30 November 2012

friday favourites 30.11.12

image of the week
i've come to the realisation that the hallmark of humility is when you continue to have a voice inside
you that whispers "you have no idea what the hell you're doing" when you open your mouth to say something impressive. today, i had to talk a senior person in a far-flung country about which i know precious little; i could find it on a map, name its capital and perhaps a couple of other cities and tell you
 that i have no idea how to pronounce anyone's last name. that's seriously about it. i might be able to name a noise artist or two from there. i'm sitting there, talking this person who's much more experienced than me, through a plan to bring something to market and all the time i'm just hearing that voice: "woman, you are just making this shit up as you go along." of course, the upside is that as i've gotten older, i've realised that most people have that voice and that most people really are just making shit up as they go along. whether or not they're effective at it has more to do with how confident they seem and how much trust they inspire than anything else.

call it "the obama factor". seriously. that man's greatest strength is the fact that he's able to make us all believe that he knows what he's doing, but when it comes to world finance, the middle east and planning thirty years in the future, the fact is, everyone is making up shit as they go along.

i just thought i'd say that. i have no idea if the woman i was talking to bought into what i was saying, or if she just sat there thinking "sure it worked in canada, but who the hell do you think you are?" kinda hoping she doesn't happen across this blog post.

so, when i wasn't wallowing in existential angst over my own capabilities, this is what was bringing a grin to my face...

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

serbian town warns that its local vampire has returned. don't worry, once he sees what twilight has done to his people, he'll go back to his grave and roll over in it.

isn't it awesome that the feminism of the 1970s overcame all those barriers that women were facing and created a new, completely egalitarian society? isn't it?

when i was a teenager, i babysat a couple of times for a professional taxidermist. it was creepy. but probably not as creepy as this.

"what do you like to do in your spare time, mr. mayor?"
"sell drugs."
"uh... we're gonna go to commercial now, kids."

musical notes

this time of the year always makes me think of cocteau twins. i have no idea why. but seriously, wouldn't it be amazing to think that your parents wrote this song for you as a lullaby?



follow-up and shameless self-promotion

it's caustic lounge week! that's right, mr. dna and i will be rocking the casbah at le cagibi this wednesday night. you can come and point at me and laugh, because i have an incredibly busy week at work and i am likely to be indulging in some pre-regret. which won't stop me from enjoying myself, but hey...

as always, feel free to contact me or leave comments here if there's anything you'd like to see on the blog. unlike during my dj sets [generally], i do sometimes take requests.

kitteh of the week

another great "brotherly love" photo for you. seth is really amazing at taking care of the others and keeping them in line.




fyi, this week's image of the week comes to you from the internet genius of george takei.

making faces :: beautiful feathers flock together

a flamingo and an ibis walk into a bar...
a friend of mine has this genius for coming up with horrible, fish-themed puns, which is something i greatly admire. i mean, we all know people who are skilled at wordplay, but i feel like he's really established a beach-head in the pescatory punning field- a true specialist. and the reason i mention this is because if i'm going to keep reviewing eye shadows by rouge bunny rouge, i am going to have to hone similar skills in making jokes about birds, just so that i always have something clever to use as a title. and i have pretty much decided that i want their entire flock, gaggle or murder- whatever bird-brained moniker you want to apply- to come home to roost in my makeup collection.

of course, i've been so delighted with their consistently high quality and their charming victorian fairytale marketing that i'm eager to explore everything the brand has to offer, but their shadows do hold a special place in my heart.

my most recent foray into their nesting grounds included my first purchase of one of their matte shades. i'd heard that they were pretty exceptional and so, despite the fact that the shades themselves don't sound as unique as their shimmery shades, i felt like i at least had to give them a try.

i went with the adorably named "bashful flamingo", which is a light peach shade, too dark to be flesh-toned on me, but still bright on the eyelid. it does indeed remind me of the softer, lighter feathers of a flamingo, although the name might be a little misleading for some.

the formula and application absolutely live up to the hype. it is the softest, smoothest, densest matte shadow i have ever tried. it lasts all day with minimal fading at the 8-9 hour mark. it's very opaque but it doesn't look heavy or powdery. and of course, it's the sort of shade around which you could build any sort of look.

as mentioned, it's noticeably deeper than my skin tone, so it's to dark to work as a highlight. those with medium or darker skin would probably be able to use it all over. now that i've seen one in action, i suspect that the more basic colour range of the matte shadows is a deliberate choice- they are the sort of shades that work with anything. for the few weeks i've had "bashful flamingo", i've reached for it often enough that the embossed logo on the powder is completely gone. it is just so easy to work with.

bashful flamingo :: natural light
bashful flamingo :: with flash


in my collection, i didn't actually have as close a match as i feared i would. inglot #352 is much lighter. i do suspect that there's something in the inglot range that would be a close match, just not one that i have. the magic in this case is really in the formula of the product.

l to r :: bashful flamingo, inglot 352 :: natural light
same as above :: with flash

now, the catch is that rouge bunny rouge are an expensive boutique brand. their matte shadows are better than inglot, but inglot's are still very nice and even when purchased individually, cost about half. this is also a good reason for rbr to have matte shades that are real workhorses- if you're going to spend that much, you want something that's going to fit in everywhere.

THERE'S MORE TO LOVE AFTER THE BREAK!

