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Two for Tuesday, brainchild of Kate Hart, is when you post about two things and try to connect them. Maybe it’s because I spent a good number of hours this weekend writing two scenes in which two of my characters put their hearts on the line, but I thought I’d post about two of my favorite works where characters are putting their hearts completely out there with little guarantee that their feelings will be returned.

One of my favorite music videos (and one not nearly enough people have seen) is “Another Chance” by Roger Sanchez. There’s something heartbreaking and a little uplifting at the sight of this small woman carrying her huge heart around the city. The more people refuse to talk to her, the more they treat her with indifference or suspicion, the smaller her heart gets. It shrinks until it’s easy to carry around, until it’s not the first thing people notice about her. But all it takes is a little hope and she’s out there the next night, heart just as big as it was before.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is high on my list of most re-read books. It manages to be funny and sweet and a little heartbreaking–frequently all at the same time. One of my favorite scenes (and one that I read three or four times each time I get to it) is the scene where Bridget finally admits to Mark how she really feels. It’s not a glamorous setting (a dark hallway in the middle of the night), there isn’t any music playing (just Mark’s frightened scream when he bumps into Bridget and doesn’t immediately realize who she is–it’s very late and he’s half-asleep, after all), and Bridget is basically admitting all the things her self-help books tell her never to admit to. It’s kind of perfect.

Covers are hard for me. I know I’m not supposed to use them as part of my “will I buy this book” test (jacket copy, first page skim, skim of two random paragraphs later in novel, put book down, pick book up, rinse, repeat) but I make my living as a graphic designer. And, let’s face it, a few of the books I’ve picked up based on their cover design (Microserfs, I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed,Jennifer Government) have turned out to be pretty brilliant. And it must be said that Spin by Catherine McKenzie has one of the best covers I’ve seen this year. Maybe in the past few years.

That being said, as much as I loved the cover design, I held off on buying the book. Partly because I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but mostly because I was knee deep in my own writing and the amount of reading I got to do for fun was limited to what I could squeeze in while eating lunch or waiting in line at Starbucks.

I finally picked it up last week and it’s been a total time sucker. In the best possible way.

Synopsis (from Catherine McKenzie’s website):

Katie Sandford has just gotten an interview at her favourite music magazine, The Line. It’s the chance of a lifetime. So what does she do? Goes out to celebrate — and shows up still drunk at the interview. No surprise, she doesn’t get the job, but the folks at The Line think she might be perfect for another assignment for their sister gossip rag. All Katie has to do is follow It Girl Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop (and complete the 30-day program without getting kicked out), they’ll reconsider her for the job at The Line.

Katie takes the job. But things get complicated when real friendships develop, a cute celebrity handler named Henry gets involved, and Katie begins to realize she may be in rehab for a reason. Katie has to make a decision — is publishing the article worth everything she has to lose?

Other than sharing a nickname, I have absolutely nothing in common with Kate Sanford. In fact, I’m pretty sure Kate would hate me. I’d be a hipper version of her roommate, Joanne, the square. In fact, in real life, I might really want to hate Kate. I kept trying to hate her in the book (a few times I actually managed it) but she’s weirdly likable. Even when I sorta wanted to throttle her, I couldn’t help but grin and mutter, “Oh Kate.” I guess that’s part of the point.

Also, in Henry, Mackenzie has created one of the most crush-worth characters in fiction since Mark Darcy.

Spin was a great, fun read. In 432 pages, the only thing I can fault is some of Kate’s taste in music and, even there, I’m willing to make allowances–when you’re trashed and on the way to rehab, even “Hey There Delilah” probably sounds half decent.

I know, I know, it seems like I’ve been talking about anything but books on Two for Tuesday (brainchild of the evil waynelord Kate Hart) but this week is…

Absolutely no different. I could post something insightful about writing a book or trying to get published but, instead, I’m going to Two for Tuesday my favorite two episodes from each season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Season One

“Witch”: One of the things I love about the first season is how deliciously fun and campy it can be. Don’t get me wrong,”Prophecy Girl” is all well and good but it can’t hold a candle to Buffy as a wobbly cheerleader. The witch episode recalls some of the fun of the movie and that’s why I love it.

