29 May 2012

the ups and downs of vertigo

if you've been following my blog for a while, you might remember that i suffer from vertigo. of course, if you're a new reader to the blog, you could also just click here and read my original post about it. long story short, i get very dizzy. way dizzier than that time you stood up too quickly on an empty stomach.



now, i realise that there are way worse things i could have. i can breathe [well, mostly], i can move all my limbs, i can see and hear and do all sorts of things that i take for granted, but sometimes, having an unexpected attack of vertigo just sucks. here's why:




and i promise, those things look and feel way worse in person.

in case you hadn't guessed, those are my knees. there are also random scrapes and bruises on my elbows, arms and hands, but the knees caught the worst of it. "it" in this case being a quick introduction to the pavement outside du college metro station in montreal.

i wasn't exactly running late for work, but let's say i hadn't given myself a lot of room for error. since i knew i was in danger of missing the bus that only comes about every half hour, i bounded up the stairs at a fair clip. now, my bounding isn't like an olympic qualifying run. i was going quickly for me, but let's just say that i wasn't going to set any records for the world's fastest run up an escalator. [i'm sure it exists.] for starters, i can't run all that fast, because that triggers asthma attacks. for finishers, i'm just not that much of an athlete.

i'm telling you this because i want to make it clear that i wasn't exhausted from running or anything, just a little bit winded.

and for once, i can say that this wasn't clumsiness. i didn't hit an uneven patch or miss a step or any of the million things i normally do to injure myself. i felt what was happening and i recognised it.

basically, as soon as i exited the station, my femurs and tibias just went. i was trying to move them towards the bus, but they were wiggling in the morning breeze like overcooked linguine. and if you've ever tried to walk on stalks of cooked linguine, you know that you're not going to get very far.

"not very far" in this case took me about four yards short of the bus door, but still in full view of the driver and most of the passengers.

what was truly mortifying about this, because collapsing for no reason onto pavement in front of strangers and getting your blood everywhere isn't so bad, was that i then had to try to explain via hand gestures to the bus driver that i wanted him to wait- which he's not technically supposed to do, but let's face it, if he'd left, he'd have looked like a magna cum laude from dickhead university.

you see, when you fall from a vertigo attack, it's not like those times when you trip and get up quickly and hope no one will notice. when you're down, you stay down until your brain is good and ready to get back up. so having collapsed, my only course of action was just to lay there on the pavement for a couple of minutes, while the very non-dickhead driver watched with a sympathetic expression on his face.

so now it looks like i'll be spending a good part of summer wearing pants or long skirts, since the option is treating everyone to a nice eye full of disturbing scab. on the other hand, at least i'll have a great visual aide the next time someone asks me why i don't like to drive.

[thanks to dom for the cool poster art.]

28 May 2012

more like space radio, episode three

finally!! ok, so much for the middle of the month, but this is special, since kinetik kind of cut into my middle-of-may planning time and i was so screwy with my sleep schedule last week that i should not have been trusted around technology of any kind. but here it is! the third episode of "more like space radio"!

this month, i'd say that the overall vibe is a bit post-punk, a bit early electro, a bit... well heck, you can look at the play list below. you're smart people. i know you'll make the right decision about downloading it.

of the items on this month's show, i have to say that i've been giving a lot of time to the pop 1280 album "the horror", which does live up to its name in many ways. i know that the band is on tour and i'm hopeful that means we might see them up here at some point. you know what would be really awesome? having them play here and actually finding out about it more than three hours beforehand.

but i digress... here's the breakdown on this month's show. hope that you enjoy listening to it!

led er est :: madi la lune

show intro

ike yard :: ncr
shockheaded peters :: bars away from life
hula :: walk on stalks of shattered glass [version]
nox :: chatzado
the maniacs :: vietnam [version]
pop 1280 :: bodies in the dunes

announcements

attrition :: the redoubt of light
the residents :: satisfaction
herz juhning :: no happy future
oto :: anyway
ssleeping desiress :: breath control
gar war :: costumes

show extro

anbb :: one

thanks for your support! please feel free to contact me with any questions or requests you might have.

there are much worse things...

... than going round and round, it seems.

last week, i noted that the stm had apparently split space and time and while i think i've figured that out, i have also come to the disturbing realization that montreal's transit authority is probably trying to kill you.

well, maybe not you. and not me, at the moment, but what's to say they're not targeting us all, area by area.

the testing ground is a business park in ville st. laurent. i pass it in the mornings going to work. since there are no pedestrian over- or underpasses, i wondered what the procedure was for getting people home at the end of the day. after all, without a strategy for moving them in the opposite direction, it's kind of a tease having a spiffy new bus to take them to their jobs in the morning. it's like "screw you, plebes! you have to live here now!"

curious, i checked out the instructions on line only to discover to my horror that one of the first steps you're supposed to take is to cross the street.

look at the picture below. can you imagine how much fun it would be to cross that every day? i think the median fence would be especially awesome in winter.

what's truly scary is that there aren't any other routes. i mean, even if it's way longer, wouldn't it have been nice to include an option for those who don't fancy an evening commute that feels like a training program for seal team 6? no?

the good news is, this really only applies to a small number of workers. the bad news is, it's probably only a matter of time before the stm comes for the rest of us. be nice to your bus drivers, folks. they may hold more power over your life than you suspect.

27 May 2012

making faces :: my grown-up face, let me show you it

appearances do count in a tough job market
as i've mentioned, i started a new job, which means i've had to adapt many of my routines once again to the office. that includes coming up with understated, office-friendly faces to wear although, as dom pointed out, i've not received any indication that i need to be exceptionally conscious about myself in this particular office, i do generally like to keep a low-ish profile, at least for a  while. like until they're legally obliged to keep me. until that time, i'm looking to keep things reasonably subtle and trying to pretend i'm smarter than i really am.

it also helps that it's grown very warm and often humid here, so i've been inclined to use a light hand anyway.

so i thought i'd share an example of something i did this week that's a little more reserved, a little more typical of my daytime faces lately. ironically, this particular look makes use of an older mac eye shadow palette that came out with a fall collection, but its combination of neutrals with a little pop of colour [blended, in this case, to give more of a sheen].

i also made use of one of mac's limited edition lipsticks [yeah, all the stuff i'm wearing is basically discontinued- sorry about that] that i felt slipped through the cracks. with mac's limited edition products, i find that amidst the frenzy for bright shades, or supposedly universal [they never are] neutrals, or corals, which always seem to move like cars on the autobahn, there are some real gems that get overlooked, especially some brown-toned lipsticks.

i put that down to the fact that many of us who survived the nineties remember the horror of the brown lipstick trend, where walking around looking like you'd used the contents of your garden or worse was a thing.

i blame her
but the fact is that brown lipstick can be really wearable, surprisingly flattering and not dated or dirty looking. particularly, mac has a talent for creating really pretty brown lipsticks, like "sinister", which came out with their much-touted "venomous villains" collection and was promptly eclipsed by its non-brown cousins. too bad, because it's a really lovely soft brown with a pink-magenta shimmer that adds a little bit of life to it and that keeps it from having that "deadened" look that heavier brown shades can have.

