Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pluto was MY favourite planet too ... okay Uranus is pretty funny, I admit

Die-hard Pluto-huggers are not giving in, and I can't help but applaud their tenacity. They have nothing to lose but their wobbly little non-planets.

Why don't those fancy-pants astronomer-mathematician types go find some obnoxious gas giant to pick on for a change, and show poor little Pluto, who never hurt anybody in its whole life, some respeck?

Sequels. They are getting fairly soundly trashed in the reviews, but I am still chomping to see not only Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, but also George Romero's Diary of the Dead. Come on! It's Harold and Kumar! And Neil Patrick Harris, who may well be the next William Shatner in my opinion. And zombies with video cameras! What's not to love?

And though I am not a summer blockbuster kinda gal, I admit to having a serious hankering to see Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr - need I say more? I submit that he is the most watchable actor working in Hollywood today.

Months after I finally bought The National's Boxer, I still cannot stop listening to it over and over again. I will be forever chagrined to admit that it didn't even make my top 07 albums list last year, but that's only because I stupidly didn't start listening to it until 08. I should always listen to those cool kids. Always.

The National - Apartment Story

Monday, April 28, 2008

Caution: cape does not enable user to fly
(Batman costume warning label, Wal-Mart, 1995)

flight pods, now they're another story

Sunday, April 27, 2008

in love with love and lousy poetry

A week can make an incredible difference sometimes. But the remnants of winter are still a little too evident for my liking, even if the Spousal Unit thinks that it's fine to don shorts when the yard is still buried in snow.

You don't want to look at photos of us suffering through this non-spring, so instead I am going to direct you to more seasonal destinations, where you can check out my latest handiwork while you shake your head at my utterly shameless self-promotion.

Over at the Spring Reading Challenge, I have posted a review of Moscow 2042 by Vladimir Voinovich. It's a searingly funny political and social satire.

And over at albertaviews, which is the newly minted blog of the award winning Alberta Views magazine, I have publicity humiliated myself with an ill-advised stab at poetry. An ode nonetheless.

The Alberta Views blog has begun hosting monthly challenges. When I was asked if I would like to submit something in response to the challenges, I was too tickled to properly consider the implications of revealing to the world just what a shit-awful poet I am. But now it's out there, and obviously I must have some masochistic tendencies, if I am now inviting you to read for yourself and laugh at the unintentional hilarity of my stab at poetry.

Or perhaps you will just cringe uncomfortably and pass over to the other side of the street when you see me coming. Either way,
I have a feeling I will live to regret this.

But before you go, listen to these musical finds, as promised:

You Love Me - DeVotchKa
How It Ends - DeVotchKa
On the Bus Mall - Colin Meloy
Wonder - Colin Meloy

Dirty Water - the Jesus and Mary Chain

Friday, April 25, 2008

double helices weren't the only noteworthy discovery of the day

I trust that most of you are out celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA this evening. Quaffing your Watson and Crick martinis and such. And why not? If not for this amazing and timely discovery, we would not be able to play the DNA-Double Helix game. That's worth a Nobel prize right there.

We made a trek down to Sloth Records this afternoon, and I am really excited about some of the rare finds that were scored. I'll share some of them with you over the next couple of days.

I'm incredibly excited to have found a DeVotchKa cd. I've been looking for their music for over a year now. It's a tantalizing blend of Romany, Greek, Mariachi, punk, and a little Roy Orbison thrown in for good measure. How It Ends,
the title track of the cd I picked up,was featured in the film Everything is Illuminated and I believe DeVotchKa also did the soundtrack for Little Miss Sunshine. I understand they blew everybody away when they played Bonnaroo in 2006.

Stayed tuned for some tasty samples.

Plus I was lucky enough to score Colin Meloy Sings Live! I consider this to be another real find, as I understood these cds to be sold exclusively at concerts. Lots of great chatter on this cd, including Colin berating the audience for doing a pathetic job of headbanging to the traditional folk song, Barbara Allen. "... sorriest bunch of metalheads I've ever seen in my life!" God he's adorable.

Oddly, I still haven't been able to find a copy of the Constantines' new release Kensington Heights. I don't know if there's a distribution problem or what, but I've tried a few record stores now and it was released last week. I do have the files for the album already, but I still want to buy it. Gotta support, you know. And besides, it's all about the liner notes, innit?

