spandrels: (Default)
300 days out of the year Vancouver works its ass off earning the title "No Fun City."

But if you catch it on one of the other 165iiiive...it is fun as fucking hell!!
spandrels: (Default)
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In the small town where I grew up, our pre-school was in the middle of the woods; and behind the pre-school was an old abandoned outhouse. We used to tell freaky stories about a boogey man who live in it and dare each other to go inside. No one ever did.

Those years were the best I've had. I'd haunt the outhouse myself just to be close to the place that holds my happiest memories.
spandrels: (robert downey jr: perusing)
I think I have the best dentist ever in the world, ever. He may look like he's only 5, but his skill level puts him well into his late twenties.

My x-rays showed a cavity so close to a nerve it should've been an automatic root canal. But not to Dr. Do! He took a bit more time and care and managed to save my tooth, AND my bank account.

Hugs, Dr. do. Hugs for serious.
spandrels: (flipthebird)
The following anecdote says volumes about the internet, my relationship to it, and the way it intersects with modern culture. [Links are not provided on purpose. If you want to see the stuff I'm talking about, find it yourself. Just try and be mindful as you do it. It may give you pause.]

The other night my roommate and I sat in our respective corners, tapping away at our respective web delivery systems, when Jo came over and asked if she could send me something. "It's tasteless," she warned, "maybe even offensive. My dad sent it to me." Naturally, I said yes. Too curious to wait for her email to dial up mine, I asked her what it was. "A video of Hitler singing," was her answer. I was so in.

She double checked my email address and hit "send." We waited, but the message never arrived. Silently cursing hamsters for blocking up the tubes, I decided to search for the thing myself, something apparently called, "Mein Fuhrer Sings." The first page of google results showed the requisite links to wiki articles on nazis, one of Hitler's more famous addresses and a couple of random forum quotes. But there was also something promising, something potentially offensive. The fourth link down. I clicked it. It turned out to be a flash cartoon of Hitler singing "Barbie Girl"...with a sock puppet.

After watching for a few seconds - because, really, how funny can something like that be - I clicked away, bored and slightly crestfallen that this was not the same video Jo's dad had emailed her (I know him, he wouldn't find a German rendition of Aqua and a sock with lipstick on it funny either). Then it hit me: there is another video of Hitler lip-syncing out there and I wanted to find it. In fact, there are 38,300 hits for the phrase, "Hitler sings." Apparently, the intertubes are not clogged with rodents, they're clogged with videos of Hitler getting his karaoke on.

It's tempting to look at what the internet has wrought and blame it for a downward spiral in the quality of our culture. It's an easy argument to make. Enter lol-speak, exeunt proper grammar in the under 25 set. Thing is, we've been complaining about this same trend for thousands of years. Just ask Socrates or Peter the Hermit.*

Maybe it's true, maybe things are worse. Or maybe they're just different. I'm convinced that nothing much has changed. Ancient Romans etched graffiti onto stone lavatory walls, today we use sharpies, but we're still drawing pictures of cocks. Where we once turned to America's Funniest Home Videos for a weekly fix of baseball-on-crotch action, now we aim those suckers at ourselves and post it to Youtube. We've always been just a bunch of cave-dwellers amusing ourselves around a campfire with tales of hunting and fart jokes. Only now our campfire is really fucking big. To think otherwise is to deny what I feel is an essential truth about humanity: we're not all that. Some of us are pretty exceptional, but most of us are just alright. And that is not something to be ashamed of, it is something we need to accept in order to get on with what's really important in life. And while I think "what's really important" has more to do with communing meaningfully with our fellow humans, and less to do with vector-izing a long-dead epic bastard, I doubt the internet had much more to do with the impulse than providing a convenient medium.

I will say one thing, though: it is beyond fucked up that I didn't just get up and watch the damn thing on Jo's laptop.







*"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."
-Widely attributed to Socrates

"The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress."
-Attributed to Peter the Hermit, A.D. 1274
spandrels: (Default)
Well too bad for you.




