Monday, December 24, 2007

That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown

This story is reprinted from this weekend's Hamilton Spectator:

Truce 'a short peace in a terrible war'

Mark McNeil
The Hamilton Spectator
(Dec 22, 2007)
It has to be the most moving Christmas story of the past 100 years.

"Beginning Dec. 24, 1914 German and British troops in Belgium laid their weapons down, and crawled out of their trenches to celebrate Christmas with carols, gifts and an impromptu game of soccer in No Man's Land.

And while the story from the First World War is well known -- what is less known is that two letters that describe the historical event are kept at McMaster University's archives.

They were written by a soldier named Gerald Blake who served with the London Rifle Brigade, British Expeditionary Force.

The letters are part of a collection of more than 60 notes he wrote to his mother and brother Clive between November 1914 and June 1916. McMaster acquired the letters as part of a larger purchase of military artifacts decades ago, apparently without knowing about the references to the Christmas truce.

More recently, researchers working on a digitization project took a closer look at the collection to find that Blake participated in the famous temporary armistice.

"It began with the singing of various songs by the Germans who also had a cornet and concertina going. Our fellows cheered each song and the two sides shouted Christmas greetings," Blake wrote in a letter to his brother dated Dec. 27, 1914.

In a letter to his mother, dated Jan. 7, he retells the story and also mentions hearing a German soldier call out "are you as fed up with the war as we are? ... A very quaint proposal was made to us that England and Germany should call it a draw and divide France between them."

Alan Cleaver, a newspaper journalist in Britain, and his partner Lesley Park host an extensive website dedicated to collecting and transcribing letters about the Christmas truce.

Through a network of Internet volunteers, they have transcribed more than 500 letters over the past four years, many of which are included in the book Not a Shot was Fired.

"I think (the story) still strikes a chord with people because it offers hope," Cleaver says. "In a world bedevilled with hatred and war, the story of the Christmas truce offers people with the possibility that one day men might simply lay down their guns, cross no man's land and shake hands."

Yet Gerald Blake is almost matter of fact in his letters. Going from killing to celebrating and back to killing again is an irony that seems lost on him.

As researcher Justina Chong writes about the Blake letters, as part of the digitization project of McMaster archives called Peace and War in the Twentieth Century:

"The peculiar thing about Blake's account of the Christmas truce is that it is inserted so casually, almost dismissively, amongst his detailed reports of other military and naval matters. Why is such a miraculous interlude described in no more than half a paragraph?"

Unfortunately, little else is known about Blake. McMaster has no picture of him. Chong's case study says it's believed he was later captured by Germans and it is unclear what happened to him after that."




Snoopy was certain that this was the end
When the Baron cried out "Merry Christmas, mein friend!"

Christmas bells those Christmas bells
Ringing through the land
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man

Friday, December 21, 2007

Finally a musical that makes sense.

After watching Sweeney Todd, I can come to only one conclusion: Across the Universe needed a lot more slashing at people's throats with razors.

Musicals always have the difficulty of being taken seriously, so making a horror story into a musical is the only logical solution. I suddenly have the desire to see Evil Dead the Musical. The film was ridiculous, and musicals are ridiculous. It's kind of the equivilent of "two wrongs make a right".

I was also very impressed by Alan Rickman's singing ability and capacity for creeping the hell out of me. I propose another film make the transition to musical, following the success of The Lion King, Spamalot and Evil Dead. Die Hard the Musical.

Yippie-kay-yay indeed.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Um

There's a brilliant site on the internet that has comic book covers that are well... um. Yep. Um.

There's an entire section on Propoganda in Comic Books that is especially... um.

Firstly I shall link you to God comics. I haven't even begun checking them all out, but I can't imagine I will find anything to top this. It is. Huh. Um...

Mind you there is a more recent comic that I discovered. It's called Liberality. I hope that the ultimate villain is Jon Stewart.

I'm going back to see if anything tops that God Comic. I pray that nothing will.

*******************

And now I've been laughing non-stop for like an hour and a half. The actual inspiration for this site is apparently "Superman is a Dick" a section of comics depicting Superman... well being a dick. There are over a hundred of them. This one however, has a sepcial place in my heart. We finally identified the second shooter. Seriously, check this site out. You'll laugh til it hurts. And believe me it will hurt.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007 in Review

After reading TIME Magazine's 2007 "lists" I decided to make a quick list of my own.
Favourite movies of 2007, favourite TV episodes, favourite albums, favourite books, favourite plays and favourite days.



MOVIES

#1 Fido
This was not my toughest decision, but it did have some competition. Eastern Promises is my current Oscar favourite, and whatever anyone says I thoroughly enjoyed Pirates of the Carribean III. But Fido stands above the rest simply because I'm making observations about the world around me. I think it's healthy.
Seriously see it. I'm not going to tell you twice.




TV Episodes

#1 The Imaginationland Trilogy of South Park

I know what you're going to say "Cheat!". OK, fine, "Imaginationland III". If you want to know how I feel about Religion, Children's stories, Christmas and Art in general listen to Kyle's speech at the end of this episode. If you're wondering, my other nominees were not just South Park episodes. I was pretty impressed by the CSI "Dead Doll"/"Living Doll" episodes, but I am still mad at the direction of the former. From The Office "Grief Counselling" (pretty sure that was this year), and I am counting the Sir Ian McKellan episode of Extras, since I could not technically have seen it until this year here in Canada. Also high on the list was the episode of the Colbert Report where Jane Fonda is his guest. If you haven't seen it, do so. But watch Fido first.



Album

#1 Neon Bible, the Arcade Fire

A VERY tough call. I also loved Modest Mouse's Before the Ship Even Sank and, of course, The White Stripe's Icky Thump. I suspect that "You Don't Know What Love is, You Just Do as Your Told" is my single of the year, although Feist's "1,2,3,4" is also very good. Neon Bible just has the best obsessive replay value for me. There are several songs dominating my iTunes "Most Played List" the most prominent being "No Cars Go" which seems to cause me to automatically turn the volume up on my car radio no matter how loud it was to begin with.



Books

#1... ok so you've probably guessed that by now...




Yes, I really loved Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Unlike a lot of critics, I liked it the best of all of the books. Interestingly, and I don't think that this is normally true, the other books that I read this year that are actually new books of 2007 were probably my favourite reads of the year (as opposed to books I read that were published in the past). Douglas Coupland's Gum Theif was not his best book, but I did thoroughly enjoy it and Stephen Colbert's I Am America and So Can You is pretty much awesome in every possible way. I have begun to stick his stickers of approval on my book collection. I am trying my best to find books that really expemplify Stephen's notions of literary excellence (like Catch 22, 1984, Contact, Michael Moore's Stupid White Men, etc.)


