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marilyn makes it to ice cream form December 23, 2011

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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a while ago, I received a very interesting request from these creative folks at


to use my marilyn monroe head for casting purposes… although we ran into a couple of issues with the 3d printing process which was quite new to me, the casting result is actually pretty impressive! i’m quite amazed at how the casting brought out the eyelashes. a very cool idea.



dh oils April 15, 2011

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, things that are not quite things we know.
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1.5 h, water-soluble oils — a friend gave me a set. I haven’t used oils since they only came with turps in high school. these seem to work pretty well, although the colour selection and pigments weren’t optimal.

the light! it changes everything

charcoal study(study and a half?)

chicken#3 April 7, 2011

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more… still placing stuff. still haven’t fixed clipping yet, that’ll come last.

chicken kid #2 March 31, 2011

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tackled the wing with polygons and alpha planes.

chick'in kid

real media March 28, 2011

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30 sec

30 sec each

1-5 min each

1 min

15 min

20 min

wordpress is screwing up my formatting. oh well. have been doing a bunch of quick drawings (there are a lot more!) to get away from the innately ‘technical’ world of cg.

plugman! socket to your face September 14, 2010

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101.
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some quick-ass low poly stuff, almost finished

stuff to do: add more paint brushstrokes, highlights, refine, refine, refine, render out the alpha visor properly, stick the accessories on, attach super ghetto anim rig, add some sparks or something. i might add depth to the eye sockets. maybe. and do something about the spike on the back of his hood.

NEXT: darth plug sockets you in the FACE!!!

NEXT NEXT: koosh ball hair plug man. or maybe mohawk/dreads, as cid suggests.

edit: plugman has… a plug!

plugman also has lightning bolts sitting on his specularity layer(see top left), but a combination of my computer being a piece of shit and maya being a complete piece of shit led to some fucked up shit, so fuck this shit.

‘get out of my faaaaaaaace before i stick this in your eye’

the hair is quite terrible. i need to do something about that

add some crap like rounded hearts, flowers, paper cuts, origami crap, general shitcrap like bonsai trees or paper lanterns or something.

Like This!

hairtest and some TOTALLY random crap August 31, 2010

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making hair process – handpaint hair in photoshop, convert to alpha layer, stick on planes. halfway there! clearly i haven’t optimised my texture pages yet.

also another inprogress crazyass hippy marilyn. this goes slowly. clearly there’s still a hell of a lot of work left to be done.

and… my only attempt at animation.

some of the search terms that get people to my blog August 20, 2010

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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I notice it has surged massively in the last couple of years.

Search                        Views
dragon age zbrush 5
maya womans face mesh 5
zbrush body 4
character figure zbrush 3
nicolas cage zbrush 2
hot girl render 2
head zbrush girl 1
final fantasy model sheets 1
oily body 1

a life for two hundred November 4, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

Elton John keeps playing on the radio when I use the washroom at work. Three for three, these last two days.

My mother had a collection of songs by Elton John, recorded by various other people who were sometimes better and sometimes worse than Elton John. At ten, at eleven, I pored over the CD cover insert, wondering about the stories that went along with each song, and why Wilson Phillips did a better job of singing Daniel than Elton ever did.

I hardly ever buy CDs, now. Gone’s the day when I used to fear tracking a greasy smear over a fold of glossy sleeve paper. Lost, long gone, dearly departed. The world at your fingertips. Too easy, like everything these days. If you don’t make a substantial effort to be entertaining or entertained, you end up really bored. Danger, danger. We’re so cool.

My friend, a neophyte record collector, just drove off to somewhere nowhere in BC to pick up 2,500 records, the sum total of a man’s life in music. Imagine that, trading the songs of a lifetime for a mere 200 dollars, a paltry amount, less than 10 cents a record — what drives a man to that? I wonder if the old fogey who sold them bought an iPod to replace the records you can’t even find catalogued on the internet — the internet, for chrissakes. Some of them date back to 1905. Think about it. That’s older than anyone I know. It gladdens my heart that there are still people who worship the outmoded, that there are people who journey hundreds of miles to collect a pile of records that some people happily sell for a dime.

Low junk, high art, a little bit of both. Perhaps the stories we all leave in marginalia — those are all we are, after we leave, and pass on.

rules for rejection #2 October 25, 2009

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Reasons to replace books on shelves: they contain the word purring, but not the word cat.

