tvordlj: (Movies)
I read 93 books this year, mostly ebooks with a small number of paper books thrown in. I am trying to get through The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon but i don't think i'll finish it today so it will have to go into next year's allottment. Have also got a couple of other books i've been picking at through the year as well and since they aren't finished they probably shouldn't count as 2011 books either. The last one i finished was The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles. Interesting, in parts. It was written in 1969 but is about the Victorian era and is very detailed about Victorian life and culture but the problem with that is that i found it kept veering off into mini-lectures about those subjects and didn't really contribute much to the actualy storyline which i was more concerned with. The storyline being that of a young woman who had been used by a shipwrecked sailor and abandoned and she's not been able to move on past the reputation she got from it. She spends most of her days walking and gazing out to sea, clearly in a depression. She's taken on as a companion by a society harridan and meets a gentleman who is engaged to a socialite. He becomes enamoured of the first woman though tries to help her make a new life for herself.

I saw two movies this week, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Both were accompanied by a meal out with friends. Also had another friend come over for a nice long catch up one evening.

TGWTDT is based on the best selling novel by a Swedish author and the Swedish movies of all three of the trilogy have been out for awhile. I've seen all three and they were quite good and was a bit worried about an American version. They aren't calling it a remake but that's still what it is isn't it? Someone makes a movie, you make another version. It's a re-make. Anyway, it was worrying but when i saw the cast and the trailer i though it might be pretty good after all and i did like it quite a lot. It kept well to the book and didn't skip a whole lot though you don't get much of the background detail which is to be expected. The casting was quite good and i was surprised that the non-Swedish actors attempted a light Swedish accent. I have no idea how authentic it sounds but to me it didn't seem too bad though a little uneven at times. It meant the English and American actors fit in a bit better with the rest of the cast who were mainly Swedish. It was also filmed in Sweden so you have that winter gloomy light from the short days and wonderful scenery. The cinematography was really good, I thought. Decent soundtrack by Trent Reznor with an awesome opening credit sequence. Very mind blowy, abstract and... well i don't really know how to describe it but it was good. You knew you were in for a wild ride with that opening!

Rooney Mara was a very good Lisbeth Salander, with her interpretation being just as good as Noomi Rapace's if a little different. I think Rooney's Lisbeth was a bit softer, not soft because the character is not, she's fierce and edgy but you got more fierceness, edginess and that feeling of isolation from Noomi's version. I think Rooney's Lisbeth was perhaps a bit sadder rather than isolated, possibly because her makeup wasn't so dark and intimidating, but she could be every bit as fierce when cornered. Daniel Craig's Blomqvist was a bit more heroic but maybe that's just because he's a little more handsome than Michael Nyqvist who played him in the Swedish version however, the Swedish version of the character is perhaps a tiny bit more realistic though not that bad looking himself, either. He's just more of a rumpled journalist type where Craig is a tad too fashionable looking. Stellan SkarsgÄrd was very good as Martin Vanger, he really had the character down just right, every bit as good as the Swedish alternate.

I think if you liked the books, whether you've seen the Swedish movie or not, you will like the American movie version. My friend thought it was sanitized just a bit when compared to the foreign version but I'm not so sure.

The new Sherlock Holmes was good fun. Robert Downey Junior is one of my favourites and he looked damn good in this movie. So did Jude Law come to that. Stephen Fry, the wonderful Stephen Fry was most excellent as Sherlock's brother, Mycroft. This is definitely not your traditional Sherlock Holmes and at times, Guy Ritchie's style of that slow motion/action replay stuff got on my nerves. The storyline has Professor Moriarty trying to manipulate things to start a world war, after he's bought up a bunch of munitions factories in various countries. He's very clever, is Moriarty and is every bit the challenge to Holmes. He's not one of these stupid villains that makes one big mistake. He's Holmes' match, very ably played by Jared Harris who's been in Mad Men and Fringe in recent years. Coincidentally, Noomi Rapace was in this movie as a gypsy. Her brother was at the heart of Moriarty's plans but I never did figure out why, near the beginning, his people were trying to kill her. She'd had no communication with her brother in over a year and wouldn't have been able to stop his involvement in the plans had Holmes not drawn her in but they were out to kill her at the moment he came across her.

The action moves out of England to Paris, Germany and Switzerland and i've heard criticism that the movie drags a bit once that happens. It does a bit i think but I still quite enjoyed it.
tvordlj: (Iceman Cometh)
On the plus side, it's snowing and has been for several hours. If it doesn't rain, we could have a white Christmas
On the down side, my friend may decide not to drive over and we won't have our annual Christmas movie and lunch until next week. *ETA She just called and as expected, she decided not to chance the roads which are still not in great shape. Mine's not too bad as it's a bus route but it looks slippery just the same and she's got a good little distance to come. Resheduled for next week some time)
On the plus side, the drywall guys came yesterday, will be back again very soon, I hope, and they left a note saying they'd bring a drill and reinstall my curtain rod.
On the down side, it's too late to put my Christmas tree up. Ok it's not, technically, but there's not much point now.