Oh! I also got my RADIOHEAD tickets in the mail and I almost dropped them down the heating duct in my butter-fingered excitement. Then I really would have been jonesing for those gratis front row centre seats, which I feel I deserve for saying so many nice things about them over the years.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

obviously, Wayne, you're expecting me to feed my family dog food

In breaking news, I appear to have switched apple variety allegiance. Word.

For decades, Spartan were my default apple and yet for the last few months I have been finding myself bringing Royal Galas home from the grocery store.

Shocking, I know.


The Spousal Unit traded in his old truck yesterday for one that will be imminently more suitable for those Manly Fishing Trips. In fact, I believe it will make him the manliest man on the Manly Fishing Trips.

I accompanied him to the final negotiating session at the dealership yesterday. I was there ostensibly to offer moral support and to play good cop, bad cop if the situation called for it. Instead, it was more like bad cop, no cop.

I was way out of my league, and could only sit there in silent admiration as my man played his cards patiently, yet firmly. He didn't exactly say "you're breakin my balls, Chuck, breakin my balls", he is a sophisticated businessman after all, but I'm sure he came close. He did inquire as to whether he was expected to feed his family dog food, though. Honest and for true. We walked out of there with a deal that they will be talking about for years.

Mind you, it took three hours to get there, and every time the salesman would leave the room to confer with his manager, I would give a body language update, as I could see directly into said manager's office. "He's got his head in his hands ... now he's rubbing his face" were my only real contributions to the negotiations. I'm more of an EQ kinda gal anyway.

No wonder the Spousal Unit is such a great poker player, even if he hates the damn game.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

zombie footprints

things I do right:

- turn down the thermostat, put on a sweater
- bypass the dry cycle on the dishwasher

- shun excess packaging
- open a window instead of using air fresheners
- pull weeds by hands
- shun chemicals in the yard
- installed a low flush toilet
- turn off the lights
- look after my trees
- shovel the snow onto the lawn
- take the stairs at work
- open the oven after it's turned off to heat the kitchen
- manipulate windows and curtains in summer to cool the house
- take short showers
- reuse plastic bags
- don't flush after each pee (in my own private bathroom only of course!)
- use two rain barrels
- rescue spiders and ladybugs
- bought an energy efficient washing machine
- turn off the tap while brushing my teeth
- clean the shower while showering
- berate people who don't recycle

things I do wrong:

- drive, quite a lot
- live 30 kms from work
- gave up on my composter after it stopped working
- use an electrically powered elliptical instead of running outside
- keep the computer on all day
- use incandescent light bulbs
- own a dishwasher that requires prewashing of dishes
- use plastic grocery bags
- use a gas mower
- still have a lawn
- use some commercial cleaners
- buy imported produce if necessary
- live in a city that doesn't recycle plastics except milk and pop bottles
- stomp on ants
- fly to Seattle to see Radiohead (not my fault! If they played Calgary I would happily take transit)

You didn't really think I would get through two posts in a row without mentioning Radiohead, did you?

So how did I score on my Earth Day report card? Feel free to judge me and offer me advice for self-improvement, everybody else does.

Speaking of Radiohead and being environmentally conscious (because if anybody is, it's Radiohead), my new blog friend at Everything is Pop, Pop is Everything alerted me to the fact that Radiohead will be the virtual musical guests on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on Wednesday night. I'm telling you this because EIP,PIE is a great blog, and also because the Late Night with... news bears repeating, not only because you can see Radiohead perform House of Cards, but also because they are performing from London, to spare the environmental toll of flying to New York for a single performance.

And if you want to see Radiohead's performance of Creep as the first ever musical guests on Late Night with... in 1993, those purveyors of all things Radiohead - Green Plastic Radiohead - have the video clip up. It's well worth the click, if only for the bleached blonde mullet and the emoting.

Happy earth day to all my earthling friends and those of you of other persuasions!

Monday, April 21, 2008

we sit on guard for thee

The resident kitteh has spent the last four days (well the three hours that she is awake during each day) sitting bolt upright on the corner of the bed that's nearest the outside wall. And she stares at that wall without so much as blinking.

Personally I don't hear anything, but I suspect that the woodpeckers have finally breached the barrier and are living inside the wall. I mean, the pecking has stopped, so they either went away or achieved their evil little goal.

