Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sarah's Best of 2006

Personal Highlights
1) Moving Back to London. The city where it is impossible to be bored.
2) Wandering alone through the Hermitage.
3) Catching both Wimbledon and the US Open.
4) Friday Night Club with the girls. Life is too short for house wine.
5) Hugging Camels in Dubai.

Honourable Mentions
1) A summer of sport - NHL playoffs after not seeing them for two years and the World Cup to boot. Many raucous afternoons and evenings in the pub.
2) Two weeks in January in Hawaii.

1) Volver
2) Little Miss Sunshine
3) Half Nelson
4) The Queen
5) Shortbus

Honourable Mentions
1) The Devil Wears Prada
2) An Inconvenient Truth

Books (Read, but not necessarily published in 2006)
1) Kafka On the Shore by Haruki Murakami
2) Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
3) The Nightwatch by Sarah Waters
4) Airstream Land Yacht by Ken Babstock
5) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Honourable Mentions
1) The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
2) Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill

Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 in Cities

Criteria is any city you overnighted in during the past calendar year, minus your hometown, of course. (Which for me included both London and Toronto this year.)

Dubai, UAE
St. Petersburg, Russia
Hamilton, Bermuda
Kona, Hawaii
New York, NY
Vancouver, BC
Victoria, BC

Not as many as last year but some goodies in Russia and the Middle East. And three more cities are already booked for the first few weeks of the New Year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Holiday Read 2006

It was supposed to be a much shorter list than last year due to the amount of school work I have to get through before flying back to the UK. But I'm currently tearing through some great fiction at the moment.

Lullabies For Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Everything You Know by Zoe Heller
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Recovery

When I was thirteen years old, Boxing Day seemed like the best day of the year. Frenetic shopping with gift certificates received the previous day ensued. And now Boxing Day seems like the best day of the year again. I'm not leaving the house and am curled up with books and Turner Classic Movies and the start of the World Junior Hockey Tournament. It certainly has been a great few days leading up to Christmas. Connecting with so many friends in Vancouver that I haven't seen in awhile, including all the girls who showed up to my ten year high school reunion. Riding the ferry back to Victoria, Santa appeared and handed out candy canes to the kids. This little girl sitting in front of me, maybe four years old, turned to her mother with this terribly serious look on her face and asked, "Is Rudolph down with the cars?"

Best Christmas gifts received this year? Tickets to see David Hare's play Amy's View next month. And from my dear friend who is an ND, an extensive naturopathic regime for a healthy New Year, complete with supplements. I shudder to think how much this would have cost me! (Thanks B!)

Monday, December 25, 2006

West Coast Christmas

Christmas morning here on the West Coast. A calm ocean, unlike yesterday, with a lone merganser paddling by. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tony Soprano Is Everywhere

Do you find that your television watching world tends to seep into your real world? Maybe this happens to me because I tend to download a bunch of episodes of a specific show and watch them all at once - I'm kind of an addict this way. Recently I have been watching copious amounts of The Sopranos. Then yesterday, this is the scene:

The kitchen of my parents' house. My mother is watching an e-card on her computer. I am pouring a cup of coffee.
Sound of jingling bells and galloping horses from the computer. And then the sound of gunshots.

Sarah: Are they shooting the horses?
Mom: No, that would be the twelve drummers drumming, Sarah.
Sarah: Oh.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fortune Cookie Denial

I went to a friend's birthday party on Friday night. Someone had made her fortune cookies. This was my fortune. I vehemently deny this.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Blogging From the West Coast

I arrived on the West Coast yesterday. I think Air Canada has some serious hate on for me. After the Heathrow kafuffle, I was expecting some smooth flying yesterday. But there were delays and cancellations and flying standby and then even though I got to Victoria hours late, my suitcase didn't arrive for a further seven hours. No flying for three weeks now makes me a happy camper.

In Toronto a couple of days ago, I met a fellow blogger. As in, I "met" this person through our blogs and had never actually "met" her until this past week. After getting over feeling like it was a blind date, I had a wonderful time. Hilare is just as great in person as she is on the interweb.

This morning I was up early due to jetlag and volunteered to do some groceries for my mother. The shopping list contained the usual suspects and also 2 straight bananas. I have missed my mother.

My only task today is to ice a batch of Christmas cookies. My only task tomorrow is to decorate the Christmas tree and show photographs of Dubai to my grandparents. Lovely.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All About the Holidays

As I took the train back to London after my last meeting with my thesis advisor before the holidays, I cranked up some Bing Crosby Christmas tunes on my ipod. Then I caught myself looking for postmodern metaphors in White Christmas and realized that it was certainly time for a vacation.

One transatlantic flight later (imagine long tirade about Air Canada inserted here...but why waste the energy by actually writing it down) and I arrived to a big hug by my doorman and a dozen beautiful roses from my neighbours sitting in my loft. Slowly catching up with my North American television and have been dealt with by my team. My team, you ask? Hair stylist, pedicurist, get the gist. Ahhhh.

Festive cheer with Canadian friends? Loving it. Christmas shopping? Done. Bring on the holiday. Bring it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Book Meme

I've been tagged by John. An interesting one. And I was actually pulling this book out of my suitcase when the tag alert popped up on my computer screen.

• Grab the book closest to you
• Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence
• Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog
• Name of the book and the author
• Tag three people

"Stieglitz's name for the cloud studies he did in the late 1920s - "Equivalents," that is, statements of his inner feelings - is another, soberer instance of the persistent effort of photographers to feature the benevolent character of picture-taking and discount its predatory implications. What talented photographers do cannot of course be characterized either as simply predatory or as simply, and essentially, benevolent. Photography is the paradigm of an inherently equivocal connection between self and world - its version of the ideology of realism sometimes dictating an effacement of the self in relation to the world, sometimes authorizing an aggressive relation to the world which celebrates the self."

- On Photography, Susan Sontag, 1973

Just too tired after my transatlantic flight to tag three people, so I tag YOU! Yes you reader!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Borough Market

Yesterday I spent much of the afternoon at the Borough Market. It was one of those times when I wished that photographs came with a "scent option" - the smells at the market were incredible. Cheeses, olives and various marinades, fresh fish and game, burnt espresso, curry simmering in huge vats for people to taste, and all mixed with the curiously pleasing odour of garlic and mulled wine.

