Monday, April 30, 2007

Kris Demeanor's Dad

It has been such a long time since we were at a concert (early December) that Saturday night’s folksy singer-songwriter offering was probably a very good way to ease back into the concert scene. I think a Gogol Bordello concert likely would have killed us.

It was a little odd to waltz into the Grand Theatre just before showtime, expecting to plop ourselves against our favourite wall and up in the mosh area respectively, only to discover that there was seating. We had to rapidly adjust our expectations. Fortunately we are resilient when called upon to be, and even more fortunately we scored seats in the front row, which had been left empty by virtue of a “this seat reserved” sign on a third empty seat. However, as it did specifically state “this” seat, and I was prepared to debate semantics if questioned, we scooped up the other two empty seats.

Lorrie Matheson opened the night with an oddly sombre set. Now, I love Lorrie as a personality and a righteous curmudgeon, and as the bushy-headed dude who works at Hot Wax Used Records. He’s a fixture in the Calgary music scene. And he’s glorious when he’s belting out rants which rip against local politicians and the state of life under a perpetually Conservative Alberta government. But that side of Lorrie wasn’t really prevalent that night; perhaps it was the departure of Ralph Klein as our fearless premier or maybe it was that the songs he chose were largely focussed on suicide and sadness, but there seemed to be a lack of spark in his music. I wanted to like his set more than I did.

Dan Bern, the American singer-songwriter, headlined the evening, and I recall him being very funny and kind of adorable at the folk festival last year. And he was largely entertaining; he has a quirky outlook on life and my favourite pieces of his were those odd and rambling songs in which he sang about things like what he would do each day in his first two weeks as President of the US.

And then, just before Dan Bern’s last song of his encore, Kris Demeanor’s dad totally stole the show. Dan was just introducing a song he had written about Roger Federer, when he launched into a rambling explanation as to how he came to write the song. He had heard Kris Demeanor (another Calgary musical institution) at the folk festival last summer singing about how he and his dad were harassed by a group of juvenile delinquents while they were trying to play a game of tennis.
Dan stopped his explanation, called out “Kris, are you here tonight” and got a “yup” from deep within the audience. “Come on up here and play that song, will you?”

Now I heard this song at the folk fest as well, and I remember almost peeing myself at the hilarity and the pitch-perfect German accent that Kris used while speaking in his father’s character. On Saturday night, Kris completely changed the final part of the song so that his father’s final monologue, in which he completely crushes these kids albeit in a very measure and polite manner, was entirely different from the first time I heard it. I couldn’t even begin to do it justice by attempting to describe it, but suffice it to say that the audience was roaring. Kris’ dad totally and utterly stole the show, and he wasn’t even there.

And it must have been more than a little hard for Dan Bern to come back and sing his final song after being upstaged like that, but he seemed to take it well in stride.

Generally, it was a pretty good concert, and I’m glad we went, but it was really more suited to taking in whilst sitting in the shade, leaning against a tree. It was a folk festival performance and ultimately it was a little lost in the darkness of a funky downtown venue on a Saturday night.

On to the Labia Awards. Sweet baby Jesus, you folks had some awesome labels this week. This thing just keeps getting harder and harder. On the one hand I applaud the creativity and the razor-sharp wit, but on the other hand, having to make these tough decisions every week is going to drive me to drink.
This week's award goes to:
for this mind-boggling gem:
places where i'd like to go legless to have dinner with 3 people and eat
disgusting food while creating an environmental law
Have a great week everybody. Remember, tomorrow is May Day - a labour holiday in some parts of the world, in other parts, a day in which to fornicate outdoors with impunity.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gogol Bordello rocked the shtetel

Coachella has some live feeds of performances that are worth watching, if Gogol Bordello's performance is any indication. And Eugene Hutz wore those exact same pants! I missed Tokyo Police Club, Of Montreal, Rufus Wainwright, Arcade Fire (who are being reported as spectacular), Bjork (ditto on the spectacular), Regina Spektor and Andrew Bird, but did manage to catch Gogol Bordello absolutely tear the pants off the place.

But I will be home today, so plan to catch Junior Boys, Kaiser Chiefs and Klaxons.

NME, meanwhile, has pretty decent coverage of the scene and some decent photos, which is where we were able to verify the information from the anonymous tipster that William Reid has indeed gone pudgy, but is still attempting to rock the JAMC hair and leather. Sad, really. Jim still looks great though.

I am a rather disappointed by the perplexing move of having Scarlett Johansson sing backup for them on Just Like Honey on Friday night. Yeah yeah I get the connection to Lost in Translation, but it sure doesn't do much to dispell the rumours that the JAMC are only reuniting to make a buttload of money. And whatever happened to the rule of no actors on stage?

Jarvis Cocker, on the other hand, is being reported to be a model of graciousness and civility. NME reports that while watching Tilly and the Wall on Friday, Jarvis was repeatedly approached by people asking to take their photos with him, to which he replied every single time "Alright. If you want." What a real nice guy you are, Jarvis!

