Thursday, December 31, 2009

Portraits of a Lady

"Subconsciously or not, the figures I paint are a reflection of myself and whatever mood I am in at the time, so every painting is in essence a self-portrait." ~ Lori Earley

Lori Earley is a New York artist and I must say, I like her style...


The Parting




Ms. V

Monday, December 21, 2009

Skating Around The Frozen Pond

Ah, Christmastime. How I adore thee. I love the fact that I can play Christmas carols for an entire month, drink Gingerbread lattes (pure heaven in a cup), and walk along a street lit up with bright twinkling lights and crunchy white snow....though rain seems to be the norm here on the West Coast. It makes me appreciate the snow even more. What I wouldn't give right now to go skating outdoors at Hawrelak Park. I reminisce. There's something insanely romantic about holding hands under the moonlit sky and gliding around.

I love the fact that my neighbour up the street put up the tree in November. I love that there is a fuschia Christmas tree sitting in the window of a downtown store. It was there last year, and still there it is. Who wants a fuschia tree? I love that this season brings out the heart of people. There's more laughter, more giving. I'm moved by stories of strangers doing something kind for another without expecting anything in return, even something simple as recognition.

The only thing I don't love, is the insanity. After yet another year of this, I'm tempted to spend next year on a ski hill in Banff, in a lodge with a huge fireplace and room service. Just escape all of the hustle and bustle and noise of the city. Just relax, enjoy and reflect on the year past and the year ahead. It's easy to get caught up in the madness of the season. The impatient drivers. The crazy shoppers. Yes, the rude ones who forget manners and joy as they rush around for last minute gifts. These situations bring out the worst in me, if I allow it. But I don't want to be that person. Just because someone is an ignorant bastard to me, doesn't mean I should be one in return, does it.

Have yourself a happy non-specific seasonally correct interdenominational pseudo holiday festive occasion.

In other words,

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Extreme Storm Surgin'

Now here's a sport I think I can do...too.

Changing the way you look at the world. I like that. I like the entire concept. No two people have the same experiences. We are restricted to our own consciousness. Confined by our paradigms. We need to break out of these molds and live.

Live fully.

Life is short. We need reminders, because so often we forget. To look and see the world and experience the moments it offers. Dare. Dream. Laugh. More importantly, laugh at yourself. Give. Give to the world, your heart, your soul, your voice ~ in whatever way which makes sense to you. BE. Be brave. Be who you are. Be different. Be present. Be open to new ideas. Be willing to run, to leap and land on our feet or fall flat on our face. We need to have more faith in ourselves and more faith in others. Because we get each other through. We need to live a life congruent to our values, ideals and dreams. To never cease to wonder. To imagine what will be. To see all possibilities, when no one else will.

This is nothing new. But it never grows old.

Think about it.

This is your life.

"Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

~ Steve Jobs

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fleeting Beauty

Sylvia Ji, an artist from San Fransisco, has some mesmorizing work...I revel in sensuality.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pregnant Women Pee 'A Lot'

The Trews, travelling all the way across the country from Antigonish, Nova Scotia (at least this is where they started out 'in the beginning'), graced us with an incredible acoustic show here in Nanaimo last night. They have a new album out, Friends & Total Strangers. Did I mention that I love musicians from the East Coast? They just breathe so much life into their lyrics & melodies. It was a thrill to hear these guys live, for sure. I hope they come back.

Unfortunately, the one song I wanted to capture (Locked Doors) was interupted half-way by the pregnant gal up the aisle who needed to get by on her trip to the loo for the tenth time! Ahhhh...C'est la vie!

Daniel Wesley opened for them. He's got some funky songs, I like his style. He hails from the little city of White Rock, BC, just across the water... We're practically neighbours. I should bake him some Nanaimo bars. The stage looked a whole lot bigger at the Port. iPods aren't very good for recording are they...

Good tune:

where will i go now
the life i knew is gone
someway and somehow
we all keep moving
on and on and on and on
tonight, tonight c'mon and
set me free from yesterday
and all it's haunted memories
but now it's closing time
and i don't wanna leave
i can't stop laughing,
i'm not even happy

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Six Shillings A Dozen

How I get from point A to point B is an unsolved mystery, but there sure is a ton of random information out there.

