Saturday, 28 April 2012

O is for Jamie Oliver

I think it's time to introduce some new foods into my recipe collection, so why not hit up the chef with (almost) the same name as me? Though chances are I'll stick to finding stuff on his website, since that's free and leaves more room in my budget for buying ingrediants :p

image from Amazon

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Nine Bells of a Necromancer (N is for Garth Nix)

I read the Abhorsen Trilogy (also known as the Old Kingdom Chronicles) when I was in early highschool, but I had to re-read part of it for a class 2 years ago and found it just as charming the however-many-times-around it was. Not only does Garth Nix write about a believable and complex set of female characters, they're all inextricably tied to the history of their world, but not in the overwhelming way that some fantasy writers play it (sorry Tolkien fans). The first book is all about Sabriel, and she gets to play with the dead. Which I think is pretty bad-ass. I have this weird fixation with death-lore and underworld mythology apparently. The best part about the series is that Nix has woven a ridiculous amount of allusions to other stories and clever plays on language into his story. Most people aren't going to notice that some of the necromantic bells are named after angels, that Sabriel's name is a clever blending of name-ology, and that there's a reason the cat is the way he is, but to someone who's versed in a range of mythological traditions the books take on a whole new meaning. Someday I'll sit down and do a close reading of them and publish that shit and become famous. But that day is not today, because alas, I am tired. But eventually, it shall be done!

image from Amazon

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Reading Rainbow (L is for Andrew Lang)

image from Great Books Education
Fairy tales and legends are some of the most influential stories since the beginning of human history. They define the social norms, values, morals, fears, and expectations of any given culture, and they contain themes that echo around the world and across a variety of nations. Themes, characters, and locales from these stories are still seen in literature today, and many writers model their own stories based on these classic tales (whether they realize it or not).

A good place to get a broad overview of fairy tales from around the world are in Andrew Lang's coloured fairy books. There are 12 volumes in total, and they cover stories ranging from the Brother's Grimm, to Madame D'Aulnoy, to stories from the Arabian Nights. The collection isn't meant to be comprehensive (it's not even possible to cover all the stories), but Lang's volumes give the reader a taste of the familiar and of the unknown, so they're a great starting place for anyone wishing to explore the realms of fairytales.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

To Autumn (K is for Keats)

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, 
    And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
        To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
        For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
    Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
    Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, 
    Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
        Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
    Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
    Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, 
        Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring?  Ay, where are they? 
    Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, - 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
    And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
    Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
        Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
    Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
    The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; 
        And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Before there was Hogwarts... (J is for Diana Wynne Jones)

... there was Chrestomanci Castle. Welcome to the world of Christopher (Cat) Chant. A boy who discovers at the age of 11 that he is a powerful enchanter, after spending his whole life in the shadow of his domineering witch sister, Gwen, and is whisked away to be trained by the most powerful enchanter of all time, Chrestomanci. Sound familiar, Harry Potter fans? The Chrestomanci series was around years and years before the world of Harry Potter was even a figment of J.K. Rowling's imagination. As much as I'm a fan of the HP series, I read the Chrestomanci books when I was a kid, so HP just can't add up to the original magical boy. Plus Cat doesn't have a scar, there are other awesome worlds that he can travel to, and his friends are much more than mere sidekicks (sorry Hermione and Ron), since he's not the feature of every book.

image from Amazon
For more on Diana Wynne Jones, check out her website, or the official fansite! Trust me, all her books are amazing. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I'm not Impressed (I is for Walter Isaacson)

image from CBC
Why is it that there are so few authors whose last names begin with "I?" I don't get it at all. I have a few books on my shelf written by "I" people, and I've read a few more, but none of them are worth posting about... So I spent a while browsing online for books to put on my "to read" list with an appropriate author. Luckily, the biography of Steve Jobs is written by Walter Isaacson, so my criteria has been met! Yay! Apple saves the day again! Apparently there are 101 people ahead of me in line for it from the library though, so chances are I won't be reading this book anytime soon...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

