Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend


Okay...I wouldn't normally put pictures of a sliver on here, or anywhere...but I got a killer splinter in my finger a couple days ago when I was doing all that mad housework. The splinter goes across the entire top of the finger at least half an inch long and almost out the other side and 1/4 of an inch deep under the tip of the finger. It was so bad I was crying on Thursday several times. I really don't cry at pain, I have a huge threshold for physical pain. But ouch! And guess what? Stagg can't take out slivers. He's never done it, now I don't know how you live your whole life and not take out slivers but...well he didn't. So...it's on my right hand finger, in an awkward angle and if I can't get it out with my left hand and a magnifying glass then I have to go to the hospital. I can't go to the hospital for a bloody sliver, right? So my daughter , on the phone, was gonna talk Stagg though the way to take out a sliver and we posted a couple photos for her on Facebook. Yeah just like if we lived in Antarctica. Long distance surgery. Lost my tweezers so we didn't get to drug store till yesterday for tweezers and I loaded up on as many painkillers as I could take. With vodka. We stopped for a delicious burger and vodka on the way home from the drug store.

Anyways, My daughter was checking out the photos and giving advice. Stagg landed up doing all the pushing. He's a little squeamish and I was so high I just dug a hole. Nothing. After over an hour I was beat and wanted to leave it for another day. My daughter said, get Stagg to go inside the wound and grab the splinter with tweezers. i suppose the idea of him doing that gave me one more attempt. Out it came! When Stagg saw the size of it he almost passed out. ( I gotta get this guy First Aid lessons Har!)

Trust me, that splinter looks really unassuming in this photo...it was wide and just over half an inch long. God it felt good when it came out!


Elephant Stone, from Montreal, was the opening band for Brianjonestown Massacre and they were really good.

Wow! Brianjonestown Massacre was awesome! The whole evening was one of the best times I've had going out to see a show. The bands sound was so clean and so deep and wonderful. Plus, I'm sure all the painkillers I took earlier had me in the perfect chillax space. And not only that right between bands we ran into someone we know! Our bartender from Trader vics!!!!! We had met him the first time we went to Trader Vics on an afternoon when I was job hunting in the viagra Triangle...and we had hit it off talking about music and record collections. He's the kind of guy that when we went back on a busy Friday night he remembered us. usually customers remember their servers buts its unusual and real nice when a server remembers a customer. So we landed up hanging out with him and his girlfriend for the rest of the evening. We had some shots and a couple cocktails and the band was all about the music. Totally focused on the music. Incredible night! Oh to top it off, I had made a roast beef dinner which we ate at 1 in the morning when we got home. (hmmm..I was really craving red meat all weekend, a burger and roast beef in one day. we go weeks without eating meat some times) Ahhhhhh!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cool, R.I.P.


One of the coolest things about Dennis Hopper is that he was in so many really cool movies. Even if they weren't more than B-movies...they were cool. There is an old movie of Hopper's I really enjoyed...not fancy. I don't even know hardly anyone who has seen it...it's about Vietnam Vets who have a B-29 and run a pirate radio station from the sky interupting government propaganda...it's part sci-fi part satire. I just thought it was such a cool idea.

And then there is the really amazing Blue Velvet probably Hopper's best role, he sure got into and chewed it up. But his list of amazing movies is so wild, Basquiat, CoolHand Luke, Red Rock West, Edtv, River's Edge, and the epic obvious ones...Apocalypse Now and Easy Rider But these three clips are movies that were among my favourites...



And the priceless...True Romance

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Housework: Part 24



Dust is the fine remains of dead energy and it's accumulation contributes to the stagnation of your own life.
From Apartment Therapy: The Cure

I've been doing mad housework this last few days. As you know i get a little obsessive about organizing any living space I'm in. It's a curse and I know it's hell to live with...Stagg is easy going and doesn't notice housework. And me...I am always seeking new ways to make a place more organized. I've ordered the book pictured above from the library. It's an 8 week exercise with personal questions and exercises and then a ground plan for "curing" your apartment. I've done a lot of good things in our apartment to make it more comfortable and functional...but there is still something wrong. I still feel a little claustrophobic and like it's very difficult to clean.

In getting ready for this book of exercises I've just done some regular housework. I actually enjoy doing housework and I washed the cupboards in the kitchen and the dining room floors and kitchen floor and organized my computer desk. I also knew that something had to be done with the bedroom. Stagg owns a lot of things, from clothes to hats to art work and archives. So...in a quick fix sort of way...we put a lot of his artwork under the bed and behind the furniture in the bedroom. And we stored the "leaf" for the dining table under the bed too and a suitcase. Seemed like a great use of space and time management. Add two years.

