Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm a self-promotional bastard.

Want to do something on Friday night that in no way involves Christmas? I know I do.

That's why I'll be guest-DJing for twenty (20) minutes at the Tiger Bar, which is at 414 College Street, just east of Bathurst, in a weird spot. According to Now Magazine,

It's not the easiest place to find, but that's probably the point. It's underneath the College Street Diner, and the main entrance is in the back, through the gate to the patio and down the stairs. It's run by the same people as the diner, so you can always ask them if you get lost.

Truth be told, I've never been there myself; when I'm in that neighbourhood, I usually am on my way to Sneaky Dee's. At any rate, because I've never DJ'd for real live people before, I asked Matt for an early time-slot... so, if you want to come and make me nervous as hell, be there not too long after 9 pm.

This I promise, though: There will be horns.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A spot of advice.

If you know me — not necessarily in the "biblical sense," but that could work too — you know that I hate malls. I try to stay away from them as much as possible. So, imagine my dismay when, yesterday, I realized I forgot my credit card at a store in a mall the day before, which meant I had to battle the crowds in order to go back and retrieve it.

The mall itself wasn't that crowded. But, it's in an upscale part of town, so I guess everyone who goes there somehow drives all 3 of their SUVs there, at the same time; that's the only explanation I can concoct for how a half-full mall makes for an impossibly-full parking lot.

And you know the type of people who are poking around here: SUVs, clueless yuppie assholes, probably with Fufu the Schnauser yipping his cuuuuuute wittle head off in the back seat. Something else they all had in common was one particular accessory — seriously, a third of them had one while driving — and so, to you, my quasineighbours, I will offer you this piece of advice (suitably-coloured for the season):




That is all. Have a merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crazy Cat Lady 2: The Re-Crazying.

Frequent site-contributor ECB called me in a panic.

"J! I'm at my boss' house where I'm staying tonight, and she's not here, and I set off the alarm! I don't know what to do! Look up XYZ Security System on Google for their emergency number!"

So I did. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one. Fortunately, I don't live too far away, and I have a futon for just such an emergency (that is, being able to offer a spare bed to someone who wouldn't be able to sleep due to an ear-splittingly loud alarm going off).

(I've set one of those off before, in the school. Jesus christ they're loud. But I guess that's the point.)

A-futon-setting-up I did go... dutifully removing and unfolding the mattress, placing it aside, and carefully sliding the wooden frame open to convert it from couch to bed.

— WHAM! —

Incidentally, I don't mean the pop band from the '80s; instead I mean the sound a wooden futon makes as it crashes a foot or so to the wooden floor as it slips from your grip.

You may recall a couple of times in the past when I've mentioned my downstairs neighbour, Crazy Cat Lady. She waits for me to make any noise at all, then freaks out. Well, Crazy Cat Lady didn't hold back — she got her broomstick and started wailing away on her ceiling (my floor).

Yeah, lady. As if I didn't know that was loud as hell. So I went downstairs and gave her a piece of my mind.

She thinks I sit around up here and dream up new ways to make noise. Yeah, I dropped a futon frame tonight... and yeah, last night I knocked a remote off a table onto the hardwood floor. Aside from that, I've been quiet as a mouse for months... but she thinks the horrendous screeching noise of my neighbour's closet door is mine — and yet, apparently I'm the one who's supposed to go tell him to get a can of WD-40?! In addition, I'd been sitting pretty much motionless in front of the computer — mostly trying to help out ECB to find that phone number on the 'net — but apparently "for the past straight hour" I'd been "crashing around." I told her I hadn't moved at all.

So I called her "crazy."

Ooooooooh, she did not like that. Cat-like, the fangs came out. I reiterated my main points, capped it off with an exasperated "holy shit!", and walked away.

I'm a model goddamn neighbour, and yet I'm convinced she has a voodoo doll-likeness of me that she's ready to ram up the ass with a pickaxe.

But I don't really fucking care. I'm gonna complain to the super. Maybe we can pitch her and her cats out of here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why WCO is the best.

I think this picture sums up my Friday night with White Cowbell Oklahoma pretty well. (Click the photo for a larger view; the link to WCO's website isn't safe for work.)

