Saturday, December 18, 2010

&s

Have we talked about how much I love ampersands? I feel like we must have, because I love them so much. The curves. The replacement of a whole word with a single symbol/letter/figure thing. The fact that I can spell my name with one (&ge). The possibility inherent in the word "and".

I'm not the only one. One of my favourite blogs is is ampersandampersand.tumblr.com, "a blog celebrating the beauty of the ampersand" by posting a different example every day. Here are three of my recent favourites:





Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two bands

Two bands I've been listening to a lot lately are Florence and the Machine and The XX.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Mmmmmmmmmmm.


I stopped at Clafouti on my way to work this morning, because I decided to celebrate Friday by finally trying one of their croissants (I had tried to get one on a Saturday once, but I got there at about 11 am and they were sold out). When I arrived I decided to celebrate by trying two of their croissants - I bought the chocolate almond and the cinnamon sugar, and then I cut them in half when I got to work. I expected to prefer the chocolate, but the cinnamon sugar was so so so good - essentially a butter croissant with a thin layer of cinnamon and sugar spread on the inside of the pastry before it was rolled.

Yum.

Happy Friday to me and to you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blogging more, work, and dreams


Dear diary,

I promise to write more here. Mostly because I really feel like I need to have something to mark the transition from work life to real life. Life life. Because I've learned that it's possible for me to be a workaholic. Who knew? I'm almost three weeks into the new job and I've had a massive problem letting go of work when I leave for the day. I think and ponder and stress. I think it's mostly the fact that it's a steep learning curve, and I really want to be good at what I do - the transition from novice to expert is uncomfortable for me. But anyways - I am really really trying (and beginning to succeed) to leave work at work. But I want something to mark that transition. I've been walking home a lot, but it's starting to get cold. So I think blogging, even just finding something interesting to share, is a good way to make that transition back into my life beyond work.

I finally bought a bed (I've been sleeping on an air mattress for the past four months). And by bed I mean futon mattress that is currently on the floor. I'm not so far away from my student days (and indeed, probably just between them, knowing me) that I've moved on to actual mattresses on bed frames. I've had interesting dreams since I bought it. The first night I dreamed that I was in an acting class with Woody Allen and he loved me and was going to cast me in all of his movies.

Tonight I'm listening to Rachael Cantu and baking potatoes. Yum.


Will write more soon. Promise.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Have I told you lately that I love Sheezer?

Like, a lot.

Seriously. Sally and I spent last night at our band practice singing an excellent rendition of Jolene and fangirling over Sheezer. I really really want that t-shirt.


I'm going out of town this weekend, otherwise I would so be at their show on Friday night, swooning in the front row.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A photo of a beet and thoughts on other people's thoughts on life

I fell in love with this beet while preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

In other news -

My favourite piece of advice from Milton Glazer's 10 Things I Have Learned, via Keri Smith:

Some people are toxic. Avoid them.
It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.
Another great piece of thought/advice from the Keri Smith post that linked to this (which resonates with me as a blogger and a human being):
as a teacher you are always mining the world for content, things you can use in class, things to share, and it creates a kind of bond with the people you are sharing with because you are always excited to bring something to them that you think is interesting or related to what you are teaching. what is somewhat difficult is that while you are in it there is no real gauge for how you are doing. how do you know if you are reaching someone? if you are a good teacher, some of what you are teaching might not sink in for years. I suppose you just give them all you have and release all attachment to outcome. Isn’t that how it is with all important things in your life? Parenting, art, relationships, etc.
Yep. Good rule for life - give all you have and release all attachment to outcome.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Think of what we've come to. It is one of the great testaments to the intellectual—and moral, and spiritual—poverty of American society that it makes its most intelligent young people feel like they're being self-indulgent if they pursue their curiosity. You are all told that you're supposed to go to college, but you're also told that you're being "self-indulgent" if you actually want to get an education. Or even worse, give yourself one. As opposed to what? Going into consulting isn't self-indulgent? Going into finance isn't self-indulgent? Going into law, like most of the people who do, in order to make yourself rich, isn't self-indulgent? It's not OK to play music, or write essays, because what good does that really do anyone, but it is OK to work for a hedge fund. It's selfish to pursue your passion, unless it's also going to make you a lot of money, in which case it's not selfish at all.
From What Are You Going to Do With That, an essay by William Deresiewicz. The man, I must say, has a point.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Young Bjork (=love)

I somehow ended up watching all of these videos of young Bjork tonight.


