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.

31 October 2006

"Why hide it?"

At Archie McPhee, Seattle, WA, 07-Oct-06

"Why fight it?"

Happy Hallowe'en!

No costume this year. I used to pay close attention to my Hallowe'en disguises; quite often, I hit the ceiling of my budget (if I even had a budget), though I was always thrilled when I could pull off the outfit on the cheap. In the first few years following the move from our parents' houses, the apartment was always dressed up for the occasion, too. One year we even had a party.

It's been almost two decades since I stopped trick-or-treating. I don't go out at all on or around Hallowe'en anymore, but this can be chalked up to either laziness or the real joy I find in staying home. This would probably be the perfect time to transition to Hallowe'en Candy Giver. We have some chocolate in our apartment that will pass for loot, should either of the two children in this building knock on our door tonight. (I doubt it will be the superintendent's son, as he's a teenager now. The toddler from the apartment below us might be too young to go out; if he's not, he'd do better to travel through the wealthy neighbourhoods across the street. I wonder what they're giving away tonight! Something more than random squares of Hershey's Special Dark, that's for sure.)

I'd be excited to see the kids' get-ups, though. I still love Hallowe'en! It's not that it's an excuse to eat tons of sugary snacks -- I'm an adult now and can shovel terrible things into my body whenever I please! There's just something that seems to happen on October 31: the air switches to a constant crisp; even the most reluctant pull out sweaters for the season; and we begin our slide towards holiday celebrations. Hey! congratulations. We made it through another year! Don't take that too lightly.

The apartment is barely decorated this year, but it's decorated. A twelve-inch ghost made out of Christmas lights and thin, curved strips of white plastic sits on a speaker in a corner of the living room, waiting to be plugged in when the sun goes down; two fake but convincing stuffed ravens are perched on the window sill with their beaks to the living room window, giving the evil eye to anyone who dares look up. A dancing skeleton from that old Hallowe'en party is placed by the television; if we turn it on, it will sing a verse from "Super Freak" any time it senses motion. (We're not going to turn it on, by the way.) We're definitely going to turn on the motorized black rat, with its blood-red claws and eyes. It will scurry around the apartment, changing direction when it bumps into something. Maybe that something will be our black cat, our ready-made symbol of Hallowe'en -- imagine how freaked out he'll be. That's the spirit, kitty!


30 October 2006

"In bad dreams and broken arms."

Value Village on Queen East, Toronto, ON, 04-Jun-06

"Make these old bones

I gained a pound last week and this is what I thought: what a fucking victory.

I won't have to check myself into a "treatment facility" like Nicole Richie or any of the wretched waifs who can't put on necessary weight. I'll never look like I suffer from an eating disorder, and for this I am endlessly grateful.

Isn't it pathetic that so many conspicuously wealthy women appear to be unable to afford food? It's as if instead of groceries they bought another handbag. (After all, the Clenbuterol pills have to be stashed somewhere.)

There was a time when being skinny always meant you had no money. Now these otherwise fortunate women strive to seem as if they're victims of starvation. They're frightful specters and we should be worried by them, for them, and for the other women who emulate them. But you've heard this all before.

Somewhere in Africa, a child with a distended belly is lifting her skeletal hand to her forehead and sighing, "Oh! the irony."

29 October 2006

The Sunday Night Lights: No.2

The Friend's House, Ottawa, ON, 31-Dec-05

"People talking
about the situation;
the world changes
around them."

TRACK LISTING: Jennifer Holliday, "Shine a Light"

28 October 2006

"I'd like to shake your hand, Disappointment."

Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA, 07-Oct-06

"Looks like you win again;
but this time might be the last."

"Rockin' in the Free World" could easily be part of Living With War. ("Got fuel to burn; got roads to drive.") Even Neil Young must resent the fact that this song is still relevant. Really, though, where do we begin when discussing this scourge of political history repeating (and repeating)? It would be ridiculous if it wasn't so unfunny.

How much longer will I sit back, stunned, thinking: "Well, it can't get worse than this, can it?"

The timing of movie release dates is as strategic as everything else in our universe of stealth, so I take a little comfort in the recent launch of both Death of a President and Shut Up & Sing. We'll make this a double bill.

Last night, Sean reminded us of the pretzel-choking incident. Was that actually the first noteworthy occurrence in Junior's presidency? At the time, all those years ago, we laughed GW off like he was some harmless joke. We had no idea.

27 October 2006

"Stale popcorn! Don't you stand in your chair."

Bay Street Video, Toronto, ON, 19-Nov-05*

"Stale popcorn!
Don't you stand in your chair."

We might end up at the movies tonight.

In my gradual reacquaintance with nine-to-fiveing, nothing is more automatic than Working for the Weekend. Going Out for Drinks with Co-Workers (Straight from the Office) seems like it's also on the horizon, though it's not a regular option for temps like me.

But going to the movies? It could be a ritual; it could happen. Friday night's alright for escaping reality, no?


TRACK LISTING: Bad Brains, "At the Movies"

26 October 2006

"Sweet dreams 'til sunbeams find you."

At Home, Toronto, ON, 18-Apr-06

"Birds singing
in the sycamore trees..."

The cat is grunting and kicking his hind legs; I wonder what he's imagining. His head is resting on my ankle and he's draped one of his front paws over my shin. Lately I have been fascinated by his naps, studying his sleep like a mother with a new baby. Now he's twitching.

Five minutes later, sprawled on his back, he looks oddly human. His mouth hangs open and he is actually snoring. It's disconcerting! He wheezes as his eyelids raise but he's not waking up. It's like he's in a trance; I can see the whites of his eyes. Or the yellows. It's difficult to tell in this light.

