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 January 2007

"Can't you see?"



"You're my delight."

Yes! I concur. More power to you, America Ferrara!

You too, Chandra Wilson!




TRACK LISTING: Modjo, "Lady"

30 January 2007

"Give me one more chance..."

2006 Kitchen Calendar, Toronto, ON, 30-Jan-07

"...and you'll be
satisfied."

Exactly a week ago, PF and I were introduced to a brand of fake chicken we'd never tasted before, and I still can't get over it. Except for the ground soy that PF uses in his chili, I'd never come across any meat alternatives that so resembled the flesh they mimicked. When I saw the bird-shaped roast that Jeff and Vanessa had prepared, I was stunned. If I wasn't certain that J&V are vegetarian, I would have assumed that they'd cooked up a little pheasant.

It was brilliant! It had tiny fake drumsticks -- these rounded, crispy, seitan nuggets -- skewered on small wood dowels instead of bone.

I've known some vegetarians who hate it when their fake meat looks, tastes and feels like real meat. Most of them believe that meat alternatives shouldn't have to pander. Yet I've known more vegetarians who welcome these innovations, as it gives them the opportunity to serve animal-free entrees to even the most obstinate carnivores. Dinner guests aside, it's nice to have variety, which is something vegetarians don't routinely encounter outside the home.

I'm definitely not a committed meat eater, but I'm not a committed vegetarian, either. We don't often buy or cook meat at home, yet we can't say that this is an ethical decision. (We eat veggie chili and veggie burgers because they're healthier than their traditional red meat counterparts.) After enjoying that fake chicken, however, I find it difficult to argue against a meatless diet. It seems lacking in nothing; it has flavour, texture and nutrients. With the assorted diseases and environmental damage linked to beef, chicken and fish, meat substitutes increasingly appear to be the only viable option.

I may be turning a corner here! My dad is totally going to roll his eyes.


TRACK LISTING: U2, "Even Better Than the Real Thing"

[NOTE: Another U2 song in less than a week!]

29 January 2007

"Just wishing for movie stardom."

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

"Always, always
playing a part."

Watching the "In Memoriam" segments on various Hollywood award shows, I'm always speechless. On occasion, it's a who IS that? moment; more often, though, it's THEY died?

This sort of pause usually involves the death of an actor (as opposed to, say, a director or producer), and it's not because I didn't know that the actor passed away. The fact is: I forget. It's a testament to the actor's impact, to be sure -- whether talent-based, celebrity-based, or both -- but more than this, it is a testament to the power that film has to immortalize the mortal. It's the magic of the visual medium! Duh. No wonder everyone wants to be on TV!


TRACK LISTING: John Lennon, "Remember"

28 January 2007

The Sunday Night Lights: No.14

XPACE (Former Location), Toronto, ON, 17-Dec-05

"You're the
one in a million;
you're the
one life to live."


TRACK LISTING: Patricia Vonne, "Shine a Light"

27 January 2007

"I really don't mind sleeping on the floor."

Lomas Avenue, Albuquerque, NM, 26-Dec-05

Lomas Avenue (Upside Down), Albuquerque, NM, 26-Dec-05

"I can't sleep
after what I saw."

Riding the subway, staring at a relatively new organization's print ad -- in which a completed job application for a Kmart-esque store lists an overqualified South Asian doctor's employment history -- I was reminded of how lucky I am to be a Canadian by birth.


26 January 2007

"Every fang is polished gag-colored green."

Calvin and the Motor Rat, Toronto, ON, 31-Oct-06

"Like a sun so sick
it only shines
when it sinks."

It's hard to deny that Lucy Buchanan is a total bitch, but there's no discounting Channel 4 and Shipwrecked's culpability in this whole mess, either. There aren't many networks and TV show producers who would scramble to quash a controversy, especially if said controversy had a positive impact on their ratings. As for the stupid child herself, Buchanan might be excused for being young and very sheltered. However, it's doubtful that she would be so naive as to be unaware that "any publicity is good publicity." It's rare to find a teenager who isn't well schooled in the politics of celebrity; who wouldn't understand that, when the cameras are rolling, they're usually going to be trained on the bad girl.