Plays

#1 Facebook of Revelations

OK I'll admit it. Second City is not evil. In fact that play was pretty excellent. And it is the first play that I have ever seen that had previews. I just can't wait to see "Safe Bet: The Musical" featuring popular rock songs and a love story. I wish I could say that this had more competitors, but I have seen tragically little theatre this year. The biggest one would be a rendition of Samuel Beckett's Not I, which I saw performed at Stratford, as well as The Merchant of Venice. Apart from that, I must simply see more theatre next year.




after trying to pick a best day I have come to a conclusion:

2007 is the best summer I've had since before I started University. Actually, make that "in recent memory". Between going back to camp, filming the movie with Zach and Yvonne, seeing a bunch of shows at Stratford and seeing several movies (in particular the Simpsons Movie), I'd say the summer may have actually redeemed 2007.

and finally

Best Concert.

Actually there was no real contest there. You Say Party We Say Die. I just wanted to mention how great they were.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Flim Critics

"She doesn't even care about spelling, this blog must be hot!"

This is an exceptionally interesting article from Time Magazine:

Do Film Critics Know Anything?
by Richard Corliss

I sprinted down the corridors of TIME this afternoon, eager to spread the news of the New York Film Critics Circle voting for the year's best films. The winner, in the film, director, screenplay and supporting actor categories? The Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men, which three different people told me they'd been meaning to see. The runner-up, with wins for best actor and cinematographer? There Will Be Blood, an audience-punishing epic that doesn't open for another two weeks. Best actress? Julie Christie, in Away From Her, which earned less than $5 million in its North American release.

I didn't even tell them that the very popular, and very good, Pixar cartoon Ratatouille lost out to a French movie about the troubles in Iran. (Though Persepolis, take my word for it, is funny.) By the time I'd got back to my office I had realized that we critics may give these awards to the winners, but we give them for ourselves. In fact, we're essentially passing notes to one another, admiring our connoisseurship at the risk of ignoring the vast audience that sees movies and the smaller one that reads us.

In the past five days, five groups — the National Board of Review, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Washington. D.C. Film Critics Association and my crowd, the New Yorkers — have convened to choose the most notable movies and moviemakers. No Country was named best picture in four of the groups, There Will Be Blood in L.A. George Clooney won two best actor awards for playing a lawyer at crisis point in Michael Clayton; Daniel Day-Lewis a pair for his oil mogul in There Will Be Blood; and, in Boston, Frank Langella won the prize for playing an aged novelist in Starting Out in the Evening. Three groups selected Julie Christie as best actress — she's an Alzheimer's patient in the Canadian film Away From Her — and two liked Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in La Vie en rose.

You will be forgiven if, like my friends at TIME, you are scratching your head and feigning interest, hoping I'll get quickly to the sexy stuff, like best non-fiction feature (the Iraq docs No End in Sight and Body of War and Michael Moore's Sicko) and distinguished achievement in production design (Jack Fisk, There Will Be Blood, L.A.) . Gee, you're wondering, did The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, the French story of a man totally immobilized by a stroke, beat out the German spy drama The Lives of Others? (Three out of five critics groups say yes.) If you're getting restless, movie lovers, too bad. You'll be hearing the same obscure names at the Golden Globes and on Oscar night.

In animation, Ratatouille won the award outright in Washington and from the National Board of Review. Boston gave the Pixar film a screenplay award, which rarely goes to a cartoon. But in L.A. it shared the L.A. prize with Persepolis, the biographic cartoon from the Iranian exile Marjane Satrapi. And the New York critics rebuffed Ratatouille — and The Simpsons Movie and Bee Movie and Beowulfand other ani-movies people have actually seen — with a first-ballot vote for Persepolis. An art-house film beat out movies that have already grossed nearly $1.5 billion dollars (or about 47 euros) worldwide.

That's the deal with critics' awards. They give prizes to whom they damn well please. No problem with that; it's their gig, and obviously they should pick their favorites. (The choices are fine with me: No Country, Persepolis and No End in Sight are all on my 10 best.) But these laurels factor into publicity campaigns for the Oscars and Golden Globes; often they are the campaigns. It's the way we critics contribute to the art-industrial complex. Our prizes certainly help determine which films get nominated, setting in motion the next round of ballyhoo before the final prizes are handed out. So almost all the nominees will be from worthy obscurities that can't draw much of an audience in the theater or, when the awards shows are aired, on TV.

You might think the highest-rated Oscar telecasts are in years when there's a close contest in the major categories, as with Crash and Brokeback Mountain two years. Nuh-uh. It's the runaway years, when billion-dollar blockbusters like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King get what are essentially People's Choice awards, and its makers wear a path in the rug from their seats to the stage. Moviegoers who are TV viewers don't want horse races; they want coronations — validations that somebody in Hollywood is ready to honor the movies they love.

That won't happen this year. If the Oscars follow the critics' prizes, there won't be a hit film among them — not even the hits that reviewers loved. Disney's megahit comedy Enchanted has the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics' polling site, but I barely heard the film mentioned at the New York voting today. Dozens of scribes raved about the smash comedies Knocked Up and Superbad, but neither film has won a critics' prize. The comedy they love now is Juno, which came out last week.

Actually, it's hard to tell which if any of the critical faves will be popular, because most of the big winners (Diving Bell, No Country, Persepolis, Starting Out in the Evening, Sweeney Todd, There Will Be Blood) are November or December releases. Half of them haven't hit the commercial theaters yet. Maybe the critical establishment has A.D.D.

But the Golden Globes and the Oscars, if they follow the critics' lead, will have V.D.D. — viewer deficit disorder. Large numbers of people won't watch shows paying tribute to movies they haven't seen. In the old Golden Age days, most contenders for the top Oscars were popular movies that had a little art. Now they're art films that have a little, very little, popularity. The serious movies Hollywood gives awards to in January and February are precisely the kind it avoids making for most of the year. The Oscars are largely an affirmative action program, where the industry scratches its niche. The show is a conscience soother, but not a crowd pleaser.

And it all starts here, with critics fighting over which hardly seen movie they want to call the best of the year.


*********************************************

This seems like as good a time as any to reveal some interesting information about Sweeney Todd. Director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have done several films together, and it is not the least bit surprising to see them at it again. But how was Burton so fortunate to secure such an outstanding supporting cast, featuring Helena Bonham-Carter, Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall? Unless of course he had some sort of special powers...











Sorry. I think it should be clear by now that I really can't help it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Things I didn't come up with, but am totally impressed by

I will definitely be adding this web log to my links section soon.

My brother has also drawn my attention to:

THE EMO ALPHABET

A is for Alone, and always complaining that you are just that
B is for Bracelets, but any wrist adornment will do
C is for Crying
D is for Dyed black hair
E is for Emotion and exaggerating every one you have
F is for Floorpunch!
G is for Glasses, preferably thick black rims
H is for Heartbreak. Boo hoo.
I is for the Intense pain you feel from your unrequited love
J is for Jilted lover
K is for Kissing, and whining about how you aren't doing it
L is for Labelling yourself
M is for Moodswings
N is for Never having any friends who care about you
O is for Old-man pants
P is for Picked last in gym class, and other cliches of the sort
Q is for Questioning your self worth
R is for Remembering when things were wonderful and then crying about your life now.
S is for Sweaters
T is for Thrift stores
U is for Underdeveloped muscles, because you have to be out of shape to be emo
V is for Veganism
W is for Whining
X is for X-Girlfriends and talking about the pain they bring you
Y is for Your miserable existence
Z is for Zooming with your camera because you're a photographer

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tree Decorating 101

I'm home today with my family and we are decorating the tree... once it meets my standards for straightness and having the rightside facing the right part of the Living Room, that is. Apparently no one wants to decorate the tree with me. Something about me yelling at them if the decorations aren't spaced properly- ridiculous accusations. Although I think it is probably better if I do it myself. SOME people in this famiy don't realize the importance of not having two Santa ornaments next to each other.

