Saturday, May 31, 2008

cherry blossoms and lung butter

I know it's blurry as hell, but I couldn't face another attempt at holding the battery door closed on the camera with both hands whilst attempting to snap a picture with my elbow. It's lovely though, isn't it?

This is a beautiful time of year here, after the threat of spring snow storms finally abates and before the August droughts turn everything brown and brittle.

Even though I am coughing up little bits of lung with every breath and my voice sounds like a rusty old freight train screeching to a halt, I cannot feel bad on such a glorious day.

And we're going to see a baseball game later! It's been forever since I've been to a pro ballgame, especially a day game at an outdoor ball park. Bring on the hot dogs and beer.

Friday, May 30, 2008

May 30, 1991 10:30 am

To my little urban guerilla:

You are fierce. Even when you aren't smiling with your eyes.

You have taught me so much in your 17 years, and I'm not just talking about the usual my baby taught me about love and responsibility and finding beauty in a child's smile type of stuff, although that certainly is part of it. No! You have taught me about actual concrete subjects, about history and music and art and politics. I always thought I was pretty smart, but I pale next to you. Always will. And that makes me so proud.

I cannot believe how blessed I am to know a person like you.

You are premium, my dear.

Top Five Wishes for Your Birthday:
1. enjoy yourself, without reservations
2. realize how fabulous you actually are, exactly as you are
3. remember that you are fierce and you can do anything you set your mind to
4. understand how loved you are and how awesome you are to so many
5. some kick-ass loot

If the phone rings, it's probably the As It Happens ladies wanting to interview you about your ferocity. Or Hugo, telling you jou are not a donkey.

Happy Birthday, Resident Offspring!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

packed and delivered like UPS trucks

My first thoughts, when the opening band took the stage at the M.I.A. concert last night, were “hey, they’re not a duo, they’re certainly not electronica, and I have serious doubts that they are even Finnish”.

They weren’t. They were some hip-hop quartet whose name I didn’t catch and whose name I don’t even want to know. I pretty much hated them as soon as I saw the trucker hats and the continual crotch-grabbing. Their music was derivative, their lyrics misogynist, and I couldn’t wait for them to leave. Their amps went up to 11, though.

A lot of the audience seemed to adore them, and maybe that had a bearing on what the Resident Offspring referred to as the rudest behaviour that she had ever witnessed at a concert. I’m not saying that hip-hop brings out the worst in people and there are some hip-hop artists whom I really admire, but belligerence in music does tend to transfer to real life. From my safe spot against the wall, I was pretty much shielded from any major rudeness, but I am told there was a serious lack of common concert etiquette being observed last night.

Thankfully the electronic duo from Finland did show up as the second opener and I did like them quite a bit. They played an unusually long set for an opener, though, and considering that electronica is not generally the most visually compelling of acts, they did start to get a little old. Had we been dancing at a rave it might have been a different story, but we weren’t. We were standing at a concert, waiting for M.I.A.

Oh boy did we wait.

Normally I quite enjoy the time between acts at a concert, to sit and contemplate the latest evolution of the indie kid outfit, but last night, probably because I wasn’t feeling all that well, I was starting to get seriously impatient. Finally, close to an hour after the Finns had finished (and just as I was thinking about saying screw you guys I’m going home), the show was on.

And it was a very lively and highly compelling visual and musical effort. Set against a massive backdrop of rapidly evolving and repeating film clips, M.I.A., a DJ, and two backup dancers/singers – a fierce woman with a pink wig and wildly dancing boy – launched into their set and immediately had the audience screaming and jumping and dancing.

I was curious to see how M.I.A. actually makes her music. Would she just have a little boombox beside her, would she be hunched over a couple of turntables? As it turned out, that job fell largely to the DJ, with M.I.A. and her entourage handling the singing and the dancing part. And the dancing was quite flamboyant and impressively well choreographed. Lots of huge arm movements and leaning out to the audience.

And then a most unusual thing happened. I saw security sprint past me toward the access side of the stage just as the fierce woman in the pink wig called for “laaaydeees” to come up on stage to dance. I thought maybe they’d allow 6 or 7 women up for half a song, but no. In pretty short notice there must have been 60 women shaking their groove thangs up on stage whilst M.I.A. sang from the side. Suddenly there was more room down below for the rest of us and I could see the stage quite clearly, although of course by that point I was simply watching other audience members dancing.

After three songs of this, fierce pink wig woman then called for the “booooooyssss” to come up and join them and instantaneously there were at least 100 people on stage, shaking what their mommas and their daddies gave them. It all got a little surreal for me at that point, but I did appreciate the interactivity of the process. And nobody fell to their deaths.

M.I.A. delivered a well-received and lively act, albeit one of the briefest performances I have ever seen in a headliner – 45 minutes, with perhaps another 10 for the encore. Put against the hour-long wait for her set to begin, the math didn’t exactly add up for me, but by that point I needed my bed anyway. For the first time ever, I felt like I was a little too old to be part of this audience, but I'm hoping it was just the ill health talking.

sort of a highlight: M.I.A. announcing during the encore that she had just gotten engaged. “To a Canadian. Which makes us sort of related.” That was sweet.

- the Finnish electronica duo were called Top Billing, which I think is an atrocious name, and it got me thinking about good bands with bad names. (Radiohead of course used to be called On a Friday)

Questions of the day:
good bands with bad names, do they stand a chance?
what's the worst band name for an otherwise good band?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

it doesn't make me a bad person

I went into an Office Depot yesterday. And not only that, I bought something.

