Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Zombie Lists, Part II
.

Every year, despite our best efforts, some really deserving musicians do not get the play time they deserve in the Zombie household. There are numerous reasons for this, but only one solution - find the music and listen!
And this brings us to our second category of year end lists:
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Top 07 Bands We Want to Hear More From in 07
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- Islands (Canada)
- Ballboy (Scotland)
- Bicycles (Canada)
- David and the Citizens (Sweden)
- Gogol Bordello (USA)
- Woodpigeon (Canada)
- Shout Out Out Out Out (Canada)
*
**
Do you have a list of what you are overdue to experience in 007?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Zombie Lists, Part I
.
As we approach the High Holy Days in any list junkie's calendar, we at Bad Tempered Zombie have come to the realization that we have far too many lists to give you in one or even two days. So we're starting our countdown right now.
Without further ado, we present:
*
The Top 06 Musical Crushes of 06
*
1. Colin Meloy (the Decemberists)
- single-handedly bringing sexy back to the slightly pudgy bespectacled uber-literary geek.
Rrrraaaawwwrrr!
.

.
2. Stuart Murdoch (Belle and Sebastian)
- writes slyly subversive music, has the voice of an angel and a Scottish accent.
What more could you ask for?
.
.
3. Tom Yorke (Radiohead)
- who doesn't love a curmudgeonly genius musician?
And unlike some celebrity rock stars who profess to save the world and then fly home in their private jets, Thom Yorke is actively seeking an environmentally sound way of touring.
And oh how that man can dance!
.

.

4. Neko Case (part-time New Pornographer)

- with the most powerful and astounding voice in music today, and gorgeous to boot, how can you not be in love with her?

.

.

5. Wayne Petti (Cuff the Duke and Hylozists)

- poster boy for all the scrawny music geeks who couldn't get any action in high school, who are now modest and self-effacing indie stars - that spells adorable.
..

6. Chad VanGaalen

- disarming gentle giant with the attention span and the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old boy, who makes his own instruments.

And he got his driver's license this year.

.

***

Who's on your list?

Friday, December 29, 2006


Happy Pyjama Day, everybody!

It's the inaugural post-Christmas Pyjama Day here in the Zombie household, which, if it proves to be a success, will be established as an institution. A while back, Phlegmfatale was waxing eloquent about her plans to spend the weekend sometime in pyjamas. That idea has since become firmly planted in my imagination, so I stole it!

We first established some ground rules: (1) showering was allowed, as long as one changed back into a pair of pyjamas or reasonable fascimile afterward, (2) workout clothes were permitted if one was to partake of exercise (also allowed) - oddly, nobody had to use that option, and (3) meal preparation not allowed. I did boil up the turkey carcass to make stock, but that doesn't count.

We started off the festivities by listening to Grant Lawrence from CBC Radio 3 describe being harassed by Ruhee's band, Henri Faberge and the Adorables, (the entire venue chanting "Grant Lawrence, take your shirt off!"). Still hard to believe that our sweet Ruhee would belong to such a band of ruffians, but I understand that she was not in fact present at this hazing. I am so relieved.

We still have about 40 hours of South Park episodes on dvd to get through, but we seem to be stuck on watching episode after episode of What Not To Wear. I'm just not used to watching this much tv, particularly during the day. I am overwhelmed by it all.

We're planning to listen to the Radio 3 podcast of the Bucky awards on NewYear's Eve while watching the crap countdown programs on mute. Okay, I'm really just blowing out me arse here, as I'm not even certain if there is a podcast of the Bucky's, but hey, it's Radio 3, they're cool like that, so there's bound to be. Some of the nominees include Islands, Great Aunt Ida, Joel Plaskett and the aforementioned Henri Faberge and the Adorables.

In all the excitement, I completely forgot that it was Friday until reminded by the always reliable (and lovely) Just a Cool Cat and Dale.

So here is my Pyjama Day edition of the Friday random shuffle playlist. I was doing fine with the list until songs 9 and 10, which happen to be the two most cliched rock songs in existence.

Bring me right back to Junior High dances, they do. Standing in the corner desperately hoping that someone asks me to dance that all-important last dance, but praying it won't be that guy.

Party on Garth.

