Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I'm not dead, I'm writing

I swear I am NOT neglecting the blog, although in reality nobody out there would care if I was. So to my imagined readers I say this:

I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year! 

That's short for National Novel Writing Month! Huzzah!

I am 6,000 words into my next masterpiece (buy the first one HERE), so I'm focused more on that than blogging, since the whole point of NaNoWriMo is to complete the novel in one month's time.

See you in December, my quirky little angels!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Brief History of My Celebrity Crushes, Part 2: Jack Noseworthy

This crush started out in the same way as the first one, oddly enough. It started when my dad dragged me to yet another movie I had no interest in seeing. I was 14 years old when U-571 came out and, like most teenage girls, I had no interest in Nazi submarines.

But my old man and I were movie buddies, and this flick had transitioned to the discount $2 theatre so I was invited to tag along. I knew who Matthew McConaughey was, so why the hell not?

I was mildly interested in the film until this happened.

"I play zee quiet, sexy, underrated, German-speaking radioman. Adore me to a sick degree, vy don't you?"

WHOA, be still my pubescent heart! Suddenly my eyes were glued on the screen, not wanting to blink for fear of missing a moment of the already slim screen-time of Seaman Bill Wentz, played by the newest love of my life, Jack Noseworthy. Look at those luscious puckers. Dayum.

I made my parents drop me off at the cheap cinema two more times to see the movie. I’m sure they thought my teenage fangirl interest in a World War II film was odd, but they let me obsess over whatever the hell I wanted. Good parents. And hey, I was probably the youngest person ever to know what depth charges were.

It should be noted there were many nice faces in the film, apart from the obvious McConaughey. Also a part of this rag-tag group of sub-dwellers were Jon Bon Jovi, Tom Guiry, Erik Palladino, plus others that weren't too hard on the eyes. Harvey Keitel anyone?

Knowing what to do since my crush on Ewan McGregor had become a part of life, I took to the prehistoric internet to search out all photos and videos publicly available. This was pre-YouTube, so that shit was hard to find! And it took five hours of downloading to watch one tiny clip. Five hours on the old-timey internet that used the phone line. 

90s hotness overload
Mr. Jack got his own school binder devoted to him, his printed photos covered in modge-podge and toted around school with pure love and devotion, to the utter confusion of my peers who were busy fawning over, ummm… actually I was too detached and in my own world to know who my peers gave a shit about.

I did the habitual pilgrimage to West Coast Video, armed with my internet print-out of Jack Noseworthy’s filmography, and got to rentin’. My dad looked at me with severely arched eyebrows when I brought titles to the front counter like Breakdown starring Kurt Russell and Barb Wire with Pamela Anderson.

Bless him, he let me rent whatever I wanted, no questions asked.

At one point I discovered that my Jacky-poo was actually a song and dance man, and being the Broadway nerd I am, I just about messed my pants. Once I found a clip of him rehearsing for Pippin, singing Corner of the Sky, and I proceeded to download the song (on Napster, I’m old) and listen to it (on a burned CD on my discman) until my ears bled. That’s how obsessed I can get with things.

During the height of my obsession, I faked sick at school so I could go to the mall and buy U-571 on VHS on the day it came out. That was a miss-school kind of occasion for me. Geez, I remember trolling the internet for HOURS trying to find somewhere to watch/download an episode of The Twilight Zone he was in. I was fucking dedicated.

At one point it was take-your-kid-to-work day and neither of my parents were able to participate. I went with a friend to her mother’s government office job for the day, and my pupils blew wide when I saw the industrial sized colour printer. I proceeded to print off this bad boy right here, in massive poster size.

Look at that fuckin' smoulder. Rawr.

Hell, the girls who loved N’Sync had NO trouble finding merch to paper their bedroom walls, but poor little me with my not-so-mainstream interests had no options! Fuck it, I’m gonna use government printer ink to give me something to swoon over.

Then I stumbled across a piece of Noseworthy media that would actually have long reaching effects in my life. I discovered the music video for Bon Jovi’s song Always, in which Jack is super sexy, albeit kind of an asshole. I watched the video a bazillion times, and then decided I loved it for more than my crush’s presence. This began a lifelong love of BJ. I know how that sounds. I’m not correcting it.

I’ve seen Bon Jovi in concert twice (both times I was the youngest person in attendance by at least two decades), and I have Jack to thank for his influence on my musical tastes.

My dear Jack also introduced me to Event Horizon, which has remained to this day on both my fave sci-fi and horror movie lists. Check it out, it's scary as shit. Hey, remember Idle Hands? My boy was in that too. How about Alive, the one with the plane crash in the Andes? Yup, that too.

After watching this demo reel I feel that old familiar spark reigniting, and I think it's time to catch up on his filmography.

I have just now, right this moment, discovered probably the only problem with modern, fast, comprehensive internet. All this research just forced me to learn that Jack is gay, and a nostalgic piece of me has died.

