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Showing posts from 2007

anger management

people have pointed out to me that i can be a little... highly strung. in fairness, as i've aged, i've tried to learn to relax a little and not let things get to me so much.

but sometimes, it just seems like there are things in the world that are worth getting very, very angry about. for instance (thanks to martin for forwarding this to me), the idea that the american government is asking soldiers to repay portions of their signing bonuses when they are unable to complete their minimum required time in iraq because they are severely injured.

the fact that the government backed away from its position is hardly cause for celebration, either. after all, if the story hadn't gotten the attention that it did, there is no evidence there wouldn't be department of defense thugs knocking down doors to demand payment. furthermore, the "we goofed" response is almost as insulting as the original demand.

listen, those of us who have jobs make mistakes. the reason that y…

weird science

i'm not a huge fan of the medical profession in general. while i will trust myself to its care when i am truly in need, i generally try to avoid contact with it, because it seems like one of those slippery slopes that once you start down, it becomes difficult to apply the brakes.

one of my chief reservations is that the research that is done in the name of science often looks like it was designed by sadists or lunatics (or both). as a result, i mistrust a lot of what comes out of such studies, such as this one on aids research.

am i the only one that thinks that there might possibly be complications to any treatment that involved "awaking" dormant viruses in our system with which modern medicine has virtually no experience? that doesn't sound like science to me. it sounds like the plot to a b-grade horror film.

and as if that weren't enough, check out this line, about three quarters of the way through the article: "an experimental AIDS shot not only failed t…

labour of love

movie review :: control

the idea of making a film about joy division strikes me as odd. the band's appeal lies in their unfathomable mystery, some magic that others could feel, even if they couldn't explain it. the sheer diversity of joy division fans, and i count myself as one, is testimony that there is some validity to that. outside of the post-glam, post-punk context of the band, there is something inexplicable about them.

thankfully, director anton corbin- an avid joy division fan and chronicler himself- is aware of this. every scene in his biopic of joy division's lead singer ian curtis (and the film is about curtis, not the band as a unit) is suffused with the same atmosphere and aesthetic as the band's albums and videos- restrained, melancholy, emotional.

curtis' story is almost pedestrian on the one hand: far from dreaming of rock stardom, he was an exceptionally average (oxymoron alert!) teenager who listened to music (bowie, the stooges, etc.), wrote p…

apex

one of the hallmarks of a really good time, for me, is when i seem to be able to create entertaining stories (well, maybe only entertaining for me) from even the smallest details. there are certain times when i simply feel so energised, so excited, that every individual gesture or image seems to be worth pausing to describe.

i could write an entire entry here simply describing the agonising logistics of my cab ride to the first night of the apex festival in new york, having confused the street address when i tried to go by subway. i could go on about getting dropped off nowhere close to my destination, because the cab driver who picked me up couldn't be bothered to figure out where he was headed and had grown bored trying. and i could further add something on my misadventures trotting around the increasingly abandoned streets of new york in a pair of boots that were decidedly not made for walking, until i found my path blocked by the crater of ground zero, its hazy gloaming haunt…

the pundit is in

i always do love to comment on recent canadian political developments. i don't think that there's any great mystery as to my general political stand, and those who know me have heard me get into specifics on many occasions.

but these latest developments sort of have me divided. of course, i'm pleased to see the ndp get a toehold (it's not big enough to be a foothold) in quebec. the victory has nothing to do, of course, with the party and everything to do with the fact that thmoas mulcair was a charismatic and effective municipal politician for years. however, you could certainly see a quiet endorsement of federal leader jack layton's emphasis on making gains in urban areas (recruiting successful municipal politicians being part of that strategy).

what divides me is that i'm sort of overcome with waves of sympathy for stephane dion. unlike any liberal party leader in my lifetime (since trudeau had become cynical by the time i was around to remember him), i lik…

afraid of what?

solid article on the rise of a new form of capitalist in the wake of the terrorist attacks on american soil in 2001.

probably the key point for me is the distinction to be drawn between the stated goals in the "war on terror" and the actual goals of those contracted to keep americans (and their allies) safe. these contractors and their government champions can talk all they want about increasing security, but the economics of the situation speaks for itself: those companies are in business for one reason, which is to make money. anything that increases their profits and the return to stockholders (for those that are publicly held) is, by definition, good.

