December 31, 2008

» 2008. It’s all but over. I don’t approve of the practice, but bloggers are expected to recap the past year, so here goes. Hopefully this won’t be as boring as I expect.

MUSIC. I released well over a dozen CDs in 2007 and less than six in 2008 (three as The Urbane Decay, one as Heavy Moon and also Nicole’s CD). I keep recording music. But I don’t release it anymore. I seem to have started making electronic music again lately—something I thought I was done with.

As far as listening to music goes, my best of year list is pretty slim. The Witch, Larkin Grimm, In_Rainbows (was that 2007?), and The Raveonettes. I can’t think of anything else. If I had to pick a fifth, I guess Hercules and Love Affair. Oh, Brightblack Morning Light’s new one is a great sedative. Mostly I listened to three year old neo-shoegaze bands I found on iTunes along with Eric’s Trip, Sebadoh, Pavement, Sonic Youth and King Crimson. Oh… and of course Britney Spears’ Womanizer. How could I forget the single of the year.

ZINES. I re-entered the zine world late in 2007 with PLOG: P[aper b]LOG. Four of the six issues were released in 2008. I went to two zine/small press shows and a few Toronto Zine Library events. I don’t think PLOG will exist in 2009. Not in the same form it took in 2007/08 at least.

I did however start up Ampersand Publishing. Or at least gave a name to what I was already doing. I’m more interested in doing mini-books than a zine, I think. I suppose there’s no difference, really.

FILM & TV. I watched a whopping total of three films in the theatre this year. Indian Jones 4, Twilight and Benjamin Button. I assume good films were also made. I didn’t see them. Was Into the Wild made in 2008? That was pretty good. That might have been 2007 though. I like to think I only watched three crap films this year. We’re probably going to JCVD tonight so we’ll see if the trend continues for the final film of the year.  I don’t own a TV so I watched pre-2008 TV  on my laptop: Heroes Season I, Dexter Season I, Six Feet Under Complete Series, Rome Complete Series, and Twin Peaks Complete Series. It was all good and commercial-free what with being on DVD. Did they still make TV shows in 2008? Probably. I didn’t see any.

PANDANOIDS. I pretty much abandoned this project in 2008. To do it right, it’d be a full-time job. I already have a full-time job. And hobbies I find more interesting. Originally there was going to be a weekly web-comic and maybe even animations to help market and sell the products. Maybe in 2009 I’ll pick this ball up again.

PODCASTING. The single biggest change in artistic direction for me has been the discovery of podcasting. As a listener and as a creator. It’s radio that suits my lifestyle. I don’t have to tune-in at a certain time to catch my favourite shows and I don’t have to be at the station at a certain time to do my own. It’s all on my time. Currently, it’s the project I have the most fun with. Music is still essential for my soul. Writing and making books/zines is still a good time. But podcasting is really, really fun. I am fully aware this is due to it being the creative endeavour I get the most positive feedback for. And I owe this entirely to Simply Syndicated whose have provided me with over 90% of my listeners and 100% of my inspiration. I should really send them a box of chocolates.

LOVE. One relationship officially ended fairly early in the year and I broke a promise to myself by re-entering the world of internet dating. Thank god I did because I met Mandi. 2009 is looking up.

LINKS of 2008: pods and blogs


Welcome back to Canada, Dapper sighting + Beardo

December 30, 2008

Snow II
Originally uploaded by Ampersand Photography.

» I’m back in Toronto from the west coast. There’s a few things I’be learned on this trip. One is I will never travel in winter again. The other is I really understand the difference between Central and Western Canada now. Growing up in the west, I was somewhat aware of the central region’s privilaged status. But only having my western experience to draw upon, it was simply the norm. When I moved here, I didn’t notice anything too specific to indicate our country has an Ontario/Quebec cultural focus. But coming back to BC it became suddenly starkly clear to me how everything "Canadian" is in fact "central region" and BC is a society as distinct from Ontario as Quebec or the Maritimes or even Michigan State. I can safely say, central region really, truly does not care about anything west of the Ontario border. Not even a little bit. BC does not exist to "Canadians" any more than Europe does.