You can't actually properly clean a room that has storage on the floor under furniture...at least you can't clean it easily. So...I took all the art and stuff out from behind my dresser, from behind bedstands and from under the bed. I dragged it into the studio and dusted it all off. Wow, you would not believe the dust. And then slowly moved all the furniture around to clean the floors and sweep and then wash the room down. When I walk into the bedroom now I hear angels singing!

So now we had to find some place to put the stuff that used to be under the bed etc. No way is it going back in there! Today we moved stuff to a storage room we have downstairs. We took everything we didn't love out to the back alley and most of it will be salvaged by this afternoon. The only thing in our storage now is Stagg's archived art work and two suitcases, and holiday ornaments.

Now...this book "Apartment Therapy: The Cure" looks really heavy. I've had a few passages read out loud by my daughter who is also going to work through the 8-week set of exercises with me. I did so much work on this place after we got married...but I believe in lifelong learning...and I think maybe we could make this apartment even more comfortable. One thing is...I finally confessed to Stagg that I hate our kitchen table set. I felt horrible as it was a gift from his parents...but it really depresses me. it's "country style"...and burdonsome and just not sexy. So...we discussed selling it on Craigslist a couple years ago...so maybe we might do that. I just feel good that I got that off my chest because I've been feeling guilty about it for like, three years.

Related Links:

1.) Housework and sex
2.) Aphrodasiac for women and here

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Barefoot Anthropologist


My sister recommended this fantastic doc on eccentric anthropologist Tom Harrison, narrated by Attenbourough. You can watch the entire movie on Youtube! I highly recommend it...and so does The Underground Baker.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Old School Disasters, Camp And Other Stories


The Dugold Train Disaster of 1947 from the Manitoba Historical Society

My sister and I spent a fair bit of our summers at my grandparents camp. In toronto, people refer to their holiday houses as cottages, but if you lived between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg you called a summer place camp. My grandparents grew up in Thunder Bay and a big part of their worldview for a lifestyle was to have a camp. I don't know exactly when my grandparents got their camp about 30 kms from Kenora, but I know my mum grew up playing there for her summers. There were many times when the neighbours would recognize my sister and I because we looked like our mum when we were kids. Yes, there were neighbours who knew my grandparents when they were young, knew my mum and her brothers when they were young and still actually lived in this remote lake.

There wasn't a road....we went to camp by train. My grandfather worked for the Canadian National Railway and we were always ona train, as both my grandparents had lifetime passes. There wasn't a road. Or electricity, or running water, or telephones. Today I was able to loo at the lake by going to Google Earth. We used to play canasta at night time by the light of Coleman lamps or kerosene lamps. My grandparents had this place decked out pretty comfortably though, with overstuffed velvet 30's furniture, Fiesta ware dishes, full dining room set, silverware, three bedrooms and a massive stone handmade fireplace (made by my grandfather). I guess my grandmother just moved her old furniture from the 1930's up to the camp and bought new stuff for the city because the whole house was all 1930's stuff.

We were almost never allowed to be inside. Even reading we had to be outside...and we played outside almost even when it rained. We had huge barrels covered with cheesecloth to catch rainwater and we would boil this up for baths. Oh yes, we had one of those huge clawfoot cast iron tubs even if we didn't have running water. We boiled the water from the lake to drink. (my grandmother was afraid of us drinking bugs) The area is basically called "lake-of-the-woods" and used to be very very remote. There is a road now, in fact, there even is a car lot. A car lot, hard to believe.

As I said, we were sent outside, like or not, as soon as breakfast was over. We were encouraged to hike and explore and play outside all day. We were taught what to do if we met a black bear. We were also given a bag of rags.

Not what you're thinking, not those kinds of rags thank you very much. These rags were saved by my grandmother and mum for the sole purpose of a gps unit. The woods in Ontario, espcially between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, are dense repetitive and deceptive. After ten minutes no matter where you are looks like where you were.

My sister and I used the rags as a gps unit. We tied them to the trees. That way, we could follow them back to the camp when we were ready to come home.

