Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

I think this is my all-time favourite poem. I was reading it today and felt like sharing it. Below is a link to, where you can find more work by William Wordsworth.

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Beautiful Lies

Emilie Richards’ Beautiful Lies is categorized as a romance novel. I don’t usually read romance novels. This one was given to me as a gift. I was in the mood for something lighter; since this has been sitting on my shelf for five years, I figured now would be a good time to pick it up. It was definitely not was I expected and I’m not sure if that was a good thing.

I expected this ‘romance novel’ to contain, honestly, more sex. On rare occasions, I have read other romance novels. From those three or four, there is usually a lot more sex scenes (of varying degrees) mixed in with some kind of adventure. The characters in Beautiful Lies had sex, but after the kissing and a little groping, the reader was left behind.

Is that why I found the book a bit boring? Perhaps. The story was fairly interesting. A twist on the star-crossed lovers. Not predictable. But everything just sort of happened. The events were described in great detail, but you didn’t really feel like you were there, as with many other stories I’ve read.

Maybe a little raunch would have balanced things out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Yesterday I watched The Da Vinci Code. It was incredibly boring. Unexpectedly boring. It was a little too true to the book. Admittedly, it is difficult to accurately transform a book into a movie. Things are left out; a book can be as long as necessary, but a movie needs to fit into a certain timeframe. I don’t know if Ron Howard understood that in this case. The movie was too long. There were good parts in the action and dialogue, just too far apart. The Da Vinci Code could have been a great movie, but over reached the mark.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Have they made a movie of Persuasion? I think this novel of Jane Austen’s would make a lovely film. It is filled with complicated characters, as well as absolutely simple ones. There are great locales and interesting relationships. Best of all, Anne Elliot is simply brilliant.

I love Anne. She is independent, opinionated, but sensitive to the feelings of others. Yes, she was persuaded in a wrong direction by her mother-figure, Lady Russell, when she was only 19. Eight years brings many insights. In those eight years, Anne learns romance and the ways of men and women. The language is thick, but the feelings are still the same. Happiness is brought to those who deserve it. Others learn life lessons. Exciting events and quiet intimacies make Persuasion a fabulous story.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ella Enchanted

I just saw Ella Enchanted last night for the first time. It was the cutest movie! I want to go out and buy a copy. I know it’s silly for me to be sucked in by this nouveau fairy tale, but I couldn’t help it. I think Anne Hathaway is fabulous, so I just had to watch!

It’s loosely a Cinderella sort of story. There’s a wicked step-mother and step-sisters. There’s a fairy godmother and a handsome prince. Midnight, of course, is a special time in this tale. But there are major differences. Ella’s father is well and alive. Ella travels to find her fairy godmother to get her to take back her “gift”. She also doesn’t swoon at the sight of Prince Char. Ella tells him what she thinks about the state of the kingdom and his politics. We get to watch them fall in love; it’s not just marriage after one dance. So many things are working against Ella and Char, but their love conquers all. Sappy, I know, but I was really in a mood for a movie that just makes you feel good!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Frontline Radio

Check out my cousin, DJ Ree, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2-4pm. He's a great DJ. I'm not just saying that. It's a good site too if you're a soca fan. Check him out today between 4-6pm.

The Frontline Radio

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The Unauthorized Autobiography
The Beatrice Letters
The End

That’s it? It’s over? I can’t believe it! I don’t want to.

During these past weeks, I’ve read the last few books involved in Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events. First I read The Unauthorized Autobiography. Then my attention turned to The Beatrice Letters. I couldn’t wait to dive into the final book in the series, The End!

The supplementary materials were good. I read the books in the above order, because that was the order of their publication. I wouldn’t say they were fabulous. You don’t really learn that much in The Unauthorized Autobiography. Yes, you learn a little more about the nature and practices of the V.F.D., which is good. You also learn why Mr. Poe isn’t more helpful. That made me a little upset, but also feel a little better to know that he wasn’t a villain. In the end, I would say it didn’t really unlock any of the major secrets in the Baudelaires’ lives, but it does give another perspective to the Unfortunate Events in the children’s lives.

The Beatrice Letters is a little confusing. It probably would have made more sense if I read it after The End but, oh well. It’s not like I can go back in time. It really does tell you more about the relationship between Lemony Snicket and Beatrice, past, present and future. It’s definitely worth it to read. It lets you know that The End is not the end of the Baudelaires’ story.

The End was wonderful. It did answer many questions in the lives of the Baudelaire children. Naturally, it left many questions still unanswered. It was an appropriate ending though, to the way the series was written. If it was a nice, neat ending, with everything wrapped up for us, it wouldn’t quite be Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The End brings the children closer to their parents and further away at different points in the story. I really enjoyed it and hope there is more. I know that this is supposed to be the end of the series, but it doesn’t mean that Snicket (Handler) can’t write further supplementary books…or start another series altogether. While I’ll refrain from obsessing, I’ll definitely keeps an eye out for future word on the lives of the Baudelaires.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wedding Photos from Allen

My cousin Allen took some wedding photos and just put them up on his website. I think they're great!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Lakehouse

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves have a great chemistry. They played wonderful characters in Kate and Alex. The Lakehouse is the sweetest movie I’ve seen in a long while. Though they are sweet, Kate and Alex don’t get sappy. No cavities, thank you. They accept their situation and don’t try to figure out the “why” of what is happening to them. Instead, they let the situation and relationship grow.

The Lakehouse takes long distance relationships to a whole new level. Though there are doubts over time, it shows how powerful and all-consuming love can be. Yes, you can find themes like that in most “chick flicks” but this story is unique. It is an original idea. Something I’ve been looking for. It was nice to watch a movie that wasn’t a remake, a sequel or regurgitations of the familiar. In The Lakehouse you find something new. Though it is surrounded by the romance of the story, you find something that gets you to think.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Princess And The Whiskheads

Russell Smith’s The Princess And The Whiskheads was simply fabulous. I loved Princess Juliana. She is such a believable female character. She is not a superwoman, nor is she a damsel in distress. Juliana may be the most beautiful woman in the land, but she has faults. This balance of virtues and faults are what make her relatable.

One of the funny things about trust is that it can be both a virtue and a fault, depending one how it is used. Princess Juliana trusted her advisors and the other nobles of the courts. She trusted them to treat the people fairly. She trusted them to do what was in the best interest of the kingdom. Then on her first venture into the city, she saw that horrible school. An ugly building, unfit for children, baring her name. She was horrified. One walk into the city and she learned so much.

The male characters were also quite interesting, especially the suitors. There is Lord Lucas, a handsome noble, who clearly wants to rekindle their childhood flame. Lord Bostock, the poet among the strapping nobles, also pursues the princess, as honestly as he can. Then there is Jan, the charming, mesmerizing peasant, a whiskhead. Juliana feels for them and they desire her. Will she end up with one of them? Who captures her heart? They are all present at the end of the tale.

