Saturday, February 28, 2009

still smoking hot at 11

Red: Do you know what today is?
Dale: Tuesday.
Red: This is my cat's birthday today.
Dale: I don't see a cat in here. I'm sorry. Did I let it out by accident?
Red: No, because he died three months ago, okay? So now who's the funny guy?
Dale: I'm sorry?
Red: Today is his birthday and it is a tradition that on his birthday I get up extra early and make him his favorite kind of dessert.
Dale: Don't worry, bro. Your cat's going to heaven.
Red: Yeah, maybe. Maybe he went to heaven. He was a little fucker. He could've gone to hell.
It actually is my cat's birthday today. She's not really a little fucker, unlike Red's cat, but she has been known to be an asshole on occasion. But that's just part of being cat.

I just hope I look half this good when I turn eleven.

Happy Birthday, Sputnik!
Sputnik would like you to know that I have located pdfs of a couple more articles that I published a few months ago, and I have added the links to the list on the sidebar, in case you are desperate for something to read.
There will be some reviews coming up here shortly, for the latest play I saw and the most recent book I read. If I were on Twitter, the reviews would read like this, respectively: chilling, outrageous. But I'm not on Twitter, so you'll have to put up with considerably more words from me. Sorry.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

four weeks minus a day

is how long I was without a power cord this time. I was ready to start doing some serious whining.

But this morning, I picked up the new cord and after spending the afternoon dealing with all the updates and patches that I had missed, I am once again cosying up to a nice warm laptop. Just in time too, as it's going down to -20 again tonight.

I'm finally sitting down tube-front to watch the Tournament of Hearts women's curling championship even though it's been on all week. I just haven't really been home all week is the problem.

I almost shat myself when I heard that the tournament was being held at the Save-On-Food Memorial Arena in Victoria. Is that the lamest name in the history of lame arena names or what? I've definitely got to get Jen to give me a tour of that place when we are there next month.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

this I learned from weekending with the Marthas

- if you find potato chips in the bunk bed, you get 10% off the room price

- when it comes to watercolour, I am more of a paint-by-numbers kind of gal

- a three hour long college production of Romeo and Juliet will damned near kill you, especially if Juliet has an unfortunate lisp

- even when exercising restraint, the Marthas will ALWAYS bring too much food

- everybody likes Lykke Li

- sometimes you can hear people snore right through your earplugs

- I want to try more pen and ink drawing

- people in Red Deer go to Wal-Mart in droves on Friday nights and shop for crap

- someone will always forget their pyjamas, which is how we became so knowledgeable about people's Wal-Mart habits in the first place

weekends with the Marthas soothe my soul and refresh my spirit

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Once in a Lifetime sums it up

David Byrne
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Feb 23/09

David Byrne is still inventive, still relevant, still has incredible pipes, and I would hazard to guess that he is still the man whom many heterosexual men crush on.

We had seats up in the nosebleeds of the second balcony for the David Byrne concert last night, but they turned out to provide a rather fabulous overview of the spectacle that ultimately unfolded on the stage. Dressed from head to toe in stark white, including Mr Byrne's fabulous shock of hair, the eleven band members, including three dancers, put on a gloriously avant garde extravaganza, which was joyously received by the packed house.

The show kicked off with a funky rendition of the latest David Byrne/Brian Eno single Strange Overtones, and the menu for the night featured selections from the current Byrne/Eno collaboration, as well as drawing from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and of course from those incredible Talking Heads albums.

Given David Byrne's senior statesman of music status, I have to admit I was rather expecting a singer-songwriter evening, but nothing could have been further from reality. This was a SHOW, a highly choreographed melange of music and theatre and experimental ballet, strange and beautiful. For a musical concert, especially one in monochrome, it was an intensely visual experience. There was always something intriguing happening on stage, whether it was the dance during Life is Long which had the three dancers and Byrne rolling about on office chairs, a finale with everyone on stage donning a white tutu, or that incredible moment during Once in a Lifetime when the boy dancer leap-frogged over David Byrne's head, and all the while Byrne paused not his singing and guitar playing.

