Thursday, May 27, 2010

political post

an unrelated random post. mainly coz ive had a few drinks and that always makes me rambly. usually resulting in retarded, yet hilarious, drunken emails. and i had commented that thank god facebook wasnt around during my drunken years coz i'd be inundated with drunken fb notes! haha! and now i must comment that thank god i also didnt have a blog during my drunken years or i'd also be inundated with drunken blog posts!!! haha! altho i gotta admit this is far from from a drunken post, more of a buzzed post!! haha!

what to say? i had an awesome fundraiser for a friend running for city councillor Mary Fragedakis which awesomely included drinks with your ticket price!! well i just had to take advantage of that!! haha! and it was worth coz it led to great conversations with my fellow NDP-ers about shit we'd never gotten to during our many meetings! please note meetings are not good for getting to know people!! too much business to take care of! and coz of a recent training some of them had, we've realized its important in a political movement to hear each others stories! it reminds us of why we're there!! and bonds us!! and its the best way to reach out to the community!! so coz of that i was asked about my story and i've thought about it and am still a bit baffled as to how i came to be an NDP-er?! ive been voting that way since i could vote. so it was something in my upbringing and my friendships that brought that out. upbringing... i am the daughter of parents raised in communist yugoslavia. i was also born there, but lived here in toronto since i was 4. now my parents are soooo a-typical of any group you may pick to associate them with its unbelievable. they are both engineers, but not typical, they are former-yugoslavians but not typical, they are croatians but not typical. god knows what else. but they are smart and intelligent and maybe they realized and instilled what was good about communism into me and my brother? coz not all of it was good, but to say there was nothing good isnt accurate either. and friends. friends must've had a huge influence too. coz guess what?! most are left-wing minded!! and even if not as far as NDP in their politics, in their everyday lives they are caring and generous and compassionate. as are my parents. maybe thats what influenced me most. being surrounded by people who are generous and compassionate to everyone they know and I, and maybe they, have taken that further to include people beyond our immediate circle of family and friends, to include others in our world. yes... OUR world. it belongs to all of us at the same time, we all affect it, and are all affected by it. lets acknowledge that and maybe we'll all shift our thinking!! :)))

Friday, May 14, 2010

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

wow. wow. wow. wow. Kay does not disappoint. well he has. in the past. but definitely not this time. wow. not this time at all. i just finished Under Heaven a few minutes ago. wow. he is back in fine form! fine form indeed!! sigh :))))) ..... sooo good!!

he is such an amazing writer! simply fucking amazing!!! i find myself rereading sentences. catching my breath as i read them the first time, a spike of emotion felt inside. some sentences are simply beautiful, or shocking, or even acutely insightful. and you feel floored. by their beauty, by their revelation, by their insight. wow.

and then the story. the great, intricately spun story he creates. spun. yes spun. i’ve heard that word used in conjunction with story writing and have dismissed it as literary affectation. but he truly spins and weaves (his website is accurately named!!) the most elaborate and detailed, and yes, even delicate of stories. so many interconnections, so many pleasant surprises, so many nuances.

and since he bases his stories on key historical periods, he performs massive amounts of research prior to writing. and i’ve noticed in this book especially, but also in the Sarantine Mosaic, he has formed some opinions and understanding of how history is recorded, which he oh-so-cleverly discusses within his novels as beautiful asides.

this time it was 8th century Tang Dynasty China, “shifted a quarter-turn to become [Kay’s] Kitai” to quote a Globe and Mail reviewer who so accurately described Kay’s way of creating settings. you can read more about the plot there. i’m not here to summarize but to fawn over Kay’s gloriousness!!! hahaha! :))))))

i wasn’t sure how keen and excited i was about his new book. Ysabel was great, but not Kay-level great. The Last Light of the Sun was also a bit disappointing. neither were like Tigana, The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Sarantine Mosaic or A Song for Arbonne. those are simply masterpieces. god that word is not enough to describe them!! they are the equivalent of the seven wonders of the world when it comes to books!! they have the beauty and complexity of humanity’s most treasured creations!!!

so i approached this book with some wariness, but after talking with a friend and fellow Kay fanatic we both agreed pretty soon into the book that this was IT. this one was back to greatness! greatness!!! yay!! sigh. :))))))

ach. what else is there to say. i find myself gazing at the book with fondness as it sits here beside me. absently stroking it with my finger tips. yeah it is THAT good!!!

something else i realized as i was reading this book. i am absolutely, positively fascinated by the complexities of human interactions that occur in court intrigue!! i dont know if we have anything equivalent today in our governments, but i think not. historical courts had a subtlety we are lacking today, maybe for the better that we do. but i am completely fascinated by that and love reading about it!!! Kay offers it up beautifully but so does Jacqueline Carey in her Kushiel series, and so does one of my favourite books, Illusion by Paula Volsky. oh... also just watched a great movie that shows that intricacy as well. it’s called Curse of the Golden Flower and it’s a chinese/hong kong production with Chow Yun-fat in it, and is inspired by Tang Dynasty China (yea... i watched it coz of Under Heaven!! haha!) altho from what i read, not quite historical, more fictional. but it totally portrayed the complexities and secrets of court life!! Gong Li as the empress was fantastic!!

i guess the final, most specific thing i’ll say, which almost all his books have.... that climactic, utterly heart-wrenching moment. a truly, truly heart-wrenching moment. he does this so well. something tragic happens to a character you know, respect, maybe even love. and you are of course devastated. but its not simple sadness you’re feeling? its... hmmm... world-changing. you can’t help but see what this means for that world. what it means to you as part of that world oh-so-temporarily. the impacts that tragedy will have, both negative and positive. and yet the inevitability of it as well in some ways. and even the acceptance of it at times. and so it all comes into this embroiled mess of emotions you feel, the profound sadness, the shock, the realization of what it means, and of how it came to be. and you are sad yet calm somehow. and sit there in simple awe.

