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Showing posts from August, 2015

paranoid theory of the week :: were the new orleans levees bombed during hurricane katrina?

there's been a great deal of coverage on the tenth anniversary of hurricane katrina this week, about what happened, the various administrative and governmental failings, what has been rebuilt, what damage remains and what has been done to keep such a thing from ever happening again. as fierce as the storm was, the greater problem was arguably the ineptness that preceded and followed it. a chronic lack of funding for upgrades to the city's protection system and a response protocol that was completely unprepared for a catastrophic failure in that system, saw thousands of people stranded in horrifying circumstances for weeks as the rest of the world stared in disbelief.

but as if that wasn't bad enough, rumours surfaced at the time that the disaster was not merely the result of administrative incompetence, but was exacerbated by a very deliberate plan to sacrifice the city's poorest and most vulnerable in order to save the wealthy and profitable areas. so ten years on, w…

making faces :: inspired by summer meadows

the last few days, we've had a bit of a reprieve from the overwhelming heat of summer, and although it's scheduled to get toasty again, i'm currently experiencing that swell of excitement that comes with late summer: the refreshing breezes, the sweet scents of ferns and late summer flowers, mixed with dried grasses and those slightly past their prime trees, just about to start turning to the spectacular display of colour we'll experience in october.

before summer truly fades, there's that wonderful period where everything is alive and bursting with colour, which is how i usually think of august. let me offer you some examples:


 and in homage to those beautiful images of summer meadows, i thought i'd share with you a look that i did that was inspired by them. clearly, i needed some soft greens as a base and a warm, sunny, but somewhat hazy light to the skin. the lips, of course, were meant to mimic the pop of colour from the flowers in our imaginary face-meadow…

world wide wednesdays :: the old trash and the sea

is there life after death? there is for your garbage. in fact, there's even kind of a garbage heaven, or haven, in our oceans oceans. the pacific is best known, but the atlantic and indian oceans have also staked their claim and despite the fact that we've known about them for years, there hasn't been much of anything done to address the problem. as a result, they're now taking on an eerie permanence and although we haven't yet colonised them for human settlement, it might not be that far behind. so today, here are some fun facts about the awesome islands of garbage that are sailing the open seas like pirates, picking up our discarded booty.

the first thing that warrants clarification is that these garbage islands aren't islands. and no, i don't mean they're actually peninsulas. but they're generally more like swamps, with an incredible concentration of plastic, much of it in pieces so small as to be invisible to the human eye. you could probably sw…

paranoid theory of the week :: did the soviet army accidentally kill nine hikers in 1959?

stretching from the arctic islands of vaygach and novaya zembla down to the edge of kazakhstan, the ural mountains are the dividing line between europe and asia. it is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, although its craggy peaks rise unexpectedly high above sea level for their age. despite the remoteness of the region, its wealth of mining resources gave rise to the industrial centre of yekaterineburg. in 1979, a military accident resulted in the release of anthrax spores that killed at least one hundred people, but many believe that this was the second accident in the region. the rumour was that twenty years earlier, nine people died during a secret weapons test that remains a protected secret to this day.

in late january 1959, a group of ten mountain climbers and skiers, most of them students in their early twenties, planned to make the ten kilometre trek from vizhai to otorten mountain. at the time, it was considered to be a hiking challenge of the highest level of dif…

imperfect ten

i'm starting this post with no real idea where it's going to go, or why it's here, but i couldn't very well let this day go without saying a little something.

what day you ask?

this day!


that poor bedraggled soul is indeed me, exactly how i looked ten years ago today when i returned home from a shopping expedition where i was nearly struck by lightning and washed away with the toronto tide, toweled myself off and thought: "yes, today will be the day that i start a blog".

and so it was.

many things have changed since that day. i live in a different city. i've said goodbye to the three cats who welcomed their soggy mother home on that day. i've welcomed five new ones who fulfill all of my maternal instincts and do not expect me to send them to university or bail them out on weekends. i've become a lot more conscious about health. i've connected with a lot of people in a lot of different areas of the world, who have enriched my life a great deal.…

making faces :: the more like space splurge-o-matic 2015

i'm still catching up on a few reviews, but i've been planning to do a post like this forever and i figured that, forever could mean any time and now is an any time, so now is as good a time as any to write it, right? [it's possible that i've had too much coffee today.]

when it comes to beauty, we all have areas where we like to spend and where we like to save. my preferences on the splurge-y side tend to be for colour cosmetics [lipsticks, eye shadows, blushes/ highlighters], whereas a have a stricter "ceiling" price for skin care [including lip balms/ treatments], nail polish, body care, shampoo/ conditioner and with any products i perceive as "gimmicky". i'm sure i could think up reasons why i divide up my priorities that way [and there are some that fall into a middle ground, like foundations, concealers and mascaras] but it's not particularly interesting, nor important to this post.

my point is that i've wanted to do a "splurge…

armchair centre back :: too soon?

before i get to the titular "too soon" section, let me apologise for being too late in congratulating both the u.s. national women's team and the chilean men's national team for their respective victories and the women's world cup and the copa america this summer. i feel a little guilty for not marching myself to see a wwc game, since they were right here in the same city as me. in fact, there's a whole slew of missed chances this summer: watching the local team compete for a place in the club world cup; greeting our new player didier drogba at the airport [actually a wise decision: it was 40c/ 100f and the packed-in crowd overflowed, so a lot of people were stuck standing in the blazing sun], seeing paris st. germain, a world class team, take on olympique lyonnais in an exhibition game. there is nothing i regret so much, though, as deciding not to show up to whip eggs at chelsea, who were using montreal as their home base for two weeks while they toured the …

paranoid theory of the week :: are the oldest pyramids on earth located in bosnia?

in central bosnia, just 30km northwest of sarajevo lies the medieval capital of visoki. the area has been continuously inhabited for four thousand years, owing to its perfect location along both the bosna and fojnica rivers and in proximity to visočica hill, whose 213m height made the settlement easily defensible. it was an important city during the time of the bosnian empire, but by the early sixteenth century, it had been abandoned. in its wake, the city of visoko sprung up just adjacent to the original settlement, in the shadow of the castle town whose ruins can still be seen [and visited!].

years of civil war have caused irreparable damage to the balkans [didn't we talk about this not so long ago?], but visoko has proved shockingly resilient. and as a sense of normalcy has returned to the area, it's no wonder that a lot of curious tourists have started to flood into all the balkan states, to take in the glories of a lesser-known part of europe, rich in history, but lacking…

world wide wednesdays :: romantic traffic

a friend on facebook posted this article earlier on amnesty international's push to have sex work decriminalized. it sparked a debate about how helpful such a process would actually be and i find myself still mulling over the good arguments on both sides: there's the familiar [predominantly north american and european] argument that legality is a pathway to social acceptability and that it affords sex trade workers protections they can't get as long as they're treated as criminals. the flip side of that is that the vast majority of sex workers [particularly outside of north america and europe] are involved in the business because they are forced to be and making it legal implies approval of a system that enslaves women [because the vast majority of sex workers are women] and can give those who exploit them the cover of law. [if you don't think that's a potentially huge problem, consider how labour law is weighted in favour of the employer.] it also bears consid…