Though the book calls itself a modern fairytale, I wouldn’t necessarily read it to young children. Let’s just say that there are a few “may not be appropriate for younger audiences” scenes. They are tastefully written and fit in well with the stories. However, if you’re reading this to a six-year-old, you might want to skip the word nipple (a couple times). It does have that fairytale sensibility though, making it a pleasure to read.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hey Nostrodamus!

What a simply amazing story! I could barely put Douglas Coupland’s Hey Nostrodamus! down. It became one of those books that you think about all day. I’d be at work and find myself thinking about Jason Klaasen and where his life was heading. Jason was an amazing character. The whole story absorbed me. It was spiritual, even a little religious, without being the slightest bit preachy. I don’t like stories that are over saturated with religion. A story should be able to stand on the strength of its characters, not religion.

There was so much growth, change and trauma. Death ran throughout this novel, affecting the lives of this ‘family’ of people in North Vancouver. It was definitely a traumatic beginning and emotional all the way through the story. It starts with a high school shooting. I’ve actually had this book for about a year or more, but I just couldn’t summon up the will to read it. On the dust jacket, it tells you about how the story begins (though it doesn’t really mention the rest). With recent events, however, I felt it was time to pick up Hey Nostrodamus!. I’m really glad I read it. The story isn’t exactly a “feel good” sort of thing, but it does leave with some kind of satisfaction in Heather, Jason’s adult girlfriend and Reg, Jason’s father. There was realization and there was love with both these characters.

I’m glad about the warning, though. I needed that blurb about the book to tell me that people were going to die in a very tragic way. It kind of reminded me of a great book I read about two years ago, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I think it’s actually on The Globe and Mail’s paperback best seller’s list. I knew it was about death, which you could guess from the title, but it didn’t give you any clue as to how a particular character died. Reading it was shocking. At least Coupland gave me some sort of preparation.

Hey Nostrodamus! is just an excellent piece of fiction. If you want something that really reflects the way things have been in the world (at least the western world) in this generation, pick up this book. The characters are tangible and believable. They are the family next door. They are the people you meet in line at the toy store. There are dark, scary, depressed and lonely. They are also filled with love and possibility.

Photos So Far

This is what I could get so far in terms of wedding photos on my blog. I think you're just going to have to see the hard copies for people who are really interested. But it's okay. I'll see you soon :)

Wedding Photos… Finally -b-

Signing our lives away... I mean, to each other...
Below, everbody at the wedding. Above, the best man holding everything!
Parents and Brothers

We have the best looking wedding party ever!

I Love My Bouquet!!!

An amazing background... We think so anyway.

Wedding Photos… Finally -a-

Me with my Maid of Honour, Pam. Craig with the Best Man, JP.

Below, us at the entrance to University College at the University of Toronto. We love this picture!

Craig with our friend, Dan.

Me with Dan's girlfriend, the lovely Mandi.

Oh, we're posing again.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Wedding Photos… Almost! x2

I'm having a bit of a problem with the wedding photos. Apparently there is a limit to the size or something.... I think I might actually have to create a photoblog or something like that. I'm not sure what to do... Just in case I can't decide what to do for a while, here is another photo. I think we had a pretty attractive wedding party

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Turn Of The Screw

The Turn Of The Screw is definitely the most macabre of James’ stories. It’s good versus evil; living versus dead. It shows the power of trust and belief. The characters are so tangible; you almost think that you could go to Bly and help. Of course, you might just end up running away in terror.

The way James describes the emotions of the characters is amazing. You feel the fear, bravery, anger and possible insanity of the whole situation. Is the Governess crazy? Does she really see ghosts? The way she exactly describes Quint to Mrs. Grose makes the reader think, yes she does see him. She sees Miss Jessel too. The Governess must protect her young charges, Miles and Flora, from these malicious spirits.

If these ghosts are real, do Miles and Flora want to be protected? From there behaviour throughout the stories, it seems not. They want to play with the spirits of their former friends. The children also seem to be absurdly perfect. The have the pretty smiles and the gorgeous hair and the endearing eyes. They are almost ghost like. Their visage has something supernatural about it, casting a spell on the servants who live in the house with them. The Governess also finds herself under their spell. Though, it seems, she sometimes breaks free and becomes suspicious of their every word and action. Especially after she sees Flora’s behaviour at the pond, with Miss Jessel looking on.

Though I think they are brilliantly created, I’m not sure about how I feel towards these characters. Mrs. Grose seems to believe the Governess’s tale of spirits too easily. Yet, without her belief, it would make the Governess appear to be losing her mind. Mrs. Grose gives her validation. Perhaps, Mrs. Grose is just a simple woman believing the words of an educated lady. The Master is oddly distant. It is fine not to care about his niece and nephew, but to refuse contact with the house all together? The house does belong to him. What does that mean? Did he play a part in the deaths of Quint and Jessel? Maybe the unworldly beauty of Miles and Flora are too much for him. He needs to stay away from their unnatural splendor. The Governess also bothers me. She just seems too sure of herself.

I had to read the end a few times. I read over the last page three times before I fully grasped what happened. I knew I read it right the first time, but I thought I had misunderstood. Is what happened to Miles caused by the spirit leaving him and taking his own spirit away? Or did the Governess do something to him in her effort to win Miles from Quint? Was it one of those, if I can’t have you, no one can, kind of moments? It is still difficult to believe that was the end of the story. It was certainly a dramatic finale to a harrowing tale. It also seems quite fitting as to the story’s flow. I suppose I was hoping for a happier ending. Of course, after Daisy Miller and The Altar Of The Dead what else was I expecting?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Wedding Photos… Almost!

I’ve been getting requests to post some of our wedding photos. Here’s one. I have to reduce the file size before they go up. I promise to put some more up soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Altar Of The Dead

The Altar Of The Dead was strange. Something easily guessed by the title. It is saturated with death. Again, this is something to be expected. Yet, there is more than just death. There is life and perhaps love.

I found myself distant from the story. Distant from the main character. Perhaps it was because I didn’t grasp how old he was at the beginning of the story. I thought he was middle-aged and tragedy just followed him. I didn’t realize that he was at that age when your friends begin dying around you. I realized his eventual age when he described going to the altar year after year.

Of course, I many not have understood because I’ve been sick and everything is kind of hazy. Though, it may be that the story didn’t connect with me. It was well written with interesting characters, who love and hate and grieve. They lived with a very real turmoil. Everything in their lives was in relation to this altar. For some reason, I just wasn’t as affected by this story as I was by James’ other works.

Monday, September 25, 2006

My Eye: Part 2

My eye is almost better. I can see normally, but my eye still gets sore by the end of the day. To much dry air at work, I think. I’ll be taking the drops until the bottle is finished. I’m not allowed to start wearing contacs again until about the end of October. The doctor wants to make sure that I am completely healed. Plus, I’ll be getting new contacs. I never want to go through this again!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Aspern Papers

James’ The Aspern Papers was an interesting story that I enjoyed immensely. Passion can certainly lead a person to interesting places.

