Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear "Aughts"

I'm on my way to a New Year's party, but I felt the need to post some kind of commemorative post here.

Dear "Aughts",

Thanks for all of the good times and good people. I'm really into the way we're wrapping up our time together. There were some rocky days in there, but also a lot of awesome. This came mostly in the form of amazing people, with amazing food being a runner up. Some amazing books and movies and places were also present.

I feel too overwhelmed by everything that happened between us to even try to make sense of it all. My whole adult life so far has been spent with you... Look at me getting sentimental (pretty rare, except where sports movies are concerned).

Anyways, this is just to say thanks. I wish you all the best in your retirement.

Yours fondly,

Ange

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gift

December 25: Gift. What's a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?

The day after.

I'm sitting here in my room, my bed piled with presents. As per usual, I've been spoiled this Christmas. (Thanks.)

But what have I given myself? I'm quite fond of gifts to oneself, especially for birthdays (the birthday outfit is a favourite of mine), though Christmas usually ends up with so much money being spent on other people that there is not really any to spare for myself. Oh right. I just remembered the big chunk of money I spent on a dress a few days ago.



BCBG consistently has my favourite party dresses, and I think this is the sexiest dress I've ever tried on. I tried it on and at first I thought (and stated): this looks ridiculous. The bottom half is layered, ruched and billowy. Standing in my bare feet, I thought it made me look like I had a tiny top half and a giant bottom half. Add heels, however, and it just worked. Wary of the slightly high (but on sale) price tag, I wavered. Yes. No. Yes. No. Maybe. No. Yes.

Yes.

It's one of my few "grown up" purchases (I definitely haven't made it to the mattress or couch stage yet), and I'm very excited to wear it. Actually, I was planning on buying a party dress sometime this Christmas since the King's YAS ball is coming up, and last year I felt seriously underdressed. Now I just need some new shoes (I realized the other day that I own no heels. None.). And maybe a lipstick.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Car Ride

I absolutely love riding in cars. Although I hate driving (will not, do not), I love the feeling of being in a car and watching the outside go by, settling in and relaxing. I'm sure it's whatever settles babies and gets them to sleep, still doing its work on me. I am having a hard time picking just one car ride that I loved this year. I will go with two scenarios.

Whenever my dad drives me home through an empty downtown and across the Lions Gate Bridge at night after we've spent an evening together. I feel so warm and content and safe (and no, this is not an explicit attempt to get you to drive me home more often, dad. It's true.).

Driving around with Tiffany running ridiculous errands in Halifax. Usually we end up stopping about 8000 times. It's so mundane, but with the music and the laughing and the ambling pace I love it. Oh, also the long drive we took to Tiff's family cottage, despite the fact that it ended with a flat tire in the middle of the night.

I love riding in cars with people I love.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Shopping

December 18 Shop:

I have a nice set-up, in that I get paid for my job in residence in room and board, so I don't have to stress too much day to day about the cost of groceries or rent, and I can spend little pockets of money on things that I love (and others that I don't). So here are the top ten things I spent money on this year.

10. Library fines. Working in a library for 5 years left me... even less likely to adhere to library due dates. Unfortunately, I now have to pay the fines I accrue.

9. Going to movies. This is one I haven't actually spent as much money on as I would like to have, meaning I haven't gone out to see as many movies as I wish I had. Although there are so many opening on Christmas that I want to see, so I can still spend more this year. Yay.

8. St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale. Best beer. Mmmmmmm.

7. Yarn &c. I've spent $60 in the last two days on yarn - then again, I tell myself it will go to make Christmas presents for multiple people. If I can get things knitted in time.

6. Make-up. I've been living a relatively make-up free existence this term, but every so often I get cravings for new pots of colour to smear on my face (so weird, when I really think about it). Last spring saw a concentrated interest in blush. I'm not sure why. Yearning for the flush of youth? Possibly.

5. Christmas presents. Yipes.

4. Flights. Being bicoastal is oh so glamourous. And pricey.

3. Tuition. And books. For school, not fun books. Okay, a couple of fun books.

2. Coffee.

1. Food. Being fed in the residence meal hall can only go so far in nourishing my body, not to mention my soul. This year saw a brief affair with Smartfood (the white cheddar popcorn. Sounds healthy. Not so much.), and the continuation of a long standing romance with dim sum, sushi, and spicy noodles from Chabaa Thai. And chocolate.

Word or Phrase

December 17 Word or phrase: 2009 was lovely.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2 in 1: Packaging and Tea of the Year

Whoops - missed yesterday's Best of 09 prompt. And am now running off to buy the right size of knitting needles for a project I'm about to start.

December 15 Best Packaging: A friend of mine was staying with me, and he drank one of those little bottles of Glenfiddich that comes in the tiny cardboard cylinder. He left behind the cylinder, which I immediately recognized as the perfect chopstick holder. It's about 2 inches in diameter, and about 5 inches high, and while it's obviously a whiskey container, I've been on the lookout for the perfect decorative paper to hide its provenance and doll it up a bit.

December 16 Tea of the Year: ...I love tea. I haven't discovered anything that has absolutely rocked my world this year, so I'm going to go with the classic favourite, Earl Grey. I tried it with lemon and honey for the first time this year, and it was delicious. But usually I'll go for just milk. And a cookie.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rush


December 14 Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?

I'm thinking back and realizing that this has, for the most part, been a really relaxed year. The good thing about that is I haven't had any real lows, but I haven't had many high highs, either.

