Nov 25 2010

World’s Tallest Married Couple Not *That* Tall, But *That* Lovely

Tallest Couple

 

The Guinness World Book of Records has named Wayne and Laurie Hallquist- who stand at 6’10 and 6’6 respectively- the world’s tallest living couple.   While it’s perfectly lovely and decidedly badass to see couples with a significant height difference between them (especially any deviation from the sickenly-common “super-tall guy, super-short girl” combination), it warms the void where my heart should be when I see a super-tall power couple.   Aside from my parents, I’ve seen very few other tall-tall matches.  What about you?  The Hallquists met at a church social, where, predictably, the rest of the attendees immediately matched them up.  Fortunately, their connection went far beyond their height, and were happily married for seven years of (relative) obscurity before they decided to go for the Guinness gold.    While there are other couples who are taller, like basketball phenom Yao Ming and his new wife, Ye Li, as well as the 19th Century’s original tall couple, the fascinating Anna Swan and Martin Bates,  it’s likely that many would-be contenders simply don’t care for the extra publicity.

When I first saw a picture of the Hallquists, I immediately noted how graceful and elegant the pair seemed.  All long, unbroken lines and perfect posture, it was the shorter man measuring the couple who seemed a bit awkward and out-of-place.   It then struck me that “normal” is not a fixed, unchanging point, but a fluid concept that relies on comparison.  While many people who are very tall can feel a bit strange and ungainly while surrounded by people of average height (and the concept can apply to just about any other group, really), it’s not that they are actually strange and ungainly; they’re just measuring themselves against a particularly common point of reference.   These points of reference are ever-changing and can be applicable in a multitude of ways.    There is no definitive “normal” and “abnormal,” just a different series of reference.  As Morrissey says, “there is no such thing in life as ‘normal.’” 

And Morrissey’s always right- – *that* is a fixed, unchanging point.  

 

Much love,

Kylie


Nov 12 2010

Remembrance Day

remembrance

To me, Remembrance Day is one of the most sacred dates of the year.  The powerful message of the day unifies us all, no matter what our background and political beliefs are, as we honour those who made ultimate sacrifices and faced unfathomable horror.  It’s pretty jarring to think of lost generations of men and women, leading ordinary lives, who were called to make extraordinary sacrifices, and of how the past remains a constant, harrowing present for those who survived.  The issue of commemoration, while seemingly neutral on the surface, can still be fraught with tensions and competing versions of history.  History tends to be written by the winners, and sometimes the writing of one’s own glorious history involves re-writing the histories of others.  I find acts of commemoration especially meaningful when framed to think of those caught in war as ordinary human beings, subject to the whims and decisions of political leaders, rather than in terms of good or evil incarnate.   War literature, especially the anti-war poets of the First World War, is particularly effective at capturing these sentiments, and I would like to share a few of my favourite war poems with you.    

“In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, is one Canada’s most enduring and distinctive symbols.   Inspired by the imagery of the poem, the wearing of poppies in Canada, the UK, and the rest of the Commonwealth, is a powerful tribute to our war dead.  Written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae following the death of his friend, the poem remains one of the most popular pieces of war literature of the past century.

\”In Flanders Fields\”

The Great War poets, particularly Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, wrote defiantly against the common public perception that war was a grand adventure, a rite of passage, and a necessary expression of patriotism, and exposed the shocking, realistic horrors of war.  Their accounts of the development of gas and trench warfare, as well as the dissonance between the decision-makers at home and the soldiers who suffered the consequences of these decisions, give an eloquent and powerful alternative to the romantic language and imagery commonly found in earlier war poems and other literature.

“At the Cenotaph,by Siegfried Sassoon

I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his Staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph:
Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
“Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of the pride and power of being alive;
Men’s biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace.”
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh.


Nov 4 2010

Things I Love Thursday, November 3rd ’10

dayofthedead

Lovely Day of the Dead image courtesy of spyderfyngers.tumblr.com.  I highly recommend her tumblr, it’s a treasure trove of hauntingly beautiful images!

Hello, my ghostlings! 

