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Madly Off in All Directions
18 May 2006
"At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet"
Spam of the week, that was -- Russian advertisement for V!agra. "Wanna her making all your dreams come true in the bed? Keep in mind - your hypersexuality doesn't depend n the size of your penis, it depends on ability to keep its hard-on up to several hours! And that's the way to deliver the best orgasm to her!" Orgasm singular? Dear me.

The V!agran hyperbole was followed, rather touchingly, by a large excerpt from Anna Karenina -- spring at last, in rural Russia, full of larks and children.

Had an odd encounter in the 24-hour grocer last night, stopping off after getting out of the theatre. I was looking about for some sort of treat for the cast for opening tonight, and was examining a box of heavily discounted Lindt (the store is being renovated, and a lot of quite nice stuff is being sold for nothing in a back corner) when this older man of the well-worn artsy type (battered leather jacket, beret, long grizzled hair, face looking as though it had been dragged face down along an alley paved with beer and cigarettes) wandered by with a cart full of discounted things. "These biscuits are on sale in the back. Four dollars. They're usually nine. I picked up a lot for my song circles."

Like a fool, I mentioned that I was looking for a treat for a show cast, and that was it. The floodgates opened. He was an actor. He'd been in films. He'd studied with so and so and thus and who. He loved the new! the novel! the experimental! He'd lived in Toronto till his arts coop burned down, now he lived with his mother, and where were all the wild artists in this town?

Souls killed off, I thought, working in the civil service. I mentioned a couple people; he scorned them. But he knew quite a lot of people I know, and boy! was he ever longing to spill his life story. And he did, for two hours, me pinned by my Canadian politeness. (And, at first, I must confess, a curiosity to know just who the hell he was; I thought he might be someone I knew by repute.) As it turned out, he wasn't, although by the sounds of it I should, as it seems he's made a pain in the arse of himself all over both city cultural services.

He gave me his card, claiming to be looking for collaborators. "I'll do anything, just to get something happening." No you won't, I thought, since he'd already expressed his disdain of anyone doing anything remotely "experimental" (meaning not Wingfield Farm or musical comedy) in town. I finally managed my escape, after three tries.

So there it is. My freak magnet is working again. Bizarre outcast men will once again pin me into corners to tell me their life stories.

If they were only devastatingly hot attractive men, it wouldn't be so bad. But they never are.

Not that it would matter. I wouldn't want anyone I can have.

splogged by compass-rose at 12:12 AM EDT
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6 May 2006
A lonely house in Wales

Based on your drawing and the 10 answers you gave this is a summary of your personality:
You are sensitive and indecisive at times. You are a freedom lover and a strong person. You are shy and reserved. If you've drawn a cross on each of windows, you always want to live alone. Once you have a problem, you need a friend with you. Your life is always full of changes.

You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You have a strong personality and you like to command, influence and control people.

You are not a romantic person by nature. It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. You don't think much about yourself.

Draw a house.

splogged by compass-rose at 8:16 PM EDT
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28 March 2006
An honest answer
Now Playing: Imogen Heap: Useless
Why can't I say what I truly feel? The honest answer? No. I don't want that. I am happy; I am happy as I am.

I deny myself, I make up what I'm supposed to feel. I don't feel that any more.

It's gone. Perhaps sleeping; I suppose I will see. But I can find no trace of the anticipation I should feel, only dread and sadness, and the prospect of losing myself.

Why am I so afraid to acknowledge what I want, until it poisons me from the inside and spills out?

"I don't know what to do," I think, but I know what I will do. The same as always.


splogged by compass-rose at 6:01 PM EST
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12 March 2006
Zen emptiness
Now Playing: Kate Bush, Running Up That Hill, Sweep remix
I don't think I've ever used that "now playing" thing.

I've spent the past week, unsleeping, on a mad rampage of cleaning and purging. I took everything out of the attic. Rid myself of things that have not been looked at, or used, in some cases, since we moved in. Packed everything else into Rubbermaid bins and labelled it. Stashed it back up there -- neatly! In rows along the sides.

