Saturday, December 31, 2005

My Very Own Highly Pretentious Desert Island List for 2005
It's the best time of the year for a list junkie, because we get to indulge our over-inflated sense of self-importance beyond the normal to-do or grocery list and impose our choices on the world.
Hey world, here are my lists:
Best CD releases of 2005 (in my humble opinion):
1. You Could Have it So Much Better - Franz Ferdinand
2. Tournament of Hearts - the Constantines
3. Twin Cinema - the New Pornographers
4. Paper Anniversary - Christine Fellows
5. In a Coma - Matthew Good
6. Silent Alarm - Bloc Party
7. Elevator - Hot Hot Heat
8. Picaresque - the Decemberists
9. Secret House Against the World - Buck 65
10. S/T - Martha Wainwright
Best live acts I saw in 2005:
1. Weakerthans/Constantines double bill at Mount Royal College, opened by Hot Little Rocket and the Summerlad (all for $17.00!)
2. Matthew Good
3. Hawksley Workman
(you have to watch his live show to believe it)
4. the Weakerthans at the Folk Fest
5. Jeff Tweedy
6. Buck 65
7. Christine Fellows
8. the Arrogant Worms
(I know that 8 is not a proper number for a list - so shoot me)
Shows I most regret missing:
the Arcade Fire - with Wolf Parade
Band that I most didn't expect to like, but found that I really really do:
Belle and Sebastian
Band which I should have known before but I didn't but now that I do I really like them:
the Decemberists
Worst cover:
Don't Give Up - Bono and Alicia Keyes
(Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush made this poignant song a heartfelt testament to the power of love and committment against the forces of quiet desperation. The cover is a pissing match between two overblown celebrities to see who can out-yodel the other. Shame on you!)
Most under-rated musician:
Ron Sexsmith
Biggest crush of 2005:
Bry Webb (the Constantines)
(that voice, that passion. Yesssssss!)
Musicians I want to hear more from next year (in no particular order):
- Veda Hille
- Joel Plaskett
- Sarah Harmer
- Kathleen Edwards
Favourite book I read in 2005:
1. A Complicated Kindness - Miriam Toews
(This immediately shot onto my all-time favourite list - watch for it on Canada Reads in the spring, where it will be advocated by our very own John K Samson of the Weakerthans - the universe is unfolding as it should)
2. Hey Nostrodamus - Douglas Coupland
3. Oh Play That Thing - Roddy Doyle
4. Haunted - Chuck Palahniuk
(this one I've not read but mean to as Eva is raving about this - "so gross! I love it!")
Best celebrity encounters of 2005:
1. George Stroumboulopoulos shook my hand, discussed the Joe Strummer documentary with me, gave me a hug, posed for a this-is-me-photo, wrote me a nice long autographed note, and called me cool. What a sweet guy!
2. stalking John K Samson at the Calgary Folk Festival, plus he gave me an autograph and returned my wave with an (albeit) puzzled smile.
Best celebrity meltdowns:
1. Pete Doherty
(take your pick of incidents; there is no shortage)
2. Tom Cruise
(always thought he was a slimy little creep, jumping the couch cinched it)
Favourite films I saw this year (not necessarily released this year):
1. Breakfast on Pluto
2. March of the Penguins
3. SLC Punk
4. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
Worst film I saw in 2005:
The Ring 2
(stupid, derivative, excruciatingly boring. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.)
Things I gave up in 2005:
1. obsessive gardening
(new attitude: if it doesn't thrive without babying, it wasn't meant to grow in Calgary. Except for my trees; I will kill to save my trees)
(new attitude: I don't need any more semi-disposable Swedish furniture. Besides, if it means fighting to get into Deerfoot Meadows to go to a store, I ain't going)
3. Housekeeping
(new attitude: okay, so I never really did all that much anyway, but now it's down to bare minimum)
Most adorable couple:
John K Samson (the Weakerthans) and Christine Fellows
Most despised couple:
(get them off my tv, get them out of my newspaper, get them away from the Calgary Home Show, fer Christ's sake. WTF is with them anyway?)
Favourite fictional characters I met in 2005:
1. Patrick "Kitten" Braden (Breakfast on Pluto)
2. Nomi Nickel (A Complicated Kindness)
3. Heroin Bob (SLC Punk)
4. Kumar Patel (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle)
Best sideburns
Rufus Wainwright
Worst sideburns
Neil Young
runner up: George Stroumboulopoulos
Happy New Year all you list junkies and normal people!
I'm getting my computer back, I'm getting my computer back,
I'm getting my computer back, I'm getting my computer back!
Just in time for the highest holy day for list junkies too!
So stayed tuned for my own personal big-assed pretentious desert island list (with pictures).

