Thursday, May 31, 2007

messing with the fabric of time and space

I know that you are all wondering how someone of my extreme youth could possible be receiving an invitation to a 25 year reunion. University graduation, even.
It's magic.

We were all so young in these pictures! Can you find me? I'm in two photos. Feel free to click to get the full big screen tv effect.

I'll give you a hint - I'm the drunk one. Oh wait, that would be pretty much everybody.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

She may not be a baby anymore ...

...but she'll always be my baby.


Happy 16th birthday, Eva!


You are special ...

and hilarious...
and smrt, er, smart ...and both beautiful and strange ...

You have a wonderfully unique view of the world ...

which makes you such a visionary artist ...

You are my favourite person to be with ...

All the important things I learned from you ...

Let's go have some fun on your birthday ...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Just Play That Funky Music

I hated this song. I hated everything about pop music in 1980. That's why I dressed funny and listened to punk rock- Bubs

It seemed like such a fun idea at the time when that dastardly villain Johnny Yen tagged me. And the instructions seemed simple enough:

1. Go to the Billboard #1 Hits listings
2. Pick the year you turned 18
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of the year
4. Pick 5 songs and write something about how these songs affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more friends

But then I was bamboozled already by step #3. Do you have any idea what manner of crap Billboard has listed as their #1 hits for 1976?

Do you think I am kidding? Wrap your head around these samples, kiddies: I Write the Songs by Barry Manilow, (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty by KC and the Sunshine Band, Silly Love Songs by Wings, Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band, You Should Be Dancing by the BeeGees …

I could go on, but I’ll stop right there as I notice you are throwing up in your mouth a little bit. You should be down on your knees right now, thanking god for the internet which ended humanity’s dependence on crap pop radio.

I should have just done what Bubs did, but I wasn’t thinking clearly, so I researched some other charts and I don’t give a rat’s ass whether these all reached #1 spot or not, at least I can still listen to them with my dignity intact.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
I don’t remember specifically when I first heard this song, but I sure remember being quite blown away by the epic grandeur of the whole thing. Bugs Bunny cartoons aside, I think Bohemian Rhapsody may have been what first sparked my interest in the opera. Suddenly opera wasn’t just for stern hausfraus in iron breast-plates anymore.

Rock’n Me – Steve Miller Band
Weekends with my boyfriend at my friend’s cottage on Lake Winnipeg during the summer before my friend and I left to bum around Europe. Nuff said.

Love is the Drug – Roxy Music
This song was just a breath of fresh air. After being stuck in the pop music am radio hell of Winnipeg most of my life (with no internetz , kids!), the seductive beats and the alternative sound of Roxy Music made me realize that there was life out there, and there was music that I could embrace.

The Boys are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy
A little long-haired glam never hurt anyone, and this was a good times for all, the consequences be damned anthem, and that’s what we were all about then, innit?

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot
I was always a Gordon Lightfoot fan. In fact,
Sit Down Young Stranger was the second album that I ever bought (Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild was the first). And I do believe that the first concert I ever attended was a Gordon Lightfoot concert. At the time it was so mindboggling and refreshing that a Canadian musician would actually embrace being a Canadian and sing about Canada.

But aside from those songs and a handful of others, 1976 was a pretty grim year for music that we were able to receive on our transistor radios. We were just starting to hear about the Sex Pistols and the Clash, and had never even dreamed that there were bands like the Damned, the Buzzcocks, the Stranglers, Siouxsie & The Banshees, the Undertones, Penetration, the Adverts, and the Skids.

We've come a long way, baby.

I am tagging Allison, Toccata, Mellowlee, Phlegmfatale, and Fearless.

Hey, this would appear to be post #600. Where'd the time go?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

is it possible to give yourself carpal tunnel syndrome in one afternoon?

It was supposed to be a 10 minute job.

I'm just going to trim those dead branches off the hawthorn, I said. But naturally while I was in there, I noticed all the dead branches on the row of spruce trees flanking the hawthorn. And that's when my OCD kicked into overdrive. Some of those suckers were a good two inches in diameter and well above my head. Factor into that standing wedged between the branches of the ajoining tree (somebody planted those babies far too close together), with your hair caught on another branch and a hawthorn threatening to take your eye out, you don't really take the time to practice good muscular health.

But two hours of that takes its toll. Do you know that exercise you do where you stand in a doorway and press your arms against the frame and then when you step out, your arms rise into the air of their own volition? That's what my forearms and wrists are still doing this morning.

But now I've got a good excuse to start in on my summer reading list today. I'll be joining Karen, Beth, Krista, and Wandering Coyote in posting a list of books this summer. Some of these fine folks are planning on 20 or 30 books, but I'm sticking to five because, much as I have fantasies of spending the summer lounging in a chair with a pile of books, deep down I know that's not going to happen. I keep forgetting that I have to go to work.

