Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Archive for the month “April, 2010”

Three Twenty Three AM Scrap

Scrap One: Sitting on the bus with my iPod on and reading a Sarah Vowell book.  I like Vowell, she has this enthusiasm for her favorite subjects that I identify with, and the stuff about her religious upbringing is pretty familiar myself.  It’s a hot day and I’m glad the bus has air conditioning but I have a long ride ahead of me and by the time it’s over I’ll be glad to be able to walk around.  I’m on the 401 going towards Montreal; the bus just got onto the highway and are still right in the middle of Toronto.  I’ve been this way a few times before and I remember being surrounded by city for what ended up being like hours.  Even when you get out of Toronto it’s still urban sprawl for quite a while until suddenly it just gives way to countryside, exits for the nearby towns and those roadside service centres with the McDonalds and Tim Horton’s.

The last time I did this was a few years ago, and it gave me this feeling I just wanted to chase ever since.

You Can’t Keep Your Secrets From The Ground Beneath You

Looking south on Yonge Street from Toronto Eaton Centre.  The sign for the Canon Theatre is visible; this is where my sisters and I saw Rent.  One other thing I was hoping to do was get random stealth shots of the everyday goings on in Toronto; you know, pedestrians walking, cars crossing, that whole story.  It was a short period of time to spend and a small physical area of the city we were actually in but I was fortunate to get a few of the glimpses of the city that I actually wanted to get besides the insides of malls, theatres and stores.

I’m probably going to posting my favorite Toronto shots for the next little while until I run out, then it’s back to New Brunswick.  I’m thinking eventually this summer I’d like to start my project of going to all these different places I lived and take pictures.  I’m not sure how economically feasible it is for some places right now, but I can dream.  There’s so much I’m hoping to explore.

We’ll Be What We Want To Be

Looking south from the intersection of Church and Maitland in Toronto.  The billboard alone tells you you’re in the gay village; the morality police would be swarming if they tried putting the same billboard anywhere east of Montreal.  For me these types of neighborhoods are important to a city: there’s a life and character that I find is lacking in a lot of cities in the Maritimes.  It’s not necessarily the whole issue of tolerance (although the Maritimes are still many many years behind the bigger cities), but it just seems to me that cities have become about ugly, historyless power centres and new subdivisions, and the urban cores of places like Moncton and Halifax are turning into exhibits of abandoned storefronts and chain restauraunts.  

The Village has seen quite a bit of gentrification itself over the last little while, though.  Far too often the affluent people end up displacing the poorer people that built the character of these different neighborhoods in cities.  Things get watered down: new communities do get forged but these well-known places almost take on a mythic status for the generation that came too late.

You Know, You Know

I took this shot when I went to Toronto last January; I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to spend more time in the city and get some more pictures taken but at least I was able to get a few here and there.  This is at Yonge and Dundas by Toronto Eaton Centre.  I’ve always loved night photography in cities and was glad I got a good looking shot; the mixture of the darkness and the artificial light of the signs and advertisements.  I have a kind of love/hate relationship with the advertising here: there’s a soullessness to it but there’s also a vibrancy it gives to its surroundings.

This is the first post I’ve done here in ages.  I’m going to try to go into my backlog of shots but I still plan on going out on different excursions with my camera this summer.  There’s enough in the world I hope to capture with my camera and I hope to develop my skills a little further, but I will try for a post a day in order to keep my mind and spirit alive everyday after a long shift at my day job.

Constructive criticism is welcome.

A start

First things first, I will sit around for hours looking at a computer screen and not have the balls to just keep typing away aimlessly like I’m doing right now.  For me, writing has to have a clear goal and a definite end for myself.  I tend to write these scraps around all these different journals and not follow up on them, deciding that the story they’re beginning to tell doesn’t really have enough tension or a real enough character.  Whathaveyou.  This is not intended to be a serious stab at anything right now: I’m trying to just get into the habit of filling the blank spaces before me with whatever words seem to go right together. 

I give you a few images and places that come to mind right now.

Number One:  I was sitting in one of those downtown bars that particular night, not particularly paying attention to the people around me; my only reason to be there was to drink and maybe try to summon the mindset I used to have about five years ago when a trip to a bar could end up with a midnight cab ride to the truckstop outside of town or a trip to an empty field to watch the sun rise.  Maybe I was getting to old for all that shit, but it was this sense that the world was big and random enough for anything to happen if only I took the step that would motivate me to come out here.  I had a feeling, though, that my desire to get through the night unscathed would win out.

The place where I was that night was this place that used its limited physical space well, with well-placed and well-chosen furniture as well as a decent-sized window to the outside.  I liked this because I would rather be in a bar that actually had places for people to sit and hold a conversation.  I’ve been in the same place during the day when it’s more of a coffeeshop and didn’t have the mood lighting going; I usually sit there for a bit, sip my Cafe Mocha and fill my notebook with whatever I could think of before the room started getting too hot and whatever plotlines I had been able to eke out ended up going into a wall. 

Number two:  Gerrit and Lucy had taken the elevator seperately to the pool area on the top floor about an hour before it was supposed to close for the night.  The building the hotel was in was a relic from the late 1960s, with a circular tower; the floorspace coiled around the elevator shaft and the guest rooms were a ring on the outer side.  The pool floor didn’t have the same kind of space; the pool itself  awkwardly wrapped around the same shaft for half the floor and left a small amount of floorspace between its edge and the window overlooking the Safeway.  The first thing Gerrit saw when he got off the elevator was the outdated store sign already lit up for the night.

Lucy had already brought a stack of white towels up and rested them on the table beside the pool’s deep end.  Gerrit dipped his feet over the edge of the pool and whistled weakly; the sound bounced around as Lucy put her head above the water and approached him. 

Number three:  We finally crossed into New Hampshire at about 7:40 pm the third night of the trip.  I was in a car with air-conditioning that didn’t work and a stereo rigged to play the contents of my MP3 player filled to capacity with Joni Mitchell songs, while Rebecca and Jarred were still a few vehicles behind us.   We all had decided that we would stop at the first restaurant we came across when we were in the state to discuss plans. 

I don’t know where all of these are going.  Again, this is just to keep a log of ideas for now, but if something develops, I’ll try to make an ongoing series of posts to develop the story.  I think I might also use these posts to try to do character profiles or in-character posts.  Whatever.  I would like constructive feedback as well.

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