For you, the dress code is casual.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Burn One Down: Like Stupid Policies on Pot

Well, there you go. Some Yankee politicians are chatting up the necessity of abating the war on marijuana, saying that there is a difference between use of a drug and the abuse of a drug. When it affects your work, your life, and rearranges your priorities, it's abuse. When it's something you do to chill and relax and you know it has its place, and you're a contributing member of society, that's use.

I hate that, by smoking a joint, I'm labelled a "drug user", when I'm fucking better behaved on pot than I am on two glasses of wine. It's ridiculous. "Drugs", to me, are heroin and crack and cocaine and everything else out there. I won't touch them, never have, never will. I've never knowingly taken acid, wouldn't if it was offered.

The Carlos Castaneda fan in me and my penchant for all things native has always left peyote as a "Hmm, that'd be interesting" thing in my head, but I swear, it'd have to be the perfect alignment of events for me to go there. Like a Jim Morrison moment in the desert with some shaman holding my hand and a tribe doing a sundance in the distance under a brazen sun and my mother's ghost waving to me from stage left. But, yeah, that's gonna happen anytime soon? Right. It's on my "if the stars align, sure, I'll try it" list of to-do's in my lifetime, at best, but it's waaaaay down on the list, somewhere along with "riding in the space shuttle" and "camping in Mongolia".

But pot? A worldwide scourge? The plague of our times? Demon weed? Right. Sigh. Whatever.

I mean, I live in British Columbia. Worse, I live in Vancouver. For a while known as "Vansterdam" it's ostensibly been the "real" pot capital of the world, where the best dope comes from and is found everywhere. Then the Americans started cracking down and pressuring Vancouver to fight pot more.

When Senator Larry Campbell was in the Mayor's office, that was never a problem because, as a career cop, he knew that pot wasn't the scourge Americans wanted it to be; heroin was our problem, and had been for the last 20+ years. Being the first port from Asia, and a country with softer laws for traffickers, heroin lands here and at times can't get out for a while. Take a wrong turn downtown and you'll land on the Downtown East Side, where it's the highest urban rate of HIV/AIDS infections in the world, and 30 square blocks of some of the worst poverty on this continent. THAT's heroin for you. THAT's prostitution and theft that stems from needing to feed habits. We have a higher personal theft rate than NEW YORK CITY -- I assure you, addicts aren't stealing your fucking bicycle to pay for a dimebag of pot, okay?

I cycle home from work and I can tell you all the little places on the seawall cycling route that tonnes and tonnes of runners and cyclers duck into to smoke up on their route. It's hilarious. I used to feel all slackery, stopping to smoke dope on a ride, and then I realized I've been *so* not the exception, and some of the obvious health nuts out there who are doing the same just crack me up. This mentality that potsmokers only smoke up and sit on the couch couldn't be further from the truth in this city.

The city's not the same, though. Cops crack down on folks sometimes, you can't get away with it in venues as much as you once did. It's just silly. Stupid American politics really wreck the fun for everyone.

But the biggest problem has been that Sam Sullivan, our rather unpopular mayor who's been cut loose by his party and who's out of a job this fall, just bent over and took it from the DEA and anyone else who pressured him. "Why, Massa, it's such a shame you bin put out by ar policies, why sho' we can crack down a little -- can't have all y'all put out down there, now."

I mean, god, just because America's fucking dumb enough to still be waging a war on pot doesn't mean we should have to go there too.

I suspect that it's more that Sullivan, who seems to think HE won us the Olympics... (never mind all those people who worked behind the scenes on it for nigh on a decade before he duplicitously won the Mayor's seat and just happened to be in the office when the decision came down for Vancouver to be 2010 Central) ...just wanted to make sure the city was more of an Ikea catalog of perfection before the Olympics happened. You know, shuttle the homeless to New West, hide 'em in shelters that'll finally be open 24 hours a day so the public can't see the "lesser" peoples of our fair town, crack down on those evil vile potsmokers who get press around the world all the time, looking so sickeningly HAPPY with life -- because the rest of the world can relate to the problem with meth and heroin anyhow, and if you cordon off the Downtown East Side for those 10 February days in 2010, you can keep the tourists out of the Ugly Parts of Town.

So, you know, maybe if America gets their fucking priorities right, the asshat who takes office after Sullied Sam might also figure a fucking thing or two out, as well. We NEED to fix this heroin and meth problem. It is a world-class travesty that we have still failed to tackle this problem in a way that helps these people afflicted with the DISEASE of addiction. They're members of our society too, whether we want to forget about them or not. It's one of the biggest, most haunting social problems facing CANADA today -- up there with the huffing of gas by Native youngsters back east and the plague of crack addiction and police corruption in Winnipeg.

Heroin, meth, coke = problems. Pot = a smart way to keep the constituents happy.

Stupid, stupid, stupid politicians. Sigh. I'll be happy when those in power start fighting the wars that really need fighting, rather than inventing ones they think they can win (ie: Iraq, the war on pot, etc) because it looks better than fighting something that's possibly unwinnable, unconquerable, like, say poverty, destitution, true addiction, and marginalization... after all, the truly poor, destitute, addicted, and marginalized, have bigger worries on their hands than getting to polling booths on election day, no?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Joke posted by someone on a Washington Post blog story about the death of the much-loved Scrabulous (FUCK YOU, HASBRO) from Facebook:
Q: What do lawyers use for birth control?
A: Their personalities.
Heh, heh.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Foodie Monday!

Well, I headed out of work and thought "I should pick up some veggies" so I thought I'd swing by a produce shop, but then I got this urge to get chicken. Then I thought "Why just chicken? Why not ROAST a chicken?"

All of a sudden it's 7.30 and I'm waiting for my oven to hit the magic temperature, and then I'll be roasting a bird. So, 8:30, maybe 9 for supper yet again? But it'll be a GREAT one.

After all, I picked up three wee beautifully ripe tomatoes -- one Rosso Bruno, a yellow, and an orange, all heirloom varieties. The three ran me a little over $3, and aren't even a pound. I bought a nice bocconcini cheese ball, and will just have the tomatoes marinated with the cheese, a little bread with oil and vinegar, and my tasty chicken. Upscale peasant's supper.

But while checking things out at the market, an old friend from a summer course three years ago spotted me! Which is great, out of all the people I'd met in that course, two are of interest to me, and she's one. We fell out of touch, but great to see her again.

Even better, though, is the jaw-dropping "You look absolutely amazing!" reaction I got. :)

THAT makes my day a fuckin' stellar one. Add to it that I'll hook up with my friend again sometime, and things are just ducky. A fine start to my week, period and cramps aside. Ha.

Now... to pop this chicken in, babydoll! Hey, it's only 3.5 pounds... it'll be done in 45 minutes. Wahoo.

(Quick-roast method at 400. I don't find that quicker compromises things. I usually prefer to do it slower if I have time, since I tend to invest more in birds, but this is half the size I usually get. :)

AGAIN with this crap?

HELLO! Anyone, anyone! Can we get my order right? That was HEALTHY with a side of FEELING GOOD, please? Take this shit back to the hack that conjured it!

Fuck, dude. I'm over my cold, now what happens? Motherfucking period shows up.

And I had this dream last night where I had the most horrific eye infection in the history of the planet, with my eye all distorted and gross, and another gift of huge nodules of puss all over my neck, leaking and UGH. I bounded out of bed this morning, flashed to the mirror, and have never been so glad to see my face in all its cute glory!

But now I have cramps. And I'm bitchy. And I just want a few days of feeling good! Jesus.

Actually, I want weeks and weeks and weeks and months and months and the rest of my life feeling good. But I'd settle for a few days. Grr.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's the BatMAN!

Saw The Dark Knight today. Yeah, that's some good stuff. Sigh. THAT's how you make a superhero movie. That's how you think outside the bad guy box. Way to fucking go out, Heath. Bastard. Do something that good and then go and die. The fan girls of tomorrow have their new-gen Jimmy Dean. But us film fans have a taste of something no one else was smart enough to think of before now, and that everyone's going to be doing tomorrow.

I always thought Nicholson was overrated and boring as the Joker. Heath just nailed that. I laughed and laughed and laughed at him. Quiet, simple, weird, homoerotic, quirky, evil, everything an oddball freak of a villain should be, but that no one's ever been able to conjure. By playing it on the subtle and restrained side, his Joker's about the freakiest baddie I've seen.

