Friday, January 30, 2009

sometimes it's just a matter of going to the right store

My new Future Shop boyfriend:
- asked me if my laptop was still working alright instead of declaring that he had to send it in to do an analysis
- said I could keep my laptop while he ordered me a new cord (on warranty)
- let me keep my old cord until my new one arrived, even though he could get into trouble for that, and I only had to plead a little bit
- served me during pauses while also serving an earlier customer

I have found the store that I will deal with from now on. I was so pleased that I bought a bunch of blank cds that I didn't even need.

UPDATE:
The cord that my Future Shop boyfriend allowed me to keep has now died a final spectacular death. With sparks and everything! I admit I was afraid to turn the laptop back on after quickly shutting it down last night when the cord started sizzling, but it seems to have escaped any catastrophe.

It has one hour of battery time left. It's probably a good thing that the Resident Offspring heads back to school Monday after almost two weeks of exam break, otherwise there would be some serious territorial wars surrounding the PC.

zombie unplugged

My laptop power cord is trying to commit suicide on me yet again, the third one that I have driven to madness.

I simply don't understand their poor attitude, I mean I practically have them ensconced in a luxury penthouse where their every whim is catered to by a posse of Harajuku girls, and yet they still choose death over life with me.

This one is shuffling off this mortal coil in a slightly different fashion from its predecessors, however. Gone is the curious chirping noise, followed by eventual death. This one's symptoms seems more easily diagnosable, it is fraying near the plug that goes to the back of the laptop. Sometimes I have to wiggle it to connect properly.

And seeing as the laptop is still under extended warranty, it would seem straightforward to order a new cord for me, wouldn't it? Ha ha, I hear you laugh, as you obviously see where this is going.

The first snag was when I discovered that the Future Shop at which I bought the laptop no longer exists, so I phoned another one and described the issue and the tech told me to bring the laptop in, as they needed the SIN and such off it and they would order a new cord. It would not be necessary to leave my laptop with them. In my travels, though, I ended up near a different store, so I schlepped my long-suffering laptop in, where I was told that they would have to send my laptop and cord away for a "minimum of two weeks" for analysis before replacing the cord. Please! Just shoot me now already!

Obviously I will be trying my luck at the other location today. Is this a ploy to keep me from using my warranty, or is that just paranoia talk?

It does appear though, that I am becoming the subject matter expert on chirping power cords. I regularly have keywords searches related to same. There were two today.

However, "chirping power cord" aside, here are this week's
Five Favourite Key Word Searches:

~ how many things can you do with jello ~
~ old slut here ~
~ world peace and 2008 and commercial and gogol bordello ~
~ i can go down but i get up again ~
~
how can i get a remote entry key for a corolla if it is not part of the car ~

Google obviously thinks I know far more than I actually do.
Have you found yourself the designated subject matter expert
lately on something about which you know nothing?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

honoured just to be here

I was chuffed as hell to be awarded a Bookworm Award recently by the lovely and talented Dr Monkey von Monkerstein. To receive such an honour from someone who has such a deep and abiding love for books, someone who peruses used book stores for rare gems and archaic oddities, someone who has published a novel of his own, is an honour indeed.

I shall do everything within my power to uphold the dignities of this office.

And I now I feel I must recognise some extraordinary bookworms who inspire me with their love of books:
John from the Book Mine Set - he's like the godfather of all things wordy

Remi from Gunner's Miscellany - seems to read more books in a week than I can in a year
Karen from Voyages of HMS Swiftsure - has an enormous book wish list and you know she'll get through it too

I applaud your book worminess, all.

Somewhat related, but really more a matter of shameless self-promotion, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that, not only have I finished reading another book, but it is a Canadian book, and it is reviewed over at the Bookworm Collective. Please drop by and check it out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

another Canadian band you should get to know: Entire Cities

I have to admit that I had mixed feelings when Ruh from Vintage asked me to take a listen to her band's new album, Deep River. She's a friend, after all, what if I couldn't find anything nice to say about it?

Pffft. I needn't have worried.