They were just entrancing (this one is just audio).


She's so cool. (Way to state the obvious.)

It gets better

I am totally in love with Dan Savage's new project, It Gets Better.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A month in pictures

And some words.

Toronto is going well. It's so nice to be working. I saw my first TIFF screening. I was so high on the experience that I can't tell whether or not I really liked the film. I went to MOCCA (yay for free art). I'm too cheap to get on the subway so I walk pretty much everywhere. On days I remember my camera this means I get some fun pictures.

In chronological order here are photos of the last month in my life. 

One of the weird little spots by the waterfront I was talking about:


And a golden building:


I went back to the odd "beach". This time I sat down with Sally.


We watched a guy and a girl flying a kite. I tried to surreptitiously take their photo and ended up with an accidentally blurred photograph à la my dad (although he does it on purpose).


Sally was craving salad so I yelped "salad in Toronto" and we ended up in Kensington at Hibiscus, a vegetarian and gluten free café. We shared a delicious salad bowl and a crepe with pear, brie and walnuts. It was really good.


Walking down the street one day I admired this woman's hat. It reminds me of Darth Vader.


Today I walked over to Roncesvalles with Alex. We picked up Pączki (polish donuts) from Granowska's Bakery and delicious Americanos (Americani?) from Lit Espresso Bar.


I got one filled with plum jam and one filled with sweet cheese. I've been trying really hard (and usually succeeding) to eat stuff that's fairly low on the glycemic index, but man I love good donuts every so often.


Then we walked home along the water.


I'm glad there's water here.

I'm also glad it's fall. I love the days it rains, although I need better shoes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

I am currently obsessed with this recipe. I make it a little bit differently (the original recipe sounds delicious, but I don't actually have most of the ingredients). Note that the recipe is for about 3 or 4 servings. So, I take a quarter to a third cup of steel cut oats and a tablespoon or so of shredded unsweetened coconut, then put it in a bowl just submerged in water and a bit of milk. I sometimes add raisins or dried currents. Then I put it in the fridge. In the morning I add sunflower seeds, ground flax, and chopped almonds, with a bit of sugar or honey and a bit more milk. If I'm not in a hurry I heat it up on the stove first. I eat this pretty much every day at the moment, and it is so fast and filling and delicious.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is this us?


I've been a little bit busy, settling into my new job (Working is fun. Unemployment is overrated. I'm such a nerd.) and new city. I promise to try to have more than the sound of wind whistling through here up soon.

Via Cat and Girl.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When people say nice things about you

My most recent (wonderful) boss recently had to fill out a reference form when I was interviewing for a job. He wrote: 

Ange is best suited for an occupation which enables her to encounter and engage with an incredible amount of information, which she can then share in creative and helpful ways with others which help them to discover something new about themselves and the world in which they live. 

The job I was interviewing for would not have been the job that he was describing, and his words made me feel completely comfortable with the choice I made that it was decidedly not the job for me. I loved that he could see this in me. Thanks to him I now I have a very clearly expressed objective: that job. I'm looking forward to it.

Marion Cotillard

I stumbled upon this video of Marion Cotillard while perusing The Debonaire today. Marion Cotillard and I look similar in a way that makes it feel sort of surreal to watch this. Not like, Oh mon dieu, I look exactly like this mega-gorgeous film star, but like we could be cousins, or sisters or something. She smiles with her mouth closed and gets sort of squinty in the same way I do. So, in what seems to be a form of narcissism, I completely adore her.


I especially love the way she mixes up "ed" and "ing" endings, so she calls herself "confusing" rather than "confused." It makes me wonder what kind of mistakes I make in French, without even noticing. I hope that when (not if) I next go to France and make new French friends they find my linguistic missteps at least a little bit charming.

And a little clip of her in French (on filmmaking):


It's funny how people's voices change depending on the language they're speaking. Et j'adore ça aussi.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Not lost

I'm not lost exactly, I'm just not entirely sure where I'm going. The thing that's keeping me from feeling lost, I think, is knowing that so many others are where I am, or have been.

