It just dawned on me tonight that we can blame everything that's irreparably terrible with music on Cher. It's not that I heard a song of hers today or anything, but when I met a friend at the stinky Banana Republic earlier - hey, I know, totally douchey... and anytime I enter an establishment and someone is employed wearing a headset (and is folding clothes nonetheless) I know it's douche central - and heard nothing but lousy - and I'm talking lousy - dance R&B shit with autotune, I realized it was fucking Cher that turned that SHAT autotune into commercially viable music.
You all know that piece of garbage I'm talking about, 'If you believe in life after love'....
I would never defile this blog with that song. Come on now.
I posted the South Park version above. I think this video clip validates Matt Stone and Trey Parker for their good sense to lampoon autotune ten years before it started boning us dryly in the auditory ass.
WATCH. I called this post WATCH because I think Cher is so fucking horrible that we should start a charitable foundation called We All Think Cher's Horse-Shit and try to collect money to teach children that making music like Cher's is just a detriment to society.
For example: Elvis had an amazing career and then he made a song called 'Suspicious Minds.' In that song, he sounds EXACTLY like Cher. Shortly after he released that song, he died. Ergo, Cher killed Elvis.
My brother Slader just became a father yesterday, giving birth figuratively to baby Brooklyn. I say figuratively because Steph was the one to actually birth Brooklyn. Good work, Steph and I can't wait to see the little bundle o' joy.
One thing though, Slader: I think Brooklyn may be trying to tell you something. She decided to pick March 15, 2011 as her day of birth. Now, on the surface, that's an amazing day: the sun is starting to make real inroads into the day again, the Snow King Festival is in full force and, hell, the playoffs are almost at our feet. But, I have a feeling that Brooklyn is trying to tell you something by having picked March 15, 2011.
She's gonna be a Canucks fan, dogg. It's right there to see-din....
Brooklyn was born during the afternoon of March 15, 2011, when the Edmonton Oilers were dead last - DEAD LAST - in the NHL with 55 points and the Vancouver Canucks - for the first time in franchise history, this late in the season, I might add for gravitas - were 1st in the league with 101 points. If that isn't a message, I don't know what is?
Now when I told DA the news, his immediate reaction was that you were bringing Brooklyn into the world at the lowest point in franchise history so that she wouldn't remember these times and she'd only start to really get into things as guys like Eberle, Hall and Paajarvi were nearing their primes and Hemsky was in his, but I don't know if I buy it.
I think she might just be a Canucklehead. Don't take it too hard, Slader. It could be worse. She could be a Flames fan.
I'm kidding guys. Can't wait to see y'all.
With this in mind, here's a little random time capsule of March 15, 2011 - one day late...
GOOD: The seagulls are back. I always love the sound of seagulls in March. It means this shat we call winter is almost over. All that snow that murdered my shoes five nights ago has basically been eroded away to sad little outcrops of greyish-ice by two and a half days of WARM rain. Still, the City of Montreal managed to wake me up at 3 a.m. yesterday by clearing my street with alarms, loaders, snow-blowers, dump-trucks and flashing lights, even though it was raining and the snow was trickling into the storm drains.
BAD: St. Patrick's Day is approaching and one unfortunate symptom of this yearly pissfest in Montreal is how the McGill/downtown area is invaded by douchebag American 18 to 20-year-olds here on Spring Break. I've been here for less than two years and noticed that the young drunks are louder and more abrasive during this week/weekend than other times of the year. While I find it annoying to have to walk to work through the crowds of shade-wearing guys and girls -talking about even more inane things than I talk about - who hang outside the Hilton on Sherbrooke because they all have money and can afford to drop hundreds per night to get shit-tanked in a foreign city while they are in school, I can't fault them because, if I was 18 and could get drunk legally in an awesome student city three years before I could at home, I'd be there as often as possible.
Still doesn't excuse the douchiness.
GOOD: Nothing funnier than watching a down-and-out white gangster complain about his lot in life. Extra points if he's a ginger.
BAD: Nate Dogg died. He died of lung cancer, right? Yeah? Okay, so as a legacy project, his family should go back through his entire catalogue and edit every song he's ever done to try to persuade kids from smoking.
"Hey Hey Hey Hey......... Smoke-free every day."
GOOD: McGill girls. Seriously, I wish I'd come here for school. Like I said about girls at Columbia so many years ago (okay, 18 months) McGill girls have their own look: They are like between 5'2" and 5'5", with black hair and slightly tanned. I feel like I could point out a McGill girl from a suspect line just based on this stereotype. Yep, I'm officially a weird, old guy.
