Friday, July 31, 2009

July 2009 Books and Movies

My Sister's Keeper
Jodi Picoult

This was a really good book. I read it cover to cover in very few days. I'm a little hesitant to see the movie now, because I heard they changed it quite a bit. Maybe a little later, when it comes out on DVD. This is truly an ethical dilemma. To create a designer baby who is a perfect match to your very sick existing child and then feel you are able to make unbiased decisions about what to take from that child to give to the sick one seems ludicrous. In their efforts to save the sick one, the parents didn't consider the health of the donor child until she filed a lawsuit, suing for medical emancipation. The writing was a bit rough, but the fast moving story more than made up for it. A must read for anyone who likes to look at both sides of the story.

The Ugly Truth

A really fun rom com. I do like Katherine Heigl, despite the Izzie frenzy and think she's a great comedic actress. Gerrard Butler is smokin' hot and really did a passable American accent. It only started to slip a little towards the middle. I remember Eric Winter from when he played Rex DiMera on DOOL, but he was definitely a little weak here. Still a beautiful man though. Loved the homage to the When Harry Met Sally deli scene. I laughed a lot, which is always a good outcome for a piece of fluff movie like this one. Go see it if you need a lift!

The Cigarette Girl
Carol Wolper

Great novel. Fresh (even though it was written in 1998!) and fun, with a non traditional heroine. My type of chick lit, without a doubt. Loved the insider knowledge of what Hollywood is all about, and loved that Elizabeth was looking for Mr. Maybe instead of the picket fence deal. It reminded me a little of The Personal Assistant that I read a year or so back, but with much spunkier characters. Great light read, highly recommend it!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I thought this was a pretty good adaptation of a very long book. Of course, some plot points were left out, and they paid a lot of attention to the teenage dynamic, but that is definitely their target audience. All the kids have grown into their roles, and the adults, especially Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith were phenomenal as expected. Even Richard Harris is starting to grow on me, although, why does his coached English accent have to be so bad? I was so happy to see Jim Broadbent in this one, he's so great. It was a little long, but I went into it expecting that. I missed the half blood prince back story, especially between Lily and Severus. That being said, I'm looking forward to the final two installments.

At a Time Like This
Catherine Dunne

Another book from the Irish short stories compilation. Good story, intriguing ending, but ultimately a book for 40 something women. I'm just not there yet. I found I couldn't relate to the characters very well, with their marriage and children trials and tribulations. It's sad, I've grown out of the 20 something chick lit, but there doesn't seem to be anything between that and the 40 something wife and mother stories. The four women have incredible bonds, but I guess I am looking for more of a SATC vibe. I think I'll wait a decade or so before cracking another Dunne novel.

The Personal Shopper
Carmen Reid

Unfortunately, I read the sequel to this book before the original, so I had a bit of strange pre-knowledge going in. Annie Valentine is even more annoying in this book, and this is the one that intros her! She is good at her job, and the personal shopping angle is quite interesting as is the dynamic with her children. This book explains how Annie and Ed get together. Overall, the story was good, as I definitely kept reading, but the one thing I really didn't like was the way the author kept Roddy's departure so ambiguous. I know I'm also doing that somewhat here, but I don't want to spoil anyone's reading pleasure. The reader doesn't find out the true story until page 359 of 425! The same was true of the sequel with the real turn of events deliberately kept from the reader. I would read more Carmen Reid, based on her light flowing style and the fact that it's easy going chick lit that doesn't require too much brain power.

17 Again

Another plane movie. I was really tired and definitely not in the mood for something that I would have to think about, so chose this one. I was not expecting to actually laugh out loud (slightly embarrassing when you're watching your own movie on a plane complete with headphones) and enjoy it as much as I did. Zac Efron was really good, (and cute too!) especially considering he was playing a role within a role. I really hated Michelle Trachtenberg, but that's no surprise, she annoyed me in Buffy every week. Matthew Perry was pretty good as well, along with Leslie Mann. Sure, there were some cheezy moments, but overall and really fun movie.

He's Just Not That Into You

As per an earlier post, I didn't really enjoy this book. I had heard terrible reviews about the movie so decided not to see it. As I was scrolling through the selections on the plane to Winnipeg, I saw it and thought, what the hay, at least it's a no brainer. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I quite liked it. It was funny, the characters were interesting and it was hardly based on the book at all. I'm not sure why it got such scathing reviews, as it did fine as a rom com in my books. Standouts were Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Aniston. A fun distraction.

