Monday, December 17, 2007

A taste

The full trailer for The Dark Knight just arrived.

I'll have more posts in two days once exams are finished, but until then, just rest assured that you're not the only one who just soiled themself. I am so terribly, terribly excited.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It is not a very good job

Around a year ago I read that newspapers often keep backlogs of obituaries for celebrities, periodically updating them. This way, when said person eventually passes, they can make a last-minute update and get it out on the next news day. It's usually pretty green writers that get these assignments. I figure, that's got to be a pretty boring, surreal job. But wouldn't it make a good screenplay? Some kid - well, maybe he's not a kid. Maybe he's 30 - gets this gig, starts wasting away in it. To keep sane, he starts writing his own, funny, semi-fictional accounts of these people's lives. One gets printed; I don't know how, maybe a comical misnaming of a file. Anyway, shit ensues. But some people like it. There end up being more. He's getting popular, but the SAG aren't really fans. Heartwarming climax. Etcetera.

Hm. Sounds kind of like Be Kind Rewind. I bet that's a good movie.

Slowly going

Am I losing it? A couple of days ago, while searching for some research material for a paper partially about some of Gogol's short stories, I found a couple of books not at the main Humanities and Social Sciences library. Instead, it said they were located at the Book and Record Depository, almost on the other side of the city. When I got there? The online records say they're back at the main library, in the Special Collections. Which is closed on the weekend. I would have sworn I read the record correctly. Now? A few other doubts.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Deadlines have killed me. Even the easy ones. I've fallen asleep during things like The West Wing, which just isn't done. Everything's moving slower, everything's falling behind. I need to catch up. I need to blink - once, twice. Put a little something in my lemonade, take it with me.

Half awake.

Right now, I just want to dream of soft skin, butterflies and bluebirds. I'd be okay with that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Second degree plea

Highlight of my day: Dooce killing the BYU Student Honor Association server. The link in question, the Modesty & Grooming Standards posters, are worth a gander in their own right. It'll just take a while. The moral of its story? You're probably going to Hell.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If you want a real post, write my papers for me

PS: Do not actually do this; the university frowns upon plagiarism and after being recited the university's official code on the matter 34 separate times, I don't exactly have plausible deniability. I swear, Mister Dean, that page was curiously missing from every single course syllabus. I know, right? You should check into that. Send a memo to the faculty. I can see you've got this taken care of, I'll let myself out

But since that's not actually going to happen, I actually have to write a research article about a pretend research-study; a bad pretend research study. What do you receive, dear reader, as payment? Scraps of lyric ideas that came to me this evening, as it hit me that things are starting to look up after all.

Zero to

Jesus man another hill
And the sense of something breaking

Butcher, baker, candlestick maker
A cereal prize
It's gonna be a good one

I can feel it
Flax in my fingers
Straws in the car for weeks

Zero to more
New rides, fast times
Another hill, a knowing wink

The last tercet is feeling the most like the chorus right now, but I might work in the first couplet as a bridge, or at least a recurring mantra of sorts. There have been some drum and tremolo loops in my head recently, maybe I've got a Grant/Barrymore thing going on here. Now watch me forget about this forever.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Today in Humility

Pitchfork: Once you reach a certain degree of visibility, people assume that things must be more interesting than they actually are. "He put 'Broken Social Scene' on the album title to sell records, but this is just Kevin Drew's big-ego solo project"

KD: But then you hear the record, and does it sound like that?

Pitchfork: It sounds like a Broken Social Scene record.

KD: A ha! Well, then, maybe rather than calling it Broken Social Scene and doing my big ego solo project where I totally take the record away from everybody, I thought I'd make this album and put it under "Broken social scene presents" because we have a lot of stuff in the wings that we don't necessarily want to put it out as Broken Social Scene. We didn't want to cash in on all the work that all of us did together. But because everyone was on the record, it seemed like the right thing to do. It is a huge, fast world and we wanted to make sure that people knew what it was. Everyone else has a band, but Justin, Brendan and I didn't. We sort of wanted to stay in the realm of what Broken Social Scene was.

-From Pitchfork's interview with Kevin Drew

I'm going to just come out and say it. That asshole with the whole, "big ego solo project" thing? That was me. Even hearing the first official cut from the album Spirit If..., "TBTF," I wasn't feeling it. It didn't feel right, it felt too easy. I'll admit it, I'm a douche.

