Monday, April 28, 2014

On the eve of my 32nd birthday.

Several observations:

- Being a grownup means not being able to book your birthday off, because there are important things happening on your birthday.  Not birthday things, mind you.  Business things, like project quotes and contracts are to be arriving at your desk on your birthday.  It is entirely selfish for you to think it's about you, BUT WE CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SELF-CENTERED HARLOT FINE WE'LL FIND SOMEONE ELSE THEN WHO WILL PAY YOUR RENT WE OWN YOU DIRTBAG.  Why are you crying?

- Being a grownup means not being able to buy Damon Albarn's first ever solo album until you've satisfied your grownup duties. This may mean you won't have it for several days after its release.

- Being a grownup means that being drunk on a Monday and singing Tom Petty's "Learning to fly" in your apartment by yourself is less badass than you thought it would be when you were 15.

- Same goes for Blue Rodeo's "Rose Coloured Glasses."

I really don't want to go to work tomorrow, but I do want to remain gainfully employed.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dewey Readathon - End of Event Meme

  • Which hour was most daunting for you? My eyes started to really weld shut around 12ish.  I gave in and went to bed.
  • Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  Nothing in particular.
  • Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nothing in particular.
  • What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  Don't know, i wasn't as engaged in the activities as last time.
  • How many books did you read? 1.5
  • What were the names of the books you read? Wildwood and Diaries of a Young Artist.
  • Which book did you enjoy most? The books are really different from each other.  Didn't enjoy one more than the other.
  • Which did you enjoy least? See above.
  • If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  Was not a cheerleader.
  • How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  Pretty likely.  We discussed hosting a challenge next time.
  • Saturday, April 26, 2014

    Dewey Readathon - Mid-event Survey!

    Mid-Event Survey
    1. What are you reading right now?
    Still reading Wildwood, by Colin Meloy.  I think I'm a slow reader.  Took a break, though (JaneyCanuck insisted I read a bit of Gone Girl - totally worth it).  I might switch to "Diaries of a Young Artist" soon.  It's little.

    2. How many books have you read so far?

    Just over half of Wildwood.

    3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
    Perhaps finishing Wildwood?  Might set it aside for some Robert Block or P.G. Wodehouse short stories.

    4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

    I was up early to drive up to Guelph, but nothing other than that.

    5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

    I *am* the interruption.  I'm reading with two other friends.  I'm peppering today with dramatic readings of some of my favourites.  Here's a picture of me reading Fahrenheit 451 to them:

    Like a sir.
    6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
    How long a children's book can be and still be acceptable.  

    7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
    I thought the separate sign-ups for cheerleaders was a little strange?  What does the initial sign-up do if it doesn't include that?

    8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?


    9. Are you getting tired yet?

    A bit.

    10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

    Dewey Readathon - Intro Meme!

    Hour 1!

    1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

    I'm at my friend, Janey Canuck's, in Guelph, Ontario.

    2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

    Wildwood, by Colin Meloy.  I bought it just for today.

    3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

    Cupcakes!  Beautiful cupcakes!

    4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

    I'm tired!  I was up at  5:30 to get here on time.

    5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

    It would be nice if I could make it the full 24 hours.  Wish me luck!

    Sunday, April 20, 2014


    Headphones - meaning, little speakers you put either in or on your ears to hear music - have changed over the past few years.  They're starting to come in fun colours, in different sizes, all that fun stuff.

    Here's the thing: no one seems to give a shit about sound anymore.  I was in a bookstore (of all places), with my sister-in-law the other day, and they now have an electronics section.  In the bookstore*.  So, we had already had our first encounter with the "electronics associate"**, and were wandering around looking at other stuff, when I see the headphones display:

    Yeah, there's a fucking mirror.  The creepy associate comes around the corner and tells me to try some on and see how they look.  SEE HOW THEY LOOK.  I don't need headphones, so I declined, but I said to him "wouldn't you want to hear what they sound like?"

    "Oh, yeah, you can plug them in and do that, too."  But the offer was secondary to see how they look. Maybe it's a sign I'm getting older, but I was just floored that they would even have the display like that.    The mirror gets more space then the headphones.  I can't imagine what people would think of my home headphones:

    Built for sound quality and comfort, not unlike my own body.
    The associate was constantly under our feet, so sister-in-law and I wandered off a few more feet, into the books, picked one up to suggest it to her, and the associate was right there again.

    "I cannot recommend that book*** enough."

    I set the book down, and we both just gave him an exasperated look.  Seriously, dude?

    But yeah, mirrors, so you can see what you look like in your headphones.

    * "We sell e-readers, so we have to have our dick in a number of other pies, too."
    ** these douchebags warrant their own post, to be honest.
    *** The Help.

    On Film: Part 1

    Well, I've finally decided to write a post about movies.  It was this or my sixth episode of Mad About You this morning.