It's the last post day before Christmas. I really hope Graham's gifts arrive today otherwise they won't be here until Wednesday at the earliest. We'll still have our little opening party tonight because he'll have the gifts i took over for him and he's got my song ready. There will be links to it tomorrow.

2011 books:
90 Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
I read this in two days and really enjoyed it. The first part of the book alternates chapters between 1942 and 2002. During the war in Paris, a young Jewish girl and her family are rousted out of their apartment by the French Police. She doesn't understand what's going on and locks her little brother in a cupboard, expecting to get back to let him out. They are, instead, sent to a holding camp and her parents sent on to Auchwitz. This roundup, called the Vel' D'Hiv roundup (Velodrome D'Hiver) actually did happen in Paris. The girl, Sarah, escapes from the holding camp after her parents are taken away and manages eventually to get back to Paris but as she expected by that time, it's too late and the little boy is dead.

In 2002, a journalist is doing a magazine article on the roundup and discovers that her husband's family has lived in the apartment that was vacated by the Jewish family. She investigates and discovers the girl's story and tries to find out what happened to her. At the same time we find out about her family and her personal life, her marraige breakdown. She becomes obsessed with Sarah's story and how it interacts with her husband's family who, like many Parisians during the war, apparently looked the other way while the Jewish population disappeared. It's a story about survival and it kept my interest so well i couldn't put it down!

There's a movie out based on this book, too, which i have downloaded.

91 Beauty Tips for the Dead - Gerald Medenwald
A strange book. A bit hard to follow. It jumps around between four different characters and then introduces a few more for some reason and then does very little with those ones. The main characters are Jane and Mary and David and Jonathan. The men have known each other since childhood as have the women. The men worked for a marketing company and are good at finding different ways to sell things. David leaves the company and ends up working in a psychiatric facility. Jonathan and David come up with an idea for a "Jesus" festival and David takes advantage of a new patient who seems to think he's Jesus and gets him released so he can appear at the festival.

Meanwhile, Mary has become a nurse. Jane was from a family of undertakers and had written a book called Beauty Tips for the Dead which was meant to be a handbook for undertakers but has turned into a best seller. And that's all we hear of that for the rest of the book. Jane works in a bar and moves in with Mary who's ultra conservative, as opposite as possible from Jane. They get involved in David and Jonathan's scheme well past the middle of the book.

The book seemed to be a bit all over the place and i sometimes found it difficult to keep up. I suppose it was meant to be funny and a farce and some of it was, definitely. It wasn't bad but it was a bit off the wall.

92. Devil's Lair - David Wisehart
This is about four pilgrims, a monk, a poet, an epileptic woman and a knight who are on a quest to find the Holy Grail which is to be found at the feet of the Devil in Hell. If they can get it, it will mean that the pestilence (plague) and war in the world will be over. The knight is the last Templar knight, whom the monk and woman find on a battlefield, nearly dead. He must be persuaded to join them on their quest and journey through the levels of hell. This is based on Dante's Inferno. I have not read it so I didn't get as much out of this book as I would have had i read it. The books relies on Faith and redemption as themes for all involved, more than we realize at the beginning. The pilgrims must all face their past and their own personal demons to be successful.

Not a bad read at all, though a bit overly religious in places for my taste but when past those bits, the characters are quite good and their experiences in Hell kept me reading to find out how it comes out.

The drywall fella's note said he'd be here between 10 and 11. 10:35 and no sign yet. Impatience...... tap tap tap tap..... (AND again, it's 11 and he's not here yet. Hope he does come because i doubt they'll be working next week)
tvordlj: (Default)
An off duty police sargeant was nicked yesterday for drinking and driving... an unmarked police car! He was involved in a single car accident. Idiot.

2011 books
87 Dancing on the Inside - Glen C. Strathy
I'd actually read this awhile back but i don't think i put it on the list. It was another free book for a review from (been getting a lot of those member giveaways lately) and it's target audience is teens. It's about a young girl who wants to take ballet lessons but is so painfully shy she can't even take the lessons in front of the other girls. She persuades the school to let her help out on Saturday mornings while she absorbs the lessons, even films them and then practices on her own. She makes friends with another girl who's very good but undisciplined and helps her as well. She finds a different way to follow her dreams when she discovers she has a talent for choreography. Even though it is a book intended for a younger audience, I really enjoyed it.

88. Naked Mommy - Aidan Parkinson
This was another free book, as above.
This is the story of two Irish brothers who become obsessed with the same woman, someone they grew up with who'd moved away and has recently returned with a baby in arms. Liam and Mel Caffrey are brothers who grew up close but now have very different lives. Liam is a local crook and Mel became a monk but has lost his faith and is home to pick up the pieces of his life and find a new road.

Nuala Macree has been traveling and living in Spain where she had an affair with a bullfighter, resulting in the baby. She's home in Ireland now because the affair  ended badly and a big corporation is threatening to take over the local lake and water rights. She's an activist and has joined the local protest group against this happening. She's also very beautiful and has caught the eye of the Caffrey brothers, both of which are determined to have her for their own.

