Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Looking Back: 2007 Part 3

End of Sinema

From the title to the ending, this story is as much a study of a personal friend of mine as it is an homage to the films of Godard. The title is a reference to the closing card in Weekend: end of cinema. Then there are more references than I can count throughout the story, mainly nods to Masculin féminin and Breathless. This story was written about and for 'Morris Lee', and he recently told me that he's still shocked at how accurate a portrayal it is of his life and thoughts. Even if the story itself is a failure, I can be satisfied knowing it served its purpose. The character Termite, due to Ramon Sierra's heavy involvement, was carried into Respect the Dead.

Skull of Fortune

The most recent dream collaboration with Joel Hentges. We always work very closely on these shorts based on his dreams and nightmares. Other than writing out his dream in a literary fashion, I helped develop the characters. I also had to fight for the title, which I'm fond of, as Joel felt it reminded him too much of a certain game show, therefore lessening the impact of the story. Seeing that this short was written back in 2007, I'll have to see if Joel has had any peculiar dreams lately.

The next post will conclude this Looking Back year.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Radar/A Play

There's a new Radar track up at, this one in play form. And, yes, it actually is meant to be performed!

Friday, April 24, 2009


This is what happens when I try to play Animal Crossing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Looking Back: 2007 Continued

Hell House

I don't think I'd be able to live with myself if I didn't have a story with 'Hell House' as its title. The idea for Hell House came from Christmas 2006, when I began referring to houses with red lights as their sole decorations as Hell Houses. Like calling out a car with a broken headlight, every time such a house caught my attention I oozed the phrase from my half-frightened lips.

Anyone who reads Hell House right now might go 'hey, wait a minute -- isn't Douglass Gorn actually Koi from Radar?' The answer to that would be 'yeah'. Its the same awkward young gentleman who prefaces every sentence with an uncertain 'uh'. All the mannerisms are there. I felt the character type worked for a short story, but figured it would probably alienate any reader if Douglass Gorn was the protagonist of a novel. So I started Radar a couple years later.

The character Nasser was renamed Morris Lee and became the star of End of Sinema. Morris Lee also appears in Radar.

The bit about a girl having her heart literally stolen was reused for The Light In Glass Flowers. Despite no longer being proud of Hell House -- I don't even enjoy it anymore -- I must admit it's been a storehouse of ideas for me.

Paper-Thin Punks

Paper-Thin Punks is a roman à clef -- well, a roman à clef with a very subjective view of reality. It is made up of separate vignettes, with each vignette being about a person I know. The first vignette -- Paper-Thin Punks -- has all of these people going up in a hot air balloon together. With this story I began introducing influences from film into my writings, so the bit that goes






is actually a nod to Godard's use of intertitles. Kind of odd, I know, but I still think it works in this short, and is probably my favourite thing about it. However, it's a trick I doubt I'll ever use again.

This Pretty Mountain is about Simon. Right? Yes, 'Simon'. All of the people that Paper-Thin Punks makes use of read the stories about themselves, and all of them loved their individual depictions. Everyone except for 'Frank'. Sorry, Frank. I guess we'll never be friends again! I'm not friends with Simon anymore, either, but that's a short story I'd rather not write.

Paper-Thin Caspar is more early Koi. Read this vignette and you're reading about the creation of one of Koi's tracks. Radar Doesn't Believe In The Supernatural really runs deep.

No Thanks to Godard is -- okay, here's another experimentation I'm still quite fond of. No Thanks to Godard is actually an adaptation of an essay by John Wilkins, containing about 90% of the content of his essay while inserting John Wilkins as a character into it. John's named was changed to Edmond but I think I should've just left it alone.

And then Let's Be Frank. This is a vignette I'll salvage. Along with Melodrama/A Play, it's one of the very few 'early' stories of mine that I'd like to put into a collection. It involves a ghost, a girl, Frank, and all that's left of love.

Let's continue this another time, shall we?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Sudden Loud Knocking

Would it be redundant if I posted quick site updates here? The latest track of Radar is up at, with an album cover by one of my favs, Ray Jones, and music from my good friend Saskrotch.

Top 15 Favourite Films

I love films. I love lists. This list is my bonsai tree -- I prune it, I nurture it. Maintaining it is a zen experience for me.

