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subsurface shit scattering September 11, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, things that are not quite things we know.
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poking at caustics #2 September 11, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, things that are not quite things we know.
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regurgitating the cne September 2, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

Today we’re talking about the Canadian National Exposition, where the international goods hall consists of booths with titles as selectively swanky as “Produce of France, China and India”. Booths that sell, for example, socks! 6 for 2 dollars. How very cultured.

Apart from having multicultural socks, the CNE has a bunch of reasonably fun rides. I say reasonably because puking makes me deduct points from the fun value of any given activity.

I never (well, almost never!) get sick on rides, but here’s a moral-laden story for you; don’t eat a corndog right before going on a ride that spins you forwards, backwards, widdershins and shinnerwid. Oh, it wasn’t just me! Everyone else felt pretty grotty after that one. It looked like a good idea at the time; the ride gave longest time for money. Too bad after a certain point (stomach battling through intestinal tract) time != fun. Everyone got very quiet halfway through; when the blender stopped, we lurched off the staggered platform. Rails, rails, a clever invention.

Oh, and if you’re still feeling nauseous, don’t immediately go on the big loop (the one that is, literally, one big loop-the-loop).

God knows if it was the corndog (I’m leaning towards this line of thought myself) or the car ride back that tipped me over the edge. At least I didn’t feel like barfing until I got to the relative safety of home.

Delayed-blast puke, the first puke I’ve puked in over two years. Fascinating.

to be, again, redundant: September 1, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to fly back to London purely because I didn’t want to go through the old carpet stench of Heathrow security.

It’s only half the reason.

Think it goes back to my original schtick? The one spamming alienation, basted under a veil of verbiage?

Let’s leave that to simmer for a while.

Eight months ago, eight months back along the line between Cambridge and London, I’d been working for a multinational company whose business card got me more than its fair share of credibility. It got me excited, back when I was fresh out of school. I flew places, stayed in five-star hotels, gave interviews, feasted on my expenses. Nothing lasts forever. It got me bored.

The problem was the same old problem; I didn’t want to be where I was, I didn’t know where home was, I wanted to know where home was.

Looking back at that December, from the perspective of this September, I find it ironic that I was working on a project called Home.

Eight months ago, I rode the line past the last stop, through the air. I left thirteen years of England, swapped rain lullabies for the banshee shrieks of gales and hails.

It’s been just another journey.

I got a new business card, one that didn’t do very much, look very good, or last very long.

I went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; New York, New York; wandered around Ontario, saw a really big bunch of waterfalls.

After eight months, I still haven’t learned to stop lurching into the corner of my bed. I have a testimonial of bruises on my left shin. That’s a sign of something, anyway.

I didn’t find home here. Maybe I would’ve, if I’d been here for more than eight months. It’s a moot point. I’m looking for a new one. I’ll tell you when it’s found me.

One thing’s good; I’m coming to grasp the idea of living without regrets. Meaning; despite the ups and downs of the past 0.667 of the year, I feel pretty good about most of it, and wherever I’ll end up at the end of it. Being able to say that isn’t a bad thing, though I’m going to miss the friends I’ve made. And still, the friends who aren’t here.

I’m shocked, however, at how many of them (you) are succumbing to the lure of progeny. I’m too young to spawn. You know, the older I get, the more I feel like my own life has only just wheeled out onto the runway. When’s take-off? Oh, you say curing the problem of my singlehood would be the first step. I say you’re just being cynical.

Eight months down the line, the line with an end I can’t quite picture, and I’m sitting by my balcony, making posts titled with really bad puns, the CN Tower bisecting my sky.

And all I’m thinking is, FF0911, that’s the colour they’ve turned it this month. Conspiracy theory, anyone?

being productive August 30, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, things that are not quite things we know.
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omgwtf3omgwtf. bbq.

