Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

Christmas is finally over--let the shopping mayhem begin!

With that in mind, here's a little bit of Bowie to soothe the soul:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ooh, ooh, ooh, before midnight hits....


I don't normally do Internet blog memes, but it's Christmas and I'm home alone--not quite in the Macaulay Culkin way, but I'm working on booby trapping the whole house just for kicks.

Every paying employment I've had thus far in life:

1. Vienna Sausages at the CNE food building. I was 15 and it was my first job, slinging wieners and veal schnitzel while soaked up to my elbows in sauerkraut. The cash till never had enough pennies.

2. Shawarma's King, Eaton Centre. My first mall job, and the start of my journey up the echelons of the EC levels. I didn't even know what a shawarma was when I started working here. Hell, I couldn't tell you where Lebanon was. (Still can't). I worked weekends for a whole year while in high school. Middle Eastern cuisine is now a staple in my fast food diet.

3. Foot Locker, Eaton Centre. I met the manager while she was getting a chicken shawarma sandwich. She invited me to drop off a resume. I did. I got the job. It was my first foray into retail and a terrifying two-year eye opener as one of the youngest and most innocent and unworldly (read: naive) workers at the tender age of 16. I credit my ability to swear out loud to the fine people at FL.

4. The Gap, Eaton Centre. It was only a three-month stint, but some of the nicest retail jockeys I ever met worked there. I got a tonne of goodbye cards when I left. I also spent more than half my cumulative paycheck on clothes "for work." I used to be a size 2 when I worked there. Now, not so much.

5. Indigo, Eaton Centre. By this point, I'd worked on EVERY GODDAMNED LEVEL OF THE EATON CENTRE, and was ecstatic there was a fancy-schmancy booktarium opening up. A month after it opened, I met John, right in the magazine section by the big sale table I was reorganizing. I do believe it was love at first sight. Best moment: reshelving the sex books with John for two hours. Eight years later, his ring is on my finger. I might add, he proposed to me outside of the food building at the CNE. (Full circle yay!)

6. Kumon Math and English. A friend asked me to fill in for her as a tutor, so I went and dealt with snot-nosed brats who often pointed out my sharp tooth (my left incisor is crooked and turned sideways so it looks like a fang.) I told the kids, "All the better to eat you with, my dear." I lasted all of three months.

7. Men's Divorce Clinic. Another friend asked if I was interested, and I was. But I didn't wake up in time for the interview--damn alarm clock had the volume turned down. This probably should have been a hint from the Divine Ones that it wasn't meant to be. I didn't get the position I applied for, but they did ask me to do some research for them. It was boring and tedious and I wasn't happy. I left a few months into it.

8. The Merril Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy. A friend got me in to work as a page at this fabulous closed stacks collection. It remains one of my fave places I ever worked, second only to my current job. I have, in fact, touched a book signed by Aldous Huxley, a first edition (or was it second?) of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and seen and read some awesome work. Best memory: meeting Neil Gaiman, who read from American Gods and was a terrific speaker.

9. Post CityMagazines. My first real full-time job out of school. I worked as a Sales Coordinator and eventually moved into production and being the boss's gopher. I bought him camping plates and pilgrim hats at his request. Regardless of the mind-boggling tasks I was assigned, I learned a whole lot, made some wonderful friends and developed love-hate relationships with the whole business. Especially the boss. *Shakes my fist at Lorne in case he's reading this*

10. IT World Canada. This job was balls. It killed my spirit and sank me into a deep depression from which I didn't emerge for months. But I did learn a lot. And my manager was the most fantastic, caring lady I have ever known.

11. Freelancing for iBegin Toronto. This Internet directory needed people to fill in reviews. It was just a way to earn some grocery money while I was in between jobs.

12. Harlequin Enterprises. I have arrived. I love my job. I love the company. I wake up eager to get to my desk every day. I never stop marveling at what I get paid to do--i.e. sit around and read and edit romance novels all day. I've been inspired to pursue my own writing career through this company. One day, I might actually be able to add "award-winning novelist" to this list....

