Sunday, November 30, 2008

How They Do It In Linguistics

by James Crippen

Sociolinguists do it with variety.
Phonologists do it with deviation.
Professors do it for tenure.
Psycholinguists do it with reliable effects.
Theorists do it in armchairs.
Field linguists do it with the whole village.
Cognitivists do it with mental imagery.
Acquisitionists do it with families.
L2 acquisitionists do it in classrooms.
Computationalists do it with corpora.
Generativists do it with bindings. (Recursively!)
Typologists do it with everyone.
Comparativists do it the longest.
Creolists do it in colonies.
Grad students do it for the experience.
Phoneticians do it in booths.
Comparativists do it over millennia.
Syntacticians do it with trees.
Semanticians do it with meaning.
Morphologists do it in pieces.
Neurolinguists do it with magnets.
Documentationists do it for the record.
OTists do it with strict domination.
Evolutionists do it with primates.
Archivists make it last forever.
Experimentalists do it repeatedly.
Speech pathologists do it oddly.
Revitalizationists do it with elders.
Linguistic anthropologists do it in context.
Austronesianists do it over half the world.
Polynesianists do it in outriggers.
Grant reviewers only read about it.


[] cannot put this together
the pieces have become entangled
and impossible to be delivered whole

lesser ones than [] must continue
make the journey and find their
own path

gratitude would be incomplete
if expressed without regret
so let it not go unsaid
that this should not have been

plain and plaintive
this voice rests on a melody
moving pensively
across the dissonance
that distances us

this is not just a haiku
- a revelation!

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane, the great french algerian soccer star.  perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time.

even if you don't care to watch this whole video, watch the first 34 seconds.  

the move he executes between 0:24 and 0:33 is literally awe-inspiring.  it's like ballet.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008


The visibility of the visible cannot by definition be seen “called the unbeseen, as one speaks of the unbeknownst. Memory or not and forgetting as memory and without memory.


La Haine

So, this is a few clips from the 1995 French film La Haine, about a day in the life of three young men--one Algerian, one Jewish, and one Cameroonian(?)--in a poor neighbourhood in Paris, the day after a series of violent anti-police riots have taken place.

WARNING: Don't watch if you plan to ever see the movie.

The narration at the beginning and end is this: "There's a story about a guy who fell from the 50th floor of a building, and on the way down, he re-assured himself at each floor by saying, over and over: So far, everything's fine. So far, everything's fine. So far, everything's fine. But it's not that fall that matters--it's how you land."

At the end, he repeats the same narration, except he says: "There was a society that was falling..."

White Board Adventures, ongoing...

in this episode, sinister things are happening:

what does k-man mean in striking these various poses--first as a nerd in glasses, fused with a bicycle; then as a voyeur or victim, shower style, a la "Psycho"; and thirdly (not pictured) as a curious and good-natured cat, trapped in her room by terrorists?

we see madame sanchez wearing a moustache and appearing in the character of emilio esteban-- why does he/she stand in the shower, hiding behind the curtain?

loco, you will note, appears here as a shag-haired hippie.

and where is L-Blizzard, our man in Montreal?

only a series of cryptic messages give hints that he may have even been here at all.

odd poems, configurations, statements.

(and all of this, of course, was before the famous incident in which Loco rescued him from the laundry room floor, paralyzed and sweating with back spasms, and poured him a hot bath.)

but what about the rest of this, all these other things?

robinets? faucets? extermination? gilles? vendredi?

a sculpture is a sculpture? marmalade is marmalade? but a sculpture of marmalade is a sculpture but it is not marmalade?

what does any of this mean? all of it seems so random, so savage and unconnected. what's holding this together?

further study is needed. please stand by.

And he was alone in the wilderness

Trees and JQ Bridge, almost done...

So, I've now amassed about 1800 pics for this series, which will soon become a video, and will of course be posted here to reward you for your patience.