27 November 2012

up against the wal[mart]

ok, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know where i stand, but if you're new, let me be up front: i hate walmart. pretty much everything they do, i would do the reverse. anything they hold to be a virtue strikes me as a vice and, i would dare to say, their management would believe the same about me. that hasn't stopped me from courting them. i've worked with companies who supplied them and my personal efforts were dedicated to increasing their business. but that's not what made me hate them. if anything, working closely with them gave me a sense of admiration for their ruthless efficiency. in all honesty, it's like a newbie fbi agent looking at the work of an adept serial killer. it's hard not to be impressed by the craft, divorced from the real-world results.

but somehow, when i first heard the story of a garment factory burning to the ground and killing over a hundred people in bangladesh, i couldn't help but think that walmart's hand was in there, pulling the puppet's strings in the background.

and so they were.

and if there is anything that strikes me as worse than the largest corporation in the world being involved with a factory where supervisors barricaded the doors as the building burned around them, it's the fact that said corporation has chosen to adopt a position of ignorance, claiming that their supplier outsourced to this factory without consent and that they had absolutely no idea what was going on.

i call malarkey.

walmart's position with its vendors is that from one year to another, they must offer "more for the same, or the same for less". that means that the price either has to decrease, or walmart has to get more product for the same amount of money. it flies in the face of economic theory, which indicates that a healthy economy carries a nominal level of inflation [and the attendant price increases]. where exactly did they think that these savings were coming from? the owners and managers of walmart aren't stupid. they are perfectly aware that the demand that all suppliers lower prices means that jobs are handed off to factories with sub-standard [and possibly illegal] modes of operating. but as long as they get what they want, they're willing to look the other way.

i've already ranted about this, but i think it's worth calling attention to this story, because, ultimately, it's important to understand that this factory fire isn't a tragic accident, but a natural outgrowth of walmart's corporate policies. at a corporate level, this sort of incident has been deemed an acceptable risk in the name of maintaining the company's pricing policy. walmart will do the expected public mea culpas and insist that they didn't really know what was going on, but know this: it's a load of b.s. everyone, including those at walmart, know exactly what is going on. and while what happened in bangladesh may well have been an accident, in the sense that it was not intentional, it should by no means be a surprise.

ironically, by artificially suppressing inflation and holding domestic workers' wages at a lower rate than they should be, walmart creates a marketplace where consumers simply can't afford things that are made at properly managed and carefully vetted factories. it's a very tricky situation where both sides of the tug-of-war have to be adjusted at the same time.

but one thing is clear: walmart is hurting both sides, while enriching themselves. and that's the sort of thing that people really can't afford to endorse.

[fyi, this is not to say that all large retailers are inherently bad. costco, for instance, is much tougher on their overseas suppliers while at the same time providing a higher standard of living to their workers and earning less margin on sales than walmart. so there.]

25 November 2012

making faces :: a warm glow

it happened today. i went outside to find that i had overestimated the temperature because of the lovely, honey-amber sunlight and azure sky. when i first left my building and started on my voyage to find coffee, i was filled with a sense of the poetry of the early winter, the chill in the air, the brightening of the cheek, the increased coursing of blood through my body. i think i even smiled as i relished how very clean the city air felt- though i knew it was the same air that always met me, a decline in temperature always serves to mask its impurities.

and then i walked around the corner and met mr. southwesterly gust. goodbye poetry of early winter, hello muttering to myself in the "cursive tense".

i had a warm enough sweater on, but the problem was it wasn't warm enough for today. and i'd gotten cocky, eschewing scarf and hat, thinking "i'm just going for a quick walk", although even then, thoughts of a sunday afternoon stroll had entered my head. in fact, not only did i fail to stroll, but i ended up buying my coffee from the slightly seedy shop that never has enough product on its shelves rather than going to the proper store that has packed shelves although, it must be said, very few varieties of coffee. [i miss moonbean in toronto, my all-purpose coffee and tea haven.]

it's amazing how being inadequately dressed can turn a person from a contented and potentially creative  soul into a snarky git in a hurry. and that's exactly what happened to me.

now that i'm safely inside again, i'm back to thinking kind thoughts about early winter [we'll see if that holds this week, when i get to make the trek from bus stop to office every day down a street that is the very definition of wind tunnel]. the pre-yuletide weather does make me think of robust cuisine with lots of root vegetables and warming spices. and of mulled wine. and of baking. and generally of things that radiate warmth and cosiness.

which is probably why, on one of our first really chilly days a little while ago, i chose to play around with some colours that evoked that same mood.

although i'm taking a break from reviewing something brand new, i do have to mention that i think  this look is made by the use of "red hot", one of guerlain's "rose aux joues" blushes released alongside their fall collection. this one was a bit of a departure for me, not just because the shade is a bit deep for my milksop complexion, but because it also looks very warm in the pan. nevertheless, i felt like i wanted to take a chance on it. i get like that sometimes when i see something that looks completely unlike anything else i have in my collection and while this often leads me down the path to aesthetic disaster, in this case, the choice was inspired.

"red hot" delivers a lot of colour, but i found it could very easily be applied with a light hand and layered. that said, i really like that rosy-cheeked effect, like you've gone for a nice, healthy hike in the hills, without actually having to freeze your tush off. although the shade looks very warm in the pan, it seemed to immediately meld with my cooler undertones, so what was resulted was actually something that did look very fresh and outdoorsy [or warmed from within by a hot toddy]. photos don't do it justice and, indeed, i think that i like this one even more than "pink punk".

playing on that warm & glowy theme, i used two of my favourite warmest and glowy-est colours- ellis faas "e303" and rouge bunny rouge "abyssinian catbird". for some reason on me "abyssinian catbird" really does read as a rich bronze and you don't see much of the khaki/ green tones that seem to be evident on everyone else. in this case, i decided to just go with that and pair it with a much more golden bronze, so that they could just be happy and complementary and non-green-tinged together.

and, of course, the look wouldn't be complete without a lovely warm red lip. in this case, i went with a long-time guerlain favourite, "gardner", which was limited, but is almost identical to the new permanent shade "gisela". 

here's a complete list of what i used for this: 

the base :: 
gosh velvet touch anti-aging primer
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "01"
diorskin forever compact flawless perfection fusion wear makeup spf "010"
ahem. there is some form of liquid foundation being used here, but i've been working with several lately and i didn't write down which one i used here. le sigh. 

