Monthly Archives: September 2003

Red Letter Day

Six thumbs up for Ceri’s apple pie. Not too tart; not too sweet; not too gooey. Perfect pastry. Her Nanny would be proud.

My husband enjoyed another piece for breakfast and says it was just as delicious the morning after.

Over tea last night the topic of ancestors came up, and I was thinking about it this morning. It’s always such a pity that by the time we’re old enough to appreciate the stories and the knowledge that our grandparents possess, they’re gone. It’s some sort of comfort that my spiritual path involves honouring my genelogical ancestors, and my spiritual ancestors as well. I have a connection to the past that extends past the living face-to-face exchanges, and I value it greatly.

I also have an adorable black kitten who actually jumped up on my lap for a cuddle when I got home this afternoon. And I was initiated into the mysteries of making perfume waters at work today. I even labelled them, and they look just like the ones on the shelf. I am terribly proud of myself. I picked up my beautiful, pristine, luminescent copy of Neil Gaiman’s Endless Nights this afternoon as well. So, all in all, quite the red-letter day.

Now, if I could only get news of how the submission of my contract to the publishing board of the US publisher went today, my happiness would be complete.

Yes, That

From Subversive Harmony:

It’s sort of amazing to me how possible it is to be so busy that you forget to eat, and yet still have nothing much worthy of blog-interest to say. It’s just… daily minutiae. An endless stream of daily minutiae.

Sigh.

On the up side, I now know exactly where to go to register myself as a business, if/when I choose to do so in the future.

Family

I hate it when insecure people create issues out of nothing.

I made a statement regarding the concept of chosen families and blood family in someone’s comments, and someone else took issue with it — not with me, but with the blogger. They took a neutral statement and read valuation into it somehow, despite the lack of positive or negative terms, and imposed a whack of stress upon the poor blogger.

The whole thing arose out of the concept of family.

Now, sue me if I’m wrong, but last I looked, the biological unit of mother/father/offspring didn’t have an exclusive right to the word “family”.

When the blogger sent me a private plea for help, one of the options suggested was retraction. Nuh-uh. I don’t retract unless I’m wrong, and agree that I’m wrong. Instead, I wrote a clarification, which included the following:

We form several different ‘families’, or tight-knit communities based on common interests, throughout our lives. At any one time, an individual may have an academic family, a social family, or a spiritual family in addition to his/her own geneological family. No one family is more important than another; they all perform necessary functions. Taken together, these families create a complex context for the individual’s growth and development.

These families exist in different dimensions, but no one family supersedes another. There exists no hierarchy. Rather, there exists a harmony through which the individual is nurtured.

On a practical level, there are no negative words in the phrase I wrote, and it was written thusly in deliberate fashion. ‘Different’ does not mean ‘better’ or ‘worse’, ‘higher’ or ‘lower’; it simply means ‘different’. None of the words in the phrase indicate a value judgement in any fashion, and to seek to interpret them as such is to create a false statement.

What I didn’t say was that anyone who chooses to create mountains out of molehills and put a guilt trip on someone else is more than likely operating out of fear or narrow-mindedness, and obviously needs a hobby like knitting or basket-weaving to fill the time they currently spend in making people miserable.

What amuses the heck out of me at the same time is that my irritation with narrow-mindedness arises from my (admittedly) liberal views. I become severely annoyed if someone can’t step out of themselves for a moment and use their stunted imaginations to pretend, just for a moment, what it’s like for the other guy. This has always been a strength and curse for me. In an argument I can usually see both points of view. When it comes to someone deliberately closing their minds to the fact that truth is subjective, though, I get downright grr.

Ah, well. Things like family, emotion, religion, and politics are always accompanied by a short fuse. The whole issue of same-sex marriage is currently revolving around offspring — why else would people insist that marriage be defined as the legal union of one man and one woman? Perhaps the time has come to realise that the term “family” does indeed mean more than the biological unit.

Out Of It

I’m waiting for my chicken cacciatore to thicken so that I can bring it over to the Harvest potluck we’re attending tonight. Let’s hope it goes better than the rest of the weekend has, because wow, have I been out of it.

