Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm soooooo out of touch with things culinary in my own home town! This little joint is on a nondescript side street in a part of town filled with car repair shops, small (really, really small) manufacturers, and, well, um, not much of anything, really. And yet, it's part of the Vikram Vij empire. Who knew? This guy is an amazing restaurateur. I've only ever been to his original place, "Vij" (or is that "Vij's"?), and that was fantastic. Amazing food and not-amazing prices. And, unlike a lot of places, he's there. The place doesn't take reservations, so there's usually a line outside. No problem (well, as long as the weather cooperates) - he's out there, too, wandering from waiting guest to waiting guest, handing out cups of chai. Once you get inside, he'll be by your table suggesting possible combinations of dishes and drinks. Or, for that matter, dishes and dishes. This guy has succeeded because he really deserves to.

Anyway, the only reason I'm bringing this up is that I had no idea he owned this little "dump" when I photographed it. The New York Times, however, was much more clued in.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So, I was sitting in front of my computer screen, watching Keith Olbermann's show, when the telephone rang. Lo and behold, it was my internet provider! And, for that matter, phone provider. A nice-sounding woman named Ida thanked me profusely for taking her call (How could I not? I don't have caller ID on my home phone.). She was calling to tell me all about the wonderful offer her company was making regarding their television services and to ask me if I might be interested. I told her I don't have a television. There was an audible stumble of incredulity. Professional that she obviously is, she recovered. "Do you plan to buy one in the near future?" she asked. "No way," I replied with a laugh. Well, that just totally flummoxed her. I could hear the gears in her head grinding, the teeth shearing off. The mental but-but-but of someone who just can't conceive of the notion that someone wouldn't want a television. Wouldn't want access to all the wondrous shows it provides.

The really great thing? She just totally gave up. Immediately. She was beaten, and she knew it. "O.K., well, thanks again for taking my call. Have a great evening." I didn't have the heart to tell her that I would.

Monday, September 28, 2009

O.K., this is just dumb. Really.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Human behaviour is, to put it mildly, amusing. When it's not totally exasperating, that is. For example, people insisting on organic wine or beer. Organic? They do realize that alcohol's a poison, don't they? Or, folks who eschew plastic bags when they go shopping and bring their own cloth bags. Which they haul out of the back seat or trunk of their SUV.

I love us. Really.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Went to see "District 9" today. Enjoyed it. I hadn't really expected to, given a lot of the reviews, but it was fun. Sure, there was lots a pretty darn unsubtle symbolism, but it was nicely-done unsubtle symbolism. For crying out loud, it's science fiction, after all. What do you expect?

Another victim, to some extent, of Vancouver's Olympic madness. This is (was) a great Thai restaurant that had the misfortune to open on one of Vancouver's main streets, Cambie St., just as the entire roads was about to be completely ripped up in order to install a new subway line. With Cambie nothing more than a 7 km trench, businesses folded like cheap beach chairs, one after another over a period of 2-3 years. The people that owned this place held on, held on, held on right to the end. The street out front was finally re-paved and traffic was flowing. Then, the money ran out and - bang! - gone.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spring, summer, fall... It starts small.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Treats - the things conservatives love to hand out to large corporations. Like Smirkin' Steve's "green" initiative. I can hardly wait to see which companies' boards he winds up on once he's out of government.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back on the Downtown Eastside. Clean-up is proceeding at a furious pace down there. The Olympics are comin'! The Olympics are comin'! And the bums have to be gotten off the street. Gentrification must proceed! The future is here!


Monday, September 21, 2009

There are two kinds of photographers (O.K., I know - work with me, alright?): those that spend a lot of time pondering the whys and wherefores of their photography and those that don't. I'm afraid I fall into the latter class (as I may have mentioned before). I wander the streets thinking about whatever's on my mind at the moment, leaving whatever part of my brain it is that says, "Oh, let's photograph that," to work away on its own. When it sees something, it taps my mental shoulder and I stop and take the picture. I suppose some, but not all, of the "thoughtful" group would say that this is bad, that I should know why I'm taking the picture, that I should have a purpose. Sadly, my brain just doesn't work that way. It's slothful. Bad brain.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

These plants grow outside the library half a block away, on my way to pretty much anywhere in my neighbourhood. I have no idea what they are, but they've sure got nifty leaves.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talk about a room with a view! And an interesting notion of "beautification".