Posthaste is a word that seems to have fallen out of fashion lately.


I  like telephones more than email, but only hold conversations with a very select group of close friends. Mostly dear people in foreign parts with whom playing email catch-up turns into a segue rally of ten thousand word disquisitions. Or those in my hyperfriends zone.

We spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone when I was young. Now we buy overpriced drinks, and sit around in bars bemoaning our lost youths.

here some random art crap be oh what larks and joy

marilyn monroe quick head sculpt (pure maya box model): not quite finished, obviously; shall patch it up once body’s done. it’s kind of nice to work with just pure polygonal modelling sometimes. i just eyeball this stuff to get a feeling for the face rather than rotoscoping. it’s all stylised anyway.

please ignore lack of loops on neck, not done yet

ugly man: quick zbrush doodle (couple hours)

xii October 12, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, onanistic bullshit, pseudo-informative bullshit.
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I am staring up at the juggernaut glaciers of the Paramina Rift, a sole speck of warmth in a desert of ice. Snow scourges my face; fog scythes the booming peaks from view. Ice drowns the turbid river. I look around; all is time, everlasting. The cliffs stare us down. Move on, they say

but I am caught in the frigid beauty that spreads before me, all particles and polygons. A last tribute to a dying platform, the ephemeral dreams of a forsaken machine. Under heaven, slipping across hell, I stare down the last sullen triangle of light between the ravine walls. I hear it, an eerie sad song of the done.

The wolves are wailing. The dead come.

mean people suck September 29, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

In just under two months I will have been here for two years. I was twenty-seven. I am twenty-nine. I smell the new decade coming, and it smells like summer, falling.

2007, November, rain.

A paving stone sat on the block up from me, vandal-slashed into the idiom ‘MEAN PEOPLE SUCK’. Which says it all, really. This is not a city with many problems. Or at least, this is a city that likes to either pretend it has problems, or glaze them over, and if you take a drive down Hastings you’ll see, immediately, what we all try very hard not to see. Here on Seymour, you have pretty little pavement platitudes, and just a block away you have human excreta filthing down the goddamn wall. We are talking shit on Robson-fucking-strasse, the Oxford Street Light of Vancouver. The most expensive street on a Canadian Monopoly board, the fifth highest for world retail rental rates (really? Bloor looks a hell of a lot fancier. and take it all with a pinch of salt, it’s no London/Tokyo). And it still smells like crap, half the time.

It’s amazing, actually, just how much of a problem Vancouver has with homelessness. I thought London was problematic until I came here. If London’s problem is violence, Vancouver’s is apathy. Apparently they’re shipping all the homeless people off to some remote frigid location in Northern BC, just so the flocks of Olympic vultures won’t realise Vancouver’s a  real cold place to be, and not just in winter. And then they’re shipping them back, because fixing a problem ain’t a problem if no-one’s around to see it.

Enough about that. I’ve had many a conversation with down-on-their-lucks in London. The ones here just tend to freak me out. Which begats a whole new world of guilt.

2009, September, sun.

That paving stone is gone. Mean people still suck. You don’t find a lot of those around here. What you do get is a certain strange apathy, which I can’t quite fathom. Or maybe it’s more like a blocked-off hope that someone will break down barriers. I can’t say I don’t have a certain sympathy for people who are, like myself, cautiously guarded. All things end in excess, however, and when I say that people here can be more cut-off and clique-locked than girls in an English public girls’ school, that’s one hell of a something.

My industry surrounds me with a lot of young-at-hearts, big friends with big souls who come from all over the world. Outside, and from others, I have the feeling that Vancouver is a lonely, frost-smeared city, that freezes you out before you get the chance to burn out.

Seriously, all Vancouverites (at least, the ones that pollute my Yaletown ghetto) seem to want is to be on a fucking boat, or more specifically to own a boat, or even more specifically (but gender non-specifically, mind), to marry someone who owns a goddamn bloody boat.

This is not to say that all Vancouverites are assholes, because generalising is generally fun, even if it isn’t strictly true, and because some of my best friends really are born/bred Vancouverites, which proves that maybe it’s not Robsonstrasse, or even Hastings, but I who am simply full of shit.