Here are the books I aim to complete by midnight Labour Day:
Twelve Sharp - Janet Evanovich
Unless - Carole Shields
Blindness - Jose Saramago
Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling
bonus book: I will buy myself a new pair of shoes if I complete a sixth book in the alloted time

See? Everybody wins! Do you want to join in? Place your list on your sidebar and keep us posted.
Other bookish activity has John Mutford continuing his valiant efforts to put a regular joe (himself) on the CBC Canada Reads book panel. If you would like to support this and have a Facebook account, you can join the "Put John Mutford on the Air" community. He's looking for 1000 supporters and had over 400 by yesterday evening. It's what all the cool kids are doing.
Karl Brännström has some new "book art" uploaded. These are very imaginative and evocative pieces made from the pages of an old book, called Snäckhuset by Edit Unnerstad. Do take a look.
"Don't be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"
If you have read P.D. James' fascinating and powerful novel The Children of Men, and you are determined to see the film on which this was based, bear in mind that these are completely different stories. Really only the germ of the idea is maintained from book to screen. Characters are combined, plotlines are changed, it is virtually unrecognizable.

The film is unrelentingly grim, and works well enough as an apocalyptic thriller, but has none of the nuances of the novel.

Watch it if, like me, you feel you must, but ultimately I would recommend that you read the book.

Friday, May 25, 2007

too early to let the leg fur start growing back after all

What a difference a day makes. I've got all the windows wide open, there's gentle breeze wafting in through the screen door, and the grass is so green it's hurting my eyes.

But I am leaving that snow shovel by the door. I've learned my lesson.

Here's a random playlist to honour my American friends as they set off on their long weekend, providing you aren't half-tanked already. Ah hell, even if you are, this playlist still for you (but I'm leaving the "u" in all my words):
Go to sleep - Radiohead
Here comes your man (live) - Pixies
Roland the headless Thompson gunner - Warren Zevon
Behind the sun - Mixel Pixel
Wave of mutilation (BBC sessions) - Pixies
Free in the harbour - Stan Rogers
Billy Budd - Morrissey
Bodies - the Sex Pistols
When I wake - the Changes
Kissability - Sonic Youth
We went to the library after school, where I was shocked to discover that I hadn't checked anything out since February. I've been reading bought books, but still felt the need to justify my absence to the librarian.
I took out Carol Shields' Unless and a trashy Janet Evanovich detective novel (summer is coming, you know). And I found a few cds to borrow as well:
Gang of Four - Return the Gift
Lorrie Matheson - You Should Know By Now
Arab Strap - the Last Romance
and two Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder and Velocity of Sound
Have a gorgeous weekend, celebrating the birthday of Dr. Lenny Memorial, the great American inventor and father of, among other things, the beer helmet, four-down football, and IHOP.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

what the hell is wrong with this picture?

Well, besides the fact that it is blurry and has no sense of composition, which is only to be expected as it was snapped by the world's shittiest photographer. But this is the scene that greeted us when we got up this morning, May 24 in case I need to remind you.

It's not quite the 15 cm that we were threatened with, but it did cause an estimated millions of dollars in damage to the city's trees. And do you know how hard it is to grow a tree here in the bald-assed prairie that lies in the rainshadow of the Rockies. Pretty damn hard, that's how hard.

Our first summer here, we thought we would try to embrace the culture of our new home and we went to the Chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede, which is held the second week of July. We sat in the stands, huddled under tarps, as the snow and sleet pelted us. July 13, I think it was. (Although the chucks were totally worth it!)

And yet I've gone for a walk in short sleeves on more than one Christmas Day. What a freaky place this is.

How's the weather where you are? OMG, how Canadian can I get?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's sew guud sew guud sew guud it's sew guud

In honour of this auspicious occasion, here's is the video clip you just know you've been barking to see - ScarJO singing backup with the JAMC at Coachella. It still bamboozles the hell out of me, but despite the fact that I cannot figure out what the hell she's doing up on stage, it's good for a giggle or two.
Maybe if Scarlet had remembered to put on her pants ...

And this, of course, is the way we want to remember that song :

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

the case of the chirping power cord - part deux

How hard can it be to get a replacement power cord for an 8-month-old laptop that has a 3-year warranty?

You see where this is leading, do you? Well, hang on – you’re getting ahead of me.

So after my power cord starting chirping and then died on me, I stopped in at Future Shop on Friday afternoon, fairly confident in their ability to replace the possessed thing. I have never had an issue with the customer service at this particular store. And I still don’t. Although I got sent back and forth betwixt the customer service and the laptop department a handful of times, telling my tale to roughly half the store before the one guy who dealt with these things had finished putting his paperwork away from the last job, I was cool with it. Hey, we’ve all got to put our paperwork away at some point, don’t we? I can relate to that.

