31 July 2012

a definable moment in time [a fiction serial] part 112



Get writing again,” he’d told her. “Don’t let them tell you what you’re thinking.”

the everyday olympics!

i do not want to see 2 or 1
why should our bi-bi-annual celebration of psychical human achievement be limited to those tests that require strength, commitment and training? surely those of us who go through our lives patting ourselves on the back every time we take the stairs instead of the elevator deserve something to mark our accomplishments. after all, we do these things without trainers, meaning that we have only ourselves to rely on.

here are a few sports i think i'd be a medal contender for:

napping. i kick ass at napping. for someone who has so many problems with insomnia, when i want to sleep, it is really, really difficult to keep me awake. i often annoy dom with my ability to sleep on a dime, including at times when he's trying to talk to me, but i secretly think that he really just envies my ability to nap because he gets all screwed up and either can't relax enough to sleep or sleeps too long.

feline support. i don't mean supporting them by buying them food and litter and that sort of thing [although i'm good at that too], but i've evolved ways of doing all sorts of things while allowing a cat [or cats] to rest on me. like posting blogs. you have no idea how many of these blogs are posted with seth on my lap. obviously, i could combine this with skill #1, but that's almost too easy.

reaching things in high places. it's a fact of life at my size that there are going to be a lot of things out of your reach. like half the stuff in your kitchen, because the kitchen has not been built that can accommodate all of my stuff within an arm's length. and it's funny, because despite my almost cartoonish clumsiness in virtually every other aspect of my life, i have acquired a remarkable skill in getting things down from high places without resorting to the help of another. i drop things that are firmly in my grip, but i can coax a heavy casserole dish off a shelf higher than i am with my arms fully extended, using nought but my fingertips.

tiny, neat writing. of course, you can't tell this from reading stuff i type here, but my writing is kind of like a circus sideshow. people get hypnotised by it, even when they're supposed to be paying attention to something else. the truth is, i've always had tiny writing, ever since i was around eight or nine. when i started university, i tried making myself write larger so that i could work faster, but it felt unnatural and i abandoned the effort. i consider it environmentally responsible, because i use less paper.

"blind" lipstick application. i can get it exactly in the right spot without a mirror. that's right. i know where my lips are without checking, at all times.

so what special sports would you compete in? what would your gold medal events be?

30 July 2012

resting places

i've mentioned before on the blog that i've always loved cemeteries and that i grew up playing in one, which for a lot of people probably explains some things about me. i love photographing them, but one thing i regret is that i moved away from halifax before the advent of widely available digital photography, which made amateur professionals out of all of us.

halifax actually has a lot of centrally located cemeteries with fascinating histories. many of the victims of the titanic are buried there, including the one whose name james cameron borrowed for leonardo dicaprio's character in some movie. apparently, there were teenaged girls making pilgrimages to the site of his grave, the strains of celine dion still plucking at their heartstrings when the film came out.

there are the usual assortment of local historical characters interred there. a friend of mine from high school snapped a picture of me raising a bottle of keith's while sitting on the grave of alexander keith, but unfortunately, it's been lost to the ages. and i'm sure i was drinking underage. i poured the beer out. or found the bottle empty. i most certainly didn't drink it.

one of my favourite cemeteries in halifax, however, is the tiny one in the middle of downtown [or what used to be the middle of downtown, since the decline of barrington st. has made that area seem like a far-flung suburb from what i can glean] called simply "the old burying ground".

it is well-named, for many of its residents have been there since shortly after the city's founding in 1749. the graves there are noticeably different than in other places, too, bearing the more sombre symbolism of the eighteenth century, like skulls and bones and hourglasses turned on their sides to remind you of your own mortality.

i've been haunted since i was in my early twenties by the image you see here: a combination of the darker images with the mid-eighteenth century shift towards the power of resurrection imagery. the soul rises from the body and gains eternal life beyond the physical, beyond the bones, beyond the power of the hourglass.

when i was younger, i desperately wanted to get that image tattooed on the base of my back. it seemed appropriate, since the base of the spine is often considered the root of the soul. but i put it off and procrastinated and the next thing i knew every woman had a tattoo on the bottom of her back, to the point where most people i know refer to it derisively as the "tramp stamp". i still play around with the idea of doing it, because i still absolutely love the image and it would seem to be an appropriate tribute to my lifelong fascination with burying grounds in general, but any time i even mention the placement, i'm greeted with groans and rolling eyes. given the size and shape of the image, as well as the meaning of having it placed there, it would feel weird getting it anywhere else.

woe is me.

until then, i just keep reminding myself that the next time i visit, i'm taking the big camera, so that i can get all the shots i need of the graveyards of my youth.

the top image is one that i took myself. the bottom one, i'm embarrassed to admit, could come from anywhere, including myself. it's been on my computer forever and i've no idea where it came from. it was in a folder that contained a mix of found images and old images i'd taken from my cell phone.

oh, and in case you were wondering about mental health mondays, i'm giving it a rest for the week. it'll return for august, fresh and new.

29 July 2012

making faces :: i'll get you, my pretty

a word to the wise: never dis "the wizard of oz" in my presence. it was the first film i ever saw in a theatre. [in rerelease, not when it originally came out. although i'd bet you'd all want to know my anti-aging secrets...] i grew up with a record of the film [basically key points of dialogue and all the musical numbers] that i listened to almost every day for years. the only thing that got me through elementary school was the idea that i might be sucked up into a tornado and launched into a technicolour dimension full of talking animals and fabulous shoes. i'll be honest- i never could figure out what dorothy found so damned appealing about going back to dust-bowl era kansas to live in poverty, when she could have just stayed on in oz with all her friends, safe from the witch who wanted to euthanise her dog. especially since the emerald city was in need of an overseer. but the movie has played a pivotal role in my life and do not take kindly to its detractors.

so when i found out that jewelry designer tarina tarantino, whose revamped cosmetics collection has received some rave reviews, especially over at temptalia, was doing a "wizard of oz" themed palette, it did seem sort of obvious that i'd found the point at which i could get acquainted with the brand.

and it's not like i'd heard that someone was remaking "the wizard of oz" [in point of fact, "the wizard of oz is itself a remake, since the books of l. frank baum had already been adapted for the screen in the early silent era; i have them on dvd!]. a remake would have been insulting, as they almost always are. this is a tribute to the novels, the film and even the tales that followed in "wicked". it's hard to dislike someone's effort to pay tribute to something you love.