Later today, a review of some live music that I actually attended in person last night, plus of course the Labias. Y'all come back now, hear?

Friday, April 27, 2007

William Reid's hair

(photo from

That, naturally, is a huge topic of conversation around the house lately, what with the Coachella Music Festival beginning this afternoon. What does William's hair look like these days? We know that Jim has shorn his and is looking like a still fit but much more sensible elder rocker, but William has always been a wild card. Big prize to the first person who can send me a photo of William Reid at Coachella.
I hope the Jesus and Mary Chain will be getting lots of love from the festival crowd. I'm pretty sure they will be, as I can't possibly be the only person who is having vapours at the thought of the second coming of the JAMC.
(photo from

Jarvis Cocker also appears to have had his locks trimmed in anticipation of performing in the desert. He will of course also be playing a show in Vancouver next week, to which I desperately wanted to go, to the point of looking into scoring tickets. Sadly, Jarv will be playing at an adult only venue and my concert buddy does not yet qualify. It would have made a great 16th birthday present for her though, n'est pas?

Isn't young Albert Cocker adorable?

So for all of you who will not be watching the Jesus and Mary Chain, Jarvis Cocker, Bjork, Sonic Youth, Rufus Wainwright, Tokyo Police Club, Of Montreal, Gogol Bordello, Arcade Fire, the Decemberists, Arctic Monkeys, the Good the Bad and the Queen, Peaches, New Pornographers, the Black Keys, !!!, Andrew Bird, Air, MSTRKRFT, Peter Bjorn & John (but I am seeing them in a few weeks - yay!), Happy Mondays, Rage Against the Machine, Kaiser Chiefs, Lily Allen, Junior Boys, Klaxons, Amy Winehouse, Lupe Fiasco, or Mika this weekend, you are not alone, my friends. I feel your pain.

It should come as no great surprise that this Friday's Random Playlist gives a nod to the great wall of music coming from the desert this weekend:

April Skies - the Jesus and Mary Chain
Barely Legal - the Strokes
I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor - Sugababes cover
Middle of Nowhere - Hot Hot Heat
Kiss Me - Uncut
Satellite - the Dave Matthews Band
Blue Light - Bloc Party
Anything - Kinnie Starr
Ballad of a Comeback Kid - New Pornographers
Atlantis to Interzone - Klaxons

So join me in slapping on the sunblock and settling down in front of YouTube to live vicariously, pretending that we're teenagers again. The JAMC on the beach in their leather pants - HAHA! - they're going to love Coachella!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

the frauds among you

Today I managed to sit through five hours of scientific presentations without retaining a single iota of information. I believe in keeping my brain virginal for my lord.

This is what it looked like inside my head during the morning sessions of Brain Research Day: "blah blah microglia blag blah astrocytes and photon imaging ooo I wonder what we're having for lunch blah blah membrane potential", all the while looking attentive and engaged. It's a gift.

I did learn a few things though. This is what I observed:

  • approximately 30% of the men in the audience were wearing striped button-down shirts
  • the average age of PhD graduates is now 14, while the average age of professors lies somewhere between 40 and 120
  • arial is the overwhelmingly favoured font of choice in scientific presentations
  • they should really consider handing out emery boards with the agendas and name tags, as these conferences offer excellent opportunities to fix up those nails a bit, and mine are really rather ragged
  • scientists do not favour the wearing of the fringe. I spotted only 5 fringes amongst the males (and this was in an audience which included grad students), although I have to admit that one lad was sporting a rather fabulous emo kid fringe and that made up for the plethora of science-boy cuts
  • the spinal cord and nerve regeneration program is actually pretty cool, and the neuroArm program which builds medical robots is fucking awesome
  • a presentation explaining the math behind magnetic resonance imaging is not the most boring thing in the history of the world - electrophysiology is.

All in all, a damned fine Research Day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

million dollar smile

Eva had her braces removed today, and I had my hair dyed, so all in all we are a pretty beautiful family right now.

This was actually Eva's second round of braces and Jerry swears that if that evil millionaire orthodontist tells us she needs something else, he's going to personally invite him out to the parking lot to have it out, rich mano et poor mano. That son of a bitch has paid for enough equestrian lessons for his kids on the back of our kid's teeth. Well, you know what I mean.

Meanwhile we are bracing ourselves for an almost inevitable transit strike, probably by the end of next week. Jerry is actually very excited about it, because that means he will be leaving work at 2:30 three days a week in order to pick Eva up from school. Seeing as it takes her two buses and a train to get home from school, there's some sort of child welfare law that disallows us from telling her to walk.

