Monday, June 30, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
My Not-So-Secret Blog
When I applied for my job, after careful deliberation I included the name of my blog in my cover letter. I figured I’d greatly increase my chance of being hired to do blogger outreach if I demonstrated the fact I’d been blogging regularly for two years.
I keep the blog under wraps at work now. I want to have the freedom to talk about sex, or muffin tops, or post pictures of drunk bloggers. I’ve done a couple of presentations at work where I’ve mentioned I’m a blogger, but I don’t say the name (even when asked!) and I’ve removed the link on my Facebook page. The only one in my team who reads my blog is my immediate boss, and she just started her maternity leave (she’s very nice, and I never felt too weird about her reading it anyway).
So I was caught off guard the other day during my very first meeting with an author, Terry Fallis, who recently won the Stephen Leacock award for his political satire, The Best Laid Plans. The book originally aired as a podcast, and after the final installment he turned his site into a blog, documenting first his experience self-publishing his book, and now the publication process with M&S.
At the meeting, I was introduced as a fellow blogger, and his first question, with pen poised, was the name of my blog! I stuttered a bit, then blurted it out. My boss piped in, “it’s a mommy blog”, to which I immediately replied (a little too defensively perhaps) “I blog about books too!”
So Mr. Fallis, if you do make your way here, welcome! It was lovely meeting you. I guess I’m out of the closet. If you come across the words, “muffin top”, please move on to the next post.
While I’m on the subject of work, I have some excellent news! My job will be changing a little bit, and will include more work with publicists and authors, getting them familiar with social media. This will be a lot of fun, and will also require me to work at the fancy downtown office a few days per week! And I’ll be able to work from home Friday mornings, at least while we’re on summer hours! I can’t tell you how happy I am about this. I have been feeling so guilty about driving to work each day. Now it’s a 10-minute streetcar ride, and I could even walk. Sweet, right? And perfect timing with gas prices as they are.
How are y’all coping with the crazy gas prices?
Friday, June 20, 2008
A Young Matthew McConaughey
Cakes is becoming a quirky little kid. Her latest thing is she has to sleep in the nude. If you can manage to get her into a pair of pyjamas, they’re chucked out her crib within half an hour.
Last night I came home late after my class. I tiptoed into her room (as I do each night) and there she was, sprawled out in the buff. Clutching her bongo drum.
What sort of weirdness are your wee ones up to lately?
Happy Birthday McHotty! And happy seven years on the job. We're so thankful for all that you do.
Love, metro and cakes
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Go See Black Watch!
Update: Here's a great clip about the play:
McHotty and I had a lovely impromptu date night last night!
My mom’s in town, and told us to go out, but I hadn’t planned to since we’d just spent so much money on our trip, and I have a hell of a lot of Bronte to read. But McHotty called me at work yesterday desperate to go see Black Watch, which to be honest I knew nothing about. I asked him what it’s about, and when I heard the words “regiment” and “Iraq” I instantly dismissed it in my mind. But I agreed to go, because I’m always after McHotty to do more of the entertainment research, and Sunday is Father’s Day.
The play, by the National Theatre of Scotland, is part of Toronto’s fantastic Luminato Festival. Framed by an interview with a journalist in a pub in Scotland, soldiers of the famous Black Watch regiment recall their experience serving in the Iraq war.
The play is 1 hour and 50 minutes, with no intermission. It’s staged in the Varsity arena, and you sit on uncomfortable chairs, close to the action, and it’s hot and a little smelly. Fitting. The actors build and remove the sets as they perform, and intermingled with real footage from Iraq, television screens display the scenes on the stage, documentary style.
The performances were magnificent. The soldiers are gritty, raw, passionate, damaged, funny, vulnerable. The choreography blew me away, particularly during the show-stopping fight scene. I loved a scene where soldiers receive their letters from home and transmit their contents via sign language.
The play is also an interesting history lesson, and a provocative look at why soldiers go to war. The soldiers in this play are glorious. But there is no individual glory: the group of men take their bows at the end of play, together. Three times they pass around the stage, and I’m ready to cheer myself hoarse for the leads: but there are no individual bows. The men hold hands and bow to us, in unison.
After the play we went to my favourite restaurant in Toronto, the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. It’s so relaxed and fun there, the food is superb, and you can try lots of wines, for a really good price. We hadn’t been there in ages, and it was perfect, as usual.
After dinner we walked to the Distillery, which I was happy to see was hopping. We spotted a painting we both loved. My in-laws want to get me a piece of art for my graduation, so we are on the lookout. But as I expected, this piece was priced at about 6 times our budget. They offered to let us try it out for a week, and I must confess I was sorely tempted. Maybe next time I’m having a party…
Has anyone else taken in any Luminato this week?