1. Lipstick sunset - John Hiatt

2. I hate the tv - the Violent Femmes

3. Fall - the Jesus and Mary Chain

4. Confusion - New Order

5. On the bus mall - the Decemberists

6. The eraser - Thom Yorke

7. Who was I kidding? - Martha Wainwright

8. What moves the heart? - Mudhoney

9. Stairway to heaven - Led Zeppelin

10. Bohemian rhapsody - Queen

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The finest film you have never heard of ...


"A long time ago son, before you was born dude..."
Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that long ago, but it has been a fair while since I first mentioned a fabulous film that I had just watched, which nobody seems to have heard of, which has intimate ties to a certain New York-based gypsy punk band.
The film, if you haven't already guessed, is Everything is Illuminated, the story of an American writer of sorts who travels to Ukraine in search of his roots, specifically the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis.
This American, Jonathan Safran Foer (who also happens to be the author of the novel), is played with great restraint, yet the right degree of quirkiness, by Elijah Wood. You see, Jonathan is a collector. The film opens with him as a young boy collecting the dentures of his grandmother from her deathbed. Ultimately his entire bedroom wall is festooned with baggies filled with his collectables.
And as he matures, he eventually he turns his attention to the story of his ancestors. As he cannot find the answers that he is seeking about his family history from his immediate family, particularly the identity of a mysterious woman in an aged photograph whom he knows is tied somehow to the story of his grandfather's immigration to America, he takes it upon himself to make a trip to the old country. And he embarks to Ukraine in search of Augustine and the long-lost village of Trachimbrod.
This is where he encounters the narrator of the ensuing "very rigid search", a young Ukrainian man named Alex, who is enamoured of all things American, and who is played with enormous charm and humour by Eugene Hutz.
Hutz actually makes his acting debut in Everything is Illuminated, being more well-known as the hugely mustached frontman for the frenetic gypsy punk band, Gogol Bordello. Much of the music from the soundtrack is performed by Gogol Bordello, and its infectious exuberance is hard to resist.
Alex is the diplomat and translator behind Odessa Heritage Tours, run by his father and chauffeured by his grandfather, to accomodate Jewish Americans who have been making pilgrimages to Ukraine in search of their ancestors. Most of Alex's proficiency in English comes from studying the Thesaurus, and is responsible for him spouting such fractured statements as:
"but I dig negroes; they are premium people"
and
"This is Sammy Davis Jr. Jr... She is Grandfather's Seeing Eye bitch. Father purchased her for him not because he believes Grandfather is blind, but because a Seeing Eye bitch is also a good thing for people who pine for the opposite of loneliness. In truth, Father did not purchase her at all, but merely retrieved her from the home for forgetful dogs. Because of this, she is not a real Seeing Eye bitch, and is also mentally deranged. "
.
Alex's quick-witted diplomacy allows him to offer translations like this:
.
Jonathan: "I am distressed by dogs"
Alex (in Ukrainian to Grandfather): "He is afraid of dogs"
Grandfather (in Ukrainian to Alex): "Bullshit, no one is afraid of dogs"
Alex: "My grandfather informs me that this is not possible."
.
Everything is Illuminated is a comedy, but it is not lightweight, nor is it feel-good and fluffy. There is great tragedy within this film, unexplained and unresolved, personal tragedy set in the present and historical tragedy of a people.
This film will make you ponder the nature of human cruelty and compassion, at the same time that it will have you quoting such gems as:
"many girls wish to be carnal with me because I am such a premium dancer"
And now, because you have indulged me so kindly as I have attempted to explain why you must see this film, here is a taste of the irrepressible Gogol Bordello - 60 Revolutions.






And I'm not sure why I included this picture of Eugene Hutz with a little old baba, but I just found it sweet.