Okay, after thinking about this for a few minutes, I am going to go with: stepping off the plane, by myself, in Montreal. I've traveled alone before, and I highly recommend it, because the fear adds to the excitement and the relief of realizing that you are fine, and you are capable of navigating new terrain. I was only by myself for about an hour, between getting off the plane and arriving by shuttle at the bus station where I was met by Kat's lovely friend Lauren. I spent that hour (and the next few days) surrounded by newness, and I absolutely love that feeling (that rush) of knowing that I am seeing or doing something for the first time.

When it comes down to it, I look back at my life and so many of those rushes I can remember are associated with travel. All of my senses are engaged with the new places I go - I feel myself expanding with tastes and smells and sights and sounds and feelings. So a thought for 2010 (and the rest of 2009): seek out more of these experiences, even at home. Try new dishes at new restaurants, seek out new neighbourhoods, try new things. Try to bring that complete sensory awareness to my everyday life. Feel more rushes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Catching up to the best of 2009: the best change I've made to my home

I haven't been blogging much. I've been feeling this two way pull between wanting to write more, but wanting to write more extensively (bigger ideas, more research and time and thought dedicated to posts) - which means that the little things that I usually post about feel insubstantial and get lost, but I don't actually write the long things, and so I don't write. I've decided enough is enough. I've been thinking for a long time about developing a group culture blog, something where my more substantial posts can go without feeling the pressure of having to post something every day, but I still love my little nook here, so I'm going to try to just post things without worrying that they aren't smart or interesting enough. I'm smart and interesting!

So, as a jump start, I'm going to try the best of 2009 blog challenge (discovered via Mennogirl's post), which immediately intrigued me. I'm a little bit behind (there is a post for each day in December), but here goes:

December 13 What's the best change you made to the place you live?

I'm so happy to be back in my little suite at King's (for anyone who isn't aware of this, I have a job that I love in residence at a small university in Halifax. The only downside is I don't have my own kitchen. Oh yeah, and I can't have a pet. Oh - and people can be really loud when they drink.). I have just enough space for me, with a big window that looks out onto the quad where I can watch the leaves change and the snow fall and the magnolia tree bloom. It came fully furnished , and the furniture I have is not what I would call my style. A big maroon couch and a maroon and gold chair, with mismatched wood shelves and drawers and cabinets. Still, it feels homey and bright and comfy, which is most important to me.

Being that I am a grad student, and that most of my money goes to school related expenses (tuition, coffee, beer, thai food), and also that Halifax is most likely not my permanent home base, I haven't spent a lot of time or money on decor. I also really appreciate... sparseness. Not in a cold, clinical way - it's just that I don't go for things that aren't perfect (according to my sensibilities). I want one perfect thing, not a bunch of random things I think are pretty cute. This year I decided that I needed to inject slightly more of my personality into my home, but in a way that would go with my inherited furniture. I managed to find two pieces (don't I sound professional?) that go well with the current feel, but make it feel more like home and a little more me.

I lived without cushions for the first year I spent here. I couldn't find anything that went well with this weird maroon and gold theme, so despite the fact that I love cushions (especially for cuddling when I watch movies), I went without. This year I decided that had to change. Wandering through the Superstore (my favourite store ever, although I can never actually find clothes I want to buy), I came across a set of red and purple graphic print cushions for... $15 I think? It was one of the best finds ever. They wouldn't necessarily be what I would choose if I were starting from scratch, but they are actually quite suited to my style, and they go with the rest of the stuff in my living room. Yay. Plus, they make perfect laptop perches when I am sitting on my couch (a la now).

I also bought a framed Tree/Buddha print from Winners for $20 that now sits on my bookshelf and adds some interest/texture.

And probably my favourite change to my home is not actually one I made. It is thanks to one of my favourite people, who knew I was in love with a ridiculously expensive candle from Aveda (apparently they only sell them over the winter holidays), and surprised me with it for no good reason. It was the best, most surprising gift, and I was giddy for days. Honestly, it smells so good. I'm addicted. I light it and my whole room smells like warmth and love and spice. Pretty much everyone who comes in comments on how good it smells, even hours after the candle has been put out. I was never much of a candle person before, but this candle makes my home feel so much more... homey. Ha. Sensuous. Warm. Relaxed. All of the best things.

Despite the fact that it is nothing like the home I would create with unlimited (or even slightly less limited) time and funds, it is my perfect little nest for now. I love being here. That feels so good to say.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Anchor Archive Zine Library

photo by flickr user lyndall musselman

Yesterday was completely rejuvenating.

While my roots are firmly planted in punk rock, I've been feeling old and staid lately. This is mostly because I no longer delight in standing and head-bobbing (or even dancing) at shows that are crowded and late at night; I would almost always rather be eating cheese and talking with friends in a cozy living room, or reading, or even (gasp) sleeping. I despaired in my facebook status the other day about the fact that I think I look more conservative than I really am. My hair hasn't been a colour other than its own natural brownish shade for at least two years (which could not have been said for it between the ages of 12 and 25). I have a typical grad student uniform of jeans and t-shirts and cardigans. I have no tattoos (yet) or other distinguishing marks that can call out for me, "Hey! I'm rad! I like the same obscure awesome things you do!" Does any of this matter? No. Does it feel like it does? A little.

Yesterday I visited the Anchor Archive Zine Library. A tiny, ramshackle little space that abounds with energy and verve and personality, the kind that I've felt to be a little lacking from my everyday existence. I've been spending so much time with my computer and blogs and google and online databases and so on and so forth, that it was incredibly nice to be surrounded by paper. I spent an hour or so being trained in how to catalogue the zines, and then I set to work going through them. I love zines. I love that people can put their stories onto paper and send them out into the world and we can share them and pass them on and draw and create - and they don't have to be epic. Just stories and thoughts and drawings and ideas.

