Friday, December 22, 2006


Dear Blog:

it's certainly been a while. My brain has been a bit full to brimming lately so i haven't really been in 'reflective' (read: blog) mode.

I have been in Vancouver since Dec. 1, but it feels like about 5 minutes. I've been struggling to write entries on various Canadian writers for RObert Lecker's forthcoming anthology of Canadian literature. A very exciting and interesting job--but it's HARD! I finally sent in something he liked today--my-what...fifth? try. Rohinton Mistry.

I've also fallen in love twice in the process. John Steffler blew my mind--I actually started to cry in the library reading from his That Night We Were Ravenous. Incredible, gorgeous ecopoetry. In the same vein, the incredible Di Brandt has reinforced for me the truth that poetry is revolutionary. She was one of the first Mennonites to speak publicly about the abuse she faced as a woman and as a child in her community. She's also a feminist, a mother, and an eco-poet who gets me all riled up. i LOVE her.

I've also been with Cheyne almost 24/7, which has certainly had its ups and downs. Mostly really high ups and a couple of plateaux, not much in the way of downs. He's going to meet everyone and my city in a couple of weeks.

I miss everyone terribly--I forget how much I need Alistunalie. It's the best entity ever, and I can't wait to get back into the warm fuzzy glow of 239.

Don't forget: It's global orgasm day. have an orgasm and think about peace.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ambush French Interview!

I just make a big giant fool of myself on French television.

I got ambush-interviewed by these two men on the street with a video camera, who asked me if i spoke French. I said, 'un peu?' and they went ahead and asked me anyway what I thought about the name change of Parc Avenue. I had heard about this, but my research had gone as far as the signs I saw on the street and people telling me about it. So I said, "oh, I know--oh wait--decided?" and I was so bumbling that the interviewer said "C'est fini, c'est decide--it's done." There's nothing more humiliating than being talked at in English when you are trying to have a dialogue in French. So I go on, in French,
ME: "Oh, well, you know, I think it's pretty stupid. Why change the street? We already have a metro station called Henri Bourassa, so it's just going to be confusing for everyone."
HIM: "It's going to be Robert Bourassa Street. Henri and Robert Bourassa are not the same person."
ME: "Oh, uh, oh, I thought it was. So, Rue Bourassa? That's still confusing."
HIM: "Rue Robert Bourassa."
ME: "Oh. Well, anyway. I think it's stupid. it's not a huge political issue for me."
HIM: *blank disapproving look* roughly translated as "stupid Anglo skirt."
ME: *realizing i'm acting like a total n00b: "Well, except for the history! Lots of history! and history is important! So, uh, I'm not happy about it!"
HIM: "Thanks."

Oh man. I can't believe I had a television interview about something I knew absolutely nothing about that changes the city's face, political statement and history, *IN FRENCH!* I managed to come off sounding like I cared more about the difficuly for tourists to get around in a place that had more than one Bourassa than the political implications for Montrealers. At least my French was good. Ironic: my French gets brilliant as soon as I start talking like a retard.

if any of you get ambush-interviewed in the next few days, prepare yourselves!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

makeup is the devil! aaaaaah

I've decided to go makeup-free.

it started out as a week-long experiment, to see what my skin would do, but I am never going back. I was just thinking that maybe my skin was reacting badly to some chemicals in my makeup. I checked out the label and--first strike--the letters were tiny and white on a clear bottle full of light-coloured liquid. It was impossible to read. Strike two--whether or not this particualr makeup had any 'bad' chemicals in it, there is a whole buttload of scary chemicals in there that I do not want on my face!

Strangely, there just happened to be an interview on the Wednesday Morning After show (which I am sure you have all been listening to regularly) about cancer and makeup. Apparently, there is a ton of stuff in makeup, lotions, and haircare products that can be poisonous and that are unregulated. Did you know that 'non-toxic' is a marketing term, and it's completely unregulated? Apparently some makeup contains 'parabins' and 'bisphenols' that are estrogen-mimicking and have been linked to cancer. The connection is too tenuous to cause any changes in the market, but as of last week, all makeups are required to display their ingredients. the toluene and formaldehyde in nail products are also big culprits. Scary.