TRACK LISTING: Blood Brothers, "Rat Rider"

25 January 2007

"Choose your escape in the heartland."

'My Wild Life Collection - Dog/Chien', Toronto, ON, 25-Jan-07

"Of product and demand."

Damn, people! You love Lululemon so much that you'll wait at least THREE HOURS in a line that wraps around our office building and spans four city blocks, just so you can have a crack at one of that company's warehouse sales? You do know that the city has issued an Extreme Cold Alert, right? Didn't anyone read the play-by-play from a couple of years ago?

I have seriously misunderestimated the allure of yoga-inspired athletic apparel.


TRACK LISTING: Operation Ivy, "The Crowd"

24 January 2007

"Should be a crime to be that ugly."

Sierra Vista Elementary School, Albuquerque, NM, 24-Dec-05

"It should be a crime
to be that ugly!"

Backpacks, what is up? Why so many variations on XTREME? Are you just reacting against the crime of fashion that is the tiny backpack? That's understandable, but I'm not a dude and I'm not a snowboarder, so can we cool it with the neon and the superfluous rope? This is why I avoid most athletic shoes! Grrr.


TRACK LISTING: Pop Will Eat Itself, "Let's Get Ugly"

23 January 2007

"Do 'The Saint'! Do 'The Waif'!"

The Neptune, Seattle, WA, 07-Oct-06

"Do 'The Child'!
That was great."


I honestly thought my interest in watching the Academy Awards ceremony had waned...until I saw this year's list of nominees.

What can I say? There are some sentimental favourites here, most notably Ryan Gosling, who is nominated in the Best Actor category for Half Nelson. (A part of me will always think of him, quite fondly, as Sean from Breaker High.) Who knows if he will win? I suppose I'd be just as pleased if Forest Whitaker took home the prize for his turn in The Last King of Scotland.

I also have a real soft spot for Meryl Streep. "The Devil Wears Prada?" you gasp, but she was brilliant as Miranda Priestly (making the "villain" the most sympathetic character in the film! for pity's sake). Again, I'd be happy if Kate Winslet won, because she is AWESOME, but they're both up against very stiff competition, what with the Dame Judi Denches and Queen Helen Mirrens and Role of a Lifetime Penelope Cruzes.

And you know what? It's nice to see Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin nominated for Little Miss Sunshine, and Mark Wahlberg nominated for The Departed (possibly carving a niche for himself as a future character actor like present-day Alec Baldwin, who often makes me laugh simply by appearing on screen). I'm slightly disappointed that Matt Damon was ignored for his work in that film -- I mean, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed him in The Departed -- but oh well. I'll just concentrate all my psychic energy on tipping the scales in favour of Jackie Earle Haley (even though I actually haven't seen Little Children, but whoa, dudes! It's Moocher) and Jennifer Hudson, because wouldn't it be a total story if an American Idol also-ran won the Oscar ON TOP of the Golden Globe? I bet they'd list her name ABOVE the title after that.

Also, there's still some tension to be wrought from wondering whether the Susan Lucci of the Academy, Martin Scorsese, will add another empty nomination to his already extensive list. I guess that's what the "Honorary" Awards are for.

Oh yes, and Pan's Labyrinth should win for Best Art Direction and Best Makeup (the Pale Man! SO terrifying).

Ah, Oscars! I don't know who I was kidding. I'll be there once again this year, doing my best to increase your ratings, as I do every year. Just promise that you'll keep your running time under seven hours, okay? Or at least bring back Owen Wilson and whomever his best friend is at the moment for some between-award comedic bits. Thanks. See you in a month!


