31 December 2011

2011 :: musical notes

when i was younger, i used to be able to do a top ten album list every year, without fail. in recent years, i really haven't found that possible, partly because i'm slower than ever to catch up on listening to music, partly because my tastes are so obscure that i often don't find out about music until it's a year or so old, partly because i think my standards were lower [in many ways] when i was young and partly because i am, undeniably, of an age where i don't have the stamina to keep up with all the latest trends and bands. sigh. there is nothing like music to let  you know that you're getting old.

slater's sons live at katacombes 28.12.11
of course, i still take some pride/ solace in the fact that my musical tastes continue to evolve and that each year, i do seem to make contact with a handful of releases that do make me perk up my ears. i make an effort to go to shows when i can and when it doesn't interfere with my nap and ovaltine schedule. and i do still try to keep abreast [sometimes both of them] of new musical developments. having the caustic lounge monthly helps me in that regard, although it does tend to push me in a certain direction [that direction being "music acceptable to play in public and be invited back"].

that said, a lot of what i get isn't new. in the days when i was doing a radio show, i felt more compelled to come up with new releases on a regular basis, since being on air weekly meant that my audience [such as it was] became familiar with what i was offering pretty quickly. doing a monthly slot doesn't carry the same weight, because a lot of times, people will have forgotten what they heard weeks [or even a few months] before and, more to the point, there is a lot more tolerance and even comfort in hearing something familiar in a public environment.

there are releases about which i'm curious that i haven't managed to get hold of yet. cut hands, the new project of william bennett of whitehouse is certainly something i want to check out. for that one, i can't blame anything but my own laziness.

current 93 released an album this year, but, having been bitterly disappointed with their last offering, i've been a little shy to approach it. i'll get around to it one of these days.

there are actually a lot of releases from this year that i haven't had the chance to listen to yet, and you'll forgive me if i don't list them all here. i will slowly get caught up, at which point i'll most likely be writing recaps of 2012 or 2013. 

 SO WHAT THE HECK DID I LIKE?

friday favourites 30.12.11

so this is how it ends... it's the very last "friday favourites" of 2011, which means i really should be reviewing my favourite things from the entire year. my friends, i can't say i'll miss this year very much, which is sort of frustrating, because i said the same thing last year, but i guess the good news is that i'm fully aware of the problems i have and the things that will eventually solve them, which is actually an improvement on last year, when i felt like things had been largely out of control.

[way to start a piece called "friday favourites", dumbass -ed.]

but the fact that i'm happy to be moving on to 2012 doesn't mean that there weren't parts of the year that i enjoyed greatly. in fact, there were several things that stand out. i've decided to divide my preferences into a few posts- this one is more general, but there will be separate ones dealing with music- and beauty-related things. i should have both of those ready for you tomorrow.

in world affairs, i've obviously been getting way more than my fair share of involvement out of the campaign for the republican presidential nomination. i see now that mitt romney and rick santorum are having their turn to surge, which i think means that romney is the new anti-romney. i'd like to thank all those of you who've followed me on twitter, both those who found me because of my incessant need to tweet the republican debates and those who stuck with me in spite of it. one of the things about insisting on indulging all my selfish interests is that i'm sure some people end up wondering what the hell they've gotten themselves into.

really, the biggest event for me was that, for once, i agreed with time magazine's choice for person of the year. well, it's been known to happen in the past, but i didn't expect they were going to go with my choice. then again, it's hard to ignore the power of the protestor and it's encouraging to see that, despite repression of varying sorts [depending on where in the world you're protesting], those voices are being heard and causing change. dom and i were at the vet's office having our little boy seth checked out [he has some occasional problems with asthma, like his mum] when we found out- via twitter, appropriately enough- that hosni mubarak had resigned, after weeks of insisting it would never happen. of course, there are still big problems facing egypt, but i can't help but admire that "ok everybody, back in the square" attitude that prevailed when things weren't progressing well or fast enough. it remains to be seen what will happen in egypt, tunisia, libya, syria, bahrain and across the arab world, but the most important element is that there are more voices being heard. [and, i should add, that holds true even when we don't like what's being said. the transformations of the arab spring will likely make things more delicate and complicated for governments in the west. such is the nature of democracy.]

on these shores, of course, we had the much maligned and misunderstood occupy movement, which strikes me as a sort of pan-movement, indicative of broad-ranging dissatisfaction rather than focused anger. that openness of message was often used against the protestors who marched, camped, fed and sheltered [remember those services the next time someone harps about how much the protests were costing- many of the people eating and sleeping at those camps would have otherwise been at municipal soup kitchens and shelters]. the protests in canada were generally defused when the camps were dismantled [sometimes with acrimony, but often, as here in montreal, with a remarkable sense of cooperation]. in the united states, they have moved to a new frontier, peculiar to their specific cultural situation- occupying homes foreclosed on by banks who received billions in taxpayer funds after having blown up the economy in 2008. the more attention shifts to scenes like these, the harder it is for bitter conservatives like newt gingrich to laugh off the voices of the people by saying that all they need is a bath.

i think i was especially relieved to see these sorts of protests, because they showed how such things can be done well- unlike events in england which saw people targeting such corporate monstrosities as an independent record company and a multi-generational, family-operated furniture shop. way to stick it to the man, guys.

i don't feel any great sense of encouragement when i look at the governments of either the united states or canada, but i am hopeful that the badness of the times will encourage more people to speak up about the obvious inequities of the financial and political system, which perpetuate gross inequalities.

well now that's a bit heavy for a friday night, isn't it?

on a personal level, although i think i could have done better, there are a few accomplishments i'm proud of. i was really happy to be able to envision and create a short film earlier this year, something i didn't know how to do until, well, until i did it.

although i would like to have written more, i am pleased that i got back into publishing "a definable moment in time" [which got its name this year, thanks to dom], especially since it's encouraging me to finish a project i've been working on for a few years.

i was very happy to get the opportunity to do a regular dj night [the first wednesday of the month, if you've been wondering], especially since the folks at cagibi are so lenient with what i can get away with. i've been very appreciative of those who have come to those nights and who have taken the time to ask about what was played or just to say that they enjoyed it. plus, of course, i've had the opportunity to do other nights, including a couple of returns to the radio waves, something i'd not done in years. these things have brought a lot of smiles to my face.

