Geek on a Plane

malkoffMark Malkoff is at it again.

What’s THAT? You’ve never heard of him, you say?

Well, you would have, HAD you read my post last January, when he decided to live in IKEA for a week

In any case, a year and a half later, the comedian writer/filmmaker is back for more.

He’s changed things up – and likely testing his marriage yet again – by living in an airplane for an entire month.

I only came across his latest “venture” today, but he’s been flying all over the continental United States since June 1st, and will continue doing so until his last flight on the 30th.

Oh, and did I mention that he’s afraid of flying?

I seriously wish I was making this up. But that requires time I don’t have.  

You can read and watch all his crazy aviation exploits on his Web site.

(And to think: I ALMOST posted a Hump Day video today.)

(You’re welcome.)

 

*Picture taken from Flightstory Aviation Blog.

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D’s Loquacious Spring Reads

I just recently realized that I have this really horrible habit of being inconsistent when it comes to books.

I’ll read book after book for weeks on end, then just go cold turkey and read nothing but magazines for a month and a half.

It’s probably why I haven’t posted any of my most recent reads since sometime last year.

But have no fear. I’ve been slowly getting myself back up on the hobby-horse. Especially now that I’ve restored my good standing at the library and have been trying to avoid slipping back into my book-refugee ways.

Here’s what I’ve ingested since April. All of them – in the order in which I read them –  are fairly short, and each have a story (or stories) behind my selection.

kinkbookcoverHideous Kinky, Esther Freud

Morocco was my main inspiration behind reading this story. I actually borrowed it from the library before I left, carried it with me across the Atlantic, around the country and back again. But I didn’t start reading it until I went back to work. Go figure. 

It’s definitely a strange little book. Set in the early 1970s, it’s told by a five-year-old girl who herself isn’t quite sure what’s happening, as her mum drags her and her older sister to Marrakech, where they live the Moroccan lifestyle (translation: hippies surviving hand to mouth), and are introduced to a number of characters – and a c0mpletely alien culture – along the way.

I’ve never seen the movie adaptation. Too bad it was made before I got my hands on the book. All I could picture while reading it was Kate Winslet as the mum, which kind of wrecked things for me. 

(Note: the version of the book I read had was an original printing, with the little girl on the sleeve cover, not Kate Winslet as seen here.)

 

secretgardencoverThe Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

This one, I read because of a list. You know the one. BBC’s List of Books You Should Read, which has probably made its rounds on e-mail forwards and Facebook for weeks on end? 

Well, that little list made me realize (a) my reading repertoire – at 15 books – sucks, and (b) one of the books listed (#73) has been sitting in our basement, collecting dust, for at least two decades.

It was only when I was cleaning out the basement bookcase about five weeks ago that I found it and decided give it a go.

The book was actually my brother’s. Years after he’d abandoned it, I tried on at least two occasions to try reading it, only to discard it about five pages in. (Seriously. Does the image of a jaundiced little white girl living in India make you want to read it?)

The story, in case you don’t know: a little English girl is sent from India after the death of her parents to live with an uncle in Yorkshire, England, and it’s there that she transforms as a person. She also discovers the secret garden of the title, and the “secret” behind it, as well as another one she didn’t bargain for.

In any case, I finally did read it, and I’m glad. It’s a nice classic read for kids. As an adult, I appreciate it more. I even found myself trying to imagine what a thick Yorkshire accent sounded like.

And by the way? That’s number 16, bitches.

 

basilbookcover

 From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg

I found this book the same day as The Secret Garden. It was one of a pair of books awarded to me by my fifth-grade teacher, for my third-place standing in the class Short Story Olympics. (The winner won romance novels, which I secretly coveted).

Until I sat down with it last month, not once had I read the book, in the 21 years I’ve owned it. Ungrateful little bitch, aren’t I?

So, the story: Eleven-year-old girl thinks life is unfair and boring. Girl takes second-youngest of three brothers (who happens to have a LOT of allowance money saved up) and takes off to New York. But not just anywhere. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. What happens – and who Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is – I won’t say. You (or your child) will just have to read it.

As for what I thought of the book … it is what it is.  And it’s not a terribly long read. But it definitely was something to occupy the time. And it also makes me want to revisit Manhattan and nourish my inner museum geek.

Now, where did I put Hey, That’s My Soul You’re Stomping On?

 

barbookcoverLater, at the Bar, Rebecca Barry

After the previous two books, it was high time to return to some adult fiction. This one, I inherited from a friend’s clothing swap/book exchange in late April.

The book isn’t a book of short stories, as I originally thought, but rather a novel in stories. (The author, Rebecca Barry, herself states in a Q & A at the end of the book, “I am completely intimidated by the mere idea of a novel – the main reason being I’m not very good at plot.”)

That aside, I liked this book, which follows a motley crew of regulars at a local small-town watering hole, at different points in their lives. 

The cast of characters, the salty dialogue, their messed-up lives and how they cope (or don’t) – everything makes this an enjoyable, light read. If Rebecca Barry does complete a novel, as she’s trying to do, I’d love to see how it all turns out.

