Wednesday, June 30, 2010

true north

The thing is, being all allergic and having full-full days (of driving and/or being outdoors, which for me is exhausting), I didn't really write in my trusty journal at all! it's sad, but true. So this summary shall be brought to you by my memory alone, which, as we all know, is spotty at best. Thank the Goddess for pictures.

Day One: arrive in beautiful sunny Whitehorse around 1pm (PST) and start the trip with a warning from the ground crew to not stop on the tarmac (don't they understand about the pictures?!). Rent car (Sangria red!) and turn it on. I don't know what I was expecting from the radio but it certainly was not MIMS. Yeah, that soon became the catchphrase. Check into hostel, where we'll spend two nights as well as our last night in the Yukon. Have lunch at the Klondike Rib & Salmon, where we ingest the MOST DELICIOUS BURGER EVER! Seriously. Musk-ox in that spicy chipotle sauce they got going... god damn it. We talk about that thing for the rest of trip. But time was catching up and fast - we had been up since 5am EST and I began feeling like a walking zombie. Pub for Yukon Gold potato skins. Body cannot reconcile its sleepiness with the bright bright sun. 11pm, with the sun still shining, we head to bed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

klondike gold

So, I'm back from my quick (and slightly itchy) trip to the Yukon Territory. I promise an update as soon as i have a moment. It was pretty stellar.

Preview: fireweed, arctic circle, old tyme entertainment, midnight sun, bears, bugs and a swagger wolf to boot.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

whitehorse

Yep, that's where I am - in The Yukon. So far - gorgeous weather (feeling overdressed and under-sunblocked). Flight(s) in were okay - first leg bumpy, second leg vomity. Seems wherever I travel, someone has to puke. Have ridden trolley and strolled about its downtown. Also ingested my first musk-ox burger which was, um, DELICIOUS! Holy ox - I may give up beef burgers if I had normal access to this stuff! Most things here are overpriced, sadly, but have yet to stumble across a proper souvenir store.


Tomorrow: Kluane and The Follies!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Now Playing: Karate Kid

Caveat: I didn't watch the original Karate Kid. There. I said it. And before you jump all over me (I'm looking at you, DK), keep in mind that when it came out, I was still living in a country that didn't have running hot water or more than one channel. Here's everything I know about the original (don't click if you don't want to be spoiled!): wax-on, wax-off; Mr. Myagi with chopsticks; crane position. Anyway, new Karate Kid. Having not seen the original, I actually didn't know how it was going to end: would he win? would he lose, but gain their respect? would he not be able to compete due to injury but bring honour to his family? Nail-biting suspense!

So, really, I was supposed to see the A-team today (little known fact: they're named after me!) but the reviews were SO bad, I decided to wait until rental season. Shouldn't be long.

The theatre was packed and we were pretty late (only ten minutes early). The packed theatre is always a test of my patience. I watch a LOT of movies (good ones, bad ones, ugly ones) and I prefer an empty theatre for the following reasons:
- I avoid hearing know-it-alls give their simpering dates a lesson in cultural knowledge. Everyone knows there's no "Chinese" language, douche, and that it's Mandarin or Cantonese. Just watch the movie;
- There are no bad babies, only bad parents; also read as: keeping your toddler up past 9pm and wondering why they're cranky is stupid;
- Chatty McChattersons who keep feeling the need to explain what's happening. They need to learn the art of being still.

Anyway: the movie was solid. Entertaining with a very promising Jaden Smith holding his own with action superstar Jackie Chan and Oscar-nominee Taraji P. Henson. I really bought their mother-son relationship - well-played. I liked the decision to set the movie in China with actual Chinese actors and fighters - made it feel really authentic. The only good thing about a full theatre was the random clapping at the end whenever something awesome happened. Which was more often than I expected. It's good family fun. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, June 07, 2010

write what you know

So, I'm supposed to "write what I know" - which is great, if you're Ghandi or Paris Hilton or someone else and people actually want to know what you know - and I'm stuck. I just don’t know a lot. I haven't lived long enough or hard enough, I guess. I mean, I'm good at Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit so I know stuff but I don't know the right stuff. And now, I've got this assignment - this creative assignment (so, knowing all about nineties trivia? useless) - and I'm stuck. When I say that I'm stuck, she says "write what you know". Yeah. Helpful.

