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friday favourites 30.09.11

ah, friday, how i love forcing myself to think about the good rather than grimace at the misery. truth be told, the misery in the world is so bloody miserable that it's difficult to see the positive at times, but i do think it's important to be, as a very smart man once said, "loving, hopeful and optimistic", because the alternative would be... well, there's no need to discuss that. so what are some of the things that helped me keep the spark of love, hope and optimism alive in me this week?

a mentor :: this actually is a somewhat sad story, since the reason i thought about it this week is because the person in question died, but dom has repeatedly spoken of his "mentor", a man named john dunning, who was the first person to encourage him in his interest in film and to tell him that he should pursue his writing, his passion for the industry and a life within that milieu. right now dom is living his dream, being happier than i've seen anyone in his jo…

making faces :: product review [mac fall colour collection]

a comedian friend of mine used to close his sets with the line "remember, if you can't laugh at yourself, there's six billion other people who can". i think it's important to be able to poke fun at yourself. after all, you can point out your own weaknesses and foibles all you want and you're unlikely to get permanently angry at yourself. let anyone else try that. i think it's important for all of us to remember that, under the right circumstances, we can be kind of ridiculous.

for their second big fall collection, it kind of seems like mac is taking pot shots at themselves. the imagery used for marketing [ads, in-store displays] features three portraits by artist cindy sherman, each one an embodiment of exactly what most makeup wearers seek to avoid when they start to put on their mask of the day. the faces of the collection are an overblown dowager, a slightly demented-looking doll and a sad clown, none of them beautiful by any stretch of the imagination,…

dj kali & mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 29.09.11

yes, we're doing two weeks in a row of caustic goodness... feast your eyes [if not your ears] on week #1. you can always plan for how you're going to make it to cagibi for week #2...

mr. dna's double yr pleasure special ::

talking heads :: psycho killer
talking heads :: found a job
the fall :: new big prinz
the fall :: rowche rumble
pixies :: planet of sound
pixies :: in heaven
numbers :: mind hole
numbers :: funny but sad
stereolab :: retrograde mirror form
stereolab :: ping pong
wire :: mannequin
wire :: mercy
fugazi :: waiting room
fugazi :: cassavetes
nomeansno :: i am wrong
nomeansno :: metronome
the damned :: i just can't be happy today
the damned :: lively arts
devo :: beautiful world
devo :: sloppy
dead kennedys :: jock o rama
dead kennedys :: let's lynch the landlord
the cramps :: domino
the cramps :: i wanna get in your pants
fishbone :: party at ground zero
fishbone :: aids & armageddon

dj kali's wistfully random and strangely personal maxi-set [doubtless i'm banned …

consumption

“A whole deer?”

Rhonda nods sagely, offering him more of her parsley tarragon potatoes. She gives him a little smile, pleased to see the look of surprise on his face.
“I didn’t go out hunting with them, but my Dad shot it and then we butchered it together.” His dull brown eyes get just a little brighter as she says this. It’s delightful. He can’t believe it. And, more to the point, she’s actually managing to pull this one over on him.
“I never pictured you as the butchering type.”
That’s not all he hasn’t pictured, but she’s not about to get into that now. He takes more potatoes. He loves her potatoes.
“This is amazing,” he enthuses. “Seems like the meat might have been a bit stringy on its own, but I love how you’ve done it.”
“Mm-hmm. It would have been a little dry, but hey, slow cooking anything helps get over that.”
“Well, if we have an entire carcass in the garage deep freeze, I guess it’s a good thing that I like it.” They both laugh at that one.
“How did your parents like St. Lucia?…

dream a little dream

i've postedherebefore about different strange and wonderful dreams that i've had, both because i use dreams for inspiration in my writing and because i just find the brain's method of sorting through its trash kind of interesting as a phenomenon. no matter how weird or frightening my dreams have been, i have always found them somehow reassuring and not once have they ever made me wonder about my mental state. until now.

