. But the house is still there. 533 Roxton Rd. The tree is maybe a little taller, the mailboxes have a bit more rust, but it's the same beautiful looking California beach house I spent 6 years living in. Besides the nostalgia for the space, am hit briefly with nostalgia for Yuri and I. But it passes quickly. Walk on.

I continue on Bloor and get into Korea town. One of my favourite pit stops is right about a block in. Tacos El Asador is this little Ecuadorean dive, with picnic tables inside and two TV screens in either corner, usually broadcasting some kind of Spanish soap opera or a football match. The place is great for cheap tortillas, burritos, horchata, and steamed tamales. All of it authentic and killer good. The chicken soup is the surprise on the menu. It's one bowl of chicken soup served with wedges of lime and two freshly toasted tortillas. But, on a Saturday morning after sick drinking, when you have the "wooden face," it's the steak plate you want. It's not listed on the menu. It's reserved for regulars.

Anyways, the restaurant opens at 12pm, and it's still too early to go in. So I walk on. Just before I hit the gruesome corner of Bathurst and Bloor, the hideous lights of Honest Ed's still scaring the bejesus out of me, I turn right and head south on Markham. My stomach is completely screaming at me now, and this time, I know exactly where I want to go.

Making a direct beeline down Markham, cutting a little way down on College, then make a right at the Mac's, which is now a Sam's, keep going about 200m, and look left. It's still there. The second best thing to Tacos El Asador is an empanada from Jumbo Empanadas. I jump in right before the lunch crowd hits. The empanadas are still cheap, $3.50 for a veggie/chicken/beef. I know what's best so I get the beef. It's stuffed full of stewed beef with raisins, egg and olives, and it's served with a watery spicy salsa whose lime bite kicks the beef into overdrive. That empanada is history in seconds.

Make my way home through the beating midday sun. The ground is almost white with heat. Toronto got hit with a heat wave the day I showed up, and it's never let up.

Monday afternoon, after a quick wash, I go up to see Annie and Alex. They have a gorgeous huge apartment, with tall ceilings, a separate space large enough to use as a studio, and a piano in the living room. I get a tall glass of ice water on arrival but I'm still sweating through my skirt. I get a gander at the new works Annie will be showing on Friday at Katherine Mulherin's Gallery. It's a new direction for her work, and it's really lovely. Pale collages, with forms barely seen within, made from backs of old posters. Alex plays the piano at one point... Ruby My Dear by T. Monk. We all have laughs over our dinosaur days at the Fresnoy, double dinners and Thierry's lionhead.

Then I drop down to see Tara at the Drake. I hate the Drake. I have no idea why I keep coming here except that it just seems to be the one patio where I can get into. There I see Jeremy Laing, who will be presenting his next menswear collection in Paris, Chris H., who will be working at the Drake for at least the next 10 years of his life, John M. who gives me his contemporary artist card and seems to sweat through his wavering smile, and Raz, who is still Raz. I meet Joey and Sandra, who are gorgeously cute together, and get quizzed on the Pineau des Charentes I'm drinking... I love my Pineau and it is the hour for apero.

A girl comes by and gawks at Joey's bike. She gushes. Sandra says it's for sale. How much is it? $350. That's $350 for a used bike. The bike used to be originally $1500. WTF!! So I pop out and around to see what it looks like. Now it looks like a normal cruiser. But once upon a time, it had beige wheels, and looked like a dutch-style bike. Unfortunately, only the seat continues to carry this theme. It's beige leather, with large flat stainless steel studs all along the rounded back. Gorgeous honey!

Finally get home... sweaty and Shelton calls. He wants to go out and drink. I say nooooo.... no more alcohol, please.... so he brings over a DVD. It's House of the Flying Daggers. Dreadfully romantic Chinese schmaltz. But OMG... Takeshi Kaneshiro is a god.

Real Chinese Food

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I don't know if anyone else can complain the way I can complain about Chinese food in Paris. All in all, if I was to actually start, you can bet this post could ride the length of the Great Wall. Chinese Food in Paris is a disgrace to anyone Chinese. It baffles me that the cooks can be so consistently mediocre there. Or that when everybody says it's the best Chinese food, it's actually the best Vietnamese food.