Labels: Toronto the Good
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Bond, Brontes, and the End of Bloglines
Last week I started the final course of my MA: The Brontes, two nights per week, for six weeks. What a nice way to end my academic career, no? I think this is my third time through Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and they both get better on each reading. And I’m excited about the lesser known novels too--I loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne). It’s pretty cheeky stuff for its time. I’m starting to think about papers again--the very last academic paper I will ever write (yay!) will revisit one of my favourite topics: the maternal. There is no shortage of material in the Bronte books.
For work, I’ve been trying to expand my reading horizons by reading genres I normally shy away from, specifically popular fiction and non-fiction. I just started reading a manuscript copy of Ronald White’s What is America? Books about current events are not usually my thang, but so far this one is very readable, and is almost distracting me from Villette. Almost.
I’ve also made a discovery that has rocked my world--audiobooks! I just finished listening to the new James Bond, Devil May Care, written by Sebastian Faulks. (Full discosure: this is a big book for us. But I promise you, I will never recommend a book here I don’t truly adore--the ones I don’t like, I don’t mention at all). Big or not, Bond is fucking great! The reader is fantastic (I love how he does the female voices). The book is fast-paced and cinematic, with gruesome killings, exotic locations, wonderful descriptions of food and drink, and dark humour. Bond is just as he should be--like Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, he’s tough and rough. Pitch perfect.
I went to a Web 2.0 conference yesterday. The speaker, Mitch Joel (who is fabulous by the way), convinced me to convert from Bloglines to Google Reader (it’s so easy to share items, creating reciprical links, which you can automatically post to your Facebook profile using an application called Feedheads. This stuff turns me on.
What’s exciting you on the web these days?
Monday, June 09, 2008
Parties and More Parties
It was another one of those busy weekends--I had to come back to work today for a rest!
Friday morning was my first event in my new position--a brunch for bloggers to celebrate the launch of Catherine Sanderson’s Petite Anglaise (on sale June 17!) The event was lots of fun, and it's pretty cool to be trailblazing in blogger outreach.
We ‘met’ the lovely Catherine, live from Paris via webcam--the day before her wedding!
Thuet Atelier provided some very yummy treats.
The pastry chef is in town for a few months to learn English. He recognized the book (it went on sale in Europe a few months ago), got excited, and made delicious macaroons in pink, yellow, and chocolate brown, to match the book cover! I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture.
There was lots of scintillating conversation, and the occasional cackle.
I hope I’ll get to do more of these!
McHotty’s sisters and their hubbies were in town for the weekend. We had a family BBQ Saturday night (McHotty did a fine job with some nice steaks), and a baby shower the next day. Cakes was a champ, behaving very nicely, despite eating 5 cupcakes and bouncing off the walls. She’s going to have another cousin in a month or so!
How was your weekend? What do you think of the wicked temps? Are you for, or against?
Monday, June 02, 2008
One Toddler and 101 Octogenarians
I had one of those weekends which was supposed to be a lot more fun that it actually ended up being.
Friday night I attended an end-of-year house party with my school mates. We had money left from our colloquium budget, and since our Treasurer is also on our social committee, it was easy to convince her to spend our surplus on liquor. It was supposed to be a backyard BBQ, but the rain threw a bit of a wrench into things. Still, we had a really good time--except I appalled my colleagues with my taste in music. It was about 2:00 in the morning, and we were all getting tired, and decided we needed some good dance music to liven thing up. Finding Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” on someone’s iPod, I immediately cranked it, and got out my air guitar, only to be met with…laughter (and maybe a little bit of horror too).
I arrived home from the party at 3 am only to find I had forgotten my keys, forcing me to ring the bell and wake up poor McHotty who had to be up three hours later to work a 24-hour shift. I am lucky my husband is such a nice man.
Cake, as usual decides to get up at 6 AM Saturday morning. (Why does this always happen! This morning, having gone to bed a 9 PM last night, I was up bright and early, and actually banging around to try to wake her to say goodbye before I left for work. She was still snoozing soundly when I left at 7:30). Saturday morning, I brought her into bed with me and put Dora on my laptop. I would just doze off when I’d be abruptly awoken with Cakes two inches from my face, wearing a devilish grin.
I was in hell, I tell you, hell.
Sunday we took Cakes to Hicksville for my great-grandmother’s boyfriend’s 85th birthday party. I thought it would be a family affair, and Cakes would have a blast playing with her cousin. We arrive at Grandma’s condo, and enter the party room, to find it filled with the entire residency of the building, nay the whole fucking village of Hicksville. I made Cakes a plate of white bread sandwiches, scarfed down a piece of cake, kissed the birthday boy, and we were on our way back to the city in under an hour. Oy!
Needless to say, next weekend can only be better. Right?