Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reader's Choice

so last week the 2009 View Magazine (our hamilton alternative paper) Reader's Choice Awards was published, and i thought i would take a moment to write about the more hilarious winners. in ascending order of hilarity, here are my top four picks.
4) the snooty fox won for best clubhouse sandwich. this is hilarious for two reasons. first of all, the fox for years touted itself as THE wing joint in town. it hasnt won a reader's choice award for best wings since i was in first year. since i am completely juvenile and spiteful, i take a certain amount of pleasure in this, as i used to work there, and things ended badly. (this exact same reasoning applies to the fact that they didnt/havent won for years in the "best beer selection" or "best pint" categories, either). what is even far more hilarious though about this is not what they didnt win, but what they did. if they are still making club sandwiches the way they did when i worked there, then the view readers/voters havent been getting out enough. you see, we would pre cook the peameal bacon in the oven (all the way through i might add) until it had a dried out consistency not unlike cardboard. we used the same crappy serca foods frozen and water injected chicken breasts for every chicken item, and the club was no exception. anyway, we would take these two terribly over baked, rubbery meats and REHEAT them on the grill, so that any possible remaining drops of moisture or flavour were eradicated. THEN we would mash them onto under or over (depending on who was cooking) mayonnaised slices of texas toast, top them with unwashed lettuce and unripe tomatoes, and serve with a side order of lukewarm unsalted fries. YUM.

3) apparently there are a lot of single people in hamilton who are remaining so because of logistics. you see, reader's choice for best place to meet straight men was at a couple of bars, while the best place to meet straight women was starbucks (?) or tailgate charlies, which is a club. its a good thing the view published this, so that all of the single people can come up with some kind of middle ground because they clearly keep missing each other.

2) next on my list would be the best place to meet gay men, which apparently is at one of the bathhouses. for those of you who are unaware, bathhouses are where gay guys (usually old and ugly ones) go for some good ol' fashioned anonymous, possibly disease ridden sex. generally speaking, bathhouses are a shameful blight on the gay community, and people like myself and trevor make fun of them endlessly. i am pretty sure that very few gay men actually voted in the readers choice awards this year, and so this category won due to the naivite of the idiot stoner straight guys who read the view.

1) and my personal favourite requires a quick anecdote from 2008. last year, the "best place to breakup with someone" was tim horton's. which i found hilarious. i also found it hilarious that someone would actually have so many breakups under their belt that they would have a "best place" to begin with. anyway, this year the winner is: FACEBOOK. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. i dont think i need to say anything more.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This is my Theory

ok so i have this theory that hamilton librarians get old and turn into hamilton library security staff. but only the women. the male security guards are like the polar opposite of their geriatric counterparts. cause seriously, the security guards are like, a bazillion years old. and they are total, complete bitches. i think they save up all of their hateful book vibes and kinky librarian disciplinarianity (oh, yeah thats a word now) and channel it into octogenarian security anger juice that fuels them. i think its the only thing keeping them alive. and then they die in the stacks and the young male security guards hide them in the basement where the public isnt allowed to go. prove me wrong, i dare you.

These are the Daves I Know

sadly, my dave count is down. you see, there is this guy named dave who anne and i know from swimming. he is high functioning special needs, and a group of people from his group home used to go to the same swim that anne and i did. so we would see him and his friends every thursday. dave was great. his group home is right around the corner from my home, and every time id see him he would ask how annie is doing and tell me what he was up to. his best friend is brian, also a very sociable guy. they went on a trip up to a cabin this past september and they were both so excited, because neither has a worker right now, and havent had much opportunity for recreation lately. anyway, so i ran into brian on my way home after getting off the go bus like i usually do on monday mornings, and brian told me that david is dead. he was only 65. he went in to the hospital for some surgery and was home for a few days and then fell in the bathroom and died. i expect there is more to it than that, but brian didnt really know all of the details. anyway, it was a very sad way to start the day. brian is down a best friend, and i am down a dave. nonetheless, i am going to remember him as he was. thoughtful and friendly, i once got him to help me carry a canvas to my apartment. he was fascinated with numbers and was forever writing them down in his notebook. i cant believe he's gone.

