30 April 2011

making faces :: product review [guerlain]

i've never been quite sure why, but guerlain was my first experience with a pretige brand. it started years ago when i purchased one of their foundations. it aws a very nice formula and i loved its faint rosy scent, but i found ultimately that even the lightest shade was too dark for my skin. i did fall completely in love with their eye kohl, a powder eye liner that makes a crisp line and stays put, something i find most eye liners can't do. i also became a huge fan of their "mitsouko" perfume [and, more recently "insolence"] and all this before i really started investigating prestige brands.

since i have investigated them, of course, a couple of things have become clear: 1. even by the standards of high-end brands, guerlain is pretty pricey and 2. it's really hard to compete with their quality. in the midst of a pretty strong group of spring collections this year, guerlain's brightly coloured, somewhat surprising collection was my overall favourite and this seems to be continuing through the summer.

recently, guerlain has had two launches to titillate the imaginations of beauty fans everywhere: a new and permanent range of lipsticks called "rouge automatique" and a limited collection for summer called "terra inca". both are pure guerlain, with careful attention paid to quality and to presentation and both make me want to squeal with joy [and frustration, given the costs involved]. i've had a chance to sample a couple of items thus far, so here are my initial impressions.

FIND OUT WHAT GUERLAIN HAS COME UP WITH AND SEE THE PRODUCTS IN ACTION!

the case for casting

shouldn't we all?
an acquaintance of mine who likes to think that he knows more than anybody about everything chastised me before the last election when i pressured him to get out and vote by saying that it was "nice" that i still persisted in my naive exhortations to vote, despite the fact that democracy was obviously a "failed system".  at the time, i gritted my teeth and hoped that my friendly cuteness had been enough to encourage him to vote anyway, but the fact is that i've spent the last two and a half years kicking myself for what i should have said, what i've said to others when they've made the same sort of comments.

first of all, let's get the big issue out of the way: is there a federal party that represents the way that you think a nation, a community or a society should be run on a long-term scale? if the answer s yes, i trust you've figured out which party that is and i encourage you to vote for them. you're very lucky.

now, let's deal with the rest of us.


29 April 2011

friday favourites :: 29.04.11

ugh. i almost decided to make this "friday f**kers" and compile a list of things that grind my gears, because it's just been that sort of week. personally, the pretty much constant pain i have in my upper back, neck and shoulders has been acting up, meaning that i'm constantly in a lot of pain. not pleasant to deal with. i've also had some people get under my skin- generally not a comfortable place in which to have people stuck and something i try to avoid. although i was optimistic about my plans for writing when i posted last week, i didn't get nearly as much done as i'd hoped, because, strangely, my muse just deserted me. damn her. so all in all, with some exceptions made for coffee with a great friend, baked goods shared with a loved one and, as always, time spent with cats [plus a couple of cosmetic finds that helped soothe my nerves- watch for more news in subsequent posts], i'm glad to see the derriere of this week. but, of course, there were some bright spots, as there always are. and that's what i'm going to think about now.

here are my friday favourites ::

first flowers :: after a chilly spring and with nary a bud on the trees outside my window, it's kind of a relief to see these little buggers poking through the ground in front of the buildings on my block. i know eventually it will be verdant and glorious, but at the moment, nice days are a bit hard to come by. fortunately, these little blue-purple fellows are here to remind me to hang in there, at least until this weekend when we're supposed to have some fairer skies.





FIND OUT WHAT ELSE MADE THINGS BEARABLE, PLUS THE CAT PIC OF THE WEEK!

27 April 2011

ahem

just letting you know that, as promised, the second installment of my serial story is now up. the first one remains there [i'll probably have to wipe the slate clean eventually, but for now, i'll just be leaving everything in tact.

you can access the tale by clicking on the "let me tell you a story" link or, if you prefer click here.

feedback is always welcome.

what's all the racket?

a few selections featured recently on my speakers. feel free to share your discoveries, i'm in an exploring mood.

don't forget that next wednesday is the caustic lounge, where you can hear mr. dna and me filling the audience's aural cavities with pure sonic love.

smersh :: armored man dub :: emmanuelle goes to bangkok
life garden :: when the lion licks the sun :: caught between the tapestry of silence and beauty
gary war :: sold out :: horribles parade
land of giants :: cannibal dolls :: cold waves and minimal electronics vol. 1
blessure grave :: open or shut :: judged by twelve, carried by six
novy svet :: roma :: rumorarmonio
sardh :: stuur norm :: stuur
sect :: this is not the end :: great desired utopia

plus, since one cannot live life on random all the time, here are a few albums that have been on my ears lately as well:

la vampires meets zola jesus
luasa raelon :: vampyr- light of the beast
various artists :: in the butcher's backyard [i'm amazed at how innocent this sounds, years on]
mekanorganik :: how to extract sunlight from cucumbers [stunning release from former members of militia, i am absolutely in love with this one and not just because it has the best album title ever]

i always seem to swing back and forth these days in my enthusiasm for seeking out new music. this week, i'd say that i've been up for the challenge, spurred on by the fact that a good friend introduced me to mekanorganik and the fact that i've been exploring some gems from my musical archive and remembering how very nice it felt to discover something brand new. a lot of the time, i'm simply overwhelmed at the challenge of finding things that are both new and fresh, so there is a tendency simply to rely on old favourites, or simply on the same things that i've been listening to for a while.

suggestions for listenables are always welcome.

