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Showing posts from August, 2016

badvertising :: in bad taste

there are a number of reasons why people might not like to live in montreal. i personally find that good outweighs the bad, but terrifyingly cold winters, apartments that have never been properly maintained, and a bureaucracy that could generously be described as "perplexing" are likely to have worn a few people down.

but one of the great things about not living in montreal is not having to deal with the sort of people who end up in positions of power in groups like educ'alcool, an organisation that helps encourage young drinkers to favour moderation over hedonistic indulgence. the organisation has done some clever ad campaigns in years past, some genuinely funny and some cringe-worthy and effective. the thing that has made them effective is that they've presented those drink far in excess as the butt of jokes, or as a source of embarrassment for themselves and their friends.

this year, however, they decided to go in a different direction.


on one level, i can see wh…

making faces :: choose your lips [2016 edition]

i'm a big lipstick fan, but even i'm at the point of waving the white flag in the face of the army of lipsticks that's been marching towards us in the last several months. nars was ahead of the curve with their audacious lipstick formula, introducing a shocking thirty shades at once. givenchy and dior seem to be introducing a new formula every other week [the rouge dior family is getting revamped this fall]. mac added a large number of new shades this summer, including some of those coveted "oddball" colours. bite discontinued their luminous cream formula and replaced it with the brand new amuse bouche lipsticks in thirty-four colours [take that, nars!] earlier this year, and has already introduced a half dozen new shades [a couple of them limited], plus two online exclusives. makeup forever has just revamped their entire artist rouge lipstick line. not to be outdone by anyone [and no one should try], urban decay reformulated and re-launched their lipsticks in 12…

so hip it hurts

there aren't too many artists who stand out as being iconically canadian. it's too easy to mistake us for some other people, mostly americans, who are, let's be honest, pretty similar in a lot of ways. [this is the bit where i apologise for avril lavigne, justin bieber and drake.] the guess who/ bachman turner overdrive held sway over an earlier generation, and musicians and those who appreciate technical proficiency will speak of rush like they are gods, but last night the country said goodbye to perhaps the most canadian of canadian bands, the tragically hip.

for those of you not familiar with that name, the hip emerged in the mid-to-late eighties, among a slew of canadian bands [54-40, the northern pikes, the pursuit of happiness, the grapes of wrath] that balanced on the line between mainstream and alternative rock. all of them played accessible guitar-based music with none of the bombast of seventies dinosaurs, but equally with no hint of the drug-fueled anger that w…

worldwide wednesdays :: who's going on the sh*t list?

as you probably heard, donald trump announced that, as president, he would order his administration to implement "extreme vetting" techniques when evaluating applications for immigration and possibly even travel [i'm not clear on whether the process goes this far down, but it remains a possibility]. here's how he addressed the topic at a rally in ohio:



i'll admit, when i hear people talk about doing things "extreme" style, i'm reminded of some truly unfortunate marketing campaigns, and, of course, this:



but my initial, goofy urges aside, there are some problems with what trump is saying. i mean, of course there are, but i'm not talking about the [very likely] possibility that he's being tacitly racist against muslims and/ or arabs. and i'm not even talking about the cost and difficulty of implementing the policy, because, in all honesty, politicians don't usually provide those kind of details about their policy proposals during an e…

i finally remembered to put a title here

[i don't know why it took me so long to notice this, but i published this post without a title. so now i've given it a title. a silly title, to be sure, but i revel in the frequent silliness of my blog post titles.]

this post as a little bit of everything, i suppose...

