One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Canterbury Knolls

I pass a similar sign on the way to work (going down Florence). Who would've guessed it: Geoffrey got to LA.

From Frisch's "I'm Not Stiller"

Juggling (not juggling) two books at once: Frisch's Stiller and Emily Carr's Journals (Hundreds and Thousands). Not juggling because things are going slowly--because of school? because of ____?--but that's life.


Anyway, I've gotten through about half of Stiller, and I have a few "bullets" for you ( I would say "Little Book," but that's Emily Carr):

  • Went to Davos yesterday. It's just as Thomas Mann describes it
  • My greatest fear: repetition
  • Ascona
  • Every word is false and true, that is the nature of words
  • Is there anyone who doesn't wish at times that he could become a monk?
  • We live in an age of reproduction
  • the rest of us swim in a cocktail containing pretty well everything and mixed in the most elegant manner by Eliot
  • a fellow who had the chest and shoulders of a Michelangelo slave

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

A strange turn of events has found me helping a single 6th grader with her opening days of school. No problem: I can do a little of this and that.

So, leafing through an English book I was delighted to see Frost's "The Road Not Taken" (not that I'm a big Frost fan but because it was a poem that everyone is somewhat familiar with, right?).

Long story short: I read it aloud to her and then she read it again to herself and answered some questions. In grading the questions (multiple choice), I kept thinking: Do they really understand this poem, and isn't it more complicated than what they say? They didn't and apparently it is. It isn't about "individuality" and "forging your own path," and apparently the big stumbling block is the last two lines: "I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

OK, Only One Post on Emily Carr

Started school this week and things aren't pretty. That partly explains my silence.

Just a short passage from Emily's Hundreds (which got some Hogarthian ink) re her relationship with Lawren and theosophy.
     I have written to Lawren and told him about things. I think he will be very disappointed in me and feel I have retrograded way back, fallen to earth level, dormant, stodgy as a sitting hen. I think he will hardly understand my attitude for I have been trying these three years to see a way through theosophy. Now I turn my back on it all and go back sixty years to where I started, but it is good to feel a real God, not the distant, mechanical, theosophical one.  I am wonderfully happy and peaceful.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Johnson Street Bridge (Victoria)

It is a type of "bascule" bridge and it was designed by the same engineer who would later design the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco: Joseph Strauss (1870 - 1938). The Johnson Street Bridge is sometimes called the "Blue Bridge."

Apparently, according to our water taxi driver, it is long overdue to be replaced.

Victoria: The Water Taxi Ballet Gets Its Own Page

Water taxis (cute little munchkin boats) could be seen in both Vancouver and Victoria. We finally decided to ride one in Victoria (from the Inner Harbor to a stop close to Chinatown). Our driver--a newbie--told us about the water taxi ballet which would take place the following morning (Sunday). He said he wouldn't be in it (he had to be trained on the maneuvers first), but that it was free and well worth seeing.

We saw it.

More Victoria Photos

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Empress (Victoria): Arbutus, Two Shaggy Dogs, & The Bees

I saw many of these trees (arbutus) in Victoria, but I didn't know their name until I read Emily's description: "tender satin bark, smooth and lovely as naked maidens." The one at the Empress Hotel was exceptional and very popular with photographers.

From Carr's "Hundreds and Thousands": God is All There Is

Emily's view of herself and her art: something along the lines of Art = Religion and Artist = Translator of Mute Nature.

An entry from 1930:
I have been to the woods at Esquimalt. Day was splendid -- sunshine and blue, blue sky, and two arbutus with tender satin bark, smooth and lovely as naked maidens, silhouetted against the rough pine woods. Very joyous and uplifting, but surface representation does not satisfy me now. I want not "the accidentals of individual surface" but "the universals of basic form, the factor that governs the relationship of part to part, of part to whole and of the whole object to the universal environment of which if forms a part."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gum Wall, Seattle

Gum Wall, Seattle by heather
Gum Wall, Seattle, a photo by heather on Flickr.
My wife found out about this after we returned from Seattle. Sorry we missed it. Apparently it's pretty close to the PIke Market and the famous fish-tossing fishmonger's.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

J.E.H. MacDonald's "The Solemn Land"

Emily Carr Crits The Group of Seven

Here are links to the other paintings Emily crits:

1.) A. Y. Jackson's "Autumn in Algoma" did not please her.

2.) On the other hand, Jackson's "Barns" delighted her.

3.) Her conclusion on Arthur Lismer's "Happy Isles" seems somewhat mixed.

4.) J. E. H. MacDonald's "Solemn Land" seems to have impressed her: "very big and powerful and solemn."

5.) MacDonald's "Glowing Peaks" she liked, except for the "brown water" (couldn't find this picture).

