Friday, March 31, 2006

Burp! 'Scuse me
A new Korean restaurant just opened in my neighbourhood! I have been deprived of easily-accessible bulgogi and kimchee since leaving London 8 years ago. Oh I'm sure there are lots of good Korean restaurants in Calgary, but you have to understand, unless I'm going to a concert, generally when I get home in the evening, I stick pretty close to home.
But now, all the stars have aligned, Buddha is smiling on me, the moon is in the seventh house and all that, and I've got a belly full of kimchee and bulgogi and lots of other goodies.
And the owner of the restaurant is really, really nice! I think I have a new best friend.
I have the best kimchee burps happening right now, I'm not even kidding. So when are you guys all coming over for supper? I'll order out.
Wilhelm Georg Bruederlin
July 1, 1922 - March 31, 2001

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I've had it up to here - tomorrow I'm taking down the goddamn Christmas decorations!
Okay, technically, they are "winter" decorations, but all of a sudden I am sick of the sight of them.
I did the Eastern Townships theme on my front porch this year - big tubs of cedar and fir boughs with some old croquet mallets stuck in them (because I couldn't find any old skis), artistically-arranged piles of firewood and an old toboggan. I'm so glad I decided against doing the usual cedar garland around the door because by March it always looks like shit and I hate taking down that crap. I always get welts on my hands from cedar.
All of a sudden, the snow is melting, the days are getting longer, the air smells different, and I still have a reindeer on the front lawn.
Tomorrow it's all OUT OF HERE!
I know we'll still get a few more dumps of snow. We always get one during the first week of May and then again around the 20th. But I'm starting to think about getting a new cushion for the lounge chair and dragging it out onto the front porch in a few weeks. It can handle a little snow.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just Slice Me and Dice Me and Feed Me to the Worms
What do you want done with your earthly remains, once you have shuffled off this mortal coil?
I got to thinking about this because the fifth anniversary of my dad's death is coming up. He actually died on March 31, and all of us kids were thinking how pissed off he would be to realise that he missed dying on April Fool's Day by thismuch.
So he now resides in a really nice wooden box, usually on my brother's piano, but sometimes he goes to visit my mom at her nursing home. To me, though, that's not where I find him. To really connect with him, I would need to take a trip to the land where he lived before being incapacitated by a stroke, a homestead deep in the forest, miles from the nearest town, with the field up on the hill that he was reforesting with pine trees. There, among the tidy wood piles which he kept stocked for his wood-burning stove, wandering the razor-straight rows of the garden he tended, I would find the essence of my father.
The trappings of a traditional funeral and burial simply don't speak to me. I abhor waste and although some cemeteries are quite lovely, they still take up a lot of valuable land, which are filled with indestructible coffins and big massive headstones. I don't deny that there are some cemeteries that I love wandering through, but most are sad flat unlovely things.
Here's what I want: Take any useful organs and tissue and put them to use. Alternately, use my corpse for teaching medical students or learning about decomposition in a body farm. Then, when there is no more value to be gleaned from my remains, throw them in a burlap sack, tie it up with a rope and plop me in a hole under a tree in the woods.
There are woodland and ecological cemeteries established in the US and the UK, but not in Canada, as far as I know. And although they do have biodegradable coffins, I think though, that they still don't allow the use of burlap sacks. I don't know why not.
Interestingly, the Parsi of India and some Buddhists deal with death by placing the body on a high tower and allowing the bones to be picked clean by birds. This appeals to me as well, but I can't stand too much sun. The forest sounds ideal.
Any plans for your final resting place?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Is it cheating for me to claim to be dyslexic when I'm really just being stupid?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Your Public Library: Not Just for Finding Porn Anymore

Look what I found at the library the other day: Mermaid Avenue Volume II by Billy Bragg and Wilco. I’ve been listening to it a lot.

A few years ago, Billy Bragg was approached by Woody Guthrie’s daughter. Her father had left behind a lot of lyrics when he died of Huntington’s disease and she was looking for someone who would honour his vision by putting those lyrics to music.

So together with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Bragg set about to put these words to music and the result was Mermaid Avenue Volumes I and II. It’s pretty astonishing. Not all of the songs are perfect, but there are many that are. Airline to Heaven, My Flying Saucer, Stetson Kennedy, Remember the Mountain Bed, All You Fascists, and Some Day Some Morning Sometime all pay homage to the legacy of Woody Guthrie by maintaining the power of the words the Guthrie penned, while making them more poignant with great music. This is music that transcends the decades; these lyrics were all written between 1939 and 1955, and yet they remain so vital and relevant today, even the political songs. Not all that much has really changed, after all.
I remember hearing Bill Bragg being interviewed on CBC radio shortly after he and Jeff Tweedy finished recording this. I’m so glad this has now come to my attention on a random trip to the library. I’m definitely looking for Volume I.