It was a reminder of that sense of community I found when I was 14 and going to shows all the time. A reminder that I should be using my hands more - and not just for typing. A reminder that the world doesn't end outside my neighbourhood - there are amazing people doing amazing things everywhere.

The fact that zine libraries even exist has just brightened my existence considerably. Plus, I now get to add "Zine Librarian" to my resume - and I so will.

So: if you're in Halifax - go check out the Anchor Archive Zine Library. If you're outside of Halifax and you have copies of your zines (you know who you are), send them in! We don't need to be famous novelists to write and share and connect. Just write something down and let someone else read it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This is stunningly, awesomely beautiful.



Also: I'm done school (for the semester)! Any awesome things (that don't cost money) that I should be spending my time with (according to you)?

(Video found via BOOOOOOOM.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

photo by flickr user applejan


I've been thinking in fragments lately.

Not sure what it means.

Or why.

I write letters that are line, then line, then line.

I like it.

Mostly.

(And I want one of these.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Somewhere I would like to be tonight

Watching Lauren Ambrose with her band, the Leisure Class, play their first show in New York.

I recently rewatched all of Six Feet Under, a part of my favourite show trifecta (the others being the West Wing and Friday Night Lights). I love Claire. Yes, she's moody and annoying and self-centred, but I still love her.

Here is a perfect (fitting) moment from Six Feet Under:


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


I had my first ever book club meeting today. I can't think of very many things better than eating and talking about books. Well, reading is one of the things I can think of.

Our first pick was Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. For some reason (and I should learn my lesson, because this happens over and over again in life) I didn't think I would really like it, but I couldn't have been more wrong. The story follows Oskar Schell, a nine-year-old New Yorker whose father was killed in the World Trade Centre attack. Oskar is ridiculously intelligent, literal, awkward, anxious, thoughtful - among the most neurotic fictional characters, I've ever encountered, child or otherwise. The book jumps between characters and times, language and writing styles, and makes use of images. I wasn't sure these literary techniques would serve any purpose but novelty, but there are so many beautiful moments, and every word (and picture) helps define the emotions and the characters so precisely, that I ended up cherishing the little things I thought would annoy me (including Oskar).

This book is about grief. It's about the fact that every single person is grieving something, and that we carry that around with us forever. There was some discussion of whether this was a depressing book; for me it absolutely wasn't. It was a sad book sometimes, yes. But I felt hopeful, realizing that we have all lost people and things, but we are still able to make new connections, and still able to love - not just able, but we can't help it.

8.6/10. (Yes, that is my way of giving it an A.)

Side note: In the book, Oskar finds a mysterious key in an envelope marked only with the word "Black." He decides to speak to everyone in New York with the last name of Black, to see if someone can help him figure out what the key is for. In this adorable video, Jonathan Safran Foer sets out to recreate his protagonist's quest. Sort of.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two people I wish I could marry





I'm currently reading Steve Martin's memoir about his stand up career, Born Standing Up. It is reminding me how much I love him (although his recent spot on 30 Rock did a lot for that, too). A throwaway line about Rick Moranis's Woody Allen impression (it was "so precise that it made Woody seem like a faker") made me remember how much I also love Rick Moranis (and spend a while tracking down a video; the quality of the picture isn't that good, but the quality of the impression is. It starts at 2:41. Also: another awesome Rick Moranis video. This one is especially good if you have an interest (or disinterest) in Canadian Cinema.).

(contented sigh)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

NYPL Menu Collection

DINNER [held by] FI8FTY MILLIO... Digital ID: 474211. New York Public Library

Tunisian Nectar: Littleneck Clams, basement lingerie trimmings.

What??

The Miss Frank E. Buttolph American Menu Collection, 1851-1930. Thanks to Alex.

New York, New York (Public Library Digital Gallery)

Brothers stick together in Nav... Digital ID: 1260342. New York Public Library


Lily Hanbury. Digital ID: 1117751. New York Public Library


Plan of  fourth to eleventh fl... Digital ID: 417148. New York Public Library


[Tôji san bijin] = [Three beau... Digital ID: 416424. New York Public Library


The elephant. Digital ID: 1524061. New York Public Library

Man oh man I love Information Studies sometimes. Today I am working on a critique of a digital library collection, and I have chosen the New York Public Library Digital Gallery. I'm always amazed by how much awesome stuff is out there in the world, just waiting for me to discover it. The Internet is so big. Slash awesome.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Almost yesterday

Tonight (/last night) was Nocturne - the Halifax nighttime art crawl. I missed it last year (adapting to a new city and getting used to my little corner of the city took all of my energy), but this year I really wanted to go. We wandered in and out of galleries, and saw a lot of (ahem) interesting work. My favourite moment, though, was when we walked into a (really rad) local store, Love, Me, and I realized after a moment that someone was sitting on a chair in the middle of the space, singing with a lovely voice. (This is her, Mary Stewart, below.) The moment (and her voice and songs) was so organic and simple and natural.



I also loved walking down Barrington, where two sets of shop windows on either side were set up to have rolling waves crashing down (in video format) on them. Ocean sounds were being played loudly. It sounds sort of ridiculous, and I don't know if I'm getting it across very well, but it was quite... Interesting? Evocative? Compelling? These were the "looking-at-art buzzwords" we were bandying about. I think most of them fit.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Movies ten (plus) years later


I watched the Truman Show again last night. That is one movie that really holds up well. All the more relevant given the tsunami of reality television that has since smashed over us.

