Tuesday, December 29, 2009

thought for 2009

Have you ever noticed that Asian people take an inordinate amount of photos of their food?

I wonder why that is.

This question, I believe, will trouble me throughout this next decade.

Happy New Year, in any case.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

merry holidays

Back in Yellowknife for the week and already fattening up on coffee and Baileys and homemade lasagna and mandarin oranges and board games.

Got on the flight from Edmonton and laughed while the four dogs in the cabin were barking at each other. Yep, that's the North. And the old man in the row in front of me who stared just a tad too long and seriously at the cute Japanese girl's ass, as she patiently waited to take her seat. And the nervous flier lady who told her husband they weren't seated next to each other on the flight a little loud and the husband who responded with a chuckle "That's probably a good thing." And the way the jet was like a barroom the whole flight, with people telling stories and catching up and busting a gut, and even as the bulky cabin dipped and ducked and jitterbugged and juked in the sky the cadence doesn't change because people are so second-nature about flying.

It's nice to be back, playing hockey on the big lake and drinking beers with all the great friends down on the houseboat, telling stories about how we lost our teeth, with frost thawing into our beverages from our makeshift beards.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

club the club

I went to a club tonight. I think it was called 'la mouche'. It was the first club experience for this old dude in a couple years, to tell you the truth.

Now, when I was a young man, back in the Calgary university days, I used to go to clubs because it was where the girls were and where the beers were cheap sometimes and where the music was loud and you could just be a fool and whatever went.

I went tonight because that's where everyone from the Christmas party was going and after basically sneaking into the place because I wasn't dressed like a cast member from the Jersey Shore and therefore deemed acceptable for entrance, I had a confrontation with a bouncer about the toque I was wearing. He told me to take it off and put it in the sleeve of my coat, which by that point had been coat-checked behind a line of three or four people. I thought his request was retarded and I stuffed the toque into my jeans pocket. He still wouldn't let me pass, even though I had paid my $12 cover. So I asked my friend to put it in her purse and she obliged. But old doorman, who hasn't had a thought for himself in the past decade I assume, said that was unacceptable, and I needed to put the toque in my coat. And that's when I realized how pointless the stupid game I was playing was, and so I stuffed it in another friends' purse when he wasn't looking and walked in.

Really, it's that kind of mindless conformity and enforcing of trivial rules that make clubs so ridiculous and I sort of realized why I hadn't gone to 'une boite' (what Quebecois call the club) in such a long time.

Anyhow, I had a zillion rants and raves about the evening and the goofy encounters and mating rituals I witnessed tonight, but at this point, I'm dead tired (and a wee bit tipsy) and I want to go to sleep.

So here's a song I've been listening to a lot lately, instead.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

did you know?

Did you know that cotton candy is known as 'barbe a papa' in Quebec?

Loosely translated, that means daddy's beard.

I've always thought cotton candy was pretty disgusting in the first place, what with its taste and texture and sugary content and association with carnies.

But now it's got an added perverseness and Freudian creepiness to it that I never thought possible. I'll never look at young French kids eating cotton candy the same way again. (Hold up a second, it's not like I was looking at young French kids eating cotton candy in the first place.)

Note: Apparently in Australia, they call cotton candy 'fairy floss.'

Oil Can's All-Stars: #4

I admit, it's been a while since I've done one of these. However, there are a few perfectly legitimate reasons to why that is.

First and most importantly, I have been incommunicado with our friend Oil Can Boyd. Last I heard, he was traveling to Copenhagen with a contingent of ballplayers to lobby world governments to do something about climate change, because he believes -- from what he's seen in computer models (and the film 2012) -- that more unpredictable weather could have adverse effects on the planet and the people inhabiting it, but most of all, that could cause more rained-out games.

Second, the Can and I did not realize how much we were biting the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, when we started the team. Simmons has a plethora of name all-star teams like this, which include black guys who have white guy names, white guys who have black guy names and such. I've been reading Simmons on ESPN.com since my second or third of university, when I was but a young, naive procrastinator, who could sprout nary a hair on his baby smooth face and really, there is no excuse to the swagger jacking.

Seriously, I didn't realize how bad we were biting, but since reading his epic The Book of Basketball, which contains at least 10 other quasi all-star teams, I figured no harm no foul and there would be no detriment in continuing our list of the goofiest names in professional sports.

For those new to the site, we've already named three members to this squad, in various elaborate and expensive and magnanimous unveilings.

The members are:

1. Tree Rollins
2. Cool Papa Bell
3. Boof Bonser.

So for those keeping track at home, that's two baseball players and a basketballer. Well, today we're about to add a hockey player to this list...

Without further ado, the fourth member of Oil Can's All-Star, brought to you by the Jung & Walker hot sauce company, is...


Brett Festerling!!!

Yes, yes. Brett Festerling. Now I know what you're thinking (because I can read your mind!!!) who the hell is Brett Festerling?

I was thinking the same thing, really, when I watched the Canucks fall to the last-place Ducks last night. Well, Brett Festerling is a 23-year-old defenseman for the Anaheim Ducks, who was born in Quesnel, B.C. He hasn't scored a goal yet in his 40-game NHL career.

He's a shut down d-man, who was formerly captain of the Vancouver Giants, who lost a chance to represent the WHL in the Memorial Cup in 2006-07, after losing the Medicine Hat Tigers in seven games.

I couldn't find much else of interest on Festerling, other than he's apparently dating a girl from B.C., who some anonymous poster on talk-sports.net said he partied with at Wakefest a couple years ago and who, he thinks, was a "really nice girl."

But that's beside the point. What I find really interesting about this guy is his last name.

Festerling! Are you kidding me? How does this name originate? Was there a caveman way back when who had gangrene or something and his friends and neighbours, when humans were sufficiently intelligent to dole out names, voted that said Mr. Putrefying Caveman should be labelled Festerling?

I don't know, but I love it.

Just break down the meaning of the name.

To fester means to rot or to putrefy. The suffix -ling denotes a person who is concerned with something.

So basically, Brett is concerned with rotting.

What is it like when someone in his family has a baby?

"Awwww, look at that adorable little Festerling..."

"He's definitely got his father's mandible."

Sounds like the name that should be given to the spawn of the giant extra-terrestrials in Alien, or the name of the furry balls that spew out from angry Gremlins.

Fucking Festerling, man.

Brilliant.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

slingin hiccups

Good afternoon that looks a lot like evening, friends.

How you been keeping during these darkest of December days?

Not very well? Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.

What's that? It's worse? You're lacking energy? Well shoot, I'm sure it will come back to you.

Sorry, I didn't catch that. You what? You haven't been outdoors in weeks and haven't bathed in longer and you are surrounded by bottles full of your own urine because your indoor plumbing has completely frozen up?

Yikes, don't know how to help with that.

But... I may have a way to heat up your days a bit.

Fret no longer my friends, for there is a cure to what ails you and an elixir that will spice up your life and scorch away the palette of blandness that drags down your days.

That's right, folks! Jung, the man you followed through South East Asia, has bottled up all his considerable knowledge and experience and it can be yours. Jung, aka TobasKO, and his equally seasoned cohort, have come up with a Caribbean Mango Pepper Sauce that will literally knock your socks off.

(Note: I can no longer wear socks while using this hot sauce. They've blown holes through every last pair.)