So last Friday, fresh off the plane and after a rather sullen journey to the bank, I asked my mother if she would like to have lunch with me. We went to my old favourite Chinese shop, Goldstone. The restaurant is like an aquarium, with giant flat glass windows on two sides, flanking the central dining area, and the opposite wall entirely covered with mirrors. You find yourself in this light air-conditioned place, where the front is dominated with the roasted bits of birds and pigs, boiling innards in brown sauce, funny orange chunks of cuttlefish, and two giant woks, giant stainless steel sinks, privy to the smells of a good Chinese diner.

Walking in I see the old waitress, the same one who was always there. I swear she has never taken a day off work. I've never ever been there when she wasn't there, and I used to go in almost every other day at one point. When I first started going there, about 8 years ago, she was a fresh faced young thing, looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed from 8am till midnight. Now, with her hair all butchered off, the skirt replaced with pants, and a slight limp in her walk, I have proof that time does change people. Actually, it's probably more like working everyday for the last 8 years non-stop that's turned her from girl-thing to hobbled granny.

On to the food. I get the usual: roasted duck on rice in a bowl, steamed kai lan and cheong fan stuffed with roasted pork. My mother opts for the amateur's choice, dumplings and noodles. The duck in this place is usually quite good. Today, it's excellent. Succulent, juicy, flavourful, meaty but not too much, and very crispy skin. I am swooning just sucking the juices off the bone. The best is they douse the meat with some of the roasting juices, and this juice seeps through your meat, and down into the rice. YUM! The veggies are green and sweet, acceptable standards. And the cheong fan is wonderfully correct: the skin thin and silky but with a little bit of elasticity, the roasted pork in small chunks buried underneath, and the sauce lapping up thinly against the bottom two rolls.

I mean, it's not like it's the most amazing thing in the universe. And it's not like going to bring us any closer to world peace. It's just, after the debacle of chinese cuisine in France, it's nice to come back and see standards being upheld. There's a satisfaction in dependability. Though this was just Chinese diner fare, not the haut cuisine stuff, or even a decent Cantonese steamed fish, or seaweed pork broth, nor a sweet-vinegared pork foot, or a dried scallop and mushroom stew, though this was just the normal street food, hot damn, it's great to be home.

discombobulated and headspinning

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'm in a funk today. Have no idea why. Should probably start working soon... like now. But, thought I'd steal something from Schuey since I think it's quite a brainless way to spend my time. Plus it gives you a window to my romantic soul.

My top 25 on my iTunes playlist:

1. How Will I Know - Mocky featuring Jamie Lidell
2. All of My Love - Led Zeppelin
3. L'Amour est Bleu - André Popp
4. The Hardest Geometry Problem in the World - Mark Mothersbaugh
5. Things Behind the Sun - Nick Drake
6. Come Wander With Me - Jeff Alexander
7. Falling - Angelo Badalamenti featuring Julee Cruise
8. Wonderful - The Beach Boys
9. More Than This - Roxy Music
10. Des Mensonges du Téléphone - Katerine
11. Into Your Arms - The Lemonheads
12. Oh Malheur chez O'Malley - Sebastien Tellier
13. You and I - Anita Kerr Singers
14. Kids in America - Kim Wilde
15. Sandalwood - Moondog
16. On Such Favours - Sam Prekop
17. Careless Hands - The Coral
18. Christopher Columbus - Fats Waller
19. Sweet Road - Animal Collective
20. Busy Doin' Nothin' - The Beach Boys
21. By Your Side - CocoRosie
22. God Only Knows - Langley Schools Music Project
23. Cemetary Party - Air
24. A Night Like This - The Cure
25. Brandenberg Concerto No. 3, II - Wendy Carlos

I've got dirty nails and I am scratching on your back door

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A long time ago in a faraway galaxy...

I used to be part of a band called Pony da Look.

Alas, things were not meant to be as I was beckoned to more froggy climes.

They stayed and found themselves a fourth lass, her name ending in Stockhausen.

And since then they've been scratching on their medieval Casios.