Although visually David Byrne could easily have passed as a cult leader, dressed all in white as he was and with that commanding presence of his, he was anything but autocratic during the performance. Often, he would blend in with the dancers or the singers and mimic their movements, or fade to the background of the stage while the dancers took over centre stage.

The audience was dancing gleefully in the aisles during the entire second half of the performance and joyfully clapping along with all their favourite Talking Heads numbers. I'm pretty certain that if David Byrne had offered up kool-aid and a chance to ascend to the mother ship, at least 75% of the audience would have taken a drink. Never before have I seen three encores at a concert. I expect it will be a long while before I do again.

Here's some concert footage of Once in a Lifetime that somebody else took, but which is a good representation of what we experienced last night. Magnify it a thousand-fold in awesomeness and you get the picture.

Friday, February 20, 2009

he's back to save the universe

Not only that, but Thom Spiderman Yorke will also keep you company while I motor off to the jewel of central Alberta for the weekend. The Marthas have booked some kind of crazy-assed hotel room there with not only 2 queen beds, but a set of bunk beds as well. I'm definitely packing my spiderman cape for top bunk diving.

Also on tap for the weekend:

~ curry Friday

~ mix cd dance party, which won't be quite as mixed as originally planned due to my laptopless state, but I do think it will be a girlie music weekend, with ample representation from Lykke Li, M.I.A., Basia B
ulat, and of course ABBA.

~ pen and ink/watercolour class on Saturday - I'm attempting to recreate this photo of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.

~ Red Deer College's production of Romeo and Juliet.

~ possibly bowling

~ certainly giggling and way too many snacks.

See you on Monday!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

the writerly life

Oi, I just spent the last day and a half putting together a pitch for the next article I am writing.

It should not take that long! But it's a pretty prestigious magazine that I am approaching and that messed with my mind. Somehow I lost confidence in my ability to write, and subsequently, I lost the ability to write. You should have seen the garbage I was churning out. Blech.

I trashed the works, gave myself a smack up the side of the head and started over. It's much better now. It'll be a while before I can tell you anything more though, as they have a reply time of six to eight weeks.

The Resident Offspring and I had dinner with my niece last night. She's a great kid and I hope her plans for job chasing pan out. She's got a new tattoo which reminds me of the Radiohead bear, so naturally I approve.
The Spousal Unit just arrived home from a week in Phoenix, and we've got lots of catching up to do before I head off to the hot spot destination of Red Deer, Alberta tomorrow for a weekend with the Marthas. Ships that pass in the night, we are. It's been a nutty week - out every night - so I am cooking my honey a real supper tonight and then falling asleep while watching Survivor.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

house ... so empty

Our splendid house guests left this morning, leaving a massive void in their wake. Even the cat, who was initially rather rude and brusque with them, moped around all day, checking the corners for someone else to play the belt chasing game with.

What a great visit we had. Allison is just as sweet and funny as I expected her to be, and even prettier in real life then she is on the internetz. Her gentleman friend is down to earth and easy going and a pleasure to have around. They were utterly charming house guests, who staggered through the door under the weight of the groaning armloads of gifts which they bore. I would highly recommend you invite them to
stay at your place, given half a chance.

And now they are gone, merrily motoring their way through the mountains en route to big adventures, leaving us behind to sigh at the sudden emptiness of Casa Zombie. Not even a shampoo bottle was left behind for us to pounce upon triumphantly and to declare aha, I knew they would forget something.

While they were here, though, I managed to force feed them my obscenely cheesy lasagna, and we tootled about town a bit, wandering through Kensington where both Al and I found cds at Hot Wax, and where we sampled some slurpables at the Oolong Tea House. Travelling Yoda snuck out of Allison's purse and made a star appearance in the big red phone booth, but kept out of sight as we poked around the best toy store I have visited in a very long time. Notes to self to make a return trip have already been penned.

I am actually rather proud of myself for remembering to bring out the camera a full 8 hours before they drove away. That's some kind of record for me. But of course, I do have one of those pictures as well, because it's just not a proper visit without the obligatory packing the car shot.

Bon voyage, Al!
Meeting you was just as great as I knew it would be, my friend.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

my breathe is bated

I am so excited to meet Allison tonight! Sometimes I have trouble remembering that we have never actually met.