26 April 2011

mental health mondays :: crazy love

a lot of what i talk about here has to do with people who have, or suspect that they have some kind of mental disorder. but what do you do if someone you care about has one? or if they show signs of having one? well, there is a lot of information out there on what you can do and the good news is that a lot of what you find is perfectly good advice. it's one of those rare opportunities where you can believe most of what you read. of course, most of what you read will be simple common sense- be patient, be supportive, be approachable. but the fact is, there are a lot of things that you can do, depending on the extent to which you want to implicate yourself in their healing process. today's post is for those of you who want to help, but who aren't sure how to best go about it. these points are by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do, but [i think] they're a good start.
 

25 April 2011

why we fight?

it's always been my understanding that when you believe in something, in some way, that belief is supposed to make you feel good. maybe it's because you feel the promise of a world where your most dearly held beliefs were put into practice, which would likely be a pretty cool world for you. or maybe, and i suspect this is a large part of it, it's because believing in some ideal, whatever it is, lets you momentarily wallow in the concept that you are a good, noble person with a strong set of beliefs. we all like to think that about ourselves from time to time. however, i will say that there is one of my most deeply held beliefs that, over time, is tending to make me miserable and depressed the more i see it thrust into the public eye.

the h.r. giger painting used in "frankenchrist"
for as long as i can remember, i have always been deeply committed to the idea that people should be allowed to express themselves freely and to be able to communicate their beliefs and ideas, whether those ideas are contentious or offensive to some. a great part of this is because powerful interests have frequently used laws about speech as a cudgel to silence those opposed to their point of view and to maintain the disenfranchisement of certain groups. some of the most celebrated cases have been fought over the boundaries and acceptance of pornography versus art. i was at an impressionable age when jello biafra was arrested over the artwork in the dead kennedys' frankenchrist album and at the same time, i saw members of the reagan-era government [notably senator jesse helms] trying to gut the national endowment for the arts on the basis that they had supported "degenerate art" [i'm reasonably certain that no one used that exact term, but you never know]. as a result, i became passionate about the issue and about breaking down the barriers that prevented people from being able to express themselves.

22 April 2011

friday favourites 22.04.11

it's friday again? yes it is and what's more, it's supposed to be a good friday, from what i'm told. of course, considering there was hail in montreal two days this week, you could be forgiven for any skepticism about how good things are. i always try to hold out and insist that i'm just getting impatient for spring, but this year, i have to admit, it's damn chilly for the midpoint of spring. all the more reason, i suppose, to appreciate the lovely weather we're enjoying today. i'm just as glad that my migraine resolved itself into nothing but a dull pressure behind my [still securely attached] right eye, so that i could actually look at the sun without screaming in pain. [although doing so probably would have allowed me to head straight to the front of the line at the grocery store.]

"kjjjjjjjjjgvc", says hecubus, which means "get on with it" in cat. and so i will get on with it, right away. here are some things that made me smile this week, even if going outside was at times very unpleasant.

getting back in the groove :: those close to me know that i've found it extraordinarily frustrating that i've been able to do extremely little creative writing in the time since we started working on conversion in 2009. i've worked on incomplete pieces [which are still incomplete], i've come up with outlines and ideas [which await flesh on their bones] and i've occasionally spat out a poem or very short story, but progress as been slow in coming. so this week, i felt good about the fact that for the first time in a very long time, i sat in front of my computer and wrote the first draft of a short story, start to finish. it's not an atmospheric excerpt, but a story, with a plot and characters and, for me at least, it's remarkably accessible. that's all i have to say at the moment, but, now that i've crossed that mental barrier, i feel a lot better about my own potential for getting things done in that department.

READ WHAT ELSE MADE IT WORTH GETTING OUT OF BED, PLUS SEE THIS WEEK'S CAT PIC!

what dreams may come...

this one is really to good not to share:

we've all had dreams where we felt sick because in reality we were sick and we've all had the stupid dreams about our teeth. i think this was sort of a combination of both.

is this a good look for me?
i dreamt last night that it was just before christmas and my right eye somehow popped out. only i couldn't go right to the doctor, because dom and i were expected first by my mother's family [which was inexplicably huge] and then by his family for holiday dinner. other than dom, who seemed concerned that i get help, everyone was annoyed that i kept bringing up the fact that i was carrying my eye around in a baggy, because it was sort of a drag on the festivities. they kept reassuring me that doctors would be able to pop it back in no problem, or they'd stick a piece of glass in there, good as new, or i'd just be able to freak people out with a weird hollow socket for the rest of my life. and no one other than dom seemed to realise why these options were a bit upsetting.