Here is a picture of me calmly telling my brother to make sure that longer ornaments be put on branches with more space underneath of them:



Now I want to make it clear that I am not the only person fanatical about Christmas in my house. My Mother has nearly every square inch covered in decorations. She has over 20 boxes of ornaments. This was my Father's expression in Canadian Tire when she approached him with a wreath made of little stuffed snowmen:




Well, back to work. Hope everyone else's first day of Advent is as eventful and fun-filled as mine.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The DaVinci Codex

I have made a startling discovery. While many are now aware of the new theories surrounding the "Quest for the Holy Grail" (that being; that the incorrect interpretation of sangrail "san grail" is not actually meant "holy grail" but "sang rail" or "royal blood"). A similiar revelation has come forth about the online community and the quest for the holy website.

For years now we, in the online community, have been striving to create websites that are entertaining, funny, perhaps informative, but we have been lead astray. You see the ancient term WEBLOG has been misinterpretted now for many years to mean "we blog". Thus suggesting that in order to achieve the truly enlightened web page we must all create blogs.
I however, see another interpretation: Web log.

Does it make a difference? Whether you're keeping a blog or a log (as in a diary or record of your day to day activities?)

Well let me ask you this: blog and borg sound pretty similar, while Captain Picard keeps a Captain's Log. So who's side are you on? Captain Picard's or the borg's?

I rest my case.

JUDGE: You rest your case?
LIONEL HUTZ: Oh, no I just thought that was a figure of speech. Case closed.



Simpsons's trivia for the day:

Why does Judge Snider "have it in" for Lionel Hutz?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Live from York

When I work 8-4s at ErinOak I usually have to get my butt out of bed at around 6 in the morning. So what, you might ask, would possess me to stay up until 1 on Saturday night when I was in the midst of these early shifts?





So worth it.


Although, I suppose I have just provided evidence that it was not, as I could simply have waited 2 days and seen it on YouTube.

Damnit.



*************************

Also for anyone who didn't get to go the screening:



Did you see me? If not, it's obviously because I was so "there" that you didn't even realize it was me. Either that or you need to go back to the last 20 seconds or so of the clip and look in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and kind of re-focus your eyes a little.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I can't sleep and here's what I think 1: Qui'gon and the Menace

I think I might be mentally disturbed. Allow me to explain.

I have a thing for men doing a really good job at acting. This has to be my nerdiest turn on. I can see an actor do any number of movies and think nothing of him (in terms of physical attractiveness), but if he delivers a particularly impressive performance I'm suddenly drawn in by something a little more. My classic example is Willem Dafoe. Not perhaps a typical Hollywood hunk, and yet when I watched American Psycho it was not Christian Bale I was checking out.
I say this, not because anyone wants to know about my (no longer secret) crush on Willem Dafoe. In fact I'm sure that's information everyone could have lived without. I am simply trying to explain my next, far more peculiar confession.

You see I have just finished watching Schindler's List for the first time. Now really I can't imagine who watches Schindler's List more than once apart from a few characters in the second part of "The Raincoats" episode of Seinfeld. Which brings me to my revelation. I am really attracted to Ralph Fienne's ability to act. And anyone who watches Schindler's List and thinks "Gee I think I'd really like to have sex with Ralph Fiennes" is probably emotionally disturbed.

Actually, I think that's far less disturbing than what I found out later on ImdB. Fiennes did not get the Best Supporting Oscar that year. After expressing a 14 year late outrage at this fact I amused myself with images of the audience reacting to "And the winner is Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive" that night in the Kodak theatre.

It's getting late. I should try to sleep again. Or at least do something more useful than this.

That paper-clip necklace I was working on is more useful than this.

PS: Anyone who "gets" my title, not only gets 300 Liz Points for reading my blog regularly enough to pick up on my reference to my "I've Been Drinking and Here's What I Think" series (a literary masterpiece in the making), but is also nerdy enough to notice that all of them (save the first two) played on the titles of Star Wars Movies. You'll find Liz Points have very little commercial value, but I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Time (wasting) Machine

Childish as this is, I have a new toy. There's a site on the internet that will generate quotes from Shakepeare with whatever word you happen to type in. For example, if someone were to type in "refriderator" and the generator came up with "To be or not to be, that is the ********" then the quote is: To be or not to be, that is the refridgerator". Some favourites included:

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your iPod"
"For never was a story of more woe, than that of Juliet and her Liz" (a little bit of a twist ending there I'd say!)
and then of course with other random literary and film characters:
"Life's but a walking hobbit"
"The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle Ewok from heaven upon the place beneath."

But this one required some evidence. For those who are fans of the "Penis Movie Game", I know you'll enjoy my total lack of maturity. Even if no one else will.

William Shakespeare

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top full
Of direst penis.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:



Although I should tell you that the first time I hit the button it came out with "Out damned penis! Out I say!" A close second.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

In here life is beautiful

My favourite piece of mail of the year has arrived. The 2008 Stratford Festival guide came today and I could not be more excited.

At first glance ummm- well actually:

Festival Theatre:
Romeo and Juliet
Hamlet
Taming of the Shrew
All's Well That Ends Well
Caesar and Cleopatra (no not a typo- it's Shaw's play)


seriously?? I was on the verge of angry rebellion. A new artistic director and their first instinct was to pick the 3 most performed and run into the ground Shakespeare's- but oh wait!

Juliet ,and it appears her entire family, are played by african-canadian actors. Cool. I dig this for two reasons: 1) It brings a different angle to the classic story, that while I'm sure it's been done somewhere else before is fresh to me and is a good idea. 2) I once watched a Shakespeare Master's class tape in my Acting II where two students performed a soliloquy of Lady MacBeth's. Everyone agreed that the second girl (the black actress) performed considerably better than the first girl (the white actress). My immediate impression was, well that's no surprise. Because I'd wager a guess that she's had to work a whole lot harder to prove herself in the world of classical theatre which is traditionally dominated by white actors. Seeing Stratford make an effort to break from this tradition is at least a step forward.

Next up: Hamlet- Alright, truthfully I am going to see this regardless of... well anything. I love Hamlet and to see it done professionally at the leading North American classical theatre venue is reason enough to shell out the dough.

Taming of the Shrew- I will probably not touch with a ten foot pole, but I will assure you, it is not set in the wild wild west.

This year's best surprise for me however came in the form of its musical. I generally don't like musicals, especially at Stratford, but this year they will be doing Cabaret. Probably my favourite musical (putting aside my desire to see Avenue Q).

There is also a production of Trojan Women (which I am interested to see having been in a- ahem interesting production myself), Krapp's Last Tape, performed by Brian Dennehy (not to be confused with Brian Boytano), and a new experimental show called Shakespeare's Universe which is an interdisciplinary look at female roles in Shakespeare's plays. All in all I am assuming that this will take about a week to see everything and cost me roughly a billion dollars.