the eyes :: 
mac e/s "manila paper" [gold-tinged parchment]*
ellis faas light e/s "e303" [shimmery rich golden bronze]
rbr e/s "abyssinian catbird" [tarnished bronze]
chanel e/s "khaki vert" [deep dirty khaki green]
urban decay e/s "darkhorse" [dark chocolate brown with gold sparkle]
tarina tarantino e/l "sparkling ammunition" [shimmery dark olive]
givenchy noir couture mascara

the cheeks ::
guerlain rouse aux joues blush "red hot" [bright burnt red]

the lips :: 
guerlain rouge g l/s "gardner" [deep, warm brown-red]*

*suggested alternates :: manila paper = mac dazzlelight [more white] or nylon [frostier, more yellow]; gardner = guerlain gisela

24 November 2012

post-friday favourites 24.11.12

image of the week
after careful thought, i've determined that the kid in the song "puff the magic dragon" has got to be the biggest asshole in the history of fictional children. i mean seriously, he spends his childhood with an honest-to-god dragon, who takes him to his personal kingdom and plays with him, presumably because the kid is too small to even make a decent hors d'oeuvre.

and what happens as the kid grows older? he decides he's totally over having a dragon and that he wants to go be a lawyer or an accountant or some such nonsense, because that's what normal people do.

seriously???? do you know what normal people dream about? having their own freakin' dragon! whatever you want in life, whatever the path you choose, nothing will ever get you those things faster than starting a conversation with "hey, let me show you my motherfucking dragon". you want money? women? power? having your own dragon would mean that your path to the presidency of the world would be paved with diamond-encrusted vaginas.

so rather than a sad tale of the passing of youth, i'm choosing to interpret that song as a cautionary tale about the idiocy of succumbing to mediocrity.

also, as happy as i am that the guy who plays the violin in my metro station has learned to play something that isn't "pachelbel's canon" [the classical music equivalent of "the song that never ends"], i could have happily gone the rest of my life without hearing "puff the magic dragon".

here are some things that served to assuage my anger at characters who never actually existed...

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

move over south beach, it's time for the grinding poverty diet plan.

dear parents: have you considered the inherent dangers of exposing your children to christian heterosexuals?

rampant misogyny and near-psychotic control issues? there's an app for that.

and since there is clearly a monotheistic trifecta in play: did you hear the one about the rabbis selling human body parts?

old and tired: black friday, the biggest day of the year for retailers. new hawtness: brown friday, the biggest day of the year for plumbers.

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

it's miserable outside and i have a migraine, so the outside world is scary to me. but if you're in montreal... tonight is the monthly "post-punk night" at the casa del popolo, with great music, fine nachos and cheap libations.

musical notes

earlier this week, dom showed me a well-done documentary about fishbone, which ironically didn't feature this song. i say ironically, because it's the first thing that sprung into my mind when i heard that chelsea fc owner roman abramovitch had decided to let himself fire another manager for xmas. as romans go, abramovitch increasingly seems to be less augustus and more nero.




follow-up and shameless self-promotion

as promised, i wrapped up my commentary on fall makeup collections this week and now feel ready to move on to the holidays. despite my general humbug, i do love the shimmery-eyed, red-lipped abandon of these limited lovelies which have launched relatively recently in canada.

on a side note, do the last two paragraphs of this blog jump from fishbone to soccer to cosmetics? yes, they do. welcome to the blogosphere's schizotypal oasis.

i'll also have news for you on a couple of fronts: a possible new version of "interference", my collection of short stories and a chance to see my photos of the montreal metro system in print... details to follow.

there are also going to be some changes on mls this coming week and, if i'm lucky, this post will be the only time you think about them. i've unfortunately maxed out my google storage on photos, which was bound to happen some time, but before i throw money at the problem, it occurs to me that a lot of the photos on here are actually taken at a far higher resolution than they need to be, since the camera i'm using is actually too good for web purposes. so i'll be changing the resolution on some of the heavyweights, but chances are you won't notice much difference. it's possible that some photos, when enlarged, will be slightly smaller, but the impact should be minimal.

of course, if you'd like to support the inexorable growth of more like space, you could always make a donation via the nifty little widget in the upper right hand of this blog.

kitteh of the week

what's nicer at this time of year than a warm cuddle from someone you love? nuthin.



 unless it's stealing the spotlight and being fabulous...



this week's image of the week is, of course, the ubiquitous grumpy cat, who has become sort of an obsession of mine lately. she is almost incomprehensibly awesome and it's ridiculous that something that looks so dour can unfailingly bring a smile to my face. long may she prosper.

and long may you prosper, awesome readers of this blog!

21 November 2012

the cheating curve

this post is about dj's.

it has nothing to do with david petraeus or his mistress[es] or any of the other people who are involved in that sordid story because, despite the fact that i love seeing a bunch of republicans make asses of themselves in public, i stand by my original tweet on the matter: unless it's in my ear, i really don't care where the general puts his wiener.

i was mulling this over on the way into work this morning because i had some time, haven't chosen a new book having just loped through stig larsen's "millennium" trilogy [about a hundred years after everyone else in the world, i realise] and because i started playing around with an app on my phone that allows you to play dj with the music you have on hand. it's even set up to look like a little dj station, where you plop your chosen mp3s onto turntables and can spin them together just like they were real [although very, very small]. it's a fun way to pass the time and also, possibly, to come up with ideas for future sets for the caustic lounge or elsewhere.

when i first put this app on my phone, after having it recommended by a phone, i showed it to dom, who reacted as if i'd told him i'd made a phone from the skin of an unattended child at the mall. [read :: badly] because to him, i was coming close to crossing a boundary, as evinced by his first words:

"you're not going to actually dj with that, are you?"

