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Tuesday, April 29, 2003
 
Watched the sometimes funny and utterly sobering black comedy No Man's Land, which won Best Foreign Oscar in 2002 but, more importantly, portrayed the absolute heartbreaking idiocy of the war in Bosnia, where the Yugoslav experiment burst and hemorraged as a horrified and paralyzed world watched. Some have asked me how could such atrocity be. I'm still digging through decades of blood-soaked dirt for answers.

While looking for a link for the film, I stumbled across two entertaining sites.

An image database of Cannes and a kid lit site where I discovered that Paul Auster has written his first comic!




Posted 10:46 AM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Friday, April 25, 2003
 
Things to mull over...

Watched the film interpretation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, which I found lightly entertaining and was surprised to read this vehemently negative review. I suspect this staunchy reviewer would have preferred to watch a faithful representation of the original novel but then he'd have to direct and film his particular interpretation of the novel, which may not match another's interpretation, i.e., mine; I'm all too aware of the unique perspective each person has when looking at X or reading X. That's the beauty of being human, our diversity and uniqueness. Begs the question of how faithful one must be to the original if the purpose is to adapt or interpret. Perhaps while reading the novel, director Patricia Rozema sensed the scenes she decided to add, thus creating a unique reflection of her experience with the novel? Or perhaps she dares to re-open the controversy of whether or not Jane Austen was lesbian?

Posted 12:37 PM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Wednesday, April 23, 2003
 
Virus inspired ancient poetry:
A thousand-year-old poem describing a striking yellow display of summer foliage in Japan is probably the earliest record of a plant virus.


Posted 8:46 PM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Thursday, April 17, 2003
 
The Photograph

For D's birthday, she bought a wooden statue from Madagascar and made a CD compilation, the artwork a picture of him, still blond and impressively mean and lean on his Big Wheel, for a three year-old, that is. Trusty Fedex delivered the package one day late (bad sister!) but he was thrilled nonetheless.

You know those dark deep searching moments when the world is frightening, confusing, formidable, bursting at the seams with just too much and not enough of everything? Well, she remembers her kid brother looking at her with his hopefully innocent and clear brown eyes his lashes so long she too many times threatened to cut them off and glue them onto her already long ones, and his perfectly pink and too pouty, for a boy, lips spread into a smile wider than the Grand Canyon, the corners in a curve hinting at the now experienced and rather sardonic smile he favours.

Their mom claimed that Laughter left the house the same day D's sister did. D's sister begged to differ, as is her nature. She'd say something much more profound and promising stook around for perhaps longer than either parent expected: hopeful innocence. For her, D embodied the hopeful innocence of childhood.

Until a car crash. His life drastically changed but, like the tough little Big Wheel biker boy he was, he came through. Whatever she may have experienced in her life, she knew it barely scratched the surface of what he went through those first few years after the crash. Physically, he was intact, except for his eyes and lips; no longer hopeful or innocent, the child finally, quite dramatically, left home for good, and then home, too, disappeared. (The divorce wasn't painful, nor was it painless, but somewhere in between words that don't exist.)

She thinks of him, often. Three years old, and already untouchable.

Posted 9:17 PM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Sunday, April 13, 2003
 
Beware: Media Can Legally Lie (via SalgoodSam)
The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.
If this is actually true, then why we believe this news? Because it's in print?

Posted 11:32 AM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Thursday, April 10, 2003
 
What a wonderfully promising day!

+ The temperature finally creeped up into double digits.
+ An entire day of strolling and shopping in the brilliant sun.
+ People eating ice cream, shedding scarves, hats and coats.
+ Birthday present for D finally found!!
+ A couple of relaxing hours in a tea salon sipping Genmaicha and mindlessly staring out the window.
+ A final draft finally completed for a my White Space column (reading comix from a literary perspective).
+ More warm spring, sunshine and double digits promised for tomorrow.
+ Damn diet is working: most symptoms (chronic fatigue, headaches and fog-brain) diminishing.
+ Blinded by the sun, I finally picked up clip-ons for my glasses, and ordered new contacts.
+ Sweet hopeful anticipation that this man will politically fall as suddenly and quickly as Saddam's statue come Election Day (April 14 - Don't forget to vote!).

That I had a sad sorry green salad sans dressing while M delighted in his banana chocolate crepes and I didn't sink into envy was the first good sign today. Having gone without sugars, etc for over a week, I think I'd have a heart attack if I tried to eat the stuff. And that I didn't think I'd pass out from lack of food (I still can't possibly eat enough vegetables to get me through the day), was another good sign. Now, if only I could get a good night's sleep. And that application letter written.

