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for whom the bell canada tolls

as someone who has recently done battle with a telecommunications company and someone who pays taxes, i would hope that someone, somewhere in the bowels of government is using some of that tax money to ensure that i'm protected when it comes to the predatory nature of telecommunications providers.

however, in canada, it seems that we're on our own.

rear view mirror

so this is it. 2008 is just hours from being over.

this is the time when we're supposed to stay for a moment and ponder what has gone on in our lives in the last twelve months. of course, the barrier between years is fake. if you wanted to reflect on your life at a certain time, you could pick any point during the earth's annual orbit of the sun. the only reason we do it at the end of december is because that's when everyone else we know does it and because the digits on our calendar change.

that said, i think that quiet reflection is an underrated activity, so i don't mind taking the excuse to do it and i really can't think of anything bad that comes from people reflecting once a year en masse. if only the spirit stuck with them past the first monday in january when they all went back to work.

there are usually a few high and low points that i can point to during any given year. in that way, i think i'm exceedingly normal. this year, however, is a little diffe…

how the grinch got grinchy

with all due respect to doctor seuss, who i have admired since childhood, i need to say a few words on how the famous grinch got to be how he was, before that magical christmas in whoville. i don't think that it had anything to do with his shoe size or his heart size, either.

personally, i think that the grinch, living as he did in a suburb of whoville, was forced to spend time leading up to christmas in some malls, shopping for stuff that was supposed to make the people around him happy, but that more than likely led to thinly veiled disappointment and a feeling of awkwardness and failure that tainted his enjoyment of the roast beast.

because once you've braved the horror that is the modern pre-holiday consumer orgy, you feel like you deserve some sort of award for just being able to say you survived.

everyone has their own hot points. for some, it's the crowds, who constantly look like they're about to trash the entire city in a frenzy of frustration at being unab…

famous first words

there are a couple of caveats to what i'm about to say and they are very, very important.

1. it's not even the middle of december, so technically, winter hasn't even started yet.

2. i haven't been forced into the time-honoured montreal tradition of waiting for a bus in 70km/h winds and -25C temperatures yet.

now that we have that out of the way, something occurred to me yesterday that brought a smile to my face. yesterday i was outside in a fairly heavy snowstorm (15cm total) and cold temperatures (-10C, -17C with the wind chill). it wasn't especially pleasant, but i can't say that it was entirely unpleasant either. the times when the wind was in my face were not enjoyable, but i was layered and bundled enough that i really can't say that i felt uncomfortably cold. i even found myself dawdling a little, choosing to walk rather than take the bus (because i was adamant that i did not want to be inside any vehicle that went above ground) and feeling sorry for …

electile dysfunction

i'm peculiarly proud of myself for voting in the quebec provincial election today. perhaps it's that sense of self-sacrifice, that i went out and walked the ten minutes in freezing cold weather to mark my little "x" in the full knowledge that it wouldn't count for anything. only canadians seem to be able to take pride in doing things that are pointless and painful out of a sense of responsibility. that said, with recent voter turnouts, it's becoming obvious that most canadians are hopping off that train in record numbers.

i can't really say as i would blame people who opted out of this contest. after all, we're in the midst of a flash freeze that unexpectedly dropped the temperature from around freezing to minus double digits in the space of twelve hours. who really wants to head into that?

then, of course, there's the issue of the actual parties and their positions, which always makes engaging in quebec politics rather like hugging a porcupine. …

dj kali unsound montreal set list 2008.12.05

set 1

skullflower :: black ass bone
gnaw their tongues :: chinese torture worship
ethnic acid :: il papa
sutcliffe jugend :: this is the truth
maska genetik :: moments of truth

set 2

dive :: dead or alive
whitehouse :: killing hurt give you the solution
coil :: ostia
wakeford/ stapleton :: walk the white ghost

set 3

foetus :: butterfly potion
coil :: the anal staircase
synapscape :: spill
annie anxiety :: turkey girl
jouissance :: the primrose path
november novelet :: bluish eyes
novy svet :: begin/ nada/ fin
hentai :: untitled
coil :: paranoid inlay
geins't nait :: trailles
d.a.f. :: sato sato
haus arafna :: paranoia
eyeless in gaza :: voice from the tracks
danielle dax :: bed caves

... at which point the sound system stroked out.