Eva found the photo and she also just finished reading the book, so I've got a pile of catching up to do if I want to be as well versed in this genre as she is...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hmmm, let's see ... go to the mall on Boxing Day ... reread Bridget Jones's Diary ... decisions, decisions

Of course you realize I am being facetious, as I consider shopping to be on par with dental surgery and drug-free childbirth, something to be tolerated only as a last resort and only when there are no other options available.
According to today's newpapers, Chinook Centre averages 80,000 people going through the mall on Boxing Day. I can barely stand to read a number like that, let along be one of that number being elbowed and jostled and shuffling along like cattle to wait in line, if you are fortunate enough to get a parking space, that is.
I am barely leaving my favourite chair today.
Something I would far prefer to do today is to reread Bridget Jones's Diary.
Now I think BJD has been unfairly maligned as of late, and I blame it on all the inferior poseurs who jumped gleefully on the chick-lit bandwagon following the success of Bridget Jones. We are of course, all sick to death of this genre by now, and understandably so, but to read the original without having the weight of all the johnny-come-latelies dragging it down, is a joyous and refreshing experience. Bridget Jones is such a hilarious and sassy and confused mess of a modern single woman, that I want to go hang out in a pub with her.

Actually, where I really want to go with Bridget is to Una and Geoffery Alconbury's New Year's Turkey Curry Buffet. I am fascinated with that concept.
Where do Una and Geoffery get the turkey from to have a turkey curry buffet on New Year's? Is it leftover from Christmas? Would you eat week-old turkey, disguised by curry? Unless you like stomach cramps accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting, I should think that I would pass on that. And if the turkey is freshly cooked for the event, why wouldn't you serve it as a roast turkey? Who curries anything but leftover turkey? And besides, what did they have at Christmas then? Surely not turkey.
I've had this discussion with Eva, who has suggested they had ham for Christmas, but that's just wrong in my opinion. Although I understand that the British do often have a big roast beef at Christmas.
If you can shed any light on this mystery, I would be grateful, and hopefully the truth will not diminish the charm of Bridget Jones's Diary for me.

Alas, though, I will have to leave the rereading of this for another day, as I am still trying to finish Brendan Behan's Borstal Boy. Eva wants to have a book club discussion with me when I am done, so I should try to finish during the Christmas holidays.

But I have said too much already. The first rule of Book Club .... you don't talk about Book Club.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Secular Zombie Christmas



Allison reminded me about the joys of newsprint. Back when I was a starving student I used coloured comics to wrap presents, and when I was a new mom, I scored 4 endrolls of blank newsprint that lasted about 10 years. I used it as plain paper wrap, or embellished it with pear or handprint stencils. When you have a toddler in the house, you might as well put her to good use.
Over the years, we got away from the newsprint wrapping, but then after Allison mentioned it, I thought it was time to resurrect the practice. I particularly liked her idea of tailoring the newspaper section to the person to whom the gift is addressed.
Jerry took it to a whole new level, by circling certain words in the ads to give hints about the contents.
This is a tradition I plan on maintaining.


- this cat wants to get the party started.

The cookies were good, but these were the best thing I have ever tasted in my life. I found them at the fancy-assed cheese shop in Willow Park.




Sputnik sure looks thrilled that Eva got a bass for Christmas. Or perhaps it's the huge rib-crushing bear-hug that she is so thrilled about. You know she's going to want to check out that box, though.









- argueably the most successful cat present we have ever found.

The little mouse inside runs around on a circuit and absolutely drives the cat bat-shit crazy!



- Hope your Christmas was messy and filling and lazy -

And some non-secular tattoos ...
- Mentos Jesus -
- Picasso Jesus -

- Smiths Jesus -

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas cookies: the boy with the filthy laugh


That's the title of the new workout cd I made today.
I'm pretty happy with it, as I used medium-paced songs that are perfect for running on the eliptical, with lots of hand-claps and such for interest's sake. I didn't want to use anything too hard-paced during this cookie-scarfing season, as I don't feel like taking a heart attack. But I really must do something about the10 pounds that I managed to gain this year (without even trying! yay me), so that I can make room for the new Christmas fat.

Here's the playlist:
If I should fall from grace with god - the Pogues
Death of a tune - the Hidden Cameras
The boy with the arab strap - Belle and Sebastian
Paint it black - the Rolling Stones
La le la la - Kinnie Starr
Hello time bomb - Matthew Good Band
Car jamming - the Clash
This sentence will ruin/save your life - Born Ruffians
Senorita - James
Bones - Radiohead
Let's fall in love and run away from here - Ballboy
Shoulders and arms - Tokyo Police Club
There is power in a union - Billy Bragg

Strummerville - Stiff Little Fingers

Doot doot plot - the Hidden Cameras

The chimbley sweep - the Decemberists
The ballad of a lonely construction worker - Cuff the Duke
Skeleton key - Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
Sons and daughters - the Decemberists
Stay - the Ladies and Gentlemen

Graveyard - Chad VanGaalen
Macarena - Great Aunt Ida

If you are doing 45 minutes of cardio, it actually ends up perfectly with the cardio session ending with Strummerville, which is a fast-paced song, and I don't know about you, but I like to end the cardio part with a push.

