I was first introduced to Danny Wallace as Dave Gorman’s hapless, tagalong roommate in their first book “Are You Dave Gorman?”. In that book, Dave and Danny related their true-to-life experiences after a Danny bet Dave, drunkenly of course, that there weren’t “loads” of other Dave Gormans (Gormen?) in the world. So they set off on a quest to find 50 of them all over the world.
After the fallout of the adventure, Danny was on shaky ground with his girlfriend and the pair decided that staying roommates wasn’t the best thing for their mental, physical or relationship health. These “stupid boy projects” didn’t stop, however, as not long after Danny was off starting his own cult (see Join Me) which was enough of enough for his girlfriend, and Dave was off chasing a string of Googlewhacks around the globe (see Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure) instead of writing the novel he’d gotten a healthy advance to write.
Danny’s back again, but this time his stupid boy project is in the name of personal betterment. After meeting a wisened, bearded teacher on a bus who instructed him to “say yes more”, Danny decided to, well, say yes more.
written by Orson Scott Card
From Lying In The Gutters
“I’m an admissions officer at a very well known university in the States (yeah check the address), reading applications, writing them up, voting on them, etc., and it’s been interesting to see that in response to our little question ‘what’s your favorite book?’ the runaway favorite this year has been ‘Ender’s Game’ by Orson Scott Card. Maybe as many as much as 15-20 percent of our applicant pool considers it their favorite book ever.”
Looking at that, I can understand it. These are people coming out of high school, the most tumultuous years of anyone’s life. Juggling expectations from both your peers and the adults in your life isn’t easy: fitting in while establishing your own identity is the challenge, not schoolwork. Being dubbed the outcast, getting rejected by others, and being forced into situations beyond your control, that’s growing up. That’s what Ender’s Game is about.
by Jon Stewart and the writers of the Daily Show
I wasn’t sure what I was going to get with America:The Book when I bought it… I could have, but I didn’t even bother to open up the cover and peek inside before I plunked my debit card on the counter and stuffed the book into my bag. The cashier looked a little nervous that I had already done that before the transaction was even completed but whether I could afford to or not I was taking that book home.
I flipped through the pages on the streetcar home, my curiosity getting the better of me. Was this going to be a compilation of Daily Show skits in script form? Was it going to be Onion-esque fake newstories or perhaps parodies of real ones? Was it going to be a satirical novel, or a series of essays, or a fake biography of an anthropomorphized land mass?
What I saw confused me … lots of pictures and sidebars, and two-page spreads with pixellated images. It wasn’t until I actually dove into it (or perhaps read the faux-quotes on the back cover) that I realized it was a satirical text book.
If only all text books were like this, perhaps I would have actually read them when I was in school.
by Joe Meno
Step back into 1990 with me, or 1985, or 1995, or whenever you went to high school. You’re reading a book so you obviously weren’t a jock, or a cheerleader, or a stoner… you’re probably just one of the dozens or hundreds or thousands of self-conscious teens that went to your school. If you were then you’re going to have a nasty nasty flashback readin Hairstyles, as Joe Meno paint a picture that resembles your life, somewhat, or at the very least, the life of someone you knew, someone you hung out with, someone you were buddies with.
Step inside the head of the teenage adolescent boy, full of hormones and confusing thoughts, searching for identity and belonging, but having a difficult time with both. Think of the “High Fidelity” protagonist Rob Gordon, only think about when he was in high school, and you can get the gist of Meno’s novel.
by Dave Gorman
In the wake of his 30th birthday British comedian/tv personality Dave Gorman decides he’s going to finally grow up, dispensing with tomfoolery and taking serious charge with his life. He looks at the careers of entertainers he respects, Steve Martin for instance. What has he done with himself to be taken more seriously?
He wrote a book.
He wrote a book.
He wrote a book.
Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure is about that exact thing, writing a book…or more precisely, what one man will go through to avoid writing a book.
by Stefan Fatsis
The subtitle on this work of non-fiction is “Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players”.
I can hear you scream out now, sarcastically mind you, “OH BOY! A book on Competitive SCRABBLE! Let me at it!” I know, I probably would have had the same reaction two years ago, but then a couple things happened.