Still writing, still reading. Life is feeling good especially since we are now discussing a possible relocation to warmer climes. The thought of no more Montreal winters is making me giddy.

Posted 9:00 PM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Tuesday, April 08, 2003
 
Irvine Welsh speaks out:
"America is an interesting place to be right now, for all sorts of reasons. I feel it's at a crossroads and if it takes the wrong fork then we're all fucked."

"A crass anti-Americanism has crept into our culture. We need to remember that it's the oil-greedy government led by an Ivy-League rich brat who used his family connections to avoid serving in Vietnam, who are sending troops into Iraq, not the American people. "

"The American media is disgusting; the one-sided propaganda in both broadcast and printed material is so extreme that I seriously worry about it as a threat to democracy. Before I came out here I read a piece by Norman Mailer in the Telegraph where he said that he could conceive of totalitarianism in America. At the time I thought that this was trite and paranoid, now I can at least see the possibility of it."

"After all, it's not as if George Bush needs Iraqi oil to put his kids through college."

"Language is living and evolving. Writers shouldn't be fucking curators.
"
Irvine Welsh will be at the Prague Writer's Festival. I can only dream that the Blue Metropolis will one day host so many writers of that caliber. I attended three events at the Blue Metropolis this weekend: "The Publishers Have Their Say", "Short Story Contest Winners", and "Reading Comix". Later this month, Yann Martel will be at the Lion d'Or.

Sobering news today is that more journalists in Irak have been killed, this time because the Americans targeted a hotel that hosted journalists. Accident or not, too many casualites and too much horn-blowing at the White House. Way back before this war began, I speculated that the U.S. did not at all want the UN's involvement even though they mounted a great diplomatic effort to create the pretense that they wanted international cooperation and legitimisation. Why? I've done too much literary theory and discourse analysis to take anything I hear at face value. Some call me a pessimist, but when it comes to language I am a skeptic. The language of the Bush administration constantly belied their express desire for UN support; it was never fully cooperative and much too impatient with aggressive peppered images of lone gunmen riding into the sunset.

There you have it. Now we all know.

Problem is that now I'm speculating about this "liberate the Irakis" mantra preacherman Bush is advocating. As M drily questionned, who do you think will get all the re-building contracts? It's slowly becoming obvious that America's downward whorl of an economy is setting itself up to pimp out in the free Iraki world, eagerly looking to inject some greenback juice into America's starved and jonesing body politic. Mark my works, the war spoils will soon be divided and I doubt the blissed out oil junkies club will easily welcome any of the long-oppressed, now-liberated Iraki people. As unjust as this war is, the American government will demand their slick pure black just due. Why do you think they don't want the UN involved in the re-building process? Why do you think the Americans want to send their own inspectors in to plant, I mean find those still missing weapons of mass destruction?

To think. North Korea.

The mental fog is slowly lifting, as I think you can tell. I haven't been writing much these last few weeks because I've been beyond belief exhausted. The MD's report is in: overly stressed and under-ironed:-) Increasing iron is easy. Lulling my mind within this chaotic and fucked up world seems impossible. That I just spent nine hours in emergency watching my love suffer through a gallstone attack didn't help. They say the pain is worse than giving birth. Ouch.

Charlie Rose is on. Gotta go.

Posted 9:10 PM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Friday, April 04, 2003
 
Soon the computer problem will be solved. M is juicing up my computer (thanks to a grant for his wonderful video-animation project) so that we can do video and Betty Boop holograms;->. The bad news is that the network connection worked perfectly at the computer shop, which now means I have no effing clue what happened at home. So it goes, computer hell and heaven in a box.

The idea of hell and all that heat is rather appealing considering that the windchill is -17.0 degrees Celcius and we are expecting a mountain of snow tonight and tomorrow. Even though it is officially spring, we are officially into month six of winter. Montreal's prolonged quintessential winter wonderland of Norman Rockwellish scenes where little boys in tuques and scarves wobble on new skates as they learn to play hockey in a frozen-over man-made pond in Parc Lafontaine is about as charming as that clinging ex who just doesn't know when his time is over and out! Hey winter, give it up! Quadruple exclamation mark!!