I tag Danielle and Alex. Because I don't read that many other blogs.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reading for a snowed-in day

Manga + Bookish Secretary + Sexy Mysterious Demanding Boss + Vampires = THIS.

Thanks to Smart Bitches for posting the link. Happy reading!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Best way to shake the ol' Avatar Withdrawal Syndrome!

If you haven't seen the other episodes, they're here and here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Attention Consumers: Love is now as disposable as your cell phone!

Why does the end of this commercial make me want to duck my head?

Now you, too, can purchase love and dispose of it as easily as you do your cell phone. 'Cause, let's face it, the way your relationships have been going, a 3-year contract is about the maximum you can deal with before you decide to trade up for a nicer model.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ten freelance editors needed at Harlequin

People often ask me how they get into the publishing world. Well, if you have 5-7 years of experience editing and live in the Greater Toronto Area, here's your chance.


Freelance Line Editors (x 10)
Harlequin Enterprises

Location: work from home in the GTA, Ontario
Posted: November 6, 2008
Deadline: January 6, 2009

Here's your opportunity to edit manuscripts for a leading global publisher of women's fiction….and work from home!

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the most successful publishers of women's fiction, with titles issued worldwide in 29 languages and sold in 107 countries. We offer women a broad range of reading experiences from romance to psychological thrillers to relationship novels.

We are seeking 10 skilled freelance line editors for occasional work.


* 5-7 years’ trade publishing experience
* ability to edit across all narrative genres—from series romance to mainstream fiction
* knowledgeable in onscreen editing using Track Changes in Word
* applicants should reside in the Greater Toronto area due to the quick turnaround nature of the material

No phone calls please; only applicants who meet our qualifications will be contacted.

Interested editors with the requisite background should e-mail their résumé and references to:

N.B. Please include Freelance line editor in the subject line and state in your cover note that you found this job on Jeff Gaulin's Journalism Job Board.

Freelance Line Editor
Harlequin Enterprises

Web address:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Live-action "The Last Airbender" principals cast

So they cast all white actors for the principle actors in The Last Airbender. Fans are freaking out about this for reasons I can't quite fathom.

C'mon, this is Hollywood! Did you really think they were going to cast an all-Asian cast just because the Avatar world is based on Eastern cultures? I'm not surprised, really.

Here's the thing: As soon as the hero protagonist is cast with an Asian, the movie becomes a "kung-fu" movie. Arguably, there will be a lot of "bending" forms and martial arts involved in Avatar. But from a business standpoint, this risky venture in yet another kids' fantasy remake needs as broad a base of viewers as possible. Why do you think Dragonball's been cast the way it has?

That's the nature of North American cinema--producers believe, rightly or wrongly, that the target audience is determined by who the audience members can identify with in the cast. And the largest market in America is--surprise, surprise--white middle class Americans.

Here's some damn good reading about racism and casting in Hollywood from a legal standpoint. A quote:

Unless the appearance of race is central to the authenticity of a role, such as when the story line actually requires an interracial couple of particular races, studio executives, producers, directors, agents, and casting directors should not be permitted to exclude from casting a particular class of actors of a certain race, even when those decisions are based on economic considerations—specifically, customer preferences.

I personally have no problem with the choices thus far, only because I've never seen any of these kids' performances. If we get anything close to the beauty and storytelling, along with some pretty special effects and decent acting, I'll be happy.

And now, because you're all wondering, here are the cast members:

Noah Ringer, a karate star chosen from an open casting call in Texas, and a kid who apparently has no picture up online, will play Aang.

Nicola Peltz, previously seen (and likely ignored) in "Deck the Halls" will play Katara.

Jackson Rathbone of kool-aid-crazed vampire fan-nomenon "Twilight" will play Sokka. Slapapow!

