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Showing posts from 2006

thoughts for the season

ok, this one's been around for a while, but, after so many parents doubtless distinguished themselves by tackling other adults to get their hands on a ps3 or wii, or bought their children video games in the annual spend-a-thon for christ, this is what you have to look forward to. happy holidays. (nsfw if you have german speakers in your midst, or people positioned to read the subtitles.)

diet diary, part 7

oh yeah... you know that feeling of accomplishment that you get when you finally succeed at something that has previously frustrated you? i got that this week.

the last time that i was somewhat happy with my weight was when i moved to toronto, when i dropped a bunch of weight following a period of stress that had tested the limits of my waist bands. at that time, i purchased a jacket for a formal function i was attending. it was a very tailored look, so when the weight came back (with extra), it suddenly became a lot less flattering and a lot more embarrassing.

this week, i had a meeting that required a somewhat formal look, so i figured, given my recent success, that i would give the old jacket a shot. and what do you know? it fits just as well as when i first got it.

it's sort of ironic to me that, while i was always sensitive about my weight, i never paid much attention to it (didn't really diet, didn't get freaked out by changes...). it was only after i had been in…

better than me

if you've already gone through my tourist shots (see previous post), then move up to the real thing. david giral's photos make me weak in the knees.

perhaps i find him appealing because so many of his images are urban in nature. what is truly remarkable is that cities like ottawa and toronto, which are nice, but not heart-stoppers, appear as beautiful as those likeparis (he took shots of the same mall that i did...) and new york, which don't need help to be beautiful.

many of his photos are situated in montreal (such as the one on the right), including a study of hochelaga-maisonneuve, my old stomping grounds (and my even older stomping grounds around the mcgill ghetto). i would like to use his images to finally refute the claim that hochelaga-maisonneuve is ugly. impoverished, yes. ugly, no.

i realise that his photos are treated, but my feelings on this have always been that great photography seeks to convey a scene as perceived through human senses. and giral has tha…

better late than never...

my friend charlemagne is here to direct you to my flickr site, where i have belatedly uploaded some photos of my trip to paris and london. they are in a high holy mess, because i haven't had the inclination to organise them into nice groups yet. consider yourself warned.

diet diary, part 6

oh you thought it was over? not so, although october was not a banner month in the battle of the bulge. a combination of vacation and business travel made things a little difficult. but november saw me back on track and saw me taking the first measure of my results. literally. i took my measurements last weekend and was happy to find that i have lost two inches off my chest and hips and three and a half inches off my waist since i first started my diet back in august. another inch across the board and i'll be the same size that i was at fourteen. (i should add that this was not the smallest i have been, but it was the first time i remember measuring myself.

my weight loss has again been getting noticed and i am frequently faced with the question "what are you doing to lose the weight?" the answer, that i'm paying careful attention to calories and portins and i'm not even exercising as much as i should, is greeted with a combination of disbelief and frustration. …

gliberals

unlike most canadians, i have an aversion to the liberal party. partly, it's because, before i defected, i was raised in a family that favoured the conservatives, so i developed an early distaste. mostly, though, it's because i have always disliked organisations that try to be all things to all people. in modeling themselves as the natural governing party, the liberals have shown little political consistency, notwithstanding the fact that they have produced some impressive leaders. one of the only observant comments to come out of the mouth of stephen harper was during the 2004 english language debate, where he told jack layton that he might not agree with him, but he at least knew where layton stood. with the liberals, the answer to the question of where they stand on a particular issue seems to be "where would you like me to stand"?

however, because i've been a political junky since childhood and because closely contested leadership conventions are like the chi…

the mixed tape project finale

well, it’s taken some doing, but i’m finally ready. (martin even beat me to the punch, as his tape is already published.)

there were very few rules that i established for this, but they did help shape what the final product is. first, the tracks had to be able to fit on an actual cassette tape. i gave myself some latitude here- the cassette would be a 100 minute one, rather than the more common 60 or 90, but since 100 minute tapes were at one point widely available, this is still fair play. this rule means that the length of the tracks was somewhat constrained. one track does clock in at just under 11 minutes, but other tracks- notably militia’s “final statement” and swans’ “the sound” came off the list because of time restrictions.

