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 February 2007

"News on the radio."

Cupcake in the Kitchen, Toronto, ON, 28-Feb-07

"Happy birthday!
Happy birthday!
Happy birthday!"

(I may have had too much red wine.)

TRACK LISTING: Concrete Blonde, "Happy Birthday"

[NOTE: Since I was a teenager, this has been one of my favourite songs, and certainly my favourite song about a birthday. In my twenties I danced to it every Monday night at a local club -- a fond memory to this day. I bonded with a friend over a mutual love for Johnette Napolitano, so I was kind of thrilled to learn that JN wrote this song about spending her thirtieth birthday in a hotel room during a band tour, because that is how I spent my thirtieth birthday as well.]

27 February 2007

"I'm gonna make your life so sweet!"

Giant Lollipops at the BioPark, Albuquerque, NM, 26-Dec-06

"Yeah, yeah, YEAH!"

Caramel Kettle Corn Crispy Minis are filling the void left by my beloved childhood cereal, Sugar Crisp. (I suppose I could eat Sugar Crisp as an adult. I could also shoot liquid sugar straight into my blood stream.)

Sugar Bear, you've been replaced!

TRACK LISTING: The Archies, "Sugar, Sugar"

[NOTE: You know, it's surprisingly hard to find a link to a photo of, or even a product page for, Crispy Minis' Caramel Kettle Corn flavour. Booooo.]

26 February 2007

"Standing in the line..."

Workplace Candy, Toronto, ON, 15-Feb-07

"...we're aberrations!"

Ah! dear patrons of the ladies' toilets. I know that many of you are quite concerned about the various bacterium that might leap off the commode and onto your pure skin, should your bottom actually touch the seat. Yet it would seem as if, by squatting just above the rim and, er -- shall we say -- "missing the hole," you are in fact sustaining a vicious circle. I beg you, darlings! at least wipe the surface before you take your leave.

TRACK LISTING: The Germs, "What We Do Is Secret"

25 February 2007

The Sunday Night Lights: No.18

Apartment Desk Lamp, Toronto, ON, 04-Feb-07

"Your universe contracts
into the morbid black."

TRACK LISTING: The Tender Box, "Shine a Light"

[NOTE: This photo was originally used for The Sunday Night Lights: No.15, but was scrapped in favour of a more appropriate photo.]

24 February 2007

"I can't wait to put the icing on the cake!"

At the Queen Mother, Toronto, ON, 25-Feb-07

"Let's get this thing in the oven!"

PF mentioned that he might put out a call for favourite foods, and I wondered how many slots in my Top 10 would be won by cake (in its many splendored and delicious incarnations).

Can I get an amen, SBP?

TRACK LISTING: The B-52's, "Cake"

23 February 2007

"Meet me out in the street."

Cabbie on TV, Toronto, ON, 25-Feb-07

"Meet me out in the street!"


TRACK LISTING: Bruce Springsteen, "Out in the Street"

22 February 2007

"Let them come, let them come, let them come."

Roadside Arby's, Somewhere in Iowa, 07-May-99

"They come for

Scrawled on a sticker pasted inside a phone booth on King Street (at Spadina):

TRACK LISTING: GWAR, "Meat Sandwich"

21 February 2007

"That's the danger."

Home Tool Kit, Toronto, ON, 21-Feb-07

"It's the one thing."

It's funny to work in an office above a floor undergoing construction. There is the constant sound of drilling echoing up from below -- strange, gnashing, clashing sounds -- and the occasional vibration beneath our shoes. (That last effect, to be sure, is an odd yet somewhat pleasurable sensation. It travels through the entire body like an ascending shiver!)

As I type, the workers are right under me, and it's kind of weird. I can hear tapping, knocking, banging, hammering, scraping and whirring. It's remarkable how, when I concentrate on the renovation instead of my job, my mind is free to do some construction of its own. Elaborate scenarios: What if they drove a nail right through the ceiling and into my foot? How much would that hurt? Could I sue? Because PF and I could use that money. Would the company sue as well? Would the injury and possible scarring/amputation/deformity be worth the money? Someone would have to call Jay and tell him the kitchen supply shopping trip is off, and they'd have to cancel my appointment with Sam at the salon, too.

TRACK LISTING: INXS, "The One Thing" (because it's playing as I post)

20 February 2007

"Tellin' you things."

Martinez Town, Albuquerque, NM, 27-Dec-06

"But not tellin' straight."

Dry your eyes, Big Tobacco: business will never be good.

TRACK LISTING: The Streets, "Dry Your Eyes"

19 February 2007

"I'm thinking of a dream I had."

At Work, Toronto, ON, 15-Feb-07

"Maybe you're right."

