"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

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Trade safely, wastoids: my latest essay for @ViceCanada

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Check out my latest essay in VICE about potential profiteering, race and gender discrimination, and drug trafficking occurring in the Bunz Trading Zone, Toronto’s rapidly-expanding online bartering flea market where no cash is allowed.

TL;DR –¬†if you think coppers can’t decipher “420” or “smokeables,” think again. Don’t wake ‘n bake in the middle of a trade.

Don’t forget to check back here often, I have many more pieces (both fiction and on-fiction) set to be published soon (in fact, just yesterday I received another acceptance letter from a magazine!)! Yay writing! Yay publishing!

For more of my work with VICE, click on my VICE category, OR visit the official Christine Estima dot com for all of my VICE essays and more of my published work. Enjoy!

NewWEbSite!


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Facebook is bananas


Word up, hombres!

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Well hello traffic spike! Yesterday was a very busy day for The Spadina Monologues, and I’m sure most of that is due to the lovely folks over at Eurail.com linking me up on their Facebook page. They have been my awesome European-extravaganza-benefactors and have been very encouraging and supportive for the kind of rail journey that I wanted to take.

So fanks for the linkage guys! And welcome new readers! Check out my Eurail 2012 category for all the posts on my journey thus far!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Dropbox like its hot.


Layla Mansor, the lying pharmacist from Edmonton

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Do the photos on this Facebook profile look familiar to you? They should, BECAUSE THEY’RE MINE. I was alerted tonight to this Facebook profile who not only stole all the photos of me that I posted on Twitter and my blog, but she also stole the biography I wrote on the upper right hand side of this blog and is passing it all off as her own! Except she added in the bio that she’s a pharmacist, and changed “atheist” to “catholic.” FIGURES!

She probably found me because she’s from Lebanon originally and now lives in Edmonton, and my ethnicity is half Lebanese.

Layla Mansor, girl, you got some ‘splaining to do.

This is really alarming and distressing to me, as it infringes on my privacy and my person. It is fraud, and it is the behaviour one would expect from an immature cretin of the lowest order.

Layla, honey, you are not me.

But you wish you were.

If everyone could go to her profile and report her for abuse ( the widget is next to the “add as a friend/message” button) that would be greatly appreciated!

This is literally my worst nightmare AND ITS WHY I ALWAYS WATERMARK MY PICS ON HERE, but she stole older pics of me before I started watermarking. This took some serious digging on her part, the pathetic wimp.

Seriously Layla, live your own life, as lame as it may be, because you cannot live mine.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, oddly enough. In 2010 I had a twitter imposter who operated as me for 6 months before I found out AND HAD THEM SHUT DOWN.

Anyone see the movie Catfish?

Someone get Nev Schulman on the phone.


dat shit cray

here’s something fun for the weekend. Chrome now has this wicked fun extension called “Dat Shit Cray.” It turns all the “like” buttons on Facebook into “Dat Shit Cray” buttons. the caveat is that it only works if your facebook language is set to english. Mine is set to French, so I had to switch it over just to test out the extension.

after installing it, i perused some of my more wackier FB friends walls, but of course, no other friend of mine deserves a “dat shit cray” than mah boy liam.

case in point:

only two people think this shit is cray?

anyway, enjoy your weekend munchkins. make sure there’s lots of THIS!

(and if you can’t do this in person, BBM will suffice for now ūüôā )


The Spadina Monologues gets some lurve from TLAC

TLAC (The Learning Achievement Centre) is a printing and publishing company, and they recently gave The Spadina Monologues some lurve on their official Facebook fan page!

fanks for enjoying this blog guys!

you came for the sass, but you’ll stay for the crass.

speaking of publishing, my novel that i’ve been slaving away at for years is now under the noses of some of the most distinguished publishing houses in north america as we speak. my literary agent submitted my pitch and manuscript a few weeks ago, so now we play the waiting game.

i am so humbled just to be considered.

(aka, i am shitting myself)

i’m not going to name any of the houses just this instant because i think that’s a bit premature (aka i don’t want to jinx it) so i’ll just say that i hope the universe is listening! (and paying out).

if you want to know more about my writing career (and dalliances in infamy), check out my Writing Portfolio, the media coverage i’ve garnered, or my About Me page!


