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Showing posts from October, 2013

marigolds :: a little story for halloween

normally, the biggest problem i have with my short story ideas is trying to contain them and pack them into a short story format. they can get away from me too easily, at which point i get bored- because they're not strong enough to sustain novels- and something else goes unfinished.

but here's something that came to me out of the blue, a compact little nugget in the spirit of the season.

of course, i thought i could make this into a piece of flash fiction, which is a short story of 99 words or less. at 142 words, it's almost half again too long, even after i edited some of my descriptive flourishes out, so i guess it is still an over-long failure in that regard. but i like it and i don't want to reduce it any further.

*


Sitting in the garden digging trenches around the marigolds with an old bone. It got stuck in my throat one afternoon and my grandmother had to take me to the hospital. She told me I was lucky they had got it out, or else an animal would have grown insi…

making faces :: fall in, part 5 [a royal flush]

i'm really lucky. dom not only accepts my obsession with all things aesthetic, but he even finds it somewhat interesting. he has opinions on lipstick and eye shadow colours that go beyond "looks nice" and i really appreciate that. but even he has his limits and that limit has a name: blush. he'll say straight up that he doesn't really notice the difference from one to the other.

indeed, it can be difficult to spot the differences, but just because they're subtle doesn't mean you don't notice the effect. i always know when i've found a great blush colour because i'll get a bunch of compliments from people who can't pinpoint why i look good, but i just do. people can identify eye shadow and lipstick, even if it takes them a minute to figure out that that's what they're really responding to, but blush befuddles. there's something that people see is different, but they can't really see it. blush flies under the radar. it's …

mental health mondays :: you are getting sadder and sadder

if you're reading this from anywhere from the southern united states down to australia, you can just ignore this post. i have nothing for you. you're probably happy right now and there are millions of people who would like to gouge your eyes out for no reason other than the fact that you are happy and we are not. even if our lives are fine. even if nothing much has changed to make things worse than they were a couple of months ago. because we live in a place that makes us miserable by denying us some of the basic elements we need to be happy.

like light and the ability to step outdoors without wanting to die.

ah yes, it's the time of year when we in the north start to develop symptoms of the much-referenced but little understood seasonal affective disorder. long understood to be a distinct type of mood disorder, it will be reclassified with the imminent [always imminent] publication of the dsm-v as a variant of major depressive disorder. that may not mean much on the surfa…

making faces :: fall in, part 4 [neutral eyes]

yes, when it comes to fall colours, we normally look to the trees for our inspiration, but let's face facts: the flaming shades of fall and the season's more intense lip colours [see part two of this series "the vamp stamp"] don't make a happy pairing. yes, it's the season of halloween, but it's not a great idea to look like you're ready for the big event on a daily basis. to balance the power of a dark lip, you're going to want to go with something more subtle and fortunately there are as many options as there are stars in the sky. [not literally -ed.] here are a few of my current favourites...

hourglass "suede"

yes, it's beyond high time that hourglass made some additions to their line-up of visionnaire eye shadow duos, but in the meantime, we can appreciate what they have to offer. i'll be honest: this subtle cream and beige-taupe combination is actually my favourite of the three that i own. the shades aren't matte- the cre…

making faces :: fall in, part 3 [the vamp stamp]

this post is almost a repeat, since i did a post including three favourite vampy lipsticks a while back, but even then, one of them [mac "tribalist"] was no longer available and in the interim tom ford has seen fit to discontinue "black orchid". that's a shame and i suspect that we'll see a mad rush on these on ebay, with buyers demanding ridiculous prices. i'm glad that i still have plenty left on mine.

but for those of you who are still searching for that perfect dark lipstick to set your halloween-loving heart a-flutter, i'm here to help. and by help, i mean recommend places where you can spend your money.

first, a word about what i mean by "vampy". there are lots of dark lipsticks. every company has darker shades. but truly vamp shades, the kind that channel silver screen icons like theda bara [ok, you only ever got to see her in black and white, but the term "vamp" was coined for her, so she's my go-to example], are a pa…

making faces :: fall in, part two [autumn flames]

yes, fall is generally considered to be about vampy lips and they'll have their own seprate column, but what about those rich, warm shades of red that seem to embody the very essence of autumnal splendour? don't they deserve a post.