Now that I have mentioned the word woodpecker in this blog again, I will no doubt be once again inundated with google searches for "how to get rid of woodpeckers". People are in pain out there.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

apparently fuck is the new black

Remember how for the last few years a disproportionate number of bands have had mammalian names?

Wolf was popular for a while, there was Wolf Parade and Wolfmother and Wolf Eyes and Steppenwolf (okay that one was a really long time ago) and Los Lobos (that counts - don't be an English elitist). Oh hey, Patrick Wolf! Alright that's his real name, thereby disallowed.

And then there were a whack of deer bands - Deerhoof and Deerhunter and Deer Tick, which were
followed by bands with murine names - Modest Mouse and Mice Parade and Exploding White Mice.

And while many of these mammalian bands are still around, it seems to me that the animal named band is starting to fall out of fashion. What do I see as the new trend in band names? Fuck names.

This is hardly a new phenomenon actually. There are a whole boatload of bands in the punk, hardcore, or metal genre who boast fuck in their monikers. You can choose from Fuckface or Fuckhead or Dogfuckers or Fallen Fucking Angels or Fuckin' Shit Biscuits or even the straightforwardly named Fuck, but admittedly these are all pretty obscure, highly niche-specific bands.

Lately though, expletive bands have been working their way further and further into the mainstream. You've got bands like Holy Fuck, Twee As Fuck, and Fuck Buttons getting daily press in the music magazines, showcased at festivals like South By Southwest, Glastonbury, and Coachella, and playing well-attended shows. And I just love it when they are talked about on the radio (admittedly still rarely) as the people discussing them never quite know what to call them.

I think it's all great fun, but it does beg the question: where the fuck do we go from here?

We finally watched There Will Be Blood last night. This film sure has polarized people, hasn't it? There are just as many people who passionately hated it as absolutely loved it. Personally I found myself pondering it all day.

Paul Dano almost stole the film, as the Sunday twins, in particular Eli, a part he wasn't even supposed to play originally. Daniel Day-Lewis, as Daniel Plainview, is one scary-assed but fascinating character, who has spawned some highly quotable quotes, like
"Drainage!", "bastard in a basket" , and of course, "I drink your milkshake".

We, of course, were very curious to hear Jonny Greenwood's highly acclaimed soundtrack for this film. Seems that this too was a polarizing point for people. It was highly unusual, and I found it haunting, in particular the oddly drumming track that accompanied the oil derrick explosion. That track, however, was originally written for the film Bodysounds, effectively disqualifying Greenwood's There Will Be Blood soundtrack from consideration for an Academy Award for Original Soundtrack.

Still, you have to admit that Mr Greenwood has come a very long way from his school days where he was desperate to join brother Colin and the others in the band but was too shy to ask, so instead he would hang around the the corners of the rehearsal room, shyly doodling away on an assortment of instruments he would find there. After rehearsal, according to Colin, " he'd be like, look, I can play this, and he'd whip out another instrument."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Summertime (doesn't) roll

It began to snow late morning.

I ran out and stocked up on supplies before the white stuff really started to pile up. It's supposed to snow all weekend and right through Monday, and even on Tuesday there's a 60% chance of snow. It's snowing like a sonofabitch right now, with at least 4 inches on the ground already. Another 3 or 4 days of this will mean a rather significant accumulation.

Guess I don't have to run out to the nursery to buy any bloody bedding plants this weekend.

Instead we are hunkering down with some books and dvds and the new Holy Fuck cd, and partaking in some serious chowing down - lasagna tonight, beef ribs tomorrow, and turkey on Sunday (to make up for exchanging our Easter turkey dinner for a package of trans-fat laden cookies on the plane). That part is going to actually be rather glorious, and I fully expect to have plenty of time for internetzing, so expect me to stalk you all weekend
long, waiting for you to entertain me.

I also came across a new Q magazine in the store today, which boasted a 32-page Radiohead special, so I'll be curled up marvelling at the On a Friday haircuts and chortling at stuff like this:

At the age of 10, he formed an unnamed duo with another Standlake pupil. Setting the template for what was to come, his first song wasn't a fumbling ditty about girls. Rather, Yorke penned Mushroom Cloud, about the dreadful beauty of a nuclear explosion.

