30 May 2011

mental health mondays :: what those voices are saying

ok, it's lazy time at mental health mondays, plus i think it's about time that i cede to those who know more, or who at least think about things from a different perspective than i do...


do those pills you're on even work? neuroskeptic would like to have a word with you.

what's you're problem? or, if we're going to debate on a psychological level... what's the cause of your problem?

think you've figured that bit out? here's a story from the process that might make you want to double check.

or you can find out the key steps for treating schizophrenia, courtesy of the bonkers institute. what's the worst that could happen?

of course, if you still feel like crap, you might want to consider that it's all for the best...

happy reading and, as always, feel free to ask...

28 May 2011

h is for "how the hell did that happen?"

some days you are the jackhammer and some days you are the sidewalk...

i was just in the process of posting my latest update to the shopping my cosmetic stash by letter page when i had a little error. i entered everything for letter "h" and then, when i pressed "publish", i got an error message.

i was annoyed at having to retype what i'd just done, but i figured that, since i'd done it once, i could do it again and, after an appropriate time of feeling cranky and sorry for myself, i redid the work and, because i wanted to be very clever, i clicked "save as draft". this immediately took the entire page off line, since it reverted to draft status. although it's always a little surprising to see part of your page amputated, i understood what had happened.

the problem is, when i saved as a draft, it turns out only "a" and "b" were saved. i tried every method i could think of, eventually including the complete loser's method of clicking the "back" button in the hopes of turning back the inexorable movement of time, but no dice. whatever was saved as a draft, it was only a small portion of what i'd done. everything else is lost and i really have no idea how.

i suspect, because of the original error message, that blogger might be a bit glitchy tonight, but i'm not sure. maybe there's a reason why, when a page gets to a certain size, while you can continue to publish updates, not all of them will save.

however, the fact remains that what's done is gone and i'm not really feeling up to uploading all that stuff and rewriting the blurbs i did with them... i'm sure i'll come up with some other way to have fun with paints and such, but as far as this challenge is concerned, it seems i have proved that my alphabet will never have an "i" in it.

making faces :: product review [nars summer 2011 collection]

i came, i saw, i hauled
well, as i promised yesterday, i do have some opinions and images to share regarding the new summer collection from nars. it's been on counters a few weeks now, but i seem to have been slow to make some choices. one of the things that i like about nars, actually, is the fact that i can take a little while to make a decision on which of their limited items i want without feeling like it's going to be sold out before i feel sure. [casts stink eye in mac's general direction.]

like all nars collections, this one is fairly small and combines limited items with items introduced that will be added to the permanent collection and a couple of "reminder" items that fit with the season but have already been available for some time. [in this case, those items would be their volumizing mascara, which i've never tried and taj mahal blush, an incredible shimmery burnt orange that i suspect would work as well as an eye shadow as a blush.] also like other nars collections, while there may be inspirations for specific items, there's no overall theme, nothing that ties the whole collection together. that's not a bad thing, of course, i think it's just the marketing person in me who desperately seeks to impose some sort of order, or the writer attempting to impose a narrative.

friday favourites 27.05.11

ahem. i'm a little late on this today, but i promise, it's actually because i've been working on blog-related material. it's just that i seem to have had a lot of stuff i want to cover lately... i suppose that's not a bad thing at all.

i looked back on last week's friday favourites and i have to say that it was intimidating. i mean, that was quite the list. it's just unlikely that any week is going to compete with that list... and, as expected, this week didn't really compete in terms of stand-out high points. that's not to say that there weren't things i really enjoyed. i loved getting acquainted with nars skin care and their summer colour collection, but those are both posts in their own right [summer collection review to come]. likewise, i had some fun trying out new products from lush [and getting dom to help me, because it's that much more fun when you can do this in pairs], but again, this is something that deserves its own post[s].

while the young turks continue to be all manner of awesome, of course, i don't feel like i can include them again in my friday favourites because if i start mentioning them every time they do something i love, this is going to turn into the "kate's unseenly worshiping of cenk and his cohorts blog that is prevented from contacting them by court order because they find her a little bit creepy" autonomous zone]. once again and at the risk of ending up with a restraining order slapped against me, cenk, if you ever need a token white chick to provide the fairness and balance that seems so important in u.s. media, i'm right here.

so in the interest of keeping friday favourites a little more vibrant and less repetitive, i thought i'd use this forum [it's my blog, after all] to share a different kind of favourite: a favourite memory.

