Feb 27 2010

Pleased to Meet You!!

So now that you’ve all been properly introduced to The Height of Life, it’s high time that the girl behind the computer makes her introduction, all “Phantom of the Opera”-style. 

DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!

My name is Kylie, and here are some random facts that are vitally important to know about me.  Or not.

- I once got my fingers stuck in an elevator door.  Great story now…not so great experience at the time.                               

- I’m mildly obsessed with horses and ponies, and, growing up, had two wonderful horses named “Buckshot” and “Sir Legacy.”  Nowadays, I just have to make do with watching “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” over and over and over again.

- I hail from the wilds of Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada.  Ok, it’s not “the wilds,” it’s a dairy farm, but doesn’t “the wilds of Glengarry” sound so much more romantic?  Like I’m stalking across the windy moors, wearing this fabulous long dress made out of tweed and wool and velvet and iron, as well as shoes that are totally inappropriate for the weather,  and that my hair is all “effortlessly windswept” but not at all tangled?  Yeah, it’s exactly like that.

-  I have a pretty frickin’ fantastic set of family and friends.   Preeeettty frickin’ fantastic.

- I had 12 teeth taken out, in order to make room for braces.  Not all at the same time, mind you, and most of them were baby teeth, so my teeth look perfectly fine today.   Nonetheless, I like to bust that little story out during competitive “Dental Horror Stories” conversations and polite cocktail parties.  As you do.

- Not to brag or anything, but I play a pretty amazing air guitar, not to mention respectable air drums and air vocals. 

- I studied History and English Literature at school, and also have an MA in War Studies.  It’s a pretty badass-sounding degree, but I’m also discovering that ”badass” doesn’t necessarily equate to “employable.”  I also imagined that, as a Mistress of War, I’d be prancing around, wearing a long velvet cloak or riding my trusty unicorn.  Neither the unicorn or the cloak have materialized yet, but I’m keeping my eye on the mailbox. 

- One of my (many!) awkward tendencies is to inexplicably start laughing when I’m alone or in inappropriate situations.

- I have an imagination that runs away with me, and I absolutely love ghost stories.  Not a great combination at 4 in the morning.

- I try to live a life that I’m proud of.  I try to be empathetic and kind to others.  I try to surround myself with people who make me laugh, think, and who make me want to skip down the street.  I try to be aware of both the spectacular beauty as well as the deep injustices around me, and to right the wrongs the best ways I know how. 

- My motto is: ”Look for the ridiculous, and you will find it” (Jules Reynard)

photo

Sometimes, I look like this

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Or this

pyjama cowgirl

But I mostly look like this

It’s wonderful to meet you!  And what’s your name?


Feb 26 2010

Why hello, there! (A Welcome, Part II)

 

The tree comparison can be a nice one, sometimes

(Glorious image courtesy of spyderfyngers.tmblr.com)

Hello everyone, and welcome to the fourth-ever post to The Height of Life!  (I am now picturing monkeys crashing cymbals.)  I apologize for being so atrociously lax in my writing, and I promise, barring alien invasion or spontaneous barracuda adoption, that you can look forward to regular posts from now on.   Both my trusty computer and I were under virus attack, but we’ve since been de-bugged (tangent alert: what if my computer and I were infected by the same virus?!), and are good to go.   The computer has had to suffer the humiliation of reformatting, and I’m no longer clocking in more hours of bedrest than Colin from “The Secret Garden,” so onwards and upwards!

I figure that it’s high time I introduce The Height of Life.   This website is a celebration of all things kooky and wonderful and random that help make life so great; a celebration to which everyone is invited (and you don’t have to even bring anything, but if you do happen to have some artichoke dip lying around, I’m not going to say no…)