My grandmother was a great storyteller. I don't remember my grandfather very well except that he was quite funny and also a fairly good story teller. But my grandmother loved to tell a story and talk...and would she talk. At night she usually made herself a cocktail, lit up a smoke and played Cribbage or Canasta with my sister and I and one of her favourite themes was train wrecks. When she grew up train wrecks were the disasters of her era. Much like plane crashes and survival are to us today. I must have heard about the Dugold train disaster a million times. And loved it, it was a fascinating story of human error, an almost ridiculous mistake and massive death. I suppose in some ways seeing as we travelled so much by train (we also spent a crazy amount of time driving across the country or flying when we were growing up) on train travel these might be morbid stories for children. I can't say they weren't as this side of the family relished a good scary true life tale. I loved hearing the train stories about crashes as I would try to imagine what I would do to survive or how frightening it must have been for the passengers. I learned early on how powerful these types of stories were for people and how much they influenced everyone's lives. However much we might think contemporary "media" sensationalizes tragedy...I often remember my grandmothers generation with their recollections and obsessions with train accidents. I also appreciate that my grandmother was never afraid to discuss life and death with us...teaching us how to narrate and discuss communal events.

Other old-time Canadian train disasters:

-December 6, 1902 – Halifax, N.S., Six persons were killed in a wreck on the Inter-Colonial, the Canadian Government railway, at noon to-day near Belmont Station, seventy miles from Halifax. The Canadian Pacific express for Montreal rolled down an embankment, completely wrecking the locomotive, the postal, express, and baggage cars and several passenger cars.
-January 21, 1910 – Spanish River derailment Northern Ontario, Canada: Canadian Pacific Railway's westbound Soo Express derails while crossing the bridge at Spanish River. 44 people die, many more are injured.
-June 25, 1913 – Ottawa train accident, Canada: A train heavily loaded with immigrants derails near Ottawa. Spreading rails sends two immigrant cars into river. 8 die and approximately 50 are injured.
-August 9, 1941 – Montreal, Quebec CNR passenger train #242 from Vaudreuil collides with a stationary switch engine in the Turcot Yards... the locomotive and two cars of the passenger train are derailed. The fireman is killed and the engineer is severely burned when the boiler ruptures... 53 passengers are injured.
-December 27, 1942 – Almonte, Ontario, Canada: 36 people are killed and over 200 injured when a passenger train running late was struck from behind by a troop train
-October 1966 – The Dorion level crossing accident: A merchant CN Rail train traveling at an excessive speed collides with a school bus at a level-crossing in Dorion, Quebec, Canada, killing 19 of 40 teenage students and the bus driver.
-November 10, 1979 – Mississauga train derailment in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: tank cars containing propane and chlorine derail, causing a fire which lofts deadly contamination high into the air. No fatalities or serious injuries, but more than 250,000 residents are evacuated from the city: the largest peacetime emergency evacuation in North American history until 2005 when New Orleans was evacuated because of Hurricane Katrina.
-February 17, 1986 – Queronque rail disaster, a Valpara√≠so–Santiago express train head-on collided with local train, which carrying more 550 passengers on-board at Queronque bridge, outskirt of Limache, Quillota, Chile, in an incident caused by express train driver has exceeded speed on a sharp curved stretch. Chilean official confirmed, killing 62, another injured are 464.
-December 30, 1999 – Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada: Several tank cars filled with gasoline and heating oil from the CN freight train 703 travelling westward derailed as it was passing the CN freight train 306 train, travelling in the opposite direction on a parallel track. Train 306 hit the derailed wagons, which explode on impact, killing the engineer and the conductor of the 306 and starting a fire which was to burn 2.7 million litres of oil and force evacuation of 350 families within a 2 kilometres radius over the next four days. From International Rail Accidents

Fantastic Freestyle!


Over several seasons of DWTS...whoever wins the freestyle dance...wins the competition.

Last night Nicole and Derek won the freestyle...and their dance is outstanding! Sure, they made a mistake (you can see Derek shift his aim for a lift...and then Nicole slips a bit) with one of the lifts...but they were doing things entwinned and pushing the boundaries of dance...a little bit of Lindy Hop and Experimental, Swing and Broadway...WOW!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Taming Of The Shrew



"Charlie, you've lost your mind."

"I've lost my heart too."

Maybe one of the cutest movies ever made...funny and adventurous too. Last week Stagg said he landed up staying up late watching The African Queen one night on cable. He said he couldn't go to bed till he finished watching it and it had been a long time since I saw it so when I found it on tv one afternoon I had to watch it too. I've seen it many times but it's been a few years so what a treat to catch up with this movie again. Bogart got an Oscar for his role and some of his camp and some of his subtle facial movements in this role sure show why he got the award. I love the adventure in this movie with crocs jumping into the river and that director John Huston actually shot at least half of the film in Africa really pays off for the atmosphere of the movie. I am also in love with that boat. Again I was fascinated with how it worked, it's rudder, prop the crazy engine that Bogart had to keep kicking. I have a fantasy of having a sail boat and going from the Grand Banks to the Outer Banks one season...poor Stagg...


