Saturday, August 30, 2008

and open roads of eucalyptus, westward bound

Even though our visit to Seattle is starting to fade into fond memory, it will forever be a place that has a firm grip on my shriveled old heart. It has the ocean, brilliant greenery, and it actually rains there - what's not to love? Visiting Seattle made me wonder all over again why it is we live in landlocked, semi-desert Calgary.

First stop - Museum of Flight.
That's me paying what I consider to be proper American tribute in front of our rental car which for some reason had Florida plates. This came in handy later, as we were not then expected to know what the hell we were doing in Seattle traffic.

I love a man in uniform!

My favourite moment of visiting a coastal city is always the first glimpse of the ocean. Something in my DNA just immediately switches on the joy gene.

Look at me, I'm drinking a beer oceanside!

Me too!

Although some of us are not impressed.

Oh wait, now we are.

Seattle is a city of many layers.

Sea otters!

Never pass up a chance to sit on a sea otter bench.

And don't forget to grin like an idiot.

If life gives you a cliff, build stairs.

Couldn't you just picture me working in this office building?

Seattle Centre, steps from our hotel, and home of the Experience Music Project, the steel colander fountain, and Ride a Duck.

Like a Simpson's episode come to life, it's the Monorail!
This was one of the astounding views from our hotel window - the monorail entering the weird fungussy EMP/SFM building.

Beautiful and historically fascinating Pioneer Square.

Accordion busker and his busker dog.

Arty shot of my beautiful Michelle-made scarf and recycled water bottle Radiohead shirt. Practicing my pensive look on my last day in Seattle.

I miss you, Seattle.
I will return.

Friday, August 29, 2008

for a minute there I lost myself

I am still agog over the Radiohead live webcast from Santa Barbara last night. What a magnanimous gesture. If you missed if, there are over 50 clips that come up on YouTube if you google Radiohead Santa Barbara.

I thought that Thom seemed somewhat tired, and understandably so. Phil, on the other hand, was completely on top of his game. He impresses me more and more all the time. Jonny was perfect, as always.

Does anyone know what music was playing at the beginning of the webcast, before Radiohead took the stage? They played the same in Auburn, and I'm thinking it might have been Underworld, but I'm not sure. Insights would be hugely appreciated.

And can I just say, for the record, that I was thrilled that they played a bit of Flight of the Conchords (If You're Into It) after the webcast wrapped up. Pleased me greatly, it did.

The thing I loved most about this broadcast, other than the chance to relive my concert experience from the previous week, and the fact that Radiohead was putting this out as a gesture of appreciation to their fans, was the way that this event united people. I sat on my couch with the Spousal Unit and the Resident Offspring and we watched together, knowing that this was live, that we were experiencing things at precisely the same moment as the actual audience members were. And not only that, but that many of my beloved blog friends were there in that moment with me, no matter where in the world any of us were. It was a moment that felt like true community. I guess this is why people go to church and shit like that.

I didn't multi-task at all during the concert, concentrating instead exclusively on the performance, but then when I checked email afterward, there was a slew of messages from blog friends, some of them written just as the concert was starting, others during the performance, and the rest immediately following. I felt so connected, as though we had all sat next to each other in that small dirt-floored bowl in Santa Barbara.

I had intended the above as a lead-in to the rest of my photos from Seattle, but I see that I have already gone on rather endlessly, so rather than subject you to more of my navel-gazing or keeping you any longer, I will bid you a fabulous Labour Day long weekend, and leave you with this little taste of last night's magical concert. Seattle photos later this weekend. Pinky swear.

House of Cards - Radiohead - Santa Barbara and the entire planet 28.08.08

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bugs Bunny was wrong

And here I thought carrots were supposed to be so good for your eyes. However when you are peeling one and a bit of peel shoots up and lodges itself into your eyeball, as happened to me last night, I have a feeling that negates all the beta carotene benefits. All I can say is that the direct carrot application has not miraculously improved the vision in my right eye. I guess the topical route is not optimal.

Fortunately I still have one good eye with which to take in this exciting event. I was wondering what I was going to do to commemorate (commiserate about?) Radiohead's final North American show tonight. Obviously I will be tuned in to their webcast of the show from Santa Barbara.

