Saturday, April 30, 2011

This Week's Recap of Things Which Make Me Old

I did my taxes. ON MY OWN. Less of a makes-me-old thing and more of a wow-I'm-impressed-at-myself thing but still, ON MY OWN.

Yelled at some kids who were trying to jump the gate to the back of our building. Quote: Hey, you kids! What do you think you're doing? Get outta there! That's private property! End quote. There may or may not have been a fist or two shaken.

My hip hurts, it hurts real bad and in my experience it's older people who experience hip pain. Considering it hurts especially when I'm sitting upright, the six hour flight tomorrow may not be all gumdrops and lollypops (oh who am I kidding? We're going to Scotland, of course it will be all gumdrops and lollypops!).

I paid over $200 for medications. And none of them were for young people things like herpes or birth control. At least I don't have one of those day pill sorters. Yet.

Sure there are some youngish person things mixed in there: pizza at two in the morning; a math rock show; worked at my job where we are forbidden from using the internet and from wearing nail polish because it might smudge onto the boxes; but I definitely think the scales this week are tipped in favour of me becoming a responsible member of society.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fiction: The Plan by Alex Snider

I wrote my last exam of the year on Wednesday and the best part of four-months-off for me, is the freedom to read for fun. I spent a lot of time trying to decide on the right book to kick the summer off with; the wrong choice would be akin to waking up on the wrong side of the bed, which is akin to seeing a dead clown baby joke scrawled on the wall of a bus shack -- unsettling. After weeks of preparation and research, I've picked up Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie and although I'm about three pages in, it's looking really, really promising. I love his short fiction and the movie Smoke Signals (his screenplay, based on some of his stories -- kind of like Altman/Carver's Shortcuts, but more hope...) so I think I'm off to a great start. But would I be a neurotic weirdo if I didn't have a rather strict list of other books I am going to try and get to this break? Yes, but I'd be less charming!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thao & Mirah cover "Love is a Battlefield"

Umm, Thao & Mirah (I  <3 Mirah!) cover Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield"(which I have permanently inked on my body???)? Yes, please! I think I may like this version more than the original, if that's even possible...

New, Improved, LIVE: Thao & Mirah - "Love is a Battlefield" from The Bay Bridged on Vimeo.

Listen to 3 more new songs from Thao & Mirah here

CovEtsy: Colour! by Rebekah Hakkenberg

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Ouroboros of Hipster Trends

Trucker hats have become synonymous with hipster culture's affinity for ironic appropriation, and are quite possibly one of the original hipster trends to have come and gone. Now, if Urban Outfitters is any indication, and I think it is, they're back. But have they simply run out of headgear to wear ironically, or are hipsters now consciously re-appropriating their own trends? Is this the ultimate hipster act, to pillage one's own culture? Is this what it's come to? Highly likely. Remember those "I'm Not A Hipster" t-shirts a couple years ago? Oh, the irony! A hipster professing to not be a hipster is the ultimate, umm, hipster. What's next? Meta-Mullets? Post-Hipster Keffiyahs? I can't even.

Apathy is History



Last Friday, University of Toronto students came together to encourage young people to get out there and vote. Beginning at Queen's Park and walking towards the advance polling station at Bathurst and Bloor, the vote mob was smaller than I would have hoped, but inspiring nonetheless. Our last election had the lowest turnout in voting history, and with only 37% of voters 18-25 participating, it's extremely encouraging to see university students doing what they can to combat apathy and celebrate democracy.

It's very, very important that you vote on May 2, if you haven't already. Alex and I went on Monday to the advance polling station and did our part for democracy (we always get chills when we vote, don't you? It's so exciting!), as we won't be here on election day (and if a certain person remains in charge of this country, we might have a really hard time coming back).

