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friday favourites 25.02.11

oh yes, it's friday, which means you're looking down the barrel of another weekend, you lucky sods! whether your plans are world domination or catching up on sleep or teaching your pets to play checkers, let's all take a deep breath and think about those things that have brought a smile to our lips in the last week. here are a few of my choices:


hungry ballerina :: she eats, she travels, she stands on her toes. this blog is absolutely adorable; matter-of-fact in its writing, but an utter fantasy in content. i challenge you to read it and not salivate. her restaurant reviews from far and wide are a delectable parade from the imaginations of some of the world's great chefs and from unknown little nooks. she thoughtfully includes snapshots of the various dishes enjoyed at each feast, in case you weren't jealous enough already.

there's a wonderful simplicity to the posts; they are recaps of the atmosphere, service and food enjoyed in these various locations, without a lot of the heavy terminology normally employed by career food critics. and one of my favourite things about this blog is the sense of camaraderie one gets from each meal. these are shared experiences, with multiple appetizers, main courses and desserts. it is not merely one woman's experience enjoying great food, but one woman's perspective on an event involving friends sharing a gratifying experience.

plus, since we've all doubtless seen endless promos for the 75lb waifs in black swan, isn't kind of pleasant to think of a ballerina eating all this food?

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the algebra of aristocracy :: i've only started reading posts from paul a. toth's blog, but if they're as fascinating and challenging as this mathematical proof of the fantasy of equitable wealth distribution, then it's going to be something i make time for over tea and biscuits, when my brain is relaxed.

at first glance, this was sort of intimidating to me, as it reminded me of a lot of times when the writer part of my brain tried desperately to understand the implications of a complex equation that looked like someone's fingers had gotten jammed in a typewriter. (google "typewriter" if you're not sure what that means.) but once i'd gotten over my bad memories of high school (or at least, managed to re-repress them), i was able to appreciate just how clever and compelling the piece is.

new rock :: i'll have to forgive them that questionable name, which makes it sound like the title of a kiss reunion album (let's not put that thought out there) and there are probably a lot of people who would say that a lady of my years has no business running around in a pair of massive black and silver heeled platform boots adorned with metal skulls (unless it's for the reunion we're not mentioning). to those people i say: pshaw.

my hefty new rocks are now on their third straight montreal winter and, while they aren't quite as shiny and new, they are still alive and (whenever necessary) kicking. it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't live in the vicinity of montreal exactly what it means to have a pair of boots that survive frequent, if not constant wear for three consecutive montreal winters. there are houses here that can't survive that.

i originally picked mine up at the new rock shop in camden market. this was not by chance, either. i'd seen what these boots looked like and i knew i'd get a kick out of owning them. i figured they'd be a lark and nothing more. when i found out the pricing, i was a little skeptical, but when i actually felt these babies in my hands and on my feet, i realised that these weren't just a joke brand for goths and aspiring bikers, but a pretty serious piece of foot equipment. these spaniards make 'em tough.

sadly, it has remained difficult to find new rocks anywhere in canada, which means that we're forced to order through the company's online store. what's worse, the las vegas-based north american distribution centre doesn't carry all the models, so there are some that you can only get from europe. assuming that you can even get them to ship here, imagine the fees for air freight on a pair of boots that weigh as much as a smart car.

but come hell or high water, i know that people around me are just going to have to get used to seeing me in boots that look like these, because i've been converted by a single pair into a loyal customer. the good thing is, i'll be able to walk through hell or high water to get them. now does someone want to explain to me how people in spain know how to make boots for a canadian winter?


global pet foods/ pitou minou :: on a previous friday favourites, i blogged about how thrilled i'd been to find a reliable vet. as with all parents, you want your kids to have the best and i'm very fortunate to live in proximity to the best when it comes to their regular needs.

global on queen mary is a dream, filled with everything your companion could need in food, snacks, sanitation, clothing and toys. with more stuff coming in every week and new products often being tested, it's difficult just to make a quick trip.

plus, of course, there's debra minding the shop, who seems to know every single product there backwards and forwards. she's able to give serious, factual advice on animal health and dietary needs and won't ever try to sell you something simply because it's more expensive. (in fact, she got us onto better quality food that costs less than what we were paying at another pet specialty store.) she can give advice on symptoms if you're not sure your little one needs a vet visit and she even keeps a very useful binder of people in the area offering services such as dog walking, pet-sitting, photography and grooming.

ironically, i was nervous about moving back to montreal because i had such a wonderful pet food store near me when i lived in toronto. as it turns out, it was another global franchisee and, in added irony, dom used to patronise their location in the west island. all are independently run, but our experiences so far have been that the stores are run by knowledgeable animal lovers who want to help. what more could a parent ask?


the anagram generator :: surely this doesn't require much of an explanation? a friend of mine posted an anagram of her name on facebook and while others laboured to come up with one of their own in response, i decided that my time was better spent googling "anagram generator" and seeing what i came up with. in fact, there are 8009 anagrams of my name (assuming you don't count the same words used in different order as separate entries). have fun giving new monikers to all your friends.

well, as you can see, this week has been spent largely in front of the computer. part of that is reflected here, on more like space, because this may in fact be a record month in terms of the number of posts i've made in a month (in february!). this is what happens when you have a lot of free time and it's cold outside. there are worse ways for me to be spending my time.

this week, i'll be keeping an eye on parallel developments in bahrain and libya, especially on the differences in reactions from the rest of the world to each country's pro-democratic uprisings. i don't expect that we're going to see another egypt in either country. that isn't to say that we won't see a change of government in either country, but it's not going to be like egypt.

closer to home, it's becoming uncomfortably clear that we're likely to have a spring election. shudder. after the root canal that has been canadian federal politics in the last five years, the only thing i want less than the current government is to be forced to the polls once again. i'm going to be spending some time sending love notes to opposition leaders in stephen harper's name in the hopes of avoiding another expensive debacle.

on a brighter note tomorrow (saturday the 26th) is nuit blanche in montreal! yes, we have ours in the middle of the winter, unlike all the other places that hold one, which is one more reason i'm happy to i have my tough and sturdy new rock boots to carry me through the night. although the temperature is scheduled to take a one day plunge for the festivities, i wouldn't miss my annual madcap date with art and insomnia for the world. this is something that i look forward to every year and this year, the organisers have even made it easier to enjoy with a truly phenomenal iphone app to help organise your night.

and yes... there are the oscars on sunday. the awards have always been predictable (marisa tomei aside), but the last few years have really redefined stultifying. this year, there is the added hurdle that they are airing in the wake of that other film awards show, where ricky gervais decided to show the world his own pair of golden globes. i'll be watching this year solely as an observer of fashion.

and finally, for those of you in the montreal area, don't forget that this wednesday will be the debut of the caustic lounge- dj kali and mr. dna at cagibi (9 'til midnight). hope to see you there!

i'd also like to thank everyone who's taken the time to follow this blog and who's stopped by to peruse the postings. it is much appreciated. i mentioned earlier that this has been the busiest month i've had in terms of blog posts, but it's also been the busiest month for visits, eclipsing our previous high water mark of last november. although it's a short month, this is the first time the blog has passed a thousand visitors in a month (which doesn't even count all you folks who read it on facebook)! i really enjoy doing this and it's nice to know that there are some people out there who enjoy reading. 

have a great week and remember to take a lesson from seth: always make room for intense relaxation.

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