Fast forward a few months, and I've got a ticket to his concert on December 15th. What happened? This did:

Whoa. Seriously, doesn't that just give you a rush? Just watching it? I can only imagine what happens when that happens live, when you're in that room. I've tried to approximate it at jet airplane volume before I leave in the morning. You, a fly on the wall, would see a man transformed, jumping around, grinning and laughing like an idiot, scaring the dog. I get it. It's all about having fun and being that dude. I'm really excited now, I can't wait to jump around and laugh with strangers. Come join me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lenny Kravitz at the Grey Cup

The performance is done, but it's still hard to shake a weird, surreal feeling. In a Canadian Football League championship game (peculiarly played indoors), the halftime entertainment was an American singer performing a song by a Canadian artist about rebuffing America. Unironically. Perhaps obliviously. Whichever, it seems odd that in a time when Canada is contributing more to music than it ever has, this would be the choice. There are some local bands that would have probably been just as effective choices.

Ah well. It's still a hell of a game.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Showcase summary

Roberto in repose 1
Originally uploaded by Leask
The highlights:

1. People liked my poster, I didn't faint when someone asked me a question
2. The networking.
3. The wine.
4. The lovely ladies from the Centennial Centre in Ponoka. I didn't really know anybody there, but I ended up spending all my time with Jas and Clare. I could have done a lot worse. Like the crazy lady from last night's post.
5. The Great Cow Heist of 2007. Tables full of cow stress toys + Young adults + Wine = Memories.

I had a great time, but I didn't get to say goodbye to Jas and Clare before I left. I'll have to talk to Nicole to get Jas' email, so I can thank her for putting up with me and buying me dinner.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Never as tired as when I wake up

Day two, done. Sessions were less interesting, but there were friendly faces, wine and smiles. Too much wine, maybe. Huh. What am I saying? At these things, I'm starting to think excessive drinking is what they mean when they schedule networking. Worth every penny.

There were some awkward moments at dinner, where a woman with nowhere else to sit joined our table, and gradually alienated us one by one. She told Claire that she may not want to get married or have kids now, but she should do it anyway because it's better than being 50 and alone. I thought Clare might explode. She argued with us about everything. Most were smiling through their teeth, getting by on protracted silences. Should I have told her that American Thanksgiving isn't real Thanksgiving? Probably not. I might as well have told her that I was a gay atheist.

Oh well. Smiles and wine, kids. Smiles and wine.

I have a really good reason this time

I'm done done done. The paper is completed, I just need to make one last editing sweep in the morning and then I can submit it.

The conference is fantastic. Margaret Trudeau was our keynote speaker, and it was everything I'd hoped for. She's got style, grace, and oh! The stories! The rest of the day was a whirl of posters, presenters and accents. My poster defense went far more easily than I'd thought, and Kierla was right: there it was, my voice. Everything I knew came flooding back and people seemed interesting.

But the best part of the day, besides Maggie -can I call her that?- was the group I was with. Another intern, Nicole, spent a year in Ponoka and brought some coworkers to class one day. Fast forward two weeks, and here they are at the conference. It's a lot less intimidating this way, having people I know around me.

Let's be honest, though. Mountain town, conference, and young, fun adults around? There was wine, there were martinis, and there was a very good reason to put off finishing my work until everyone else was contemplating nightcaps. I am but a man!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Here I am in Banff. The drive was pleasant, dinner was fine, but I'm still freaking out. After tomorrow, the pressure is done because both a presentation and a paper will be out of the way. I'm spent, I've got nothing for you. All I know is that it's pretty surreal to look in the conference's program and see my name right above something I've written.

Whoa. I'm lightheaded. It's all tingly. I could get used to this.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Plans within plans

Just over 12 hours until I leave for the Mental Health Research Showcase, and I'm not sure how it's going to go. If the conference weren't precisely during the end of semester assignment extravaganza, I'd have liked to do some serious review of the literature that forms the bulk of my presentation and take a more expansive look at the test manual for one of my measures. Unfortunately, I'm still a few more pages behind on the most looming paper than where I'd hoped I'd be, so no such luck yet.

To be fair, it's not exactly an innocent circumstance, this being off schedule. Reaping, sowing, you've heard it before. Irony time: the paper is for a course on learning, but I never seem to. I'm hoping to plough finesse my way through one of my main points, then finish the rest tomorrow and Wednesday night after the day's sessions end.

Who knows how much good this will be tomorrow evening, though. I spent months learning the material from all angles - hell, I designed the damn study almost singlehandedly - but now I'm not so sure. Confidence, confidence, I've been told. Find your voice. Maybe I'll just pay somebody to stand there for me; nobody in Banff knows what I look like. Skiing, anyone?