SWATCHES! PHOTOS! PRODUCTS IN ACTION! RIGHT THIS WAY...

27 July 2012

friday favourites 27.07.12

image of the week
are we all still tingly from watching the olympic opening ceremonies? you know what was even better than watching the opening ceremonies? reading the bbc live text feed. all of it typed out in perfectly prim, objective bbc style, bit by bit. it was probably the most addictive, surreal thing that i've ever read. also, i left work during the letter "b" and arrived home for "s". that choice of letters is 100% honest and completely accidental and i happen to think that the whole "blooming flower of flames" thing was pretty breathtaking, so for once i'm not being cynical. seriously. i'm not being cynical. also, hats off to the queen, who showed that one of the world's most public figures can still surprise the people from time to time and it doesn't need to involve a sex tape.

i have to admit that i'm not a summer olympics fan. i do always fall in love with the winter olympics, because the competition does seem to be more broad and because about a third of the sports make me holler "why the hell would anyone even try to do that?" the summer olympics seem kind of staid by comparison. of course, i found out today that there is a delegation of non-affiliated athletes, which seems to be a giant thumbed nose at the very concept of the olympics, so while i wish my canadian compatriots the best, i think that insanity dictates i cheer for team independent.

as an aside, i have noticed that as i age, my opinion on the attractiveness of athletes is subtly changing. when i was a teen, that look used to scream "jock", which made them repulsive. a couple of decades later, i have to say that i look at a lot of those young faces and think "healthy", which suddenly seems pretty nice.

anyway, here's a few decidedly non-olympic things that made me smile this week...

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


hey, did you hear the one about the host of the puppet show on the christian television network who had a computer full of violent child porn and wanted to kidnap, violate and eat one of the youngsters in his congregation?

how about the one about how the institution of marriage is threatened by barrier-smashing women astronauts who stay in monogamous relationships for almost three decades?

or the old joke about the scientist who wanted to prove that you could replace the damaged portions of a human heart by building a jellyfish out of rat cells?

and i'm sure you're tired of hearing about the former republican state senator who wondered why the hell those pussies in the colorado theatre didn't man up and charge the guy with all the automatic weapons.

to quote darrell sheets from storage wars, the moon must've been in retrofit or something this week, because damn. that's some serious weirdness!

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


if you're in montreal... i'd like to apologise to you for forgetting to mention the most exciting thing happening last week, which was more like space's favourite stand-up comedian patton oswalt doing a show here as part of the "just for laughs" comedy festival. this is why i'm not a very good community bulletin board. however...

if you're in toronto... and you have a sweet tooth for the electro sounds, you should check out the third in a series of events by the united electronic audio workers of toronto. live bands and dj's abound, including a dj set by jairus khan, also known as the most memorable moment at the 2012 kinetik festival or "guy with industrial strength balls".

if you're in fort lauderdale... you'd be mad not to check out an evening with john waters! seriously, i'm stupidly envious of you.

of course if you're in montreal... you have no excuse! come and join us for the caustic lounge this coming wednesday. celebrate the festival of lugh, or just the changing of the month. the point is that you probably deserve to celebrate something, and there's no better time to do that than in the middle of the work week.

musical notes


this week, i learned that the difference between thinking about new music and having new music is about two beer. that's the little push extra that gets me from "i think this might be interesting" to "i will not remember buying this until i'm perplexed by its arrival in my mailbox". which is how you end up with atmospheric little gems like this in the mail:



follow-up and shameless self-promotion


a number of people re-posted/ retweeted my ponderings about the gun control debate that really needs to happen in the united states. thanks very much. i'm always immensely flattered when someone thinks enough of what i post here to call it to other people's attention. i was actually thinking that that one might garner me some hate mail, but nothing so far. which is funny, because i've actually been more sharply criticised for way more innocuous things i've said.

as i mentioned earlier, the caustic lounge is happening this week, so we do hope to see you there [there being cagibi, on the corner of st. laurent and st. viateur] for cider, sammiches and sounds.

kitteh of the week


as those who follow me on twitter may have noticed, this week marked the third birthday [approximate] of our beautiful brother and sister combo, seth and julia. one of the things that always strikes me about them is that people seem to be able to tell- without hearing anything about them in advance- that they're siblings. i have always been of the opinion that there was an actual resemblance, but i know i'm crazy. it really solidified for me when a woman i used to work with saw a picture of them on my phone and said "they're really brother and sister, right?" she had no doubt at all in her mind about said family resemblance. what do you think? can you see it?



thanks very much for reading and for making this one of the busiest weeks ever on more like space! you rock my world!!!

26 July 2012

making faces :: is "corinthian" the stuff of myth?

are you ready for my corinthian style?
corinth is currently a smallish greek town, about 80km from athens, the second largest population centre of the peloponnesus [the large peninsula in the southern part of greece] after kalamata. but in ancient times, corinth was a powerful city state, supposedly founded by a descendant of the god helios, probably not a factual statement, but typical of the era, which freely combined history and myth in a proud tradition carried on today by fox news.

today, the corinthians are all but forgotten- an ancient ruin replaced by an industrial-era town far after greece had ceded its position of power in the world. today, it's a city best known for its contribution to architecture, particularly a design of column. it's probably not what the god helios envisioned for his family. 

but le metier de beaute understands the mythical, romantic legacy of ancient corinth, i'm sure. that's why they named their most prized and elusive eye shadow for it. a shade that is as classic and iconic as the city of ancient corinth itself. indeed "corinthian" is elusive. and by "elusive" i mean "sold out just about everywhere for long periods of time despite the fact that it's supposed to be part of the permanent collection". "elusive" just saves time. 

