Silence, the geography of detachment, so sympathetic, so absurdly bloody. There is no justice.

The Centrifuge Brain Project, by Till Nowak.
Also visit the homepage of the Institute for Centrifugal Research.


Our plan, once we had settled into the room, was to find our way to dinner then the Penn & Teller show at The Rio. Google Maps claimed it was twenty minutes away on foot. Rookie mistake, though, to walk anywhere off-strip. Simply making our way from our room to the street turned out to be our first challenge. Oh Google maps, if only your maps contained the inside of the labyrinthine buildings that make up the cold heart of Vegas, as well as the eerily simplistic grid it’s built upon! Second mistake was to try and cut through Ceaser’s Palace, which looked simple from the outside, but as all roads lead to Rome, so do all halls lead you in intricate twists designed to drag your wallet past as many opportunities to spend money as can be engineered by the human mind. Thirty minutes later it was a victory to find ourselves precisely where we started.

Things became easier once we were back outside, especially once the Rio came into view. The walk was ugly, a rough, isolating half hour along a gritty highway, but any concerns we may have had about finding the place were squashed as soon as could see around Ceaser’s Palace. The building is not quite as large as many of the megaliths, but for what it lacks in overwhelming scale, (and do not mistake me, the Rio could still dwarf almost any building in Vancouver), it makes up in pure, unhindered tacky glam neon straight out of Tron, with external, glass walled elevators and racing stripes of hot red and blue lights that run the entire height of the building. Also featured: a ten story poster advertising Penn & Teller. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so happy to see an advertisement in my life.

The theater was small, a simple black box set-up, with a plain wooden crate open on stage and a steady trickle of people walking up from the audience to inspect it. There was also an easel set up with an envelope on it, (pens provided to willing participants), the most traditional prop for a cold-reading trick. Penn stood to one side, playing jazz on an upright bass, riffing with a piano player who wore large plugs in the lobes of his ears and tattoos on both arms. It was unexpectedly casual. I liked it immediately and our seats were near perfect, centered in the room and close to the stage.

Absurd, political, sublime, or a prank, it didn’t matter, every trick was expertly executed with the same enviable dedication, the same graceful madness. It was an honor to be there, audience to masters of the craft.

we travel well together

The Sciences Sing a Lullabye
by Albert Goldbarth

Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.


I’ve spent almost an entire week out in White Rock, testing the waters at a new part-time job and trying to tidy a sense of order into the chaos we’ve created in the beige wasteland that is his townhouse. Colour, (both literal and metaphorical), arrived with me, (a red, cuddly throw blanket, an orange pair of denim pants, a smart red wool field blazer, striped sweaters for the trembling little dog), but also some mess, as my life and Robin’s are too different to effortlessly integrate. Left to me, I would transform this place into a sheik’s palace, all emerald green velvet pillows and hanging glass lanterns like teal gemstones, but instead I have been working to assimilate. I’ve been wearing bland clothing and brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush and learning to use an iPad casually, as if it’s perfectly natural to be holding such a tangible chunk of future in my hands.

So it continues. Today, for Valentine’s, we’re leaving for five days in Vegas. He booked it as a surprise trip, all I know for sure is that all of our evenings are booked, at least one night with Cirque and another with Penn & Teller.

seattle scenes

Wind tearing at my helmet, I let it pull my head back and up, as if hands were cradling me, and stare at the star rich sky sliding above my mother’s head as we thrum up the highway North. I know I’m likely cold, blood slowing and a chill setting in, but I can no longer feel it, I’ve been sitting perfectly still for too many hours. My body has fallen into stasis, it’s merely an organic part of the machine we’re riding, one hand locked around the passenger handle, the other braced on the gas-tank, motionless, and it has nothing to do with me. The only things that move are my eyes, as if the edges of my helmet are the edges of a screen and the stars are a hypnagogic film spun out of my memory.

