Miss Imperial is now a done deal.
Here are the entries
you might have missed over the past year.
Thanks for checking in, and if you're still looking for me,
try The Memory Aid.

28 December 2006

"It pleases me this memory..."

The Aztec Motel, Albuquerque, NM, 23-Dec-06

"...has swollen up with age.
Even time can do
good things to you."

TRACK LISTING: The Shins, "Weird Divide"

27 December 2006

"She shone up bright like a knife."

Hummingbird in the Botanic Garden, Albuquerque, NM, 26-Dec-06

"My head's like a kite."

At the River of Lights in the Bio-Park.

TRACK LISTING: The Shins, "Turn a Square"

26 December 2006

"I'm looking in on the good life..."

Hackney House Porch, Cedar Crest, NM, 25-Dec-06

"...I might be doomed
never to find."

Making (iced) tea on the porch!

TRACK LISTING: The Shins, "New Slang"

25 December 2006

"We've turned every stone."

The Neighbour's House, Cedar Crest, NM, 25-Dec-06

"And for all our inventions,
in matters of love loss
we've no recourse at all."

TRACK LISTING: The Shins, "The Past and Pending"

24 December 2006

The Sunday Night Lights: No.10

Hackney House Fireplace, Cedar Crest, NM, 24-Dec-06

"But your lips
when we speak
are the valleys and peaks
of a mountain range
on fire."

TRACK LISTING: The Shins, "Girl Inform Me"

[Note: Yes, I know that this edition of The Sunday Night Lights breaks the track list tradition of "Shine a Light" on Sundays, but a Shins song was promised for each day in the ABQ, so a Shins song you will get this time around! Besides, this is a photo of a fire(place) (in a house) on a mountain range!]

23 December 2006

"Nurtured all year, then pressed in a book."

Aztec Zoo, Albuquerque, NM, 23-Dec-06<br />

"Or displayed
in bad taste
at the table."

In the Aztec Motel backyard, Central Avenue NE.

TRACK LISTING: The Shins, "Caring Is Creepy"

22 December 2006

"Before we take this ride and let it slide..."

'Dream of Flight', Albuquerque, NM, 21-Dec-06

"...into the cracks
where fall and winter

"Dream of Flight" (detail) by Lincoln Fox; as seen at Albuquerque International Sunport.

TRACK LISTING: The Shins, "Girl on the Wing"

21 December 2006


View from the Hackney House, Cedar Crest, NM, 24-Dec-05

"All I ever wanted!"

In a little over twelve hours, we will be boarding a plane for New Mexico (with a FIVE-HOUR layover in this behemoth thrown in)! I'm ridiculously excited, but PF must be over the moon, as they say, since it's his hometown and his friends and family we're going to visit for a week. While we will certainly miss the kitty, it will be great to see everyone in the ABQ again, especially CMP.

In honour of Duke City, I am planning to take numerous photos of our surroundings and post one of these images each day, on its own. (No words -- just pictures.) The accompanying score is an easy choice: all songs will be performed by Albuquerque's pride and joy, The Shins!

Happy holidays, everybody!

TRACK LISTING: The Go-Go's, "Vacation"

20 December 2006

"It's like a children's game."

Alex and Maya, Toronto, ON, 01-Oct-06

"Let's go 'round
one more time."

On the sidewalk, black letters neatly stencilled in spray paint: DUCK.

Two squares up: DUCK, again.

I walk ahead, three more squares, and look down: GOOSE.

Sometimes this city sweeps me off my feet.

TRACK LISTING: The New Seekers, "Circles"

19 December 2006

"Now if there's a smile on my face..."

In the Bathroom, Toronto, ON, 19-Dec-06

"It's only there trying to
fool the public."

Check this thing out. We found it for $5 at an antique mall in a year-round flea market, just outside the small town where my former roommates live.

I assume that, at some point in its past, this was a children's toy. I think it might have even had a tongue where there is now simply a thin, empty slot. I also think that this tongue might have popped out as you wound the key that sprouts from its cap, much like a jack-in-the box, making an appearance at the end of some tinny song.