If you want me to send you a copy to get you started on purging those Christmas excesses, let me know.

In the meantime, pass the shortbread.

--
Pitchfork has the story "Colbert cheats to victory over Decemberists!" and they have a link where you can watch the show in its entirety. If you haven't seen it, it's well worth the click.
--
I heard Cindy Klassen, Olympic medalist in speed skating and cycling, on CBC radio today. She had gone to Africa with cross-country ski Olympic medalist, Sara Renner, to do a doc on a program that allows kids in developing countries the opportunity to play and to be involved in sport. She actually donated her entire savings account to the effort, and hearing her passion and compassion made me want to be a better person.
I had actually asked for a goat for Christmas from Ten Thousand Villages, but if I don't get one, I'm going to go out after Christms and buy one myself. Or maybe a bunch of chickens.

No peaking and pass the turkey

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Keep off the crack; respect your Nan
... and other Christmas sentiments
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Round about this time every year, I find I need a break from all the Christmas hype, or I'll be burned out come Christmas Day.
Other than picking up the entire Seasons 4 and 5 of South Park from the video store (but those are earmarked for later in the week - for pyjama day), I find that gems like this clip of Jarvis Cocker singing Help the Aged with Ali G usually hit the spot.
Besides, with all the emphasis on Borat lately, isn't it time we brought back Ali G?
"Me Nan is 63, her name be Sheila, she always on the phone to her muthafuckin dealah"


Friday, December 22, 2006

.
It was four years ago today that the world lost Joe Strummer, suddenly, shockingly, and decades too early. I still can't believe he is gone. As Stiff Little Fingers so rightly sing, we won't be playing Strummerville again.
.
I wish I had a copy of Let's Rock Again. I notice that you can now buy it on-line, so I'll have to look into that. No doubt I will have scads of excess Christmas moolah to spend shortly.
.
And in an example of life imitating art, or at least computer programs acknowledging history, today's Friday random shuffle playlist was heavily weighted toward Brit-pop, Mozart and M Ward being the only deviations. Appropriately, there is even one Clash song.
.
Here's the Strummerville edition of the Friday random playlist:
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1. A scanner darkly - Primal Scream
2. Chinese translation - M Ward
3. Subterranean homesick alien - Radiohead
4. Rock the Casbah - the Clash
5. Horn concerto in E flat - Mozart
6. Is it wicked not to care - Belle and Sebastian
7. Dialogue: mandingo cliche - Belle and Sebastian
8. Please please please let me get what I want - the Smiths
9. How come - the Pogues
10. Stretch out and wait - the Smiths
*
Stay off the roads and away from the malls if at all possible, you gorgeous beings, it's bat-shit crazy out there.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Guess who's not going back to work till January 8, in the year two thousand and seven?

Yeah, that's right - I'm a spoiled bitch.
I have to get up at 6:00 tomorrow anyway, but I still feel like dancing around the house.

Here are my big plans for the holidays:
- eat more turkey than has previously been recorded in the history of human existence

- make a large pile of music magazines - that have been ignored over the last couple of months - beside my favourite chair, and pour myself a glass of sherry and flip through the music gossip in between sips and admiring glances at the Christmas tree.

- finish reading Borstal Boy and have that book club discussion that Eva has been hinting at

- stay in my pyjamas for an entire day, watching episodes of South Park, and then order pizza for supper

- read lots of blogs, and write lots of posts, including some of the ones I've been threatening to write:

- a separated at birth pic spam,
- a review of that wonderful film which has ties to that crazy band,
- a profile of Kinnie Starr,
- a profile of Tokyo Police Club,
- a compare and contrast piece on Jeff Mangum vs Colin Meloy,

- and much much more.


I am so pumped.

