Saturday, November 25, 2006

I fell in love with a girl at the rock show

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of hanging out with my friends The Red Hot Daggers. The occasion? Their headlining gig of Edmonton Indie Unscene featuring Circle/Square, Atrophy Manuscript, Snic and a band on the label the Daggers run, Champion City Records, Desiderata. While I was originally planning to just go for the Daggers' set at the end of the night, Eric asked me to show up early to see Desiderata.

I'm glad I did. The band definitely has a definite (post?) hardcore feel and a lot of the screaming I'm usually not a fan of, the band plays their instruments well and singer Blair Drover has a stage presence that can only be described as powerful. And they had their brand new album for sale. So I bought it; what else could I do? The verdict: fantastic.

The rest of the evening was pretty great, too. The next three bands didn't top Desiderata, though Atrophy Manuscript definately came close. They lost points for complaining more than once about how they needed the polarity on the lead singer's mic switched because it was shocking him. Eventually he just draped his hoodie over it (+10 for ingenuity!) and finished the set.

But Friday belonged to the Red Hot Daggers. I've been to all but one or two of their shows and this was probably the best yet. Energetic, passionate and a little scary to be honest. My favourite song was almost shortened but at the last minute they decided to do the full buildup. Made my night. Most of all, they seemed to be really having fun whereas previously things have gone wrong technically for them and it's ruined their whole vibe. Everything was perfect last night, they were all working really well together despite being so tired and having to be up so early today for a video shoot. What I love about these shows is the sense of camaraderie everybody has; the bands all know eachother and most of the fans are friends and their friends, so everybody has a really good time.

I don't know what to say about the Red Hot Daggers to really sell them. They're a fantastic band. They'll blow you away. Give them a shot and check out the new demo on their website. [Edit: Actually, I do have something to say; the whole night was so good, so loud that my hearing only got back to normal about half an hour before I got to my staff Christmas Party at 7:30.]

But before I go, the setlist:
-6 (new song)

Yeah, that's right.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Seriously this is not unexpected

Noted alcoholic Albertan premier Ralph Klein holds his farewell party in a bar. But to be fair, it has nostalgic value; it's the bar where he decided to go into politics.

Just about the worst hangover Alberta could have had.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I'm sick. After weeks of the rest of my family, friends and coworkers all coming down with something, it's finally caught up to me. And this upcoming week is one where I can't afford to really have any downtime; I've got a Red Hot Daggers concert tomorrow night I promised Eric I'd go to, Dr. Studer's Christmas party on Saturday that I promised Melissa I'd meet her at and oh yeah... my second term internship assignment.

Kill me.

Like bacon

After three weeks in transit, my 2-disc deluxe reissue of Pavement's Wowee Zowee finally came yesterday. It shipped via air from New York and cleared customs on the 6th, 1 week after it shipped. Let's work that out:

a)1 week to make a 2 hour drive.
b)2 weeks to make a delivery that usually takes 2-3 business days

Something seems off about that. I'm not sure what, maybe you can help. It is the week? The two? The in explicably long air transit? The fact that this poor a level of service implies not just ineptitude but genuine mental retardation? There's just too much to pick from. Comment or send an email. Write-in candidates welcome.

Oh yeah, and the album is amazing. I look over at the bonus 7" it came with and just smile. But that's not the point, is it? Is it? Spite is, and you can never have too much of that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

With the light out it's less dangerous

This is just about the best thing I've seen in a long time. It's not often you find a cover that divergent from the original. Or that good, period. Look at the dude on the far left; that's intense.

The hypothetical third person

Wow. One minute a dude is playing Children of Mana and it's 11pm, the next it's 1am and he's got a list of things to do. But now he's catching up on his schoolwork, the garbage and recycling are behind the house, he's tidied up the upstairs and shredded his old documents. Old pop cans are emptied and collected. The doors are locked. He's ready for bed.

Hm. What's left? He's missing something.