Liam has bought a big old house and is renovating it with the view to impressing Nuala and Mel is just trying to work out how to talk to Nuala without making a total eejit of himself and failing badly. The book ends with a party in Liam's house which ends in disaster, literally as well as figuratively.

The book is written mainly from the points of view of all three main characters but you get glimpses from the minds of several others as well, and is written in local vernacular, just as if you were listening to them think or speak. It's fun and lighthearted and full of quirky characters.

89 - Two Victorian Christmas stories by Anne Perry
This was an ebook with two "novella" length stories that take place in the 19th century. The first one concerns Superintendant Runcorn, one of Ms. Perry's regular characters, who is on holiday in Beaumaris, on the Isle of Anglesey. He discovers the body of a murdered woman and though it isn't his jurisdiction, ends up lending a hand in solving the crime.

The second story is about Emily Radley who has apparently also featured in Perry novels in the past, helping her sister solve crimes in conjunction with her sister's husband, Inspector Pitt. It also takes place in the late Victorian era. Emily goes to a remote village in wild Connemara in the west of Ireland where her aunt is dying. Her aunt wants to find out who killed a young man 7 years earlier. She thinks her late husband knew but didn't say and the knowledge that someone in the village did kill the man has poisoned the spirit of the village ever since.

After a violent storm, a ship sinks off the coast and one young man survives. It seems like the past is recurring as this is the same thing that happened 7 years prior and the young survivor then was the murdered man and like that man in the past, the one in the present day connects with villagers, asking questions and talking to them about their dreams and fears which makes people uncomfortable. Emily must track her aunt's late husband's steps to discover who killed the young man and ensure that it doesn't happen again.

Both stories are pretty good, though wrapped up quickly due to the shorter length. I've not read any Anne Perry before but i probably will do.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
I survived the mall. As expected, it was pretty quiet when i got there about 5. Had a bit of a wander, picked up a few items and got home by about 6. Painless. I'll get everything wrapped/bagged this weekend and that's it. Still no word on the drywall work so I don't think my tree will get put up this year. If i thought they weren't going to get there at all until the new year i would have put it up already. Now, even though there's still a week before Christmas (as of the weekend), it hardly seems worth it. I'm used to having it up the whole month and I take it down over New Year's. 2 weeks just doesn't seem enough. So thanks Transglobe for screwing up my holiday decorating this year. Can't put my curtain rod back up either until the work gets done.

2011 books )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Last year i read 35 books. This year i've hit over 80 so far and i may reach 90 by the end of the year. That's all thanks to the eReader mainly because i've got back in the habit of reading before bed now and I often read at lunchtime as well as on the bus. Before, i mainly just read on the bus to and from work. With that in mind, book 82 is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I see a lot of people with the book in their hands, mainly, I guess, because there's been a movie made out of it this year. I've seen that as well. It takes place in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi and is told mainly from the point of view of two black women who are maids for white families and also from the point of view of a young white woman who ends up writing a book about what it's like for the women working for white families, all about their experiences. She learns a lot herself in the process, and starts to question the old segregation traditions which are starting to change as the civil rights movement starts to take hold.

This past weekend was the US Thanksgiving weekend which is also their biggest shopping weekend of the year. Black Friday and now there's Cyber monday where there are big bargains to be had online. Sadly to say that a lot of Canadian retailers are jumping on the bandwagon for the almighty dollar and holding "Black Friday" sales of their own. And equally sadly, i too jumped on the bandwagon and took advantage of a few of the sales online on Monday. I bought two tops from a place with free shipping and bought 3 ebooks from Kobo, with either 50 or 60 % off. Mind you, buying books is never wrong :) I bought another one today using an Amazon gift cert. i had. I'll pick that up on my ipod touch using the free Kindle app. I like to have a few ebooks on that in case my Kobo battery fades on me as it has now and then without me noticing that it had to be recharged.

Still have to get new winter boots. Might go to the mall right after work on Friday before the crowds descend. Am doing up Christmas card labels and i can't find the three books of stamps i know i bought. Anywhere. I think i may have thrown them out with a bag. Doh. I have some leftover stamps so i won't have to repurchase more than a book probably (10 or 12 in a book/folder) plus a few for the US and international. I do try to cut back on my card sending but i still like to send some out. Also need to wrap the two or three presents i have to post. I'll do that this weekend and mail them on Monday. I've got to make something for a bake sale at work on Friday and I've got to make my turtle pecan candy. I have most of my other gifts bought aside from a couple but they're all in hand.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Leeds Castle, Dog Collar museum
Remember when i said i was contacted about a photo for a book on museums for a literacy program? I asked $100 for the photo and they accepted it. Earlier this week, I finally received a request for the High Res version along with a release form to sign and send back and a request for the invoice so i've sent that along. The release form said that their print run would be up close to 1 million copies of the book. I think i didn't ask enough! Anyway, I did ask for a copy of the book, too and they said yes. I don't know when it will be out but they must be getting closer if they're now gathering all the photos. I reckon it won't be out until next year sometime. Don't know when they are sending payment but it's in the works at least!

