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Showing posts from March, 2005

50 Books

Partly to check another one off the 101 list, and partly because I can’t think of another damn thing to write about, here is my top 50 books list. Let me reiterate that this is not a list of books that I think should be canonized or passed down to generations not yet imagined, it’s just the 50 books that I dig more than anything else I’ve read. I’ll list them in reverse order, for the sake of suspense. And don’t just scroll down to the bottom and blow the surprise: pre-emptive scrolling makes the baby Jesus cry.

50. East of Eden – Enjoyed this more than any other Steinbeck I’ve read. For the record, this was in my library long before Oprah claimed it.
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Read the book, watched the movie, and saw the play all in the space of about two weeks. I think I enjoyed the book most, but honestly they’ve all become one gelatinous piece of art to me. Might not deserve to be here, but hey, 50’s a lot of books, people.
48. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – If you…

101 in 1001

I’ve resisted this one for a while. As far as I know, this was the guy who started, but let me know if I’m wrong so I can give props where props are due.

The idea is to list 101 things you intend to accomplish within the next 1001 days—that’s just shy of three years for the math impaired among you (like I didn’t just whip out a calculator or anything.) It’s a good length of time to set goals under: long enough to give you a false sense of security, but short enough to set a fire under your ass.

Post Dec 25, 2007 Update: Time's Up. For more info on the failures, click here.

The List - Tasks completed: 65 Actually difficult tasks completed: 15

Read
1. Read Ulysses
21. Read the Motley Crue biography - [Done: 04/17/05 - And I'm better for it.]
23. Read something by Salman Rushdie
24. Find out what the deal is with Ayn Rand
50. Read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - [Done: 10/09/07]

Write
2. Get published, dammit! [Done: 05/10/06 - Vanity published, but still published.]
7. Write four new sto…

As a modern day Samurai, I have some problems with this film

Today, we introduce a new feature that I like to call: Seeing the Movies I’d Always Meant to See. Or SMAMS if you prefer. (Or not. Perhaps a rebranding is due in the next quarter.) It takes a certain kind of movie to make this list—I’ve always meant to see Young Frankenstein, but that’s not quite what we’re talking about here. These are the epics, the feel-bads; the Schindler’s Lists, Mystic Rivers, Seventh Seals; the ones you check out at Blockbuster and think about for three seconds before renting You Got Served instead. The plan is for this feature to show up every other Wednesday. There’s going to be suffering involved here, for me and you, so doing this weekly would be a bit too much to ask.

I hadn’t seen Seven Samurai until today, despite the fact that I’ve owned since October. I also haven’t seen The Magnificent Seven, The Wild Bunch, or any of the other homages or remakes (although if it’s any consolation I have seen Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Seven Rides for …

March 21st - discuss amongst yourselves

Having just watched almost the entire Greatest Canadian series, today’s question became this: who would you nominate for the greatest person from where you live? If you live in Toronto, we’re talking about the Greatest Torontonian; in Cornwall, the Greatest Cornwallian; it could be the Greatest Vancouverite, the Greatest Thai, or the Greatest Afghani. Let me know.

Wherein I am a drunken lout

Today I give you a trifecta of drinking stories all involving the same cast. We’ll title them The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

We were invited to a dinner party at Sarah’s friend Swill’s place. (Swill is her University nickname, which I don’t think I’ve ever used before and didn’t seem so unfortunate until I typed it out just now. But I’ll employ it to cut the confusion of telling a story with two Sarahs.) I didn’t know a lot of people going in, and I’m a little bit on the totally fucking awkward side, so I expected a fairly quiet and lonely night. But then I met Kevin. Kevin was Swill’s new boyfriend, and he seemed like a generally affable guy when we met on the way in—but this turned out to be a bit of an act. No one who knows Kevin would ever describe him as ‘generally affable.’ Kevin’s got rage issues. Kevin is intensely protective about the people he loves. Kevin uses and means the word hate more than anyone I know. But he’s also got crazy charisma. He’s a shit disturber a…

Shoots? Leaves?

Neither, actually. I thought that might be a witty sequence of titles, but then I couldn’t think of anything firearms-related to write about so that’s the end of that. Instead, here’s a half arsed St. Patrick’s Day entry.

If you’re like me, you generally forget about St. Pat’s until about nine at night, and then you’re watching your stories and you’re too lazy to do anything about it. Do I have any Irish in me? Well once, but everyone experiments in college. Actually, we assume that the family came to Newfoundland by way of Ireland but our genealogy gets a little hazy before 1972. I may share the blood of Dutch Albinos for all I know.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day I’ll share some of my best and worst drinking stories. I might even make a short series of it. It’ll air on CBC. I’ll be played by Paul Gross, while the part of Sarah will be played by a digitally resurrected Bruno Gerussi.