Thrift, thrift Horatio...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Back to the Futurama

Ok, I've been laughing outloud uncontrollably for 10 minutes.

Of the new Futurama DVD coming out at the end of the month David X Cohen says:

"While we're on the subject of additional content, sort of, I should elaborate on the DVD bonus features, because these have been little publicized even though we worked quite hard on them. So here they are...

A full-length 22-minute episode of "Everybody Loves Hypnotoad"..."

When I regained the ability to sit up straight, but still continued to giggle heartily I further read:

"Let me say to any hardcore fans out there who know what I'm talking about that there is slightly more to this than you'd expect. I am pretty interested to see how fans react to this one. I'd estimate that approximately 4% of viewers will consider this the greatest achievement in the history of mankind; the other 96% may experience emotions ranging from fear to confusion to discomfort and itchiness."

I can only tell you that I'm in that 4% having not even seen it yet. I am positive that it is the greatest achievement in the history of mankind. Long live the hypnotoad!


Monday, November 05, 2007

Hmmmm


I feel like I was supposed to remember something...















BART: Is it Guy Fawkes Day?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Candy Apple

I know some people really like their iPods, but this is ridiculous:



I also highly recommend this 3 part South Park episode Imaginationland. It's fantastic. In every sense of the word.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bookbook

I have joined an online community called the Chapters.ca book club. Basically I go online and create a profile with my favourite books, list books that I'm reading, recommend books to others... it's basically Facebook with literature.

Which I guess would make it Bookbook.

In other news, I am off to see the Leafs tomorrow night with my brother. I can only hope that we maintain a greater level of maturity than with our recent outing to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

ANNOUNCER: Fans are reminded to watch for pucks flying into the crowd during play.
ME (looking around at the nearly empty arena): Really, the odds of a puck flying into the stands and actually hitting anyone has to be astronomical.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Best video ever. (like anyone could even know that)

Because I and I alone can harvest the power of the youtube, it is of course my duty to share EVERY cool video I come across.





Well OK, "cool" might be pushing it. Actually Scott recently got me really huge on using the word "cool":


ME: I want the Special Limitted Edition with deleted scenes and commentary and special features. It's going to be SO COOL-

SCOTT (in his best Intiago Montoya (sp?) of Princess Bride voice): You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Well played sir. Well played.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Speaking of Morgan Freeman Narrating Movies...

This might not be the best 30 Second Bunny Theatre but it has amused me the most of all.



They're dressed as Penguins! YES!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"You Either Get Busy Talking, or You Get Busy Dying" (Morgan Freeman in "The Narrator")

OK, fine. I accept that I am the only person on earth who didn't like this movie.

But hopefully I'm not the only person amused by this.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Fesserton Precast

So here's the reason no one got calls or emails:

I didn't get into Second City.

I suppose I've just been on such a high note lately that I didn't really do much of a job bracing myself for this, and I was reasonably confident that I could get in.

Now I like to think of myself as being a reasonably good sport about this stuff. I mean I let it devastate me and I've been known to accuse (within a small circle of friends) the odd director of precasting, but I try not to delude myself into believing that I was somehow cheated out of my glory. And believe me, I am certain that the others who were selected were completely deserving of their place and I do not think that the Second City will forever be robbed of my remarkable presence :p

But... hmmmm here's the thing...

"Your audition was excellent, and you have a very good variety of theatre experience, but here are our recommendations before you audition for us again: take one of OUR courses. We have several levels and recommend that you begin with level A. We still have spaces open to register for the upcoming term if you like..."

The thing is, my Dad knows this woman who went through the A-E levels at Second City. Now my Dad tends to be absent-minded about what I've done sometimes, even when he's trying to promote it (ie: "Well you've got three summers experience with Easter Seals..." "Five Dad"). Based on what my Dad was telling her, and I'm assuming he didn't exaggerate anything, she said that I would most likely be able to skip the first few levels of the program. So I can't help but feel that I was not being given an accurate assessment of my skills, but rather being set up for a cash-grab.
Maybe I am just bitter about it, but fuck it. At least I'm not sitting around in a bar or treating myself to DQ with tears streaming down my face (thank you very much York U). Hm... I think I just figured out why I've been putting on so much weight...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Professional Camp Counselor!

Howdy all, just a little note to keep everyone up to date:

I got a job I had been pretty keen about as a Program Assistant for the ErinOak Kids Respite programs in (as the name thus implies) Mississauga and Oakville. I start training this weekend, and am extremely psyched.

I also had an audition today for Second City, I will update if I get any good news from them.

Otherwise, just get ready to get really sick of my respite "camp" stories.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy Banned Books Week!

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ~Voltaire

To choose a good book, look in an inquisitor’s prohibited list. ~John Aikin

Everyone's job for the week: read one book that has been banned or is being/has been recently challenged.

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." - Ray Bradbury

Top Ten Banned Books for the 20th Century.
I'm actually not SURE how accurate this list is. I couldn't get any data from the ALA, but I have cross checked with a couple of sites and this SEEMS to be the most accurate list:

1984
The Catcher in the Rye
Fahrenheit 451 (seriously?)
The Grapes of Wrath
Lady Chatterly's Lover
The Naked Lunch
Slaughterhouse 5
To Kill A Mockingbird
Tropic of Cancer
Ulysses

The reasons are always varied and hillarious.

I really enjoyed one story in particular of a group of school children receiving copies of Fahrenheit 451 with the words "hell" and "damn" blacked out.
My favourite reason for banning/challenging 1984 continues to be "pro-communist views". Have you even read...

Rose Darko: Do you even know who Graham Greene is?
Kitty Farmer: I think we've all seen Bonanza.


The best story of a book not on the list:

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Anne Frank. Modern Library. Challenged in Wise County, Va. (1982) due to "sexually offensive" passages. Four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee (1983) called for the rejection of this book because it is a "real downer".

I've yet to find a rencent challenge in Canada that has lead to a ban. Does anyone know of any?



A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.
- The American Library Association

Most challenged books of 21st Century (2000-2005 seems to be most recent data):
(from the American Library Association)

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier

3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

5. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

6. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers

7. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris

8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz

9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

10. "Forever" by Judy Blume


Something tells me that a good many of these books/authors are still high on this list.


"Oh Harry, don't you see?" Hermione breathed, "If she could have done one thing to make sure that absolutely every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Nightmare Before Halloween

Let me know if you think that this is just a touch strange:


VAUGHAN, Ont. - Nine mazes, 300 monsters, chilling rides and other attractions will transform Canada's Wonderland into a dark playground of terror on weekend evenings leading up to Halloween.


THE CANADIAN PRESS


The Halloween Haunt gates creak open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night in October and on Halloween from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Guests are cautioned not to attend the event in costume. Because of the fear factor, it is not recommended for children.

Halloween Haunt ticket prices are $26.95 online and $21.95 for season pass holders online.