The other cd I picked up at the library was Odditorium or Warlords of Mars by the Dandy Warhols. It’s not a terrific cd, actually. It lacks focus, with some of the tracks being pretty cool, while others seem to be a strange hybrid of country and... I don’t know… space ship music.
But it did remind me of the wild feud between Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols and Anton Newsome of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Now, I’m a sucker for a good feud, and the music industry seems to be particularly fertile fodder in which to foment antagonism. Who can forget these legendary inter-band hostilities:

  • Graham Coxon vs Damon Albarn – Blur
  • Morrissey vs Johnny Marr – the Smiths
  • Matt Good vs Dave Genn – the Matthew Good Band
  • Lou Reed vs John Cale – the Velvet Underground
  • The Pixies vs the Pixies
  • David Gilmour vs Roger Waters - Pink Floyd
  • Billy Corgan vs James Iha vs D’Arcy – the Smashing Pumpkins

And what about those unforgettable feuds between bands:

  • Blur vs Oasis
  • Bloc Party vs Art Brut
  • Pete Doherty (Babyshambles) vs Johnny Borrell (Razorlight)
  • the Bravery vs the Killers
  • Courtney Love vs the world

The feud between the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre is documented in an enlightening Sundance-winning film called DIG! Oddly enough, it is narrated by Courtney Taylor. It chronicles the initial fast friendship between the bands, the mentoring of the Dandy Warhols by the Brain Jonestown Massacre, and the inevitable rapid downward spiral into increasingly vicious fights, and ultimately death threats, fuelled by Anton Newsome’s schizophrenia.

The Dandy Warhols went on to enjoy considerable commercial success in Europe, while the BJM, although heralded as one of the most distinctive and influential bands of its time, all but self-destructed as Newsome’s messianic delusions led to him attack band mates and audience members with microphone stands and his boots.

All in all, DIG! is a fascinating film about music industry feuds and egos gone ballistic.

See? Your local branch of the public library is a treasure trove of information. Go now, go often.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

How Do You Get Rid of a Woodpecker?
It sounds like the first line of a joke, doesn't it? But believe me, dearest readers, 'tis no joke.
Crazy season is starting again (March to October) in which woodpeckers incessantly eat our house. You should see the big bloody holes they put in the wood! One year they even built a nest beneath the cedar siding. We've tried all the "solutions" offered by the wild bird store and have been resorting to cat patrol a lot, but they are getting smarter and are drilling up at the second floor level. Right beside my head when I'm lying in bed, actually.
Perhaps we can lower Sputnik in a sling from the roof down to where they are attacking.
Currently the woodpeckers begin their day at about 7:30, but in high summer it starts getting light about 4:00am. They seem to feel that it's fair game to begin drilling any time after dawn. Now I'm a fairly early riser, but that's ridiculous.
We've tried slingshots and pellet guns with limited success. Short of replacing the cedar siding with aluminum, not in the budget and not appealing to my sense of aesthetics, I'm at a loss. Any suggestions, oh wise people?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

How many dead guys would you have in your dream band?
I'd have two. Plus a fictional character.
I was listening to Bloc Party the other day, grooving to Matt Tong's awesome drumming, and I thought, "I'd recruit him to be my drummer if I were ever to put together a rock band." Which naturally made me start thinking about who else would be in my dream rock band.
Here's who I came up with for my dream team:

Frontman: I'd have two, because I'm greedy that way: Stuart Murdoch (Belle and Sebastian) and Bry Webb (Constantines).

Stuart could sing the Sad Bastard songs while Bry could handle the Righteous Howler stuff. And then to make things really interesting, they could do the odd duet.

Songwriter: John K Samson (the Weakerthans). The man is one of the greatest poets in rock, possibly with the exception of Leonard Cohen, but Samson writes really really catchy tunes as well, while Cohen's are rather funeral dirge-like. (Plus, maybe we can get John's wife, Christine Fellows, to join us for some concerts - she's awesome too).

Drums: Matt Tong (Bloc Party), as already mentioned. That guy makes me want to be a drummer. Unleashed, militaristic rhythms - he makes it seem so easy.

Electric Guitar: Billy Talent from Hard Core Logo. Maybe not the best guitarist in the world, but what an interesting character! I don't care that he has a pop-punk band named after him. Who else could make Hugh Dillon shoot himself in the head?

Acoustic Guitar: Matthew Good. After this week's acoustic show, I maintain that nobody can play the hell out of an acoustic guitar like Matty can. Plus I see possibilities for dramarama when he clashes with the other guitarist in the band. Cause we all need some more drama in our lives.

Bass: Meegee (Limblifter). She's so cute and little - her bass is way bigger than she is.

Horn Section: Louis Prima and Chet Baker. They were so outstanding that they have to be in my band, even being dead.