Anyway, fuck makeup. I'll still wear mascara and stuff when I feel like it, but foundation and cover-up is out of the question. The other issue is that when you wear makeup like that, you are effectively hiding--i'm trying to get used to being myself, au naturel, and not being afraid of that. I'm more awesome when I'm more me, right?

One thing--if I stop shaving my legs and wearing deodorant, i've crossed a line. Stop me. I'm going to go wash my face.

pretentious people suck my epistemology

I had an excellent moment at school last week. There's a thoroughly annoying kid in my MA1 English class who likes to use 'epistemological' 'pedagogical' and 'ontological' as often as possible--preferably in the same sentence. It's unbearably funny trying to listen to him communicate in class. He might as well be saying, "I'm smarter than you. Just so you know. All of you. I'm smarter." As Rob says, he pulls out the $20 words, when a $1 word would do.

Well, we were talking about Dracula, and the connection between technology and one of the main characters. Just for a lark, I decided to actually listen to him for once and respond instead of giggling quietly to myself while he struggles his way through all the words he knows.

I responded by saying something about how Dracula is in general about the fear of emasculation, and how that's tied to the technological revolution, where women can now type and use technology the same way as men.

He snips right back, 'but don't you think it's actually about the fear of going crazy? I think to say it's about the fear of emasculation is just a really vulgar psychoanalytic interpretation." Which is, of course, MA-English-speak for: I'm smarter than you.

But then, i came back with, "But isn't going crazy always gendered female?" Which it is, and everyone in the class murmured assent. Quietly, the girl next to me says, 'That was really good.'

I love getting in intellectual fights with pretentious people.

Ironically, I must sound pretty pretentious for even telling this story, but we'll let that go.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

everything's coming up milhouse

In other, more personal and less poetic news, I'm leaving for Vancouver in less than 2 weeks! I can't wait to get a unlimited month of yoga at Semperviva, eat good food and drink good wine with my parents, bask in the slightly warmer december weather, not be stressed out for a whole month, and, of course, cuddle up with my love. I'll also be hanging out with his parents in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, for a week.

But even more exciting, (i am just bursting with news today), Cheyne is coming back with me! He's takng some time off from his horrible and stressful massage school (ironic, I know), to come live with me in Montreal. He's already heard back from a spa that is willing to interview him even though he doesn't speak French. Granted, he is coming during the worst possible months of the year, so it will be a hard sell tomake him fall in love with Montreal and then stay and get his RMT here. April better be nice.

Anyone know of a sublet opening up around the Plateau for the winter semester?

poetry: 1 philistinism: 0

Well, poetry on the radio has been going swimmingly. The other day, I found out that people were listening to it. And not only people, but people i have never met . Point for poetry!

In other good news, last night, the poet I have the biggest crush on, and on whom I will be writing my MA thesis on, George Elliott Clarke, came to read in Montreal! Not only that, but a bunch of my friends actually wanted to come with me. Four out of five of us loved George as much as I do, and the one straggler had never seen any poetry before.

Also, my plan to slowly take over CKUT is is motion. This week on the show Neil and I are planning and hosting it. I will be doing an interview about cloth diapers and reusable menstrual cups lie the divacup (), which I will fortuitously be waring during the interview.

My hour-long dromotexte show is also coming up pretty soon--in ten days or so. I'm learning how to operate the board tomorrow, and I'm getting some pretty excellent poetry together.

I hope you all hear it and love it as much as I do.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Internet is for Porn.

In other news that outs me as the giant nerd that I am, my most recent project is to create a publishing house for my canlit class. I have a few excellent book ideas:

1. The Real World of Warcraft
A collection of the best and most scandalous gossip going on in the Warcraft world. Complete with links to footage from the events in WoW and players who were involved.

2. The Internet is for Porn
A sex-positive guide to the best porn on the internet. A great way to avoid spamware, adware, and hidden fees. The best and only source for porn by and for women, lesbians, and gay men. Also an excellent list of the funniest porn satire on the internet, so you can say you just bought it for the comedy.

My professor hinted in class yesterday that he had heard one of our ideas and wants to put it into business because it's such a good idea. I have a feeling it's one of those.