Apparently, this was spawned in some poor animator's mind by Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger. Poor sod probably went mad upon its completion.
spandrels: (57 channels)
Oh man, I have such a nerd-on for this woman right now. Using copious amounts of cheek and know-how, she scores one for the little guy. LifeHacker made her MacGuyver of the Day yesterday: http://lifehacker.com/5481197/macgyver-of-the-day-limor-ladyada-fried.



To quote the article:
"In contemporary Western society, electronic devices are becoming so prevalent that many people find themselves surrounded by technologies they find frustrating or annoying. The electronics industry has little incentive to address this complaint; I designed two counter-technologies to help people defend their personal space from unwanted electronic intrusion. Both devices were designed and prototyped with reference to the culture-jamming "Design Noir" philosophy. The first is a pair of glasses that darken whenever a television is in view. The second is [a] low-power RF jammer capable of preventing cell phones or similarly intrusive wireless devices from operating within a user's personal space."

Sex.

Viddy her site, it's pretty neat, and shows off some of her creations, including instructions on how to build a flashlight that makes you puke.
spandrels: (mynameisearl: ralph)
OK. Firstly.

Incest, is NOT the new black, people. Pedophilia is.

Secondly, incest is not actually cool, I repeat, NOT cool, despite what some pop idols will tell you. So get yer had off'a [insert name of family member you've always wanted to do].

Thirdly, this is NOT, I repeat NOT a serious post...In case the overzealous use of CAPS, and flippant treatment of a thorny subject didn't tip you off.

Now that we've got that straight, on to the letter.


"Dear Mika,

Your song Touches You weirds me out.

The reasons for this should be obvious, but in case they are not, here are the major strikes against it:

1) George Micheal already did this.
2) See 1.
3) If you are both a person's brother/father or sister/mother, then you are either a) an
ancient Egyptian noble, or b) the progeny of some very naughty dad. Either way, you're not
really fitting material for a pop song.

Wasn't this creepy enough the first time? At least Georgey had the decency to
make the matter more opaque by sticking the word "figure" in there. 

Listen, Mika, even if I concede that the poetry of songwriting does not have to stand up to the rigors of
literal interpretation, if there is any chance of reading something as dirty, people will do
it, so artists should, y'know, compose accordingly.

And it's not as if this song isn't oozing with sexual inferences:

When you're looking tough but you need a way to let it go
Come on now, what's a boy s'posed to do
When I can't seem to leave you alone
Touching me touching you 

or:

I wanna be your brother, wanna be your father too
...
I wanna be wanna be
Whatever else that touches you
Whatever else that touches you
Whatever else that touches you 

Come on.

I don't have any siblings, so maybe I'm missing something here, but unless there is a totally
awesome, totally non-sexual kind of touch that you get only from your sister/brother,
we're talking about the big S. Do you really think this is sexy material? Wanting to be everything to 
someone is a nice sentiment, but I think it's best to stick with the standard: "I want to be your moon,
and stars, and Beatles Rock Band."

What's my point? Don't write songs that are thinly veiled odes to fam-on-fam relationships. I
don't care if it's catchy. Don't.

Sincerely,
A Fan. No seriously. I Liked 'Life In Cartoon Motion' "




-------

Now that's off my chest, I should get back to work on that paper for my Integrated Media class, shouldn't I?...Dammit.
spandrels: (paprika)
There is No Wake-Up Call

In an email I wrote to a friend recently I said something that didn't fully sink in at the time, but dawns on me a little more every day: it's weird when your dreams become reality.

I was expecting joy. I was expecting excitement. I wasn't expecting weird. I've been fostering this hope of moving to another city, of finding the right art school for so long it seems like the last month has been happening to someone else...It's a strange feeling; the complete lack of familiarity in surroundings is almost enough to make one doubt the continuity in the person. Now and then I stop and think, wait, this is *me* sitting in this classroom isn't it? This is *me* seeing mountains whenever I look up...

