Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

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Another Year Older…..

August 21, 2011

…. and deeper in debt. (?) {is that how it goes? name that tune}

Had a hodge-podge of a day yesterday on my birthday. Got quite a bit of work done in the yard and lots of running around done. We didn’t wind up eating dinner til about 8:30 or so – late for us. Our neighbour ‘crazy ella’ and i share the same b’day so we had her in for dinner too.

liquidity

 Owen’s dad came and picked him up this morning so he was a little boo-hoo-ey pulling away. He’s going to miss his Gramma lots.

Can’t recall if I wrote about this or not and too lazy to look but I had a one week change in my work schedule whereby I actually got to spend a portion of the evenings with Lynda and Owen this past week. It took only a couple of days for the ‘powers that be’ to realize their plan wasn’t going to work the way they had envisioned. Tomorrow I’m back to my regular evening gig. ‘Whatever – just pay me come the end of the week.’

i know, i know... another 'shadowcast'

Lynda and I were supposed to go to a family ‘do’ today but I begged off this time. I picked up a cold that Owen had at the beginning of the week and I’d like to rest up today and try to nip this one in the bud. Speaking of which….. the sofa is calling my name in it’s siren voice. Coming…… 

Oh, a quick p.s….. I finished ‘Running With Scissors’ and it was a good read. Had I known when I picked it up that it was about a young kid’s realization growing up that he was gay, and included his first homosexual experiences and love story…. I probably would have went, ‘nah, not interested’. But I’m glad I read it; well written, thought provoking, different perspective, etc.

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Media Break

August 10, 2011

Swoosh

So,….. I haven’t been around again for a bit. I find I’m getting really tense so I’ve taken a bit of a break from the computer, TV news and the hard news at the front of the newspaper. Between wars, uprisings, financial meltdowns, factious politicians and their parties, yadda, scandals, yadda, trials,…. I’ve had enough for awhile.

Feel free to share some good news. That’s all I want to hear about these days.

Into another memoir; this one called ‘Running With Scissors’ by Augusten Burroughs. I didn’t like the way it started off; the ‘voice’ it was written in but I’ve gotten used to it and am enjoying it now at about a quarter of the way through. (It sounded more like narrative fiction than personal reflection {to me}).

Work – Stayng at the same location but new shift hours beginning next Monday. See how that goes….

Previous workplace – They are to finally re-open the facility after Labour Day. All the same counselling personnel are returning so no opening for me & that’s okay. I’m not going back to my old night position. But I had a major WTF moment when I heard who they had hired as the new manager. Still trying to pick my jaw up from the floor, still shaking my head. Can NOT believe it. What are they thinking?????

objects may appear wet

 Owen is coming for another week long visit. Woo-hoo!!

The chip truck (my stepson’s) was broken into last week. Glass everywhere and a bunch of cases of pop missing. A couple of days missed from working it but back in business now. Must have been the proverbial ‘gang of yoots’. (as per Joe Pesci) 

 

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29/07/2011

July 29, 2011

How’s that for a catchy title, huh?? A real eye-grabber.

What’s new…. hmmm…

Well, my grand-daughter Madison turned 3 the other day. If you didn’t catch this post on FaceBook here is the link to a photo session that her parents arranged: http://video214.com/play/O​5eCA4jJ7Y394cYFdiecSw/s/da​rk . Such a sweetie. I sent a message to my daughter-in-law Melissa saying I wish I could visit way more often so I could see the changes in Madison as she is growing. It is also less than a month before Melissa is due to deliver baby #2, ‘C’ section scheduled for Aug 25. They had some prego pics done as well, here: http://video214.com/play/DMyKs0m4wzgJVdj2360mUA/s/dark

Oh, glory-be!