What started out as a simple perusal of recipes ended with a rather strange, yet minutely amusing piece of entertainment: The Flea Circus (See it for yourself, right here)

I've heard of all kinds of sideshow acts, but this one kind of threw me in a loop. Only because I've seen the damn things falling off my cat, which by the way was beyond discusting. However, thanks to modern medicine I had Revolution on him in no time and they all died suddenly a few hours later. Not to mention the fact, that this week I had to personally pull a big fat tick off my cat with tweezers. These have since been sterilized. Bugs belong outside, no? Apparently, it's the time of year when they all want in. I still have night terrors.

So why the hell would I want to see them playing football and hauling heavy shit around?!

Interestingly enough, this has been going on for a while. Since the 1800s. Back then, fleas were common, so tracking them down for shows was quite easy. As hygiene improved over the years - they were harder to come by and cost six shillings a dozen. During shortages, a single flea even cost two shillings! Here I pay to get them the hell out of my cat, and these buggars pay them to put on a show. Nonsense.

Handbills of an exhibition of performing fleas, 1820:

To train the fleas not to jump, they are put in a jar with a lid for three days. After this, they jump no higher than the height of the lid.

The fleas are harnessed, so to not escape and ruin the show...

1891 description of the harnessing procedure:
The flea is taken up gently, and a noose of the finest 'glass-silk' is passed round his neck, and there tied with a peculiar knot. The flea, unfortunately for himself, has a groove or depression between his neck and body, which serves as a capital hold-fast for the bit of silk. (Buckland, 1891, p. 119)

Fleas can also be glued to things to give the illusion of a performance... For instance, to the floor of the circus enclosure. Instruments are then glued to the flea performers and the enclosure is heated. The fleas fight to escape giving the impression of fleas playing musical instruments.

Lucky for performing fleas, they don't live very long. And with cruelty such as this, it's a miracle PETA isn't after them. Or are they? I don't know, do you?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Want Your Psycho, Your Vertigo Stick

I have decided that I really, really dig this video. She's ridiculous. Love the costumes, the shoes, the Thriller references, the harpischord, that cute cat, the moves, the eyes, the sexy, the creepy... what don't I love...

And well, it just... fits.

Ra-ra ah-aahh-ahh
Ro-ma ro-ma-maaah

You and mE could wriTe a bad romance...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Particularly Leather

I'm looking for a sofa, loveseat and big ol' comfy chair. I've been looking for a while and it's proving to be a challenge. Particularly when you're particular. There's very few things I'm actually fussy about, but this I admit is one of them. It has to be leather and when I say leather I mean the good stuff. Soft, warm, and cozy.

I want a hide with a personality. Wrinkles, stretch marks, brand marks, insect bites and run-ins with barbed wires, fence posts and raging bulls. That cow should have led a full life.

My current obsession is Restoration Hardware, they have some charming furniture. Dream with me why don't you... You might find something you like.

Lancaster sofa...

The Drake Barrelback chair...

I'm not asking for much, only that it outlasts these 18th century beauties:

(most people put these in the living room)

Some fun facts about leather:

It's the strongest upholstered material known to man & womankind.

To test if it's quality leather, lightly scratch the leather. If it scratches easily and leaves a lighter mark, it's probably the good stuff.

A sofa consists of a bunch of hides which compliment each other, but are not identical.

Quality leather does not get hot in the summer and cold in the winter. That's a myth! The pores in the leather allow it to breathe & adjust to its environment.

Over time, leather develops a "patina" - like a well-worn Baseball glove, giving it that vintage weathered look. Character. Like crows feet and laugh lines.

If you're lost for days and happen to be wearing leather shoes, put em in your mouth & suck em. The leather has nutritional value & will sustain you for a while. (It's true, I've tried it)

Leather is not just for furniture!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jesus Goes To The Porn Convention

Good Lord. I've sinned AGAIN! Well by the time I finish this post I will have. Don't worry, I've got confession tomorrow.

I've been biting my tongue on this one for a while, but it keeps rearing its head and I have a disorder. It's called 'Being unable to shut up when it comes to matters involving religion in which one finds amusing, confusing and/or sillynosis'. Any Christian man or woman who is engaging in sexual immorality of any kind is a person in conflict. Are you in conflict? XXXChurch is here to help!

Founded in 2002 by Craig Gross (who according to the website, Gross & the xxxchurch believe what Billy Graham believes- which I find a bit curious, as wouldn't "most Christians" say something along the lines of what God teaches, or what the Bible says, right off the bat? Isn't God the focus? Anyway, minor detail. The Great Billy Graham beliefs can be found here), XXXChurch is "designed to bring awareness, openness and accountability to those affected by pornography".