I managed to get past the fudge stall without buying anything, but when I walked past the brownie tower (photo below) it was game over. And god, was it a good brownie. There was also a large red deer (headless) for £200 but however would I have carried it home?

Brownie Tower Bunnies

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Three Brief Reviews

My cultural leanings of the past week:

David Hockney Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. Brilliant. While the large, bright canvas portraits were great, I actually prefered the informal ink on paper portratis of Hockney's lover. There is something about art so simple and sparse, yet inherently fluid that gets me. It's the same with the prose of writers like Ondaatje and Berger. Nothing extraneous to clog up the essence of a work.

The Isabelle Huppert season is on at the National Film Theatre. Last night I saw the stark portrait of a collapsing relationship - La Séparation. Also brilliant. And again, nothing extraneous in the filming of incredibly intense emotions. Such a relief to see a film that is so unHollywood.

Drunk Enough to Say I Love You at the Royal Court Theatre. Nowhere close to brilliant. My own prejudice perhaps as I don't particularly like Caryl Churchill's work. But an evening at the Royal Court, housing one of my favourite bars in the city, to celebrate the completion of my thesis chapter was welcome in any event.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Things I Currently Love v.3

1. Care packages from friends. Today's included a gorgeous O'Henry Bar that will be saved for a special occasion. This will likely be next weekend's viewing of the latest downloaded episode of Grey's Anatomy.

2. Speaking of Grey's Anatomy, remember that episode from the first season where Izzie went Christmas crazy and irritated everyone else? That is me (already established here). I couldn't wait any longer and put up my very cute Christmas tree, over my equally cute London flat fireplace.

3. The never-ending chapter of my thesis that I have been working on all term will be finished and handed into my supervisor tomorrow. I have become positively paralytic while writing it, so I can already sense the wave of euphoria that will hit tomorrow.

4. I stayed at a friend's place in Kent over the weekend. I woke up to the noise of massive kitchen activity on Sunday morning and when I investigated, I encountered my apron-clad and flour covered friend shouting, "Pancakes! Canadian pancakes!" What a thoughtful treat - complete with maple syrup to boot.

5. More travel planning? Yes! Weekend in Bilbao at the end of January has been booked. One more museum to tick off on my quest for the Guggenheim Grand Slam. (New York, Venice done. Bilbao in January, and hopefully Berlin in March. Hooray!)

UPDATE: Who am I kidding? I've already eaten the O'Henry Bar.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

893 Days...Tim Harvey Arrives Home

I blogged previously about Tim Harvey's amazing journey from Vancouver to Vancouver by zero-emission means. After 893 days, he finally cycled into Vancouver, completing his two and a half year adventure around the world.
If you can't wait until his book about the journey is published next year, you can catch up with tales from his inspiring trip on his website. Congratulations Tim!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Word Meme

Taken from the wonderful blogger Hilaire.

You can only type one word. No explanations.

1. Yourself: Absorbent

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: Imaginary

3. Your hair: Ponytail

4. Your mother: Brilliant

5. Your Father: Gentleman

6. Your Favorite Item: MacBook

7. Your dream last night: Airport

8. Your Favorite drink: Blanc

9. Your Dream Car: Jaguar

10. The room you are in: Bright

11. Your Ex: Unspoken

12. Your fear: Loss

13. What you want to be in 10 years: Connected

14. Who you hung out with last night: Bryn

15. What You're Not: Uninvolved

16. Muffins: Lettieri

17: One of Your Wish List Items: Cambodia

18: Time: Considered

19. The Last Thing You Did: Sneezed

20. What You Are Wearing: Exhaustion

21. Your Favorite Weather: Crisp

22. Your Favorite Book: Dalloway

23. The Last Thing You Ate: Croissant

24. Your Life: Unbelievable

25. Your Mood: Centered

26. Your best friend(s): Hilarity

27. What are you thinking about right now: Thesis

28. Your car: Unnecessary

29. What are you doing at the moment: Procrastinating

30. Your summer: Purpose

31. Your relationship status: Irrelevant

32. What is on your tv: Blair

33. What is the weather like: Windy

34. When is the last time you laughed: Yesterday (And I'm breaking the rule here. With ferocity and tears.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Death, Style & Champagne Cocktails

My beloved five year old iBook died on Wednesday. Everyone has told me that I should expect one computer crisis during the tenure of my PhD. Oh god, I hope that this is it. I am obsessive about backing up my work, so I didn't lose anything of importance, but most of my notes about the film chapter I'm currently writing correspond to the digital clock on my laptop DVD player. So I have had to spend hours fast forwarding and rewinding DVD's on my television to find specific scenes over the past few days. Tiresome. But...I have purchased the new, gorgeous MacBook. Refusing to buy one with a UK plug, I have to wait for my Canadian laptop to be Fed Exed to me, so it should be a few more days until it arrives.

One of the best things in my life right now is Friday Night Club. FNC consists of me and three fabulous girlfriends who go out together most Friday nights and lose ourselves in cocktails, bottles of expensive wine, great Thai food and endless gossip and celebrity conjecture. (We are very sad about Reese. We are thrilled for Britney.) This past Friday was particularly welcome for my computer-induced bad mood and I discovered that throwing back £15 champagne cocktails at the Savoy will cure anything.

And the best part of my weekend after FNC is the Sunday Times Style Magazine. I'm sorry - the latest couture and high street fashion, beauty tips, snarky gossip, interior design gorgeousness, delicious recipes, wine advice, and horoscopes all in one place? Serious love. And even better when like this morning, as I'm still lying in bed debating the pros and cons of getting up, a friend texts to tell me I'll love a specific article in Style. I got up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Photographs from the Middle East

Here are the best of my Dubai photos. You'll notice four distinct areas that we visited - they even seem to have different colour hues and tones in the photographs. The opulence and wealth of the Jumeriah Beach end of Dubai where the Burj Al Arab is located and the over-the-top spectacle of the Mall of the Emirates contrasted with the traditional Arabic feel of the spice souq and the sparse beauty of the desert.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The New Rothko Room

Yesterday I spent much of the afternoon in the Tate Modern, checking out the renovated galleries. I was a little worried about how they would deal with the Rothko room, but the new home for these paintings is absolutely brilliant. When I was a Masters student at Kings College London in 2000, the Rothko room was my refuge. I would often visit the gallery about twenty minutes before it closed and head straight for the Rothkos where I could sit alone and in silence between the huge canvases.

