Looking back over the last couple weeks, a few photos…
vapor rising
Vapour rising off the Ottawa river at dawn, as viewed from the train.

Haiku Link: Snow Days is a little online anthology. (Scroll rightwards.) Such tactile awarenesses in the pieces.

Ontario field
Some nameless Ontario field, its stubble likely now buried after this snowstorm.

With more travel, train passing train, we see, we learn.
layers of trains train graffiti

Some signs you don’t need a particular literacy for.
sign clear The dentist door is beautifully minimalist and WYSIWYG. No dollar figure floated but there has to be some hook to push the door open I suppose. The other might be as demonstrative of what you get. One might expect a huge pogo stick…but still, roughly it works. If meat causes salivation, you’re there.

another book being second book look
I mentioned making another book…Some improv materials. Household goop (which is still off-gassing, yeech), an old tie, an old photo, a book I recovered from recycling and dissected. I went thru the fine paper recycling, scavenging the sheets with blank areas on them, bound them into a notebook. It might be done. Might fiddle more yet.

That and Jem by chance reminds me of another recent thing. In a Chinese objects store I saw a near perfect lamp. I was standing back from it, redesigning it, seeing what I would saw off, how I could renovate it, what tools, how viable to do. Apparently this visualization took some time. The clerk who had been making papery sounds I realized was silent and came and touched my shoulder and asked me if I was ok. He seemed concerned. To me, redesign, to someone else, looking like some sort of fit. Urp. Apologies universe and sir. Luckily in the time I found it humorous too so he was assured I was actually fine. Sort of reminds me too of the song I’ve got a thinking problem. Set to the guitar of every generic drinking problem song, that turnabout has tickled me for days.

Poetry Vid Link: I’ve uploaded 40 seconds or so of Messagio Galore on youtube from Sandra and Grant doing (someone help me out in matching the name of the piece).

Poetry Event Link: Ottawater, the 5th annual pdf is now live and you can hear people live at the Ottawa Art Gallery at 7:30 tonight.

Quote: “The individual who has to justify his existence by his own efforts is in eternal bondage to himself.” – Eric Hoffer

28 Jan 2009, 11:42am
Glad Game Health

Grumble Mumble And Glad

Sometimes I get wistful when I hear about trade-ins for cars. Swap what you have.

Wouldn’t it be nice to trade in this body? [The following is not a religious service, rest assured.] This body, as a temple, feels like a fixer-upper.

Wellington church
On the other hand, this body looked lovely to walk by on Monday.

Poking around the net there’s a term I came across in (the infophile’s vortex of) wikipedia – orthostatic intolerance, or in layman’s terms, stand up quickly and fall down and boom.

Apparently not everyone has the experience of blacking out. One year I polled two classes to get mostly blank looks. Only one other person has fainted more than once in a lifetime.

Yet there I go again, standing up to get a head rush and black sliding in around the edges of my vision and needing to grab a wall. Because I thought to get up and so something and didn’t ease up quickly, or because I turned quickly. Changed direction and speed quickly. And felt myself whiten. Or worried ambient people. lenses

This is inconvenient. I don’t like my body getting in the way of my mind. And I would rather be invisible and whatever passes for normal.

I’ve always had vertigo susceptibility. Never could do swings or teeter totter or slides. Slow and steady and still, or else nausea. I remember the once that I went on a roller coaster how much of an hour I lay on the ground with blurry vision until I could see again.

That doesn’t mean dizzy is a constant. In peak fitness years it totally disappears. Most of the time I’m fine. The cold extremities push to warmth without a huge lifestyle change. I just need to move more. (Ideally slowly and under weights at times.)

I wouldn’t feel right in going to a doctor to “fix me” without full disclosure which amounts to doctor, doctor, when I do this to myself, I feel sick.

This as in skipping meals, or substituting chocolate from a desk for a meal or two, not looking away from a computer screen for 5 or 9 hours and never pulling mind to different focus to refresh, not watching my breathing, not doing meditation, harassing myself.

