I've Moved! I'm slowly transitioning over to TypePad, where my blog will be part of my new domain rebelwithoutabrain.com. I have also registered rebelwithabrain.com to reflect my more serious rebellious side. Click here for some brainless fury, fur, fun, and alliteration.
Magnum Photos has published a compelling collection of photos from 911 and its aftermath. The photographers comment on the day, where they were, and their thoughts on the American government response. Even if you're weary of the coverage, this is 10 minutes well-spent, particularly to hear photographer Gilles Peress lament that his son began building defensive weapons with his Lego bricks after the event. Via openDemocracy.net.


Abandoned in the Alley Detail

Abandoned in the Alley Detail
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Click on the image to see other pics from an alley in Point St-Charles.


What the Beetle Sees: Iles de la Madeleine

What the Beetle Sees: Iles de la Madeleine
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

The house behind the one I'm renting, as seen through the Bug's windshield.


One of the other reasons why Madelinots might not go in for bistros and cafes (see previous post) is because of the price of fresh produce. Forget about getting mesclun greens with your panini. Every salad I’ve had since New Brunswick has consisted uniquely of the following: iceberg lettuce, green pepper, vaquely red tomatoes, and radish. Nothing destroys radish. Nothing. Insects and radishes will be the only things to survive a nuclear blast. Salad ingredients are not a question of a lack of gourmandises…it’s a question of availability and cost.

Grapes were 6.99 a pound on Les Iles. Oranges were .60 a piece. I managed to find pineapple on special at the local Co-op for 2.25. It may not ripen before I leave, so I may transport it back to Montreal with me next week. Oh! the irony! I did find lettuce grown locally. It looked like real lettuce and had what looked like buttery, fragile leaves. When I opened the plastic package, two small worms, a baby snail and a not-so-baby slug tumbled out. I forced myself to quickly get over the gross factor. That’s the price you pay for real food. I put the worms and the baby slug in the compost and tossed the slug out the back door (don’t ask me why the slug received a slightly different fate). I washed the lettuce very carefully. Then I checked each leaf. Then I ate the lettuce in a salad. The salad accompanied the freshest crab legs I have ever had. Living close to your food source has its merits.


The tourist season hasn’t really started here on Les Iles. Went to visit Havre-Aubert hoping that a cafĂ© recommended to me was open. Alas, it wasn’t. I did come across 5 women baking up a storm in one of the shops nearby. Come back on Sunday, they said, we’ll be open then. I regretfully closed the door on the heavenly smell of cinnamon raisin bread.

Les Madelinots don’t have a culure of going out to quaint bistros and cafes. They certainly exist, but only for the tourist trade. The establishments that are open right now are all situated on Cap-aux-Meules (where the ferry deposits you). Visited Le Central yesterday, a bar in Cap-aux-Meules. It’s pleasant enough, but doesn’t have the cachet demanded by visitors to the Islands. Instead, it has all the familiarity of a local watering hole, rendering it a safe and comfortable place for locals to gather. Last evening, two middle-aged women sat at one end of the bar talking over a couple of beers. At the other end, a group of men did the same. In the middle was a younger woman – who looked a little like Marjo (the quintessential Quebecois rocker chick)—who was speaking with a guy who seemed to be part of the artist/artisant community.

I sat at a table, where I asked to be served the beer that’s brewed here. Alas, Molson has a stranglehold on this establishment and they don’t actually serve the local beer in the local watering hole. I’ll bring a case back with me. Among the other table patrons was a group of three very grano twenty-somethings, a young guy on a computer, and a couple who seem to have been having a semi-fight. Every time the woman got up, her metal chair hit mine with gusto. Normally, a Madelinot (heck, even a Montrealaise) would acknowledge this and apologize. She just kept pulling her chair forcefully into mine. I took it as punishment for being a stranger in a strange land.

Minou de la Madeleine

Minou de la Madeleine
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

It doesn't matter where I go, they always find me. Here's a charming young Madelinot feline peeking in through the window.