But I'm still pissed at him for dying. Motherfucker.

Chris Nolan just gets better and better, no? And to the stupid critic who said he should be channelling his energies to original works, not "franchise fare": Pfft! Get a life. I bet this has been a dream of Nolan's all his life, to direct a Batman movie. I say ride that puppy as long as it's fit to be ridden. I mean, he WROTE this movie! It's possibly the single best comic book/superhero movie ever made, and he not only directed it but wrote it! He can spend the rest of his life making serious "original" movies. This is like those four years you live in residence in university. Sure, it's hard work, but it's fun as hell.

Go make serious movies? Fucking dumb-ass pretentious critic. What he said, precisely, was: "Shouldn't Nolan, marvellous as his directing here is, be creating original films rather than rebooting and retooling franchise fare?" (Sandhu, The Daily Telegraph.)

Yeah, fuck off. Give us our trilogy, at least, then he can wander off and be the whorey boy of independent filmmaking again, all right? Jesus.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Too Funny Not to Share

God help me that I don't have a camera on me when I freak out over something dumb-ass! Oh, wait, I have. Fortunately I was on MUTE. That was when I crashed my car into a parked truck on a mountain highway with a fucking NEWS camera five feet away, catching me throwing my arms up and miming something ridiculous. But still... I was on MUTE. Praise be. The video still got played at a couple parties. Motherfucking "friends"...

Dude, I have to update my links on this place sometime. Wow. That story I posted in the spring of '06 on here, but I haven't updated the sidebar since fuckin' 2004! Heh heh. Oh, boy. One day. (Part one of my car crash story is here. Part two is here. And it's really, really long, but some of my most fun writing ever.)

Here, enjoy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Of Milk, Politics, and Pundits

Well, it's 8:20 and a day of work looms after two sick days. I've done some figgerin' and I figger it's my recent switch to drinking lattes every morning that got me sick. I know, sounds like a reach, but when I was a kid I was taken off milk for 2 years to fight chronic bronchitis, so milk products and I have always nurtured a dubious relationship.

I've drank milk intermittently since then. The richer stuff, like whipped cream and ice cream, has been on my no-go list for a couple years at least. Hell, I haven't bought ice cream in at least two years. I thought skim milk would be all right, though, but since I got sick when no one I know is sick, nothing's spreading, and my health's better than it's been in eons, well, I did the math.

Kind of shitty. I have issues with soy milk because a) it costs twice as much, but also, b) the demand is just insane and far too much of the planet's croplands are now dedicated to soy, and with the demand continuing to escalate, well... I don't like to be adding to the problem. Almond milk is out of my budget ability, but I have it from time to time as well. But between soy, palm, and corn, farmlands are getting to be at a premium, just so we can grow these bio-fuel/oils, and with the world's population skyrocketing, I sometimes wonder where our priorities are... or at least I lament how rough it is to have clashing priorities.

I tell ya, it's tough to be an ethical consumer these days. You get it comin' and goin'. (Don't even get me started on the foolishness of ethanol.)


Speaking of foolishness, boy... I bet McCain would like a do-over for last week, huh? Some fond words to Phil Gramm: Don't let the door hitcha. God, poor McCain. Bein' a war hero only goes so far. Sometimes you need to be an actual campaigner. Too bad there's that hurdle before taking office, eh?

As far as Obama's little summer vacation goes over there on the other half of the world, I couldn't have planned it better myself. I came close to posting what I thought would be the perfect sojourn for him to take way back in May and then decided to write about something else, but my thinking then was, "Start with the heavy lifting by tackling Middle-East politics and all the requisite leader chats there, and end with a rockstar tour of France, Germany, and the UK."

But then I thought, oh, they won't waste time doing the fluff stuff in France and Germany because, aside from glamour-boy shots with all the fawning fans, how much diplomacy's really needed over there anyhow? I'm glad I was wrong about the downside, though, because, really, you can't plan better than they have, and Obama may have the pollsters' lead now, but we all know how foolish it is to count eggs before they hatch.

A few shows of what a great thoughtful-looking, articulate would-be president Obama can be when chatting with all the Eastern bigwigs, followed by displays of how an actual American candidate can draw thousands upon thousands of Frenchies and Germans and Limeys... You couldn't really pray for better in a presidential candidate's jaunt.

I'm sort of pissed, though. I guess the pundits and pollsters are waiting until Obama's little Eurojaunt has come to a conclusion (and McCain takes a break from self-destructing) before they do another poll... which'll probably be very close to a 10-point spread by the time it's done.

It's been at least a week since a serious poll, so it's feeling like some kind of political junkie's Sahara right now. "What? No polls again? Holy crap!"

Well, whatever. We're a month off from the Democratic conference, when I'm sure they'll be announcing a running mate for Obama -- something I'm still completely begging off from making predictions about. Clinton? I think it's more of a possibility now, but it's still a slim-as-hell chance. I think it'd turn off more people than it would draw, but it'd draw more independents.

I personally think the most likely candidates are Sam Nunn, Joe Biden, and Wesley Clark, but I confess to being more ignorant of American politics in general than I am of anything related to the Executive Office, so I'm probably blowing smoke out of my ass on that count. I still think Al Gore might consider it, too, and would be a popular choice, but I don't think Obama wants to go for popularity. I think it's about picking a very tried and true political stalwart to run with, to give him that air of experience that everyone's whining on, you know?

But I think Obama has more to gain from naming a running mate than McCain does in the grand scheme of things. But McCain's campaign's at a sink-or-swim point, and if they don't start treading some water, they'll be right fucked in no time at all.

Still, as to the rumours of McCain and his supposedly soon-to-be-announced Vice President, what the fuck is the press thinking? I mean, McCain can't possibly be stupid enough to paint himself into a corner this early in the game. I don't think there's anyone he can choose on the Republican political landscape that can elevate his game at this point. There's no sure-fire choice that will energize the electorate, defeat his critics, negate the "old" and "out of touch" slags of late, or jumpstart his campaign. Not Jindal, not Romney, not Huckabee. None of them will give that edge that McCain needs.

In fact, to name a running mate now would just give Obama a month to fire up a great attack and unleash that at the Dem's conference. Naming a running mate in September is the pragmatic way to go, and a great defensive move. They're just not in strong enough of a position to take the chance on naming someone this early in the game -- there's too much that's attack-worthy there. McCain's not in a good position, and one more kick when down right now could be the difference in Obama crossing the 10-point spread threshold, leaving McCain desperately flailing and trying anything they can think of to catch up.

But that's not to say there's no reason to name a running mate now. There are a couple thin-ass reasons why now might be the time to do the naming -- a) McCain sucks ass at fundraising, and b) he's proving just how incredibly shitty he is at campaigning, so someone who's good at campaigning might help prevent the campaign from losing even more momentum (but I think it's arguable that there's little, if any, momentum left for the Republicans to wrangle...).

So, yeah, I think the media's present speculating on the mysterious "rumblings" of McCain's supposed choice for Veep is borderline moronic, and smacking more than just a little of a slow time in news coverage. Some speculate it's the McCain camp just trying to get some voices nattering about the possibilities, so they can guage public thought, but I still say it's fucking lame for the media to take the bait.

As if it's worth as much air time as it's getting. Like there's so little to report on in the world.

Then again, why am I on it? Because it's so much more fun to write about than all the unpleasant stuff going on in the world.

But, fuck, my sick ass needs to work for a living, so I'm outtie. Groan.

(Oh, and I hate to say it, but after a few months of Obama trumpetting the two-wars' argument, reminding everyone of that small mess called Afghanistan, and suddenly the violence there has escalated to overshadow that of Iraq, well... if anything goes to support the argument that foreign diplomacy is at least as much about judgment as it is experience, then this would be that. I've always, always supported the Afghan war, even now, despite my opposition to Iraq.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

One Sick Blogger

It looks like I'm calling in sick to work. Jesus, I couldn't have had a worse sleep if I tried. I mean, it's 5:31 in the morning and I'm blogging.