The rule of changing focal length of gaze, getting up and stretch to give back and shoulders a rest every half hour or hour? Nope. Increasing cardio for a few hours a week? Nope. Muscles are all bunched up and circulation pooled. Keeping a work-life balance of socializing with solitude. Not amply.

It would be like a smoker going to a lung specialist and admitting smoking will continue. What’s the doctor to do for the recalcitrant? It puts the doctor in a helpless position and gets me no further ahead.

I don’t need lecture. I know correct behavior. (Applying wisdom is always the tricky bit isn’t it.) I know myself well enough and health well enough that if physical action and mental action are not in balance, I can hardly expect good results.

I’m tired of living with myself. Can I do a exchange program and live within someone who obeys me instead?

Glad Game: Glad for multiple layers of clothes.

Glad for serendipity offering good chances to see people and plan Bs to see other people. Glad for a phenomenal p.m. yesterday. It’s such a delight to have in depth conversations instead of chat-snatch occasionally.

Glad to see the Alberta Series of poetry chapbooks up. Pretty site and free poetry. Who can argue with that deal.

Glad to have made another book. I didn’t plan to. And yet once I saw the Watchtower hardcover in the wrong bin in the mail room and scooped it, other ideas took hold. I could gut it, skin it and see how it’s structured. Then I ended up using my own recycling papers and bind them in as the new guts.

Glad to get a thank you card for Christmas gifts from our niece. She’s four and wrote it with a picture. Actually she wrote FA CU which is a good phonetic shot at how she says it, and her name that she spelled right. Gah, this is a girl who at 3 was asked what’s that thing in the sky and she answered “crescent moon”. (I’ll save you more; The brag ends here.)

Glad the public library can haul a loan across town so I can check what exists from home and bring it miles closer.

Glad to have finally remembered to have tuned into the Y101 classics show on Sunday morning. That’s only taken me a few years. Marvelous to hear songs I actually recognize coming over the air. Sweet.

Glad for small bells attached to purses and blouses and set on shelves. Small bells are lovely.

Glad that my desk saw fit to unearth my U.S. postage. I had a hand in that of course. But I needed the cooperation of the paper goddesses for the sheet to fully surface to my attention.

Tests: Reading speed. You read between 400 – 450 words per minute. Well above average reading level. (The average rate is between 200 – 250 words per minute.)

Writing Speed: 56 wpm

Quote: “Only the small secrets need to be protected. The bg ones are kept secret by public incredulity.” – Marshall McLuhan in Money as Debt

27 Jan 2009, 4:39pm
Arts Ottawa Photos Poets

Messagio Galore VI

For the most recent A B Series the room was filled to capacity with about 80 to 90 people. The next one will be at the 4th stage NAC with a troupe from Australia.

For this Messagio Galore, there was a 6-voice performance of exploring John Cage [which you can get as a ringtone? seriously?] and sounds from Jack Kerouac to Ernst Jandl to Fraggle Rock. Harmony, cacaphony, emotional expression with and “without” content in one to seven voices.

Led by jwcurry the symphony of voice became 7 voices when Erskine joined in for the haunting piece called The Visitor; she had performed in it with Messagio Galore V at the Writers Fest and was in iv as well.

As it happened this emotional harmony was the closing piece of The Visitor abutted against one of the more humorous pieces.

The feel of each piece was randomized by the contexts of what came before and after. Each person attending had a literal hand in the performance by shuffling the order of the performance pieces. Some people insisted on shuffling blind and not seeing anything. A few blanched fretting that the blue sheets were separation pages that got moved. Others wanted to know how it all would work and enthusiastically shuffled a few times exclaiming how cool and random it was. A few people said it was too much responsibility to rearrange what would happen and only touched the pile to bless them. One wanted to use I Ching, one did drop shuffle. Some rearranged the order of pieces to be performed extensively. Some would only cut the deck, some would have their partner do it on their behalf. 3 or 4 wanted to explore the pieces, try to pronounce them.

The items were intercut with Cage’s lecture on nothing which itself was segmented into 30 second chunks, one chunk for each blue sheet. The sentences passed from voice to voice, the next pass coming sometimes within the word to give a sense of one voice yet not. Since this long text was chopped up it meant it may segue mid-sentence with a sound piece, the happenstance making a new meaning. Sometimes comic, sometimes, oddly fitting.