well, no. apart from any other concerns, i don't generally dj in places that would allow me to work from a phone, so it's a non-issue. plus, of course, there's the fact that i haven't figured out a method that allows you to divide the sound outputs between what's playing and what's on cue, so everyone would be listening to me cuing up records all night. [owing to a caprice of the mixing board at cagibi, this occasionally happens anyway, but not very often and no one enjoys it.]

but given the chance, would i?

probably not. because, as it turns out, a bad mix on an app sounds just as much like a dog dragging its ass across your record as a bad mix with vinyl and turntables and i've never been all that good at beat mixing. the app does allow you to play with effects, like a really tricked out dj, which makes things easier, but it still requires some skill.

done properly, it does sound pretty seamless and i have to admit, i would be tempted.

dom is probably purging that app from my phone as i write this.

because both of us have been critical of "laptop" dj's who ensure a smooth flow by allowing a computer program to align beats and merge harmonies. after all, it's not really dj'ing if you're not doing the work- the thinking through and then executing the mix by hand- if the machine is doing all the heavy lifting, right?

while you still have to be good at creating a dynamic flow of music, having a computer to do the mixing for you certainly takes the skill out of the equation. but i don't actually have that skill. i've made decidedly half-assed efforts at acquiring it, but other than the most rudimentary and simple beat mixes, i'm not any good at it. and the fact is that with the dj work i do, i don't really have to be. i'm not spinning the latest electro-blorp to parties of thousands, i'm playing quirky tunes in cafes and local bars. as long as there's not a half-minute silence between each track, people don't notice.

and the fact is that even if i was able to mix extremely well, the venues where i dj don't have the equipment that would allow me to do so, nor is most of what i play available currently on vinyl. so even if i possessed the skill, i'd have to rely on something like a laptop or application to do some of the work just to make up for the fact that most places willing to allow me near their booths aren't able to afford a world-class dj set up any more than i'm able to afford being a world-class dj. given those facts, is it really so bad to use a readily accessible technology to fill in the gap?

 i actually don't know any more. but i'll continue practicing my finger mixing on the bus until i find a new book to occupy my attention.

18 November 2012

it still counts as a plan

really, my plans today involve cleaning the place, which is very noble, until you consider the fact that it's afternoon and i'm talking about my plans for the day as if it isn't already half over, or as if i didn't already waste time because it would be ridiculous to expect that i could do housework while i'm still finishing my coffee, which i'm doing at a pace that could generously be called tectonic. and, of course, it was important that i stop to play around with what colours to put on my face, because having the right lipstick is really super-important when you're vacuuming. and it's important to keep up on breaking news, which is why i had to pause and watch something on the discovery channel about the assassinations of american presidents. i'd hate to miss the one show where they're finally able to reveal some footage of a dude on the grassy knoll with a sniper's rifle.

in fact, a lot of my weekends end up like this, with a grand plan to do lots of work around the house, which desperately needs it, that devolves into a plan to do a couple of loads of laundry before the pile collapses and one of the cats has to dig their way out. but that does not mean i'm lazy. it just means that i am mastering the art of remaining calm and doing things at a slow and steady pace. and nothing is more important than remaining calm in the face of a crisis.

[and nothing is more important than me taking more time out of the day to blog about the fact that i'm taking time to do things other than what i theoretically know i should be doing.]



this reminds me- do i need to join pinterest? i heard it equated to online scrapbooking, which scares me a little, but i do keep finding interesting/ attractive images on people's boards and i thought it might be an awesome way to drop hints as to what people could get me for birthdays, christmas, other random times when they want to make me smile. but do i really need more of an online presence? and is this something that would warrant looking into? would it warrant looking into right now? because, if it's important enough to be on pinterest, i could postpone my day's plans a little...

making faces :: cinematic dreams with "nouvelle vague"

ah, paris. is there any city that has for so long inspired the imagination in so many different ways? that's a rhetorical question, because there isn't. new york is working on it, but just doesn't have the history yet and will likely never have that quintessential french-ness that americans pretend to hate but which makes their heart flutter nonetheless. through the ages, paris has morphed so that it is always where the coolest things are happening, where the coolest people are living and where life is always a mix of food and art and fashion and sex.


jean seberg is everything you wanted to be
how cool is paris? in the wake of world war ii, after the french army had collapsed and the rhythm of the city was that of nazi jackboots, parisians shook off their doldrums and stole back cinema. although france had been home to some of the pioneers of the medium, there was no doubt that america had taken over as its rulers. but just to show that even after everything they had been through, france could still find ways of looking down at the yanks, a group of young filmmakers emerged- many of them starting out as commentators on film before trying their hand behind the camera. their new, often challenging form of cinema was dubbed the "new wave" or "nouvelle vague" and concentrated on the character of the auteur- the author and creator- and his view on the world. rather than focusing on hiding the role of the director, they presented work that was often jarring and that refused to allow the audience to suspend their disbelief- something which was a key tenet of classical cinema. 
ah brigitte, a muse to a generation

they were the darlings of the young and achingly fashionable of paris and, in turn, the people who populated those films were themselves drawn from the ranks of the young and achingly fashionable. and no one was more iconic of the beauty of the age than brigitte bardot, france's blonde bombshell whose blossoming sexuality has continued to inspire artists for a half century since her rise to stardom. 


what does this do?
and the latest to fall under the spell of the "nouvelle vague" aesthetic is mikey castillo, colour director for the american brand that already embodies so much of the imaginative love affair with the french capitol, le metier de beaute. it doesn't entirely surprise me that castillo would have drawn his inspiration from this school that truly reinvented film as a self-consciously artistic medium, since le metier is a high-end brand that seems to thrive on being very fashion-forward and daring in their colour choices. why shouldn't a company that challenges women to think differently about the colours they put on their face take inspiration from a movement that encouraged people to think differently about the "pop culture" medium of cinema?

le metier's fall collection features two of their "kaleidoscopes"- vertical palettes of four shades that can be combined in various ways, including layering the colours to produce a deep and prismatic effect of multiple colours working together. there is one palette for the lips- and i'm still not ready to accept the idea of lip palettes, because when i think about toting one around in my bag for touch-ups, i feel a bit sick to my stomach. so the real draw here for me was the eye shadow kaleidoscope, a symphony in soft rosy shades with a solid black as a base.

i must say that i do think that the four shades used in the kaleidoscope do capture something of "bardot-ness", combining softly feminine shades with the shockingly strong black that helps give the look its edge. but the look is also very modern, in that the shimmer of some of the shades is something that wouldn't have been possible- at least not in the way le metier has rendered it- in the era of truffaut and godard.