TRACK LISTING: Sparks, "Academy Award Performance"

[NOTE: The other side of this marquee read, "MARTIN SCORSESE / THE DEPARTED / GIVE HIM THE OSCAR".]

22 January 2007

"Even though my life before was tragic..."

'Outlandos d'Amour' (detail), Toronto, ON, 22-Jan-07

"...now I know
my love for him
goes on..."

Back to Rumble Fish: the score is excellent. (I know, I know -- this isn't exactly breaking news.) When we saw the name Stewart Copeland, we knew why we were so impressed.

I love that man. Add him to the list of Unlikely Heartthrobs AND Silver Foxes!


TRACK LISTING: Shawn Colvin, "Every Little Thing (He) Does Is Magic"

[NOTE: The image above -- a detail of a photo that I took of the cover of The Police's Outlandos d'Amour, with hearts added for, er, emphasis -- was created especially for PF, who rolled his eyes when he realized whom I'd chosen as the subject of my post for the day. My fondness for Stewart Copeland isn't exactly breaking news, either, I suppose.]

21 January 2007

The Sunday Night Lights: No.13

The Beaver, Toronto, ON, 10-Nov-06

"Your silhouette
under the blanket
brings back
midnight memories."


TRACK LISTING: Daniel Magg featuring Allesandro, "Shine a Light"

20 January 2007

"It's behind the screen."

Near the West Seattle Junction, Seattle, WA, 07-Oct-06

"Come back to me
and I'll come back to you."

I'd never thought of Francis Ford Coppola as a director with a stable of actors, yet after watching Rumble Fish last night, I was ready to put him in league with cast recyclers like The Andersons (P.T. and Wes).

Obviously, when making The Godfather and its sequels, Coppola would call upon most of the same players. Including family members time and time again in his films certainly didn't count as Coppola keeping a roster, either. (For the record: nephew Nicolas Cage appeared in three Coppola films; son Gian-Carlo appeared in four (and may have appeared in more, had he not died in his early twenties); and daughter Sofia appeared in six.) Even casting Matt Dillon and William Smith in both The Outsiders and Rumble Fish seems less like drawing from his own reserve than preserving S.E. Hinton "continuity", as both movies were based on her novels. (Hinton herself has a cameo in each film. Poor Heather Langenkamp was also cast in The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, but all her scenes in both films were deleted! Good thing the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise was around the corner.)

Noticing Tom Waits and Laurence Fishburne in the opening scene of Rumble Fish, however, I got to thinking about how Waits had also appeared in Coppola's version of Dracula, and Fishburne had appeared in Apocalypse Now. I became obsessed with figuring out how many times each actor in Rumble Fish was featured in a Coppola film, an obsession that didn't last long, as the research was made quite easy by IMDb's "Find where Francis Ford Coppola is credited alongside another name" search engine. Here's what I found:
I also confirmed -- in my own head, at least -- that Coppola isn't much of an auteur, despite appearing on this list. I mean, outside of his repeated dipping into a particular casting pool, it's still very easy to forget that he had anything to do with either The Rainmaker, Peggy Sue Got Married or Jack (again...er).

I can't imagine how many other post-Rumble Fish actors join the Coppola collective. For the sake of this entry's length, and your reading pleasure, it's probably better that I didn't check.


TRACK LISTING: Hot Chip, "Look After Me"

19 January 2007

"Oh, wind! Blow so gently through the trees."

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

"Wonder where
my love can be?"

Spent the first half of the evening watching ghost stories, then spent the other half flinching and looking over my shoulder for every creak and thump I heard.


TRACK LISTING: Vernon Green & The Phantoms, "Sweet Breeze"

[NOTE: And THEN, right before I went to bed, I switched the channel just in time to see the Winkie's nightmare sequence from Mulholland Drive! (See below. That scene always freaks me out.) Thanks a lot, television programmers! What's next? Session 9 and The Exorcist on a back-to-back loop?]

18 January 2007

"You know what you want."

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

"And that makes you
just like me."