H is for Hrothgar, Heorot, & Seamus Heaney

Beowulf manuscript
image from Wikipedia
Beowulf is one of most classic stories of adventure, and it's one of the best. It's got monsters, warriors, vengeful mothers, and copious amounts of mead. Seamus Heaney's poetic translation is probably the most well known version of the story, and it's the one I'm most familiar with. Who cares that his poetic structure and narrative is extremely different than Old English poetry, the fact that it's actually enjoyably read-able is extremely important! I originally had to read the poem for a history class in university, and I was not at all expecting to be hooked on it within the first few pages. As a historical document it's an extremely important piece (one of the oldest manuscripts of Old English poetry, and examples of Anglo-Saxon culture), but it's also an amazing story of adventure. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

G is for Gogol's Nose

So everyone thinks that the Russians are all hardcore and depressing all the time right? Well, Nikolai Gogol's short story "The Nose" totally disproves that theory! I'm sure a lot of people won't get it (politcs- & neuroses-driven satirical surrealism isn't for everyone), but how is a giant crazy nose running around not hilarious? You can read it for free at Project Gutenberg or get a copy of the children's version from your local library, so there's no reason not to try a whif of Russian literature!

cover image from Amazon

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Doorways (F is for ME!)

I couldn't find a decent author who's last name started with F, therefore you're all getting subject to my writing today. My last name does start with F anyways, even though I use my mum's last name (yes, she and my father are still married, she's just didn't change her last name because she's badass, which means that I have a second hidden last name legally) as my pen name. I don't know if any of you remember that story I wrote/posted back in December, but this story is the actual story. It took a long time to write, and I quite like it :)


Dierdre woke to the sound of her dog, Tobey, barking. Squeezing her eyes shut, she ignored him, knowing her alarm would go off at the appropriate time, and that Tobey’s barks were pre-emptive. The silence that followed the abrupt interruption of her dreams was blissful. As she finally began to drift back towards the lush green landscape of the dreamlands, she was jolted awake again by the static of her un-tuned radio alarm clock. Groaning, Dierdre threw back the covers to begin her day, even though she had no interest in leaving the warm nest of her bed.
            Still bleary and half-asleep she stumbled the two steps to the dresser table that held the cause of her aural annoyance, rubbing her eyes to clear away the lasting sandman’s dust. Something hard bumped into her leg, startling her momentarily before the sight of Tobey with his food dish in his mouth penetrated her foggy brain.
            “That vet was full of lies,” Dierdre admonished her dog, more amused than annoyed, “Telling me that you would start to settle down once the ‘terrible twos’ were over. Totally full of shit.”
            Tobey just wagged his tail, and trotted happily back to the kitchen now that he knew his person was awake and aware of his demand for food. He barked once again when Dierdre took a minute to start her pot of coffee, but he settled down once his bowl had been filled as well.
            “Half an hour, pups, then we’ve got to get going.” Dierdre said as she threw on the outfit she had laid out the night before. Glancing in the full-length mirror she admired the green and blue psychedelic swirls of the dress' pattern as she spun in a quick circle, thinking that it was the perfect outfit for the first open day of her shoe store. Opening a tube of liquid eyeliner, Dierdre slowly exhaled to stop her hands from shaking. Staring at her reflection in the mirror her mind wandered momentarily, running through a checklist of tasks. She shook her head and dropped the eyeliner back into her makeup case, forgoing the possibility of a smudged line, for a quick brush of eye shadow and mascara.
Glancing at the clock on her left, Dierdre hurriedly zipped on the black over-the-knee boots that completed her ensemble. Grabbing her travel mug she filled it to the brim with hot coffee and called Tobey, who had wandered to the living room to look out the window. Her coffee in one hand and Tobey’s leash in the other Dierdre glanced around for her purse, finally locating it hanging from the door handle of the hall closet.
Throwing it over her shoulder, Dierdre was almost out the door when she realized she hadn’t grabbed her cell phone off the charger. With Tobey still trying to pull her through the now open door and her already full hands it was a momentary tug of war and a long stretch to the counter where her phone rested.
“Okay, OKAY, we’re going!” Dierdre exclaimed as Tobey grabbed the slack in his leash in his mouth, re-doubling his tug of war efforts to get outside.
The door slammed behind them, causing Dierdre to wince, and hope that her neighbours wouldn’t complain about all the early morning noise, but before she could dwell for too long on the potential consequences Tobey was dragging her down the 3 flights of stairs to the main floor, and her mind became preoccupied with keeping a hold on her coffee and Tobey, and with not tripping over her own feet in their mad rush outside.

