28 March 2007

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!

26 March 2007

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 physically. i don't really need to worry about what it does to my figure...

i still get people commenting on my weight loss, as if i have some pact with the devil, but i have entered a long stage where i don't notice much difference myself. there are a few things that have come to my attention:

1. my face is longer than i had realised. years of being pleasingly plump, plus the normal torture of childhood, had left me with the impression that my face was quite round. the picture adjacent is an illustration of what i'm talking about (albeit one that, i think, exaggerates the effect).

2. i will always have a little bulge in my tummy. although it's shrunk, it just seems to be there for good. whatever.

3. i am two sizes. i am always going to be a full size, possibly two, larger on top than i am on the bottom. again, whatever. can make buying dresses difficult.

so later this week, i have my "annual" (i haven't had one in three years) physical. they will weigh me as a matter of protocol, which is normally something that i dread. this year, i'm still nervous, but i also want to find out what my progress has been. for the first time, i'm thinking that my "goal" (basically, to get to the weight where i felt i looked best, back when i kept better track of my weight) might be in sight.

so what happens then? probably nothing, because i've taken this so slowly that, as i mentioned earlier, i don't really have to think about it any more. but i have a feeling i'll feel pretty good.

25 March 2007

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 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

There's not a man today
Who could take me away from my guy
(Tell me more)
There's not a man today
Who could take me away from my guy

24 March 2007

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 kick-ass food and lighter-than-light beer, but not for wine.

2. it's a petite sirah, which is known mostly as a blending grape. it's rarely used on its own.

3. it set me back $10 canadian.

a little word of warning: i'm given to understand that this particular type of grape normally has than exquisite flavour of syphoning gasoline with your mouth, unless you leave it for a while. this bottle had been in my cellar (also known as my bedroom closet) for about three years.

cheers!

22 March 2007

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!

18 March 2007

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 get to go out to the pub until evening, whereas i have always fancied getting a head start in the late afternoon and languishing as the hours pass. second, i figured i would try a new place, which always carries some attendant risks, even with something as straightforward as a pub. with st. patrick's day so ubiquitous, you wouldn't think there'd be a lot of deviation from the theme. however, as soon as we arrived and got past the dollar-store cardboard leprechaun at the door, it was obvious that i was wrong (and i hate being wrong).

the pub was populated entirely by people who were probably paying for their drinks by signing over their old-age security cheques to the barmaid and one crew of college-age types determined to have fun. there was a distinct lack of any form of conversation, a situation which seems antithetical to the whole notion of st. paddy's. after all, the irish are the original b.s. artists. they are known for talking. witness the ritual of kissing the blarney stone.

those who were there were, for the most part, watching the hockey game. (again, not very irish, but i was also in the company of a fan whose only condition for going out was that we be somewhere that was showing the game. and watching some sort of sport seemed to be at least somewhat irish.) so it wasn't exactly the sort of social scene you associate with the culture. in fact, the crowd seemed downright depressed. (leafs fans)

also, the music playing was all wrong, although it didn't seem to bother any of the other patrons. there is nothing irish about "paradise city" or "cat's in the cradle". i'm not normally a huge fan of celtic folk music, but even i know when it suits the mood.

it didn't get any better with the food. we each ordered a drink, allowing me time to digest the loaf of bread packed into every glass of guinness. when we hailed the waitress to order our meals, she brought us the bill. we probably should have taken her suggestion and moved on, but we insisted on ordering. i got a fish and chips, which was about the only thing that looked even mildly like the food i'm used to seeing in pubs. well, i suppose there was also bangers and mash on the menu, which is what my sidekick ordered. the waitress came back a few minutes later to ask if we wanted fries or salad with our dinners. let me think. i ordered fish and chips, not fish and salad, so which do you think i'm expecting with my dinner, imbecile? and i need not mention that if she couldn't grasp that fish and chips should be served with chips, she was utterly lost on the bangers and mash. it went something like:

"do you want fries or salad?"

"neither. i just want the mashed potatoes."

"i think that's extra."

"that's what the 'mash' is. i just want the potatoes that come with the meal."

"so you want fries?"

"no."

"ok, you want salad."

i guess it was a st. patrick's miracle that his dinner arrived about twenty minutes later with mashed potato, but without either fries or salad. unfortunately, it also had those ratty little things known as "breakfast sausages" that come frozen and that were enough to turn me off sausage entirely when i was a child. and the beans that were served with it were heinz, straight from the can...

even more unfortunately, my own dinner didn't arrive until about a half hour later. a pile of freezer fries with a couple of decent pieces of fish. and to top it off, i was told, having had one guinness and one cider (i can't fit more than one guinness in me in a single sitting), that i had cleaned them out of cider and would have to change to plain, non-irish beer.

not a st. patrick's i'll remember with much fondness, but perhaps it's a lesson in being (very distantly) irish. after all, the irish are a people whose strength is always shown in their ability to get crapped on and find a way to shake it off and keep smiling. guinness makes it all better.

