It’s Really Happening!

That’s right, it’s official. I am moving to the UK for three years.


Now, I have never been to the UK, but have read lots about it, so I usually think it looks kind of like this:


Or this:


Maybe even this:


But maybe the reality of it will be much more frightening, such as this:


Or this:


Anyways, I am really excited, and I’m getting my British fashion accessories together:

British Style

But I really don’t know what to expect from the UK. I will keep you updated!


Swashbuckling Movies: Honorable Mentions

Earlier, I made a list of my 10 favorite swashbuckling movies. These are the ones I really wanted to put in my list, but they don’t entirely fit the bill…

Some films listed here are not actually swashbuckling movies in the pure sense, but rather were selected because they reflect the swashbuckling spirit and contain duels, adventures, and daring rescues. Also, some of them are parodies… but as with James Bond films, sometimes it’s hard to see the fine line where a swashbuckling film becomes a parody of itself.

Zorro the Gay Blade

Spanish nobleman Don Diego Vega is on his way to a costume party, when he witnesses injustice being commited upon the peasants. Thus he becomes the defender of the oppressed. An ankle injury puts him out of commission, but his long-lost twin brother “Bunny” is happy to step in to the Zorro costume, to which he adds his own special touch, opting for plum, sacrlet and yellow outfits. “There is no shame in being poor! Only in dressing poorly!”

The Scorpion King – More of a “swords and sandals epic,” it nevertheless has that je ne sais quoi that makes me want to categorize it as a swashbuckler. It’s probably the overall optimism and humour that sandal epics aren’t known for.

Streets of Fire – In a weird dystopian world that looks a lot like 1950s America, a rock star is kidnapped, and her ex-boyfriend is called in to rescue her. He is a tough guy, an ex-soldier, and  a self-described “tequila man.” (There is some kind of connection between 80’s action movies and swashbucklers which should probably be explored in a later post.) This is an obscure film that didn’t do too well at the box office but it has a cult following that consists mostly of myself. Lots of action and great music, and a sledgehammer duel as a finale!

Mad Dog Time – This movie is set in some alternate universe run by gangsters who enjoy listening to their alternate universe equivalent of Frank Sinatra. There is also a very strange mode of dueling in this world. The main character would seem sleazy if he were not so daring, charming and charismatic. Sound like a swashbuckler?


My Meetup Group

For the last few months I had been hopelessly seeking a good writers’ group that would take me into its fold. However, the groups I found were not really suitable for me. They focused too much on critiquing, which usually meant nitpicking. One group asked me to fill out a form that was three pages long. I dutifully filled out all three pages of questions, but after spending an hour in intense boredom doing this, I didn’t feel like going to the actual meeting anymore. On the whole, these groups didn’t seem to be big on carousing — isn’t that what writers’ groups should be about?

So I decided to take matters into my own hands and cast off the shackles of oppression (clearly I’ve been watching too much Spartacus)! I have started my own Meetup group, the Vancouver Independent Writer Group, which has been operating successfully since December 2011. We have some pub nights that are just for socializing and some reading nights where writers get feedback on their work in a supportive and helpful manner. All writers who like a less structured environment are welcome.

You can check it out on the Meetup website:



A Russian/Armenian Christmas

The festive cat

At the tail end of 2011 I took off to Alberta to spend the Christmas season with my parents and various partners in crime. The highlight of the holidays was a visit to an aristocratic/artistic family where we were plied with “Chicken with the Ribbon of St George”  i.e. with bacon strips wrapped around it. After dinner, the lady of the house sang a Russian love song while her mother, a notable pianist and music instructor, accompanied her on the piano. I felt I had been transported into the works of Leo Tolstoy or Jane Austen. Well, now that I have returned to Vancouver and work on Count Morelli is finished, I am getting back to my next novel (it is about dryads, and that’s all I’m willing to divulge so far) which had been begun last summer and is only at about 60 pages.It’s going much quicker now, since the holidays were definitely inspiring. I can still taste the chicken, hear the music…


The chicken