Wednesday, June 18, 2008

culture round up: comics edition

last night we had dinner with my friend H and J and their increasingly adorable and delicious baby D, and their friend D. it was fun! H prepared 3 separate and equally delicious vegan curries which we had with steamed rice and pappadums. i contributed by bringing samosas from ghandi's (which are delicious, but slightly overpriced at over $1 apiece) and beer. even though i choked at the beer store, i think i did okay. then we played crokinole, which is canada's favorite past-time (or at least that's what the dotytron says everytime he plays). i love crokinole, even though i'm terrible at it (in my defense, i only played for the first time this past summer at grandpa reid's cottage).

in much the same way that summer is making me forsake "serious" film pursuits in favour of lighter, more superficially entertaining fare, i'm having a hard time doing any serious reading. i've had "the sushi economy: globalization and the making of a modern delicacy" sitting on the shelf beside the bed for a while, and i've barely made it past the introduction. i mean, it's okay reading and all, but just kind of boring, and i think i already know the thesis so i'm not all that inclined to see it through to its inevitable and manifest conclusion.

instead i've been beside myself at the prospect of hunkering down for an afternoon with sarah dessen's new book, "lock and key". remember sarah dessen? she was that YA author that i went bats**t for last summer. well, she's got a new one out and i'm slavering with anticipation to get it into my hot little hands. for my birthday this year i'm going to ask for all her books. i really need my own copies, so i can read and re-read ad nauseum. for some reason, so-called chick-lit never does it for me for a fluffy read, but YA cuts me to the core. maybe because i have a sad case of arrested development? i just can't relate to sad-sack bridget jones and her ilk. i can relate to the furtive, piercing longing of your first crush in high school, and of the realization of yourself as a physical, sexual being that follows shortly thereafter. the quickened pulse that chases the mere brush of an arm, the weight of teenage secrets, and the endless chasm of possibility that is summer break, seeming to stretch out before you in a yawning landscape of torpid dusks and stagnant, sweat-slicked days.

i started and finished reading charles burns' "black hole" in a day. i'm a particular fan of his stark, blocky, linoblock-like aesthetic. it's the story of a group of teenagers, coming of age in the late seventies in seattle. there's a mysterious "bug" that's transmitted through sex, and if you get it, grotesque things happen to your body (a second mouth, a tail, a face filled with boils, fissures running down your back). it's dark and filled with foreboding and shows the aimlessness and confusion that can suffuse adolescence. it's funny how our memories collapse all the banality and boredom down to a "best of" super-condensed version of high school that makes it seem like it was non-stop hijinks, capers, and laughs. anyway, burns captures the menacing darkness that lurks in the shadows of american teens and their muddled, at times vicious sexuality (in this way, he shares a similar perception of teen america to the vision that david lynch and gus van sant would have us believe).

mariko tamaki's "skim" was similarly devoured in a single sitting, even as my eyes lingered on the wispy, flowing, ethereal lines of jillian tamaki's illustrations (mariko wrote the words and illustrator sister jillian rendered them). huh. the first cover is the same as the one i read, but i like the second one better. "skim" is the story of an introspective, sage, confused sometimes-wiccan girl in high school in the early 90s. it's about sex, depression, suicide, and the thin, brittle veneer that shields high school-aged girls from venting their internal emotional and psychological storms on the world at large. for some reason, toronto public library has it catalogued as "children's" which is REALLY inappropriate, considering it touches on skim's growing confusion over her own sexuality, with the catalyst being an ill-advised and confusingly inappropriate relationship she has with a teacher at her school. definitely not for kids! i loved the illustrations. they had a swirling, bohemian vibe to them that reminded me of egon schiele. i really do love the name egon. future fruit of my loins, you've been forewarned!

i was going to go to a yoga class tonight but i'm feeling kind of lazy. i was going to actually COOK a dinner but again, feeling kind of lazy. this nagging, dry cough i have is also pissing me off. anyway, i bought some nacho chips and avocadoes so it's a chips and guac, salsa, and sour cream night. and a LOT of knitting. i've got tonnes of knitting to do, buckets of yarn and projects stretching from here to eternity. i've also started researching sewing machines, because i think i also want a sewing machine for my birthday. i was looking up quilting classes and there weren't any that were close or convenient or not supremely little house on the prairie-ish. so i've put some holds on books from the library and i think i can figure it out myself. i will say this: in the same way that fibre lust and yarn coveting has put a significant dent in my discretionary income...i have a sneaking suspicion that that'll be a drop in the bucket compared to my japanese fabric fixation. oy! the cutest, dearest prints you've ever seen. yet another reason why the pacific rim and asia deserve to be our rulers.


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