Someone I once knew, that I once thought myself closer-than-god to, yet who never was invited to read these words, and never will be, tellingly — someone once said something true; Vancouver as a place, as a doe-eyed force of sheer physical beauty, is one of the hardest places in the world to hate. Yeah, I was never one of Mother Nature’s children, but when I clamber up a mountain and gaze out over the islands glinting in the bay, it’s hard not to feel like maybe there’s a lot more to this world than this transient humanity.

Vancouver has this little-big-city vibe, and big scenery, and big nature, and big hearts, if you know where to find them. It’s weird. It’s either the most accepting or the most unaccepting of cities, depending on whom you’ve come to know. It’s a melting-pot or a hoarhole, whichever you fall into.

But if you’re lucky you find, lurking amongst the chill concrete, the warmth of day, breaking through the endless skyscrapers, warm and welcoming souls, good words, good friends.  And you will keep these hearts forever.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve been lucky all my life. Two years on, I love it here, really. I do. Enough to throw aside my fear of bureaucracy and take the plunge towards permanent residency. The year of twenty-nine smells, finally, like home.

snowballing August 31, 2009

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I bought one of these, so you get one of these:

I call this song, uh, snowballing. as you can tell, I had no idea where I was going in the middle section. SoundCloud’s embedded widget plays at 128k, so if you want to hear the 192k version, click the download icon.
variant here: recorded with the ‘clarity’ setting

(recorded on a full and resonant cedar top classical guitar, very slight volume boost and reverb from mini vox DA5 amp. I might turn down the reverb next time.)

My take? The Snowball’s pretty reasonable for 130 cadbucks, although it loses quite a lot of nuance, but what do you expect? I’m too cheap to spend 500 bucks on a proper setup, and this is mostly for practice purposes anyway, so.

some other test crap:

recuerdos de la alhambra (francisco tarrega), second half

Apparently I have a psychological problem when it comes to playing first sections.

The microphone has three settings, the first being the fullest, second being my best for clarity (but softest), third being a mix of the others. I recorded the classical pieces on setting #1 without amplification. Talk about depth overkill; next time I’m setting it back to #2.

I kind of like the way the Snowball looks, although I wouldn’t class it as portable, seeing as it’s a fairly hefty 4 inch ball. At half a kilo, certainly sturdy enough to withstand repeated bouts of cat-poking.

It is nice and simple and mostly pretty damn good.

EDIT: fuck it, I returned it, planning to borrow swanky condenser microphone from good friend K. FOSTER BEST PERSON IN UNIVERSE.

because the snowball will never sound like this:

(sloppy but everyone likes this one (recorded by my eminent photo/videographer/all-round artstar ryan m)

for once, an art update August 15, 2009

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zbrush sculpt (had to retopologise this a couple times with topogun. saved me quite a few hours of blinding annoyance despite the turbulence. sign up for the beta. I found it exactly as unstable as polyboost but less iffy. or polyboost hates me. NB: 3d coat is much, MUCH better than any other retopo tool I’ve tried so far, but topogun is free right now)

I recommend you click the thumbnails if you’re curious.

Behold, the endless dilemma of nipples. I opted for none this time around, possibly due to the number of people making annoyingly unimaginative comments over my shoulder when they sprouted yet extant. Pfah! Plebeian sentiment should never fetter artistic truth; I shall reinstate them, when my eyes no longer bleed.

I dig current workflow trends (popularised by Epic?) towards [super simple base model] > [zbrush/mudbox highpoly mesh] >  [decimate with decimation master or meshlab] > [retopo to medres ingame model]. Far more creative freedom/saves a fair amount of time — then again, it’s all context-dependent. Sometimes you just can’t beat purpose-building a tidy little quad base.

Hark the day we throw point clouds into engines and laugh.

nb: my computer is a pile of shit and can’t handle any division levels past 5 without dying horribly.

love in the time of gonorrhoea July 18, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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Everybody is reading that book about the pickup artist, Neil Strauss.

More than a mack textbook, it is a memoir, a study of the ins and outs of the social condition. The man who wrote it wrote also for the New York Times. Make of that what you will.

The book’s prevailing mantra is: Attraction is not a choice, and you and I and we can have everyone via hamfisted palmistry, spoon bending and ESP.

