Friday, December 18, 2009

My Old Christmas Friends

I love watching Christmas movies.
I guess it's because my favourite's are like old friends that I only get to see once a year.
Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
It's interesting how that concept doesn't apply to family.

I compiled a Top 10 list which was very difficult for me to do. I put them in order of release date because I really can't choose a favourite.
Unless someone pulls out a gun.

1. Holiday Inn, 1942

It doesn't get any better than Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire. The Voice and The Dancer. Perfection. Bing sings the song White Christmas for the first time in this film, not White Christmas.
Did that sentence just make sense? I'm sure you know what I mean...

2. It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946

I've seen a lot of Jimmy Stewart movies. However, in this film, I think he gave his very best performance. Seriously, one of the best performances by an actor--of ALL time.
He was mesmerizing as George Bailey. Watch the video and you'll see just a small part of his Magic at 4:35.

3. Scrooge, 1951

Alastair Sim was, by far, the best Ebenezer Scrooge. Why?
His acting range was flawless.

4. White Christmas, 1954

One of my favourite scenes in White Christmas: Bing, Danny, Rosemary and Vera singing 'Snow'.
I don't think I'll ever get sick of this movie. I watch it every Christmas Eve—guaranteed.

Did you ever notice how Vera-Ellen's costumes always covered her neck? That's because she was anorexic--her neck looked 20 yrs older than she did. Sad.
That heffer Rosemary Clooney must have hated her. I know I would if I had to stand next to a woman with an 18" waist.

5. How The Grinch Stole Christmas, 1966

Every year I'll watch this one when it comes on TV. It never get's old. I love the relationship between him and the dog. The Grinch had great acting range, too. ;)

6. A Christmas Story, 1983

'You'll shoot your eye out, kid!' A cult classic.
Oh, Ralphie! How precious was Ralphie?
My favourite scene is when Ralphie visits Santa and of course, the pole scene in the You Tube clip above.

7. Home For The Holidays, 1995

Okay, so technically, this is a Thanksgiving movie but I watch it every year around Christmas. Robert Downey Jr. steals the show.
My favourite lines are: when Holly Hunter says 'Do you ever look around the table at your family and think 'who are these people?'
Who hasn’t said that at least once a year?

And Robert Downey Jr. to his Mother: 'You're a pain in the ass and you have bad hair but I like you a lot'

8. Christmas Vacation, 1989

The best scene in Christmas Vacation? Aunt Bethany attempting to say Grace.
It cracks me up every time.
I love crotchety, old Uncle Lewis.

9. Elf ~ November 7, 2003

To be honest, if I really, really had to choose my favourite Christmas movie, it would be Elf. I will only choose if the gun is loaded.
It’s hard to pick a favourite scene but I love the part where Buddy get’s very excited when he learns that Santa is coming to visit the store.

10. Love Actually ~ November 14, 2003

This movie has become a Christmas tradition for me since 2003. When I first saw it, I skipped out of the theatre and then went straight home to write my Christmas list.
If you feel blah and not in the mood this year, watch this movie. It will bring you some serious Christmas spirit.
Also, it's quite simply, one of the best romantic comedies ever made.

So, if there's a film on this list you haven't seen, get to it!
12/25 is quickly on its way....

Final Note:

My friend Peter wanted me to add Silent Night, Deadly Night to this list but I just couldn't. However, if you're like Peter and would rather see people killing one another (singing and dancing isn't for everyone) this bad slasher film may be your thing.

Merry Christmas to you all!!! Remember: Eat, Drink & Be Merry

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day: December 1st, 2009

Every December 1st, for about 20 years now, I spend the day reminiscing about my Uncle. His name was Christopher but when I was little, I couldn’t get the whole name out so I just called him ‘Chrissy’ and the name stuck with him.
He always said he hated being called 'Uncle Chrissy' but deep down, I think he liked it.

Even though he was my Uncle, we were only ten years apart (technically, he was my first cousin but that’s a story for another day) so he felt more like a Brother to me.
For 15 years, he was a huge, influential part of my life. He was so cool and popular and all I wanted to do was be near him--that's all anyone wanted to do.
We spent endless hours together, playing cards (Crazy Eights—he always won), shopping, watching MTV and just being plain silly. I could always be silly with him and I cherished every second I had with him.

On September 15, 1989, he died of AIDS. He was 25 years old.

He’s been gone 20 years now but it’s still not easy to write about him—it’s even harder to talk about him. I usually choke on tears before his name is barely out of my mouth.

I used to cry and cry over him, almost every day but especially this day—I was filled with anger for a very long time. When you watch someone you adore slowly die, you question everything, especially God.
You just feel hate for the disease, the
The truth is, it still hurts like hell and I’m still mad at the disease but time has eased the anger I had towards life, in general.
I'm hoping time will eventually dry the tears.

About 10 years ago, I figured I should channel all that anger into something positive like volunteering and trying my best to donate what I can to the fight against AIDS.
Now, instead of crying, feeling terrible about what I don’t have, I think about how tough he was even when he was so sick. I think about how much courage it took for him to go to work each day, knowing the ignorance and hate he was going to encounter. I think about all those impoverished people in Africa that can’t afford to ease their children's suffering from the disease. Most of all, I think about how lucky I am that I’m healthy.
For without our health, we have nothing.

On this day, I like to take time to read up on all the current news about the fight against AIDS and all the amazing steps we’ve made on the road to finding a cure.
This day shouldn’t be just a memorial for those we’ve lost, it should be a day to educate ourselves on the disease and to spread the word: Prevention is our best defense.

Some current facts about HIV/AIDS:

· AIDS is a pandemic
· 275,000 children died of AIDS in 2008
· 66% of people living with AIDS are in Sub-Saharan Africa
· 75% of deaths occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa
· As of 2008, there are 33.4 million people living with HIV
· Currently, there is a $10 billion shortfall each year in the fight against AIDS. Funding is being cut all over the world but people like Donald Rumsfeld are getting rich from the Tamiflu vaccine—a fucking crock. Question: If the majority of people living with AIDS were white, would there still be this many deaths? Fact: The world doesn’t care enough about Africa to help fix the problem
· There are 40,000 new cases of HIV each year in the United States alone
· A pregnant woman can pass on the disease to her child
· Two million children under the age of 15 are living with HIV
· 1 in 5 people don’t know they have the disease--it can sometimes take up to 10 years to see any symptoms
· There is no vaccine or cure for HIV/AIDS

Another thing I do every Decemeber 1st? I make a wish that I live to see the day when we find a cure.

If you want to get involved in the fight against AIDS or learn more about the disease, visit:

If you're able to and would like to make a donation today, visit the Casey House website:

Casey House was founded in 1988 and was the first hospice in Canada for people living with HIV/AIDS. There is no cost to clients--Casey House relies mostly on donations as the government will only fund basic care.

My Uncle stayed here for a short time while he lived with the disease. It's an incredible place filled with acceptance, compassion and kindness: three important things a person living with HIV/AIDS needs to fight for survival.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Writing: An 'Awarding' Experience

Work is madness these days so I don't have much time to blog. :(
However, I always make time to read my favourite blogger's posts! I love all of you.
When I do have some time to unwind, I spend it with the characters in my novel, begging me for attention. I'm a bad Mother.

Last week, I opened my Twitter account and saw a DM from Wendy Morrell (@Quillfeather) asking me to visit her blog as she wrote something of interest to me.
Of couse, I made my way to her blog asap and what a nice surprise!
She nominated me (as well as six other bloggers) for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

To be honest, it's such a thrill for me to know that even one person reads my blog--let alone a great writer like Wendy.
Writing is already such a joy for me but knowing that other bloggers out there take an interest in what I have to say is truly intoxicating. Thx Wendy! xo

So, since I was nominated, I now have to nominate 7 bloggers! This won't be easy--I have so many favourites...
Anyway, here's what is expected of the nominees once the baton is passed:

1. Copy and paste the pretty picture in which you see on the top left corner onto your own blog.
2. Thank the person who gave you the award and post a link to their blog.
3. Write 7 things about yourself we do not know.
4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award.
5. Link to those 7 other bloggers.
6. Notify your 7 bloggers.

