Monday, October 31, 2005

get this

Brad Pitt ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing Achilles in the movie Troy. Talk about life imitating art. Or whatever Troy was.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hiromi Queen of Snacks Posted by Picasa

Lenny, Chris, Sandy. Shameless product placement. Posted by Picasa

Jordan and Chris drinking. Water?! Posted by Picasa

Trav's sympathetic wound. Andrea's is on the inside. Posted by Picasa

butterfly flutter

I dream of walking the way others dream of flying.

Friday, October 28, 2005

heal heel

"Pay attention to the signs," Roy says. "It was your Achilles heel you ruptured." Achilles, as in the warrior hero of the Iliad who was invincible because his mother Thetis dipped him in the river Styx when he was a baby. His only vulnerable spot was the soft tendon that attached his calf to his foot, where she held him to keep him from falling in. And that is precisely where Paris fatally wounded him. I have a bad mental image of that elf dude from The Lord of the Rings shooting Brad Pitt in the heel in last summer's epic flop, Troy.

My friend Andrea says that Roman soldiers used to slash the enemy's Achilles heel, in order to immobilize them on the battleground.

If Achilles is watching us from the depths of the Elysian Fields, I wonder how he feels about having given his name to the weakest part of the human body. I wouldn't like it. "I'm sorry but you've injured your Larissa heel. I'm afraid we have to operate." Nope. No good.

Get me out of this bed. I need to go slay some Trojans.

Monday, October 24, 2005

life narcotic

So I was supposed to fly to Seville immediately after that Wild Words panel. What should I do but forget my bag in the bathroom, and need to run out of the Mac Hall Ballroom just as the panel was starting? I ran to get it, tripped on the three stairs leading up to the door, fell on my face, and tore my Achilles tendon. I thought I'd just sprained it. It hurt, but not much. What was strange was that I'd lost control of my leg. It felt plastic. I dragged it down to the bathroom and back up to the Ballroom. I gave my talk about Grandma Naoe and Bakhtin's carnivalesque. Afterwards, thinking some anti-inflamatories might not be a bad thing for my aching leg, I dropped into the student clinic on the other side of the building afterwards.

"You're not going anywhere," said the doctor. "You're going straight to surgery." 24 hours and a strong hit of anaesthetic later, I found myself in Ward 72 of the Foothills Hospital, stoned on morphine, with a plaster cast from toe to knee of my right leg.

It's three days later. I'm supposed to be visiting the Alhambra. Instead, I'm hobbling around my apartment trying figure out how I can kick a nasty codeine dependency. I've had lots of kind and worried visitors. I've watched three movies, a lot of bad TV, and more episodes of Sex and the City than I'd really care to admit.

"Life," says my friend Slavia, "is what happens when you think you have everything under control."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

wild words

If you're in town, and interested, I'm speaking at Wild Words: 2005 Alberta Centennial Literary Celebration tomorrow at the lovely hour of 8:30 AM in the MacEwan Hall Ballroom (3rd Floor) at the University of Calgary. I'm on a panel with Jay Gamble, Carmen Derkson and Derek Beaulieu. I'll be talking about carnival in Hiromi Goto's Chorus of Mushrooms.

It's part of my diss. I'm interested in strategies of subject construction-- this one looks at the inversion of the daylight world in order to produce a new kind of subaltern, more empowered than the protagonists of much realist fiction. It's full of fun stuff-- gender-bending, cannibalism, seaweed paste, beer and an old lady rides bulls under the moniker "The Purple Mask" at the Calgary Stampede. Yahoo!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

travelling fish

Two days 'til lift-off. I go to Seville first. And then for a little tour of two of the famous cities of Moorish Spain-- Cordoba and Granada. I am really excited to be visiting the Alhambra. Ever since reading Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh, I've been dying to go. After that I'll start work-- a talk at the University of Huelva, a conference on Canadian Women's Lit in Strasbourg, then talks at the universities of Avignon, Rouen and Nancy. It'll be interesting to see what they make of me and my imaginary friends-- Fox, Fish, Rachel and Miranda. I'm anticipating productive discussion. All my current interests in capital, globalization, technology, biology, and mobility are being re-imagined in Europe in very different ways from the ways they are conceived here, in the shadow of the beast.
To do/buy: currency exchange, electrical socket adapter, extra battery for the camera

