Category Archives: True Stories

Anecdotes from my past and present.

Slings and Shelfies

Posted on September 29, 2015 by

(null)A Daughter of No Nation is on the Shelfie Top 10 list for Most Anticipated SF and Fantasy books, in great company, with novels by Charlie Jane Anders, Kameron Hurley and Catherynne M. Valente. Review copies of the book are percolating out to the usual (and hopefully a few unusual) suspects. Soon we’ll be hearing what people think of the second installment of Sophie Hansa’s adventures.

I’m finding the prospect a little nerve-wracking. I don’t think there was anyone who absolutely hated ​Blue Magic. There were a few people whose response came down to “Holy gosh, this book sure do have a lotta queer people in it!” but there’s not much you can do about that except go, “Yep.”

Child of a Hidden Sea, on the other hand, and Sophie in particular got under a few readers’ skins, and not always in a way that led to true and enduring love. I decided to take this as a sign that I’d become better at characterization, especially since most of the reviews were, in fact, raves. Anyway, it might simply be the effect of a lingering head cold, or the fallout from a rather unusual week, but right now I’m thinking my only sane response is to go “La la la, can’t hear you!” and think of something else until my head clears.

Having been to Stratford for the first time this past weekend, and having seen three shows – Carousel, The Alchemist, and She Stoops to Conquer, Kelly and I are finally embarking on watching Slings and Arrows. We’ve had so many chances to do so over the years–I think people have lent us the DVDs on three separate occasions, and we never quite managed to pop one into the gadget before sheepishly returning the disks.  It’s been one of those gaps that was almost embarrassing to admit to, what with me being such a raging Paul Gross fan. But it never happened, until now, and it’s almost–but not quite–too dated. It’ll be good prep for seeing His Almighty Grossness and Martha Burns in Domesticated next month.

Is this a Stratford I see before me?

Posted on September 26, 2015 by

SONY DSCKelly and I are off to Stratford, Ontario  to see Carousel, She Stoops to Conquer and The Alchemist with my parents. They’ve been in town all week, and if you’re waiting on an e-mail from me, that’s the short answer as to why. (The long answer is “…an’ also I have a cold, and also also I had a three-hour seminar Friday night in the burbs–oh, the humanity!–but I sincerely like you and so appreciate the thing you sent me, and I will absolutely get to you as soon as is mammally possible because you are a wonderful human being and a treasure to behold. Seriously. Cough, cough.”)

In other words: regular service, including an increasing number of posts about ​A Daughter of No Nation, will resume on Tuesday. And in the meantime there will no doubt be geotagged Instagram and other pictures of yet another Ontario town I never saw before, in my whole life.

Everyone’s gone to the movies

Posted on September 20, 2015 by

imageKelly has been blogging about our continuing adventures at the Toronto International Film Festival. She has write-ups on Neon Bull and Southbound, 25 April and Faux Depart / Sector 9 IX B, and the film that, so far, is the best thing we’ve seen this week: Jennifer Peedom’s Everest Documentary, Sherpa.

Today’s the final day and we will be seeing two things: Angry Indian Goddesses and London Road. The latter is a film version of a musical we saw at Canadian Stage the week of our 25th anniversary.  It’s something called a “verbatim musical,” which means that the playwright recorded interviews from a neighborhood in Ipswich where a serial killer had been active, and then made an audio script for actors to mimic precisely. If that sounds ambitious, then imagine doing the same thing and setting it to music.

Tomorrow we both go back to work! Like all vacations, it’s been incredibly wonderful and too damned short.


Blame the Machines

Posted on September 15, 2015 by

alyx babyOne fine summer evening many years ago, in the days before DVDs, we rented The Thin Red Line. This was almost certainly my fault, as Kelly, generally speaking, has more sense– except in cases where Keanu Reeves is involved. After what seemed like thirty-six and a half hours of cinematic bludgeoning, we remembered we could hit the FWD button. By this means we hoped to watch the rest in fast motion until something happened, and at least come out of it knowing who’d died.

The pace of the shelling and shooting did indeed pick up. Still, fast-forwarding took another twenty five minutes. Purgatory moves faster, I’m pretty sure. This is a film, I’m fond of saying, that really captures the length of World War Two.

It’s a comment that usually brings Thin Red Line apologists out in droves to defend the earnest majesty or solemn nobility or outstanding performances or what have you you-clearly-live-in-a-parallel-world awesomeness of the film. But I had occasion, yesterday, to compare it to the French film The Fear, and nobody so much as squawked. I choose to take this as evidence of everyone realizing I was right in the first place.

In other news, I’ve spent the last couple of days fighting configuration wars with a shiny new PC laptop; the old one has been developing just a touch of age-related dementia. I might have nursed it along for quite a while, but to the extent that Chez Dua has a hardware upgrade plan, it made sense to replace it now.

The process was time consuming but largely painless–the iTunes library wheezed a little, and is still pissing me off a bit, but everything else essentially slotted into its assigned place in my ecosystem. Cloud backups made it easy.

I do 90% of my work on a tablet these days, which made the replacement less of a treat than it might otherwise have been. Still, puttering away has its pleasures, and of course the rest of my waking hours have been spent doing things like soaking in the hot tub with Kelly, sleeping late under a pile of kittenflesh, wandering around Toronto with Kelly, shopping in Chinatown for new phone cases with Kelly, and seeing weird and not entirely satisfying TIFF films with Kelly.  (Her writeups on The Fear and Eva doesn’t Sleep are here.) I liked the latter more than she did… I was intrigued by the back and forth and various interments and recoveries of Eva Peron’s body as the political winds in Argentina changed direction.

Tomorrow we will see 25 April, which is (cough) another war film. It is, in fact, an animated retelling of the battle of Gallipoli, by a female Canadian/New Zealand director named Leanne Pooley.

Two Thousand and Two Haiku

Posted on August 21, 2015 by

imageTotal dental freeze,
tempura and sashimi
not a good mixture

I have been browsing through my old blog periodically, examining the sort of things I was posting when I started out,  and offering up any of the worthwhile bits. My landscape, physical and social is very different now… in this particular period I’m revisiting, it’s about fourteen months away from a major upheaval. But 2002 Alyx has no idea whatsoever of any of that. She’s burbling along, figuring out Livejournal, writing her way through the early days of Rumble’s kittenhood, our first months in the condo on Woodland Drive, and things like the tail end of Buffy’s original run on network TV.

Today’s time-travel gold comes from May 23rd and consists of a couple of haiku I wrote after having my mouth frozen for dental work and then embarking on sushi for supper. The first is above; here’s the second.

Lively half of tongue,
balances roe between teeth
lip gets chomped instead


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