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Is It Just Me?
When I was young, in my teens and twenties, I used to have this fear that I would have a sudden irrresistable impulse while driving over a bridge, to abruptly jerk the steering wheel to the right, plunging the car through the guard rail into the water below. So I would be bombing along the Trans Canada Highway, say, and see that I was approaching a bridge, and would wonder, will this be the time when I have that urge?

I never did have that impulse, and eventually the feeling that I someday would, disappeared.

Now, however, I have that same relationship with our garbarator. We have lived in this house for nine years, and I have a very uneasy truce with the garbarator in the kitchen. I hardly ever use it, as I mostly compost kitchen waste, but occasionally the odd scrap will end up down the garbarator so I'll have to turn it on from time to time. And every time I do, I wonder, will I be overcome with the impulse to plunge my arm down into the running garabator, just the see what sort of damage those blades would do to flesh and bone?

I never actually have the desire to do that, you understand, just the fear that I may have that desire (so don't phone the psych ward just yet).

Does anyone else ever have that sort of fear of a harmful compulsion taking hostage of your common sense?

Or is it just me?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How have I displeased you, O Bill Gates?
Yesterday our computer blew up. These things always seem to happen around Christmas. I was merrily ripping my new Buck 65 cd onto Media Player when it crashed and now Windows won't load. And of course Bonavista Computers is closed Boxing Day.
Fortunately Jer brought his laptop home so I'm pecking away on that. It took me a while to understand that the little red mouse button in the centre of the keyboard does not scroll, but rather is a joystick-type of contraption. I was sweating away on it for a while until that realization kicked in.
So if I've promised you some mixed CDs, I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit longer until I get my baby back.
I am also getting my ass-kicked in the annual Christmas Crokinole championship! I was concerned about my predominant flicking finger, as the knuckle has been a little swollen for a couple of days, and sure enough I can't make a decent shot to save my life. Besides, some of the pegs on the board are crooked, and my chair wasn't the right distance from the table, and the light was too bright, and ...
To maintain my dominance in the household despite my pathetic showing at the Game, I declared that Boxing Day will henceforth be known as Make Your Own Fucking Supper Day, and pointed to the leftover turkey.
I am probably the last person in the world who had not seen March of the Penguins, but we finally watched it last night. It is quite simply, the most amazing, beautiful, charming, spectacular, heartwrenching, and fascinating film I've seen in a long while! At the risk of pissing off the Superlative Gods even more, I was gobsmacked by this film and by how much I did not know about penguins. If you haven't seen it, watch it right now!
Now it's time for the South Park retrospective.
You are my Super Best Friend, Stan.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

How's Your Christmas So Far?

Fairytale Of New York

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
And I turned my face away
And dreamed about you
Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true
They've got cars
Big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me
You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on the corner
Then danced through the night
The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing 'Galway Bay'
And the bells were ringing
Out for Christmas day
You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Living there almost dead on a drip
In that bed
You scum bag
You maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God
It's our last
I could have been someone
So could anyone
You took my dreams
From me when I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you
Just joshing.
I'm having a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you are too. Love to you all and all of your families.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Chalk One Up For the Good Guys
Earlier this week, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board rejected an application by Compton Petroleum for an eight month extension to develop an emergency response plan for its bid to drill four sour gas wells on the edge of Calgary. This is a huge victory for those of us concerned about the risks posed by the threat of a well explosion, sour gas, of course, containing hydrogen sulphide, which is deadly in higher concentrations. Within five years there will be a new hospital built less than 5 kms from the drill site.
Compton has already had ample leeway to develop a response plan, as this application has already dragged on for years. Unfortunately Compton has only to submit a draft by January 3 to the EUB in order to keep the application open.
But at least that application is one step closer to being closed outright.
Keep up the good fight, Calgary Health Region and people of Calgary!