BAD: Losing that hour this weekend. Didn't this feel like the shortest weekend ever? Really, it was 5 p.m. Saturday before I'd even taken a breath. And that was before Spring Back.
GOOD: As a result of that lost hour, the days are ending later and I've actually walked home from work with the sun at my back a couple times this week. It's mad how amazing it makes me feel. It's bringing this weird kind of depth back to things, like I looked at an apartment complex that I walk by on Berri every day and it just looked different... like maybe it was the fact that I actually looked at it, instead of rushing past it in a cold hurry. Anyways, I'm about a month away from hanging out in parks again. I can't be happier.
BAD: CBC Montreal. I check out their website at least ten times a day at the coal mine and, lately, it's just been sad. They've had stories about the city going on a pothole blitz and it was one of laziest, most useless things I've ever read. It was like they rewrote a press release. And I've been applying there for every opening they have and can't even get a response and it just makes me sulk. Come on, guys. Give me a shot!
But today takes the cake: They had a BREAKING NEWS story about an earthquake striking the Montreal-area. We all know that earthquake stories are big business right now, but come on, this thing registered a 4.3. That's like a fart in a bathtub. We really are pussies here in Canada.
What's happening in Japan is horrifying. It really hits home, I find, because this disaster occurred in probably the most prepared and well-organized society on the planet and all the planning and precaution still couldn't forecast something of this magnitude.
When I saw the videos of the tsunami slowly but relentlessly invading the towns and cities in Japan, I couldn't help but think how small and trivial humans are in the grand scheme of the universe. A tremor in the earth just overwhelms land with water, carelessly and without reason, like a kid splashing around in a puddle and regardless of what we do, the wave can't be stopped and houses, cars and lives just get swept up in the ceaseless wave. It's just all so bizarre.
I've worked with a bunch of great people from Japan and I'm hoping that the situation quickly becomes controllable again and life starts to get back to some sort of normalcy again.
FYI: J Dilla's epic Motown Beat Tape is back up on youtube.
Thank you, thePHATbeats, for posting these. I don't know why I didn't find this sooner. I've got to make sure I grab this CD wherever it's hiding the next time I get home because I can't be without it any longer.
herbiberous is fully aware that he should not antagonize his friends living in an area where the thermometre sunk to -40C today, but...
he is going to...
I'm not lying when I say something like: I would prefer -30C right now to the snow storm then rain then snow storm then rain pattern we've been getting here. Keep in mind that I have holes in my shoes and every time I walk to work, my feet are basically reenacting that scene from Disney's Alice in Wonderland where that door knob chokes up water and drowns and Alice flows through. And just pretend that water is like slushy and icy cold.
I spend entire days with wet feet and, right now, I really just want to thank my heart for being strong enough to pump blood through to my feet to keep them warm and to keep me from getting sick.
Tonight, Montreal is a fucking mess. You're basically living out a video game walking on the sidewalks - and the less popular the street, the more difficult the level. You hop from ice chunk to bare sidewalk if you find a good street. You jump from puddle to deeper puddle on the shittier streets. Every dang crosswalk has turned into a minor waterway. I basically gave up at one point, walking home on Rachel, and started walking down the middle of the street, like I would have in Yellowknife. But I got honked off the road by waves of impatient motorists pushing up bigger waves of slush water and so I wound up in the murky, icy Parc la Fontaine sidewalk swamps.
This evening, we walked to a show to find out the show was almost over and so we walked to another show. I pretty much endured an hour long frozen soaker. I could tell that my feet were drenched, but I would keep from trying to drift into the puddles anyways to keep them from getting wetter and I could tell when I did soak deeper when my poor feet went from warm wet to icy-fucking-cold-wet.
Seriously, I'll take -30C over this. The ground is stable. It's predictable. You can dress for it. You can walk around. In the most articulate way I can put it, this shit sucks shit. Period. I just sneezed. Uh oh....
Since it was kind of a tradition on this blog (man, am I getting nostalgic about a blog?) to have me come on here and write my impressions of a city after I visited it, no matter how trivial the observations and how tiny the sample size, I will give you my thoughts on Ottawa, after spending just more than 24 hours there this weekend.
Surprisingly, it was the first time I'd been out of Montreal since June and my first time out of the province since I was at the union of Mindy in Tofino. That's fucked!
I drove out with the Wind Ups for their show at Avantgarde Sunday night. I'm officially a roadie. We set off at 5 pm Saturday. I got home at 2:30 am this morning.
First, there may not be a more boring non-Prairie drive in Canada than Montreal-Ottawa. Especially in the winter. It's trees and snow and Petro Canadas, Tim Horton's, Ultramars and a restaurant named Herb's, out in the middle of nowhere. The Lazer says: "Is there a non-boring drive in Canada?" The answer: British Columbia and Southern Alberta from what I've seen. He's right.
