The Sink Blog

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Monday, March 20, 2006

Martin Fulton Overkill

I did everything on Saturday. I snowboarded (oh, sorry, I rode) in the mountains, I went out for dinner and was introduced to a friend's super cool new spousoid, and I went to a gig at The Castle. I haven't been to a gig for ages - no wonder I've been feeling aged and bourgeois. Dean Martin of The Summerlad & the Ex-Boyfriends and Lock Fulton of general widespread fame and notoriety have joined forces to form the Martin Fulton Overkill. I recommend seeking them out. Fun! Metal! Guitar-drum duo!

Why is 1st Street so seedy these days? I mean, it's always been decrepit, but at least it used to be fun. Why, I remember when an 18 year old girl with a belly full of Dr. Pepper drop shots (shut up) could stagger up and down that block without fear of snagging her shoes on a corpse. On the other hand, reminiscing about the mid-'90s is doing nothing to assuage my feelings of agedness and bourgeoisness. Neither does the fact that I'm currently "pricing out" life insurance policies.

Lock of Martin Fulton Overkill is staying with me and Dan at the moment. He's alarmingly tall. Dan's tall, yet Lock towers over him. He's about twice as tall as I am. Living with two giants is making me self conscious about the top of my head.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Paying for Holes

Bad news at work—our funding is being cut, cut, cut. I’d feel better about it (well, not better) if the cutting was related to a failure on our part, but as usual it’s simply a case of random government budget violence, too many hands in too many pots, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and various other metaphor jumbles that add up to this: oh poo. The funding reps targeted AMPA’s reading series as the first thing we could get rid of. This just about broke my heart considering the effort I’ve spent on that reading series lately. I can understand why they want to kill it—it doesn’t offer enough benefit to enough AMPA members—but the problem is that now it never will. I liked having my own reading series to play with, even if thoughts of stinky cheese and ffwd listings did occasionally wake me up at unholy hours of the night.

In more cheerful news, I saw derek beaulieu’s launch of fractal economies on the 15th, and it was really something. derek gave performance responsibilities to four other writers, all of whom really stepped up. Jason Christie and Jordan Scott both did readings of poems they’d written for derek, Jill H. literally framed derek’s “framing the narrative” poem, and Natalie Walschots gave everyone the wiggins by displaying her “ai” body art, an inkless tattoo (read: weeping mass of pinholes) on her back. What interested me the most was the trouble she had getting tattoo artists to participate. I guess having holes punched in your skin and injected with chemical colourants is perfectly acceptable, whereas just having holes punched in your skin is totally pervy. Natalie insisted it didn’t hurt, and I kind of believe her. She’s probably the proud owner of a crusty back scab by now. I hope she takes photos and posts them on her blog—scabs are interesting. So are burn blisters, which I used to get all the time when I worked in the food-cooking industry and was forever setting my wrists alight. Provided you don’t rip them off accidently, burn blisters provide this magic, pain-free bandaid for ruined skin, and then they just disappear when the skin underneath is repaired (by “disappear” I mean “end up in your soup”). Wow, human bodies. Anyway, returning to poetic body art—I think I like it.

I’m thinking of clipping pages from derek’s book and framing them. Apologies to Talonbooks and their print provider, who probably went to considerable effort to get the pages to stay IN derek’s book.

It was a terrific event. I even went out afterwards, which is something I haven’t been doing much lately. Blame the short days and freezing rain—I’m rarely in the mood to bike home in the middle of the night, especially not when I’m tipsy (as much as I enjoy scabs, I’m not nuts about scars). I should go out more often.

What a community this is—I can never get over how much everyone actually likes everyone else.