(photos: Rebekah Hakkenberg)

RIP Poly Styrene 1957-2011 by Rebekah Hakkenberg

“some people think little girls should be seen and not heard…”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

CovEtsy: This Cherry Pie is a Miracle! by Rebekah Hakkenberg

I'm channeling my inner Audrey Horne today (well, every day, really), and coveting anything and everything I can find on easy that has to do with my all-time favourite series, Twin Peaks. Buffalo plaid, pine trees, faux bois, stag's heads, great horned owls, damn fine coffee and that miraculous cherry pie... 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bad Advice: Some thoughts on yesterday's post

Yesterday, I posted a Rainer Maria Rilke quotation for OAtZ's regular Monday morning "Good Advice" feature. I originally shared it because at the time I thought it was good advice, and because I liked the poster.

But something about that quote has been bugging me ever since it went up, and now, I'm not so sure I agree with Rilke's advice anymore. Should you just let life happen to you? Maybe, sometimes, but probably not always. Sure, there are certainly things in life that you can't control, and dwelling over them is usually a waste of time and energy. Those are the times when the only thing to do is find a way to accept the situation and move on. But. How do you know when it's time to accept, and when it's time to fight? 

A friend teased me on twitter about this quotation yesterday, suggesting it sounded vaguely pro-life. That most definitely was not how I intended it to be taken. I know that this was said with tongue firmly in cheek, but it kinda cemented the discomfort I was already feeling about it. Just to briefly clarify my feelings on that topic,  I believe that if there is something you can do to change your life for the better, then you must do it. For some, that might mean choosing to terminate in the face of an unplanned pregnancy. That is something we (thankfully) still have the right to do in this country. But it could also mean voting, taking action, being passionate and caring enough to create the life you want for yourself and to do whatever you can to create the kind of world you want to live in.  It means, quite simply, that when we do have a choice, it's imperative that we make a choice, rather than letting someone else choose for us. 

The Rilke quote may be about acceptance rather than apathy, but there is a fine line between them, and it's very important to know the difference. There is a passivity in letting life simply happen to you, it means losing control of your own destiny and allowing others to shape the world around you. Don't simply let life happen, make it happen. And when it doesn't happen the way you expect, at least know that you tried, and that you will try again. That is far better advice than what I passed on yesterday. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Songs: Typhoon

Since embedding is disabled, I'll keep it brief.

1.) Listen to this beautiful song here
2.) Stream the entire album here
3.) Learn more about Typhoon here

Well, what are you waiting for? Get listening!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Most Beautiful Thing I Saw Today: Sewing Machine Orchestra

"Martin Messier is a composer, a performer and a video artist. His curiosity for graphic arts has brought him to explore the relationship between sound and image. It's this same interest that inspires him to create audio performance, live electronics, installation video music, music for dance and theatre.
Based on strong aptitudes for rhythm, martin's aesthetic can be defined as a complex, left field and happily strange sound amalgam, constantly playing with construction and deconstruction." (From the artist's website here)

I love the juxtaposition of using antique objects to create a super modern sound. I also appreciate the fact that a male artist is using "instruments" that are traditionally associated with women's work to create electronic music, which is often seen as (but not necessarily) a "masculine" musical genre.

via Colossal, which is where you can see more pictures and a longer video of this performance, along with an interview with the artist (en Français)

Little Red Umbrella is Our Best Friend

If blogs were capable of having meaningful relationships, Little Red Umbrella would be Once Again, to Zelda's BFF. 

We'd go to movies together, maybe even a vacation; we'd know when we ran into someone at brunch and Little Red tensed up and giggled too much that that was the high school crush. 

We would tell stories together like, they'd say one line and we'd interject with a little detail and then they'd keep going before we interjected again -- like a choreographed dance. 

Our Facebook's would be filled with pictures of us together, making funny faces and the captions would be, "LOL, inside joke!" 

We'd share our favourite things and let the other take a sip of our beer without any concern for germs and Little Red could always have a few fries.

