Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fiction: Fall TV and Complimentary Books by Alex

When people talk about what eras they would ideally live in (the '60s for the counterculture and revolutions, the '70s for the music and drugs, the '20s for the arts scene in Paris, the 1880s for the wigs) I am always the person who plays the feminism/civil rights card; (Yep, I'm that guy!) I pick the present every time. I mean, I wouldn't kick a time machine out of bed or anything but I would not go back to live in a time when I had less rights just so I could chill with some lady-discriminating-against writers no matter how brilliant I think "For sale: baby shoes, never worn" is. Besides, TV is so damn good now. Miss Arrested DevelopmentBreaking Bad, Happy Endings, Parks and RecreationThe Wire, freaking Deadwood just so that I could be an active, willing participant in colonization? Hell no. I'll just stick to fighting the racist, oppressive patriarchy in the present, thank you, taking breaks to watch shows and read books. Sometimes, reading books that compliment those shows perfectly and vice versa:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Fiction: IFOA Edition by Alex

Ah, fall! Sweaters, long walks through crunchy multi-coloured leaves, pumpkin-flavoured everything (sadly no apple-flavoured stuff this season – t'was a bumper crop year : ((( ), the return of network TV, the stress of finding a (group) Halloween costume (Limp Bizkit backup dancers? The girls from The Craft? The Babysitter's Club? Agents Scully and Reyes? A binder full of women?) before just abandoning every idea to stay in and do nothing like the curmudgeon you're trying desperately to avoid becoming... Oh baby, it's my favourite time of year! It's also that magical time when droves (packs? schools? murders?) of authors descend upon Toronto for the International Festival of Authors. And this IFOA? This one is a doozey (<– I'm a good writer). Here are a few of my favourite authors who will giving interviews and readings at the festival.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Doris and Mona and the Mysterious Happenings at Sugar Shack Ranch by Alex

Mona: You know, Dorrie, perhaps we took that little prank too far.

Doris: I was just thinking that.

Mona: I just found it infuriating the way they were always referring to one another as "boyish", "pleasantly plump" and "titian-haired".

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Non-Debate Abortion Debate: Beyond the Thunderdome by Alex

There is an abortion debate happening in Canada right now. It might be shrouded in coded language and denied by the Prime Minister but it is happening. Stephen Woodworth, an anti-choice conservative MP for Kitchener-Waterloo proposed a private members motion (M-312) to create a committee whose purpose is to redefine personhood. Canadian law considers a person to be a person once they check out of the womb by way of the vaginal canal. Woodworth thinks that it's a pretty dated definition considering the advances of modern medicine and science (science! Super important when taking away women and Trans* people's bodily autonomy! Meaningless when put up against creationism and climate change!) which, ok fair enough, the definition doesn't account for c-section births or the stork babies or cabbage patch kids but this isn't about being a stickler for medical science: it's about criminalizing abortion. The definition he's all grumpy about is found in Section 223 of the Criminal Code, the section that defines homicide. Make no mistake, if the definition of person is extended to fetuses, at all, abortion will be criminalized.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nas: 'Virgo' ft Ludacris & Doug E Fresh Posted by Alex

It's almost the end of Virgo-rama 2012 so here's this little ditty for all my fellow Virgos out there. Don't know if it's my inherent virgocity that draws me to other Virgos but, man, have I got a lot of Virgo friends. Some of my best friends are Virgos! Also, most of my friends' kids are too. SPOOKY. In short, if you're a Virgo and you want to be my friend, your chances are pretty good. Capricorns on the other hand? lol, dream on.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Doris and Mona Spend the Night by Alex

Doris and Mona is a segment brought to you by Alex and her friend Allison and accessories and props from the store they work at. These are the displays they make, and these are their stories. 

Major Lazer: 'Get Free' Ft. Amber from Dirty Projectors Posted by Alex

Friday, September 14, 2012

'Breaking Bad' Recap: Crystal Blue Persuasion by Alex Snider

Well, now that was a lot to digest. For a show whose episodes only span 45 minutes each, the writers manage to really cram a lot into that 3/4 hour. Here we had the murder of 10 men in 2 minutes in one of the most gruesome prison stabbing scenes I've ever witnessed (certainly outside of GOB and White Power Bill), the expansion of Vamonos Pests (Vamonos Pest?) into Czech Republic, what I thought was going to be a cross-over episode with Storage Wars (really disappointed that I was wrong on that one), the retirement of Walt, the return of Walt's cancer, the reunion of the White family, the change up in Marie's standard purple wardrobe and Hank finally getting his "oh shit" moment. The plot took great leaps forward and still there were so many call-backs that it almost felt like a clips episode. There was the fly from season 3, the banged up towel dispenser from season 2, the painting also from the second season, the ricin made its way back to the forefront again and of course, Leaves of Grass made a Chekhovian like reappearance (anytime a book of poetry is seen in the first episode, it will be used to incriminate a drug kingpin by the last?).