i'd also like to add that, on the level of personal satisfaction, this blog ranks really high for me this year. although i started blogging here in 2005, my efforts had always been sporadic. this year, since i had more time on my hands than ever, i decided to really see what i could accomplish. 2011 has seen more posts on a wider variety of topics than any year previous. there has been more traffic- far more- than ever. i have received more feedback through comments here, on facebook, on twitter or through other means and that has been an amazing source of encouragement. i think it's telling that the most popular posts for 2011 include ones on the subject of cosmetics, politics and mental health. i'm aware that what i do here- maintaining a blog that features my blah-blah on any number of topics- is a little confusing and can be difficult to follow, but i'm happy that there are those who have chosen to follow, if not every post, then at least from time to time.

i am indebted to you all for your interest.

a few weeks ago, i indicated that i was going to be playing around with different layouts and, indeed, i did. here are a few of them:






if you missed me trying out the new "dynamic" layouts, it's because "dynamic" turned out to be a code word for "bollocks". the layouts that i tried were all sort of interesting to look at, but they were incredibly difficult to follow. it wasn't clear where old posts were located, everything in my side bar disappeared and the instructions on how to get things working again were predicated on going to a page that no longer existed as an option within blogger. so, i went back to a standard layout, being mindful of those who'd told me that my previous layout was making them blind, and tried a slightly different colour scheme. i'm still not sure that i'm crazy about it- there's something about the old grey-on-black that was more "me" [i.e., difficult to make sense of -ed.], but i am very happy with the cool new banner that dom designed for me. so at least that'll be a sharp new look for 2012.

i hope that 2011 has been a fulfilling year, but if, like me, you have had a rough time of it, i'd like you to all follow the example of hecubus below: put it behind you and look forward.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

30 December 2011

tickling your fancy?

i came across this article on the bbc yesterday, which you can read, or i can summarise thusly:

it's about scientists in england tickling animals as research.

ostensibly, they're researching how laughter evolved and while i'm sure that in some cases, laughter is indeed the best medicine, i have a feeling that this will not help them cure cancer any time soon. i'm trying not to be judgmental, because damn, the videos are cute, but it does raise some questions for me.

first of all, i don't need scientists to tell me that animals are ticklish, because i have arthur and the few times i was daft enough to try to brush his belly fur, he demonstrated in no uncertain terms that he was not into it. he used to play this horrible prank of rolling on his back and showing said belly as a temptation to touch him, but it was actually just a horrible trap that resulted in the loss of a few friends. [meaning they stopped visiting, not that he killed them. as far as you know.] it was several years before i mastered the technique of rubbing him with enough force that it didn't tickle and from there, things were much better. so yes, animals can be ticklish and, like a lot of humans whose name starts with kate, they aren't particularly fond of being tickled.

second, i'm not sure where i should stand on this issue with regards to animal research. after all, i'm opposed to animal testing and i try to advocate for alternatives wherever possible. and technically, this research involves little except animal testing. but when i think of the sort of things i oppose, giving hugs and tickles isn't really what i had in mind. i mean, the whole point is to study the evolution of something that indicates happiness. well, laughter can also indicate nervousness, i guess and maybe there's a second study involving placing a rat and a new mate in an enclosure with his previous mate and twelve of their babies where they see if he starts to titter, but i haven't read about that one yet. so i'm not sure if this really meets the definition i had in mind for animal cruelty.

third, i get the feeling that people who went into the sciences are just constantly thumbing their noses at those artsy fops who decided to do things like comparative literature or philosophy degrees, the ones who didn't want to be restricted by the regimens of science. now, all of a sudden, all those guys who were rushing to their labs in university, while we snickered at the fact that we had half the class work that they did are getting back at us by demonstrating that they can come up with jobs that are cooler than we ever dreamed of. "you ended up working in an office? haha, biatch, i tickle animals for a living!"

i'm never going to have a job that cool.

29 December 2011

dj kali & mr. dna @ le ska des fêtes 28.12.11

one of the nice things about knowing people whose musical experience branches off from your own in certain places is that one of them will occasionally call on you to do something outside of your comfort zone. now, a punk/ ska set isn't strictly speaking something that i am unfamiliar with, but i'm used to including those things as part of a larger set that tends to lean more quirky unpop/ post-punk/ cold wave/ industrial... of course, in years past i've also done a number of noise/ power electronics sets and even techno back in the old days [which, ironically, were the young days]. but i digress...

anyway, props to mr. dna, who truly owned the evening, because he knows this stuff better than me and thanks very much to fred @ rude mekanicals for including me in the fun. it was a great chance to check out some local rising stars [vinny savage, bluff and the always amazing slater's sons] and take on a new challenge [although you'll note that i pretty much reverted to form in my last set].

dj "ska-li" sets are numbered and mr. dna sets are lettered, so you can tell them apart.


a skankin' holiday

1 ::
teenage head :: disgusteen
dead kennedys :: halloween
bow wow wow :: c30 c60 c90 go
the jam :: in the city
joy division :: walked in line
the clash :: clampdown
the selecter :: missing words
the spanishtonians :: suffer me not
wire :: i am the fly
the cramps :: human fly
the flesh eaters :: satan's stomp
leeroy bowman and the arrows :: graveyard
the specials :: ghost town
the tartans :: comin' on strong
talking heads :: psycho killer
sleep chamber :: the light pours out ov me
berurier noir :: les rebelles
killing joke :: psssyche
gangrène :: lulu
the slits :: typical girls
the specials :: doesn't make it all right [live] [also known as "i started the wrong track... guess i'll roll with it"]
the specials :: friday night and saturday morning
wall of voodoo :: they don't want me
ice :: skyscraper

a ::
scientist :: dance of the vampires
fishbone :: party at ground zero
mano negra :: mala vida
nofx :: kill all the white man
the vandals :: let the bad times roll
reel big fish :: nothing

2::
iggy and the stooges :: search and destroy
stiff little fingers :: roots, radicals, rockers & reggae
black flag :: loose nut
dead kennedys :: moon over "oh hey, the band has started playing... guess i should stop now"

b ::
me first and the gimme gimmes :: blowing in the wind
the vandals :: don't stop me now
rocket from the crypt :: stuck in the middle / born in '69
supernova :: vitamins
goldfinger :: question
nomeansno :: it's catching up
nwa :: straight outta compton
ramones :: now i wanna sniff some glue
hanson brothers :: i'm gonna play hockey
the reverend horton heat :: five-o four
dead kennedys :: too drunk to fuck
bad brains :: pay to cum
minor threat :: filler
the middle class :: out of vogue
run dmc :: run's house
the slits :: i heard it through the grapevine
the clash :: police and thieves
the beat :: tears of a clown
specials :: too much too young
oingo boingo :: violent love
fishbone :: i wish i had a date
minutemen :: this ain't no picnic
descendents :: myage
nofx :: bob
the vandals :: I've got an ape drape


3 ::
not to be silenced...
dead kennedys :: moon over marin
the clash :: spanish bombs
tuxedomoon :: no tears
six finger satellite :: baby's got the rabies
devo :: signal ready
perverse teens :: la baboute
human hands :: i got mad
the english beat :: mirror in the bathroom
razor x feat. cutty ranks :: slew dem
novy svet :: en possession de te

note :: images are all taken from the john fluevog web site, including selections from the user-created ad art gallery. they are reused here with love and respect, as all images should be.