The sky had only just begun to blue, so when Dierdre saw the light spilling from the front window of her store a touch of panic met the nerves that she was already feeling and her pace unconsciously quickened. Her thoughts reeled, coming to evermore frightening conclusions as to why the lights in her shop would be on.
Maybe I forgot to turn the lights off last night before I left. I was pretty tired after checking in all that inventory.
Maybe I left the door open and a hobo is now using it as a crash pad and a meeting place for the city’s disenfranchised.
Maybe a bunch of teenage runaways broke in and are just winding down an ecstasy- and booze-induced rave.
Maybe a blonde-obsessed maniac has been scoping the place for days, and is waiting to kidnap me into a life of slavery.
As Dierdre opened the door to her shop she was relieved when no crazed drug addict surfaced to accost her, but she was puzzled by the site of a take-out bag sitting on the main counter. In the lack of sudden attack Dierdre had relaxed her grip on Tobey’s leash, which the energized dog took full advantage of by bolting for the back room to explore.
“No, Tobey!” she hoarsely whispered, not wanting to alert whomever was in her store to their presence yet. But Tobey’s curious nature had taken over, and he had gone to seek out the unfamiliar smell in the store.
After a few long moments Tobey returned to the front room, and to Dierdre’s relief he had no stranger in tow, just her store assistant, Craig.
‘Oh, thank GOD,” Dierdre gasped, “I totally forgot that you had a key! I thought a deranged kidnapper with a fixation on blondes had broken in!”
“Haha, no, I just thought I would get here early for the big day, since I woke up really early anyways. And I figured someone should pick up some breakfast on the way, so we all know how good your are at planning food.” Craig laughed and flourished in the direction of the takeout bag, “No kidnappers, just McMuffins!”
Dierdre laughed along with him as she began to relax from the previous tension. “I’m so glad I hired you instead of that girl who knew everything about designer brands. She may know fashion, but you know the way to my heart!”
Dropping his lanky frame onto the stool behind the cash register, Craig rolled his eyes at his boss’ typical quips and reached into the takeout bag to withdraw his breakfast sandwich.
“I’ve already counted up the float in the till,” he said, pushing his unruly hair behind an ear before taking a bite. He chewed and swallowed before continuing: “The sample sizes are out, the floors were done last night, and I just finished unpacking that last box of Jeffrey Campbells we didn’t add to the inventory lists yesterday. Stop worrying, sit down, and eat your breakfast.”
Now it was Dierdre’s turn to roll her eyes as she responded with mock consternation: “Okay, mother.”
Tobey was lingering beside the counter where the two shared a quiet moment, his eyes glancing hopefully back and forth between the delicious smelling sandwiches in each of their hands. Even though he had just been fed he was pretty sure that he could fit some more in, especially when it smelled like bacon and cheese.
“I’m not giving you any, dog,” Dierdre teased before popping the last bacon-and-egg-filled bite into her mouth.
Pretending indifference in an attempt to negate his previous behavior and save his pride Tobey scampered across the floor to settle himself in the display window to watch the morning commuters who were now starting to pass by the store on their way to the downtown business district. This pass time was less rewarding than the potential for a tasty snack, but the ever-curious dog quickly forgot the temptation of food in the distraction of movement beyond the window.
“I still can’t get over the way you talk to your do like he’s a person. It’s just too cute!” Craig teased.
Dierdre blushed, having forgotten that she wasn’t at home, and having become comfortable in Craig’s presence after the last week of manic preparation before the store opened today.
“Sorry, I’m just used to it being just me and Tobey. It’s not like I talk to him any differently than I talk to you!”
“Ah, so that’s why you never share your food with me! Sheer force of habit.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha. You’re so funny. Though you are kind of a dog sometimes,
 what with your destroying those packing boxes and playing with the styrofoam thingers because you got bored!”
            Pretending shock Craig mimed falling off his seat, but only managed to keep a grin off his face for a moment before bursting into laughter.
            “Now why don’t you go switch the open-closed sign around. We might as well open officially since we’re both here and I’ve spotted some curious glances from the commuters.”
            “Anything for you, Madame Director. I am but your humble slave!” Craig bowed sarcastically before waltzing over to the door and flipping the sign with a flourish of the wrist.
            Dierdre laughed as she walked towards the back room, getting in a last jibe before she disappeared from sight, “Call me Mistress, you useless cretin! It’s much more magical-lady-of-darkness, and a scary German Nazi lady wouldn’t wear a dress this colourful!”
            Tobey barked twice in Craig’s direction, as if commenting on the conversation.
            “She’s crazy, I know,” the bemused shop assistant chuckled in reply, “But we might as well make the best of it, because we’re stuck with her!”

