30 March 2013

making faces :: nars attacks!

we're here for your disposable income
i feel like i've gotten a bit of insight into what francois nars was like in school. i think he was that quiet type who always seemed smart and capable, but then came out with some burst of insane creativity and accomplishment when it came time for the city science fair or writing competition or anything where a lot of people suddenly had to stop and appreciate that this kid wasn't just smart he was freaking brilliant. the kid who made all the teachers look kind of dumb for having not noticed his innate brilliance before.

of course, i like that analogy, because i've been a big nars fan for a few years now [and even then consider myself as a tardy to the party], but this spring, it's kind of been like the science fair, or the city-wide young writers competition. there have been some really strong launches [some of which have been reviewed here and some of which are still coming]. some companies have chosen to stick with a solid colour collection, like the do every year [guerlain], while others have concentrated on launching new types of products [hourglass]. nars has joined in with chanel and mac to do a tightly paced series that encompasses both.

first of all, there's their colour collection, made up of bold hues said to be inspired by the early nineties. i'll take their word for it, because i remember the early nineties being about baby doll dresses, doc marten's, maryjanes and very dark lipstick. regardless of where it comes from, the nars spring collection does have a way of announcing itself in stores. you can spot the display from across even the busiest sephora and, if you're like me, you'll proceed to elbow people out of the way in order to get a closer look.

FOLLOW ME...

29 March 2013

i'm baa-aaack!

that's right! i have a computer again and i can post things! not that i've been completely unable to post things in the last little while, but having to work either from my phone or dom's computer [with none of my files], which means that i didn't have the ability to just randomly post a photo of me clearly making simon uncomfortable.


of course, at the moment, i'm limited to sharing photos taken a year ago or more, because the one casualty of my computer failure has been that i've lost a lot of photos. always make sure your back-up works, kids. also, i'll be spending quality time putting a lot of music back on my computer.

i'm not sure how long i'll have with the computer now. if a friend told me that they had a two year old who had undergone two brain surgeries in the last year, my reaction would likely be to tell them that they should try not to get too attached. [note: i probably would say this, because i'm shockingly insensitive about this kind of thing, which is why it's probably just as well that we don't know each other personally.]

but the happy news is that i'm back. to celebrate, until march 31st you can get 20% off either the digital or "analogue" version of my book "interference" with the coupon code "VERNUM". save your money for the computer crash that will eventually infuriate you!

in the meantime, i'll be getting things back up and running like normal here and hoping that this round of brain surgery is the one that does the trick, while using the internet to source parts for my next digital child.

27 March 2013

and that's when i realised the devil couldn't protect me any more

ok, i'm sorry.
here comes the night mare...

i'm sorry to dom. i'm sorry to the neighbours.

i've been at it again with the night terrors.

monday night, i managed to wake dom and probably the dead at about three in the morning with the usual screams. then, to make matters worse [for dom, not the dead, who were likely not in great shape to begin with], i felt it necessary to explain to him what i was dreaming about, because it was just so damn amazing. i'd been in hell. not some b.s. "hell is other people" sartre thing either. i'd been on some sort of bizarre tour of dante's inferno brand hell. it had levels. there was a sort of dumb waiter/ laundry shoot involved between them. each level was indeed worse, but i'm pretty sure that dante never included the running-man style steroid giant fight level. or the strange mix of hephaestus and evil elf that manned the "chute" where you were either horribly mangled or, in my case, protected by the strange, sinister figure, although his protection involved a sense of being trapped in his particularly small circle of hell. but of course, i ended up stepping outside that sphere of protection because i went up the curved staircase that led to a room where another demon was drawing lots with a gypsy fortune teller and i started playing along and i drew the number "50", which the gypsy insisted was really important and really good, but then i realised i wasn't supposed to be talking to anyone and i was likely to get mangled so i climbed out a window and it turned out there were lots of really horrible demons on the loose just waiting to prey on someone like me who was running around in the dark in a neighbourhood that looked very calm and rather uncannily similar to one that was adjacent to where i used to live in toronto, just a lot of very well-groomed, middle class homes and lawns, but with demons that you could hear making the scariest noises ever and with bizarre skinless animals running thither and yon. and at that point, i knew that i couldn't go back to the circle of hell where i was safe and that i was pretty much powerless and at the mercy of whatever was making those incredibly frightening noises and it really did seem like an appropriate time to start screaming and so i did.

extremely loudly, apparently.

the night after, of course, i was having a dream that i was suffocating. nothing was visibly wrong, it was just that i couldn't get air in and i was completely dried out, so i had no saliva to swallow. i was wandering around a hospital just trying to get help, although no one seemed to appreciate how serious the problem was, because i couldn't talk to explain it to them. so rather than try to form words, i just focused on trying to make as much noise as possible.

and i succeeded!

dom came into the room, since he stayed up late watching a movie in the livingroom while i tried to catch up on my sleep, and told me in the most bored voice possible that i was having a nightmare and waking the dead. for the second night in a row. like this doesn't even register with him anymore. bloodcurdling screams are like cat hair in his world, but he's still kind of concerned in case anyone makes a noise complaint.

this time, as it happens, what i was dreaming had been influenced by the fact that i was apparently trying to stand on my head while i slept. i can't stand on my head when i'm awake, so i'm not really sure what the logic was here, but i awoke in an awkwardly folded position, with most of the weight of my upper body bearing down on my head and neck, which were crushed halfway between the pillows and the mattress. it was indeed exceptionally difficult to breathe. and to understand.

clearly, aside from everything else that's wrong with me, i have some sort of dreaming disorder. if you try to look up night terrors on the internet, what you'll find is a lot of information on how to deal with them in children. forty year-old women are not supposed to be getting them. as much as i love to revel in my own immaturity, it does strike me that i must be pretty out of step with the rest of the world if i'm now going through something that was supposed to be taken care of when i was still in single digits. [i might also note, as might my mother, that i did go through this in single digits and it was harrowing for all involved.]

i have no idea what to do. right now, i'm mainly hoping that i don't accidentally break my neck trying more sleep-gymnastics. along with hoping that this isn't followed by a return to other childhood troubles. i'm pretty sure dom is going to leave me if i start peeing the bed every night.

