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?