For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

About Fuckin' Time

The UN has tripled its task force in Darfur.

The Bush administration has called the conflict "genocide," and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the conflict "the greatest humanitarian disaster the world faces today."

That's according to CNN. You can see that story here.

You know, for all my bluster and venom, I don't hate George Bush. I hate his administration. I hate his politics. I hate most of his actions in his two terms. Him, though, I consider harmless. I ultimately think he chose the wrong advisors, got the wrong politics, and was naive as all fuck.

Now, though, I think he's legacy-making. And he's doing it, likely, for all the right reasons, and maybe a few of the wrong ones, but let's stay positive here.

We finally, at long last, have statesmen and nation heads declaring Darfur for exactly what it is: a cryin' fuckin' shame, and something that has gone on far too long and cost far too many lives. It's the original "how the hell did we get here" dilemma. How in the hell did it have to amount to -- stay with me here -- what the US State Dept says is 200,000 dead, or what the National Geographic said nearly a year ago was more than 500,000 dead before we finally realized "uh, okay, now THAT was one corpse too many"?

Fuck, man. Philip Gourevitch (hope I spelled that right) in We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families analyses the politics of numbers and the weight of our casualties versus theirs. But you just have to keep coming back to what in the hell makes the 176,854th corpse any more horrific than the 72nd?

About fucking time.

We have the privilege of living in a time and place that is almost ubitiquously accessible. You wanna know what's going on there? We got pictures. At the push of a button and a flicker of a screen, you go anyplace your heart desires. Just type "toilet cam" on Google and see how freakishly true my words are. I dare ya.

Okay, so no one broadcasts much of North Korea, but that place is gonzo anyhow.

Back to Darfur. We know like we've never known before. Back a century ago the first ever international human rights movement was gaining power throughout the western world. Why? A little invention called photography. It was with the birth of portable photography that we had a real, inarguable bit of proof of the kinds of travesties unfolding on the Congo River in the rubber trade. It took 10 million corpses before an international body pressured Belgium into better behaviour.

Now we can see these mass killings happen more quickly. Surely 200,000/600,000ish is a little excessive?

But who am I to rain on anyone's parade? We got more guys who are not able to shoot their guns (no, seriously) in a country full of machetes and automatic weapons, but hey, they have presence and it's sure to be at the very least a start. I can live with a start. (We'll see how many else can, tho.)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Anatomy of a Dinner

My dinner lies in wait. I have some grilling to do. That's pretty fool-proof these days. A nice thick free range ribeye steak encrusted with Montreal steak spice. Then I'll have a salad heavy on the tomatoes and sweet peppers, with the salad dressing that follows.

I decided to splurge with some oils and vinegar, stuff I've been planning on investing in for some time, to bring a little excitement back to Salad World. The splurge items today? Almond oil, hazelnut oil, balsamic mustard (with black mustard seed), and maple vinegar.

I'm not that big on maple, but if it's a subtle background ingredient it can offer some nice oomph. I decided to see if I could combine what I had bought for a nice dressing tonight.

Steff's Honey-Maple Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon balsamic mustard
2 teaspoons maple vinegar
1.5 tablespoons hazelnut oil
2 teaspoons honey
salt & pepper to taste

Combine and serve on a nice salad. Mine, as I mentioned, is heavy on the ripe tomatoes, sweet-tooth peppers, and fresh baby greens. Thinking of a little bit of chopped monterey jack cheese and cashews on there, too.

This time I'm not keeping my nut oils at room temperature! At least I'm wising up.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Whatever You Do, Don't Mention The War*

I was washing dishes when my shitty little iPOD spun onto the Bloc Party and played Price of Gas. I got bored of Bloc Party pretty quick when they first came out. It's that kinda band that sounds really put together when you first hear 'em, and depending on your mood, it can be a good thing. But then some time passes and they start sounding real put together, ie manufactured and lacking of depth.

I lost interest as soon as I saw them live, actually. They had that going-through-the-motions plainitive appeal. Except the drummer. He was electric from the word "go".

Anyhow. Not my point. My point is, The Price of Gas played. I was scrubbing dried egg off a plate when the thought occured to me that this war has been going on so long already that musicians and flashes-in-the-pans have already come and gone. This track's three years old, and even then it was echoing a two-year-old sentiment (dating back to all the yammering about a potential invasion in 2002).