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Unless you're one of those people who doesn't watch television (stop reading now), the Writer's Guild of America strike should not come as news. I make no secret of my sympathies in the affair: I fall squarely on the side of the writers. Unfortunately, I'm hardly an expert in the area, so I would simply like to direct you towards some sources of information on the issue.

A warning: The following are all from the WGA or its members, and can hardly be considered completely unbiased. Consume critically and let your opinion fall where it may.

1. Writers for The Office talk about the strike and the WGA's requests.
2. Daily Show writer Jason Ross lays down his side of the argument, with help from John Oliver.
3. Daily Show writer Rob Kutner talks about the strike, the realities of a prolonged one and possible support from the Screen Actors Guild.
4. The WGA's video explaining the details of their argument.

Keep updated on the strike at the WGA's official site or Deadline Hollywood Daily. If you agree with the WGA, get involved at Fans4Writers or send a box of pencils to the AMPTP.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shame, shame

I found this article on a forum today, and was understandably struck by Dede's plight. Even more, I was struck by many people's reaction of cynical distrust that such a thing would exist, jumping to the immediate and highly scientific conclusion that it was a poverty-stricken third worlder tricking the west into giving him money. This was, in fact, despite others' clarifications of the facts and widespread media corroboration of the fact that this is real and yes, it really does suck just as much as it looks. That, more than the man's condition itself, is incredibly depressing.

Late > Never

Towards the end of my summer research gig at the hospital, two of my coworkers got it in their heads that I need a makeover. And I do, but I'll be damned if I'm going to take seriously the suggestions of two people who watch Prison Break. All that I actually got around to doing was picking up a new pair of shoes and getting a haircut. This isn't exactly What Not To Wear proportions here.

But tonight is our staff psychiatrist's Pre-Christmas party, and I have a feeling that showing up in my standard dress might not be that impressive. To top it off, I've got a three day conference in Banff next week, and I probably shouldn't look like a hobo if I'm representing my organization and trying to interest people in my research.

I guess I'm going to the mall today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stopgap: Hey, I'd Watch It

A pleasant surprise this week was Okkervil River's new album The Stage Names. I was very hesitant to purchase it, given how disappointed I was with their previous LP, Black Sheep Boy. I'm glad I bought it, because it's an improvement in just about every single way. When the band starts getting faster and louder, I get more and more excited. I've been dancing to the first single on the way home from the bus stop. Okay... and the tracks right after it.

This is what did it, in the end:

Another lesson to be less judgmental. I don't plan on making a habit of these.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Deal breaker

Carrie Brownstein recently asked about deal breakers in music, the unforgivable line that can't be crossed. For her, it's preciousness. For me, it's rapidly becoming insincerity.

I think I'm just bored with a lot of what can be called the hipster scene, where it often seems people are into a fashion or band because it's uncool in a very cool way. There's inevitably a lot of scoffing involved, and that's just more effort than I care to muster these days. I'm gravitating farther and farther away from the prototypically insincere, the dance rock (and the preciously precious), and finding myself listening more and more to dudes and ladies who just make music because it's fun or fulfilling. Expressway to my whatever. I don't listen to Sonic much these days, as a result. Unsurprising.

Best examples of the right way? Sonic Youth and Wilco, probably. There's something pretty attractive about being middle aged and in the game nonetheless, banging away to make some pretty noise. What's yours?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The difference between letters

I'm being bothered by something that shouldn't be doing it, something that's a little embarrassing. My Intro to Clinical Psych class spent the bulk of the time since the last midterm talking, in some way or another, about Antisocial Personality Disorder and especially the differentiation between primary and secondary psychopaths. Fast forward, and I'm sitting here with the second assignment, and what's the part that's tripping me? Primary v. Secondary. One dude's affable but obviously off, the other's an organic case from a pretty serious whammy on the noggin. Both with problems since childhood, so there's the ASPD. One's got a hint of the problematic childhood, the other's got little info in the area. One or the other. 1 or 2.

