Sunday, December 31, 2006
I'm not all that big on NYE but you are sort of expected to be sociable, not hungover, and generally awake at most parties. This may prove to be challenging for me tonight.
So since i'm out of it this morning, i'll have to just give you the factual recap of last night.
Went to the Albion last night with Slee and some of her friends who were all very nice. I ended up spending a large chunk of time sitting behind dj Charless and he even let me pick a couple of songs (Prince and the JBs (rip)). Talked to a dancer lady whose name was Johnny(! though i guess my name is now a girl's name so i shouldn't be shocked). Aaron the cook and i banged on the piano (well, Aaron did, i was trying to look inside at the guts of the thing, as it's an old Bell like my new one). When the music died for some reason, everyone heard us pounding on it. Whoops! Someone should rescue that piano - i'm sure it could be restored and put to good use.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
See? Look how similar they are!!!!
So while i was at home i stole a piano book from my folks' place. And by stole, i mean "asked if i could borrow". It is some sort of ragtime book. It starts off fairly easy, and progresses to near impossible. It has a simplified version of the Entertainer (you know that one, from the movie "the Sting"), as well as some medleys of various Scott Joplin pieces. Look, there he is below, on a postage stamp! I just love those syncopations.
I borrowed it and have started trying to learn some of the pieces from page 1 - the easier stuff. I was really surprised at how much i actually was able to remember from when i was 11 years old. I can still remember most of the notes, and a good chunk of the rhythm. I have to hunt and poke for the notes, but still that's pretty good. In other words, i feel encouraged about the possibility of actually learning to play again. I won't be playing, say, "Maple Leaf Rag" any time in the next couple of years, but i think that i can make this work somehow. And that is encouraging.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Anyway, in the words of Spock, to all of you, "i have been and shall always be your friend" - and Merry Christmas!
Live long and prosper (with presents).
Friday, December 22, 2006
Santa - if you're listening...
Oh, and make it one of these, complete with flux capacitor, if you could:
That way, i'd never be late for work again!
Hell, i'd even take this:
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The movers - and there were only 2 of them - were very greatful that i'd taken the time to remove the iron railing from the front porch. This allowed them to back the truck up onto the lawn, and then allowed them to put the ramp right down onto the porch. From there, they used a combination of physics and muscle power (a type of physics, i suppose) to get the piaon up onto a dolly. They slowly rolled it down onto the porch, and then LIFTED it up the step into the house. Yes. They LIFTED it. From there, it was easy - they just rolled it over to the wall, LIFTED IT (not so easy) and had me pull out the dolly (easy). The terrifying part was when the movers went to put "coasters" under the wheels, to protect the floor. One guy lifted the piano, while the other guy actually slid his arm UNDER the piano to place the coaster under the wheels. Jesus. One slip and there goes your career in piano playing, let alone piano moving.
(BTW - it looks something like this - that's not mine, but a similar model and colour)
I'm a little nervous about having an 800 lb weight sitting in my living room for the next several years - but my friend Dave W and also Steve the tuner both assure me that it should be fine, structurally speaking. Steve put it in perspective - he said, "if you had a party (how did he know?) and you had, say, 4 guys your size sitting on the sofa, that'd be as much as the piano" (actually, it'd be a bit more...). I did in fact have about 8 people over at my place Saturday night, so that would be almost 2 big pianos. However, the 4 big guys sitting on the sofa argument doesn't factor in the fact that the 4 guys eventually get up, and then go home. They don't stay there in one spot for the next dozen or so years...
Hopefully it'll all be fine.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
See, i already know how to survive a nuclear apocalypse, a meteor crashing into the earth and an alien invasion. But zombies, i am totally unprepared for. The book arrived last night (got a call saying it was in, thanks Michelle), and i hope to pick it up over the next couple of days from the Bookshelf. After that i'm outta Guelph for a few days.
Otherwise, if a zombie outbreak occurs before Christmas, we're all doomed.
Because i'm your only hope.
Monday, December 18, 2006
So the first topic that i've been given comes courtesy of my boss. She wanted me to write about the new trend that exists here in Canada with respect to "inflatable" yard decorations. This specifically refers to the Christmas decorations.
The first time i saw one of these was at the beginning of November (so yeah, almost 2 whole months before Xmas). It was on someone's front lawn, and it looked like this:
I thought i should warn them that my mother may come and try to steal it for her collection (she collects normal sized snow globes, among other things). It really would be a fine addition, given its size. I don't think the child comes with it though. He seems worried that perhaps the snow-family contained therein may need airholes...