We'd do things like tell our other friends about how awesome Little Red Umbrella is; like how they know so much about music to dance around to and go to so many shows and meet so many awesome bands. And Toronto history. And fashion. And authors. And how they're really amazing at photography. And how politically active they are and how they are interviewing all the fringe party leaders. And how all around really cool they are and how glad we are that we are friends and that if you like cool things and Toronto, music, books, politics, art, fashion, photography and history then you should be friends with them too. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Produced by Magical Elves

Gallery Girl

Last summer, the Bravo-produced reality series Work of Art was my serious "guilty-but-not-so-guilty-because-I-don't-believe-in-guilty-pleasures-pleasure" You know? It was everything that I love/ hate about the art world, and just when I thought it couldn't get any better/worse, comes THIS:

From the Bravo press release:

“Gallery Girls”
Produced by Magical Elves with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz as Executive Producers
Gallery Girls is a docu-series following the lives of 6 young, 20-something women that work in New York City’s hippest art galleries. By day they juggle the stresses of their demanding bosses, maneuver through the complicated world they find themselves in and struggle to figure out how to get ahead in a business with so few opportunities to rise up the ranks. By night they are out at the hippest clubs, bars and art scene functions as they juggle their personal friendships, romantic relationships and art world acquaintances. For all these girls, their love for NYC is unwavering but their footing in the art world is anything but solid. Is this what they really want? Will they be able to survive in this business?

Ugh. This sounds terrible. I can't wait!

Friday Fiction: Election Reads by Alex Snider

Well, this was a depressing list to compile considering how many cautionary novels and satires have actually described events that we're going through right now. But still, if you aren't furious enough about the state of democracy in Canada then read these! Then vote, for fuck's sakes!

This Is What Racism Looks Like by Alex Snider

In reading The Globe today I came across this article, RCMP to Investigate Tasering of 11 Year Old Boy, and read how a cop in Prince George tasered a kid who was suspected of stabbing a 37 year old man in a group home. The boy was next door when the police arrived and was subsequently tasered although there is no mention of any aggression towards the police. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Worst Person of the Week: Bret Easton Ellis


Remember when all we talked about when we talked about Bret Easton Ellis was whether or not American Psycho was horribly misogynistic, or a feminist novel in disguise? Actually, I think only BEE really argued that. When feminists condemned it's  "degradation, evisceration, and brutalization of women" while Mary Harron directed the better-than-the-novel-but-still-difficult-to-watch movie adaptation? I love Harron, and Ellis has a lot to thank her for, and yet all he could muster up in an interview was basically that she did a better job with it than he would have expected from a woman director.Yeah, maybe it was a satire, but was the glamorization of all that violence really necessary? It got people talking, but I think at this point we're all pretty sure that the book fetishized something that should never, ever be fetishized. Those were far simpler times, weren't they?
Now, it seems BEE can't keep his mouth shut, and everything that comes out of it is specifically intended to keep him in his ever shrinking spotlight. His latest tweet is Ellis' attempt at #winning the Post-Empire game. Too bad he doesn't realize it's a game he made up and he's the only one actually playing. As with Charlie Sheen, there's something quite sad about his out of touch posturing, his desperate attempts to stay relevant in a post-post-empire world where people do actually give a damn about things. That's right, "Post-Empire" may have actually meant something at the height of 80s excess and consumerism, or for the apathetic hipsters of a post-9/11 Bush-era, but the second decade of the 21st century is about caring about people and about making our communities and the world around us a better fucking place to live. BEE would probably brush me off as being so totally "Empire" and therefore irrelevant and not worthy of his time, but if he stepped outside he'd see that there is a newfound earnestness out there that is like a breath of fresh air after the last 10 years of apathy! Ellis  may not actually believe any of the shit he says, in fact he probably doesn't believe in anything but himself. He's grasping on to the last little bit of fame he has left, and he reeks of desperation. 

1. The Recent Tweet

2. This Little Gem:
"There's something about the medium of film itself that I think requires the male gaze...We're watching, and we're aroused by looking, whereas I don't think women respond that way to films, just because of how they're built...I think, to a degree, all the women I named aren't particularly visual directors. You could argue that Lost in Translation is beautiful, but is that [cinematographer Lance Acord]? I don't know. Regardless of the business aspect of things, is there a reason that there isn't a female Hitchcock or a female Scorsese or a female Spielberg? I don't know. I think it's a medium that really is built for the male gaze and for a male sensibility. I mean, the best art is made under not an indifference to, but a neutrality [toward] the kind of emotionalism that I think can be a trap for women directors."