Can't I just scribble down that they've both got "the evil in their eyes" and call it a day? I'm pretty sure that's straight shooting professionalism, yessir.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Slightly more one-sided

Me: Come here, Taffy! Come on up! There's room on the couch! Come on! Here girl!"
Taffy: ...
Me: ComeoncomeoncomeoncomeonTaffy!
Taffy: [walks away towards the dining room]
Me: I didn't say go to Mum! Why? Why? Come on girl, come on! Come here!
Taffy: [returns]
Me: Come on! Come on up! Good girl! You're my favourite puppy!
Taffy: ...
Me: Okay, don't come up. If you ever come up on the couch, it will be too soon.
Taffy: ...
Me: What gives? The regular psychology doesn't work on you and neither does the reverse kind? What kind of evil mastermind are you?
Taffy: ...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I couldn't remember anything else specifically

A brief section of conversation today:

Brendon: You know, [mutual acquaintance] is talking about how he's going to do the fitness training the guys in 300 used.
Me: Killing Persians?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If they knew they would probably pay me less

It never fails: No matter which shift I am working, no matter how well prepared I try to be, no matter how early I start getting ready, there is a point 10 minutes before I have to leave for work where I realize that I am running behind and have to make a mad dash not to leave (too) late. It's a good thing I tend to time my drive to arrive 15-20 minutes before I have to be there.

Shit. NaBloPoMo just made me late.

Friday, November 09, 2007


A social networking site, except productive. Built to further songwriting: lyricists post lyrics, musicians write music. It'd be all about connecting and creating songwriting teams.

It's gotten good feedback thus far, but I'm just barely able to make a hyperlink three times out of four. Is there a website fairy? God? Emma?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Gentleman and a Scholar

If this were my long-planned music website, I would probably have a recurring segment called "Awesome Dudes Doing Awesome Things." It would be a little bit of human interest, and maybe there would be a podcast where I would conference call with somebody and generally tell them that I thought they were rad. It would be masturbatory and I would love it, much to your chagrin, dear reader.

Instead, just let me tell you about a dude. His name is Avi Roig.

Late last year, Stylus ran their Top Singles of 2006 and I was intrigued by Ms. Annika Norlin and her lovely music as Hello Saferide. After trying unsuccessfully to buy her albums locally, her website ran me through Avi's site, It's A Trap.

It's A Trap is an MP3 blog devoted to Scandinavian music, but when you like something Avi talks about, you can just order it from him. He's cheap, he's fast, and for North American customers you can avoid pricey overseas shipping. I've ordered from him twice, and he has been absolutely fantastic both times. Albums that cost $25 plus shipping at Amazon are $15 including shipping from It's A Trap. He even runs a record label that has a free, online-only imprint that lessens production costs and falls under the Creative Commons Music License.

Avi is doing something incredibly noble: introducing wonderful music to a new market. More than that, he's a generous soul and immaculately professional. Please stop by, check out something from his free online label and if you like it, buy it. There's so much wonderful music at your fingertips, you don't have to try hard to find something to your tastes. Avi deserves to be taken care of, just as he's taking care of us.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I needed today, a day where all I had was my favourite class, a birthday lunch with classmates, some new comics and a new Sigur Rós album. In a couple of days, things are going to get hectic again and it's nice to breathe for a while.

Feel that? Man.

I spent the last couple afternoons having lunch with some fellow internship classmates I had never spent much time around, and I'm relishing it. The class may be more than a little silly, but the fellows are rewarding. I'm not a very social person, and having some new friends invite me out to lunches and weekend bar excursions may do wonders for whatever it is that I need to improve. Kierla and Nicole want to start attending concerts as a group, so there's that. Whatever that is. Music, I guess; good times.

Plus, a new issue of Y: The Last Man is enough to make a day pretty decent.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Simplicity, iodine

I'm dripping out of a hole in my hand. Somebody who shall remain nameless (no, the other one) broke the coffee pot, and put the jagged, broken piece right at the top of the garbage can. When I went to lift the bag out to leave behind the house, there it was. Why? Why? It seems a pretty easy thing, not to put it at the very top and to wrap it up so these things don't happen. I need sympathy, internet. A benefit show. Antiseptic.


I know I'm late for my NaBloPoMo post, but I had to readjust priorities. It now goes:

1. Wilco
2. University
3. Blancheflower

I'm damn near dead, and I don't know how I'll actually do these presentations, but I'm done. Now I've got papers, exams and a professional conference to worry about, but at least I've got some breathing room. I plan to waste it, then do this all over again. Because that's a good work ethic.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


All I've got tonight are some notes I've been writing for a song. It's rudimentary, but some of the lines have been kicking around since the spring:

Goddamn man
It's just another night
The chains are
One by one and tight

And the basement's tapes
Left and right
Gonna break your heart

Put your shoes on
Pick a rope
We're going out tonight

The streets are blue and white
The streets are blue and white
The streets are blue and white

Give myself a holy spirit
Sparkling copper bonfires

This poster is killing me, I'll see you tomorrow. It will be done, copacetic.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Still at it

I really shouldn't have taken an hour off to watch Wilco perform on Austin City Limits tonight, but it was totally worth it. I'm about as far into my presentation planning as I'm going to get tonight; I've made the subcategories and have started to go back through my notes to arrange individual points. Besides, how often do I get to watch them perform stuff from their first album?