Now before you slam your laptop closed in disgust and stomp off muttering something about never reading that hypocrite's so-called blog again, let me assure you that it was only a pack of cd mailers, and it was not at the offending store, but at the store that actually gave me the refund. Besides, it was right near where I had to pick up the Resident Offspring.

So fear not, I have not actually dropped my pants and bent over for the corporation. Well not very far anyway.

We're off to the M.I.A. concert tonight.

And while I was sort of dreading it yesterday due to having come down illish and also needing to go out four nights this week - an unheard of occurrence in the Zombie household, I am quite pumped for it now. Although I am pretty certain that Sunday will be declared a collapse in exhaustion day.

In a perfect world, M.I.A. would bring the Wilcannia Mob along with her. They're the Australian aboriginal lads who join her on Mango Pickle Down River on the Kala album. Those kids are beyond awesome, especially Keith, the one with the smoker's rasp.

But there is a Finnish electronica duo opening, which should prove pretty neat, although not as neat as the Toronto show, where Holy Fuck opened. Still, I'd be willing to bet that there will be lots of gun hands in the audience tonight.

Monday, May 26, 2008

this is why I continue to buy cds

I Might Be Wrong Live Recordings - Radiohead:
Mountain Battles - the Breeders:
Com Lag - Radiohead:

Albums, of course, are even better.
And for the record, "otherfuckermay" may very well be my all-time favourite Pig Latin word.

The Resident Offspring began her job at the living history musuem park yesterday and is doing her training in the bakery. She brought home day-olds! Cheese buns and butter tarts.
So I gave her poor aching feet a foot massage last night. I automatically give foot rubs to anyone who brings me cheese buns and/or butter tarts.
It's been raining for almost a week and I'm just loving it - an attitude which is sure to get me run out of town on a rail. People around here take their sunshine very personally. But my hair has not looked this good since we moved away from Ontario - thick, shiny, and every curl is perfectly defined. I'm not sexy enough for my hair, obviously.
rain or sun?
butter tarts or cheesebuns?
too sexy or not sexy enough?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

they healed me

I was late getting home from work the night of the Hives concert, stuck in traffic in the driving rain with an increasingly pounding headache. The last thing I wanted to do was head back out again, and drive back across town for a late night of having my ears assaulted. But for the sake of you, my dear readers (and also for my concert companions), I sucked it up, popped an Advil, and headed over to MacEwan Hall to see the brash and lively Swedish garage rock revivalists.

And they are revivalists in more than one sense. They have reinvented the thrashing lively garage band sound, yes, but they also conjure up images of a old time revival meeting, with Howlin' Pelle Almqvist as the bombastic preacher, ready to heal you and save your soul for a buck.

And on Thursday night at Mac Hall, there was not a soul that was going home unsaved by the madman.

We arrived a little late and only caught the last 3 songs of the opener, Locksley. They were a
really decent, very cohesive garage band and I enjoyed what I heard. And they were really charming in their shill at the end of the set, asking anyone who was interested to sign up for their mailing list, "We promise we won't email you too often" and shyly mentioning that, as an unsigned band, they would be happy to accept donations for a gas fund. You've gotta feel for a poor travelling band these days.

Now I can probably only sing along to 4 or 5 Hives songs, but I always knew I wanted to see
them in concert given a chance, just based on their reputation as one of the best lives acts you will ever see. After Thursday's concert, I am not about to entirely take the title of Hardest Rocking Live Band away from the Constantines, but damn they are going to have to share it with the Hives. And while the Cons are earnest in their rock ethic - they put their heads down and they play as hard as they can, the Hives are brash and playful and, in a bit of postmodern self-awareness, they play up their reputation to the maximum.

That night, drumsticks flew up into the air, mic stands swung madly about, and Howlin' Pelle strutted and swaggered and scissor-kicked. He crowd-surfed and jumped on and off amps and was given to gesturing hugely - hands on hips, hands cupping ears, leaning in to the audience. He egged the audience on with "We are the Hives - give it up for the band! The Hives are in town, Calgary, and you are the only people who are lucky enough to see them! "

In any other band, this bombastic behaviour would simply be seen as arrogance, but with the Hives it was simply loads of fun, because they were so
obviously in on the joke. "This is what is known as having the audience eating out of your hand", Howlin' Pelle told us at one point, and then he made us sing even louder this time.

The Hives played a solid hard-hitting one hour show, with no slow moments, and then came back for an equally frantic 20 minute encore, which ended with Howlin' Pelle standing on the amps nearest us as the lights came back up, clapping and waving and blowing kisses. It was pretty spectacular, and when I got back to the parking lot, I realized that my headache was long gone. Damn they're good.

I tried to find a clip that demonstrates just how dynamic the Hives are in concert, and while I didn't find one that quite captured the magic and the interaction of the show at Mac Hall, this one comes close. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oh no! Valencia!

Want to watch a film but only have 10 minutes? Fear not, the Decemberists feel your pain and they want to help out.

In this dramatization of the song O Valencia!, a non-bespectacled Colin Meloy plays the star-crossed lover, while Chris Funk takes on the role of the heavy "fixer". They are surprisingly credible actors.