My two favourite film genres are Godard and Ambient. Later on with this blog I'll be focusing on what Ambient means to me in film terms, with posts on about half the films in this list.

1. Whisper of the Heart - Yoshifumi Kondo (1995)
2. Seven Samurai - Akira Kurosawa (1954)
3. Café Lumière - Hou Hsiao-Hsien (2003)
4. Solyaris - Andrei Tarkovsky (1972)
5. Band of Outsiders - Jean-Luc Godard (1964)
6. Chungking Express - Wong Kar-wai (1994)
7. Dodes’ka-den - Akira Kurosawa (1970)
8. The Spirit of the Beehive - Víctor Erice (1973)
9. Pierrot le fou - Jean-Luc Godard (1965)
10. Sans Soleil - Chris Marker (1983)
11. There Will Be Blood - P.T. Anderson (2007)
12. Linda Linda Linda - Nobuhiro Yamashita (2005)
13. Hélas pour moi - Jean-Luc Godard (1993)
14. Masculin féminin - Jean-Luc Godard (1966)
15. Magnolia - P.T. Anderson (1999)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Looking Back: 2007

With an increased focus on plots, matured narrative structures and my first novel, 2007 was one of the most important years for me and the site.

Nada Tall

Now this is a story I definitely tried out a lot of new things with. New for my writings, anyway. In this I had Nada Tall speak directly to the reader as if the reader were actually in the room with her. I also made the story a game, with Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-styled branching paths, card tricks and dice rolls dictating how the story goes. Because of this, the story itself deals with fate, coincidence and chaos. Nada Tall's name, most likely obviously enough, is a play on Not At All. This was my second collaboration with Alison Berry. Certain post-modern aspects of this short have been carried over into Radar Doesn't Believe In The Supernatural.

The Boy and the White Fox

Here's my first serious attempt at a fairy tale. I should point out that this and Nada Tall are part of a determination to create stories for adults that feature children as protagonists. Why? Because I have yet to read something that deals with children, in the way that children think of themselves, in a work of literature intended for an adult audience. Does being reminded of being a child, and what it's like to think as a child, cause fear in an adult? Does it remind them in some way of their mortality, how fleeting life is? Time only seems to stretch to eternity when you're a child. Then you're an adult, and a year goes by like just another minute on your watch. Or perhaps adult audiences prefer not to read a serious novel starring a child because they already have their fill with dealing with their own children. Or perhaps it's just too hard to relate.

Anyway, the Boy and the White Fox is one of the few stories I've written that I would say is largely autobiographical. With the magic fox and everything.

I have to stop here for now !

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Joel Hentges: Man, Myth, God of Design

It looks like Joel Hentges went ahead and gave the blog a sexy design! Thanks, Joel! I'll add in the flame gifs and midi files later.

Looking Back: 2006

The Seven Lucky Gods of London, Ontario

The Seven Lucky Gods of London, Ontario was a sequel of sorts to 12 November 1993, detailing a party the November protagonists took part in thirteen years later. With this story I wanted to attempt a straight narrative that jumped between the viewpoints of seven different people, as the most people I tended to write at a time was around three. This later gave me the confidence to tackle numerous characters simultaneously in works such as Hana.

Everything Shakes

This short was written for a school project that John Wilkins was saddled with. He had to put together a piece comprised of text and art and settled on a zine. This short is where the idea for Scorlax in Hana came from. Scorlak/Scorlax also appeared in a short story that was never published online.

Still in Movement

Still in Movement is more of a novella than a short story, exceeding twenty pages in length and broken up into chapters. The earliest germ of the Nerd Wave movement can be found in this short, as it was my first attempt to introduce nerdy aspects such as characters playing Street Fighter in an arcade, and a vain attempt to give such nerdy aspects literary merit. More interesting than the story is the title, which was taken from a ghost story novella written in collaboration with Bobby Myers. Both Bobby and I constantly reference this ghost story in our personal writings. I'm still in love with the ideas and characters in that collaboration, and always think about rewriting it. Perhaps Bobby would be interested.

