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johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
 so many people getting excited about something as inherently geeky as an eclipse
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
a long deep refreshing sleep --- the second one in a row, in fact!
johncomic: (Default)
 the road reno guys are still on the case

johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
 the wonderful feeling of changing out of cold wet clothes into warm dry ones -- ya forget how good that is
johncomic: (The Mighty Scott)
 revisiting old once-loved music and still loving it
johncomic: (Booth)
 holding fast when at first I don't feel like I can - I like surprising myself that way
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
 the power to make conscious choices
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
 my coworkers -- I'm reminded that not everyone likes or gets on with theirs as well as I do mine
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
a very peaceful morning, the kind I love most
johncomic: (Steve the Pirate ani)
making myself do something that's good for me but which I really so did not feel up to doing today
johncomic: (Sweets)
finding fresh little blips of self-discipline
johncomic: (Booth)
a perfect summer day: warm but not hot, not humid, gentle breeze, sun-dappled shade... keep it just like this, please!


UK musings

Aug. 7th, 2017 07:03 pm
johncomic: (Default)

The women of England are beautiful.

In many cases, that simply means they were conventionally gorgeous... even more frequently than the ones I see at home, and more often displaying charming, fine, delicate features, features that I might almost call carefully crafted. (For some reason I'm thinking of the difference between Hugh Grant and Sylvester Stallone -- each of them has people who find them attractive, but you can see the aesthetic differences in how their faces are built.) On the train back to York from our day trip to Halifax, there was one such lady on the train with us, and I kept swearing that she was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen.

I wanted to capture that face, so I kept looking whenever I had an opportunity (not wanting to be seen staring, not daring to take pictures -- I suspect that explaining it was For Art wouldn't have cut any ice with anyone)... trying my best to commit her to memory, how the contours of her face changed when she turned this way or that, how the neck muscles shifted, the proportions of the jaw line... I mentioned in an earlier post that I spent some time drawing when I was in York: that was when I tried to draw that face from memory and recapture those details. I failed utterly -- my visual memory is nowhere near as clear or sharp as I would wish. No one seeing those sketches would have any idea how lovely the lady was who inspired them. Such is life.

But even the women who would "objectively" be considered unexceptional or plain -- I could still sense an energy in them, almost an inner light, that elevated them for me. I'm sure that part of this is some sort of honeymoon effect on my part, a perception of them as somehow "exotic". Eventually, though, I realized that even the men of York had a vibe around them... and it clicked that overall these people were healthier and happier than what I was used to at home. In the two weeks I was there, I can remember one time hearing a voice that was upset -- not once hearing one that was angry -- but many that were boisterous and joyous. You can imagine that this sort of spiritual environment would connect with me and appeal to me on numerous levels.

Since then, I've wondered to what extent this might be economic. My understanding is that the cost of living in York (and Greenwich and London) is higher than here at home. Which would mean I was surrounded by people who could afford to live there = people more well off than me and my circles. Such people could afford to care for themselves better, life would weigh less heavily on them. Maybe what I was seeing was the effects of spending time with a higher class? Still not sure...

johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
coffee and tunes on a holiday morning
johncomic: (Default)
Since our trip to the UK, I've had flashes of seeing my surroundings at home through fresh eyes.

When we got to Eggcetra this morning, I had time to kill (since the wait for a table is rarely under thirty minutes)... and this time I decided to go for a walk. In England I got used to doing a lot of walking, and there were numerous benefits in that for me, and I'm hoping to reclaim some of those benefits here. So, this period of enforced waiting combined with a gorgeous day made walking seem like the perfect answer, and I went for a wander round the plaza.

The sight of this round back made me think of the iconic shots from Ozu's last film:

Ozu still

Saw this sign in a consignment store window:

KeepRite was a factory back in Brantford where my dad worked. He was on the air-conditioner assembly line there before I was born, and he worked there all through my life until he retired. (I even worked there once, briefly.) It was odd to see this bit of my past facing me here, unannounced and so far removed in space in time.

