last post of 2004

AP photo credit. These are lynx kittens. One last furry animal pic for the year.

May I take this opportunity to wish my audience (that would be my mother, two of my coworkers and a couple of Unitarians) a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR, filled with peace, prosperity, and not very much broken glass. I’ll be soaking in a hot tub at midnight. Hope you will be as comfortable as I.

Books that changed my life

Pic is random BC scenery, prob’ly Widgeon Creek.

The Lymond series changed my life. Dorothy Dunnett is one of the best writers in English. The six novels in the series are The Game of Kings, Queen’s Play, The Disorderly Knights, Pawn in Frankincense, The Ringed Castle and Checkmate.

I can’t recommend them enough. Despite the fact they are jam packed with battles on land and sea, historical characters, and have the single most incredible hero in all of literature, Francis Crawford of Lymond and Sevigny, for some reason they are considered chick books.

I remember Ingrid telling me that for a YEAR after she read the Lymond books, she was thinking to herself in situations What Would Lymond Do? Then I read the Vorkosigan novels by Lois McMaster Bujold and had yet a new hero to worship. If you like humour, action, dastardly villains and I mean DASTARDLY and deeply flawed and brilliant heroes, look no further than any of the Vorkosigan novels. I started with (strangely enough, loaned by Ingrid) Cordelia’s Honor and that’s not a bad place to start, as it has the single most memorable exchange between a happily married couple in all of English literature. Suffice it to say that the word “Shopping” is involved.

Wade Davis in person and in print is a man to change your brain. In person he’s the single most attractive person I ever saw who wasn’t making a living from his appearance; as a presenter, I have only ever seen one other person who could command a room like that, and that was Harlan Ellison in his heyday. On a printed page he has a masterful and restrained prose style. He has a new book out which Chapters, may they disappear into the Hellmouth, isn’t carrying. At Xmas time they aren’t carrying a coffee table book by a local author? Duh. Anyway, the book I like best of Wade’s, which I reread every winter, is One River.

Edward Shlain’s Sex, Time and Power. Some of it is just plain wrong, some wrongheaded. But where he got it right, he got it very right indeed, and I read the book in 24 hours last Christmas while my brain just about burst. It is impossible to look at the godawful mess between men and women the same way after reading this book. It improved my life a lot. Essentially, once I read it, many human activities which had made no sense to me at all, did. The hair thing, for one thing.

Elaine Pagels’ the Gnostic Gospels. The first place I ran into God as Female and it made sense. (God was a boy for me prior to that). Spinetingling.

Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand, Men and Women in Conversation. This book changed how I talk to men, and how I listen to them. I should probably go back for a refresher.

First Things First by Stephen Covey and a couple of his henchthingies – one of those neverending self improvement books. However there are a LOT of good ideas in it and it continues to help me.

On the self improvement note, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. So simple that a sophisticated person might say what nonsense, but I didn’t. A powerful and thought provoking little book.

Kerri Hulme’s The Bone People. I don’t know what to say about this Booker Prize winning novel except that it is such a rare and crazy book with such deeply memorable characters, that the flimsy plot means nothing compared to how it’s written. Easily one of my top ten favourite books.

Blind Voices by Tom Reamy. Finally picked it up in soft cover. A beautiful and chilling fantasy.

The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, OF COURSE.

The Lost Queen of Egypt by Lucille Morrison. Yes, I know this is a children’s book. But the depiction of family life and the strength of the friendship between the characters is truly memorable. I’ve been looking for an (affordable) copy for 30 years.

Paul Blackburn Collected Poems. I dedicated the long poem In Colours Unsuspected to him. A great great poet. Everything I love best about poetry, the direct voice, the passion, the economy, the grinding down of one’s own daily life in the mill of art to achieve transcendance, it’s all there.

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s the Mists of Avalon. The ultimate read in the bath book. Makes magic and myth and real life into something truly great.

I light a candle for Tori’s stepdad, who died of cancer in Newfoundland this week. She’s gone to the funeral, where I hope she will be of some comfort to her poor mother, who is burying her second husband. My woes look small and my complaints like the bleating of a sheep stuck, due to its own stupidity, to a fence, by comparison.

I light a candle for George P who passed away from heart failure this week. He will be sorely missed by many for his honesty and deep mind.

I light a candle for a member of my family experiencing issues around custody right now. May it come right for the child involved.

The non bf was here yesterday and chose to interact with me rather more than has been the case previously. As in, Katie said Don’t Send Him that Picture, and I said I will, and then revealed that I already knew what his email address is. Oops. Nosy woman that I am.

Hi Sam! For those of you who don’t know, the picture of the people standing around a truck that’s gone off the road was actually provided by Sam, who said she was really surprised when she found it on my website. Just remember, in cyberspace nobody can hear you scream, and a picture is forever, once ‘oogle picks it up!

Honourable mentions for Books. Brain Droppings by George Carlin, a very funny book.

Blue Skies No Candy by Gael Greene. A very funny, entertaining soft core porn novel. All the soft core I’ve done is in emulation of that book… the notion that there are a MILLION nice men out there, and you simply WON’T have time to sleep with them all – so you’ll have to write about it instead. Sigh…. Man, ya gotta be careful what you read when you’re 18.

Um. Angel is on his knees embracing Buffy. Like, the Bufferama is over, but the images linger on – we got to episode 4 of the 3rd season and that’s where we got beached. I ADMIT IT. When David Boreanaz/Angel fell back out of hell into the vamps mansion, stark naked, I made Katie run it back. More than once. Then Katie said it might be a stunt man. Jumping Jimmy Christmas, what a horrid notion! That my own child could say such a thing. Mind you, I’m thinking that a place of torture that makes you look like you just spent 6 months working out and powering down protein shakes can’t be all bad. Where do I sign up?

I shake my fist at Glen, who got me started on all this stuff. Glower, glower. But he knows I love him anyway.

o, books! I forgot Dave D’s Machine Language, the best poem ever in the English language, but I’m prejudiced; he uses a word I invented. But that isn’t really a book… I’m sliding off the criteria now. Enough rambling, I have to get back to my world building.

walkies, movies

Finally got it straight with my webmeister how to get into Wiki so I can mess with my website and make it more fun interesting and educational. Don’t know when THAT will happen, but at least the possibility is there.

Went walking in Deer Lake Park with Paul and Peggy, then they fed us lunch. Any lunch that includes cold sliced lamb is a feast indeed.

Saw the Incredibles yesterday. Enjoyed it tremendously. Asked Paul what he liked best about the movie and he said, “The way they all worked together as a team.” Subtext: We don’t.

Here’s a pic from the walk.