Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Books I bought today

Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg.

I've been meaning to read something by Sharon Salzberg for quite some time. When I was about eight years old, my dad started practicing Buddhism, and it had a profound impact on my world view and spirituality and sense of life. I remember being upset about someone being mean to me, and going to my dad, and chanting with him for just a couple of minutes (seconds? I have no idea), and yes, it was that simple, I felt better. I think a lot about Buddhism, and about what it would be like to be a monk, and about the lessons one would learn and how one would learn them. I had the thought, yesterday, If a monk were being attacked by a wild dog, would he fight back? And the answer is no. I guess my question is if I were a monk and attacked by a wild dog, would I fight back. At this stage in my life, yes, I probably would (I can't imagine being so centred and so sure as to not let instinct take over to save myself).

And then there is that other side of myself - the side that delights in pleasure and sensation and dinners that cost hundreds of dollars (not that I've done that more than once). And that part bought Service Included: Four-star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter, by Phoebe Damrosch. I love food. It is probably my main pleasure and passion and joy in the world. And I love reading about it, though not nearly as much as eating it. I was slightly disappointed when I got home and looked it up on amazon, because it doesn't have the best reviews, although the cover pronounces it to be a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year. I read the introduction while in the bookstore, and I enjoyed it, so I'm hoping to be one of those people who would give it five stars. I'll let you know.

The best thing about buying books as presents for myself is that when I've finished I can pass them on.

Back to Buddhism for a moment. One of my favourite Buddhists is Tina Turner - she radiates the groundedness and sense of self and joy that I would like to embody. (Is it totally un-Buddhist to have a favourite Buddhist?)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You should watch this

I've been thinking a lot about old movies, ones that have stayed with me since I've seen them, however long ago that might be. These are films that I feel very lucky to have seen, so I am going to start showcasing my favourites, with the hope that some of you will be inspired the next time you go to the video store (if anyone even does that, anymore). (Or the library! You can get DVDs from the library! For free! Go support those wonderful people.)

First up on the list, among my favourite films ever. I could watch it every day. That may be hyperbole, but still - I love it.

Imitation of Life - 1959 - Directed by Douglas Sirk

This is among the most glorious, heartbreaking films I have ever seen. It follows the stories of two single mothers - one white, one black - as they perform the near-impossible task of raising their daughters. This is melodrama at its best, in technicolor.

Eight billion stars.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

When you live somewhere with winter for the first time

I am having wintertime firsts, and it is so exciting. The snow, today, was different than any other snow I have been in. Walking across the snow, it started to crack under my feet. The top layer was brittle, and it shifted and crunched down in big pieces as I shifted my weight. It felt like walking on top of a giant pie. I reached down and picked up a disk of the top layer of ice/snow, and tossed it like a frisbee. Luckily I didn't hit anyone.

It was cool. I feel about five.

Claudia Kishi, style icon

This is my favourite blog of all time (alright, that might be a stretch, but still). I loved the Babysitter's Club. A lot. I would sit down in the Save-On-Foods while my mum shopped and devour the books. And I wanted to be Claudia Kishi. I still kind of do. I need way more high ponytails in my life.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The 25 Things Meme making its way around Facebook.

I posted this on Facebook this morning, but then I decided it was a built in blog post, too. I am not tagging anyone, but if you do this, tell me, because I want to know everything about everything and everyone, at all times.

1. I like food more than pretty much everything else.

2. Except maybe the sky and the ocean.

3. I love reading, and if I could spend a large chunk of life curled up in a comfy chair reading a book and sipping coffee/tea, I would be very glad.

4. I have no tattoos. Every time I think I'm maybe planning on getting one, I don't. Because I am a bit of a perfectionist. And so far none of them have been perfect or I haven't been convinced they would maintain their perfection over time. I like tattoos a lot, though.

5. I love movies. I have a degree in film studies. I would like to get a PhD in film studies just so I could call myself the movie doctor. But I am by no means a film snob. Yes, I like great arty subtitled masterpieces about the capitalist implications of cheezewhiz. But I also love "stupid" movies (but only smart ones). Coming to mind right now: Demolition Man. And - Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.