When I was finished, however, it did not leave me with the same excitement or questions that the other stories did. While I did not predict the ending, nor could I say that it was predictable, I definitely saw it as a distinct possibility. Was it meant to be shocking? The main character was definitely not shocked. If he was, then perhaps I would be too. After all, James did give us multi-faceted characters, with emotional range. Again, you feel as though they could be real people. James makes you empathize with them. So if the main character takes everything calmly, then so do you.

It’s good to have an emotional tie to the story. I think it makes it more enjoyable. Yet, do we lose something if we become too invested? Did I lose some of the excitement of the story by feeling the calm of the main character? It is definitely something to consider in future reading.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Celebrity Duets

I can’t believe that Jai Rodriguez got voted off Celebrity Duets!! He was clearly the best singer. By far! Did you hear him with Gladys Knight? He was amazing. How about with Patty LaBelle? Michelle Williams? Again and again, he was amazing. I just don’t understand how he could be voted off. He wasn’t the only good singer, there are others, but Jai Rodriguez was fabulous.

Is that the problem? I wonder. Was he too fabulous? Part of the Fab Five? Lucy Lawless certainly looked shocked when they were told Jai would be the one going home. So was I. So were a lot of people, I believe. The judges all thought he would be in the finally. What does that tell you?

I suppose that I’m just upset at the outcome. Jai deserved to win. I really thought he would win. He seemed to work the hardest and want it the most. What can really be said? The decision has been made. We live with these upsets, these injustices. They look trivial on the outside, but I think they are deeper than they first appear. Besides this, there is nothing that can be done. We just have to see what happens next with the show and with Jai Rodriguez.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Daisy Miller

The second novella in my Henry James collection, a mere sixty pages, was very intriguing. I could tell why Daisy Miller was one of James’ most famous stories. The characters are palpable. You can believe that they exist or at least, existed at the end of the 19th century. They have real emotions, quirks and thoughts. These personality traits feel appropriate, not just to the story, but to the characters as real people.

James uses the title character, Daisy Miller, to discuss the behaviour and customs of Europe. Winterbourne, a man with clear affection for Daisy, questions these taboos. Why is her behaviour so wrong? Why shouldn’t she enjoy the company of her male friend? Why shouldn’t she speak and act as she chooses?


In the end, Daisy Miller dies. Is this punishment for her bad behaviour? Did she deserve death? I certainly don’t think so. Perhaps her death was a punishment to Winterbourne (and to everyone else?) for doubting her. Daisy’s final, cryptic message leaves Winterbourne confused. Why would she want him to know that she was never engaged to the Italian? Daisy cared for Winterbourne. She might have wanted to carry that affection further. However, her reasons for the message might have been more simple or selfish. Daisy may have just been trying to save her reputation. It’s difficult to tell, but the story gets you thinking about an individual’s motives.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Eyes

I've been having a slight medical difficulty. I have tiny ulcers on the surface of my eyes (the left far worse than the right.) My eyes started bothering me on Wednesday the 6th and seeing out of the left one was difficult. Everything was foggy and out of focus. So Thursday I went to the clinic just a few units over from where I work. The doctor saw me and told me that I had to go to the emergency room right away and see the specialist. I went back to work (very anxious) and asked the graphic designer (who I like and trust) to drive me to the ER. Of course, our boss made her stay and he drove me instead. He totally had me going nuts by the time we got there; he actually made me more anxious than when I left. The designer would have had me much calmer.

Anyway, the doctor checked me out and told me what was wrong. He said it was brought on by my contacs not fitting properly. But he was surprised that it happened in the summer. Usually this sort of thing only happens in the winter when the air is dry. I told him that I work in a very dry environment. He asked where I worked. When I explained it to him, his response was, Oh... So even though my workplace didn't cause my problem, it was definitely a contributing factor. I also don't think it's helping me get better. But we have no sick days, so I can't take any time off.

I'm going for a follow-up on the 18th with the specialist I saw in the ER. Hopefully, I'm either be better by then or I get to file some Worker's Comp paperwork.... My boss is totally in denial. He was surprised that my eyes didn't magically get better over the weekend! I told another co-worker (a soon to be supervisor) and she said that if he admits to anything, he's probably afraid that he'll have to pay for it. He's so frustrating.

[Hidden Message Below]
So for health and other reasons, I've officially began looking for a new job. I've updated my resume. I'm having a friend who works in HR read it over for me. Hopefully I find a job where my co-worker isn't fluffing the boss.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

An International Episode

What happened? Why was Lord Lambeth so distraught? Why did Bessie Alden make him leave? Did he propose? Did she reject him? Was she really not in love with him at all?

I just finished reading a short novel by Henry James, An International Episode. After my last novel, I decided to turn to the classics. I am reading through a collection of six James Novellas. They were written over the course of his career. Instead of writing one large piece when I’m done the collection, I thought that I would write a little something after I finish each story.

An International Episode is the first story in this collection. I though it was lovely. James showed the subtle and remarkable contrast between Americans and the English. Such presumptions and speculations. First we have two Englishmen visiting America, specifically, New York and Newport. Then we have two American ladies (whom the Englishmen met on their trip), visiting England, staying in London. It is a charming story, with an interesting ending.

I can’t wait to read Daisy Miller next. It is one of Henry James’ most famous stories. It’s always nice going back to an author that you’ve read before and are sure to enjoy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Distinguished Guest

Finally! I finished Sue Miller’s The Distinguished Guest. It was bad. I did not like it. I would never recommend it. Well, not totally anyway.

There is one really interesting part of the novel. It begins on page 202, four pages into Chapter 14. Lily Maynard, one of our main characters (who is, The Distinguished Guest) is being interviewed by a student who is writing her thesis on “Integration”. Her name is Marcea McKendrick. She is witty, intelligent and black. As Marcea interviews Lily, a discussion begins about whether there is a “Black English” and a “White English”. It is really interesting. Can the English language be divided into Black and White? Is it more a difference between a rural and city or uneducated and educated English? Is it just the vernacular of different social groups? Being neither Black nor White, it is difficult for me to say.

Clearly there were differences in the way people in different communities spoke and still speak. There are many dialects of English, as well as French, Spanish and any number of languages. Quebec French is different from Paris French, which is different from Cajun French. I found this one part of the novel fascinating. Would I recommend the whole novel for just ten pages? I don’t know. Probably not. That one section is worth a read though. Stop off in a library or even spend some time in a bookstore if you are interested in the subject. In the end, I’m just glad reading The Distinguished Guest wasn’t a complete waste of time.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Secret Prisons

It’s taken me a little while to get over it. But really? CIA secret prisons? Did the president of the United States really just admit that the CIA had secret prisons? Aren’t they supposed to be a secret? When something is a secret, aren’t you supposed to not talk about it? Who told him it was a good idea to talk about? Doesn’t it raise all sorts of questions? It does for me. Part of me doesn’t even want to know. As a Canadian and one of a visible minority, it makes me not want to go to the States. The CIA really can make you disappear.