So what this means, is a team of Jesus-lovin' individuals will show up at your next porn event - such as the Vancouver Taboo Naughty But Nice Sex Show, handing out bibles and spreading the good news that Jesus loves them no matter what their involvement in porn, to help those addicted and offer advice to those who are merely tempted. Because we all know, watching porn here and there, livening up your sex life with some toys or whatnots, or heaven-forbid fantasizing while you masterbate is going to lead to a full blown addiction, or better yet, a trip to hell.

Don't get me wrong, I think this whole idea of an outreach for individuals who are indeed struggling is okay, but what the hell, why not set your booth up outside the doors, and mingle with the rest of the church folk, where you're not infringing on the rights of porn-friendly people, and you can feel safe knowing your eyes will not wander to the scantily clad bimbo's booty as she passes by (a sin!) or ponder the use of a rainbow dildo on display at the next booth over (a sin!)... I mean really...

This is a billion dollar industry, world-wide. It's not going anywhere. Sure, maybe you need to secure your computer so your 12 year old isn't watching it, and seek counselling if you're spending all day in front of the screen or the credit card company is after you to pay back the money you spent renting every movie at the adult video store. And yeah, if you are a woman tired of being degraded and trying to get out of the industry, by all means contact this church.

But it is what it is.

Some people like sex, others like sex toys, and some even like sex with the same sex.. (sin! sin! sin!) Some people like tattoos, which according to various religious groups is basically a sin and often results in a quote from Leviticus: "Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos." So is there a TattooChurch out there somewhere, sending out their drones for the tattoo and body art conventions?

I just say let people be people.

Craig Gross takes on Ron Jeremy in the Great Porn Debate (more vids under xxxchurch)

Jesus goes to the porn convention!
(the absurdity of it all)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Angry Man of Jazz

Charles Mingus was a GOD. To this day he is my idol and in my past life I was his F-hole.

This month at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Mingus is being featured. What I wouldn't do to go to the Jazz Mecca of New York... Midtown Manhattan...Birdland...Harlem...Carnegie Hall. Where the likes of Mingus, Coltrane, Theolonius Monk, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and other greats let loose their musical fury.

Mingus was a hot-headed bassist, composer, and pianist, known for his combativeness, both on and off stage. He strove to create unique music to be played by unique musicians and took his music seriously. At one gig at Birdland in 1955, after Charlie Parker had arrived late, and then left again after seeing the pianist Bud Powell so drunk he could barely stay on the piano bench...and then a second eruption involving an argument between Parker and Powell (who eventually stormed off the stage) over the next tune... Mingus told the crowd: "Please don't associate me with any of this. This is not jazz. These are sick people!" Despite his outbursts, Mingus was a musical genius, and a legend in the history of Jazz.

This man's music puts my soul at ease. All I need is him plucking his bass, as I tap my toes, sip on some Merlot and listen...

Without further ado...
Turn that fucking mic on

And in case you were wondering how to teach your cat some manners, as Mingus did so with his own cat Nightlife, try the Charles Mingus Cat Toilet Training Program

Monday, November 2, 2009

One Foot In Front Of The Other

She listens to the whispers of her soul and follows them where they lead....

Upon arriving home from work today, I found a lovely surprise in the mailbox. I was so ecstatic I did the Charleston.

My sister Little C, sent me an inspirational card. The message was just perfect for where I'm at & need to be going. It was a message on dreams. Funny girl, she sent a yellow balloon along with it. However, I refuse to blow it up because then it would eventually deflate to a sad pile of crinkly lemon rubber and I would have to throw it in the trash, and I cannot do such a thing. So the balloon now sits on the card which sits on my desk, next to my latest vision board where I can sit and stare at it all day and dream up some more dreams.

Curious, how the arrival of things are always well-timed. Sisters have an innate sense of this, I'm sure. There have been so many of these happenings, all over this canvas of life, that they are hard to ignore. I used to credit this to divine Providence, back in my God-days (the good old days). Now, I'm not sure what it is. A force to be reckoned with for sure...

It's amazing how the littlest things, the simplest acts of love & kindness, can bring you so much joy.

What brings you joy?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Here We Come

But not quite yet... I (and who knows who else will have committed to the insanity by then) will be taking on the most famous hiking trail in BC.

