Author Archives: ChrisNolan.ca

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I am Chris Nolan.ca

Birth of My Daughter

“I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile.”

In 2005 artist Ana Álvarez-Errecalde responded to a recurring dream she was having and decided to take self portraits of herself, and her newborn daughter.  The resulting images she has titled “Birth of My Daughter (or El Nacimiento de Mi Hija)

Ana Alvarez-Errecalde on the birth of her daughter says: "I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile"

Ana Alvarez-Errecalde on the birth of her daughter says: “I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile”

I am moved to share her photos because I feel birth is a monumentally inexplicable alteration of reality and in our culture it is too rarely revealed as such.  If you are having a child, please explore your options of how your family can truly experience the beauty of birth.

If you are curious about the origin of the images, please watch the short documentary “Umbilical Self-portrait” by MiNuShu.

To see some of Ava Álvarez-Errecalde current work, where she has created bodysuits  representing nude forms (called the More Store), review this article at Empty Kingdom and this piece at Elephant Journal.

Visitors to the "More Store" try on different body images.

Visitors to the “More Store” try on different body images.

Thanks to Brooke @ Violicious for bring my attention to Bauhauswife’s post sharing her thoughts on the work.

ana álvarez-errecalde's Simbiosis

ana álvarez-errecalde’s Simbiosis

Story Mobs on The National

In this day and age of internet domination in our lives, there is still certain sense of accomplishment for ‘being on TV’.  Last night, the Story Mobs Project we’ve been participating in was featured on CBC’s The National Only In Canada” segment.

I’ve screen captured the segment, which you can watch below.  I’m the ‘giant’ on stilts, my son is the boy on stilts, and my daughter is one of the lovely small ‘Kate’ characters.

I was also included in a photo story by NOW Magazine, and the first picture I found of the event was on Sago Sago‘s instagram feed.  More photos of the day can be found at Stephanie Mclellan‘s facebook page.

Busy few weekends

green eggs and ham storymobThe next few weekends have a lot of action going on.  Here are some of the things we’re doing, what is keeping you busy?

September 7 we’ll be meeting at the yet to be revealed location (Update! Cabbagetown Festival Another update — CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER) for our Green Eggs & Ham Storymob!  In the morning Jen will be helping out at the Ladies Learning Code Introduction to Drupal.

Toronto School of Circus Arts LogoSeptember 14 the kids and I will be returning to the Toronto School of Circus Arts for another exciting session of all things circus.

September 15 is the Ice Ride.  We’ll be participating in Toronto’s ride to help save the arctic.

September 21-22 is the Toronto Mini Maker Faire, and the Sunday has recently been announced as Family Day at the Faire, where families can go as a group and enjoy some activities as well as all the awesome makers and their creations (such as the ‘Mothra’ skis).

Toronto Mini Maker Faire banner

Toronto Mini Maker Faire banner

North York Central Homeschool Swim Lessons

I’m organizing swim lessons for homeschoolers.  The pool is Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre, the City’s large 50m pool in Willowdale at 5100 Yonge behind the North York Civic Centre, and next to North York Central Library at the North York Center Subway stop on the Yonge line.

Friday mornings starting Sept 27 2013, at 10:30 for a half hour lesson, and then I’ve arranged a half hour of leisure time immediately after from 11 to 11:30 so the kids can stay in the pool, and the adults and young siblings can join in too.  During the lessons the adults can observe from the upper level open gallery.  For the final lesson, they will probably open up the water slide for the kids to use too, but normally it won’t be available for use.

Pricing is the City’s standard lesson fee, which is $68 for a nine week session (about $7.50 a class) (might be more expensive if you aren’t a Toronto resident).  For the extra half hour, we pay a ‘Guard Fee’ which is $15/week for the group.

They are willing to accommodate a variety of ages and a variety of levels, with a maximum of 15 kids (which would be 3 groups of 5 kids each).  If you have taken the city’s lessons before, they have their system of “Ultra Levels” in their “Learn to Swim” program, so please let me know which level your child(ren) is in and the pool will try to spread them out so those in similar levels will be in a group, if we have multiple groups.  If there is too large of a gap between levels it might not work out (e.g. four kids at levels 3-5 and one at level 9, or 3 at levels 1-2 and one at level 5).  Caveat: Since it’s during the day, the instructor won’t have the extra “Deck Attendants” you might be familiar with from evening or weekend lessons.

The upstairs space is fine for eating lunch in, and the library is right next door so you can make a day of it if you are traveling for the lessons too.

We’d like to have numbers finalized by end of next week, September 13.  Contact me directly if you are interested or have more questions.