I'VE CAPTURED THE "ELUSIVE" CORINTHIAN AND AM HIDING IT AFTER THE BREAK

24 July 2012

i'll say it if no one else will

i can't count the number of times that i've been told by american friends that i just don't get the importance of their second amendment. they're right. i'm canadian and my perspective on gun control is shaped by my cultural background. i don't have a problem with certain items being restricted because the potential for them to cause harm far outweighs their potential to do good. my country was not founded in the wake of a violent revolution, but through a protracted process of increasing distance from our colonial parent. there have been a lot of problems in that process, but no one ever felt that it was crucially important that the populace be ready to defend their existence against the british or anyone else. so yes, i agree, i don't get the importance of the second amendment.

i do get the importance of keeping the government out of your personal decisions. they're there to manage things that need to be done as a group and for the group as a whole and their imposition on personal liberties needs to be limited. but there are all sorts of things that are controlled and regulated because of their negative "side effects"- drugs being the most obvious. drugs have a tiered system of availability based [theoretically] on how much their potential benefits is countered by their potential dangers. and yes, i understand that the constitution doesn't enshrine a person's right to drugs, but i'm tempted to believe that that's because the american founding fathers never imagined a world with the sort of restrictions we currently have on substances. so let's just put it this way: as an outsider, i'm unclear as to why guns don't fall under the same rules as drugs: certain ones are pretty much safe for anyone to have, whereas the more powerful ones require more scrutiny.

any politician who said what i just said would be lucky to escape a national campaign [and a lot of regional campaigns] alive, let alone with a victory. the powerful gun lobby in the united states has become so rigid in their stance that questioning the innate right of the population to own any type of firearm is decried hysterically as unpatriotic. to an outsider, the unwavering, complete commitment to the second amendment appears as dangerously fanatical zeal, but to many in america, it is an sign of reverence to their country's unique emphasis on the primacy of the individual citizen over the power of the state.

as i've made clear above, i have my doubts, but it's not my decision to make, because i'm not american and i don't get it.

what i do get, which many seem to have missed, is that for every liberty, there is a corresponding responsibility and when that responsibility is not honoured, there are consequences. massacres like what we saw in colorado last thursday night are not isolated incidents. they are a predictable outcome of the free availability of powerful weapons to the vast majority of the population and it's time to stop pretending like the two things aren't related. that doesn't mean that some people won't find ways to carry out mass murder. clearly, they will. but there is clearly a correlation between gun violence and gun availability.

rather than try to obfuscate, i think it's time that the nra owned up to that and tell people the truth: unintended deaths are a consequence of the freedom to own guns. if you believe in the second amendment, if you really believe in it, you have to be willing to accept that these sorts of things would happen. that doesn't mean they're not tragic and it doesn't mean that steps shouldn't be taken to avoid them, but it needs to be acknowledged that there will be those who pay for the national right to gun ownership with their lives.

from that point follows the true debate: where does the right to gun ownership for all come in the priorities of most americans and what consequences are they willing to accept to keep it? after all, when that amendment was added, the founding fathers didn't anticipate that gun ownership would be painless. they believed that the american people would have to serve as an army and that a certain number of them would die in the name of defending their newly established state. whether they anticipated that this would also mean a greater number of citizen deaths in general is beside the point- it was always understood that the right to bear arms comprised a toll paid in blood.

so, nra, i think it's time you really had to make your case: the right to own guns is obviously very important to americans and it comes at a price. using those terms, make the case why the price is worth paying.

23 July 2012

mental health mondays :: i'm with the gland [part 3]

this is the final chapter in our trilogy about the glandular system and how it can make you crazy... literally. we've already looked at the adrenal glands and the thyroid glands, both of which are thought to have an effect on our moods, our overall mentality and our access to crucial neurotransmitters. but the adrenals and the thyroid are really just the puppets of something far more powerful. ladies and gentlemen, i give you... your pituitary gland.

behold the puppet master...

the thyroid, having received malevolent instructions
ok, the pituitary gland doesn't really look like much [except a very tiny pair of testicles attached to your brain -ed.] but oh, the things it can do. its function is actually to serve as the field general for the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that controls the entire glandular system, among other things. the pituitary takes its orders and then broadcasts them, arming the rest of the endocrine system with the weapons it needs to get the job done. one of the tricky parts about treating glandular problems is that the root cause can often be found in the pituitary gland, which then fails to give the other glands what they need to do their job, kind of like your old boss who kept insisting that the absence of a colour printer did not interfere with approving graphics and then flipped out when the trees in your ads had beautiful teal-coloured leaves rather than green ones and therefore looked like someone's acid trip circa 1965. in either case, the problem rests higher up and the effects can be felt throughout the organisation. or organism, if you're talking about a body.

22 July 2012

making faces :: my nars romance continues...

the anticipation was killing her too
it's not autumn. it's hot and sunny and mostly dry, except for when we get wild thunder storms, so i don't even have a sense that fall is ever coming. but it's around this time that i start to get a little sense that the days will become shorter, the weather will be come cooler and i will once again be able to go outside without fear of sunstroke, because now is the time when the fashion world turns its attention to fall.

although the collection doesn't officially hit shelves until the beginning of august in canada [which is really as early as it should], i got a chance to check out the nars' fall offering this week and for my tastes, they set the bar very high. the lovely corinne, head makeup artist at the nars counter in the bay downtown introduced me to the products and also tried a number of them out on me... if i had wanted to save money, this was definitely a mistake, because once you get a sense that something really works well on you, it's hard to leave it behind. [this is also how i ended up with five cats.]

i was surprised by the shades selected for fall because most of them are so, well, autumnal. nars is often very brash about flaunting the conventions of seasonal colour, but this time they surprise by offering a combination of rich, deep tones and frosty cool highlights that perfectly call to mind chilly winds and the crunch of dried leaves underfoot. i can practically smell the scent of autumn leaf fires looking at these colours. [no, i can't. i can smell the yves rocher rose perfume i'm wearing, because i got it a little too close to my nose. but if i could smell anything other than roses, i'm sure there'd be a whiff of smoke in there.]