Seeing this tower made me think about how today we see these all over, and yet not so many years ago, they and their function didn't even exist. In the lower right is an electrical line pole -- the likes of which used to fill every neighbourhood, and yet my new neighbourhood today was built without any of these at all. Time and technology change:

Caught my reflection in a darkened store window on a very bright day:

And finally I made it back to Eggcetra and looked across the street at the homes... thinking about how they don't look like they were built as A Development all at once by the same builder, as happens so often here when new homes go up now:

houses and cars

Well, that's all, I guess -- I wasn't really leading up to any point. My thoughts were wandering today, is all, and this post kinda wandered with them....
johncomic: (piggy family)
brunching with the family at Eggcetra -- it's strange, but I almost forget how much I enjoy the food there, so that it's almost like a surprise whenever we go!

johncomic: (Booth)
The house is so cool that I need a sweater -- and it's August!

UK musings

Aug. 4th, 2017 12:34 pm
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
I fell hard for York while we were there. The place seemed like such a comfortable fit for me, built on what I see as a more human scale than the vastness of London (its wondrousness notwithstanding). All of us ended up sorta-wishing that, rather than booking two weeks in York and one in London, that we had booked all three in York. I actually had to hold back tears when we were on our way to the railway station to finally leave.

A while later, I realized that my response was very similar to how I feel when I develop a crush on someone. The feeling is very pleasant and very powerful... but it can also be based on only the briefest acquaintance, without necessarily very many hard facts on which to ground this positive evaluation. So I quickly saw that it would not be smart to suddenly pull up stakes and try to move there.... but at the same time, the feeling is, in and of itself, real... not to be denied or dismissed, but to be enjoyed for the pleasures it brings to my life. So it remains a place of fond memories and warm regards. And if I'm very lucky, I will go back someday.

johncomic: (SK BW)
the gradual return of enjoyment in drawing

UK musings

Aug. 3rd, 2017 12:50 pm
johncomic: (SK BW)
here's a bit more about my experience of becoming non-attached from my life back home:

I packed sketchbooks, pencils, etc., for the trip, thinking about the wonderful opportunities for life drawing there would be in England. And of course there were lovely things to see -- and I took photos. But I never drew them.

Part of me was thinking, "Well, I'm with other people, they aren't gonna wanna stop and wait for me to sit and draw this scene" etc. But even when I was out on my own, I still never did it. I simply didn't feel like it.

I didn't miss drawing at all while I was away. At home, I can get kind of antsy if I lie fallow too long, but over there it simply wasn't a part of who I was, somehow. Unexpected.

As it turned out, I ended up drawing on only two occasions during those three weeks. Once was in York -- I don't like those drawings so I won't share them here, but I will talk a bit about them in a later post. The other was later in Greenwich, where almost out of a sense of obligation, I decided to make myself sit and sketch the view out the living room window. [There was an interesting lamp post.] While I was at it, I started wondering if I still remembered how to draw Space Kid after not doing so for this long. So, as you can see, I drew him, too -- and for an off the cuff sketch it's about as good an SK as I ever do. So that was some comfort, that I don't get that rusty that fast...

Still, it was a strange experience for me. For so many decades, my drawing has defined me in my own mind. A cartoonist is what I am. I have felt that since I was a kid. When I was threatened in the 90s with no longer being able to draw, I was at a complete loss. But now... there's this new awareness that my self is not actually the things I do. I exist apart from my drawing, and it is possible for me to have a life without it -- even a satisfying life. A few months ago I would never believe that I could say such a thing.

Even more strangely, after I got home, I still had no desire to get back to drawing. When I was back at the board, it felt more like a chore, and I was drawing out of a sense of obligation and duty [to my deadlines, I suppose]. I'm still coming to terms with this experience of drawing not feeling the same as it did before.

August 2017

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