999 fine silver, slightly sloppy workmanship, but I’m rusty!

the other earring is an exclamation mark!

to be redundant: August 18, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

The katamari idea didn’t work. I have been laid off, along with 50% of my studio. On the bright side, I no longer have to pay back my relocation package!

I’m now exploring the world of extended vacation time. Any suggestions? (After I get my resume updated, that is.)

lazy blog post that doesn’t make any fucking sense at all August 16, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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I was walking up the road to lunch when some random woman whipped out a disposable camera and took a photo of me.

Then she went over to these guys standing next to a parking ticketing machine (I assume one was an attendant).

…and said, “Excuse me… she’s one of them… she’s been stalking me and harassing me. don’t listen to her. She’s lying.”

Then she walked off!

By the ticket machine, the two bystanders said,”…….” no, I swear it, they were speaking in ellipses, just as I spoke back to them. It’s like tongues, but silent.

I said, “Ellipsis, that was strange.”

They nodded.

truncated pissbagging May 15, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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I was rolling up hapless children with my gargantuan sticky ball while thinking about how superlatively sublime Katamari Damacy would be if you could apply it to any given office-related situation that totally pissed you off.

at a bus stop in Toronto (Yonge and Dundas) April 2, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

forward the lard

yes, those are real. no, I’m not sure what this says about VISA. yes, it is an awesome display piece.

and for pictures of a very Canadian thing that I participated in this weekend (by imbibing copious quantities of maple syrup, anyway):


placeholder bullshit conversation March 27, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

>James says:how would you prove photography to a blind man?

>Candice says:uh.

>stab him until he says “oh, i see!”

>James says:haha.. nice. :)

>Candice says:um

>James says:wow that works for so many things. :)


>Candice says:so he’s totally blind?

>i know.:)

>James says:yeah.

>Candice says:not as good as your throwing someone against a wall until they die though.:)

>James says:haha.. apparently judo’s a fun thing to take

>Candice says:why the blind man thing?

>the way i see it … i can’t imagine an 8th colour


>James says:oh it was some article explaining how to do it. and I was wondering whether most people’d come to that conclusion right away anyway

>Candice says:oh so what do they suggest?

>well i have no idea what it’s like to be blind

>or how your imagination works when you are

>James says:http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/03/how_do_you_prov.html

>Give the blind man a camera, a tripod and a remote shutter release. (Ideally the camera is a Polaroid, or a digital with an instant picture facility.) Everyone leaves the room but the blind man. He takes a picture of himself, and holds up a number of fingers (1 to 5) at random. The sighted person comes back into the room, looks at the picture and says “you were holding up X fingers”.

>Candice says:hrm

>but the problem is

>he doesn’t know if he’s been watched from a window

>or if everyone really did leave the room


>James says:haha yeah I was thinking stuff like that’d screw it over. but it’s possible to get around those too I think.

>Candice says:how would he know if the walls are glass?:)

>James says:like locking him in a tiny box should be enough to convince him that no one else is there

>Candice says:yeah but he doesn’t know if the box is transparent!

>there’s absolutely no way for him to know

>James says:yeah. :) there’s gotta be another solution to that. hrm .

>Candice says:i like my stabbing hypothesis

>James says:oh I guess he could.. cover his hand with his body somehow.  :)

>haha yeah same.

>that’s clearly the ideal solution. :)

>Candice says:alright, but how does he know he’s not transparent? :)


>James says:haha I think I’d consider the experiment a success if I could prove either cameras exist or everyone in the world is transparent. :)

>Candice says:haha

>James says:man that’d kick ass if he came to that conclusion instead

>Candice says:well either way you can’t prove it to him really

>James says:haha

>Candice says:if we’re talking a REALLY cynical blind man.:)

>James says:yeah, I can’t think of any way around the transparency thing if anything including himself could be transparent. :)

>Candice says:right.. if he really is totally blind he has no concept of sight at all


>if he’s super cynical then he doesn’t believe anything anyone tells him.