24 March 2013

making faces :: girl time

i figured that i might as well make myself look presentable, despite the fact that i continue to suffer from the after effects of the plague of boils on my face. however, i've noticed that lately, my littlest fur-baby, while she's quite a little tomboy in many respects, is now at least as excited as i am about the prospect of me putting on makeup.

because whenever it's time, she jumps up on the dresser to, er, help. she gets so worked up by the prospect of getting to play with mom's awesome toys that i've had to learn how to acquire makeup one-handed, while using the other to keep her out of the brushes and little pots. i think i can forever write off the possibility of buying guerlain meteorites.

of course, as soon as she sees my arm, she starts the second phase of the game, which is climbing on me, butting her head into my head, shoulder and hand and purring loudly. which means that i'm developing some pretty awesome skills with liquid eyeliner. also, i suspect i'll be embracing the "messy smoky eye" look a lot.

this sort of thing is a legitimate danger for any cosmetic-wearing cat owner, but lulu actually enjoys all the parts of the beauty blogging experience, including being involved in the photo-taking afterward. behold:




and here are a couple of less interesting photos, although you can see in the first one that seth made a photobomb appearance behind my left shoulder [your right]. 



when preparing, lulu definitely has her preferred makeup tools toys. specifically:

the mac 217 brush, which is fluffier than my tom ford blending brush and therefore more fun to watch.

my quo bronzing/ power brush [kinda like a bigger version of the mac 187]. she much prefers this for blending to my urban decay optical blending brush, which is dense, but thick and not prone to spreading its feathers all over the place.

shadows by rouge bunny rouge and le metier de beaute. she likes any single shadows that come with a mirror, since they are small and create light reflections that are fun to play with. it's like two toys in one! strangely, though, she seems to prefer these to square shadows like nars or chanel. palettes are less interesting, although she does occasionally like pushing them closed when my fingers are in them.

giorgio armani eyes to kill shadows. packed in powder + inherent sparkles + little stopper that gets removed... almost too much fun for one kitty.

blushes are less fun, but chasing blush/ powder brushes during application is awesome.

trying to catch a lipstick bullet as it comes out of its shell is somewhat amusing. also, any lipstick can be pushed into a human nostril by butting your head against it while it's being applied.

so here's an entirely lulu-approved face, done with her assistance:

the base ::

gosh velvet touch primer
mac paint pot "painterly"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla" [review coming soon!]
guerlain parure de lumiere "beige clair 01"

the eyes ::

edward bess quad royale "south of france" [2 lightest shades- light pink sand]
rouge bunny rouge e/s "bashful flamingo" [light pink-peach]
mac e/s "neutral pink" [deep fleshy pink]*
le metier de beaute e/s "corinthian" [shimmery pink taupe]
armani eyes to kill e/s "lust red" [blackened red with purple shimmer]
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt" [black patent]
givenchy noir couture mascara "brown satin"

the cheeks ::

chanel joues ombre "notorious" [lilac-taupe]
hourglass ambient lighting powder "mood light" [warm mauve-pink- review coming on this one too!]
guerlain highlight powder "parure de nuit" [ultra-light coral pink with white sheen]*

the lips ::

tom ford l/s "black orchid" [vampy dark red-plum]

*suggested alternates :: neutral pink = mac girlie [cooler and has more of a satiny sheen]; parure de nuit = i haven't really found a match, which is why i hunted this one down on ebay, but combining mac lightscapade with a wee bit of nars sex appeal might give you a similar effect.

important note :: always remember when doing tag-team makeup application with a cat to leave adequate time for clean-up afterward. this is not an activity for everyone. always clean cat scratches thoroughly and stop the bleeding before you apply concealer.

23 March 2013

friday favourites 22.03.13

image of the week
hey, remember friday favourites? remember how i said it was a good thing that there were five fridays in march, because i'd need to focus on the things that cheered me? i haven't done a friday favourites since then, mostly because the horrors of march overwhelmed me and eventually destroyed my computer. so despite the preponderance of fridays, i haven't been concentrating on the bright side.

but this week, something kind of remarkable happened. not a huge thing, but a very un-march-like thing. i won something. i won a little skin care tester kit from skyn iceland and murale. i've actually been meaning to post about skyn iceland for a long time, since they've been my latest discovery and have joined korres and nuxe as the third point in my holy trinity of skin care. so for once in the month, i got a nice little surprise. i knew you had it in you, march.