In addition to having a lifestyle-ish element that’s relevant to everyone (what, ramblings about “horses vs ponies vs unicorns” aren’t relevant to us all?!), much like the oh-so-punny title suggests, The Height of Life is also geared to those of us who happen to be taller than average.   I’ve found that it can sometimes feel lonely and alienating to be the token tall person, and I’ve also noticed that when one tall person encounters another, an immediate sense of friendship and familiarity develops.  I’ve found this to be particularly true among tall girls and women.  Aside from a few places scattered across the web, like the excellent tallchicksrock community over at LiveJournal,  there didn’t seem to be very many places where people could come together and share their stories, advice and experiences.    Inspired by the punk rock DIY spirit, I decided that if change wasn’t going to come to me, then I had better make change myself, and so I decided to claim this little corner of the internet as our own.  Consider this the metaphorical staking of the flag.  The idea came to me this past autumn, while I was taking a nap in a parking lot…err…I was in my car, waiting for my sister, if that makes it seem a little less dodgy.  When I woke up, I truly felt like I had a flashing-lightbulb moment, and had to stop myself from galloping down the street, shouting “Eureka!” at the top of my lungs!   With this website, I hope to inspire a sense of solidarity and community, and to discuss the unique and not-so-unique issues that we face.  Although we know we’re not alone, it is still comforting to be reminded of that.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve encountered more ridiculous stereotypes and assumptions about your height to fill up several lifetimes.   Although to be tall is kind of like having a spotlight on you at all times, we’ve somehow been reluctant to command the spotlight for ourselves.    The space tall people, especially tall women, take up in the pop culture imagination is not necessarily from images we’ve created and defined ourselves.    By not speaking up for ourselves, we allow others to do it for us.   The Height of Life is an antidote to “The Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman,”  “The Jolly Green Giant,” and all the other inanities we encounter, and strives to create and highlight positive representations of tall people in society.  In addition to odes to cheese, tips on the best places to people-watch,  and stories of epic car song and dance routines to one hit wonders while stopped in traffic, you can count on The Height of Life to feature advice on a myriad of things of interest to the tall community, including humour, news, inspiration, medical information, stories, fashion, and sports.    Essentially, The Height of Life is a guide, a reflection, and a celebration of living the high life in a world that is slightly less than. 

The Height of Life is so much more than a one-girl celebration; it’s a community where sharing your diverse thoughts, ideas and suggestions are welcomed and valued.  So hop on in!  We’re listening.  And there might even be some artichoke dip.

 

Much love,

Kylie


Feb 17 2010

A brief update

G’day, m’dears!

Just a quick note to let you know that my trusty computer crossed paths with a  pretty nasty virus (is there any other kind?), and so it’s been out of order for the past few days.  Uh, Happy Valentine’s!  I’m due to pick it up in the next few days, so regular posts shall resume then.  I’m writing this from my parents’ computer, which is a state-of-the-art model from 1892.

Thanks for your understanding.  In the meantime, let’s watch the Olympics (which are currently on home soil!  Mind you, across the entire expanse of that soil) and pretend that we’re ski jumpers.  I’m entranced by them!  Nevermind that I”m kind of afraid of heights.  Nevermind that I haven’t been skiing in a couple of years.  Nevermind that I have chair-lift issues.  How amazing would it be to be a ski jumper?!


Feb 13 2010

McQueen Is Dead: Long Live McQueen

 

McQueen21

Yesterday, I was completely gutted to hear of Lee Alexander McQueen’s untimely death.  He was only 40 years old.  Only 40 years old, and yet he left behind a powerful legacy of creating, re-defining and expanding our concepts of beauty and art.  His creations proved, time and time again, that fashion is art, and that fashion is worthwhile.  Many people credit McQueen as the designer who inspired that breakthrough, and who initially inspired their interest in fashion.   His creations were never merely snippets of fabric or presented for empty shock value; they were masterpieces, works of art, ideas, thoughts, visions, reactions, stories, and concepts.  He was a true visionary who often explored the worlds of the ethereal and the macabre, and with a penchant for historical, royal, gothic and futuristic themes. 

McQueen expertly navigated tradition and innovation.  He was known for his meticulous tailoring (a skill that currently seems to be on the decline), and his clothes were a celebration of the male and female form.  He often wore kilts of his family’s tartan, and wool, tartan, lace and houndstooth were popular fabrics in his collections.  While working on Savile Row in the early ’90s, he allegedly embroidered curse words in the linings of Prince Charles’ suits (“I am a c*nt,” to be exact) and his cheeky (er, literally) collection featuring “bumster” trousers in the mid-90s earned his notoriety and the reputation as an “enfant terrible” of fashion.  A completely self-made man, McQueen hailed from London’s East End, and was the son of a cab driver.  He developed a lasting relationship with his mentor, the iconic Isabella Blow (who plucked him out of obscurity), and remained very close with his mother.  Despite his rising success, Alexander McQueen’s sense of humour, kindness and loyalty remained firmly grounded.  When the supermodel Kate Moss was engulfed in a drug scandal, and many other designers (including those Moss helped represent) were tripping over each other in efforts to disassociate themselves, McQueen publicly stood by his friend.   He was also a champion of models (and all women) with unconventional looks, and often employed Erin O’Connor and Karen Elson- models who carved their careers out of being outsiders, “freaks.”  (O’Connor is the model on the left-hand side of the second photo.) 

