Monthly Archives: June 2011

Progress report

It has been 186 days since I started attempting to do 100 things, with 814 more to go. I’m 18.6% done, day-wise, but with only 7% of my list accomplished (12% if you include things in progress, which…you really shouldn’t), I feel the need for a bit of padding. So here’s what I’m going to do (no cheating). I am going to make a list appendage. So to that end, I present:

OTHER Awesome Things I’ve Done While Attempting To Do 100 Things In 1000 Days

  1. Go on a submarine
  2. Go ziplining
  3. Learn to surf
  4. Make a card
See, that’s 4 entire more things. I’d be at 16% if these were on the list, and that’s pretty close to 18.
And for the next 100 Things list…
  1. Go to Casa Loma
  2. Go to Stratford
  3. Go to the Shaw Festival
  4. Sky Dive (once)
  5. Read Dictionary
  6. Go to a Toronto Film Festival (also, be in Toronto in September)
  7. Learn chopsticks FOR SOUP
  8. Read all of Agatha Christie’s books
  9. Read all of Shakespeare
  10. Watch all the Pixar movies and short films
  11. Learn music theory (until at least Grade 2)
  12. Get teacher’s certificate for piano (Grade 8 )
  13. Learn another language (any other language)
  14. Walk the Inca Trail(s)
  15. Go to a Sundance Film Festival
  16. Watch Deadwood, Sports Night, some other TV stuff
  17. Play paint twister
  18. Take a photography class
  19. Take an art class
  20. Watch all the Oscar nominated movies one year
  21. Actually watch all the DVDs you own
  22. Make a Steampunk-y costume
  23. Appear in a movie (extra, obviously)
  24. Recap a show
  25. Watch avi top 100 movies (the ones I haven’t seen, of course)
  26. Get a journalism job (i.e. get published for money)
  27. Complete B.Sc.
  28. Master’s degree?
  29. Get TEFL/Teach English overseas
  30. Listen to one new song a day for a year
  31. Finish all books you’re in the middle of
  32. Learn how to crochet
  33. Organise collections (stamp, shelll, scrapbooking)
  34. Learn Maybe I’m Amazed on piano
  35. Learn carving
  36. Learn how to make a damned origami rose
  37. Zombie run
  38. Watch all animated Disney movies
  39. Watch all Star Trek series
  40. Get Red Cross in swimming (already have Bronze Medallion…I think…)
  41. Memorize 3-5 poems (The Raven, Auden, Highwayman?)
  42. Read 12 looooong books (like The Better Angels of Our Nature, Dickens, etc)
  43. Go to an actual SD ComicCon
  44. Read book sets (e.g. Wrinkle in Time, James Herriot books, etc)
  45. Finish all series (Animorphs, Philip Pullman, Sandman, Terry Pratchett, Hunger Games, etc)
  46. See a solar eclipse
  47. Go Centre Island and the Toronto Islands
  48. Run a full marathon
  49. Take singing lessonS
  50. Fill up sketchbook
  51. Get SCUBA certification

100 things to do in 1000 days IN PROGRESS; #1: Get my stupid degree.

I’m just writing this so I can add one more to my “in progress” list. Only courses left:

–          PSYC 3400 [1 credit] – this year

–          PSYC 4908 [1 credit]

–          CLCV 2000 [1 credit] – this year

–          CLCV 3300 [1 credit]

–          BIOL 1004 [0.5 credits] – just waiting on the grade

–          BIOL 2001, BIOL 2002 [1 credit] – this year

–          BIOL 3104, BIOL 3605 [1 credit] – this year/summer

Ugh. It felt like less. Whatever, this time next year, I will be working on my thesis, the final course in my ridiculous program, and soon after that, I shall be FREE.

Lord Edgware Dies – Review – ***

When I was a kid, my mom brought home from the library a new book for her budding little addict. She told me it was an Agatha Christie, and that’s not even close to where it began. Because I read one short story, the first one, about a woman who confessed to a crime she didn’t commit, one that, in fact, never even happened, and was jailed for the rest of her life in response. I was not pleased with this ending, and hiding the book under my dressing table didn’t help. It was years before I would give Agatha another chance.

So, it started years later, in Chapters, with The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side. Now, for the record, I have no idea what Christie book my mom got me from the library that day. I have read over 50 of her 80 novels since then, and haven’t yet come across that story. Perhaps it wasn’t actually her – perhaps one of us (my mother or myself) was confused. It doesn’t matter anyway. It had been a while since I read a Christie, and I’m WAY behind on the CBR, so I figured a quick mystery would be just the thing.