MASTERPIECE OR B-MOVIE? KEEP READING...

16 November 2012

friday favourites 16.11.12

image of the week
today is my day to be a reprobate. well, actually, yesterday was too, but we went to visit dom's parents, which isn't exactly reprobate activity. his parents are lovely people and seem to like me, which shouldn't be counted against them since they don't really get to see me all that often. in fact, i was very well-bahaved yesterday, because i didn't even rush out to celebrate the arrival of the beaujolais nouveau, those young, fruity wines that come on the market every year at this time and give us all an excuse to drink a lot and pretend like we're connoisseurs. [most connoisseurs i've met won't go anywhere near beaujolais nouveau and insist it tastes like melted popsicles, which it sometimes does, but they're melted popsicles filled with alcohol, which sounds way more interesting.]

since i'm taking today [and took yesterday] as vacation, this week should have been relaxed, but it's an extremely busy time at work and i was trying to plan for a couple of days off, i ended up having three extremely packed, frantic, headache-inducing days rather than five busy ones. i'm not sure if that means i came out ahead or not.

here are a few things that made my lips curl up at the corners...

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

smiths' lyrics as penguin classic book covers. exactly what it says it is. and brilliant.

mcafee has detected a threat. would you like to 1. report the problem; 2. shoot it to death?

probably the best use to which "50 shades of grey" could possibly be put. other than someone's awesome halloween costume.

remember that time when you accidentally sent the picture you took of your own ass to everyone on your mailing list instead of just to your girlfriend? well now there's a guy who will make you feel better about that.

meat eaters are horrible people. and you know it's true because school textbooks are always 100% accurate and contain no cultural bias.

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

since i didn't get around to doing this separately, i figured i'd put it back in here for those who are interested.

if you're in montreal... joe rogan, known for being a tv host for the ufc and fear factor, brings his surprisingly smart comedy to metropolis tonight [friday november 16].

you might also want to check out expozine 2012, a celebration of the illustrated word that takes place saturday and sunday.

if you're in vancouver... this tuesday is the annual fluevog sample sale at their gastown location. sale starts at five. in case you'd like to get your favourite blogger a little something, i'm a size six.

if you're in a major canadian city... and you're a beauty lover, murale is celebrating their fourth anniversary this week and there will be events happening at each murale location on thursday, where you can get a makeup or skin care consultation, a gift with purchase and more. you can find the addresses of their locations on their web site- www.murale.ca- but unfortunately no information about the events.

musical notes

one of the most fascinating releases that i never managed to lay my hands on is the hybryds' soundtrack for the antwerp aquarium. thankfully, for folks like me who missed it, the long-deleted album has been reissued, so we can appreciate it in all its experimental aqueous beauty. here's a clip of the band performing the music at the very aquiarium it was written for



follow-up and shameless self-promotion

if you follow me on facebook or twitter, you might have noticed that i sent out a link to my short stories and random fiction bits page. part of that is just to point out to people that it exists, but it's also because i've been looking to collaborate with fellow artists, folks who might be interested in taking something i've written and creating something to go along with it. feel free to contact me at kate [at] fsquaredmedia [dot] net if you want to give it a try! and thanks very much to those who made my short story "spook house" one of the two most viewed posts on this blog in the last two weeks. running neck and neck with my republican recap. schadenfreude is big with readers of this blog, apparently.

the coming days should see me post a review of the newest le metier de beaute kaleidoscope "nouvelle vague" [featured in my jack the ripper look], which will bring us to the end of autumn collections and herald the start of holiday collections. although i get pretty annoyed at all the seasonal hoopla, i have to admit that i do love the end-of-year collections that come out at this time, if only because they're often focused on neutrals, golds and reds, which is a winning combination in my book. [to be honest, i've already started sticking my toes in the holiday makeup pool...]

kitteh of the week

doesn't this little bugger just look so cute when he's asleep? i'm working on about two hours worth myself, because he decided last night was serious play time. all last night.



oh... if you're wondering what that wonderful image of the week is, why that's this year's designer pudseys, being auctioned off to raise money for children in need. if you can't make it to the fluevog store, you could always get me one of these, particularly tom ford or vivienne westwood.

15 November 2012

do we really have to cover this again?

i wish they still fed people like you to the lions
i have a pair of boots that came in a box that read "made from genuine black kid leather". it kinda threw me when i first saw it, because i didn't even think that was legal, much less something you'd want to advertise, but gradually it dawned on me that the manufacturer meant to highlight the use of soft, supple goat leather. i still tossed the box, because no one needs to find any more evidence of cannibalism and murder in my house. [ok, it's not cannibalism if you're making them into clothing, but they don't have a term for that yet.]

the point of me sharing that is to illustrate that there are moments where meaning can become confused and you end up thinking that someone said something really horrible when they actually meant something totally innocuous. like the time i told dom not to get his knickers in a knot and he thought i'd said something pretty offensive [and nonsensical if you think about it, which you probably shouldn't]. such things happen. we move on.

but there are times when there's just no question that you said something pretty vile and it was exactly what you meant to say. like the case of the woman who got herself fired by my new employer of the week cold stone creamery for dropping an n-bomb in reference to the president and expressing her american dream that he'd get murdered.

