Friday, December 4, 2009


Anne-Sofie Madsen. Danish Design School 2009 graduate. Maori-inspired. Other than that, I think the clothes speak for themselves.

And I think they are saying "Someone please get us into Carolyn's wardrobe. It's where we belong!"

Also, check out her amazing illustrations.

This is someone more talented and competent me crawled into my head and produced the vision that I am incapable of producing.

Images from Cyana Trendland.

Now, back to the reality that is three essays in ten days. Egads.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

okay, you win.

Okay, Gaga. You win. I can not stop listening to/watching "Bad Romance." Until next time, when I go through this all over again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

regret # 1

Never taking ballet seriously.

Though I suppose I can't really blame my five-year-old self, can I?

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Monday, November 16, 2009

the great gaga debate.

I have a love/hate relationship with Lady Gaga. A Bad Romance one might say.

Everytime a new music video comes out, I watch it several times and search deep into my soul in an attempt to discover my true feelings about Lady Gaga. I have yet to come to a conclusion. Everytime, I absolutely hate the song at first. Despise it. They all sound the same and I'm just not a fan of the dark pop with a sudden and seemingly incongruous ballad-esque chorus. It irks me.

But the videos interest me. Do I like them? Do I understand them? Do I think they are a bit over-the-top, taking themselves too seriously, or do I think her exaggerations are playful and perhaps even tongue-in-cheek? Let's face it, if I were a pop star I would wear and do the most outrageous things if I could get away with them. I just don't know how to answer these questions. I don't even know whether I want to like her/her music or not. It's the greatest unresolved question in my life at the moment (besides, what the hell am I doing with my life? of course).

So I've been trying to keep a tally, keeping the score between Pro-Gaga me and Anti-Gaga me. Upon first hearing "Bad Romance," Anti-Gaga won a point for hating it on the initial listen as expected. Pro-Gaga won a point for finding myself humming the tune in the library afterward. Then Anti-Gaga won one because I realised I was actually humming "Paparazzi" and just couldn't tell the difference. But then I watched video and Pro-Gaga might have temporarily taken the lead thanks to a name you might know: Alexander McQueen.

Mr. McQueen is another character I'm not always sure about. Sometimes I think his lines are overwrought and too ridiculous. Then sometimes I think they are brilliant. I never can tell what I'll think, though I'd say overall I am a fan. I thought Spring 2010 was awesome mainly because it reminded me of dinosaurs, my favourite animals after elephants.

I guess if I were hip I would have already been in the know that "Bad Romance" was premiered at the Spring 2010 show. But I'm not hip and I didn't know that. So I was excited to see that someone was wearing the dinosaur and deep sea like creations, because I sure can't afford to.

Deep Sea

Love how the shoes look all burnt up.

Okay, so this isn't deep sea, but a pretty crazy dress. Not that I promote wearing bears.


She even has the hair!

Oh, and these aren't McQ related, but also sort of creepy future reptile/dinosaur like shots from the video:


So, score one for Pro-Gaga I guess. But I did not like the cheesy close-ups of her "sobbing." Unfortunately I wasn't convinced. I'm much more into the fashion power bitch Gaga. So, score one for Anti-Gaga? Maybe a half-point.


Now that you know my thoughts on Lady Gaga you can all sleep well at night. I, however, still have yet to resolve this "Bad Romance." Okay, I'll stop using that pun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

remembering wilfred owen.

Of all the war literature and poetry I have ever come across, Wilfred Owen's poetry has moved me the most. He does not glamorize war. I think if there was ever a chance there'd never be war again (which unfortunately, I don't think there is), Owen's brutal depictions of its horrors have more potential to change the world than odes to heroism. I have great respect for our veterans, but war itself is not heroic. It is not patriotic. In this age, patriotism is no longer about your country. It's about your loyalty to the world and humanity itself, and war simply does comply with that. As Owen says, we must stop telling the "old lie": "sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country." We are citizens of the world, and I wish we'd all start acting like it.