I went to see them Sunday, at the Phoenix, along with church folk revivalists the Hidden Cameras.

I'm not a fan of the wave the hands in the air music. I prefer gothic medievalism.

Temple is twisted.

pony da look
From top left going clockwise: Temple Bates, Rebecca Mendoza, Amy Bowles, Catherine Stockhausen

Wicked Burger and Elderflower Juice

Saturday, June 04, 2005


That girl... since she found her man... unreliable. I guess that's the type of things that happen with the newly moved in.

Anyways, yes, the Precious Cashew, the Princess Paashuis, a girl so obsessed with rare paraphernalia and avoidance of competition (right!) that having a conversation with her is akin to reading some sort of twentysomething Martha Stewart catalogue. Yeah, I love this girl, and she certainly has mellowed.

So, I'm supposed to meet her today, and since the tennis game ends so early, I opt for a 11:38 wake up call. But that meets with a fuzzy response. So I go back to fumbling around in my kitchen, whipping up a very unhealthy breakfast of tofu scramble, sided with hash browns and ketchup. Very day-after beer breakfast and the type of thing I don't indulge in enough in Paris.

Aside: Damn that tennis game. It SUCKED! Mary played like her left toe was injured and she was a cyclops masquerading as a three eared horse. In other words, the game was a massacre. Of course she cried. I cried. Terrible. But, all sympathy evaporated with her extremely long final speech. I'm not sure many people listen to this girl because the way she bogarted the mic was scary.

Bumbling in the house. Eventually get frisky and call the Sheltonius who is himself bumbling around the house. Us two bumbleheads get our collective noggins together and decide a nice afternoon at the movies is just the ticket. Of course I have a meeting with Luba this evening, but what the hell... she checks her messages I'm guessing. So leave a message and go to make the afternoon show of Sin City.

But of course he's late, that consistent blunderhead. I see Shelton trawling up the sidewalk, 10 minutes after the start of the film, with plastic bag in tow. By that time, I had concluded I wasn't going to make Luba wait, that we would find something else to do, like stuff a giant hamburger down my pie hole.

Shelton - Uh, yeah, that's a great idea Sam, but I just ate 2 pieces of fried chicken and coleslaw on the subway here.

Me - Gross...

Shelton - Yeah, I kind of just attacked it. I was trying to balance the container on my thighs and stuffing chicken into my mouth. But you know what was worse?

Me - I can't possibly imagine...

Shelton - I was surrounded by all these pretty girls wearing really cute tops. And they all looked really hot. But I had to eat this chicken 'cause I thought we were going to see the movie. So I grossed them out.

This is sooooo typical Shelton. Any vaguely tempting female situation that comes up, he manages to creatively sabotage it with food or sartorial endeavours. Madness. He may be cute, but he's got this anti-chick magnet act down to an art.

So the Bumblehead and I decide to look for a restaurant for me to satisfy my burger cravings. We toss back and forth options, heading down stinky decrepit Yonge St., until we are practically on the Eaton Centre Corner. OMG!!! What have they done to my city!!??!! The square at Dundas and Yonge is hideous. I will certainly rip my camera out for that at some future point because I don't think I've seen such a massacre of public space in such a long time. How many giant TV screens do people need?

Funny moment:
There's this huge crowd around a guy on a unicycle who's attempting to juggle. Somewhere in the background a speaker says: If your parents don't give you money to give to Mr. Juggler, then they don't really love you.

We find the Senator round around the corner from the Imperial Pub. The Senator is that old Toronto stalwart of jazz. It's a classy old joint, with brass fittings, though the vinyl seating is starting to show cracks. We try to open the door but it's locked... but the waiter, a fat balding man of the old Toronto tradition, in his bright blue shirt and pressed slacks, opens the door and lets us in. We have the whole joint to ourselves!

I order the wicked burger, which comes with fries, coleslaw and corn relish. Shelton gets the asparagus soup. Bread comes out first. This is where you see it in full action, how snotty I've become with bread. I poke it. I sniff it... I wrinkle my nose. This bread is atrocious. Undercooked, no crust, thick core... slightly cold... I sneer in the general direction of this bread.