I've got priorities, you see.

I finished almost all of my reading today, so I'm going to take advantage of the extra hour of Daylight Savings Time and finish it off before bed. That way, I can spend most of my time on the unit tomorrow just working on the poster. Isn't it great to have a job where I get paid $20/hour to do homework?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Put your shoes on, we're going out tonight

I'm not really a fan of the game, but Taylor's asked me to go to a poker night he's throwing tonight so I'm heading out. I didn't get enough work done today, so I'm coming home early to get some of my Hoffman reading out of the way. This probably isn't a smart choice, but what can you do?

Work on the children and advertising poster is slowly coming along, I've got a lot more academic papers discovered, and a few areas of the poster mapped out. My schedule:

1. Poker night
2. Hoffman reading

1. Reading and jotting notes from papers at work.
2. Start summarizing notes into sections

1. Finish reading at work
2. Pick up poster board and some card (colour suggestions?)
2. Write advertising notes into draft
3. Print and start assembling poster
4. Map out slides for Internship presentation

Whew, I'm tired just writing that. Now the task is seeing if I can keep up with any of it; I've already missed out on this entire week's goal of shaving even a single time. At this point, I'm justifying it by saying it makes me look more dudely.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Killing me softly

It was a hectic October, one that started off with a deadline for a poster I'm presenting in Banff in three weeks and didn't let up until about a week ago. The way it was scheduled, I'd have about two days, three tops to work on each project and it's a miracle I made it through. So I took the last week to catch my breath. Shit.

Now I'm staring down two presentations I have to prepare for next Tuesday, and three papers (four if I want to do something like, for instance, go to grad school and get the career I want) in the four weeks following. So if anybody wants to write on the following for me, it would be appreciated:

-Issues of compliance surrounding forensic clients in a clinical psychological setting
-Children's processing of advertisements and brand recognition
-Issues of individual choice and institutional failures in moral transgressions in Gothic novels

Any takers?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Woes: baseball metaphor courtesy of Fenway

I think I'll hesitate from ordering things from Apple online from now on. Don't get me wrong, I love their products. They're right for me, and I've become a devoted user; no problems there. The problems lie in their shipping.

Last year, when I ordered my Macbook, shipping was repeatedly delayed without them notifying me and I ended up making repeated calls and finally getting a discount. Essentially, my hard drive upgrade was free. I was pissed, but after using the computer I forgave them, because I love it.

This week, my dad and I preordered the family bundle of Leopard from the online store, simply because they guaranteed it would be delivered to our door today, the release date. It's not here. Apple's phone rep was prepared to promise me that it would arrive tomorrow, until I asked him to verify it and he told me to double check with Purolator. I figured that this was the guy who took 5 minutes to find my account and order on the computer, so I probably couldn't take what he said at face value.

Purolator said it would arrive on Tuesday, and Apple said we'd have to just wait, since they couldn't cancel our order and they weren't going to discount it. Unacceptable. The order is now set as a return, and they were going to make us pay for the shipping cost - all of this because of their mistake - until we told them that wasn't acceptable either. They're now covering the cost and I have a copy of Leopard from Westworld Computers sitting in front of me on the ottoman. We would have bought it from London Drugs, but Apple didn't ship the family bundle to any of their locations.

This is two strikes for Apple's online store. I'm not even sure I should give it another pitch.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007


The Arcade Fire are assholes.

Yes, it's true. At least, when it comes to their country. As a fan, it's constantly frustrating to be only a half member of the North American music community; in Canada we share album release dates with America, but routinely get shunned when it comes time for some of our favourite bands to tour behind their recent releases. Toronto is a guaranteed stop, and Vancouver and Montreal are perennial favourites as well. Occasionally, like Spoon recently did, they'll play in Victoria and Vancouver, fulfilling their redundancy quota for the week. In Edmonton, it's often the case that to show my support for a band I love, I would have to drive 11 hours to Vancouver to do it. The real problem? I like to listen only the artist in question the day of their concert, and after that drive I don't think I'd want to see them anymore. I'd turn around and drive home.