I'm just waiting for it to snow, and then I will have completed a full year-long, day-by-day cycle of snow, melt, spring, summer, fall, and snow again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


a perch atop a leafless pinnacle
pale blue air wind
blowing cool in hazy sunlight

who has left, who remains
to stay or go, we wonder
but the question remains
because there is always an elsewhere

and yet you wonder why
this hasn't turned out like you wanted
and you wonder where
you will find the way out
and you didn't realize
that the answer is Nowhere

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



Aggressive I must have you
Solidarity I must have you

Survival I must have you
Enjoyment I must have you

I must have you

Frankfurt on the Rhine

Teaching Religion in the Schools

Jill Barber @ the Park Theatre

Monday, November 24, 2008

Montreal Dons Its Grey November Trenchcoat

always wore
a stone grey trenchcoat
in November

always suited you better
when it snowed

always let the zombies come out
on Sunday night
and let the pigeons and bums
feed on your waste

rang church bells
in my backyard
every night at six

were always so kind
to me
and my bicycle

amazed me
by becoming
so much more
in May


Local Folk

You are Winter

You always get so dark, so early and
You cannot expect us to stay.
You certainly can't keep us here all of our lives but
You can depend on us coming back, even if
You are cold.
You watch the ice and snow blow and
You are the wind
You meet me with every secret and
You unite us on this front.
You are winter.

low water level

brilliant petals dull the speed of time
moonlit motion puts me in my mind
and abstract longing must be put aside

slipping icely under powerlines
to put it nicely is your gift sublime
reaching out I touch the air - rewind

mess me up and don't care for the signs
edge me out - I know you are the kind
give it up, who are you trying to find?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cycle 2

How do you

dangling just
behind your cerebellum
in the blind spot
everything you already know:

dark corners hold no secrets.


This is the everyday things
that you can take and make
your own and the ways in
which you must negotiate
with everyone.

This is the substance of
and the layers above and
the in-between.

This is the heartbeat
this is the currency
the path and the pathless
as one.

Your way is not my way,
that is the way.

The only way,
our custom,

City Poem (Group Poetry Activity)

you hill and cresent
you move and groan
you, shrouded and adorned, are dancing
you slip and lurch
you filter
you rail
you ask so much of me
you change directions
you make no promises
you snarl
you do


You can't tell me,
you know -
you wouldn't.
You would?
You see, I never thought that
you would follow through,
you always just made do, and yet
you never cease to surprise me,
you sly one,


you with your dozens of languages
you with your endless parade of beauty
you clinging to a mountainside
you on your small island
you who will vanish once the glaciers return
you with your too-many women to be real
you with your wise old trees
you with your poverty and riots
you need me like i need you,
you must stay here, we must make a home.

"On this spot, in 1608, de Maisonneuve, after defeating a numerically superior force, killed the Iroquois chief AVEC SES PROPRES MAINS"

you with de Maisonneuve's cross high above
you to help forget that
you don't belong here either, to forget that
you don't own this land any more than me,
you, dur et pur,
you, hard and pure,
you like to say, yet
you sound like
you've forgotten that
you stole this land too.
You, the home
You, washing the tub
You, the city I live in
You, the cold from above

You know it is true
You watch

You, the home
You, washing the tub
You, the city I live in
You, the cold from above
You, sacred winds, call me to your lava bed
You who swim upstream, to spawn and join the dead
You new vistas, fecund and mossy green
You with ancient meaning, to me still unforeseen
You wild bear alone, seeking truth in moonlit night
You in the canyon, an eagle’s gift in flight
You have been harvested, cedars tall and strong
You sing the mystery, in the raven’s song
You with frozen cries, locked in a glacial vault
You must understand, my love is not my fault

A City With Three Names

You never imagined, you never could,
you would be forever blasé,
you, if
you could.
You would know egos afire, souls set free,
you would see life and death,
you would wander in between.
You, one short breath,
you never imagined, you never could,
you, born after 3000 years.

Poetry Challenge Sumbission

you once the bottom of a prehistoric sea
you flattened under miles of ice
you in the middle of the continent
you in the middle of nowhere
you frugal, freezing and proud
you meeting place of Ukrainians, Icelanders, Cree and Philippinos
you brief flashpoint with a derelict history
you summertime swarm of mosquitoes
you with all of your genius and virtuosity
you home of so many people I love.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Group Poetry Exercise

Write a poem about the city/town you live in.
Begin each line of your poem with the with the word "you".
you may not use the word "are".

10 lines


Collaborative Digital Art

Praying and Bathing

Friday, November 21, 2008


This is possibly the funniest 10 minutes in any movie ever.

economic meltdown

SSPX0036_1, originally uploaded by babajiwotan.