Friday, December 23, 2005


Still had to get up at 6:00, but now that I've had muchos-caffeine and have had a chance to reconnect with the lovely lovely blogosphere after a couple of days abstinence, I feel the big spring in the top of my head starting to unravel (hopefully not taking my cerebral cortex with it). It's been a crazy week, what with the boss being here from Oxford, and Lisa having her thesis defence, and Jas and I starting to move the lab into the new space. Now it's time to let those issues fade away until January 4.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Good for what ails ya

Have you overdosed on sweets yet?
Me too.
So here's something to cut through all that sugar:
(check out the video clips)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

This "retarded cousin stalker" says ...
Tucker Carlson can kiss my ass.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What the hell was I thinking?

Our old toaster was crapping out so I ordered one through Air Miles, but I didn't check the specs very carefully. It arrived today. It's monstrous!

You could toast a baby in that thing!

And we never toast four slices of bread at a time.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This is my house on (Christmas) crack(ers)

I am maintaining a stranglehold on my freaking Goddess of Christmas title. Parcels and cards are sent, 85% of presents bought, 75% of those wrapped and under the tree. And one stinking week of work left! The nice thing about working at the University is they shut down the week betwixt Christmas and New Year's.

It's weird how the camera managed to show these pictures as I really do see them at night. Because I am developing cataracts, at night everything is blurry and the lights are all star-bursty, just like in these pictures.
So welcome to my head.

And this afternoon, Eva and I will embrace out inner Waltons by baking shortbread cookies. Jerry will drink rum. (Hey everybody gets ready for Christmas in their own way.)
Good night, John-boy

Friday, December 16, 2005

Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it's our last: six degrees of the Pogues

Ah, Christmas... What's Christmas without the Pogues?

The cynical-beyond-her-years resident music nerd has declared that Fairytale of New York is the only Christmas song she can stand. (ed note: What about John Prine's Christmas in Prison if you want to get into the Paxil mood?) In her honour, I thought it would be fun to link Fairytale of New York to said cynic in six steps. Here goes:

1. Farytale of New York was written by Shane MacGowan, frontman for the Pogues (motto: "single-handedly upholding the reputation of Irishmen as drunks and brawlers").
Shane MacGowan is rerecording Farytale of New York, but the woman who originally sang the female lyrics in the song (and whose name I'm sorry I can't recall) has died. Her part will be sung instead by a woman whose name you just might be familar with:

2. Kate Moss (aka Cocaine Kate) will grace the song with her vocals. The last time I checked, Kate was more famous for introducing the modelling world to the phenomenon of heroin chic skinny chicks, for her ability to get dumped by most of her sponsors for her coke habit only to be embraced again by them after rehab (like there's a shortage of models in the world?), and of course for her on-again-off-again relationship with a certain junkie rock star:

3. Pete Doherty, former Libertine, and also former frontman of the crap band Babyshambles, looks every so sophisticated escorting Kate to her model world functions. That is when he's not busy breaking into former band-mate Carl Barat's flat and stealing stuff, or having methidone pellets sewn into his abdomen (while still taking heroin), oh lord I could go on and on about our Peter, but there's enough for a book, so I'll save the rest for a future post perhaps. Except to mention the Live 8 duet he performed in which he forgot the words to T-Rex's Children of the Revolution. He later claimed that he was not stoned, but rather discombobulated by the fact that Bob Geldof's daughter had grabbed his ass while he was going on stage. The duet was with another famous Brit:

4. Elton John. Oh pardon me, Sir Elton John, will be wed in a lovely I'm sure civil ceremony next year to his partner:

5. David Furnish is a Canadian.

6. The cynical-beyond-her-years resident music nerd is also a Canadian! Okay, I realise that was a bit of a stretch, as there are also a few other people in the world who would fit that description, but what the hell. She also plans to vote in the first Canadian elections for which she will be of age, if that counts for anything.


"You're a bum. You're a punk. You're an old slut on junk"

Fairytale of New York

Now that's a Christmas song!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Decorating Shows That Don't Make Me Puke

When I exercise, I have to have all my senses otherwise engaged in order to distract myself
from the fact that I am exercising. So I blast the music really really loud (naturally) and, rather than stare at the miles clicking by on the monitor, I watch TV. Being a hedonist at heart, I like something with lots of colour, maybe an Eames chair or two, or a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired house.

So I gravitate toward a decorating show. You can (and probably should) watch them with the sound off. But there’s such a plethora of sub-quality decorating shows on now that it’s getting harder and harder to find anything worth sweating to.