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

have you ever thought about the parallels between zombie films and climate change?

so a police captain pepper-sprayed a mentally ill patient in the face from point blank range in contravention of departmental rules and the spray's safety instructions. and, yes, the mentally ill man was bound to a chair at the time and had a mask strapped to his face to prevent him from spitting that might have interfered with his breathing and was left like that for almost a half an hour. it's not like the captain did anything serious like, say, leak the video of the incident. those are the real criminals. 

read the horrifying victim-shaming tweets and be happy you don't live in steubenville. they're here. and here. and here. but not here. those tweets are about blaming an entirely different victim.

we've already dealt with knitted lady parts, but now you can find the whole body.

quote of the week


"if you are going through hell, keep going."
-winston churchill

i think of that quote often during the month of march. it's a great example of churchill's wisdom and wit in equal measure. since we're already into the home stretch and we've survived march's wrath thus far, it's only a little further that we have to soldier on. [note: i must add that while it would be great to think that everything brightened up as soon as we met the april fools, in my experience, it's actually june when things really kick in. maybe it's a solstice/ equinox thing.]

musical notes

speaking of june, there are at least a couple of things that we have to look forward to here in montreal already! theologian, who gave an incredible performance last year at the casa del popolo are making a return visit on june 21st.

and after a few of us conspired to start a rumour that cut hands were performing at this year's mutek festival... they've been booked for a show with the suoni per il popolo festival at casa del popolo on june 10th. so let that be a lesson to you, folks. if you really want something, lie about it and someone will eventually do it for you.

here's a little excerpt from cut hands to whet your appetite.



follow-up and shameless self-promotion

the most-read post this week by quite a stretch was my goodbye letter to apple. although my computer will be back in my home shortly, i don't feel good about any part of the experience. yes, i'll be able to work from my own desk and not share with dom. yes, the problem will have been fixed. but for how long? after i spoke to apple customer service on the phone- and was repeatedly put on hold while they tried to figure out a solution, only to be told that they would do nothing for me in the end- i sent a version of my blog post in writing to them through their web site customer contact centre. i'm not sure how it was handled, since they don't actually have an avenue for users to send complaints about service or product, but assuming that someone did see and and forwarded it to the correct person, i can assume that my voice has been heard. i have received no further contact from them, other than to tell me that i could pick up my computer.

i also wanted to say thank you to those of you who purchased copies of my short story collection "interference" recently. i noticed that there was a flurry of orders and while i don't know who you are, i want you to know that you are all important to me. your curiosity helps me keep writing, even when i'm in a bit of a funk.

kitteh of the week

...unfortunately, since i don't have access to my computer and all my photos, i'm not able to provide you with a new kitteh of the week. i promise, there will be more kitteh for all as soon as i'm back in the proverbial saddle.

in the meantime, here's a really adorable photo of a cat who isn't mine, just to keep you going. like churchill, she inspires me in my ongoing battle to defeat march.


you can see more of tard and her adorable brother pokey on their web site.

this week's image of the week comes from this site on tumblr and is a veve of papa legba... gues you can chalk that up to the cut hands state of mind.

thank you very much for reading and your feedback... good news is that it's supposed to be above zero all week here in montreal and we aren't scheduled to get any more snowstorms. embrace small victories.

20 March 2013

making faces :: the second world

the eastern front
have you ever wondered what the second world was? you hear a lot about first and third world countries, so what's the second? no one ever talks about them. i know i wondered. i know that dom wondered, because he asked me about it recently and momentarily allowed me to feel very clever. i liked that feeling.

you see where this is going, right?

the model of the three worlds actually dates from the cold war, when political machinations meant that much of the world was divided between nations affiliated with nato and those affiliated with the warsaw pact. the remainder were the "non-aligned states", many newly formed and/ or emerging from the spectre of colonialism, who remained independent of both groups [for as long as they could]. french demographer alfred sauvy compared the three political divisions to the three estates in revolutionary france, nato being the nobility, the warsaw pact the clergy [ironic, given government views on religion] and non-aligned states representing the people.

so the second world- insofar as the term was ever used- referred to those countries, largely those in eastern europe, who fell under the soviet sphere of influence after world war ii.

for decades, those countries were mysteries to those of us comfortably ensconced in the first world. but in the late eighties and early nineties, the doors were flung open and those on both sides of the iron curtain saw each other, in many ways, for the first time. the modern accoutrements of the west flooded in, making eastern europe and fascinating hybrid of the hyper-modern and the historic.

for those who wanted to see europe, the east provided a surprisingly cheap alternative to traditional destinations like france or spain, which allowed younger people to experience what these countries have had to offer. and while costs in places like prague have skyrocketed with their new-found popularity, much of the east is still a pretty cost-effective option for those looking to travel or live in europe.

of course, poverty, crime, corruption and unstable economies have continued to be problems for many countries [then again, those have been problems for western europe of late]. but eastern europe has an undeniable allure. just ask the people behind nail polish brand opi.

this spring, central/ eastern europe is their focus- the czech republic, hungary, romania and poland- and the collection really is a nice mix of the classic and the contemporary in terms of colours. i find that opi's geographically themed collections are hit-and-miss in terms of how well-matched they seem, but there really is something appropriate about the selection this time. it's a remarkably broad collection with metallics, glitter, nude, vampy and a lot of blues, that has some unconventional choices for spring alongside some seasonal classics.

i picked up three of the shades and i thought i'd share them with you. i'll just warn you now that if you haven't been exposed to opi's horribly punny names before, be prepared to groan...

a woman's prage-ative :: a bright sparkly copper with an almost holographic effect. it reminds me of the shade of my mother's copper kettle when it was freshly polished. it's a very warm shade [a lot of gold in the sparkle] and remains luminous for days. i always find shades with dense sparkle like this to be extremely forgiving in application and this one is no exception.

prague
you're such a buda-pest :: this is a much more "standard" spring shade, but a very cool one. it's bluer than most typical lilac shades, but not quite as blue as what you'd call "periwinkle". for a pastel, it has a definite presence; it doesn't look soft at all, but very fresh and modern. pastels are often trickier to work with and while this one was a little more difficult to get even than the others, it was easier than many cream-finish pastels. in fact, while i'd call this one a cream, there is a very fine silvery-white shimmer visible in the bottle, but on the nail, i really can't see it.