The band, Entire Cities, has been kicking around Toronto and environs for quite a while, but we here in the new centre of the universe have yet to experience them firsthand. And that's a shame, because I understand that their live performances are bordering on legendary.

It's hard to know how to describe Entire Cities' sound, really. When I first started listening to Deep River, I thought yeah, here's a band that is stepping in to fill the void left when Jon-Rae and the River disbanded. But that's not entirely accurate, and neither is it fair to Entire Cities, who really have carved out their own sound. A sound that is rather hard to pigeonhole, as it turns out.

I've heard their music described as psychedelic cowpunk, and that's as good a descriptor as any, I guess. Certainly there are experimental elements in the unique instrumentation and unusual time signatures on songs like Turbine, and there are gloriously unapologetic hoedown singalongs on most of the tracks. Makes me want to see them perform.

Much like Jon-Rae and the River, Entire Cities' sound is based around the larger-than-life voice of the frontman, Simon Borer. His voice booms through the album like a slightly crazed indie lumberjack on a tear, bludgeoning you with lyrics like "I'm my brother's snakeskin motherfucker" in songs like Dancing with My Brother, while moderating into more restrained power in Coffee and in The Woods. There's even a really great building song, Waiting, and you know I am a sucker for a song that builds and builds. This one is really satisfying, full of horns and full-frontal harmonies, receding again to end in a restrained plinking of piano and a chorus of "waiting... waiting".

Deep River grows on me more with each listen. It's deeply satisfying music, full of raw harmonies that conjure up images of backwoods drinking parties. I think it's time Entire Cities moved out of the Greater Toronto Area and started laying their sound on the rest of the country.

You can listen here:
entirecities.ca
myspace
sonicbids
zunior

Sunday, January 25, 2009

no need to get off my arse, there're movies to be watched

It's been exam week here at Zombie central, and since the Resident Offspring had a very light exam schedule, we had time to watch a few movies.

Pineappl
e Express
Lo
ved it! It was a hilarious buddy stoner action flick, that had a sweetness and innocence about it which made it very endearing. Seth Rogan and James Franco are both so fun to watch, but it is Danny McBride who all but steals the show as Red, the supplier who just won't die. Franco is absolutely adorable as Saul, the drug dealer, who takes his bubbeh to the opera and calls her a pimp.

My Bloody Valentine 3D
Highly predictable slasher flick, which was actually made quite fun via the magic of 3D glasses. We giggled through the whole thing, were suitably grossed out when the dude got his jawbone ripped off and it flew past our heads and we could hear it splat on the wall behind us. At one point the film stopped abruptly, leaving the six of us in attendance, sitting in a dead quiet, pitch dark theatre. I am happy to report we all survived.


What We Do Is Secret

The biopic of the 1970's LA punk band, the Germs. Apparently the surviving members of the orginal band were so impressed with Shane West's performance as front man Darby Crash, that they invited him to join them in a reunion. The film is done is a semi-documentary style, alternating
interviews with performances and scenes depicting the relationships and the conflicts within the band.

Crash had a five-year plan to become a legend, and in the process led the Germs into becoming one of the most notorious bands in LA, resulting in their being
banned from every venue in the city. Ironically, his suicide, planned to cement his legendary status, was overshadowed in the press by the murder of John Lennon the following day.

A comedy, a slasher flick, and a rock biopic - I would say that's a pretty well balanced diet, wouldn't you? What's your favourite genre of film?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: dead, but still talking

Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a highly ambitious production to stage. For starters, it's about three hours long, which can tax the stamina of even the most hardened theatre patron. And it has quite a large cast, larger than most productions that are staged in the tiny Joyce Doolittle theatre of the Pumphouse.

Morpheus Theatre's production is faithful to the original, first staged at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1966. We rather expected that we would see a condensed version of the play, given the limitations of the room in which it was being staged, so were surprised that Morpheus Theatre decided to go big rather than go home.

And to their credit, they pulled it off.

Ripe with rapid wordplay and Shakespearean dialogue amongst performance art and play within a play theatrical elements, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a sparkling piece of existential absurdism in which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, childhood friends of Hamlet, attempt to make sense of their existence, even while often forgetting their quest and even their own names. The play does demand a forgone familiarity with Hamlet to fully appreciate the plot elements, and I noticed that the organizers had posted an "elements of Hamlet" primer in the lobby for those needing a refresher course in Shakespeare, which I thought was a nice touch.