Something I have no intention of giving up, even with a small hiccough sitting in St Viateur's Cafe this afternoon, is the diet. Other than the green salad, not one other item on the menu was "safe". Even in the vegetarian restaurant I popped into the other day looking for interesting ingredients didn't present any "safe" food items on their menu. In fact, I bet I'd be challenged to find something at Chu-Chai on St-Denis, although I might fare better at Commensal, neither of which is intensely appealing.

Even less appealing was the idea of eating salad; so in frustration I rebelled with a decaf coffee knowing I had a very yummy bean stew waiting at home. Do you even know what torture it is to sit in a warm cozy room where they make the best bagels in the world and not allow myself to eat one? That's twice in one week. Sitting across from M the other day at Mondo Frite while he ate a burger and fries (I sipped Perrier) is another example of a recently discovered sado-masochism or a bullet-proof discipline that really should be applied to building a writing career. But don't worry, it's not all Perrier. I am eating. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm the last person who needs to lose weight, and this is most definitely not about losing weight. It's about the big A&E: Allergy and Energy.

We stopped at the grocery shop and stocked up on more vegetables and beans plus buckwheat flour with which I will make flatbread. I should probably post some of these "safe" recipes I recently discovered. Being creative with vegetables is not my forte, and I really don't want to spend the next 6 months chained to the kitchen preparing time-consuming healthy meals. The quickest meal is the leftover; in principle, leftover's don't fall into the "fresh and healthy do's" especially if you're experimenting with a four-day rotation diet to lock down your target on allergy-inducing foods. See what I mean? Eating should be simple, not this complex daily puzzle and juggling act. Hands down, my favourite quick meal is raw celery and home-made lumpy hummus. Once I refine my hummus recipe, I will post it in glorious detail.

Still no luck on the chocolate front. Sigh.

Posted 6:34 PM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Thursday, April 03, 2003
 
So ... it is spring.

I've done the spring cleaning: moving furniture and gasping at the enormous dust bunnies (only to cough myself silly from inhaling the damn bunnies--and why do we call them that anyway?), scrubbing the bathroom, airing out blankets and other dust-infested things, sweeping, vacuuming, and re-organizing. There remains some window washing and nasty oven cleaning, all part of the re-birth ritual I reluctantly enjoy, a sort of knealing at the feet of the spring goddess and coaxing her to come out and play in my nice clean flat, in addition to a last one-finger salute and smirk at winter.

This year, it just doesn't seem to be working. Those laughably inaccurate weather reporter's are calling for snow flurries tonight, and this time they're damned right: I just saw a few. So back to my winter habit of curling up on the couch and reading with some herbal or green tea. My most recent curiosity, born out of necessity, is food.

All winter, I felt sluggish and weighed down by a massive invisible hand. Suspecting this or that medical possibility, I began to investigate the axiom You are what you eat, or better known in our fast food culture as Garbage in, garbage out.

This eating business that we take for granted as we pop in the local boulangerie for a croissant or chocolatine, or a cafe for a double latte or short espresso is deadly business. Did you know that bad eating habits (i.e. too much sugar, carbohydrates, caffeine and processed/pre-packaged foods) can result in such a toxic, fungal and yeast build-up that they will suppress your immunity, your energy and your spirit? Some will even claim bad eating habits will kill you?

Not one to buy the latest nutrition hype, I began digging around numerous web sites looking for more information. I even decided to try a cleansing diet that should rid my body of every little evil suspect just to see if I felt any different, i.e. better. Cutting out sugar (including fruit), most carbohydrates, anything with yeast or gluten, and all fermeted foods just did not seem possible. I mean, what was I supposed to eat? I like toast, orange juice and oatmeal! And I thought they were healthy!

More research of recipes led me down the "food combining" lane of nutrition. If you ever want to feel really stupid, start looking at nutrition web sites. It takes more than "an apple a day" to keep the doctor away. Food combining basically means you don't mix protein with carbs in the same meal. Now, think about that. No milk products with animal, or animal with legume, or legume with milk products. So, no cheese and bread. No burger and bun. No rice and tuna casserole (I made that mistake tonight). Oh, and fruit should be eaten alone, while salad should be served at the end of the meal. There are very good reasons for all this, but I'll let you do the research and find out the hard way, just like I did. Believe me, the more you learn, the more you'll lose weight: eating begins to feel like Russian Roulette.

And let's not even get into the complex maze of food allergies.

Did the diet experiment work?

