Monday, May 29, 2006

May 30, 1991 - St. Joseph's Hospital, London, Ontario
The day my life changed.
After two nights of labour and wishing I had actually paid attention in pre-natal class, I finally cried convincingly enough to persuade the nurses to give me an epidural.

You were so little and so yellow. And when one of the nurses told your Baba, "she's got a temper", Baba ripped into her with a "what do you mean?" and stuck her finger in the nurse's face. So I guess you came by it honestly.

I remember after we were finally home from the hospital, I went out by myself for the first time since you were born. I got into the van and started to drive toward the bank when I suddenly realized that I was alone and I had my bank card and a full tank of gas. I could take all the money out of the bank and just keep driving. They would never find me. But I'm glad I didn't.

Besides May in London was a wonderful time and place to take long walks down to Wortley Village, stopping at the bakery and the library and the ice cream shop where they had a jar of dog biscuits and water bowls for passing dogs and the little gift shop that sold glass window hangings.

And when you got a little older we hung out at the playgrounds and made friends with the other Eva and Catherine and Mac and Margot and Marshall and Harris and Heidi and Sean. I remember arriving at the playground one time and I commented that the slide looked pretty full and you said "well, I think there's enough room for this little four-year-old".
And the bus that took us downtown was a 3-minute walk from our house, besides we could walk downtown in 40 minutes and often did, stopping at Covent Garden Market for samples of olives and feta cheese from the grumpy old Greek guys and the best frozen yogurt in the history of frozen yogurt at the Juice Bar. Oh, and do you remember the rides? 10 cents would get you about 5 minutes on the elephant or the speedboat. That speedboat ride was cool, too.

You were such a precocious little kid, with a serious expression on your face when you weren't wrinkling up your nose for the camera. I wish we had a digital camera back then so I could show pictures of the amazing ringlets you had back then. Remember when you ate that huge snail?

I loved taking you by the hand and showing you the world and I always knew that one day you would be showing the world to me. I just never dreamt it would be so soon.

Shine on, my darling. You are my world.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Insanity Before the Storm
I watched one of my all-time favourite movies last night - Hard Core Logo. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen it, the ending still shocks the hell out of me.
Hugh Dillon of the Headstones is actually a very decent actor, and while Callum Keith Rennie may not be able to hold a guitar properly, he could charm the pants off an alligator with that smile.
This next week could see some sporadic postings on this blog. It's like the entire world decided that the final week of May is the time to do everything. But I am a mother; multi-tasking is in my job description. And this week I will be especially reminded of my motherhood, as my precious baby is turning 15 on Tuesday. The same precious baby who has 3 nights of drama production this week and a teenage-hangout birthday party on Saturday night. I think by that point, I'll be happy to take a glass of wine and a novel and go to bed early while the kids burn the house down.
There're also houseguests arriving for one night and that CBC radio interview. I am really looking forward to that and hope I can continue to ward off this family flu thing that's got everybody but me on antibiotics and nasal spray. One more week, and I can collapse into a snot-filled pneumoniatic mess.
But hey, at least the bathrooms are cleaned!
Eva came up with the best line (again!) while we were watching Hard Core Logo last night:
"Dear Jeff Martin - Hard Core Logo is not a guidebook to intra-band relationships"

Saturday, May 27, 2006

sorry, the html coding on Castpost was all fuckered up and wouldn't imbede this song in the previous post. This then is the song which is dedicated to dama nerds:
Stars of Track and Field - Belle and Sebastian [If You're Feeling Sinister]
(also 3nhgin33r recommends you Refresh the page, or hit Pause and let the music file stream properly)

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Your obsession gets you known throughout the school for being strange, making life-sized models of the Velvet Underground in clay
- Expectations
- Belle and Sebastian

