Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #51 (November 1st, 2006) (+ BONUS)

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From A-V in 3D

Appearing here for the first time in glorious black and white

With full analysis by Dave Sim




8:51 pm Okay, I have been home for exactly twenty minutes (this is being written at 8:51 pm on Monday the 30th

—it took me four hours to fly from Salt Lake City to Toronto and four hours to get driven from Toronto to Kitchener) and now I have twelve hours in which to produce a week's worth of Blog & Mail's assuming that Gerhard is going to be here on schedule tomorrow at 9:00 am. I'm willing to bet that I'm not going to be exactly bright-eyed and bushy tailed after my first prayer at 5:30 am tomorrow, so depending on how long I can stay awake tonight working on these, overall it looks like a real challenge. I will at least try to get four days' worth done. All short ones. I still have to completely redraw two pages of "Reply to Roberta Gregory" as soon as possible, as well as write "Dave's favourite Buffy Pic". I don't know if any of the photos from Salt Lake City have been posted or if they have captions describing what's in them: maybe there will be some overlap.

8:56 pm – While waiting for Alan and Mimi to come and get me at the hotel, knowing that I would have to write a full week's worth of Blog & Mails when I got back, I started making notes and writing down questions for when Mimi got there. My journalist brain isn't really up to snuff yet so I keep missing really basic information items for here and don't realize it until hours later when it's almost too late to do anything about it.

The LIVE REPORTS from Salt Lake City were done on the fly and then e-mailed on the fly and were supposed to have some small corrections that were missed. Foremost among these, Trevor Nielson ("i before e and son as in son of a b—ch") who we ended up hanging around with quite a bit and should therefore be in a bunch of the photos. The name of his Joan of Arc book-in-progress is The Lily Maid. Ger and I were both very impressed by what he has done so far and I sure hope he's able to find enough hours in the day to keep up with his backgrounds on Supernatural Law as well as his full-time framing job and (most particularly) The Lily Maid. It's really, really good. Turns out that Trevor used to be a paratrooper, stationed at the home of the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg and had a number of funny stories about his life in jumping out of airplanes. One time his whole unit got dropped into some trees at night and the operative instruction is that you take your helmet off and drop it to determine how high off the ground you are. He did so and heard this faint rustle rustle below him. So figuring he was way up off the ground, he did what any good military man will do in any situation where he has done everything he was told to do: he loosened the straps and promptly fell asleep. He was awakened out of a dead sleep by a bright searchlight and a voice asking him if he was all right. Yes, he was all right. Then why don't you climb down, asked the voice? It turned out that he was at about eye level from the ground and had dropped his helmet into a bush.

I asked him if he was concerned about my "leaking" his title and someone else snatching it up and no he wasn't. So you heard it here first, folks: Trevor Nielson's The Lily Maid: hot, hot, hot is my prediction when he brings it to market. Hopefully before too much longer.






The Blog & Mail LIVE from William's Coffee Pub where Sandeep and I are having muffins and coffee and grousing about the world in general on his laptop. Prayer time coming up at 5:30...first time in three years I haven't been fasting on Halloween. Good news -- Williams had 50 copies of Versus No.1 and they're all gone. Sandeep just did a restock. Sandeep?

Yes, there's a city-wide war going on and it's up to me to make sure all supply lines are restocked. If we don't get the goods out to the coffee shops, restaurants, bistros and diners, it's the people of K-W who will suffer. Several armies fight for space, the local weekly puts its papers on top of the university paper, the university paper puts them on top of the music monthly while the free classified paper ekes out its own spot and so on. So, I have to constantly monitor the distribution spots. Fifty is pretty good.

Just while he was typing a guy picked up a copy of number one and is using it to jot notes on while he talks on his cell phone. Ah, fame. It was gratifying to get back from Salt Lake City and find out that my subject for my next article -- the proposed bingo hall in the Krug Street plaza -- has just boiled over into a possible political headache for City Council with mere days to go before the municipal election. My ward councillor, John Smola, evidently changed his vote last night. Nice to know that I have reasonably good political instincts. Say, Sandeep, did any of the Yahoos contact you about getting Versus from my plug?

Oh yes, both Margaret, I forget, both asked for copies. I "emailed" them a "PDF" which is the electronic version, Dave. It's like sending steam through the air. Anyway, anybody else interested in any of Dave's stories can email me at: As for actual hard copies, not really worth my time unless you sign them, we slab them and then put them up on ebay with a $1,000 minimum. Anyway, like I say, free PDFs for all, very expensive hardcopies for some. Now the guy who picked up the magazine has been on page 3 for about five minutes....people love that splash page. Gets 'em every time.