Hi guys. the worlds systems continue to crum,ble

is it real


Roadsworth documentary

I saw this street artists work while living in Montreal and now they've done a documentary on him, very cool, click the link to read the cbc article.

new links to some of my work

OCAD Whodunit Mystery Art Fundraiser

La Maison des Artistes

Projet Complot

So, I've been invited (long story) to participate in an art show here in Mtl-- it will be at Art Mur this spring, and involves six artists who use text in their work, and six writers--

As the title suggests, it's a 'complot'; a plot or collaboration-- myself and one artist (Remi Cosnier) will collaborate on a project in which my writing about his art is translated and incorporated into the final product--

For the project website, here is a translation that's been done by Alexandre Payer, of part of an article I did for the Free Press last October about Andy Warhol. First time I've been translated, I think. (This year's stuff isn't up yet, but will be soon...)


From his almost cheerful screenprints of electric chairs and car crashes, to his purple Mao Tse-Tungs, Andy Warhol looked for art in the both grotesque and the banal of the modern world--from New York City advertising to disaster photographs to Chinese propaganda.
So in that sense, we could see Warhol as a trailblazer. These days, in everything from Eminem rapping about what it's like to be famous for rapping about being famous, to Paris Hilton's courting of the paparazzi, modern celebrity culture and how we think about it has been hugely influenced by Warhol.
And yet, as Cliff Eyland and others have pointed out, while he may be celebrated, Warhol matches few people's definition a "great" artist. Even some of his peers within the Pop Art movement equal or pass Warhol both in their technical skill and in their cultural insight, but something still sets him apart from his contemporaries.
On the one hand, his lifelong pursuit of fame paid off, and allowed him to tap into and comment on that peculiar aspect of celebrity--the idea that, once you're famous, and because you're famous, every mundane detail of your life takes on a fascinating significance. Like an episode of Seinfeld, most of his videos were quite deliberately about nothing at all. Here's an artist, they say, having a bite to eat. The question of whether that means anything, or whether it even needs to mean anything, was something Warhol seldom chose to talk about.
So whether or not the art itself merits the attention it's paid, Warhol undoubtedly mastered the business of art, and became the ultimate 20th century icon--the artist himself as a brand, or as a commercial product.


Depuis ses sérigraphies presque gaies de chaises électriques et d’accidents de voitures, jusqu’à ses Mao Tse-Toung violets, Andy Warhol a toujours puisé son art dans le grotesque et le banal du monde moderne: Publicité new-yorkaise, photographies de cataclysmes, propagande chinoise.
En ce sens, nous pouvons considérer Warhol comme un pionnier. Aujourd’hui, entre Eminem qui rappe à propos de la célébrité qu’il a acquise en rappant à propos de la célébrité et Paris Hilton qui courtise les paparazzi, la culture moderne de la célébrité et notre manière de la concevoir se voient fortement influencées par la pensée Warholienne.
Et pourtant, comme l’a fait remarquer Cliff Eyland, s’il est souvent exalté, Warhol ne répond que rarement à l’idée que les gens se font d’un « grand » artiste. En effet, plusieurs de ses pairs adhérant au Pop Art l’égalent ou le surpassent autant en ce qui attrait à l’habilité technique qu’à la acuité de sa vision de la culture. Alors qu’est ce qui le fait autant se démarquer de ses contemporains?
D’une part, sa poursuite constante de la renommée a porté fruits, lui permettant autant de profiter que de commenter sur cet aspect particulier de la célébrité, soit l’idée voulant qu’une personne célèbre précisément parce que cette personne est célèbre voit tous les détails triviaux de son existence devenir objet de fascination populaire.
Comme un épisode de la série américaine Seinfeld, la plupart de ses vidéos n’ont volontairement aucun propos. Voilà un artiste, disent-ils, cassant la croûte. Qu’est-ce que cela signifie? Est-ce qu’aborder cette pièce sous l’angle de la signification est même pertinent? Warhol pour toute réponse reste muet.
Que l’art mérite l’attention qu’on lui consacre ou pas, Warhol a incontestablement maîtrisé son commerce pour devenir l’icône ultime du XXème siècle : L’artiste comme marque de fabrique, comme produit de consommation.


Contouring Québec Book Launch

What an event! An incredible turnout, with lots of loved ones and friends, artists and writers alike.

Sierra Noble played some old tyme fiddle.