While this blog has never been used to sling anything other than lingo, this is a product I vouch for. I've been using this stuff with everything: steaks, chicken, popsicles, cereal, coffee and sometimes as toothpaste. While I'm sure Jung & Walker would not recommend using it as a plaque fighter (nor does my dentist) they sure as hell know how to brew some sauce.

But don't take my word for it, take Jung's:

Made with only the finest Jamaican scotch bonnet peppers, mango and pineapple! This recipe was almost two years in the making when we finally felt it was good enough to share with everyone.

If you like hot sauce, then you’ve got to try a bottle of our Caribbean Mango Pepper Sauce, the first creation from the guys at Jung and Walker.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!!

Jung & Walker

With Christmas coming up, and everyone from Halifax to Victoria feeling the chill of Old Man Winter, what better way to break the ice than with a bottle of Caribbean Mango Pepper Sauce from your favourite globe-trotter.

Visit www.sweatinghiccups.com to place your order.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

i am a victim of discrimination -- and i want some money

During my time at the Yellowknifer, I wrote enough stories about the Human Rights Commission -- adjudication hearings, rulings, the complaints process, etc. -- to get a decent enough handle on what counts as discrimination, these days.

Now I've already described one experience I've had in Montreal that made me want to call up my local Human Rights Commission to see what kind of case I had, when I was aghast while searching for an apartment to see landlords and leaseholders were looking for all sorts of specific people to rent out a room to. Requests ranged from students to vegans to people who do dishes and people able to pay the rent.

What nerve!

Ultimately, I decided against the complaint, as I found an indiscriminate place, with roommates willing to overlook all those outrageous characteristics. (And I've still provided rent, which proves how good a guy I am and how sick it is that anyone could ever discriminate against me.)

But recent events have led me to once again consider filing a human rights complaint against certain people, whom I seem to encounter every day and whom I believe act discriminately toward me on each occasion.

It happens without exception outside the Berri-UQAM metro station in Centre-Ville, whether it's early in the morning before the sun is up, or late in the day, when the metro is minutes from closing up shop.

Whenever I walk into the entrance lobby on St. Catherine and Rue Berri, one of the many drug pushers walks up to me and asks me if I need anything.

Seems harmless, you're thinking? How is that discrimination? Well, I'll tell you. The riff-raff never asks the person in front of me. They will walk right past the old lady with a cane or small child with a backpack like they aren't even there and they'll ask me if I'm good. I am obviously appalled. If I had a monocle, I'd take it out of my eye in disgust and ash my cigarette (being held, of course, in one of those foot-long holders) and say "My word."

When I get inside the lobby, just to be sure I've been singled out, I'll look back outside, and sure enough they'll leave a blind person with a seeing-eye dog be.

It's fucking discrimination, man!

I'm being profiled. It's terrible. It's affecting my livelihood and my reputation.

Because of this persistent prejudice, I look around self-consciously as I approach the station every day and am traumatized by what people must think of me when they see these dudes speak with me. I lay in anguish every night, picturing my next interaction with these dealers, who line up outside the metro station like a red-rover line that I have to smash through to get home, and fear that those around must be labeling me a drug fiend when I share two words with these sordid folk. I have no chance at a political career anymore. Pretty girls just shake their heads in disgust when they walk by. Parents grab their kids by their hands and pull them closer and tell them not to wind up like that guy, looking at me with shame.

I take this shame home with me.

Why do they come to me? Is it my unshaven face? Is it my shoes in disrepair? Is it the broken zippers or rip in the jeans?

In any case, I'm feeling a diminished sense of self-esteem and self-worth, as I am being judged to be in need of what these guys are selling. I don't see them asking the successful suits or the well-to-do students, who also pour into the building en masse, all the time. It's just me, it seems.

My quality of life is being adversely affected.

And you know what? I want some loss of dignity money, dang-nabbit! I think I deserve it.

I think next time one of these dudes asks me if I need something, I'll say "Yes, I do. I need to file a human rights complaint against you and collect some of that government scrilla."

Because we all know if there is anything that restores dignity, it's a stuffed wallet.

Monday, December 14, 2009

justin townes earle -- south georgia sugar babe


Found a video of a song from Justin Townes Earle's opening set at the Dan Auerbach show I was lucky enough to see in November.

Thought I'd pass it along for the heck of it.

Dude does look like a cross between Ed Helms (Andy from the Office) and Steve-O, doesn't he?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

fleet foxes -- tiger mountain peasant song

Perfect song. Absolutely.


I truly believe the Fleet Foxes are the Beach Boys turned away from the beach and made to live secluded in the woods.

I went out skating tonight beneath massive fireworks and amongst even more massive humanity and even though it was nowhere near cold outside, listening to this makes me warmer. So there you have it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"No Olympics on Stolen Native Land!"

I just returned from the Olympic Torch Relay event down at the Old Port, here in snowy Montreal.

A stage was set up in Place Jacques-Cartier to celebrate the torch's arrival and while Olympic and Coca-Cola and RBC organizers rushed to get everything in place, about 200 hundred-or-so protesters crammed into the area in front of the stage with tubas and trumpets and drums and tambourines and made it known that they did not support the games and the money being spent on them and the land being appropriated for highways and games infrastructure and the scary amount of privacy being lost in Vancouver under games legislation that allows peoples' homes to be searched for anti-Olympic and anti-Olympic sponsor material.

They were there to Shame the Flame.

Me? I didn't know.

Let me begin by saying long ago, I was a demented little national sports freak and I literally leapt for joy when the Olympics rolled around. I would never cheer harder than for any athlete who wore the red and white and represented our country. I'd wake up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings -- and even weekdays!!! -- and sit in front of the television slurping sugary cereal and watch our rowers compete in Barcelona, or biathletes in Lillehammer, and whenever one of our athletes won a medal, I would rejoice and watch the replays of their races or events and their medal ceremonies over and over, and then run over to my sports page, which held the medal counts and update them with my pen as they were updated on the TV. I thought Silken Laumann and her gigantic gums and teeth were the greatest, and Myrian Bedard and Sylvie Frechette deserved to be pictured on our money and Michael Smith was the world's greatest athlete and I had a major crush on Joanne Malar.

There are only a few 'I remember exactly where I was when that happened' moments in my life so far, but when Donovan Bailey stormed back after a terrible start and won gold and broke the 100m world record in Atlanta, after a race that was mired with false starts and bizarre drama -- so much that I felt like I was going to vomit -- I remember jumping up and down on my couch and screaming at the top of my lungs on that sunny July day and nearly scaring the shit out of my sister, who was down the apartment hall outside and ran to our door to see what happened.

In so many words, I was an Olympic junkie.

But something turned along the way. It may be that I'm getting old and I see the economics that come into play with events of this size and perhaps realize in what areas OUR money could be better spent to serve us. Or it could be that I don't believe in the 'Olympic spirit' anymore, where it's all become about picking up sponsorship dollars and less emphasis is put on sport. It may be that I'm cynical that everyone is doping, while less and less are getting caught, as the designer drugs stay ahead of the designer detectors. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm not even sure the world's best athletes are competing, since to be able to make the games, you have to live a fairly privileged life and come from a privileged background (ski passes aren't cheap). So so many can't afford to train all their lives. And the winter games are even worse, because pretty much each event requires buying equipment and having access to expensive facilities, something which many unfortunately don't have. Who knows, the world's best speedskater may be living in Paraguay?

So while I will cheer like mad during the hockey tournament, and probably throughout the rest of the games because I am a gigantic sports fan, the Olympics clearly has lost its innocence, at least to me.