The new room is smaller, which is originally the size of space Rothko intended for these works, and the walls are painted the perfect complimentary light grey hue. Now the paintings seem to ooze out of the walls and if you sit there long enough, the paint seems to ooze out of the canvas as well. In this wonderful article about the new room by John Banville, he describes this effect as the colours seeping "up through the canvas like new blood through a bandage in which old blood has already dried. The violence of these images is hardly tolerable." Yet, I could sit in this room for hours - losing myself in these paintings or having the paintings disappear into me.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Buy a Diamond, Get a Free Pepsi!

As noted in the last post, my five days in Dubai were mind blowing. I've travelled to a lot of places around the world, and I think Dubai is possibly the most unique city of the bunch. The mix of traditional Arabian life next to staggering wealth and more skyscraper construction sites than I have ever seen, a huge desert still inhabited by Bedouin next to a gorgeous turquoise ocean and a bustling sea port.

Some highlights were visiting the Spice Souq, a safari out into the desert, haggling over prices for the cheapest designer bags that made me wish I had brought a bigger suitcase, lunch on a pier several hundred metres into the Persian Gulf with stunning views of the Burj Al Arab, and the infamous Gold Souq.

The Gold Souq was something else - we went at night and hundreds of stores selling pearls, diamonds, and every kind of gold you can think of that is weighed right in front of you was on offer. Indian brides were shopping for wedding and dowry jewellery, women clothed in the niqab were buying handfuls of diamonds, and little me was bargaining over a simple, yet gorgeous, white gold and diamond ring. When we eventually agreed to a price (ridiculously cheap...just amazing) the storekeeper insisted on finding me a pepsi. Not entirely sure why...because I was North American and he assumed I would want a pepsi? But it turned into this complete farce as he was yelling at his colleague to find me a pepsi, which I didn't even want, but have now actually brought all the way back to London. It turned into the slogan of the evening (photo above): Buy a Diamond, Get a Free Pepsi!

The desert safari was spectacular. We went dune bashing, which generally would not be my thing, but turned out to be a blast. We went to a camel souq where I met the little fellow below, and later in the evening I rode one. I also smoked a sheesha, but that's another story.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back From Dubai

Utterly exhausted and still in awe of a mind blowing trip. More tales from the Middle East and photos when I recover from the 3am departure time of last night's long flight.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Voyage Round My Father

During the summer I had wanted to see A Voyage Round My Father, which was playing at one of my favourite theatres - the Donmar Warehouse. However, the run was completely sold out and I left London disappointed. As luck (and demand) would have it, the play transferred with the same cast to the West End and I was able to see a performance last night.

The play is essentially John Mortimer's autobiographical account of his relationship with his cantankerous father, played by one of the remaining British stage legends I had yet to see - Sir Derek Jacobi. The Times review summed it up quite well by describing the play as a touching confession of posthumous love. The play itself was sporadically brilliant (but what is consistently brilliant, really?) and had some killer lines in it. But the best part of the evening was watching Derek Jacobi who was breathtakingly good. I actually feel honoured to have seen him perform and I don't say that very often.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Fulham First

Last night I went to my very first Premiership football match. I have adopted Fulham as my local team. It was either Fulham or Chelsea, and I opted for the underdog. This harkens back to the late 80's when I started going to Vancouver Canucks games and they couldn't win a thing. The shock of a win induced an unbelievable euphoria - like last night as we won 2-1.

Some small observations: the pitch is much smaller in reality than it is on television; the smell of the freshly cut grass was wonderful (and then rudely interrupted by the scent of cooking sausages being prepared for half time); and apart from one particularly crass and unmistakable refrain, I cannot comprehend football chants. But admittedly, the best part of the evening was discovering that the Fulham mascot is....a badger. Those of you who know about my well-established badger obsession will understand (and probably wonder at) my excitement.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Things I Currently Love v.2

Listening to Toronto Maple Leafs games on my computer as I'm falling asleep. Even lying in bed, I thrust my fist into the air every time they score.

How I shocked the bejesus out of a woman on the tube today. Standing on the platform, I said: You're from BC. She stared at me: How on earth did you know that? I explained that when she opened she wallet to retrieve her ticket, I had seen her BC drivers license. In the hot, teeming tube station, we smiled at each other with the secret knowledge that we were both from the most beautiful place on this planet.

That Arthur, my new aloe vera plant purchased yesterday, came with instructions that said: In winter, reduce watering to nil. It's like a kill-proof plant.

The look on my father's I-just-got-off-a-ten-hour-flight face when I surprised him at the Heathrow Express this afternoon. If I can't visit home, the next best thing is home visiting me.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thanksgiving and Thanks for BitTorrent

This week I experienced my last first-day-of-school. I used to love this day - new teachers, new classes, seeing friends again, new resolutions. But now I'm just kind of tired. Sure, I enjoyed the school supply shopping, but after 23 first-days-of-school (Montessori through PhD) I'm just about done now. I had my schedule for this year's work approved by my supervisor and to see the actual end in sight is an enormous relief.

I'm flying to Toronto tomorrow for Thanksgiving weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing friends and sleeping in my big queen-sized bed and drinking real filter coffee, but what am I the most excited about? The beginning of the hockey season and the baseball playoffs which are now in full swing.

I acquired a reader's pass to the British Library and have been working there over the past couple of weeks. Imagine a huge room full of at least 200 desks, each one a large size, with comfortable chair and individual light....and a little signal light that flashes when the books you have ordered are ready to be collected. And the best part - even a sneeze will induce looks of death from the silent masses. You really could hear a pin drop in there and I love it.

I have been faithfully downloading the American tv that I can't get over here. Hello Amazing Race. Hello Grey's Anatomy. While it will be nice to watch these shows in real time when I'm in Toronto over the next few days, there is something comforting about crawling into bed with my laptop, turning off the light and having a flickering screen of illegal images send me to sleep.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Kandinsky at the Tate

Yesterday I went to see Kandinsky: The Path to Abstraction at the Tate Modern. I'll tell you what was abstracting - me, after dealing with the enormous crowd in the gallery. I went with the same friend who toured the Hermitage with me, and it wasn't exactly the same treatment.