she insists she's not a racist, which leads me to believe there is some alternate dictionary floating around that defines racism somewhat differently than i would. spitting vitriol at people on the basis of their race is absolutely racist. all that her claim of not being a racist shows is that she's pretty stupid as well. [for those who couldn't have figured that out from the original facebook comment.] indeed, she seems flummoxed that her comments raised such a furor, because, after all, she was just expressing an opinion.

along the same lines, jezebel magazine ran a piece calling attention to similarly-worded tweets from teenagers about the commander-in-chief. and in return, they were inundated with messages with people whom they refer to, quite accurately, as "rage-aholics". people who are just furious about everything, but mostly furious that their countrymen had the temerity to elect a black guy. twice.

the common thread here is that all of these people fall back on the defence that they are "just voicing an opinion" and that this is an example of their right to free speech. many of the "rage-aholics" demand that jezebel's staff read the first amendment, but personally, i'd advise that these angry folk do the same and that they make an effort to calm down and understand what is meant by "free speech".

lesson one :: free speech does not mean you can say whatever the hell you want. if i encourage someone to kill a guy i don't like very much- even if i don't ask them to do it per se, i still have a legal responsibility if my confidante ends up attacking my enemy with a machete. there endeth kate's right to free speech. so, yes, your right may be enshrined in the constitution, but there are still limitations on it. that said, the threats against obama's life are vague enough that none of the people are likely to be arrested. so let's move on to...

lesson two :: no one ever said that you have the right to say whatever you want without consequences. the right to free speech means that your government can't pass laws that impede your speech. but you can absolutely be held responsible for it, which includes the rights of journalists to call attention to what you said and insist that you defend it, no matter who you are. so, yes, you can take to twitter or facebook or your street corner and start screaming that black people can't lead because they're all serial killers, but likewise, people who hear you or read your thoughts have every right to ask you to defend what you've said. that's their right of free speech.

this isn't the first time i've ranted about this, because as a defender of the rights of people everywhere to express themselves in almost whatever way they see fit [i do think it's reasonable to impose limitations when it comes to committing or aggressively inciting violence], i get frustrated that so much of that defence seems to involve defending the right of people to say really ignorant, anti-intellectual, uneducated, flagitious things. people in the world are still dying for the right to speak their political views and it is insulting to them to equate their struggles with spoiled brats screeching racial epithets for the world.

you have the right to free speech, kids. you also have the right to remain silent. it's important to work out which one is appropriate to the situation.

[the photo used was widely circulated, but there's a fantastic deconstruction of it right here, which is where i found it after googling "stupid racists".]

11 November 2012

making faces :: inspired by "saucy jack"

amidst everything else happening in this past week, it probably escaped the notice of almost everyone that this past week marked the 124th anniversary of the end of the terror waged by a killer known to history as "jack the ripper". his last confirmed or "canonical" victim, mary jane kelly [also known as marie jeanette kelly] was found in the room she was letting in the early morning of november 9th, 1888.

i was reminded of this because i picked up a nail polish by the name of "saucy jack". i'm not exactly sure what possessed butter london when naming the brilliant deep cherry-red gel-finish [which looks almost exactly like the varnish on a candy apple], but for people like me who label themselves "amateur ripperologists", it's easy to catch the reference to the infamous "saucy jack letter", supposedly penned by the notorious serial killer and sent as a taunt to police. [although still controversial, this letter is one of the very few believed to be genuine, in that it seems to have possessed information not yet available to the general public.]

"saucy jack" according to butter london
many people consider my fascination with this case to be morbid. ok, it is perhaps a little morbid, but scratching the proverbial surface does reveal that the case is enthralling on a number of levels. first and foremost, of course, is the mystery of the killer's identity, which has never been [and in all likelihood never will be] revealed. it's hard for anyone with a curious disposition to resist the siren call of a riddle no one else can crack. but there's so much more to it than that.

for instance, the sheer volume and depth of police archives and investigative information is remarkable. it's a patronising and entirely false assumption that police of the time simply did not have  the resources to capture the killer in the late nineteenth century. in fact, many of the technologies we take for granted today had started to be introduced at that time and, in fact, many were given their first trials as part of the ripper investigation.

additionally, it's erroneous to assume that the ripper's victims were all nameless prostitutes. in an era where neighbours knew far more of each other's business and even the largest cities functioned as networks of small communities, even the most obscure had histories that could be recorded. we know a remarkable amount about the women the ripper killed and about the circumstances that lead them to become the lowest level of prostitutes in the dangerous streets of easy london.

most fascinating to me is the social dimension of the case. this was not just a tabloid crime story of the time. it was that, of course, but it was considered important enough that queen victoria herself was briefed on case developments. nothing had served to call attention to the plight of london's poorest and most vulnerable as the ripper murders of autumn 1888 and, in a grisly irony, this did propel those voices for social change to the forefront and made those in power pay attention. after all, threats of popular uprisings were very real threats to european monarchs at that time. czar alexander ii of russia- once considered a suitor to queen victoria- had been assassinated only eight years prior as a result of the growing social unrest that would eventually see the collapse of the russian royal family.

