Thursday, June 23, 2011

Buffalo Stance - In Defence of a Much Maligned Metropolis

Much has been and is being written about the bijou known as Buffalo. From The New York Times to, most recently, The Toronto Star, everyone seems to be jumping on the Buffalo bandwagon. And I ain’t no different. I am not only on the bandwagon, I am leading it. Buffalo is da bomb. And it’s ready to detonate. And if you ain’t with me, you be missing out.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Magic of Michael Archibald's Miniature Manse

Ok. So I've always been obsessed with dollhouses. Don't get me wrong, I've never wanted to play with dolls - that's for girlie-girls - but I've always been intensely intrigued by the miniaturization of worlds, of architecture, of interiors. Maybe it was because we moved so much, or maybe it was because of my precocious and geeky interest in architecture and design, but I adored the thought of tiny environments that I could create and control. In elementary school I had a book on Queen Mary's Dollhouse and would pour over its images, wishing desperately that I had a manse so magnificent to manage, maintain and manipulate. And I remember spending hours in Aunt Heidi's Corner, the mecca for dollhouse enthuisiasts in St. Louis' Westport Plaza, gazing over the abundance of intricate Snooki-sized structures, their construction and their attention to detail. When I was ten years old my father surprised me with a dollhouse that he'd built for my birthday. The Taft General Store. It was awesome. Not because it engendered play with people, but because it proffered up all manner of possibilities. Goods to stock. Counters to fill. Barrels to bolster. From pint-sized packs of flour to pioneer provisions, it was perfect for the miniature maniac. And it was made even sweeter by the fact that my father had made it on the sly after a long day's work. How adorable is that? Pops was awesome that way. I loved that dollhouse, but, as all little girls do, I out grew it when the spectre of boys and clothes and parties began to take precedence. The Taft sat silent for years, undisturbed and gathering dust until, after several moves by my parents, it bid the fate of so many childhood toys and ventured to the diminutive dollhouse valhalla in the sky.

I've often thought of The Taft and, in recent months, I'd begun reflecting on dollhouses and the more mature place they could play in my world. I mean, I can't afford an actual house, so why not a play one? Especially after discovering that there's an entire miniature movement afoot. Perhaps it's nostalgia for childhood games, or perhaps it's the subprime at play, but crafty and cool folks are gravitating back to pocket-sized pied a terres in droves. And they're doing it in style, from Valley of the Dolls to Modernist masterpieces. I'd seriously started to think about manufacturing my own miniature mansion, but knowing that a certain someone would likely wreak havoc on my design endeavours, I've been dragging my feet on it. And so I was ecstatic when I went over to my friend Michael Archibald's place and espied his Kaczynski-esque cabin creation amongst his canvases. Carefully constructed of balsa wood and dollar store buys, it has everything. A shingled roof, tiny shutters and doors, sills, hinges, plank floors, a fully landscaped front lawn, a belly stove, a bed, a desk, a bookcase and, best of all, blacklight paint. Every detail has been considered and crafted. And not a single item was store bought. Windows were created from dollar store key hangs. Rafters from Ikea dishracks. Grassy knolls from spray foam and China Town astroturf. Books from folded paper and foamcore wrapped in canvas. Tiny sculptures adorning the desk carefully handsculpted and lit from within. The stove burns. The desk light illuminates. The bedspread of gauze invites. The sheers of paper conceal what is within. It is all perfect in its design. And I can't figure out if it's better in the light or in the dark. Whichever, it is pure genius in its ingeniuty, creativity and imagination. And for that I have to thank Michael. I watch television when I'm bored. And Michael creates tiny wonders. Kudos, yo. Pure kudos.

All writing and photographs copyright Pamela Westoby. All subject matter and artistic genius copyright Michael Archibald.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hands Off My Heinie!!!

Photo copyright Pamela Westoby

Just heard the horrible news that Heineken will soon be replacing it's iconic stubbies with long necks in all markets but the US. The sacrilege!! Considering that in my world the only constant is change, I'd always relied on my faithful Heineken to remain true and untouched, its diminutive form belying its lager largesse. To be there always, petite, peridot and primed with pilsner pleasure. This is worse than Patty cutting her hair off! I mean, at least her hair could've grown back. And she just did it to be sassier. This is permanent. And this experiment won't yield meaningful results. This is an utter betrayal. Damn you, Heineken!! Damn you!! And damn your supply chain efficiencies!! Now my Heineken will no longer stand proud amongst the legions of long necks like a jockey at the Derby - it's been diminished to a gawky wallflower at a highschool sock hop, fading into a background of overwrought Seventeen trends and Babyliss treated tresses. My beloved will now be like Jewel singing karoake - homely and humble, seemingly one of the crowd, but clearly talented beyond frozen foods and her TJ Max suit. Sigh. The only saving grace is that I can shuffle off to Buffalo for a little stubby love. Thank god I renewed my passport. You bet I'd bear a TSA pat down for you, my little sweet.