Jerry's already got his game face on in anticipation of people either trying to get rides with him (he'll be sure to play the picking up the kid card) or people heading to work earlier in an attempt to get a parking spot. His lot is pretty darned empty when he arrives at about 6:30am, but I hope that he isn't forced to start even earlier just to maintain his parking spot. He already wakes me when he gets up at 4:45, I don't think I could handle it if he started getting up at 3:00 or something. Of course Jerry has the sense (?) to go to bed at 8:30, but I am such a wild thing that I insist on staying up till 11:30. I tell you, it's just wild night after wild night around this place.

But at least we look good.

Monday, April 23, 2007

cheaper than airfare

If you can't afford a trip to Scotland either, you can still watch a couple of great Scottish bands that aren't even the Jesus and Mary Chain or Belle and Sebastian.

The first is I Don't Have Time to Stand Here With You Fighting About the Size of My Dick by the wonderful and highly under-rated Ballboy:

And here is Movin' On Up by Primal Scream. Bobby G must have been on some good drugs that day, but I see he still raided his mother's blouse closet.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

This information is vital to your research

Never being one able to resist talking about myself, when JustRun offered to interview anyone who volunteered themselves to be scrutinized, there I was, squirming in my desk at the front of the room, flinging my arm up in the air, intoning "Pick me, pick me! I know the answer!" under my breath.

JustRun, being innately kind, took pity on the pathetic kid with the weird frizzy hair and sent me
these five questions:

1. If you had to choose one, what's your number one rule to live by?
It probably sounds extremely lame, but I would chose the simplicity of "treat others as you would like them to treat you". I honestly believe that many of the world's problems would be eliminated if we just treated each other with more respect and consideration. (I could easily win the Miss Universe contest with that answer!)

2. What task will you almost always put off completing?
I have such a long list of tasks which I almost always put off completing, that it's a wonder that I ever get anything done at all. At work, I'll naturally always put off the most complicated and time-consuming ones. With housework, I always figure that nobody ever notices if the dusting didn't actually happen. I always manage to leave completing my taxes until the last week. My lower abs never quite get the workout they deserve; I always leave those to the end, because they make me all dizzy. I'm so good at putting things off that I even end up putting off reading the newspapers more often than I care to admit. For this I blame the evilly addictive internetz.

3. If you had the choice, would you want to be a mind reader? Why or why not?
NO! I think I would really rather not know what people are thinking much of the time. Especially about me.

4. Do you own flip flops? Please provide a photo if possible.
Indeed I do, miss, indeed I do. I actually discovered a few pairs at the back of the front closet, but I like these best, as they don't rub betwixt my toes, plus the sole is made of some nubby twisty stuff like the non-hooked part of the Velcro equation. It's like getting a foot massage when you walk in these. They are also waterproof and perfect for the beach.
5. What's your dream travel destination? Will you ever go there (or go again if you've already been)?
I haven't been anywhere in so long, any place looks great right about now. That said, I have always been had a hankering to visit the Scandinavian countries and Iceland. I think it's partly because they and their inhabitants are compared to Canada fairly often, and I'd like to see if the comparisons are valid.
I would never turn down an opportunity to lounge on a tropical beach absolutely anywhere (especially now that I have my passport).
But my number one travel destination would be Scotland. I blame my fascination with this country on those accents and also on
this and these guys and these guys and this and these guys and these guys too.

So here's how you can play along, if you are game:
  • Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me!"
  • I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick them, and you have to answer them all.
  • You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
  • You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  • When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Sound good? I am anxiously awaiting the chance to grill you mercilessly.
You people were really on top of your game with your labels this week. I wish I had a gazillion bucks to give each one of you who had a killer label. Sadly, you will have to settle for my undying admiration.
But I am happy to announce that the winner of this week's Labia Award is:

Those are the kind of evocative, yet pleasingly alliterative efforts that can't miss.
Have a great week everybody. Don't do as I did and almost forget to do your taxes.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

me and the hippies, we be hangin

Sure it's still three months away, but I am starting to get seriously excited about the Folk Festival this year. Why, you might ask, why are you already so excited about this admittedly fantastic summer festival, Bad Tempered?

Well kiddies, have a seat and I'll tell you why. This year for the first time I am volunteering at the folk fest. This is a highly sought volunteering gig in Calgary. There is actually a waiting list to volunteer.

This morning I attended an orientation session for volunteers, where I had the added bonus of meeting Hilary, who's a newbie volunteer as well. Your hair looks totally cute by the way, Hilary. Being women of exquisite taste, we ended up signing up to work the same area, so with any luck we'll run into each other during the four days, perhaps even work a shift together.

I went in not really caring where I was placed; I just wanted to get more involved, as it really is a fabulous festival and it sounded like a buttload of fun working for 16 hours over 4 days out in the sunshine and amongst the shade trees of beautiful Prince's Island Park. But when the volunteer coordinator starting listing off the areas for volunteers - beer gardens, hospitality, merchandise, information, artist liaison, I found myself thinking yeah anything except the kid's area or in the sun the whole time.