While I'm sneering and poking at the bread, Shelton proceeds to surreptitiously open his plastic bag... inside is a white styrofoam box... and inside this box is the last bits of 16 roasted potatoes and one last piece of fried chicken. While all the staff are busy in the kitchen, or polishing the glasses up front, Shelton, having almost the whole booth and the restaurant to himself, sinks his canines into the chicken. Within 2 minutes, nothing remains of the bird.

My wicked burger arrives. It's a normal ground beef patty stuffed with blue cheese and bacon, topped with caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and mustard. It's thick and juicy. I do a similar full-toothed eyes wide open giant bite... It's too good... Yummy! The burger, the fries, the slaw, but not the relish, get shovelled down. For a good long 10 minutes, we don't talk. Or at least Shelton sips his soup plaintively, watching me hammer down the burger.

We leave and head back to my place, where suddenly food coma hits. Luba arrives later and I prepare salsa and chips for her. I bet she found us lethargic. Shelton is curled up on the couch watching TV while I am dishing out platitudes on french living. Flat.

Luba looks amazing. She's this stunning Slovakian princess, a Laetitia Casta lookalike, who disarms everyone with her idiotic but offputting honesty. For example, one time, when one of our teachers, a man, was trying to push her into making an experimental film, she just turned to us and said: "He just wants me to make a film so he can see me naked." He turned beet red, and stuttered half wits while the rest of us normally beleaguered research assistants cackled. Since then there isn't a week that goes by without him treating her to some special wine-tasting or dinner thing. All this and no hope for the geezer to even just see a tit. That's charm.

Anyways, so she gives me this wine. It's some sort of german wine. Probably sweet. When we finally uncork it 2 hours later, on the deck, looking out at the cottage like backyard, I'd forgotten we were supposed to be drinking wine. And, in the darkness, it tasted remarkably like grapefruit... or elderberry juice... hard to say. All I know is that it was delicious for a drink, but a complete failure as a wine.

I'm still jet-lagged so I opt out of finishing the evening at the Hooch, watching my old band, Pony da Look, play. I can barely move... I'm tired....


Friday, June 03, 2005


Getting over the inevitable jet lag proved to be easier than supposed, given the dubious fact that I had been sleeping regularly around 5am before leaving my lovely Paris. Spent day in pajamas, fumbling around with the remote control.

Television... television oh best friend of childhood... television which I have sorely missed since moving to France where it is dominated by talkTV and reality shows. For the last year I have been on a steady diet of the OC and Lost, thanks to the internet. But, besides that, the daily dregs of channel surfing have become like a foreign delicacy, a morsel of ambroise hidden underneath the dark shell of the eagle-eyed oysterhead. No... television in France sucks. So, spent the early morning watching TV. zap zap zap... cooking....zap zap zap... hip hop...zap zap zap.. Cosby Show... zap zap zap... fixer-uppers... zap zap zap... boring

Of course this was dominated by... the French Open... Roland-Garros. Perhaps it is my nostalgia working. No, not really. Rafael Nadal begs no nostalgia. He is pure youthful exuberance. Biceps the size of my brain, this guy swings and thunders like a toro in his living room. He creams Federer's ass before midday, and I'm still eating hot cereal and jammies. Happy Birthday you scary Majorcan you.

Then, swept floor and decided to do laundry. Made it to the laundrymat and was impressed with the dryers. In the last 3 years I have become accustomed to hanging my laundry on a rack to dry. The size of most apartments proscribes dryers... anyways, I just don't think it's in french culture to have soft fluffy hot clothes. Spend serious amounts of time watching cloths fluff themselves into strange forms, tumbling in the dryer. Next time I think of doing drugs, I'll just come here.

Skee calls. We decide to meet up near my house. He's the same... a little larger, the look of mistrust a little more diffused by a corner smile. Otherwise, he's the same. Funnily enough, I feel different.

Back story: I was once desperately in love with this terrible boy, back in school. We had the kind of tortured love affair of none-touching and drunken rebuttals one could imagine in an updated version of Heloise and Abelard. Eventually, it was clear that nothing could be solved. He managed to insert a particularly solvent solution to our relationship problems by articulating very clearly that he "never wanted to see me again in his life." That was two years ago. About 4 months ago, contact was re-established. I guess things change.