A guy at work mentioned that he saw one that was basically a giant blow up chimney, and it had a massive Frosty the snowman that would pop in and out of the chimney top. Funny that over a century ago, pneumatics were possibly the most scientifically advanced application of physics and, uh, pneumatism, and a wonder of the ages - but now they've been relegated to misrepresenting common Christmas folklore themes (as in SANTA goes down the chimney - not Frosty - he'd melt!).
So by now you're wondering "well, he must have SOME sort of stance on these things". Some of you probably think that these giant blowup things are tacky and gauche, and some of you are thinking they're cute and festive. Well, i tell you, it depends. Because i was driving home from work, heading to the LCBO and saw a giant blow up snow globe, and thought "wow, that's TACKY. If i walked by one of those, i'd KICK it!!".
But later that night, i had a change of heart.
Maybe because of the LCBO. OK, because of the LCBO.
It was night time. About 2 am. I was walking down the street...ok...i was skipping down the street....OK OK!!!...so i was DANCING down the street, singing Christmas carols...and pretending to be Bing Crosby (in the Bells of St Mary or possibly Going My Way). And i happened upon one of those giantly freakish snow globes on somebody's lawn.
So i stared at it, this giant misshapen pneumatic monstrosity.
I walked up to it.
And i hugged it.
And then i danced my way home.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Me, i can't resist zombies.
Let me explain. If i'm in a video store, and there is ANY sort of zombie movie on the rack, i simply have to rent it. Even though 99% of them are crappy - i still have to. It's a compulsion. The same can be said with any post-apocalyptic flicks.
I was in a hoity-toity bookstore the other day and there was a ZOMBIE NOVEL there! No, it wasn't written by an undead person, but it is some sort of zombie horror book. So i bought it and am reading it now. I'll tell you if it's good when i'm done, but so far, it's pretty interesting. And scary.
Oh, that reminds me, tonight is the Barmitzvah Brothers annual festive show! Huzzah! I don't know why zombies reminded me of that though...
(hand goes sheepishly up)
Even though you're a man
(hand stays up)
And you invited your friend Dave to offset it
And so there wasn't so much gossip happening...
(hand goes down...)
It worked out fine. We didn't get into the card playing, which i was sincerely hoping for. I think that those who don't enjoy games should always be forced to play, but that's just my upbringing. So it was good. Except that i'm really tired and those ladies didn't drink half the booze that i got for them. So now i have the problem of having a fridge full of Irish Cider, Chinese beer and Canadian wine. Any volunteers?
Saturday, December 16, 2006
The sad thing was that we traded cds with him, but the one that i got (his new album) got smashed in half before i could get it home.
Those of you who are familiar with Wiseman will find this next part funny and perhaps ironic.
The cd got smashed because i was lugging the Wurlitzer* back into the practice hall, and i guess it got crushed up against my jacket. So that is the end of that cd. I will try to buy his album from Encore Records in Kitchener.
* a Wurlitzer electric piano appears here:These things weigh a ton. They're very heavy and difficult to move around.
With that, i bid you all goodnight.
Friday, December 15, 2006
It's "L.S.D." day at work today, yep.
Kind of seems like an episode of the Office or a Dilbert cartoon. That stuff isn't so funny when it is a real part of your daily existence.
I'll write more about my "experiences" with LSD later.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Whew. Run on sentence is over. And this isn't the first time i've addressed this topic. But let's continue...
Anyway, it actually happened twice this morning. First it was "Take it to the limit" by the mother&%$#ing* Eagles**, the "Rock me Amadeus" by Falco. Holy crap did i freak freak freak out. I think i was doing the robot whilst driving to the Falco tune. Although that stupid "baby baby" part in "Amadeus" is garbage and was clearly stuck in there just to make the song longer/more in synch with the 80s tripe out there. It was probably fun for girls in the 80s (as in "19", not their actual age) to stand in a group of 3, sing and shimmy to the bridge.
That guy was AHEAD of his time, while being behind it too!!!
But "Take it to the limit", whoa, that's some powerful limburger but i love cheese, then, don't i.
*i've been known to swear like a sailor in real life. I still am not sure why i censor myself here...i mean, with all the smut, porn, etc floating about on the 'net, i doubt my cursing would be even more than a blip in the sonar of depravity.
** i know, i know - you all think it's cool to pretend you hate the Eagles after watching "the big Lebowski"*** but whatever. Embrace your inner love of bad 70s pseudo-country. Everyone likes to think that without, say, Gram Parsons, there'd be no alt-country or country tinged rock but that's b.s.. All those hipsters discovered the Gram Parsons AFTER they grooved to the Eagles. They're hipster liars.