Last week I marked off another successful year of ongoing sobriety through working the miracle which is the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I know I have thought this previously in this my twisted life’s journey but….. if I can stay sober through this past year I can survive anything. One day at a time and all that good stuff.

straight around

I’m glad I keep book review columns that I see in the newspaper otherwise I likely would have missed out on reading Rodney Crowell’s ‘Chinaberry Sidewalks’. I finished reading it last night and it was a terrific piece of memoir. He had me hooked from the first page and didn’t let up till it was all done. Highly recommended – 5 stars.

rush

Lynda and I enjoyed having g’son Owen with us for all of last week – he’s quite a character. We’ve also been getting out doing a few social things due to the fact that I have my weekends off (PTL). Tomorrow night we’re heading into Toronto for an evening with some of the folks I went through my Addiction Studies course with…. probably be a dozen or so of us. We haven’t done one of these get-togethers for a few years so it ought to be interesting.

 

lazing around at the flea market

Have a good weekend, folks. Time to get cleaned up for work tonight.

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Science – Fact and Fiction

May 15, 2011

It looks like I’ll have a bit of time on my hands this week so I might just slash off a couple of posts. (Especially if it continues with this sodded rain…. it is now Sunday night; it’s been raining since Friday evening and is supposed to continue until Wednesday.)

Anyway, this won’t be the ‘big’ reading post I promised to do some time ago. No, I just thought I’d show the strange range of books I keep on the go at any one time. Way, way over HERE at one end of the range is Stephen Hawking’s ‘Brief History of Time’. Having read Bill Bryson’s ‘A Brief History of Nearly Everything’ a few months ago my appetite had been whetted for more science. Bryson’s book fascinated me as he lead the way through the developement of the modern sciences. Hawking’s book is surprisingly accessible and readable considering the concepts he is conveying. (My concept of time must be a little warped because I find it hard to believe this book has been out for over 20 years.)

Now, if you look way, way down that-a-way you’ll see Douglas Adams’ second book of his ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ trilogy, ‘Restaurant at the End of The Universe’. This carries on brilliantly with its sardonic, acerbic, compelling spoofing of science fiction literature. It’s a grand farce that stands up well after about 30 years.

The pace of my recent reading has dropped back a few notches so I’m not plowing through 2 or 3 books a week anymore.

Beady-Eyed

This has nothing at all to do with science but what the h*ll, eh? Lately I’ve been listening to this CD again – Aerosmith’s “Honkin’ On Bobo”, which is mostly covers of songs that had inspired the band. All done with verve & muscle. Here’s a live version of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’. The only science at work here is they make my gas pedal foot heavier, blind me to red traffic lights and make me corner way too fast. The whole album is best listened to real frickin’ loud. nuf sed.

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Long or Short…. of it

November 24, 2010

Not too sure how long I’ll be sitting here. My back has been grinding and seizing up for the last few weeks… then I guess I screwed it up yesterday raking, bagging and carrying the last of the nice, wet, heavy leaves. Gotta have a little lay down soon before working tonight. Heating pad, ibuprofen, rest, la-la land…..

Frosted

I’ve read a couple of memoirs lately by a two Toronto musicians (and writers) – Dave Bidini formerly of The Rheostatics and Paul Quarrington of Porkbelly Futures. Dave’s book recounts his adventure as a solo act touring the world following the Rheostatics break-up. He hit London England, Scandinavia, Russia, China, a couple of African countries and a few Canadian dates… the book’s title is ‘Around the World in 57 1/2 Gigs’. Paul’s book ‘Cigar Box Banjo’ is a blend of thoughts on music and life during his final year following a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer, which proved to be terminal. A downer of a read this definitely ISN’T. He stayed busy writing the book, a screenplay, writing songs and recording right up to three days before he died early this year. Paul grew up not too distant from where I did and we were about the same age so he mentions a number of places I’m familiar with and events we both attended.

Now I’m better than half way through Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ recounting his tour of Britain before moving back to the States (having lived in Britain for about 20 years). He definitely appreciates the ‘best of Britain’ but doesn’t hold back on his criticism of what he sees as ‘the worst’ either. Next up – and how could there two such divergent choices, anyway? – is either the Dalai Lama’s ‘The Middle Way’, or Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in America: The Gonzo Letters II’. Have to see how I’m feeling later and make up my mind then.