clearly, they do.

for a long time i avoided warmer reds and oranges because i assumed they would mesh with my cool-toned skin. in fact, my investigations into colour analysis have revealed that my skin isn't so cool-toned as i'd thought [and may not even be primarily cool] and as a result, warm and cool choices can work equally well. most importantly, the majority of people have skin that contains both warm and cool elements. it's really only people on one extreme or the other who have to worry about staying on one side of the tonal equation. the rest of us can be happily bi when it comes to our choice of reds. here are a few of my favourites from the warmer side...

urban decay :: manic

i reviewed my first pick from urban decay's new…

mental health mondays :: the psychology of sleeplessness

why, you might ask, am i writing mental health mondays on a tuesday? you might just have assumed that i was being lazy yesterday and often that's exactly the reason, but this week, i have an excuse. sunday night, after a nice relaxing break from work, i had one of the worst cases of insomnia i've had in months. not that many months, mind you, because i've been blindsided by a few bouts of completely inexplicable insomnia several times in the last six months or so, where for no discernible reason, i just can't get to sleep.


sunday was bad because i actually got no sleep whatsoever. not even a nap. not even that foggy near-sleep state. around 7:30 in the morning, i started to feel like i could sleep, but nothing before then. i wasn't especially stressed about any one thing, wasn't preoccupied with a creative project, wasn't suffering the effects of medication or indigestion or experiencing rebound wakefulness after an earlier nap. in fact, i'd had a nice…

making faces :: fall in, part 1 :: make like a tree

since i did an in-depth look earlier at shades that typified spring, i thought it was high time that i looked at my very favourite season, autumn. to that end, i figured i'd do a series of posts of shades that are perfect for autumn looks of various types. unlike for spring, that involves splitting some of them up in different ways, since there's some different ways of looking at fall... but i'll get into that later. it's also an opportunity for me to plough through several reviews that i've been meaning to do in the name of the season...

let's start off with the eyes, though, shall we? let's start off with the fact that shades we use on the eyes can so delightfully mirror those that we see in the foliage around us at this time of year. the rich reds, the deep greens, the burnt golds... it's a colour-lovers paradise and, thanks to companies who have expanded the range of shades available, a cosmetic-lovers' paradise. here are a few of my favourites …

full of win

i didn't mention it in my "friday favourites", but i really should have:

canadian author alice munro won the nobel prize for literature last week.

this is monumental for me in a number of ways:

canadian

female

known as a master of the short story

what greater validation could a female canadian author whose preferred form is the short story ask for?

well, perhaps this.

my short story "spook house" won a contest this week sponsored by writer's carnival and 69 flavours of paranoia. it was completely unexpected, but incredibly fulfilling.

so yes, there are people who want to hear your stories. whoever you are and whatever form they take, there are people out there who will value them.

this story was actually inspired by a dream that i had and is really nothing more than my attempt to convey something of what was going on in my mind, without making it too literal [which can so often corrupt dreams in the retelling].

whatever you're writing, there is an audien…

making faces :: diorable

i feel like dior are having a heck of a year. their colour collections have been exciting both for those
who love saturated shades and for those who like something a little softer, but their new and relaunched products are really catching my somewhat fatigued cosmetic eye. i'm always a sucker for trying a new formula, but lately i've been trying to temper that with ensuring that i'm also buying things that don't correspond to colours that i already have in my collection. and dior has very considerately produced things that meet both criteria.

thanks for making it difficult for me to pay my rent, dior.

i feel like there is more of a disconnect between dior the storied fashion house and dior cosmetics than with a lot of other lines. armani does seem to exude a sort of sophisticated sleekness that i see in their clothes. likewise chanel also seems to embody luxurious femininity. dior on the runway is decadent elegance. there isn't quite the wild abandon that you see…

may the scorpion of bad karma find its way into your back passage

EDIT :: apparently dom got this email twice today as well. so we have our own battle of the bulge going on...

it's been a while since i received any noteworthy spam, but this morning, something made it through all my filters and landed front and centre in my inbox, so as i was sipping my morning coffee and enjoying a hard-earned day off, i was confronted with the subject line no person ever wants to see:

