Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Very Hot and Very Cold

We've been redecorated. Said like that, it sounds like a nice thing. In reality they have used the cheapest, most toxic paint on the market. We are all suffering from various symptons of chemical poisoning (albeit in a prettier environment than we previously had).

Not only that, but our offices are amazingly stinkingly hot. God only knows where the heating source comes from. I have some theories:

1. A direct pipeline to a North Sea oil rig.
2. A direct pipeline to the molten core of the Earth.
3. (And this one seems the most likely to me) a direct pipeline to hell itself. Because this is what it feels like.

But without all the flesh and carnal possibilities - this is a library, you know.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of Windermere, the hapless Joe McIntyre has drowned. It wasn't a great escape effort, was it? (And yet part of me thinks it might just be a viable alternative to working here.)

Poor old Joe. He really only ever had two facial expressions:
1. that of a wily and yet slightly stupid child, and
2. that of a man who had just wet his pants, was embarrassed to find himself suddenly warm and damp, and was wondering how to salvage the situation.

No salvaging the situation now; it's gone well beyond warm and damp. Now Joe is very, very wet and very, very cold and very dead.

Oh dear.


  1. Hi Dishwasher Crab,
    Oh dear indeed! Hot and Cold. You do have a delightfully wry, ironic way with your observations. Blanche Hunt herself would be so pleased! Toxicity in the workplace? Workplace as hell? And annoying bosses? I could tell you stories...but perhaps another time.

    Smell of cheap paint drying? Perhaps donning cheap surgical masks around the office might send a subtle signal to the management...as well as offering a tiny bit of relief...

    I'm glad to know you are enjoying Sebold's Lovely Bones. I thought it was a very interesting interpretation of the afterlife/life connection. It was her first published novel, I think. You're a librarian so I hesitate to mention the novels I personally discovered and enjoyed, but for what it's worth, here are two anyway:

    a) J.D. Salinger's, "Catcher in the Rye" (It made New York come alive and as a small-city Canadian made me curious about NY and the idea of NY. Plus I fell in love with Holden Caulfield and his adorable little sister Phoebe. I've been searching for the two of them wandering the streets of Manhattan ever since! - Holden with his hands in his pockets, Phoebe being a bit annoyed with him but still wearing his hunting cap and carrying her own suitcase, convinced that she wanted to join him as he wanted to run away from home)

    b) Wayson Choy's The Jade Peony -- the story of three siblings in Chinatown Vancouver during the 1940s (amidst racism and the internment by the Canadian government of all ethnic Japanese residents) through each of their eyes and the role their "po-po" their grandmother, the grand matriarch of the family plays - both when living and deceased. It won numerous awards as well as became an international bestseller. This was also the author's first novel. His writing teacher was another bestselling, accomplished writer Carol Shields.

    Back to Corrie and poor Joe. The end comes swiftly for him, doesn't it? The tragedy is that this actor is supposed to be a good one (I've read) and as you say, he was only allowed two expressions. How sad, indeed.

  2. Please don't imagine that because I'm a librarian I'm widely read. Being able to read is desirable for the job, but not necessarily essential.

    I read 'Catcher in the Rye' many years ago, enjoyed it. I like the sound of 'The Jade Peony' - will see if I can get hold of a copy.

    It's not often (well never really) that I get compared to Blanche Hunt. You have made me blush! Have you had the episode yet where the entire Barlow clan go along to support Peter at his AA meeting? Blanche's one-liners come thick and fast and everyone is pure gold.

  3. Dear Dishwasher Crab,
    Yes! Actually, the bit with Blanche airing out the family laundry is on youtube and I've 'bookmarked' it. It is priceless! She is absolutely at the top of her game/fame! I would not want to be in the same room with her as she spares no one, the AA participants (she calls "boring"), her family -- Ken and Dierdre's separate infidelities. The entire session spirals downward with Dierdre declaring that she needs a drink and leaves! Yes, hilarious!

    We in Canada are not quite there yet, but I'm looking forward to watching on the CBC website again.