READ ON FOR COMPLETE REVIEWS AND OH SO MANY PHOTOS...

dj kali & mr. dna @ casa del popolo post-punk night

last night was a blast! a big thank you to dj tyg for letting us guest star on her monthly night, because we had a great time. my set was a little more reminiscent of the sets that i used to do at katacombes [i.e., less prone to strange meanderings than what you normally hear at the caustic lounge]. i actually invited someone to the night with the promise "don't worry, it'll be normal". which also gives you an idea of what to expect at the caustic lounge. behold my marketing genius.

mr. dna started off putting the "punk" into the night [which i think technically means i was responsible for the post, which doesn't sound quite so exciting]. i'd say that he definitely had the edge in the bouncy energy department.

many thanks to those who stopped in throughout the night to share in the tunes, the booze and the remarkably tasty nachos and a special thank you to the ska boss who stuck it out until the end of the night and gave our weary bones a ride home.

the next caustic lounge will be on august 1st, so we hope to see you there.

the way the night went, i started things off, followed by dj tyg, then mr. dna did a set, then dj tyg again, then mr. dna and i shared a set and then dj tyg closed things off. what i have here are the kali/ dna portions of the evening.

dj kali [9-10]
blondie :: denis denis
wire :: i am the fly
the danse society :: my heart [skipped another beat]
second layer :: fixation
bow wow wow :: c30 c60 c90 go
ait! :: i wanna be your mann
d.a.f. :: sato sato
pcyhick tv :: i c water
severed heads :: now an explosive new movie
la generentola :: la gata
blank dogs :: blue light
oto :: blue arrow
siouxsie & the banshees :: hong kong garden
killing joke :: turn to red

mr dna  [11-12]

ramones :: do you remember rock and roll radio?
buzzcocks :: what do I get?
descendents :: suburban home
black flag :: nervous breakdown
dead kennedys :: soup is good food
the ruts :: babylon's burning
the damned :: neat neat neat
the smiths :: handsome devil
the plugz :: el calvo y la cruz
minutemen :: this ain't no picnic
therapy? :: teethgrinder
future of the left :: manchasm
lcd soundsystem :: losing my edge
the jon spencer blues explosion :: dissect
the stooges :: down in the street
the white stripes :: you've got no faith in medicine
richard hell & the voidoids :: love comes in spurts

dj kali [1-130]
devo :: uncontrollable urge
ultravox :: the thin wall
tuxedomoon :: no tears
frank alpine :: dark places
simple minds :: i travel
spk :: metal field
hula :: big heat

mr dna [130-2]
bauhaus :: st. vitus dance
the jim carroll band :: people who died
x :: the world's a mess, it's in my kiss
the modern lovers :: roadrunner
we've got a fuzzbox and we're gonna use it :: spirit in the sky
pixies :: into the white
wire :: mannequin
rem :: so. central rain

more like space: a definable moment in time [a fiction serial] cont...

more like space: a definable moment in time [a fiction serial] cont...:

“Your friend was here yesterday, but you were out.” Adela freezes for what seems like a very long time, trying to figure out who the old lady means." 


20 July 2012

friday favourites 20.07.12

image of the week
i was almost going to skip it this week. not out of any disinterest, but i always feel weird posting something flip and cheeky on days when the news is choked with stories of some location filled with people going about their lives suddenly getting shot up by a lone maniac with some sort of personal gripe or agenda.

awful things happen every single day. people who lead otherwise normal lives are suddenly transformed through violence every single day. by the harsh standards of the world, what happened last night in aurora, colorado isn't even close to the worst. i'm sure families in syria would consider a day where ten people died to be better than average. but there is something about these completely random mass shootings in otherwise fairly peaceful places that haunts us all here in the western world. it happened today with aurora. it happened a year ago sunday in norway. it happened in another colorado town, now synonymous with the terror of such a massacre in 1999.

what haunts us is a sense of recognition; it could have been you. we can watch the news from syria and feel terrible and understand that something needs to be done, but we don't identify with it so much, because none of us really expect to wake up and be under siege from our own government.  but we all do things like go to school, or go to the movies, or buy groceries, or just go for a walk in the place where we live and when we see stories like this, it serves as a chilling reminder that, at the most mundane and average moments in our lives, we are still exceedingly vulnerable. and there is little we can do to eliminate that.

and thinking about our perpetual vulnerability, i decided that there was no better time to revel in the small, seemingly meaningless things that make us smile and that help distract us enough from the ugliness that surrounds that we can enjoy the moments of our lives that might otherwise pass unremarked.

here are a few things that did that for me this week...

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


i want one of these, just so i can wear it to the office and act like i don't understand the weird looks i get.

i'll bet you thought that michele bachmann saying a senior advisor to hilary clinton [and wife of congressional dipshit anthony wiener] was affiliated with the muslim brotherhood [which she erroneously characterised as a terrorist organisation] would be the nuttiest conspiracy the right wing would come up with this week. wrong.

of course, there's also rush limbaugh's theory that the villain of the new batman movie is actually some sort of democratic/ socialist plot. missed that? it's ok, the guy who wrote the original predator wants to bring it to the big screen.

probably the cleverest politician to come out of alaska.

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


if you're in montreal... get yer butt in gear and come see dj kali [me!] and mr. dna paired with dj tyg for a night of post-punk madness tomorrow, july 21st at the casa del popolo. things get under way at nine and go until the wee hours. conviviality encouraged.

if you're in new york... nars is having a "fall colour event" at the flagship store at 413 bleecker street. if you're a beauty fan, you'll want to check this out [evidence for this forthcoming]. you can call 646.459.2323 to make an appointment.

if you're in krakow... you'll want to check out this performance by theme, a vastly underrated british [although now mostly polish-based] group. front man richard johnson has been a crucial part of the "industrial"/ experimental music scene for many years as a musician, writer/ publisher and promoter. he's forgotten more about music than you or i will ever know and his own work with theme shows both a complex layering of influences and a surprisingly original sound. if someone wants to fly me to poland next week, i'm totally there.

musical notes


it's all i could think of...



follow-up and shameless self-promotion


this isn't so much a follow-up as a preview, but i got to take an early look at the nars fall 2012 collection today and let me just say... well done, francois. i'll have a detailed review up over the weekend, but here are a few swatch-shots just to whet your appetite.

