Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Monday, February 27, 2006

You win some, you lose some...

What do you say about a woman, whom you've always liked and respected, who phones your offspring to give her shit, for something her kid has failed to do? I don't care what anybody says, if you've got an essay due Monday morning (assigned a month ago) and the person to whom you were supposed to send it for editting (don't teachers ever do their own damn work anymore) has been expecting you to send it since Thursday, you cannot phone them at 8:30 on Sunday night and tell them you'll be emailing it shortly. And this was not just a quick read-over edit; there were pages of questions to fill out.

The problem is, this kid is really charismatic, and has always charmed his way out of trouble. Obviously, he's now got his mother's head stuck so far up her ass that she sees fit to yell at my kid for his procrastination.

It ends somewhat happily; the lad was mad at my kid for a few hours this morning, but has now admitted responsibility and they're okay. I am very proud of my kid for sticking to her principles, even though it almost killed her.

I can't say I'll ever feel the same respect I used to for his mother though. It's a shame.

On the lighter side, Barbara in Montreal - she of the x-ray vision and eagle eyes - alerted me to the fact that Jian Ghomeshi read my Radiohead email on the National Playlist this morning. That is too fucking funny! I certainly didn't think he'd read that one, as I came across as a bit of a headcase (well, to be honest, probably less of a nutbar than I usually am in my emails to my CBC victims):

Dear Jian,
I have a shameful secret to confess: until this weekend I did not own a copy of OK Computer. I know! Shocking, isn't it? Please don't tell anyone, or they will revoke my scenester membership card for sure.

I'm not sure how that oversight came about because I do enjoy and respect Radiohead, but I do know how it was corrected - by listening to the National Playlist. Let Down deserves to stay on the list for a very long long time. It may be just one beautiful song among so many other beautiful songs on the cd, but it lifts my soul. I don't think that anyone can create a mood quite like Thom Yorke can, and on Let Down his soaring vocals are transcendent. Listening to Let Down is a spiritual experience.


Okay, enough about me already. How was your Monday?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Get me away from here I'm dying
Belle and Sebastian played Toronto last night (with the New Pornographers - argh!) and now I'm all mad at them again for not coming within 3 million miles of Calgary. Damn, I knew we should have gotten Seattle tickets!
All the buzz around the internetz is along the lines of:
"Before you die, you have to see Stuart Murdoch dance - it's cuter than kittens!" Awwwwwwww!!!!!!!
But I did break down and buy the limited edition version of The Life Pursuit, which has a DVD with concert footage and Sarah Martin beating up Stuart. Maybe we'll watch it later today and pretend we were at the concert.
Aaaaaaaaa!!!! We just watched the DVD and we were going "awwwww" through the whole thing. Stuart Murdoch dancing is the most adorable thing ever - cuter than sassy kittens, actually.
I think Stuart must cut his own hair, or maybe his mom does.
His speaking voice is even more devastating than his singing voice, if you can believe it - thick Scottish brogue. Beautiful!

We watched Wedding Crashers last night, and I thought it was engaging and funny, but my favourite part was the closing credits, because they played the Weakerthans' Aside. Yay! Closing credits, not just some crappy little cut-away, that's big time, baby!

Good for the Weakerthans! I hope they made a pisspot of money, because they deserve it. And it's a film, so I figure they maintain their artistic integrity (they won't even appear on tv). It's not like it's a car or Viagra commercial or anything like that. A band's got to eat.

I love these guys!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

What are we going to do once the Olympics are over?
See? Didn't I tell you that curling was one of the greatest sports ever to watch?
And if you watched the Canadian men's team win the gold medal in curling yesterday you will know that all is right with the world.
I have liked this young Newfoundland team since I first saw them a few years ago and with the addition of the venerable and always entertaining crusty old Russ Howard, well that was a team made in heaven. I have also always liked the Finnish team skipped by Markku Uusipaavalniemi (don't you love Finnish names), so this was a great match up.
And speed skating! The glorious Clara Hughes, who is coached by none other than my colleague's wife, won gold in the 5000 metres. The Canadian speed skating team has been fabulous these games, with Cindy Klassen taking 5 medals.
But skeleton scares the shit out of me.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Because everybody's doin it, baby...

