Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 2009 Books and Movies

New Moon
Stephanie Myers

Warning, spoilers!

Ok, so I'm actually enjoying reading these books, even though they clearly are not very literary. They're a great distraction, easy to read (although they could be much shorter if Myers just cut out all the useless moaning and groaning about how tortured love is, I mean really, the chapters that contained one word (the month) were just ridiculous!) and underneath it all have a fairly likable, if not predictable, plot. I had really started to like Edward's character in the last one, so I was pretty disappointed that he didn't figure in this book too much. Jacob was good substitute, so it was again annoying when he left the story. Now I'm just waiting to find out when Bella will turn, and if they will have a kid (can vampires sire children with humans in Meyers fantasy world?) after they marry. We'll see how Eclipse goes.

Neil Gaimain

Absolutely great read. Interesting, creepy, heroic, heartwarming, visually stimulating, just great. Coraline is an interesting main character and the Beldam (love that it's an anagram of the word bedlam) is freaky scary. Looking forward to the movie version. I love Neil Gaiman, his is definitely a brain that should be donated to science so that they can study it. What an imagination!

Do What I Say: Ms. Behavior's Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette
Meryl Cohn

Although mostly humorous, this book did have some interesting information. Ms. Behavior has a sly wit, is brutally honest and definitely has a lot to say. Whatever your orientation, give it a read, it'll make you smile, if not laugh out loud.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Malcolm Gladwell

This was a really interesting look at the way epidemics start, spread and die. I found a number of concepts clearly explained the phenomenon. Mavens and Connectors, the rule of 150 and stickyness were all applied to concrete examples, creating a very plausible argument. The writing was somewhat simplistic at times, with the author completing the circle a little two neatly with his authoritative voice. Sometimes I just didn't buy what he was selling, because of this. On the whole though, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in sociology.

Stephanie Meyers

This book was much much better than the movie, which is what I fully expected. For a book targeted at teenagers, it was well written and interesting. The story progressed in a way that made me keep reading, 500 pages in a week! The vampire lore was a bit strange, definite different than any other vampire stories I've ever read or seen. A friend of mine, who has a weird sense of humour, got a t-shirt made up that read "And then, Buffy staked Edward...the end." I laughed and laughed! I'm sure grade 6 girls won't find it funny, but that's ok. :) I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Slumdog Millionaire

Absolutely fabulous! Interesting plot, great storytelling device, incredible cinematography, wonderful acting, this is a definite must see. It was gripping, at times violent, heart wrenching, suspenseful, touching. The characters are flawlessly drawn and extremely likable, even when they do bad things. I really liked the way they used the "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" questions as jumping off points to explain how it was that a poor boy could know the answers, to drive the movie forward. I was a bit shocked that the two main characters kissed at the end, a move surely executed for the benefit of the film's American release. As far as I know Bollywood movies don't allow kissing. Even in joint ventures, such as Bride and Prejudice, the couple never kisses. Go see this, you'll be glad you did.

Running Log 28/02/09

Well I'm glad I did go for a run today, even if it wasn't as hard core as I've done in the past. I ran for 15 minutes, walked for 5 then tried to start running again to do another 15, but started to feel dizzy, so had to stop. I've been off running for 20 days, mainly because I had bronchitis then a sinus infection. It's been a real let down, because I feel like I have to start from scratch again. I ran a 13 minute and 30 second mile, so at least I've maintained my speed in the initial mile. In hindsight I should have done 5's and 1's or 10's and 1's but I wonder if I still would have gotten dizzy after 20 minutes. Anyway, I'll try again tomorrow.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fun Times

Last night I went to a housewarming party around the corner. A friend of mine and her partner bought an old Georgian townhouse that they completely gutted and reno'd inside. The decor was flawless, the people intriguing and beautiful, the food was fabulous and the music was great! I met Richard Fagon (Nigel from Da Kink in My Hair) and the associate producer of the Factory Theatre among others. One of the best rooms in the whole house was the top floor master bathroom with a beautiful claw footed tub underneath a skylight. I really wish I had taken the morning or whole day off today, as it would have been great to stay longer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Real BBC Top 100 Reading List

Apparently, the Facebook Version has been distorted somewhat.

Here's the link

Legend still the same:

X = Read
+ = Loved
* = Want to Read

I got less on this list. 46!

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien X +
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen X
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman X
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams X
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling X +
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee X
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne X +
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell X
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis X
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë X
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller X
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë X
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier *
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger X
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame X
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens X
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott X
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy *
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell X
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling X +
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling X
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling X +
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien X
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy X
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck X
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll X +
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl X +
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson X
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen *
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen X
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery X +
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald X
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas X
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell X
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens X
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett X
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck X
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy X
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth *
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl X
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome X +
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell X +
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky *
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden X +
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens X
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding X
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl X +
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding X +
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce X
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl X
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar X
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez *
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

BBC Books

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.


1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

How many have you read?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X +
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X +
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman X +
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X +
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X +
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier *
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger X +
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot X
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy *
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams X
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky *
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame X
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X +
34 Emma - Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen *
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X +
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini *
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres *
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X +
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X +
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan X
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel X +
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth *
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez *
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov *
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas X
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X +
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie *
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce X
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath *
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome X +
78 Germinal - Emile Zola *
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray X
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert X
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X +
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X +
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad X
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole X
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl X +
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo X

Total: 61

I don't know why Hamlet and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe are under separate cover when the complete works of Shakespeare and the Narnia series are also listed.

