Monday, August 31, 2009

The Spellman Files

so once i got through the appeal i picked up the spellman files, which i had read about in the mcnally robinson insert that came with my walrus magazine this month. i was interested in it because it was supposed to be funny. it was, but not quite as laugh your ass off funny as some of the other books ive read. that being said, i really enjoyed this book. it was super original and well written. also, since there are at least two more of the same series, it was in very great danger of being crappy genre fiction, but it wasnt.

so. the spellman files is about this family of private investigators. with the exception of the eldest child, everyone, including the drunken uncle and 14 year old daughter are private investigators. since this family's raison d'etre is snooping in other people's business, they are all immensly paranoid and obsessed with their own privacy. they are also all obsessed with each other's personal lives, which lends more credence to said paranoia.

anyway the story is told from the point of view of the middle child, isabel, and it is her version of the events leading up to her sister'ss disappearance. at the time of her telling us about it, her sister is still missing and no one knows why. what follows is a hilarious tale of a family that doesnt know how to love without being nosy. this book is well thought out, well written, and i look forward to reading the sequels.

The Appeal

so last week i read the appeal, the first john grisham book i have read in years. when i was younger i read the client and the runaway jury and i got about half way through the partner before i decided i had just about had enough of john grisham. for starters, there is only so much legal intrigue a person can take and secondly, i just find his plethora of characters a little superfluous and frustrating. anyway, the reason i started reading a john grisham, despite my inclination not to is because i had finished the book i was reading (sympathy, as discussed earlier) while i was at daves, and i didnt bring a new book and was getting antsy with nothing to read. especially because it was sunday morning and dave was still asleep, which is what usually happens on sunday mornings. anyway, so i scoured his apartment looking for something to read and i found the appeal. i knew i wasnt going to particularly like or dislike this book, but it got the job done, and it was just interesting enough for me to finish it.
so. the appeal. this book is about a couple of lawyers who successfully sue a giant corporate chemical manufacturer who have been illegally dumping toxins into a valley for years. the toxins have penetrated the aquifer that supplies water to a small town nearby and so the people in the town are dropping like flies from the cancer. anyway so the jury finds them guilty and awards the plaintiff damages to the tune of 41 million dollars. this obviously carries certain ramifications because if the award is upheld on appeal, it sets a precedent for everyone ELSE in the town to sue the company for millions of dollars. SO the company is appealing the decision.
since the owner of the company is evil, he gets in touch with this company who will basically fix an election for the supreme court for the low low price of 8 million dollars. he pays them, they set up a candidate who will win the election and vote in his favour when the appeal comes before the supreme court. the bulk of the book is about this election and the ways in which big business (or anyone else with deep pockets) can manipulate the electoral process in order to have elected officials who will vote in their best interests. the whole thing is pretty disgusting and evil and just makes this canadian reader feel oh-so-smug because we dont elect our judges here in the great white north.
as with most of john grisham's other works, the appeal is very technical and tedious, but i have to give him credit for addressing this issue, because it is a serious one. the fact that there are states who elect their jurists leaves an already flawed justice system open to further corruption. the great tragedy of the so-called american dream is that despite its touting claims of anyone being able to do anything they want, it has manifested itself as a distinctly class driven society where the rich and privileged can do what ever they want, and the poor suffer for it. it is frightening to think that this blight of american civilisation could (or maybe does) penetrate the justice system, which is supposed to be unbiased. if someone doesnt sit up and reform this system, all americans will ultimately be at the mercy of big business and its whims. which is not only unjust, it is inhumane.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Never Thought I'd See The Day

