Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life's Too Damn Short

Muffin Top
Originally uploaded by NoT Photography
This weekend, I spent a good deal of my time shaking my head at the universe and saying over and over to myself that, well, life's just too damn short for (insert appropriate caveat HERE).

Here are just a few things that I was able to come up with in 10 minutes:

- cold tea
- whiners
-stale chips
-mealy fruit
- muffin top
- lazy people
- shitty books
- pointless movies
- shoes that don't fit correctly
- idiot Prime Ministers
- deliveries that don't arrive when they say they will
- reruns
- worrying about things you can't control
- coffee tables you can't put your feet on
- jumping to conclusions
- root canal

Anything to add?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Albert Einstein
Originally uploaded by ThomasThomas
Today, is the official first launch day for the new version of iPhone. Am I bitter that it launched just shy of the 2-month purchase mark of my iPhone? 'Course not. (P.S. F**ck you, Steve Joby-Jobs....)

Anyhoo, by far, the best feature on my iPhone is the "Genius" feature that's baked in to the iPod. What is Genius, you say? Here's how it works (the following words are Apple's...not mine):

Say you have one song you really love and want to hear other tracks that go great with it. A few clicks on iPod nano, and Genius uses that song to find other songs in your library and makes a Genius playlist for you. You can listen to the playlist right away, save it for later, or even refresh and give it another go.

It's like being given an excellent mixed tape at every touch.

Watch. I'll do it now. At random. I just pressed "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) by The Arcade Fire (a personal favorite song of mine, BTW) and here's just the first five songs (of a possible 25) that came up;

White Winter Hymanal - Fleet Foxes
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - Radiohead
My Moon my Man - Feist
Pizza Catcher, New York - Belle and Sebastian
Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie

Awesome, right? Do this. Now. Go. Make haste. Your music library needs to be listened to in a new way. Stop playing Fleetwood Mac, Rumours over and over again. K? Fanx.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sex Ed - Benoit Style

Sex Ed - Sixties style
Originally uploaded by painter girl
My son was home this week with a sore throat and to pass the time, we watched a few pointless shows on the Sundance Channel. ( Hell, it's dedicated to independent film, was my thinking, it's got to have more interesting programming than TeleToons, non?)

In between shows, the channel has programmed bumpers - little independent features - that are often hilarious and very innovative in their format. One of them is a series called, Green Porno. Hosted by its creator, the beautiful and talented Isabella Rossellini, the premise of these shorts is to show the bizarre mating rituals of various insects and animals. And here's the kicker: Rossellini, herself, stars. In costume. As an insect. The costumes are fantastic, the sets are hodge-podge-y and strangely fabulous and the dialogue? Well, let's just say that you have not lived until you've heard Madama Rossellini say, "And now....We are sequential hermaphrodites!" Awe. Some.

I did, however, have to don the the parenting hair shirt shortly thereafter, though.....

Benoit: Mom, what's a porno?
Me (trying not to puke and scream AND stay calm, all at the same time :
It's a movie, with very little plot, whose sole purpose is to show people having sex with each other.
Benoit: (aghast) Eeeeew! (pause) I don't mind watching these insects do sex, though.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Road Trip Time Lapse
Originally uploaded by Neil Dorgan
When I was a kid, my parents would take my sister and I on road trips. To pass the time, we would play a game that we came to call, Who Am I? The object of the game was simple: you had a person, place or thing in your mind and it was the goal of those playing to ask the proper questions in order to reveal the answer. With the right sort of questions, the game would be over in few short minutes. The wrong sort of questions, though, could lead you down a perilous path and you could be guessing for hours. The game kept us amused, made every trip seem shorter than it was and most importantly, gave us the opportunity, as a family, to be playful with one another, something a lot of kids my age didn’t get the chance to do with their parents.

I have wondered, often, why my mother had us play that game so many years ago. Partially, I believe, it was to pass the time but mostly, it was to keep us from doing what alot kids will do when they are forced into a confined space: get in fights and start poking fingers at each other over the smallest of perceived slights.

This week, my immediate family found itself in a similar spot. No, not forced into the backseat of a brown Pontiac Perisienne that reeked of bologna on white, but forced to redefine itself in the face of a difficult circumstance. My Nana - matriarch of a strong family, player of cribbage, lover of the Blue Jays, love of all jokes practical and all-round saint - died after a long and fruitful life.

Her death shook us all to the core.

But instead of pointing fingers and railing at the universe, we made a decision, one similar to the one my parents made each and every time we got into that car and headed out on a long journey. We decided to play, Who am I, and define who we were as a family.

And guess what?

My name is Laura Francis. I am a member of the mighty Robinson clan. And it is my honour.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stuck in a Loop

Yesterday, I was catching up on the news when I read that writer James Fogle had been arrested. Again. Mr. Fogle is probably best known for his novel, Drugstore Cowboy, which was also made into a tremendously good movie starring Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch. Based on his experiences as junkie in the Pacific Northwest, the story chronicles a fumbling band of thieves and addicts who roamed the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s stealing drugs and money from pharmacies. Fogle was in prison when the critically acclaimed film was released in 1989. He was also on a brief stint in the big house when the book was released.

Writers are strange characters. As a writer, it is difficult not to become very personally acquainted with rejection which is perhaps why many develop such a thick hide, anything to overcome the loneliness and rejection that is so closely associated with the profession. I've met writers who are compulsive organizers, drinkers, gamblers, womanizers. Some have lives that are so boring that they are drawn towards their secret worlds as a refuge. Who am I talking about here, I wonder?

But Dude, really? Knocking off drugstores? At your age? What up?! I've been stuck in a loop, too, but this is ridiculous!

I want to suggest to all of you - writers or no- who are doing the same thing over and over and over and unable to unstick the needle from the record to do the following: Change. Things. Up. Go for a bike ride. Walk in the rain. Walk backwards for a mile while singing a Rogers and Hammerstein tune. But try to change. Embrace it, even. You'll be amazed at how freeing it can be.