Sunday, August 30, 2009

One damned thing after another

Anyone who has read the novel I keep hawking along the right side of this blog – or tried to; or considered it, then abandoned the idea after reading a description of the "plot" – would probably not be shocked to discover that I plan to rent and watch this foot-dragger of a movie:
At 201 minutes, it’s a tremendously challenging affront to convention: In a typical sequence, Jeanne discovers she only has one potato, she goes to the store to buy a bag of potatoes, and she peels the potatoes one by one. Yet the miracle of the film is that her daily tasks, which she executes with admirable fastidiousness, hint at deep psychological stress. It’s like watching her unravel in slow motion.
It might also be like watching paint dry, but we shall see.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dancing days

Having cleared through a pile of freelance work, giving myself a few days' off before I have to tackle the next pile, I feel an awful lot like this:

Friday, August 21, 2009

I see a darkness

I lost power for about 12 hours, and had muddy water gushing in my door like my apartment was a trawler in the middle of the ocean during a squall, but I got off easy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel

Just over 24 hours after writing some nice things about my current bike in the post below, the stupid thing seizes up on me whilst on my way to take the kids to the pool.

(By which I mean actual kids and an actual pool, not that I was planning to take a dump.)

(Sorry. Honestly.)

So now I'm back in the drag-the-disabled-bike-t0-the-repair-shop-and-wait-forever game, one I've avoided for years mostly by only riding bikes so dilapidated and poorly put together that the first crisis was also the last – a mechanical problem that would have been a minor setback in a newer bike hit mine like a flu in a rest home, wiping the thing out.

Anyway, this is what I get for writing something nice on this blog... Lesson learned.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I've got a bike, you can ride it (on the sidewalk) if you like

I did a opinion/rant thing for The Globe and Mail's T.O. section this weekend, all about sidewalks and bikes, bikes and sidewalks.

Read it here.

The last time I wrote something about urban biking for the Globe, there was a mild shitstorm in the comments. This time, there's only a couple of comments – both think I'm full of shit, though for different reasons. Story of my life.

And in case you're wondering, I end up riding on the sidewalk a lot, but always, you know, nicely.

ADDED: I'm pretty happy with the bike I've got right now – a cheap, rusty Pee Wee Herman-type thing with no gears and a back-pedal brake that clanks and scrapes along like the Tin Man in a downpour; I call it "The Red Racket" – but when next I buy a new one, I plan to get a Beater.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Bad times are here again

While re-working some parts of my new novel that were written a few years ago, I came across a reference to a golf course that had hit hard times during "the recession" – i.e. the previous one. Actually made me laugh a little (the laugh of the damned) to have to reword it to reflect contemporary shitty reality.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Knobjet trouvé

There is no possible way for this article to end well, given how it begins:
When writer Sheila Heti received a photo of a white porcelain shoe – adorned with painted roses and the words “Cape Cod” in gold script – she had no idea who had possessed the tacky tchotchke before it was relegated to a thrift-store shelf.

“Probably a fancy lady who had a fireplace and some lace?” she ventures with a giggle.

But just because the shoe had no official history didn't mean Heti couldn't make one up. Last week, she posted a story about its (purely fictional) significance along with the knick-knack on eBay – one of dozens of items being auctioned off as part of an art experiment dubbed Significant Objects.

I don't think those knick-knacks are the only things with purely fictional significance here...

ADDED: I could probably go on a rant about the teeth-grinding sense of cultural entitlement inherent in an "art experiment" that involves embroidering random objects with clever, vaguely patronizing narratives for the amusement of a small group of foppish lovelies, but then I'd have to remember that I write literary fiction and, well, glass houses and all...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Survey says

Book-talk in a nutshell:

Positive cliché, negative cliché, or "pass".

To be fair, after those pensées on Summer reading the Globe ran a couple of weeks ago, which yielded more preciousness than a diamond mine, this at least has the advantage of brevity.

    A very subtle and funny writer - one I've become obsessed with over the past year - in a decidedly Muriel Spark mood. Imagine The Pr...