30 January 2013

making faces :: guerlain's grey area

i was browsing through random old blog posts, as i occasionally do for no good reason, and i found my review of guerlain's "les fumes" palette wherein i admitted that i'd been bad by not reviewing the 4-shadow palettes i had in my possession and that i'd be much better about doing that in the near future.

so i guess i failed at that one.

although i'm dreaming of snatching up some goodies from the guerlain spring collection very soon, i though it might be a good time to call attention to some of the permanent products that you can buy any time at all, including the palette in "les gris". it was part of the original launch of the new four-shadow palettes in 2011 and i've actually had it for quite a while, i just hadn't gotten around to writing about it.

sorry about that.

"les gris" is, as you might guess, a take on greys, although it really pushes the boundaries of grey beyond the standard silver/ charcoal/ slate that you normally see. it's worth noting that their interpretation is very much cool-toned, since greys can veer in several directions. these ones lean [and in one case cross the line] into blue territory, which is fine with me, although these are the kind of colours that can emphasise under eye circles, since they'll pull any blue tones in the vicinity into prominence.

A FULL SET OF SWATCHES AND CLOSE-UPS IN ACTION AFTER THE BREAK...

29 January 2013

the migraine that ate my brain

update! actual conversation that happened today ::

my boss : are you ok?
me : yes.
my boss :  what's that with your face?
me : i think i was trying to smile at you.

also, if you're functioning at below optimal, be careful not to get distracted by conversations that might be happening around you, or you'll end up sending an email that says

"these images are really just to help you peeing the bed"

in case it wasn't clear, that part in italics wasn't supposed to be in the email. i don't advise people on how to pee the bed for a living. although in my state, maybe that's what i should be doing.

*

yesterday, i had a migraine, which is always a weird experience for me, in that it can be almost any unpleasant sensation you can imagine. yesterday's was particularly painful, which mine generally aren't [hate me, it's ok] and has left me with what feels like a seasickness and an epic case of the stupids.

a couple of examples:

meant to say :: haha! my hubby sent me a picture of himself wearing a face mask. it's so cute that we're both conscious about our skin.

said :: my husband is at home giving himself a facial.

clearly, there is a meaning to that second one that i didn't intend. and, for what it's worth, no one wants to be the one who asks which meaning you were going for. in fact, no one wants anything to do with you if they think you might have been trying to start a conversation about someone getting spooge on their face.

meant to say :: i have coloured my hair, which is now black, having been light blonde the last time you saw me.

said :: you wouldn't recognise me- i'm black now.

and it doesn't help when you try to clarify by saying "i mean i went black over the weekend".

i'd also like to point out that i've had to rewrite this incredibly short post several times because my spelling, grammar and logic are not working today.

also, this makes me laugh way too much:




27 January 2013

too much paranoias

we lost power a couple of days ago. i knew this, but i was reminded of it today when i opened word and it coughed up a fragment of something i'd started and lost interest in, like a computer-generated hairball. i'm glad that my computer knows to grab shit i leave lying around like that, because i do like to save those little fragments in case i find them inspiring later.

or just so that i can freak myself out when enough time has passed that i don't remember what i was doing or even writing them to begin with. because everyone knows i need things to make me more paranoid.

and speaking of paranoid, i did find a little snippet i'd left similarly abandoned some time in the not-so-distant past [my computer knows when, but i didn't bother to ask it] that seems to have been either

a. a start of yet another story in which paranoia is prominently featured; or

b. something inspired by the weird experience i had being unable to sleep way back when i first moved to montreal.

in fact, a lot of the sleeplessness when i first moved to montreal was probably due to the fact that i really did have a lot of people passing under my window- university students heading home from the bars- who would routinely start shouting for no reason.

also, a few weeks after i moved into my first apartment in montreal, i was awakened in the middle of the night because a group of students [young people, at least from the sound of them] were under my window singing "girl from ipanema" in perfect harmony.

but i can't write about that, because everyone would say that i was being too ridiculous, or that i was just being strange for strange's sake, or that they found my whimsy distracting. they wouldn't know what it's like to have to carry the burden of having been serenaded by a group of unknown people in the middle of the night with "girl from ipanema" with no witnesses to verify that it happened. the life i write for myself turns out to be more mundane and believable than what actually happens to me.

anyway, not knowing what else to do with it and having a fear of anything in my life that can't be verified by others, here's the random piece i found while wandering through my computer's brain tonight.

don't ask me how it ends. i can't even remember beginning it.


Why did I come out here? Why did I think it was necessary to be in this place, when I’d worked out a perfectly happy little routine where I was? I’d be settled in a condo by now, maybe I’d have a garden, something I’d take care of. What did I think I was going to accomplish by coming out here?

I’ve never slept so little. The traffic noises are strange and close and I feel like people can just walk in whenever they feel like it. I feel like there are people moving like shadows through the other rooms when I’m trying to sleep, but they slip out before I can catch them. Am I being robbed? Why do all the cars sound like they’re driving up to my window? Why can I here my neighbours talking in their yard so late? Are they selling drugs? Are my windows going to get shot out in crossfire? No one barbeques that late into the night. There’s something unwholesome about it.

You’d swear I’d never been in a city before. I grew up in a city. I lived in a big city for twelve years before now. I’ve even lived on the ground floor before. Why is this so bloody unsettling?

