Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Criteria: It doesn't have to be the whole movie, just a scene that stuck in your head although, of course, perhaps it's both the scene and the movie.
Here are Tearfree's big four in no particular order:
1) Cries and Whispers cutting scene. So gloomy, so Bergman. Those sisters, that big house. And the glass mutilation scene. Yikes.
2) Goodfellas Copacabana scene. I thought this movie was violent and overrated the first time I saw it. And the second time around, I still thought it was violent and overrated. But this scene is visually amazing and, added bonus, there's young Dr. Melfi.
3) French Connection pick-up scene. Gene Hackman drives alongside a cyclist. Cut to the scene of her bike in his bedroom. An eye opener about sexual attraction for my teenage self.
4) Last Tango in Paris staggering around drunk scene. Okay, okay, that kind of describes the whole movie, but I'm talking about the scene after Maria Schneider leaves Brando and he staggers drunk through that large, empty room.
Add your scenes and any video links you can find
In honour of Jacy's presence in Barcelona and the literary bent RTK has recently been taking, Tearfree would like to recommend a very funny book called Gaudi Afternoon. Apparently, it was also made into a movie starring Judy Davis, Marcia Gay Harden and Juliette Lewis, which, alas, Tearfree has not seen.
The heroine is a lesbian translator who is working on the English version of a magic realism novel and it is a pretty good takeoff on a genre that deserves way more taking off than it gets. Tearfree particularly liked the chapter that opened along the lines of, "It was the day when all the women in the village got their period at the same time..."
In any case, highly recommended just like Barcelona itself.
Monday, July 30, 2007
So finally the wireless hot zone in Barcelona is working and so I am back. Almost a week with no Internet access, however, has been surprisingly refreshing. During our downtime, Fritzi and I have been having long and meaningful discussions about life, reading books and watching hilarious German reality television ("Rosie!!??!!! Gott im Himmel, nicht Rosie!!! Weisst du wie alt sie ist???")
1. Hot men are a dime a dozen here. Seriously. Every second man in downtown Barcelona, young or old, is hot. I hate to say it but they out-number the beautiful women (none as beautiful as Tanya E.), who are also plentiful, but not as abundant as the tawny-skinned, doe-eyed, hard-bodied and charming Spanish men who are seemingly everywhere you look in this town. I had been exploring the city for an hour when I turned to Fritzi and said: "I am really going to like it here."
2. Fritzi and I steeled our nerve and bared our breasts on the Barcelona beaches. It took us two hours to get up the courage to unveil the knockers, and now, near the end of the trip, it's like we've been flaunting them publicly all our lives. The Spaniards don't pay the slightest mind; Fritzi and I were assessing other women's jugs -- there really are some weird ones out there -- far more than any of the natives on the beach. However, a man from India who had been fixating on my hooters earlier in the day came after me in the Mediterranean, swimming under the water and grabbing my ass. From then on, Fritzi and I sang "underwater ass-grabber" to the tune of "Undercover Angel."
3. Tapas is fabulous. We had artichoke fritters last night that were to die for. Not to mention the seafood paella and the grilled calamari.
4. Yes, I have a chance, and once again fear is defeating me. There is a hot maitre d' of a high-end tapas place we like. Tells me I have beautiful legs. When a woman walked by last night wearing the same eyelet H and M dress I was wearing, he came by to point it out and then told me I wore it much better. He is smart, hot, funny, intense, long-haired and respectfully flirtatious. I should be asking four questions, in this order: "Are you single? When do you get off work? Where is your apartment? Do you have condoms?" But I am too scared.
5. All the Antoni Gaudi buildings here are mind-blowing, like swirly, fluid van Gogh paintings in architecture form, and must be seen to be believed. The Sagrada Familia is astonishing. I am a devout atheist and almost wept taking it in.
Adios for now amigas!
