Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I had the pleasure today of being entertained by the Laila Biali Trio. She was commisioned by the CBC to produce her latest disc, From Sea to Sky, which is a selection of 10 songs by Canadian songwriters that she arranged and covered, plus her own original composition, Radiance. Her version of Feist's Secret Heart and Sarah MacLachlan's Ice Cream are fantastic.
I'd never heard of her before but she's got quite the bio per her MySpace page, including being named “SOCAN Composer of the Year” and “Keyboardist of the Year” at the Canadian National Jazz Awards in 2005. She's toured with Grammy Award winning artists including Chris Botti, Paula Cole, and Suzanne Vega, and is also frequently invited to teach at Stanford University’s summer jazz workshop.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
It was love at first read with Susan Glaspell's Fidelity as well, which was why I wanted to read Brook Evans...but like Jeffrey Eugenides before her, this second date was a disappointment.
From Persephone Books' site:
The second Susan Glaspell novel we publish was the first-ever book published on the newly-launched Victor Gollancz list. Its description of the effects of two lovers' brief happiness on succeeding generations parallels Fidelity's focus on the immediate effects of an unsanctioned love affair : we see Naomi trying, misguidedly, to ensure that at least her daughter Brook (conceived beside a brook twenty years before) can be true to her passionate nature.
Like DH Lawrence, whose Lady Chatterley's Lover was also published in 1928, Susan Glaspell believed that society should respect the effects of passion instead of valuing it far less than the forces of respectability and economic security.A film of Brook Evans, The Right to Love, was made in 1931, the year Susan Glaspell won the Pulitzer Prize for her play 'Alison's House'.
While Fidelity felt dense (in a good way) and provocative, Brook Evans felt tired and irksome. I was annoyed and unsympathetic towards the characters - particularly the title character - quite honestly, because of their piety. While I don't expect to relate to all the characters in my books, nor like them all, I do expect to feel sympathy for them, or why bother reading? But there was none, save for Naomi, Brook's mother, who I felt for in Book 1. As the novel moved forward in time though, I just felt pity for her.
Maybe I wasn't reading it with the right frame of mind because I almost didn't want to finish it. I felt I should only because I liked Fidelity so very much and hoped that this second book would redeem itself but the end seemed hasty and sloppy...predictable even.
And to think I stayed up late past midnight last night to finish it. Booo.
Maybe I'll be able to catch him when I'm across the pond next spring if he happens to be touring?? Here's to hoping....In the meantime, check out the the video for Officially Yours below:
And here he is in Rise and Fall with Sting:
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Anyway, S was at S&W's wedding party a few weeks ago and the interest to set us up again was revived. Something was supposed to be arranged for next week but it was sort of pushed up a week so that we ended up sort of meeting again last night over a karaoke mic in Koreatown.
Now, karaoke isn't exactly the most conducive environment in which to get to know someone, particuarly when both of the people involved are shy by varying degrees...and there was little to no alcohol involved to provide a little Dutch courage...so I'd have to say that last night was a bust. We'll see if the original intent to re-introduce us in a more chatty environment, like say, over dinner, materializes next week.
And on a random note, after a late night out singing, I stayed over at S&W's since S and I had plans for a run this morning. We were walking by her neighbour's front yard when I spied these purple flower-balls below and remarked aloud about how I liked them because they looked so wild:
I didn't know what they were called and I didn't see the neighbour because he was hiding behind the foilage of the trees in his yard, but he heard me and called out that they were called alliums. So now I know. :)
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Let's start with the first one of the day which was committed by the summer co-op student who reports to me. I arrived at work today to find my new business cards waiting for me - my company is going through a re-branding exercise - and the kid actually had the gall to ask where his business cards were. Um. Let's see. You're a summer student. You're here for 2.5 months, and you think you get business cards? Who has a sense of entitlement? I didn't say all of that word for word, but I just made a statement of fact that as a summer student, he doesn't get business cards. Then the kid says, my friend's company is taking him off-site to Montreal. Well good for your friend. Too bad you work for a company that took you out for a welcome lunch and a beer on your first day and on your third day, subjected you to an all-company off-site in which you had to spend the morning being entertained by a famous comic-turned-actor who served as MC and the afternoon playing games instead of on your ass in front of the computer. Boo hoo for you.
