Thursday, 22 September 2011

Nicholas Cage is a Vampire and Keanu Reeves is Immortal

This past week a man from Seattle was selling a photograph on ebay, proving that Nicholas Cage is a vampire.

Okay, maybe it doesn't exactly prove that he's a vampire.  But still.  It's totally worth the $1,000,000 he was asking for it.

Here's the photo, with a Nick Cage photo for comparison:

Yup.  He's totally a vampire. Unfortunately, the Seattle-based owner of the photo has pulled the listing from ebay.  So you'll have to find something else to do with your $1,000,000.

But let's get serious for a moment and turn to Keanu Reeves.  He is immortal.  Here's the proof:

Not enough for you?  Okay, how's this for you:

"Keanu Reeves", as he is known today, once was an actor by the name of Paul Mounet.  Mr. Mounet lived in the mid 1800s.  

Oh, and he was also Charlemagne.

If you Google "Keanu Reeves Immortal" you get this link:

And you'll also get an ass-load of images (meaning, more than 18,000), including this one, which is my favourite:

Who cares if Nicholas Cage is a vampire?  Keanu Reeves was Jesus.

Happy Birthday to Girlfriend!

September 23 is Girlfriend's birthday.  Happy birthday!!!

September 23 is also:
  • the anniversary of the founding of the Nintendo company (1889; started out manufacturing a card game)
  • The Phantom of the Opera novel is first published (as a serial) in 1909
  • the birthday of Euripides in 480 BC, Ray Charles (1930), Bruce Springsteen (1949), and Jason Alexander (1959)
  • the day that Sigmund Freud died (in 1939)

And then, just because it's totally awesome:

Boardwalk Empire

HBO has a history of producing high-quality television shows. Deadwood, Sopranos, Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones, Rome...I could keep going, but you get the point.  Honestly, if I could subscribe ONLY to HBO, I probably wouldn't have cancelled my satellite TV (that and AMC; I also love Mad Men and Breaking Bad).  

But "Boardwalk Empire" is, in my opinion, the best HBO show in years.  Don't get me wrong: I really loved the first season of "Game of Thrones".  But it wasn't a new story to me (I've read and loved all five of George R R Martin's books).  "Boardwalk Empire" is truly awesome.

It's Atlantic City, 1920.  The US government has just passed a bill prohibiting the sale of alcohol, women are on the cusp of getting the vote, and cities are home to powerful crime syndicates, controlling everything. 

The show stars Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, the treasurer of 1920's Atlantic City (and by "treasurer", I mean crime boss).  Steve Buscemi has basically been in everything.  I mean everything.  The man has been in 125 different movies and TV shows (according to IMDB) since 1985.  I've never been a huge Buscemi fan, but his Nucky Thompson is brilliant: devious but loyal, cold but generous.  He's a gentleman-crime boss for a more civilized time (well, more civilized in the sense that people wore hats and dressed to the nines when out on the town).

The cast of characters includes Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and Arnold Rothstein, as well as fictional characters such as Jimmy Darmody and Margaret Schroeder (both of whom were composites of people who actually lived and interacted with the real Nucky Thompson).

Buscemi is supported by a fantastic group of actors, including the incredible Kelly Macdonald (playing the widow Margaret Schroeder).  Mrs. Schroeder is a strong, determined, and very likable character.  

If you haven't yet done so, do yourself a favour and watch Season 1 of Boardwalk Empire.  The season 2 premiere is this Sunday, September 25 on HBO.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Log Driver's Waltz

On Facebook this morning, I discovered this video on a friend's wall and was immediately transported back to the '80s:

This short animated film was released by the National Film Board in 1979 and played on TVO in between shows.  Whenever it came on, usually in between Sesame Street and Polkadot Door, I would rush to the television to watch it (remember, this was before the internet; actually, this was before we had a VCR.  You never knew when you were going to be able to see something again).  When I was little, I think I had every word of this song memorized.  I remember singing along to the chorus:

For he goes birling down a-down the white water
That's where the log driver learns to step lightly
It's birling down, a-down white water
A log driver's waltz pleases girls completely.