From left to right:

Hollis (guitar, sometimes double-necked), unknown burlesque dancer, muttonchopped fellow with top-hat and cape and whip, Clem (guitar), Sgt. Rock (vocals), Chainsaw Charlie (chainsaw, grinder), Bubba Lee Phett (bass), Colonel Sanders, The Cousin Who Hath No Name (guitar).

Onstage, but unseen in this view: Jesse (keyboards), Dingo von Devereaux (drums).

Offstage at the moment: Sheriff R.F. Horton (menacing looks), some fat guy wearing only tighty-whities and a mask, two other burlesque dancers, and Santa Claus with his gigantic unit flappin' in the breeze.

Offstage, appreciating all this and getting rocked-the-fuck-out: me, frequent site-contributor ECB, Eve, and Doppelgänger Eric.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Three random things.

Number One

This city smells truly awful sometimes.

Number Two

This is funny, although I haven't (yet) found it to be true.

Number Three

What should I buy my dad for Christmas? I'm sure he never reads this blog, so it's okay if you just give me gift ideas in the Comments section.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Welcome to my musical world.

Warning: it may drive you crazy and/or cause you to hate me (more).

From time to time, I get obsessed with songs. While I won't listen to a song, say, a dozen times back-to-back — I like to limit things to maybe 3 or 4 times a day, at the height of an obsession — it will firmly implant itself into my brain nonetheless, and stay there for a few days.

Luckily, YouTube makes it easy to access pretty much any song you like (which has a video), pretty much anywhere you are, pretty much anytime. Can you remember the Bad Old Days when you actually had to wait to get home so you could play a CD, tape or LP so you could hear the song rattling around in your head? Or maybe roll the dice with the radio and hope a DJ had your song in mind? Me neither!

At any rate, without further ado, let me share what's been bouncing around for the last little while. You'll probably hate it, but hey, this isn't your blog, so fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

Triumph — Lay It On The Line
Possibly one of my longest-lasting continuing obsessions. Rik Emmett is a force to be reckoned-with: flowing mane of blond locks, double-necked guitar, red jumpsuit and a voice like a screaming banshee. Also, videos from the late '70s are pretty universally crappy. Deal with it.

Steely Dan — My Old School
It always seems so cheesy when bands, back a few decades, would get on a TV show and lip-sync the lyrics. I suppose Britney Spears still does this on stage and gets away with calling it a "concert," but that's a whole other kettle of fish. Also, Don Fagen is a freaky-looking guy.

Feist — One Evening
I want to take Leslie Feist into a dark alley and (consentually) do some very dirty things to her, and now you will know why. Women who play Gibsons while wearing heels cause all sorts of funny rumblings south of the ol' equator.

Steely Dan — Reelin' In The Years
Yeah, I dig the Dan. But c'mon... two guitarists with the chops of Skunk Baxter and Denny Dias? You could put five bands together and not come up with half the talent of one of these guys. These bastards are tighter than a cheap clock.

Pretty much anything by Picnicface
They're a comedy troupe out of Halifax, and they're hilarious. If you watch one thing by them, let it be their ad for a fictitious energy drink called Powerthirst. If you watch two things, let that other one be for Super Bingo. But please, watch more than two.

Alright, so that last one wasn't music. Get off my ass, fascist!
Correction: Rik Emmett's outfit is more of a unitard than a jumpsuit.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's time to buy some stuff.

I'm becoming, in the parlance of our times, a Real Person™. I have a job, a sweet apartment all to myself, salt and pepper shakers, a car, and no (visible) piercings. As such, I think it's high time I bought some decent furntiure.

I have a couch-and-loveseat combination in my living room. It's decent, but they're hand-me-downs from one of my mom's past redecorating blitzes. They also don't match; not a big deal, but hey, come on.

As such, I've been perusing the Leon's flyer today ('tis the season for "Ho Ho Hold the Payments;" I'll pay for my furniture all at once, thanks), and they have some nice deals. Someone recently told me that February-ish is a good time to buy furniture, and because I don't know jack-squat about buying furniture, I'm inclined to believe them.

Do you know anything about buying* furniture? I'm not a student anymore. I earn a decent enough living, my debts are manageable, and this is what Real People™ do, anyway, right? If you have a tip, please leave a comment. All tip-givers will be entered into a draw, and the winner will be invited over to my apartment, after I purchase the furniture, to look at and — if you play your cards right — sit on the new acquisitions!**

So, let's get those tips flowing! Daddy's got some money to spend!