While we're tackling post-split rumours and conjecture (wow, breaking up is hard to do!), I'd like to recommend that JT snap Rosario Dawson up before it's too late. How awesome would THAT be? She could sing on his records and he could appear in her movies. I would TOTALLY watch Newlyweds: Justin & Rosario!


TRACK LISTING: Justin Timberlake, "FutureSex/LoveSound" (like an, er, homage to Prince AND André 3000, if only in name)

[NOTE: I don't know if you know this, people, but the Timberlake-Diaz separation is BIG NEWS, okay? Of course, if asked to comment, you could always quote JT himself: "Yeah, there's a war going on in Iraq." Oh, Timby!]

17 January 2007

"Always hopeful..."

On Lomas Avenue, Albuquerque, NM, 26-Dec-05

"...yet discontent."

Though I expressed a fondness for the program a mere two weeks ago, it appears that The Knights of Prosperity is already losing me. I'm definitely not the most discriminating spectator, and I can't deny my often incomprehensible loyalty to less deserving respected television shows. Yet I suspect that, next week, PF and I won't defer our viewing of a certain timeslot competitor to its Sunday evening rerun.

I must admit, however, that we enjoyed The Knights' debate about the past tense of the term "stake out" (which I refuse to transcribe here because I suck at telling jokes). Also, as a Canadian, I feel obligated to applaud The Knights' use of "Tom Sawyer" as their theme song.


TRACK LISTING: Rush, "Tom Sawyer"

16 January 2007

"Oh, I know it don't thrill you."

Main Boardroom, Toronto, ON, 26-Oct-06

"I hope it don't kill you."

It's been almost three full years since I last held down a "proper" job -- you know, the kind with a salary and paid vacation and (wow!) benefits. Yet it looks like, come Monday, I will reenter the working world as something other than a temp.

I'm a little nervous! It's curious how people within reach of success suddenly want to turn back; how they wish they'd never tried at all. So many of us worry that the half-open door is actually half-closed, but in the end, I suppose it's both. These two halves are what make the whole, no?


TRACK LISTING: Elvis Costello, "Welcome to the Working Week"

15 January 2007

"You will see that good times come."

Across Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, 29-Oct-06

"You will see
here I belong."

Studying floor plans and property listings, it's difficult not to be seduced. Enjoyment of the clean, graphic quality of diagrams aside, mooning over photographs and drawings of houses is like indulging in adult films: it's a fantasy. It's the idealization of the somewhat unknown. I've never owned a home, but I've admired many, and dreamed of what I would do if I had one. I've imagined how I would make it mine.

Of course, real estate porn, like any good illusion, involves a bit of delusion. There's no financial worry in this world -- no debt consolidation necessity, no single-income restrictions, no mortgage woes -- and there's certainly no consideration of the many responsibilities that accompany home ownership, those concerns once handled by your parents and a conscientious landlord. Looking at the brochures, it all seems so...easy. You feel as if it's all within your reach, so you get excited.

When I'm able to think clearly, out of the rush -- when I'm thankful that I don't have a credit card with an available balance of half a million dollars -- I know that attaining this vision will take more time and work on my part. I'm not interested in flipping houses, even if a lot of smart people do it, and do it well. I want to grow old in my first home, though this wish may be a real fool's paradise. Most importantly, waiting is always a good thing for impatient me: it makes me truly appreciative. This way, it will be worth it; this way, I will never take it for granted.


TRACK LISTING: Golden Earring, "In My House"

14 January 2007

The Sunday Night Lights: No.12

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

"Beware
of the silver tongue
which hides a gun
and a tyranny."


TRACK LISTING: Johnny Clegg, "Shine a Light"

13 January 2007

"I was working on the organ sounds with much patience."

Imitation Crab Packaging, 13-Jan-07

"I had everything
before anyone!"


"They should have the decency to wait until I am dead," Gallagher opines. "I, at least, pay the people I steal from that courtesy."