Shortly this will truly be my dream...

Off to break the news to Bucky. He'll be His dexterity sucks and could only manage the stubby. I fear he'll go back to the Red Stripe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bucky's Letter To Santa

Bucky Sears Portrait Circa 1982
Photo Copyright Pamela Westoby

Dear Santa,

How are you? Bet things are busy – I know Q4 is your craziest! You’re a supply-management genius and logistics god, though, and I have every faith that you’re going to do a stellar job. You must be happy, too, that you don’t have to deal with all that TSA nonsense down in the US – such reindeer games!! Are you seriously going to try to Foursquare it all? You’re such a nut! So anyways, below is a short list of gifts I’d love, love for Christmas. I know it seems rather, well, comprehensive, however I have been exceptionally angelic this year and I’m hoping all my good deeds will be acknowledged. I mean, why else would I help the elderly down the stairs at Sherbourne subway station? It’s all about karma and karma for me means Christmas. Also, as you’ll see it’s not all for me and my altruism is abundantly clear. I’m a good egg – I swear!

World Peace. What can I say? I’m a pageant queen at heart. And the world needs it, yo. Especially with Kim’s platforms pinching him recently.
Kong Brand Catnip Bear Toy. I’ve been heartbroken ever since I heard official word that Kong discontinued its line of bear toys – Bear was my favourite companion and I don’t know what I’ll do without him!
Box of Wine – preferably red of any varietal. This for my mother. She likes the convenience and longevity of those boxes of vino! 3 litres that keeps for SIX WEEKS after opening? Bananas good. And it keeps her happy.
The Phoenix Capsule. I was glued to the television while those Chilean miners were brought up from the depths of hell. And I just thought that Phoenix capsule was so amazing – it would look brilliant in my living room! Can you imagine what a conversation piece it would be at parties? Bonkers! PLUS it would serve as an ironic reminder that I don’t have my own freedom. Mother, I am looking at you.
All-expenses paid invitation to Wills and Kate’s wedding. I know they’d love to have me and I’ve already got their present picked out!
Leica M7 edition Hermes Camera – Orange. Such a sweet piece of photographic equipment!
First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber. That kid is just stupendous! And his hair! The world has not known such a phenom since The Rachel. I pray for when his voice breaks, though. And I can’t wait to catch him on Celebrity Rehab 42. If it can happen to Leif Garrett, it can happen to anyone.
Worldwide Ban On Leaf Blowers. OMG! Those things are SO annoying!!
Prairie Lounge from Bungalow Bob's Pet Designs – Size Small. I know I can totally hunker down in Mom’s sweater closet, but this is so Frank Lloyd Wright cute! AND it’s well crafted – total heirloom piece!
A Friend For Kate Gosselin. She could really use one.
Case of Kraft Easy Cheese – Sharp Cheddar and NOT Cheddar ‘n Bacon. It’s easy AND cheese – no going wrong with that! Plus it’d go well with my Mom’s box of wine. Instant party!
Dinner With Geof Manthorne From Charm City Cakes. He is so adorable. I know he’s got a gf, but it’d be purely platonic!
Tickets to Richard Marx in Niagara. Just heard about this gig and it would be brilliant! Right Here Waiting For You is one of my all time favourite slow songs to dance to. Such a crooner that Richard Marx.
Ed Hardy to stop designing and manufacturing, well, anything. This is for the good of everyone. Ed Hardy is a blight on society.
To go on a free-style pick with those two lads from American Pickers. Those guys are awesome! And I heart hunting for vintage junk – a cat can’t have too many porcelain signs!
An abundance of squirrels to watch through the patio window. Enough said.

So I think that about covers it. Again, I know the list is a teensie long and rather varied, but I gotta put it out there, no? Like Thoreau so sagely advised, men hit only what they aim at. If I think of anything else I’ll DM you!

On another note, I am so happy that Movember is finally over! I hate facial hair – present company excluded, of course – and how everyone went on and on about it. Yeah, it was for a great cause, but you’d think the men had created fun-draising all on their own! And there’s no pride to be taken in resembling an adult film star from the ‘70s. Shave it off, boys, shave it off.