View of Entry Island: Iles de la Madeleine

View of Entry Island Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Second day on les Iles de la Madeleine. I’ve been watching the lobster boats come back from their first day of emptying the traps—the traps first went into the water on Saturday. Tomorrow, I’ll eat my first boiled lobster. Les Iles are actually linked by sandbars. I’m on Havre-aux-Maisons, considered the most picturesque—probably because it has no commerce to speak of. All the major shops--including a Tim Hortons--is on Cap-aux-Meules. I did a bit of reconnaissance today, driving to Cap-aux-Meules to get a sense of where services were. There’s the Jean Coutu. Here’s the SAQ. There’s the local bar. I picked up a few brochures at the Tourist Centre. I plan to visit Entry Island, which I can see from the house I’m renting. Entry Island is home to about 100 English-speaking Anglicans, who all seem to be named Welsh – Arlie, Borden, Dazil, and Waldrin are a few of the more charming given names. Since the accent of the francophone population is so pronounced (it sounds a bit like Old English, which sounds a bit like Old French), I’m pretty sure that the accent used by the folks on Entry Island is just as pronounced. Recently, the Entry Islanders have voiced their concerns over Hydro-Quebec’s proposal to install wind generators on the island. The local paper reported a resident worrying that the monster windmills would overwhelm the silence the Island is noted for. “We would have to leave the Island,” he said. Of course, if they left the island, the need for electricity would be moot. But, that’s what fascinating about the community on Entry Island: it’s so small, it could disappear in a single season, yet it has endured for centuries. Other concerns on Les Iles revolve around housing. Les Iles is subject to gentrification, just like our cities are. There’s a huge problem with locals being booted out their rentals come June to make them available to vacationers. Indeed, the house I’m in is exclusively rented to “mainlanders”. A fisherman, who I’m told is leaving in June, currently leases the house behind me, owned by the same dudes who own my rental. I’m half suspicious, but haven’t confirmed, that he’s leaving to make way for someone willing to pay $1000.00 or more week for what he pays considerably less. Just like folks in the city, local residents are loath to make use of the Regie de Logements in order to protect their rights. Indeed, the community is so small here that no one locks their door. As a potential criminal, you are a captive audience, the only place to run is the sea. I’m fairly confident that if Eudore’s son stole my laptop, his neighbour Procule would find out about it, tell his wife Alma, who would mention something to the cashier at the local Co-op. The Surete Quebec would return my laptop the next day. I’d refuse to testify and Eudore’s son would decide to pursue Lettres at CEGEP du Limoilou, would return to Les Iles and open a restaurant specializing in seal sausages. You can really purchase seal sausages. No kidding.


Hello Kitty USB 2.0 Flash Drive Horribly overpriced for a USB key, but priceless as a geekette accessory. Please buy me one.


Hey, Fool! Everybody Gotta Wear Clothes! Mr. T "takes the A Train to fashion" and waxes eloquently on the best of 80s independent stylists.


Butterflies on Snow

Butterflies on Snow
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Went to the botanical gardens to catch the Buterflies Go Free show. The butterflies were particularly active on the sun-filled greenhouse. More photos posted under my Flickr account.


Don't Hate Me Cuz I'm Too Smart Yesterday, Salon's Broadsheet published an item commenting on an op-ed piece in the New York Times in which the dean of admissions at a college in Ohio--the mother of a college age woman, no less-- admitted to rejecting qualified women. Why? Because there's a glut of smart women and not enough smart men applicants. To keep numbers equal, admissions officers are evening the playing field. I found this "admission" incredibly disturbing, maybe because I credit my university education with having provided me with so much. It gave me choices and offered an environment where I created life-long friends. To think that someone -- anyone -- would be denied an opportunity because they are simply too good is maddening beyond words. This is a practice sanctioned by women and mothers against their daughters. Power corrupts. Absolutely.
Tator Tot's Origins My friend A alerted me to this. Disturbing. Funny. Disturbing and funny.


Favourite Dollar Store Finds: Pepper Mill I have a beautiful Peugeot pepper mill that my parents gave me for Christmas many, many years ago. If I remember correctly, it was the only thing on my list because they can be quite expensive. I had had enough with cheaper pepper mills that never really worked. Peugeot mills provide finely ground pepper consistently. However, sometimes dishes scream for coarsely ground black pepper. What's a gal or guy to do? I found this little item and was kind of dubious about its ability to grind and the freshness of the pepper corns. The pepper corns were surprisingly pungent and the grinder provides nice chunky bits of pepper. Moreover, it's refillable.