Because the laptop is less than a year old, it is still under a Toshiba warranty, so it was suggested that I go directly to a Toshiba service centre where they would likely “just give me a new one right away”. Buddy then printed off a list of about 7 or 8 addresses for me. I had no clue where any of them were. Naturally I had no cell phone or map with me, because that’s just the way I roll.

One address looked familiar and I figured that it was in the gridlock hell of parking lots and criss-cross roads that go nowhere except back and forth among a pergatory of big box stores, known as Deerfoot Meadows, which is where IKEA is located. The futility of trying to find your way in and out of that place is the major reason why I no longer go to IKEA. That and the fact that I don’t need any more semi-disposable Swedish furniture.

So off I went to CompuSmart (probably the most badly mis-named place I have come across in a long time, but I am getting ahead of myself). I actually spotted the place from the off-ramp from Deerfoot Trail, so I knew in which direction to head, and was pretty pleased with myself for demonstrating such sharpness of eyeball. But once inside the store, it was pretty evident that this was a place where sales careers go to die. The only signs of life were one fellow talking on the phone and, ominously, a security guard sitting by the door. After much throat clearing on my part, I was informed that they no longer handled Toshiba servicing and here's another address.

I had no idea where this address was, and said “I have no idea where this place is” and buddy just shrugged. Not his problem. (Can't really blame him - it was obvious he was going to be out of that job by the end of the week.)

With no map (and no phone) I was ready to head back home and make some calls to some of the other addresses on the Future Shop list, but then decided, no I was already in business/industrial zone hell, and the spectre of a laptopless weekend loomed, mere hours away unless I made an effort.

So I headed back on the Deerfoot, where the Friday afternoon traffic was ratcheting up, and headed over where I thought I would find the address given by the CompuSmart zombie. I thought it might be by the Cosco – the original gridlock hell of parking lots and criss-cross roads that go nowhere – but when I got there I discovered I was at 11th Street (and 90th Ave), not 11th Avenue (and 4th St). And that’s when I noticed that I was just around the corner from where I had started, and that if I had turned left instead of right when exiting Deerfoot Meadows, I would have been there in 20 seconds.

Having committed thus far, I headed downtown, because that’s where 11th Avenue had to be. Once there, I spotted a parking lot with empty parking spots. Risking the likelihood that this was merely a mirage, I ducked in and parked, and lo and behold, the place I was seeking was directly across the street! I headed to the machine to throw a couple of bucks in, but it only took credit cards (which is never a good sign). A notice said that I could choose an hour, 4 hours, or 15 hours. With trepidation I inserted my credit card and without even asking me what option I wanted, the machine spat out a parking pass, informing me that I had just paid:


The customer service rep at Metafore seemed a little surprised to see us. “I generally deal with corporate clients”, he said, “and usually just get couriers coming in here. I’m not used to seeing real people”. Apparently he has been having a few people coming into the shop lately though, and they are generally pissed right off. I guess what has been happening is people have been getting that list from Future Shop, going to another CompuSmart location which is locked up with a sign directing them to go to the place I was at. And you know what happens once you get there. So people come into his location, just ready to rip somebody, anybody, a new arsehole!

But despite the fact that he was catching a plane to Nova Scotia in six hours for a vacation home for the first time in three years, Jamie was pleasant and accommodating and ordered a replacement cord for me, and gave me a loaner to use until it comes in later this week. (And I'm planning to park in the same lot and using the ticket that I've already paid for - hahaha I'll let you know how that works out.)

So the moral of the story is, Jamie at Metafore IT Solutions is my new best friend.
I should have asked if he would pay my parking too.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What do you do on a cold rainy holiday Monday?

You don't have to do any yardwork, so you can make yourself a new workout cd instead. And if you happened to miss Random Playlist Friday, you can share that with your friends instead. I reached back into the vaults for a lot of these songs and it's kinda fun to sweat to the oldies actually:

When my heart walks down the street Victoria Day workout cd:

Turkish Song of the Damned- the Pogues
Hateful - the Clash
Miss Lucifer - Primal Scream
Young Lions - the Constantines
Machinehead - Bush
Heart of Glass - Blondie
Flower Gardens - Chad Van Gaalen
Walk Idiot Walk - the Hives
Barbed Wire Love - Stiff Little Fingers
Put Out Your Lights - Matthew Good
Blues From a Gun - the Jesus and Mary Chain
Allison - Pixies
I Can't - Radiohead
In the Morning - Junior Boys
When My Boy Walks Down the Street - the Magnetic Fields
This is How it Feels - Inspiral Carpets
Backdrifts (Honyemoon is Over) - Radiohead
People as Places as People - Modest Mouse
Bloodbeat - Patrick Wolf
Heavy Weather - Jarvis Cocker
Black and White Unite - Belle and Sebastian
Every Car You Chase (the Snow Police) - Party Ben mashup
(damn, I was going to put up mp3s for a lot of these songs, but mydatabus has made changes to how things can be linked and until I figure it out - no songs for you!)

