Fixing (and) fear

My car is making a weird noise but maybe it isn’t. I took a dude’s advice on my saddle height on my touring bike and ended up in the hospital. In the absence of appropriate tools, pieces of furniture I assemble might be a little loose. When I say fix I mean quietly making the problem go away, or back to the way it was before. In an attempt to fix things myself I bought a hacksaw, a bolt extractor, a set of drill bits, and a tool that ultimately did the trick. I don’t know what it is called but I have fond memories of the weekend we walked to Canadian Tire and wandered until we found the item we didn’t know how to describe so we did not ask for help. Why is the act of fixing material things sometimes so intimidating? I knew I loved you when I learned that you do not judge me when I don’t know.

I am one of the facilitators of the Information Maintainers community, where we discuss issues related to the day-to-day work that keeps complex systems afloat, and endeavour to recognize the people behind information access. I enjoy helping folks bring their files and archives from past to future. I don’t judge people when they come to me needing specialist software or data support, why do I get so scared needing particular kinds of help – when things are involved? I have come very far in the last few years, now that I no longer instinctively brace for humiliation when I speak up, unsure.

  • _v2
  • _v3
  • _chapter2
  • _chapter2_final
  • _chapter2_final_withcomments
  • _chapter2_final_ugh
  • create new folder and start from scratch and never look down that file path inside

Sometimes it is easier to write hard feelings through lists, schematics, finding aids, reference works.

The colours

From 2000-2002 I was a stoner undergrad who studied art history because it was the only thing I was any good at with respect to anyone else in highschool. I was a solid bottom 15% kid at a school for smart kids that left all of us middle-class kids with serious mental health issues as adults, while all the rich kids became management consultants or war criminals. My father died during my first year of undergrad leaving me traumatized, dropping out of school, and now I choose to not dwell on my 20s, ever.

For a brief period of time in the winter of 2002 I fell into abstract art and got it for a hot minute. The rest of the time I was smoking weed and crying. I love Donald Judd and this video makes me love him more.


Ghosteen came out when I was alone in Vancouver, a city I am very ambivalent about. I listened to it as I walked between my hotel and the conference and across the bridge to meet a pal and to the airport on repeat all the way home. The swelling before the punch.

In a way, it’s the most Hallmark Cards of Bad Seeds albums, in its quiet and beautiful arrangements and representations of everyday moments of unconditional love – the kind of album one could theoretically listen to in the car with a parent, if one was maintaining a conversation over it the whole time – no BDSM, no Old Testament, no fingering a partner. The album followed a time of great loss and profound grief, both for Cave and the Bad Seeds themselves. I understand loss acutely but until now I have not known the kind of love it helps me identify. With Ghosteen I am pre-emptively bereft and mourning love that will be lost. Read “Violence, Mourning, Politics” after. (Not me, I’m not sure I can read that again.)

The final song is what I hear when I see Australia on fire. “Hollywood” is their longest track to date (sidenote: I use “Babe, I’m on Fire” as an effective unit of measuring time) on love in the time of climate change. Judith Butler calls for a politics of nonviolence based on an identification of our shared understanding of the feeling of being undone by loss and I wonder if tying love to landscape is politically transformational in the same way. “Hollywood” puts love in a burning landscape and asks if it can outrun a fire. How safe are we by the ocean, in a gust of wind, at twilight.

In your wounds…

A small thing within arm’s reach

A cross-stitched 4:3 video test pattern on beige fabric.
Test pattern

I spent a lot of my childhood around test patterns and it feels good to be back around them. I stitch a bit and go through phases. The ones I eventually finish are sayings, composed in Illustrator and exported with MacStitch, typically delivered months late to the recipient. The ones that have been going on for years are film and video stills, including a giant portrait of Nog from Deep Space Nine (RIP Aron Eisenberg) and a city scene from Blade Runner. I stitched a scene from The Thin Red Line that I had a blurry photo of on my phone.

Over the winter break I stitched everyone their Christmas gifts because I spent all my money on gas. My hand crunched up into a claw at the same time that Dustin started to recover from his various workplace-related repetitive strain injuries. He was heading to a job upstairs in the media library, where he could continue to live out his Gerry Todd dreams.

Continue reading “A small thing within arm’s reach”

First time? No, I’ve been nervous lots of times.

As I use everyone’s favourite search engine to find appropriate images for this post, it returns local search results first, including film showtimes. My favourite film of all time, Airplane!, is playing in a Toronto theatre this week. I text D to see if we have any Garbage Day plans. I am generally oblivious when it comes to today’s date. Last Wednesday, February 14th, when we ran into a friend and she asked us if we had plans, I responded “taking out the garbage” because it was a Wednesday. It has been Garbage Day since then. We live in one of those weird zones where garbage pickup happens every week and I do not pay for parking.

Today I am to write about something I love. I am almost more nervous about writing about something that I love than any other topic. I want to do the things I love justice, and as I generally lack the vocabulary to describe the feelings that floor me. I give up before I try instead of stammer as I attempt to confront the point. Tonight I will write about Airplane!

Continue reading “First time? No, I’ve been nervous lots of times.”