27 December 2011

making faces :: mac + guinness- a match made in kate's personal heaven?

when i first heard that mac cosmetics was doing a line with beer heiress daphne guinness, i had this wonderful idea where, if you bought two or more items from the collection, you'd get a free 4-pack of her tasty, tasty brew, provided you had some sort of i.d. to prove it wasn't illegal for you to get one. sadly, that didn't come to pass and the aesthetic and alcoholic parts of my personality were forced to remain separate. i still think that the promotion would have encouraged people to buy more. as would plying them with guinness at mac stores, but for some reason, no one ever takes my brilliant marketing campaign suggestions.

this actually isn't the first time daphne guinness, who seems to be best known as a style icon, has paired up with a cosmetics company. she was actually the face of nars' fall 2010 campaign, which introduced [among other things] the eponymous "daphne" eye shadow, an intense royal purple shade. i'm assuming that the purple was something she inspired, because her collection with mac also shows a preference for cooler, violet tinged tones across the board. those with more golden-coloured skin are going to have a tougher time making these products work. for my part, it's a colour palette i love- greys and purples and cooler pinks. sorry golden girls, but remember that pretty much every other collection ever launched will suit you. give us pasty ladies a chance.

the collection mixes new and re-promoted shades in a way that i like. i think that there's a good balance between new things to try and limited items that people have been hoping to see again. [rumour has it that mac will be doing a collection entirely of favourites you might have missed at some time this year. i suspect it'll be their best-selling collection ever, given the hype around some of the hard-to-find mac items from history.]

unfortunately, the thing that i was looking forward to the most turned out to be the collection's biggest disappointment, the "interior life" eye shadow quad. a mix of icy pink, mauve, grey and midnight blue [the latter, heather belles, being the only re-promoted shade, from one of last year's holiday palettes], it's the sort of thing that i figured would be a no-brainer. except that the q.c. team assigned to this item was evidently made up of no-brainers. that sounds harsh, but as a long-time fan of mac's limited edition quads, i've been incredibly frustrated by the decline in quality this year. i bought almost all the ones that came out last year and i'm happy with every single purchase. this year, the quality has been shockingly weak, with only a couple of exceptions. pull up your socks, mac!

there are some good parts to the collection, most notably the return of the blush ombres, a silky, buildable blush with a gradient of colour in a pan large enough that you can choose from either side or swirl them together.

 
azalea blossom
vintage grape


26 December 2011

making faces :: my christmas face

one of the nice things about having a fairly extensive family of in-laws is that this time of the year affords me a lot of excuses to get myself gussied up. although many of us wear makeup or put some consideration into how we look every day, there are always times when a sense of occasion makes us take just that extra bit of care and the holidays are certainly one of those times [or, in my case this year, a few of those times].

this isn't really an opportunity where i want to look all vegas-showgirl [actually, there aren't really any times when that's what i'm going for, which is just as well], but i did use it as an excuse to trot out a few past favourites and a new friend...

most of the eye shades come from the spring colour forecast 4 quad released by mac in 2010. i'm normally not a great fan of spring collections, at least not the way i am of fall collections, but this was one where mac really hit it out of the park. built around four shades- pink, coral, plum and amber- it was huge and had a shockingly high percentage of quality products. strangely, i'd figured the shades used here would be too warm for me, but it's turned into one of my most frequently used items. i actually credit this quad with teaching me that gold, copper and bronze shades look really strong with blue eyes, because of the contrast they create.

one quick note about the photos- although i did do a sort of "doll cheeks" effect with the blush, i find it looks much more pronounced in the photos that it did in real life. i have no idea how that happens, or why. my camera has a mind of its own and evidently, it's a fairly creative mind.

products used

face ::
mac prolongwear foundation "nc15"
dr. hauschka concealer "01"

eyes ::
mac e/s "manila paper"* [warm ivory]
mac prolongwear e/s "one to watch" [peachy brown]
mac e/s "aztec brick"* [soft copper]
mac e/s "creole beauty"* [rich medium brown
mac fluidline "blacktrack"
guerlain kohl "black" benefit they're real mascara

cheeks ::
guerlain blush g* [bright coral pink]

lips ::
chanel rouge allure velvet "la sensuelle" [deep cool red]

*suggested alternates :: manila paper = mac nylon [yellower and frostier] or mac dazzlelight [lighter and cooler]; aztec brick = mac amber lights; creole beauty = mac antiqued; blush g = benefit bella bamba [warmer, less pink]

happy holidays to everyone!

24 December 2011

is this really what you want?

this actually raises other questions i'm likewise unable to answer
i was just perusing my google analytics to see who's been checking this spot out and how they've come to be here.

the most common ways for people to arrive here are fairly obvious- looking for a picture or review of a particular cosmetic product [happy to oblige], looking for a download of a particular album [sorry] or- less frequently than before but still prevalent- looking for dirt on bell canada and stumbling across details of my epic battle. although that battle has long passed, i'm happy to say horrible things about the company at the least provocation, so feel free to provoke me.

however, there are also some slightly stranger ways in which people find this blog. for instance, every day, i get someone who searched for "hooded figure" stumbling upon this post. and while there's not a lot of sense to most things here, that is an especially strange introduction. i wonder how many of them actually come back. [i should also add that if i search for the words "hooded figure", that post doesn't turn up.]

lately, this post has been getting a shocking amount of traffic, especially when you consider that it has to do with an election that happened in the first half of this year. i suspect that traffic is directed there from people looking for an unbelievably adorable photo of a baby seal and, yes, his photo would win anyone's heart.

back when i was doing mental health mondays, i used to get a lot of hits from people looking for drugs- information on them, yes, but often looking to buy them. i'd like to state officially that i don't sell drugs through this blog. [although it might be a way of boosting my income.] terms related to mental illness are also popular routes here ["anorexia" and "dissociative identity disorder" are the all-time most popular search terms leading to this blog.]

however, there are some methods of getting here that i just don't understand. and some of those make me deeply uncomfortable.


DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?