Seven Things You Don't Know About Me

1. I'm an only child
2. I lived in NYC for 5 years, thinking I could sell a (bad) screenplay that I wrote
3. I hate the smell of microwave popcorn but love to eat it
4. My real first name is not Sheri--technically, Sheri is my middle name (and I hate my first name so don't bother to ask what it is! I've never gone by that name anyway-thank God)
5. I suffer with long bouts of insomnia
6. I've been told that I give out good advice. The problem is, I rarely follow it myself
7. I have many, many, many friends and I adore them all even though there's never enough time to see them on a regular basis. I wish I had 29 hours in a day! My friends have saved my life, time and time again

Without further adieu, here are my 7 nominees, in no particular order:

1. Carrie Blogshaw

Dripping with wit and charm, this blogger doesn't hold back when it comes to matters of the heart. I get a kick out of every one of her posts! She's hilarious. And I'm very proud to have her as a friend.

2. Soulbrother v.2

An incredible storyteller. I hope he knows just how great he is. Please, someone publish this guy! For the time being, enjoy him while we have him here on Blogger!

3. Karen Quah

Karen is a journalist, sript editor and playwright. Her blog has a wealth of information on just about every topic. She's also a lovely person with a positive outlook--even while she's participating in Nano! sheesh!

4. Jai Joshi

Author of 'Follow The Cowherd Boy'
I came to know Jai from the Writer's Digest community. From the very start, I felt like we were kindred spirits!
Again, we have another incredible storyteller on our hands, bloggers! And as I suspected, she's already been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

5. Eric Tenin

Because I love Paris so much, I find myself constantly checking out Eric's blog. He posts a new pic of the lovely City of Lights everyday.

6. Gale Mullings

I stumbled upon Gale's blog via Twitter and thank God I did. I love her writing style and wish I were half as good as she is. She's smart, funny & opinionated: my favourite combination.

7. Antonia Arch

A fellow Torontonian, Antonio runs an art curatorial service called Arch & Company Fine Arts. He's constantly posting images of surreal works of art by artists you've probably never heard of. If you love art as much as I do, you'll love Antonio's blog.

And there you have it! My nominees! It certainly wasn't easy picking just 7!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Unconditional Love

In my twenties, my spending habits were out of control, especially when it came to shoes. I loved buying shoes that I couldn’t afford—truth is, I still like shoes I can’t afford. However, I’ve grown smarter with my finances and have learned to respect my hard-earned money a little more.
I remember the very first pair of Prada shoes I ever owned. They were gorgeous, black Italian leather sandals with these little buckles on the straps. I loved them, even though they killed my feet. I saved up to buy them one summer and was so proud when I was finally able to walk into Saks Fifth Avenue (the flagship store!) and walk out with my new lovers.

At the time, my dog Simon was about 2 yrs old and loved to chew things (you probably know where this is going).
He could chew through just about anything; the edge of doors, rugs, stuffed animals, couch pillows etc, etc. The one thing he didn’t like to chew were his rawhide bones.
He was such a jerk in his youth.

One fateful day, I forgot to put my new loved ones into their shoebox and when I came home from work, the heels were chewed off and those cute little buckles on the straps? They were lying on the floor, next to the bodies.
And the worst part?
The labels in the soles were barely recognizable!! He basically bit the hell out of the ‘sole’ of the shoes.
I yelled and screamed and cried and kept asking him, ‘Why?!’ over and over again. Seems utterly stupid now that I would be questioning a dog and his taste in Italian leather but at the time, I was so angry. I had barely worn them!

I sent Simon to his bed which I moved to the corner of the room and forbade him to move for the rest of the night. I wanted to put a dunce cap on him but I knew he would have just chewed that, too.
The following morning, still drunk from the wine I chose to soothe my aching, shoeless soul, I heard him panting at the foot of my bed.
I opened my eyes and saw him standing there, looking at me with those big, brown eyes, tail wagging, tongue firmly sticking out of the side of his mouth.
He did this every morning however, I was surprised that he bothered on that particular morning, knowing full-well what could be awaiting him; a cold shoulder. But he came to greet me anyway.
He had forgotten the events of the night before and so I had to as well. I couldn’t stay angry at him because he was just so forgiving.
That’s unconditional love for you. No matter what goes on in a relationship, you can always find it in your heart to forgive that person. In my case, a dog.

The other day, I had a scare. My Simon didn’t look so hot—he was in very bad shape. I thought for sure that the vet was going to tell me that Simon would have to be put to sleep. I was a mess and all I could think about was the time that he chewed my first pair of Prada shoes. I don’t know why.

He’s 15 yrs old now and has changed a lot this past year. He moves slower, he sleeps more--he’s getting old.
Very long story short, my dog is fine. It turns out he has something called Geriatric Vestibular Disease which is quite common in old dogs. It will pass with time and pretty soon, he’ll be back to his ‘old’ self again.

I know he’s not going to live forever so I’m going to try to enjoy every second I have left with him because really, that's all I can do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vegas, Baby!

I spent last week in Sin City. I ate too much & gambled too much.
Good times!

I'll go over some of the highlights starting with the most important: FOOD.

My best meal:

Wynn, Las Vegas

If you want luxury, look no further than the Wynn Hotel--this place is out of control. Totally gorgeous inside and out. They even have an Alexander McQueen store in the hotel--I was salivating all over the couture. I'm sure the salepeople were close to calling security.

Wynn has a buffet. The best buffet in town, obviously.
I have never seen so much selection at a buffet before--they had every cuisine you could want. And the desserts? Oh, good Lord, the desserts.
I almost ate myself to death. It was pathetic.

As I was wobbling out, stuffed I couldn't resist snapping a picture of this: 'No, Thank you, dear Wynn' I thought to myself.

The hotel with the most to offer:

Caesar's Palace

It's all about Ceasars. They have EVERYTHING. A huge amount of restaurants, shops and an endless supply of slot machines, just waiting for you to lose your life-savings. Not only that, it's just a visually gorgeous hotel.

The Lions @ MGM Grand, Las Vegas:

I hate seeing animals in captivity but I couldn't help but watch these cuties. They play like they're kittens! Surreal to be that close to them.
I hope they're treated well.

They even had two Lion cubs but my pictures didn't turn out. :( Take it from me; they were adorable.
Below are a few other shots from around 'the strip':

This shot was taken from a balcony at The Bellagio--facing Hotel Paris.

This was taken from the bridge connecting Treasure Island to The Venetian:

A view of the New York, New York Hotel:

Gondola rides at the Venetian--so cheesy! But hey, that's Vegas:

The 900 lbs. pumpkin at the Bellagio:

And my most favourite moment? After a looong day of walking and eating and shopping, watching the giant fish tank at Caesar's Palace was a nice treat.

I was trying to upload the video but by the time it loads, you could go to Vegas yourself to see the bloody fish tank.
Thanks Blogger.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Art Connection

It’s so weird how inspiration can strike. Randomly, when you least expect it, on a boring Tuesday afternoon, you can be struck by the thunderbolt.
I had it coming, though.

Toronto had it’s annual Nuit Blanche art festival on Saturday and I spent most of Sunday and Monday with an art hangover. The festival takes place from dusk to dawn.
Then, today one of my all-time favourite fashion designers, Alexander McQueen deputed his new collection for Paris Fashion Week.
McQueen is just so special—it’s hard not to be mesmerized and influenced by his creativity.