But it's not nearly as disorienting and frightening as I thought it would be. I don't feel like I'm reinventing myself, but the newness makes everything, even tried and true personality traits, feel fresh. Which is not to say that it does not suck from time to time, because it does. Sometimes. Like when all you want to do is get home and collapse, but instead you get lost and have blisters on your feet by the time you finally figure out where you're supposed to go...

But mostly it's been good.

With each day I become a little more convinced this is for real. And little by little I'm allowing myself to believe that this isn't a one off. That there are other goals I might be able to turn into something other than a fever dream.

-------------

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

One of the best things about the move has been my new living situation. The space I share with Joanna is small, but we get along so well it's not an issue, and amazingly we've already settled into a comfortable domestic routine. Most nights we wind up in front of the TV knitting and talking smack about whatever show we're half watching. Between Jo and Janet I've managed to get a pretty good grasp of local geography and politics all the while avoiding what is probably the hardest part of moving someplace new: not knowing anybody you'd want to hang out with.

--------------

Technobabble

As far as school is concerned, I'm in heaven. It's true that education out = energy in, but it also helps if your institution is bringin' it, and ECUAD is. This week we toured the research facilities and I just about peed myself with excitement. Between the Intersections Digital Studios (IDS), Prototyping Media, and Programming Studio (PMP), and Code Lab there are enough fancy toys to keep you dreaming for decades.

IDS consists of a huge motion capture studio (one of the largest in North America), 3D scanner/printer, interactive electronics and wearables lab (think: clothing = circuitboard), and an editing suite that can handle the massive files of a Red camera (i.e. about 28 times the resolution of current HiDef footage).

The only reason I didn't *actually* wet myself is that most of this is off-limits to undergrads unless you're interning or working on a special (read: so-brilliant-you-probably-shouldn't-be-in-school) project. The exception is CodeLab, the artist in residence program. Simon Levine, the AiR this year, is developing a project that explores the implications of the surveillance being put in place for the Olympics and extended an invite to students to help him work on it. Time permitting (hah...) I'd like to get involved somehow, not the least reason for which is that it will be presented sometime during the actual Olympic "celebration*".

My actual classes are humming along too. I've got some great teachers, but am particularly fond of Lucinda (analog photography), and Christine (film editing). We've already got two projects under our belts which just goes to show how lazy and distracted I'd been in the last couple of years. Who knew you could get shit done by just...deciding to do it?? It feels good, after some false starts, to be learning some skills I wouldn't mind employing in a career.

------------

There's more I wanted to say. About how friendly people are. About how good the sashimi is (it's good, people. It's good.) About how many classic cars are out on the roads...About how nice it will be to visit Montreal at Xmas...But...another time.

I'll leave you with some...

Vancouver Fun Facts:

The city is hilly as fuck. 95% of the time you will be walking up or down a steep incline. The other 5% of the time you will be resting at an intersection.

There are more Starbucks cafes than people. I'm beginning to suspect it's a cult.

A cannon goes off in Stanley park every night at 9:00 sharp.

When waiting for a bus, people do not line up, they clump.

-------------

Good night :)





*Which I am quickly coming to realise will in fact be a two-week-long pain in the ass, neck, and everything in between.
spandrels: (Tom Waits: young)
The Players: The Kills / The Horrors / Magic Wands
The Venue: La Tulipe, Weds. 6, 2009
The Gist: There are definitely people out to get it, but rock and roll is not dead yet.

It Begins:
The club was packed and The Magic Wands had already played by the time Faraz and I showed up. I'm sorry to have missed them as by all accounts they're pretty neat, and the second opening act, The Horrors, were not very good at all.

The Plot Thickens:
It's a pretty bold move for such a thoroughly mediocre group of musicians to choose a name like that for themselves, and unfortunately, they don't have the chops to pull off the 'joke.' They are, in my opinion, just a bad Joy Division cover band. They might not know it, but this is what they are, and few things are more tedious to watch than tribute bands without enough self awareness to smell the irony. The lead singer aped Rock Messiah moves a la Manson/Reznor, and the the rest of the gang backed him up with blaring, apathetic indie noise. Yeah. Fun. They didn't play for long, though. In fact, they walked off stage abruptly in what I assumed was an effort to seem disaffected and cool, but which just came off as...well, abrupt, and kind of rude. The highlight of their set for me was when the bassist and keyboardist switched instruments for a song or two - an act that has always seemed deliciously transgressive to me...Like kissing your friend's girlfriend on their insistence. At any rate, they're well-meaning lads, from what I could gather, just not very interesting to watch or listen to.

