Saturday, July 29, 2006

I've a confession to make.

I am a re-reader.

Yes. It's true.
Also? I don't regret it for a second.

I have hundreds of books and I think it's safe to say that I've read all of them at least twice, some even more than that.
This fact seems to confound people.
"You re-read them? All of them?" They ask, hardly able to contain their surprise.
"All the ones on my bookshelves I've read at least twice." I nod.
Of course they have to ask. Why?
I strive to be clear, "Because each of these books have several stories to tell. Each book can hold layers of meaning that a single read doesn't always reveal."
"Oh. I usually give all my Danielle Steele away when I'm done with them."
"Yes. I can see that."

So. Here's a little bit of what I re-read.

There are books I read at least once a year, books I keep around for reference, and books that I re-read just because they are so beautifully written that it would break my heart to be rid of them.

Books I read at least once a year:
Robertson Davies - The Cornish Trilogy ("Rebel Angels" is my favorite)
Irving Stone - "The Agony and the Ecstasy"

Books I keep around for reference:
Mark Kurlansky - "Salt: A World History"
Bill Bryson - "The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way"
Simon Winchester - "The Professor and the Madman" (which I've just noticed seems to be missing off my shelf...I wonder whom I lent it to!)

Books too beautiful/interesting/entertaining to get rid of:
Timothy Findlay - "Pilgrim"
Carol Shields - most all of her works I admire greatly
Alice Munro - same as above AND she resides in Comox, which can't help but endear her
Anthony Bourdain - "Kitchen Confidential"
A. S. Byatt - "Possession"

There are SO many more though!
For instance, I really enjoy many of Anne Tyler's books; they aren't particularly deep, but they hold something that I enjoy (think Geena Davis and Kathleen Turner in "The Accidental Tourist").

I'm starting to find history interesting as well (especially the racy bits about the courtesans!).
And there are some books about physics and quantum mechanics (like those by Richard Feynman) that I feel compelled to read again and again.
(Yeah...I know, 'quantum mechanics'. I do recommend Feynman though. His love of science and of his 'job' is truly contagious. Carl Sagan falls neatly into that category, as does Joseph Campbell.)

I find as I grow older, books that captured my attention for one reason or another develop a different flavour as the years pass.

That my world changes, and thus the fact that my views change certainly factor into this...but a well-written book can be returned to (should be returned to!) over and over; always with something new to exclaim over.
Robertson Davies is a great example of an author who is able to write one story containing a multitude of layers.

I first introduced myself to "The Rebel Angels" * when I was about 12 or so.
The story was fascinating...a defrocked monk, a gypsy family and a secret affair between a teacher and his student.
What wasn't there for a 12 year old to enjoy?
But as the years went by I saw more; I saw sexual relationships beyond the 'sex'; observations about religion that my young eyes couldn't comprehend, and a view on history that my 12 year old self didn't even see the first time 'round.

I guess Robertson Davies is the reason I re-read.

Books that don't stand the test of time, that don't deliver that depth or an exciting revelation I don't hold onto for very long.

But the ones that spark that fire?
They keep burning and burning; there's no end to the fuel they add. **

And p.s.
That first picture in the top right hand corner? Not me!
Despite the fact that laryngitis has turned into a stuffed up nose?
I can tell.
Some one nearby has pissed off a skunk.
It's rage is drifting over my balcony and into my living room.
You know...if I have to have a stuffy nose, couldn't it be good for something!?!

*Thanks for all those books laid out at my finger tips, Dad.
I don't always scrub my hands before I read 'em, but I sure do love 'em.

** NO! I don't mean in the literal sense! My apartment gets cold in the winter, but not THAT cold!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Laryngitis: It's cause and effect.

"WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Laryngitis (LAIR-in-JIE-tis) is an irritation and swelling of the voice box and the area around it. It may cause your voice to change, or you may lose your voice entirely for a short while. The problem is most common in late fall, winter, or early spring. With or without treatment, you should be well in 7 to 14 days. "

That information is helpful (sort of) but there is one thing that it DOESN'T explain.

Why the HELL does everyone think it's so damn funny??

