Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't see so much of her these days. If I was a movie star, how easy would it be for me to give up when my ratings began to slide? Its not as if you can go back to community theatre once you have been a star.

I never got further than community theatre and I gave it up, but I can always go back to it if I can restrain trembling on stage and not forget my lines.

The thing is: should I spend a lot of what is after all our money on a gift, which I think is wonderful, for my dear wife's birthday? I love it and it is the only one like it in this world, but will she like it as much? And what if she would rather I spent that money on furniture or draperies? I bet there were whole departments in Shelfridge's or Harrod's called "Furniture and Draperies".

I only remember the horror of going shopping in those stores with my mother. Now I am strictly a commando shopper. I might window shop for a while knowing that I will not buy on first sight. Then I promise myself that if I really want something I will drag myself back to the store. I take great pleasure in walking in, finding a clerk and saying "I want sixty one of those".

Must run.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'll be there soon, although there won't be quite so much water. It is hot there. Eighty one degrees today so I will keep my shorts and sandals and beach attire.
Cathy and I went to her hairdresser last night. He gave me one of the best cuts I have ever had for ten dollars. He was in New York with a bunch of models and a photographer when the twin towers collapsed. Fearing a chemical attack, they taped up the windows and decided to carry on with the shoot anyhow. After several hours they emerged onto a street covered in dust to the astonishment of firemen and police.
He said that everywhere there were something angels, the people who normally run neighbourhood watch. It took them five hours to get out to Connecticut by train. At each station there were emergency crews ready to help evacuees.
Last week an electricity substation blew up here in Toronto. About a thousand people had to be evacuated and rehoused. Some people from my agency helped, although I refused to volunteer as my feet were still bothering me.
One of them told us that most people left in slippers or their bare feet. Hundreds needed shoes. A local bowling alley supplied their entire stock.
She said that she was told that after 9/11, people walked out of Manhattan over bridges. The bridges were later littered with thousands of pairs of shoes, as women could not walk far in heels and even men's city shoes turned out to be poor walking shoes.
Although not relevant, there is a shoe museum here in Toronto, housed in a wonderfully modern building, (did they mean to make it resemble some deconstructed shoe box?). It was financed by Bata a shoe company that had a whole community on some river East of here. I first heard of them because, when we had an influx of Tibetan refugees, Bata offered to house and employ them.
The Bata factory has now closed and Mr Bata's widow is trying to create a community of retirees in the village created for those factory- cobblers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The other day, I was writing a review of "No Country for Old Men" and I was trying to express the way I felt about films in general, by saying that they owed more to nineteenth century opera than to novels and plays. I have just found a quote by Stanley Kubrick that says it much better:

"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.
"If the film stirs the emotions and penetrates the subconscious of the viewer, if it stimulates, however inchoately, his mythological and religious yearnings and impulses, then it has succeeded."

This is why I found the Coen brothers film insensitive and the Anderson film "There Will Be Blood" brilliant.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Apart from being partially down tonight, Knol is great.

Went to work by train twice so far. I don't think I'll ever go by bus and subway again. Too depessing. I dreamed of expensive, opulent palace apartments where the elite lived, while the peasants knew nothing about them. Woke briefly and thought that we lived like the elite in the dream and used to live like the peasants.

Also recently a very powerful dream in which I was watching a film I was familiar with. A man like Denholm Eliot was falling in love with a woman he had just slept with. Earlier he had offended another woman who had hired his lover to make love to him. She, the lover, was about to tell him that she had been hired so that the first woman's revenge would be complete.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My favourite city and my favourite actor. Both a while ago.

Filling in some spare time at work and happy not to be on a notebook. However expensive they are, they are always a bit of a nuisance compared to a desktop, which is still a close relative of the clunky old typewriters of my youth. For a short while I had my own golf ball Selectric. What a machine that was!

When I fancied myself as a writer, I had this theory that the writing tools had an effect on style. Hence quills, fountain pens, BB pencils, portable typewriters and Selectrics each produced distinctive and different work. I used to love to write in long hand with a good ball point. Now arthritis sets in too fast.

Knol rolls out today. It looks like Wikipedia with ads. Perhaps the novels of the future will incorporate targeted ads. There are some who think that advertising has ruined the world. I always feel that if they need to advertise something, I don't really need it. I am a bit of a cantankerous Luddite, I suppose, however God bless Spellcheck.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This is such a great portrait once again borrowed from flickr.

Now we each have a computer, well Cathy and I share this notebook, which my brother gave me in France at my nephew's wedding. It was a rather delayed sixtieth birthday present from both my brothers orchestrated by my dear younger one.

