Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I swear to god, I'm going to burn these shoes.

The softball team is going well. We're not the most talented group out there, but gosh-darn-it-all, we have fun. We need a coordinated shirt effort, though — all those other teams seem to have the "uniform colour" thing going on, which makes us look like a bunch of hacks.

Which we are. But hey, there's no sense looking the part when our softball talent clearly broadcasts this fact.

So, because I own a pair of baseball cleats — I went all out and bought a pair of Nike Airs a couple of years ago — I'm wearing them for games. (It's not like I get to put them on too often, and this is where you wear them, so there.)

However...

When I bought them in summer 2003, I sprained my ankle quite badly in the first game I wore them; the injury knocked me out until our season-ending tournament. I didn't play ball in summer '04, which means that the game last night was, including the tournament, about the eighth game I'd worn them.

And last night I sprained my ankle again; it looks like I'm smuggling a golf ball under there.

So...

Eight games, two ankle sprains? (I owned a pair of very cheap cleats previously for several years and never had such an injury.) As soon as I feel relatively alright, I'm going to commit a sin and wear sneakers on the field until I can get me some new, cheap, non-Nike cleats.

Screw you, Swoosh.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Media Reform.

Admittedly, it's not the sexiest topic out there; it ain't getting on eTalk Daily with Mulroney the Junior anytime soon. But, when you consider how dangerous it is to have the dissemination of news controlled by a tiny number of people — uniformly ridiculously rich people, who see the world in a radically different way than you or I — it's important to keep in mind, while reading a news clipping on the MSN-Microsoft-NBC-GE site, or watching CNN-AOL-Time Warner-Sports Illustrated Headline News, or catching an installment of ABC-Capital Cities-Disney Nightline, that there's a whole lot you're not getting.

Bill Moyers, a longtime journalist working primarily on PBS, gave this keynote address to the 2003 National Conference on Media Reform. It's a bit long, but is well, well worth sticking with until the end.

In other news... I've finally stopped hurting from the first softball game of the summer, just in time for the second.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A plug.

If you're in K-town this summer, turn your radio dial to CFRC (101.9 FM) on Thursday afternoons to hear myself and Alison Lang pinch-hit for the regular host of Ladyflash. We'll be on from 1:30 to 3:00 next week, then may take up residency in the 2:30-4:00 time slot.

If you're not in K-town, point your Interweb-Net Machine at cfrc.ca and follow the links to listen live in streamin' screamin' audio.

We promise the best of the Rock, and the best of the Roll. Nothing more, nothing less.

See you next Thursday, kids!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tall, and tan, and young and lovely.

The girl from Ipanema goes walking.

Sorry, just had that in my head. Seriously, one of the best songs ever. Evaaah.

Perhaps it sprang to mind after hearing Erin's copy of the soundtrack of The Life Aquatic, which features several David Bowie songs inexplicably done acoustically, with Portuguese lyrics. Maybe it lay dormant from last night, on the drive back from O-town after seeing my first Group of Seven paintings (I liked Tom Thomson's The Silent Lake the best, even though he wasn't part of the Seven proper), the movie Kingdom of Heaven (Orlando Bloom was actually fairly decent), and the insides of a couple of fine quality Ottawa pubs (being waved past the ID-takers at every opportunity).

But maybe it's just a great song.

Yeah. We'll go with that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Feast your eyes.


Here she is, 1.5 days old. Pictures really, really, really don't do her justice.

The musical baton.

Thank you, T.

Total music files residing on my computer: 820 in the regular rotation, and 312 sorta "archived" files. But, I do find myself getting a little sick of a few songs in the rotation... which you wouldn't think possible, with it totalling 50:52:01.

Last CD I bought: Highly Refined Pirates by Minus the Bear. I've mentioned it here before, but I really do like the song title, "I Lost All My Money At The Cock Fights," among others.

