Monday, February 27, 2006
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):
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
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
Friday, February 24, 2006
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
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.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Monday, February 20, 2006
WAIT, I KNOW ...
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.
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.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
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.
Here's a review I found of the cd I bought:
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.
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
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
Thursday, February 16, 2006
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!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
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:
Monday, February 13, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
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
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.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
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
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Friday, February 03, 2006
Four foods I like:
God damn it, that was fun
Thursday, February 02, 2006
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.
God I miss grad school sometimes.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
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?