Have you seen The Last King of Scotland?
It's quite evident why Forest Whitaker received as many accolades as he did for his portrayal of Idi Amin. He is mesmerizing and charming and terrifying. His transformation from a successful coupe leader to a murderous and clearly insane dictator is riveting.

James McAvoy, who is being touted as the new "it" boy, plays Nicholas Garrigan, the young Scottish doctor who is lured away from working in a small rural Ugandan hospital to become Amin's personal physician. Garrigan's character is roughly based upon an actual person, but the actual events in both the film and in Garrigan's actions are highly fictionalized. McAvoy does a credible job of showing how Garrigan's naivete and increasing sense of entitlement allow him to be continually seduced into ignoring the increasing evidence of genocide that is occurring as Amin slips further into madness. He also has a lovely little bum, which we were shown in the buff a number of times.

Oh, and Gillian Anderson has a small part in The Last King of Scotland, and there is nary a shred of Dana Scully in her performance.

This is not an easy film to watch at times, but I guarantee you will not quickly forget it.

I realize I should have announced this week's Labia Award winner yesterday, but since it is a holiday here in Canada, I figure I am entitled to an extra day to make a decision.

And really, how could I resist this label, brought to us by:

If you are enjoying a statutory holiday today as well, enjoy the rest of it; if not, at least Monday is over with.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

theatre and art and music, oh my - The Arts - slightly neglected but never forgotten

- this is a review of some events in the arts about which I am quite excited and which are long overdue to be posted here -
Hedwig and the Angry Inch??

You'd better believe it!

SAGE THEATRE announced their upcoming 10th anniversary season recently, and while I was not able to sneak away from work to attend the unveiling, I am pretty excited about what's being produced this fall and winter.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as mentioned, will be produced and promises to be too much fun. Sage Theatre never disappoints when it comes to staging some controversial productions (remember Trainspotting?) and you just know they will pull out all the stops for Hedwig.

Artistic Director Kelly Reay will actually be directing this production and he has assured me that the audience will be welcome, nay encouraged, to sing along. So if you find yourself in Calgary Feb 28-March 15, let me know and I'll take you to a play. We'll go in costume.

Here are synopsies for the other upcoming productions. My Name is Rachel Corrie looks really compelling, too.

- get closer, indeed -


Some of you might recall me talking about Eat My Brain, a play which I particularly enjoyed at last summer's Calgary Fringe Festival.

The playright, Joel Crichton, is currently acting in a dinner theatre production which looks to be quite fun, but is being produced in Red Deer, which is a couple of hours north of Calgary. I won't have the chance to make it up there, but Central Alberta Theatre has the details, if you happen to find yourself in central Alberta sometime between now and June 21, and are just itching for some good dinner theatre.
Joel tells me that they will be putting on a production of Eat My Brain at the Edmonton Fringe Festival this summer, so you lucky Edmontonians will finally have the chance to see this very funny, very engaging play. It's got zombies!

If you do go, would you mind picking up a copy of the program for me? Joel tells me that he used a quote from my review (Lord of the Flies for the myspace generation) in their program description this year. Naturally I am well pleased.


I've recently been visiting the site of artist Karl Brännström, a young Swedish artist whose work I am finding immensely compelling. Karl had been displaying much of his catalogue on his site, including a recently commissioned series entitled "portrait of a killer", which is dark, unsettling, and very powerful.

Many of the pieces I have been enjoying have been painted on sheet metal, and they have a wonderful depth and organic quality to them. Karl will continue to upload from his catalogue on a regular basis and will soon start displaying some recent pieces.

Do check out Karl's amazing art.


Don't you just hate it when you discover a band just after they have broken up?

That happened to me recently with Arab Strap. Apparently I had ten years in which to discover them, but no I had to wait until six months after they disbanded to do so.

Lame I am.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Joel Plaskett is everybody's BFF

There's a reason why Joel Plaskett has a reputation for being one of the nicest guys in Canadian rock. Because he is.

Tuesday night's concert at the Grand Theatre flew in the face of the usual Tuesday night (worst night of the week to put on a show) concert doldrums. Joel was laid-back and chatty and completely at ease with the audience, telling stories of the previous night's show in Banff, making up new lyrics for Love This Town, wherein he added references to Calgary and the Saigon Y2K restaurant where they had eaten supper that night. The crowd ate it up.

