10.28.10: canada, part II {the black and white}

phoenix @ madison square garden

farine five roses

habitat 67 (5 of 6)

crane, vieux port

HQ, société canadienne d'opérette, rue saint-denis

graffiti, vieux port

{phoenix @ madison square garden;* farine five roses on the lachine canal; habitat 67; crane, vieux port; HQ, société canadienne d'opérette, rue saint-denis; graffiti, vieux port}

*while madison square garden is hardly in canada, the phoenix show was mere hours before our train left penn station; i consider it part of the trip. also all francophones look alike.

10.26.10: canada, part I {the eleven-hour train ride with occasional haiku}


met a nice dc couple taking a vacation identical to ours, right down to the non-plan and false start three years ago. they smoke; are they us in the past? the sight-seeing dome car is open, just in time for the backyards of albany.

cafe car coffee,
bird's-eye view of albany.
no rock-eaters yet.

we're told montreal's punk bars are on rue st. laurent.

it's schenectady,
the city that lights the world!
too early for wine.

yupster uncloaking:
an amarone, vintage
backgammon, and shame.

halfway point! the leaf-peeping
is epic, like dune.

joe pours wine in my shoe.

customs. our seeded crackers are not confiscated. the earnest man behind us explains to the border agents how tamarind candy is made. ("it's no longer a fruit. it's been boiled, not by me.")

canada appears to be phoning it in re: the picturesque. bah.

sun just set. horizon afire in a mildly scary way.


break room


black swan green (david mitchell)*
CHALLENGER: the unnamed (joshua ferris)

joshua ferris's debut (then we came to the end, a deft and funny novel about an embattled chicago advertising firm) read like torture porn for me: i work in an industry which hemorrhages people all the time, so the layoffs in that book made my skin crawl. the pink slips are layered between clever little renderings of the firm's collective consciousness - the book is narrated in the first-person plural, which is both weird and somehow suited to the material - so the violins never swell too loudly, at least not at first.

ferris's second novel, the unnamed, couldn't crack a donut joke at gunpoint; it's also about suits and ties (and begins in midtown manhattan, the ultimate office space), but it's more like a cross between fight club and into the wild, and far less than the sum of those parts. it begins with what we're told is a recurrence of...something: tim, a fairly uninteresting new york city lawyer, comes home from work in a state of utter desolation, tears himself out of his corporate suit, and bundles up like an arctic explorer. he's once again suffering from the "unnamed," which is (a kind of ill-fitting reference to beckett's the unnamable, which ends with "i can't go on, i'll go on," and) a mysterious condition that forces tim to walk - instantly and mindlessly, for miles, generally out into the middle of nowhere, where he collapses in a deep sleep.

as one would imagine, this makes it rather tricky for tim to be a lawyer, and a husband (and a father, and someone who consistently has skin on the soles of his feet). i like ferris best when he's concentrating on what tim's condition costs him in his marriage and his relationship with his daughter; the scenes in his office make it difficult to understand why his professional identity is so important (ferris's workplace stuff was much more interesting in then we came to the end), and the man vs. himself segments in the last third of the unnamed - when tim's condition becomes an active foe, with a voice and a deadly yet tedious need to dominate and humiliate him - add little to the story. I am Jack's Lack of Interest in Amateur Experimental Fiction.

...but that's too harsh; i loved parts of david foster wallace's grad-school novel,** the broom of the system, and even DFW himself said it was a turkey. my point is that unless an author is my favorite author (or his work is adapted by one of my favorite directors), he really needs to earn the wild stuff - and in ferris's case, it detracts from some really wonderful family scenes. tim and his daughter watching buffy the vampire slayer DVDs together nearly broke my heart, and i mean that in all seriousness. stay out of the office and off the road, ferris. you belong at home for a bit.

VICTOR: david mitchell, who wields the spooky like he was born with it in his pocket. how can a young american - even one who wipes out flocks of birds and swarms of bees for no apparent reason - compete?

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 are you able to watch/read workplace dramas without nausea? (i still don't know if i can deal with up in the air.)

02 how do you feel about fight club? what about samuel beckett?

03 speaking of david fincher, have you seen the social network? what did you think?

04 how have you been? i've missed you, imaginary reading group.

*previous battle here.