undress me multiple, outlaw blush
the lips :: more, amsterdam, autumn leaves, rouge tribal
vent glacé shadow duo
high society shadow trio

i'm seriously going to have to start up a "favourite search term" section of friday favourites, because every week there is at least one term logged in my stats that makes me think either "why did they end up here" or "why were they searching that to begin with" or, most often, both. this week, it was "red lips with sperm". i'm not sure if that's some sort of treatment, or a fad or what and, frankly, there's no way i'm googling it to find out. but i still would like to know why exactly that search term led to this blog multiple times. because i probably have about twenty red lipsticks and if i want to top them with a gloss, i have a lot of those too. no need to resort to dr. dom's home remedy.

fortunately, the daily searches for mitt romney and rick santorum porn have trailed off. because seriously, no one should be looking for that.

kitteh of the week


we all like getting home at the end of a long work day, but i have to say that mine have been particularly nice, because the second i sit down, or stretch out on the bed, or do anything that involves being less than vertical, i am immediately occupied territory. this is the view...



 thank you all very much for reading these pages. it means a lot to me to see that there are people who check this space out and i hope that i can encourage each of you to go out and enjoy something wonderful, something that gives you pleasure and makes the world a little less dreary. because we all need that, especially on days when it seems unimportant or inappropriate.

knocked up, not down

a few years ago, i was working for a company and a woman from my department went on maternity leave. shortly after she left, the "big boss", under the guise of making casual conversation, sauntered through the offices of all the female employees in their late twenties to mid-thirties and chatted about how incredibly disruptive it was to a company when a woman went on maternity leave- how she was really making it difficult for the whole company to keep working.

those who know me know that i made a choice to be a non-breeder long ago and have never wavered. however, that doesn't mean it wasn't incredibly insulting to have someone talking to me about all the problems i'd cause if i were to have a child. to say nothing of the fact that i knew other women at that company who wanted to have children. it was a tricky situation.

on the one hand, i know that what he was saying was true. in canada, parents are entitled to a year off in maternity/ paternity leave. [that is, they have one year total. generally the mother takes it, but it can be divided between the mother and the father, as long as they don't take more than a year combined.] that's a long time to go without an employee. you can hire a replacement, but there is always a training period and there will always be some slowdowns. and the smaller a company is, the more it's going to be affected by maternity leave.

but knowing that and saying it, particularly when you're in a position of authority, are two very different things. there were women who felt threatened when they got this little "friendly chat", or who felt like the company was trying to guilt-trip them into delaying starting a family at the least. companies aren't supposed to do that. but they do.

in fact, while companies are required to give returning mothers their same- or an equivalent- job upon returning to work, many have no compunction about changing the specifics of that job, or offering them a lateral move to a job they'd then have to learn from the ground up. in point of fact, that's exactly what happened to the woman who went on maternity leave at this particular company: she was offered another position in another department and a replacement hired for the position she held previously. i never talked to her about whether or not she wanted this other position. i suspect she didn't. but it makes things kind of difficult when your old job is occupied.

that doesn't make the decision a bad one, but it does illustrate the dangers to career women who want to start families. even with legal protection, you are still vulnerable to employers who believe the uterus is a time bomb, waiting to derail their corporate growth.

which is why it was both surprising and heartening to hear that yahoo's brand-new ceo is not merely a woman but a pregnant woman. the media reported that both her new job and her condition were revealed this week, but since she's apparently six months into term, i'm guessing that a few people might have figured it out already. and yet yahoo looked past the short-term issues and apparently saw someone who they believed could handle the job of reversing their floundering fortunes. it's a bold move and it's difficult to overstate just how bold it is.

one would hope that this might "normalise" the concept of hiring women for key positions regardless of whether or not they are starting a family. i suspect that it won't be quite so quick to catch on, however and that a lot of ceo's will shrug at the story and think [or say] "i wouldn't do that". but even if it takes a while to catch on, this establishes a precedent that's difficult to ignore. if melissa mayer succeeds as yahoo ceo, she will become a thing of legend. if she doesn't, she actually won't have done any worse than any of the other ceo's who have shuffled through yahoo in recent years.

way to go, sister. get back to us on which of your two new jobs is more demanding.

16 July 2012

mental health mondays :: i'm with the gland [part 2]

your thyroid in action
thyroid is the new heart! thyroid is the endocrine system's "tangerine tango"! [hopefully not a literal statement, for your sake.] what i mean is that thyroid is the new "it" thing, the possible source of all your problems and ailments, head to toe [including how much of a distance there is between your head and your toes]. whatever is wrong with you, chances are that your doctor will want to do some blood tests to determine if your thyroid is to blame. because what medical science has discovered is that your thyroid gland hates you and wants you to suffer.

this really should have been obvious for much longer, just on an intuitive level. a key clue is the placement of the thyroid gland: it's often whimsically described as being a butterfly shaped structure at the base of the throat, surrounded by its very own cartilage, which is what gives you the protuberance known as the "adam's apple" [or, in women, that bump in the centre of your neck]. what does that mean, exactly? that the little bastard is wrapped around your windpipe, ready to choke you out at the least provocation.

and it really doesn't take much to provoke your thyroid gland.

more and more, doctors are discovering that these things are about as stable as an armed grenade in the hands of three year old on a sugar rush. everything upsets this temperamental little butterfly. even treating its problems can be tricky, because the thyroid is incredibly finicky about needing to process substances in perfectly equal dosages. and when madame butterfly isn't happy, she takes it out on you in just about every conceivable place, including your brain.

butterfly wants attention
while the exact mechanism by which thyroid affects mood seems to be a bit of a mystery ["science: it's a guess, but it's an educated guess"], but what we do know is that the thyroid is largely responsible for producing and regulating certain hormones and that hormones are key to understanding shifts in mood. unlike the divisive debate over adrenal fatigue, the link between moods, mental health and the thyroid gland is pretty well established. people with an overactive thyroid are often anxious, excessively moody/ excitable and easily distracted. people with an underactive thyroid are conversely depressed, lethargic and sometimes paranoid. doctors and patients are used to looking for the physical symptoms of thyroid disorders, but madame butterfly, diva that she is, is a fine actress and can do a remarkable impression of a mental disorder with few other symptoms.

unfortunately, in the absence of other clear symptoms, it's pretty tempting for medical professionals to go with the obvious diagnosis. generally, if you see smoke, you should think fire and not elephant stampede, but in some cases, you need to think butterflies. murderous little butterflies who live in your throat.   