budapest

eur-so euro :: a real blockbuster. it's a deepened royal blue that's so intense it almost seems to glow. it was nearly opaque in one coat, although you'll want two to make it perfectly even. cream shades can be tricky, but this one is just a wonder. it applies like magic even for those of us who are all thumbs. it also lasts very well, even on me [and i normally have noticeable tip wear within a day].  i apologise that, even by the standard of mobile phone pictures, this isn't great, but keeping in mind that it was taken in fairly low light, i think it does give a hint of the intensity of this shade.

euro
i haven't featured a lot of posts on nails here on more like space, because i completely clumsy in my application and there are people who are really excellent at taking polish pics around the internet, and because i'm not very adept at taking photos of my nails, even when i do get the application right.

but i figured that, while i'm waiting for the plague of boils to heal and i can go back to making faces, you might at least enjoy a little "making manis".

opi is available from a variety of locations, particularly beauty supply stores [but not sephora, for whom they do an exclusive collection, or at shoppers drug mart, who carry their budget line] and generally runs about $10cad. this collection, from the shades i've tried, certainly seems to be an example of them at their best: fun, easy-to-wear shades that apply well, wear well and offer a fresh take on the season.

the image at the top of this post comes from here and shows the beautiful city of budapest.

19 March 2013

march madness :: this time, it's biblical

i'd just like to add that, in addition to having to replace my computer's hard drive for the second time in a year, march has chosen this year to get all biblical on me. sure, i'm having a rough month like i do every month. sure i'm trying to keep my head down and muddle through like i always do. but this year, march- probably being all smug about getting to ruin a whole calendar month and the long weekend at easter, has decided to visit upon me

a plague of fucking boils.

no word of a lie. this march, my skin has suddenly erupted for no reason and now i look like an escapee from a leper colony. aside from being itchy, sore and generally uncomfortable, this also makes it a less than appealing prospect to take photos for beauty-related posts [and, i might mention that the swatches i'd done most recently are all on my computer that's having its brain removed]. also, i dont' really enjoy looking at myself in the mirror right now, since i feel like i'm horribly disfigured.

i'm thinking of writing a "march carol", since i seem to have a real "12 days of christmas" thing going on this month. except that every item on the list sucks. and it probably ends with a lot of angry birds taking a shit on my head.

18 March 2013

the spell is lifted

i'm pretty much decided. i'm not going to buy apple products anymore.

to appreciate what that means, i should make it clear that i've never bought a computer that wasn't apple. i've pushed every office i've ever worked in to make use of these magical little machines. i'm on my second iphone. i was about to press the button on getting an ipad, because i'm discovering that i do want something that's more than a phone and less than a whole computer. dom's computers have always been apple, dating back to 1986- we still have his original ii-se.

and that's not all. i have been subject to actual full on abuse for being an apple user. not physical [yet], but verbal. i've been called some pretty harsh things by a couple of people who count themselves among my friends because i stuck up for the brand and held up my personal stories of computers that didn't implode or eat their internal organs, of customer service that reassured me and justified the premium price that their computers commanded.

long after i was more than capable of fixing 80% or more of the problems that i was likely to run into with any computer, i kept buying apple, because i liked the fact that the machines were stable, hardy and simple. i don't want to have to do a lot of work on the innards of my computer, because i don't want to be a computer tech for a living. contrary to what people [you know who you are] might think, liking something that's simple doesn't mean you can't resolve problems. it means that you want to use your time for other things.

but after finding out that my current home computer, purchased in august 2010 [after its five-year old predecessor died when the mother board and power supply expired for the second time], needs to have its hard drive replaced for the second time in a year, finding out that this time it's going to cost me hundreds of dollars and, after spending forty minutes talking to three different people at apple customer care only to hear that they really won't do anything to back up the product [it's no longer under warranty and i didn't buy the extended coverage], i'm done.

actually, what made the decision final in my mind was, after i said how i'd lost confidence in a brand to which i'd been unflinchingly loyal and was looking at other options for all my electronic needs, i was simply told that i was free to buy other products if i so chose. that was it. that was as much as apple was willing to do to keep the business of a longtime customer.

since their computers have become as problematic as those other machines, the one thing that really worked in apple's favour was their customer service.  even if i had problems, dealing with anyone on their customer service team made me feel great, because they really seemed intent on having me leave happy. today, they lost that remaining advantage. today, they offered me nothing. they sent me the message that, in their corporate eyes, i was nothing.

that might sound dramatic, but it isn't, really. i'm not naive and i know that to large corporations, a single customer is nothing. no one customer has the power to bring down a corporation like apple. but the smartest ones, and apple was always among them, know that a loyal customer is like an unpaid marketing rep. people who are loyal to a brand are ambassadors for that brand, recommending it at every opportunity. forgiving the cost of a hard drive [especially given that apple itself will keep my old drive in order to get money back from their supplier] seems like a rather paltry price to pay. it would, in fact, be the only thing perk i've gotten from being an apple customer for twenty-odd years.

i'm not telling anyone not to buy apple products. while i'd say that the quality of their computers has declined substantially as they've reoriented their focus to music players, phones and tablets, they work well enough and their other devices have always served me well. and i'm not saying apple's customer service is poor- far from it. they were professional and clear in their dealings with me.

and i get that companies can't just give handouts to every longtime customer who has a problem. i honestly didn't expect anything when i was given the number for their customer care centre to voice my complaint. [although, i admit, i did kind of have my hopes up after they bumped me up to a "senior" person and put me on hold twice while they tried to brainstorm what to do about my problem.]