23 December 2011

i'm still waiting for when we look back at all that and laugh

"kiss my ass, history!"
when i was in grade eight, we used to have a weekly period in school where we were just supposed to sit and read. if we didn't bring a book with us [i.e., if we were too thick to figure out that we could use the time to read stuff we were assigned but didn't want to bother with during our free time], we were told that we should just put our heads down on our desks and nap. i'm not making that up. it's what we were told to do, a rule obviously invented by someone who had never seen what happens when you close your eyes in a room full of thirteen year-olds.

one week, i decided to use this forty-five minutes of "quiet" time to write something and, since i'd been watching a lot of the station called "cnn", which was new to my house, i decided to make it a political parody, i wrote a little jingle [to be sung to the tune of "she'll be coming round the mountain", which also makes excellent backing music for the poems of miss emily dickenson] about ronald reagan and how he was hell-bent on bringing the world to nuclear destruction. it was kind of funny, for something written by a thirteen year-old and to get some sense of peer affirmation, i slipped it to my best friend to read.

she read it, laughed and got spotted by another bored classmate, who wanted to know what was going on. so then the paper with my protest song got passed to her. and then to another person and another and then people started adding their own verses and then more people wanted to look at it and, well, you can see where this is going. the problem is that once something starts to pique interest, silence goes out the window and i believe that the only purpose of "reading period" was to make us all try our best to shut the hell up for forty-five minutes.

my homeroom teacher, a rather unpleasant character called mr. wilson, who i swear i will punch in the nose if i ever see him again, confiscated the offending document and that was the last i ever saw of it. but for that afternoon, i was a political hero [which was kind of amazing, since i was one of the least popular kids in the school and when i said my "best friend" earlier, i really meant "only friend"]. i had mocked ronald reagan and his tunnel-vision cold war policies and, although some of the kids in my class insisted i was some sort of communist traitor, it made me feel very important to have gotten people talking.

my point- yes, there is one- is that at thirteen, i'd managed to figure out that ronald reagan's politics were extremely divisive and quite likely dangerous. and yet every time i tune into one of the republican presidential debates, each of the candidates talks about ronald reagan the way that most people talk about mother theresa. i've followed campaigns before and, while i know that republicans have always expressed an admiration for reagan, this sort of genuflecting is not something i've seen before. and it raises many questions.

actually, it raises just one question: why?


friday favourites 23.12.11

it's the penultimate friday of the year and, like a proverbial christmas miracle, we've just gotten a light dusting of snow in montreal. personally, i've never been preoccupied with the need for a white christmas, mostly because i realise that there will be plenty of opportunities to see snow over the next few months. like in april. but i know that you're supposed to have snow in time for the holidays and as long as there are big white fluffy flakes coming down, it generally means that it's not so cold that you can't breathe. and that's always a plus.

so for this week, i decided to dispense with my usual humbug and make myself confront the hidden truth: there are things that i actually really like about this time of year. i'm normally the kind of person who gets frustrated by this season- the endless exhortations to buy, the phony sentiment, the experience of traveling [something which i'm happy i haven't had to do in a few years] all set to a soundtrack of the corniest, cheesiest, most irritating music ever composed... it can all get a bit much. but that doesn't  mean it's all bad. so here goes...

christmas greens :: i really like the tradition of adorning the house with various sorts of evergreens. the tree, yes, but wreaths and boughs and such just immediately perk me up. of course, i was late off the mark this year and didn't get a wreath [i was being picky and then the next thing you know, everything was sold out...] so i have to live vicariously through those on my neighbours' doors, but that's ok. in fact, it's really not much different than having one myself, since i wouldn't get to appreciate mine once i was inside anyway.

i do love decorating the place with simple branches and boughs, which are something i can enjoy inside and which are so enjoyable not just because they look nice, but because of the heavenly scent that they impart. both dom and i are very scent-sitive types, always burning incense, having baths, trying fragrances and both of us agree that the fresh and deep perfume of evergreens- fir, spruce, pine, cedar- is always a winner.

lights :: although they can get overdone, when christmas lights are done well, there's little that's as pleasing to the eye. in fact, i've determined that if i didn't have to do things like read and see, i'd just light the place with arrangements of christmas lights all year. montreal generally does an extremely tasteful job of illuminating itself, which is just one more reason to go strolling through the streets of this exquisite city.

ghost stories :: this is actually a tradition i'd like to bring back from the grave [yukyuk], one that apparently stems from the victorians, who were so repressed that they liked to make everything gloomy. although our modern [american] culture dictates that the time of the year for ghost stories is a few weeks earlier, at halloween, the victorians enjoyed gathering around a great blazing fire [normally in a fireplace] and tell terrifying tales to children, in order to ensure that they proceeded to adulthood with the proper level of psychological scar tissue.

sadly, this is a tradition that has waned over the years, possibly due to the fact that fewer and fewer homes have real story-telling fireplaces and possibly due to the fact that if you want to frighten your children, you can just read them newspaper articles.the tradition has "died out" [stop with the puns or you'll get to be a ghost for xmas -ed.] so completely that few people even realise it was a tradition. although there is one glaring example of a yuletide ghost story that we have crammed down our throats with extra gravy each year.

but i think that the long hours of darkness, the barren trees and moaning winds could not be more appropriate for gothic tales of visits from beyond the grave and i encourage everyone to indulge their urges to celebrate family by ensuring they don't get a moment's sleep over the holiday season.

the feast :: under normal circumstances, i rarely cook or eat meat, but for some reason, i get really excited over the prospect of doing the big traditional holiday dinner. i've always enjoyed cooking and somehow this has morphed into a real preoccupation with some type of yuletide food-fest. i think that part of the preoccupation comes from the fact that, up until a few years ago, i was only rarely in my own home to prepare a dinner, so it was an unusual event that i got to do the cooking.

in recent years, it has become an annual tradition and last year, i even had a proper crowd- me, dom, my mother and dom's parents- so that there weren't two months of leftovers in the freezer afterward. this year, it'll just be the two of us [me and dom] and a scheduling glitch means that we won't be having our dinner until a couple of days after the "proper" date, but dammit, i'm still cooking dinner.

the cleaning right hundred dishes part that comes subsequently doesn't make it to my favourites list, but i can say that i do ultimately feel like it's worth it. i'll try to remember to post the menu and photos. [note: i've actually gone out on a limb this year and have made up a couple of the recipes i'm using. so when i post said menu and photos, you'll know that i didn't kill anyone.]

rarest of the rare :: normally, holiday themed ads annoy the piss out of me, but every now and again, there is one that gets a legitimate chuckle. this one, for local telecommunications provider videotron has been in such heavy rotation that it should make me want to throw things at the screen, but, perhaps because i've gone through a lot of holidays with the ooh-ing and ahh-ing on cue, i simply continue to giggle to myself. [this ad is infectious, too. we were at my almost-in-laws for a gift exchange last week and everyone was imitating this ad when each present was unwrapped.]



thanks, as always, for reading and i do hope you have a happy holiday. i was going to post a photo of the cats in santa costumes, but they let me know in their own subtle way that if i tried to dress them up, i would have to add "a new right eye" to my christmas wish list. so here's a more dignified photo... well, kinda...