27 May 2011

om nom nom nom :: restaurant review [la taverne]

photo courtesy of citeeze.com
it's funny how you occasionally need other people to tell you to try out a place that you walk by every day. it's not like dom and i weren't aware that la taverne was there- i'd even eaten there about a hundred years ago, but i didn't remember the food because, let's say that the company made the experience unpleasant enough that everything else faded like a polaroid left in the sun. [do people still get what that means?]

however, when someone teases you with the phrase "best calamari in the city", it's the sort of thing that makes you pay attention. i've been excited for calamari since i first sampled them grilled on a bunsen burner in the aftermath of a grade eight science class dissection. at that point, they still qualified as "exotic" at least in halifax, but now, of course, they're ubiquitous and every restaurant serving pub food, mediterranean-influenced food and many other styles as well needs to have them on the menu.

the last time i went to la taverne, it was generally known as a steakhouse for montreal anglophones who either didn't want to venture all the way into downtown or who didn't want to fork over the prices commanded by the city's best-known steak joints. since then, they've received a makeover that includes a refurbished, sleeker and more modern interior and a menu that favours italian and southern french fare. the offerings look simple, not particularly adventurous, but well thought out. ultimately, though, we're here for the cephalopods.

26 May 2011

making faces :: getting naked on my second date with nars

this man knows good skin :: spokes-model marcel nars
i have no idea why it took me so long to come around to this brand, i really don't. after all, there were people i trusted who recommended it. i'd heard nothing but rave reviews and some of their products were such cult favourites that i could tell you what they were despite the fact that i'd never tried them. then one evening, i just decided to take the plunge and i bought a couple of items. since that time, it's been a seemingly non-stop love fest. and now i find out that they have a whole line of skin care products that i didn't even know about.

the fact that i didn't know about them is surprising, because there's a link to them on the company web site, where you are magically whisked from the chic black of the cosmetic site to the pure, fresh white of the skin care section. then again, nars hasn't gone to great lengths to promote the line, which means that most of the people turning to their site are there to grab themselves a fresh orgasm and don't realise that they can also cleanse themselves at the same time. the skin care line isn't even available at all nars locations.

fortunately, it's now available in canada at nars counters in the bay and, to celebrate, adorable spokesperson marcel nars is inviting the public to give it a try.
 

25 May 2011

making faces :: product review [lush "colour supplements"]

ah the paradox of summer. we all want to be seen looking fresh-faced and unadorned, showing of our natural radiance and epidermal perfection, but a lot of the time, our natural, fresh complexion leaves something to be desired. turns our our ideas of natural beauty are based on a lot of images of people wearing a healthy dose of makeup [and processed with photoshop]. and so the challenge is thrown down for the cosmetics industry: make us a product that makes us look perfect and at the same time is completely undetectable to the human eye.

lush, the gurus of handmade cosmetics with rich, delectable scents, have thrown their hat into the ring as competitors in the "ninja makeup" category and, since it's about the time of year that i start looking at lighter coverage options, i looked at what they had available.

23 May 2011

mental health mondays :: are the inmates running the asylum?

one of the greatest obstacles to dealing with mental health issues, as i keep mentioning, is getting people to actually recognise when they or someone they love have mental health issues. people aren't socialised to think that their brain isn't working properly. they're socialised to think that other people's brains, brains of those they've never met and never will are the only ones that are working improperly. it's remarkably difficult to admit that you need help, not just for any reasons of pride or negative stigma [although they play a role], but because it can be really difficult to tell if you need help.

once you do make that first step, however, you've taken your destiny in your hands and you can feel better about the fact that you and others are going to work at retraining your brain to work with you instead of against you. the problem is that all too often, the process of getting help is slower, more frustrating and more absurd than anything your disordered brain has come up with on its own. because things weren't challenging enough for you before.

DOWN THE HOLE WE GO...

d is for don't forget...

well, mac and guerlain may have waylaid me in the last couple of days, but i'm back on the alphabet city express, going through my rather frighteningly large makeup stash one letter at a time. you can check out my progress on my "colour by letters" page.

and d is also for "don't worry"... mental health mondays will be up shortly.

22 May 2011

om nom nom nom :: restaurant review

the official "motto" of montreal, according to its coat of arms, is "concordia salus", but having lived here a combined total of nine years, i think that there is a case to be made for changing that to "seriously into brunch". most cities have a few places that are known as choice destinations in the morning after hours of 11 to 3 on saturdays and sundays, but montreal seems a little more fervent in its dedication than most. there are scads of places dedicated to offering their clientele the perfect egg-and-toast-related confections not merely on the weekends but every day, all the time, on demand.

located in the heart of the plateau, along mont-royal ave., les folies is one of those restaurants. they have an offering of sandwiches and sundries for other times of the day, but it's immediately apparent that brunch is king. unlike restaurants that pay lip service to brunch on the weekends, les folies has it on offer every day, which was lucky for dom and i, since we were hungry in the hood on a week day, having just dropped our youngest off at the veterinarian's office.

the menu is not fancy. what you'll find here are staples- omlettes, benedicts, and all the other things you would expect. being a huge fan of variations on eggs benedict [excluding, ironically the original, because i find meat generally makes the dish too greasy for my liking], i opted for the "norwegian" version with swiss cheese and smoked salmon. dom, being a man who likes variety in his brunch, went for the house version of the standard "something for everybody" platter with eggs, meats, potatoes and a crepe.

dom has one requirement when eating this sort of breakfast: he likes his crepe served on a separate plate. it's a little thing, but he just does not go for any sweet/ savoury cross-contamination. and it is astounding, although he's careful to mention it every time, how often he gets his meal with the crepe piled on the same plate as everything else. so it's already a good sign when his meal arrives correctly- one big plate, one small side plate.

the coffee is strong and hearty, which is a nice change from bland and mass-produced or from places that equate "good" with "made way too strong". and the coffee, as it turns out, is a good barometer of the meal itself.

dom's nom noms
i'm thrilled, first off, that my benedict is human in scale. too often, i'm confronted with something that looks like ostrich eggs layered on top of a half-loaf of bread, smothered in hollandaise sauce that outweighs me. eggs benedict, much like anything involving holandaise, is rich on its own. it does not need bulk volume to be hearty. instead, i get two small, round little eggs atop nicely trimmed english muffin toast with proper hollandaise [the consistency of a creamy sauce, not of microwaved cream cheese]. there is a helping of fresh fruit, not just a little garnish, but good-sized chunks of melon and citrus. lest you think that fruit is optional, consider the consistency of a benedict: even without ham, it's incredibly rich in oils; fruit adds an acidity that cuts through that, so that you won't end up breaking out in a sweat part way through your meal. the fact that it looks pretty is really just a happy coincidence.

there is also a healthy helping of house potatoes, which i nibble at, but can't finish. i nibble because every self-respecting brunch place in montreal has their potatoes, their own individual way of preparing this simple starch that stands as their personal twist. in this case, the twist is that the potatoes are prepared with salted herbs and while they taste scrumptious, i'm intent on saving my stomach space for the delightful eggs benedict.

aside from being served properly, dom's breakfast is a real knockout. it's the kind of platter that too often just gets thrown together, like it isn't deserving of respect. in this case, however, care has been taken to ensure that the meats are perfectly crisped [the bacon in particular gets a rave review], the little helping of beans are not just mushy things from a can but the real thing, properly simmered with sauce. the real star, though, is the crepe, so the separate presentation is actually quite appropriate. normally, dom never finishes the single pancake that comes with these breakfasts, but this one is the exception. for one thing, it's a crepe, not a pancake [the distinction is very important] and its lightly seasoned with cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. those two things mean that, rather than simply being a floury afterthought, this adds something to the enjoyment of the whole meal- balancing the salty, fatty and savoury [the house potatoes] elements.

the service is attentive and pleasant but in no way intrusive. our coffee cups are never entirely empty and the bill [about $38 including taxes and tip] comes at the right moment, without making us feel like someone is hovering over us.

les folies isn't doing anything exotic or groundbreaking, but who the heck wants exotic and groundbreaking for their first meal? these are tried-and-true staples, thoughtfully prepared and well executed.

les folies
701, avenue du mont-royal est
montreal qc
(514) 528-4343

making faces :: product review [mac "surf baby" collection]

surfer girl wants your brains...
if you've ever been listlessly flipping through the channels on a saturday afternoon, chances are you've come across one of those d-list movies from the sixties or seventies that tends to crop up when cable thinks nobody's looking. you immediately know when these films were made because they're all mounted against the stunning backdrop of california and because they all have this strangely "burnt" look, at once muddied and faded. [that's not just in your imagination, either. my resident film expert explains that in the post-techinicolour era, it took a while for people to get the hang of preserving films from oxidisation.] looking at mac's summer collection "surf baby", i'm reminded very much of that era. the colours, from the "zombie surfer" promo image to the products themselves, look like full-on summer brights that have been dirtied and muted just a little.

this isn't to say that the colours aren't bright- some of them very much are and i think that those who wait for summer to be able to pull out the colour stops will like what's on offer. but personally, i find that what works best about this collection is that the shades have a bit more dimension. i feel like this year's mac collections [especially in comparison with 2010] have left me wanting. none of them have inspired that childlike sense of wanting to play with the new crayons, but in this case, they really seemed to have returned to form.

i should mention that, as is generally the case with mac's summer collections, this one has a "colour" half and a "bronzing" half. the latter includes powder and cream bronzers and barely tinted lip balms, none of which are of any use to me. so there's a whole section that i'm not even going to touch on in this recap. i also didn't include reviews of the two eye liners and two nail polishes that are included, because i didn't really take the time to look at them. [that's not a negative review, either. in fact, they look very nice.] for my part, what i'm interested in is the colour part, which is in itself pretty massive. there are eye shadows, pigments [loose powders], a blush, lipsticks, glosses... all the usual staples represented and i think that there's something here to satisfy just about everybody. here's my rundown...

l to r :: bust out, hibiscus, swell baby, sun blonde, surf usa, saffron, my paradise

21 May 2011

making faces :: my date with guerlain

there's something about even saying the name guerlain that just seems elegant. and indeed, there is something about virtually everything released from the venerable perfume house [originally founded in 1828 and currently owned by luxury brand powerhouse conglomerate lvmh] that does seem to radiate an elegant, refined and delightfully [not off-putting] snooty air. they are a luxury brand among luxury brands and virtually everything that emanates from them whispers class, refinement and beauty. so when i found out that my local guerlain counter was inviting women to come for a makeover to celebrate the launch of their summer 2011 collection and their new rouge automatique lipstick line, i was quick with a positive response.

now, regular readers of this blog will note that i've already indulged in both of these collections. i picked up two rouge automatiques the week they were released and i treated myself to the stunning terra inca sublime radiance powder from the summer collection. but the fact that i'd already seen some of the goods didn't make the prospect of having one of their makeup artists use me as a canvas any less exciting.

guerlain is one of those brands that just consistently seems to get things right. i came to their cosmetics by way of their perfumes [as i assume many do], since i'm a long-time devotee of their mitsouko perfume [incomparable in every way] and dom swears by their vetiver for men. i'm pretty certain that fans of guerlain fragrance are lured into their cosmetics through one of two avenues :: 1. their "terracotta" line of bronzers which are apparently the be-all, end-all of bronzing for those who are into that sort of thing; or 2. their remarkable powdered eye kohl with its perfectly precise wand applicator and remarkable formula that seems able to resist even the dampest and most smudge-prone of water lines [mine].

SEE WHAT HAPPENED...

20 May 2011

friday favourites 20.05.11

i believe it's friday, but since i actually haven't slept in anything more than a 45-minute increment since the day you call "wednesday", i'm just guessing. i'm not going to do much of an intro this week because, frankly, if i can make it through typing this without hallucinating or having a seizure, i'll consider myself lucky.

i would like to send out just a little bad karma to my upstairs neighbours, who apparently thought last night would be a great time to host an all-night "check out our new rolling chair on the hardwood floor" party in the room directly above our bedroom. may you spend some time in a particularly loud circle of hell this week.

luckily, there have been more things that have made me smile in the last seven days...

don't call it a comeback :: even before the 2008 u.s. election [a black day for political comedians in general, i think], there was evidence that the one-two punch of the daily show and the colbert report was losing its, well, punch. politicians and the journalists who follow them just weren't as entertaining as they once were. perhaps it just seemed like they'd made their points as best they could and it was time to move on.

however, despite no longer having the world's easiest target at the helm, something has happened in the comedy central sweet spot between 11 and midnight monday to thursday. the laughs are back. in fact, i'd venture to say that the writing on the shows over the last few months has been as strong as its ever been, despite the removal of bush, cheney, rumsfeld and the rest of the wild bunch. of course, the shows' other perennial easy target have been stepping up their game, offering more and more and more material that begs to be satirised as well as offering possible republican candidates from their roster of hosts and commentators [ok, one down, but you-know-who hasn't said anything yet]. or perhaps it's because, as much as we might have hoped for "change", the fact is that a lot of the same people are in charge of things and they're prone to making the same stupid mistakes.

in the end, it doesn't really interest me why things with stewart and colbert have gotten so good again, i'm just happy to once again have their a-game to look forward to four days a week.

THERE'S MORE THAT MADE ME HAPPY, PLUS THIS WEEK'S KITTY PIC AFTER THE BREAK...


18 May 2011

the new hotness?

as is customary on wednesdays, i've posted the latest installment of my ongoing fiction serial. thanks to those of you who've been reading/ supporting it!

in related news, dom came up with a name that quite suits it [in fact, he has no way of knowing exactly how suitable] :: a definable moment in time. he even came up with some book cover art, which will hopefully be unveiled at some point in the near future.

and i have a question for those of you who have been following this story so far ::

how would you feel about me posting these installments twice a week rather than once?

i don't want to overwhelm anyone and i know that everybody has things to do, but at the same time, i want everyone to get new bits quickly enough to keep their interest piqued. let me know what you think.

also, since i finished up my "30 days of lips" challenge, i asked for something new and fun i could do that would get me to plumb the depths of my cosmetic stash. and one clever lady came up with a great one- going through the collection alphabetically. so now, you'll note that there's a "colour by letters" page link on the upper right hand side of this page, where you'll see over the coming days just how well i know my abc's.

my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who reads these posts.

17 May 2011

totally messed up tuesday :: are you a psychopath?

i tried linking to my result for this earlier, but it seemed to link to the parent site only... hopefully it works this time.

you can take the test at ok cupid of all places [because nothing goes together like psychopathy and dating] and find out whether or not you're one of the surprisingly high number of people who score as a psychopath but who function in everyday society.

here's my result [hopefully]. 

if that doesn't work, you can check out the google search results and take one of the tests offered to find out.

or you can just be all textbook about it and read the hare psychopathy checklist, which is how professionals determine psychopathy.

this was inspired by seeing a daily show interview with jon ronson on his new book, the psychopath test.

mental health mondays :: crazy money

as some of you already know, dom and i got engaged at a devo show in toronto in november 2009. we'd spent the hours before wandering around some of my old haunts from when i used to live there, trying our best to keep our spirits up despite the gloomy weather, we shuffled from record store to bookstore to clothing store to whatever we felt like exploring for most of the day. we'd gone into a video store on queen street so that dom could indulge his perpetual thirst for new cinematic titillation when we got trapped.

there was one narrow entrance to the store and standing in front of it was a derelict old man who was, hm, pleasuring himself, in the doorway in a most frantic fashion. he seemed quite agitated and determined [although i have to say his hands stayed mostly on the outside of his pants, so the whole display was pg rather than x-rated. because he seemed so worked up, we were a little uncomfortable leaving the store, since doing so would have forced us to pass within a few inches [go ahead, make a joke] of him. moreover, the only other person in the store was a fairly waifish young lady and both of us were a little reluctant to leave her alone with this guy getting so hyper in the doorway. so we stood and waited and at one point, i'm fairly certain i looked at dom and said "welcome to toronto".

you see, having lived in toronto, i wasn't entirely unfamiliar with this kind of thing. when i moved there, i was deeply, deeply creeped out by the fact that the downtown streets seemed to function as some sort of open-air psych ward. the stretch of queen street that passes in front of the city's best-known mental hospital was an encampment for the indigent insane, expelled from the facility proper with the decision of former premier mike harris to close large numbers of beds. these former patients have gradually moved on, spreading out all over downtown, but being in the city just after the bed closures was borderline tragic. they'd simply moved onto the street and stayed there, having nowhere else to go. they still don't, of course, it's just that they're not crammed into one or two blocks.

15 May 2011

making faces :: product review [mac "big bounce" shadows]

sheesh. with all the advance talk about these and the reviews from consumers, you'd think these shadows broke up someone's marriage. seriously, even the best products have their detractors, but i don't think that i have ever seen such universal distaste for something. i guess it's kind of reassuring to know that unanimity is still possible, even in the diversified world of the internet.

mac released these at the beginning of the month, along with a collection of coloured mascaras under the collection name "flighty". on the same day, they came out with a colour collection [one with no new products] called "fashion flower", which i reviewed previously. at the time of the launch, i'd already heard reviews of the new cream-mousse formula big bounce shadows that indicated that they weren't for me.

now, just to let you know where i'm coming from, i haven't used a cream shadow in about fifteen years. i don't like them as a rule, they tend to crease like crazy on my deep-set eyes and i dislike the sensation of having moist eyelids. so the negative reviews just reinforced what already made me skeptical. however, i got sample sizes of four of the colours and i figured, there are lots of things that i like even though a lot of other people hate them, so maybe i'll find out if there's a way i can make these work. the colours, after all, are simply gorgeous. mac really ran with these and released a whole palette of shades, even more than they did with their sumptuous "mega-metal" shadows that came out in january.

spread the wealth/ good fortune/ rich, sweet, luxury touch- direct light
i can understand their eagerness to get in on the market right away. in 2011, cream shadows went from being a niche product to "the new hotness", which meant that mac competitors nars, makeup forever and benefit had a serious advantage, since they already had cult favourite products on the market. on the high end, giorgio armani led the charge with their "eyes to kill" shadows, which are not creams but work more or less the same way and everyone else is now playing catch-up. guerlain has three cream shadows out with their summer collection and chanel apparently has some on deck for fall. so mac needed something that was new and they needed a good colour range to hold their own against those who already had a toe-hold.

ARE THE BIG BOUNCES REALLY THAT BAD? SEE THEM IN ACTION...

13 May 2011

friday favourites 13.05.11

the only friday 13th spookiness you'll be seeing here
you'd think that the first ever friday the 13th favourites would have to be different, creepy, dangerous. and you'd be wrong. this week was kind of startlingly average. a couple of beautiful days definitely made it nice to get outside. finding out that, despite having taking all the proscribed precautions, some asshat still managed to access our internet account and run up over $500 in extra charges [for which our supplier videotron politely but firmly insists, in the face of reason, that we are liable] was sort of a downer. i think i'd give videotron the money if they'd give me the exact location of the person that got into my account. however, since that isn't happening, i'm entering another telecommunications battle. just the thing i need, how nice.

in fact, it seems like the last little while has been particularly embattled. perhaps it's just that i've reached the end of my patience with a lot of things, which means that i'm reorganising those things into groups: what i can walk away from and what i have to deal with. there are enough of the latter that i have no problem sweeping a lot into the former. i guess "choose your battles" is great advice, but it isn't always practical.

well that's an all-out crappy way to start a piece about the things that made the week better. this is what happens when i'm cut off from my ranting outlet for more than 24 hours. the indignation just builds up and has nowhere to go. but if anything, that just indicates how important it is for me to take this time and think about good, positive things. [thank you, firemen, for choosing this moment to pause in front of my office window with your siren and horns blaring. deep breath. they're off rescuing someone. the system is working. happy thoughts.]

well dammit, let's get to the happy stuff.

ALL THE HAPPY STUFF IS AFTER THE BREAK, ALONG WITH YOUR WEEKLY CAT

making faces :: lips locked

mac :: mystic [the lipstick, not me]
well, the cycle is complete. if you've been checking in at on my 30 days of lips page, you'll note that yesterday was day 30 and i did indeed complete my objective to go a full month without a repeat- even including a couple of days where i changed makeup to go out at night. [i have to admit, one of those times i did it so that i'd be able to squeeze an extra look into the month.]

i could keep going, but i have a few new things that i'm really eager to try out, whereas i was trying to concentrate on the unsung heroes of my collection rather than the flavour of the week, which would be getting attention anyway. and i think that that's pretty much what i did.

a lot of the colours i selected have been with me a long time. i chose to end the experiment with my very favourite mac lipstick ever, mystic. it's a satin finish colour, meaning it's richly pigmented with just a hint of a sheen. the colour is a deep plum-red, not dark enough to be a really "vampy" shade, but quite intense. one of the things that i find makes it unique is the fact that, despite being a deep plum, it's not warm or brick-toned. rather than brown, it seems to have a little deep grey mixed in so that the colour stays comparatively cool. it does make a very nice nighttime shade, but i also find that it's conservative and classical enough for wear during the day or at the office. unfortunately, i guess i'm the only one who thinks of it that way, because mac has chosen to discontinue it, along with many of the satin finish lipsticks that have been part of their lineup for years. i guess that in comparison with newer, creamier, more lustrous formulas, those dusty old satin finishes just don't measure up. i wish someone had pointed out that most people are more concerned with the colour of lipsticks even more than the finish, and that it might be a good idea to make sure that you weren't removing a bunch of unique shades because the finish wasn't as popular. whoops.

can't keep a big mouth down

oh yeah, blogger's been off-line for about a day and a half, which means i have a great cauldron of ideas bubbling away that i'm simply dying to unleash on the world.

thanks to readers for you patience. stay tuned for a few posts coming in the very near future.

now let's all make a sacrifice to the gods of technology that blogger continues to stay with us and that those of us who need an outlet for their rantings will never again have to resort to subjecting our friends and loved ones to the constant pounding waterfall of our ill-considered opinions.

10 May 2011

making faces :: learn from my fail

it's happened to all of us. we think that we're doing a great job of giving ourselves a fresh, interesting look only to view the final results in the mirror and ask: what the hell happened?

i'm not a big one on making or following rules when it comes to what we do to our faces. i wore dark and/ or very bright colours even when i was platinum blonde, i do pair dramatic eyes and lips if the occasion warrants, i figure you can combine just about any colours as long as you have an idea of what the overall look should be. however, being adventurous and wanting to constantly try out new public masks means that i'm more prone than most to having my experiments go off-track.

and so, personally painful as this may be, i've chosen a few examples of things that i've done wrong in the hopes of illustrating what you should seek to avoid. prepare yourselves for the hall of shame...

DARE YOU ENTER THE HOUSE OF COSMETIC HORRORS?


09 May 2011

mental health mondays :: "psycho" therapy

is this your idea of "crazy"?
i originally had a different and equally valid idea for this week's mental health monday and i'll undoubtedly get to that some time in the not too distant future, but dom and i were watching psycho yesterday, in honour of mothers' day, of course, and i couldn't fail to note just how much that film is responsible for in terms of the popular understanding of what it means to but insane. everyone knew that deranged people could be dangerous [although, if you'll hearken back to last week's mhm, that is only rarely the case], but psycho was the first time when you had the confluence of an immensely successful film, modern pop psychology and a depiction of a central character able to interact to a limited extent with the outside world while still suffering from a severe mental illness.

to call attention to the clinical details of norman bates' shattered psyche, director alfred hitchcock chose to have a psychiatrist [or at least an actor playing one] give an explanation of what had happened- how trauma and guilt had caused part of bates' mind to divide from another, leaving him in a state where his body was alternately occupied by mild-mannered, socially awkward norman and his tyrannical, overbearing mother. the last shot we see of norman in the film, is of his expressionless face, with the voice of his mother having completely taken over, working to come up with a course of action for escape.

not everybody loves a winner

there has been a small change
i have to say, it felt fairly surreal last monday watching seat after seat in quebec get swept up in the orange tide. the rise wasn't as out-of -the-blue as some think; in the last federal election, the ndp finished a solid second, or at least made a decent showing, in a number of seats on the island of montreal. with the failure of michael ignatieff to capture the hearts or minds of quebeckers, there had to be some in the party who knew that there were a number of seats, either traditionally held by liberals [e.g., ndg-lachine] or where there was a solid liberal vote [e.g., jeanne le ber] that had large demographics with whom the ndp's message has traditionally resonated. that said, the absolute implosion of the bloc quebecois, predicted when lucien bouchard left the party to become quebec's premier, caught everyone by surprise. which is why, in a number of ridings thought to be bq strongholds, the ndp chose to field candidates more in the interests of having a name on the ballot than because they believed they had a serious shot at winning. things can sneak up on you that way.

in point of fact, virtually every time a part makes substantial gains in the course of one election, this happens. a lot of progressive conservative candidates in the 1984 general election, particularly those in quebec, proved that they were well short of ready to take hold of the reins of power. of course, the difference in this case is that the ndp aren't taking the reins of power. they'll be providing her majesty's loyal opposition for the next 4-5 years. however, there will also be a large onus on them to justify quebec's love, which means that their work on parliamentary committees and their interaction with members of their ridings will be crucial. don't forget, on the provincial landscape, quebeckers reacted to an unpopular leader by turfing out the parti-quebecois in large numbers and handing over the official opposition to upstarts action democratique de quebec. in the following election, the adq was obliterated and the pq now seems poised to regain power the next time we go to the polls. [could we please have a bloody moratorium on elections for a while, though? i moved back to quebec two and a half years ago and have voted four times. i'm done. i need a break. try governing for a while and get back to me in a couple of years' time.]

getting back to the subject at hand [yes, there is one], it's true that the ndp now have a caucus that includes a unilingual anglophone in rural quebec who lives three hours away [who's also a single mom and active in animal causes, helping find foster homes and shelters] and a 19 year old student from mcgill. this has the potential to go horribly, horribly awry. on the other hand, you could argue that the people who are there not exactly candidates for sainthood and having a diversity of ages, genders, economic backgrounds and cultural backgrounds would actually make parliament, well, representative.
 