I'm thinking of this song and its words, and how Simon interpreted them: "Sometimes, someone out there is worth it." I believe this, and as much as I craved and appreciate the stability of the Day Job, the best part of having one remains the luxury of coming home every night. ("On a bus back home to you.") I remember occasional fantasies about being in a band, and feel quite fortunate and grateful that I had the experience, but I am relieved to have made it through with a whole life ahead of me.

Sometimes I think it might be nice to take a business trip, perhaps once or twice a year. After all, it wasn't the leaving home that I hated
-- it was the being away from home for six months of the year (though I can't say I didn't have a lot of fun) -- and I kinda like staying in hotels every now and then.

It's funny how being in a band involves business trips of sorts; tours are often just as strategic as company excursions, if not always as organized. Really, we were like travelling salesmen, going from town to town, hoping to convince people that they needed our product in their lives. We peddled every night! We put everything on the line. At the end, if we did our job, we'd have people sold. If we were lucky, we'd have a little something to take home. (Unlike other businesses, these trips weren't primarily about financial profit, but we aimed to break even. Of course we were happy if we were able to pocket a bit of change as well!)

The product, obviously, was our merchandise -- the records and t-shirts we laid out on small tables at the back of the club -- but in a greater sense, the product was us. Our hearts were truly, literally, in it.

TRACK LISTING: The Walkmen, "Thinking of a Dream I Had"

18 February 2007

The Sunday Night Lights: No.17

The Da Maria, Toronto, ON, 03-Dec-05

"There is an awful sound.
This haunted town,
it will not,
it will not,
it will not just be quiet.
Some ghosts sink;
some will get called
to the light."

TRACK LISTING: Wolf Parade, "Shine a Light"

17 February 2007

"Those little eyes so helpless and appealing..."

The Found Painting, Toronto, ON, 17-Feb-07

"...one day will flash
and send you crashing
through the ceiling."

PF introduced me to Smooth Talk today, and while I was ultimately lukewarm about the film, it certainly hurtled me back into my teenage years. There are moments in that film that excellently capture the rites of adolescence, including the strange discovery of sexuality (yours and that of those around you). Needless to say, it can be painful -- sometimes physically, and always emotionally -- especially because you're torn between the urge to do something with your body and the confusion of not knowing exactly what to do, or how to do it. [Shiver.]

In addition, the movie made me terrified of raising young girls. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? indeed!

TRACK LISTING: Maurice Chevalier, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"

16 February 2007

"Years go by, I'm lookin' through a girlie magazine."

In the Kitchen, Toronto, ON, 30-Jan-07

"And there's my homeroom angel
on the pages in between."

American Apparel ads make me glad that there are multiple sweatshop-free clothing companies from which to choose. Seriously, don't these tired images look like throwaway test shots from Calvin Klein's infamous 1995 jeans campaign? (It's like they were taken while the crew was trying to figure out the lighting situation and CK reps refused to let the actual product get dirty [a-har-har] until everything was set up.)

Oooh, Dov Charney! You are so fucking edgy! I'm not even getting into the man's sketchy ethics (which seem to undermine his crusade against "exploitative labor tactics"). I generally like to support Canadians when they take on the world, but it looks like the cons are starting to outweigh the pros here. Also, I don't respond well to skeeves.

TRACK LISTING: J. Geils Band, "Centerfold"

15 February 2007

"He's bloated and frozen."

"Still, there's no point
in letting it go to waste."

I know the Mac people might come off a little smug, and I know some people find these "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads annoying, but come on! That is one tour-de-force performance on the part of the man playing Vista security.

Touché, Apple!

TRACK LISTING: Radiohead, "Knives Out"

14 February 2007

"A shattering of shop windows."

Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, 10-Feb-07

"These are the days
of miracle and wonder,
and don't cry, baby,
don't cry,
don't cry."

Seriously, Diesel? Is Miss Imperial going to have to open a category called "Douchebags" as so many posts seem to be dedicated to this sort of, well, douchebaggery? I don't want to open a category called "Douchebags", I mean, I'm not a violent etc etc...ESPECIALLY since there's AN ENTIRE BLOG decrying the likes of you! Who do you think you are -- Benetton? Kenneth Cole? You can't dress something vapid up in mindless shock tactics and call it "edgy". Leave the pretty persuasion to those who know what they're doing, you fools, because you obviously have no clue. Grrr.

Oh yeah: Happy Valentine's Day!

[NOTE (20-Feb-07): After considering Betagal and Mat the W's thoughtful responses to this post (see the Notes section below), I came across this Washington Post article, which addresses the Diesel "global warming" ad campaign much more intelligently than I did. Enjoy!]