My last stretch of sleep was a whopping 3 hours, but I've been waking up every 90 minutes before that, as if I was somehow comprehensively alarmed or something. God forbid I hit a rollicking second hour of complete sleep!

I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm bitchy, my head hurts, I've got vertigo, and I am NOT a happy camper about it. I'm going back to bed in a few more minutes to hopefully get another couple hours.

I mean, it's JULY. Who gets a nasty head cold in July? BAH.

Well, on the upside, I've not been sick since last September, so it's been nearly a year, but STILL.

It's bad timing. Isn't it always bad timing? It's bad timing. Fucking head cold. But it's the vertigo that's pissing me off, too, because that's what'll keep me home more than anything. I've had some bad patches yesterday and Saturday that I've been lucky to be at home for. Nothing like a rush of dizziness and nauseousness that completely overtakes you for a spell. Vertigo sucks.

And, as far as I know, there's really very little that can be done for vertigo. But at least I know I've had it when being sick before and it's always cleared up ahead of getting completely well, so I'm not worried.

Just pissed off. Mmf. :P Well, back to bed. I usually love heading to bed, but when I've had a bad night's sleep it's always sort of dejecting to return to bed with this scant hope of rest. Grr.

Friday, July 18, 2008

OF COURSE! It's a full moon today! Now it all makes sense. :)

Of Wine and Movies

I find the more weight I lose, the more helpful staff in stores are with me. I'm not really understanding that, but I'm appreciating it.

Tonight a liquor store fella rushed off to fetch me a bottle of wine when I said "I'm waiting to be inspired by a cheap red" in the Spanish section.

Let's see. What'd he get me, anyhow? Ah, yes. A 2006, Montalto, Nero di Avola Cabernet Sauvignon, hailing from Sicily. $10.98.

The tannins are smooth, it's robust but not heavy. A fine wine. Reasonably priced. Tragically, I see my favourite go-to cheap wine of the last three years has vanished from the shelves. A 2001 I was drinking at $10.90 or less for three years. Fuck, was it drinkable.

This may be my new Pergolas. Check it out. Ask me when I have a couple more glasses. ;)

I have an invitation to a party tomorrow. I don't really want to go, but feel I should. It's just my anti-social bent trying to beg me off from being in the crowd, but it's probably one of those parties that really oughta be attended. But it's time I take in a bigger social event with my shapely new ass, no?

Oy. Yes, probably.

I may go cycle to a matinee of The Dark Knight. I can't wait to see that. Housecleaning can certainly be ignored for that! Not sure I want to see it with anyone, either.

I remember being very disappointed to hear that, for whatever mysterious reason, Darrin Aronofsky lost his contract on Batman Beyond. I had liked Memento, but felt it was highly overrated. I thought it was a coup de editing, but over all, it felt a little heavy on the "I'm so smart, look at my unique film idea" direction, which smacks of pretension and can be found in earlier endeavours by greats like Paul Thomase Anderson et al. So I thought Chris Nolan was a good director but an overrated one, and felt he might try too hard and wind up blowing his wad on BB. Needless to say, he pleasantly surprised me. Now I'm eagerly anticipating the spectacle of the sequel. Much as I generally assume sequels to lose at least 20-30% of the predecessor's strengths and all.

And while everyone else is hotly waiting on Heath Ledger's incredible performance, I'm dreading it. I'd heard about his performance long before his death and I was stoked that maybe, just maybe, this guy allowed his boundaries to have been pushed sufficiently to have him really nail a break-out role that might define a fantastic career to come. I had always liked him, saw something intriguing in him when he did his earlier stuff. Had him pegged as "to watch", much like Josh Hartnett and his ilk.

So, when he bit the bullet in January, I was really fucking angry. Angry he was dead, angry I couldn't watch his performance with optimism instead of sorrow. I don't fuckin' know. I was angry.

But... you know... if you're gonna die young, die on the heels of your best, most brilliant work, so everyone is left truly mourning your loss. Leave your mark. Go out in that proverbial blaze of glory.

On that count, nice timing, Heath. Really.

So, really looking forward to that while simultaneously dreading it.

But anticipation outweighs dread. I mean, when I heard Christian Bale was gonna be Batman, I thought "Fuck, they finally really CAST a superhero role. Nice one!"

Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker? Not bad. What's his face as the new Superman? Good try. Robert Downey as Ironman? Totally didn't see that coming, but fuckin' A.

Not, might I add, until after the out-of-left-field surprise casting of the always enigmatic Christian Bale -- American Psycho Christian Bale -- as Batman, though, eh? Then Hollywood started thinking, "Okay, who can really, really act? Oh, right, Downey... and he's funny. And has at least 5 years of 'cute' left..."

Tobey Maguire wasn't a huge stretch, really. Peter Parker's a dork, so... Fitting, but as much as I like Maguire, he just doesn't nail that role. Something's missing. Perhaps it's just Maguire. I don't know.

Hmm. Maybe I'll see The Dark Night tomorrow after all. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

pissing and moaning and pondering and reporting

i really, really, really do not want to bike to work today. i don't. i'm done. i don't have the gas.

but i secretly know i do. i know this is part of the head game. i know my mind's fucking with me. i know i can make that hill my bitch. i know i can do it in 40 minutes or less. i know i contribute the same hard ride every fucking time out of the gate, and i know i don't even take breaks on the route there or home anymore.

it doesn't mean i want to do it. but it's like they say, knowing's half the battle. like a friend said, "you gotta get to work anyhow, might as well do it in style".

i think the mental conditioning of athletics is far harder than any course you can attempt. it ain't the course that beats us, it's our head. i mean, you consider something like that guy pinned under the boulder in the rockies a couple years back, he had to hack his own arm off with a knife and then hike for hours (days?) to get out of the barren desert area to find help for himself. any one of dozens of variables could have mentally told him "give up, hope's lost" but he found that unnameable drive that forced him to save himself.

there's that demon we lock ourselves in a room with, mentally, when the going gets tough and the fight needs to rise. either we outsmart it, or it outsmarts us.

every time some car's waiting for me to get up a hill and i somehow find that extra jump to take it up a couple notches, or i somehow start sprinting for the fuck of it after a couple of blocks of groaning and lagging, i remind myself that i had the gas to do it this time, so this "can't" bullshit's often just another trip getting laid on me that i'm believin' when i shouldn't.

but this is the part of it that i hate, the morning dose of "i don't wanna" and the inner dialogue that goes with. it's so hard to shout down on some days. fuck of a lot easier to do so when it's 22 and sunny, though.

i'm going to try real damn hard to motivate myself to do it tomorrow, too, but i'd need to be on the road by 8 and the chances of that are similar to opening a Baskin-Robbin's in hell.

ay yi yi.

well, i have my new energy drug for cycling, though. starbucks has a new protein shake -- banana-chocolate, which is similar to one i do at home with yogurt, soy milk, chocolate, banana, but i add peanut butter for that extra whump. starbucks' drink, the vivanno, has 16 gr protein, 5 gr fat, and 5 gr fibre, so it's a pretty awesome energy jump, for 270 calories with about 40 calories from fat. all in all? great choice, better than most. mine's better, tho.

to make it at home:
1/2 c plain or vanilla yogurt
2 tbsp chocolate syrup [ie hershey's]
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 banana
1 cup choco soy milk.

blend till happy. drink till happy.

so, on the upside of things, it looks like my digestive system is sorting out. i've had bad things happening for about a month now, and i think it's because i'm developing a sensitivity to wheat, particularly white bread. i've switched to a flourless bread, Squirrelly Bread from Silver Hills, and my system's settling down rapidly. i've felt like i've had gut-rot for a month, but chatting with my doc, he and i thought maybe nixing the white flour for a while and taking a fibre supplement for a bit would help strengthen my system after perhaps an excess of wheat of late. no drugs, just better fibre choices, is all. smart guy, my doc.

also, boldly proceeding to dechemicalise my life. the weening off of antidepressants began a couple days ago. two weeks from now, i'll be done and off. i just wanted to reduce from 30mg to 15mg for the next several months.

my doc said, "just quit it now. take 'em for a month, then stop completely." i began to say 'but--' and he continued. "depressed people don't lose 40+ pounds with no professional help, no gym membership, and no eating disorders. i think you're doing fine. have a little faith."

so, you gotta dig a doc like that. i sure do. so, i'm hesitant yet keen. i would rather they be out of my system, for sure. i needed them, i really did. they probably came close to saving my life but definitely my sanity two years ago, and when i increased them last summer, it was then i found the focus and drive to change my life. i needed them. i think i don't anymore. maybe a bit. but maybe not enough to warrant the price i pay.

after all, they affect a few things -- they reduce salivation and make you more susceptible to cavities, they cause water weight gain, they make me less of a morning person. stuff like that. it'll be nice. i'm a little scared. it's easy to say "yeah, well, they help so much" and all, but...

it's time to go it alone again and just keep a good keel on things. it's just time. pretty exciting stuff.

bah. fuckety-fuck fuck. time to do a little stretching, shower, get the funk out, and cycle to work. aim to arrive noonish again since all my projects are coming in "late" today and tomorrow, so it works out a little better to start late today. tomorrow's going to be an early one. some drama about getting the floors completely replaced on the weekend. eek. we'll hope the workstations are reassembled right, but... eek.

groan. cycling mode activated. i think i can, i think i can, i know i can...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Boy, Have I Got Some Satire For You

So, the New Yorker got in shit for doing a not-so-subtle satire of Obama all dressed as a terrorist on the weekend.

