january 2002

click here for permalink January 15, 2002

Either I have a real anger-management issue or I've been sold some defective kitchenware at the local Dollar Store... I was doing the gentle little twist-twist motion that typically releases ice cubes from the plastic tray and, apparently, twisted hard enough to cause the entire tray to splinter and explode, raining fragments of fuchsia plastic all over the inside of the freezer and kitchen floor.

Incredibly, I was unharmed. It's miraculous, really. Given the current state of the Canadian Emergency Medical System, perhaps I should be a little more careful in my cocktail preparations.

The Golden Globe Awards were tonight and I just barely (thanks to my mother!) tuned in to catch the — er — festivities? For the first half hour, I kept wondering if everyone was sleep-deprived or on the verge of tears.

Except for Sarah Jessica Parker, whose dress and makeup gave her every excuse for tears... or even throwing things, had she been so inclined. You know those craft store dolls with the big, bell-shaped dresses you can use as a lamp shade? She looked like one of those. Anyway...

The whole show seemed very subdued to me, but maybe I've just been desensitized by seemingly back-to-back viewings of the MTV Video Awards, American Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards; a loud, garish parade in honor of our our melting pot/compost heap culture. Perhaps, after watching three weeks worth of acceptance speeches to God and the "peeps" by fur coat-wearing rapper posses and R&B divas with rainbow hair weaves, any celebration of excellence, as opposed to excess, in entertainment would have seemed eerily funereal.

Back at the Golden Globes, the attire of choice for the majority was simple, unadorned black, with very little jewelry. Head to toe black... timeless, restrained, fashionable... but not foolproof. There's a reason why Johnny Cash and Stevie Nicks are the only people who swear by the uniform these days. On a few, the effect was quite stunning — I'm thinking of Martin Sheen and Will Smith — but we expect nothing less from them. Also, they're men.

The black-clad ladies fared far worse, with the notable exception of Nicole Kidman, who looked fantastic. Thora Birch, who I had to scrutinize over the course of four audience reaction shots before recognizing, also looked radiant. She's grown up since "American Beauty" and now, ironically, has the enigmatic glow of a pre-"Star Trek: Episode One" Natalie Portman.

"Moulin Rouge" won Nicole Kidman a Best Actress Award and the film itself was awarded the Best Picture, Musical/Comedy genre... perhaps becoming the first film in a great while to justify the word "Musical" being in there at all. "A Beautiful Mind" cleaned up on the Drama side with Best Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor Awards, the latter going to Russell Crowe who will doubtless be praised above-all for his genuine, gracious and prepared acceptance speech.

And that was the Golden Globes...

Drink me!
Which drink are you?

Yeah... that pretty much sums it up.

click here for permalink January 11, 2002

On an unavoidable trip out of the city by Sky Train today (that would be Vancouver's elevated suburb-linking subway system), my uncontrollable used book obsession drew me into a thrift store... in the Twilight Zone...

It was the sun bleached, taxi-yellow sign that caught my eye, hanging over a dingy storefront window covered with posters and handwritten signs, and the propped open door with one of those little "Closed Until..." clocks with the movable hands. It seemed a little out of place on this street, sandwiched between hair salons and dental offices, with a Blenz on the corner, but...

Before I knew what was happening, the used book radar had repositioned my internal compass and I found myself in the doorway, apologizing to a rather rude woman carrying an armful of clothes and bleating replies at the person behind the counter who I assumed to be a relative by the tone of their conversation. What relative — or, indeed, what gender — this person was, I couldn't determine. After the briefest glance up in its direction earned me a barking, "Can I help you?" I desperately avoided eye contact altogether.

The yellow sign advertised "Games, Books, CDs and Tapes," but inside it looked like a Midwestern tornado touchdown memorial. The walls were covered with posters and display cases and mismatched, teetering bookcases lined every wall, then branched out through the center of the room, creating three or more uneven, book-littered corridors.

Every square foot from the door to the counter was crammed with metal racks, boxes or shelves — but mostly piles — of old magazines, comic books, AAA travel books and anything else that North America has made out of trees in the last thirty years.

Stepping very carefully, in cringing anticipation of another run-in with the genderless proprietor or some wiry-haired, angry little dog I would mistake for a paper sack, I scanned the bookcases for a purchase that would justify my descent into junk store hell. Despite their proliferation, the little xerox-paper signs that advertised "Romance," "Non-Fiction" and "Best-Sellers," corresponded only vaguely to the contents of their assigned shelves (aside from perhaps "Best-Sellers" with it's boldly noncommittal, unprovable claim).