The full-house audience in attendance on Wednesday evening needed no such primer. Judging from the laughter, they were not only well versed in the plot elements, but attentive enough to catch the rapid repartee passing back and forth on stage. A group of about fifteen teenagers were in the audience, evidently a Theatre or perhaps English class of some kind, and it was delightful to see them hanging onto each word of the play. Judging from the rapt expressions on their faces and their obvious delight in the dialogue, they were fully attentive for the entire three hours.

When I spoke with director Michelle Brandenburg about the packed house, she told me that all but two performances of the fifteen performance production schedule were completely sold out. I find that a heartening statement about the level of engagement of Calgary theatre audiences.

While Morpheus' production was brilliantly staged, there were a few minor elements that interfered with my ability to lose myself completely in the action. The first was a matter of blocking, At times, my view of the action was obscured by another character, standing to the side of the stage. Sometimes the speaker would have his back to me. Given the limitations of the small room, the presence of a large cast, and the fact that I sat at the very side of the audience, I can understand how this would occasionally occur.

The other issue was a matter of costuming. For the most part, the costumes were very well done, quite authentic looking Shakespearean garb. The character of The Player, however, who is the leader of a traveling theatre troupe, wears what appears to be a codpiece, which is distracting and somewhat disturbing. The codpiece is red, stitched so that it appears to contain a tennis ball or something, and looks for all the world like ... how to put this delicately ... like The Player is sporting an enormous red erection. Since the theatre troupe do function at times as prostitutes to offset their meagre theatrical earnings, perhaps this was the intent.

Morpheus Theatre's production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a delightfully clever staging of the play, fearless in its determination to present the often challenging and intricate wordplay of this philosophical tragicomedy, exuberant in its portrayal of the sometimes absurd physical comedy which accompanies the cleverness of the language.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I wear my sunglasses at night

A couple of years ago, we caved to the pressures of being yuppie cat owners and agreed to a dental appointment for our cat. This involved her being anesthetized for the teeth cleaning and when we brought her home the following day, her pupils were dilated to the size of dinner plates. One image that will stay with me always is Sputnik standing at the top of the staircase, looking down at us with that stoned kitty stare, and you could all but hear her thinking "oh my god I'm at the top of the stairs this is sooooo cool! ... wait ... How do I get down?"

That's pretty much what I looked like for the rest of the day after my cataract appointment. Those pupil dilation drops are long lasting, dude. I totally rocked the indoor sunglasses look for a few hours.

Now I have to pick out my new eyeballs.

I've been doing a little studying about eyeball anatomy. The lens is a pretty spectacular piece of equipment. It is very fluid and has the ability to change thickness, thus allowing you to see clearly both up close and far away. As we age, the lens become more rigid and that's why our near vision is usually impacted. Some of us also develop cataracts on the lens.

With cataract surgery, a self-healing incision is made into the eyeball and the old lens is removed, all the remaining cataract goop is vacuumed out, and an new artificial lens in inserted into the eye. The standard monocular lens is covered under Alberta Health Care, but with it, one loses some near vision, so that 95% of people need to wear reading glasses afterward. Distance vision is improved.

However, a multifocal lens is now also available, which is not covered under health care and runs close to $3,000 for both eyes. The multifocal lens is comprised of concentric rings of varying thickness which allows for near and far vision. Apparently intermediate vision is slightly compromised. The major drawback is that there is some issue with a slight halo effect around lights at night, because of the presence of the rings. I already deal with a massive halo effect around lights, so I figure anything is an improvement.

I have to decide which I want. I am leaning toward the multifocal lens. It seems like the best technology and since lens replacement is a one-shot deal (the new lens adheres to the capsular bag and thus cannot be removed), it makes sense to go with the best option available. Plus the Spousal Unit (bless his heart and his unending support) has already said cost be damned, make the choice you think is best.

What would you do?

