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Steverino ex machina.

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Location: Charlottetown, PEI, Canada

Friday, September 30, 2005

Just an add-on for yesterday's post.
Sheryll, a co-worker, friend, and mentor for the year, got me this cake today.
If you watch Coronation Street at all, you'll understand.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Go, go, go, go...

Go me-ee... it's my birthday. There ain't no party, but it's my birthday. I'll have no Bacardi, but it's my birthday. And I know you may not care that it is my birthday!
Today was pretty good as far as birthdays go. First off, I didn't have to go to school today, because I had an STC meeting. It was a little draggy, but I got some good info from it. Another plus from that is that I get paid for a full day's work instead of the usual 85%, plus I get mileage. Bitchin'. I also got a free canvas bag and a metallic Dept. of Ed. travel mug (which C will get, 'cause I don't drink tea or coffee). Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day of school after a sub was in for me today.

This evening, I finished opening birthday things, and am suitably satisfied. I'd be pretty satisfied with next to nothing, so I guess I'm overly satisfied. A couple of books, a couple of DVDs, a few CDs, a subscription to Paste Magazine (check it out for sure), a little cash, and some odds & ends (like peach salsa, cherry salsa, etc).

C and I went to the Maple Grill tonight for supper. It was my first time there. It was good all-round. Not my best meal ever, but no complaints really. Nice enough inside, and very good food at OK prices. I had the blackened salmon with cucumber salsa and lime, with roasted new red potatoes. I had some chocolate ice-cream brownie thing for dessert. C had buttered chicken and a maple sponge cake for dessert. Well, the cake was for dessert, the chicken was the main course. 'Twas all delicious and good to the tune of about $41.

I got four CDs for the b-day (so far anyway). I got a couple of autographed ones (always nice!), "If It Was You" by Tegan and Sara, and "Destination Unknown" by two people I met, helped lug gear with, and saw in concert, Ron Sexsmith & Don Kerr. I have only listened to it halfway so far, so I won't post on it yet (but so far so good). The two I will make note of are:

Colin James, "Limelight"
I was a little nervous about this one. I had kind of thought Colin had gone the way of Eric Clapton. Come onto the scene with a bang, do some damage here and there with different things along the way, but make kind of bland studio albums after that. Well, his stuff isn't really bland... it's just that when I think of his last disc, "Traveller", nothing much comes to mind. It had a few good covers, and the CD was good, but nothing was too memorable overall. This one is a breath of fresh air after that. Just imagine his sound from "National Steel" mixed with some Blackie & The Rodeo Kings (thanks to Colin Linden's playing and co-production). Add a few hints of other things here and there, and it's sounding pretty great. The music's not stale... it's fresh and has some really cool twists in it. This CD was a pleasant surprise.

The Waking Eyes, "Video Sound"
I haven't had a good stereo listen with this yet, but overall it's good. It doesn't grab me by the ears 100% yet, but there's some good rockin' tunes on here and some good songwriting. It's definitely worth a listen, but I don't think it'll turn into an all-time fave or anything.

Thanks to Karen and Tara for putting in the effort to electronically wish me a happy birthday. It made the day that much better. It's nice to be thought of.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Some new musical goodness to dish on a bit:

Buck 65
I've always kind of liked Buck at least a little. But back when he was still mostly unknown, I didn't take him too much to heart or try to get to know him better. I kind of thought people I knew who knew him and nearly worshipped him were wacko. Well, they were kind of wacko, but not because of Buck. A lot of his earlier stuff really is good. "Centaur", for example. I'd heard this CD labelled as disjointed and a good collection of songs, but not a good album. I almost wholeheartedly disagree. Most of the album maintains the same mood. There are a couple of tunes which differ from the big picture here, but are still good. This is a really good album. A great sounding piece of music and lyrics. Moody and honest and original. Kind of like... a mix of Buck, Leonard Cohen, Daniel Lanois, and a dusty western town. "Drawing Curtains" is fantastic.

Tegan and Sara
This was an autographed Maple Music purchase. Well, all of these are. All of T&S' full-length CDs (3) and an autographed card for $40. I'd be stupid not to do it. I've only gotten to hear "This Business of Art" the whole way through. It's good. I know the next two will be at least as good, too, since I have many of the mp3s. They have some really awesome tunes. "My Number", "Monday, Monday, Monday", "Living Room", "Walking With A Ghost"... all great, as are many others. This purchase is proof that downloading helps to sell more records.

Wide Mouth Mason
My final jury's still out on this one. These guys are probably my favourite band, which should say a Hell of a lot. They're great musicians and great guys. I mean, c'mon... they held a moment of silence for me before a show on my wedding day! Initially, this one left me a tad unexcited / disappointed. I like it more and more as I listen. However, some songs are so old that the live / other versions I've heard of them are the ones I'm really attached to and like better. Don't get me wrong. It's a good album, and it does indeed rock, but it's just taking me more time to appreciate it in its entirety. As always, a great WMM album, but it may not blow you away the whole way through upon first listen. Check out "Rust", "Everybody's Right", "I Love Not Loving You", "Worse Than Before", "Please Go Home, "Phantom Limb", "Eleven"... oh Hell... it really is a good CD. There's still something that nags me a bit about it, but it is a definite winner.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Terry Fox... I don't know what it is, but this year seems to affect me more than others. It's not because it's the 25th anniversary, it's just something. For some reason, it's really hitting home with me this year more than ever. Terry is the ultimate Canadian hero. He was a normal person, going through something very hard, trying to help others, and not looking for anything for himself. To be so brave, selfless, and giving, is part of being a Canadian. We all do it to different degrees... but to do it to the extent Terry did, 100%, is exceptional. He is our greatest hero.
It's astounding to think that he ran the equivalent of a marathon (42km), every day, for 143 days. That's a total of 5,373 km. It's mind-blowing.