I'm somehwat tempted to read Katherine Hepburn's account of her trip to Africa...I can not believe how rough she looked at times in the movie...a few times her hair was just a mess. I really can't think of an actress right now, at the top of their game and glamour who would let themselves look such a mess. I was pretty impressed.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Movie Marathon...

We're doing movie marathon's this weekend. Basically catching up on stuff we've recorded or saved and fallen behind watchin and/or just feel like watching again...so far on our viewing list: I Love You, Man, Duplicity, American Psycho, Lemon Tree, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, Food Inc., The Hangover, The Buddha (a pbs doc I think narrated by Richard Gere), Ed TV...

...and then tomorrow night is huge tv night with recap of tv series LOST and the 2 and a 1/2 hour finale...plus a Jimmy Kimmel special on LOST. All of the questions about the tv show are answered except for "what is the island" and perhaps that will never be explained. After six years...the series has been a lovely contemporary fable on good and bad with fantastic characters. The last few episodes stayed true to the entire series which was cool and managed to round up a lot of loose ends. Can't wait till the final episode tomorrow!

Green Mill


Fried ice cream before we took a friend to visit the Green Mill the other night.





A visit and photos to Green Mill in 2007

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dear Diary....

...I love being micro-managed...

...and I love having a cold on my day off.

Employees, friends and children should never be micro-managed...that sucks the life out of those relationships...

Anyways...on the run outside in the city with a silly cold...just saying a quick hello...

Laters...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nicole Rules


When the burlesque group Pussycat Dolls cast a singer named Nicole in their band...I thought wow, they really did a great thing. they made their dance group into a major performing group. all good. I thought the new woman was really gorgeous and hey...they were able to make a hit song. My friend Patrick was nuts about the new singer and we once sat and kind of armchair analyzed the marketing and concept of changing them from a somewhat small L.A. tourist attraction into recording artists. Where did they find this woman? It's one thing that Nicole is stupid hot but she is so incredibly talented it's ill. I have been really blown away by the talent and hard work of Nicole since she had been cast on Dancing With The Stars. She has turned out to be like a woman from another time...as compelling as Ann Miller and Ginger rogers often doing dance routines reminiscent of those great film musical stars. This week her professional dance partner Derek choregraphed some really amazing dances. One, is the foxtrot...which is usually boring. they made it delightful. the other was pure genius...taking Paso Doble to a 1950's flavour. If you have the time, check these dances out...it's hard to believe it's the same woman as highlighted in the above pop music video. Nicole, you rock! And the band on this show plays live every week interpreting music and they are the best band on tv!

I promise the two videos below will make you smile and make you want to dance! Or rent Gene Kelly movies...



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Born Free



Amazing song...amazing video...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Memory Lane With The Fly



Part Two...

The Only Feminine Protection A Woman Needs Is A Smith And Wesson


Yes, that's right...the gun I am holding is a "dirty harry" 44 Magnum. At the time of the movie's release in 1971, this was one of the most innovative guns produced...perhaps you remember Clint Eastwood says so in the film " I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking "did he fire six shots or only five?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow you head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk? "


Little known fact about me. I'm not a bad shot. You see those two head shots? The ones highlighted by flourescent green on the figures surrounding a hostage?I took those...with the Dirty Harry Smith and Wesson 44 Magnum. I saved the hostage. The other shots...well...let's just say that one of my shooting buddies killed the hostage! I won't say who, for the sake of preserving their honor. Ha ha. I win! (btw, safety first, in these portraits none of the guns were loaded at the time of taking the pictures)

Somewhere in Wisconsin. We drove north this weekend to visit our friend Andy. Lets just say we seemed awfully close to Canada because it snowed the night before! In May! I've seen it snow in Calgary in May. sheesh, but we got wonderful crisp spring weather for our weekend holiday. We went up to see Andy give a presentation for one of his classes on writing and the writing process. His presentation was on Revision. Andy had interviewed Stagg and I on how we work with revision...Stagg on his paintings and me on how I write and revise for film. Below is a photo from his morning presentation...I'll just throw that in here...

