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Steverino ex machina.

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Location: PEI, Canada

Friday, September 29, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's like I gave myself a present from the future! As if I'd somehow been able to use McFly's De Lorean to speed into the future, order my past self a present, and then doubleback to the past, ie, the present, just in time to get the present! Get it?

Emm Gryner has a new CD coming out tomorrow, you see, and I have it now. Some of Emm's more recent stuff wasn't as much for me (all-cover "Girl Versions" and "Songs of Love and Death"). I like my Emm to be original. Imagine my delight this summer when I saw that she was selling pre-orders of her new CD, which came with a special CD to boot! Woot!

Allow me to show them to you briefly:

This is the inside cover of the CD, ie, the back of the booklet.

With the pre-order of this CD, "The Summer of High Hopes", came a cool new CD called "PVT" (short for private). You see, Emm had lost rights to her first (and only) major-label CD, "Public".

After years of being cut-off from that album, she recently regained rights to it. To celebrate the event, she re-recorded the whole thing (and boy does it sound different... and good!), and called it "PVT".

I've only listened through each CD once since I got home, and just on my computer, but both discs sound great. "PVT" is a totally different album than "Public". "The Summer of High Hopes" is good, better than I had even expected, and has some killer tunes on it. I'll have to post a proper review sometime later.

I'll end this by saying that I've just loved Emm since the first time I met her almost eight years ago. I don't get to see her often enough, here on PEI, but when I do, it's always great. I also really admire her D.I.Y., personal touch on, and approach to, everything she does.

I was going through some files in a folder on my computer late tonight. I found a picture of my grandmother, playing bingo at her last residence. Standing by her is her sister. Strong as she is, her sister always seems to, at least, have an under-the-surface worried look about her. It's almost been four months since my grandmother passed away, and now my grand-aunt, her sister, is about to lose her husband. I always liked my grand-uncle. Kinda round, baldish, glasses, suspenders. So harmless and jovial, with a great laugh. Loves to tell stories. A Veteran. I only found out last week that he was sick, and mom says he may only make a couple more days. I feel sad about it, and very sad for my grand-aunt. This'll be two big losses for her in a short amount of time, and now she'll probably have to move. So... my thoughts are with him and her tonight. Hopefully she'll lose some worry.

Seeing the picture also brought back so much about my grandmother. She was my second-last grandparent, and the last one I was currently really close to. She must have been just about as perfect a person as you could get without becoming recognized as a saint. Always, always happy and smiling. Full of life, music, and trump cards. She was (is) such a warm soul. It will probably always bring me back, though, to being in her hospital room with her when she died. It's something else, you know, to watch someone pass away. It's hard to explain. It kind of felt like she was already gone, and her body just hadn't caught up to the rest of her yet. I know I posted about this back in June, but it just came up again with this pic. I still wish I visited her more in recent years, but I'm glad I was there for her in her decline, and at the end. I'm glad I was there for my mom, too. Anyway, I just wanted to get that out, I guess... just that I miss her, and what an extra-normal experience that was (and always will be) to watch her pass on. It's still so clear. It's impossible to shake. I'm not trying to shake it, I'm glad I was there. It was just... an experience that has too many layers to really convey simply.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What isn't cool? Who can say what isn't cool? I can say what isn't cool. Mentally defective teenagers smashing a pumpkin (stolen from just up the road) on our now-dented mailbox 'round 10:00 last night. They're not cool. Fuckers. If the RCMP that I had looking for you last night don't get you first, I hope the horseman does.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Who defines cool? Really, what is cool? I'll tell you what's cool.

Last year, in science class, I talked to my class about global warming, among other things. After meeting David Suzuki and hearing him speak last June, I was inspired to pass some of what I'd learned on to my class. I talked to them about the Kyoto Protocol, and how Stephen Harper had taken us out of it.

(Green ones say "yes", grey are undecided, and the reds say "no" to the world. Colour us red now.)