Friday, October 23, 2009


since i am still immature enough to send out subtle messages of contempt to the world at large, i am thinking i might take the mensa entrance exam. this is partly inspired by a david sedaris essay, and partly by a conversation i had with my mother this morning. you see, as much as she may deny it, my mother is keen on labelling her children for no real reason whatsoever, except perhaps that she has some bizarre fear that without her labels, we would all cease to have identities and perish. as such, my siblings have always been beguiled with labels that fall under the "talented" category, while i have always been laden with "smart." the problem here is that i have always felt that i am simply smart enough to know how profoundly smart i am not. this leaves me feeling like the smart nomenclature is a paltry consolation prize for being considerably less attractive and talented than my siblings. i prefer to think of my "talents" as being more along the lines of having the ability to walk extremely fast despite having comically short legs, or being able to crack two eggs at a time without breaking the yolks.
anyway, i figure if i take the mensa entrance exam, it will be a win win situation. if i do well on the test, then i can make fun of mensa (see? they let ANYONE in, intelligence is so overrated, it clearly does not count as a "talent") and if i do poorly then i can derail the "chloe is so smart" train once and for all.

ps. mum, before you get all defensive, this post is not meant as some sort of jab against you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chloé versus Library

so i stuck it to the library yesterday, and i was SO proud. you see, last week or the week before, i got a call saying i had an overdue book, and i thought hmmmm i dont think so. so i went in to ask what book they were talking about, and they said holidays on ice (see review below). and i said, well.... i remember returning that. not, i THINK i returned it, or i THOUGHT i returned it, but i REMEMBER returning it. it was a monday. anyway, so the librarian puts a "return claim" on the book, which means they will stop charging me overdue fines while they look for the book. and i said ok fine. but it was really bugging me, because i KNEW i returned it. so the next day i went back in and asked them how this return claim process actually works. and they told me that every couple of weeks they take the return claim list and go through the shelves and see if they can find this. and i suppose they do this at all of the branches. they said that if, after a few months the book doesnt turn up, they charge you for it. and i said... oh. so i left but it was still really bothering me big time that they had lost the book but were going to charge me for it. and it bothered me that i was going to have this hanging over my head for weeks and possibly months before it got sorted out. in case you are new to my blog, i go to the library almost every day, and i take out a copious number of books. AND i read them so quickly that they are seldom, if ever, late. anyway, so i was irritated. SOOOOOOOO i came in yesterday and i thought, fuck this im not waiting around for months for this to get sorted out, im going to find it myself. even if i have to go to every single branch in the city and scour the shelves. so i looked up on the computer where the book OUGHT to be if it had been shelved, and lo and behold! it was here! at this very library! where i RETURNED IT TWO WEEKS AGO! it had been reshelved without being checked in. so i marched it up to the check out desk and told her i FOUND it on THE SHELF and she knew i was pissed and was very apologetic, and that is the tale of me winning. so. there.


well i suppose my faith in humanity has been slightly restored, because a few days ago, i lost my wallet. i didnt realise it was gone until a few hours later. so i was pretty bummed. there wasnt any money or valuables in it, but i did have my sin card and birth certificate and health card (the red and white one!) not to mention pictures of clients and my dead weather ticket stub. on top of all that, it took me SEVEN years to find a batman wallet, and ive only had it since june. anyway, long story short, someone returned my wallet to the police station, so i got it back, intact. the only thing stolen were my bus tickets. which is kind of lame. but thank the good lord, i was so relieved and happy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Raw Shark Texts