25 May 2012

friday favourites 25.05.12

image of the week
holy carp. ladies and gentlemen, i would just like to say that making the transition from your schedule being whatever you feel like making it back to the workaday world is really, really tough. especially if you happen to spend the four days before you go back to work making sure that you don't ever go to sleep before the sun is up. i think that everyone should do that. after all, if their first impression of you is that you're a zombie and a bit of a drooling mouth breather, you can't help but look awesome later on, right?

actually, i have to say, so far so good. although i feel like my job is judging me and my unhealthy habits, because my new company is very healthy. and i don't mean that my coworkers are judging me, because they seem like a pretty non-judgmental lot. i mean the actual job has a sort of disapproving eye pointed at me. i'm being judged by something that isn't even a concrete thing. talk to me when you have physical form, asshole!

here are a few things that made the flurry of the last week a little more memorable.

good news :: stuff i can't make up from around the internet


in the midst of all the controversy and protests going on in montreal and throughout quebec, am i the only person who noticed that our provincial government website is call "assnat"? oh, and if you were trying to verify that last saturday, you couldn't.

just because your skinny jeans are trying to kill you doesn't mean i want to see your ass hanging out of the baggy ones.

if the expression "talent borrows, genius steals" is true, then jay leno and nbc are true geniuses. also complete dickheads.

this should really be about a half hour long, at least.



goings on :: stuff you can [and should] participate in


if you're in montreal... come wish a happy birthday to the ska boss! fred from rude mechanikals is celebrating his big day in style at bar l'absynthe tomorrow, saturday may 26th. would it surprise you to know that there will be live sets by slater et fils [formerly slater's sons] and les happycuriens [best. name. ever.]? i didn't think it would.

and of course, montreal's ever-expanding festival of music and technology, mutek, gets under way this week. it's a massive series of events and chances are that there will be at least a couple of things worth checking out. you can plan your time there through their web site, or with their phone app, which is really the most useful way to do anything these days.

if you're in toronto... come for a walk! urban exploration walk 5.0 will be examining some of toronto's urban art treasures cleverly hidden in the middle of downtown, where millions of people walk by them without noticing every day. this is an awesome initiative to get people to know their city. details here.

musical notes


well, after last weekend, i have to say that i've been inclined mostly to listen to music that features no keyboards at all. but that's actually kind of difficult in my collection. i have been loving the album "the horror" by pop 1280 this week...



follow-up and shameless self-promotion


nothing. really, aside from the fact that i once again failed to post the radio show, there's really nothing to report.

well, if you want to consider it follow-up, there have been minor protest incidents in the form of groups of ten or fewer banging on pots and pans on my corner, which is funny mostly because they're so much quieter than the idiots who honk in emphatically almost every day [but especially on weekends] because they evidently believe that car horns can unblock traffic jams.

radio show this week. seriously.

kitteh of the week


simon is normally a super-model, but we can't all look our best all the time...


thanks very much for reading!

24 May 2012

the people on the bus go round and round

there are a number of ways for me to negotiate the space between my home and my office. the fastest is the spiffy new express bus line, which is what i've taken in the mornings, but in the evenings, i've been more lax and have ended up taking the "scenic" route, or rather one of two scenic routes, which go through different areas of suburban industrial parks, although one does pass by the fairy castle, which kind of counts as scenic. if you're into gaudy fairy castles.

today, i specifically left on time to catch the express bus home and, like any normal person, i went to the stop on the opposite side of the road to where i disembark in the morning.

except when going in the opposite direction, the bus is actually going in the same direction it is in the morning. say what? it's true. somehow, the bus bends time and space and so the northbound [which is really westbound but the stm calls it northbound] bus i take in the morning is still northbound when it passes itself going down the same street in the opposite direction. how the hell is that even possible, stm???

anyway, after bouncing around the intersection for twenty minutes and consulting the stm's mobile app, which refuses to even acknowledge the existence of the express bus if you ask it to plan a route for you and tells you the southbound stop has been moved WITHOUT TELLING YOU WHERE when you search the bus route, my phone's gps tells me that the southbound stop [although the bus is really going east] is actually the very same stop where i arrive in the morning, going north, which is really west.

bottom line, i spent way too much time sitting in the sun, watching a lot of buses go to places i didn't want to go until, on the advice of my phone, i got on the bus at my morning stop, which is theoretically taking me even further away from home with every rotation of its tires.

i have no idea where i am, other than being around a building that makes tiles and a building that makes cables and to be honest, i'm not even sure about that, because i'm not certain i got the french word for "tiles" correct, so it could be a building that makes cyanide pills for secret agents. perhaps montreal is the world capital of cyanide pills and they're hiding the factory somewhere in a rift in the fabric of dimensional space.

i'm sort of hoping that the bus eventually stops somewhere, if only because i'm sure i'll eventually need to pee.

in the meantime, at least i scored a seat.

oh, and dom just texted to ask if i was waiting for the rain to stop. below is a picture of the sky where i am. obviously, i'm not getting home any time soon...

23 May 2012

marching in

while the student protests have generally taken place downtown or in the lower part of the plateau, they are apparently branching out. around midnight monday a very peaceful group marched in front of our building, sandwiched between police escorts.

the calm was almost eerie, especially in light of the fact that the night before, a cop had threatened to arrest dom and i for looking at a group of his peers "attending" to a prone figure on the ground downtown. in this case, there seemed to be no aggression on either side, no provocation.

the only contact i saw between police and protestors was towards the end. several of those marching had made use of a hose attached to the side of the building next to ours to fill their water bottles. as the last few filled up and turned off the hose, an officer on a bicycle approached. the protestor gave him the hose without being coerced, more like he was just handing it to the next person in line. i didn't see if the cop filled up a water bottle of his own.

as far as damages, one of the marchers left a coke can on a parked car. another one crossed over to pick it up and carry it to the nearest garbage can.

thus progresses the student spring...








sadly, the détente did not last. there was another near-riot last night downtown...