* This means an actual purchase, for money, in a store. Dumpster-diving does not count.
** Written proof of recent, negative HPV test result required.

Friday, December 07, 2007

And now... this.

The title of this post is also the title of a chapter in Neil Postman's exceedingly-excellent Amusing Ourselves to Death. It's a critique of public discourse in the age of television; he wrote it in the mid-1980s, but his observation is as valid — perhaps even moreso — in this Age of the Internet.

(Remember, back in the '90s when people were first exploring the Web, how some idiots coined the term "The Information Superhighway" to describe the Internet?)

(I do.)

In the chapter I've referenced, Postman discusses how the evening news is essentially a meaningless, disconnected jumble of random facts which don't impact your life at all. He argues that, because they shift gears every 45 seconds or so, there isn't enough time to say anything of substance.

Perhaps most imporant for the state of public discourse is the utter disconnectedness of each piece with the next. For example, a newscaster could say:

...the fire has been blamed for the deaths of 83 orphans so far, with that number most certainly rising as dental records confirm more and more identities. A real tragedy.

(ever-so-slight pause)

And now... this: Stay tuned after the break for some great recipes for banana bread! You're watching Action News at 6.

Because we're so used to these random minutiae being thrown at us, our ability to follow a carefully-reasoned argument has waned. We get our "information" in sound-bites, newscasters seemingly have to stand and walk around a warehouse-like room with clipboards in order to keep our attention, and Noam Chomsky has a snowball's chance in hell of ever getting any airtime on a TV show.

Think these would fly today? No, neither do I.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Big, big, big news.

My jaw actually dropped open.

To the Marlins:
  • rookie pitching sensation Andrew Miller (he'll get his head screwed back on right, I'm sure)
  • five-tool outfielder Cameron Maybin (maybe a season away from the bigs, but oh what a season he'll have)
  • triple-digit-fastball-pitching Eulogio de la Cruz (came up briefly with the Tigers last year and looked great)
  • solid young catcher Mike Rabelo (really came on strong with the stick after getting settled as Pudge's backup)
To the Tigers:
  • workhorse left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis (I've liked this guy for years; good with the stick, too)
  • sluggin' third baseman Miguel Cabrera (can you say no to 34 HR, 119 RBI from a 24-year-old? I can't)
It's a shocker, to be sure. I distinctly remember Dave Dombrowski saying he didn't see himself making any big deals during the Winter Meetings... and yet, here we are, two established stars from the Fish going to the Bengals, in exchange for at least three can't-miss prospects.

Wow. Serious trade for the Tigers.


Saturday, December 01, 2007


This year we've already seen the original Van Halen get together, along with the living members of Led Zeppelin.

But this one blows my mind:

My Bloody Valentine

If you've never had the pleasure of listening to Loveless, their masterpiece from 1991 — possibly the best album put out that year, and yes, I know Nevermind and Bandwagonesque came out that year too — you really should seek out a copy. It's ethereal and spooky and creepy and awesome. You'll want to play it really loud, which is apparently how MBV played in concert... and will play sometime in the new year. And, perhaps most shockingly, a new MBV album will be out by the end of 2007, so the rumour goes.

Wow. My Bloody Valentine is back together.


Reporters reporting.

Isn't that a novel idea? This article nicely distinguishes between real reporting and, as Stephen Colbert once called it, "typing things down that people say, and printing it as news." Imagine journalists being more than just parrots... wow, what a novel concept.

Last night's birthday festivities were a complete success. It was pretty much just the way I'd ever want it to be:
  • in a bar
  • in a bar which is in no way fancy
  • an abundance of salted peanuts
  • whose shells went on the floor, baseball-park-style
  • pitchers were flowing freely
  • a couple of rounds of oddly-coloured shots
  • including what I believe was a Prairie Fire, especially for me, because Jon secretly wants steam to shoot out of my ears
  • excellent music was played, including a song from the first Blood, Sweat and Tears album (when Al Kooper fronted the band)
We had a great time at this place, for the simple reason that the venue didn't interfere in any way with our conversation, or try to make us feel out of place, or expect us to look a certain way. It occasionally enhanced our experience (e.g., for me, the BS&T song), but at no point did the bar get in the way of our good time. And it was a good time.

The best part, of course, is that when it's your birthday, everyone else pitches in and picks up your part of the tab. Thanks, boozers. Thoozers.