6.) She states that she didn't care about A. J. Casson (he apparently joined the group in 1926, after Frank Johnston left), and that his "Dawn" didn't please her (I couldn't find this picture either).

Lawren Harris's "Mountain Forms"

Harris seems to have done many paintings similar to "Mountain Forms," the painting Carr was so taken by in Montreal. Below is an example of his work (I found it on Photobucket but I do not know its title):

lawren harris Pictures, Images and Photos 

Emily Carr & The Group of Seven

Have set aside Berger's essays for a time (I'm roughly half way through) to pick up a new book: Emily Carr's Hundreds and Thousands (her journals from 1927 to 1941). It begins with her traveling from B.C. to the East (Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal) largely to meet with the members known as The Group of Seven (I believe she meets with all seven) and to view their work.

From 1927, Dec 5th, Montreal:
Arrived 11:50 and after lunch went straight to the Royal Canadian Academy. It was a good show. The big room (mostly Group of Seven) was very enjoyable. It was the first time I have been able to sit and take the time over the Group of Seven. I studied them separately and together. There was Jackson, Lismer, Harris, MacDonald, Carmichael and Casson represented -- all except Varley.
     Harris's "Mountain Forms" was beautiful. It occupied the centre of one wall -- one great cone filled with snow and serenely rising to a sky filled with wonderful light round it in halo-like circles. Forms purplish in colour lead up to it. He gets a strip of glorious cold green in the foreground and the whole sky is sublimely serene.
     I sat and watched it for a long, long time. I wished I could sweep the rest of the wall bare. The other pictures jarred. Two fashionable women came in and called others. They laughed and scoffed. After wondering if the thing was an angel cake, they consulted the catalogue. "It is 'Mountain Forms'." They all laughed. How I longed to slap them! Others came and passed without giving more than a brief, withering glance. A priest came. Surely he would understand. Wouldn't the spirituality of the thing appeal to one whose life was supposed to be given up to these things? He passed right by even though he walked twice through the room  -- blind! blind!
     Jackson's "Autumn in Algoma" did not please. It was thin and unconvincing and unfinished. But his "Barns" was delightful, and his other things. "Barns" had such a swing to the earth and sky -- a huddled group of old barns with a flock of sheep trying to shelter from the wind. Lismer had "Happy Isles," red-brown rocks with windswept trees, and sky forms that followed the shapes of the trees too closely I thought. I did not find the canvas restful though there is lots of liveliness in it. MacDonald's "Solemn Land" is very big and powerful and solemn. I wish he wasn't quite so fond of broom. His design is lovely but he has not the true movement or imagination I want. His "Glowing Peaks" I like except for the brown water, but his other rocky things did not please me. An unpleasant cloud form was speared by a mountain peak. I did not like the colour. Carmichael is a little pretty and too soft, but pleasant. Casson I don't care about. His work is cold, uncompromising, realistic. His "Dawn" gave me no pleasure.
     I wish I could paint as well as any one of these men. In criticizing them I am only trying to see further. Their aim is so big it makes the rest of the stuff seem small and poor and pretty. There are a few others worth while and some fine women.

From Frisch's "Stiller"

'Man is a beast of prey,' I said in a general sort of way. 'That's the truth, Knobel, and all the rest is humbug.'

You can put anything into words, except your life.


God is a deposit! He is the sum of real life, or at least that's how it sometimes seems to me. 

A Few Neighbors Who Rarely Disappoint

Only problem is: other than the hibiscus I don't know their names.

2012.08.08, 2012.08.08

2012.08.08, 2012.08.08

2012.08.08, 2012.08.08

2012.08.08, 2012.08.08

2012.08.08, 2012.08.08

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Victoria Photos (Dribble Dribble)

Max Frisch's "I'm Not Stiller"

Am I the only one who thinks this way: In re-reading Frisch's Stiller I am amazed how much I'd forgotten, and consider it as a positive that it feels like I'm reading the novel for the first time.

Having re-read Homo Faber again recently I am surprised (intrigued, delighted) by the Mexican motif in Stiller. In Faber the protagonist's plane crashes in a Mexican desert; in Stiller Stiller (Not Stiller, White) has just come into Switzerland from Mexico.

The only lines I've underscored in my Kindle thus far (have I subconsciously decided to curtail my underscoring?) has to do with a little poke Frisch is giving the fatherland = Switzerland:
We have both come to the conclusion that physical hygiene in Switzerland is in remarkable contrast to the rest of their obsession with cleanliness. He told me that where he lived in the town he was only allowed by contract to take a hot shower at week-ends, as in the prison. Then we march off to our cells one by one with bath towels round our necks. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Victoria: Buskers Festival 2012

We stumbled onto the Buskers Festival in Victoria. We arrived on the afternoon of July 27th and departed on the 29th (the last day of the festival). It was a pleasant surprise (diversion).