coailition government true and false

like most canadians, i like to maintain a smug sense of superiority about our knowledge of political issues, particularly in comparison with our neighbours to the south. however, the last few days have made me realise that, when political push comes to shove, we're basically sheep following what we've heard in the news in the last seven days. so here is my humble attempt to address some of the partisan myth-making that has been circulating as a result of the current constitutional confusion.

a majority of canadians chose stephen harper and the conservatives to govern the country- false. of those who voted (59.1% of those eligible), 37.63% voted for the conservative party. this is not a majority by any measure. it is a plurality, which means only that the conservatives got more votes than any of the other parties. this percentage of the vote was not enough to give the conservatives a parliamentary majority, meaning that the other parties combined have more seats than the cons…

die by the sword

canada's conservative governing party went through their first term of minority tenure not by working with other parties, which one would normally expect governments with a weak mandate to do, but by constantly threatening their opponents with the prospect of allowing the government to fall, triggering an election for which none of the other parties were financially or logistically prepared.

the tactic worked well enough for them over two years that they've immediately decided to go back to it as their first order of business since the federal election in october. they even decided to make a rather pathetic attempt at consolidating power by cutting crucial funding to federal parties, effectively strangling the life from any opposition. that said, since their strategy of threatening to take their toys home and call another election is pretty transparent, it shouldn't really come as a surprise that the opposition parties are willing to find a way to work around it.

i sinc…

bellsh*t

i was smart enough to avoid ever getting internet service from bell, but, as you can see, those who decided to give their service a chance can look forward to a slow, grinding future on the internet, thanks to a new crtc ruling on the subject of "internet throttling".

this process basically allows bell to offer different access speeds to customers paying for the same service. more disturbingly, it gives bell, a privately held company with no responsibility to the public, the exclusive right to determine whose internet access will be slowed and when. despite the fact that the internet, as a part of the national communications infrastructure, is supposed to be administered in the public interest, control over whose access takes precedence is left in the hands of a company that already seems to hold its customers (see previous posts "bellderdash", "insult to injury", "the never-ending story" and "end game") beneath contempt, even when the…

my life as an audience

one of the things that you notice about most people who are really dedicated music fans is that most of them either start out as or eventually become musicians. i know lots of people who are into music and almost all of them are involvedsomehowinmakingmusic (and that's an incredibly incomplete selection).

although i won't claim that i've never dabbled my toe in the music-making waters, with the exception of a couple of noise-based experiments and a touch of insanity during my techno-dj years, i've steered clear of actually attempting any proper musicianship myself.

that means that, as energetic and passionate as i feel about music, my role tends to be one of passive receiver rather than creator. that's an odd position to be in with something you really love. i'm constantly evaluating the skills and performances of people whose talents i admire, knowing that, as "informed" as i like to think my opinion is, i could never put my money where my proverbial…

end game

so they called again.

a brief call, this time, to let me know that, without me calling back, they had somehow known to apply the credit from my ontario account to my quebec account. somehow, despite the fact that no one at bell can apparently access information available to any department other than their own and couldn't tell that there was a pending issue on my account beforehand), they knew to do that for me. (i now owe them a grand total of $4.17.)

somewhere, deep in the subterranean labyrinth that is bell world headquarters, there is an alarm that starts ringing every time someone thinks of calling my number.

i win.

the never-ending story

ring ring

hello?

hello, may i speak to kathleen macdonald?

yes, this is she.

ms. macdonald, i am calling from bell canada regarding your past due account.

this is not the number you should be calling, my friend.

really?

look carefully at your screen. do you see a note on there that i am waiting on a credit from you, in order to clear the balance of my current account?

oh, yes, i see that you are supposed to be getting a credit, but it doesn't tell me when.

can you see what my billing cycle is?

oh, yes, it says you'll be getting your final bill on november 14th.

you mean today.

yes

so why are you calling me if you can see that there's an issue with the account that's pending and that i've already spent nearly four hours on the phone with you getting it resolved? i was told that i wouldn't be getting any more phone calls.

well it's an automatic dialer.

why hasn't my number been removed from the automatic dialer?

i guess the last person you talked to didn't do that.