Next, people in Ottawa are rule followers. They shovel their driveways immediately after a snowfall. The street we were staying on was a study in civil obedience, as even the scruffy neighbours next door, who were obviously still partying residually on Sunday morning, got out and did a half-ass clear job of their stairs and sidewalk. Our host told us that Ottawa was recently named the snitch capital of Canada, or more formally, a poll was conducted and people in Ottawa were the most likely to report their neighbours or coworkers to officials for doing something illegal. They were also the most likely to tell their neighbours to turn down music or complain about dog turds in their yard and things like that. Maybe to offset this, we drank and dashed at the one of the half dozen Royal Oak pubs in town. After being forced to listen to the same Taylor Swift - or was it Miley Cyrus? - song six times in a row (no joke) at a so-called Irish Pub, we kind of had enough. When the surly, track suited manager came to kick us out, we did as he said. No questions asked. It felt good.
I noticed something about the pub patrons that night though - and the breakfast patrons the next (er... morning?) brunch time at the Rochester Eatery - people in Ottawa kind of have that government kind of comfort and safety. They dress conservatively and sort of formally all the time, like they can be called into a meeting at any time. They laugh loudly and take pictures at pubs and make big deals about ordering - and drinking - shooters. Their lives are very easy, it seems. But it also feels like not much happens. Like a spark is missing. Like going to the pub is like putting on slippers and petting an old dog that lays at their feet. They have expanding guts.
There was a guy outside a bar who just started ranting to us, unsolicited: "I hate Ottawa. I want to go to Montreal. I've been here for ten years and it sucks. Anywhere you go in Montreal is packed." That's not true, we thought. Then we thought, why don't you go to Montreal? It's two hours away. He kept talking. "I'm from Haiti. I'm bilingual." Why don't you go to Montreal, we think. He talks about how everything is a party in Montreal. He asks where we are from. We say we all live in Montreal. He says "oh..." He stops talking for the first time. He puts out his smoke. "Have a good night."
Do I have anything else about Ottawa? Not really.
The Barefoot Hostel looked really nice from the two minutes I spent there drinking wine and warming my cold, wet feet on the heated floor.
Yeah, that's about it. I'd like to go back in summer. I'm sure I'd leave with a better impression. I hear there are less politicians around at that time of the year and therefore the douchebag-per-square-kilometre ratio would be diminished.
Unless you're Charlie Sheen, I've come to realize that life always seems to find a way to level you out. If you're feeling too great, something will knock you down a peg and vice versa. I come to look at this as a universal law.
A friend had asked me to check the Smith Westerns show with her last night, but I felt I really needed to get some things done after a hectic two weeks. I came home feeling particularly zombie-ish, after another 8 hours at the coal mine, knowing that there was work to do. For instance, there were two years of income taxes to be submitted, some medical forms for prescription rebates that needed to be sent, an apartment that required tidying for a pending dinner guest (ooh la la) job boards that had to be searched, a bunch of story ideas that were asking to be hashed out, an even bigger pile of stories that begged to be completed, a few travel plans for upcoming events that required some coordination, and a future that probably necessitated a second look, if not a complete overhaul.
So like I said, there was work to do.
I made some dinner quickly and then set to filling out the tax forms until I realized that I didn't have my 2010 info printed off and - more importantly - I didn't have the tax forms. They'll have to wait. I then got out my prescription receipts - for the old foe, rosacea - only to discover I'd completely filled out the form I had to send in six months ago and forgot to send it. Since then, I had collected an additional $32 receipt and - again, more importantly - changed addresses. I'll need to get a new form so... that one will have to wait.
I then went onto the job boards and found the same old, rehashed, phony recruiter, analyst, marketing specialists jobs posted at each site and gave up.
I did find this beauty though:
Uncle Sam wants you... and your clarinet
Since I was on the computer, I thought, why not jot down some of the story ideas that were popping around in my head. Easy enough. I opened an old Word document called 'story ideas' and then added a few to the ever-growing list. These things are like seeds buried in a pot in a dark, dry attic. After seeing all these ideas, I lost hope and lost any energy I had to flesh out some of the partially-watered plants.
So what was I left with? My dishes? Meh... Make future plans? I think about those enough, so because I hadn't slept well the night before and since wanted to tire myself out, I grabbed my hockey skates and stick and set outside for Parc Lafontaine.
