Thursday, January 31, 2019

A cold!

Sunday night a cold hit me like a ton of bricks! (I hardly got any sleep.) I haven't been doing much for the last three days.  On the other hand, Father got home from the hospital just before then.

Thursday I went to the opera rehearsal at the Anglican church north of Yonge & St. Clair. (I'd missed the previous week's practice because I didn't get the email saying where the new location was!)

Sunday was the Classic Book Club, where we discussed Boccaccio's Decameron.  It was pretty lively.  I'd finished the book just a day before, and now I'm reading Modern Italy:  A Short Introduction for my History Meetup.

Monday I had to miss the memoir session and an Organizers Meetup, but they both got cancelled anyway because of the snow!

I'm over the worst of my cold.  I should be able to keep my appointment with Dr. Hassan tomorrow.

Last night on Youtube I found Shel Silverstein's song "You're Always Welcome at Our House," which I remember hearing in my childhood.  So sue me, I like sick songs! (I must be repressed...) Silverstein had quite a range, also writing "The Unicorn" and "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan," as well as children's books like The Giving Tree. That one's a classic that can be interpreted in a thousand ways...

Thursday, January 24, 2019


My father went to the hospital yesterday for pneumonia treatment.  But he should be back in a few days.

Sunday I went to a Singing Meetup at the Carlaw Centre.  I just missed the St. Clair streetcar, then I just missed the College streetcar, and I was almost half an hour late! (And it was brass monkey weather too.) But I liked the new group.  We were singing "When I Fall in Love," "Singing in the Rain" and "Move It on Over." Afterward the streetcar wasn't working so I waited twenty more minutes in the deep cold before going north to catch the Pape bus.

Later that Sunday was my Reading Out Loud Meetup. The topic was religious writing, so I titled the event "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!" There was another Korean woman there, but she's new to Canada and her English isn't so good, so I encouraged her to recite poems like "If No One Ever Marries Me" (I had to explain what "shan't" meant) and "The Village Blacksmith." That's a good way to improve your spoken language.

Monday night I saw Around India With a Movie Camera at the Bloor.  That's a documentary with film footage of British India in the early 20th century, including footage of Mahatma Gandhi.

Some of the Decameron stories are rather cruel comedy.  There's one where Bruno and Buffalmacco make the sap Calandrino think he's found a gem that makes him invisible, and he ends up giving his wife a beating. (That's funny?)

Saturday, January 19, 2019


"I can't read." "Of course you can't!  No-one has time for it these days"--Being There

Tuesday I saw Nothing Like a Dame at the Bloor.  It's a documentary about Dames Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins getting together to discuss acting, husbands and lots of stuff.  Tasty talk if you like them.

Wednesday night the History Meetup screened The Battle of Britain. (I was seeing it for the second time.) It's pretty hard to dramatize a battle that was essentially a long sequence of skirmishes.

Tonight I saw Hal at the Bloor.  It's a documentary about near-great director Hal Ashby, who made some of the most interesting movies of the '70s but couldn't get anywhere in '80s Hollywood.  A pretty sad story, really.  One can't help noticing how prophetic his Being There was, with brainless Peter Sellers ending up with people deciding to make him President--a minute later there's footage of Ronald Reagan! (Though Reagan was far less benign...)

The anime The Rose of Versailles has got to the point of the Diamond Necklace Scandal that tainted Marie Antoinette a few years before the French Revolution broke out.  I know a bit about that because when I was a kid we had the Classics Illustrated comic of Dumas' historical novel The Queen's Necklace!

Last week I finally got past Level 1893 of Candy Crush Saga, and now I've reached Level 1900!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Computer phone

"The nights being short and the delight great and it being now, though they thought it not, near day, they fell asleep without any covering, so overheated were they what with the weather and what with their sport, Caterina having her right arm entwined about Ricciardo's neck and holding him with the left hand by that thing which you ladies think most shame to name among men"--Decameron

This evening Anne told me how to set up a phone through my computer so I won't have to use the family cellphone!