It’s not too hard to see why people buy into the mystique. We pretend to be a collection of on/off switches, unanalogue, discrete.

What a beautiful conceit, that you can reduce seduction into a set of techniques that will guarantee you entry into anyone in the world. Are we waves and tremors, or sticks and holes? There is nothing absolute about being human, about neocortical impulses that feed our hearts to head.

There is nothing human in the objectification of an adversary; the gaudy prizes of bars and clubs are just ticks on a list, 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s. The more you play the game,  the more you realise the game means nothing. Strauss has no small dose of pity and revulsion for the creepers trapped in their own webs, not least himself. These are some of the unhappiest men you’ll meet.

Isn’t it strange, that certain truisms apply to all fields? Those who blindly follow preset routes rarely achieve greatness; he who only learns by rote never grasps the whole.

Seduction, one supposes, is all very well. Then comes a point where one thinks hard and long of love, in the time of gonorrhoea.

Not much has changed since we sat in school and wondered why some lead, and others follow. We make our way through life and find the game never changes; we want what we are denied.

To those who believe we can bypass the random variance of the human heart, note this and note it well: in the end, the only woman who stole Strauss’s heart was the one he could not snare with strings of theory. He played the game. She played him better.

Along Burrard after dinner, I watched a girl pose for a man, silhouetted by the splash of fountain spray. He said something that made her laugh; in the binary light of the camera, his smile seemed real. He blushed, or the red focus stung his skin. I didn’t know.

It’s for all of us to turn things over and around. The oldest friend comes out with the newest things; maybe we’re too fast to fix an image in our heads. Now I understand Cubism as never before; I see Picasso struggling, presented with the problem of presenting all sides all at once.

Irrational people do rational things, rational people do irrational things. All people are unknown quantities, now and forever.

Sitting in the semi-dark, bathed in the soft penumbra of the screen, I close the game and shut my eyes. I chase the awkward beauty that only exists when we race toward a goal, unscripted, unfettered, unaware.

secret code May 22, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit.

‘__[jaded videogames artist]_____ (character) desperately tries to achieve __winning the state lottery_____ (their desire) or prevent ___the inevitable decline of modern society as we know it______ (someone else’s desire), even as ___fate____ (their Nemesis) and ___the gods____ (other forces) try to prevent him from achieving that. In the end, he goes from being a ___rebel warrior____ (who he was at the story’s start) to __disillusioned destitute_____ (something different).’

You fill it in, then.

Today I picked up The Scar (China Mi[e]ville) (here’s your obligatory wikipedia link you lazy people).

The clerk looked at it, then announced he had it lying around at home.

‘like it?’ (I say, while signing off my credit)


‘I never finished it.’

‘…oh.’ (now contemplating my signature for $11.42)

‘well, you know, it’s well-written, I just have this thing about weird names. The names were weird. I guess I’m kind of weird about fantasy like that.’

‘I swing my sword, teehee’

‘…anyway, you might like it, if you don’t mind weird names.’

Unreasonable consonant strings (R’rhhzthahjzks swing your sword GO!!) make me throw books back on shelves, but The Scar seems acceptable. No swords yet, which either floats your boat or does not. It’s well-written, which is cause enough to celebrate. In a world reduced to lisping mishmashes of three-letter acronyms, I grasp at poetry like water.

Ashley Wood did the cover. I wouldn’t have guessed, although it’s an exercise in understated elegance, thereby avoiding my current and exceedingly superficial code of book cover rejection



10 breasts? [increment variable r by 1]

20 got swords and big oily muscles? [ditto]

30 pirates [ditto ditto]

40 space pirates [etc]

50 is twilight? [increment variable r by ∞]

60 if r > 0, terminate with excessive intolerance


Cyrillic looks rude.

And since you are all so concerned re: my exclusive consumption of meat animals, here’s my new health slogan:

switching to an ALL-CARB diet in preparation for the coming apocalypse of WORLD FOOD SHORTAGE better STORE FATS NOW

the black swan of nanowrimo October 14, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, pseudo-informative bullshit, things that are not quite things we know.
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The Canadian government finally returned the money it owed me from the time I spent being joyfully-unemployed last year, so I decided to blow some of it on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s idiosyncratic Black Swan.