last night, i dreamed about sharpening pencils and cleaning the litter pan. let me be clear: there was nothing odd about these pencils- they were standard and it's not like there were hundreds of them, which would be weird, but just a few pencils. and me. and a sharpener. and the litter pan was pretty much exactly as it normally is. [it might have been in a different location in the apartment, but the apartment looked exactly the same, so i don't think that qualifies as poetic license.]

now i'm scared. exactly how brain dead do you have to be b…

mental health mondays :: the art of madness

there is an ongoing debate as to the interaction between mental disorders and artistic creativity. while it's difficult to document the subject, there does seem to be a cultural fascination with the idea of the artist having an eccentric mentality. likewise, so-called "outsider art" or "art brut" has a sort of cult following, as if we believe that such art unwittingly reveals something of the workings of the disordered mind.


the terms "outsider art" and "art brut" are somewhat confusing, as they are used interchangeably to refer to professional and/ or trained artists and "naive art" created by amateurs, without artistic education, many of whom have been discovered only late in life or posthumously.

french artist jean dubuffet, who coined the term "art brut" and, along with andre breton, was responsible for drawing attention to it and building a permanent collection, described it as art that existed outside the pressures…

retroperspective

i started writing an annual "birthday post" here and then realised i had to stop because as much as it was depressing me to write it, there was no way i wanted to inflict it on the rest of the world. it kind of comes down to the fact that my entire year can be represented thus:

although now that i think of it, that might not be the best metaphor, because a real double-edged sword is actually just one that's capable of killing you and slicing you like lunch meat from a variety of different angles. and while i find that the last year has been trying, i don't think anything has actually been trying to kill me. [i'm not certain, mind you, and i have been given to think that i've pissed off a few deities, but that's it, really.]

what i mean by the double-edged sword is what people usually mean when they use that expression: that it seems like all of my silver linings have had a pretty thick, smoggy grey cloud around them. i was starting to enumerate the modest…

this is mine

This is mine Filled in with refuse Still sweating experience The dust and the boredom Faint smear of blood and hair This is mine Manic laughter Beyond controlling Fever in the cheeks Blue eyes mad electric Gathering, gathering to me Pushing it through Breastbone and guts Out the other side And into the past This is mine Head bowed in hypocrisy Devils breathing in my throat Grey twilight where clouds Come to play Render insides empty To lift the monotony This is mine You trickster You warrior You saint And you victim Mine Always mine This is mine

friday favourites :: 23.09.11

well folks, there's no denying, it's officially fall as of very early this morning [at least in my time zone- please adjust as necessary] and that means that we're into the final stretch of the year. personally, i love fall. i've noticed that some of the leaves are just starting to turn now and i'm greatly looking forward to an opportunity for a nice autumnal walk when i can take pictures of the splendour.

as for the past week, i have to admit, i spent more than my fair share of time watching television. that means both watching it in real time and watching shows in large chunks. of course, i did take some time to move things around here, as i've already noted and i'd like to thank those who have taken the time- whoever you may be- to have a look at the tabs i've added linking to posts of prose and poetry i've done here. feel free to keep checking back, as they'll be updated whenever i post more.

so here are a few things that made my week more u…

marcel duchamp descending a staircase

Dear Graham,

It is with great sadness that I am writing to you in order to return your paper submitted for publication for volume three, issue two of Palette. Our reasons for refusing this piece should be obvious and, I believe, wholly expected. Primarily, of course, we are rejecting your analysis because it bears little to no relation to the piece for which you submitted a research in brief, namely, The Cubist Stair: Duchamp, the Body and the Space of a Modern Masterpiece. (I should add that, given that we published your preliminary research on the subject and had announced that your complete paper would be available in our upcoming issue, this rejection is the source of no small embarrassment for us.)