Did you know: once you have an artifical lens in place, you will never get cataracts again? Cataracts cannot grow on the artificial lens. Cool, eh?

Monday, January 19, 2009

pulling an all-nighter, studying for my eye exam

I have my assessment with the eye surgeon tomorrow. That was fast, wasn't it? Apparently my appointment was originally scheduled for late April, but somehow I got moved up the queue. I hope no one died.

I am getting quite excited about being able to see clearly again. I just have to convince the surgeon that my case is more urgent than the blue-hairs'. I think the fact that I would actually have pretty good vision, were it not clouded by cataracts, gives me an edge. That, and my extreme youth, apparently.

Of course this means that I can no longer attend the inauguration ceremonies in Washington tomorrow, but hopefully Big O and Mich will understand.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

how can silent masked killers be so dull?

There are bad movies, and then there are bad movies.

I admit that I occasionally enjoy watching a real stinker, from the comfort of my own chesterfield where I guffaw loudly and exchange pointed barbs at said crap film with the rest of the zombies.

I actually enjoyed Ben and Arthur, which for years topped (bottomed?) IMDB's Worst Movie of All Time List, but last night we watched The Strangers and it was just plain DULL. The first time one of the silent masked soon-to-be killers appeared in the background of the screen and then disappeared, to which the main characters remained oblivious, was rather effective. But obviously the film makers forgot the rule of three, because those silent masked soon-to-be killers just kept silently popping in and out of the background like Whack-a-Moles and the main characters just kept remaining oblivious to them. Very quickly those soon-to-be killers just became annoying.

And don't even get me started on Liv Tyler's whining whisper. How the wimpiest character
in film managed to be the only survivor of the blood bath is beyond me.

Oh, did I just spoil it? Saved you 90 minutes.

~*~

Here's some yin for yon yang.

It's the free download of People Got a Lotta Nerve, a single from Neko Case's forthcoming album, Middle Cyclone. Enjoy it in good conscience, knowing that for every blog who reposts this song, Neko Case and ANTI will donate $5 to the Best Friends Animal Society.

Here's how you can repost the song on your blog, and help with the cause.


Friday, January 16, 2009

the English teacher made me cry, so I made butter chicken for supper

What do you do when your Resident Offspring comes home from school and hands you the year's major English assignment that she has just received back, and the teacher has written this on it?

It is clear that this type of thinking is like breathing to you. The intro is wonderful, as are the texts you selected. The project shows that you are an original and refreshing thinker. Excellent work. You need to make sure that you won't betray your gifts because thinking is something you have a talent for, to say nothing of your writing.
Excellent work!!!
100%

Well, if you are me, you cry a little bit because you are so proud and so happy that other people recognize how brilliant your kid is.

And then you let her pick what she wants for supper.

~*~
I know that most of the country has been plunged into a deep freeze, but around here we are just wearing sweaters or light jackets. And one really cannot help but chuckle a little.

Except of course, that we have received over three times the normal amount of snow this winter, and this is the first chinook that's blown through since we received these massive dumps of snow, so everything is melting, rapidly.

One thing you have to realize about Calgary, it generally doesn't get a whole lot of snow, compared to other areas, and the city relies upon chinooks to melt the snow and has a policy to only remove snow on the major roads. Residential streets are never plowed or graded or sanded. And people are pissed right off.

I have never been so grateful to have an urban assault vehicle with four-wheel drive in my life. In the newspaper this morning there was a picture that filled me with Schadenfreude (and that's the very best kind of Freude there is). A City of Calgary truck had gotten stuck on a residential street and then the tow truck that came out to free it also got stuck and had to be dug out.

You know it's pretty bad when the tow trucks get stuck. hehe. Sort of like when vultures vomit.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

it's enough to give an old girl the vapours

By now I'm sure you have all seen this Grammy poster featuring our lad, Thom, with the titles of songs that most influenced him inscribed into his furry little face. This image of course, was brazenly swiped from our friend, Sean at Everything is Pop.

But did you also know that, hot on the trail of his sex appeal being used to pimp the Grammys, Thom is now
extending the love to the ladies? The Grannies, that is. Strictly platonically, I am sure. (Although look how very pleased Granny looks!)