Oh yeah. Children of Mana.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale

Every few years, a new Bond film comes out and at some point or another, my Dad and I watch it together. This goes back to when I was a kid and TBS ran its month of Bond movies and we'd watch them together, night after night, him telling me all these stories about the actors. It became something we looked forward to, a way for us to spend some time together and grow even closer, much to my Mum's chagrin by the time the month was halfway through and I was asking her if she expected me to die. When Goldeneye came out in 1995, it was one that my dad and I enjoyed together. Over the next three, our interests waned a bit and by Die Another Day we both saw it but not together. When a new one was announced, neither of us took much notice.

But on Thursday night, Dad came upstairs and asked me if I wanted to see Casino Royale on Saturday. Just starting to nod off, I said yes and we agreed to talk about it on Friday. At some point after dinner, he told me the story behind wanting to see it: when he was around my age, he read the book and enjoyed it so much, he even went to Monaco to go to the real Casino Royale. This shaped a good part of his wandering time in Europe and the rest of his life. Suddenly, another part of the mystery of my father's young life came into better focus. And I wanted to see the movie even more.

After over half an hour of driving through the parking lot and waiting in lines, we sat down with our popcorn and talked a bit, the idle chit-chat of something very familiar. When the lights dimmed, we were somewhere else. I was a kid again and I was going to hear some stories. Of course, that's never the way it actually works when you're in your twenties, not quite. I'm not twelve, that can't be helped. But we whispered jokes to eachother and snuck eachother grins. Dad pointed out the original Aston Martin from Goldfinger and we grimaced when the new one was destroyed. He teased me after the climax, reminding me that he know how it ended. Eventually, we stood up and left with everybody else.

The movie was good. For all the world's worries, Daniel Craig plays a very good Bond, very much like Connery in the first films I saw as a boy. He's a very serious Bond, just learning some of his later flair. And he's not very likeable, but very few murderers are. I'd recommend it wholeheartedly and see it again. The plot is smooth and well thought out with enough twists to keep it interesting. The characters are vivid and M is at her most sympathetic yet. Casino Royale is Bond stripped down to the bare essentials, and I'm very much looking forward to the next one. At the very least, I'll get to hear a few more stories.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Swimming in a suit of feathers
They tarred on last night
The whisper on the strip
Say that he's not long


Another quicksilver winter
Jack be nimble, flash
It's the god-honest truth


Everybody's wearing white sheets
I'm looking for feet
But it's all the same these days
They're everywhere

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Purchased at The Gap

-Sandblasted vintage jeans, loose straight leg
-rugby striped scarf, blue/navy
-hoodie with reverse seams, beige

And yet I actually went in for a pair of cords for work, which I didn't actually buy. Oh well.


I got to the WEM Police Station last night and walked in. The constable, sitting at a table at the back, looked up as I walked up to the counter. After a few seconds, he mumbled a greetings and asked me to wait. So I waited.

And waited.

Five or so minutes later (forgive the approximation, it's hard to tell for sure when you're in a place where it seems like time stands still), he sauntered up to the front. "What do you need?"

"I was told to come drop off an accident report for Constable Klenke."

"Accident report?" You'll have to imagine a sneer here, it was pretty spectacular.

"Um... yeah. I witnessed an accident on Saturday."

"I'll get you the sheet," he grumbled and returned shortly with it. Now, I understand that they probably DO need the triplicate carbon paper copy of the summary, but they specifically asked me to write it up at home and bring it in. Whatever, I guess. No real harm there. So I sit down and get to work transcribing a report that I can only describe as painstakingly crafted. While doing so, I overheard him be just as rude, lazy and unhelpful to two more people, one of whom was looking for a missing child. That's serious stuff, people! The police should be here to help, no?

Anyway, back to business.

I finished and headed back to the desk, where he proceeded to make me wait again. Eventually, he grumbled something I can only presume was a goodbye, though it easily could have been "Go loiter somewhere else, punk," "I've got important things to do" or "Get cancer."

