March 31, 2003

People Who Love People Give Blood

People Who Love People Give Blood

"People Who Love People Give Blood" BloodMobile Gainesville, Florida

During the trip an observant student at the school (actually it was a recent alumni) said to me "When I looked at your work online I thought 'People who do work like this must be very energetic', but instead you're both very subdued. Maybe all that energy is contained inside your head."

I suppose it is.

The Blood Mobile

Posted by Gayla at 09:57 PM | Comments (3)

March 30, 2003

Back from Florida

Pro & Anti-War Demonstration in Gainesville, Florida
Thursday, March 20, 2003

We're back! What can I say about our trip to Florida? It started off pretty crazy. We arrived in Orlando with no sleep and feeling pretty nervous and uncomfortable about being in America only hours after the war started. Our flight was a little bit surreal because our fellow passengers all seemed oblivious to what was going on. Upon arriving in Orlando we took a cab to the Greyhound station and listened to war coverage in creole. I didn't pick up much.

Our ride to Gainesville was full of eye candy. We marvelled at hand-painted billboards, orange groves, swamps, interesting plants and strange orange coloured sand.

In Gainesville we were greeted by a fairly large demonstration outside our hotel and the news that none of the other guests would be attending the event due to the war!! It was a bit stressful and intimidating realising that we were the only people there to jury the event as well as give speeches and evaluate portfolios. But in the end everything worked out. Despite the fact that I was REALLY SICK for nearly our entire stay in Gainesville, we had a really fun time and the students and faculty were great and incredibly hospitable.

I took alot of photos, although far less then I anticipated. I saw alot of plants, although far less then I had hoped. I went to the ocean, but didn't get the opportunity to swim. Will post some photos in the coming days. Right now I need that post vacation day off to rest and get used to the concept of using a computer again. Never mind the billions of emails that are waiting to be answered.

Posted by Gayla at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2003

We're Off...


And we're off... While many of you in my time zone will just be creeping into bed, we'll be getting up and going to the airport to travel to the Sunshine State.

Got a new camera for the trip and am eager to take some pictures.

Back in 9 days...

Posted by Gayla at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2003

Too Little Sleep


I didn't sleep last night. Pretty much not at all. It's the first time in a very long time as I place so much importance on sleep to aid in healing my body. But last night I couldn't sleep and by 4:00am I knew it was over. If I'm not asleep by 3:00am my body starts to hurt (I'm not exaggerating).

I think the stress of completing my to-do list, my fears regarding how this trip will effect my body in a negative way, plus this fucking war is flipping me out a lot. Going to take a bath now.

Posted by Gayla at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2003


It's melting....

While out running errands today, I struggled to take a photo that captured the essense of the day. I think this one does a pretty good job. Things have heated up so suddenly that the snow is melting away and forming rivers in the ditches.

Such a perfectly beautiful, yet horrible day. There is a hole forming in my stomach over this war that is about to explode. We haven't left Canada in 4+ years and now we'll be travelling into the U.S literally hours after this fucking war begins. Ugh.

Posted by Gayla at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2003

Sweet Hearts Bike


Bike in front of Addis Ababa

I've been using the Canon AE-1 again. Yesterday I was reacquainted with just how un-fun taking pictures in the freezing cold with a heavy, metal camera can be. Bring on the warm weather.

Posted by Gayla at 09:28 AM | Comments (1)

March 14, 2003


Taken with Pocket DV

We booked our flight for our trip to Florida a few days ago. We're now going for more than a week. Excitment was quickly followed by the grim realisation that we'll probably be in the U.S. when Bush announces his war.

Posted by Gayla at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2003

Thrift Store Trends


Drawer in Salvation Army furniture section

I've discovered a new trend in thrift shops. Every once and a while a procession of like items will start making their way out the doors of residents and into the thrift stores. At one point it was the pink bedazzlerTM machine. Another popular item was the electric yoghurt making machine (People you really only need a thermos to make perfect yoghurt). Crimping irons could be found by the bin full a few years ago.

Now the trend is old computer parts and cell phones. I can't believe how many not-so-old printers, speakers, and old Macs were at the Salvation Army the other day. The cellphones were neatly assembled in a row beneath the glass of the display case. I can't figure out what anyone would want with the old cellphones or why they would need to be specially housed inside the glass display but...

Posted by Gayla at 11:43 PM | Comments (4)

March 11, 2003

Bill the Camera


Drawer in Salvation Army furniture section

Boy did I feel like a huge louser today at the camera store. Took the 35mm camera in to be looked at/repaired. It's been acting up for a long time and since I nearly always use the digital cameras I just kind of let it go. But with our trip to Florida next week, I felt it was time to get this sorted out once and for all. My idea was to see what the problem was and decide if it made more sense to just purchase a new/used body. We've got a Canon AE-1 and I wanted to get another one because I love it so. The bodies aren't too expensive so it made sense to go this route if the camera was too far gone.

So we take it up to the repair counter at the camera store, and while we're explaining our problems, the repair woman looks through the lens and does other very pro-looking inspections. Then she stops and emphatically indicates there is nothing wrong with the camera.