but good economics does not necessarily make for good defence. leaving aside, for a moment, the question of whether or not the american state's foreign policy has increased or decreased the threat of a terrorist attack, look for a moment at the programs they have pursued at home. or, more specifically, the programs they…

earthly paradise

music review :: o paradis :: cuando el tiempo sopla :: punch records

i'm not sure why o paradis get lumped in with the whole "neo-folk" movement. other than the combination of acoustic instruments and electronics (which is cutting a pretty broad swath), and a tendency towards a "softer" tone, there isn't much to link them. really, o paradis is part of a much more interesting group of artists (including ait!, novy svet, mushroom's patience and a few others) who have established a new sort of sound with elements of traditional, cabaret/ lounge, and experimental music that is as geographically rooted in southern europe as pure noise is in japan, coldwave is in germany or power electronics is in england.

of this group of artists, o paradis stands out as the most lyrical and the most emotional. this isn't the sort of contrived melancholy one gets from many artists, at times raw and unflinching enough to be uncomfortable, but moving in its complete hon…

everything's bigger in texas

i thought i'd heard it all.

airlines are becoming increasingly alarmed about overweight passengers, as the increase in average weight is throwing off their fuel usage calculations and potentially endangering lives by weighing the plane down with a greater load than it was intended to carry.

funeral homes are running into problems because super-sized, uh, customers are not fitting within the confines of the usual repositories.

but this story from houston may take the cake (which could be part of the problem).

there is nothing that i am going to say that will add any meaningful insights into our morbid and obsessive relationship with consumption. while i have theories as to why this is becoming so prevalent, they really aren't groundbreaking.

still, stories like this, with their hints of the tragic and the absurd, never fail to fascinate and appall me. as someone who's had some pretty up-close experiences with various types of eating disorders, i know that food has move…

with love

no, really, f**k you

one of the things that i've learned observing my cats over the years is that they have a perfect way of dealing with things that offend or annoy them. anyone who's spent any amount of time around cats will be able to tell you that there is absolutely no doubt when you've done something wrong. i consider myself very fortunate to have shared some time with a cat who was particularly expressive in that regard. her general approach was to sit close by, make sure that she had your attention and then pointedly turn her back to you.

she'd do that for even the smallest slight because, as far as she was concerned, manners counted. it wasn't important whether you'd been late feeding her or tripped over her on the way up the stairs. somehow, you had acted unacceptably and you were made aware of that in no uncertain terms.

i think of this whenever i get criticised, not infrequently, for being overly sensitive. i wish that i could conjure up the image of the cat, who doesn&…

stay STILL dammit!

ok, i'm really not sure about this whole "morphing animals" thing that seems to be taking over you tube. i'm as cat-crazed as anyone, but this doesn't strike me as cute so much as like it's the detritus from the back end of someone's bad acid trip.

well heeled

i've tried to explain the various differences between montreal and toronto to many people over the years, but i've never really found an appropriate metaphor, until today. the exultation of montreal's extraordinary joie de vivre ignores the difficulty many people have in finding decent work at a living wage. the dismissal of toronto as being conservative likewise dismisses the absolutely shocking variety of experiences available.

but, fresh off a weekend in montreal, i suddenly thought of a very appropriate way to judge the differences between cities. and it's one you would have thought would have occurred to me earlier: shoes.


so what do the shoes have to tell us?

well, in very literal terms, that montreal weather is harsher than toronto's, so shoes don't last as long. as aa result, montreal shoes tend to look like they've had better days, whereas toronto shoes often look as if they're just seeing the outside of the box for the first time.

shoes i…

emo power

there are many different types of bad art, but an easy target is that class of artist who use their creative powers to wallow in self pity and examine, ad nauseum, everything that has gone into making them the pathetic, small-minded, self-obsessed sorts we all particularly love to loathe. you probably know a couple, i'm not going to bother listing any.

that said, since i've been posting some of my writing on that other blog, i've noticed that, consistently, the stories that are the most difficult for me, the ones that deal with the greatest emotional scarring and that consequently carry the greatest risk, are consistently the ones that get the greatest (meaning both the best and the most) reaction. evidently, picking your own scabs in public is something that people can grow to appreciate.