Twenty-nine-year-old Adelaide can handle this new information (and might even be into that), but it's a good thing that 14-year-old Adelaide never came across that nugget of info otherwise she woulda cried into her pillow and lamented the fact that she was for real never going to marry J. Nose.

Suddenly my "song and dance man" comment is making more sense.

Either way, I wouldn't trade my history of celebrity crushes for anything.




Friday, October 23, 2015

Fallen Down a Wikihole: The Collyer Brothers

Have you ever looked up something on Wikipedia, then gotten sucked into the "see also" section? And then on and on you travel from article to article until you're reading about quantum mechanics when you had initially been trying to find out Billy Ray Cyrus' birthday? I have. And it happened the other day. It's called a Wikihole, and although you can blink your eyes and seven hours have gone by, they can be super fun and informative.

So you know how shows about hoarding are all the rage on TV nowadays? Hoarders, and Hoarding: Buried Alive, and Hoardmeister: Throw Some Shit Away, etc. You might think that the disease is relatively new to humanity, but it just isn't so. It's been around pretty much as long as humans have decided that owning things is fun. In fact, I'll bet some neanderthals had caves full of shiny rocks and animal skulls and crap they just wouldn't throw away.

"Og, why you keep so many bones?"

"Quiet, Glurg. All bones different! Og might need one day!"

Okay this has seriously gone off the rails.

The other day while getting lost in the see-also-abyss of Wikipedia, I came across a super-interesting article, and since I learned about this, now you're gonna hear about it.


The Collyer Brothers were two Manhattan bros infamous in the 1940s for being "those guys" in the neighbourhood. You know... the ones the kids make up stories about, the ones you hardly ever see and so rumours start a'swirlin'. "What are they up to in that brownstone?" "I heard they worship Satan and have a portal to hell in the living room."

Langley Collyer, c. 1942

Homer and Langley both died amongst their hoard, roughly 140 tonnes of stuff! Apparently they hadn't left the home in twenty years and had created an elaborate system of tunnels through their collections that they used to navigate the mess. They even set up booby traps, one of which actually killed Langley. Yikes. That backfired, didn't it?

The images of their home are absolutely bewildering.

An anonymous phone call in April 1947 brought the police around, and they were shocked at what they found. Apart from the filth and the hoard of weird items, they found that the two men had died about ten feet apart, hidden in the junk

The most interesting tid-bit in the Wikipedia article has to be the contents of the house.

"Baby carriages, a doll carriage, rusted bicycles, old food, potato peelers, a collection of guns, glass chandeliers, bowling balls, camera equipment, the folding top of a horse-drawn carriage, a sawhorse, three dressmaking dummies, painted portraits, pinup girl photos, plaster busts, Mrs. Collyer's hope chests, rusty bed springs, the kerosene stove, a child's chair (the brothers were lifelong bachelors and childless), more than 25,000 books (including thousands about medicine and engineering and more than 2,500 on law), human organs pickled in jars, eight live cats, the chassis of the old Model T with which Langley had been tinkering, tapestries, hundreds of yards of unused silks and fabric, clocks, 14 pianos (both grand and upright), a clavichord, two organs, banjos, violins, bugles, accordions, a gramophone and records, and countless bundles of newspapers and magazines, some of them decades old."

Holy schnikies! Human organs? Fourteen pianos?  Yeesh! Well, needless to say, the excavation of their house became widespread news, and brought on many onlookers. In this time period hoarding was very misunderstood, and sufferers were looked upon as eccentric and strange. Nowadays we know it's a mental disorder and a therapist is always brought in with the cleaners.

I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article on these brothers, as I found it fascinating.

You could also check out the book Ghostly Men: The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers and My Uncle Arthur, New York's Greatest Hoarders (An Urban Historical) by Franz Lidz. Although the title is a mouthful, I bet it's a great read. It's on my wish list, but if you beat me to reading it, please send me your thoughts.

Have you ever found an awesomely random Wikipedia entry?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Brief History of My Celebrity Crushes, Part 1: Ewan McGregor

I've always been a bit boy-crazy, I'll admit, but my crushes have always tended towards the... how shall I put this... odd. Maybe slightly age-inappropriate. Definitely not the dudes my peers were crushing on.

I shall now take you on a journey documenting some of the men that were responsible for my sexual awakening, the confirmation of my heterosexuality, and the definitive life-long label of quirky.


First and foremost, my heart belongs to Ewan McGregor. I mean, just look at this shit.

Let me rub my face against your face. Please.

That doesn't seem so odd for a 29-year-old celebrity crush, amirite?

But in 1999, when The Phantom Menace was released, I was 13. I sat in the theatre beside my Dad who had essentially dragged me there to see it I and swooned at the appearance of Obi-Wan Kenobi on the screen, a then 28-year-old McGregor. Suddenly the movie I had begrudgingly agreed to see became interesting. And I saw it three more times in theatres. (And fuck all of you, I liked Jar Jar and I don't care who knows it.)

You know what they say about a man with a long padawan braid...

For comparison, my friends were teen-lusting for things like this. JT was 18 in '99.