Something always happens to me when I’m surrounded by art for a long period of time.
It makes me feel alive and gets my creative juices flowing—I know how trite that sounds but it’s true. That’s what it does to me.
I didn’t always see this connection, it’s only come to me as I’ve gotten older. Looking back at all the writing I did in my twenties, I realized that I wrote so much because I was living in New York City, surrounded by culture with an endless line of artist friends.
Don’t’ get me wrong, Toronto is a very cultural city, much like New York but my life changed when I moved back here. I moved here for a purpose. I moved here to start a legitmate (paying) career. So, my friends changed, my purpose changed, my outlook changed. I think this happens to a lot of people when they give up their dream. In 1999, I gave up mine.

Or did I?

While writing is my true love, there’s another love in my life that I constantly cheat on writing with; my love of fashion.

I've been working in the fashion industry, mostly on the marketing/retail side for a VERY long time so to say I know a thing or two about fashion would be putting it mildly.
Years ago, when this whole blogging craze started, I didn't think about starting a fashion-specific blog simply because there were (and are!) so bloody many of them! Do we need another one? Now, that is the Million Dollar Question, isn't it?

Can I really have it all? Can I combine my two loves and live happily ever after?

I'm thinking about it......seriously.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


For the most part, rules of etiquette are unwritten. As humans, most of us naturally know that there is a time and place for everything.
The problem with etiquette is that the ‘standards’ vary greatly from person to person. What one person deems appalling, another person may deem normal. Etiquette really depends on where you were raised and who did the raising.
Take for instance, proper dinner table etiquette. Here in the West, it’s poor manners and terrible etiquette to place your elbows on the table. My Grandmother, a broken record, always told me to stop slouching and take my elbows off the table while I ate.
However, in France (and most of Europe, especially Greece), ‘elbows on the table’ is perfectly acceptable. In fact, they think it’s poor etiquette if you don’t have your elbows on the table. Something about hiding your hands in your lap is frowned upon. Whatever. My point is etiquette varies from place to place, person to person.

This is a problem. This is why each and every year someone says or does something so totally ridiculous at the film festival. These people are lacking TIFFiquette.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just a prude so I’ll list the top 3 appalling events that took place over a 10 day span and you tell me; am I being too hard on people?

1. Up In The Air premiere at the Ryerson theatre, September 12, 2009

Some major Hollywood players came out for this one but that didn’t stop the moron in the front row from asking the dumbest question at the festival this year.
On the stage, conducting the Q & A was Jason Reitman, the Writer/Director. On stage with him: George Clooney (whose hand was bandaged from an accident he had the week before), Jason Bateman, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey & a few others—their names escape me.
In the audience looking and listening on? Just Oprah Winfrey. No big deal.
Here was his question:
“This question is for George Clooney: did you really hurt your hand or did you just bandage it for the festival?’ Or something like that. I don’t remember the exact wording.
Anyway, George Clooney just laughed it off and sarcastically answered, ‘yes, I did this just for the premiere tonight’.
Jason Reitman then said, ‘wow, that was an excellent question!’ which got a lot of laughs from the audience because we all knew better.

Here’s a link to the idiot caught on camera by an expert TIFFer, Larry Richman:

People like this don’t deserve to leave the house let alone attend premieres for must-see Hollywood films.
What a waste of a perfectly good opportunity to ask an intelligent question. How many times in your life do you get to pick the brain of a Hollywood heavyweight?
I hope all the other people who had their hands up but didn’t get called on, ganged up on him when he left the theatre.

2. My Year Without Sex premiere at the AMC on Richmond St. September 13, 2009

What happened this night was probably the worst display of bad manners I’ve ever seen at TIFF. And, of course the culprit was seated right next to me. Go figure.
My Year Without Sex is an Australian gem. The Writer/Director, Sarah Watt spent about four years of her life putting this film together.
When she introduced the film, she thanked Toronto for inviting her back (she was here in 2005 for ‘Look Both Ways’—another little gem of a film) and that she just had one of the best meals of her life.
The alpha male sitting next to me, turns to his friend and loudly asks ‘I wonder where she ate?!’ Then whips out his Blackberry and decides to keep it on throughout the entire film, trying to cover the screen by looking at it awkwardly in his pocket.
So, the film is over and the Q&A begins. Guess what the first question is.
That’s right, you guessed it!
‘Where did you have dinner?’
That was the first fucking question to the woman who just poured out her heart and soul on the big screen for us all to gawk at. She traveled thousands of miles for this shit?
The funny thing was, the alpha male didn’t ask the question, some other novice TIFFer did. I guessed, by her tone, she wanted it to be funny and cute but it made me want to throw something sharp at her. However, the only thing I had was an empty popcorn bag. That wouldn’t draw blood so I just gave her a dirty look on the way out of the theatre.

So, once the alpha male hears the name of the restaurant, he proceeds to yell out the address for us all to hear. ‘It’s on King & Spadina!’ he exclaims.
Because you know, he knows it all. He’s the big man about town. Clearly, he has a small penis. I bet he drives a red sports car.
Anyway, after he screams for attention, he jumps up and tells his wife, sitting in the row in front of us with her friends, ‘it’s time to go’. He does all this very loudly, saying bye to his friends, all the while, the Writer/Director is about to call on the next person for question #2.
I hope he dropped his Crackberry down a subway grate on the way home. Fucker.

3. Bad Lieutenant Port of Call: New Orleans premiere at the Ryerson theatre, September 15, 2009

Let’s face it; Nicholas Cage has not made any good films lately. He’s no National Treasure.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
So, I wasn’t feeling it for this film. I saw the first Bad Lieutenant with Harvey Keitel and didn’t like it. I’m not a Werner Herzog fanatic either so there’s three strikes right there. However, I’m a film lover and will try anything once so I tagged along with my friend that night to the premiere. She happened to know a lot about Herzog so I let her educate me.
The film was FANTASTIC. I loved it. Most of us in that theatre that night did. We laughed through the entire film—it was hilarious and so bloody uncomfortable! I love it when a film does that to me. You know, those films that make you cringe and move around in your chair. Movie Magic.
I tweeted just after I got out of the theatre that I thought Nicholas Cage was back and that I smelled Oscar. I still do. I hope he, at the very least, get’s a nomination because his portrayal of Lieutenant Terrence McDonagh was funny, scary and mesmerizing. Seriously, one of the best films (and best performances) I’ve seen this year.

So, why was it that people decided to get up and leave during the Q&A if they liked the film so much? Were they just fake clapping? Was it because Herzog’s accent was so thick, they were too lazy to listen? Or, sadly, were they still angry at Nicholas Cage for Ghost Rider? I know I am.
Unfortunately, they’re making Ghost Rider 2 so we’ll have to get over the anger. Oy vey.
When you are a true movie-lover, you ignore past mistakes when a performance like Cage’s in Bad Lieutenant graces the screen. A true movie-lover is always willing to forgive and forget.
In the theatre that night, the seats were not filled with true movie-lovers. They were filled with novice TIFFers with no idea that leaving during a Q&A is rude and just plain wrong.
If you’re one of these rude bastards, be careful the next time you do this because I usually sit in aisle seats. I have no problem with tripping you.
These rude bastards are also the same people who sat in their seats and watched ALL credits roll. So, what’s the big deal with sitting another few minutes for a Q&A? They only last a few minutes.
Have another movie to get to? Well, leave DURING the credits! It’s very simple.

I hope all these ignorant people I just mentioned were not from Toronto.

I think most movie goers are strictly in it for entertainment purposes only. Meaning, they don’t really care about the process of making movies and I totally understand that.
However, a lot goes into making a film and these people that are bringing their art to our city deserve respect.