3. The Gimmick He Used To Try And Sell His Last Book:

via Shakesville and also read this at Jezebel

4. The stupid Fucking Tripe He Wrote on Charlie Sheen Last Month:
"Look, I’m not denying he has drug and alcohol problems, and perhaps even struggles with mental illness, but so do a lot of people in Hollywood who hide it so much better or that the celebrity press just doesn’t care enough about, and I’m not denying that Sheen is exploiting a problematic situation that he has helped create. But you can’t step around the fact that the negativity certain people feel about Sheen has never outweighed our fascination with the hedonism Charlie enjoys and which remains the envy of any man—if only women weren’t around to keep them liars. His supposed propensity for violence against women hasn’t hurt his popularity with female fans either..."

 5. Oh Yeah, This:
He's a fucking hack piece of shit writer that will soon be forgotten. Glamourama? Did anybody actually like that shit? Did anybody read his last book? Does anybody actually care about any of this crap? His work is empty and soulless, just like him.
(Paraphrasing what Alex just said when I told her what I was writingt)

I'll Have What She's Having

I couldn't resist posting this here. This movie would have something for everyone. Box office gold, I tell ya!

Mr. Government

Photo From the CBC
Tuesday evening's English debate did little to sway me: I'm still undecided on who I'm voting for, still outraged that Elizabeth May was excluded, still convinced that Harper is some kind of terminator robot sent from the future to see just how much Canadians will let one politician get away with (this one was especially not helped by the bizarre way that he avoided looking at any of his opponents and just stared directly into my soul the camera).  

I thought Layton really nailed it, handling the really low-blow from Ignatieff (the whole school-yard taunt about him forever being in opposition) gracefully; that Ignatieff is really going for record mileage with his whole Russian émigré schtick; that Harper doesn't really understand what the statement "that is simply not true" means; and to be honest I'm really frustrated that the Bloc gets a say Federally when they only represent one province. 

But, really I just felt kind of lukewarm; kind of par for the course, you know? Then I saw the above word-cloud on the CBC website of the most spoken words during the debate by the leaders and I got really, really depressed. Then I got enraged by how accurately the diagram represents Canadian politics: a bunch of old rich white dudes yelling out meaningless talking points and buzz words over one another. 

Looking at this diagram and the debate in general I can't believe how many issues, how many people are ignored.  

How long before we see a debate where one of the candidates is a person of colour? A woman? What will it take to get attention to issues outside of the realm of fear? That the gun-registry is still an on-going issue is mind-boggling. Aside from the fact that the money to put it in place has already been spent and that the upkeep is a fraction of the cost than the detractors say, despite the fact that police officers and RCMP across the country have said that it is used frequently and ignoring that long-guns are fucking weapons that should be fucking registered, the motion to dismantle has been voted down. But, no, by all means lets flog the dead horse! Yet, Aboriginal people, the first people of the country, were mentioned exactly once and only by Layton. 

Off the top of my head a few words that are missing: 

Aboriginal Rights
Women's Rights
Foreign Aid
Pay Equity 

Canadians deserve better than this. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Poetry Spam

Percy Shelley, you've just been out-Percy-Shelleyed
The bad news is This Recording, one of our most favouritest things on the Internet, suffers from comment spam. The good news is the spam is pure poetry, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, unapologetic poetry. What I really admire, is it's candor, it's openness, it's honesty. There is certainly a frailty, perhaps even a whiff of desperation but through that frailty is an inspirational strength. Some of my favourite comments (N.B. It is so much better if you read them out loud using a robot voice for the red parts):