JT to stylist - "Make my hair look like Ramen noodles please."

Once I was introduced to Ewan and his older man charms, plus that exotic sexy Scottish accent, I was done for. I went on the primitive 1999 internet and scoured it for his filmography. I typed his name into Mama.com (this is before Google was king of the web) and saved every damn photo I could find to my special folder on the family PC. 

Oh, this was also in the ancient time when logging onto the internet sounded like BRRRRR SQUEEEEEEEGRRRRRBBBBBZZAAABBZZOOO! And you couldn't use the phone line at the same time. I'm old.

I printed off every Ewan pic I found, in colour! My parents were mad. My allowance didn't cover the cost of colour ink cartridges. My current salary still doesn't. I modge-podged them onto my school binders in beautiful Scottish collages. 

I used to spend a lot of time enjoying this particular photo

My parents took me to the local video rental place and I'd search and search and beg the staff to get more of his titles. Who knows what Mom and Dad were thinking when they let me rent Trainspotting.

The movie was gross and Ewan was gross in it, but there was nothing that could stifle my hormonal mania over this man. Not even watching him take a disgusting heroin-withdrawal shite and then dive into it.

My parents DEFINITELY had not read up on Velvet Goldmine before letting me rent it. In it, Ewan plays a glittery gender-bendy rockstar, and I got to see his peepee. That was a big deal. At that innocent stage in life you want to kiss and hug your crush and totally get married, but genitals were not something you really ever thought about. At least not just yet. And this wasn't some quick, tasteful silhouette of male full frontal. This was a pants on the floor, jumping up and down, floppy in your face peepee. It was a lot to absorb. (I'd absorb that peepee any day... HEEYOOO)

That movie also introduced me to some other... ahem.. things... that I wasn't quite ready for at age 14. ("Ewan, what are you doing to Christian Bale's bum?! NOOOO!") But there you have it. I was determined to watch him in anything and everything.

This movie has a phenomenal soundtrack, P.S.

A Life Less Ordinary was one of the ones I found at the old West Coast Video that I watched over and over again and enjoyed for reasons other than my main man being involved. I still watch it once a year or so.

The film was another collab between Ewan and Trainspotting's Danny Boyle, one which defied categorization, being a dark comedy, a rom-com, an action/adventure film, and a fantasy story all in one. Naturally, being different, critics hated it.

But I loved it, and I think any movie buff should see it for its originality. Plus my man sings in it. Of course he does. I curse any film that doesn't utilize his beautiful voice.

Ewan went from a "phase" to a full-blown love affair after I saw Moulin Rouge. When the movie came out, my peers had for the most part never seen him before, probably because his movies were all completely inappropriate for our age group. The odd Star Wars fan knew who he was, but that was it.

I, on the other hand, squealed like a motherfuckin' Backstreet Boys fan (to be fair, I was also one of those) when a group of friends came over and we watched Moulin Rouge for the first time.

That movie was a religious experience for me. It was visually and emotionally beautiful, heart-wrenching, funny, and full of great songs. I was thrilled that Ewan was now a mainstream, leading man, in a movie winning all kinds of awards.

He plays an idealistic writer. My soul mate.

What I find fun is that most people are not crushing on the same celeb they were at age 13. But I'm not most fucking people!  I will probably love him forever. And I'm cool with that.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Book Report: Annihilation

Here's one of those rare instances where I could probably sum up a book report in two words. And those two words are: MIND FUCK.

Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation is unlike any book I've ever read, which can be confusing and slightly frustrating, but it's also exhilarating (in a book-nerd sort of way). Structurally, the story was told as any other, from the start of events to the finish, so the narrative was easy to follow. But where it starts to get wonky is the fact that none of the characters in the book have names. Yeah. Weird, right?

They are instead identified only by their positions on this mysterious expedition; the surveyor, the anthropologist, the psychologist, and our narrator - the biologist.

Something else I loved was that all four of these characters were women. There was some major chick power in the story!

It's hard to assign a genre to this one, but if I had to I'd say futuristic dystopian, without any real sci-fi elements. Also a bit of horror and thriller. And adventure. Okay, fine. This one defies any labeling.

So without giving away too much (almost impossible considering how the entire story is cloaked in mystery) I can say that these four women are chosen to explore Area X, a vaguely described section of the United States where there was an "event" some years back after which time it was abandoned and reclaimed by nature. The Southern Reach is a government agency tasked with figuring out what the fuck is with this place, and so they send in group after group, with no luck at all. Not just no luck, BAD luck. Pretty much everyone is fucked over by Area X in different, screwy ways.

Vandermeer's writing style is simple and concise, and the story only flashed back a few times to the biologist's home life before the expedition, so apart from that you're trapped in Area X with the protagonist the whole time, wondering WTF along with her. There are some awesome eerie, suspenseful moments, and one amazing feat on the part of the author in which he describes something that is essentially indescribable. You'll have to read it to see what I mean by that.

All in all I was hooked by the unknown in this book, and couldn't put it down because of the intense need to know more. Which is pretty much the motivation of the biologist for volunteering to go to Area X in the first place.