th…

insult to injury

so i'm at home, trying to get some writing done and the phone rings. although it's from the same phone bank as my previous calls from the bell canada billing office, i answer, preparing, teeth gritted, to explain to yet another uninformed moron that there is an issue with my account that they need to resolve and that they will receive their money (which, in point of fact, they have already received, but which has been credited to the wrong account) in due course.

the result? despite the fact that i stayed on the line for some time, repeating "hello? hello?"there was no response.

that's right. faced with the reality that they have made a mistake and that their own bureaucracy has slowed down the process of correcting it, compounded by the fact that their organisation is completely incapable of transmitting information from one branch to another, bell canada has started crank calling me.

bellderdash

no one really likes dealing with utility companies. i don't know why, but they're always organised in such a way as t to make communication infuriating and to make any deviation from normal needs exponentially harder than it has to be. but even among utility companies, there are some that really do seem to take customer service to a new low.

to that end i present: katred vs. bell telephone

to start with, i moved from toronto, ontario to montreal, quebec on 1 july 2008. shortly before that time (the 19 june to be exact) i called bell, my phone company, to have my toronto number disconnected and my montreal number set up.

it actually took them the better part of a month and three technicians to get my phone line set up at all. but that's not what this story is about.

i made payments on my bell bill, from july on, although this was complicated by the fact that i wasn't receiving my bills. i generally paid when i got phone calls at home reminding me that i hadn't, since i …

no denying

well, it's official. i have reached that moment, which always comes shortly after halloween and its attendant air of macabre festivity, when i am forced to deal with the fact that winter is about to stomp on me with its giant frozen boot. (other than ugg boots, this is the only boot that i don't enjoy seeing.)

in this case, there's been a little bit of strangeness. after all, there was snow on the ground for a few days before halloween (abomination! although it at least melted on the 31st). last week, there were several days of spring-like temperatures, where it was perfectly comfortable to walk around montreal without a coat.

but now, there is no denying. the typical november weather, just above the freezing mark, with a sort of pervasive dampness that no number of layers of clothing can ward off, has descended. it's grey all the time and the light, even as the days reach their apex, is feeble. i love the fall, but november is one of those months that forever seems dead…

68 days later

there's an episode of "the simpsons" that i really admire (well, there are several, but there's one that relates to what i'm feeling now), where lisa finds the skeleton of what many in her american every-town believe to be an angel. lisa, bright, logical and scientific, doubts the skeleton's authenticity, along with the existence of angels. she has her sense of righteousness shaken, however, when she finds out that her mother is one of the people who believes that the angel might be real. the pivotal line in the conversation is when marge says to her "if you can't make a leap of faith now and then, well, i feel sorry for you".

i was remind of that line this morning, when i spoke to some people i know about the results of the american election. despite my initial fears that the campaign was going to descend into levels of mudslinging that had never been seen before, i did get caught up in watching the whole affair. yes, there were some pretty hid…

dj kali setlist 2008.10.20

ait! :: donna
clock dva :: axiomatic and heuristic
the danse society :: continent
sleep chamber :: a synthetic woman
d.a.f. :: sato sato
annie anxiety :: turkey girl
haus arafna :: mirror me
synapscape :: hormona
skinny puppy :: love in vein
lassigue bendthaus :: velocity life
sleep museum :: porcelain
herz juhning :: i deserve
wall of voodoo :: they don't want me
the cure :: strange days
the cramps :: the crusher [request]
killing joke :: exit
chrome :: heartbeat
wire :: i should have known better [request]
staccato du mal :: su ultimo secreto
die gesunden :: die gesunden kommen
die form :: analogic
perverse teens :: la divine
position parallele :: fortune
dark day :: arp's carpet
liaisons dangeureuses :: la mystere dans la brouillard
danielle dax :: bed caves
geins't nait :: trailles
test department :: compulsion
subliminal :: so young with me
asche :: kiss the whip
novy svet :: camilla
colin newman :: alone
human league :: the path of least resistance
severed heads :: g…

for the love of gourd

i'm a big fan of halloween (surprised?). there's something about the absurd blending of happiness and horror that appeals to me. when i was younger, i got more worked up about costumes and traipsing around as dusk crumbled into evening than i did about christmas, with its promise of gifts and food. (actually, i still do.)

it helps that it takes place in the autumn, which is already my favourite season.

it also helps that for one tiny sliver of time, the attention of the world is suddenly focused on the lowly pumpkin, normally an also-ran of the gourd sweepstakes.