OK...in hindsight, this rant seems an over-reaction, but there was always something about co-op boy that bugged me...even when I was debating whether or not to hire him...and I finally put my finger on it last night. He's smug, with no reason to be and I'm beginning to think that I made the wrong decision and should have hired co-op girl instead. I have a feeling this kid is going to piss me off.
The next CLM is a more serious one...one that probably won't have immediate effects but I'm sure it will at some point come back and bite Crepes Suzette in the butt because it was so unprofessional and selfish: We have monthly meetings for our group minus our senior leadership and in these meetings, we take turns facilitating and leading the discussions. In this particular meeting Crepes essentially owned the agenda since she was co/leading both discussions. Some of the group wanted to go out for lunch but she said if we were going out she wasn't going to come because she had a meeting afterwards. Ahem. Her meeting, which was initially scheduled to be immediately after ours was actually pushed back to accomodate us going out for lunch by her manager but she still complained about how she had to prep for the meeting. As if the 30 extra minutes was really going to make that much of a difference.
So because of her selfishness, our admin had to scramble and order pizza for our lunch meeting, which she arrived over 30 minutes late to because she claimed she didn't know we had changed rooms. I had to go to reception and ask that they call her to tell her what room we were in.
Let's see - as faciliator, I had sent out the agenda last week via email with a note for the change in meeting rooms, and our admin had sent an updated meeting request with the room change this morning, so to say you didn't know there was a change in venue is lame because everyone else knew where to be and when to be there - and it's not like she didn't see us all leaving to go to the meeting because we all sit together in the same area.
And after going on in the weeks leading up to the meeting about how she's on the entire agenda and "that's how it should be," she proceeded to sit there at times sullen and spaced out and largely uncommunicative. And then she up and left the meeting before it was officially over without a word, when more senior members of the team were still there and running late to their own meetings which actually started immediately after ours was supposed to end.
To her I say, "Sit your ass DOWN."
Perhaps it's mean of me to feel this way but her behaviour actually fills me with a bit of glee because she's been so petty towards me of late. I thought we were friends, but I feel like ever since it was announced that I was going to be managing the co-op she's been giving me the cold shoulder and intentionally rude and unhelpful because she feels that she is entitled to the opportunity because she's older than I am. She actually had the nerve once (admittedly she was drunk and rather belligerent) to tell me I had to show her respect because she was older than me. Ha. Respect needs to be earned, and if you're talking out of your ass, which she was, then I think you better sit down.
I was swamped with work at one point and after she came back from a 2.5 hour lunch break during which she went and got a mani/pedi I asked if she could please help me with something and she had the nerve to say that she couldn't because there was something she had to finish for one of our executives. And when I asked her last week to forward me links to files she had worked on so I could review them in preparation for co-op boy's start, she took her sweet time doing so because she was so busy working on something that was clearly non-priority since it was related to our off-site.
And ya, this sounds self-righteous, but I'm glad I took the high road and carried on in a professional manner because her crappy attitude is coming through loud and clear. Crepes Suzette will be getting her just desserts...it's just a matter of time.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The books are £10 each or £27 for three so I gave her a short list of 5 - 3 plus 2 alternates in case one of my top 3 wasn't available, never thinking that she'd buy all of them for me as presents, particularly as she finds them "a bit boring and wonder why such an intelligent sexy woman like yourself should be reading about 19th century women." ;)
The new additions to my library include: Mariana (PB#2), Someone at a Distance (PB#3), Consequences (PB#13), Every Eye (PB#18) and Brook Evans (PB#26).