of course, this was never something i saw myself doing, because, like most adults, i'm infected with that virus that makes me believe that expressing any emotion outside the privac…

the other 9/11

i've been making my way, with some lengthy breaks, through noam chomsky's latest, "failed states". it's by no means his strongest work, but it does touch on a number of interesting issues, including events surrounding 9/11.

by 9/11, i mean september 11, 1973, when an american-backed coup overthrew chile's salvador allende and replaced him with general augusto pinochet. because we've heard so much about that later 9/11, i thought it would be interesting to share a few facts on the original:

- approximately 3,200 people died according to official figures (which are widely viewed to be understated by as much as half).

- adjusted proportionally to population, that is roughly equivalent to between 50 and 100,000 americans being killed at once.

- there were 30,000 cases of torture in pinochet's chile, according to an official inquiry. (adjusted proportionally to population again, that would be the equivalent of 700,000 americans.)

augusto pinochet remai…

antiques

ok, i have to get this off my chest.

i have a birthday coming up. it's not actually coming up for another two months, but if you look at my profile (go ahead, look, i'll be here when you get back), you'll see that it's one of those round numbers, which is usually supposed to mean something.

the last one that had any effect on me was my twentieth, which i disliked because i felt it carried the expectation of adult behaviour. i shook that off reasonably quickly and, while i'm hoping this one will be the same, for now it's hanging before me like an execution date.

i don't really feel my age, either physically or mentally (a lot of people would probably say that i don't act my age, either). but the longer i'm around the more i'm reminded, as a good friend of mine frequently tells me, our society is built around the adoration of the young. although i hate to make these sorts of distinctions, i'd say that it's more true for women than it is fo…

you must remember this

as part of an extremely mellow (read: post-night out) saturday, i ended up watching the movie casablanca for the first time in years.

as classic movies go, it's a pretty peculiar piece. we've all seen "classic" movies that have aged less than gracefully (go watch ben hur). and we've all seen movies that originated cliches that have stuck in the public psyche well beyond the scope of the original audience (that mad shout of "it's alive!" from frankenstein, for example). but it's hard to find another movie where so much of the script has been etched into popular memory.

part of that is because the script is just so repetitive. you know the line "here's looking at you kid" is one you're supposed to remember, because it crops up about every ten minutes. alternately, there's a line like "we'll always have paris" which is so contrived that i can't believe audiences in the forties didn't find it just as cor…

ow, dammit... ow

somehow, i just managed to smash an almost full 1 litre bottle of worcestershire (oh i know i spelled it wrong, i don't care... no one can spell it without looking) sauce on my foot. (i was trying to rescue a bottle of balsamic vinegar that had tipped over and was threatening to spill...)

as i was cleaning up the brown, sticky, yet surprisingly nice smelling mess, i figured it would be a good idea to turn the heat down on the chili i was cooking. as i reached over to turn down the heat, some oil came spurting up out of the hot pan, nailing me directly in the eyes.

i'll just clarify this in case anyone was wondering: hot oil with lots of spices really hurts when it gets in your eyes, i don't care how tough you are.

so somehow, after staggering around blind for a few minutes, i have managed to recover.

i’m so excited to see what tomorrow brings!
i was never a particularly huge fan of tony blair's. i know a lot of people who were high on him early on, because he was shaking up the crusty old labour party in the united kingdom, but mostly because he was actually making it possible for them to get elected again. myself, i'm a little suspicious of any change that is based primarily on making yourself more palatable to the masses, but i guess that's why i'm writing this blog and not running a country.

but even blair's most die hard fans, and i'm assuming they still exist, would have to wince at his desperation to be named the new middle east envoy. myself, i can't even fathom why he would want the job, but it seems to me like someone might not want to stray to far from the spotlight (whether that's because he likes the attention or because he's plotting a comeback is anyone's guess).

now that his good (only?) friend george w. bush has strong-armed him into the position, the rest of the world…

two fer

turns out that this week is not merely notable for the 7/7/7 date that just passed (i missed it- did the world end?). there are two laudable events that deserve your attention:

1. it's the anniversary of the roswell ufo incident. probably the most (in)famous ufo sighting(?) ever, it has become a buzzword for conspiracy theorists and the governments who love to hate them. it's also apparently a continuing boon for the local economy, which raises some conspiratorial thoughts in and of itself.