“Hey Dee! The phone’s for you!”
Dierdre was in the midst of talking a woman out of a pair of sensible Hunter rainboots and into a pair of mint green Jeffrey Campbell Litas that were all the rage for spring, so she held up a finger ward him off.
“She’ll be just a minute,” Craig said into the receiver, “It’s a shoe emergency!”
“I know we just opened today, but trust me, in two weeks we won’t have any more of them! You should see how quickly any of the Litas are moving in the online stores.” Dierdre explained to the woman, a teller at the bank across the street who was taking a late lunch break and had noticed the new store beside the café she normally ate at. “The Hunters are great, but we’ll always have them; the Litas – especially in mint green – are not going to last because they’re limited edition and one of the hot colours this year.”
“Well… when you put it like that…” the woman hesitated and glanced at her watch before she was drawn back to the shoes in her hands.
“Here. Craig will grab your size from the back room so you can try them of – a size seven I’d say, but we’ll go seven-and-a-half because JCs run tight – and I’ll take that phone call while you think about it!”
“Well I guess I can try them on. Might as well; I have another 15 minutes of my break left.”
“Awesome! Craig: size seven-and-a-half!” Dierdre said in triumph as she grabbed the phone, the contact high from being surrounded by so many shoes and from the first morning’s success giving her voice an extra note of cheer as she chirped “Hello, Divine Shoes, Dierdre speaking, how may I help you!’ into the phone.
“My, my, my, aren’t you enthusiastic today cupcake,” came the distinctly male voice through the speaker, dripping with false charm and sincerity.
“Jake. Hi.”
‘It’s one-thirty,” Jake’s voice cut in to fill what would have been an awkward silence,” The store – haha DIVINE shoes, hilarious little name – can spare you to have lunch with me.”
Oh God, here we go again, Dierdre thought. Not knowing how to politely decline she stalled for time: “Well… it’s our first day open, so I really shouldn’t –“
“Oh, come on! You can spare half an hour – just for me – for old time’s sake. You know you want to.”
Dierdre could feel the familiar echoes of his tone creeping back into her mind to re-establish an influence over her. Even though she had finally gotten him out of her life – it had taken 3 changed phone numbers and a move to a new apartment over a six month time period – she could feel her stomach begin to knot with nervousness. Before she had left him she would have equated these emotions as the normal feelings of liking someone: never quite knowing what to say or do, wanting to impress them, and constantly wondering if the other person liked you as much as you liked them. Dierdre knew now that feeling nervous around Jake was was a result of his constant judgmental attitude and unpredictability that came hand in hand with his endearing charm. This deadly combination resulted in an emotional abuse that became the reason she had ended their relationship and cut him out of her life.
“Jake, I really shouldn’t. The store is my responsibility and –“
“Excuses, excuses. You know, it really hurts me that you don’t even have time to have lunch – just a quick bite to catch up really – with a dear old boyfriend.”
There’s the guilt card. Typical. Dear old boyfriend – my ass! But if I don’t agree to see him then he’s just going to keep pestering me, and he’ll start coming by the store, and UGH. Fine. Whatever.
“Okay, meet me at the –“
“- the Blue Moon Café. Always the same place. You’re so predictable Dierdre-darling; that’s what I always liked about you.” Jake’s voice once again interrupted her, forstalling any control she had over the situation. “I’ll see you in a bit.”
Before Dierdre could get another word in there was a click, and then the dialtone buzzing in her ear. She growled softly as she put down the receiver slightly harder than necessary before taking a deep breath.
“Craig, I’ll be back in about 20. Just something I have to take care of.”
The bell over the door jangled dischordantly as the strap of Dierdre’s purse caught on the door handle on her way outside.