I hope you’ve all had a spooktacularly spectacular Hallowe’en, and that you’ve had a week largely spent in a sugar-induced coma!  I’ve come across all sorts of thrilling stuff that has brightened my week, so let’s get to it!

* Reading all about the history and traditions behind Day of the Dead, Samhain, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.  Makes for fascinating reading, and is a wonderful way to transition into November.  Get thee to Wikipedia!

* Watching Hocus Pocus!  One of my favourite childhood movies (featuring the one and only Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah  Jessica Parker!) and one that is legitimately spooky.   Incredibly entertaining, this movie is actually one for all seasons.   In short, this movie helped raise me. 

* Sugar highs and sugar comas!

* Helping to plan an extravagant Christmas Marketplace that’ll look so Dickensy, Dickens would be jealous!

* Butter tart pie.  BUTTER. TART. PIE.

* Being starred on Jezebel!!!  Surely, this is what being knighted or receiving the Order of Canada must feel like.   What an honour has been bestowed upon me!

* Brace yourselves: My little sister gave me the rest of her Hallowe’en candy.  Yes, you read correctly.  What an amazingly kind gesture!  Completely voluntary.  Completely out-of-the-blue.  Not to mix holiday metaphors, but my heart just grew three sizes!

 

And so concludes my list of this week’s pleasures.  What are the brightest and shinest snippets of your week?

Cheers to you!

Kylie


Nov 1 2010

Trick or Treat? Trick. Just Trick.

These stories raised me.  Not well.

These stories raised me. Not well.

Greetings, my dear ghostlings!! I wish you all a very spooktacular Hallowe’en!  I hope you’re getting up to much mischief and funnery, and that you’re feeling the buzz of a sugar high that won’t crash until at least mid-November.  Hallowe’en has crept up on us like a raccoon in a party hat, which is to say that it’ll be rooting through our garbage for leftover dip and discarded party favours while we’re out buying discount candy and mesmerized by sugar skulls the next day.

As a lover of all things strange and macabre, Hallowe’en is always a special holiday for me.  Let us count the ways: Good Girl Kylie delighted in the illicit thrill of partaking in a holiday that my dental hygienist mother loathed, because all the candy made my siblings and I act like hyperactive gremlins.  You can bust out the dance moves to Thriller and get looks of approval, rather than looks of “now-where-is-the-security-guard?” It’s a rare socially-sanctioned time to go on a terrifying candy rampage- and the candy is free! Even better, if you’re from an especially-friendly rural area, like me, where there’s an over-abundance of candy and fewer trick-or-treaters, your prime trick-or-treating years aren’t over when you’re 13.  I know this, because I went last year.  At age 25.  A friendly rural area helps, yes, but not having any shame helps even more.  Around Hallowe’en time, you can tell as many ghost stories as you can handle, and not seem creepy- because creepy is the point!  You get to be all creative with costumes, and even wear them to school! (One year, my mom made matching Peter Pan costumes for her and I- – treasured Hallowe’en memory, fo’ sho’- -and another year, in university, I was “Princess Diana: Business Casual.”  What are your favourite costumes?)  The history behind modern Hallowe’en is incredibly fascinating and enchanting, as are the different cultural interpretations.  To me, what really sets Hallowe’en apart from other holidays isn’t necessarily the spooks and the treats, but the pure, unfettered joy it brings.  It allows- -and demands- -that your imagination run completely free, howling and whipping around wildly as you struggle to hold on for the ride.   Hallowe’en is a holiday that’s completely about fun, and largely devoid of the obligations and and suffocating lists duties demanded of other holidays.  

Yep, Hallowe’en is completely about fun…until you have to pay a visit to my mom and the dentist chair…

To keep the atmosphere eerie and the shenanigans spooktacular, here are some of my favourite Hallowe’en songs:

Hocus Pocus- \”I Put A Spell On You\”

Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson- \”Somebody\’s Watching Me\”

Buck 65- \”Zombie Delight\”

What are some of your favourite Hallowe’en memories and traditions?  I wish you all an amazing All Hallows Eve, full of mischief and (a fun amount) of trickery!

Cheers to you!