of course, pumpkins sold at this time of year are generally used only for decoration (and what decoration). what gets neglected is that the pumpkin is actually flavourful and makes a tasty addition to a variety of recipes- NOT JUST PIE.

i understand that difficulties in preparing pumpkin dishes. given their size, storing, chopping up and cooking a pumpkin is a serious endeavour, to say nothing of a messy one. howe…

the way of all things

ah, the joys of living in a city where you have some history. yesterday, i took a stroll past the location of the worst job i've ever had. there are a couple of contenders for this distinction, but this one takes the prize. the best i can say about it was that it gave me a stable income for the time i was there and it was reasonably conveniently located.

in fact, i quite liked the physical location. the building had a certain industrial quality that appealed to me and i dreamed that some day, i'd be able to return, a successful, wealthy and vengeful person, and purchase the building to liberate it from its sad life as a shell for unsuccessful corporate schemes. and i'd use some of my buckets of money to install a lavatory in the exact position of my hideous former boss's desk.

however, when i walked by yesterday, it seems that someone has given the building a new lease on life before i had the opportunity. it's been turned into condos. i'm staggered at the shee…

dj kali setlist 2008.09.29

scorn :: light trap
killing joke :: unspeakable
clock dva:: bitstream
die form :: analogic [request]
fad gadget :: immobilise
amor fati :: listen, little man
coil :: the anal staircase
sleep chamber :: dominatrix
hula :: at the heart
minimal compact :: next oneis real
the pop group :: she is beyond good and evil
tuxedomoon :: no tears
siouxsie and the banshees :: nicotine stain
section 25 :: haunted
skinny puppy :: the choke [request]
perverse teens :: add perverse to teens
haus arafna :: satanas and friends
konstruktivits :: white design ii
sleep museum :: nepal
jouissance :: the primrose path
bene gesserit :: you can dance it, if you want
wire :: i should have known better
ait! :: i wanna be your mann [request]
severed heads :: now an explosive new movie
holger hiller :: jonny
gary numan :: basic j
chrome :: anorexic sacrifice
depeche mode :: ice machine
novy svet :: en possession de te

good, bad, ugly

the more i consume of modern media, the more i generally want to go play in traffic. seriously, the obsequious, mealy-mouther, fawning and, most importantly grotesquely flawed treatment of some of today's most controversial figures by the people who have taken it on themselves to work as cultural critics and investigators brings up many issues and, often, a couple of good meals.

i was reminded of this lately while reading an article on the late italian journalist oriana fallaci. over the course of her career, fallaci interviewed the most powerful men in the world without blinking. she asked the shah of iran if he would have her thrown in jail for her beliefs (he conceded he probably would have) and then confronted his successor, the ayatollah khomeni, with a barrage of questions on his crackdown on potential sources of opposition.

late in life, the fire in her belly seemed to become transmuted into vitriol, earning her condemnation from many, including umberto eco.

a probing que…

68 very long days and counting...

since i like to be aware of whose fingers will be hovering over the nuclear button in the home of our neighbours to the south, i've been following some of the political theatre that's unfolding in denver.

this is going to be a very, very long autumn if what's appeared so far is anything to go by.

personally, i cringe at the overt phoniness of the convention, to say nothing of the sums of money involved in staging it (perhaps i should say buying it). both parties with a snowball's chance in hell of winning play this game and, given the number of people in the united states- let alone in poorer countries- who suffer real deprivation, the idea that it is necessary to lavish such amounts on a spectacle that purports to nominate someone to represent the populace is beyond cynical.

in the spirit of the season, both parties have ramped up their ad campaigns substantially, so that every few minutes i'm advised that someone who is smart and well-educated enough to know b…

let's get old skool!

i don't know if anyone actually watched the olympics. based on the coverage received in canada, all i've managed to determine is that there was a new sport introduced called "protest banner hanging", which seemed to have a new gold medal awarded almost every day. i believe "arresting demonstrators" was a new one as well.

so, since the i.o.c. is apparently running low on ideas for new sports, perhaps it's time that they looked at bringing back some former classics. i'm all in favour of the tug of war making a comeback, but i think that a little imagination could turn the swimming obstacle race into something quite spectacular...

down on the boardwalk...