I was hoping to add a fifth to my list – Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – but I’m still reading it. But I will certainly include it next time. Provided all those parties, dances, barbecques, long weekends and weddings don’t get in my way.

The Pick-Up Cab

“Hello, how are you?” I asked hoarsely, as I wearily lumbered inside the minivan-taxi early Friday morning.

“Good, how are you?” the driver asked in return.

“You know,” he added a moment later, “Nobody ever asks me that.”

“Well,” I replied, “They SHOULD.”

I quickly found out why “they” don’t.

Within two minutes of pulling out of the subway station’s taxi stand, and turning onto the main road, this guy disclosed that he was looking for “a mature woman, yeah …”

And was likely eyeing me in his rearview mirror while I looked out the windshield, oblivious. 

But his random statement said it all.

You have GOT to be kidding me, I thought. I had a horrible cold, was losing my voice, and all I wanted to do was get home and sleep. This guy decided that 2 a.m. in the morning was a good time to make a love connection?

He then proceeded to pepper me with questions. Which I wouldn’t normally mind, except that given his previous statement, these were likely part of the impromptu interview for the position of Mature Woman.

Where do I work? What do I do? When’s my birthday? Where did I go to school? (Oh, yeah? Him, too!) What years did I go there? What kind of music do I like? What kind of movies? Oh, not action so much? So, I like to read, then? 

And as we pulled into my area, he mentioned he’d like to hang out with me and asked me for my number. So I said something along the lines of “I don’t think so.” 

“Okay, so I’ll give you mine instead,” he said. Which was fine by me, ’cause this would make disposal of it very easy.

Of course, my cell had fallen out of my bag onto the seat, so I spent a couple moments fumbling around in the dark for it. And, of course, Mr Taxi Driver decided to take a second shot at getting my number, to which I said, “um, no, that’s okay.”

Luckily I found it – went through the motion of programming it into my phone.  

By the time the van pulled into the driveway (which could not have come fast enough), he’d given me his number and his name, and I’d given him my fake name.

I also noticed, as I paid for the ride, he hadn’t even bothered to turn the meter 0n.

As I said good night, I didn’t escape without one last question:

“How tall are you?”

I cursed my living situation for the umpteenth time as I made my way up the steps and into the house, slamming the door.

My Future?

Whatever he says, PLEASE let me be happy with the outcome, I thought to myself as I rode the elevator down to the ground floor.

“He” was my already-former boss, whom I was meeting with …

For my re-assignment. 

The department of the company where I work is undergoing a complete restructuring and reconfiguration over the next several months, probably more.

The upheaval started last week, when a number of dear colleagues were let go (some of whom, IMHO, unnecessarily so, since their positions still exist).

It continued this week, starting on Monday, with a big announcement about the changes coming down the pipe. (Or at least the ones they were sure they could tell us about.)

Tuesday was Day One of many days to come – when bosses sit down with their employees and tell them that, under the new scheme, their current jobs will soon be defunct, and telling them about their new jobs. Or as much as they COULD tell.

So today was my day. 

And I have to say I was a bit surprised by the outcome. For the moment I was – no, I am – somewhat pleased.

How I was picked for this job, I’ve no bloody idea. But someone wants to give me a shot at this.

I’m still trying to process the discussion and my new role.

I’m certainly going to be doing something completely different.

And I know my new boss, whom I’ve worked for briefly before.

And it’s a clean slate.

I’m sure I’ll be turning it over and over in my mind for the rest of the week.

But when things finally get underway, I have to promise myself to do three things:

Start pulling up my bootstraps and work harder.

Try to find my work inspiring. Or at least make my work work for me.

And REALLY try not to fuck it up.

Pizza, Wine and a Man Named Tony

Friday night following the play (see the previous entry), I walked up Ossington Ave. in the rain, in search of dinner.

My friend suggested Pizzeria Libretto, where she’d gone for a meal earlier that evening.

Entering the front door, I was immediately hit with bright lights and noisy chatter. The place was close to packed.

It took me several minutes to get the attention of one of the wait-staff  to ask about seating. Luckily for me, there was one left – right up at the bar.

So there I was, sandwiched between this borderline-hipster couple to my left and this older man at the end of the bar, to my right.

Somewhere between placing my order and getting my Margherita pizza and fruity spring wine, the older guy strikes up a conversation.

By the end of my meal, I found out more about this newly-minted regular, named Tony …

How he came to become one of the pizzeria’s patrons in the first place. (His friend was being a jerk, so he sent him on his way.) 

What he does for a living. (Works at a hair salon in Yorkville.)

Where he’s originally from (Sicily), and where he used to live in Toronto (near me! near ME!) before living downtown.

And even though I was stuffed, he insisted I try the panna cotta for dessert which – having never eaten it before – I didn’t expect to be so light, or tasty. He even paid, which I didn’t want him to do, but he insisted upon anyway.

I left the restaurant with a full belly and a smile on my face.

Unless I take him up on his offer to one day drop in at his hair salon for some cappuccino and a chat, I probably will never see Tony again.

But for that small period of time, it was nice to meet another good, kind stranger in this busy, sometimes frustrating city … just out for dinner, with no weird turns in conversation signs of craziness.