"What about the light meter?" I ask.
"Nothing wrong."
"But it is very on again, off again about advancing the film."
"Seems to work fine, maybe you're not loading the film correctly."

I used this camera regularly for years while I was in school. Mr. Risk used this camera when he was in school. Why is it that sometime between school and the present we both lost the ability to load film correctly? All I can say in my defense is that I haven't used the camera nearly as much since I finished school and maybe I just wasn't comfortable with it's quirks anymore. Bill is a fairly old camera (it's name is Bill because that was the label the previous owner had on the case). Bill is a bit fidgety.

So now we don't need to buy a new body.... which is GREAT! We looked around at lenses and we're hovering on the cusp of possibly buying a really awesome macro lens for it. We did buy a brand new case because the old one was crap.

On the way out of the store (after spending ages coveting more cameras, paper, printers and equipment) I bought a roll of film for testing. I tried loading it into the camera, doing everything right, closed it up, advanced it some more... and the same problem. The film wasn't advancing. So I went back over to the repair desk and said to the same woman "See it's not advancing now."

Of course when she took the camera and fiddled with it everything was fine.

"You hate me now don't you?" she stated.

No, I just hate looking like an idiot.

Posted by Gayla at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2003

It Starts Young


Photo of church announcement board. Bloor St.

Yesterday my brother and I had a sibling fun day. We walked around the city going from the farmer's market (wasn't open) to a few second hand stores and finally the health food store. It was quite a walk but we had a good time. At one point, while walking through the Dufferin Mall, we came upon a woman at a makeup booth putting lipstick on a small (less then five years old) child. That was very surreal.

Later that evening we watched two films; "Road to Perdition" and Mike Leigh's latest "All Or Nothing". At the end of the day my brother said to me "I'm starting to realise that alot of people are fucked up."

Don't I know it.

Posted by Gayla at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2003

Don't Pick Them Up, Don't Lay Them Down


C.N.E. Fall 2002. Taken with Pocket DV

Today is International Women's Day and I thought I'd try and articulate some things I've been thinking about.

Years ago, on a first day of school, I was asked by an art professor to quickly, off the top of my head, name ten women I admired. I can't remember if women artists was a stipulation or not. At the time I didn't really know why, but I felt the question was a bit unfair and put me on the spot in a negative way. I felt he was forcing me to prove something by doing that and it made me uncomfortable. Judging by the way the year went in that class, my basic intuitive reaction had some merit. At the time I stated that I didn't feel comfortable with what he was asking of me because I admire people I know personally for who they are, but I can't admire people I don't know; I can only appreciate what they do.

Jump ahead several years to the present and this issue is coming up in my life in a different way. As I get older, I find it necessary to separate my feelings about what someone achieves in a public capacity with who they are as a person. One can achieve great things yet be incapable of providing for their basic psychological and emotional needs -- be entirely self-hating even. I can't admire that. I want to be a well-rounded person and I strive on a daily basis to make achieving a healthy life my number one priority above and beyond the voice in my head that tells me my value lies in what I accomplish rather than in who I am. This is complicated for me because I also don't believe in separating business and personal. I need to take responsibility for what I do. It isn't who I am, but it is a part of me.

Which brings me to another point I've been thinking about lately. A while ago I found an interview between Maya Angelou and Bell Hooks. At one point in the interview they discussed fame and how that had affected them. Maya Angelou said:

    People sometimes put people on pedestals so they can see them more clearly so they can knock them off. There is that in the human psyche. Sometimes people are at your feet, and as the winds of fortune change, they’ll be at your throat. I understand that. What I do is I follow the advice of the West African philosopher, which is, "Don’t pick them up, don’t lay them down." That is, when someone says, "You’re the greatest, you’re the absolute, you’re a genius," you say, "Thank you so much, thank you, bye-bye, bye-bye." Because if I pick them up, you see, I got to then believe when they say, "You’re nothing, you’re a charlatan, you’re a..." oh, some of the words, ugh.

There are lots of people who I think are doing great things and I really appreciate their efforts in doing those things. But I know I am treading on dangerous ground when words such as "looking up to" or "wanting to be like", or "I wish I had ________ like so and so" get thrown around.


A day later....

I'm carefully picking bits of perlite out of pre-prepared cactus and succulent soil so as to avoid poisoning the plants I'm transplanting (which are members of the Lily family) when it occurs to me what I really meant to say above. Mind numbing tasks can be good meditation.

It's not that it's wrong to compliment people or to receive compliments. It's how you send and receive those compliments. They should not be the litmus paper against which you measure the value of what you do and who you are.

Posted by Gayla at 01:40 PM | Comments (2)

March 06, 2003

Carny Rides

cne02-1.jpg  cne02-2.jpg

cne02-3.jpg  cne02-4.jpg

cne02-5.jpg  cne02-6.jpg

cne02-7.jpg  cne02-8.jpg

Taken with Pocket DV at CNE August 2002

I took these photos on a solo trip to the CNE shortly after I got the Pocket DV. I brought three cameras with me that day, but the Pocket DV photos are some of my favourite due to that crazy post-apocalyptic look it gives everything; especially the sky.