apparently, hasbro is creating a global version of monopoly, where different cities occupy places on the board traditionally named after specific streets (in atlantic city, new jersey)... only one city, of course, can occupy the coveted position traditionally held by "boardwalk", the swankiest, coolest AND hottest address on the board. guess what city grabbed that distinction? (hint: i am laughing maniacally, holding my sides and gloating.) didn't get it? here.

dj kali playlist 18.08.08

had my first montreal dj set last night at the katacombes... here's what you heard if you were there, or what you missed if you weren't... hopefully there will be a follow-up in the foreseeable future...

wire :: three girl rumba
killing joke :: wardance
joy division :: warsaw
black flag :: loose nut
?? :: someone's request that they handed to me
buzzcocks :: boredom
chrome :: heartbeat
swans :: time is money bastard
the cure :: 100 years (request)
laibach :: die liebe
subliminal :: so young with me
numb :: revenant
skinny puppy :: inquisition
maska genetik :: the ocean
perverse teens :: la baboute
six finger sattelite :: baby's got the rabies
spk :: metal field
joy division :: digital (request)
**think i may have forgotten a track here**
liars :: there's room on the broom
chrome :: anorexic sacrifice
foetus :: butterfly potion
gary numan :: down in the park
coil :: paranoid inlay
front 242 :: rerun time
november novelet :: street of lost hearts
clock dva :: the ac…

dark spot

for those of you who follow the signs in the stars, it may be of interest to know that there is a total solar eclipse tomorrow.

it's visible mainly from some of the world's least populated areas, including greenland, a place with which i have a strange fascination.

when nature attacks

i got my official wildlife welcome from the city of montreal today. while walking through the woods along the side of mount royal, i brushed- only brushed, my leg against some foliage. at first i was convinced that i'd actually cut myself, the pain was that sharp. given that sharp objects in the urban woods are not known for their hygienic qualities, it seemed that a tetanus shot was in my future.

but no. it was this bastard, worldwide scourge of uncovered skin. i've never encountered its prickly paws before and let me tell you, i'm going to take care not to again. over five hours later, my leg still feels like it was recently sandpapered.

it seems a bit of an overreaction that i get something that hurts for so long, as i'm fairly certain i left the plant in tact. then again, i guess it's better than having to get a tetanus shot.

until death does you part

movie review :: just buried

perhaps it's a nervous reflex born of a fear of my own mortality, but there's very little that says "funny" to me like a dead body. after all, dealing with anxieties is easy if you can laugh at them. unfortunately, a lot more people attempt to create dark humour than ever succeed at it (as with most things), so i'm always a little wary when i'm told about a new film in the genre.

dark comedy done well requires a premise that sits on the line between ridiculous and believable, a group of actors who have to keep poker faces, to convince an audience that they really don't see the humour in the situation at all and an appeal to intellect rather than simply going for the easy laugh. fortunately, this is a movie with all of these things.

the story centres on oliver, a rather hapless, stereotypical nerd who has his late father's (a hilarious cameo appearance by east coast character and actor jeremy akerman) funeral home business…

here kitty kitty

i'm not really joking when i tell people that it's my ambition to be one of those crazy old maids with a house full of cats. despite the fact that i'm not a recluse and, in fact, there are some people i quite like, there is just something about the company of cats that soothes and pleases me in a way that other people just can't seem to manage.

i find everything about the whole family fascinating (and i'm not the onlyone).

a few interesting cat facts you might not know:

cats are the closest thing to being a "pure" carnivore mammal. (incidentally, this is why you should never, ever, attempt to feed a domestic cat on dog food. they'll become anemic in no time and will eventually go blind.)

female cats can mate with and conceive by more than one male when they are in heat. that means that kittens born in the same litter can have different fathers.

cats, even small ones, have 245 bones in their bodies (humans, by comparison, have 206). what looks like a…

preparation

i've spent the last weeks, even the last months, preparing for my move back to montreal. however, as always happens, there still seems to be a lot left to do.

one of the things that i've noticed as i pack is just how much CRAP i accumulate. i don't think this is unique to me, but it's something i'm going to try to keep in mind the next time i take people's business cards, or flyers, or menus, or some interesting-looking object catches my eye. i want to try to picture everything that comes into my possession as an object that i will one day have to pack and move or throw out.

i have a feeling that objects will seem less important when viewed in that way...

morgan

25.10.1989 - 29.05.2008

there are no words.



selections from the imaginary kaleidescope, part 2

I

What are you now? Not anyone’s. Only your own. And what does that mean in the end? What does it mean if you are without owner? If an animal, a stray. Those who have no owner are gathered up and taken away, awaiting adoption or death.