Kylie


Oct 21 2010

Things I Love Thursday, October 21st ’10

ian_curtis

Ohhh…Ian Curtis.  You were a tortured genius who made some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard.  Also? You were pretty dreamy.

Huzzah! It’s Thursday!! (Now *that* was a strange shift from thinking about Ian Curtis and feeling melancholy).  It’s time to take our noses from the grindstone (err…figuratively…wouldn’t that be really bad for allergies? Or something akin to miner’s lung?), take a look around (use some eye drops if need be) and revel in all the wonderful, special things that make life so gosh darn wonderful and special!  Here’s my list, brace yourselves!

* Feeling melancholy about Ian Curtis.  Sometimes, a little light melancholy is necessary.  Maybe not so much in an uncontrollable-weeping kind of way, but more in a purposefully-listening-to-sad-songs kind of way, or even creating a “Sad Songs” playlist or mix CD?  I feel like there’s a subtle distinction here, but maybe the subtle distinction is that I’m nuts.

* Eating a frickin’ amazing sandwich that was made with homemade bread.  For the love of yams, it was so frickin’ good!!

* Not to jinx myself, but I’ve been driving in a large (or at least compared to my hamlet) city, and even during peak traffic hours, and things have been going pretty smoothly!  I rely heavily on my TomTom GPS, though.  Otherwise, this would be an addition for a “Things I Hate Thursday” type of list.

* Hot chocolate all the time, for any occasion.

* It’s autumn, and you know what that means! Buffy marathons!! Alas, I’ve come pretty late to the sheer knock-your-socks-off win that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and have only seen random episodes or snippets in the past.  But now? Now, I am fully committed to watching each and every episode in all its glory.  Mucho thanks to SPF for encouraging/enabling this addiction, and for watching them with me, and to our friend Heather, who lent us all her DVDs.  Happy Birthday, and you rule!!

* The rare millisecond that my eyes are not glued to the screen, watching Buffy, I like to prance around in the autumn weather.   Thanks, autumn!  You’ll always be around, right?  … Right?

* Fantastic birthday dinners for old friends and heaping slices of ice-cream cake!!

* An epic three-person friend reunion this weekend!!!! It is long-overdue and even more highly-anticipated.  For the love of decorative gourds, I am so frickin’ excited!!! I’m imagining matching tattoos of dragons on our backs.  Or eating lunch.  It could go either way.

* Encouraging and supporting (either financially or good-vibes-y) people who are committed to making a difference in the world, and who are making the world an infinitely better place in their own special way.

* Shout-out to my dad!  It’s his birthday tomorrow!! Happy Birthday, Dad!! He doesn’t really know how to use computers, nor does he care to learn.  He also has mixed feelings toward the internet, and most of his time is spent telling me to get off it before my face is fused to the screen (like, I don’t think that’s *science*, dad), but maybe, by some miracle, he’ll see this?  In any case, I think he’ll appreciate the shout-out, and will appreciate ice cream cake even more.

Now is the time for me to go foraging for sandwiches, so now it’s your turn to share your TILT list!  What has been making you go all swoony this week.  I’m bracing myself, I can handle it.

Cheers to you!

Kylie


Oct 14 2010

My Face Hurts From Smiling #1

tumblr_l5lrfqplqA1qb65l5o1_500

 

Even though Mean Girls came out a while ago, and is reminiscent of a simpler, gentler time- -a time when the greatest of Lindsay Lohan’s problems were whether Hilary Duff would go all Tonya Harding on her, or whether her mom, Dina “I’m a cool mom” Lohan would drag her to yet another club on a Tuesday night- -it is still an infinitely quotable, completely relevant, and Boss Awesome movie.   A movie to transcend the ages.  A cautionary tale about the dangers of Swedish health food bars and Burn Books and shopping at Sears.  A testament to the consistent amazingness of Tina Fey and my Nanna, because they have that in common.  And Kevin G’s rap at the Winter Talent Show? Well, it is a rap in the form of a cake baked with sunshine and rainbows in the form of a brilliant new deity come to rule the earth with a benevolent and tumblr-giving hand. 