I saw War Of The Worlds last week and after quite enjoying it, I decided to write a little something about it. It began as a review:

‘Last January I read War Of The Worlds by H. G. Wells. I found it very interesting and entertaining. However, it made me hesitant about seeing the movie. A few years ago, I read Wells’ The Time Machine. Another novel of his I’ve enjoyed. Then I saw the movie. Essentially, I waited half the movie for it to be more like the book. Then I spent the rest of the movie hating how they massacred it. The Time Machine was a bad movie, nothing like the book. It was so unlike the book, it should have had a different title. That’s what I was worried about, that War Of The Worlds would be utterly horrible.'

Then Tom Cruise apologized. What began as a few comments on War Of The Worlds changed. When he criticized Brooke Shields and with all the media coverage of him and Katie Holmes, it was just too much. It was also the reason I didn’t go see Mission: Impossible 3. Now I’ve seen both and was entertained. (M: I 3 was a good action movie, full of stunts and explosions. War Of The Worlds wasn’t quite like the book. It was “modernized” and given a definite cinematic flare. Spielberg’s stamp was deeply imprinted. That’s why I should have seen the movie sooner. I saw them before the apology. I had a copy of War Of The Worlds my brother-in-law gave us. My interest in seeing how like the book it was returned. So we watched it. Mission: Impossible 3 was the in flight movie on our way to Mexico.) Brooke Shields seemed impressed or at least pleasantly surprised by Tom Cruise’s apology. From the clip of her interview on Leno, anyway. I think she definitely deserved an apology. Postpartum depression is a serious issue that women have not talked about in the past and they should. I am glad she spoke out.

I just wonder how contrived this apology was. It was certainly timed well, with the release of his interview with Vanity Fair. Did he do that on purpose? Probably. Should we hold that against him? Probably not. Not if he is actually sorry for his comments. However, my other concern is that he did it just to get some good press. From what I understand, M: I 3 and War Of The Worlds didn’t do as well as hoped at the box office. I’ve seen them and liked them. I would have at least gone to see War Of The Worlds in the theatre if not for the over saturation in the media of Tom Cruise. With good press, maybe more people will go see his films.

Of course, there was all that crazy crap in the tabloids about his daughter being disfigured. I’ve seen the pictures. Suri is a beautiful child. What a horrible thing to say? I can completely sympathize with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes with that.

Mostly, however, this is the cynic in my speaking. The doubter. What were his true motives? He only knows. Brooke Shields seems to be happy with the apology. I suppose that’s good enough. I think I’ll give the next Tom Cruise movie a fair chance. I might even pick up a copy of Vanity Fair.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hansen Photography

Check out this Photo Blog by a fabulous young man I know. Kevin takes some of the most gorgeous pictures!!

Hansen photography

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Art Made With Love

I had to post this picture. It is at my parent’s house the day after the wedding. We’re with our parents, some of our wedding party (the least hungover ones) and a few close relatives. We decided it would be nice to open our presents with some of the people closest to us. (There wasn’t anyone there that we had to fake liking a present to.) It was actually a nice morning/early afternoon. My parents served brunch. We thought it would be a nice way to wind the weekend down and get to talk about everything that happened from the rehearsal to the after party our wedding party apparently had!

I digress. I wanted to talk about this photo. In it, I am holding up a wonderful, handmade card. Created by my talented cousin, Suzanne. It is clear that she took a lot of time in making the card. She drew and coloured all the flowers. (There are some more lovely flowers on the front of the card, but you can’t see them in this photo.) She cut out each of the letters. It’s definitely a mixed media kind of piece. So much care went into the making of the card, you can easily tell. I thought it was so sweet and simply fabulous.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reading The Distinguished Guest

On the last day of the Mexican Portion of the honeymoon, while waiting at Los Cabos International Airport, I dove back into fiction for grown-ups. I started reading The Distinguished Guest by Sue Miller. Honestly, I’d never heard of Sue Miller before. The reason this book is in my possession is because I received it as a birthday gift years ago. It sat on my shelf because I didn’t know who the author was and I wasn’t particularly interested by the description of the story. For some reason, perhaps just the length of time it sat untouched, I chose to bring it with us to Los Cabos.

Slowly, I’ve been inching through it. I forced myself through the first chapter and found myself needing to take a break. I seem to only be able to read a chapter (or less) at a time. It is actually a little irritating. I can usually power through a book. I have to tell myself to put it down. I need sleep, I have things I need to do. Only as I’ve passed page 65, is the story getting somewhat interesting. Perhaps it is just the new character that has been introduced.

The characters are bland so far. Miller tries to make them three dimensional by having them go back to memories of their past. These ‘memories’ are just as flat as the characters are in the present. The physical appearance of the characters are described in detail, but they don’t have that feeling of being real. Maybe there are too many? Maybe it’s that most of the characters are much older than myself (though I’ve never had that be a problem before)? I just haven’t connected with anything or anyone yet. Hopefully the new character helps improve the story.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The ABC Murders

To break up the youthful fiction I seemed to have immersed myself in recently, I decided to read an Agatha Christie mystery. I wanted something a little more adult on the honeymoon… not that we did a whole lot of reading…

Last fall, I read my first Agatha Christie book, Murder On The Orient Express, which I just loved. I thought Hercule Poirot was simply fabulous. He seemed to be such an unassuming man that saw so much. It was true of his investigative role in The ABC Murders as well. His technique was unlike that of the other investigators.

I think The ABC Murders tricks you. It leads the reader to believe one thing, but something completely different is true. Of course, each character plays an important role in the mystery. Otherwise, I doubt Christie would include them. But there is a definite deception being played upon the reader. By the end of the novel, when the answers come to light, it caused me to yell out loud!

If you haven’t read something by Agatha Christie, you should. She was one of the most famed writers of her time. Everyone knows (or should know) who she is, especially if you’re an avid reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the novels I’ve read so far. The problem is, you can’t talk about a particular novel too much with someone who hasn’t read it. Otherwise you end up giving something away. Just remember, watch out for the twist at the end.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Way Forward Is With A Broken Heart (2)

I finished reading Alice Walker’s short story collection waiting in Pearson Airport for our plane to Mexico. I have to say, each story I read in the second half of the book involved one or both of the main characters having an affair. Walker admits that parts of these stories are true. They pertain to the life she had with ‘the husband of her youth.’ Apparently, there was quite a bit of extramarital sex while she was with her husband, on both their parts.

Having just been married myself, I’m not sure how I feel about these stories. They were well written. They were easy to read. Besides the story I mentioned in a previous post, Olive Oil, I don’t know if I really enjoyed any of these stories. I was constantly thinking, how could s/he do that? The repeated affairs just seemed crazy. It was, perhaps, a symptom of a failing marriage. Yet they stayed together for a long time.