>and probably doesn’t bother wearing clothes in summer. :)

>James says: hrm. I was gonna consider that a victory too. but that’d probably be bad for everyone else, actually.

>Candice says:well that’s not my problem.:)

>you see how violence is the solution to everything?

>James says:oh okay the transparency thing IS mentioned in the comments. >with exactly the same thoughts.

>But… Technically, how does the blind person know that he himself isn’t transparent. OK, so everyone he ever met would tell him that he wasn’t transparent, and he could have independent people testify that the walls aren’t transparent. BUT if elaborately executed it would be possible to fool the blind man.

>Candice says: >is there an answer to that?

>James says:not any good ones. one proposed answer was to get a camera without a flash. >and he could hold up a series of fingers and only take pictures of some of them. so the problem’s shifted to proving that the camera has no identifiable signals that it’s taking a picture. which is even harder to prove.

>Candice says:

>er. >he can’t see the flash anyway.

>James says: >oh so that a viewer can’t see the flash

>Candice says: >this still goes back to the transparency thing

>James says:naw it beats the transparency thing but in a really stupid way. like if you can manage to convince the blind man that the camera has no flash.. then when he takes pictures of specific fingers being held up, any viewers in plain sight won’t know when he’s taking pictures >oh wait.. even that’s not true. pushing the button is still pretty easily visible.

>Candice says:


>James says:so the camera’d have to be controlled by.. his mind

>haha.. hrm

>yeah the camera thing is stupid to begin with.

>cuz.. how would you even convince him it has no flash

>Candice says:right! >he doesn’t even KNOW what a flash is

>or light!

>i have a better solution though

>instead of stabbing some innocent blind guy

>you just stab a random ‘psychic’

>i mean, he should have seen it coming

>James says: >haha yeah it’s true.

>that’d kick ass if it held up in court

>lateral thinking puzzles are so stupid

it’s always winter in my heart February 14, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

well, there’s snow now. I estimate more than a foot of snow piled up during the night. the roads are covered in snow downtown. cars are sliding and spinning, what fun!

it’s actually snowing inside my office right now, somehow. I think the wind is pushing the snow through minute gaps between the windows (obviously they’re shut, or my computer would have frozen by now) and their frames. very pretty, albeit slightly alarming. I would take a picture of how there’s a foot of snow piled up outside on the window itself, but alas, no camera today! I got a lift to work, thank fuck. 

I have pictures of my birthday cake to share with you, but alas. too lazy to find my camera. perhaps tonight.

it’s cold
i’m cold




it’s cold

very cold





the potato noodles sucked. February 7, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.


what’s there to do in toronto for fun? February 5, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.


I feel I should explain that there’s not a hell of a lot else to do when it’s -28C outside.

Anyway, I got really bored, so I threw some water on my balcony (obviously the bit that’s outside) walls/glass railing walls… whatever the hell you want to call that shit. it froze INSTANTLY, which I thought was pretty awesome. See now the water, rendered frigid in gravity’s heartless embrace, ripe with encapsulated filth.

It was so poetically moving that I did it to the rest of my balcony walls. That’s right, all six panels!

…… then I realised that this is the middle of fucking winter …it’s not going to go anywhere above zero for another two months

so……….. I guess my balcony’s going to look like shit for two months! GGPO.


on Saturday I invited my dear friend Michelle around and we went shopping for instant noodles and assorted stuff from a couple of Korean supermarkets in Small Korea (ok, Koreatown, whatever. It’s not much of a town if you ask me) because I thought it would be amusing to have an instant noodle party and try loads of different types of flavours or whatever (look, I told you I was bored).

what fun

^ should have tried that, but didn’t! also Michelle decided to stick with tried and tested noodlage. but come on… a potato noodle?! I’ll let you know how that turns out, I’m almost afraid to try lest the disappointment stings me too sore.

tasty shit!

it wasn’t much of a testing party because there were only two stomachs available to test shit out on. end of story. that shit in the picture above is the bomb though, I’ve had it before, and it’s good. There.