Monday, June 16, 2008
If you're ever in the mood for some business strategy, this is a quick read with some interesting case studies, including ones on Nike, Bausch and Lomb, and Dun & Bradstreet, and talks about how companies should focus on their core business in order to grow.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
When I first thought about my bedroom, I imagined the walls purple:
And then I thought maybe I'd go softer with a more muted grey-blue:
And then I saw Sex and the City and this palette looks so much more bright and lively:
What do you think?
Carrie's re-designed apartment is amazing!! I found the image from the July issue of Traditional Home via Apartment Therapy and must now go pick up a copy at the newsstands.
I love the mirrored vanity above, and the brilliant cerulean blue on the walls....and the rug! I didn't even notice the purple rug below in the movie but I want it! I found this interview with Jeremy Conway, the movie's set designer over at CasaSugar and it can be found at The Rug Company. The design is called Overleaf by Marni:
If I really think about it, I haven't lifted a weight since I started running...and that's at least a year and half now. How crazy is that? I've done yoga classes and Bodyflow classes that have challenged my body to the point of tenderness...but my muscles have not been challenged to this extent in a really long time...and much as I complain and whine about how it hurts to get out of bed (seriously) I miss this feeling. Call me a masochist but I like the pain that comes after a hard workout because I know my body has done good for itself...and now that I've gotten a taste of the pain before the gain...I may just go back for more...
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
And now it's popping up in various rooms I've seen and loved in the blogosphere! The first time I recognized it was May 30th via Desire to Inspire:
I was browsing Supermarket and was excited to find these lovely goodies...some of which I've added to my cart. I'm debating now whether to check out since all three are prints and I'm hesitant to stock up on art when I still haven't purchased my dining furniture. sigh.
After yesterday's brutal commute - signal problems at Bloor meant my usual 40 minute ride to work stretched out to almost 2 hours! - it was nice to start my day off gently with a cup of coffee and checking my emails. Actually...all I've done is check emails and browse headlines since starting my "work day" shortly after 8...suppose I should get some work done before I have to get dressed for my ortho appointment!
Sunday, June 08, 2008
It was hot but there was a breeze at times which made it alright while I was out there running - no hint of a stitch which is unheard of for me. But by the time I got home about 30 minutes later, I felt nauseous and after drinking a glass of water my brother had to pour for me because I couldn't stand, I had to lay on the floor for a good 20 minutes before the urge to yak passed. I guess that's what it feels like to be dehydrated. Despite that, I'm glad I got out since it's been 3 weeks since I was out last.
I first read about it in MorningNewsBeat, an industry eNewsletter I subscribe to for work and picked the book up soon after and was so glad I did because it's so very inspirational - a father giving a last lecture that's really meant for his 3 young children.
The topic and timing was so very interesting because 1) my father died of cancer abroad in China when I was a child so we never had a proper goodbye as he was there for treatment and 2) I had recently found out that wL's mother, who I already knew had died of cancer, kept her illness a secret and didn't tell her children or husband who was in Hong Kong at the time until she was literally in her deathbed. wL's birthday was just around the corner and I knew that I had to give him this book as a gift because I figured if there was anyone who would appreciate this book like I did, it would be wL.
From the dust jacket:
A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”—wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.The lecture runs just over one and a quarter hours but it's funny and insightful and heartwarming, and if you are so inclined, read the book. You will not be disappointed.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
This isn't the novel I would typically choose to read. I first heard about it last summer from my now-former manager. His wife was reading it and he was compelled to read it himself. When I came across the title amongst Chapters.Indigo's Bargain Books, I decided to add it to my cart as one of the title to make up my min. $39 spend for free shipping. It was a quick read and certainly suspenseful. I'd recommend if you lean towards thrilling mysteries for your beach-time reads.