22 May 2012

making faces :: festival favourites

while i know i'll never have the most intricate or intense makeup at kinetik, the beauty fiend in me does like to take the opportunity to play around with some looks that are a bit more dramatic than what i might normally sport. since i was in attendance for much longer hours than usual this year, i also needed to find things that were going to stand up to six to eight hours of wear in a hot, sweaty environment. so in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, i figured i'd share what i learned this weekend.

first of all, nothing will educate you faster on the miracle of eye shadow primer than attending a music festival. mine ran out, which meant that i got to deal with some really tragic creasing even when i thought i was using products that were crease-resistant [i guess they can't resist the beats]. my lids are a bit oily at the best of times. put me in a foetid swamp of human flesh and things can get pretty squishy south of my brows. i've promised myself i'm not going to run out ever again.

happily, i did manage to find quite a few things that stood up very well. better, in fact, than i would have anticipated. here they are, by location...

face :: i figured that i was just living in fairy land putting on foundation. after all, it's the thing that's the most susceptible to sweat and can end up looking streaky and uneven after a night out, to say nothing of how it can settle in pores. but quite by chance, i happened upon a magic combination.

team kinetik
1. marcelle beauty balm, a tinted moisturiser that evens skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine lines and works as a base for makeup. i've been trying this out lately and have been really impressed. it does give a very natural light coverage and it's moisturising enough on me in warm weather that i don't need to layer it over another product. smooth it on and go. i didn't find it was quite as effective over sunscreen, which is a bit of a drag, but perhaps they'll come out with an spf version. it's only available in two shades [their web site has three, but i haven't seen the third in stores yet] and the lighter shade still appears well too dark for me. it blends out quite well, so the difference isn't huge, but i still felt it needed something else to lighten it a bit, which lead to...

2. lush colour supplement in jackie oates, a light-coverage tinted cream that lush came out with last year. you can read my original review here, but let's just say that i find it difficult to fork over the big bucks for tinted mositurisers when this little darling is so damn cheap. applying it over the beauty balm makes it somewhat less slick on my skin, so while it's still easy to blend, you can feel that it sets more than on its own. of course, with two fairly moisturising products, you'll be prone to shininess, especially in hot spaces, in which case it would be good to try...

3. marcelle pressed powder, a translucent powder that gives a little colour, but mostly just perfects a look by producing a slightly satiny finish, while blocking shine. i like applying it with a big fluffy brush just to set everything in place, although the pad included would be fine for touch-ups, assuming you had to make any, which i pretty much didn't- even after filming at the front of the room.

i was shocked every time i saw my face in the ladies' room mirror, because that combination just didn't budge. i might have done one or two touch ups in four nights and even then, it was just powdering my nose a little. and what's really incredible is that, while it was three layers of product, the result looked and felt incredibly light and natural. i saw people with much heavier makeup than i who were in far worse shape.

of course, to give myself a little of that ethereal inner glow, i also made use of edward bess' quad royale in "south of france". i reviewed it originally here and i still find it's one of the most often used items in my collection. because it can function as blush, highlighter or both, it's incredibly versatile and the luminous finish it gives is just to die for.

eyes :: well, the two obvious looks to try out, in different ways, were brilliant colours and heavily smoky, since both of those really call for a bit of an occasion.

for the former, i always fall back on mac pigments, because they can be built to an almost criminal intensity and blended to create a very polished look in minutes. specifically, i try out the aptly named pink opal and bright fuchsia. the former is a pearly white with a distinct pink sheen, while the latter is... really bright fuchsia with a satiny finish. you need almost nothing from bright fuchsia to get a real blast of colour. pink opal is a bit sheerer, but builds up nicely and, as a bonus, works really well as a highlighter.

as far as smoky eyes are concerned, i always return to mac's "blackground" paint pot, because it makes such a great base for these looks. it a very deep charcoal with multi-coloured shimmer rather than a true black, which means it adds dimension as well as depth. and, of course, there's nars' night clubbing, a rich black suffused with gold shimmer that is the perfect smoky-eyed tool. [does "smoky-eyed tool" sound like it should be a song title to anyone? just me?]

and finally, there was the issue of lips. this is definitely something that will be decided by the user's personal taste, but i did think i hit a nice cross-section of colours and formulas.

bite barolo, mac milan mode, armani 404, mac isis
i'll be reviewing bite lipsticks in the near future, but i'll give you a heads' up that i just love the richness of their luminous creme lipsticks, like the deep, semi-sheer grape "barolo". mac's "milan mode" is one of the permanent shades that originally came from their "euristocrats" collection, almost all of which are pretty remarkable for their translucent-but-rich pigment, in this case a bright pink with a lot of silver-white sparkle. rouge d'armani 404 is a knockout. it's got all the goodness of the rda formula, but it seems like it's been cranked up for this limited edition [holday 2010] semi-metallic cardinal red. be prepared to exfoliate your lips to get rid of this one. mine were still stained when i woke up the next morning, despite vigourous scrubbing. and finally, perfect for that smoky eye with an edge, we have mac's isis. it's a
bite barolo, mac milan mode, armani 404, mac isis
frost, but it doesn't ever have that dried look that frosts can give. it's quite possibly the most hydrating frost-finish lipstick in history. unfortunately, history is generally where it remains. i only pull this one out on special occasions, because it's long been discontinued from the permanent mac line. a light taupe base packed with silver shimmer and a hint of green, it's shockingly wearable and, interestingly, holds up for hours more than mac's recent lipstick releases. just sayin'.

i'd love to share some close-up looks at what i did with my face over the last few days, but unfortunately i never did manage to get good images. you'll just have to take my word for it: this stuff is a festival-going girl's best friend.

four on the floor at kinetik

photography was really not my thing this weekend
yeah, i know it's stretching, because the expression is "four to the floor" when talking about a pumping dance beat, but somehow "kinetik energy" seemed kind of lame. so i'll go with the slightly less lame wordplay and hope you're still reading this.

if you're into ebm/ electro-industrial music, kinetik is a big deal. europeans have been all over this sort of thing for years, but unlike their predecessors, they'd never been able to conquer the gargantuan north american land mass. one of the artists declared that kinetik has put north america on the map for this sort of music, which leads me to two conclusions:

1. the organisers have accomplished a lot in five years.
2. fans of this sort of music must have really shitty maps.

no one knew what the hell i was wearing
in previous years, i've flitted in to see a few bands i really enjoyed, but have let most of it pass me by. i'm honestly not a fan of ebm/ electro-industrial music, aside from a handful of artists on the noisier end of the spectrum. because i was actually helping film the proceedings, this was the first time i've even had the full "kinetik experience", which is kind of like summer camp, if summer camp was filled with loud music, copious amounts of alcohol [and other substances, i'm sure] and lots of half-naked bodies with strategically placed strips of latex and lace, crowned with wildly overgrown bushes in all the colours of neon you can imagine.