For more information, visit haunt.Canadaswonderland.com.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

List Maker

My Top 10 Favourite Movie Scenes

10. Being John Malkovich- The three sit on a couch and Lotte and Craig both make a movie for Maxine

I just thoroughly enjoy the build-up and her reaction. My first in a line of many enjoyable Catharine Keener movie moments.

9. American Beauty- "It's just a couch"

I keep throwing cushions and yelling "these are just things" when my Mom tells me to be more careful with my coffee around her new carpets and furniture. She is not amused.

8. The Empire Strikes Back- Yoda lifts Luke's ship out of the swamp

Look at me, judge me by my size do you? *I've decided that this is also inclusive of the next two seconds of the following scene "Apology accepted".

7. Dr. Strangelove (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb)- The final scene

This was probably one of the best laughs I've ever had. Even if I knew what was coming as a result of watching Homer Simpson break the rules by riding the bomb.

6. Spiderman- The Green Goblin realizes that Peter Parker is Spiderman

I heart Willem Dafoe, so it could be just that he can do anything, including cartoonish villainy and still have me totally impressed. He is just so damn evil in this scene and I LOVE it.

5. The Usual Suspects

Anyone who has seen the movie knows which scene. Anyone who hasn't, I will be giving too much away by giving anymore information. Also go see it. Now.

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- The Graveyard

This is probably the reason I got so into the books this summer, just in time for 7. By the time I had seen this scene I had read up to book 6, and I am of course an adult, who ought not to be scared by children's movies. I spent the whole scene chewing my nails convinced I'd have nightmares.

3. The Meaning of Life- John Clease's Sex Ed Lesson

I do wish you'd listen, Wymer. It's perfectly simple. If you're not getting your hair cut, you don't have to move your brother's clothes down to the lower peg. You simply collect his notes before lunch, after you've done your scripture prep, when you've written your letter home, before rest, move your own clothes onto the lower peg, greet the visitors, and report to Mr. Viney that you've had your chit signed.

2. City Lights- The blind girl's vision is restored

I don't think an explanation is needed.

1. Big Fish- Edward Bloom falls in love

OK, so technically this "scene" lasts 30 minutes and takes up a huge amount of the movie. Still, I maintain that I Liz Buchanan also like Daffodils and music and am going college. Someday Ewan...


Honourable mentions go to: the scene in Bubba Ho-Tep where JFK explains to Elvis how he survived, the fight in Kill Bill between Elle and Beatrix and the scene with the missle in The Iron Giant (which never fails to make me cry).



10 Worst Movies I've ever been made to see and who I blame for inflicting that on me.


10. Under Seige (a bus full of Leafs fans, whose good taste ended there)
9. Sorority House Massacre (Becky)
8. Mrs Brown (Queen Victoria)
7. Red Zone Cuba (Mike Nelson and the creators of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, who to their credit, made the experience a lot less painful)
6. Mars Attacks (Auntie Brenda?)
5. Topsy Turvy (The Academy)
4. Paulie (Greyhound Canada)
3. Dude, Where's My Car? (Tammy)
2. Death of a President (I have only myself to blame. Shame on me. Sorry Andrew)
1. The Fast and the Furious (Caroline)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Nuit Blanche

In past 24ish hours my friend Emily and I have gotten up to some pretty crazy hi-jinx.


1) Second City Toronto's Facebook of Revelations

***.5/*****

Very very funny. Opens with a bang by previewing another Toronto area theatre production (from the producers that brought you Mama Mia, We Will Rock You and Dirty Dancing) "Safe Bet: The Musical". And is followed by Canada's finest sketch comedy. The energy stays consistent through the first half and most of the second half of the show and I had quite a few good healthy gut laughs.
While I don't recommend staying for the *cough* *ahem* "improv" the show itself is very enjoyable. You almost feel like SNL could still be saved.


2. The Royal Ontario Museum
****/*****

Apart from making a point not to visit the paper-weights exhibit we took in the vast majority of the ROM. I think I had forgotten just how much fun this place was:


The new "Crystal Age" entrance way and exhibit




The ceiling in the corridor of the "Staircase of Wonders". Yes, that's really what it's called.




I thouhgt this wall was pretty cool, but I think that the lack of flash did diminish it a touch



This next photo may be a little disturbing to some people, but it's too cool not to include. So, in an attempt not to expose anyone's fears on the world wide web, let me just say that Indiana Jones, Adam and Eve, Gryffindor House and anyone else who might have some a distaste for snakes should probably brace themselves.





OK, so you can kind of tell that it's fake. But it still looks pretty scary at first... er maybe just in person.


3. Eastern Promises at Rainbow Cinemas, Market Square
****/*****

Excellent movie, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen and Naiomi Watts. I was thoroughly impressed, and with the exception of a scene of graphic violence that actually moved me to laughter (because when it gets that disturbing what the hell else can you do?) the movie held together very strongly. It managed to create an very strong ambiance without sacrificing the pace, and there were a number of nice twists worked in to the plot to keep it exciting right to the end. Very highly recommended.


4. Nuit Blanche
*****/*****
After Emily borded her bus to return to KW, I headed back home, only to make the mistake/starting the exciting adventure of taking the streetcar down Queen St. Tonight is an event in Toronto called Nuit Blanche. Basically a whole bunch of art galleries and club are having all night events featuring art and music throughout the city. Queen is of course the craziest of it all, and it was literally bumper to bumper with people lining the streets. Naturally I got out to investigate, but found that there was just so much of being in a crowd that huge that I could take before I went nuts. I seriously think that the entire population of Toronto was in the streets tonight partying. There were drum circles, street dances, random video kareoke parties outside, performance art pieces on the sidewalk, illuminated art in the park. I think I had censory overload or else I would still be there right now.

Hmmm maybe I'll go back later...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tedious Endless School and Learning

The most important thing I learned in class today: I'm not the only person who really isn't enjoying TESL.

You might think that a Theatre major would love to sit around in a class and talk about feelings and life experiences and debate whether or not the verb "to love" is an action verb on the basis of one's own comprehension of the word love. The truth is I do not. When it comes to school I enjoy concrete ideas, or at least discussions of abstract ideas within an academic context. Otherwise I'm left saying, as any English prof will... "SO WHAT?" So what's the point?

OK great, when you were growing up in another country and had to learn English you struggled with the grammar. That's a good experience to bring to the class, but now let's get critical about it. WHY? HOW did you learn it? WHAT would you do differently? Don't just tell me about your suffering, let's talk about it in a context that is applicable to the course. OK, so your niece said something cute the other day and that kind of loosely relates to First Language Aquisition theories... HOW? I am beginning to understand why a lot of companies will hire you on to go to Japan and give you crash courses in TEFL in two weeks.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ricky Gervais has done it again

Okay, so I had seen a couple of clips from a strange show called "Extras" on youtube, and then last night I saw two episodes I'd seen get nominated for Emmys. I found myself cheering for a TV show I barely knew, and decided to get better acquainted with this wonderful program.

My favourite going in was this fantastic scene in which Sir Ian McKellan explains why he's such a good actor:




Also on youtube and highly recommended: Orlando Bloom makes his case for why he's obviously better looking and more popular than Johnny Depp, Daniel Radcliff makes it clear that he does not need glasses and is not still a virgin, Kate Winslet gives advice on how to conduct yourself during phone sex while wearing a nun's habit, and Patrick Stewart exclaims "You're not married, you don't have a girlfriend... and you don't watch Star Trek?"