Oh Thom, even at the tender age of 10, you were super awesome.

Evidently the nearest thing to summer that we will see this weekend is a photo stolen off the internet, so to minimize the pain, I will indulge in a Favourite Five Friday, which this week celebrates the Five Favourite Songs with Summer in the Title:

I Know Where the Summer Goes - Belle and Sebastian
Thing (Summer in 6/4 Time) - the Cape May
Summer Please - Chixdiggit
Summer Is No Man's Land- David and the Citizens
The Other Side of Summer - Elvis Costello

Has anybody used mydatabus lately? I was going to offer up mp3s of these songs, but mydatabus seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Those bastards better not have taken my $10 and pissed it away on booze and hookers! And I am far too lazy to find another file-sharing site right now, but if mydatabus decides to turn itself in at the border, I'll put up the mp3s.

No matter what the season where you are, I fully expect you to be living la dolce vita. Weather be damned! Pass the wine.
Update: mydatabus has been nabbed at the Mexican border with a sack full of Canadian ten dollar bills and playlist to die for. The mp3s are now up. Go nuts!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

somewhere in a parallel dimension ...

... Thom Yorke and his kids are making up funny little stories about my daily life

... guidance counselors are telling high school kids that if they study medicine or business in university instead of art or literature, they will surely end up living under a bridge

... Korean Bagel Lady writes a blog where she sometimes describes her encounters with Mr Big Shot. Her friends constantly beg her for more Mr Big Shot stories. "He so evil and hilarious! We love MBS", they tell her.

... musicians all over the world are scouring the titles of my blog posts,
looking for ideas for lyrics

... Morrissey gives motivational speeches on the power of positive thinking

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

taggage baggage

Fairly recently, but still too long ago to be decently responding only now, I was tagged by the lovely and talented Leazwell on a link meme, whereby you link five of your favourite sites and then tag five others to do the same. This seems to me to be a great way to discover more compelling, weird, informative or otherwise fun sites on the internetz.

Because, you know we don't spend near enough time surfing.

I find the sites I click upon the most tend to vary with the season (i.e. the Calgary Folk Music
Festival site in the spring, as they gradually announce the lineup) or with events (i.e. Ticketmaster, as concerts are announced), but there are certain sites that I do access regularly and consistently:

- Stat Counter.com - okay, this is a trifle embarrassing to admit, as it makes me look like even more of a narcissistic navel-gazer than I really am, but it really is fascinating to see where the people who access my blog come from in this big crazy world, and what brought them there.

Besides my own name, "chirping power chord" and "getting rid of woodpeckers" seem to be pretty consistently used, and these make sense, but every now and then I get some perplexing gem like "mary's infamous sexy limo ride", "scoring smack in edinburgh", or "laundered fun washer fantasy me inside". You can't make this shit up.

- ChartAttack - I'm a sucker for music zines, and since ChartAttack is Canadian, it gives a better homegrown perspective than a lot of the others. Plus the writers are drop-dead sassy and often have me snorting coffee through my nose, and in Chart's real-life paper version, the editors have printed every letter I have ever sent them, thereby forever establishing them as a quality publication.

- Pitchfork - the layout is a little hard to navigate, with too many columns of links, but that's also part of the appeal - you can get completely lost in here (which is nice sometimes). Plus with the recent launch of pitchfork.tv, you can see some neato performances and videos that aren't easily available elsewhere.

- I Can Has Cheeseburger? - lolcats are cute and funny, don't judge me!

- cbc.ca - everything you need to be a Canadian - news, weather, cbc radio programs - both
streamed and on podcast, weather, radio 3 for the new music, television, weather. It's your basic primer in Canadiana, really. And if you are a real CBC junkie nerd, you can listen to your favourite CBC radio program on streaming audio, while listening to another one on the radio. Awesome.

I tag:

Urban Blonde

Gifted Typist
Dr Monkey von Monkerstein

Have at it, you crazy linketty linkers!

Monday, April 14, 2008

the most popular flavour in Malaysia

That's the claim made on the package of mango gummies that I received today, and who am I to dispute such a claim? I wouldn't be at all surprised if they are very popular in Malaysia, as they are very tasty indeed.