This article is very good, so I know more about this knowledge, thank you!I would like to make some kind Burberry scarf of Friends
Thanks for zentai suits taking this spidermancostumes opportunity Yeast Infection
Treatment to discuss this, Christian Louboutin I feel fervently Christian Louboutin about this and Christian Louboutin I like learning about Christian LouboutinShoes this subject.
you look great today.
I came to your article from another article and am really interested in this learning about this. , I feel strongly about information and love learning more on this. If possible, as you gain expertise, It is extremely helpful for me. would you mind updating your blog with more information?new era hats
Slowly glide the ghd hair straighteners down your hair
When alive ,we may probably offend some people.
Coach Replica Handbags
Gucci Replica Handbags
However, we must think about whether they are deserved offended.
Thank you so much forRed Bull Hats explaining this. I was totally unaware ofAir Max 2009 this issue on Facebook.
When keeping the ambiguity with you ,
Replica Handbags
Prada Replica Handbags
I fear I will fall in love with you, and I fear I will cry after your leaving.

I'm a bit hazy on how the effects pedal would improve the situation. Is it simply so you can tweak the equalizer? Or is there something else to it? case in vendita a miami
Amazing pictures! I was in this hotel before a year thorough last minute travel with my family. It is fantastic hotel very good for enjoying vacation with the family. prestito cambializzato a protestati calcolatore prestiti

It's a great Festival, and you are fully deserved of being there with you're ambitious and talented. And..anyhow, I hope we'll have more CONS in Orlando...It's fun! prestiti a protestati
I want to bring out the secrets of nature and apply Moncler on salethem for the happiness of man. I don't know of any better service to offer for the short time Monster beats headphoneswe are in the world. (Thomas Edison, American inventor) Don't part with your illusions. True Religion jeans on sale When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live. (Mark Twain, American writer)
So supportive! I feel like Spam-Bot would even notice if I got my hair trimmed. I think I might be in love with Spam-Bot?

$9460 on haircuts and his hair still looks like poop (and he will eat your soul)

Update added 4/13/11 4:55 PM: And let's not forget this precious gem. Nickleback endorsed Harper. Effing Nickleback. If that's not a reason to vote for change, I honestly don't know what is.*

via artthreat
You have to watch this video, and visit for more. Seriously. Go. Do it now, come back to us later. We don't mind.

The Kelowna accord was a $5 billion breakthrough agreement to improve the quality of health and education for Canada's First Nation's Peoples. Harper canceled it in 2006, immediately after taking office. (via

Since you came back, we thought we'd also tell you to read this compelling comic strip by just some guy. It is amazing. Come back when you're done.

Hey again, want more? Why is Stephen Harper trying to pretend to be a totally normal guy? We think Bonhomme looks more normal here than dear leader. More here.

You can also visit The Harper Government for more "hilarious" (depressing) memes here

*Other than all of the other crazy, fucked up stuff that the Harper Government has done. Like:
In the 2011 budget, the Harper government failed to allocate any new funding for drinking water on First Nations reserves. 100 First Nations communities currently have water advisories, including 49 communities which are high risk. Harper also refuses to sign the UN Declaration designating clean water as a human right. (via and rabble)
At the 2009 G20 Harper actually said this - 'We also have no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them.' (ShitHarperDid and rabble)

In 2007, Harper cut $1.2 Billion in spending for the establishment of quality national childcare. However, he never kept his promise to cut the $1.4 billion in tax breaks he gives to oil companies (the wealthiest corporations in history). (ShitHarperDid and CUPE)
You get the idea...

CovEtsy: Rough Riders by Rebekah Hakkenberg

With the sunny weather Toronto had on Sunday afternoon, biking has really been on the brain. Sadly, I have been bike-less since my key snapped off in my bike lock last winter, and it will probably still be awhile before I can afford to buy a new one. It's a shame, because I really miss the freedom of riding, and walking feels so gosh darn slow now. So, in the meantime, I'm going to have to content myself with just daydreaming about all the accessories I would buy for my ride if I had one. And then a little something for post-ride.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Motown Files: Black Russian

You've heard of the legends: Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and The Jackson 5... but there are so many other acts that have been signed to Motown Records over the course of it's 50+ year history that deserve a listen. Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing some of the unknown, unusual, and under appreciated recording artists of Motown.