It’s not impossible and it’s never too late to acquire good TIFFiquette. Remember, we’re going to be doing this all over again next year.
Here are a few simple rules for being a good TIFFer:

Ask intelligent questions: think long and hard before you ask a question. You have the duration of the film to think. Please. I beg of you.

Don’t leave during a Q&A: Just don’t do it. These people are artists. They’ve worked very hard to bring their idea to life. Don’t shit on their work by getting up and leaving as an actor or director is trying to explain their work.

Don’t be a celebrity stalker: It’s easy to get carried away when you see a celebrity that you admire. Trust me, I know what that feels like. However, it’s poor etiquette to ask for an autograph when someone just finished going pee. Don’t accost celebrities in the bathroom!!!

Final note:
This is to the irritating guy who sat behind me during the premiere of Passenger Side @ AMC (YDS), September 11, 2009:
Thanks for kicking my chair throughout the entire film, asshole. Even when I gave you the abrasive ‘turn-around-and-stare’ and asked you to stop, you thought it would be funny to keep doing it. Either that or you have a neurological disorder.
I just hope that I (or someone else) can return the favour next year.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Fear

I can feel it coming again, sneaking up from behind as it normally does. Just waiting for the right time to ravish me--invade all my thoughts.

I feel it tugging at me, begging me to be fed just before I drift off to sleep. I close my eyes knowing that in a few hours, I'll feel it again. It's relentless and works slowly because it doesn't want you to notice it until it's too late.

Morning comes and I am faced with yet another day of torment. I can still fight the good fight but I often lose. I often let the fear win--it's just easier this way.
As a child, I thought it would be left behind, it wouldn't make it into adulthood. I was wrong. Not only did it follow me, I invited it in for dinner. It has sat at my table for 25 years now.

You see, I've been through this before. My relationship with the fear is a volatile one and I know exactly who wears the pants and it's not me. Like a yo-yo, it keeps filling me up and then abruptly emptying me too quickly and I snap back, wanting for more. It always leaves me wanting for more.

Today, my clothes digging into me, I walk the aisles in search of something that won't hurt me. I search for something that won't induce a feeling of guilt.
I've yet to find it.

The Fear is back.

One of my new favourite songs is by an artist named Lily Allen titled 'The Fear'. When I first heard the title, I laughed to myself as I have had The Fear myself for quite some time. Although, my fear is a lot different than the kind of fear Lily sings about.

The Fear
I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don`t care about clever I don`t care about funny
I want loads of clothes and fuckloads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them

I`ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
`Cuz everyone knows that`s how you get famous
I`ll look at the sun and I`ll look in the mirror
I`m on the right track yeah I`m on to a winner

I don`t know what`s right and what`s real anymore
I don`t know how I`m meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
`Cuz I`m being taken over by The Fear

Life`s about film stars and less about mothers
It`s all about fast cars and passing each other
But it doesn`t matter cause I`m packing plastic
and that`s what makes my life so fucking fantastic

And I am a weapon of massive consumption
and its not my fault it`s how I`m program to function
I`ll look at the sun and I`ll look in the mirror
I`m on the right track yeah I`m on to a winner

I don`t know what`s right and what`s real anymore
I don`t know how I`m meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
`Cuz I`m being taken over by The Fear

Forget about guns and forget ammunition
Cause I`m killing them all on my own little mission
Now I`m not a saint but I`m not a sinner
Now everything is cool as long as I`m getting thinner

I don`t know what`s right and what`s real anymore
I don`t know how I`m meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
`Cause I`m being taken over by fear

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Aging & Shoe Laces

Aging can be a wonderful thing.
As an adult, you get to stay up as late as you want. You get to eat popcorn and chocolate chip cookies for dinner. You get to keep your bedroom as messy as possible without lectures or guilt trips from your Mother. Best of all, you get to pick and choose who you want in your life.
And if you’re really lucky, age allows you to slowly (I stress slowly here) figure out who you are, who you were and who you don’t want to be.

Every other weekend, I spend a day with my 90 year old Grandmother, affectionately known as ‘Nanny’.
Nanny now lives with my parents because she can no longer take care of herself, well. Physically, she’s fine—strong as an ox. Mentally, well, that’s another story.
I’ve written about her many, many times but have not shared much on this blog as my feelings about her current situation are convoluted. I sometimes feel like I’m in denial while other times I seem to come to terms with the fact that the woman I knew, the woman who helped raise me is not the same person.

When I was a child, she doted on me endlessly and I loved it because doting was something my Mother knew nothing about.
One of my fondest memories of her was all the time she took to show me how to tie my shoe laces. She was always so patient and would allow me to try and try again until I got it right, even when she was in a hurry. I can still picture her standing in the doorway, looking at her watch as I struggled with my Everest.
I hadn’t thought about that in ages. My recent memories of her are starting to overshadow the old, more joyful ones.
Time can be cruel.
However, the other day, as I helped her with her socks and shoes, I was transported back to that doorway in my childhood.
There she was, sitting in her favourite chair, sticking out her foot the same way I used to do it by holding on to the back of my knee. It was a bizarre moment. And to be honest, I cried on my way home that day because of it.
Having to see my Grandmother this way is not all bad, though. For good can come out of bad, time and time again.

My original Grandmother allowed me to see that with a little patience and perseverance, anything is possible.

My current Grandmother is forcing me to see that I don’t ever want to lose my memories. I don’t ever want to lose my essence and I certainly don’t ever want to lose the ability to put my shoes on—by myself.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Organized Thoughts? Who Has Those?

Yesterday, the topic of discussion on Twitter's #writechat was 'Inspiration VS. Organization: Tips & tools for each and how they work together'. So, that got me to thinking...I couldn't offer tips on either topic.

For the most part, I am an organized person. Or so I’ve been told. I hate clutter so I try to keep my home as meticulous as humanly possible. My bookshelves house books of varying size but you wouldn’t know it by looking at them—I’m an expert book ‘clusterer’. I even colour-code so that the spines don't clash.
My bedroom closet keeps my folded clothes in organized piles and my clothes hangers? Well, they’re all the same. They must always be the same. NO WIRE HANGERS!
My desk at work has to be just so—everything has its place. Stapler beside printer, pen holder beside the phone, post-its, well post-its are everywhere because I have an addiction to them.
I re-organize my purse/bag just about every night before I go to bed so that I’m all set for another day at the office. You boys would be shocked to learn just how much garbage a woman can accumulate in her purse in just one day.
If I were to live in a home that was disorganized and cluttered, I wouldn’t get anything done because I would feel so stressed out by my surroundings. Have you ever seen that show Hoarders on A&E? I can’t watch it! It’s like a horror movie.

Here I am bragging while there’s one area of my life that is in complete disarray; my writing.
I have boxes of papers, cocktail napkins (it’s amazing what a glass of wine can do which is why a lot of famous authors were hopeless alcoholics), matchbooks, LOT’S of post-its, receipts etc. with my scribbling on them. Most of the good stuff has been placed neatly into my trusty laptop but every once in a while, I’ll stumble upon some prose or dialogue from my novel written in eyeliner or lipstick on the back of a receipt.
Even when I have the proper tools around me to get some writing done, I still find it hard to jot down random thoughts and ideas into the computer—I prefer my post-its or notepads.
I have notebook after notebook with pages of post-it notes strategically placed even though I had plenty of lined paper to write on.
If anyone saw the way I keep my writing, they would be appalled considering how anal I am about everything else in my life. They would also question the language I write in because even I can’t read my handwriting anymore.