I've never been treated so rudely by an EPS officer before. Obviously this man is an exception because I've never found another officer in the city, EPS or RCMP, to be anything short of polite, friendly and professional. The moral? Don't even bother with the West Edmonton Mall Police Station if possible, just drive the five or ten minutes to West Division and guarantee that you'll be treated like the law abiding citizen that you are.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And after all that...

the Police station was closed at 5pm, which they failed to tell me when they asked me to drop off my accident summary. I guess the law took an evening off. That explains all the hubcaps in my trunk.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Givin' me the wiggins

In August, Michael and I were at West Edmonton Mall looking for a backpack that would fit his 17" Macbook Pro (jealous? I was; then I got my own 13" Macbook.) As we were pulling out of the exit near HMV - yes, it doesn't matter if my friends are there, I just drag them along - when the light changed, I had to immediately jam my foot on the brakes because some dude was speeding through a red light. Scary, yes, but we survived with nary a urine stain. And until recently, it was just something near the back of my head telling me to be extra careful when I left the mall.

That is, until Saturday.

When I was leaving HMV (again!), a car at the front of the line pulled out only to be hit by a truck going through the red light. The 16 year-old kid managed to slow down enough that he didn't seriously injure anybody in the vehicle he hit. Everybody was a little spooked, but they all limped off to the mall Police station to file a report, something I still have to do tomorrow night. The creepy part, however, is the situation of the accident: same intersection, same day of the week, same time of day. A little creepy. I guess I'm gonna have to be even more careful from now on. Actually, this sounded a whle lot creepier before I typed it all out. Ah well.

(And yes, that's a Buffy reference in the title. You'll have to bear with me for a while with this.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Conversations with dead people

Today I bought the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Chosen Collection of all seven seasons on DVD and I'm very excited about it. Buffy was one of the first live action shows besides M*A*S*H I can remember watching, a show that dealt with the idea of growing up as I was doing it myself. Cheesey? Hell yeah, but it's true. The show had a remarkably potent effect on me during my formative years; it's become the gold standard for what kind of writing and dialogue I crave.

The plan is to watch the entire series from first episode to last (except for the first two episodes, which I watched with Michael and Shani fairly recently) and basically relive one of the more awesome parts of my childhood. And by that I of course mean Alyson Hannigan.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Itsa me

Last weekend I went out to see Borat with some friends but due to theatre hoppers we ended up getting ticket refunds and free passes to The Departed, which was TOTALLY RAD. At that point I was still pretty enamoured with all the positive press Borat had been garnering, all the "comedy of the year exclamation point exclamation point" blurbs really did sound tempting. But over the course of the week, I started to get bored with the shtick as I saw more and more television appearances. And let's face it, it really is just a shtick. And if you like that shtick then 90 minutes of it is going to be pretty awesome. If you don't, then hopefully you've got a big enough popcorn bag to fit your head into.

The movie, as I saw it, comes down to a few recurring gags:
-bad grammar
-poop jokes
-Americans being asses
-rape jokes
-Jew jokes
-male nudity

And yeah, the nude manfight is as awesome as it sounds, but that's not enough to save the movie. They didn't even show anything good.

Maybe it's my job that ruins the rape jokes for me, but I just couldn't get into the "Oh Borat" mindset that the movie requires; the fact that these got laughs but the crack about the Jews being responsible for 9/11 was too far is just depressing. I mean one is knee slapping fun but the other gets gasps? I just don't know anymore. That shit's just depressing. All in all, the movie was just too long. If I hadn't seen so many commercials, reviews, blog posts and TV appearances then I might have made it through at least the first hour. After that I probably would have reacted the same way and that's okay. I am very clearly the minority here, judging from the nearly sold out theatre and raucous laughter, so I'm not going to hold any sour grapes. It has its audience and it will make a lot of year end lists. I don't need every movie to cater to me, I just wish that I'd spent $10.95 on Stranger Than Fiction instead.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I love my sister, oh Lord I do, but whenever she comes up for a weekend I am "encouraged" to keep my schedule clear so that we can spend time together, which is not only disruptive but also misleading. As an adult without a learner's permit, she inevitably asks me to merely drive her and her friends somewhere. So naught but moments after I give cautious maybe-laters to a few friends' offers for excitement tonight, this request is the third sentence out of her mouth after she comes in the door.

So I said no. And now I feel like shit.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I mean really the choice is simple

It is no secret that Michael and I have differing opinions about music, Radiohead and Beck aside. For example, he hates Oasis, whose album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? was the first I ever bought, igniting a lifelong love of the band. After a recent discussion started, things quickly took a turn for the worse and it wasn't really his fault. But to be fair, he came close to invoking Godwin's Law while I invoked the generally more well-liked John Lennon.

eli stern: All we are saying is give peace a chance.