13 February 2007

"For knowing that someone in this life loves with a passion called hate."

Central Avenue, Albuquerque, NM, 24-Dec-05

"And what you give
is what you get!"

Back to douches, if you will. (This time it's a real one, not the imaginary kind.)

It's nice to learn that this ridiculous excuse for a human being (aka "Adam Plimmer"; aka "Adam Paul", now, apparently) is earning the damning infamy he so richly deserves. Every time I see footage of this local idiot, I wonder:

Does he have a drug problem?

Does he have any friends?

If so, have they stopped returning his phone calls since his sketchy behaviour was exposed?

Is he just totally insane?

I'm sure one of the many viewers around the world will weigh in eventually, if he or she hasn't already. I suppose I shouldn't advocate, er, judgmentalism (too late!), but really, this jerk has it coming.

TRACK LISTING: The Jam, "Start!"

12 February 2007

"Now we're up in the big leagues!"

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

"Gettin' our turn at bat!"

Congratulations to the wonderful PF, who scored a new job today and will soon return to the land of the living (as in: no more graveyard shifts)!

TRACK LISTING: Ja'net Du Bois, "Movin' On Up (Theme from The Jeffersons)"

11 February 2007

The Sunday Night Lights: No.16

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

"That lonesome feeling
comes creepin' back around."

TRACK LISTING: Andrew Jones, "Shine a Light"

10 February 2007

"Trying to jack the lad."

Pro's Hair, Albuquerque, NM, 26-Dec-05

"You'd think he'd had enough."

As much as I love Jim Halpert (and as much as I love JK, who is brilliant in the role, and also oddly handsome), in my heart I suspect that if I actually knew Jim in real life, I'd think he was a total douche.


TRACK LISTING: Elvis Costello & The Attractions, "The Imposter"

09 February 2007

"There's music on the station."

Somewhere in Texas, 15-Mar-06

"And I'm just listening
to cold wind whistling."

I don't think this will be good for the case.

Even though it's clear that her path was determined by the choices she made and the actions she took (and wow, I couldn't possibly sound more condescending or Self-Help), it's difficult not to feel a little depressed and even guilty about the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Certainly, the way she lived, an early demise always seemed like the inevitable conclusion; yet up to the minute she died (and possibly beyond), we treated her like a joke. We didn't just make fun of what she did or said, we ridiculed HER. Did her entire existence deserve to be laughed at and routinely dimissed? Even if it did, there's a great sadness about that. She's become the Marilyn Monroe of our crazy generation, hasn't she? Maybe that's what she wanted all along.

TRACK LISTING: Arcade Fire, "Cold Wind"

[NOTE: Yes, it seems quite, um, precious to eulogize Anna Nicole Smith, but this is what I'm thinking about right now. I am THAT shallow. As for Arcade Fire usage, some might feel the band is too good to be associated with her, but this is the song that started playing at the EXACT moment that I began thinking of her death, so I couldn't not make it the accompanying track.]

08 February 2007

"I really need you tonight!"

Pants for Damian, Burlington, VT, 25-Jan-06

"Forever's gonna start tonight!
Forever's gonna start

It's a little perverse that a woman might drive almost a thousand miles cross-country, ready to take down the other woman whom she believes stands between her and the man WHO WILL BE HERS, YES, ALL HERS, and that this woman might be fully insane and capable of violence but would likely find herself barely making a ripple in the headline news pool (perhaps only landing in stories that run in local Orlando and Houston papers)...but, of course, she had to swaddle herself in a diaper first.

Speaking of perverse! A DIAPER? Damn, woman! That is an ingenious move to eliminate delay-causing bathroom breaks, perhaps, but it is certainly the missing link between "Oddly Enough" news blurb and object of ridicule for years to come. You can just picture the endless parodies and references on VH1 retrospectives
, no?

TRACK LISTING: Bonnie Tyler, "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

07 February 2007

"I'm all alone -- won't you give all your sympathy to mine?"

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

"Tell me a story
about how
you adore me."

I've just returned from watching Notes on a Scandal, and in my head, the Oscar race for Best Actress has grown much tighter. Judi Dench is so good in this film, it's frightening.

I mean, I never forgot that the woman on screen was Judi Dench, but I began to wonder if I'd ever seen her in another movie. She transformed herself brilliantly; the personality of Barbara Covett seemed so natural to her that it obliterated every other memory I had of her work. (I would have these flashes of Dench's image as M in the James Bond film series, but they simply wouldn't reconcile with the severely pinched, achingly lonely spinster of Scandal.)