Maybe in the past, much like a jack-in-the-box, this toy played "Pop Goes the Weasel" when its cap-key was turned, but now...now it only plays evil. Seriously, some of the notes have gone missing, so that now when the key is wound it plinks out the perfect horror movie theme, especially when the key is wound slooowwwly.

I'm not actually sure why we bought this clown head-on-a-stick; I think it might be possessed and thus we were somehow puppet-mastered into taking it home with us. I mean, we're never going to let our kids play with it, lest they suddenly find themselves floating in mid-air, or lest we find them suddenly able to ascend and descend staircases while crawling upside-down. (Though honestly, if we found them doing the latter, we might sign them up for the circus and make some quick cash.)

It's the kind of object you never really want to turn your back on -- in fact, it's currently laying on the computer desk and I AM KEEPING YOU IN MY SIGHTS, CLOWN, DO YOU HEAR ME? Hmm. There was probably never a time when this toy, even when fully intact, didn't scare the bejeezus out of everyone in the family whose house it inhabited.

You know, come to think of it -- old, harmless-looking children's toy -- found for cheap-slash-abandoned -- at a market in a small town -- don't a lot of horror movies begin this way? Should I be sleeping with one eye open and a glass of holy water on the night stand?

TRACK LISTING: The Chosen Few, "Tears of a Clown"

18 December 2006

"Not that you're helpless..."

Dog House, Albuquerque, NM, 23-Dec-05

"...but sometimes,

There's a particular television commercial that I wish was online so I could link to it or embed it in this post. You really need to see the expression on the boyfriend's face when his girlfriend cuts him off, but the scene runs something like this:

Boy: (facing camera) "So there's really--"
Girl: (excitedly places hand on Boy's chest, interrupting him; laughs) "There's really no reason to stick with dial-up."

I suspect this moment is supposed to play all cute, like, Isn't that adorable? They finish each other's sentences, but it doesn't. Here's why: he totally freezes. He doesn't look at her; he doesn't smile or chuckle or give any indication that he finds her stepping on his words charming. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite. His face is locked in this slightly stupid, slightly confused glaze, complete with shit-eating grin. You can almost read his mind.

Oh, DUDE! The guys SO warned me about this. She's making me look like an IDIOT.

You kind of have to feel sorry for the boyfriend (and yes, I know he's a minor character in a TV ad that doesn't even air on Canadian stations, but still). I mean, he's not challenged; he seemed to be doing fine with the syntax; and I doubt he was going to say that everyone should continue to use dial-up and just not pick up their phones when they're checking MySpace or porn sites, so what's her problem? Even when the action returns to the couple -- after cutting away to a few other people who demand faster, cheaper (and reportedly unreliable) Internet service -- he's still standing there, grinning, mute and staring at the camera, apparently stunned that his girlfriend is treating him like a child, and wondering when might be a good time to break up with her.

TRACK LISTING: Prince, "If I Was Your Girlfriend"

17 December 2006

The Sunday Night Lights: No.9

Supermarket, Toronto, ON, 23-Oct-06

"Travelling around the world,
searching for my one true girl."

TRACK LISTING: Jonathan Butler, "Shine a Light"

16 December 2006

"I'll be the lost sailor."

Guaymas Back Wall, Seattle, WA, 07-Oct-06

"My home is the sea."

TRACK LISTING: Smog, "Bathysphere"

[Thanks to PF for the lake link.]

15 December 2006

"Are the neighbours watching me?"

R Line at Canal, New York, NY, 05-Sep-05

"Well, is the mailman
watching me?"

I'm conflicted when considering the installation of closed-circuit television cameras in downtown Toronto. I can't say that I'm opposed to safety measures, yet I'm often creeped out by the concept of constant surveillance in public spaces, even if this monitoring is conducted by those who purport to protect us. (Besides, as Torontoist pointed out, "nothing deters criminals determined to shoot at people in the busiest intersection in Toronto like cameras.")

