Just when I think summer's well and truly over we get yet another hit. It's official, today was Toronto's warmest October 21st on record, with the temperature reaching a lofty 26 degrees. So here's what an October summer in the city looks like:
Hug me tree, Queen Street West

Lunch on the patio. The Rivoli, Queen Street West

Sunshine on Queen Street West dog.

It's a dog's life, isn't it? Queen Street West

City of Toronto bicycle lock

Book buyers in Chapters near Queen Street

Rabba ad

Inukshuk and C.N. Tower

Fall Sailing, Lake Ontario

Storing the canoes, Harbourfront

Man and dog through an Inukshuk,  Harbourfront

Kayak Storage with Skydome in the background

Challenge, Harbourfront, Toronto

Sunshine on Lake Ontario

Harbourfront Centre skyline

The theatre formerly known as Hummingird, now Sony, Front Street
A genetic contraceptive, which researchers believe wouldn't have the side effects of hormone based birth control pills, is currently in the works.

If scientists are successful the new technique will use RNA interference to block a gene called ZP3 which produces a protein that coats the outside of the egg and "is vital for sperm to latch on to to achieve fertilisation." This would mark "the first serious advance in chemical contraception since the first stages in the development of oral contraception."

Researchers plan to begin full tests on animals within five years and a product could be available within ten.

You can read opposing views of the contraceptive on the f-word blog:

Just another way to alter our bodies
In praise of the pill
I'm a little worried that my provincial MP's autodialler might believe we're actually friends. You may remember it called last week while I was sick. There was another call yesterday and once again this morning when it reminded me of today's polling hours. Now I don't mind a gentle reminder but two calls in two days is somewhat excessive and the thing is, if we're going to be friends it could at least ask how I'm doing, you know?

But no, it's always about the election. Always. There's no opportunity for me to put my two cents in, no give and take, just autodialler's continual prattle about the election.

However, autodialler did offer me a ride to the polling station. That's friendly, right? But what if I want to go somewhere aside from the polls? Why do I suspect that could be a problem and that worse, tomorrow there'll be no phone call? No pretence of concern. Not even a few celebratory or sober words about autodialler's success or failure in the provincial election. It's not that I even want to be friends with such a self-absorbed entity, you understand. I just don't appreciate being used.

So I get it. Election, election, election. It's not about me. I got your number, autodialler, and next time I swear I'm going to outwit you. When a real life Liberal campaigner makes their initial call I'm going to tell them I'm voting Tory (whether that's a lie or not). Hah! You'll have no excuse to call and pretend we're buddies then, will you?
Warner Bros had denied Internet reports that president of production Jeff Robinov declared, "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead."

According to a Warner Bros rep, "Mr. Robinov never made that statement, nor is it his policy."

You can read the entire story at slashfilm.

As Peter Sciretta concludes, "We'll likely never get a real answer to what happened…Now it is our job to check up on them and see this through. It will be interesting to see how many Warner Bros films come out in the next two years with female leads."

Indeed. If Warner Bros are honest in their denial we can expect to see women in some roles other than sidekick, love interest, sexy but evil adversary, or random eye candy. Time will tell.

In general Hollywood has been doing a woeful job of utilizing female talent. An annual survey conducted at San Diego State University showed that of the 250 top-grossing American films in 2006 only 7% had women directors. Women screenwriters account for 10% of the total (down from 13% in 1998). In 1999 the median earning figures for male and female film writers showed a gap of $24,000. By 2005 that gap had risen to $40,000 with median earning figures for male writers in the film industry sitting at $90,000 while the female median was a mere $50,000. (Figures from The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2006 and The 2007 Hollywood Writers Report: Whose Stories Are We Telling?)

Martha Lauzen, a professor at San Diego State University, estimates that the number of female executives in Hollywood studios is around 20%. "We're at the same place we would have been in 1999," she said. In the past two years, three of the four women who held top jobs at Hollywood's major studios were all replaced by men. (Hollywood's shortage of female power)

So few female executives, even fewer female writers (with those few earning just over half what male writers do) and the woman director being such a rare figure in Hollywood that we may even begin to doubt her existence. Oh, Hollywood, what's the problem? Don't you know that relegating women to bit-player status in so many areas of filmmaking robs you of a wealth of creative vision and bankable stories? Sure 300 was okay but so were Marie Antoinette and The Devil Wears Prada. Putting the box office failure of a movie down to the presence of ovaries rather than bad writing or a lack of cohesive direction (like when you have three directors working on The Invasion for example...) is ridiculous to the nth degree. You've heard of fair trade, right, Hollywood? What about fair play? What about hiring the best person for the job and paying them a fair wage? And what about telling diverse stories featuring diverse people rather than rehashing tired plotlines with clichéd characters? I'm telling you, I'll bet there's even some money in it for you.
I just got a recorded phone message from my local member of Provincial Parliament who obviously doesn't know I have a cold and don't want to be bothered. Naturally, I hung up, which is what I always do when I receive auto-dialled calls - even when I've had more than four hours sleep and am not shuffling around in a fog, wheezing, sniffling and feeling generally haggard.

Don't worry, the hang up in no way indicates my political disposition; I'm still voting red in the upcoming Ontario election. I do think this cold, in combination with lack of sleep has temporarily bumped me down several IQ points, though. I haven't been able to concentrate on anything for days and haven't read anything more complicated than the TV guide since before the weekend. Last night the only TV show able to hold my interest was To Serve and Protect (Canada's version of Cops). I also called several people up (in a burst of pseudoephedrine inspired restlessness) but was ultimately unable to maintain enough cognitive function to hold a conversation for longer than a few minutes.

More signs I'm not well: 1) Kermit the frog's run in with rampaging teddy bears (which, granted, is always going to be a painful sight to behold) hit me especially hard. I mean, does he have to look quite so anguished at his fate? 2) My veins, which usually vanish into thin air upon the threat of bloodwork, stayed sluggishly put yesterday as I stretched out my arm for the lab nurse. 3) I don't feel the slightest bit compelled to get out there and enjoy our continuing good luck in the weather department. 4) I couldn't make it through to the end of David Suzuki's talk at Word on The Street on Sunday. Fascinating though he was, lightheadedness took hold after forty-five minutes of standing in the crowd. 5) I'm not in the humour to write this but don't want to do anything else. Colour me out of sorts.
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