We begin today with the first Soviet band to ever be signed to an American label, Black Russian. Their eponymous Stateside debut was released in May 1980 to much fanfare, but record sales ultimately failed to live up to the success of the band's publicity campaign. Husband and wife Serge and Natasha Kapustin, along with Natasha's brother Vladimir Schneider, had been successful musicians in the USSR, but they came to the United States hoping to escape the strict control the state held over their musical arrangements and production. In the Soviet Union, Serge had once been told to remove a particular bass line from a song because it sounded too Western, and no more than one quarter of their songs were allowed to be performed in English. 
"The Kapustins were members of Sovremennik, a state-run pop orchestra, with Natasha on vocals and piano. Serge on guitar and percussion. Vladimir produced and played piano for the Singing Hearts, which was one of Russia's hottest groups in the mid-'70s. But, as Vladimir notes, they were pumping out more agitprop than pop. "We'd sing 37 songs about how good the Communist Party is, and at the end—if we were lucky—we were allowed to play a mellow song like Killing Me Softly or Ain't No Sunshine. But never rock." (People, October 16, 1980)
"Even though Western music was condemned in Russia, we knew what was happening in the world. We listened to the Voice of America broadcasts, the major European radio stations and got records from our Western friends or bought records on the black market. I can still remember the day Jimi Hendrix died because there were black armbands all over Moscow."-Natasha
They defected in May, 1976, landing in New York City with no money or connections, taking day jobs while hoping to make it big. By 1978, they had saved enough to move out to to Hollywood, where they met Guy Costa, the head of Motown's Studio Operations, who introduced them to Berry Gordy (Motown's founder) and they were signed.
"Actually from the U.S.S.R., Black Russian is a pop trio which makes crystal-line pop/r&b that comes across as a more r&b-oriented Abba. Natasha Kapustin has an excellent soaring voice. "Leave Me Now" really gives her room to show off her vocal strength. The production is exceptionally clean with Vladimir Shneider's keyboard and the synthesizers of Serge and Natasha Kapustin lending a cushy sheen. The album is evenly divided between uptempo dance cuts and moody ballads. Best cuts: "Mystified," "Leave Me Now," "Emptiness," "New York City," "Love's Enough." -Billboard, June 14, 1980  
While their album received plenty of attention and positive critical feedback, sales were dismal. I haven't been able to find much information about what became of Black Russian after that, but Natasha Kapustin seems to have gone on to find some success on her own. She reemerged around 1984, now divorced from Serge and going by her maiden name, Natasha Shneider. It's not clear whether she was actively distancing herself from her days as Black Russian's lead vocalist, but the name change and lack of mention of her earlier career seem to suggest this was the case. Frequently using the name "Natasha Detente" she appeared in a couple of movies and even a few episodes of Miami Vice and Hill Street Blues. By 1987, Natasha was married to musician Alain Johannes, and together they formed the rock band Eleven, going on to produce, collaborate and tour with artists such as Gwen Stefani, Chris Cornell, and Queens of the Stone Age. Natasha also composed, produced and performed the theme song to 2004's Catwoman. Sadly, Natasha passed away in 2008 after battling lung cancer. A benefit concert was held after her death to offset medical costs where Jack Black, Brody Dalle, PJ Harvey, and many others performed.

C'Mon Low, Low: C'Mon

So, Alex and Rebekah (me!) are heading to Edinburgh in a coupla' weeks. That is AMAZING news. For us, obviously. And probably for the dear friends that we are going to visit. Probably. But something that is totally not amazing? I have 2 tickets to see Low. No, that's not the bad part. The really crappy part is that the show comes exactly one day after we leave Toronto for the land of the Scots. Which is something I am still really happy about, of course. But after listening to these tracks from Low's latest album, I get a little sad in a "wish I could be in two places at once" kinda way. Oh yeah, and I need to sell my tickets, so if anybody reading this is interested, leave a comment or send us an email...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fall in Love

This is the Bee's Knees

Howard University flappers watching a football game via

book flaps just posted a fascinating find: an excerpt from a 1922 copy of Flapper, entitled A Flapper's Dictionary. I just love this. I want to run around telling people that they are Boob Ticklers and Crumb Gobblers. But that might not go over very well...

