Friday, August 26, 2005

A Birthday for Elvis

Robot Johnny celebrated Elvis Costello's birthday yesterday and included a photo of the two of us and Mr. Costello himself! It was Robot Johnny who introduced me to the wonder that is Elvis Costello and took me to my very first Elvis concert (where the photo was taken by the backstage door). I saw Elvis again this past February in Brighton and it was an amazing show. Check it out!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

While on vacation in Victoria, my days have been full of guilty pleasures. Muffins I shouldn't be eating with my coffee in the morning, doing two crosswords a day, naps in the afternoon - but my guiltiest pleasure is the amount of television that I've been watching. I'm sure that living in a country with only four tv channels for the past year has exacerbated this guilty pleasure, but oh man, I've been watching a lot of shitty tv.

Two shows that I just can't get enough of at the moment are Crossing Jordan and House. I admit that I have a crush on two of the characters in these shows (which I am slotting into the category of guilty pleasure, as opposed to crazy person) - Garrett Macy and Gregory House. Which also means that apparently I have a thing for cantankerous, emotionally unavailable, older men.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Checking Out These Books

Last night the online cooperative library MyBookYourBook was launched. The premise: you pay a small annual fee (which is currently being waived for new members) and agree to donate ten paperbacks to the library. Then you can browse the online library and pick any book you wish you read. The email address of the person who has the book is sent to you, you send them a padded SASE envelope, and the book is sent to you. Five weeks later the book is re-entered into the library catalogue (so you have that long to read it) and you also have to repeat this process for anyone who wants one of your books. Whew. Are you with me?

This system is supposed to bring books you wouldn't normally read to your awareness (or basically - the paperbacks you either never read or abandoned because they were terrible are entered into the catalogue). I do understand this idea, but the brilliant Book Crossing does the same thing and doesn't cost a penny.

Also - MyBookYourBook is only available in the UK at the moment. And I can only see it working there due to the speed of Royal Mail which I blogged about in a previous post. I love anything that promotes books and reading, so three cheers for MyBookYourBook, but my local library is free and just as imaginative. And they have hardcovers.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Queer as Finale Fiasco

Last night the series finale of Queer as Folk aired in Canada and I think it may have topped Seinfeld in any disaster-finale competition. For a series that began as a thought provoking, boundary pushing, sexy as hell show, it ended with the cheesiest whimper you can imagine. Suddenly serious artist Justin saying to the suddenly boring old man Brian: "We don't need vows or rings to prove our love." I'm sorry, what happened to the ecstasy fuelled, fist pumping, no regard for societal rules or expectations attitude? It was replaced by one big, fat lame cliche.

It was as if the FCC suddenly mattered and it turned into a nice, family show. Michael and Ben adopt Hunter, the Human Rights coalition performs a press conference to make us feel warm and fuzzy and they ship the lesbians off to Canada. Or the writers couldn't figure out what the hell to do with other characters, so suddenly at Gay Ski Week, an old flame of Ted's turns up and some high school crush of Emmett's from whichever hick Southern state he's from magically appears and is, also magically, gay.

But don't take it from me. Take it from the lovely voiceover that plagued this episode, closing with the final words:
"So the "thumpa thumpa" continues. It always will. No matter what happens. No matter who's president. As our lady of Disco, the divine Miss Gloria Gaynor has always sung to us: We will survive.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Booker Prize Longlist

The Booker Prize longlist was announced today - a list I always find more intriguing than the shortlist. Not because the longlist will include some daring choices that the judges would never dare promote to the shortlist - they often do make it. But because the longlist will include some old dragon of an author who gets press because of who s/he is, but really the book is boring and I wonder just how much the advance was and if it will pay out. It's usually Martin Amis, but this year it appears to be Ian McEwan. His is the only one of the heavyweight books I have read and was so, so disappointed. I haven't gotten around to reading the Coetzee and Rushdie yet....why is it that just because you have won the Booker before, you have to be nominated for every subsequent book you write? Can anyone tell me if they are really any good?

Two of my summer reading books are on the list, and apparently, I have invoked some envy due to my advance reading copy of On Beauty. Always interesting is the Guardian blog and its take on literary events.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Can You Escape the Crimson Room?

My cousin Dawne sent me a most interesting link today. One that kept me captivated for over an hour until I finally managed to figure it out. Can you escape the Crimson Room?

One hint: remember the number 1994. (I tell you this because the original website on the memorandum which gives you this clue is no longer active.) Good luck!