Violin: Owen Pallet (Final Fantasy). Not only a great violinist, but he's also a cutie and has a great fringe.

Piano: Rufus Wainwright. Best sideburns in rock, sassy, and a great piano god. Makes me wish I were a gay man.

Go Go Dancers: I really want them to sing as well, of course, but I have to give them an official job that isn't already spoken for, and they are both sassy and wildly interpretive dancers - so Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Morrissey (the Smiths) will dance for your enjoyment.

Cowbells and Tambourine: Me. Hey, it's my band; I get to play, too!

Frontwoman: Just realized that there is a dearth of women in this band. We can't have that, not when there are so many talented women in rock, so we'll add a couple of frontwomen for those boy-girl vocals and to add some much-needed progesterone to the mix. Neko Case (New Pornographers) - for obvious reasons - one of the most recognizable female vocals in rock and alt country with that outrageously powerful voice. Second female lead - in keeping with the example set by the boys of using polar opposites in sounds - Poly Styrene (X-Ray Specs) - another immediately recognizable voice, one that could melt paint off the wall.

We'd better stop there. This band is getting bigger than Polyphonic Spree. We wouldn't want anybody to get pushed off stage or anything, because then I'd have to call in my public relations spokesperson, Noel Gallagher (Oasis), with his diplomatic prowess to set things right. Can you imagine anything better than having Noel Gallagher as your spokesperson?

So those are my picks. Imagine there was a football pool going on at your office, only it was for the battle of the bands. Who would you pick for your dream team?

Friday, March 24, 2006

An offering from the happy bucket and a dip into the WTF bowl
Good things first:
Still riding on the high from the Matt Good show and already starting to drool in anticipation of the Hawksley Workman concert in a couple of weeks, today I bought tickets to the Constantines concert in May!!!!!!! I've been madly head-over-heels in love with these guys for about a year now, when they were touring with the Weakerthans (another of my best beloveds). Guests will be Chad Van Gaalen - Calgary musician and wildly avante garde artist, along with Blood Meridian - affiliated with the Black Mountains / the Pink Mountaintops collective. (All for $18.00, if you can believe it)
It's going to be sooooooooooooo amazing!!!!!!!!!!!
Even better:
James Loney and Harmeet Sooden, both from Canada, and Norman Kember, from the UK, were freed after being held hostage in Baghdad since November 23. Sadly, American hostage Tom Fox had been killed two weeks previously.
Not so good:
Next week will be the final week for the National Playlist. Jian dropped the bomb today and I immediately fired off an email to him, asking him what we addicts were supposed to do now. Crack dealer.
And in the truly WTF category:
A Calgary broker, formerly with a major bank, is suing said bank for wrong dismissal and $2 million in damages, after he was fired for bringing a prostitute into the office after hours and then, after arguing with her about payment, leaving her alone for 20 minutes in an area containing confidential client files.
His rationale? He was a chronically heavy drinker, and had been having extramarital affairs, while his wife was seeking counselling. Thus he should not have been fired.
Well, stick a pitchfork up my ass and call me Betty Mae, but how is that supposed to elicit any sympathy from me?
The bank is counter-suing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Matthew Good once again has my undying love

Well, I guess he always did have it, but for a while it kind of got pushed to the back burner and taken for granted while I was busy with more current infatuations. You know, kind of like marriage. But last night, Matt put on a fabulous show and stole my heart and mind right back again.

This was the third time I've been to one of his shows, and I have never seen him so relaxed and jovial. The fact that it was an acoustic show, with cabaret seating, certainly helped make it a more laid back atmosphere. No mosh pit, nobody hucking shoes, no bandmates to get on Matt's nerves. As Jerry pointed out, it's like he's been waiting all week for you to arrive at his house and now he's got you in his living room and wants to play a few songs for you on his guitar and read you some passages from this hilarious book he's been reading.

If you know Matt at all, you know that he can be pretty intense. And if you've ever visited his blog, you'll have experienced the power of his awesome intellect. The fact that he can be scary smart never got in the way of his welcoming us lesser minds to discuss human rights, geopolitics, or the environment, because he's got enormous compassion for people as well, and a wicked sharp sense of humour to boot.

Last night all the humour was there, with none of the righteous indignation. In contrast to his usual practice of spewing some hard-hitting political rants between songs, last night Matt kept his few political observations short and pithy. Instead we got the comedic stylings of Matthew Good. He had with him a book he is currently enjoying, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide (you may have seen it around), and dipped into it from time to time with observations on the instructions for stopping a runaway locomotive, say, or what to do if your parachute doesn't open. Great stuff. Wish you had been there. Who knew that Matt Good, famous for being difficult and unforgiving to fools, could be so laid back?

And then of course there was the music.