The mango gummies were in a care package that I received from the ever-effervescent Mel Of The Pink Guitar today, along with a whole schwack of music and the audio book for the Alan Cross Guide to Alternative Rock.

Thus far I've listened to the first two chapters, and have heard him say that when he wrote the book, Radiohead were merely considered to be a very good British band but since the publication of the book, their reputation and contributions have ballooned to the point where they are now considered to be one of the most important groups of the entire alternative era. Naturally this statement has cemented the author's credibility in my eyes, and I shall listen to the rest of the book with relish.

And I was surprised with how much I am enjoying the Donnas. Mel had been singing their praises, but until I listened for myself, I didn't appreciate what a fun band they are. Thanks Mel! You sure know how to brighten up a Monday.

Also making Monday more interesting was tonight's episode of Daily Planet, in particular the segment on the rotating house in Australia. Built mainly of glass and steel, it's actually very ecologically advanced,and quite lovely. And the power required to rotate it? The motor is no larger than that of a washing machine motor and costs about 12 cent a day to operate.

I sort of want one now.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Oh look, it's San Francisco!

All the excitement surrounding the planning of our pilgrimage to America to see a British band has reminded me that I never did subject you to the photos of San Francisco taken on our recent trip.

To remedy this oversight may I present "I brought my camera to San Francisco":

- the Pier 39 sea lions -

- view from the top of Lombard St (crookedest street in the world) -

- Alcatraz jail bait -

- inside Alcatraz -

- the grounds are surprisingly lovely -

- SF skyline from Alcatraz -

- leaving Alcatraz as free women -

- the lovely Hillary and Will -

- San Francisco architecture -

- contemplating yet another hill to climb -

- streetcar riders -

- our hotel firepit -

- Lucky Cats of the world, unite -

- Chinatown was fabulous -

- sidewalk drinkers -

You realize, of course, that these San Francisco photos and the earlier San Diego ones are just a fraction of the +800 photos we took on our California trip? You can thank me later for sparing your eyeballs and not testing your endurance to within an inch of its capacity. I just hate to see a grown blogger cry.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

you just know I'm never gonna shut up about this

Lock up your brains, Seattle, the zombies are coming to town!

After spending the morning pacing incessantly while waiting for the box office to open, trying to ignore the knots in my stomach, I am chuffed to report that I have successfully scored seats to
the Radiohead concert in Washington.

We're back in the second last row of section 208, so will need to pack kleenexes for the inevitable nosebleeds, but there are big-assed screens on both sides of the stage so I will be able to melt with each twitch of Thom's furry little face. He still owes me a cheese platter.

And because I am such a nice person, I will share my winning strategy with those of you who don't have access to massive ticket procuring software. I had both computers set up, one logged into Ticketmaster, the other to Live Nation. I started refreshing the pages about 2 minutes before the box offices were scheduled to open.

Ticketmaster opened first. I immediately hit find tickets, saw they were in the 200 level and pressed buy and knew I then had 2.5 minutes. Then I turned to the other computer, on which Live Nation had now opened and hit find tickets, saw that they were lawn level, so ignored them and concentrated on not somehow fucking up the word verification on ticketmaster.

It was stressful, let me tell you. World peace was dependent upon my typing abilities.

And of course, you know the happy outcome. I've been strutting around the house like a big
swinging dick ever since.

And you thought I was obnoxious before.

Friday, April 11, 2008

my fault, entirely

I take full responsibility for yesterday's freak and completely unanticipated snowstorm.

I did, after all, not only wash the urban assault vehicle for the first time in months just the day before, but also removed the Christmas wreath from the garage door. Send all your collision repair bills directly to me.

It was actually pretty amazing. Not only did the 23 cm dump beat a 96 year snowfall record for that day, it resulted in the some unprecedented sights and commute times.

Normally when I pull out onto the main drag through my community, I have to wait for one or maybe two cars to pass by first. Yesterday there was a line of unmoving cars as far as the eye could see. I took an evasive manoeuvre by plowing the urban assault vehicle through snow-choked back lanes instead, but even so it took 25 minutes to leave my community, a trip that normally takes 5 minutes.

Much to her chagrin, I did get the Resident Offspring to school on time, but only because we started out extra early. After that point, however, it was like driving through a war zone, cars abandoned in the middle of the road, buses and trucks jackknifed all over bridge decks. I was very happy for four-wheel drive and the fact that I no longer cared that I was going to be incredibly late for Reseach Day.