I can’t stand Trading Spaces. It jumped the shark years ago and no amount of crappy spin-offs is ever going to make it less puke-inducing. And Design to Win infuriates me. That host looks like a poodle, and he's got no eyebrows. I can't stand looking at him.

But lately I’ve discovered one show I can tolerate – Rooms that Rock. The boy decorator - Andrew, I think his name is – is just a gi-normous sass-attack and cute as a button, to boot. He just sashays about with a cup of tea in one hand and the other hand perched jauntily on his hip. He is my favourite gay decorator since Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndmann were the Designer Guys.

And the host-girl has got this perfect Dresden-doll face with the biggest roundest blue eyes I ever seen and a tiny little nose that she wrinkles up charmingly whenever Andrew makes some outrageous remark. I should hate her but I don't. I know it sounds sickening, but for background colour and movement while trying to avoid a coronary, it’ll work for now.

How do you motivate yourself to exercise?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Just in Time for Christmas Kudos to Stephanie (aka the Expert Witness) for alerting me to Matt Good's new demo, Black Helicopter. Oh my, it sounds good, quite folky sounding with a sweet guitar riff and then some strings near the end. Bliss!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Too Fucking Bad, Ted Nugent
Hats off to the Raincoast Conservation Association of B.C. for buying up exclusive hunting rights to an area of the province that was becoming known as a trophy hunter's paradise. They paid $1.35 million and it was worth every penny. They are now able to stop big-game hunting forever in that area (with the exception of legitimate food-hunting by first nations people) and were even able to provide compensation to guide outfitters in the area.
Everybody wins, particularly the deer, bears, moose, cougars, and the entire wildlife habitat of the region.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Random crap to avoid decorating the god damned tree:
- OMFG, Newfoundland is going to the Olympics!!!
I love watching curling (notice I said "watching" not "doing"), but to me it's more of a late winter sport. I just can't get my head around watching curling in December. But today, it was the men's final for the Olympic berth, the Gushue rink from Newfoundland against the Stoughton rink from Manitoba, and I just had to plop down in front of the tv. I've been impressed by this young team (they are in their 20s) since they came to the nationals about three years ago. They have decades of curling ahead of them and they are going to be a future force, mark my words.
And to sweeten the pot, this year the Gushue rink has Russ Howard playing second for them! Russ Howard!! The crustiest old bastard in curling! He yells so much during a tournament that by the end of the week, he usually has no voice left.
I did feel really badly for the Stoughton rink, as I do like them. They are from my hometown after all, and I think it's really kewl that they curl out of the Charleswood Curling Club, which is right next door to my old high school. But nostalgia will only take you so far...
I am totally pumped for the Olympics now. We've got the Kleibrink rink from Calgary on the women's circuit and the oh-so-entertaining Gushue rink featuring Russ Howard, shrieking "Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard" on the men's.
Yesterday was my lovely, smart, funny, talented, charismatic, accomplished, respected, reliable, and sweet husband's birthday. We took him out for a big-assed steak and then rented It's All Gone Pete Tong. Funny interesting film. Loved the cocaine badger. Now I want to go to Ibiza.
Hope you had a great birthday, sweetie.
The tree hasn't decorated itself yet, so I better pour myself a huge sherry and get throwing stuff at it. I don't think I can handle Christmas music yet (I usually play Kathleen Battle - she sings a beautiful Ava Maria), but I think Belle and Sebastian will fill in nicely. As the NME says " they are not twee. Belle and Sebastian rock! Pleasantly."
Hurry hard

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Which man would you rather have sex with?

Here are some examples of how some of my favourite musicians sing about sex:

John K Samson (The Weakerthans) - sweet and romantic
"I want to fall asleep to the sound of you breathing, in a room near a truck stop on a highway somewhere"

Hawksley Workman - sexy

"truly wishing that you listen when I simply say to you strip-tease for me, baby"

Matthew Good - dirty

"I used to dream about your sister fucking me in the shower"

Bry Webb (The Constantines) - transcendant
"and we laid under heavy sheets to love to spite the strange winds blowing. To lust with raging lungs."

So, based on the lyrics, who would you rather have sex with?