And then she said record tent and I knew that was the job for me. They want people who have a real interest in talking about the musicians and who are willing to do background research about the participating artists beforehand so that they can advise people who are looking for music by a particular artist, or perhaps advise on other musicians that people might like if they are interested in a particular artist or genre.

Is that a perfect gig or what?

I can hardly wait to start doing my homework.

(Volunteer perks: free four-day passes, 6 all-you-can-eat meals,
a t-shirt, free beer, ample opportunity to meet the artists, and after-parties on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Niiiiiiice or what?)

Friday, April 20, 2007


The offspring finished her last ever in her entire life gym class this week. The nice gym teacher with the lady abs actually made the kid's final experience with taking gym a fun one, which was such a positive way to end things after three years of being tormented by that psychotic nazi who had delusions of coaching a Superbowl championship team or something.

Of course it didn't hurt that the kid was enrolled in an IB gym class either. Those gifties aren't too competitive when they have to trade in their chemistry sets for volleyballs.

But for their final ever in their lives gym class, the IB gym class took on another gym class in a field hockey game. The final score: 6-1 gifties against the normals. And my kid got two assists.

So this Friday Random Playlist is in honour of the gifties, who know how to dig deep when they have to:

B-Boy Stance - K-Os
Deciding on Lucifer - Cuff the Duke
Rubber Ring - the Smiths
Oh Comely - Neutral Milk Hotel
Lime Tree - Bright Eyes
Don't Wait That Long - James
Sex in the Prairies - Kinnie Starr
God, What Have I Done - Buzzcocks
I Just Want to Have Something to Do - the Ramones
60 Revolutions - Gogol Bordello

May you astound the world with your prowess this weekend, spinning a basketball effortlessly on your index finger whilst hackey-sacking behind your back with one leg. You are the champions.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

dodged a couple

We did not get the 35 cm of snow that we were warned about. In fact, even though it's been snowing since last night, it's been just warm enough to melt on impact. So it's messy, but essentially we are just getting a damned good rain. Might be a different story overnight, but I don't really give a shit because I don't have to drive to work tomorrow.

My laptop went weird on me last night, complete with the power cord chirping oddly and the battery acting weird and the whole thing freezing up and I couldn't turn it off, even with a hard turn-off, oi vey.

I even dreamed about it last night. I dreamed that I uploaded a photo of a battlefield and someone told me that it was actually a worm-virus and if you looked closely at the soldier's helmet you could see a dark spot, which was actually a tunnel through which all my laptop's information was being sucked out. And that made perfect sense to me.

And at work I checked out a few geek sites which pretty much convinced me that I would be without my computer for a few months. I'm as bad as a first year med student, convinced I have everything from leprosy to Munchhausen's By Proxy. I should never try to self-diagnose my computer.

One call to Toshiba fixed everything up. I'm back and you never even knew I was gone.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

a return to the ridiculous

The Parking Authority at work has successfully bamboozled me once again. Well done, Parking Authority! You win, I bow to your greater creativity.

Did I ever tell you about how I was on a waiting list for a year and a half before even receiving a parking spot (during which time I paid $10/day to park in the visitors' lot - when I was able to snag a spot there, that is)? Well, that's another story for another day. (And the visitors' lot is now $15.00/day.)

I pay a ridiculous amount to park at work and I pay full rate even though I work 3 days a week. It's like paying to park downtown without any of the nasty distractions of downtown, such as restaurants or coffee shops or stores. Woohoo!

When I first got a parking spot, I was required to cut Parking a cheque three times a year, which I did by crossing the street to the parking office and paying in person. Then I was notified that in future, my credit card would automatically be billed three times a year. Fine.

And then I started to receive invoices for parking, and when I phoned to find out what that was all about, was told that for some reason "the system" automatically sends out invoices monthly, and to ignore them. Okay. That seems like a remarkably inventive use of funds, considering there are several thousand people who park on this campus.

So I ignored the next several monthly invoices, and it wasn't until about 8 months later that I realized that my credit card statement had not contained any parking charges in a long time. And that's when I noticed the note on the bottom of the invoice, stating that credit cards were no longer being charged.

Eventually, after another couple of months (during which time I had saved up enough to pay said ridiculous parking fee), I once again walked over to the parking office to pay, and was told that the office now only issued parking passes and that payment was made at a different campus.

So I mailed the bastards a cheque. And promptly received another invoice, for the same amount, but with the current year on it this time, instead of 2006 as the previous ones were dated.

I assumed that I was now being billed for next year's parking, but perhaps they just updated their invoices and hadn't actually received my cheque. There was a helpful note on the invoice, inviting me to call a particular number "in case of inquiries". Which I did. Only to be told that I had reached the phone number for the permit issuing office and that they did not deal with payments there. I asked for the phone number for the payment office and was told that they did not have a phone number! What????

