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friday favourites 28.10.11

do you ever think about the most contradictory things in your personality? the elements that seem the least likely to occur together and yet somehow happily coexist in you? does it secretly make you excited to be who you are? it probably should. i've been thinking about this a lot lately, particularly today and i just wanted to say that i hope everyone who reads this takes a moment to think about the apparently contradictory things in themselves. because those things are fascinating.

and here are a couple of other things that have really made me feel great this week...

occupy! :: while i was watching the cbc yesterday, they had a headline to the effect that tensions were growing between the various occupy protestor encampments in canadian cities and the people seeking to use the public spaces in which the camps were located. this is something we might have all expected, except that the actual story was a bit different. it basically turned on the fact that protestors in calgary were working with event planners to ensure that both a planned cultural festival and the ongoing protest could coexist in the same space. this served as a reminder to me that, with a protest camp located in my own city, i was better off going and exploring myself than making assumptions based on snippets from the mainstream media.

here's a quick look at occupy montreal:

there's an internet hub, which obviously has been crucial to this movement. 

putting a guy fawkes mask on the statue of queen victoria is pretty cool. you know what's even cooler? all the major signage is perfectly bilingual. in point of fact, a lot of big corporations can't manage that. 


when you enter, you're immediately looking into this little pathway. it's undeniably inviting, i have to say. 

yes, they have a "you are here" kind of guide that shows you where to find everything.

allow lil' lisa to show you what's happening around the camp! [there was a really cool martial arts/ self-defense/ exercise class going on at the entrance, but i couldn't get a good photo of it.]

this is where the group posts a list of things that are needed- either services or goods. it's updated regularly and there's information on who you need to talk to or where you need to go to donate goods or time.

the community kitchen. can i just say that the food smelled incredible? seemed like some type of rich, fragrant chickpea curry was in the offing. oh and the big sign in the background is telling everyone to wash their dishes. guess what? they do. there's a dish-washing station adjacent and, yes, everything gets cleaned.

odd but interesting little poster displays, near the back of the camp. 

someone has an original dr. teeth electric mayhem poster hanging in their tent. i just about lost it. as i was photographing it, one of the camp security detail came over to share his rapture over this. i'm sorry i didn't get his name, but he was incredibly sweet and showed me around the camp and all its amenities. 

i wish this photo was better! this is a model teepee, constructed so that it keeps the people inside warm. the camp is getting a shipment of lumber within the next couple of days, so that they can build more of these, to give people a comfortable place to stay as the temperature drops. they'll also be putting cardboard on the ground to insulate. 

this is the inside of the teepee. and, yes, it works. it's noticeably warmer and more comfortable inside. and there was incense burning, so it smelled really nice as well. a guy came in while i was taking photos and, although i felt kind of like a gauche tourist, he was really nice and eager to talk about how cool it was going to be when they had more of these. 

relax! there are various spots where you can sit and chill throughout the camp and, like pretty much everything else, it's surprisingly clean. cleanliness is a big deal here. you know how people are always telling you to treat spaces like you would your own home? these people live by that. 

a nice little reminder of why i came down here to begin with: 

you kind of have to see this for yourself. it's a collective piece where various people have posted the things that are most important to them. you could spend a couple of hours reading through it and the diversity is strangely thrilling. 

this made me laugh for about ten minutes

i don't know what this is, but it's kind of beautiful

the movement took a vote on their first day on renaming the square. and they did.

this is the family/ children's area. it has a little playground. seriously. 

this is the library. you can sit and browse through the books and magazines. 

these are the rules. and they are collectively enforced. 

according to the security guy who i talked to, one of the biggest needs now is blankets and warmer clothing items like mitts and socks. there's a community market where these are distributed to those in need. the level of copperative organisation going on here is amazing. most privately owned camp grounds i've been to are dumps by comparison. what should scare banks about these protests isn't the anger associated with them. it's how well they're able to function.

you can get details specifically on occupy montreal on their facebook page.

remember what i said about contradictions? here's one...