Mïchælberg: That should not be used to defend oasis.

eli stern: But noel and liam are huge john lennon fans! He is like the one person they won't badmouth! Liam even named his child after him!

Mïchælberg: Bad people can like good people. Mark david chapman liked Lennon too.

eli stern: No they can't, it's a scientific impossibility. He is misunderstood! Also, crazy! Surely you can't badmouth a dude who's mentally ill that much!

Mïchælberg: I am sorry you can't use science here either, since you have clearly demonstrated you lack of reason and logic in liking oasis.

eli stern: Science is for everybody, not just you boy-hungry awesome-o-phobes!

Mïchælberg: Science damn you!

eli stern: So put down the NAMBLA newsletter and start feeling the legal kind of love!

Mïchælberg: See... irrational.

eli stern: I already established in the previous statement that you're a gay pedophile. Or at least that is my hypothesis. Only science can say for sure!

Mïchælberg: Ramblings.

When I offered to get him into a study at my work where a psychiatrist is measuring mental arousal using EEG when subjects look at pictures of children, teens and adults, he backed out, citing a lack of time! Like grad students actually do anything! Valid reason, or panicked attempt at self preservation? ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On a season-long plot arc about serial rape on Veronica Mars

Now harder to take my mind off work when I get home on Tuesdays. I mean come on, leave that to CSI: Miami.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

...of fun!

My job has its ups and downs, its highs and lows, its moments... Actually, I could keep going on that for a while, so let's just cap that with the vernacular, if I may. It's a rollercoaster. I've said before that it's challenging, but really, what else would be expected on a unit for the treatment of convicted sex offenders? Sometimes, a patient will surprise us and make us reevaluate where we think they are in treatment, other times they... well, not so much. On a lot of days, we see both those things. As I'm sure that you have surmised, dear reader, today was one of those days, making everything up to a now an elaborate way to state the obvious.

A lot of this is actually pretty standard. Some patients are on positive bends right now, others: not so much. High Risk group was especially difficult, but it often is. The more cognitive groups can be more difficult, especially after an emotional day of psychotherapy. As things often do in life, confusion gives way to embarassment and very often a healthy dollop of anger, which means that an equal amount of effort is often needed to work through this. At its best, the group takes care of this as peers help those having difficulty work through it. Almost as often, though, there are some who end up making it worse. Today was, let me hear it: BOTH! It's a lot of effort, but yeah, it's satisfying. I was able to talk to the unit psychiatrist (no, not about that, Hana!) to summarize one of the more stressful groups and got a lot of positive feedback for what I said in it. After some months on the job, I'm getting pretty good at calming down agitated patients. This ended the workday, which was good.

Apolgies for vagueness, but it's required. Working in a healthcare facility is one part of it, but I'm also working in one of the most secretive aspects of it, given the sensitive nature of the clientelle. Yes, I do realize that's pretty anticlimactic after the epic introduction. For that, I beg your forgiveness. Formalities aside, the hourlong drive home and trip to the grocery store is always a way to let the stress evaporate. And that's including bad road conditions and other drivers! Fuck yeah!

Epilogue: As some of you know, I've been theoretically participating in NaBloPoMo, but have missed a few posts already. I've been battling the beginnings of a cold and have been falling asleep before my routine posting time as a result, making the last post somewhat of a painful stopgap. The weekend summarizing post is often that, I've found. The point is, I'll make up for those posts.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

And for my next trick

I just had a nice lazy weekend. After some Friday excitement where Michael, Shani, Theo, Jesse and I went to see Borat but ended up seeing The Departed (there weren't any seats left though we had bought tickets, so the theatre refunded us and let us all see another movie for free), I settled into a nice relaxing next 48 hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the November issue of Vogue, Jeff Tweedy live tracks and about 7 hours of Children of Mana.