but if my loyalty, especially to a premium brand like apple, doesn't mean anything, then it's not worth the price of being loyal. i can get treated like nothing by any other electronics company- it'll be like my dealings with pretty much every other company in my life. [certain cosmetics companies aside- as  a group they seem more interested in fostering loyalty.] and it'll cost me less.

yes, this does sort of leave a bad taste in my mouth. while i might not put a lot of stock in brands and what corporate branding means, my experience in the past had shown me [long before apple was a "cool" brand] that quality and the user experience were important to them. and once they did become the apple we know today, i won't deny there was a certain feeling of justification, a sense that i'd been onto something.

i don't know if it was never the case, or if apple lost their way and i'm not really interested in putting more thought into this than i already have.

i'll replace my hard drive and continue to use my computer until i decide on a suitable replacement or until it self-destructs again. my cell phone contract isn't up until the summer, at which point i know there will be a lot of attractive options open to me. no one is forcing me to buy a tablet this minute, so i have all the time i want to look around and make a decision.

the real story here is that for the first time ever, since the dark days of the 80s, i open open to electronic offers. batter up.

16 March 2013

i'm way smarter when i'm asleep


so the other night [thursday, i think, although it's not really important], i had a very weird dream about traveling for work. it started off that i was supposed to go with a coworker to bonn, germany.

i mean, it looks pretty, but i never thought about it
i have no idea why, since nothing in my work involves germany at all and i really haven't thought about bonn since the early 90s. people paid attention to it then, because it was the capital of west germany, but after reunification, the germans decided to move the state capital back to where it had always been before the whole break-up. since then, no one talks about bonn anymore and the city is apparently retaliating by running tourism spots in my head.

of course, it wasn't very successful, because in the dream, although we appeared to make it, we ended up somehow just having to go right back again because we'd missed the correct flight and arrived too late to bother going to our meetings. in my dreams, the airport in bonn is a lot like all the other airports i've visited, which goes to show that i'm not that imaginative, even when my subconscious has free reign.

yup, it's an airport
the next part of the dream involved me getting rerouted to a business conference in santiago, chile. because as long as we're dreaming about places i don't think about, we might as well throw in one that's  on the other side of the world from the place where i think i am.

on the way to santiago, our plane runs into some minor trouble because there is smoke and ash in the air, coming from a newly active volcano on the northern tip of antarctica, close to argentina. now, upon waking and trying to explain this all very hurriedly to dom, i realised a couple of things:

1. the tip of south america is actually chilean territory and not argentinian.

2. flying to santiago chile from bonn germany by way of the southern extremity of south america is really inefficient.

3. antarctica is not known for its volcanoes.

smoke on the water
but i did some checking on line and it turns out that, while the first two facts are incontrovertible, apparently the third isn't quite. because it turns out that, on the very northern tip of antarctica, reaching out towards the tierra del fuego to the north, there is an island called paulet island, which is made up primarily of cooled lava and which appears to be a volcano, inactive for roughly the last thousand years. there is also deception island, in the same area, which forms a caldera, or basin-like depression caused by the collapse of land following a volcano eruption. there's also bridgeman island, connected to a much older and long-dormant volcano, which even provides natural volcanic hot tubs, and penguin island, which was active as recently as the early twentieth century.

paulet island, a lava-spewing deathtrap in disguise
in fact, there are a remarkable number of volcanoes in antarctica and one of them, mount erebus, erupted as recently as 2012. and what's more, a lot of the space between the tip of south america and the northern reaches of antarctica is peppered with volcanoes, which is something i never knew until i fell asleep and dreamt about it, proving once and for all that i am much smarter when i'm asleep.

please let me know if you think this reads like a reasonable excuse for taking a nap under my desk at work.

also, feel free to share any strange dreams, especially instructive ones, that you've had.

oh, and santiago was really nice once i got there, a strange hybrid of old and new, rich and poor with mountains in the distance, which is apparently a pretty accurate description of the city, not that i knew that before.
i should come here more often
in the meantime, always remember that you know more than you think you do and that wherever you travel, there's probably a volcano waiting to kill you. 

14 March 2013

march madness :: 2013 edition

it kind of looks like the eye of sauron
i've spoken to you before about my feelings on the month of march. i hate it. i hate its bitter winds. i hate its false claims to be spring. and although i like leaving work before dark when daylight savings hits, i hate having to get up in the dark like some sort of mole person.

but no matter how much i hate march, it's nothing compared to how much march hates me.

people think i'm making this up, but to them i say...

the month started with a screw up at my bank that left me accidentally without access to money.

my workload has been building to a level that could politely be described as insane. i'm always busy, but this month there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the expectations and reality. [note :: my employers actually acknowledge that this is the case. there just isn't much to be done about it at the moment.]

while st. patrick's day is normally the one bright spot of the month, i won't get to enjoy it, since i got volunteered to work an extra day this week.

in case you've wondered where i've been this week, my computer had a sudden meltdown earlier in the week. if that sounds like something you've heard before, it's because you have. the same thing happened last march.

a payment i was supposed to receive was submitted a day late, which actually resulted in a two-week delay in me getting the money.

an order i had placed with an overseas company was judged to be hazardous material and destroyed for the good of humanity, apparently.

our phone, for no reason anyone can figure out, refuses to make long distance calls, which is kind of a pain when your family lives in another province.

the cable and internet crapped out for three days.

our television remote has been taken by space aliens, which is a pain, because they just don't make televisions with those dials anymore.

after suffering with sciatica for several months, dom has finally been able to move around again. but since the beginning of the month, he hasn't actually been able to walk, so "moving around" means sort of flailing his arms and legs thither and yon.

some really, really graphic conversations that an old friend- who is married to another longtime friend- had with someone who happens to have the same name as me got posted on facebook. not everyone realised that there were two people with the same name. hilarity ensued.

that's all the major things. of course, the month isn't halfway done yet and, if my horoscope is to be believed, the first half of the month was actually the good bit.