2. because we tend to think of the 50s as the height of post-war, birth-of-suburbia, consumerist conservatism, it's a little shocking to look back at just what some people were able to get away with. it might have been hard to pitch the idea of a short film involving two gender-bending arch-rivals in a fight to the (tragic) death with children as its apparent target audience, but this week also marks the 50th anniversary of the release of what may be the greatest cartoon ever made (don&…

lives lived

i thought it might be worthwhile to post a little further information on the woman responsible for the "cat" video (see earlier post) that so enchanted me.

aside from her fondness for cats, maya deren lived a remarkable life, being a figurehead in the world of experimental film, as well as the observer and documenter of various ritual phenomena, from the world of dance, which fascinated her early on, to her later interest in haitian voudoun. she collaborated with some of the artistic luminaries of her day, such as marcel duchamp and anais nin.

in fact, the woman almost overshadows her work at times, leaving controversy in her wake, even through her untimely death.

enjoy her films at your leisure.

useless technology update

no matter how much skill you may think the human brain possesses, most of the time, it is only going to be used to invent crap.

latest case in point is canadian, unfortunately... a camera that tracks eyeball movement from passersby in the vicinity of billboard, so that advertisers can test their efficacy and, one assumes, take steps to make their billboards more attractive (in the sense that they will attract more eyeballs, not in the sense that they look any better).

i'm going to state a fact that i would have believed to be obvious, but which has apparently escaped the brain trust at queen's university: most people passing billboards are driving CARS. we don't need to design better billboards to take their eyes off the road, because most of them are not that safe behind the wheel to begin with. i have to deal with this crowd, who are apparently convinced that they can talk on their cell phones and drink their starbucks while the car drives itself and, trust me, it's …

showtime

this is in response to pelao's question (see comments section from the review of 'racket' below) about which shows i've really enjoyed. here's a rough 'top 3':

#3- legendary pink dots, montreal, foufounes electriques, october 1995- first show i went to see that i really, really wanted to (where i didn't know the band personally). one of the most thrilling moments for me was at the very beginning, actually hearing edward kaspel's wonderfully cartoonish voice coming out of a human being.

#2- merzbow, toronto, the kathedral, september 2002- i was a little concerned this one would be a disappointment, but far from it. almost two solid hours of gut-shaking, teeth-rattling noise. perhaps the most memorable part was that it was beyond hot in the crowded room ad the combination of heat and sound caused a couple of people to pass out.

#1- current 93- toronto, the music gallery, june 2004- awe-inspiring chiefly because it did justice both to the power and t…

i suck at small talk

this is one of these revelations that's been forced on me recently. i was having an engrossing chat with one of my expanding circle of imaginary friends (those people you talk to all the time but have never actually met face to face) when it dawned on me. somehow, and i was never very good at it, i've completely lost the ability to speak to people i don't know in a casual way. (i say people i don't know, because after a certain amount of time, i'm no longer compelled to spend most of my time figuring out how they think.)

it's not that i'm anti-social, i think of myself as a fairly friendly person. but having the conversation about how your week is going, or what kind of job you have is quickly sliding from awkward to painful on my scale of human activity. i'll ask such questions out of politeness, and out of a hope that i can use the information as a conduit to a somewhat more interesting subject. i'll answer the questions myself, usually as briefly…

hung up

addiction used to refer only a a physical dependence on some substance, often caused by morbid overindulgence in a type of vice (often tolerated in limited measure, but held in suspicion), legal or illegal. in my lifetime, the definition has expanded to include various other sorts of behaviour compulsions, often with no physical link- gambling, shopping and even sex all have their addicts.

the most widely accepted method of treating these disorders has become so-called "step" programs, which guide the addict through a series of milestones until they are deemed to have regained sufficient control of their life. (although it's not strictly related, i'd like to add that i've always been skeptical about these sorts of programs, predicated as they are on convincing the addict that he or she has lost fundamental control of their life on a permanent basis, and must adhere to a set of restrictions in order to survive- essentially replacing one type of powerlessness with…

apparently, sex isn't the only thing that sells

with the assistance of some friends, i have dreamed up some pretty bizarre advertising campaign ideas in my time, the kind of thing that no one in their right mind would use to advertise anything. however, as i get older, i'm beginning to think that these ideas were just well ahead of their time.