Did I ever mention how much I love those guys? This clinches it. Again.

Many props to my buddy, Sean, for the heads up, and also for the alert the other day about the video that has surfaced of Jonny and Thom covering Neil Young's Tell Me Why in LA the other night. Tell Me Why is of course the song that they started noodling with between flubbed takes of Faust Arp at the Seattle concert last week. Obviously, they worked on it a bit between Seattle and LA.

You should go visit Sean's site, Everything is Pop. He really is on top of all things music and regularly features some pretty spectacular links. And he's a hell of a nice guy, to boot.

Meet you at the Radiohead concert tonight! Save me a good seat if you get there first.

Radiohead :: "Tell Me Why" (neil young cover) from gorilla vs. bear on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

we're living in our own private Radiohead

Sure there were lots of pictures taken while in Seattle, pictures of ocean scenery and of marine animals, of cool architecture and of historical sites, of Canadian tourists and of Seattle friends. But 9 out of 10 dentists will tell you that the pictures that people want to see right now are of the Radiohead concert. Who are we to question the wisdom of health care professionals?

So without further adieu, we bring you - the night we met Radiohead, sort of:

- en route, one of the roughly 4 dozen fireworks stands we saw at Muckleshoot
We figure all the Radiohead kids got fireworks from their dads as souvenirs of America.

- judging the distance from us to the band -

- some of us maintained our cool demeanor -

- the rest of us got way too excited about our Radiohead water bottles -

- those cool lights, in one of their many incarnations -

- big screen Colin -

- one of these men is fucking up Faust Arp and blaming the other one -

- lights, cameras -

- the You and Whose Army? eyeball

- we can see the band! And they're blue! -

- no wait, now they're red! -

- many Thoms make light work -

Photos of things which are not Radiohead forthcoming posthaste.

Monday, August 25, 2008


that's it then.

I am now unemployed. I admit I am feeling a little uncertain about the future, and I'm not really sure I know who I am right now. I'm going to need a few days to get my head around this new reality, I think.

My immediate coworkers took me out to an awesome Chinese buffet, and I got some lovely gifts and was offered some home phone numbers and big hugs from a bunch of people, including some that I don't even know very well. And my closest coworker got a little teary when he gave me my goodbye hug.

I had quite a few things to finalize today and what with going out for lunch and all, I had to push pretty hard to get everything straightened up the way I wanted before I left. So I thought I was doing really well when I looked down at my watch and saw it was only 2:30. Until I then looked at the computer and it read 3:53.

I dunno, should I be taking some sort of omen from the fact that my watch stopped working on my last day of work?

I left work an hour and a half late, but satisfied that I had completed everything on my list. Everything was finalized, looked after, put to bed. And I found the perfect touch to impart fond memories on me when I reached the urban assault vehicle. Campus parking had given me a final parting gift - a parking ticket.

Okay, it was actually a "Courtesy Parking Notice", because my parking pass was not displayed. My parking pass was not displayed because I had handed it back in to the parking office AFTER I phoned the no-tag line to let them know.

When I started up the engine, Talk Show Host started playing, and I rolled all the windows down and turned the volume up to 11 (something I only ever do with the windows closed). And I drove out of that parking lot forever, singing along with Thom in my most belligerent snarl, "You want me? Fucking well come and find me".

first trivia note of the newly renamed Lazy Unemployed Bastard Files:
- my music player categorizes Talk Show Host under showtunes

Saturday, August 23, 2008

when clans collide: the great Seattle odyssey

We saved the best for last (but if you tell Thom I said that, of course I will deny everything). Thursday was the day we met our dear friends, Michelle, Harrison (aka GOB), Ash, and Mia for the first time. In the here and now, in the flesh.

Michelle is even more beautiful than I realized. I think the first thing I blurted out to her was "you're so pretty!", followed by "you're a lot taller than I thought!". I am nothing if not eloquent. GOB had already charmed me with his irresistible laugh and his irrepressible humour when we spoke on the phone and he continued to be as
fascinating and utterly charming as he is online and over the wires. Ash and Mia were simply lovely girls, smart, polite, and so tolerant of a quartet of embarrassing parents slobbering all over each other and them.