She'll pull into town tonight after three grueling days on the road, and she and her gentleman friend will spend a couple of days decompressing at our place before loading up the road snacks and continuing up to northern BC.

The house is reasonably clean and with a few touchups today will be suitable to receive house guests. The fridge is groaning with food, and I have made a mental note of those house idiosyncrasies that I need to point out. You know, the powder room door that doesn't close. the shower tap that has hot and cold mixed up, the sorts of things that you will discover on your own anyway, but are less startling if pointed out in advance.

Tomorrow is a holiday in this province, for reasons which I have never quite figured out, but I am not about to question anyone who wants to declare a holiday in February. I'll let those poor road-weary wanderers sleep in, while I get up (briefly) at 3:30 with the Spousal Unit to say bon voyage as he takes off for a "business trip" in Phoenix. Then, after a leisurely brunch, the Resident Offspring and I will squire them around to some of our favourite haunts. Maybe we'll find some much needed new road trip music at Hot Wax.

Safe journeys, Al!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

now whenever I hear Barry White, I think of these guys

Happy Valentine's Day to my sweetie, the Spousal Unit. He bought me gorgeous flowers and I scrapped the snow off the barbeque so he could grill me a steak. That's what makes us such a good team.

there is no "I" in team, but there is an "I" in pie. And there's an "I" in meat pie. Anagram of meat is team...

Need a little more romancing? Oooooh yeaaaaahhhhhhh!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

life on hold

I am still without a power cord for my laptop and it's starting to make me a wee bit crazy, as I now realise that there are files on my laptop that I could really use right about now. I thought I had an hour of battery time left on it when I shut it down about a week and a half ago, but it won't turn on, so I am assuming the battery has drained?

Yes, I tried removing and replacing it, but no go. I just hope that this is not a sign of
something more serious, like a delayed response to the little power cord fire I had. We shall see, I guess.

My Future Shop boyfriend is kinda letting me down. When I phoned him today, he told me that Toshiba had given him a delivery date of 10 days from now, and it's already been two weeks. This is not what I wanted to hear, Future Shop boyfriend!

So what have I been doing to keep myself from missing your adorable faces while I am forced to share a computer with someone who does not hesitate to play the I need it to do my homework card? I have been rediscovering Sudoku, of course. In fact, I am rapidly becoming the Sudoku champ around these parts.

I am also particularly proud that we are three for three in my pledge to bring a load of stuff to Goodwill every week.

And the Polish or Romanian or something woman who works there is just so adorable! She always pitches in to help bring stuff from the urban assault vehicle, and she is totally cute and bubbly and friendly.

Plus she is a really good liar. Today I brought in a big honking butt-ugly hanging Tiffany lamp on one of those ugly chains, and she told me "it is very beautiful, but I am afraid we cannot accept chandeliers, as they need special wiring". And when I pointed out that no, you actually just plugged this into the wall plug, she thanked me for explaining it to her.

I just want to adopt her. It is very beautiful, indeed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

sometimes you can tell a film by its title

When we picked up Young@Heart from the video store the other day, it was shelved right beside a copy of Zombie Strippers.

Naturally, this got me thinking about movies where the entire plot is contained in the title. I'm working on a list.

Here's what I have so far:

Zombie Strippers
Snakes on a Plane
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
He's Just Not That into You

Can you help me complete the master list?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Worst. Summit. Ever.

You call that a "hip-hop summit", Grammys? There was no discussion of foreign policy, the environment, or even any trade agreements. That is no way to run a summit, in our opinion.

This was my first time ever watching the Grammys and while I would normally leave the post-game discussions to someone like Beckeye, she appears to have passed this one by. So it's up to me to say that the Radiohead/USC Trojan Marching Band performance of 15 Step was solid and inspired. The band nerds did a great job of filling in for Colin, Ed, and Phil and I loved how they all wore Radiohead tees. Plus they got to do the YAY! part. Tom had on his nifty new little jacket and newly flowing locks, which took on a life of their own during the twitchy dancing.