Very briefly, Taleb is an iconoclast ex-quant (and full time wag) who does things like buy options geared towards the inevitability of economic disaster, accepting constant losses while waiting for crashes to send his option values skyrocketing.  

Commonsense dictates we go for small, constant gains when we invest, yet opens us up to getting screwed by unpredictable economic failure. For Taleb, the world has been shaped by these acts of random chance, acts that have a minute chance of occurring and carry huge impact, acts that we claim are inevitable after the fact and yet never plan for.

We carry on with life because some things are completely out of our ability to predict. You can’t bank on what they’ll be, you can only bank on the probability that they will happen. Hot from Taleb comes a moniker for events of this ilk: black swans. I won’t get into the details, because far better minds have written more informative material on him. Eristics aside, his viewpoint radiates some uncommon sense. Sometimes it’s refreshing to hear someone say, “I don’t know.”

I’m reminded of the Time article (this one made it to Time’s 85 year anniversary compendium) on Deep Blue, the chess computer that beat Kasparov:

What is Deep Blue’s secret? Grand master Yasser Seirawan put it most succinctly: “The machine has no fear.” He did not just mean the obvious, that silicon cannot quake. He meant something deeper: because of its fantastic capacity to see all possible combinations some distance into the future, the machine, once it determines that its own position is safe, can take the kind of attacking chances no human would. The omniscient have no fear.

In Game 1, Blue took what grand master Robert Byrne called “crazy chances.” On-site expert commentators labeled one move “insane.” It wasn’t. It was exactly right.

Here’s what happened. Late in the game, Blue’s king was under savage attack by Kasparov. Any human player under such assault by a world champion would be staring at his own king trying to figure out how to get away. Instead, Blue ignored the threat and quite nonchalantly went hunting for lowly pawns at the other end of the board. In fact, at the point of maximum peril, Blue expended two moves–many have died giving Kasparov even one–to snap one pawn. It was as if, at Gettysburg, General Meade had sent his soldiers out for a bit of apple picking moments before Pickett’s charge because he had calculated that they could get back to their positions with a half-second to spare.

In humans, that is called sangfroid. And if you don’t have any sang, you can be very froid. But then again if Meade had known absolutely–by calculating the precise trajectories of all the bullets and all the bayonets and all the cannons in Pickett’s division–the time of arrival of the enemy, he could indeed, without fear, have ordered his men to pick apples.

Which is exactly what Deep Blue did. It had calculated every possible combination of Kasparov’s available moves and determined with absolute certainty that it could return from its pawn-picking expedition and destroy Kasparov exactly one move before Kasparov could destroy it. Which it did.

Kasparov himself said that with Deep Blue, quantity had become quality.

Taleb repudiates the power of human inference; the computer is incapable of it. Sometimes you have to overthrow human frailty to succeed. Is that good, or bad?

Everyone’s iPhone is Wikipedia-enabled. The showboat of knowledge sails on, leaving us only the lifeline of connective insight.

November is coming up, and that means NaNoWriMo is here again. 50000 words for the month of November, the amount that mutates novella into novel. I did not know that Brave New World contains a mere 50000 words of blazing beauty.

1,666⅔ words per day, for thirty days. If you don’t make the effort, you never get the chance to be a black swan.

That, combined with spending enough time on my guitar to not screw up someone’s wedding ceremony, is going to be a hell of a lot of doing. But when people are doing this, what excuse do I have? Let’s go learn from failure.

Apparently it takes a minimum of 10000 hours to become world-class at anything, so I’d better get cracking.

I had a clump of songs in major keys on my playlist zoning together whilst I was writing this; all background noise, until a minor key popped out and my focus was jerked right there.

Our random lives boil down to self-imposed decisions. Unpredictability may be the new god, but it doesn’t mean we can’t choose which dice he throws.


I’ve spent a lot of energy and many years trying to learn a very few basic things, which may turn out to be mostly crude opinions anyway. There’s so little in the world we can be sure of, and maybe it’s the lack, that flaw or deficiency, if you will, that drives our strongest compulsions.”

Ben Fountain

cat shit prolix beauty October 4, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.

If everything in our heads were laid out in the open, would the world be a better place? Nobody would be able to inveigle or obfuscate. Yeah, people will always come up with creative ways to take advantage of others, but surely the opportunity for them to do so would be drastically reduced.