It was a little reminiscent of the meeting of the Russian mafia clans in Eastern Promises, with a street corner exchange of paper bags bearing gifts of goodwill, except that there were no nude knife fights in the steam bath. Michelle knit the most gorgeous scarves for the Spousal Unit and me, and a totally fierce skullcap for the Resident Offspring. If I didn't suck at wearing hats, I would steal it in a heartbeat.

We wandered down to Pike's Place Market, where the entire population of the American
northwest had also apparently decided to spend the morning shuffling slowly from shop to shop. We checked out an intriguingly smelly herb shop, a mouth-watering Italian market with some amazing looking cheeses that were just begging to be purchased and spend the day inside a suitcase on the way back to Calgary. Common sense did prevail in the end.

We stopped by Pike's fish market - the place where the staff famously throws fish at each other, but only saw a small bag of fillets being tossed to the cashier. Not quite the impact of a whole salmon flying in an arc across the market, but pretty cool nonetheless. The Resident Offspring found a screenplay of Trainspotting (for educational purposes) at a collectibles shop that GOB and Michelle claim hasn't changed one iota since they were kids.

By this time, we were all jonesing for some refreshments pretty badly, so went in search of food and drink. Now you have to understand that our friends actually live across the straight from Seattle, so understandably they are not actually privy to insider information on the Seattle dining scene. They had a couple of places in mind, but these had all morphed into some other entity, so we eventually stumbled upon Luigi's Grotto, which looked very promising - a below stairs Italian restaurant in the fabulous Pioneer Square district.

At this point, I will let my friend GOB describe what went down. He has started penning restaurant reviews/public service announcements about the shoddy business practices of this place. I urge you to please read them and be forewarned if you are ever in Seattle, looking for a place to eat. Evidently
others have also been scammed at this restaurant. The Spousal Unit and I just keep getting more and more disgusted, the more we have time to ruminate on the way we were all taken advantage of by the shyster running this place. Trust me, you have not heard the end of things on this.

However, we were able to sit and chat and get to know one another face to face while we were being ripped off, so some good did come of it, and I will always cherish the time that we broke bread with our friends, but I feel increasingly badly that I did not speak up and demand to see a menu. Shortly after the obligatory photo shoots in the leafy green space of Pioneer Square, we had to say farewell. Now I am working on how we can entice them up to Calgary to crash at Casa Zombie for a few days. A couple of evenings around the firepit with several bottles of wine and we'll have figured out a way to make that Luigi bastard sorry he ever crossed our paths.

Coming up - actual photos of our trip!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

you'll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking: great Seattle odyssey - Radiohead day

I know what everybody is wondering - what did Thom wear?

You will no doubt be thrilled to discover that Thom wore the strange red pants that I have previously scoffed at, thereby effectively thumbing his nose at my impeccable fashion sense, but I believe that this earth-shattering event was eclipsed by Jonny's apparent
semi-beardedness. My world may never be the same again. I have been within hollering distance of Radiohead, separated only by 20,000 adoring fans.

There were of course other events that took place yesterday, including a really fascinating historical tour of the underground in Seattle's Pioneer Square, but I'm asking for your indulgence to tell you about that another day. Today we gush.

It was with a mixture of giddy anticipation and nervousness that we headed out three hours before concert time. We hadn't driven in a couple of days, hadn't driven through Seattle in rush hour ever and had conflicting directions (from the same site) on getting to the concert venue, located 30 miles south of Seattle. I needn't have worried, the combination of the Spousal Unit's Formula One sensibilities and my compulsive navigating got us through some horrendous I-5 traffic and to the White River Amphitheatre with enough time left to stop at the Pizza Hut in Auburn to wolf down a personal pan. You know you are on a proper road trip
when you eat supper in a takeout only restaurant.

It had been raining heavily the entire 1.5 hour trip, but as we waited for our pizza, the rain
stopped and a strong rainbow appeared in the sky. We all know by now that Radiohead have the power to control the weather; I took this rainbow as a promise for a sublime night.