Any other ideas?

spreading that spoken word like a virus

Things have been going along swimmingly on the spoken word front. Wednesday mornings are increasingly fun. Yesterday morning I read some serious and some funny Leonard Cohen that went over pretty well. Margot added her comments, as she always does, and confused us all into being completely unsure what to say. It was certainly fun, though.

I've been doing my official-sounding MCR trainings at CKUT, which means that on November 30, Thursday, at 8pm, I will be replacing Fortner Anderson for his Dromotexte show. I will have a whole hour all to myself, and i will be doing all the tech stuff too. I'm thinking I'll read Civil Elegies (a poem that becomes increasinly important to me as it is in my life), and play some excellent spoken word that i found in the bowels of the CKUT music library. Should be a good time.

My friends keep asking me when to listen to my morning after show, so I'm going to give the details again: CKUT 90.3 FM, Wednesday mornings usually between 8-830 am. If you don't live in Mtl, you can listen live at, or you can download it and listen to it anytime. Just go to the archives and click on the show the Wednesday Morning After.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I recieved a comment on my last post that I'd like to address more openly, having already responded to it. The anonymous poster wondered what the point of poetry is in a world full of genocide, poverty, AIDS, and terrorism. He or she would like to know if Canadians, like me, don't have something more important to think about than writing poetry.

Dear anonymous poster, it is for you that I do everything I do in Canadian literature.

Yes, Canadians face a host of global political problems today. We live in a complex world, and it is poetry, not newspapers, that can teach us about it. I am assuming that this poster, like most Canadians, has only ever been exposed to the boring, nature-loving, apolitical, pretty poetry that I believe threatens poetry today by ignoring its political responsibility. The reason I want to expose Canadians to the poetry being written in Canada right now is because it is about some pretty volatile stuff. These poems ask us to face the issues rather than hide in the newspapers, which really don't tell us that much anyway.

I wonder if this poster had heard any of the poems I have read on the show so far. If not, I urge him or her, and everyone else, to listen to the show tomorrow (or download it whenever: and go to the Wednesday Morning After). I will be reading one of the most politically volatile works of Canadian poetry I have ever read. It is called No Language Is Neutral by Dionne Brand, and it asks Canadians to look at their society beyond the idealistic image of multicultural harmony we have going on. The speaker's experience, as a Caribbean Torontonian immigrant lesbian, is one of racism, sexism, and oppression, and yes, this is Toronto in the 1990s. Poets like Brand ask us to look more closely at our society from a different perspective from what the newspapers would like us to see.

For this reason, my anonymous poster, we must do more than "read the newspaper" as you so kindly suggest. We also need to read the poetry that is showing us what's really happening outside what the general Canadian media would have us believe. Maybe then you could make a more intelligent response to something you are ignorant of.

Thanks for the comment.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What do you think of the title: "Naked on a Park Bench?"

This post is a little belated, since it's been 'news' for about three weeks now, but I have, in fact, started reading Canadian poetry on CKUT on Wednesday mornings. I have a ten-minute segment on the Wednesday Morning After show, usually between 8 and 9. Last week I read some stuff by Karen Solie and Donald Hall, and the week before that, I read some stuff by Canadian poets against the war, including my mom's cousin Peter Jaeger, who's excellent. Upcoming this week: everyone's favourite Leonard Cohen. This is the man that can change your mind if you think you don't like poetry. Or I might break down and read some of Dennis Lee's Riffs instead because I miss Cheyne, and I can do whatever I want because it's my show. Segment. Whatever.

I was sitting in my Canadian literature class learning about the life-threatening situation facing Canadian literature and Canadian publishing today. Apparently Canadians could care less what their literary culture is doing, and probably figure Margaret Atwood has it covered. It terrifies me that all the excellent, intelligent, and political poetry Canadians are writing right now is slipping through the economic cracks of the conservative government and the general apathy of Canadians to do anything about it. And plus, it hurts me that so many people think they hate poetry, because high school totally ruined it for them. I hated poetry when I got out of high school too, and now I love it. The radio show is just meant to be about someone who likes poetry and wants to share it, and the possibilities of broadening that community through the airwaves. Last week, Neil, who does the music and tech on the Morning After, said he stopped paying attention during one of the poems. i was so glad he said that, because it gave me an opportunity to say that that was okay--for the poems to be boring, or pretentious, or to not like them. that's hwy the discussion is there.