This is another of those photographs that puzzled passersby while I was taking it. A middle-aged woman and her elderly mother picked up their pace noticeably as they passed, giving me no chance to explain. Which was probably just as well since I wouldn't actually have had an explanation.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Laurie's Bee Suits". The joke's kind of obvious, isn't it? Oh, well.

Just caught Bill Clinton on Thursday night's "Daily Show". Thoughtful, articulate, generous - everything the Republicans aren't. He had praise for a variety of people, including both President Bushes. He was willing to give credit to anyone if they were doing good for others. Try finding one of today's Republicans doing that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This photograph seems to be perfect for a brief digression on the subject of how overwhelming life can be sometimes. And, let's face it, for a lot of people these days, it darn well is. Not for me, however. Life is, in fact, almost ridiculously peaceful. Which, come to think of it, is kind of unnerving.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I walk through this little alley nearly every day, on my way from my apartment to the various shops - coffee, bookstore, groceries, magazines - on 41st Ave. This little bundle of crumpled napkin is sitting on the windowsill of a restaurant, "The Avenue Grill", that's been there for decades. When I first went to it, it was a wonderfully cheesy little diner - formica, aluminum, booths with jukebox selection boxes, and, last but not least, really good bad food. It was a great place to go. Then (you guessed it) it got "gentrified". Booths gone. Jukebox? Oh, really gone. Crappy food? Um, well...O.K., the food's a bit better, but it's the same "bit-better-food" that you can get in any faux French restaurant. At the same inflated price, of course.

At least they kept the swell neon sign.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And now (as the famous introduction goes) for something completely different. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's "Chicken Diplomacy Hour"! And I'm not referring to courage, either. Nope. I'm referring to...get ready...those famous vehicles for sauce...those "What?!? Are you kidding me?" treats beloved of consumers of dim sum...yes, you guessed it - chicken feet!

I think this may be the first time in history that a war (albeit a trade war) might possibly be won, not by the feet upon which an army might march, but by the feet upon which that army might dine.

I love this world! Don't you?

Monday, September 14, 2009

O.K., you can insert a slight sigh right about here. While I was taking this photograph, I noticed a nice woman who worked in the building detour around me so she wouldn't block my shot. I also noticed her looking hard, trying to figure out what the hell I was photographing. So, I told her. "Don't worry. There really is nothing there." 'Cause, how do you explain a photograph like this to someone? How do you explain making a photograph like this to someone? The more I think about it, the more I think photographs are like jokes -you either get them or you don't.

She was very nice, by the way. She worked in a coffee shop on the ground floor of this building, a giant office building. She told me she often saw photographers out here trying to get a decent shot of the large cathedral that's to the right of, and behind, this photograph. It's a pretty nifty building if you're into cathedrals.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Man, don't you hate days when you wander out with your camera and just can't find a thing? Not because there's nothing there, but because, somehow, you're just not feeling right? Nothing catches your eye because your eye's gone temporarily (one hopes) blind (metaphorically speaking, of course)? I hate days like that. Days, in other words, like today.

I'm wondering if it isn't because I had sort of a glimmer of a new idea, a semi-project (I don't do full projects). I got a couple of photographs (not this one) that were sort of what I had in mind, but... Well, we'll see, I guess.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You know what Obama needs? He needs his very own Malcolm Tucker. If you haven't got any idea who Malcolm Tucker is, you need to see "In the Loop". Wrong-Way Wilson wouldn't stand a chance against the guy. Nor would any of his fellow Republican morons (and, I'm sorry, but morons are all that's left in the Republican party. If you think differently, you might want to re-examine your right to apply that verb to yourself).

Beware the approach of the Robot Rabbit!

Makes as much sense as any Republican scare tactic, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Wrong-Way Wilson" - has kind of a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Oooohhhh, don't get me started. For example, last time I checked, "rush" (as a noun) referred to a plant. Which, of course, does provide a good estimate of the Republican party's king's I.Q. Mind you, the vegetable kingdom might be insulted by that comparison. And Michael Steele? Too easy. Etc., etc., etc.

