also, it’s “tank top” not “tanky top”

Dear Vapid Stoner Girl Talking on Her Cellphone Right Outside my Window,

You are making me fear for the survival of multiple syllable words. “Like” is a not a comma, “pot” doesn’t have a built-in exclamation point, and ending every sentence with a question mark does not make it sarcastic or more clever.


The Girl Old Lady Upstairs Trying Not To Laugh

PS. Please, think of the children when you dress in the morning. They will discover puberty on their own. I promise. That is not a skirt, that is a belt.

going across the border without proper ID

My weekends out of town have pushed me out of the habit of writing. Potential words are constantly spilling from my mouth and mind, but not landing where they’ll stain page or paper and stick around awhile and have a drink. Instead I find myself busy and busier, living a pace just this side of insane, and never in front of a computer when I need it most, but wrapped instead around chocolate curls and blonde exhaustion, tangled in too many things to set out straight.

The best I can do is point form after-the-fact, small glimpses into moments that stuck, like snapshots taken from a moving car, anecdotes I tell over tea or as we walk, hands carving out the expressions in our bodies as we did this or that, laughter infectious, haltered to speech.

Memories of the Mercury, wrapped in cigarette smoke and surrounded by black, dancing with Dee like the first time we really met, physical strangers in L.A., when he was still from London, and we had never lived in Montreal. Of Tony curled in my lap, days later, slightly drunk at Grahame and Becca’s, explaining ‘performing’ as my partner in front of my mother at Gasworks park, “See my patience!” He says, “how clever and kind a teacher I am! How carefully I’m showing Nick how to spin these poi, how I’m responsible, understanding. Look how perfect I am for your daughter, because I’m AWESOME!” Of Folklife and music and Richard’s music just for us, letting us play, the video we took, the glitchy, delightful beat. I think of Rafael dipping me in time to marimba music, all wrapped in tie-dye and a purple skirt, and Tony on the ground leaning forward to kiss me precisely on the lips, as if the entire moment had been perfectly rehearsed. I think of standing in front of the Circus Contraption audience, faking desire, shuddering with it, breaking my plastic glass with the heated deep breaths of my theatrical orgasm, ready to beat the band. The warmth and depth of my smile. Of flying my pocket Pirate kite, of limping gladly, of free hug signs and breakfast and pliers and giving a necklace away. Of sound effects and posed photographs and doing the tango with only my hand, two fingers for legs, stepping along the ground so prettily it was like we could see the invisible held-in-teeth roses glowing alive in our love.

oh mercy


Over at BBGadgets, our Lisa Katayama has an incredible post up about a widow in Japan who is publishing an anthology of text messages she sent to her loved one, after his death.

Her husband, Motoo, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006, probably from the steel pipe factory he worked at. He got worker’s comp, but the disease ultimately destroyed his lungs and left him with hallucinations for the remainder of his life. Shocked, the widowed Fukuda started sending text messages to her dead husband every time she thought of something she wanted to say to him. Things like: "I couldn’t live if I didn’t think you were still beside me. I can’t live [without you]. I’m crying every day" and "I want to call you ‘Otosan’ to my heart’s content. Why do you have to be inside such a small urn?" Every time she sent a message, the phone by his home shrine vibrated (she made sure it was always charged).

Woman publishes book full of text messages sent to her dead husband’s cell phone (BBG)

instant platonic anything friends

  • Extremely rare shark found, then eaten

    Been addicted to Omegle all day, the chat program which connects you to a completely random stranger. I just wished a gay Brazilian teenager good luck on his exams, after spending a quite significant chunk of my day in a rather gratifying discussion with a Swedish student named Phillip about med school, music, Italian earthquakes, and, finally, the current global economic downturn and what it’s been going to Iceland. It’s also freaking fantastic for surreal fun, so much so I’m going to start a file of my favourite saved conversations. Have you got any?