Reading this piece on being lost by Penelope Trunk made me feel like a member of a tribe, all of us bumping around in the world, opening doors, looking around corners and lifting up the edges of things to see what's underneath. Looking, and hopefully finding. 

My favourite bit from the post is about the importance of art: "When you are lost is when you need art most." This is so true for me. Finding and reading Where the God of Love Hangs Out last week immediately pulled me out of the weird mood I was in and connected me to the feeling of awe that comes with encountering really amazing art. It reminded of what's possible.

Other art I want to experience:
I Am Love
The second season of Nurse Jackie (yes, television can be art. Pretty much anything can be art)
An Ontario peach (in keeping with my stance that everything can be art, I most certainly believe that food can be art. I think that food can nurture those same places in us as do songs with perfect, husky harmonies and novels with characters so real they feel like they're alive inside us, places far more important than our bellies)
Everything at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Watching people everywhere 

And, oh yes, I'm creating. Sometimes blogging doesn't feel like it should count, but I'm counting it. I've also started doing morning pages again, in the hopes that I will let some of the stories that have been pushing their way forward actually come out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life beside the CN Tower (which I always want to call the Space Needle)

The CN Tower from my window, pixelated by the screen door.

And in the morning, in the fog.

I had some kind of flu-type thing over the weekend, and I just lay in bed sleeping, and when I was too tired to sleep I watched TV on my computer (I finally started watching Modern Family. That is a great show). I think that my body just gave up after I spent a few days freaking out about jobs and possible futures and where I should be and what I should be doing.

Rest, my body said. Stop it. Look what you're doing to yourself.

Yesterday I felt about 70% normal. This morning I was at about 85%. So off I went, into the world. The weather today is beautiful, clear and hot but not crazyhot like I've almost gotten used to. I explored my new neighbourhood a bit. I'm currently staying right down by the Toronto harbourfront, which is a sort of odd little area. I was sad that I didn't have my camera with me, because there were so many weird little nooks. Odd little green hills and spans of fake beach with little yellow beach umbrellas.

I should have sought out the water earlier. It's so nice to sit and watch an expanse of water sparkle, even if it's not the Atlantic or the Pacific.

After the water I walked up to the library. I joined the library last week, and I've already been up three times. Today, while browsing, I came across a new collection of stories by Amy Bloom, one of my favourite authors. So I decided to do one of those soul affirming things I somehow hadn't done in too long. I bought myself a steamed milk with hazelnut, found a comfy chair, and sat and read. I've read the first half, and the book (Where the God of Love Hangs Out) is as wonderful as anything she's written. I cried already. I hardly ever cry when I'm reading.

A trip to the water + a substantial sitdown with a good book = majorly rejuvenating.

I think a lot in word based mathematical equations lately.

Toronto has been up and down. Not literally, it's actually pretty flat (although the simcoe wave deck is another of those odd waterfront nooks I discovered today). But it's been very weird not having a job, not having money to explore, and still trying to make a connection. I felt absolutely called to come here, and just followed that blindly, figuring that when I got here I'd see why. Now I'm just kind of waiting to see what happens, feeling altogether out of my element. I know that I need to give it a bit of time to find my place, but that is a sort of scary place to be, especially when there are people around me, people that I know love me, who are nudging me to just grow up and join the real world already. I am, I swear - I'm just doing it my way.

I really am a part of that thing, that generation Y (ahem) thing that they talk about, where I know that my job is going to take up a huge part of my life, so rather than trying for work life balance, which sounds like a joke, I'm aiming for work life unity. A strong sense of community is probably the biggest thing I'm looking for. I was lucky enough to have that in my past two jobs, and am looking for it again. So for now I'm taking a job in a coffee shop (I actually got an awesome vibe based on the interview), while I try to build a career (and a life) combining my dedication to service and to community with my extremely wonderful creative and organizational skills. 

So yes. This is my generation Y post. Maybe I should write a graphic novel about the whole thing.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

First thoughts on Toronto

My first text to Alex, upon arriving: "So many hipsters on bicycles. And bricks."

Today I spent my first day in Toronto walking around alone. (I live here now. This is brand new.) I bought a perfect two dollar latte at JetFuel. I walked to the closest library branch to find out what I will need to get a library card. I went to the big chain bookstore and bought myself a little map book thing.

