July 27, 2005

Yow! Hot Archival Action!

Check out the links column down the left side for the new listing of my archived Illustration Friday submissions (look for the "Draw!" button). Belated thanks go out to my good friend Allan Lorde for providing me the code to build the new addition. And to Atlanta animator/illustrator Ward Jenkins for providing it to him. And to the fine person who provided it to Mr. Jenkins. And to whomever actually did the work at the bottom of the chain. Hoo-ray for the "forward e-mail" function!

July 26, 2005

25: Photomiscellanea

The following is a ragtag collection of recent photographs I've taken...

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I got to borrow a kickass digital camera to shoot the photo I'm using in the next HOWieZine, complete with macro lens attachment. I snapped a few pictures of this amazing wasp on a dead tree trunk. Note the bizarre green fan coming out of its back end. Supercool.

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Pingu, the penguin that hangs out on top of our headboard. Also my current desktop image. Again, it was hard to master the macro lens – I missed focusing on the eyes by a fraction of an inch.

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Kerry on the swimmer's pier at Whytewold. Her parents' cabin is located here, on the western side of Lake Winnipeg. Piers like this are erected each spring to help swimmers avoid the rocks and gooey clay under the shallower water. A couple of weeks later the pier disappeared in a storm.

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Winnipeg has joined cities like Calgary, Toronto and Chicago by erecting a series of temporary animal-themed concrete structures in order to increase tourism and overall kitsch. Cancer Care Manitoba's Bears On Broadway campaign has created an unexpectedly high amount of interest from locals. This grizzly is one of the some sixty-odd bears that adorn one of the city's main downtown drags until October. In the background is the Manitoba Legislative building.

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And from the no-sh*t school of signmaking, the City Of Winnipeg brings you this little nugget, posted on a chain-link fence surrounding a public wading pool. I thought it was hella funny.

July 18, 2005

Our House

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Sitting here, typing this entry in the attic of my new house, is a much sweeter experience than I ever could have imagined. It's almost sunset. Light is pouring in. The window is open, the street is quiet and I'm listening to Jack Johnson. Kerry and I have been here for 11 nights and ten days, in one form or another (more on that in a sec). It's very nice.

On July 7, our date of possession, the apartment was a mess. Boxes and packed items everywhere. While I was commuting home from work, Kerry and her friend carted over the futon mattress, some sheets, a clock and a roll of toilet paper. But by the time I was home, it was time to truck out for the first evening of the Winnipeg Folk Festival (priorities!) – an annual July rite for Kerry and myself. The house had to wait a few more hours.

We made the decision to "camp out" in the house for the weekend because of our just-moved-in neighbours in the upstairs apartment (single mom plus five, count 'em, five kids). Moving Day was still four days away, but four days of the little terrors running around on top of us was a predicament we wanted no part of.

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Camping was fun. During the first night, a thunderstorm roared through. A big, empty house suddenly seemed incredibly intimidating. And the Festival turned into a soup.

On Friday July 8, Kerry and I began moving over everything our skinny arms could handle: boxes, suitcases, plug-in-ables, more boxes. That afternoon and evening it was back to the Festival. Repeat for Saturday and Sunday, which was followed by a second frightening storm. Winnipeg is in the midst of one of its all-time wettest summers, so the trickle of water in the unfinished basement that follows these storms has been more of a relief than a concern.

The official move came and went quickly over the course of Monday morning. In the afternoon, I rebuilt the IKEA Ottenby bed frame, plopped the mattress down, put on sheets and pillows – and suddenly felt a whole lot better...

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Until Tuesday, spending eight hours scrubbing down the empty apartment. I had just about every chemical known to man waft up my nose by the end of that torture. It sucked. But when I finished, and came home – home – to see our new appliances had all arrived and were in working order, the dizziness faded.

Since then, it's been a process of settling in. Putting everything in its right place. Buying things we needed: lawnmower, dishwasher soap, bronze garden hippopotamus (Canadian Tire, $14.99). Hanging pictures. Filling the fridge. Doing laundry outside of our previously allotted times. Not scrounging for quarters to do said laundry. Parking the car in our own spot. Seeing how morning and evening light fills each room and thinking it's the most beautiful thing. It's very nice.

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Two nights ago a third thunderstorm hit Winnipeg, the most vicious in years. Wind, drenching rain, ceaseless lightning, bed-shaking thunder. Kerry slept soundly, but I was awake the entire time, near terrified of a storm for the first time since I was a little kid. I was scared for the house, as tree limbs split and dropped. In the morning I gingerly inspected the basement. The same tiny trickle of water was there, finding the floor drain.

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Photos (top to bottom): Kerry in the single-room attic, made into an office/book nook; our filthy feet and Animal Crackers, Winnipeg Folk Festival; Kerry's antique Sunshine tricycle, the last thing left at the apartment; main floor view, dining/living room looking west; living room viewed from the landing.

July 14, 2005

24: The HOWieZine Cometh

The HOWieZine arrived at work while I took a few days off to move into our new house. And figuring that just about every submitter to the zine has received their copy in the mail, I've decided to post my two pages for all to see. The theme of HOWieZine 3 was black and white. Foreseeing a booklet filled with greyscale solutions – accurately, as it turned out – I had decided to pump my submissions full of colour in hopes they'd stand out.

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The first page Kerry and I came up with was just a goof-around (above), a game to play for the fortunate folk who get the book. I won't go into detail on account of spilling any beans on how to solve the dealie. It's basically a plain ol' matching game based on the zine's theme. The font, one of my current favourites, is Clarendon.

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Our second page (above) gave Kerry an opportunity to flex her poetic muscles, and me a chance to play around with what I love best: birds. This field-guide-inspired number, crafted in FreeHand from rough sketches, features a black-and-white warbler, broken down to two tones and kept super-simple with Helvetica.

Here's Kerry's featured poem. It's very sweet.

outside our window
nimble warblers tiptoe
between twigs, spinning
their thin songs into threads
fine enough to line their nests

my lips creep along the branch
of your arm, until i find
the best spot to nestle
into your chest and listen
to the soft beat of wings,
like a small bird
trapped inside a house