6. At the beginning of this year, when I was meeting eight thousand new people a day, my way of making friends was to ask what their favourite thing ever is. Mine (for the purposes of this experiment) was Dim Sum. This isn't really true, but it is up there. (Aside: 8000 is a number that comes out of my mouth with some regularity when I am being hyperbolic about something I think of as a large number. I am not sure why.)

7. I make a little woop sound (like water dripping from a faucet) every time I almost run into someone, or I try to go through a door at the same time someone else is coming out, and things like this. I end up making this sound fairly frequently.

8. Sometimes when I smile at people (especially strangers) in passing, I think that the smile isn't much of a smile at all, but a grim little line that my lips make. It's a smile inside!

9. I think I would be good on TV.

10. My ideal job would be to host a travel food show.

11. I have been fantasizing about Vancouver food since last night. Right now I want: a hotdog from Japadog, fried canneloni with soy sauce at Szechuan Chonqing... And that's pretty much it for this exact moment. If pressed, I'm sure I could find more.

12. The only magazine I read regularly is O Magazine. Yes. The Oprah magazine.

13. I love living at King's. I feel like part of a community in a way that I never have before. I am surrounded by smart, fun, lovely people, and there is always someone to talk to. I always though I loved being alone (and I still do), but I also love being with people.

14. I watch The Bachelor. It is one of the worst things about me. But at least I watch it with another person, and that means it's fun. And not sad. (Maybe a little.)

15. I really love clothes and makeup. But I also am very editorial in my sense of self, and I don't like having a lot of stuff. So I buy the things that are perfect and I LOVE, and as soon as I don't love it anymore, it is out the door. So there.

16. I have notes for at least two novels going. Anyone want to have a writing club with me? We don't need to read aloud. Just meet regularly to force ourselves to write.

17. My hair is the longest it has been in at least eight years, possibly fourteen. Most of my teen/adult life saw my hair in a variation of pixie cut super short awesomeness. The other day I put on a hat that just left a little bit of my bangs visible, and I started to miss it a bit. This would disappoint my mother greatly.

18. I love seafood. A lot.

19. I LOVE SPICY THINGS. Holy cow, they make life so much better.

20. I have started knitting. I like making hats the best. They are surprisingly easy.

21. I love really big bowls. And chopsticks.

22. The place I would most like to go in the world is Japan. With my dad. And cameras.

23. I loved passing notes when I was a kid.

24. Were I to adhere to any religion it would probably be Buddhism. I keep intending to meditate. Anyone want to have a meditation group?

25. I love New York. If I had lots of money I would probably spend lots of time there. Eating. And watching amazing Broadway musicals. And plays. And I would spend copious amounts of time in the Metropolitan Museum. I am currently taking a Young Adult Resources class, and am going to read "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler", which is about two kids who run away and live in the Met for a few days, based on the very strong recommendation of a classmate. I would like to live in the Met. Or pretty much any museum. I love the big rooms and light and everything. (I am feeling hemmed in by the fact that this is my last factoid, and that I want to keep going so everyone knows everything possible they could know about me except for the things I maybe don't want them to know, but maybe even those things. But yes. New York. It was amazing. Is.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How I Live Now

I posted about this over on my Young Adult reading blog, but How I Live Now was so stupefyingly amazing that I felt the need to post here too. It's about a 15 year old girl who goes to live with her aunt and cousins in the English countryside just before a war breaks out. The time is contemporary/near future, and while at first the family exists in an idyllic state unaffected by the war, they ultimately descend into the sort of madness that is horrible but still sort of normal because it is life and they are still living. It was published in North America as a young adult book, but it is so much more than that. The style is distinct and hypnotic; I was entranced. I absolutely loved it, and as soon as I finished I nearly flipped to the front of the book to start again. Gorgeous, human, lovely, honest, funny, sarcastic, affecting, dark, brilliant.

5/5 stars.


Email me at thenewisthetrue (at) gmail .com
My photo
Toronto, Canada
I think I might be addicted to books. And noodles. I need the ocean. I want to know everything. Almost. I love love. And loving things. Like love. And like.