I gave a talk and a slide show which revealed my project, and wow! What an experience. Thank-you to everyone who was there, your support means the world to me. :)

It turns out that Contouring Québec is now on the top seller list at McNally Robinson!


“Winnipeg dug out from beneath 35.8 cm of snow left by a monster 32-hour storm that dumped 30 to 50 cm of the white stuff and created 2 m drifts in Southern Manitoba”

I personally experienced the Blizzard of 86 in Winnipeg. I delivered papers that morning, pulling an old wooden toboggan and digging to mailboxes. That was 22 years ago and I still remember it vividly. I’ve always had a deep fascination with snow. To me, snow is like magic. I revere the mysterious, sudden and utter transformation of a “big dump”. One of the things that brought me to come and live in Terrace was an account I was given of the conditions and 40ft average annual snowfall at Shames mountain resort. It appears by the statistics, the spectacle that I saw during the Blizzard of 86, happens on Shames mountain in even grander proportions.

“NW BC is digging out from a record snowfall. More than 113 centimeters of snow fell in the Terrace-Kitimat area Thursday. Not only is that the heaviest snowfall the region has ever seen, it's just five centimeters short of the Canadian record for the most snow in a single day. That record was set at Lakelse Lake in the same region in 1974 with 118cms. Needless to say, schools and many roads in the region are closed”

In my curiosity I asked some of the locals and they told me about their Shames mountain adventures.

So intrigued, I accepted an invitation to hike the pre-season Shames on October 26th 08. In no time, I was marveling at the amount of early snow, which at the top was chest deep. My friends assured me that this legend inspiring terrain was capable of supernatural phenomenon unlike any I’ve seen. They relayed experiences of rabbit-pelt sized snowflakes falling hypnotically, relentlessly from the sky. There were stories of snow-spray suffocation heel-side turns, straight lined double black diamonds and powder induced superhuman feats of courage and animal grace. I believe their claim that the “gnarly pow” will supply me with epic stories of my own for years to come.

Of course it’s not all adrenaline charged heroism. The tamer hearts are filled with the sublime majesty of the region’s natural beauty. The combination of remoteness and massive snowfall means, if you inadvertently sleep in, your short trip from Terrace to the hill will still yield the most coveted “fresh tracks”. On a blue sky day, a chair lift ride can offer a glimpse of the mighty Skeena River, or be a great place to hear someone jingle out a tale about an infamous run (like Hangover) and how it offers a taste of the backcountry, inbounds. A simple ride on the t-bar feels like a subterranean tunnel, in an alien world, walled high with excess snow, dampening the sound to a peaceful silence only interrupted occasionally with distant, muffled, hoots and woos.

I’m as eager as a Whisky Jack with a French fry on the daylodge deck.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Typealyzer Says...

The analysis indicates that the author of is of the type:

ESTP - The Doers

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

My new slat-wall mountain design painting at work


I’m caught in loop:
a loop de loop of writing
on paper that’s been rolled up
for far too long
with every release,
the pressure on the edge goes back to curl.

i try to exit the loop
by turning off Bellvue onto Augusta
and stop for a coffee
where the wall reads:
“Bite off more than can chew”
with this affirmation
I head home.

The sun is shining and
i’m surprised on Spadina that
Toronto gave me all of Winnipeg
winter, snow, sunshine,
and warm feet.

Passing by the
pigeons feasting on custard buns
in front of the
Futurama bakery
where lions are catching raindrops on their tounges
and the smell of fruit and anise wafts and swirls.

I take a deep breath that irons it all out.



Thin meagre remnants
of rain
- what might have been rain -
raining down cold and soft

thin and sparse and far apart
coming together
in the threadlike wind
that needles through your clothes
that makes you huddle closer
to yourself

spacing your footsteps maximally
don't bother to avoid the minor

don't bother now, it's too late
but the year is almost over
it's too late
to change anything until then

does anything give you hope like that?

Me and my new Carlos

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The red inkling happened
to show the mad hatter
that the hats weren't
on everyone, let alone
the hats that he made

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lullaby (just sleep)

Let yourself in
to a sailing ship
it will take you nowhere
but you just need to get up on it

The ship smells like
fresh sandalwood trees
that's what it's made of

The sheets smell like
sweet cotton threads
that's what it's made of

Close your eyes
(pretty small one)
and just listen to the sway
of the heavy waves breaking
over the edges
of your eyelids

Now is not the time
to be thinking about
what you've gotta do
or who has you on their mind

So just sleep, sleep
sweet pretty slumber

It will give you all the answers you need
but you'll only
get them

Sleep sleep
(sweet sleep)
just for this moment
be warm
and don't listen to
the cars crashing around you

And yes
there are people
yelling and screaming on the street
but they're not screaming about you
I'm sure

I am sure.