I had to sit through 3 hours of Grammys first, which came close to killing me, but there were a few noteworthy moments:

Hugely preggers M.I.A. was fierce. I actually saw her being interviewed by the ET Canada lightweights on the red carpet and when she was breathlessly asked "what are you hoping for tonight", she immediately lashed out "that they will stop killing each other in Sri Lanka!" To which the interviewer gave a very lame, "oh that's a good answer."

I am confused as to why the perennially-bloated U2
performed the opening number when they weren't even nominated for anything, and even more confused why the less-than-profound lyrics were projected onto a screen behind Bono's gyrations.

The world has seen more than enough of Katy Perry and that song, although the banana elevator was pretty cool. We suspect that Phil Selway fell victim to a prank pulled by his bandmates who lured him inside to have a look and then locked him inside said banana elevator for the duration of the ceremonies. By the way the rest of Radiohead was huddled near the back of the auditorium, you just knew that they were hoping that nobody would question them about Phil's absent.

Al Green and Justin Timberlake did a great job on their duet.

Kid Rock is still disgusting even when he is not wearing a wife-beater.

Sugarland bugs the shit out of me and I cannot stand that woman's voice or her weird singing face.

You have to wonder what Chris Martin was thinking when his wife had a mini orgasm while announcing Radiohead. But then again, Coldplay took home all the hardware, so I guess Gwenyth and Chris both have things to fantasize about during post-Grammy sex.

Way too many Jonases. Also McCartneys.

This was the only reason to watch the Grammys:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

when I'm 80 I want to sing songs made famous by people who aren't even born yet

Now I know what I want to do when I grow up, but first I need to learn how to sing so that I can join Young@Heart when I am old enough.

Last night we watched the documentary about a group of New England seniors who have been singing in a choir for 25 years. But this is not your grandfather's senior choir (or perhaps it is). Despite the average age of the choir being 81, Y@H tackle songs by the Clash, Sonic Youth, Coldplay, Talking Heads, David Bowie, James Brown, the Ramones, Bruce Springstein, and yes, Radiohead. They are quite simply astounding, and yet they don't see
m to realise how extraordinary they really are. Their spunk and their zeal for life is just so inspiring, and the grace and pragmatism with which they face the inevitability of death is humbling.

This doc made me desperate to see the choir perform live, or at the very least to give th
em all a big hug. I got teary three times during the film and I am not given to crying at films.

Be warned, Young@Heart is one of those documentaries which only whet your appetite to know more about the subject. Damn, I just cried again while watching the trailer. Your turn:


File this one under "inspired coupling". Radiohead will be performing with the University of Southern California Marching Band at the Grammys tonight.

You know this little zombie will be watching that award show for the first time in her life.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

under the bridge downtown

I've been procrastinating booking hotels for our Great BC Odyssey next month. A spontaneously combusting laptop cord is forcing me to now share a computer and life is forcing me to attend to other matters. Meanwhile, I didn't realize that the Juno Awards, which are being held in Vancouver this year, coincide with our trip, and I fear that hotels are filling up quickly. And already one of the car rental companies has no cars available for that week. Oh yeah, we haven't rented a car yet either. Yoiks!

So to avoid having to find a nice cardboard box under a bridge somewhere to call home, I need to light a fire under my own ass. And I am asking for your advice, dear internet. Although we will be checking out the university for the Resident Offspring, we actually want to stay downtown, close to less academic attractions.

Being absolutely anal about making such decisions, I always research the hell out of hotels, but so far I have only reviewed four of them. Do you have any advice on downtown Vancouver hotels? I've already been warned to stay away from Hastings Street.

So far I am leaning toward the
Hampton Inn and Suites at 111 Robson. The price is mid-rate, rooms have fridges and microwaves, parking rates are not too excessive, and there's a complimentary hot breakfast (the Spousal Unit loves his bacon).

I am really chuffed about meeting up with a whole bunch of blog friends while there - Deb, Mel, Toccata, Jen, and hopefully Michelle and GOB. It's going to be a blogger smackdown of enormous proportions! You should come too; there's lot of room in the dryer box.

I've booked at the Hampton! Thanks loads to everyone who commented or sent emails. It was a huge help.
Got a car booked now as well. Now I will be driving over those bridges instead of camping under them.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

it's BACK!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the spare room, it re-emerges from its grave.