Had an interesting email from cuz BJ in response to that last post regarding John’s advice. Noted dear cousin; I’m not committing myself to anything fast and foolish. More like sober consideration.

Also re Kel’s comment/ question….. would have been tracking down courses except my back has kept me from the computer. Pretty much anything ‘Human Services’-wise would do. There’s a post-grad Addictions specialty degree offered at the local university so I’ll look into their course load.

bye-bye peonies - hack & slash

Nap time for Bonzo…..

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Boot Up The Arse

November 19, 2010

… but in a nice way.

Spent an enjoyable couple of hours yesterday having lunch with my former boss and talking, talking, talking. (John, manager of the treatment centre) We hadn’t had much contact over the course of this past year since the big layoff. I think I had him speak at my home group early on there and a few emails have flown their way back and forth but little else.

Funny, while we covered a few topics related to our former employer and some of the rest of the staff we didn’t dwell there. No sense in eating poison while noshing, what? No, mainly we talked about recovery and the work John has engaged in since his departure from ‘the house’. Then we got into a discussion, spurred by some of his recent reading, regarding the ‘disease concept’ of addiction. Privately / individually, we had both come to have some issues with it and it was good to hash that out and get fresh input regarding the topic. He’s to forward a list of titles and authors for me to follow-up with.

Then, that dispensed with, he launched into a blind-side attack on me for giving up on my job search in the addiction, mental health, social / human services arena. He, like me, feels my abilities, talents, and experience are being wasted by working away at my brain-dead pay-the-bills job of 6 months. So he has spurred me to get back into the fray of the job search and scanning area agency’s websites. Must overcome previous disappointment, frustration and hopelessness and continue to slog forward settling for nothing less than contributing where I can be of most value. We shall see.

John was nice about it but didn’t pull any punches either. Damn, just when I was settling nicely into the routine, too. My main problem is that I’m completely resistant to the idea of commuting into Toronto on a daily basis again. I hate adding a minimum of an hour each way to my working day. Been there, done that, hate it. So my focus will continue to be local though the number of places where I could work is limited. C’est la vie!

tats

Reading: hmmm…. this part disappeared. One night this week I forgot to take my books with me so I spent the night reading a variety of newspapers and doing upteen crossword puzzles. The next night I reread Monty Roberts ‘The Man Who Listens To Horses’. Yesterday I reloaded at the library and borrowed 4 books, 5 CD’s and bought a Bill Bryson book at their ongoing book sale. That, along with my Toronto Star, National Post and New York Times Saturday edition, should get me through these next 3 nights. 36 hours of reading on-the-clock.

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Words and Music

November 15, 2010

Music: Lately as I’ve been reading the daily papers (Toronto Star, National Post, NYT) I’ve been clipping items from the entertainment pages that contain ‘tinyurls’ which lead either to audio versions of songs or sometimes the opportunity to download them. Mostly I’ve remembered to hang onto them and when I have some time at the computer check them out. It did get me curious about tinyurls as I’ve really been out of the loop for a long time now and know nothing about them (God bless my tech challenged head.). Yesterday I came across a site strictly for songs and you can plug in a song title or artist / group and listen to it or share it via Twitter, Facebook or email. The main site is http://www.tinysong.com/ (We’ll see if it works here…. ahem, lemme see…) http://tinysong.com/rFWZ Ta-Dahhh!!!! This is the Johnny Cash song which accompanies ‘The Johnny Cash Project – an open source compilation of various artists works for an animated video of the song….. found here. (Be patient; it is large and takes a few seconds to load) http://www.thejohnnycashproject.com/. (Scroll down to watch the video.)

A few others – Neil Young’s new one ‘Walk With Me’ produced by Daniel Lanois. Scroll down to video screen. http://www.speakersincode.com/2010/09/jam-of-day-neil-young-walk-with-me.html

New one by The Cars – ‘Blue Tip’ http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=445115559565

The Decemberists – ‘The King is Dead’  video preview http://www.decemberists.com/

Tired Pony – The Place We Ran From – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC68mAQYstE

(These are the pages which the tiny urls took me to.)