Jonathan Swift has had a chuckle, I'm sure. Me, I don't have too much of a problem with the cover because I get it, but I certainly get how some yokel somewhere's gonna go, "See? Toldja. Never trusted that 'coon."

I mean, really. You know that's going to happen.

But satire's never been swallowed very easily. Hence why we still know about that 30-page (give or take) essay, A Modest Proposal some 400 years after the fact. It's why it's still funny when referred to in the context of, say, Sealab 2021 and joked like "Mm, baby back ribs!"

It is always supposed to make use feel uncomfortable. It's always supposed to make us question our judgment and our choices. That's what satire is. It's not about respecting boundaries and bending over for convention.

The campaign may condemn Remnick and the New Yorker for its take on "the Politics of Fear", but I'm secretly waging a bet that the Obama clan is squirrelling a copy away for chuckles some decade down the line.

The cover's a horrible offense, yet the Republican party chanting all these lies and rolling them out one after another isn't similarly disgusting? I mean, are we not missing the point here? ALL of those things have been said about the Obamas. ALL of them.

Maybe Jonathan Swift isn't so amused after all. 400 years later and we still don't get the point of satire.

Monday, July 14, 2008

RANT: Just Another Stupid Comment

First off: When someone gets into a big long treatise or essay all provoked by what I've written, I'm flattered. When readers get into arguments with each other over something I've said, I'm flattered. When people take the time to write me to say why they identify with something I've written, I'm flattered.

THAT is why I love to write. All of those comments. They're so awesome to get. I love them.


This might be totally cunty of me, but I've got to say I'm getting really tired of people commenting and leaving me unsolicited advice when all I'm doing is blogging for the fuck of it.

Like I'm complaining on the other blog about my mild hangover after too much tequila on Saturday night and I get the whole "You're probably dehydrated, you should drink more water" brilliance thing happening in the comments.

Yeah, thanks, Sherlock. You fuckin' think so? God, how did I ever get to age 35 without knowing being dehydrated is a major component of hangovers? Wow, why do I never get these memos?

Holy overstating the fuckin' obvious, Batman. Thanks for that pearl.

I know people mean well, but it's really fucking irritating as a blogger, when you work hard trying to keep a blog with new stuff for people to read all the time, and instead of getting a comment that's the equivalent of a pat on the back or something, we get emails telling us what we're wrong about or some obvious stupid thing that the reader seems to think we need to do.

Obviously I'm dehydrated after drinking tequila. I thought I'd spare you from the obvious and write about the funny part of it rather than the what-every-person-with-a-brain knows, that one should drink water after getting drunk.

A week or two ago someone left me a comment about how to make an em-dash. See the assumption is that I give a shit. In fact, I don't. I feel kind of badly for writing that reader back privately and telling him to stop with the fucking "helpful" advice that, instead of being helpful makes me feel like I'm being condescended to, not appreciated on the basis of the CONTENT of my blog rather than just its grammar, or any other number of feelings.

Fuck, people. I work hard enough, working 40 hours a week, exercising up to 10 hours a week, writing and editing another 10 hours a week on top of that, doing the basic caring-for-myself eating/washing/shopping/house-cleaning that takes another 25 or 30 hours of my week. The last thing I need to start giving a shit about is putting a proper em-dash into motherfucking Blogger, for whom alt-characters don't work. Life's too short. A double dash works fine for me.

Besides, my job uses double dashes because of its 1980s software, so I may as well stay in a frame of mind more conducive to getting my job done faster. But does the reader take any of this into consideration before saying what I SHOULD do as opposed to what's been working fine for me? No. Does the reader assume I even KNOW what an em-dash is? No, they condescend to explain what it is. I'm an EDITOR for a LIVING. I get PAID to understand the constructs of the English language. And this guy isn't the first dude to jump to ignorant conclusions.

I don't get PAID to write this blog. I do it for the LOVE of it. So I take shortcuts. So fucking what? Don't make the assumption that I'm somehow unhappy with what I'm putting out there, because that's an insult, as if I'm somehow settling for something crappier, when all I'm doing is choosing my priorities.

There's the whole "Oh, just ignore it" mentality that someone else may want to suggest I have about those comments. You know, sail through life in "ignore" mode. Whatever. Or I could just tell people to fuck off and have it done with.

So, let me say this on behalf of any serious bloggers out there:

When we WRITE blogs -- not just throw up four links and call it a fucking post, or use some easy picture as filler with a 15-word wisecrack and call that a day's content, but we really, really WRITE blogs -- and we put our fucking hearts and souls into it, COMMENTS are the juice that get us energized and keep us going. So, when the only comment you get after, say, two days of no comments or a week of no comments, is something about grammar or punctuation or "drink water", the first reaction is, "Have I got a bitch-slap for you!"

Like, have respect to write about the content rather than just throwing advice or grammar tweaks at us, or don't write at all. We don't need it. Really.

I just wish all blog readers would get it through their minds that giving the blog writer advice when all they're really doing is getting some thoughts out of their head, is usually not very appreciated.

If it provokes a thought with ya, comment. If you liked what was said, comment. If you take issue with what was said, comment.

If, however, all you want to do is patronize the blogger by assuming they don't know the advice you're about to give them, then maybe you should do both of you a favour and assume they might just be smarter than you're giving them credit for and, for whatever reason, just let it ride.

I know I'm getting really fucking tired of these few readers assuming I'm just some stupid chick who needs a little extra hand-holding to get across the street. Seriously.

Although, back when I was angry about my scooter getting towed, a couple nice readers offered helpful advice and provided links for fighting tickets, and that was sort of appreciated because I knew they were coming from a good place.

But "drink water"? Gee, YOU THINK? Sigh. Fuck, man. Wanna tie my shoes for me, too?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gotta Do WHAT with the Fridge?!

I've lucked into many good movies on television this weekend. Woman of the Year, Good Morning, Vietnam, 61*, Gandhi, Lean on Me, etc. Solid stuff, right? Nice variety. I played me some bocce ball last night after a good day of getting my place pretty tidy, some laundry done, a nice walk taken, and had planned on a great bike ride today, but the kitchen breaker blew last night (except for the stove breaker, thank fucking god) so I now have only one plug for the "west wing" (snicker, snort) of my apartment. The fridge is in the centre of the 4x4 floor, plugged into the oven.

And, disgusting, might I add? Was, I should say.

Right in front of my fridge--like, abutted to my fridge, shimmied in on an angle that begins exactly where my fridge ends, wedged right hard between the wall and cupboard, is a RADIATOR.

My fridge is in there tighter than tight, man, cupboard on one side, wall on the other, and a radiator beginning literally 1/2 inch from the front of the fridge. Pulling it out? Not easily done.

So, I last did it when I painted five years ago.

I think it was wine and soy sauce all puddled under there. And the dust, oh, the dust. Found my coffee scoop and Mom's lame-ass '70s pot trivet I love so much. This is good. Disgusting, but good. Oh, was it bad.