21 December 2011

making faces :: ooh, sparkly!

people have very mixed feelings about sparkling. that's not just a "twilight" thing, either, although that's certainly made the debate a little more contentious. on the one hand, there's the fact that people who sparkle can look a little weird- which is sort of the crux of the "twilight" bit, as i understand it- and decidedly unnatural. on the other hand, our eyes are naturally drawn to things that have sparkle because they stand out. but at this time of year, it seems like the message to women everywhere is that you're supposed to sparkle, because if you don't, you'll get lost in the long hours of darkness that mark the winter solstice.

i'm a little long in the tooth [which is kind of an odd expression, since teeth tend to get worn down with age] to get away with anything full on glittery, but i do still enjoy having a bit of lustre from time to time. here are a few of the things that help me scratch that itch [without causing other itches, which is sometimes a problem with sparkly things].


armani eyes to kill shadow #19 :: i completely adore these little pots of awesome that come in a dozen colours as part of the regular armani line. you can read my original review here, where i talked about "lust red". since then, i've added "pulp fiction", an dark, earthy cool silver and "purpura" a mix of gold and royal purple that is unlike anything i've laid eyes on before.

this is the sort of product that gives me a childlike sense of wonder and joy, because it feels like a cream, applies like a cream, but it's clearly a powder. you can apply it wet or dry and, apart from a few stray sparkles on first application [that are easily brushed away], it doesn't get everywhere and it stays put like it's fused with your dna. 

for the holidays, armani has released three new, limited shades that are a slightly different take on the formula. these ones seem to have less of a strong base colour and more shimmer. the powders are even finer than the regular ones and have even more sparkle to them. there's a soft gold, a bright silver and then there's #19, a pure platinum that combines the two. there's something about this sort of shade that makes me think immediately of the 1930s and art deco, when platinum and white gold suddenly came to prominence [both as a metal and a hair colour]. this shade probably isn't something you're going to wear to the office- even more so than the regular eyes to kill shades, which are all a bit "dressy" to my eye- but it's definitely the sort of thing that will brighten your regard at a soiree.

FOLLOW THE SPARKLY PATH...


20 December 2011

stuff i want for christmas [that only santa can bring me]

while i'm always uber-grateful for the things that i get from friends and family [and dom, who is both of those things, but also more], each year i have a holiday list of things i'd really, really like to get, but which no one is going to be able to deliver. unless santa is real. and even then, i'd like to see how he fits them into his sack.

frothing with perversion
a rick santorum gay sex scandal :: tell me that you aren't thinking about the near-inevitability of this every time the guy appears on screen. that combination of uncomfortable tight-assedness and ignorant hatred is almost always a sure sign of some really weird skeletons in the closet.  and let's face it, when the iowa caucus happens on january 3rd, santorum is going to be the one on the chopping block, so we don't have long before he'll be out of the spotlight permanently. the only candidate who fares worse in iowa polls is john huntsman, who has let it be known that he could care less if the entire state of iowa gets taken into space as an alien holiday present, because he's all about new hampshire. [as an aside, does anyone else think that kim jong-il is the best thing that has happened to huntsman's campaign? after months of struggling for coverage, huntsman has suddenly become the beneficiary of hours of network news coverage, since he seems to be the only person in america who knows anything about north korea that didn't come from team america: world police.]

a job i could love :: i've mentioned before that i am in the process of looking for a job. it's kind of a depressing thing to be doing and about the only thing that's more depressing than being out of work is seeing the kind of jobs that are out there. i'm not being intransigent either. a couple of the places i've gone for a meeting in recent months have been notable chiefly because they've ended with me offering to leave samples of antidepressants i have in my purse. i'm pretty eager to find something that guarantees a regular paycheque, but even i have my doubts about going to work somewhere that has motivational posters like "abandon hope all ye who enter here" and "arbeit macht frei".

i've been lucky with my last couple of positions, except for the fact that they were fixed-term contracts, in that the places where i was working were fairly well-balanced and weren't inordinately stressful. it's funny, because sometimes my coworkers there weren't aware of the fact that these places were fairly low-stress. because they hadn't shared some of my more interesting work experiences, such as:

- having to stay at the office until six a.m. making alterations to a presentation, then getting criticised for coming in at 9:30 the next morning.

hell, i do this for free on the metro and bus
- receiving a hysterical, all-caps email from a company owner on boxing day accusing me of slacking off [with many other people copied] because i hadn't answered a question he'd asked the day before. for those of you unfamiliar with the term boxing day, it's the day after christmas. 

- getting chased around my desk [literally] by my boss's good friend.

- having my head pounded into a wall by an irate supplier who hadn't been paid for his work on the building's heater and had come back to start pulling the heater apart. followed by my boss telling me [once he'd arrived] that it was partly my fault because i shouldn't have let the supplier in [despite the fact that i'd met him several times and had no reason to disbelieve him when he said he was there on business].

when these are the standards by which you measure a working environment, anything that doesn't result in a trip to some kind of hospital is acceptable.

but- and i say this knowing that beggars aren't supposed to be choosy [although, if you've ever tried offering them something to eat, you know they can be]- i'd really like to be able to find something that isn't just acceptable, but that i'd actually enjoy. i have some ideas in that regard, but i'm also willing to be surprised. because given my work experience, it's generally only good things that will surprise me.

stephen harper getting some sort of incapacitating illness :: it may surprise you to know that i don't actually want something awful to happen to my prime minister. seriously, i don't. i just want him to be removed from working for a while, because he's such an incredible control freak [rumour has it that he strongly encourages his ministers and their staff to use the term "harper government" rather than "canadian government", as a way of making them forget who's paying their salaries] and at the same time, so adept at pitching his message to his base. i think that the only thing that will show how backward and flat-out dangerous the current canadian government is will be if the cult leader is prohibited from interfering for a while. i greatly look forward to seeing the scrum where peter kent is wailing about not being able to find the keys to his office or john baird is flipping out because someone changed his computer password from "password".

the ability to speak a whole lot of languages fluently :: not much to say on this one, it's just something i've always wanted to be able to do. as it is, i struggle with two.

sadly, i'm guessing that the only one of these i have a shot at getting for christmas is the first...

so what's on your unlikely santa list? and don't say world peace, because that would mean you're much too good to be reading this blog.