That being said, my thoughts are with all those putting their lives on the line, and their family and friends. I hope everyone, on all sides of all conflicts, gets to come home safely and soon.


Dolce et Decorum est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep.  Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod.  All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas!  GAS!  Quick, boys! --  An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie:  Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.


Strange Meeting

It seemed that out of the battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which Titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall;
With a thousand fears that vision's face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
"Strange, friend," I said, "Here is no cause to mourn."
"None," said the other, "Save the undone years,
The hopelessness.  Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something has been left,
Which must die now.  I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress,
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery;
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now . . ."


Apologia pro Poemate Meo 

I, too, saw God through mud --
    The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.
    War brought more glory to their eyes than blood,
    And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.

Merry it was to laugh there --
    Where death becomes absurd and life absurder.
    For power was on us as we slashed bones bare
    Not to feel sickness or remorse of murder.

I, too, have dropped off fear --
    Behind the barrage, dead as my platoon,
    And sailed my spirit surging, light and clear
    Past the entanglement where hopes lay strewn;

And witnessed exultation --
    Faces that used to curse me, scowl for scowl,
    Shine and lift up with passion of oblation,
    Seraphic for an hour; though they were foul.

I have made fellowships --
    Untold of happy lovers in old song.
    For love is not the binding of fair lips
    With the soft silk of eyes that look and long,

By Joy, whose ribbon slips, --
    But wound with war's hard wire whose stakes are strong;
    Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips;
    Knit in the welding of the rifle-thong.

I have perceived much beauty
    In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;
    Heard music in the silentness of duty;
    Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.

Nevertheless, except you share
    With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell,
    Whose world is but the trembling of a flare,
    And heaven but as the highway for a shell,

You shall not hear their mirth:
    You shall not come to think them well content
    By any jest of mine.  These men are worth
    Your tears:  You are not worth their merriment.

November 1917.


 And one more, this time by Siegfried Sassoon.

Glory of Women

You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that British troops 'retire'
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses - blind with blood.
       O German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

humanity takes itself too seriously...

...if the cave-man had known how to laugh, History would have been different.
-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Having heard of this film, I was excited as The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite works of literature of all time (and I love Colin Firth). I was also scared as I felt this book was so delicate and nuanced, that it would be extremely difficult to put into a movie. Also because when I saw what I think was the 1973 version, I was scared out of my wits. I think I was also 12 though.

Judging by this movie trailer, this movie is taking itself too seriously. It's evidently maximizing on the horrific parts and ignoring all the comedy. When I think of Dorian Gray, I don't picture this dramatic music and dim lighting. It's not the aesthetic at all of Wilde in my opinion, and to him, what is more important than aesthetics?

What makes the story so disturbing is that it's written like a light comedy. It's beautiful, like Dorian Gray, but underneath there's this horrific hidden soul. Of course, some of Gray's terrible actions, such as the murder, are made explicit and are not comical in themselves (though Gray's blithe attitude in blackmailing Alan Campbell might elicit some uncomfortable giggles). But on the whole it's not that his desires are "unthinkable," it's that in general, but especially in his aesthete (and/or decadent) society, they are rather normal. Just the societal superego is supposed to stop you at a point, and he has sacrificed his for youth.

So, I will probably watch this movie and perhaps I will enjoy it. Perhaps the "mood" I am getting from the trailer is just to attract audiences less keen on the idea of watching a bunch of dandies indulging themselves. But I worry it will lose everything that made me fall hopelessly in love with Oscar.

In other news - read The Picture of Dorian Gray. Do it.

Oh, and happy belated birthday dear Oscar!


[this girl is only nine years old!]

I remember the day an elder of mine assured me that I could still be beautiful, even with my freckles. In fact, she told me, my great aunt was a model - and she has freckles and red hair.

That was the first day I realised that freckles weren't traditionally seen as a dash of adorable sun sprinkles, but as blemishes.

I think I had better body image and self-confidence as a child than I do now, because I don't remember being all that traumatized by the comment. I just didn't find my freckles ugly. Because they aren't.