And what do you think about Drake’s four Grammy nominations? Crazy news, I know! I have no clue what’s happening in the music industry these days! Sure, he was good on Degrassi, but dude cannot rap. Real rap is Public Enemy or Grandmaster Flash or P-Star. I mean, his raps are sooo obvious!! Who mentions The Rosetta Stone? Was he watching an infomercial during an insomniatic haze and decided to slip that clever reference in? GD DG! At least be inventive! And how could a kid from Forest Hill have even a modicum of street cred? I mean, what can he rap about besides fancy cars and Cristal? Traffic quieting humps? Offensive gum spackle on the sidewalk? Whatever. Guess I just don’t have the same ears as kids today do for this over-produced, over-marketed slick bunk. Next thing you know Countess LuAnn will be nominated for Best New Artist. Sigh. Bring back the ‘80s. But not in an ironic, hipster-globbing way.

Also, have you been keeping up with the Salahis? I’m so addicted to The Real Housewives of DC and I find the Salahis fascinating in a perverse way. Michaele is so incredibly vapid, it’s insane! She’s maybe insane. And Tareq, well…POSER!! I adored how evasive he was when Stacie asked him for financial references when they were looking for property. You could SEE the skid marks forming!! Geez. I crack myself UP!! And forget about their Congressional hearing – too much! I can’t believe he plead the 5th when asked if he was present! Hahahaha As to whether they crashed the state dinner, I’m so totally on the fence. On the one hand, methinks they doth protest too much and besides, where was the invitation?! I’d be whipping that out every chance I got! But on the other hand, it’s like how could someone crash the White House?! You’ve crashed the White House - is it that easy? I mean, you’re always welcome there, but it’s not like you go through security. At any rate, I’d love your perspective! Oh, and on another note, I so love Cat! Not only because of her name, but she kissed Prince Harry!! Holla! And she’s wicked hilarious. Showing up as Sarah Palin to a Republican party?! Genius! Total props!

Oh, oh, oh!!! (no reverse pun intended) I almost totally forgot!! How do you feel about Palin shooting that show so close to you?! Have you caught it yet? I’m embarrassed to say that it, too, is quite addictive. Don’t get me wrong – I hate her politics – it’s just that it’s so gosh-darn good. Who doesn’t love watching her and Bristol gut fish JUST FOR THE HALIBUT?! I’d love to see them all hit my Mom’s box of wine – THAT would be truly compelling television. Can you imagine Sarah all marinated with her prom hair? The sound bytes would rawk more than her sober ones! Still, Palin’s pie-eyed or not, it does make me want to visit Alaska. I want to go snow-shoeing! If I go, I’ll totally try to make it up to see you!

And what are you thoughts on all this WikiLeaks business? I know you’re all about discretion and, dare I say, deception, so I’d love to know where you land on Julian Assange! I’m all for transparency, but I think he might’ve over-stepped on this one. Again, I’m on the fence. I fear that you might be next, though! You run a tight, secretive ship and it’s probably only a matter of time before Julian sets his sights on you. Tread lightly, my friend. Tread lightly. And send him something super-nice for Christmas. Like a Crayola Glow Station. Or a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

Finally, I feel so badly for the polar bears!! How are they doing BTW? I really hope they’re doing better – it’s just devastating to see them try to circumvent the disappearing ice floats. Boo climate change!

Gotta jet – E! is airing Adam Lambert’s E! True Hollywood Story! He’s here for my entertainment!

Cheers, thanks ever so much and hope you don’t have to deal with any TPS pat downs!!

PS. Let me know when you’re free after the 25th – I’m sure you could use a bevy or two and I’d love to catch up with you and the wife over some post-hols cheer.

PPS. What do you think about my font choice? Decided to go with Courier – soooo late ‘90s!!! Last century was so much fun! Third Eye Blind, I miss you!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flip Flip Baby!

I'm all about reality TV and all about the pop culture, so I was ecstatic to see AP tweet this beaut. Yes, that's right. Vanilla Ice is a flipper with his own show The Vanilla Ice Project on the DIY Network. Course he ain't no Gable Painter - who will always have my heart - but it should be a good watch. He does like to collaborate and listen.

Canuck Disclaimer: As so often happens with great television, it would appear this gem is currently only broadcasting in the US. Sigh.

Postcards From Pop

My Dad travelled a lot when I was a kid and one thing he always did was send a postcard from wherever he was. It didn't matter whether he was just a town over or across the globe, gone for six weeks or away for day, he always sent a postcard. Course I was totally meh about them as a kid - I was way more interested in the presents he trundled home - but now when I look back I can feel the love and know that wherever he was, he was thinking of us girls. Total cheese, but also totally true. So happy he wrote them and so happy I kept them. Thanks, Pops - happy birthday and I love you! And, yes, I was always a good girl and helped Mommy.

Why My Cat Is Ungrateful

This is an ongoing tally of reasons why my cat is ungrateful.

  1. He steals my spot in bed.

  2. His response to displays of affection is to scratch my face.

  3. He thinks every time I open the fridge it's for him.

  4. He chews my New Yorkers.

  5. He steals my emory boards.