26 January 2013

making faces :: the passion of makeup lovers

for some of you, this will be the only part of this review you need to read:

le metier de beaute released an eyeshadow palette called "bauhaus" in december.

for those of you who want to know a little more, read on...

this is the second time in a few months that i've been tempted both by the content and inspiration of a le metier de beaute "kaleidoscope" 4-shadow palette. the first was "nouvelle vague", which i found did channel its cinematic muse. "bauhaus" is actually named after the art movement, not the band, and once again, le metier does convey the spirit of the original movement in colour and finish.

i actually think that bauhaus is a movement that lends itself exceptionally well to interpretation through cosmetics. much like the contemporaneous art deco movement, bauhaus was focused on functional art- the name itself implies an architectural focus [although the proper bauhaus school didn't offer courses in architecture the late 1920s- almost a decade after it was established.

bauhaus artists and artisans applied their style to everyday objects, bringing beauty and a modern sensibility to things the mundane. born out of the laboratory of creativity that was weimar germany, these new artists helped to transform art from something that resided on the walls of galleries to something that lived in the homes of real people. the focus was securely on the contemporary, the futuristic, the new, rather than reflecting back on times which many felt had lead the world on a horrendously destructive path.

for their take on "bauhaus", le metier de beaute does capture the modernism of the inter-war period, through heavily metallic finishes- often a hallmark of period art- in a combination of sombre shades.

INDIVIDUAL SWATCHES, COMBINATIONS AND "IN ACTION" SHOTS AFTER THE BREAK...

25 January 2013

friday favourites 25.01.13

image of the week
one day morning this week there was a young woman on her way to work. she'd stopped at a traffic light and was hastily trying to apply mascara when a strange woman opened her passenger door, looked her in the eye and said "you're not my boss", upon which she closed the door and disappeared.

i'd like to apologise to her, because that had to be a weird way for your day to start.

you see, my boss was nice enough to give me a lift in to work a few days this week, to spare me the worst of the cold. unfortunately, one morning, someone else pulled up near my building at the same time as she did, in the same kind of car and, predictably, i got confused. i'm good at that.

i'd also like to apologise to anyone in my building who was disturbed by the honking, which was my boss [well, her car horn, not actually her] trying to get my attention and wondering why i was running away from her car to accost some poor commuter.

some days, you just have to accept that you're not going to win any awards for cleverness.

so how have you managed to make someone's day weirder this week?

perhaps i can bring a little of the weird and wonderful to your life by sharing...

good news :: things i can't make up from around the internet

"911 what's you're emergency?... hold on, did you say naked pooping masturbator?"

oooooooooooooookkk-lahoma where our politicians don't have brains...

because who doesn't pause when they put on their pants to think "i wish someone had made these sort of damp and slippery"?

how bad does your school performance have to be before faking your own kidnapping to keep your parents out of meeting your teacher becomes a viable option?

perhaps you should start thinking of stories to tell your grandchildren about how people once considered the name greenland ironic. [via metafilter]

musical notes

frozen temperatures in montreal? news about greenland? there is only one musical release that can follow these things...



quote of the week

the trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
-bertrand russell

follow-up and shameless self-promotion

thanks to those of you who've posted comments and sent messages advising me on my hair colour dilemma. the answers have been intriguing to say the least. feel free to add your voice to the sound of the crowd!

i'd also like to say a big thanks to those who've made my short story "the sanguine scribe" the most viewed post so far in january on more like space. i love that people stop by here at all, but i have to say it warms a special place in my heart when readers stop to read the fiction/ poetry snippets i post.

kitteh of the week

the reigning beauty queen, our tiny diva, julia, enjoying her blanket fort. [if you follow me on instagram, yes that is the same blanket fort i was in earlier this week.]


thanks very much for reading!

i don't have a credit for this week's image of the week, but i can tell you that it's a shot of greenland, once of several i've posted on my pinterest board.

24 January 2013

there can be only one

yes, it's been cold. how cold? if you haven't lived through it, i could not possibly find words in any language that would make it comprehensible to you how cold it's been. it's so cold that even talking about it makes me feel cold. it's so cold that hell freezing over would be bikini weather. 

but this is a post about hair.

wait, what? 

the thing is, the air has been so dry lately that it's made me acutely aware of how dry my follicles have become, which is pretty desperate. yes, i know they'll bounce back when the spring arrives, but that's like a hundred years from now. and yes, i know that there's nothing wrong with me that a little trimming of dead ends couldn't fix, but i honestly think that i need all the insulation i can get. right now, i'm supremely irritated at how i feel static-y and brittle and crunchy and i want something done about it. 

feeling that dryness has made me wonder if i wouldn't be better off going back to my previous incarnation as a raven-haired lady. although i've spent most of my adult life blonde, a few years back i took the leap from super-light blonde to black overnight [on a work night, too, just to confuse my coworkers] and the reaction seemed good. 

but after a while, i started to long once more for the fresh, optimistic look of lighter locks. 

now, of course, i'm thinking that maybe i'd like to return to darker days. 

the advantages of blonde? it's more what i'm used to, it seems more popular in general, it does make me look a little younger, there's room for experimentation with different tints. 

the disadvantages of blonde? it's hell on my hair- something which is exceptionally noticeable right now, it requires a lot of maintenance since my natural colour is significantly darker.

the advantages of black? it really makes my eyes look cool- i can't count the number of people who mentioned this to me; it also makes my skin look pretty flawless, since it seems to downplay any undue redness; it's pretty low-maintenance because my roots aren't that visible.

the disadvantages of black? there's no getting around the fact that it makes me look older, most people i know seemed to prefer the blonde, it can look kind of flat since there's no difference in tones. 

when i mentioned offhandedly to one of my favourites nars makeup artists that i wasn't sure i liked blonde and was thinking of going back to black, he basically stopped attending to the lady whose makeup he was doing, scowled at me and said "buy wigs". 

and i'm not opposed to that. i like wigs. i have a couple, included a very cute pink one i occasionally wear for nights out. 

but i need to make a decision on day-to-day wear. 

and, like a typical libra, i'm not good at decisions. 

one thing i do know is that, having taken most of the year to go from black to blonde, if i do opt to go back to the dark side, that's it. i can't put my hair through that again and i really didn't like any of the stages in between. [ok, i did kind of like the initial "lava head" look because it was pretty cool, but it would also be impossible to maintain.] browns of any shade seem to contrast with my skin tone too much. i've tried red a half a dozen times and it's nice, but it's too hard to maintain. 

so help me out here people, there can be only one: which is the better kate:



and yes, i totally chose those photos because my makeup is almost exactly the same. 