I can't imagine that the Rapefish would make any of this up, can you?

Also, in that corner of the blogosphere, Green Plastic Radiohead have found a clip of Phil Selway's performance at Seven Worlds Collide (Oxfam support) recently. We all know that Phil is an terrific drummer, but his singer-songwriter-guitarist skills come as a pleasant surprise. It's a lovely song, too! Rock on, Phil!



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

misdirected

I was working at the dining room table this afternoon when something crashed into the window, not a foot from my elbow. My immediate thought was that a bird had flown into the glass, but the dining room window is at the side of the house, and not that far away from the house next door. WIth the trees and fences surrounding both houses, it would take some kind of freaking kamakize dive-bombing bird to pull that off.

And then I spotted the squirrel darting erratically away from the house and noticed the wee muddy paw print smear on the glass, surrounded by what looked like spray patterns of spit or perhaps snot. Nutty squirrel must have jumped from the fence, which butts up to the house, aiming for the rain barrel which is just under the window.

And then I remembered that Sputnik was in the back yard. I wouldn't put it past her to have said something to that squirrel to egg him on. You know how cats can be such assholes. Hey squirrel, bet you can't make it onto the rain barrel from the fence! ... Oh come on, don't be such a chicken shit!

I'm beginning to think our cat is some kind of hypno-toad.

~*~
Speaking of being led astray, here's a link to the January issue of BC Musician Magazine. Besides my article, Deconstructing Polaris (pg 24-25), there are stories by the likes of musicians Geoff Berner and Rae Spoon, and a fascinating tale of traveling cross country via van fuelled by french fry grease.

For those of you who are falling all over themselves to start reading my story first (and I am sure you number in the ones), here's the link to Deconstructing Polaris only.

~*~
I'm going to leave some Tylenol out for that squirrel tonight.

Monday, January 12, 2009

and they say romance is dead


The Zombies are being lured back to the west coast. (You knew we couldn't stay away) We'll be in Vancouver/Victoria the last week of March, reconnoitering the University, meeting with some blog friends. Anybody else want to join us?

And even more impressively, the Marthas will be meeting in Red Deer next month for a wild Womanly Weekend. There will be snacks.

Four people in my everyday life who deserve kudos:

- my two Starbucks boyfriends - the bald Australian fellow and the one who looks like Wayne Petti. I always bring my own mug and they always warm it up for me if it's been freezing in the urban assault vehicle. Well done, lads!

- our letter carrier. Always has a smile and a good-morning, waves at me if I drive by even over on the next street, doesn't cut across the lawn. I'll keep the sidewalk clear for him.

- my next door neighbour who always shovels the city sidewalk in front of our house, even though she's got a huge driveway of her own to clear. It's always a race to see which one of us will do the other person's sidewalk first.

Who in your life deserves a shout-out today?


Saturday, January 10, 2009

thought for food

Is there anything better than barley? Besides oats, spinach, wine, and chocolate, that is?

I don't think so either, so I have no idea why I don't make this barley casserole more often. It's dead easy, as long as you have a couple of hours. And since living frugally is about to become chic
apparently, it will make you look hip and smart, because it is so cheap to make. Impress your family and friends today.
*

Bad Tempered Zombie's Bad Times Barley Casserole

In a bit of butter, saute for about 10 minutes:
1/2 finely diced onion
1 cup each diced celery and carrot

1 cup rinsed pot barley
- feel free to add anything else you like, mushrooms, spinach, kale, parsley, dill, etc

Add 4 cups stock (I use chicken, but you could very well use vegetable), salt (only if stock is unsalted) and about 2 tsp pepper.

Pop uncovered into 350 oven for 1/2 to 2 hours until barley is tender, stirring 3 or 4 times.
You can add toasted sliced almonds and/or dried apricots at this point, if you want to pimp it up a bit.

--

We finally get barbequed food again tonight, for the first time in a month. A long overdue chinook is blowing through, raising the temperatures above freezing. The cat has gone outside for more than 20 seconds, the ice has melted off the windows - not that there is anything to see, and we are drooling about the thought of food that has been cooked in the manly style - over fire and out of doors.

