Saturday, February 16, 2019

Margaret Ferguson

Here's Margaret Furguson (later Margaret Leask), my maternal great-grandmother, circa 1882. The legend at the bottom names the photographer and location (Ontario). Dig that crazy...end table? Whatever it is she's leaning on, I want one. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Alice Etsell and Mrs Euart

I'm scanning a bunch of Mom's old photos, and this one stood out. According to the back, this is Alice Etsell (a relative on my mother's side) and the mysterious Mrs. Euart. This may have been taken, based on the rough chronology of the album, anytime between the 19-teens and the 1940s. I presume it was shot in Manitoba. I think the cross form in the middle of the photo must be an artifact of the photographic process (judging by the way the horizontal bar overlaps the windows), but I haven't corrected it because it adds some strange, arcane interest. I wonder where this was taken, and what sort of building stands behind the two women. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

My Little Valentine

Back in the summer of 2003, I brought Sylvia to Leduc to meet my parents for the first time. They were pretty pleased with her. Nearly 16 (!) years later, I'm still pretty darn pleased, if not astounded by my good fortune. Happy Valentine's Day, Sylvia! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wrath of the Titanpointe

If, like me, you're curious about the goings-on at the creepy, windowless 33 Thomas Street, enjoy (?) Project X, a10-minute documentary by Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke. Don't worry, you're already on an enemies list of one sort or another. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I Do Declare


The Criterion Collection kindly sent me a new Eraserhead disc to replace their flawed first printing of David Lynch's bizarre film. I find it amusing that Criterion felt it necessary to label the package as "nonporno," though I'm sure more than a few censor-minded folk would love to burn Lynch's creepy ouvre. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Two Toilets and a Little Lady

Some months back, I ordered two 3D-printed shapeshifters disguised as toilets and a 28mm nurse miniature. I modified one shapeshiting (typo, but I'm not fixing it!) toilet, carving off its teeth and tongue to create a normal (if plugged) commode. I painted the other toilet with grotesque poo-boscis extended and diarrhea stains overflowing the bowl. In between this noxious duo stands Nurse Cherry Bubbles, Paladin of O.R.D.E.R., a character based on Susan Shyluk.

One might ask why I went to such lengths. It's because Jeff Shyluk has been working on a Toilet Chase board game for a while, so I thought these trinkets could serve as rough prototypes for game pieces. I mailed him the pieces a few weeks ago, and he sent me this photo at my request, since I forgot to capture them myself. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Granddad and some Ladies

Here's my paternal grandfather with the Kellington sisters (his cousins?) and, we think, their mother, listed only as Mrs. Tom Ralahan. Which doesn't seem to line up at first glance, but I'm tired and I could be missing something...

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Broken Hovercraft

One more for the graveyard of childhood, a Matchbox hovercraft from the 1970s, probably purchased in Thompson, Manitoba. Kind of amazing the stickers are still in place. I don't remember what might have run along the top; you can still see the holes where some kind of plastic detail was once anchored. 

Friday, February 08, 2019

Alexander "Sandy" Leask, 1827-1895

Here is a photo of Alexander "Sandy" Leask, my maternal Great Great Grandfather. Born in Scotland in 1827, he came to Canada with seven brothers and two sisters in 1841. I am guessing Sandy was in his early 30s when this photo was taken, which would date this image sometime in the early 1860s. He looks a bit Lincoln-esque. 

Thursday, February 07, 2019

1896: The Thomas Etsell Family

This is among the oldest photos I've ever scanned. That's my maternal grandfather, Thomas Earl Etsell, on the knee of his namesake father, Thomas Etsell. Standing are Henry and Mary Ellen Etsell; the girls and women in the front row are Pearl, Clara, and Alice (Kellington) Etsell - the elder Thomas' wife? Hopefully Mom will weigh in. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Colour Me Blood Red Howitzer


Tonight I'm throwing away some old broken toys, including this die-cast howitzer that I inexplicably painted red with old model paint sometime in my mid-teens. 

I'm torn my my relatively recent and ongoing urge to toss aside the detritus of my life. On the one hand, it's nice to get rid of things that simply take up space without offering any value. On the other hand, it feels like I'm finally acknowledging my mortality. Maybe it's silly to get so riled up over old toys, but at some point this thing (and others like it) brought me joy, and it feels like betraying the me that was to let it go. 

But go it must. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Happy Chinese New Year

I must say, these guys were very impressive, especially when they reared back to tower over the crowd. Unfortunately I didn't capture a photo of that. 

Monday, February 04, 2019

Will Pete Hate Nightflyers as much as he Hates Event Horizon?

My friend Pete hates Event Horizon, the 1997 SF/horror hybrid that deeply offended his artistic sensibilities. Ask Pete about his experience with Event Horizon, and he will supply you with a passionate string of invective, which the film richly deserves.

I'm only two episodes in, but Nightflyers, SyFy's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's titular novella, reminds me of nothing so much as Event Horizon writ large, spread over ten hours. Both are set on dimly lit spaceships encountering doom  on their maiden voyage; both are haunted in some way; and there is gore and terror and bickering among the crew.

It's almost certainly unfair to judge Nightflyers after only two episodes, but so far the comparisons are hard to avoid. I wonder how Pete will react.

(Nightflyers was also adapted to film in 1987, but I haven't seen that version of the story.) 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Have Your Mind Blown by Jelle's Marble Runs


Jelle's Marble Runs is a a YouTube channel featuring amazing marble runs with colour commentary. His "MarbleLympics" series is particularly charming. I'm astounded by the amount of time and energy Jelle has devoted to these runs, up to and including throngs of marble fans in the grandstands.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Blog Housekeeping 2019

As you can see if you're reading this between today and the next time I change the blog theme, The Earliad looks a little different. Aside from refreshing the theme, I've also started a bit of cleanup, removing some dead blog links and updating a few of my sidebars to include fresher content. Sometimes I berate myself for posting a lot of fluff, but I think some small percentage of it is entertaining or educational in some way. One hopes!

Enjoy. 

Friday, February 01, 2019

Butchered by Bottles

It was the summer of 1992. I was driving a parts truck, delivering auto parts for Norwest Automotive, my first job after graduating from the University of Alberta. Upon returning to the store after dropping off some parts to customers, one of the partsmen warned me to be careful around the big cardboard box we used to store empty soda bottles and cans.

He was a burly fellow with curly black hair, with a laconic manner. Almost lazily, he gestured toward the box of bottles.

"Hey Earl, watch out," he said, and as he spoke he leaned into the box, pointing with an extended middle finger. "There's a broken bottle in here and you don't want to EARRGGHHHH!"

I watched, goggle-eyed, as the partsman impaled his index finger on the sharp tip of a shattered bottleneck. He jerked his hand back and started flailing, spattering blood all over the box of bottles, his own clothing, the walls, and the clipped-out SUNshine Girls that adorned them.

At that moment, Ron, the manager, rounded the corner.

"What the hell is happening?" he cried. "It looks like Freddy's final nightmare in here."

I don't remember if I managed to control my laughter or not. I hope so, but...