11 March 2013

ruining your life, one blog post at a time

i've alluded to what i do for a living at various times, although out of respect for my employer's privacy and their right not to be embarrassed by being associated with me, i don't get too specific. however today, i feel the need to get a little more specific than usual.

part of my job involves reviewing materials written by scientists- mainly biochemists and naturopathic doctors- to "translate" them into marketing language or just to make sure that people who aren't scientifically inclined can follow along. i'd like to add that this is normally one of the most interesting parts of my jobs, because despite my general artiness, i've long had an interest in chemistry and particularly organic chemistry. there's something so perfect about how it works, each element constantly seeking balance... i think it might be because i'm a libra.

but today, while reviewing a presentation dealing with skin and the various remarkable things it does, i came across something that i really wish i hadn't. the skin is truly amazing in so many ways. even if you're not concerned about appearances, you should try to keep it in good shape, because you're way more dependent on its good health than you might realise. in fact, you should take a moment right now and give your skin a kiss to show it how much you appreciate how hard it's working. i say to do it now, because you might not want to once you're finished reading.

as i was perusing the presentation in front of me this morning, i came a across a notation about how skin is important in eliminating toxins in the body. we know that already, it clears out toxins by sweating. but in brackets next to this was written "= urine 10x diluted".

that's right. that healthy glow you're sporting when you go to the gym, that sexy sweat you work up with a loved one [or lusted one] in bed, that dampness that speaks of hard work... it's your body peeing all over itself. 

yes, it's diluted, but to put that in perspective, that means that wiping your brow is kind of like sticking your hand in the toilet before you flush.

so now that you can't un-know what i've just told you, i hope you have fun tonight as you attempt to plug every pore in your body with antiperspirant. [you'll probably die if you succeed, but you won't die covered in your own pee, if that makes you feel any better.]

remember that information is power; the power to be disgusted with everyone you see.

making faces :: guerlain spring 2013, round two

well i did say that i wasn't done yet. along with the lovely lilacs and lavenders that i spoke about in my initial review, guerlain's spring collection also includes some shades that have become so linked with spring that they almost seem cliched. indeed, greens and corals are such a makeup staple that you'd think a lot of brands would have given up on trying them [in fact, for 2013, most have]. but leave it to guerlain to do something stunningly beautiful and somewhat original with the palette.

again, i chose a palette and a lipstick that seemed to blend nicely with it. in this case, the palette is called "coup de foudre", which literally means "lightning bolt", but is also a french expression for being struck by love at first sight. and a lot of people have been struck by this palette. it's definitely received more attention than any other item in the guerlain spring collection and it doesn't take much to see why.

first of all, there's a rich, shimmery khaki green touched with bronze. it has a warm quality to it, but there's definitely that rich, earthy green that comes through. the pigmentation on this one is amazing. it's even and rich without being overwhelming and applies very true to how it looks in the pan.


in fact, there are a lot of shades that look kind of like this one- it's a colour that a lot of companies seem to do very well and that a lot of makeup mavens really seem to love. [no surprise there, it's a complex enough kind of shade that it looks great with any eye colour.] but what struck me looking at some comparisons is that all of the comparable shades i have look more brown/ bronze and less green. chanel "khaki vert" is darker, browner and muddier. rouge bunny rouge "abyssinian catbird" is much more of a bronze. mac "sumptuous olive" is more golden. the deeper shade from nars "paramaribo" is more golden still and a little browner.

l to r :: chanel khaki vert, rbr abyssinian catbird, coup de foudre, mac sumptuous olive, nars paramaribo
the second shade in the palette is what i think is really causing people to sit up and take notice. it's a bright orange-coral with just a hint of a pink undertone and a touch of white sparkle in its almost matte depths. although it kicks up a little powder when applied, there's no fallout and it comes out beautifully rich. use a fluffy brush to get a light wash of colour or a firmer one for something that really pops. or, if you're shy of using a bright coral with greens, do as many have suggested and try it as a blush.


when i saw this shade, i have to admit that it did immediately call to mind something else i'd seen recently: the coral shade from guerlain's fall shadow palette "les fauves". so i thought that was a good place to start with comparisons.

09 March 2013

dj kali and mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 06.03.13

two more years! two more years! thanks very much to everyone who turned out to the second anniversary of the caustic lounge. i'm a little late getting this post up, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a great time. i'd like to especially thank the wonderful mr. eric b for showing up with cupcakes. those of you who are friends on facebook know that i had been craving a cupcake- in vain- for about two weeks. so you can be happy that someone took the bull by the frosted horns and now you don't have to hear me complain anymore. 

there were a few "wtf" moments, of course, particularly when someone managed to unplug the whole system. [i'd like to note that this has happened twice now at the caustic lounge, both times during my set. criticism noted, hipsters.] but by and large it was a fun and far-ranging musical adventure. many thanks to the friendly and hard-working staff at le cagibi for all their help. 

on the facebook page we did for this event, i asked if anyone remembered what the very first track ever played at the caustic lounge was. no one did, myself included. luckily, i was able to look it up on this blog [it's so useful to me] and so i chose to kick things off in exactly the way they'd been kicked off in 2011. 

our next outing will be on april 3rd, os if you're in the montreal area, i encourage you to come and check it out!