Actually, I'm particularly disturbed by this latter aspect of "the eyes of the law", because how can we trust these people not to sneak their observation operation into our private spaces as well? (The X-Ray Eyes of the Law!)

What is the happy medium between supportive security and Big Brother? Does it even exist? Where is this balance found? These aren't rhetorical questions; I'd love to know the answers.

TRACK LISTING: Rockwell, "Somebody's Watching Me"

14 December 2006

"Don't worry, baby..."

The Lusty Lady, Seattle, WA, 07-Oct-06

"...they're only pretending."

Seriously? Flying shards of glass, biker wipeouts and rear-end collisions, just so Maria Sharapova can take a crappy photo of tennis balls forming a smiley face? Why didn't they just leave in the part where one of the balls falling from the building cracks the skull of a passerby?

I did like that Nike ad she did (yeah, I should know better), but you should probably ignore me, if only because I really like those Geico caveman commercials, too.

TRACK LISTING: Television Personalities, "Don't Cry Baby It's Only a Movie"

13 December 2006

"The ghouls all came from their humble abodes..."

Miniature World, Victoria, BC, 06-Mar-06

"...to get a jolt
from my electrodes."

Remember how, at the end of one of the segments of The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror VI", Lisa and Paul Anka repeatedly sing "just don't look"? Unfortunately, this advice might be easier to give than it is to take.

TRACK LISTING: Bobby "Boris" Pickett, "Monster Mash"

[Note: the YouTube clip below is the ENTIRE "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" segment. You'll have to fast-forward to around 5:01 if all you'd like to see is the part with "Just Don't Look."]

12 December 2006

"How lucky am I?"

30th Floor View, Toronto, ON, 26-Oct-06

"I'm young
and I don't even care."

Today you will work at a totally welcoming office, a friendly place you know from your past; and you will have a really good day full of promise; and lots of your favourite songs (even the "guilty" pleasures) will play on your way home; and you will come home to the one that you love and who loves you, not to mention the one who loves you even though he pretends otherwise; and you will eat chocolates before bedtime; and you will know that you are truly fortunate.

TRACK LISTING: Maggie Gyllenhaal, "How Lucky Am I?"

11 December 2006

"Leave us in emotional peace."

Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA, 08-Oct-06

"I must be crazy."

Do you ever feel like you're losing your mind? Of course you do. I do, too -- now more than ever.

At some point yesterday afternoon, I lost an earring. It's not the missing earring that's bothering me -- I mean, aside from the fact that I'd only had the complete pair for about twenty-four hours, it didn't have any sentimental value, wasn't expensive, and can be easily replaced.

What's perplexing is the fact that I lost it. I'm not the type to lose anything, mainly because I have a slightly OCD-ish tendency to constantly check every little thing on my person, from earrings to house keys to lip gloss to subway tokens. I always make sure that things are as I want them, or at least where I left them. If I do lose something, I usually notice right away, or soon enough that I can locate the item while I'm still in the area where I lost it. My things don't disappear permanently...well, they didn't, until yesterday.

I can't figure it out. It wasn't a hanging earring, the kind that falls out if you're not careful; on the contrary, it was a slightly larger than average stud with a backing that basically had to be wrenched off before I could remove it. I wasn't wearing headphones at any point, or a hat, or a scarf; I wasn't wearing anything that would take an earring with it when shedded. I didn't try on any clothes after putting the earrings on, and I certainly didn't try on any other earrings. No one gave me any strange looks as I made my way through the mall, trying to finish the Christmas shopping in one day. Even during a stop in the women's toilets before heading home, I noticed nothing amiss while fixing my hair, taking a good look at my head in the large mirror. A missing earring is something I would have noticed.

