it goes off at midnight

After the cure, the obliteration. The body I’ve already exposed, the oblique columns of muscle and bone, to the odd flirtation with technology. Centuries, even decades ago, they dreamed of this. Now I’m just testing the feeling, drowning in colour as the night doctor operates. Steady hands, penicillin buzz, the names of the dead erupting from my mouth like a safety switch, the effects of sensory dilation as the silver cage of the time bomb was manipulated and armed under my skin.

From now on, I will bruise easily.

Where am I now? Recovering. The foreign molecules now stranded in my body have been part of a different universe and the penetrating fatigue of interstellar travel is taking its toll. My eyes have gone dark, languid and unstirred, but I can feel recovery creeping up. It is coming closer, like a long earred animal in the dark.

zohmigod, like woah

The first interview went extraordinarily well. We talked in the owner’s office for over an hour, chatting about theater, arts culture, the people we have in common, and my job history. The second interview, a more serious thing with the office administrator, went fairly well. It was less casual, more the regular check list of the sort of formalized corporate queries I always find awkward, like “what is your five year plan?”, to which I gave near desperate answers like “to work steadily at something I like until I win the lottery and can move somewhere warm enough to open a sloth preservation foundation.” Despite this, they called the next morning and offered me the job. (While someone else at the office was apparently still on the phone with one of my references.)

So now I have a real job.



Just in case you didn’t get that.

As of first thing tomorrow morning, I will be the new office administrator/receptionist-in-training at Stage One Accounting, a firm specializing in entertainment industry clients, which no, is not a euphemism. I am thrilled, intimidated, and incredibly relieved. On one hand, accountants, my justifiable fear of math, working on Saturdays, and joining a tax office in January. On the other, everyone I’ve met there so far has been smart, funny, interesting, and competent, the sort of person I always feel lucky to make friends with, and reliable, solid pay-cheques from a company not running on crazy. Heaven!

Of course, because the universe is a quirky place, to add an extra dash of ridiculous to the whole situation, I have turned down three very promising job interviews since accepting the job just yesterday. Three! THREE! That’s as many as I usually have in a MONTH. I have saved their numbers, though, just in case, as I cannot get over the foolish notion that I will sleep in and blow the whole thing, just out of some sort of residual existential despair left over from two years of unreliable contract work. David has offered to make certain that I’m awake tomorrow at seven, but even so, I am sure that when I go to bed tonight, it will be in dread.

Oh! And I totally got to chat with William Gibson tonight! And though I was initially terrified of speaking, it turns out we like each other! He thinks I’m “funny and smart”! Hooray! Exclamation mark! Annnnd! AND! I fit into my kilt again, just in time for Robbie Burns! EEEEEEEEE! PERSONAL VICTORY DAY! HAVE AT THEE!

still deeply enchanted by this tribe

WIRED has a really nice new piece (with photos and a video of some of the clock restoration!) on one of my favourite inspiring secret-art collectives, UX, the dreamy Parisian group that specializes in fantastical heritage restorations and interstitial spaces:

A mysterious band of hacker-artists is prowling the network of tunnels below Paris,
secretly refurbishing the city’s neglected treasures.

Thirty years ago, in the dead of night, a group of six Parisian teenagers pulled off what would prove to be a fateful theft.

[…] This stealthy undertaking was not an act of robbery or espionage but rather a crucial operation in what would become an association called UX, for “Urban eXperiment.” UX is sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde—confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new—its only audience is itself. More surprising still, its work is often radically conservative, intemperate in its devotion to the old. Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of “restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.” The group claims to have conducted 15 such covert restorations, often in centuries-old spaces, all over Paris.

[…] UX’s most sensational caper (to be revealed so far, at least) was completed in 2006. A cadre spent months infiltrating the Pantheon, the grand structure in Paris that houses the remains of France’s most cherished citizens. Eight restorers built their own secret workshop in a storeroom, which they wired for electricity and Internet access and outfitted with armchairs, tools, a fridge, and a hot plate. During the course of a year, they painstakingly restored the Pantheon’s 19th- century clock, which had not chimed since the 1960s. Those in the neighborhood must have been shocked to hear the clock sound for the first time in decades: the hour, the half hour, the quarter hour.

[…] One summer, the group mounted a film festival devoted to the theme of “urban deserts”—the forgotten and underutilized spaces in a city. They naturally decided the ideal venue for such a festival would be in just such an abandoned site. They chose a room beneath the Palais de Chaillot they’d long known of and enjoyed unlimited access to. The building was then home to Paris’ famous Cinèmathèque Franèaise, making it doubly appropriate. They set up a bar, a dining room, a series of salons, and a small screening room that accommodated 20 viewers, and they held festivals there every summer for years. “Every neighborhood cinema should look like that,” Kunstmann says.

The Long Now Foundation breaks ground

“We just completed the 12 — foot diameter, 500 foot deep vertical shaft for the 10,000 Year Clock.”

We used a mining technique called raise boring. Take a look at the video — it’s an interesting operation. Instead of drilling down from the top, you pull a large diameter reamer up to the surface from the bottom using a smaller diameter pilot hole — more efficient than a top-down drill because the rubble isn’t fighting gravity. It rains down beneath the advancing bore and gets hauled out a horizontal shaft at the bottom. Our next major step will be cutting the spiral stairway using a robotic stone cutting saw. In parallel, we’re also manufacturing and testing the Clock components.

as relaxing as a one night stand or an offer to kill a man.