So Skee's there. I feel relieved to see him, relieved that time has past and that we don't have to have that same stupid tortured affair all over again. Because, that's the miracle of time. Old hurts fade, and a sense of fondness replaces. I can be friends with him now, even if I was never really friends with him before.

We trawl the College St. W., looking for a patio to park on. It's blazing hot for this time of year and patios are stuffed to the brim with girls in short frilly skirts and boys with gel in their hair. On the way, I see Jane. Jane, the sister of Nancy, who I caught blisteringly drunk with some time this winter by the side of the canal. Jane, who I cannot see properly at first because I don't wear my glasses. I need to get contacts or something. No wonder people think I'm a snot.

Finally park ourselves at Cafe Diplomatico and order some kind of Raspberry Beer. I know it's a girly choice but curiosity wins over cool. The beer is fine. I forget what we talk about... probably old university friends, who got fat, who does drugs, who stopped talking to who, who moved to Japan to be with their Japanese girlfriend, and I think I repeat over and over again how I'm happy but that I feel strange.

Try to get into Souz Dal, but it's not open till 8pm. So swing by the Fish Shop and get a Grilled Salmon sandwich. It's a thin filet of salmon, grilled with peppers and shallots, served on a bun with arugula, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Practically streetfood. This is what TO does well.. cheap fast eats by local people. The sandwich is sensational.

Then send Skee off for beer while I buy my hairbrush. We take our beers and head off to Trinity Bellwoods Park.

I know this city so well... I know all it's fun little nooks and crannies... I can navigate practically blindfolded... but it is built on a grid system. You'd have to be some kind of navigational neanderthal to get lost.

Now it's dark in the city and we head for the dip/bowl at the centre of the park. Sitting by the lawn, looking up at the twinkling hi-rises just beyond the forest line, the night seems fresh and young. We talk. At some point, an army of rollerbladers comes streaming through the dark corner, taking the path that dips down. The roar of their wheels amplified by the bowl, amplified by the speed of the incline. The last one to thunder through has a ghetto blaster taped to his back. It could be ACDC we're listening to.

I'm tired and still jet-lagged, so the night ends there.

Toronto the Beautiful

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I haven't really written much since arriving. I've been absorbing, sifting, thinking, and smiling (oops, and drinking). It's wonderful, this city. It really is.

I went downtown, and started to move properly into the apartment I am subletting. It's in the west end of Toronto, my old stomping grounds. The house is typical of a lot of houses in the west-end, old brick, small windows, set back from the sidewalk with a garden. The house is covered in plants, flowers, vines, groundcover.

It's true that the main streets of Toronto have nothing compared to the sheer romanticism of Paris. But what sets this town apart is how the downtown is infused with these small residential streets, rows and rows of three storey houses, all with little lawns and trees. It's such a beautiful green city with great gardens and green everywhere. The fact that you can walk down a messy mish mash of late 20th century urban architecture and tumble down a tree lined street makes Toronto such a great place to live and work. Bicycles and houses right next to the office.

The first day is an exercise in recomposition. Getting used to using the telephone, looking up old numbers, calling friends. Some are surprised. Correction: all are surprised. I'm back, after over 2 years absence, though the last time I was in town it was to finish a film, so it was hectic, and not as social.

This time it's summer.

First things first. I head down to Queen St. to meet Shelton. He was the very first person I called when I got in. Why? Because this boy is my best friend, my baby brother, a soul mate. Despite not being gay, Shelton and I have never had the type of relationship where it's friends masquerading as potential lovers. From the start, there was a such a joy and laughter in our relation. He is my friend.

Shelton is supposed to meet me at La Hacienda, one of my old haunts. La Ha is the bar every rock'n'roll kid knows in Toronto. It's been around before the stretch of Queen W. became chic. Mismatched bric a brac tables, a slightly painted over the rotted wood atmosphere, the same Tex Mex fare, the back patio where you're sure to bump into friends. I walk in, shy and nervous, careful to avoid the glance of Anna, the owner. She fired Yuri, my then boyfriend, about 4 years ago, and I have never put a step inside since.