A Brief Case of Theft

A Brief Case of Theft was the first chapter in a novella called Memento Mori that was fully written but never published online in its entirety. Starting with this I really wanted to force myself to do longer works, to help better my narrative abilities and to help remove length as a restrictive element in my work. The problem with this novella was that it was one idea stretched out over sixty pages, with the second half copying largely from the first.

Melodrama/A Play

This, the second chapter of Memento Mori, was my first attempt at writing something resembling a play, and it is the first thing I've written about so far that I'm still proud of. It was inspired -- well, of course! -- by the fact that I was reading a whole lotta plays at the time I wrote it, particularly experimental ones, and was also inspired by the subject matter and experimentation of Hideaki Anno works such as the more desperate parts of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Kare Kano. This was also my first collaboration with Mel Stringer. Whenever I put together a short story collection in physical form, there is no doubt in my mind that this story is going in it.

Aimless Wandering in the Fields of Nowhere

And here is the third chapter of that novella, the last chapter to be published online. The best thing about it is the Winston Chmielinski painting. The chapter after this was essentially a reiteration of everything that had already been written about, and the novella went downhill from there.

The Strangest Result

This story is the second, or third, or maybe fourth in a series of collaborations with Joel Hentges, in which I write out his dreams in my personal styles. It is an ongoing series of collaborations that will most likely never end as long as we know each other, or at least as long as Joel has the most interesting, intense and terrifying dreams. This whole unique website created for the story, featuring gorgeous and elegant illustrations and their original sketches, was put together by Joel for my birthday. It is still one of the most well-presented projects on the site.

Some Awkward Stranger

I'm not sure how well it actually comes across in the story, but Some Awkward Stranger was inspired and influenced by bullying -- bullying that is present in every stage of one's life. The title is from a misheard lyric in a Lambchop song. It was my first collaboration with Alice Zheng and Alison Berry. Alison Berry went on to illustrate Volume 1 of Hana.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Looking Back: 2005

Continuing the demystification of, here are some comments and notes on stories I published online in 2005.

Imaginary Girl

Imaginary Girl was a character study about a mute and anaemic girl named Anna. I had the idea to only write about Anna for an entire year, but quickly failed to follow through on this concept due to the limitations of the character and the limitations of my abilities at the time. There were three or four stories -- with their own self-contained absurdist plots -- written after this study.

Saccharine: A Sugar Tale

Saccharine was one of those stories. I wrote it for Marisa Williams and attempted to give it an endearing, childlike quality that was nowhere to be found in anything I had written previously. If not for Marisa, there probably would never have been Hana. This story was also my first collaboration with Ramon Sierra, also known as Cocor. While I wrote Saccharine for Marisa to make up for all the bitter and melancholic stories she had read by me, I would later write Respect the Dead and the Battler for Cocor to make up for all the endearing and sentimental stories he illustrated.


Nightingale was inspired by the writings of Zachary Scott Piper -- Bill for short -- and was written to be completely different from anything else I had done previously. Looking back at it now, I can see that it shares many traits with some earlier vignettes. I essentially rewrote this story once I saw Cocor's illustration for it, hoping to at least somewhat match the quality and atmosphere of his art.

Amy Kadmon

A character study and the last appearance in my writings of the titular character. This study was originally the opening to a large fantasy work intended to be a type of picture book produced with Mike Webb. Mike Webb did some drawings for it but soon gave up. At the point were Amy falls asleep in this study, she just as quickly wakes to her entire town flooded, and from there goes on an adventure to another world. I believe I stopped writing at the point where she meets up with a ghost who explains her situation to her.

Judy Bloom

(Comment from Gabrielle Rose's art blog.)

I wrote this story while reading a lot of Nabokov and other decadent writers (Huysmans, Ovid), and had a lot of fun writing it, but I know better than to try something like it again. The story, [as Gabrielle Rose says], is full of floral vocabularly -- with maybe a third of the words being made up -- and that's about all it is. With this story I wanted to force myself to become a better writer and then went off the deep end. Then I went even further with the story I wrote afterwards, but I won't even talk about that. Less is more, indeed.

The story I wrote after this was 12 November 1993.