We arrived at the massive White River Amphitheatre, parked in prearranged premier parking - a move that would later prove to be an incredibly well-spent $20 - and scooped up a couple of beautifully cryptic and unbelievably soft concert tees (a dirty mind and a blink) which are made from recycled plastic water bottles and organic cotton, and a mitt-full of aluminum
water bottles.

The stage looked a long way away from our second last row seats, but we didn't care. I've seen enough photos from the tour to know that there would be some pretty astounding multi-angle footage projected onto the side screens for me to get my fill of closeups of finger work and facial expressions.

Liars opened right on time and did a pleasing job with their experimental and drum-heavy set.

And then, with background music that sounded like maybe Underworld providing a soundtrack
to growing tension and anticipation, the sold out venue began to fill. As night came on, ropes of the now famous LED lights were swung into place, imparting upon the stage a decidedly digital atmosphere, befitting a Radiohead concert. The lights proved to be even more impressive and evocative in setting the atmosphere than I could ever have imagined. Throughout the night, these lights would take on a life of their own, punctuating blasts of guitar with brilliant shards of light, mutating colours to transform the mood onstage. They were like a sixth Radiohead member up there, and all the more impressive through the knowledge that this mind-bending light show was wrought with low wattage environmentally sound LEDs.

And then, after an eternity and a couple of false starts of roars from the crowd, the moment happened. Radiohead was standing before us. And without any preliminaries, Thom and Ed and Colin and Phil and Jonny launched into 15 Step. 20,000 people rose as one and cheered madly, and we remained standing the entire two hours, dancing, and clapping and singing and cheering.

For two solid hours, the members of Radiohead played with all their might, thrilling us with songs like:

15 Step (the RO and I did the YAY! part under our breaths and I swear I heard some others join in)
There There (making my life complete)
All I Need
Pyramid Song
Talk Show Host (having listened to this incessantly the last week, this thrilled me greatly)
The National Anthem (which I always think of as Colin's song because of the awesome baseline)
The Gloaming

Lucky (which had us all singing "it's going to be a glo-ooo-oorious day")
Faust Arp (which had the audience roaring when Thom kept forgetting the words and then, to add insult to injury, also flubbed the words to the Neil Young song that he and Jonny started playing in between takes, finally culminating with a well-said "fuck it!")
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Climbing Up The Walls
Dollars and Cents

Until this point, the banter had been fairly none existent, with the band concentrating on blasting out song after song. There were a few exceptions, a "thanks for having us" and a "hi", which drew an enthusiastic hi! back from the crowd, the self-directed fuck it at the ill-fated attempt at Faust Arp, and a moment that made many a heart melt, Thom responding to a declaration from the audience with an "I love you too, darling".

This all changed with the encores. Thom began to take time between songs to address the audience, introducing Nigel Godrich ("this is Nigel. He makes our records.") who then proceeded to play tambourine (very capably too) on In Limbo. Yes, they played In Limbo.

The first encore was noteworthy for me, in that it finally provided the moment I had been longing for all night. The dancing. After some pretty enticing head bobbing and weaving all evening, with some provocative arm movements on a couple of occasions, Thom finally broke loose and laid down some pretty sweet funky moves on Idioteque, as I had prayed he would. Not even Thom can resist the siren's lure of that song. It was utterly glorious and now I can die happy.

First encore:
How to Disappear Completely
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Idioteque (my moment of heaven)
In Limbo (featuring Nigel Godrich on tambourine)
Street Spirit (so incredible to hear Thom's soaring vocals on this)

During the second encore, the rain which had been flirting and threatening for the past half hour, finally began in earnest. enough so that, despite the cover over our heads, we were starting to feel the rain blowing in from the back. At this point, Thom asked for the lights to be put on the people on the lawn - the uncovered area at the very back. As the spotlights lit up the lawn area, we could see that it was packed with people standing in the driving rain with no intention of going anywhere. They deserved the applause they received.

Notably though, the second encore started with a dedication from Thom to what he referred to as his favourite thing about Seattle - the people who had demonstrated against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999. Calling the WTO a criminal organization, Thom elicited a huge response from the crowd, as he stood in front of the Tibetan flag-draped equipment that was prominently displayed at the front of the stage. One of the beautiful things about a band like Radiohead is that not only are they the saviours of modern rock, but they approach life with the same dedication and perfectionism that they approach their music. They expect nothing less than the best and the most honourable from themselves and from the rest of the world.