23 January 2013

cnn :: if it's news to you, it's news to us

i'll admit, i get into cnn during election coverage. more particularly, i got into their coverage of the republican nomination contest, because they just have all the coolest gadgets and so many of the people covering the primaries were so obviously geeking out on the mechanisms of politics involved that it made me feel a little less geeky by comparison. [not a lot less.]

but as things moved away from coverage of the republicans only, i started to notice that the station wasn't nearly so enjoyable. i hadn't watched much of the station in a very long time, so somehow i'd missed the tipping point in their ratings freefall when they decided that to compete with fox news, they had to become fox news. with cooler gadgets.

i remember cnn being around in the 80s. i remember suffering through untold hours of pat buchanan on "crossfire", which almost certainly did some permanent damage. i also remember the real blooming of cnn during the first iraq war- which i opposed, along with about ten other people- the airing of atari weapons screens, the reporters in the war zone, hearing the name "wolf blitzer" for the first time. and yes, from that time, cnn became kind of a pompous joke, more concerned with making a story of themselves and their coverage of news events that often had precious little "newsiness" about them. remember weeks on end of o.j. coverage? the william kennedy smith trial where the victim was a floating blue dot? somehow, they'd replaced news with "infotainment". [i'd like to take this moment to point out that blogger's spellcheck accepts the word "infotainment".]

then fox news came along and watered things down even further. why stop at making real events more entertaining when you can actually shape reality to your own opinions through a clever combination of yelling and making shit up? and yes, it worked. and for years, cnn resisted, denying that real events were simplistic and one-sided and clinging tenaciously to the belief that they were simplistic and two-sided.

but somewhere, cnn decided that what was really important was giving the pretense of being even-handed, while actually listing ever farther to the right. rather than entertaining the possibility that perhaps they should try to look outside their country's narrow political dichotomy for analysis and try to bring in opinions and facts from outside the position papers of republicans and democrats, they figured that their path to success lay in simply allowing voices from one side to gradually drown out the other.

watching tonight for longer than i normally do, i believe that i did a serious ab workout as i cringed through erin burnett's pathetic kowtowing to a tea party senator about hilary clinton's benghazi testimony without ever questioning a point he put forward, followed by a "make your own science" section on whether people should bother believing in climate change when it's cold outside- a segment which ended with her trying to beg extra time from her producers so that right-wing blogger eric ericsson could get the final word in.

20 January 2013

making faces :: a sunday sundae [inspired by "dessert"]

you'd love me if i looked like this
days when i don't have much to do except laundry and cooking are often days when i give my skin a well-deserved break, but they're also days when i sometimes like to experiment with colours or techniques knowing i won't likely scare anyone except dom and the fur-kids. today was one of those days when i felt like trying something different and, not knowing where to start, i asked dom to name a colour or think of a word or something to inspire me.

"dessert" is what he answered right away. i suspect that's because he was just having a religious experience watching a dish made from chocolate and whipped cream and caramel and brownies and more chocolate and more whipped cream and more brownies and nuts being prepared on the food network and didn't want me interrupting, but i figured it was a good start.

so, in keeping with what i saw he was watching, i figured i'd go with a little chocolate and caramel on the eyes, a dusting of icing sugar over my face and a nice maraschino cherry lip to finish things off.

the caramel eye comes courtesy of mac's "redhead" fluidline, which is actually intended for eyebrows [and which i used there too], but which makes an excellent cream shadow. it's a soft, warm butterscotch brown that really, really works wonderfully with blue eyes. on my brows, i went just a touch too heavily, something that i have to avoid since the shade is warmer than my natural colour and can look "layered on". when i've applied it properly, it's a fantastic product to give my brows the little bit of maintenance they need. [i'll be honest: most of the time i do absolutely nothing with my brows. i'm lucky if i remember to pluck them.]

"redhead" is featured in the mac collection "the stylish brow", which is exactly what it sounds like- a group of products for perfecting and maintaining elegant eyebrows. although it's definitely not getting the hype of their colour collections, being a mix of new and permanent products all intended for subtle work, this is the sort of thing that absolutely warrants attention. mac have a real talent for solid basics and this is one of them.

in the crease, i added a darker, milk chocolate brown shade, a limited edition shade from mac called "mulled cider". it's a bit darker and less warm than "handwritten", but you could probably substitute that one. personally, i think it's strange that this isn't part of mac's permanent collection, because it's such a smooth, perfect neutral shade for use on virtually anyone. when i want "just brown"- a plainspoken, medium-deep brown neither warm nor cool [ok, a little warm, but still pretty even], this is what i reach for. sadly, it's not been available since its initial release in january 2010.

i highlighted along the brown bone with urban decay's "virgin" and lined my upper lash line with stila's "lionfish", a deep brown with a cinnamon bronze shimmer that catches the light nicely. since i find that the warmth of that liner looks a little less attractive below my eyes, i used the dark cocoa shade from the sephora + pantone universe eye liner set. finish off with a sweep of mascara [yves st. laurent's effet faux cils, which really doesn't fit the theme, but does go with the look] and the eyes are done.

aside from my regular combination of dior's hydrating concealer and urban decay's naked skin foundation, i used a new product from bobbi brown to give myself that all-over "icing sugar" look. "porcelain pearl" is new with bobbi's early spring collection called "brighten, sprakle and glow" [there is another, more colourful collection coming soon] and, as far as i know, it's limited edition. it's described as a "brightening finishing powder", which is an extremely accurate description of how it works. it's a powder made up of cooler-toned pastel shades with a finish between a satin and a matte and one white shade with a pearly finish.

porcelain pearl :: natural light
porcelain pearl :: all colours blended :: natural light
the colours feel very dry and stiff when you try to swatch them on their own, but work fine in application. it's a powder that's meant to be swirled together and dusted all over to give skin a livelier, brighter, fresher look. the colours used are similar to the mac mineralize product "lightscapade", but the finish is a lot more subtle. i find this makes it more versatile, since it won't look as pronounced on skin during the day.

