Book meme…

Via Lightspeedchick, a book meme:

How many books do you read a year?
For the past few years I’ve averaged about 25 per year. I aim to maintain that average.

What is the last book you bought?
Spies by Michael Frayn.

What is the last book you read?
The last book I finished was Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. I’m currently part-way through three books: You Can’t Win by Jack Black, Stories by T.C. Boyle, and Byline Ernest Hemingway edited by William White.

List 5 books that mean a lot to you or that you particularly enjoyed.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
Fall on your Knees by Anne-Marie Macdonald

Who will you pass this on to? (3 bloggers)
I hereby pass this meme on to Alan, Carl, and Miss Vicky!

Breaking up

Spring really is here, as evidenced by the breakup of ice in the St. Lawrence River.

Martine and I took a drive out to Varennes, a small town on the south shore of the river some 25 km from downtown Montreal. We saw that the ice in the river was breaking up nicely and flowing eastward at a pretty good pace.

It’s really something to see. On the one hand it’s just a bunch of ice meandering towards the ocean, but on the other hand it’s a millenia-old annual ritual, complete with plenty of sound as the chunks of ice creak and groan and the water swirls all around them. (Still image here…)

Above is a view towards downtown Montreal from the "tourist wharf" in Varennes. In this slightly larger version you can make out the principal high-rises of downtown, as well as Mont-Royal, St. Joseph’s Oratory, the Olympic Stadium and village, and of course a couple of honking-big electricity pilons crossing the quickly-melting ice in the river.

If all this talk of melting ice isn’t boring enough for you, try this movie. (Quicktime, 42 seconds, 1.2 MB.) (Is it boring, or is it Zen-like?)

Muerto Las Vegas

zzzzz!Celine Dion has lashed out at the audiences for her bombastic shows in Las Vegas, complaining that they keep falling asleep. Whereas she is apparently used to the crowds that come out when she tours — ecstatic fans who get themselves all in a tizzy in the days leading up to showtime — the Las Vegas audiences are primarily made up of jet-lagged, sleep-deprived, and hungover retirees who are trying to pack as much as they can into a Big Vegas Weekend. They buy the tickets on a whim (even though prices range between $87.50 and $225), and pass out during the show.

Celine… what were you expecting? (Apparently nothing — which is half the problem.)