I've now spent, oh, much of the last four hours (with tv breaks but working through the weaker acts and scenes, and all the commercials) scrubbing the fuck out of my kitchen.

Yes, all the accrued fuck. There's no other word. It's not dirt. It's not filth. It's not grime. It's much, much worse. It's fuck. Kinda how you feel when you see it. Fuck-fuck. How you feel when confronted with the task. Fuck. How you react as you take your first swipe at the congealing grime soaked with your cleaner of choice. Fu-u-u-u-u-ugh-ck.

I have scrubbed the fuck out, baby.

Awesome. I've been wanting to do that for a while, actually, so I'm doing as thorough a job as I can. I've scoured all the walls, the appliance. I still need to vacuum the disgusting back of the refrigerator, though. All that dust--a whole family tree of dust bunnies--is probably some kinda combustible fire hazard or something.

In between, when watching tv, I'm bein' all crazy and doing stomach crunches and weightlifting. Knowing I'm down 40 pounds now is such a fucking power surge. I can't explain it. I'm so stoked to start pushing harder at this again. Getting a second wind, as it were. It means my metabolism has finally shifted. I'm keen.

I'm trying to use this whole fridge thing, for example, as a sort of psychological boon. Telling myself I'm wiping clean my culinary sins of the past, and starting fresh. Next weekend I think I'll gut my fridge and get rid of anything I think questionable. Time to get real with all this. Maybe I'll do that tonight.

Like, I want to toss all my spices in the next month (it'll be $30-40 to replace 'em en masse, so I'd rather stretch it out) so I have zesty, fresher seasonings. What I got's so old it's just pointless to use it. Ooh, boy, another weak-ass dish. Yippy skippy.

I want to make some rubs for meats and fish, so I can keep eating well.

Speaking of: I officially really dig cod. Who knew? So I'm buying a big bag of fillets this week and making myself some more lemon herb butter and some funky rubs. Found a brown sugar, cinnamon, chile, and cardamom rub for fish that I want to make with fresh seasonings, for instance.

So, yeah, cool. A kitchen do-over. Smells better in my house already. Cleaner. All I've used was my scrubbing compound and vinegar, so, yay enviro-me!

I'm sure as hell getting a workout, too. But, cool. It'll be done. Awesome.

But I think I can start eating much more fish now. I liked the cod. This is good. Alaskan, eh? Tuesday's Costco Day!

This posting has been brought to you in part by making lemonade from life's lemons. Have a good one. I, oddly, am. (Weird. Enjoying cleaning. Nay, enjoying accomplishment!)


Friday, July 11, 2008

Your Van Did WHAT?

So, that's the last time I ever, ever write anything positive about my brother. Or negative, or anything at all maybe.

I go and say how well he's doing this morning, and what happens tonight?

I get the phonecall saying how his van decided to spontaneously combust on Canada Way -- while he was moving his massive DVD collection out to White Rock.

Apparently his van made a funny noise and bad things started to happen, so he pulls over to check the engine, lifts the hood, and WHOOSH, fire roars up at him.

It took 20 minutes for the fire department to get there. He likened the interior to a fire pit after a really big night of partying with a bonfire.

Poor motherfucker.

"But wait'll you see the insurance settlement," I say, trying to lighten the load a little.

Fuckin' hell.

He never reads this blog anyhow, but whatever. God.

"How's your day?"

"Fine till that impromptu barbecue on Canada Way."

Geeeeeeeez. Wow. Needless to say, my schedule's cleared up handily for tomorrow. I nixed the bike ride at the last second this morning when I heard crackling in my hearing aid, and being as I can't afford repairs for a while, I decided the priority was to visit them for some preventative maintenance that they do free.

Now I can cycle tomorrow. Ha. AWESOME. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Somewhere different. Likely by the river. Not feeling very in-with-the-throngs and seawall-ish right now. Away, madding crowds. Away!

Or... maybe the university. Hmm. Trails? Ooh. Options.

It's Easy Being Me!

Dude, how good is this weekend going to be?

Awesome, methinks!

Let's see. Cycling night tonight, not much of a sleep-in. But when life's this good, who needs sleep? Fuck, I LOVE this weather we're getting! GOD. Vancouver in the summer, babycakes. Vancouver in the summer!

Get to go help my brother pick out paint chips for his soon-to-be new home in White Rock. He's had a tough, tough few years and White Rock's home for us. He's gotten a sweet deal on a place and will be renting rooms out to people. The landlord's footing the bill for my brother to renovate the whole place, in exchange also for a slightly cheaper rent (so my brother actually might make money off it every month, affecting his income by more than $1,200 to the positive monthly, when he's a divorced dad paying child support every month--and he really does pay it, and is an awesome dad).

I couldn't be happier for him right now and think this is the start of something good for a guy who's deserved better for way, way too long now. Yay for the bro unit! And picking out paint colours is quite ze knack of mine. Cool. I think this will be one of the nicer times we've spent together in a long while, and I'm happy to be thinking that.

Then I have a date. Mildly optimistic about this one. I have a good feeling. I hope it pans out. Fingers are crossed. It's not often I care about dates, actually. Not many of the men I've met really inspire much in me.

I may have self-esteem issues sometimes and I may have had a shitty few years where I didn't have a lot I felt I could offer anyone, but that was then and this is now, and now I'm a fucking catch, so my standards are loftier than they've been in some time.

That said, I'm tired of averagely smart men. I'm tired of men who are completely unhappy with their jobs or just doing what it takes to get by. I'm tired of men who have no passion in their lives. I'm tired of men who keep me in my cycle of eating badly because of their shitty diets and my weak will; I want someone who's healthy, fit, and will really help me stay on this path. And I still want a literary man. And preferably a little less of a science geek, more of the arts fiend.

This guy fits all those bills. So, we'll see.

And despite thinking I was screwed this paycheque, I've managed to spend $90 and get five new pieces of clothing, and all of them are awesome. I think, anyhow. How good is that? God, I've needed new stuff lately.

I know I've been broke and whining that I needed clothes while spending money in other areas... but I don't think I would re-prioritize anything I've done in the last few months. I think my money-spending has met a lot of important needs of mine in my recent path, and very little of what I've spent has been "blown".

Let's see. Repainted half of my apartment. Bought a new bed and two night tables. Got some lovely bathroom fixtures. Lots of panties, thanks to all the weightloss. (Nothing says "My, you've lost weight!" like your panties slipping down under your jeans as you wander off for lunch at work. Eeps.) Bought a barbecue. I've spent a lot on salmon and Alaskan cod when I've been cheap in every other area of my life, but I feel that's been worth it. Acupuncture, chiropractor, weekly or bi-weekly for both. Got towed. Not optional there.

All in all, yeah, been broke, but my life's been coming along nicely. Not too shabby for three months of spending. Oh, and I've caught up on all my bills. So, getting there, getting there.

But fixing my home up really made living lean a lot more rewarding, I tell you. Having a good home is so, so important. For me, anyhow. The better the home, the better my writing. Weird how it works, but it works.

And now I have three CUTE new shirts, a great pair of jeans, and adorable shorts. Plus at least three weeks to go before I need a haircut. And Tuesday's payday.

And today's Friday and 24 degrees and sunny and I'm about to cycle off to work on a belly of espresso and fresh-baked blueberry muffins.

Aside from the 7.5 hours to be spent at work (or, as I like to call it: mandatory watching of tv in air-conditioned spaces while tinkering with language, with a few nice people around) I'd have to say life doesn't get much better than days like today.

It is a damned fine day to be me. Oh, and I finally weighed myself:

After three weeks of living the slack life, eating what I wanted and lots of it, drinking several bottles of wine, and knowing I'm retaining water today... I've lost 40 pounds. :) So, a loss of 40's my new normal that I can maintain in day-to-day life.

Fuckin' A. Bring on 50!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

State of Cycling Report

Well, the goal was to cycle three times this week for a total of 90 kilometres, and I think I'll make it just dandy. As of today, 55 down, and we're three for seven days in the week, since I sometimes work weekends. ;)

Tonight I came home the slightly longer way, even though I was pretty wiped, and noticed that I've shaven about 5-6 minutes off the "longer" ride since I started it in May. That works for me. Especially in heat when wiped.