Straight to the back patio. And no Shelton, but Annie. Annie who I saw in Paris. Annie looks great, the same, and great. It's like, sometimes relationships have ups and downs, but when you find the people who know you, there's a strong sense of comfort, and a disturbing lingering of time past.

Shelton isn't there. Anna comes by and says hello. There's no avoiding it. I'm back home. People have known me for years here. She passes the message that Shelton had been waiting for over an hour and that he just left, looking sad. Crazy boy. I knew he would get the messages mixed. I said to meet at 2pm, he comes at 1pm. This is typical Shelton, a man so prone to miscommunication and social awkwardness that it drives women crazy. I mean, he's physically gorgeous, funny, talented and sweet, but has driven all his girlfriend's crazy with his social dysfunction.

So I pass the afternoon with Annie. We walk west on Queen. Things have really picked up around here. There are new beautiful galleries all along the stretch. The Mocca has moved there too. I see Nick and Sheila Pye's work hanging at Angell Gallery so I pop in. They are just hanging their show, which will have it's opening this Thursday. My goodness... success befits them well. How gorgeous is Sheila??? She's all sunny and tanned, in a clingy pink top and all smiles. The Pye's are doing quite well, career-wise, in the art world, and it's no surprise. With Sheila's meticulous nature, Nick's natural aesthetic eye, and their combined love, these two make beautiful photographs and films.

Further along, we head to Katherine Mulherin's Galleries. The Bus Galleries were one of the first to really break the Queen W. Gallery Scene as the place to be. Eventually even stalwarts like Edward Day and Paul Petro have moved around the corner from her. It is close to the mental asylum you know.

Annie is about to have her show there. The opening is this Friday. We talk quickly to Katherine. Quite quickly, after seeing Nick Ostoff's paintings leaning against a wall, I used to share a work studio with him, Yuri and Amy Bowles, we get onto the topic of Yuri.

-Whatever happened to Yuri?

-I don't know. I don't really have any news from him anymore. He just kind of disappeared.

-That guy really had it you know. I was going to put his show up and he just suddenly backed out and disappeared.

-Yeah, I heard he sold all his music gear and just took off to live with his girlfriend in North Toronto.

-Yeah, Yuri had it all you know. He's so "downtown." He had a great band, his art was great, and he was such a babe... Like, total hotness. Great package.

As she says this it dawns on me that Katherine has no clue that I was Yuri's girlfriend for 6 years. I smile, inside I'm laughing my pants off, and say, "yeah, he sure was a babe."

Annie and I head off to the Gladstone. The Gladstone used to be this seedy old rundown hotel/bar where you could sing Karaoke with all the other lost types in the west end. The types of guys and girls who would blearily tell each other they loved you after their 9th pint... sponge noses, mid-knee shorts, wife-beaters.

The Gladstone has since changed. It's gorgeous now. All redone in glistening hardwood, new tall windows, a sloping bar, hanging iron lights. It's a model in cool Toronto urban chic. The old border town mixed with cosmpolitan cool. Annie has a show there. We look and discuss her art. She seems trepidacious. I'm not used to that. It is very charming.

On the way out I see a familiar face parked on outside the Swan, a lovely diner-ish restaurant. It's Sam! So we give each other the old "Sam!" "Sam!" Short talk, and good to see yous. The first of many. I guess I've been away so long people just assumed I was never coming back. She looks exactly the same. Have I really been away? Time and space collapsing rapidly. Brain starting to split in two. My Paris half is retreating somewhere. I must at least preserve my back straightened walk that I learned over there.

Annie and I finally swing by the Drake, because it's close. The place is awful. This is where all those hipster idiots park themselves. Gross guys in trucker hats, expensive funky t-shirts, general Queen W. pseudo cool tackiness. Yuck. Sitting on the patio, watching the light pass through the trees... talking... suddenly there's Andre! Andre, who starred in my last film. He works here as one of the waiters. It's nice... small chats, exchange of numbers... blah blah.

I head home and see Shelton for half an hour. He's depressed. It's shocking.

