Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in it's own way.
  - opening line of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Interesting thought.  Does it apply to individuals in the same way?  Maybe what makes each person an individual is his or her own unhappiness and in our happiness we all become alike.  Does it mean happiness is universal?  Does that explain why depression is isolating, but people look to gather during the happiest moments?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Father’s Day Walk/Run

I'm walking in the Annual Father's Day Walk/Run to support Prostate Cancer Canada again this year.  I'd very much appreciate it if you'd consider sponsoring me.

Father’s Day Walk/Run

Random Odds & Ends: A study of me

I'm shorter than average.  Maybe petite.
I think I need to lose 20-40 pounds.
Maybe then I'll be petite.
I read.  A LOT.
I sing to the radio in the car. (And at home.  And ... )
I remember nearly every lyric to nearly every song I've ever known.
I like movies and TV.  Even the cheesy stuff.
I'm an only child.  But I wasn't really spoiled.  There were just advantages to having no brothers/sisters.
I have some really good friends.  Most of whom I don't actually see often enough.
I'm a homebody.  It's easier to read that way.
I like to write.  I had some talent at it in school, but I haven't practiced enough as an adult.
My inner critic/censor is far too outspoken.
I'd like to write a novel that gets published, but doubt that will ever happen. (see above.)
I talk back to the TV.  And to DJs on the radio.
I talk to myself.  And I answer.
I watch entertainment television, but mainly for the moments that prove celebrities are just regular people.
I'm not quick to jump on trends, but when I decide I like something, I'm loyal.
If I can't respect a person or their actions, I probably can't respect their art.
I'm almost 40.
I feel like that can't possibly be my age.
My favourite book is Gone With the Wind.  The movie's good too, but only because of the book.
I'm blonde.
I'm partially bionic.  Or ceramic, it depends on who you ask.
Sometimes I'm a bitch.
I'm not really a people person.
I work in customer service.
I don't dislike children, but I can only take them in small doses and small groups.
Babies are cute when you can give them back.
I'm partially Dutch.  And I look it.
I'll never achieve most of my dreams.
Whatever.  No, seriously... Whatever.
I'm Canadian.  That means I'm unnecessarily polite to most strangers.
Unless you're stupid.  Then I'll grumble about it under my breath which you hopefully won't hear.
I'm non-confrontational.
Unless I can send you an email when your customer service is crappy.
I've never punched anyone.  But I've wanted to.
I've been depressed.
I'd never commit suicide.  There are two reasons for that.
I'm very opinionated.
If you reason with me, I might change my mind.
I'm observational to the point of being shy.
My musical taste is eclectic and varied.
I like history.  But not my own.
I have some self-image issues that I've never gotten over.
But I fake it, so most people can't tell.
I'm usually pretty smart.
Sometimes I play dumb.
I like the sun.  But I burn really easily.
Choco-holic.  That's me.
I don't really swim.
I love the stars, but I can't point out any constellations.
I have a tattoo.  Most people will only ever see it accidentally.
I might not tell you what I'm actually thinking.
I don't like to make decisions unless I feel really strongly about one of the choices.
I'm probably a geek.  Or a nerd.  Or a dork.  (What's the difference anyhow?)
Maybe I'm adorkable?
I like Star Trek.
I'm not opposed to Star Wars.
If I were Penny, I'd probably date Leonard in a second.
Most of the time, I don't really like my job.  Not the work, the job.
I do like my coworkers.  Most of the time.
I'm perpetually single.  Mostly, I'm okay with that.  Except when I think about the way, way future.
I like my independence.
I'd like a new career.  Anybody know anyone?
I'm good at what I do.
I generally don't like to talk about myself, which makes interviewing difficult.
I like blue/black/purple.  And yellow.
I like spring.  And fall.
Thunderstorms are fun when I'm safe at home.  Same with snowstorms but add a fireplace and a good book.
I figure skated as a kid, but I've only been on skates about twice since I quit taking lessons.
Knitting is one of my hobbies.
I have a cat.
The two things above put me on the road to being a crazy cat lady.
I love the scenery of Scotland and Ireland, but I've never been there.
I admire people who are brutally honest because I care too much what people think of me.
My handwriting sucks.
I wish I had to hand write things more often.
I talk to the computer as if it can listen to me and do what I tell it to do.
Spell check is making us all illiterate.
I h8 txt speak.
I believe that if we didn't sanitize everything people would have less allergies and illness.
I wish I was calmer.
My favourite food is chicken.  Or pizza.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It's chocolate.
I'd like to take yoga more regularly.
I'd like to be good at it.
I wish my life was something other than mediocre.
I shouldn't complain; it might not be fabulous, but it's also not horrible.
I don't like roller coasters.  Or heights.
I've only flown 8 times (4 trips.)
I enjoyed Las Vegas and want to go back.
I have many travel plans, but no money to enact them.
I don't like math, but I was good at it in school.
Seeing people I knew in high school makes me feel awkward, as if I need to be the person I was then.
I don't like the person I was then.  I've changed.
I'm not a girly-girl.
I like getting my nails done.
I've been to Europe - Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France and England.
I really want to go back.
I've never been farther west in Canada than Ontario.
I've never been to the West Coast of the US.  But I've been to every state on the East coast.
I used to be totally afraid of scary movies.  But now I love them.
English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Australian accents are awesome.
There are some people who could read me the phone book and I would be happy just to hear them speak.
I like old movies, but it's a relatively new things, so I have a lot of catching up to do.
I'm bad at creating healthy habits for myself.
I like to wear skirts/dresses, but often feel uncomfortable in them.
Skorts were an awesome invention.
I have 8 holes pierced in my ears.
8 is my lucky number.  So far it hasn't been that lucky.
I'm the only person in my extended family who still has naturally blonde hair as an adult.
I own my car and my condo.  They're not much, but they're mine.
I like trying to fix/build things.
My biggest fear is dying alone.
I've never smoked a cigarette.
I have a BA and a college degree.  Neither of them seems to do me much good.
I'm creative, but not very artistic.
Sometimes I stare at nothing.  It freaks people out.
I like words.  The bigger the better.
I'm good at spelling.
I don't know how to properly structure a sentence, I just know how to make them sound right.
I used to be a pop culture junkie.
I hope there's something great waiting for me.  Sometime.
Compliments freak me out.  I never know how to respond.
At work I regularly thank people for things that don't require thanking.
I have an addictive personality.
All of my grandparents (including one step-) have passed away.
Sometimes I envy people with big families.  Most of the time I don't.
I almost always have a book with me.
I don't have a favourite flower.  Should I?
I don't like salad, but I eat it because it's good for me.
It regularly confuses people that I work in an arena, but I don't like hockey.
I don't really get current politics, because it's not really about politics.
I almost always (one exception) think the book is better than the movie.
People who post nothing but inspirational quotes on Facebook are annoying.
Sometimes I get so attached to characters in a book, that I feel extremely sad when it's over.
I say I'm tired, but I'm usually just bored.
When I'm bored, it's probably because I'm too lazy to do anything.
I try my best to be good to the environment.
I need to drink more water.
I doubt anyone will actually read this.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gatsby ... the great?

