Friday, 25 June 2010

7 Quick Takes (XLVII)

1. I worked this weekend. I had certain things I planned to do, and did none of them. Instead I did lots of yard-type work and also prepared for our Monday event. What was I expecting, planning to get specific work done? That isn't how work ever goes.

2. One interesting task this weekend was catching an escaping pony. On Sunday a petting zoo was setting up in the Park and, while they were putting up a shelter, a pony and a donkey made a break for it. I saw them headed to the gate, and just managed to catch the pony's lead as he was headed out. Then I gathered up the donkey and led them back to their people. They were actually fairly obedient once I had their leads, minus the odd sudden stop to graze or a yearning for the flowerbeds. Good thing, too, because that donkey was way stronger than me.

3. Monday, then, was National Aboriginal Day. Hence the petting zoo. I was flipping burgers at our concession stand, which made me a little nervous. That was the second time in my life that I'd barbequed, and I was terrified that I'd burn them or undercook them and give someone food poisoning. Anyway, it went well. It turns out that barbequing isn't all that complicated.
4. Due to the fact that I worked the weekend and Monday, I got Tuesday off. I went to the library, where I picked up some books (more on that later) and went to the bank. By the time I got back, the day was getting on and I was tired, and so I ate frozen alfredo penne with broccoli and watched a movie (1408), and then I did the dishes, and then Mom got home from work, so we had supper, and then it was already evening. I still can't figure out how that happened. I rediscovered that having two single days off spread over a week is just not the same as a two-day weekend.
5. Books. Right. You know that moratorium on book buying? Yeah. About that. There was this book sale at the Haxton Centre on Sunday, so we swung by there before work, right? And books were a dollar apiece. These are books, ok? For a dollar. So I leave with three. That seems reasonable, right?
Except at work the receptionist, who's moving soon, left me a bag with, oh, about nine books. Hardcovers, most of them. Modern fiction and historical non-fiction. And she says there are more coming if I want them. I do want them (they are after all books, an essential property of which is that I want them), but I don't know if I want to wrestle my current bookshelf to BC with me, let alone a dozen more hardcovers.
But then, see, the library, which I visited on Tuesday, has a bookcase downstairs on which they shelve used books for sale. Paperbacks are 50¢ apiece. It cost me more to ride the bus on Tuesday than it did purchase three books, and Fort McMurray's bus fare is the cheapest I've ever seen. By the way, I did buy three books. And borrow three.
At some point it becomes clear that it is possible to be addicted to books. I think most of us knew this anyway. Not that, you know, I am addicted, or you, for instance, are addicted, but this is something we know. If only we could get crack addicts to transfer their addiction to literacy. That would get them off the streets, improve their education, and quite possibly save the floundering public library.
6. More specifically, Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. The possibility more than exists that I lost some of my Tuesday reading (all of) this book. Graphic novel? Graphic non-fiction? Graphic culture-criticism? Book.
I am a genre nerd. We knew this. So when I listen to a TED talk and realize that this guy has written a book about the structure of the comic strip (what he calls Sequential Art), identifying in the process four distinct schools of comics which can be located roughly on a Cartesian plane, I get excited. I also think I remember seeing this at the public library and, my narrative folding yet again upon itself, I look for it while at the library on Tuesday and pick it up.


It is great, though I disagree with him whenever he starts talking about literature. He has taught me a lot about the medium of comics. Notice that he spends much of his time talking about the medium. This isn't about Superman or Batman or the Incredible Hulk; he talks about Maus and Egyptian heiroglyphs and sequential 18th century woodcuts about as or more often as he does superheroes. This is about the form's structure and its literary/artistic possibilities, not pop culture, except when that pop culture provides a good example of his point.
In other bookish news, I am currently reading Reading Lolita in Tehran. It is excellent.

7. I've started househunting. It's getting close, but there are lots of listings up, so I'm not too worried. Yet.
I am sorry about the poor white-space management. I put spaces between all of my paragraphs when in draft, but somehow the publishing removes half of them. Again, apologies.
Jen Fulwiller of Conversion Diary hosts the 7 Quick Takes carnival. Be sure to check it out!


Leah said...

I could never keep to a book buying moratorium either. Though I do know my weakness well enough to be sure I am always well provisioned with books when I leave the house, since if I finish the one I'm on and haven't packed another for the commute, I know I'll find myself slipping into a store.

Jon Wong said...

I feel like reeling in a donkey is something that should be on your resume. If I were your boss, I'd hire you on the spot.

yolanda said...

"What was I expecting, planning to get specific work done? That isn't how work ever goes"
this is scary to think about. i have a very long to do list and very little time to do it before my current contract ends. and i really want to finish everything on the list!
how can it be only the second time in your life that you barbequed? if i lived that far north i'd take advantage of the super-late sunsets in summer and live exclusively off food that had been grilled. you must try grilling pizza.
i'm also house hunting for september... except for that listings don't exist for the city i'm moving to.

Christian H said...

Yolanda: Well, my Dad barbeques, but I never learned. It seemed redundant for me to learn, though I now I wish I had. And I don't envy your house-hunting. Well, I sort of do; as excited as I am to move to Vancouver, it does seem a bit less of a life experience than Burundi.

Jon: Anyone can lead an obedient donkey. The only difference is that I had the opportunity to do so.

Leah: That is why I bought Saturday, if you replace "commute" with "plane ride."

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