Tearfree blitzed the comments by mistake during her blog clean-up. You can read them here but please come back to add any new comments here.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Now, needless to say, Tearfree is aware that you have to write for your audience and she is perhaps a little more sensitive about the dog ladies ' feelings than she is about Mummy Bloggers' touchiness, but there does come a point and, frankly, this vocal fringe minority has reached it.
Take this Michael Vick picture for example:
Clearly it's black humour and some people just will never appreciate black humour, but when I described it to the dog people at the park this morning they all laughed -- and they hadn't even seen the photo itself.
So what do you think? Is my dog blog ready for this?
First off, here's a useful discussion of "sexism" and "racism" in Jane Eyre.
Mr. Rochester defenders will also like this piece from the Daily Telegraph's Literary Crumpets series, which asks who wears the tight breeches best, Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester? Answer: Mr. D. is a pussy next to Mr. R.
And finally, there's this terrible affront to Mr. Rochester at www.mrrochester.com. You sir, ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Update: Brontë Blog, which is serious enough to use the diaeresis, is spreading the word about the fraudulent "Mr. Rochester" of www.mrrochester.com. Our literary blogging sisters wonder whether his clients might end up finding a mad woman in their new attics.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Yesterday's book post did, however, raise some questions about what Mr. R. should look like. Tearfree sees him as older and not overly buff. Although she acknowledges that Wide Sargasso Sea is all about young Mr. R., she still doesn't think his arms should be so totally ripped. Still, she will reserve final judgment until she sees the movie.
Meanwhile in related Rochester movie criticism, Tearfree prefers George C. Scott's Mr. R. to Orson Welles', perhaps because she is not a big Welles fan. In any case, they both look Rochester-ish and are suitably tragic. Susannah York was also a way better Jane than Jane Fontaine, but the earlier version does have an ace in the hole -- a stunningly beatiful young Liz Taylor as Helen Burns.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Here are mine:
1) The Catcher in the Rye I read it at 14 and found my soulmate in Holden Caulfield. Was totally astounded that most of my friends didn't think it was the best book ever.
2) Pride and Prejudice At 16, it was a major lesson that people are people no matter when they lived and what clothes they wore. And then of course, there's Mr. Darcy.
3) Jane Eyre I cried and cried and cried because, at 18, I knew I'd never write like that. 20 years later in a Caribbean fiction class I had to take in grad school, I closed my books and walked out of the class when everyone started calling Charlotte Bronte a racist.
4) Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys Brilliant idea, beautifully written and short. Goes perfectly with Jane Eyre.
5) Scoop by Evelyn Waugh Best reporting book ever and it holds up brilliantly.
Over to you
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Last night at 1:30 Tearfree was awoken by the loud sound of shattering glass. She leapt from her bed and went to the window where she saw the boyfriend of the daughter of her dysfunctional across-the-street neighbours slamming a golf club into the windows of their huge Continental and then stalking off. Even though it was dark, she recognized him from his distinctive gait. Plus, earlier that day, he the girlfriend and her brother had all had a screaming match on their front porch which Tearfree and half the street heard.
So Tearfree went back to bed -- only to be awaken one hour later by another crash and more shattering glass as the boyfriend took out a few more windows and laid one one or two blows on the car's hood just for effect.
This morning, when bro and sis saw the damage just before 7 a.m., it was fuck this and shit that and ring Tearfree's doorbells since the car was parked right outside her house.
"Were you a witness?" they asked.
"Yes," Tearfree answered truthfully.
"Will you talk to the police?"
"Only if you don't tell him that it's me who's the witness because I do not like that man."
"We promise. We promise," they swore. Later, they came back and asked for Tearfree's name, telephone number and date of birth, all of which she provided without a fuss.
By the time Tearfree left for the dentist, however, she was catching on that it wasn't a secret that she was the star witness. And then this evening, another neighbour from across the street called out to her as she stood on the balcony, "I hear you saw everything."
"They said they wouldn't tell," said Tearfree.
"And you believed it?" said the neighbour, a notorious gossip who keeps tabs on everything.
