Friday, November 26, 2010

My Perceived Life

Sometimes I like to think about how I may be perceived. Not so much as a concern, but more as how my actions, my words and my life looks to an outsider.

Do I care about what others may think? Not really, to be honest. But I like to people watch and speculate about their lives and I assume others may do the same. I know I am probably wrong all of the time. I don't honestly believe I can surmise all that a person is in the few moments it takes for them to walk past me. Mostly it's just fun for me to create these worlds that people may or may not be living.

I don't think I am the only person playing this game. I feel watched (in a not paranoid way haha). I am only curious what kind of worlds people dream up for me. I like that I don't really wear my likes or dislikes visibly. When I dress, it can be very neutral, style wise. I like that my clothes don't necessarily give me away. My shirts don't mention my favourite bands and my shoes don't say I prescribe to any specific type of music. Perhaps if I drove a car, I'd have bumper stickers that let people know what I think, but then again, perhaps not. I like being a bit unknown and having to explore and be explored.

I sometimes wish my thoughts and life style were apparent because I think of all the great people I could be meeting if they only knew we were kindred spirits. But, that's what I love about the internet. My comments, my profiles, my likes and dislikes speak for themselves. Though, I've always disagreed with the idea that people with similar interests are compatible. If that were true, I wouldn't be so annoyed at most of the concerts I go to or the stores I shop in.

I remember the first day I saw Ryan, who is now one of my best friends. I was waiting for the shift to start at work when I worked as an agent in a market research call centre. My sister, who was a supervisor, and I were hanging out in the break room and this dude walks by. Instantly, I wanted to be his friend. He didn't say anything but I just looked at him and I thought, "That dude is going to make me laugh." After years of sitting next to the class clown in school (and usually having a crush on them), I had honed the skill of recognizing one outside of their native habitat. This dude had class clown written all over him. I couldn't explain why or how I knew. I asked my sister what his name was and from then on I had a goal to not just get to know him but to become BFFs. Thankfully, we eventually sat near each other and my instincts/lucky guess were verified.

I'm not sure where I am going with this. I'm curious if other people play this game. Do you wonder how you are perceived or do you think that people can tell what kind of person you are instantly or does it take time to crack the shell and get to know you? I'd guess most of us would like to think we're complex mysterious creatures and no one can truly know us.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

* Copy this
* Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
* Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shaskespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I have this awful habit of starting books and then putting them down to re-read a much loved book. It's not fair to any new books entering my library and I usually do pick them up and start them day. Sometimes I'll get bored in a new novel and turn to a familiar favorite because I know I'll enjoy it where as the new one I am uncertain if I'll end up even liking it. As if, for some reason, I don't want to invest time in a gamble when I can invest it in a sure fire thing.

Perhaps I should make a habit of finishing books I start instead of abandoning them on counters, bed side tables and bookshelves through out my house.

My slowly evolving reading corner when we first moved in.

Most recent photo of my reading area.

The area behind the book shelf is where I plan to really make my library but it's taking time to buy the furniture necessary. Part of the reason it takes so long is I rarely buy furniture new and have a very precise vision in my head and refuse to buy pieces just to "fill" the spots. I'll wait till I find the perfect shelf, chair, table and everything. Until then, I'll suffer with a half finished living room/dining room/library.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, –
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

This is a poem I often think of during Remembrance Day. I know many turn to "In Flanders Fields", which is also a great poem, but at all times of year (not just this one designated day), I think it's important and vital that we not only honor the memory of those who served our country but those who served any country. Those who lost their limbs, their loved ones and their lives.

My other issue with "In Flanders Fields" is the guilt trip. I honestly wonder if someone who died in a war would honestly want others to continue fighting for the same cause. Not all wars are great, noble or honest. So many are plagues upon the country they infest and bring not only violence but are acts of international corruption and power struggles.

I also think it's important not to glamourize war or to make it more heroic than it is horror. As a pacifist, one might think that I don't honour what men and women have done in the name of their country. That is quiet untrue. It is because of this sacrifice and the atrocities those who fight for a country become witness too or worse, apart of, that I am pacifist.

For many of us, war has never touched our soil. That is not true for all those that I know and I can only pretend to understand how the affects on those who have seen war in their backyard. But, because I have not seen it, I can only continue to be grateful for that.