I started keeping track of the playlist, but lost count. Included were acoustic versions of Alert Status Red, Empty Road, In a World Called Catastrophe, Black Helicopter, Avalanche, Generation X-Wing, Load Me Up, Apparitions, Been a While Since I Was Your Man, Prime Time Deliverance, Tripoli, Indestructible, and, just for me, Strange Days. With nothing but a guitar and his voice he kept us mesmerized for almost two hours. And an eight-song encore! It's like they couldn't get him to go home!

I think Matt could be on to a very good thing here. He doesn't need the trappings of a rock show to reach people. He can stand up in a room full of people, looking slightly geeky with his glasses and his hair in slight need of a trim and his baggy-assed jeans that look like he's been wearing them all week and that english professor geek jacket and completely slay everybody.

If you are going to one of Matt's shows on his acoustic tour, you are going to love it so hard! I guarantee it!

Update: Tydes has an excellent review of the Edmonton show. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

and they say liberatarianism is anarchy for the rich...
screw that, gimme some of that Marxism

Somehow I'd always imagined that decomposition would take much less effort on my part.
Who knew?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Two More Sleeps Until Matty Time!
The above photo was taken at the Matt Good concert in Calgary last November by Teddy, who is a damned good photographer.
And on Wednesday, Matt is coming back to town again, but this time it's an acoustic concert, with ... get this ... cabaret seating. I'm not sure what that is, but somehow I picture Matt draping himself across a grand piano, singing jazz standards. I am completely pumped for this show, of course, Matt being one of my musical heroes.
Actually, I can't remember the last time I sat down at a concert. Coldplay, I think.
My stupid computer is at the shop, probably getting yet another new motherboard. Jerry was kind enough to agree to bring his laptop home evenings until we get our baby back, but my communications may be a little sporadic for a few days.
My home email is whack, so best to communicate here or through my work one.
I miss you guys already.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

If you want your father to think you're not a silly fuck,
don't slap a guy across the face with a glove in front of him
- the Weather Man
In keeping with my tradition of watching a film 365,000 years after everybody else has seen it, I watched The Weather Man last night. What a fine little film. I knew it was supposed to be a black comedy, but the trailers just keep showing people hucking food at Nicholas Cage (the weather man), which leads you to believe that it will be rather slapstick. It's anything but (except for the food hucking parts and even those have a deeper purpose, to illustrate how the weather man's life is akin to fast food, in contrast to his Pulitzer prize winning father, who has impossibly high standards).
The Weather Man is a study into the kinetics of family, of expectations, of disappointment, of ambition. The monochromatic Chicago winter is the perfect backdrop to this man's life.
One scene in particular really wrenched my heart. Cage's character is shopping for clothes with his daughter, a sad, overweight adolescent girl who has a tendency to wear unflatteringly tight clothes. He has heard from his father that she has been called "camel toe" by kids at school. (If you're not familiar with this term, picture female genitalia in too tight pants and you get the picture, if ya know what I'm sayin)
So he asks her (and I'm paraphrasing here): "Do you ever get called names at school, like dummy, say, or camel toe?"
"Yeah", she says, "that one - camel toe".
"And do you know why they call you that?"
"Yes", she replies, "because camel toes are tough. They have to be to walk all those miles across that burning sand."

And while my heart broke for the poor deluded kid, I also knew that she was going to be okay. She thought of herself as tough, and that's 80% of the battle right there.

The Weather Man is not a fluffy feel-good comedy, nor is it a goofy slapstick; it's a thoughtful, beautiful little film. If you haven't seen it, do.


Speaking of videos, have any of you who bought Belle and Sebastian's The Life Pursuit got the version with the DVD? We watched it again this weekend and we firmly maintain that Stuart Murdoch dancing is the most adorable thing we have ever seen in our entire lives. A basket full of kittens pales by comparison.

Any opinions? What's cuter - Stuart dancing or kittens sleeping?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel on the inside.
(Unlovable - the Smiths)

It's true! I am wearing black (again). There's a couple of reasons for this, besides the fact that I happen to like black. But more in the Morrissey-wearing-black vein, yesterday was a black day because Radiohead's Let Down was dropped off the National Playlist. I voted for it as hard as I could for as long as I could, but ... So now I'll be voting for Buck 65's Surrender to Strangeness.

Also, Jeff Stoughton's Manitoba rink was eliminated from the Brier. And they are former Brier winners. I've always cheered for this rink because they are very classy competitors and they also curl out of the Charleswood Curling Club in Winnipeg, which is right next door to my old high school.
They really didn't play very well in this Brier and they knew it, but they still showed a great deal of class.

Finally, I have to take the computer back to the shop (again!). Seems the gremlin, or whatever evil spirit has been stalking our hard drive since it's conception, is back wreaking havoc. We've had three hard drives in the last year and a half. Now the son of a bitch is freezing up all the time again and we're getting those scary error messages like "dumping files onto disc" and such shit.