(Game show announcer voice) And now it's tiiiime foooooor...

Things I Learned About in Annihilation:

  • a bit of the biology of pond life
  • hypnotism and "trigger words"
New Words I Learned In Annihilation:

Eukaryotic - Used in the book to describe a mossy fungusy thing. A sciency word that a biologist most certainly would use.

"...what would have looked to the layperson like rich green fernlike moss 
but in fact was probably a type of fungi or other eukaryotic organism."

Crenellations: This word was used to describe parts of a lighthouse that is visited in the story.

"I could see crenellations that created lines of sight for rifles."

Bulwark: This word was used to describe moss on the seashore.

"They, clinging to the soil, stopped it from eroding and helped 
bulwark the dunes and the sea oats that came next."


I'll give Annihilation a 3.5. It was thoroughly enjoyable, incredibly suspenseful and spooky, and very addictive. It lost a point for me when it failed to answer some major questions that I had. I suppose that's why it's a trilogy though! Also, a half point is lost for making the strong female lead's motivation largely about a man.


Up next on the Quirky Canuck Book Club!

Undermajordomo Minor, by Patrick deWitt

A love story, an adventure story, a fable without a moral, and an ink-black comedy of manners, international bestselling author Patrick deWitt's new novel is about a young man named Lucien (Lucy) Minor, who accepts employment at the foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as undermajordomo, he soon discovers the place harbours many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle's master, Baron Von Aux.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Flash of Fiction: Fandom (Part 1)

It was a mild summer Saturday night in the bustling Canadian city, just about the time of night when the babyboomers finished up their evening meals on patios and the University kids were still pre-drinking and preparing for what lay ahead.

It was perfectly fitting, she thought, that she was out and about in this in-between time of day, this no-man's land of Saturday nights. She was oddly comfortable in that middle ground in most aspects of her life.

Beatrice stood on the sidewalk, nervously surveying the building and trying to see past the late setting sun's glare in the windows into the pub beyond. She was playing it cool, having arrived twenty minutes early and not wanting to be the first desperate woman inside.

She circled the block and made it back with another ten minutes to spare. Damn her nervous energy for having pushed her out of her apartment too soon. After taking out her phone and pretending to check non-existent messages for the third time, she cursed herself and went back to the double-door entrance of the pub. Get this over with.

"Tonight at 9:30. Lightspeed Dating," she mumble-sighed to herself, reading the banner above the door, written in what she knew instinctually to be the Star Wars font. "Real clever."

She had opened the forwarded email on the Monday, only deciding not to immediately junk it because the sender had been her best friend.

See below. Sounds right up your alley, you nerd.
Lots of love,

"Geek," she had corrected with a throaty harumph as she adjusted her thick-framed glasses and scrolled past the snarky intro. She read on with heavy skepticism on her brain, learning all about the city's newest themed mini-community of singletons.

Attendees were encouraged to wear costumes to the upcoming event, and Beatrice pondered the Hobbit costume tucked away in the back of her closet. She would have loved to let the beautiful hand-crafted corset adorned in shining gold and green embroidery see the light again, it had been so long since its last outing, but she cringed to think of herself walking the city streets in her big-feet-shoes on a regular non-ComicCon day. She could geek out with the best of them, but she tried to pick her moments to maintain some semblance of a sense of social awareness.

She had replied tersely to Nina.

You must think I'm pretty desperate.

The reply came dinging into her mailbox faster than she'd expected.

Nuh uh. You just need to be out of your apartment for him to find you.

Nina, bless her, had a way of talking about her single friend's future partner as if he was someone they already knew. A vague, nameless figure, out there in the world biding his time until he somehow stumbled into Beatrice's life. He was a specific stranger. Nina would often tease Beatrice, mostly in the sporadic instances when she complained about the single life, by randomly blurting out her musings on what HE was doing right this instant. She would be met with rolling eyes and a playful punch to the shoulder, but Nina loved doing it anyway and watching her friend scoff while suppressing a secret smile.

Beatrice breathed out heavily, her cheeks puffing out as she did so. She hiked up her jeans, smoothed down the front of her Battlestar Gallactica t-shirt, and forced a smile, desperately trying to reassure herself that she was cute in that I didn't try too hard, sorta way. Anyone could put on a cute dress to impress guys, but she was Beatrice, dammit, and even if she couldn't bring herself to cosplay she was damn well going to at least dress for the theme somehow. Speed dating for geeks. Oy.

She double-checked that her Keep Calm, I'm the Doctor button was still in place on her purse, quickly tilted it so the TARDIS was upright again, and she was ready.

"Beatrice Hart," she announced to the bartender standing beside a registration sign, this time in the delightfully sixties Trek font. With a name like that, her hippie parents had tried to bestow upon her their same love of all things vintage, their appreciation for the past, and all the good old days she kept hearing about. Instead she had embraced the future, science fiction, space ships and time travel, aliens and new worlds.