A fellow writer once told me that the reason why my writing is not organized is because my thoughts are ‘unorganized’. Meaning, I don’t write in sequence. I wrote the epilogue to my novel before I wrote the first chapter. I wrote the last paragraph before I wrote the third chapter. And so on. I write the story as it comes to me and it comes to me in spurts, especially dialogue.

Even though this is the one area of my life that is out of control, I don’t feel stressed about it at all, strangely enough. I think that’s because writing brings me so much joy and allows me to just take and take. My pen & paper never asks for anything in return. It’s a give-give relationship!
The first and only one that I will ever have in this life.

As for inspiration, you'll have to go back a couple of posts to see how I'm doing with that these days.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tom & Summer Have Saved The RomCom!

For a couple of years now, I've been proclaiming that the Romantic Comedy is dead. I'm like a broken record and my friends are really starting to despise me. However, I had a lot to go on when I came to this harsh conclusion.
Now, let me take you for a startling stroll down (recent) RomCom memory lane so I can prove my point.


What Happens in Vegas
This shit grossed $220 million--looks like a lot of people suffered. They should have known better. The movie stars Cameron Diaz (the worst 'actress' of our time) & the equally bad and incredibly annoying Ashton Kutcher who usually ends up playing Michael Kelso in every film. Between the two of them, not much acting range. Storyline was okay but all that slapstick! They had to throw that all in just to keep the audience awake, I guess. Movies like this shouldn't be allowed to happen. We're good people--we don't deserve this kind of treatment.

My Best Friend's Girl
Starring some talentless 'comedian' named Dane Cook. He was in that abomination called 'Employee of the Month' with none other than the incomparable Jessica Simpson--she should be banned from movie sets, entirely. But, I digress.
Also stars Kate Hudson (her track record with the RomCom isn't all that bad--remember 'How To Lose A Guy..'? Not bad, right?) as 'the best friend's girl'. She'll be regretting this one for years to come. I think film critic Wesley Morris from the Boston Globe sums it up well: 'The inexplicable romantic comedy career of Dane Cook marches on.'

Made of Honor
Capitalizing on his 'mcdreamy' or 'mcsteamy' crap or whatever the hell it's called from a show I don't watch, Patrick Dempsey stumbles upon a script so bad, Dane Cook turned it down.
No, just kidding! However, Patrick should have turned this one down because he had such a hit with Enchanted. He didn't need this one. Nobody needs this. This film was a blatant (and terrible) copy of My Best Friend's Wedding.
I would like to point out though, Patrick has great RomCom potential. He was in a somewhat cheesy yet charming movie called Can't Buy Me Love back in 1987.

There was a lot more mediocre RomComs in 2008 but I could be here all day, people.

So, here we are in 2009 and this is what Hollywood has given us so far:

The Proposal
A match that should have been left on the cutting room floor: Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds.
I called this one early on. The trailer didn't look that bad (Betty White was in this film!) but what made me think, 'this movie is going to suck' was the amount of publicity it was getting. The studio was shoving this one down our throats--big time. Bad sign. If the movie was any good, you wouldn't need local morning radio shows talking about it every 20 minutes.

The Ugly Truth

Do I even need to critique this film in any way? I'm sure you've all read the less than stellar reviews recently. Or worse, you were one of the poor bastards that parted with your hard-earned dollars to sit through this monstrosity. Again, I called this piece of shit as soon as I saw the trailer for it a few months ago.
That part at the end of the trailer when Whiny Heigel says, 'sucker!' made me cringe each and every time I saw it mostly because people in the theatre actually laughed. It frightened me. AND the film used Flo Rida's 'Right Round'. He should sue.

August 14th, 2009:
I finally had the opportunity to see (500) Days of Summer. Why did I wait so long? Because this little gem is in only a handful of theatres while complete SHIT films like the ones mentioned above, are in every theatre across the city. That hardly seems fair, I know but this is Hollywood. It's ugly, isn't it?

The movie stars Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt (remember him in 3rd Rock? He's still just as adorable) as two very different people with very different outlooks on life and love. However, they end up forming a 'relationship' that Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) wants to label while Summer (Zooey Deschanel) just wants to have fun with. It's a love story with a twist, I guess you could say. The twist is that this movie is closer to real life than any other RomCom I've ever seen--it's unpredictable and extremely refreshing. Tom is a bit melodramatic but it doesn't matter--you buy it.
I can't say much more without giving the plot away so just do yourself a favour and go see it. Here's a link to the trailer:

And Hollywood, if you're listening, PLEASE give us back the great Romantic Comedy. You know, the ones that were funny and had well-written characters that we actually cared about.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Neverending Quest For Inspiration

Artists say it all the time; 'Inspiration is all around, you just have to open your eyes'.

So, once upon a time, I was living this phrase; I was inspired to write everyday, no matter how hectic my schedule was. However, sitting here now, uninspired I know exactly why I used to write more; naïveté.

Once I announced that I am officially going to write a novel, things changed. As an over-achieving, slightly OCD basket case, I placed an enormous amount of pressure on myself and agonized over every sentence, every word. I can literally spend days on one sentence. Isn't that ridiculous?
Currently, I am in the midst of changing my novel from first person to third person, with a twist. Don't ask--it's hard to explain what I want to accomplish. It's a genius idea (in my head) and if I can pull it off and write it the way it deserves to be written, I know my book will be better off.

This new idea of mine has made me feel like running the other way instead of tackling it, head on. It's so much work to change now but if I don't, I know I'll regret it. If I don't, I'll obsess over it until I do.
I fear my novel has become a chore.

I used to write because I loved it so much, not because I expected to get published. I could write anywhere, anytime, it all seemed so simple. I could write a 1000 words on my subway commute to work in the morning--easy peasy. Now, I'm lucky if I can get a few hundreds words down in a week.
This past month, I've been trying to find that old love again but it's been terribly difficult because I have unfinished chapter after unfinished chapter, hanging over my head. I can hear my characters screaming for attention, screaming for some well-written prose--they're fed up with me. I have to say, the feeling is mutual.

Instead of whining about it (ok, so this post is kind of whiny), I've decided to blog more and write some short stories, create some different characters. I have even decided to start writing poetry again, something I haven't done in a VERY long time. Don't be alarmed, I won't be posting any of it on this blog.
I think if I can get some distance from my novel, I can look at it from a different perspecitive. I'm hoping I'll miss it so much, I'll come running home one day, open my laptop and not stop typing for days on end. You know that feeling when your fingers can't keep up with the thoughts? I love that feeling. I miss that feeling. To me, that's inspiration.

I hope that trite saying really is true; 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


September in Toronto is probably my favourite time of the year.
The Toronto International Film Festival.

Our little festival has turned into quite the spectacle over the last decade and it's all thanks to us; the movie lovers. The film fest begins on the first Thursday after Labour Day and continues for ten days--that's about 300-400 films!

TIFF was founded in 1976 and was then known as 'The Festival of Festivals'. It started by simply showcasing the best films from festivals all over the world but has since become the premiere film festival in North America. Cannes beats us for first place when it comes to film festivals but we Canadians are gracious enough to accept second place. We all know our TIFF rocks! But, I digress.

TIFF is considered the kick-off for many Hollywood studios to start their films' 'Oscar-Buzz'. Movies like Chariots of Fire, Sideways, Crash, Slumdog Millionaire, Ray, American Beauty (one of my all-time favourites) have all had their North American or even global debut at TIFF. Let's just say, we have a pretty good track record when it comes to choosing movie lineups.

Click here for all of your TIFF info:

Today, they announced a huge portion of their documentary lineup:
And they also announced the Midnight Madness lineup:

So, it's still too early to tell but there's every reason to believe that the Toronto International Film Festival is going to be a big hit in 2009. Let's just hope our lovely Mayor solves this civic workers strike because I'm not too sure the international film industry will appreciate all of our garbage littering the downtown core.
Just sayin'!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Who Would We Be Without the Garbage?