Although the fashion industry is often mired in scandal and frivolity, McQueen’s masterpieces are exemplary reminders of the power and potential of fashion.  They encourage us to find beauty in the most unlikely of subjects, including ourselves.  This visionary artist inspired us to imagine the world for what it could be.  The world is a slightly less brilliant and beautiful place without him. 

God Bless McQueen.

McQueen22

(All images from hautemacabre.com)  


Feb 11 2010

Mid-Week Dance Party! (Wednesday, February 10th, 2010)

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And who are we to argue with Andrew WK?  Like most of you, I love to dance.  I dance all the time.  I dance to vastly inappropriate songs, at vastly inopportune times.  I have dreams of spontaneous-yet-choreographed dance routines going down in supermarkets.  I’ve been highland and step dancing since I was a wee Kylie, but here’s the thing:  a highland fling, no matter how perfectly-executed, doesn’t exactly go over well in a dance club.  I know this because I’ve tried.  Oh God.  

I also dabbled in other forms of dance in university (haha- – “whooooaaaa…when I was in university…those were some craaaazy times…I even dabbled in….dance”), and I’ve learned that I can more than hold my own in a dance recital or in a festival performance.  However, when it comes to “just dancing,”  I’m more Benes than Baryshnikov.   And that’s perfectly alright, because the joy of dance depends on a little less on technical skill, and a little more on enthusiasm.

Like I’ve said, I’ve been enthusiastically flailing around for quite some time, as have my two younger sisters.  Whenever we were feeling thrilled about something, or overwhelmed about something, or pondering something, or terrified about something (and those feelings probably all happened on the same day), we would crank the speakers up to 11, all “Spinal Tap”-style, and just let loose.  Sometimes even my little brother would join in the fun.   We would just jump around (to “Jump Around”), or play imaginary instruments, make up ridiculous dance routines that were sure to “impress” our parents (there is also known existing footage of a living-room gymnastics show, but to spare my little brother from a lifetime of humiliation, I’ll refrain from posting it.  We’re going to save it for his wedding, instead.)  This tradition carried through to university, where my friends and I would have epic residence hallway, and later, kitchen dance parties- for any and all occasions.  At first, I think it started as an incentive to actually do dishes, but we were far too clever to fall for that trick.   Dishes were left abandoned in the sink (and stacked on every possible inch of counter space), but we were far too busy dancing to notice.

These are the origins of the Mid-Week Dance Party!  The purpose of this brand spankin’ new feature (um, also because this is a brand spankin’ new website) is to liven up our week, to listen to some great music, to move our bodies (ok- that just made me think of an ’80s exercise video- -sorry for that!), and to remind us just how fantastic it feels to boogie and be-bop around like a 5 year-old. 

Alriiiiighty, then.  I’ve picked two corresponding songs for the very first edition of Mid-Week Dance Party.  The first song is one that you definitely all know.  If you’re anything like me, you’ve been prancing around, pretending to be wearing impossibly high shoes that look like futuristic armadillos in space, and mumbling nonsensical lyrics to yourself in public.  And you have no intention of stopping.  Of course, the first clip is “Bad Romance,” by Lady Gaga.  This video is just straight -up a mind-blowing spectacle, and rife with so many references, underlying meanings and multiple interpretations.  The attention to detail is also staggering.  I mean, razorblade-lens glasses?  The cat’s teeth are capped?  Amazing.  Lady Gaga wanted to make an over-the-top, visual feast of a video for her fans, and she completely delivered.   The second clip, “Badder Romance,” is recognition of that.   In this video, an imaginative group of friends pay tribute to the original by creating their own homemade pop culture parody.   There are so many screamingly hilarious details in this video, I can’t even begin.   Even Lady Gaga approves, and linked the video on her Twitter page.  Y’know when Whitney Houston had that whole “I believe that children are our future” song, and you felt kind of guilty, because if you were indeed the kid she was singing about, then you were totally letting her down?  Well, we can all relax and slack off now, because the sheer awesomeness of the ”Badder Romance” group has got our backs.   They will make you giddier than getting a pony for Christmas!

Enjoy!

“Bad Romance”

Lady Gaga- \”Bad Romance\”

“Badder Romance”

Lady Gaga- \”Badder Romance,\” by BINKproductionz

(My computer seems to be a bit cantankerous, and is not letting me embed videos, but I promise to sort that all out.)  If you have any suggestions for future Mid-Week Dance Party songs, please please please let me know!  They can be any genre of music, and it doesn’t matter if they’re even considered “danceable” by anyone other than you.  

So, kiddywinks, what songs are currently tapping their way into your ears and making you tap your feet?