         Dierdre had been waiting for 10 minutes at the Blue Moon Cafe before Jake finally swept through the door with his usual panache.
         Did I really expect any different, she thought with a rueful smile. He'll never change.
         "Have you been waiting long, my dear? I got held up, so forgive me." said Jack when he noticed the frown line that was already puncturing the skin between Dierdre's eyebrows. She shook her head, deferring the question, and tried to smile at him so that they wouldn't start this lunch off with an argument.
         "I don't have very long before I have to get back to the store," Dierdre said, "Tobey still wants to chew the shoes when he gets restless, and Craig is too sweet to stop him."
         "Already trying to get rid of me, are you. Tsk tsk."
         "I'm not-"
         "Whatever, it's fine. I'm chained to my desk as always, and we're preparing for another big case - you'll never guess who it is this time-"
         Why does he still think that I care when he name drops? So he's a bigshot lawyer, who gets to hobnob with minor celebrities. That just means he gets paid to be an asshole.This is going to be the longest 20 minute lunch if he keeps going on like this.
         "You're being awfully quiet, for once." Jack's commanding voice broke into Dierdre's reverie of complaints.
         "I'm just thinking about all the things I have to do at the store. It's kind of a big part of my life right now, if you hadn't noticed." Dierdre could feel her latent anger at the situation creeping into her tone, and consciously unfolded her arms, which had been crossed protectively infront of her as her levels of stress began to rise in Jake’s presence.
         "Oh, come on!" Jack exclaimed in a derisory tone, "Like it's difficult to run a shoe store? Any barbiedoll with two braincells can do it. But really, you couldn't have chosen a worse time to open a shoe store, with the economy the way it is here. If it was me I would have -"
         I'm not going to rise to the bait. I will NOT rise to the bait. Do not respond to him. He's just being childish because that's what he does. He takes anything that anyone is happy about and tears it apart, because that's what he's was trained to do in law school and by his overly agressive boss. He's like a shark, no a barracuda. No. He's like a
social-ladder climbing highschool girl, who knows that emotional scars do the most damage, and last far longer than a black eye. With the right information she can take out anyone, no matter who they are. All it takes is the right poisoned word, and they're out, while she's been dubbed the blue ribbon bitch.
         “Can I get you folks some drinks started while decide on your order?” The cheerful voice belonged to the waitress, whom Dierdre had begun to recognize after many lunch breaks here with Craig and business associates during the set up stages of her store. Dierdre smiled back at the girl, but before she could reply that she would have her regular iced tea with raspberry, Jake’s condescending tone caused her frown lines to return.
          “I don’t know: Can you get us some drinks? Just because you’re a waitress doesn’t mean you have an excuse not to use proper grammatical form when you speak.”
         The girl’s smile didn’t even waver at hearing Jake’s rebuke, but when she met Dierdre’s smiling gaze there was a look in her eyes of tempered anger that betrayed her sunny disposition.
         “For you, ma’am? Your regular iced tea with raspberry?”
         “Did you not hear me? I was talking to you.”
         The waitress slowly turned to face Jake, her smile still in place, but the look in her blue eyes now resembled the glacier quaity of polar ice caps: cold, imposing, and impermeable by man. “Yes, sir, I heard you, but I do not respond to negativity. What would you like to drink?”
         Dierdre quickly cut into the dialogue in an attempt to delay a further confrontation: “He’ll have an iced tea as well, but with lemon instead of the raspberry, and crushed iced instead of cubed.” She tried to catch the girl’s eyes again, and quietly signal for her to escape while she had the chance, but the waitress stood her ground, eyes locked with Jake’s in a vacuous silence.
         After a full minute of silence it became apparent that the waitress was not going to be cowed by Jake’s arrogance, and he glanced away.
         Dierdre silently began to laugh, That’s got to be the first time he’s caved! I knew that girl had balls!
