You are here: fawny.org > «Blog personnel» > Archives > May 2000 and earlier
November – October – September – August – July – June
I use computers and I have read comics, but I am loath even to admit that combination lest you immediately conjure a stereotype.
Nonetheless, I bumped into William.cx last night and we ended up chatting about graphic novels. My question was: Whom would we cast as V in V for Vendetta? (See the three links William dug up for that seminal novel of espionage, totalitarianism, and revenge in the ’40s: 1, 2, 3.) This is a book with an entire site dedicated to annotations, resolved down to portions of a frame. It’s as nonstupid as Maus, which I admit started me off ten years ago.
While sitting at the local café – Umberto Eco:
The Anglo-Saxon cybercafé is a peep-show experience because the Anglo-Saxon bar is a place where people go to nurse their own solitude in the company of others. In New York, you might say “Hi – lovely day!” to the person on the next barstool – but then you go back to brooding over the woman who just left you.
– and at the Toolbox later, I drew up a prioritized list of A-, B-, and C-tier possibilities.
V is a challenging role. I think he is male; in fact, that case is incontrovertible as far as I’m concerned. The face is never seen, concealed at all times behind a series of masks. In drawings, he is tall and slender. Thus, in casting the role, we resort to physical types first. (Casting according to physical types is valid, at least at the initial analysis.)
There’s also a degree of androgyny, and long black hair. But it is an androgyny that conceals an ability to inflict instant ultraviolence, making V unlike any androgyne I’ve ever seen.
Toronto bloggeur f2f3 was endured on Saturday. One thinks of the economics concept diminishing marginal utility. “Do you know what antibodies are?” As if any urban homosexualist anywhere in the Western world couldn’t sit you down and give you a 30-minute lecture on immunology. Don’t hold your breaths for f2f4.
Last week I headed out, with high hopes (will I ever learn?), to the “draw party” of the Toronto Homosexualist Tennis Association. Mick the stunning redhead, seen on the cover of Fab (photo no longer online), cemented my impression that gay tennis seems to attract dreamboats. (I know of two others.) Held in a glorified tent in the middle of nowhere on the waterfront, I entered, wearing bicyle helmet Sgt. Rock–style, looked around for 60 seconds, gagged on the odours of overspiced meat and sharp cheap Parmesan, observed no redheads, attracted ungenerous glances, and got the [expletive] out of there.
Man, tennis fags are bourgeois.
I took in Tom Waugh’s lecture on physique photography and film before Stonewall on Saturday night (see Gay Sports Media Roundup, itself a blog), said hello to one or two souls, and again found myself watching clumps of fabulous people milling around talking amiably amongst one another. I remember being 14 and doing this. Watching other people enjoy themselves, be part of society. Worst example of all was attending the 9:00 show of Cat People, seated on the only chair with my coat on my lap as beautiful couples – as beautiful as they get in the inbred province that they forgot to close down – whooped it up during their night on the town.
I walked through Woody’s and was actually stared at. I assume it was due to the hat, and also the Mississauga Girls Hockey jacket. No one I fancied who didn’t already work there. (What a casting couch that heterosexualist Alex Korn must have! [History.])
Inevitably, but manfully, I penetrated the Black Eagle. Out on the patio, a young black guy, possibly homeless, rubbed his crotch non-stop. I manœuvred over for a better look. A man in a lumberjacket walked past, settling in the now-fearfully-illuminated barbecue area. I sat back down.
Glancing at Mr. Lumberjacket, I had an instantaneous multiphasic experience. I saw him and there was a little flash, like an hallucination, or being half-awake and dreaming. Wow. I noticed the eyelashes. He’s not red-haired. These aren’t fawny eyelashes. He’s far away, like four metres. He notices me but looks down, eventually walks away, sits on the central raised bench.
I’m still trying to figure out what happened. It’s like I got whacked in the head. That happened to me once. I hung around after school to show “team spirit” with whatever the sportsd00dz were doing. Everyone else in the bleachers was heckling fluently (as part of the club, they knew the vernacular), and the closest I could come was reiterating a line from Mad: “Show us your bellybutton!” WHACK went the books on the top of my head from a guy behind me, who for good measure told me to shut up. There was a brief discontinuity in time, a dropout in the cassette tape. Just a second. Like power half-cutting out for one and a half blinks of an eye. That feeling.
That feeling. That’s what I got from the man. I kept saying to myself, Wow. He’s beautiful. But I hadn’t quite seen him. I could detect a good nose and the eyelashes really were pretty long, but I had nothing to go on, so what the fuck? The word “aura” kept coming to mind and I kept shutting it down. My mental dialectic doesn’t work that way. Usually.