“The Pack”
: I don’t usually find Xander all that sexy. Except in the scene above. Plus there’s the whole getting possessed by a hyena and Willow showing some nice backbone.

Season Two

“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”
: Yup, it’s another funny episode for me. Xander bewitches the entire (well, almost entire) female population including Drusilla? What’s not to love about that?

“Becoming: Part 2”
: Ah, it’s the episode so sad that it made the mutant enemy zombie ask for a hug. Plus, the song choice at the end (“Full of Grace”) was perfect.

Season Three

I have a severe aversion to Faith. No faith-filled episodes on my list.

“Band Candy”: Giles. Joyce. Hood of a police car. Any questions?
“Doppelgangland”: Evil vamp Willow! Epic Giles hug! CAMEO BY K’S CHOICE!!!

Season Four

Now it’s getting tough. I hate Adam, but Season Four was full of amazing episodes.

“Wild at Heart”
: You knew I’d have at least one Oz-focused episode on my list. Wild at Heart is just so sad.
“Hush”: Oh how this episode deserved its Emmy. An episode where most of the cast can’t speak for most of the running time? Only Joss could pull that off.

Honorable mentions: “Beer Bad” and “Something Blue”

Season Five

“Family”: Tara is one of my favorite characters and this episode is darned near perfect on all levels.
“The Body”: Oh gads. If you watch Buffy, you know what this episode is on the list. Warning: the clip below is a tear-jerker.

Season Six and Seven

What do you mean seasons six and seven? Buffy never jumped the shark. It ended after five nearly perfect seasons. La la la. I’m in denial-land and can’t hear you.

As any good Canadian girl, you can walk up to me and say “Moxy Fruvous” and I won’t give you a confused, bleary eyed stare. Despite that, however, I completely missed the song “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors” (which was written for a Toronto author’s festival, according to Wikipedia). I first heard it tonight and it was so brilliant that I just had to share.

“My ending was better.” I kicked at a pebble in the parking lot. We’d just gotten out of Revenge of the Sith.

“Your ending?” one of my cousin, James’, friends asked. There were five boys in total and I couldn’t keep their names straight.

“The ending I had planned out in my head before seeing the movie – the one I thought would have occurred to Lucas.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “Instead we got an overly dramatic ending that messes with the continuity of the original trilogy.”

All six boys blinked and I wondered if I were talking an alien language.

“Continuity?” one ventured.

“Luke asks Leia is she remembers her mother – her real mother – when they’re in the Ewok village. He makes a point of stressing the word real, implying that Leia knew that her adoptive mother was not her real mother.”

“Maybe her adoptive mother died and her father remarried?”

I shot James a dark look. Where did he find these guys and why couldn’t we have gone on our own? As usual, he was trying – and failing – not to laugh at me.

“So what was your ending?” one of the braver ones asked.

“Simple. Bail Organa turns out to have loved her for years and he sweeps her off to Alderaan. She never recovers and dies a few years later.”

“Which one was Bail Orgian?” this from the complete novice who had only started watching with The Phantom Menace.

“Jimmy Smits,” I replied, gently, still hoping he could be saved if James loaned him the proper movies.

The others groaned. “No way. No way in hell.”

“No way what?”

“No way that guy could get Natalie Portman!”

It was my turn to blink. “It’s Jimmy Smits,” I said. They just looked at me – six pairs of blank eyes. “Jimmy Smits,” I repeated.

They shook their heads. They were adamant. In their minds there was no way a guy like Jimmy could land a girl like Natalie. “This is why none of you have girlfriends,” I muttered under my breath.

It was months before James let me near his friends again.

Disclaimer, post originally written for another one of my (now defunct) blogs.

Synopsis (From Barnes & Noble): A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-—and each other.

I first read The Road last September. I was a member of this informal book club that met at a local indie bookstore. Instead of assigned reading, everyone just showed up with books they felt like talking about. The shop’s owner, Sara, read a few random lines from the Road. I bought it the next day.

I started reading it at 6:42AM on a Saturday. I had to put it down, sixty minutes later, when I went into work: six or seven hours of torture in which I was not reading. I might have eaten when I got home. I might not have. I curled up on one end of my couch and picked up where I left off. I read while the sun dipped and the shadows lengthened. I didn’t bother turning on a lamp. There was just enough light to read by when I got to the last page.

