Friday, September 22, 2017

First Day of Autumn: Thoughts and Quotations

Today is the first day of autumn.  I revel in the season and the beautiful fall foliage.  For me, the delights of fall include the crisp autumn air, Canadian Thanksgiving, the World Series, the beginning of the hockey season, the pungent aroma of pumpkins and the shiny orange Harvest Moon.  Autumn, however, is bittersweet.  The trees will soon be bare and year's death is approaching. Such are the rhythms of life.

Here are some thoughts on the day of the autumn equinox:

Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life.

Essentially, autumn is the quiet completion of spring and summer. Spring was all eagerness and beginnings, summer was growth and flowering. Autumn is the achievement summarized, the harvested grain, the ripened apple, the grape in the wine press. Autumn is the bright leaf in the woodland, the opened husk on the bittersweet berry, the fruit of asters at the roadside. 

Another equinox occurs, and by those charts and markers we use to divide time and measure our lives, today is autumn.  For a little while now, days and nights will be almost equal, dawn to dusk, dusk to dawn, and the sun will rise and set almost true east and west.  Then it will be October, tenth month of our twelve-month year, and moving toward the winter solstice.  

So much for the arbitrary boundaries, which are for the almanacs and the record books., even less imperative than the figures on a sundial.  The autumn with which we live is as variable as the wind, the weather, the land itself.  Its schedule is that of the woodland trees, the wild grasses, the migrant birds. 

- Hal Borland (1900-1978), American author, journalist and naturalist

"I'm dreading fall.  It is a terrifying season," he says . . . "Everything shriveling up and dying."  I don't know how to answer.  Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty; as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.  I've never thought to be frightened of it.

- Lauren DeStefano (1984- ), American author
From Wither (The Chemical Garden. Book 1) [2011]

You expected to be sad in the fall.  Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and cold, wintry light.  But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.  when the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), American author
From A Moveable Feast

Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.

- J.K. Rawling (1965- ), British author
From Harry Potter adn the Deathly Hallows

- Joanne

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Notes From a Film Lover

I am, and have always been, an unabashed movie fan.  The city of Toronto, where I live, is a great locale for film buffs.  Right now, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is underway.  TIFF is one of the largest publicly attended festivals on the planet.  It was founded in 1976 as "The Festival of Festivals," at time when Hollywood studios shunned North American festivals. Since then, TIFF has morphed into one of the world's greatest celebrations of film and filmmaking, attracting movie fans and film stars from around the globe.

Toronto is a wonderful place for documentary lovers too and it is home to the Rogers Hot Doc Cienema.  The Hot Doc Festival takes place in late April and early May at various theatres in the city, including, of course, the Rogers Hot Doc.

Often times, I lament the demise of the traditional movie theatres in my hometown.  To me, the majestic old theatres were the best.  However, the days of beautiful decor and grand balconies are long gone.  Very few have survived in Toronto and some have been turned into "Pottery Barns" and pharmacies ("Shoppers Drug Mart").  It pains me to think what has happened to those magnificent cinemas but there is no going back.

For years, theatre companies, especial Cineplex/Odeon, have been showing multiple films at once because they want to make as much profit as possible.  Cineplex is much too corporate for my taste. I resent having to sit through a half hour of mostly commercials before the main feature begins.  I wish I could watch a cartoon or a movie short instead.

There often isn't much choice but to view the ads, particularly on a busy Saturday night.  If you don't settle into your seats early, there may only be single seats in the front rows left by the time the "preshow" ends and the actual movie begins.

As for Cineplex's fancy VIP theatres with food and wine served to your seats, I could do without that. Popcorn is good enough for me.  I prefer to dine at a restaurant.  Unfortunately, though, the prices at Cineplex concession standards are outrageously exorbitant.  I call it highway robbery. You pay twice as much as for the same items at a convenience store.

One thing I really like about Cineplex, however, is the stadium seating.  I am small and I dread having a tall person sit in front of me at other theatres.  For taller people, there is lots of space and leg room at Cineplexes.

Anyway, in these times of Trump, climate change and  hurricanes, we are in dire need of some harmless escapism and a distraction.  So, pass the popcorn, please.  The next feature is about to begin.

- Joanne

Saturday, September 2, 2017

How To Help Your Child Learn To Read

Do you want to foster a good learning environment for your children?  Here is a very informative infographic on helping children to read.  It provides tips on the best ways for children to learn.  It also explains reading problems that they encounter (dyslexia, ADHD etc.) and recommends children's books .  I hope you find it helpful and that it provides you with some insight.

- Joanne

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Movies That Make You Feel Claustrophobic

The following infographic describes films that make you feel claustrophobic.  It contains some fascinating facts and quotes related to the films, which are also rated according to their claustrophobic factor.  This infographic is fun and entertaining, especially for movie buffs.  I hope, however, that you find it enjoyable and informative, whether you are a film fan or not.

- Joanne


Movies That Make You Feel Claustrophobic by Storage Centres.