There's pathos, there's pain, there's blood and violent death. And there is sardonic humour. This is not the O Valencia! you thought you knew.

- you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll stand up and do the slow clap -

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

lady in the radiator

The lovely rain that I woke up to this morning made me feel all cocoony and domesticy, and as luck would have it, I did not have to work today, so I was able to indulge in this rarity.

I've been feeling the need to vacuum the house, which is strange, as I can generally ignore a sticky, crunchy floor forever, even though I cannot bear eye-level clutter. But I think this domestic drive all began a couple of weeks ago when I caulked the tub surround in the main bathroom and had to use the Spousal Unit's personal man-shower in the basement for a couple of days while the caulking cured. I'm pretty sure it's coming up to a year now since I went in with hazmat gear and cleaned the man-shower as a Father's Day present , because stepping all nice and clean out of that shower onto a bathmat that more resembled a litter-box than anything else made me suspect that perhaps nobody had actually been doing any maintenance in the basement.

And then this weekend, as I was lying on the basement floor stretching after a workout, I felt something in my hair and reached up to encounter some chunks. And that's when I realized that I was lying with my head on the exact same spot on the carpet where the cat puked a couple of days before. I guess I didn't clean it up as well as I thought I had.

You know you are not much of a domestic goddess when it takes dried cat puke in your hair to make you haul out the vacuum cleaner.

And I was thinking that a nice rainy day like today would be the perfect time to tackle a couple of memes that I am way behind on. Bloody Awful Poetry recently got me with a meme that ties in nicely with oneof my favourite pasttimes that I like to call "weird shit we talk about in the urban assault vehicle". And Bubs tagged me with a meme that continues a storyline which he ended on an intriguing note and which I am itching to expand upon.

Sadly, however, there are still only 24 hours in a day and I haven't quite finished constructing that Tardis, so I will have to leave those memes for another day. A day where I don't waste my time shoving a lame sucker of a vacuum around the house.

I did manage to make a killer beef roast for my grateful family tonight though, even though I got the distinct impression they were rather happy that I ran out of time to make a barley casserole. Ingrates.

We're off to The Hives concert tomorrow night. As usual, I do not feel like going anywhere, especially as it's been months since I have been to a concert and I am feeling completely out of practice. But I understand they put on one hell of a rousing show. Details on Friday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

echo to your yell, ripple to your dive

If yesterday was a big love-in about how great an extra long weekend is, today I temper all that saccharine with a reality check of things that really bothered me today.

You may or may not know how much I despise vanity plates. I believe I have spewed venom about them before. Especially the cutesy ones that I have seen like "MASTAXI", "IMLVD", "IFRGT" (that one actually scared the crap out of me), or "GR8ST-ANT".

I see a plate like that in front of me, it's all I can do to keep myself from getting out at the next red light, ripping open their driver's side door and smacking some faces.

Today I saw, not a license plate, but a big stenciled message right across the back of a mini-van which read:


At first glance I didn't even notice the apostrophe abuse, the sentiment alone pissed me off. But when, after a split second, I realized that the sign-maker was illiterate in addition to lame, I had to do some deep breathing and count my blessings that we have gun control laws in this country.

Okay, if that's all that bothered me today, I've got nothing much to complain about. Except for watching the cat slowly kill a bird today. I tried to intervene, but my authority doesn't count for much in the brutish backyard wars.

I imagine that Radiohead have headed back to the UK for a wee rest now, as they played the final show of the first leg of the North American tour in Dallas last night. Aside from the weather issue in Bristow, VA, I have heard nothing but glowing reports of the awesomeness factor of the shows that the most important band in the world have been putting on.

Judging from the reviews that I have been reading, Radiohead have been absolutely stellar on this tour, playing 24-25 songs at each concert, largely from In Rainbows of course, but also dipping back and playing some old favourites that I would kill to see live, like Paranoid Android, Fake Plastic Trees, Exit Music (For a Film), and Optimistic.

And they've been having fun too.
At the St. Louis concert, apparently Thom asked the audience, "How come it smells of doughnuts? Who could eat doughnuts at a time like this?" God I love that kid.

See you in August, Radiohead!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

when the sun is shining on my head, it makes me feel like a peaceful animal

Twenty-four things I have loved this Victoria Day (May Two-Fer) long weekend:

1. the whole family getting Friday off as well
2. temperatures in the high 20s
3. capris and sandals
4. watching the buds on the cherry tree outside the window explode into life
5. those unflaggingly friendly, polite, sweet, and adorable sushi guys
6. first outdoor meal of the year

7. reading the paper on the front deck on a quiet Saturday evening
8. Coop sushi which is way too fresh and delicious to be supermarket sushi
9. hearing the man next door call his sons "darling"
10. sleeping in for 4 consecutive days
11. outdoor blogging
12. club soda and tonic with a wedge of lime
13. men with accessory babies strapped to their chests
14. watching Dog Day Afternoon, thinking I was going to be watching Reservoir Dogs (where the hell is Mr Pink?)

15. shopping for a summer purse and rejecting them all as supremely fugly.
16. bare feet with hot pink nail polish
17. all the windows and screen doors wide open
18. putting up summer curtains in the dining room

19. watching Muriel's Wedding again 14 years later and still finding it sweet and charming
20. matcha smoothies at the coffee house in Kensington
21. hauling the lounge chair out of the garage

22. ABBA
23. sour cream and 0nion chips
24. lounging around outside with the cat

What have you loved this weekend?