But am I against the Olympic Games and was I ready to protest a torch relay?

The people protesting made some great points about how the money being spent putting on the Olympics would be better spent on social institutions or on building houses. The protesters rallied against the police taking homeless from downtown Vancouver and trying to quick-fix clean-up the downtown East Side. They also said the security budget for the games was approaching $1 billion, and would leave a legacy of Closed-Circuit TV cameras to keep an eye on the city's residents.

And they played the tuba and yelled catchy chants and beat drums and it was all very funky and I would start to shuffle my feet and nod my head and it kind of felt like a party. And when the music stopped, everyone put their black noisemaker thingees in the air and it sounded like a bunch of geese honking at the same frequency. I moved closer and closer and wanted to join in. I was moving in. I was starting to see the Olympics for all it is...

But then the protesters started in on their sexy issue and I backed off.

"No Olympics on Stolen Native Land!"

Obviously, I'm against this as well. Highways and infrastructure are going up on land that Canada hasn't settled with First Nations in B.C. and that's definitely wrong. But call me crazy, I really felt there was something very hypocritical going on at that rally tonight, with a bunch of white people chanting their displeasure about the Olympics happening on "stolen native land". I mean, when you look at it, wasn't the protest happening on stolen native land? Who were these people to complain about something happening on stolen native land? Isn't the school they study at built on stolen native land, along with their houses and the houses of their parents and grandparents, if you really look at it?

And where were all these people championing this cause before the Olympics were given to Vancouver? I suppose it's great that this issue is getting publicity now, but to me, this protest seemed like something people were doing because it was popular. I wondered how many would still speak up about this after the games were over.

So I backed off. A lady came by and handed me a pamphlet and when I pointed out the contradiction, she brought up the unsettled land argument and said it was literally getting stolen. I couldn't help but think about the land claims North of 60 and seeing how, often times, the government does not hold up their end of the agreement, which sort of makes me wonder what settling the claim even really means.

The chanting kept on and kept on and some girls gave me a sticker with a smile and the police moved in to try to move the protesters who held their ground and kept chanting "No Olympics on Stolen Native Land" and eventually I just couldn't get over the hypocrisy and so I left, and walking away, past the Coca-Cola and RBC tents, I saw a bunch of kids with their parents, bundled up, hoping to see the Olympic torch, which still represented pride and hard-work and excellence, not the greed, corruption and consumerism it does for us. And the kids could barely see over the hoopla down in front of the stage.

Not that it really bothered me, either. But at the end of the day, I found I wanted to protest the games, but not because it was something sexy to do.

So I walked away from it all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

moment of clarity with adam carolla

it should come as snow surprise

Now I don't want to piss off any Northerners who read this, but I just lived through my first snowless November and to tell you the truth, I was turning a little batty. While the days flew by in a barely-distinguishable flurry and the darkness came earlier and earlier, not one flake of snow touched the ground and I was starting to wonder if what I was experiencing was real. How can it be 16 degrees in the last week of November? It's not possible.

Well, winter has arrived at last and while the first major snowfall usually leaves me depressed or rueful, this year, to be honest, I'm relieved. It was as if there was an itchiness inside my chest cavity that could only be scratched with an ice-scraper. From my kitchen window with a cup of coffee, I'm watching clusters of inanimate flakes scatter around in the lulling wind like pollen and I'm sighing. It's been snowing for hours now and there is a good foot of the sticky stuff sitting upon just about everything: the steps and railings of the fire escapes that wind up each of the brick buildings in my neighbourhood, the clock on the Molson Brewery building that's barely visible in the distance and the cars dormant in the parking lot in the alley behind my apartment.

I just took a walk and realized what effect snow like this has on a city.

I don't know if it's due to all the flakes taking up space in the air and if perhaps they muffle soundwaves by their existing, but the city is much quieter. I don't know if it's the fog and decreased visibility a heavy snowfall like this produces but it appeared three-quarters of the population had disappeared.

The city is just so much cleaner. Gone was the garbage and the puke puddles and the yelling and the honking horns.

The people who asked me for money yesterday had shovels in their hands.

I walked into a restaurant and in my happy cloud, ordered a cheeseburger and donair and one of those kids'-only, over-sugared grape drinks, and when I sat down to eat, I actually smiled and enjoyed the Anne Murray Christmas song that was playing on the radio. (Unforgivable, I know.)

The African cabbies that line up along St. Hubert were taking the snowfall seriously, dressing up in hyperbole, with parkas, mitts, scarves, large fur hats, and wiping the accumulating snow off their cabs each time they idled after struggling and slipping into the next spot in line following the first in line taking a fare. They'll figure out eventually that whenever it snows, it usually means it's warmer out.

When I got back, I threw my soaked socks in the laundry. My roommate came home. He isn't used to any of this, and he asked me what you are supposed to do with your shoes and socks and pants after coming inside on a day like this. Roll 'em up, I said. My friend from Australia has been excited for -- and shit-scared of -- this day for the past two months and it was one of the reasons she came to Montreal. I've been building it up, while also saying it's nothing major, for just as long, like I'm some sort of expert.

Coming from the North, I never thought the sight of snow would ever make me feel anything but disappointment. I never once thought I'd ever take snow for granted. Yet there I was, just last week, wondering when the hell I could strap on some skates and play some pond hockey or do some ice-fishing with my boss. I felt uneasy with Christmas fast approaching and no snowmen or toboggans around.

I may regret saying this in a month's time, but I have to admit, Snow, I'm happy to see ya.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

when did this happen to us?

I, not unlike many, have been fascinated by the mayhem and the ceaseless barrage of stories surrounding the sordid life of one Tiger Woods over the past week and a half. But the whole thing also makes me feel sick and sort of like I'm a perverted voyeur.

I've followed the thing with my hands over my eyes, peaking through a crack in my fingers. From the bizarre initial story, where he smashed into a fire hydrant and tree in his gated community going no faster than 20 mph, whereupon his wife, acting heroically we were told, smashed the rear window of his SUV to save him, to the new revelations of his "transgressions", I've watched with a giggle.

We all know about all this because we've all been watching. Turns out Tiger has quite a voracious appetite for the flesh (I never thought he liked playing Skins that much, really) with more than four ladies going public with stories of romance with the world's greatest golfer (including one chick who said Tiger brought her back to his place in Florida one night after a tournament, where the two had 'unprotected' sex. Do we really need to know that Tiger went Raw Daddy? Here I always thought he put a head-cover on his driver.).

Also, it appears his wife, in fact, was not smashing his window in a bid to save Tiger, but most likely she was chasing him or at least smashed up the ride in anger. Now there are suspicions Tiger was drunk when he was driving (I KNEW IT!).

The whole story has not only blemished his reputation (although I thought he was kind of douchey in the first place) and has spurred thousands of jokes, but has once again made me sad at what now constitutes sports news.

(Before I continue, I have to write that when I spoke to my dad on the phone last night, he recited a good half dozen jokes off the top of his head:

"What's the difference between a car and a golf ball?
Tiger Woods can drive a golf ball 300 yards."

"Why did Tiger hit a fire hydrant AND a tree?
Because he didn't know whether to choose a wood or an iron."

Ahhh... Good stuff.)

While I won't say I haven't enjoyed watching this story play out (because I have), I do believe we are falling further and further into a sick kind of depravity in our mainstream sports fandom.

Let me elaborate.