Jesse McCartney--yes, the kid singer--is in negotiations to play Prince Zuko. He'd better look as good shirtless.

Uh, I mean...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Agent of Chaos

I recently found myself facing a moral dilemma pertaining to my noncareer as a writer that had my stomach squelching uncomfortably (and anyone who knows me knows that when my tummy squelches, it's time to break out the Immodium and gas masks. Eeew.)

About a year ago, I subscribed to a particular literary agent's e-mail newsletter, believing it to be a useful source of information on the publishing industry. For a while, I read the weekly e-mail, though I probably should've learned to skip the long-winded diatribes about the agent's life and family much faster.

Some months ago, the agent posted a contest where the prize would be working with her and having her basically represent the winner. I submitted with some confidence that I might attract some attention. Not that I would have been crushed if I didn't win, but I have to stay optimistic.

A week or so before the U.S. elections, she sent out a long newsletter that had absolutely nothing to do with her profession, pushing a particular candidate and making some rather charged (and quite skewed) political statements about the other candidate and opposing party's platform.

Now, I don't normally go off on what other people believe, politically speaking. But when you send e-mails out to people who have signed up to your newsletter wanting publishing industry info and such, they don't expect anecdotes about their ten-year-old daughter's political choices as dictated or prompted by their mothers.

Thinking this might be an anomaly, I continued to receive the newsletter. But this was not the last I heard about her candidate of choice. After the elections, said agent continued to bitterly make digs at the supporters of the other guy, showing everyone just how unprofessional and biased she was. Judging by her vitriolic response in the following newsletters and on her blog to those who complained, I could only imagine what working with her must be like.

So I unsubscribed to the newsletter. I had no choice--her comments and behavior were less than unprofessional and were entirely unworthy of someone who should be open to all ideas, all people from all walks of life who believe in all kinds of different things.

And now I am faced with the possible--but highly unlikely--chance that I may get a call telling me I've won this contest to contract her as an agent. If it does happen, I don't think I would be able to accept. While I'm fairly certain I can keep my mouth shut about political views, she's proven she can't and that she'll ridicule anyone who opposes her beliefs.

I can respect a person for having views. But I can't abide by the fact she decided to push them through my mail slot, even though I asked her not to send me trash.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

*grumble* $#*(@# Canada Post *$#*&@# *grumble*

***************************la version française suit****************************

Dear Customer,

Vicki has sent you a link to view mailing information for item CX?????????CA.
Please follow the link below to view the information on the Canada Post Web site.

If you require assistance, please contact our Customer Relationship Network
at 1-888-550-6333 Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. local time.
For Newfoundland and Labrador customers please call Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. local time.

This is an automated email message, please do not reply.



Vicki vous a envoyé un lien vous permettant d'afficher l'information relative à l'envoi de cet article CX?????????CA.
Veuillez suivre le lien ci-dessous pour afficher l'information sur le site Web de Postes Canada.

Si vous avez besoin d'aide, prière de communiquer avec notre Réseau des relations avec la clientèle
au 1-888-550-6333, du lundi au vendredi de 8 h à 18 h (heure locale).
Les clients de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador doivent composer ce numéro du lundi au vendredi de 8 h à 18 h 30 (heure locale).

Il s'agit d'un message électronique automatisé. Prière de ne pas y répondre.

I should be ecstatic that they JUST managed to deliver my Golden Heart entry (according to the e-mail I got, anyhow) before deadline today. But my relief is like the relief Indiana Jones must feel after retrieving his hat from beneath the big stone door before it slides shut.

Indiana: Geez, what the hell was I thinking? I could've lost a hand like that! And for what? A stupid hat? I have, like, ten more of those at home!
Short Round: Docta Jones, you should have FedExed yourself one! Or had it priority couriered!
Indiana: *punches Short Round*

Mrr. Well, small blessings. Now I can get on with my life....