Anybody know a good exorcist?

I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel on the inside.
(Unlovable - the Smiths)

It's true! I am wearing black (again). There's a couple of reasons for this, besides the fact that I happen to like black. But more in the Morrissey-wearing-black vein, yesterday was a black day because Radiohead's Let Down was dropped off the National Playlist. I voted for it as hard as I could for as long as I could, but ... So now I'll be voting for Buck 65's Surrender to Strangeness.

Also, Jeff Stoughton's Manitoba rink was eliminated from the Brier. And they are former Brier winners. I've always cheered for this rink because they are very classy competitors and they also curl out of the Charleswood Curling Club in Winnipeg, which is right next door to my old high school.
They really didn't play very well in this Brier and they knew it, but they still showed a great deal of class.

Finally, I have to take the computer back to the shop (again!). Seems the gremlin, or whatever evil spirit has been stalking our hard drive since it's conception, is back wreaking havoc. We've had three hard drives in the last year and a half. Now the son of a bitch is freezing up all the time again and we're getting those scary error messages like "dumping files onto disc" and such shit.

Anybody know a good exorcist?

Sweating my lazy ass off since 2002

This is our new toy! Some people spend their bonuses on trips or nice clothes; we buy exercise equipment, as we don't plan on dying. Ever.
About 4 years ago, Jerry and I realised we were lounging ourselves into an early grave, so we got a recumbent bike, followed a couple of years later by a Bowflex weight-training system. We've been using them pretty much every day since. But in the last year, we haven't been seeing a lot more improvement.

Time to crank things up a bit!
So we got the elliptical on Wednesday, and I used it on Thursday and yesterday, and then today I went back to the bike, because holy shit, are my legs stiff! You use your muscles in a completely different manner on the elliptical than you do on the bike. Even drinking water is trickier.

And I'm definitely going to have to invest in a better sports bra.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Pub Grub and Guinness - Hold the Green Food Colouring
In keeping with my practice of listening to national music on appropriate days, today I will listen exclusively to Irish music. Let's see: the Pogues, Van Morrison, U2, Stiff Little Fingers, the Waterboys, the Cranberries, yeah, I can do this.
Oh yeah, and the Undertones! I could listen to Teenage Kicks!
Previous national music days include:
And what the hell is going on at SXSW (South by Southwest)? Why is there no coverage of it this year? The only thing I have heard is that there was a debut of a new film about the Pixies reunion, called loudQUIETloud. Has anybody heard anything?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Do you remember the first time?
... the pounding of your heart, the clammy palms, the roar of blood in your ears, the agonizing ecstasy as it dawned on you that you love ... this band?
I'm been thinking about my Eureka moments with my favourite bands. Sometimes it was the first time I heard them, sometimes the greatness took a while to sink in, but there always came that moment, when I realised I couldn't live without hearing them.
I've been checking through your profiles to see which musicians you list as your favourites. I'd love to hear the story of your moment of realisation with some of them.
Incidentally, I just noticed that not all of my listed favourites show up in my profile. Either Blogger has some objection to Talking Heads and Elvis Costello, or I'm too much of a glutton. (O mighty Blogger, forgive me my excesses)
To get you started, here (listed alphabetically to avoid any pissing contests) are my listed favs and my eureka moments when I heard that song that made me lose my heart to them:
Belle and Sebastian - If She Wants Me
Bloc Party - Helicopter
Buck 65 - Wicked and Weird
Neko Case - Thrice All American
The Clash - London Calling
The Constantines - Youg Lions
Elvis Costello - Allison
The Decemberists - Eli the Barrow Boy
Christine Fellows - Migrations
Franz Ferdinand - The Dark of the Matinee
Matthew Good - Hello Time Bomb
Hot Hot Heat - Talk to Me, Dance with Me
Joy Division - Transmission
The Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now
AC Newman - Miracle Drug
The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
The Pixies - Here Comes Your Man
The Pogues - I really can't recall, so I'm going with Living In a World Without Her
Radiohead - Creep (sorry Thom)
The Smiths - Girlfriend in a Coma
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
The Violent Femmes - American Music
The Weakerthans - Left and Leaving
Wilco - I am Trying to Break Your Heart
Hawksley Workman - Autumn's Here