It was a good collection. If you like Alice Walker, definitely read it. Just don’t expect the stories to end with the heroine and her hero walking off into the sunset.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Books 8-12

The Hostile Hospital
The Carnivorous Carnival
The Slippery Slope
The Grim Grotto
The Penultimate Peril

As I said, the honeymoon is over… While on this ultimate vacation, I read the final five books by Lemony Snicket. They were just as fun as the previous seven. They were the perfect poolside read. Unfortunate Events just kept happening to the Baudelaires. Mystery after mystery pilled upon themselves.

The Hostile Hospital certainly showed the resilience of the Baudelaire children. By the time they reach Heimlich Hospital, the three children are all alone. They are cold and starving. You feel sad for Violet, Klaus and Sunny. They’ve come so far and still have so far to go.

Sitting cold and alone, you see how resilient these children are. They discover what they need and begin their search for it. It is the first time you really see these children, who clearly age and mature, endure a moral dilemma. By the end of the book, the Baudelaires doubt their actions. Again, the story is full of adults who are just unable to help them.

The downward spiral continues with The Carnivorous Carnival. The Baudelaire children have their first experience with disguises. Throughout the stories, the children can’t believe that the adults were fooled by Count Olaf’s disguises. They don’t believe their own disguises will work, even with what happened at the hospital. They try anyway and discover that no one recognizes them. Somehow it speaks about how unobservant adults can be and how children notice everything.

The Carnivorous Carnival ends sadly. Near the end of the story, the children make a discovery. They feel so close to getting the answers that they’ve desperately been seeking. They find an adult, who appears villainous, but they believe that she can be noble again. They are so close to the truth. Again, the adult in their lives fail them. For this betrayal, they meet a wicked end. But the children do something wicked too. Something they thought they would never do. Did they have to? Violet and Klaus believe so, but doubt lingers.

In The Slippery Slope the children find themselves separated. They have never been apart before. It is very disconcerting for them. Since that first frightful day on Briny Beach, the children have not been apart for more than a few hours (while in some horrid school or performing some ghastly job). There is only one thing they can do. The children work to bring themselves together again.

The implausibility of the stories continues. The tasks Sunny performs defy reason. There is no way a baby or even a toddler could do the things she does… Well, maybe… But an adult would never ask for these things, even villainous adults. The situations are so incredible, it’s silly.

Watch out for a little warming of the heart from the eldest Baudelaire on this icy mountaintop…

In book the 11th, The Grim Grotto, the children mature even more. It is Klaus’s turn to meet someone who touches his heart. The children end up drifting away from what they thought would be the source of their answers. Now, they don’t know where they are going. Where they end up lands them with more questions.

Again, we find another adult who refuses to tell the children what they need to know. If only someone would stop all this madness and tell the children the truth about their parents, the past, present and future, then they might actually be all right. Instead, these things are pushed aside because they are too young to hear such things.

Violet, Klaus and Sunny find themselves betrayed yet again. Someone they trusted turns out villainous. This heinous act of betrayal nearly kills one of the children. Even when redemption presents itself, the children are again failed by the people they look too. By the end of the story, the children make a decision and no one is sure if it was the right one.

The Penultimate Peril leaves you wanting to continue on with the Baudelaires. No matter how angry you might be with them. Once more, you not only question the actions of the adults, but also of the children. The Baudelaires are told by yet another mysterious figure (clearly tied to Lemony Snicket) to trust their own judgment. Can they really? They stare repeatedly into the faces of Frank and Earnest and can’t figure out who is the villain or volunteer.

Adults try. Yet we see that trying is not enough. The adults fail them. Mr. Poe fails them. J. S. fails them. They have no one to turn to. No one to trust. Villains are everywhere. They do the only thing they think they can do. They try to save themselves. We may not agree with their actions, but it is clear what led them to the end of The Penultimate Peril

I really can’t wait for Book The 13th. The Baudelaires may or may not have a happy ending. We have to wait until October the 13th to find out.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Honeymoon Is Over

Tomorrow I return to work. I don’t want to, but I have to. I have really enjoyed this time off. I loved spending these two weeks with my Hubby. It could be just us for months and I would be happy. Our time together was so relaxing. I’m just so happy.

All good things come to an end, as they say… But who says that really? I’m going to remember this feeling forever. All I have to do is think back to the day we were married. The sun shone down on us. We were surrounded by our family and friends. Our reception was one wicked party, if I do say so myself. In those memories my feelings will continue. With the future, a new home down the road, children, my feelings will grow. My life with my Hubby has only just begun and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Mandi's Photos

This is my friend Mandi's Windows Live Space. She has a ton of photos up, including a few from my wedding.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Dress Situation

It’s all under control. Dawn has her dress, though it took an entire day of harassing the bridal store to get it. I have my dress!!! Yay!!! The girls are slowly, but surely picking their dresses up from getting the alterations. Everything is going to be just fine… Well, no one will be naked, at least.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Dress Issues

Will I get in trouble if I use real names? Oh well, we’ll see…

It’s five days to my wedding. Five! I thought all the big stuff was done. On Sunday, I had lunch with my beautiful bridesmaids. Then Lia, on of these lovely ladies, took me to the Elwood Spa and I had a very fabulous pedicure. In general, I had a relaxing weekend and looked forward to a relatively cal week. But, no!

I’m having dress issues. My last bridesmaid’s dress has not arrived yet. I ordered it late, after the four other girls, because of complications with this bridesmaid living overseas. But that doesn’t matter. I asked the bridal store if there would be any problems. They said, no. It’ll arrive at the end of July. Well, it’s the end of July. Where’s the dress? I couldn’t deal with it anymore, so I had Pam (my MoH) calling for me last week and over the weekend. Not what Dawn is in town (the overseas BM) I have her calling too. After that woman brushed me off the phone, I knew that I’d flip out if the next answer I got was the wrong one. So, Dawn will get her dress (fingers crossed) and I will never have to deal with Tiffany’s Bridal again.

Wait. I have more.

I and three of the bridesmaids, at the recommendation of the bridal store, went to a woman named Minda who operates out of her home. They “highly” recommended her. so I, not knowing any better, went with their recommendation. We dropped off our dresses on the 13th of July and still don’t have them back yet (1pm on July 31st). When I got a hold of her on Thursday, she told me they wouldn’t be ready until Monday (today). I told her that I had asked for the 28th or 29th at the latest. She said, no, Monday. I didn’t know what to do, so I called Pam. She call her and got the woman to agree to Sunday. Pam tried to call her again over the weekend, but she didn’t answer. She had no answering machine!! So on Sunday, before our delightful lunch, Pam called again and sat on the phone and let it ring. She let it keep ringing until finally Minda picked up. Of course she said the dresses were NOT ready. Why? Because something came up. The b*$@^ got her way and I don’t get my wedding dress until five days before my wedding!!