This place feels familiar, I think, in the same way I connect to the silent gestures of the person who lives here. Ikea furniture, matching sheets, off the shelf living. Not quite anonymous, it all feels lived in, but only just, in that way where some apartments function as places to work and sleep but not to eat. I have only rarely been here, and never alone, but I understand. How it was chosen and created, how it came together – the underpinnings of decision, of an entire person, laid out in a cluttered blast. Like most living spaces, it is the best sort of map. Tech casual, male, young adult, somewhere in their thirties. Clever, dependable, very little struggle, not a lot of travel, but enough to have some stories. There are some framed prints leaning against the wall, (probably line art or something Japanese), but half buried behind papers and other detritus, and very few actual decorations.

And so, curious, I look around. I see. An instrument case under the kitchen table, thinly coated in a breathy envelope of neglect, and an electric piano, folded with a basic black stand, equally unused, translate into a desire to be musical, likely long passed. I pick up a book, one of the many casually piled next to the bed, (on the other side, an empty wine glass that I, for no particular reason, believe to have been left there by somebody else), and note that it has been read, but not dog-eared, which I like, because it’s the precise observation I expected and it’s sometimes nice to be right. The whole place is like that, down to the toiletries in the washroom, (the correct, responsible array, but with too much dust on the multivitamins, I’m sure the bottles are still full), and the programs on the laptop, (expensive, a macbook, no stickers).

It makes me comfortable, but wary. I wonder at the wisdom of this visit. I like these places. I like the people who live in them. But. There is a proposal here, an offer yet unspoken, dreadful and heavy, laced with a false, Proustian nostalgia for a life I never had a chance to lead, “where feelings of tenderness would always be reciprocated”. Not quite a lie, it rests in the back of my skull like an entertaining artifact from an imaginary era, something to dismantle and examine and potentially loathe.

We sit on the polished cement floor by the gas fireplace, turned on with a switch, click, and ignore the obvious question for more prosaic pursuits. I confirm my theories like dominoes, with only a few charming surprises, (which I also like), and gently offer too much history, the most toned down form of my best defense strategy: tragedy, violence, a childhood of poverty and occasional terror. Out of your league, it offers, a way to make a polite escape dipped in sad anecdotes of senseless destruction and death. An excuse for abdication, withdrawal without judgement. Usually this is the cue, exit stage left, pursued by bears, but instead it all diffused in the air, accepted.

I had wondered at myself while walking to meet him, why was I there? It’s not like I had hope, even as I delighted in his company, but perhaps this was it, what I unconsciously expected: this gloriously uncomfortable acceptance. Superficial, possibly, and weak tea, but honest. Trust. Staying would hurt me, ruin me more, a proposition which under the circumstances I could not even pretend to accept, yet the visit was a feast. Within my boundaries, freedom. I woke up feeling absolutely amazing. All I needed was a break. There has been no one left alive to bear my weight.

late for a very important date!

Oh gosh, I almost forgot! We have less than one week until the next Rabbit Hole Day!

Started in 2005 by the remarkably clever Dan Curtis Johnson to mark Lewis Carrol’s birthday, the surreal and fantastical Rabbit Hole Day is celebrated by turning everything upside-down and inside-out until nobody is their normal self anymore. Better start planning your weirdness now!

Friday! Friday! Friday!

Previously: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.

right for the job

  • The Creators Project, in partnership with VICE and Intel, presents Amon Tobin.
  • Sticker Robot & ObeyGiant have teamed up to give away silkscreened stickers in support of Occupy.

    Been steadily trashing my room since I returned to Vancouver, hauling things off shelves, spreading clothes, books, and miscellany on every surface, sleeping curled up in the middle of everything, then getting up and doing it all again. It’s refreshing, if messy, sorting everything into cascading piles of to-do list, forward progress evinced by time lapse, the layers thinning, hopefully to eventually disappear. Chaos with a purpose, with an eye towards a goal.

    The problem is that our things-to-get-rid-of are taking up space planned for things-to-keep, like the overly large chandelier currently lording over our front closet, hogging all the room the linens should be living in instead of in the bottom of my bedroom closet in the space meant for my french horn. Like that. But everywhere. And the more I uncover, the more I discover needs to be addressed. The box of mending that had been hiding in the suitcase that I listed on Craigslist. The bag of massive red paper lanterns under my bed where I planned on putting the lightbox.

    I tell myself this is the prelude, that once everything gathers enough momentum, there will be cohesion, and order will follow with the flashy grace of a well practiced ceremony, the sort tourists gawp over in countries far from their own. My apartment will be so well organized I could sell tickets and the stubs would be postcards, so you too could show your family and friends, until the entire world holds its breath for a moment in awe.

  • more people in a week, a slice of old life before I run out of busfare

    365: 2012/01/15 - "fashion photographer", a twitpic by Andrew
  • 70 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies to Watch Out for in 2012.
  • The absolutely epic line-up of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

    Tea today, slumping on Kyle’s couch, a cupcake, a scone, Lisa and Jeremy and Derek and Aleks and another girl, a name I have regretfully forgotten. A drive downtown, meeting Jacquie at work, then a route along water to the Naam, where Hawkfeather and Loren were waiting, and eventually, by chance, Lori and David arrived. Dropped off at Main, upstairs to the batcave, mad scientists lair, mess and matrix, Dragos and Leah, canned peach tea vodka, indian food, and my only christmas card. I should visit more. I miss these people, I miss this place. Next is Sherlock across the street, the Mcbunker, houses named, it’s A Thing, apartments as proper nouns, filled with friends and internet references, people piled in like pillows, pillows lining the floor. I am annoyed at the obvious plot, the awkward scene changes, but the company is especially sweet. Back to the penthouse after, all telescopes and swords, introducing Andrew to his neighbor, a stack of helicopters under the stairs. I am tired, but not exhausted. Chilly, but not frozen. I leave at midnight. I get home before one.