19 December 2011

making faces :: berry xmas

you are powerless to resist. well, i am, at least.
well i've no doubt exhausted all of you with the litany of red lipsticks in my possession [or, if i haven't, let me tell you how spectacularly awesome i think you are], but can i share a little secret? i actually love me a really rich berry-toned lip as much or more than a good red. well, it depends on who we're talking about here. reds are strong, classic, timeless. berries are cooler, more reserved, perhaps a little more difficult to pin down.

and speaking of difficult to pin down... what exactly constitutes a "berry" shade anyway?

well, it's not like there's an organisation that makes rules for these things [yes there is, it's called pantone -ed.]. i'll just give you my idea of what "berry" means, which, considering i'm the one who's writing this blog post, is really all you'll need to navigate your way through the shades that follow.

a few months ago, i did a post on "coral", a shade that gets talked about a lot, but which is actually a whole range of tones with varying degrees of orange, pink and red. i sort of consider "berry" a similar sort of animal [and, for the sake of argument, we're going to say that i didn't just create a colossally mixed metaphor there]. however, where corals always have a warmth to them, i'd say that berries are always cooler, being a mix of pink, red and purple. shades that are called berry can lean towards one more than the other, but normally have some element of all three included. and since i adore both reds and purples, it's obvious why berry shades should be so particularly to my liking. 

if you prefer a more visual way of seeing this, here's my advice: go pick up a mixed berry/ field berry/ bumble berry pie. important: you will want the pie to be warm but not hot for this test. cut yourself a slice of pie and let the filling leak out a little on the plate. scoop up a bit of the filling with your finger and place it on the back of your hand. gently spread the filling from the back of your hand in a nice line, allowing it to become sheerer and sheerer until you don't see any more colour. what you have created is both a mess and a range of berry shades, from the dark spot where you originally deposited the pie filling to the last faint bit of colour. actually, this will also give you an idea of how berry shades will look on you, when you find them in cosmetics and not food.

wash [or lick] the back of your hand. think about which shades you liked the most of your "berry continuum". eat the pie.

although reds tend to hog all the attention [they're like that], berry-tones are actually just as stunning for a night-out-friendly look. and although the shades themselves tend to be cool, like corals, there's enough complexity to the colours themselves that they can work on warmer skins as well as cool, dark and light. it's just a question of finding one [or two] that you really like.

here are some that i do an which i felt were particularly in keeping with the holiday season.

guerlain rouge g :: gigolo

from the moment i laid eyes on this deep, saturated, glossy berry shade, i knew we were meant to be together. it packs a powerful colour punch, without seeming incredibly bold or overly dark. like most great berry shades, its mix of red, pink and purple shifts depending on the light. you can see on the lip swatch that the red tone is more pronounced, but if you look at the shots taken with flash, the pink and purple tones are much more evident.

whereas something like chanel's dragon is linked in my mind to the glamour icons of the forties and fifties, gigolo seems like something from a slightly earlier era, like the darker lips sported by flappers in the twenties. so when i donned this look [for dom's office christmas party, which is possibly the most awesome office christmas party in the history of office christmas parties], i actually kept that in mind, pairing it with a fairly thickly lined eye and not much else.

as an aside, i wish i'd taken a full shot of what i was wearing, because the whole thing was very 20s-inspired, including the dress, the costume beads [which you can see a bit] and- although a photo wouldn't have made a difference here- the perfume i was wearing. as a nod to their aspirations to gender equality, flappers used to don scents traditionally worn by men, leading to one of the first unisex scent trends. i chose tom ford's "extreme", which is intended for men or women and has a bold, smoky-and-spicy presence i love [and which seems to love me]. 

eyes ::
giorgio armani eyes to kill e/s "purpura" [purple-gold mix]
laura mercier e/s "african violet" [orchid purple with gold shimmer]
inglot e/s "351" [matte peachy highlight]
mac eye kohl "smolder" [black]
benefit they're real mascara

cheeks ::
mac mineralize skinfinish "lightscapade"* [cool white highlighter]
mac blush "strada" [cool pinkish taupe]

lips ::
guerlain rouge g "gigolo"

*suggested alternates :: lightscapade = guerlain meteorites teint rose

now that i think of it, was it wrong of me to wear a lipstick called "gigolo" to my boyfriend's office party?

IT'S JUST BURSTING WITH BERRIES AFTER THE BREAK...

16 December 2011

friday favourites 16.12.11

i know that this is supposed to be my little positivity puddle at the end of the week, but it will make me feel better in light of the last week if i just start off by saying this: on behalf of a great number of canadians, i'm sorry about stephen harper.

yes, canada is now taking a leadership role on the world stage by being the first country to walk away from its commitments under the kyoto accord and underlining the meaning of that gesture by ensuring that it has absolutely no meaningful alternate strategy. go ahead, mock us. it's almost funny if you don't have to live here. he has always and continues to cast a dark cloud over the country. now we know the cloud is probably poisonous.

but there are some bright spots, and that's the purpose of "friday favourites" after all. onward and upward, while i can still breathe the air.

tell lowe's to get screwed :: yes folks, it's time for a good ol' fashioned boycottin'. in case you hadn't heard, lowe's home improvement decided in their infinite corporate wisdom to pull their advertising from the "learning" channel's "all-american muslim", a program that shows american muslims behaving a lot like other americans who, as it turns out, behave a lot like canadians... we're all a bit less interesting than we might have believed. except that a group called the florida family association felt that the show wasn't doing enough to promote fear and hatred of muslims. [ the florida family association is possibly less of a group and more of a crusading loon named david caton wrapping himself in the language of fundatmentalist christianity- i think it's about time we stop pretending people like this are christians in any meaningful sense of the word.] lowe's yanked their advertising after receiving bulk emails from the f.f.a., thus tacitly endorsing the group's viewpoint. to be clear: the group's viewpoint that all muslims everywhere are actively plotting the overthrow of america and christianity.

sometimes, folks, you need to allow yourself to be overwhelmed with a sense of pride that, despite all your flaws [and by "your", i mean "my"], you are not a hate-mongering zealot and even though capitalism might have its problems, it does at least allow us all the ability to vote with our money.

of course, if you'd like to do something more, you could always contact lowe's directly. you can send an email [it's quick!] through their customer service sites at either

www.lowes.com or
www.lowes.ca if you're in canada

alternately, you could just go to company c.e.o. robert a. niblock directly. here's his contact info:

Lowe's Companies, Inc.
1000 Lowe's Blvd
Mooresville, NC 28117
Phone: 704-758-2084
robert.a.niblock@lowes.com

[information from consumerist.com, who advise that his assistant's name is tammy and that she's the one who answers that number]

of course, i could never condone anyone committing any kind of physical damage on lowe's property.


that would just be wrong.