I figured I had offended him. I do that a lot. The young black guy got old fast. I headed for home. I figured I’d stay eyes-front as I passed the lumberjacket. Better not cause any more trouble.
He calls out to me. Hey. Hey. I note his left arm, in a cast. What’d you do? Oh, it was stupid. I was bicycling and I had my T-shirt wrapped around the handlebars, and it got caught in the brakes, and.... I reached over and tapped it. Hey, careful. It turned out to be a bandage, except on the underside, where a fiberglas splint was incorporated.
I sat down.
We got to talking. He broke the radial head, he told me, taking my arm and expertly feeling around to illustrate exactly where. I know where the radius and ulna are, I say, for once without condescension. He’ll be better in about six weeks, apparently.
I say: I’ve read that you can avoid breaking your collarbone if you don’t brace yourself when you fall. It like transmits the force to the collarbone. Apparently if you roll with it, you stand less of a chance. But you have to be Jackie Chan to do that.
Yeah, he says. Here I am all Buddha, but I don’t think I could manage that.
Ohh-kaaay. We kept talking. It’s not the worst thing that’s happened to me, he says.
Well, what’s the one-sentence version of some of the other things that’ve happened to you? I wasn’t about to let that hang. He got beaten up by a couple of gangs at age 19. Some were charged (and some went on to commit murder a few years later), but he’s still not exactly replete with forgiveness. Despite being all Buddha, sometimes he feels like beating the shit out of them in return. (I’m paraphrasing and rounding up a little.)
Budda. I thought of my former friend, a major Buddhist. (Other mention.) I was glad the guy was honest. Forgiveness is the highest human calling. Few of us are up to it. What’s the most impressive and shocking scene in the television series Oz? Not what you think. It’s a gang member’s mother telling her son’s killer I forgive you with all my heart.
(Minutes earlier, just as I’d walked by, the black guy had come over and groped my chest. I pushed his arm away and he buggered off. He’s lucky he didn’t get a flat nose, I said, surprising myself at uttering anything resembling a violent remark, a perennial taboo.)
He was in town to see and engage in Buddhist practices with a high-ranking rinpoche. Ah. In town.
These thoughts were just make-work projects to keep me from spending every second marveling at the multiphasic experiences I was having every five seconds, where I kept reciting to myself Wow. He’s beautiful. Black hair, baseball cap, beard, work pants, boots, lumberjacket, excellent nose and (yes) lashes, and eyes. And he’s 41. And lives in the country. I immediately thought (and said) “with your boyfriend,” but apparently not at present.
He got me to scratch his right shoulder blade, which he couldn’t reach with his gimp arm or with his good one. I had scooted six inches closer. Guys walking by were looking at us.
I got his name: Roy. A good manly name. And handshake.
But enough about me, Roy eventually said in so many words. Tell me about Joe. I really couldn’t. While I was fading in and out of the space-time continuum, Roy had gone into great detail about his plans to trek through Tibet for an ultimate audience with “His Holiness the Dalai Lama.” We did some Tibet shop-talking – I mentioned my former Tibetan neighbours, the documentary I’d seen on Tibetans in Canada and how moving and just I found their cause. Roy was concerned his gimp arm would make it impossible to carry his load on the hike. Well, you’ll carry 50% of the load, I told him. And anyway, it’s not till July. Your arm will be better by then.
Some impulse had me taking my hat off and putting it back on. I usually keep it locked in place. Roy reaches up and starts rubbing the crook of his thumb and forefinger along my neck and head, back to front, bottom to top. So help me Christ, when he touched me without warning, I got a zap. Not static electricity. None of that objectivist Amazing Randi debunking shit. He was just rubbing my head, trying to get me to let my head fall all the way forward (it mostly was), messing up what passes for my hair. I couldn’t see anything but knew every eye in the bar was on us.
Roy kept yammering about his journey of inner discovery, mentioning self-help-style books and therapy. I’m skeptical of these things. A couple of times he returned, with Canadian politeness if not conviction, to me. But what could I tell him?
I don’t know what to say. Compared to you, I’m way more chaotic. Things are very much up in the air. (I explained what things and why. Too sensitive to write on a public blog.) I would start a sentence and pause for five seconds while I debated whether it was worth it to keep talking, since I would end up sounding like someone situated on a lower rung on the evolutionary ladder, which is what I eventually said.
