Monday, June 30, 2008
Anywho, favourito has been schooling me in all things NZ, and has led me to the exciting, happy-making find of the day, the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra. One of the members is Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Conchords (the one who's not my boyfriend). They are awesome!
I know the quality of the video is pretty shoddy, but I love that song to begin with, and it just made me so happy. I also recommend going to their MySpace page and listening to Road to Nowhere.
This band just made me want to be a part of something equally awesome and quirky and fun. I don't play the ukelele, but I do sing. Ever since I heard about the movie Young At Heart and about the musical group The Choir Practice, I've wanted to be in a choir that has nothing to do with Jesus (no offense, Jesus) and everything to do with pop music. I love singing.
Anyways, it's not something I want to change. I quite like it. I just find it interesting.
Ella: Hi. Would you mind letting me off on the corner of Sunset? (A beat.) Please?
Bus Driver: Right here?
Bus Driver: Are your feet starting to hurt?
Ella: Yeah. Flip flops aren't as comfy as people say they are.
Bus Driver: Sure. I have an older sister. I know how it works. All men should have older sisters.
Ella: That is very true. I am one, so I've done my job.
Bus Driver laughs. Pulls over. Lets Ella off.
Ella: Thank you.
So yes. He was very nice. And I know they're supposed to let you off wherever you want after sunset, but it was still not dark, and sometimes they're just jerks, and he was so friendly, and I was so grateful. The end. Fade Out. Roll credits.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Oh man. I talked about this a little bit last week, but I needed time to sit down and do the post justice.
My friend Lesley has been telling me about these Vietnamese sandwiches (known as Banh Mi if you're feeling culturally proper) for ages, and I finally went to try them for myself a week and a half ago, with my brother. Then I went five days later with Alicia. Both times the sandwiches were effing delectable (although the right lady wasn't making them the second time, which Leslie and I agree impacts the deliciousness. You want the skinnier lady making them). Apparently the chicken is the best (although if you're Vegetarian, I would bet the veggie would be also good). Look at that picture. Look at the fresh slice of jalapeno sitting right in the middle of it. The spice level was perfect. The sandwich was juicy and fresh tasting, very summery, and the bread was soft and delicious, and all of this culinary wonderfulness is just $3.25. !!! They put all these julienned veggies, and this yummy chicken, and a kind of dressing, and then toast it very very lightly, and the end result is perfection. The most crave-worthy new food I've tried in ages.
Kim Saigon Sandwiches is a little front counter inside a larger Vietnamese restaurant (it costs 75 cents more to sit in the restaurant and eat) right on Main Street in Chinatown. 509 Main St, which is North of Keefer. Yum. Yum. Yummy. Yum.
Apparently the best Banh Mi are located at Au Petit Cafe, which is way further South on Main Street (4851 Main, not sure of the cross street). I haven't made my way out there yet, so I can't comment, but you can be sure I will soon. They also apparently run out early (fresh, homemade breadm y'know), just so you know.
I picked up Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey at the library yesterday. I think it might be great. I hope so. But it's summer and summer means reading (though every season means reading in my world). Please recommend!!!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The things I do for you.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Things I did do:
Had coffee (Way to get things accomplished, Angela) (I mean Ella)!
Bought my ticket to Halifax (probably have more to say about this... Booking a flight = wow, this is really happening. In less than two months I will be LIVING IN a whole other city. This was a one way flight. No return. No return (ominous music here)! I felt so nervous as I handed over my credit card. Eek. Okay, deep breaths. I will love it.)
Things I half did:
Went to Au Petit Cafe for Banh Mi. Actually I went for the second time to Kim Saigon Sandwiches (the second time in a week... yum). I really want to try the Au Petit Cafe ones, because they are consistently voted the best in the city, but it was too far for today. And the Kim Saigon ones are pretty delicious... will post further about this delightful experience later.
Things I didn't do:
Go see The Visitor. Apparently (argh) the Granville 7 (cheapest regular tickets in the city) no longer has matinees! Or at least during the week they don't! Even though a showtime was on the internet for today at 1:50! Okay, maybe it was on the internet yesterday... but still. So sad. I love weekday matinees. Fortunately...