(Gentlemen, if you feel this doesn't apply to you, perhaps you would like to share some words or approaches that you've found to be particularly successful when bedding a woman ... or a man, whatever)

My vote?
I choose tantric sex with Bry Webb
- I'm mulling over a future post to explore this in more depth -
It's actually worse than I thought

Some days after work and a killer commute home, I just feel like my brain has imploded.

Today I stopped for an x-ray to have it checked out

...sure enough

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Finally onboard the Christmas train
Haha got my German cards mailed today, with pictures and everything. Now I just have the other 17 gajillion to do.
But at least I've started on something more now than just dumping brandy over the fruitcake. I shopped my ass off for an hour this afternoon and got a few presents. Unfortunately I have a bunch more to nab that I still have to mail away.
You see, it's all my siblings' fault. We all agreed that we would now no longer buy for each others' families, but somehow in my simple mind that got translated into "I don't need to do anything for Christmas". I realised the other day that's not strictly true.
I just heard that the next Canada Reads panel has been announced and among the panelists are none other than Scott Thompson of Kids in the Hall (yay!) and John K Samson of the Weakerthans (more yay!). John's book pick is A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, which makes sense as she is a Winnipeg writer, while Scott's book pick is Mordecai Richler's Cocksure. Which also makes sense, harhar.
Has anybody got any information on a band called Shoulder?
They were a punk band in London, Ontario (I'm guessing in the early 90s) and they were Bry Webb's band before the Constantines.
I should know them as I lived in London from 87-97 but I was busy marrying and babying and renovating at the time and sort of got away from music for a while. Shit happens.
I'd love to find some info on them though. Do you know how many Googles entries there are for the word "Shoulder"?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

He has the eyes of an Arabian princess...
(Sook-Yin Lee describing Jian Ghomeshi)
I have a confession to make, and it doesn't paint me in a very flattering light
... I am a publicity-whore.
Nothing gives me a bigger thrill than to publish an article in Swerve, to get my email read on The Hour or CBC radio, to have my letter printed in Chart.
(Although the latter is hardly anything to brag about when they also print letters like: "major mistake: since when is Toronto Ontario's capital?" LOLZ)
I don't know what that says about me (nothing nice I suspect), but I guess we all seek validation somewhere.
So, anyhooo, I was going to rant about how I hadn't gotten anything done for Christmas yet, but then I got an email from Jian Ghomeshi, and everything changed. Now Jian is my new best friend. Jian, of course, is the host of the National Playlist (former drummer for Moxie Fruvous and current ubiquitous CBC guy) and he has in fact read one of my Weakerthans rants on air before and posted my Matt Good rant online. So Jian and me go way back.
Have you been following the National Playlist? Been voting? I go around to all the computers at work and vote as many times as I can before I get caught. Things starting going downhill when Aside by the Weakerthans was knocked off the list in week 4. And then everything went for shit at the end of last week, as I stated in my letter to Jian yesterday:
Dear Jian:
Last week was a particularly tough one on National Playlist; I can't believe we lost Drink to Me Babe Then, Love Will Tear Us Apart, and When the Night Feels My Song all in one fell swoop (but at least we finally got rid of Extraordinary Machine).
Now, however, the list is rather top-heavy with intense songs. It's time for a little levity, I think. It's time for Girlfriend in a Coma by The Smiths.
This song is the perfect foil to the somewhat heavy fare currently offered. Take Johnny Marr's lilting, happy melody and pair it with Morrissey's over-the-top angsty-ness and you have a wonderfully catchy and weird pop song. I dare anyone not to sing along.
And as an added bonus, Girlfriend in a Coma is really short, coming in at 2:02 minutes, so you would probably have room to put 11 songs on that cheap-ass ipod of yours this week.
Plus, Douglas Coupland liked it so much he named a novel after it. And if it's good enough for Doug Coupland, it's good enough for me.
And here's what Jian said:
this is great, barbara.
with you on the smiths. thanks for the fab email.
keep listening.
yours (with a smile),jian
ps - yes...the loss of a.c. newman was a major drag.
Okay, it was short, but I think Jian is going to pitch Girlfriend in a Coma. Woohoo! Stay posted.
So? Sick of me yet?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

This Government's Got an Addiction Problem

So you thought that most of Alberta's revenues came from oil and gas, did you? Well, technically they do, but there's another revenue source that's very lucrative for the province - government-controlled gambling.