I hope you are all having a blissful weekend, and if you are lucky enough to celebrate Victoria Day, why don't you help yourself to an extra serving of bliss? Very few calories in the new improved variety.
Here's some bliss for your ears:
Sunshine Snare Hits - Chad VanGaalen

Friday, May 16, 2008

countdown to hippie island

A few days of spring would have been nice.

Going directly from snowfall at the end of last week to a forecast high of 29C this weekend is a bit of a shock to the circuitry. With no time for acclimatization, we are putting our winter boots away in the basement (for the third time this spring) and slapping on the sunblock. And the odd and disturbing part of it is that there are no leaves on the trees yet. It feels wrong to be sweating in the blazing sun while staring at bare branches that are just starting to sprout the smallest of buds.

But that is the last of the complaining that you will hear from me. The whole family has the day off today, making for an extra long Victoria Day weekend (and for my non-Canadian friends, a bit of a primer in Canadiana: call it "the May two-fer" and you will fit right in).

The Spousal Unit is off test-driving his new manly truck on the first of the manly fishing trips of the season, and the Resident Offspring and I are going to buy our Calgary Folk Music Festival passes today.

The full line-up was announced yesterday and it is a real winner! Those of you who have been visiting here for a while know how much I love the Calgary Folk Festival and I have to tell you
that once again, the festival organizers have come through with a fabulous lineup.

Some returning favourites that I am thrilled to see back on the island:
- the Weakerthans (I'll try not to accidentally stalk John K Samson this year)
- Great Lake Swimmers
- Ani DiFranco
- Bedouin Soundclash

Some artists I have not seen at the festival before about whom I am uber-excited:
- Andrew Bird
- Calexico
- Basia Bulat (
have seen her before, but I think the folk fest setting is perfect)
- the Be Good Tanyas
- Carolina Chocolate Drops
- the Consonant C
- the Handsome Family

- Kara Keith
- Charlie Musselwhite
- Conor Oberst
- Sam Roberts
- Jesse Winchester
- Woodpigeon (seen before, but not at the folk fest)

And of course, there are always those musicians that come out of nowhere to completely blindside me with their awesomeness. I love those kind of surprises.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

everything in its right place

For someone who prides herself on being pretty organized with paperwork, I sure spent a lot of time rummaging through the filing cabinets tonight, becoming increasingly sweaty and panicky as I tried to find the Resident Offspring's social insurance card (which I knew I had put away in a safe place). Some of those safe places are safe even from me.

Today the Resident Offspring landed a summer job at a living history park close to our place. I am enormously proud of her of course, but I have to admit that I'm actually a little envious, as she gets to do a rotation of various jobs around the park and wear a historical costume and everything. Who knows, maybe next summer I'll be asking her to give me a reference so that I can work there as well.

Scooping ice cream is starting to look pretty good right now.

I'm starting to feel increasingly like a pawn in the escalating power struggle at work and I'm starting to get the distinct impression that I will be considered disposable once all the dust has settled.

Ah well, time for a change anyway.

And I have to send big props out to my musicologist blogging buddy, Sean from Everything is Pop, Pop is Everything, for the fabulous dvd he put together of Radiohead's In the Basement sessions. The production quality is astounding, the content is mesmerizing. Next to the Resident Offspring scoring her first summer job (and me finally finding her blasted SIN), receiving Sean's thoughtful parcel was the highlight of my day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

best thing you'll read all day

if you're a Radiohead fan that is.

Actually even if you are only mildly curious about them, you may enjoy this stellar interview that The Word did with all the members of the band. Much as I love Thom, I really want to hear what Colin and Jonny and Phil and Ed have to say as well. And they all have some very thoughtful, irreverent and pithy things to say. Let's hear it for deadpan British humour.

This is a long read (6 pages), but utterly enthralling.

My heart goes out to the poor sods who failed to make it to the Bristow, VA show last night due to a combination of torrential rains, flooded and grid-locked roads, and a nightmarish scenario at the Nissan Pavilion parking lot where people had to queue for hours to park and then latecomers were turned away by the parking Nazis while the show was still ongoing.

I'm surprised nobody died.

But I understand that Radiohead did their best to put on the show of their lives for those rain-soaked fans who did make it and then spent the night shivering in the cold.

The pneumonia will only last a couple of weeks, the memories will still be there for tormenting your grandchildren with years from now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

home lobotomy for dummies

At first it broke my heart to take down the tree, but it had been slowly dying for several years and was now 3/4 dead, looking like hell right in the front yard, and compromising the health of the row of spruce trees it was crowding against. The arbourist was going to charge an exorbitant amount to remove it, and as we had been cooped up inside for far too long anyway thanks to the weekly snowfalls we have been receiving and were now itching to get our hands dirty, I said, fuck it, let's do it ourselves.

How hard can it be?

It was a plum, apparently, although I had always thought of it as a hawthorn because of the massive spikes it sported along its branches. I was always fearful whenever Sputnik climbed up into it that she would put an eye out on those spikes (when you become a mother, you automatically develop a fear of someone putting an eye out - it's a trait that's carried on the x chromosome that doesn't surface until the proper progesterone surge happens, apparently). And lately the neighbourhood kids have been running back and forth across our yard, ducking under the very low hanging branches of the plum tree and I was sure somebody was going to be
impaled horribly.