ChrisNolan.ca

August 27, 2013

Whenever I hear people talking about changing roads around to make this better for cyclists I like to ask them if they have heard of “Shared Space” in urban design?  There are places in Europe who design their spaces where pedestrians, cars, and bikes all share the space.  No lanes, no signs, just respect for one another.  The Risk Compensation (see some work by Ian Walker studying how cars treat him when in different gear on his bike) that takes place when you impose further rules and restrictions is argued to not actually improve safety over all.  Something to consider, if you haven’t already, as a cyclist.

Be Kind to One Another.

Go Topless Day

I’ve just learned of International GoTopless Day , promoting Topfreedom around the world, and am intrigued.  Not, as my wife thinks, because “it’s a chance to see boobies”, but because it’s a struggle for freedom over one’s body.  I know first hand what it is like to be told the choices I make about my body are not tolerated, or permitted by authorities.  I support these people in their struggles around the world.  Their take on things is one of equality: “As long as men are allowed to be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right. Or else, men should have to wear something to hide their chests”.

gotopless toronto announcementIn Toronto (for its sixth year), where it isn’t against the law, but there is still stigma and discomfort doing so, the International GoTopless Day will be at Ashbridge’s Bay Park (Corner of Hubbard Blvd and Hammersmith Ave so further to the east past Kew Gardens (map)) from noon (or maybe 11am as some places claim) to 4pm on Sunday August 25, 2013.   The GoTopless Coordinator can be contacted at 416-691-6911 before noon on Sunday August 25th for more information?

Some people who have made press over this in the past are Moira Johnston, advocate and activist for a woman’s right to go topless, Holly Van Voast who has an upcoming film call Topless Shock Syndrome, and Phoenix Feeley who went to jail and went on a hunger strike to fight for her rights.  An interview with Moira can be seen in Episode #10 of Street Epics, and on BeastTV.

A facebook event for International Go-Topless Day is available, a map of many many events around the globe is on the organizers site..

An uncomfortable aspect of these events, for me, is that it is sponsored by Raelians.

Here is a funny cartoon by Scott Metzger

Scott Metzger obscene cartoon

Scott Metzger obscene cartoon

A question to you all: do your young daughters go topless, or not, and if so why or why not?

Jillian Jiggs Storymob

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Yesterday we participated in a StoryMob.  What’s that you ask?orangePirate_sm-150x150

“StoryMobs are where great kids’ books meet flash mobs with a dash of Mardi Gras thrown in.  A story mob is inspired by an exceptional children’s book and allows for participation in a variety of ways. These may include costumes & props, copies of the book, simple choreography, musical instruments and vocal parts.”

I learned of it through our love of Fancy Pants Kids, whose Mompreneur Gretel Meyer Odell is one of the organizers of the StoryMobs in Toronto.  We were eager to participate and lucky the timing worked out for us so we could enjoy this family friendly theatre-esque event in Toronto.

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Yesterday‘s book was Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman, which was a great choice due to all the dressing up that the characters in the book do, along with the refrain: “Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs, it looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!”.

I really wish I could have gotten video of the experience itself, but when you’re in the middle of it, as a reader (of two lines I was :-D) and costume changer of the kids, I wasn’t able too.  Hopefully down the road a video will be released of it from some of the many other participants so you can see what it is like in true flash mob style.  The passers-by who were walking the closed down Queen St for the Beaches Jazz Festival seemed to enjoy the street theatre they happened upon.

Thanks to children’s book store Ella Minnow for being a back-drop and anchor for the event.

The Children's Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it "LMNO".

The Children’s Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it “LMNO”.

Their window display for the Storymob.

Their window display for the Storymob.

If you’re keen to try this out yourself, they will be organizing two more this summer here in Toronto.   And yeah, why not start your own local one where ever you might be?

Update: More photos on the ‘official flickr‘, and Stephanie Mclellan’s  blog (you have to go fullscreen to see them all) and facebook (if you can handle the gif formated images).

LifeHack: How to Replace your Toronto Public Library Card

tpl-logoAs you may know, we use the library A LOT (over 500 checkouts so far this year (track it yourself with athenaeum)).  Somehow or other, the barcode on the back of my library card is wearing out (darn you Friction!), making it more and more difficult to get it to scan at the self-checkout stations.  The kids helped me (they are short) find the keyboard locked under the shelf checkout station, and we learned how to unlock it, pull it out and type in the library card # to get by.  This lasted a while, until I was almost ready to go to the circulation desk to claim a new card, thus suffer the personal horror of being assigned a new number, and more terribly, a new location on the holds shelf — when I had an epiphany.