Also, for some reason I've been really wanting to watch Fight Club again recently. This post reminded me that it's been 10 years since it came out. Weird.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Curly hair

My hair is currently the longest it has been in 15 years. For a long time, short hair was somewhat integral to the way I saw myself and my style. I was short hair. Then I worked in a hair salon, and got to see the ladies with their big, bouncy blow-outs, and I got a little bit envious. I remember talking with the salon manager, and her advice was to grow my hair out before I turned 30, and keep it long until I was at least 50. So I did. For the first time in my life I have had no real cravings for short hair, and I've really been enjoying playing with my hair: a flat iron, velcro rollers, and so on.

And today: a curling iron.

I've been wanting to buy one for months and months, and for some reason hadn't been willing to shill out the 16.99 (plus tax) for the Conair Instant Heat 1 inch ceramic curling iron... but one day, after gazing at it longingly, I decided to just buy it already. And today I started experimenting.

Things I learned: Don't use the tong part. I started out using it the way I assumed you were supposed to, clamping down on the bottom of the hair and curling up. No. The "new and cool" way to do it is to wrap the hair around the barrel of the curling iron, not letting the tong part touch the hair. You can see what the heck I'm talking about here.

In other news: I am craving good french toast.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

So Montreal has been fantastic so far. Today we had a Thanksgiving feast at Kat's; it was superb.

My favourite thing this Thanksgiving: Brussel Sprouts. I've been constantly devouring this recipe from Orangette. I double the recipe, and there are never any left. Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Things about Montreal so far:

The electric outlets are upside down.

I freeze when I should be putting my kindergarten through grade 7 French Immersion education to use. I feel slightly better about this when Sally (who is still taking french and particularly enthusiastic about her love for the language) is also hesitant when interacting with the cashier at the drug store: "Avez-vous une carte optimum?" Sally brandishes her optimum card, smiling silently. "Alors, c'est $12.47." Sally holds up her debit card. "Voulez-vous un sac?" Sally: "Non, merci." By this point the interaction was so adorable that I had to walk away. I go through long diatribes in my head (who's to say whether my grammar or vocabulary is correct - yesterday I decided that sac was the word for bed), but as soon as I am expected to open my mouth, English comes pouring out of it. Or I am almost mute.

I haven't fallen asleep listening to the sounds of a city underneath me in ages. I like it.

The feeling of all of the parts of the city I've been in is: eclectic. I love contrasts like the ones I see here.

Being in a place with a Chinatown is really nice and comforting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Creativity

I'm taking a management skills development class this term. It's really great - we read about and assess our skills in relation to various management related issues (self-awareness, stress reduction, conflict resolution, etc.) and then talk about them in class. Today's class was centred around creativity, and according to the results of the self assessment, I was at the top of the scale.

This has me back to thinking about my career path. I want to make sure I get into a job where creativity and problem-solving is a major aspect. I have no idea what this will be.

So I loved Whip It.


I could feel the joy behind Whip It all the way through. You can tell that those wonderful women had an amazing time doing what they love, which is the whole point. I'm really proud of Ms. Barrymore. It's the kind of thing I wish I could have been a part of. Jubilant, exciting, funny, womanly, awesome.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Jim Henson



Jim Henson is very high up in my list of people I don't know personally but admire and love. Even though he's not alive anymore, I think he has left a legacy of awesome that will continue for a very long time.

I'm in the midst of planning my Montreal trip (T-minus four days and counting), so I've been checking out online links to Montrealy things. The Design*Sponge Montreal Design Guide led me to the Galerie & Boutique Headquarters blog, where I learned that September 25th was JHs birthday and was pointed to the Wikipedia entry on him, most specifically the section about his death and funeral - and warned that I would probably cry. And I did - but in the way that I usually cry, which is when I am reminded by how extremely kind people can be to one another, and how good, and how we can connect even when things are sad.

So: Be kind. Be good. Connect.

xo.

Also: Watch the Muppets Tribute to Jim Henson.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A career

I decided I want a job that involves movies, design, writing, and interacting with great people.

Please and thank you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wasp


Kickpleat recommended this short film yesterday
. It is amazing. I sat rapt from the opening frames. Available on youtube in three parts (8 minutes each), it is absolutely a masterpiece of mood and tension.

10/10.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Labyrinth again:



Apparently there is an authorized English language manga sequel to Labyrinth...



Awesome.

Labyrinth

I watched Labyrinth tonight, and as I watched I was struck by two things.

One: Sarah's outfit is almost exactly what I see on 18 year old girls all over campus every day. The sleeves are maybe a little extreme, but aside from that, these girls might be carbon copies.

Two: Jareth the Goblin King was probably my first encounter with sex and danger so intertwined in a character. I'm not sure how old I was the first time I saw the film, but I must have been pretty young, and I'm pretty sure it must have had a major impact on my psyche, romantic and otherwise.

See both here:


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Things I love today

The number 9.

Sleep.

Coffee.

Sunshine.

Looking forward to seeing District 9 when I make that happen. (Maybe it should be today, theme day.)

Smoothies.

Wooden boats (went to the maritime museum yesterday with friends from Vancouver - cried at the Halifax Explosion exhibit. Also - Tuesdays are by donation, yay.).

My half-price sunscreen that smells like creamsicle, even though the hornets love it too.

Water.

The library (as per usual).

Scott Pilgrim.

Thinking about space.

Serendipity: I was sitting on a bench, reading the aforementioned Scott Pilgrim, when I came across the word gallivanting, and paused to reflect on the fact that it was spelled differently than I thought it was. As I was staring at the word and thinking about this, the woman sitting next to me said into her cellphone, "Yeah, they're off gallivanting around..." It just made me feel like I was in the right spot.

Cutting off split ends.

Thinking about food.