I wasn't particularly enthused about the show, but this may have been partly due to the mistake of going to an exhibit on a Sunday afternoon and partly that I'm not hugely fond of Kandinsky's work. (Though I will say that, as per usual, the Tate Modern did a fantastic job of acquiring such an enormous volume and wide range of works.) It isn't that I don't get what Kandinsky was trying to do with abstraction, but it eliminates a lot of the individuality of each painting for me. Then again, this theory should purport that I feel the same about Rothko's work, but I don't. My friend perhaps said it best: (As we both stared at a painting in front of us), "God, that's the perfect visualization of how I feel when I'm nauseated."

A few years ago, I had to buy a card for someone important to me at really short notice. I dashed into a corner store and had to pick something that didn't have flowers or a cheesy greeting on it. The only banal, yet colourful one that fit this category was a Kandinsky print. I found myself walking around the exhibit yesterday thinking more about this person than about the paintings on the wall. What does this say about Kandinsky? What does this say about me?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Comic Relief with Mom

Hunting for a flat and dealing with the British way of doing so is super stressful. My mom, thankfully accompanying me during this task, is comic relief.

Mom: The flat we're going to see today is right next to the Natural History Museum.
Me: Oh.
Mom: You've been there.
Me: No I haven't.
Mom: Yes you have. I took you there when we came to London during that Spring Break.
Me: I was seven.
Mom: Well, we should go again. They have great animals there.
Me: Animals? In the museum? (Pause) Are they dead?
Mom: Well, yes. But they're really nicely stuffed.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hopping The Pond

I'm sitting in my loft, it's late, and I'm trying to get my head around the fact that I'm moving to London tomorrow. The 17 pound bag of articles and files that I'll be carrying on the plane with me tomorrow is helping. But my Zoodles and Swiss Chalet sauce packets and nalgene water bottle are packed and I'm surprisingly ready to go. Posting here will most likely be sparse as I deal with this whole homelessness issue. As in, my homelessness. Until then....cheers!

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Perfect Day

It was pretty much the perfect New York day on Wednesday. A deli bagel breakfast, shopping on Fifth Avenue where I bought a gorgeous suit, lunch in the lobby bar at the Four Seasons, an afternoon in MOMA and then an entire evening watching tennis at the US Open.

From our front row seats we saw both Sharapova and Roddick's matches, the hottest couple on the circuit at the moment. (Reading the The New York Times this morning, it referred to them as "Rodapova". God, I'm sick of the name fusion fad.) Roddick looked very good, so much so that I'm picking him to win the men's title. And I'm going for a wildcard for the women's and taking Serena. I was prediction perfect last year.

But the highlight of this year's event for me happened before the matches even started. I was wandering by the practice courts, which are covered in mesh netting, though you can peek through the cracks in the fence to watch. A guy was standing there peeking through and I asked him who was practicing. "Connors and McEnroe," he said. I snorted with laughter. Except that he wasn't kidding. So I watched these legends fool around on the court together for about ten minutes - something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime again. Photos taken on Wednesday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

(And as I have just been standing and pacing for the past 35 minutes in my loft watching Agassi play such an unbelievable and nail-biting match, I can't even imagine what I would have been like if I'd been there. Vomiting, probably.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Agassi's Final Bow

One of my favourite, quirky possessions is a tennis ball from the US Open 2002 Final, widely considered a classic match. It was here that Sampras beat Agassi to win his 14th slam and he retired soon afterwards.

Tomorrow I fly to New York for the Open where Agassi will be playing in his last tournament before retiring himself. I feel so fortunate to have seen Agassi, not only in the prime of his career, but at every slam I've attended. Maybe I'm his good luck charm and he doesn't even know it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dubai Bound

I'm beginning to feel a little stressed. I'm moving continents in two weeks, I don't have anywhere to live when I get there, and I have to complete an enormous amount of work on my thesis as soon as I arrive. There are no clear surfaces in my loft - everything is covered in chapter drafts and academic articles and books. Upstairs my floor is a mound of clothes and shoes and bags that I'm trying to fit into two suitcases. Today I dropped $100 at the drugstore on things I can't get in the UK.

While waking up at 2am and having my mind race with things I have to do is not an unusual phenomenon, I'm looking ahead at my calendar and not seeing an end to the stress. What to do? Well, create my own end to the stress, of course! So tonight I booked a five day trip to Dubai at the end of October with my favourite travelling companion. Now while I'm whirling in the chaos of moving and working, I can dream about lying on the beach and getting lost in the souq.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Ultimate Stones Mix

The BBC announced that (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction is the UK's favourite Rolling Stones song. Predictable. Having seen the Stones in concert four times and owning every Stones album made before 1981 (not to say that the albums post-Tattoo You aren't worth listening to, but they aren't exactly rush-out-to-purchase records) I am often asked to make Stones mix albums for friends. And I don't even put (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction on these mixes. You Can't Always Get What You Want is the best Stones song but I will say that the poll's finding of Sticky Fingers as the best album isn't a bad choice. Want the best Stones mix album? Here it is:

1. Brown Sugar
2. You Can't Always Get What You Want
3. Gimme Shelter
4. 19th Nervous Breakdown
5. Sympathy For The Devil
6. Midnight Rambler (live - from Hot Rocks)
7. Under My Thumb
8. Wild Horses
9. Angie
10.Tumbling Dice
11. Happy
12. Can You Hear Me Knocking
13. Miss You
14. Emotional Rescue
15. Shine A Light

Saturday, August 12, 2006

4:48 Psychosis

Tonight I saw the Sarah Kane play 4:48 Psychosis at the Summerworks Theatre Festival. I first encountered the work of Sarah Kane in 2000 during a theatre course in my MA program at Kings College London. In 2001, the Royal Court Theatre ran a season of Sarah Kane's work and I saw almost all her plays here, including 4:48 Psychosis. It was one of the most riveting moments of my life - I did not realize I was crying until the lights came up and I was overwhelmed by the rawness and emotion and beauty of such a stunning piece of theatre. In a sentence, the play is a chaotic meditation on the disintegration of the mind from mental illness.