I had this horrible "Why did I go shopping today?" experience yesterday that just gutted my confidence. But I guess it really was the heatwave because everything about me looks better today. Everything! Yay. But thinking I looked like shit yesterday was good motivation to get cycling when I wanted to do anything but this morning. :)

But I do notice I have more energy at the end of my rides. THAT is huge. My skin's clearing up, my eyes look clearer. I think I took the right break at the right time, and laying off the last two or three weeks has been a great call.

Thank god. I still have a long road ahead of me, and I was getting kind of concerned about my lack of energy. Nice that I seem to be slowly sorting that out through diet and rest. Good on me. Yay for not feeling like death. Feeling alive, even. Shocking and weird.

Another couple weeks and there's hope yet for me. Whew. Anyhow, the goal is to continue cycling three times a week to work. That's actually only 75 kilometres, but I'm hoping to cycle a huge ride Friday night, some photography and me-time, and that'll cap my week.

But... if I decide to just cycle home, I'm so fucking cool with 75 kilometres. I'll make up for it with weights and stomach crunches on the weekend. Whatever. 75 clicks is about 4.5 hours of decent cardio. Throw some weights and stuff in there, and shazam. Damn fine week.

But that's the goal for the rest of the summer. Until I'm dead and need a week off, then the cycle continues, I'm hoping until... November? December? Less, but still cycling once or twice a week, I hope. There's always the dreaded stairs.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Yeah, Cut the Bastards Down! Trees? Who Needs Trees?

I consider myself a pretty big environmentalist. I've been recycling for a long, long time. A couple decades now, easy. I try to be conscious of packaging choices for things, and try to watch my waste. I never, ever throw out recyclable stuff.

When it comes to nature and the trees, I'm pretty keen there. I've given my nephew the "A single ingested plastic bag can kill a baleen whale so don't throw that shit on the ground" speech. I certainly am passionate about the reduction of logging in British Columbia, livid about how forestry happens in this province, for the most part.

So it's very, very surprising to me that, deep down inside, I'm kinda happy they're cutting down the 70 trees at Queen Elizabeth Park that obscure the breathtaking view of the cities and mountains. How horrible am I?

Truth is, though, that having lived here all my life, I know that there is, hands down, no better place in the city to watch the sunset. (Second place is Spanish Banks, Jericho, but only for 6 months of the year, because then the sun sets further to the south, so again: QE Park, hands-down.)

Or, it was, until the trees started obscuring it.

And it's been 20 years since I've seen a great sunset there. That's how long the trees have been blocking it. And it sucks, you know, to cut down trees anyplace, especially in a place like that park, but my hope is they take down the giant evergreens and replace them with smaller trees that will never soar and block the scenery.

So, yes, a nasty controversy, and, yes, a lousy way to solve the problem, but what else do you do, right? Sure, let them keep on growing, have no view, but then what's the cash cow of QE Park going to do? It's one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and THE best view of it available from within the city, and the only vantage point has been mostly grown over for more than a decade, but obscured for two decades now?

Life's tough. Especially when you're an ill-placed tree.

To the people who originally planted the trees in the park: Fuck, were YOU dumb. Good job. See what you made us do? Fuck, man. If only you thought before you acted!

(That's called passing the buck, or as we Catholics like to think of it, guilt-management. I feel better already!)

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Figuring Out a Masterplan

Ay yi yi. On the weekend I took a look at a blog or two of those who were my contemporaries two years ago. Man. I've had some of them write on my blog and to see how popular and how successful they've become, while I actually allowed myself to just fall away from it all.

What a shame. So, now I have to start the good fight I know is ahead. Now I need to rekindle those relationships, start doing all the commenting I used to do on other blogs, spend the time reading them, et cetera.

What I drastically have to do is to replace all the reading I do of news sources and start reading blogs mainly instead. I have to come up with a very calculated reading list, and start maximizing the use of my time, and writing on the things I find that I believe will most yield results.

It's really exhausting, but I know I'll be excellent at it right off the bat... just as soon as I get going.

Part of it is, I know I'm not yet ready for the success I thought I was running from. I'm getting there. At least I'm working towards it. At least I'm starting to want to want it.

I spent the weekend redoing my apartment. Cleaning everything up, but also re-cleaning all the areas I had done back in March but then mucked up since -- linen closet, storage, other closets, etc. My place, as a result, looks fucking fantastic today. Now, all I want to do is write. Clutter makes me a) bad at writing, b) bad at editing, and c) not fond of doing either.

Now that all my to-do's around my place are pretty much off my list, writing is the next thing I feel compelled to put into spotlight #1. Getting my action plan in place, learning how to carve my spot in the web again, learning how the fuck to do SEO (it confuses the hell out of me, or maybe the people I've seen are just shitty fucking writers, but more research is totally necessary) and how to do keywords for SEO.

I'll have to do the reading-the-important blogs with high reader counts things, and getting comments in early but also being fantastic at writing the comments. It MUST be a good comment or people won't click to read your blog. I mean, I used to take 5 or 10 minutes to come up with something witty. And it worked, man.

Now is the perfect time to get going on this, though, because the fall will be the busiest time of the year for internet readership, and I can really get some momentum on my side if I've got the right writing and the right commenting going by Labour Day.

Then, the other thing is, I need to start cracking on the book I want to write. What book is that? Good question. I need to figure that shit out. I have an idea, but now I need to figure it out.

Must begin with a gameplan so I can get to writing in the winter.

This is no overnight project, any of the above, obviously. I've been avoiding starting because I know that, once I start, I cannot stop again. This is going to be my new lifestyle for a very, very long time. I figure this is a one-year plan, minimum. It took me only six months to hit my peak before, though, and it might be arrogance, but I think I can do it again.

My writing's been hitting the mark every now and then of late, but man has my editing been fucking attrocious. My trigger finger is ridiculous, and I need to slow down my process a bit and take my work up a few notches through editing. I CAN edit well, I just don't enjoy it, don't have the patience, and don't take the time. And that is really, really, really stupid of me. That's getting moved up the priority list something fierce.

Oh, so, biggest mistake ever? Listening to my ex-boyfriend who seemed to think I needed to get a .com address and get off the fucking extension. But some other people were hopping for their own domain back then, so it seemed like I was silly to keep my blogspot URL. How fucking dumb.

I should've stayed strong and kept my motherfucking address, because that move just fucking killed me and it's after that that I lost everyone.

One particular contemporary of mine from '05/'06 kept her blogspot address, gets a million readers a month and has her own book now. Sigh.

In any case... right now, my home is a place I can really see myself enjoying hunkering down to write in. That's the important thing that just hasn't been true for a long time. I've been close on many occasions, but I've never been this completely organized. Ever, I don't think.

Now comes the fun part of my total-life-makeover challenge, I guess. The writing. God. This will be hard. But good for me for continuing to make strides in each area. Plug-plug-plugging away.

Great start to a week, I tell ya. Now, about those blogs... Eeeps. Yeah, I can do this shit. I know I can. I just don't relish the long-ass motherfucking climb before then and now.

But I know I can do it. I have my secret weapon: Me. Ha.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I Found My Mom's CD.

I'm having a music day, I guess. I have a whole bunch of CDs I need to manually enter into iTunes, unless I can figure a way to copy them that recognizes the file names. Whatever.

But one I didn't want to wait on. I found my mother's memorial CD. When we had her funeral, nine years ago now, I had the sense to pick 15 songs I think represented her life and love of music. I'm listening to it now and I'm just welling up with emotion, just really remembering her. But in a good way.

I personally picked all the songs, and I'm really enjoying listening to them now. Some of these, my mother would just belt out whenever she could, and she had such a beautiful voice. Really. I was told that, just three weeks before she died, she was at her brother's funeral and sang a song that left shivers in everyone at the church. That's my mom. She always regretted not seeking a career in singing.

So it made sense to me to make a memorial CD and give it to all the family and her closest friends. I know many people still listen to the CD often. My brother has it playing when I visit, sometimes.

But... I've listened to it less than maybe 5 or 10 times since her death.