When we first moved here, I started to volunteer at my kid's school and was very quickly asked if I wanted to work the casino. "The what?", I sputtered. "At the school?" Oh no, they quickly assured me, this would be at a REAL casino and the money raised would go toward a new playground. "We have them every year", they told me proudly, "and they're very profitable."

Yeah, I'll bet they are and what a great message to send to our kids: don't work hard for something you want, just rely on luck to get it for you. Buy a bunch of lottery tickets every week! Try the VLTs if you need some more cash!

Now I'll admit I've never understood the lure of Las Vegas. I've always considered it to be tacky and have never had the desire to see Wayne Newton, Celine Dion, or Siegfried and Roy (although that tiger attack would have been kinda cool to see, but what are the chances you would have actually caught that? Might as well have stayed at the slots, I think.) But do you know how many casinos there are in Calgary? Neither do I, but it's a bunch and they're building even more. And there are a shitload of VLTs in the province.

Of course, the Alberta Gaming Commission has wisely set up a gambling addiction program to deal with the aftermath.

So now, there a senior's group in Lethbridge who get together every week to play cribbage and they collect $10.00/couple/month to cover the costs of coffee and cookies and a small cash prize for the winner. The largest payout has been $100.00. The AGC wants them to cease and desist, because they are "generating illegal gambling revenues".

Give me a fucking break! It's cribbage for Christ's sake! And a bunch of seniors who want to socialise a wee bit!

This government sure has its priorities fucked.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Can I Get a Witness?

My Constantines cd finally arrived and I've kissed it all over and then played it 879 times while dancing wildly in the kitchen. I think I herniated myself, but it was worth it.
The debut cd is much more raw than Shine a Light or Tournament of Hearts, and it's aggressive and heavy and driving and very political and absolutely necessary.

I am in love.

Check out some of these lyrics:
- I'm going to run my tongue over the body of the nation. I'm going to sing to all the dirty little engines. As long as we are lonely, we will dance. As long as we are dying, we want the death of rock and roll. We don't want no confederates. We want deliverance. We don't want no saints. We want the death of rock and roll. This is the music of the minions. This sound is a terminal condition.
- Leave no manifesto, save graffiti in the train yard. ... Suppression is a state. We will not be diplomatic.
(young offenders)
- Ink the trenchant ballads. The retail mob is bleating at the latest dead sensation.
(hyacinth blues)
- It's some missionary complex that keeps me testifying. It's time we steal these pennies back from the fountain. We stole our voice from the Cigarette City underground. We dug this noise from the gospel soil at Jonestown.
(steal this sound)
I am such a sucker for the angry young punk poet. I seriously love these guys.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Which Man ?

Did you see our hero Matthew Good on The Hour last night?
George took him to the newstand where they flipped through headlines.
Now I have the utmost respect for Matt Good - for his musicianship, for his intelligence, for his humanitarianism. And last night he came off really smart and informed; hell, he even threw out the word plurocrasy.
But Matt, man, I think if I knew I was going on national tv, I'd try to look my best. I'm not that shallow that looks are that meaningful to me (I mean, shit, have you ever looked at me?), and I place far more importance on heart and brains, but ... baggy-assed jeans, a non-descript windbreaker, a brown trucker hat (do people still wear those?) and a half-grown beardy thingy? I'd be tempted to cross to the other side of the street if I saw this guy coming.
Now, Matt can clean up really nicely when he wants to. At his last concert he looked fantastic. But I guess last night he was going for the anti-celebrity look.
Still love you though, man.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pigs Now Officially Fly

Gaaaackkk! My mom's got an email account!
She's going to be one of those annoying hipsters at the seniors' home. Actually it's going to be great because now she can email the pope ( I'm pretty sure he still speaks German. They can exchange racy jokes.
I'm not sure if Mom is going to start reading this here blog, but it's waaay too late for me to stop swearing now. Fuck, I should have tried harder. It's not all that likely that she'll hang out online too much, as she still questions my brother as to why he doesn't just put a stamp on an email and be done with it.
Suddenly, though, I no longer feel like telling you about the great new tampons I discovered and how they are going to help save the world.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What the phunk is going on?

Two signs that I am turning into a crotchety old fart:

1. I’m becoming fearful of icy sidewalks. I tore my hamstrung some good last winter and now I dread the thought of doing that again. I even have a waffle-mark on my knee still – a permanent reminder of the pair of pants I was wearing.