This little memory came back when I spotted Colleen @ Red Model Management. Her freckles are outstanding and make her look like a living work of art.

Another speckled model I'm currently loving is Nicole from America's Next Top Model. She is definitely my favourite.

They haven't yet maximized on her freckles (in fact it looks like most often they Photoshop them out), but hopefully an up-close beauty shot will bring them out soon.


I've never been completely enamored with my freckles, but I've never understood the bad rep they sometimes get. My freckles are just a part of me. I'd feel naked without them!

Monday, November 9, 2009

eat cake.

As you may have guessed, for Halloween I was Marie Antoinette. Considering that thrift shops were the main sources for my costume (minus the wig), I think I still pulled off a costume fit for the French queen.

With cake (see below) and champagne of course!
(Well, sham-pagne...Baby Duck!)

I am dead, in case you are wondering about my ghastly appearance. You can just glimpse my neck scar under my volumnous head.

My roommates and I had a lovely gathering, and of course no gathering or Marie Antoinette costume is complete without cake!

Marie Antoinette Image (c) Sony

Two variations of pumpking cupcakes: one with Black Chocolate Buttercream and one with Orange Ginger Cream Cheese Icing. Yum. Recipe courtesy of my mother's friend, so I don't have permission to re-post. But it was delicious.

'Twas a lovely Halloween. I'm already weighing options for next year!


And I know Marie Antoinette didn't actually say "Let them eat cake." I had prepared for some party poopers to bring up this fact. But for the sake of a mildly clever Halloween costume, let's pretend she did. That's what Halloween is all about. She never rose from the dead and drank Baby Duck in Hamilton in thrift shop clothes. As far as I know, anyway.


On my way home from the Department Halloween party, a lady stopped me in the street and asked to take my picture. I felt so street-style. So Sartorialist. Except it was a frumpy short lady with crooked teeth who kept spitting when she spoke. So, Sartorialist Steel Town edition. Now that would be a pretty spectacular blog. Perhaps if I see her again I shall suggest it.

(She was very nice though.)


Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Some short videos for you:

"The Writing on the Wall"
by Freja Beha Erichsen

by Nick Knight
starring Beth Ditto

Two very different images of the female body. Any reactions?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

daring bakers: macaron fail

These are not my macarons. My macarons did not even make it to the oven.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

I was really excited for this one. I've always wanted to try making macarons. Actually, I've always wanted to try macarons period. I can't believe I've never had one! So I was excited. I was expecting to fail, but part of me was dreaming of perfectly dainty macarons in pretty colours and yummy flavours.

I attempted to make macarons flavoured with cinnamon and filled with pumpkin cream cheese filling to serve at my Halloween party.

Alas, the batter (the two batches I attempted) was far too liquidy, and as I piped them out on the sheet I knew there was no point in baking them. After a second attempt, I couldn't afford to buy more almond flour nor could I spare the time to try again. I'm sad grad school is obviously getting in the way in my being able to complete these challenges. So far I've only been successful with 2/4! Hopefully next month!

Sorry no pictures. I was too distraught and distracted.

I'm of course completely distracted and was thinking of essay proposals not macarons as I fuddled up the measurements - twice. I tried to get the recipe back under control, and though I knew they wouldn't turn out perfect but it still didn't make sense that they were SO liquidy. However, I did use carton egg whites - would this be a problem? I've always just seen them as already cracked egg whites, but perhaps there is some structural or chemical difference that created problems.

My batter simply looked like really really overbeaten batter. But I had just barely incorporated the dry ingredients! However, I am an amateur so perhaps my beating skills need work.

Anyway, I was sad that I couldn't at least get an edible macaron out this time, but I will certainly achieve this lifelong goal of mine some day!


Claudia Fleming's Macaron Recipe

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen. Ami's note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

springspiration for halloween

Any guesses as to what I'm being? Probably not too tricky to figure out.

Hopefully thrift shopping tomorrow will yield some promising results.

Friday, October 23, 2009

from scratch.

Back soon.