Have I also mentioned that my new office space is cold!! I've got my scarf around my neck today to cut the draft and bought some fingerless gloves which help as well. It's the only complaint i have, otherwise i do like this space. It's large and bright and i do like having the window.

3 more 2011 books )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
One day down, one to go. The MS Excel online course was pretty good. i did two courses, the beginner and intermediate though it's odd, it didn't really go into formulas much, just doing quick sums of columns. You'd think it would give you a bit of practice with slightly more involved formulas though not necessarily complex ones, or at least how to format them. I don't think i'l try the advance course as it's probably over my head as far as things i need to know. I might some other time though. Tomorrow i am going to delve into Adobe Photoshop. I have a trial version downloaded to use with it.

My balcony door hasn't been installed yet. I'm guessing tomorrow. I need to be up and dressed before the workers come crashing through my window to put up the new one ;) so to speak that is.

2011 books again )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Our office move is imminent. This time next week we'll be doing our last bit of packing. I've got most of my stuff purged and packed and it's just my every day stuff to go. I may have to repack one box, though because the box was reused from something else and it's not in very good shape. It contains books so it's heavy, too. yes, i probably should repack that. I hate fighting with the packing tape "gun". Painintheass that.

Wow, I won a 50/50 draw this week, too! $270! Baby needs new winter boots and a jacket too but i was going to put that off. Now i can probably get both though it won't cover the two completely. Boots definitely. The draw was to raise money for a Christmas charity that our department sponsors. Selling tickets on payday is definitely the way to go! We're also going to have a bake sale and book sale. Good way to get rid of books you've read but can't bring yourself to throw away. I can't do it. I can't thrown out a book.

So that was my excitement for the week!

The shopping mall and a few other stores are having a tax-free day tomorrow. I've got a retirement do after work but i might check out Sears on the way home for boots since i saw some in their catalogue. They might have them in the store too and i'll save the 15% tax if i can elbow my way through the crowds.

2011 books )
tvordlj: (Default)
I like this keeping a record of what i read. I've really gone nuts with the ereader. I read a lot now, a lot more than i used to. Lunchtime at work most days, commute and in bed at night and sometimes through the day on weekends but not as often. Downloading books, buying a few from the Kobo site, getting some free from the Library Thing member giveaways. Those last ones are a bit up and down. I've found a couple i really liked, a few that were ok and a couple of clunkers but that's the chance you take.
2011 books for my own reference )
tvordlj: (Default)
It was nice to have three days off. From July on to Christmas, each month has a long weekend or a day off. October in Canada is Thanksgiving. Next month, we have November 11 off and that's a day off wherever it falls through the week but if it's on the weekend, government and banks give you the Monday off. This year the 11th is on a Friday anyway.

I seemed to have eaten a lot this weekend, unusually. Went out for lunch on Saturday with Mom, Sunday was Thanksgiving turkey and yesterday I went out for lunch with friends visiting from Quebec. Why is it that you feel hungrier the morning after a heavy meal than if you had eaten little for your evening meal? I got up on Monday after the turkey dinner and was ravenous! If i have a hearty lunch, i often don't eat in the evening, or just something like toast because i'm just not hungry but when i get up in the morning, i'm a bit hungry but not growly like i was the morning after the turkey dinner.  Oh it was so good though! I got some leftover turkey so i can make curry maple pasta with it, the recipe calls for cooked chicken but turkey works too! I've also made it as a vegetarian dish for Graham's pal Malc and he likes it so much he asks for it now! (we usually have him over for a meal when i visit G.) When i make it veggie, i put onions, mushrooms, peppers and sometimes a tin of chick peas in it to fill it out.

Much of the rest of the weekend was catching up on recorded tv, downloaded tv and the Dexter Season 1 dvds. I watched Primeval, Downton Abbey, Time Shift (two documentaries, one about postcards and one about the British censor board).

Catching up on ebooks....
2011 books )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Raining all weekend. Didn't go out yesterday, stayed home and did laundry and watched Dexter. I see more Dexter in my immediate future as well as catching up with Downton Abbey. Was going to go out with Mom today but she doesn't really feel like it. It could also be a nice dreary day for a nap!

more 2011 books read )
tvordlj: (Default)
When last i wrote, we were going to see Cowboys and Aliens at the Printworks multiplex. It was ok, Graham didn't like it. I can't say i loved it but it was pretty much what i expected it to be. Mindless but ok. I was in the mood for something like that so i wasn't disappointed. I probably wouldn't recommend it though. When we got home, ti seems there was no internet connection. By the next day, still nothing but when he tried to call up about it, he realized his phone line was crossing with someone else's who wasn't even on the same phone company! They all use the same lines, of course. Anyway, he rang BT using his mobile and they say it's a fault on their end. Bloody well must be! They say they'd have it fixed in 3 business days and for the rest of the weekend and up to last night at least, he's had no connection.

