Monthly Archives: March 2008

What I Read This March

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
The Angel Riots by Ibi Kaslik
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King
Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Spirit by Deborah Kesten
The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon by W.O. Mitchell
A Genius in the Family by Hilary and Piers du Pré (reread)
A Grave Talent by Laurie R. King
Atonement by Ian McEwan
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

Atonement: The middle of the novel lost me. It was well-written, I just didn’t enjoy it. Much preferred the first and third sections. I can see why it was made into a film, and now I’m mildly interested in seeing what the film is like.

No Humans Involved: Finally, a chance to see Jeremy away from the pack! This book also helped me like Jaime a lot more than I previously have.

A Grave Talent and Art of Detection: I read these voraciously. I enjoy King’s Mary Russell series, so it’s just taken me a while to get around to the Kate Martinelli books. But now that I have, hurrah. Yes, I know I missed reading a few between the first and most recent titles; the latter was the only one my local bookstore had when I’d finished reading Mousme‘s loan of A Grave Talent.

Er, yes. That’s about it. They were books; I read them and enjoyed them to various degrees. Not much to say other than that.


Stupid page proofs.

I’m going to STET all the punctuation corrections I did. I think. Maybe. Well, I’ll take it on a case-by-case basis.

I’m catching other errors on the second go-through. I wish inconsistencies in phrasing through rituals etc. had been caught in copy-edits. I wish they’d been more stringent. This will teach me to crow about an easy copy-edit review.

I want these gone, gone, gone by tomorrow. I need the time to finish the other book, you know, the one that needs to be handed in in a week or so?

Hope and Healing

I wasn’t online yesterday so I missed the bone marrow registry/Heal Emru reminder blog-a-thon date, but better late than never, especially in a case like this.

I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again: it’s quick, easy, and you’ll likely never get called. But if you do, you’ll be giving up a day or so of your life to save someone else’s.

Here’s the pertinent point: ethnic minorities are woefully under-represented in the registry, so if you’re of Ashkenazi, South Asian, East Asian, Pacific Islander, Aboriginal, Caribbean, African or mixed ethnic heritage — among many others — it’s even more important that you add your information to the registry to provide a wider pool from which a matching sample may be drawn. If you’re tested in regards to a relative, make sure to say that you want to be on the unrelated donor registry as well.

Emru was diagnosed with leukaemia in mid-December of 2007. As is typical of their enormous hearts and giving souls, Emru and his sister Tamu have taken this opportunity to work on behalf of everyone who needs a bone marrow transplant. The web site may be called Heal Emru, but it’s about people everywhere with cancer or sickle cell anaemia who are suffering daily while they wait and pray for a matching donor to be found. The excellent web site features clear FAQs, contact info for registries all over the world, information on how to register, copies of interviews they’ve given in print and audio media as well as related interviews or articles, and flyers and other images to print out and use wherever you can. The web site now exists in French as well as English.

It’s not just Emru. It’s every single person out there, hoping that a match will be found so that they can go on living.

Drop by your local blood clinic and talk to them about the process. It’s important. It’s such a small thing on your part, but someone else’s life and well-being, and the lives of their family and friends and colleagues.

The impact you can make is beyond measuring.

Such A Monday

This morning, I drove home from dropping the boy off in white-out conditions. It’s cruel, after a lovely warm and sunny weekend. Wasn’t this supposed to be rain? The first few flakes began falling and the boy said, “Why the snow?” “I don’t know,” I replied. “I think we should tell it to go away.” From the back seat there came a very clear and deliberate, “SNOW, GO AWAY!”

Thank goodness for a lovely recording of The Lark Ascending on CBC that played on my way home. I always think of Pasley when I hear it. Otherwise I’m so irritated by the CBC these days. They’re disbanding the CBC Radio Orchestra — the last surviving radio orchestra in North America — and they’re changing the Radio 2 format yet again so that it’s no longer going to be a mainly classical station. Over the past few years they’ve slowly revamped it to feature more jazz and folk and so forth, with which I’ve not been thrilled but have tolerated (although the radio gets turned off at 6 on the dot because I cannot stand what the evening programming has become). Now, however, they’re formally announcing that they’re going to go more mainstream, and cancelling the existing shows. This was done to net a larger audience, but it’s backfiring already: the backlash has been dreadful, and they’re going to lose droves of current listeners (like me, hello, who’s been a faithful listener for decades). If they did market research, they certainly didn’t think of asking their current audience what they thought of the idea. I’ve been meaning to write about this since they announced it and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to put my resentment about this dilution of content and commitment to culture into words. This isn’t what I wanted to say, either, but I have to say something at some point.

I am stiff and achy and want to be in the better mood I was in this past weekend.


Here is some film news that I know will be welcome to the other Hypatia fans among my readers (I seem to recall Fearsclave calling himself a drooling Hypatia fanboy, and I know there are others):

Filming is currently underway on “Agora”, a work directed by Alejandro Amenabar (“The Others”, “The Sea Inside”), that centers on the efforts of female philosopher and mathematician Hypatia to save the collected wisdom of Alexandria. Starring in the role of Hypatia will be Academy Award-winning English actress Rachel Weisz.

Hypatia! Rachel Weisz! Pardon me while I squee in an undignified fashion.

Jason writes more about it here at the Wild Hunt blog. There’s nothing much over at IMDB yet except a curiously off-centre plot outline that mentions nothing about the focal event of the story, the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. Please, universe, don’t turn this into a flat love story; there is so much richness that they can draw on in the form of politics, religion, and philosophy.