In my last post, the reference to Michael Green naked, holding a bucket of water had to do with his hilarious absurd One Yellow Rabbit Cabaret character, The Whaler. I wasn’t just being—I dunno—questionably imaginative.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Wacky Face

I went to the CBC Poetry Face Off last week, which is something I've never done before. It was good fun, although on the whole I prefer page poetry to spoken word - a side effect of being an antisocial nerdling, I guess. I saw some people who I haven't seen for ages, like Namedrop Namedrop. The performances were varied, which was nice. Michael Green won, congratulations to him - only disappointed that he didn't perform his piece naked, holding a bucket of water. I have to admit, I was firmly in the David Bateman camp (get it, camp?) because he's so entertaining and witty, and his writing is good, good stuff.

I had a conversation with the loud, crass (but with a heart of gold) mortgage broker who works down the hall from me. He told me poetry can't really be understood until it's heard aloud. I think he was bluffing, plus, I disagree, but he had a point. And he gave me a chocolate easter egg.

I'm trying to get out to events I don't normally attend. I have a theory that it will make me a better-rounded person, but it probably won't.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Readings, readings, readings

I haven't posted for ages. It seems like most blogs are full of irritable excuses for not blogging. Here's mine: work has been busy. When I come home I don't feel like looking at a computer screen. When I look at a computer screen, I feel anxious about the fact that I'm not getting any writing done. When I get some writing done, I feel anxious about other things. Antisocial behaviour, for example, or: is my full time job interfering with my chosen career, even though it's career-related? Or: should I really be eating this?

I just sneezed about twelve times in a row. That's because I just vacuumed, which kicked up a bunch of cat dander, and apparently all of it went straight up my nose. Sneezing is very distracting.

We held a great big conference at work (the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association, or AMPA, as it is affectionately known, or GRAMPA, as it is more affectionately known). We also had a launch party/reading, and I was concerned about it because I wanted it to be fun. I also talked the "conference committee" into featuring readings at the conference's kick-off banquet, despite a certain amount of resistance from people who don't like readings. Or more specifically, people who don't like the idea of readings. Anyway, there were plently of readings to handle last week and I wanted all of them to go well, mostly because I care about my job (and want to make AMPA the coolest organization ever for the lit. community), and partly because I wanted to show the resistant people that readings don't necessarly suck.

The readings totally didn't suck. Sandra Vida and Christian Bok read at the launch party, and they were a great contrast for each other, and they were both extremely lovable. Sandra shared a magazine story about her experiences in the Glasgow art scene. Christian launched into "chapter I" from Eunoia and ended with Ubu Hubbub (later, Sandra told me it reminded her of watching bp nichol at the New Gallery...eee, she is cool). I was standing behind the publisher of Canadian Cowboy Country, an Edmontonian AMPA board member who was in town for the conference--and he loved it. Colleen (my lovely boss) was horrified by how fast the wine disappeared. Pages was stuffed all the way down the stairs. I love it when Pages fills up like that. AMPA was giving away discount coupons for cultural mag. subscriptions. Hopefully those will catch on. These magazines, for those interested parties, are selling one year subscriptions for 25% off: Alberta Views, Beyond, dANDelion, Expression, filling Station, FreeFall, Galleries West, Legacy and Prairie Journal. These are GOOD magazines. Go here: to find my email address. If I post the address here it will become spammier than it already is.

As to the banquet...Chris Ewart and Jill Hartman read. They killed. Chris read from Sunny Day; Jill read some St. Ampede poems (with f-bombs excised) I was so proud I could have eaten my hands. They got fawned over and everything. This was my first experiment with taking readings out of book/coffee shops and sticking them into a new environment. I'm going to do it as often as I can. People love readings, they just don't realize it. Who doesn't like being read stories? Yay, Calgary writers. Yay, open minded business people. Yay yay yay.

I had some poems rejected by The Malahat Review today. Humph. I saw Natalee Caple speak to the Writers Guild of Alberta a couple of weeks ago, and she said when she had work rejected, she'd sulk for a bit, have a smoke and send it right back out again. I wish I smoked. Well, not really. But it would make certain situations seem more purposeful. It's tough being angsty yet relatively vice free.