Song playing right now: "Tame" by The Pixies (off Doolittle). Probably my favourite Pixies song; Black Francis goes from screaming to whispering to raggedly-breathing and back to screaming. You'd swear he was a mental patient. And shoot, he just might be. (The song has now changed to "Early Morning Rain" by Gordon Lightfoot. Talk about juxtaposition.)

Five songs I listen to a lot/mean a lot to me:
(in no particular order)
  1. The Eagles — Tequila Sunrise... not because it's a particularly good song or band, but I bet with that blue album growing up always finding its way to my Mickey Mouse record player, I've likely heard it hundreds of times.
  2. The Beatles — Yesterday... also had this growing up, on a 45. One of the few tunes of which I know most/all of the words; achingly beautiful in its starkness.
  3. Radiohead — Black Star... ethereal, spooky, cathartic and quiet, all in one package. Probably my favourite song on The Bends.
  4. Nick Drake — Things Behind The Sun... don't the best ones always die young? Someone once said about Nick, "you could have the volume all the way up, and he'd still sound quiet."
  5. Mod Primates — Photographs Of The Future (demo)... a little self-aggrandization never hurt anyone, so I'll mention a song done by a band in which I once was. The sound quality and musicianship aren't the greatest, but that December 1, 2002 version just feels amazing. Grab the mp3 here; I squeezed it as not to overload the fragile qlink.
Four or Five People I'm Passing The Baton To: Eve, Erin, Leanne, Tavis.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Heavens-to-Betsy, she's cute.

Five hours in the car to get to London from K-town... totally worth it.

I held a baby for the very first time ever today, and it was my niece. You've gotta make sure their head is supported, because human babies can't really do that for themselves for the first few months.

Despite her lack of neck-strength, Mallory is pretty damn angelic. You know what people always say... "Oh, my baby is the cutest baby ever." Y'know what? Call off the search for the cutest baby ever, because she's just been born to my brother and my sister-in-law. I'm serious about this, peoples. Call it off.

I'd have a photo up here, but I'm lacking a USB cable. Perhaps in a couple of days I'll have the right cord to rig up my camera to this computer-box at my folks' place, to pass along the digital goodness to you. Believe me, I want you all to see the absolutely most beautiful baby born in human history. I'd be doing humanity a friggin' service.


Ferrel's return to SNL? It was alright. I'm glad I got to see one last Celebrity Jeopardy!, but the Goulet character needs to be more openly hostile, and appear moderately drunk, for it to really take off.

Friday, May 13, 2005

I'm a GOD DAMN UNCLE.

This morning, 5:45 am.

Mallory Rose Law.

Mom and baby are doing fine, after a C-section.

I'm going down there tomorrow. A pack of rabid grizzly bears couldn't stop me.

Pictures will be posted as soon as is humanly possible.

I'm so pumped, man. This rules.

Congratulations, Connie and Craig!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The day I've been waiting for.

Later today, I'm a-headin' down to Montreal to see the Mars Volta do their thing. It's gonna rule, I just know it.

And then, maybe tomorrow morning, I can buy some Montreal-style bagels. In Montreal. I can then compare them to the ones I've been buying for the last few years at Bagels 'N Things in Toronto, to see if their claim of "Montreal-style" is valid.

Bagels and rock-and-roll. What more could a guy ask for, really?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I realized something today.

Clouds are, like, really high above the ground.

That's all.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Large bellies, loud music, and two-lane roads.

I went down to visit my brother and his wife on Friday evening, and also set them up with a relatively new computer. Connie's due on May 17; I personally think the kid's going to be two days early, but she thinks it'll be two days late. I just hope the kid has her-or-his birthday before May 18; that's the Saturday of the the Victoria Day weekend in his-or-her 19th year. (Speaking as someone whose birthday is very late, it royally blows to have everyone around you 16, or 19, or whatever the case may be, and you're not even close.)

At any rate, she's gigantic, which is causing a bit of discomfort; quite a few toss-and-turn nights, apparently. The next time I see her, though, there's going to be a whole new person in their life, and that's just darned exciting. Photos will be posted here, you can bet your ass on that.