the second rule, in the interests of variety, was that no one could appear twice. so coil and current 93, who could have made up the entire tape by themselves, appear once each. this worked to the disadvantage of a few of artists (swans, brighter death n…

transit nerds, unite!

years ago, when i first moved to montreal, i used to tell people that i wanted to get a job driving the metro. it was a silly ambition, of course, not only because my french wasn't near good enough, but because i would have hated the schedule and because jobs with the stcum (now just the stm) were in high demand from people a lot more qualified than i.

but i still had the idea in my head because i found the whole concept of the subway fascinating. in fact, when i first got a transit pass, i put its unlimited capacity to good use by randomly hopping on and off the metro and finding new neighbourhoods to explore. that's really the beauty of a subway system. you disappear underground and then reappear in a completely new place, with no real idea of how you got there. a little urban adventure.

most of these adventures were very positive experiences for me, discovering little-known corners, pockets of architecture that i liked, etc. some of them, particularly seeing a homeless ma…

vote, dammit

if you live in toronto, tomorrow is municipal election day. while it doesn't get the coverage of its national or even provincial siblings, city politics deserves your attention. in fact, it probably deserves more attention than national or provincial politics, because the decisions of city council affect you, the citizen, much more directly. (living where i do, it's also probably the only chance for me to vote for candidates who are likely to win...)

now magazine has done a convenient write-up for progressive types who want to know who's speaking their language. a non-partisan listing is available, along with all the other crucial information at the official election web site.

the gorey end

is there anyone who doesn't love edward gorey's creepy victorian illustrated nursery tales? he seems to appeal to the inner child and halloween fan in everyone, but most of all to those of us who have a slightly morbid bent anyway. who else could laugh at a series of couplets detailing the horrific demise of twenty-six overly curious, neglected or just plain cursed children, each in their own unlikely way?

apparently, the creative types at the thistle project, since they are currently presenting gorey story, a play based on the master's best-known work, the gashlycrumb tinies.

this is not the first time that someone has adapted gorey's work for the stage. in fact, there is something naturally theatrical about his stories and images. but the whole idea of being entertained by the deaths of small children is not going to be everyone's cup of perfectly steeped tea. to hell with those people.

the show is adorable. while a little heavy on the music for my tastes (no…

boot to the head

ok, so i feel the need to talk about the shoe thing. i make no secret of the fact that, like many women, i like shoes. in fact, i like both shoes and clothes, not simply because i’m a woman, but because i’m an aesthete. in its simplest form, i mean that things that are pleasing to the eye make me happy because i like to have the presence of beauty in the world reinforced. in its more practical form, related to human beings, i equate a certain pride in appearance with a level of self-respect. you want to show the world the beautiful you that you see. or, from another point of view, you believe you’re worthy of beautiful things. (and i’m saying this realizing that it can easily be taken to an unhealthy extreme, like most things.)

aestheticism has gotten a bad wrap in general, because it is associated with vanity and shallowness. the two are not necessarily linked. the other thing that is commonly associated with aestheticism is an unhealthy addiction to consumption. after all, you’re s…

had a bad day?

ok, so it's official (ish), the democrats now hold power in both houses of the american congress. virginia, that bastion of liberal mores, has fallen, which means that the dems now hold 51 seats in the senate, giving them more of an ability to reign in their cowboy-in-chief. (well, that actually counts the two independents who were elected as well. considering that one of those independents is joe lieberman, i wouldn't be counting on a lot of support for a progressive agenda.)

so should we break out the balloons? well, while gwb is one of my least favourite world leaders ever, i'm not exactly bouncing off the walls. after all, the definitive vote came from a state where the candidates were a republican and a former republican. the choice was not exactly overwhelming. in general the spectrum of american political parties runs from despicable to slightly less despicable, with the people being told by their media that the reason there aren't more parties is because they…

a lone voice...