Things I did instead:
I love solitary trips to the art gallery almost as much as solitary weekday matinees. My membership to the Vancouver Art Gallery runs out at the end of this month, and I've been meaning to go see KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art since it opened. It was a really cool exhibit to wander around, but my favourite part was the fact that they had shelves full of graphic novels and benches where you could sit and read them. I discovered Shaun Tan, whose work is thrillingly beautiful.
His drawings are so richly detailed and sumptuous.
I'm fairly sure I've seen another of his books before, but these two drawings (it feels almost insufficient to call them that. There should be another word invented just for these.) are from The Arrival, which is a beautiful book that is entirely illustrated, with no text, no speech bubbles, just wonderfully evocative greyscale imagery.
Then I went and bought expensive sunglasses (of course the ones that looked and felt the best were the priciest, although not ridiculously so in the grand scheme of sunglass pricing) BUT! I found out that the dress I bought the other week had been reduced in price by half, so I got $40 (!!!) back. So that paid for most of the sunglasses.
I love days off!
Here are the blogs I've been reading since eleven o'clock last night (with a sleep break in between): Hey Mama/Lost in the Forest/(Into) the Fray/A Cup of Jo/Ali Loves Curtis/Little Lined Notebook/I Love You... I think.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I take my light reading seriously.
Usually I aim for "contemporary literature", but sometimes I just want to read something that goes down easier, something that requires no thought, just turning the pages waiting for the inevitable conclusion (preferably involving true love). I don't beat myself up about it; I like feeling good, sometimes.
The past couple of weeks I've been going in for a few of these fluffy novels. I guess I've been anxious, and I would rather soothe myself with poorly written prose than, you know, cupcakes (although I don't actually like cupcakes that much). Luckily, though, I've managed to find books that have a little bit of merit.
Emily Giffin seems to enjoy taking situations that seem cut and dry (you don't sleep with your best friend's fiance, for example) and giving them dimension and making them somewhat understandable. The fiance example comes from the book I'm currently reading, Something Borrowed. The writing is solid (not poetic, not beautiful, but not god-awful like most), and the characters are strong and realistic. I'm a little more than halfway through and I thoroughly appreciate the fact that I actually don't know how it's going to end. Last week I read her most recent novel, Love the One You're With. The narrator in that book starts up a relationship with an ex, minus telling her husband. Again, I was swept up into a story where the character was making really poor decisions, but I kind of understood why she made them . Both books were (or at least the first half of the first one has been) very readable, even compulsively so, and enjoyable.
The other novel I read is not as well written, or as realistic, but it has the bonus of being set in Vancouver, which made me a little bit giddy (like when you watch a movie made here and recognize a storefront). Unpredictable, by Eileen Cook, was fun and funny, light and frothy, overall a good beach read. The main character poses as a psychic to break up her ex and his new girlfriend, hijinks ensue. Woo!
I have to say my main chick lit pick (say that ten times fast) is one I read a couple of years ago, The Matzo Ball Heiress. It was just typical girly book storyline, set (typically) in New York City, but it was so funny and enjoyable and great. Unfortunately the West Van library copy disappeared, but if you can access it (and, you know, like this kind of thing) I highly recommend it.
Friday, June 20, 2008
This is a film that seems at first glance to be about the absurdity of American life, but moves deeper, beyond the opening candy-coloured shots into a tragicomedy about how we keep ourselves together, how we stay upright. Two of the minutiae that stuck with me as perfectly fitting were tuna melts and occasional, not altogether necessary pill popping. I've indulged in both. And both can be beautiful, in their way.
This movie made me laugh, though not in a guffawing way. The characters, the movie itself, have heart. I wasn't sure I would like it, but I should have considered it's pedigree. Written and directed by Tamara Jenkins, who also made Slums of Beverly Hills, a movie I enjoyed so much. Laura Linney is great as always; Phillip Seymour Hoffman is also great, as per usual; and any movie that namechecks Bertolt Brecht is a-okay by me.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I was dreaming about books, I think, and I googled him and he is an author from Edmonton. I work in a library, so it's not like I haven't seen his books before (I had a writing instructor with the last name Babiak, so I noticed the books on the shelf at some point), but usually my mind is a sieve, and it's very unlikely for me to remember a first name, although of course my subconscious has access to all kinds of things that normal me doesn't. So for now I'll take it as a sign to read one of his books.