**(written there, not written about there, thank god)

10.13.10 {go team wedding, baby jo edition}

wedding DIY is a beast to document; i was across the country as jo, her friends, and my mom did most of their prep, and for the final 72 hours i juggled photos of making things with, you know, making things. also tacos.


mom needed something to trim the hat box in which she was giving chris and jo part of their wedding present; ten minutes and a stack of vintage book-guts later, she'd made this. (i had to mail the first part of our gift, a c.1970 ice bucket shaped like a diving bell, so i defaulted to our family's other traditional presentation method, which is to make a creepy tuneless noise and gift a thing with no wrapping at all.)

handmade aisle garland

aisle garland with hand-punched paper and fishing line, wound and wound for days and days prior to our arrival; "i made it long enough to go up and down the hallway six times," said mom. someone might or might not have been lifted from the ground by their lapels on saturday when they told her the garland had slipped from the bucket and gotten too tangled to use down on the beach; i wasn't there.


i was around in plenty of time for the table numbers; jo freehanded the shapes, em lined the cutouts with rubber cement and wax paper, and i painted like a helper monkey. long night, night 2 (my mother hand-sewed the rolled grass runners in the background in that craft dungeon shot; they were too wide to load into the sewing machine).

justin's objects


the best man, justin, is a vintagemaster; he spent a year collecting mystery objects in and around los angeles. each of the eighteen tables had (hand-sewn, pocket-folded napkins, vials of sea salt, wee menus tucked into each napkin, and) a collection of spyglasses, scales, hurricanes, candlesticks, orbs...especially candlesticks and orbs. i believe we had three glue guns going at once (to turn the sticks into pedestals for terraria and more succulents).

mason jar lights in the entryway

justin also brought in mason jar lights for the hallway between the cocktail patio and the reception hall; kate, maid of honor extraordinaire, secured them to the ceiling. i can take or leave fashion tape, but i love a woman with an electric staple gun.

10.12.10 {go team wedding, baby jo edition}

suffering in so cal

day I, 0800h: after a late-night arrival at wedding HQ, we awaken to grueling weather and an atrocious view. it is excruciating.

hollow book

day I, 1000h: an argument concerning the proper way to hollow out a vintage book that is to be hand-painted and planted with succulents (and who should do so) yields my favorite mother-of-the-bride quote of all time: "look, i'm stronger than you, and i can fuck up my hands."

no idea

day I, 1200h: joe realizes his main duties will be to shop for food and alcohol and to stay out of the way.

careful hair, manicure, false eyelashes

day III, 0900h: i discover that the shortcut to an amazing bridal party makeup session conversation is to ask one's artist about her work in special effects. mine (chelsea) had just wrapped a film about cyberattacks and survivalists, so we got to skip over the magic of marriage and girliness and talk about continuity with bruises and gunshots ("most of the wounded died pretty quickly, so i didn't have to advance them too much from day to day"), blood sources (unlike my college roommate the stage blood factory, chelsea preferred to purchase stuff called myblood), and plausible vomit (one of the actors had to puke onscreen, so she had to whip up something that both looked right and wouldn't taste horrible*). i wear false eyelashes for the first time.

sealwatching (b/w)

day III, 1500h: as solo prep shots go down indoors, the bridal party turns to taking running starts and whipping tiny green apples** into the ocean from the balcony, a pastime which is significantly more popular with the throwers than it is with the purchasers of the throwers' engagement and wedding rings.

shot, shots (b/w)

day III, 1630h: the wedding party arrives for a shoot at turk's. formalwear and our giant box of bouquets confuse local barflies; we tell them we're carrying a body. i sip my shot instead of cowboying up for photos, for i am a mean old lady. an order of onion rings is tucked in the flower box.

day III, 1730h: a girl i've known since she was six reads the same wallace stevens poem paul read at our wedding in england. my baby sister is married.

doug and dad

day III, 2000h: stanford beats usc with seconds to spare. the bride's family gloats.

*apple juice, oatmeal, and mashed banana, if you were wondering. the vomit i mocked up as a child to try to get out of school, by contrast, was bread crumbs and vinegar, since i merely had to point at it.

**rejects from the Tiny Caramel Apple Dessert Project, a popular but grueling wedding craft that was farmed out to professionals at the eleventh hour. (we still had to provide the apples, which was a bit weird.)

10.04.10 {connecticut}

skateboard pastoral

hall ceiling

dew friday morning

my feet and the fireplace

last night

full set here.