And Joel Plaskett sure knows how to rock. With more than 15 years of performing under his belt, I'm guessing a lot of it in bars, he manages to play a more straight-ahead style of rock that appeals to the bar-going crowd, while still maintaining his completely independant style. While I've always had a lot of admiration for him, I've never been completely overwhelmed by the music itself. I've always enjoyed it, but never been completely in love with it. But a live Joel Plaskett show is another animal altogether - the songs are crisper and rockier and more anthemic - even the considerable acoustic songs in his catalogue. Watching the Joel Plaskett Emergency perform is a real joy.

The audience were probably one of the best I have witnessed in a long time. This was a slightly different crowd from the usual gaggle of indie kids - there was nary a skinny jean nor a frock/cowboy boot ensemble in sight. This crowd favoured the relaxed fit jean and non-ironic t-shirt. Definitely more bar scene than art house look. But these people could rock, and they were completely in the moment- singing along, cheering loudly. For a Tuesday night crowd, hell even for a Friday night crowd, they were completely awesome.

Peter Elkas opened the night, and while I recognised that he was really talented and his band was very tight and that the performance was topnotch, I was strangely unmoved by it. The crowd loved him, but the more soulful romantic singer-songwriter offering did little for me. Plus I thought there was too much organy keyboard and it started to annoy me after a while. But the problem was not with Peter Elkas or the band (unofficially known as Elkaholics), it was with me. I most likely had a touch of PMS or something.

I did feel really badly about not liking his set so much though, as he played keyboards and some bass with the Joel Plaskett Emergency for their entire set, and then Elkas was so sweet and accomodating getting his picture taken with our friend Ruhee in the lobby later, despite camera woes. He even came back for a second photo attempt as he promised he would, so I really need to give his music another chance, I think. Besides he's a serious hottie.

It was a show well worth going out for on a Tuesday night. If you ever get a chance to see Joel Plaskett perform, my advice to you would be - DO IT.

Nowhere with you - Joel Plaskett Emergency

Love This Town - Joel Plaskett

Thursday, May 17, 2007

the case of the chirping power cord

I am not making this up, the power cord for my laptop started chirping again, and I do believe it is euchred. There are only 30 minutes of battery time left, so the child and I are forced to share a computer tonight. Oh the hardship!

I'll have to get a new one first thing tomorrow, because this is making me nuts. I wonder if it's covered by the 7 million year warranty I paid for?

So, muchos sorry for not visiting today, and Allison, I will post the review of the Joel Plaskett concert tomorrow, I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.

But tonight, besides the territory wars, there is an Office season finale to watch. Oh there's going to be some mighty fine tv viewing happening tonight!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NOW I'm excited

I can't remember if I ever mentioned that I am volunteering at the Calgary Folk Festival this year. I got a swell gig working the Record Tent, helping people find cds and making musical recommendations about other artists they might like or other cds by the same artists which are good, that sort of thing.

The volunteer coordinator asked that we do some homework familiarizing ourselves with the musicians attending this year, which I am very happy to do. It's like telling me for homework I have to eat a piece of chocolate fudge cake or something.

As a run-up to announcing of all the musicians, the folk festival has a tradition of leaking one name per week for a couple of months, sort of as a teaser to whet your appetite. And the past two years, the folk festival has featured absolutely mindboggling musicians, so every Monday I have been checking the website, all a-twitter. And have not really seen any names that have gobsmacked me.

I was actually starting to get a tiny bit concerned that I would be able to work up enough enthusiasm for the featured artists to actually do my required homework, even though I know full-well that many of the best memories come from making new musical discoveries.

That all changed today when the full line-up was released. OMG - did they ever come through! Some of the people I am excited about seeing are:


Neko Case
Rufus Wainwright
Hawksley Workman
Final Fantasy
Geoff Berner
the Sadies
the Cape May
the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir
Great Big Sea
City and Colour
Sarah Slean
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Connie Kaldor
Oh Susanna
Chumbawamba (remember them?)
- and lots more!

Now if you'll please excuse me, I've got some homework to do.

Monday, May 14, 2007

the nocturnal science

Dreams seem to be figuring prominently in my surroundings lately. It's like when you start thinking about rutabagas, say, and the next thing you know, everywhere you turn, they are talking about rutabagas - rutabaga recipes in the paper, rutabaga being touted as the hot new colour for spring, and rutabaga futures being the primary cause of pushing the Dow-Jones industrial average through the roof.

On her blog, Deb shared some strange dreams she had lately, which seem triggered by her mom's recent passing.

On the weekend, we watched The Science of Sleep, which falls solidly into the "Charming LIttle Film" category that we have been favouring lately. It's the tale of a young man who has trouble differentiating his dream life from his waking life, and it is as richly chaotic and absurd as a dream generally is.