My deal-breaker commute time is 2 hours; if I ever reach that point I shall quit immediately. Yesterday I got to work in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turns out I was one of the lucky ones, even though I had one of the furthest distances to travel.

In honour of Friday at last, here are the Top Five Commute Times I heard about yesterday:
- 18 minutes (by the Spousal Unit who left before snowstorm)
- 2 1/2 hours (by someone who lives very close to work)
- 45 minutes to get out of her backlane
- 3 hours to merge onto Crowchild Trail (I suspect an embellishment)
- 3 1/2 hours (I can't believe they took 14th Street!)
What are your commuting horror stories?
Or are you observing Bike to Work Day today?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I fail at presale

Note written to the school this morning:

Please excuse Resident Offspring from being late for class this morning.
Her mother was battling Japanese Radiohead fans.

There has been far too much suffering lately at the hands of internet ticket sellers. Gifted Typist recently recounted her horror story at trying to score Bob Dylan tickets, and I knew I would be in for the battle of my life trying to grab Radiohead presale seats, but obviously even I underestimated how seriously lacking I am in internet battle skills.
I started checking the ticket site shortly before 6 am, and sometime between 7:10 and 7:30, tickets went on presale. Obviously the entire known universe was trying to access the site at the same time, as I kept getting booted off.
At one point I came thisclose and was actually able to click "find tickets" in the 100 level section. So tantalizing! And then I found myself booted off again.

Eventually I had to admit that I really really needed to leave right now to drive the RO to school, and when I returned 40 minutes later (record time, I assure you), the seats were sold out.

So now I shall be sharpening my elbows to battle the unwashed masses for the general sales. I've got a couple of days to plan my strategy. And maybe upgrade to super-duper NASA-speed connection. Or get superhero powers.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

distinguished guest from Harry Potter University

My boss is in town for a few days.

This is actually big cause for excitement around these parts as he now pretty much runs the universe, or at least Medical Sciences at the University of Oxford. So it's a wee bit of a crazy week, what with dinner meetings and planning strategies and him being keynote speaker at our Research Day later this week.

And it's so great to see him again. It's been over a year since he was last here, and I realize that when he moved to the UK, a lot of the excitement went out of my job. Dude makes things happen, there is no question, and I do miss the action that used to be part of my daily work. Now I pretty much just write things up in nice language so that proposals get past the committees and make the decisions that nobody else seems to want to make.

And my boss is doing incredibly well at Oxford, he's gone from being a department head to being a division head in a very short time. But all was not necessarily so smooth with his transition, as I found out at dinner last night.

In Calgary, he drove a car he was very fond of, and one of the physicians convinced him that he should bring it with him to the UK and that they would be able to refit it to right-hand drive. So he had it shipped to Oxford, took it into the VW dealership and asked them to make various adjustments, including switching it to right-hand drive. No problem, the mechanic told him, it'll be

Very reasonable, thought A, but as he handed over his keys and was turning to go, thought he would just clarify. "So you will switch the steering wheel over to the right-hand side of the car, is that correct?"

The mechanic stared at him for several seconds and then asked "You're a professor, aren't you? At Oxford University? A neurologist, and a department head?"

When A admitted this was true, the mechanic shook his head sadly. "And that is one of the stupidest questions anybody has ever asked me."

So now A drives a car with the steering wheel on the left side, in a right-hand drive world. Apparently reaching the buttons at the car wash is quite a challenge.

In other news:

- the lineup has been announced for the first Calgary Virgin Festival. They listened to a few of my suggestions by the looks of it (the Flaming Lips, the Constantines, Matt Good, the New Pornographers), but missed a whole bunch as well.

- the second annual Sled Island music festival is less than a week after that, and it has a
pretty impressive lineup (Of Montreal, Mogwai, Wire, Gutter Twins, Jonathon Richman, etc).

- and in the biggest news of all,
Thom drums!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It wasn't an entirely lazy Sunday ...

... I did post a review of this book over on the Spring Reading Challenge.

Much as I am a Douglas Coupland fan, I was a little startled at the way this book was pushed direct-to-video so to speak.