Seeing this video made me think of other staples from my childhood.  Like this:

Or this:

The scary thing is that there's still a part of my brain that remembers all the words to "The Log Driver's Waltz".  

Monday, 12 September 2011

A Book Report

A few weeks ago I discovered Georgette Heyer.  It was thanks to a posting on a friend's blog that I discovered this fantastic author.  I quickly purchased every book that I could find by Ms. Heyer and have not regretted it for a second.

Georgette Heyer was a rather prolific writer of Regency Romance novels (as well as Thrillers, Historical Fiction and Contemporary fiction; her complete list of works includes more than 50 novels spanning a fifty year career).  These books are written in a way that reminds one of Jane Austen, both in the subject matter and the setting.  For someone who loves Austen's England, these books are a fantastic find.

I am currently working my way through Ms. Heyer's novels (I'm on my third so far - "The Foundling"), and I wanted to introduce you to "Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle".

The story centres around Sylvester, Duke of Salford, and Phoebe Marlow, the granddaughter of Sylvester's godmother.  Sylvester has decided to get married, and has a shortlist of candidates.  These women have been picked based on their breeding, their demeanor and their appearance (which is not Sylvester's primary concern; he is looking first and foremost for a woman suited to become the wife of a duke).  As a favour to his mother, Sylvester decides to investigate the possibility that Phoebe Marlow might make the list.

Phoebe could not be further from Sylvester's ideal; she's more at home in the stables than the sitting room, she is shy (due to an emotionally neglectful, perhaps abusive, stepmother), and she is a novelist.  

While Sylvester reminded me of Austen's Mr. Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice", Phoebe seemed more like Anne Elliot from "Persuasion".  Instead of being the confident, high-spirited heroine found in other Austen novels, Anne Elliot was quiet, intelligent, and shy (and one might even call her "plain").  But Anne, like Phoebe, has a great deal hidden beneath the surface.  It is very worth the time to get to know both Anne Elliot and Phoebe Marlow.

I don't want to spoil the book for any of you who might read it.  Because it is definitely worth the read.  My only regret is that it has taken me so long to discover Georgette Heyer!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Ultimate Cary Grant Marathon

Now that fall is upon us, and Girlfriend has returned to her campus life, I have a lot of extra time on my hands in the evenings.  This time is filled in part by community theatre (definitely something I will talk about in future posts), reading, and copious amounts of time in front of the television.  This TV-time always includes knitting (with Christmas approaching, I have a lot of knitting to do!  just like an old lady!) and so can be counted as a productive use of my time.

Over the next week or so, I'm planning on conducting a serious Cary Grant Marathon.  I've always loved Cary Grant.  He's probably my favourite actor (followed by Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon and Robert Downey Jr.; for actresses, Katherine Hepburn leads the list) and several of his movies are high on my list of top films of all time.

Cary Grant started out life as Archie Leech, born in England in 1904 (he died in 1986 at the age of 82).  His movie career spanned 4 decades.

My marathon list is as follows (not necessarily in viewing order, or in order of preference):

1. "Bringing Up Baby": probably THE best screwball comedy from the golden age of movies, this film pairs Grant with Katherine Hepburn.  The movie involves dinosaur bones, a leopard named Baby, and features Cary Grant in a pink negligee (at least, I've always assumed it was pink; the movie is black-and-white).  It also spawned my favourite sarcastic comment of all time: "I'm sitting in Central Park waiting for a bus."

2. "The Philadelphia Story": This movie also paired Grant with Katherine Hepburn, and added Jimmy Stewart to the mix.  What's not to love?  (it was remade about 10 years later as the musical "High Society", with Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly; I refuse to watch it)

3. "Notorious": Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman.  This movie came out in 1946 and the censors lost their mind.  At this time, no kiss was allowed to be longer than 3 seconds.  There's a scene in this movie where Bergman and Grant kiss for almost a minute, but their lips part just before the 3 second mark throughout.  Did I forget to mention that this movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock?  AND Claude Rains is in it.  If you haven't seen it, shame on you.