Gael Garcia Bernal is quite endearing as the befuddled and geeky man-child, Stephane. The set alternates between the ordinary feel of an normal (if somewhat bizarre) day and the surreal lushness of dreamland. The dream segments, which are increasingly difficult to separate from the waking moments, are often the setting for Stephane TV - a tv studio constructed entirely of cardboard boxes, where Stephane is the host of his own life.

The film is laden with fantastic objects - plastic-wrap streams, oversized stuffed telephones, cardboard getaway vehicles which are involved in chases with cardboard police cars. The dialogue moves seamlessly back and forth between English and French and sometimes Spanish, which might drive some people crazy, but which I enjoyed.

It all sounds rather confusing,and I supposed it is somewhat, in the manner that dreams are confused melanges of our daily experiences and the mundane things we are fretting over and the songs that are stuck in our heads and the emotions that are haunting us. But ultimately, The Science of Sleep is a lovely little film.
I had a weird dream the other night. Fear not, I'll make this brief:

I was in my old high school, taking a course of some kind, when suddenly the members of Radiohead walked into the classroom, played a song and immediately left, all without saying a word. We were so stunned that we didn't react until after they were gone from the classroom, at which point we broke into cheers, but of course they had already left.

And then I was walking down the deserted high school hallway when I ran into Thom Yorke. If other people had been around, I'm sure I wouldn't have approached him, but he was alone so I said to him Thom I'm really sorry we didn't applaud you when you played for our class, but we were all so gobsmacked and overwhelmed that we couldn't even react. And he gave me a big bear hug and started to weep softly while babbling mostly incoherent words. He said that he was so glad to hear me say that, that those words meant so much to him because he was quitting music and that was to be his last ever concert.

But that's not the weird part.

Then I dreamt that I woke up and told someone about this dream and she started text-messaging all her friends, telling them about it. And then it just shattered into stupidity, as my dreams often do.

This is the first time I ever recall experiencing the phenomenon of false-awakening. It is apparently fairy common, but then again so is the sensation of flying whilst dreaming, and I have never flown in my dreams either. I do fall off cliffs occasionally, and when I try to run I have giant rubber bands around my legs, which makes running a tremendous and futile effort.

I have experienced lucid dreaming a few times as well, and that's quite freaky, but oddly empowering.

What is your dream-life like?

Do you ever have false-awakening or lucid dreams?

Do you ever fly in your dreams?

Do you ever read words on a page in your dreams, as I sometimes do?


This zombie is shuffling in late yet again, but proud to announce this week's winner of the Labia Award is:


for the poignant and heartfelt

Amen brother.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Don't mess with them, they're Vikings

Peter Bjørn and Jøhn are pretty darned adørable, with thøse Swedish accents and anti-cøøl løøks, and I am happy tø repørt that they put øn lively shøw, in which they embraced the audience like a new-føund best friend. They are as charming and accessible as their søngs, and Friday's cøncert was feel-gøød evening øf handclaps and jumping up and døwn and barely discernable tales tøld in thick Swedish accents.

The band was øriginally a duø cønsisting øf Peter Møren and Bjørn Yttling, whø were heavily influenced by the shøegazer sound. When Jøhn Eriksson jøined the band as drummer, that søund mørphed intø the tasty and insanely catchy tunes that they perførm today. Yøu can still clearly hear the shøegazer influence in their music, particularly in søngs like Up Against The Wall [mp3] (my persønal favourite), a søng which, while nøt brief in the first place, they managed tø stretch øut intø a rather epic piece at the cøncert.

Their cataløgue is deeper than yøu wøuld at first expect, and the cøncert shøwcased many ølder pieces nøt føund øn Writer's Bløck, as well as inventive rewørkings øf søngs such as Amsterdam [mp3], which was played as an acøustic bit with the audience supplying the missing handclaps, and the unbelievably infectious Yøung Følks, where Peter sang bøth male and female parts. And whø knew that Swedes could beat bøx like that?

The audience, cønsisting largely øf indie kids, were clearly up for the cøncert and had, I was pleased tø see, før the møst part chøsen their attire with great care. Shøe-wear seemed tø skew either tøward flip-fløps ør cøwbøy bøøts (which I am assuming was an irønic backlash tø living in Cøwtøwn) but it was the gløw-in-the-dark runners that really caught my eye. Frøcks aplenty were spøtted, giving the hall the feel øf a Jenny Lewis løøk-alike cøntest at times. Løved the lad who appeared tø be nøthing møre than a giant frø stuck øn tøp øf a pair øf tøøthpicks, but my all-time favøurite ensemble had tø be the strapless gøwn with cøwbøy bøøts, tøpped by a bleached pagebøy. Very pøst-mødern retrø-irønic.