1. i figured that the donald and his cornsilk cotton candy hair had assaulted our eyes long enough, so i have switched up the featured post. i delved back into the semi-defunct worldwide wednesdays archive and pulled out this post on the so-called "arab world", because i do think that it's an area of confusion for many people, including me from time to time. and, yes, i have to admit that the donald once again influenced the choice with his comments about conducting "extreme vetting" ["enhanced" would probably have been a better choice of word, except that dick cheney and the cia ruined it for all of us] on some prospective immigrants or visitors to the united states. i'll …

yes, you understood me correctly

i figured it had been a while since i gave an update on my progress with language learning. it's gone from being something i wanted to try, but lacked the means and time, to something i had put my mind to, to something that's become a conduit to all sorts of different discoveries, not just about languages, but about people and history. it's also become the thing i do when i feel like my anxieties are getting the better of me, because its methodical nature and self-controlled pace help me focus on something other than the fact that every synapse in my brain has suddenly decided to dump its cache in my think hole.

as you might remember, however, i occasionally get the feeling that duolingo, my preferred place for free online language learning, is preparing me for a rather strange life in other countries. [see here and here.] so here's another edition of "things i really must work into a conversation".

you might recall that last time, i was learning the importa…

back off!

i've been absent a few days because i've been dusting off manuscripts and preparing for a couple of projects. yesterday, while doing so, i started to comb through a short story i'd written a while back, just to make sure it was perfect. i mean, i figured it was perfect, because i'd submitted it for publication some time ago, although it was [sob!] rejected.

this is when i had one of the most horrifying experiences a writer can have. it wasn't perfect at all. it wasn't even a little bit perfect. in fact, it was so un-perfect that pieces of it were difficult to follow if you didn't live in my brain, which few people do and none of them are publishers. i gnashed my teeth and wondered what the hell i was thinking and committed myself, once again, to a rule i try to stick by, but occasionally forget:

never submit anything that has only recently been completed.

i have this rule because, when i'm excited to have finished something, i usually want to find somew…

making faces :: giving in to anastasia

a few years ago, anastasia was a marginal brand, known almost exclusively for their cult favourite eyebrow products. i tried out one of their eyeshadow duos and was very impressed, but i never ended up getting more before they were discontinued. today, anastasia are the cosmetic brand, their every new release anticipated and lusted over on instagram. their silver-haired head honcho norvina is the daughter of the brand's founder and is nearly as influential on beauty trends as the ubiquitous kylie jenner, being almost single-handedly responsible for the industry's obsession with matte liquid lipsticks over the past three years or so. of course, the brand still has its expert brow products, but it's now probably best known for its liquid lipsticks and gleaming highlighters.

after being an early adopter of their original eyeshadows, i was slow to get on board with their revamped brand image. i could make up [haha! look at me pun!] an excuse and say that i'm always suspic…

small change

just thought i'd call your attention to the fact that i've made a little addition here that may be of interest to some of you:

on the upper right hand side of your screen, you will notice that there is now a "featured" post. so i'll be updating this periodically to call attention to something interesting, or timely, or weird, that's been on more like space in the past.

for the moment, i've chosen to feature a post from the currently defunct but hopefully returning when i sort out my timing paranoid theory of the week series.

i wrote the piece one year and one day ago, because of a funny rumour rippling through the internet in both left and right wing circles. at the time, i almost laughed at myself for giving it a 3/10 on the likelihood scale, but in the 367 days that have passed, i'm wondering if i wasn't a little dismissive. although i find it interesting, i'm not putting any serious weight the pop psychology diagnoses of donald trump as ei…

worldwide wednesdays :: a war of oil and water

[hey look! i finally gave in and started to spell "worldwide" as one word. i always like the symmetry of the three w's, but i know that it's not really supposed to be spelled that way. ultimately, spelling kate won out over style kate.]

i realised today that i'm in danger of becoming strictly a u.s. political blog, which is certainly not what i ever intended. so to break up the rhythm of ohmygodwhattheactualfuckareyoudoingamerica, i thought i'd focus on something that's even worse than the current election.

we've all heard, nearly every day, about the raging wars in syria, iraq and afghanistan. if you pay attention to the news, you're probably aware of ongoing conflicts in yemen and ukraine as well. and although you might not think of them as "wars" in the same sense, it's widely known that mexico and columbia are engaged in a vicious struggle with drug cartels/ organised crime. those conflicts have been the cause of tens of thousan…