Well, officially it is now day two although I have been severely cutting out carbs and sugars for over a week now. I snuck some sugary badness in three days ago as a last hurrah. But to answer the question, I am feeling more alert. The key is to stay on this diet for 3-6 months in order to get the full cleansing experience. Besides, I am beginning to believe that you are what you eat. And it's about time I actually take my health into my own hands and out of the pill-popping frenzy within which operates our health care system. (By the way, consider why the health care system is now so crippled by demand. They say lack of management skills or money. I say too much McDonald's, Kellogs and McCains.)

The only drawback so far is that eating healthy is incredibly time-consuming. Your main ingredients are most green vegetables and a few non-green, legumes, nuts, seeds, certain complex carbohydrates and most meat/fish. Half the time you're researching the food to determine its health factor and then finding an appealing and tasty recipe, the rest of the time you're find ingredients in the grocery shop or you're in the kitchen chop-chop-chopping away. I have never spent so much time chopping, steaming, blending, prepping and cooking!

So, as you're spring cleaning your home or car and praying to the spring goddess to hurry up and make her entrance, consider that your body may need a tune-up or major overhaul. I'm off to do some more research. I refuse to believe that I cannot eat any chocolate while on this diet!

Posted 6:33 PM:: Home:: Guestbook

___________ Tuesday, April 01, 2003
 
Suffering from brain fog these past few days. Hard to tell if it's the stress of the war and all it's implications (including the now dubious honour the Americans have bestowed on the Canadians, persona non grata in the grand company of France and Germany), the ping-pong weather (last week it was spring, this week we're back to woolies and tuques, and lucky me, I get barometric-pressure induced headaches!), the semi-voluntary change in diet (bye-bye sugars, carbs, and practically everything I usually eat; hello Mr Carrot...) or a medical problem that remains undiagnosed (hell, you never know). Like I said, hard to tell. So instead I'll tell you a story.

They moved to a new city. She was barely eight years old. The moment she walked into her new classroom, she knew nothing would ever be the same again. A sea of strangers stared at her as the teacher introduced the "new student". She tried not to shuffle from foot to foot, or fidget, or make eye contact, or avoid contact; why draw any more attention than she was already getting? The curious faces blankly watched her as she walked to the back of the room, the last desk, right behind a very big third grade girl who menacingly whispered as she walked past, "I'm going to beat you up after school."

Quietly shuddering, she sank into her desk.

After school, she ran across the street to her new home. Her dad was on the roof replacing the screens with winter storm windows. The howling October winds promised a wonderfully spooky trick or treating excursion later that night, but she wasn't thinking about candy or costumes this Hallowe'en.

"Dad?"

She was standing in her new bedroom watching him precariously balance on the roof while he rummaged through his tool box.

"Dad!"

Half-smiling at his typically impatient daughter, he barked a what.

She considered her words carefully. Alarming her father usually meant annoying him, and when he was annoyed, he let everyone know.

"Um, this girl at school wants to beat me up. What should I do?"

Having found the correct tool, he finally looked up at her.

"Why, you go back there, and you stand up for yourself."

Then he placed the storm window in place.

Now shuffling from foot to foot, fretting at the implications of returning to the school yard where sure pain and death awaited her, she solemnly inhaled and jut her small chest out. He made it sound so simple. Just go back there and stand up for yourself. No one else would, so she had to. The dilemma plagued her every step. She didn't even notice the plastic crunch of her little brother's Big Wheel tagging along, so absorbed she was in the certainty that her short life would become very short very soon.

The big third grade girl was waiting for her. She tried to reason, even going so far as to explain what seemed perfectly obvious to her, that they didn't even know each other yet, so how could this other girl possibly want to beat her up?! Beating up a stranger was highly illogical in her way of thinking. Using words, she tried to minimize the threat, but knew she had failed when the big third grade girl finally shoved her back into the rough red brick of the school.

No one had ever shoved her before.

***

Walking slowly home, smiling at her younger brother who gleefully grinned right back, she replayed the shocking moment of shoving the big third grade girl back and watching her stumble and fall right over the Big Wheel, a stunned expression landing on everyone's face just as the big third grade girl landed on the rough, speckled gray pavement.

THE BEGINNING

Now, if that wasn't entertaining enough, please visit my love's blog, but only if you like art. I'm going to write another letter to Chretien to keep him from being dissuaded by all the other's Canadian's worrying more about their pocketbook and the economic fallout the American's are threatening.

Posted 7:46 PM:: Home:: Guestbook

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