Friday, February 26, 2010
9 am: Wake, let cat out, walk dog.
9:30 am: Feed dog.
9:45 am: Check email, eat breakfast.
10:30 am: Let cat in, feed cat, have involved conversation with cat.
10:45 am: Brush cat, defend self from cat bent on wrestling.
11:30 am: Dad arrives, walk dog.
12:00 pm: Lunch and downtown adventure with Dad.
3:30 pm: Walk dog, brief snuggle with dog.
4:00 pm: Burnaby adventure, academic crisis averted.
7:30 pm: Feed dog, feed cat, feed self.
8:00 pm: Walk dog.
8:30 pm: Open new Word document, watch clips on YouTube.
9:30 pm: Feed self again, catch up with animals ("What's new?"), watch more clips.
10:30 pm: Copy notes from previous assignment and paste into Word document. Congratulate self.
10:45 pm: Cat contributes " 'L;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; "
11:00 pm: Cat lies on keyboard.
11:02 pm: Give up.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I have never been so compelled to steal a library book as I was this afternoon, opening the 1928 Phoenix Library edition of Tarr, for the following reasons:
1) It is pocket-sized: at 4.5" by 7", this tiny hardcover is possibly the platonic ideal of book shape.
2) It smells like old books (the best non-food smell there is).
3) It is full of underlining and (sometimes illegible) notes in pencil, including "TEDIOUS!" and "nothing is what it is; it is always the possibility of smthg else, or the potential to effect smthg."
4) It is written in the inimitable style of Mr. Wyndham Lewis, who is a master of human nature and who elevates punctuation from the grammatical to the artistic:
Tarr needed a grimacing tumultuous mask for the face he had to cover. He had compared his clowning with Hobson's pierrotesque variety: but Hobson, he considered, was a crowd. You could not say he was an individual, he was in fact a set. He sat there, a cultivated audience, with the aplomb and absence of self-consciousness of numbers, of the herd—of those who know they are not alone.—Tarr was shy and the reverse by turns; he was alone.5) It is orange, with a phoenix blind debossed onto the front. The text and flourishes on the spine are in gold leaf. You don't get much more flamboyant than that.
Please note that I did not actually steal the book, as I am far too susceptible to guilt.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Some choice lines from Ian Mulgrew's article on the Olympic opening ceremonies in the Vancouver Sun this morning:
"[The day] was also blemished by a smattering of churlish anti-Olympic protestors that forced the rerouting of the final leg of the torch relay and produced scenes of chaos downtown."
"Demonstrators also tried to march on the stadium to disrupt the opening ceremony... That contrarian spirit, however, was insignificant compared with the outpouring of national pride and hospitality that greeted the end of the... torch relay."
"The evening's celebration was a kaleidoscope of colour and music beginning with an Avatar-like welcome stage by the first nations, complete with four towering totems."
You'd think he could, at least, have tempered the unbridled racism and ignorance by capitalizing the term First Nations.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I just finished Cormac McCarthy's The Road. If nothing else, it's engrossing, and there are certainly moments when the prose is beautiful and thought-provoking. The book is incredibly bleak and in that sense it accomplishes what it set out to, but in some ways the ending (without giving too much away) seems to subvert what the rest of the text establishes.
Before that, I read Sarah Schulman's The Mere Future, which is an incredibly beautiful book. The narrator's comment on art and loneliness is the most perfect moment in any novel, ever (ok, maybe that's an exaggeration).
And I've just embarked on Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter. Greene never fails to quietly break his readers' hearts.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
From Cat and Girl. (Click image to enlarge.)
Editors were once the gatekeepers for content; the advent of the internet has made not only gatekeepers but also gates a thing of the past. Will the book's loss of privilege and the rise of the internet result in a post-literate society, or a hyper-literate one? Is the internet another advancement that democratizes literacy, like the printing press and the paperback, or does it signal its demise? What will the editor's role be in the future?
I don't think we've found a more efficient way to exchange information than through text, nor do I think clarity and accuracy are less important now than in the book's heyday. Language is organic and English orthography has always been fluid. In my view, literacy is becoming more, not less, important.