  • Extinct bird rediscovered, then eaten
  • work just handed me business cards to schmooze with, telling me to “slip them in my bra”

    365: 77 - 18.03.09
    365: 77 – 18.03.09

    Looking up from my book to step onto a crowded bus, I slipped through everyone to the very back to find an unexpected puddle of empty seats around a very young, equally unexpected boy. No more than sixteen, maybe seventeen, eyes fixed out the window, obviously aware of everyone staring, he would not have been exceptional except that he was dressed as if he was only five minutes out of the Arab Emirates, all flowing, air thin white robes and leather string sandals, except for a light blue, very out of style denim jacket, a bare, acid wash nod to the weather as torn out of place and time as his traditional Saudi white and black ghutra and ougal. In the morning commuter gloom of black and gray and raincoats, his shining white looked completely bizarre, like a theater costume at a funeral, setting him completely apart.

    So I sat next to him. We’re all strangers somewhere.

    because my brain does stuff like that

    One of my morning neighbors, those people I pass regularly enough in the morning to recognize, is a pleasantly unremarkable young man, taller than I am, with short reddish blond hair and a black jacket, who I never would have noticed except for his astonishing, perpetual grin and permanently glued on ear phones. He is thin, caucasian, and completely bland.

    Somehow, though I am rarely there at the exact same time every day, and sometimes take a different route entirely, it is more likely than not that when I line up to wait for the light at Pender and Howe, he will be there too, smiling, facing me from the other side, oblivious to the entire world, trapped instead in whatever he is listening to that makes him so happy. He does not notice the traffic or the weather or the time, and only begins to walk when the people around him step forward into the street.

    All that said, he still would not have made any impression upon my memory except that one day, the day I truly noticed him, I had a terrible, strong, and wrenching idea as we were passing each other in the intersection. I fancied that what played in his ear phones every day wasn’t music, but screaming.

    Randa just brought me back a keffiyeh from lebanon

    Copied from spiderfarmer via James Grant:

    Palestinian doctor has house shelled on Israeli news.

    If you cannot see the subtitles do the following:
    1. Play the video
    2. Click the triangle button at the bottom-right corner of the video
    3. Click the Turn on captions button that looks like the letters CC.

    Israeli TV broadcast a father’s heartbreak Friday night when a Palestinian doctor living in Gaza made a frantic phone call to a newscaster saying an Israeli tank had shelled his home, killing three of his daughters and injuring other family members.

    Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish, who speaks Hebrew, worked as a gynecologist in an Israeli hospital. Even as the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel had largely been closed in recent months, he had traveled frequently from one place to the other. But he had remained in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began 21 days ago. He gave frequent interviews to the Israeli media on living conditions in the seaside enclave. He spoke of having tanks around his house and of passing through checkpoints; he told Israelis what it was like to be Palestinian.

    Minutes away from a scheduled phone interview on Israeli TV 10 with newscaster Shlomi Eldar, Aboul Aish called Eldar’s cellphone, screaming and weeping in Arabic and Hebrew. The doctor’s home had been struck by a shell:

    “Oh God, oh my God, my daughters have been killed. They’ve killed my children. . . . Could somebody please come to us?”

    Sitting at his news desk for one of Israel’s main evening news broadcasts, Eldar held his phone up. For three minutes and 26 seconds, Aboul Aish’s wailing was broadcast across the country.

    Eldar welled up. He put his head down. He looked at the camera. He looked at his phone. He made pleas for helpfor the family, but the doctor kept crying, his voice scratchy, like sand on paper, until Eldar took out his earpiece and walked off the set to try to arrange for help. The newscaster’s bewildered face seemed to capture a bit of pause in a nation that has largely supported its military campaign and prefers not to question its course.

    News reports said there had been shooting in the area of the doctor’s house before the shelling. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

    Israeli officials permitted ambulances carrying members of the doctor’s family to cross the border to a hospital.

    Aboul Aish was a single father. His wife had died of cancer. He made his daughters sleep close to the walls of their home in hopes that would keep them safe if airstrikes or artillery collapsed the ceiling.

    “I don’t know how this man will stand on his feet again after this tragedy,” Dr. Liat Lerner-Geya, an Israeli who worked with Aboul Aish, told the Hebrew-language news website Ynet. “He would come to Israel and sleep at friends’ houses for three nights. Even though he had all the necessary permits, they always gave him trouble at the crossings. But he believed there should be coexistence and practiced this in his work.”