I scoffed a little when I recalled early moments of disillusionment with a soon-to-happen war. Voices in the dark were asking "Won't this just become another Vietnam?" You know, sending an army that doesn't know sweet fuck all about the multi-millenium-long struggle against would-be occupiers waged by the people of then-Persia, present-day Iraq -- a place where the people didn't want to be saved by occupiers then and they sure as fuck don't wanna be saved by outsiders now.

My generation's embraced apathy. Our elder generations are of the "well, we can't leave them hanging" opinion re: Iraq & the so-called "occupation". Thing is, it ain't ever going to get fixed, so why bother trying to hang around for a better time to book an exit? They're a nation of people who've made a legacy of defying occupation and tricking would-be tricksters. Occupation's never going to succeed. Get out now and let them solve things themselves. God knows a resolution isn't gonna happen anytime soon.

It's sad. It's weird that so many are opposed to the status quo yet here we are dancing the same dance. I mean, I even feel like some oddball nostalgic girlie writing this piece at all. We're resigned to the fact that the war will continue until at least the next election. Let's all wave the peace sign, but beyond that... if we don't talk about it, maybe it's not really that bad. Talk about whatever you want, but let's not discuss the war, shall we?

Pfft. Whatever. I've still got dishes to do, and I'm moving on to Mr. Dependable, Bob Mould, for a soundtrack to the cleaning. I wonder if it's anything ironic that the next track to spin on after The Price of Gas was "It's Too Late" by Mr. Mould? Nah... couldn't be.

*I really need to get Fawlty Towers on DVD, you know.

What a Wonderful World?

I fell asleep on the couch watching Chinatown. Then I got up to go to bed (for more glorious sleep) and on the way, clicked CNN to read this story.

And suddenly I'm going to bed with a smile. What a positive story to read. Out of waste springs life. All we need is a little bit of creativity, eh?

Makes one wanna listen to Louie Armstrong.

I haven't posted since Toosday? 'Sup widdat?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Aww, Apple, You Goofs!

Unfuckingbelievable. Apple's selling an iPOD "sock" for $48.99.

And get this:

It doesn't matter what iPOD you own, because the iPOD sock fits them all.

Of fucking course it does. It's a s-o-c-k. Not much of a feat there, guys!

Fuck, man.

Yeah. Right. $48.99. Or I can haul my hiney to my nearest Gap and get two for the price of one with a pair of BabyGap camouflage socks. For $3. God.

(But, tell me, don't you think it's time Apple go for the stereotype and release an argyle sock?)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

So The Page Turns

I found myself thick in Potter's concluding antics last night. My legs tucked up under me, my stained glass 19th-century floor lamp shining down above me with my fleece blanket wrapped around my bottom half in the chilly mid-July's rainstorm-filled night. So fitting an eve for tales of wizards and witches and goblins, oh my.

I found myself feeling like I'd taken the weekend off to head down to Oregon. I have had a hard time remembering the last time reading felt so natural and relaxing as it did last night. It's been forever and a few years since I've really, really enjoyed a book, and that's not to say it's the books' fault. It was mine, for whatever reason. I've not been of a reading mind for far too long now, and I must confess that it has been my own little brand of hell, and not one I've much felt like sharing for consumption.

To be a writer and not a reader is to be something of a fraud.

In the weeks and months before my mother's death, I put a great deal of energy into being a better kind of daughter, a kind of daughter I could live with long after she'd met her maker and left my realm. The kind of daughter that might assauge the memory of the sometimes ungrateful youth I (and probably everybody else) had been at one time or another. Part of that role meant reading to her when she was at her worst.

...and then I stop being able to type. Wow. A moment lost in thought there. Hmm. Even now, some almost-eight-years later, I'm still completely floored when I remember the emotional hell I was in when I tried to keep my voice still and calm and reassuring while reading books aloud for mother's enjoyment... all the while, knowing I was dying inside because the person I loved and admired most in all the world, despite her infinite flaws, was literally in Death's hands. So trite and cliche sounding now, yet the emotions feel anything but.

To sit there and turn page after page of Paulo Coehlo and hold my cadence in this peaceful, mellow tone, I tell you, never have I faced a greater chore or completed a better lie. I'm glad I could do it, though. I know that she found peace in Coelho's work. It's probably the one author I'd like to read when I'm dying, too.

And, I don't know, I guess after that I just found reading to be a bit too introspective and commemorative of that not-so-great time of my life. For a long time I've had a hard time being THAT alone, I guess. Reading's just that way -- it emphasises solitude. Not necessarily always a good thing.