09 November 2012

republican recap :: nuts and dolts and angry birds

i'm trying to adjust to life without the american election. after all, being a smartass on twitter and on this blog is what gives my life meaning and, since we're not in the middle of any electoral cycle- at least none that i'm following actively- i'm feeling a little lost.

which is why i thought i'd offer my entirely unsolicited opinion to the american republican party. now, i'm happy that the election results came out the way they did. i'd have been even happier if the democrats had taken over congress and paved the way for unfettered socialism and the mass-scale redistribution of wealth which is so clearly their priority.

but after watching the whole republican nomination process for months on end, i feel a sort of... well, actually, i don't feel anything. i admit i stayed up late on tuesday in the hopes that i'd get to see some of them cry, but i do feel that a democracy functions best when there is an effective opposition to the party in power. also, i just like the sound of my own typing.

i do think that people have picked up on something: it was always possible for the republicans to win this race. it was always going to be a fight and while many polls exaggerated how close the race was in its dying days, they were always in the running. it just so happens that they made a tragically poor choice of which horse to send to the track. yes, it looks on paper like he came close, but keep in mind that the number of voters who actually shift from one party to another is diminishing and a couple of percentage points in the popular vote is a much larger victory than it might appear to the casual observer.

but in order to win this election- and possibly to win any presidential election in the near future- the republican party needed to take a stand. there is clearly a darth vader vs obi-wan kenobe battle for the soul of the party going on and both are pointing the finger directly at the other as the reason for the loss.   the thing is, one side is right.

pundits gave a lot of credit to the tea party patriots movement in 2010 for re-energising the republican base after right round walloping of their electoral backside two years earlier. and there's no doubt they did motivate that base to go out and vote during midterm elections, which are the ones that fall on those even-numbered years in between "real" federal elections and involve voting for a third of the senate and every congressional seat, but not the presidency, so most people don't pay too much attention. the fact that a lot of people don't pay attention makes it really easy for midterm elections to get hijacked by any group that can "motivate its base", meaning get their target audience into a froth because of gays or taxes or gay taxes or, you know, anything that you can still get people in middle america to hate. it just doesn't take all that much to swing the vote one way or the other. [in fact, former gop candidate newt gingrich mastered this political move with the midterm elections in 1994. i'm still waiting for the liberal left wing to figure it out.] this should have been the reaction of most republicans when that happened:

"good job guys, you won back congress. now go play in traffic, or see how long you can hold a plastic bag over your head before people start actually paying attention to the inane shit that comes out of your sound-hole and let us find someone we can send into battle against obama."

THE RANT CONTINUETH THIS WAY...

08 November 2012

dj kali and mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 07.11.12

some people are just not meant to be organised and responsible. yesterday, i did something i rarely do: i actually planned out my dj set and put the play list on a note on my phone. i didn't fill in every last minute, but i had a pretty comprehensive list and i even burned a bunch of songs to one cd so that i wouldn't have to do a lot of switching around. it was very clever, although it did result in us getting there with no time to spare, meaning dom got to eat his dinner while doing his set, which really pisses him off and, to make things worse, he had to do all this with me sitting at the dj table staring and making him uncomfortable, because le cagibi was already full up. but it was all ok, at least for me. i knew i was going to have a nice, relaxed dj set, because i'd planned in advance. 

you can see where this is heading. 

no sooner had i taken my place behind the dj table and opened my playlist to confirm my first few tracks then it just disappeared. i wasted a good four or five minutes looking for it, which is serious time if you're a dj playing tracks that average around four minutes. but it was gone. i still have no idea how i did this, or more to the point, how i did this while looking at the phone, but that's just how special i am. 

of course, i still had my special "november set" cd, but it was more than a little confusing because i hadn't written down the tracklist. i hadn't had to. it was on my phone, after all. 

in the end, i actually ended up doing the set more or less from memory, which i found i could do, when i'd calmed down a little and wasn't freaking out over the fact that i'd somehow managed to lose the playlist i'd ruined dom's evening. [or at least the first part of it- he bounced back when he discovered the magic that is a shot of jameson added to a pint of stout.]

just to complicate things further, just look at the epic-ness of this first set. people were practically dancing on the tables. and by "practically" i mean "loudly encouraging everyone" and by "people" i mean me. 

mr. dna's epic set of epic-ness

david bowie :: station to station
tears for fears :: mad world
the cure :: the kiss
recoil :: faith healer
hilt :: stone man
front 242 :: quite unusual 12"
ministry :: over the shoulder 12"
killing joke :: love like blood
depeche mode :: never let me down
gary numan :: down in the park
wall of voodoo :: call of the west
siouxsie & the banshees :: the killing jar
my bloody valentine :: what you want
ride :: leave them all behind
r.e.m. :: world leader pretend
interpol :: pioneer to the falls
pulp :: this is hardcore


dj kali's best guess at her planned set

mitt romney :: america the beautiful

philip munch :: torch
coil : heartworms
morgenstern :: welt
des esseintes :: king of the jungle
the residents :: satisfaction 
maska genetik :: quarantine
swans ::  money is flesh 
pop 1280 :: nature boy
dead kennedys :: California über alles
the five blobs :: beware of the blob
turbund sturmwerk :: vortex
kapo :: only europa knows
militia :: vox populi
the moon lay hidden beneath a cloud :: amara tanta tyri 4
medieval baebes :: razreesh
cocteau twins :: but I'm not
novy svet :: en possession de te

05 November 2012

but have you seen it on vimeo?

for those of you who may have missed my short film "a sense of longing [oblivious]" when it first appeared, here it is again, now on vimeo. [cue frustrated you tube rant here.]

enjoy!

a sense of longing [oblivious] from Kate MacDonald on Vimeo.

03 November 2012

spook house


It is then that the great house starts to move, rattling forward, a body stricken with delirium tremens,
pockets of dust shaken loose as our anchors are raised and we experience the thrill of momentum building,
slow a while and then picking up a little speed, picking itself up, floating like a spirit above the road.
The old haunted house with its leprechaun of a host, his costume folded around him, leaves of a head of lettuce turning brown.

"Welcome aboard one and all," he cries.
"Take care to stay well back
From the edge and keep a lookout
For as it flies
The house plays games
with weary eyes."