From the dust jacket:
The Interpretation of Murder opens on a hot summer night in 1909 as Sigmund Freud - already world famous and highly controversial - disembarks in New York from a steamship. With Freud is his rival Carl Jung; among those waiting to greet him is Dr. Stratham Younger, a gifted physician who is one of Freud's most ardent American supporters. And so begins the visit that will be the great genius's first - and only - journey to America
The morning after Freud's arrival, in an opulent penthouse across the city, a barely clad, beautiful woman is discovered murdered - whipped, mutilated, and strangled with a white silk tie. The next day, a rebellious heiress named Nora Acton barely escapes becoming the killer's second victim. yet the lovely Miss Acton, suffering from hysteria, cannot remember the terrifying incident or her attacker. Asked to consult on the case, Dr. Younger calls on the visiting Freud to guide him through the girl's analysis. As Younger is drawn into her story - her desire to attend college, her rich, difficult parents, her rejection of the mogul who has fallen in love with her - he comes to care deeply for this remarkable young woman, even as he discovers that she may still be in grave danger. Then Younger is pulled into another crisis: he learns of a series of bizarre events suggesting a conspiracy to ruin Freud's reputation.
Joining forces with the mayor, the city's eccentric coroner, and a young homicide detective named Jimmy Littlemore, Younger takes part in a murder investigation that reveals the divided soul of a great metropolis on the verge of a sophisticated, violent new era. The chase of the culprit leads throughout New York, from the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria to the luxurious salons of Gramercy Park, from the rising skyscrapers that seem to dot every street corner to the bottom of the East River, where labo(u)rers are working on the new Manhattan Bridge.
Friday, June 06, 2008
"You are Marianne Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a bit too brutally honest. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately."
And I suppose I'm all those things to some degree...well, all except playing the pianoforte...I can't even play chopsticks, which is something I think everyone else knows how to play but me, and according to the framed Royal Conservatory of Music certificate somewhere in the basement, I can play at the Grade 2 level. Go figure.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
If it wasn't for that gaffe, he'd be an easy pick to make. In speaking with AL, his advice was if I was going to have to handhold either way, it may be better to go with someone who'd fit into our group...and I think our first candidate may be better only because she seems to be a better communicator...but in speaking to my friends at dinner, they were all about hiring for competence and skillset because it's just a 3 month term. So...the decision's up to me.
What would you do? Hire for skillset and experience and settle for the fact that the candidate may not fit into the culture of the group, or hire for fit and settle for the fact that they may need a little more direction and guidance, keeping in mind it's just for 3 months?
But the most fun was C, who came with an agenda to set not only me but wL up. She played a good game, answering all the questions we inevitably peppered her with - I actually didn't have to do much work question-wise because E and G were all over it on my behalf. C was pretty good at selling her candidates and defending her position - although the guy she wants to set me up with likes to shop at Holt Renfrew...which is fine...except I wonder if he's high maintenance...i.e. is he vain and superficial? Assuming like attracts like, he can't be if he's best friend's with C's husband. Anyway, we'll see. We asked for pictures and what do you know, when I got home, eager C has them waiting in our inboxes! :)
Will let you know if anything comes of it...coincidentally, S asked me recently if I was still interested in being set-up with a guy that I'd actually met briefly last year who, at the time, I thought was kinda cute but over time, had forgotten what he looked like. So we'll see.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I didn't ask for the reasons why, but based on my limited exposure through training him, I'd guess that it was because of incompetence and lack of accountability and integrity.
I had a feeling something like this was going to happen after I had spoken to my manager about the situation last Friday. He said he would follow up with his Director, but before he had a chance to, I was called into another Sr. Director's office about his work product, which he, the now-fired manager, had claimed that I had reviewed, which wasn't the case precisely. Yes, I had reviewed it - twice in fact - but both times, I sent him away because the work was incomplete, and he'd tried to pass it off as if it was, perhaps thinking that I wasn't going to check it closely.
Anyway, the Sr. Director called the Director, the Director called me and then we had a little chat about what happened and now he's gone and I'm left with a little mess to clean up. sigh.