Yet somehow the earring disappeared. At the end of the night, I removed the earring from my right ear, and when I reached for the left...I didn't understand. I hadn't already removed it; had someone done it for me? It was one of those really strange moments, when you can remember the events of the day quite clearly, but still feel as if you're forgetting something, or everything. I searched the apartment with no luck. I knew I could just go buy the same pair the next day, and I knew people lose earrings all the time. Nevertheless, I felt old; slightly insane; suddenly transported to some surreality where ghosts and tiny elves creep up behind you and steal your left earring, not because they collect this sort of thing, but simply because they enjoy messing with you.

TRACK LISTING: Massive Attack, "Karmacoma"

10 December 2006

The Sunday Night Lights: No.8

Hotel Senator, Saskatoon, SK, 01-Mar-06

"All the changes coming slow."

TRACK LISTING: Bellwether, "Shine a Light"

09 December 2006

"Please, please..."

Puzzle Pets, Toronto, ON, 09-Dec-06

"Someone kill me soon."

The auditor dipped his cookie in a glass of two-percent and I shook my head with sadness.

TRACK LISTING: Air Miami, "I Hate Milk"

[Note: The pages in this photo are from Jessica Helfand's Reinventing the Wheel.]

08 December 2006

"Oh, the way the moon kept shining on."

No.1590, Toronto, ON, 08-Oct-05

"Such a wonderful lot
of terrible things
did happen."

Not far from our building, people huddle over something on the ground. In the clearing reserved for construction vehicles, a van marked by the city is parked alongside two smaller cars. No one is frantic; no one looks worried; but something distressing is going on.

A teenage boy stands between the cars, listening to his mother explain and direct. His eyes are on the group of four or five men and women before him. They raise an object onto their shoulders. Bundled in a flannel baby blanket, it is the size of a large fox or a small deer, or a dog. It can't be human, though it might be. It is certainly dead. In its swaddling, the workers and bystanders carry it to the van, carefully, like pallbearers.

Later that evening, the apartment is suddenly filled with a horrible smell. We search around us, wondering what we've done, how we might have caused it. But it's coming in from the street, so we close the window; we bring our hands to our faces and hide in our homes for the night.

TRACK LISTING: Beatrice Arthur, "Barbara Song"

07 December 2006

"When old feelings start to stir."

The Old Bow Wow, Albuquerque, NM, 23-Dec-05

"For the sake of all those times."

Something I did in the past was recently offered as part of a deal, displayed on shelves with major players and popular favourites alike. The line between "2 for $25" and "99¢ CLEARANCE" is remarkably thin, yet I was thrilled to see that hot pink sale sticker!

It's funny how a glorified discount bin can seem like the big league, isn't it?

TRACK LISTING: Barry Manilow, "Looks Like We Made It"

06 December 2006

"Meanwhile, in bedrooms 'round the country..."

Rebus at Curley Cottage, Kingston, ON, 01-Jul-06

"That uniform: excellent."

Wow, CSI is on ALL THE TIME! Wait -- hold on -- are they actually at a Furry convention?

The redhead just said, "This is weirding me out," but now the old guy is totally yawning everything up by blah-blah-blah-ing about anthropology and psychoanalysis and all that other professor shit he routinely throws at his team where their eyes are glazing over and they're just like, "Shut UP so we can dust for prints."

I wonder how deeply they're going to delve into Furry subculture. Well, here's a character named "Sexy Kitty"! He's talking about skritching and fur piles and yiffing! Too bad Television Without Pity doesn't have a recap of this episode on their site. And what's this? The guy with the nightmare from Mulholland Drive? Is he just on TV because PF's all brainulated about the new David Lynch joint? Way to go, brain!

TRACK LISTING: Yummy Fur, "Policeman"

[Note: I couldn't find a URL that contained an audio sample of "Policeman" -- or even an MP3 download, for that matter -- so the "Policeman" link in the previous paragraph will lead to a page of Yummy Fur clips, from which you may take your pick. Enjoy!]

05 December 2006

"You can talk just like me."

'My Boys' on TV, Toronto, ON, 05-Dec-06

'Gilmore Girls' on TV, Toronto, ON, 05-Dec-06

"If that's what you want to do."