This time, though, it started talking completely on its own. I swear nobody has opened that closet door for weeks. And it has been without batteries for several years.

The Resident Offspring thought we should put it in the bag of stuff that is going to Goodwill, but I told her it was irresponsible to give away haunted toys. We thought about burying it in the backyard, but who knows what kinds of events that would set off.

The cat tried ripping its head off, but it just kept blinking and saying "Oooooh, loud noise! Me sleep. Again. Wooowooowooowooowooowooo!" The cat is now thoroughly freaked out.

We may have to bring in a priest.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

one minute it's up, the next it's down

I spent a great deal of the day trying to write my next article for BC Musician magazine, and all that came out was wordy, boring, pretentious crap. Plus I couldn't think of any of the right words.

A couple of hours after I gave up, I printed off what I had written, sat down in a different place, and reread it. And realised it was actually pretty decent. A few tweaks here and there and it will be passable.

What just happened? Did my standards suddenly plummet? Or am I just being delusional now?

Do you find that sometimes things read better on paper than they do on the computer screen?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sunday, February 01, 2009

why use ten words when a thousand will do?

She asked for it.

The lovely and talented Justrun offered to send me five interview questions, and since I rarely pass up a chance to talk about myself, how could I refuse?

Ask away, Justrun!

1. If I were coming to visit you in your city, what are the top 5 things you'd tell me were "must dos?"

Since you live in the mountains yourself, I won't go my usual route and hand you a map and tell you to drive to Banff and I'll see you when you get back. Instead, I would insi
st that you remain in Calgary, and I will take you to some of my favourite haunts:

1. Kensington, where we would stop by Hot Wax , the most organized used record store ever, and then stop for coffee at one of my favourite independent coffee shops whose name I forget but I know how to find it.

2. take the train downtown where we would wander around Stephen Avenue, see what's happening at the Glenbow Musuem, and pop into the art galleries that are tucked into unusual places, like City Hall. We might stop and watch a lunchtime musical performance at Olympic Plaza.

3. Canada Olympic Park, on the edge of the city, where I would buy you a luge ride. Much as I would be tempted to join you, I would likely chicken out and just listen to you scream as you plummet down the twisty ice track at a million miles an hour.

4. Fish Creek Park, just two blocks from my house, where we could wander for hours trying to find our way back out again. It's more fun than it sounds and we may encounter deer, beavers, and the odd coyote.

5. If you came here in July, I would insist that you come to the Calgary Folk Festival on beautiful Prince's Island Park in the heart of downtown. Forget the Calgary Stampede, this is one summertime memory of Calgary that you need to take home.

2. If you could pick up your life and go anywhere today, where would you go? (Yes, of course you could take your family.)

This answer changes hourly (Bermuda, Iceland, Muskoka, Seattle, Sweden, Scotland). Right now I will say San Francisco.

3. Tell me a funny story about your child/teenhood.

When I was in elementary school, I was bugging our dog who then lashed out and bit me on the eyelid. My parents didn't believe in going to the doctor for every little thing, so my mom put some Detoll on the wound and sent me off to school the next morning with a nasty-looking cut and a shiner. The last thing she said as I left the house was "don't tell anyone the dog bit you". So when the teacher asked what happened to my eye, I pretended ignorance and denied that anything at all was wrong with it.

Even back then I wasn't very good at thinking on my feet.

4. Have you always been so knowledgeable about music? Or, what brought the interest on?

No, I grew up in pre-internet days in the great wasteland of Winnipeg, where the big deal was when we finally got an FM station. It wasn't until university that I started to hear some music that really interested me - Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, etc.

But it wasn't until the Resident Offspring started blowing me away with all her musical finds at the tender age of 10 or 11 that I really started to discover how much great music is being made. And now, of course, I have knowledgeable and worldly friends who keep me informed

5. If I were coming to your place for dinner, what would we have?

If you were coming over tonight, we'd be having the American Football Heart Attack special - chicken wings, garlic toast, and veggie platter.

And now that everyone is thoroughly sick of hearing about me, I'd like to learn more about you. And I'd like to doing it by using this new Table Topic game that I picked up the other day. Anyone who leaves a comment saying "interview me", will be sent five random questions from the game.

Let's get this party started!