It's hard to argue when the life of the world's most successful, popular and richest athlete crumbles in front of our eyes, it doesn't constitute a sports story. But at what point does it stop becoming a sports story? Today, his mother in law was taken to the hospital. Why is that leading ESPN.com? I suppose we are all still in shock, since Tiger had concealed his personal life and his personality better than anyone since MJ. All we know about him is his chilly and nearly assholish competitiveness on the links, he has a temper with photographers and fans, and he had a super-devoted father, who shoved a golf club in his son's hands before his first steps.

But the non-stop, CNN-Situation-Room-Style coverage given this story, along with the daily stream of headlines about other athlete screw-ups makes me take pause. The other major story in the sports sphere on the day Woods sliced his SUV into the trees was Ron Artest's admission that he used to drink alcohol before NBA games (and during halftime, even). Again, this is a story, but it was front page news on sports websites.

At some point in my life, the game being played on the field, court or ice surface began to play second fiddle to what athletes were doing when they weren't competing. I honestly can say I barely remember opening up the Edmonton Journal Sports page when I was a kid and reading a story about an athlete getting a speeding ticket or a DUI. I only remember events like Mike Tyson going to prison for rape and Michael Irvin getting busted with hookers and blow in a hotel room. That's pretty much it.

Nowadays, the sports page is filled with the personal and off-the-field activities of athletes. And the internet is worse. Seriously, go have a look at any mainstream sports website and I guarantee there are at least two or three stories about DUIs, a controversial quote or some kind of pending charge against an athlete.

In the past week or so, I've seen stories about Adrian Peterson -- and later that week, a teammate of his -- getting nabbed for a speeding ticket. David Stern tells a reporter that he believes women will play in the NBA in 10 years, and LeBron James is asked the question, where he respectfully disagrees. ESPN.com puts that on their front page in the headlines box, a tiny little article trolling for backlash and baiting readers to blow the issue up. Andy Murray's girlfriend tells the media she can't deal with her husband's 7-hour-a-day computer RPG habit. And at least once a day, someone in the sports world says something dumb, or sexist, or racist, or controversial, and then the next day, there is a story about how incredulous an affected group is, and the next day there is an apology. What does this have to do with sport? We don't elect these people to play professionally. Sure, they sort of represent us to a degree, because we may cheer for them or because we idolize them and because we pay tickets to see them, but do they really deserve that kind of scrutiny and should their personal mistakes really be made that public? Many players are far from academics and scores come from difficult backgrounds, and are under pressure every night in front of millions of people. They are bound to make mistakes.

It's a beef I have with sports media now. While I'm sure all these quotes are entertaining and these extracurricular blunders are definitely not to be forgiven, I do wish more sports writing focused on the games and the dynamic in the locker room. I mean, that's what a sportswriter should give the reader, because they have access to that place and we don't. Anyone can write up a story about an athlete blowing over 0.08. It's lazy. I have found a few places I'll stop by now to read up on my favorite teams, but it seems you really have to search now and nothing you find on television or any of the mainstream sports websites is of any interest to the actual sports fan.

I want to read about interactions between teammates on my teams, or the dynamics in the dressing room of a winning team or losing team, and what makes a leader. I want to know what makes the special players special, and the characteristics that make some transcendent.

Everything that's written now is about building up an athlete or destroying them. Often, it has little to do with how they perform during gametime.

And if it's not personal crises, it's player transactions and rumours about players coming and going which generate more ink than what the players do on the court. Now this may have to do with the rise of fantasy sports, and everyone considering themselves a GM, but again, it overshadows what happens on the court.

For instance, while LeBron James, a player who has all the skill and physical gifts to be the greatest basketball player of all time, is reaching his prime, all the media has talked about for the past three years is where he'll end up when his contract expires in 2010. Whether it will be New York or Miami or Chicago or L.A. Will he eschew Cleveland to play in a bigger market? He is asked the question in every city he visits, every comment -- often taken out of context -- on his future results in a front page headline on ESPN.com, and it has led to thousands of columns and frothy talk radio discussions. But lost in all of this talk is James' present-day play, where he's doing things only paralleled by a few players in history. It's like nothing from the present is allowed to be spoken about, which means anything happening in the present is lost as all that matters is establishing the player's legacy or trying to figure out who the next LeBron James will be.

Once in PoliSci class in University, during a discussion about sports, some dude in the back of the room called them a distraction, saying they kept people focused on things that ultimately didn't matter and away from what was really important and happening in the world.

That made me very angry, as a lifelong sports fan. I find inspiration in performances like Steve Yzerman's 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where he led the Wings to a Cup on one leg. I love how sports can bring people together like nothing else, whether it's a playoff run or World Cup victory. I see how lessons taken from team sports about sacrifice, playing a role, selflessness, hard-work, dedication and co-operation are transferrable to life. And fuck it, I love watching Dywane Wade soar into the air and throw a dunk down on a helpless opponent, or Jonathan Toews making two defensemen look foolish before tucking the puck behind the goalie, and watching the most athletic, co-ordinated and talented beings on this planet do things that were previous unimaginable.

But with the way these off-the-court activities are starting to take precedent and the way I've been distracted by Tiger Woods' self-destruction, the more I'm beginning to believe that dude in my PoliSci class was right.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

tiger woods goes r. kelly

Props to Bill Simmons for throwing this link up on his Twitter account.

I want to chime in on all the hoopla, but to be honest, I never really liked Tiger. So I'm kind of basking in this. I'll have something later.

Until then, enjoy.

pastime building steam

So as I've written more than once in the past, one of the things I really enjoy is picking up little bits in songs on the radio or wherever that some of my favourite artists have used as samples.

Today I learned there is an entire website devoted to this:

And now I'll officially kiss this day goodbye (no work today, in case you were wondering.)

And again, I want to reiterate that sampling is not stealing. If you don't agree, please have a look at the Nas - Illmatic section:

The DJ Shadow section:

The DJ Premier section:

The J Dilla/Slum Village section:

The Madvillain section:

Oldies:

They created something completely new from these long forgotten songs. And now hearing those old songs, I want to pick them up and give them a listen.

Shit, I was only going to put one or two, but got lost on here. I need to get up. Ouch, my back is sore. I've been doing this for like two hours.

Empire State of Mind -- Jay-Z (sorry folks, but Alicia Keys really isn't playing that piano!)

What happened to the day?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

riddle me this

Why isn't there an iPhone application that can tell you if your lunch meat has gone bad?

(Note: I don't have an iPhone... but maybe I would if it had the lunch meat application.)

Fer fuck sakes. Guess I'm just going to have to let my stomach decide this one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

asleep at the wheel

Coach put me back in the line-up. After being a healthy scratch for 29 dang days -- and nearly asking for my release in order to test free agency -- I'm back at work and back on the road. Left early for Ottawa Monday and earlier for Quebec City today, to toil on rooftops in the snow (FINALLY) and wind and quick-to-arrive darkness.

The days are long, but made longer by the daily commutes. Two hours each way to Ottawa, three each way to Quebec City. So I'm up at 5, on the train at 5:30 (with about a thousand other sad six a.m. sacks) and in my co-worker's van by 6 to get into Quebec by 9ish. I try not to sleep in the passenger seat, so the driver next to me doesn't do the same. And we've been cool so far.

(Note: Kids, you may not want to read ahead. But I think Santa may have a tough time getting around this winter, since I saw two of his reindeer laying on the side of the road. Lots of death this morning.

KIDS! I told you not to read ahead.