I know, I know.  I don’t even go to this school.  I just have a lot of feelings.


Oct 6 2010

Things I Love Thursday, October 6th ’10

procrastinator award

Thanks, Allie! You know me better than life itself!

My dear remaining readers,

I’m so sorry I’ve let this website lie fallow for the past three months.  It has been a Crazy/Busy past few months, and not necessarily in a “CrazySexyCool”  TLC kinda way either.  I’ve had a touch of the nomads, and so I’ve been travelling a little bit, and there’s been a touch of the job-huntings, and a touch of the hectic families.   Does that last sentence make sense to anyone?  No?  Me neither.  I guess the main thing is that all has settled down, the chaos has subsided for a bit, and The Height of Life is back from the dead and ready for action!! (Er…I didn’t necessarily mean that in a “sexy zombie” kinda way, although it *is* October and Hallowe’en fast approacheth).   For those of you still kicking around, I salute you and am eternally grateful to you.  I promise never to abandon you like this again!  I am the Joan Crawford of webmasters, it seems. Well, minus the coat hangers.

To get back into the swing of things, let’s re-awaken The Height of Life with some fresh brains gratitude, shall we?  Yes, yes, it’s technically not Thursday yet here in my little Canadian nook of the world, but it’s Thursday in New Zealand!  Terry Bellefleur is one of my very favourite characters in True Blood, and not least for statements like the following: “I feel so lucky and so grateful, I could split in half.”  In that spirit, let’s get the wagon rolling for this Wednesday edition of TILT:

* Ah, autumn is creeping up on us like a lemur in a party hat.  (Do lemurs..creep?  Do lemurs… live in parts of the world where there is autumn?  What kinds of party hats do they prefer?  I’ll know what I’ll be doing later this afternoon).

* The anticipation of reading all about lemurs on Wikipedia this afternoon.  Oooh the excitement!

* Oh, autumn weather, with your clear crisp mornings and your awe-inspiring foliage and your thick Fall/Winter fashion spreads.  You make me want to eat apples, wear tights, and drive every day like I’m a Sunday driver!

* Never mind that I don’t actually like tights that much, what with the inevitably saggy crotch and other fit issues.  Also, tights are itchy! Itchy Itchy Itchy!  Ok- it appears as though a seven-year-old version of Kylie has high-jacked the body of current Kylie.

* At least seven-year-old Kylie has shown a remarkable command of the keyboard, with far less typos than current Kylie.  Here’s hoping that creepy-child-body-possessor-Kylie is a benevolent creepy child body-possessor…

* Friends and family that not only put up with my inane ramblings (please see above sentence…and I use the word “sentence” loosely) but even pretend to enjoy them!

* A specific shout-out to my good friend, Debbie, who gave me the much-needed kick in the behind to get back to writing again!  Thanks, Debbie!  You rule!!

* Meeting my Special Man Friend who is prettttty super-awesome!!!  Alright, alright- I do promise not to drone on and on about this, and will spare you and the rest of the internet from the fresh, exciting gory details, but he most certainly deserves a mention.   Yay!

* Having a seamless skin cancer surgery a few days ago, and the privilege of working with a top-notch team whose compassion, hilarity and expertise are second-to-none.  They are a team of champions who make me feel like a rockstar every time I step inside the hospital, even though my pants are usually a tad too short and not made of leather.   Pubs…hospitals…it seems there are many places to be “a regular,” haha.

* That feeling when you do a major overhaul of your room, and you realize how bright and beautiful and airy it is.  And then you proceed to spend the next hour and a half twirling around in the brand new space cleared up from moving your Michael Jackson commemorative magazines to another location…also inside your room.

And thus concludes this very special, very Wednesday edition of TILT.  What sorts of marvelous things have got you doing your own crazy-happy dance this week?

Much love to you all,

Kylie, Divine Lord of the Universe (well, soon to-be)


Jun 30 2010

Influence: Iekeliene Stange

 

untitled

I’m afraid my internet sleuthing skills have disappointed; I can’t find the original creator of this.  If anyone has any inkling, please let me know, because it’s pretty clear a lot of time went creating it! 