Friday we went to the Manchester Museum which was nice but had some missing stuff as they're renovating and doing up a new Ancient Worlds exhibit to open next year. I liked the Egyptian and other civilization stuff the best. A lot of what they have in the museum is Natural history stuff. Plants, animals, rocks, etc. Some dinosaur bones and models and fossils. Good thing to do on a rainy afternoon, though. Later we met up with our mates for a Chinese buffet, always enjoyable. Mostly the week was spent hanging out together which was the main point of the visit. I flew home on Sunday. The flight back was a lot more comfortable. The seats were slightly bigger and a bit further apart so there was more leg room and the plane wasn't full. I ended up with the whole row to myself which would have been nice on the overnight flight. They had three movies but i refuse to buy headsets that the cheap airlines sell. They give you a complementary meal and even a glass of wine or beer with the meal for free, why not headsets? I didn't bring any of my own so i read instead, Cold Mirrors by [ profile] naturalbornkaos. Loved it, btw! I had read some of them before as he's posted short stories on LJ over the years but some were new to me as well.

I was able to get a wifi connection on my ipod at the Manchester airport and i saw an email from Air Canada that said my flight from Toronto to Halifax was in danger of being delayed or canceled! Oh good grief! It seemed like it was a weather problem so i guessed maybe a hurricane was tormenting Halifax. I fired off an email to my mom to let her know and that i'd call her from Toronto when i knew more. I topped up my phone and called Graham as well. all the way across the Atlantic i thought about what might happen, would i have to stay overnight in Toronto? Would i be able to get a flight to Moncton, maybe? Well, whatever happened, i wasn't too overly stressed or frantic. Something would work out. When i got to Toronto, lo and behold, no problem and no delay at all. Stupid Air Canada! I wonder though, i found out this morning on the news that the flight attendants were in talks over the weekend and there was a danger of a strike. I wonder if that's what the possible delays might have been related to? Could be since the weather in Halifax was clear as a bell on Sunday.

Anyway, the onward flight was fine. I had a seatmate but he changed so i was comfy for that flight as well. Got into Halifax Sunday night and took a taxi home, arriving about 11 p.m. I stayed up until midnight and collapsed in bed but, being overtired, it still took me awhile to get to sleep. Got up about 9:30 in the morning and passed a quiet day doing laundry, catching up on the dvr recordings and doing webby and bloggy stuff.

Back to work today to discover that the new CAO is implementing a major reorganization. Now our business unit just got through a reorg this past spring and our BU is being dissolved and we'll be under the Finance BU in October. Sheesh. I think the under-structure will stay the same, though, so my reporting manager won't change. We also have our assigned seating for when we move into the new office. I will apparently have a seat by the window. There was a 50/50 chance as there are 6 desks, 3 window seats. They drew randomly. I didn't mind either way really. The person sitting right across from me will be another woman programmer from the GIS group so it will be nice having a new "roomie" so to speak. We're all sitting around each other, with just the soft workstation walls between us so it's not as if we're separated by much anyway. I'll miss being able to see the harbour, though, as we are going to be facing in a different direction. The view will be grim really, just over the roof of the upper floors of the mall downstairs in the complex and a couple of apartment buildings and another office tower or two behind us.

I should make a note of the next lot of books read too.
2011 books:
60. Is it just me? Whoopi Goldberg. a collection of her "rants" about people and society misbehaving i.e. idiots on public transport, people with no manners, etc. I thought it was going to be an autobiography. Not so. It was ok.

61. Cold Mirrors - CJ Lines. As above. Short stories by my mate. Creepy, horrifying, tragic, gruesome, and all around good read.

62. Game of Thrones - George R R Martin - First of a set of 5. HBO based a series on it which i'd watched and liked. The book goes into more detail but keeps the main story. I liked it but the author isn't half wordy! for instance, he'll mention about a gathering of people and list pretty much every damn one of them when most of them are never going to be referred to again and aren't characters in the plot whatsoever. Why bother? List a few of the main ones. Instead of saying all of the sworn blood brothers were in attendance, he'll list every one of them. That sort of thing. anyway i did like it and i'm going to read the rest of them but i'll read some other stuff first just to spread them out a bit. The one ebook is a package of four and i bought the newest fifth in the series as well.
tvordlj: (Movies)
I think it's going to be a quiet week leading up to the wedding. There's not a lot going on so far though Mom and my aunt and I may go to visit another Aunt at her cottage tomorrow if all works out. I"m getting my bits and pieces together to get ready for packing. Flying out on Sunday evening to arrive Monday morning and coming back the following Sunday.