this afternoon, taking the subway home, i happened upon a new campaign from the workers safety insurance board of ontario. i can only assume that the imagery is meant to target teenagers, but the ads are a peculiar mix of gory imagery (severed ears with ear phones still inserted, young man trying to use a playstation with the bloody stump of a severed arm) and singularly unfunny prose. of course, it's just possible that the advertising world has run out of ideas and finally started to take advice from people like me, who would rather get a reaction than sell anything. (if you know what i do for a living, you can feel free to giggle at that.)

so it seems that i may have a brilliant fu…
review :: whitehouse :: racket :: susan lawly

flat out, a lot of long time fans were put off by asceticists, the last whitehouse album. fans who had been with the group a long time were shocked to hear the new direction that the band had taken, even incorporating (!) drumming, a thing most people thought they would never hear. i'm not one of those fans. i personally thought that asceticists was one of the best albums of 2006, i think that whitehouse defy the odds and continue not only to maintain their quality standards after more than a quarter century (how many artists can say that?). and i happen to think that the new direction, incorporating african instrumentation and percussion, along with the expected washes of power electronics, actually makes a fine extension, both thematically and sonically, of the traditional wh sound.

as with most whitehouse albums, 'racket' is focused and concise. every track is concentrated and warrants repeated listens just to unravel the…

lose your head at the theatre

review :: evil dead- the musical

when i was younger, and other people were able to set rules about what i could and could not watch on the television, i used to dream of having free reign on the movie channels, so that i could watch stuff that would scare me to death. we seek out our fears, conquer them and find new ones on a a regular basis throughout our lives and there is nothing so appealing, especially at a young age, as a fear that we are prevented from confronting.

of course, when i finally was able to confront those things that held the promise of so much fear, i found that almost none of them were truly scary. they were either bland, or they were comedic. yet somehow, the comedic ones became dear to my heart in a way that i could not have predicted. thus went my introduction to camp.

"camp" in this day and age has been so overdone that it is almost impossible to appreciate in the same way. what can you say when the most commercially successful endeavour of the ki…

sleep mask

i usually try to keep track of my dreams and nightmares as a way of analysing possible base causes of waking thoughts or anxieties. while i was away this weekend, i had ana experience that's happened to me only rarely- a nightmare bad enough that i woke myself (and my mother) up with my own screaming.

there's no point in trying to explain what happened in the nightmare, since prose always robs them of their sinister power and reduces them to low-brow comedy, but i do find it strangely appropriate that the nightmare should have involved an enemy wearing a mask.

after all, dreams themselves are masked, with familiar, sometimes farcical imagery serving as a cover for underlying meaning. but what is more interesting to me is that the wearing of masks is actually just as common in waking life as it is in dreams. we all have disguises that we wear, an image that we project to impress or intimidate others, or something that allows us to defend ourselves, blocking access to our tru…

gender blending

i've been given the opportunity in the last few days to think about my grandmother and ruminate on my impressions of her. being a quick-witted, smart-mouthed type, i often wonder what she would have become if she had been born in another era, or in another geographical location. born in her own time, but in a large city instead of a small town, i can easily picture her donning a suit and sneaking out to drink and smoke cigars with the guys. since she did live in a small town and likely felt the pressure of expectations, she became a wife and mother, perhaps a little more uneasily than others.

for what she might have turned out like in the modern era, i need only look in the mirror. i consider myself fortunate that i'm free to do bar shots, make off-colour jokes, stay out past my bed time and generally behave as badly as anyone, without fear of ostracism from either family or community.

however, there are sometimes signs i get that things aren't quite as smooth between th…

still waters run deep

music review :: nebris :: bleak angels :: dystonia ek

this is one of those releases that could be termed "ambient music" at a cursory listen. that's normally a polite way of saying that something functions as background noise, but lacks the personality to stand by itself. and what a sad mistake it would be to leave it at that.

the fact is that the album's three lengthy tracks show chthonic depths and an alternate world's worth of organic, expansive sound churning beneath the seemingly placid surface. this is music to listen to when you're ready to examine the inner landscape of your mind.