...crying in the world wide web wilderness.

voice of korea.

i may have to work dprk into my travel plans in the near future, as i would love to ride the peace bike and attend the capitalist popular music festival.

the highlight of this site, to me, is the english-to-korean-back-to-english translation of gwb's speech after the north korean nuclear test. i even saw that speech live and i didn't notice those comments. on the other hand, is it just possible that these translators skipped the fog of his words and were some how able to mainline his innermost thoughts?

link courtesy of mefi.

the mixed tape project

ok, if you actually have first hand experience with the making of mixed tapes, you may be too old to use the internet. (or, like me, you may be wallowing in an extended adolescence.) but if you do remember making/ receiving mixed tapes, then i will venture that it's a happy memory. yes, you can now burn cd's in the blink of an eye and they won't come unraveled after you've listened to them forty times, but it never quite feels the same. you can burn a cd so quickly that you don't have a chance to think about it, to develop a relationship with it before handing it off to someone else.

a few months ago, i finally got around to reading nick hornsby's highly entertaining high fidelity (made into an equally entertaining movie.) among other truisms, the book reminded me of the subtle joys of the tape, of its role as a method of communicating something about the person making it and his/ her perception of the person receiving it. for aeons now, i've been meaning …

unsolicited opinion #14368

since i don't live there, i try very hard not to care about american politics. i try not to pay too much attention, because i frankly find it depressing. however, with the country's pre-eminent position in the world and given my instinctual interest in the political, i do get caught up some times.

having just returned from a business trip to one of those parts of america that i would otherwise never go, i have just been subjected to a fearsome amount of political "reporting" on their major "news" networks. and what are they talking about? john kerry's stupid comments about (depending on who you believe) george bush or american soldiers.

i'm trying to wrap my head around this. america's economy has slid in the last years and is completely ill-equipped to deal with the realities of global markets of the near future. they are embroiled in a war that is costing them billions of dollars, thousands of lives and whatever international good will they …

it's the most wonderful time of the year...

i love telling people that when i was a child, i used to play in the graveyard behind our house. i occasionally gathered up bouquets of flowers (including those plastic ones that people leave when they can't visit very often) from the graves and bring them home to my mother. i love telling this story because it's so apt that people don't believe that it's true. (it's much more effective when my mother is around to add a chorus of "no, really, she did".) it's as if an author with a great sense of foresight and irony was actually writing my life for me. (although, if that were the case, i'd like to have a few words with him about some of the plotting.)

when i was a kid, i also loved halloween. it was a big deal for me, deciding what to dress up as. i never found it frightening, although the attendant magic of the season did tend to give me little chills. my grandmother was always surprised that i would get more excited about halloween than i did ab…

failing target practice

i've been wracking my brain, because i wanted to submit one of my short stories to a contest and it's not working. there is a deadline fast approaching and i'm struggling to come up with an entry.

it's not a matter of not having stories to submit. there are a couple i would consider entering, because i think that they're indicative of my better work. the problem is that i can't find anything that fits within the specified guidelines for length.

normally, there is (for obvious reasons) an upper limit set on word count- in my experience, about 5000 words, although there is some variance. a few have lower limits as well, but i've never seen anything quite like this one. the story has to be between 2000 and 2500 words. you have a wiggle room roughly equivalent to a typed, single-spaced page, or else your submission is disqualified.

it's hard enough coming up with writing that is worthwhile, that communicates what i want it to, that has good characters an…

brrraaaaiinnnssss... with sauce

the last few years has seen a flood of gourmet-style spicy cooking sauces and marinades to satisfy any taste. i guess it was just a matter of time before someone went after the neglected zombie market

not so down and out in paris and london

just returned from a proper (i.e., longer than a couple of days) vacation in paris, where i had never been and london, where i had visited but did not remember that well. yes, that's yours truly standing on a postcard-worthy little street in monmartre.

both cities are remarkable and not just a little overwhelming.

my first reaction paris, as well as i can recall it (not counting the reaction at the airport, which is really, really, underwhelming) was that i needed larger eyes. because, no matter how much i stretched, how high i raised my eyebrows, my eyes would never be large enough to take in all of the intricate detail of paris. geograhically small, it looks like every square inch of the place was designed with the sole aim of making the hearts of those not fortunate enough to live there flutter with joy and envy.

this sounds like a cliche. it is a cliche. the whole city is a beautiful, romantic, artistic, gastronomic cliche and every year, double the population of canada descen…

church bulletin

is your religion cool enough to have contests to mark holidays? mine is.