Have I sold you yet? Go! Go!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

High school is still weighing me down

I went to the website for the Royal Ontario Museum today to see if there was anything interesting on next week (as I may have my first visitor). Currently the ROM has an exhibit on Darfur, which while undoubtable depressing would also be extrememly informative and relavent. To my dismay, however, the exhibit closes on Monday. I checked to see what the next exhibit would be. It is a display of 19th and 20th Century Glass Paperweights. I couldn't have made that up.


Maybe I'm still just really bitter at glass paperweights because, unlike every other year in the history of Cayuga Secondary School, our graduating class received paperweights instead of proper plaques or trophies for graduation awards.

Think this:





With my name on it. Just incase I ever want to feel naustalgic and have my window open during a wind storm.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I follow him to, ahem "serve my turn upon him"

The rest is not yet silence...

I went to the official website for London's West End, as it is my hope to visit the UK at some point in the very near future. Thinking "Hey maybe I'll see Jude Law as Hamlet" I discover that alas no, it will not premier until 2009, and I'm not waiting that damned long.

But what should I discover opening in November... Othello with Ewan McGregor as Iago. Wow. I did NOT see that one coming. I think that I must see this. I am starting the "Liz needs to go to England fund". Anyone wishing to make donations please be certain that they are in GBP.


PS: This made me laugh. A lot.

From Overheard in New York

Are You Sure?

Child: Tia Jeanette, did you know that the tourist-ists brought down the twin towers?
Tia Jeanette: No, no, no, Anthony, it was the terror-ists.
Child: Ohhh...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"The whole world is just one big group work assigment. That's really God's cruelest joke. And what's worst? We're all getting an F"- loosely translated coversation with Bonnie Buchanan

That was simply brilliant Mom.

****************************************

So today I had a moral dilema. I went on the Toronto International Film Festival website, just to see if there were any rush tickets today for anything I wanted to see. There were... (deep breath) Cassandra's Dream. HOWEVER the tickets were for 11AM the same time as my class on Grammar and Linguistics. In retrospect "moral dilema" is pushing it. Prioritization malfunction might be a better sumation.

sigh

The phrase "Ewan McGregor is the sexiest man alive" has two nouns, a verb, an adjective, adverb and a preposition.

sob sob


I must focus on Friday. Because even if they try to schedule me for class on Friday I'M NOT THERE! :D

******************************************

In a final bit of news apparently Jude Law is going to play Hamlet at the Gielgud in London's West End AND he is going to be directed by nonother than.... (drum roll please)... Gilderoy Lockhart incarnate himself, Kenneth Branagh.
"Jude, the problem is that you aren't anywhere near loud enough. How are we supposed to know that Hamlet's upset if you aren't yelling?"

I don't feel that I can end on such a cruel and negative note. So ummmm.... the rest is silence.

(heh heh heh works everytime)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Literally

I found one of the greatest articles in the Toronto Star the other day, but it appears that I have put it in the recycler.
Some files were released by British Intelligence regarding spying activities in the 30s and 40s. The file of a prominent author who was being monitored, and under suspicion of communist ties during this era, due to the nature of his political writing was made public. That author was George Orwell.

That's positively... hmmm what's that word that's a literary reference to the government spying on people in order to control information... Or- something...

I mean I can see why this happened of course. Anyone who has read Animal Farm knows what a fondness Orwell had for Stalin and communism. And anyone who read that sentence and did not pick up on the thick sarcasm clearly has the mental capacity of a 1940s British Intelligence agent.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Apt

Bill Sanders once told me "I was born and grew up in Toronto, so I can only stand to be there for about 10 minutes". I replied "Bill I'm from Hamilton, try 5 minutes".

Hating Toronto. It's as much part of being born in Hamilton as childhood asthma, an inability to play football, and the desire for a hockey team we won't actually pay money to watch play. But I of course have a deep down envy of a city where if you miss one bus there is another one right around the corner and where a 24 hour business isn't limited to Walmart or a porno theatre. And of course a place which nourishes artists, musicians, actors and film-makers. Not to mention has concerts, festivals, museums, and live theatre to make any mildly cultured person just a little excited.

So here I am. A big city girl. I've been a city girl, a country girl, a northerner, and a Peterboroughian (which really has its own special classification), and now I am a Torontonian.



Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ideal

Tonight I finally watched Bobby. Our generation needs a hero in a big way.

That is all I have to say tonight.



... except for this:

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Goodnight York, Goodnight Moon



Tomorrow I move to Toronto. But tonight I sleep in York.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wheeee!

A new fascination has taken over my free time. It is: Nintendo Wii.

My family got one (of all people, my Mother was the one behind the aquisition) and I feel that it may be the world's greatest invention. Forget medical science and communications, I can swing a Baseball bat with my remote control!


Anyways, that is my excuse for taking so long to post photos from Stratford. Now it turns out that my computer is posting photos VERY VERY slowly. So without further adieu, I present you:

The Complete Stratford Trip (abridged)

"This is the short and long of it"



"And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind."





"How poor are they that have not patience!"





"When shall we three meet again, in thunder lightening or in rain?"



"If music be the food of love, play on!"



"Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used"
(Alright, admitedly I had to do a google of Othello quotes to find that one)



and finally...

"Exit, pursued by a bear"

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained

This weekend I venture to Stratford Ontario to see The Merchant of Venice, To Kill A Mockingbird and Not I. With a weekend this theatrey life is good. Another thing that makes life good: being able to put videos on blogger with relative ease! I shall have to make some sort of film celebrating this on the weekend.

In the meantime:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Hamilton to Sudbury One Final Time" A 3 Disc set

On my roadtrip to Sudbury I am taking with me (in a sort of particular order):

Elvis Presley
Phish
The Doors
The Who
CCR
The Beatles
The Clash
Jimi Hendrix
Janis Joplin
Joni Mitchell
Simon and Garfunkl
Don Maclean
Jefferson Airplane
The Velvet Underground
Nick Drake
The Ramones
Neil Young
Bob Dylan
Coldplay
The Eels
The Shins
The Flaming Lips
Greenday
Stars
Fiona Apple
Iron and Wine
The Dresden Dolls
Feist
Tegan and Sara
Metric
The Arcade Fire
Johnny Cash
June Carter
Wolf Parade
Dave Matthews
Tim Reynolds
The Dears
You Say Party We Say Die
The Dixie Chicks
the rest of The Dave Matthews Band
Ani DiFranco
The Decemberists
The White Stripes
Gnarls Barkley
Cat Power
Joanna Newsom
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Modest Mouse
They Might Be Giants

Mmmmmmm mix CDs.

See you on a Sudbury Saturday night!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile



Ah the Festival of Friends; Hamilton's annual time travel to the 1960s/70s. This year my family made our annual trip, this time to see one concert in particular:



The small figure in the dark that you can't make out is Don Maclean. He's one of, what I call, the "Trip to Virginia Artists". Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Don Maclean make up an elite lot whose music I memorized on long car trips with my family. He played all of the songs I'm most fond of ("Castles Made of Sand", "Vincent" and his cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying") and some other big long song that I guess is sort of famous :P

I tried to add a sound clip, but as my luck would have it, it's not working. Blah. I will share it when I figure out how.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

This one time at camp...

