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Showing posts from August, 2011

the best places to do it in public

ok, this is a post indulging my public transit geekery, just so you know.

since i featured the montreal by metro web site in last week's friday favourites, it got me to thinking that i haven't really posted much about this subject, despite the fact that it's one i think about every single day.

i think about it every day because i have opted not to be a driver. i've even let my license lapse, which is a sure way to get looked at like there's something profoundly wrong with you [i usually just try to work that]. i've certainly driven regularly in the past and i admit that i find it convenient that dom has a car [and a license] for certain times when one is really a necessity, but the fact is that being able to get around without a car is quite important to me.

it's simple, in my mind, really. i choose to live in cities. i do that because i like the feeling of proximity to the things and people i want or need to see regularly. if i wanted to feel isolated [and …

mental health mondays :: that other problem

with the stigma and the difficulty finding/ holding a job and the people telling you that you're making it up and the reduced life expectancy and the weird side effects of the drugs and the possibility that you could be put in a hospital against your will, life with a mental illness or disorder can get pretty miserable. so it might not come as a surprise that those with serious mental disorders often choose to self-medicate. of course, that ends up meaning that people who already have the odds stacked against them are then saddled with addictions, or with habits that can exacerbate their original problems.

one of the most curious and best-documented correlations is between schizophrenia and smoking. smokers generally account for only about a quarter of the population in most western countries, however studies consistently find that smoking is far more prevalent among schizophrenics- as high as 80-90%. scariest of all, no one can explain why. in fact, while some have theorised that…

the weather's not the biggest problem

first things first: i hope that, if you're reading this and you were in the path of any part of hurricane/ tropical storm irene, that you made it through safely and without the loss of anything important to you.

second, i really hope [although i'm not stupid, so i know it's not going to happen] that news organisations like cnn [i know fox was worse, but no one really expects any real journalism from them anyway, right?] take the opportunity on monday morning to issue a big, fat apology to their viewers about the nature of their coverage.

seriously. what were you guys thinking?

i do remember back in 2005, having my cynical mind blown by the coverage of hurricane katrina, while the powers that were tried to pretend like it was no big deal [and, now that i think of it, that included fox news]. i saw anderson cooper's fabled meltdown at mary landrieu live and wondered what had possessed the media that they'd suddenly located their collective testicles. but now, every ti…

friday favourites :: 26.08.11

well, we lost jack layton this week and there's a hurricane bearing down on the east coast that looks set to inflict some serious damage, so this truly isn't the best week to think of favourites. on the other hand, as i sit here at my desk, observing a sky so grey and dreary, i realise that it's probably one of those times when thinking of the things that help boost your spirits is that much more important. so think of something that made you smile this week and join me for a quick look at the things that kept my chin up...

wiki works :: further to my comments on christie blatchford, the national post and why the media was so quick to condemn jack layton [original, post-election observations here], it does please me to know that the sports writer-turned-political-commentator won't find it so easy to put that debacle behind her. some thoughtful person saw fit to edit her wikipedia entry to include mention of the controversy over her remarks. the system works. [others hav…

the bad bedtime story

poets and perverts, pranksters and princes, issue 12 of paraphilia is now available for your perusing pleasure.

there's even a contribution from yours truly in there on the nonfiction side. i had the opportunity to speak to the mind behind pere ubu, the legendary david thomas, about his projects new and old.

enjoy at your leisure although, as always, unlikely to be safe for work.

and now the bad news...

i have to admit, the depth and breadth of the national sadness over the death of jack layton kind of caught me by surprise. in an era when the the death of a politician is generally seen as a synonym for "good riddance", it's shocking to see people, supporters and non-supporters, so inconsolable over the loss of someone most knew only through his [frequent] appearances on their television sets. obviously, there was something about layton with which people felt a connection. in a profession that is normally viewed as the antithesis of honesty and integrity, layton apparently came off as having both.

i am not particularly surprised that national post writer christie blatchford was quick to jump in and deride the sentiments expressed as mawkish and overwrought- a "public spectacle" [although she sadly doesn't explain how one can express any emotion in public without making a spectacle]- and to dismiss the letter he wrote two days before he died as "sophist…

mental health mondays :: what's so bad about drugs?

years ago, i had a friend who was schizophrenic. i knew this, but i can't say that anything really leaped out at me that marked his behaviour as different. he was soft-spoken and a little bit eccentric, perhaps, but that made him seem a lot like the majority of people i knew. so his condition was just something of which i was aware, but it didn't seem to have much of an impact on our interaction.