» When Chelsee and I were having coffee at Port Place Mall (it was the only place downtown open on Boxing Day), we saw Mr. Dapper, the red-haired man. She said she hadn’t seen him since I moved. I said I thought he might have been dead because no one had given me an update about him recently. He walked past us twice. Perhaps he is my spirit guide.

» I didn’t shave while on vacation. I’ve decided to keep the beard.

Benjamin Gump

December 27, 2008

» This afternoon, in an attempt to distract myself from missing Mandi*, I went to the Curious Case of Benjamin Gump with my parents.

Sorry, that should read: Benjamin Button. How could I get confused? Forrest Gump was a story of a life-long romance between a gentle, unique man-child with an affliction and an emotionally damaged woman where circumstances keeps them apart for most of there lives then for a short time they come together, produce a child, and are pulled apart again – all against the backdrop of 20th century american history and some clever CG effects.

Benjamin Button, on the other hand, is the story of a life-long romance between a gentle, unique man-child with an affliction and an emotionally damaged woman where circumstances keeps them apart for most of there lives then for a short time they come together, produce a child, and are pulled apart again – all against the backdrop of 20th century american history and some clever CG effects.

Forrest Gump had a few other key elements such as a catch-phrase ("Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get") whereas Benjamin Button instead has a memetic phrase ("You never know what’s coming for you"). Another element Gump also bore was the motif of the white feather. Button didn’t have a white feather and had to make do with a hummingbird instead. Another striking difference is that Gump meets, over the course of his life, a series of colourful characters who provide him with insightful life-lessons. In contrast, Button is provided with insightful life-lessons during the course of his life by a series of colourful characters. Also Button, being mistaken for a man when still a child, offers simple, child-like observations which is taken at face value and regarded as sage wisdom. Gump, a mentally challenged man, is instead characterized by his simple, child-like observations which is taken at face value and regarded as sage wisdom.

One thing the Curious Case of Forrest Button did not suffer from was bearing any similarities to movies which came before as it is clearly an entirely original exploration of the human condition (by Eric Roth, writer of Forrest Gump). Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what’s coming for you. Truer words never spoken.

[*watching a movie about separated lovers isn’t the best thing to take you mind off of the lover you’re separated from.]

23, mirror universe + knowledge

December 24, 2008

» I forgot to bring earplugs to the 23rd show. The Madonna Bangers banged my ears into a pulpy paste. I also forgot to bring my plushie cat-mask which made my TRANZMIT set mortifying. It had something to do with the stage being back in the same spot as the first industrial night Bob put on a decade ago where the old school patrons (before the Terminal-to-Cambie gentrification) threw rocks at the stage. I was basically setting up to play the same music. Nobody threw rocks but this one drunk or cracked-out dirtbag walked up to the front of the stage accusingly yelling at me "You’re Donny Osmond! You’re Donny Osmond!" But Ken’s reaction when I started singing "Silent Night" in falsetto was worth it though. Actually the look on his face when he saw me approach the mic was worth it.

Speaking of Cambie dirtbags, Nick and I were playing pool and this dirtbag wanted to play the winner. So we both started trying to lose but in a way that wasn’t obvious to the dirtbag. I’m not sure it wasn’t obvious.

If I could change one thing about the 23rd, if it’s going to continue, it would definitely be removing the bands so you can actually hear what people are saying to you. No idea what Sara, John G, or several other said. I hope nodding, shrugging, and smiling was the appropriate reaction. But then, would people come out and stand around talking at a lounge without bands? Probably not. And… oh right, I’m never traveling at christmas again so this really was my final 23rd show. Do what you like with it.

» It was the strangest feeling being back in Nanaimo. Everything is exactly same only tweaked slightly. Brent and Dave were still sitting on Ken’s couch watching Trailer Park Boys, but Jenn has bangs now and there’s a new poster behind the chair. It definitely felt like visiting a mirror universe. All the snow probably added to that feeling. It’s like Nanaimo, but covered in two feet of snow so it can’t be Nanaimo. Two things that didn’t change were Rose and the Casino. I was glad to see Rose, not so much the Casino. But at least Adrian was was truthful in his claim that he was going to lay a twenty down on red and cash-out. Which he did. In and out in two minutes with forty dollars in his hand.