We've not been here in years, have we? Have we been here then at all? Us together, as we are now?
I would swear we have, watching the same astounded faces on other people asking how the house knows where to go.
It does seem I have heard those voices, their uneasy murmurs betraying that underlying fear
that this is no trick at all, that the place is really bewitched. No festival ride could be so real, could fool all senses
to believing that it hovered, that it shuddered along a path that held no real design, nothing could feel like that
and not be singed with evil. And so they whisper furtively, their fear ripening above the rows of sagging seats
that have seen too many like them.

I know I have been here, because I know how everything will unfold. I know that the woman in the brown jacket
will fold herself inside her husband's arm for the first time in many months and that he will hold her with the perplexed
face of one who has not felt compelled to act this role in many months. The ride affects each one differently, but I
can guess them all. In the absence of memory, this knowing is a sort of psychic's trick. I should be back in the tent
with Madame Zolta, telling the crowds the small gestures that will form the foundation of their future.

"You have no plans to marry
You say
And indeed it is a bachelor
You will stay
And die a young man"

That boy asked his girlfriend to marry him on the way out of the tent, I believe; she turned him down and left him
to the wild of life and he died three weeks hence, besotted, falling under the wheels of a train. It matters not
to Madame Zolta, who tells a bald businessman in a trench-coat that his son is not his own and laughs when he thinks
she speaks in metaphor. I like to think she got her powers riding on the roof of the haunted house as I do, remarking
how things are ever the same and learning that all shall pass here again, without remembering. I like to think that
we are alike, her and I. She probably knows and finds it funny, that I would envy her her little power and her place
among the scamps and oddities whose peripatetic lives we cross through, looking for entertainment.

Now and again it shakes, this ancient house, as it sails forward into the darkening sky, carbon over steel,
limp fingers of gelled rain slapping at our faces, loosening the dirt on our untended vessel; and with each shudder
growing in intensity, the voice of the house rising to a miner's cough, we sense the real magic is about to start.

"For God's sake hush!"
Our ugly guide insists.
"You'll babble without pause
and miss
the main event."

The main event is subtle, lost on no one here, begins with the unfurling of the sails that catch the wind
that bear us up further into the twilight, so that the ground below begins to come into focus,
visible underneath our eyes, the circus and its tribes arranged for us to see.
There is the strong man, who whispered words I never heard but that I knew to be a threat;
His thin voice, a eunuch's voice, is with me in my ears and in my stomach, the part that freezes
every time I think of him. Nearby the bearded lady eats messily and cries that no man,
not even the dwarves who hustle customers from one attraction to the next, will look at her
with glossy-eyed lust, the way they do each night at the dough-headed acrobats.
Madame Zolta's tent has a tail, a curled queue of people waiting to speak to her,
people who must know what they are hurtling towards, without knowing it is already done.
At the fringe of the grounds, ostracised by even his peers, the man who swallows pain
crucified for the aghast few, he smells of lead and chrysanthemums and speaks in croaks and clucks
unintelligible to all, save the lion tamer, who placates him with the occasional glass of whiskey.

"Less mwa moorie
Juh tonn pree
Juh vuh la moorie
A-layt, a-layt, a-layt"

The phantom who brought us here is among the guests by now, stirring unrest
talking blackly about our motives and our neighbours, he makes the plump woman in the windbreaker
sob and ask why, just why, without any further clarification. Her befuddled husband shrugs and laughs;
her children turn their backs to her in abject horror. She is heavy on them, her graceless blubbering
lashes them in and holds them as the world peels back its skin for them to see from the shore of safety.
They do not sense the phantom yet. Against children he is useless, being rumour. They'll be back, of course
unable to resist the house and its mysteries and unable to think them away. I know that I came back
drawn by that anti-figure, always trying to pin his drifting shadow to my shores. I know that I came back
but know not how, or why I keep finding myself here.

And then he unleashes the power of the house, the fragments of those still trapped inside, still clinging to the walls
and wondering why they find neither sleep nor adventure, hung on the  moldering furniture, shaken loose
like so much plaster dust. We feel them move among us, both groups picking goose flesh from each other's skin.
Who are they and why do they stay here? Who are they and why do they come here? And neither of us moves on.
The apparition raises his hands and the others scramble, tiny monkey spirits and form a spinning wheel. In turn,
each leaves the round and jumps through the centre, then rejoins his brethren as if nothing has happened.
The clever tricks continue, the breathtaking leaps, strange passages, the wordless commands,
always so clearly understood. And we clap, we clap until our ears ache with it, we clap again and we ask more.

I still want to hold him down, force out his secrets, get him to tell me how he makes them dance and
why it is that others cannot. I want to wrap myself in that misty embrace and hear that I can learn
that they will follow me and he will teach me all that is hidden in him. I have been here before and yet
I still hope that of all the arranged bodies, some soft and aging, some like summer fruit: perfect, firm and ripe,
I still dream that it will be me he chooses to lift into that afterlife, that he will see the shards of himself in me
and take interest or pity, it is all the same in the end. But tonight he chooses no one, for he never does;
only ushers the little ghosts back to their lair and nods good night to us all, his way of giving perfunctory thanks.

And wordlessly we drift back, hardly speaking or hearing until the metal sound and weight of the anchor
is on us, dragging us back to ground as if nothing had happened, as if it were as ordinary as cotton,
the fabric that links the elements of this house. And wordlessly we descend the creaking back staircase,
always in want of repair, never growing worse or better, room for one by one by one to pass, no more.

"Good night, ladies
Good night, gentlemen
We'll see you back here
in Hell or in Heaven
Good night."

The host salutes by taking off his cap, by slapping the ticket-taker and the anchor-man
until they do the same, until they bow their hulking granite heads toward us, not in deference
but in fear. And thus do I pass, full of this place again, I have been here before, I don't know when.
My eyes are closed for that last step and I imagine him approaching, coming down on me
like a raptor, ending what I know.

When my eyes open, I realise I have forgotten. I always think you will be with me.

[originally published in paraphilia magazine]
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...