Everything will be fine. That’s what I have to tell myself. Everything will be fine…

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Way Forward Is With A Broken Heart

I’m about halfway through a collection of short stories by Alice Walker. I’ve been reading it in between the Lemony Snicket books. The Way Forward Is With A Broken Heart is very emotional. Right now my favourite story in the collection is “Olive Oil.” It is so instinctive and emotional, the relationship between the husband and wife. Trust is put into play. The trust is valued, given easily and taken warily. This marital relationship is tender. By the end of the story it glows.

The sections of the collection I have read, is filled with stories based on a couple, sometimes married, sometimes not. Usually, the couple is interracial, in a time where that was rarely done. Though not always. Each story looks at a different part of the relationship. Sometimes the relationship is new, sometimes it’s on the verge of breaking apart and sometimes it’s already broken. The final story in the collection is the title story. I am looking forward to reading it, to see how the male and female of the story move forward.

The Vile Village

I can’t think of another word more perfect to describe The Vile Village except vile. Not very original, but it fits. These were horrid people. Hector was almost as useless as Jerome. Jerome could never stand up to his wife. Hector could not even look up at the Elders. How horrible!

Some good did finally come out of this story, depending on how you look at it. There is a definite freedom being achieved, not just the obvious freedom of Hector and the Quagmires, but also a small one from the Baudelaires. It doesn’t look like they’re going to have Mr. Poe placing them with even more inept guardians. They’re still children, but as a few first steps are taken, they are slowly growing up.

Now they just need to solve the mystery of their parents’ deaths and the misfortune that plagues their young lives. Somehow it is connected to the “author,” Lemony Snicket. I can’t wait to find out who Jacques was and Beatrice. Craig and I have a few theories, but none of them quite work. We’ve thought that Beatrice might actually be the late Mrs. Baudelaire, but the timeline of her death doesn’t work out. She could also be a future guardian of the children, who dies, as many of their guardians do. Should could also be a late member of the V.F.D. What a great mystery these books create.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Ersatz Elevator

What a horrible story!!! The Ersatz Elevator was excruciating! Again, the Baudelaire orphans are betrayed by people they are supposed to trust. They think that they have finally found a home that they can live in and grow up in until Violet comes of age. Again, they are sadly mistaken.

They were so close to saving the Quagmires. They certainly are in a precarious predicament. Every time the Quagmires about to tell the Baudelaires about the V.F.D. something stops them. I’m sure this secret will tell them all about their parents’ mysterious deaths. It’s very frustrating.

I have to say that the best chapter in possibly the whole series is chapter 10 of The Ersatz Elevator. It was amazing! I yelled out loud. If you can only read one book (besides the first one) read this one. After all they’ve been through; this is just a horrible kick in the butt.

I loved this story. I can’t wait to read The Vile Village. I can only imagine how horrible it will be.

Friday, July 28, 2006

8 Days Until My Wedding!!

Do you know where I will be a week from now? At 8pm on Friday, August 4th, 2006, I will be at my rehearsal dinner. Having just run through my wedding ceremony with the wedding party, our parents and other important people. I can’t wait!! I’m getting married in 8 days. I’m too excited for words!!

People keep asking me if I’m scared. The honest answer is, no. I’m not scared of marriage at all. I am marrying the perfect guy for me. No one else could put up with my craziness… We just fit. That’s all. We compliment each other. Why would I be scared to spend my life with such a wonderful man? I don’t know. I’m sure. There is no fear when you are sure.

The only thing I am “worried” about is other people mucking up my big day. No temper tantrums. Be quiet when people are speaking. Don’t bad talk other people in the room. Don’t fight. Don’t get plastered and throw up on a bridesmaid/groomsman. Just be happy and celebrate the love Craig and I share. If that’s too difficult, don’t come. Honestly, on the big day, I don’t think I’ll notice who’s not there.

I’m actually really excited to give our wedding party their gifts. I’m not going to say more than that, in case one of them actually reads this. I think they are great… I hope they like what we picked out.

I think I’m going to make myself a martini and enjoy the rest of my night!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Joe & Kelly's Wedding Website

This a website friends of mine created to celebrate their wedding. They are getting married just over two months after us. Joe is one of our groomsmen and Kelly has graciously agreed to be our photographer. They are great people and I am happy for them. (Hahaha! I got married first :P)

Joe & Kelly's Wedding Website

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Writers' Circle of Durham Region (WCDR)

Good website. Offers links to real contests, as well as a contest of its own.

The Writers' Circle of Durham Region (WCDR) - Home Page

Wedding Thoughts

I first thought about doing a blog back in the fall. A cousin of mine suggested it to me. What can I say? He was right. If I started it in the fall, maybe it could have been a wedding planning blog too. I’ve certainly had to go through quite a bit planning this production. That’s what a wedding is sometimes, a production. Though, I think it should be a celebration of the love between two people. The opinions of others should not matter. A wedding should reflect the two people who are getting married.

It took a month just to find the right place to get married and have the reception. Getting a caterer was pretty easy. I went to a bridal show with my MoH (Maid of Honour) and there they were. They had the best package deal. When we at the tasting with our parents picking the food couldn’t have gone more smoothly. We all agreed on everything. Something I did not expect. One of the most pleasant surprises in this whole wedding planning process.

The invitations. Well, I’m just not going to talk about that except to say that I loved them.

My ideas for a dress changed so many times, I don’t know how I ended up in what I’m wearing. I love it! It’s gorgeous and I can’t wait to dance around in it. My bridesmaids are going to look dead sexy!! I picked my colour (some call it grape, others call it royal purple, I call it hot!) and then told the girls they could pick whatever dress they wanted, as long as it came in the colour I wanted. That left us with five different dresses, each appropriate for the different body type of each girl. I didn’t want some to look frumpy and others to look great. Seriously, they spend a lot on these dresses. Picking the one they want, there is actually a chance they can wear it again.

Flowers were relatively easy, once we found a florist. I talked to a florist who tried to tell me I would need to spend $1500 on flowers!! Are you kidding?! No way. I still spent more than I wanted to, but I went to a local florist and it was the best decision. It was the decision that made me happy. When we were there, the ideas just flowed and built on each other. Then suddenly, I had a bouquet. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m getting married in a garden and don’t need any flowers for decoration for the ceremony.

The party favours are easy. They just require quite a bit of set up time. After all we have to make over 160 of them.

The seating plan would have been easier if people just told me if they were coming. Come on people. I sent the invites with a self-addressed stamped enveloped. All you had to do was check off the right box and stick it in the mail. How hard is that? It’s really frustrating. Oh well. I’m only doing this once…. Now I just need to make a seating map and decide where the tables are going.
For the most part, it’s been fun. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. This has been such a huge part of my life for the past nine months. What am I going to do when it’s over? Oh right, I’m going to work on my career.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Austere Academy

The Austere Academy was atrocious. Another frustrating story. It is clearly fictitious. No one in the modern world would let a school be run that way. The punishments were just beyond belief. Again Mr. Poe falls short in finding a good place to locate the Baudelaire youngsters.