so then i moved on to The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (i think, i have to be more on the ball with these reviews, because i really feel like ive missed a few books somewhere along the line, but maybe i just slowed down the pace a little bit). i have to admit that while i was reading this book, i was thinking of ways to describe it in review. and i came up with two ideas that i couldnt decide between, so i shall present you with both. take your pick.
1) this book would be best described as the kind of thing my sister would like.
2) this book would be best described as an artsy-fartsy version of science fiction and thriller
perhaps numbers one and two are synonymous. i dont know. anyway to give you the basic frame work it goes like this: (bear with me, i didnt write it) there is this guy named eric who doesnt remember anything about himself before waking up on his bedroom floor. absolutely nothing. eventually, he discovers that he is being hunted by a "conceptual shark" that swims in the ocean of ideas that link concepts together. he realises that in his previous life before his memory loss, the shark got a hold of him and that was how he lost his memory in the first place. rather than trying to hide from it for the rest of his life, he seeks out some people who maybe able to help him capture and/or kill it. if you can bring yourself to swallow all of the bizarre conceptual fish hunting a real person stuff, the story is very interesting and reads like any other mystery or thriller. on the whole it is enjoyable and entertaining. that being said, i do have some negative criticism.
first, the ending. this is an arguable point, and ultimately a question of taste, but i felt that the author had set up the climax to end in a completely different (and i think much more satisfying and less feel good) way. if i were writing the screenplay, i would most definitely insert MY ending because it would be awesome. im trying to make this point without spoiling anything or giving to much away, so forgive my vagueness and take my word for it. or dont, and go read the book yourself.
next, there are a lot of passages that are very, shall we say, "high thinking" descriptions about the shark and the conceptual ocean. for example, the shark is made of guilt and shame and fears, etc. although these passages serve their purpose in explaining this rather complex idea and help the reader with the necessary verisimilitude required for this book, its as if the book cant decide if its supposed to be an abstract way of looking at otherwise intangible ideas or if it is just using this method as a platform from which to launch an otherwise ordinary piece of genre fiction. or both. it is as if the author had this great idea (sea of ideas, sharks made of negative concepts) but felt like doing something MORE with it (writing a novel about a guy trying to hunt the shark). because of this confusion, it made the book seem like it was having an identity crisis.
ANYWAY that being said, there were some very memorable passages, especially towards the end when they are going through a labyrinth made entirely of paper. and the story was interesting and entertaining enough to put the above criticisms aside and just enjoy it.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

so after spending the better part of the summer shunning my beloved young adult fiction and trying to branch out a little, i found myself without any library books to my name, nothing on the reserve list, and no ideas. so of course, of course, i found myself browsing in young adult. and this is what i found. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is the account of miss frankie's hijinks at her super fancy expensive prep school. specifically, there is a secret society (of course) that has been around for decades (of course) and only boys are allowed in (of course) even though the school has been coed for ages. so frankie gets a little pissed that shes being excluded for no reason, especially when she realises that her preppy, older, popular and much coveted boyfriend is the leader of said club. not to mention the fact that all of the pranks that the club has pulled recently have been really lame. so with a little smooth identity theft, frankie manages to start running the club in secret, and her ideas are so good, no one bothers looking into why the club management has gotten so strange.
this book was a fresh coming of age tale, without all of the obvious cliché. it is written in such a way as to be relevant to today's teens, which unfortunately is not always the case. i also enjoyed how the book didnt go in the direction of the "woe is me, im so rich and have an unfillable void in my life" as so many of these types of books do. anyway, i must admit, it has been a few weeks since i read this book and almost as long since i started this review, so i dont really remember what i wanted to say about it. i can say that i enjoyed it and it was a nice, fun read for any age.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Holidays on Ice

so after curse of the spellmans, i read a book of short stories edited by david sedaris, which i am n0t going to review, because, well, whats the point. they were short, they were stories. anyway, so then i moved on to holidays on ice which was actually WRITTEN by david sedaris. and i am happy to report, holidays on ice was just as hilarious as expected. this book is a collection of sedaris' "essays" (im still not completely sure why they are called essays, i suppose for wont of a better word) all related to holidays, including, but not exclusively christmas. the only downside to this collection is that most of the pieces have already been published in sedaris' other work. one of which i had already read in when you are engulfed in flames. the reason this is a downside is because i have most, if not all of sedaris' other books on hold at the library, and so by reading holidays on ice i have taken a little bit away from reading his other stuff. that being said, holidays on ice has a couple of previously unpublished "essays" and even when i do end up reading the other ones over again, it wont matter, because david sedaris is so very funny, he is worth reading twice. anyway, holidays on ice touches on things like when sedaris found himself working as a thirty three year old elf at bloomingdales. or when his sister had to rescue a whore at thanksgiving. all sorts of fun stuff. as always (well, "always" in this case doesnt mean much, because ive only read one other of sedaris' books) sedaris is hilarious and insightful, lending a voice to the kind of cynicsm and running commentary we all struggle so hard to articulate. if ever you need a laugh, sedaris is your man.