Now initially when I moved into this apartment, I was giddy in anticipation of a winter spent on the park's two rinks, as I would only be five minutes away. But with an upswing in general activity (and my hockey homey, Freduardo, also becoming increasingly busy and leaving me with no one to head out there with) I've only found the time to get out maybe a half dozen times. Due to this, every hockey outing has left me doubled over on the ice, sucking wind through burning lungs after only 15 minutes, while dudes twice my age skate circles around me. It hasn't been very enjoyable.
But last night, I walked over slowly, taking in the blue-nearly-black sky and the stars shining. It's sad how little I look up at the sky here in Montreal. The snow was hard from weeks of melting and freezing and melting again and dogs ran on top of it and then fell into it, as their owners stood laughing, smoking and chatting. It felt like I was seeing the park for the first time almost.
I put on my skates standing up and then joined a game. The first time the puck was passed to me, I gave it away immediately, because it had been a few weeks since I'd played. This went on for a while until finally I started to catch up mentally and then I started threading some passes and deking some guys and I got so into the game that I forgot to be tired and forgot to be winded and I forgot my job and my worries and I just played.
We went from four-on-four, to three-on-three, to two-on-two and eventually, taber-knackered (as the Lazer would say) we decided to leave. I was sweating buckets and was completely bagged, but I felt like I'd just had a full-body and mind massage. I felt the cold air on my throbbing face and it was like awaking completely into the moment. I wondered why I hadn't done this every night.
To tie this back to my original point, I got home, threw my skates and sticks on the floor and started at the dishes. Right away though, I felt that something was up. As I dipped my hands into the dishwater, I noticed that I couldn't see them if I kept my gaze at the tap. This temporary blind spot is the first warning I get of an oncoming migraine headache.
I hadn't had one in about a year and four months and I was surprised that my body would choose now of all times to give me one, but when I look back at my history, it makes sense. Whenever I'm stressed out and then I go and have a euphoric workout, my body completely de-stresses and that changes something about my blood pressure or blood flow or something, and that leaves me prone to these headaches.
Seeing as I had a really bad one about three years ago, where I lost feeling slowly from my left foot to leg to chest to arms to hands to face to tongue and had trouble forming a simple sentence, I took care to notice if any of those symptoms were reoccurring. My left foot felt a little funny, but I figured it was just from the hockey. I took a shower and that's when my auras (think of a blind spot that takes a weird shape and becomes like a greyish, twitching and pulsing puddle or blotch over your line of sight) went into full-blown mode. It was like I had the Northern Lights going off between my eyes and the world and I had to try to look through them. It's typically this part of the migraine experience that scares me most because I don't know what causes this to happen and the experience is completely debilitating since I really can't see. These auras were probably the worst I've ever had and so I made my way to bed and turned off the lights and tried to sleep before the pain hit. Didn't happen, when the auras started to subside 20 to 30 minutes later, the stabbing feeling had kicked in right behind my right eye, which is where it always happens. Last night, it was worse than most. It felt like someone was coring into my brain and then injecting something into it that was expanding that core. It felt awful and then I started getting nauseous. I started to recite easy to remember quotes or lyrics to make sure I wasn't having any of the speech difficulties. I was sweating and rolling around in bed and I couldn't take my mind off of the pain. I then decided to get an old movie - Donnie Brasco - that I can nearly remember word for word, and I put it on while turning my laptop screen off, so I would just listen to the movie.
I think I probably fell asleep at 3 a.m.
Anyhow, that's a long-winded way of saying that life always finds a way to sprinkle some bad into the good or give you some good when you're feasting on bad. This might be the only thing I am sure of in life. That's almost how I would define life. ie. When I start to get back into some kind of fiscal comfort and I start planning a short trip or a small purchase I need, a long-lost bill always arrives in the mail. "That's life," I think to myself.
Also, I probably wrote this whole thing because I might have felt guilty for missing work today seeing as I wasn't 'sick' in the traditional sense. I mean, I didn't get any sleep and my head still hurts, but I probably could have gone in if I needed to. Yet, I was sort of suffering from a 'migraine hangover,' where I wasn't really thinking clearly most of the day, evidenced by my foray out for some groceries, where I tried speaking to a grocery clerk in French and I found myself stuttering on a word for a good three seconds.
I just wanted to state publicly and for the record that I'm fully aware that this Charlie Sheen meltdown is being picked up and pollenated all over the land in order to keep us occupied and distracted from examining in detail the historic uprisings in the Middle East and Northern Africa. I realize that in five or ten years, while Canada is nervously watching its Southern neighbour sink deeper into destituteness and disparity and despair, Michael Moore's son will release a documentary about American apathy towards its demise, and he'll look back to when the Egyptians and Libyans took their destinies into their own hands and booted out their bloated, delusional dictators and Moore's kid will scoff - just like his old man - at how Americans just sat around laughing at Sheen while all this was happening.