Just so that you all know where to look for me if I disappear: the Witness Protection Program!
Today was not a disappointment. Just after I arrived a guy walked in a pink oxford shirt and the tiniest gray ponytail I've ever seen -- one inch long and every hair on his mostly bald head gathered into a rubber band. He also had one of those unattractive beards that looks like a Brazilian wax job growing back in so all in all, it was not a good look.
Well no sooner has the guy sat down then he starts telling his meal companion that he's recently discovered he's allergic to eggs and bread. Did he learn this from an actual medical doctor? Of course not.
This being the 21st century he performed a pin prick blood test at home, shipped it off to a lab in the States that tests for allergies to 150 food substances, and received his diagnosis via e-mail. Apparently the reason he'd managed to make it to almost 60 without noticing this allergy was because it's "slow and cumulative."
Given that, as a result of his self diagnosis, he was restricted to eating chopped liver and smoked salmon, I'm guessing he might rediagnose himself in a matter of weeks and, next time he's at Beauty's, order what his friend had -- the mish mash omelet with rye toast.
Today's conversation reminded me of the previous medical conversation I'd overheard in the smae venue between an attractive 20-something doctor and his pregnant sister who were discussing how long people should stay in hopital after operations. The sister said she felt they should stay a week. The brother said get them out as fast as possible. The sister said again that she just felt that just couldn't be good. It doesn't matter what you feel, said the brother, it's a fact -- risk of infection and blood clots rise when you spend time in a hospital bed post-op.
It was amazing how quickly that put an end to her silliness. If only that guy had been there to deal with those dudes this morning. He would have told 'em, FACTS NOT QUACKS, and maybe helped to make the world a saner place.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
It's not that there was anything wrong with the books. They were fine for what they were -- kids books. But frankly children's literature doesn't do it for Tearfree and if she was forced to read it on a desert island her first choice of authors wouldn't be J.K. Rowling.
That's why, a few years back, when Tearfree had the good fortune to be bumped up to business class on a very long flight from Toronto to Tokyo, she was shocked to discover that two businessmen who didn’t look less-than-full-fare-paying fellow travelers, had opted to read not The Wall Street Journal or The Economist but the latest Harry Potter.
Later, she discussed the Harry Potter issue with her then childless sister-in-law, the only other adult she knew who’s read as much Harry Potter as she had, and concluded that, like her SIL, most Harry Potter readers who have attained the age of majority are not one-book-a-week chattering class types, but rather one-to-six book a-year readers. To paraphrase Sir Edmund Hillary, they read Harry because he’s there, all over the best-seller lists. And it must also be said that like most best-seller writers, including the much maligned ones, J. K. Rowling is very good at what she does.
It's just that Tearfree isn't the slightest bit interested except, of course, to learn about who dies.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
She even tells me about the outlandish things her friends and acquaintances are up to on Facebook -- for now.
Well, it turns out that three slightly older girls at her school have made a video called, "When a stranger wants to fuck."
Because their profiles are not on "lock" and because they are also part of the "Montreal network" anyone in Montreal can see this video with the three girls' real-life names attached.
The video itself is not as awful as it sounds but the title, subtitles, credits, etc. are awful, vulgar, porny, trash talking, etc. And there's a lot of casual swearing in the dialogue.
Now, where on earth are the parents? That is what I want to know.
OK, I know, that's six. I couldn't help myself.
Here are some runners-up, albums I still listen to frequently: Achtung Baby, U2; Blur, Blur; Purple Rain, Prince; Doolittle, the Pixies; Disintegration, The Cure; the last Broken Social Scene album; This is Big Audio Dynamite, Big Audio Dynamite; Nevermind, Nirvana; Live Through This, Hole.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
But I digress. The point is that the large aryan young guy tossed the box on the ground, opened it up and proceeded to hand out bloody organic bison bones to anyone who wanted one. After a brave woman stepped up and took some, I decided to try them as well. The two gay guys, on the other hand, high-tailed it right out of there with no bones while a vegetarian practically passed out. Alas, my favourite dog walker was on vacation so I didn't have the benefit of her insights.