Wow. Did you hear that? That was the sound of your envy. Or my virginity. These days, I'm not sure I know anymore. Regardless, I still had a fairly fulfilling weekend. I mean yeah, to some the only discernible sound might be that of haunting loneliness, but sometimes that just sounds like Bauhaus turned up or early Ryan Adams sung in the shower. Not exactly jetsetting, but hey, I reap what I sow. The only thing that could have gone better would be early afternoon bento with Shelly, but she and her husband were out in Sherwood Park making roasted pepper somethingorother.

I am way too old to be 21.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's a good life if you don't weaken

I have the worst luck with ordering things and using the postal service. When I was six, my Nintendo Entertainment System came with a free subscription to Nintendo Power magazine. So I dutifully filled out the card and sat quietly as my mum drove me to the mailbox and I tipped it in. Almost sixteen years later, it still hasn't arrived. Should I send a letter?

In mid August, I ordered my Macbook and was given an estimated delivery date of the next week. The day after that rolled around, I got an email saying it been delayed another week. A week after that, I got a similar email. After a series of phonecalls with Apple, I got the computer discounted and the shipping upgraded to expedited for free, but nobody told Fedex. It shipped standard. Eventually, on September 6th, a full three weeks after it was supposed to be delivered, I finally got it. But they didn't deliver it - no, that would have been too simple, too easy; THEIR JOB,. I had to drive to the other side of the city with directions to the warehouse that included intersections that didn't exist. Think of something that could have gone wrong; it did.

On September 17th, I ordered two Sigur Ros singles off Amazon. The latter, Hoppipolla, had an estimated ship date of 1-2 weeks. On October 4th, an email said it was delayed 4-6 weeks. On Wednesday, another email amended that to another 4-6 weeks from now. The delivery date is now anywhere from December 4th to the 20th. That's three months after I ordered it. I've got no idea what to do; if I cancel it and order it in-store, it'll ship from the same place and likely take just as long. I've got this sinking feeling that next July as I step off the plane in Reykjavik, my first stop will be to a record store, who will probably just make me order it anyway.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

one two one two one two

It's no secret that I've got some odd tendencies. For years, it was just tidying tables and counters to have everything neatly organized in rows. A year or two ago, I started habitually making sure the doors were locked before I could get to sleep. If I didn't and thought about it, it'd bother me enough that I'd have to get out of bed, or it'd start eating away at me and I wouldn't sleep. The same thing for lyric ideas. I jokingly dismissed this as my "OCD tendency" to one of the forensic therapists at work, and after a few questions he got a distressed look on his face. "Yeah, that... could be worrying," he told me. But come on, making sure things get done? That's useful! That makes sure that my nightly routine gets done! So for a few months, I forgot about it. It wasn't really there, it wasn't even a shadow.

Now it's starting to bother me a bit more. A lot. It's getting to the point where an increasing amount of my thoughts every night are devoted to this routine. To making sure the pillows and duvet are in a certain position, that my pajama bottoms and shirt are in a certain position, that the mattress is okay. Earlier in the week, I spent two hours each night constantly rearranging these and getting out of bed to check the doors, touching the locks and pulling to make sure everything is just right. It's not uncommon these days for me to walk back and forth between the doors, checking and checking again. By 2:30 or 3 I get my mind off it long enough to fall asleep, or maybe it's just worn me out so much I can't help it.

This isn't normal and it's probably not healthy. I'm scared that it's actual obsessive compulsive disorder but I'm even more scared of actually talking to people about it. And it's not like I don't have good supports, I work on a unit with a psychiatrist, three forensic therapists, a social worker with a psychology degree and a psychologist as my supervisor. At a mental hospital, with countless professionals. I talk with the staff about everything else, but for some reason I can't seem to do it now. I'm starting to become afraid to go to bed, I'm not sure whether I'll be able to fall asleep or not. I don't think I can control it anymore, I definitely can't joke.

A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in bacon

Since I'm so much younger than almost the entire staff at work, it seems to be a common interest on the unit as to my love life. Generally speaking, it's just Shelly talking about me loving her, but occasionally I make a mistake. Like baking and bringing it to the unit. Now, everybody is just plain confused as to my being single. I'm getting all these comments about how "it will happen soon" and I'm "going to get snatched up" but all I can think of is not blushing.

[EDIT: This was NaBloPoMo post #1, so just pretend I got it in four minutes earlier.]