090909

I love the number 9. Happy 9 day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Steve McCurry

Explore the gorgeousness that is the Steve McCurry website. He is the photographer who took that uber-famous portrait of the girl in Afghanistan with the eyes. His other work is also amazing - the colours especially. I love the geisha in the subway (?) stairwell.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aaron Sorkin, how I've missed you

Now that I've run out of Aaron Sorkin era West Wing episodes (I still haven't decided whether I am going to continue on with the series, any thoughts?), I've been left with a void that was once filled with great characters and better than great dialogue.

A movie about Facebook: sounds ridiculous. And probably boring.

Add a screenplay by Mr. Sorkin and I am so in I'm almost out again.

I have no idea when The Social Network will actually get made, and subsequently released. But I am psyched.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When I am an old woman I shall wear black.

Hello people: only one and a half days left of my summer job, just under seven days left in Vancouver, and 29 days left until I start classes again in September.

What does this mean?

Back to school shopping (I'm pretty sure I will call it that for the rest of my life, even when *appalled gasp* I am not in school).

Almost all I can think about is clothes.

At the top of my list: casual yet sharp looking blazer.

Also: Black skinny jeans.

Also: Getting rid of everything that doesn't feel (and look) fantastic, and that I don't love.

I have been scouring the internet for a good rundown of a "capsule wardrobe." This Real Simple checklist is pretty good.

What else? What do you want?

Monday, July 20, 2009

My thoughts on listening to this: Oh thank God.



Also: I really like (ahem) that he says the word like so often when he talks. I have gotten flak for this, and occasionally feel self-conscious about the fact that I still talk like a teenager. Then I notice that lots of people do it, and it is not actually any worse than saying um or uh.

So, like, I am going to be okay with it.

Clip found via dustincurtis.com.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summering it up

What I've been up to: working and summering it up (which I define as doing nothing but enjoying the sunshine and drinking the occasional beer).

As such, my brain is on a bit of a sabbatical, but here are a few things I've been excited about lately.

(500) Days of Summer
. Loved it. Adorable. Delightful. 9/10.

Pasta with garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes. I ate it two nights in a row last week. In order to feel more virtuous I also boiled myself an egg, and on the second night I added a bunch of broccoli florets to the pasta. This is among my favourite meals of all time.

Julie and Julia. Can't wait. I love Amy Adams. And the guy who plays her boyfriend/husband (?) whose name I didn't know until just now (it is Chris Messina), but who I adored in Ira and Abby.

Reading The Giant's House - not finished yet, so I can't put in a final judgement, but the book has already lodged itself in my heart with passages like the following.
People think librarians are unromatic, unimaginative. This is not true. We are people whose dreams run in particular ways. Ask a mountain climber what he feels when he sees a mountain; a lion tamer what goes through his mind when he meets a new lion; a doctor confronted with a beautiful malfunctioning body. The idea of a library full of books, the books full of knowledge, fills me with fear and love and courage and endless wonder (p. 8).
So You Think You Can Dance - the week before last week included my two favourite dances of the season so far, the addiction one (which made me cry) and this Argentine Tango.

Cherry pie.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Amazing cupcakes. And I don't even really like cupcakes. (Usually.)

photos by Lyndsay Sung (all of them. there are more. after the writing. a lot more.)

Cupcakes: usually meh. Not that I don't love sugar and butter, but I prefer it in a different ratio (and with more accoutrements) than you find in most of these little sugar highs. And yes, they're cute - but I am something of a minimalist. Why I think my wardrobe should be echoed by my diet, I'm not sure, but somehow a lack of frills on my dresses has also presented itself as a lack of frills on my desserts.

But then I saw pictures of coco cake cupcakes. And I read the flavours (lemon cake with lemon creamcheese frosting; dark chocolate cake with peppermint buttercream; raspberry jam filled coconut cake with vanilla creamcheese frosting and more coconut on top; delighted sigh from me). I might have been converted. I guess I should probably taste them, but even if they don't taste as good as they sound and look (and I'm pretty sure they do - I can just feel it), they are little pieces of art; I will adore them just the same.

Someone in Vancouver please have some kind of event that involves cupcakes, please order these ones, and please invite me.

(yes. these have matcha icing.)

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod

I have to have the ampersand necklace featured here. How am I going to get it? Oh no. Want. Want.

(found via oh joy!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Too cool.


These images
(featured on design*sponge) are just too awesome for words. I need to make more things. I mean, I want to.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Arts & Culture

I was lucky enough to spend the past two days at the Vancouver Arts Summit (thanks to my great summer job at the Alliance for Arts and Culture). The entire thing was fantastic, but yesterday was especially so.

I went to a super fantastic (super tense) panel discussion on "new media, new tools, new audiences". I've come to be pretty disenchanted with the term new media - to my mind there is no longer any such thing; it's not something separate from the way we live our every day lives. Everything we do is through "new" media -- plus what comes next? Do we get new new media when what we have now becomes old new media? Newer media? Terminology aside, the panel discussion was fascinating, due to the range of voices. At one end of the spectrum was Jerry Wasserman, who seems to have gotten into the internet out of necessity more than excitement, and still seems a little skeptical about the whole thing, and at the other was Kris Krug, who had more than enough enthusiasm about and faith in the digital world to get most attendees really excited about the possibilites that come along with expanding your online presence. I could really feel the tension between the two perspectives - the traditional media who don't trust the internet vs. the younger users/creators who seem to have integrated it into every part of their lives - but that tension made me feel so connected to my love for technology and media and newness, and the fact that at its core all media, new and old, is about connection and learning.

Weird fact: we all found out that Michael Jackson died because Kris was online during the session. The moderator had just asked the question, Where do you find information you trust online? and out of nowhere Kris said something like, Apparently Michael Jackson just died. I don't think I was the only one who thought it was some kind of test or demonstration, showing us that you can't trust everything you read. I then got two text messages in short succession both telling me the same thing. It was all a little surreal.