I'm not going to stop here, either. I'm hoping to help out with another poetry show on the station, Dromostexte on thursday evenings at 8, and do a canadian version of his show. I also hope to make it into a full-length show, so i can have people come in and read their favourite poems and talk about them.

Up next: podcasts. I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Who uses paper anymore?

I've realized that packaging makes me regress approximately 2000 years. I feel like a primate when I am sitting at my desk, working on my Master's courses, and then have to face opening a new cd case. When was the last time you had to get the cellophane off a new cd case? For me it's been a long time. I'm sitting there clawing at it stupidly, biting into the sides, like a mongoose trying to get at the inside of an egg. I know there's something good in there, but I have no idea how to get at it. I'm hitting it on the wall, scratching it, yelling at it, and still the thing won't open. Computers may be a great revolution in technology, but it makes me stupid at packages.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


So I walked into my Master's supervisor's office the other day and asked him how his weekend was. He said, "it was good, until I read your paper." Ouch.

It's one thing to be hard on me, and critique me because he has high expectations of me, which is a good thing, but now I'm ruining people's weekends every time I hand in a haphazard paper. I'm feeling a little pressure up in here. I'm panicky, i'm breathing weird, i'm exhausted--I think McGill is trying to kill me.

Leah McLaren, in last weekend's Globe and Mail, wrote an article about stress--she does yoga, she meditates, she drinks wine and rants with her friends, she goes for long walks and runs, and she is so busy trying to relax that she forgets to relax. According to her article, 55% of Canadians feel 'extreme stress' about various things in their lives--the highest stat in the world. We are apparently being coined, annoyingly, the 'Stressettes.' I prefer the "Age of Anxiety" or "Generation Why?" but I guess McLaren does write chicklit, so she can pick her own annoying term.

Anyway, after this little experience with my professor, I told myself it was okay, it was for the best, and that I can handle it. I went for a jog, did some meditation, listened to some music, and then called poor unsuspecting Cheyne and burst into tears. The poor guy had no idea what to say, and in the state I was in, he could do nothing but make it all worse. "So you wrote a shitty essay. Who cares?" he tried. All I could say was, " think I wrote a shitty essay?"

I got myself the hell off the phone for a little Cristina and Alison love and called him back when I could stop acting like such a girl. I feel better about the whole thing now if just because I have Alison, Cristina, and Cheyne doing their very earnest best to make me feel better. And they do. Leah McLaren can keep her stressettes. I'm keeping my own anxious, wonderful, friends, who don't say stuff like 'stressettes.'

Monday, September 18, 2006

yeah. And i drove! In montreal!

I just need to take this moment to gush about how awesome my roomates are. We sit around all day, pantsless, drinking wine and reading poetry to each other. When we get bored of that, we make pillows out of Che tshirts or drive to Cristina's cottage, to drink more wine and read more poetry. Sometimes we even support each other, with pillows, massages, Wayne's World and wine.

We'll start with the lineup of pillows.

Friday, September 15, 2006

healthy body happy heart power brain YAAAA!

I have just returned from my first experience at the Body and Brain club, a centre for martial arts, yoga, and dance. Or, as Cristina says, Maryogarts. ...ance.

In this class, a smiling Manu led us in a 'vibration exercise' in which we bounced on our feet for FIFTEEN MINUTES. I felt like my whole body was having a party all together and hanging out at last, saying to ...uh, myself, we should really do this more often!

At the end of the class, we slapped our stomachs together and then shouted out "HEALTHY BODY HAPPY HEART POWER BRAIN YAAAAA!" and then jumped up in the air.

It was pretty hilarious, and a very good time. It may have been a bit too much with the feelings, however. I might just stick to boring old power yoga.

In other news, Cristina pointed out that I managed to name my new plant after postmodernism completely by accident. Poor little Pomona doesn't know what she's in for.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Meet my new best friend, Pomona (the Euphorbia Somona). I think it's about time i figured out if I could actually take care of a living thing.

She's cool because she's cute, but not trying to show you up with her big ol' flowers, and if you look closer, she's got thorns. She's got spunk, and I can relate.

Monday, September 11, 2006


More from the annals of that terrifying cyber space, the Facebook:

There is a group on the Facebook called "if this group reaches 100 000 my girlfriend will have a threesome."