II

Everything was different for Alice in this new place. The faces, the tempo, the course of her day. Different was good and bad. She did not have much time for anything and after a couple of weeks, the sight of her own painting propped up against the wall of what was supposed to be her studio was depressing. Who had time to paint?

On the other hand, the featureless white of her walls was also a little depressing. When she had moved her meagre belongings in, there had been others with their doors open and she had seen inside their rooms. She had pictured her own home being diffierent. It was lucky that the people from work kept her busy on a regular basis and kept her from sitting at home and staring at those walls.

III

This is in the past for us now, …

mark your calendars

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this little piggy went crazy

review :: sutcliffe jugend :: pigdaddy :: cold spring

given the number of "extreme" acts that have stumbled in the footsteps of others, it makes me happy to think that there are still bands who seem to be able to make people angry. i don't mean music that gets people riled up, i mean artists who actually generate invective and fury. for years, sutcliffe jugend has been that sort of artist (and have seemed quite happy to spit vitriol back at their detractors). it seems that they generate an extreme reaction of one sort or another, often conflicting, but always a source for, ahem, robust dialogue.

in recent years, the band has branched out considerably from their power electronics roots, incorporating more guitars (possibly influenced by their own "bodychoke" project), which has had the effect of galvanising listeners even further. "pigdaddy" is only going to increase that divide.

whether or not you enjoy this album is going to be based largely on you…

le mot injuste

being someone who likes her words, i have a hard problem stomaching ones that are consistently abused/ misused. language is such a wonderful development for humans, it bothers me to no end when people can't be bothered to learn the one that they've grown up with. many people can speak grammatically in many languages. mastering one, at least to the extent where one can avoid some truly hideous mistakes, should not be that much of a challenge. i'm far from perfect in my english, but i like to think that i make an effort and that i at least try to avoid some of the more obvious mistakes.

everyone has their own pet peeves in this regard. here are a few of mine:

"impactful": it's bad enough that i have to listen to people (generally people employed in the area of sales) use the word "impact" as a verb ("this will impact our finances"), but now that bastardisation has been extended to create "impactful". people who use this, almost alway…

lucid in the sky

while i was traveling a short time ago, i had an experience on an overseas flight that surprised me. i slipped directly from being awake and discussing environmental housing with the most interesting single-serving friend ever into a sleep state. once asleep, i was dreaming, but fully aware that this was the case, the same as i might have been aware that i was sitting in an uncomfortable seat. i could continue to control my actions, but, of course, i wasn't actually carrying out those actions. in other words, i was having a form of lucid dream.

what was surprising was that this wasn't a singular experience. all through my short trip, it seemed that whenever i fell asleep, i would almost immediately start dreaming, but would be perfectly aware that that was what i was doing.

interestingly, this is something that people strive for. there are various techniques recommended for inducing lucid dreaming, for both practical and non-practical reasons. i have to admit that i've ev…

a selection from the imaginary kaleidescope

sometimes, i like to simply write stray bits, often as accompaniment to music. (i turn the computer on random and write a separate piece for each track that plays.) here are a few excerpts from that sort of exercise.

#1

I thought I dreamed last night, but I can’t remember anymore. I think I dreamed. Maybe a dream of being out, walking in the cold early spring, sitting with people who hardly know I exist, those people who see me every day. Being satisfied that they might finally know what my voice sounded like, being able to explain why I list ever so slightly to the right when I walk, in case they’d ever noticed, not that they would have had reason to notice.

You weren’t there in the dream.

#2

Whoever said it was better to have loved and lost than never to have loved didn’t love the way that I love her, didn’t lose her as completely as I am losing her. She takes not only herself when she goes, not only her white form, leaving a smooth, temporary imprint on the sagging sofa, not only…

old lady

old lady

as i've mentioned in the past, both on the blog and in personal conversations, i'm having to adjust to the fact that i'm a woman in my mid-thirties. i still think and act much the same way i always did, because even if i wanted to change my hardwiring, i don't think i'm capable. so personally, given the fact that i'm fortunate enough to be in good health, i don't feel the difference. what i do notice, perhaps because so many of my close friends seem to be men, is that other people are aware of me being, as one person put it (half-jokingly, i hope) "past my prime".

however, in the last little while, i've been reminded that there are at least a few things that I really like about being this age.