However, it behooves the editorial committee to explain our decision further. Palette is a journal of painting, examining in depth the history and present of painting as art form and we take our mission seriously. We believe that the arts have a far greater contribution to mundane lif…

making faces :: product review [morgana cryptoria]

it's long been a source of irritation for me that with all the cosmetics on the market, there is really such a limited range of shades available from brands with high quality. usually, around halloween, you can find an assortment of blacks, silvers and whites, usually bog-standard drug or dollar store crap that's meant chiefly as a party joke. i tried manic panic's range of lipsticks, but i found them incredibly dry and tough to work with [and even they've drastically cut down their range of colours in the years since i tried them]. years back, mac had daring shades mixed in with their permanent range of shades, but that's been culled down in the name of inventory reduction. which means that those of us who would really like to see something outside the norm and who still want a quality product have been kind of stuck.

i can't quite remember how i came across morgana cryptoria, but i think it was just one of those internet coincidences, the end result of follo…

what just happened?

indeed, things look a little different around the old homestead. i did a little renovation and moved the tabs for various pages up to the top of the screen, so that people are less likely to mistake them for external links/ escape routes. also, in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, i've added pages with links to writing [fiction and poetry] that i've posted here. actually, to be honest, this is also so that i have a quick way of checking to see what i've put here already, because i'm too lazy to go back and check. feel free to check 'em out! [oh, and if you are looking for an escape route, links are to the right.]

mental health mondays :: personality disorders, the silver medalists at the psycho olympics

much of our conception of mental disorders is wrapped up in the "biggies", things like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that tend to result in dramatic deviations from "normal" behaviour [even though they sometimes don't] and reasoning. but really, that's just the top layer of the crazy tiramisu. there are many further classifications of thought and mood disorders that don't get spoken about as much, but which may affect far larger numbers of people. they also tend to be more controversial, because they are less evident. someone who refuses to eat and bathe or speaks to people who aren't there or who cuts themselves because they believe that they have bugs living under their skin is obviously in need of help. someone who is prone to wild exaggeration or who thinks only of themselves often seems more in need of a boot to the head. ultimately, the fear is that behaviour which is merely odd or eccentric can be labeled as disordered thought, which obv…

mad love [movie review :: café de flore]

in 2011 montreal, a man named antoine [kevin parent] with a seemingly charmed life- beautiful young girlfriend, two daughters, a career as a successful dj, good health and great looks, struggles to come to terms with his personal demons and appreciate the advantages that he's been given. in 1969 paris, a young mother named jacqueline [vanessa paradis] devouts herself passionately to ensuring that her son with down's syndrome is able to overcome the odds and have a long and happy life. hovering somewhere between the two worlds, a mysterious dark-haired woman appears, alone and tense, her relation to the narratives and her place in time unclear.

for a good portion of jean-marc vallée's "café de flore", the links between the stories are unclear, the timelines strangely distorted by a nonlinear plot and almost jarring edits. paradis is both fiercely protective of and strangely dependent on her son, the two of them lost in their own world, oblivious to everything that…

friday favourites 16.09.11

whoa. friday already? the last thing i published here was actually tuesday's installment of a definable moment in time. it's not like me to be so un-wordy. but, yes, another week has passed and very quickly. this also seems to be the week that the weather switched magically from summer to fall, dropping from high heat and humidity to temperatures that require a good, thick sweater.

doing a list of favourites this week is actually a little tricky, because, as i haven't been feeling that well, i didn't end up doing a whole lot and also because probably my favourite thing of the week was seeing the film "cafe de flore", which i'll review separately and in more detail. i likewise got a couple of lipsticks from a new company [meaning new to me] that actually have a great selection of offbeat colours, but, again, i'll get to that separately.

so that leaves me wondering what to write here. and i feel that i should write something, because, after all, i phone…

mental health mondays :: mental health day [again]

i'm going to claim post-traumatic stress disorder from all the 9/11 coverage in the last week as the reason i didn't get together a piece for mhm this week. i was actually thinking of doing something on post-traumatic stress disorder itself, since it seemed appropriate, except that it occurred to me that the name of the condition actually pretty much tells you everything you need to know about it.

something bad happens.

your brain can't quite deal with it.

the stress of dealing with it causes your brain to start malfunctioning.

really, all diseases and conditions should be so clearly labeled. [i know that george carlin decried the term as an example of soft language, and i see his point, but you do have to admit, it's a lot more specific than saying that someone has antisocial personality disorder, which means that they're dangerous, but sounds like they just don't like to go out very much.]

the good news about ptsd is that, despite the fact that a majority of …

strange birds...

