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johncomic: (Booth)
feeling kinda invigorated and excited by tomorrow's launch of the new academic year
johncomic: (Default)
 the road reno guys are still on the case

johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
 my coworkers -- I'm reminded that not everyone likes or gets on with theirs as well as I do mine

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: (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....

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.

UK musings

Aug. 1st, 2017 02:35 pm
johncomic: (Sweets)
I've decided to start recording some of my thoughts and feelings regarding our recent UK sojourn, to preserve them and make them easier to share if need be.

One thing I noticed, in both Greenwich and particularly in York, is how the environment seems designed for human beings.

The streets and sidewalks are narrow and curved. Shopping appears geared for foot traffic far more than for drivers. I saw a [small] number of parking garages but don't remember seeing any parking lots. Everything you need is within reasonable walking distance [I did A LOT more walking than usual when I was there, ended up losing four pounds over three weeks]. I came to really enjoy the freedom of not needing to (or being able to) drive. Streets blocked off for the use of "pedestrians only" are commonplace. It might sound cramped to some, but it didn't strike me that way -- the sense of coziness is all-pervasive. I loved it; I felt like I fit in, like I belonged.

When we returned home, and were leaving the airport in Toronto, I was struck by the strangeness of places I have seen many times over many years. The huge sprawling roadways, buildings staggered far apart with no rationale I could see, the space between them wasted: not available for anyone's use, not crafted to provide green space -- it looked deliberately left desolate.

Even the views from the plane of the English countryside versus the farmlands outside Toronto provided a contrast: England looking organic, curvilinear, compact, green, rolling... Canada a wide flat grid huge beyond all human need, brown and struggling.

And now that I'm home, I keep noticing little ways that the people are constrained to make more allowances for the cars, the waste, the unyielding inorganic strictures of my surroundings... can you tell that I miss England?

johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
getting positive feedback regarding my appearance
johncomic: (Default)
 meeting Paula Needle

She agreed to come over from Harrogate to York to meet Sharon and me for tea. [Ended up being "just me", but that's another story...] Prior to this, she and I had exchanged a couple of brief PMs on FB but that's about it, it's not like we know each other much. But she has always been very kind via long distance, saying nice things about my art, helping to arrange for me to receive a limited edition Sulk CD, etc. (One of the members of Sulk is her son, and she seems to appreciate my support of his band.)

Anyway, I'm grateful that she was willing to put herself out for my sake... and I'm grateful that I was willing to push past my comfort zone and my shyness and make this "date". I don't do things like this normally [meeting people I don't or barely know], but I can see that this is a useful social skill for me to develop. I had a lovely time [hope she did, too] and I ended up extremely glad that this meeting happened -- it was one of the high points of my trip.


Jul. 2nd, 2017 08:47 pm
johncomic: (The Mighty Scott)
On Friday we took the train from York to Greenwich, arriving in late afternoon. Today, I went to the M&S in Greenwich and had A Moment that I want to preserve...

In front of the store was a lone busker on tenor sax, playing Duke Ellington a capella. I needed to wait for Kyle to finish his shopping, so I decided to wait near this guy and listen to him. He wasn't a deep or breathtaking improviser, although he could easily have held his own in the reed section of a swing band... but his tone was as rich, powerful, and gorgeous as any pro I have ever heard.

He noticed I was actually paying attention to him, and starting chatting with me between numbers. He asked if I played an instrument, I told him I used to, we talked about carpal tunnel and the joy of creating as well as listening... he offered his hand, asked my name, gave his -- I believe he said it was Sylvan... he asked where I was from and about my family... we talked about the ups and downs of aging (he is 60 as well)... then Kyle came and it was time to go. He had a serene peace about him and I appreciated his outgoing friendliness -- the whole encounter really added to my enjoyment and appreciation of this trip. I feel lucky to have met him, even only briefly.

johncomic: (Default)
 people who seem glad to see me
johncomic: (Steve the Pirate ani)

"...unlike the original study, the subjects in these new ones weren’t just college students..."

Wait, what?

Okay, this is on me, not remembering that the original 2010 study was conducted on college students -- I have no recollection of this being said. But still....

I've spent years, letting myself get depressed by the idea that this study has shown that people's minds cannot be changed by appeals to reason... watching it become adopted as a general truism in discussions, feeding the "post-facts" era, etc...

But all this time, the study was conducted on people in their late teens and early twenties?? The age where you know everything and no one can tell you anything?! I was like that at that age, my friends were, my kids are now, it is a rare exception to find anyone in this age group who significantly veers from this....

Holy mackinaw, if in 2010 they had come out and said "This study proves that you can't change the minds of late teens and early twenties with new facts and appeals to reason", I'd be like "what else is new?"

Holy mackinaw again.
johncomic: (Booth)
Already got my new sticker for my car licence plate!
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
reminds me of someone I know
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
On FB I am Friends with a large number of cartoonists, so for a few days now my feed has been filled with tributes and remembrances of Bernie Wrightson, who passed on the weekend. Much as happened with Darwyn Cooke last year, all these folks are remarking on not just what a great comic artist the guy was, but what a wonderful person and good friend.

And for some reason I find that I keep thinking about what these people are going to say when I go.

I am nowhere near the major figure [commercially or artistically] that Wrightson or Cooke are, so there isn't much reason for anyone to talk about how I was one of The Great Comic Artists. And these people barely know me, so they won't be talking about what a Good Guy I was either.

I find myself wondering if I ought to be more gregarious and outgoing, so that people will know me better and hopefully think of me as a friend. But then that strikes me as being fake and manipulative. It took me a long time to figure out who I really am, and I feel like I owe it to myself to be that person, even if I am in many ways not as good at human-ing as a lot of others are.

Besides, I have always told myself that I don't really care what people say about me when I'm gone, because I won't be here and I'll never know. What I mostly hope for is that someone will read my work after I go. But again, I'll never know whether they do or not, will I.

Not really sure what I'm getting at here, other than "I yam what I yam", for both good and ill, I guess.


Mar. 9th, 2017 09:48 am
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
thinking about how often humour is geared toward eliciting laughs on the basis of someone else's pain, fear, anger, ignorance, or putative "inferiority"...
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
my bed -- having a comfortable place to sleep is such a deep blessing
johncomic: (Sweets)
yesterday's protest marches and rallies -- it is gratifying to see so many people willing to act in defense of right

I wish I could feel more hope about them than I do, but I still recognize the spiritual value of not giving up, at least
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
being able to stay home indoors all day
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
a bad day that taught me a good lesson... http://dailyom.com/cgi-bin/display/articledisplay.cgi?aid=55845

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