Has Douglas Coupland jumped the shark? You know you want to know what I think! (or so I tell myself)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

high up above, aliens hover, making home movies for the folks back home

If you have any aspirations to be a music producer, now's your chance to try your hand at it.

Radiohead is hosting a contest for the best remix of their song Nude. The acclaimed Canadian improvisational electronica band Holy Fuck are currently leading the votes by a wide margin. I do like this band a lot, and not just because they have one of the more useful names in the music industry, although I do find myself using the name several times a day.

You can go here to listen to Holy Fuck's remix, along with a handful of others. A word of warning,
just don't Google "holy fuck nude remix", at least not at work. You'd be amazed what your search engine will turn up. Well, perhaps you won't be.

I voted for Holy Fuck's remix, but some of the others are pretty decent
too. If you've been feeling click-vote deprived lately, as I have been, you too can go and click away to give yourself the impression that you are doing something meaningful with your life.

Speaking of Radiohead, and who isn't these days, since they seem to be launching an armada of assaults on virtually every form of media, here's what the lads have been up to, by medium:

Thom Yorke was guest editor of Observer magazine recently, where he wrote the Editor's Letter, interviewed the mayor of London, and got all excited about bicycles in Paris.

On Thursday, Radiohead launched a new social networking site, called W.A.S.T.E. central. You too can become a member and post pics and invite the lads to be your virtual friends, just like on Facebook. Since I never did succumb to the siren's call of Facebook, I'm not about to sign up for this virtual bubblewrap either. Besides, with the exception of yours truly, Radiohead fans are all insane.

Radiohead have of course, always been highly computer savvy when it comes to connecting with their audience. Far from the fear of cyber-technology alluded to in their magnum opus, OK Computer, Radiohead have always embraced the technology, relying upon it rather heavily to produce some of their sounds, as well as offering the now famous business model of pay-what-you-want for the initial release of In Rainbows, right through to my favourite example of an excellent use of computer technology - the time they used an elaborate ruse to Rickroll their online devotees.

And now, Pitchfork is all excitedly announcing that Radiohead will be part of the debut of Pitchfork.tv, a new music video site. Radiohead have reportedly filmed a performance, including an exclusive of Bangers and Mash, which will air on Pitchfork.tv's Monday debut. Radiohead are no strangers to online video performances of course, having recently hosted several webcasts and mini performances on their own website, Dead Air Space, but it's quite another matter for them to be part of this launch.

Oh yes, and in January Thom and Ed were guest cohosts on BBC radio 6, when they took over hosting duties on Zane Lowe's show. They played a lot of great stuff too, including M.I.A., Sonic Youth, and none other than Holy Fuck.

Me, I'm waiting patiently to sign up for Radiohead digital phone service.

Friday, April 04, 2008

taking the teddy bear test

When Beckeye tagged me with this top 15 sexiest male musicians meme, I thought it was going to be a breeze. What could be easier, I thought. And I immediately started jotting down names.

When I reached 25 names within a few short minutes, I began to have an inkling that this might involve a bit more selectivity than I originally thought. I was going to have to do some culling. I was going to have to establish some criteria besides I love this man he’s so talented and cute.

So I implemented what I call the oh-god-I-just-fucked-my-teddy-bear rule. If I allowed myself to imagine a selected musician in a carnal situation, and it made me cringe because he is so adorable and sweet that it would be like, well, fucking your teddy bear, then that man is out. You’d be surprised at the number of worthy men I had to eliminate that way. A shame really.

So to you - Colin Meloy and John K Samson and Wayne Petti and Chad VanGaalen and Joel Plaskett and Tony Dekker, my heartfelt apologies. You are tops in my heart, but you don’t pass the teddy bear test.

These guys do:

Bry Webb (the Constantines)

- that voice, which I have heard described (accurately, I assure you) as jagged chocolate, the passion and the energy he puts into performing, those plaid shirts. He walked past me in the lobby once and I was too overwhelmed to say anything to him, but I sure was sweating.

Jarvis Cocker

- he always had that swaggering yet ambivalent sexuality thing going for him when he was with Pulp, and now that he’s in his 40s and was a stay-at-home daddy (thereby cementing his place in women’s hearts) before bursting back on the music scene with his great solo album last year, he just keeps getting sexier. Plus anyone who can rock the same style of nerd glasses for decades has got all kinds of chutzpah.

