Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"The sun makes its orange way east from Arabia, over a Red Sea, across volcanic fields and desert and over the black hills"

As a result of my outburst of photos from Harar, I was asked to provide a little more explanation. I've been to Ethiopia three times now, and everytime I travel there it never ceases to provide me with endless ideas for stories I need to write. Also, travelling there seems to remind me that there's just as many opportunities for story writing around the corner from my apartment (though one might have to get out of earshot from the incessant jack hammering, a sound that will eventually result in some monstrous condo development).

The project at the moment is to record, as best as possible, the events of a particular evening/morning in transit from Addis Abeba to Harar. Perhaps some of you have already heard the tale, but I don't think I've really told it well enough as of yet. A little paranoid about subject position, am I.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Photos of I-thiopia

I am writing about Harar at the moment. It's tough not to compare my thoughts with those of Camilla Gibb, though really there is no comparison, given that she's the brilliant Giller Prize-winning author of Sweetness in the Belly and I, well, I aint no brilliant author. There is something, however, about Harar that makes you want to write something down. I just don't want to forget.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I really wish I could find my "Everything Reminds Me of My Dog" t-shirt

Jane Siberry has given away all of her possessions, changed her name to Issa and is now teaching science to students out in BC. She's kept 20 books and 20 cds--the rest of her possessions can fit in a small suitcase. Now, I'm not suggesting that everyone do this, but I don't think it's really that crazy. Kooky, but not crazy. I forgot how great she is and I'm glad that I've been reminded.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

If you start out depressed, everything is a pleasant surprise.

On Vero's blog (have I mentioned how fantastic her new site looks? Well, it's worth mentioning again), she mentions a conversation at Caro's barbeque in which the title of "best girl movie of all time" was given to Dirty Dancing. Now, as someone who, in grade eight, was tickled pink to be the principal dancer in a number choreographed to "I had the time of my life", I understand the film's appeal. Excessive high-kicks notwithstanding, I thought that the film that breaks the barriers of religion and class through dance, bad dialogue, and Swayze was the coolest thing ever. And then I saw Say Anything.

Instead of making an argument for Say Anything as the "best girl movie of all time" (and by "girl" I mean the same angsty, boy-crazy girl audience for Dirty Dancing), my question is how could you argue that it's not? First, who is better than John Cusack. Of all the actors in the past 20 years, has there been a male lead as consistently well loved as Mr. Cusack? From The Sure Thing to High Fidelity, the man with the narrow face, small mouth, and pouffy hair seems to have maintained a level of adoration amongst female fans that is really quite astounding. Or, given the fact that the role of Lloyd Dobler presents itself as the ultimate boyfriend for heterosexually inclined girls all over the place, any role since 1989's Say Anything has essentially been an opportunity to imagine Lloyd on the screen again. Maybe it's just me.

For those who read Catcher in the Rye and fell in love with Holden, Lloyd provides an excellent substitution--hold the insanity.

Even the silly tag line on the box declares the truth: "To know Lloyd Dobler is to love him. Diane Court's about to get to know Lloyd Dobler." Sure, it's a simple movie: boy loves girl from afar, courageously asks girl out, girl likes boy, girl's dad wants girl to focus on school, girl breaks up with boy, and boy gets her back in the end. But it's got Lloyd Dobler.

A friend asks Lloyd how it was possible to get a date with Diane Court, the picture-perfect valedictorian and the response is simply "I'm Lloyd Dobler." Indeed. Of course Lloyd Dobler would get the girl. And the girl is played with with such non-committal grace by Ione Skye that it is possible for any teenage girl (or teenage girl at heart) to simpy imagine themselves in her position. Especially when that position involves a boy wearing a Clash t-shirt standing outside your window blasting Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." But, though that is the obvious climax of the film, Say Anything also presents itself with some of the best and smartest writing in teen-flick history.

When Lloyd answers Diane's father's question about future career plans, his answer (nervously spouted, because, of course, Lloyd has "that nervous talking thing") is as follows: "A career? I've thought about this quite a bit sir and I would have to say considering what's waiting out there for me, I don't want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I dont want to sell anything bought or processed or buy anything sold or processed or repair anything sold, bought or processed as a career. I dont want to do that. My father's in the army. He wants me to join, but I can't work for that corporation, so what I've been doing lately is kick-boxing, which is a new far as career longevity, I dont really know. I cant figure it all out tonight, sir, so I'm just gonna hang with your daughter." Classic.

Lloyd's pitch-perfect awkwardness matches the brilliance of the film's small details--from the fact that the kids, adding a touch of realism, actually have to yell at each other to be overheard at a party (why to movie-makers think that these teeny details aren't important?), to Lili Taylor's immortal performance of "Joe Lies", to the use of The Replacements' "Within your reach" as the final song--everything about the film just works.

If, as Lloyd postulates, "the world is full of food and sex and spectacle and we're all just hurling towards an apocalypse", watching Say Anything makes it a little bit better--as cheesy as that may sound.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I've gotta get back to business

In addition to trying to blog a little more and updating this whole situation so it's more of a website type thing (really it's because I'm desperately jealous of Vero--check her new site and you will be too) that makes the attempt to dispaly my saleable talents. Before all that, however, it's getting to the time when I can start watching Coronation Street again. I've been neglecting the show on CBC ever since I started downloading and watching the future. The show, for those of you yet-converts, is a brillant Brit-soap that we in Canada, regardless of the fact that we live in a world with the capacity to instantly email videos of explosions, are forced to watch shows broadcast in the UK nearly nine months ago. I made the mistake--seriously, it didn't seem that way at the time, but that's because one episode is a gateway drug into obsession--of indulging my desire for the future and it has since ruined me for present day life on the street. I think, taking it day by day, I have only a few short weeks and I'll be fully back on the wagon. And then, please leave me in the dark about the goings-on with Gail, Fred, Tracey, Charlie, Ashley, Vera, Roy, Hayley and the gang...I think it's better for my mental health that way.