Why I Despise the Cirque du Soleil I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds Cirque shows kinda cheesy. Now that they have a permanent home in Las Vegas -- along with Celine Dion (who everyone knows is cheesy) -- the cheesy argument is pretty easy to make. Cheesy isn't necessarily a bad thing--although, it gives cheese (a food I adore) a bad name. Cheesy doesn't hurt anyone. Being blatently socially irresponsible does. The Cirque pulled out of the Casino project late last week, after the release of the wishy-washy Coulombe report. The Coulombe report said that building the Casino in the Peel basin, in the poorest neigbourhood in Montreal (Point St-Charles), was probably a bad thing but they weren't against it or for it. Doh! The community of Point St-Charles really rallyed against this project (although The Gazette insisted on tainting everyone with the "activist" moniker, as if there wasn't grass roots opposition to this stupid, wacky project). As reported in The Gazette, the Cirque pulled out because "the project's many positive elements were overshadowed by the heated debate over whether the casino would help or harm Point St-Charles...." They then quoted the Cirque's CEO Daniel Lamarre. "I thought we had this debate in Quebec many years ago and decided as a society that gambling was acceptable. I'm not a politician, so I don't have to decide. I can build my project or not." Omigod. It's like he's saying I'm a big fat capitalist and I'll be damned if I'm going to be concerned about the social impact of my plans; if I have to be socially responsible, I don't want to play. Shame on you, Cirque du Soleil. And shame on the Loto Quebec and the City of Montreal. Now, if we could just get an outdoor pool for the kids of the Point, that would be a step in the right direction. Even better, how about a circus day camp for the kids in the 'hood, sponsored by the Cirque du Soleil?

Favourite Dollar Store Finds: Bag Clip

When I first purchased these, all my design-conscious friends demanded to know where I got them? Zone? Caban? They're a far cry from the plastic clips normally used for keeping half-eaten cheesies fresh. They're also useful for keeping a towel around your shoulders when you're dying your hair. Two for a buck--you can't go wrong.


Good Kitty

good kitty
Originally uploaded by kazzie*.

My friend A sent me this link last night as I was trying to get some work done. Alas, the distraction got the better of me and I spent hours trawling the 'net for more cute.


Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Run Lola Run, you may not want to read this post.

I was reminded of one of my favourite films the other day when someone sent this link to a 3D discussion board. He wrote that if he actually animated a character doing this, no one would believe it was possible in reality. The exhiliration of the dancer in this clip is like that of the main character in Run Lola Run. Ninety-eight per cent of the reviews you read of the film will use the word "kinetic". Certainly, my breathing gets deeper and my heart beat goes up when I watch the sequences in the film where Lola races (three times over) to save the man she loves. I want to run with her because her motion is so unbelievably and recklessly passionate. That's actually what the director, Tom Tykwer, says is the theme of the movie.

"What happens is absolutely universal as far as both theme and content are concerned. It is this woman's passion alone that brings down the rigid rules and regulations of the world surrounding her. Love can move mountains, and does. Over and above all the action, the central driving force of this film is romance." What no review I've found mentions (nor does Tykwer) -- though it's there plainly in the movie -- is whether in the end it's actually worth moving mountains. In the context of this movie, Lola runs to save the life of her cute-but-whiny petty criminal boyfriend, Manni. In the bedroom scene that divides the first and second "runs", Lola and her boyfriend have a classic post-coital conversation where she asks Manni why he loves her. "Because you're the best," Manni fumbles. "The best what?" Lola probes. "The best girl," Manni fumbles again. "Of all the girl's in the world, I'm the best?" Lola challenges dubiously. "Ja." Lola's not convinced, but wills herself back to life and begins her second run to save Manni. The song lyrics that accompany her go "I don't know if your love is true." The theme of unrequited love is echoed in the scenes between Lola's still-married father and his mistress, who tells him she's pregnant. "What am I going to do, wait around until I'm too old for the man I love to decide whether he wants me?" The film is ambivalent about Manni's love for Lola--and about men's love for women in general--but is certain of Lola's passion for Manni, or, more likely for passion itself. She acquires powers to heal and control the fates (perhaps even stop time) whilst Manni at best attracts blind luck. When I first saw Run Lola Run, what struck me most was how wasted her actions were. All this energy, all this power, expended for whom, exactly? For cute-but-whiny Manni? Tykwer ends the film on another ambivalent note; the final shot focuses on Manni, implying that his future beyond the film with his "best girl" may not be a long one. I'd like to think that Lola's passion for Manni actually pushes her to another (higher) plane. Of course, I realize that this plays into the oldest German literary trope, Goethe’s Ewig-Weibliche (the eternal woman who elevates and civilizes man). But, in my fantasy, Lola rises for herself and not for mankind—or for womankind for that matter—and runs for the sheer pleasure of sensing her body in space.