Near the cashier's long, cloudy, glass counter, the walkway was nearly overtaken with half-filled boxes and a long, lumpy pile of something that had been covered with an old blanket. I gave the mysterious blanket a wide berth, tiptoeing around the other side of a teetering card table in front of the counter that held a mountain of cardboard and trash. At last, as I was as near to the counter as a mortal soul could get, the flooded-garage smell became palpable.

As I fled through the labyrinth, I heard a clear, young voice call out, "can we help you?" Halfway to freedom, I turned and saw an eerie replica of the previous... storeperson, but in the form of a ten-year old. I managed a cracking "No thanks!" and lunged for the open door.

And repeated all the way back to Vancouver, "there's no place like home... there's no place like home..."

click here for permalink January 10, 2002

Hey, happy new year, everyone! Of course, after all my whining about New Year's Eve, I had a great time. We went out and stood in the middle of a conspicuously fur-coated mob as it slowly complained its way past several bouncers...

The room was newly renovated but utterly lacking in club feng shui, with tight staircases and little round iron tables hampering dancers and piles of coats slung over brass railings suggesting a coat check deficiency. The crowd was overdressed and undercool, the music a little too dependant on Prince remixes, but we all had fun. My friends rule.

Since then, I've been doing a lot of my favorite things; hanging out in thrift stores for hours looking at the same books and collectable crap that was there the day before and squinting, with my face inches from the computer screen, to work on (and, occassionally, accidentally delete) various artistic projects.

We've been entertaining lots of friends who do crazy things while they're here, like baking six sheets of cookies and leaving them for us, or washing my dishes in the middle of a heart-to-heart just because they feel like cleaning... or dragging a half a dozen strangers from an after-hours into our tiny living room and offering to relocate the party to their own spacious quarters only if we accompany them... yep, my friends rule.

Today, while doing the rounds from one thrift store to another, I spotted the very rare, very expensive car of a friend of mine. He was nowhere in sight, but the car is rare enough and expensive enough that, statistically, the list of potential owners quickly approaches zero. As I was thinking this, I noticed that the group of five young businessmen who had been striding somewhere rather purposefully up ahead had come to a stunned pause in front of the car and were beginning to circle it making strange, adolescent noises. I passed as they closed in, some reverently silent, some speaking in high octaves, reporting stats of the coveted vehicle to the others.

I was mystified, but I need look no further than straight down for answers. I'm a girl. And fancy cars, no matter what Playboy and Maxim may suggest in countless, lovingly composed photo spreads, are for boys. I know a couple of girls who could probably wax automotive on the number of cylinders it has or how quickly it goes from 0-60, but they might draw the line at a public display of horsepower envy in front of their coworkers. Men, it seems — regardless of age or occupation — can always bond over cars.

I was a block away when the alarm went off. Someone's alarm, I mean, and only for a second, but it was so loud and so obnoxious that I almost burst out laughing. It got me thinking that, since scaring off and thereby stopping the criminal is really the only function of a car alarm, they should invent an incredibly loud quacking alarm. Just like a gigantic duck. What criminal — or potential eyewitness — within hearing range could ignore that?

It would only work if it sort of complimented the car's persona, though... like, it'd be perfect for the new VW Beetle but not so perfect for the Landcruiser. But, hey, what do I know? The Landcruiser could be tough with a sense of humor... And there's your pitch to the female customer right there.

Wow, this entry is all over the map. Oh well, hey, welcome to my mind. Heh. Check this out. I am SO not the Intestine. Whatever.

Which Internal Organ are you? Find out at willaston's lounge.

click here for permalink January 09, 2002

The new Fashion Channel that I've had for a few months is trying to appeal to their predominantly female viewership by filling their "Model TV" series with the life stories of every male model they can find. Not to dis male models, but I have problems with this.

First, let's be honest — getting an interesting five-minute interview out of even the most accomplished female model is rare. I'm sorry — I too love Gisele's perfect Brazilian tan and the fact that she singlehandedly brought curves and curls back to fashion, but watching her gnash her way through a segment on a recent late night talk show was almost physically painful. Don't even get me started on Heidi Klum. The point is, when it comes to giving an interview, male models make female models look like veteran news anchors.

More importantly, there are precious few male models worthy of interviewing in the first place, so roughly one in four "Model TV" installments seem to feature the face that launched a thousand videos, Tyson Beckford. Sure, he's beautiful and a polished speaker, but that doesn't justify repeated cannonballs into the shallow pool of his perfect, predictable life. Then again, it's still better background noise than the music channels.