Um. Does anyone else see a problem here? There are over 300 000 people in the group, and now the creator, some dude called Brody, is putting up pictures of potential candidates for threesome-hood that the members of the group can vote for. Does said girlfriend have any say in all this?

Maybe she set herself up by agreeing to challenge the powerful world of the interscape. Maybe she is prostituting herself, facebook-style. I hope she gets paid when the videotape goes on the web. Or, at least, gets her own reality TV show: The Simple Life: Facebooking!

'Facebooking': the most sinister intercommunication device since 'texting'

So there has been lots of buzz about the new settings of this psycho website, The Facebook. There's now this thing called a 'news feed' that tells everyone who logs in which parties people are invited to, whose wall they wrote on, and the exact moment at which their relationship status switched from 'in a relationship' to 'single.' On these particularly momentous incidences, a little broken heart emoticon shows up beside the message.

In the first place, the Facebook is already a website where people can stalk their ex-boyfriends and see pictures of their new girlfriends, who they will then show to their friends to be mercilessly judged. It's also a great place for 'facebooking,' the newest trend in flirting since 'texting' came along. I thought at first it was kind of silly for people to be getting upset about this stuff since everyone seems to want to be all up in everyone else's business anyway.

Then, however, i logged in to a message from the facebook: "five of your friends are attending this party, hosted by your friend. If you would like an invite, ask her." Hey, facebook, stop being such a jerk. I don't care that I wasn't invited to a party all my other friends were invited to. I'm not going to ASK for an invite. Then i proceeded to obsess about it and gossip about it with my roomate for a grand total of 2 minutes before i started to realize I had regressed back into grade 9.

Though the facebook is great for things like looking up friends whose contact info you lost, posting the website to your new blog (ahem) and looking really cool because you have 25 photo albums to share, I'm thinking i may need to leave this little high-school instrument of pain in the archives of my personal cyberspace and un-bookmark it.

The question remains: can I tear myself away from the high-school antics of 'facebooking'? Maybe i'll just go check it out now before I start my work...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

the fantastic world of Mount Royal

Welcome to my blog. My friends tell me they find my life endlessly fascinating, and want to read about it when they can't hear me talk incessantly. Thus, the inception of this blog. First post: pigeon death. A good way to start, no?

Yesterday, having the rainy and dismal Saturday all to myself, I decided to go out shopping for a few hours. As I was walking along Mount Royal street, I saw a pigeon lying on the ground beside a car, flapping its wings frantically, eyes wild, trying, without success, to get back on its feet. It was shaking and rolling upside down, absolutely panicked at its state, maybe with a broken leg, maybe sick orhaving flown into something. I stood there astonished, heart thumping, watching the little thing suffer and not knowing what to do about it. I knew all that could be done was to kill it, but being brought up with the sensibilities of a city girl, I had no idea how to do it, nor did I think I would be in the least bit capable of, say, stomping on its head.

Two guys came up next to me and commented on what needed to be done. We stood there for a bit more and then they disappeared. I stood in shock, feeling like I was about to cry, and just about to walk away, when one of the men came back with a plastic bag. "Could you please stay with me while I kill this bird? I can't do it by myself," he said, and I said, "of course." He gathered the terrified pigeon up in the bag and we walked quickly to an alleyway, where he smashed the bag repeatedly against a concrete wall. I stood by, hands at my mouth, trying not to cry. When it was over, he thanked me for being with him while he did it. We sought out a garbage to throw the lost pigeon in, and I thanked him for having the bravery to do something when most people on the street, including me, were willing to walk by and let the pigeon suffer. Then we parted ways, and I walked into the Aldo shoe outlet of all things. I walked right out again, and wandered confusedly, completely unable to keep shopping for that day.

I think most people have an overwhelming fear of death. We'd like to believe that death doesn't happen eveyrday, that it's not a part of all the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the institutions we support. Being vegetarian, for example, is one way to deny to yourself the fact that there is death involved in all aspects of consumption, and not just that of animal consumption itself (not that it is not a good thing to do and support in general). I am grateful to that man on the street for his bravery and ability to do something many people couldn't face, and I am grateful as well that I could be there to support him while he did it.

Poor little pigeon!