(That word looks weird. I love weird looking words.)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
5/5 stars (so far).
Monday, June 16, 2008
I took an apricot to work to have as a snack. I didn't want to put it in my purse and I didn't want to take a plastic bag just for a single apricot, so I put it in my jacket pocket. I didn't think about it until I was walking to the bus stop and I automatically stuck my hands in my pockets. The fingers of my left hand curled around the apricot, and it was so soft. Because I couldn't see it, or smell it, or taste it, I was able to concentrate on how lovely it felt, how soft and perfect and soothing. I felt wonderful, and it really reminded me to take that time sometimes to pay attention to the way things feel. I think I will (and I think you should) try it as an exercise; Find different textures to put in my pockets, and really pay attention to them when I hold onto them, just using my sense of touch to centre myself in the experience.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Sasha Goldberg comes from the small Siberian town of Asbestos 2. The setting is so far away from my reality that the first part of the novel read almost like a period piece, except for the occasional reminders of "modern life" (also knowns as "North American life"), like a coveted strawberry eraser. Sasha's father has defected to America, and teenage Sasha follows as a mail-order bride. In America she attempts to find her father and to reconcile the two worlds that make up her life, the one she comes from and the one in which she now resides. Great!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
A production designer.
A therapist. (Jungian analyst specifically.)
A make-up artist.
An interior decorator.
A librarian. On the side of being a novelist.
A mom. On the side of being a novelist. Ha ha. (Some day in the distant future, of an adopted baby.) (And the baby would then grow into a child and then a teenager and then an adult. Just to be clear.)
I got a little bit sad this morning reading that section in the TVWeek magazine about films that are shooting in Vancouver. I know that I decided not to work in film, and that I felt really great after making that decision, and that the hours are just too insane and the stress too high for me... but I love film sets! And I love movies! So I need some friends/a significant other who work in film, preferably in high up positions where I'm allowed to come visit them on set and get yummy craft services.
OR! I need a novel I wrote to be turned into a movie, and I get to be on set!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
A couple of nights ago I came home from work so tired. I was alone for the evening, and really, all I wanted was oatmeal. So I made it. I decided to make extra special oatmeal, with peaches and cream and brown sugar. So I did. I forgot that I don't like the acidity that comes along if you actually cook the peaches in with the oatmeal. It was alright (okay, it was still pretty delicious), but it's much tastier if you simply stir in the peaches once the oatmeal is in the bowl. Top with brown sugar. Let the sugar get all melty. Top with cream, or milk, or soymilk, or I guess nothing. (I remember my mum used to put orange juice on my oatmeal when we were out of milk. I don't recommend it... ) Yum.
Then, this morning, I was in the mood for salad. I made a delicious breakfast salad with fresh baby spinach, more chunks of fresh peach, toasted walnuts, and a creamy lemon dressing. I also had a spoonful of peanut butter for more protein.
I was bored yesterday, so I decided to go to the mall. That was also, let's face it, pretty boring, but!!! Like the yuppie in training I seem to be, I really like Banana Republic. I went in thinking maybe they have that dress I tried on... And they did!
I love all things Kimono inspired. If I could, I would wear a Kimono inspired outfit every day... I suppose I actually could, and I don't, so I guess that's a lie, but you get what I mean. I didn't buy it the first time I tried it on, a couple of months ago, because it's a little bit see through, and it was a hundred dollars. I've been thinking about it since, and I looked for it at two other outposts of said store, and then I found it. I was trying it on, thinking hmmm, on sale for 70 dollars... I dunno, when I heard two women talking outside of my stall. "If you love it, you buy it," said the one to the other. That's my rule too, I remembered, and I loved it, so I bought it.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Whereas Hot Rod (the movie from the other day) was really stupid and kinda funny, this show is kinda stupid and really, really, really funny. Flight of the Conchords, "New Zealand's 4th most popular folk-parody duo" take on New York. Bret and Jemaine are best friends, roommates, and bandmates. At least twice per episode they break out into song. My favourite so far is from the first episode: "The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room" (You're so beautiful, you could be a waitress / You're so beautiful, you could be an air hostess in the 60s / You're so beautiful, you could be a part-time model). See also: "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros". And the songs are actually pretty catchy.