I've often commented that a movie will never, and can never, be better than the book upon which it is based.  But, in one particular instance, I have been proven wrong.

To start at the beginning, I never had to read The Great Gatsby in school.  I'm not sure how I missed it, or it me, whichever, but somehow it was never required reading in my English classes.  So, a few years ago, I decided to try to catch up on all those books that somehow I managed to avoid in school, Gatsby obviously being on that list.  Considering the general reception the novel is greeted with, I understandably had expectations.  I don't think that I've ever heard anyone say anything against it, never mind finding someone who didn't like it.  That, it seemed, would be almost like heresy.

As I read though, I became more and more frustrated.  Nothing about the characters made me like any of them.  And the language made them all so ... I don't know, pretentious?  I understand that there is a point to that impression, but I felt at least the narrator should have gotten some favourable impression from me.  Thankfully, the book is short, and I finished it with relief, becoming the only person I know who could say they honestly disliked it.  I felt it was a waste of my time having read it, except to be able to say that I had.  Even with a fluffy romance novel, I end up with a feeling of having enjoyed it, even if I don't take anything meaningful away from the experience.  I couldn't say that for Gatsby.  I was actually so disappointed, that I struck F. Scott Fitzgerald from the list of authors that I ever wanted to read.

Flash forward about a year, when I learn that Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in an adaptation of the book.  I enjoy Leo - I have since his first appearance on Growing Pains, with only a minor pause during the Titanic trend.  (I liked the movie, but not the hype and freakishness that went with it.)  Anyway, I believe I probably audibly groaned when I found out about the Gatsby movie, knowing that I'd have to see it, considering the star.   I guess my only hope was that I might get a little more something out of the story than I had initially.

So, this past weekend, I saw the film. In 3D.  In typical Baz Luhrmann fashion, the images were breathtaking, the colours and spectacle made perfect sense in the framework of the story. (The music was a bit incongruous and out of time, but dealable.)  Everything was that bit over the top that excellently illustrated the excess of the lifestyle being portrayed, and I walked out of the theatre with a much better understanding of the character of Gatsby than I expected.  From the book, I just felt the behaviour was selfish and self-indulgent, but from the movie, I grasped something else, a vulnerability, a need to please that I hadn't noticed before.  All the roles were well-played, and made much more sense for me in the movie than the book, perhaps because I could see the emotions (or lack there-of) where in the book I had to make it up for myself.  With no sense of relation to any of the characters, I found that impossible.

I have started re-reading the novel now, while the film images are still fresh in my mind, because I hope to be able to take something more from it than I did the first time.  But I do need to applaud Baz Luhrmann for the interpretation/adaptation that has created an appreciation of this story in me.  And for casting Leo in it because with another actor, I may not have made the effort of seeing it.  He will likely always be the image of Jay Gatsby that I see.