I can’t wait for Spring.
Butressing my post on Laura Kipnis' book, Against Love, yesterday Salon published an article on the growing business of bringing singletons together. You can now take classes in finding the right person for you. Once you've graduated, you can go out into the world with a shopping list. Don't forget to pick up some butter.
It's almost as if I have a finger on the pulse of something.... Yesterday, the Australian reported that Maureen Dowd (see previous post) was in Australia to promote her book, Are Men Necessary. Maureen--bless her!--told the newspaper of her desire to connect with a worthy Aussie dude. Some of the replies are here. The funniest one: From SSS : If she can answer this question I`ll let her have me. How many blokes does it take to open a beer can? None. Maureen should of had it opened when she brought it to me. She better be able to cook and clean also. Why do I think it's the funniest? Because it's a play on an obvious stereotype. Because it's politically incorrect. Because it reminds me that lurking underneath seeming sensitivity is often something that will really, really hurt you (which is true of men and women). I like it for the same reason I adore Charles Bukowski's writing (and probably for the same reason women adored Bukowski when he was alive). He was a man's man and, as such, you knew he was going to be a shit. When you know the truth, there are no nasty surprises. What's that burning on the barby?


Juxta Position

At this month's Yulblog get-together, I had two books with me: Laura Kipnis' Against Love and Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary. For the record, I want to say that I'm not against love (nor is Kipnis, really) and I don't think men are unnecessary (which I realize isn't quite the same as saying unequivocally that they are necessary). Dowd's book came out last November and I was eager to read it if only for the title--a very saucy provocative one, don't you think? I haven't finished digesting it yet, but Rebecca Trister's review in Salon comes closest to my own feelings about the book. I had the Kipnis book with me because the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky sex scandal play an important role in both books. It's almost as if among all the things America has experienced recently--the Gulf War, 911, Brad and Jen breaking up--the seminal event sparking American feminist thinking was one that could have easily remained from the public gaze had it not been for Ken Starr. Interesting, non? One of Kipnis' principle arguments, and one that resonates with me, is why are relationships considered something we need to work at? Aren't relationships about love? Pleasure? Yet, common parlance says that a good marriage takes work (watching Dr. Phil should put anyone off marriage and children). Kipnis places this observation in the context of adultery. With more marriages failing than not, and with a President caught and then forgiven for being in flagrante delicto, surely it's time to throw off the yoke of the tyranny of love and re-think our attachment to conjugal bliss. Down with love, indeed. (I'm eager to re-read Shulamith Firestone's book The Dialectic of Sex within the context of Kipnis' Marx-inspired view of love as surplus value). Dowd sees the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal a bit differently. Drawing from her memory of the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, she calls attention to the fact that whilst feminists opposed Thomas precisely because of bad-boy behavior, feminists rolled over an forgave Bill his dalliance--Hillary included. "Even if I felt like raising a ruckus about Boys Nation, who would care? Feminism lasted for a nanosecond, but the backlash has lasted for forty years." The thing that resonates most for me in Dowd's book is her observation that we seem to have moved forward without having moved forward ar all. How *is* baring our breasts in Girls Gone Wild videos liberating? Why is our earning potential perenially stuck at 77% of what men earn? Why do we continue to covet scented candles (okay, the latter observation is mine). The questions these books raise are interesting--also interesting is that neither offer any prescriptives. A fellow Yulblogger had the book Search with him, and something in the small of my brain wanted to bring these three books together in some kind of gender politics face-off. In fact, the title of his book proves to be a presecriptive. Moreover, and not without irony, this entire post was enabled by the Google search engine. Thinking the dialectic just isn't what it used to be. (Thanks to Blork for the photograph.)


Favourite Dollar Store Finds: Wine Stopper

I drink a glass of red wine every day, which means that a bottle will last me three to four days (my red wine glasses are LARGE). This wine stopper, while not state of the art, keeps oxygen out of the bottle adequately. Would I use this for a $30.00 bottle of wine? Hell, no! A more expensive bottle of wine should be drunk in a single evening and shared with friends. But, for my $9.95 Chateau de Point St-Charles, this works just fine. A great gift to add to the bottle of wine you bring to a friend's for dinner.