Today, to end the conference, the wonderful emcee (she had another word for herself, but I can't remember what it was... something french sounding), Vanessa Richards, closed by thanking everyone, and then she brought it back to MJ. She talked about how powerful it was to be a kid and see Michael with the Jackson Five showing her that children could sing and do it with passion and energy - that being a kid wasn't restricted to Sesame Street. She talked about how sad she was when Michael first went solo, and how lonely he must have been throughout his life. Then she sang his first solo hit, Ben, because she thought its message was one that should be recognized and embraced by the arts community. I wish I could post a video of her singing, because I had one of those wonderful moments where my vision shifted, and everything aside from the performer and the performance was totally gone. I was completely taken into that moment, which was a perfect end to two days of talk about arts; I got to get into that simple, profound, direct, moving, expansive experience that is the reason people make and see and do art. Since I can't post that, I will post Mr. Jackson, before it all came down around him, singing about connection.



p.s. As a result of this (the summit and the panel, not Michael Jackson's death), I can't stop thinking about this blog. Where it should go. What it should be.

p.p.s. I want to do and be everything. They tell me I can't.

p.p.p.s. I have always loved postscripts - even now that editing functions mean that I could actually insert the thought into the body of what I am writing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Depressing Italian Movies

Pacific Cinematheque is currently celebrating the Leading Ladies of Italian Cinema. I went to a double feature on Friday night. It was fantastic (and heartbreaking).

La Strada was absolutely devastating (said staring you straight in the eye), while Two Women was absolutely devastating (said while holding my hands to my heart and swooning).

La Strada 1954

Gelsomina is sold by her mother to an abusive circus strongman, Zampanò. Fun times. They roam around Italy, and he gets drunk and picks up other women. Gelsomina (a naive country girl) gets to see some of the things the world has to offer, but is unable to untether herself from Zampanò's company. This is among the most unrelentingly depressing films I have ever seen, with very little offered in the way of redemption or hope, but it is worth watching just for Giulietta Masina's performance as Gelsomina. She says little, but her expression changes from delight to despair and back again with such quickness, and such purity, that I could watch her forever.

7/10.



Two Women (1960)

Two Women is beautiful - its black and white cinematography richly detailed and textured. Set in Italy during World War II, the story follows Cesira and Rosetta, a mother and her 13-year old daughter, as they take refuge from the bombing of Rome in the Italian countryside. I was completely brought into the time and place; in one scene the pair are walking down a country road when a fighter plane sends lines of bullets down towards them - I ducked.

The pace of the film is perfect, allowing relationships and characters to unfurl before tragic events in the last act level all of it. I felt cut in half when that point came, but still so connected to everything that was happening on screen. Sophia Loren plays Cesira, and this role won her the first ever Best Actress Academy Award for a non-English speaking performance. Loren is sultry, but eons away from a sex-pot charicature; she is strong, intense, vulnerable, smart, and warm. Two women is about the catastrophe that is war, but at a deeper level it is about becoming a woman, with everything that means.

Glorious.

9/10.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I want to

I want to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winners (for Fiction). My top two favourite books are winners (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Middlesex). New project - yay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

So you think you can dance...

Spoiler ahead.

So You Think You Can Dance is my favourite show that is actually currently on TV.

Here is why:



I love these guys. They make my heart glad. I was so sad when Ryan didn't make it into the top 20. I'm hoping that he will be there next season - but Evan reminds me of Nathan Fillion a little, so that's good too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Canadian Television - woo

If you need me, I will probably be ensconced in the cbc website watching the first season of Being Erica (warning, a video will start playing almost right away. It might be loud). I remember seeing ads for it a few months ago, and thinking that it looked vaguely funny, but recently a few people whose taste I trust have said good things about it. I woke up super early this morning and needed a way to pass the time, so I went online and watched the first episode. And then the second, and then the third.

The premise is slightly ridiculous (woman time travels to change the events in her life she regrets), but the show is really well done. The writing is quick and funny, and Erica (played by Erin Karpluk) is the same. She's 32, single (and searching), in a dead-end job (and quickly out of it), and she feels like a failure. I love the character because she never comes across as pathetic or desperate - she's just searching for her right path, with a lot of meandering (can I relate? Yes).

Canadian TV and movies often get a bad rap, and a lot of the time it's deserved; I hate to say it, but it's true. That said, there is some amazing stuff out there. If you live outside of the US and ever find yourself frustrated by the fact that the content on hulu.com is not available in whatever country you live in, check out some of the Canadian (or wherever you live) TV websites. I still curse the skies (and NBC et al.) occasionally when I can't watch a particular clip that's been featured on a blog or somewhere like that, but it's nice to have an alternative.

Before the show aired, Being Erica did some kind of blog promo thing - so I am putting up one of the clips that is especially dear to my heart.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

On asparagus and shrimp sandwiches: they are delicious


Two pieces of bread (any kind you think is delicious. I used multigrain flax bread, it was nice)


Shrimp (the little kind that you buy cooked at the deli - in the UK, strangely enough, these are called prawns), enough to mound on a piece of bread... half a cup? - mixed together with a spoonful of mayonnaise, a smaller spoonful of dijon, and some salt and pepper


Asparagus, steamed for a few minutes until it is bright green and you can stick a fork into it easily


Mayonnaise that you spread on the piece of bread that the asparagus is going on (optional)



Put all of this together and it equals an amazing, simple, summery lunch.

On excitement

Image by flickr user moleitau (aka Matt Jones)

It is amazing how restorative a Saturday alone can be. I am shocked that it is only 11:47 am. My day has contained unimaginable excitement - but all in my head.