I would love to hear all about your preciouses. Do spill!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Brain Droppings
The Paralympics features the event of Biathlon, with visually impaired athletes competing. Is it just me, or does blind people firing rifles strike anyone else as an ill-considered idea?
How does one get to be Fight Director for the Stratford Theatre? That just sounds like it would be way too much fun to be considered as a real job.
They should have to mend costumes in their spare time or something, just so they don't feel guilty about getting paid.
I can't stop thinking about Jen beating the crap out of an assailant with a 4L jug of chocolate milk. I realise it didn't actually happen, but I sure wish I'd seen it anyway.
Ralph Klein has promised he will resign as premier of Alberta in October 2007.
I'm starting to stock up on champagne now.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Post Your Insanity Here
It seems like I've got a few thoughts I need to send out to people, so this is just going to be a message board.
First, shout out is to Bevvy, who commented on my post about Hate Mail. Whoa, you must think I'm a snarky bitch. Here's the scoop though. My friend Bev regularly visits my blog and we shove each other around a bit, so I honestly didn't know until today (when Bev told me) that you are not her. So, Bevvy, if you ever happen back here again, I promise to be more civil, to welcome you properly, and not to slap you around, even if you do call me Babs. (Shit, I've been called far far worse)
Secondly, Neil, I notice that you have shut your blog down, as you had thought you might. I understand that it isn't holding your interest right now and that's cool, but please know that you are welcome to visit any time. We miss you already.
Thanks Jas, for listing the tracks on that awesome bhangra disc you made for me. Now I'll be able to sing along with my favourite track, Yaar Mera Tu, well a few of the words anyway.
Michelle and GOB, we are keeping your places in the blogosphere warm for you for when you get settled into your new and improved circumstances. I don't want to hound you to write something because I know you will when you have time, but know that we are here when you get back.
And finally, Barbara W. (aka Barbara in Montreal) - do you really think your car has a spirit? Because I've come to realise that I can read body language of cars. I kid you not; I'll explain in a few days.
Eva is making me link to this article. She especially liked the 'Sorry, I thought I was stroking the curtain-rail' line.
A Canadian geoscientist has invented a tricorder that can scan lifeforms like rocks and plants and stuff and id them. Just like Star Trek! I wonder if Bill Shatner has ordered his yet.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Um, uh, well ....
Those of you who have known me for a while are probably aware that I am rarely at a loss for words (opinionated? me?). But after having listened to Neko Case's new cd Fox Confessor Brings the Flood a few times now, I am still so flabbergasted that I don't really know what to say about it.
Generally when I first start listening to a new cd, I hear a couple or three songs that strike me right off the bat, while the rest grow on me more slowly. And that is not a bad thing. Some of those immediately-catchy songs grow a little tired after too many listens, while the slow boilers grow stronger with each listen.
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood throws all of those assumptions right out the window. I found myself going to the liner notes with the start of each song, needing to know what am I listening to? But it's not that the songs on this cd are what you would call catchy songs - far from it - rather they are instant classics.
Neko Case just gets greater and greater with each passing album. Her voice is one of the most powerful forces in the Western Hemisphere. I am in awe.
But rather than just listen to me drool incoherently, please go to Will's New and Used Records for a proper review of this cd. Will says it so much better than I ever could.
He is, after all, the man who said about Belle and Sebastian "frontman Stuart Murdoch has one of those voices where you simply want to listen to everything he has to say." How very true. The best I could come up with was to gush that "Stuart Murdoch has the sweetest voice this side of heaven", and to refer to his voice as a "gay choirboy yodel" (which I stole from the NME, for Christ's sake!).
So, I urge you, to go right now to Will's site. And while you are at it, pass Go and collect $200.
And then go out and buy Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Today I'm hosting Eva's theory of evolution among subcultures;
"An explosion made the sun.

And the sun made hydrogen, and oxygen, and iron which were gradually spewed out to form earth.

And earth made amino acids. And amino acids made protozoa, man and barnacles, among others.

And man made God. And God gave man insight on a very different type of acids, as well as braids and body odour and Eastern philosophy.

And then God made Satan, and Satan made boredom, and the idea of an archetype nonconformist, and arson, anarchy, safety pins and smack.

And then the junkies and arsonists and anarchists and men with assorted facial piercing made noise, and trends and ripped fishnets.

And Hot Topic made money from the trend of ripped fishnets.