Famous Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tim Horton once said "They pay me to practice. I play for free". I adapted this saying during my days at Lakewood to "They pay me for pre-camp. I'm a counselor for free". Well I finally followed through and volunteered at Woodeden Easter Seal Camp for the Teen Session. I can't think of a better way to have spent the past 12 days.

Camp regulations prevent me from posting a number of photographs, but since Elliot's no longer a camper...



I used to have to be the one that bent down to hug in our picutres! The fairy wings are a gift from him for my role as "Hang time floater fairy".

Best moments of the camp:

1) Camper Codey telling me in broken-up speech that he won't come back next summer if I don't.
2) Camper Harry and I protesting Verbal Communication with a silent sit-in. It might have been my idea, but I think Harry was all for it.
3) This one is for Mike and Elliot: "You may have won this round Cerebral Palsy, but next time you won't be so lucky, mwa ha ha ha!". Mike in the midst of a spasm cried out "Damn you CP" I consequently turned this into a daily ritual of trying to smite CP with various schemes but being thwarted time and time again with cries of "Damn you Cerebral Palsy!"
4) Having the campers in Cabin Orange set up a "Liz duty" to guard me from stealing the tidy cabin flag.
5) Being trapped half-way across the zip line on the ropes course (suspended 50ish feet in the air) with my campers laughing hysterically at me.

More stories to follow (brace yourselves).
Hope everyone had a good week and a bit. It feels like it's been longer. That's camp for you! "The bubble convinces us that there was nothing before and nothing after."



*****************

OK, so uncamp-related. I had to add this. It's from a Facebook group called "The Mrs Weasley Appreciation Group". DO NOT join this group if you haven't finished reading book 7. It will spoil a big part of it for you. Just enjoy this picture, which can be appreciated by all:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Simspon's Trivia (Summer Blockbuster Special Edition)

Apparently the first version of this was too hard. Frankly I think that this version is plainly obvious to any football fan:
Two teams played for the Super Bowl in January 1992. If ______________ had won, Lisa would no longer have loved Homer.

BONUS: In the episode "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie", what does Homer consider to be "The 3 Rs"?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Post #300

Ladies and gentlemen: I have a plan.

I have just been informed THIS moment that I have been accepted into Humber College's Post Graduate certification program in Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language. It is a one year program that involves a full-time course schedule and a placement. At the end of it I will be certified to teach English abroad and in EAP/ESL classrooms in Canada. This will go a long way to helping me achieve my long term plans (traveling and working in Theatre and with people doing Drama). One of our early placements is leading a workshop style course in Humber's EAP program doing an activity (such as Drama) to encourage conversational English use. I am very excited to have this opportunity, Humber's program appears to be an excellent one.
Also, being in Toronto will allow me to keep a foot or two in the Theatre world. I am hoping to take courses with Second City while there and stay involved with amateur Theatre in the city. Then in a year I will either be very well prepared to do some traveling as an English teacher and get some money together to take a studio acting program (Atlantic Theatre Co./CSSD in London) or to work as an ESL/EAP teacher on contract as a part time job while acting. Beats the hell out of retail.

That's all for now, I will keep everyone up to date though!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Books of Liz

This has turned into a long unfocussed rant. Enjoy :)



I missed leisure reading in University. It is nice to have it back in my life. I think it might be making me sane again.

He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt.

Last summer I read Catch 22 for the first time, though it had been sitting on my "to read" list for some time. Within a chapter I was wondering where it had been all my life. Questions of war, death and human sanity vs insanity treated with dark humour and irreverrance (without the preachy morality of M*A*S*H*... book, movie or TV show included), it's about the only way I can deal with those issues. Sometimes I think that's why the Daily Show is so popular. Sometimes all you can do with something that horrific is laugh at it.

Have you ever wondered how you would go about teaching an elephant yoga?

Last December I read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, by Christopher Moore. Of all the books I've read concerning religion and spirituality, curiously this strange fictional tale of a crude ultra-modern best friend to "Joshua" throughout his life's journey as the Messiah is the first one to make me actually want to be Christian. Not because I suddenly believe that there was a real "Biff" or that Jesus Christ learned Judo (seriously read the book), but because it's the essence of a story that penetrates the human consciousness, not its literal interpretation of what went on. Maybe Jesus wasn't a fun guy who got drunk off of the water he turned into wine and then declared that he loved bunnies (seriously read the book), but the idea of his kind heart and wisdom is what draws us to this story. His character is a hero, one who it doesn't do us any hurt to try to be like. I kind of wish we could just simply regard him as that, rather than fighting each other over whether believing every word he and the bible said is the only way to get into heaven.

There shall not be among you a witch

Which brings me very nicely to my most recent, ahem, literary endevour. Five years ago I picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for one reason, and one reason alone: To piss of the neo-conservative Christians in my school. I worked with one who told me I was right on my way to hell for reading about evil Pagan witchcraft. I told him that if it weren't for the medieval Pagans we wouldn't have many of the celebrations and feasts in our Christian tradition, including Christmas. This did not go over well.
Harry Potter and Christ. Well that's an essay in and of itself isn't it ;)

As we approach, what will be for myself and many other geeks, a sleepless Saturday morning reading I will talk briefly about my newest venture in nerdom.
Harry Potter joins Star Wars and Final Fantasy VI in my long list of REALLY uncool things I have tendency to obsess over on and off. I've recently decided that this is healthy for me, as I quite need a strong fantasy world apart from reality to keep me sane. And who doesn't love a battle of good vs evil? What I love about my particular choices is that all three series have an important message about good and evil. We all have both parts in us. We all have the potential to be good and evil, and it is our choices that define us.
I feel like we live in a culture that is increasingly inclined to either strict Locke or Hobbes philosophy, with little thought given to personal choice and responsibility. John Locke says that we are born carte blanche, and that it is society that corrupts man and turns him evil. Hobbes on the other hand believes that man is born evil and society is necissary to keep man from devolving into "continual fear and danger of violent death and the life of man: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".

I believe that we are born with both parts in us, and that our personal choices and actions reflect the good or evil in our person. People are not altogether good or bad they're just people.
For too long I played the optimist believing that if people were just educated enough or saw the world through other's eyes or opened their hearts they would ultimately do the right thing. It was quite damaging in the wake of 9/11 to keep trying to convince myself of this spiritually or morally. I simply saw too much evidence to contradict it.
I have spent the last few years wallowing in "I hate humanity" land. It's an easy place to be. If you think people suck, they don't usually disappoint you. It's easier to be angry at someone for being a jerk and just write them off as idiotic, than to try to see the good inside of them. It's a lot easier to find the bad than it is the good.
Finally, though, I think that I am coming to understand that people have the capacity for both and that this is a good thing.