warning!!! as i was doing this blog post, i managed to somehow delete my playlist. i have a partially completed one, but i can't guarantee it's 100% accurate. 

dj kali

a.c. marias :: trilby's couch
the residents :: weight-lifting lulu
severed heads :: petrol
hunting lodge :: tribal warning shot
cabaret voltaire :: yashar
die krups :: wahre arbeit wahre lohn
d.a.f. :: der mussolini
die form :: automatic death
aaimon :: choke
cultural amnesia :: dialogue of skull and soul
bene gesserit :: tourdorizon musikal
scremin' jay hawkins :: i hear voices
pimentola :: death is a secret
death in june :: winter eagle
lingouf :: rovo dot oftog
novy svet and o paradis :: en moloko
november novelet :: dancing queen
devo :: s.i.b.
novy svet :: en possession de te

mr. dna 

james brown :: funky drummer
public enemy :: don't believe the hype
parliament :: flash light
ice cube :: wicked
ministry :: we believe
skinny puppy :: deep down trauma hounds
revolting cocks :: union carbide
lard :: the power of lard
black flag :: six pack
hüsker dü :: newest industry
descendents :: i'm not a loser
fugazi :: styrofoam
ramones :: rock and roll high school
the damned :: i just can't be happy today
future of the left :: manchasm
sonic youth :: schizophrenia
p.j. harvey :: rid of me
slint :: good morning, captain
the cure :: faith
pavement :: half a canyon
wall of voodoo :: call of the west

07 March 2013

making faces :: beige is not a four letter word

the excitement, the raw energy of beige
is there anyone who actually likes the colour "beige"? i mean seriously, we make up thousands of different ways of saying it just so that we don't have to admit that the things that we like are beige. ecru. buff. sand. flesh. potato. ok, i haven't actually heard anyone use the term "potato" as a colour descriptor, but it's coming! because we just do not want to admit to enjoy the occasional dab of beige.

but recently, i learned that sometimes you just need to let go of your prejudices. because i bought into the beige. and i'm proud of it, damn you!

for some reason, i've been really fascinated with acquiring more neutrals from english-born, russian-bred rouge bunny rouge. i've reviewed many of their products on this blog in the last year or so and i've tended towards acquiring those that are a little more original in the colour spectrum, but a little while back i bought "bashful flamingo", a light peach shade from their matte range that just became as close to an every day colour as i get. yes, it's wonderful to have exotic greens and gleaming bronzes, but there's also something to be said for buying quality in things that you can take with you anywhere.

i'm not sure how i came to light on gracious arasari as my next pick. although it's described as a taupe shade, i'd read enough reviews to know that it lacked the grey-purple tones of a true taupe. no baby, this shade was beige. i guess i justified this by looking at my stash and reminding myself that, while i have a metric arseload of taupes, i don't really have anything that's beige. because i don't do beige.

or at least i didn't.

STAY WITH ME ON THIS ONE

04 March 2013

i had all my teeth and i wasn't even naked

there are dreams that we all have at one time or another. the one about our teeth falling out. being back at school. being at a former job. trying to cry out but being unable. [on a side note, is there a common dream that people actually enjoy having? or are we all fairly particular in our joys, but united in our anxieties?]

i've had all those dreams. multiple times. with multiple different situations. and last night, i had a classic one. i was in university and i had to take an exam or do some sort of end of term project [it seemed to change which] and i'd barely been in class all term. i mean i'd been in class so little that i was concerned i'd fail the course based on that alone. and it's a university level mathematics class, which means i have no business being in it to begin with.

now, the beginning of this dream has been a frequently recurring thing, especially in the last couple of years. i show up to a class i either haven't bothered with or forgot i'd enrolled in, find out there's a huge exam and proceed to watch my life unravel in front of me. but last night, i guess my brain got bored, because it decided to change the script in the middle.

instead of everything falling apart, this time, i aced the exam. i mean i really killed it. i did so well that my professor had to begrudgingly admit that i was probably some kind of genius savant, although he was clearly annoyed because i hadn't bothered to come to his class. even i didn't know how i did it, because i was close enough to myself in the dream to know that advanced mathematics wasn't something i was routinely good at. except that i actually was, as long as i wasn't really thinking about it.

it's nice to know that my brain is so bent on avoiding cliches that it wants to twist the ending of this dream, which has been the same for everyone ever in history, because it just found it too predictable. but what totally mystifies me is that it chose to do this in a dream specifically about math, whereas in every other test-flunking night terror i've had, i've been taking a course in english or history or philosophy or something else that i actually took courses in.

i know that the going theory is that test-failing dreams are about waking-life anxiety, but i can't find any information on test-succeeding dreams, especially in a field in which the dreamer has no expertise. what is my brain trying to tell me? that i missed my calling? that i have secret superpowers? that i've wasted my life on words?

because let me tell you, getting an a+ with no effort felt like being tossed into a room filled with fine wine, all my favourite foods and attention-seeking kittens. i want to know the secret message so that i don't have to be asleep to feel that way.