But I guess it's indicative of the fact that I'm starting to enjoy being with myself again that I should be enjoying reading for a change. I find that the transition toward being self-sustained and comfortable with enjoying life in general, regardless of whether you're solo or as part of a pair, can take a while after times of trouble and unrest.

And I've kind of come full circle after a few years of wading through some pretty unruly tides to try and find my new ground. I'm stable, I'm comfortable, I enjoy my daily challenges. I'm in a cool new place. It is, however, really unsettling to have to redefine one's values after what was essentially nearly a decade of trying to get to this point in my life: the point at which I feel like I wouldn't mind being in a holding pattern of this for two or three years. I have something, at long last, that I know I can commit to, while still having something I believe worth working toward.

I don't know how having a night of reading, a night of just being comfortably alone, wishing to be noplace else on this big earth, and general gratitude and peace with my present measures up on the cosmic timeline, but I'm betting there's some element of this past night that I'll remember for years to come.

An element on par with this time I stood atop a cliff in Oregon, taking in a vista of waves centring in on one small stretch of coast from what seemed an ocean that stretched for forever, kinda feeling like Howard Roark at the opening of The Fountainhead, right before I snapped the shutter on this shot I just re-hung upon my wall for the first time in half a decade last Wednesday. Or that time I sat on another cliff, a canyon wall in the Yukon, waiting on the light to change as midnight came and passed me by in the land of the Midnight Sun, where a sunset's honey-coloured world can linger for seven hours at a time, with a sun playing on a horizon all through the latenight hours.

There are moments we all live through that, for some wildly unique reason, are forever etched in who we are. I have a million of them crop up in a spell like this. Sitting on the shore in California, rooting for the lifeguard trying to save my brother's life as he and his boogie board were thrashed against the rock reef. Lying there with all the blood cut off in my arm and a doctor saws a growth off a bone, pondering how strange medicine is... hurting oneself in order to heal, while my mother's across town getting blasted with radiation against cancer.

Funny what makes a moment worth remembering. Sometimes it can be as simple as the warm fuzzies of tucking your toes up under you with a remarkably entertaining and fun read, and a world outside your windows full of wonder and greatness, but with nothing to offer against what you're doing right now all on your ownsome with your book.

True contentment comes so seldom that it does a body good to take that perma-Polaroid with the mind's eye. Mine comes by way of a blog posting or two, this one and yesterday's. What a fine, restorative weekend this has been after such a long month. It just couldn't have been a stitch better than it has been. Talk about something I've been needing. Whew.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In Memory of Dumb-assed Mistakes. Sigh.

Wow. I'm fucking wiped. What a hard, long work week this has been. A success if ever there was one, this cooking camp of mine, but it was far more work than I ever expected.

Tomorrow it's all over. Thank goodness.

I was just reading the wall of a friend of a friend of a friend through Facebook, and saw a memorial page for this young guy the friend of a friend seems to have known, who died riding his motorbike.

No doubt it was a cockrocket (super fast road bike) and the kid did some dumb fucking thing that ended his life, as 7 out of 10 deaths on bikes are rider error.

I keep getting pestered by folks to soup up my ride or at least get a more powerful bike, and I know I'm not ready for that and I don't want to go there. I know that I'm still up and down with life's realities, and some days I'm ON, and some days I'm real OFF. Why risk fucking with fate and increasing the odds of serious injury by getting some 400+cc bike just so I can look cool?

I think most of these young riders buying the cockrockets fail to realize what a hair trigger some bikes operate on. Turn the throttle a wee bit too much and you're gonna burn out on a corner and meet your maker in a custom-built pine box, dude.

I dunno. Just strikes me as another senseless tragedy.

Had I died August 29th, 2004, I'd have been another senseless tragedy of just another bike operator being too stupid to respect the danger of that machine between my leg. I was a fucking moron to ride that day and would have deserved whatever came my way. I learned the hard way, and I'm totally cool with that. Life was a gift, a gift I still struggle with appreciating some days, but a gift I love despite the ongoing struggle.

After nearly three years of uneventful riding, I'm pretty confident my judgment's what it ought to be and my confidence is well-placed. And it will be... unless some fluke bad day rears its ugly head and bad shit happens. But when it does, I won't be on a 1200 cc bike with a penchant for opening it up on winding roads. Fuck, man.