[of course, i never went to summer camp, so maybe they are all like that.]

it sort of felt like the mothership arriving a lot
although it prevented me from getting too hedonistic, i did enjoy having "work" to do, since it forced me to really pay attention to bands i might otherwise have bailed on [some i had actually bailed on at previous kinetiks]. it also subtly affected how i perceived the performances. if i wasn't filming, my focus was almost entirely on what i was hearing. when i was operating the camera, the scales tipped more towards what i was seeing and, to a certain extent, the energy i could feel around me, since i was more in the thick of things when i was "on duty". it was sort of like being two different people, which normally isn't a good sign, but it did allow me to get more out of the fest than i might have otherwise.

dom went dressed as a sparkly vampire
here's my completely subjective view of things night-by-night [or phase-by-phase]...

phase i :: projekt f/ adversary/ nachtmar/ orphx/ combichrist/ e-craft
winterkalte, who had to cancel last minute, were originally to perform in the slot occupied by orphx, who were scheduled to follow adversary. the necessary changes did mean that the carefully planned flow was a little thrown for the first night.

musical high point :: orphx. no surprise for me there, but i love how they manage to shift their sound to suit any event they play while still always sounding like themselves.

me and the boss man
performance high point :: nachtmar. let's face it: after adversary's performance, i think most of us would have expected that no one would have even noticed the band who followed them. plus there was that awkward thing where the scheduling change meant that adversary were followed by one of the very bands they'd just called out. but nachtmar did take the stage and their fans did flock to them and thomas, a natural entertainer, really turned it on. the camera, blissfully unconcerned with issues of sexism and exploitation, loved him.

musical low point :: the easy answer would be e-craft, who sounded generic in a field not known for its breadth, but for me, i'd have to say combichrist. although he put on a good show, i couldn't get over the jock-rock-on-synthesizers vibe of most of his songs. i don't understand.

READ ABOUT ALL THE REST AFTER THE BREAK...

20 May 2012

who polices the police?

if you're in montreal, that's not a rhetorical question. while i've criticised some who've associated themselves with montreal's student protests for stupidly attacking the city's metro system, i have to say that last night, the city's police force found a way to one-up them.

apparently responding to protest supporters shouting insults at them from a terasse, the montreal police- who are apparently rather more sensitive than one might think- ransacked the bar where the verbal protestors were drinking, causing damages, chaos and a massive headache for the bar's owner.

said owner is justifiably confused, since the purpose of the highly restrictive bill 78 [that became law this week, proving that governments can work very quickly when they want to] was ostensibly to protect downtown business owners who were threatened by the protests' renegade elements who might smash their windows or spray-paint their doors. instead, it's resulted in an independent small business owner [le st. bock is a microbrewery pub in the city's dynamic latin quarter] having his establishment doused in pepper spray, his night's income largely lost [most everyone fled in panic, leaving a lot of unpaid bills].

here's a video taken from the bar's security cameras, along with an interview with le st. bock's owner [in french]:



i hope mr. guimond does press the police for answers, because i'd love to know what they are. in the meantime, i guess we'd all do well to remember that the montreal police are apparently very sensitive about being teased and if you do want to help out le st. bock by buying a drink at their establishment, you might want to be sure to wipe down your chair if you're wearing shorts.

18 May 2012

friday favourites 18.05.12

image of the week
friday??? there was so much i was supposed to do this week and... friday? seriously?

yes, it's friday. and yes, i've not done nearly the number of things that i planned to, despite knowing that this weekend was likely to be busybusybusy because i'm helping to film parts of the kinetik festival, which kicked off last night. smart kate wore flats and hence can actually move today. silly kate is wondering if that means she'll be able to crack out the heels this evening.

that's not entirely silly, of course, because if you're my size [diminutive] and trying to film a band on a large stage, it basically means you get to stick your arm in the air for an hour at a time and hope that the resulting loss of blood circulation doesn't require an amputation later on. a few extra inches would help me out... [<--- note me avoiding super-obvious dick-joke here] [<--- note you finding it necessary to point it out -ed.]

of course, i've also been a bit stymied in my attempts to get things done during the week because someone has been editing a music video he shot for a local band called the fundamentals, which means that doing anything that involves making sound has been out. i mean honestly, we're both addicted to our computers, so couldn't we work out a schedule or something. [ok, i have to add that the video looks pretty darn cool and the song is the catchiest ska thing ever and will make the band millions if properly distributed. i've had it stuck in my head for four days and haven't shot myself yet, so it must be good, right?]

so yeah, no radio show, but i do promise it'll be up shortly.

also happening this week, i confirmed that i will be going back to office work, which is kind of terrifying, because it means i will have to start acting and dressing like an adult, at least part of the time. i hope i can remember how.

despite my scattered state, here are a few favourites i wanted to pass on...

good news :: stuff i can't make up from around the internet


canada's wicked cyber-spying with is dead.

sure, he came up with the theory of evolution [although some speculate he borrowed it from his father], but darwin was kind of a jerk to his friends.

everything you need to un-know about early american history.

and it turns out that kinetik started with a little bit of a controversial bang last night, when one of the artists decided to close their set by calling out two of the night's performers [including headliner combichrist] about their use of sexist and racist imagery. as someone who's followed the [d]evolution of the industrial scene for a long time and who has a pretty solid knowledge of where the music [and the use of such imagery] comes from, i have to say i got goosebumps watching this.

read about it here.

watch the presentation:



[thanks to i die you die for getting this up so quickly]

goings on :: stuff you can [and should] participate in


if you're in montreal... kinetik continues for another three days. feel free to say hello if you see me wandering around and if it looks like i'm filming something, please try not to stand in front of the camera.

you can also check out a tribute to french punk trailblazers berurier noir happening tonight and featuring some of the best post-post-punk in montreal. i'm a particular fan of dekoder and not just because their bassist brings me cider and sammiches at the caustic lounge every month. that's happening tonight!

if you're in the mood for something musical but a little more relaxed tomorrow evening, you can also check out the monthly post-punk night at the casa del popolo on saturday. enjoy the music and try the nachos.

on sunday, the [in]famous montreal student demonstrations mark their 100th day with, appropriately enough, a demonstration. the court of public opinion has not been kind to the students lately, since a certain faction have insisted on expressing themselves by disrupting the city's metro service during morning rush hour. the president of the downtown business association also took to the airwaves to decry the marches for costing them business. [his claim, is that there has been a resultant 15% drop in business because people have been worried about traffic, however he also conceded that there were similar problems caused by the road closures and construction over the last couple of years around place des arts.]

details about sunday's march can be found here.

i've honestly not had too much of a chance to look around at events in other cities, so i hope you'll forgive the hometown bias in this one.

musical notes


in the midst of all this electro-aggro madness happening around me, i cannot ignore the fact that the world lost a true musical icon yesterday. you might not love the music or the era, but it's hard to ignore this lady's influence. [fyi, last night, i could definitely hear the influence of those giorgio moroder basslines seeping through even amidst the angst and darkness.]



follow-up and shameless self-promotion


the more like space radio podcast will be up early next week. cross my heart and hope that i don't die.

TODAY ONLY!! get 20% off my short story collection "interference"- in solid or data form- when you order from lulu.com.

i'm sure i'll get around to posting something of a recap of kinetik once the dust has settled.

and i want to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported the blog through your donations. your dollars are being used for such worthy things as buying lots of cat treats for the kids, working towards getting this space set up with its own spiffy domain and stuff and, of course, buying me a new camera since the old one committed suicide.

kitteh of the week


how about a little bro fist for seth?


much love to all my readers. i'll be a little more back on track when i'm allowed to use the office again. :-P

have a great weekend!!!!