I'm on absolute tenterhooks to see if he stops and reads the City Hall piece or flips past it to some lighter fare. It's like a flashback to the Xen days when I saw someone grab the issue with the Sherk barn article and sit down and devour it. I really can't get over the fact that the first 50 copies are gone already. Maybe Jeff Willmer took them all and destroyed them to keep Development & Technical Services from looking bad. I apologized to him last week for spelling his name wrong and he said that was fine, that way he could claim that I was talking about someone else entirely. So far, he comes out looking pretty good in the bingo hall article.

Oh, there's still a bit of a thrill when I see someone actually reading an issue. There. That's what it's about. Communication. Free exchange of ideas. More emphasis on the news than Brittney's shoes, but I think it can work. Quite a few people said they liked the first City Hall article. It was practical, and people need a very basic introduction to civic affairs. People are afraid of looking stupid, don't know who to contact, aren't familiar with the people, get intimidated, etc. Just the way City Hall likes it. If we can continue to barrage the people of the city with practical ways to combat that fear and that intimidation, then that block of granite doesn't stand a chance.

Jimmy Gownley's legendary block of granite. Actually the bingo hall article was the time-starved coward's way out. City Clerk Randy Gosse gave me the name of a senior IT guy by the name of Mike Bolger to talk to about how to communicate with the City by computer which is probably a lot more useful in this day and age and for the way Real People Unlike The Pariah King of Comics live their lives but obviously I'm a bad pick to be telling anyone how to use a computer to do anything besides word process. As soon as I get past the bingo hall story, though I'm there. Of course, I thought the bingo hall story was over until I read about it in The Record this morning in the cafeteria in the Lyle S. Hallman School of Social Work (my new a.m. hangout after I've done the ten flights of stairs here at City Hall). Might be a story with legs (as we journalists say).

The sad fact of the matter is that Kitchener has been hurting for many years and Kitchener City Hall has for the most part either a) done nothing to help or b) come up with stupid ideas like the Children's Museum, a $65 million library and...a Bingo Hall. A #@*#!@ Bingo Hall? To me, this is another example of people who, quite simply, don't really know what they're doing and are too preoccupied with land deals (aren't they basically all ex-developers?) to really figure out what the problem is. I mean a Children's Museum? That one reeks of the matriarchy to me. And I write this as we sit across from the Farah Foods that has been closed for something like five years. Note to Mayor Zehr: people won't live in an area where THEY CAN'T BUY FOOD. The reason the Farah Foods is still closed? Because it conflicts with another of the City's white elephants, the Farmer's Market which is not, in any practical sense, a grocery store as is required in a major urban area. Lots of people here don't drive and can't make it to the Highland or Frederick supermarkets, which is why nobody lives downtown. It's terrible. it's like living in Hamilton.

Oh, hey, NOTHING's as bad as living in Hamilton. The shopping centre problem (spoiler warning on my own article) actually looks like an incurable Fact of Life at this point. There just aren't enough people like me who don't have cars to make local and/or downtown shopping centres viable. The Big Box store is king. You're never going to beat the prices or the convenience or the free parking. Jeff Willmer offered the faint hope that rising oil prices would possibly make local supermarkets viable again, but I sure wouldn't bet the mortgage on THAT. Even the Sobey's I go to for my Basil and Jalapeno Cole Slaw (which I live on when it isn't Ramadan) would be considered a small supermarket in this day and age and my mind boggles anytime I go in there. MAN, look at all the STUFF! Ger told me about the Big Box Supermarkets that dwarf Sobey's and I almost came unglued. How can people COMPLAIN when we have this much absolutely fresh produce going for a song? By the time I'm coming to the end of my week's supply of cole slaw I'm really down to the few places downtown that serve a plausible meal for a reasonable price. I get excited when I can actually find large boxes of Raisin Bran AND bulk food raisins so I can "juice" my Raisin Bran. Okay, enough of this free LIVE entertainment. Sandeep, finish it off so we can actually talk again, instead of typing at each other.

Oh, yes, the Big Box is king, no doubt. If Mommy wants a big three-story house in the suburbs, Mommy will get it. The upshot of which is that your society is constructed around Mommy's convenience, no matter how little sense it makes to organize a city that way. That's exactly what's happening now. The area directly around City Hall is a ring of closed-down stores and pawn shops, while the suburbs continue to expand at an alarming rate thanks to all these ex-developers, and that setup demands the use of a car, so the problems gets worse...well enough free infotainment. Hey, that guy's still reading the magazine! Is that a barely-noticeable hairline fracture in that previously impenetrable block of stone?


If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

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