It is just a barcode.  I know how to make barcodes.  Why don’t I replace the barcode on my library card?  I could just paste it over top the worn out one and I’d be off to the races.  But wait, why stop there?  I carry around three library cards (mine, my wife’s and my son’s), taking up over 40% of the contents of my pocket on any given day, let’s solve that problem too.  I proceeded to print up a sheet with all three library card #’s barcodes so now I just have a tiny slip of paper and presto problem solved, life hacked.  For those who carry a smart phone, it is even simpler as you just can keep an image file on your phone and display that to the barcode scanner and be on your way.

Only times you need your card now are when you need to present official identification to government officials.

Don’t get carried away with this though.  You wouldn’t want to ‘cheat‘ any other systems by consolidating your barcodes, or heaven forbid alter something’s code.

I wonder if there is a keen enough library user who wants their library card for life that will get a working tattoo barcode of their library card?

sample library card numberWant to do it too?  Super easy way is to just follow this link here to Barcodes Inc’s Generator. and look to your browser’s address bar and change the number where it says code= to your library card number — make sure you leave all the other things in place.  I’ll state the obvious, the barcode seen in that link is not a valid barcode, it isn’t your library card #, you must type your own personal number in there (and know that there is a small chance someone somewhere will have a record of your number in a log file).  If you’re going to do it yourself using the form (click advanced options) or have other tools to make a barcode I tested and found that the “numeric only” codes are recognized by the library’s scanners.  Thus pick “Interleaved 2 of 5” or “Code 128-C” to get you started.  Once you have your image file of your barcode, do what you want with it in terms of laying it out to be printed, or encoding it to be tattooed, or sending it to your smart phone.  Good luck, and have fun!barcode-tattoo-10Note this should in no way be limited to the Toronto Public Library system.  Anywhere that has a self-checkout that uses a barcode can be hacked in this way.

On the trail of a provocative image — “Mimesis in the Louvre”

I came across the above image posted at Babes at the Museum, and they were requesting to identify the people in the photo as of February 2012.  I decided to go on a bit of a hunt.

My conclusion is that the photo is the work of Charlotte Duberry, Nessa Norich, Jessica Hinds,  and Marina Lazzarotto and is an outtake shot during the rehearsal of commissioned performances at the Louvre, in front of Regnault’s The Three Graces (“Les Trois Grâces”)  on a Tuesday sometime in 2010.  An applicable title is “Mimesis in the Louvre”.Three Graces

Now to document some of my search for those curious.

TinEyeLogo_WordMarkI started out using TinEye, as if it was an ‘official’ photo it was  good chance it would be registered over there (and I was curious if it would trigger on the painting in the background).  It returned 12 images, best guess being this post, but nothing official.   I found a post over at blended.fr that claimed the photo was part of lingerie company La fille d’O‘s advertising but couldn’t find anything corroborating that.  I found a blog post by Jim Harris over at Huffington Post about Facebook’s censorship of the image (what is art, vs what is porn? and many nice things said about the image), but again, no source information.

Next up was using Google Image Search.  This led me to the trove that is tumblr.  Its best guess was a post by Mr. Harris Tweed which he named “The Four Graces”, but then I was determined to try to find the first occurrence of the picture online.  Via this line of inquiry I found a nice article here asking where the line between classical beauty is and just plain sexy.  Using the date searches, leading back to the beginning of May 2011, I narrowed it down to this post at contraindicaciones which was the first I found listing some names of the participants: “Nessa Norich, Jessica Hinds, Charlotte Duberry, Marina Lazzarotto, Sofia Senna” (also this post at Girls Who Like Porno).   The earliest dated post I found was Feb 18, 2011 at murdermetonymy‘s tumblr, but again no source.  Having some names in hand, and the location known due to the background image (though many attributed it to Rubens or Rapheal instead of Regnault, and one even named it as the Graces from Botticelli’s Primavera) I tried to confirm things.

9212562_origI found a website for Nessa Norich which listed in her ‘Devised Works’ section a project called “The Three Graces”.  There are images of a dance performed by three women in front of the painting.  It is still difficult to confirm the faces of the participants though.  Over on Marina Benitez Lazzarotto’s resume she too lists a theatre performance at the Louvre, so this connected four of the names I found from the other sites to the image’s location.

Finally I emailed my suspicions and received confirmation from Ms Benitez Lazzarotto that it was in fact a photo taken on her camera after hours while they were rehearsing for their respective shows.

Four women showing their bums in front of Regnault's Three Graces painting at the Louvre

“The girls in the photo from left to right are:  Charlotte Dubery, Nessa Norich, Jessica Hinds and me.  The picture was taken with my camera which i put on a timer.  It was taken on a tuesday when the museum was closed and the three girls and i were rehearsing for Les Nocturnes du Louvre.” – Marina

So, there is a brief history of this meme.

And keeping it all current, if you like the talent Marina showed in creating this image, perhaps you’ll want to help her out making a movie?  Crowdsource her over at IndieGoGo for her film project FLASH.