Friday afternoon I saw the documentary Maria Callas at the Bloor.  It's a documentary about opera diva Maria Callas centered on her own quotes.

Tonight I saw 54, another Bloor documentary, this time about Studio 54, the disco that became the center of the New York "scene" for a couple of years in the late '70s before being undone by drug busts, tax evasion prosecutions and general hubris.

I've got to the sixth day of the Decameron, with stories about people saving their own skin through clever replies.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Monday night I went to the Celtic Culture Meetup, where we discussed Julius Caesar's wars of conquest in Gaul.  I brought my Latin text and they were impressed that I knew the language.

Last night I went to the Intellectual Meetup at the Bampot Tea House.  Pam and my Korean friend Hongmin were both there! (We discussed "polarization" in today's politics.)

Tonight I went to the Book Swap Meetup at Paupers. (We were focusing on historical writing.) I picked up a copy of Norman Mailer's early novel The Barbary Shore.

I'm now in the fourth section of Decameron, where the stories are about unsuccessful love.

John has been tearing the dining room apart, so we've had to eat dinner in the living room a few times.

I finally fulfilled my New Year's resolution and baked bread again! (It was whole wheat.)

Sunday, January 06, 2019

History Meetup

"I want you to be happy, but I don't want you to be happy for me, because I'm not... happy"--Fantastic Beasts:  The Crimes of Grindelwald

Wednesday night's History Meetup was a big success! Fourteen people showed up despite the cold weather. Walid served as moderator, preventing people from talking too long, which was a big help.

The subject was Celtic civilization, and in addition to the main book, Blood of the Celts, I'd also glanced at The Discovery of Middle Earth, about the Celt's geographical sophistication that led to siting their towns and settlements along north-south meridians and other straight lines.  And I brought one of my French comic books about Asterix the Gaul, and there was a Korean girl there called Hongmin who's also a fan of them! (She's very friendly.)

Thursday night I saw Peter Bogdanovich's Buster Keaton documentary The Great Buster:  A Celebration at the Bloor.  I haven't been there in a while--I still haven't used up my free popcorn coupons.  But they're showing some "Best of 2018" features this month so I expect I'll be there again.

Tonight I saw the Fantastic Beasts sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald at Canada Square.  Mildly entertaining. (As the title villain, Johnny Depp reminded me of Johnny Rotten!)

Just saw Nami's backstory on One Piece. Oda Eyichiro isn't a good storyteller, he's a great storyteller!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

New Year's

So another year has begun. What are my resolutions?  I think I'll start baking bread again, which I lapsed in over a year ago.  And I'll try to wait to read each day's new online comic strips in the morning, instead of doing it after midnight of the night before.

Wednesday night I saw the new Mary, Queen of Scots movie.  Meh.  With this sort of production they try too hard to have an original take on history. (Did England really have a Negro ambassador to Scotland?  Did Elizabeth I really have a Chinese Lady in Waiting?) Saoirse Ronan was pretty as ever in the title role, while Margot Robbie's Elizabeth bore a curious resemblance to Rufus Sewell.

I've started watching the anime The Rose of Versailles online. That one's about a girl in 18th-century France whose father wanted a boy, so he named her Oscar and brought her up to be a male heir.  Now she's a teenage soldier appointed to guard the newly-arrived Marie Antoinette.  It was made back in 1979 so the animation isn't of the best quality, but it's still fairly handsome and imaginative. (It was a big influence on Revolutionary Girl Utena, of course.)

Speaking of anime, One Piece gets more and more complex and fascinating.  I think my favorite character is Nami, the girl navigator with a practical eye for matters like food and money and planning. (It helps that I like maps too.) The story arc just now involves a high-class restaurant started by a retired pirate in the middle of the sea!

I'm finally getting serious about unsubscribing from the email lists that clog my inbox. (I originally got on so many because I liked being linked to E-petitions.)