First, I got caught up in the “literati” (a SCRABBLE knock off) scene on Yahoo games with some friends for a time, then Emma’s mother and I started bonding over the SCRABBLE board when she found out I liked to play (she even gave me a board of my own), and finally, Carla got me tickets to the film Word Wars at the Hot Docs festival earlier this year.
That documentary film by Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo was partially inspired by the book “Work Freak” I found out. The film introduced me to the world of the “expert SCRABBLE circuit” and particularly to the personalities of “GI” Joel Sherman (the man of 1000 maladies), Matt Graham (the surly pill-popping comedian); Marlon Hill (the boisterous brother from Baltimore); and Joel Edley (the zen master of SCRABBLE). These men - real men - appear more as characters on screen with such exaggerated neuroses that you’d be sure they were made up by some writer. They were so unique, such interesting personalities, Marlon and Matt a very odd Odd Couple, Edley the most dispised (and envied) man in the game, and GI Joel, so much larger (and weirder) than life. These guys were so much fun and so interesting to watch (and the film make a case for the validity of SCRABBLE as a competitive sport, much like chess) that I was interested and wanted to know more.
In steps this book.
MC Paul Barman: Paullelujah
Ratatat: self titled
Hidden Cameras: Mississauga Goddamn
Joanna Newsom - the Milk Eyed Mender
Atomic 7 - en Hillbilly Caliente
Beastie Boys - to the 5 boroughs
Atom and his Package - hair:debatable
Sock - Penn Jillette
The Evolution Man - Roy Lewis
Those Who Walk Away - Patricia Highsmith
Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction - Patricia Highsmith
A Series Of Unfortunate Events : The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket
A Series Of Unfortunate Events : The Miserable Mill - Lemony Snicket
The Evolution Man - Roy Lewis
The Cosmic Puppets - Philip K Dick
The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury
Atom and his Package - hair:debatable
Kids In The Hall Season 2
recent watches and reads
Zen TV (DVD)
Def Jux (the revenge of the robots live cd/dvd)
The Works of Director Spike Jonze
Old School (unrated DVD)
Calender Girls (video)
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep - Philip K Dick
Post Office - Charles Bukowski
Kyle Baker: Cartoonist - Kyle Baker
Amy Millan/Emily Haines @ el mocambo, july 24, 2004
Hidden Cameras @ trinity st. paul church, july 23, 2004
Aug 04, 2004 - Modest Mouse @ kool haus
Aug 28, 2004 - The Hidden Cameras @ harbourfront centre
The Annotated Wizard of Oz
The Iron Giant
Before the move away from Queenwest I decided to ditch some cds. First I tried to sell the via this blog with some limited promotion via the GTABloggers list/site and via some other make-no-effort resources. The results were pretty poor to say the least (I think I got rid of, like, 5 discs out of like 70 initially). I had meant to take them on the Bloor Street used disk grand turismo (starting with Flash And Crash, then Second Spin, CD Replay, ending with Sonic Boom) but I just havn’t gotten around to it.
In the new apartment, we’re pretty close to the Roncey location of She Said Boom, so I took a hulking bag of disks there and they took 26 of the remaining 60 cds… while 45%(ish) may not be the greatest, the amount they gave me ($140 in trade, $115 cash). I’m sure they probably would have taken even more if they could absorb the inventory.
But I got a whopping average of $5.50 per, which is more than I was asking for, so colour me impressed.
Here’s what I picked up in exchange (with 40% still left over on store credit).
Amon Tobin: barcolage
David Cross: let americal laugh
Flynn by Gregory Mcdonald
Stormwatch: Change or Die by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney, Oscar Jimenez
The Coffin by Phil Hester and Mike Huddleston
The Invisibles: Bloody Hell in America by Grant Morrison, Phil Jimenez, and John Stokes
this lovely meme has been spreading around the net.
it asks that you take this list of the top ranked books (by who’s list I dunno) and bold the ones you’ve actually read. On precursory check, I think I’ve read one, perhaps two. Never been much for the classics. *sigh*
DVDs just watched:
When I went to my favorite video shoppe, the Film Buff, they informed me that I havn’t rented a video from them since June 2002!
