Elbow Manoeuvres 

Thursday, December 30, 2004

We're having a discussion over here and we decided to ask the guys who read this blog.

Recent dates have led me to hypothesize that when a man shakes my hand at the end of the date he is a write-off. Like someone who waits over a day to call me back. Just not that into me. Otherwise he would call back immediately. Next!

That much I know for sure.

But, I pointed out to my friend, men are getting trickier. They know I am onto their handshaking ploy. Nowadays I find more men holding my elbow or giving my elbow a pat. Is that the new handshaking, so-long-bitch technique? Or is it a substitute for the elusive first kiss?

Your insight is gratefully appreciated.

Encounter with Painful Art 

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

What stayed with us after today's exhibit of new photography and video from Mainland China, were the scenes of sadomasochism; an artist salved with oil and honey attracting a toilet's flies, another artist being slapped silly (the punishing hands erased), friends of another artist submerged under water, a cartoon character on a torso slicing that very torso, disembodied porn bodyparts on Post-Its, a monumental portrait of a leg with its metal brace boring into the skin, a hand missing its pinkie because the artist buried it in China so that there will always be a part of him back home while he travelled, an artist laying on winter concrete until his breath iced the pavement, a series of tongues touching things like matches - in Twentieth Century Chinese history, there was a woman who committed suicide, I can't remember her name, by shaving the fiery bits off matches and gulping them down.

Ma Liuming proved slightly less terrible to his body: he only walked over the Great Wall until his bare feet bled.

Yet we are happy that he shared himself with us. Um, wink wink.

Good Fragment II 

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

"Western arts has moved away from such relatively closed texts towards so-called ‘polysemic’ works, works open to a plurality of meanings...

Viewers facing a relatively open text confront two possibilities. They can utilize to the full their freedom to decide their own interpretations. Alternatively, if faced with too great a range of possible meanings, or simply unwilling or unable to make the effort, they can abdicate their freedom of decision in favour of a meaning established by a recognised elite of decoders (or art critics) who do their work for them."

From Becoming Mona Lisa: the Making of a Global Icon by Donald Sassoon (page 13)

Knitting the Superheroes 

Thursday, December 23, 2004

More Chicago Diary:

Fellow knitters might be interested in an exhibition at the absolutely beautiful Chicago Cultural Centre of Mark Newport's knitted superhero costumes. Meant to question issues of masculinity, AquaMan might not last long in frigid waters.

Staring up at these mammoth suits, then reading the dates of creation, from last year to this year, all I've got to say is that I am hiring Newport to finish my scarf for me.

Live from the Heart of Temperance Central 

Thursday, December 23, 2004

"Limoncello is the most famous lemon liqueur in Italy. The most beautiful lemons matured under the Mediteranien [sic] sun have been used for this refreshing liqueur. The liqueur cake Limoncello is a delicious fresh baked vanilla cake refined with original Limoncello liqueur."

(Excerpted from the 400g Kuchen Meister box of liqueur cake Limoncello)

For those of you who haven't had the luck yet, buy yourselves a bottle of Limoncello, partly freeze some aperitif glasses, into which you then pour the freezer-cooled Limoncello.

My best friend, Pugshot, hasn't had this sort of luck. When I saw the package of Limoncello cake at the supermarket, I came up with an educational ploy. I could not find a bottle of Limoncello to further douse the cake with some rocket power. The cake on its own would do.

Cash register.

I had not whipped out my credit card when the cashier boy asked for ID.

He knew I was going to pay by credit card. I am getting used to showing my driver's license to shopkeepers here, as a precaution against credit card fraud I suppose.

These Americans can read my mind, I thought. Hold on. Telepathy is impossible. Why is this teenage moron asking for my ID? With no credit card in sight, why did he want to know. Alcohol was the other possibility. On my second night here, I saw an eighty-year-old grandma ID'd for buying a bottle of wine; my dinner tonight, however, was chaste.

So I ask him. "Why do you need to see my ID?"

He holds up the Limoncello cake with an I told you so look.

"You're joking!" quoth I. "Alcohol evaporates! Cakes can't get you drunk!"

"Merry Christmas," he said. End of conversation.

Gunma Prefecture, Japan 

Monday, December 20, 2004


Thursday, December 16, 2004

Among the Greguerías, these are personal favourites:
  • The trickiest task of a knife-grinder is sharpening the arrows of Cupid.

  • A book is the lifejacket of loneliness.

  • Poor man: even his memory proved faithless!

  • He had his fortune invested in sheets, but one day he was robbed by a platoon of ghosts.