thanks to me-fi for making me aware of the annual parade of questionable jingoism that marks the "national costume" portion of the miss universe pageant. since i don't follow beauty pageants as a rule [or even as a general guideline], i wasn't familiar with this tradition, but i can tell you right now that i think that every single one of these needs to be available for mass consumption at h & m within the next two weeks, because this is obviously the future of fashion. seriously, this is how nations have chosen to be embodied in fabric adorning their most physically perfect specimens. this is how they want the world [or at least the part of it that still watches beauty pageants] to think of them.

and i, for one, feel like i have learned much, both from reviewing this year's entrants and from going back to find out how it compared to 2010.

for one thing, i believe that every bird in the western hemisphere south of the rio grande is now dead. or at least bald…

making faces :: autumn additions [nars, guerlain]

i've already waxed "poetic" on my love for fall makeup and makeup trends, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that i indulged in a couple of autumnal treats courtesy of nars and guerlain. and it probably shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that i'm very happy with both, given that these are two of my favourite brands. both are extremely reliable [which is not to say infallible, but true misses are rare] and, while they both fall into the "special occasion" price range [particularly guerlain], the occasions when you wear them will, indeed, be pretty special.

first up, we have one of three new rouge g lipsticks from guerlain that have launched for fall. a lot of the attention for this collection is going to go [with reason] to the new eye shadow quads which are replacing the ones that guerlain had had as part of their permanent range. those are beautiful, but i really have a weakness for deep, jewel-toned lips and the new shade "gigol…

i am better than dick cheney

through some unfortunate set of circumstances, i ended up watching fox news sunday last week, where i got to see former vice president dick cheney talking about his new memoir. as far as i can tell, the sole purpose of this book is so that he can prove how aptly named he is. first of all, the man himself has made a big deal of just how bitchy some of it is, promising that "heads will explode" [his own, one hopes -ed.] over the revelations, which really seem to amount to a sort of juvenile mocking of the people in the bush administration who aren't almost universally reviled [yet]. second, the man seems to have had no purpose in writing a book other than wanting to keep up with those from the administration who already had written books because, you know, you'd never want to be the one who takes the opportunity to shut the hell up.

as a[n unsuccessful] writer, it bothers me that people like this have automatic access to big publishers and budgets. it bothers me a lot …

but are you bored enough to try this?

i'm convinced that boredom is nature's way of weeding out the gene pool. after all, it's when people get really fed up with their options that they start trying stuff that's really ill-advised.

and a lot of the time, that involves checking out the various things that human bodies can do, but probably shouldn't.

so if you're wanting to alleviate your ennui, you could always try testing out the following, although i really wouldn't recommend it...

1. it supposedly takes only four pounds of drop pressure to detach a human penis. that's really only a sack of apples between you and infamy.

2. a human brain has enough blood and oxygen in it to survive 15-20 seconds after decapitation. i can only imagine that this would be the most confusing and horrifying 15-20 seconds of your life. but it's useful to know in case you try out...

3. the average person has enough strength in their upper body to pull off their own head. i'd always thought of this as j…

mobile in montreal

this post is purely so that i can test out the new blogger app i was excited about. so far, so good. i'm sitting on the metro and blogging. ON THE METRO.

i also just choked on my lemonade and am grossing out everyone around me with spittle-infused coughing.

and so that isn't the last image i leave you with, here are some photos i took today of montreal's many beautiful fountains.

friday favourites 09.09.11

yes, i missed a week with ff, but to be fair i was... well, actually, i have no excuse. but i'm being honest, so that makes me a better person, right? but never fear, i'm ready to talk about things that perked up my week this week. and, let's face it, if you've been watching any canadian or american news channels this week, you could probably do with a pick-me-up. i knew the anniversary coverage would be rough, but seriously, whose idea was it to release all of the recordings of people panicking and processing their imminent death this week? like we weren't going to be depressed enough thinking about what happened? if ever there was a week that the western world needed something to remind it that life can be fun, this is it. so here's what i ran to to get away from the onslaught of media misery...