Words: So, since last time around I have read…

actually reread both Jeannette Walls ‘Glass Castles’ and Malachy McCourt’s ‘A Monk Swimming: a Memoir’.

A powerful memoir by David Sheff titled ‘Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction’. I have his son’s book on hold at the library which covers the same ground from his point of view… Nic Sheff – ‘Tweak’.

Bill Bryson’s ‘Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid; a memoir’.  I have a couple of his others on hold too…. ‘A History of Nearly Everything’ and; ‘At Home’.

I don’t typically read many novels but I was glad I bought this one at the library’s sale, ‘The Secret Lives of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd. Beautifully written… transporting.

A collection of Shel Silverstein’s poetry called ‘Light in the Attic’ which was as entertaining for his illustrastions as his words. (Also bought at the sale – a steal at $2) On the same trip I found a tribute album of Shel’s songs performed posthumously by a variety of artists, including Kris Kristofferson, John Price, Nanci Griffith and Lucinda Williams. It is called ‘Twistable, Turnable Man- A Musical Tribute To The Songs Of Shel Silverstein’.

I’m currently reading a mystery by Harlan Coben which helps pass the time until I make it back to said library.

Other news – Cousin BJ and I will see one another at the end of the month for the first time in 2 to 3 years. The occasion is a celebration for her father (my late father’s eldest brother) who is turning 90 years young. So, barring any screw ups in my work schedule we should get some face time.

Other, other news – Looks like (same proviso) long time blog friend Kel and I may have a face-to-face meeting along toward New Years. She and her hubby are celebrating Xmas on this side of the Pacific and doing a bit of a road tour which will bring them past our front door. This is one of those ‘once in a lifetime opps’, so count me in.

Must get on with the day, accomplish something, have a nap and then off to work for the night. Bye.

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Gleanings

October 26, 2010

from The New York Times: a story of a father inspired (by his son’s questions) to send a video camera attached to a weather balloon into space.

http://www.brooklynspaceprogram.org/BSP/Space_Balloon.html

from Elvis Costello’s “Spectacle” – Neko Case performing Harry Nilsson’s “Don’t Forget Me”. I love the full, rollicking quality of her voice…. and I think she’s really pretty, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9KrotLtC-Y

I just edited my previous post correcting a couple of errors. Since then (last post) I’ve finished reading Neil Peart’s “Ghost Rider”. While good I didn’t enjoy it as much as his follow-up “Travelling Music”. Michael J Fox’s “Always Looking Up” was a really engaging read and inspirational as well. The last couple of nights I’ve been enjoying a short story collect by Joyce Carol Oates entitled “I am no one you know”. Such a ‘voice’ this woman has. I had been seeing repeated references to her and I’m glad for the introduction to her work. Wonderful.

I had a meeting last Friday with the big cheeses up at ‘the house’ – the treatment centre – where I was offered another severance package. Lord, it has been a year since the layoff… which explains the meeting. They’re required to offer another package at a year. Nice thing is that the offer is more than double the original so I’m considering it. They want an answer by Friday. They say that construction has been delayed by the approvals necessary from various government agencies and have yet to tender the job. Completion sometime in the spring…. b*llsh*t!!

Purposely hadn’t mentioned Lynda of late but thought I’d say she’s coming around somewhat and has returned to work. Still a mixture of good and bad days but the general trend is upward. The only good to have come out of this tragedy is that we’re closer and more in love than ever. She’s my gal.

I’ve been in touch with the woman who hypnotized me a few years ago for smoking cessation which resulted me being free of the damned things for about 7 months. While I’m ready to have another stab at it she has some upsetting stuff happening in her family and isn’t taking appointments for another few weeks. Soon….

Copy of Roma’s FB post regarding Mary Carr’s “Lit”, to whit:

Roma Arellano

Roma XXXXXXX – I tore through Mary Karr’s third memoir Lit so fast that now I’m going to re-read it.