Ummm... well nothing to worry about, you'll get your toys. Santa's gonna be okay. So will his reindeer. I'm sure they were just taking naps... in puddles of strawberry jam.)

Before leaving Quebec City tonight, I told my Columbian co-worker I could drive because I felt shitty that he always had to do it and he obliged.

Bad idea. I've never fought as hard to stay awake in my (lucky-to-still-own) life.

Now I've driven 20 hours straight to Calgary from Yellowknife before, I did 11 hours overnight from the Quebec/Maine border to just about Halifax a couple months ago, and a handful of late night, ill advised drives through B.C., but honestly, I've never conked out before. Before tonight.

I was listening to the radio -- a story about a guy nearly getting crush by a car that drove through his drycleaner shop on As It Happens -- and I was watching the two red lights on the back of the semi in front of me, in the darkness, and watched as they began to run from beside to between a solid white line. Turns out that was the shoulder.

I just went. I didn't slowly fall asleep or anything, but I just slipped, my eyes crossed a little, my face probably looked like an infant pushing stool, and I snapped to it when the passenger-side wheels ran over the serrated strip on the side of the highway. If not for that, I'm sure I'd be in a ditch right now, spooning Bambi, in my own puddle of berry marmalade.

I totally understand how people fall asleep at the wheel now. I've slept 5 real hours in the past three days and I didn't want to touch a coffee tonight before the drive -- even though I needed one -- because I knew it would affect me when I got home. I watched myself let attention drift from the road to the radio or the road lines or lights and then SHIT!!! snap back and jerk the wheel. I fought it hard, mon! At least a dozen times. And the whole time, my co-worker slept next to me. Maybe he was dreaming pleasant things, keeping our karmic balance intact and battling my attention deficit and disorder to coax the ride back into its lane.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

26 games in


It's 12:30 a.m. and I need to get up early tomorrow for work. But with the caffeine of countless coffees still coursing through my veins and after watching a pretty sloppy Vancouver loss tonight, I feel the need to chime in with my thoughts on the Canucks squad after 26 games.

We're 14 - 12 so far, which puts us in a tie for 9th in the Western Conference, I believe, with Detroit and Columbus, and three points behind 8th place Phoenix. The Wings and Jackets each have a game in hand on us, while the Coyotes have played one more.

I don't entirely know what to think about the Canucks right now. Their play leaves me with more unanswered questions than Tiger Woods' statement on his late night driving activities. With Daniel and Luongo back from injury, I thought we'd go on a nice little tear, and while we did put two wins together before tonight, it still feels like something is missing with this team.

Not to nitpick and try to find fault in a four-goal victory, but I wasn't really all that impressed with the Canucks in their 7-3 win over the Oilers, Saturday night. Edmonton is clearly in free-fall mode, as it looked like there were only a handful of guys (Penner, Brule, Potulny, Stortini) willing to battle. (Note: The Oil need to get rid of Gagner and O'Sullivan while the stocks for those uncompetitive bums are still relatively high and they should do everything they can to shovel off Horcoff and Staios for peanuts... and take the 'C' away from Moreau, who hasn't done anything as captain in the past three years.)

But on Saturday, I'd say only a handful of Canucks looked hungry and tonight, I saw the same thing. While the Sharks are a bigger team, the Canucks shied away from the physicality and I really only saw Bernier out there hitting people. I'd say he was one of the only noticeable Canucks out there, along with the Sedins, who owned the puck whenever they were on the ice and Raymond, who was wreaking havoc all over the place with his speed. I still wish the Sedins would just shoot it a bit more.

I don't know if Kesler's still hurting from dislocating his finger Thursday morning, but his hands have definitely looked off in the last three games. He seems to be making the wrong decisions when shooting or passing and leading guys way too much when he does pass. While he did notch three assists on Saturday, they were all of the Crosby (first pass, not the set-up) variety. He is one of the only guys hitting, but he hasn't had much of an impact lately as he did earlier this season, even though the broadcasters big upped him non-stop Saturday. I'm going to chalk it up to the finger.

Burrows has looked comfortable with the Sedins, but he didn't do much tonight. Aside from his goal, I thought Wellwood has looked awful the past three games and I'm not sure why he's playing so much. More than once I've seen him dog it toward a loose puck that he should have had, only to see the other team pick it up and start back the other way. Samuelsson hasn't created very much since he moved from playing with Henrik and there is no chemistry on the Samuelsson/Raymond/Kesler line right now.

Tanner Glass has been a pleasant surprise so far, but when he's one of your more noticeable guys, that's probably not a good thing.

The defense, while picking it up offensively, has really been shoddy in their own zone. Tonight, there were too many turnovers to count and they looked a little hesitant to win the puck in their zone, knowing the big-bodied Sharks would come in and crush them. I know it was their second game in two nights, but that's really something Vancouver needs to start doing to their opponents.

Kevin Bieksa really needs a kick in his ass. I don't know how he gets away with being so laissez-faire in his own zone. He just coasts out from behind his net, like a 55-year-old Oldtimers' player, and tries some ridiculous cross-ice pass, which gets picked off 90 percent of the time. It's infuriating. When he's on his game, he's knocking people around and throwing the other team off with his unpredictable and unconventional passing, but now, he looks bored out there.

The most discomforting part of the Canucks right now though, at least to me, is what's supposed to be our strong point: goaltending.

I don't know why, but Roberto Luongo does not seem to be himself lately. Granted, he is coming back from an injury so he may not be back yet, but when you are supposed to be the best goaltender in the world, you need to steal a game every once in a while, and honestly, I can't remember him doing that in quite some time. He's actually been outplayed more often than not. He's been solid but he doesn't seem to command the crease like he did two years ago, where he was never out of position, and when he read the play better than anyone else on the planet. This year, his highlight reel saves come on lucky, last ditch efforts, which has never been the case with him. Also, he's looking around after routine shots, unsure of where the puck is, and he doesn't have the rebound control of old. To tell you the truth, I thought Andrew Raycroft played better in his brief stint as starter than Luongo has this year.

This is not to say that Luongo needs to be benched or anything, but I don't think he's up at where he should be. He's not playing to his standard and I don't know whether it's a confidence thing.

Right now, I'd be shocked if he was chosen as Canada's starter at the Olympics. And based on his play this year, I'm not entirely sure I'd even name him one of the top three. (Brodeur is a lock, based on experience, and Fleury should be too, since he's led his team to the Finals in back-to-back years. While Luongo has always been called the best goalie in the world, he's never led a team to the Conference Finals or won a Vezina. And he's already been traded twice. I'm just saying.)

The team's powerplay has been clicking, as the Sedins really are hitting their offensive prime, I think. Erhoff has also been a great addition for the powerplay, and having Schneider gives them a quarterback on their second unit.

The penalty killing will improve, once Luongo turns the corner, although I'm really nervous about our defense in our own zone this year. There isn't one guy from those six that doesn't make me nauseous when he has the puck in our end.

If I have four gripes about the year so far it's that (1) the team isn't physical enough, (2) the defense is coughing up the puck too often -- or the forwards aren't in position and getting the puck out of the zone -- (3) the team can't put together a second period -- either giving a lead away or falling into a bigger hole -- (4) and the fact that GM Place has to be one of the lamest crowds in the league. I'm sorry, but enough of the "(insert opponent name) sucks!" chants and the momentum and energy that becomes a pin-drop on a dime's notice, whenever something bad happens. Canucks fans need to start cheering about the little things and make it a real home-ice advantage.