This is one of the things that will be recurring so far in my trip. There's a shocking number of my friends who are actually depressed and on anti-depressants. It's seems to be a trend to medicate yourself against all possible sadness. I mean, Shelton seems fine, a bit stoned almost, but fine. But I tarry to find the appropriate response to this general malaise that seems to have hit a large majority of them in general.

Then, quiet time...

Then Shelton comes over at around midnight. My jet lag is ferociously strong at this point but still I soldier on. Shelton and I go to a bar around the corner. There's a Salsa-Reggae band playing. Lots of hip swishing among the couples. This is not a place for amateurs. I find the improbably mixture of Salsa-Reggae to be revolting. I'm definitely not latin or loose enough to find this interesting. I find it absolutely hideous... or perhaps it was the fatigue that exacerbates this reaction. In any case, we must move on, especially since I inadvertantly light a cigarette. In Toronto, you cannot smoke indoors, anymore. Not at a concert, not in a bar, not in a restaurant. Thank god I came here in summer where I can duck out for a puff without any climatic difficulties.

We make our way to the Communist's Daughter, a new bar that's opened up on Dundas, just W. of Ossington. It's quiet enough place. Small bar, jukebox, unassuming. All in all, the recipe for a good bar. We settle in for Scotch. After a bit, I suggest heading out for a ciggie. While sitting on the bench we are accosted by a man who offers to sing us a song. He pesters and is belligerent, and while I quickly look away, annoyed, Shelton, ever the gentle idiot that he is, agrees to hear him sing. What ensues is one of the most violent raps I've heard in a while. It's about food, how he ain't got no food, and he's hungry... all done at a ridiculous high volume and gunfire pace. Looking at this guy, I wouldn't hesitate to say that he should be rapping about crack.

The second man to pester us is a lonely type. Obviously drunk and looking for someone to talk to. He talks like a Salesman, and sells Shelton on the idea of working for AOL, where he works. But he then quickly follows this up with the line that he didn't go into work this day. The sun was too bright. He then asks us if we want to learn Photoshop. That he knows Photoshop really well and he can teach us a thing or two in under an hour. I go back inside, pay the bill and go home.

Too tired.

And that's only Thursday.

The next day is Friday.....


I woke up this morning rather violently to my mother telling me to get out of bed. Hardly 12 hours in the same house and already the army routine sporting it's hideous visage. Luckily I understand the value of reason: I need to sleep. Will take the bus into town. The mother skirts off, I'm sure secretly glad to be rid of pestering her most obstinate offspring into action.

This is my mother and I, always the same. She, the control freak, telling me when and how to do things, freaking out when something diverges from the plan by a hair. Me, being irritated and frustrated by her exclamatory nature, it's inate vulgarity. Yes, I was exclamatory too. It's vulgar in real life, if amusing in rare social occasions. Too big.

Later on in the day, I peel myself off the bed and plop right into the chair in front of the computer. Hardly 12 hours goes by without serious computer time. This time, I go in for a quick stat checkup, followed by some serious ebay reading. My sister catches me reading my horoscope.

I actually don't dislike my mother. It's just the way of past natures reasserting themselves. She is a remarkably efficient woman and she means well. I should try and profit from her experience and energy.

I just hate being woken up, that's all.

The Night France Voted Non...

We were running around like life was a big OUI.
Merci Joachim et Kim pour les photos magnifiques. Vous me manquez.

hendrike and his kebabs
Hendrike and his kebabs

smegma ectoplasma


mme polo
The Legendary Mme Polo from her bar

Bubbles with Marussia and Ana

storming the Bastille
Storming the Bastille

Kim at the Turkish Delight

kim at the fashion show
Kim at the Fashion Show... BABE!

Last Supper... First Impressions

The night before I left Paris, I was treated to a fabulous dinner, a historic event in my gastronomic career, and one that left me swooning and fishy smelling. It was at the Brasserie du Nord, just opposite the Gare du Nord. Someone wonderful, taking advantage of my pathetic state, invited me for a seafood platter. Coupled with a velvety almost syrupy Bordeaux, I hesitate to give the full details for fear of "girlfriend" retribution, dinner was fantabulous. A night to remember. A night to cherish before the cold harshness of a the morning after. Who else but the best splurge the cashola for oysters, clams, lobster, crabs, periwinkles and langoustines the night before a life-changing trip. Mercy Buckets.