**
Hey , Momus came to visit! He noticed the shortbread cookie that Eva had decorated up to look like him and posted a bit about it on his site. He also stole our picture, but he is more than welcome to it. We know it is in good hands.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cookie Spam (the good kind)
The annual shortbread bake happened this weekend, and as usual, the cookie decorating degenerated into an exercise in subversion.
Here are some samples. Warning: twisted minds were let loose with sprinkles and icing tubes.
--
Momus - Eva decorated an homage to her favourite one-eyed, apron-wearing Scottish folksinger. She maintains that those are not nipples; those are buttons.
beheaded snowman -who knew the old man would have so much blood in him?
Santa pooping his pants. This is when the decorating really starting sinking to a South Park level.
---
Don't forget - the battle of the century
12:30 am on CTV - but check your local listings
Who will win the Decemberists vs Stephen Colbert Guitar Solo Challenge?
- will it be Stephen Colbert?

- or will it be Chris Funk of the Decemberists?
It's gonna be a dog fight!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

When the War Came: gentle readers, start your VCRs

Or whatever fancy recording equipment you use. Or, if it is biologically possible for you, simply stay up late Wednesday, December 20 and watch the Colbert Report. because it is going to be the most important show of the year.

Thanks to the ever-vigilant Will at the Record Room, I first became aware of a festering feud between Stephen Colbert and my beloved Decemberists. Seems Colbert had taken issue with the fact that the Decemberists had filmed their video for O Valencia! against a green screen and were inviting fans to re-animate the video for them. In a segment entitled "Who's Riding My Coattails Now?", Colbert argued that he had in fact invented the green screen challenge with his light saber video and that the Decemberists were nothing but a bunch of sneak thieves. He called upon viewers to edit him into the Decemberists' video where, with his light saber, he would "slice off their legs at the knee".

Things, as they often will, escalated. Colin Meloy then issued a counter challenge via Pitchfork by issuing the "Very First Decemberists vs StephenColbert Guitar Solo Challenge", with this slap in the face: "Let's see what kind of man you really are - Let's SHRED!"

"To further rub salt in the wound, Decemberists' HQ issued the memorandum that "we already played out the light saber thing months earlier, live and on stage-- sans animation, stunt double and fancy green screen-- with pure rock, sweat and C batteries." Ooooh, fightin' words!
And as proof the Decemberists posted this video evidence of a light saber fight during a performance of The Chimbley Sweep at a concert in San Francisco. (I know it's a long video, but it's well worth sticking around to the end just to see the patented guitar god jump.)

And just when you thought it couldn't get any weirder, the intrepid Hilary alerted us to the fact that Colbert had accepted the Decemberists' counter-challenge, and that they will appear on the Colbert Report Wednesday night to compete in a sure to be legendary guitar solo challenge. Colbert claims to even be giving the band "home-field advantage by having the contest in December."

The Decemberists, never a band to shy away from an adversary, will send in multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk to take on Colbert in a death match. Here's Funk's strategy for total guitar solo challenge domination:

"I'm going to dust off my white high-top Reeboks, slide on my stirrup pants and chug a two-liter of Mountain Dew."

Oh, it's on!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nuclear Meltdown Narrowly Averted
Last night I broke my blog. Really badly.
I know I have gone on record as saying that if we do not multi-task, then the terrorists will have won, but sometimes I can carry the multi-tasking to stupid and dangerous levels.
So there I was, merrily wrapping up gifts, while ripping cds onto my laptop, when I decided that I should update my daily quote and lyrics before we settled down for movie night. Do you know how hard it is to wrap presents without using your thumb? It's damn hard, which is why cats have not yet taken over the world, I guess. It's hard enough to wrap presents without using your thumb, but it's even worse when you feel like passing out whenever you accidentally do touch your thumb, but I am starting to sound like a whiner and besides I am digressing horribly.
Now, much as I love my laptop, it has one idiosyncrasy which drive me crazy. The mouse pad is extremely sensitive and will sometimes jump to a different spot without any provocation. And I guess that's what happened last night, because I finished my updating, and had saved the changes in the template and republished (thereby finalizing the changes) before I realized that I had in fact deleted 3/4 of my sidebar, including all of my personal links, my favourite site links, all of my music links, PLUS the links to all of my archived posts since July 2005.
And then I banged my sore thumb.
Then people starting hollering to come down into the family room to watch Talledega Nights: the Legend of Ricky Bobby (yes, we were going for the art house film last night) and I got extremely grumpy, in addition to nauseous.
After the room stopped spinning, I went on the Blogger Help message board and pleaded for help, then went downstairs to watch the film with a heavy heart. Not even Ricky Bobby's grace to "little baby Jesus sitting in your crib watching Baby Einstein developmental dvds, learning about shapes and colours" could shake me out of my funk.
And then my heroes came through. Big time.
Rat suggested that I find a cached version of my blog on the internet and use that to recover my links and, once I found one, Eva showed me how to save the cached version in raw code so that I could pick out and copy the parts I needed. And it worked!
WHEW!!!!!
These guys are the bomb. I shall name my first grandchild after them. Somehow.
**
Here's a wee taste of some of the cds we scored yesterday. Perfect shortbread baking music, I think.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Now that's the way to Christmas shop