Radiohead's performance of You and Whose Amy? which kicked off the second encore was made all the more biting and filled with cynical pathos by the single grainy closeup of the camera on Thom's eye for the duration of the song, pulling back at the opportune time to reveal a most splendid waggling of the eyebrows. Instant classic, that.

Second Encore:
You And Whose Army? (dedicated to those who protested against the WTO in Seattle)
No Surprises
Everything In Its Right Place

With the music of Everything In Its Right Place still crackling and vibrating, and the light show dissolving into a cryptic but vaguely familiar pattern, Phil and Ed and Colin and Jonny and Thom left the stage for the final time, leaving us clapping with arms upstretched in the rain. I called out my feeble "I miss you already" to my heroes, the most important band in the world, and we shuffled out into the pelting rain.

epilogue - We arrived back in Seattle around 1:00 am, having splurged on premier parking which allowed our lot to exit the venue ahead of the others. A woman who spotted me in my Radiohead shirt downtown today told me that it took her 2 hours to leave the parking lot and they arrived home after 3:00.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

menswear took a dramatic turn: great Seattle odyssey day two

I'm sitting at the hotel room window, looking out at a giant duck statue that graces the roof of a building across from the collapsed fungus with a skin condition building that houses the Experience Music Project/Sci Fi Museum. Why does every coastal city have a tour operation in which the tourists ride around in a bus that looks like a giant duck? This is fascinating and confusing to me.

The EMP/SFM had some seriously cool stuff happening inside. You could listen to musicians tell little stories, like the one where Mark Arm of Mudhoney told about opening for PiL, where John Lydon demanded in the rider that a particular type of lounge chair be brought backstage at every show. I guess there were tensions between the bands and the threat by the roadies of a beating did nothing to stop Mudhoney acting up, but the disembodied voice of Lydon, asking "does anybody wish to be SILENCED?" did.
Mudhoney ended up throwing meat slices from the deli tray at PiL's bus.

The gift shop was selling Kurt Cobain action figures in two different poses. I looked for an Eddie Vedder one for Beckeye, but no such luck.

The Hendrix room was rather cool. I quite liked the purple velvet jacket with the caption "menswear took a dramatic turn". Actually I have been noticing, since Allison has started writing about putting together museum exhibits, that I pay much more attention to how the display is set up and what the curators put in the literature.

In the sci fi part of the museum, I found myself eavesdropping on some hardcore sci fi geeks debating the finer points of Star Trek trivia, and another group arguing over the relative specs of the robot toys on display. I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, but I did longingly watch the giant screen displaying a Jetsons' tribute and feeling ripped off all over again that my Jetsons' lifestyle
never did materialize as promised.

We then wandered around the Seattle Centre area for a while, a parklike place that houses the children's museum and some rides and arcades, as well as the EMP/SFM and the international fountain, which resembles the crash site of a space craft, or perhaps a giant steel collander embedded into the earth. The place was overrun with day camp kids. The Resident Offspring forced me to ride the merry-go-round with her and the Spousal Unit left our purses on the bench while he tried to take a picture of us. Any picture that results from that will show me screaming, "watch my passport!" with a terrified look on my face.

After walking another 765,754 miles around the city, we ended up the evening with a lovely curry meal close to the wharf and then walked down to the ocean as the rain started up again, ever so lightly. I need my daily trip to the ocean or I get grumpy.

Today's agenda, the Underground Tour of Seattle, and then maybe we'll drive out to the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn for a concert or something. I hear there's a pretty good band playing there tonight.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't know much about clothes but my hair looks fierce: the great Seattle odyssey day one

Seattle is gorgeous - brilliant green, trees growing on rooftops, funky walkways built into cliffs while traffic flows over the bridges that span the whole thing. It's a vibrant and slightly surreal place that is at once energetic and laid-back. And then there is that ocean. God I love being back at the ocean!