The real question, of course, is why are these people tolerated in a civil society? Wilson, Limbaugh, Steele, Boenher, Cantor... Why are the names of such nitwits even familiar?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Joe Wilson - Scum-Sucker of the Year. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Who is this low-life moron, you ask? Me, too. So, I tried to log onto his official web site tonight. Funnily enough, it's "Down for maintenance". Riiiiiight. Joe should be down for maintenance. Except, of course, that his party is probably just so gosh-darn proud of him.

Oh, my god. I just watched (I don't have a television, so watching in real time is a bit problematic) Obama's speech, and, though it's hard to imagine that it's possible, the Republican party just sank even lower in my estimation. There is no appropriate adjective for how low these people are.

And (and this is somehow vaguely disturbing) I love Rachel Maddow and Barney Frank. My excuse is that, in both cases, it's strictly Platonic (well, apart from Ms. Maddow's really cool glasses). O.K., and their brains.

And (yet again), by the way, governments are elected by you. They're not appointed by some magical committee somewhere. They should, if they're working the way they ought to, be working for you. That is, in this particular case, they should be trying to get you the best health care possible. They should be trying to prevent profiteers ripping you off. Now, try really hard to think (for a change, if you're Republican) about which plan might be better for you: the one that ensures that insurance companies will continue to make ridiculous profits holding your health to ransom, or the one that puts your health above corporate profits; the one that lets you pick any doctor you want (at least, that's how it works here in Canada), or the one that forces you to choose from a list of low-budget incompetents that ensure high corporate (and, therefore, stock-holder) profits. If you like the latter choices in each of these, well, you're a Republican. If you prefer the former options, well, you're a human being.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

It suddenly reminds me of the beginnings of a Steadman. I wish.

Meanwhile, maybe you've noticed I've been a bit quieter than usual regarding U.S. politics. Yeah, well...remember that great British show, "Spitting Image"? You know why they finally went off the air? They just couldn't keep up with the lunacy they were trying to satirize.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labour Day's over and a new term's about to begin.

Does the photo stand for anything? I suppose it could be a comment on the current topsy-turvy nature of American politics, but...

Like many things in life, you may have seen something like this before. Ain't that just the way things go?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Yep, fall seems (as M. De-Lin has already acutely observed) seems to have begun...already! It's just not fair, I tell ya!

And, you betcha, "Inglorious Basterds" is well worth seeing. It's typical Tarantin0 - funny, dramatic, over-the-top, referential, name it. Mostly, though, it's just a lot of fun. Anyone who's put off by any violence in the film obviously hasn't seen a movie since around 1921.

No, I did not touch the saturation slider. The guy with the paint did it for me.

Off to see "Inglorious Basterds" today. I'm betting it'll be a darn good time. I'll let you know.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Anybody sending flowers to the Republican Party? Let's face it, the party's dead. Brain dead, at least.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

All you need to know is in the morning paper, right? Of course!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Some folks' days start way too soon. Not mine, luckily.

Mine, today, was spent putting together Ikea "Billy" bookshelves. They've improved since the last time I bought some of these, but... Let's face it, Ikea furniture is sort of miraculous for the money. But, still - if you're going to use Philips head screws? Make 'em out of hard metal, not soft. Anyone who's ever worked extensively with screws (and, hey, who hasn't?) knows that the ranking, from crappiest to bestest, is: slot head - Philips head - Robertson head. When I used to work in set dec, all I needed was a bunch of Robertson head screws and a Makita cordless drill fitted with a Robertson head driver and I could build the Taj Mahal in 15 minutes. The driver fitted the screw perfectly, firmly, and zapped that screw in within seconds. Most of my colleagues tended to over-drive them, but - who cares? - striking the set was seldom a precision operation. "Fore!", he yelled, as he swung the sledge hammer. Ikea seems to be using pure lead (or, maybe, lard?) for their screws, which makes the exercise a tad frustrating. Still...

The other problem with buying new bookshelves? Well, at least in my case, "new" is more accurately rendered as "more". Books, stacked on top of books, stacked on top of books. It's a bit like avalanche control around here. Yeah, there's less risk that I'll be killed when 40,000 pounds of paper falls on my head, but - that much more of my living space is taken up with book space. And what self-respecting bibliophile would have it any other way? Right?

O.K., so, run right out and buy "Saul Leiter: Early Color", "Julian Barnes: Arthur and George", "Philip Roth: The Human Stain",, for heaven's sake! Buy more books and read them!