It's fun to think about all the original intentions for August. It was originally going to be a novella. Then it was going to be the focus of an album of songs by a short-lived band I was part of called The Stories, which consisted of John Wilkins, Dean Cherry, and then myself off in a corner. I think the most effort went into that: I was there for practice sessions, went out to make field recordings with Dean, and fed what little ideas I had about music into it. In the end the story was left as a story, and what was supposed to be the first chapter was broken into three parts and became a short. The depiction of an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister was apparently the most distateful thing I had written at the time, and made it difficult to find an illustrator willing to take on the story.

12 November 1993

A story I regret posting online more than I regret writing. This was the deep end I dove into after completing Judy Bloom, and the end result is perhaps the most unreadable thing I have ever written. It is a vignette attempting to be a story, and the abuse of a thesaurus, endless quotations, direct references to my childhood, and obscure ideas regarding poetry all make it something that, most likely, could only ever be enjoyed by myself. This was my final collaboration with Cassandra Marchman.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Looking Back: 2004

This will be the first in a series of journal entries made regarding the last five years of (an unfortunate name for a website devoted to artistic collaborations,I know -- it is, in fact, a domain created at a time when I strutted around with an ego as a running joke). Each entry will include a few short comments and notes on all of the stories (and episodes and chapters) that appeared in its year. For the most part this is probably for my own benefit, especially considering I would rather people not bother reading a good majority of the stories I wrote in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Still, look at all the pictures! They definitely hold up. Well, let's get to it.

365 Days

This, the first story to appear on the site, was written for the express purpose of having it be the first story on the site. I intended it to be a summation of the themes and ideas and characters I had obsessed over since deciding to focus completely on writing: the themes of innocence, innocence lost and innocence snatched away; characters such as Amy Kadmon, Isaac King, Kelly Chrysanthemum and Sebastian Cyanide. And, of course, outright absurdism. Things happen for no reason other than that they happen -- if you're unable to make sense of something, then it probably makes no sense at all. The artist for this was Mike Webb, part of a Group of Four, a small collective consisting of him (the artist), myself (the writer), Cassandra Dygert (the photographer) and Joel Hentges (the designer). Oh, I should also point out, in case anyone is unfamiliar with him, that Joel Hentges was the gentleman who designed the site (in addition to illustrating several stories and designing the Hana book).

Lessons in Math

Lessons in Math was originally titled Bonaparte. It was written for Mike Webb, who had asked me to write a short story for him that could be made into an animated short -- this is the main reason why the story has no dialogue except for the last line. Mike never made the short, though he did put a good amount of effort into pre-production illustrations. The story was influenced by the style of Moby Dick, which I was reading at the time, and inspired by a wooden doll of a pregnant woman that a friend had on his bookshelf. I tried to buy the doll off him but he refused -- it was actually his mother's -- so I wrote this story as a form of consolation. Bonaparte's name was changed to Amy when I submitted the story to zines.


Marbles was improvised online in an hour or two with Bobby Myers -- he wrote one paragraph, passed it to me and then I wrote the next, and so on. I've known Bobby for many, many years, and it was when he started up writing that I took it up, both because I didn't want to be left out and because I was struggling to find the right venue for my absurdist ideas. The original of this story has actually been deleted, I believe -- the version up now is an optimistic take on things. I had written the original with Bobby when I was diagnosed with mild depression, and then updated it when I recovered.

Gentle Hearts

In this year especially I made a conscious effort to experiment with narrative -- fragmenting and dividing stories, turning one story into another. Gentle Hearts is essentially a short story and a vignette combined. This was turned into a student film in the United States, though I never got to see it; I have the screenplay, written by one of the students, on my harddrive, and I will say that it's better than the original story. It was an honour to see someone care enough about my words to adapt them into their own.


theft was written as part of a challenge between myself and Bobby Myers: we were to each write a ten-page (I think it was ten!) story in a day -- or perhaps it was two days -- and present the finished products to each other. No thought or effort was put into this -- it was stream-of-consciousness in the truest sense. But I would not have put it on the site if I did not like it at the time.


I think this story was written for Mike Webb. I don't actually have much to say about it, though I do remember that it was the most liked story I had written that year. It was definitely different from everything else, being much more grounded in reality.


This story was most likely written for the sake of writing -- the only thing new I tried with it was writing an elderly person. The photograph, which was taken by the Official Site Photographer at the time, is of the actual park that was used as the setting for the story.