we were finally able to make our way to the emergency ward, but no one there seemed in a great hurry to help me either. of course, the emergency ward had a vast makeup counter and a bakery and the people working there did seem to take the situation seriously. the makeup counter girls were eager to find me a more sturdy vehicle in which to transport my eye than the sandwich baggy i was carrying and were able to give me some potions that would act as better preservatives than tap water on paper towels. still, there were a lot of people at the emergency ward and the nurse checking people in asked if i wouldn't mind waiting until after the new year's holiday to get my problem dealt with. "why does it bother no one that i'm missing an eye???"

that's a lot of parts to reattach
although people were being polite about not pointing and screaming or anything, i'm aware of how hideous the gaping hole in my face must look. when i get up the courage to look in the mirror, though, i see a white globe where my eye should be. it occurs to me that my eye has rolled all the way around and that, with concentration, i should be able to get it rolled back in place, although it would still require some sort of medical intervention to secure it and stop it from rolling like one of those marbles in desktop fountains. even my left eye at that point is so weak that i can barely open it.

of course, immediately afterward, it occurs to me that if, in fact, my right eye is unsecured but still in my head, i've been running around all this time with someone else's eye in a ziploc bag. uh-oh.

at that point, i woke up, very confused. i was particularly confused because, even though i was awake, my eyes still did not want to open more than a slit and second, because i had the exact same excruciating pain in my right eye that i'd had in the dream. and, of course, i couldn't find a baggy in the bed.

not coming after me
i shook dom awake and started his day by asking "are both my eyes still there?" i'm quite amazed he continues to put up with me when little surprises like this keep greeting him. when he told me that both eyes were there, i paused, trying to figure everything out. then it occurred to me: i had a my migraine. i wasn't even aware until comparatively recently that i got migraines, but i do and they are almost entirely focused on my right eye. i'm lucky in that they pass fairly quickly and that i don't get the nausea associated with them, but they do sometimes make me go quite blind on the right side and they can cause a lot of pain in that area. and now, apparently, they can make me dream that one of my eyes has popped out.

four hours and several codeine + caffeine pills later, i will say that my eyes are still noticeably puffy, but the good news is that they're not going anywhere.

and the other good news is that i haven't run off with some unfortunate other person's eye.

making faces :: in living colour

not makeup
makeup didn't start off by being about, well, makeup. it started off being about literal masks, masks that were used in the theatres of ancient greece to portray specific characters or character types. often, the same actor would assume multiple roles and having different masks available made it easy to distinguish one character from another. those masks were also easily recognised by the audience for what they represented- grotesquely exaggerated, they embodied the essential elements of characters who would have been familiar to audiences at the time through myths and fables.

japanese kabuki and beijing opera would later use makeup to create those masks, exaggerating natural features and expressions with brilliant, contrasting colours. while the extreme traditions of theatrical makeup don't often find their way into mainstream culture, brilliant, intense colours, creating a completely unnatural appearance, have always been used as an informal kind of mask, an identification with a particular cultural group or movement.

everybody loves looking like lucy
in the later twentieth century, options as far as colour have changed. palettes have grown wider [and wilder] and many cultures have become more accepting of colours that would have been considered shocking a few decades ago. the acceptance of these changes in the immediate past can be back-dated to the widespread use of colour in films [the first look people had at the possibilities of colour cosmetics] and the period just after world war ii. during the later period of the great depression and the years of war that followed, the style was for women to appear understated- even if they used makeup to achieve the effect. once the war was over, things changed in a hurry.

first of all, women who had been hired to fill jobs which normally would have been performed by men were dismissed en masse. gone was the sense of independence that came with earning an income. the emphasis now, culturally and cosmetically, was on returning to the traditional roles of wife and homemaker, and to a similarly traditional femininity. makeup went from restrained to outspoken- conservative, "classic" shades of deep reds and neutrals were replaced by the outrageous cardinal and cherry reds of the fifties, combined with a dramatic "cat's eye" black liner flared at the edges to imitate the sweep of dramatic eye lashes. the mask was that of the coquette- the alluring young woman in search of a husband because, more than at any time in recent memory, women needed to find husbands in order to ensure themselves a stable life.

THERE'S MORE COLOUR TO COME...

20 April 2011

something's afoot!

i'll bet you're thinking this post is going to be about shoes aren't you?

please, come right in
never judge a blog post by it's title! this post is to call your attention to the fact that i've started to add not-so-secret pages to the blog, which will be dedicated to specific things. the first one i've established "let me tell you a story" will feature a serialised story- a new installment every week (something i tried before, but it sort of came off the rails). you can follow along with the adventures of heroine adela and give me feedback. i'll be keeping the excerpts fairly short, so that they're easier to read on screen.

i plan to have more of these pages up and running shortly and they will all appear in the same place- on the upper right hand part of the home page, just under the "about me" section.

hope you enjoy the first serial installment and, hey, if you come up with any suggestions for a title, please pass them on. this story has lived a long life just being called "the serial". it deserves better.