Let’s see: While talking, I’ve been trailing off into silence, losing my train of thought. Not what you want to have happen when you teach four classes in three days. (Mercury in retrograde? Ah. Check.) I also have the attention span of an adolescent gnat. I’ve been battling headaches as well, which I’m certain is connected to the pressure yo-yoing up and down. At least I slept soundly last night. My incapability to sustain a coherent thought likely explains my horrendous no-no in the supermarket this afternoon, where I saw my goddaughter and reached for her without announcing my presence first, probably scaring her poor mother to death. I would never, never do something like that while thinking straight.

I did, however, manage to remember everything I needed to pick up in the store. Wonders will never cease.

We’re tidying and vacuuming while the stew thickens, too, because we have a couple of friends coming over for tea tomorrow night. The cats are nowhere to be seen, of course. While we’re out tonight they will undoubtedly shed fur with joyous abandon, rendering the whole exercise completely futile. Ah, well. At least we made the effort.

I’ll go check on that cacciatore. So far, this recipe is a definite keeper. (It’s from the October issue of Martha Stewart Living, which I picked up solely because it had pumpkin owls on the cover. Turns out it has terrific cookie recipes as well as this cacciatore recipe.)

I’m going, I’m going…

A Review Of The Film Underworld, By Me

Out of the goodness of my heart I now provide you with a review of Underworld, the new Gothic action film about to open in theatres everywhere.

My take on it:

Some guys got together and said, “Hey, let’s make a vampire action movie!” And then, someone said, “Hey, let’s add werewolves!” Cool action scenes were carefully storyboarded, an art director was hired and reduced the team to gooey messes of tears and envy, a costumer clothed the characters in utter coolness.

Then they said, “Oh, yeah. We should probably have a story to link the action scenes together.”

So they dragged out the old patriarch-perpetuates-lie-to-maintain-control thing, plus the heroine-must-discover-truth-of-her-past trope, and even threw in the sons-plotting-against-the-father bit. Too bad none of the characters had chemistry, there was no true emotion found anywhere except in a flashback sequence, and the story didn’t show up until the last twenty minutes in an expository info-dump. (And no, I don’t mean the explanation of an aggregate of clues; I mean the entire story.)

In general, we agreed that the art direction was terrific, the effects were well-done, and that the music was great. As the credits rolled, t! was heard to ask plaintively (but very audibly), “Where were the vampires?” This is a gaping absence in the film. There are werewolves a-plenty, but their antagonists appear to be people in long coats with guns (and poor night vision, but that’s another issue entirely). If a vampire character was threatened, their first line of defence was to open their mouths and hiss for a long time. If I were the werewolf attacking, I’d just rip their throat out and terminate the posturing, end of encounter.

Actually, as an editor-type, those over-used long pauses pained me. I’d have cut most of the long lingering shots where nothing happened and no emotion was expressed, and used the time instead to focus on character development or establishment of plot in an interactive fashion. But that’s just me. Hollywood’s average offerings and I aren’t best buddies.

The upshot of it all? Do not under any circumstances pay full price. See it on a pass or on a cheap night, and only if you are completely obsessed with dystopic Gothic dark-and-pained situations. We got exactly what we expected: a B-movie with beaucoup de fromage, and cool clothes.

The best part of the night, however, was that my husband and I Went Out. We dressed up, had dinner, went to the theatre for the premiere, where friends and co-workers were happy to see us. It was good. When we returned home we did, however, have to watch an episode of Angel from the season two box set to take the dry taste of badly-portrayed vampires out of our mouths.

Work-Writing, Writing-Writing

Last week I packed up a notebook, a pen, and a sweater and walked to the Second Cup in Westmount. I ordered myself a decaf mocha with whipped topping and settled down to write.

By the time my mocha was gone, I had another four pages of Crossroads.

There’s something I really enjoy about writing or reading in a cafe. It’s a change of pace; it smells good (roasting coffee, mmm); there’s a touch of sophistication (i.e. I feel like an adult for some reason); and you have to do something, otherwise you’re just sitting there with a mug in front of you. The distractions are minimal, unless the music is terrible or there’s a pair of high school girls nearby, and time really works in your favour, for once.

Plus they have evil bakery items, should you have an extra couple of dollars in your wallet. That means that you can’t write as easily, though, because you have to handle a fork and a pen.

More and more I’m associating the computer with Work-type-work, and my pens and notebooks with my Writing work. This just might cause some serious psychological friction when November rolls around. Speaking thereof, only 45 days till the insanity begins once again…