l'artisan parfumeur :: how the hell can i go from the occupy movement to a company that sells perfume at $165 a bottle? well, on the surface, it's completely nonsensical. but the fact is that, for me, the value attached to fine craftsmanship is important and beauty in its various forms is one of the things that makes life worth living. and l'artisan parfumeur does make very beautiful things.

i'd seen their counter in ogilvy's [high end department store in downtown montreal, unlikely to be shipping goods out to the occupy movement any time soon], but my first real experience with them came via a trio of samples included in the cute little swag bag i got at the premiere of cafe de flor a while back. now that i've had the opportunity to try them out, i'm mad for them. their scents are not "perfumy" in the sense that people have come to expect- they're much more like a combination of fragrant natural oils. i fell in love with "fou d'absinthe", a woodsy, herbal scent that seems like the sort of thing one would detect from a witch's cauldron. i've already run through my sample vial and thought about refusing to wash my shirts so that they could retain the scent [until it occurred to me that it wasn't the only scent they'd retain].

having gone back to visit their perfume temple, i've also become infatuated with "safran troublant" [literally "troubling saffron", although the only thing troubling about it is what it will do to your pocketbook] and "piment brulant" [meaning "burning pepper", which does kind of describe the roasted chili and bitter cocoa scent, but doesn't do it justice].

other people can think this is bourgeois. my utopia has room for decadent artistry in moderation.

l'exploité :: literally "the exploited" [not like that], this is a beer from local brewery les brasseurs du monde. it's described as a "mocha stout" and... well, dammit, if "mocha stout" doesn't have you drooling over yourself in anticipation, nothing i say is going to advance the argument any.

mindpop :: i find this blog almost unbelievably moving. it's the thoughts of a woman who, at twenty-six, had her mind go *pop* when she had a stroke. her quirky, funny, honest take on life post-stroke is the sort of thing that those of us who think we have problems should be force fed on a daily basis. utterly charming.

so that's the state of my mind this week, jumbled though it may be. whatever problems i might have at the moment, i have to admit that the week, on the whole, has been pretty decent to me. about the only real black mark was yesterday, when seth's asthma flared up. we have medicine for him, but it can take a while for his breathing to go back to normal, which meant that i spent most of yesterday being a fearful mother.

i'm happy to report that the little guy has been much more himself today and, although he seemed to cough a bit this morning, things appear to have returned to normal. this is a photo dom took of him a couple of weeks back, which i think captures him perfectly.

have a great week and a happy halloween everyone!!!


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: the war at home

what's worse than being sent off to war when you're barely old enough to order a drink in a bar? making it home only to get poisoned by the government that sent you there. 
although it's certainly not a secret, i don't find that the opiate/ opioid crisis happening in america gets nearly the attention it deserves. at least, what attention it gets just seems to repeat "thousands of people are dying, it's terrible", without ever explaining how things got to the state they are now. there's mention of heroin becoming cheaper, of shameful over-prescriptions and dumping of pills in poorly regulated states/ counties, etc. but too much of the media coverage seems content to say that there's a problem and leave it at that.

one of the things that might be hindering debate is that a very big problem likely has a lot of different causes, which means that it's important to break it down into smaller problems to deal with it. and one of those problems conne…


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

digging for [audio] treasure

my computer tells me that i need to cut down the amount of music stored on my overstuffed hard drive. my ears tell me that that would deprive me of some wonderful listening experiences. 
halifax, nova scotia was not the easiest place to find out about music with limited appeal. it was a very music-centred city, to be sure, but, being smaller, things like noise, industrial, and experimental music struggled to gain a foothold, even as the alternative rock scene exploded in the early nineties. i was lucky enough to have some friends who were happy to share music that they loved, but i knew that there were lots of things that i was missing out on.

with the dawn of the internet, and various types of music sharing, i found myself able to discover bands that i'd heard about, but never managed to track down, from the days of underground cassette culture. and, to my surprise and elation, many of them do very much live up to what i'd imagined from reading descriptions of them in catalo…