All in all, the Canucks season is far from a write-off, and I still think they will make the playoffs and contend for the division title. I just hate how difficult it is these days to make up ground with all the three-point games out there, and especially since the Canucks have yet to gain a point in overtime. If they ever get everyone going at the same time, I believe they are still a Cup contender, but judging from what I've seen so far, it may be a little too lofty an expectation.

We'll see.

Prediction: Canucks wind up 6th in West.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

en francais

Last night I went to a party and spent the entire night speaking in French. Minor victory.

To date, this blog has been exclusively in English and it will continue to be that way. But since I'm truly committed to becoming fluently bilingual, I feel I should be fair and at least provide some kind of French content on here.

Also, I'm lazy.

So with that said, I'll just share a couple sweet youtube videos that my coloc Pabs has shown me during the many marathon youtube sessions that have gone down in the kitchen.

Bon appetit!


Imposter Remi Gaillard gets past security and celebrates with a championship team.

Friday, November 27, 2009

out of the woods?


Tiger gets in an early morning car crash. Single vehicle style. On an empty street.

Interesting.


While alcohol is not believed to be a factor (at this point) is it still cool if I try to be the first to drop down a stay-out-of-the-trees joke?

Okay, here's a shot...

Outside Tiger's home, 2:25 a.m., Nov. 27 as Tiger takes a right-hand turn.
Commentator David Feherty: "Oooh, this one's starting out left and... it looks like Tiger's heading for the trees."
Commentator Gary McCord: "This is not good for Tiger."
Woods escapes from his SUV, after the one car incident and talks with his wife, telling her the tree came out of nowhere.
McCord: "Not a terrible lie."
Police show up at scene.
McCord: "...but he may not be out of the woods yet."

Note: I'm an asshole.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

number one

It hasn't snowed today and while it isn't raining, I think I caught a glimpse of what I might expect at the old Berri-UQAM Metro station once winter arrives.

Last night, the Etat d'Urgence event kicked off in the park beside the Metro station. I live about two blocks -- or a five minute walk -- from the station. The area is straddled between one of the city's bus stations and a large homeless shelter, as well as being at the tail end of the gay village.

Since I arrived here, I've noticed that it's pretty much ground-zero for homelessness in the city. Groups of people sit or lay around the park all day. I used to hit up a cafe on the corner of St. Hubert and St. Catherine until I became frustrated with the drunks who would make scenes, yell or knock stuff at least once every time I sat and tried to read and have a coffee. It is rare that someone doesn't try to sell me dope when I leave the metro and I would say, on average, I get asked for change about five times from my train to my front door.

I'm not trying to sound annoyed here, but just telling you how it is.

The Etat d'Urgence is being put on by a collective of socially concerned artists to try to raise awareness about the startling poverty of some residents in this city and to counteract the neglect the homelessness issue is being given by the media and politicians. Circus performers are putting on shows, workshops are being held, bands are playing all night, movies are being played and free meals will be provided to anyone who needs one.

Now I don't know if this is some kind of ploy to garner even more attention, but the area has become very weird, even by its own standards, in the past 24 hours. Last night's post, I think, tried to highlight that, but then today, on my way to the library, I witnessed something that shocked me right out of myself.

As I got off the escalator that goes underground at the St. Catherine corner of the Berri-UQAM stop, after watching the man in front of me with a garbage bag slung over his shoulder search a garbage can for recyclable cans, I turned around the corner to see a young lady with short, bleached-blond hair, sort of bent forward against the wall, with a bare butt cheek exposed from the side. Her face was hidden, and I would probably have looked away immediately out of embarrassment, but I couldn't tell what she was doing. I thought she might be about to vomit, the way she was sort of teetering forward, a little off balance. She wore black jeans and a striped red and black sweater under a black jean jacket.

So I'm walking past, still staring, and all of a sudden, there is this gush of water coming out from between her legs and onto her hands and a hat she's holding. This was at 5 o'clock p.m. and while it wasn't full-on rush hour yet, there were just enough people in the hall so you could notice something like this without it becoming lost in the crowd.

The gushing continued until there was a puddle on the ground below her. The girl never once looked up or made a sound.

I didn't stop and do anything or say anything. I just kept walking. And all I heard were people swearing under their breath.

And I don't know if the problem in the area has become more pronounced because needy people are flocking here from all over for the free meals, but considering what I saw today and the fact that a guy pulled a knife on my roommate earlier this week after taking his phone from his hands, I'm starting to believe that we really are reaching a state of emergency.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

looney toon night

Still no snow and I'm wondering what effect it will have on my neighbourhood when it arrives.

Rain falls on St. Catherine tonight. But if it was snow, would the morphine addict who has been roaming the area for the past two months, scrounging for change and cups of coffee, still be roaring out at the top of her lungs, stopping traffic and shrieking at the honking drivers? Would she still be screaming at us, calling us 'Ghosts' with such contempt and disdain? And when she got us one-on-one, would she still politely ask us for change?

If the city was blanketed in snow, would the dealers still follow me outside as I leave the metro, hounding me for half a block to buy some hash or crack from them? Would the drunk man with the hockey stick still fire crumpled up beer cans at pedestrians while howling at the moon? Would the fattish, greyed man who stands outside the Italian restaurant all day, with a hat on his head and a hat in his hand, take his two-hatted act inside?

If it wasn't raining, but snow was billowing down on St. Catherine, would people still sleep on the street or in stairwells under bloody blankets? Would they still pull knives on people after they rob them, but stubbornly stick around and talk with them -- because maybe they just wanted someone to talk to -- until the police arrive and detain them?

I guess I'll know when it happens.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

...and some people don't like baseball... psshhh

Saw this on a friend's facebook page and had to share it. True story.

"What happened to yesterday?

I mean, what other sport could produce a story like this?

Golf, you say? Hmmm... That'd be interesting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

kermit sings the blues

Virus-ravaged Miss Piggy has been quarantined somewhere in some forgotten corner of Mexico, and my boy Kermit isn't taking it very well.

You know it's a damn good tune when even Kermit can sing it and you keep listening.

Don't know how many of you are Elliott Smith or Royal Tenebaum fans, but since I count myself both, I couldn't help but share this with you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

round-up

Is it a bad thing that when I heard the two words 'round-up', I'm conditioned to think Arby's?

Mmmm... Arby's. Looks disgusting, tastes delicious... for two bites.

Realization, I've been conditioned.

Moving along, it's been an eventful week or two here in Montreal and I'm not sure I should really write about all the happenings, so a few highlights, I suppose:

First, had a great visit with Patch, who flew over for almost a week after visiting his bro in Halifax. The first night we hit up probably the nastiest sushi joint I think I've ever visited (for those keeping track at home, I've now been to four sushi restaurants in my life, pretty much making me an expert) and after chasing down some sticky, puddy salmon with a few Tsing-Taos, we went down to try to score tickets for the Habs/Lightening game. We knew full-well the odds were against us getting seats, seeing as two of the highest profile French-Canadian hockey superstars were coming to town (Vinny Lecavelier, and Marty St. Louis), it was a Saturday night and Habs tix are notoriously difficult to find. We spent maybe a half an hour patrolling the entrances, dealing and negotiating with the scuzziest, lowest, lime-stain, patchouli greezeballs you can imagine (ticket scalpers). We finally settled and I saw my first game in the Bell Centre... in the restaurant downstairs. The prices they were looking for were egregious (yes, folks. Egregious) and we had just as good a time in the restaurant (meaning, we spent all the money we would have used for tickets on beers.)