I left the park at the same time as Bison Bones, who hadn't managed to get rid of his stash so he just plopped the box on top of a garbage can, which I thought was rather out of line, but I didn't have the energy to tell him.
Yesterday I recounted this part of the story to the gay guys and they said, " Oh my gawd. We saw a big bloody bone here on the weekend. And at first we thought it was a person and then we remembered."
So please, Jacy, it aen't just crazy cat and dog women out there. There are some seriously weird dog men as well and some of them are German.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
UPDATE: Oh dear, see above, there's another one ... and this is a very unfortunate style choice, one that makes Jack Nicholson's seem almost Armani-ish.
Monday, July 09, 2007
I have been beating up on myself about the fact that I can't seem to feel better since the breakup. And now I may have a clue. Apparently women who suffered some sort of trauma in childhood that was out of their control have a much, much harder time dealing with loss later in life. Without going into any great detail -- there are things even I will not blog about -- I had a very traumatic two-year period in my childhood that was very much beyond my control and even when I tried to control it, I was thwarted. To say it messed me up on many important fronts would, too, be a vast understatement. So when I read the words "people who experienced abuse as children are highly reactive to stress and have great difficulty calming down" and how that can in turn lead to serious and prolonged depression after a major loss, I had a "Eureka!" moment.
So all this heavy thinking and self-examination and, let's face it, self-pity and enduring heartache at the lack of compassion shown to me by someone who swore to me for many years that I was the great love of his life, his angel, his reason for living, his one-in-a-million woman, yada yada yada, has been really getting me down.
And so today, in order to avoid another afternoon of teary contemplation, I decided to take my son and his girlfriend -- yes, that one -- and the German Houseboy to Niagara Falls. And what fun we had.
Never mind the Maid of the Mist. If you really want to have fun -- expensive fun, mind you, but still great fun -- take the Whirlpool JetBoat ride. Now I am not a white-water rafter and if I was, perhaps this would have been boring. But for a newbie like me, this was the best log ride I'd ever been on times a thousand. We got drenched by huge walls of churning water, again and again. We screamed and laughed and had a blast. The German Houseboy says it's something he'll never forget. Es macht Spass!! My only regret is that the other three children I love were not there to enjoy it. I couldn't stop thinking about them, but even so, it was an exhilarating and hilarious hourlong ride.
And the funny thing is? When I read the Trip Advisor reviews, sure enough, there were a pair of drips complaining about how it was no fun, lame, too expensive, a real disappointment, etc. I think those Debbie/Donnie Downers should be reading the book I'm reading, and trying to break the crippling cycle of negativity and depression.
Yesterday, I was finalizing some of our accommodation, reading users reviews on Trip Advisor, which is a trip in and of itself.
You'll be reading about some place that everybody's loving and then someone will come along and say it's the worst hotel ever. You almost need a psychology degree to decide which reviews to accept and which to blow off.
I found myself asking, OK, is this person a total clean freak or do they have a point? I mean 79 out of 80 people say it's clean and one claims it's filthy.
And what about the guy who expects a large hotel room in Zurich at 2-star prices? Got to be an American, right? Wrong. StereotyIrish! Hmmm, guess all that stuff about the booming Irish economy really is true. And let me tell you, there are a whole bunch of discontented travellers from Toronto.
And so it went. Tales of rude receptionists, small elevators, plastic wrapped croissnts in Italy of all places. My Gawd, how did we ever manage to do anything before the internet?
Oh yes, now I remember. Time was I was constantly fleeing sketchy hotels in Paris or putting up with them.
Really, I just require clean, well ventilated and safe. On the kind of vacation we're on, we won't be spending much time in the room anyway. I think I picked some winners but we'll just have to wait and see whether Trip Advisor delivers.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
One of my children came home last night. Thank God. I was pining badly. Now if I can just keep him away from his girlfriend for a day or two.