... posting photos of our two-day snowfall, that is. So you know what kind of brown, dry-assed winter we've been having so far when this gets us all camera-happy. Above is my backyard from my bedroom window.
And HAHAHA The Hour has put one of my posts on their blog-tracker AGAIN. It's the one about the Olympic hats. God I love those guys at The Hour! They sure know good journalism when they read it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Any more excitement and I'll be wearing Depends
Oh yippee, I get to go for a mammogram tomorrow. There's nothing that says fun, fun, fun quite like having your breasts compressed between two plates while you hold your breath.
If you've never experienced the joy, let me share a bit.
First, the instructions on the requisition from the Radiologist:
"Bathe or shower day of examination (well, yeah!) and do not use deodorant, antiperspirant or talcum before examination (but my appointment's not till 1:00!). Stay on a caffeine-free diet (yeah that's going to happen) to minimize discomfort of compression (understatement much?) required for optimal examination. Pre-menstrual tenderness - you may delay booking until tenderness has subsided (what about the tenderness due to boob squishage?)"
I just adore placing my breast on a flat plate which is at about shoulder-level and then having the radiology technician moosh it about until it's just so. Then another flat plate comes down on that poor sad boob lying there, as well as whatever armpit flab you have, and everything is slowly tightened down until it's all squashed to about 1/2 inch thickness. Then you have to hold your breath, stand on your head, and spit three times over your left shoulder (okay I made those last two up). Many excruciating minutes and several plate tiltings occur (that's fun!) and then the other one gets its turn.
So if you haven't made your mammography exam appointment yet, what are you waiting for?
Guys, are proctology exams anywhere near this much fun?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Maybe I should be cleaning ...
I'm having one of those (thankfully) rare days where I can't seem to get anything happening. Too bad it's my day off.

I've had this weird twitch in one of my abdominal muscles all day. It's like when I worked at the livestock feed sales job which I hated and I had an eye twitch for the entire 10 months.

I keep expecting an alien to come ripping out of my stomach or something. I should sell tickets.

This is definitely South Park me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I wish I didn't have such a stupid head
... because I would love to wear one of these Canadian Olympic team hats. At the opening ceremonies the Canadians wore these great sheepksin ones and the athletes have since been spotted sporting these ultra-cool wool ones with the braided ties (the white wool ones are even nicer).
But I've got that big goofy curly hair which looks retarded with a hat. You need sleek short hair to really pull this look off, or at least hair that doesn't sproing out the bottom and sides of headgear like a brillo pad.
And now of course, George Stroumboulopoulos has made it impossible for me to even consider wearing one of these hats, since he wore one on The Hour last Thursday while covering the impact of global warming on outdoor rinks (and the Canadian identity). Because now if I tried to wear one, everybody would think that I was trying to emulate George.
And while I can think of far worse role models to have than our George in terms of intelligence, personality and integrity, I certainly wouldn't want to rip off his style.
Good thing I'm not an Olympic athlete.
But I sure am glad that the women on the Canadian hockey team are!
Still the reigning Olympic champs, this team!
And how about that Hayley Wickenheiser?
MVP of the tournament, with a broken hand no less, and she brings her son onto the ice to celebrate the gold medal win with her.

Monday, February 20, 2006


I've been spending waaay too much money on cds lately. We're going to be eating dog food until payday. Here's what I bought in the last week:

Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
- and now I have to buy it again, because I just found out that the limited edition (with DVD) is available in Canada. I need to see the concert footage as those little weasles refused to come to Alberta on their NA tour (okay I can't really blame them for that).

Plus, Eva's friend in Norway (who's a huge B&S fan) says that there's a mock fight scene where Sarah Martin shoves Stuart Murdoch about and he complains "why am I so weak?" Awww, Stewpot! If that doesn't break your heart, well, you haven't got one.
Here's what the
NME said about The Life Pursuit: "B&S are still perverse, still twee, but strong enough to take on the bullies".