The first øpening act was Faunts, frøm Edmøntøn. They were pretty spectacular. Their music feels quite Møgwai-like, a little reminiscent øf Sigur Røs, with perhaps a tøuch øf Hyløzøists thrøwn intø the mix. They play very richly textured ambient-like music, largely instrumental, which builds upøn itself in layers and layers. And yøu know høw I'm a sucker før a building søng. I ended up buying bøth øf their cds.

They are definitely a band I would recømmend that you see live. m4 (part II) [mp3] is øne øf the søngs they played øn Friday, and if you are interested in høw music is made, this is a fascinating øne to watch being perførmed.
The øther øpening act was Gerønimø. They were an extremely ørdinary prairie emø band. And the fact that the frøntman løøked a little like Jared Letø gave me nø chøice but tø hate them a little bit. We actually wandered øff during their set, and discøvered a wall øf fame which had phøtøs øf søme øf the acts that played MacEwan Hall øver the years. I was pretty gøbsmacked tø discøver that Radiøhead played the hall in 1996.
By now yøu all will have seen the videø for Yøung Følks abøut a gajilliøn times, sø I'll leave yøu with the videø for Øbjects øf My Affectiøn instead:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Who decides what art is anyway?

West Bank barrier graffiti by Banksy
The Calgary police have just wrapped up a seven-month investigation into acts of graffiti, ending in the questioning of eight males, between the ages of 16 and 24. The police admit the graffiti targetted is of the hip-hop rather than the gang-related stream.
Meanwhile gang members are shooting at each others from passing cars on a weekly basis, and occasionally tossing molotov cocktails into each other's houses.
I really have to question the priorities in play here. Personally I don't have an issue with graffiti. A lot of it is beautiful and compelling and highly creative. Yes, there is the issue of graffiti being used to mark out gang territories, but police admit that this particular lengthy investigation did not target gang markings.
This story puts me in mind a little of another recent graffiti story in the news. In March a valuable Banksy piece was inadvertently painted over by a graffiti removal crew. I guess that's one of the risks you take when your art is done on someone else's property.
For the record (no pun intended), my one of my favourite recent Banksy perpetrations was the doctoring of 500 copies of Paris Hilton's cds. The man has won my heart.
So I ask you, my friends:
Is graffiti art?
When a work of graffiti becomes recognized as art, should it be afforded some degree of protection or does that in fact fly in the face of the very concept of graffiti?

Friday Random Playlist coming at you:
Blackout - Muse
Put Out Your Lights - Matthew Good
Grounds for Divorce - Wolf Parade
I Danced - Violent Femmes
And He Shall Purify - Handel
Upside Down - the Jesus and Mary Chain
Testosterone - Bush
Wonderful and Sad - Hawksley Workman
Games Without Frontiers - Peter Gabriel
Hand in Glove - the Smiths
Have a fantastic weekend, all you creative rebels. Go out and do something beautiful and subversive.

I'm going to be bopping my head along to the criminally catchy sounds of Peter Bjorn and John tonight, and will give you a review of the concert tomorrow. No doubt I'll be speaking in a Swedish accent.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What I learned today:

1. Karen is a bit of a nut-job.

I mean this in the nicest possible way, of course. I was chuffed to find a package from her in the mail today. Is that the nicest thing to come home to, real mail that isn't a bill? I think so.

If you visit Karen's blog with any regularity, you soon discover that she has a bit of a Tom Jones obsession (yes, that Tom Jones).
So I am now the proud owner of a deluxe mixed cd of Tom Jones songs, complete with a half-nekid picture of the hairy dude himself. Okay, that part completely freaks me out, I will admit, but chances are pretty good that I will be howling along to Delilah before the evening is out.

And Karen made sure to point out that there were, contrary to what one would expect on a Tom Jones cd, NO Radiohead selections. Well naturally I offered to reciprocate Karen's generosity by hunting down and sending her a half-nekid picture of Thom Yorke in return, but oddly enough she declined.

I think there are a dearth of half-nekid Thom pictures in existence anyway, but there is this:

- looking for work as a rentboy in front of the county jail -

You're welcome, Karen.

2. You use different parts of your guteals and hamstrings when you are gardening than you do whilst cycling or ellipticalling. I thought those babies were whipped into pretty decent shape, but after cleaning out the flower beds for two hours today, I realized that gardeners are a lot tougher than they look.

3. There's nothing like fresh brakes. Man, can you ever stop after you have had your brakes serviced!

4. Writing a grocery list that says "supper x 2" is not very helpful when you get to the grocery store.

5. Eva and I can get maintain Scottish accents for most of the duration of the drive to school (~25 minutes).

And that's all I learned today. The rest of the day was pretty much an intellectual write-off.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

this is not helping with the flab-fighting efforts

Oh that Bubs! He's going to be no end of trouble, I can just tell. First with the creepy clowns, then getting us all mad that we don't all have personal gyrocopters as promised by the Jetsons, and now he's doing his darndest to compromise my efforts to sculpt my flesh from winter flab to summer fabulous by making me think about my five favourite eating places in Calgary.