night of the living hipsters

one of the reasons i choose to live in cities rather than the country is because of the easy access to art. being creastively inclined myself, i enjoy the feeling of proximity to other creative folk, even though i don't always understandwhat it is they're trying to do. so i was pretty excited (as both an art fan and a night owl) last night to partake in toronto's first nuit blanche, an all night celebration of contemporary art, with installations spread over three zones of the city.

as with the most things, the first time you try something is going to be a little awkward. i hadn't done a lot of planning beforehand and figured i would want to stop in at a couple of events, rather than spending an entire night looking at the art. in fact, there were so many events that i realised the second i got my hands on a program that seeing everything i wanted was going to be an impossible proposition. because i had been under the impression that i wouldn't be spending the ni…

music review:: atrium carceri:: kapnobatai

you could probably make a fairly convincing argument that the world doesn't really need atrium carceri. after all, their label, sweden's cold meat industry, started off the "death industrial" thing almost twenty years ago by marrying the aesthetics of extreme metal with the sonic influence of early laibach. despite the label's subsequent shifts in focus, many of their seminal releases are still available, so it's questionable whether a sort of throwback to the classic cmi sound could be called a necessity.

but need is a strong word. after all, i don't need ice cream, nice wine, mac computers or john fluevog shoes, but i still enjoy them.

kapnobatai, the third album from atrium carceri, shows its influences loud and proud. above all, the one which stands out to me is the more atonal work by raison d'etre, with elements of sirkle zero-era sleep chamber and grand guignol-period schloss tegal also evident. the ease with which i can link this album to …

diet diary, part 5

ah, the mortal enemy of diets: travel. having recently returned from a few days in my favourite city ever to be cast in jello (san francisco, if you're wondering), i am having to readjust my eating regimen after gleefully stuffing my face with more food than my body has been accustomed to for the last month or so. it is really, really difficult to find restaurants with small portions anywhere in the united states of america.

on the other hand, i did compensate for this indulgence by kicking myself a few rungs up the metabolic ladder. san francisco is one of north america's great walking cities. compact in geography, it compensates for its small area in vertical scale. strolling the city is the urban equivalent of mountain climbing, complete with breathtaking scenery of both the natural and constructed varieties. so after six or seven hours of hitting the pavement, i figure i can afford to consume a few more calories.

being in this environment made me realise that i would be…

music:: current 93:: the black ships ate the sky

over the years, i’ve learned that it is a mistake for me to judge current 93 releases when i first get them. i find that it takes me a number of listens just to get my head around the release, so deciding where it falls in my spectrum of c93 releases. so i actually picked this album up a few months ago, but am only now at the point where i feel like i can give it a proper review.

and that still doesn’t mean i can say whether or not i like it.

like much of the band’s later work, it is inspired by the dreams of david tibet, the musical and spiritual centre of the band. increasingly, i don’t think anyone, even tibet himself, is precisely sure of the meaning of what he’s writing, but that may be beside the point. whatever it is he is struggling to communicate, i don’t doubt that tibet feels its meaning and his fragmentary poetry is meant to convey that feeling rather than a narractive logic. that sort of thing is either going to grip you right away or leave you feeling alienated. wheth…

here be pirates

for me, there will always be something fascinating about radio. it's not just that i used to beinvolved. the fascination goes back to when i was very young. no matter what was going on in my life, the radio always seemed to be there, making the soundtrack. my childhood is punctuated by the sounds of the cbc. i believe i can repeat, almost verbatim, the cbc news introduction from the day after the 1980 sovreignty referendum in quebec. when i hit my teens, the chief use i had for my walkman was burying myself under the covers when i was supposed to be asleep and listening to shows like brave new waves, or broadcasts of british shows, where the music seemed much more interesting than what was available locally (it was).

always, what fascinated me was the idea that i was hearing someone i didn't know and couldn't picture off there in the distance, someone with whom i shared an interest in music. somewhere out there was someone, opaque to me, who was unaware of the fact that t…

diet diary, part 4

ah, the long haul wherein it becomes very difficult to see progress... i guess since i had started to see results relatively quickly, i got a little spoiled. now that i can't see anything happening, i'm getting a little frustrated.