It gives me great joy.

Next, I moved into the pantry in the basement. Cleaned. Scrubbed. Vacuumed up spiderwebs and stray leaves with the Shopvac. Rearranged everything, and moved a great deal of less-used baking pans and appliances down from my inadequate kitchen into there.

Further joy.

Now, I'm going through random cupboards and sideboards and things, and doing the same. (I'm trying to avoid the basement proper, since that is a nightmare with which I am not yet psychologically prepared to deal.)

I am tired of things that we do not love and do not use weighing on my life.

I am very tired, though.

Most recently watched: Dark City.. I like this film a great deal, and not merely for the reason which is probably making my readers (if any) snigger to themselves.

It is not quite a great movie, not quite as great, I think, as Roger Ebert thinks it. (Unbelievably, one of the commentary tracks on the DVD consists of Mr. Ebert rambling on for the full length of it about symbolism and German expressionism.) But the first time I saw it, it shocked me, because I have had that dream. I have been the one wandering through the sunless streets, ever-changing, trapped in there by impassable borders, pursued by dreadful beings with hideous powers, and finding the same power to defend myself. I have had that dream. And I've escaped from it into the sun.

splogged by compass-rose at 2:16 PM EST
Updated: 12 March 2006 2:18 PM EST
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25 February 2006
This is not my year, cinematically speaking

A History of Violence.

Anyone want to tell me why, exactly, this didn't go straight to video? And why? exactly? William Hurt got nominated for an Oscar as Viggo's wooden brother Cliche? Were there that few movies released last year? WHAT MOVIE WERE YOU PEOPLE WATCHING? Anyone? Anyone?

Perhaps the most hideously painful experience in my recent history, that was. I thought King Arthur was bad. Wooden family, with hideously smug angelic child, annoying teen, and zombie-like anorexic wife, all bones and dead complexion. Dialogue consisting of triteness after triteness, hobblingly pretending to be all Deeply Moving and Revealing. Mr. Mortensen doing something I entirely didn't want to watch for however many HOURS of my life.

And worst movie sex I have ever seen. Lovingly lingered over by the camera. For LONG LONG LONG MINUTES! No discreet cuts, no fade to black -- NO, they make me watch every squirming ghastly uncomfortable minute of it, bony ugly wench and stiff (and not in the good way) nasty man uttering stiff supposedly romantic words.... "I remember when I first realised you were in love with me..." -- what? How sweet.

You know it's bad when someone gets his face blown off (again, lovingly worked over by the camera) and the entire theatre sniggers.

That was simply appallingly, unredeemably ghastly.

splogged by compass-rose at 12:14 AM EST
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23 February 2006
Still story-free
It is depressing. I'm still half-stuck in sixth-century West Britain, and I don't really want to be here any more, as now it truly is nothing but self-indulgence.

I have been on a more-or-less starvation diet (Lyle McDonald's Protein-Sparing Modified Fast) since the beginning of February. Results: nominal. Still showing thyroid symptoms, despite obstinate reluctance of blood tests to reveal anything concretely wrong (and I mean beyond merely near-starving myself for a month and losing a mere four pounds, when most women report losses of from fifteen to twenty-five pounds).

Tired. I need an idea. I need to write something. I need time. I need my dog to not greet me by throwing up in the hall, and my cats to stop tracking litter about the house.

Speaking of cats. This morning, I heard a sort of ruckus in the kitchen. I went to investigate, and found that Zozo, the fluffy, water-loving cat (and the main culprit in the leaving of mucky littery pawprints anywhere there is a damp sink or tub) had stuck her face deep into the teapot in the sink, and was stuck.

Can I sell them all? How much would I get for them?

splogged by compass-rose at 2:57 PM EST
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21 February 2006
Omnis animales post coitem triste sunt.
I have spent the last few weeks of my life living deep in post-Roman Britain. I took out an entire length of shelf from the University of Waterloo library; drove to Guelph and came home with another several pounds of books (not including the one I originally went for, which was missing). I also ordered several books online, after reading the library copies and realising I had to have them.... ahhh, obsession.