the album's first two tracks in particular are models of restraint, forcing the listener to focus or be left behind, compressing an atmosphere's worth of pressure into just over thirty minutes. the final, and longest, track raises the ante. the textures become more shrill, more abrasive, more unsettling, which, after the sensory-deprivation-chamber-hallucination amb…

honour among thieves?

every few months, i subject myself to a partial episode of 60 minutes. last time i watched, i saw mike wallace getting his ass handed to him by mahmoud ahmadinejad.

tonight, i got to see george tenet fight to regain some of his dignity.

the funny thing is, i didn't believe a single thing he said, except for his description of how the rest of the bush administration suddenly developed a case of collective amnesia when it came time to appoint a recipient of blame for the invisible weapons of mass destruction.

tenet says that he hopes that history will judge him more kindly, but if i were a betting person, i'd say that his entire career is likely to be remembered for only two words. in fact, i'd say it's a slam dunk.

reality never was my thing

You Are Surrealism

Dreamy and idealistic, you've created a world that is all your own.
It's very likely that you've either dabbled in drugs or are naturally trippy.
You are always trying to push beyond the boundaries of your culture and society.
You believe that art, love, and freedom can change the world.What Art Movement Are You?

one disorder to another

insomnia. it afflicts most people from time to time. although i haven't suffered from an intense bout for a while, i did once go for about three and a half months without getting a good night's sleep. i remember one person saying that they'd love to have that problem because they'd get so much done. i think i killed them for that. (i'm joking, as far as you know.)

insomnia is often misunderstood as simply not wanting to sleep, i.e., not getting tired. the fact is that insomniacs are frequently tired and with good reason- they aren't getting enough sleep. so rather than bouncing around at all hours, capable of anything, one becomes a bit lethargic, run-down and, what's worse, dull-witted from lack of sleep. your body ultimately doesn't care that your mind isn't getting tired and it's revenge is a sort of work-to-rule campaign.

it's also a common misconception that insomniacs don't sleep at all. the disorder is characterised by the inabil…

the eating disorder incubator

a friend of mine in the design field invited me to an event the other night, a benefit for the toronto fashion incubator. aside from the fact that these sorts of things appeal to that part of me which has managed to stuff two closets so full of clothing that there is imminent danger of an explosion, this particular event offered as many free samples of wine as you could stuff in your face. hmmm... clothing and free alcohol... i'm in.

now, i'm not normally intimate with "fashion" circles, although i'm aware of their existence, so this was pretty much the first time i got to observe the machinations of this world up close. and guess what? it's exactly what you'd expect. while not petite, i'm not what you'd call a heavyweight. in that room, i was something straight out of moby dick- the great white whale. everyone, men and women, looked remarkably like ambulatory clothes-hangers. most of them, including those well taller than me, were likely under a…

a terrible beauty

as you might have discerned, i like writing. not merely the activity of writing, but the end product. and as someone who likes to write herself, i like to imagine that an can appreciate the good writings of others. reading faulkner or doestoevsky thrills me to my core. but i'm also a fan of the opposite end of the spectrum. truly horrific, tortured prose is as difficult to accomplish as greatness and, let's face it, we all need the occasional laugh.

i'm not generally a fan of fantasy writing, but i think even those who enjoy it would have to admit that it's plagued with more than it's fair share of the memorably awful. (i think that this is a general problem for defined genres, which have too many conditions that must be fulfilled.)

anyway, this is all a long preamble to a very quick point. here's what maybe the best, worst piece of writing in human history. if you can find worse (that's not intentionally worse), please forward it on...