The city of Toronto is currently going through a civic worker's strike which literally means our garbage has not been picked up by the city in six days. The city workers gave us all a cold dose of irony when the first day of the strike took place on a day that was hot as hell. Was the union leader watching the Weather Channel?
It's times like these that really make me realize just how wasteful we all are. Also, I question what it is exactly that we're offering to the planet? When all is said and done, what will be left on this great earth of ours? I would venture to guess it would be things like styrofoam and plastic bags.
Trees and flowers are a lot prettier but are greatly outnumbered.

I think our wasteful nature stems from the fact that, as humans, we really, truly don't know what our purpose is. If you really sit and think about it, we are the only living beings on this planet that have this problem.
If you take a stroll through a park or garden, you see first-hand, all the other living things that know their purpose and have no trouble fulfilling their end of the bargain with the planet. From a Robin Red Breast to the common Bumble Bee, they awake each day and simply do their thing. Sure, there may be a day when Mr. Bumble Bee says 'I'm sick of this crap--I need a vacation!' but I doubt he says things like 'if I buy that sports car, my life will be complete!'.
As long as we don't know our purpose, we're always going to be overcome by materialism. We're always going to be looking for joy in objects then when those objects become old, tarnished or boring, they're placed in the trash and become the planet's problem. This is so wrong but it has been our reality for far a very long time. It's been my reality my entire life.
I'm hopeful that we'll all change but it's going to take a mass conciousness in order for this to happen.
The good news is, being Green is in style. Let's just hope it stays in style.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

9 Times a Charm?

Since January 2006, a particular character and her storyline have been taking over my thoughts on a daily basis. Doesn't matter what time of the day or night, she pops up whenever she feels like it.
'She' refuses to allow me to take a break from 'her' and 'her' drama; I like to use the 'I have writer's block' excuse but she will have none of it. Being born into fiction, I'm sure she's heard this before.
Her name is Anna. She's stubborn, elusive and thoroughly intoxicating, at times. She's difficult, time-consuming and easily ignored, at other times.
One of my main complaints about Anna is that I lack the good writing skills it's going to take to write her the way she deserves to be written.
I know, to most people, what I just wrote will come off as completely absurd. But to a fellow writer, I know it makes sense.
Have you ever had an amazing character or plot in your head that was just so bloody good, you were afraid of it? Not because you lack the motivation to write it but because you could see all the work it was going to take to pull it off and you think 'how is this going to be possible'? It's like our creative minds bite off more than they can 'chew' sometimes.

Tonight, for the first time in about three months, I'm tackling the (9th!) rewrite of my novel's first chapter; my arch-nemisis.
This is going to be hell....again.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Don't Know Why

I just signed up for Twitter. Never, in a million years, thought that I would.
My pal, Carrie Blogshaw has tried to convince me (to no avail) to join Facebook but I refuse. There are limitations to just how connected I want to be.

This whole new internet socializing world is kind of making me feel old because I remember the days when I used to talk for hours on the phone AND actually write letters--with my hand, not with my laptop.
So, is the hand-written letter dead? Um, I hope so because my handwriting is an embarrassment. I can barely read it, let alone a friend or loved one.

Can't believe it's been so long since I last posted!
I've been busy job hunting. Finally landed one and started a few weeks ago! Horray for me.
If you've been following my blog, you probably know just how rocky my career has been over the last few years. I hope the bumps are getting isn't supposed to be a smooth ride.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pink Slips Aplenty

I'm no stranger to the unemployment line.
I've been restructured twice (well, three times if you count the most recent issue with my contract renewal) in my career and both times were very difficult for me because I took the Pink Slip Process too personally. It's hard not to when you give your all to a company and then get the big kiss-off.
Recently, we've all been touched, in one way or another, by this economic 'crisis'. You would have to be either Paris Hilton or living under a rock if you haven't been. We all know someone who has lost a job or some major part of their livelihood--perhaps you are one of those people?

I've never really been particulary fantastic at one specific thing because I'm a textbook multi-tasking, Capricorn worker bee. I consider myself good at everything. I'm certain I'm not alone. I'm also certain this is one of the reasons why I've had a difficult time finding a great company that appreciates me over the last few years.
However, there is one thing that I am very good at and yes, you can say I specialize in this area; dealing with unemployment and the invetibale job hunting process. (Just take a look at some of my old blogs)
So, for all you job hunters out there, listen up! Things will get better and you WILL land that job, eventually.
I know, you can't make a living off of 'eventually' so let me elaborate on this whole Pink Slip Process.
From my own personal experience, there are three major stages you will go through now that you've been laid-off.

1. Shock

When you first receive your Pink Slip, you are going to feel shocked. Even if you 'felt it coming' over the last couple of months, you're still going to be shocked when you're pulled into that big, echoing boardroom with the VP of Pink Slip Land (aka, the VP of Human Resources). You'll probably be escorted back to your desk to pack up and then lead out to the front doors of your office building--the same doors you happily walked into on your first day, way back when. You'll walk, in a daze, back to the car or the bus from which you came.
Many thoughts and images will run through your mind, like a mirrorball. Your first impulse is to call everyone you know. You'll discuss the issue at length for awhile and then by mid-afternoon you'll be emotionally and physically drained.
From my own experience, it's very important to hold tight to your friends and family at this time. When you're in shock, you can say and do things without thinking--your unconcious. You need good, honest people around you for moral support. So, call them whenever you need to vent or just need to hear a friendly voice.

Stay away from ANY friend or family member that you deem negative during this stage!

2. The Pity Party

After the shock wears off, you're going to feel sad and alone and if you liked your job in any way, you're going to love it and mourn it by now. Mostly because your friends and family will be going on about their business (and going to work) and you'll feel forgotten and rather useless because you don't feel as busy anymore. But don't worry, you're not forgotten. Your friends and family want to help you through this but please remember that they have busy lives, too.

At this time, it's a good idea to stay away from sending out resumes and cover letters and trying to set up job interviews. I know this sounds strange. Trust me though, you need to take a few days (or weeks, if you can) to regroup and revamp that resume. Also, from an energy point of you, you will come off as deseperate or deflated if you start to interview at this time. You need to take a breather. You need to treat yourself well during this stage. Read that book you always wanted to read but never had the time. Spend some quality time with your kids. Treat yourself to a hot fudge sundae and a long, hot bath. Or why not take a long walk or run? It's a great stress-reliever and fresh air always seems to help clear the cobwebs from your mind.

Don't panic at this stage. The sadness won't last long and you'll need all of your strength to handle the next stage--the most difficult stage.

3. Anger

After sadness and the pity party get's tired, you'll move on to the anger stage. It won't take much to set you off on this path. Could just be something you saw on Oprah that day or maybe someone simply asked 'have you heard anything yet?' For me, all it took was one unreturned phone call from a potential employer and I turned into this raging lunatic. I hated every company and every HR Manager had become the devil incarnate. I hated myself during this stage and actually started blaming myself for getting let go even though it was a restructuring and had nothing to do with performance. This is a typical reaction though so fight it as soon as the feeling comes up. You need to think of yourself as an asset. Every time I started to feel anger or resentment, I would say to myself "I'm an honest, hard worker and I deserve a good job with a decent company" over and over again.

The funny thing is, during this stage some good came out of a bad situation. I started writing my novel. Mostly because I felt so rejected, I wanted to show the world that they made a mistake by passing on me as an employee. I wanted to show them that I was more than just a well-written resume. When I look back at my writing during that time, it was pretty damn good. However, I would never want to feel that kind of negativity in my life ever again. I was miserable and so were the people around me.