one thing that i did notice was that it can kick up a bit of powder if you use a dense brush and can end up making your face look a bit powdery as well. i've had the best luck with something like a mac 187 brush, which gives light but noticeable coverage. it's definitely something you want to use as the finish touch; applied as a highlighter, the more matte finish can seem a bit caky unless you're very careful how you apply. one alternate use that i do like is to dab just a little of the pearly white shade on the inner corners of my eyes [i did that here] for a more wide-awake look.

to avoid looking too ghostly, i used a bit of a subtle blush on my cheeks- mac "darkly, my dear", which came out with the "venmous villains" collection in 2010. it's a muted brownish plum that serves as both a contour and a highlighter. it's like a deeper version of the permanent shade "blushbaby".

lastly, the cherry on this sunday was, of course, a bright, shiny pink-red lip. i went with another product from mac's "venomous villains" for this one [in fact, another product from the "cruella deville" segment], a gloss called "wicked ways". this one is just such a fantastic, bright, intense colour and it really does remind me of those eerie glow-in-the-dark cherries that routinely adorn desserts. sadly, it's no longer available and the closest colours i can think of- mac "utter fun" lipstick nars "strawberry fields" gloss- were limited edition as well. i can't imagine that there isn't someone willing to make a bright, juicy maraschino shade out there!

so that's my sunday sundae. and yes, dom liked it. i suppose that if one wanted to nitpick, it could be pointed out that if the point of this was to make me come up with something different to try, it's a failure on that front, because the neutral eye + berry lip combination is something that i do at least once a week in some form, but hey, i've never done it this exact way before. and i've never been made ravenously hungry by the act of putting on makeup before.

besides, if dom had been watching a show about cooking steaks or spinach quiche, i have a feeling this wouldn't have looked so great.

19 January 2013

the writer's lament

i finished something! i'd forgotten what that felt like! i feel incredible!

hey! i already know what i want to write next!

this is going to be quick- it's a concise idea and i know exactly how i want to develop it.

i've got a great idea for an opening line, i just need some time.

i need some time when my brain feels relaxed and i can listen to music and let all of this come out on its own. i am back baby!

this is a good time- i can write at my own pace and just let things evolve naturally.

yup, i really like that opening i thought of.

coming along well, a few new things coming into the mix that i hadn't planned on but hey, that's the creative process.

you know, there's something about this that doesn't seem as exciting as when it was in my head. oh well, gotta push through.

ok, this is really going back to a particular subject/ period in my life that i've covered a lot. i mean, it doesn't really matter, since most of what was written has never seen the light of day, but i can't help but think... i'm bored by this.

ok, this is definitely turning into something i've written before. i'm in author's "groundhog day".

urge to surf the net... rising...

i think i want to punch my central character in the nose.

i'm not sure i like this idea anymore.

i said i was going to get some writing done. i have failed and am full of self-loathing.

if i wrote a blog post about this, it would kind of count as having done some writing, wouldn't it?

i am trying to justify my weakness. cue more self-loathing.

cut to me, typing on blog, looking miserable.

17 January 2013

the sanguine scribe

occasionally, i just sit down and stuff comes out. writing stuff. not like i sit at the computer and drool. although it's possible i do that too. but a little while ago- a very little while ago- i sat down and this came out. i'm not exactly sure where it came from, although it was at least partly inspired by a particularly vivid dream.

the images i've used are from man ray and others and while they're beautiful, they are just slightly not safe for work. then again, if you've stooped to reading this blog at work, i'm guessing that's not very important. you can get full details on the images [as full as i have] on my pinterest board.




“Because you are a non-believer, you never will understand,” is what she told me, filmy layers of fabric from her dress winding around her legs like the barber’s rags in the wind- red stripe, white stripe, red stripe, white stripe. And like the stout fool that I am, I waited for her to explain. Better to have taken a golf club to those long legs, those dancer’s gams, better to have chopped away and fell the tree of my irresponsibly beautiful sister as she stood on the small balcony welcoming the embrace of the wind that portended the storm and thrown her in the trunk of my car and let its sewing machine motor chug us away into the remains of the sunset, now pressed low by the ominous deep slate blue clouds descending in a rigid line above the rose-copper remnants of the day.

And I can picture myself, compacted into the front seat large enough for no one over ten, fingers sore and sweaty on the wheel, trying desperately to find our way along the melodramatically winding road that shelters this farce of a home from the judgment of the street, the toy-like whine from beneath the hood sounding the alarm and cueing the human hounds to descend upon us and pick us apart, flesh from cheap European alloy, bone from toxic polymer fused in a plant whose workers probably count their shifts in the scars on their skin from the ancient, repurposed machinery that should, by all accounts, be corroding in some industrial graveyard. We would never make it. I would make it on my own, unmarked, but my sister has never left a room without the flowering of a thousand strong opinions rising to meet the sillage of her perfume.

But I could leave on my own, much as I came.

For all her leggy elegance and chiseled beauty, my sister has always been helpless, her next disaster only a perfectly curved eyelash away, her next battle pressing ever closer to the vermilion border of unwise speech and ill-chosen kisses. She looks every inch- and there are many inches- the amazon queen as she turns her velvet stare over her sculpted shoulder to appreciate how I and the room lean towards her for our next clue to the script of our evening in shadow; a broad-wing bird screeches as it passes from light into the pool of cloud, the first heavy drops punch at the French doors, but nothing touches her- and yet she is a pillar of salt, a vessel of tears awaiting hydration. And I am here to gather here up, to throw her over my shoulder and hope for the best.

Our mother’s friend Mrs. Abernathy once claimed she could see the family resemblance, but I fear she was just being kind. My family is an earthy tribe, dark and small and robust, made for toil and the world and other brown pursuits. My sister flows through our surroundings, an aquamarine river with red sparks magically held inside it.