In the meantime, I'm picking me up a new helmet this month. Have to decide what, yet, but still. :) Can't decide between a 3/4 with full face-shield, or a big full coverage helmet with a liftable jaw bar. About $100 is the difference in price there. HmMmMMm. But this one's got to be replaced. I've dropped it a half-dozen or more times, and that compromises its safety with hairline cracks and such. My peace of mind will be greater with a new lid/brain bucket. After all, my last helmet saved my life.

Anyhoo. Now for chips and mayo and expense-receipt sorting. FUN FUN. Ooh.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and, Doggone it, People Like Me

So I taught cooking camp today. 25 kids over the course of the day. Breakfast for Beginnings for the younger kids in the a.m. and Middle Eastern food (a la falafel, tabouleh, Jordanian white bean salad, tzatziki, etc) this afternoon.

And I think it went over like gangbusters, especially after this afternoon's class! All the parents lingered and ate. It was great.

And that's one huge fucking weight off my mind. I should have known i'd do a great job, you know? It's kinda my realm, food and schmoozing. That niggling self-doubt thing is such bullshit, but damned if it doesn't have to get its word in every single time. But I'm doing well tonight. Good on me. In fact, I need to come up with another recipe for tomorrow, so pardonnez moi as I get my ass cracking on that one.

But you know what? I went totally above and beyond on this course in the way that I did the mealplan/cookbook, since I could've just photocopied recipes and shit. And no one asked me to, either, but I wanted to make it really special and cool and very adult-like for the kids in case one or two of the kids is really into cooking. If I can be that person that kicks off a lifetime passion for food, and all it took was spending a little time taking them seriously enough to write them their own book, well, fuck it. Then that's totally worth all the grief.

Like George Bernard Shaw says, there is no sincerer love than the love of good food.

And that deserves a glass of wine. Yes, I'm proud of myself this evening. Yes, I'm feeling smug. Good on me. :)

Oh, God, Shoot Me Now

I am SO tired. I've gotten everything I need to get done done just in time for my cooking camps this week. I've written two cookbooks and all that, but I cannot believe the amount of prep that has gone into this week and the kids haven't even walked through the door yet!

That's this morning. Pretty stoked about the classes but terrified I've forgotten something! GAH.

Tonight I'll have a nap early and get to bed at a decent time. But in case y'all are wondering where the fuck I've gone: Work! It's been whack. :) But next week is a photography camp, and that has minimal prep and will be easy and mellow! :)

On the plus side, I can't wait to see if I get any of these kids stoked about the cooking arts. I have 25 kids I'm teaching this week. Let's hope the magic rubs off. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Thought about Photos

It's too fucking hot to write -- 8:05 and still 35 degrees in South Vancouver. That's 100 degrees for the Yanks out there.

"Fuckin' hot" is how it translates to 97 different languages.

I was just uploading some photographs to Facebook, though, and it occured to me that it's often those things that are so familiar to me that I do best in photographing. I like to think the best challenge for a photographer is to shoot things and places they see daily, because it'll be seldom we succeed in really capturing it in a whole new way, but look out when we do! That's when we're at our best, I think.

These photos all fit that bill. They're ones of things I see all the time, but have managed to capture differently on that rare occasion.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Pic and Some Wordz

I posted this photo on Facebook and someone said it was their favourite photo ever, which surprised me, so I'll share here.

The moment: I had just shown up at the beach and was about to walk the sand when I saw this girl getting her bum washed by her dad and I thought it was pretty adorable, so I snapped! (I'll write some more after the pic, so scroll down!)

I have lasagna just getting started in the oven. At 8:00 I'll enjoy a glass of wine and a slice of that. I'm taking some to work for coworkers tomorrow, and sharing with one friend, in order to get the quantity down to just 2 - 3 servings for me, 'cos I'm sure there's a gazillion calories in every slice.

But that's why god made gyms!

I may ride my bike tomorrow, but the wind's blowing something fierce tonight and I've no interest in dealing with wind-drag... I'll get too pissy about it all. But I might change my mind. See how the wind's doin' in the AM. There's always Wednesday. So long as I ride twice this week, I'm content with myself.

Happy Tuesday, people.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pondering the Merits of Clean

I'm trying to turn myself into a tidy-it-up-NOW person. This was a lot of money spent (thank god not mine) to get my place deep clean like it has never been. The stove looks brand new.

It feels so peaceful to be in a tidy state. Nice for a change. I grew accustomed to disarray and I strongly believe that if you have it in any are of your life it can infect the rest of it, too.