The play is almost like a long poem, and I suppose can be interpreted in a few different ways. But the way this director interpreted the play was just...terrible. The original production had three actors who assumed various roles (patient, doctor, witness) and rotated as such. But the Summerworks performance had the actors take specific roles which they maintained throughout the play - patient, doctor, and the witness that was portrayed as some kind of blood soaked zombie. By assuming static roles and having tremendously long monologues throughout, the intentional chaos of the play wasn't communicated at all. The play was also overacted, sometimes embarrassedly so, and this stripped the beauty out of Kane's words.

The Royal Court performance made wonderful use of props and lighting - a large mirror was hung on a slant above the stage, which reflected a second mirror that lay on the stage. As one actor counted the serial sevens, another wrote the numbers on the mirror - but backwards, so the hanging mirror displayed the numbers in the correct form. It was a beautiful portrayal of the delicate nature of chaos. Tonight's performance, on the other hand, had a transparent plastic curtain smeared with fake blood and a handheld flashlight. Sigh. I won't go as far to say that this performance was a disservice to Kane's work, but it was appallingly disappointing. For a better idea of how brilliant the Royal Court performance was, here is a review of it.

I wanted to quote some of 4:48 Psychosis here and have spent over an hour trying to choose a passage. I could just reprint the entire play, but in the end I chose this:

Sometimes I turn around and catch the smell of you and I cannot go on I cannot fucking go on without expressing this terrible so fucking awful physical aching fucking longing I have for you. And I cannot believe that I can feel this for you and you feel nothing. Do you feel nothing?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Tennis Snob No More

I realize that I'm a bit of a tennis snob. I fly to Wimbledon and the US Open every year (not to mention the other tennis tournaments that I haul myself onto a plane for) and though I'm generally in Toronto in August, I never go to the Rogers Cup. It's not as if this is some hick Canadian tournament - it's an ATP Masters Series event with the best players in the world competing for a purse of $2.45 million US.

It was a fun night - especially as I got to explain the entire game of tennis to the friend who accompanied me (and scored the tickets). There was a brief moment of utter hilarity when a racket was referred to as a bat but apart from that, I realized that I would make a killer tennis announcer. York University is in the middle of nowhere and frankly, was an ugly, scary place to be. But I was impressed with the main stadium of the Rexall Centre - it was like a cute, mini version of Arthur Ashe Stadium. We watched both Federer and Hewitt win their matches, but my prediction right now? Nadal takes it.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Now I May Address You

I have been hunting for months for a new address book. My travels over the past little while have been complicated by sheets of paper with addresses on them, that I then lose and have to rewrite for the next trip. And with my impending move to London in a few weeks time, my hunt was taking on a slight tone of desperation.

You see, I'm pretty particular about the kind of address book I use. It has to be small, but not tiny - just a little smaller than postcard size. It has to be divided into A-Z pages, but not have columns on the actual pages. And ideally, it has to close with a band like moleskines do. And behold, I found it today in the brilliant little bookstore Type on Queen West.

Why am I so anal about these things, you ask? I just like what I like. I'm not anal, I'm just precise.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Spotted Last Night

Spotted last night on the billboard at a church on Woodbine Avenue:


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Smashing Records and Getting Smashed

My birthday smashed a whole bunch of heat records. (My mother, of course, insisted that it was just as hot when I was born and I should have tried being nine months pregnant in this kind of heat.) The humidity was unbelievable. Walking outside yesterday I had to continually take off my sunglasses to wipe the condensation off them.

So by the time dinner rolled around and I was celebrating with some friends in a restaurant downtown, we were all thirsty. Very, very thirsty. At the end of the evening, the little plastic giraffes, monkeys, and donkey-type figurines were piled into one of my empty bellini glasses. A friend peered in the glass and said, "Wow. It looks like African Lion Safari in there."

I was blown away by the bazillion cards, flowers, presents, phonecalls, emails and e-cards I received yesterday. It made me feel very loved and very special (sniff!). A huge thank you to everyone!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

I received a wonderful birthday card today - a friend made all these little individual cards depicting events that have occurred on my birthday. (Thanks, D.) So this is what's been going down on August 1:

1498 - Christopher Columbus lands on "Isla Santa" (Venezuela)
1774 - The element oxygen is discovered by Wilhelm and Priestley
1785 - Caroline Herschel becomes first woman discoverer of a comet
1834 - Slavery abolished in British empire
1867 - Blacks vote for first time in a state election in South (Tennessee)
1873 - The first cable streetcar in America begins operation on Clay Street Hill in San Francisco
1902 - The United States buys the rights to the Panama Canal from France
1944 - Anne Frank makes the last entry in her diary
1960 - Aretha Franklin makes her first secular recordings, which includes "Today I Sing the Blues"
1964 - Beatles' "Hard Day's Night" single goes to #1
1971 - Sonny and Cher debuts on television
1978 - The soon-to-be Dr. Sarah Williams is born
1981 - MTV broadcasts its first video, "Video Killed The Radio Star" by the Buggles

There has also been a lot of war on my birthday, but why dwell on that? All hail me, it's my birthday!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

With Sighs and Furrowed Brow

Wishing: I was literate in Japanese so that I didn't have to wait two years for Haruki Murakami novels to be translated into English.

Wondering: Why when I listen to and watch gory medical details on Grey's Anatomy I'm fine. But when my doctor friends tell me about their cases I have to put my head between my knees.

Wishing: Richard Ashcroft sang me to sleep every night. In person.

Wondering: If Sushi knows that the new rocks I bought for his bowl are a guilt-gift, because I felt terrible about leaving him for a month while I was travelling.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

When I Open My Eyes... my parents' house when I wake up in Victoria, this is exactly what I see.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Summer Reading 2006

Unlike last year's list, this year's summer reading is quite sparse. I've been travelling for much of my four week vacation and am more of a magazine and newspaper reader when I'm on planes and trains and returning to a hotel room exhausted at the end of the day. Also, the book I am currently reading (the Mailer) is the size of about three books, but damn, it's good. So the list for summer 2006 is:

Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
The Naked And The Dead by Norman Mailer
Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali

Thursday, July 13, 2006

St. Petersburg Photographs

All of my St. Petersburg photographs are now up and ready for viewing on my Flickr page. While I admit it's a bit cheesy, I loved all the corporate fast food slogans (McDonalds, Subway. Baskin Robbins) in cyrillic. A few of the photographs were taken at 11pm and yet still in broad daylight (they're labelled as such) and if anyone knows the story behind the lucky rabbit, do let me know.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Leaving The Hermitage In Awe

The Lonely Planet guidebook said in its list of things to do in St. Petersburg: Leave the Hermitage in awe. Well, we did that - and then some.