This year, more than ever, every time I see the clip of him on that stretcher in Thunder Bay, I nearly cry. To see him, someone so strong, someone so "Canadian"... having to give up his quest because of something out of his control, is tough. To see him realize that the cancer he thought he had beaten had now appeared in his lungs... he looked almost as if he knew he was going to die, and that he wouldn't be able to finish his run. To hear him having to admit that to a nation of believers and himself, from a stretcher, while the tears build up in his voice, is heartbreaking.

See it for yourself as Canadians did 25 years ago:

Maybe next year I'll get involved in it somehow... I sort of feel as though I owe it to him.

Last night, the impossible happened. Neil Hope, A.K.A. Derek "Wheels" Wheeler was found and interviewed on TV. Any time there has ever been some kind of Degrassi segment on TV, like when Jonovision had the Degrassi Reunion, Wheels had always been absent. Even sadder was the fact that nobody seemed to know where he was. Where was he? Was he alive? Nobody seemed to know.

However, during a 25 years of Degrassi special on CTV (which just seems wrong) last night, the host, "Snake" tracked him down. It was a fantastic moment of relief. Well, at least it felt good to finally see him again, looking better than the now cue-ball-headed Joey Jeremiah. Wheels looks almost unchanged. His hair was shorter, he wore a ball cap, similar glasses, and sported a soul patch. It was kind of sad to hear what he'd been up to, though... working phone jobs for places like Pizza Pizza, landscaping, and getting his forklift license. That's all so wrong. He also begged into the camera to get some more Degrassi / other work. He wants back into it now. I kind of felt bad for him, which just shouldn't be. It seems like it's his lot in life. The worst crap always happened to him on the show. The guy that picked him up in his car, his parents' deaths, killing a kid and crippling Lucy with his drunk-driving... I hope luck really swings his way soon.

Also sad was seeing Joey auction off the re-painted Mustang that he got from the show. Remember Joey's white Mustang? Well, the real-life Pat Mastroianni actually owned it in the end. He put it up for auction, hoping some fan would get it. It only sold for $14,500, to some old man who said he was going to re-sell it for profit. Sad... just sad.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I've been holding onto this for a couple of years now. I remember seeing it on a table at the Delta. I saw the headline and couldn't resist picking it up. You see, back then, Blair was a bit of a local farce. He had been on a hunger strike in a tent on Province House's lawn for a while. My buddy Darren used to tell me about watching Blair eat Subway and drink cans of Boost at night. Darren worked at UPEI's security desk and got bored during the latenight shifts. He would check out the IslandCam online, which was at Province house at that point, and watch Blair. He had outrageous allegations, made all the funnier by people saying he never even stayed at the Mt. Herbert Orphanage. I dunno if it's true, but I'd trust "people" over his word. You know, since that stolen car just happened to end up in the woods next to his house and stuff. I haven't seen him around for a while. I heard his house burned down. I feel bad for the man, but he's still a twit. Have a look at the sheet... spot the fun quotes!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Kanye West.

A few things on this musical man:

Before his new CD came out, he gave so many interviews where he sounded SO cocky. He even went so far as to say that the pairing of himself and Jon Brion (producer) for this album was the best pairing since MJ and Quincy Jones for "Thriller". I don't know if even Jesus could live up to that kind of hype and patting oneself on the back. He needs to tone that down, along with his shirt collars.

His new record, "Late Registration" really is good. Maybe even as good as he was professing. Jon Brion is a great producer, having produced folks like Aimee Mann, as well as films like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Magnolia". He's very much a mood-and-soundscape kind of guy. His work is very distinct. There's a certain style and mood to it... and a space. He is to pop and soundtracks what Daniel Lanois is to U2, Dylan, Willie Nelson, and the like. The idea of getting someone so good and so different for a hip-hop album is genius. While it doesn't come off sounding like Brion's regular fare, you really can see a difference in this album vs "The College Dropout". There's more depth and simplicity, all at the same time. The sped-up samples are pretty much all gone, replaced with more organic and soulful samples, beats, strings, and voices. I also like the fact that there's some good or genuine meaning to the songs, put across with meaningful lyrics. He doesn't just waste lines by putting in things that only rhyme. I don't know if I'd give it a full 10/10 (it's not even a week old), but I think I'd definitely give it a 9.

Kanye shot off his mouth the other night, but not about himself. Have a gander at this clip (even not so bad for dial-up), right 'til the sweet ending. It shows Kanye with Mike Myers during a Katrina benefit the other night. Kanye deviated from the script and shot from the hip. He talked about the media and George Bush, mainly. It's golden, and pretty much true.