And Satan made cynics, and elitism and LiveJournal, where the two groups often converged.
And then God and Satan called it a day's work and went out for a beer."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I just got my first hate mail!!! And it's all thanks to THE HOUR!!
If you've ever visited the website for The Hour (or if you've suffered through me going on about it ad nauseum), you'll know that The Hour has a blog tracker, where they post links to various blogs where people have discussed the show or other things that catch the fancy of the webmasters. I just happen to have a couple of links on the blog tracker right now.
Well, this morning I checked my email just before leaving for work and found this (sent at 7:am - the time becomes a salient point later):
Hi there !I just found your blog as I was trying to find some info on George Stroumboulopoulos :). You have a real nice blog by the way !
Anyway, I attended 'The Hour' show taping yesterday here in Montreal and ofcourse.. it was awesome, as you know all too well how cool these things go when George happens to be the host of a show ;).
He mentioned a couple of books in the usual chatting bits of the taping and I am now trying to locate his email address or something I can use to ask him to post the names of the books he mentioned.. because Iwant to check them out, but I have no idea what his email address is !
I was hoping you did ?? Do you have any idea how I can email him without having my email about the books lost in the CBC website..:(.. ?
I hope to hear from you ! Be well :) And glad to find another fan !
(J's email address removed - point made, no need to flog a dead horse)
Well, I wasn't entirely comfortable with giving out someone else's email address without their consent and I had to leave for work, so I thought I would mull it over during the day.
I even asked a colleague their opinion and they agreed that maybe it would be best to ask George first if he had any problems with his email being distributed (I would hate to be responsible for unleashing a psycho upon him or something).
Well, god damn, would you take a look at what I found in my inbox when I got home from work (sent at 2:27pm):
(entitled "You've got to be kidding me")
Do you really think you have some sort of special corner in fandom as far as 'The Hour's Host is concerned ?? ... I should have known better then to ask you for anything regarding George S. even something as simple as an email address !
You have no excuse for not getting back in touch with me. Luckily for me.. I don't need your email response back to me anyway. Hah.
Whatev. lady. You're delusional !
There are bigger and more generous fans out there,then you can ever hope to be.
Peace out !
Tell me that's not the most amazing thing you have ever read! I am particularly taken with the spitting rage and with how well Jitika presumes to know me (" I should have known better than to ask you.."). And don't even get me started on the grammer. Obviously Jitika was too enraged by my audacious seven hour silence to think coherently.
And I noticed that during the happy lovey email, Jitika threw in an impressive four smilies, and sadly, not a single smiley for me from angry Jitika. :(
I couldn't let such gracious correspondence go unanswered and unnoticed, so I wrote back:
Dear angry person,
We don't all spend all of our days sitting at the computer waiting for people to send us requests. Some of us have lives. I was going to send you this information but I am extremely glad that I did not, as you sound like you are very unstable.
Get help,
And then I forwarded the whole string to George Stroumboulopoulos, with a heads up that he may want to watch out for this person. Hey, maybe The Hour should hire me to do security or something. I've been working out...
Now, George has been in the public eye for a very long time now, and I'm sure he's had his fair share of dealings with psychos before, so I'm not overly worried about him. He's cool enough to handle things far more graciously than I ever could.
But this was my first hate mail and I could not be more excited! I feel like such a celebrity! Well, I did get that nasty note from Eileen in grade 4 when I became friends with Jackie, and Eileen thought that I should only be friends with her, but this is infinitely more interesting!
How about you? Get much hate mail? How much fun do you have with it?
I'd love to hear about your experiences.
Note to The Hour: If you happen to read this, please please, do not in any way take this to be an indication that your blog tracker is not working well. It's working beautifully and I maintain that it is a wonderful way to link people with similar inclinations. I've met a number of fantastic people via the blog tracker. It is the internet, after all; you'll always get the odd weirdo.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I see Bry's underpants!
Oh man, this is the photo from Chart which I referred to yesterday ! Holy crap, Bry Webb, you know I love you and I love the Constantines and personally I think you look pretty devastating in this sweater and your voice sends me into ecstasy and all,
but, sweetheart, don some clothes, man! We need to maintain some mystery here.
The magazine-reading day about which I fantasized did not materialize, of course. I did read some very fine blogs, however, one of which was Ruhee's excellent podcast, The Air That Grooves. Okay, it's a podcast, not a blog, but it's truly worthy of a listen. Ruhee played listeners' suggestions this week and I hope to hear a few more of those. Plus, she alerted me to the upcoming Constantines' tour. Oh boy oh boy oh boy!
check out these shows:
Mar 17 - Montreal, QC THEATRE NATIONAL !
Mar 18 - Ottawa, ON SURFACE !
Apr 1 - Quebec City, QC - KASHMIR * #
Apr 3 - Moncton - MANHATTAN * #
Apr 4 - Sackville - GEORGE'S * #
Apr 5 - Saint John - ELWOOD'S * #
Apr 6 - Fredericton - UNB CELLAR * #
Apr 7 - Halifax - MARQUEE * #
Apr 8 - Halifax - MARQUEE * #
May 17 - Winnipeg, MB PYRAMID CABARET +
May 18 - Regina, SK THE EXCHANGE +
May 19 - Saskatoon, SK LOUIS' PUB +
May 20 - Calgary, AB U OF C BALLROOM + #
May 21 - Edmonton, AB TBA + #
May 22 - Canmore, AB CANMORE HOTEL + #
May 24 - Victoria, BC TBA + #
May 25 - Vancouver, BC TBA + #
May 26 - Seattle, WA CROCODILE + %
May 27 - George, WA SASQUATCH w/ Sufjan Stevens, The Flaming Lips, The Shins, The Tragically Hip, Sam Roberts, Iron & Wine, Neko Case...
Jun 01 - 03 - Barcelona, Spain PRIMAVERA FESTIVAL
! W/ The Unintended
* W/ The Meligrove Band
# W/ Blood Meridian
+ W/ Chad Vangaalen
% My Brightest Diamond
And more dates will be announced soon.
I used an old exercise mix today that had been pushed to the back of the pile for a while and, hokey smokes, I found out that the Weakerthans, Matt Good, and Bloc Party still have the power to make me push my lazy ass. And then I did a huge arms session, and you should see my arms right now. They are so pumped up still I can barely type. I look like Popeye.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oh it's an embarassment of riches around here right now. Chart and Spin both arrived yesterday and on Friday I bought the NME which I haven't even glanced at yet. It's a very good thing I'm not working tomorrow, as I've got a pile o' good reading to do.