Balls to you. I bought a large sparkly ball from the Swatch store (actually, I like a lot of their designs, like Secret Code (yes! you can unpin the individual rings and play wear by numbers)) and got 10% off, woot! The girl who sold that to me was really sweet, actually. She kept trying to give me a discount on top of that. like – “do you work at eaton centre? if you do, I can give you another 15% off” “um.. nope” “do you have… friends who work here?” “well… um… nope!” Should I have lied? Was that an invitation to inveigle? So here I am, mired in moral quandary as firmly as the filth solidified upon my balcony. yep

And I haven’t even mentioned the egg… we’ll see what happens to that!

RUST January 20, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

Apparently Heathrow’s “secure storage area” is at the bottom of the fucking Atlantic.

fuck you british airways!!!!!

fuck you heathrow!!!!!

Yeah, that’s what a snowboard looks like after BA take TWO fucking weeks to deliver half your baggage. It was fricking pristine before! Hell, there’s so much rust even the bag has rust on it.All my clothes were damp, and a couple of items were starting to show signs of mildew.THANKS A LOT, BRITISH AIRWAYS, YOU ASSHOLES

I haven’t been doing much that’s exciting because of the commute and shit, so whatever.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/75172179@N00/tags/canada/ for the rest of my canadian-tagged photos. anything marked distillery is in/around the area where I work.

This is the first and last time I’m trying Kool-Aid; you will see why:

the hell?


It’s green.

When you add water to it, it produces a green liquid.

It tastes foul. No, it tastes exactly how it looks, which is vile. Tomorrow I’m painting my new room magnolia, what fun!

chill time January 11, 2007

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so here I am, huddled up with my huskies as the cold arctic winds rip at my igloo. the wind whistles through the gelid chinks. Over my face I feel the frost spread like craquelure. Night falls. We freeze.

it’s always a little odd when you’re in a foreign country. strange thoughts cycle through your head where the fuck is my fucking baggage and fuck it’s cold

and fuck it’s cold because my winter coat is in my fucking baggage that fucking british airways delayed.

anyway, I’m in Toronto now! I’ll provide pictures when I don’t have to commute for hours every day, thanks.

– it’s cold

– it’s “the warmest winter we’ve had for ages”

– people are really friendly

– everything is cheap as shit!

– my office looks pimp

– my colleagues are really nice (so far I don’t feel inclined to kill anyone yet)

this is totally a token entry. I’m too tired to do anything because I have to commute at and FOR ungodly hours of the day. I’ve been getting to work at 8.45 am, if you can believe that (and you shouldn’t! although it’s true). what can I say, I’ll never be a morning person.

a secret i’ve never told January 9, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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Here’s a story I’ve never told anyone. I hate the concept of ghosts, the paranormal, of anything that can’t be coldly dissected.

I lived in the house of a colonial merchant (by no small coincidence, my grandfather). In the heart of Singapore, buried amongst the verdant fronds of palm and the fumes of dreaming machines. The house stood tall, stood beautiful; hieroglyphs rambled over carved wooden doors I could not read.

My grandfather made his fortune trading antiques, beautiful old ebony chairs inlaid with mother-of-pearl, chairs made by a dwindling supply of old men (all men, and old), the masterworkers of a craft that once dead will never live again. We are losing them, the wickerworker with his raffia baskets, the ting-ting candy man with his cart of hammered white candy, tailor’s chalk shards of sugar. I only ever heard the dulcet chimes of hammers less than the sum of half my fingers; the flavour prickles still, on my tongue.

These ornate chairs, these inlaid chests and boxes with their dragon scrolls and phoenix coils; they sat in our basement, shadowed and dark and squeaking with rats. I was seven hells terrified of that damned basement. My parents knew it; they liked to wield it as a threat. Drink your cod liver oil, damn that stuff, eat your carrots, do your sums, practise your violin. Or sleep in the basement tonight.