Recently, I have been waking up early, then looking at the clock and going back to sleep. Every time it happens, I have a thought, in the tiny area of my brain that is actually awake, that I should start getting up when my body seems to want me to. This morning, when the tiny tap of a crow landing on the roof made its way through to my consciousness, I looked at the clock and saw that it was only 7 am. It was Saturday, and if I wanted to I could turn over and sleep until noon. Instead, I got up.

I had one thought.

Yoga or write. These are the two things I should be doing every morning that I almost never do. I don't know why I find it so hard to do these things that I absolutely enjoy. I must be punishing myself in some way, making myself slog from sleep to work (or television) without any time to get in touch with myself or the world.

Yoga seemed too hard, and writing, in comparison, easy. So I picked up my laptop and started typing away into my journal, the one where I can say anything, no matter how mundane (funny that I would feel worse about posting something boring than about posting something embarassing). I wrote for a bit, then got up and did some easy yoga poses.

I did things like put away dishes and read bits of my book (My Last Movie Star, by Martha Sherrill, which I am not enjoying as much as The Ruins of California, but I am enjoying), because I wanted to wait until the library opened to go out into the world. At quarter to ten I walked over, got a coffee, and sat with a pile of books. They've renovated the library recently, and it was full of windows and light and chairs to sit in, and I basked in the glow of sunshine and words. Somehow everything lined up; my caffe misto tasted delicious and I was suddenly full of ideas and energy and excitement. About a number of things. Well, two: what to do when I finish my MLIS (it involves writing more, and potentially more school - a fact I'm sure will delight my parents, and the critic inside me who thinks that I must not be cut out for the "real world", until I realize I'm already there, and doing okay by my true standards), and a blog idea (it also involves writing more, and is a big idea that I want to unveil in time). These two ideas started thrumming in me as I sat there. I could feel them in my pulse. I don't remember the last time I was so excited about something(s). Certainly not in the past few years.

All this in one Saturday morning. The weekend, books, sunshine and coffee - my favourite combination.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ruins of California


I had to finish this book tonight, and I had to write about it.

I picked it up at Indigo a couple of weeks ago, where a paperback copy was sitting in the cheap section. I liked the cover, and the praise on the back was so effusive that I had to buy it, even though I'm trying not to buy too many books. It sat on the chair beside my bed for a week or so, and then I picked it up.

Set in California during the 70s, it is a coming of age story told from the perspective of Inez Ruin, a "baton of a girl" who shifts back and forth between the suburban life she shares with her mother and grandmother, and her visits to her father (and an array of his girlfriends) in San Francisco. Inez is among my favourite characters I've read lately. She is so well drawn and true, and whenever I opened the book I could feel myself stepping into her skin - I could feel its warmth. It is fascinating to move with Inez from childhood, through adolescence, and into adulthood - the changes in her are both significant and subtle, and they happen so organically that it feels like life, the way that things just happen; things are one way and then, gradually, suddenly, they are another.

This is a book about love in all of its forms, but mostly about love in families, and the complications that love entails. Every moment I spent reading it felt like... being in the best parts of the world.

My favourite line: Her shyness and awkwardness weren't an obstacle to knowing her anymore, but an opening where you could see her heart.

Highly recommended. As Carolyn See wrote in her Washington Post Book World review, "[The Ruins of California] isn't for everyone, but I don't want to know the people it isn't for."

9/10.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I like talking about myself. Or typing, rather.

Danette posted an interview meme (it doesn't really feel like a meme though - too tailor made for each individual) in which she was interviewed, and invited others to be interviewed in turn by her. I raised my hand (and pumped it furiously in the air), because I love being interviewed. At King's a bunch of the girls on my floor are in the journalism program, and I was occasionally interviewed (with tape recorders, even), and it was so fun. I wish job interviews were more like this:

1. If the last thing you ate was turned into a short film, what would it look like?
It would be from the perspective of the camera centred in the middle of the table and it would continuously rotate, showing a 360 degree viewing of alternate bites of caprese sandwich, sips of latte, and laughs, all out in the sunshine.
2. What was your favourite Halloween costume as a child? As an adult?
My favourite costume as a kid was when I was about 11 and went as a hanged person, and wandered all over the place holding on to this giant wooden thing that held a noose I made - I was sort of afraid I was going to trip and it was actually going to hang me. But it didn't. From an adult perspective my favourite childhood costume was when I was say, four? And had to wear a patch on one eye sometimes. So I went as a pirate. My favourite adult costume? Annie Hall, for sure. Because I had no idea what I was going to be until 7 pm that night, at which point I tracked down pants, a shirt, a vest, and a tie. No one knew who I was, but the costume made me so happy.
3. If you won the lottery where you get $1000 every week for the rest of your life, how would your life change?
I would probably keep working, doing the same things I'm doing, and invest/save at least half of the money every week. The rest would be saved for short term things like vacations and whatnot - and I would be happy to know that if ever I were in a job or situation I wasn't fond of - I could let go of it without stressing TOO much about money.
4. Have you ever written (sent or unsent) or received a love letter?
No. I've written and received a few like letters. And some heartbroken ones. I've only written those ones.
5. What do you want right now, more than anything else?
To be floating. Probably in beautiful water, but on air would be interesting too.
Yay for interviews! Thanks Danette! Now - do you want to be interviewed? Yes? Yes you do? (I love asking questions, too - I am a ridiculously curious person.) Well, tell me so in the comments - leave me your email address; I will email you five questions that I have invented for you (you); you answer on your blog - linking back to my blog (if you want... I guess you don't have to); you then post the rules and offer to interview other people (and on and on); you interview them.

Et voila.