4. "Arsenic and Old Lace": This movie was made in 1944 and is still hilarious.  Cary Grant is brilliant as always, but it's the supporting cast (including Peter Lorre) who really steal the show.  I adore this movie.

5. "Father Goose": I'm sure serious movie buffs will scoff at this addition.  It's Grant's second last movie, released in 1964.  But it's the first Cary Grant movie I saw, and as such it will always be on my list.  A very old Grant is teamed with the young and gorgeous Leslie Caron (from "Gigi").  Its the story of a drunken captain who ends up stuck on an island with Ms. Caron and a bunch of little girls during WWII.  The premise is a little absurd, but the movie is gold.

7. "Operation Petticoat": while I'm on the topic of silly WWII movies, here's another.  This one also stars a young Tony Curtis (and is where Curtis drew his inspiration for his character "Junior" in "Some Like It Hot" - he is basically playing Cary Grant in these scenes).  Operation Petticoat sees Grant playing a submarine commander during WWII.  Things get a little wacky when the submarine is forced to rescue a group of army WACs.  And then they paint the sub pink.

8. "Charade": This movie was remade with Mark Whalberg in 2002 and was called "The Truth About Charlie".  I also refuse to watch this.  "Charade" is a brilliant mystery, costarring Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau.

9. "To Catch a Thief": Another brilliant movie by Alfred Hitchcock.  This movie stars Grant as an aging cat-burglar, forced out of retirement by a bored heiress (played by Grace Kelly; side note - this movie was filmed in Monacco and includes a scene with Ms. Kelly driving on a road where she would later be killed in a tragic car accident).  As I write this, I realize I will have to have another movie marathon of Alfred Hitchcock movies.

10. "North by Northwest": Again, Hitchcock.  Again, brilliant.  It's a case of mistaken identity for Cary Grant when he gets mixed up with a bunch of spies.  Eva Marie Saint is the love interest this time (Hitchcock really did have a thing for blondes).

So many great movies!!!  If I have time, I will also include:

  • "An Affair to Remember"
  • "His Girl Friday"
  • "I Was a Male War Bride"
  • "Suspicion" 
  • "Holiday"
  • "That Touch of Pink"
Well, I'm going to go make some popcorn and start my movie!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Black Dog to the Rescue!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Blond Dog is smart and Black Dog really isn't.  Black Dog is special.  He's very, very sweet but very, very slow.  For example:

- it took him more than a week to learn how to go down a set of stairs (he was more than four months old when we got him)
- an empty laundry basket placed in the hall will stop him from going any further
- he wasn't fully house trained until he was 3
- for more than 2 years he didn't realize that he could jump up on the bed (what he would do was stand on his hind legs and smack whoever he was closest to on the face.  The bed hit him in the middle of the chest.  He could practically lean over and end up on the bed.  Instead he had to wait until one of us picked him up and put him on the bed.).  When he finally learned how to do it, he had to take a running start.  This involved leaving the bedroom and going down the hall.  He would run into the room to the far side of the bed, stop, turn to face the bed and then jump.

Black Dog is very, very sweet:
- he loves to be hugged
- he wants to be cuddled every morning in bed
- he loves Orange Cat

Black Dog knows two commands: "Sit" and "Save Blond Dog".

Yes, Black Dog is becoming a rescue dog.

Blond Dog likes to do annoying things for attention.  Like entering a room and shutting the door behind him.  This forces Girlfriend or me to stop what we're doing and free Blond Dog from where ever he's trapped.  

But now Black Dog does it for us.  All we have to do is say "Where's Blond Dog?  Go save Blond Dog" and Black Dog will get up, walk down the hall and rescue Blond Dog.  

Now if I could just get him to stop Blond Dog from sleeping on the table....