It’s time for a change:
Their “Best Of 2003″ pamphlet is hilarious.
I hadn’t been to the movies in some time… not since that Matrix disaster. I went to get back on the horse over Christmas to see the Return of the King, but it was sold out, so I went see Baffleck in Paycheck instead
What’s been on the television
I watched the New Year’s Day results on World Idol, and boy was that ever the sux0rz. Just really, really lame. I’m happy the Hobbit guy who looks like Corky from Life Goes On won, though… not that sounding exactly like Bono is a noteworthy talent, but nonetheless, the disparation between his voice and appearance is pretty amazing.
Since I watched the aformentioned Comedian documentary, with the Prime Time Glick segments in the bonus features, I’ve been quite curious about the whole Jiminy Glick thing, wondering when it’s on and such. Luckily last night I managed to catch it on the Comedy Network at 11:00. He was interviewing Rachel Mallally (from Will and Grace)… she is quite a sexy little vixen. She’s annoying as piss on her tele show, but on there… she was like a hyper-sexualized Tina Fey. Wow. Ahem.
Also on that episode of Glick was an interview with Elijah Woods, and, oh my god the kid laughs like a chittering chipmunk. Yowza, showbiz’s scariest secret revealed.
I never was a fan of Martin Short in the past, but as Glick he’s really found something to cut loose in both scatalogically and physically. It’s pretty amazing how sharp he is.
Starting today, it’s Star Wars: Clone Wars on Teletoon at 5:00, by Genndy Tarta…something. The guy who created Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Lab and worked on the Powerpuff Girls. I’m excited but saddened that each episode is only 3 minutes long (what’s up with that). Looking forward to it though.
My sister got me the tomb that is “The Pythons by The Pythons”
I’ve read at least three books on Monty Python in 2003, and had been eyeing this little beauty up but basically I know most of the story by now, and really, $85? Thanks to my sis though, I now have it and am most excited. The entire book is a compilation of interviews done by Bob McCabe over the past few years, and basically it tells the whole story in the troupe’s own words (including, via previously published interviews and familial recollections, Graham Chapman). There’s really no novelization at all to it, it’s all just each of the members’ takes on a particular situation.
Plus there’s hundreds of rare or never before published photos. Sweet Christmas, am I drooling?
Emma’s mother (!) gave me the new work by the legendary Will Eisner; Fagin The Jew. It basically takes a minor character from the classic Dickens work Oliver Twist and retells the story through the eyes of Fagin.
A random selection at Rotate had me winding up with Minmae: My Quiet Life. It’s a weird little alt-art-rock band from San Fran.
Also acquired Outkast: Speakerboxx/The Love Below and much to my delight it’s fun, funky, diverse and quite inspired.
It’s only natural that come the holiday season you wind up purchasing as much for yourself as you would for others… yes, natural… for me at least.
I managed to pick up (or was given):
The Unicorns - who will cut our hair when we’re dead?
Lyrics Born - Later That Day
Peanut Butter Wolf and Charizma -
DM & Jemini - Ghetto Pop Life
TV on the Radio - Young Liars ep
Kids in the Hall season 1 dvd set
The Sandbaggers volume 3
Plastic Man #1 by Kyle Baker
Caper #2 by Winick and Dalrymple
Formerly Known as the Justice League #1 by Giffen, DeMattis, Maguire and Ruebenstein
Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues by Sonny Liew
The Sandman - Endless Nights hardcover by Gaiman and Various
MASH by Richard Hooker
Mcsweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales edited by Michael Chabon
Angry Candy by Harlan Ellison
the new issue of Exclaim has hit the streets and is on-line, although I don’t think they have their “best of 2003″ lists yet (it really kind of bugs me that people are doing all their “best of” lists a whole month before the year is over (Frank is keeping track of who has their lists up already)… not that much is released of merit in December, but still, that extra month of digestion is necessary for proper reflection… I think lists should be made at the beginning of december but pondered during the last month before being presented… the next post will be my prelim lists, but definitely not final.