Graham's dad is supposed to be coming home today! That's such a relief. Apparently they're saying he's had some sort of virus but one that isn't curable. I guess it must affect his immune system or something. Anyway he'll have to be on meds and will have a nebulizer machine, the sort of thing you might use if you have asthma but he'll only have to use it as needed. Right now he's feeling better than he has in a long time, he says. I think with this sort of scare, he'll make sure to take care of himself and follow any instructions and not overdo things. There are a couple of neighbours that can look in on him in the days when Graham is at work.
Dahlias 029
I went to see Midnight in Paris on the weekend. I didn't realize until i saw the credits that it's a Woody Allen film. I'm not very keen on his movies. I always find his lead character is whiny and even now that he's not in the movies anymore, the lead still speaks with his voice and ends up being just as whiny as Woody was. This one wasn't too bad, though. It was all very unusual. Owen Wilson plays the lead and he's another one i'm not overly keen on but he did seem to suit the part.

The plot has a man, Gil, and his fiance, Inez, in Paris as guests of her parents who are rich and snobby and don't really approve of the fiance but patronize him for her sake. She seems to be quite attached to them. They also meet up with another couple that they know, with the man of the pair being very, very far up his own arse as an expert of absolutely everything which is very grating as it is meant to be. i.e. he even has the balls to correct an expert guide about Rodin's personal life. Inez is quite impressed, Gil is not and even manages to show him up once or twice.

Gil is a screen writer but is working on his first novel which takes place in a memorabilia shop. He loves Paris but thinks Paris in the 1920s would have been the ideal place and time to live there. One night, they are at a wine tasting event and Gil decides to walk back to the hotel. He gets lost and, as the midnight church bells sound, while standing on a corner trying to figure out which way to go, an old car comes around the corner and up the hill. The occupants urge him to get in and go with them and he's just drunk enough to do it. The occupants are all dressed in 1920s style and one of the couples is apparently Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Thus, he enters the world of 1920s Paris and meets up with all the great writers and artists of the time over the course of several nights' journies into the past. He meets Cole Porter, Hemmingway, Picasso, Dali and others. He also meets a beautiful woman, Adriana, the mistress of Picasso. Her ideal period for living in Paris is the Belle Epoque, the late 19th century. Neither one is all that satisfied with where they live in their present time, it seems, for one reason or another.

During the days, Gil starts to rework his book and with the few references, it almost sounds like what is happening to him at night. We never know whether it's a dream or if it's real "time travel" or just magic but it doesn't seem to matter. We can see he and Inez really aren't suited.

The dialogue and camera work are typical of Woody Allen's style and did occasionally irk me but overall it was good and it was shot in Paris so it was like a travel show all around the beautiful city. I think it was worth it just for that and it makes me want to go back again!

I've read two more books,
58. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
This describes a war between robots and humans by way of first person accounts, descriptions garnered from various traffic and public cameras, and testimonies. The world has been filled with robots and computerized items. Cars pretty much drive themselves, appliances are all computerized, there are robots to help with the children, with the housework, with surgeries, etc. Something happens and they all turn against humans, killing them on sight. They even evolved to create newer, smarter ones that can come after humans who hide in the countryside and mountains. The humans gather together and form resistance armies. When the robots are finally defeated, one soldier has decided to write all the history down and this is the result.

It felt all disjointed at first while it was establishing all the various characters but it gelled well and I did enjoy it. Apparently it will be made into a movie. CGI heaven i should think. I may not enjoy that lol

59 Crossroads Road by Jeff Kay.
A woman wins 240 million in a lottery. She is going to share it with her children but there's one catch, they have to all live in houses she has built in a little cul de sac but she is a nut job and most of the children all have various neuroses and quirks. The man telling the story is the husband of one of the daughters and seems fairly normal though keeps referring to an Incident that happened involving him. We do find out what that is at the end. The characters are all out to lunch in various ways and it's quite a funny book.

I am getting along well with the Kobo touch. It can be very sensitive and sometimes flips 2 pages but it's easy enough to go back one. The battery is supposed to last longer but i don't see it being much different. I do read a lot and i do read fast so i suppose i'm just harder on it than some.

I think i'm addicted to downloading ebooks lol I keep looking for more and you know, i have so many that i'll never read them in 20 years! But i did get hold of some newer books that are newly released and some old favourites. Still, though, I have to stop!
tvordlj: (Doctor Matt)
Hitler had little to do with it.
Read more... )

Yesterday I got my eReader replaced. The raised touchpad that you use for navigating had cracked away from the side of the machine. I didn't think i was pressing it to hard but i guess it was defective. My sister has read at least as many books as me on hers and hers is fine. Anyway Kobo said the store would exchange it rather than me having to ship it back and that's what they did... with a touch screen version! I got it all set up last night. It took a bit of messing but i got it running and loaded and started using it. The touch screen is sensitive which is better than having to beat on the screen to make it turn the page at least.

I finished a number of books over the last couple of weeks. I wanted to finish the ones i had open before i exchanged the device. So books 53 - 57 are as follows:

The Secret Garden, Kate Morton (paper book) A granddaughter tries to unravel her grandmother's past via a little cottage in Cornwall. We flip back and forth between their lives and the life of her great grandmother. The grandmother as a child was left on a ship heading to Australia and was brought up there by a ship harbour master and his wife because she seemed to have been abandoned. We have to go back into the past to find out why.