Thanks to a family friend with some great connections, we secured these VIP passes to the Hermitage, but didn't actually realize the gold we were holding in our hands. After bypassing a line-up of about 300 people outside the Winter Palace, we were ushered into the museum like gods and after dashing up to the third floor, we had the entire place to ourselves for an entire hour. I don't mean that it wasn't very crowded, I mean that we were the only people there. It was like they had closed off the museum just for our private viewing and we wandered the multiple rooms of Matisse and Picasso and Gauguin with our mouths hanging open. The photographs below are of the Gauguin Tahitian room, the spectacular view from said room and a particularly nice Matisse (click on photos for larger view). It was possibly one of the best hours of my life.

Gauguin Tahitian Room, Hermitage Woman in Green, Matisse Shot From Inside Gauguin Room, Hermitage

Monday, July 10, 2006

Until 2010

Less than a fortnight ago, when English hopes were still high for a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, I took these photographs in Trafalgar Square. The England team had just beaten Sweden and throngs of drunken youth, some naked and wrapped in the flag of St. George, all flocked to Trafalgar Square and partied in the fountain.

It got me thinking about the World Cup as an interesting measure of time. In 1998, I was working a summer job while home from my first degree at U of T and I remember frenzied Dutch tourists all crowding around a tv screen we had put up to watch the Netherlands game. Then in 2002, the first summer of my first real grown-up job, I remember being surprised by screaming Korean fans in a restaurant in Toronto's Little Korea with John, as Korea made it to the semi-finals. And then this summer, watching the festivities in London by the National Gallery as I was on holiday during the last year of my Ph.D. Where will I be in 2010? As seeing a World Cup match live and visiting South Africa are both on my List of Things To Do Before I Die, perhaps I will even be at the big event...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Wide Awake for Wimbledon

Sometimes jetlag works in my favour. After flying a long 10 hour transatlantic flight to Vancouver Island today, I will most likely be wide awake at 6am tomorrow to watch the Wimbledon Mens Final live. And then the World Cup Football Final...such a great sporting television day!

It was a shame to miss what looked like a cracker match today when Mauresmo beat the Belgian quitter in the Ladies Final. But as I watched both the Ladies Quarterfinals and Semi-Finals live on Centre Court this past week, I shouldn't complain. Prediction for tomorrow: Federer in 5 sets.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Woman and Scarecrow

Last night I saw the positively brilliant play Woman and Scarecrow by Marina Carr at the equally brilliant Royal Court Theatre. It was a sort of coming full circle moment for me. I dragged my dad along (poor jet lagged man) as he had never been to the Royal Court before. Yet it was my dad who gave me my first play script - a copy of John Osborne's Look Back In Anger, which caused a huge stir upon its premiere at...the Royal Court Theatre.

I want to write that Fiona Shaw's performance was unbelievable, yet the true description is that her performance was painfully believable. The kind of performance where you realize you have been holding your breath. It was as hilarious as it was traumatic and as my dad so aptly put it: How on earth does she walk off the stage at the end of the play and just have a cup of coffee after that?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Brief Impressions of Russia

I checked my email in St. Petersburg yesterday and found a few emails asking why I hadn't been blogging about my trip and could I please do so soon. It made me feel very popular. are some brief first impressions of Russia, with more detail and photos to come soon when I am in London next week.

The Simpsons in Russian is hilarious. It is dubbed, but not completely so you hear American Marge speaking and then one second later the Russian Marge chimes in on top. 'Aye Carumba' is translated as 'Aye Carumba'.

Stereotypes ring loud and true. Young Russian women look very much like Russian mail-order brides and they all wear ridiculous stiletto heels. In fact, on the flight back today when the safety announcement said: 'In the case of evacuation, remove high heeled shoes as they may tear the evacuation slide', my travelling mate Charlie said, 'Pfft. The Russians are all going down with the plane.' Also brilliant were the tough looking men in heavy leather jackets in the sweltering heat and old, scarved headed woman selling cigarettes out of tattered briefcases on street corners.

The Hermitage and Mariinsky Theatre far exceeded my heightened expectations. More on that with photos later.

Sidewalks are considered decorative details of the road. While I have experienced insane drivers in other parts of Europe and Asia, Russians take the cake. In a 5 minute span on Nevsky Prospect I was almost run over by maniacs on bicycles, rollerblades, vespas, horses, and a car.

The Russian bliny rivals the French crepe.

There is interesting dichotomy everywhere. Old, falling apart cars next to Alfa Romeos, gorgeous Tsar extravagance next to blocks of Soviet housing units, designer boutiques next to statues of Lenin.

In one word, the trip was: Wow.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Leaving On A Jet Plane

A photograph of the Tate Modern taken a few weeks ago. I will most likely be back there, as it serves as my kind of church, in the next couple of days. Posts here will be sporadic over the next little while as I'm travelling. But updates about Russia, the summer art shows in London, and other various adventures and photographs will be forthcoming eventually. До скорого!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Prepping For St. Petersburg

Tonight on Jeopardy: Here in St. Petersburg in June, the extended daylight is called this. What is....White Nights?

Two weeks tomorrow I will be arriving in St. Petersburg and now that my visa ordeal is over, I am prepping for my trip in fun ways. I have purchased tickets for a night of ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre. (I still can't believe that I get to do's one of those pinch myself, dreaming about for a long time, oh my god experiences for me.) I have my VIP pass to the Hermitage, courtesy of a lovely gesture by a family friend with great connections. And I am re-reading Crime and Punishment which has sat untouched on my bookshelf for the past decade. Then I'll be all ready for the Dostoyevsky Walk. As for the vodka, I'm already prepped for that.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Things I Currently Love

1. The Oilers in the Stanley Cup Finals.
2. How last week a drunken evening with friends turned into a contest of "Best Sarah Impression".
3. The new bookstore Type on Queen Street West. I was so impressed with the selection, aesthetic layout, and the stack of New York Times at the door.
4. The quiet library at U of T now that it's summer term.
5. The new tv channel TVtropolis which is playing the first season of Beverly Hills 90210. Back when Luke Perry still had a full head of hair. My thirteen year old self is still swooning.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rainy Art Walk

You'd think that on a day it is pouring with rain, it would be a bad day to go on an art walk. But a rainy day for the Riverdale Art Walk was actually wonderful - less crowded, and just felt more artsy, for lack of a better word.