19 April 2011

now read this!

issue 11 of paraphilia magazine is out, with its customary pastiche of art, interviews and literature from the new frontiers. always a dense, challenging and rewarding read, this installment also includes "hollow earth" a short story from yours truly. this is not one that has seen the light of day before, although it has been kicking around my hard drive for a while. on a personal level, i find it probably the most depressing thing i've ever written [although there are some pretty strong contenders]. it's also possible that that's just my subjective thoughts as well.

here's a little excerpt ::

There’s a look of anxiety that runs behind his eyes when he talks about waking up, suddenly lucid and alone in the middle of the night. The power had been knocked out by a storm and his heat was off. He could see clouds above him when he exhaled and then, as the congestion in his chest became worse, he watched the clouds grow wispy and insubstantial, becoming thinner no matter how hard he pushed to get air out. He realized that there was no air in him and lay there imagining that his lungs had frozen when the power went off, that he was gradually dying from the inside out, blood growing thick and heavy, icicles forming on the inside of his stomach cavity. He didn’t tell the story as a frightening one, he told it as a joke- how funny it was that he had been so out of it. But the fear was in there, peering out at us, begging for help through his muddy eyes. 

to rest, just follow the link above and feel free to send me feedback.

the paraphilia site also now offers books by some of their regular contributors. and if my particular story tickles your fancy, you can always pick up a copy of interference, an anthology featuring a handful of others.

thanks for reading!

[image is unrelated, just something i thought went with the story.]

mental health mondays :: test time!

hm. i saw that i hadn't posted on the blog in three days and that made me stressed. you think that's a sign of some kind of obsessive-compulsive behaviour? well, it's not a particularly harmful sort of behaviour, at least.

since last week's post was fairly heavy and fairly long, i decided to go a bit easy this week and just link some interesting online tests i've found. have a crack at them and enjoy!

so you think you know about crazy?

a few tests designed to see how much you know about the many levels of nut-dom.

CHECK OUT THE TESTS AND MY RESULTS!

15 April 2011

making faces :: product review [armani, chanel, estee lauder, nars]

oh yes, everyone is coming out with new things these days. so here's a great, big omnibus review of a bunch of things i've accumulated over the last little while. some are here for a limited time, some will be around for the long haul, so pace yourselves accordingly.

armani "eyes to kill" eye shadow :: it's not often that i find something in the cosmetic world that makes me think "wow, that is really different", but these shimmery shadows are one of them. they come in pots, like cream shadows. they apply super-smoothly wet or dry, like cream shadows, but they aren't messy or prone to smudging. really, they're powders with multiple colours in one.

the colours are all quite breathtaking and, when applied, while they smooth into a single, nuanced shade, you can see elements of all the different colour "components" inside. who doesn't want an excuse to have people look at their eyes? the fact that they are quite shimmery makes them quite dramatic to look at, but there is a good range of colours from light to dark, with a few medium shades thrown in.

READ MORE REVIEWS AND SEE THE PRODUCTS IN ACTION!

friday favourites 15.04.11

we're at the midpoint of april already? the year is almost on one third completed and i still have to remember not to write 2010 when copying down the date... how did that happen? time does, i suppose, fly, when you're having fun. and despite the fact that i'm still on the hunt for work and we're still trying to get conversion completed, 2011 has had a lot of fun in it.

and obviously, each week's friday favourites are part of that fun. since i'm a pessimistic person by nature, it helps me to take a few minutes every week and think about the good things, the things that brought a smile to my face, no matter how incidental they might seem. in fact, sometimes it's the most incidental things that are the most important, that one lovely thing that catches your eye when you're about to jump in front of the metro train, or that one perfect song that soothes your nerves and stops you from going for your concealed weapon during rush hour when the metro slams to a halt. whatever that thing is, it makes your whole day and whatever the ongoing problems you have seem just a little more distant.

this week, there were undoubtedly a few of those, but i decided to concentrate, for reasons i'll explain below, on just one.

FIND OUT THE ONE THING THAT MADE MY WEEK, PLUS... KITTEH

14 April 2011

ça vaut pas cher la livre

duceppe, layton, ignatieff and harper at a pre-debate photo-op
for the first time in many canadian elections, i did not watch the english language debate last night. a conversion-related duty kept me out of the house. from what i understand, i didn't miss much. despite the tepid reviews, i did decide to tune into this evening's french language debate. if nothing else, it gives me a certain perverse sense of pride knowing that people who are seeking to lead a country more than one quarter francophone speak worse french than i do. besides, there is usually at least one moment of unintentional hilarity as someone realises that they have no idea how to express what they're going to say.

my reaction overall? kind of a mixed bag. at one point fairly early on, it looked like gilles duceppe had harper on the ropes, almost causing that quaalude-like veil of enforced calm to slip. seriously, stephen, everyone knows you have a bad temper and are not patient with people who disagree with you. how much is it going to hurt if you just really let yourself flip out once? although i was having visions of him lunging at one of his opponents screaming "silence! i kill you!", the debate plodded on. even for canadian politics, this one was slow getting started. (and speaking of slow getting started, did you notice that we're half way through the election campaign? are we going to talk about issues, ever? hello?)
 