I found it yesterday, and I read the little blurb I wrote about Mom under the track listings and promised I would listen to it today and celebrate, not mourn her. And I'm just loving it. The tracks:
  1. The Rose - Bette Midler
  2. The Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
  3. Love Rescue Me - U2
  4. Imagine - John Lennon
  5. MLK - U2
  6. Chariots of Fire - Vangelis
  7. I'm Calling You - Jevetta Steele
  8. Blue Moon Revisited - Cowboy Junkies
  9. Greensleaves - Loreena McKennitt
  10. Everybody Hurts - REM
  11. Blowin' in the Wind - Joan Baez
  12. Mummer's Dance - Loreena McKennitt
  13. I Will Never Be The Same - Melissa Etheridge
  14. I Will Remember You - Sarah McLachlan
  15. Rainmaker - The Power of One soundtrack's opening number
A couple obvious ones in there, but some nice surprises, too. Listening to them today, I can almost hear her singing along. Nice.

Well, back to my domestic goddess duties. Loving the music of late, though. Good thing.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The George Michael Concert Review

I saw George Michael last night. As good as I'd expected, or hoped, but better than I thought, if that makes sense.

George is about as consummate a performer as it gets. The trouble with George is, people look at him and think he's cocky or arrogant and elitist. When you see him in concert, you see that's totally not true. He beams and bounces and gets all schoolboy excited with the crowd roaring around him. You can see he just feeds off it and loves the adulation, but in a 13-year-old fat kid's "I can't believe it's me they love!" kind of way, even now after all his years as a star. It's pretty cool to see that youthful joie de vivre still popping out.

I remember George around the time of Faith, 1987 or so, had met up with Michael Jackson to talk about doing a duet with him, but George had no qualms about shortly thereafter saying to some magazine, "He was too weird. Working with someone like that..." and basically calling MJ a total nutbag back when everyone was still thinking Jacko was a genius, not so much a Whacko. He didn't go in for the bullshit, not even at his peak.

So when George is up on the stage, saying "It's good to be across the border from the States again. I'm so less likely to be shot up here," or "I'm fucking EXHAUSTED! Whew!" before he belts out another stunner, his bubbly nice-guy attitude just commands the night and you're left thinking "I'd love to have a beer with that guy."

No "I Want Your Sex", but most surprisingly was no "Jesus to a Child". Still, a great show. The first of two encores began with a stirring, beautiful, haunting version of "Praying for Time", a song he'd first recorded 17 years ago but is still freakishly apt about society and the environment. If ever a song cried out to be re-released, it's that one. Fantastic lyrics, awesome melody, but a very important message.

Waiting on the last encore, the crowd began chanting "Freedom, Freedom, Freedom". So, naturally, he delivered. He played a song they said they'd never played before, that was from 20 years ago, so right around Faith, but I didn't recognize it. Maybe I will when I see the name on the set list he'll put up on his site next week. Speaking of "Faith", the entire audience sang along and hit every word. George looked beside himself he was having so much fun.

He's still got his sense of humour, too. At the beginning of the concert he began playing this ridiculous over-the-top remake of his old Wham! standard, "I'm Your Man". The audience politely got into it, clapped along. Then he abruptly ends it, says, "Nah, I couldn't do that to ya!" and the bouncey bass of old kicked in and the crowed roared as he reverted to the original version -- complete with Wham! video footage on the screen behind him, including shots of Andrew Ridgeley.

The set, much has been made of in the press. Awesome in its simplicity and its scope. Using video in a whole beautiful new way. Sleek, sexy, just like George's old image. Fabulous. You'd have to see it to get it, but the entire set was a movie screen, from the rolling curved floor up to the rafters, with incredible footage featuring everything from burlesque dancing and JFK with Marilyn to an incredible video essay of Amsterdam's red light district, when he did his beautiful rendition of "Roxanne" from Songs From the Last Century. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

All in all, everything I wanted. And I nailed it and guessed all the songs he'd sit on a stool for (heh): A Different Corner, Kissing a Fool, One More Try, and Roxanne. Don't you love guessing at stupid shit and being right? It's so fun.

I'm very glad I went. I'm sad he hasn't toured more. He's one of those rare pros who doesn't just do it 'cos he's a professional, but because he still clearly just loves it. It so shows.

Sigh. I'm sad, 'cos there's a good chance I'll never get to see him in a gig again, and what a fucking shame that would be. Who knows. But at least now I've seen him sing his music. I've only ever seen his cover tour, and while I STILL remember his fucking incredible covers of Superstition and Play that Funky Music and Lady Marmalade... it's nice to hear his awesome catalog getting played, too.

And his VOICE... better than ever. Wow. The sound quality was exquisite last night -- easily the best-quality sound in a large stadium show I've seen in a very, very long time. Just crystal clear. But his voice, wow!

Ahh. Good for George. This tour will put him back in standing with the music world, I think, who sometimes forget what a great writer and vocalist he really is. One of the best of his generation, easily, if not the best vocals, I think. Probably why no one ever tries to cover his music. He seems very underappreciated, and I think the time has come to show the guy a little more respect. But I think he's going to get it now. Good. :)

An Article on Google that Might Surprise You

There's a really fantastic article about Google's incredibly fucked-up, ass-backward decision to raise the cost of its daycare for employees by 75% right here. Joe Nocera at the New York Times makes some brilliant points.

When companies like Google fuck up their priorities, and they're supposed to be the gold standard of employment today, it should raise alarm bells, methinks, so Nocera hit the nail bang on.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

On Music and Moods

Bed's not long off. I think an earlier night is in order.

I'm still copying music. I'm just finishing up on my Lloyd Cole and the Commitments in my A-I binder. Heh. Fun, fun. Let's see, what's iTunes say now? Right, 140 days off. I'll have to take a six month sabbatical and listen to some music. God.

I know, everyone goes through this, but they should bitch about it too. It's irritating. Mmf.

Okie, in with the Cowboy Junkies now. There's a band I'd like to see again sometime. That's like crashing a really good living room practice, it's so comfortable. What a great performance they give, but it was so down to earth and casual. Loved that.

Hey, wow, they're on tour in the States. Stateside readers should totally check them out. Here are the dates. I'm not a big country fan, but their blend of mellow country meets alt-rock sort of works for me. Maybe I'll listen to some now. The Trinity Session.

I think the Junkies would be good writing music. If I get back into writing fiction, I'll need to replace my Loreena McKennitt music. My mother's, actually, but hey. One of the best things I ever wrote was a timed-writing story I wrote to her The Visit album. I think I channeled some lovechild of Atwood/King/Denis Johnson ghost there and wrote this awesome death sequence that involved an anchor and a pair of flip-flops. I know you're not supposed to love your own shit, but, yeah, well, fuck "supposed to".

I've always thought I could flesh that into a book, too, a good dark Canadian novel. But I think I need to be 45 before I can do it, the way I want to take it. Maybe never. I don't know. As flash fiction it's strong, but how much does anyone really care about flash fiction beyond "it's GREAT in the bathroom!" anyhow?

I'm not sure what my favourite writing music is. I don't think I have any right now. It's been so long since I've given a shit about music that I'm not sure what works for something like writing right now. I suspect I should give some Tom Waits a listen to for writing sometime. There'd be some pretty cool mood. I'd like to get some good old dirty blues, a few compilations so it's all across the board, since I need me some schooling in it. Everyone from John Lee Hooker to Robert Johnson, Earl Hines, Pine Top Smith, Count Basie, Muddy Waters, and the fucking list goes on. All people I've mumbled and muttered that I wanna look into but I've never gotten around to it.

But I'll get there.

Now it's all about bed, so I'm outtie. Letting "'Cos Cheap is How I Feel" play out here by the Junkies.

Tomorrow is George Michael. Heh heh heh. Silly, but I'll really love it.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I Really Need To Go To Work? Wah!

Oh, morning, you cruel bitch. Heh. Nothing like a work morning after getting to bed a little after 2.

I'm on the second cup of coffee, but it's not helping yet. Looks like the heat wave is back for one valiant last kick at the can, so shorts are my attire of the day for work.

I need to swing by the Robson Law Courts to formally lodge a dispute against my ticket this morning, too. Ugh. I should have done it Monday, but if I had, I wouldn't have gotten all my accomplishments done this week.

The weekend just kicked my ass. I normally cope well in heat waves, but this one this time just killed me, so my eager plans to conquer the world turned into the happiness of sloth. But that's all right.