then one day, i got a call from a mutual friend, asking me to come with her to see him, because he'd apparently opted to stop taking his medication. we talked to him for what seemed like a long, frustrating time, listening to his theories on why those who would force him to take medication were really just trying to force his brain to work along certain lines, to stop him from being able to think in ways that weren't orthodox. flaunting my recently acquired knowledge of the causes of schizophrenia [this was in the days before google, so not everyone knew everything], i reassur…

the clamour for closure

i have a real penchant for stories- in books, in movies, in television, anything- that have a well-done open ending. there's something so exquisitely frustrating and inspiring about working your way through something, letting yourself be drawn into its characters, story and world only to be denied a clear resolution at the very end.

one of my favourite books in the world, thomas pynchon's "the crying of lot 49" has [and i don't mean to spoil this for anyone] one of the most outrageous examples of this i've come across. i remember well the look on the face of the first person who i ever convinced to read the book when he got to the end [i was thrilled to be in the room at the time], a sort of bewildered, wounded expression of disbelief, trying to figure out of i'd maliciously ripped some pages out of the back or if that really was how the story ended.

it's a swift and brutal thing and its magic, of course, is that part of our mind is tricked into believ…

making faces :: product review [mac "mac me over" collection]

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."  ~George Eliot

that quote about sums me up when it comes to seasonal preferences. i love autumn. i love the gradual fade from late summer heat to first frost. i love the transformation from deep green to a multiplicity of flaming colours. and i love what happens to fashion and cosmetics, because, while i have grown to appreciate the softer tones of spring and the bold hues of summer, i've always been most at home in the rich, dark shades that abound in the fall. i'll always take the smoky eyes and vampy lips that abound in the third quarter of the year, given my choice. 


every year in mid-to-late august, mac cosmetics launches the first of their major fall collections and it's no accident that my two personal favourites are from that time. in 2008, you had the earthy, ultra-dark, stewed fruit shades in "cult of cherry", whi…

friday favourites :: 19.08.11

i took a bit of a blog vacation last week since i had a friend visiting and i do love showing off montreal to visitors. the weather was cooperative and it gave me the chance to explore parts of the city i don't get to often enough [because i'm not a tourist]. it also gave my brain a much-needed rest from routine and worry to just spend some time with someone i missed. as a result, much of the later part of this week has been spent between taking care of mundane things and feeling a little nostalgic, as i'm sure most of us do from time to time. here are a few things that perked me up.

la distillerie :: a friend and i happened upon this place quite by accident not that long after it first opened. they now have three montreal locations where you can imbibe their unbelievable cocktails, either in regular glasses or, if you're feeling especially thirsty, in large mason jars. they have a set group of specialty cocktails that are always available and have three monthly special…

here be pirates

several years back, i can't remember how, i happened upon a web site for "pirate cat radio". it's entirely possible that i was just randomly googling things about pirates and cats and came to their site totally by accident, but considering my interest in small-scale media of various sorts, i think it's more likely that i was trawling the internet for upstarts in san francisco, a city i like and have visited on a few occasions. i suspect, however, that it's moniker, combining as it does, two things that i love, probably made me a little bit more prone to investigating what they had to offer.

i actually became somewhat of a regular listener to their feed, which i found refreshingly human and grounded, compared to the endless parade of faceless web radio shows that give you whatever kind of music you want, but lack any sense of connection to anything except the internet. don't get me wrong- i like places where i can discover music and not have someone yakkin…

where all the people go?

this past weekend, i got to spend a few days doing something that i'd forgotten i enjoy: playing tour guide.

of course, it helps when you're doing this during the summer, since showing people around montreal in january can be deeply unpleasant, but it was a good opportunity for me to ponder how much the urban core of the city has flourished since i first moved her fifteen years ago. although it's far from perfect, i'm quite proud of the work done to keep montreal's centre strong. yes, there are increasing numbers of people fleeing for the suburbs and there are social issues that accompanying gentrification of any neighbourhood, but downtown montreal [and the plateau and mile end and the old city] have blossomed from some roots that looked pretty dubious when i first laid eyes on them.

one of the reasons that i appreciate this is because i've lived in two other cities that seem strangely indifferent, if not outright hostile to their downtown hubs. although there …

mental health mondays :: seeing things [or hearing, or feeling or smelling...]

if you had to pick one symptom that most western-world dwellers could agree is a sure sign of having the crazies, it would be hallucinating- a sensory perception or response in the absence of a real-world stimulus. "hearing voices" or being instructed to do things by voices is one of the most common cultural tropes about insanity in the contemporary world, since david berkowitz decided to try to implicate his neighbour's dog...