Social Media Street Art: Facebook “likes” the city

i found this on the sidewalk on college street near bellevue. i almost didn’t recognize it because my Facebook account is set to french, so i’m never clicking “like,” i’m clicking “j’aime.” i think if it hadn’t been for the distinct blue used in this stencil, i might have missed it. the thumbs-up symbol is a bit distorted as well, it looks like a weathered mitt.

that being said, i fucking J’AIME this to death. i have no idea who the artist is behind it, but i love the idea of social media mingling with street art, because that is essentially what this blog does!

social media has a huge political component to it, as it has the power to encourage revolutions, to whistle-blow on corrupt regimes, to bring hidden scandals to light, and to spread the daily news of the world to people who might not otherwise see it.

street art is very much the same, as it has a huge political component to it, the power to encourage revolutions, and to satirize/comment on/lampoon political leaders, corrupt regimes, along with the ability to question what the news corporations are telling us to believe.

so to summarize: more of this mingling, please. the two mediums are so heavily linked, they deserve to occupy the same conversations in greater frequencies.


and you’re draped on him while you’re staring at me

Oh don't give me that look

I can finally announce some exciting news that I’ve been keeping a lid on for WEEKS now. I am an invited panellist for the upcoming Social Media Week Conference in Vancouver! I will be discussing influence, building my personal online brand, and the influence of my social media initiatives whilst on the road. The talk is fostered by Via Rail, and they are putting me on the cross-Canada train from Toronto to Vancouver, where I will blog and live-tweet while zooming through our country’s beautiful Rockies, plains, forests, and lakes. My travel junkie virus is acting up just thinking about it!

If you’re going to the conference, or will be in Vancouver from September 19 to 23, register here to attend the event.

I’ll be hanging around for a few days after the panel, so if you’re about in Van.City and want to destroy the city in hockey-fuelled riots (I kid, I kid), you know where to find me!

More details on my panel discussion can be found here.

my follow-up post will be all about Montreal graffiti. swearsies.

so for now, just indulge me.

montreal is a city rich with my family history.

my maternal family emigrated there from lebanon at the turn of the 20th century. my paternal family emigrated there from portugal around 60 years ago. almost every street, park, market, village, or mountain is stained with the faces of my family.

the look of the houses, the wrought-iron stairwells that spiral down rue berri, the distinct joual accent, the crumble and fall of the streets in disrepair, the d√©panneurs hip-jointing each corner like bolts…. as if my childhood was slapping me around, waking me up.

i was remembering that dream, of that other life i used to live. i thought i had imagined it.

it had been almost 20 years since i had seen an old friend from elementary school.

we reconnected at café névé on rue rachel, and i actually remembered his mannerisms and facial expressions.

it had been so long since i had seen him, i was beginning to believe i had made him up in my head.

growing up in quebec, we  were bred (like the rest of canada) to hate toronto. then when i moved to toronto at the age of 12, i found myself converted. toronto=awesome. but perhaps because i missed out on montrealer teenage rebellion and discovery, i never developed a strong connection to the city.

minus the years that i lived abroad, i’ve spent the majority of my adult life in toronto which¬†has a vibe and culture all its own. i love it and will always fight its corner

but now, i’m entertaining a return to montreal.

even on the M√©tro, bouncing about as the trains’ rubber tires rolled us from station to station, i felt somewhere familiar. somewhere that i really belonged. i fought hard to carve my name with toronto’s pen knife. but there’s enough skin left on this gal to carve another.

maybe i never wanted to return to montreal because of all the painful memories.

but that’s¬†a blog post¬†for another day.

philip and i have known each other for donkey’s years, we did our Masters degrees together. he likes to brag that i knew him when he was “straight.”

aw pumpkin, you were foolin’ no one.

duluth alley kids

these kids were playing jump rope in an alley off of Duluth.

zero photo-editing here. if this were black and white, this could pass for a turn-of-the-century snap.

Montreal=keepers and purveyors of vintage cool.

the de Maisonneuve cross.

my grandfather, great grandfather (et.al.) are buried up there on Mont Royal.

there’s probably no space to add me into the family plot. they’ll have to bury me sideways.

we cycled through parc jarry, and then cheered on a gay softball tournament.