Here's what I know: I was (technically) born in the eighties (1980, to be exact). It's weird to be born in a year defined by its zero and still be attached to the nine other years that come after it. Am I supposed to have stuff in common with a twenty-year-old? You know, the ones still staring at their lives like its sooo far away? As if. Anyway, born in the eighties in a third world country. A country with about 120 million people, in a city with 8 million other inhabitants, in a hospital that wasn't really a hospital but a "women's centre" (birthed by a doctor who later checked into that same hospital as a patient and succumbed to breast cancer), to first-time parents (one of whom paced the hallways and promptly jumped on a motorcycle when he was told his little girl would need a blood transfusion - the clinic didn't have any - in order to bang on the gates of the American Embassy at 0400… that's also called taking your life in your own hands). Had the uneventful childhood of a rich daughter living in a poor country. Seven years later, we moved. Suddenly, I was enduring the uneventful adolescence of a poor daughter in a rich country. I went to school (and realised my third world education was pretty first class), did well, graduated high school, then undergrad, then grad school. Bought a car, bought a condo, got a job, travelled to some places. And now, on the cusp of my thirties, living the uneventful life of a middle-class single-girl (still in a rich country), sitting in a class of other bored middle-class single-girls, I'm told to write what I know. Sadly, it only took this previous paragraph to do just that.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Now Playing: Prince of Persia: sands of time

Yes, I actually wanted to watch Prince of Persia: Sands of Time; the fact that I randomly happened to wander into a showtime is another matter. Anyway, as it turns out, the movie is actually pretty entertaining (if a little obvious) - lots of potential for a franchise. Of course, I have a few questions:

1) Why do all movies that feature people of another culture choose to speak English with a British accent? I mean, does Jake Gyllenhaal really need to have a faux Oxfordian tongue?

2) Why did they choose to cast Jake in the first place? It's the Prince of freaking Persia so where are the brown dudes at? And whiel I'm asking this, where are the brown dudes? Seriously, this is the Middle East (read: camels, sandstorms, etc.).

3) *spoiler* Does every villian have to be bald and goateed? Is this an unwritten rule somewhere?

Despite these burning questions, it was still good. Scripting wasn't cheesy and the fight scene, while sometimes a bot close-quarters, were crisp. Drama was pretty good too (I actually found myself muttering, at one point, "press the button" over and over).

Great summer movie. 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

finishing off the rock

This past week saw myself, Nish and AnCe in Newfoundland. For Nish and me, it's a chance to finish what we started last year. This one was whirlwind to say the least, with no two nights being spent on the same peninsula (forget town). We touch down in St. John's, rented a car and we were off!

Day One: Signal Hill (of Marconi fame) and Cape Spear got us going. Having visited the westernmost point, it was nice to get in the easternmost as well. We then boot it over to Grand Banks, a boring town where we spend the night only because of its proximity to the Ferry.

Day Two: a gloomy start, with drizzle. Off to Fortune (another pretty boring town) to catch the Ferry to St. Pierre et Miquelon. Having taken a gravol, I spend the next two hours kinda dozing and wake up in France! Blue skies and sunshine too! SP is the cutest little town. I really really feel like we are actually in Europe, as we're surrounded by Renaults and Peugeots, with signs all in French and everyone speaking in a beautiful lyrical Fran├žais (not Quebecois). Our B&B is utilitarian, but has the tiniest bathroom I've ever paid for. Seriously. 8 square feet WITH a shower. We dump our stuff and explore the town - it doesn't take long, as it's really quite small. Predictably, the wine is cheap (3 euros!); unpredictably, every shop closes from 1400 to 1830, so we have nowhere to get lunch. Hence: a raid of the local boucherie! Buy some pate, bread, coleslaw, macaroni salad and chocolate pudding and have ourselves a makeshift picnic. Awesome. That night, we eat well and drink (more) wine.

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai

This month's Book Club is a little different: we picked a random name and had to get that person a book that we thought they'd like without asking them (and hopefully one they've never read). I got Kiran Desai's Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (and gave Mags Wide Sargasso Sea).

Shipps did a great job picking a book for me. Desai's writing style is easy to get into, without being simple, and is full of characters that are mysterious. What I like best were the distinct voices each had and so the seamless transition from one character to another was actually kinda cool, because you could actually tell whose POV is taking over at any given point. Also, her description of things were so ... heady! It made me hungry just reading it. I really miss ripe guavas.

I can't say there was a real "plot" to the whole book. I mean, its title is exactly what it's all about - a hullabaloo in a guava orchard. But since there really wasn't a plot, it was all up to the characters to keep me interested, and they really did. I really wanted to know what would happen to them next. Without a plot, the book did seem a bit like someone had just ripped a bit of time out and splayed it for us to see. The end had to be one of the greatest un-endings ever.

I read this in really one sitting on a plane from St. John's to Toronto. if you have a three hour commute somewhere, this is nice diversion.