14 May 2012

kitty korner :: 2 in 1?

i remember very well the day that we went to pick up simon and hecubus. it was a strangely mild day in january and we somehow managed to score a parking spot on st. laurent directly in front of the door. for those of you not familiar with montreal: that never happens.

one of the things that i remember most was how excited and effusive the lady we dealt with was about the fact that we were taking both of them. she was excited because they had really come to depend on each other, that they did everything together and that she hated the thought of them being separated. personally, once i'd met and fallen in love with them, it had never occurred to me that we might take just one. i couldn't imagine being so cruel as to leave one behind. besides, what would make a kitten feel better about adjusting to a new environment with new brothers and sisters than having their own sibling by their side?

certainly, it helped seth and julia that both of them came home with us at once [and got a similarly thrilled reaction from their foster mom]. it also kept either one of them from driving arthur batshit crazy, because it meant they could play with each other, rather than spending hours trying to snag his tail. even though seth and julia were [and still are] pretty young, it seemed like a good idea that a bouncy little brother would come equipped with a bouncy little buddy. as it turns out, this was absolutely crucial with them, because they are quite possibly the two most energetic cats i've ever met and if they didn't have each other to play with, we'd all be dead by now. and it was obvious from the start that the two of them were very, very close.

i've long since realised that the idea of the independent cat is not quite as reflective of reality as we've been led to believe. in the almost quarter century i've been a cat lady, there have been few times that i haven't been owned by multiple cats and those that shared my living space could more often than not be found together. it's not that they don't have their alone time, but it's still rare that one of our cats is completely alone in a room with no humans or siblings.

but i'm starting to wonder if i should be at all concerned about simon and hecubus. normally, as cats reach adulthood and feel a sense of ownership over their territory, they separate a little more. seth and julia still nap together sometimes and seth and arthur will actually spoon when the mood strikes them, but simon and hecubus are still virtually inseparable.

and by that i mean that it's sometimes difficult to distinguish that there are two cats. it's fairly easy when they're running around playing, although if they're moving fast, it can get really tricky to figure out which one just punctured your bladder and which one knocked over the lamp. but it's the sleeping thing that gets almost freaky.

although they're going on two years old- well past the age where cats reach maturity- the two of them are constantly napping as if they've been squished into a very small box. in fact, i think they'd be happy with a very small box, because it would make their habit of sleeping on top of each other, or folded into each other, or bent around each other in sailor-knot formation a little more reasonable.

but they're not in a small box, or any kind of box. they're in a large apartment and even if, for some reason, they wanted to limit themselves to sleeping on our bed, it's a queen size, so they could comfortably occupy different sides and have lots of space to themselves.

sure, this is a recipe for almost unbearable cuteness, but i can't help but wonder if at some point, it's indicative of a pathology. after all, if cats are even moderately independent, would obsessively clinging to one's sibling be indicative of some deep-seated anxiety? do they feel unsafe? is there something i'm supposed to be doing to make them feel more at ease? the little buggers can't talk, or at least they can't talk in english, which makes understanding their needs kind of a biatch.

and don't try turning to the internet for advice. no one posts anything on "cats who love too much". 

i'd like to make it clear that dom and i would have no problem if simon and hecubus were gay, but they are brothers* and i do think that we need to draw a line there. but if anything, they seem a little competitive when they're trying to impress their adopted sister [who is never impressed by anything they do], so i don't think we have a sexual orientation question.

having observed them for a year and a half, it's incredible that nothing dissuades them from their cuddling. we had a stretch where the weather hit 45 degrees celsius for over a week last year and you couldn't pry them apart with a crowbar. that seems just flat-out unhealthy.

i worry that they feel somewhat cowed because of their diminutive stature. after all, arthur and seth are fairly massive and even julia, while she weighs less, is taller and longer. are they thinking that together they form one normal-sized cat?

i'm not sure what to do about this, or if there's anything i should be doing, but in the meantime, i'm generally just trying to convince people that we own one giant, multi-headed centipede cat that comes from another dimension and eats our enemies on command, but since several of our enemies are still around [for now], that isn't the easiest sell.

as an anxious fur-mom, i'm sure i'll be trying to solve this for years. in the meantime, i'll just try to appreciate the cuteness.

*how can simon and hecubus be brothers when they're two different breeds [tonkinese and siamese respectively]? glad you asked. apparently, when lady cats are in heat, they'll try to hook up with as many males as they can in order to fill their bellies with healthy, hearty kittens. and to give their brood the best possible diversity of genes, females are capable of conceiving from multiple males during the same heat cycle. that means that depending on how much mama gets around, one brood of kittens can have multiple baby daddies.

evidently in this case, mama hooked up with at least two guys, which makes me worry that that in itself could precipitate some kind of disorder.

13 May 2012

making faces :: warning! this is the face that busted my camera!

as i mentioned, i've been pillaging the archives a little more for "making faces" posts, since my regular camera seems to have shuffled of its mortal coil. or whatever kind of coil inanimate objects have to shuffle.

anyway, this is the look that finally killed my camera.

i really don't think it's that offensive or anything. i mean, it came to me when i was waxing nostalgic for mac cosmetics' 2010 spring collection, inventively called "spring colour forecast". it was really one of their high water marks as far as i'm concerned, because so much of it was so wearable and at the same time quite original. basically, the collection was divided into four smaller colour collections- pink, coral, plum and amber. i have to say that it was really more of a collection for all seasons, which is part of what made it so particularly strong. for instance, the set of plum shades really seems to have a lot more in common with the richer, deeper shades of fall than with spring, but i like using it as an excuse to use these sorts of colours early in the year, so i'll roll with it.

and although i will admit that i've worn this sort of combination a lot, i consider it a bit arrogant on the part of my camera to just walk off the job in protest.

ok, on behalf of the camera, dom would like me to point out that the camera not working could be due to the fact that i dropped it and that its death followed suspiciously closely on the heels of this incident. to that, i would say that i was holding the camera and to me, it felt like it jumped from my hand, implying a suicide attempt. there's really no way to settle these things for certain. besides, dom is always taking the camera's side when something goes wrong.

DO YOU DARE SEE THE DETAILS OF THE CAMERA-KILLING FACE?