hundreds of years ago, people who had hallucinations were heralded as religious leaders. or condemned as being possessed by demons and then killed. it was kind of political. the point is that up until relatively recently, society approached hallucinations from a relatively humble perspective, assuming that if a person could detect sights, sounds, or other stimuli that weren't immediately evident that what they reported was probably important. with the rise of science, the pendulum shifted to the other extreme and now, when someone insistently …

anybody home?

you may have noticed that a couple of things have not appeared as they usually do in this space. however, never fear, i shall return forthwith and all shall be well again.

until then, here are some photos of an exhibit called "fragile" in the main atrium of the montreal eaton centre mall. it's a marshland made entirely from recycled trash, with cardboard plants and milk bottle frogs. You can view it from underneath, too, and see life under the surface of the "water".






dj kali & mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 10.08.11

a big ol' thank you to everyone who came out last night! we were a little off in the scheduling, since we switched weeks with dj tyg this month. in september, things are back to normal, so we'll see all you loungers on wednesday, september 7th.

mr. dna's city of angels homage ::

nervous gender :: christian lovers
screamers :: 122 hours of fear
nig-heist :: love in your mouth
wall of voodoo :: ring of fire
flipper :: life is cheap
black flag :: slip it in
minutemen :: joy
adolescents :: kids of the black hole
descendents :: hope
oingo boingo :: only a lad
the plugz :: el calvo y la cruz
circle jerks :: when the shit hits the fan
the weirdos :: weird world
x :: los angeles
germs :: we must bleed
the middle class :: out of vogue
the vandals :: the legend of pat brown
the dickies :: you drive me ape
minutemen :: tension
minutemen :: search
circle jerks :: i just want some skank / beverly hills
suicidal tendencies :: i saw your mommy
christian death :: burnt offerings
mx-80 sound…

making faces :: product review [mac "seasonally supreme/ sheen supreme" lip... things]

if you ever needed evidence that there is some kind of collusion happening in the cosmetic industry, you need look no further than 2011 and the great stampede of lipstick/ gloss hybrids. i understand that no one wants to be left behind, but it looks a little weird when almost every major cosmetics company decides to launch a similar product at the same time.

there are variations on the theme. chanel's softly-tinted "rouge coco shines" [reviewed here] are more like a balm, giving plenty of moisture and a light colour payoff. even the brightest shades are fairly understated. on the other end of the spectrum, you have something like guerlain's "rouge automatiques", which, while lighter and sheerer than their regular "rouge g" shades [although not as sheer as the "rouge g brilliants"] definitely still fall into the category of a lipstick [which is, to be fair, how they were marketed]. in between, you have dior, launching 56 new shades of th…

mental health mondays :: finger on the trigger

it's likely that most of us are going to have a panic attack at some point. the unlucky few are going to get them regularly and those with some real karma to burn are going to have to deal with a life where seemingly random, often unimportant things, set their brains alight and spinning into their own private v.i.p. room of hell, likely for hours at a time.

panic attacks can and often do come out of nowhere, but for those who are prone, they are often brought on by triggers- some kind of external stimulus that causes the brain to launch into panic mode. dealing with triggers can be sort of like doing a very intricate scottish dance around very sharp swords- the process itself is stressful, even if you avoid getting hurt.

in understanding triggers, it's important to identify what they're not. for instance, they're not phobias. phobias are an irrational, debilitating fear of a particular thing. the difference is subtle, but important. like many people, i have a mild to m…

charlemagne

another short piece of fiction i wrote some time ago. never been quite sure what to do with it. i don't really see expanding it into something larger, or offering a greater explanation of what's going on. so it'll rest on my hard drive, much in the state it is now, for as long as i feel like keeping it. and now, it's immortalised on the internet...

charlemagne

There is a curl of smoke in the air, the acrid scent mingling with the hint of early winter frost. That smoke is illuminated for a moment by the sodium glow of the street light on the corner, standing sentinel a few feet off, its partner at the far end of the street flickering lamely, falling asleep on the job. The moonless sky rises above the gloom of the streetlights, expansive and empty and cold. Night has closed in.