Even if the entire concept makes me shudder, I can’t help thinking it would be more beneficial than not, since if that were how the world worked we wouldn’t have any hangups about being open. We would just be. And there would be nothing wrong with being.

I’m drunk on Shirley Temples, and intoxicated by proxy.

I do not often weep, but I wept when I first viewed a certain scene from American Beauty. A plastic bag floats over the dust on nothing but wind, transfigured into more than it never dreamt of being. It became cinema as cinema only sometimes dreams of being, of elevating the jejune to genius. Some genius set that scene up with transcendentally beautiful cleverness because they understood both beauty and cleverness, set it to music scored to machinate a tender and lingering tristesse, and I said why not, and let them take the tears from me.

Nothing to do with anything in particular, everything to do with everything in general.

It’s not too often that I get the feeling I can say absolutely anything I want to someone. This has absolutely nothing to do with establishing bonds of friendship; it’s more like a detached celebration of banter. Bantering is a fine art. Some people wear self-confidence in such a manner that I pretty much know nothing I say is going to bring them down; some people, I think, like banter because they either understand it as a game, or because in a way it’s a form of acceptance, or acknowledgement.

I don’t know that banter necessarily brings me closer to people; it’s more a mental gambit where all the players are intent on playing at being dicktrees to each other. The trick, I guess, is to get away with pretending to be as much of an asshole as you can without actually being an asshole. (If you’re not just pretending to be an asshole, it’s not banter, it’s war.)

Banter is possibly only good in small, measured doses. I’m not sure how good it is for the soul.

Last night we were meant to be going to a colleague’s leaving dance. There have been far too many of these things lately. Let’s not get into that, it’s depressing as hell. We got to the venue and discovered that bouncers are dicktrees. You can’t even banter with them! Who knew! I didn’t care for the seamy glimpses I caught through their steamy windows, so!

Under the glass forest canopy we were reduced to …what? Animals, quailing from the rain. My animal friends and I went for crepes instead and talked about bullshit like existentialism.

I am high as hell on sugar.

I slept at 4 and woke at 9.30; morning comes too quickly these days. I lay indolent beneath cotton sheets and stared at a spiral of hair on my pillow, and played with the focus of my eyes. We have the latent power to do all this trippy shit we don’t usually bother thinking about. It’s as trippy as thinking about what it really means that light is just a wave (or a particle, yeah), or trying to imagine an eighth colour.

I popped different parts of the hair formation in and out of focus and then I realised; there’s the summation of my life at present. I can’t hold it all in focus all at once. Something must give.

Beauty is realising I’m only two minutes late for lunch.

Now here we are, sitting in the food court at the mall.

To my left I keep hearing snippets of the most boring conversation in the world. It makes me wince. I don’t think I need to describe it to you; we’ve all had our share of banal conversations. Perhaps all conversations start off as boring because they are rooted in the concrete; of this too, I’m often guilty.

Mired in concrete, people are unified only by the same interests; without commonality you’re regally fucked. Comparatively, a shared interest in abstraction is often enough to make topics cohere.

There’s an art to triggering viewpoints from other people, and it’s not always easy. Bringing a conversation round to an abstract bent usually requires some self-sacrifice on the part of the contributors. Concretions are safe, solid things that only exist and are; abstractions are often personal and revealing. We’re not talking facts anymore, we’re talking opinions. Those start wars, you know. Maybe we should just bring it all back to banter.

Onward, to duty. Tick tocks the clock, tick, tick tock, the lamp greens the light, and I go.

Now here we are in the time of rain, out in the open and from under the forest, and I ask you — what would you say the chances were of two raindrops hitting you in both eyes both at once? Here I am, in the lift, having a throwaway conversation with two strangers about how it’s the worst thing when the rain catches you naked and umbrellaless and lost, and then I realise my umbrella was with me all along, that it was always there.

at bay September 30, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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Home is how I keep the outside world at bay. My doors are almost never all the way open, save to a minute group of people who don’t have to read this to know who they are.

One of those people was over at my place this weekend; I’ve known her since we were 9, and hadn’t seen her for a couple of years. It’s a rare thing, being around someone who knows you for all that you are and accepts you in your entirety. I savour the novelty of not having to be a novelty.