Actually, the evening after would be more precise. Because, despite my best attempts, and in fact because of my best attempts, most of my packing was done in that syrupy state of disaffection. I know I left my perfume behind, but let's hope that's all.

This day started at 7:30, Paris time. Woke up. Stared blankly and coldly around, smelled coffee, moved body three inches to the right, and groaned. Waited another sullen 10 minutes in bed and turned another three inches to the right. Now within viewing distance of cellphone. Horror. Shower... crying, packed, elevator, taxi, airport, argument, crying, idiocy, lunatic fringe, melancholic dry heaves, glazed eye over the stricken dry air of the airport. Smell of cold cigarette smoke makes me nauseous. Eventually, good bye.

Rest of time hazy in terror, and blunt tiredness. Impossible to eat food. Too nasty. Watch highlights of past Wimbledon champions 3 times. Made me understand the glory of Pete Sampras in a brighter light. Also watched vague snippets of The Ring 2 and Million Dollar Baby. Only film I managed to watch in entirety was Batman, the original Tim Burton version with Michael Keaton. Now that, dear readers, is a great film.

Hijacked by lonely scottish canadian woman from Scarborough. She goes on and on, in sweetness, in utter boredom. I realize little by little the flatness of the accent. Like a glass of Perrier left out in the sun. After listening for a bit, scared more by her anxious habit to finish saying everything within the second, and crazy leather coat, decide to pass small hint by affixing headphones to ears.

Finally, we're flying over Canada. The sky clears. I can see it. And it looks the way I remember it. Bumpy and greenish. The clouds are like giant dinosaurs you wish you could skateboard on. I am becoming a little more acclimatised to the idea that this is something I know. But it's a lie. The person who knews this has been on strike for such a long time god knows if she's still alive.

Airport. Toronto. It's now 6pm, Toronto time, 12am, Paris time. I get off the plane, go through customs, and call my mother with a quarter I borrow from some woman. I go outside to wait for her arrival. A woman falls down next to me. She is in a largish summery beige dress. One of her knees rests bent. The rest of her is utterly prone. I don't see her face because security comes rushing in. For the next 30 minutes she doesn't move and is surrounded by emergency staff. I imagine she has a concussion. I imagine she is bleeding out of her ears, or that one of the skull plates has imploded. Horrible things. Totally delirious by this point.

Bad car fumes through all of this, and to be honest, I was more irritated with the tardiness of my parents than I was interested with this fallen woman. I don't know her... I just want to get out of the airport.

Keys to new apartment, checkover space. It's in the old neighbourhood. My old west end stomping grounds.

And that's when it hits me. This is why I've come back. I lived here for 6 years with the man I loved. I broke up with him and left. Just like that. Now, coming back, I realize that I love this place... that I own it in my mind, and it is not a shame to remember and to love even the things that exist not anymore. Of course, it's just a beginning. It's a first glance around a neighbourhood that's changed. In two days I'll concoct something completely different. You'll never believe it. Because I barely do.


Part two: Tomorrow I will recount my sister's new life, and meeting the Sheltonius, which is previewed for tomorrow.

G'night sweetheart well it's time to go.

Blood on the Pavement

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Those fuckers at the dry-cleaners lost my favourite white blazer. I'm outta here so fuck them.

My hands smell like oysters and my mouth is still oily with great wine. I have so many things to do, pack, and stuff.. but drunk as a skunk. This is the only way to spend your night before you jump on a plane.

Excited to go home. Scared, but excited. I can't wait to see all the old geezers and sweet cheer-uppers. You know I'm comin' to getcha, and you know I mean well. Sweet dreams y'all. When I wake up next morning, there's going to be sunlight, a plane, a ride, a going away to find the place I ran away from, make peace and pow wow with the natives. Toronto, the bestest hometown ever, here I come.

But yah, I'm still coming back to Paris, in the fall.