“She has your bones, Emma,” Mrs. Abernathy said. But my mother simply shook her head and smiled her hard little smile, because she knew her bones were safe, encased inside her slabs of sinewy muscle and well-earned fat.

15 January 2013

making faces :: look alive

kate, without makeup
as you might have read already on these pages, i started the new year off with a nasty bout of the flu. of course, my never-ceasing luck meant that i got sick on a friday night and stayed pretty unwell through to sunday evening, at which point i started to feel a little better. just in time to get up and go to work. i suppose that i could have taken a sick day, but i felt that it wasn't going to kill me to get up and go to work, whereas there are mornings- mostly when i have a migraine- when i believe it would possibly kill me and almost definitely other people if i were to get up and go to work. so i think it's better for all concerned that i reserve my sick days for those occasions.

now that doesn't mean that i felt good monday morning. it means exactly what i said- that i wasn't in imminent danger of dying- and nothing more. i looked like... well i looked like a person who'd been fighting the stomach flu for a couple of days and losing. and since i felt like i at least had to do a decent impression of a human being, i had to come up with something to do to my face that would allow me to pass as one.

the rules for this were clear, as they would be to any marginally sick person trying to return to the office before their inbox implodes and becomes a black hole.

1. i wasn't too coordinated, so anything complicated was likely to involve me embedded a brush in my ear or applying dark lipstick around my nose.

2. the point was to make it so that i didn't look the way i felt, which was bloody awful.

i figured that the easiest way to combine these was to use products that would add a little colour and brighten my overall complexion and that allowed me to do at least part of the job with my fingers, which are less likely than brushes to get embedded in my ear.

i started out by placing chanel's "complice" all over my lids. i love this colour as something that brightens without looking overly frosty [looks frostier in flash pics, which is why i included the slightly out-of-focus natural light pics to give a better idea of how it looked in person]. it added some brightness where i needed it.

13 January 2013

my brain in pictures

so i joined pinterest, because it is actually a source of frustration to me that i see lots of beautiful images, but i can't very well load all of them onto my computer and stare at them one at a time.

i was a little nervous about the whole thing, because i'd heard it compared to virtual scrap-booking. that wasn't something that seemed to scream me.

ok, maybe this one screams me


but now that i know i can put skulls and castles and lipstick and impractical footwear in my scrapbook, i'm game.

do come visit.

12 January 2013

"friday" favourites 12.01.13

image of the week
well i missed the very first friday favourites of the year because of the stomach flu last week, something which is still holding on despite my valiant attempts to flush it. in fact, it has had a most remarkable effect on my life: i have not had coffee in more than a week.

whaaaa-aaat?!?!?!?!?

it is true. this person has not had coffee since last friday morning.

although my stomach has recovered to the point where i can eat most things, for some reason, i'm very hesitant to confront it with coffee. despite my love of coffee, i'm aware that it's something that can be very hard on the digestive system. so i've spent the last week in a dangerous no man's land, with my body desperately craving caffeine and at the same time feeling like a cup of coffee [or tea] would undo my fragile recovery.

i guess what i'm saying is that my intestinal tract has turned into the american economy.

with an extremely busy week at work, trying to recover and hoping here and there to get a few things done for myself, it's been a bit taxing. which is why i'm always happy to take a few minutes [a day late] to think about...

good news :: stuff i can't make up from around the internet

my american friends, this is probably the best thing that's been done with an almost infinitesimally small   portion of your tax dollars this week. and, yes, obama tweeted it and signed the tweet [which is how he identifies things he sends himself.]

newfoundland: our rums kick ass in more ways than one.

and apparently, the universe has been drinking those rums since the dawn of time.

for sale to the highest bidder: decommissioned congressman allen west's nuts.

genetically modified cucumbers. my alma mater. genital baldness and bed wetting. our federal health minister definitively stating that "being bald down there should be a matter of choice". who said canada was boring?

california man says he'll go to the federal supreme court to address the burning issue of our time: does corporate personhood extend to the carpool lane?

tea plantations in india have labour relations just like anywhere else. but with cannibalism.

did the world collectively go off its meds??? this is a small selection of the stories that could have been featured here. there were so many more. we're less than two weeks into 2013 and it already feels like everyone has declared this international year of the meth and ketamine bender! by july, it's entirely likely that civilisation will have been destroyed. -ed.

quote of the week

from independent u.s. senator bernie sanders on why focusing discussions of spending cuts and revenue gains on people rather than corporations is not going to resolve the current fiscal malaise in his country ::

"if bill gates has lunch with his janitor, you do not split the cheque down the middle. this is not a balanced plan."

musical notes

here's a collaboration that's just full of win: my better half dominic marceau has done a video for gta electronic wizards orphx.

Orphx - Cut Through from F Squared Media on Vimeo.

in other news, vimeo is so much better than youtube for content creators it's not even funny.

follow-up and shameless self-promotion

for those of you who missed it, cnn- having detected ratings gold in the "piers morgan talks gun control with crazy people" line of programming i wrote about earlier this week has apparently decided to turn it into a series.

they followed up with a second instalment of "piers versus larry pratt". i came away from that one thinking that alex jones looked a little better than he had 24 hours earlier. sadly, i'm not joking. pratt [aptly named -ed.] was so smug, so condescending, so coolly dishonest that i felt the need to clear my throat every time he crossed my screen. but it wasn't just his demeanour, or the fact that he's been given a national platform where no one ever asks him about the fact that he at least used to pal around with a lot of neo-nazis. what struck me about pratt compared to jones is that i didn't for a second buy any of the made-up numbers he was dropping like so many bullet-shaped verbal turds. jones is a nut, but i think he truly believes in the coming new world order and the conspiracies he talks about. i think pratt, like nra tool wayne lapierre, is happy to lap up the funds from the gun lobby and pretend he speaks for a silent majority. so, congratulations, media. you found a specimen that dropped my opinion of humanity even lower.

here's a hint to the fringe gun lobby: be less afraid of the government coming for your guns and more afraid of the ndaa. there are no big corporations pouring money into protecting you from the ndaa.

onto lighter things...

sadly, owing to an aforementioned scheduling/ holiday conflict, there will be no caustic lounge this month. however, we will return to tickle your eardrums with our quirky pop stylings on february 6th. from there, everything will go back to normal, or at least as normal as they get for the lounge.

kitteh of the week

weekends were made for lazing around. although, to be honest, i think this picture was taken on a tuesday.



i apologise for the fact that i don't have a source on this week's image of the week. it was something i grabbed a while ago and i didn't bother to note where it came from. if anyone can tell me, i'll gladly edit the post!