13 April 2011

making faces :: choose your lips

i think we've established that i'm a lipstick hound. it's not bragging, it's kind of like standing up and admitting i'm an addict. sure, at one point, i was solely interested in dark colours and ones that looked plain weird (i still am), but then my tastes expanded. once that happened... ooh baby...

there are no colours that i automatically write off [although browns are generally very difficult for me], which means that i end up with a lot of colours in every range. i will say that one of my natural "advantages" (if you consider being able to spend money on lipsticks an advantage) is that my complexion runs a bit cool, but is pretty close to completely neutral. so there aren't a lot of colours that look "wrong" with my skin tone. one of the results of this is that i've been able to spend quality time figuring out who does what best. so here's a post with my opinions on where you can turn for whatever colour wants you have. and, of course, if there's anything i don't cover, you can feel free to ask. i have deliberately skipped the area of bronze/ brown/ earth tones, because i just haven't sampled enough of them to make a choice. mac probably has the broadest range in that category, but nars seems to have some really rich shades.

WHO DOES WHICH SHADES BEST?

12 April 2011

mental health mondays :: as nature intended

it's really, really easy to hate drug companies. they kill hundreds of thousands of lab animals, use the poor as guinea pigs for their concoctions, occasionally fake studies or slant information in order to make their products appear better, they bribe doctors to recommend their product rather than the competition's and they occasionally release poisons that harm or kill innocent people. not warm and cuddly stuff, that.

as a reaction to the harshness of medications and the questionable ethics of pharmaceutical providers, the last few decades has seen the rise of alternative medicine. their credo is simple: nature provides many nutrients that can ease the pain of a wide variety of diseases without incurring the problems of harmful side effects, addiction or difficult withdrawal, or the risks of long-term use of medications.

the downside, which most reasonable naturopaths will admit, is that they are less effective on the whole than pharmaceuticals and they often take a lot longer to reach therapeutic levels. that makes them chancy, but a lot of people would still start with an herbal option rather than jumping into the murky waters of chemical madness (or madness management, as the case may be). after all, if you want to seek treatment, you don't start at the extreme end, because then you'd have no place to go, right?

right. and wrong. maybe. or not. you see, the cases for and against herbal remedies are more complicated than most of us want to imagine. to start with, there is the problem of regulation. in most countries, herbal medicine is unregulated, meaning that the manufacturers can fill their packaging with very nebulous claims and unless they make a specific statement as to the benefits and improvement that can be expected, they don't need any backup whatsoever. i don't mean just that they don't have to have any backup they've done themselves, they don't need any at all. so many herbal medicines are marketed purely on the basis that people have been taking them to help with the same condition for a number of years. it doesn't ever necessarily need to have worked, it just has to have been taken.

that isn't to say that there aren't studies that have been done on natural remedies. there have been some that are extremely well structured and that have important implications for the long-term management of conditions like chronic anxiety, depression and panic disorder. more on that a little later.

10 April 2011

dj kali & mr. dna @ kill me now 09.04.11

it was very nice to see so many friends out last night to tap their toes and shake their booties to the grooves. overall, the crowd who came [other than the ones we already knew] had tastes that ran decidedly on the safe side, so i think that we [especially me] were a little more guarded in our choices than usual. i'd also like to thank all those who were so friendly with me, since i was in an edgy, cranky mood and was pretty easy to set off. dom's set was pure gold, in my opinion, which is tricky when you draw the bullet and have to go first.

mr. dna

skinny puppy :: love
sisters of mercy :: colours
the cure :: the funeral party
pj harvey :: my beautiful leah
siouxsie & the banshees :: carousel
bauhaus :: stigmata martyr
killing joke :: night time
joy division :: disorder
the damned :: twisted nerve
disappointed a few people :: dead in love
hilt :: stoneman
neon judgement :: miss brown
front 242 :: circling overland
cabaret voltaire :: yashar
anne clark :: sleeper in metropolis
units :: digital stimulation
the monochrome set :: the monochrome set (i presume)
the wake :: patrol
wire :: the 13th
new order :: leave me alone

dj kali

coil :: heartworms
spk :: metal field
gary numan :: cars
jon foxx :: underpass [underpants!]
clock dva :: the hacker
skinny puppy :: assimilate
human league :: empire state human
tuxedomoon :: no tears
perverse teens :: la baboute
devo :: watch us work it
iggy pop :: the passenger
chrome :: in a dream
death in june :: to drown a rose [r]
the gun club :: sex beat

09 April 2011

diagnosostication

i'm one of those people who generally has to be dragged to a doctor under heavy sedation. it's not that i'm afraid, it's just that every time i go, i either leave with drugs or shrugs- they can medicate me, or it's just something i have to live with. i think what i'm really looking for is a system whereby they hook me up to some futuristic machine, twist a few knobs and presto, my problem is solved.