So, during the anger stage, you need to be a bit harder on yourself. Forget those hot fudge sundaes and the self-loathing, what you need now is a plan. A positive, realistic plan to get you back in the workforce. Think about changing your resume or changing the way you answer certain, typical interview questions. Study up on the interviewing process--there are a ton of books and websites dedicated to helping people answer those tough questions. Also, think about your attire. Are you dressing properly for your interviews? And what about the positions themselves, are they suitable for you or are you just applying for them out of desperation. Speaking of the positions, are you tailoring your resume for them? If not, you need to start. A canned resume will only get you so far.

Read A New Earth after this stage is winding down!

My last piece of advice at getting through this diffucult time is for you to read a book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. I won't elaborate on why I want you to read this book--just do it. However, if at the first page, you are already questioning my recommendation, put it down and don't pick it up again until you're ready. This book can't be read when you're negative in any way.

Final thought:

I practice what I preach. I am also in the same job hunting boat with the rest of you so please don't think I don't know how you feel.

This blog is dedicated to my very smart, beautiful and hard-working friend who lost her job this morning. I'll be here to help you through your three stages as you have always been there to help me through mine! xoxo

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Has Hollywood Gone Ugly?

When I think about the hottest leading men in movie history, I often think about Marlon Brando. No other Hollywood star has come close to mocking his ruggedness and beauty, not to mention his talent.
Perhaps he didn't set out to do this (I've read that he often said he hated acting and Hollywood, in general) but he has created this bar for all other actors. No, I'm not talking about his notable acting ability I'm talking about something more important; his good looks.

In Hollywood, there should be a law that requires leading men to look their best. There certainly is a law for female actors. Heaven forbid a leading lady weigh in over the 100 pound mark or heaven forbid if she should show up on the set without her hair extensions and piles of makeup. That just wouldn't be kosher.
Don't get me wrong, there are some hot actors out there right now: Pitt, Clooney, Washington, Owen--can't think of anymore. However, I can name MANY beautiful leading ladies. What does that say?

So, tell me Hollywood, why is it that these guys are allowed to be unattractive, talentless and leading men?

That's right; these three (Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel) have ALL been leading men in Hollywood films that have done relatively well.
Mind you, they are not world renowned films but still, they're making serious money in an industry that used to pride itself on beauty.
These three look as though they just rolled out of bed and onto a movie set. Not only are they unattractive (and they look as though they haven't showered in a decade), they can't act. Every second word out the their mouth's have been curse words. If you don't believe me, see their films.
Oh, and speaking of their films, what makes even less sense is that their leading ladies have all been gorgeous. Katherine Hegel and Mila Kunis are just a couple of names that come to mind. Like these two gals would even give these losers a second look? Please!

This makes me think about Seinfeld.
Remember how Jerry, George and Kramer always had cute girlfriends? I mean, the fact that George would even have a woman speak to him was a stretch. But in almost every episode, there he was, complaining about a woman he was dating.
Then, you have Elaine. Pretty, funny, smart and successful.
What kind of guys did Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld write for her? LOSERS! The only guy that was the slightest bit good looking was Puddy. They ALWAYS gave her the unattractive morons as dates.
But, I digress.

Is this 'Ugly Hollywood Leading Men' thing just a passing fad or is this something more sinister; is this something permanent?
I don't know about you ladies out there, but I want my gorgeous, hunky leading men back!!!

Hollywood: are you listening?

An important note:
We all know that Mr. Brando REALLY let himself go in his last years. However, I think it's important to note that he was still getting some great parts, well into his seventies.
Now, on the flipside we have Elizabeth Taylor. A ridiculously beautiful actress that also let herself go as she aged. What was her last big film? 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf' circa 1966. She was 34 years old.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Crystal Palace

One of my favourite novels is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
I've never been able to feel so completely lost in a story until I read that book (3x!). To be honest, Middlesex was the catalyst for my renewed love of writing.

While I always enjoyed putting pen to paper, I never thought I would consider my writing to be publishable. Hell, I still don't know if I have what it takes but I'm not going to let that stop me.

Jeffrey Eugenides made me fall in love with words again. Writing wasn't just something fun to do, it had started to become a serious part of my life. I owe him but sometimes I curse him because the writing life is far from easy. There are times when I would like to throw my laptop out the window. However, there are times, when I'm 'in the groove' and the words are flowing so easily that I feel so good about my life. It's a roller coaster ride.

I heard that it took Mr. Eugenides nine years to complete Middlesex. At first, I thought that was a terribly long time but once I started writing my novel, I realized it's not that long at all. It can take you years just to find the right 'voice', meaning do you use first-person or third-person? I've played around with both. I'm leaning more towards the first-person, this week.

Another part of the novel that takes a very loooong time to write; the first chapter. We newbies have heard this a thousand times; the first chapter needs to be very well-written and must have killer hook.
So, I think I've changed my first chapter almost 20 times, so far. It still doesn't feel right. But will it ever feel right? I'm scared that I may never know if it's good enough.
The rejection letters will be a sign though, right?

I think the most difficult job for a novel writer is to stay motivated and interested in your story. Motivation has never been easy for me. I tend to start projects and then get tired of them if they are not going my way. I've learned (the hard way) over the years that this attitude will not get you anywhere in life. It especially won't get you published.
So, what keeps me motivated is the fact that I have an interesting story to tell. A family saga, a romance, a mystery--all in one novel. I think there will be a lot of people intrigued by the plot and the dysfunctional yet lovable characters.

I read an interview that Mr. Eugenides did for the Oprah show. I wasn't surprised that he too found it difficult to stay motivated. Makes me feel like I'm in good company.

'It's rare for me to get an idea for a book as large and fully formed as the idea for Middlesex. At a certain point early on, I saw the entire structure of the book in crystalline form inside my head. The elegance of this structure bewitched me. When I felt like giving up—and I did almost give up, many times—the thought of that crystal palace in the distance kept me plodding on.'

-Jeffrey Eugenides in an interview with Oprah Winfrey

Monday, March 16, 2009

Organ Donation: Coming soon to a restaurant near you!

I had dinner with a friend of mine the other night. Just after our meal, we stumbled upon the topic of 'weird things that people eat'. My friend heard of a restaurant in Japan that apparently has human intestines on the menu. I can't see how this could possibly be legal unless someone decides to donate their organs to the restaurant industry rather than to Science. Personally, I would never want to donate my body to Science (or to my local Japanese restaurant) for fear of ridicule. I know I'll be dead but who's not to say I won't see myself being made fun of? Nope, I just can't risk it.

I looked all over the internet for the Human Intestine Restaurant to no avail. However, I did stumble upon some other rather strange restaurants. Below are just a few:

Medical Restaurant: Taipei, Taiwan
How would you like your favourite drink to be served by an IV drip? Or how about enjoying your favourite meal while sitting in a wheelchair?
The guy who came up with this idea was a former patient who received great care at his local hosptial. I still don't see why he wanted to place these two 'themes' together but hey, to each his own.

I'm sure this restaurant does well with men, though as all the waitresses are dressed as slutty nurses.

Restaurant in the Sky: Belgium
The only advice I can give is don't drop your fork and keep that bloody seatbelt fastened at ALL times.

Underwater Restaurant: Maldives, Dhivehi
Out of all these ridiculous destinations, I would choose this one. It sits five meters under the Indian Ocean and offers 270 degree views.

Japan: The Cannibal Banquet

This is weird. This is Japan.

So, the 'body' is made kind of like a pinata. The food inside is covered in a red sauce of some kind. They place more of this sauce in between the layers of 'skin' so that when you use the scalpel (yes, this is like an autopsy) the 'body' will bleed.

Last, but not least (back to Taiwan) The Toilet Restaurant:
What's wrong with this country? Is their food so boring they have to come up with appalling ways to eat it?