» Sometime in the future Nick Cage has a new movie about prophecies coming out called Knowing. Depending on which trailer you watch, you may or may not want to see it.


December 23, 2008

» I hadn’t really realized how many internet sites I post on until I’m here at my parents’ manually typing in the URLs. It just seems like a lot. No, it is a lot. I’m a big nerd.

» My flight was canceled/delayed 11 hours. Thanks to the internet, I didn’t spend any of those hours in the airport. My plane did sit on the tarmac (icemac?) for an hour before take off once be boarded though. And sat on the tarmac (snowmac?) in Vancouver for an hour and a half while they plowed us a path to the gate. We were one of only four flights allowed to land in Vancouver that day, so I considered us lucky. The guy beside me wanted to give me five bucks to open the emergency hatch. I pointed out it was too far to walk to the terminal. Another plus to being delayed was I got to go to Nat’s x-mas party with Mandi which as nice.

» Last night Makito made us partake in a retardulous photo-shoot in the Rutherford Mall parking lot atop one of the ice-mountains created by the snow plows. He dragged shopping cars to the top of it and made the girls stand in them and the rest of us make catalogue poses. I was pretty sure we were going to end up on Failblog.org. We didn’t. We came close when Makito made John drive his truck into the bank to create plumes of snow with his spinning tires. This was the mating call for a swarm of 4-by-4s which came out of nowhere to do donuts. It was a little bit like Mad Max. But in the snow and not the outback. Ryan took it upon himself to up the fail-ante by shoulder rolling down the 20-foot ice-mountains but failed to break any limbs.

» I miss Mandi and am trying not to break into "Blue Christmas"randomly. At least, not out loud.

No-mageddon + podcast stuff

December 19, 2008

» It is, indeed, snowing. I don’t think it’s snow-mageddon yet.  Our director hasn’t sent us home. If using the word snow-mageddon can get us sent home, I hope more people start using it within his earshot of the directors. Mandi’s school got  sent home. I’m still here, faithfully reporting from my desk.

» On the other hand, meat-ageddon continues.

» We finally got the first episode of Nerd Hurdles recorded and posted. Mandi tried to help me overcome my aversion to the tweenage vampire phenomenon that is Twilight. I’m not sure I overcame this hurdle, but I did manage to watch the movie and leave the theatre without a cringing embarrassment seething in my veins.

» Nerd Hurdles would have gotten released earlier but I spend some of my editing time calling-in to the UK-based podcast called Here Goes Nothing. As the title suggests, Boz and Dave talk about nothing — "nothing" being as mostly beer, beans and rants about pop-culture.


December 18, 2008

» People here are in a panic about the pair of "perfect storms" coming our way on Friday and Sunday. Environment Canada has used the word "snowmageddon" to describe the situation. The blargosphere has jumped on this like a pack of  coked-up squirrels on can of party nuts. I’m apparently one of those virtual vermin beating this dead horse back to life only to stuff it in a snowbank of overcooked metaphors with the snow-blower of cynicism and rubbing the Safe-T-Salt of subreference-heavy run-on sentences in the frost-bitten wound of this cold story.

A statement from Environment Canada says: The term ‘snow-mageddon’ is not meant to alarm anyone or make light of the situation. Yes, there is clearly nothing alarmist nor ridiculous about the term snowmageddon. But it’s good they cleared up any confusion someone might have upon reading the word and panicking or laughing and ignoring the report as entirely ludicrous. The latter, perhaps, being my own reaction.

But since I am flying out on Sunday, I’ve been duly checking weather sites. Just in case snowmaggedon really happens. The dire forecast is:
Friday: Light snow, 10-15 cm
Sunday: Light snow, 5-10 cm

That’s 5-25 cm of blinding white apocalypse if I ever heard of one. Ontarians keep lamenting to me that we newcomers think they’re pussies about the weather. Well, it’s because you all are. Now maybe it will be God’s icy hand of wrath unleashed this weekend, but in my experience 15 cm of snow is not the end of the world. Unless you grew up in Ontario. In which case clearly Al-Quaeda has built a weather machine destructo-ray and aimed it at Toronto.