(thanks to james fo…

travelogia

ah, so i have just returned from one of those wild excursions called business trips. for me, these normally involve locations that i would normally find frightening and several days of seclusion in a second rate hotel room, eating food that somehow manages to be both fattening and unsatisfying. and part of this trip was spent in such a location. fortunately, it also involved two other stops that were considerably less suck.

first up was a stop in washington. now, i'll just say this straight up: i like washington. i like the sheer intimidation factor created by the national mall. (albert speer used its design concepts in his plans for berlin, which is completely obvious if once you know it. don't believe me? there are giant fasces flanking the lincoln memorial. go look.) in addition, i like a city where men wear suits like they mean it, where people will meet and hold even eye contact and respond with a confident nod and where it is considered perfectly normal to eat alone.

for…

eostre

greetings of the season from the holiday's completely non-pagan emissary.

what's that racket?

things i'm listening to with remarkable frequency in the last couple of weeks:

pimentola/ misantropolis/ cold meat industry :: to quote stephen colbert "i called it!!!" i said the new album sounded cool (see earlier post) and it is. a bit like a more eccentric, mid-eighties era laibach, but overall, a really difficult release to describe with any accuracy. check out the sound bites on their brilliant web site.

hentai/ toy factory/ vital :: yeah, ok, i know what hentai "really" is, haha. but the album is excellent, creepy... well, check out my full review of the album a couple of posts back.

ait!/ romanticismo oltranzista/ punch records :: i have no idea what's in the water in italy and spain, but i'd like to find out. all of a sudden, there seems to be a an entire extended family of bands whose music is either the soundtrack to a bizarre cabaret or the music you hear on the elevators in hell. central to the scene is the gentleman who records as ait! (…

the biggest loser

one of the reasons i love being in a larger city is because of the diversity of cultures around me. being the offspring of virtually every celtic tribe imaginable doesn't give me the widest variety in my own family. but there are times when i am decidedly so far across the cultural divide that i can't see the other side.

for instance, the united jewish appeal has recently launched a media campaign featuring images of dog tags belonging to three israeli soldiers who were kidnapped, one into gaza, two into lebanon, last year. the line they are using as a catch phrase for this campaign is "we don't leave our sons behind". yeah, we noticed that.

suddenly, toronto is polluted with images of dog tags, exhorting people to support the campaign to free the soldiers. this might have been a laudable goal in itself, if it had been voiced when the soldiers were first kidnapped. hell, it's a laudable goal now to remind people that those young men are still missing. but i…

rebel rebel

You Are 90% Non Conformist

You're incredibly strange. And a weirdness like yours takes skill to cultivate!
No one really understands you. And you're cool with that. You just hope you never have to understand them!Are You a Nonconformist?

quebec vote

i know all you've been hearing about for the last couple of weeks is mario dumont but holy crap.

counting is in progress.

results remain to be seen.

no one really knows.

the fat lady hasn't sung yet.

still...

shades of ontario in 1990, methinks...

diet diary, part 9

yes, still.

well, it's not so much a diet any more as an adjustment to an overall healthier eating pattern. once you've lost weight (and as of christmas, i had lost upwards of twenty pounds), your body starts doing a lot of the work for you.

for instance, yesterday, the man and i decided to stop at chippy's, toronto's fish and chip nirvana, where your choice of fish (generally haddock, cod, halibut, salmon, scallops or shrimp) is battered before your eyes and served over a pile o' fries. a few hours later, we topped this off by sharing a sinful dark chocolate and banana crepe at the place whose name i don't know, but who are right next to fluevog, so they're easy for me to find. obviously, i'm not obsessing over what i'm eating.

except that i spent most of the night feeling like i was going to be sick. why? because i'm not used to it any more, and stuffing my face with grease and sugar en masse is something that i can no longer handle physic…

true love

Nothing you could say
Can tear me away from my guy
Nothing you could do
'Cause I'm stuck like glue to my guy

I'm stickin' to my guy
Like a stamp to a letter
Like the birds of a feather
We stick together
I'm tellin' you from the start
I can't be torn apart from my guy

Nothing you can do
Could make me untrue to my guy
Nothing you could buy
Could make me tell a lie to my guy

I gave my guy my word of honor
To be faithful and I'm gonna
You best be believing
I won't be deceiving my guy

As a matter of opinion I think he's tops
My opinion is he's the cream of the crop
As a matter of taste to be exact
He's my ideal as a matter of fact

No muscle bound man
Could take my hand from my guy
No handsome face
Could ever take the place of my guy
He may not be a movie star
But when it comes to being happy we are
There's not a man today
Who could take me away from my guy

No muscle bound man
Could take my hand from my guy
No handsome face
Could ever tak…

good stuff

as some of you may be aware, i'm a bit of an amateur wine enthusiast. while i couldn't tell you from an objective standpoint what makes a good wine, i'm more than happy to wax poetic about what i like and what i would go back for.