"Kitty?" I nudge him. His eyeballs dart back and forth; maybe he's about to channel some spirits. I hold my breath.

"Kitty?" I nudge him again, just in case he's trapped in a nightmare. The eyes slowly focus and roll forward; here is the return of the golden green irises, the black-diamond pupils. He stares at me, dazed.

"Sorry," I whisper. He yawns and wiggles, settling his head. I rock my foot back and forth like a cradle, watching him as he slowly closes his eyes.

25 October 2006

"Just looking for a new direction..."

Kevin's Farewell, Toronto, ON, 29-Jul-06

"...in an old familiar way."

In a past life, I made music.

Andy said: "You don't have to be in a band to make music." I agreed; but what would I do? We talked some more about future plans.

Later, Cindy and I swore we would no longer wear children's clothes, even if they fit. We decided to search like women.

She said: "I can see you wearing this." It glittered but I couldn't think of a reason to put it on.

"Yes," she continued. "You'll go out dancing."

24 October 2006

"...but you're not really there..."

Los Lomas Circle, Albuquerque, NM, 28-Dec-05

"...it's just the radio..."

The streetcar is sixth in a crawling line, following a tow. We are heading south; nothing is coming north. A few blocks down from the station in the opposite lane, two streetcars sit, going nowhere. They are empty and as we drift by, I can see police officers and transit workers; a streetcar driver is explaining something to his colleague as he exits his vehicle. He gestures as if he is being throttled, then shakes his head. Beside the streetcars, in the road, an ambulance is parked. Its lights are off.

Crowds of people are waiting at various stops, looking confused and speaking into cell phones. Our driver makes a point, kindly, shouting out his window: "You might as well walk!" They look up; they nod, smile, and return to their conversations. No one knows what's going on.

I am almost alone on this streetcar. It's an unfamiliar feeling, but not out of place: everything right now seems so surreal. Sonic Youth playing "Superstar" in the headphones makes the perfect soundtrack as we move in slow motion; through unpopulated avenues and darkened markets, we're inching further into the dream state.

TRACK LISTING: Sonic Youth, "Superstar"

23 October 2006

"There's a chill in the air..."

Our Apartment, Toronto, ON, 26-Nov-05

"...I hope that someone
is taking care of you."

Winter's coming early. November is still a week away and the season itself doesn't officially begin until December 21, but winter is here.

PF tried to start a betting pool today with only two people (me and him). "When do you think we'll see the first snow?" he asked.

I replied: "The first snow's already happened," and it had, on October 12. I watched it fall outside huge boardroom windows in a temporary office. It didn't last, though; this was P's point.

"Not the kind that melts immediately," he said. "The kind that blankets and stays for a while." He flipped the wall calendar to November, clicked his ballpoint pen and wrote FIRST SNOW in the square below number 4.

Winter brings a lot of good things: Albuquerque around Christmas; Ottawa around New Year's Eve; my birthday around the end. Yet there's something about the onset of constant cold that puts me in mind of looming deadlines. It's as if there's something I need to finish -- something more than just another year of my life.

I'm now thinking that the snow will appear before November 4. The feeling of frost is already creeping into the city and into our bones.

TRACK LISTING: Ween, "Birthday Boy"

22 October 2006

The Sunday Night Lights: No.1

The Friend's House, Ottawa, ON, 01-Jan-06

"Thought I heard one
sigh for you:
Come on up,
come on up now;
come on up now."

21 October 2006

"So keep on moving, moving, moving your feet."

Ravenna, Seattle, WA, 07-Oct-06

"Just keep on walking down
neverending streets."

"This isn't my house," he says. Somewhere in Seattle, we're looking for something from his past.

I say: "I thought you told me this was your house."

He says: "It looks the same, but the number's wrong." We are facing 940; we need to find 1111.

He says: "We got off the bus one stop early."

I say: "Let's keep going," but two houses up the road, we stop.

"I think they tore it down." He is in disbelief. "I think they tore my house down."

I tell him that we're blocks away, that we haven't even reached the Thousands yet. I'm not sure that he hears me. Everything around us is so real; he's expecting ghosts.

TRACK LISTING: The Jam, "Ghosts"

20 October 2006

"She rings like a bell through the night..."

Top Cut, Toronto, ON, 18-Jun-06

"Wouldn't you love
to love her?"

Isabella Rossellini passed us in the hallway today. She emerged from a doorway behind me and in the middle of his sentence, Pedro whispered, "Don't look!"

He whispered, "Oh, god!"

She was stunning. I said, out loud: "She's beautiful." It was involuntary; it spilled out of my mouth; it was necessary.

I came home to tell PF but he was asleep. He was in dreams; he was
already in psychic frequency.

TRACK LISTING: Fleetwood Mac, "Rhiannon"

19 October 2006

"I can feel that something pounding in my brain."

Acupuncture on Eglinto West, Toronto, ON, 10-Jun-06

I need to look at something
besides a computer screen.

I didn't leave the house today; tripped up by procrastination.
My fault: I was looking for sidetracks.

18 October 2006

"Oh, look out! you rock 'n rollers."

Shampoo, Toronto, ON, 18-Oct-06

"Pretty soon,
you're going to get older."

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Today I cut off all my hair, or most of it. The photo is only a fraction. Six inches shorter and half a pound lighter; my hair went from big to small in a matter of moments. I suppose I felt like a new start called for a visual aid: my head as a metaphor for my life.

TRACK LISTING: David Bowie, "Changes"

17 October 2006

The song sucks but I believe it.

Hotel Max, Seattle, WA, 07-Oct-06

"Things are going great,
and they're only getting better."

More to follow.