Three times this week I have been privy to email gone wrong. In two instances, I received email misdirected to my email accounts. In another, an ex-colleague managed to leak some sensitive material to pretty much my entire customer base.
  • To the guy or gal complaining about the weather and being home alone with Spencer: I am not the Maggiek you think I am @ gmail.com. Just bundle up and get the hell out of there!
  • To the woman who sent me the entire summary of the conference she chaired in Dublin late last year: I do not know why I am copied on your email, but the German guy who replied to your email seems dreamy. Thank you.
  • To the ex-colleague who managed to send a very personal email about my business to everyone I do business with: While I realize this was inadvertant, the fact that you didn't contact me after to apologize or take any responsibility for this costly blunder (you blamed the autocomplete feature in Outlook, but not yourself) is mind-bogglingly rude. I spit in your general direction.
  • To the rest of you: Check your email addresses before you send something important. The life you save may be your own.

Favourite Dollar Store Finds:Tiny Colander

This is the object that inspired me to think about the other dollar store objects I thought were true value for the money. This colander holds just enough strawberries for one or blueberries for two. Can also double as a hat for your pet on Halloween.


Favourite Dollar Store Finds I am my father's daughter in many ways. I inherited his sturdy, tree-stump legs, sugar addiction, and ability to make on-the-spot decisions based on something indefinable occurring in my stomach. I also inherited his ability to seek out a bargain. If I frequent church sales and flea markets with the zeal of a squealing girl, it's partially because I am a squealing girl and partially because I know that there's something sitting on someone's sales table that is rare, precious, and will only cost a dollar. It might be a necklace, a pair of overalls, or an unused kit for making your own pinhole camera. With the dollar threshhold in mind, over the next couple of weeks, I'll present my favourite dollar store finds. "You won't believe what I paid for this....!"


Free is just another word for nothin' left.... I confess to an addiction. An addiction to free movie downloads. Of movies that aren't always very good. Ya know, I don't need to use my computer all the time. Why shouldn't it go to work for me, downloading when I'm not busy doing battle with the world of visual effects ("We can't do it for a pixel less!"). Three weeks ago, I didn't know what a torrent was. Now, I'm all about seeding and giving back to my peers. I've downloaded some pretty sweet stuff:
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (a classic that inspired Reservoir Dogs)
  • Westworld (Yul Brynner as a cyborg with a stubborn streak stronger than The Terminator)
  • Rude Boy (the Clash's indulgent and brilliant semi-chronicle of their lives and times)
  • South Park, the Movie (omigod, still brilliant, still relevent)
  • ...and a tonne more
So, I know this is illegal. And stuff. But, I just can't help it. It's so democratic, it can't be wrong.


Jimmy Kimmel Unnecessary Censorship One of my business partners is American, based in San Francisco. He often teases me about becoming something akin to a draft dodger if the US gets any scarier than it is now and moving here to camp out in one of my spare rooms. He's keenly atuned to anyone who has a semblence of an oppositional voice and will send me links that I think help him afirm to himself that American isn't as *ucked up as all that. With this in mind, I share with you -- via my partner -- this ode to censorship. Warning: graphic cookie content (you must watch it to the end).


The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook I've been wracking my brain trying to find a new name for a new service my company is offering--something with the name "soup" in it--and came across this. It's full of great bogus entries, like this one: "October 6 I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of cigarettes, some coffee, and four tiny stones. I fed it to Malraux, who puked. I am encouraged, but my journey is still long." It's rare that something will make me giggle this much in front of my computer--except my online bank statement (Example: I spent $65.00 for 4 tiny pots of jam and a tube of sun-dried tomatoes. Am I insane?).


Last Plane to Jakarta: Betty Friedan: "It was Betty Friedan who pointed out to American men and women that there was really no reason a woman couldn't be anything she wanted to be. It was rather radical, in 1963, to suggest that a woman could be perfectly happy with neither a husband nor a child to her name. " Actually, it's still a rather radical thought. Is it is really this simple? Gosh, I hope so, because I am keenly aware that despite all that I have and all I've achieved, I am still defined by "lack".
Had a great birthday on Saturday. A bunch of us gathered at Philino's on Parc. I hadn't been there in a few years. I remembered huge platters of food that reminded me of a Greek restaurant in Maasmechelen (Belguim) where you simply ordered large plates for everyone to share--kind of like Chinese food. Word of warning: the huge platters of food I remembered from Philino's are actually for 1 person...not a crowd. Needless to say, we ate well and had a great time. My birthday cakes (yes there were 2) came from Cocoa Locale. The waiter brought out two perfect dainty cakes; one was a vanilla bomb shape covered in pink icing and the other was a divine chocolate cake with exquisite vanilla buttercream icing. Thanks to A and L for arranging this in advance. I still have a birthday lunch to get through this week, and then it's over until August, when I celebrate my half-birthday.
YouTube - Brokeback to the Future The truth revealed about Marty and Doc....