"It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so"

If there's one thing that I have never 'bought into' in Shakespeare's plays it's "Fate", the idea that some greater destiny is controlling the play and that people are absolved of their wrong doings because they were simply succumbing to their destinies (and all that we are evil in by a devine thrusting on :p).
The beautiful parallels that Rowling draws between Harry and Voldimorte to MacBeth are probably the strongest part of her writing (as far as an adult audience is concerned). If Voldimorte had not tried to kill Harry would the prophecy still have come true? Could MacBeth just have gone on home and ignored the witches and told his wife to take it easy? And when those events take place can the characters be held accountable for their actions, since it was indeed destiny? Well you know what I think by now :)


So do I think Harry willl die? Will he have to sacrifice himself to save the world from evil, as is told by the prophets... cies... ahem. Or does his Mother's death sheild him from harm as though he were not from woman born... cough ahem... don't mind that. Though I must ask... should we start calling Macbeth "He who shall not be named" in the theatre. :p

I'm done I promise.

I don't think he's a Horocrux, though I'm not quite sure about that scar itself.
If I'm worried about any characters dying it's Order of the Pheonix members (Lupin, Hagrid and the Weasleys especially). I see one of the Weasleys going, and Percy realizing that he's acting like a jerk, but being too late. If it's any of the kids, I worry about Luna, I quite like her, but I think it makes a lot of sense with her role in the series.
I feel that forgiveness will play a big role in the final battles. Both Snape, and even Voldimorte. Harry will have to play to his strengths, and Avada Kedaver isn't one of them.

So that said, I will not write about Deathly Hallows when I am done the book. Mostly because a number of you won't have even woken up to go down to the store and buy it by then. I promise I'll wait.

SO...

If anyone endured reading that, you probably know a little bit more about me than you may have, and hopefully appreciate that some of my geekdom is not simply for geekiness sake.

I leave you with a final thought that loosely ties it all together.

"Joe Bowers: There was a time when reading wasn't just for 'fags'. And neither was writing. People wrote books and movies. Movies with stories, that made you care about whose ass it was and why it was farting. And I believe that time can come again!" -Idiocracy

Friday, July 13, 2007

Brain Spotting

(Also known as "Brain Zaps" or my favourite: "Electric Brain Sensation", which let's face it would be an EXCELLENT band name.)


Lyrics from Legal Pharmaceutical Withdrawal land:

I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship
Going from this land here to that
On a sailor's suit and cap

Away from the big city
Where a man cannot be free
Of all the evils of this town
And of himself and those around
Oh, and I guess that I just don't know


I've tried to type a story to this like 8 times, but each one comes out sounding self pitying and/or needlessly angsty and bitter. Let me just explain that: No I am not recovering from a heroine addiction, but I think I might have some fraction of an idea what that's like at the present, as my brain seems to have formed a rather unhealthy chemical dependency on a particular drug that I no longer wish to take.

Yes, let's leave it at that until my head clears.





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Seriously, that was the least geeky looking picture I could find to do a rip-off. Ewan must think I'm so uncool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"Oh, dear God. Can't this town go one day without a riot?"

I wish I could isolate the video for my blog... and edit the rest out. This is a link to the Spingfield USA challenge to be the "home" of the Simpson's movie premiere. Vermont won (all of the videos were pretty uninspired), but I am really sending you to view the video for Springfield, Massachusettets . It might seen pretty corny and odd at the beginning, but please hang on until near the end. It will be worth it. Trust me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I feel that I have accomplished something here today.

For those who read my previous post, Ticketmaster has changed the picture. It is now in fact of Matt Good (they had a picture up of The Dave Matthews Band with a caption "Order Matthew Good tickets" and the picture linked to the Matt Good tour schedule). I can only conclude that Ticketmaster saw my post and realized their mistake was only making my thousands of readers (who are also fans of both bands and appreciate the irony, having read "At Last There is Nothing Left to Say") laugh at them. Mission Accomplished.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cute as a bug's ear

There's a very funny new game at the Simpson's Movie site. You can create your own Simpson's "avatar" (just wanted to make it clear, their word not mine). I went right ahead and created a whole darn army!



Hope no one's offended, but they don't give you a lot of flexibility to create realistic portraits... did my best anyways.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

40 Flicks

I'm actually kind of proud of that pun.

I have rearranged this SEVERAL times. In fact it will probably be rearranged again by the time I finish writing this.

Liz's Top 40 Movies of All Time

And what does my taste in movies say about me?

I'm not sure that I would take this as "Liz would rather watch Casablanca than Office Space" or "Liz thinks that the South Park movie was more artistically brilliant than Citizen Kane".... the thing is.... it's a balance. I went through my favourite movies and thought about which movies, for me, were the most enjoyable and at the same time had a quality that I feel has given them a special place in the film world. For instance I do not think that Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail is the all time greatest movie. I would probably have to go Casablance there :P But I like it the most. Big Fish is one that I put high on my list. Probably not history's GREATEST piece of film-making, but I think that there are 45 minutes in there that are pretty darn fantastic. And yes. Ewan is hot.

I'm posting this, and while I expect a tidal wave of "Are you serious?" I guess I'm over it, and it's time to stop justifying my picks. I'm no film buff, I just enjoy a well made, entertaining film. There are lots I wish I could stick on there that I couldn't, but I am proud that I managed to avoid doing something like sticking "A Clockwork Orange" or "Resevoire Dogs" on there "just because". I have always felt that it was important to maintain a level of snobbishness about movies. While I think it is important to stay open-minded enough about films to at least give them a try, I will never pretend to like something I can't stand. That, to me, is more pretentious than refusing to watch any more Michael Bay movies on moral grounds.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Scott Buchanan: Bachelor of Arts and Irish Tourist. Damn him!

The University of Windsor is located underneath of a bridge:



The most recent article to be published by internationally recognized faculty: "The Property of Billy Goats and How to Catch Them"

My brother, as always, is too cool for the family:



Fortunately we managed to loser it up, by throwing him a tiny fan in line and by Mom having a few too many celebratory drinks (seriously Mom, stick with that story)


After the long... long ceremony:






And finally, for those of you who are unaware of a serious epidemic involving hand-held communication devices, here is "Scott's Graduation Crackberry Edition":





Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stolen from the Book of Face

Instructions:
"FACEBOOK (ahem Blogger) SCATTERGORIES.. it's harder than it looks!
Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following...They MUST be real places, names, things...NOTHING made up! Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial. You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question."


Your Name: Liz

Famous Artist/Band/Musician: Leonardo DaVinci/Led Zeppelin/Lou Reed

4 letter word: Luck

Vehicle: Lexus

TV Show: Little House on the Prairie

City: Luxemburg

Boy Name: Liam

Girl Name: Leah

Alcoholic drink: Liquor

Occupation: Lawyer

Flower: Lupin

Something you wear: Lace

Something you do: Love

Something that you dislike: Lying

Celeb: Luke Wilson

Food: Lemon

Something found in a kitchen: Ladel

Reason for Being Late: Lost track of time

Cartoon Character: Lisa Simpson

Something you yell: Leave me alone!


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Also I think that this would have made a nice addition to my last post... but here it is now anyway:

"A view from the desk of Dilbert creator Scott Adams"