I want to interview people. Let me interview you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Back in Vancouver

Photo by Flickr user Spatial Mongrel

I've been back in Vancouver for the past few days, and am still on a high from the ridiculous amount of beauty to be had in this city. Any time anyone asks me about Halifax my response is something along the lines of: "Mumble mumble... look at the trees... look at the mountains... sigh..." The cherry blossoms aren't as full as in the picture above (they've mostly all fallen, or are in the process of falling, which is its own kind of lovely), but the green is all there.

Today I had a delightfully Vancouver-y day, replete with Japanese things. First, for lunch, Japadog, accompanied by an iced matcha latte at Blenz. Then (after voting - yay! That deserves an exclamation mark) Japanese food for dinner. So fresh. So affordable (compared to Halifax). Miso soup at my favourite Halifax sushi place costs $4.50. At my favourite Vancouver sushi restaurant? $1.50. And the rest of the menus shows similar divergences. Anywho: Vancouver food = still delightful.

I started my summer job yesterday. So far it is going really well. It is a very small office, and I really enjoy the people I am working with. Plus I get to wear jeans. I kind of hope I never have a job where I can't wear jeans. I love jeans. I want more jeans. Jeans jeans jeans.

That is pretty much all. Just wanted to check in.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Adorable asian haircuts


For all the short haired people (or people who want to be short haired) I absolutely love this hair website.

The long haired pictures are (sigh) all fairly boring, lots of curly ends and bangs, but then that's because long hair is boring. The short hair section, however, is packed full of the most adorable little haircuts ever.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Welcome to May


On my list of ever evolving life goals I have this point: Have a magnolia tree in my yard. I walked outside the other day to see bits of pink emerging from what until then had been hard greenish buds. I looked closer. A magnolia tree. Right outside my window.


The top rectangular window there is mine.

Check.

I would like to continue having Magnolia trees in all of my yards from this point on, please and thank you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I have always wanted to live in the Vancouver Art Gallery

And now I will be closer than ever.


Vancouver artist Reece Terris is in the process of putting together a set of apartments (designed by decade from 1950 to now) that will rise up through the centre of the Vancouver Art Gallery. I am looking forward to this (opens May 6).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tone on tone

I've been noticing little things, lately. Subtleties.



Braids are what all the cool kids are doing these days. I love being surrounded by 18-year-olds.

Except when they use words I've never head before. Like biddy. Of course I've heard the word biddy before, but when I hear it I think of old ladies who are a little bit cranky.

It's slang, apparently, for girls you hook up with, randomly-ish, not seriously. At least, that's what I've gathered. I feel like an explorer in a new world sometimes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Léon/The Professional

I watched The Professional for the first time about ten years ago, and I loved it. It's violent, but so stylized and gorgeously shot - watching it feels a little like watching a graphic novel. Léon (Jean Reno) is a hit man who lives alone in his New York apartment. Matilda (a stunning thirteen-year-old Natalie Portman) is a young girl whose family is gunned down in a drug dispute while she's at the grocery store. Léon takes Matilda in. Written and directed by Luc Besson (whose The Fifth Element is another of my 90s favourites), it is a sparing, brilliant film about what happens when something unexpected comes into our lives and changes our entire way of being in the world.




Watch it. Again.

Oh yeah, 10/10.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It snowed today.

So I went out and bought a springtime lipstick.


I like pictures where my eyes are closed.

(p.s. it's MAC slimshine lipstick in lovey-dove.)

Instead of writing

My hold came into the library the other day. Plot and Structure: techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish, by James Scott Bell.

He begins by discussing the process by which he decided to take his writing seriously, which included obtaining a number of talismans: a poster of Stephen King, a black mug with the word writer stretched across it. He suggested posting something inspiring, so I immediately put down the book and started trolling the internet for quotes (I've always been a quote kind of girl). I found these ones here.

Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.
- Jules Renard

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
- Emile Zola

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
- Gustave Flaubert

A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream.
- Gaston Bachelard

When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.
- Raymond Chandler

Make it new.
- Ezra Pound

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any.
- Orson Scott Card

Saturday, April 11, 2009

English

I want to see (and hear) English as a second language once in a while - hear the things I never do because they are just part of the way I talk - the intricacies - the oddities. I want to think in the kind of poems I love - the ones that work words like the most delicate thread, looping around their meanings to create new ones, building words on words to create so many levels of understanding.

Hear-here-hero-heroin-harrowing-narrowing down.

It's hard work, actually listening to what people say.



(It is raining. I feel grey - in the best possible way.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My first video diary

I refuse to use that other word (the v word), but then again, I hated the word blog for a long time, too.



I have posted my first video diary entry over on my YA blog. Here are the outtakes. I screwed up multiple times. Woo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Song Around the World - Stand By Me



My mum sent me this in an email today, and I just think it's so lovely. I'm so happy music exists.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Perfect jobs


We went around the table at dinner tonight deciding for one another what we saw as the perfect job. I was told that I should be a magazine editor (or else just a regular editor), and The Devil Wears Prada came up. "Yes," said Tiffany. "That character was made for you."

I looked at her askance. "Really."

"No, just like, you, are very firm in your opinions, and..." (This dialog is not exact, but is basically what she was saying.)

It's true. I am very precise in what I like and what I don't, and when something is right and when it is wrong.

Then I started fantasizing about having an assistant who I could send out to pick up whatever food I was craving. That would be great.

I don't think I'm very much like Miranda Priestley (or Anna Wintour), but I sure do like to decide things.

Contact

Email me at thenewisthetrue (at) gmail .com
My photo
Toronto, Canada
I think I might be addicted to books. And noodles. I need the ocean. I want to know everything. Almost. I love love. And loving things. Like love. And like.

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