***what a good flick.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Apparantly i ordered from more than just ebay. A book showed up from Amazon.com - but i got it for a steal somehow! Way less than normal price, all things considered. However my deal making was eaten up by the stupid UPS brokerage costs on another package that showed up. This one contained a small penknife worth like 15 bucks...with a brokerage charge of like 25 dollars. Great.
Oh and i'm thinking of buying a piano.
I'm crazy! (and about to cash in some stock investments to buy the piano - so no worries).
That means i'll have to take lessons again - haven't done that since i was 11.
You should all be more obsessive compulsive like me. Clearly.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I accidentally deleted my stats information. Really, though, stats are all about vanity so i'm better off without them.
Which begs the question, what is blogging all about?
Anyway, i've installed a new thing called a "Shat counter". It counts the number of times any of my readers imitate or reference William Shatner. So far, we're up to 1701*.
*yes that's a hidden Star Trek reference.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I'm not sure. I am glad that he's still making records. I really like the "Bastards" portion of his new album.
I mention this because Mr Barclay posted an old interview he did with Mr Waits back in the last century sometime.
Here is perhaps the singlehanded greatest benchmark piece of interviewing journalism that i have ever read. I can say that with such overconfidence because i know that you will read it and agree. You can read it and see the point where the interview goes from being awkward/failing/non existent to becoming quite good. It's so good that i've made the link so big you cannot click on the screen without hitting it. Scroll down past the record review, and read Mr B's preface and go from there.
Now, i didn't blow thousands of dollars or anything that scandalous - but odds and ends keep showing up from ebay, various magic shops, and bookstores.
Monday i got home and found a package containing a bone-handled pocket knife that i'd ordered off Ebay.
Tuesday i arrived home to find a video titled "Cheating at Gin: how to protect yourself". I'm not sure if the previous day's knife was part of the package.
Wednesday there was a book on magic tricks.
Thursday, nothing so far - but for some reason, i keep having this hazy late night image of a pair of eel skin steppin' shoes*. Maybe i ordered those too...?
Friday, ideally, it'll be a nice bottle of scotch and an antique checkerboard.
This isn't the norm for me, but it has made for an interesting week.
*Sweet jesus, look at these things!
For any of you not from a region where it snows, this may seem odd to you. But bear with me, as winter is upon us here. I think there may be a few more winter postings 'til it sinks in. For you Aussies out there, i guess this must be some kind of beautiful weather break/holiday coming up? If so, lucky. Here it's about to turn into an arctic hell for the next 4-5 months.
And now, the age old debate of fashion vs function.
Actually, the debate is idiotic, from one side. My views are this: i'd rather not get frostbite if it means i have to look good getting it. I would much rather look like a dork than be a dork. I'd rather be warm and have my skin not freeze.
This all started because i said i was going to go looking for a parka of some kind, say, like this one:
I think that next time, we need to have this discussion out of doors, in a raging blizzard, while i'm nestled comfortably in my military parka and snowmobile boots, and the smart set is dumbly dressed in !Gap! pink puffy short jackets, wearing high heeled open toed shoes and skirts.
The whole thing would be pretty funny, from my end.
This is Canada, ladies.
Dress right or freeze.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
That's what you are if you own a giant sport utility vehicle, drive it like a jerk, and you don't actually use it for sport. Hell, even owning one puts you in the running.
Today was the first significant winter weather day here. It didn't snow a lot, but enough that the roads are very slippery. On my way into work - which took about twice the normal time - i slid into an intersection, and had several wobbly corner turns, with fishtailing and all. Now, i don't have winter tires - i have what we like to refer to as "all season radials" which is another way of phrasing for "not suitable for winter driving". I will probably stop in to the dealership and inquire about winter tires today or tomorrow, if i don't slide off of the road into a ditch first.
Back to the douchebags.
Why why why do we allow people to buy these pieces of s#!%?? They're terrible from every angle. They are horrid on gas. They take up too much space in parking lots. They handle like utter crap - they're far less "sport" capable than your average VW Golf, i'd wager. And worst of all - they turn normally calm housewives into macho homicidal maniac drivers. Seriously, you put anyone behind the wheel of one of these monsters, and suddenly they believe they're driving a tank in the Nazi Panzier division of WWII. Give up your ego and buy a goddam minivan, and please convince the rest of your midlife crisis buddies while you're at it. You won't drive as crazy, and won't put your kids in as much danger. You're not going offroading. You're not a stunt driver. You're just higher off the ground and surrounded by more metal is all. Hell, when i see winter fender benders, i bet 8 times out of 10, it's an Explorer or something similar lying in the ditch.