I hear you asking, "But why blame the Arcade Fire, if this is across the whole industry?" That is a very good question. There's the expectation that a band takes care of their own first, which is why I can justify not having yet seen Sigur Rós or Hello Saferide. On the positive side of this, I've had ample opportunity to see Sloan, Matthew Good and Danny Michel. So when I first heard Funeral in 2004, I was excited with the prospect of seeing their famed live show (famed that is, by Eastern US fans who had already seen them, often several times)

So I waited. In October 2005, thirteen months after Funeral was released, they finally deigned. After over a year spent touring through the United States and overseas, they finally played their home country, citing good intentions but unfortunate circumstances. Of course, it sold out in less than ten minutes and I wasn't able to go.

But I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, because they seemed apologetic about it. When Neon Bible was announced, I figured they'd amend their mistake and do a decent-sized Canadian tour. Ha. Five months and no date in site, but they've played the usual suspects. Maybe it's an Eastern thing. Maybe it's another unfortunate circumstance.

What I do know is that in the meantime, other Canadian acts with major southern press have scheduled shows here, including the New Pornographers, Final Fantasy, Tegan & Sara and the Weakerthans. Large American bands like Wilco, Dinosaur Jr. and the White Stripes have played here. Hell, The Raveonettes will have scheduled a show, delayed it twice and eventually played by the time my countrymen get to it.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bet you got it all planned, right?

You're bummed, right? The leaves are changing, classes are starting and you're wondering where it all went. Not the summer, but everything else. Things are coming to an end, and everybody's slowly being knocked off. It started in the spring and it's only getting worse, seeds to the wind before it frosts. You're feeling the need for some weight yourself and offshores are looking dandier and dandier. But it's gotta wait. Tides and seasons and whatever, pollen and nectar.

But don't you nevah be down, I said don't evah. Because it's gonna keep 'em hanging around.

Via Pop Candy: Keepon is gonna soften the blow.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

West of Center

I don't take vacations very often, generally because my jobs don't afford paid time off and I like to do things like put gas in my car and have shoes on my feet. Which really just lets me go to work; it's a nasty cycle, I know. Also, if I don't give them money every autumn, the people at the university get testy and that tends to make things a bit awkward.

But I digress.

Having a full time job for over a year let me take time off this year, and I used the opportunity to go visit my cousin Allene in Toronto. A week in the heart of the hustle and bustle, I figured, would either kill me outright or encourage some sort of regeneration of the fleshy and ghostly selves. It turns out, it was the latter. I really needed this.

It's hackneyed to say, but everything really is different on vacation. Even when we were just sitting around at 2am watching Scrubs it seemed to have a revitalizing effect. A day on the Toronto Islands fulfilled the Fun in the Sun quota as well as a rather impressive hole-digging on the beach. There was an art show, a historical house complete with cute tour guide, the CBC Museum, Royal Ontario Museum and lots of walking. Oh god, there was a lot of walking. I'm walked out, spent. If I was a thinker, I'd parlay that into an excuse not to exert myself back home. Instead, when I'm laying on the floor and someone dangles the leash in front of me, all I can muster is a low moan. I close my eyes and think of all the places I walked to. Like the grocery store where we bought ice cream (twice!). or the Future bakery where we bought cheesecake. Or the restaurants. Or Starbucks. Guessing a pattern?

One thing I was consistently surprised with was how green downtown Toronto is. It's a genuinely beautiful place at times, filled with gardens and trees. Edmonton could take a cue from it, instead of paving over the grass. The city also has a certain sense of history surrounding it; the architecture has a certain weight that the urban prairie lacks. We're a fan of boxes here, big brown and grey ones. Toronto, she's an old-fashioned dame, and she's got a certain shapely swagger that can be kind of irresistible.

Allene was, true to her parents, a spectacular host. She even threw my sister and myself a party. If I get the chance, I'll try to return the favour. But since we might be spending Christmas visiting her and her family in Vancouver, there may be another upcoming chance for me to eat her food.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


In the new year I made a resolution to post here more, but obviously that has fallen by the wayside in the last few months. Truthfully, it has been neither from neglect nor laziness. Which is probably a first. Instead, there has been a rock in front of me, a Boyg stretching as far around as I can't see. On May 16th, my sister Jessie died.

A brief interlude: sister might be a strong word. People like Donell will know that in the strictest sense, I only have one. But Jessie used to joke that she was my sister and my parents loved her best, so that became a bit part of our dynamic and how I remember her. In time I spent enough time around her family that we settled into the kind of soft familiarity that only families and old friends have.