equally frustrating is that i'm able to see where the weight has come off and it all seems to come from weird areas. well, some are weird at least. i can see a little difference in my thighs and backside, which are areas women are supposed to care about, but which have always been the areas that have been the last to gain and the first to lose on me. (actually, i've always taken it as a sign that i need to start dieting when i see my thighs get bigger, since that means i've grown everywhere else.)

there's no sign whatsoever of a reduction in size of the tire on my gut, which is what i'm trying to achieve, but i'm trying to gain patience by remembering that this is probably the last area to experience weight loss.

so where e…

i feel like crap

... and i can't think of a more creative or clever way to express that.

i came down with a case of the flu over the weekend (because nothing says "holiday weekend" like a good flu) and am still laid low. i made a rather foolish attempt to work today, which was probably amusing for some of my coworkers as they watched me wobble around like a drunkard because i was weak, in pain and hadn't eaten a proper meal in a couple of days.

this is a particularly interesting flu, as well, because it didn't come with congestion, with nausea, or with any of the symtpoms one would normally associate with a flu. the main hallmark of this flu is that EVERYTHING HURTS. i feel like i was doing a workout for about a day and a half. muscles i hadn't met before are screaming at me. my head hurts, my neck and back, my legs... my skin hurts, which meant that i spent the part of the day desperately dodging any type of physical contact with anything. (ever seen someone trying to avoid…

diet diary, part 3

passed another milestone this week. i have had a couple of people mention that i look as if i've lost some weight. i discounted the first one, because i was wearing clothes that, to my mind, make me appear smaller than i actually am, but a couple of other people have noticed since, so i'm forced to admit that it might be visible.

the other major milestone that i've passed this week is that i've stopped getting hunger pangs the way i was at first. i believe my body is now realising that complaining is not going to make me fill it with larger portions. it's just going to make both of us irritable. (the down side of this is that it will now likely be more difficult for me to take weight off, since my body and my metabolism have adjusted to my new diet.)

this doesn't make me feel better when i'm trying on clothes- a rather terrifying experience- but i at least realise that there is some light at the end of a very narrow tunnel.

one thing i did notice, because…

a fleeting moment

it's rare that cnn and i agree on anything. last year, like many, i gleefully watched (and watched and watched) anderson cooper crucify senator mary landrieu over the post-katrina disaster in the gulf states, and that's probably the last time that i can recall seeing them do anything worthwhile.

however, apparently i'm not the only person who's irked by the misuse of the word fascism, or at least i'm not the only one who notices.

decade of...

just occured to me earlier that today marks the tenth anniversary of the day that i moved from halifax. i don't know why the date sticks in my mind (could be because the day following, when i arrived in my new home city of montreal, was possibly the single worst day of my life). i've since moved from montreal to toronto, so the decade has been split into different locales.

i consider myself sort of lucky to have moved around. for one thing, it means that i get to see what's new and interesting in different cities every few years. for another, it makes me realise the things that i really enjoyed about the places i've lived before. there are a lot of things i miss about both montreal and halifax. i'm sure when i find the next place i want to live, that there will be things that i miss about toronto (and, equally, that i'll forget the things about the city that irritate me at the moment, much as i have with the other two cities).

when i left halifax, i felt like i…

they're baa-aack

i was seriously hoping that i had a few more years left before i had to witness a younger generation getting into the exact same sort of things i was into when i was younger, since that is surely a sign of aging, but apparently, it's too late.

(hands up everyone who remembers hearing the autechre track that was done to get around the law prohibiting music with a series of repetitive beats.)

story link courtesy of me fi.

diet diary, part 2

so the battle with the bulge continues. i'm actually becoming used to the pace, although for some reason my stomach still seems to think it needs far more food than it actually does.

week days, when eating is more of a functional than a festive activity, are fairly easy to cope with. weekends are a challenge, especially living in a city that has as many good restaurants as toronto. i'm not restricting myself to the home, but i am finding that i have to pay careul attention when i go out. last night, i overindulged on injera atthe ethiopian house. injera (the soft, moist, spongy bread that serves as food and cutlery in ethiopian cuisine) makes food fun by forcing you to eat with your fingers. it's hard to exercise restraint in such conditions.