08 January 2013

and that's when the pcp kicked in

as i mentioned a couple of posts back, i managed to contract a nasty stomach bug that has been keeping me bedridden every hour i'm not at work. last night, having made it through what felt like an entire week in one day, i crawled home and under the covers and realised i wasn't smart enough to do anything except give myself a manicure and watch television. although we have a plethora of channels available to us in the living room, the selection in the bedroom is much more basic and, since i wasn't quite brain dead enough to succumb to the rumoured charms of "hillbilly hand-fishing", i decided that i'd take my chances with cnn.

after sitting through the wall street- gop jamboree that is "out front" and ogling anderson cooper and dr. sanjay gupta rebounding with the sincerity and humour of ac360, i was ready to give it a rest and resume my weekend activity of staring at the ceiling and trying to come up with interesting things to think about when i heard piers morgan announce he'd be interviewing the person who's started a petition to have him deported over his views on gun control. i don't agree with piers about a lot of things, but gun control is one of them and i do kind of love how he goads second amendment groupies with a combination of facts and an old world sense of superiority.

if you're not familiar with this whole saga, i'll bring you in at exactly the same level that i was at nine o'clock last night:

piers morgan, the briton whom cnn brought on to replace larry king on his retirement, advocates some forms of gun control, including the banning of semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons.

he has taken the opportunity at every mass shooting in the united states to address this issue on his twitter feed, if not on his television show as well.

since the massacre in newtown, he has been particularly vociferous, which has angered proponents of minimal to no regulation.

one of these proponents started a petition to have him deported from the country and received over a hundred thousand signatures [morgan encouraged his followers to sign], which obliges the president to respond.

that's all i knew. i didn't even know the name of the guy who started this petition or anything about him. i mean, if he's trying to have a television personality deported for an opinion, you can guess that he's not the most stable or clear-thinking individual and, being someone to whom the second amendment [about the guns] is more important to than the first [about the speech], he was probably going to be good for a laugh.

so i decided i'd give it a try.

after morgan went on and clearly stated what his position on gun ownership was, he interviewed family members of victims of the mass shooting in aurora, colorado last july. then he came and sat down for a one-on-one with his nemesis, internet media personality alex jones.

if you don't know about jones or his views, i urge you to wait before googling him. instead, just watch the opening few minutes of the interview:



while the "banks that control the world" comment kinda flew past me, things were sort of what i was expecting and then, very suddenly, they weren't. the revolution? suicide pills? england awash in people beating old women's brains out? last night was the first time in three days i tried to eat solid food and as i attempted to digest this is what i was seeing.

after the break, i made dom come in and watch the second segment with me, because i was reasonably certain i'd started to hallucinate.

personally, my favourite moment is when jones challenges piers to a boxing match, where he [jones] will wear the red, white and blue and morgan can wear the "jolly roger". it is hilarious not just because it implies that jones didn't know what the flag of the u.k. was [hey, what are their colours again?], but that he resorts to naming a flag associated with pirates, romantically characterised as anarchistic seafarers who stood in resistance to the tyranny of national governments. swing and a miss.

so much of television news- and cnn in particular- seems so scripted, so stiff that any ripple in the surface can look like a massive departure from the plan, but this is a full-fledged breaker, the kind of thing they never let on television, because it's just so fringy and bizarre. i don't mean "dying to get noticed on reality t.v. or a morning talk show" bizarre. i mean just straight, free-flowing verbal diarrhea from someone who's desperately trying to squeeze all his opinions into the few minutes he's standing on the national stage.

of course things settled in again fairly quickly, with alan dershowitz coming on to calmly articulate what we were all thinking: alex jones sounds like the exact sort of person we don't want owning a lot of guns. i think it took me the entire dershowitz segment to realise that jones wasn't being let back on. i kept expecting him to run back on screaming and raving about masons controlling congress.

i have to give special props to sheriff joe arpaio as well, who still managed to look ignorant and stupid. you'd think it would have been impossible to look bad with jones as a warm-up act. you'd be wrong.

judging from the conversations on twitter and through the media, i'm guessing that i did not, in fact hallucinate this, although maybe what i'm on is just really good and i'm still high as a kite in a world where some dude just managed to crystallise the concerns of everyone, everywhere about americans who say they are passionate about the second amendment.