Welcome one and all to the very second Influence feature!  Now, I realize Miep Gies is a preettttty tough act to follow, but we’ll try our best.  Too many role models, too little time.  Our second person to be featured in Influence is also from the Netherlands (perhaps we should have a sub-category of Dutch Influence all-stars?)   Iekeliene Stange is a Dutch fashion model, photographer and all-around creative force to be reckoned with.  Born on July 27th, 1984, she was initially scouted in Rotterdam, where she was enrolled in a multi-media design program, and then in London, where she had started to study photography.   Although Iekeliene hardly thought herself model material (she protested “But I’m not beautiful!” to her model scout, Victor de Bie), she gamely decided to give modeling a try with the intent of continuing it for a year or so in order to help fund her photography studies.   That plan of a one-year stint was parlayed into a significantly longer career; no easy feat, given that the modeling industry is a notoriously fickle.  Girls can be quickly replaced and discarded with an unsettling ease.   A model’s longevity can be generally be attributed to a good work ethic, artistic ability, ability to fit the particular “look” of the season and a variety of other factors mainly out of one’s control.  Iekeliene’s success in fashion land owes itself to a little something extra: her ability to stay completely and proudly true to herself.

iekeliene stange pretty much rules

I’ll confess the fangirling upfront: Iekeliene Stange is one of my favourite models.  I first heard of her when I stumbled upon her LiveJournal blog via Elyse Sewell’s LiveJournal (mild tangent alert: I can’t recommend Elyse’s LJ enough!  It reinforces why the internet is such a spectacular thing.  Alas, it seems like she doesn’t update much anymore, but the archives are all there for the reading.)  I was immediately captivated by Iekeliene’s thoughtful and whimsical outlook on life.  She has a very sharp, extremely distinctive face (think the personification of a female elf), and completely and confidently owns it.  From her colourful outfits that are re-imagined in a variety of ways, her chronicles of “Bjornvild: The Traveling Pony,” to pancake parties and adventuring photoshoots with friends, she is unapologetically imaginative.  It’s a rare person who can sport a tutu on the regular without veering into hopelessly twee territory… or, y’know, ridiculous territory.  Her enjoyment of simple pleasures and her resolution to make her own fun was misinterpreted by some, who saw all of this as “childish” rather than “childlike.”  The demise of her LiveJournal happened when some member of some horrid model-rating community started leaving vicious comments about her appearance.  I just can’t fathom why or how some people could be so deliberately malicious to someone they’ve never met, just for the sake of being cruel.  A flurry of comments- – both defending Iek and agreeing with the internet ghouls- -ensued.  Iekeliene kept posting a few more times, but these few people kept up with their negativity.  Finally, she closed down her blog, explaining that it was originally just intended for friends and family anyway.  I felt a bit dejected about this end, especially about the circumstances in which it came about. 

About six months passed, until, in a particularly epic bout of procrastination (and having seen her in a pirate-themed Galliano show), I looked up her name.  Lo and behold, Iekeliene just had her first solo photography exhibition, and it featured some of my favourite pictures she had taken.  And the title of the show?  I Like Ponies.  Ah!  I felt joyful and triumphant and as if all was right with the world.  It was a nice little reminder that just by being true to yourself, the world is so much better off for it.  You are so much better off for it.  Let the haters drink their haterade.

i_like_ponys_005

A section of the I Like Ponies exhibit


Jun 25 2010

Things I Love Thursday, June 24th ’10

iwscreaming

Tralala!  It’s time for Things I Love Thursdaaaayyy!!  I hope you’ve all been having a spectacular week so far, and are ready to spill all the great things, big and small, that you’re grateful for.  Let the gratitude commence!

* Driving lessons with my little sister.  I gave her her very first driving lesson this week, and she handled it like a champ!  It was completely spontaneous, but the experience was completely shrieks-of-terror-free.  We arrived home forty minutes late, with smiles of elation on our faces.  As Marissa pointed out, it was an Official Sibling Bonding Moment.