Granted, the exhibit in the park was muddy, but after a grabbing a quick coffee at Mercury Organic Espresso Bar, refuge was found in Gallery 888. Here I found a gorgeous little sketch of the Tate Modern by Marina Hanacek. I used to live around the corner from the Tate and after I have the sketch framed, will have to find some wall space in my loft.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I Don't Speak Russian

I will be adding "Getting a Russian Visa" to the list of Things I Never Want To Do Again. (Also on this list are "Snowshoeing", "Drinking Jagermeister", and "Hitchhiking in the Rocky Mountains".)

My first trip to the Russian embassy resulted in slight panic as a crowded room full of angry Russians was just a little disconcerting and they kept calling out numbers in Russian. I don't speak Russian. So I just guessed when it was my turn to face the Russian official who I had just watched turn away several people with the exact same forms I was clutching with a fierce "Nyet!" After an hour in this mayhem I was lucky enough to hear, "Okay. I give you visa today." Except that I didn't actually get my visa that day.

Then the TTC was partly to blame for my frustration. My receipt said to pick up the visa from the embassy between 4-5pm yesterday. No subway? No problem. Except that it was 42°C on the day the TTC workers decided they didn't feel like working. I walked 40 minutes there in the 42°C heat only to find the embassy closed and had to walk 40 minutes back. Today you cannot see my feet from the blisters on them (usually on the first sandal day of the summer season I am not trekking in swamp-like conditions). So I return to the embassy today and wait in an unairconditioned room (44°C this afternoon) for an hour and a half and finally got my visa. Doesn't it look all scary and official and Russian?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Letterman Takes Down Cheney

You may know that I love David Letterman. Well, I love him even more after his interview with Mary Cheney last week. He grilled this pathetic hyprocrite who is trying to push a book you shouldn't buy. You can watch the interview here.

Cheney's answer to everything was "I talk about that in my book." My response would have been, "We're not buying your book, bitch." But Dave's much better response was, "Maybe that's the point. Maybe, I'm wondering if people would rather you had talked about it during the campaign as opposed to after the campaigns waiting to put it in a book. Would it have been more effective to talk about it then?"

D'ya think?

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Laughing Matter

You know that commercial for Westjet's live satellite tv where everyone on board is laughing at a certain show and there's the one guy who can't find it, so the flight attendant slips him the channel number on a napkin, and all is fun and well in Westjet land?

Well, today I'm flying Westjet back to Toronto and that actual commercial comes on my individual tv screen as I'm watching Days Of Our Lives (soap opera on airplane = whole new level of boredom). I find this funny and chuckle aloud and look around to share the joke with any other Westjetters watching the same channel. But no one laughs along with me - all I receive is a swift kick to the back of my very small seat.

Yet you people laughed at the joke told by the flight attendant that ended with the punch line: "You can't have your kayak and eat it too."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bathroom Artwork

John has a new piece of work up on his comics website Machine Gum. John writes that the finished, watercoloured version "has been hanging lovingly in a friend's washroom for the past few years."

I admit it - it's my bathroom. But it fits perfectly on the size of the wall and it is very lovingly hung. One of the best birthday gifts I have ever received. And a John Martz original circa 2002? It's going to make me a lot of money one day people.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Heading West

I'm heading out to the West Coast on Thursday for ten days of what I hope will be a relaxing, creative break. My thesis is being left behind in Toronto and my knapsack will be carrying only some clothes, a couple of books, my journal, my camera, my ipod, and my laptop. C'est tout. That person sauntering through the airport terminal and bypassing the luggage hall, probably sipping a latte and still engrossed in her book - that will be me.

For the plane, I'll be catching up on my podcast listening and have also downloaded a couple of cool lectures from the Stanford podcast site. Not to mention the first season of Grey's Anatomy that's sitting on my computer waiting to be watched.

Because I hope to be writing as much as possible, I'm not bringing any fiction to read for this trip. Instead, I have some poetry and some non-fiction to take down to the beach with me. Airstream Land Yacht by Ken Babstock and The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. The poetry because I've been saving Ken's new collection for a time when I can really take it in and the Didion because it sits only a quarter read on my bookshelf in Victoria. I think I was too close to my own grief to read about Didion's over my Christmas holiday, but now I'm looking forward to the book.

And I'm sure there will be many photographs of the ocean and the garden wildlife taken...and posted here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The London Update

My whirlwind five day trip to London was wonderful and I find it amazing how visiting such a vibrant city can make me feel so vibrant. (Minus the jet lag, of course.) Apart from visiting with friends, which is always a treat, highlights were the one play and one art exhibit I managed to squeeze into all my socializing.

Embers, the Christopher Hampton adaptation of Sandor Marai's novel was an enjoyable play, but what made it so engaging was Jeremy Iron's tour de force performance - wow. Even though it was ostensibly a two character play, it was actually a two hour monologue by Irons - and a brilliant one at that.

At the Victoria & Albert Museum is a small exhibit of ten new paintings by Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud. This is not only the first time these paintings have been shown, but the first time these two artists have been exhibited together. And the point of the exhibit was not to display the affinities between the two but, I suppose, to demonstrate their importance in the realm of British painting as they hang in the same gallery as the rest of the museum's Turners and Constables. The curator of the exhibit explains the exhibition in greater detail.

Just six more weeks until I'm back in London when it will be time for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Computer Has Jet Lag

You'd think I wasn't in the UK long enough to suffer from jet lag upon my return. But alas, I was up at 5am this morning. I took this opportunity to venture down to the cafe on Front Street that makes amazing (and very popular) carrot muffins before they all disappeared. 7:30am and they were all gone - who is going to work this early? Who is snapping up all of the carrot muffins at such an early hour?