Things I learned after one day in Seattle:

- my hair is really really big in Seattle and sports the fiercest ringlets in the history of my hair.

- Phil Collins apparently once flew on a Concorde, as did Rod Stewart's hairdresser. We of course, toured the Concorde at the Museum of Flight whilst singing Flight of the Conchords songs.

- there is no skim milk in America. But there is non-fat.

- Seattle is a very walkable city because there is always something that you must see in the next block, something slightly hidden under that canopy of trees. So you keep walking.

- my friend Harrison has the most awesome laugh - a really machine gun burst of joviality. I think the man lives to laugh.

- sea otters are way bigger than river otters and, if this is even possible, are even cuter and funnier too. What a bunch of showoff otters they have at the Seattle Aquarium!

Our hotel room is perfect and we have an amazing view of both the space needle and the
Experience Music building which looks disturbingly like a multi-coloured collapsed fungus. And our window even opens, just like a real window.

- it doesn't matter if it rains because it's a nice rain (so far anyway).

- Seattle is way hillier than I expected it to be and we got way more exercise yesterday than we expected to. I suspect the same thing will happen today when we tour Seattle Centre and the Experience Music Project.

- the Resident Offspring had to warn me to stop feeling all the plants we passed by, with the threat that I would eventually touch something that would give me a rash and then I would be sorry. But it's really hard to resist when you have just arrived from a place where the grass is now brown and crunchy and the leaves are already turning yellow. Those lush succulent plants
are just begging to be touched.

- there are just as many Starbucks in Seattle as there are in Calgary, but today I will be searching for some independent coffee houses. Yesterday it was beer.

- hanging out in the hotel room, eating some pretty fine pizza and drinking wine you bought at the corner store while watching Simon Whitfield come from behind to take the silver in triathlon, on a CBC station, is the perfect way to end the first day in Seattle.

One more sleep till Radiohead, two more till I get to hug the crap out of Michelle and Harrison and family. I am conflicted as to which is more exciting.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm going to have trouble calling it Seattle from now on

Jerry was trying to explain to his mom today where we are travelling to tomorrow. But she simply could not get her tongue around the word "Seattle". The closest she could get was "Sarda".

Whatever you want to call it, I am really excited about spending some time there. Almost everybody who has ever been there just gushes about what a great city this is. And I am a huge fan of great cities.

I shall keep a log of our odyssey to the great northwest, and fill you in on all our adventures. So far we are planning to tour the Museum of Flight soon after we land. Viewing the first Air Force One jet will be rather cool, but what I am really jonesing to do is to go inside the Concorde. I can't imagine ever getting the chance to do that again.

The Underground Tour of Seattle is also a must do, and I think will be perfect for a rainy Monday afternoon as we wait to check into our hotel.

I think we'll leave ourselves plenty of time to explore the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum. It's interactive and shit!

And while the forecast is calling for a pretty good chance of rain for the duration of the week, I don't think that will impact our trip one iota. I don't mind a little moisture while I am sightseeing, and I'm not even that concerned about the possibility of rain washing out the Radiohead concert. Because, according to the latest reports, not only are Radiohead the saviours of modern music, but apparently they can now control the weather as well.

And all manner of excitement is going to ensue when we meet with M and H and their girls. We're meeting up at Pike's Place market where we will throw fish at each other as a token of our mutual esteem. I understand it's a Puget Sound tradition. Wonder what they do for weddings?

And with any luck, I've be able to meet up with Stephanie at the Radiohead concert too. Too much goodness for one little zombie, really.

It's going to be an early morning, so I'd better finish packing, cuddle with the cat a bit, and head for bed.

Sarda, here we come!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

putting a wig on you when you're asleep

I distribute the blame evenly amongst the Resident Offspring, Thom Yorke, and John Mutford.

The RO first brought them to my attention a few months back, and then Thom being on the cover of Word caused me to buy a copy, which just happened to have a free cd attached containing one of their songs. This was followed by the RO and John both shaming me into viewing their videos after I mentioned how bizarre they are.

My life has not been quite the same since I started watching Flight of the Conchords videos. And like a virulent disease that spreads quickly from the weak and sickly into the healthy and robust population, I would like to share this infliction with you, my friends, so that we may all die together from splitting our sides. Call it a suicide pact if you must.

