Sunday, April 25, 2004

Just how smart are those pants?

Helena's a genius. I spent a couple hours yesterday filling out forms, calculating our income tax. The calculator goes missing from the edge of the table — Helena is the obvious culprit. J-F and I both search high and low — well, low. J-F finally just asks her, "Where did you put the calculator?" and he punches some numbers into his hand. Helena immediately toddles through the kitchen, sits herself down in the cupboard under the kitchen sink, and points behind the cat food. And there it is. Coincidence?

Words we've heard her say (some of them not very often, but I'm counting them anyway):
bibi = baby
bay = bagel
ba = ball
bam = bam (boom)
ban = banana
be = bear
bye = bye
ca = car
coco = cocotte (acorn, French; J-F's term of endearment for her)
do = dog
googligoogligoogli = cookie
Helena = Helena
hiye = hi
kookoo = kookoo (peekaboo)
llllle = lait (milk, French)
lala = lala (doll, Polish)
la = le chat (cat, French; don't ask how it turned out that way)
mama = mama
ne = nie (no, Polish)
no = nose
ohno = oh no!
papa = papa
pahta = pasta
pen = pen
piht = pita
teh = tĂȘte (head, French)
toy = toy
to = toast
water = water
whassat = what's that
wow = wow

We've had a great weekend, and I'm sure the reason for this is the fabulous haircut I got on Friday. Nothing else can explain how great I feel.

I was flipping channels yesterday and what do I see? Roger Daltrey doing an infomercial. How sad it that?! Hope I die before I get old — my ass! Does he need the money? Does he so strongly believe the world needs to know about The Legends of Rock 'n' Roll cd set?

We watched Cold Creek Manor last night. It was awful. I have nothing to say about the movie itself, but:

I hate hearing people say the city is no place to raise children. (That's essentially what the opening scenes tell us. I guess they felt the need to explain to us why they were moving out to the country, which is just silly. Besides, some really bad shit happened to them out there, much worse than could transpire in an urban setting.)

Who designs DVD menus? Do they not realize how very much more user-friendly they could be? The problem is always worst with language set-up — one never knows what the current setting is. It seems to me that it's only very recently than menu designers have caught on a little and are highlighting selections more obviously.

Then there's the scenes. Is it the director who divvies them up this way? The average viewer does not care about the cinematographic continuity blah blah film scene. I just want to be able to find my spot after running out to pick up beer or to figure out the next morning at what point I fell asleep. The more scenes the better. Less than 20 (this one had 13, one of which was credits) is inconsiderate.

There's a profile online of Mimi Smartypants and her new book. It doesn't add anything to what I already know from reading her own blog, except to tell us that Smartypants is not her real name. Another illusion shattered. But she's so funny.

I finished reading The Book of Illusions (book 12 for the year), by Paul Auster. I did not enjoy it as much as some of his other work. I'll leave it at that — for the moment, I'm all Austered out.

A lot of bloggers have been listing their top 10 books, and it's hard to resist doing the same. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to compose such a list. I keep scanning my shelves, remembering plots, hoping to be struck by a particular work's "masterpiece-ness." Some of them are not "great" books, but they're among my favourites.

1. Babel Tower, AS Byatt
2. Cosmicomics, Italo Calvino
3. Diaries, Witold Gombrowicz
4. The Master of Go, Yasunari Kawabata
5. The Good Terrorist, Doris Lessing
6. The First Century After Beatrice, Amin Maalouf
7. All the Names, Jose Saramago; but maybe Blindness
8. The Razor's Edge, W Somerset Maugham
9. We, Eugene Zamiatin

Number 10 is a toss-up. Even the first 9 I could split into "outstandingly superior great works of art" and "really, really, really good books."

Number 10: Pilgrim, Timothy Findley? The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov? Dictionary of the Khazars, Milorad Pavic? Atwood? There should be some Atwood. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding?
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