Dancing in the Shadows of Love - Judy Croome a bit of an allegory, too much of a religious tone for me. About three women all damaged, all trying to find who they are and discover what love it. They have to find a way to love themselves (and believe in the Spirit King apparently) before they can discover how to love properly.

Sho-Gun - James Clavell An older book about the Japanese Samurai around the turn of the 17th century. Mini series with Richard Chamberlain was filmed in the 70s or 80s.

The Bishop's Man - Linden MacIntyre About a priest who has been the problem "wise guy" for the Bishop in Nova Scotia, dealing with church scandal, mostly priests who mess up. In this day and age of abuse in the church, it's more relevant, isn't it to see how things probably work from the inside. The story takes place in a small village in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia mainly. Pretty good book really. It's not about abuse, it's about the priest and his past and the people around him.

Sister: A Novel - Rosamund Lipton A story that is told from the point of view of one sister as a sort of letter to her younger sister who has been murdered. She tells her sister how she felt and how she went about trying to find the murderer. There are clues through the book to the ending's twist but i didn't really get it. I'm crap at that unless i'm hit over the head with it though i can often figure out who the murderer is. I had suspicions about this one but wasn't sure.
tvordlj: (Default)
The latest three ebooks read were all freebies from 2 good ones and 1 with some flaws. These would be numbers 50, 51 and 52 in this year's list.

The Hidden Witch by Deborah Geary was another in a series she's doing on modern witches. It's fiction, it's fun, some of the same characters from last book, A Modern Witch but there's a focus on a group of witches living in a community in Nova Scotia Yay! The Hidden Witch is a woman from a witching family but who isn't a witch, though she's been tested many times and really always wanted to be one. She's a talented artist though but still has always felt like she was lacking. Turns out she is a witch but has new kind of powers that are juiced up by technology! I did have a conversation by email with the author though as she'd mentioned that the Halifax airport was old fashioned in that passengers boarded or de-planed by walking across the tarmac. I told her that they haven't done that here for over 40 years that i remember. She said she must have got it mixed up with another airport she'd been at here, she genuinely thought it was ours and apologized. It's not big deal but i didn't want people traveling here and expecting old fashioned when it's as modern as most.

Next up was An Unsafe Pair of Hands by Chris Dolley. This is a murder mystery. An inspector is assigned to a sleepy village to get some hands on time in the field since he was mainly a paper pusher in a London office before. On his first day on the new job he encounters a murdered body lying over a grave where the occupant is still alive. And it's inside a stone circle. He's often full of self doubt, whether he's making the right conclusions, handling the case, his first ever, properly. He's got the press to contend with and in particular a local tabloid "journalist". There's the villagers, some of whom aren't making it easy. He's got suspects but are they guilty? I sort of had it all figured out. I was wrong but not by much. Good book, though. Quick read.

Lastly, we have Freedom's Sword by J.R. Tomlin. It's about Andrew de Moray, a Scottish lord that helped Scotland gain it's independence against Edward I. It's a fictionalized version of his life using real life events as far as possible. The story was good, lots of battles and such. But the biggest problem i had with this book was that it really could have used better proofreading. Or even, just a proofreader in general. The grammar and punctuation left a lot to be desired. Not constantly, but enough that it was a bit of a distraction. He'd have the wrong words in a sentence, i can't remember exactly now but it would be like using two pronouns together and neither was the correct one. Or two prepositions, i forget the instance that i'm trying to remember. There was one spot where i'm convinced a whole chapter was left out. It's too bad because the story itself was interesting and as i said, the problems weren't constant, but they were there and the book loses points for that.
tvordlj: (Default)
Feeling cruddy this weekend with a cold. Didn't go out yesterday and Mom is going to bring me a few things today so i'll have some company. I can make some hot lemon drink when she gets here with the lemons. It's not as warm today either so the apartment is comfortable and even has a little breeze coming in the windows.

Meanwhile i'm fenced in, so to speak. The building owners are replacing all the balconies and at first informed us that they would seal off the balcony windows/doors from the inside and outside, which, in summer, is not a good idea. I called the Bylaw office and the fire department and both said it was according to law. But the media got hold of it and a lot of people have complained so their compromise was to seal the door from the outside but you could still open the windows indoors and let the air through. So this is what it looks like. The slats are still blocking the screen a bit but it's better than not being able to open the window at all. They said, oh it won't take long but it's taken them 2 weeks and they haven't got all the doors on all the buildings blocked up yet and then they have to start rebuilding the balconies, I don't expect to be unfenced until the fall. One bright spark is that they are reducing our rent by $30 for the duration because we can't use the balcony. Mind you, told told us back in October not to use them but are they giving us a retroactive rebate? Heck they are.