Anyway, here’s what caught my eye in exclaim this month:
- there’s a new 2-disc dvd collector’s set of Escape from New York (which features an exclusive copy of the Snake Plissken comic). I already own the single disk, but it just may be worth my Carpenter-loving hide to get this new volume, cause man, it kicks ass.
-The first article is on The Unicorns the art-synth-rawk band out of Montreal whom I’ve become utterly fascinated with since listening to them on New Music Canada last week. They’re definitely original and quite fun.
-Peanut Butter Wolf is releasing an album he did with New School rapper Charisma (who died before the ablum was to be released in 93). Should prove amazing.
-articles on Kid 606, Young & Sexy (playing at the ‘Shoe this Thursday with Gentleman Reg)
-a nice catch-up with the comic-book GI Joe
- the white-washing of college radio?
-20 questions for Isaac Hayes
-A huge profile of Broken Social Scene
-Best of lists:
-top5 in pop/rock - Constantines, Hidden Cameras, White Stripes, New Pornographers and Grandaddy.
Of their top 20 on this list I have 6, want 2 more, and am interested in hearing another 3
-Electronic top 5 include Manitoba, Four Tet, Bonobo, Basement Jaxx and Desormais. I have none of the top ten (although I’ve heard 2, and am interested in hearing them all)
-Hip Hop top 5 include Victor Vaughn, Outkast, Prefuse 73, Dizee Rascal, and Buck 65. Of the top ten I have 1 (Kid Koala) have heard 3 others, and would like to hear samples of the rest)
- In the !earshot top 50, I have 10, want maybe 5 more. I’ve heard most of them. Parkas hit 41.
-Top 6 films Lost in Translation, Kill Bill Vol 1, City of God, 28 Days Later, American Splendor and Whale Rider
-Finally, there’s tonnes of gift packages to be giving away in the annual reader’s poll (unfortunately, they don’t tell you how to enter in the magazine… in a big error of oversight they forgot to print the poll/instructions in the magazine.
check out the poll at www.exclaim.ca
Black Eye For The White Guy Cable’s Newest Hit
King Latifah Returns for Wife.
Woman Never Making Recipe From Back Of Gatorade Bottle Again
Bush Diagnosed Attention-To-Deficit Disorder
Woman Assures Friend She Has Blackout From Drinking All The Time
Gummy Bears Born Conjoined
A few weeks ago I did a list of the best commentary tracks available. The Onion on the other hand is doing lists of bad commentaries to even worse films.
The first list appeared back in Sept of 2002 and featured such films as Battlefield Earth, Blair Witch 2, and Glitter.
The follow-up this past July includes Newsies, Zardoz, and Master of Disguise.
the new issue of Exclaim Magazine, Canada’s premier indie music mag, has hit the streets… here’s what I noticed:
I still havn’t gotten that Ramblin’ Ambassadors cd… I was going to pick it up today at Rotate, but then I might just be better buying it direct from Mint for $12pp.
I noticed there’s a lot of “The _____” (4 to 6 letter -depending on plurality- word) named bands out there right now… The Shins, The Stills, The Strokes, The Singles, The Rhinos, The French, The Fight, The Blow, The Books, The Post, The Rapture, The Thrills, The Trews.. somebody make them stop!!!
Whatever happened to good old wholesome mouthfulls like My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, or Godspeed You Black Emperor (well, there is The Shimmer Kids Underpop Association which gets a rave Exclaim review… but they’re another “The” band).
There’s a 20 Questions with with Kermit The Frog
Shoegazer gets another look
Plaid has a new album, “Spokes”
Native hip-hop gets explored in a nicely written article.
The Parkas (look there’s another “the” one) hit #12 on the earshot top 50, and they get a favourable review (naturally). That’s goodness. Lederhosen Lucil hits it at the flipside at #21.
Hot Women: Women Singers from the Torrid Regions of the World brings us inside Robert Crumbs music collection… I think this’d be pretty funky.