So I guess I will wait for a while and accumulate more invoices for my collection while I wait to make sure that my cheque has been cashed. I figure a year or so will be sufficient time.

Do you have awe-inspiring parking lot horror stories or bureaucracy gone crazy stories (or both)? Ones that make you want to slam your head repeatedly against the table? I'd love to hear them. I can't be the only one who thinks the system is fucked.

Jarvis feels my pain:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's all too much

It's been a terrible week for the people I care about.

On Saturday, Deb lost her mom after a long struggle.

On Sunday, my sister and her family lost Nomie, the sweetest little dog to ever live.

On Monday, Leazwell lost a former student in the horrific Virginia Tech shootings.

My heart is breaking for each of you.

Monday, April 16, 2007

music to my years

Copying Mel and Dale, I tag myself:

What was the first recorded music you bought?
Born to Be Wild - Steppenwolf

The most recent?
It was a banner day (two were used cds, so stop looking at me like I just spent all the grocery money on drugs):
- Ongiara - Great Lake Swimmers
- In the Morning - Junior Boys
- Employment - Kaiser Chiefs

What was the first professional music show you ever went to?
Gordon Lightfoot

The most recent show?
Born Ruffians / the Hidden Cameras

What's your desert island album?
After much soul-searching I have narrowed it down to three, all of which I consider to be classics in their own right, but each of which have characteristics which make them particularly suitable for a desert island:

- OK Computer - Radiohead
(aside from the magum opus status, this record would make me glad that I am safely insulated from the world on that desert island)

- Screamadelica - Primal Scream
(I'd feel stoned the whole time and that can't be a bad thing on a desert island)

- In the Areoplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
(just me and Jeff Mangum trying to drown each other out in a howling contest; good times, baby!)

What's your favorite album/song title? (not the actual album or song)
Really, almost any Ballboy song title would fit the bill. I've narrowed it down to either:
- You Can't Spend Your Whole Life Hanging Around with Arseholes
- I Wonder if You're Drunk Enough to Sleep with me Tonight
- Donald in the Bushes with a Bag of Glue

What's your favorite album art? (include an image of it if you can)

Is that deliciously creepy or what? Neko plays dead real good.

What’s your ideal choice for a karaoke song?
duet: Fairytale of New York - the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
solo: Two-Headed Boy - Neutral Milk Hotel

You hate that song … but it won’t leave your head if you hear it.
Jet - Wings
runner-up: Jump - Van Halen

Which is cooler — vinyl? CD? cassette? 8-track?
It's all good, although vinyl has the nice big album art, cds are easy to play in the car, and 8-tracks have that quasi-retro chic. But face it, MP3s rule the world, essentially.

I tag everybody in the world.


Only one day later than anticipated, it's this week's hotly debated and much sought Labia Award.

I'm a bit more decisive than I was last week (as nobody overfed me any turkey), but still have to declare a tie this week. Sharing the honours are:



C'mon, you tell me that you could decide between those two beauts.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

... and that is why I rarely do housework

Let me start with a disclaimer: it's not my fault the house is filthy. I am a wannabe minimalist (very easy to clean up after) who lives with two packrats (impossible to even guess where to start cleaning up after). And I do manage to keep the kitchen immaculate enough to please even my German ancestors, although I'm essentially an eye-level cleaner; if it's on the floor, I can ignore it. And I maintain a similar attitude toward dust that the safety experts take toward asbestos: as long as you don't disturb it, everything is fine.

However every 6 weeks or so, I start noticing how filthy the floors are, how somebody stupidly touched the buffet, thus revealing that it is actually covered in 3/4 inch of dust, and that the toothpaste splatters on the bathroom mirror obliterate any attempts at self-visualization.

This is what happened this week. And to illustrate what a major production cleaning this place actually is, here's the timeline on my one-day cleaning frenzy:

- enter basment. FInd the hose and attachments for the central vacuum and, since the furnace-duct-cleaning-guys kindly cleaned out the vacuum dirt receptacle in the fall and reattached the lid in such a manner that you cannot actually open the lid enough to change the filter anymore, pry the lid open and scoop handfuls of dust out of the receptacle until it looks empty enough to allow some suction whilst vacuuming.

- since the carpet attachment keeps falling off the central vacuum hose, dig out the secondary vacuum (glorified Dust Buster). This works well for vacuuming carpet, but shorts out after about half a room, and then requires resting for at least half an hour before it will start again. Vacuuming time is reduced with each subsequent shorting out.

- recall that secondary vacuum cleaner has not been emptied since antedeluvian times, so remove cannister and empty 2 1/2 cats' worth of hair from cannister.

- spend 20 minutes putting vacuum cleaner back together. Say "fuck" a lot.

- haul both vacuums upstairs.

- start vacuuming living room carpet with glorified Dust Buster. Get half done before machine shorts out.