06 January 2013

making faces :: mac's strength and weakness [and apres chic]

she's determined to get that lipstick
this has to stop. not the stomach flu. that has to stop too, but it's improved slightly from yesterday and i know it'll go away eventually on its own. but there have been two new collections out from mac cosmetics for a week and a half now and i haven't posted a review. a week and a half? in mac's calendar, it isn't even worth mentioning those collections any more, because if you haven't given your opinion within 48 hours, everything is basically sold out forever anyway.

the two collections released on december 26th follow the pattern that's been established for the last couple of years of having a "bold" option and a "soft" option. the bold option this year comes in the form of "strength", a collection that includes blushes and a couple of new eye shadow quads [basic but useful], but it's really about the lips. the soft option is, like last year, a mineral makeup collection with very muted tones to soothe the senses in the earliest, coldest days of the year.

one of the reasons that "strength" was particularly anticipated was that it featured the return of the two bold pink lipsticks that sold out within hours when they were first released last january- pink pigeon and party parrot. both of these are takes on hot pink, with the former being cooler, bluer and more fuchsia, while the latter is a warm coral-pink. both require sunglasses to be viewed properly and both are incredibly colour-rich, owing to their intense matte formula. mac has really redone their matte lipsticks in the last couple of years, so that they are softer on the lips, apply smoothly and don't dry you out.

accompanying the pink sisters this time are a brilliant cherry pink-red [absolute power], a bold purple [strong woman] and, most interesting, a black shade flecked with gold [firm form]. i could have happily brought home all five of these shades, but remembering that i do have a lot of these types of shades already in my collection, i limited myself to the two that i found i couldn't duplicate- "party parrot" and "firm form".

party parrot
firm form
i had actually passed on "party parrot" when it was first released because i thought that it looked like mac's regular colour "fusion pink" without the eye-catching shimmer, which it does, but the difference in finish translates to a very different look on the lips, so i'd say it warrants owning both, if you're a bold lip kind of person.

l to r :: party parrot, mac fusion pink : natural light

"firm form", of course, looks like no other black lipstick i have, partly because of the warmth imparted to it by the gold flecks, but more because it actually looks quite purple when applied. i found this one to be quite dry, which had me worried, but, strangely, it doesn't seem drying. it has a texture unlike any lipstick i've met.

IT CONTINUES...

05 January 2013

heavy metal

says she needs to lose some weight.

spends week at work researching and writing articles on flu and what can be done to prevent it.

gets violent stomach flu.

does not want to hear about "irony".



04 January 2013

making faces :: pretty things 2012

i was originally going to title this post "all the pretty things 2012" and then i realised just how many pretty things there were to discuss. then i was picturing what my apartment would look like if i'd actually bought all the pretty things i'd come across in the last year and how dom would feel about losing his one closet [i have two, including "the big one"- surprised?] to cosmetic storage and having to keep all of his clothes in those vacuum bags they sell on television on sunday mornings.

he probably wouldn't have been too happy.

which means that i made the right decision in just buying some of the pretty things, while still leaving room for dom to own pants. i'm a reasonable person that way.

last year, i inaugurated the "more like space preserved head awards". there was a reason that particular name had occurred to me. i think i was ruminating about the idea that beauty was skin deep and how any attempt to check would sort of mess things up and then... ok, i admit it. i don't remember, but i probably just liked the idea of giving out a severed head as an award.

but surely i shouldn't be forced to change the name just because i can't remember why i came up with it? i live in a province whose license plates are emblazoned with the words "je me souviens", which means "i remember" and no one actually knows what the phrase is referring to. clearly, that sort of amnesiac chaos comes naturally around these parts.

and so, without further ado...

02 January 2013

musical notes for 2012

it'll happen to you...
i used to do the occasional music review on the blog. i don't anymore, although i do occasionally do them now for other blogs or online magazines. that said, i'd love to be able to give more prominence to music in the coming year, not just in my play lists, which can give an idea of what i'm playing in a specific context, but not what i listen to as a whole. in fact, this year, i'd really love to have the feeling of discovering something new, because i'm veering increasingly towards being one of those insufferable old grumps who can't stop yammering about how music was just so much better when i was a kid, or a young adult, or at least younger than i am now.

part of the problem is that i don't have the time to investigate music the way that i used to and am relying more and more on my friends [who themselves are, like me, becoming older and more jaded] to point me in the direction of things that i might like. and so what i hear that is new is a cobbled together mix of things that include artists i've liked for a long while and will always make time for and artists working in fields where my tastes intersect with others.

often, the "newest" things that amaze me are previously undiscovered gems that i missed many years ago, which should make it clear to me that there absolutely is more to discover, since i obviously haven't even mastered those periods when i was supposedly paying attention. the trick is that with music getting more and more specialised and splintering into new and different forms all the time, it can get my aging brain addled very quickly just trying to figure out where to start looking for things that might interest me.

that seems like a sort of gloomy introduction to a recap of things that i liked, but the point is that, with things being harder to find among the masses of releases and with me having less time to dedicate to the hunt, it is exceptionally pleasing to have found things that i really did enjoy.

cut hands :: black mamba

i really enjoyed the first cut hands record, which i actually got my hands on this year, but i really loved this one. perhaps it's because i see it as a bold step forward from william bennett. yes, it still incorporates the influences that were rising to prominence in later-period whitehouse [as well as the first cut hands release], but this isn't something that's merely of marginal interest to those who've followed the power electronics' pioneer thus far. with "black mamba", cut hands truly becomes its own beast. and what a sexy beast it is.

i use that term to describe it often, because it's very apt. the music is undulating and hypnotic and calls on something in us all that, i think, connects us with the primal desire to make and hear music and to move to it. artists who you've long admired can sometimes do new things that make you wonder why you liked them to begin with. but this is that rare find: someone who's found a different method of sonic expression that's as intriguing and original as his first incarnation.

the only thing i don't love about this release is the fear it gives me that we're all about to be inundated with an ocean of pale imitators. brace yourselves: 'primal industrial noize' is coming.



subliminal :: under pressure

this is my blog and if i want to include something i participated in on a 'best of' list then i will! but in all seriousness, i just wrote a poem to serve as a sort of inspiration/ companion. the music, which is what we're talking about here, all comes from albert fisch, who continues to impress with his dystopian mechanical monstrosities. some may have been surprised that the content moved a little away from his established comfort zone, but that's actually what makes this even more of a wonderful listen for me than ever. it's not a vast departure, but it does introduce new elements.

although this 7" was sold out within minutes [vinyl from galakthorroe always is], you can still get a hit of subliminal on the second galakthorroe label compilation, kosmoloko 2. much like the original, it's a carefully curated exhibition of what the label has done and continues to do. one of the few labels whose releases i actively seek out, comparatively hard to find and criminally under-appreciated.



