Friday, November 24, 2006

How Does Karma Work, Exactly?

First off, I'd like to give thanks to Buzzfeed for linking to my gay penguin exposé earlier this week: http://www.buzzfeed.com/buzz/Gay_Penguins. They are my new BFFs.

Secondly, I wanted to talk about the latest OJ Simpson foolishness - even though it looks like it's already over, I'm never one to turn down beating a dead horse.

You'd have to be living under a rock to have missed the craptastic events of the early 90's when Simpson went on trial for the murder of his wife and her friend Ron Goldman. Simpson has always proclaimed his innocence, even though he later lost a civil suit to the tune of $33.5 mil. His answer? Retire, since his pensions and residence (as soon as he scooted over to Florida to take advantage of their more lenient regulations) cannot be claimed as part of the civil suit.

His most recent shenanigans involve both a book and interview, entitled, "If I Did It", featuring "Simpson speak[ing] in hypothetical terms about how he would have committed the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Goldman."(CNN.) I don't even understand what the hell that means, but it's basically all kinds of stupid.

I was reading through an interview done with the über perky Katie Couric on the 10th anniversary of the murders and was struck by (a) what an asshole this guy is and (b) his assertion that people are overjoyed to see him wherever he goes, comping him meals and whatnot. I'd have to say that the recent uproar and ensuing cancellation of his book and interview deal would lead me to rethink that perspective, if I was him. Since he's clearly a raving narcissist, it's unlikely that'll ever happen.

What's the real the kicker, you ask? He'll likely be able to keep his $1 million+ advance. Oh, yeah, and the interview and book will likely slither out anyway: recent news stories show that a few copies of the book have already hit eBay.

M

Friday, November 17, 2006

Gay Penguins are Taking Over the World!

I'm ashamed to say that up until this week I hadn't heard about the gay penguin situation at the New York Central Park Zoo. Why am I ashamed? Well, the simple truth of it is, I love penguins. I want a penguin. I watched "March of the Penguins" about five times more than is reasonable. And I'm heading out tonight to see the animated Penguin-fest, "Happy Feet", which opens this weekend.

John has always said that our house isn't set up for a pet penguin, but then we caught a news story a while back about a family that has adopted a wild penguin. The penguin refuses to leave, and even has his own air-conditioned room, so he doesn't get too hot. I say if they can do it, so can we. I don't know which room we'll give up for the penguin; probably John's office.

Anyway, putting aside my tragic penguin-less status, Peter Parnell, a playwright, and Justin Richardson, an assistant professor of psychiatry (who are, themselves, partners), recently penned a children's book called "And Tango Makes Three", that chronicles the story of Roy and Silo, the New York penguins who adopted Tango when she was just an eggling. When asked why they wrote the book, Richardson responded:

We're hoping kids will love it and beg their parents to read it again and again, since children are bumping into children from these same-sex families at school and at birthday parties. This [book] makes it comfortable for parents to talk about these families.

Seems pretty healthy/sane/reasonable to me, but it seems that some parents object to shelving the book in the children's section. They want to "(m)ove the book to the library's regular shelves and restrict it to a section for mature issues, perhaps even requiring parental permission before a child can check it out."

So far, school officials are hanging tough, and the book is still shelved in the kiddie section. It has, however, been moved to the non-fiction section at the Rolling Hills' Consolidated Library in Missouri, at the request of two parents.

Seriously, this is the kind of stuff I just can't figure out. What's the harm in reading this book? Is it because gay penguins are trying to convert us to their gay penguin agenda? Wait, I can see it now! I understand: gay penguins are taking over the world!!! Lock your doors, people!

Cheers,
Maia

PS. Go see Happy Feet!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tagged

I've been tagged, thanks to Todd Wheeler. Unsuprisingly, it took me a few days to come up with 5 interesting things about me.

1) My father is from the Estonian Island of Hiiumaa, and after WWII no one in our family was able to return, or, in many cases, communicate with family members there. After the fall of the iron curtain it was like Estonia-palooza for us; I was able to obtain an Estonian passport and citizenship, and have voted in two Estonian elections. I even travelled on the Estonia a year before it sank in what was one of the worst ferry disasters of all time. I also learned Estonian at the age of 20 at the University of Toronto, although it is a ridiculously difficult language with a completely unreasonable amount of vowels. Just ask my better half, John, who's currently taking introductory Estonian classes.