Sunday, October 16, 2005

lateral thinking, lateral living

Yesterday was a day full of technological glitches and general discombobulation. I got locked in the Learning Commons at school. Actually there were side doors I could I have gotten out of, but I didn't notice. Fixated on going out the front door and very frustrated to find I couldn't. There's a lesson in lateral thinking...
Worked out an interactive talk on a the female characters in my work, and my own wide-open feminist practice, as requested, for that talk in France. I think it'll work.
Afterwards ate sushi and watched Werner Herzog's new film Grizzly Man with my friend Jay. Odd film-- very self-reflexive-- much more about human egos and the practice of filmmaking than about bears. Although there was some amazing footage of the bears. Timothy Treadwell, the Grizzly Man of the title, was an interesting character-- sweet, naive, self-absorbed, but truly in love with the bears.
I should have gone home and gone to sleep afterwards, but was lured out by boys with guitars.

Friday, October 14, 2005

legally contradictory

Good Larissa would be at the the poetry bash for Wordfest tonight. Bad Larissa is at home drinking wine staring into space. Well, that's not entirely true. I was working on my lesson plan for the Instructional Skills Workshop tomorrow. It was good to do. In one of the French venues they want me to talk about the construction of female characters in my work, in feminist terms. But straight ahead is not my way of working. So I'm puzzling out how to speak in layers in a way that doesn't lose or frighten people.
Went to hear four younger writers -- Craig Davidson, Jenny Erpernbeck, Sheila Heti and Melanie Little read at Wordfest this afternoon. Got into an argument with Rudy Wiebe about appropriation, an argument I could probably have done without. Had lunch with my lovely, sweet and very encouraging editor Patrick Crean afterwards.
Had my hair cut. It makes a big difference having a haircutter I like. Chilling out in a world of easy middle class female pleasure. Why are these things so comforting? OMG I'm sounding legally blonde...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

feast Posted by Picasa

That's the way...

The air has grown cool and sharp, and the trees have all turned. The sun is bright though, remembering summer. I'm listening to Tom Waits's Black Rider as I work on job applications and my talks for Europe and Asia. He's perfect for a day like this-- macabre, funny, carnivalesque.

"So come on in
it ain't no sin
take off your skin
and dance around in your bones..."

I'm restless, but I can't go out because I'm waiting for a last-chance-before-it's-returned-to-sender parcel from my publisher. Just as well. I've got work out this paper. The hard part is figuring degree of context people already have for your work.

I feel trapped by the dialectic-- race radical vs. whitewashed liberal. Let me out!

"That's the way the stomach rumbles
That's the way the bee bumbles
That's the way the needle pricks
That's the way the glue sticks
That's the way the potato mashes
That's the way the pan flashes
That's the way the market crashes
That's the way the whip lashes
That's the way the teeth gnashes
That's the way the gravy stains
That's the way the moon wanes"

Monday, October 10, 2005

slowing the fast worm

There are days when the impending change is altogether too much, and I can't quite breathe. I don't want to work for fear of making the change happen faster. But not to change is to stagnate, and that's worse.
So I read. I finish Ruth Ozeki's All Over Creation. She cares about a lot of the stuff I do-- corporate incursions into our bodies and food supply, right down to the level of DNA, farming practices, race, gender, resistance. It's a lovely book. A bit too straight to really turn my crank, but informative and well-crafted.
Recently discovered Tim Buckley, and listen to that while I read. All the tragic, honey-voiced boys...
Feist, btw, was awesome. So was dinner. Afterwards, hanging out with my more musical friends, listening to them play, I turn my spinning brain down to much fewer rpms, and close my eyes. Rest is good.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A gesture of affection from the ever-charming Miss SP Ruprai Posted by Picasa

borg again

I thought SP had erased all the photos on my camera, leaving only one-- a picture of her flipping me the bird. I was livid. Called her and, since she wasn't there, blasted her answering machine. Why are we so attached to photographs? You can never have the experience back. We are fascinated by them the way we are fascinated by mirrors. Narcissistically believing they tell us something about ourselves. Perhaps they do. They allow us to gaze eternally at that which flies by in an instant. We hold fractions of seconds in our hands.
As for me, I'm so transient, no one holds my memories for me, however subjectively. The camera is my prosthetic mind, eye, mind's eye. It reminds me where the time went, who was there, what I cared about in that fraction of a second.