Why? you may ask. I was Writing. It started as a throwaway bit of fun, and ended as forty pages -- with, as I have said, a heavy background of research.

And it remains vaguely embarrassing to me; eh, what can I do?

By the end of last week, I was hating them, all of them. Stupid characters! I'm so tired of you! Just -- get it over with! I knew what was missing (some middle bits) but had to get them down on paper (or on silicon chip, whatever).

Then my best and oldest friend came to visit unexpectedly, and I gave her the first half, until the Big Crisis (just after which, coincidentally, one of the middle bits was missing). And she made me finish it, so that she could find out what happened.

So I did. And it's done, two days ago.

Oh! how I miss them all! Whatever shall I do? I want them back! They're done, they're gone!

I must start writing something new, I suppose.

splogged by compass-rose at 10:18 AM EST
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25 January 2006
T & I...
Brilliant! Truly, an inspired piece of work!

In comparison with King Arthur, of course.

Don't look at me like that, Rufus. It's still your fault, in a way.

I... I'm speechless. Even leaving Malory and Chretien de Troyes out of it altogether, I have no idea from what bog of crappy story and worse history this slime-monster sprang.

splogged by compass-rose at 8:05 PM EST
Updated: 25 January 2006 8:11 PM EST
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22 January 2006
And yet, I saw it again.
Curse you, Rufus.

Let me be very clear here: this is NOT a movie that stands up to a second viewing. At all. The historical inaccuracies are absolutely glaring (and why, why, why do they have to have TWO lovingly-lingered-over reiterations of that blasted bit of Donne? HOW STUPID do they think their audience IS?)

Oh, wait.

Really stupid.

Never mind the Irish/Cornish thing, or the... well, the whole mess, and Marke's velvet outfit, and Isolde's heart-shaped earrings that look like they were bought in India Bazaar, or the fact that Castle Dore is on the wrong side of Cornwall, or that James Franco is JUST WRONG.

And this time, despite (or perhaps because of) Sewell's beaux yeux, I could see a visible wince there in some of the nastier bits of, er, well, we'll call it dialogue.

And the tunnel. How moronic is that? You didn't NOTICE there was a big-ass tunnel in bottom of your BRAND NEW CASTLE?

splogged by compass-rose at 1:21 PM EST
Updated: 25 January 2006 8:13 PM EST
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17 January 2006
Before Romeo and Juliet, there was -- a stupid pair of kids
Tristan and Isolde, that is. (Oh, sorry, the official title has a groovy ampersand, doesn't it?)

This film spends ages trying to sell us on the true lust love between the namesake characters, and fails to clinch the deal. This is partly because the overwhelming nature of the love between them is never properly portrayed -- as it is, it might just be a fleeting combination of hot bods and Florence Nightingale syndrome -- and partly because the rival in the triangle, King Marke, comes out as so much more interesting (and overwhelmingly hot) than the squishy Tristan that one can't help thinking that any woman who wouldn't choose him is an idiot.

"Is there anything I can do... to make you happier?"

They've dumped any hint of magic and mystery from the story; the magic potion is gone (even though I fully expected it after the revelation that Isolde is skilled in herb-lore).

Instead, Tristan becomes the ward of King Marke of Cornwall after an Irish raid kills his family. The Irish, despite seeming not much less ragtag than the Britons to look at, hold an unholy sway over the Picts, Angles and Saxons, demanding tribute and boating over at intervals to slice up the natives. (The Irish are visibly evil because they all look weaselly, as opposed to the Britons, who possess a really unfair number of longhaired and decorative young warriors. The British traitor is plainly marked by his similarly weaselly demeanour.)

King Marke is desperately trying to pull all the squabbling barons together to stand against the Hibernian threat, but every time he gets them all in one spot, the traitor mentioned above betrays the gathering, and the Irish boat over to wreck the party. (How this is accomplished, in the days before shortwave radio, is never fully explained, but it's only one of the anachronisms of the production.)