Le Dénouement:
The Kills, on the other hand, are mesmerising. Right from the first song I knew it was going to be a good show. Hotel (Jamie Hince) started up the drum machine and got down to the business of strangling his guitar, while VV (Alison Mosshart) paced around the stage like a panther on a cocaine trip (which...let's be honest, was a possibility, -the panther), and with her raspy-sexy voice grabbed us by that lowdown place good music speaks too. Rock and roll is not dead; it is not lying abused and lifeless on the floor of some MTV execs office. It was on that stage, alive and fucking well. The chemistry between VV and Hotel was...awesome. They captured the vibe a lot of duos could benefit from: barely restrained sexual tension with no hope or promise of a pay off. They also seemed to be enjoying themselves and their audience, jerking and writhing and sweating right till the end when they thanked the crowd for being it's amazing Montreal self, and ambled off.

After an unnaturally long sound check (La Tulipe gets two thumbs down for their preparedness), The Kills came back for a few more songs before sending everyone off into the night a little better off, and a little more confident in the existence of decent, raw, dirty-fingernailed, dark-sunglasses-indoors, kick-ass music.



Appendix:
The Kills - URA Fever - Great video, great song.
spandrels: (get crunkay!)
UPDATEY: Adding Yann Tiersen and The Kills (holy...!)

Heyall,

Some cool, cool shows are coming up. I’d love to go to all of them and, of course, would happily accept some company :)

Mar. 12 – Jon Lajoie – Club Soda – $22.50**
March 12/13/14 – Tryo – Metropolis – $28.50
Apr. 4 – The Presets – Le Studio - $20.00*
Apr. 17/18 - Yann Tiersen - Club Soda - $29.50**
May 6 - The Kills - La Tulipe - $21.50**
May 15. - Animal Collective – Metropolis – $23.50
June 3 – TV On The Radio – Metropolis – $24.36**

*Buying tic. this week.
**Already boughted.
spandrels: (Default)
Posted these on FB a while ago, but don't want to neglect the LJs.

"First!"
Ill Doctrine, one of the most interesting and entertaining vloggers I've come across in years, tells us why though he's psyched Obama's president, he isn't satisfied.



If you like his style, I highly recommend checking his other vids. He'll make you feel that maybe Youtube isn't SUCH a massive waste of bandwidth after all.

How to Tell People They Sound Racist -- This is a particularly good one.

"First!...aw...First fail..."
Enka is a particular, very traditional, style of Japanese pop. *hums a bar of Tôkyô nagaremono* This AA dude, Jero does it sooooo well, and that blows me away.

The world is getting smaller, indeed!

spandrels: (robert downey jr: perusing)
CBC 2, is running a project to deliver an ipod filled with 49 Canadian songs to Barack Obama, upon his inauguration. Nice, no? (And all I was going to send him was an Icy Hot Pack and some Advil...)

For the last couple of weeks, programming has consisted pretty much exclusively of suggestions from listeners It's been pretty neat. I even caught the Mr. Dress-Up theme once.

ANYWAY The final list of 100 songs is ready to be voted upon:

http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/obamasplaylist/theplaylist.html

There's an awful lot of standard entries (Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, The Hip..), but that only makes me want to vote for the Pierre Lapointes and The Arcade Fires even more.

And I'm psyched that a couple of the artists I suggested made the cut (Marjan Mozetich, K'Naan, K-OS..). The oversights are unfortunate tho' (NO Ron Sexsmith...?) and not surprisingly, some of the 'newer' music us crazy indie kids would have proffered didn't make it either (no Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Venetian Snares). Oh well. Maybe for Term 2.
spandrels: (snow day)
To: All of you for whom this time of year is special, whatever the reason,

I hope you’re spending it in good cheer and even better company!

w/ <3,
Celia and Mooky, the Xmas Moose



Here’s a wintry playlist filled with crisp sunshine and the snowy bluster of night. Enjoy!

