Friday, September 30, 2011

On a Happy Note Posted by Alex Snider

This video of a flash mob of 200 people dancing to the Do Re Mi song from The Sound of Music in a train station in Antwerp never fails to make me smile. I just love the reactions of all the on-lookers. How amazing would it have been to witness this on your way into work one morning? SO AMAZING!

Friday Fiction: Takin' Names and Bannin' Books by Alex Snider

This week is Banned Books Week, (as opposed to Book Banning Week which spans the rest of the year), which celebrates and raises awareness of persecuted writers, banned books and the freedom to read. There are so many books that remain banned in the world today, so many authors who are imprisoned, exiled or otherwise persecuted for their writings.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Impress Your Friends With These Classical Greek Words by Alex Snider

Hubris -- Excessive arrogance or pride. Usually leads to bad shit going down.

Katabasis -- Journey to the underworld. A return trip. Sorry Eurydice :(

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Domestic Violence as Nature's Fidelity? No Fucking Way by Alex Snider

SO MUCH RAGE and sadness. Thanks Twitter, for bringing me such news as: "Ten Percent of D.C. 8th Graders Have Considered, Attempted Suicide" and "Roman Polanski honoured at Zurich film fest" and apparently Nancy Grace had some kind of nipple slip? On Dancing With the Stars? Apparently Nancy Grace is on Dancing With the Stars? Why humanity? Why are we so terrible? And then there was this solid little gem brought to my feed by New Scientist: "This is going to be controversial: Domestic violence gets an evolutionary explanation" with a link to this article which sure enough denotes how one psychology professor believes male on female partner violence can be explained away by evolution. That shaking below your feet? That was Darwin rolling over in his grave. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shit Doctors Have Told Me by Alex Snider

Yesterday I wrote part one of my migraine saga, where I touched briefly on the fact that I've had some pretty terrible doctors. Sure it sucks having bad doctors, it means I have to fight really hard for care and to be taken seriously. It means I have to spend a lot of time outside of clinic's in tears on the phone with my mum, frustrated by another unhelpful appointment. It means I've spent almost 1,200 days with migraines, without relief. But, the good thing is that I have lots of amazing stories and one-liners that I don't feel at all weird about sharing on the Internet where they can be read by anyone, forever! (I feel a little weird but they're pretty funny!) (Some aren't very funny.)

Book Covers: Birds by Alex Snider

Monday, September 26, 2011

Migraines and Me: Part One by Alex Snider

These are the things I know about migraines:

I've been getting them since I was 12. So... 16 years. Yep.

Usually I get at least three a month, sometimes more and they last 2-3 days. That works out to more than 1,152 days of migrainey fun. Note: It's not fun.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I canoe, canoe? by Rebekah Hakkenberg

A 2 1/2 hour paddle in? No problem! (Don't ask us about the paddle out...)

Good News, Everyone! by Alex Snider

We can be found so many other places on the interwebs aside from here, where you are right now. Rebekah's got her Tumblr (which is just so beautiful and amazing -- I go there when I'm feeling particularly stressed out because all the prettiness just calms me right the frakk down) and her Flickr (why the hate for the e, Internet?), we've each got Pinterest (mine is mostly just repinning Rebekah's stuff because again, she's got the skillz for finding pretty things), there's Twitter (@grebnekkah and @what_freshhell), Facebook (Alex and Rebekah Like This!) and now... a Tumblr for just our book stuff! Hurray for book stuff! It's been long dormant but I'm going to start Tumbling again (heh) and adding to it. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Car Horns: A Bitter Rant by Alex Snider

Rebekah and I live at a very busy intersection of two major streets in downtown Toronto. Really busy. And literally right at that intersection, well, three doors down from the lights.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Real Talk: The Raccoon Stole My Wallet! by Alex Snider

Living in downtown Toronto, you'd be pretty hard-pressed not to have a raccoon story or five. We have friends who have been bitten, who have found them in their bathrooms and kitchens, we've heard stories of dead raccoons showing up on the same front porch several nights in a row, friends who's drunk-routine was petting their tails (did you know they can't turn around when they're climbing?). SO MANY RACCOON STORIES. They are everywhere. We used to have Ol' Patches who moved like an animatronic-dinosaur across the power lines in our old backyard every dusk -- a scruffy old guy who had clearly seen a few too many scuffles. But, the best of all the raccoon stories I've ever heard is the one where our friend Carolyn's wallet was stolen. BY A RACCOON.

"I Was a Dangerous Girl" Posted by Alex Snider

I cannot get enough of this song or video. Or of Lana Del Rey in general. My baby music-nerd card can be revoked now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

40 Comments on the Series Premier of 'New Girl' by Alex Snider

Definite spoilers ahead. 
  1. Ok, so Zooey Deschanel is dorky! And motions emphatically!