Belle and Sebastian - Push Doorman to Open Old Wounds
I know I know, 2 B&S cds in one week, I'm some kinda sicko. But it is incredibly good and it's a two disc release and it has all their great EPs on it as well.

Sarah Harmer - I am a Mountain
I bought this mainly for Escarpment Blues,which is a gorgeous powerful environmental plea to save the Niagra Escarpment. Stunning. Sarah Harmer has such a beautiful voice.

Primal Scream - Screamadelica
I bought this for Eva to celebrate her getting into IB. Haven't listened to it.
She was really looking for the Buzzcocks or Pulp, but the crap-ass record stores in the mall didn't even carry the Buzzcocks and they would have had to order in Pulp. Sheesh. Must make trip down to Megatunes... no, stop me ... must burn debit card!

We Are Scientists - With Love and Squalor
Prior to buying this, I had heard a couple of WAS songs and liked them. Then I read a number of reviews of this release which claimed that the problem was that this cd was too lively. And I thought a) what's wrong with that, and b) how is that even possible?

Upon first listen, I have to say that the problem is not that this cd is too lively, it's that it is too much of the same. Same rhythms, same speed, same vocals, same intensity. When a song finally came on that had the rest of the band doing harmonies, I thought "oh thank god I couldn't have taken any more of the same song over and over". I think I'll pick a couple of songs for mixes and never listen to it clear through again.

Novillero - Aim Right for the Holes in their Lives
I've talked about this cd already in yesterday's post, but this Winnipeg band deserves our attention. I am making them my newest project in my nefarious plot for world dominance through Canadian music.

Radiohead - OK Computer
I know! I know! I didn't own this cd before, shame on me! But don't tell anyone or I'll have my scenester membership card revoked. It's a classic, what do I have to tell you? And Let Down is currently on the
National Playlist - vote for it! The world needs more Radiohead.
On the money-saving side, I was too late to get tickets for Franz Ferdinand/Death Cab for Cutie. They sold out in 20 minutes.
Still not a record, though; all the Pixies tickets went in 8 minutes a couple of years ago.
(I didn't get any of those either)
Damn I hate saving money that way!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

It was good for me
I've got to tell you about the New Pornographers concert last night, but first let me say this:

This Winnipeg band opened the night and they pretty much blew me away. I had never heard of them before, but they were exactly what I had hoped that the We Are Scientists cd that I bought the other day would sound like, but didn't. (I'll get into that more in a future post)

Novillero was energetic, tight, and diverse. They looked like they were having a hell of a good time, and they sure made me have one. I particularly loved Rather Chubby Tamourine Guy. He did nothing but sing back-up (on the Sloan-esque ba-da-bas) and play tambourine, but did he ever play the hell out that tambourine! The dedication to tambourine-playing was astounding to witness.
After the show, Eva offered to buy their cd, while I stood in the coat-check line. As luck would have it, Rather Chubby Tamourine Guy was working the merch table and he was just so pleased that she wanted to buy their cd: "Are you serious? " was his reaction.
I noticed that Novillero thanked John K Samson and the Weakerthans on their liner notes, and hey, if it's good enough for my close personal friend JFK, it's good enough for me. Okay, maybe he's not my CPF, but I did get his autograph once and stalked him for a day. And the Weakerthans did introduce me to the Constantines.

Here's a review I found of the cd I bought:
Novillero — Aim Right For the Holes in Their Lives
They combine the creative indie pop that Canadian bands have perfected over the last five years with a more muscular garage rock feel. They sound like a band unafraid to brave a ferocious Prairie winter, as opposed to fey Vancouverites dodging raindrops.

Sadly, Neko Case was not in the line-up last night. And while I loved NP, we did notice her absence. Here's her picture just to show you what we missed, and, incidentally, it's her voice that really makes her great.