Ennio Morricone gets a remix album
Need to keep my eye out for Wig In A Box: Songs from & Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
I picked up Nick Hornby’s Songbook yesterday and promptly devoured 1/4 of the book. Now, rationally, it’s not a very big book, but at the same time, I’ve always found Hornby’s word fluid and easy to read. He’s, next to Gaiman, my favorite writer.
The thing I find amazing is how much Hornby’s books speak to me, like it’s my own words on the page, only arranged better. Even Fever Pitch - his novel about Manchester United, a football team of which I have no knowledge of, nor interest in - I still recognize the fanaticism - and the maturation from - in myself. High Fidelity I’ve read three or four times in the past 3 years. About A Boy I devoured in a day, and How To Be Good was consumed on during an 8 hour car ride. (The latter of the books is the least like my own voice, as it’s told from a female perspective, and it’s obvious Hornby was reaching far outside his own personal realm of experience in telling the story… you know, what good writers do… and it’s a fun and fascinating book).
Basically, after reading a Hornby novel, I have no reason to write dramatic stories using my own thoughts as reference, because the man’s already done it for me (there’s a reason I do sci-fi).
Songbook is a North American repackaging of 31 Songs, with three added essays tossed in (or is it five? I should really have the thing in front of me when I write these). Hornby uses 31 specific songs that evoke a though or are representative of their genre and puts together 2-3 pages of commentary on them, stringing it all together into a tight overall statement on the influence and relevance of modern (as opposed to classical or jazz or anything pre Elvis).
It’s fun, humourous, and smart. It’s not likely to be a movie any time soon, but you could probably read it in the same amount of time it takes to watch High Fidelity or About A Boy .
I also bought, on tuesday, the New X-Men Volumes 4 and 5.
Volume Four deals with anti-semitism, and neo-Nazism through the convention of science fiction, and much like the forefather of this sort of commentary, Star Trek, it’s good, but there’s something wrong in the execution.
In this volume, Grant Morrisson seems to miss his pacing completely, juggling at least 20 new characters in a choppy haphazard fashion. The timing is right off, and though there’s progression to Morrisson’s grand plan, he seemed to have skipped a few steps on the way up. Perhaps those stairs weren’t integral to the overall climb, but they would have been nice to see nevertheless.
Volume five begins with the soap operatic that the X-Men is famous for as Cyclops’ personal transformation continues and his psychic affair is found out by Jean Gray.
There’s some nice exposition into Emma Frost’s character, but it sort of comes from left-field… and the further it goes on the more Morrisson’s “new” X-Men (Beak, Angel, Xorn, the Stepford Cukkoos et al) really take center stage… in the first half of this volume, at least (exuisitely drawn by Phil Jiminez). Plus there’s a murder mystery.
The second half of Volume five, drawn in a very loose - almost annoyingly so - style by Chris Bachalo, and features exclusively Wolverine, Cyclops and Morrisson’s creation, Fantomex, as they dig deep into the Weapon Plus programme (which created Logan and Fantomex). This is hardcore techno-punk sci-fi juxtaposed with the soap opera/detective showcase of the first half of the volume. Crisp lines, detailed drawings and bright colours are replaced with heavy black lines, and dark and muted tones in the hue of red primarily, and abstract oblique drawings with contorted faces and wild hairdos. These both exemplify what Morrisson is best known for in his storytelling… high-stakes drama and whacked out sci-fi. While far from flawlessly executed (the Weapon Plus story could use an extra 24 pages for sure) it’s fun and engaging and repeat readings are definitely necessary.
Morrisson is rewriting X-Men history, for the good or for the bad, at least it’s entertaining.
At a used book store I found some rare copies of some old favorites… sorta
More Goon Show Scripts, written and selected by Spike Milligan gives me my first exposure to the Goon Show sketch-com which was the chief influence on Monty Python (and also starred a young Peter Sellars)
And speaking of Monty Python, I found a copy of the Brand New Monty Python Bok (which I believe is the second printing from 1974 but I’m not sure, it could be an orig printing). I was intrigued by the cover which proudly displayed three writhing nude women under the banner of “Tits’n Bums: A Weekly Look At Church Architecture”
Who could resist?
Both for under $20.