Tuesday, September 28, 2010

sharks, loan & great white

In a few hours, I check off a major point on my life's to-do list: diving with great white sharks.  I simply cannot wait.  While there, I thought I'd polish off a few more points as well: Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Alcatraz.  Why not?  I'll tell you all about it upon my return.  Gobble Gobble!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Had a bit of a revealing thought this morning as I'm getting ready for work (and my big presentation, which turned out just fine, tyvm).  There I am, trying to figure out exactly how to tame my rain-inspired Chaka Khan hair (ponytail? barrettes? bun? footloose-and-fancy-free?), still dressed in only a skirt and bra and all of a sudden I get a flash - yes, indeed, for the moment, I am content.  Perhaps it's because I'd had my Special K this morning or because I knew exactly what I was going to wear.  Maybe it was because I was feeling confident about the presentation.  I don't know what it was, but it felt good.  And then, as I'm heading out the door (hair in barrettes), coat in one hand keys in the other, I get it again.  Most definitely: content.

It's been a while since I've felt this.  The last time I remember it happening was quite some time ago.  Sure I've been happy since - dozens of times! - but this sense of home has been fleeting.  I guess home is that feeling that everything is as it should be.  You know?  You feel a comfort in your skin, in your keys, in your knee-high boots.  And, today, it showed.  I got all sorts of compliments on my outfit (not a stitch of "new"), my wit, my assuredness.

Ahh, but all is fleeting.  Sure, I was content, but when will I be satisfied?  I suppose "never" is a viable answer.  I mean, imagine if I were always satisfied - I'd become an inert lump in my own life!  So, I suppose it's only natural that this, too, shall pass.  That, even after a fabulously delicious meal that leaves me full... well, I'm still going to be hungry at some point the next day.  I guess I just enjoy the moment as much as possible, relish each bite and savour each swallow, commit the sensations to memory so I can call on them when pickings get a little slim, as they sometimes do.

It felt good, today.  Really good.  Full-to-the-brim good.  Yum.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

6 a.m.

A.M, Six a.m.

Another Saturday night gone into the keys.

And this hole in my chest keeps growing.

A lasting embrace is all we need. A chance to be wrong. A chance to be right.
Acronyms and similes are poor protection. After a thousand years, it won't matter.

As the last haze whispers and floats into the morning, I stare.

Away from here, to such great heights.

But this is not home. Stop. Turn back your clock. Stop. Set your Alarm. Stop. Your ideas have suffered enough. Stop. Avenge your inner child. Stop. Exercise. Stop. Exorcise.

If I could marry this chord, I would, and have symphonies of children.

Pure Fuckin' Bass. Fragile, Stripped, and Bare Digital Sine Waves echo through my head. They are trapped in our hearts. A heart that shines and burns in our moments of being lost.

Outstretched limbs from the family tree create shelter and shade, but I need to shake my root, and soak in the sun.

Chase it wherever it goes. Cast a reflection back on the holy waters that filled my lungs.
And breathe slower. And slower. And slower.

Until the sun is gone. and there's no more light to chase. Asphyxiation writes me out.

And the void from my chest implodes. The curse has scratched and clawed out; tooth and nail.  The continuum draws in.

The rules and arithmetic are broken, the physics are battered and torn.

Its 6 a.m.

The Ethics have turned Into Dust.

~Jai Daniels.   2010-06-18 @ 0635

Monday, September 20, 2010

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This month's Book Club pick, in honour of Cyn's non-fiction fetish, we have chosen Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I did resist at first - my first exposure to the whole thing was Gilbert's appearance on Oprah after all.  And the idea of a woman finding herself after a bitter divorce, but only able to do so by running away from her life... well, that didn't sit right.  Anyway, like a trooper, I waded in.

Eat: It was the food that seduced me.  And while I can never embark on my own no-carb-left-behind mission without throwing out all my clothes and purchasing only muumuus, I can understand the passion Gilbert feels for food.  If only ... if only.

Pray: the ascetic road has never been my calling and I love that, after all that binging, Gilbert moves on the Great Purge.  The characters at the Ashram (and I have to believe they are characters, because do people like this really exist?) are what kept me going through the often intangible moments of God.  I like Gilbert's relationship with God - I think it merits some exploration - but I also find it intensely personal, and thereby completely, well, "indescribable" to the rest of us.