“I’m sorry your girl left you. It’s hard, sometimes.” “This one was the special girl, I liked her even more than I liked sex with her.” “Though I don’t relate to some of the background there, I do understand. Want to know my sad-hearted secret?” “Sure.” “I knew he’d started seeing someone else, months ago, before anyone ever thought to tell me.” “How’s that work?” “He stopped writing me back.”

An old man three tables down keeps raising his tired voice to answer moments of our conversation. We are five slumped at a table which seats four, geek t-shirts and utili-kilts, politics, software, and video games, tired from dancing, hoping for food. Our perfect, tragic waitress, dark haired, pretty, looks over us to him, frowns, shakes her head, and puts the pad away as we order. “Don’t mind that,” the antique sound of a scratched phonograph, “How was your night?”. She’s a friend, warm, kind, and brings us extra whipped cream in the milkshake we split.

When the man stands up and shuffles past us to the back of the cafe, the dim light erases his face, so he seems made of darkness, only the shape of a man inside a worn thrift-store suit.

“thanks, I’ve been working out”

365 days seventy-four: getting better

From where I sit at my computer, I can lift my left arm up to point at the sky and directly impale the moon.

I came out of Seattle on the wings of swords, dizzy from lack of blood, thin with anemia, in love with long hair and laughter at three in the morning. How is it that we slept so little and said so much? Sheets stained, a hallway, dancing in the main room, ghosted in, refusing to exist for three days running, the colour of his hands in the sink. Revitalized, starving, everything blurring into a week of living out of town, trying to learn where all the streets joyfully go and how they knit together. Red like bricks, white like sheets, windows running, the darkness of a night-club, an arcade of easy decisions lain out to take, simply, delightfully, right.

Monday I arrived and Monday I left, a line on the calendar, traditional and far away, a sweet stretch of time, between an inhale of wind and exhale of sunshine, just long enough to remember what I want and how much of it I can create.

Back in September, the Brickhouse was crowded with loud, unexpected, off-season patrons, drinking while on their way to a club. The bartender glared at them as I took Mike past the main area, the 70’s upholstered couches cluttered with shaggy pillows, a short row of inaccurate pool tables, to the close seats lining the back where our group generally collects. There’s a Ms. Pacman there and murky fishtanks in-set into the wall full of dubious looking fish we always feel mutely sorry for.


I could see the taxis had been quicker, already our friends were there, a pitcher of dark beer resting on every table. Our evening, as the only people who didn’t smoke, the two playing accordion with language, slid from them into late dinner at a Pho place that played porn on a small television in the back next to a table of beat-boxing Korean boys. Laughter, neon, mirrors along every wall. With dawn threatening, the clock reading older: “Where are you staying?” “Nowhere yet.” “So what you mean to say is that you’re staying with me.” Four hours in a bed together before working up to the common revelation we call a kiss. He looked at me like a child who’s seen something truly marvelous, like the astonishing miracle of a talking sock. I felt like a gift, a treasure worth having, a lesson learned well enough to speak a new language, which was an old language, which was exactly a story waiting to bend itself to fit the confines of my personal mythology as well as my bed.

Seattle, where we met-went next, as architecture, as a patch-work of memories I am beginning to sew from day to day. This is where I took a picture of a walk/don’t walk sign, next to where someone grinned and played the rake, taller, thin, dry, not as everything as I knew before, but better, improved. This is where I stood for the bus that took me to Ballard, where the streets are paved in brick, Norwegian History, a story of a dead son, an Italian dinner, and the sound of back-stage banter at the Tractor, “give me your hand”, climbing the fence and staring down at Nicole as she argued with the buttons of my camera, as I wore Mike’s hat and smiled as if the expression were newly minted just for me. How everywhere is named the spot or the dot or the spatter, from sex clubs to breakfast places to all night diners, dark, noisy, crowded, and low. Dancing all night, walking past another day, sitting on the floor of the beating heart of the downtown library, knowing which bus route will take me back up the hill. Refusing to use anything but his full name, two syllables, originating in Hebrew, meaning “he will add”.