Downtown smelled at first like a mix of chocolate and people, and then a few blocks later it was a very warm nutmeg smell.

I passed a sign in a window that said: Be motivated in life by desire, not fear.

It made me feel good.

Halfway through writing this post, I happened upon this video, a poem (a collaboration between lovelies Tanya Davis and Andrea Dorfman):


I am a little bit in love with it.

I am not someone who is averse to alone, or who associates alone with loneliness. But lately I've been around people a lot. So today, being all by myself from the time I woke up felt slightly strange, especially being in a place that I don't know. That poem is a lovely reminder that I can cherish these moments. I get the chance to explore my new city, to be with my impressions, to notice things and stop and enjoy them and have them be mine for a while.

Maybe I will take myself to a movie soon. Going to the movies alone is one of my favourite things. Maybe I will wait until a day gets so hot that I can't bear to be outside. Or maybe I will go when the sun is shining but there is still a cool breeze, and I won't even feel guilty, because a dark movie theatre is an amazing place to be, no matter what is going on outside.

It is very exciting to move to a new city, sight unseen. I keep forgetting this is the second time I've done it, although it feels completely different, because when I moved to Halifax everything was in place before I got there. I had a job, a place to live, and a school to go to. This time everything is free and possible and nothing is certain, but things keep falling into place and I just keep going, trusting. It makes me feel alive and young and possible and a bit timid but also brave and hopeful and glad. 

This city is prettier than I expected. Greener.

It is different. 

I was craving a place to explore, and now I have a whole city full of tastes I've never tasted, sounds I've never heard, people I've never met, and on. I am welcoming Toronto recommendations (indeed, I am soliciting them). Tell me about your favourite Toronto place, if you have one. 

Before I got here I listened to this song over and over, mostly because there is a line that mentions Toronto: 


I really love that video - it feels like summer. And I am a sucker for lone trumpets.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Decemberists performing Crazy on You.



A friend of mine sent me a link to this video with the comment that the girl on the left reminded him an awful lot of me. This is a giant compliment, as she is adorable and obviously awesome. Apparently it's Shara Worden, who sang the role of the Queen on the Decemberists' The Hazards of Love. I didn't go see them when they toured for that album, and I'm still a bit sad about it. This video of her singing the Queen's Rebuke just reminds me, but it is so good that it's worth the pain.

Also, I want her haircut. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New blog



So it's pretty brand new, and currently only has two posts up (one of which you've already seen), but I am super psyched about my new blog, Cahiers du cinémode. Go look. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Walking in Montreal

I tried a macaron for the first time, from boutique point g. At first I was skeptical about paying $1.50 for a tiny piece of vibrantly-hued sweetness. I should not have been. I got the "abricot - thé noir" flavour. It was delicious. I didn't decide that I needed to document the wonderfulness that is a macaron until I was almost finished.

I am constantly coming across colour combinations that make me stop.

Like pink and grey.


It is beautiful.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Big Library

And so begins my summer of wandering.

I left Halifax on Monday for good (or at least for goodish). I'm slowly winding my way back to Vancouver for August, but after that everything is up in the air. I'm craving adventure and newness: a big city and new faces after two years ensconced in tiny, loving Halifax.


Currently in Montreal. I was welcomed on Tuesday night by homemade paella and my favourite beer, and since then I've been reveling in one of my favourite cities, mostly going from delicious food to delicious food, with lots of walking between mouthfuls.

This morning I was taken to la Grande Bibliothèque (or, as I call it, the Big Library). It is gorgeous, and full of bright spots to sit and read (or write, as I did). We went straight to the 4th floor, the film and music section, where I found row after row after row of CDs and DVDs and books.

I love her. In the CD stacks.

"Can I please live here?" I asked. I want to set up a bed in the stacks and sit up late at night screening the thousands of movies I have yet to see, randomly selecting them from the shelves. I want to go through the music collection, listening to each and every album in turn, discovering new bits of world. I want towering piles of books scattered throughout the library, organized according to my own personal system (possibly by colour).

I am currently a little bit homeless. Anytime anyone asks me, "So, where do you live?" I sigh a little and smile. "That is complicated," I say. Or simply, "Nowhere" with a laugh. I'm looking for potential homes, and finding them everywhere. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

So I'm back.