Posted by Gayla at 12:21 PM | Comments (4)

March 04, 2003


A lot of people have been posting about the recent death of childhood educator Fred Rogers -- that's Mr. Rogers to you and me. Through those comments I was compelled to read more about the man... or at least more of his words. I have found a few things that I myself have been thinking about for some time now. Which leads me to wonder why it is that when I am thinking about something, I start to find it over and over again in everything I read? The only answer I can find is that I have always been coming into contact with these ideas, I've just ignored them for whatever reason. Perhaps they were concepts that made me uncomfortable so I skipped over and avoided them rather than opening myself up to them.

I didn't care for the Mr. Rogers program as a child. I liked some of the activities and I liked the puppets, but the show was too slow and I became impatient with the pace. I was an Electric Company/Sesame Street/Children's Television Workshop kid. In my childhood, everything was fast and chaotic; not slow, steady, thoughtful and deliberate like Mr. Rogers' neighbourhood. Makes sense I wouldn't be attracted to that. Maybe if I had been able to become engaged by the show as a child, I wouldn't be learning real patience now, in my late 20s.

Anyways, in reading the writing and words of Fred Rogers the theme of choices has come up several times. An example:

    "I'm very much interested in choices and what it is and who it is that enable us human beings to make the choices we make all through our lives."

I'm not really in line with the who part, but the what part does interest me a great deal lately. I have always been interested in what makes people tick so I suppose it's not a new thing. What is sort of new is my approach to it. I think we enable us to make the choices we make. So amny choices are presented to us on any given day. Even when we chose to ignore or try to avoid them, we're still making a choice. I think about that alot.

    "It's not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It's the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our lives from which we make our choices is very good stuff."

It seems to me that Fred Rogers was attempting to be a positive contrast to the negative shit children face everyday around them that says that they aren't any good -- that they can not trust themselves to be capable of making choices.

Quotes are from: "Fred McFeely Rogers 2002 Commencement Address at Dartmouth College"

Posted by Gayla at 09:29 AM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2003

New Tools

Aloe Flower

Aloe Flower

I bought a few new tools over the weekend and am now going through a tool adjustment period. It's part elation as a result of having new stuff to use, and partly frustration as a result of having to learn something new that's not immediately doing what I want it to do.

On Friday I got a Wacom tablet. I've been thinking about getting one for a while now as I've been wanting to do some different kinds of drawing on the computer and I find the mouse can be very clunky/impossible in that regard (unless you're Mister Risk who is some kind of mouse prodigy). The tablet is definitely going to take some adjusting. I tried one years ago and was quickly irritated with it. This time I'm going to make a concerted effort to try and adjust because it seems it could really be a life-changer if I can just become adept with it.

I spent a few hours fiddling in Illustrator over the weekend and found it to be extremely sensitive. I did improve in just a few hours so there is hope yet. I don't feel comfortable posting the drawings here though. Blah.

The second adjustment is with the mouse that came with the tablet. My old mouse, which I had grown to LOVE, was the Logitech wireless which is quite heavy due to the batteries being housed inside the actual mouse itself. I was very used to that weight. The new mouse, while also wireless works with the tablet and doesn't require batteries so it is extremely light. It's going to take some time to adjust to the weight difference. But as with all tools that are used 8+ hours a day, they do become second nature sooner than you think. I miss my old mouse pad though. It had a wrist rest. The tablet does not. I tried using both my old mouse/pad and the tablet/new mouse but the system of switching from tool to tool is stupid and taking up too much desk space.

The other thing I purchased over the weekend was a new Pantone Survival Kit. It was time for a new one. It's kind of scary how much the colours can change over time. What drives me nuts when it comes to choosing colours is that even though they offer a zillion colours, I can never find exactly what I need. I ALWAYS seem to need a non-existant colour lingering somewhere between two colours. Urg.

Posted by Gayla at 01:38 AM | Comments (1)

March 01, 2003

Let the Sun Shine In

Watching WAY too much Newlywed Game circa mid-late 80s

Something crazy happened to me recently. I watched the film adaptation of "Hair" the musical on the movie channel... and I enjoyed it.

I don't like theatre, musical theatre, film adaptations of musicals or anything related to theatre/musicals in general. I just don't care for it and I never have. Even when I acted in plays in elementary school it really didn't do much for me.

Don't hate me because I hate theatre.

But "HAIR". Hair is so awesome. Those crazy hippie antics, dancing and insane outfits lured me in and the next thing I knew I was diggin' it. I started out watching the movie because Nina Simone does a version of "Ain't Got No/I Got Life". I knew the song was from the "Hair" soundtrack so I was curious to find out what the original version was like. Nina has turned a lot of unbearable songs into little gems. [As an aside: I was right, her version is WAY better.] But by the time I got to that part of the movie I was sucked in. The only part that almost had me get up or turn the channel was the way-too-long acid "trip-out" scene. Just a little too psychedelic for my taste.

But honestly... By the end of the film, in the scene where they're walking through the rows of gravestones singing "Let the Sun Shine In"... I had a bit of dew forming in the corners of my eyes.

Posted by Gayla at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)