Up until this evening, the closest reflection of myself that I'd seen on television was either this woman or this woman, which isn't saying much at all considering I've never shown an aptitude for surgery, nor have I had a really good manicure. However, these women are brown, which I suppose was enough. It's funny, then, that I should find myself totally relating to a couple of willowy white women who aren't even Canadian.

Granted, I'm not a sports writer -- and probably never will be -- but the way that this PJ girl approaches her relationships is the way I approach my relationships, or at least the way I did when I was growing up, had mostly male friends and drank beer way more often than I do now. (On occasion, I still eat as recklessly as any deep dish-loving Chicagoan. Now if I could just learn to play poker, I'd be SBP's BFF in no time!)

Seeing PJ cautiously flirt with a new love interest in an episode I watched a few days ago, I was reminded of my own sometimes exciting, overwhelmingly tentative and thankfully in-the-past single life. Of course, I was also reminded why I love my friends so much, to this day -- moreso than I was ever reminded when I used to watch a program that was actually called Friends.

However, I'm sure a lot of women can relate to PJ as well as I do (especially this one and this one). Furthermore, though I may draw many parallels between the two of us, PJ is no Lorelai Gilmore, who is currently experiencing a slightly condensed and considerably more dramatic version of the year that followed my wedding day. Witnessing tonight's episode was kind of like reliving a chapter of my life, except for the part where I have obscenely wealthy parents and end up marrying the father of my teenage daughter. (Wait, is Rory even a teenager anymore? I have missed a lot of episodes of this show.) It should also be noted that I wasn't engaged to the town curmudgeon prior to running off with my high school sweetheart. I did elope, though -- even if PF and I didn't actually leave town to get married -- and this, as in the Gilmore-Hayden soap opera, resulted in a parent with understandably hurt feelings who then attempted to stage a full-blown reenactment of the wedding complete with ensuing formalities even though ALL WE AGREED TO WAS A PARTY, DAMMIT!

When I casually flipped the channel during a My Boys break and stumbled on the Stars Hollow scene, my jaw dropped. If PF hadn't left for work five minutes earlier, I would have made him watch it with me, even though he can't stand Gilmore Girls. It wasn't exactly a brainulation moment, but I think a "Way to go, brain" would have been in order regardless.

04 December 2006

"It was summer; now it's autumn."

Somewhere in Alberta, 01-Mar-06

"Keep it coming;
keep it coming;
keep it coming."

It's a month later than PF's predicted First Snow day, but he's sure the blanket on the ground will melt by morning, just like yesterday's dusting. He doesn't believe that what we see is built to last, but I think these first real signs of the season have staying power. I'm looking forward to the purple haze of a winter sky at night, even though he's the only one who's ready for the weather.

TRACK LISTING: New Order, "Crystal"

03 December 2006

The Sunday Night Lights: No.7

In the Apartment, Toronto, ON, 03-Dec-06

"And I know it could
take some time, yeah."

TRACK LISTING: The Apples In Stereo, "Shine a Light"

01 December 2006

"We thought he was gone."

In the Apartment, Toronto, ON, 03-Aug-06

"He just could not stay away."

Yes, it's true, the little man was supposed to leave us today. However, due to circumstances too complicated and sensitive to divulge, our very own No 8 will remain sprawled on his armless armchair for some time to come.

On occasion, his meowing does seem incessant, and we often wish he would stop clawing at closed doors. He may be a bit too fond of nipping at ankles; he may enjoy chewing on plastic and cardboard; he may be the issuer of puncture wounds to the large ottoman and the cause of small trinkets batted off shelves and dressers. He may even be as relentless as a puppy when it comes to begging for food. Yet every time he rubs a flank across our shins to greet us; every time he keeps us company while we're working in the kitchen; and every time he leaps onto the bed to nestle against our legs while we sleep, I know I'd miss him terribly if he were gone, and I'm happy that we'll share his yawns, snores, winks and purrs for a few months more.

TRACK LISTING: The Phantom Surfers, "The Cat Came Back"