Eva is in drama production again this year. She's not doing a dramatic part this time round, instead she is in charge of Sets. And gets into power struggles with the Lighting kids.
Her drama teacher is so great, though. I just love him to death. He is so kind and accepting and understanding of kids who are a little different from the mainstream. And he's a huge Belle and Sebastian fan - how could you not love him?
And I have a huge respect for the Theatre Calgary representative who is helping out with this production. When the evil steroid-addled gym teacher was giving the drama kids a hard time, she called him out and demanded to speak to him in the hall. And she's about five foot fuck all tall.
I haven't really had much to do with Eva's school experience this year (bad mommy!) except for getting into a pissing match or two with the steroid-addled idiot gym teacher. But this weekend all the drama production kids are at school getting ready for next week's performances. So last night I went all Harper Valley PTA and baked 765 dozen fudgy chocolate chip cookies for Eva to take in for today's rehearsal.
I can't stand to look at another cookie right now, but I'm sure I'll get over it by family movie time tonight. Tonight's offerings, a couple of oldies: High Fidelity and Hard Core Logo.

Belle and Sebastian have a disturbing number of songs dealing with being bullied in school. Poor Stuart!
This song is for all the drama kids and other oddballs who are scorned by the jocks and the popular mall girls and the suburban gangstas. Because YOU are the beautiful people.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Don't even try to listen to the Radiohead file - I deleted it while floundering stupidly through some stuff.
You will indeed find that Arizona will cut out on you, the problem being the extemely long loading time. The song plays faster than it loads. Way faster.
So, if anybody knows of a better audio host than Castpost, I'm all ears.

Okay so Jas put her magic fingers on the music file and fixed it somehow (Arizona). It now seems to play uninterupted. Thanks Jas - you techno-wiz. Radiohead file is still deleted though.
Ding, ding, ding. Round 2.

Having converted from wma to MP3 (that was easy - thanks for the help), I shall attempt to play this song for you. I still have serious doubts about the quality of Castpost sound, so if this keeps cutting out as well I will look for another host.

I welcome all suggestions.

Arizona - the Constantines (from debut s/t cd)

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Okay, so this is not what I wanted to profile here today, but it would appear that Castpost will only support mp3 files and 99.98% of my stuff is wma. So I'm going to have to rethink this. Can you convert wma to mp3? (or more importantly, can I convert wma to mp3)

I wish I wasn't such a techno-weenie. Any suggestions?

On the plus side, hey, it's Radiohead!

NB: I've deleted this as it kept cutting out every few seconds.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You (one hopes) ...
Jas told me about today. I'm going to check into it post haste. I figure if I sacrifice a couple of babies and spit over my shoulder three times, and maybe chant some lucky charms, I will soon be able to host music files.
That would be so great, as there are a few musicians I've discovered recently that I really really want you to hear.
That would be so sweet. For me anyway.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I told you I was a good flosser!

Another gold star in hygiene at the dentist today. Which used to be a big deal because if you got four gold stars in a row you got a sweet gift certificate for the Bay or someplace, I forget. And a substantial one, like $50 or so.
But they've discontinued that and now we just get a pat on the back, which is better than a kick in the ass with a frozen army boot, I guess.

Did you catch The Hour last night? Did you hear about Evelyne? Her blog was featured along with her tale of the birth of Stroumbo the baby goat. Both Barbara W and Alana had their comments about the blessed event read on air and it was a lovely moment. It was a surreal injection of blog life into my so-called real life (okay television is still just light waves on a screen but more people access it).

Blog reality seems to be a larger part of my existence all the time. I don't know if this should be cause for alarm or not. Is a friendship less valid if you have never touched the person or heard their voice or, in some cases, even seen their face? I don't think so. Oh perhaps in some cases I guess it can be, as we can filter out aspects of our personalities and our lives if we choose to, but in general, we do share a lot of our lives online. And if not our daily grind existence, then at least our philosophies, our random thoughts, our concerns, our humour. I think you can get a pretty good feel for a person from their blog and from their comments on your blog.

It puts me in mind a little of the part in Douglas Coupland's book, Microserfs, where two characters have fallen in love through the internet. They plan to meet, and they have never even exchanged names; in fact, neither of them knows what gender the other is. And yet they are both prepared to love whomever the other turns out to be.