12 May 2012

up in smoke

i used to hit the streets in protest fairly often as a teen and young adult. i remember going out in freezing, soggy weather and yelling slogans that even at the time struck me as incredibly trite and devoid of meaning, because that was the way that you got attention. now, of course, i've let that trail off, because there are often more effective ways to get to the point across, but also out of fear that over-zealous cops are going to crack my skull on the pavement. age has made me a little more reluctant to take my chances, particularly since i'm now living in a city where police aren't always known for their good judgment. a journalist friend of ours who was apparently endangering public safety by carrying cameras to document the night's protest march recently ended up in an emergency ward courtesy of the city's men in blue.

but really, i think i might be more willing to risk a blast of tear gas or a crack from a baton for something i passionately believed in but for one thing: i do not want to be associated with the contingent of assholes.

i credit the organisers of quebec's student protests for diligently distinguishing themselves from marauding thugs who have attached themselves like parasites to their marches, distracting public and government attention from their cause by treating each demonstration as an opportunity to indulge a profound urge to break stuff. seriously, someone needs to give these guys some nutritional supplements and a gym membership and recruit them to the nfl, where they can follow their dreams in a forum that still allows the rest of us to go for a walk in our city at night.

this perennial part of the protest crowd is described as "anarchist", although i'd be surprised if either they themselves or the media who perpetuate the description have the faintest idea of what the term actually means. being an anarchist in any realistic sense means taking personal responsibility for one's action and one's community rather than appointing or electing proxies [known as governments] to do it for you. and nothing screams "lack of responsibility" like the actions of our presumptive "radicals" this week.

for those of you who might not have heard, commuters in montreal's subway system thursday morning were treated to a trio of smoke-bombs detonated in key stations as a protest measure. the action shut down the entire network- all four lines- for over two hours at the height of morning rush hour.

although the transit authority scrambled to get buses on the street to ferry people from a to b, it's pretty obvious that such a mobilisation would never work. even assuming that there were plenty of buses available at that time to pick up the same number of commuters, you'd still need to actually call in people to drive them. people who weren't dead tired from working overnight. people who didn't have responsibilities like getting kids to school or daycare at that hour. people who didn't actually depend on the transit system to get to work. then, of course, you'd have to move thousands of buses from their base stations to metro stations through the city's roads during rush hour, which would be heavier than usual owing to the fact that more people would be taking cars.

logistically, it's a no-win situation and, indeed, morning commuters were left lining up for hours. you're welcome, montrealers, love the protestors.

what galls me is the absolute stupidity of this sort of thing. what on earth does it do to advance the cause of students in quebec or of liberty and fairness in general? does the government suffer as a result? no. a government-affiliated agency, the société de transport de montréal, is forced to spend money, our money, coming up with a solution that's doomed from conception. that takes money away from other things they could be doing. good things. important things.

the police come to investigate and a few cops are able to tell themselves that this is what they're fighting the next time they drag a fine arts student a block and a half on her face for objecting to rising tuition costs. and good cops- of which montreal has plenty, by the way- are called away from other duties like robberies, assaults, and stuff we want them to be stopping, because smoke pouring out of three metro stations looks pretty damn urgent.

these are things that we pay for, things that we need to some extent in order to keep ourselves safe and to allow our cities to function. government are nothing but middlemen we put there because we don't have the time to manage all this stuff. if things aren't working properly, it actually entrenches the need for middlemen to make sure everything is smoothed out. no, self-described anarchists, government officials are not losing sleep over these sorts of tricks.

nor are large corporations losing anything. the lost revenue to a bank or credit card company when a third of their customer service department gets in two hours late is nothing. they slap an announcement on their incoming phone line and wait. the loss of income to someone working an hourly wage in a customer service centre for a bank or credit card company can be debilitating. someone working a waitressing job at a chain restaurant is going to notice the hit on her paycheque and in her tips when she loses a shift. the restaurant group might have a soft sales result for that week, in that particular region.

way to stick it to the little guy.

in fact, there's something almost diabolical about targeting a city's public transit system to begin with. after all, it's favoured by people who are poorer and more vulnerable. it's favoured by people who might not be able to drive owing to disabilities- deafness, visual impairment, advanced forms of arthritis, usually not the sort of things that establish one as public enemy number one. and it's favoured by children. kids who can't drive are going to school at the same time their parents are going to work. trust me, every time a metro train arrives at the station across the street from me at that hour, the doors explode with kilted kinder like one of those trick cans filled with fake snakes. there are lots and lots and lots of kids of all races, religions and social backgrounds packed into subway cars during rush hour.

i'm glad to hear that the apparent perpetrators were quickly found and arrested, largely based on the fact that commuters managed to get pictures and video of them on cell phones when they were fleeing the scene on the metro. incidentally, noticing that sort of activity, recording it and reporting it to people charged with doing something about it is, in essence, way truer to the spirit of the anarchist collective than attacking wage-earners and kids.

adding to the sadness of this whole affair is the wound it's inflicted on rational student protestors. a group that had worked steadily to make the public aware that they were not being unreasonable and even forced the previously intransigent provincial government to the bargaining table are now being derided as terrorists. [incidentally, the descriptor is accurate- politically motivated actions designed to bring fear and confusion are the very heart of terrorism.] and that's really not fair, because, as people were coming to understand, there are very different groups with very different aims at work here. the victorious group have created a divisive, us-versus-them culture and public havoc merely for the purpose of generating fear and mistrust. the other have had their legitimately progressive work quite literally blown up in their faces.

bravo, guys. bravo.

11 May 2012

friday favourites 11.05.12

image of the week
well, it finally seems that the household is recovering from our group tummy troubles earlier in the week. and dom didn't even get stabbed, despite his best attempts. all in all, a pretty good week.

of course, the whole president-coming-out-as-in-favour-of-gay-marriage thing was pretty sweet too. followed, of course, by the ugly but telling revelation [from the washington post- not normally a bastion of democratic support] that his presidential opponent engaged in a wee bit of gay-bashing as a student. when i was a student, i once wrote a limerick about a girl who picked on me crapping her pants. the difference is that i'm not going to be elected to lead my country and make it the national anthem. [although it might make the olympics a touch more amusing.]

these struggles continue, but it's nice to see that ray of sunshine burst through the cloud cover once in a while. here are a few other things that brightened my week... sort of.

good news :: stuff i can't make up from around the internet


this is possibly why i never make friends among my coworkers.

in case you're wondering what the dress code is the next time i have a dinner party.

score one, belatedly, for the little guy.

i'll bet you can't even remember what it felt like to be this punk:



goings on :: stuff you can [and should] participate in


if you're in montreal... and you're a fan of ebm/ electro music, there's really only one thing to be doing in the next week, which is attending the kinetik festival. from humble beginnings, this annual gathering of cyber-types has grown into a behemoth, with four days of bands and djs, before and after parties, and a bevy of ornately costumed fans from around the world. if you're planning on attending, do keep an eye out for me, as i'll be filming the event along with dom and a whole team of others. i'll be the unassuming redhead with the camera. even if you're only mildly interested in the music, it's worth visiting for the spectacular fashion display, which verges on a living museum.

of course, if you're a writer in the city, you might want to consider reserving thursday may 17th to come out to the monthly meeting of the canadian writers society. it takes place at the cote-st-luc aquatic centre [accessible by bus for those who, like me, don't drive]. please rsvp to the address on the web page if you plan on attending. [note: i realise that the web page has the meeting date for march, but i promise you, there is a meeting this coming thursday.] i hope to be at this one too, but it's going to depend on the kinetik shooting schedule. all writers, amateur and professional, are welcome.

