Thursday, February 28, 2013

let's just rename it Tetris

For a short month, it sure went on and on. 

It was entirely my fault though. Because we are going away twice in March (twice!), I foolhardily took it upon myself to accept every job that crossed my path during February. That decision fell short of being the death of me, but only just barely.

It was actually rather gratifying to realize just how hard and how far I could push myself and still maintain some semblance of quality in my work. It's counterproductive to your career and your reputation to produce sub-par writing, after all. I was glad to be able to complete some last minute rush requests, in addition to some in-depth projects, and still fulfill my standing commitments. Not to pat my own back or anything (although of course that's exactly what I am doing), I am proud of what I accomplished this month.

It's an entirely different story here on the blog, of course.  This is where I go to dump my cerebral files.

In a week, we head to Vancouver for a few days of family, friends, and the calmness of the ocean.  In three weeks, we are taking our sun-starved asses to the dessert - to Arizona - to crash with my sis and brother-in-law for a few days. I'm super stoked to be taking in a spring training match between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Seattle Mariners of the cactus league. A visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West in Scottsdale is at the top of my must-do list, too. And I won't say no to a little pool time either.

So, yeah, I am happy to be putting February (the longest shortest month ever) to bed and am welcoming March with open arms.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

breaking at the speed of sound

Friday was one of those days in which worlds collide. A happy collision. You know you are on the right path when your worlds keep overlapping.

The groundbreaking for the new National Music Centre (one job), as a cornerstone of East Village (another job) was chock-a-block with dignitaries - the premier, a federal minister, the mayor and some of this city's best dressed aldermen. Oh yeah, Canada's songbird, who had been hanging around the NMC for a couple of days, showed that she knows her way around a shovel. Perhaps the fact that it was a guitar shovel helped.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your shovels

the throne

our aldermen strut their stuff

the Mayor's choice in socks is always cause for celebration

dig this

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

cave drawings

I miss the old ways. Even though I have become as guilty of neglect as anybody, I still lament the shrinking of the blogosphere. At its zenith, it was a lively place, populated with people who shared big ideas, obscure playlists and cat memes. Bloggers took the time to write measured arguments, vitriolic rants and wry observations, and they took the time to read those of others and to join in the ongoing conversation. Relationships built through the online word were taken offline and flourished in real life.

The blogosphere, though, has become diluted with niche communities, and obviously there is an appetite for that, especially those communities that can be tended instantaneously, while waiting for your grande no foam or riding the bus. It's hard to write a tome on your smart phone. 

But, it's also hard to write in a vacuum. Much as we tell ourselves (okay, much as I tell myself) that we write out of the sheer need to write, or to document a moment, or to sort out some half-realized theories, when we release the words into the ether and they languish there, unanswered, it's hard not to get nostalgic for the days when real conversations happened. 

I don't blog as much as I used to, nor do I visit as many blogs as I once did. I tell myself it's because I now spend so much of my day writing that I have little left to shout into the ether, but that's not strictly true. In reality, my blog roll is becoming depopulated. Former amazing bloggers, whose posts I always looked forward to reading, are abandoning those once flourishing sites in droves. I miss their words.

Friday, February 15, 2013

reading in Canada

As you can see, I actually own a copy of Two Solitudes. It was, in fact, the only book on this year's Canada Reads smack-down that I have read.  It's probably not a great endorsement that I remember next to nothing about it. I think I sleep-read through it.

I am pleased that Lisa Moore's February took the title of The Book That All of Canada Should Read.  Like many Canadians, I remember well the day the Ocean Ranger oil rig sank off the shore of Newfoundland.  Thirty-one years ago to this very day.

Last year around this time, I heard a documentary on CBC radio (it might have been on The Current), about the sinking. If I am not mistaken, bits of February were read in that doc.

Congratulations to Lisa Moore!  I am definitely putting February on my to-read list.  I wonder how long the hold list is at the library?   

Did you follow Canada Reads this year? Have you read any of the books discussed?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

double-wide all-season

Good thing it's a roomy dining room table.  It's where I tend to do my writing, but lately as the Slightly Retarded Kitty's cat grass orchard continues to grow, that table has become more of farm than a piece of furniture. 

I used to compost the cat grass when it dried up and died, but the SRK has recently decided that, while the fresh grass is ideal for nibbling, the dead stuff is perfect for lounging upon.  Note that she now requires two patches of spent grass to optimize lounging efficiency.

 I have a new BC Musician Magazine article to share.  Attack of the Brain Parasite attempts to explain why you can't get that song out of your head. Enjoy.


And if you are interested in what I thought of Justin Rutledge's new album, Valleyheart - released today - I've reviewed it for the National Music Centre's New Release Tuesday series.

With any luck, I will be able to keep harvesting those words as the dining room table gets slowly converted to acreage.  I just need a tiny corner.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

snakes and laces

I was downtown on assignment today, covering a Chinese New Year celebration and a half-marathon.  Separate events, don't worry, but they were within easy walking distance of each other.

I celebrated not having to actually run in that marathon (especially after the wind picked up and the temperature dropped) by treating myself to a coconut mango bubble tea from a brand-new-on-the-scene food truck that specializes in Vietnamese subs and enormous smiles. 

With apologies to Vancouver, that was by far the best bubble tea I have ever had. Despite the fact that I was only half done when a snow squall struck.  Surely not my fault.  

Gung Hey Fat Chow, everyone!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

feet don't you ever break

For those who have been breathlessly awaiting it, here's my full review (complete with those essential crowd watching tidbits) of last week's Whitehorse/Daniel Romano concert.

In other news, I am hoping that I haven't overbooked myself for February.  It's what ... the 5th? ... and already the month is booked solid.  And then some.  

Okay, enough air, I'm going back under.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

timing that flawed

Sunday afternoons, awash in nostalgia. Dusty sunbeams,  suspended in that eternity between the long shadows, hang still for an extra heartbeat and then plummet into the hourglass's maw. 

There's a brief flash of something approaching panic with the closing of another day. Once it was simply restlessness, the dissatisfaction of the unfulfilled list. Now it's starting to feel like a reckoning of days left. 

It's why I have never been able to nap, I suspect. The abrupt shift in timespace, the jetlag of lost hours. There's no harnessing the pendulum's unsettling swing.

Friday, February 01, 2013

the fate of music depends on this loop

Whitehorse (with Daniel Romano)
Knox United Church
January 31, 2013

Whitehorse (Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet) have a musical marriage that takes each performer's strengths and lifts them into something greater than the sum of the parts.  The way a good marriage should.  Melissa's love of looping has them laying down tracks throughout the show, turning each song into a complex sonic layer cake.  Luke's fearless and inventive guitar chops, especially on that deeply reverberating Gretsch hollowbody, is the way I always want to hear a guitar played.  And when they stand close to share a single mic, opposing guitars forming a heart around the couple, they are a smoldering, sultry musical force of nature.

Opening for Whitehorse was Daniel Romano, complete with sparkly suit and white cowboy hat, who absolutely nailed an authentic Opry cowboy sound.  The tear in his voice was perfectly accompanied by his partner on beautifully weeping lap steel.  It was not everybody's cup of tea, evidently, but I loved it. 

If you are interested in a complete review, I will have one up at Getdown.ca on Tuesday.  See you then!