It's totally worth the chinook migraine that Urban Blonde has right now. Thanks for taking one for the team, Urban Blonde!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Jesus told me go after every coin like it was the last in the world

In a week or so, I am supposed to be eligible to start receiving those Employment Insurance benefits that I contributed into for almost 10 years. Yes, I know it's been months since my old job ended, but apparently that severance pay that I fought so hard to receive replaces any benefits until the severance package is used up.

Had I known that, I would not have bothered, but anyway, I have been diligently filling out my EI reports online and when I started receiving payments for the
articles I have been writing, I have been declaring that money. Every time I do, I get a message that I have to phone Employment Canada in order to complete the report on account of doing something frowned upon like earning money.

Fine. Except that I have been phoning them a dozen times a day for the past six days so that I can complete my god damned report, and keep getting a message that they are too busy and are not taking any calls. "Try again later", the smarmy recorded voice tells me, and you know she's thinking, "I can play you like a puppet on a string, sucker", and I just want to punch her lights out.

Why do I keep thinking this is an elaborate ruse to keep me from ever filing my report on time, so that they never have to pay me? Just because I am paranoid doesn't mean they aren't
out to get me.

*
I feel like I haven't been around to visit everyone's blogs as much as I would like to lately. I've been doing a tonne of research for an article that I am writing, and one thing led to another until I had the germ of an idea for a much more ambitious article that I want to tackle next. I can't really say much more about it at this point, but it's sort of like a unifying theory of everything. I feel rather Stephen Hawking-ish right now.

But the point is, I have been spending so much time in front of the computer lately that I just need to walk away from it for a while, talk to the family and stuff.

And I guess I have just gone against my creed for the year - never apologize, never explain.
That's fine for the rest of the world, but for you, I will apologize and explain.

**
You should probably know that my new favourite tv show to watch whilst exercising (on mute, with music blasting, of course) is World's Most Extreme Homes.

update:
- tying in nicely with the assumption that squeaking your wheels gets you the grease, after I complained to you, I was able to get through to Employment Canada this morning on the third try. Woot! And after queuing for only 20 minutes. Plus, Karen in Vancouver, who took my call, was delightful and friendly and even though I am still not able to access the reporting option because they are still evaluating some issue on my earlier report, at least I now know that actual people work there.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

WHAT did you just say?

As you no doubt know, bailout was chosen as the buzzword of 2008.

Obviously it is far too early to be speculating on what the buzzword of 2009 will be, but I think that in the meanwhile, we need a mantra for the year, a catchphrase to unite us, to rally us, to embiggen us. We need some words of strength to get us through the dark, at least until it's shortbread eating time again.

How about:

- a good mountaineer pees clear -
- no surrender, no defeat -

- never apologize, never explain -

- recession be damned, mamma needs a pedicure -


Those would work.

Speaking of words (or those things that sometimes pass for them), the Spousal Unit's mother was complaining to him the other day that it was still so cold out that it was hindering her trips to church. "It so cold", she explained, "that I have to put on my coat and my hat, and then I get to church and I am so HAWT, I think I die".

To which the Spousal Unit quite reasonably asked, "why don't you take your coat off in church?" "Oh!", she replied, all offended, "so you want me to be the only person in church to take my coat off!"

?

I guess it's sort of like "boiling but cold". Which I will have to tell you about another day.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

deer in the headlights

Is it better to be able to see distance or to be able to see up close?

I ask because apparently I have to make that decision when I finally get cataract surgery, hopefully this year. I finally got tired enough of my optometrist saying I don't even know how you can see anything, as he is peering into my lenses with his little scope. Which of course gives an enormous boost to my confidence about driving at night and perpetuates the nickname so lovingly pinned on me by the Marthas - blind girl driving.

And I realised then that he obviously did NOT refer me to an eye surgeon last year, as he said he would do, so I all but hollered at him "well let's get the damn surgery done already!"


Apparently I will have to convince the eye surgeon that my case should be made a priority. Because my cataracts are so advanced for someone "so young" (the optometrist's words, which put him temporarily back in my good books), I stand a better chance of moving up the queue than say, an 85 year old who doesn't drive.