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 sweetly psychotic, as well as the chill of cassette-era die form. there is also a certain resemblance to jouissance's brilliant sunlight penetrates the crown, both in the percolating rhythms and the just human enough to be disturbing sampling.

i'm often in the habit of lamenting that there aren't any new, original, interesting acts these days. i love being wrong.

14 March 2007

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 lot of people who are and who will buy, as long as they can afford it.

in my opinion, i think that the greater threat to distributors is the direct access that artists themselves now have to their public. after all, buying direct from the artist eliminates a middle man who needs to make money.

the unfortunate thing is that a good distributor is one of the best places to find out about new music you might not have heard of. you may not know the names of the bands you want to track down, but if you can read through a good catalogue of them, there's a good chance you'll find some descriptions that point you in the right direction.

even with the passing of the store, though, there are a couple of reasons to be happy. first, manifold will continue to exist as a label, although there are no releases scheduled for the immediate future. second, in an effort to run down inventory, they are having an absolutely mad sale. lots of really obscure goodies, priced at around $7.

11 March 2007

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 waste sitting somewhere and waiting to hear something that would even qualify as acceptable. but it's also a general loss, because i think that, given the chance, a lot of people would enjoy something different.

so here is a very short, not even close to exhaustive list of a some stuff that i would love to hear. and that i never will unless i decide to take up dj'ing again.

des esseintes :: tension
[why you want to hear it] because its hammering percussion, orchestral-style flourishes and fiery washes of noise, it is the very definition of gothic splendour. imagine all the gargoyles on an immense cathedral broke free of their stone perches and started attacking the city. [[bonus cool points for using a theremin hook.]]
[why you won't] because most club-goers labour under the impression that minor-key pop music labeled "ebm" sounds dark, which would make this one flat out insanity.

deutsch nepal :: rapist park junction
[why you want to hear it] because the cyclical rhythms and slowly mounting intensity of dn have always made it phenomenally sexy. its sinewy, sensuous internal motion is the antithesis of tired, four-to-the-floor, cookie-cutter dance beats. pure aural pleasure you can feel through your whole body.
[why you won't] because tired, four-to-the-floor, cookie-cutter dance beats are a formula that's proven successful.

novy svet :: en possession de te
[why you want to hear it] because it is a well-kept secret that a lot of novy's music is eminently danceable. not in the rigid way that self-consciously dance-oriented tracks are, but in a gather round the fire, pass around a bottle of unidentified liquor and lose your inhibitions at the gypsy encampment kind of way.
[why you won't] because most people are afraid of losing their inhibitions and because some of the frequencies could cause eardrums to implode at high volume.

maska genetik :: the ocean
[why you want to hear it] because its atmosphere of sinister restraint is a perfect soundtrack for a smoke and fog-filled room where everyone's features and motives are obscured and mysterious.
[why you won't] because it's bad for business to make your clientele uneasy.

brighter death now :: payday
[why you want to hear it] because its ceaseless, chugging riff could move planets. raw physical aggression distilled into ten atonal notes and set to a waltz tempo. if there is a more perfect track fro shaking off the soul-destroying dreariness of the work week, i haven't found it.
[why you won't] because it steams along with an unapologetic sameness for almost ten minutes. [[full disclosure :: i once played this in a club and people danced. so there.]]

liars :: there's always room on the broom
[why you want to hear it] because it's almost impossible to believe that anything so toneless could be so catchy and that something so bouncy and poppy could be so noisy.
[why you won't] because the people who would most enjoy it are unaware of its existence.

in case you haven't guessed, i've chosen the above as representatives of certain types of tracks that i feel get ignored. if i tried to come up with a complete list, i'd be typing for the next four days without ever reaching completion.

feel free to post or email your personal selections.

10 March 2007

second look



i've heard earlier material by pimentola that left me completely cold (i'm often leery of material that comes from the metal scene because, in many cases, it lacks finesse). but for some reason, i just found myself attracted to the cover of their new album.

aside from the fact that it appeals to me as a lover of silent-era german film, i like the way they've updated it and the english wordplay from a band whose native language sounds like diabolical incantations is impressive. in fact it's that cleverness which is making me interested. (they're also responsible for a track called "psychopompous", which is simply a brillliant title in my book.)

the sound clips on their web site are intriguing and the web site itself could qualify as a sort of contemporary art. have a look. have a listen. i'm curious for more...
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