when i first moved to toronto, i was expecting to find it much as i remembered it from years ago- with a dearth of good eating places. apparently, things have changed. there are great places to eat just about every kind of food you&…

the better way, indeed

a couple of weeks ago, i ended up taking public transit to work, rather than driving. while i live in one of the most transit-impoverished cities in the world, where driving to the corner store is necessary in some areas, this was actually a lovely experience. there is just something pleasing about starting your day reading a book and listening to music, rather than getting annoyed because the guy in front of you has had his left turn signal flashing for the last six blocks. (i enjoy driving from time to time, but at heart, i'm transit girl who doesn't want to worry about finding parking.)

buses are fine, but the thrill of public transit for me has always been in the subway. for some reason, subway systems can entertain me almsot endlessly. the strangeness of going underground in one place and re-emerging in another just doesn't seem to wear off (perhaps i've killed too many brain cells). i've also always gotten a kick out of the different look each station on a m…

happy endings?

if i haven't been writing about writing a lot lately, it's mostly because i've been having the damnedest time trying to finish things. for whatever reason, the last few months have been marked by creative ideas that simply do not seem to pan out when they get out of my head and onto the computer screen. and nothing is worse than thinking that your creative efforts are directed to the increase in volume of mediocre writing in the world.

it's not that i lack ideas (well, sometimes it is, but it's not a long-term disability), but rather i seem to lack complete stories, things that remain as vibrant when written as they seem in thought. and although i find that my best writing happens when i have a clear idea of where stories are going, i've been reverting to my school-era habit of simply writing down anything that comes to mind in the hopes that somehow, some day, i'll be able to connect the dots and turn six disconnected segments into a cohesive whole. weird…

oh me timbers, they has been shivered

My pirate name is:

Mad Anne Bonney


Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

diet diary

so a couple of weeks ago, i put myself on a diet. i often say that i'm watching what i eat, but it's been years since i've tried an actual, enforced diet, mostly because i lack willpower. why did i decide to give one a try now? i don't know. i haven't put on any weight in the last few months. i'd like to lose weight, of course, but i'm not nearly as neurotic about my size as i used to be. (ironically, i weigh more now than i did when i was insecure about my size.)

food, weight and our relationships with them are almost obsessive for the cast majority of adult women. statistically, up to 98% of north american women claim to be dieting or watching their weight on a regular basis, making dieting the most common non-essential activity on the continent. by adding myself to that number, at least for the time being, i'm hoping to discover what it is that drives this mania about size.

most women i know are trying, at least sporadically, to lose weight. i don&#…

le mot injuste

this may not be the time to start picking apart people’s grammar. after all, with the threat of imminent disaster looming (more distinctly than it has recently), people are concerned about their families, their homes, the things that are truly important to them. world leaders have to think about more than finding the exact right phrasing for their public addresses, right?

not exactly.

the volume and intricacy of human communication is one of the hallmarks of our species. unlike animals, who identify each other by smell or intuition, or even like our ancestors, who operated by sight, our methods of knowing and understanding each other are increasingly based on our communication. words that are spoken and the body language that accompanies them, take on an exaggerated importance when they come from the mouths of leaders in times of crisis.

so today, i was a little disturbed (although not terribly surprised) when I read the following comment by john reid, british home secretary, that …

i knew that

You Are 56% Abnormal

You are at high risk for being a psychopath. It is very likely that you have no soul.

You are at high risk for having a borderline personality. It is very likely that you are a chaotic mess.

You are at medium risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is somewhat likely that you are in love with your own reflection.

You are at medium risk for having a social phobia. It is somewhat likely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement.

You are at low risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is unlikely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.How Abnormal Are You?

world traveler

in the spirit of the san francisco made of jello, here we have venice in lego.

fun with fauna

i'd just like to point out that someone seems to have detonated a skunk on the street below. i am far from the ground floor and it is nearly overwhelming.

the seculars are coming

i suppose this means that we can kiss goodbye any chance of having the gospel of the flying spaghetti monster taught in kansas schools. sad news from the state where it all started...

alternative dentistry

lots of people enroll in dentistry school every year for various reasons. some of them will never make good dentists because they are simply too clumsy to be trusted with the fine and intricate tools of the trade. now you know what happens to these people. (scariest part: these are pygmy hippos. they're nowhere near the size of the regular ones.)