I'm using the opportunity to get my entire existed sorted. It's interesting that this should coincide on the weekend of a) my realizing I'm one month away from being on track financially and will have more disposable income than ever, and b) my receiving a free extra storage unit in this building. I can take all the Christmas decor and things like that downstairs, and get my life decluttered up here now.

The more I watch these self-help shows and listen to these people who seem to really have their shit together, I realize that things like how your home is are highly affective to our moods and general being. Me, I've been so cluttered that I've been bad at paying utilities and getting things done in their proper time. It's been affecting all areas of my life. It's been so messy all the time that I could take a whole weekend of puttering and cleaning, and I still wouldn't see the end of it.

I had two women cleaning for 3 hours yesterday, plus I spent a good many hours this week sorting through papers and whittling down my life. All told, it was a good week of work. But had I had to do all the hardcore elbow work yesterday -- cleaning tracking, scouring the stove, scraping the floor, et al -- I'd be fucking wiped heading into my week of work. As it is, I feel great. If I were wiped, I'd come home bagged, would eat, and not clean up at all. Thus the cycle begins anew.

This one little thing -- getting a little help, saving a bit of energy -- can be the catalyst for a whole new phase to begin. It really takes that little change to end an era. I know because I've been here before, but never with it coinciding with a good money phase... even though I've made more than I presently earn. Funny how life works.

Pretty cool how much life can improve in just a few short months. What a neat little existential ball of wax.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Home Sweet Home and Photos at the Beach

I'm uploading 264 photos to this beast of a computer. Live Earth is streaming out from my living room. A cross breeze is keeping my pad cool on this hot afternoon. And I've just ended a fruitfly.

My pad has been made spic n span by cleaning people. I've even gone so far as to beeswax my desk, which is now velvety to the touch. (It's a self-made 7' one-piece maple surface with awesome grain.)

I'm so excited that my place is so clean. I've crunched numbers and I do believe I can afford a cleaner once a month now. $45! Fuckin' a. This was $135, but I'll not need anything too intense after this, provided proper maintenance occurs.

I have about 10 days off at the end of August and I have ambitious plans for then. I plan to paint my hallway a bright but dark violet. Before then, I want to tile my kitchen table with glass tiles. They're really gorgeous 1x1 iridescent rough squares. Oh, hey. Here's a link. I'm getting the lime, violet, and turquoise. My kitchen's already lime and the main living area is turquoise. The hall will be violet.

I've designed a simple but neat layout for the tiles that's evocative of art deco, full of single lines and intersections. It won't be too busy and the lime will dominate in a 2:1 ratio at the very least.

I'll do before and after photos. As it stands now, the table's an Ikea table that has gone through about five incarnations since I bought it. I've long wanted to tile it, but I haven't had the money or motivation. I'm now thinking next weekend looks good. If it comes out as I hope, it'll be fucking cool. I'm planning to paint the table and chairs glossy black with a veneer. The chairs are covered already in cream vinyl. I'll colour match the grout to the chairs.

I'm stoked. :)

Dinner parties loom so I can show it off to everyone. Ha. And with the hallway violet, then I'll be one step away from the perfect apartment. Next would be the kitchen floor. Peel'n'stick tiles will be awesome. Likely black and white checks.

Now here are some photos!

All of these were taken last Thursday when the temperatures were soaring and the day was better spent in the woods. Next time I'll go to Lynn Canyon where I can get really awesome photos. These are all down at Spanish Banks, just opposite downtown. Behind this shot are the UBC Endowment Lands -- where the university is and a huge quantity of forests and trails (I think about 75 km of trail?). Awesome area of the city.

This one looks better its full size. Click for that. And for all the above, too.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Yowch, and more Yowch!

I've got a wicked sunburn from time spent at the beach earlier. I did a little hike in the woodsies and smelled the moss and enjoyed the dank coolness on a scorcher of a day. Still, I was mopping off the sweat by midway through my stroll. (But must say I was pleasantly surprised by having more endurance than I used to have when I did these strolls once or twice a week for months on end!)

The beautiful hardbodies were playing ball in the sand. Skimboarders competed for lengths on little fingers of incoming tidewaters.

All in all a fine day, and I may even have photos to share with you on the weekend.

Ooh, now discovering freaky bug bites and such. They was eating me alive in there. I'm investing in Off.

I'm currently making strides in my cookbook itinerary for my two cooking courses I'm teaching starting in 10 days.

My "international" course is almost entirely planned out.

Now I have to do the kiddies' course.