  • Bats sound like the hinges on the gate of the night.

  • Death is hereditary.

  • Love is born of the sudden desire to make the ephemeral eternal.

  • A machine gun sounds like the typewriter of death.

  • Rabbits sleep like dreaming toys.

  • In every cinema audience there is always someone whose drama is precisely the one you see on the screen.

  • Only the deaf can cure a liar.

  • Nobody dies of tears, except the candle.

  • The telephone is the alarm clock of those who are already awake.

  • What a tragedy! Her hands withered but her rings did not.

  • The driving-wheel is the lectern on which the novel of the journey will be opened.

  • The Creator keeps the keys to all the navels.

  • Our only real property consists of our bones.

  • They looked out at each other from the windows of two trains travelling in opposite directions, but so great is the force of love that suddenly the two trains began to travel in the same direction.

  • The only way to cure heartbreak is by saving up presentiments.

  • Fleas make a dog into a guitarist.

  • The whip traces in the air the tyrant's signature.

  • The leaves that fall are the tickets the Autumn bestows on us for its raffle.

  • A fly is the poor man's jewel.

  • Every time we frown another hair grows in our eyebrows.

  • In every wardrobe there is one pair of socks which is never worn, but is left there to breed more socks.

  • Fog is the collective ghost of the returning past.

  • The prima donna collects albums of applause for use in the hours of her old age.

  • He killed time in vengeful anticipation of what time was going to do to him.

Hamster Week Ends 

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Text: Be happy!! Wish a person good luck. It's a reserved seating.

Christmas Gift Guide 

Sunday, December 12, 2004

2004 has been a joy for Christmas gift shopping.

Normarily, I hate shopping. I hate crowded malls and I hate trying to think of something to buy for impossible people. My parents, for example, have no discernible hobbies. They have everything already. My mom would like more of Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds perfume, but she ain't adding another bottle to her collection.

This year I made a list of all the people I need to give gifts to and all the people who might potentially give me gifts.

Some people, like my dear friend Cheryl the Red, are effortless. Any bookstore will do.

Children, especially newborns, are easy. Start planning for their future Christmas trees, by purchasing their Christmas tree ornaments now. Every year buy a new ornament to add to their growing collection. By the time they're thirty and ready to leave the nest, they'll have a tree brimming with fantastic ornaments because you'll be vicariously living through them and thus buying all the ornaments you wish you could buy for your own tree. Just choose a theme or, better yet, a colour scheme, and buy the tree ornaments to match for the rest of their lives. For my godson, I thought about a masculine colour like blue. After perusing the selection available at a local furnishing store, I thought transparent or silver ornaments would work better. That way if little Issa ever wants to go the purple route, everything will match.

For the others I need to list the best gifts for them. This means a lot of eavesdropping. I discovered in this way, that my sister needs a new day planner. Bam! Wish granted!

Most of my gifts, to bypass malls, come from craft fairs and farmer's markets. I absolutely abhor knickknacks; all presents must be utilitarian in some way. Edible things are utilitarian. Toiletries are utilitarian. Clothing is not, unless you know the exact make and model of the desired panties your friend expects. Accessories are utilitarian as long as they almost match the receiver's desires. I know that I myself can never have enough (funky) purses.

If worse comes to worse and I must enter a mall, I've come up with a new game to ease the pain of shopping. It's called pocket letters. I write a few quick letters in front of the telly the night before - simple missives about farting or the pain of having one's heart broken - then I have a scavenger hunt in reverse; I try to find suitable clothing that someone for whom a particular letter is meant would wear. Then, I locate an opened pocket (the inner ones are rarely sewn shut) and slip in my letter.

If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping, I encourage you all to try out a few craft fairs. Yes, there is some tacky stuff involved. Despite the fact that I recycle down to the littlest Post-it note, I still can't bring myself to purchase or use washable menstrual pads.

But there are great things that are made locally in your community and would support your artisans. Factory slave workers in third world countries need the pennies they earn too, however, the mall shoppers already see to that.

In 2004 I collected contact information for a number of Maktaaq-approved gifts for the special somebody on your list. For you Vancouver readers out there they are:

  • Erin Dolman's jewellry, in particular her pendants. While out of my range (the lowest-priced itme was $85, anyone willing to shell out $150 for a bunch of tickets to a boring hockey game can afford one of Dolman's lovely pendant boxes filled with leaves and Tibetan flames.

  • Crooked Garden makes very affordable leather bracelets and chokers ($12-$28) with traditional cowboy imagery as well as pretty flowers. They come in the usual blacks and browns as well as fuschia.