15 July 2012

making faces :: the eyes that keep on killing

i just googled "eyes that kill" and put this here to scare you
it can't be interesting for you, the reader to go through all theses blog posts where i rave about armani's eyes to kill shadows and how much i love them and how everyone should have at least one in their house at all times. after all, there are only so many ways i can say that they adhere well enough to last through a nuclear blast, that the use of multiple pigments in the powders means that you get a very nuanced shade on the lid, that you shouldn't be afraid of the sparkle in them, because they're surprisingly forgiving even on *ahem* aging lids. but i have to say that every time that i write one of these reviews because these are very consistent little pots of awesome sauce as well, so you can feel pretty safe choosing the colour you like best and assuming that you're going to get all the benefits attributed to its brothers and sisters.

and the fact is that i wouldn't have to keep writing these reviews if armani didn't keep releasing such new and beautiful additions to the line. but they do and as long as they do, i will keep waxing uncreatively about just how lovely i think they are.

most recently, there have been six new shades released as a summer-into-fall collection in warm tones of gold, plum and rose. this collection is called "acqua", which makes about as much sense given the warmth of the shades as calling the summer collection "bronze", where every shadow was cool and blue-based. i swatched all of them at my local counter and, as if i have to mention it, the chief differences between them will be personal preference. the choice of colours is stunning, the quality is spot-on and the lasting power... well, let's just say i could easily have walked around all afternoon with swatches on my inner arm.

here's a quick phone shot of all the new colours:


the shades are, starting with the lightest colour and continuing along the top row:

#29 "rose titanium", a frosty mix of cool pink and white that shows as a very icy light pink. like most of the near-white eyes to kill shades, it is a very bright effect. the colour reminded me of the mac shadow "pink freeze". this was probably the easiest to duplicate of any of the new shades.

#26 "rusted gold" which looks greenish in my swatch, but pretty much lives up to its name. all the eyes to kill shades are good, but something about the golds is really special. some have found this is a rosy gold on them, but on me, it was quite a neutral shade with a slight antique patina. eyes to kill #6 "khaki pulse" is similar, although not as warm. if you're a real fan of these colours, you could probably justify having both. if not, you're probably safe buying one or the other.

#27 "oxidised silver" is a pewter-rose mixture that is absolutely stunning. it shows as a pinky-purple- a bit like mac's "plum dressing"- but with a lot of silvery pewter in it. this is one of the shades that shows the formula at its best, because it is very smooth and wearable, but you get the prismatic effect of the multiple pigments.

and in the lower row, starting on the left, we have...

#28 "red platine" was the one from this collection i chose to bring home. there will be more, but this luscious mixture of rosy gold and plum won my heart. more on this below.

#24 "smoky copper" a blend of black, bronze and gold that looks suspiciously like one of the original three eyes to kill shadows released as a limited edition with the 2010 holiday collection. i don't have them to compare, unfortunately, but the similarity in the pan is marked. the colour itself is a breathtaking sooty black with bronze. the shimmer is throughout, never flat, so that the overall appearance is quite warm. perfect for a summer smoky eye with tons of sparkle.

#25 "25 carat gold" is ironically not all that gold, but more a very dirty bronze with a hint of khaki. it reminded me a lot of rouge bunny rouge "abyssinian catbird", which is the only thing that stopped me from purchasing it. i may go back to the counter, catbird in hand, to compare them directly and decided if it warrants purchasing both. i suspect you're safe with one, unless you're a die-hard for khaki-bronze shades.

MORE SWATCHES AND LIVE-ON-EYELIDS ACTION AFTER THE BREAK...

14 July 2012

fried-day favourites 14.07.12

so, yes, dom's birthday was yesterday and we celebrated with friends at montreal's casa de mateo. one of the best ceviche i've ever had, wonderful, rich flavours and they sell margaritas by the pitcher. there is nothing bad in there at all.

in fact, the only bad part of the night came when we left the restaurant, which had seemed quite temperate, and were reminded of exactly how hot it's been. it was like stepping into a dryer, which is something you pretty much never want to do. it was hot enough that none of us could actually feel the effect of our margartias [or other cocktails- i think i was the only one visiting margaritaville now that i think of it]. i'm fairly certain the heat actually caused the alcohol to evaporate before it made it to our system.

i'm thankful that at least the last few days haven't been disgustingly humid, but it is vaguely worrying to look around at nature and realise that i'm living in a fairly large pile of kindling populated by a surprising number of die-hard smokers. i saw a gentleman toss the end of a cigarette on the yellowy matter that passes for grass the other day and my first thought was that i was doomed. the people of my city aren't smart enough to avoid the really obvious ways of setting themselves on fire. this is where natural selection kicks in.

here are a few things i've enjoyed as i've coasted towards my demise this week...

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


not every person deserves to be employed. for instance, the marketing geniuses who thought up the new "pizza and date rape" campaign for dominos"

the young female members of a russian rock group who got arrested for criticising the political and religious powers that be have begun a hunger strike. but that probably wasn't the story you thought you were getting when you clicked on a link about "pussy riot".

not to be outdone by our socialised-medicine-endorsing jurists to the south, the canadian supreme court this week laid the smackdown on advocates for copyright expansion. your move, roberts.

because haven't we all wondered how we could incorporate a picnic table into our pants?

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


if you're in edinburgh... you won't find a more culturally enriching evening than watching the film work of maya derens accompanied by the music of cut hands [william bennett of whitehouse]. you can find details via mr. bennett's blog.

and don't forget that mr. dna and i will be taking a turn for the post-punk side of things next saturday at the casa del popolo- which is still a fine option if you're living in montreal!

musical notes


aside from having his birthday this week, dom also finished another video. this one features the music of subliminal and the title track from "coping". there's certainly nothing "nsfw" about this, but i will warn you that the effect is pretty profoundly unsettling.



follow-up and shameless self-promotion


hey, remember when i posted the results of a completely pointless survey about comparative national penis sizes almost exactly a year ago today? someone refined the results so that you can do a strictly european analysis. calm down, american readers, they use the metric system. those measurements are in centimetres.

i'd also like to take this opportunity to address some interesting search terms that led people to this little parcel of pixels:

"balotelli body" :: i swear, i didn't even know he was missing. and why do you just automatically assume if there's a body to be found, i'm involved? nothing has ever been proven.