however, i have to say that i'm tempted to go see a doctor for the latest bit of bodily strangeness i've encountered, just so i can watch their face turn from smug professionalism to looking around to see if there are hidden cameras recording a joke. i've been vaguely aware of this for a while, but last night was the first time that i really paid attention to what was happening.

on the upper left hand side of my chest, north of b00btown, just south of clavicle ridge, there is a slightly soft spot. maybe that's normal. it kind of feels like i have an equivalent depression on the right side, but it's not as pronounced. it's much easier to locate when i'm in a relaxed position than when i'm sitting straight up and it's only in a relaxed position that i can make it perform its little magic trick.

if i gently poke at the soft spot, i immediately start to cough and i can feel my heart flutter like i have a tremor. as soon as i stop pressing, the heart tremor subsides, but the coughing can persist- and, in fact, can get worse- over the course of several hours.

i like to think i know a thing or two about how to put together a human body, but i can't for the life of me think of what this is. i remember meeting someone who knew ninjitsu, who pointed out a spot in roughly the same area that you could tap with no more than medium force to immobilise an opponent, so i'm wondering if these phenomena are related, but that's where my ideas run out. various google searches have revealed nothing at all, so i guess, despite the odds, i may be unique in one regard. either that or i'm the only one thick enough to go prodding at a spot that causes tachycardia and coughing fits.

so, for all you aspiring quacks out there, here's the question of the moment: what the heck is wrong with me?

08 April 2011

friday favourites 08.04.11

it's friday, friday getting down on... guess what i got stuck in my head? seriously, that song is like herpes- it spreads like fire in the dry season and nothing seems to get rid of it once it's installed. but who cares? it's friday, the weather here finally looks beautiful (we're cracking double digits!) and it's a great time to pause and remember what made filled the week with awesome.


team conversion: older, wiser, just as determined
a trailer to call our own :: the short teaser for conversion has been floating around since we were in the midst of filming and it does look pretty cool, offering a glimpse of the visual capabilities of our magical little camera. however, this week, we finally unveiled a real, proper trailer for conversion. finally, you can see a little bit of the characters in the film and hear what they have to say for themselves. it also gives an idea of what the film is really about. yeah, we're excited and yeah, we're proud. the film is actually remarkably close to being final and there's more happening behind the scenes as i type this, so stay tuned for more news to come. go team conversion! [fist pump]


SEE MORE FARVOURITES PLUS THE CAT PIC OF THE WEEK!

making faces :: product review [mac "quite cute" collection]

welcome to the cult of cute. actually, more like the cult of kawaii, really, that particularly japanese-inspired version of cute that's like cute on a lot of meth and steroids. this is cute's cousin who's hot in that way that all completely insane chicks are. it's really a perfect idea for a spring collection that's both girly and freaky and it's particularly perfect for mac, who are a company in a very feminine industry that always keeps a bit of bite.

mac's collections almost always have interesting imagery associated with them, although it's sometimes a little difficult to make the connection between the inspiration and the end products. (one of the worst examples of this was 2010's "fabulous felines", which did not have colours that i associate with any of my cats, but which was phenomenal nonetheless.) in this case, the links are pretty strong, since the imagery is seriously cutesy, laced with bright pinks, pastel purples, hint of light green and peach. although i'm not a huge fan of pastels as a rule, but these colours did kind of draw me in. purple products? now that's a spring fling i can get behind.

unfortunately, while i was excited when i read about what was included, the collection overall is lacking a little in the not-so-cute light of day. i love mac for keeping a busy schedule of collection launches, since it's nice to have something new to look at, but i'm starting to wonder if that schedule isn't causing some burnout. it's not that what's coming out is bad; i think of it the way i think of a lot of lengthy albums that i own- great stuff but padded with a lot of filler.

WATCH ME PASS JUDGMENT!

07 April 2011

dj kali & mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 06.04.11

thanks to all last night's denizens of the caustic lounge. a great and hazy time was had by all, especially your dj hosts. for my part, i have to say that i'm loving the freedom to play almost anything and to indulge my taste for quirky, forgotten gems. we'll be back with more happy pop muzik™on may 4th!

mr. dna's awesome "shoegaze lives" set ::


the stone roses :: i wanna be adored
numbers :: mind hole
stereolab :: i'm going out of my way
lush :: deluxe
black tambourine :: for ex-lovers only
weekend :: coma summer
my bloody valentine :: feed me with your kiss
les thugs :: i love you so
dinosaur jr :: show me the way
dirty on purpose :: send me an angel
spacemen 3 :: o.d. catastrophe
ride :: dreams burn down
pale saints :: time thief
mock :: skyrider
sebadoh :: p.moon
jesus and mary chain :: just like honey (peel sessions)
the ecstasy of saint theresa :: ice cream star
a place to bury strangers :: begin
bailter space :: be on time
chapterhouse :: pearl
girls against boys :: kitty-yo


dj kali's obscuria emporium ::

