Tall, Dark, and Mysterious


Potteryblog, redux: the Hollywood North edition

File under: 1000 Words, I Made It Out Of Clay, Talking To Strangers. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 9:10 pm.

So, we’ve established that no one’s interested in my pottery. Tough crowd, but I’ve been spending nearly all of my time in the studio lately, so that’s all I’ve got. How about a story about my pottery and Al Pacino, then?

Gallery Show this week. Here’s my stuff. Those of my readers who follow the amateur pottery scene will note that the bulk of my work does not conform to the preferences of the consumer, who will pay good money for a turd dipped in blue glaze after rejecting every other colour of bowl, mug, vase, or plate, regardless of how skillfully made and well priced. I’m not kidding; every single one of my pieces that sold in the past two days was blue. Someone bought the fifth piece I made, ever. It was crap, but it was blue. Don Davis, author of one of my pottery bibles, once remarked that potters tend to focus on form, while non-potters pay closer attention to the surface of a pot. This certainly holds true in my experience, and it’s a shame, because glazing is my weak suit, and it shows. Throwing is my strength and my passion, but only other potters seem to recognize that.

But, Al Pacino. Sales were slow at the gallery yesterday morning, and the other studio member who was manning the tables with me decided to duck out for a few minutes to promote our show. A few minutes turned into half and hour, and when K returned, she explained that she had had trouble getting across campus, what with the movie being filmed around the science building (*), and what with every student and their dog trying to get a piece of the star, Al Pacino, who was six feet from her, and her without her camera!

I had my camera. K dispatched me to the scene, and I had no trouble finding it. Or, as it turns out, walking into it: I soon found myself six feet from Al Pacino while a handful of security guards idly looked on, but I convinced myself that it wasn’t actually him, because wouldn’t the security guards have held me back? As I turned a corner, a stagehand called out to me, “Hey! Get back! Only extras are allowed in here!”

“I’m an extra,” I lied, because, why not? I had nothing better to do yesterday than be in a movie.

The stagehand didn’t buy it. “No, you’re not,” he proclaimed with such conviction that I couldn’t help but feel hurt. What gave it away? I surveyed the actual extras across from me as I tried to assess what separated me so obviously from them. Was it my glasses? My aspherical breasts? My underwear-covering jeans?

The stagehand was forthcoming: “Our extras are not covered in dirt,” he sneered.

“Clay,” I corrected, self-consciously fingering the dried bits of slip in my hair. Nevertheless: point well taken.

I apologized for walking onto the scene, and explained that the security guards on the set had seen me and hadn’t tried to stop me, so I had assumed that the filming was taking place elsewhere. The stagehand sighed heavily. “Those are not security guards,” he explained slowly, “Those are actors playing security guards.”

I excused myself from the set. Off to the side, two female students were chatting up another assistant. The topic of conversation was something along the lines of Al Pacino is here? Like, right here? Can we see him? Can we get his autograph? I injected myself into the discussion long enough to ask what the movie was called, because on the off-chance that its editors suck, then they’ll leave in the scene that was filmed when I accidentally wandered onto the set. Look for the clay-covered girl, appearing soon in a theatre near you!

“It’s called 88 Minutes,” replied the assistant. “It’s about a guy who has 88 minutes to find three people .”

“What three people?” asked one of the girls.

And at this, the assistant gave a lopsided grin, and said, “If it were up to me”- here he pointed - “it would be you, you,” - eyes settling on me, and a huge wink - “and you.”

A few hours later, when I’d gotten myself to a computer, I looked for some more information about 88 minutes. Here’s a plot summary:

[88 Minutes is a] thriller about a college professor who, while moonlighting as a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI, receives a death threat telling him that he has only 88 minutes to live. In narrowing down possible suspects, he frantically seeks to communicate with a problem student, an ex-girlfriend, and a serial killer on death row. (**)

Which makes “and you” a contender for the worst pick-up line ever. Regardless, I have been really low on bloggable material lately, so I giggled and smiled back at the assistant, and handed him a promotional postcard for the gallery show. “You’ll have a lot longer than eighty-eight minutes to find us,” I said, and winked back at him.

I spent this morning in the studio attaching handles to mugs, and just after lunch I wandered up to our display to see how sales were going. “You sold some stuff,” the studio secretary informed me. “Some guy came in and asked for you specifically. He didn’t know your name, just told me what you looked like. It was weird. I told him where your stuff was.”

“Dude in his thirties or so, tanned, light brown hair?” I asked.

“Yeah,” replied the secretary.

Son of a gun. “Did he buy anything?” I asked, incredulous.

He did. He bought a mug.

It was blue.


(*) There have been many movies filmed on campus. The one that I remember best was this dreck, which is hands-down the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I watched it only because I had heard that part of it was filmed in the very classroom where I had taught a first-year calculus class. The movie opened with a scene featuring high school students in that classroom writing their SATs, an acronym that the narrator informed us stood for “the Suck-Ass Tests”, and if you still think that this looks to be quality cinema after reading that, then you are not welcome here anymore.