So it was time for the tree to come down.

The first part went quite well. The Spousal Unit trimmed off the larger branches and I hauled them to the backyard. But when it came to sawing off the four-limbed trunk, we realised that we were going to have to break down and buy a chain saw after all. So while he headed to Canadian Tire, I started gathering up the rest of the branches.

All was well until I stood up while still under the god-damned tree and whacked my head hard on the branch. And then the blood started dripping onto my shirt and I had one of those oh shit moments. As in oh shit, I think I did some damage. I flung my gardening glove off and reached up to touch my head and encountered a 2 inch wooden spike sticking out of my head. I withdrew the spike from my skull, staggered into the house, and slapped the dishcloth on my head - the same filthy dish cloth with which I had cleaned up the counters earlier - and called out to the Resident Offspring, "I just stabbed myself in the head". "Oh dear" she replied, but did not come downstairs to check up on her poor dying mother.

She did come down a few minutes later as I was sitting on the stairs with my head between my
knees. I think the moaning drew her away from the computer. Apparently she thought that I meant I had just whacked myself in the head with a branch. I guess she is used to me being a little overly dramatic at times.

Anyway, after staunching the blood flow, I did slap a little Polysporin on the wound and, trying not to imagine the possibility of any sort of parasite being present on the lobotomy spike and burrowing its eggs into my brain, I did survive enough to help the Spousal Unit take down the rest of the tree (whilst spouting bravadoes like "that bitch is coming down because now it's personal!") and cut most of it up for firewood.

This afternoon, I was in the backyard cutting up the remainder of the branches into pieces that would fit into the firepot when the neighbour down the road decided that the first nice warm Sunday afternoon we have had this year would be a good day to let his two little kids ride their little motorcycles that sound like sewing machines up and down and up and down and up and down the back lane.

The Resident Offspring had joined me in the backyard to paint while I cut up branches and started laughing at me as I launched into the usual passive-aggressive stance that I go into when I get pissed off at someone I don't know well enough to yell at. After a while I started glaring over the fence at their father who was leaning against somebody's garage door watching them roar back and forth, and then I tried hucking spruce cones at them to see if I could nail them in the helmet, and all the while the Resident Offspring was egging me on and asking me things like "who's more passive-aggressive, you or Thom Yorke?" and we would get into a discussion along the lines of WWTD (What Would Thom Do).

Finally, I decided it was time to act like an adult instead of working myself into a lather, and take the direct confrontation route, which I generally avoid like the plague. So headed out to the
backlane, walked up to the idiot who spawned the brats kids' father and asked him if he could take them down somebody else's backlane for a while.

And he did!

I am so pleased with myself for taking direct action today instead of hiding behind passive-aggressive moves and getting progressively more pissed off. If that's what having a tree parasite burrow into your brain does, then I just might take up arbour-care as a hobby. Because I kicked ass today.

Friday, May 09, 2008

holding up horizons with her hands

I could not believe the rows upon rows of wrapped flower arrangements sitting outside the local florist shop this afternoon, waiting to be delivered to beloved mothers from slightly guilty adult children everywhere.

My own dear mother and the Spousal Unit's Maternal Unit have already received their guilt bouquets and photo albums filled chockablock with snapshots of the much fawned-over Resident Offspring and her parents on their great California odyssey. At their age, it's what they want,
and to be honest, I completely understand their desire to accumulate no more material crap in their lives.

Into this Mother's Day Weekend Eve comes yet another tag from that little vixen,
Bloody Awful Poetry. There appears to be no stopping her, now that she has regained her health.

And this is a particularly fun tag, in that it combines the quirkiness of the random shuffle on my laptop with some arbitrary questions. Old meme that never gets old. It's been forever since I did this one.

I'll even throw in a few mp3s for songs that I think a lot of you won't already have. Because you're so cute.

Of course, with this being Friday, it's also time to play the Friday Random Ten. And being a multi-tasker from way back, I'm combining all of the above to produce The Mother of All Random Playlists (with Questions):

You know how this works:
1. Put your iTunes/ music player on Shuffle2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must put down the song name no matter what. After you’ve answered all of the questions, tag 5 other people and then let them know they’ve been tagged to do the meme themselves

What would best describe your personality?
Meant to Be - Squirrel Nut Zippers
I take this as a compliment, laptop. I like you too.

What do you like in a guy/girl?
Moses? I Amn't - Mogwai
Well nor am I. So we should get along fine.

How do you feel today?
Oliver's Song - John-Rae and the River
John-Rae and the River
always make me feel good. I would listen to them any day! You should too.

What is your life's purpose?
Dogsong aka Sleep Dog Lullaby - the Be Good Tanyas
I actually only sleep about 6 hours a night. Does it show, is that what you are trying to say, laptop? I look tired?
Yeah well you look like shit sometimes too.

What is your motto?
Everybody Knows - James
And since they already know, there is nothing to hide. Party naked.

What do your friends think of you?
We Must Destroy - Jane Vain and the Dark Matter
Those must be my old friends from university. I am a sedate and proper matron now.

What do you think of your parents?
Groovy Train - Spartacus
They get groovier the older I get!

What do you think about very often?

Sex Is Boring - Ballboy
Oh god, I need counseling, don't I?

What do you think of your best friend?
Synethesia - Porcupine Tree
Okay, that's kinda sweet.