Eva finishes school at 1:30 on Fridays, so yesterday afternoon we took a trip down to Kensington to do a little Christmas shopping. Kensington is a great little village in the heart of Calgary that reminds me very much of my old neighbourhood of Wortley Village back in London, ON. Lots of funky little shops and tea houses and the best used record store in the city - Hot Wax Records. I had noticed that the Kensington Riverside Inn was decorated up as Whoville, so I got the family photog to get a few shots. I especially like the lime green Whoville wreaths.

Hot Wax Records was a gold mine yesterday. First all, both the old hippie guy and Lorrie Matheson, local singer, curmudgeon and top-notch Ralph Klein critic, were working at the store. As we walked in the door, I heard Eva exclaim delightedly, "they're both here!" and I knew she wasn't talking about any cds she had found.
I finally told Lorrie how much we enjoyed his performances at the Calgary Folk Festival this summer and he admired our cd choices.Although it was a trifle embarassing when he asked if these were Christmas presents and we had to admit that, no, all fourteen cds were for us. (They were used, it was a hell of a bargain, so lay off me!)
Hot Wax is the most well organized used record store I have ever tried to peruse. Not only is every cd properly filed, but they are alphabetized within each letter of the alphabet, not just all the "g"s lumped together. Plus they are categorized and they have a "just in" section where I found three killer finds.
After the Hot Wax stop, we found the really cool present that we had planned to get for Jerry (don't say anything to him) and Eva pretended she didn't know I was getting her some stuff at the art supply store.
We topped off the afternoon with a lovely break at the Oolong Tea House where we not only got the covetted window table, but I had the most wonderful London Fog tea and Eva had a mango smoothy and, piggies that we are, we shared a piece of carrot cake and a blueberry thing. The Oolong tea house has a great atmosphere, slightly dishevelled but comfortable, with soothing sage walls and wood cabinets loaded with tea blends. It's the kind of place where you could happily while away the afternoon sipping tea and people watching. Even the bathrooms were charming.
All in all, it was a most civilized and relaxing way to go Christmas shopping, even if we spent most of our money on ourselves.
But check out the great used cds we got:
.
Barb:
- Pixies - at the BBC
- the Pretenders - Learning to Crawl
- Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - The Dust of Retreat
- Jesus and Mary Chain - Psycho Candy (we already had the songs, but not the cd)
- the Replacements - Stink
- Falconhawk - Here's Your Ghost
- James - B-Sides Ultra
- the The - Love is Stronger than Death EP
- Hylozoists - la Fin du Monde (I had to ask Eva if anybody bought this already because it was on my Christmas wish list)
Eva:
- Sparks - Music that You can Dance to
- the Fall - Perverted by Language
- Lush - Spooky
- James - Gold Mother
- Kirsty MacColl - Titanic Days
.
Now that's what I call Christmas shopping.

Friday, December 15, 2006

You better watch out, I'm telling you why...

I tried to buy men's underwear today.

Jerry's mom always used to buy him new socks and underwear at Christmas and I thought I would take over the tradition, not that I am trying to be his mother, you can put that thought right out of your head. But it seems like such a useful ubiquitous gift, except if you are Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, I guess.

