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friday favourites 11.02.11

today's guest contributor
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^ that note comes to you courtesy of hecubus, our siamese, the home's tiniest resident, but usually its most vocal. i believe that's his way of saying that it's time for another edition of friday favourites, that sweet pause in the week where i take a few moments to think about what's made the past seven days better. 

clinique vétérinaire plateau mont-royal :: animal lovers know how difficult it can be to find a good vet. it's actually worse than finding a good doctor, because a lot of vets are just in the game to make money. i had a truly horrific experience with chats decarie (since closed), where the staff refused to give me straight answers to any of my questions, but kept insisting that i had to purchase more medications and services or i was a horrible pet owner. but that's over now, because, through an old friend of dom's, we found the cvpmr.

breathing easier, as are his parents
it's no accident that judith weissman and her staff are consistently selected as one of the top clinics in montreal. they're friendly, fluently bilingual, professional and, most importantly, they don't try to hard sell you on things you don't need. part of being a good vet is being able to set the "parents'" minds at ease. yes, your animal companions can get sick, but not every sickness is life-threatening. even chronic conditions are manageable and, as the staff there are more than willing to assure you, the most important component of maintaining an animal's good health is knowing when you really need to be worried.

our latest trip there came because our beloved little tuxedo-boy seth seemed to be having some respiratory difficulty this morning. a check-up and a quick x-ray later, we were reassured that this is likely a passing thing, there are no signs of a viral infection or obstruction in the lungs. there is the chance that he may, like his mom, have asthma. in which case we'll both have to make sure to keep our inhalers close by.

we left feeling relieved, cared for and respected. what more could you ask from a vet?


stephane @ videotron tech help :: a lot of people tell me that they have problems with videotron. i assume that they're not exaggerating, but i have to sort of shrug, because i've always been happy with their service. think about that: when was the last time you were actually happy- as opposed to "fine"- with the service provided by your phone, cable or internet company? it's just that, in my case, they're always easy to deal with and whenever i've had a problem, they've helped. (that includes fixing the wiring to my apartment that somehow got screwed up when bell tried to connect a phone line.)

but today, i'd like to give a particular thanks to stephane in the tech support department, who stayed solved a bizarre internet problem for us- something that may not even have related to equipment that videotron provided, in the end- even taking the time to research what might have been wrong and calling us back minutes later, rather than just sticking us on hold, like some other service providers i've dealt with.

fashion's promise :: yes, it's still freezing cold (worse this week than last, overall) and yes, there's still snow everywhere, so you'd be forgiven for getting lost in the darkness that is winter (particularly if you live in the middle of the u.s. these days), but every year around this time, the fashion world does us a solid and reminds us all that milder days are ahead. because february hails the arrival of spring collections. brighter colours and lighter fabrics start to sneak onto racks when we're not looking. sure, if you're me, you're likely to find more things that you like in the fall, but there's something nice about knowing that spring is puckering its soft coral-pink lips and blowing you a kiss. and one company has even chose to remind us that we have enough superhero in us to fight our way through the icy conditions for another few weeks.

this :: a painstaking recreation of joy division's performance of "transmission" on the show "something else". with playmobil. what more can i say?



¡la revolucion! :: is there really anything else to talk about? it's only two short weeks ago that i said i'd be watching events in egypt closely. at that point, demonstrations there were just starting to get full news coverage, but one had the sense that there was something major going on there. something that carried the force of public will. and indeed, just a few hours ago, hosni mubarak finally bowed to the will of the people and resigned.

despite the presence of provocateurs- and reports indicate that these were largely government supporters- protesters did not give in to the invitation to violence, the stuck to their guns by not sticking to guns and they got what they demanded. but there's a lot more going on. first, there's the fact that, by keeping protests peaceful and by acknowledging the wisdom of a provisional government to help bring stability, egyptians have also toppled a lot of western assumptions about arabs. and let us not forget that mubarak for years was a dictator who had the backing of the united states. egypt has effectively shown that the will of a people can bring even the world's great superpower to heel. (it helps that the world's great superpower has a bit more of a level head in charge at the moment.) and of course, there's the fact that this is the first revolution that made significant use of new media in building momentum. that's something that will be analysed for years to come.

it's worth noting that even the traditional media fared well in this. winning high praise from egyptian dissidents, major news networks stuck their necks out (and some almost got them broken) to show what was going on.

but, as obama said, this is all about the egyptian people. yes, there is lots of work to be done and yes, there will be continued problems to face. but it's pretty impossible not to love what's going on there tonight.

so what made your week? what's brought a smile to your lips? feel free to share.

this week, while i'll continue to watch events in egypt, i'll also be taking a bit of a breather and making sure my little black and white boy is ok. i won't lie, i got a real scare this morning, but now i just want to keep an eye on him and make sure that he continues to improve. plus, of course, i'll be concentrating on myself and my continuing job hunt. i've enjoyed the last couple of months' vacation, i won't lie, but i'm aware that it's time to put on my big girl pants and go back to the working world. know anyone in montreal who wants to hire a marketing professional with over a decade experience, great communication skills and organisational ability? wish me luck.

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jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: getting cheeky

blush might just be the last thing that a beauty lover comes to appreciate, seeing as it can be a matter of slight degrees that separates one product from another, and it's most difficult to tell from just swatching a product how it's going to look. and it did take me a long time to appreciate that, despite loving my refined pallor and believing that my natural rosy flush was more than enough of a blush for me, blush is my friend. it softens, sculpts, perfects and, although you might not see it at first blush [yuk yuk yuk], it is something that subtly harmonises with the other colours in a look to make it "complete". yes, it's the most tricky thing to pull off when you're wearing something that doesn't mesh with your own undertones. but it's also the thing that can take a face from gloomy to glowing with a swish of the magic wand known as a makeup brush.

highlighters are an even trickier lot, since many of the more brilliant ones have a tendency to e…

making faces :: chanel's velvet realm

who doesn't love velvet? i know when i was younger, i used to, as george costanza longed to, "drape myself in velvet" and although that phase passed with time, i still think that the plush fabric has to be one of the high points of human achievement, up there with interior heating, advanced medicine and vodka. so to me, it's no surprise that one of the most hotly anticipated launches in the cosmetic world is chanel's new "rouge allure velvet" lipstick line, because even the name immediately makes me want to put it on my lips.

on a more concrete level, chanel describes these lipsticks as "luminous matte", which is sort of like the holy grail for lipstick lovers. we all want those intense, come-hither film noir lips, the sort where young men and sunlight are lost and never heard from again, but historically [including during the making of those films], applying a matte lipstick felt sort of like colouring in your lips with an old crayon that had…