In fact, Dench was such a shapeshifter in Scandal that I saw many other people in her performance as well. This distressed me quite a bit, and actually, I found the entire film uncomfortably intense at times. It was an experience that often forced me to crouch down in my seat, and even shield my eyes, as if I were watching a horror movie. Scary-good, indeed! Notes on a Scandal made me want to run home and hug my husband in relief.

TRACK LISTING: The Rolling Stones, "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?"

06 February 2007

"We're so bad, we know we're good."

Kardinal Offishall Crowd, Ottawa, ON, 31-Aug-06

"Blowin' your mind
like we knew we would."

Do we really need more commercials? Probably not.

Still, this...

...is brilliant. (She's based in Chicago! He was born in Indianapolis! Not to mention the fact that they had a longstanding feud!)

No wonder people who don't necessarily like American football tune into the Super Bowl each year. That Kevin Federline ad was probably worth it, too.

TRACK LISTING: The Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew, "The Super Bowl Shuffle"

05 February 2007

"Usually when things have gone this far..."

'The New Monique Clough Show', Albuquerque, NM, 24-Dec-05

"...people tend to disappear."

PF and I were thinking maybe so.

TRACK LISTING: Peter Bjorn and John featuring Victoria Bergsman, "Young Folks"

04 February 2007

The Sunday Night Lights: No.15

At WEMF 35, Tweed, ON, 22-Jul-06

"Don't talk to me
about simple things;
there is no such thing.
All a man can build
is his vision,
and I love my man
for trying."

TRACK LISTING: Constantines, "Shine a Light"

03 February 2007

"Candy, candy, candy."

Wall of Gum, Seattle, WA, 08-Oct-06

"I can't let you go!"

Can anyone tell me if there exists a boxed chocolate assortment filled only with cherries, caramels and nuts (preferably of the Brazil variety)? I mean an already assembled box, not the choose-it-yourself kind available at more expensive, specialty confectionaries.

Curse you, sweet tooth!

TRACK LISTING: Iggy Pop featuring Kate Pierson, "Candy"

02 February 2007

"We all need a little tenderness."

Near the Hotel, Kamloops, BC, 29-Oct-05

"How can love survive
in such a graceless age?"

One of my favourite musical memories involves Ben Lee. Strangely enough, Lee isn't one of my favourite musicians, though I don't dislike what I've heard and have a fondness for him as a person because he's been very generous to my friends' band.

Nevertheless, on an October night a couple of years ago, in a club on the Lower East Side where I met up with these friends, Lee made a great impression on me. He took the stage and covered "The Heart of the Matter." That's right: the Don Henley hit.

I know I'm old, and perhaps that's why I don't hate this song. I know a lot of people think it's overly sappy and a very fine example of sensitive-dude-with-ponytail songwriting. Still, at its core -- when stripped of its possibly distracting MOR instrumentation -- "The Heart of the Matter" is a fairly honest reflection on how a jilted lover might share some of the blame for a broken relationship. That show at Sin-é wasn't the only night that Ben Lee performed this song, and it might not have been the first time he did so; yet, at the time, he had just pulled through a breakup with his longtime girlfriend, and this gave the words of the song a deep resonance.

It was Lee and his guitar alone, which might have been as cloying as some find the original Henley version, but thankfully, Lee didn't opt for theatrics. He didn't burst into tears in the middle of the song; he didn't smash his guitar to bits in a fit of rage at the end; he didn't stop playing and tell us, with a shake of his head, that he couldn't go on. He just played the song and sang in his normal, soft and slightly wistful voice, which was perfect.

He made it seem as if he had written "The Heart of the Matter" about the woman whom most of us knew had left him for another man, or as if the song had been written for him by Henley in a moment of prescience. Really, as obvious as the lyrics might be, they tap into feelings we've all had. That night at Sin-é, Lee made the sentiment hard to resist. He took a song at which most of the people in that audience would have scoffed and turned it into a confession; this turned us into confidantes, and we responded gratefully.

TRACK LISTING: Don Henley, "The Heart of the Matter"

01 February 2007

"They think blood is thicker than water."

Sally and AP's Wedding, Rama, ON, 24-Sep-05

"But they just
don't understand."

I am lucky: I can count on one, maybe two hands, the number of good friends with whom I've completely lost touch. Even then, those friends that I held so dear, so near until they disappeared, were never what I would call fairweather. Those people were never in it just for fun; they were family.

I've always felt that friends can be as close as family, and sometimes even closer. I'm always happy when my friends confirm this belief; when they act as surrogate parents and siblings; when our relationships endure the most trying situations; and when, even after years and miles have been placed between us, we carry on as if no time has passed. We always forgive the distance, and I love that.

TRACK LISTING: Michael Monroe, "Love Is Thicker Than Blood"