Her mom would flip through her record collection hoping to spark an interest in her daughter, but Beatrice's reply was always a show and tell of her iPod and the five hundred songs within it.

The bartender handed over her name badge with a wink and took her drink ticket, exchanging it for a bottle of beer. Beatrice marveled at his chiseled jaw and tousled roguish hair, sighing to herself in defeat upon realizing the bar staff was probably much more appealing than the slew of five-minute dates she was about to endure.

"Do you want to leave your sweater with coat check?" he asked with a crooked smile.

Beatrice's tongue swelled and stumbled around her mouth as she struggled to form words fit for a GQ model's ears. She handed over her cardigan and her eyes flitted around nervously, landing on the registration sign again. Lightspeed Dating. She went with what she knew.

"Make it so."

His arm hovered over the bar as the blue fabric hung between them. "Umm," he stammered, "I am."


Beatrice tried to recover. "Oh I know," she giggled, "it's a Star Trek reference, in the Next Generation..."

The bartender nodded his head with raised eyebrow and a polite smile, much less flirtatious than before, and turned his back to place her sweater on a hanger off to the side behind him.

She swiveled around, taking a long pull from her beer, hoping to swallow her cringing as much as the alcohol. Should have known, she thought. A hockey joke would have gone over better.

"Kirk or Picard?" came a nasally voice to her right. She lowered her beer quickly to see a portly man about her age with slicked black hair standing at her side. He wore a name tag. Matt. Another lightspeed dater.

"Well," she indulged his question, grateful that someone else spoke her language, "I'm of the opinion that they were both excellent leaders in different ways."

Matt's eyes lit up. "No, no, no," he shook his head enthusiastically and waggled a scolding finger. "That's a cop-out right there. You gotta pick one!"

A moment of silence stretched between them. Beatrice thought for a moment, pushing her brown hair behind her ears with her beerless hand. "I refuse to take sides," she smiled.

Matt huffed loudly, clearly unimpressed. "Wars or Trek?" 

Again Beatrice knew her answer would be disappointing. "Both?" she ventured.

Suddenly his arms were thrown up in the air in frustration, and he began a seemingly rehearsed monologue about the superiority of Star Trek, its utopian values and racial diversity, acting, writing, and on and on. Beatrice looked on with wide eyes, surprised to have set off such a volatile reaction. She too was passionate about the things she loved, but not to the degree of lecturing a complete stranger.

A speaker crackled to life and she was glad for the interruption, quickly looking away from the ranting fanboy at her side.

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Lightspeed dating! Ladies take your seats, and the men will rotate every five minutes when you hear the blaster!" A loud, laser-like pew pew echoed across the room, followed by a chorus of laughter. Beatrice loved a well executed theme and couldn't help but grin. Without a word, she hustled away from Matt who had now engaged some other poor sap in an argument about Luke Skywalker's merit as a Jedi Knight.

Round one.

"I could never date someone who thought Greedo shot first," stated suitor number one with the conviction normally reserved for heated political conversations. Now there was a dealbreaker she'd never heard before.

Pew pew!

"Word of Warcraft takes up a lot of my time, but if you play then yes - we could spend lots of time together in Azeroth."

Pew pew!

Beatrice retained nothing of what her next mini-date said over the stench of weed permeating from his every pore.

Pew pew!

"I'm into ultimate frisby in summer and snowboarding in the winter."

"Do you like Doctor Who?"


"No, the TV show. Doctor Who."

"Never heard of it."

"Wow," she replied with a chuckle. "Then what are you doing at a geek dating event?"

"What?" he exclaimed, his head suddenly swiveling around the room. "It's for geeks?"

Pew pew!

Beatrice spent the next five minutes desperately trying to keep the small talk going while the next guy downed two beers in quick succession, asking her nothing about herself.

"Well, nice talking to you," she offered.

"Yep," he stood and left without even making eye contact.

Pew pew!

She was starting to fantasize about the blaster pew pewing her right in the temple.


An hour later, she dropped her purse on the floor and shuffled into her bedroom with all the zeal of an old timey zombie. She threw herself on the bed face first and landed with a soft thud. Well that was a wash.

Beatrice contemplated texting Nina to thank her for the wonderful suggestion that she get out of her comfort zone, but decided against it. Her friend's intentions were good, and she couldn't have known it would be the wasted effort it turned out to be.

She grabbed for the laptop on her bedside table and decided to indulge in her little ego-boosting ritual, checking her blog's daily traffic and comment section. She logged in, her mood finally lightening again as her adrenaline began to spike. She knew it was silly to be so excited over something so small, but the feedback from her loyal readers never failed to bring her joy. Even the trolls made her laugh.

A quick scroll through the new comments waiting for approval lifted her spirits, but as she reached the end of the list, she couldn't help but feel a small wave of disappointment. Nothing from Gallifreyan82. Her favourite reader must not have paid her blog a visit today.