As a follow-up to my post from the other day ("George Lucas Needs a Kick to the Nuts), enjoy this video:  Darth Vader with additional dialogue

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A Post of Shameless Self Promotion

Once upon a time I published a novel.

I love to write.  It's something I've always done, for as long as I can remember.  But I had a hard time letting other people read what I wrote.  This made it challenging when I decided I wanted to publish my book.  If it was in an actual, physical form, people would be able to read it.  People I knew.  People I didn't know.  People who would be mean to my poor little book.  It was safer just to keep it locked away on my hard drive.

But finally I did it.  I let someone read my manuscript.  And it wasn't the horrible experience I'd been dreading.

The result was this:

It's a real book.  I mean, you can actually BUY it.  And here's where you can buy it:

And a bunch of other sites have it too. 

Here's what it's about:

"At twenty-two years old, Kerri Shepherd was on the verge of success. Her first novel had been published and she was preparing for a successful career as an author. All her dreams seemed to be coming true.

But three years later, she still hasn't written a word.

After the death of her father (a father who had abandoned the family seventeen years earlier), Kerri finds herself moving away from Toronto to the small Georgian Bay town of New Ferndale.

Will the change of scenery help her overcome her writer's block? Or will she be too distracted by the men in her life; Denny (her first love), Carter (the small-town lawyer), and Duncan (her new neighbor)?

And can she keep her sanity once her newly-divorced sister moves in with her?

Family secrets are revealed and old wounds are exposed as Kerri realizes that love and happiness may not be the lies she always thought they were."

If you've already read this book, I have written two others (assuming you've read my first book and actually want to read something else I've written).  They can be found at...

Oh wait.  They haven't been published yet.  But soon, I hope.

Anyway, eventually I'll put up a post about the new books (titles, plots, maybe even a chapter or two).  Until then, you'll have to be satisfied with reading this blog and re-reading my first book.

UPDATE: I have just been informed (by Girlfriend) that I did not put a link to anything fun on this post.  I apologize for this.  Here is something fun:

Books on my Kobo Shortlist

I will freely admit it: I love my Kobo.  I wasn't sure about the whole ereader-thing.  But now I'm completely hooked.  My Kobo comes with me everywhere I go.  I love the fact that I have an almost limitless collection of books in my purse with me.  Never again will I have to flip through last year's Readers Digest magazines while I'm waiting in an office.

Below is the list of books on my Kobo Shortlist.  Its a list of books I plan to read sometime in the near future:

1. "The Book of Three" by Lloyd Alexander
This is the first book in the Chronicles of Prydain series.  It's a series I read as a kid and really enjoyed.  Probably the most famous book in the series is "The Black Cauldron", which Disney made into an animated movie in 1985 (which is strange, since it's the second book in the series).  The series is about a boy named Taran and follows him from his boyhood as a pig keeper through to becoming a warrior as an adult.  The books are based on Welsh mythology and were winners of a Newbery Medal and Newbery Honour.

2. "Land of Painted Caves" by Jean M. Auel
I really enjoyed "Clan of the Cave Bear" when I first read it.  And the second book, "Valley of the Horses" was also okay.  But the series really started to go downhill after that.  "Land of Painted Caves" is the sixth and final book in the series.  I don't know if/when I'll actually read it; but it's on my list just as a reminder that I eventually want to finish the damn series.

3. "Sisterhood Everlasting" by Ann Brashares
This is a sequel to the "Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants" series.

4. "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I'm sort of embarrassed to admit this, but I've never read this book.  I've always meant to, but just haven't gotten around to it.

5. "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connolly
It was made into a movie, so it's probably not a bad book (nice logic, huh?).

6. "The Burning Land" by Bernard Cornwell
This is book 5 in the Saxon series.  The series tells the tale of Uthred, and English boy raised by Vikings.  It is set during the reign of Alfred in 9th century England.  I'm looking forward to reading this book soon; the 6th book in the series is scheduled for release in October, 2011.