CNN.com - Meow I help you? - Jan 27, 2006: "A spokeswoman for PeopleStaff said it would cost more than 300,000 yen a month to employ a person for this type of work, but warned that the robots were not capable of doing everything human employees can do." Duh!


In the wake of the woman who sent $40,000.00 to a bank in Togo expecting to receive a 38 million dollar inheritence from a dead uncle, I offer this (received today): "Good afternoon, unfortunately some processings have been cracked by hackers, so a new secure code to protect your data has been introduced by visa.You should check your card balance and in case of suspicious transactions immediately contact your cardissuing bank.If all transactions are alright, it doesn't mean the card is not lost and cannot be used. Probably, your cardissuers have not updated information yet. That is why we strongly recommend you to visit our web-site and update your profile, otherwise we cannot guarantee stolen money repayment. Thank you for your attention. Click here and update your profile." Stupid, stupid, greedy, stupid....
Another Day Older and Deeper Birthdays are funny things. The more you have, the older you are--older and closer to death. I don't think so much about death. I do think about being older. Older, but not necessarily wiser. Wise enough to realize how little I knew, and how little I know now, even though I know more than I did. So birthdays are about mortality and ignorance. And the only thing you know for sure is that you'll die a little wiser than when you were born, but not as wise had you lived another day. All that to say, there's no escaping that Thanatos is inherent in every birthday, so surround yourself with the people who make your life rich and full and hope that you can do it all again next year. Happy birthday to me!


MOMOBerry: I'm pink, therefore I am It's about time someone thought about giving us older gals a place to call their "Hello Kitty" own. "...breezy, quirky, stylish, a little older, surprisingly sophisticated and of course very pink."
Crooks and Liars Excellent impersonation of George Bush by comedian Frank Caliendo. (Thanks to J. for sending this and insisting it be propagated ;) )
Second-Graders Wow Audience With School Production Of Equus The Onion - America's Finest News Source Inspired! A laugh riot! (Thanks to A for sending me this.)


Scott Spotting Underwordl Evolution (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401855/) is still number one at the box office. I have no desire to see the film, but it warms my heart that this is something of a comeback for our own Scott Speedman, the actor who made Felicity’s heart go thump-thump-thump. I say “comeback” because I don’t know what he’s done since Felicity. A search on IMDB reveals other action flicks that I likewise have no desire to see (and it’s not because I dislike action flicks—I love ‘em. Ask me about John Woo’s Face Off.). So, in honour of young Scott’s renewed success, I offer this brush-with-celebrity story. When I first visited New York in the late eighties, my fantasy was to attend NYU and work part-time at the Dean and Deluca’s as a barista. I’d wear black jeans to go with the black logo t-shirt all the help wore, fetchingly tied at my midriff. I’d be friendly, but distant, serving double lattes as I thought about the impact of French Feminism on the economies of West Africa. A broody good-looking comparative it student would fall in love with me from a distance. I would only occasionally steal from the cash register. Two years after birthing this fantasy, the TV show Felicity based an entire plot around a young woman who follows her high school crush to New York and enrolls in NYU--the same school he’s attending. She stalks him everywhere. She finds a part-time job at Dean and Deluca. They pretty much stole my plot, except I was more the stalkee. Last October, travelling from New York to Montreal, I shared the plane with Scott Speedman, who played the guy Felicity stalks. He skulked around the gate’s waiting area for a while sticking close to the walls, and I wasn’t sure whether he did or didn’t want to be recognized. Once on board, I expected to find him in first class. Instead, he was seated in coach, like I was. He sat in the dreaded middle seat, as if he didn’t have people to do his travel bookings and ensure him at least an aisle seat (like mine). When I got up to go to the washroom, I passed his row and noticed that he was wearing headphones, had fallen asleep, and was snoring lightly. A copy of The Da Vinci Code lay face down on his tray table. At the luggage carrousel, some brave blonde girl began chatting with him, and I was relieved that someone recognized him and knew enough about his recent career to ask specific questions and treat him like a proper celebrity. Welcome back, Scott. Although I agree with one of my fave Canadian gossip columnists: for goodness sake, shave once in a while (http://www.laineygossip.com/ArticleList.aspx?ID=3108).