Book Covers: '80's Vintage Contemporaries by Alex Snider

Random House's division of Vintage has long been one of my favourite publishers, one that I feel most guaranteed a good read from and in the 80's they reissued a number of novels and short story collections under the name Vintage Contemporaries with pretty terrible covers with distinctly '80's pictures and really cool type by Stephanie Bart-Horvath. Fantastic books, but kinda ugly. So ugly, I kinda like them. By kinda like them I mean I get super excited when I see the signature 1980's block print and Vintage stamp.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Facebook Status Poetry by Rebekah Hakkenberg

bears will be standing around, disappointed but not altogether surprised. outside i look lived in//like bones in a walking in rain and wishing on the stars up above and being so in love.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Save the Port Lands by Alex Snider

Wow, Rob Ford and his cronies have been keeping us on our toes, huh? Grassroots activism geared towards saving libraries, the Riverdale farm, subsidized housing and bike lanes (to name a few). All nighters at City Hall where citizens had the chance of voicing their opinions about all the proposed cuts. Nearly every weekend offering an opportunity to get out and protest the blatant disregard and disrespect for democracy which our mayor has displayed over and over again, to call out the political thuggery that has taken hold of city council.

In Other News I Also Love Cats by Alex Snider

"The people who must never have power are the humourless." Christopher Hitchens

Where does that leave women, who according to Hitch, just aren't funny?


Thursday, September 15, 2011

My First Time Posted by Alex Snider

I was awed, moved, excited, shaken and couldn't imagine why I hadn't done it years ago. How did you feel the first time you watched Barton Fink?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's Your Orgasmability? by Alex Snider

This is a lol-worthy article from New Scientist: Mystery of the female orgasm deepens (pun intended?). Not so much the article itself but the fact that "(a)fter 40 years of debate evolutionary biologists are no closer to deciding whether it evolved to give women a reproductive boost, or whether it is simply a by-product of male orgasm evolution". 

Friday Fiction: Ancient Texts, Modern Retellings by Alex Snider

Poor Pentheus: Getting torn apart by his Bacchus-mad mama and auntie
(mythological ladies, be buggin' 'cept for Penelope) 
There are a lot of genres out there. A lot of sub-genres. Too many some would argue. I don't know where I stand on that, or why I even wrote it but I did so let's just move on. One sub-genre of literary fiction is parallel fiction: where one author takes a character, scene, or remnant from a previous work and writes a new work around that element. Think of it like a music cover but for books. Sort of. There are good examples (the list below), bad examples (the garbage spewing forth from the gutter outside of publishing houses mashing up monsters and Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ect.); parallel fiction taken from loooooong ago written work (the list below) and from books written by authors of whom we have photos of (March by Geraldine Brooks = Little Women, Wide Sargossa Sea by Jean Rhys = Jane Eyre, The Hours by Michael Cunningham = Mrs Dalloway). Done right, it can be a thing of beauty, shed new light on an old story and refresh interest in the original work. The following are novels that have been built on ancient texts and mythologies, from Homer to the Bible by some of our favourite authors here at What Fresh Hell:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Loss of the Living by Alex Snider

Loss is a curious thing. Loss of someone who is alive is a curious thing. It curls like smoke in your belly, hovering there out of sight, sometimes even out of mind, constricting appetite. It's not a physical wound yet can blind with a flash when the pain washes back over with a familiar scent or a sound. A pain that will pierce between the eyes, or in the back of the throat. Sometimes striking paralysis, leaving the mouth agape and chest motionless, no need for breath for 30 seconds, a minute. You marvel that you ever felt anything other than the dull ache of grief, that you ever felt anything at all; you know you never will again -- that hurt will be carried with you forever, a river of scars unseen by the naked eye -- defining your past, informing your future.

Book Covers: Lips by Alex Snider

I love book covers, the really good and the really bad (*cough* Vintage books from the 80's). This is a new feature honouring book covers. This week: book covers featuring luscious lips. Enough said? Enough said.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best Person of the Day, Possibly Week Posted by Alex Snider

This is amazing! Go read it right now! Now! Why are you still here? Go! I think I'm in love.

Blogs You Should Be Reading by Alex Snider

Black Coffee Poet run by Jorge Antonio Vallejos

Reasons why you should be reading:

A Headline is Worth a Thousand Words by Alex Snider

You can really tell a lot from each of these paper's headlines regarding Harper's recent Islamicism-is-killing-Canada fear-mongering interview and where they stand in the political spectrum/allegiances (not that there are any surprises to be had).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Terrible Book Blurb of the Day Posted by Alex Snider

Just stay in the background, Joyce, supporting your 'artist mate'
From Minor Characters, Joyce Johnson's memoir of the years 1957-1959 when she dated Jack Kerouac and was enmeshed in the world of the Beats:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

By the Time You Read This... Posted by Alex Snider

... We'll be camping! Have a good weekend everyone! Enjoy this video which I'm pretty sure was made for me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Girl and Her Cake by Alex Snider

This is a photo taken of me on my forth birthday, exactly twenty-four years ago. I'm blowing out the candles on my cake, the chocolate cake that my grandma Mary, my dad's mum, made for every birthday and special occasion. My grandparents would arrive with the cake on it's special cake-stand with the tin lid, decorated with mistletoes, and my siblings and I would squirm all through dinner in anticipation for the dense, moist chocolate cake we knew was coming.

List of People Born On This Day by Alex Snider

Lennox Lewis

Keannu Reeves

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"You Survived Where Other Women Died": Masika's 'Field of Hope' by Alex Snider

Wow, wow, *deep breath* wow, I watched an incredible documentary today, Field of Hope, on the English Al Jazeera site about a Congolese rape survivor who has a home for other survivors of rape, their chilren (often by rape) and children orphaned by rebel fighting. From Al Jazeera