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I am cranky. Made more so because no one at work ever believes I’m cranky. I laugh too damn much. I need a guard dog for my cubicle when I’m in this kind of mood.

This had been the longest week ever, which is pathetic considering it was the second short week in a row for me. At the day job, it was frantic newsletter editing week. At Blogcritics, I got some great news I don’t want to share yet, but I’m starting to feel I need to promise a kidney to finally get a firm time for an interview I’ve been promised. At home, I’m still an idiot for agreeing to play beach volleyball for spring session – it was 7 degrees and rainy on Wednesday evening, but at least there was no wind. And I had to turn down a vacation opportunity in New York in May because that’s way sooner than I thought my friends were going to want to go, and my bank account will be tragically depleted by vet bills and other planned trips then. I think one friend and I will go later in the year, but it still feels like a missed opportunity.

So instead of anything that requires brain cells, here’s a collection of random updates:

Love Monkey

I haven’t been able to find torrents for the VH1 airings of the show, which makes me sad. I will have to whine until a DVD is released.

But I stumbled across a recent and interesting interview with creator Michael Rauch, done by the WGA: Monkey See, Monkey Write. I have no proof, but I suspect it was conducted before the show was pulled from CBS, since there’s an odd absence of discussion about the show’s sad fate. I bet they grabbed the opportunity to salvage the article when VH1 came to the rescue.

It reminded me why Rauch is an example of a great interviewee. Even though there was overlap between my questions and some of the WGA questions, he gives different but equally thoughtful responses. My immediately pre-Rauch interviewee (yes, I’m deliberately not naming names) was professional, friendly, and funny, but his answers seemed canned. I tried to ask some different questions, but a lot of what he said was a carbon copy of other interviews I’d read with him, down to the metaphors and similes. It’s hard to break new ground in an interview anyway, but harder still when an interviewee talks in sound bites.

A Complicated Kindness

CBC’s Canada Reads program has chosen Miriam Toews’ book A Complicated Kindness as the book they think all Canadians should read. I loved it and might use this as an excuse to write a full review. In one of my long-deceased monthly random reviews, I said this:

Heartbreakingly, hysterically funny Nomi Nickel is the wry, confused narrator of Toews’ novel about a 16-year-old Mennonite girl whose mother and sister have both disappeared, leaving her to live with her bewildered father in a town that suffocates her with its religious restrictions and limited opportunities. While the book offers fascinating insight into a community that has turned its back on much of the modern world, it’s easy to identify with misfit Nomi.

TV goes to the web

Frazier Moore, Associated Press’s TV journalist, has a fun overview on current options for television on the Internet: Rush is on for web-delivered video. It’s amazing how drastically things have changed even this TV season, with more and more networks embracing the Internet to market and even deliver their shows.


I discovered my new favourite site last night via a fellow Blogcritic. Tell me this isn’t the best thing in the world: LibraryThing.

It lets you catalogue your book collection online, which is moderately cool, but then you can get recommendations and read reviews from people with similar collections, which is exactly what I crave – exposure to more authors I have a good chance of liking. The cataloguing is actually incredibly cool because of how easy it is to do. You type in keywords, and using databases from Amazon and libraries, the system gives you options for which edition you have (though I didn’t pay much attention to that, since I couldn’t be bothered to search more to distinguish paperback from hardcover, or between publishers). I didn’t mean to do anything but glance at it last night, but it was just so easy.

My collection so far is here, though it’s not complete. You can add up to 200 books for free, then there’s minimal charges for a year ($10) or a lifetime ($25) membership.

It’s a bit of a sad exercise for me. When I moved to Mexico, I got rid of a lot of my stuff so I didn’t have to store it, including the vast majority of my books. I was an English major; I had a lot of books. I’m pretty OK with getting rid of material possessions, but this is forcing me to think about what isn’t in my collection that should be. It’s a little heartbreaking.

But what cheered me up is that some fairly obscure books were found in LibraryThing’s system – the linguistics textbooks (my minor) I couldn’t part with, for example. And I was impressed that it had the exact 1930s set of Ernest Hemingway books I got at a garage sale even though I don’t really like Hemingway.

The only books so far I haven’t been able to add are the Canadian Press Stylebook and a couple of Spanish books. However one of those is my absolute favourite thing from Mexico – ABCDF: Diccionario Grafico de la Ciudad de Mexico. DF is the Distrito Federal, which is what the city is more frequently called, so it’s a cute name for a graphic dictionary of the city.

It’s full of pictures of the good, the bad, the ugly, the breathtaking, and the very, very weird of Mexico City. Under A, for example, it has Aguila (eagle), and a photo of the monument that was right beside my first apartment, with lights forming the Mexican flag of the eagle with the snake in its mouth. And it has Aire, with a picture of the smoggy skies, and Alcantarilla (sewer) with manhole covers of all designs, and Altar with a collage of the streetside alters found everywhere, and Angel with the Angel of Independence statue that towers over a traffic circle on the major Reforma boulevard, and Apartado (separate) with the random objects in parking spaces people use to reserve them, like pop bottles and crates, and many other A words with left-of-centre images to illustrate them.

Ok, now I’m all nostalgic and homesick (for a place where I was never really at home). Gotta go wallow in a tearjerker movie or melancholy music.