This is disgusting. Not sure how anyone can enjoy their meal out of something that mimics the place where we do our 'business'.

We Canadians may not have our own 'cusine' to speak of but at least we don't eat out of toilets!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Speling 101....I mean Spelling 101

This post is dedicated to my friend, Wanger who likes to poke fun at all the typos in my blog.

Did you know, that in 1908, a very special organization called the Simplified Spelling Society was formed? It's currently called The Spelling Society.

The society was formed to raise awareness of the problems caused by bad spellers (like me) and to help reform said bad spellers.
So, stop pretending you're dyslexic (I never do this!) and listen up! There is help for us bad spellers. And it may make you feel better if I post a list of famous bad spellers that went on to lead VERY productive lives?
More on that later.

The English language is extremely complex--just ask an ESL student. We English speaking people tend to take for granted how difficult our language is to learn. In fact, English students take twice as long as French, German and Italian speaking students to learn to read and write. The problem is, for every rule, there are 20 exceptions (I'm exaggerating but you know what I mean). Remember English class back in your school days?
Also, what about the differences between 'English' English words and 'American' English words? How confusing must that be for people just learing our language? They can spell colour like this or the wrong way; color. ;)

According to Vivian Cook, author of Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary, there are at least 20 most commonly misspelled words. He has created a site where you can take spelling tests and see how you do against others.

Btw, Wanger: I scored 14/20 on the spelling test. Ha! See if you can beat that!

So, just because you can't spell doesn't mean you can't be a success. As promised, below is a list of 'famously' bad spellers:

  • John F. Kennedy & Mrs. Jackie Kennedy (who was an editor, btw and I don't have to mention what her husband did for a living, do I?)
  • Dan Quayle (another politician--he spells potato with an 'e' at the end)
  • Deborah Franklin (wife of Benjamin Franklin who liked to add another 'e' to very; verey)
  • Emily Dickinson (some of her misspelled words: extacy, Febuary, independant)
  • Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brother's has recently admitted to being a bad speller (teenage girls everywhere now think illiteracy is 'cute')
  • Albert Einstein (not only was he told he could not spell, most teacher's dismissed him as mentally 'slow' when he was a child)

Feeling better yet?

I was going to write about Wanger's dirty little secrets to get back at her but I let her know I wouldn't do that for fear of inducing sleep. But hey, if you're having problems falling asleep, I have the perfect antidote for you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

3rd Annual Oscar Report

The 81st Oscars graced televisions across the world last night with the usual star-studded red carpet, elaborate stage, surprises (though, there weren't many this year) and disappointments.

I watch the Oscars EVERY year without fail from beginning to end. I think I started watching this show in utero. To some people, this event may seem irrelevant, a waste of time and money (especially now during this recession) but I think it's important that we have events like the Oscars and The Grammy's. What would we be without art in our lives? What would we talk about over dinner or at the water cooler if not for movies both good and bad?
Artists (actors, painters, writers, singers etc.) are an important part of our society and human culture. Speaking of artists, can I just start by saying (without judgement from anyone) that I screamed and jumped up and down last night when they called Sean Penn's name for Best Actor? Milk was one of my fave contenders this year and I knew the Academy would not be able to ignore another strong performance by Penn. Sure, Mickey Roarke was fantastic in The Wrestler. Sure, everyone loves a good come-back story but sorry Mickey; none of the other nominees had ANYTHING on Penn this year.

Actually, last night I got my way many times! ;)
Kate, oh Kate! She finally won her first Oscar. Though I wasn't crazy about The Reader (LOVED the book) she played a really tough part and made it look easy. She's a great actress and truly deserves her Oscar. I loved her speach last night because it just seemed so real and unrehearsed--and she was just so grateful. And just look at her; isn't she a gorgeous woman? Her fashion choices rarely disappoint as she always looks elegant and very, very classy.

So, it was the year of the little Indian movie called Slumdog Millionaire. For us smart people the saw the film, we knew it would make a clean sweep in just about every category it was nominated for. What a great movie. It has all the elements of a classic; heartache, humour, adventure and charm. It's no surprise that among the many categories it won, Best Picture was one of them. And just look at some of the cast members; how cute are they?

Well, I hate to admit it but I fell prey to the undeniable charms of Brangelina last night. You can't help but look at these two in awe. They are both stunning creatures but together they make a ridiculously fabulous couple.

Angelina Jolie has really grown up; she no longer feels the need to look like Elvira. Remember what she looked like when she won for Girl Interupted? You don't? Let me remind you:Boy, what a long way she has come. She looks like she appreciates her beauty now.
And Brad, well what else can be said about him? He's a big hunk of loin-quivering masculinity.

Did anyone see my Cate? Cate Blanchett that is. Where was she? The Red Carpet was not the same without her; a fashion icon. Perhaps she knew that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button would lose in almost every category? Those of us that sat through the three-hour movie knew this, too.

Now, I can't mention Brangelina without mentioning Jennifer Aniston. It's like these three are always going to be linked together; poor Jenn. Not only does she have to resort to dating Jon Mayer, she showed up to the Oscars last night looking like ass. What was she thinking? Or perhaps she's given up? Who wants to compete with Angelina Jolie anyway; it's a losing battle.

She looked like she just stepped off the beach. No wonder she didn't walk the Red Carpet. Hideous! Even Mario Lopez walked the Red Carpet! What the F*** was he doing there?

What would the Oscars be without a good host? Well, it would be the 2005 Oscars hosted by Chris Rock.

This year the Academy chose Hugh Jackman to do the hosting and I think he did a great job. It must be a difficult job. There's so much pressure. Anyway, I didn't know Hugh was so uber talented. He can sing and dance and even act; a triple threat, indeed. His opening number was engaging and funny; reminded me of the good old days when Billy Crystal was host. I miss Billy! Hope he comes back soon.

I love it when celeb couples show up looking fabulous! (Like Brangelina above) This is part of their job; they need to look good for us poor souls that can only watch this event on TV. How dare they show up looking like crap? Hello! Russell Crowe! Are you listening???

Here are some of my faves from last night:

Diane & Josh: can't get enough of these two. They always look elegant. I heard they like to argue and fight and throw things at eachother; you would never know it in this photo! I have a bit if a crush on Josh these days ever since No Country For Old Men. I think he's underrated.

Seal & Heidi: these two make me sick. They're just too gorgeous and happy!! SJP & The Ingrate: I like watching these two walk the Red Carpet because they are like the odd couple. She's charming and enthusiastic (she was wearing a Dior gown last night that made my jaw literally drop) while he looks as though we should all be kissing his ass because he's soooo talented and he's on Broadway and he's more interested in the 'craft'. Please! You were Ferris Bueller for Christ's sake! Get over yourself.

Pheobe and The Kline: Remember Pheobe Cates? That raven-haired, beautiful 80's star? She had so much potential but opted for Mommyhood over Hollywood. She's still so lovely. I love it that these two are still together. Red certainly was a popular colour last night.

Last but not least; Sean & Robyn: this couple has always been mysterious and intriguing to me. Robyn is still so gorgeous, isn't she? She'll always be my Kelly from Santa Barbara! ;) And Penn, well, I just love him and everything that he does. He just oozes sex appeal, intelligence and talent. I'm so glad they 'kissed and made up' after their little split last year.

All in all, it was a good night. Nothing really surprising happened; the Academy had it easy this year. The writing was on the wall: Slumdog Millionaire deserved EVERY award it was nominated for, Sean Penn is a revelation, Kate Winslet proved again that going ugly for a part pays off, Heath Ledger deserved that posthumous Oscar and Penelope Cruz proved she CAN act--in her own language, though. ;)

Note to God: If I'm allowed to come back in another life, would you please use this mold? Thanks! xo