Université Ste-Anne is in the middle of almost nowhere. The school is right next to the ocean, on a big span of land with beach and woods. The largest wooden church in North America is right next door. It has a tall spire that you can see from anywhere nearby. Across the road you will find a cemetary, a credit union, and a small shack that sells ice cream and various fried marine animals.

It was glorious. All of it.

The ocean and the sky and the littlest bit of sun. On the last day I sat by the water and wondered why I hadn't gone there every day.

I found my tribe within the first three days. A little band of us formed and we proceeded to spend all of our time together.

The grass, where we spent 75% of our time, and the cafétéria, where we spent the remainder.

It felt exactly like high school. Like the best of high school, sitting with my rad friends talking about zines and haircuts and movies. En français.

Also, summer camp. I've never actually been to summer camp, but I'm pretty sure that this was exactly what it is like. All the fast friendships and midnight makeout sessions and rainy days watching comedies from the 90s and five week couplings and stolen cookies. And the crying on the last day. With more beer.

On the day we visited smuggler's cove the stairs down to the beach were boarded up. I think it was better that way.

One day we took a bus trip to a couple of historical sites that are important to Acadian history. We got on the bus at 8 am and didn't have time to get coffee. I hoped and hoped during the two hour drive to the first stop, Port-Royal, that there would be somewhere to buy a coffee. There wasn't. I trudged around a bit, fake (real) whining, until I got into the spirit of the reconstructed French colony. You could wander in and around all of the buildings. Pick things up. Try out the beds.

Lauren. With a gun. 


Luke and Blaine in bed. 
 

Me in the window. Smiling. Quel surprise.

It was pretty fun.

We then got on the bus for another two hours. Again, I hoped and hoped that there would be coffee. We got off the bus at Grand Pré (the site of the deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia) and I went up to the information desk to ask if there were somewhere to buy one. Nope.

So, instead of going into the park, a few of us headed off down the road, in search of a café someone had seen. It was only a few minutes away, and when we got there we had one of my favourite meals ever. The staff at the café didn't speak french, so we switched back to English for an hour and a half. We ate sandwiches and drank coffee and finished by sharing a slice of coconut cream pie. The fact that I hadn't eaten or drunk anything since getting up and getting on the bus made all of it that much better, and speaking English felt vaguely illicit and, more than anything else, comfortable.

Not that I didn't love speaking French. I did love speaking French. Most of the time. I made a very concerted effort at the beginning of the session, and I avoided all English music, all English everything. I journalled in French. I spoke in French. I was amazed at how quickly I started thinking in French.

And then I realized how very nearly impossible it is to have a deep, meaningful, emotional conversation with someone in a language that is not your own. I found people at Sainte-Anne that I loved, and respected, and found enormously interesting, and I wanted to say more to them than "Wow, this weather is amazing," "I love when there's pesto in the salad bar," "I like your sweater," and "Want to watch a movie?" So I caved, a little. Not a lot. But I did have a couple of very important, wonderful late night conversations in English.

I needed them.

I'm still a little in denial that it's over. I got back to Halifax yesterday morning, and every time I walk down the street I think I see my newest favourite people. The first bus back to civilization left Ste-Anne at 1:30 am on Friday night/Saturday morning, when almost everyone was at least a little bit drunk (pompette, rather). I thanked modern life for making it so easy for new, awesome people to find their ways into my life, but mostly I cursed it for making it so easy for them to go home again afterwards.

Because honestly (and yes, this is going to be sappy, because I am sappy), my favourite part was the people. I feel so lucky that pretty much everywhere I go I find lovely, funny, smart, awesome, inspiring people. Wow, so much earnestness there. I better make up for it with some cynicism in the near future. Must. Watch. Heathers. Now.

Not really. I'm alright with love.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Le dernier jour

Il y a quelques mots français que j'aime beaucoup. Mon mot préfére a ce moment c'est pompette. Ça veut dire "tipsy". Je pense que j'utiluserai même quand je parlerai anglais.