7. "Helen of Troy" by Margaret George
I am currently reading another book by Margaret George: "The Autobiography of Henry VIII with notes by his fool Will Somers".  Her books are massive.  But if you enjoy in-depth historical fiction, she's pretty good.  Not as trashy as Philippa Gregory, but still very approachable.

8. "Earthly Joys" by Philippa Gregory
This is one of the few Philippa Gregory books that isn't directly about a king or queen of England.  This is the first of two novels about a gardening family during the English Civil War.

9. "The Quiet Gentleman" by Georgette Heyer
I have only recently discovered Georgette Heyer; my friend posted this on her blog, leading me to a whole new world of Jane Austen-esque books.  I've only read one book by Miss Heyer so far: "Bath Tangle".  And I really enjoyed it.  It's not "Pride and Prejudice", but if you're someone who finds Jane Austen a little daunting, it is an easier read (I don't mean easier in a negative way; you won't have to look up every second word to figure out what the story is about).

10. "Red Seas Under Red Skies" by Scott Lynch
This is the second book in the "Gentlemen Bastards" series.  I LOVED the first book, "The Lies of Locke Lamora".  The only reason I haven't read this follow-up novel is because I'm worried that Scott Lynch is becoming a new George RR Martin (and not in a good way).  The release date for Mr. Lynch's third book, "The Republic of Thieves", has been continually pushed back.  Currently it is slated for a November 2011 release (although, on it still says that the book is coming in November 2009).

Now I'm getting bored with writing about the books.  So here's a list of the final 5 books on my shortlist:

11. "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman

12. "Drood" by Dan Simmons

13. "Children of Henry VIII" by Alison Weir

14. "Eleanor of Aquitaine" by Alison Weir

15. "The Princes in the Tower" by Alison Weir

I would love suggestions on more/different books to add to my shortlist.  If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below.

(I know I promised to post something fun or random on each blog entry.  The only fun thing I can think of this morning is the fact that The Gap Canada is having a 40% off sale for Labour Day Weekend; sorry, I know that's lame)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Jane Seymour vs. Jane Seymour

Today I want to take a look at history's most famous Jane Seymours.

So here's a little quiz I'm calling "Jane Vs. Jane", or "How well do you know your Seymours?".

1.  One of these two was married to Henry VIII.  The other played Dr. Quinn for 6 seasons. Which is which? (1 point)

2. One was born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg in Hayes, Middlesex, England. The other was born Jane Seymour at Wolf Hall, Wiltshire, England. Identify the correct Jane. (1 point)

3. One Jane spoke/speaks Dutch fluently. (1 point)

4. One Jane's first born was named Katherine. The other's first born was named Edward. Which Jane is which? (1 point)

5. One of the Janes has/had heterochromia (1 point for correctly identifying the Jane. Bonus point for knowing what heterochromia is).

The quiz is marked out of 5 (but with the bonus, it is possible to get 6 out of 5).  

Thank you for your time.  And now for something completely different.

George Lucas Needs a Kick to the Nuts

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Okay, really it was the 80s.  But whatever.

I loved Star Wars.  I mean I LOVED it.  I watched all three movies over and over until the VHS tapes stopped working.  They were the BEST MOVIES EVER.

And then they weren't.

Oh, George Lucas.  What have you done?  Why?  Did you need the money?  Were you being blackmailed?  Did someone hold a gun to your head and force you to have Greedo shoot first?  And then the prequels.  I don't even want to mention the prequels.  Because they are crap.  Absolute crap.  Horridly written, terribly acted.  Honestly, it's like no one involved in these movies had ever seen real human emotion before (plus, they were absolutely ridiculous.  I mean, Padme dies of a broken heart.  Seriously?!?!?!?! They have all sorts of fancy equipment, and she dies of a broken heart!!!  Anakin was basically a limbless, burnt torso.  And HE survives).

What I'm really cheesed about is how George Lucas can't stop fucking around with the originals.