To me, this wasn’t a particularly special one. It was a fun, quick read with faintly likable characters. There’s not a heck of a lot more to say, especially if you’re a Christie veteran. It was exactly as I expected, you know? A little Hercule Poirot, a little Hastings, a little domestic disturbance, and a little murder. The solution wasn’t really surprising although I can’t say I guessed it (because I accidentally found out who the murderer was before I passed chapter 3 – long story).

I always enjoy the little swipes she takes at Sherlock Holmes mysteries (which I also love, and have read all of), and there are a couple in this one. I’ve said it before, but as much as I enjoy Holmes, I’ve always thought Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t always play fair. So often in his books, the culprit is a well known criminal who only Holmes and the inhabitants of his world can have heard about. Christie, except in her occasional international thriller, gives you just about as much information as she does her detectives, which makes it fun to try and play along.

The one thing this book DID do was cause me to add a new thing to my ever-expanding 1?? Things To Do List: (re)read all of A. C.’s books. I remember loving The Pale House, Destination Unknown, and The Secret Adversary as much as I’ve ever loved any books, and thinking Passenger to Frankfurt was one of her worst, but I read the bulk of her books 6-9 years ago, and I’ve always wanted to complete my set. Maybe for next year’s CBR?

Cannonball Read III: 9/52

Edited to add: Part of the reason this book might have seemed so predictable and familiar? Because I have already read it. I just forgot. Of course, that in itself says something about the book…

The Bullpen Gospels – Review – ****

I found the notes for this one! Less work for me.

A man of integrity can make any profession seem heroic by how he lives while doing it.” ~ pg 359

I read this one on my brother’s recommendation (obviously), and after he sent me link after link to Dirk Hayhurst’s blog.

I’m glad he did. I’m a casual fan of baseball. I cheer on the Jays no matter how depressing it gets, and I follow a couple of my favourite players. Ever since downloading the Sports Tap ap on my phone, I even know some statistics. But I’m sure as hell not a fanatic (though few are when compared with my brother). It doesn’t matter. This book is a good read no matter what sport you’re into, or how into it you are.

For most of us (especially the ladies), we will never know the insides of a professional sports clubhouse. This isn’t exactly a reason to fold it in and die an unfulfilled and desperate death, but it does mean that books like this are an interesting behind the scenes look at the life of an athlete that you don’t get from a lot of places. Let’s face it, most athletes aren’t really known for their way with words (seriously, if I have to sit through one more pre-game show about players taking it one game at a time, I swear…).

But this book is about baseball, and for fans of that specific sport, it’s a good reminder of what we love about the game, despite the steroids, scandals, and rise in popularity of other sports that might have dampened our spirits a tad. Or, you know, the fact that Toronto teams SUCK, a fact I’ve been shouting for years only to finally be proven correct once and for all. ONCE AND FOR ALL!

Of course, another interesting thing about reading a book by a man who grew up in sports is seeing what he chooses to explain. For instance, I found it bizarre that Hayhurst felt “baseball gods” was a term that needed a two paragraph explanation, but “dip” is left to the imagination. Anyone? Dip? He says it as though it’s some sort of chewable maybe, or a thing players use on their hands? I don’t know.

Some of it is, and I am so sorry for putting it this way, really amateur writing. Sections were cheesy, and most of the emotional beats were pretty familiar. But for the most part, the prose is good, and often great – whether it’s his passion for the game, or writing talent, or a bit of both, Bullpen Gospels is a pleasure to read.

Cannonball Read III: 8/52

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Review – ****1/2

Somewhere in my house are pages and pages (ok, maybe two pages) of review notes I made while reading this book, full of insights and specifics and quotes. But I can’t find them, so you’re getting this instead.

A lot of people have said that Rebecca Skloot was born to write this book. I can see what they mean. It is almost unbelievable to me, and singularly admirable, how much time and effort she has spent on researching, writing, and marketing – getting to know and gaining the trust of Lacks’ family, uncovering the history despite inaccuracies, sloppy reporting, old and faded memories and records – it’s no surprise it took her over 10 years to write it.

Thankfully, the result is worth it. This book was an incredible read. I’m not sure why I have it in my records as 4 1/2 stars instead of 5 – presumably the last 100 pages, which I first skimmed and then read again in full, were slightly less effective the second time around. I don’t know. Anyway, they’re just numbers. The fact is, this book was intellectually stimulating, emotionally fulfilling, and endlessly engrossing.

The story itself was a great find – it’s got it all. Science, emotion, family, racism, secrets, drama, injustice, even an exorcism. All these superlatives – I’m not trying to say it’s the most fantastic and amazing thing I’ve ever read in my life, but I’d recommend it to anyone. If you’re a professional scientist and somehow already familiar with the story of HeLa, read it for the story. If you’re…not a fan of story, read it for the accessible explanation of the science. Read it for whatever you like. There’s something in there for everyone.

Cannonball Read III: 7/52