No! I don’t believe in ghosts. I deny them as purely illogical. Pray the hungry ghosts do not believe in you.

I did my sums. I ate my carrots.

We had this shipment in, one monsoon season. The lovely thing about these gorgeous storied objets d’art is that many of them arrive from the estates of people who have recently, well, died. My folks were quite taken with one lacquer music-box, unusual, with a Western mechanism, a hybrid. They wanted to keep it upstairs, in the family rooms. I didn’t like looking at it. Something about it made my skin crawl. My father put it back in the basement.

One night I did something particularly annoying, and possibly bad, although I don’t remember what — maybe I was just being hyperactive, the product of a precocious high fructose corn syrup addiction, I’ve forgotten; it matters not.

Either way, I got myself locked out of our upper floors that night, and so I stood shivering in the oppressive darkness before I had the presence of mind to reach for the light. I waited for teeth to come out of the dark and slash my fingertips, or the chill distals of a grasping hand to claw my wrist — none of which happened. The light snapped on, that stark fluorescent flicker that either reminds you of a mental ward, or puts you there.

Squeezing my arms over my ribs, dead centre in that big basement, under the light, I turned, stretching the basement into a seamless panoramic view. The rats hid, silent.

Rotating quietly, sweating, that’s when I heard it; the faint tinkle of a music box, chiming through the night, echoing around the dull walls. I didn’t go around making shit up as a child, I’ll tell you that for free.

I don’t mind telling you this for free, too; I was up the stairs and knocking on the living room door and screaming my lungs out so loud I’m not surprised my parents let me in right away. In the warmth and light, I never told the whole story; it seemed ridiculous, and when they asked what I was yelling about, I said — maybe a rat. I told you, I didn’t go around making shit up as a child — maybe it was a rat, who knows, one that just managed to lift that heavy  lacquer lid — hell yeah, let’s call it a rat. Why not.

But the one thing I don’t like talking about is that my last glimpse of the box, as I ripped up the stairs three-by-three, was the lid. It lay shut.

I don’t like thinking about that night; it’s like holding up the hagiographic pages of Time, and realising that the paper is so porous that you can see little halos limned by stabs of light.

When the shipment sold, I stood watching the furniture get packed up, and drawn by some dumb compulsion, I told my brother to look inside the music box. The date on the box — I don’t know what date it was, or who put it here, but it was there — it was the same date I was born, and decades later as I hunch over my keyboard typing this, that small section of  skin at my nape begins to prickle.

The whole story I just told you, it’s all bullshit. There were no ghosts, there was no music box, and I never snap straight up in the void darkness, sweat slaking down my spine.


The tale of the ting-ting candy man is resonant of this the kamishibai man. They are gone, and soon they will be dead.

i cannot be more tidy than this, it is impossible January 5, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.


ok, so i didn't really have much to tidy in here.

crap photo yes!

one can partake in the delights of modern civilisation and simultaneously nurture a cultured and informed decision not to make one's bed


I OOZE WITH PRIDE. I have the biggest backache in the world, but we must all suffer for our art.

oh yeah also I’m flying to Toronto tomorrow morning at 1150 24hBritishtime. I arrive at 1445 24hCanadiantime. THEN I’m going to initiate the process of eating north america! Baton Rouge, baby!

sometimes I amaze myself December 28, 2006

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

shit, watching paint dry is more involving than this shit. 

I know, it’s incredible.

I’ll tell you what’s incredible; between the hours of last night and today I managed to RAISE MY RIGHT EYEBROW WITHOUT RAISING MY LEFT EYEBROW.

yes yes, very good, you say. Well! it! is! I tell you I used to be able to independently raise either of my eyebrows, but lost this ability over the years, no doubt from constantly cocking only my left eyebrow into various expressions of disdain. How absurd it is that you suddenly find yourself unable to do the simplest of things. Such as wiggling your ears, but hey, it’s not like ear-wiggling projects any sort of insight into the human condition besides freakishness, and possibly the ability of my recently-perforated earlobes to exude putrescence.