(**) Does anyone else find it amusing that the problem student is apparently just as likely a suspect as the serial killer?



File under: I Made It Out Of Clay, Meta-Meta. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 9:10 pm.

Those of my readers who desperately hang onto my every word, who begin to twitch when the rate of updates wanes, and who, lost when confronted by this utter absence of new and interesting content, cast their eyes rightward in the hopes of finding something, anything of mine that they can read - those strange, strange folks recently had their creepy devotion validated when they found a new link to photos of my pottery in the sidebar. The rest of you had to wait until today.

Everything in that gallery was made in the past three weeks, by the way - I recently renewed my membership in my beloved old studio, and have spent four to five days there each week ever since I signed the club contract and reclaimed my old cubby. I start my new job soon, and am sad that [above] won’t last much longer. There will be pictures of my older stuff up soon - my studio is holding a big show/sale soon, and I’ll want to get shots of the older pots before I part with them.


Kids these days.

File under: Sound And Fury, Meta-Meta, When We Were Young. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 10:28 am.

Dear consummate lazy-ass who found my blog through Google,

When I was your age, we had to do mathematics the old-fashioned way. We memorized our times tables, we graphed functions by applying transformations to a small set of familiar ones…heck, I even remember computing square roots by hand. And you? Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, you don’t even need to use your brain when you do math - today, you can do all of this crap with a fucking graphing calculator.

The least you can do is sit up while you do it.


There are advantages to planning things carefully

File under: 1000 Words, I Made It Out Of Clay. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 7:18 pm.

How am I spending my last few weeks of unemployment? By making a dinner set, complete with teacups:

…and saucers:

The astute reader will observe that there is no bijection between the set of teacups and the set of saucers. This is true, but more frustratingly, there isn’t even a morphism between the two sets: all but one of the saucers are too small for most of the teacups.


Ladies and gentlemen, we have employment.

File under: Meta-Meta, Know Thyself. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 3:32 pm.

I’ve been keeping most of you in the dark about this one: this development has actually been in the making for around two months, which I believe is longer than a season of The Apprentice takes to film. It’s also longer than it takes for the President of the United States of America to confirm a Supreme Court justice. I could have posted at length about each of the n interviews involved in this process, but that would have elicited comments of support, and I don’t think I could have handled that. Nothing like hundreds of folks becoming emotionally invested in my employment to increase the pressure on me to perform.

The short story is this: in a rather sorry job market, I managed to land a position 1) in education, 2) that provides me with an expense account, and 3) that doesn’t involve teaching precalculus to eighteen-year-olds who don’t know how to add fractions. Also: travel! And (some approximation of) job security! (Read: they can fire me at any time, as opposed to them automatically letting me go after less than a year, like all of my previous jobs.) It’s like Christmas came early this year, and Santa didn’t skip over the Jews’ homes like he usually does!

I anticipate, by the way, that this job will be a lot less stressful than last year’s. This is good news and bad news. Good news because I’ve grown accustomed to that feeling of not wanting to strangle anyone; bad news because we all know that great artists must suffer for their work, so expect to witness this blog’s rapid descent into sitcom-quality pap. Next up on Tall, Dark, and Mysterious: Moebius Stripper doesn’t want to miss the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see pop idol Trevor Hartthrobb in concert, so she sends her absent-minded identical twin sister to cover for her on an important business trip. Hilarity ensues!

Of course, morbid curiosity (and dedication to my readers) might lead me to accept a standing request to tutor the friend of my now ex-client. By his own account, this prospective student “isn’t as good at math” as his pal. What the hell could that possibly mean, I wonder? That when he goes into the kitchen to get a glass of water for me and another for himself, he’s not sure how many glasses of water he needs to bring back in all? I invite those of my readers with more experience and/or more creativity than I to speculate (and take bets) in the comments. I swear, every time I think I’ve hit rock bottom in terms of mathematical ineptitude, I remember that I’m teaching the work of the folks who discovered negative numbers.

More about the job later. Or not, depending on what that non-disclosure agreement says.


My city is cooler than your city

File under: Home And Native Land, I Read The News Today, Oh Boy. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 7:47 pm.

My fellow Vancouverites and I have been saying it all along, but the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit just caught on. We’re tops because we’ve got a good climate, decent public transit, accessible health care, and, and…

According to the report’s editor, cities in Canada, Australia and Western Europe topped the list, largely because they are not perceived as targets for terror attacks.

Right-o! We’ve got another few years before we have to worry about that kind of thing.

But, oh, check out this delicious little nugget of British passive-aggression from The Guardian:

The Pacific coastal settlement tops a survey of cities…

It’s clear from the article that Owen Bowcott recognizes that we’re not a small community or an underprivileged area, so that leaves definition 2b, I suppose. You folks might have outranked us by 46 spots, but who colonized who again? Mmm-hmm, cheerio.

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