         The waitress gave one last smile to Dierdre, and walked away from the table, presumably to get their drinks.
         Jake’s gaze had refocused on Dierdre, and by the look in his eyes she could tell he was not happy. Being put down, and in front of her, was not something he was used to, so when a half-smile twisted his lips upwards she knew that he was gearing up for another lecture.
         “Could she have been any ruder? I hate power-tripping waitresses who don’t deseve respect from anyone, much less from me…”
         Here he goes again. Dierdre thought, Everytime he goes off on some poor person in the service industry it becomes even more obvioius that he’s never had to work a shitty job in his life. He’s never had to scrap pennies together to make the rent, and skip meals because he has to pay his bills instead of buying enough groceries. Thank god I spent those years in highschool working at DQ to save enough money to get out from under my parents’ roof when I was old enough. And then budgetting everything from day one so that I wouldn’t end up selling it on the street. Putting myself through those business courses when I had managed to save enough, and then applying for the small business loans to get the store started.
         In a few seconds he’s going to go back to criticizing the store again, just wait for it, yup there he goes. Now it’s all about how much interest I’m going to be paying on the loans, and how in debt I’m going to be. Who really buys shoes he asks? Duh. Women. Is it SO HARD for men to comprehend that women need more than 3 pairs of shoes? Who cares if it’s practical; we buy them because we like them. We shouldn’t need any other excuse. Do guys need an excuse to buy another car? They buy them regardless, and at least shoes aren’t as expensive as a midlife-crisis-Porsche! Well maybe if they were custom-made Swarovski-encrusted Louboutins… Mmm sparkles. See that’s why women buy shoes: because they’re sparkly and pretty and make us feel awesome. Just like men and their cars. But we’re not really compensating for anything, because we can also get boobjobs pretty easily. Hahaha oh god why am I thinking about this? Oh yeah: money.
         Great. Now he’s going on about my parents again. How I shouldn’t have moved out so hastily, and how I should try to reconcile with them. If he likes them so much, maybe HE should go live with them. I sure as hell won’t be! Traditional family structures are so over-rated, and I can’t be confined to the suburbs. But the parentals would have just looooved it if I had stayed with Jake. They adored him because he was a perfect country-club specimen in an Armani suit. I would have ended up married to him, knocked up with 3 kids, a white picket fence, and  trapped in a loveless marriage. No thank you!
         “Where is that flake of a waitress. Two iced teas shouldn’t be taking her this long. I have half a mind to –“
         “Shut up.”
         Jake’s self-satisfied tone had finally wormed it’s way so far into Dierdre’s mind that she couldn’t take it anymore. Like the enamel of a rotten tooth being worn away one micromillimeter at a time by a steady diet of chocolate bars, the steady flow of too-sweet charm had broken through to the nerve, and had woken a pain and anger that Dierdre hadn’t realized she was able to tap into.
         “What did you just say to me?” Jake countered.
         “I said: shut up.” Dierdre’s voice was steady, as she looked him in the eye and repeated herself without a smile on her face. The time for placating him was over. “I’ve had to put up with your whining, your bossing, your bitching, for years, and I’m done. Done with listening, done with putting up with it, done with you.”
         Dierdre delivered this tirade with a well-placed glare, and before he could respond she grabbed her purse from under her chair and stood up. She placed her hands on either side of the small table, and leaned over Jake, who was still seated in stunned silence.
         “I’m only going to say this once, so pay attention. Don’t call me. Ever again. If you dot I’ll get a restraining order. You know all about those, don’t you, lawyer-boy. We’re done here.”
         As Dierdre walked out the door of the Blue Moon Café, she smiled. It was a smile fueled by post-fight adrenaline and happiness, a heady mixture that she couldn’t contain. Her future was here, and she was as ready for it as she would ever be. Taking one booted step at a time away from her past was all she could do, and even though she knew that she might be on the edge of a cliff, flight was as big a possiblity as falling.