severed heads :: guests
pelican daughters :: no place like homer
the klinik :: black leather
front 242 :: rerun time
mortuo similis :: impressions of strange days
joy division :: atrocity exhibition
christian death :: romeo's distress
virgin prunes :: bau dachong
death in june :: only europa knows
zola jesus :: night
coil :: heavens blade
the five jones boys :: mr. ghost goes to town
novy svet :: rosas rojas
parade of sinners :: cover your ears
implog :: she creatures
devo :: shrivel up
holger hiller :: konigen
john cale :: she never took no for an answer
plecid :: leaves
velvet underground :: venus in furs
clock dva :: axiomatic and heuristic
human league :: path of least resistance
novy svet :: en possession de te

for zoe

05 April 2011

making faces :: product review [yves st. laurent]

twiggy wearing yves st. laurent
this isn't so much a haul as a few products i've accumulated over the last little while from ysl. for some reason, this is a brand i'm more or less discovering, not because i didn't know they existed, but because they were never one of the brands i felt i absolutely had to try. it seems like other brands always have some new or sought-after thing that distracts my attention. ysl's offering just didn't seem as special as others.

in a way, it's strange that i haven't paid more attention to ysl, because yves saint laurent the man is a character who fascinates me. promoted to the position of head designer at dior at age 21, succeeding the man himself (who had hand-picked him before his own untimely death), he saved the company from bankruptcy with his 1958 spring collection. by fall of that same year, he was old news and in 1960, the house of dior colluded with the french government to see him conscripted to the army so that they could replace him. (he later sued them and won his case.)

androgyny rocks
he is best known for his somewhat androgynous fashions, above all a women's suit dubbed "le smoking" and clothing that became associated with the beat movement. his own designs were often extremely stark, sometimes incorporating so-called "ethnic" elements, sometimes taking their inspiration from artists like piet mondrian. his was also the first fashion house to produce a prêt-à-porter clothing line, clothes designed for daily wear as opposed to those created for inspiration.

on a more personal note, one of my prized shoe possessions (found at well less than their value on ebay) is a pair of boots from designer tom ford's final season with the fashion house that are really more like a piece of wearable art than something you'd find at payless.

i may never get to own a piece of vintage ysl couture (the house closed in 2008, although its parent company, gucci, continues to produce ready-to-wear lines as well as accessories and cosmetics, under the ysl banner.), but i can indulge a little in the colour offerings found at their counters at the bay and holt renfrew. here's a few choice morsels:


04 April 2011

mental health mondays :: big black nemesis... iatrogenesis

there is no illness that can't be cured with leeches
so you've gone to your doctor, you've seen a psychiatrist, you've received a diagnosis and you're attempting to find the best way to deal with it. chances are, if you've gone that far in the pursuit of answers about your condition, you've at least identified some problem you have in processing the events of daily life.

having a professional apply a label to what you've been feeling brings with it a certain sort of relief. after all, if it's a known disorder, it means that it's not your fault or your weakness. it's a real problem once it has official sanction. in fact, studies estimate that a full 46% of americans experience some type of mental disorder at some time in their lives, so it appears that abnormal is the new norm.

what no one likes to talk about is that doctors can get it wrong, just like the rest of the world. in fact, there's a long history of illnesses that were basically invented by doctors, but which came to achieve a certain reality, simply because they were treated seriously. and nowhere is this more evident than in the history of mental illness.

the term iatrogenesis refers to something "brought forth by a healer", in other words, something that happens because a medical professional makes it so. that can mean an illness caused by a prescribed medicine, a condition caused by a mistake in surgery or it can also refer to a disease that develops simply because a doctor says it's there. think of it as the power of a placebo in reverse.


CONVERSION :: OFFICIAL TRAILER

you've all seen the first teaser, but now, finally, we have an official trailer for conversion. enjoy this little taste and, yes, there is more to come in the not-too-distant future...

03 April 2011

...off and running?

the crowd goes wild
i messed up my neck today through a vigourous afternoon of sitting in an office chair (i'm not joking) and had to take a wee time out upon returning home to stay flat on my back and hope that the discomfort passed once i had laid supine upon the magical tempur-like material of my living room sofa. unable to hold a book at that angle, i opted to turn on the television to the first all-news channel i could find, only to be assaulted by an image of michael ignatieff bouncing up and down, announcing his platform and waving his version of the little red book.

as sad as it looks to see the liberal leader going back to the sort of blandishments that got his party elected in 1993 and that continued to work until they were crow-barred from office in 2006 by stephen harper's conservatives, i at least had some glimmer of hope that, finally, someone was going to start talking about issues. as far as i can tell, ignatieff's red book is a pastiche of educational funding, support for seniors and closing tax loopholes, but it really doesn't matter, because at least it's something.

it beggars belief that in a modern country with decisions to make about its wealth of natural resources, an aging population, an entire territory beset by poverty, and a serious problem when it comes to affordable and equitable access to telecommunications that the main issue that has emerged in the first week of a national election campaign is whether or not the leaders of the liberal and conservative parties should debate each other mano-a-mano in addition to debating with all the other national party leaders (except the green party leader, who wasn't invited again).

personally, i don't see why the two of them need to meet to debate things without the other leaders around, but if it'll make people stop talking about the debate as if it's important to the future of the country, the two of them can jello wrestle in my lobby for all i care.

politicians, please note:: everyone would be a lot more engaged and more likely to vote if you stopped talking about yourselves as being the issue. get over yourselves, you're not all that.