Thom Yorke (Radiohead)

- is anyone really surprised that Thom is on this list? Quite frankly, most of the members of Radiohead could be under consideration – Jonny for his hair and incredible talent, Ed for his smile, Colin for his articulate intelligence and personality, and Phil for, um, well, he’s a very good drummer and he has a nice shiny scalp.

But how could anyone not be swayed by that twitchy little ginger who rules my heart? When you combine that soaring voice with that scruffy little face complete with wonky eye and those premium dance moves, his incredible musical vision, plus his commitment to fairness and to living and touring responsibly, well he’s pretty much back to save the universe, isn’t he? And that makes our Thom one sexy lad.

Hawksley Workman

- a flamboyant, larger than life showman, who all but throws himself at the feet of his audience. He's got the moves and he's got the voice, and he sings about sex a lot.

And in person, he's a real sweetheart.

Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy)

- quite frankly, the most stunningly beautiful lad I have ever laid eyes upon. Makes me wish I was a gay man. Plus he almost single-handedly made violin playing and being a gaming nerd cool.

Also put on the best concert I saw last year.

Jim Reid (the Jesus and Mary Chain)

- Jim was always pretty sweet looking back in the day, with his pouty face under the mass of hair, and all that tight leather. He was the more outspoken member of the band, and when he opened his mouth to spout off with that Glaswegian accent, well there's no resisting that, is there?

He still looks pretty fit and fine today and, unlike his brother, has wisely now given up on the JAMC hair and leather.

Rufus Wainwright

- my phone's on vibrate for him. Rufus once boasted the sweetest sideburns in rock. Bring back those sideburns, Rufus! And nobody sings Leonard Cohen like Rufus Wainwright.

To this day, nobody rocks a pair of lederhosen and white knee highs like Rufus. I think I actually want to go shopping with him.

Stuart Murdoch (Belle and Sebastian)

- almost didn't pass the teddy bear test, what with his angelic voice, his tweeness and the fact that his hair looks like his mother cuts it with a bowl, but then there are those subversive lyrics which throw everything into confusion. And besides, there's that irresistible Scotish accent again. Just about anybody with a Scotch accent automatically qualifies. (Except Adrian Moffat from Arab Strap. Although he has a lovely brogue and he sings about dirty sex a lot, he's not sexy at all, just dirty.)

Stuart, despite the pictures I have seen of him in starched and ironed pyjamas, makes the cut.

Joe Strummer (the Clash)

- the legendary voice of a generation. Besides putting the fun into punk, Joe always maintained his ideals and lived by his principles. A classy man to the end, and that, my friends, is very sexy.

Bob Marley

- I could have been talked into spending a weekend on a tropical island with him. He could have been my Survivor boyfriend. And he undoubtedly knew where to get the really good pot.

Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordello)

- "fashion god" pretty much sums it up. Anyone who can take those pants and that disturbing mustache and turn them into icons has got to possess some pretty mighty kahonas.

Matthew Good

- he kind of perfected the snarly rocker look back when he fronted a rock band, but has since melded his look into more of a mature geek, alongside his evolution to searing and dark acoustic songs. He is still one of the brainiest musicians around (and brains are definitely sexy), with a scathing wit and a refusal to accept bullshit from anybody, tempered by a deep grasp of geopolitics and a very real concern for human rights.

Lenny Kravitz

- I don't even like his music, to tell you the truth, and I get the impression that he's kinda skeezey, but damn he is one fine looking man!

Billy Bragg

- another aging punk who has maintained his principles. He is also, hands down, the best banterer I have ever encountered. I would have no problems going to a concert just to hear him talk. He is dead funny, and humour is always sexy.

Peter Elkas

- although I am not smitten with his music, I really appreciated how sweet and patient he was when posing for "this is me" photos, even after the camera kept crapping out. And you have to admit, the man is a serious hottie.



Whew, I'm exhausted after that! But dang I had fun! I'm going to try to keep the fire stoked by tagging 4 women whom I am pretty sure have some strong opinions of their own on this topic - Allison, Deb, Mellowlee, and 668. Ladies, wow us with your picks!

And to the men who made it through this post to the bitter end, you are awfully sexy for having the determination and stamina. Well done, you.