Tuesday, January 31, 2006
1. Meeting Lucy Robinson of Newcomer Women's Experience. Actually I probably met her in 04 but got to know her better this year and she's grounded in reality, yet idealistic and doing amazing work.
2. Weekends away with Miia - this was a new year's resolution that stuck, to leave Toronto one weekend a month - what a great idea!
3. Mentoring Maria Luisa Elias and Kelven Goodridge - two newcomers to Canada with great character, skill, integrity and intelligence.
4. Working on my 'subway novel'
5. Raptors v. Pistons, platinum seats, Raps win, best - game - EV-errr, with Anthony Del Col
Okay, that brings us to the end of January 05 - eventually I'll get these all down.
Labels: best of
Friday, January 27, 2006
Top 16 CD's I Got in '05
1. Plans, Death Cab for Cutie
2. Free, Cat Power
3. LaDeDa, Joel Plaskett
4. Broken, Luke Doucet
5. The Dusty Foot Philosopher, K'Naan
6. No Never Alone, Justin Rutledge and the Junction Forty
7. What Comes After the Blues, Magnolia Electric Co
8. Jacksonville City Nights, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
9. Old World Underground, Where are You Now?, Metric
10. The Tipping Point, The Roots
11. Fair & Square, John Prine
12. Songs for Jim, Greg Keelor
13. The Craft, Blackalicious
14. Dear Heather, Leonard Cohen
15. Joyful Rebellion, K-Os
16. Naturally, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Labels: best of
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
free is not a state of mind or nothing left to lose but more nothing to gain and no desire to do so anyway because each time the sun sets there is no need for more hours and no regret for what wasn't done that day; there is no concept of day for night or burning oil of any sort, only a sense of purpose that is inate easy and never questioned.
free is not knowing exactly where you'll be but having a general sense of direction and a strong sense of place, even when you're moving around or going on a long trip to someplace you've never been before because you know who your home is and you know you'll return here again when the time is right.
free is not rushed never being in a hurry and never being late, always being responsible but never having too much responsibility or too much to do.
free is following the flow offered by the universe yet not necessarily falling under its whimsical tides, at least not until the time is right.
free is not being rich but not having to struggle just to survive some meaningless existence.
free is lacking in this giant monoculture because no one i've ever met in my whole damn life lives the way i'm describing.
free never heard of existential, and i long for it.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Best Movies I Saw in 2005
1. Shaun of the Dead (you'll die laughing, oh that's a bad line)
2. Before Sunrise (this was the second time I saw this classic Linklater film with puppy-eyed Ethan Hawk and dreamy Juliet Delphy - just love the realtime feel of it and realism of the characters)
3. Bowling for Columbine (another second run for me but a classic by Michael Moore, far better than his 911 degrees of separation film)
4. Crash (not the fucked up Cronenberg film but the new one - you have to be comfortable with your own racism before seeing this one, because in this film everybody's a racist and it's all too real, very well done)
5. Howl's Moving Castle - by a Japanese animator I'm too lazy to google the name of, but he's brilliant and this Disney-backed movie was far more creative than anything Disney's done on its own lately, so imaginitive and beautiful, so politically on my ball, I loved this movie.
6. Wedding Crashers - purely stupid fun, I busted a gut. It went on a little too long though.
7. I Heart Huckabees - probably the best of all of them, really neat parody on existentialism, yet respectful of the very common desire to find meaning in life, really funny and smart movie.
8. Walk the Line - this movie had its problems but being a big John R. Cash fan I really enjoyed it, and I thought the two leads just sizzled. According to my aunt Anne, Reese Witherspoon is a far better singer than June Carter ever was.
9. Movin' on Down the Road - a 1970 flick about two Nova Scotia dudes who move to the big city of TO lookin' for work and chicks, hmmm, rings a bell somehow. Mainly though it was a great depiction of the working class blues as the guys moved from one crap job (like setting up bowling pins) to another (stacking empty bottles) just to get by, with no hope of ever finding anything better.
10. Richard Prior Live in Concert - rented this right after he died and it was just classic, outright funny comedy, what a talent he was. I had no idea what a crazy fucktup childhood the man had, no wonder he liked his drugs so much.
The worse movie I saw last year, possibly ever, was Palindromes. What I can say for that movie is that it's a great symbol for everything wrong with western society, including pretentious filmmakers.
I also want to give an honourable mention to Syriana, which was pretty well-done and interesting, but perhaps too ambitious. There were about 7 movies crammed into one and as a result it was hard to give a shit about any of the characters. But, you know, good try on telling some things that need to be told.
Another honourable mention for Black Robe, which I've seen too many times for it to still have the same effect on me, but it's a good story, a tragic ones. It also have some problems with its politics, but it's definitely worth seeing if one keeps in mind that the depiction of 17th century natives in this flick is the speculation of a 20th century white man.
Labels: best of
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Best Books I Read in 05
1. Confessions of an Economic Hitman, by John Perkins [put into words and details a process many of us know exists - fascinating explanation of how economics really works that debunks the old 'invisible hand' lie]
2. Death of Environmentalism, by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus [technically not a book, just a long paper, but it was one of the best things I read this year. It's a critique of the environmental movement and why for most people it remains irrelevant. Something anyone who's into 'saving the world' should read and carefully consider.]
3. Clash of Fundamentalisms, by Tariq Ali [just a big brilliant book about everything politically wrong with the world, with some sound advice for powerful people on alternatives.]
4. A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright [really cool look at history, including 'pre-history', how human civilization came about and the impact its had on our species and other species - mostly bad.]
5. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson [this was recommended by a coworker and diverged from my usual reading, but what a great writer! Just a fun and fascinating novel.]
6. Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie [won the 'Booker of Bookers' as the book of the century, revolutionized novel-writing, political, historical, beautiful, funny, great poetic story with layer on layer of imagery.]
7. Rockbound, by Frank Parker Day [this was one of those CBC Reads books. I read it because it was about the South Shore in Nova Scotia, i.e. my roots. It was gorgeous and profound.]
8. We Are Not You, by Claude Denis [this book really got me thinking about culture, about aboriginal rights, about our legal systems, about morality and how we determine right and wrong - very pomo. The first few chapters were really annoying but when he got down to the meat of his argument it was great.]
9. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy [one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, and again got me thinking about how we determine what is right or wrong, and how these judgements affect people in the minority. But mostly it was the beautiful imagery she used, the power of putting things simply, and building from there, just beautiful writing.]
10. The Hero's Walk, by Anita Rau Badami [a simple story, written in a straightforward way, about a man who shuts down emotionally and destroys his family in the process, then is given a second chance. It resonated with me very deeply.]
11. What's my Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the US, by Dave Zirin [read this over Christmas vacation - click the link on his name and you can subscribe to his column. Very good sports writer who goes beyond performance and into the politics of sport, from the heroic to the corrupt. Perfect for a jock-geek like me.]
That's it for the best, a baker's top ten.
The worst book I read was The Goddess Abides by Pearl S. Buck, a big bunch of drivel about a rich woman being pursued (romantically) by a young rich guy and having some big ethical dilemma about the age difference. Yawwwwn. It was particularly disappointing because one of my all time favourite books was The Good Earth, Buck's classic tale of the hardship and poverty of a Chinese farming family through the generations - a beautiful book. --Bopper
Labels: best of