75 kilometres (47mi) of isolated, natural Canadian wilderness including caves, coves, cliffs, surge channels and coastal geology. Ladders, bridges and suspension cables add to the fun. Somewhere I read there are approximately 50 ladders to climb! And who wouldn't want to spend a week with Mother Nature. I can already smell the fresh rainforest air. There is so much preparation to do for this trek, both physically and mentally, but it has begun.

The history of the trail is filled with tragedy. Many ships have gone down along this western shoreline, known as "The Graveyard of the Pacific". Two lighthouses and a telegraph wire had been installed along the coast in the 1800s to aid navigation, in an attempt to prevent this from happening. In 1907, after 136 passengers aboard the Valencia perished in a fierce storm in 06, the old telegraph route was upgraded to a lifesaving trail eventually evolving to what it is today: the West Coast Trail.

It sounds like a freaking blast, albeit an incredibly arduous & treacherous undertaking. I'm up for a challenge.

Blue Peak Travel Photography has some awesome photos of the trail:

What's your most memorable hiking experience? What do you consider to be the most important advice in preparing for a long trek? Things you can't live without on the trails?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

See The Forest For The Trees

A lake, a book, a fire, some film. Sounds like serenity to me...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Evocative Debris

"Capturing the dark and evocative debris that radiates from his mind"...

I caught myself admiring the work of Surrealist fetish/mutilation artist Brian M. Viveros again. A sultry menagerie of lust and the macabre. Apparently, smoking is sexy. The cancerous stick makes an appearance in the majority of his pieces. Too bad. However, this is his signature style, along with heavy black seductive eyes and the overall imagery of a Femme Fatale. I read in one of his interviews that he paints the cigarette last and this is when he knows the painting is complete. When he finishes with hers, he can have his. The process of Viveros starts with a drawing on paper, then he transfers it to maple board. Using an airbrush, along with charcoal and ink, or oils and acrylic, he creates these erotic beauties. I am in love:

Hang Over

Fight Klub
Evil Last
Dirtyland IV

Pass the Gas
Lazy Eye
Bullfight Her

Monday, October 19, 2009

Up to you

Steve Earle has some great songs. I've been listening to this one in particular as of late: It's all up to you. The lyrics really hit home when I first heard it. Bikkja does an amazing cover of the song. I was delighted to find it while looking for the original by Earle. I actually like her version better as it's softer, more melodic... haunting. Have a listen:

No matter which way the wind blows
It's always cold when you're alone
Ain't no candle in the window
You've got to find your own way home
Now the rain ain't gonna hurt you
It's come to wash away your blues
It's all up to you

No body said it would be easy
But it don't have to be this hard
If you're lookin' for a reason
Just stand right where you are
Now there ain't no one out to get you
They've got to walk in their own shoes

It's all up to you
It's all up to you
No one else can get you through
Right or wrong, win or lose
It's all up to you

You can stand out on that highway
Look as far as you can see
But when you get to that horizon
There's always someplace else to be
But don't you stop to look behind you
'Cause you've got some travelin' left to do
It's all up to you

The message is nothing new, but the reminder is always welcomed. It's so easy to forget...especially when difficult situations arise or people are their usual jovial selves (tongue in cheek). But it's true.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Such a Gentleman...

They say chivalry's dead, but I think you're making a pretty strong case for it's revival...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Pug Named Moustache

"I would describe the practice of making art as requiring a mix of rapt dedication and raw conviction. It is one of the purest acts of faith I know about." ~ Sheila Norgate

Last night, I had the honour of attending "i never met a blank canvas i didn't like" by Sheila Norgate, a local visual artist. She photographed her painting process with a tripod set up in her studio and presented it in a series of slides. The timing of this show was bang on, as I have been awaiting inspiration for a while now (Merci beaucomp, JG!).

Paintings evolved from a glaring white canvas to charming pieces of art, subconsciously, through the eyes and mind of this incredible lady. The spontaneity of it all was quite hilarious. She would bring certain elements onto the canvas on one slide, and when we reached the next slide it had either morphed into something quite different, or been painted over altogether... and so on. It was almost stop motion. She made it all the more interesting with her narrations.

It's interesting to see the way different artists approach the canvas and a gift to be able to take with you a little something from each one. Whether it be a new idea, a new style or technique, or simply a burst of inspiration.

Her work can be found on her website: