30 September 2011

friday favourites 30.09.11

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

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

without getting too petulant about it, i feel like that's something that i never had and as a result, i believe it's taken me a lot longer to find my way with what i love and a lot longer to build the confidence to chase my dreams. that's my cross to bear, but i think that it's important to remember the incredibly positive role one can play by encouraging others and making them feel as if they have something important to contribute.


MORE GOOD STUFF AND THE WEEKLY KITTY PIC...

29 September 2011

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

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

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

each "model" has her own miniature collection, the first a sultry set of darker shades and purples [and, to my eye, the only one of the three that is in any way autumnal], the second lighter, more pastel colours and the third a group of "ow my eyeballs" brights. so there's likely to be a little something for every taste included.

the strange part is that it's also likely that many fans already have the shades they want, since a lot of the collection has either been available before in limited edition or is part of the permanent line-up at their pro locations. [there's even a few shades snuck in from their regular permanent collection.] it makes for a nice opportunity to grab some old favourites and see things that you might have missed, but i have the feeling that people who have followed mac a long time are going to end up feeling a little left out.

MEET THE PRODUCTS...


dj kali & mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 29.09.11

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

mr. dna's double yr pleasure special ::

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

dj kali's wistfully random and strangely personal maxi-set [doubtless i'm banned from closing the night, since i obviously don't know when to say when in any context and went on an hour past when i was supposed to, but no one stopped me, so it's kind of ok, as long as you're not one of the people who was thinking they were getting off work at a specific time...]


coil :: be careful what you wish for
drahomira song orchestra :: came out of the earth
colin newman :: alone
the cramps :: goo goo muck
kip tyler :: she's my witch
siouxsie & the banshees :: israel
death in june :: to drown a rose
lassigue bendthaus :: velocity life
ultravox :: the thin wall
depeche mode :: ice machine
devo :: mongoloid
xeno & oaklander :: cold forever
download :: sigesang
venetian snares :: ongyilkos vasarnap
pimentola :: black globe
o paradis :: desnuda
deutsch nepal :: rapist park junction
esplendor geometrico :: bismi ilah
killing joke :: unspeakable
sleep chamber :: el topo
boyd rice and daniel miller :: cleanliness and order
attrition :: this girl called harmony
november novelet :: shouts of joy
reload :: mosh
clock dva :: nyc overload
derniere volonte :: ami
sol invictus :: hedda gabler
novy svet :: en possession de te

28 September 2011

consumption

 “A whole deer?”

Rhonda nods sagely, offering him more of her parsley tarragon potatoes. She gives him a little smile, pleased to see the look of surprise on his face.

“I didn’t go out hunting with them, but my Dad shot it and then we butchered it together.” His dull brown eyes get just a little brighter as she says this. It’s delightful. He can’t believe it. And, more to the point, she’s actually managing to pull this one over on him.

“I never pictured you as the butchering type.”

That’s not all he hasn’t pictured, but she’s not about to get into that now. He takes more potatoes. He loves her potatoes.

“This is amazing,” he enthuses. “Seems like the meat might have been a bit stringy on its own, but I love how you’ve done it.”

“Mm-hmm. It would have been a little dry, but hey, slow cooking anything helps get over that.”

“Well, if we have an entire carcass in the garage deep freeze, I guess it’s a good thing that I like it.” They both laugh at that one.

“How did your parents like St. Lucia?”

“They loved it. Said it was a really nice break.”

“And they were only home for the weekend, then up to open the cottage?”

“Mm-hmm.” No, they didn’t. They went straight from the airport to the cottage, but she’s not going to tell him that. She’ll need to keep him away from her parents until she’s figured out what to tell them.

He smiles slyly. “So what shoes were you wearing when you were doing your butchering? Did you break out a pair of Louboutins?”

“I wore rubber boots, thank you very much. Blood is tricky to clean.”

“I was thinking you might have got a new pair for the occasion. Saw a Saks bag in the garbage.”

“You’re snooping through our garbage? Fine, I bought a couple of pairs, on sale. I’m not asking you to pay for them, I just fell in love.”

It’s insane how much they talk about her shoes. His own collection- two at a time- speaks volumes about how little he cares what’s on his feet. Hell, his entire wardrobe advertises the fact that this is someone who does not put a lot of thought into aesthetics. Which is funny, because he always likes to be involved in redecorating the house. Rhonda has never quite understood the difference.

“I’m sure they followed you home.”

She gives the perfunctory laugh. He says this every single time she buys shoes. Every time, without fail. It’s not simply that they spend a lot of time talking about her shoes, it’s that they’re having the same conversation each time. Didn’t they used to talk about more things than this? Probably. When we had things we wanted to find out about each other.

27 September 2011

dream a little dream

can you feel the excitement? me neither
i've posted here before about different strange and wonderful dreams that i've had, both because i use dreams for inspiration in my writing and because i just find the brain's method of sorting through its trash kind of interesting as a phenomenon. no matter how weird or frightening my dreams have been, i have always found them somehow reassuring and not once have they ever made me wonder about my mental state. until now.

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

now i'm scared. exactly how brain dead do you have to be before your dreams become so banal you want to wake up just to change the channel? it's like my mind is literally finding stuff that's so boring they'll put me to sleep. which pretty much backs up my theory that my brain is pretty deeply disturbed, because it's obviously missing the fact that it's already asleep.

what's worse is that i can't even complain about this to anyone [except you, you're the only one who listens] because the rest of the world seems to think that having dreams about a life sharpening pencils and scooping poo is just fine. it's not fine. my brain has evidently exhausted its sense of wonder in the universe and is now pursuing its own fantasy of killing me through mediocrity. it's bad enough that i've been struggling with a persistent case of writer's block, but now my i'm denied the one recourse that has always been open to me when reality let me down? makes me want to take one of those dream pencils and stab myself in the ear to show who's boss. [probably another sign that i'm not well.]

what's next? i'm going to start daydreaming of doorknobs? an epiphany of ice cubes? i mean, sure, these probably all mean something, if you believe that symbols in dreams have immutable or at least culturally specific meanings [which i'm not sure i do], but am i the only one concerned that the extent of my imagination, when all the rules are gone and the limits are removed, is to sit at a table and sharpen an instrument that maybe five people use on a given day?


oh. i am the only one? well then. carry on. dream your huge, dazzling dreams of cars that turn into dragons or choirs of ancestral ghosts. i'll doubtless be folding blankets or something just as exciting.

26 September 2011

mental health mondays :: the art of madness

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


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

french artist jean dubuffet, who coined the term "art brut" and, along with andre breton, was responsible for drawing attention to it and building a permanent collection, described it as art that existed outside the pressures of culture and therefore as something which could never be assimilated by the mainstream [since the artists did not operate within the confines of the mainstream]. this differentiates it from art which challenges cultural norms, since such artists are aware of [and responding to] their predominant culture.

the difference between genuine appreciators of outsider art and a freakshow audience seeking a spectacle is a fine one and chances are that such artists tend to attract both, because what they do piques both our curiosity and our fears, showing us at once imaginative potential and the fragility the mind.

here are a few examples of art by the mentally disordered, from various backgrounds and times. i've focused on visual arts, since they're a little easier to include here...

louis wain, professional illustrator, later diagnosed with schizophrenia
 


adolf wolfli, the original outsider artist, a mental patient who inspired dubuffet
 

MORE AFTER THE BREAK...

25 September 2011

retroperspective

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

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

what i mean by the double-edged sword is what people usually mean when they use that expression: that it seems like all of my silver linings have had a pretty thick, smoggy grey cloud around them. i was starting to enumerate the modest accomplishments i've had in the last year and it seemed like each of them could, nay should be followed by the words "yeah, but..."

i'd be tempted to look for the year's silver lining and say that "at least it's over, but then i remember that speech queen elizabeth ii did at the end of the year back in the nineties, where she referred to her family's "annis horribilis" and then the next year was about a thousand times worse. there's no way that i'm inviting that on my head by assuming that i've left the woods.

so i'm simply going to concentrate on positive icons that i'd like to think will represent the coming year for me. like this guy:

 
suck my ash
what would be more fulfilling than rising out of whatever burning mess i've managed to create, reborn as an immortal and powerful being. that can fly.

or something like this:

without the beard
yeah, i want a year i can look back at and think that it was marked by by proud march over the bodies of the stupid, ignorant and generally annoying to ultimate victory.

at the very least, i'd like to be the one holding the sword at the end of next year.

and by the way, clouds don't have silver linings, either. even if i'd never been in a plane, i'd know that because silver is heavy and it would fall right through. so maybe this will just be the year that i stop using inappropriate expressions and i'll have to be happy with that.

oh and dom is playing the theme music to "the omen", while i'm typing this, because life isn't scary enough already.

23 September 2011

this is mine

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

friday favourites :: 23.09.11

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

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

so here are a few things that made my week more upbeat...

dexter :: how could i not love a show about a serial killer hunting serial killers? just the premise is so awesomely warped that it cries out to be watched. plus, it stars michael c. hall, who was really the only thing i enjoyed about the promising but ultimately over-rated "six feet under". this week, dom was finally able to get season five on dvd, after we'd both made a concerted effort to avoid knowing what was going on with the series [this is the price you pay for not wanting to wait a week between episodes]. how stimulating was it? we watched the entire season in one night, staying up until daybreak because we were so engrossed that sleep was a patent impossibility. i'm consistently impressed at how the show's writers, operating as they do within fairly strict confines, come up with story lines that are tense and compelling and at the same time, make the show so darkly humourous. i can't imagine how they're going to top this last season, although i say that every year and they generally confound my expectations.

MORE HIGHLIGHTS AND YOUR WEEKLY KITTY PIC AFTER THE BREAK...

22 September 2011

marcel duchamp descending a staircase

Dear Graham,

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

However, it behooves the editorial committee to explain our decision further. Palette is a journal of painting, examining in depth the history and present of painting as art form and we take our mission seriously. We believe that the arts have a far greater contribution to mundane life than that for which they are given credit. The arts in general are under constant threat from those who seek to denigrate the value of creativity in life and it is part of our mandate to protect the craft and gift we cherish from that attack.

It is not part of our mandate to aid in hurling of slings and arrows by presenting gossip as scholarship or by making mockery out of a piece that influenced so many and continues to captivate the imagination.

Furthermore, while we (with some reservations) encourage you to submit more work along the lines of our original proposal, we do want to warn you that our stylistic preferences tend towards the formal, the academic and not to the sort of personal “journal” style you seem to have adopted. Your own relationship with your subject matter may make for pleasant party conversation, but it does not make for a solid piece of research.

I am enclosing your manuscript and I wish you all the best in the future.

Best regards,
Mauice St. Germain
Managing Editor
Palette: A Journal of the Painted Canvas


MARCEL DUCHAMP DESCENDING A STAIRCASE
My experience with the origins of a masterpiece
Dr. Graham L. Kimberly

When I first set out to research the once infamous, now simply famous “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2”, I had expected to spend hours reviewing the notes Marcel Duchamp kept at the time he began his initial sketches for what would become a touch-point of the cubist movement (and would mark the culmination of his association with that movement). I had expected that access to recently unearthed papers, Duchamp’s de facto diary, would lead to a revelation on the mindset of this enigmatic, perplexing artist. Writing now, I am amazed at the extent of the revelation, but I am unsure of what my findings will mean to larger research on the subject.

First, I must thank Mlle. Matilde Proulx of Paris for allowing me access to the Duchamp journals and for serving as my translator while I did my research. Her assistance was invaluable and I believe her decision to make public the diaries that she had inherited from her mother will stand as one of the most important contributions to art history of the decade.



CONTINUED

21 September 2011

making faces :: product review [morgana cryptoria]

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

plumeria
plumeria
i can't quite remember how i came across morgana cryptoria, but i think it was just one of those internet coincidences, the end result of following one link after another until i ended up there. although the goth-inspired name made me think that the company was probably just another home operation peddling loose eye shadows, the glowing reviews their lipsticks received on line made me curious. most indie operations are not renown for their lip products, since those can be very difficult to make. and when i saw the daring and nuanced shades that they had available, i couldn't help but be curious.

19 September 2011

what just happened?

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

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

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

generally speaking, personality disorders are a group of symptoms established over the long term in an adult personality that affects or compromises an individual's thought patterns and interactions with and beliefs about the outside world. so what the hell does that mean?

I PROBABLY CAN'T ANSWER THAT QUESTION, BUT THERE'S MORE TO READ...

18 September 2011

mad love [movie review :: café de flore]


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

for a good portion of jean-marc vallée's "café de flore", the links between the stories are unclear, the timelines strangely distorted by a nonlinear plot and almost jarring edits. paradis is both fiercely protective of and strangely dependent on her son, the two of them lost in their own world, oblivious to everything that goes on around them. they communicate in their own sort of language, share the same experiences and maintain an enchanted sort of reverie despite their relative poverty and the stigma of being a single mother and a mentally disabled child.

in the present, we learn that antoine, far from being happy with all he has, is troubled by his own and his family's history of alcoholism and drug abuse and by the fact that he abandoned his wife, carole, a woman he had been with since his teenaged years when they both bonded over their budding passion for music, in order to pursue a relationship with rose, a younger woman [his current girlfriend] he met at an alcoholics anonymous meeting.

his ex-wife, we learn, is the dark-haired woman we see in strangely disembodied clips from the beginning of the film. she is still in love with antoine, still sees him as the boy she fell in love with, the only man she has ever loved and still believes that somehow, he'll return. she is plagued by terrifying nightmares that cause her to sleepwalk and drug herself to numb the pain. she also takes solace in esoteric subjects- reading books and consulting a medium.

16 September 2011

friday favourites 16.09.11

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

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

so that leaves me wondering what to write here. and i feel that i should write something, because, after all, i phoned it in on monday, which was actually the post previous to this. oops.

but the fact is that this week, i've felt fairly quiet in general, not in a depressed, sulky way, but simply from having little to say. perhaps i overdid it last week. there are things that i enjoyed, of course, but i feel like they're the same things i've written about here before. and, of course, i wouldn't want to be repetitive. 

i did make a very nice pasta vongole earlier in the week and one of the great things about the easing of the mercury is that i'm actually tempted to return to the stove, something i try to limit during the summer. cooking is something that i've really come to love, despite the fact that when i moved out of home, i was intimidated by anything that involved pots. as it turned out, i got over that fairly quickly and being at work in the kitchen has made me happy ever since. [except for having to clean up the mess afterward.]

i'm not a slave to recipes, but i do find that they can give me ideas, sometimes just by suggesting ingredients i don't know that well. probably my all-time favourite cookbook, one that i've had since i moved out [a gift from my mother, who was probably worried i'd starve to death] is 125 best meatless main dishes. the recipes are almost all winners [i found one that really didn't work for me, but that's it] and the flavours used are really original. i still go back to it regularly.
 

12 September 2011

mental health mondays :: mental health day [again]

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

something bad happens.

your brain can't quite deal with it.

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

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

the good news about ptsd is that, despite the fact that a majority of us will undergo some kind of trauma during our lives, only a tiny minority will actually develop a disorder as a result. it turns out that, appearances occasionally to the contrary, the brain is actually pretty good at dealing with the horrible things that can happen to it. the bad news is, the world is still full of the acute horrors that do actually cause the brain to start collapsing on itself like a dying star.

i chose to distance myself from the past week's reliving of the 9/11 attacks not because i found it stressful, but because i found it grotesque and exploitative. the psychological sciences haven't yet come up with a name for a mental disorder that drives people to use the most painful moments of others for their own gain- political, financial or otherwise- but the condition seems prevalent enough that it warrants being labeled. and studied. and fixed.

11 September 2011

strange birds...


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

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

for one thing, i believe that every bird in the western hemisphere south of the rio grande is now dead. or at least bald, because there is no way that removing that many feathers from the ecosystem can be offset. behold the wonders of the caribbean nations, central and south america, my friends:



 



BUT THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN ABOUT TRADITIONAL COSTUME...

making faces :: autumn additions [nars, guerlain]

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

my new gigolo
first up, we have one of three new rouge g lipsticks from guerlain that have launched for fall. a lot of the attention for this collection is going to go [with reason] to the new eye shadow quads which are replacing the ones that guerlain had had as part of their permanent range. those are beautiful, but i really have a weakness for deep, jewel-toned lips and the new shade "gigolo" is right up my alley. it's not dark enough that i'd call it a really "vampy" lip colour, but, like most of the rouge g's, it's incredibly saturated, rich and opaque. it's a reddened type of berry shade, almost literally the colour of raspberries on the vine.

SEE WHAT'S NEW[ISH] FROM NARS AND A LOOK FEATURING PRODUCTS IN ACTION...

10 September 2011

i am better than dick cheney

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

seriously, who would you rather?
as a[n unsuccessful] writer, it bothers me that people like this have automatic access to big publishers and budgets. it bothers me a lot more because this is a guy who should be facing charges, not being given a pulpit. the excerpts i've read from the book tell me that it is... a book, with words arranged into sentences with punctuation more or less correctly placed. i'm sure it will sell many more copies than i'll ever sell of anything and that it took him about as much time to write it as this self-serving blog post is taking me.

there are enough other things i want to read that i doubt i'll ever get around to reading through the dick-cronomicon, but i'm pretty sure it ends with him being fantastically wealthy and laughing at torture victims from a safe distance.

if you too would like to read something other than dick cheney, please feel free to check out the unfolding serial "a definable moment in time", which is updated tuesdays and saturdays. since blogger updated its interface, the formatting of pages has become much easier, which means that the page now has at least 40% less suck. at some point, i'll get around to re-formatting the whole thing, but for now, all the new installments are easy to read.

you can also check out other things i've written in past issues of paraphilia magazine. i have short stories in issues 8, 10 and 11.

or you could order yourself a copy of "interference" a collection of short stories published in 2009.

but are you bored enough to try this?

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

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

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

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

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

3. the average person has enough strength in their upper body to pull off their own head. i'd always thought of this as just a theoretical physics assertion, but the first time i told someone, i came across him ten minutes later, attempting to prove me wrong. or right. i decided not to ask.

4. you can't tickle yourself, no matter how ticklish you are. but i'll wait while you try.

5. your stomach acid can corrode razor blades. your throat, however cannot and it's important to remember that.

6. a standard lightbulb will fit in your mouth, but it's impossible to get it out. (note:: in one piece)

any other weird things you can (or can't) do with your body?

09 September 2011

mobile in montreal

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

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

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

friday favourites 09.09.11

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

finally! i've been waiting [im]patiently for months to be able to blog effectively from my phone. doing it through my browser has always been a pain in the ass, but up until this week, there was no blogger app for ios devices. now there is. i've just installed it and i think i'll be taking this weekend to get familiar with its possibilities. because you don't hear from me enough, people. now i can blog from restaurants, from bed, from bars when i probably shouldn't be anywhere near technology that allows me to communicate with other people [like my mouth]. i can blog from the shower. actually, scratch that. my phone warranty doesn't cover water damage. but anywhere else is fair game!!!

LOTS MORE AND THIS WEEK'S CAT PIC AFTER THE BREAK...

08 September 2011

dj kali & mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 2011.09.07

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

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

xtc :: travels in nihilon
hula :: at the heart
simple minds :: sweat in bullet
minimal compact :: next one is real
think i'm gonna dance now
pleasure leftists :: nature of feeling
tearist :: a to n
siouxsie & the banshees :: nicotine stain
clockcleaner :: missing dick
shockheaded peters :: blue rosebuds
minimal man :: showtime
ritualzz :: goth bb
sleep museum :: porcelain
cluster :: caramba
john bender :: 35 b1
herz juhning :: anorexia
liaisons dangereuses :: mystère dans la brouillard
divine muzak :: dreams size zero
le syndicat electronique :: on strike
severed heads :: spastic crunch
scum :: ocean of white
dive :: treasure
kiki mimieux :: yetti's revenge
einsturzende neubauten :: ein stuhl in der hoelle
novy svet :: en possession de te

mr. dna's back to school abc's of music...


sing along!
the velvet underground :: all tomorrow’s parties
devo :: bamboo bimbo          
suicide :: cheree          
prince :: darling nikki          
godheadsilo :: echo challenge          
boris :: farewell          
my bloody valentine :: glider          
novy svet :: h          
faust :: i've got my car and my tv          
stereolab :: jenny ondioline (alternate version)          
the jesus & mary chain :: kill surf city          
swell maps :: let's build a car          
future of the left :: manchasm          
soulwax :: ny excuse          
liquid liquid :: optimo          
add n to (x) :: plug me in          
the longcut :: a quiet life          
run-dmc :: raising hell          
public enemy :: she watch channel zero?!          
stunt rock :: tonight, every car is your car          
sonar :: up the wall          
geistform :: vector          
sebastian :: walkman          
afx :: xmd 5a           
lcd soundsystem :: yeah (crass version)          
mira belle :: z          

06 September 2011

just a nut on the family tree

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

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

i have to say that i haven't really met with a lot of success on that end, but i have managed to find out a lot about where i come from, both literally and figuratively. in total, i've identified over thirty family names* in my direct history [meaning only those that belong to parents- no aunts and uncles and cousins], going back up to three hundred years, without succumbing to the allure of paid sites like ancestry.com to do my research. and i intend to keep going until i run out of recorded history.

05 September 2011

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

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

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

the idea itself that talking about suicide will actually drive someone to commit it is, to my mind, something made up by people who wanted an excuse to avoid an uncomfortable conversation. there is no evidence to suggest that talking to people about suicide does anything to encourage them. in fact, it may allow them the chance to talk about their suicidal thoughts rather than acting on them. but with something as heavily stigmatised in religion and in culture as suicide, people are reluctant to bring up the subject.

there is also the old chestnut that people who threaten to kill themselves or who talk about killing themselves aren't going to do so. possibly 80% of those who later commit or attempt suicide give some indication, which would make talking about it in advance the most likely indicator of suicidal intentions. keep that in mind the next time you think someone is being melodramatic.

when suicide does get attention, it's often as an epidemic among young people. suicide does rank higher as a cause of death among young people, but that's largely because they're unlikely to die of other things such as heart attacks and cancer. statistically, in canada at least, the largest number of suicides are committed by people in their forties and fifties, which flies in the face of the idea that suicide is a phenomenon of youthful rashness [or elderly melancholy, for that matter]. those who are supposedly the most stable in their lives are actually at the highest risk. how come no one ever talks about them?

the rush to dismiss or ignore facts about suicide borders on the obsessive and points to a profound state of denial that there is a serious and growing problem. and as a result, the problem grows ever worse. the one thing that never seems to be discussed is that the best thing one can do is be vigilant about those close by and watch for signs that something may be wrong. we can theorise that those who commit suicide are selfish or weak, that they want attention, that they are beyond help or that they are damned, but what remains clear is that none of those ideas are making things any better. to borrow a slogan from a similarly stigmatised killer, silence equals death.

i was impressed by metanoia's page on suicide. lots of links for people in different situations.

03 September 2011

the end of the line?

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

no one needs to know that.

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

you understand? i need to believe that it's going to pass or i'm going to make a bloody, brainy mess everywhere.

01 September 2011

making faces :: season's greetings

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

not a wimp
i touched on this previously, when addressing the pain faced every spring by women [like me] who tend to go for the deep lips and smoldering eyes that require a a lower light level to really work [and by "work" i mean "not scare people"]. but now, as summer starts to fade, it's the time when we can rejoice. those whose comfort level runs a little more towards neutral and who feel best in the pastels might be a little nervous, but, really, there's nothing to be scared of. [except zombies. you should always be scared of zombies.] smoky eyes can be done in a variety of colours, even lighter ones, so that you can have the effect without the full-on drama. [i already talked a lot about smoky eyes.] deep lip colours can be blotted down to give a stain and eye liner can be smudged with a small brush or finger to gift a softer look. so, much like you start out wearing sweaters before pulling out the jacket, you can work yourself into the season.

personally, though, i'm kind of happy to be pulling out the burgundies, plums and berries [great, now i want pie] from their hibernation in my makeup drawer. so i thought i'd share a few looks that i'd been sporting recently that have a distinctly autumnal flair.

READ ON...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...