[i'd also advise boycotting www.kayak.com, an online travel site that pulled their advertising, except i don't think anyone is using kayak.com to begin with. the florida family association claims that 75 advertisers have pulled out of the show as a result of their campaign. which would mean that "all-american muslim" originally had more advertisers than pretty much any show in recorded history.]


15 December 2011

dead


i have not done this before but...

look at the image i've chosen to start off this post. does it make you feel squeamish? then chances are the rest of this short story will too. please conduct yourself accordingly.

I think Martin’s dead. He was grey when I left this morning. I didn’t want to touch him because, if he is dead, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to be bound to anyone dead. Hits too close to home. If someone dies in the same room as you, it brings that angel just a little too close. I’d rather have it be a question mark in my mind. I’d rather not know the right answer. Not that I think I’d mind death. Being dead would either be fine or it would be nothing, which is nothing to be afraid of. What I would mind is the dying part, where you feel yourself shutting down, feel everything that is your insignificant life rushing out of you. I hope I go quickly when I go.

I didn’t really know Martin, but I can’t stop thinking about him now. I’d like to stay the hell away from that place for a few nights, even if it is convenient to sleep there. A few days in this heat should be enough to do it. Then someone, some poor bastard who’s been unfortunate to land the job of keeping an eye on some rich bastard’s empty building, will figure out that he’s in there. He’ll be able to smell it and he’ll call the police to come and fish out the remains. If people didn’t have an aversion to corpses, the police would never know that someone like Martin had died. Who’d go through the hassle of calling them? But no one wants to be the unlucky fucker who gets to take the four-day old corpse from the condemned building. It’s not just me that has a dead body problem.

In order to get my mind back on my regular routine, I went to get cigarettes after I left the place this morning. I puked on the clerk. It’s not something I feel good about and it was my own damn fault. I’d given some guy a blowjob in some bushes for twenty bucks, because it’s a hell of a lot faster than asking people for change. I haven’t kept anything down in about six days, because if it stays there, I’ll chase it out with vodka, and even back when I was healthy, I hated the taste of cum in my mouth. It was so hot and the tastes were all mixed, this guy’s cum, the couple of gulps of vodka I had left over from what Martin and I got last night, vomit from yesterday… everything stays when you don’t brush your teeth. This is what people used to taste all the time. I got to the store and I just wanted cigarettes, but I could feel everything churning, these vile tastes coagulating in my mouth and I needed to get that out of my body as fast as possible. I felt it coming too late.

This poor clerk was probably only a couple of years older than me. She probably has a normal life and a plan, or at least a vision of her future and up until a few hours ago, it did not include getting hit with vomit by some homeless teen trying to buy smokes. She wanted me out of the store so bad she gave me the cigarettes for free, just told me to take them and get the fuck out of her sight. Under the circumstances, this was probably the nicest reaction I could have expected.

I walked about eight blocks away, in case she called the cops, and then I took a long drink from the beer I’d stolen from her. Thinking about this poor blonde girl’s face as she registered that I had just thrown up on her, I feel badly for stealing the beer, especially since she gave me the cigarettes I had anticipated paying for. At that point, the beer was already tucked away in my pocket, so I couldn’t just give her the money for it without her knowing that I had been going to steal it.

A little of the puke got in my hair. I can still see it there in a crusty lump. I wonder if anyone who knew me a few years ago would recognize me now. I was that little rich bitch you probably hated. My parents had a second car that was basically mine. I’d drive to school. I’d drive my friends around. I dated football players. I wore make-up and had a lot of clothes. I don’t know exactly what I planned to do, but I know it involved going to college, to university, having a home, having friends, having a boyfriend and eventually a husband. That was what happened when you got out of high school.

None of the thoughts I had were of any consequence, up until about three months before I graduated. I can’t even remember them now, so unimportant they were. What I’m thinking about now isn’t of any importance either, but before, I wasn’t aware of it. Back then, I thought that the world would end if I didn’t get a date with the guy I wanted, or if I didn’t improve my chemistry marks, or if I got a scratch on my parents’ car. Blissful ignorance, I think they call it.

14 December 2011

making faces :: the fable of unshrinking violet

one time, in the land of colour and make-believe, a great and generous family hosted a splendid party for the holidays. the party had a giant tree that was tastefully decorated, not one of those godawful ones with the stringy "icicles" hanging off them, because those damn things get everywhere and you find them in your carpet in july and the cats eat them and barf them up exactly when you're trying to sleep and they don't even look like icicles anyway. this was a wonderful, healthy blue spruce and you know what? it was on the lawn, meaning it was still alive so you don't even have to feel sorry for it.

and the house was decorated in a very tasteful scheme of white and gold lights and there were lovely antique-looking decorations, none of which made sounds, because we all know that gets old after the second time you hear it and you can be sure that some "druncle" [you know what of i speak] is going to be getting it to make sound for about an hour straight once he's onto his third sherry and, well, that's actually how meatloaf ended up being invented. 

the benefactors invited their whole extended family, which was quite large. i mean, not mormon standards large, but it was big considering that, in theory, they were episcopalians, even though none of them had actually seen the inside of a church as anything but a tourist in about twenty years and cousin arnie had become one of those sort of irritating university-professor atheists who felt it necessary to bring up the subject of religion in every conversation just so he could tell you how deluded you were and, of course, there was janella, who, at 17 [and probably just rebelling against the fact that she'd been given that name] had run off and joined the digambaras and didn't see the family much anymore. anyway, it was a pretty big family.

one of the cousins, we'll call him george, was nervous about going. on the one hand, he knew that if he didn't, he would hear about it every day until the following christmas. on the other hand, he was 36 and almost perpetually single and he was getting really sick of all his relatives asking him when he was going to come out, because he wasn't gay, but in fact had been in love with his rubenesque adopted second cousin twice-removed matilda since the age of eight and had never gotten up the guts to ask her if she wanted to go on a date, particularly since he only ever saw her at family functions.