    Those of you who know me in my personal life, know that I have a degree in Cultural Studies, but I've often over-simplified things and told people my degree is in film.  I should really stop doing this. One, it's a little disrespectful towards the literature and art I studied, and - two - it makes people think I have more technical know-how than I do.  Let me tell you what my degree got me.

    It got me a job in a video store.  I will say this once: there is nothing wrong with working in retail*. However, while working at the store, I overdosed on movies pretty badly and didn't watch any for a few years.  Even now, watching a movie is a little rare for me.  I'm telling you this so you know my opinion on recent movies is worth exactly bupkis.  Also, honestly, my opinions and knowledge of the older stuff is lacking, too.  I'm out of practice.

    Here's a short list of some of my faves, some with explanations or general comments.

    Metropolis (1927)
    I promise I won't go year by year, but this was another that was big for me when I was a kid.  This film influenced me more than I probably realize.  I don't know if I'd be as big a science fiction fan as I am without having seen it as a kid (and the "as a kid" part is important, though I couldn't say why).

    The version I most enjoy of this one has a soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder**.  I would say this is because I'm a product of the 1980's, but the editing on it is fantastic.  It is actually the shortest version, but the clearest in narrative (of the handful I've seen).

    Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)
    Charles Laughton in a comedy.  I love him, and this movie is just fantastic.  Everyone in it is incredibly well cast.  It is a little "yay, America," but I feel it's justifiable here.

    All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    I get genuinely disappointed at whichever rank this gets on the AFI top 100 list.  It always feels low to me.

    Wings of Desire (1987)
    This is the movie that made me change majors when I saw it in first year.  Hollywood remade it as "City of Angels," and removed anything worthwhile from the film***.

    The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
    My first serious Hollywood crush.  Still waiting on the sequel.

    I'm gonna break the land speed record with the least aerodynamic design in existence.
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
    It's this perfect, little piece of candy, filled with lovely people (including Noah Taylor!)  I used to say this was my favourite film, but then Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) came out.  It's pretty clear that I really do like Wes Anderson, but I don't think I'm a blind follower by any sense of the word.  I haven't seen Darjeeling Limited since it came out;  it feels like an attempt to create a Wes Anderson film.  There's this thin candy shell around it, with nothing inside.  It is worth pointing out here, that Wes' brother, Eric Chase Anderson, was not involved in Darjeeling Limited.  In the other films, his design was such a heavy influence (the stage of the bisected boat in Life Aquatic was his design, all the drawings from Royal Tenenbaums).

    This little list barely scratches the surface.  The truth of the matter is, there are probably at least 3 different lists:

    • favourites (includes movies with drastic flaws, eg. Comic Book Villains)
    • movies I think are important from a film standpoint
    • movies I think are important from a legal standpoint (this would include mondo and some of the more extreme horror)

    At some point, I realized that I didn't have any one favourite anymore.  I think this stands true for everything. For a 15 year period, if you had asked me who my favourite band was, I'd have told you Radiohead****. But there are so many worthwhile musicians out there.  Favourite author?  Spider Robinson, but there's a lot of other writers out there (he's still super high on the list, though).

    *except for dealing with snarky customers, am I right, folks?
    **also, he composed "Danger Zone" for all you Top Gun fans.
    ***Separate the wheat from the chaff, and be sure the chaff is released as a movie.
    ****But please don't put me in a room with a bunch of other Radiohead fans

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    Retail Therapy

    I had an incredibly trying day yesterday.  There are a number of big changes coming at work, and I'm not sure how I feel about them.  At the end of the day, my stomach was churning.  I left work feeling very determined.  I got in my car, and drove off wish a purpose in mind:

    Retail Therapy.

    It's not an activity I've ever really engaged in, but yesterday, I thought that spending a good chunk of change and buying myself something nice might make me feel a little better.  The plan was to go out and buy a new purse/briefcasey type thing.  I drove all the way across town, to the "nice" Winners (shopping at a Winners was a sign that I wasn't really all that serious, I should have seen that immediately).  I think I was interested in the hunt of looking for a bag, not the bag itself.  I could have just walked into a place like Danier and be done with it.  Also, I wanted to spend money, but I don't think I wanted to spend Danier money.

    The drive across town was the nicest part of the trip.  Some days, I forget how much I just enjoy driving.  I had Blur on shuffle (all albums, all songs).  It's neat to hear a band you like switching back and forth between phases*.

    As anyone could predict, the bags were all shit.  After all that wandering around - not really looking at things, but thinking about work the entire time - I still felt the need to buy something, in order for it to have felt like retail therapy.  This is what I came home with:

    Posh candy and measuring cups? And you say you actually need the measuring cups? You suck at this bro.
    I wandered around Bed, Bath, and Beyond for a bit afterwards.  I spent less than $20, and I still feel guilty for spending it. The fact that I'm bad at wasting my money on cute things feels like the icing on the cake, like I just failed at failing.

    Anyway, time to shower and dress for work.

    *but only if you like all the phases.  If I did this with the Kinks - who I totally love, honestly - I'd still end up skipping a few of the more modern tracks.