It appears that my computer is also suffering from jet lag, because when I turned it on this morning, it will only access about 20% of the web pages I'm trying to get onto. I tried all the not-so-helpful tips provided by Mac forums and still nothing. So my London update will have to wait until either my computer adjusts its body clock, or someone can fix the problem.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chichester Cathedral

In the spirit of my trip to the UK tomorrow, here is a photograph I took last summer of Chichester Cathedral. It is a stunning structure and has a beautiful leafy close as well.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Art of Airplane Reading

I take a lot of transatlantic flights. I don't tend to sleep on planes and don't generally travel between continents with my laptop. These statements mean I must bring along the perfect airplane read. Airplane books are an art - they have to be as engaging as a good Vanity Fair article, but not so page-turning that I get restless and bored. It needs to not require a great deal of brain power and not be written in stream-of-consciousness. It needs to contain either a great story, or some piece of knowledge that I'm not familiar with, or is funny. I often wander a bookstore prior to a trip looking for just the right book and it's often a difficult choice. But I think I may have found a good one for my flight to London in a couple of days - Pretty Little Dirty by Amanda Boyden.

Previous perfect airplane reads have been The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (maybe the best airplane read in history), Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen, Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, and A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews.

As an aside, A Complicated Kindness just won Canada Reads. Too bad - it should have been Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Three Glorious Days

After spending my Easter weekend finishing my chapter (see previous post), I had my own long weekend over the past three days. Languishing over coffee and the paper and the crossword in the mornings, enjoying my daytime television, catching a matinee movie, walking on the beach. And this evening in this gorgeous weather, my first visit of the season to the patio.

I purchased theatre tickets for my trip to London next week and now have the time to dive into a new novel - The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, which so far is pretty good. And tomorrow, for the first time in two years - NHL playoffs!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

My So-Called Life, version 2006

Different desk, same exhaustion. And strangely, just two days off the one-year anniversary of the same chapter deadline, near delirious post. A different chapter though, thank god.

I have decreased the number of Nalgene water bottles to just one, the other having been replaced by a perpetual cup of strong tea. Still using the Pilot felt tip pen in light blue, still obsessing over my looseleaf pads, but M&M peanuts have been replaced by Cadbury mini eggs. Also, it was so, so cruel for Bravo to have a Paul Newman movie marathon on yesterday when I couldn't watch it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why I Love Diners

My neighbourhood diner is the Patrician Grill and it was also my workplace neighbourhood diner, so I ate there a lot when I was a nine-to-fiver. I haven't been to the Grill for lunch in almost two years because of my absence from the country and my attempt to not eat pure fat. But today, in the midst of my chapter writing nightmare, I needed diner food.

So I walk into the Grill, sit down at a booth, Terry the diner maestro points at me, says, "Grilled cheese on white, chocolate shake" and before I know it, my lunch is sitting in front of me without my having said a word. Love diners. On a side note, having had my love of Gilmore Girls ridiculed last night, I realize that perhaps why I love it is because of all the diner scenes. So much love everywhere, I can barely stand it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Books & Brunch & Sarah Waters

I spent Sunday morning at one of Nicholas Hoare's Books & Brunch series - this one featuring Timothy Taylor, Richard Clewes, a fresh from court Michael Baigent, and the reason I attended - Sarah Waters.

One of the enjoyable things about Books & Brunch is that the authors generally give a talk instead of reading directly from their books. Unless they are incredibly engaging, listening to writers read from their work is often trying, not to mention attempting to do so on a Sunday morning when I haven't had my vat of coffee yet. Waters discussed the avenues of influence that led to the writing of the book - films such as Brief Encounter and the post-war memoirs of women like Bryher. These are the kind of tidbits I love and now I have a new item to add to my film rental list. (My previous review of Waters' The Night Watch is here.)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Without You I'm Nothing

This graffiti message has appeared in London's Notting Hill neighbourhood. It may be my recent mood and the fact that rain is streaming down my windows right now, but this photograph is just about the saddest thing I've ever seen. So naturally I love it. I'm going to put on some Placebo now. (Link from Londonist)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Unbearable Excitement

Thesis chapter deadline time and I have been sitting at my desk for hours, for days, forever it seems. So when I looked up this morning and saw window washers on the building across the street from me, the excitement was almost unbearable.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Early to Bed, Dreaming of Dr. Seuss

I, for one, am thrilled about daylight saving time coming into effect in a few hours. Not only do I love late light evenings, but I've already changed my clocks, and suddenly don't feel so pathetic for going to bed early on a Saturday night.

I went to the Frank Gehry exhibition at the AGO this afternoon and found it interesting. I had free tickets, which was nice, because I would have been annoyed to have paid $12 for a pretty simple exhibit. I loved the models for the Ray and Maria Stata Centre at MIT and John pointed out to me that it looked like a Dr. Seuss building, which made me love it even more. Check out this Flickr pool for photographs of the Gehry exhibition.

Friday, March 31, 2006


The US edition of Story-Wallah came into my possession yesterday, though minus the exclamation mark from the Canadian edition. As people have been asking me recently for book recommendations, this anthology of short fiction from South Asian writers is a great read and if you're into reading guides it has one here.

I spent months editing this collection and thought I practically knew the stories off by heart, but I began reading the book last night after being away from it for a year and a half and became immediately engrossed again. Shyam Selvadurai did a brilliant job selecting the fiction for this collection and for additional reading, this is an interesting article from Time written by Selvadurai about setting up house as a gay man in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Unfinished Church

These photographs were taken last Saturday at the Unfinished Church in St. George's, Bermuda. The building of this gothic structure began in the 1870s but was abandoned a few decades later after being hit both with natural disaster and congregation infighting. The rest of the photographs I took can be found in this Flickr set.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Back From Bermuda

I returned this afternoon from a relaxing weekend in Bermuda. I've been to the island several times in the past few years, but did some things on this trip that I've never experienced before. I spent a morning in St. George's touring all of the churches and the following day went to the Bermuda Aquarium & Zoo. A giant, tropical rainstorm hit while I was in the zoo and I found myself trapped in the wallaby exhibit for ten minutes - they seemed to enjoy the company. Click on the photos below for a larger view and the rest of my Bermuda photos are here.

Bermuda Shoreline Bermuda Boat Bermuda Sunset

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This Book Will Self-Destruct in Fifteen Seconds

Taking a cue from John, I have taken some photographs of the books in my collection that are signed and they can be found in this Flickr set. All were specifically signed for me and some are particular favourites - the Austin Clarke, in his gorgeous handwriting, and the Melanie Little because they were books I worked on. Also all three Dan Rhodes titles, which were signed the day after a fun drunken evening during IFOA in 2003.