Friday, July 06, 2007
My children's generation -- and mine too, since the late '80s or so -- have often used the word gay to denote something lame, silly, ridiculous, etc., not to mean something overtly homosexual. My best gay friend, Santino, also does the same. As an example of the usage, I point you toward P. Diddy's performance at the Diana concert last weekend. His frequent shouts of "Give it up for Princess Diana!" "So beautiful, so elegant!" "Today we celebrate her rebirth!" caused me and all my workmates to say almost in unison: "That was so gay." Not Richard Simmons gay. But Celine Dion gay. Lame, lame, lame.
But many schools have punished children for using the term "gay," and I do get it because even if the word isn't meant as a slur, it evolved from something that can be perceived as a slur and just the very use of the word "gay" to denote something lame is insulting. However, language evolves. Gay used to mean happy and cheerful, for example. Lame too could be construed as being a slur against disabled people.
So where do we draw the line?
And where do you stand on the use of the word "gay" to mean lame, silly or ridiculous?
UPDATE: Here is an interesting story from the UK when the BBC defended a radio host's use of the word when he meant to suggest a ringtone was lame.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
But last night she went out and didn't come back in all night. When I called her this morning, there was no sign of her. I began to steadily panic because that cat, in addition to some of my dearest girlfriends, has been a primary source of comfort to me over the past few months. She can be in the basement family room and I will be feeling terrible and weeping quietly in my third-floor loft bedroom, and she hears me and comes up and sits on me. She comes and sits on the edge of the bathtub every night when I have a bath and lets me dip her tail into the warm water. I could be imagining this, but last time my husband was in the house, I swore the cat sat at the top of the stairs and glowered down at him bitterly -- her eyes were actually narrowed. I really sense that cat is always looking out for me.
So on top of feeling really brutal this week and missing my children and my in-laws desperately, I was horrified for an hour this morning that something had happened to her. And then she showed up in the backyard, looking sleepy but none the worse for wear, when it started to rain. I was so happy to see her that I carried her around cuddling her for 20 minutes while she purred and rubbed against my head.I was always a dog person growing up and never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd end up a crazy cat lady, but there appears to be no stopping it. I am emotionally reliant on a cute little tortoise-shell kitty.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Some observations about my two new wonderful friends:
1. They are both beautiful. Tanya is even prettier than the picture on her blog, and looks a lot like Sarah Silverman, the potty-mouthed comedian who is very lovely despite the poo-poo and vagina talk. GT not only looks like Angelina Jolie, but also like Ellen Degeneres, although much prettier with stunning blue/green eyes and a jaunty sense of style.
2. They are not just beautiful externally, but sweet, smart, hip and very intelligent women. We shared very similar senses of humour and had a ton to talk about. It was like we'd known one another for years. They also gave me a great idea for a book that I should write, and one I may try to pursue once I am feeling a bit more steady on my feet, emotionally.
3. We drank wine, ate Thai food, enjoyed iced coffee, salivated over Rowbear's fabulous new car, cooed at the angelic Alexander -- the time flew by. And I feel grateful for having met Tanya and GT. After spending much of the weekend at my best friend's condo, weeping forlornly in between the spin classes and weight room sessions, I met two great, smart, savvy, accomplished women. And a gal can't have enough pals, I say -- particularly pals as wonderful and funny as Tanya and GT.
The only person missing, of course, was Tearfree, who was truly and deeply missed!
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Creepy and bad.
Without getting in to too many details, I believe the "new bra" post was not a great idea. Though I do thank you all -- especially you, Tanya, and Kimberly Gail -- for your laudatory comments about my rack. But I have knocked down my knockers upon sober second thought!
I am feeling very diminished right now -- especially with my children away -- and I just don't know from one day to the next what is right and wrong and what is justified or unjustified and yada yada yada. I am still very lost.
But thanks for the mammaries!