Places

Here we are in this post Google Reader world wondering whether our RSS feed url was transferred over to any of the replacement services (I’ve been using feedly.com myself but the user interface is losing me) or if it is being published to an audience of none. Many weblogs have long since shuttered but I’m still fond of the concept of a weblog and like to add to it occasionally if only to keep a continuous record of my long-time transition from a cynical teenaged weblogger to a cynical adult weblogger to a happily married adult with some web space that he’s been paying for almost fourteen years straight now.

The road of life had many curves over the last two years but the most recent months have, relatively speaking, stabilized. We’re in a ground-floor flat in London’s north west end. I am one Jubilee Line ride away from my job in the suit-ish Canary Wharf in which I do not belong and nor does an ad agency, which explains why they’re moving next year. There, I build websites for cars I have no chance of affording.

Most of our free time in London is spent at the movies thanks to a pair of unlimited cards that get us into any Cineworld film screening at any time anywhere for a monthly fee that is basically equivalent to one and a half regular entry tickets. It is the one good deal to be found in this expensive city and Linda and I are making the most of it even if it means watching a lot of awful movies. And let me tell you, this year has been stocked full with awful.

The weird result of this constant film watching is that we’ve stayed in touch with, via cinematic tourism, our pre-UK homes. This summer it’s as though every other film we’ve seen has either been filmed in Toronto (or Canada in general, as in “Man of Steel” or “Wolverine”) or strongly featured Mexico, if for often stereotypical drug-dealer reasons. I’m not sure what it says about current American xenophobic mindsets but a lot of the Mexican characters in these films have been villains. Even in something as light as “Despicable Me 2” do we see a Mexican antagonist. It’s tiring. “Elysium”, however, was unique in that it scored the double: it was filmed in both Mexico and Canada, despite pretending to be neither, and the Mexicans were the good guys. It’s too bad that the rest of the film was a disappointment.

A slight tinge of nostalgia colours these moments of cinematic tourism but the sentimentality fades when we leave the cinema or, more often, when we see a film set in the city we currently call home. There are many of those too. We watched Danny Boyle’s “Trance” in a theatre located literally across the street from the film’s major plot point. We watched Tim and Mary fall in love in “About Time” on the Bakerloo Line, a short hop on the 16 or 189 bus down from where we were living. We watched some stupid shit happen in Furious 6.

Seeing London on film now highlights how little home relates to something on screen. It’s all staged. They are places as real as any Alaskan or Hong Kong location filmed in Toronto’s Pinewood Studios. Landmarks might be recognizable but it’s the personal experiences that differ. Toronto was once home, but now it’s the place where I met and fell in love with Linda. Mexico was home for a little while, but now it’s where we got married. London is where we live now, and we have a home here, but the city isn’t it. Home is wherever she is — my love — and that is placeless. No film can reflect that.

I haven’t written much here lately but this is as good a time and place as any to self-promote some other online contributions over these last months.

Pocket Tactics: after a long hiatus during the whole moving to another continent thing, I’ve started writing there again with a couple of reviews of nice indie mobile games that I really loved: HACK-868 and Rymdkapsel. I have realized I’m a notoriously slow writer. I’m holding out hope that it is attributable to lack of recent practise, but I’m not so sure of it.

nullscapes: I’ve been contributing to my Tumblr again at nullscapes.tumblr.com which has grown into a far more focused affair than the random “stuff I like” that it used to be. At the very least this focus has got me noticed by Tumblr editors and now my face is there on Tumblr’s “Spotlight” under the dreaded “curators” category, whatever that means. If anything my Tumblr follows the above fascination with place and lack there of.

delicious: I started posting to delicious again, for some unknown reason. It just hit its 10 year anniversary (I joined up a little over a month later) which officially makes me feel ancient by internet standards, but with its new redesign it is still the best site for what it is. Except for maybe pinboard.in which I’m too cheap to pay for now.

music: I’m still posting weekly or semi-weekly favourite tunes to This Is My Jam and frequently liking all sorts of stuff on SoundCloud. So far this year one of my favourite albums and tracks comes from, by way of Hyperdub, Hamilton Ontario.

work: Hey, I’m still available for freelance web work if needed. Maybe I’ll have an updated (and public) portfolio before 2015. Just in time for my first completed game some time before 2025. OK, maybe I’m still a little cynical.

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