- Fin - 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Everybody Wants to be a Cat! (E is for T.S. Eliot)

Gus: The Theatre Cat

Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That's such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat's very shabby, he's thin as a rake,
And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats--
But no longer a terror to mice and to rats.
For he isn't the Cat that he was in his prime;
Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club
(Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub)
He loves to regale them, if someone else pays,
With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree--
He has acted with Irving, he's acted with Tree.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls,
Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls.
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.

"I have played," so he says, "every possible part,
Then, if someone will give him a toothful of gin,

And I used to know seventy speeches by heart.
I'd extemporize back-chat, I knew how to gag,
And I knew how to let the cat out of the bag.
I knew how to act with my back and my tail;
With an hour of rehearsal, I never could fail.
I'd a voice that would soften the hardest of hearts,
Whether I took the lead, or in character parts.
I have sat by the bedside of poor Little Nell;
When the Curfew was rung, then I swung on the bell.
In the Pantomime season I never fell flat,
And I once understudied Dick Whittington's Cat.
But my grandest creation, as history will tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell."

He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat,
When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
He once played a Tiger--could do it again--
Which an Indian Colonel purused down a drain.
And he thinks that he still can, much better than most,
Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire,
To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
And he says: "Now then kittens, they do not get trained
As we did in the days when Victoria reigned.
They never get drilled in a regular troupe,
And they think they are smart, just to jump through a hoop."
And he'll say, as he scratches himself with his claws,"
Well, the Theatre's certainly not what it was.
These modern productions are all very well,
But there's nothing to equal, from what I hear tell,
That moment of mystery
When I made history
As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell."

cover image from No Other Appetite

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Delightfully De Lint

Oh look, it’s a second Canadian author! Charles De Lint is my favourite writer of all time, so everyone that I know should read at least one of his books so they understand why I gush copiously whenever I talk about him. Ideally you should go read everything that he’s ever written, but the book that I usually start people off with is The Onion Girl or the short story collection Tapping the Dream Tree. Both are set in De Lint’s created city Newford, and they’re both jam-packed with magic, heartwarming characters, and everything that makes urban fantasy the best genre ever. 
images from Amazon

Saturday, 7 April 2012

C is for Canada (and Douglas Coupland)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Canadian authors perpetually let me down. Thankfully there’s writers like Douglas Coupland to keep reminding me that great books do come from Canada occasionally. Case and point: Jpod. I can’t even describe how amazing this book is except to say that every time I read it I inevitably end up forgoing the rest of the worldly responsibilities to read. Whilst trying to contain constant bouts of laughter. Seriously, I can’t read it in public because I start laughing to myself and look like I’m insane…

Then of course they made it into a tv series, which was equally hilarious. Until they cancelled it after only one season, and left all the viewers with a big fat cliffhanger. Not impressed, CBC, not impressed. 

tv image from TV Listings
cover image from Bookshorts

Thursday, 5 April 2012

All Children Except One Grow Up (B is for J.M. Barrie)

Even though I’m technically an adult, and my persona is usually extremely mature, I refuse to completely grow up. At least once a year I pick up J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, because it reminds me of all the amazing things about childhood. Living in hollow trees, running around barefoot, plotting against pirate foes, and thinking happy thoughts so that you can fly. Sure, having an apartment of your own, and being allowed to spend all your money on candy (oh wait I did that when I was a kid too) is great, but being a grownup also comes with bills, jobs, and false apologies. Throughout all these depressing responsibilities it’s occasionally good to go native, and take it back a couple of years to when you were young and (kind of) innocent. Now that it’s summer (mostly) I fully expect to have a few shoeless romps through the forest looking for Tinkerbelle and the Lost Boys, and I’m hoping that you’ll do likewise! Just remember: don’t jump off the roof unless you’re REALLY sure that you can fly. 

Peter Pan & faeries by Hildebrandt
image from Neverpedia
top left: Hildebrandt's Peter Pan cover
image from Spiderweb Art

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Challenge Month!

April is traditionally challenge month in the blogosphere, and for once I am totally going along with it. Last year I still did the whole A-Z challenge with music, but I did it in August/September because I wasn’t going to have my wardrobe and shoes with me for a good chunk of it, but this year I shall do it in April, as is proper. But, like always, I’m doing it my way; instead of posting every single day I’m going to stick to my regular blog schedule (four times a week), so the challenge will end up spreading into May. April is going to be a pretty busy month (semester ending, birthday, socializing, practicum, finding a job, etc, etc), so in order to keep the quality of posts good (as well as my sanity) so I figure you guys shouldn’t have anything to complain about.

So, my topic this year is going to be books A-Z! I read an awful lot, so I’ll be recommending favourite books by my favourite authors. I figure it’s a pretty timely choice of topic, since everyone is going to be looking for summer beach reads, so I hope you all enjoy. And if you don’t, well, you just have terrible taste in books!

The first book we’re going to talk about is Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice. I must admit, I actually hated this book when I first started reading it in grade 12. But once I got past the first half, I was hooked. Mr. Darcy is kind of a jerk, and Elizabeth is kind of a bitch, but they both figure it out in the end and get together. For someone who is a die hard bitch, and who is perpetually attracted to men who are jerks this book kind of gives me hope  that one of the jerks will actually get his shit together and stop being such a jerk. (Good luck, men don’t change, I know).

"I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun." ~ Mr. Darcy   

image from Accidentally in Code
book cover from Novel Reaction