All day long people were laughing and whispering at me; pointing at their throats and silently ridiculing me and my sore throat.

The other intriguing reaction? Some would start speaking softly to me in broken sentences as if I was some kind of foreign deaf person who suddenly couldn't understand regularly spoken English.

And some of them even threw in some sign language for good measure.

So what is it about laryngitis that turns everyone else into annoying mockers?


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What a skunk.

Once, many years ago I lived in a tiny little hamlet surrounded by forested lands and glacier fed lakes.
Those lands held many many wonderful creatures...very few of which I ever saw.

There were deer, wolves, elk and cougars sharing (uncomfortably perhaps) the sprawl of wild wood.
Raccoons and their cousin the black bear proliferated in the local dump.
Otters and muskrats swam in the rivers and ocean...seals of all types lounged and sunbathed.

I saw most of them, but rarely.

To glimpse a bear was a fine treat, and you never saw a cougar unless they were spotted running amok at the Empress Hotel in Victoria in '92. (I looked high and low for the news story, but couldn't find it anywhere!)

No sir, animals knew their place on the Island and they stayed there.

Not in Vancouver though.
I remember the first time a saw a coyote casually strolling out of a mall parking lot. I just about choked on my own tongue in my excitement.

And oh, the skunks.

I had never seen a skunk before.
To me they were a creature more rare than the elusive wolf; even the wolf you could occasionally hear calling in the dark distance.

Until I moved to Vancouver.

Suddenly, skunks were ubiquitous.
They were every where!
And if they weren't actually around their odor certainly was.

I've seen countless squished skunks, skunk families, skunks bustling about in vacant lots, and one very angry skunk standing on his/her front paws insulted by a passing bicyclist.

I confess that I rather like watching them chundle about in their little busy body way.
They look so inoffensive and mild mannered.

Till you get too close.

I can smell angry skunks all over my neighborhood; their rage is carried on the drifting breeze and straight into my bedroom.

Some people just haven't figured out how co-exist with them.
Okay, you drive a 4000lb car, but guess what?

Skunks should ALWAYS get the right of way.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Are you SURE I can quote you on that?

(I found this at but the link wouldn't work. where credit is due!)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sure you read it...but did you get it?

I saw a group of people standing around at the back of my car as I returned to it after lunch.
They appeared to be mildly confused by my bumper.

I can only surmise that they had noticed my bumper sticker and either found it thought provoking, or plain ol' puzzling.

Friday, July 14, 2006

"You're of the edge of the map, mate."

"Here, there be monsters."

Having just seen the "Dead Man's Chest" but mere moments ago, I feel obligated to write a word or two about it. *

(Now don't look to me to provide an in depth movie write up here.
It was couldn't possibly do anything of import with it.)

But first let me say that I realize that I'm WAAY behind in my movie viewing; this movie was SO 2 weeks ago, but in my defense? I do that on purpose.

I don't like the crush of all the I-must-be-the-first-person-ever-to-see-this-movie types. I want to have a good seat, far from the teenage boys and tittering schoolgirls.
I don't want to sit with my nose pressed against the screen, or at an angle that chiropractors cringe at the thought of.

In short, I like to actually SEE the movie I'm going too. Anything else is irritating.

But I digress.

As far as fun action movie's go, it was okay.

Lots of very interesting special effects and a make-up artists dream (or nightmare depending on how you look at it) come true.
Plot holes large enough to keep everyone talking and some of us wondering (I must confess, I'm referring to myself here) if they missed something vital as the tale unfolded.

I feel safe divulging all the bits, as I suspect everyone who wants to see this movie already has.

The Kraken was well done...and I very much enjoyed the Dutchman's ship as it submerged and unsubmerged (what's the proper term for a large, crustacean encrusted galleon rising up out of the surf anyway?)

But my very favorite part?
The part that made me really glad I had spent $12 dollars (and this is Canadian dollars, mind) and 1 hour and 35 minutes of my time?

My favorite part was the last 4 minutes.