Oh relax, I'm not saying I'm in love with any of you! I'm just speculating on the nature of this thing we participate in and how it shapes our lives.

I do like you, though.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Being an insomniac in May is actually pretty sweet
Even though the cat gets pissed off when you wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 and it becomes apparent to her that you are not going to be a human pillow for another couple of hours after all, there's something that is so restorative and promising about a late spring dawn. You know you are not going to get back to sleep. After all, the light in this northern place is already filling the room and the birds have begun their "I made it through the night, so come make eggs with me, baby" call. And just as your eyelids start to descend and your focus meanders to that sweet spot in your forebrain where the sleep lives, a dog starts to bark in someone's backyard, announcing that it's taken its leak and now it wants breakfast.
And still, now fully awake you lie there, because the air coming through the open window smells so sweet and fresh, and it's interspersed with wisps of winter remnants, so that you pull the covers over your shoulders and relish the warmth of the quilt. Up here on the second story and in this soft bed, the freshness is bracing and invigorating; downstairs in the kitchen it will just be bloody cold.
This tree in my yard smells so nice. It's a gift to you for putting up with days of concert photos which I didn't even take. I wish Blogger had a scratch and sniff option.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"I didn't know what rock and roll WAS until I heard the Constantines"
- Chad Van Gaalen
Warning: extreme gushing ahead
How can I do a review of the Constantines' concert on Saturday night without resorting to delirium? The fact of the matter is, I can't, so if gushing disturbs you, please stop reading now.
The Constantines must love to play to a live audience.
That's the only explanation I can think of as to why they tour endlessly. It's certainly not the money. They charge the most ridiculously low ticket prices I've ever encountered. But it's obvious from the energy and the passion and the joy that they put into their performances, that this is what they exist to do. Perhaps they are just trying to save money on gym membership fees, because, believe me, these boys don't need any more of a workout than what they are getting every night on stage, but I suspect there is far more to it than that.
Saturday's show was everything I had hoped for and more. I knew there would be aggressive drum-heavy driving beats, I knew there would be political and intelligent anthems, I knew there would be sweat and spit from five guys playing with all their strength and all their souls. And there was also compassion and community and love.

The openers, Blood Meridian, who have ties to Black Mountains/Pink Mountaintops, had moments before arrived off a plane from the UK where they had been touring for 5 weeks (and frankly they looked it). Borrowing the Constantines' instruments, and oblivious to their disturbing physical resemblance to the Manson family, they launched their set of hippy-druggy-alt country-rock. Their presence made for the addition of trucker-hippy wear among the usual patented scenester indie-kid outfits in the audience.
When local boy, Chad Van Gaalen, took over, it was to an obvious home-coming, complete with one really enthusiastic fan-boy. Eva spent the night with her elbows right up on stage, so she was privy to this exchange during equipment setup. Apparently the fan-boy, who was right behind her, had brought his mom into the mosh pit to meet Chad Van Gaalen:
"Chad, Chad, this is my mom! Mom, this is Chad Van Gaalen! Chad, I brought you some sunglasses! I love you, man; I chose my high school because you went there!"
I'm a little miffed that Eva didn't invite me into the mosh pit to introduce me to Bryan Webb. Except that I would be the one saying "Bry, Bry, this is my daughter! I love you, man; I brought you some cookies!"
Bry actually played bass during Van Gaalen's set and had been doing so for the last four shows. See that's what this band is all about: community, comradery, dedication. And how great is Bryan Webb, the frontman? His staggeringly powerful voice is legendary, his lyrics are intelligent and political and meaningful. It's been said of Bryan Webb that he is 'the only white dude who could pull off lyrics like "Can I get a witness?" and "sister, don't reduce yourself" with any kind of authority'. His vocals cover the range from punk howler to impassioned activist to gentle lover. He also has the dubious honour of being voted Sexiest Musician by a poll conducted on this site a few months ago.
But I digress into gushdom.
The Constantines opened their set with Draw Us Lines, a song dedicated to the writer and activist Starhawk. It's a song with an unusual musical structure of an extended line of feedback, overlayed with driving drums and a single bass line. It was a really powerful and effective opening to the set, the feedback reverberating on the darkened stage, as we waited for our heroes to take the stage and deliver what was the most aggressive, driving, impassioned attack of music I have ever witnessed. I came out of there with sore hands, a raw throat, ringing ears, and aching feet; I can't imagine how the boys feel after night upon night of this kind of raw energy.
Oh, I also came away with this t-shirt. You can't tell from this photo, but the vines among the leaves spell "Constantines". And I really really wish that I was a mechanic, as the band was having van troubles on route from Saskatoon to Calgary and sent out a plea for anyone who knew a mechanic who was willing to work on the Sunday morning of a long weekend. I still feel badly that I couldn't help. I should have taken up a collection or something.
If you are at all curious about the Constantines, please, I implore you, spend that 18 bucks and go see them when they are in your town, because, I can assure you, they will be there soon.
I have not done the show or this band any justice with this review, as words fail me when I think about how fantastic they are and I am reduced to babbling. I know that it is a cliche to say you really have to see them perform live to truly appreciate them, but in the case of the Constantines, it is the gospel truth. You owe it to yourself to experience this band and to feel the love.
"[The Constantines] work the great miracle of rock 'n' roll: Kill it, then bring it back to life. This is important."
- Magnet Magazine
previous Constantines posts:

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday I'm in Love
But if you think today's bad, just wait until tomorrow night, when I am basking in the love and the driving beat of the bluesy-punk and the sweat flying off the fabulous
I've been waiting for this concert ever since last spring when I saw these guys tour with the Weakerthans.
It was the most amazing experience. The venue (Wickham Hall at Mount Royal College) was the smallest I've ever been to a show in - it could hold maybe 300 people. There were two local opening acts - Hot Little Rocket who rocked and were tonnes of fun and The Summerlad who rocked less but seemed like really nice people. The keyboardist kept wandering around the crowd afterward, smiling at everybody. The Weakerthans were playing last and I knew what to expect from them, as I had loved them for a while, but when the Constantines came on stage, they blew the top of my head right off.
These five guys came onstage, and started a really driving, drum-heavy beat and then the tall, skinny one who looked like a choir boy, or perhaps a librarian, stepped up to the mic and opened his mouth and let loose with a staggeringly powerful voice. That was, of course, Bry Webb and I am so looking forward to hearing him again tomorrow night.
The Cons' most recent album, Tournament of Hearts, really showcases the evolution of the band from a howling punk-based band to a more refined, restrained, and reflective sound (but they still take no prisoners, make no mistake). On a couple of tracks, guitarist Steve Lambke takes over lead vocals and, while his voice is a mere wisp compared to the weapon of mass destruction that is Bry Webb, the songs are still very effective.
Still, I'll always remember what one American reviewer said about TOH: "I understand that Canadian bands are all about democracy and all that shit, but they should always make Bry Webb sing." I couldn't agree more. Tomorrow night, let Bry sing!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I Swear I Am Not Making This Up
But you are not going to believe this.
Today I got an email from the lovely and talented John Spittal at CBC Radio Calgary. He has a weekly radio feature called Eccentricity! which profiles members of the community who are ... well, eccentrics, I guess, people who are involved in rather unique endeavours.
Are you sitting down?
He wants to do a profile on me. All because of my weird little blog here.
Is that not the most amazing thing you have ever heard? And you know how much I love the CBC! Well, now I have decided I shall name my first grandchild John CBC Badtemperedzombie. I think that would only be right and fair. I hope Eva's okay with that.

And my other OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! news is that the Calgary Folk Festival announced this year's lineup today. NEKO CASE!!!!! MATT GOOD!!!!! I have officially died and gone to heaven. And BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE!!!! KATHLEEN EDWARDS!!!! Along with Feist, Ani DiFranco, Bedouin Soundclash, Elliot Brood, Kris Kristofferson (not of the IRS - sorry could not resist South Park reference), Kris Demeanor, Dar Williams ... oh there's too much goodness to list.