What do you think of your crush?
Bone Machine - Pixies

What is your life story?
St. Louis Blues - Louis Prima
Not really, I've had a pretty blessed life, actually.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Swim for Health - Ballboy
I think it's a little late to perfect my front crawl. But I can swim all the way out to the buoys without stopping.

What do you think when you see your crush?
Australia - the Shins
Good idea. If we ran away to Australia, they would never find us.

What do your parents think of you?

I Drive - the Awkward Stage
Not true, they never drove me anywhere. In fact, the one time my father had to pick me up from a school dance when I cut my foot, he drove to the wrong school, and I got yelled at later because he waited outside the wrong school for half an hour.

What do strangers think of you?
I Can't - Radiohead
Why not? Please, think of me, strangers, please!

How's your love life?
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - the Smiths
Jesus christ on a cracker, it's not that bad, is it? Does it show?

What will they play at your funeral?

Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong - Radiohead
That would be completely awesome! Especially if everybody did get drunk and started fighting and singing. I would be smiling upon them beatifically from my burlap sack in the forest.

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Piazza, New York Catcher - Belle and Sebastian
A song about watching a baseball game. It's probably a good thing I am planning to stay married to husband number one.

What is your hobby/interest?
Birth, School, Work, Death - the Godfathers
Bullshit! That's not a hobby - that's just life!

What's your biggest secret?
The Dark of the Matinée - Franz Ferdinand
What happens in the matinée, stays in the matinée.

What do you think of your friends?
I Should Get Up - Teddy Thompson
I should! Especially if my friends are waiting.

What song do you listen to when you are sad?
Box Full of Letters - Wilco
That is a little poignant, isn't it?

In love?
Postcards from the Beach - Ballboy
What's not to love about sending postcards from the beach? I'd love that.

What song do you air guitar to?
La Fin du Monde - the Hylozoists
You should see my slo-mo air guitar.

What should be your signature karaoke song?
Something Changed - Pulp
I always thought it would be either the Pogues' Fairytale of New York or Neutral Milk Hotel's Two-Headed
Boy, but I am nothing if not open-minded.

What is your greatest desire?
You Love It - Peaches
Everybody wants somebody (or something) to love.

What does next year have in store for you?

Now I Wanna Be a Good Boy - the Ramones
Obviously I will be settling down next year. And going through gender reclassification.

What's your outlook on life?
Thirteen - Elliott Smith
That's actually generous. Most people accuse me of channeling my inner eight-year-old boy far too much.

How will you die?
Looking at You - the Damned
Right in the eye. And cursing you.

Do people secretly lust after you?
Seven Seas - Echo and the Bunnymen
Only the pirates, apparently.

The best advice you will ever get?
It's Bad You Know - R.L. Burnside
No doubt referring to the outdated yogurt. When in doubt, throw it out.

I am going out on a limb here and tagging everybody on my blogroll to do this one. It's lots of fun. And you can only spend so much time on the phone with your mom.

Have a great Mother's Day weekend everybody! Remember, anybody who has ever birthed a child does not cook, clean, or grocery shop this weekend. It won't kill you to eat takeout for a couple of days.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

but enough about you, let's talk about me

Now that's dedicated blogging.

Recently Bloody Awful Poetry came down with a nasty case of Dengue fever that landed her in the hospital. So what's one of the first things she does when she re-enters the land of the living? She sends out a tag of course.

And who am I to refuse a tag from someone who might very well have been using her last moments on this plane to learn more about me?

These be the instructions what came along with it:

Remove one question from below, and add in your personal question, make it a total of 20 questions, then tag 8 people in your list. List them out at the end of this post. Notify them in their chat box that he/she has been tagged. Whoever does the tag will have blessings from all.

(Okay, I'm going to halt things right here for a second to assure you that there is no way on god's green earth that I am tagging 8 people. I don't have a death wish, after all. I will follow BAP's example on this and tag the much more palatable number of 3 fine bloggers. I'm still expecting blessings from all, mind.)

1. Who is your all-time inspiration?
I am inspired by many different people, for many different reasons. But the person who most embodies all that I hold sacred and who truly inspires me to be true to myself, is Eric Cartman.

2. Have you given your first kiss away?

Do you mean as opposed to charging money for it? I don't recall any money changing hands, so I must have given it away. So, yes! The answer is yes!

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, who are the three blog buddies you'd take with you and why?
Only three? That is indeed cruel, and causes me a great deal of anguish, thinking of all the great blog buddies I will be leaving behind.
But I am nothing if not compliant, so I will bring along:
1) Michelle -who has an encyclopedic knowledge of every known ailment.
2) Allison - who has built a house in the tropics before, and who never fails to make me laugh.
3) Bubs - who has a background in law enforcement and narcozoology, as well as plenty of hands on experience in mixology. There are bound to be some coconuts on that island that are just crying out for a little cocktail umbrella.

4. Where is the place you want to go to the most?
The bathroom

5. If you could have one dream come true, what would it be?
The one where I ran into Thom Yorke in the hallway of the high school after Radiohead played an impromptu concert for our class. Except I would change the part of the dream where he told me that he was quitting music and that was Radiohead's last ever concert. And I'd also change it so that after he finished weeping we would go for a nice cup of tea together.