  • Rose Hip's Beata Basik (604-435-7841)has ruffle skirts made of different fabrics in jarring contrast. At only $35, I wish I had a neice between three and eight for whom I could buy one of these skirts.

  • Jal Gal's Lorie Ann Johnston (604-461-0118) has the niftiest purses made out of record covers, with the original record inside. Recently I saw her at the Railway Club with a half-record purse (Simple Minds); I wonder if that would cost half as much as her usual fare (about $125).

  • Astrosatchel, available in lots of places, makes the sort of I-scream bags that I will one day save up $65 to buy. Janna Hurtzig also has wallets and coin purses for $20 and $15 respectively; I am still hankering for the purse.

  • Susan McCamon's birdhouses ($59 and up) are what I am buying for the old folks if they ever move back to Canada. Heck, I would metamorphose into a bird just to live in one of these hobbit-inspired masterpieces.

  • Cory Judge's Epiphany Designs makes pendants imbeded with Chinese brocades (not available on the website). At a mere $25 for the daintiest of the bunch, this is a perfect present for the girl on your list worth more than a $10 Starbucks gift certificate.

  • Joanne Waters' seaweed baskets start at $25. Otherwise, take her seaweed basket weaving class and make a couple of your own seaweed baskets. (Reference: the seaweed baskets in my own living room, for those of you who've visited.)

  • Bijoux du Monde's Mikel Lefler distributes her insect jewellry all over the place. A tad pricey for me ($120 for the cheapest pendant on the market), I am willing to accept any gifts of dragonfly necklaces.

  • For the absolute mystery people on your list, a $5 bottle of the Salad Sisters' strawberry salad dressing is what I'd take along to their Christmas party. Even a sworn carnivore will like these dressings.

  • Finally, for the collage artist on your list, there is Urban Source, one of the greatest stores in the world. Though not a craft market, Urban Source can encourage anyone to take up assemblage art with their array of film canisters, plastic pig heads, doll faces (see below), and other "diverse and unusual manufacturing discards". It's like dumpster diving, only you don't come out soggy from garbage juice. May every city have a store like this. If not, let me know and I will open one at a location near you.

Collection of doll faces from yesterday's foray into Urban Source.

Supersize Me 

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

How big is your penis?
Name / Username
You penis is this many inches: 16
This quiz by Shoesrbad - Taken 44152 Times.
New! Get Free Horoscopes from Kwiz.Biz

Will Hamster Week Never End? 

Monday, December 06, 2004


Sunday, December 05, 2004

"Pull up your shirt." "Take off your pants." "Lay down."

How can I not love him?

The other day, I saw a trailer for House of Flying Daggers and I realized he looks like Takeshi Kaneshiro. (Yummy!)

When I tell him I feel better, despite the crick in my neck from two days ago, he cares. The crick in my neck concerns him. And what could be more flattering than someone who cares about my wellbeing?

Sure he's only about as tall as I am, but I'll let the height requirements slide this once.

There's nothing more exciting than when, as he is about to place those cold, wet electrodes on me, he says, "Brace yourself. This is going to be cold."

Then I lay down on a warm bed and he closes the curatin.

He leaves me alone, but that's ok. Because I can dream about him while the electrodes make me twitch like a mad hatter.

Knit Cosies for the Girls 

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I wrote this for the blog of the knitting group to which I also post. Couldn't decide if it was suitable for Maktaaq or suitable for knitting:

Thank you, Mr. No Milk, for information on more knitting projects for our group.

And we get this tasteless joke from one of the commenters: "If you boil a tampon, do you get vampire tea?"

Roadkill of the Month 

Saturday, December 04, 2004

MaikoPunk: Hey, there's some roadkill outside...want me to photograph it for you?

Maktaaq: I don't know. What kind of animal is it?

MaikoPunk: Squirrel. It's head was shorn sheer off.

Maktaaq: Well, ok.


Maktaaq: Did you get it?

MaikoPunk: Yep, though its head disappeared. My dog didn't eat the squirrel. He didn't show any interest in it.

(Poor squirrel!)

Shameless Plagiarism & a Pink Switchblade 

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I was led, via Albino Neutrino to Espresso Stories. Espresso stories is a site that allows anyone to post a story, as long as it is 25 words or less. Anyone... Even me!

Finally, I get to re-write my autobiography.

(Please don't sue me, Frank.)

Hamster Week Yet Again 

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Text: Would you not like to get some fresh air? It is the best season of the year.



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