I have been thinking ever since the release of In a Coma, that Matt would be a natural for the folk festival, and I think he will enjoy it so much more than playing at some drunken punchup on campus. He's getting too old for that shit (his words, not mine).

And I am so so glad that Neko is making up for snubbing Calgary on the New Pornographers tour earlier this year. Neko, my darling, you are forgiven.

I have to go buy folk festival tickets right now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How did it get to be so crazy busy around here today?
In leiue of a proper post, here's a little morsel to tide you
over until I can return to dazzle you with my sparkling wit.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Discussion at dinner today - what's the lamest thing to collect?
I'm not a collector - I'm more of a purger myself. Cds don't count, neither do memorabilia of musicians or George Stroumboulopoulos.
We all pretty much agreed that it was spoons. And Jerry told about the time that his mom was going over to Poland and the neighbours down the road asked if she would bring them back a spoon. She thought they were absolutely insane; I think her exact words were "they can go to hell!"
She didn't realize they meant the little souvenir spoons. She figured they wanted her to schlep back a soup ladle or something. She kills me.
Anybody who collects clowns of any sort is demented.
Sooo, do you collect anything?
Fess up. I won't tell anyone or be judgemental. Oh no, not me.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day, Mama!

I love you


I wish I could be there to spend the day with you. We'd have a good cup of coffee and some nice cake, and maybe we'd go out for a walk. We could look at the shrubs and the spring flowers blooming.

If I were half as good a mother as you are, I would be so proud. But I am proud to be your daughter.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Stupid Bladder
Tickets to the Red Hot Chili Peppers/the Mars Volta show went on sale this morning at 10:00, except I had to pee really badly, so I didn't get onto the computer till 10:06 and all the good tickets were gone. In fact it took me three tries to get nosebleed seats, but I've got them!
I haven't listened to RHCP much lately as I got a little listened out after By the Way, but I'm ready for some new stuff. I don't know a lot about the Mars Volta except for the guy's hair. Do you like them?
"Microserfs for the age of Google"
Douglas Coupland has his finger firmly on the pulse of the pop culture Zeitgeist. Not only is he the author of one of my favourite books, Generation X, he's also the author of one of my other favourite books, Microserfs.
And now he has a new novel. It's called jPod and it almost sounds as though it picks up where Microserfs left off. As in that book, the characters in jPod are disaffected game designers, in this novel toiling away at the mind-numbing task of creating a realistic looking ripple effect for a digital waterfall. They would appear to dwell in a similar environment of soul-destroying tech slavery, bonding through the long nights of writing and checking code, living on Skittles, Internet hoaxes, and the distraction of memorizing pi to the hundred-thousandth digit. Geek Supremes rule and I can't wait to meet them.
Today I won 25 Air Miles in that contest that Safeway is forever having in which I never win anything. That should take me about 100 yards down the runway, I figure.
And if they don't stop playing Alannah Myles' Black Velvet every time I'm in the store, I going to go apeshit on someone's ass. Seriously, every time I'm in there. They are firmly stuck in 1989 or something. That song wasn't any good then and it hasn't improved with age. Let it go.
Bonavista Photos has a new sign up today. It said:
Yes, V do passport photos
And everyone who works there has middle eastern accents, so it's particularly cute.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Footwear and Foamy and the Earf, oh my ...
(Alaska can come too)
These are my new sandals. They're cheapos but they're really comfy. Now I don't have to wear my smelly old ones that I garden in to work anymore.
Foamy the Squirrel deserves another visit, I think. Check out The Passion of the Zombie. Because you know we are all about the zombies. Feel the love.
The End of the World never gets old. Dang, that is a sweet Earf, you might say.
**** Have yourself a sweet weekend. Be nice to a mom. ****

Thursday, May 11, 2006

So this would be what insulin shock feels like ...
There's a reason I've never wanted to eat Crispy Creme (or whatever abomination of Ks and Cs they spell it with) doughnuts. The same reason I've never wanted to eat poutine. Besides the fact that poutine looks gross.
I'm afraid that I will like it.