Some gems:

Dewdropper—Young man who does not work, and sleeps all day.
Dingle Dangler—One who insists on telephoning
Fire Extinguisher—A chaperone.
Handcuff—Engagement ring.
Lens Louise—A person given to monopolizing conversation.
Mustard Plaster—Unwelcome guy who sticks around.
Rock of Ages—Any woman over 30 years of age.
Strike Breaker—A young woman who goes with her friend’s “Steady” while there is a coolness.
Trotzky—Old lady with a moustache and chin whiskers.
Umbrella—young man any girl can borrow for the evening.

Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Songs: Julianna Barwick, mostly

Julianna Barwick is one of my favourite musicians. And kinda perfect on a rainy Sunday afternoon, dontcha think? I feel like her music is what you would hear in heaven, if heaven was populated by dolphins... or something. I'm also tacking on some Toro y Moi and Braids, just because. Anyways, enjoy your Sunday.

Free Ai WeiWei

via The All Day Everyday Project
From Al Jazeera English: 
"Ai, an outspoken government critic, has not been seen since apparently being taken into custody after he was barred from boarding a Hong Kong-bound flight at a Beijing airport on Sunday morning.
His disappearance comes as Chinese security services carry out a massive crackdown on lawyers, writers and activists following online calls for protests in China similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa. 
Dozens have recently been taken into custody with little word from authorities about where they are being held, who is holding them or the crimes that they are suspected of having committed."

Watch this video.
"Study of Perspective - White House" 
"Study of Perspective - Tiananmen Square"

As more and more dissidents disappear without a trace, China's government has told the U.S to mind their business when it comes to human rights. Meanwhile, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo is still in prison, as are "many dozens, if not hundreds of dissidents, human rights activists and persistent protesters." (The Guardian)

Sign the petition for Ai WeiWei's release here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday Fiction: Lil' Books by Alex Snider

Reasons why reading a novel consisting of no more than 150 pages is better than reading War and Peace:

1. You can read in bed and drift asleep without knocking yourself out.
2. The warm feeling that you get from starting something and seeing it through happens so much quicker.
3. You can brag to your friends that you read a book in a day and still got your laundry done.
4. A manageable number of characters.
5. Every word matters, nothing is wasted.
6. There aren't rants spanning fifty pages proclaiming the author to be a superior historian to actual historians.
7. Quantity and quality. Best of both worlds!
8. Tolstoy Wrist (think tennis elbow but smarter).

And, so, I give you a long list of short books:

Friday, April 8, 2011


A random collection of images culled from the last couple weeks worth of photographs. NO rhyme or reason here, just looking for an excuse to post them. Happy Friday :)

From my snowy walk at dusk.
In our living room.
Alex @ Clinton's
tulips and books, naturally

My blinding fluorescent pink toes.
A necklace I made recently. Instructions here

IMG_0987 - Version 2
A blanket I'm beginning to think I'll never finish

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CovEtsy by Rebekah Hakkenberg

Since so much of my time is spent browsing Etsy, finding and coveting so many amazing things each week that I can't buy, I've decided to share my top picks each week in a regular feature here on OATZ (OATZ?!?! Really?!) So without further ado, here are the top ten vintage, handmade, or repurposed items that caught my eye this week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon at the Library, and Then Beer, Obviously

Alex and I braved the strong winds and took a walk over to the Bloor-Gladstone Library today. I had to return my books and Alex needed to find a book on Nabokov (big surprise). They did such a fantastic job on the renovation, it's so bright and spacious. After the library, we took a stroll along Bloor St., where I finally got the opportunity to snap a couple of pictures of my boyfriend! Doesn't he look dashing in his red jumpsuit? We also stopped for a bite to eat at Clinton's on the way back, where we quenched our thirst and watched a bit of Dog, The Bounty Hunter before heading home.