The songs that really showcased Neko, such as Mass Romantic and Bleeding Heart Show really did suffer from her absence. Cathryn Calder did an admirable job of picking up her parts, but she just doesn't have the power in her voice to quite pull it off. That said, she performed beautifully on songs like Bones of an Idol, on which she originally sang. She was letter-perfect on that one.
One nice surprise was the song Streets of Fire, which I have never really cared for, but last night, after having it introduced as a campfire song, it made sense. That's part of the power of live performance.
One of the problems with having a collective, of course, is everybody has side projects. I have heard of some people who have seen Broken Social Scene seven times and have never seen Leslie Feist among them.
The sound seemed oddly flat at times, perhaps something that should have been picked up at sound-check, but generally NP rocked with most of my favourites. And Carl Newman is so adorable. He now tops my list of favourite Ginger-haired Rock Stars Who Look like Accountants. (Thom Yorke doesn't count, as he does not look like an accountant. An orderly in a mental hospital perhaps. Or an IT guy.)
From my angle, I wasn't really able to see Kurt Dahle smoke pot as he drummed, but Eva assured me he was able to pull it off. How exactly do you smoke pot while playing drums? I guess it's like anything else: practice, practice, practice.
Of course there were the usual 8-foot guys who stand in front of you, and last night there was also the addition of 8-foot-guys-with-massive-heads-who-kept-putting-their-heads-together-to-chat. Chat later, for fuck's sake! There was also Intense Dancing Guy, but I didn't mind him as a) he was short and b) he was obviously enjoying the music. In fact at one point I noticed that Intense Dancing Guy and I were the only ones singing in our neighbourhood.

Ted, whom I had the good fortune to meet at the show last night, along with his lovely girl friend Tina, has some really great concert photos posted - please check them out. I will definitely keep going to New Pornographers concerts, and one day I will see Neko Case. And then I can die happy.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

When You Vacuum Faces for a Living
Being in the market for a new career and all, I've been thinking lately about the nature of work and how what we do defines us.

My esthetician, Galina, loves her work, whether it's vacuuming faces or scraping the bottoms of people's feet. And that makes sense - she's damn good at it and she owns her business. So she's got the satisfaction of doing a job well and she's got control over how she approaches her job.

Jamie's job is going to be ending about the same time as mine, and we were discussing our philosophies about work and identity the other day. We're on opposite spectrums of our careers - she's in her twenties and I'm ... not. But we both realise that we strongly identify ourselves by what we do for a living. To me there is nothing sadder than the sight of a woman my age working at KFC. I don't know if it's snobbery on my part, or maybe that I feel I have to boost my self-esteem by doing something more meaningful, perhaps a bit of both, but I think primarily it would be the utterly soul-destroying boredom of spending your days contributing to heart disease and coming home smelling like a deep-dryer at the end of it all.

Oddly, both of our men-folk seem to have a much different attitude toward work and identity. Jerry is looking at retirement at 52 or 53, and says that he's happy to pump gas at Esso or stack shopping carts at Safeway for a few hours a week just for something fun and non-taxing to do. He works in a high-stress high-responsibility position now, so I guess the brain break would be welcome. He would have no problems telling people he pumps gas.

The same is true for Jamie's fiance, from a slightly different perspective. He says he would be more than happy to drive a back-hoe for $80,000/year. He doesn't need the status, he'll take the money.

What about you?

What motivates you in your career? What's important to you? Money? Status? Creative freedom? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Is that not a poignant picture?
Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash would both be dead within two years of this photo being taken.
I miss them both.
Neither of them deserved to die before John Lydon.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Does this mean I'm there?

The lovely and ever-vigilant Monica has alerted me to the fact that The Hour website has linked my piece about meeting up with George Stroumboulopoulos, which I posted on the blog at calgary, on their blog tracker. I think that's probably the kewlest thing in the history of kewl things, but then I am easily amused.

Probably I should just keep on shamelessly pimping myself around the interwebz, at least until the Pope puts me on his blog tracker too. He did after all approve of Jesus singing Joy Division in Manchester's red light district for the upcoming BBC Easter special. And I don't really swear all that much.


Eva was terribly amused today to find out that Pete Doherty was in the IB program in high school too. Talk about yer role models.