02 April 2011

steve bickley, we hardly new ye

i got a letter yesterday that shocked me, not because of the content, but because of the person who sent it.

i've come to recognise the rounded variety on century gothic that bell canada uses in their love letters to me and, since i hadn't blogged about them  in a while, i was greatly looking forward to another "please come back" missive from my mysterious suitor, mr. steve bickley. so imagine my surprise when the letter turned out to be from a woman by the name of heather tulk, who seems to have taken over mr. bickley's position as senior vice president of residential services.

i've no idea what's become of steve. did my consistent rejections, on the basis that bell had treated my like an inmate in their telecommunications prison, who tried to bill me for months of service when they forgot to disconnect my toronto line and accused me of lying when i insisted that i had ordered a disconnection (and even claimed that i should pay if they had been at fault, which they were), drive him into some sort of frenzy? while i don't think i'm ugly, i'm not generally the kind of girl who makes men crazy, even if they have been sending me letters for almost three years to tell me how much they miss me.

heather's letter is interesting. she's obviously after me to return to bell, but she avoids any mention of my whole history with steve. she makes no mention of him, or of the fact that i was once a bell customer. her case is ruthlessly practical: i should go back to bell for purely fiduciary reasons. i will save, over the course of two years, almost $1400 from what i'm currently paying videotron (how do they know?) for my services. i respect that practicality, that forwardness, that desire to start from a clean slate. there's something in it that touches a chord in my chilled heart.

CAN A NEW BELL FACE WIN ME BACK?

01 April 2011

it all comes down to this

26 may 2012. are you ready? we aren't (yet).

friday favourites 01.04.11

are you feeling ready for the weekend? has this week treated you well? has it been a great ride, or have you been struggling to see the spring flowers among the weeds? well, it's been a tumultuous and unbelievable week for me and while i think that the next few weeks are going to be pretty topsy-turvy, i'm happy to be able to share a bit of news that really made my week this week in friday favourites!

conversion 2- after hours :: ok, keep in mind that this is very preliminary, because we're still finalising everything for the first film, but we have a canadian partner who has expressed an interest in producing a sequel to conversion. (if you don't know what conversion is, go look at the blog!) needless to say, they would also be picking up the original conversion as well.

i'm only starting to work on some notes for the script, but dom and i have had some discussions with our distribution partner to get some broad details dealt with. basically, the story will follow seth and julia (looks like i may have to go blonde again) after their weird night out in the first conversion. while our two central characters may believe that they've left all those strange adventures behind them, it turns out that things aren't quite so easy and that, as a result of their having met some of those bizarre characters, they find themselves in the midst of a dangerous plot.

as you can probably tell, the angle for this story will be considerably higher-action and it will be more of an action-suspense-thriller than the original. along with seth and julia, the sequel will see the return of a few of the original conversion characters, such as irina, the eccentric woman who claimed to be in some kind of trouble and the two thugs from the parking garage. plus, of course, there will be a whole new cast of crazies to entertain and possibly intimidate.

this is way more than we had expected to get and dom and i are obviously over the moon at being able not just to garner some interest in our little project, but at being able (potentially) to follow it with something fast-paced, funny and with the potential- we think- for real box office appeal.

it may be a little early to start celebrating, but, seriously, after two years of working almost every single day on making our film, it's hard to keep from feeling like everything is finally coming together. more news, much more news, to follow

NOT MUCH CAN TOP THAT, BUT READ ON FOR A FEW MORE FRIDAY FAVOURITES AND YOUR WEEKLY CAT PIC!

making faces :: spring lips for vampy ladies

the wrong of spring
every year it happens. you've had months to indulge your love of deep, dark, come-hither lips and then
suddenly, the mercury starts to rise. sure, you can still get away with those vampy looks at night- that's always when they're most appropriate- but during the gradually extending daylight hours, those blood red or eggplant purple lips look less elegant and more emo kid. all around you, people are doffing heavy coats and black leggings in favour of featherweight fabrics and pastels. but if pink and peach make you shrink and screech, what are you supposed to do?



no! no no no no no. n-o
well, i've long since made my peace with the girlie spectrum of tones, but i still feel more like me wearing a colour that's quirkier. luckily, the world of cosmetics is no longer trying to force us into a single spring mold. there are lots of colours available that are perfectly appropriate for a balmy spring day without making you feel like you sold you dark, misunderstood soul.

in choosing a few recommendations for the rest of us, i limited myself to colours that form part of the permanent range of colours each company has available. there's no point offering help if i'm just pointing you towards things that you have to buy from scalpers on evil-bay. that said, trolling on line can be lucrative and not everyone is selling deleted items for an arm and a leg, so it's always worth keeping an eye out.

HELP IS AVAILABLE! SEE OPTIONS PLUS A SPRING LOOK

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