Tuesday, July 29, 2008


entering the plains of abraham



andre and i drove out to quebec city for the free paul mccartney concert that he put on to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the city.

after recuperating from a 10 hour drive, we explored the city and small neighbouring cities for a day and half before the concert. quebec city is so charming! and the locals are patient enough to hear us muddle our way through ordering and small talking en français.

for the concert, andre and i agreed that we would be happy just to see paul (yes, we are on a first name basis!) as a speck on a stage from far away. so when we entered the plains of abraham we walked right to the hills away from the crowds... not that there weren't any crowds on the hills either!

the concert, even from farther back, was so awesome! paul sang for 2.5 hours straight and surprisingly his set list was comprised of a lot of beatles songs. i was an immensely happy beatles fan. i was also touched when paul dedicated a song to linda, and sang 'something' for george and a 'day in the life' and 'give peace a chance' medley for john.

paul has temporarily usurped george's title as my favourite beatle :)

more photos from quebec coming soon! with a move and a new baby (andre is an uncle now!), things have been very hectic, but also very exciting.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

worth remembering

overheard in a mango fitting room:

girl no. 1: i want to get a tattoo of a paintbrush. probably behind my ear.

girl no. 2: really?? wow, what if you get bored of it? and why a paintbrush?

girl no. 1: no, i wouldn't get bored of it. you know, i always end up listening to the same rubbish music on the radio or whatever, just cuz i'm too lazy to find anything good. and sometimes when i actually take the time to find an old cd or i happen to listen to a band i really love and used to listen to a lot, i just think, WOW, why do i spend all my time listening to rubbish when there's such great music out there, ya know?

girl no. 2: yah, sure.

girl no. 1: and then i try really hard to remember to take the time to listen to stuff i really like and to find new stuff that's good. and i feel that way about painting. i spend so much time doing nothing, i really don't know where the time goes. so instead of watching rubbish tv or wasting my time some other way, i want to spend more time painting and drawing, because i really do love it! that's why i want to get a tattoo of a paintbrush – maybe it'll help to remind me to keep painting.

thought-to-self: hmm, not a bad idea! too bad the tattoo will be behind her ear, so she won't really ever get to see it... nevertheless, i applaud the sentiment. and i know exactly what she means.

photo: ugly doll and totoro watching rubbish tv. they're a very bad influence.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

a year without oil

another great documentary from the more 4 lineup. filmmaker / father john webster decides to go a year without oil to see how much of a difference one family in finland can make.

their "oil diet" means giving up the car for the bus (including when they're grocery shopping, taking the kids to school, etc), rowing their motor boat across the lake (rather than actually using the motor), and taking trains for holidays rather than flying. but the most challenging rule the father has laid down (without negotiation with his partner -- gasp horror!) is that they are not allowed to buy any new plastic, a heavily oil-based product. that means no food wrapped in plastic, no shampoo (they make their own), no make up, not even toilet paper (the mom rejoices when she finds an industrial supplier selling public-bathroom-sized mega rolls, unwrapped).

fascinating dynamics between the parents and the family as a whole -- the wife who tries to temper her husband's idealism with common sense (she occassionally refers to him as a "dictator"), and the kids who don't particularly care for the home-made toothpaste (no plastic!) but otherwise ambivalently humour their father and his experiment. as much as the family learns about cutting waste in their household, i think there is also the message that idealism -- no matter how well-intended -- never leads to a perfect solution, just a work-in-progress.

i was reading an article recently about innocent drinks -- a smoothie company that prides itself on its "innocent" ingredients and ethical policies. they were researching whether it would be better to supply their small individual smoothies in plastic, or in an alternative, such as highly-recyclable glass. turns out the u.k. market only recycles a tiny amount of glass containers (i think it was something like 25% or less -- there's no deposit charged on bottles so no one bothers recycling them) and so the garbage that would have been produced as well as the extra oil consumed in transport of the heavier bottles would have been more wasteful than using 100% recycled plastic bottles.

maybe a bit of marketing mumbo-jumbo, and world economies and environmental sciences are more complex than i could ever possibly comprehend -- but i do think there are lots of things we can easily do everyday that are far less painful than one would imagine. for example, most of the people i know here don't own a tumble dryer (no space). since moving to london three and a half years ago, i've hung-dry all my laundry out of necessity -- and actually it's not the huge inconvenience i imagined it would be. and i think the family in the documentary comes to a similar conclusion. as the mom says after the oil-diet-year is over, it's like they've inherited another member of the family, one that must not be forgotten and that they must take care of at all times.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

dr. sketchy's anti-art school

1 min and 5 min drawings

andre's sketches
andre's drawings

finally!! i made it to a dr. sketchy's session. orginally started by molly crabapple in nyc, dr. sketchy's is an alterna life-drawing class where models are usually burlesque or exotic dancers and the sessions have wacky contests for prizes. sessions are usually held in bars so you can drink and draw!

i was intrigued when a few of my favourite artists talked about attending dr. sketchy sessions in the states. and needless to say, very excited when one started in toronto.

it was a fun 3 hour drawing session, especially since andre came out. (we made up for all the evil glares and mean jabs we made to each other back in our high school art class.) dom rounded out our trio and some of our sketches were done on old time cards that i found outside a restaurant 2 years ago (the bag of time cards probably weighed 30 lbs and lugged it home on a route that was probably about 3 kms).

our model for the night was laura selenzi, a belly dancer with gorgeous costumes.

andre and i have decided to attend regularly. i'll definitely be there if they can bring back past models like coco framboise or mina lafleur (her resemblance to dita von tesse is uncanny!).

Friday, July 11, 2008

june lillies
we've had a very vancouver summer so far in toronto. june brought a lot of rain, which seemed to bug a lot of people, but kept me quite happy. all the precipitation keeps the city lush and relatively clean. the grass is still green and not dried up and brown compared to this time last year!

in two weeks we will leave our condo lifestyle and move into our house! i'm a bit nervous but also very excited.

maybe because of the doom and gloom reports about our economy and the housing market, but since we listed and sold our unit, 4 other units have listed and 2 have sold in our building. i guess everybody is cashing in before the impending housing market crash.

in the meantime, andre and i will be heading over to québec city to celebrate Le 400e anniversaire de la ville de Québec! paul mccartney is going to perform for free on the plains of abraham. i'm hoping he'll play more beatles and less wings, but i'll take anything (even ebony and ivory)! it's paul mccartney after all a living legend.

Friday, July 4, 2008

illo-friday topic: fierce