    After the newscast, Eldar met with reporters. He said the doctor told him that evening “that since his wife’s passing, the girls had been his entire life. He said his eldest daughter wanted to study at Haifa University. Just today another one of his daughters had told him she had gotten her period. ‘In the middle of a war you get your period. You are a woman now.’ ”

    She and her sisters are dead. The news spread across Israel’s websites; the video of the doctor’s broadcast quickly made it to YouTube.

    Eldar said of Aboul Aish: “It is simply surreal. He is part of this place yet not of it, belonging and not belonging.”

    Even so, across Israel the doctor’s anguished voice kept playing over and over. Sobelman works in The Times’ Jerusalem Bureau.

    Photo from BBC News, Gaza, Early January 2009, via Warren:

    we hold these truths to be self evident

    Samorost 2, the sequel to one of the best flash art games ever made, has been released into the wild and is now devouring small portions of the earth that thought it couldn’t hurt to just look.

    I was slowly taking over this apartment in tiny hesitant increments. My toiletries were all in one tidy corner of the counter, my clothes were heaped only inside my suitcase, but now? Now my coat is on the floor, drawing a playful tangled line with my scarf between where I took off my shoes and where I landed to spread out newspapers with entertainment listings and determinately scribble all over them with a bright pink marker. Now my book and cell phone have marked an X spot on the chair I was leaning against, the one spilling over with comic books, my increasingly sick camera is lying as if dead, hinges open, while its card takes up a slot in the computer, and there would be dishes if I wasn’t expecting at any minute to jaunt off into the darkness to find dinner with James.

    Obviously, I have landed.

    Once again, Couchsurfing and Global Freeloaders came to my rescue, immunizing me against the rough-edged bicarbonate feeling of going stir crazy, sprouting social wings from my failing backbone. In half an hour, I’d received four invites to the same party, and another three to hang out on Sunday. Now I’m hooked up for the rest of my time in Montreal. However, this is practically just in time for my glass bone departure to Toronto. A rather telling example of apolitical timing, to be sure, and annoyingly typical of my life in general. Laugh-Cry moment. Shake fists at sky/self. Friday’s going to be interesting.

    The narwhal’s single, spiral tusk has always been a mystery. Now a Connecticut dentist has discovered that the eight-foot-long modified tooth has as many as 10 million tiny nerves reaching from its surface to the central core and, ultimately, the whale’s brain.

    This was last night’s entry. I was whisked out of the house before I got to post it, and then I spent my whole night out. I figure for the hell of it, I won’t delete and instead’ll just leave it here.

    I can’t see the logistics, but I don’t care what’s in my bank account.

    andrew dimmit – urban clowns
    Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

    I leave Vancouver for Montreal on Saturday December 10th, 9 in the morning. I’m returning December 24th in the evening, arrival expected around 8pm.

    These strange anchors in my life, I’m visiting with them tonight. Chains several years long, I’m always the only one. Over in decency, I’m singular, the bed. This one, he cried once. It meant a lot to him that I held his hand. We see each other more now, but less. His computer’s broken, our connection severed. This one, they confessed beautiful things looking at me with eyes like sand, my fingers trapped in his hair. It’s all been waiting for the blossoms to burst into fire. Time creeping along on little cat feet, giving me more reasons to be wanted. This is picking up the pieces I dropped a year ago, two years, three. If this is growing older, I like it. I’m better suited, pin stripe and today a historian stopped me in the street. This will sound ridiculous, but you’re like a chic version of a rich person from the middle ages.

    Sunday night, a group is getting together to go to Lady of the Camillas. 8pm at the Havana, tickets are either $15 or half price if you can pretend to remember the password, some long complicated word beginning with L.

    The picture framed in my closet used to be in a movie theater. I wonder if somehow metaphorically, it burned down this week. Unborn, our friend yelled at us. All of this wasn’t allowed, so instead we held our breath and closed our eyes. Nothing changed but perfect timing. It’s a little rescue.

    Tonight Jason, Jeff, and W. Stretch are hosting a gathering in New West, Benn Neufeld is finally having his house-warming over by Commercial and First, and the Work Less Party are having their Circus party down at the Maritime Centre. I’m going to attempt to hit as many of these as possible, armed with the knowledge that at each place are people visiting who I otherwise would never get to see before I leave. Burrow is up from the States for the Masque, for example, and this is the first time Benn has lived in civilized confines for something like a year. It’s now nine:fifteen. My clock says go.