* I may or may not be watching old episodes of True Blood and loving it!  Yes, yes, perhaps it’s not the most productive use of my time, but to paraphrase John Lennon, time spent doing activities you like and that interest you is never time wasted.  Or at least that’s what I tell my nagging conscience.  Plus, it’s pretty nice to start my day off with vampires. 

* Prancing around in purple leggings to Ye Olde One-Hit-Wonders of the ’90s.  No explanation needed, I think.

* Having a great visit with my Aunt Rosie (of the aforementioned adventuress fame), and hearing all about her adventures on the road and all our relatives they visited along the way.

* Beautiful sunshiney days and sleepy rainy nights.

* Realizing that there’s much more to my summer than just trying to pay off loans.   I’m much happier if I take my nose off the grindstone once in a while and take a little break and see my friends.  My dreams and my bank account aren’t going to completely collapse if I plan to spend money on a really good lunch or go out to a movie every now and then.   No, I’m not advocating spending money mindlessly, or on stuff you really don’t need.  I’m just saying that a draconian ”Don’t spend annnnny money.  AT ALL!” budget kinda chafes a bit.  Unnecessary misery. You know? 

Alright, that sums up my TILT list for this week!  What’s making you scream (in joy, terror, confusion, malaise) this week?

 

Cheers to you!

Kylie


Jun 19 2010

Things I Love Thursday, June 17th ’10

MANBABY!!

OH. MY. GOD.  I know I have a slight tendency to exaggerate, but seriously? ManBaby is simultaneously the best and the worst thing I have ever found on the internet in my entire life.  I- I can’t breathe.  I scroll down and shriek my head off, yet can’t look away- -or resist posting this picture.  Thanks for the hilarity and the nightmares, Awkward Family Photos!

So, on that note of revulsion and fascination, it’s time again for the internet sensation known as Things I Love Thursday!!  Look back on the week and conjure up everything- -from the grandest of Big Deals to the smallest of simple pleasures- – and write about them in your blogs, journals, top-secret diaries, pad of Post-It notes or in the only functioning stall in the girl’s bathroom.   And you’re welcome- nay, encouraged!- to write or post the link to your TILT list in the comments section here.  Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it.  Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it. Vogu- -er, TILT! TILT! TILT! TILT!

* Season Three of True Blood is back in business! Further adventures with Sooock-eh, Vampire Beeehl, heart-stoppingly gorgeous Vampire Eric, my soon-to-be-favourites Pam, Jason and Terry and hands-down favourite, Lafayette. This show is such campy Southern Gothic fun, with very current socio-political overtones, and the first episode did not disappoint.  I wish I could get away with calling people “hooker” like Lafayette does.  I wish I could be Lafayette.  Err…sometimes.  Mostly I just want his vocabulary, stylin’ outfits and general awesomeness.

* Calling friends at work, using their official phone lines and hearing them sound all professional before they realize it’s you.  There was elevator music and everything! 

* Premature TILT entry, but I have high expectations for the funnery that will be my friends Chris and Ginny’s stag party tonight!!  I think the whole community will be there, and it should be prime time for merry-making!  Okay, it’s a party Kylie, not the friggin’ Ye Olde Renaissance Faire.  Get this: There’s even an after-party bus!  If I am a quarter as organized for my (future hypothetical) wedding as Ginny is for her’s, I’ll be so on top of my game, it’ll be edging into professional-wedding-planning-show-on-Bravo territory!

* Surprising my parents with lunch.  It was one of those small gestures that can make your entire day – and no disrespect to leftovers, but having a full-time fancy lunch rather than scavenging around in the fridge rules!

* MANBABY!

* My aunt and uncle are back from an epic road trip adventure.  They drove to California and then to Calgary and hit up a billion places in between.  We’re all looking forward to hearing all their travel stories (they always have great ones!)

* My brand-spankin’ new rockstar resume, courtesy of the ridiculously awesome Alexandra Franzen.  Not going to lie, I spent an awful lot of time just patting the computer in awe with a silly grin on my face.  I may or may not have busted out some power ballads.    Thanks, Alex!

And lo I have reached the end of my Super-Saturday-Edition of TILT!  What’s making you belt out ’80s classics this week?

 

Cheers!

Kylie