My left eyelid is marginally larger than my right eyelid as a result of this poorly-conceived practice of scorn! Here’s how to remedy this aberration: close left eye while reading pulp fiction for a few hours while intermittently concentrating very carefully on raising your right eyebrow. finish book. sleep. wake up. do the close left eye thing while, ooh, packing and tidying room with great productivity, or something, whatever. this isn’t important. 

check mirror to discover right eyebrow is indeed once more capable of independent movement, albeit suffering slightly from years of atrophy!


I’m saying it’s a matter of stubbornness, yes.

best December 27, 2006

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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Christmas Eve: I went up the London Eye. Let me just add that since I live in London I’ve never felt any urge to go up the wheel, in much the same way that when I used to live in Dulwich (yes I know it’s part of London, be quiet) I never once made it to the Dulwich Picture Gallery (and I steal this from wikipedia: “the world’s first purpose-built art gallery“). Anyway, after having lived in Dulwich for six years, my mother and I decided to go visit the gallery the weekend before we moved out.

It was closed for six months of renovation. I still haven’t seen the damn thing.

I should probably add that the London Eye was exactly as I’d expected it to be, and not necessarily in a negative sense. I took some photos. Here is one.

yeah yeah yeah yeah.

Oh, whatever. If you really want to see shots of those pods, there are a couple more photos on my flickr account.\

Now here’s some amusing shit I salvaged from the detritus of my room:

bill me for each noodle, why don't you

Probably the first time I’ve ever been billed for each individual noodle. The waitress was just as stymied by this bizarre system. I’m still intrigued by the name. Incidentally, my mom’s friend’s friend’s husband (or some such connective convolution) owns that restaurant; he made his fortune from selling the ubiquitous and humble fishball (it’s not what you think) in stalls around Singapore. I find that pretty cool.

I don’t know him or his wife, so I feel absolutely no bias when I say that I and my family actually rather liked the food there. I thought it was very reasonably priced, too (around £6 for a substantial bowl of freshly hand-pulled noodles, I think, or maybe I mean £0.02 per noodle. I hope someone’s counting). Good for a quick eat, anyway. 

perche questa violenza

The best vocabulary list ever bar none. I suspect this was from when I was 17 or 18 and halfheartedly studying (ok, mainly not studying) Italian in school. It’s best, but not superlativelythebest, because quaquaraqua is not on the list, and it is possibly the greatest foreign word ever created.

first bath in half a year December 23, 2006

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

And to curtail your line of thought, I have frequent and enthusiastic showers.

You can tell I have a lot of packing and tidying to do because my blog is horribly active.

Anyway, I’ve been finding a lot of things while uprooting the contents of my room. Today’s find was a set of bath fizzers that dyed me pink.

 I crumbled a couple of them under the tap and watched the pale pastel turn a horrific shade of pink, the exact shade of which prompted me to swill some around my mouth and find that it indeed works as a disclosing substance. Tastes awful, by the by.

My bathwater went pink. I lay back and tried to make the most of the moment, only to realise that the fizzers had no discernable scent whatsoever.

I added a Honey Bee bath bomb from Lush.

– doesn’t smell like honey

– at all

– could be due to having lain around my cupboard for a couple of years (theorise fermentation and/or rot)

– made me itch initially (refuse to accept link to previous point as it was still sealed, hence no contact with foreign content along the lines of the lines of dustbunnies lining up against the lining of my cupboard)

– produced cloying scent of roses that made me feel nauseous after about five minutes

– combined with the pink to produce a sort of orange tint that made my skin look jaundiced

– didn’t produce ANY foam at all! in future I refuse to use any bath product that doesn’t cause my bath to overflow with copious quantities of FOAM, damnit!

My skin feels kind of dry. My hand is pink from when I was crumbling the fizzers.

My teeth are very clean. I stink of pink.

I’m not impressed.