And: I told him about looking at him in the clean well-lighted area, figuring I’d offended him. No, the black guy had. I don’t know what’s going on. I got a zap when you touched me. (I didn’t mention the aura, settling on an allusion.)
He went to take a leak, returned, stood in front of me. You’re standing, I said, reading things as accurately as I’d been doing all night, but finally connecting to this new and very strong variant of the Woman’s Intuition. Are you leaving or walking around? Well, I may wander a bit. When I come here I just like to grok on the sexual energy, he said. Does that make any sense?
I thought for a while. There was intervening conversation. I thought some more. And I said: You’ve piloted this entire conversation. You sound like a Mormon. Oh, no, no. I would never try to convert someone. Well, that was the effect.
I’ve met people like you before, I say. Oh? The details I didn’t get into, like acquaintances who always manage to make me believe completely in what they’re doing, triggering some kind of fuzzy kicking-myself feeling that I should have been hitched up with his project long ago because I’m just not being appreciated where I am.
Those cases are more diabolical. Roy is a force largely of good. But he’s still a force. I don’t handle being forced altogether well. He had me in an unending series of micro-swoons from the moment I laid eyes on him. I kept thinking of blogging about the impossibility of love at first sight, and how ironic to be undergoing a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile.
You have piloted this entire conversation, I told him. He chuckled. I have pirated the entire conversation.
I thought of these angel types I knew growing up. I use the term advisedly. I thought later of the new conception of angels, with more of a tough-love overtone, à la Dogma.
I was feeling had at this point. How long are you staying in town? Oh, right after the temple, 5:30 tomorrow. Uh. Long pause. Do you ever correspond with the boys you leave shipwrecked on the beach? He pretended not to hear me. I repeated it. Sure. Do you have E-mail?
Do I have E-mail? I’ve been online for nine years. I’ve got 40,000 messages on my computer. I’ve been online longer than you, he says. Slap. What do you do? Systems architect. I’m thinking: He’s a computer queen and he’s completely dominating our “encounter”? My spider-sense tingles that something is being lorded over me. Linux? NT? I ask. He laughs. No, systems architect. I’m still not getting it, and he’s smirking at me, withholding explanation. It’s connecting MCI to all the old mainline phone companies. Oh. Telecom, I say, quite interested, but still feeling lorded-over. And had.
I got his snatch-address. He claimed he would surely bump into me in the summer. As if that’s really what I need.
Oh my [expletive]ing God. For the first and only time in over 20 years, I have found a hearing person offering a believable explanation for the value of captions (or, in this case, same-language subtitles, though they are one and the same). A person other than me, I mean.
In the 2000.02.14 New Yorker, Anthony Lane writes of the phenomenon of Singa-a-Long-a-Sound of Music, where an entire theatreful of people dresses up as nuns (or Girls in White Dresses with Blue Satin Sashes, as you will) and heads to screenings of The Sound of Music where all the songs are open-captioned.
The idea is simple. You watch the film – uncut, as nature intended, in a scuzzy print, with alarming colour shifts as the reels change. The only difference is the added subtitles, which come alive, like the hills, during every song. These enable viewers to join in, which they do with undisguised lustiness. The titling of The Sound of Music was prepared by Martin Wagner, for London’s National Film Theatre, and it struck me as the one work of unquestionable genius that I encountered last year. I tend to be embarrassed by subtitles;
– here comes the standard pompous hearing person’s attitude: ignore subtitles except to act superior to them –
their audacious efforts to snatch at foreign vernaculars end up stressing, rather than allaying, the alien qualities of the setting. With The Sound of Music, however, they bring home just how tightly, even soothingly, we are wrapped in this unignorable film. In a sense, Wagner had a head start; what was required was not translation from another tongue but the simple transcription, for karaoke purposes, of words that most of us know pretty well. (I was appalled to discover that, after a thirty-year break, I was close to word perfect.) This, however, is where Wagner shows his hand; who else would have thought to include the Latin chant that trises from the abbey as we pan down from Julie Andrews on a hillside and get ready for “(How Do You Solve a Problem Like) Maria”? I had never noticed it before – no audience is meant to notice filler, the blah that keeps a soundtrack ticking along – but suddenly there it was at the bottom of the screen ("In saecula saeculorum"). Things get even better halfway through the picture, as the children gather at the foot of the stairs to bid the party guests good night. Friedrich sings, and the titles follow him closely:So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu,That was it for me. For thirty years, I have wondered about this torturing little rhyme. It should have been easy to avoid; if you want “Adieu” to rhyme with “you,” you don’t pronounce it in French – simply opt for the Anglicized version, “Adyoo,” and take it from there. But no: The Sound of Music made a tragic move to sound classy, and it paid the price. As for the yodelling in the puppet scene, it inspires Wagner to his finest work – a cluster bomb of meaningless vowels. For anyone who believes that The Sound of Music shows Hollywood at its most hopelessly square, what could be more bracing than to see it reborn as a Dadaist art happening?
