Friday, 29 January 2010

Rating my life

It's been awhile since I did one of these. Saw it over at KeVin's and couldn't resist.

This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 6.5
Mind: 7.8
Body: 6.6
Spirit: 8.8
Friends/Family: 5.3
Love: 2.1
Finance: 6.6
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

I too would have given a higher score to family. And since writing wasn't among the talents I ticked art. As for the love aspect, what can I say? I'll coin the intriguing Facebook romantic status option: It's complicated. :D

Monday, 25 January 2010

Amazon rant

I'm next door at Novel Spaces today. Come join me as I discuss the antics of my favorite store in Amazon Shenanigans.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Of transfixing call girl diaries

I know I'm extremely late to the party and my UK acquaintances will point and hoot at this, but I've only just discovered Belle de Jour, Diary of a London Call Girl. How did I happen on it? By the circuitous route of: reading a Times Online article about Zadie Smith, her father, and British comedy, and following a side link to an article and video clip with the innocuous caption: I Miss the Game - Belle De Jour author misses pride of "doing a job well". It was one of those times when you click a random link out of idle curiosity, or because your attention span is short and getting through the Zadie Smith (or whichever) article is taking more perseverance than you thought it would.

Anyway, I clicked the link, read the article, and discovered that Belle de Jour is the pseudonym which Dr. Brooke Magnanti used to write the online journal about her adventures as a highly paid London call girl. I did a Google search for the blog, naturally, and have been reading through the archives to find out what exactly started the Belle de Jour phenomenon. Because that's what it's become, what with the blog winning a Guardian prize for best-written British blog back in the early days, followed by the book offers, a TV drama, and Dr. Magnanti's coming out from behind the veil of anonymity. There've been follow-up books, of course, and some degree of celebrity for the writer.

So, yes, I've been reading Belle's journal. I've already learned a couple things - no, not those things, you! Things like the name of a shade of nail polish that I suspect is the one I saw on a woman's exquisitely manicured digits a few years ago in Miami and have been searching for - and attempting to replicate myself - since. (Chanel Le Vernis beige, which has been discontinued, but which can still be had via eBay.) I've also discovered additional sources of one of my guilty, secret indulgences: fabulous underwear. The sources tend to be UK-centric, though, which would make shipping charges a bit beyond what I'm willing to, ah, put out.

I've read through about seven months worth of Belle's blog entries and I'm not bored yet. The writing isn't bad - no, that's not true. It's pretty good. Then there's the voyeuristic thrill of the whole thing. But would I buy the books? That's an easy no. Would I read one if it came my way by some other means? I doubt it. There are limits to my appetite for voyeurism. I also have to admit that there are some aspects of the work, and the lady's lifestyle, that make me cringe. I'm not a prude, and I try not to be judgmental, but I'm squeamish about some things. Um, fisting? Threesomes? Oral sex with strangers with no latex in between? That's stretching my comfort zone a bit too far.

When I'm tired of the blog, which should be sometime over the next couple of days, that would be it for me. No further Belle de Jour titillation necessary.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Haiti: How to help

The current disaster in Haiti feels very close to home for two reasons: I live in the Caribbean and Haiti, although not an immediate neighbour, is a neighbour nonetheless. I also met many Haitians during my frequent stays in South Florida. Some became my friends, and several characters in my second novel, which is set in Miami, are reflections of these very real people.

When this type of disaster strikes the worst feeling is the helplessness. So many people want to do something, but aren't sure how to go about it.

MSNBC has posted a list of links to charitable organizations active in Haiti. One of them, Yele Haiti, is the brainchild of Wyclef Jean. You can text Yele to 501501 to donate $5 via your cellphone. Another option for anyone interested in helping immediately is to text HAITI to 90999 and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.