2. I find myself wondering what IS the point of the Black Eyed Peas? I had the dubious pleasure of watching them perform the half-time show at Grey Cup and fuck do they ever reek! And it pisses me off no end to hear people appropriating other people’s voices. Fergie, you are not black. Quit trying to talk black. You look like an idiot.

Monday, November 28, 2005

So they say you're trouble boy
just because you like to destroy
all the things that bring the idiots joy
well, what's wrong with a little destruction?
(The Fallen - Franz Ferdinand)
Okay, okay, I know I said I was going to talk about Canadian politics tonight, but my head is so fucked from work that I can't put together a coherent sentence, let alone a political analysis. Besides with the government falling today, EVERYBODY is going to be talking politics, so instead I'm going to tell you why I am so happy that You Could Have It So Much Better With Franz Ferdinand is so fucking great!
I really like Franz Ferdinand. I thought their first cd was brilliant. So I was really nervous about their follow up. You know, the sophomore slump and all. So when I heard earlier this year that they had ditched an entire album worth of material and were starting fresh with a new producer, I really started to have doubts. But it turned out brilliantly. Indeed, sometimes you really do have to ask "what's wrong with a little destruction?"
Some people gripe about FF being too clever, too cool, not sweaty enough, not passionate enough. Well, that's dog shit! I'm as big as sucker for the anguished rock 'n roll howl as the next person, but sometimes there's an argument to be made for keeping your passion under wraps, for telling the world "I'm fucking sassy and I don't need you, so fuck off".
We have more than enough Pete Dohertys in rock, burning themselves out spectacularly. Sometimes we need a little cerebral and sassy Alex Kapranos to balance out the world. I personally love that posh little art school accent. And they do rock out.
Nothing twee about these lads.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ho Ho Ho (I am NOT!)

First of the company Christmas parties last night. Jer and I slapped on our once a year clothes and drove 678,765,988 kms to attend. If you know Calgary, you'll know what I mean: we live in Lake Bonavista and the party was at the Valley Ridge Golf Course (for the third year in a row!) Sheesh! Very nice place, but you practically have to pack a lunch for the trip. And of course since it doesn't kill me to not drink (boy have things changed since university), I generally get to be designated driver. Add to that the fact that I'm developing cataracts, and it makes for an interesting trip. Caution: blind girl driving!
I'm glad Jerry strongly hinted that I not wear the same outfit I've been wearing for the last five years, even if I had to go shopping. So Wednesday saw me at South Centre mall, using my usual shopping strategy: one hour and I'm out of there, dress or not. Haha - it worked and now I don't have to shop for another five years at least.
Jerry won the centre-piece at our table and it was really lovely arrangement this year, with real cedar, spruce, and pine, so it smells like Christmas at our house already. Good thing I got rid of that last pumpkin yesterday.
Had lovely chats with folks I normally only see once a year. My friend Shannon was one of them this year. We only live a 15 minute drive from each other and we haven't gotten together in far too long. How do we allow this to happen? But we got all caught up on news and gossip last night and made plans for a games night at our place in January when they get back from their Winnipeg Christmas visit.
Today of course, there's a big cauldron of chili cooking on the stove in honour of Grey Cup, so I'll pretend to be a football fan. I'll have to go with the Eskimos of course, but I liked the political cartoon in the Herald today:
- picture of Ralph Klein (premier of Alberta for those not following Canadian politics), with the caption "endearing himself even further to western conservatives" and a speech bubble that reads "I figure the Alouettes by six points"
(more on Ralph Klein and the comedy of errors that is Canadian politics in my next post, cause it's way too funny to let it pass)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sleeping with the NME
The week's NME is the best in well over a month! (It's actually not the one pictured here because of course the magazines are all antiques by the time they make it over the big pond via carrier pigeon). But November 19 edition is full of zinger gems that those sassy NME hacks are so famous for, but have been slacking on a bit lately.
on reviewing the New Pornographers show at Borderline November 1: "With a name like theirs we were expecting a bevy of big-boobed beauties, some gruntin' and thrustin' - heck - at least the briefest peek-a-boo of flesh. At no point, were we expecting the trout-faced, cardigan-clad supply teacher chic we find before us..." (They did end up loving the show ultimately)
- or this one:
on a photo of a grizzly-bearded Thom Yorke singing with an anguished facial expression:
"Thom broke down when he realised that the strange ginger fuzz would eventually cover his whole body".
- and I applaud this observation:
"Fred Durst's ability to high-five is almost as shit as his music."
- On Clap Your Hands Say Yeah:
"maybe they should change their name to Fold Your Arms Say Mmmmmm."
- of course no NME would be complete without a Noel Gallagher quote:
"I fucking love the Strokes; I love the way they look, I love what they stand for, I love the fucking drummer. But that second album is absolute dogshit."
Well that's just a sample. Go read the rest for yourself!