03 March 2013

making faces :: lips out loud

the idea of using colour to enhance the lips isn't by any means new- cleopatra did it and many of history's most fearless women followed in her footsteps. the bold lip has long been a method of standing out. even today, it's considered a fairly strong statement, something that commands attention. as much as cosmetics may be a woman's domain, a bold lip is almost unladylike- being unnatural, distracting, forceful. it is a subtle but certain fork in the eye of the continued convention that women should be beautiful window dressing.

interestingly enough, bold lips may also represent a sort of economic war paint, a strong, wilfully optimistic statement in the face of financial doldrums. traditionally, strong lip shades have been in vogue during times of economic crisis. that's not a hard-and-fast rule, after all the 1950s saw unprecedented growth in the economy but also the popularity of cherry red lips a la marilyn monroe. but the seventies malaise saw the rise of glam-infused grins, the recession of the early eighties brought colours so bold they were nearly blinding. likewise, the early nineties saw both both day-glo brights and heavier-than-stone matte browns and reds. even the last few years have seen a return of colour, just as economic indicators have done elegant swan dives.

whether it's a woman's way of insisting that dire financial circumstances will not get her down, bracing herself for the economic battles ahead, or putting a brave, fearlessly happy spin on a bad situation, we apparently love to wear these emotions on our lips.

personally, i've always loved a bright pop of colour on the lips, because it's such an easy look to work with. as i've mentioned recently, getting ready in a hurry is sometimes an issue for me and i find that a strong lip colour with very little else is both very quick and very polished. it also helps that lipstick formulas have advanced and made this an easier look to get away with.

sure, you can have bright, shiny shades, but if you want full impact you want a matte colour. since matte lips don't reflect light, all you see is 100% saturated pigment. the problem for years was that matte lipsticks were painfully dry and tended to flake off the lips like painted dandruff. it's comparatively recent that cosmetic companies have figured out how to make shades low on shine, but high on comfort.

SEE SOME OF MY FAVOURITES AFTER THE BREAK...

01 March 2013

friday favourites 01.03.13

image of the week
ok. this is it. it's march. march is not my friend. march hates me. march has hated me for lo these many years. march is long and angry and it is a liar, because despite the fact that it claims to introduce spring, it usually means snowstorms and high winds. but in general, march just hates me for no reason. it has stranded me in the airport in bangor maine four times. it has magically eliminated by job through restructuring twice. it has sprained my wrist, elbow and shoulder in one shot. it has seen painful break-ups, deaths in the family, panic, ruin, damnation... ok, i'm getting carried away with me, but put it this way: march is not and has never been a good time for me. 

here are a few choice tidbits from my horoscope for the coming month, courtesy of the normally positive and optimistic susan miller...

"Tasks are building on your desk, and at times you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all you have to do."
"Have contingency plans."
"You won't be able to get things precisely your way this month, for the balance of power is shifting away from you toward others, temporarily."
"This day, March 22, will not be easy."
"You have a difficult full moon coming up, March 27"
"Things are about to get a bit harder before they get easier. The hardest full moon of 2013 will arrive in Libra, March 27, but will influence the entire week, from March 23 to April 1."
"you may feel attacked from a competitor or someone who wants to paint you in a bad light"
"Pluto, in your family and home sector, will bring difficulties too"
"There may be several areas of concern."

clearly, it's a good thing that there will be five fridays in march, so that i have plenty of time to think about...

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

the scientific explanation of why you don't like anne hathaway.

girls gone bankrupt [not morally]

turns out the gateway to male liberation is actually the back door.

although i am against animal testing, i am really grossed out by slugs and snails. so i'm not sure how i feel about this new skin care craze.

quote of the week
"I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures" 
- conservative media pundit and former strategist for prime minister stephen harper tom flanagan on laws regarding the viewing of child pornography
[yeah, i talked about it in my last post, but it bears repeating] 

goings on :: stuff you can [and should] do this week

i haven't really been including these listings lately, because honestly, i've felt like i haven't seen that much going on that hasn't been promoted here a million times before. but i'd be remiss if i didn't mention that

if you're in montreal... it's motherf**king nuit blanche, art freaks! ok, i admit, nuit blanche has lost some of its lustre in these parts. rather than being about fun, weird art experiences in the middle of the night, it's about high school students having an excuse to tell their parents that they'll be out and drinking vodka coolers on the metro. and i'm not even going to get into the fact that almost everything closes at three. toronto always had stuff going until at least 6a.m., yo. but it is possible to capture some of the whimsy and artistic fantasy if you want. and it is kind of cool that the city runs the metro all night. so represent!

but get caught up on your sleep by mid-week because on wednesday march 6th it's the motherf**king two year anniversary of the caustic lounge, biatches!!! i can hardly believe it myself, but this wednesday marks two years that mr. dna and i have been doing our once a month appearance at le cagibi and it's guaranteed that the songs and suds will flow freely from 9p.m. to midnight. actually, if history is any indicator, there's a chance that there will be flowing after midnight, but you didn't hear that from me.

musical notes

a new video that dom did for ourebouros, a band featuring two of the original members of orphx that sounds nothing like orphx. 

Oureboros ‎-- Dissolving In Light from F Squared Media on Vimeo.

follow-up and shameless self-promotion

leave it to the national post to take on the seemingly impossible task of defending tom flanagan. aside from saying that the man might have a point about viewing child porn being harmful to no one [ignoring research that indicates that producers and consumers are often the same], they also think that singling out these particular comments threatens to overshadow his long career of standing up to people fighting for things like first nations' rights. in his defence, the writer notes that flanagan has written books. because no bad person in history has ever written books. 

that was too easy
slightly more obscurity points
i'd also like to say a big thanks to everyone who read and shared my piece on this year's academy awards and host seth macfarlane. to date, it's the most read post i've done this year, which is sort of astonishing, because it was kinda long. your attention is much appreciated. 

kitteh of the week

well, we've seen photos of our little- very little- lady a lot recently [more if you follow me on instagram, which you absolutely should feel welcome to do], so i thought it was time to shine the spotlight on another furry friend...


is there anything as pretty as siamese blue eyes? 

thanks very much for reading! 
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