And from the quick glances I did take, I see that Neko Case is all over these mags, and she was even featured full front-page of the Entertainment section of the Calgary Herald today. Well that's because her new cd Fox Confessor Brings the Flood was released today, of course. (Note to self: stop at cd store tomorrow)

Jerry is still mad at her for ditching the New Pornographers gig here a couple of weeks ago, but when you are a crazy-busy indie babe, you can't do everything. And when everybody wants you, sometimes someone is going to be disappointed.

He's also all worried that with all the exposure that Neko is suddenly receiving, she is going to be spoiled somehow, not be his little secret anymore, I guess. I disagree, more recognition will not ruin Neko Case. It's not like she's going to suddenly lose all her talent and become Nickelback or the Killers or anything like that.

I'll leave you with a couple of quips that I did happen upon during a fast flip through my reading material (and bear in mind that I haven't even cracked open NME yet, which is usually the most outrageous of the bunch):

Pink Mountaintops: "like the Brian Jonestown Massacre minus the schizophrenia" (Spin)

" I see Bry's underpants" (ie Bry Webb - Constantines) - (Chart) - I am going to go check that one out right now!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Those weren't the only prizes given out yesterday...

Okay, I'll admit I watched the Academy Awards last night for the first time in years. Hey, if Jon Stewart's there, I'm there.

I won't go into detail, as there are a couple of fine blogs you should visit instead for a much more eloquent and witty coverage of the night than I could possibly muster up. Check out what Jacquie and Will each have to say. It's worth the trip.

I do have to share some of the best moments though:

favourite line: "Judy Dench took out my eye in a bar fight"

favourite comment from the couch (Eva): "It's like the NME, but with less tongue"

most perplexing dress: Charlize Theron's big black pillow on her shoulder. I guess that was in case the show ran overly long.

But also yesterday, Becky Scott (BC) took the Scott Tournament of Hearts in London, ON with a nail-biter win, dethroning Jennifer Jones' Team Canada (MB). If we still lived in London, we would have been there for sure, and we would have taken Wally Adams with us and gotten him drunk and encouraged him to huck unopened pistachio nuts onto the ice.

But why did Curling Canada squander a goldmine opportunity to bring a little hipster cred to the tournament?

What's the name of the series: Scott Tournament of Hearts

What was the name of the Constantine's cd released last year: Tournament of Hearts

Where was the tournament held this year: London, Ontario

Where did the Constantines start out prior to moving to Guelph, then Toronto: London, Ontario

Do you see where I'm going with this? Can you imagine the draw (pun only partially intended) the series could have had if the Constantines had been rocking down the rafters? Curling Canada really needs to hire someone like me to help them shake their old-men-drinking-beer image. I could have made them so cool.

women are winning the Tournament of Hearts, somebody's got to lose

- Soon Enough, the Constantines

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Store Wars: Revenge of the Sick
I ran into my arch nemesis (quite literally) in Safeway yesterday. He's an obese old man on an oxygen tank who smells really bad. You know that sour old man in unwashed clothes smell, ratcheted up to the nth degree.
In my first encounter with him a couple of weeks ago, he and his cart were blocking the aisle. I stopped, said excuse me, and got no response. I said excuse me a bit louder, and his wife who was a ways up the aisle, turned and said "Frank, you're blocking that lady's way", so which he responded:
"Well, that's her problem, isn't it?"
Imagine my glee when I saw him and his cart partially blocking the aisle yesterday. He was rooting around on the shelf, looking for something fattening, and his long suffering wife wasn't with him. So I rammed his cart out of the way, sending it careening down the aisle.
I'm going to hell for sure, but it was worth it. And if you've read what my horoscope says in the About Me section of this blog, you have been sufficiently forewarned as to what I am really like.
So if you ever need anybody taken out in the grocery store, give me a call. I will be happy to do your dirty deeds (dirt cheap) because I love you.