Friday, October 07, 2005

already dead

May be I'm already dead, like the protagonist of Ali Smith's novel Hotel World. The farther she drifts from the land of the living, the more she loses her grip on the names of things. The wandering spirit talks about her (dead) body:

"I left her there, in her sleep, unravelling each of the letters of our shared name and throwing away the little coloured threads that made it no one else's name in the world.
I want to ask her the name for the things we see with. I wanted to ask her the name for heated-up bread.
I have already forgotten it again, the name for the lift for dishes. It has tired me out telling you her story, all you pavement-pressing see-hearing people passing so blandly back and fore in front of the front door of the hotel. I lose the words; like so many chips of granite tapped out of a stone to make the shape of a name, they litter the ground."

congrats db

Yes, on your show at the Little Gallery, the reception of which took place this afternoon. Michael, Sandra, Myron and I made at two hours after it ended, at 8 pm. You rock, even if there's a hole where your heart was...
Also missed today, because I am out in space, the launch of Adrian Kelly's new novel, Down Sterling Road, at Pages in Kensington.

Myron and Michael at the KP Posted by Picasa

names of things

Names of things get away on me when there is too much on my plate. I can't remember films I've seen, books I've read, cds I've listened too. Sometimes I can't even remember the names of friends and family. The hard drive is overloaded. I need a reboot.
Saw Atom Egoyan's new film Where the Truth Lies last night. (Yes, I had to google it to remember.) Interesting use of narration-- lots of it-- voice of god style, but all unreliable. Lots of nice contradiction between image and text. Amazing sets-- but ask my architecture and design friends about what was what.
Friend, collaborator and hobbit extraoridinaire Myron Campbell is passing through town. Went to see Black Mountain with him tonight. We have a few projects up our sleeves-- can't wait 'til there's time free and clear to do the work.
Right now-- prepping talks for Europe and Asia. It's a strange trip, trying to contextualize one's own work. Always uncomfortable. But it forces me to think about what I'm doing.
Booked the Asia tix today. This is really happening.
Looking forward to Orphan's Thanksgiving at the pink house on Saturday, and Feist's concert. Working hard, playing hard, still somehow coherent. Almost, anyway.

rock geekdom is a serious affliction Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Nozomi thinks blogging is geekysexy.  Posted by Picasa

Sandy to Travis: "Your neck wouldn't be cold if you had a beard scarf. And because I am your friend, I will draw you one."  Posted by Picasa

happy sites

Nalo Hopkinson

Sandy Lam

Frances Kruk

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Thanks Nalo, for instructions on how to do this!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

robot love

When I wanted to be a video artist, I would go to film festivals in bigger cities and watch four or sometimes even five films a day. I love that moment before the film starts, when you're still feeling triumphant about having gotten in (if you did), and everyone is negotiating drinks and snacks and coats and who will sit beside whom. How we all slowly settle into the meditative space of viewing, get pulled into the grip of the film, if it's good or even ok, and drop into that silent but vicious critique mode if its not.

This year I've made it to three at the Calgary International Film Festival. The premise of 2046 is great-- 2046 is the number of a room in the Oriental Hotel (in late 50s, early 60s Hong Kong) where writer Chow Mo-Wan goes to remember Su Li Zhen, the only woman he has ever loved. (This story is played out in Wong's earlier In the Mood for Love, which is beautiful.) It is also a year in the future, for which trains leave regularly, a time and place where one can access unchanging memory. Too bad the film itself is such a hairy mess. Wong apparently re-edited the film a few times. It could use another edit or six.

If only he could have kept the Carina Lau segments and ditched the rest. In those, the writer offers to receive mail for the daughter of the hotel owner-- mail that comes from a young Japanese man the owner won't allow his daughter to date. He hates the Japanese because of the war. The passing of the mail becomes an intimate secret. The writer falls in love with the girl, and begins to write a story in which he is the Japanese lover on a train to the future. His only company on the train is a beautiful android with whom he is not allowed to fall in love. Carina Lau plays both the hotel owner's daughter and the android. Wong is so good at unintended/inadvertant love. Sideways love that never gets definitively returned. The other stuff-- cliche, narcissistic, boring.

Hah. There's half of a one-sided conversation. My grant is done, btw, for those of you following that stream of this hairy narrative. It's a big relief. I'm off to breakfast.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

me and the lovely Sandy Lam Posted by Picasa