Fortunately I am an eater, and one who loves to think about food. I have lost a great deal of my fascination with all the trappings of food preparation over the years (every night they want to eat supper!); the menu planning, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning have lost whatever modicum of allure they may have once had, but I still enjoy the eating part. I love being able to choose from a menu and I love having someone serve me. That said, we do not go out to eat nearly often enough, and when we do, it's generally to our local places, as getting back home again ranks nearly as highly as going out, with certain members of the household.

But here's the dealio on how this thing is played:

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/province or state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Lulu (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Chris (Boyne City, Michigan, United States)
AB (Cave Creek, Arizona, United States)
Johnny Yen (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Bubs (Mt Prospect, Illinois, USA)
Barbara (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

2. List out your top 5 favourite places to eat at your location.

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/provinces or states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

So, here are my picks for my favourite eateries around here, in no particular order:

Arirang House - tiny little family-run Korean restaurant within walking distance of our place if you are willing to hoof it a little. It's got lime-green walls (good) and they are always out of Koren beer (bad), and you always come out of there smelling like bi bim bop (that has its pros and cons). You are guaranteed the tasiest burps all evening long.

Sushi Ginza - almost within walking distance, it has a slightly cheesy, but charming atmosophere, with tatami rooms, a sushi bar, and a little stream with a waterfall in the middle of the restaurant. You have to walk over a little bridge which crosses the stream in order to get to the sushi bar. The best miso soup and the crispest tempura.

The Lazy Loaf and Kettle - I've actually only eaten in the restaurant itself twice, which is a restaurant/bakery and they have wonderful toothsome breads and killer baking. It's close to my work, so they often cater our weekly meetings. Their specialty bread has slivers of carrots in it.

The Clay Oven - back in the day when both Jerry's office and IKEA were both located in the northeast quadrant (and I still used to go to IKEA), I would sometimes meet Jerry on my days off and we would head for this family-run Indian restaurant in an unremarkable-looking strip mall in the business/light industrial zone. Their lunch buffet was one of the best ev, with the fluffiest freshest naans, consistently wonderful tandoori chicken and a rice pud that would give you a little mouth orgasm with every spoonful. I miss that place.

The Newport Grill - this really is within walking distance. There is a manmade lake in our neighbourhood upon which a restaurant juts out over the water. It used to be a rather staid place, but a few years ago went through an extensive renovation and upgrade of the decor, the atmosphere and the menu. It still has three walls of floor to ceiling windows that overlook the lake and it is glorious at sunset, but now it has a slightly edgy hip look to the place and the most awesome bathrooms I have ever frequented. I love that bathroom! Oh and the food rocks too.

And since I am supposed to tag people who are well beyond the 403, I am going to tag Danny (because Japan is almost as far from Calgary as you can get), Beckeye (because I hear New York has some pretty decent restaurants), John ((because I am very curious about where one goes for a good bite in Nunavut), Just A Cool Cat (because he and the Wifey always seem to be going out for supper), and Deb (because she had a photo of some awesome-looking fried stuff on her blog recently).

Great, now I'm hungry again.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

sing along with the common people

I'm a Jew... I'm small... I'm homosexual... and I live in Sheffield ... I'm fucked

We watched The History Boys last night. Essentially it really is Dead Poet's Society, with homosexuality, but it is such a charming and endearing little film that it is well worth seeing. And as it takes place in a boys' school in Sheffield in the 80s, there's a killer soundtrack as well. Well worth seeing.

And it being set in Sheffield of course made me think about one of Sheffield's favourite sons, the mighty king - Jarvis Cocker. Jarvis played Vancouver last night, a show which, had it been at an all ages venue, I would have made a serious attempt to attend with Eva. But alas we were forced to save our money. Did anybody hear any reviews?

I've been listening to a lot of Pulp lately. I'm coming at an appreciation of Pulp sort of backwards, as I never paid them too much attention before, but since I love Jarvis so much I've been listening with a keener ear. They really were pretty great, especially for a band started by a 15 year old Jarvis.

This video of Common People makes me lol. It's pretty cheesy, but such a great song, and Jarvis is still such a baby, but oh so sassy:

Time to hand out this week's Labia Award. The field was stacked once again this week, making this judge's job exceedingly difficult, but it is with great pleasure that I announce that this week's winner is :

You have to admire a blogger who calls a spade a spade.
Have a fantastic week everybody. Don't forget to save some time to play.