365 days seventy-eight: what happens at half ten?

Who was that naked in the fountain? It’s doubtful we’ll ever know, but it is a friend os the family who lives in the pink house basement a block away from the full force impact of forgetting how beautiful his eyes can be, I’ve never seen him need such a shave, December could never be so far away as this moment here, again recognizing my lover and finally feeling my heart breathe.

I am meshing with the city, overlaying memory with memory – a hotel, how strange, sleepless long nights, better than last time, the changes in my life forcing me into a little more. This time with friends, watching my ties as they grow, thrusting roots into the unknown pattern of streets. Eyes stinging from the water as the stars walk by, lights I can’t even pretend to see. Blind. Sitting in a car in a parking lot, realizing that I’m apparently talking to a Jewish martial arts expert composer who runs a store where everything sold is purple and thinking that’s entirely normal and more than a little bit okay. Obviously. Evident like walking through snow, the shape of movement imprinting in the weather. Fire in a room, the shivering unlikely, improbable, and unexpectedly matched up like polarized film. Collected moments accruing into a future avalanche, an altar to where we’re all be next year.

It was nice to meet you, I hope to see you again. With love, and everything else the heart needs around. Knee deep.

as whitewashed as I can make it..

I was approximately four years old when my parents became involved with another woman, Sarina. My clearest memories of her involve cigarettes, dark hair, and a lean, shrewish voice. As the story goes, she met my mad father at a bar and found him interesting enough to follow home, pretending that her car had coincidentally broken down in front of our house. Apparently, somehow, this worked. She moved in soon after, bringing with her two little children – Daniel, age three, and Brianna, age two – from her marriage to another man. It was unexpected. Suddenly, not only did I have another mother, I had young siblings, the first children I had ever encountered.

All three of us were incredibly blonde. We were thin kids, the sort with exceedingly clever hands that like to climb bookshelves and get in behind furniture. (Once, in a fit of crackling genius, we gave Brianna a safety-scissors haircut coloured with our favourite smelly markers.). In the few photographs that survive, we look unquestionably related. It wasn’t official, however, until our parent’s decision to have children together – Robin in January then Blake in September.

My mother left soon after, young, worn, and tired, taking Robin and I with her. We moved out, (really it was more of a midnight raid as we ran away, with Daniel helping me out of the bedroom window), and settled into a nice apartment on the Drive above Nick’s spaghetti house. Silva lived across the hall, I began going to school. Life continued. Very rarely did I see that branch of family after we left. Not only did they move every year, Sarina became increasingly difficult, systemically explaining to we-the-children that everything we lived had been delirious make-believe, even to the point of raising Blake with a fictional name. Eventually, they became impossible to find. Vancouver Island swallowed them whole.

All of this was so long ago that I never expected any of them to remember – Blake certainly couldn’t, he was a tiny baby, maybe three years old the last time I saw him, and Daniel and Brianna had likely been quite thoroughly brain-washed by their unappealing mother – but I continued to hope I would find them again. Vancouver Island is vast, but population small, and Blake’s birth certificate, after all, had my father’s name on it. One day, eventually, he would need it, if only to apply for a driver’s license.

It turned out, however, that Blake found out he had a different father when he was seven years old. He and our sister Brianna were having an argument, and she burst out, in perfect cliché, “He’s not even your REAL daddy!” Way to go, girl. (Last time I saw her, she was extolling, very seriously, the various merits of My Little Ponies). From there, the facts began to trickle in. His false name was discarded when his CareCard came, (“My middle name isn’t James?”), and when that foretold moment with the Birth Certificate happened when he was sixteen, his mother threw a fit, refusing to tell him anything or sign anything until he legally changed his name from Holmes. Apparently it was a bit of a drag down war, complete with shouting matches and threats of cutting him from the will. Being a smart kid, however, he simply waited out three years and applied again when he was nineteen. At that, his mother, not relenting, but simply giving up, finally told him of my existence. That was six months ago.