He could always be counted on to provide insightful thoughts on her writing. He always picked up on her most subtle uses of subtext, grasped her underlying themes, and appreciated her wit. Not to mention he was the best and least judgmental proofreader she'd ever had. Gallifreyan82 had the most charming, delicate way of pointing out typos she'd ever seen. He was complimentary and helpful. A writer's dream reader.

Strange that he hadn't made an appearance in the comments of her recent update, given that he knew what a big day tomorrow would be for her.

Beatrice kicked off her shoes and jeans and pulled the sheets up to her chin. She fell asleep to swirling thoughts of shirtless Kirk and Picard duking it out in a Gladiatorial arena

Sunday, September 20, 2015

This Week In Online Dating: Bad Names, Clichés, and Obituaries

Another week, another shit-show in the world of online dating. Even though I like to mock people (who deserve it) I want you to know I am actually trying. I do respond to messages, browse profiles with optimism, etc. I'm rewarded with conversations that underwhelm me and fade away, or dudes that flake on dates at the last minute I really am giving it the old college try!

EXHIBIT A: Other great qualities

Wow, thank you for that amazing description. Your height, obviously the #1 most important thing. In fact, SO important that FUCK EVERY OTHER THING ABOUT YOU. Come on bro, even chicks that are just looking to bang need a little more detail than that. At least, I think. Hey, chicks on tinder looking to bang, is that the only pertinent statistic to you? 

It his other great quality includes tactical warfare, I think I'm swiping left.

EXHIBIT B: A Cliché For Another Day 

I actually got so sick of seeing this stupid line that I decided to start documenting it. And then of course I couldn't find a second example, but take it from me, TONS of you dudes are using this one. "Find someone who loves you like Kanye loves Kanye." It's actually funny and I can appreciate our mutual disdain for one of humanity's biggest blunders, but I just want you all to know that you're not even close to being the only one who thought it would make a cute addition to your dating profile.

So instead of quoting a meme you saw on the internet, let's hear some of your original words. 

EXHIBIT C: Get A Dictionary

I'm going to go ahead and jump to the conclusion that if you read my blog (does anyone?!?) then you have a superior intellect. By having that enormous brain, you know exactly what is wrong with that guy's name. 

Synonyms include womanizer and debauchee. Okay, admittedly my vocab isn't good enough to know the second one, but I did know at first glance that I would be swiping right on a lech. Problem is that Tinder takes your name from your Facebook profile (stupid programming) so it's likely that this is his real name. Canada is a multi-cultural place and I welcome and accept all ethnicities, but I know that if I moved to a foreign country where my name was a derogatory word in the local language, I'd be working on a cool new nickname.

And dude, if that's NOT your real name, buy a fucking dictionary and pick better usernames!


Grieving is very hard, and it can be a long process in which we all express ourselves in different ways. I don't intend to mock this person if he's been through something terrible like losing a child, but I just wanted to showcase the variety of interesting and inappropriate things you find in the world on online dating.

Sir, this is REALLY not the place to pay tribute to a child who has passed away. You're obviously here for booty, or for dating, and your shirtless mirror selfie proves that. So do not include an obituary below a tasteless cheesy photo of yourself. Not cool.

Not to mention you're bringing down the whole vibe for everyone who's enjoying the casual swiping, then are smacked in the face with this reality bomb. Take it to your Facebook wall where people can express their condolences. 


This one is a blatant show-off. I'm being totally honest when I say I get messages like this all the time. And I don't mean the one-liner, "nice profile, wanna chat?" kind of shit. I get people legit saying "Wow" and quoting bits of my profile and expressing their genuine admiration for its contents.

I've put a lot of work into it, and it's ongoing. I'm honest about myself, including flaws and quirks (obviously), I'm honest about what I'm looking for, and I've peppered it with humor to keep people reading to the end. A long profile can sometimes turn off the reader, but I'm often told they read to the end and laughed the whole way. I've also been told many times that I did a great job giving off the vibe of who I am as a person. Which is exactly what these things are meant to do, if you do them right. 

I may not get fifty messages a day, but the messages I do get (that aren't copy/paste generic BS) are from people who get a good sense of what they'd be getting into with me and decided to go forward. Quality over quantity.

I've told single straight men how to have great online dating profiles before, and I follow all of those rules myself. They work. Although I may be single right now, I have found love online in the past, more than once. Real love, not the "just for tonight" kind of love. Although lately I've been thinking of cruising for some of that too, because it's been since June for me, which means I'm quickly approaching my personal drought limit.

It'll be interesting to see with whom I break the dry-spell. Keep you posted. (nobody cares)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Report: The Martian

If you joined the Quirky Canuck Book Club then you must have been reading The Martian these last two weeks. You MUST HAVE BEEN.

Andy Weir had been publishing his writing on his blog for a number of years before finally self-publishing his novel The Martian on Kindle, where it sky rocketed to the top of Amazon's Sci-Fi charts. The rights were then purchased and the book was released in 2014.

Holy shit, I absolutely LOVE hearing about that happening, because as someone who is too lazy to submit manuscripts to publishers, this scenario is the dream; hoping my self-published nonsense will just become popular somehow, without all that nasty rejection.

