January 27, 2005

I'm ranked...

My name is ranked 6,810th on wordcount's list of the top words in the English language. Over 85K words have been ranked by usage by Jonathan Harris, and there I am, right between differing and athelstan. 'Athelstan,' you say? That's what I said.

According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Athelstan was "the king of Wessex and Mercia for 15 years beginning in 924 AD. One of the most successful of England's Anglo-Saxon monarchs, he invaded both Scotland and Wales and inflicted heavy defeat on an invading Danish army."

Apparently, it's also a city in Iowa, population 31. Ooh, and a mountain here in BC.

So how the heck does 'athelstan' outrank words like 'troubled,' 'choir' or 'sweater'? Sure, there are plenty of history geeks around, but enough to vault His Grace's moniker 10,000 places over 'cinemas'? The answer, my friends, is that there are plenty of people out there who got better grades in history class than you did; google 'athelstan' and you get more than just rumours that Athelstan was actually a bastard, born to Edward the Elder before becoming England's first proper king. You'll find out that the man was responsible for the development of social order in Britain, and fostered international relations by marrying his half-sisters (bastard alert!) to various European nobles.

Oh, and check out The Athelstan Arms Pub and Athelstan Publications -- if naming an online bookseller or small town pub after an obscure regent isn't enough for you, how about your firstborn? According to this page about baby names, your son Athelstan will either be 'a natural leader,' an 'eccentric, introverted thinker' or 'artistic, social and cheerful.' Jeez, hedge your bets much? "Your kid'll either be tallish, shortish or kinda fair to middlin'-ish."

Anyway, back to the point. I'm ranked.

January 24, 2005


This Saturday I'm hosting a Bohemian Night party: black sweaters, pretentious berets, angst-ridden poetry and communal paint canvases. It's firmly tongue in cheek -- check out the trays of obscenely small crackers under potluck blocks of cheese -- while still holding true to the values that exploration and loose morals are the bastions of creation.

In the same vein, I'm seriously thinking of hitting this mask-making workshop on Monday, February 7th. Anyone want to join me?

January 23, 2005

I love potatoes!

There's nothing like a silly, pot-inspired goof come true. How about a potato that travels the world?

Man I love it when people actually follow through with the crazy-ass things they come up with.

January 19, 2005

Purity. Bah.

Who needs it?

Your Ultimate Purity Score Is...
You are 39% pure
Average Score: 72.7%
CategoryYour Score Average
Don't shake hands
Puts 'em on the glass
Sex Drive 13%
Humps fire hydrants when nobody's looking
Knows the other body type like a map
Gayness 71%
Had that experience at camp
Fucking Sick72%
Dipped into depravity
You are 39% pure
Average Score: 72.7%

Non sequitur

"Pariah!" she screamed, tugging at his hair with one hand and scritch scritch scritching at her rump with the other.

"Ja?" he queried, thumping his leg ecstatically in a fast, syncopated rhythm. "I love it when you talk dirty to me."

Me, I just sat there, hands on my hips, desperate for a Tylenol. It doesn't make me a bad person.

January 16, 2005

Film thoughts: Young Adam

I just finished watching Young Adam, a small-budget Scottish film starring noneother than Obie Wan himself, Ewen McGregor.

Okay, he's done some big budget schlock, his turn as the great Jedi included. But between this film, Shallow Grave and The Pillow Book, he's done some damned fine small film work. Throw in his role in Trainspotting (which in my opinion doesn't cast the slightest shadow next to Irvine Welsh's book, but gets heaps of praise from a lot of otherwise intelligent filmgoers), and he's a helluva lot more than just a pretty Scottish face.

The film itself is a sparse, bleak look at life on a Scottish barge in the 1950s. The brooding Joe (McGregor) is employed by Les (Peter Mullan), a greying, drinking older chap) and Ella (Tilda Swinton), a hard-nosed, plain-faced woman clearly unhappy with her lot in life. The setup is slow and intriguing, but doesn't last long. Joe soon jumps into bed with Ella and splits the barge couple up.

Swinton steals this picture. She's harsh; her tongue lashes out at the men in her life with all the passion she's been lacking in the bedroom. She portrays Ella's frustration beautifully; like Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient, she burns deeply but shows little. Even when she's lovemaking, or weeping openly, she's never fully bared to those around her. A wonderful performance that deserves to be seen.

Here she is:

We're treated to flashbacks about Joe's more comely ex, Cathie (Emily Mortimer), which is when we see his true colours. A failed writer, he's more failed than writer; he's more pathetic than brooding.

It's by no means a romance, and by even less a thriller. But there is a body, some intrigue, and loads of character study. From a cinematography perspective, director David Mackenzie does a wonderful job of translating the claustrophobic confines of life on the water. His use of light (or lack thereof) is marvelous, and I'm quite looking forward to checking out some of his other work. He also wrote the screenplay for this film, based on a book by the late Scottish writer, Alexander Trocchi.

Getcher red-hot book here!

Okay, so I've finally finished it. A Game of Thrones, the first of the Song of Ice and Fire series, is quite an enjoyable read after the first 150 pages or so are done. That time is spent bringing out every stock character and cliché relationship in the fantasy universe. Once he's done with introductions, however, George R.R. Martin does a good job of moving and manipulating the players. It's a sweeping tale, with more families, houses, kingdoms, banners, etc than I could possibly remember. That said, it's a gripping drama that I'm glad to have read.

If only the ending were a true ending. Fortunately for types who appreciate this kind of thing fully (and unfortunately for people like me who only dabble in genre fiction), this is merely a prelude to at least three more books. He's only finished two more after A Game of Thrones, and there are apparently going to be several more of these 900-page monsters before it's finished.

Anyway, I'm lending it to my friend Laura, but after that it's up for grabs. Anyone have a paperback they want to trade for it?

January 15, 2005

Who the HELL do you think you are?

I've been informed that my blog needs more focus on quantity, and less on quality. Henceforth, I aim to post three or four times per week, regardless of whether I've got anything to say or not.

My friend Briana has been lending me the Family Guy dvds lately, and despite myself I'm absolutely addicted to baby Stewie.

Predictable, I know -- everyone seems to love this character -- but dammit, the lengths to which they take his deviance is priceless.

"Bring me ice cream -- with NO SPRINKLES! For every sprinkle I find, I will kill you."

To his mother, Lois: "Ever since I escaped from that cursed ovarian Bastille of yours, I've been plotting your demise."

And my favourite, when Lois tries to feed him with the tried and true, Brocolli's good for you, now open up for the plane... (insert plane noise here): "Damn you, damn brocolli, and damn the Wright Brothers!"


Other things I've been watching lately:
Arrested Development (Season One)
Law & Order (Season One)

Things I'm reading at the moment:
Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
The Fellowship of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Map of Your Mind: Journeys into Creative Expression, by Maureen Jennings
The Art of Indian Head Massage, by Mary Atkinson