When we were still living in London and used to spend Christmas with Jerry's mom and dad, one year we brought along a friend of ours who had just moved to town and wasn't going home for Christmas.
Jerry's parents quite liked Darryll Dicks, but they could never get a handle on his name. "Harold" was as close as they could get, or sometimes they called him "Dick" or "Rudy" (because he was a ginger). But they couldn't seem to pronounce "Darryll", although being big Toronto Maple Leaf fans, they had no problems with the name Darryl Sittler. Drop the "Sittler" off there, though, and they were lost.

So this one Christmas that Darryll joined us, Jerry's mom bought Darryll a stack of socks and underwear as well. It's what the boys got. And the tag, which I believe Darryll still has to this day, read:
to Dick,
love Ma

Anyhoo, in the boy's underwear department today, I got a little freaked out, not only by the selection, but also by the packaging. Now I know how men feel if you send them to the drugstore to buy tampons.

I swear some of those packages were digitally enhanced. One in particular had a 3-D effect in the most pertinent location, if you know what I'm sayin'. I kinda wanted to touch it to see if it actually was 3-D, but I was afraid to in case the store security cameras caught me perving out in the men's undie department. I don't want that on my permanent record.

In the end, I left without buying any undies. It was too overwhelming. He's just getting socks.

**

This week's Friday random shuffle spat this out at me:

1. Munich - Editors

2. California - Stan Rogers

3. Saints - the Breeders

4. Coyote - Joni Mitchell (I think Media Player has a crush on Joni)

5. Backdrifts - Radiohead

6. A Summer Wasting - Belle and Sebastian

7. Deep One Perfect Morning - Jesus and Mary Chain

8. In My Place - Coldplay (ouch, that's a trifle embarassing)

9. Anchorless - the Weakerthans

10. Souvenirs - Christine Fellows (wow that's weird, seeing as Christine Fellows is married to John K Samson of the Weakerthans; isn't it cute how they stick together? See, Media Player is all-knowing).

Have a great Friday night, all you beautiful creatures.

I'm done my Christmas shopping, nyah nyah nyah nyah.!

Time for a big-assed glass of red wine.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

When you first took my hand on that cold Christmas Eve,
you promised me Broadway was waiting for me
.
I've heard tell of an Irish pub in Montreal that, come Christmastime, plays Fairytale of New York on a continuous loop 24/7. I can get behind that. I've listened to it about 17 times already today and I'm just getting started.
.
Ben was asking for my favourite Christmas songs, and I have to confess that I actually really enjoy Christmas songs, with the exception of those bastardized ones that come about when misguided, but presumably well-meaning, singers attempt to inject some hip into old standards. And then there are those that sounded bastardized from their very inception. I'm glaring right at you, Jingle Bell Rock! Don't ever play that around me if you don't want a fruitcake shoved up your bum.
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I do love Handel's Messiah, but I've already posted a few selections from that. Beware - I may subject you to a few more in the next couple of weeks.
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And I do have a soft spot for Eartha Kitt's Santa Baby. I have fond memories of my niece, Kristen, belting it out at the top of her lungs as a wee one.
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But I really need to hear Fairytale of New York again, so here's the video.
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- RIP Kirsty MacColl -


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

First things first ...
Happy Birthday to both the lovely Kees and to my equally lovely niece, Jane.
You are both premium people!
Kees, because you asked, here is the picture of the squashed thumb.
I trust that it is as exciting as you'd hoped. We aim to please.

Voila la mantelpiece, all ready for Martha's inspection.

Four years ago we received a mystery parcel on our doorstep containing a quite lovely partridge in a pear tree (not live, neither the partridge not the pair tree) and since then every year, post-marked the Yukon, Edmonton, and this year Philadelphia, we have received 2 turtledoves, 3 french hens, and 4 calling birds. They formed the theme for the mantel this year.

This year's Charlie Brown tree, being guarded by the attack cat.

Last year we won the centrepiece at Jerry's Christmas party.
This year I stuck some fresh greens in it and called it done.


- photo makeovers by eva -
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Once the insane prep season is done, I simply must tell you about the funniest, most endearing film I've seen this year, which you've likely not even heard of. It has an intimate connection with a certain Gypsy Punk band.
Curious?
-- oh yeah, I've had a bitch of a time trying to leave comments on some blogs today, specifically John's and Toccata's, so I'm not ignoring you guys, it's just that Blogger hates you --