6. Do you believe in seeing a rainbow after the rain?
Sure, if the conditions are right. Rainbows only occur, though, when there is sun or moon illuminating the raindrops. Also if the sun is too high in the sky (higher than 42 degrees altitude), you won't see a rainbow. ... Oh, do you mean metaphorically? No, not necessarily; sometimes after rain, there is just more rain.

7. What are you most afraid of losing right now?
My eyesight. That's always been my biggest fear.

8. If you win one million dollars what would you do?
Quit my job, build that cottage, publish a magazine, run a music promotion business, open a wildly popular all-ages concert venue (with an attached coffeeshop/bookstore) to showcase local talent and attract all my favourite bands to the city. And I guess I will have run out of money by then.

9. If/when you meet somebody that you love, would you confess it to him/her?
It would depend whether or not my husband was present.

10. List out three good points of the person who tagged you.
I don't really know Bloody Awful Poetry all that well yet, but she does:
1) have one of the best blog names out there (to paraphrase Michael Scott: "that's what Morrissey said!")
2) demonstrate impeccable taste in menfolk
3) sometimes make me snort coffee out my nose with her pithy remarks

11. Three weird facts about yourself
You would think that with all the me me me memes I have done over the years, there would not be any weird facts left to divulge, but no, there's more:
1) I developed a squid allergy a few years ago. It took me three bouts of cramps and vomiting after eating squid before I figured it out
2) I can drive a tractor, including loading and unloading it off a flatbed trailer
3) I have never been able to do a cartwheel.

12. Which type of person do you hate the most?
People who don't take responsibility for their own actions. Also whiners.

13. If you have faults, would you rather the people around you point it out to you or would you rather they keep quiet?

It should be "If you have faults, would you rather the people around you point it them out to you". See, that's one of my faults, I correct people's grammar. And yet, strangely, I don't want to know about my own faults. I would rather believe that people find me perfect. So don't break my bubble!

14. What do you think is most important in life?
Self acceptance

15. Are you a shopaholic?

No no no no no, I'm strictly a focussed shopper. Shopping is a necessary evil. Well except for cds. And books. And maybe chocolate.

16. State one of your desires.
Travel. Having recently scratched the scab off a long-buried travel bug, I feel the lure of these places- Scotland, Scandinavia, Iceland, Bermuda, Brazil, and the east coast of Canada.

17. Which part of your character would you like to change?
The OCD part that says I might as well do this myself, because nobody else can do it just right. That part only makes extra work for me (and makes me a pain in the ass).

18. What have you been putting off doing lately?

What haven't I been putting off doing? I slacked off at work the other day to look up concert reviews, I still haven't finished decrapping the basement which I wanted to get done before spring, and I really really need to caulk around the shower before the wall rots out.

19. 2+2 =?

The first part of the title of a really good Radiohead song. [2+2=5 (The Lukewarm) - track one of Hail to the Thief, 2003, length - 3:19]

20. Describe yourself in three words.

Sociable, detail-oriented, pragmatic

And now it's your go, my preciouses. I close my eyes, point my mouse at my blog roll and spin three times. When it has stopped scrolling each time, I see it is pointing to Moxie, Toccata, and Dguzman. Have at it, lovelies!
Bonus points if you can pick which question I added (without first checking BAP's blog, of course - you cheaters).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tibetan flags and pale white English boys

It would appear that Radiohead have started off their North American tour in fine style, with the inaugural concert last night in West Palm Beach.

Here's Thom Yorke, on the abundance of plastic surgery in Florida:
"We spent three days at Miami Beach. Fucking hell! What’s going on there? Some kind of reconstruction! For once I was proud to be white, pale and English."

So what does one do on their lunch break when they are too lazy to think up a real blog post? Why, they obsessively gather concert reviews, of course:

the Sun Sentinel - features photos
the Miami Herald - has some wonderfully snarky Radiohead fans making corrections in the comments. Radiohead fans are scary, but they sure are funny.
"Really? Then please tell me what song was played from the album AMNESIAC!!?? (and don't give me 'Morning Bell'... They played the KID A version....)"

The Spaghetti Incident blog - has the set list

Pitchfork - has some great photos (including the wrinkled white lounge lizard dinner jacket), the complete set list and some shameless self-promotion

And of course the NME weighs in and presents us with that great plastic surgery quote.

There's even a concert clip of The Gloaming, featuring some very fine Thom dancing - those hips don't lie.

update: because I know you just can't get enough of this stuff, here's one from Rolling Stone - with some nice photos of the stunning, yet all LED, lighting

We return to regular programing tomorrow.

Monday, May 05, 2008

in a jack-knifed juggernaut, I am born again

My right shoulder is quite sore today, which isn't unexpected, given the mad flurry of raking I did yesterday. In fact, my right shoulder is often a little stiff and sore, and I attribute that to overuse, on account of being decidedly right hand dominant.

I don't know why I always use my right hand to do tasks, I mean it's not like most of these tasks take a great deal of coordination or concentration. Habit, I guess. Or laziness.

So today I am trying an experiment. I am trying to do all one-handed tasks with my left hand. Okay I'm not going to chop vegetables with my left hand or anything, I don't have a death wish after all. But certainly wiping, scrubbing, grocery loading, reaching, glass-lifting - these can all be done with the left hand without straining my wee brain too much. I have discovered that tooth-brushing is actually a little cumbersome with the non-dominant hand, and we won't even get into other issues of hygiene.

