I just read these two books back to back and they were both great. I've only recently started reading Michael Ondaatje and everything I've read by him has been fantastic. Normally I enjoy fiction for the story or the characters, but this is the first author whose books I enjoy for the words: the actual words he chooses and the way he pieces them together into sentences and paragraphs until they become story and emotion. I've so far avoided reading his best known work, The English Patient, but I think I'll pick that up next time I restock on books.
Last night Adrienne and I were going to go see Radiohead at Downsview Park but unfortunately the stage collapsed, killing one of the crew from the show. Bad times. I've never seen Radiohead live before and I really want to, so I may try to do it in another city. I don't expect they'll be back to Toronto any time soon.
As an alternate activity Adrienne and I went to the distillery district to get chocolate from Soma and then we wandered over to Yonge Dundas Square to see The Flaming Lips at a free show as part of NXNE. It was pretty good, but obviously not Radiohead. Still, it's nice living in a city where it's easy to find alternate activities when plans fall apart.
Today I went climbing at True North, which is also in Downsview Park so I was able to see the stage. It's a huge tangle of collapsed metal and is totally surreal. It's amazing how few people were affected; it would have been really bad if it happened during the show with 40,000 people watching. The panic would have been awful not to mention all the extra people who would have been on stage.
I read a lot. Many times people have looked at my bookshelves and asked, "Have you read all those??" The answer is of course yes, but there's at least that number of books again that I've read and do not own. Anyway, I've always toyed with the idea of keeping track of the books I read in some way but I never get around to it. I'm sure there is some sort of Web 2.0/social media thing for that purpose but I'd rather read than spend that time categorizing and social-mediaing what I've read.
So as a compromise I've decided to do short blog posts about books as I finish them (if the book is worthy). I just finished The Grapes of Wrath which is on most lists of the best English novels of all time and is frequently described as one of the best American novels of all time. I found its depictions of life during the depression fascinating and the story of the Joad family to be gripping. As a stand-alone book it is great. However there was an additional layer that I found extra interesting. A lot of the problems presented in the book echo the problems we're having in the world today (concentration of wealth among few people, falling wages, rising unemployment, destruction of the work base for the middle class, etc).
I'm not trying to oversimplify, but the outbreak of World War II was probably the greatest factor in the resolution of those problems. I don't see another world war in the near future, which is good, but how will we solve the problems this time?
It's been a while since my last update and I've decided it is time to start blogging regularly again. I honestly haven't felt like writing but I've noticed my writing skills have begun to atrophy from lack of use so I need to get back to it.
My first priority in this realm will be the transcription of my journal from my big Australia/New Zealand trip. This will take a while and I won't be posting it incrementally. I'll only publish when it is complete. This afternoon I made a start and it is my goal to do at least a little bit of it every day. It should take two or three weeks (or maybe four if I get busy with other things).
A lot has happened since I returned from the southern hemisphere. Within the first week back I contacted my Realtor and started preparing the house for sale. It was just too big and full of too many bad memories for me to be able to stay there. After getting the house prepped and staged it only took five days to sell it. The Toronto real estate market is kind of insane (but that's a subject for a different blog post). The sale is not technically done yet, it closes on June 21, but so far things look OK. I know I'll be a lot more relaxed when it's finished though.
My Realtor, Sabrina Alevritis, was amazingly helpful and supportive. She was also the person who helped us buy the house in the first place. If you're looking for a Realtor I can't recommend her highly enough.
The apartment I found (again with the help of Sabrina) is downtown near where I work so it's a great place to be while I figure out what to do next. My commute rounded to the nearest five minute mark is zero minutes. I also have a lovely view of the Toronto skyline and the building itself is brand new and has a bunch of nice amenities. My unit is a one bedroom+den and is slightly bigger than the one Kim and I shared in CityPlace (but I'm pretty sure that extra space is just wasted in poor layout choices). Also, while it is a larger building, it is not CityPlace big and there is only one so it's not as crazy and dormitory-style as CityPlace was.
A big part of moving was downsizing my stuff. Kim and I acquired a lot of things in a short time and it was all too much for just me. I spent a lot of time going through all our possessions and whittling them down to things I actually need or things that have sentimental value. Everything else I either donated to charity or gave away to friends and family. It was a difficult process but I feel significantly lighter for having done it. Outside of books (can never have too many books), having too many possessions makes me anxious because you have to worry about them and care for them.
Over Mother's Day weekend my mom got herself two new Siamese kittens. Our family has always had cats (and normally Siamese), but after the last one died my mom held off on getting new ones because of everything that was happening with Kim and with my Grandfather. She didn't want to have to rush back to her house to take care of pets when so many more important things were going on. But now that life has settled down she has cats again and I've already been to visit them twice because they're super adorable (well and maybe because it was Mother's Day and then my mom's birthday).
Day-to-day I've still been climbing whenever I can and I've also been helping Chris and John prepare for their wedding in August. That's going to be lots of fun for sure. I also need to start doing some cardio training as I'm participating in Warrior Dash again for some stupid reason.