Maybe he thinks Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have passed away, despite having a working relationship with Starr's son. Maybe he doesn't pay much attention to the outside world unless he's trying to start a fight with it.

Beatles-Oasis "coincidences" aside, if Noel Gallagher's going to concern himself with appropriation, he should probably spend more time worrying about whether he's plagiarizing himself.

People! The universe is running out of chords!


TRACK LISTING: LCD Soundsystem, "Losing My Edge"

[NOTE: The photo above is the first I've posted that wasn't shot by me. I actually don't know who took this picture -- it's likely not even a photograph at all, but rather a scanned image of a food container -- yet I couldn't resist using it for this entry. It seemed so perfect for the blog subject!]

12 January 2007

"Look around the world, baby, it can't be denied."

People's Flowers, Albuquerque, NM, 26-Dec-05

"Why are we always
on the wrong side?"

Are people seriously criticizing the all-powerful (and often very loud) Oprah Winfrey for not admitting more white girls to her South African school?

Who are we dealing with here, the damned HNP? Get bent, you apologists. Yes, apartheid in South Africa is "officially" over, but you should probably wait at least twenty years before you start bellyaching about exclusivity. Even fifteen would be nice, and there are still a couple of years left on that clock.

Carol Lloyd is correct: there would be objections no matter how Oprah chose to spend that $40 million. If Oprah was an elected leader -- and I'm referring to government, not television ratings -- then we might have the right to complain about where the money is going. At the end of the day, however, the cash belongs to Ms O, and we should at least be thankful that this time she's not pumping it into the gaping maws of self-aggrandizing douchebags.



[NOTE: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls has also been criticized for being too lavish (thereby promoting consumerism) and for not being built in the United States. A Racialicious article addressing Oprah's response to the latter protest could also be applied to the former, inasmuch as it disputes the idea that "poor people shouldn’t be allowed to have/buy nice things." It should be noted, though, that 200-thread count sheets aren't exactly luxurious. As for those who feel that Oprah's empire is built on lifestyle products purchased by white people, you may be right, but please remember that no one HAD to buy these things in the first place, and that we can all change the channel -- or switch off the set -- at any time.]

11 January 2007

"The perfect pretender."

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

"And the show was
oh so precious,
oh so precious tonight."

Is this what happens when you get old? Every song I hear is evaluated for karaoke suitability. I guess this is what thirtysomething brings.


TRACK LISTING: Jonathan Fire*Eater, "When the Curtain Calls for You"

10 January 2007

"As I go my way, I don't care what people say."

Striking a Pose, Toronto, ON, 10-Jan-07

"I'm in love with a man
nearly twice my age."

Congratulations, Butch: apparently Sundance gets handsomer as he ages. Evidently, Brad Pitt -- like "McDreamy" and The Matinee Idol -- has grown into his looks. (Anyone who knows me can attest that this preference for Silver Foxes is not unusual.)

But hold on! I hear some of you women crying in protest. Brad Pitt was always handsome, if not an outright babe! I don't know what's wrong with me. I just found Pitt the Younger a little too, er, soft-focus
-- too gorgeous, if you will.

I guess when it comes to male celebrities, I'm often attracted to the unlikely heartthrob...and I know I'm not the only one. Witness: my beloved bug-eyed Bashful and slack-jawed Dopey routinely making the hot list, just like Sleepy before them.

Oh! you Ugly Ducklings. How you've come into your own!


TRACK LISTING: Shabba Ranks featuring Krystal, "Twice My Age"

09 January 2007

"Your phony roots, borrowed guitar."

Curley-Forbes House, Oxford Mills, ON, 18-Aug-06

"Telling her
what to think
we are."

The more I listen to Metric's Live It Out, the more I think that Pitchfork has its collective head up its collective ass.



TRACK LISTING: Metric, "Wet Blanket"

08 January 2007

"Apathetic."

