Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 2008 Books and Movies

Perfect - Young Women Talk About Body Image
Helen Hines, Editor

A lovely collection of true life short stories out of Britain on body image. A really useful school or youth group resource, as it deals with all different shapes and sizes, image problems and their solutions to them, both negative and positive. It's also a great way to encourage young writers as the contributors themselves are budding writers. An excellent resource.

Brunelleschi's Dome How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
Ross King

As always, Ross King has written a fabulous book about an extremely interesting part of history. As usual, it took me an age to read it! The cupola of the main cathedral in Florence is an architectural wonder. The first of it's kind to be raised without centering, it's absolutely massive. If you love history and architecture, this is the book for you. I'm looking forward to more from this author.

The Guy Not Taken {Stories}
Jennifer Weiner

Great collection of short stories! Wonderfully written, obviously somewhat autobiographical. Many of these could be fleshed out into full novels, and made into movies. Looking forward to reading more from this author.

X-Files: I Want to Believe

Uggg! Completely disappointing! I was such a fan of the show, and even liked the movie that came out after the series ended. This movie was pure drivel, and badly acted to boot. I really expected more from Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny (well maybe not Duchovny :) so much) and Chris Carter. The plot was completely devoid of anything alien like, and the romance between Mulder and Scully was far fetched to say the least. Did anyone else notice that when Mulder went to phone Scully, the name programmed in the phone was Gillian? I thought that was pretty funny. Give it a miss, not worth even a rental.

Big Fish

A lovely, whimsical film about a son trying to understand his father, who always embellishes the truth in his storytelling. I was surprised that Tim Burton directed the "regular" scenes so well. Both Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney were fantastic, and I thought their southern accents were pretty good. The British always seem to have a better time of learning accents, likely because there are so many different accents in Britain, and a big part of drama training in Britain is dialectal class. The tall tales were fantastic, and it was great to see that at the end, they had a ring of truth. I laughed and cried a few tears, so it was a great movie for me.

Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power
Ross King

This was a good read. To examine Machiavelli as a person, to see what his everyday life was like, was incredibly eye opening. Previously, all I really knew about him was his "eye of the beholder" reputation, which, to be honest, isn't very flattering. The Oxford dictionary defines the term "machiavellian" as "an intriguer, an unscrupulous schemer", but this is based on how he was portrayed by dramatists such as Shakespeare and Marlowe. Of course, his writings, especially The Prince, are a reflection of his thoughts and do contain some of those elements. I found Ross King painted a fairly likable character, and it's made me want to learn more about Machiavelli.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Avenue Q


Absolute must see for anyone who grew up with Sesame Street. With songs entitled "What Do You Do With a BA in English", "The Internet is For Porn", "If You Were Gay" and "Schadenfreude" how can you go wrong? Excellently written, wonderfully acted and puppeteered, this show puts a grin on your face for practically the duration of the show. It's only playing until Aug 31st so hurry if you want to see it. I'm so glad I was able to catch the show!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oakville Jazz Festival

Or what would have been, if it hadn't been completely rained out and cancelled. Luckily for me, I was able to have a lovely time in Oakville in spite of the change in plans, with spending time with a dear friend, watching the Olympics, seeing a bad movie, a nice dinner and a trip to Chapters before taking the Go Train home. Hopefully next year the festival will be back on!

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I've always loved doing this gig. Fergus is a small town in Ontario that hosts an annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games. Nowadays I only perform in the tattoo that opens the games on Friday night, but I used to stay up for the whole weekend. There's so much to see, the dancing competitions, caber toss, tug-a-wars, piping competitions, not to mention the beer tent with live music. But it's not a place for sleep, which would explain perhaps, why I'm not so keen on staying on the Fergus grounds anymore. There are a number of campsites and B&B's outside the grounds, so maybe one day, I'll go back to going up for the entire weekend. Because it's a yearly event, it really gets you thinking about where you were the year previously and what has happened to you since. The tattoo went very well, afterwards we had a little tailgate party, went to the beer tent to listen to Seven Nations, a cool celtic rock band out of NYC. Good times!