2) My University degree is actually in Criminology, not computers; I've read dozens of legal cases, sat in on many trials, and I do volunteer work with an organization that assists victims of crime. I originally thought I wanted to be a lawyer but I've never worked in the legal field and I don't want to write crime novels, although I love to read them. I do sometimes wonder if all those university years were a good investment, but there you go.

3) My maternal great-grandmother was an Irish Home Child. Home Children were impoverished youngins who were sent to Canada as - basically - forced labourers. Most were orphans, but my great-grandmother was not: her mother died when she was young and her father was seen as an unfit father because he was a musician. My great-grandmother was so badly treated in Canada that her daughter - my maternal grandmother (who was, without a doubt, the most kind hearted person I've ever met), only ever made me promise her one thing; that if I ever visited Ireland I would spit on the doorstep of the family who insisted my great-grandmother be sent away. I will be heading to Ireland for the first time next summer, and now I have to decide if I'm going to spit on some poor Irish family's property.

4) I'm a junk/vintage/antique freak. My TV sits on a what used to be a reading table at the university of New Brunswick in the 60's, my CDs/DVDs are stored in an antique icebox, the sidetable on my side of the couch is a vintage pie safe. It wasn't until a year ago that I realized that all of my stuff was once owned by people who are now dead. Thankfully, none of my possessions are haunted, although I did live in a haunted house while in university; kitchen cupboards would open themselves, deadbolts would be slipped into place even when no one was inside the house, and I once woke up to what appeared to be a tiny apparition in my bedroom. The landlord was really upset that we didn't want to renew our lease. Me? Not so much.

5) I'm a photography wannabee, and I prefer to shoot in black and white. This is one of my faves, a shot of BHJ, taken in the same area where my great-grandmother's family ended up settling; near Sherbrooke, Quebec:



Now I'm going to tag a REAL photographer: Toronto artist and photographer Piika.

Cheers,
Maia

PS. The Gritlit festival and Murder Mystery last weekend was fantastic! I'll be blogging about it next week.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

gritLIT

I'm pleased as punch to be heading down to Hamilton this weekend for the annual gritLIT festival. The festival is kicking off tonight with family-oriented lit readings.

BHJ and I are heading down for their Murdery Mystery night on Saturday, and we'll be hanging around after to hear three Canadian mystery writers read from their latest works. The Murder Mystery is sold out, but tickets are still available for the readings. I don't write mystery myself, but I do read a whole big bunch of it. I'm definitely looking forward to heading down to the mustard capital of the world and checking out some new Canadian writers.

Tickets are available at the door for events, so check it out if you're around this weekend.

Cheers,
Maia

International Festival of Authors, Part III

I finally scraped together enough brain cells to figure out when Ryan Knighton was going to be in Toronto and (happily) ended up at his interview with fellow Canadian Don McKellar last Saturday. I've been to a boatload of author readings over the past year or so, so it was a very nice change to watch a writer kick back and talk about writing, reading, and life in general, particularly since Knighton is blind and can't read or write in what we think of as the conventional way. He's also a natural born storyteller, is funny as hell, and isn't afraid to sprinkle his conversations with a few well-placed f-bombs. (Personally, I think judicious use of the word "fuck" can help illuminate most stories.)

He also spoke about his appearance in the upcoming documentary As Slow as Possible, as well as his idea for a travel book based on experiences that revolve around non-sighted senses. His first idea? Traveling to the annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Texas. He made sure to stress that he'll be experiencing it via sound, not touch.

Other than the torturous Starbucks tea (seriously, how can Earl Gray go so wrong?) and the chick sitting beside me who was texting with enormously loud thumbs for the last twenty minutes or so, I had a great time. I stood in a pretty impressive line to have Ryan sign a book for me, so now I have one of my very own, and I don't have to worry about spilling juice on my friend's copy anymore.

If you're in town next year, definitely check the IFOA out. Bravo was there taping the interview - which is great, because there were a few other writers I wanted to see, but couldnt - and I'll be posting the air dates for the festival whenever I figure out when they're going to be. Ryan Knighton's website is: www.ryanknighton.com.

Cheers,
Maia