The way I figure it, at the very least my shoulder will get a little rest today, allowing me to abuse it all over again tomorrow, and in the best case scenario, I will develop new neuronal pathways. And if rewiring my brain is going to make me smarter, I am willing to spill a little yogurt on my shirt at lunch or miss that stalagmite whilst cleaning the microwave.

And today, Cinco de Mayo, marks the start of Radiohead's North American tour (you
honestly didn't expect me not to mention that, did you?) I will be counting down to that glorious day in August when I will be waving these in one hand and in all likelihood clutching my chest with the other. (Will I use my dominant hand for the tickets or the heart attack, I wonder?)

If you are lucky enough to be at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida tonight, I expect a full report in the morning.

For this tour, Radiohead have added a new section - the most gigantic flying mouth for some time - to their site, which will be dedicated to assessing the carbon toll that the tour is taking. It features a carbon calculator (no, I haven't calculated our trip yet) for assessing various options of arriving at the venue, public transit information, and weekly postings on how the band has addressed their own footprint, as well as steps they have taken to make it easier for the audience to reduce theirs. One of the aims is to encourage dialogue into innovative ways to reduce the toll we are taking on the planet while still enjoying things like Radiohead concerts.

Cool, eh?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

if the teddy bear resuscitation scene doesn't break your heart, you haven't got one

It was film night at Casa de la Zombie last night and one of my most highly anticipated films was on the menu - Lars and the Real Girl.
It would have been so easy for Lars and the Real Girl to go for the big cheap laughs, to give it the Family Guy treatment. It is, after all, a film about a man who falls in love with a sex doll. But Lars and the Real Girl is probably the sweetest, most heartfelt and most quietly humourous film I have seen in a long time. And the film deals with mental health issues in a surprisingly thoughtful and subtle way. For such a seemingly sweet simple film, it is really rather layered with all the complexity of human nature.
Ryan Gosling is simply perfect as Lars, a painfully introverted man who develops a delusion that the rubber doll he has ordered off the internet is human. He treats her with such sweetness and tenderness and inroduces her around with such shy pride that I started believing, if not that she was real, then how he came to believe that she was.

When Lars stuns his brother and sister-in-law by introducing them to Bianca and asking if she can stay at their house (as it would not be appropriate for her to stay with him), it sets off a charade that spreads through the town. The people in this small town have always been highly protective of Lars, the lonely but kind-hearted lad whose mother died in childbirth, trying to set him up with the new girl at work, inviting him over for meals. The way in which they not only accept Bianca and rally behind Lars in his delusions, but indeed make Bianca a valued member of the community is absolutely lovely and life-affirming.

This is a very funny film , but the humour is understated and comes in quiet little touches. Almost stealing the film is Lars' wardrobe - the bulky moose vs moose type of sweaters, the 70's two-tone winter jacket, the touque - actually everybody in town dresses similarily. There are members of the Zombie household who maintain that they had a more difficult time suspending their disbelief over Lars' moustache than they did over the anthropomorphism of the sex doll, but that family member must remember that I have a brother who sported a moustache very similar to that for years. I can fully accept the possibility of such a thing existing.

Although this is a very Canadian film (filmed largely in my old sales territory of King Township and Uxbridge, Ontario), and the characters may dress rather like hosers, this is not a Bob and Doug McKenzie portrayal of small town Canada. The people in this film are not caricatures, they are fully-fleshed out and complex people, who have an enormous capacity for compassion, oddly enough, even the sex doll, Bianca.

I'll remember Lars and the Real Girl very fondly for a long time.

And to celebrate life, I am hauling my bike out of the garage today, pumping up the flat tires, and taking it for a spin through Fish Creek park. But I am going to walk the killer hill.

Have a fabulous Sunday, all.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I think I'll buy a bus pass

The news is only getting worse.

It now appears that the 500 ducks that were killed when they landed on a Syncrude tailings pond in northern Alberta recently were not the only victims. A bird shot recently by a hunter was also found to be covered in oil, further evidence that some birds have flown away from the toxic waste dump and have continued along their migratory route, where they will die a slow painful death from a combination of hypothermia and poisoning.

The handful of ducks that were fortunate enough to have been captured now face the painstaking process of being cleaned of the oil and toxic sludge.

I think we are finally starting to have our eyes opened as to the extent of the environmental toll
that the oilsands project is having upon the environment of northern Alberta.

And is it only me who finds it odd that the oilsands used to be called tarsands? And then when the oil companies started extracting bitumen from the pristine forests, suddenly they became known by the more palatable name? Everybody wants oil, nobody wants tar.

It's all bitumen to me.

But there's naught we can do to save the world tonight - it's Friday, and we must dance dance dance.

I haven't participated in the Friday Random Ten in far too long, so to make up for it, here are the ten my computer threw at me in a pleasingly random fashion:

Dinner bell - Wolf Parade
Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box (live in Paris) - Radiohead
Aromatherapy - Chixdiggit
Dirty and true - Hawksley Workman
Be good - Tokyo Police Club
Cetacea - Bjork
Caroline, yes - Kaiser Chiefs
Don't know how to say goodbye - the Pigeon Detectives
Olympia - Falconhawk
Your light is spent - Final Fantasy

Bonus points if you can name the Calgary bands.
Double bonus points if you can name the band I wish lived in Calgary.

Dance, you beautiful fools, dance!