This fall all six Star Wars movies will be released on Blu Ray.  But the original three won't be the "original" versions.  They'll be tinkered with and altered and edited to death.  This open letter to George Lucas sums it up.  Personally, I think a swift kick to the nuts is what Lucas really needs.

Instead of giving Mr. Lucas even more money, I strongly suggest investing in the "Robot Chicken" Star Wars specials.  They are funny, well written, and the acting is superb (and yes, I realize it's stop-motion animation; still much better acting than the prequels).

(DISCLAIMER: I'm not actually saying someone should go up to George Lucas and kick him in the nuts.  It would be just my luck that one of the three people reading this post would do that, and then blame me.)

This is the only altered movie I want to see:  Jaws Special Edition.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

I Wish My Dog Wouldn't Sleep on my Dining Room Table

(I realize this is my second post today.  Shut up.)

Pretty much every day when I get home from work, I see signs that lead me to believe that Blond Dog has been sleeping on the dining room table.

Makes sense, right?  I mean, of course the table is the most comfortable thing to sleep on.  The house is empty.  He could literally sleep anywhere he wants.  But the table is what he prefers.

To be fair (and I want to make sure that I AM being fair; I don't want Blond Dog to sue me for slandering his good name), he does also sleep on the back of the couch like a cat.

And it's really hard to get proof that he's actually been sleeping on the table.  Blond Dog is smart (Black Dog is not).  Plus, there are two cats that also could be knocking over the salt, pepper and wine bottles.  But I know it's him.  I just know it.

Yesterday I was sitting on the couch, most likely eating potato chips and reading carrot sticks and reading "War and Peace".  Blond Dog was sitting in his usual chair in the dining room.  Yes, he sits on a chair.  Why wouldn't he?  I mean, he is pretty much a human.

Anyway, I just happened to look up as Blond Dog put his front paw on the table and started to climb up.  As soon as he realized I was watching him, he removed his foot, got off his chair, and pretended to go to sleep on the dog bed.

I already have one of these: a Scat Mat to keep him (and the other animals) off the table.  But I'm pretty sure that Girlfriend and I are the only ones who've been zapped.

I will keep you all posted on the constant battles with Blond Dog.

Now something randomly awesome:

I want to go to there. (yes, I realize you have to click the link to see what the hell I'm talking about)

First Post

Welcome to "Random Acts of Randomness".  This is literally the best blog you will read on the internet.  LITERALLY.  Probably this will be the best thing you will read IN YOUR LIFE.

In this blog, I will be discussing topics of great importance.  It will be well-written.  It will make you think.  You will laugh, you will cry.  You will be a better person for reading this blog.

Now, to begin.

This morning, I got out of bed, brushed my teeth.

Let me try that again.

I woke up to a sharp kick in the spine from Blond Dog.

To be honest, I have no idea how to write a blog.  Most blogs are stupid.  And annoying.  Or stupidly annoying.

But, since absolutely everyone on the planet has a blog, I was feeling a little left out.  I want to join in on the fun too!  I want to have people reading the random shit that I decide to write.  And so it begins.

If you want to read a really great, really intelligent blog about books, please leave this page now.  Go to "A Fair Substitute For Heaven".  My friend writes it, and she's super smart.  If you want to read about travels to northern Canada, go to "Magnetic North", written by two new teachers who are working at a school in Nunavit.

What you'll find here is just my rambling about different things that interest me.  I'll probably talk about my dogs.  I may include pictures.  I'll try to be amusing.

So here are my promises:
1. I promise never to tell you what I'm having for dinner (unless it turns out to be funny/tragic or both).
2. I promise never to use real names when I'm talking about people
3. I promise to always tell the truth.  Except when I'm lying.
4. I promise that this will be 100% written by me.  I won't be hiring any ghost writers.
5. I promise to end every post with a super amazing link.  Or something awesome.  Or something stupid.  Something not written by me, anyway.

To end my first post, here's something super awesome:

Until next time.  You stay classy, San Diego.