Away We Go

This was a beautiful film about direction, human emotions and love. A couple, expecting their first child, go on the road in search of where to settle down and raise a family. I'm not always a fan of Sam Mendes' work (I actually didn't like American Beauty...) but this piece was fantastic. I didn't know it was directed my Sam Mendes until the end, which may have helped. The scenes in Montreal were particularly heartwrenching as was the final scene of the film. A definite must see!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Danny Bhoy - Solo Show at Just For Laughs

In a word...Fantastic!

D introduced me to this hilarious comic via YouTube and I've been hooked ever since. He is a situational comic and does great accents. He also does excellent physical comedy. I was happy to find that his new solo show contained mostly new material, and I had only heard a couple of jokes. To be fair, I'm sure not all his audience watches him over and over, until they can re-tell his jokes! :)

I was disappointed that I didn't get to hear the Didilidee Potatoes joke live and in person, but I laughed so hard for an hour and fifteen minutes that my cheeks and tummy hurt!

What a great way to spend a Sunday evening!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I had a great time visiting Em in Winnipeg. We toured the city and then drove about an hour north to Lake Winnipeg.

Pictures tell the story, so here are some highlights.

Via Rail Station, Winnipeg. (I flew in, but I love train stations)

Fort Garry Hotel

Inside, at the elevators

Winnipeg skyline

The windiest cross-streets in Canada!

Bug spray, anyone?

The Forks (where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet)

Lake Winnipeg

The Viking at Gimli and an explanation. So cool that the plaque is written in English, French and Icelandic!


Winnipeg Beach, where the short lived show, Falcon Beach was shot. They just digitally changed the name and colour on the water tower.

The Petersfield Mallard, built in 1905! Now I have to get the matching Wawa Goose shot...

Em's lovely family home, built in 1912.

My first time to Winnipeg, and I can see why people from there really love it. Granted, I haven't been there in the winter, but I'm sure people are used to it!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My Little Sister's Wedding

Yesterday Colleen got married!

I'm happy to say I played a part in bringing these two together. My friend Amy did as well. Read this for her part.

One fine day in 2002, Amy invited some work friends, myself and our other friend from choir, Janet over to her place for pizza, beer and trivia. All of Amy's work people were pretty awesome at trivia, but this one dude, Jeff, stood out among the rest. He could answer pretty much every question thrown at him. He was a bit shy, and super nice. I remember thinking..."this guy is perfect for my sister!" Since we both lived in the same neighbourhood, we rode the subway together with Janet and I asked him a few subtle questions about his love life. He wasn't seeing anyone at the time, but the point was moot because Colleen was dating someone else. Eventually she broke up with that guy, but it would take another few years to get them in the same room together. Every time I'd be at a function attended by Jeff, I'd think the same thing..."this guy is perfect for my sister!" while simultaneously trying to come up with ways to get them to meet. They finally did meet, at Amy and Blake's deck party in 2007. I had set up a Facebook account for her, and shown her a picture of Jeff. They pretty much talked throughout the entire party and afterwards, I added him as a friend on her account. They started dating a few days after that. They make an adorable couple, if I do say myself! :) I'm not a deliberate matchmaker, but if I know deep in my gut that people suit each other, I am quite determined!

A brilliant time was had by all. Here are some of the photo highlights.

Me in my maid of honour dress, with John, Blake and Amy. It was nice not to have to match with anyone, and to pick a dress I liked (and could wear again) with the only stipulation being the colour.

The best man (Jeff's brother Pat) and his wife, Helen.

The cake! Two tiers were chocolate, the other vanilla with strawberries and lemon. The flower girl is there for uber cuteness effect. :)

Amy and Blake (and the girls), to whom Colleen and Jeff are forever indebted for throwing such great parties!

Janet and John, my invited peeps so I wouldn't get lonely!

The garter toss. LOVE the expression on Jeff's face!

D and I.

Proof that this is the man that will take care of my baby sister. I know I won't have to kick his butt! :)

It truly was a perfect day. From gorgeous weather for the outdoor ceremony to almost no blips in any of the arrangements, everything went smoothly, even my speech!

I am so happy for Colleen and Jeff and wish them much love and happiness in the future!