Monday, August 28, 2006

31 day challenge, wine for wild boar & audio-visual distractions

Many have asked how I am doing on my 31 day challenge. Pretty crap, if truth be told. I am currently stuck on Chapter Six which will be henceforth referred to as “Hell Chapter” since the more I edit it, the longer it gets and the more difficult it becomes to rewrite. On Sunday I locked myself in the bedroom, and reread the chapter, then rewrote a page, but found it so hard going that I soon found myself looking around for anything else to read within reach. With a battle of wills, I forced myself back to editing, and succeeded in rewriting another 2 and a half pages before I fell asleep over the pages for two hours. But hey, I’m editing on Sunday.

However, the reading project is going so well, and the editing so poorly that I may have to make this a 100 day challenge. I have read Expendable by James Allen Gardner, recommended to me by fencer/pilot Wendryn. We have amazingly similar tastes as this was one of only two books her first list that I hadn’t already read. I had forgotten the opiate intellectual rush of a book with which you just “click”, and Expendable is my first in a long time. It is a story narrated by a woman with a facial blemish in a society where everyone is medically corrected except for a certain few, who are herded into the intergalactic explorer core, where they usually end up on a planet where their voice recording ends “Oh Shit!” But because they are different, and ugly, no one really cares too much; they are expendable.

I have also been reading Thunder and Light by Marie-Claire Blaise and from Dawn to Decadance by Jacques Barzun as recommended to me by Doctor Slack. I am not having as much fun with them as Thunder and Light is almost all description, as one characters says of another’s writing, “Adrien had criticized his style as too slow and verbose.” And Jacques Barzun is a writer who spends the first ten pages telling us that while OTHER (read lesser) historians may say X or Y, it is REALLY V or W because I, Jacques Barzun am so much more brilliant and right than others. Then he proceeds to vilify those he doesn’t want us to like with one line anecdotes while taking pages and pages to explain those who have been “misunderstood.” Of course, anyone who sets themselves up that way to begin with gives me the Don Quixote complex and it’s not long before I’m screaming “Charge” and galloping toward windmills. But they challenging are my perspective, which is what I asked, so, all is going according to plan, bwahahaha!

Last week Linda and I watched the DVD documentary Mondovino, about how the merchandising of wine and dominant wine reviewers like Robert Parker (whose reviews reach magazines as diverse as Business Week) are creating mega owners and consultants who, in search of high ratings and sales, are making wine taste the same worldwide. Countering this, Linda and I were trying to find a dish in order to open our De Martino Legada Reserva 2004 from Chile. We have three bottles of it and it is part of the 200 bottles of red wine we brought with us from the UK, where wine is relatively inexpensive, to Canada, where wine is unbelievably expensive and is made by people in giant vats over 45 days (as “make your own” is cheaper than buying). The De Martino Legada stumped us last week, when we were going to open it, as it kindly suggested on the back that it goes well with “wild boar and cheeses.” I assume wild boar is more common in Chile, or that the person writing the suggestions was heavy into the red wine. Instead we opened it this weekend with spicy fajitas made with chicken marinated in lime and later we served it again with a cheese we picked up at the Xmas fair in Venice Italy last year. It seemed to do the trick; and we contented ourselves that we did not have one of the uniform or “bland” wines condemned in Mondovino; it also had sediment.

On Sunday we watched the German film, Regular Guys which is a situation romantic comedy with strong gay themes. It was well made and very funny as our male police officer hero gets dumped by his fiancĂ©e, followed by his clothes and car getting stolen and at the end of a drinking self-pity binge, ends up in a gay bar and waking up the next morning in the bed with what even I can admit is a gorgeous guy, who then offers to let him stay. Of course, enter the mother, the previous boyfriend, the other cop friends and all sorts of situations. I do have to say though, if you are a straight guy staying with a well known gay guy who is desperately in love with you, stop taking so many showers and opening the door dressed only in a towel (repeatedly). One favorite scene involves a female coworker who has a crush on the straight police officer, who after finding out he is the gorgeous guy’s new boyfriend (a little misunderstanding) refuses to get out of the town’s public fountain as she gets drunk on champagne.

I also watched the entire TV series Surface, which just came out on DVD (remember I tend to watch at 4 times speed or faster reading subtitles – so it only took a few hours). I give it 8.5 out of 10 as it had good gripping episodes with fairly likable underdog characters. The series also doled out the answers to mysteries on a regular basis (more in 15 episodes than the X-files managed in 10 seasons) and had good CGI work. Of course any series with has continuous ongoing disasters which threaten to wipe out large amounts of humans is only going to be a plus for me. I would definitely pick this up for $25-28, which it should be in about a week on

And for the first time in almost a year, I am really looking forward to a film. I just this morning saw the trailer to The Prestige (click on the trailer size to download) and if the film is half as good as the trailer, I am already getting stimulated (intellectually, okay, intellectually). By the same director as Batman Begins, with magicians, evil magicians, occulty stuff and Michael Caine there is so much to get excited about!

As for me, I am back to rewriting. So when you are sipping your latte, or sitting staring out the window, just remember me, slumped drooling over Hell Chapter, which I will finish...before it finishes me!


funchilde said...

this post made me smile. sorry you are "rastlin'" with "hell chapter" but i guess if it was easy you'd probably have ditched the whole enterprise long ago. i am glad to hear you are enjoying your reading. i am reading "what every american should know about the rest of the world" and it is really one of the best "learn something" books i've ever read and it was written by a woman!

Sober @ Sundown said...

Try this: Sit down comfortably, close your eyes, and replay the scenes of chapter 6 from the end to the beginning. Once you get to the beginning, start at the end and do it again. Do it three times, and see how you feel about chapter 6.

I can't imagine watching a series at 4 times the speed. I watch TV to zone out, and slow down, relax so I can fall asleep......

Yoga Korunta said...

Elizabeth, I'll remember you!

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

I love to write little bitty short stories. That way I can always see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even though novels are where the big bucks are(Ha!).
I hate what's happened to the wine industry worldwide. Everything tastes like cheap Gallo now.
I'm ordering Regular Guys.
Oh, and don't feel badly. I almost got a stiffy looking at a nude picture of Farrah Fawcett. But only almost. Go figure.

Wiccachicky said... is expensive in Canada huh? That could be a deal breaker on my plan to retire in Canada. lol. :)