Poor RO is quite ill with this condition; she has been giggling quietly to herself and muttering mutha ucker won't sell an apple to a kiwi under her breath for the last couple of days.

So you are forewarned.

I give you Flight of the Conchords:

I could go on, but for the World Health Organization has warned me that I had better stop there.

Friday, August 15, 2008

they had me at hello

I've very nearly finished reading Mark Haddon's A Spot of Bother (with many thanks to the fabulous Allison), so am considering what reading material I should take along to Seattle. I have not yet read John Lydon's biography No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, which I bought while in San Francisco, but I feel like I need a break from rock books at this point. I have been reading a shitload of those lately. Besides I am still pissed off at Lydon for that bullshit he pulled on Kele Okereke recently.

The Resident Offspring has a few books lying around that look intriguing - We by Yvegeny Zamyatin, a couple of Neil Gaiman books, and this one - Hugo Chavez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the US. Somehow though, I don't think that is the best book to have tucked under my arm as I pass through U.S. customs.

When trying to decide on a book, I will often read the opening paragraph to see if it captures my imagination. Those first few words are of utmost importance. They have to draw you in, offer enticing promises of adventures to come, and be distinct from the myriad of other literary possibilities that you could follow.

And if the first few words are that important in a 300 page novel, think of how absolutely critical they become in a song. A song allows no wiggle room for filler words, it is no place for bloated meanderings. You have to kill them with the opening line.

And with that lengthy and meandering introduction which proves that I never practice what I preach, I am pleased to bring you the return of Favourite Five Fridays, this week celebrating those lyricists who know how to present the sizzle.

Top Five Opening Lyrics:
1. There's blood in the sink, and he's plunging his wrists in.
- History to the Defeated
- the Weakerthans
2. It was Christmas eve, babe, in the drunk tank.
- Fairytale of New York
- the Pogues
3. My true love drowned in a dirty old pan of oil that did run from the block of a Falcon sedan 1969, the papers said '75.
- Star Witness
- Neko Case
4. Got hips like Cinderella, must be having a good shame.
- Tame
- Pixies
5. I don't want to be your friend, I just want to be your lover.
- House of Cards
- Radiohead


Oh, what the hell, I'm not going to be able to spend a lot of time with you over the next week and I'm going to miss your adorable faces, so here's a bonus one:

Davey stole a Christmas tree from K-Mart last night.
- Christmas in Paradise
- Mary Gauthier
Any favourite opening lyrics you care to share?
Any suggestions for great reading while travelling?

Come on, spill, we're sharing here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

in pitch dark I go walking in your landscape

I approached my annual mammogram with some trepidation today, not because I feared anything was amiss or even because of the discomfort of having my girls flattened in a waffle iron and then turned in fourteen different directions, but because I was afraid they were going to leave me to rot in the change room again. I was all prepared to march out if kept waiting longer than 10 minutes for the all-clear.

And while I was flipping through the five magazines in my little change cubicle, all of which featured Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on the cover (is there honestly nobody else in the entire world that is worthy of gracing a magazine cover anymore?), I heard the woman in the cube next to me flag someone down and ask if she could go, as she had been waiting for the signal for a long time. Obviously somebody else was the victim this year. heh.

I was very pleased to be told that, instead of wearing a paper gown that would be turfed into the garbage after 3 seconds of use, I could simply put my own top back on after removing my bra. Finally, somebody clued in to the insanity and wastefulness of those paper gowns. Right chuffed I was about this development.

Almost as chuffed as I am about the fact that in seven little days, Thom and Jonny and Ed and Colin and Phil will be playing music just for me! I am quite certain that they will not play Let Down, and I am actually quite relieved about this, because if they did, I swear I would plotz. Seriously, there would be a loud explosion, followed by bits of zombie flesh flying in all directions and then hanging off of everything. Nasty, nasty situation.

Are you excited about anything today?

I'm also excited that my gorgeous niece has set the date for her wedding next summer and we will get to meet her puppy. Isn't he adorable? You can all but smell the puppy breath in this picture.