I spent much of Monday and Tuesday scrubbing. Scrubbing the bathroom tiles, the bathroom floor, the kitchen floor and counters. I mean, my apartment's 56 years old and, I shit you not, I think the kitchen floor is original. I scrubbed that thing like you wouldn't believe, and the amount of dirt that came off... wow, I think I returned my floors to early '80s pristine, man!

The Real Canadian Superstore has come out with a great line of "green" products and they have this new super-concentrated "scrubbing compound" that appears to be a baking soda paste, and the stuff's unbelievable. Just unbelievably strong and good.

I'm an untidy person, but I clean often, so I hate it when stuff I clean stays dirty, like my floor. But I got down and scrubbed with that paste for about 45 minutes, and my floor's now about 5 or 6 shades lighter than it was. GayBoy scoffed in disbelief when he looked at it yesterday. "Looks like I'll be doing mine soon," he says.

My shower walls look like new now, too. The great thing about this scrubbing compound is, it never bothered my lungs one bit and I was in close contact with it for two whole days. Not even my hands got irritated from exposure. Hell, my skin didn't even dry out.

I used to have a lot of reasons to hate the Superstore, but the more they change to this green-inspired corporate outlook and they keep bringing in new healthy "Blue Menu" items, the less I have to justify what used to fuel me against them. Besides, they're cheaper than anyone else.


Music: I have now copied more than 74 days and 10 gigs of compact discs to my computer.

I still have 50 more CDs on the shelf, and some 100+ left in this binder of mine. Good lord. Then, when I'm done all this copying, I'll need to gut all my remaining CDs and buy 3 to 4 more of these binders and transfer everything over. I've already set the bar high for that... this first binder of mine is completely alphabetical.

I'm not getting crazy and organizing by genre. I'll just put world, classical, and "other" less prominent genres in another binder and keep the main part of my collection all together.

Plus, I still have about1,500-2,000 songs on my laptop to copy over. God. Teehee. I'm gonna need a bigger iPOD after all. Oh well. Christmas isn't too far off now. Sadly.

Concert: Kenny Wayne Shepherd puts on one hell of a show.

Playing well is one thing. Playing hard is another thing. Playing a long time is still another. Not taking breaks is even bigger.

Check all of the above for Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

I've never really listened to him, just because his music's not really the sort of thing I listen to around the house, you know? But he's in that very select group of artists I appreciate and I have noted under "SEE LIVE SOMETIME" because you just know they're going to deliver.

Ben Harper, for instance, was in that crowd. Carlos Santana. A little-known group called The Dirty Three (some of Nick Cave's Bad Seeds defected for a trio of standing bass, violin, and drums... unbelievable live, but loses much in the translation on CD for me, but still worth checking out in every format).

Kenny Wayne makes the cut, though. He really does. So, no, I didn't know all the songs other than Slow Ride, True Lies, etc, but fuck, that boy can PLAY.

Here's the kicker, okay? For more than 2 hours they played, non-stop. Kenny just went from one riff into another into another and into another. GayBoy felt like Kenny could channel a little Stevie Ray here and there, and the kid seemed to. He just fucking WENT from start to finish last night.

He was wearing two shirts layered, a long-sleeved jersey under a black t-shirt, and he played for two and a half hours, never changed his shirt, and never EVER sweated. Didn't have sweat pouring off his face, no hair matting to his face, no sweat stains under his arms. Not a drop.

And he fucking worked it out the whole show. I couldn't believe he wasn't sweating. The kid's a machine. That's the only answer, he's a machine. But a machine who plays some seriously great licks. We were all grateful when it ended, 'cos he just went full-on the whole time that I think we were all pretty knackered.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, when it comes to seeing music live, you know who sees it as a job and who sees it as their life. For Kenny Wayne Shepherd, it's obviously just like breathing and it's a part of his life. For that reason, you get 2.5 hours with him.

I still won't listen to him around the house. But I'll see him again any time he wants to visit. That was a great show. Another one off the to-do list. :)

(Shaun Verrault, the front guy for Wide Mouth Mason opened, and it's the fourth time, at least, maybe fifth, I've seen him. Shaun's growing up. He's lost his arrogance and dickheadedness that turned me off the second time I saw him, and now he's found his sense of humour. I really enjoyed last night's performance, and it's good to see that Shaun's really becoming a workhorse on the Canadian scene. I think his new song he tried on us last night about fuckhead friends who come over and do careless shit to your house is going to be a hit. It's fucking hilarious. So's his "Everything I Do For You (Is Because of the Shit I Get From You)" or whatever it's called. He's really starting to appeal more to me now that his "real" side's coming out on stage more. Good going, Shaun.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Music, Music, Music

Aye yay yay! My place looks like a mess still, but I've gotten so much done! [My bathroom tiles look like they're brand-fuckin'-new, my kitchen's been scoured, including my fridge, which has now been cured of the unruly soy sauce incident.] I want to get my pad finished off before I head to Costco for three very important things: toilet paper, thai pizza, and painkillers. How's that for priorities being straight, eh?

I'm copying still more CDs to my computer. In all my years of owning computers and CDs, the two have never met. I've never bothered before now because all of my computers have sucked shit. Slow, boggy, small drives. Why bother?

So, I've finally got this one up and running, with its 2x1 gig ram and 440 gigs of hard drive space. Copying's working. I've got my sound gear all set up except the trusty mic and equalizer, but they're not that important right now. Soon. Everything's running very nicely now.

Listening to music's a pleasure now that it never skips or sticks. Clarity's very nice. I'm enjoying music now for the first time in years. I don't think I realized how much I hated my music set-up. It's ridiculous. But no matter. All done. All fixed.

So much so I'm thinking about selling my trusty old Sony stereo I bought in the Yukon. I mean, it's so big. Back when a five-disc CD changer was the bomb, you know? Whoop, there it went.

I may keep the trusty old equalizer though. Hmm. I shall consult my sound geek friends. Yes.

Sell? Who's kidding who? Why, WHY would anyone buy it? Maybe nostalgia? Just woke from a coma? I don't know. Maybe "donate" is the watchword there. I mean, there's a double cassette deck. [giddy giggling] Like, ridiculous. What took me so long?

The irony of all this is, I was using Napster before anyone I knew. "Hey, so there's this thing called Napster..." Weird, weird, weird.

But this is fun. Listening to the Youngbloods on the Gump soundtrack, just copied Tripping Daisy, and have now moved on to Beuna Vista Music Club. I found my David Fanshawe African Santus recording yesterday, some Zucchero, all my Sinatra, and even Spandau Ballet (snicker, and any John Hughes' type bands you can imagine). I've only got a third of my music on this fuckin' beast thus far, though, and that's about 40 days' worth if iTunes is to be believed. Maybe only a quarter? Gonna take me at least a few more days of this hour-after-hour popping in and out of CDs. Fun? No. Great result? Yeah. It's been two solid days of CD swapping in the last week, tho.

I fucking HATE monotonous, long tasks. But I'm plugging away.

I mean, god, when I really consider it over the years, I suspect I've spent between $5,000 to 10,000 on my music, right? Not including hardware or concerts or the fuckin' beer drank at 'em, or merch, or even any of the fuckin' tapes I'd amassed before CD technology became dominant when I was 15. Definitely including Columbia House, though, those motherfuckers. Not including the music magazines I was perenially addicted to until I was 25.

Being the music mag person at Duthies got me my music mags free till 28 'cos I'd get to skin and gut 'em as a perk (heh heh, used to get all the special CDs from Brit mags with the latest My Chemical Romance or Orgy or whatever), then I stopped, always thinking "I'll look 'em up on the 'net" and then never bothering to stay current.

Jesus Fucking Christ. About time I got this shit done after years of avoiding it. Now I'll have to bravely plan to format my iPOD and make it mate to this computer. Whew. Big commitment there. GASP. The dreaded commitment! Never! Likely next weekend, sigh.

Whatever shall I listen to now? Actually, the Zucchero & Co did whisper sweetly to me last night. Time to check that one out. Handel's copying. Maybe I'll finally start listening to some of the classical and jazz shit I have kicking around. Hmm. HMM.

Time to get to cleaning up. My "timed writing" is up. 20 minutes is all she wrote. Happy fuckin' Canada Day! Wahoo. Have a beer.