Monday, June 14, 2010

À nos amours (or: I want to dress like a Parisian teenager circa 1983)


Last night we watched À nos amours, a French film by Maurice Pialat made in 1983. Sandrine Bonnaire (who I loved in Vagabond) stars as Suzanne, a 15-year-old Parisian who "embarks on a sexual rampage in order to separate herself from her overbearing, beloved father, ineffectual mother, and brutish brother." Or so says the DVD case. Honestly, I was able to understand little more than the barest skeleton of the story. I didn't even realize her brother was her brother until the film was almost over. Still, I was in love with the film from the first frames. It is absolutely gorgeous. It is one of those rare films that I wanted to watch again immediately as the credits came up (preferably with subtitles).

While the whole film was more than amazingly composed, the costuming was complete outfit porn. I was plunged into a state of aching lust. Coral red and teal and grey and blue and perfectly loose t-shirts with flared skirts and heels and geometric patterns and cuffed jeans and oh oh oh.

I knew I was a goner when Suzanne appeared in this perfect, simple summer day outfit:


Then came the one shouldered striped black and white top with a flared black skirt and white sandals. I couldn't get a very good shot of this one, but trust me:

Here is the outfit Suzanne wears most of the time. I love cardigans. I especially love this cardigan. And a grey-on-grey striped t-shirt with a drapey grey miniskirt? Um, YES:


This was one of my favourite moments in the film. And my favourite pair of shoes:

I may have said something like "oh mon dieu" when Suzanne appeared in this outfit. It was mostly because of the red boots. You can only see a tiny sliver of them in this shot:


The red boots are more visible here. I also love her friend's outfit. That tulip skirt. The deep scoop neck. And the french mannequins:


Okay. I adore this sweater. Teal and coral at THE SAME TIME. With black. Although I would probably wear it with pants. Or at least shorts. But that's just me:

And finally. Forget lust. I am completely and utterly and forever in love with this dress.  Love. I don't think a still shot can do this dress justice. You have to see her in it. The print. The simple belt. The perfect little squared pockets. The way the skirt drifts away from her body. The ease. Sigh.

L'amour.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Soirée 50s

Tonight is la Soirée 50s.


This was just the inspiration I needed. Thanks, Sally.

And, for good measure, from one of my all-time favourite movies:


Saturday, June 5, 2010


Did I ever tell you how much I loved The Book of Dahlia?

I was reminded of it last night while talking to a friend of mine about how much I wish I were Jewish (and how I'm secretly - or not so secretly - convinced that I actually am, somehow*). I connect so strongly to Jewish culture. Last spring I put my bibliographic search skills to work poring over the public library catalogue to find novels with Jewish protagonists. I found The Book of Dahlia (among others, rest assured. I'm a fantastic librarian.).

Dahlia is a chronic underachiever. The 29-year-old spends her time smoking a lot of pot and occasionally, vaguely considering grad school while watching old movies on TV. Then she has a grand mal seizure and is diagnosed with brain cancer. Yup. The novel is hilarious and smart and dark and sad and awesome. Love. LOVE.

*Seriously. Just after Dahlia gets out of the hospital after being diagnosed, she and her parents head to Barnes & Noble: "This is what Jews do when the shit hits the fan. Go find books." How am I not Jewish?

(This post in English brought to you by a rainy day where I really felt like expressing myself with some semblance of clarity and intelligence.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Un cahier d'exercise jaune


I decided to attempt to keep a journal in French while I'm doing the French program, so yesterday I went to the art store to buy a new journal. I wandered around and nothing was quite right, until I found this adorable marigold Semikolon notebook. It's small (about 5x8) and has about 160 pages. The pages are lined, which is the only downside (I really love writing on unlined pages), but the colour and size and adorableness of it win. I also bought three of my favourite pen, the Pilot G2 (I prefer the 5mm, but all they had was the 7) two in black, and, for something new and exciting and different, one in turquoise.

I'm interested to see how this whole writing in French thing will go. I think that maybe my tenuous hold on the language will let me experiment a bit more, and maybe I'll end up with all kinds of dreamy, poetic journal entries. Otherwise there might be lots of, "Mon cahier est jaune. J'aime mon cahier jaune." kind of stuff. We'll see.

J'aime mon cahier jaune.

This is probably my last blog entry before I leave for my program, so... a bientôt.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Colour (or color)


Do you want to know how much I love Color Collective? To the moon and back. So simple: beautiful images distilled to perfect colour palettes. I love encountering these small bursts of colour, energy and inspiration when I go through my blog feeds in the morning. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Je cherche la musique Francaise.

