Ten Things, 2023-27
Here are ten things.
- I was on vacation last week! Steph and I went to Ottawa, visited some friends, frolicked in the pool, ate incredibly well, and otherwise had a nice, relaxing time.
- Prior to that, we went to the Granby Zoo. We picked the warmest, stickiest day of our time off to go, but that just made the wave pool and lazy river feel that much better.
- My rental was a Tesla. This was my first experience with the Elon Shitbox, and it pains me to say that it's a fun automobile to drive, even if it goes out of its way to take the driving out of driving. It's also over-engineered in a very specific tech-bro kind of way. Having to navigate a menu to be able to adjust the steering wheel isn't a feature, just... leave the little lever on the steering wheel. Damn near everything is done through the dash-mounted tablet, which, if you don't have a co-pilot, is a total cognitive hazard.
- While in Ottawa, I got reacquainted with the consensus worst piece of fan fiction ever written, My Immortal. This was the first time in a while I thought about it, and the first time ever I experienced the whole interminable thing. What's most insidious/hilarious about this whole endeavour, other than the crass tween edginess and the litany of phobias and isms contained therein, is its repetitive hypnotic quality (the words “black,” “lace,” and, yes, “Gothic,” sound like nonce terms after a while). My Immortal lulls you into its absurd rhythms, which makes every brain-frying left turn feel that much more like a psychic concussion. There truly is nothing else out there like it.
- I love the Home Run Derby, and I love it even more when a Blue Jay comes out on top. Every All-Star Game should have “ball go far” events. The Pro Bowl should have a longest field goal competition. The NBA should have a logo 3 contest. Hell, I'd watch NHL players fire one-timers from the blue line.
- Via Andy Baio, the Tiny Awards, which is “a small prize awarded by an equally-small selection committee of online makers to the website which we feel best embodies the idea of a small, playful and heartfelt web.” This is the version of the internet we can still have.
- But for now, I agree with Max that the internet is for 12-year-olds.
- Xavier Dolan, the wunderkind Canadian filmmaker whose filmography contains more films that have played the Cannes Film Festival than not (including his debut film, which played the Riviera just a few months after his 20th birthday), has (maybe?) decided to quit the movies, declaring that “art is useless and dedicating oneself to the cinema, a waste of time,” and that he doesn't “feel like committing two years to a project that barely anyone sees.” Now Dolan has already been more successful than I'll ever be several times over and surely has enough clout to make smaller (if less seen, less lauded) projects until the day he can't even lift a camera anymore. But this seems like a loser's attitude. I get that feeling like you're creating art in a vacuum can be frustrating, but if you reframe it just so, it can be the most liberating realization you can make about your practice. If no one's watching, what's keeping you from doing any god damn thing you want? Do what thousands of hobbyists and enthusiasts have done since the dawn of the camcorder: write a script, call up some friends (and Xavier, if somehow you ever read this, I know for certain that you have friends in high places), and shoot a movie on what's available. If Steven Soderbergh and Sean Baker and Park Chan-wook can make entire actual-ass movies on iPhones, I believe you can too. The result might not play Cannes, but it'll be yours, forever. Art matters in the doing, not the touring.
- Speaking of movies, here's where I landed on my most recent spins of the Watchlist Roulette: a gritty Montreal-set NFB crime movie from the 70s called La gammick, aka The Mob.
- “Author's Prayer” by Ilya Kaminsky (via Pome):
If I speak for the dead, I must leave this animal of my body,
I must write the same poem over and over, for an empty page is the white flag of their surrender.
If I speak for them, I must walk on the edge of myself, I must live as a blind man
who runs through rooms without touching the furniture.
Yes, I live. I can cross the streets asking 'What year is it?' I can dance in my sleep and laugh
in front of the mirror. Even sleep is a prayer, Lord,
I will praise your madness, and in a language not mine, speak
of music that wakes us, music in which we move. For whatever I say
is a kind of petition, and the darkest days must I praise.