wide load

i could probably sue the cbc, because this morning, when i heard them reporting a story about how there is a growing medical crisis because many americans are too fat to be x-rayed, i started laughing and almost drove off the road. i'm linking to the story here, because it will be much safer for you to find out about it through the safety of the internet (at least, i'm assuming you're not drriving right now).

i had already heard about the problems being faced by airlines, who are having to accomodate heavier loads in the passenger cabin, but this is a new one. it's bad enough that there are instances where the x-rays can't penetrate the fatty tissue, but can you imagine what's happening with the mri machines? pretty soon, the preparation for these is going to include the nurse spraying patients down with pam to ensure they don't get stuck.

check box mate

i am an unmarried woman who currently has a boyfriend.

i'd like you to take a few minutes to think about that because a lot of people, including the government of canada, seem to struggle to figure out what it means.

recently, i filled out the canadian census and was miffed to discover that there is no check box available for living with one's boyfriend. you are either married or you are "common law", meaning that if you're old enough to be living together it is generally assumed that you must have lapsed into a matrimonial state, because after the age of twenty, no one is comfortable with the idea that the relationship patterns you establish early on are more or less the same ones you have for the rest of your life. there is assumed to be something shameful about not being in a formally committed relationship.

my boss, for instance, struggles with what to call my boyfriend. he knows we're not married, so husband is incorrect, but he can't bring himself t…

less than supernova

despite being mired in construction, the art gallery of ontario soldiers on, continuing to offer big-name exhibits like supernova a retrospective of early- to mid-sixties works by andy warhol, curated by david cronenberg. there's a lot of potential in this, given the various talents involved, but for some reason, it just doesn't come together.

the exhibition has great focus- images of sex, death and icons exclusively, exploiting a subconscious link between all three- but the focus means that it is fairly limited in size. that doesn't bother me- i'd rather spend my time viewing fewer works in more detail- but the fact that the exhibition has been promoted so heavily means that there is a large crowd stuffed into the two rooms allotted.

it doesn't help that the museum staff seem like they are there fulfilling a community service portion of a prison sentence. "do you want these or not?" is not the way to ask someone if they would like to use the audio gui…

have a ball

a devil's ball, that is.

wladyslaw starewicz, born in what is now vilnius, lithuania (making him at once lithuanian, polish and russian) began his career a decade before walt disney began purveying the wonders of animation to the masses. although he insisted that his films were meant for children, it's hard to imagine what would result from exposing young ones to too much of the like of this.

for adults, his stop-motion films prefigure tim burton and are still technically impressive by today's standards.

business unusual

normally, when i'm sent out on assignment to the sort of place where women don't have to change their family name when they marry their husbands, the worst thing that i fear is encounters with the people who played the extras in deliverance. but i have news.

the back woods are transforming. now, when i'm sent to these places, i'm noticing more and more that the people who inhabit them look like they come out of ads for the gap. the are clean and groomed. and they all look, speak, act, dress and think exactly the same. they all have the same slightly glazed, slightly vapid, slightly dead look in their eye that betrays the lack of higher cerebral function inside.

i'm not prone to paranoia, but there is no equivalent term in the english language for a rational fear. while we aren't looking, the body snatchers have invaded. in the back woods, where we all fear to tread, a generation of clones is being bred to take over the world. they'll come for you next.

eat the cup, part 12- i will refuse

i now remember why i don't follow sports. it's not that it's anaesthetic for the masses (which it is). it's not that these events are magnets for the kind of might is right jocks who i hate (which they are). it's that, no matter what anyone says, they aren't fair. sporting events are supposed to be the apogee of fair combat- equally matched opponents fighting it out, the champion being the one who is able to marshall the skills and the wits to eke out a victory.

except that it doesn't work that way.

1. deciding games on penalty kicks is bullshit.

strangely, i've discovered that i have fairly strong opinions on this subject. if you have two teams, well-matched, they should bloody well play until somebody wins or somebody dies. everything in the course of play of the world cup final dictated a french win. even when playing a man down, they clearly outclassed their favoured opponents. with penalty kicks. you have men who are trained to score goals shoot…