Hot breaking news from ChartAttack!!!!!!!!
"Joel Plaskett Would Give Juno To His Earless Cat"
(okay maybe there's hope for the Junos yet)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm Starting to Get a Serious Hard On
Only three more sleeps until the New Pornographers hit town.
If you want to know a little more about the serious talent encompassing this power-house indie collective, please check out my contribution to the blog at Calgary entitled "It's Porno Time".
The NME may have referred to them as "trout-faced, cardigan-wearing supply teachers", but the NME can be such fuckers sometimes (although they are pretty funny). That said though, Carl Newman only writes the catchiest, most melodic hooky songs in existence, Dan Bejar is an incredible talent in his own right, Kurt Dahle is a Limblifter, Kathryn Calder is Carl's niece, so she's gotta be talented, right?
And Neko Case.
I have to admit to having a bit of a hetero girl crush on her. She is so beautiful, with such an amazingly powerful voice, and she is incredibly cool and sassy.
My only beef is the absence of Belle and Sebastian from this concert. They are double-headlining with NP in other centres across North America, but alas, not Calgary. I'm sure the opening band, Novillero, will do an admirable job, but they don't have Stuart Murdoch, do they?
I'm also pretty pumped about the Olympics. I have high hopes for curling, hockey, and speed skating. My colleague's wife is one of the speedskating coaches. I hope we get to see her on tv, like we did at the Salt Lake City Olympics. That was pretty cool, and she is very tv-genic.
My biggest applause so far in these games, though, goes out to the Norwegian cross-country ski director, Bjornar Hakensmoen, who rushed out to hand Canadian Sara Renner a new ski pole when hers broke at a crucial moment, allowing for the Canadian team's stunning silver medal placing. That magnanimous gesture may well have cost the Norwegian team a medal, as they finished in fourth place.
You Norwegians are all right!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

All Peaks No Valleys
The Event: launch parties in Calgary (and Vancouver) to showcase the release of Kokanee's new series of beer cans
When: Thursday February 16th, 8pm
Where: Palomino's (basement) 109- 7th ave. SW
Talent: Installation - Andy Dixon
Musical Guests: Whitey Houston, Pressure Kill Common Style, DJ - Totally Pat

Why do I mention this:
I got an email from Steve Mckeon of addVICE Marketing yesterday, asking me to consider plugging this event, offering to put me on the guest list in exchange for the favour. I have to admit I was hesitant at first. Ethics and all that. I had to ask myself - do I want to be a corporate whore?
I also admit to being flattered, this being the first such pitch I've received. Likely folks get asked stuff like this all the time, but I am yet a virgin at this game.
When I looked at what the event actually entailed - the launch of the Kokanee Mountain Can Series, where each beer can, depicting a different western Canadian mountain, was designed by a Canadian artist, I knew I had to get behind this.
I'm all for supporting the arts, especially public events.
And I like beer.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Ezra Levant is a Rude Prick
This morning on the local CBC radio program, the Eye Opener, Ezra Levant, publisher of The Western Standard, a right-wing leaning newspaper, published in Calgary, debated with Syed Soharwardy, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, over his decision to print the infamous Muhammad cartoon in his paper.
I'm not passing judgement on Levant's journalistic motives here. He thinks that we cannot form an opinion on this without viewing the cartoons themselves. I think I have a pretty damn good idea of what to expect from the cartoon in question. I don't think viewing it will add anything to my body of knowledge. But I'm not questioning the journalistic value of this action; I'm not saying that Mr Levant is jumping on the bandwagon to flog his rag.
No, what I am scandalised by is how Levant conducted himself on the radio this morning. Bear in mind that he was on the CBC, not on Howard Stern's show.
He was churlish, childish, and bullying. He kept disrupting Mr Soharwardy's statements with his taunts, some of them along the lines of "aww, come on, at least Christians don't bomb embassies and behead journalists". He stated that Christians only react to offensive news items by writing letters to the editor. Implying of course, that all Muslims react violently.
I haven't experienced such a display of pre-adolescent bombastics since my days as an elementary school lunch room supervisor.
Ezra Levant is an embarrassment to the citizens of Calgary. If you don't do one thing today, don't buy the Western Standard!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

This is how lame I am ...