Love: it wasn't the romance that I found appealing about this third of the book - it was ability for Gilbert to finally love herself.  She could allow her mind to be quiet, because it wasn't full of berating sentiment.  If only we all had our own artist's residence in a far-off destination where we could permit ourselves to be open to pain and judgement and shame and when we do, let it all pour out of us so we can go ahead and start filling ourselves back up with air and light and good.

If there is one thing I am taking away from this book, it is the practice of sitting-still-and-smiling for a little while every day.  I started this morning.  It was... interesting.  If you've ever found yourself face down on a metaphorical bathroom floor with nothing but your muffled sobs and your inner demons ranting at you, I'm not saying you'll find salvation in the pages of this book...but you will find Gilbert's.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

(sun)day tripper

The next stop in our continuing series of "local adventures" is Petroglyph Provincial Park!  First a little background as to how we ended up here: on our way home from the Yukon, I had commented to Nish and AnCe that we should explore our backyard (i.e. Ontario) like we explore everywhere else.  With little convincing, Nish opened up her Lonely Planet Canada and began a list of places we should do day trips to see.  And so we found ourselves cruising up the 115 to get to the Peterborough area.

The Petroglyphs are the oldest in Canada and are some of the oldest in North America.  They depict various "spirits" and humans and are now protected from the eroding effects of the elements by a pretty cool glass enclosure.  It must have so exciting for the guy how found this site first, trying to figure out if it was sacred or just some 10th-century graffiti.  As it was stands, it was awesome.  There are, of course, no pictures of the glyphs themselves, as the Natives do consider it holy ground and therefore request that pictures are not taken.  As a mere visitor to their ancestral home, I dutifully abide.

But it was only 1330... what to do next?  So we found a hiking trail that looped around Minnow "Lake" and, after only one almost rolled ankle, we were off.  It took about two hours to finish and there was lots of roots, mushrooms and Canadian Shields rocks.  We left the Park in search of new adventures in Warsaw, ON.

Specifically, the Warsaw Caves.  Clearly, we were not dressed for spelunking, but we did walk on some neat cave roofs, crossing many a "hollow" rock and hearing underground streams that we couldn't see.  One family, about ten metres ahead of us just casually dropped into a hole in the ground (seriously , it was only about three square feet) and were it not for their echoing voices, I would not have believed any human beings could have slipped in through such a small crack.  On our way out of Warsaw, we had a great surreal moment where we has a horse-and-buggy pass us on the street while a Ford Mustang growled in our rear-view.  Our cameras just weren't fast enough.  Pity.

Finally: Peterborough and the National Historic Site of the Peterborough Lift Lock.  As I contemplated this structure, I had the following thoughts:
1) engineers are truly mad geniuses;

2) they just pay attention to details in architecture any more;
3) how is one of the largest lift locks in the world in Peterborough!?
Anyway, it was an amazing thing to behold.
Dinner in down-town Peterborough at Karma's Cafe, and it was delicious - if you're ever in the area, go there.

Drive home and park exactly 13 hours after I had left this morning, thinking that these weekend adventures are one of the best ideas I've ever had.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

lost boys

Nothing quite like a very long lunch with Elle to bring into focus things that are better left obscured.  We were chatting about a friend with her three-men-and-no-baby situation and it got me thinking.  A dangerous past-time, I know.

Situation:  Jane is juggling three men.  That's right, three.  She has a full social calendar and a good job but can't seem to find one man to satisfy all her needs.  And before we go judging Jane (which I like to do all the time), let's get some facts straight.  Jane is in three mediocre relationships, none of which are whole:

1) Friend-With-Benefits upon whom she can rely for company while shopping for shoes or dinner after work or the occasional hot-and-heavy sex.  He's pretty perfect for her, except she doesn't feel very 'safe' with him, as in, he cannot be depended upon in times of crises.  Her relationship with him is pretty much a physical thing, but can never grow to be more because he doesn't have any interest in growing to be more.