so george asked one of his coworkers to set him up on a blind date with a woman who would be a perfect date for a christmas party. his coworker had someone in mind, someone named rose red, which seemed to george like kind of an awful thing to name your kid and he wondered why she hadn't gotten married just so that she could change her name, but he figured that she'd probably be fine to take to a party, since red is such a festive kind of colour after all.

however, when he arrived to pick his date up, george got something he didn't expect.

hello, i'm unshrinking violet. you were expecting my sister, rose red?

a name like "unshrinking violet" was just plain bizarre as far as george was concerned, although it did kind of match the rather striking purpled-magenta colour of her lips, and he he asked if she was related to that 60s model or artist or something with the same last name, which made unshrinking violet look a little dismayed, but she didn't say anything and george couldn't figure out if he'd said something very stupid or very clever.

where does my sister find these people?

anyway, it turned out that rose red had a lot of parties to go to and since she particularly loved the holiday time of year, she tried to go to as many as possible and while she'd intended to honour her date with george, she'd decided last minute to accept an invitation to go caroling in a giant covered sleigh with a bunch of ex-patriot bulgarians. and so she'd asked her sister violet to sub for her with george. as it turned out, violet was a little more of an after-hours club with a secret password and strong cocktails girl than she was a christmas party girl, but she didn't need to be anywhere until a little after 2 a.m., so she figured she might as well give it a try. 


13 December 2011

the montreal metro project, part 6

here's a few more images for you from around the montreal metro system. today, we're looking at stations in the east of montreal, or at least the narrow strip of the east that is served by the metro. yes, that last bit is supposed to sound like a snipe at city planners who inexplicably left the city's working class east end out of their public transit plans for far too long. in fact, the vast expanse of the island east of st. denis is exactly the sort of area that requires great public transit, being stuffed [in many cases to overflowing] with apartment dwellers and lower-income workers who are least able to afford a car, especially with the current price of gas.

the city has taken a lot of measures to improve bus service, to be fair and has done so while keeping fees quite reasonable [a monthly pass costs about 60% of what it does in toronto, where the public transit system is almost laughable]. but metro services remains [and, sadly, is likely forever to remain] a pipe dream.

as a result, a lot of the stations in the east end are under-utilised, because only a limited number of people live within easy access. and so these stations often have a haunted air and even at rush hour never have the chaotic throngs of their neighbours to the west. i'll admit that i'd never been to a lot of these stations before going on my mission to photograph them and i was flabbergasted to discover that the city was, in fact, hiding some of its architectural treasures out in the middle of nowhere.

but let's begin our journey closer to the centre.

this is beaudry station. years of refurbishment have left the inside of the kiosk looking like a very long moving sidewalk to hell [and smelling like one too], but the work done did yield a spiffy new exterior that proudly announces the beaudry's location just to the east of downtown, in the centre of montreal's gay village. the stretch of ste-catherine that runs through the village is closed to cars in the summer, making stopping in by metro that much more attractive.


one stop east of beaudry, at the east end of the village and, many montrealers would claim, civilisation, is the papineau metro. this station also has a brand-spanking new exterior kiosk, which i hope has done something to improve the massive wind tunnels that used to make it difficult for two people to open doors at the same time. at the time i was taking my photos, the kiosk was still under construction, so i stuck to taking interior shots. there is actually quite a lot of art happening in the perpetual gloom, although the wacky temperatures inside [icy cold and windy in the winter, like a garbage incinerator in the summer] probably keep many from noticing.

shiny happy people holding hands...

actually, shiny happy people preparing to kill other shiny, happy people

moving a little further east, we have frontenac. it's bad enough that this station is located in one of the city's most depressed [and depressing] quarters, rife with the worst of urban poverty for decades, but it really does seem to be rubbing it in by giving the neighbourhood this, one of the bleakest stations on the network. sure, frontenac got the exterior facelift treatment as well, but seriously look at what these poor people have facing them when they head underground.
 
the beige... it hypnotises...

endless beige...

agh! what the hell is that???
after frontenac comes prefontaine and joliette, but since we've already met them in part 1, we'll continue on... i'm afraid that not all of the stations had photos of a quality that i'm willing to share, but there's certainly more to see...

for instance, this is station pie ix. that's "pie" as in latin, as in it's the name of a pope [with the number nine after it], not as in dessert [although that would be kind of awesome]. the station is located under the city's largest sports stadium, which is notable chiefly for the fact that none of the city's sports teams play here with any regularity. the stadium has a name in honour of the event for which it was constructed.

does anyone else feel a little woozy?

can you guess which event it was?


this is cadillac station. it's not one of the most exciting places on the line. like pie ix, it is a solid example of just how much the quebecois love their concrete. this is sort of an odd cultural thing for those who come from elsewhere. i mean, look at it. these people really love their concrete. but really, the true labours of concrete love are yet to come...


like here. this is langelier. just look at the use of concrete. look at the textures. look at the incredible shadows and angles and how it appears to have been carved from a single block... in fact, langelier also has a colourful arrangement of panels brushed aluminum with brightly coloured backgrounds that are actually doors, possibly to the underworld, that are quite cool to look at, but are quite difficult to photograph because even though the station isn't very busy there's always someone walking through your shot until you just want to set them on fire... ahem. behold. langelier. it's worth a visit, although the drab surrounding industrial expanse doesn't have much to offer. 


radisson metro is likewise consecrated to concrete. it is like being in vast church to béton, the god of concrete, with its cavernous vaulted ceiling, its suspended lights and echo-y acoustics. by the way, in case you're wondering about the relationship between quebec and concrete, it might be of interest to you to know that the mafia has much rumoured [and much proven] involvement in the quebec construction industry. so it's possible that concrete isn't the only material that was used in these structures.


and here we are... honore beaugrand. end of the line.


still a few more shots to come!

12 December 2011

the ladykillers

coming soon on hbo
dom and i belatedly watched the truncated last season of "entourage", wherein we see the tale of the boys from queens living the high life in hollywood wrapped up, but not so tightly that there isn't room for a movie to wriggle out at a later date.

i wasn't thrilled with the first season of the show, but i did find that it got entertaining afterward, especially from seasons two through four. as someone who is interested in the workings of the movie industry, i enjoyed the fantasy of hollywood it presented and cringed at the probably more realistic problems with ego, money and politics that consistently came into play. although the last season concentrates less on that than on the personal lives of the characters, it's still fun. however.

thinking about it, there is one section that bothered me, not just because i resent it a little, but because it reveals something about progress of women in the minds of hollywood writers. or lack thereof.

[warning: spoilers ahead if you haven't seen the last season]

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