Monday, October 20, 2014

{video scrapbook: new york 2013}

Tip: For some reason, on my computer, I have to click on the little gear on the bottom right hand corner and turn up the quality...So if it's unbearably blurry, try that?

I finally sat down and finished my New York video scrapbook. I meant to do it a year and a half ago, but there were always a million other things to do instead. Because that is how life goes.

This video is made up of at least a tiny bit of almost every single one of the video clips from my trip to New York last year - about forty grainy minutes of point-and-shoot holiday film footage with crappy audio condensed down to five. I don't know that it's much more palatable as a five minute montage, but it sure takes up a lot less space on my computer hard drive and is so much easier to access when the nostalgia hits me (which is, after all, the point of the whole video scrapbook thing). 

It's not even close to covering all that went on, but the rest of the trip has been adequately recorded on this blog - everything from getting my jacket stolen in Central Park to the night we spent busking under the arch in Washington Park. You can read that stuff by clicking here.

I remain, unapologetically, in love with that city.

PS: the song in the video is "Ghosts" by ON AN ON.

Friday, October 17, 2014

{something to do with creativity}

A few years ago, a magazine editor from New York contacted me and asked me to draw something up for their cover. The theme she was suggesting was as ambiguous as it gets: "Something about creativity?"

From behind the safety of my glowing computer screen, I hemmed and hawed and picked through my brain like it was an overflowing junk drawer. Maybe there was something I'd shoved in there at some point, tucked towards the very back, that I could pull out and make into something? I said I'd give it a try, along with a fervid disclaimer about not being a professional and being really unsure that I could even come up with anything (like a clause in my agreement could protect me from her criticism after the fact if my work was anything less than par). The editor wrote back, "It'll be great. You'll do great. Just do anything, and it'll be what I want."

I wasn't optimistic, and the parameters were much too wide for my liking, but I was also excited to try. Flattered to have been asked.

I have a suitcase with everything in it. All of my paints and hand-me-down art supplies - glue and tape and string and paper and pencils and oils and charcoals. It's all stuff I've collected from other people who were 'making space' in their own junk drawers. A lot of it I don't even know what to do with. Slightly used but in fairly good condition. That day, after the email exchange, I sat down on the floor of my dining room and emptied that suitcase onto the floor around me so I could see it all. I sat in the middle of the mess and picked up a sketchbook that had been flung to the floor by my right knee.

The page stayed completely blank for an hour. Two hours. Three. I became insanely frustrated with the whole thing. Something to do with creativity. I was surrounded by all of the tools, but I didn't know what to do with them. I felt like Creativity was a person, and we were in a fight. I snapped a crayon in half and examined the inside. I got up and left the room. I came back in and surveyed the scene from above.

And that was what did it, I guess, because then I sat back down and got to work. I drew the crayons, and pencils, and the brushes and oil pastels and the watercolours and the string and the books and the tape and even my coffee, which was now quite cold. And in the middle of it all, I drew me and my blank page. It was a picture of not knowing what to draw a picture of. And I liked it.

The magazine folded. Like, not as in 'in half', but as in 'doesn't exist anymore'. So this picture has been just sitting in a folder on my desktop. This morning, I wanted to write about something, but didn't know what to write about, and then I came across this picture and thought I'd write about it. It seemed fitting.

I like that about creative things - that the point is not always (or usually, for me) the subject. The point is just to get something down on the paper (or the screen, or whatever) and to be happy with the final result. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

{ice cream soup}

I accidentally made strawberry pineapple coconut ice cream this morning. It was supposed to be a smoothie, but when I tried to pour it out of the blender, it was exactly the consistency of ice cream and had to be served and eaten with a spoon.

Also, I accidentally made enough to feed maybe eight people, even though I was the only one around.

Two very happy accidents.

But then I accidentally stored the leftovers in the fridge instead of the freezer, and it's not ice cream anymore. It's not even a smoothie. It's soup. Strawberry pineapple coconut soup. A less happy accident, because consistency and texture matter.

Anyway, that is why tonight finds me curled up in a ball on the couch under a blanket in the dark eating fruit soup and pressing an ice pack against the side of my face.

(The ice pack has less to do with the fruit soup and more to do with the fact that I fell off a balcony and landed on my face, like, ten years ago, and now have killer TMD which flares up every once in a while and makes it difficult to even smile, let alone eat or talk. My dentist wants to fix it, but he also wants to charge me thousands and thousands of dollars to do it, I am. With my ice pack that I got at the Dollar Store, thank you very much, Dr. Brough.) 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

{coming soon}

On Saturday, after we finished up at Caliber, Julia asked if I would take a few pictures of their family of three while they're still on this side of her Due Date. It was crazy to think that we've done this before, except last time it was my little nephew in her belly. 

After you know someone, it's weird to think of a time where you knew of them but nothing about them. Even weirder to think that this time next year, we'll look at these pictures and we'll know the little person in there and it will be hard to imagine not knowing them. 

Babies, man. Life. The universe. Weird. 

I don't call this blog Suzy and the Deep Thoughts for nothing. Or at all.

Monday, October 06, 2014

{caliber coffee roasters}

I live, as I've said before countless times, in a very small city. I've dreamt of living someplace massive and moving, a town with constant activity and perpetual new things to see and do and places to eat and chill, but that doesn't seem to be in my future at the moment. I am not in Chicago or New York or London. I am not even in Toronto or Vancouver. I am, for better or worse, decidedly here. 

Regina, Saskatchewan.

There is a very positive side to this; that is, when you're not always trying new restaraunts and coffee shops, you get to be a regular at one. You get to try everything on the menu and the barista recognizes you when you come through the door. When a band you really like comes to town, it's a big deal, not something you take for granted. And when you find Something Cool tucked away somewhere in the middle of the city like a diamond that fell from a fancy woman's engagement ring and landed on the sidewalk to be discovered by you later on, you appreciate it for all that it's worth. 

We found one such gem this weekend, on the corner of Osler and 6th. It's called Café Market, and it's the home of Caliber Coffee Roasters.

And you're like, "Oh. Another coffee shop. Cool."


There are kind of two parts to Café Market. One side is a big showroom with every imaginable kind of coffee brewing system you can think of (Chemex, French Press, Aeropress, etc), as well as teas and syrups and stuff. The other side is where Caliber Coffee Roasters has set up shop. You can't actually go in and buy a cup, but if you're a big old coffee nerd like Barclay is, you will appreciate this much, much more.

Every Saturday, from 10am-3pm, they have free coffee tastings. I can't remember where we heard about this from, but we went in on Saturday with Julia and Scott and timidly asked about it. Like, "Hey. So, um. Yeah we heard that you guys" Because it's downright awkward to ask for free stuff. I'm getting better at it though. (I'm not sure if that's a good thing.)

But the guy working there that day (John) put us at ease right away. He invited us behind the counter into his little coffee laboratory, showed us the beans they'd roasted that week, and gave us a half hour lesson on the exact science of brewing the perfect cup of coffee in an Aeropress (this was at our request; I saw him teaching some other customers how to use the Chemex later on, and an espresso machine as we were leaving). It was the real deal. The kind of coffee-making that involves scales and exact temperatures and all that. It was so, so geeky, and so incredibly fun.

We got to try three different roasts, and because I haven't been drinking much caffeinated coffee lately, I felt it running up my back and shaking my brain for the rest of the day. Pretty sure I slept with my eyes wide open that night. Worth it.

We'll be going back often, I think. So if you're in the area and think intense coffee science is fun (or you just want to hang out with a bunch of geeks and try some good free coffee), you should definitely join us.