I was tailed at least 4 times on the way in by 3 sport-utes and an F150. Why? In this weather? Are people ****ing crazy? My vehicle is tiny - a Toyota Echo - if they hit me at full speed, i'm dead. I die. I cease to exist.
Please, if you can't drive a sensible vehicle, at least drive sensibly in the Canadian winter. Don't tailgate. Slow down a bit. Be cautious.
........anyway, we all went to our desks and it was pretty much business as usual.
I just realized that i haven't put up Xmas decorations yet. I said i was going to put a wreath up. Note: this isn't a cry for people to run out and buy me Xmas decorations. It's one of those things that you either do yourself, or you don't do at all. I may still buy or make some sort of decoration. I could get a small tree and decorate it with my yo yo collection from a few years back.
Maybe i'll just hang my own stocking and fill it myself. After all, who knows better than me what to put in it? I'll put it up in the living room, it needs decorating.
Oh, and while we're doing the tangental dance, the framing shop called, and my thingies are framed (a David Ben poster and some Marvel comics authentic comic art courtesy of Nicky boy Craine).
Waiting. Reminds me of that old Flashlight song about the plumber...
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I didn't realize this at the time, and i missed it in the credits - but the film was written by Nick Cave. Perhaps that's why it makes sense that the movie was disturbing, frightening, yet very good.
I recommend it, but not for those who are faint of heart and stomach.
Monday, December 04, 2006
They did find a temporary solution - Mondays & Fridays, her boys can go to a new daycare, and the rest of the week relatives can help out.
The point of this post is actually different than all that though. It turns out that at this daycare, they have several webcams posted throughout the facility. Therefore, parents can "tune in" and see how their kiddies are doing! Crazy! She just showed Mik El and i how her one son was playing in a sandbox or something, and the other son was sitting at the snack table, ordering rounds of milk for all the boys.
It does seem mildly 1984 "Big Mother is Watching" on one hand, but on the other, she was able to see that her boys are doing ok at the new daycare. They aren't crying. They aren't upset. They're adjusting and having a good time, by the looks of it. That seems like a good helpful use of technology.
I wonder, though, if they've started putting those cameras up around the office...
ADDENDUM: OK, apparantly, they have lovely camera shots of the kiddies playing in the brightly coloured toy room, or snacking at the gayly covered table. However, they also have an absolutely TERRIFYING camera shot of the "infant sleeping room". Picture this (because my boss won't let me put the image here): metal cribs, 10 or so, shot from a bizarre diagonal angle, with a NIGHT VISION camera!!! It's terrifying! It looks like a scene from a psych ward! Or a shot from the Silent Hill video game!! I'm sure it looks peaceful and serene in real life, but through night vision, with the Hitchcockean camera angle....yikes!
Sunday, December 03, 2006
The go to my friend Michael Barclay's blog. He's a rock journalist who has done some pretty great stuff, such as:
-turned a Tom Waits interview around that was going absolutely south. I'm going to beg him to post the transcript somewhere so you can see what i mean. It's the best interview i've ever read. Ever.
-called the Hillside comittee a "bunch of hippy f%$&s" by accident in a local magazine (was it untrue??? and so what if it was).
-written a really big big book chronicaling the history of Canadian rock and roll
-made the accordian cool again
-housed numerous rock and roll bands in his former Montreal apartment
-worked on his dream gig for the CBC
Saturday, December 02, 2006
3 things i would sell my soul to Satan for, if i actually thought it would work - not in any particular order:
1) Be able to dance like Michael Jackson circa 1985
2) Be able to play the entire repertoire of Scott Joplin, specifically "Maple Leaf Rag" with expert adroitness
3) Be able to perform the entire contents of S.W. Erdnase's "The Expert At the Card Table" with due aplomb
4) Be Spiderman
5) Be able to ____ ____ with_____ in ___ ____ while_____. Seven ____!!!*
Please note, Satan, this will only happen if you show up at my house with a parchment and flaming pen. Otherwise, all bets are off.
*a girl has to have some secrets, doesn't she?**
**or a boy.
Friday, December 01, 2006
It's quite scary, actually.
Hey, wait - why do people do that - what i just did above - where they write one sentence that isn't all that important, yet they isolate it like that. Is it to try to take something that is mundane and fake up its importance??? I can't believe i've subscribed to someone's writing b.s.. I mean, if i'd said something like "All Nazis are evil", well that warrants its own one sentence paragraph.
It's probably James Joyce's fault.