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Breaking Bad Recap: Death by a Slow River by Alex

There was a lot of cyber ink spilt predicting a big death on this past season of Mad Men. 2000 word columns devoted to combing through every episode for the most minute hint of who, when and how. Was it going to be Roger leaping to his death, becoming the grim ad man from the credits? Pete in a fiery car crash? Megan in the library with the candlestick? After the penultimate episode when all was revealed and everyone's predictions were for naught, Vulture created a super cut of every shadow of foreshadowing of the season's BIG DEATH. Some of them were a bit of a stretch (Peggy lying on her couch? She's always done that! Isn't that just how women get their creativity to flow from their uteri to their brains?) but for the most part it was pretty spot on. When a show is as chock full of literary devices as Mad Men, details like the continued focus on violent and untimely deaths (serial killers, Betty's cancer scare, Don's feverish dream) can't be ignored.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Blue Moon! by Alex

It's a blue moon tonight! All those things that only happen once in a blue moon will finally happen tonight! SO EXCITED! Plus, it's kind of witchy! It will be the last blue moon until 2015 so you all had better appreciate it and do something super special, the pressure is on. I'm going to make a banner probably, maybe, and will definitely be dressed entirely in blue. The moon will actually be blue, right?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"For Her" Products I'd Like to See by Alex

Thanks to Bic and their pens For Her, I can finally write comfortably within my gender. Let's just say that I've been playing an awful lot of MASH since I invested in a package. (Hey Idris, I'll be seeing you soon in our shack where we'll raise four children after honeymooning in Hawaii!) Now, there are a lot of products out there that back up that precious gender binary (I just fashioned a humane mouse trap using Scotch tape from a high heel dispenser) and keep perpetuating all those lady stereotypes (thank god, because without those products and advertising and the various media I'd probably forget to do things like clean and nag and dance on the beach during my period – assuming I'm having a happy one, of course), but the fact that someone only just got around to coming up with a pink pen for fancy ladies like me who don't care for the coarse masculinity of the traditional blue or black Bic tells me that there are still products out there that could use some feminine rebranding. I'm but a simple woman, I don't even have a background in marketing (lol, I'm such a Peggy Olson!), but I've taken some time from trying to find a husband to put a baby in me and trying to figure out how to protect myself from bears when I have my period to come up with some everyday products that I feel would enhance my life if only they were made with women in mind:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tweets To Mordor: #RNC2012 Day One by Alex

The tweets clogging up my Twitter feed last night, documenting the Republican National Convention opening ceremony were so hilarious I was actually compelled to watch. I only caught Ann Romney and Chris Christie (and Three Doors Down ???) but, man, did they ever bum me out. I mean, they can literally say anything as long as they use the right cadence and then crowd goes wild – it doesn't even have to make sense. Like, when Christie said "You see, Mr. President – real leaders don’t follow polls. Real leaders change polls", what the hell does that mean? Is he saying that a leader should be fudging the numbers or did he literally mean that a president should be constructing fire poles? 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tell Me More About This Assange Rape Conspiracy, It Sounds Fascinating! by Alex

Trigger Warning for description of sexual assault.

It makes me laugh my fucking face off imagining shadowy representatives of various governments sitting around brainstorming about ways to get to Julian Assange. They're all sitting there – old chinese takeout containers are strewn about, the floor around the waste paper basket (with a basketball hoop attached, natch) is littered with crumpled up ideas, all the men are well past a five o'clock shadow – then someone is like, "I've got it! We can trump up some rape charges!" And while the mood has definitely shifted, more optimistic?, they're not all sold. Could the public believe that Assange was a violent rapist? "Hear me out! It won't be the kind of attack that people usually associate with rape, he won't have left bruises or broken bones. There won't have been a knife or a darkened alley. It will be the other kind of rape, when the rapist knew their victim. No less serious, no less prosecutable, that insidious rapist who takes advantage of trust. That rapist who doesn't respect the loved ones, friends, dates, acquaintances they rape enough to ask. Enough to stop at no." By now everyone is nodding (give or take a couple still thinking a made up tax-evasion charge is the way to go), simultaneously excited by the possibility of a solution to their problem and sickened by the existence of sexual assault.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dancing With Myself by Rebekah

(Dancer Margie Gillis
Photographed by Cylla von Tiedemann)
I recently attended the opening for an exhibition of photographer Cylla von Tiedemann's Tanzbilder (Dance Images) at the German consulate. In addition to the portraits of professional dancers, there was also a 25-minute dance piece called Piece of Mind, performed by skindivers dance company.