Sitting through a scientific presentation this week, I couldn't stop thinking how beautiful this electron scanning microscope picture of an astrocyte blebbing was. The science that I was supposed to be absorbing became a lost cause; instead I thought about how I'd love to have that picture on my wall. Or in my wildly successful magazine that I publish regularly in my mind.
I took Eva to Value Village yesterday for our semi-regular pilgrimage to the shrine of cheap clothes, and found myself looking exclusively at grey tops. At one point I had four grey tops to try on. And then I realised that the reason I was so drawn to grey was because Bry Webb is so devastating in this grey sweater. And it's a black and white photo! The sweater could actually be purple for all I know!
On the plus side, I ended up buying a long-sleeved, scoop-necked, button-down, ribbed dark grey sweater for $4.00!
And it looks exceedingly cute on me, if I do say so myself.
We stopped at Orange Julius afterward, and I dithered around so that the new server would take our order, instead of the old server, because I knew from past experience that the old server doesn't run the blender long enough and the orange julii are watery instead of foamy.

I don't think she deems us to be blender-worthy.

I raced out to buy the newly-released Belle and Sebastian cd, which in itself is definitely not lame. But I think I was even more excited about the liner notes than about the cd itself. They are 32 pages long! And half of that is Q and A! If you've ever visited the B & S website, you know the Q and A section is a highlight, with questions ranging from random declarations of love to requests for diet advice (?) to indefinably odd ones like this:

Q: I killed three squirrels in two days. Unintentionally.

A: Tell it to the judge, small nut-collecting mammal killer

And I almost pissed myself on first listen to the song Another Sunny Day. It's a very poppy lilty melody and after Stuart sings: "we're playing for our lives, the referee gives us fuck all", the rest of the band comes in all poppy-chorusy: "the referee gives us fuck all".

It shouldn't be as funny as it is, but it's fucking hilarious!

Perhaps because I am lame.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Look at That Face!!!!

No, not that one, the other one! My kid!!

I am so freakin proud of her, and not just because of the great questions she asked during the audience participation part of The Hour taping the other night. My favourite was when she commented on the appointment of David Emerson to the new Conservative cabinet (for which he defected his position as a Liberal representative). Eva, referring to the barrage of criticism which Belinda Stronach faced when she crossed the floor to avoid a confidence vote, stated "I don't hear anybody calling HIM a whore!"

God I love that kid!

But no, why I'm really proud of her right now is because she just got accepted into the International Baccalaureate program for high school next year! It's a good thing she inherited her father's brain, but thank god she got her mother's taste in men.

George Stroumboulopoulos Does Not Smell Like Sharpies
For more details on my latest encounter with the man and my experience of being at the taping of The Hour, please check out my guest-piece on the blog at Calgary (dated Feb 9/06).
Take a look around while you are there, if you are interested in anything related to our fair city - music, sports, politics, dining, festivals and events. It's even got a current weather thingy!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

George Stroumboulopoulos and I are likethis now
This is just a teaser. I'm actually going to be guest-posting about last night's show on the blog at calgary (I'll post a link) later tonight, but have to work today (damn damn!)
sample conversation:
me: remember the lecture you gave at the library?
George: yeah
me: aren't you glad there weren't any Madonna questions tonight?
George: they were here last night! But only two of them came. The third one, who asked most of the Madonna questions, didn't make it.
me: so how come you guys never come over for supper when I invite you?
George: where did you send the invitation?
me: the Hour website
George: don't send it there - here's my email address - send it to me
me: can I get a picture too?
George: can I get a hug?
me: of course
*big prolonged bear hug while posing for photo* - there's a reason why digital cameras are so slow
George: this one's for your old man

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Shameless self-promotion time
Don't forget to watch The Hour tonight.
CBC Newsworld, 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00 MT
Ruhee went last night and had a blast. During the commercial break, she raised her hand and asked George how come Jian Ghomeshi wasn't present. He explained that Jian had been in Calgary the week previous and then asked if Ruhee had a thing for Jian or something, to which she responded "YEAH DUDE!". George said he would give Jian a call after the show. HAR!!!
Eva and I will try to restrain ourselves.
Look for us!
Monica: I'll keep an eye out for you - I think I can recognise you from your blog pictures.
Last one out switches off the light

Well that was an interesting day. I had a meeting with the new Director of the Institute yesterday and was essentially given the kiss-off. Come summer, when the grant money runs out (timeframe forecast by yours truly btw), my services will likely no longer be required.