Later, we met up with some friends of Patchies, went on multiple bike rides around the city (which should by now be a definite no-no, considering all that has happened when I mix drinks and two-wheeled, self-propelled vehicles), I sang 'Cinnamon Girl' with a girl named Angel (pronounced Un-gelle), cheered on Patch as he stole the show when he broke out the Vanilla Ice slide while two people were lamely singing "Ice, Ice Baby" and finally got into the trademark, late night argument with the man on the way home.

The next night, we went down to Le National and saw Dan Auerbach and the Fast Five. Auerbach is the man behind the Black Keys and my boy Drewsif put me onto his solo album this spring (much obliged.). The show was killer, not only because the man, Auerbach -- who I thought sort of looked like Mankind from the WWF (I refuse to call it WWE) -- plays with such passion, but his rhythm (what a weird looking word: rhythm) section was so unorthodox. They brought out two drum kits and at different points, the two drummers would wail out these mouse-trap-style beats, like they had to hit each drum on their kits in sequence before they could start over again. And when they weren't both playing kits, one guy with this long frizzy hair, would play a triangle or maracas like he was demented. If I was on mushrooms that night I'd still be having nightmares about him,

The tambourinist kills it!

Me and Patch had been gearing up for the song Mean Monsoon and it tore the place down. Unfortunately, it -- or the sushi from the night before -- hit me harder than I expected. Do you know before an avalanche starts and the pack breaks free, a pressure builds and a little slide happens on a layer up top? Well, that's exactly how my bowels felt at the end of that song. I could feel the on-coming mudslide! I ran like Usain Bolt's adopted pet and found the shitter and ripped off my pants just in time to let loose some of the foulest matter ever witnessed in our cosmos -- or any parallel universe for that matter. It was basically the feces equivalent of the slimy ticket scalpers outside the Bell Centre. I swear, the toilet water was bubbling like a witch's cauldron afterward. Either way, I thought I was going to die for about 10 minutes, whilst doubled over on the John, crying into my shoes. I was sweating like I'd just given birth -- or more appropriately, Satan's afterbirth. And the worst part? I could hear a couple other of my favourites from Auerbach, pounding through the wall. Finally, when I felt safe, I gingerly ventured back outside -- but not before suggesting a staff member call a priest or someone to exorcise that washroom. I probably looked like someone who'd just witnessed a massacre.

The openers were pretty cool that night. Jessica Lee Mayfield started things off and I immediately decided I wanted to marry her and move to an Alberta foothills town and sip coffee and whiskey and listen to her play guitar as storms rolled off the Rockies down onto the plains.

And Justin Townes Earle came up after, looking a little bit like Steve-O in appearance and tattoos, but also a little bit Steve Urkell, with the horned-rimmed glasses and tight jeans. The guy was pretty gimmicky for a bit, but damn could he belt out a tune, whether it was honky-tonk, folk or some old school, story-telling country. Turns out he's Steve Earle's son, too.

Went out after to the Distellerie, where we decided that Montreal is home to the highest concentration of pretty girls on the planet. Sorry, New York and London. You have quantity down, I'll give you that.

Next night, we went with my roommate and her friends to see a German techno DJ. I know, I know, what was old biberous doing seeing a German techno DJ? You're probably thinking people were shitting all over each other or something, right? Well, no actually. We danced (yeah, I know. I danced) for about two hours even though it was balmier than Kramer's lap in there. The night ended when the girls left because they had class the next morning.

I walked to meet Patch at the bar and made my way through a crowd of people. One guy wouldn't get out of my way and as I politely tried to push by, I felt a real steamy feeling on my neck and forced past. I got to the bar to see Darcy laughing like crazy.

"Did that guy just try to kiss me?"

He kept laughing. And laughed. So I started to laugh. Then we took a look around. We got out of there when we noticed that there weren't too many girls around. But a lot of guys.

All in all, it was fucking great to hang out with Patch and chat and eat and drink with a close bud. For the past three months, with all the coming and going, it felt like I hadn't been able to just sit back and feel completely comfortable in conversation, because it still feels like I'm always on my toes, while I try to get to know people. It was nice to not have to feel that for a couple days. Just what I needed. And great to catch up with the Patch man, who I hadn't spoken to in months, it felt.

---

Other than that, been trying to stay busy, on my budget of pennies. Still not working and I've started to look around for another job. But in the meantime, I've seen a couple really interesting performances at a venue called la Sala Rosa.

On Wednesday, there was an Artists Against Apartheid concert, where I got to see a pianist and trumpet player perform a jazz score over a slideshow, an experiment seven-piece group complete with a harp and slide guitar play what I could only describe as 'snow falling in the ocean music' and a three piece group playing experimental Middle Eastern stuff.

---

Tonight, I just got back from a documentary about two of the world's best World of Warcraft players, called Beyond the Game. Since I had a roommate back at university who played for 16 hours a day sometimes (Mac Deezee!!!) I've always wondered what the appeal was. While that was never answered in the flick, I did find it compelling, by the way the game is so popular in China and Korea. In the film, scores of Chinese kids would show up at the competitions and watch with their jaws hanging, as their heroes battled it out on big screens. Security would hold them back from the players, who would sign autographs and pose for pictures afterward.

Yesterday, I went with my roommate to listen to Norman Finklestein, who has spoken up against the Israeli occupation in Palestine. I enjoyed what he had to say and really thought a lot about the sacrifices radicals make in their lives, as they pursue their causes. I had more to write about the contradictions in his life, but I'm kind of wiped. Maybe some other time.

---

Other than that, it's beginning to become business as usual.

---

It's an odd feeling leaving home and so many people you know and love for no reason in particular other than a need to.

---

Got some news last night, which effectively closes a chapter in my life, I think. No regrets.

And while I've spent an inordinate amount of time recently thinking about what I want, really, when it all comes down to it, all that I want is an Easy Plateau.

Monday, November 16, 2009

awesome band name #3,861

Sometimes things get lost in translation, but sometimes they just get funnier.

I know, I know. It's supposed to be rapé. Still...

Anyways, file that one under the wicked band name category. Don't tell me you wouldn't buy a ticket to see Parmesan Rape.

Note:
For the record, my favorite French words are:

5. Ecureuil (squirrel)
4. Beouf (beef)
3. Pamplemousse (grapefruit)
2. Pneu (tire)

...and drumroll please....

1. Loup-garou (werewolf)

Honourable mention: chauve-souris (bat -- or bald mouse, translated literally), grenouille (frog), caoutchouc (rubber), Guy Lafleur (the flower guy?)

bow-t as stupid as it gets

So President Obama, on his trip through Asia, has -- not surprisingly -- drawn the ire of Conservatives back home, after he was pictured bowing to Japanese Emperor Akihito, in Japan.

How do you say 'kiss the ring' in Japanese?

One crusty old con, Bill Bennett (who apparently only bows when he's over a craps table) was quoted by CNN, stating:
"It's ugly. I don't want to see it. We don't defer to emperors. We don't defer to kings or emperors."

Another salty talking head, William Kristol, told Fox News:
"It's not appropriate for an American president to bow to a foreign one."

(In other news, Kristol played a game of swords with another pundit. Upon finding out his member was smaller, Kristol urinated all over the pundit's feet. And on a recent trip to Japan, Bennett vomited several times while taking in a sumo-wrestling contest. Apparently, he was nauseated by all the "ugly" bowing.)

