Purgatory, or riding the subway on a Saturday night

I went out last night to volunteer at Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights — unfortunately, the camera died on me before could take many good pictures of the lights. I did get a cool reflection shot en route to the event . . . I took the picture on the subway, underground, while pointing the lens out the window towards the wall. I love how the metal vertical slats on the wall dominate the reflections of the riders.


I don’t always look at digital pictures immediately after I take them. Sometimes I like to check them out later, so I don’t have the urge to instantly delete the ones that don’t look “good”.

This was the case last night, when I hung out with friends Marieve and Alanna around Toronto. I took many pictures, but the night time ones and a few others didn’t turn out as expected (I possibly didn’t focus correctly, or used the wrong setting, or whatever — irrelevant after the fact).

The weird ones are often the most interesting, in the end. And they can be made more interesting by cropping to accentuate the good bits, or rendered black and white or over-saturated or antiqued using really basic photo-editing. Suddenly, crappy pictures can become mesmerizing. Sometimes, I don’t want to make any changes at all – it is “fine” as is:

Rebel L's

She Juggles Fire -- Elm Street, Toronto.

HOPErevo(lution) has triggered something spree-like within me (even a little child-like, but that might not be so bad).

Go Inside placement on bus

Originally uploaded by Erigal

I wrote a short bit of lyric inside the card (the first stanza of “Smile”), folded it and propped it as shown on the seat ahead of me. I just did this on the bus ride home this evening — I wanted to leave it in such a way that it wouldn’t look too much like garbage/left behind scraps.

“Smile” is one of my favourite songs, especially as sung by Nat King Cole or Holly Cole (no relation). That is the whole point of what I want to do with this activity.
I messed up the lyrics as I wrote it out, and my handwriting leaves much to be desired, but I enjoyed following the impulse.

Smile, Though

I think I am going to have too much fun with this one — now, to put some more creativity into the design of the things . . . 😛

I’m not going to trot out excuses and explanations, as the fact remains that I have not been posting and I haven’t been as active the past few days with my creative work. Slacking off! This, unfortunately, is not new to me in November, a month I have grappled with in the past (I think it is the word “no” built into the name of this month, and the darkness).

The only thing for it is to brush it off and get back at it. I took a long walk in the park while the sun was out, in part to get back to paying attention. Taking pictures helps me immensely with this, and gives me ideas for my more hands-on craft work.

I like playing with colour selection, and the fading out of nature in mid-November gives me lots of glimpses at surviving shots of colour. When I uploaded this and other photos, I cropped and used antiquing filters to further alter the image. I like it.

Flecks of Red

Remember me whining a few days ago about having taken a bunch of photos, only to have them “vanish” . . .? Let me rejog your memory.

Well, the damn pictures reappeared oddly in my iPhoto, and I cannot explain it (except maybe by own absent-mindedness) but I am running with the joy of recovering what I thought was lost!

Huzzah . . .

Here is one that I like best, which I will submit as today’s “Art Every Day Month” because I have done a fair bit of editing and playing with it today: Antique Mirror in Store Front

For comparison, here’s the original. There is more tweaking I’d like to do, but here’s a start.

I spent some good exploring/hardcore city-hiking time with my friend Randy through the Leslieville neighbourhood yesterday. I took many pictures . . . but today, when I went to upload them, everything from yesterday was gone! I gave up trying to find help online — it is baffling as I reviewed them intermittently yesterday and last night, and old photos were still on there. Shit happens, yes, but this is frustrating and disappointing. I was proud of my work, and had so much fun.

I have no tangible thing (eg. a picture) to show for yesterday’s Art Every Day Month activity, but I am running with the idea that it is “enough” to try. Enough remains a blurry word for me . . . I’m working at getting mobile today, although I am feeling under the weather to begin with. Well, no excuses — I will create, but it is hard to not feel pissy on a level. Making lemonade out of lemons takes elbow grease and effort.

I can try with words to describe the area we explored! For the history and factual info of Leslieville, TO, check here. And here: “Leslieville: Next Big Thing?”

Queen St. East, just before one hits the Beach/Beaches area and just past another unexplored area called Riverside. Non-car/bike people can street car it down: sometimes a slow crawl, but the view includes the Don Valley and the original De Grassi street.

The brick buildings, while some baring fresh paint and newish funky indie shops and cafés, are largely as they have been for decades. I’ve heard the scary words “gentrification” thrown around, and while I believe it I did feel relieved that the area is retaining itself (then again, this was my first visit and I am not a local nor a “cool” person).

Leaves are every where on the ground, mostly yellow but with flecks of bright red still present. The grass is still lush and green. Particular draws were antique, collectible and retro shops like Ethel. This place made me giddy and I had to really rein the impulse buy thing in to stick with small purchase (two “bridge lady” coffee cups with one mini-ash tray matching one of the cups, in bright 60s yellows, blues and greens). I intend to mimic elements of the pattern and colours, with some softening, for some of my actual art projects (!!!)

But the highlight (aside from the good company) was Gadabout — this shop, I could spend hours and hours in and not care what time it is (or what year/decade/century). I need to/will go back soon. I managed to stick to one three dollar item (a late 1960s postcard booklet of St. Petersburg Fl.) BUT there was much repressed desire . . .

There were a lot of shops closed along the way, which we found odd considering it was a Thursday and past noon. I’m sure we missed out, then, on some other special spots.

But, well, now I have some spots to discover with other brave souls (I think I tired Randy out with my zeal for long-haul walking).

I was fortunate that an old friend took me up on an offer to find me at work last night. This old friend, Andrew M., has not been home for the holidays in three years (He lives in London, UK). And, in finding me, we were able to meet up with Adam G. and make plans to go to 42nd Street Lounge after my shift was over.

Wow. Even though I’ve been living here in little Ch’town all this time, it amazes me when I do run into so many people I know — beloved old friends and acquaintances from my university and amateur theatre days — within minutes of stepping into a place like 42nd Street Lounge. There was a whole table crammed with ex-pats, including one ex-boyfriend from about five years ago (!!!), and it was so wonderful to “shoot the shit”, joke around, and catch up on our lives.

And how quickly I become involved in stuff and driven to do shit when surrounded by active, fiercely intelligent, and interesting people! There are only so many friends in my life who will engage me in conversation about Priapus, various dead metaphysicists, and the multiple definitions of “liberalism”. I could be as geeky and eccentric as I pleased!

— I have a CBC contact now! Lindsay works for CBC Montreal, and she says she will e-mail me with names and tips for CBC Toronto!!!!! Whoot! That would be MY DREAM JOB — broadcast journalism, eventually with proper education, and all that goes with it. I’d be pleased as punch to be the girl who makes coffee in that building. Bring ‘er.

— I have another Toronto contact, an old friend who lives there and works in a major live theatre downtown, and she says there are always jobs in the theatres starting in Spring — always a demand for good workers with a strong customer service-orientation. Yes! Another fab job possibility.

— I am now a volunteer for my local NDP candidate, who happens to be younger than I am and as solid a person as you will ever find. We were coming up with really funny/stupid slogans, such as “Strong Like Stalin”.

— I am also being mailed copies of a fellow playwright’s short one-acts for future directorial consideration (did I actually open my big mouth and admit that I miss putting on plays?! YES . . . oh, erin, dumbdumbdumb)

That’s plenty right there. I must say I am feeling so much more excited about moving to a place like Toronto, although Montreal attracts me immensely too.
I feel like so many doors are on the verge of opening up.

This is what Christmas is about — cheer, great company, merry-making, and celebration of past, present and future.