Next time he was in town, he looked me up on-line in the phonebook. And that, my friends, brings us to yesterday. Tah-fiddle-dah. My long lost brother returned, remarkably undamaged and notably sane. I’m proud of him for struggling through our dubious genetic heritage, our intensely unstable parentage, and his obviously isolated upbringing. He could have gone away and come back a deeply unpleasant individual, but he didn’t. Apparently none of them did. I’m told our brother Daniel is currently scuba-diving in Thailand and our sister Brianna is living in Sweden with family. I never would have guessed.

(meant to post this yesterday)

Sanctuary! Tonight! Dress in black!

Come help my brother Robin celebrate being old enough for “going to clubs and picking up chicks”!

He turned 19 on January 29th, so I’m taking him to where I think he has a chance at fufilling his birthday wish – goth night. Not only will his dancing fit in, it will be too loud for him to successfully talk about D&D! Exclamation mark!

because the words going around are already highly ficticious

the fighting irish
the fighting irish
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

Lately it’s come to my attention that there are more lurkers here than I can account for. As well, as of earlier this month, there were more than 300 LJ users who have me on their friends lists. That’s thirty decareaders. I think it’s about damned time for you to explain yourselves. Yes, this means you:

1. Who are you and why?
2. (bonus) Recommend some music that you think I would enjoy.

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Shock! Scandal! Two Irish brothers were caught fighting at the Burnaby 8-Rinks Sunday night, firmly damaging reputations and causing at least thirteen dollars worth of rumours. Mike McDonald and Daimhin O’Dwyer, witnesses confirmed, began to brawl upon the realization that they had both been sleeping with the same girl. The fight was abandoned briefly as a brave young woman, Sophie Isbister, stepped in and declared a truce. However, the fighting began again only a few minutes later, culminating only when one boy dragged the other over the side wall of the rink head first. Staff completely ignored the entire matter.

  • 16-year-old studies journalism, then runs away to Iraq alone,

    Rick and Sophie are asleep in my bed like Jack Spratt and his feverish wife snoring like a pair of adorable kittens. I love them both with the same careless affection, but I’ve been staying up too late lately to go to bed just yet. I’ll join them eventually. First the planet has to rotate a bit. I admit, though, the bed looks terribly welcoming. There’s an inviting heap of extra blankets, because Sophie is mildly ill, with a space on the edge set aside for me to slot into. Already I can feel the body heat radiating off them that’s fogging my windows. A new sensation, but as I’m an old-fashioned girl, warming my room with bodies strikes me as appropriate for winter.

    Not that January is cold here, far from it. Vancouver, recently, has been embalmed in a strangely humid spat of warm rainy weather. The constant cloudy skies have been trapping the earth’s energy and not releasing it until night is well fallen. It’s almost irritating as I remember the clear, crisp, and certain winter of Montreal. No waffling seasons there, but clearly delineated passing of time. I love dearly how the trees there have no leaves.

  • Ignoring UK ban, bloggers publish leaked torture memos.

    Reports from the hospital confirm bruised egos, but no one in critical condition. The current prognosis is hopeful. It is expected the rift opened between the two contestants will repair itself in the next few days, as they are currently to be found fiercely debating the politics of drinking Guiness for dinner and haggling over the price of the shepard’s pie to be found in the cafeteria. News about the girl is not as good, nurses tell, her belly having shaken with laughter magnitude of 5.9. She may require the resulting stitches be extracted from her body, but this has yet to be confirmed at the time of publishing.