pop 1280 :: the horror

oh, thank god. i'd not heard of this band, which isn't surprising considering that they only formed in 2009 and i'm still not sure exactly how they came to my attention. but this is exactly the sort of taut, punchy "pop" [in comparison to other things that i listen to] my ears had been longing for. it wears its retro influences [u.k. punk and batcave sounds, with a distinct nod to the birthday party] without sounding trite. it has a phenomenal level of energy and the tunes are catchy as hell. those who have been to the caustic lounge in the last twelve months have gotten to hear a lot of this first hand!

is there anything so joyful in the life of a music nerd as finding something you really, really like that was completely unexpected?



liars :: wixiw

now that is a title that would have made me scream back in my radio days.

this is a fascinating turn for liars, forcing the electronics to the fore and dispensing with the chunky guitars. i think there were definite hints of what was to come on "drum's not dead", but this is really a leap into the beyond. a good deal of the music reminds me of the basic channel label in its spacey grooviness. i'm quite sure that this one is going to lose them a few fans, but their quirky, meandering songwriting still forms the background of all you hear.

to be honest, this is one that i'm still getting to know and i'm including mostly because i know dom has fall bum over noggin for it. for the moment, i find that, like all liars releases, it gives the listener a challenge and demands one's attention. that's a rare thing.



that's a few releases that have made my ears perk up in the past twelvemonth. i am likewise getting to know raime's "quarter turns over a living line". i have to admit that i'd sort of missed that one entirely until i saw it rated on the nomadic subject as his second favourite album of the year. once again, a challenging and gratifying listen [and quite likely something that will be heard at upcoming caustic lounges].



i was pleasantly surprised by led er est's sophomore effort "the diver", which helped to make up for a rather lacklustre [and abbreviated] performance this year at the death church.



one album that i've seen on a lot of top ten lists that simply didn't resonate with me was swans "the seer". although i've been a swans fan for a long time, i do go through periods of disenchantment, because sometimes the emotional waves, the great crescendo of anguish and beauty, leave me shattered, vulnerable, and purged by their power, whereas other times, i find myself fidgeting and believing the entire thing to be a little contrived. i've never quite worked out if those differences come from inside me or if there are real changes in the music that are subtly off-putting to me, but where as "my father will guide me..." was thrilling, this one seemed sort of irritatingly familiar. i wouldn't have michael gira return to his blood-and-guts early days, because he's managed an elegiac grace as he's aged that early swans material lacked, but there are moments where i just want to scream "for god's sake do some coke!!!"

as i said, i'm a minority among my musically inclined friends, most of whom are probably going to deny knowing me because of that.

what i'm looking forward to in the coming year?

well, i have promised myself that i'm going to try to keep a sharper eye out on shows. it's become frustrating to rely on the city's admittedly plentiful music festivals, since i didn't find the showing particularly strong this year. [yes, mutek, i'm looking at you.] also, since i'm not part of the "loop", i'm less likely to know about shows with the weird intuition i seemed to have as a young whippersnapper.

what i'd most look forward to is that when i write this recap next year, i have a selection of releases that i can describe once more as "challenging" and that at least once i use the phrase "something completely unexpected". because, as strange as it seems, a year that simply gives me the things i think i want now wouldn't be satisfying in retrospect.

01 January 2013

a happy new year ramble

i just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone once again for stopping by this space during the last twelve months. it's been a real journey. last year at this time, we were in the final days of the first big contest of "the republicans" the iowa caucus. now i'm realising that i totally forgot to ask santa to bring me one of those santorum sweater-vests. woe is me.

last year, at this time, i'd already started doing reviews of the state of things in the past year, which means that 2013 isn't even twenty-four hours old and i'm already behind schedule. luckily for me, you guys are real sweet about not minding that i'm lax at just about everything when it comes to this blog.

i'm thrilled that 2012 was our busiest ever here, with december being the busiest individual month we've ever seen. i hope to earn your return visits... if you're a regular, you will have realised that this isn't a "normal" blog, in that it's never been linked to a particular theme- it was always just a space for me to articulate ideas about different things that i like at any given time and the content still reflects that. cats and cosmetics, politics and music play lists, plus a lot of random glances inside my head that no one should have to go through.

this is the part where you're welcome to make any suggestions, by the way.

of course, because nothing in this life is predictable, not even having a once-monthly event going for almost two years, it turns out that le cagibi is actually closed for a few days over the holidays, so the caustic lounge, which was scheduled for tomorrow night, will not be happening. sorry about that.

you mean i bought a new hat for nothing???
we should have news shortly about whether we'll be rescheduling or if we'll miss january entirely.

for some reason, this does not seem like the most auspicious start to a year ever.

but don't worry, we will be together again, possibly in electric dreams, but more than likely in le cagibi. until then, i wish that your year starts great and keeps on going from there. we here at more like space will be here to bring you more of the same and more of the different in 2013. [and when i say "we", i'm not talking about the voices in my head, although they certainly have a say, since my brain functions as a kind of participatory democracy at the best of times. what i mean is that, while i might do all the writing here, i rely constantly on those close to me to keep me supplied with fresh ideas through stimulating conversations, or simply sending me links that only i could be interested in. dom frequently serves as a sounding board for ideas and occasionally as a graphic artist for this blog, so he's really a collaborator on the end result to a greater extent than you might realise. and of course, my wonderful fur-babies are a continuously bringing me joy, but also inspiring me with their relentless curiosity. you could learn a lot from your cats.]

now i'm just going on for no reason.

we've made it around the sun again and a new year is under way [unless you're in china, in which case you have to wait a few weeks, although really, you get two new year's celebrations, which is pretty awesome- way to go national planners with that one!]. i look forward to moving around in astro-circles with you again over the next twelve months.

[the image, of course, comes from the official grumpy cat homepage, where you can find many wonderful photos of tardar sauce and her brother pokey. truly one of the great things of 2012.]
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