So today Jamie (may she burn in hell) brought in a humungous box of Crispy Creme timbits (although I guess at CC, they don't call them timbits). I've never been a huge doughnut fan, but hey, I was at work, and they're doughnuts. Each one of these little babies had about 1/4 inch thick coating of deep-fried butter and sugar surrounding it. I ate about 90 of them.

I figure I've consumed about a two year supply of saturated fats today. And I almost fell asleep driving home despite the maniac assholes on the road.

So if I die of a massive coronary in my sleep tonight, promise me that if Jamie shows up at my wake, you'll kick her ass. And don't let her bring doughnuts.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Nyah nyah nyah, I made you eat your parents!
SHOCK AND AWE: tonight's episode of South Park (at least on Comedy Central) will be Scott Tenorman Must Die. You know, the one that Radiohead appears in.
Matt Stone said that telling Tom Yorke that he had to emote more was the most surreal moment of his life.
Look at Jonny Greenwood's hair! They've captured it perfectly. And his cheekbones.
I will be watching, as it will be the closest I will come to seeing Radiohead any time in the foreseeable future.
But I did stumble across some dandy sites today. Awesome Until Proven Guilty have a great synopsis of other sites that have Radiohead samples, and through them I found myselfmyself, who have actually got some really nice concert footage. Check them out.
Do you remember when I discussed The Lost Men: the Harrowing Saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party? I got a nice note from the author, Kelly Tyler-Lewis, today. She had read my post apparently, which I thought was pretty cool. She's been to the Antarctic and sent her website if anybody's interested in checking out her book or her experiences at the south pole.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Why I Hate Sylvester Stalone
(well, besides the obvious)
When I was in grad school I shared a house for a while with both the best room-mate I've ever had and the worst room-mate I've ever had. And they were brothers. Good room-mate and I were both doing our Masters in the same department and we were good buddies.
First we shared the house with Anal Cheapskate, who was so tight she could make the beaver fart every time she picked up a nickel. And after we drove her mad with our extravagant insistence upon actually paying for toilet paper, we happened upon Bolemic Aerobics Instructor Princess, who ate only raw cabbage and never took her winter coat off. Ever. (And believe me, that's when we really started going through toilet paper, if ya know what I'm sayin').
But those two gems are topics for a whole other post.
So then we got brother room-mate. He mowed the lawn at golf courses, or something. We figured, hey we're both grad students and we're managing to pay the bills, so this guy has a full-time job, he's a shoe-in.
However we hadn't counted on the facts that he (a) was as dumb as a sack of hammers, (b) was addicted to infomercials, and (c) used to wear a bandana around his head ala Monsieur Stalone while he practiced ju jitsu and ti kwando. Other than that, his main reason for living was to watch tv all day and all night. And he bought everything they advertised. Half of our kitchen counter was taken up with his Sealomatic food sealer, which I don't believe was ever used.
We used to split up responsibilities for the household bills. He was in charge of collecting money from us for the phone bill and paying it. Sounds fairly straight forward, yes? Except that we kept getting overdue notices with late charges and then a final notice. Turns out that buying a K-Tel Record Selector looked like a much better option to Brain-Dead Room-mate than paying the fucking phone bill, especially since he had already collected our share.
I grew to loathe the sight of him. One day I came down from my room where I had been working on my thesis all night and there he was sitting in the living room watching tv. The sight of the back of his head with that stupid bandana tied around it triggered a homicidal reflex in me, and I swear, had I a shotgun in my hands at that moment, I would have blown the back of his head off.
I think that's one of the reasons that I believe so strongly in gun control. And why I hate Sylvester Stalone so much. Stupid bandana-wearer.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mr Instigator Get a Taste of His Own Medicine

hahaha Jerry was away from the office all last week and came back to find his entire office wrapped in aluminum foil! This is just a googled picture, but I will post real ones when I get them, as apparently photos were taken. Strangely no one seems to have any knowledge of the event, but considering as everybody in that office has been on the receiving end of one of Jer's pranks at one time or another, this comes as no big surprise. It's like that Agatha Christie story where it turns out everybody on the train stabbed the guy.