40 years ago, my mother worked for the Expos in parc jarry.

phil is such a blessed character. when he laughs, his body ricochets joy. blade-worthy sharp intelligence, and loves to jaunt.

he’s also my saviour when it comes to killing spiders.

from the moment I rolled into montreal on boulevard réné levesque and gave a street kid at a red light a twoonie, my french kicked in with a throttle. for the past few years, i have maintained my french daily by switching my facebook, twitter, emails, and my blackberry to french. it forces me to practice, and it paid off. i only stumbled a bit over my conjugation (fuck you subjonctif! il faut que tu fasse un bise sur mon trou de cul).

this tex mex dinner was had on a patio in march√© jean talon, which i haven’t been to since i was eight or nine years old.

my Sitto used to take me every weekend with my great aunts, and although i don’t remember much, i do remember Sitto giving me a quarter to drop into the cup of a disabled man who was selling pencils. i also remember the caged animals next to the fruit stands. they don’t sell caged animals there anymore.

he’s so fierce.

piggy backs: a billion three-year-olds can’t be wrong.

getting tanked in the graffiti alleys. we bring the party.

if you missed it in my last post, here’s the video that i made of my Montreal extravaganza.

i’m fucking endearing.

*   *   *

Once again, I’m reviewing films for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, so if you see me around the festival circuit, or in the cinemas furiously scribbling, don’t hesitate to say hi.

If you mistake me for my doppleganger Rachel Weisz, don’t feel bad. Happens all the livelong day.

see what i mean?

Hey Rachel, if you’re in town for the fest, let a sistah know. Let’s walk the red carpets together and freak the shit outta the paps.


love is a poverty you couldn’t sell

you will learn to survive me.

you send me messages of support, and i feel, for the first time, like i can hold onto something for as long as i want.

but the noose buried in my rib-cage has started hissing. friction keeps tightening it around my guts. it hangs my bone marrow.

bathurst and dundas

bathurst and bloor

toronto has very few cobblestone streets left. the streetcars and the old brick façades in the west end hint at footprints long since filled in with liquids. then you walk through parkdale with your brother from another mother and spot the capsule, evoking fob watches and quellazaires.

parkdale keeps her secrets in the diamond grit.

the language the city uses to control the streets of the annex can be translated.

near Bay street and Elm, they were shooting an episode of Covert Affairs as i walked past. the supervising police officer, schleppin’ on the corner, paced over this find without even realizing it.

or maybe he did, and was trying to wear it down with the soles of his shoes (for obvious reasons).

either way, i squeezed next to him to capture this… what do you call this?…perhaps, concrete art?

street art by nature has a short shelf life, but if it’s blasted into the concrete of the quiet sidewalks that we never look up from after a traumatizing week, the aim might be to keep it around a while longer.

now you won’t be able to stop seeing them. this was Bay near College.

Bay near College. this was an exciting find, because i had heard of the “post no bills” stencil making the rounds, but i didn’t know it was here in toronto.

you MUST have seen this Kill Facebook colourjob at Queen and Spadina.

social media encourages apathy.

so what?

dude riding his bike backwards. he was heading right for me when i snapped this shot. as he passed, i said, “nicely done!” and he flashed me his pearly whites. i giggled like a tween.

in trinity bellwoods park.

when i discovered this, i said to michael and mel, “if i had could shag any animal, i’d choose an owl, because no matter which position you took it from, you could always get eye contact.”

AWK.

WARD.

things around here will get back to normal at some point, guys.

soon.

a fingers-crossed promise.

bear with me.

i’m inching toward something that, once, was rain, but became fragrant and light.


my next girl will be nothing like my ex girl; i made mistakes back then, i’ll never do it again

nicely done, deadboy

*  *  *

EDIT!!

guess who just sold the above photo, along with many other of my Rob Ford graffiti photos, to The Grid! I love adding “photographer” to my growing portfolio. Check out the spread here, munckins!

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sometimes i share the emails i get here, sometimes not, but this one came with the tacit authority to share, and it’s rather lovely, so why not.

Hello!

My goodness! I’ve just spent the past three hours reading through your blog and I’m still not finished. Now I see you’re on Twitter, as well. Where do you find the time?

I “stumbled upon” your blog while browsing something totally unrelated (don’t know how Google always manage to do that) and I was so intrigued (yes, it was because of a photo of you) that I decided to peruse through it. Very entertaining, indeed. Informative at times… even inspiring (the bit about eating healthy). There’s so much material to cover that I doubt I will get to it all.
Portuguese and Lebanese, eh? I see it now. Beautiful combination. You kinda got that Nelly Furtado-Kim Kardashian thing going on, eh (Apologies if you can’t stand those two!).