"Being overweight is a terrible thing. We can help you!"

well thanks for that notice. being overweight does actually have a lot of undesirable side effects and can cause long-term health damage if you don't get it under control. but i don't know who the hell you are and i'm pretty sure i've never met you, so it's a little bit douche-y of you to just go into a conversation with your mind made up that i'm overweight. sure, i've been trying to shed a few pounds. but that's my thing. i don't need commentary from the peanut gallery.

nonethel…

i made you a mixed tape

well, i sort of made you a mixed tape. i made you a playlist of things that you can listen to, at least. it's a special, heartfelt playlist that's designed especially for those special people who've bought and read my short story collection "interference". if you haven't, of course, you still can; it's available in both print and ebook format, depending on your preferences and budget. the content is the same either way.

the "soundtrack" isn't just intended to be general background music, either. there are specific tracks i've picked to go along with certain stories. but more about that a little later.

those of you who know me know that i have some "off the beaten path" taste in music, so if you find that sort of thing difficult, i'll just put it out there: this probably won't be your cup of tea. however, i do think that it would heighten the experience of reading the stories, but my tastes certainly aren't everybody…

making faces :: process of elimination

returning for a moment to the world of colour analysis... although i found it easy enough to figure out  [and yes, i've been testing out my theory, which seems to hold], i don't really feel like i've made a lot of progress on my own. i haven't really eliminated more than half the seasons and i don't even feel like i've answered the very first question of colour analysis with any certainty: i don't know if i'm cool or warm toned. when i started this, i was certain i leaned cool. and yet a couple of warmer neutral seasons seem to flatter me with a stubborn tenacity.
dom's season

a few things i have determined:

either of the soft seasons are completely out. both make me look haggard and older than i am.

either of the light seasons make me look washed out and a bit sick. my face needs some serious pigmentation.

although there does seem to be some warmth in my skin, colours from the purely warm palettes seem heavy and artificial on me.

neither of the true…

friday favourites 11.10.13

it's been too long since we've done this... last week i was away on business [that part of my life i don't
really talk about much here, because i'd like to protect them] and the week before, i was just distracted and lazy. but now i have much to share...

i had insomnia again last night and it lead me to a rare moment of human empathy. i woke up around two, which is about standard for me and lay in bed, unable to get back to sleep. mostly, this was just because my body has started to do this to me lately, but in part it was because i was distracted by the sound of loud snoring. from the next apartment.

maybe it was a particularly quiet night, so i was more attuned than usual to the sounds going on around me, but i've had insomnia in that bedroom many times over the years and this was pretty special. noise doesn't travel easily through the walls in the building. i can only image what it sounded like on the other side of the wall.

now, the noise was a little irk…

making faces :: i want the one[s] i can't have

back when i lived in toronto, there was a very nice beauty store near me where i used to shop
occasionally. they had a lot of brands there, including one that a friend persuaded me to try called chantecaille. i was a mac devotee at the time, but i did really like the lipstick that i bought from chantecaille and i still have a  beautiful lip brush from them. since the place near me wasn't very large and the other brands they carried were available fairly easily, i assumed that chatecaille was fairly widely available, it was just that with my mac blinders on, i'd never noticed them.

years later, of course, i know better. the brand is fiendishly difficult to get in canada, despite being widely available at department stores [neiman marcus, saks, barneys] in the united states. in fact, it's only officially available at two stores in the whole country- the holt renfrew counters at the toronto flagship store and in vancouver downtown. and what makes things worse is that it isn…

mental health mondays :: can you see through the windows to the soul?

here's a thing to try... an on line quiz that tracks your ability to judge people's emotions just based on their eyes. if you've read the book blink, you know that micro-movements of the muscles in our face are pretty much hard-wired when we experience certain emotions. we make certain motions that betray our thoughts and feelings even when we don't mean to. and so tight is the bond between our feelings and our physical expression of those feelings that even making the faces associated with certain moods or states of mind can be enough to trigger those same states. so try to smile a lot.

i'm going to put a page break here so that i can discuss my results without providing spoilers. feel free to join me after the break when you've done the test.