This is oddly liberating. I can now publicly announce that I am looking for a new job. Bring on the offers!

For the past year, I knew this was an eventuality. When your position is grant-funded and the grant holder moves out of the country, it's only a matter of time before those grants expire and of course all new funds head to the new institution. I have no desire to move to Oxford, well maybe slightly, and have been thinking for a while that it's time to get into a new racket. I have worked at (or been a student at) universities almost my entire adult life. Wonder what it's like in the real world?

A few of us will be set free, I'm assuming, leaving just the bare bones of the program. I feel badly for my boss who worked hard to establish a bridge between acute care, clinical trials and research before he left the country, as that bridge appears to be, if not crumbling, at least turning into a precarious rope strung between the craggy cliffs.

Come March, I will have been in this position for seven years, and surprisingly have developed into a pretty damn good administrator, actually. My role really was a critical support to an incredibly busy director, clinician and researcher, but as the research arm is being taken up by junior professors now, it really is a luxury that they cannot afford. HAHAHA I am a luxury that someone can't afford! This pleases me.

Criteria for the ideal job:

  • no more than 3 days/week
  • no evenings or weekends
  • a lot closer to home (I can't do the 30 km one-way commutes anymore)
  • willing to accept considerable stress, responsibilities, blame, in exchange for creative freedom

Any offers?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Report from the Provinces
My mole imbedded deep inside the Fisheries Branch of the Water Stewardship department of the Government of Manitoba informs me that my blog has been blocked from viewing on the Manitoba government computer! Apparently it contains "questionable material".
Hahahaha that is fucking hilarious!!!!!!
Moi? Questionable material?
I am inordinately pleased by this. Somehow I feel as though I have arrived.
The banishment seems to have started the day I published a post with the title Fuck the Fucking Fuckers. Okay, I can see that. But it was lifted yesterday when I published a post entitled Jesus will sing Joy Division in BBC Easter Special.
Perhaps the name Jesus triggered the green light, or maybe the word Joy in Joy Division. They are obviously not aware that Joy Division was the post-punk band that ushered in the beginnings of rave culture, or that Joy Division themselves took their name from the groups of Jewish women who were kept as sex slaves in Nazi concentration camps.
See, you have to delve a little deeper than the surface sometimes to get the true meaning of something. And they think the word fuck is offensive...
Back in Alberta, I realised the other day that Alberta's centennial year is now officially over, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Because, mercifully I heard the official Alberta centennial song, called (oh so cleverly ... yeah right) Alberta! only two or three times.
Originally, I thought the idea of an Alberta centennial song was a pretty good one; there are lots of talented songwriters living here who could pen something worthy of the occasion. There are lots of great new bands forging a place for themselves here: Chixdiggit, Hot Little Rocket, Corb Lund band, to name a few who could do it justice. Heck, even an old chestnut like Ian and Sylvia Tyson's Four Strong Winds would fill in nicely.
What did we get instead? Well, you judge. Here is the first verse, just to give you a taste:
Flatlands, rollin’ plains
Clear blue skies, prairie rains;
A tapestry of colours in the fall.
Snow covered mountain tops,
Wheat fields, canola crops;
Alberta has it all.
Now, I'm sure that the writer, Mary Kieftenbeld, is a very nice person, who probably loves horses, or some damn thing, but honestly, that is the most hackneyed, cliched, cornball piece of puke I've laid eyes upon in a long while. If you are actually brave enough to listen to it, click on the link - they've got a sample, may God have mercy on your soul.
Bring on 2006.
Finally, our illustrious premier, Ralph Klein, has been declared by popular vote, the funniest Albertan in 100 years.
I can get behind this. I hate the man's politics and his troublesome habit of demolishing hospitals and shutting down schools, but God Damn, the things that come out of that man's mouth. They had his mouth duct-taped shut during the federal election to minimise his chances of inadvertantly jeopardizing the Conservative fight for power. And I guess it worked.
Time to let Ralph make another impromptu comment on the social conditions in Alberta.
Come'on, we need a good laugh.