When they said I needed a CAT SCAN, I thought they said CAT SPAM
This is our Sputnik. Isn't she purdy?
Tucker, on the other hand, is just a glutton.
But get a load of the tiger Mike Skinner liberated from a gas station in Germany because "it looked lonely up on the shelf next to the engine oil and porn".

Sunday, May 07, 2006

If you see only one French film this year about growing up gay in Quebec ...
I watched C.R.A.Z.Y. last night. My God, what a fine, fine film! I've been thinking about this film all day and I even dreamed about it last night. HAHA I was going to say that if you dream about a film you just saw, then that's a sure sign of its quality but then I dreamed about Wolf Creek too, so there goes that theory out the window.
C.R.AZ.Y. chronicles the first 2-3 decades of the life of Zac, born Chistmas Day 1960. When Mrs. What's-her-name, the Tupperware lady, proclaims that he has a gift to heal people by simply thinking of them, his highly religious mother nurtures and cherishes this gift, along with his sensitive nature. His strict and temperamental father, on the other hand, played brilliantly by Michel Cote, fears that his son will grow up to be "fairy", as it becomes clear that he is very different from his four rough and tumble brothers.
The film is a convincing portrayal of family life in the 60s and 70s, as a backdrop to the personal torment that Zac deals with as he tries to please his father at the cost of denying his sexuality. From the time that Zac first shotguns a joint with his cousin's boyfriend, and that act's inevitable resemblance to a kiss, Zac is tormented by fantasies of the boyfriend and of other men, and fights hard to deny them.
The religious symbolisms, such an important part of Quebec society, abound in Zac's adoration and emulation of David Bowie, in the Johnny Rotten crucifixion poster he has in his room, in his eventual flight to Jerusalem, and of course, in the birth date and the gift he shares with Jesus.
The blending of Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, and Bowie, along with examples of Québecois classics and of course Patsy Cline's Crazy, is compelling and potent. Music is a huge part of this film, as indeed it is of Zac's life - his escape, his means of expression, and ultimately his livelihood. Marc-André Grondin, who plays Zac, is heartbreakingly beautiful, and entirely convincing in his portrayal of the boy determined to regain his father's adoration, even at the cost of his own truth.
This one is going onto my list of all-time favourite films. I can't wait to watch it again.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

This is Why I Buy Blank CDs by the Bushel
I've been having a tough time maintaining motivation for exercising lately. So it's obviously time for a new workout cd. Here's what I came up with and it's pretty great, actually, if I do say so myself:
Electioneering - Radiohead
Holland, 1945 - Neutral Milk Hotel
Wave of Mutilation - Pixies
Love is a Stranger - the Eurythmics
the Sporting Life - the Decemberists
Yaar Mara Tu - Bally Sagoo
Two-timing Touch and Broken Bones - the Hives
Fit But You Know It - the Streets
Slippery People - Talking Heads
Friday I'm in Love - the Cure
the Art of Carrying On - Novillero
a New Name for Everything - the Weakerthans
Guns of Brixton - the Clash
Act of the Apostle - Belle and Sebastian
Idioteque - Radiohead
Lawyers, Guns and Money - Warren Zevon
Falling Through Your Clothes - New Pornographers
Sort of a Protest Song - Matthew Good Band
Escarpment Blues - Sarah Harmer
And It Stoned Me - Van Morrison
Love is a Stranger is a great song - it's got a rhythm that really puts you into a runner's trance. But on the other hand, those grunts that David Stewart lets out kind of makes me wish I had put it further down the playlist because it would have lent itself very well to bench presses.
I always think that the Hives are singing "you've got me touching broken bones". ewwwww
Is it just me, or would Lawyers, Guns and Money make a really good pole-dancing song? I mean, it's not a sexy song or anything, but something about the rhythm makes me envision a pole dancer. Wait, a minute, maybe that's line-dancing I was thinking of.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Look what I just scored tickets for!!!!
Damn, I'm good.
I saw Jeff Tweedy (without Wilco) at the folk fest last summer and he was spectacular. I'm so pumped.
Plus I'm going to see my darlings, the Constantines, in a couple of weeks. I actually got ticket numbers 7, 8, & 9. Not bad, but nowhere near as good as the sharp-eyed and quick-fingered Stephanie, of course. Do you remember when she got ticket #1 for the Matt Good acoustic show? That was great.
No such luck on the Joel Plaskett show. It's at the HiFi Club, which is not all ages. This is not a problem for me, of course, and hasn't been for about a hundred years, but I wouldn't go without Eva because she's a bigger fan than I am.