having successfully installed brand new, funky-looking, funkier-sounding speakers on my computer, i'm relaxing with a particularly nice bottle and felt the need to share. (not the bottle, which i unfortunately can't share over the internet, but the information.)

today's selection is from l.a. cetto. i'm not one of these people who knows how to properly describe the bouquet of wine (although i understand why some people use the term "cat pee" to describe the scent of sauvignon blanc). i'd describe this one as being more fruity, a bit sweeter than most red wines. picture unsweetened raspberry jam with alcohol, but in a good way.

this wine is surprising for a few reasons:

1. it's from mexico, an area known for kic…

until i fed them to the cats

You Will Be a Cool Parent

You seem to naturally know a lot about parenting, and you know what kids need.
You can tell when it's time to let kids off the hook, and when it's time to lay down the law.
While your parenting is modern and hip, it's not over the top.
You know that there's nothing cool about a parent who acts like a teenager... or a drill sergeant!Would You Be a Cool Parent?

luck of the irish?

i like st. patrick's day. i like the fact that there is a holiday that celebrates celtic-ness and drunkeness at once (you could argue they were pretty close to begin with). in fact, it's probably second only to halloween as my favourite publicly recognised holiday.

so every year, i have to have my little ritual and that ritual involves visiting a pub and partaking of the cheer. i've made attempts at watching parades in various cities, but i've more recently given up that practice because a) eight out of ten times, it's freezing cold and/ or snowing in canada on march 17th and b) the parades seem to consist entirely of trucks carrying people who are as drunk as i would be, if i weren't freezing my tush off watching them. so i've backed off the parade in recent years.

however, a visit to the pub, the longer the better, is still an important thing for me.

next year, however, i'm going to have to plan things a little better.

first of all, i didn't …

can't sleep, clown'll eat me

hentai :: toy factory :: vital

if you look at the album artwork to the right, you're going to get a better impression of what this album sounds like than i am going to be able to give you. with a title like "toy factory" and tracks like "dead teddy bear dormitory" and "insane puppet asylum", you pretty much have a sense of what you're getting anyway.

there is something innately creepy about toys, particularly those which have past their prime. the child's play franchise, as well as the new film dead silence are testimony to this. but attempts to exploit this intrinsic creepiness are often done in a schlocky, juvenile way. this one isn't. in fact, the execution is almost flawless, marrying electronic pulses with disembodied samples that nicely ape the lonely sighs of rusted components and damaged heads as the wind blows through an abandoned toy factory.

to my ear, the closest sonic reference points are nightmare lodge at their most sweetl…

nothing else to say

(image comes courtesy of the flickr "guinness groupies" set.)

hard times

it's always sad to see the passing of a music stalwart, particularly when you're interested in music that doesn't allow too many stalwarts to survive. so let's all bow our heads for a moment of silence to remember that manifold records, purveyor and distributor of fine music since 1992.

sadly, vince the manifold guy has decided to put his distribution service/ online music store to sleep, citing the various difficulties in maintaining a distributorship in an age when downloading and filesharing are rampant.

i have to say that in my own experience, downloading does not hinder my desire to buy music. in fact, downloading albums is one of the main ways i discover new music, which i then go out and buy. if i don't buy it, it basically means i either wasn't going to buy it, or i was going to get it based on a one minute clip and be disappointed and probably end up selling it to a second hand shop. i realise that not everyone is scrupulous about this, but i know a…

need to get out more?

most people have gone through a phase where they went out to clubs. since a lot of the time, this activity is associated purely with trying to get laid, the activity generally ceases once they find ways to achieve this goal without having to spend money and deal with a hangover.

for my part, i've always just enjoyed the experience of dancing. it is, after all, such a uniquely human activity, with no point whatsoever beyond itself. and if that sounds too esoteric for you, i say that any type of exercise that allows, nay encourages me to consume alcohol during the workout is ok in my books.

long ago, i assumed that i never heard music i really loved when i went out (save for those times when i was the dj) because i lived in a small city at the time. however, i've since learned that the stuff i truly want to hear just isn't getting played anywhere.

it's my loss, of course, and i've responded by going out less and less, because i no longer feel i have the time to wa…