Saturday, October 18, 2008

Partying with Survivors

New York Magazine's culture blog interviews Andrew Jacobs on his documentary, Four Seasons Lodge.

From the film's site:
Four Seasons Lodge captures the final season for a community of Holocaust survivors who come together each summer to celebrate their lives.

It's the 'final season' because the colony they've been going to every year has been sold.

It looks like a wonderful documentary that focuses on people who have built lives like phoenixes from the ashes, and who now spend the summers of their old age making the most of every minute.


The film's website also has an educational component, which notes that the film is an important part of an oral history - a tool favoured by educators since "the work of the Foxfire Team in the Appalachians".

I guess I never blogged it, but about a month ago I found the first volume of the Foxfire books for a $1 at my local used bookstore, and was fascinated by the oral histories. The full title is: The Foxfire Book: Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining.

And Foxfire has nothing to do with Firefox, which I am now using exclusively, as I am fed up with Safari (1.3.2). Safari crashes every single time I use it and I can't upgrade without spending $130 on Leopard. Bah humbug!

Annual Pottery and Glass Sale - 2008

The Pottery and Glass Sale used to take place at the CBC building on Front Street. This year it's being held at the CNIB on Bayview.

I bought my parents a really great wall-hanging by Bruce Jones one year. It is made of tiny earthenware cups and saucers all bunched together, somewhat like the pieces that are on his website (but which look much much better in real life).

Even if you don't think you like ceramics or glass, you will undoubtedly find something beautiful and unique. The sale is also perfectly timed for the early Christmas shopper. I'm looking forward to seeing Miguel Deras Zapata's works, because I really like his textured/glazed acorn-like bowls. (Not this acorn, this kind.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

GOOP = Gwyneth's One and Only Peapod?

So remember the hullaballoo about Gwyneth Paltrow's "lifestyle" blog, "Goop"?

I just went to and it was the site for Chrysler's "neighborhoor electric vehicle", the Peapod. (A very cute smiley car perfect for those of us afraid of biking in the city.)

It took me while to figure out what was going on, but at least I did before I published this post.

The difference is in the www. sans "w", as befits her politics, is Gwyneth's show-and-tell lifestyle site.

For a moment there, I thought Paltrow had created an elaborate ruse to bring people over to the electric car, but no, her site and her ambitions for it are real.

Addendum: GEM is now "Global Eco Mobility" which was Global Electric Motorcars. Seems like Chrysler has rebranded to launch the Peapod.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ceramic Art

Julie Moon is a ceramic artist who make beautiful sculptures, tiles, and wearable pieces. Look!

Toronto in the Eyes of Others

Papermag writes up Toronto. A flattering article with some of the old standbys listed (Kensington, Riverdale Farm) and some I've never heard of - Magic Pony. (Check out Magic Pony's moustache necklace!)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Powerbook Power Adapter

From The Consumerist:

A class action Suit for faulty Powerbook power adaptors has been launched.

You mean, like the faulty one that I had replaced under Applecare? And the other two I've had to buy 'cause the other side constantly warps in the jack? It didn't even occur to me that this would be a class action suit. Interesting.

Stairway to the Moon post - Part Deux

From the Plastics Historical Society, here is a little more on Melaware :

The Gaydon and the Melaware two-colour sets probably represent the pinnacle of British melamine tableware. The technical skills required particularly for the twocolour cups were exceptional. The different approaches towards creating a comfortable and stylish cup or jug handle are especially impressive. Gaydon cups were made in a split mould giving a comfortable contoured handle whereas Melaware cups and jugs were made in a solid mould with angled moving cores to achieve the distinctive but less comfortable handle. In both cases the two-colour effect was produced in two stages and the items required individual hand finishing. The Gaydon set was the most comprehensive with over fifty different items. Perhaps the white lining of MF cups was eventually the cause of their downfall. A white inside looked more like china and it made the tea look `right'. But the white liner also showed up all the staining and scratches for which melamine ware became infamous.

Stairway to the Moon

I would like a Thrilling Adventure in Drinks.

Also, I just discovered a Prefab-ulous blog while googling Melaware. She blogs mostly about vintage design - with great finds from the UK and (currently, it seems) Canada.

I was googling Melaware, because last time I was at the Bayview Village Antique Fair I bought these exact Melaware melamine cups and saucers for 5 bucks. But now I learn that tea and coffee stain white melamine (which is part of the reason for its decline in popularity), so I am reluctant to actually use them. Hmph.

While looking for photos of Melaware, I found another awesome vintage design blog, What's Blogging My View.

And a question for bloggers - how do you go about showing photos without stealing bandwidth or infringing upon copyright? I mean, when you're using photos that aren't yours, like an eBay find - do you just use them and not worry about it or is there a way to do it that abides by bloggerly etiquette?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Nuit Blanche

I don't think I'll see much of Nuit Blanche, if I go out at all. I am behind on a lot of writing and other things.

You go and tell me all about it, ok?

Too Late - RIP Julia Cunningham

Is there anything worse than tracking down an author or artist you love, and finding (via google) that wow, they are still alive, they are living in the place you will soon be visiting, perhaps you can arrange a meeting... only to find out that no, in fact, they have died - and so recently?

I am very sad to discover that author Julia Cunningham died this past February. I am glad she lived to the age of ninety-two.
I wish I could've met her.

Over the years, I have searched for info on her, but never found much till now. Her books, which I devoured around the age of twelve, seemed to go out of print. I was never able to track any down in used bookstores in my neighbourhood.

Now, of course, Alibris is fully-fledged, and copies of her books abound. "Dorp Dead" was re-issued by Harper Collins in 2001, but I never saw it here.

I don't remember much about "Dorp Dead". It is now referred to as a turning point in children's literature; the beginning of "gritty realism" in writing for children and adolescents. I'm sure I read it, but it did not make as much of an impact on me as "Burnish Me Bright" and "Flight of the Sparrow".

The obit and remembrances on the link above (from the Santa Barbara Independent) are very moving. There is a very nice fund set up for donations to be made in her honour to:
(The) Storyteller Children’s Center in Santa Barbara(which)provides NAEYC-approved, tuition-free early childhood education and care for homeless and at-risk children... Funds will establish Miss Cunningham’s Corner – a reading area where parents and children can enjoy books together, complete with a rocking chair, soft pillows and special books arranged on Patrick's Bookshelf.

Her love of France (which one of the eulogies mentions) shines through in "Flight of the Sparrow" and is probably responsible for provoking my ongoing Francophilia. (It also contained one of my earliest nerd-girl lit-character crushes for the urchin "leader" - a cigarette-smoking Parisian delinquent named "Mago", if I remember correctly.)

If you pass by her books - used or reissued - have a read. You will not regret it.

I owe a belated thank you to Mrs. Ranieri, wherever you are, for introducing me to the writing of Julia Cunningham.

Friday, October 03, 2008

While Others Blog Political...

I blog Barbie!

How much you wanna bet that Christina Aguilera has had this Barbie on her shelf since 2004? Maybe Donatella gave it to her when she did the Versace campaign. (In that photo she wears the dress that the other Versace Barbie wears.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hairy, Puttering, and the Ordering of the Pizza

Certain members of my family have been eyeing my career (or lack thereof) with fear and pity since I embarked on this whole "Gee Whiz, I'm a Writerer!" thing.

The only thing that has changed is the question I get at family gatherings:

"You know that writers don't make any money, right?" became "So, are you going to be J.K. Rowling*?"

From the poorhouse to the penthouse with nary a word published!

In tribute to them, here is New York Mag's summary of Forbes' list of wealthiest authors. See that? Authors. It's plural!

*check out her official site, it's insane.