"green blush" :: you're pretty much out of luck. try using eye shadow.

"my date naked" :: if you have to google that, you're probably not going to get to see it.

"weird things that people google" :: it's reassuring to know that i'm on the a-list of places to go when you're looking to find out how weird other people are.

and following my surprisingly successful plan to cut layers into my hair using a cat grooming tool, i discovered another hair care mystery. dom and i have become fascinated with this blade-less dyson fan.

i decided to spare you the shots doing these things with their competitors' fans

today, while in line to pay for something at the future shop, we saw one on display, and i really couldn't resist checking it out to see if i could figure out how something with no blades manages to pump lots of refreshing air in my face. [spoiler: there are blades, you just can't see them.] after a few minutes of standing close to the fan, my hair had never in its life felt better. it was shocking. whatever was coming out of the magic fan made my locks smoother and softer and the effect lasted for hours. no conditioning treatment- and believe me, i try many- has ever done what this fan was able to do. i need someone to explain this to me.

i also need someone to buy me the fan.

kitteh of the week


well, i think that my point about dom and simon has been made, but in case it wasn't clear just how nuts about each other these two are, this picture does sort of sum things up nicely...
this week's image of the week is perhaps not as cute and cuddly as you might think... it's a picture of a brand new baby panther, one of two who had their coming out party this week at the berlin zoo where they were born. more unbelievable squee here.

13 July 2012

we interrupt this friday for an important announcement

sure it's friday and i'll have favourites for you, but more importantly

IT'S DOM DAY!

how important is that? it's important enough that i spelled it all in capitals. WHICH I NEVER DO.

dom day is, of course, the day that my unbelievably patient other half, was born. and yes, it falls on friday the 13th. in fact, he was born on a friday the 13th. and he ended up with me, so that probably answers the question about luck one way or the other.

so here are a few things you might not know about dom...

he has more cool, obscure film t-shirts than any person ever. also probably more than any movie studio. several of them were custom made for him.


his head is perfectly shaped. seriously. the first time he shaved his head, i was all like "you should be a skull model or something!" i'm still working on that whole finding a gig for a skull model thing.


he's really fond of taking baths. he finds it super-relaxing and soothing when he's had a rough day, or when the weather is miserable, or when he's aching, or pretty much any time.  


 he can stay in there until he's all pruned, too, which is a mystery to me, because i can't just sit down and relax in a tub,even though he's tried to make me.

it didn't work out so well
he wears glasses to make his eyes weaker. no joke. most people need glasses because the muscles around their eyes start to weaken and can't focus. dom's muscles are in hyperdrive and are constantly too focused, which means he has awesome vision, but it also gives him horrible headaches. so he needs glasses to force the muscles to relax. now he gets horrible headaches for other reasons.


he is surprisingly conscious about his appearance. not in a vain, preening way, but he likes to take care of himself, thinks about what he wears and is familiar with how to use a mirror [which, given what i see on the metro everyday, is not common knowledge]. 


he's a great dad to all our furbabies, but he and simon have a particular bond. simon goes berserk if dom is anywhere near him and needs to be the centre of his attention at all times. 


happy birthday, baby!!!

12 July 2012

hair-brained ideas

i have to admit it, my hair is dry. summer seems to be just as hard on it as winter, but let's not forget that i've been torturing it with bleach for several months. that last bit is probably making it worse, despite my efforts to douse it with rich treatments that will make it forgive me. i'm kind of an abusive hair owner and i'm sure that when it comes to its senses, it'll leave me.

but the fact is that my hair feels like this every summer, mostly because it's very, very thick despite my cruelty. it was a very hot summer day last year that made me decide that i needed to get rid of a lot of hair immediately, which was what prompted me to ask dom to help me cut my own hair. in fact, i've now gone close to two years without visiting a hair dresser for any reason.

this week, however, with the 30c degree temperatures and dry breezes, have really tested my resolve. i wasn't particularly jonesing to have my hair short again [although that always remains a possibility], but something had to be done.

this left me with two options:

1. i could just go to the hair dresser like a normal person or

2. i could try cutting some layers into my hair with the scary-looking cat grooming tool.

what could possibly go wrong?

we all know i wouldn't be writing a blog post about it if i hadn't done something weird.

and you know what? it worked! the dead bits of my hair came right out, so it feels better and, of course lighter. but the weird thing is, the layers i cut into it actually seem to make it sit better against my head.

and all it cost me was the small amount of blood i lost when i pointed the blades the wrong way! i mean, even places that pay for blood only pay by the pint, so a small trickle of blood that i was able to stop with cold water has to be maximum 10 cents, right? that's the cheapest trim ever! [well, really, it's about equal to the first time dom and i cut my hair, when i also nicked a finger and bled for the cause.]

so it's probably just a little more painful than going to the hairdresser, but i've saved enough money to buy some kick ass bandaids. and, of course, i feel ok about my hair again.

so, kids, remember, it's never a bad idea to get creative with sharp objects. never.

11 July 2012

in case you've ever doubted that i'm a horrible, irresponsible mom...

most parents wouldn't allow this. most parents would be concerned for his tiny little liver. but i'm not most parents and my inclination is to grab the big camera and see how many shots i can get before he pukes. [fyi, he didn't puke, which doesn't mean i'm not a horrible person, it just means that i'm a horrible person whose arms got tired holding the big camera.]

and dom is horrible too! he's the one holding the beer

so yes, we're raising a feline alcoholic delinquent. now stop asking me why i haven't had fleshbabies. [you can click on these pictures to make them really big for when you contact the authorities on us.]







