I seem to lean on old familiar ways…

So I’m having a sick day…actually, more of an “I feel intensely like staying indoors where it’s warm, cuddling up in my PJs and indulging myself with hot toast and toffees” day. You know, the kind that tends to hit females once a month or so.

Seriously, I probably should feel guilty about this but I don’t in the slightest. I haven’t had a really good self-indulgence in ages. Besides which it’ll give me a chance to do some more sorting out re: my next writing project – yes, we’re back to wangsting about that again, although I’ve managed to keep it mostly off-blog this time. I just seriously do feel like I’m ready for the next level of literary challenge…and you know where we go from there, right? (No, not more pointless Bob & Ray trivia. Think that particular biographical urge is out of the system for now…although I can’t say it’ll never strike again.)

In the meanwhile, and in keeping with the general theme of all things cozy and comforting, let’s get on with the next installment in the review series: Kidlit. More


Catcher in the wry

So I gave in to an impulse this month and purchased the New! Improved! Bob & Ray Book (c. 1986) as part of my audiobook subscription. And ooh, not gonna do that again. I mean there’s not much chance I will do it again, that’d be silly, but just in case I should ever be tempted, no.

Let us just say – as attentive readers are now sighing and waiting for me to say once again – that their performance style depended on a sort of knowing, ad-libbed energy that’s entirely missing from a straight reading of collected scripts by two elderly men. Especially given that one of them was mere months away from forced retirement due to lingering illness. You can hear Ray becoming more exhausted (medicated?) as the recording goes on… I think I’m supposed to be cheering for the game old trouper, and I would be, except it’s all so bloody sad.


So because I now need cheering up, and because I was pretty impressed with the game old trouper for all that (a sixtysomething man using ‘computer software’ in the correct context, in 1986, might be the definition of codger cool) let’s move on to the next installment in our review series: Humour. More

Reprint: Read all about it…

Question: Why are people who are manifestly dressed to get attention generally so upset when they get it? Specifically, people I pass on the street, wearing leopard-patterned hair or wildly mismatched clothes or tees with snarky sayings or whatever other non-conformist behaviour is the order of the day.

I’m not talking creepy stalkerish behaviour, here. (I should point out that my own dress and grooming makes that abundantly clear.) Just a friendly, open, interested second glance: thanx for giving me something new and different to look at, I appreciate the effort. And for this – aside from the odd and welcome impudent grin – I get confused looks at best and ferocious scowls at worst.

It’s enough to make a person throw up her hands and bemoan the decline of Western Civilization…except that doesn’t quite feel right, either.


Anyway. So posting those capsule book reviews the other day turned out to be a lot more fun than I’d anticipated; it’s been awhile since I wallowed in any new and unique parts of my psyche around here, and it was a curiously refreshing experience. Besides, I’d like to think I have fairly good taste in the general way as well.

As it happens, I’ve got lots of grist for this particular mill: my very first experiment in online communication – aka inflicting my random opinions on a helpless public – happened on the Chapters/Indigo website. At the time I was working on the special orders/info desks at Toronto’s landmark World’s Biggest Bookstore, part of the same chain. I would literally browse through the latest releases in the morning, then run upstairs to the Net cafe to write a review at lunch (and sometimes just, ah, slightly into the afternoon shift as well – sorry, Randy and Mike, wherever you are!) In that respect at least, it was a wonderful life.

So…below is the first in a reposted series of short reader reviews I wrote circa 1999-2001…at least, the decently clever ones. I’ve done some close editing/proofing and removed the star ratings, and then organised them by genre as best I could. This week, I thought we’d kick off with a topic that hasn’t been covered around here in awhile: History/Biography. More

Coming around again…

[returns from checking Statcounter re: latest entry, looking slightly dazed]

So I guess I really am pretty much alone in this Bob & Ray obsession, huh? People insist on having exciting and interesting lives instead of hanging off my every post, eh?

Well, OK then. I will deal with this in a manner not unreminiscent of the greats of literature; all will become grist for my creative mill…Hey, it’s either this or the youngest Shoesis’ ongoing love life, a serial in umpty-squillion parts, tickets on sale now at a vaudeville stage near you. The rest of the family keeps urging me to write it up, claiming that it’s my ticket to becoming the next Danielle Steel; unfortunately, I’m not yet convinced that even Steel fans would buy into it.

I could also put together a nice little comic setpiece about how Shoemom and I gave up cable this past spring because we were effectively only paying for a few channels…only for the growing realisation to dawn that those channels had a deep-rooted, integral part in our lives. For instance, it’s pretty tough to be home sick and not have TreehouseTV for company. (Seriously…I’m not alone in this, right? When you’re feeling exhausted and miserable, the soft cheery hum of preschool cartoonage is perfectly pitched to distract and amuse. Right? C’mon, guys? Bueller?)

There was also the thing where Shoemom got all misty-eyed reminiscing about ‘sitting down to a cup of coffee and the Weather Network in the morning’ but, anyway, long story short. We’ve decided to allow ourselves to be lured back by deep discounts, also the sheer ridiculous good nature of the twentysomethings who man the services desk at our local Rogers Communications.
These are the same people who charmed us into switching Net providers in their favour not long ago, and they remain just as smart and – the clincher – realistic about their products. This is such a sure ticket to my heart, the demonstration of concern for my needs as opposed to their bottom line, that I am really, really glad more customer service types haven’t twigged to the concept. Shoe Central doesn’t have that much space available.

…So the point of all this – no, really, go back and check – actually has its roots in the last post but one, in which I mentioned one of my favourite books...come to think of it, I’d been pondering the concept some while before that, back when I was ranting about fandom as a symptom of overexposure. More