Is this even worth talking about? I mean, when I'm invited to somebody's home, before I step inside, I take off my shoes. I realize if I don't take my shoes off, and start trampling through my host's place wearing my muddy kicks, the people who have invited me over may develop an unfavourable opinion of me.

I actually think what Obama is doing is what people call diplomacy, and it may be working to make friends around the world. Clearly, the "with us or against us" mentality the U.S. employed during the Dubya years was polarizing. I think Obama is starting to win them back, and I mean, nothing could be worse than George W. Bush's last visit to Japan, seen below.

George being George

Really though. This is the kind of shit that just turns me -- and I assume -- a lot of people off about politics. A customary gesture gets blown out of proportion and all of a sudden, opponents are pointing to how Obana is "weak" and America is being seen as less powerful.

Obama is meeting an Emperor, for Chrissake. He's not bowing to a fucking Enterprise Car Rental employee.

I understand Bennett and Kristol need to yammer about something to keep their kids in Ivy League schools or something, but get real.

Friday, November 13, 2009

madlib - so much

Suck my nards, sample-haters.

L.A. beat junkie Madlib, in his 40+ track Dilla tribute, gets this...


from this...


Now, not only does he create something completely new and funky from the song, but it also reintroduces the original to a new audience.

It's win/win.

Note: this really has turned into one of my favourite hobbies -- tracking down samples from sick beats.

Just for fun...

J Dilla - Track 3 on a mixtape that lived in my head for two years during Uni...


... from the Marvelettes -- You're the One

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the times they were a-changin' -- mad men season 3 thoughts

(***SPOILER ALERT***)
(DO NOT READ ON IF YOU PLAN TO WATCH THE SHOW, OR IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE SEASON THREE OR THE FINALE!!!)

(HONESTLY!)

No wonder why Draper wanted out of Sterling Cooper... The building's falling apart.

I just listened to PTI's Tony Kornheiser rip the final episode of Mad Men's 3rd season on Bill Simmons' B.S. Report tonight. He said he was disappointed with it, since it basically puts an end to the first three seasons of the show, jettisons Ken Cosgrove and a bunch of characters, kills the tension between Betty and Don Draper and comes out seemingly like a happy, optimistic, starting-over for the agency.

"It's not going to be a bad show from now on. It's just going to be a different show," he said.

No shit, but that's life, bud.

Look, the final episode said a lot about where the show is (and country was) going and I think there is far more to it than Kornheiser is looking at.

In my opinion, the finale did a perfect of tying together all the story lines from the season and I honestly cannot wait for Season Four. Kornheiser said he was sad the show was changing and that there would no longer be the happy-go-lucky, glossy, optimism in the agency (or country). Well, that's just reality, mon. And I would argue, that while things appeared wonderful -- what with the copious amounts of hard-liquor guzzled before noon and the constant cavorting between the guys and 'their girls' -- things weren't as great for the black men tending the elevators and sandwich carts, or the women forced to submit to the every wish of their men -- at the office and in the home.

The show is going to be different, because America, at that time -- just months after JFK's assassination in 1963 -- was changing. Don said it when he was trying to woo Peggy to the off-shoot agency, referencing how people who buy things now saw themselves -- and the system -- differently.

The finale was beautiful because the shift from security to something new and frightening was done so cleverly. With all the characters venturing out of the ritzy office and crammed into a hotel room, they were forging into uncharted territory and it's a great illustration of precisely what -- and this is assumption on my behalf -- Americans felt like after Kennedy was killed. The country was mere months -- or years -- away from major social upheaval -- civic rights movement, feminism movement, the Beatles' arrival, unrest over Vietnam, the Hippy, free love and LSD movements -- and, like it or not, business at usual at the old Sterling Cooper was no longer going to be possible.

Not only was the new group stealing away the clients and forming Sterling Cooper Draper Price a great way to show this, but it was also necessary, because that old world was becoming extinct.

I also thought the theme of separation in the finale was very well done.

Don agrees to separate from his wife, which devastates him and is destructive to his family. He seemed to finally want to make things right at home, but his infidelity, lying and distance finally pushed Betty over the edge. I now get the impression that the freedom Don was addicted to sexually has been quashed. However, at the same time, the separation from Sterling Cooper provides him with more freedom and creative control at work. It was a nice juxtapositon.

Also of interest in the finale, after Betty outed Don and the secret identity that he's been running from for ten years -- and the first three seasons of the show -- we finally see Don become a little like his old man in the finale. When 'The Draper' walks into the office, he's shown remembering how his dad broke away from a farmers' co-op, after a price they were promised was lowered. His father takes it upon himself to get a better deal. Does anyone see a connection between his going out and initiating the coup at Sterling Cooper -- and truly becoming the alpha dog of the agency -- and his father breaking away on his own?

(Note: We're later shown Don's father getting kicked in the head by a horse and killed once he finally capitulates to his Don's step-mom's insistence to sell their crop. Any foreshadowing here? And if so, what does it mean?)

Also, I have to believe that Betty Draper is going to play a quieter role in the show now. For quite some time, I thought she was one of the most interesting characters, as she tried to reconcile Don's infidelity and her father's death with her wants for a career -- or some sort of outside life -- and her new feelings for Henry Sherman. But now with Don out of the picture and her future seemingly secure with Sherman, I don't see where she fits in -- unless she starts a career, or falls in love with Don again, which I don't see happening.

In the finale, we get the return of Joan -- the most titillating (conscious choice of word) character and one of the most entertaining characters -- and reunite her with Roger Sterling. After the episode where Roger was visited by an old flame and re-evaluated his marriage with his young trophy wife, I think he realized that Joan's the one for him (it's spelled out so obviously when he even calls her and says "it's nice to be on the minds of some people") and this is definitely going to be a major story line next year.

I also feel Harry is going to do something Fredo-like at Sterling Cooper Draper Price. The writers have already hinted at his incompetence twice in the finale, with his easy-to-quit attitude when the Art Department door was locked (Draper kicks it in) and his not knowing which hotel room the agency was in. I'd even argue, his nervousness in the hotel bedroom when Trudy arrives with sandwiches is another clue that he might not be up for the big move.

I'm interested in wondering what's going to happen with Peggy and Pete Campbell. I loved how Campbell got credited for being ahead of the curve on where the agency (you can substitute for America) was headed, and some of his targeted markets... Everything that had happened during the previous 12 episodes is wrapped up amazingly in the finale.

Also, I want to know what happens with Peggy and Don Draper, now that he's a bachelor. I think the frustration in the relationship between outsiders Peggy and Don -- how Don dismissed, never credited and pretty much ignored her, while she never stood up for herself, since she felt she was still indebted to Draper for giving her the copywriter position -- may start to dissipate as they communicate more openly. I want to see what happens as they finally maybe come to understand each other, and if that might lead to something more because there is a lot more going on between those characters that I thought.

Either way, crapping on the finale because it changes the show is just plain goofy, since the whole world was changing back then. I loved season three (or in Yellowknife vernacular: "It was DEADLY!") and am way too excited for season four, which is only... 8 months away.

Fuck.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

boshosaurus

Chris Bosh (Photo: Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptor forward Chris Bosh celebrates upon reuniting with his family in the Green Valley.

I'm sorry, but Chris Bosh really does look like a dinosaur.


Spot on.