The lecture on nothing meant there was a constant thread tying together all the bits that may be a word deconstructed into phonemes. Or voices going raspy or screaming or grumbly against one clear note held. Or sentences that repeat with the intonation shifting thru. Or the tibetan memory trick where there’s a recitation with an effect like a group of auctioneers speeding thru the 12 days of Christmas. Sorta.

Photos I took were a bit dodgy. The lighting is raking spotlight or gradient shadow and people moving thru them and moving constantly. Around the room there was a 3D acoustic of reaction of people’s breath puffing surprise or amusement at pieces. Even in parts where there were whispers or palate clicks the sound carried to the back of the room even with that many in the room. Because it was unamped, the loud bits were loud, naturally, but not ear-breakers.

Each piece had been rehearsed as a troupe for intensive months, pushing voices to limits, working on seamless timing. It was rather like watching musicians jam with instruments. The connection was thru sound and common parameters and could even flow to improv.

Ears were turned on. I thought I recorded 3 movie excerpts but seems I only got one of 40 seconds and I have no idea how to to get it out of iPhoto.

Rod Pederson and rob give a take on the energy at the place. Both can give more musical and cultural context of what that was. Amanda talks about particular pieces.

Quotes: “As we go along an idea may occur in this talk. I have no idea if one will or not. If it does, let it.”

“I begin to hear old sounds – the ones I had thought worn out by intellectualizaion – I begin to hear the old sounds as though they are not worn out. Obviously, they are not worn out. They are just as audible as new sounds. Thinking has worn them out. And if one stops thinking about them, suddenly they are fresh and new.” – John Cage, lecture on nothing

26 Jan 2009, 8:46pm
Health Link Dump

Recommended Reading

I’d do a post on each except that I haven’t. Best at least to show them at least:

Why do they do it? Nothing we do, we do because there is no advantage. In some form there is a logic. I’m confounded about the logic of ear-ringing loud music.

High volume directional amplification in pumped up car stereos or at concerts cause pain and therefore, the body gives an after high, like runner’s high, or post-tattoo, with the body pumping itself with recovery-making. This can be addictive, the endorphins flight or fight of bumping up internal pharmacy from the cortisol and whatnot from adrenalin pumping movies.

Secondly, blog for birth control choice is an eye opener. People actually had that much struggle because people banned any form of family planning and were hostile to those getting pregnant. Why all the drama and trauma for something straightforward that could be a non-event. It must have skewed everything.

Lastly, ecology and health of menstrual products with an introduction to the remarkably non-ubiquitous cups. Apparently another reason to use a menstrual cup? Diaper rash or the like seems relatively common with the allergens and structure of pads.

And lastly, lastly, welcome to the year of the Ox. That’s Hubby’s birth year by Chinese HoroscopeHappy Chinese New Year! xÄ«n nián kuài lè . gōng xǐ fā cái

23 Jan 2009, 4:20pm

Good Things in the Here and Soon

Sound poetry entertainment of Messagio Galore VI with jwcurry, John Lavery, Roland Prevost, Carmel Purkis, Sandra Ridley & Grant Wilkins doing bits from John Cage’s Lecture On Nothing & Hugo Ball, Four Horsemen, Claude Gauvreau, d.a.levy, Sam Loyd, Mike Patton & Frank Zappa.

Date: Saturday, January 24, 2009
Doors Open: 7:00pm
Performance: 8:00pm
Venue: Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery
Admission/Tickets: $15 at the door (or more or less according to ability)

If you come from out of town and want to come on the cheap, try, a network for finding people who love to meet people from around the world who can crash in their spare room, sofa, floor…

An’s photo essay of leaf in snow reminds me of that maple key we found in a cleft of the car engine. Tucked away from winter for a couple months.

Grace in Small Things is sort of like Glad Game. Over 100 people are in on this form of 5 things that they appreciate. Schmutzie in Saskatchewan started the network of people doing it collectively.

Quote: “Life has a practice of living you, if you don’t live it.” – Philip Larkin

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