1. i'm not getting hit on. pick-up artists are far more interested in the young and fresh.

2. i'm not strange or irritating. i'm eccentric.

3. people listen when i talk.

4. flirting is fun again. there's a certain delight to be taken i…

got leaks?

those of you interested in the spread and control of information in the age of hyper-communication would do well to investigate the sad soap opera that has engulfed wikileaks. a site that allows corporate whistle-blowers to post incriminating documents in a safe environment, the site came up on the receiving end of a u.s. district court injunction involving that most innocent-sounding of plaintiffs, a swiss bank.

there are a lot of things that a site like this has going for it, chiefly the ability to offer the inside-with-guilty-conscience the chance to come clean in a (reasonably) secure forum.

but the debacle, raises not only the hackles of those who wish to defend free speech, but also some pretty interesting questions about where access to information meets right to privacy.

diet diary, ad infintitum

a while ago, a long while ago, i started posting on this blog about the fact that i'd put myself on a diet. although i didn't know (and still don't) my exact weight, it had become apparent to me that a few years of too much food, too little movement and a certain heavy (pun intended) complacency had moved me beyond the range in which i'd become somewhat comfortable. in fact, even without knowing the starting point, i can still say that my body mass index (the measurement that i've grown to favour as the most rational way of tracking weight) had crept over the dreaded "25" marker. i was overweight.

i'm not going to apologise for being vain. we all are. most of the men i know are as concerned about their waistlines as the women, so, despite the fact that we hear more about the agonies women vest on themselves in the matter of body image, the fact is that people everywhere worry about their appearance and how they are perceived. i'd like to say that…

healthy skepticism?

perhaps it's an innate patriotism, but i really do love debating with neighbours south of the border about the state of health care in canada. it's quite amazing the myths that get propagated.

that said, there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved within canada, and it's sad that admitting to those is often seen as a criticism of the canadian system in itself.

i'm happy to see that someone has put together a listing of facts that actually acknowledges the realities of the situation very well.

a few facts from my own history:

1. i had no trouble finding a g.p. in toronto, although it's the largest city in canada. no one i know has had a problem with this.

2. montreal has a shortage of g.p.'s and, while it's true i didn't have one in my time there, this was not because i couldn't find one. the preponderance of clinics available to the average montrealer means that there is always somewhere you can go for treatment.

3. i did once spend 22 hours i…

suffer the children

movie review :: the orphanage (el orfanato)

for a high strung person, i have an inordinate liking for well-drawn, tense, atmospheric films on the fringes of the horror genre. drawing heavy influence from the works of executive producer and mentor guillermo del toro, the orphanage is a beautiful example of just this, navigating the territory between ghost story and psychological drama with aplomb.

the story centres on laura (belen rueda), who has returned with her husband and adopted son simon(who also happens to be hiv positive) to the orphanage where she spent her childhood. her hope is to found a care centre for special needs children, however that is put on hold when simon, his behaviour increasingly bizarre since an encounter at a seaside cave, disappears.

her search for her missing child brings laura in contact with a phenomenally creepy government social worker, a medium, and, as might be expected, the ghosts of her (and the orphanage's) past.

first time director juan ant…

music as catchy as their name...

music review :: niellerade fallibilisthorstar :: skrankwerk
released on dystoniaek

sweden's NFH are a bit of an anomaly. they have, by their own admission, virtually no familiarity with the type of music they've chosen to make, no in-depth knowledge of its history or sub-genres. instead, they're music is purely intuitive, largely improvised, relying on the gifts of particular surroundings for its considerable atmosphere.

skrankwerk is the latest opus from the five member ensemble, who have managed to develop a sort of cult following. the sound, if you've heard their releases before, is a natural evolution from previous releases. the pieces reflect a decaying modernity, using sounds processed from various found objects and locales, resulting in a sound-scape that is both identifiably organic and undeniably alien.

the album ranges from an almost unbelievable starkness to a beautifully thick cacophony of percussive rattles and crashes to eerie, atonal washes. it's dif…