In less than a week I will be completely immersed in French. Eep.

The Canadian government has a program through which students can do a five week french (or English, if they are a native French speaker) immersion program. Next Sunday I will be making my way to l’Université Sainte-Anne, a small French language university in Pointe-de-l'Église (Church Point), Nova Scotia.

A few weeks ago I received my "passport", a little blue book filled with information. And rules. Until that point I hadn't really thought about what French immersion actually meant. Sure, I realized I would be speaking French exclusively, but there was a line in the passport that made me realize the broader implications. Under the heading Stereo it says, "Portable stereos are permitted, but use headphones to avoid disturbing others or imposing your musical tastes on others. French music must be played at all times. Professeurs and animateurs may check headphones to ensure that English music is not being played."

So I need something to listen to. In French.

The Internet led me (somehow) to my favourite find, Ô Paon, aka Geneviève Castrée. She formerly made music under the name Woelv, and I love that stuff, too. You'll like it if you like slightly weird, haunting vocals and overlapping sounds that make you feel like you're listening to music while drifting underwater in the shallows of a dark ocean.



My friend J recommended Coeur de Pirate, the Montreal-based darling of the francophone (and otherwise) indie scene. And she is indeed darling. I downloaded her album, and while it's short, it's lovely. I also highly recommend listening to her covers of I Kissed a Girl and Umbrella - her voice is gorgeous and a bit smoky, and I love piano-based covers of pop songs.



My friend A then got me into the 60s French girl pop singers à la Françoise Hardy (LOVE the audience in this one).



And that's where I currently stand. I have a small selection of girl singers to listen to (people have recommended other stuff, but these are the ones I've liked best. I guess that's not surprising given what I listen to most in English). I'm definitely still on the lookout for some more selections, so if anyone has any recommendations, please send them my way.

Oh, I'm guessing the no English rule applies to blogging, too. I'm aiming to possibly, maybe do some updating en français. We'll see how it goes.

Oh! Also, I am going to need to find some French novels to read. Any thoughts?

And yes, a bit nervous, but très excited. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

On figs

 photo by flickr user suttonhoo

I  came across a quote from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar while reading an article in Vanity Fair about the Barbizon Hotel for Women (where all the brightest young ladies stayed while trying to make their mark on Manhattan, including Ms. Plath when she interned at Mademoiselle in 1953):

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

Now, I swear I'm not depressed, but this passage so perfectly sums up that feeling of overwhelming possibility that comes with being young and jobless (or rather, job-free as I like to call it). I could do anything - but which anything should I try? And what will I be missing out on if I do?

I am such a teenage girl sometimes.

Really, I know what I want. To be a film librarian/screenwriter/novelist/blogger/TV host/epicure/kind person.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Order of Myths


The men's faces are covered by masks. The man on the left, the one speaking, wears a satiny costume. His mask is lacquer shiny, pale, with rosy cheeks and a wide mouth. He looks like an overgrown porcelain doll. "We have no trouble with the blacks," he says. "The blacks and the whites get along fine." The old man next to him, his eyes covered by a silver mask tucked under his baseball cap, stares mutely ahead.

This was the moment that I became completely captivated by Margaret Brown's 2007 documentary The Order of Myths.

In 1703, 15 years before New Orleans was even founded, Mobile, Alabama was home to the first Mardi Gras in America. Over 300 years later the celebration is still central to the city's cultural life and identity. Or, perhaps, identities. Mobile's Mardi Gras is racially segregated. Two organizations, one white and one black, mount dazzling, separate events.

Brown's film navigates the jewel laden, liquor soaked phenomenon that is Mardi Gras in Mobile, exploring both sets of traditions. The energy of Mardi Gras suffuses every frame, and a current of tension is never far from the surface. Every moment is significant. Every gesture, and every slip of the tongue, feels weighty. Brown shows us a vibrant, complicated part of American life. I sat rapt, pulled into the narrative, until the film's final moments. And when it ended, I wanted nothing more than for it to keep going. I also felt the intense need to try a moonpie. Apparently this is a completely normal reaction.

Taut, intricate, beautiful, fascinating. 

9/10.

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Email me at thenewisthetrue (at) gmail .com
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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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