I am grateful that I remember these parts most, as opposed to the rest. Hospital visits, surgeries, a cabinet of medication. Those are all there, but... not. It was in her hospital room that I first watched Bruce Almighty as I leaned in on the bed. It was because of her surgery that we really became brother and sister. I carried her medicine cabinet when I helped her move into her own apartment, which had once seemed so hazy and distant. It's all about perspective, I guess. Either that, or just easier to laugh than to cry.

She was adorable and she knew it. No matter what she said, no matter how much she dodged work at the IGA I met her at, she was still perfect. She hid out in the manager's office spying on coworkers when she should have been already done organizing uniforms. She made the stockboys give her rides on carts. Actually, she never made us, she just kind of suggested it. Moreso than any of us, she got bored, and when she was bored she made things. Somewhere I've still got the paper bracelet and one of the drawings of coworkers she made me, though I've long since lost the plastic bag hat. The building is full of memories of her.

So is my own bedroom. I've still got a book she lent me that I never finished, now I'm afraid to. The bracelet and picture are nearby, I don't have to look too hard. Every day I pass the picture CD, funeral program and list of things she always wanted to do that I got at her funeral. After that, I take a stack of papers off my chair and somewhere in the middle is the section of the newspaper that has an article on her passing. The local media loved her, but they were just some of the people standing in line.

In the last year, we didn't manage to see eachother. She worked two jobs and I had mine. We would trade text messages in the middle of the night, apologizing to eachother for not being able to make time. It's an old story by now, but that's not how the endings go. There's a plane and a speech and the other person stays. Cue credits. How the fuck can I beat pneumonia? At her funeral the priest gave us the talk, the one where it's part of His plan and we should take solace in that. Really? Really? It's supposed to make me feel better that the best person I knew is gone and the upstairs neighbor planned it? That's not my God, man. He's crying too.

A few weeks after she passed I saw Away From Her, a movie filled with the same kind of gauzy memories and gnawing sadness that are still here. Gordon Pinsent watches his wife fade away into dementia and all he can do is try to hold on. I still think of her in the present tense, you know. I see something in a store or hear a song on the radio, think about how much she'd like it and store it away for a birthday. There's the Boyg again, and I can't seem to find my way around. There's a long way and a short way, but the way through requires the kind of admission and humility I can't muster yet. So here I am, feeling around in the black.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bad day

You are asking questions, and there will be answers. But not tonight.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Killing him won't bring back your goddamned honey

Is it wrong that I never wanted to see the movie until I saw this montage?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Already good at marching

eli stern don't surf: did you know that a penguin is a colonel-in-chief of the kings guard of the norwegian army?

Mïchælberg: i had no idea

eli stern don't surf:

Mïchælberg: i want to see a television series (a gritty one) that will flesh out the back story here

eli stern don't surf: where he pecks a dude's eye out?

Mïchælberg: but isnt too sure he did the right thing

eli stern don't surf: as his moral crisis spirals into major depression, he takes to risky maneuvers and the bottle

Mïchælberg: I would watch that

eli stern don't surf: i smell a pilot

Friday, March 16, 2007

The worst reality televison idea ever

Convicted sex offenders in a residential treatment program, tired of the routine and longing to be outside and free. Staff admiring the comfort of said routine and all the prepared meals it affords. Switch places. Hilarious results.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007



-The head of forensic research told my supervisor that I'm one of the best, most accurate workers he's seen in a while. She relayed this to me in front of the program manager.
-Bought 20pc. Ammonite dish set for 75% off at Stokes.
-After talking with the lady at Aveda about the return of my dandruff, it was discovered that the Rosemary & Mint shampoo and conditioner I've been using have also been drying my scalp out. I'm now switching to the Shampure variety.
-Calabrese olives.
-Danny picked up my course calendar for me, so I'm all clear to register for classes on Sunday Tuesday.

-Missed Bones, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
-The poppy seed candy recipe I tried out tonight was a disaster, despite following it precisely. The poppy seeds just floated to the top of the mixture, which even after 40 minutes setting and another hour in the freezer, still didn't set. When I was finally able to harden it enough to get it out of the pan, it just melted right onto the cutting board. The 2" squares? Rolled up, they're a lot bigger than marbles: it yields 16, not 40, using the measurements she gives. When I finally ate one? It made me sick.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


It is no secret that Veronica Mars is just about my favourite show on television. And that I hate Myspace. In a perfect world they wouldn't ever be uttered in the same sentence, because I'm pretty sure that every time it happens, I die a little. Does it work if I just mention Kristen Bell? Do I just lose a toe? A couple of years? Is this basically like smoking?