2011 books )
tvordlj: (Iceman Cometh)
Good heavens it was cold yesterday! It was only 10 degrees when i left for work at 7 and it didn't get a whole lot warmer through the day, maybe 14 or so tops. When i left work, it was trying to rain, those big fat raindrops and it was windy and cold. I thought the heavens were going to open up before the bus came but the weather gods at least let me get home before that happened. I did chuckle though, as there was an outdoor Metal fest concert going on from mid afternoon to the night headlining Metallica. I sincerely hoped that metalheads wouldn't rust and that the headbanging and moshing would keep them all warm. I expect they mostly all had a good belly full of "anti freeze" to get them started anyway. Apparently the traffic at rush hour was horrendous but it didn't seem to affect my bus going away from the downtown core and across the bridge. I expect if you had to cross the peninsula, it would have been as the Garrison Grounds were smack in the middle by the Commons.

It's almost equally miserable today but the sun should come out for the weekend. Did i mention i'm having my mom's car over the weekend, too? I think i did.

3 more ebooks read )
tvordlj: (Default)
It's been a fairly quiet week for the most part. Struggling to make a report do what they want and it's just not going to happen quite the way they asked for. The software just isn't quite flexible enough. You can make it do a lot of things but sometimes you just have to compromise. You can have it this way or that way, you pick. They did and it wasn't that bad a choice either.

This weekend will be busy. [ profile] sammantha's birthday is tomorrow and there's a family get together on Saturday for that and on Sunday there's a big get together for the 25th anniversary of one of my cousins so that will be nice, seeing relatives i don't get to see often or under happy circumstances like this.

2011 books:

44 - High on Arrival - MacKenzie Phillips
I read an autobiography of MacKenzie Phillips, she was the daughter of "Papa" John Phillips from the Mammas and the Papas. She was also a drug addict like her father who encouraged her drug use. I'm sure she held some stuff back but only because she doesn't remember it, and also there's only so much detail you can tell. But she didn't hold a lot back. It makes Keith Richards' descriptions of his addiction sound like a teddy bear's birthday party. She was a lot more graphic. And just let me say, what a fucked up life that poor woman has had. She pretty much didn't have a chance really. An alcoholic for a mother and a drug addict for a father yet she hero worshipped her father and seemed desperate for his attention and approval. That actually manifested itself into incest later on. She does say it was abuse but also admits it was consensual in some respects as she puts it down to that need for approval and to the drugs as well. Her father never should have allowed it and she didn't have the strength to stop. Both were completely hammered out on drugs when it would happen.

She also frankly admits to doing drugs while she was responsible for her little boy. She was clean for 15 years but descended back into the addiction after her father died. She was arrested while trying to fly somewhere and ended up back in rehab, this time it seems she's managed to change her outlook and understanding so maybe it will stick this time.

I can't really say i enjoyed the book and i thought about quitting several times but i did finish it.

43 - Haven - Justin Kemppainen
This is not related to the tv show Haven. This is a futuristic type book where the rich and powerful have built themselves a city on top of an older city. They've got the sky, albeit covered in a sort of force field, and the underneath city has an overhead of beams and ceiling, it's dim and dangerous since the citizens that are left below to survive are considered by the Citizens above to be the dregs of society. The above lot do take some of the ones from below and brainwash them, turning them into mindless servants. They expect the lower population will die out but they're fighting back with a resistance movement. The new Haven above is the brainchild of one man who is apparently still alive though he's quite ancient. He only appears to his council as a hologram of himself as a young man. There are a few that question how things are but they are also made to disappear.

In the old Haven, action centres around a woman called Kaylee who is a survivor and a strange alien type creature called Malcom who has incredible strength, very little memory or language skills at the start of the book, and a lot of rage it seems. Kaylee is helping a resistance faction that is controlled by a man called Elijah, who is also someone not usually seen, communicating through his trusted advisors. The book tells the story of the resistance group trying to take over the upper Haven power and also we see what happens to some of the key figures there, including a man responsible for the brainwashing procedures who is trying to track down what a former coworker was working on before his untimely death.

It wasn't bad and I think it was set up at the end for a series in the ongoing battles. I don't know if i'd read the rest but one was fine. It was a free ebook that Kobo had on their site.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Two days of sun. TWO. We may get one or two nice days in a week or 10 days lately. Today, back to fog. And tomorrow. I did at least sit out in the sun in the Parade Square yesterday to soak up some Vitamin D. That'll have to sustain me for awhile. It might be ok on the weekend, probably not great, but ok. *sigh*

2011 books )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Still faffing around with airline companies and tickets and prices. Hoping we can book Graham's ticket this weekend.

2011 books

36. Shutter Island - Dennis LeHane
I hadn't seen the movie but i did hear the twist ending so i knew what to expect. I thought i'd have a go at the book and it was fairly good. I actually came across the movie on tv while i was reading it and turned it on just about the place in the movie where i was in the book!

37 and 38, two more books by Charlaine Harris, of the "Sookie Stackhouse" series, Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead. They are the ones that season 2 and 3 of True Blood are loosely based on. Well, really, you can take a 200 page book but it takes a lot of fleshing out to make an 8 or 10 episode season series of it so they've taken some of the basic things and added characters and plot to them. Very light and rapid reading. I'm just getting in the mind frame for the next season of True Blood that starts in a couple of weeks.

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