that i was frustrated with bees. you see, bees are my third-favourite animal, and i have always been a staunch defender and rescuer of bees. indeed, my comrades when i worked at the bar thought i was insane, climbing all over the kitchen to retrieve bees and put them outside so that they wouldnt be killed. anyway, without digressing into an explanation as to why i love bees so much, i must admit i never thought id see the day but i have. in case you arent aware (and in case i am incorrect, i got the following information from barb, so you can blame her for any wrong-ness) apparently because the winter was so mild (?) more queen bees survived the winter than usual and so the bee population is larger than usual. i also suspect that the garbage strike in toronto that lasted for the first six weeks of summer didnt do anything but exacerbate this situation. anyway, so theres a noticeable increase in the number of bees flying around hamilton. normally i would find this cause for celebration, but unfortunately, these bees (wasps, too) seem (to me anyway) to be very aggressive. theyre always all up in my business. and im like, yo, dawg, im not a flower. anyway so far i have avoided being stung but well see how the rest of "bee season" plays out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


so ive decided that since i read so many books, i might as well start reviewing some of them. last weekend, i finished this book, sympathy, by dede crane. ms. crane is a canadian writer who was shortlisted for the cbc literary awards (i think in 2006 but im not sure) a very prestigious competition that i entered in 2007 and was NOT shortlisted for. anyway, she was also a professional dancer at one point, but as is the case with professional dancers, she is now retired. anyway. this book was pretty excellent. her dance background shone through because the main character is a retired dancer and the whole time i was reading it i thought my sister would probably like it, because the dancer's relationship with her own body because of dance is a fundamental theme in the work. anyway, the story is about this woman, the aforementioned dancer, who has post traumatic stress disorder because she lost her husband and her son in a car wreck and shes gone all catatonic. so her mother has taken her to this private clinic where shes recieving this cutting edge and somewhat controversial treatment called psychokinetic therapy or something. anyway i wont give much more detail than that.
that being said, the book is impressively written and very engaging. the only thing i didnt like about it was how her doctor was sleeping with his receptionist and she was kind of a slut bag but also totally into him and he wasnt really into her and he was kind of a dick about it. but as you learn by the end of the book thats all intentional because he has a big stick up his ass, not to mention some serious mommy issues, as all therapists do. also the main characters mother was very shallow to the point of being irritating, but this was also done on purpose, so its more a testament to the book being good rather than bad, even though it was so very very irritating. anyway i have to cut this review short because im about to run out of time on the computer, but i will certainly give more time to the next one.


well comrades, im sure i speak for all of us when i say that i think we are losing hope of my ever recieving the wedding photos from callie or the photos from trevor that i wanted. and, to add insult to injury, i am now waiting on a third set of photos (also from callie) from the family get together we had in stratford. alack and alas. and my poor blog has been neglected because of all this painful waiting. as i pointed out a while ago, i was hoping to blog about all of these events shortly after they happened, so i wasnt wanting to blog in between, in order to maintain some semblance of consistent chronology, but apparently i need to give up on that plan. because it would appear that i am never going to recieve the pictures i asked for, at least not any time soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


so ive been looking for work, and youll never believe that CSIS (like the canadian CIA, as in SPIES) actually has job postings advertised on the internet. lol. who'd have thunk? if only i could relate this information back to my high school self... you see, back in high school, kate and i were rather obsessed with CSIS and were always claiming that seemingly innocuous or abandoned offices belonged to CSIS. and there they are, with a website just like everyone else. HMMPH. way to go, canadian spies... although i bet theyre going to find this post and then track me down and then make me disappear into thin air for criticising them. well if thats the case, let me say goodbye cruel world......

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Long Weekend

well comrades im back in the hammer after this past long weekend and let me tell you, it was super relaxing. it was so relaxing, in fact, that i had absolutely no desire for it to end. going back to work after a nice and much needed long weekend is like getting splashed by a puddle when it isnt even raining. or something like that. anyway, with all of the running around and nonsense that dave and i had to take care of prior to my uncles wedding (sidebar: im sorry i havent blogged about that, i am STILL waiting for photos from the sister unit before i do so. which by the way is totally messing up the chronology of my blog. thanks alot, callie.) we really needed a chance to chill out. and that is exactly what we did. the only blips on the radar were taking his dad to a visitation for a family friend who died and then the subsequent shitshow of buying his parents groceries and cooking them dinner, but other than that we did almost nothing. and it was FANTASTIC. and thats all i have to say about that.