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.
As the kids used to say ten years ago, word to your mother.
(Related article. Another article. London Sing-a-Long-a page.) Be the first on your block. And remember, real nuns shave before heading to the cinema.
I live in fear that this page will come to resemble the standard blog: Smarty-pants five-word entries, two of them a link to some page, which I have to waste time I’ll never get back visiting just to know what the other three words are talking about.
The fact is that I have been putting off blogging Nick for weeks. This would be Nick the skittish Greek boy, who has never met anyone like me, and vice-versa. I think, with everything else going on (or not going on), I am just too unhappy about it to put it all down. Yet I feel like I am failing as a bloggeur by not maintaining my high output standard. I don’t get a lot of readers and even less feedback, but I do genuinely wish to keep this page alive. I guess I have to accept that I am a human being and that “I still don’t feel up to it” is a valid reason not to do something, even something I otherwise want to do.
I enjoyed the bathos by John Schwartz in the Washington Post in talking about the discursive style at Slashdot:
The boys do have some adult supervision: Robin Miller, managing editor of all Andover sites, makes sure that Slashdot’s articles are grammatical and libel-free, and not spelled with the numeric-letter mixture ("D00D!!! LET’S RIP SOME WAREZZZ!") that characterizes much geek typing.
Bathos, when deployed conscientiously, is a killer. Killer! (Of course, if you’re deploying it, you’re not strictly dealing with bathos. Grant me poetic license here, OK?)
Slashdot, like Slate and indeed anything Michael Kinsley has ever touched, lets me down in a way that makes me feel had. I try reading those sites and it eventually dawns on me that the entire subject-matter is of no interest whatsoever, could be of interest only to the tiniest fraction of the population, and represents unparalleled arrogance. Who is Michael Kinsley to foist Washington backroom politics on the world? We’ve all got better things to worry about. And in Slashdot’s case, we’ve got better things to worry about than the crusade for Linux.
We’ve rescued the BRML, the Bad Religion Mailing List. It’s now hale and hearty and running on my favourite Listserv. Archives to be posted shortly.
I tried chatting up a fellow at the bar once. This was after he rubbed my crotch a bit and I grabbed his arse. In response, he fled to the other side of the room, and whenever he bumps into me now he turns into a veritable Jack Nicholson of psychological processes manifested in physical tics and avoidance behaviours.
The other week, at the local coffee hangout, this fellow walks in with a “friend,” a major milquetoast nebbish whom I take to be his bf. But they weren’t alone. With the guy was a clone of himself. Yes, Mr. Jumpy is an identical twin. Bro seems a lot calmer. He also avoids the indisputable fashion faux pas of wearing Gordon Gekko–style white-collared shirts. (Excellent suits, though, as befits a rich white-collar invert.)
The brother was spotted at the supersexy Shoppers Drug Mart aujourd’hui. I needed the tiniest smidgen more chutzpah to walk up to him and say, “Hi, you’re Rob’s brother, right?” and get to know him.
(I never have any trouble distinguishing identical twins. The two men I consider ideal were and are separate and unrelated identical twins.)
On my first day in the new neighbourhood – a mix, sometimes uneasy, of white trash, dykes, and yuppies who moved here for the preponderance of antique- and Modernist-furniture shops – I was waiting for the eetcarstray and felt unwelcome eyes staring at me and my hat. It took me only a moment or two to conclude “[Expletive] you. I rule this corner. I live here. You have to get used to me.”
Behind my house is a company servicing the vending market, principally street vendors. They run vending carts themselves (very white trash, and pathetically so: they literally evoke pathos, with their poorly-maintained vans and brokedown everything, the pattern with the longtime poor from time immemorial). Their backyard is patrolled at night by two mongrels, who bark and snarl at whatever moseys past. They’re quite frightening. But on the second day, I had already had enough. “Oh, please,” I told the dogs. “I live here.”
Without exception, they’ve never barked at me since then. They even shut up whenever I come into view.
