Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ruminations on a chilly spring day

I'm sitting downtown Toronto, waiting on my nightclass. I leave hideously early now, hours before I need to be here. You can thank the TTC for that. I've been trapped underground or caught out on the other side of the city far too often. And quite frankly, I don't like the thoughts of having to shuttle bus it downtown ever again. Ever been on a rush hour shuttle bus? A sardine tin would be far more pleasant.  Think "only when hell freezes over".  

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Lurking on McCaul Street where even the graffiti is cool

Beautiful day here in Toronto. Finally a few days of sustained warmth and sunshine. I've been lurking down around Queen and MotorMcCaul in the downtown area. Great place to sit and enjoy the sideshow called humanity.  Canadians can't make up their minds about what to wear. But here's a tip - if it's warm enough to put on shorts, then leave the mukluks and parkas at home.

 I was over at Above Ground Art Supplies at their Big Tent sale fondling the art supplies. It's always fun. And yes, I do drool over pencils and paper stock. Didn't pick anything up this time, seemed like an aweful lot of effort would be needed to decide what to buy. Ended up wandering along the street taking random photos of random stuff. Just finished looking at them and well, let's just say, it's a good thing I don't have to pay to develop pictures.  I think for every 100 photos I take, about 3 are worth keeping.

Read more: Lurking on McCaul Street where even the graffiti is cool

Brutal modernity at Eglinton and Yonge Toronto

I was up around the Yonge Eglinton (in Toronto) area recently and popped into the mall. The area is the site of major construction, has been for a while now. The design trolls have been working their peculiar talents on the inside of the Centre for a few years, giving it a facelift. The inside scaffolding came down a few months ago and I keep returning, hoping they haven't finished with the décor.

However …

… I seem to be wrong.

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Of bananas, books and migraine aphasia

I've been sitting here contemplating my migraine for a while now . It's one of those nagging pains complete with odd visual distortions and facial numbness. This winter has not been kind to migraine sufferers. The erratic weather has played havoc with our little heads.

The really irritating thing about migraines - other than the pain that makes me want to bank my head on the desk repeatedly until I no longer feel the fucking migraine - it it's effect on my ability to speak. I can often work through the pain, unless it gets to a certain degree where I crawl into bed whimpering. The thing that causes most distress is the sensation someone has taken a huge stick and stirred through my brain, scrambling my word centre.

Read more: Of bananas, books and migraine aphasia

NFB's Norman McLaren - La Poulette Grise

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Norman McLaren's contribution to film and art in Canada. It was fun rediscovering him after so many years.   I originally planned to post something about Hen Hop, but stumbled across another work I had completely forgotten about.

La Poulette Grise is a masterpiece of grace and beauty. McLaren drew each frame by hand, in pastels, creating a gentle and ethereal visual. The film runs for 5min 33 seconds and took 3 weeks to draw. What is extraordinary is HOW he did it. Each frame was painstakingly drawn and photographed on the same board. Yes, the entire film was done on one canvas. McLaren would create a frame, photograph it, make changes to the same drawing, photograph it, repeat until he had sequenced the entire film. It's staggering to image working this way. No backups, no redos,  one chance to get it right.

Renowned Acadian contralto, composer and teacher Anna Malenfant provided the charming soundtrack.

La poulette grise by Norman McLaren, National Film Board of Canada

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"Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life."

- Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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