He is standing at the corner, the noncommittal slow turn of his head revealing how hesitant he is to proceed in either direction. He thrusts his hands in his pockets and pulls his coat a little clo…

meditate on this

there are lots of things i wish i could do. control people's minds, for one. who needs a whole bunch of superpowers when you can just have one that involves turning other people into your unholy army of the night, out to do your bidding? i wouldn't even control all the people i met all the time, because that would make life both boring and exhausting [in my imaginary world, it's a bit of a drain on energy to do the thinking for multiple people at once.]

on a more realistic plane, i'd like to be able to speak and read a lot of languages really well.

and i'd like to be able to meditate.

i hear so many people talk about the benefits of meditation, of all the things that it brings into their lives and about how much it helps with their lives- physically, mentally, creatively, everything-ly- and the one thing that goes through my mind when i hear this is that i'd like to punch these peaceful, healthy, positive people right in the nose. a horrible notion, probably b…

making faces :: use what you got!

it's the eternal struggle: i already have a lot of colour cosmetics and i try as best i can to make use of all of them on a regular basis; but cosmetics companies don't want me using what i already have, because they want me to use something that's new and original and completely unlike anything i've seen before in my entire life. or something.

cosmetics companies do try to introduce new formulas for products on a regular basis to keep you curious [quick, everyone! onto the lipstick/ gloss hybrid bandwagon!], but a lot of their work is in making you buy things you've already bought, or in making you buy things that you would never have bought unless someone told you that it was very "of the moment".

i'm a complete sucker for new things. i love looking at those brand-new collections when they come out and i'm the first person to say that they somehow lose their lustre when they've been on the shelves for a month or two, even though the rationa…

friday favourites :: 05.08.11

i seriously can't believe we're in august already. i'd say i feel like i've slept through 2011 thus far, but the fact is that i've had insomnia for a lot of it, so i actually don't think i've slept through very much of it at all. and while i'd love to say that i've accomplished a lot thus far, it doesn't feel like i'm making tons of progress. i'm to blame for my own situation, of course, because the fact that i haven't gotten as much done as i'd like to this point is largely due to the fact that i haven't focused on getting specific things done as much as i should. bad kate. however, this week, i can finally say that, yes, something is finished.

conversion.

if you don't know me very well, you may not be aware of what conversion is. there's a link permanently on the side of this page under the "getting to know kate" listing, which will take you to the blog exclusively about the film, which is a feature i wrote…

music to hallucinate to

or astral project. or lucid dream. the point is that this is the sort of music that you should put on for a big night out in an alternate dimension.

i.a.m. umbrella :: nothing :: this album used to drive me nuts when i was doing radio, because it's indexed as one long track, despite the fact that it has different track titles. i don't have to worry about this now, so i can just sit back and enjoy this oddball gem.


voice of eye :: well, any album, really :: thanks to a little-known government program that added pure peyote extract to the water in certain sectors of the southwestern united states in the 1990s, we are able to enjoy music that sounds like your brain being squeezed through a tube traveling through all history. the combination of electronics and acoustic instruments being sucked into a wind tunnel, punctuated by rhythm is, i think, exactly what the elders believed you should be hearing when you went off into the wild to have a vision quest. check out any of the marine…

making faces :: indispensables [the basics]

cosmetics and vanity products in general are about excess and luxury, but they can become so ingrained in your life that it's hard to picture going without them. i know how to cut back in lean times, but there are a few things that i would turn to crime before giving up. here are a few, from the category of beauty basics- everyday things i use, not including colour... i think i could deal with each colour individually ::

moroccan oil :: my mother actually turned me onto this trendy hair treatment after her hairdresser used it on her. for me, it was love at first try. i would never have thought to put oil in my hair on my own [don't you wash hair to get the oil and dirt out?], but this makes my dead follicles feel amazing. the only down side is that i find it difficult to stop touching my own hair, which gets to look a little creepy after a while. [tends to be good for getting people to leave you alone on the bus, though.]
there are a lot of argan oil [which is what moroccan oil…

mental health mondays :: taking a mental health day

since i haven't had a chance to think through doing something smart and/ or informative, i've decided [not for the first time -ed.] to let this week's mental health monday be about what others have to say. enjoy hearing other opinions for once!

personality disorders made easy :: a very good nuts-and-bolts look at different personality disorder groups. there's a link at the bottom of the post that takes you to more detailed explanations on specific disorders.

what's new? :: not much, according to the delightful brain behind neuroskeptic, at least not in the world of antidepressants.

war of words :: i had this article recommended to me, and it's an interesting piece on the battle that's shaping the upcoming revision of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. i say "interesting" rather than "informative", because i think he raises valid concerns about the possible stigmatization of merely eccentric behaviour, but i could s…