It’s funny how you can not really talk to someone for intervals of months and years, and never need to; yet when you come together again, it’s all you do.

She arrived at noon on Friday; I did hardly any work from 12 onward:

a) I was ahead of schedule
b) so fuck it. see
we were having an extended conversation about life, the universe and everything
d) this conversation ran from 1.45 pm to 1.45 am in the morning
e) she lost her voice.

f) all of it.

It takes a different perspective to put your life into perspective. From her viewpoint my workplace was a haven of cushiness. I think it’s all too easy to assume that everyone has the right to a job that’s at least 60% enjoyable. Meaning: we all bitch too much about shit. At least we’re not working 8-2. Yet.


Sunday, it was Sunday. She was gone. I was standing on the peninsular Vancouver shore, filming my friends filming my germphobic friend crawling through hypodermic sand. One of them used to be a pornographer. They’re making a zombie movie, or something. I was there for the humanity of watching people around them watch them.

“I think I have AIDS,” my friend said, throwing his weight from foot to foot, sloughing the beach detritus from his skin. In his youth he was fed a diet of rice saturated with orange pop. Why any grandmother would do that to her grandchild, I don’t know.

I watched the watchers. You can surround yourself with all the people in the world and still not understand what it means to be known; to never know what people know about themselves, to only know that people will never know what you know about yourself. Sometimes we need to be known; sometimes we don’t.

Holding a camera that wasn’t mine, I pushed the trigger again, again. I stopped carrying my own camera around a while ago. It was too tempting to turn life into a series of beautiful, bastardised pictures that show everything and say nothing. Or show nothing and say everything. Either way. The camera is broken, anyway, or I am. I could never make it say what I wanted it to say, that in a picture of a hazy sky was a certain feeling I had about the world that day.


Nighttime. I lie umber and mellow on yielding cushions and think about that very small cluster of people that I hardly ever think about. I don’t need to. Some doors are always open to some people, even through this veiled impermanence called life. We don’t write, or call, or look, and yet our lives are always open to each other.

Sometimes you only ever need to know that you can choose not to be alone.

I’m only lying here, tossing out cheap phrases like “you can choose not to be alone” and murmuring to you that Google only knows two other people who chose to say “you can choose not to be alone”, that not till now did Google choose to know anyone who chose to say “you can choose to not be alone”, and now you are here, and I am gone.

specific ambition; a long foot September 29, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
1 comment so far

I had a friend who always told me she envied me for loving what I was doing;

I loved it no less and no more than she did; she could never see the amount of willpower it took me to actually get anything done.

Hell is being lazy and ambitious. It’s taken me a hell of a long time to curb some of my inherent laziness. Someone told me once to constantly surround myself with people who were willing to give me a good kick up the ass from time to time. It’s funny, because that’s how I ended up where I am today. Encircled by ass-kickers. Not by design, but because I lucked out in terms of finding good friends.

If it’s obvious that everyone must suck at something they’ve only just started doing, why then are people so willing to claim false competence? Why not assume we all have at least 99% more to learn? Even if you are latently gifted at something, chances are you’re going to get much better at it.

People keep selling themselves short by settling, or maybe just not caring.  Coasting is as seductive as any opiate.

Perhaps the problem is that good is such a subjective quality. Are we good only when we stand next to the least capable of people? Should we not compare ourselves to the best of the best, and strive to surpass them? Why not? You got hubris, might as well flip it into something worthwhile.

Mind you, when you have a lot of general ambition but struggle with specific ambitions, things get frustrating. Maybe that’s the problem; people don’t ever find something they want to do. Maybe people don’t find something because they don’t care to look. Or maybe they just don’t realise there’s something out there worth looking for. Or maybe it just doesn’t matter.

Probably the latter.

I am guilty of all this, and of lacking focus. Independence is learning the fine art of kicking yourself in the ass.

Stephen says:
hmm, well i think you should probably start with some goals that aren’t that concrete, like getting ___ done
start by doing some things that’ll increase your capacity to get other shit done, so you can take advantage of the snowball effect
Candice; says:
i want to own a planet
not a big one like jupiter, i think
just a little one. this one’s pretty good.
Stephen says:
then eat it?
Candice; says:
Stephen says:
that’s pretty good!
Candice; says:
Stephen says:
i hear pluto’s crunchy, if that counts as a planet