2) Rich-and-Successful certainly can provide for Jane.  He buys her dinner and takes her to the opera.  When he blows into town, he only stays in the nicest hotel rooms and rents the fanciest cars.  He's the kind of guy that found his own path in life early, forged ahead and never looked back.  In many ways, Jane and he are very much alike.  Successful, independent and self-made.  The problem is, of course, that both of them have built these lives without each other in them and neither is willing to make the sacrifices that would have to be made in order live in the same postal code.  They've done everything but have sex and then he leaves for a few months before coming back.  Rinse.  Repeat.

3) Mr. Unattainable is the one Jane emotionally fucks on a regular basis and he does the same back to her.  They spend hours alone over cups of tea, talking about life's problems, strategising over global domination and sleeping in each other's bed (but not at the same time).  They've never so much as held hands, but they get all the sparks with none of the fire.  He's the one who's perfect in theory but whom Jane never experiments with.  Here's the really messed up part: when Jane shows no interest, he's all into her; when she reciprocates, he turns cold; when she's cold in return, he calls to make a date; if she calls first, he won't answer.  See how the name fits?

Jane's pretty happy with her life, except that she's a self-confessed monogamist who is feeling the strain of being someone she's not.  I tell her to stop playing with fire, that it's not so much about all these other men that she may hurt, but that her own self-respect may slowly be eroding.  She insists she's not unfaithful - she only sleeps with one man, after all.  But I wonder, what would FWB think of Jane's 2am conversations with Mr. U?  Is R&S allowed to feel jealous that FWB gets something he wants from Jane, even though he's unwilling to commit?  Is Mr. U an emotional bully or is Jane just a masochist? Why won't FWB just man up?

(Sadly, this would be the perfect time to ask some boys for some answers.  There used to be a time in my life when I was surrounded by boys - and not in the way you're thinking.  Frankly, I get along with males better than I do females.  But somewhere in the transition from young adulthood to where I am today, I lost either my ability to make friends with men or my exposure to them.  This is what working in a female-dominated profession will do to you, ladies.  This is why so many librarians are single.  And the men that I do have are either too personally involved in the Jane situation or are gay.  I miss having straight male friends.  But I digress.)

Sometimes, I think Jane has the best of all worlds.  Most women would tell you it takes roughly 3 boys to equal one perfect man (sexy, rich and smart) and she has her bases covered.  But other times?  I just think she's nuts and is setting herself up for some serious heartache.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Now Playing: The American

A slow time at the box office resulted in a weekday viewing of The American, George Clooney's latest foray into serious cinema. Look, my feelings on George are widely known.  It's only because I had a dream one night - true story! - that I now don't despise him.  (In fact, Jadek has taken to calling him my ex.)  Two years ago, I witnessed him in a movie wherein which he didn't make me want to roll my eyes every two minutes, and thus we have grown past my immature hatred and have simply decided never to speak of his brush with the cowl again.

On to The American. It's short.  I mean, really short.  It had so much plot stuffed into less than two hours, I was really surprised.  It felt a lot like watching a short story: you begin in media res, no background to the characters, no last names, three minutes in -- DEATH! (wow, what a great trailer).  I'm still not really sure what Jack/Edward does (is he an engineer?  a spy?  an assassin?) or what his real name is or even if he ever meant a word of what he said to Clara.  Buh.  But a good buh.  And not an action flick either - only one chase I can remember and one (kinda) fight scene.  Yeah, there's guns, but mostly they're not important.  Mostly.

The other really notable thing was the suspense - holy Aunt Jemima!  I haven't  been this tense since The Ring and there was nothing horrific about this movie at all.  The scripting is really sparse, the scenery is really idyllic, the streets are deeply organic and the acting is done mostly with the body than with the lines.  All in all, a very lean movie.  And therein lies its surprising allure.  Who's the bad guy?  Who's the good guy?  Is that an innocent bystander that just got shot or a potential enemy?  All these questions and so few tantalising answers! 

It was really good.  If you're baulking at paying full price for a movie ticket for 105 minutes, I understand.  A rental will not diminish this movie's impact, but I feel like we need to support art-ish films more.  4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, September 06, 2010

if only all my Ex's were this much fun

Continuing our long-standing tradition of food, shopping and people-watching, Nish and I went to the Ex yesterday.  Normally, we would have taken a day off and gone on a nice, quiet Wednesday.  However, what with spending all our vacation on some other things, we were stuck with the weekend crowds.  And there were crowds.  Hoo boy.