    • Janine  I loved Lit. Hadn’t read Mary Karr before that (no idea how I missed her) but then got to read Liar’s Club and Cherry, very satisfying.

      October 16 at 1:09am ·
    • Barbara  Lit soars! Like Janine, don’t know how I missed the other two. Happy to have them to look forward to— so hard to chisel out actual reading time these days. 😦

      October 16 at 7:57am ·
    •  

      Norm  Just finished it myself and thought the lot of them wonderful. Liar’s Club A+, Cherry a B, and Lit A+. Sweeping use of language.

      October 16 at 10:21am ·
    • Laurie  Agree with Norm except maybe skip the + on Lit. Got Lit for Christmas last year and like Roma consumed it in one sitting — but Liar’s Club is a mighty tough act to follow.

      October 16 at 10:57am ·
    •  

      Norm  ‎@ Laurie – The + was because she succeeded in making me cry in Lit. A very rare accomplishment in my reading experience.

      October 16 at 11:58am ·
    • Roma – Norm, I’ve been tearing up in airport terminals all over the place. 🙂 Laurie, I can imagine a similar set of grandparents–your parents are firecrackers, too. And that touch of twang in your voice… 🙂

Mr BigHead

coldfirexray

Oh yeah; afterthought….. A few weeks ago I saw an ad for this concert and impulsively bought tickets for it (tho we really can’t afford it). Hadn’t been to a concert since Dylan was in town a couple of years ago so “What the hey”, eh? Great line-up of artists presenting some of my all-time fave music. http://www.experiencehendrixtour.com/schedule.php.  I’ll let you know how it goes. 

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Recent Readings

October 19, 2010

Alrighty then……. (drum roll) here we go. Not sure I have enough time for a lot of description or editorializing or rating what I’ve read during these last few months but we’ll see if I have time at the end for that. Right now I’ll concentrate on getting it down accurately.

First off a couple of books about writing – how to write properly; and the process of it.

– re-read Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” – the sourcebook of choice.

Stephen King’s “On Writing” – wonder of wonders; well written!! (Ha,ha) Very accessible.

A couple from my ‘recommended list which I haven’t tracked down as yet but intend to read as and when I can. Anne Lamott’s “Word by Word”, Lawrence Block’s, “Spider Spin me a Web” and anything I can lay hands on by Natalie Goldberg (esp. “Writing Down to the Bones”). We have a good, well stocked library system but alas, no Natalie to be found.

Carrying on, this next list wouldn’t be here except for the interest generated in me by the two women at red Ravine, ybonesy and QM, who have written extensively about memoir. I used to think it was a fancy name for autobiography and have happily learned the difference. Onward!

“Glass Castles” by Jeanette Walls

“Drinking: a Love Story” by Caroline Knapp

“Liar’s Club: a Memoir” by Mary Karr; it’s sequel “Cherry”, and completing the tryptic “Lit’.

Roseanne Cash’s recently released memoir “Composed”. (Same trip I found her new CD “The List”. Woo-Hoo! Bonus!!)

Neil Peart (drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush) “Traveling Music: Soundtrack to my life and times”.  {Robin – I think you’d like this. It’s not about band tours} I’m currently 100 pages into his previous memoir “Ghost Rider: Traveling the Healing Road” which describes the extended road trip he took following the deaths first of his 19 y.o. daughter, then of his wife 16 months later.

Autobiographies – Biographies – Tributes

Eric Clapton; an autobiography

Michael Moore; a biography by Emily Schultz

Michael Streissguth – “Always Been There; Roseanne Cash, The List & Spirit of Southern Music”

Crystal Zevon – “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: the Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon” – interviews and anecdotes from bandmates, friends, producers, etc compiled in a chronologic fashion. Very interesting.

A tribute to life lessons learned from late husband Hunter S Thompson – “The Gonzo Way” by Anita Thompson.

Farley Mowat’s “Otherwise”.

Next on my list is Micheal J Fox’s “Always Looking Up” which marks 8 years since his first autobiography.