Wow. What a loser-looking sunburn. It's not that even hue. It's splotchy-ish. How completely uncool. Maybe it'll even out overnight.

Anyhow. I have to make test foods over the next week, including interesting things like African apple salad, Zanzibar beans with white fish, falafel, couscous, tzaziki, Thai green curry from scratch, and more.

GayBoy, gonna be needing some of your freezer space for the spoils of my experimentation!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tales of a Bookseller

Back when I worked at the booksellers, we were rather pugnacious little intellectuals when it came to our humour. We would invent false book titles and plug the computer with them. (Pity for the new employee reading off available titles by an author and rattling off "Harry Pothead and the Big Bag of Cheetohs" or "The Celestine Profit Margin" by Oprah Winfrey.)

I've just been cleaning up my filing cabinet and came across one such cocky bit of humour. One Halloween, I took all the mini-Smarties boxes we had as counter give-aways and I arranged them in the formation of Stonehenge. In the middle I planted this cute little card I hand-drew. It read:
c. 3500 BC

A Megalithic post-and-beam structure comprised of an organic, milky substance, of which origin's remain unknown. Little is known of the builders and their mysterious ways except that they seemed colourful and happy.

At the end of the day, the structure was still intact. Not one box of Smarties had been taken. I was so proud of that. Ha. Colourful and happy.


There was a time in the bookstore when a woman asked us if we had a copy of The Talmud. My colleague replied "Yes, in the 'religion' section."

She gasped. "'Religion' section? You mean you put it with all the other religions?"

My colleague look stunned. He turned to me with a baffled expression, then glanced back at her. "Oh, that's so wrong? Should it be in its own section, marked by a little gold star up top? And what, when someone returns one for whatever reason, should we segregate it before we burn it?"

Maybe you had to be there.

A Little Movie Talk

I'm at home at midday, watching the zombie-- sorry, "infected" --flick 28 Days Later. There is no fucking way I would watch this at night, alone. Nuh-uh. Holy shit.

What makes it so effective is the seriousness. It's all so earnest and simple. If you woke up to find the world had suddenly gone to shit, how would you react? Danny Boyle's pretty fucking masterful at capturing human pathos. Always has been. Shallow Grave made that clear early on.

But Danny Boyle together with Alex Garland?

I have no idea why I waited five years to see this. I dunno. I've never liked horror, you see. Never ever. I think it was with the release of The Sixth Sense and then when The Exorcist was re-released that I started to realize that there was more to the thriller/horror genre than blood and guts. I still hate that edge-of-the-seat someone's-gonna-die paranoia that infects you for the 98-minute running time, but I certainly have more appreciation for the art of horror than I once had.

Nonetheless, watching it's a little too spooky for me. Still... GayBoy forced me to watch this. I borrowed it off WhippedBoy long ago and have been negligent about promptly watching and returning.

I should have known it would be a mindblowing movie, though. I love Alex Garland. I haven't read his latest book, Coma I think it is, but the three books I have at the top of my list are that, McCarthy's latest, and Haddon's latest. Garland is the first writer of my generation to really hit home with a writing style that I think evokes our time. For a lot of people in my generation it's Douglas Coupland. That's all well and good, but my mot de jour is better expressed by Garland.

I loved The Beach and Tesseract. I was pissed when I heard he'd abdicated novels for the land of film. I was especially bitter that he'd chosen to do it in conjunction with Boyle, who I thought had fucked up The Beach. Maybe it's time I give The Beach another try. And maybe it's time I finally have a George Romero viewing.

I have to say: I'm pretty excited as a movie fan right now. There's a lot of great fare to choose from. Transformers, Live Free or Die Hard, Ratatouille, Knocked Up, Sicko, Paris, Je T'Aime, Once, and so many more. It's been a while since the market was loaded with good fare, and not all shoot'em-up hijinks, either. And, hey, even Harry Potter looms.

And if I've never recommended it, I must say I am a wildly devout fan of that German flick The Secret Lives of Others. It's fantastic. What an incredibly beautiful and unnerving human drama. All the hype is true.

Well, time to get cracking on the homestead clean-up again. The boss is footing the bill for a big clean-up and I'm using the day to spoil myself. It'll all go down Saturday. I plan to get a haircut, go shopping for clothes and then foods, maybe see a matinee, and then go home to a spotless house.

I'm really looking forward to getting a little domestic help. It's so hard to get the house clean and then keep it that way. Maybe with someone else doing the dirty work I can enjoy it for a change. :)