At least in this story, the Baudelaires found friends their own age. The two Quagmire triplets were wonderful. They were the perfect friends for Violet & Klaus (and even Sunny). They were orphans, who had their own fortune… and misfortune, sadly. It was great to see the Baudelaires interact with people their own age. It was also good to see that they were excited about being in school. They had been pushed from home to home, that school didn’t come up until The Miserable Mill but then it was only mentioned in passing.

Again, the ending was Unfortunate. It left the Baudelaire children feeling another deep loss. At least we didn’t have to live through another death… Though the person Count Olaf replaced is likely dead, there was no ‘death scene.’ It just left you wanting to know what happens next.

I’m itching to read The Ersatz Elevator, but Craig (my wonderful fiancé) is in the middle of it. So I guess I’ll find something else.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Miserable Mill

The Miserable Mill is malicious. How could Mr. Poe think that ‘Sir’ was an appropriate guardian for children? Mr. Poe should definitely do more thorough background checks. It’s so frustrating that all count Olaf has to do to escape is run. No one ever gives chase. When the Baudelaire children have tried, Mr. Poe stops them. They no longer bother to try. Of the four books I’ve read so far, I found this one the most infuriating.

It remains a great story. The Miserable Mill is full of all the things that make Lemony Snicket’s series wonderful. Intelligent children and fun little definitions. The ominous and clear foreshadowing of disaster. Set up for the next story. In no way will this book stop me from reading the rest. It just makes me want to know even more, how the Baudelaires fair in the end.

For an interesting comparison chart of the entire series, check out the Wikipedia entry. Be warned, there are spoilers.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

We (my fiancée and I) saw Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on Monday (his birthday). It was such a fun movie! No wonder that it’s making so much money. The action is great. The sword fight was fabulous. The dialogue was witty and hilarious. Everyone should see this movie… by the looks of things, everyone is.

My only… well, I don’t know if I would call it a complaint… My only negative comment would be that it took a little long for the meat of the plot to get started. There were a lot of things happening, starting out with a tense, exciting beginning. The characters keep moving, but the plot almost transforms into something else. There are definitely a few unexpected surprises. Feelings for certain characters developed during the previous movie change with this one. But only in a way that better serves the story.

So it was great. Really great. On par with the first Pirates movie. I can’t wait for the DVD.

By the way, did you hear a Transformers movie is coming out? That’s fabulous! I love Transformers!

(Wow, I just made myself into a huge dork!)

The Wide Window

Lemony Snicket certainly knows how to create enjoyable stories. The Wide Window was wonderful. At least from a reader’s point of view. Again, some very nasty things happen to the Baudelaire children. Count Olaf is back, of course. Mr. Poe doesn’t listen, naturally. They have a guardian that is less than satisfactory, sadly. The misfortune just keeps coming.

After the wonderful guardianship of Uncle Monty in The Reptile Room, Aunt Josephine is a definite disappointment. She’s a bit crazy… actually, she’s just crazy. Afraid of everything, she has to be rescued by the children! Apparently, she cares more about her own safety than that of her charges, offering them up to Count Olaf in an act of desperation. It does her no good in the end, however. Aunt Josephine is not as reprehensible as count Olaf, but she does leave much to be desired in a guardian.

What does the future hold for the Baudelaires? It’s off to The Miserable Mill for them. After Uncle Monty, I don’t think Violet, Klaus and Sunny will have as nice a guardian, but the children can hope. That’s what the readers of this deftly creative story can do: hope the next is better for the Baudelaires, though they will likely be mistaken.

The Reptile Room

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Definitely a lesson learned in Lemony Snicket’s The Reptile Room. This second Unfortunate Event is every bit as adventurous as the first. It is another story that deals with death on a personal level. I think I see a pattern…

This story frustrated me. In the first story, The Bad Beginning, Olaf declared, “Nobody listens to children.” He does so after his dastardly plan is revealed. One would thing that the adults would have learned to listen to the Baudelaire children. Especially Mr. Poe, since he clearly missed the mark last time. Alas, no. The children try to tell Mr. Poe and Uncle Monty the truth about ‘Stefano’ and fail. The consequences are dire.

Snicket warns the reader that this is coming. He tells you who is going to die and approximately when. It gives the ‘adult’ in the room time to explain a few things about death to their children. The warning is sad though. You spend much of the story waiting for the axe to drop (or something like that.) But off they are going to another home and another adventure.

By the way, I’ve already finished reading The Wide Window.

Did I mention, I love that Violet is the inventor?


I think Wikipedia is wonderful for research. It's a great tool.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Cripple & His Talismans

Simply put, A Cripple & His Talismans is a messed up book. I know “messed up” is not a very literary term, but it fits. The story jumps around from the main story to memories of the character’s past to things that seems to be from a past life. There are also memories and events that I’m not sure were real. You could ascribe it to the mental trauma of losing an arm or you could say there is a mild streak of urban fantasy running through this book. It’s almost surreal. This is definitely not what I would deem a light read.

Initially, you are made to feel sympathy for the main character. After all, he lost his arm. Especially after the impact of the first chapter. Then your feelings change. His memories reveal aspects of his life you did not expect. Do you still sympathize? Do you hate him? Did he get what he deserved?

Anosh Irani did an excellent job. My feelings were so confused after reading this book. Thinking about it now, they still are. It makes it difficult to write about. I definitely enjoyed the book. I recommend it highly, but the faint of heart should be wary. Such a fantastical novel deserves so much more. Maybe I just need some more time to think about it. Maybe I need to read what other people have to say about it. If you like good literature and want to support a young (and fairly handsome) writer, get this book.

The Bad Beginning

I know that I am an adult (more or less). After all, I’m getting married in a few short weeks. I would like to think that more often than not, I make good choices. The books I read often reflect the interests I have. Recently, I found myself reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the First: The Bad Beginning. (A long title, I know.)

Have an open mind; it leads to good choices. I had heard many good things about Lemony Snicket’s series of books, long before the movie came out and I did quite enjoy the movie. It was very entertaining, even though so many bad things happened to the Baudelaire children. Naturally (for me, anyway) I thought, I absolutely have to read these books. Plus, I like knowing what the kids are reading.

The Bad Beginning was a curious ride. Things that seemed to plainly obvious to the children were missed by the adults. The only adult to really understand how intelligent the Baudelaire children were, was Count Olaf. (Isn’t that a great name for a villain?) As much as they try to explain their predicament to Mr. Poe and Justice Strauss, the adults just don’t hear them. Nobody listens to children.