Friday, February 03, 2006

It's hot breaking news from ChartAttack.
The event will be a musical procession through the streets of Manchester.
And Mary Magdalene will sing the Buzzcock's Ever Fallen in Love. Jesus will also sing a duet with Judas on New Order's Blue Monday, and with Pontius Pilate on Oasis' Wonderwall. While he is being flogged, Jesus will sing the Smiths' Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now.

What an amazing spectacle that should be!
The beautiful and talented Michelle has tagged me for a four-things list. And you know me - list whore extraordinaire- so here's my version:
Four jobs I’ve had:
- chicken catcher (well, only for 2 days, but I'll never forget it)
- secretary
- livestock feed sales rep
- lab technician
Four films I can watch over and over:
- Shaun of the Dead
- Local Hero
- 28 Days Later
- Napoleon Dynamite
Four places I’ve lived:
- Hemer, Germany
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Regina, Saskatchewan
- London, Ontario
Four TV shows I enjoy:
- South Park
- The Hour
- Rick Mercer's Report
- Futurama

Four foods I like:

- turkey

- spinach

- grapefruit

- chocolate

Four websites I visit daily:
- Google Images
- myucalgary
- all the beautiful peeps on my blogroll
Four things I’d like to do before I die:
- own a cottage in Muskoka
- publish a wildly successful sassy magazine with crazy ideas and stupid lists and provocative pictures
- go on a luge run
- host a party for my real-life friends and my blog buddies and my favourite CBC personalities and all the musicians I admire or am madly in love with, oh and Matt Stone and Trey Parker should come too, and we'd end the night having a big sing-along around the bonfire in the backyard.
Four people I’m tagging:

God damn it, that was fun

Thursday, February 02, 2006

roasted groundhog ... barbequed groundhog ... deep-fried groundhog ... fricasseed groundhog ... ground groundhog ... stir-fried groundhog

Even though Groundhog Day is essentially meaningless in a country like Canada (six more weeks of winter? most definitely), I still like it.

One of the best parties I ever threw was a Groundhog Day party when I was in grad school. I shared a house with Pat Gordon (who was a great roommate and I'm still in touch with him to this day) and a series of third roommates from hell, from the tightwad killjoy to the psycho lazy aerobics instructor/princess to Pat's brother who was so dumb he didn't even realise it and spent all our rent money on shopping channel gadgets.

The party started in usual fashion of grad student parties - cheap beer and wine and stuff, loud tunes on the crappy stereo so that the Jamaican guy next door came over to complain and stayed half the night. Pat even made groundhog balls on toothpicks for snacks. A whole bunch of people slept over and the next day the party left-behinds got into a cut-throat game of Monopoly.

The next day (Monday) we piled into our Chevy Nova and VW Beetle and headed out to school, but the first car got sidetracked by the sun glistening off the ice on the river. We called a halt, came to our senses and all went home for our skates. So no data was analysed that day.

Because after all the skating, we needed to get a little warmth into us, back to the house we stumbled with a bottle of whiskey.

And with a fire roaring in the fireplace that we keep stoked with old pallets that we stole from shipping departments, we played monopoly for another two days.

God I miss grad school sometimes.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The only thing that hurts more than a paper cut is a cardboard cut. I have two huge honking cardboard cuts on my hand and it feels like I have a throbbing basketball attached to the end of my arm.

Hahaha this morning I made the kids in the carpool listen to Belle and Sebastian. I'm sure the lads didn't know what to make of the lilting melodies, Stuart Murdoch's soaring angelic voice singing about the stars of track and field wearing their terry underwear, and the horn section wailing away.

They never know whether I'm going to torture them with the Dead Kennedys or Martha Wainwright or the Constantines or Joy Division or the Soft Pink Truth, or whatever fresh hell I put them through. Some days it's the most fun I have, sadly.

Chad, of course, is immune to it all, as he's always plugged into Brazilian hair metal. He's very specific in his musical genres, that way. Who knew Brazil had so many hair metal bands?