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Amazing Capacity for Compassion
I really struggled with whether I should write about this or not. It is, after all, not my story to tell, and it deals with one person's personal struggles and terrible pain and I don't want to in any way trivialize that. On the other hand, the drama that unfolded truly moved me as it demonstrated how compassionate complete strangers can be to another human's plight and desperate cries for help.
If you have been reading Matthew Good's blog the last few days you will know that a soldier posted a comment in which he stated that he intended to kill himself while listening to MGB, as he was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq and also finding his wife had cheated on him. He was contacting Matt to let him know how much his music had meant to him.
It would have been easy to cynically dismiss this post as a hoax, but instead Matt and fellow bloggers chose to take this at face value, offering support and sympathy to this faceless soldier. Even more importantly, a massive search was launched to find this man, to dissuade him from his planned suicide, and to get him the help he needed to make it through this.
Matt even had the compassion at one point to make a plea that even if this was a prank for the writer to come forward without any consequences, just so that people could put their minds at ease. People started offering suggestions as to where to find this person, based on clues left behind in his post and user name/ip address.
I don't know how they managed to do it, but through the selfless efforts of bloggers (and soldiers) Ben Allbright and Patrick Pitt and computer god Theron Parlin (sorry I have no link for Theron), the soldier was found. In time.
To me this illustrates all the finest aspects of humanity. It humbles me beyond words to know that people are capable of such compassion and are ready to act quickly and without questioning to save a life. This could have turned out to be a hoax, but these people couldn't risk it being a real cry for help. And they were so very right.
And I think this is why I love blogging so much. It's the sense of a very real community composed of very real people with struggles and joys in their lives. Most of us will never meet each other, but many of you have made a real difference in many lives.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

1, 2, 3, 4 ... Do you like American music? I like American music.
Don't you like American music, baaaa-beee-yyy?
(with apologies to the Violent Femmes)

In recognition of the great American holiday of Thanksgiving (and so smart having it on a Thursday!) and to honour our American sisters and brothers, tomorrow I will only play American music. I mean the genre, not just the Violent Femmes song.

I really quite excited about it - the Pixies, the Violent Femmes, Neko Case, Wilco, the B-52's, the Dead Kennedys, Jane's Addiction, the Replacements, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, the Ramones, Death Cab for Cutie, Nirvana, Neutral Milk Hotel, REM - whew, I don't think the day is going to be long enough.


As you may have heard, The Hour will be in Vancouver next Tuesday and Wednesday. Matt Good is going to be on the show! And I am going to shamelessly take credit for this (my lips to George's ear, you know). Here's the letter I sent The Hour when they were in Vancouver in the spring (I'm not sure why I still have this):

I would love to see Canada's most under-rated musician, Matthew Good, on the show when you are in Vancouver. Musical genius aside, I can think of few people who are more passionate, articulate, and outspoken about geopolitics, human rights, poverty, democracy, etc etc. And he writes an astounding blog! There is nothing more entertaining than Matt Good in an all-out full-blown indignant rant. I'd give my first-born to see him on The Hour (sorry Eva).

Please send all tokens of appreciation to this blog. Cash accepted.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Well, Shut My Mouth

There's a fellow at work who comes around every Tuesday to pick up the recyclables. He's mentally challenged and he's the coolest guy. We have the same conversation every week:
Tuesday Guy: 'Morning!
Me: "Morning!
Tuesday Guy: It's Tuesday today.
Me: It sure is!

Well, a while ago I started thinking, we've been having this same conversation for about six years now, maybe I should make an effort to expand it a little. Oh God, he didn't like that. My responses of "yes, and it looks like a nice day, too" and "and tomorrow's Wednesday" met with suspicious glances.
And today I responded "Yup. That's sure a big load you've got today".
Such a look he gave me!
It was obviously pretty distressing to him. I don't want to add to his stress levels at work. I think I'll stick to the script from now on.