if you're pretty much anywhere... remember to call your mother on sunday. it's mother's day. unless you're mother has threatened to kill you. then you might not want to connect. but you might want to buy her an original gift.

musical notes


in keeping with the whole electro-theme of this coming week, i thought it only appropriate to share something from that genre. of course, not being a fan of later-period ebm and such [sure to make filming a pleasure for some of the acts], i figure i'd share something from the distant past of the genre. these guys continued way past their best before date, but their early material remains hugely influential in the world of electronic music.



follow-up and shameless self-promotion


since i absolutely have to have it done before mid-week, i'm planning to have episode 3 of more like space radio up by the end of the weekend.

i also hope to have a couple of new looks up for you to enjoy/ giggle at. those have been a little slow in coming since my regular camera died, which has forced me to use "the big camera". it's also forced me to start training a new photographer, since getting shots of myself with aforementioned "big camera" is a little tricky. his training is coming along nicely, so i should be getting back on top of that this week. of course, all of this has led me to a rather shocking revelation about my eyes, which i'll probably share as well.

this week's favourite search term that led people to this blog: "gay warriors".
i'm picturing an alternate version of the 80s hair metal track "dream warriors".

kitteh of the week


this isn't the best shot, but it is a pretty accurate representation of what my weary eyes saw upon waking earlier this week. in case you're wondering, some of the bumps under the comforter are me. occupy mom day, i guess.



thanks again for your patronage and watch this cyberspace for updates!

09 May 2012

reflections on the tar-heel terror

lesbians: good enough for our state seal, but not for our government
i've got plenty of outrage. that's why there's a tag used on this blog called "stuff that makes me angry". but in the wake of yesterday's referendum in north carolina that clamped down on marriage equality [i'm borrowing that terminology from msnbc's lawrence o'donnell, since i think it's a more accurate description of the legislation passed], i'm thinking that i'll have to introduce a new category called "stuff that makes me confused". it was fairly widely accepted that this amendment to the state constitution was going to pass, and by a significant margin. and based on what most people knew of north carolina, this wasn't surprising. and from a certain perspective, i get that. from the outside looking in, it is hardly astonishing that the voters who elected jesse helms would reject the notion that marriage could be anything outside of one man and one woman. but in this case, i'm not entirely an outsider and what i've seen from the inside perplexes me.

for several years, i worked for a company whose world headquarters was located in north carolina. in fact, it's more of a centre than you would think, having established itself as the locus of the furniture trade and a major player in the textile trade based in the american south. although i'll warrant i wasn't thrilled about it, i traveled to north carolina on average once every couple of months to liaise with colleagues and i saw them in other venues for corporate meetings, company sponsored training sessions and the like. although i would guess that most of us had relatively few experiences and interests in common, i can say that these people were genuinely likeable. that sounds like i'm copping out though, so i'll say it straight up: i genuinely liked them.

because of the differences in interests, the distance and the more formal culture of the company, my relationships with these people were strictly on a business level. i left the company and have not kept in touch with any of them. but i do remember them as friendly, helpful, decent people with sharp senses of humour, a solid sense of how to work well with others and a grounded-ness that i appreciated. most, though not all, of the people i dealt with were college graduates, a few were intelligent enough that i felt intimidated talking to them. some were n.c. born and bred, but because movement within the united states seems much easier than in canada, a lot of them had moved there from elsewhere. the unifying factor, other than that they all worked for the same company, was that they had all chosen to live and pursue a career in north carolina. and i assume most of them are still there.

when i worked there, it was understood that discussions of politics were strictly off-limits with our american counterparts. this was in the time of george w. bush and iraq and those of us who followed politics knew that to encourage discussions was probably like asking everyone to go and play tag in the minefield. i never knew the political leanings of anyone in that group, but i suspect it was a mix of democrats and republicans, with a certain number of independents. some i know where fairly devoted christians, because they decorated their workspace with emblems of their faith. i imagine that most believed in the christian god. although, on average, they were probably as a group more educated and wealthier than the average north carolinian and as a group they were overwhelmingly white [there was a smattering of latinos and a few members of other cultures, but i can't actually recall a single african american], i think that they were reasonably indicative of the white population of north carolina.

and we're not talking about people in the larger cities here either. the office was located outside what most would call a small town. no one actually lived in the town area, but out in what was euphemistically referred to as the suburbs, but was really the country. these weren't the more worldly folks of charlotte or raleigh-durham or the university crowd around chapel hill.

i'm guessing that many of those people took the time to vote yesterday. and given the averages, i'm guessing a good number of them voted for this inflammatory, clearly prejudiced amendment and that troubles me. because it's one thing to think of the frothing bigots you see on television ranting about how gays are coming to ruin your marriage and your life and the country, but it's quite another to think of nice, smart, likeable people supporting them. you want to think that those who voted in favour of the amendment are all toothless hillbillies playing their banjos and clinging to their guns and their warped view of christianity. but the sad fact is, that's not the case.

now that i'm no longer affiliated with the company, i sort of wish i'd kept in touch with some of those people and that i could reach out to those who supported the amendment so that i could ask them:

why?

if you're a christian, the message of jesus and the new testament is overwhelmingly that love is powerful and that hate is destructive. you can argue about specific passages all you want, but that's ultimately going to end up with some clever sod linking your morality to weather your pants are a cotton-spandex blend. [biblically speaking, tights as pants are a sin.]

if you believe in defending the institution of marriage, isn't divorce a much larger problem than homosexuality? say what you want about the catholic church, but at least there's a moral consistency to their position on this one: divorce is so much of a no-no that henry viii had to pull his whole country out of the roman papacy to get one.

if you believe that allowing homosexuals to marry is an assault on your religion, you should think about what the debate really is: no one is saying that any church has to perform marriages for anyone if they don't want to. trust me, gay marriage is legal up here and i'm still wary of finding a church that will consent to marry me [an a-religious specimen] to my catholic fiancé. allowing gays to marry forces churches to change precisely nothing. it allows the state to sanction those marriages and accord them the legal rights accorded all married couples. as a commentator i saw yesterday on cnn [and i apologise, i didn't catch his name] noted: marriage was always a civil and legal matter rather than a religious one. for centuries, it was purely that. it was only in the late middle ages that nobles began requesting the sanction of the church as well.

and if you believe that homosexuality is morally wrong, the question of whether or not gays can marry is beside the point. centuries of marginalisation and brutality have not made homosexuality go away and denying the community a civil right extended to the links of that other north carolinian in the news, john edwards [currently on trial for using political donations to pay off the mistress who bore his child as his wife was dying of cancer], will not spell the end of homosexuality more than anything that has preceded it.