Midwinter Mix ‘08 (zip file)

1. Blood on the Snow – Horse Feathers
2. Little Girl Blue (remix) – The Postal Service
3. Into Dust – Mazzy Star
4. Dog – El Perro del Mar
5. Woods – Bon Iver
6. Midwinter Log – µ-Ziq
7. Fox in the Snow – Belle and Sebastian
8. Falling Through the Roof – Horse Feathers
9. The Crane Wife 1 & 2 – The Decemberists
10. Auld Lang Syne – El Perro del Mar
spandrels: (Default)
The weekend, with a few minor exceptions, passed as in a golden haze of food, friends and maracas.

I've been trying for the last couple of days to upload the footage I took at the Amanda Palmer concert on Sunday - the whole reason for our trip out to TO - but either my computer is broken, or the internets are. Bother.

Instead, here's a little Twin Peaks, it'll have to do for now:

spandrels: (get crunkay!)
Monkey waiters
A restaurant defies the global economic slowdown by using monkeys as waiters...


Oh Japan, you so crazy!
spandrels: (Default)
OK.

So there's not an awful lot about the new CBC Radio 2 that I like...And much of what I do like are actually the stragglers from the old Radio 2.

For example, Canada Live, where tonight you can check out a concert with the awesome local band, Mark Bérubé and the Patriotic Few (or you can just grab it from the COD website there)!

8:00pm, 93.5 FM...

FYI :)

Now, off to defend Pax Tharkas!

*whew*

Nov. 15th, 2008 12:42 am
spandrels: (it'sallgood: chet zar)
Swollen toes, ringing ears, bits of my wardrobe falling apart...

Yup.

That was a good show.

VA Day

Nov. 5th, 2008 12:35 am
spandrels: (Blazing Saddles: Bart)
Dear America,

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!11!!eleven!

*breathes*

Thank you.

Sincerely,
_watchtower_

PS I still kinda like you, John. Your concession speech showed some class.





As I said to one of my co-workers, to me, this was kind of like last call. One final chance to make a pit stop before we get back on the road to...wherever it is our world is headed.

Whatever the destination, I'm glad America chose to pee and buy some trail mix.
spandrels: (munky haus:blue girls)
Last night, after gorging ourselves on noodles and bao (mmmm lotus paste....), F, WY, J, and I went to see the lanterns at the botanical gardens.


We strolled about the stony paths in the chill air, and giggled over our hot tea as a woman played very traditional western pieces on a very traditional Chinese instrument (an erhu?). It was fairly crowded, but lovely, nonetheless.



More peectures this way

If you have the time, it's worth checking out, though I suggest getting there early so you can make use of your ticket and see the Insectarium as well.

----

Today I finally worked up the nerve to ask my boss if moving to another city would mean losing my job. "Not at all" I was assured.

This is good, good news.
spandrels: (Default)
When I was about 16, I found an image online that I really liked. I copied it to my hardrive, lamented the fact that it was called "3428261.jpg" or some such, and moved on with my life. I never lost the desire to know what it was called, or who had painted it, though. I filed it away in the same folder in my mind that I use for the various and sundry minor mysteries that collect over time.

10 years later...

...Turns out it's a Michael Whelan.



Destiny's Road, 1991

Considering the ridiculous vastness of cyberspace it's not surprising that these coincidences don't happen more often. Still, thanks to the interwebs, the folder has been nearly empty for a while. Just two three items left, really, and I certainly haven't given up hope:

1. A piece of music I heard while shopping in the basement of Eaton's (I think it was also in Blade)
and
2. A movie with a fabulous ending quote, kinda like the one in Raising Arizona.
3. A piece of music played as we filed out of the Sigur Ros show this past Sept. Peppy and islandy like the bit at the end of True Romance.

*shakes the wubs in her palms and rolls*

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