It’s shooting in Malta, which I know will interest my parents. There’s no formal release date, but I suspect it will make a late 2009 appearance.


Hullo world; just a brief drop-in to say that we have our new-to-us stove, and indeed had it in place and functional by ten-fifteen this morning. It is shiny and hot and boils water in no time flat, as well as crisping a pan of granola bars rather quicker than I expected. When I saw the words ‘Self-Cleaning’ before some fine print on the manual (the sellers had kept it, bless them, and also passed along all the pans that had come with it) my heart leapt, but alas, this is a basic model and it does not have the option. Still, it is very impressive. Our old stove was whisked off the curb before we blinked.

And here is a heads-up for anyone local looking for a lute: I was skimming the local Craigslist and found this ad. So if you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a lutenist but despaired at the thought of ever finding an instrument, now’s your chance. (Me? I have more than enough instruments, thanks.)

Back into the cheerful fray of Saturday.

Icon Memeage

Bodhifox threw an icon-themed meme out to readers, and as I need to clear my brain of the first complete run-through of the page proofs before going back to them, but I won’t have the time to get myself into the proper headspace to do something like work on the hearthcraft book, I’m doing this instead to give my brain a break.

The meme:

1) Reply to this post, and I will pick six of your icons. [ED: Not really. You can ask if you like, but it’s not required if you comment.]
2) Make a post in your journal and talk about the icons I chose.
3) Other people can then comment to you and make their own posts.
4) This will create a never-ending cycle of icon squee.

Bodhi said:

Glad to help you avoid work. How about the cello one you used here, the HRH one, the static Random Colour (gods, you people and your superfluous letter useage) icon, argh, the Gould and the muses?

This journal doesn’t have an icon field or an automatic icon assigned to each post as LiveJournal does or other blogging software/sites can have. I began inserting an icon for each post to add some visual interest to the blocks of text, and to provide a sort of instant preview of the subject or emotional tone of the post. I also did it to use the masses of icons I had hoarded, because there are some really lovely ones out there, and my hoard of shinies wasn’t seeing any practical application in a folder on my hard drive.

This is the icon I’m currently using as my default on LiveJournal. (No, I don’t post there, I have an account that enables me to read other journals and make comments.) It’s a crop of a much larger picture of several people, making it a close-up of my hands and the cello from last year’s gig. I like it a lot because it forces the viewer to look at the instrument, rather than my face. The bow hold is dreadful in this photo, but it was the closing song of the set and we’d done some pretty strenuous work leading up to this particular moment so my hand was shot. I also like the light and shadow happening in it. The cord is from a mic, and while I initially wasn’t thrilled it was there I’ve since seen that it adds an interesting movement to the picture. I still don’t have a really good picture of me playing the cello.

This is an HRH original, the story of which I’ll just reproduce here from the text on his portfolio web site (‘cos I wrote it anyway): In the late 1990s I had the fortune to work with a local theatre company as they mounted various productions of Savoy operas. This is a picture of my favourite leading lady as she might have appeared in the 1880s, taking her curtain call after a performance. The original art is approximately 11 x 14 inches, and was done in lead pencil and blue Col-erase pencil on acid-free paper. The final line work was done in black ink. The faint shading was done with light blue Col-erase pencil. The work was never developed further because I liked the sketch quality of it. The original artwork was framed and now hangs in a private home in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Ironically, I have no idea what show I was doing when he sketched this. Possibly The Mikado. I use this icon for some of my thank you posts, and my ‘celebrate/congratulate me!’ posts.

Heh. I so adore this picture. It’s by Karine, an incredibly talented artist and good friend, who also happens to be the lead singer in the band. The series of sketches (one per band member) was done before we actually assembled and began working on music, based solely on the colours each of us had picked as identifiers and amusing alter-ego names. The name I picked was Midnight Sienna, so my icon/outfit was themed in browns and blacks. I am so kick-ass in this picture, and it makes me grin every time I see it. I never got around to making the whole outfit, but I did make the black corset for performance and have the boots, too.

This icon encompasses both my recognition of the mistakes I’ve made, as well as the general “you have got to be kidding”-ness of so many things I see and read. Alice in Wonderland is far from my favourite Disney film — far, far, far from it — and pink’s not one of my favourite colours either, but somehow this icon grabbed me when I saw it. I think it may be the sentiment expressed in the text, which is something that never clearly appears in the original book but that I think must have run through Alice’s mind at some (or many) points: Stupid rabbit. Stupid flowers. This is beyond dealing with. I’m going home. There is so much to “argh” about in life, after all.

Ah, Glenn Gould. I wrote half an MA thesis on him before my thesis advisor vanished into the underworld, taking his promise of a co-heard defense handled by both the music and Eng.Lit. departments with him, and it scarred poor shy agonized little me so badly I couldn’t even consider picking it up again with someone else two years later, even if anyone in the department had been willing to take it on. I love Gould’s quirks, his depth of union with the music he plays, and his clean crisp separation of musical lines. I also deeply enjoy his writings, get a kick out of his wacky sense of humour, and find his personality fascinating.

This is a relatively recent icon, and I love the colours and layout. The text, of course, is absolutely perfect: it’s polite, has that ring of sincerity, and yet encapsulates the stereotypical ‘your call is important to us’ canned recording. All in all, it evokes the feeling of frustration one feels when on hold and also staring at writer’s block. It’s particularly appropriate for me, as I’ve been experiencing a lot of challenges with this current book. Overall, it soothes and amuses, both things I need when I’m growling at writing.