one thing that i haven't touched on was if any of my coworkers were gay. i don't know. almost all were married [and younger than i], but that's certainly not a guarantee. there were a couple i suspected and, as a friend of mine recently pointed out, my instincts are usually pretty on in that regard. i honestly didn't think about it too much, beyond feeling a mild sense of surprise when i heard that someone i'd accepted as gay mentioned having a partner of the opposite sex. but i've thought about those people in the last few days. i've thought about how a feeling of fear and shame must have grown even deeper, must now seem like a terrible, universal isolation. i'll bet those people are some of the hardest working employees there- as they frequently seemed to be- because burying oneself in a career is probably one of the only ways to avoid the sense of desperation that would otherwise take over their thoughts.

i hope that those people are ok. frankly, whatever their votes, i hope that all the people i knew at that company are pretty happy and comfortable in their lives. given my experiences with them, i can't even condemn those whose views i find reprehensible, because i know that they are not bad people.

and this is the agony of my position, reflecting on that group. it's not just that the vote in north carolina makes me angry- although it does- but that i don't understand how decent human beings can justify denying such basic rights to others out of fear and hatred. i want them to explain it to me, but really, i want to make them see the error of their ways. perhaps it's a conceit of mine, or an over-confidence in the power of reason to think i could. but they all seem like reasonable people and from the outside, it's clear they've made a completely unreasonable decision.

i'd like to remind all those who voted in favour of the amendment of the state's motto, taken from cicero's "in friendship":

esse quam videri, [or, translated from the original] "fewer possess virtue than those who wish us to believe that they possess it"  

[as i was writing this, apparently president barack obama "came out" in support of gay marriage. i'll still give the kudos to joe biden who, given his reputation as the candidate of more conservative democrats and his record of voting for the defense of marriage act, really put himself out there by declaring that he'd come to be "completely comfortable" with the idea of gay marriage. his comments on "meet the press" are genuinely moving because they come from someone who had clearly once held a very different position, and basically forced the president's hand.]

this post will probably be a waste of your time

so this has been a real waste of a day. more or less. i actually woke up very early, but that's almost a guarantee that i'm going to waste the rest of the day, because i fall into the trap of thinking that i have lots of time to be productive, so that there's absolutely no problem with me procrastinating.

besides, i woke up early this morning because something had gone terribly wrong with my stomach, which is never conducive to productivity, unless you consider lying around and moaning a lot to be a noble pursuit.

what's worse is that it soon became obvious that something was wrong with all of our stomachs. i don't mean just me and dom, either, somehow, something managed to infect the cats as well. what's more fun when you have a touch of stomach flu than caring for cats with tummy issues? everything.

when you're a kid, being sick means that people are going to be checking on you, waiting on you, offering to get things that you want on a regular basis and just generally giving you a break. when you're an adult and you get sick, it means that the laundry and the dishes will be 24 hours more difficult to deal with. and i'd sort of isolated today to be the day that i did housework because i knew it was going to be the one spectacularly crappy day weather-wise this week.

of course, i had dom to make things better, which he did as follows:

dom :: you're going to have to take care of all of us today.

me :: what? why would i have to take care of everyone? i'm sick too. i'm the one who woke up sick at dawn.

dom :: but you're the oldest.

i think he mentioned at that point that i'd probably want him to sleep on the sofa tonight, which really just shows that he wasn't thinking clearly. i'm feeling unwell. why would i want to get up and go into the living room to stab him in his sleep when i can do it from the comfort of bed?

in the meantime, i'm trying to take a little pride in the few things that i got done today. for instance, i did remember to update "a definable moment in time". so go read that and forget what i said about stabbing someone in his sleep. or i'll have to find you and stab you. when i'm feeling better.

07 May 2012

making faces :: the window dressing to the soul [chanel inimitable intense mascara]

this is the tale of a woman obsessed. a woman whose mother told her that the very first thing she noticed about her daughter when she was presented with her in the hospital was that said daughter had rather dramatically long, curly eyelashes. a woman who swore that she would honour that birthright every living day, no matter what the obstacles or the cost, that she would make sure the world would see her as her mother had first seen her- as a strange bundle with long, curly eyelashes.

that woman is me. and, yes, it is absolutely true that my mother told me that the first thing she noticed about me was that i had long, curly eyelashes when i was born. i also apparently had a surprising amount of red hair on my head, which fell out shortly after.

and it is true that i have a real preoccupation with my eyelashes. a friend of mine once pointed out that it was the one feature i could be counted on to accentuate, even when i couldn't be bothered with any other makeup. that's true. i can leave the house with no makeup, no problem, but i feel kind of naked without mascara.

to that end, i'm always searching for the ultimate mascara, something that will allow others to view me as my mother first did, all big blue eyes and dramatic lashes, but skipping the part where i barfed on her shoulder. and what a search it has been.

essentially, i like something that adds some volume and definition and that shows off length. i don't really need something that curls my lashes, because to this day, they curl pretty well on their own. while most curling mascaras are utter failures, those that do live up to the claim tend to make me look a little ridiculous, like i applied miniature rollers to my eyes.

after hearing so many wonderful things about it and being so enamoured of chanel in general, i decided to give their "inimitable intense" mascara a try. it promises the world: length, definition and curl. a tall order for anyone, let alone a demanding mascara-phile like myself.

the results? surprisingly good.

i don't think it delivers maximum impact in "a single stroke", as promised, but it does give great volume, emphasises length from root to tip and, yes, does give my lashes just a little bit more of an upward curve.

i did not find that it clumped my lashes together or deposited so much product that it smudged or smeared around the base of my lashes. this is a big thing for me, because i'm already a little clumsy and have to be careful not to get mascara on my actual eyelids. i don't need to fiddle around with a mascara wand that's prone to mischief.

i do have a tendency to go with a fairly deep, dramatic application, which may not suit all tastes. the photo on the right shows two coats fresh from a new tube. i'd be likely to wear it this way, but you'd get a more natural look with a single pass. also, if you want something softer, the mascara does come in brown as well.

below is a comparison of inimitable intense with benefit's "they're real", which i reviewed here. both are good for length and volume, but you can definitely see that chanel has the edge. in addition, chanel offers that little bit of curl, which is a nice finishing touch [and which can counteract the tendency of mascara to weigh your lashes down].

l :: chanel inimitable intense; r :: benefit they're real

at $30usd/ $36cad, "inimitable intense" is definitely a higher-end product. i don't mind splurging for something that has really excellent results, but i was disappointed that there seemed to be far less product- or that it dried out much quicker- than other mascaras in the same price range. most mascaras last me between three and four months. this one lasted less than two before requiring multiple coats to get anywhere near the original effect. if it had cost a lot less than other luxury brands, that wouldn't bother me, but i expect items in the same price range to be comparable and this one fell well short, either because it dried out quickly or because there simply wasn't as much product included.

it is a very nice formula, in that it delivers on its claims, doesn't become crusty on the lashes and lasts well during use. but among prestige brands, i can't say it would earn the highest marks, simply because the value isn't as good. [nothing has yet displaced yves st. laurent "faux cils" as my favourite.]

worth the coin? yes, probably. the best you can get? close, but no. 
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