Friday, June 25, 2010

hey there

I surprise myself with how upbeat this drawing is. It's not the way I imagined it would be but I am happy it turned out like this. I am not in a cage, by the way. That's the way our kitchen is shaped on that side.

It is a year to the day since I lost full-time employment. The day was both harder and easier than I thought it would be.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

run on sentences and thoughts

A friend just gave me a biography of Saint-Exupery. He's another of those blokes (see my notes on William Stringfellow), who captures my imagination and runs with it - even though I do not know very much about him beyond the wonders contained in The Little Prince.

This is my most recent notebook page, which shows a fair bit of what I have been reading, though not what I have been thinking about, which is maybe not that much. Happy messiness - hopefully ideas come out of that.

This was my attempt to get a look at Joe Sacco - I am just about an eighth of the way into Footnotes in Gaza, which is another of those comic books that blows my mind, in its immediate subject matter and in what it says about the comic as a medium that can deal with any idea, story, or history that the artist turns his/her hand to. Strangely, this drawing looks a bit more like me stressing out over my approaching unemployment anniversary than it does like Sacco in the original. I am projecting.

BASS ACKWARDS Deleted Alpaca Scene from Linas Phillips on Vimeo.

And I just watched the film from which this scene was deleted. I had some trepidation as I started watching but absolutely love Bass Ackwards. I think Linas Phillips is a kind-hearted visionary genius. I assume it is all his own story, in some way, but the film is no less a marvel for that. The alpacas are for the LP, of course.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

happy birthday

Aung San Suu Kyi turns 65 today. There's a nice feature at the Guardian on some newly released photos.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

messier pages

The messier pages seem healthier somehow - indicative of a bit more brain activity, even. Though I don't think William Stringfellow ever looked quite the way he does here.

'Doesn't everything die at last and too soon ?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?'
Mary Oliver

Mary, I don't have a satisfying answer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

unwritten future

I just took a wee trip myself - nothing like this but an adventure all the same - to reconnect with a friend I had not seen in 14 years and to meet his family. I am so glad I went. Fresh perspectives. A welcome break. Life outside the city.

180 South - OFFICIAL Teaser - Woodshed Films from vas entertainment on Vimeo.

The official 180 South website is right there.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

'makes me want to save people'

Great article on Whitman in the NYRB. This is probably everything I now know about him. Did Leaves of Grass really come from nowhere? Really?

Also, from elsewhere, this, which is sitting next to the Stephen Fry interview in the jumble on my mental desk:

The thing is, I really like saying yes. I like new things, projects, plans, getting people together and doing something, trying something, even when it’s corny or stupid. I am not good at saying no. And I do not get along with people who say no. When you die, and it really could be this afternoon, under the same bus wheels I’ll stick my head if need be, you will not be happy about having said no. You will be kicking your ass about all the no’s you’ve said. No to that opportunity, or no to that trip to Nova Scotia or no to that night out, or no to that project or no to that person who wants to be naked with you but you worry about what your friends will say.

No is for wimps. No is for pussies. No is to live small and embittered, cherishing the opportunities you missed because they might have sent the wrong message.

What matters is that you do good work. What matters is that you produce things that are true and will stand. What matters is that the Flaming Lips’s new album is ravishing and I’ve listened to it a thousand times already, sometimes for days on end, and it enriches me and makes me want to save people. What matters is that it will stand forever, long after any narrow-hearted curmudgeons have forgotten their appearance on goddamn 90210. What matters is not the perception, nor the fashion, not who’s up and who’s down, but what someone has done and if they meant it. What matters is that you want to see and make and do, on as grand a scale as you want, regardless of what the tiny voices of tiny people say. Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.

Excerpted from a Dave Eggers interview available in full here. Hat tip here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

back to basics

I have had a few unhappy drawing days. Not drawing what I see. So, I decided to go back to household objects and the like. To practice looking at what is in front of me, which was part of the original drive behind having a go at drawing.

Our phone has been quite dodgy for some time. A crackly line, which may/may not be causing intermittent internet connection. Communication in my life generally is not all that clear at the moment. I'm not hearing or responding to what people are saying as well as I want to.

For the phone, we finally reached the point where we established that the problem, for the most part, seems to lie in the physical object (not the line). So, time to get a new model. I think it will need to be the most basic version imaginable. Rotary dial (only kidding). Can phones be recycled?

We'll see if this helps me into a new era of much needed communication.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

'love lubricated by humour'

I do like Stephen Fry.

'The Dalai Lama seems rather charming.'

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

making food visible

Michael Pollan's NYRB article, which I like very much, is here.

unyeasted bread recipe

This is the recipe I used yesterday, which is adapted from The Tassajara Bread Book.

I mixed together 3 and a half cups of flour with about 1 and three-quarter cups of water and a half tablespoon of salt. Keep mixing, and adding a bit of flour and water as needed to get a satisfactorily doughy mixture. Turn this out onto a very well floured surface. The recipe calls for kneading the dough 300 times. I'd say go even further if you feel so inclined, adding a dusting of flour whenever the dough begins to stick to the surface. When you finish kneading you should have a shiny doughball.

Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a wet towel. Leave it for at least 12 hours (the longer the better, I think, up to 24 hours).

Then knead it 100 more times.

Place on an oiled pan (I used some olive oil). I think putting it in a loaf plan definitely helped (the bread had less room to spread out and rose noticeably). Leave the pan somewhere warm for four hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then bake at 400 degrees for around 45 minutes (I baked for an hour at this stage and it was too long, I think).

Remove from oven and eat.

Let me know how it turns out.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


With great trepidation, I decided to try making some bread without yeast. It really is just flour, water and salt. The recipe said things like, knead 300 times (count 'em). I followed it scrupulously, counting all the way. Not having the courage of my convictions, after its initial twelve hour rest I put it in a flat pan.

Two hours later (half way through its second rest) it had spread to fill the pan but had not risen.

Heart in my mouth, I decided to transfer it to a loaf tin in hopes of encouraging some rising up. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

But lo, 2 and a bit hours later it had definitely risen. And look...

...a bubble of hope. Air. This is what uncooked bread is meant to look like.

30 minutes at 350 degrees later.

Looks like a loaf of bread. More hope.

After an hour at 400 degrees it looks even more like a loaf of bread. But feels like a brick. I cut. My heart in my mouth again.

It is very crusty but (yes, oh yes) it tastes like bread. Like good bread. Nutty, almost. It could use more salt but that is easily rectified. Bread. Hooray.

So I feel happy about the bread. Like this, maybe, for right now. I love David Rawlings' glee in this video - he can hardly wait to start the song. And it is an amazing rendition of the song. Gillian Welch is delightfully indulgent. It is all wonderful