William has just bought himself a Viao, David already has a Mac and Matthew, with the whole of the third floor, has plenty of room for the Dell desktop.

I am very happy with this very wide Samsung except for two things. I can get round the awkwardness of the touch pad with Back, Forward and Up and Down buttons, but there is no keyboard way of closing a window. The other thing is that it is too easy to press Caps Lock by mistake. I am a two finger typist and seldom look up at the screen.

Another restful weekend. We are still living out of boxes, although the kitchen and bathrooms are unpacked. We left a lot of our beaten up furniture behind, so, for example, the TV rests on two boxes of unshelvable books.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Alfred Sisley

Strangely satisfying. A pity that I cannot get a clearer picture of it.

End of a long week. Cathy, William and Melissa out shopping, possibly for some furniture at Costco. Matthew, probably exhausted, upstairs. The house even all disorganised, with unopened boxes everywhere, is lovely.

Transport in and out of the city has been somewhat hectic, but last night I had to stay at the hospital with PG, who was a flight risk, until seven fifteen, so I had missed the last 110B from Islington and I was forced to go to the GO train. It turned out to be a great way of getting home and did it again tonight getting home at 4.45.

I would like to retrace the route of the bus, take photos and post them on the net. So many dead factories, the grim Ministry of Security and the Correctional Institute, and the abandoned steel works among others. Joddie's Restaurant carved out of an old motor repair shop in the middle of it all.

At six in the morning it all seemed a bit depressing and would linger in my mind all day. Today I was woken three minutes earlier by the cat and got the streetcar all the way into town,

Despite these difficulties I still managed to have breakfast at Starbuck's and salute the tamarisk every day.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another tamarisk, not the one I love, but similar.

I just liked this tree.

Typing away on my laptop, er, excuseme, my notebook. Two doctors this week gave me a clean bill of health, or natural deficiencies for a man of my age. The big move this week end. The way I see it, even if our house loses its value, our mortgage will be like a rental payment which is actually an investment. We have become so accustomed to paying a certain amount every month that paying the same amount will matter little whatever the value of the house. And we love it.
Years ago I played in a canoe just like this, falling repeatedly into tropical water to the delight of sweet, smiling, short lived kids. Given the mortality in that region, most of those children will have grown, had children of their own and already died, while I, a denizen of the first world, live on unharmed.

this map of world inflation rates fascinates me. Despite my son's explanations, I cannot understand how inflation can be so different in sometimes neighbouring countries and aren't we moving towards a global economy?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

So. Linda came over today. We rented a van yesterday to move our broken couch over to David's, but he decided at the last moment that he did not want it. He woke out of a dream and babbled about mysterious forces of which we did not know enough and I was seriously frightened that sleeplessness had made him insane. It turned out fine as he was practically dreaming when awake as I frequently do. Nothing to worry about too much, although his incessant watching of documentaries on Utube does disturb us somewhat. Anyway, so we had the van. I took a forty year old chest of drawers to my work and Matthew "borrowed" the van to move his couch to a friend's house. Not a very eventful weekend although we laughed a lot at "My Cousin Vinny" on AMC. Foot hurts more than ever, but may improve soon.

Friday, July 4, 2008

This is a movie star, although I don't know who she is.

The rest have been lining up in "my pictures" all borrowed from igoogle selection of Flickr pictures.

One of the new layout features puts a tiny frame around pictures, so I no longer need to go in and edit a space between them each time I post. It's Friday again at last and a weekend of packing up lays ahead, but we have done quite a bit and surrounded by boxes we are doing quite well. Another delightful day with MT. We wrestled briefly over her determination to stop TA from giving me those delicious soft centred boiled sweets. My feet are very tender and am pleased to be going to the chiropodist in the morning. No news is good news, I guess.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My wife and sons like to have showers.

I have to have a bath. For a start, I can't reach my feet standing up and, as I am tall, the shower nozzle is almost always level with my shoulders. I like a good long soak with something wordy and intelligent on the radio. That way I frequently fall asleep to be woken by the water getting too cold. It's getting so that I can barely heave myself out of the bath and I am thinking of getting one of those sit baths with a convenient door, which they swear is water proof. Perhaps I should get a hoist instead.

Slept poorly last night as fireworks for Canada Day kept us awake and then I had napped too long during the day. We are now surrounded by boxes wherever we go. When we moved here eleven years ago the movers put everything in the sitting room and it seems that we lived out of those boxes for more than a month.

The dock is in the Maldives.