09 July 2012

mental health mondays :: i'm with the gland [part 1]

probably a candidate for adrenal fatigue
have you ever stopped to ponder the miracle and curse that is computer technology? your home computer, your phone, your laptop, most recently your tablet. if you're reading this, you're making use of something in this realm. every day, you use a computer more powerful than the one that launched the apollo rockets to play angry birds. but just as remarkable as the power of the technology we have out our literal fingertips every day is how immensely fragile it is. last week, an errant cat hair fluttered into my computer's insides, which prevented the motherboard from recognising the ram on start-up. a couple of blasts of compressed air later and everything was fine, but it is a little disconcerting to know that so much of my life relies on something that can be thrown into chaotic disarray by a cat hair.

what scares me more is that the thing that i rely on for absolutely everything in my life- my brain- isn't a whole lot more resilient. i guess it's obvious that cat hairs aren't going to be the death of me, but the fact is that my brain- and yours and everyone's- is shockingly vulnerable to very minor changes in its environment. which is why, if you believe in god, you'd have to agree with depeche mode that he has "a sick sense of humour", because what sort of loving deity would place something so delicately balanced in a system as inherently unstable as a human body?

one of the nasty little secrets about psychiatry, which isn't so much a secret as it is something that's just never discussed, is that even the people who do the most advanced research on the human brain don't have a much better idea of what's going on in there than a layperson who reads a few pamphlets. eight years of university has equipped these noble folk with a lexicon of part names and the best information on what people think is going on in there, but not much else. a lot of times, when coming up with theories, they're just taking a stab in the dark. at your brain.

as you might expect, in a field as uncertain as the study of the brain, there are a lot of competing theories as to what causes disorders. it seems clear enough that there is a link between certain neurotransmitters- serotonin, epinephrine and dopamine mostly- and various long-term disorders and therefore most medications are designed to manipulate the flow and availability of those transmitters. unfortunately, no one has much of an idea as to why our bodies suddenly become deficient in these neurotransmitters, or why we stop absorbing them properly. we keep backing up the cause-and-effect chain, but no one has managed to get to the psychiatric god particle: why does our brain start pulling this shit to begin with?

why the stm is driving me crazy

i posted a little while ago about a little detour snafu near my office involving some temporarily relocated bus stops. i was happy when, a day or so after my post, someone from the transit authority did put some notices up on the permanent stops so that commuters would know they'd moved and not just assume they'd been abandoned.

unfortunately, as the saying goes, you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. but in this case, the horses are bus drivers.

for some reason best known to the drivers themselves, the detour appears to be strictly optional. some drivers follow it and turn the corner a block west of my office. others plow right on through and follow the regular route.

the "fun" part of this is positioning yourself so that you can see any oncoming bus and then guessing where it's going to stop. since there's an easy 300m between the stops, your reactions need to be very quick. there is also a busy intersection and if you haven't planned right, you get to play frogger against oncoming traffic. [ironically, the oncoming traffic includes the bus, which means it could catch you instead of you catching it, although that would at least be one way of ensuring it stopped in a specific place.]

at the moment, this just sounds stupid, but i assure you, when it's happening, it seems flat-out diabolical. i understand that there is a lot to take care of, but surely having the buses make stops where they're supposed to is one of your chief tasks, stm? i mean, if you can't handle that, you should probably put the breaks on any grander plans you have. because believe me, no one will mind the seats being uncomfortable if it's a choice between that and the bus showing up and stopping at the bus stop signs, we're ok with cramped buttcheeks.

tomorrow, i have to get to an appointment. the appointment isn't until 3, so i should theoretically have lots of time to work a half day or more and still make it. The problem is, i don't know how long i'm going to have to account for stalking a bus in the hinterland just because the drivers would rather play by their own rules. perhaps i should work from home.

08 July 2012

making faces :: why i'll be spending hot summer nights with chanel

you made me love you
we've all had the experience: you're standing in a group of people, excitedly talking about the same general subject, but the somehow you're the only person who seems able to see something really important. like you're being stalked by a crazed killer and you need to get help and people start saying "we should all split up so that we can go and look for help in as many different places as  possible" and you're all like "hey, has anyone here ever seen a movie? just me?" the point is that the larger group is missing out. this is kind of like that. except no one kills you in the end.

first of all, my apologies for being late with a "summer collection" review, because we all know that, in cosmetic terms, summer starts around the middle of march. i'm not exaggerating. when i first started seeing reviews of chanel's summer collection on line, the forecast high temperatures were still below freezing here. it felt like they were making fun of me.

now that the blistering heat has arrived, of course, it's all about autumn. no one cares about summer anymore. which is sort of too bad, since it feels like summer just started a couple of weeks ago.

natural light
i'd had my eye on a couple of items from the chanel summer collection, like the always thrilling polishes, or the juicy orange glossimer "calypso" and i may end up picking them up [although i suppose it's a bit gauche to be buying from summer collections this late]. but when i was ready to lay down some cash, i was surprised to find that what caught my eye was the rather unassuming-looking eye shadow duo called "sable emouvante".

i mean, it looked nice and all, with its warm, rich shades of neutral-peach and roasted-spice brown, but it also looked like the kind of thing that a lot of people had done before. [in fact, i thought it bore an uncanny resemblance to the hourglass shadow duo "gypsy"- both shades.] but still, i swatched the shades on my hand and it was game over. yes, it seems that even people had been much more excited about other items in the collection, i'd stumbled upon something that was really, really special.

well, it's not like i'm the only person who noticed. there are other reviews of it floating around. but with all the hype about this year's polishes and glosses and bronzers, this one kind of slipped by, which is just a crime against cosmetics. because this, ladies [and gentlemen, if you're interested] is special. even by the standards of chanel. even by the standards of someone who has seen as many variations on eye makeup as i have, this stands out.

with flash
the duo consists of a golden peach-beige and a rich, warm brown. both are quite satiny- they certainly don't have a frost finish, but there's a rich sheen that's always visible. the lighter shade would probably work as a highlighter on women of colour, but on me, it's too deep. it does, however, look lovely on my lids. the consistency of both is incredible. they apply smoothly and deposit a lot of pigment- so if you're a fan of sheerer colour, these might not be for you. the colour is true to what you see in the pans, which i really appreciate, since it's comparatively rare and lasts with only a slight bit of fading on the darker shade for eight hours or more [over a primer]. and it's great for people who are lazy or, like me, prone to oversleeping, because the colours almost blend themselves.

because both shades lean quite warm, the duo probably won't look its best on very cool skin tones, but since a lot of us tend to pick up a bit of a golden hint to our skin over the summer, i think there are a lot of people who could pull this off.

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