So, in The Martian,  Mark Watney (astronaut, botanist, and mechanical engineer, what a resumé!) is stranded on Mars when his crew emergency evacuates and leaves him behind during a storm. Don't judge them; it was a safe assumption that he was dead meat. This isn't a spoiler, by the way. It happens right off the bat and is the basis for the whole book, so essentially reading the dust jacket would spoil this for you.

Mark survives the storm and his abandonment, and has to devise some pretty intense and elaborate plans to survive the next four years - the time he'll have to wait for the next Mars mission to come save him.

The concept grabbed me from the beginning. I heard the book described as a cross between Castaway and Apollo 13 which is completely accurate. We have all the life-threatening spacey/technological things, as well as the elements of invention and ingenuity for survival. With an opening like this story has, it's hard not to be rooting for Watney the whole time.

The main character is written as sassy and sweary which is always a good time. Weir manages to infuse humour into a situation that is anything but funny. The author is also super smart - the son of a particle physicist (so you know it's in his blood), and he really did his homework for this novel, like researching orbital mechanics, technology, and the history of manned spaceflight. Although I'm not a scientist, I AM a science enthusiast and I have a pretty solid bullshit detector. The events of the book felt plausible. Not quite yet, but in the not-so-ridiculously-distant future, for sure.

Weir makes a crazy situation into something believable, mostly by making nothing easy for our protagonist. Watney has to get really creative, he has to think long and hard about solutions, sometimes he has to act fast, and most importantly for the believability of a survival story - a lot of shit goes wrong.

The story is addictive. As you read about setback after setback you're inclined to stay tuned to see how (and if) Watney will resolve his numerous problems. It's a classic literary technique when you think about it. *old-timey radio announcer voice* Will our hero prevail in the face of adversity? Stick around to see if he gets out of this particular can of worms! Brought to you by Ovaltine!

The only negative I can find to say about The Martian are the sometimes long bits of math and sciencey explanations. It's like listening to the Watney's thought processes as he figures things out, which is generally great for character development, but in a case like this where lots of calculations are involved, you might find your eyes darting through the paragraphs a little faster trying to reach the end of it.

Even as I criticize these moments in the narrative, I can still applaud them for making the science and the situation real to the reader.

The narration switches from Watney's perspective to NASA officials back on Earth, and again to Watney's former crew mates aboard the Hermes spacecraft on its way home. This adds some nice variety because, let's face it, the reader could get a little claustrophobic and perhaps bored if they only dealt with one person throughout the story.

Part of the reason I love reading so much is because I'm a huge fucking nerd. One aspect of being a huge fucking nerd involves a love of learning. Every book I've read, no matter the subject matter, has taught me something. Thus, I introduce a new segment to my book reports.

Things I learned about in The Martian:
  • orbital mechanics and how space missions are planned based around positions of the planets
  • logistics of food rationing and the science of growing potatoes

Reading books also inevitably expands your vocabulary.

New words I learned in The Martian:

Sojourner - this was used as the name of a Mars rover, so I looked it up. It comes from the word sojourn. The definition is perfectly appropriate for a mechanical device dropped onto a planet to see what's up.

Akimbo - This word was used to describe someone's arms and I thought "huh?" Turns out it's something I know well, but didn't know there was a word for it.

and lastly...

Heliology - noun. The science of the sun. (Someone who studies the sun would be a heliologist.)

Learn something new every book! And hey, this one's being made into a movie with Matt Damon as the lead, coming in October. I'll definitely be seeing this one on the big screen.


If you liked The Martian you might like The Martian Race, by Gregory Benford.

Benford is a legit astrophysicist and professor of physics and astronomy in California. So if you appreciate realistic science fiction, give this one a try. It's also about a mission to Mars that is rife with difficulties.


Next up on the Quirky Canuck Book Club...

by Jeff Vandermeer

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Your Highness Was A Legitimately Good Fantasy Film

Today I'm going to sing the praises of a movie that was universally panned, bashed by critics, a financial failure, and was quickly forgotten after its release in 2011. Your Highness.

Even the writers and actors (Danny McBride and James Franco) made fun of their film in This Is The End, joking that even though it was the end of the world they wouldn't make a sequel. I would KILL for a sequel! Nay, I would SLAY for a sequel!

I hold the firm belief that movie reviewers need to remove their heads from their arses and lighten up a bit. In the case of Your Highness, not only do they need to lighten up and enjoy comedy for the sake of comedy, but they got it wrong when they rated it poorly, because I'm here to tell you that this flop has all the elements of a legit enjoyable fantasy film. I hate when movies are disregarded simply because they're silly. Yes, it's silly, but it's more than that.

The story might not be entirely original (man on a quest to save woman held captive in a tower), but it does throw in some unique elements like the loser tag-along prince, and the eclipse that shall culminate in "the Fuckening" during which the evil wizard will inseminate a virgin who will then birth a dragon. Come on now. The Fuckening. That's funny.