- plug in central vac and start pushing little pieces of dirt around the floor. Consider descending into the basement once again to scoop more dust out of receptacle to improve suction. Say fuck it and continue pushing bits of dirt around, stooping to pick up larger bits by hand.

- after 30 minutes, try disabled secondary vacuum. It works, vacuum for 2 1/2 minutes until it shorts out again.

- alternate back and forth between vacuums until the floors on two levels are reasonable.

- recall that the family room hasn't been properly vacuumed in a very long time. Recall also that the family room floor is covered in Berber carpet, which hides a multitude of sins indefinitely, and promise that next time, it will get vacuumed. Mean it this time.

- pour a cup of now 6-hour-old coffee and check emails and blogs. Swear to get back to work once cup of coffee has been consumed. Add 15 minutes to this deadline.

- haul bucket of evil nasty chemicals to the worst of the bathrooms, turn up the computer speakers on the top floor, chase cat away from evil nasty chemicals and clean up toothpaste splatters and other much nastier substances.

- check clock and realize I have 2 1/2 hours in which to clean final bathroom, wash floors, buy groceries, exercise, and eat lunch, before appointment. Obviously one or more of these activities will have to be postponed or curtailed. Guess which will be the first activity to fall by the wayside? I'll give you a hint: it's not lunch, although it probably should be.

- repeat in six weeks.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

heartbreaking and disturbing stories in the news

Those bastards at have posted their 100 Unsexiest Men 2007 list, and look who we were gobsmacked to discover on said list:

Milquetoast indie rocker
Pasty, dough-faced singer with a whiny, needling voice and overly ornate vocabulary. His band, the Decemberists, dress up in silly costumes and sing songs ripe with allegory, historical allusion, and literary pretension, evidently as a marketing gimmick to get people to listen to more NPR.

What? Our sweet darling Colin? How dare they?

Those list-makers are obviously illiterate cretins who wouldn't know good music or a good man if one fell into their laps.

And the worst insult was the picture that accompanied the slanderous statement.
It wasn't this one (which admittedly shows Colin in a pretty dorky light):

- or this one, which shows both a dorky and a slightly pudgy Colin:

- but unbelievably, this one, which in our opinion shows a pretty supa-buff hawtie Colin:

Well, they can all go straight to hell.


The other image that broke our hearts was this poor walrus. Why would you take the dude's bucket?

If that doesn't break your heart, you haven't got one.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm only lucid when I'm writing songs

This is Just a Modern Rock Song
- Belle and Sebastian
Do you read your horoscope? I do; it's my guilty pleasure, and if you tell anyone, I shall have to kill you. I have no idea why I do this, as I hold absolutely no stock in it. It's just part of my morning ritual, tucked in there with scanning the headlines while finishing off my cup of coffee, a ploy to put off having to haul my ass off the kitchen chair to get dressed.
Of course one can read anything into horoscopes, which is why people continue reading them, I guess. But today, I was struck by what I read.
Your mind creates your world: First comes the thought, then comes the word.
From the word springs the deed; and the deed soon becomes habit.
Eventually habit hardens into character. So you are your thoughts!
This year your thoughts are optimistic. You're dreaming big!
I chose to interpret this as referring to my dreams of changing careers from science to the arts - specifically writing about the arts. And I guess anything that lights a fire under your ass and encourages you to continue pursuing your dreams has got to be a good thing.
From where do you get your directions in life?
Are you ever tempted to follow the words of those who claim to have supernatural insight into your life?
Meanwhile, I know that spring is finally here because those bloody woodpeckers have started eating our house again. We are considering putting scaffolding and netting around the entire house so that the cat can easily climb up and dispatch the devils.
On the other hand, I am totally in love with my Friday Random Playlist this week:
take your carriage clock and shove it - Belle and Sebastian
the beach - New Order
life is a song - Patrick Park
p.c.p. - Manic Street Preachers
i'm the man who loves you - Wilco
i wish i was the moon - Neko Case
exiles among you - the Weakerthans
smoke baby - Hawksley Workman
vegetable - Radiohead
god only knows - James
May the sun shine sweetly on you this weekend, may the varmints that plague you remain quiet until you have had enough sleep, and may your horoscope tell you what stocks to buy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Guess what I'm doing at 10:00am tomorrow?

... buying concert tickets!

It's been such a long dry winter for concerts (although I was lucky enough to see some fantastic plays). But the last concert I attended was Born Ruffians / the Hidden Cameras in early December. That was about 100 years ago! Feels like it anyway.

And some musicians that I really did want to see recently (Great Lake Swimmers and Constantines, I am giving you the big hairy eyeball right now) were at adult-only shows, and I only go to all-ages shows. Because I am under 19. Emotionally anyway.

But looky looky what's coming up in the next 6 weeks:

Joel Plaskett Emergency
Lorrie Matheson / Dan Bern
Peter Bjorn and John

I am particularly excited to see PB&J. Their music is almost criminally catchy, they have these cute little Swedish accents, and I have been listening to their album Writer's Block rather obsessively lately.

