and, catching up....

As part of being in the hinterland, where food is expensive and talk is of global warming and little else, I’ve been out of the loop.

But here’s some catch-up stuff for any who are interested….

At his Governance Village blog, Chris Mason offers links on the human impact of the Beijing Olympics.

At the Globe and Mail, Christie Blatchford makes us all think about the ways we do business…. And knocks around the name of a Carleton alum….

I always thought the premise of this book would make a much better movie (on shelves at Chapters, the storyline looked just a bit too wide-eyed and goofy). Looks like the Brits agree.

Speaking of premises that work, but writing that doesn’t (Cecelia Ahern, anyone?), I can only be completely uneasy about this computer program.

I watched a classic Robert Downey Jr. film last night, Only You. My favourite part is when he pulls a Gregory Peck voice, and begins quoting lines from Roman Holiday, and Marisa Tomei plays along at an Audrey Helpburn impression. And then I remember real life is not so very romantic.

Then, I read stuff like this and remember I’m not the only one with serious reality issues.

In truly hard-hitting news, by the way, Katie Holmes is continuing to dress this way. I am very confused, but thrilled to see there are ways for young girls all over North America to copy the trend.

And finally, did I mention there’s nothing like tooting your own horn? Mmm.... horn-tootin'. Such a thrill.

total side-trip to random land

I've lost almost all sense of what is cheap and what is expensive when it comes to eating food in Canada's north. I have just returned from a place where perishable items are flown in once or twice a week, and non-perishable items are brought in by ship once a year.

Really makes me think twice about complaining when there isn't any Activia vanilla yoghurt at the Sobey's on Jasper Avenue and 104th Street.

Anyway, I just bought some groceries here in Inuvik, and thought I'd share the price tags with you for the sake of comparison....

$7.19 - a 350-gram box of Special K
$1.29 - a pack of Dentyne Ice gum
$3.99 - a 2-litre bottle of Dasani water
$3.35 - a 1-litre carton of milk
$3.09 - a 180-gram pack of Real Fruit gummies

You're probably scratching your head, eh? Trying to remember if these prices are higher than what you last saw in your local grocery store? Believe me, they are much lower than what I saw last week in a co-op in the true hinterland -- $8.99 for the same box of Special K, $6.99 for a box of 36 Red Rose tea bags.



1. This does have to do with books.
2. And it's hilarious.
3. Look! North!

While in Yellowknife this week, I kept passing the CBC building along Franklin Avenue. I couldn't stop staring -- I kind of acted like the office might be the secret home of Mick Jagger.... or Pierre Trudeau.... Whatever, my point is, I was acting like it was a celebrity mansion, thanks entirely to Elizabeth Hay. I wondered whether the van out front with the canoe atop might be a prop in homage to Gwen. Then, I wondered what the equivalent prop might be for Harry or Dido or the creepy dangerous guy Dido ran off with....

Seriously, have you read this book yet? Everyone up here is still talking about it. For a woman who does not live in the Northwest Territories, Hay remains very much a media darling around these parts, and it's easy to see why -- she wrote a love story to this beautiful little city.


interrupting your book-reading for....

This blog is not new, but I'm loving it! Enjoy!


(I realize this is the second time in about 10 days that I'm using the same graphic map. But, well, consider it a stand-in scene setter for now. Also, thanks a million to Sarah for sending links to info about the north -- much appreciated!!)

I can't decide whether I'm running away from summer or running toward the sun. But in a matter of days I will be in a place where the sun sets at 1 a.m. (and rises at 3 a.m.) and the temperature barely notches past 10C (if I'm lucky).

Such an adventure.

For inspiration, I've already packed The Sweet Edge and Late Nights on Air. The latter novel, funnily enough, comes up again and again as I make preparations to meet people up north. They keep mentioning the lure of the Territories, people's particular interest in the area at the moment, and the fact Elizabeth Hay won a Giller for her descriptions.

I'm also packing along Norwegian Wood, which I am still loving. Even if the author is making fun of the reader:

"'You've got this funny way of talking,' she said. 'Don't tell me you're trying to imitate that boy in Catcher in the Rye?'
'No way!' I said with a smile.
Reiko smiled too, cigarette in mouth. 'You are a good person, though. I can tell that much from looking at you. I can tell these things after seven years of watching people come and go here: there are people who can open their hearts and people who can't. You're one of the ones who can. Or, more precisely, you can if you want to.'" (p. 131)

I have to admit I don't think Haruki Murakami's work reads at all like J.D. Salinger's. But perhaps that is something in the translation....

I will admit there's a certain baffled naivete to Toru Watanabe as a main character that brings to mind Holden Caulfield. But I like Toru approximately 100 per cent more, even when he wanders into unusual circumstances I almost can't fathom.

Okay, friends. That's all from me for now. Take a look at this, though -- I think it'll make you smile on a totally unrelated note.
Also, I won't be here, but book club date's been set for Sunday. I look forward to reading and posting reviews of the book.... hint, hint....


fairy tales for future feminists....

I suppose my little niece -- my dear friends' first daughter -- will not be identifying herself as a feminist anytime soon.... But Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess is the book I have decided to give her for her first birthday.

It's very girl power. Rely on yourself to get out of a jam, don't mess with your makeup when you've got more important things to do. Most importantly, when the boy of your dreams is a bum, dump him and dance off into the sunset by yourself. Bad guys are not necessary for fairy tale endings.


fairy tales

Have you seen Penelope yet?

Probably not -- it was in theatres for about 10 seconds, and despite its awesomeness there was not a lot of buzz.

But now it's on DVD and, my friends, you must watch it. James McAvoy is in it. You would think he steals the show, but Christina Ricci has a pig nose and still manages to be adorable. The story is a sweet fairy tale -- not a romantic comedy -- and the film is shot in the same style as Pushing Daisies or Big Fish. The message is pretty simple (maybe too simple), but you really do have to love it.

(Favourite line: "Edward, don't lick Max.")

And did I mention James McAvoy is in it? Sigh. Okay, he does kind of steal the show.

Anyway, this does seep into a book topic.

My close friends' daughter turns one this month, and I've been looking for the right birthday present for her. I'm thinking fairy tale, a book that she clearly will not be able to read now but which she will treasure in the years to come.

That's the goal, at least.

I was thinking a couple second-hand Nancy Drew novels in the lovely yellow hardcover style. Or perhaps I could pull a couple of the sketches from the books and frame them for the baby?

Other fairy tales.... Alice in Wonderland? Ramona Quimby? (I know, not a fairy tale, but certainly a tale to treasure.) Little Women?



lonelier planet

I'm not uber-thrilled with the Lonely Planet people today.

Or the Frommer's people. Or the Fodor's types. Michelin didn't impress me much either.

Wanna go to Alaska? There's a book about it. Also, the Queen Charlotte Islands. And Newfoundland. You can read about treks through all parts of France or China or Peru or India, but if you're looking for a guide to the Northwest Territories, my friend, you are shit out of luck.

Excuse my profanity. I'm sure we can all agree I'm not usually that kind of girl.

But as a Canadian standing in a Chapters outlet, shouldn't I be able to find something on the Territories beyond a lonely chapter at the back of the big fat Canada guidebook? Isn't Yellowknife like a huge destination for Japanese and German tourists, so shouldn't all the information they need be collected in book format, then published in English?

(I know, lots to ask. Big whiner. Time to laugh at the girl who just learned you can't rent a car in Inuvik.)
Someone should get on this.... I vote for Ed.

Other news, other news.... In my humble opinion, this Journal series is something to be proud of. Yes, roll your eyes at me. I'll stand over here now and pretend I'm not guilty of anything at all....