I closed the book.

I felt queasy and a little bit like someone had repeatedly punched me in the stomach over the course of the afternoon. It was one of the most haunting and disturbing books I’d read. Like a member in some sort of literary pyramid scheme, I talked three other people into reading it.
Then I waited, anxiously, for the movie.

  • Would they try to explain the apocalypse? (One of my favourite things about the book is that you never know just what happened to crack the world.)
  • Would they wedge in too much backstory?
  • How the heck could you make a movie as bleak as The Road and trust that the general movie going public would go see it?
    What was up with postponing the release date for over a year?

A few nights ago, I finally got to see the movie and was pleasantly surprised. While The Road is more impactful as a book—the punch-in-the-gut feeling comes as much from Cormac McCarthy’s prose as it does the events that take place—the film was a remarkably faithful adaptation.

Little changes and allowances were made (as they always must be) but all seemed necessary. The greater role of the Woman (which I worried about) provided a nice visual and emotional contrast to the world on screen. The cinematography was bleak and the actors looked amazingly filthy. I watched one scene with my hand over my eyes as I muttered a string of profanity-laced variations of “do not go in there”.

My only criticism was that I didn’t like the ending of the film as much as I did the ending of the book but I can see why parts of it were changed.

The Road is well worth seeing and I feel it’s important to support filmmakers who obviously have a great deal of respect for the source material they’re bringing to the screen.

Oh she knew it was coming. Kate Hart, brainchild of the fab Two for Tuesday, has probably spent each week wondering when I’d do it, when I’d exploit Two for Tuesday for my own evil purposes:


Really, the only surprising thing is that it’s taken me this long.

Nine is my Doctor. He wasn’t my first (that was Davidson) and he had one of the shortest turns in the role, but he’s the Doctor I love the best. And, though there are plenty of great Nine moments, there are two that I always find myself thinking about when I need a little pick me up.

The first is in the first episode of the reboot. The look on the Doctor’s face and his body language when he says “Nice to meet you, Rose. Now run for your life” makes me fall every time. Hard. Sadly, I couldn’t find a clip so you’ll just have to trust me that it is very, very swoon-worthy.

The second is in the second-to-last episode of Christopher Eccleston’s run, Bad Wolf. I completely swoon when the Doctor tells Rose that he’s coming to get her. It’s also a great example of what I love so much about Nine: his ability to switch from one emotion to another so quickly that it makes you dizzy. Other Doctors have had that trait but CE does it best.

This afternoon I saw a chick flick (which shall remain nameless) that was so bad it made me want to post the trailers for a couple of my favorite, unappreciated movies with strong, female characters.


New Waterford Girl

I’ve been bad with posting. It’s true. My excuse would be that I have been very, very busy. But now I’m here. With a post!

Last night I was dragged–not quite kicking and screaming, but close–to Letters to Juliet. I actually love romantic comedies but something about the trailer turned me off. Happily, my aversion lasted only about as long as it took me to settle into my seat and for Sophie to find herself at Juliet’s wall.

Will it go down in history as one of the great romantic comedies? Probably not. Were the critics who pointed out that the soundtrack was annoyingly poppy and upbeat correct? Most definitely. But it was a movie with its heart firmly in the right place. The two whippersnapper leads were attractive and charming (blond, British, and looks like Ryan Phillipe? Be still my beating heart) and Vanessa Redgrave was spectacular. It was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

Alrighty. Once again it’s time for Two for Tuesday (a few hours early), brainchild of Kate Hart who sparkles like Edward Cullen and rides a unicorn (so I’ve heard). By now, you guys know the drill. I pick two things I like and connect them.

This week: Songs I love with insanely long titles. And I’m guessing anyone who’d read my ode to Nirvana post has figured out which decade I came of age in and, therefore, will probably guess that the first is…

“Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” by Pearl Jam. And, in this case, the long title is completely justified because it frames the entire song in a way the lyrics, alone, don’t.

And the second song is “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” by Primitive Radio Gods. Now this is a case where I think the title is silly and pretentious, but I still really love the song.