Streaky

I often find fun stuff I forgot about when I go digging around in my photo archives. This looks a bit like abstract expressionism, but what I was really after were backgrounds for an advertising project. The experiment involved tossing the camera with a long shutter in front of a set of blinds looking out over the prairie. I have a whole folder of these shot at different angles and speeds – I must have really liked what I was seeing!

I like the aesthetic! It’s soothing to look at. 🙂

On Fear

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

When I was younger I’d make self-deprecating jokes about being afraid of stuff – I find clowns eerie and I don’t like needles, for starters. But I don’t think getting the heebie jeebies from face-painted creepers is much to be worried about. I have only one real fear, and that fear feels entirely different. It’s tactile. I drown in it. I have a deep and terrible phobia of heights.

Normally this isn’t the kind of thing I’d share on my blog, but I’m sure friends of mine have fears of their own, and I thought it might help to know you’re not alone. The truth is, apart from a couple of embarrassing moments in extreme situations (spindly, swaying, suspension bridges over canyons, mostly) where I had to psych myself up, I almost never let my fear get the better of me, and I’m proud of myself every time for facing up to it.

I’m not a psychologist, but a couple of things have helped me deal.

  • Owning it. If you know your fear is irrational, it has no power over you. I’ve been up that accursed CN Tower glass elevator like six times now, and I have yet to fall to my death. I don’t know what weirdo thought to put the glass floor in there, though. I curse that engineer every time.
  • Familiarity. The first time up a long escalator can be harrowing. The second time is awful. The thirty-sixth time is not so bad. What my wife doesn’t know is that when we split up to shop at the mall, I ride the 4-storey escalator a couple of times in a row to prove to myself I’ve mastered it (I haven’t quite, yet).
  • Curiosity and regret. Not knowing what’s at the top of the flight of wobbly stairs, or what’s over the edge of a high balcony kills me way more than my fear does. European church stairwells are especially diabolical (seriously, 1600’s building codes were lax!), but the view from the top is always breathtaking. I’ve never let my fear stop me from discovering something awesome – no regrets.

Side note: If you’re one of those architects who makes rickety floating stairs or pedestrian bridges over freeways with wide-open see-through metal grills for floors, then I’d like to punch you in the face. Seriously what is wrong with you, you sadistic monster!?!

Ottawa Cookie Jam 2013

Oh! Sweet wish-granting genies, thank you so much! I just discovered the Ottawa Cookie Jam! I have a renewed sense of purpose in life. I have to begin training immediately.

Ottawa Cookie Jam is part cookie sale, part competition, 100% fabulous! The event brings together cookie enthusiasts for one afternoon to celebrate all things cookie. We hope you’ll join us! There are two ways to attend: as a baker or as a taster.

Only two ears!

Ever had that problem where you’re excited to listen to a new really cool song, but you realize you’re already in the middle of listening to another really cool song, and it would be horrible to cut it off before it has a chance to play out? I can’t wait two and a half minutes for more awesomeness! I need another set of ears!

By the way, the new Yamantaka // Sonic Titan track, the first link above, is incredibly rad. I love them so much. But the second link, by the Sleigh Bells, is also really rad. I’m not going to make this any easier for you than it was for me.

Labyrinth

Almost 30 years after it was originally released, I got around to watching Jim Henson’s Labyrinth for the first time. It was really, really good. The creature designs were amazing, and they were masterfully puppeted. The sets were incredible, the matte paintings were exciting and abstract, and every couple of minutes something completely unexpected appeared on screen. It felt like a perfectly presented dream. Pure fantasy.

From the bits and pieces I overheard on the internet I was apprehensive it was going to be some kind of psycho-social puberty story, but I think people are reading way too much into it – it’s a pretty straightforward adventure story about a petulant teen girl off to rescue her step-brother. Apart from a weird party scene, most of it is goblins and mazes, with a subtext that she’s learning to take responsibility for her actions.

I should really make a point of mentioning that Sarah’s a pretty excellent young female character – she’s got flaws (so whiney!) but she’s capable, confident and clever, and grows as a character throughout the film. I think, particularly in the 80s, few filmmakers wrote adventurous (and dangerous) storylines for their young female protagonists. Some credit goes to Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Fraggle Rock writer Laura Phillips for writing an innovative girl-and-monsters story that gives her something more to do than scream and be chased.