Other highlights: Fleetwood Mac jokes, and a pretty fabulous dream-David Bowie.
PLUS: I haven't had a celebrity crush in forever, and Jemaine Clement has succeeded in ending my dry spell. Hi.
Love love love. And it's out on DVD!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Things I hated:
Carrie's assistant "St. Louise from St. Louis".
The potty humour (wtf? Who wrote this movie, frat boys?).
The ridiculous brand whoring.
Samantha's whole storyline.
Things I liked:
Charlotte! She stole this movie in awesomeness.
Carrie and Big's apartment.
The bridge scene.
Carrie's weird bluebird hairpiece.
Carrie with brown hair.
Question, though: Where was the wit? Where were the themes running through all the storylines?
In the TV show vs. the movie bout, TV wins!
Okay, edit... Maybe 3/5 stars...
Thanks for being such a great person. I'm very proud of you, and I think you're a pretty spectacular partner in movie watching. I hope this next year is full of lovely surprises.
I love you,
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I love the cranes on the Vancouver waterfront. They have always reminded me of dinosaurs, reaching with their long necks. To me they are iconic Vancouver. I don't care that they exist in other cities, if I see them I will always think of home.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Part one: Japadog
Japadog is a fabulous little Japanese hot dog stand on the corner of Burrard and Haro, kitty corner from the Scotiabank theatre. It's regular hot dogs (pork, beef, veggie, turkey, etc) with Japanese toppings. I'd tried a bite of the Terimayo before (mayonnaise, seaweed, teriyaki sauce and fried onion) so I went for something new and got the Oroshi (green onion, daikon, and soy sauce).
Part two: We wandered down Robson to go try the new Ramen place, taking our time, as we were kind of stuffed. We got there at about 3:10 pm, and of course it was closed from 3-6. I hate places that close between lunch and dinner!
So instead we walked back (lots of walking, it was great) to the Cafe Artigiano across from the Art Gallery. I've been avoiding the blood-sugar craziness that comes along with delicious sugar, but today was an Alex in Vancouver day! so I made an exception, because the Artigiano iced mocha is so so so delicious that I couldn't say no to it. It is the best iced mocha I have ever had, not too sweet, really layered and rich and delicious. Try it someday. Their lattes are also superlative.
Part three (yes, three!): Guu! I love Guu!
Alex said it perfectly during dinner, current favourite Vancouver restaurant. There were six of us for dinner, and the menu is meant to be shared, like tapas. We ordered so many delicious, intricate little dishes. Here are photos of two, but I have no idea what they are anymore...
Looking at the menu I think the first one is grilled Black Cod (with a very delicious sauce of some kind), and the second is maybe Maguro (whatever that is, a kind of fish) with five color sauce. Anywho, prices are fairly reasonable, running typically from $5-7 (plus or minus a dollar or two, depending), so it's entirely possible to have a delicious, expansive dinner and spend less than $20. Yum yum yum yum yum. Go there.
I love you Vancouver food. I will miss you. I promise to write.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I realized, picky readers are almost as bad as picky eaters.
She said to me, a couple of minutes later, that once she's started a book she refuses to stop reading it, even if it's bad. "Oh," I said. "No wonder you're so picky." I'm the opposite, I am willing to try almost anything, but I put it down easily if I don't like it.
So, here are the books I recommend most:
1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
At the top of my list of favourites. It's a good book for both boys and girls (or men and women, as the case may be) that tells the fictional story of two Jewish cousins in WWII era New York who create one of the first comic books. So well written! Pulitzer prize winner! Really!
2. Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides
The best book I read last year. Sweeping in scope, fabulous writing, great. Follows generations of a Greek family, culminating in the birth of an intersexed child whose path to adulthood is the focus of most of the novel. Don't let the fact that it's an Oprah book put you off.
3. The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
Whenever I try to describe this I call it "literary chick-lit". I think a better description might be my "rainy weekend novel". I reread this every couple of years or so. It never fails to pull me in and leave me feeling good. Smart. Funny. Follows Jane Rosenal from the age of 14 to thirty-something (twenty-something?). It is kind of a series of short stories, each chapter a piece of her life, moving forward months or years in between. Jane is sardonic, funny, likeable, and infinitely realistic. This book makes me happy.
4. Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
I think I need to re-read this soon, as it's been years since I read it, but I remember it blew me away. Fairly dark, so I hardly ever recommend it, because I know lots of people don't really like reading about incest (not that I would call it my cup of tea), but so beautifully written, and the characters are so well-crafted and true, that it definitely makes my list of favourite books ever.
5. Then Again by Elyse Friedman
This gem of a novel is, unfortunately, not available on Amazon, although Chapters/Indigo seems to have it. Whereas The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing was funny and smart, this is funny, smart and weird. And it's Canadian! Michelle Schaefer's brother, Joel, is an uber-successful Hollywood type who gets his kicks spending his money in the craziest ways possible. This time, he invites his two sisters back to their childhood home in Toronto, for a "Blast from the past" party. The house has been recreated to the minutest detail, including lookalike actors hired to play their dead parents. So good.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I've been saving this post for a while, because I still can't fathom how to put this television show's greatness into words. It's great. Unfathomably great.
I got into this show via Laineygossip. She would natter on and on about how if we hadn't seen it we had to watch it. NOW. I ignored her for a good six months, and finally decided, what the heck - I respect this woman's opinions on all matters celebrity, I should give it a try.
A show about high school football. If anything, I expected it to be good the way the O.C. was good. Enjoyable, highly cheesy, kind of silly. Not great "literature", but fun. Nuh-uh. Friday Night Lights is, bottom line, great. It is a great show. As in great actors, great characters, great writing, great cinematography. Effing great. I was hooked as of the first show. And I'm not a sporty girl.
This show has been consistently hailed by critics as one of the best shows on TV. And for some reason, hardly anyone is watching. Mostly, I think, because we all have preconceptions as to what we think this show is. And we're all, pretty much, wrong.
Convince your library to get this show. It doesn't seem to be available to rent very many places. OR - Season one is available on Amazon for $22.99. Buy it, watch it, revel in it, and then donate it to your local library to share the love.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
I've been wanting to see this since it came out. I love the Judd Apatow crew. They make guy movies, but real guy movies, about dudes who are funny and smart and sometimes stupid, not in the best shape, not pretty, but cute and allowed to be sensitive and nerdy. The kind of guys I like. These movies make me laugh, a lot.
I went to a Sunday matinee with my mum yesterday. I was kind of worried she wouldn't like it, so I didn't relax into the movie as quickly as I otherwise might have. The turning point came at about the quarter-way mark, when the main dude (whose character name I completely forget, but is played by Jason Segel, who also wrote the script) is forced onto stage to sing a song from his rock opera (that he wants to make with puppets) about Dracula. The song is sung in a dracula voice, and it was awesome, and I relaxed, because I knew I was watching something a little bit special.
The movie starts in the claustrophobia making indoor settings of shuttered apartments and swank clubs, which makes for a purposely uncomfortable movie experience, but the bulk of the film is set in Hawaii. Lalalalala. It makes me want to sing and spread my arms wide, and I spent as much of the movie as anything just gazing at the beaches and ocean. It was perfect for a grey Vancouver day. It was a runner-up to The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad, just because I found the structural unity of the movie as a whole to feel a little awkward. But I still really enjoyed myself. It made me pretty happy (singing puppets can do that to a girl).
Oh yeah! Apparently Jason Segel is directing the next Muppets movie! Excitement!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
(Please nominate this for most boring blog post ever. Blergh. xo.)