I also don't know why The Davinci Code is on this list. Not even remotely in the same league as the others.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Need to get back on the running track. Got sick (again) and then had a lot of trouble getting back into it. I'm hoping that blogging that I am planning on taking a treadmill run tomorrow evening will ensure that I get on that treadmill. Here's hoping that there will be a running log posted tomorrow with my (possibly diminished) stats.

Monday, February 09, 2009

25 Facts About Me

This is an exercise that a lot of people are doing on Facebook. You post any 25 facts about yourself. I found it interesting, so I thought I would post the results here, for those who read my blog who don't have Facebook.

1. Music means the world to me. I can't walk a block (alone) without my iPod, go a day without listening to some kind of music or without playing or singing. It's in my blood, handed down from generations gone by and in my soul.

2. I am a self identified nerd...and finally proud of it. It took me a long time to get here, but I'm glad I'm here.

3. I have a coin collection. Mainly Canadian, specialty quarters, a penny for almost every year from 1900 and specialty items from the Royal Canadian Mint. (See number 2)

4. I love languages. I speak English, French and Italian. I took German in university and would love to learn Spanish. I am trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to learn Russian.

5. I wish people were more polite to each other in public places. Especially on the TTC.

6. I write but have never worked up enough courage to submit any of it to anyone beyond school/ university.

7. I've been in unrequited love more often than in requited love, and that fact makes me more than a little sad.

8. I love living alone. After years of family and roommates, it's bliss. I've never lived with a partner for more than a few weeks temporarily, so I don't know how that would go. :)

9. I have R.A. I am in drug related remission, but I've found it very difficult to be asymptomatic and not look or seem sick, but still have a disease that will be with me for the rest of my life.

10. I love Yoga and practice everyday. It helps keep me sane. I hope to attend an Ashram in India someday soon.

11. I've recently started running again, and am training for a 5K in the the spring.

12. I love my bike! I ride to work everyday it's not way below freezing and/or there is no heavy precipitation.

13. I will be on sabbatical in 18 months, and am planning a trip around the world.

14. I love to travel (see 13) and could see myself in a job that required frequent international travel.

15. I've struggled with body image my whole life and wish I could just get over it.

16. I have exceptionally bad plant and animal allergies. I love cats and can't own one. I love being outdoors, but in the spring and summer I keep the allergy medication companies in business.

17. I used to be wholly committed to artistic expression through drama. Over the years, I've become disillusioned by unreasonable demands placed on actors by the industry (whether it be theatre, television or film) to look a certain way, unless for a very specific character role. When I was in the "biz", I was told by more than one casting director/ agent that I was too fat to play the ingenue but too pretty to be a character actor (ie: play the funny best friend) so I ended up quite lost. I trained in England, where at the time, "real" people were represented on stage and screen, but I've noticed that now, similar North American aesthetics are being applied.

18. I wish I could remember my dreams more than just a few fragments after I wake up.

19. I am a sap through and through. I cry at books, movies, television, touching scenes in real life, even some heart string tugging commercials. Unfortunately, I hate waterproof mascara. it's too hard to remove. ;)

20. If I could snap my fingers and bring about global change they would be: stabilizing the climate, the emancipation of women in countries still waiting and an end to deadly conflict. I've always been an idealist, and don't think it's a bad thing.

21. I have wonderful friends and family. I am thankful everyday for all they are and do.

22. I don't have a "best" friend, except for when I have a partner. I prefer to have many friends, a chosen few who are invited into the inner most circle of my life.

23. I love watching performances of any kind. Even kareoke! :)

24. I've really enjoyed getting to know the friends on Facebook who have taken the time to do this. Thanks for sharing!

25. I found this exercise much harder to complete than I thought, and learned a lot about what I really think in the process.

No one has really commented on them, so I'm thinking they may not be as out there as some, but that's ok. They're meaningful to me, and that's what matters.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Running Log 06/02/09

Well, I had my first running "set back" today. I knew I was tired and probably shouldn't go for a run but was stubborn and went anyway. I tried to up my speed and ran out of steam at 20 mins. The only good thing about it was I took some more time off my mile, at 12 minutes and 23 seconds.

Time: 21 min
Distance: 2.83 km
Speed: 8 km/hr
Intervals: None. 1 min cool down.

So I guess the lesson here is, don't run when you're tired and don't increase too many things in one go. 20 min of running is better than no min of running, so all was not lost. Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My Abs

Today at Yoga, we were doing this crazy balancing pose that uses only your abs. I really wasn't able to do it very well, and it got me thinking about a conversation I had with Amy. I was talking about how I had abs, underneath the pudge. Well, apparently I don't! I know that I have some abs, as I wouldn't be able to do many moves in Yoga or run without them, but I was surprised at just how far I have to go. I really hate working my abs though, probably because they are so weak, and it takes so much effort to work them. Oh well, onwards, and hopefully, towards stronger abs!

Running Log 04/02/09

Time: 32 min
Distance: 4 km
Speed: 7.6 km/hr
Intervals: NONE!!!! Whoot! 2 min cool down.

Today I took 30 seconds off my minute/mile time. So I ran a 13 minute mile.

I'm very proud of my continuous running, and upping the sped a little, but am frustrated at the slow progress with shaving time off my mile, which will get me to that 5K in 30 min. I know all progress is good, and I'm certainly not backsliding, but I'm just impatient. :)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Running Log 01/02/09

Whoot! Second run dehors, 4.4 kms, 35 min. At times I felt like I was crawling, but I'm very proud to say I did not stop once from start to finish!

I may do this 5k in 30 min yet... :)