It's going to be a little odd though, as the Peter Bjorn and John concert is at MacEwan Ballroom which is upstairs from MacEwan Hall, where Finger Eleven will be playing at the same time. So while waiting in line to get in, we'll be rubbing elbows with people who have bad taste in music. (Finger Eleven fans - feel free to send messages to this address, telling me I am an asshole.)

Up Against The Wall - Peter Bjorn and John
RIP Kurt Vonnegut
... and so it goes ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the new phonebooks are here, the new phonebooks are here!

I'm exaggerating a bit there, nothing quite as exciting as new phonebooks (be still my pounding heart), but we did get our passports today.

After poor Just A Cool Cat's nasty shock of opening his envelope from the passport office, whilst quipping "funny, I don't see any passports in here", only to discover that there really were no passports in the envelope, I wasn't entirely convinced that we were actually going to receive them after all. I rather expected that I would get mine, because I knew I had done everything correctly. There are advantages to being a detail-oriented, slightly OCD passport applicant.

I was slightly less sure about Eva's application. It was all filled in correctly, naturally, having been completed by same detail-oriented slightly OCD person, but the fact that she was 14 when we started the process and was now about to turn 16 (at which point one needs a different, adult passport) didn't bode well for the success of this effort. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Eva pull an official passport out of her envelope. And thankfully Eva has a far superior memory to me because she remembered that regardless of how close to 16 you are when you receive your passport, it's still good for the full 5 years. And I was all set to start working on the new one for her.

But Jerry's passport application I did not hold much hope for. He had to redo his 3 times, and get his guarantor to resign each time too, because first he didn't use block letters, then the next time it was too sloppy to read (passport application tip #1: leave the wine drinking alone until after you have filled in your application), and then finally he wrote into the forbidden area whilst signing, for which I believe you can receive up to 4 years in prison, if I'm not mistaken.

And then shortly after we sent our applications away, his guarantor changed jobs, making her contact information invalid. So I figured he was euchred. Especially after I heard about John Mutford's daughter having her application rejected for showing too much teeth, or our friend Robin having his photo rejected because his forehead was too shiny! (Honest and for true!)

Eva is getting a huge kick out of the handy booklet "Bon Voyage, But ..." which accompanied the passports. It's a classic example of the finest of Canadian government humour, and includes very helpful chapters on traveller's diarrhea, rabies, and travelling with a same sex spouse.

So we're sort of strutting around like big shots tonight. We got our passports nyah nyah!

And naturally we are currently rocking out to Passport [mp3] - Gogol Bordello.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

my sister, the birthday girl

Is she as cute as a button or what?
I can only imagine that this birthday is extra sweet, what with the retirement and all.
And here's your boyfriend to sing for you. I heard that you like this song, and you can pretend that I took you to Glastonbury for the performance. Think Winnipeg Folk Festival, only bigger. And muddier.
Love you, Berni!

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'm back to save the universe

Okay a slight exaggeration perhaps. I've probably just been listening to OK Computer a little too much today (like that's even possible).

I was supposed to work today, but since the rest of the family got the day off, there was no way I was going to drag my lazy ass out of bed at 6:00 and sit in a dingy non-windowed room all day while they eat bonbons and watch Jerry Springer or whatever they do when I'm not around.
Actually I think I'm going to suggest that I get an increase in my vacation allotment at work. That would make up for the fact that I haven't had a raise in seven years. We scrimp for every dollar at work, so I purposefully haven't been asking for a raise, but I could sure use more vacation time.
And yes, I realize that yesterday being Sunday means that I should have awarded a Labia Award, but frankly I was too full of turkey drug to make that kind of momentous decision. I still can't decide. Here, I'll show you what I mean. Here are some of the awesome-possum labels I had to contend with this week (in no particular order):
" how come all my friends are in dubai or hawaii or whatever and I'm stuck playing neopets on my laptop at home" (Hilary)
"all that money and i get a degree written entirely in a dead language and left justified" (Allison)
"crap one of my sock was pink and black and the other one was blue and black" (Evelyne)
"wasabi pea dependency" (Mel)
"it was easier to get rid of the ex" (Deb)
"when labels attack" (Dale)
"if I get sick it's Allison's fault" (668)
"there are worse things than scary clowns like giant rabbits with dead black eyes" (Bubs)
Do you see what an onerous task this is? How does one decide amongst such boffo contenders?
Which one would get your vote?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Zombie Jesus Day, Everybody!