But, honestly, snowmageddon is such a good work, how could they not use it? I’ve used it seven times here.

» If you really want to talk about snowmageddon, the Ellesmere Island ice shelf broke off.

» Nearly as good a term is Christmassacre. The P-Reviews x-mas special of sorts.

Respectacled, Waffled + Glittered

December 12, 2008

The Light May Glitter (cover)
Originally uploaded by Ampersand Photography.

» Last night I went to Respectacle. Which was respectacular. Mandi forces middle-school kids to put on a mean show. The tiny girl doing the running man during their rendition of "Mr. Wendle" was my favourite part.

»This morning we played hooky and went to the strangest wafflehouse in Ghettobicoke. Firstly the windows are tinted orange. Well, not "tinted" so much as covered in vibrant orange plastic. Upon entering, wondering if you’ll be able to handle the orange windows, you realize the furniture is also entirely done in this vibrant, dayglo orange colour. That’s merely quirky.

The menu is where the serious strangeness begins to kick in. The breakfast menu is your standard combos of waffles, bacon, eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, etc. Several items were denoted as being "wafflicious." All seemed normal but then we noticed the lunch and dinner menu featured pizza and hamburgers. Not too strange until you read the fine print when it goes on to explain the pizza is tomato sauce and mozzarella on a waffle. And the burger is an all-beef patty, lettuce and tomato in between two waffles. There was also the "Flying Waffle" which was a waffle with chicken wings on it. We stuck to the breakfast menu.

This didn’t save us from strangeness. The plates came ringed in cinnamon (okay), sugar (normal) and parsley (huh?). Also the hashbrowns were the shredded kind but deep-fired. So they were, as Mandi described them, "like a pile of dry leaves." Tasty but hard to eat. Have you ever tried to eat Hickory Sticks with a fork? No. You wouldn’t because that’s impossible. I had to glue these potato leaves together with ketchup just to be able to eat them.

When we were asked ‒ by the manager, not our server ‒ how our meal was and we said everything was fine, she then said nervously, "Are you sure?" We again said yes and she left quickly and visibly relieved. This is when we started poking around for stray press-on nails in our potato leaves.

» I added a new title to the Ampersand Publishing store today. It’s a book of user manuals translated into poetry using Babelfish. It’s called The Light May Glitter.

Go Green gone + Kaossilations

December 10, 2008

» The project from heck which has consumed my 9-to-5 (and overtime) hours for months is finally over. The Climate Change Action Plan Annual Report—originally titled the Go Green Annual Report—has just been released. I have to point out I cannot take credit for the cover. I really cannot. Read into that what you will. I did create a lot of the internal graphics, but I did not create the cover graphic. I would hate for anyone to think I was stealing credit for that. I mean, credit should go where credit is due, right? Not on my doorstep.

» Yesterday on the way home from work I finally bought myself a Kaossilator. Which I’m going to use for the Sister Ray set on the 23rd. I didn’t realize they were so tiny or I might have bought one months ago when I first heard about them. It was hard to go to bed last night instead of making glitchy techno goodness literally in the palm of my hand. But I did go to bed. And continued making beats and grooves there for a while. It was also hard to not take it on the subway this morning though I guess it would look no less ridiculous than someone using a blackberry. So I’m glad I left it at home.

I bet Marx shoveled his walk + Womanizer

December 9, 2008

» Apparently I’m the only fool on Fairview Avenue who shovels the walk. Also, except for the schools, people on Annette and Runnymede aren’t big on shoveling snow. WE’RE LIVING IN A SOCIETY, PEOPLE! At least this morning it was the dry, non-slippy snow. But it’s supposed to rain this afternoon so my walk home is going to be on either slippy slush or slippy ice. Either way I’m going to be slipping and cursing those lazy-ass bourgeoisie car-driving Bloor-Westerners who don’t help their pedestrian comrades out. Another reason I’d like to see a city-wide ban on privately-owned vehicles. This ban wouldn’t apply to Mandi, of course. As I’ve been finding her car ownership quite handy of late.

» I really like the new Britney song.

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