Saturday night, I had the great pleasure of seeing a set of bands at the venerable Sneaky Dee's — probably my favourite place to go in Toronto — and domestic bottles upstairs were $3.50, which ain't too bad. The Vermicious Knid was excellent as always; Wintersleep and the Sour Keys were thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd, but aren't really my cup of tea, exactly.

Driving back to K-town on Sunday, I'd decided I'd seen enough of the 401 to last me quite a while, so a Magical Mystery Tour ensued. Lately I've become a fan of taking the backroads when time permits... I can't wait until July and August when the roadside produce stands of kickass corn, peaches and the like start appearing. Them's the good eats.

Currently listening to a CD I received in the mail today: "Highly Refined Pirates" by a band called Minus the Bear. It's pretty entertaining; lots of arpeggio-based guitar noodling, kooky and changing time signatures, and song titles like "Thanks For The Killer Game Of Crisco Twister" and "I Lost All My Money At The Cock Fights". Their new album is out in the summertime; I'm looking forward to it already.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Google, I love thee.

Put "Ann Coulter is a crazy bitch" into the venerable search engine. Someone from North Dakota did recently, and found my blog. I'm a happy feller.

Wal-Mart ain't cool.

I haven't set foot inside a Wal-Mart in almost five years. If you've been following the developments in Jonquiere, Quebec over the past few weeks, that's part of it. (For a good deal of the rest of it, watch the South Park "Wall-Mart" episode, available from many fine file sharing networks.)

At any rate, a few fun facts:
  • Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the world, and the richest company in the world.
  • They operate 5000 stores worldwide in 10 countries, with 256 stores across Canada employing over 60,000 employees.
  • Five of the richest 13 people in the world are members of the Walton family.
  • Twenty-eight hours a week is considered full-time work at Wal-Mart.
  • Wal-Mart’s highest paid executive earns more money in one day than a Wal-Mart cashier earns in four years.
  • Two-thirds of Wal-Mart’s [American] workers cannot participate in its health insurance plan because of its high cost and huge deductibles.
  • Wal-Mart employees in the U.S. had to sue to collect the overtime pay that they had earned.
  • Wal-Mart’s female employees, in every job category, have been paid less than their male counterparts each year since 1997. The biggest class-action lawsuit (1.5 million women) in U.S. history is underway against Wal-Mart for this systemic discrimination against women.
  • Wal-Mart has been cited more than 40 times by the National Labour Relations Board for using illegal tactics (such as threats and firings) to deny its workers the right to have a union.
  • Wal-Mart workers in Jonquiere, Quebec successfully organized their workplace through the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union. Wal-Mart’s response was to close the store; 200 workers lost their jobs.
  • Wal-Mart challenged Saskatchewan labour laws, citing that their rights under the charter were being infringed upon after refusing to provide the Saskatchewan Labour Board with internal documents on training management how to remain union-free.
  • Wal-Mart has been found guilty four times in Canada for unfair labour practices for intimidating and harassing workers during a union-organizing campaign.
  • In Ontario Wal-Mart was fined $500,000 for failing to report workplace accidents and injuries.
Fun, eh? All the more reason to shop at Zellers.

Monday, May 02, 2005

An existential crisis?

So, I got me an email from an extremely random person yesterday, asking if I'd tutor someone in Physics in exchange for cash. Lord knows how they found my resume.

I'm really not sure how to approach this. Sure, some extra coin might be nice... but I'm no free-marketer when it comes to education matters. I cringed a bit when, a couple of years ago, a buddy of mine started working for a private tutoring agency; profiting off poor curriculum design put in by a phalanx of Ayn Rand devotees doesn't sit terribly well with me.

Should I take the gig or not? It's mighty tempting, as those escorts and that sweet, sweet blow ain't exactly free these days. Perhaps I'll consult my mentor/guru about this.

(And I don't mean Urkel.)