Good story – O Snow Day!
I took two years off between high school and University. Why? Long story for…

Eats

As far as the restaurant situation goes, we’ve expanded our eating repertoire over the last two months. Here are a few quick highlights, with the appropriate props. I’ll also be honest and admit that some of these are restaurants we visited a while back but that I’d forgot about. Thanks to everyone for the wave of restaurant tips; it was greatly appreciated.

Azteca – Actually, one of the first restaurants I’d ever been to in Ottawa. Went again yesterday after a two-year hiatus and it looks like they’ve renovated the hell out of the place. I think I preferred the old Azteca, but that may have been my meal’s fault. Never order a meal that the restaurant purports to be ‘an original’ or ‘only available here.’ I had something called Tacos al Pastor, which for all intents and purposes was a pork salad. (Props: Neil & Lorna)

Blue Cactus – A good place; no complaints really (though I guess that says something about my general restaurant pessimism if that’s how I compliment a place). (Props:…

March 14th - discuss amongst yourselves

If your life had a soundtrack, what songs and artists would be featured? And be honest, folks; don't make yourself out to be cooler than you actually are. I know I'd like to say that You Shook Me All Night Long and Running With the Devil would be on my soundtrack, but in truth we all know that the A&W song is more my speed.

I Heart Winter

Oh, actually, NO I DON’T. With every day that goes by, it seems to get colder and colder and it make me want to hurt someone. I want to kneel on some dude’s chest and give him the beating that Edward Norton gave Jared Leto in Fight Club. Why? Because for some reason, THAT’LL MAKE IT NOT WINTER ANYMORE. We had that fake Spring, and then Superman must have spun around the world backwards or something because now it’s mid-January again. And I seem to be going through the five stages of grief in reverse, I was accepting, I passed through fear and denial, and now I’m in the stage that involves great flaming anger.

When my brother, my cousin and I were in grade school, we would spend mornings and lunches at my Nanny’s house, and whenever it was raining or about to rain my grandmother did this thing. She would place a statue of some saint (it’s lost to me who), and this saint was supposed to keep away the rain. At the time, it was sweet and it made us feel all loved and stuff, but it was only…

Here's a little song for everybody out there

The song Crazy Nights has gotten a lot of mileage here of late. I can’t say why for sure. It was just one of those songs I hadn’t thought of for about ten years that suddenly came back to me one day. Cultural bits from childhood crack me up; you store up the memories of what songs you liked, or what shows you thought were cool, and until you’re physically confronted with them again you tend to maintain those classifications (i.e. Crazy Nights: rocked pretty hard; The A-Team: crack squad of commandos I’d like at my back.)

Last week, I listened to Crazy Nights for the first time in a long while. (Amazon.ca tells me the song is actually titled Crazy, Crazy Nights, but I refuse to call it that except for just that once. Apparently KISS had discovered the advanced literary device known as ‘repetition’ on this album. Other songs include No, No, No, and Bang Bang You. Seriously.) I knew the song wouldn’t be as good as I remembered, but Jesus H is it ever godawful. Go, download it. You owe it…

Bad Photo or Art Part Two

What to say about this one? They couldn’t have meant to take the picture at that particular point in time. It’s too intimate, too well-framed. Between genius and incompetence, I’m leaning towards genius on this one.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Or at least when I’m sufficiently tired.

Growing up, fiction and TV gave me romantic notions about a lot of dumb shit. Take alcoholism, for example. Now I never thought full-blown drinking yourself to death in Vegas was where it’s at, but I always liked the idea of being a hard-drinking guy; someone you don’t want to go drink for drink with. I’m similarly compelled by insomnia. There were people I went to school with that endured awful sleep issues, who had totally screwed up their circadian rhythms, and I would think that must be the coolest! Up all night watching bad TV or walking the streets. I’m wasting so much usable time!

Being a workaholic is another thing that seemed cool to me. These guys you hear about who work seventy hour weeks—-it always sounded so noble. But then again, stoic behavior of any kind generally gives guys wood. Regardless, these dumb ideas I’ve had are dying one by one, and this past week I was able to strangle all the romantic notions I’ve ever had about workaholism.

I don’t talk about my jo…

Winter 2: Electric Boogaloo

This is where we were just over four months ago:





And here's where we are right now:


Damn you, two week Spring-like tease!