06 May 2011

friday favourites 06.05.11

well now here's a conundrum. this is the day in which i look back at the week that was and think about the things that made it brighter, cheerier, what have you. unfortunately, this just wasn't a great week for that kind of thing. my week wasn't colossally bad or anything, there just wasn't a lot that stood out about it. the weather was mostly unpleasant, so there weren't any beautiful walks to remember or anything.

monday did see the orange tide wash over quebec, which was exhilarating, but it also saw the election of a majority government under the direction of someone was some pretty scary ideas about militarism, the [un]importance of the arts, women's rights and a number of other topics. this was largely determined by the suburban noose around the neck of toronto, where the conservatives' campaign of unbridled fear caused people to swing hard to the right, essentially agreeing to trade a lot of the services that we've come to expect for a $40 tax cut. bravo.

on the bright side, maybe my cell phone bill will now get cheaper.

IS THIS AS GOOD AS IT GOT? KEEP READING FOR MORE, PLUS YOUR WEEKLY CAT...

05 May 2011

dj kali & mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 04.05.11

well, it was another groovy get-down at the caustic lounge and, as always, great to see everyone come out. [meaning come out for the night... i'm not outing anyone. your secrets are safe with me.] despite a late start, things stayed hoppin until well later than we had intended... in fact, i've noticed that every time we do this, the end time creeps slightly later. by the end of summer, one would assume this will be an all-night event.

dj kali's poisonous potpourri

hilt :: birdwatcher
drahomira song orchestra :: came out of the earth
death in june :: love murder
severed heads :: gusests
zola jesus :: night
clock dva :: axiomatic and heuristic
novy svet + foresti di ferro :: sogni di piombo
blessure grave :: open or shut
cocteau twins :: wax and wane
tuxedomoon :: new machine
position parallele :: emission
xeno and oaklander :: saracen
devo :: snowball
cabaret voltaire :: yashar
klangstabil :: anti-communication
nightmare lodge :: negative planet

mr. dna's straight outta cbgb's set

talking heads :: new feeling/ a clean break
richard hell & the voidoids :: down at the rock and roll club
ramones :: do you remember rock n roll radio?
new york dolls :: jet boy
misfits :: some kinda hate
bad brains :: pay to cum
the cramps :: domino
suicide :: ghost rider
laurie anderson :: from the air
patti smith :: gloria
johnny thunders & the heartbreakers :: chinese rocks
dictators :: master race rock
television :: marquee moon
blondie :: [i am always touched by your] presence dear
the feelies :: everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey
devo :: gut feeling/ slap your mammy
the damned :: i just can't be happy today
sonic youth :: rain on tin
richard hell & the voidoids :: another world
suicide :: keep your dreams

04 May 2011

making faces :: product review [mac "fashion flower" collection]

first off, my apologies for not getting this up earlier. the collection has already been in stores for almost a week and i'd meant to recap my thoughts last friday, but things got a little crazy, the weather got nice for a couple of days [encouraging me to do things outside]... well, time gets away from you. at any rate, here are my thoughts on mac's latest colour collection.

"fashion flower" is what i would call the last of the spring collections. summer shades, replete with bronzers and glosses are popping up everywhere and the soft pastel tones of spring are making their quiet exit. since mac releases so many collections, they get one last group of colours out before they too, start stocking the shelves for summer [actually, in just a few weeks]. "fashion flower", though, is pure springtime, with soft, delicate hues and a palette that runs slightly, but not terribly warm. by comparison with the recently launched "quite cute", the colours here are a little more neutral, less girly. the two collections actually balance each other fairly well, to the point where i think that mac could have released them together as warmer/ cooler variations on a spring theme. together, i suspect that the collections would have had more of an effect than either on their own.

i don't think that this is a particularly strong collection on its own. while there are relatively few complete misses, there are a lot of re-promotions of shades we've seen recently and some repackaging of permanent or pro shades as well. even the new shades are usually reminiscent of something else we've seen recently. although the products are nice enough, i think that it lacks any real "must-have" items [there are a couple that are guaranteed to sell out, though].

SEE WHAT PRODUCTS STAND OUT AND SEE LOOKS USING THEM

03 May 2011

mental health mondays :: mythbusters edition

as i promised on friday, i am dusting off my beret and mustache and venturing into the land of myths regarding mental health and mental disorders. as with many things, the more something comes to the public's attention, the more bizarre stories start to circulate about it. so this week's post will try to get to the bottom of the top mental myths. [of course, this is not an exhaustive list of myths, but, you know, you have to start somewhere.]






SEE WHAT MYTHS ARE BUSTED AND MORE!


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