So you think your blog is pretty important, do you?
Yeah, so do I. And I want to be able to keep finding your blog and those of other people who are not able to put a gajillion bucks into promoting it. That's why I signed the petition to maintain the concept of Net Neutrality, which allows everyone equal opportunity to compete for hits, and is one of the fundamental principles behind the internet. Net Neutrality is the reason that internet is a forum for free speech and innovation.
Last night, The Hour, always watching our backs, covered the proposed new legislation which would allow some corporations to control what we can readily access over the Internet. This legislation would allow certain service providers to selectively give better connections to sites which had content which they favoured, and would charge money for that privilege.
Well, you just see where this is going, don't you? This would result in a two-tiered internet, with high quality high speed connections reserved for those who can afford to pay for the enhanced service, while the rest of us toil in obscurity.
And that's why I've put a permanent link on my sidebar so that you will continue to have the chance to go there and voice your protest.
Thanks to Kian and Metroid for the link to Save the Internet. Well done, kids.
And you just know that The Hour will post more links and information on this, because they are good like that.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Word of the day:
After watching the Trapper Keeper episode on South Park last night - you know, the one where Bill Cosby - the cyborg from the future - tries to destroy Cartman's cool new super high tech Dawson's Creek Trapper Keeper, I have been going around all day calling everything "hu-man".
As in "are you going to the 'hu-man' meeting this afternoon?" or "did you get a chance to read that 'hu-man' email I sent you?"
It was fun. Anybody who hadn't seen the episode, which was about ... oh, everybody, thought I was bonkers.
I've got them just where I want them.
In our business meeting today, a fellow from the UK gave us a presentation on pre-hospital stroke care in Sheffield.
Look at the ambulances they have there! They're so cute! If I ever had an emergency that caused me to need to go in an ambulance, I'd want to go in one of those because nothing bad could ever happen in an ambulance as cute as that

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Frustration. When you get all worked up and ready to reach the pinacle and suddenly ... withdrawal. It's soo unsatisfying, isn't it, when you've got a great rage brewing and suddenly you realise there's nothing to be outraged about? Yes of course, I'm talking about anger. What did you think I was talking about?
Do you remember how I finally finished filing and paying income tax on Monday (the final day)? Guess what I found in the mail when I got home on Tuesday?
A T4PS slip for 2005 taxes!!!!!!
I snapped! Poopdelity Investments did the same thing last year - sent our tax information after the filing date - which is why we withdrew all our investments. And we called them this year and were assured that everything had been sent.
So I went down in the basement and had a rage-fueled workout, plotting the whole time how I was going to tear somebody a new one, digging up all my most cutting words. Oh I was so ready to bring the fires of hell down upon their pitiful heads.
When I finished my workout, I thought I would take a look through the tax return just to get all of my ammo prepared. And holy shit, there was the same T4PS slip, attached to the completed return. The company had sent a duplicate for some damn reason.
I was so deflated!!!! I had such a good mad-on going; I couldn't let go of it right away! It was too compelling, too much fun. So I stomped around the house saying "Why? Why would they do that? Do they think that's funny?"
I think I'm a rageaholic. I just can't live without rageahol.
So now I'm mad that neither Radiohead nor the Streets are coming to Calgary on their tours. Montreal and Toronto only. Not even Vancouver! And Radiohead is doing two nights in each city.
Oh, I could never hate them, and I'm not really mad at them, but I am disappointed. And you know that's it's going to hurt them more to hear me say that, than if I told them I was mad.