Tristan is his main champion (to the distress of Marke's sister's son, who feels slighted). When a bunch of Cornish women are captured by the Irish and taken off for Unspeakable Purposes, Tristan comes up with a brilliant(?) guerrilla plan to save them. In this insignificant little scuffle in the forest, he's wounded by Morholt, the vicious Irish champeen who poisons his blades, but he kills Morholt as well. Sadly, Morholt's anachronistic poison (ol' Morholt also chomps on yohimbine, to "make a hard man harder", speaking of temporal and geographical anomalies) causes Tristan to fall into a deathlike sleep, and his comrades send him off in a burning barge.

Fortunately, the waves (presumably) douse the flames, and ol' Tris gets washed up on the Irish shore, conveniently close to where the king's daughter Isolde is wandering, mourning over her fate (which is to be the carrot given to Morholt for services rendered).

She saves him (herb-lore) and through some sort of magical mental link, reads him John Donne (I thought at the time it sounded a little off, but didn't recognise it -- shame on me; I found out from another website. John Donne. Please. As if there weren't enough lovely ancient Irish lovesongs about in the heroic verses. Or something lusty in Latin. Preferably the original. Hah! Let's not go into the "reading" part. They both can read; how odd.) Then they shag in the little stone hut on the shore. Then Morholt is reported dead (as the ragged remains of the Irish force, contemptuously sent back to report by the Britons, return in a little shell of a boat). Isolde hastily packs Tristan off, in another little tiny boat (is Ireland really that easily accessible by water? I thought that was the reason it didn't get conquered by the roamin' Romans). Only omission? She hasn't told him her name, or who she is, because of the danger.

Back in Cornwall, nobody asks Tristan where he was, or how he came back from the dead, because he's Brooding and Mysterious (which Franco doesn't do very well) and they're just so happy to have him back (why? I don't know).

The Irish king, full of plottiness, decides, since Morholt is dead, that he'll get rid of his jade of a daughter some other way. Yes! He'll have a competition for all of that British lot, with the prize his daughter and a huuuge tract o' land, and they'll all come over and fight for her! But he'll fix the fight so that his good buddy the Traitor wins, and all will be lovely in the misted green hills.

On hearing of this, Tristan says he'll win his beloved foster father King Marke a bride, AND unite the warring countries. Good plan, says Marke, though being old and ugly (not really) and maimed (he lost a hand, saving Tristan, who doesn't, in my opinion, seem properly grateful) he fears that a young and lovely girl won't care for him.

And off goes Tristan. Isolde, sulking at being offered like a prize pig, veils her head when she sits over the lists, so he doesn't know her. She knows him, but figures he's there for her own sake. Tristan wins his way through the tournament by doughty deeds of arms; the weasel traitor wins because his fights are fixed -- and when they face each other, Tristan, despite being worn out from all the previous battles, cleans the traitor's clock. Moral: cheaters never win.

And Isolde hurtles down the stairs. "You won me!" "For another man," says Tristan, beginning a movie's worth of soggy petulance, as tears dampen his eyes.

He brings her back. Marke marries her, and falls crashingly in love, treating her with tender care. Despite that, and despite the fact that both she and Tristan know their duty in the whole mess, she's still creeping off to the ruins to get off with Mr. Pouty. Whatever. It ends with Isolde and Tristan dying, and Marke living happily ever after (though without a wife) so that was something.

Visually speaking, there's some nice Dark Ages scenery going on, nice round Celtic huts over in Ireland and wooden forts on the British side, and some splendid Irish hills, and I liked the early costumes, earthy Celtic dealies. King Marke, however, builds a somewhat anomalous stone castle, and we seem to slide gently about five centuries further on during those years, while the costumes also get kind of shaky. And there's the John Donne.

Verdict: it was entertaining in its way, but I'd have taken King Marke myself, and left Tristan to stew. And that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the story on the part of writer and film-makers.

splogged by compass-rose at 8:44 PM EST
Updated: 27 January 2006 4:27 PM EST
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