[Now with UPDATE] Today we held the first-ever Toronto bloggeur f2f. (List of local blogs.) It was a trek and a half to get there (at Future Bakery across town), what with the 40-minutes-late streetcars and oddly hot temperatures. I ended up walking at one point. As a fellow in a grey-patterned shirt and shorts passed on my left, the Woman’s Intuition™ asked “Given that a fellow named Luke Tymowski [Qubequorner and Tripping] mailed me to say he spotted me on the eetcarstray the other night, wouldn’t it be odd if this guy turn around and asked ’Are you Joe Clark?’ ”
Three seconds later, this guy turns around and asks “Are you Joe?”
We proceed to the rendez-vous location. William of Extempore appears eventually, as does Emmajane (on a bike with triathlonesque æro bars).
I was already undergoing a protein/caffeine crash from my double espresso long (which almost wasn’t prepared for me behind the counter, while they made two lattes for Luke). Topics of discussion included Toronto, the raison d’être of blogging (for William, “blithering”), Emmajane’s many allergies, being Polish–Sithifrican (I had pegged Luke’s accent before he outed himself), and, of course, Web development.
Or rather, the Toronto job market. This was another of those all-too-familiar cases of my learning of hitherto-unrecognized galaxies. You see, getting hired in Web development in Toronto involves navigating a parallel universe. Everyone I meet knows of a different galaxy bearing planets capable of supporting life. I am inevitably the last to hear of these hidden galaxies. It is always very humbling and adds another shovelful of dirt to my mound of frustration and disillusionment. What I am really trying to say is I’ve been had and I feel stupid.
As I write this I feel characteristically melancholy, having just spent the afternoon being the only wet blanket at the table, the only bearer of bad news. William has something of a utilitarian view, Luke’s a sweetie and a quiet type, while Emmajane is bubbly and wise beyond her years and says what she thinks. And then there’s Maude, as they say.
Emmajane had a jobsearch approach that would be self-evident in retrospect if one had known of her listing source all along. William gets headhunted and actually is granted interviews. Luke is employed.
As temperatures rapidly dropped and a cold wind blew detritus around our table and feathered the back cover of the current Wallpaper, we did hit upon a couple of high points: Three of the four of us have similar or at least complementary worldviews when it comes to online content, so we may be able to work together someday. And I have a lead for Emmajane, incredibly enough.
Apart from recurring Woman’s Intuition™, the day was remarkable for its instantiation of the Redhead Cluster Phenomenon (four in 35 minutes, a fifth later, two borderline cases, and, rarest of all, a fellow with genuine auburn hair) and the jaw-dropping revelation that Luke rescued a stray cat who turned out to be a Maine coon, the most desirable cats to walk the earth. Drool. (Friend in Japan [below] says that breed’s name sounds like dialogue in a Tarantino movie: “Hey, LeVon! You my Maine coon, man!”)
Toronto bloggeur f2fs will occur regularly from now on. Schedule to be announced. Venues will change; the next one will be closer to the east end, where three of the four of us live. (We’re essentially neighbours. I wish my home were presentable enough for dinner parties.)
[UPDATE: Time to do the incestuous respond-to-each-other thing that is really better suited to Metafilter. Quoth Emmajane: “Did I mention Joe needs to lay off the coffee? Hmm, I think I did.” So help me, that was my natural state! In the presence of fabulous new people and noise, anyway. “Mmm... Romni Wools!” Even these experts – so knowledgeable the proprietress appeared on The Nature of Things to discuss cochineal dyeing – can’t help me find an Icelandic sweater in town. They’re that hard to track down. Closest clue was a used shop in the west end.]
No goddamn rainbow flags on this site, OK? but lots to discuss about colour today.
It looks like green might be the new orange.
Maybe white and yellow are the new orange?
Yellow is the new orange.
Yellow the new orange? Nah.
Well, black was the original orange! Try that one out on your color circles!
I think Derek said “white is the new orange” (re Meg’s redesign) on 4/26, but he must have changed it, or I imagined it. Ev did say it, though.
Prol said something about orange being the new orange, but she was talking condoms, and apparently she was also talking flavor. [...] The Webmistress hinted at the orange blog battle that was raging, but I don’t think any of the combatants said anything about Xbeing the new orange.
What do I have to do to get my total hero, Tom Coates, to respond to my snatchmails? (And I want him to write for my secret project.) Tom embodies how I would like to be if I were cute, vastly more technically adept, and (this part I can do without) British.
The only article worth reading about the SXSW Weblogger orgy – yes, even better than Ben Brown’s – came from Fred Pyen. And he thinks he can’t write. Sometimes, without an editor, the lack of discipline hurts you. Other times you just write what you mean to say, and it sings.