They aren't on this ship
They aren't on this road
They aren't in this room
or in this protected abode

So jut sleep
(sweet sleep)
sweet divine slumber
they are not on this trip
they are not on this ship

So just sleep
(sweet sleep)
sweet divine slumber

they are not on this trip
they are not on this ship

So just sleep.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Toast Eater

By Jocelyn Hobbie. Stumbled on this while on the internet!

Molten Light by Chad VanGaalen

My friend showed me this music video. It's a little creepy but still cool.

Watch to the end...


I don't know if many of you know who Errol Morris is (I didn't) but he has an excellent, if sporadic, blog at the New York Times called Zoom. I first found it when he did a three-part piece on altered photos from the Crimean War just over a year ago, which is really a fantastic piece of writing about why people do the things they do, ultimately.

He has a recent posting called Cartesian Blogging Pt. 3, which I've only skimmed through, but it also seems to be about image manipulation, including painting, photoshop (and older techniques to achieve the same) etc. I plan to read it later this weekend (his posts are pretty long), and I'd recommend it for anyone else interested in this sort of thing (i.e. anyone on this blog!)


P3230061, originally uploaded by babajiwotan.

A teenage boy who many believe is the reincarnation of Buddha has re-emerged from the jungle after hiding for a year.

After retreating into the jungle for more than a year, Ram Bahadur Bamjan, 18, re-emerged yesterday near Nijgadh town, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the capital, Katmandu.

Upon hearing the news, thousands of Bamjan's followers, some from as far away as India, traveled to the site Tuesday to see him.

Joshi said Bamjan plans to talk to his followers for a few hours every day for a week before returning to the jungle to meditate.

The long-haired Bamjan, dressed in a white cloth, appeared to be in good health as he spoke to his followers about peace and ending discrimination, according to the Rajdhani newspaper.

"It was an amazing experience to hear and see him. I have no doubt now he is the reincarnation of Buddha," said Sangeeta Lama, a woman who met Bamjan for the first time.

Buddhist priests have been divided on whether the boy is truly the reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in southwestern Nepal around 500 BC and later became revered as the Buddha, which means Enlightened One.

There has been no formal declaration by Buddhist authorities that Bamjan is the reincarnation of the Buddha. But people have worshipped the teenager since he was first seen in 2005 meditating in the jungle, where he sat for months, motionless with his eyes closed among the roots of a tree.

Min Bahadur Shakya of the Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods in Katmandu said Buddhist priests have not reached a conclusion about Bamjan because they have not been able to fully investigate the boy.

"Meditating without food does not prove that he is reincarnation of Buddha. There is much study needed to be done," Shakya said.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Living Mound

Terrace View

सुबह (morning)

Some randoms taken around my favourite time of the day.

i am everyday sheeple

'i am everyday sheeple' ©2008

the month of november 2008
a strange one indeed
i watch the sheeple
consume out of want
not conscious enough
out of need
it's a master design
a marketing marvel
they get you where it counts
thin air produces money
which is anything but funny
as keeping up with the joneses mounts!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rememberance Day Poem

Nothing but me
and my legs,
my bicycle
and this road.

Winter’s first freedom ride
on the day we remember
the soldier’s sacrifice
during and after the Great Wars.

Tearing through
North Winnipeg neighborhoods
warm wet wind behind
icy streets under my tyres.

This is what they fought for
the simple pleasures
the opportunity to be yourself

Moisture is running freely
out my nose
I am the rider
and the horse.

Touring this old Kildonan borough
where many veterans came from
their presence is palpable
my Grandpa is one.

Lungs are burning
as I turn into wind
sensitive to my physicality
and the spirit world that surrounds it.

Long ago men died on beaches
and in trenches
slaughtered mercilessly
with munitions, machine guns and poison gas.

Charging through the slush
feeling the back of the bike
swoop out dangerously
before returning to my control.

I own what I do of my destiny
because of what others have sacrificed
what can I leave
for future generations to honour?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008