LibriVox I ran across this link while I was searching one of my other secret sites (which I may reveal in another post). LibriVox records public domain literary works and makes them available for free. Right now, I'm listening to Notes from the Underground. I love audiobooks for a couple of reasons: they're great when you're driving long distances and sometimes I need a bedtime story to lull me to sleep. Available as mp3 files or podcasts, they're free, they're portable, and they're well-read...or, should I say, read well (the recordings are done by volunteers). Their catalog is a little slim at the moment, but enthusiasm for the project seems high on their public forums.


Bag Lady for a Day There are currently five creatures in my house--four cats and one dog. Lola, my newest ward, is my friend B's black and white cat who I'm taking care of while B is in England for the next few months. The dog leaves tonight, which still leaves me with the too-close-to-baglady-number of four cats. I always told my pals that if I ever hit the five-cat mark, to intervene immediately. Lola was rescued from a pet store, where she passed from cute kittenhood to not-so-cute adulthood behind a enclosure. Despite having grown up partially behind plexiglass, Lola is a sweet little thing. Right now, she is torn between wanting to play with Nomar and wanting to tear his eyes out: she curiously watches him bat a play mouse around whilst growling from beneath a bench in my office. Welcome, Lola and thanks for bringing me closer to the brink of smelly eccentricity.


Go Fug Yourself Feeling fugly? Who doesn't, especially in the midst of Winter when hats give you flat-hat hair and central heating takes the dew from your otherwise fresh complexion. This site--recommended by my freind A--makes you feel, well, not fugly. Compare yourself to the candid shots of Britney, complete with spot cream and oh-so-unflattering Uggs on her feet. You're bound to come out leaps and bounds better-looking. And what about Mischa Barton and her ability to choose fugly as if it were second nature, not to mention Sienna Miller's ubiquitous tights? What's fugly? In a nutshell: the inability to dress oneself appropriately despite being surrounded by wealth, stylists, and free designer clothes. Don't you feel better already?


Surveying the Filing System

Surveying the Filing System Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

When I started my own company in 2005, I didn't really anticipate all the new and slightly scary things I'd be doing.

Our first contract was with a studio in LA, backed by one of the big players in the film industry. The negotiations for the work were conducted over a few weeks, with me trading phone calls and emails with honest-to-goodness Hollywood producer-types. I held my own, but my mind boggled every evening as I wound down with a glass of red wine and reviewed the odd feeling I had that I was becoming as ruthless and heartless as the film folks I was battling with. In the end, we got the rate we wanted and started off the year with a bang. I felt proud when I deposited our first cheque.

Over the months, there were more cheques to deposit, bills to pay, and expenses to expense. I kept track of most everything using a cumbersome spreadsheet and the archaeology filing method: great piles of papers stacked more or less in the order they came in. I never threw anything away, nor did I file or sort it.

It's now year-end, I'm I'm paying the price for my "organic" approach to accounting. Vast amounts of data needs to be entered into a proper accounting system so that I don't spend the little profit we made on bookeeping services.

Nomar, pictured above, tries to help by lying on the newly sorted stacks of paper, absorbing the information, and then sprawling next to the computer. Alas, he's not outfitted with a wireless chip, so I'm stuck entering everything manually.

Accounting is new and scary...how *do* I receive that cheque in Euos but have it convert properly to Canadian dollars so that it jibes with my bank statement. Why do I have more cheques than invoices from a particular client? Can I put Nomar on the payroll? If so, how do I remit his income tax deductions when he's paid in Whiskas?


Spot the Cat

Spot the cat
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Rosie, my 12 year-old kitty, isn't entirely comfortable with all the new creatures in the house. Over the past couple of days, you can find her perched high on the antique chest in the living room, trying to blend in with the Murano glass cat. Notice the similar looks of disdain on both their faces.

Nina Simone is a Basket Case

Nina Simone is a Basket Case
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

I have several visitors with me for the month of January. My neighbours and friends, R & J, are having their house renovated, so to avoid the dust of the major demolition going on, they and their cat and dog are all camping out here. Nina Simone, pictured above, made herself comfortable in the basket I normally reserve for baguettes. Vive la difference!