Given my partying from the night before (see below), we got a tardy start to the day, with me arriving at 1500 and Nish (for once) arriving late!  No worries - we're pros at this so it was no problem getting all our shopping done before the buildings closed.  Tradition has it that I will buy at least one pair of earrings in the International Hall (I bought 3) and that we'd get our shopping on at the outlet section.  In years past, we had bought $2 sweaters, $1 belts and $5 coats.  This year I'm happy to report the purchase of two pairs of knee-high boots (in camel and chocolate suede) for $40 in addition to the above-mentioned staples.  Tradition also allows for one splurge item.  One year, I bought a marble chess set from Pakistan.  This year: a beautiful leather-bound journal with a brass clasp and filled with hand-pressed cedar paper.  I drooled.  Then, I plunked down $45 for it.  We also had all the bad-for-you food (corn dogs, butterfly chips) we could handle, reminisced at the Polar Express and took in a last-minute ground show before catching the 2249 GO train.   Seven hours of walking later, I limped home and crashed on the 'rentals couch while playing some late night Rock Band.  Happy Labour Day indeed!

So, partying. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Now Playing: The Takers

The Takers.  It has Idris Elba in it.  I love Idris Elba.  Do you think he'll ever play non-gun-toting role?  Can he actually act or is a real-life gangster who happens to be an actor?  Has anyone thought of casting him in Othello?  I would pay to see that experiment.  Truly.  In the meantime, he's said to be playing Heimdall in the upcoming Thor movie.  So, now a comic book bad-ass - that's sort of branching out, right?  Anyway, he's one of the reasons I went to see this movie and that other one.  
And what were they thinking with horribly photoshopped poster?  Especially Paul Walker - my Nana could tell you there's something not right there... geez.  Millions of dollars to make a movie and they can't get the actors to hang out for an afternoon and take pictures?  I find this ridiculous.  Just look at the heads of the three sitting in front.  Go on, look.  You see it, right?  Now, I can't unsee it.  All those floating heads.

Oh, the movie.  Right.  Predictable, and it didn't even want to be.  Good action.  Decent drama.  That running scene was adrenaline-worthy.  But all just average.  3 out of 5 stars.


Yeah, I had no clever title for this post.  In my continuing weekend adventures, I went out to the wilds of Caledon for an archery lesson with the, aptly named, Archers of Caledon.  That was honestly a lot of fun.  I learned so many things (my left eye is the dominant eye! women can over-extend their elbows more than men! if you're shooting too high, adjust your sight even higher!) and am actually thinking of finding lessons - though, a little more locally.  Honestly, it was a lot of fun; also: gauntlets.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

This month's Book Club pick: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  I picked this one for two reasons: it was a Rave & Fave, so I knew there'd be loads of copies at the Public Library; a non-reader friend had actually read, finished AND liked it.  Curiosity. 

So, the title tells you that Oscar is not destined to live for long.  For me, I spent the entire book thinking "...and how?"  Will it be the train tracks? an irritated girl? his unhealthy lifestyle? a freak accident?  How will it all happen.  And when it does... oooh, boy.

Things I liked:
- the prose (poetic and guttural at the same time);
- the footnotes (contentious, I know, as they could be very long, but awesome because I learned all sorts of neat history and they were written in an almost comedic fashion);
- the characters were deep (unlike The Mists of Avalon, which I didn't even bother reviewing) and had unique voices which you could tell apart distinctly.  When a new narrator began talking, you knew who was without talking any explicit mention
- the nerdiness: jebus, there were Sci-Fi references on almost every page, leaning heavily on Tolkien, Star Wars and Star Trek, with a good chunk of comic books thrown in.  This is the kind capital-L Literature that a fanboy would just eat up.  Honestly, it kinda made me want to read the LOTR trilogy, but then I snapped myself out of it.

Things I could have done without:
- the Spanish phrases which had no English translation.  I like the Spanish!  Why no English for us non-Latino types? perhaps in a footnote?
- Beli.  I know, I know, she's essential to the story, so you can't not have her.  She's awful though.  I guess the story needs her, but the world doesn't. 

Should you read it?  If you are at all into post-colonial or sci-fi or latino lit or magic realism or easy dialogue, I think you'd like it.  I'm recommending it for my Mom.  Do with that info what you will.