My favorite part of the entire movie was watching Captain Barbossa step agonizingly slowly down the stairs (set up so everyone would think it was Jack of course, saved from the Kraken by the miracle of two sea turtles) eating his beloved and long cherished apple.

I mean, OF COURSE J. Depp was fun to watch scarper about; though in my mind the only role O. Bloom has done justice to (so far) was Legolas.

It is my firm belief that Geoffrey Rush stole the first "Pirate's".
"I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request."
"Means 'no'."

And in the last 4 minutes...I do believe he stole this one too.
"Now tell me, what's become of my ship?"

I hope that the very obviously set up third "Pirate's" movie casts him in every single scene.

ok, ok...I have a small Geoffrey Rush crush. There.
I said it.

Happy now?

Also, I may or may not have mentioned the fact that since the tender age of 8 I've wanted to be a pirate.
Quite seriously in fact.
My friends are capable (and probably more than willing) to vouch for that.
Not sure if it's relevant, but let's just consider it another little bit of Tai trivia...or should that be 'it's my realitai'?

(I mean, good HEAVENS! My blog pic is me with a sword on my head under a jolly roger bandana! Oh! Dead give away!!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Making music.

I can hear the woman next door practicing on her violin.
Mostly it's just simple notes and scales in a scratchy and uncertain hand, but for some reason I just love to listen to her.

It doesn't matter that it's not concertos soaring to the heavens, or grief-stricken gypsy wails.
That she is putting bow to string is all that matters.

And on that note, for several months now I've had an earnest and genuine yearning to pick up the clarinet again.
After all these years, I suddenly want to play the instrument that dogged my childhood.

Perhaps it's because I've grown older; I've come to realize how versatile the clarinet really is.

The self proclaimed "very difficult man" Artie Shaw is a wonderful example of a clarinets use in the jazz world, but the classical world has it's own repertoire of famous music and equally famous musicians.

Maybe it's just because I remember some of the warm, full sounds that I could elicit from the clarinet that call me back.
Or perhaps it seemed like speaking a different, more melodic language that encourages me.

At any rate, I hope my neighbours will feel as kindly encouraging towards my attempts at study as I do towards the neighbour with the violin.

(That is...when I finally get around to finding a clarinet! They seem rather elusive and expensive at the moment!)

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Summer has arrived at last in Vancouver.
Shimmering oases of water gleam on the black pavement, and condensation pools at the base of glasses holding a cold liquid heaven.

I love summer.

That idea that murders and crimes of passion increase in the summer astounds me.
Where does one get the energy for such an activity as murder?
How can rage ignite when weekend afternoons seem to slide on and on in an endless sleepy nod?

Drowsing in the slow dripping lassitude of summer's intensity seems to me to encourage the opposite of intense emotion...instead, a carefully composed languor seems more to suit.

Cool beverage within easy grasp, a gentle breeze stirring the hairs on the back of the neck, and a softly swaying hammock in the dappled shade.

How does rage fit in amongst the wafting scent of flowers in full bloom and dragonflies darting with aimless abandon?

I suppose that not everyone shares my adoration of the voluptuousness of summer, but I wish they could.
There might be less crime.

Friday, July 07, 2006

I thought there had been a death!

My last questionable post reflected the fact that I thought that 'delusionoftai' had bit the proverbial big one; had gone to the great 'bloggerbeyond'.

It's not true?

"Delusion of Tai" lives on!?!
I thought that almost two years of ideas and thoughts had suddenly vanished.
I thought that the last two years of this venture had ended as a sad example of literary seppuku.

Well, butter my butt and call me biscuit!

If you were worried, panic not.
I haven't gone any further than the 'great blogger incident' has pushed me!

*And thanks to dear Jeffye for helping me FINALLY get a picture up, and apologies to hoping4more for accidently deleting one of her comments.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I realize I've been blog deficient, but it's not 'cus I don't have things to say.

It's WORK!

Bleedin', crazy-makin' work.

But I'm still stalking about, make no mistake.

Maybe I'll tell the tale of my hospital visit one day, or of spending a long lazy day dozing in the sun listening to jazz by the water.

In the meantime though...I'm off; I can hear the crack of the whip as I type.