Even when Count Olaf is found out, that does not mean the children get what they want. For a moment, which the author clearly indicates to the reader, you thing that it will be a happy ending. The children will end up in a nice home and Count Olaf will get what he deserves. But if that happened, it would be a ‘series of unfortunate events,’ would it? The children are then set up for the next story.

One thing that did strike me was how educational this book actually is. While the book itself does not have the feeling of being complex (though the story is quite intricate) the author does not shy away from using ‘big words.’ When he uses words that his young readers may not know, he explains their meaning within the context of the story. It seems quite cleaver to me. It teaches the reader without if feeling like a lesson. Some of these little definitions are even a bit funny.

It was definitely a fun book. I read The Bad Beginning in just a couple hours. It’s a great story to read, whether kid or adult. Don’t forget to watch the movie too. Jim Carrey and the young actors are marvelous. This is definitely an enjoyable read.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee in 1960. It was a really enjoyable and easy to read. Many people read this book around the tenth grade (but not me). It was also a best seller in its day as well as a source of controversy. I would expect nothing less.

It is easy to see why many American southerners found this book abhorrent. It paints the south of the 1930s as a place fraught with racism. Racism so ingrained in the populace, there was no other way to think. What better way to see the errors of an old community than through the eyes of a child? Even in Scout we hear her offensive comments. She doesn’t know her words are wrong, but she knows the actions of the county are.

The book is narrated by the androgynous Scout Finch (I loved her tomboy attitude!) and thereby focuses on her and the Finch family. Initially, the story seems to be about the children and their obsession with Boo Radley. The shut-in of legend. The town crazy. The never ending subject of gossip. The meat of the story and the source of controversy creeps in. After all, the source of the problem lies with Atticus Finch and is only revealed to the reader as Scout learns about Macomb’s current events.

I appreciated that the book came full circle. Boo Radley may have disappeared (though he was never actually seen) from a part of the book, but there he was, just at the right moment. He came and fulfilled an almost forgotten childhood fantasy. I think it was a perfect ending to the story.

Though To Kill A Mockingbird is clearly not a happy story, it still left me with a good feeling. People learned from their experiences. There is so much potential for Scout and Jem’s future. The reader sees Atticus Finch, a man from an old southern family, with lots of ‘background’ do the right thing, no matter what. Atticus Finch is a good man.

This is an amazing, emotional novel. If you haven’t read it yet, got get it! Even if you have read it, read it again… It’s definitely worth it.

Memoirs Of A Geisha

Memoirs Of A Geisha was simply fabulous. The story draws you in. Don’t let the length daunt you. I have actually known people who will not read novels longer than 400 pages, especially if the type is small. With this story, it does not matter. You want there to be more words. You want to know everything about Sayuri.

Arthur Golden fools you into believing that Sayuri is a real person. You want to believe that these ‘Memoirs’ are real. I am sure you’ve heard by now that they are not. Our sweet, little Chiyo never existed. If you don’t know at the beginning, Golden tells you plainly at the end. He describes where the story came from and how he came to know the world of Geisha.

Feelings become confused reading this novel. A Geisha isn’t a princess. Her happy ending is not the big wedding and living happily ever after. There is only so much a Geisha can hope for and a fairytale ending is not possible. A Geisha is not a prostitute, though some lesser Geisha have prostituted themselves. Their virginity is also sold to the highest bidder. But that isn’t all. They spend their whole lives training and learning. The good ones may only have sex with a handful of men their whole lives; potentially as few as two.

A Geisha isn’t free. It is rare for one to go off and get married. Being a Geisha is something they are born into or sold into. It is romanticized, but the reality should not be ignored. That is what Golden gives us; a deep look into the real life of Geisha.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Me (Loni)

I like this picture, but I think my left eye is a little squinty.

What I've Read In The Past Year

I am including in this tool of mine, besides my own book reviews, a list of books and literary journals/reviews/magazines I’ve read in the past year, with approximate completion dates. If anyone out there has questions, comments or wants to discuss something, I’m very happy to lend an ear… or eye rather.

July 19th, Le Mariage, Diane Johnson.
August 1st, Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix, J. K. Rowling.
August 2nd, The Mississippi Review.
August 5th, An Inexplicable Story, Josef Skvorecky.
August 11th, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, J. K. Rowling.
August 12th, The Gospel According to the Simpsons.
August 28th, Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood.
October 3rd, Only In London, Hanan Al-Shaiykh.
October 15th, Murder On The Orient Express, Agatha Christie.
November 9th, Miss Silver’s Past, Josef Skvorecky.
November 22nd, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen.
November 23rd, This Matter Of Marriage, Debbie Macomber.
December 27th, Maya, Jostein Gaarder.
December 28th, subTerrain.
January 26th, The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells.
February 4th, Cheet, Anna Davis.
February 14th, The Professor’s House, Willa Cather.
February 18th, Undead and Unappreciated, Mary Janice Davidson.
February 18th, Other Voices.
March 9th, Family Matters, Rohinton Mistry.
March 10th, Antigonish Review
March 22nd, Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations, Alexander McCall Smith.
March 23rd, Geist
March 31st The Europeans, Henry James.
April 15th, The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown.
May 3rd, The Marquise of O- and Other Stories, Heinrich Von Kleist.
May 30th, Insomnia, Stephen King.
June 11th, Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden.
June 21st, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee.
June 22nd, A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket.
June 30th, The Cripple and His Talismans, Anosh Irani.
July 10th, A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room, Lemony Snicket.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The First Post

Good day. I feel a little funny doing this; posting my thoughts on the internet. I thought this over a long while. Did I want to risk someone reading something that they shouldn’t? What would I write about? Would anyone actually read this? Did it matter?

So I came to the decision that I would do this; I would create my own blog. The easy way of solving my first question is: don’t post anything you don’t want read. Simple

I will write about what interests me and what I want to discuss, but need a forum. Right now that is mostly books. I read a lot. Seriously. I keep finishing these fine (and some not so fine) works of fiction, etc. Then I want to talk about them. I want to get my feelings and reactions out. I want responses too. I want someone to say, ‘I agree’ or ‘I disagree’ with a little umph behind it. This blog is going to be my outlet. If no one reads it, that’s okay. Though, I would like at least someone to find this helpful or engaging. But if not, I can live with that. I’m not sure what else I’ll include… likely my own rants on politics, current events, maybe even fashion. We’ll just have to see what the future brings.

Picking a good day to start this was/is important to me. I like creating special occasions and making existing ones even more memorable. Today is the 9th of July, 2006. Yesterday was my parents’ 28th wedding anniversary. Yesterday was also, coincidently, the day of my bachelorette party. Last night, I celebrated the upcoming end of my singledom, on the anniversary of the day my parents ended theirs. It just worked out that way. I had chosen the 8th, because it represented both beginnings and ends. However, I was a little busier than I though last night….

I am full of opinions and observations… I have much to say, but I like to think I can be concise… How concise what this first post? Oy!

Thank you for visiting.