    You'll really like "Jade Peony". Stories told through the eyes of children but written so precisely and so well by a talented writer like Wayson Choy is a joy to read. Well, I don't need to tell you that, of course -- Catcher in the Rye was just that. I came to "Jade Peony" by way of an abridged series of readings aired on CBC Radio. I really enjoy listening to readings of novels, plays, interviews with authors, etc. on radio. It's truly theatre/university of the airwaves... next best thing to working in a university library :-)!

    Oh, can I share one more passion of mine? I really love foreign films. Again, when the theme is children -- it's a winner in my books. Actually, the film won many awards. It came out I think in the early 1990s but it's from Iran and the title is "Children of Heaven". Have you seen it? I caught it by accident at the Vancouver International Film Festival probably more than a decade ago because I was curious about what type of film would come out from a place like Iran at the time. I was so pleasantly surprised! It's a marvelously funny, light-hearted film about a brother and sister and the pains the brother goes to (including trying to come third in a foot race) in order to cover up the fact that he's lost his sister's shoes. It's a combination of Catcher in the Rye, the Bicycle Thief, but very subtle, funny and charming -- ordinary people who happen to be living in the working class part of Tehran. There's also beautiful footage of the green parts of Iran as well as the surprisingly modern scenes of big city Tehran - tall buildings, highways, and extremely wealthy neighborhoods. And then it dawns on you that Iran/Iraq - that IS the cradle of western civilization...(duh!)

    Also, will you oblige me and tell me something of how you choose your visuals? I think they're absolutely bang on! I don't have a background at all on medieval arts, but I do find the famous ones fascinating. I've been to the L'ouvre, D'orsee, Uffizi, and the Metropolitan - but of course, if I knew more I'd appreciate it more... one day, I shall make it to the British Museum.

  4. I remember seeing reviews of "Children of Heaven" at the time, plus clips from it - but haven't actually seen it. Did it get nominated for an Oscar or something?

    A couple of other films you might like (I'm guessing you like stories told from a child's point of view) are "Whale Rider" and "Rabbit-Proof Fence".

    Thanks for your kind comments about the visuals. They nearly all come from Google images - I don't try very hard, just a quick search until I see something I fancy. The Hieronymus Bosch painting in this post is the exception - I knew that was the one I wanted.

    You really should have your own blog you know. You've got loads more interesting stuff to talk about than me!

  5. I don't think "Children of Heaven" made it within Oscar's radar, but I'm pretty sure it garnered many international film awards. In any case, I happened to notice that on youtube, the movie's posted there in pieces with English subtitles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXqVPml7B5http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXqVPml7B5g . If you do watch it, I'd love your critique/opinion on it. And of course I know about Whale Rider and Rabbit-proof fence. The former, I did watch and loved the star. The story I thought dragged a bit with the grandfather being overly stubborn even after the girl clearly demonstrated her natural abilities AND her hard work -- but that's just me. And Rabbit-Proof fence, I didn't catch but it's a familiar story to me because Canada had its own huge scandal with the Catholic Church and its residential schools and aboriginal children. I guess my thoughts are that if a story or film has a prominent role for children -- they don't necessarily have to be the stars-- the story tends not to be overly "artsy" and stays focused as well as funny and light in some places. There's a very good film from Brazil which did make Oscar's realm in the same year that the Italian film, "Life is Beautiful" (Begnini) became an international hit. But I thought "Central Station" which was nominated should have won instead of "Life" -- it was a far better film with a far better actress in the lead role. This one also has a child, but it's a road movie with this older actress and a boy who search for his lost family...amazing film.

    Thank you for thinking I should have my own blog. I guess I just think I'm too "all over the place" ... and I love reading other people's blogs more than writing my own stuff...

    Oh, before I forget, do you have some kind of special interest in the movie 2001: A space odyssey so that you named your blog after that famous quotation? Are you a fan of Arthur C. Clarke? Science Fiction? I'm off now to read your Valentine's Day blog...can't wait... :-)!