It was a quick read about a boy named Raymond and a girl named Hannah who have a one-night stand which turns into a one-week affair just before she flies off to Israel for a 9 month course at a yeshiva.
Paragraphs like this are exactly why I like reading about Toronto:
Built in the mid-sixties and reportedly a cause of several of its architects' suicides, the Robarts Library building is a grotesquerie parodying scholarship: it supposedly imitates a peacock (with a hundred vigilant eyes) but looks more like a turkey. Raymond's routine is formed by this architecture, the elevator down to the Fisher basement for his research into rare books and first editions, the narrow escalator up to the fourth floor for journal articles, the reading room where if he keeps shifting he can always find the perfect quantity of light in the afternoon. A false but persistent legend claims that the architects failed to take into account the weight of the books, and so the library is slowly sinking into the ground.
Now, I remember hearing about how Robarts looked like a peacock/turkey but could never see it until last summer, when I happened to be walking north, rather than my usual southerly direction down St. George. And the thing about the sinking library? I remember hearing the same rumour about Dana Porter Library, the Arts library at my alma mater, University of Waterloo, so I'm sure that myth must be weaved into every university's story.
The ending was ambiguous...not sure how I feel about that, not to say that every story should have a neat and tidy ending...but it seemed like a cop-out to me given how the plot unfolded.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
It was S&W's wedding party at a bar/lounge on Queen West last night and it was open bar. Needless to say, I overindulged, beginning with a glass of pinot grigio and following that with martini after martini...there was a shot that rounded out the night which I am only aware of because there's photo evidence. sigh.
After wakening, confused, I went to the bathroom where I had clearly gotten sick the night before...after cleaning up my mess, I contemplated taking a shower but decided that wasn't a good idea so changed and went back to sleep again and didn't wake up until noon. I spent some time cleaning up the house - brilliant idea while hung over, non? - and tried eating afterwards since I was a bit hungry but it didn't sit well so after praying to the porcelein goddess, I went back to bed again. I woke up again around 4 and was only just able to stomach food.
wL was my date/DD and I remembered telling him the 2 stories I learned earlier in the day in my mandarin class on our drive tot he party, both of which were very a propos given the events of the day.
The first is the story of the origin of the Chinese character, Double Happiness, which is symbolic of weddings. There once was a poor scholar-poet named Wang An Shi who was travelling from afar to Beijing to write the Imperial exams. He happened to stop in a town in which lived a very prosperous family with an intelligent daughter who was doted on by her parents. So much so that her parents indulged her in her wish to marry someone she deemed intelligent enough for her. Her test came in the form of an incomplete rhyming couplet which was traditionally hung outside the entrances of homes. She wrote the first couplet and vowed that she would marry the man who completed the couplet in a satisfactory manner.
Wang An Shi took up the challenge and in so doing, succeeded in winning her hand. But he did not marry her. Instead, he proceeded to Beijing to sit the exams and after coming out the top of his class and thereby raising his family's status and riches, he returned to the town to marry the girl he had won. It was on that night that he created the character Double Happiness, the first happiness he was celebrating was his passing the Imperial exams and bringing honour to his family, and the second happiness was his good fortune in marrying a girl of wealth and intelligence.
The second story was related to the narrative of our latest lesson, which has to do with a drunk boyfriend. Our teacher was telling us that in Chinese culture, drinking doesn't have the same negative connotations as it does in Western culture - the belief is that the truth will out under the influence of alcohol and the acid test for trustworthiness is whether or not someone is willing to get drunk with you because this proves that they have nothing to hide.
I've clearly been practicing this, at least one-sidedly since I have only ever gotten completely trashed with people I know and trust who I know won't take advantage of my vulnerability. Anyway, this is my irrational way of saying that wL is someone I trust to take care of me, and he's apparently willing to take on that responsibility of friendship, even when given an out.
So, thank you again, wL, for being such a good friend.