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    If you still can’t see the positives, then you’re not looking my way


    2011 - 12.30

    As 2011 wraps up, I see more and more YEAR IN REVIEW posts. People make lists of best albums, best movies, most annoying events… I am not current enough in movies to make a top 10, though I’m sure my inclusion of Sucker Punch would be prime comment fodder.
    (Yes, I enjoyed Sucker Punch a lot and I think most people are missing a key interpretation)

    I could make a list of my favourite albums of the year, but the top spots are going to go to Sloan, Brigitte Boisjoli and Timber Timbre and I will absolutely not try to justify them.

    I actually hate reading art reviews online – songs, albums, films, books, cafés. Either I want to see something/eat somewhere/go see a show or I don’t. So someone whose tastes are probably way different from mine writing as if they’re an expert is not going to sway me. I never understood the point at all, even when I wrote concert reviews semi-professionally! I always found it difficult to separate my experience from the sum of all concertgoers, so I’d have to write as if I’m a complete outsider. The only one I was ever particularly proud of can be found here.

    Concert reviews are especially bizarre to me – I just don’t see the point. As I see it, there are only 2.5 types of people who read them.
    1) The reader was there and has their own memories and opinions formed about the sound, the set and the audience. Why does she need someone else’s? To justify her own opinions? My favourite concerts of the year are not going to be everyone else’s, because I enjoyed them for my own reasons. How many other people would include Sloan’s June 22 show at the Mod Club as the best? It won’t be because Chris Murphy bought them nachos afterwards. That’s my experience and it powers my view of the gig. Someone who has a bad concert experience because of the audience is going to have a different opinion from someone who was in another section of the crowd.

    2) People who weren’t at the show. Sure, there’s some masochism in wanting to know what you’ve missed, but what good would it really do? Performances vary wildly night by night. It’s FOMO at its worst. It’s publicity, but after the fact. Do I want to read about how I missed every single night of Jason Collett’s Basement Revue? No, because it’s too late and it’s only going to make my weep that I missed Matt Murphy singing more Guy Terrifico.

    3) The artist himself. But really, what are the odds that someone like Jeff Tweedy is going to read 150 tumblr reviews of Wilco’s Massey Hall show?

    Document your experiences for yourself, but know that they are YOURS. “Best of” lists are misnomers and I would actually think less of someone who could make a difinitive BEST OF list as if they were the world’s expert. Recaps are another thing entirely – listing your favourite movies of the year is fine, but it is according to your taste only.

    That said, these are my favourite concert experiences of 2011:

    10) Steven Wilson @ Opera House
    9 ) Cheap Speakers @ Various venues everywhere.
    8 ) Sloan @ Mod Club (night #2)
    7 ) Ellie Goulding @ the Phoenix
    6 ) Joel Plaskett @ Luminato
    5 ) Matthew Barber @ Great Hall
    4 ) Sloan @ Great Hall
    3 ) Dwayne Gretzky’s Dakota residency
    2 ) Heart @ Massey Hall
    1 ) Elvis Costello in NYC

    Mostly what I’ll remember about 2011, though, is how many people came into (and came back into) my life: New friends with whom I’ve become really close; friends-of-friends whom I’ve stolen as my own; casual acquaintances who make me smile every time I see them; most importantly, though, are the people from my past with whom I’ve reconnected in such a meaningful way. 2011 was the year of forging lifelong bonds with some truly wonderful people and severing ties with a few who were making me miserable.

    2011 brought me to new parts of the world, including Scotland, where my family came from. I met my Scottish relatives and feel great knowing that I’m related to such smart, kind-hearted people who made the Canadian clan feel welcome in light of the occasion. This year also brought my immediate family closer than ever.

    I don’t know if 2012 can improve on 2011 as much as 2011 did on 2010, but I am all about facing it head on with more confidence, wisdom, and experience.

    Just for fun, here are some resolutions:

  • Blog more
  • Travel more (leave the province at least three times)
  • Read 100 graphic novels
  • Get my girl abs back to 2010 standard (*Sigh*)
  • Sing 100 karaoke songs in a row without a repeat
  • Listen to one 2012-released album per week; actually keep up with current music.
  • Institute a one-in-one-out rule for possessions and stick to it.
  • Earn at least one A in a class and be well on track to graduate in 2013.
  • Wear my friggin’ night guard. Ugh.
  • Find a creative way to organize my 4703623067387 pairs of earrings.
  • Cross an artist or song off of my musical bucketlist (preferably Marie-Mai, Springsteen, “Dreaming of You,” or “I Want You”)
  • Finish my awesome needlepoint fractal, which will look like this upon completion:

  • Be happy and healthy and stay positive. Life is much better that way.

    Here’s to a happy 2012! I know who my first, second and third kisses will be.

  • All that I want is always to push forward


    2011 - 11.12

    A mixed CD is my favourite gift to give or receive for any occasion. My friends are mostly students, and therefore mostly poor, and a mix is one way of guaranteeing that they’ll expend at least half an hour’s worth of energy on my gift. Being a broke student myself, I return the favour. Any birthday to which I’m invited requires hours of playlisting, designing album art, shuffling and organizing. After all, I can’t give the wrong impression. No breakup songs to the person I’m dating, no sexy songs to the dudes in the friend zone, no cliches and no repeats.

    As I’ve been a little short on time these past few months, I’ve just been too busy to make birthday mixes. Unless you’ve saved my life more than once, I probably didn’t make you a mix this year. It takes about six hours to do everything, and the results are usually awesome (if I do say so myself). Particularly time-consuming (and rewarding) is the album art. I am really inspired by Mandelbrot sets and other rainbow fractals, and I love spending hours drawing similar designs with Sharpies onto coloured card stock.

    The evolution was quick. The earliest example I can find is this one, made for a then-boyfriend’s sister:

    My next few attempts at album art were full-out embarrassing. I wanted something colourful and abstract, but just wasn’t quite there.

    An engineer friend of mine showed me pictures of Mandelbrot’s fractals, so I decided to make one for my favourite engineer, just to try it out. The results were overwhelming.

    What followed was a whole series, culminating in a record-sized art piece for #HaroldTheHerald.






    And some non-Mandelbrot stuff that I still thought was cool:

    (Ruhee’s was probably the most complicated one so far. I don’t even know how it turned out that way)

    A few days ago, Maddie had her 22nd birthday. Known for her awesome birthday gestures, Maddie and I have been really close since we met on the coolest night of my life in 2005.


    Yesterday I mailed this to her. It’s a little different still – plainer, more emphasis on colour rather than shape. I wanted a 1970s feel… I think it will be the last Mandelbrot-inspired album art I’m going to make. It feels like the end of an era, but I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the 10th and final Mandelbrot Mix. Hope she gets it soon!
    Here’s the title track, for those of you who aren’t Maddie:

    Here are some other highlights since my last post:

  • Harold and I are going to be attending this tonight. I will be wearing a Vaudeville & Burlesque dress I bought in Scotland in September. He will be wearing his tightest black skinny jeans.
  • I busted out my winter coat for the next six months or so. (Thanks, Canadian winter!)
  • There were free cupcakes at work thanks to The Cupcake Shoppe. This is very significant. OM NOM NOM. They were very much enjoyed.
  • I finally chose which glasses I’m going to get in January when I have some money.

    They’re grey handmade plastic frames by OGI and I’ve coveted them since I started working at my store. They WILL be mine.

    Now, to get ready for the party…