Aw hell, I'm pretty sure this counts as understandable risk anyway.

Online Videos by

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Still going to hell

My first thought when watching a Manitoba Hydro commercial about the importance of saving the sturgeon and its habitat?

I wonder what it tastes like.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Grammy, Best Compilation Soundtrack

I'm such a sheep; Donell recently did the Soundtrack To Your Life Challenge, that popular meme where you put iTunes on shuffle and each song corresponds to certain questions. Challenge? Challenge? I'll be damned if I'm going to be shown up by an Easterner and I encourage you all to put him in his place.


Opening Credits: Art Brut - "Formed a Band"
Waking up: Sufjan Stevens - "Once in David's Royal City"
First day at school: Kokopelli - "Close Now Thine Eyes"
Falling in love: Paul McCartney - "Here Today"
Breaking up: Pavement - "Raft"
Life's OK: Snow Patrol - "Tiny Little Fractures"
Breakdown: Celestial Season - "Sharks and Razors"
Driving: Sarah Harmer - "The Phoenix"
Flashback: The Vines - "Ain't No Room"
Getting back together: Johnny Cash - "Folsom Prison Blues (Live at Folsom Prison)"
Wedding: Interpol - "Narc"
Sex scene: Led Zeppelin - "Kashmir"
Birth of child: The Rolling Stones - "Brown Sugar"
Final battle: The Weakerthans - "(Past Due)"
Death scene: Great Big Sea - "Lukey (Live)"
Funeral song: Ellen Allien & Apparat - "Do Not Break"
Dance sequence: Box Five - "Snow Hymn"
End credits: Silverchair - "Pure Massacre"


Friday, February 02, 2007

Natalie Portman

After a few weeks without any new purchases, the last two weeks have been filled with new CDs. Some of it has been a last dash to pick up 2006's albums before I make my year end list, but more recently that's becoming new releases. Some of them are ones I've been waiting for months for, like the new albums from Deerhoof and Menomena. Then there's, well... the Shins.

See, I've got something to admit; while Wincing the Night Away, the Shins' latest, was the first new album of the year I bought, I actually haven't listened to it yet. And... I really only bought it because it was cheap. And I had a plan to get an HMV staff member to ask me if I'd found everything I was looking for so I could say no and they'd offer to order the ones I wanted for me. Couldn't I have just gone up and asked them to order something for me? No, because that would be too easy and you seem to have forgotten THAT I'M CRAZY.

I found out about the Shins though the same two avenues as most people did, Scrubs and Garden State. But they didn't change my life, even if "New Slang" is fantastic. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy and, smitten with a single song and armed with a good review, I bought an album. That's really all there is to say, I guess, because that's all there is. It's just there on my shelf and I really don't listen to it that much. It's under a Theory of a Deadman album, just to give you an idea of how long it's been since I looked at it. It's kind of charming, I guess, in a Silly Symphony kind of way. I'll probably listen to it eventually, but I just can't muster up the motivation.

Got any albums I should listen to? I need something to cover this one.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wherein our hero clarifies

By now you may be wondering where this resolution has gone. See, the thing I didn't mention in the last post was that I am waiting for something. Something very special. Last week I ordered a couple of CDs by Hello Saferide, who has made some of my favourite songs of 2006 and probably one of my favourite albums (Would You Let Me Play This EP Ten Times a Day?). But I can't just call it one of my favourite albums yet, that would be presumptive.

So I wait. And so do you, apparently.

But what's that? I could just make other posts instead? That would make too much sense, but I guess you've got me there.

I'm tired, people; competely worn out and exhausted and I've been that way for a month. I seem to be the only person on the unit who hasn't gotten sick yet, which is a small relief because the last thing I need is to miss a few days of work and an even greater need to sleep constantly. But I'll make due, just try to get to bed earlier. I mean, what else can I do? Oh? Really? Watch Entourage? If you insist.

Be patient, there's more coming after the first season and 4-7 business days.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I haven't told you yet

Happy new year and welcome to 2007. How were your celebrations? Myself, I watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, ate dinner and fell asleep on the couch at 10:30. And that was just ducky. I won't bore you with a summary of 2006, that's what the archives are for. Instead, I'll simply share my sole resolution for the new year: to post more. In the next week I plan to share my lists of top albums and singles of 2006 along with a more standard post. Ears open, class.

Finally, I'd like to share a video that sums everything up just perfectly from a lady who is just about the best thing around these days. Happy holidays.