Another thing from your blog which stood out in my mind is the part about how you would fill in the blank to end the sentence on the picture you saw at the hipster house party. I thought your response was brilliant. Deep with a dash of humour. I wonder how many people actually got it? I also made note of the part where you blogged about traveling to NYC because of a love interest but things didn’t go well and you were left crying on the steps of Union Square? I assume figuratively and not literally because, His loss, I assure you!

Anyway, it’s been fun reading. All the best to ya!
-“AWspicious”

fanks mate. for the record, i didn’t travel to NYC last summer for the guy, but i’ve known him for years and he’s always good for givin’r, so he just factored in to the trip. he’s in a relationship right now, so when i went to NYC earlier this year, i didn’t bother contacting him. if i did, the response would be silence. but if i’m being honest, he was probably one of the greatest longstanding affairs i’ve ever had.

technically, that’s not saying much.

and fanks for the “his loss” bit . . . it’s not his loss just yet, but give me some time, and it will be.

Banksy’s latest, in response to the News Of The World phone hacking scandal.

last week, i collaged about “the good bike” project here in toronto, which has been getting so much attention not just around town, over the pond in the UK, the guardian has even taken notice of our Mayoral clusterfuck.

anyway, here’s another find. this is the first blue one i’ve found, it was on bloor near dovercourt. i want to find the green “jane jacobs” one, anyone know where that’s located? i know it’s on Albany, but where?

i still need a name for my new bike (since my old bike Bea Arthur was totaled by a raging syphilis-cyclist, i hope she dies of a rectum rash), but i’m leaning toward calling it Aunty Edna. old lady names for bikes=boom goes the dynamite.

this is the mural at luna cafe on dovercourt and argyle. i always ride Aunty Edna past this lovely converted grocers, and i adore how they have kept some of the grocer’s painted adverts on the window. gives it such a great feel. people who live in and around argyle street are so lucky. i want to live there, the area kiboshes the annex.

text messages from august 10th:

mr k: your mind shines as brightly as your eyes do.

me: how is it you always know just what to say?

mr k: i just kinda adore you so it’s natural… everything about you just feels so organic. you blow my mind.

at ¬†the Ali Baba falafel place on bloor street with nate, a delightfully schizo’d woman heard me say that i was portuguese, so she came over and said that i was a beautiful portu-geezer, and proceeded to kiss my head about 16 or 17 times. i actually don’t think i processed what she was doing. i kind of tuned out, not even realizing it was awkward or weird. i let her kiss my hair, and stared at a point on the street outside the window.

it felt like everything and anything, except like what it was.

this photo was taken last year at the TedxTO afterparty, but i was only recently tagged in it on facebook. i don’t at all remember taking this shot, or frankly, who the dudes in it are. Reg, any clues?

i’m such a glad-hander.

i’ve blogged about fauxreel twice before, but this old piece of his from 2009 that went up in our fair city still gives me pause.

i was at a funeral once. ¬†as is expected, it was a very sombre, melancholy event. it was a hot july day, and the church had left the windows open for ventilation. as family members came forward to give their speeches, a car outside on the street was blasting its crap music (as most low rider douchebags who drag The Danforth are known to do). unfortunately, it was this song. the fucking car was stopped at a really long red-light outside, and because all the church windows were open, the song invaded the ceremony. we were trying to have this respectful, reflexive, and downright sad experience to mourn the loss of life…

…and instead, we were¬†paralyzed¬†with a case of the giggles. everyone had their hands over their mouths, unsure of whether to choke back tears, or choke on our cackles.

horribly hilarious, i was uncontrollably laughing at a funeral.

that’s what going to Moth-Up the other day was like.

someone walked by me, pretending not to see me. But seeing as how i’m an adult, i made the courteous move to say hello. i had forgotten that we weren’t talking … and now i remember why.

in hindsight, i probably should have checked the FB event page to see who would be at Moth Up¬†so i could have avoided it altogether,¬†but i have completely given up stalking on FB. if people didn’t show up in my FB newsfeed, i’d never know what others are up to. i absotively posulutely refuse to look at anybody’s profile but my own. i have extended this ban from FB to twitter, and even some blogs. … mostly, because i couldn’t give a shit.

luckily, i was with someone worthy of my attention. we giggled like conspirators well into the night, actually leaving the event early for more one-on-one.

we bounded out the door, taking the steps two at a time, and disappeared into the velvet black of midnight… ¬†i didn’t bother to take notice of what i left behind.

life is right in any case.

and my heart is open as the sky.

“your mind shines as brightly as your eyes do.”