Aquabunny montage photograghed by Eva [x]
I got it into my head this year that I wanted to give chocolate hedgehogs instead of rabbits for Easter, presumably because of the hedgehog discussion we were having here a while back. Someone mentioned that Purdy's Chocolates made killer hazelnut hedgehogs and I would settle for nothing less.
So I scooped up a handful of hedgehogs while at Purdy's and took them to the cashier, along with the little egg and rabbit-shaped chocolates that I was buying.
"We are actually out of our regular hedgehogs, " the cashier informed me, "so these are sugar-free."
Bonus, I thought to myself. "How do they taste?", I asked, rather hoping to be offered a sample.
"They taste great," she replied, "but the sugar substitute in these is a laxative." I must have looked quizzical, because she continued, "do not eat more than one of these! And definitely do not give these to children."
The woman behind me in line was nodding vigorously at this point, "Oh yeah, they're laxative, alright!"
Now we are all afraid to eat them.
Eva's friend in Norway was horrified to learn that in North America we eat hedgehogs. "But they are so cute," he pleaded, "and it's just not practical, there's barely any meat on them, but I suppose some cultures are shocked that we eat cows and pigs." He was very relieved to hear about the chocolate factor.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

(Canadian) music is my boyfriend

Do you remember back when we were all so young and carefree and full of hope and dreams, last month? And we got all giddy and excited by posting the seven songs that we were currently grooving on?

Personally I remember being mortified that there was not one Canadian song on the list, although there could easily have been. I am here to correct past wrongs, so here by popular demand (at least in my own mind) are the Canadian Magnificent Seven - those seven songs by Canadian musicians that I cannot currently get out of my head:

In the Morning - Junior Boys
This one has carved a permanent groove into my cerebellum, I think. The combination of infectious dance beats and accessible pop melody make it irresistible. I dare you to listen to it.

After the Afterlife - Chad VanGaalen
Our own local wunderkind, none of his songs are ever far from my consciousness. Lately I've been rediscovering this evocative one from his debut album.

Draw Us Lines - the Constantines
A fabulous hard-driving song from one of the rockiest bands in the country. The simple use of a single bass chord against drums and a wall of feedback just doesn't get any finer. The last time the Cons played here, they opened with this song, with the beginning feedback continuing on and on and on until the band took the stage and launched into it. It was bloody awesome!

Tent in Your Pants - Peaches
You have to love Peaches. She gives out such infectious music that makes you want to dance and the most provocative lyrics from that filthy mouth of hers and then gives us all a big wink to let us on on the joke.

Catcher Son - Great Lake Swimmers

From their new album, Ongiara, which is stunningly beautiful, as I have come to expect from Great Lake Swimmers. Believe the hype about this band.

Toune d'Automne - Les Cowboys Fringants

Thank you to Evelyne for this song and introducing me to this band. This lovely song talks of a brother's conversation with his little sister, about their plans for life and how it will affect their family (I think - correct me if I am wrong, Evelyne).

A Sad Country Ballad for a Tired Superhero - Wood Pigeon
Another Calgary band, but one which I am just starting to discover. You may actually remember this song from the promotional cd put out by the Alberta College of Art and Design. Wood Pigeon also have a song with one of the best titles - Death by Ninja.

And that, my friends, is some of what is currently rattling around inside that big empty piece of real estate I like to call my brain.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Friday, April 06, 2007

If Jesus gets the rabbit to deliver the chocolate eggs, does that mean if the Rabbi strangles the ham, it's kosher?

The cashier at Safeway wished me "Happy Whatever" yesterday, and I guess I can see her point, what with Easter and Passover and all being all mixed in together at this time. Add in the men's world curling championship finals this weekend (a rather spiritual event at our house) and no wonder there is cause for ambiguity.

So to further confuse matters, I thought I would call on a little divine intervention and start off the Friday random shuffle with a selection from an ambiguious work of music - The Messiah. Is it a Christmas thing or an Easter thing? Both actually, so I started the eggs rolling with one of the Easter selections. Odd things started happening toward the end of the playlist, when I think Jesus stepped in and started steering the controls. Kinda like a ouiga board.

1. I know that my Redeemer liveth - (Handel) London Philharmonic Orchestra
2. black tongue - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
3. talking in code - Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
4. I don't wanna go down to the basement - the Ramones
5. alien - Bush
6. dirty dream number 2 - Belle and Sebastian
7. brothers and sisters - Blur
8. God give me strength - Elvis Costello
9. heaven - Talking Heads
10. these are the fables - New Pornographers
Curling - you either love it or cannot understand why it is allowed to exist. Now I am not normally a fan of televised sports, but I love watching curling. It is just the perfect speed for me. You can go into the kitchen and do a bunch of stuff and come back and you haven't missed anything.
And if you are talking a Canadian men's team, chances are you have one of the Howard brothers in the match and that means some championship hollering. It always sounds like pigs being slaughtered when a Howard is skipping a match.
The Scots may not win too much anymore, but they invented the damn game and I could listen to them talk all day.
And the Finns always have the best names in the history of best names. Markku Uusipaavalniemi has been the skip of the Finnish team for many championships now. I would seriously miss the dude if he missed a year just because I love saying his name.
Hurry hard!