Next section is short and untitled but comes from the fact I needed a spiritual kick-in-the-ass as I recovered from my stepson Craig’s death back in June. Had a wee problem with this ‘power greater than myself’ – anger, resentment, etc – not a good head space. So I picked up one of Joyce Meyer’s many books – ‘The Secret to True Happiness’. No I didn’t expect to find my solutions between the covers of a book but it managed to at least begin the dialogue once again. God and I are on speaking terms again – I try to let him do most of the talking, then act accordingly.

Novels; I haven’t read very many and found a couple which I couldn’t get into lately. I’ll share a few I really enjoyed. First off, one recommended by cousin BJ – “Water For Elephants” by Sara Gruen. Excellent!! She has a just newly released book called “Ape House” which is also getting good reviews (edit: subject is a species of monkey called Bobobos). Another Canadian author is Elizabeth Hay. I really enjoyed both “Student of Weather” and perhaps slightly less “Late Nights on Air”. Great flowing prose, wonderful eye for detail. Hmmm…. another Canuck; a humorist by the name of Arthur Black, author of “Black is the New Green”. I like his satiric take on the everyday. (He works his surname into all his titles.) One novel that broke a lot of rules and that I liked is Reif Larson’s “Selected Works of T S Spivet”.

Is anyone excited about non-fiction?? In Stephen King’s “On Writing” he recommends reading more than you write; read according to your interests; and read great writers as you’re bound to pick up things useful to you for your own expression. Well, one of Canada’s greatest writers – prolific, varied, etc. – is Margaret Atwood. Over the years I’ve read some of her fiction and enjoyed it but I recently borrowed her “Moving Targets: Writing With Intent 1982 – 2004”. It’s a compilation of her essays, book introductions, speeches, reviews…. you name it. I started the book with some trepidation as she can be a sometimes daunting figure to approach. What I found was one of the singularly BEST collections of writing I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Fluid, insightful, compelling… now wonder she’s Canada’s acknowledged ‘Lady of Letters’. She has written poetry, fiction – both in short story and novel, criticism, a couple of series of childrens books, taught at several universities, been writer in residence, etc….. it goes on and on.

Writing about her reminded me of another noted female Cdn author – Alice Munro. Noted short story writer and recipient of awards too numerous to mention… I read one of her collections a few months ago, Selected Stories (?). Highly recommended.

That’s all the time I’ve got right now. I’ll expand on impressions when I get a chance. Funny how I when from a very occasional reader to hard core in such a short time. Reading is a great diversion sometimes but this has also been an interesting and entertaining portion of my life lately.

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Reflections

June 21, 2010

Industrial-ites

Okay, so I got carried away when I said I’d be around here more frequently…. I lied, but with the best of intentions. Seems all I’ve done lately is work which, after all that time off, is a good thing. Trouble is I never know where I’ll wind up working, or when.

Lemme see – I’ve worked in a hospital, at a railroad siding, a retail store, had a few weeks at an office building which houses the project mgmt / engineering / design drafting facilities for a nuclear power plant (that was interesting), the last few nights at an EMS station. Mostly a mixture of afternoon shifts and nights with a day shift or two thrown at me to keep things spicy and off-balance. Am I coming or going? Who knows; not I for sure.

Mirrored Horizon

Lynda and I are mostly like ships passing in the night catching the occasional meal together or a couple of hours planted in front of the TV before one of us is off running again. Things have been busy. We had Milo back to the clinic in Toronto where he had his surgery for his final check-up and we’re told we’ve done an excellent job with him. There has been good bone growth around the plates and where the bone was cut. We can finally breathe a bit easier but have to introduce full activity levels incrementally.

Since I last wrote here I have finished Eric Clapton’s autobiography which managed to diminish my image of him…. a writer he ain’t. (but gutsy to have a stab at it and lay it all out there) I’ll continue to admire him for what it is he does best – write and play great music. Following that I read a really humourous book called “The Hypochondriac’s Guide To Life. And Death.” The author had me blowing pop out my nose with some of his lines. Shouldn’t drink and read at the same time, I guess – dangerous and messy.