Costumes, Props, Production Design

In my opinion (which is worth absolutely dick-all) this movie is on point with all three of these important components of a fantasy film. This one boasts gorgeous renaissance-esque gowns, full suits of armor, and some very regal court attire complete with powdered wigs.

Aside from the costumes which are both well done and hilarious at times (one codpiece in particular), the viewer is taken to some beautiful locations. We visit a castle, a bustling village, a seedy pub, majestic mountains, lush forests, an eerie labyrinth, and on and on with the eye candy. The movie was filmed in Northern Ireland after all. It would be hard NOT to have breathtaking scenery.

The sound stage sets are just as impressive. For example, our heroes stumble into the territory of one of the film's villains, and his gladiator-style arena is extraordinary. Someone built that shit. Credit where credit is due!

Baddies, Creatures, and Characters

No fantasy film is complete without some creature creations, monsters, original villains, what have you. Your Highness is replete with these kinds of characters and they are extremely well done.

Firstly, we have Simon, Prince Fabious' mechanical animal companion. I didn't know that was even a thing, but I love it anyway. He crows and caws and saves the day. SPOILER - he gets smashed and I cry.

I want one.

Next up is the disgusting baby-man Marteetee with his oddly deep voice. Marteetee is a diaper-clad villain who loves topless chicks and making trespassers fight to the death against his monster.

Your diaper makes me uncomfortable, Marteetee. But I laugh all the same.

Personally, I thought this baddie was completely original, and the effect well executed. To summon his five-headed serpent, Marteetee sticks his hand into a cauldron full of orange goo, and out pops his monster in the arena.

These fuckers are legitimately terrifying! "I can't suck my own venom!"

We also have the Wize Wizard. Although his scene involves child molestation references (the only part of the film I found unappealing, aside from Natalie Portman's over the top, inconsistent, and distracting English accent), it still gets mad props for the use of a Muppet-like character, which in and of itself is a nod to other fantasy films like Labyrinth.

The Wize Wizard is a combination of puppet and CGI in a really cool way. Digital fist bump to the designers of this guy. He creeps me the fuck out and I think that's what you were going for. Well done.

He'll invite you to smoke his magic herbs with him.

Here we have the minotaur (attending the film's red carpet opening), a classic element in any fantasy film. But, you see, Your Highness makes it its own by making him a horny fucker who's actually quite well-endowed. This is where critics get all up in arms because, for them, dick and fart jokes aren't funny. WRONG. They are.

I feel weird looking at this.

There's a scene of comedic gold when Prince Thadeous wants to take a trophy from his first kill, just as he'd seen his brother do with a cyclops, but can't seem to sever the horn. So he ends up toting around a much less tasteful souvenir.

Go easy on him. He's new at questing.

The main Nasty in Your Highness is the evil wizard Leezar, played brilliantly by Justin Theroux. His costumes are incredible, and his wizard staff is one of the coolest fantasy props out there. Props to the propmaker.

His makeup and hair are so killer that we forget that the actor underneath is actually super duper attractive.

Look at that staff! Looks like it could black magic the shit out of you!

Not only does Theroux look awesome in character (and his accent is perf), but he plays it in the creepiest way possible.

Fight Scenes, Action Sequences, and Special Effects

Action is a staple for a fantasy film, and Your Highness has lots of it. James Franco studied swordplay for months in order to play the dashing Prince Fabious, which was a huge investment in a film he ended up hating.

To paraphrase The Princess Bride, this movie has fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, monsters, chases, escapes, and true love. It has action beats at all the right times, whether it be a carriage chase and escape, an unfortunate encounter with a minotaur, or a good old fashioned magic fight, you won't be bored.

And the special effects to go along with the magical elements don't disappoint. This movie had a real budget!

The Comedy

For mostly improvised dialogue, this film is incredibly clever. Not to mention its incorporation of terms like fuck, jack shit, and motherfucker which appeal to me as a fan of vulgarity.

Most important to remember is that this film is a spoof! It's a satire of the fantasy genre! They successfully and hilariously mock tropes like the virginal damsel in a tower, the handsome prince whose life is nothing but quests, the evil wizard who threatens a peaceful kingdom, prophecies, dragons, etc.

So don't take Your Highness so seriously, but I'm asking you to not to dismiss it as crap and try to view it as a legitimate fantasy movie. We should be even more impressed that, in spoofing a genre, it managed to make a genuine contribution to it. And that contribution is a new comedic spin that has been missing in the fantasy world. The film asks fantasy fans to lighten up a little. It doesn't always have to be Mount Doom and gloom. (See what I did there?) 

There are laugh out loud moments at every turn, exciting action sequences, a not-to-be-taken-seriously romance, and magic, motherfucker! What more do you want?!

The bottom line is this: Fuck the haters and don't believe the critics without seeing it for yourself! And hell, even if you've seen it before and didn't think much of it, I ask you to watch it again with an open mind. 

This movie deserves more recognition and praise than it got, and I submit this blog post as my small contribution to boosting its reputation.

Watch the entire movie on Youtube!