And then he coached me on the buzzwords that I need to use when talking to the eye surgeon. I have to say that I am blinded by oncoming headlights, that the quality of my vision is impaired, that I can no longer see contrasts, and that I am unable to find the correct light level to see computer screen or page. I won't have any trouble remembering those because they are all true.

But then the optometrist told me that at surgery, I will need to decide whether I want to have good distance vision (as I currently have in my left eye) or good close-up vision (as I currently have in my right eye).

Which would you choose?

Friday, January 02, 2009

guess who went shopping today?

I think my lips might just make it through the winter after all.

Bad Tempered Zombie's Top Five Predictions for 2009:

1.
Steve Martin will continue to believe that he is the reincarnation of Peter Sellers.
2.
A celebrity will die, people will be shocked.
3. Chad VanGaalen's Soft Airplane will be shortlisted for a Polaris Prize but will lose because the vote will be split.
4. Blistex will be declared hazardous to your health and my lips will shrivel up and die, and I will want to join them.
5. My neighbourhood Safeway will continue its downhill slide until it is nothing more than a glorified 7-11.

What earth-shattering events do you foresee this year?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

there will be lists

We ended the year alternating between lame New Year's Eve broadcasts from Niagara Falls and lame New Year's Eve broadcasts from Toronto. Having bloated stomaches groaning from way too much crab and melted butter did not help in making the televised celebrations any more palatable.

But today the entire family worked out and ate sensibly, and tried to murder each other in a no-holds-barred, fight-to-the-death Crokinole match. Nobody lost an eye or anything, but there were a couple of flicking finger injuries, and plenty of hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing over botched shots.

2009 is off to a good start.

But there is a bit of business left over from 2008 that I had best address before I start remembering even more albums that could very well be contenders for best album of 2008 except that I haven't listened to them properly. Because in addition to those overlooked albums listed the other day, I have also realized that I have not properly listened to these 2008 releases either:
Women - Women
Ghost Notes - Matthew Barber
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
I Worked on the Ships - Ballboy

I did listen to a few albums in 2008, though, and as you would expect, I have a few opinions about what I heard. So before this year gets too old, allow me to present

BTZ's favourite dozen albums of 2008

12. Youth Novels - Lykke Li
- fresh and refreshing, Lykke Li with her cute little Swedish accent and dance beats is just what you need to get you through those winter nights without making yet another trip to IKEA
-
11. Kensington Heights - the Constantines
- even when it is not their best effort to date, the Cons always come out to rock
-
10. In the Future - Black Mountain
- trippy retro prog rock at its finest
-
9. A Mad and Faithful Telling - DeVotchKa
-lush and gorgeous melodies evoking the drama unfolding within a gypsy caravan
-
8. XOK - NQ Arbuckle
- powerful and mesmerizing country tinged tales of hard living Canadiana from an utterly mesmerizing band
-
7. Coyotes - Brian Borcherdt
- this one is an EP, but it is so utterly gorgeous that I had to include it; these heartfelt and personal songs of fragile beauty are pretty much the polar opposite of the electronica offered up by his other band, Holy Fuck
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6. Colin Meloy Sings Live - Colin Meloy
- so what if it's a live recording and most of the songs are on other Decemberist albums? The intimacy that Colin Meloy shares with the audience is truly charming
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5. Dig Lazarus Dig - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
- bluesy and dirty and beautiful, it's Nick Cave at his finest
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4. Mountain Meadows - Elliott Brood
- even though I didn't get this cd till Christmas, it immediately shot to the top, it's that good
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3. Third - Portishead
- dark and dreamy and richly textured, Portishead are back and it was worth the wait
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2. Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust - Sigur Ros
- more upbeat than most Sigur Ros albums, this is also sweepingly gorgeous and so beautiful you will want to weep
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1. Soft Airplane - Chad VanGaalen
- okay you know that I am a huge Chad VanGaalen fan, but I can say unequivocally that this is the best album of the year; every track is splendid and utterly unique
- truly Chad VanGaalen's finest to date and the finest of the year

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And I think I might still have a couple of lists left in me yet.