finally! i've been waiting [im]patiently for months to be able to blog effectively from my phone. doing it through my browser has always been a pain in the ass, bu…

dj kali & mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 2011.09.07

a pretty awesome night all-around. thanks to everyone who came out and hopefully, we'll see you next month [october 5th]! this is one of the only times i've ever prepared a set list in advance and done exactly what i'd planned. normally, when i'm that on the ball, something goes wrong... and speaking of prepared, check out mr. dna's little stroll through the alphabet [hint: song titles].

dj kali's peculiarly well-prepared set...

xtc :: travels in nihilon
hula :: at the heart
simple minds :: sweat in bullet
minimal compact :: next one is real
pleasure leftists :: nature of feeling
tearist :: a to n
siouxsie & the banshees :: nicotine stain
clockcleaner :: missing dick
shockheaded peters :: blue rosebuds
minimal man :: showtime
ritualzz :: goth bb
sleep museum :: porcelain
cluster :: caramba
john bender :: 35 b1
herz juhning :: anorexia
liaisons dangereuses :: mystère dans la brouillard
divine muzak :: dreams size zero
le syndicat electronique :: on strike
se…

just a nut on the family tree

frankly, there are a lot of things that occupy my brain, but one of them, something i've recently rediscovered, is genealogy.

i'm not sure how i got fixated on finding out about my family's past, but i believe it actually stemmed from a curiosity about whether or not i looked like any of them. even when i was a child, i was always interested in looking at photos of relatives i'd never met, just to see if there was anything i could recognise. perhaps it's because i actually look very little like either of my parents. [as a side note, my maternal grandfather used to comment that i looked like a younger version of my father's ugly duckling sibling, which was about the worst thing i'd heard, up until a complete stranger who happened to know the family pointed out the resemblance thirty years later.]

i have to say that i haven't really met with a lot of success on that end, but i have managed to find out a lot about where i come from, both literally and figu…

mental health mondays :: what we aren't talking about is killing us

over one million people worldwide commit suicide each year. suicide rates have increased by about 60% in the last fifty years. in the united states, deaths by suicide outnumber those by homicide by approximately 2 to 1 and in canada, by 6 to 1. worldwide, suicide ranks within the top ten causes of death and yet the information available on it has to be sought out. why is that?

i was reminded of this in the last week because i saw a story that dealt with suicide on the cbc. they were talking about an "epidemic" of suicides, particularly among teenagers and young adults on a reserve in northern ontario. it's a tragic situation, but what struck me as truly sad was that, in order to get any coverage on the media, suicides do have to be "epidemic", or "mass", or something out of the ordinary. the sad case of the individual who takes their own life out of desperation or fear is erased from public consciousness and, as a result, the need for resources to he…

the end of the line?

i was watching a documentary earlier about iconic 80s teen film director john hughes and i saw a quote from an interview he did in 1999, the kind of thing that every writer hates to see. basically, he was talking about how he tapped into something during his highly prolific days making films in the mid-eighties and that he had been trying ever since to do that again.

no one needs to know that.

as a writer who's been finding it ridiculously difficult to get any writing done [this place aside and even then, i couldn't get my addled head together enough to do my weekly "friday favourites" yesterday], i do not want to know that people have fourteen year dry spells. i do not want to know that it is possible to have a really creative part of your life, where the words just come pouring out of you and that it can just stop. in fact, the only thing that keeps me from beating myself over the head with the cast iron kali statue that sits on my desk is the idea that my lack of …

making faces :: season's greetings

there is a prevailing wisdom that makeup is seasonal, that the colours one wears should change with the waxing and waning of the sun, that certain looks are more appropriate to specific times of the year, in the same way that certain clothing is. while i find it both pointless and frustrating to follow rules [you're colouring your own face for crying out loud. surely you're allowed some creative license], i will concur that there are certain looks that look a little better at one time of year than another.

i touched on this previously, when addressing the pain faced every spring by women [like me] who tend to go for the deep lips and smoldering eyes that require a a lower light level to really work [and by "work" i mean "not scare people"]. but now, as summer starts to fade, it's the time when we can rejoice. those whose comfort level runs a little more towards neutral and who feel best in the pastels might be a little nervous, but, really, there'…