On St Clair West, Toronto, ON, 08-Oct-05

"Bored and jaded now."


Who the fuck do you think you are? Where in hell did you get the idea that you had the right to do something like this? How (literally) spoiled must you be to decide that a man without a home is a man without worth? It's you who are the pieces of shit. You are so gutless it's pitiful, yet you deserve no mercy.

Don't watch the footage of this crime. Don't watch any of the monstrosities marketed as entertainment. It's the least we can do.

As for you, Indecline Films mouthpiece: take a bow, asshole.


TRACK LISTING: Face to Face, "Pathetic"

07 January 2007

The Sunday Night Lights: No.11

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

"Everybody's
going to want to
follow you."


TRACK LISTING: Hazel Miller, "Shine a Light"

06 January 2007

"As one who strives a hill to climb --"

Motherf***ing Bird on a Motherf***ing Plane, Dallas, TX, 28-Dec-06

"-- I am sure I'll come through."

A year ago this weekend, at a Windy City apartment with a bathroom scale, I discovered that I weighed a lot more than I thought I did. Upon returning home and checking the pound count against my height, I confirmed that I was actually overweight. I weighed about fifteen pounds more than I'd ever weighed in my life, which was over thirty pounds more than I wanted to weigh.

I decided to make a change, but at the time I was somewhat in the public eye; though I was not a celebrity by any means, I was nevertheless conflicted about how any weight loss on my part might be conceived. I certainly didn't want to give the impression that I was ashamed of my size, or that I had succumbed to some media-dictated standard of beauty. I wanted to make it clear that my goal was not to be skinny, but to be healthy.

Long story short: I determined my ideal weight and BMI and worked hard to attain it. It took nearly a year to shed the pounds, and there were many points along the way where I truly felt I could lose no more, but here I am thirty-five pounds lighter. I approached the whole thing as fun; I always made room for (sort-of-cheating) treats; and I never gave up, so I am proud of myself. Most importantly, I stopped dieting when I reached my goal weight a month ago. I know my weight won't stay exactly the same for the rest of my life, but I know how to stay fit and healthy, and I vow never to let that scale slide down another ten pounds, then another, and then another...

I'm happy. I know this sounds like one of those weight-loss testimonials you might see on television or read in a banner ad on the internet, but hey, it's what I wanted to write about today. It's such a relief to feel good, you know? Indeed, I feel better than ever, and I have a lot of thank-you notes: for my husband, who never let me feel anything less than beautiful; for a weight-loss program that I could follow no matter where in the world I went; for my "personal trainer"; for the Mateses, who readily let me borrow a highly valuable tool even though I was skipping town; for a gym that doesn't feel like a meat market (and can also be accessed away from home); for the c.c guys, who endured my pleas for hotels with exercise rooms and pools; and for Rob and Brendan, who generously indulged my biscuit-and-gravy cravings while keeping their fitness equipment on standby. I salute you all with cupcakes!


TRACK LISTING: Phoenix, "If I Ever Feel Better"

05 January 2007

"Don't want no Cap'n Crunch!"

Curley Cottage, Kingston, ON, 02-Jul-06

"Don't want no Raisin Bran!"

PF brought home some Cool Ranch Doritos this evening and we partied like it was 1989. What is it about this flavour of snack chip that makes it seem like such a relic? I know that people still eat these things -- I have seen them do so WITH MY OWN EYES -- yet I never consider picking up a bag when I'm at the grocery store. I don't even think my brain registers its presence on the shelf. In fact, when I saw the bag of Cool Ranch on the kitchen counter, I wondered for a moment where PF found it. In a time machine?

Nevertheless, once that bag of yellow triangles was open, it was over. I guess you just can't deny the power of fried corn.


TRACK LISTING: "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Eat It"

04 January 2007

"And now my eyes are closing."

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

"The world spins so fast
that I might fly off."

People! I am so sleepy! Why?


TRACK LISTING: Duran Duran, "Sound of Thunder"