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    I have been continually reminding myself that I have to gather Robin up after school tomorrow/today and explain to him where Academie Duello has moved. He’s been slack lately, claiming location ignorance as a reason not to go to his classes. I’ve never been, but I know where it is. It’s now housed in an odd part of downtown, busy yet not particularly thought about, kitty-corner to SFU campus and on top of Waves coffeeshop, the only 24 place with free wireless. I’ve been going over routes in my mind, trying to think of how to show him how to find it from as many directions as I can muster. What buses pass by, what skytrain stations are closest, what streets should he avoid? I have to factor in that Duello is close to Crackton now and Robin is not known for his keen instincts. The junkies wander far enough west that he’s going to encounter them. I’m wondering if I should be teaching him how to notice them too, as well as the landmarks and which way is north. He’s my only source of income at the moment, if he’s grounded due to sheer empty-headedness, I suddenly won’t be able to afford to pay my way. That would be bad. A lesson in How To Tell If The Homeless Are Dangerous is fomenting as I type this, can you tell? Envision something like a cynical Far Side cartoon featuring a city awash in drug culture and you have the basic seed of the idea. Let’s hope that he never has any practical application to apply it to.

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  • Faerie Wings & Playland

    Value Village has begun it’s halloweening! REJOICE!!

    Stripey stockings are $6 and are all colours. (I got the purple ones). Knee high stripey socks too. (Knee highs come in black velvet as well as colourful stripes).
    There are also beautiful fairy wings, (also purple), for $8.
    I’m totally going to stock up.

    I brought home Violet Stockings and a pair of wings.

    Is it just me or are all the best bits of clothing available only when the shops are halloweening?


    Went to Playland yesterday with m’Love, the roomate, and two of the brothers. I wouldn’t bring the youngest. Horrid thing should be shot in the foot. No. Wait. Then he’d actually have something to complain about. Blah.

    Anyhoo – unbelievable! $170 to getr us all in + four ride passes!!!
    When did the prices jump? Last time I went, entry was $6 and a pass was $20, now it’s $10 and $40!! FORTY?? Berloody hell. (A scary moment – realizing just how many people looked as if this is just what they do on the weekend).

    The rollarcoaster was wonderful as always. M’love had never been on one before, so it made it that much more special. *happywarmth* After that though, we made the mistake on going on a terrible ride. Everyone got quite ill after riding it – not enough speed to cancel out the carsick feeling. That took us out of commision for about an hour, but really, so did the lineups. (Including the one for the bathroom).

    After that, we split up. Marchall with Cale to go see the Monster Trucks, Bill and I with Robin. We headed for the bumpercars, then gace Robin money to win toys with while we waited for the mad mouse. Talking in the lineups about the people that died on it when a car shot off the top of the track. Does anyone remember how long ago that was?

    After leaving Robin to the numbing pleasures of the arcade, we sneaked off to the haunted house. I think we were a bit of a dissapointment to the actors inside. *grins* Wandering around placidly through crashes and bangs and people jumping out from the walls. We examined thier costumes while they tried to menace us. Poor things. *laughter* At one point we came upon a girl and her boy, afraid and lost, she was refusing to enter the pitchblack hallway. I took her by the waist and told her I wasn’t going to let go, just come along now, there’s nothing here but the dark, I’ve got you, and led her around the corner to light. I felt like a hero for two point five seconds.

    My first haunted house… The hearses were pretty.

    We met up after that, deciding to logride. Longest line-up so far. An hour we stood or tried to sit. Evil. If there were a gaurantee that the ride were to be as long as the wait, I would have gladly endured it, but as it was, it was the beginning of the end.

    The swings were next, with Marshall hitting on any available female. Telling them that I was just a roomate and that my lover is 20 years older than me just to play thier disgusted reactions. Hah. Glad I caught him out on that one. Bill vaulted to fencing just in time to join us. Better than flying are the swings at the fair.

    And that was it. Time was pressing, darkness had fallen, and it was the when to go. On the way out I bought M’Love a dragon. It’s a goofy little thing, but it commemorates the day in a way that ticket stubs can’t quite capture.