We saw many of the performers on the following webpage, but perhaps our favorite (we saw bits of her act at least 3 times) was Sharon from Canada (aka Miss Tallulah).


Sunday, August 5, 2012

"The Second Part of Don Quixote de la Mancha" Written by One Avellaneda, from Tordesillas

In 1614 a sequel to Cervantes' Don Quixote was published under the pseudonym Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda. The identity of Fernández de Avellaneda has been the subject of many theories, but there is no consensus on who he was. One theory holds that Avellaneda's work was a collaboration by friends of Lope de Vega.[1]

Critical opinion has generally held Avellaneda's work in low regard,[1] and Cervantes himself is highly critical of it in his own Part 2. However, it is possible that Cervantes would never have completed his own continuation were it not for the stimulus Avellaneda provided. Throughout Part 2 of Cervantes' book Don Quixote meets characters who know of him from their reading of his Part 1, but in Chapter 59 Don Quixote first learns of Avellaneda's Part 2, and is outraged since it portrays him as being no longer in love with Dulcinea del Toboso. As a result of this Don Quixote decides not to go to Saragossa to take part in the jousts, as he had planned, because such an incident features in that book. From then on Avellaneda's work is ridiculed at frequent intervals; Don Quixote even meets one of its characters, Don Alvaro Tarfe, and gets him to swear an affidavit that he has never met the true Don Quixote before (Pt 2 Ch 72).

[From Wikipedia:]


When Quixote entreats Don Alvaro to officially declare that he's not met the real Quixote until now, Alvaro gives the following reply:

'I shall be delighted to do so,' Don Alvaro replied, 'even though it amazes me to see two Don Quixotes and two Sancho Panzas at the same time, as identical in name as they are antithetical in action; and I repeat and confirm that I have not seen what I have seen and that what has happened to me has not happened.'

Hastings: Something of Vancouver's Shame

We stayed way out on Hastings and had to drive in several times to go to Gastown and a few other venues. We were initially shocked (was the shock dulled through repetition?). The place selling Slurpees and chicken legs was a laugh amid the Tableau of Despair.

The Group of Seven & Emily Carr

In my brief wanderings I rubbed up against the term "The Group of Seven" in conjunction with Emily Carr. Apparently she is not considered to be one of the original seven. Here's Wiki's take:

The Group of Seven — sometimes known as the Algonquin school — were a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael (1890–1945), Lawren Harris (1885–1970), A. Y. Jackson (1882–1972), Frank Johnston (1888–1949), Arthur Lismer (1885–1969), J. E. H. MacDonald (1873–1932), and Frederick Varley (1881–1969).

Two artists commonly associated with the group are Tom Thomson (1877–1917) and Emily Carr (1871–1945). Although he died before its official formation, Thomson had a significant influence on the group. In his essay "The Story of the Group of Seven", Lawren Harris wrote that Thomson was "a part of the movement before we pinned a label on it"; Thomson's paintings "The West Wind" and "The Jack Pine" are two of the group's most iconic pieces.[1] Emily Carr was also closely associated with the Group of Seven, though was never an official member.

Believing that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature,[2] The Group of Seven is most famous for its paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape, and initiated the first major Canadian national art movement.[3] The Group was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in the 1930s, which did allow female members.[4]

[From Wikipedia:]

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Canada Geese vs. Canadian Geese

I hardly care whether it's Canada or Canadian, though perhaps a true Canuck would. (According to Wiki "Canada Goose" has chronological precedence, dating back to 1772.)

Got Mail?

Canadian mailboxes:

Granville: Inversions

Vancouver's Gastown Steam Clock

Inukshuk (or Inuksuk)

An inuksuk (plural inuksuit) [1] (from the Inuktitut: ᐃᓄᒃᓱᒃ, plural ᐃᓄᒃᓱᐃᑦ; alternatively inukshuk in English[2] or inukhuk in Inuinnaqtun[3]) is a stone landmark or cairn built by humans, used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found from Alaska to Greenland. This region, above the Arctic Circle, is dominated by the tundra biome and has areas with few natural landmarks.

The inuksuk may have been used for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting [4] or as a food cache.[5] The Inupiat in northern Alaska used inuksuit to assist in the herding of caribou into contained areas for slaughter.[6] Varying in shape and size, the inuksuit have longtime roots in the Inuit culture.

Historically, the most common type of inuksuk is a single stone positioned in an upright manner.[7] An inuksuk is often confused with an inunnguaq, a cairn representing a human figure. There is some debate as to whether the appearance of human- or cross-shaped cairns developed in the Inuit culture before the arrival of European missionaries and explorers.[7] The size of some innaguait suggest that the construction was often a communal effort.[4]

At Enukso Point on Baffin Island, there are over 100 inuksuit. The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1969.[8][9]

[From Wikipedia:]

Inukshuk Invert