The notes in this section of his presention represent his approach and findings from the interviews. He interviewed half a dozen artists in various disciplines of art-making.

Interview Themes:

-changing medium in revision
-different considerations of audience
-the passage of time
-writing on multiple projects simultaneously
-concepts first: analysis second
-revision in thinking and tightening up
-trusting the intuition
-revision strategies change
-pursuing art for pleasure

After the presentation we went back to Andy's place and changed our clothes, stopped for coffee, then went out to the shooting range. There were four of us, Tricia and I drove up from Chicago and Andy's brother, Chris, drove from Madison. Then we went for lunch and beers all afternoon and had a fantastic visit checking out the local irish pub, and brewery. Chris is about to get married and we covered all kinds of topics from plans for his wedding, his renovation work, meeting people in new towns, work, plans for the future...and we had a lot of fun just joking around all afternoon. Everyone was in top form with the joking...I haven't laughed that hard for quite a while. It was awesome to be out side the city and kick back for a couple of days. Back to Andy's for supper and to watch SNL with Betty white hosting (hilarious!)









I got "bit". Didn't hurt but just a bit of skin on my thumb got caught...how lame of me. I was holding really well but probably a little kick in the gun threw me off when I tried to practice faster technique.Gives me street creds though right?








Related Links:

1. ) Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWHC) (S&W) is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson's pistols and revolvers have become standard issue to police and armed forces throughout the world. Consequently they have been used by sport shooters and have been featured in numerous Hollywood movies, particularly Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. Smith & Wesson has been known for the many types of ammunition it has introduced over the years, many cartridges bear the company's name. From Wiki

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Lazybones Tricks...


I always find a lazy way to do certain things. when it comes to cleaning I will go all out and do major good work. I'm not afraid of hard work or anything...but I do have some things I do that are typical primate behaviour of finding ways to make everyday duties as easy and quick or simple as possible. I lve good kitchen design and I'm very good at organizing and designing kitchens...I've helped several friends with renovations and making their kitchens as functional as possible with good traffic flow. I've worked in a lot of professional kitchens that were horribly designed and many that are brilliantly designed. (as a matter of fact...i wish i could overhaul the cafe where I work a few hours a week...the fridge for the milk is a good 7 feet away from the cappucino machine...an outrage! It should be right below)

When you rent you often have to put up with apartments and especially kitchens that were installed by people who don't work in kitchens and don't live in said kitchen. So they put things in the only place with the least imagination given or consideration to traffic flow or function. I like many things about our galley kitchen, it's not bad...but the fridge has a left opening door. It should be a right opening door because of it's position. So...I picked up a few trciks to work around this incovenience...and the photo above demonstrates one of my idiosyncratic behaviours...I rest my tea cup on the ledge of the door...and pour my milk in...thereby saving the time of taking the milk all the way out of the fridge to a counter.

Do you have any such weird shortcuts you do around the house...?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Mysterious Mr. A

You know...I've met a lot of people in "real life" that I met online through bookclubs or blogging...and whenever I meet them...one out of ten of these folks have the same question.

the question is always..."Who is Mr. Anchovy?"

He is almost always asked about and made my online friends very curious. Mr. Anchovy and I met when I was faking being some kind of student at a university. (I am a miserable student, terribly slow learner and have no business ever trying to pass as intelligent...)

Mr. Anchovy and I have been friends for a long long time. Now...a lot of people have this idea I am a hardass. I put my foot in my mouth, I say what I think. I do...its a curse. I've even upset people occassionally...

...but my beloved MisterAanchovy (who btw...introduced me to my husband Stagg) makes me look like a pussycat.

You do not want to be on the wrong side of any ethical debate or philosophical encounter with Mister Anchovy...I learned what little skills I have from him oh sensa...and here is an excellent example of why i love Mister anchovy so much....he has become a dog owner and is coming up against all the mysterious Toronto politics of dogs, school kids, neighbours, big money and zoning...check out this blog post...it's poetry...

:0

...go get em Mister Anchovy!

Whoosh....


Holy crap...it's been a weird busy few days. I landed up working a LOT covering some double shifts while my boss was out of town. We went to see our friends in the band The Hamburglers open up for Japanese band Peelander-Z at the fabulous Reggie's Rock Joint. Some of you may recall we saw Gallows at Reggie's and it's one of our favourite venues with fun pub food, great music, a record store too! Other bands playing with The Hamburglers were oh shit...I forgot their names...I have to wait till Stagg gets home and I'll add them here in an hour or so...














Hanging with one of Stagg's long time friends...