[ ps. i’m gonna add a link on the top there to some of my past Guy Gavriel Kay raves!! :))) ]

Guy Gavriel Kay reading!!!

this was a while ago but i’m gonna post an entry about his book so thought this deserved a separate entry! on Thurs, April 15 i went to go see Guy Gavriel Kay, one of the greatest authors ever, do a reading at the Toronto Reference Library!! lemme expand on his title of ‘one of the greatest authors ever’ ;) .... out of all the tons of novels i’ve read, and out of all the ones i’ve loved, objectively speaking he is one of the best!! coz there’s other books i’ve loved as much as his, and maybe more, but there was often a personal reason that the book spoke to me loudly and made me love it. or it was a very specific genre or type of story i know doesnt appeal to everyone. but Kay’s great books i feel are soooo objectively good, they are just simply amazing pieces of writing that have to be revered no matter who you are and what type of stories you like!! in my humble opinion of course!! haha! (ps. i am not using IMHO!! that is just toooo annoying an acronym!!)

so we got there, and i came with some fellow Kay fans. and one of my friends friend was there with another couple of Kay fans... and can i just say i was in heaven!! babbling and babbling about this and that about his books etc!!! haha! soooo fun to talk “shop” with fellow fanatics!! hahaha! about one of my favourite topics!!! hahahha! soooo awesome!!

and here’s a pic from him doing the reading. he thankfully reads from early parts of the book so there arent any spoilers! :) and i gotta say i had so-so lukewarm feelings about the reading but loved the interview after!!! loved to hear some of his thoughts about writing!! and he brought up how he liked the globe & mail reviewer’s description of his setting... a historical period shifted a quarter-turn to become Kay’s fictional world. and one thing he said that really struck me... he said that he doesnt like outlining his whole book before he starts. that he just likes to sit down and just start writing. and that struck me coz i sometimes feel he almost “engineers” his plots!??! like soooo many details, and so many tiny ones, come together at the end?!?! it feels like that can only happen with careful planning?!?! so i asked him about it when i got his autograph and mentioned i was surprised to hear that. and he said what happens is he just writes and writes until about 2/3 of the way into the book, then at that point sits down to figure out how to tie up the plot. interesting!! and goddamn he does it SO well!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

well i just watched New Moon, and i must admit i sat down to watch it with some reluctance. i had watched the first Twilight and thought it was ok then watched the youtube video edit of Buffy kicking Edward’s ass (check it out here) and realized how much i enjoyed seeing Edward get his ass handed to him. and realize actually he is fucking creepy and stalkery and frankly not attractive!! and Bella seemed kinda wussy, kinda whiny, kinda depressed. and i realized i was tired of the standard human girl, vampire guy scenario. a scenario of the ultimate “older guy”. so all in all i was not enthused about this second one. but i knew i had to watch it coz i love the genre and knew it would be a decently done movie.

and now i must also admit.... frankly i’m impressed and fairly in love with the movie!!!! haha! who would’ve known! 1.... its really well done i think. the acting’s quite good, the shots are beautiful, the story’s well written and well told. 2.... Taylor Lautner (Jake) is quite a cutie!! at times his smile reminded me of matt damon’s! :) but i was hard-pressed to decide whether he looked better with short or long hair! haha! 3.... the music!! beautiful!!! i just read that they got original and exclusive tracks for the soundtrack. and they are some of my favourite bands! (Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Killers, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, OK Go, Editors!) the two best tracks are Thom Yorke’s Hearing Damage played during the scene where Victoria escapes the wolf pack. god it was perfect for the scene!! and the sound really reminds me of Radiohead’s Kid A album which is my favourite of theirs! and the other perfect song was Slow Life by Grizzly Bear feat. Victoria Legrand when Bella is underwater after jumping off the cliff. so haunting!!! then there were a million other times where i thought this song’s great!!

so i’ve also now realized why i dislike Edward so much. he’s just gross. thats it. haha ok theres more. he’s gross coz of his overly red lips. he’s gross coz of his half-lidded eyes that he never seems to open. he’s gross coz he’s so inexpressive, at best he does a mild smirk to show love, amusement, anger, everything! but good thing Jake and the half-clothed werewolf boys made up for it with some yummy eye candy!! haha! Taylor supposedly gained 30 lbs of muscle after the first movie. it shows! ;)

and also... man does this series TOTALLY parallel Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake book series!! human chick (with some powers of her own) loves a vamp AND a werewolf. altho at least Anita Blake can kick some serious ass and actually gets to sleep with her hotties! altho the guilt-ridden prudishness of the Anita Blake character drove me nuts!! the later books became “i dont believe in sleeping with more than one guy, but coz of some supernatural phenomena the only way to save the day is to sleep with yet another hottie. oh no. woe is me.” ... that used to drive me nuts... fucking scrap the guilt for heavens sake!!

oh and Kristen Stewart is one of the first actresses i’ve seen that can actually run in a movie!!! instead of looking like a complete uncoordinated doofus, arms flailing!! (ie. Elaine and George in the Airport episode of Seinfeld! haha!) ... and i gotta say the part of the story when they visit the Volturi was pretty cool. i was quite intrigued and wanted to find out more! so i gueeeesssss i’ll be looking forward to the next movie! :)