Montréal: Expo Dream

One of the Montreal things that I’d read about obsessively before going was Expo 67, the great World’s Fair that took place here on Canada’s Centennial. It’s a multilayered megaevent that’s still seen as Canada’s cultural “Camelot” or even “last good year,” and there’s a lot to say about it, but during our stay at the In-Terminal Hotel, one thing of that era stood out: I couldn’t help but imagine the excitement that people must have felt as the world and even cosmos seemed to be getting smaller and smaller. You can’t really think of that decade without thinking of … Continue reading “Montréal: Expo Dream”

Montréal: Airport Swim

This time last year, I was telling you about our little cocoon of comforts by a lake in Idaho. I hadn’t planned to tell you about this cocoon of comforts on our last night in Montreal exactly one year after I told you about that cabin by that lake, but I’m not surprised by the coincidence. x I told you about that lake of baptisms and the washing away of shame, so it’s only appropriate that, one year later, I’d tell you about a dinky little overchlorinated pool on the eighth floor of an in-terminal hotel where silly people try … Continue reading “Montréal: Airport Swim”

Montréal: Orange Julep

One of the very last and most unexpectedly delightful things we did in Montreal was stopping by the famous “Big Orange” on our way to the airport. The place is apparently a hotspot for retro fans driving classic cars and carrying vintage cameras, but I think I was the only actual hipster there that rainy afternoon, though there was an older gentleman who purchased some merch – I don’t think his suspenders were ironic though. x I didn’t expect the orange julep itself to taste so good either! Apparently, “the fruit juice is deacidified by the mixture of skimmed milk … Continue reading “Montréal: Orange Julep”

Let Us Compare Mythologies

Leonard Cohen’s first publication was a book called “Let Us Compare Mythologies,” a phrase that kept nagging me as significant to my trip to Montreal. What if we compared mythologies? Settler versus indigenous; English versus French; Expo 67 versus FLQ 70—what would we find at the other end of that trigonometry? That line comes from the slim volume’s second poem, I would learn, one with a most elusive title of its own: FOR WILF AND HIS HOUSE. The poem itself is a touching testament to the harsh contrasts of Jewish agency within Christian structuration. You can find it online read … Continue reading “Let Us Compare Mythologies”

Montréal: Postscript

As someone from someplace oft described as “a land of contrasts,” I understand at a visceral level how asinine descriptors like that are; for what is a city but a mixed multitude and condenser of opposites? There are cities where this mixity is thrown in stark relief as harsh lines of stratification, it’s true – San Franscisco comes to mind right now – but we rarely use the language of “contrasts” there; haves and have-nots are not the kind of duotone that capture our imagination. No, lands of contrast excite the eye like a splash of modern art. It’s the … Continue reading “Montréal: Postscript”

Montréal: Cohen & Kateri

On our first night in Montreal, we tried to watch a documentary called “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen,” but we were so tired that we started drifting off a few minutes into it. That was enough time, however, to catch a Leonard Cohen refrain from an old interview from his youth that would play in my head as we huddled under the world’s smallest umbrella in the world’s most terrifying sneak-attack thunderstorm. After asking Cohen what concerns him, and after Cohen laughed and demurred, insisting that he hasn’t the faintest concern, the interviewer pressed the poet to share what … Continue reading “Montréal: Cohen & Kateri”

Birthday Polaroids ’23

I very rarely acknowledge my birthday beyond mandatory staff cake and some social media posts (though apparently not every year, as I noticed scrolling through this app last night), but it has happened maybe 2 or 3 times in my life. The very first birthday party I threw for myself was in 1999, at the Fuddruckers in Kuwait, where I made sure I’d planned plenty of games and activities so no one would get bored, and we didn’t have to dwell on how it was a combination going-away party as well. The next time I let myself be celebrated was … Continue reading “Birthday Polaroids ’23”

Doomers in the Metaverse

It’s weird how the internet has made so many people think more highly of the Unabomber, as was evidenced by his recent passing. It’s weird and it’s ironic, given his whole off-the-grid anti-tech thing. What’s weirder than overly-online young people cleaning up the image of a self-important terrorist wackjob, however, is that you’d think they’d choose an anti-hero that speaks more to their actual lives. A person like Nasim Najafi Aghdam, for example, who in 2018 walked into YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, CA, and committed arguably the first act of terrorism against the creative economy. Nasim’s hatred of YouTube … Continue reading “Doomers in the Metaverse”

Search Engine Optimism

I saw a reel this morning that detailed some moves at Meta to push people away from hashtags and towards “SEO” as THE way to get people to see their posts. I don’t know how this person got their information and I don’t care, but they did claim some level of insider knowledge that piqued my interest. But what motivated me to write these words was a reply they gave to a comment about wanting old instagram back; they said, and this is almost word for word because it’s seared into my brain: “it never will! the best thing to … Continue reading “Search Engine Optimism”

Chase the Light ’23

Last Sunday, I took part in a global photography event for the first time, one that helps raise funds for @photocenternw. People had 48 hours to “chase the light” and submit their photos for inclusion in a pop-up exhibit and sale. I didn’t realize it on Sunday, but this time last year I was sharing my very first explorations in film photography, posting the results of a randomized photo walk (literally- I used @randonauticaapp) I’d set myself, trying expired film and an old APS-format Canon someone had gave me. So yeah – a lot has happened in a year! Without a theme … Continue reading “Chase the Light ’23”