I talked about what it meant (to us and the world), what was happening, and what we could do to change it. I hoped it would stick, but figured, "Well, it's grade seven. What are the chances it's really going to hit home for them?" Last week, in grade eight LA, I gave them a reading by Suzuki on global warming to respond to. On their own, several of them mentioned the Kytoto Protocol, how it was wrong of us to back out, along with simple things we could do to ease the strain we put on our planet. Wow. It stuck. It was like seeing a difference I made within a matter of 3-4 months. That's cool.

PS - I have a female student in grade four that listens to Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. That's also most cool.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Well, that's the end of an era of sorts. For years, now, we've had a fish tank, with everything from various fish species in it (including some live-birth babies), to frogs, snails, and a crab. When I got my Mrs. the tank and fish for Christmas, she originally said she would do all the feeding and cleaning. I don't know how long that lasted, but it wasn't long at all. I became the aquatic caregiver. A pain, but at least we had some cool fish to watch.

When we moved, the tank got moved from living room display to kitchen duty. I liked it there, but we didn't get to watch / enjoy them much there. The light was hardly ever on, the time between cleanings could get longer (though it's generally a very clean tank anyway), and they were almost out of sight, out of mind.

This morning, we had two hardy fish left. An iridescent shark, and a red rainbow. Tonight, we have none. My Mrs. decided she'd rather have an empty corner in the kitchen than fish now, so she called a friend to see if she wanted them. She didn't have room, but she had a friend who did. So, a friendly stranger came with our friend tonight, and took our two last fish.

They didn't even have names (sad, I know), but I kind of miss them and miss having a working aquarium in the home. I hope they adjust well and thrive wherever they are now. :(

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Boy oh boy. Now that school's back in full swing, there just ain't much time for this kind of thing. So far, school-wise, the kids are pretty good. A few classes are better than expected, and one or two are starting to test me. I'll have to be like, BAM!, next week. That kinda crap's gotta be nipped in the bud. As written about before, my assignment's kind of crazy, but I'm adjusting faster (and better?) than I thought I may, so that's good.

On the TV front, I'm glad Boogie won, and upset that Janelle did. I mean, after all, she is a criminal.

I'm glad Canada continues to reign supreme in the Rockstar series. I think they made the right choice with Lukas. His voice could waver, but his best moments were better than anyone else's.

Go Home Productions is still cranking out good mash-ups.

I'm pissed at Maple Music again. They send out emails with ads about what's coming out, and then when you go to check the site, the specials are sold out. So, I check it all the time, just in case. Last time, auto'd copies of Sloan's best-of CD disappeared fast, and I missed 'em. Now, AGAIN, it's happened! Auto'd pics of the band came with the first 300 pre-orders for Sloan's mammoth new disc, and I missed 'em all. Forfucksakes, it's infuriating.

On the bright side, at least Sloan's coming out with a new album next week. Gotta love that. Love it almost like that first single from Kreviazuk's new CD. That's a pretty sweet tune. As is "Idlewild Blues" from the new Outkast release. Fionn Reegan is a new fave. Iron & Wine has my interest. Brett Dennan sounds awesome. As does Amos Lee. Madeleine Peyroux sounds like a lovely, old, soulful, jazzy soul. Weird Al sounds back to form. Can't wait to get Dayna Manning's finally-released "Folkyo". So much good new music, so little time to comment on it all.

I hadn't bought a new album from a store or online in a while. Maybe a couple months. Come to think of it, the last ones I may've bought were Sam Roberts' "Chemical City" and Ron Hynes' latest release. I was thinking about Billy Talent's new one when it came out, but I want to hear more first.

Based on my prior opinions, and the strength of one song, though, I finally found a good "album" record yesterday. John Mayer's "Continuum".

Mayer's always seemed to never quite find his niche. He's had great success, and good songs, but his stuff's never seemed to be, I dunno, true. It always seemed too safe. Catchy, listenable, but meant for ladies in a plain office with fluorescent lights. I got a kick out of his "joke tunes", like live versions of "Dirty Pop" and "Area Codes", and liked some of his mainstream stuff. It was when I heard his cover of "The Wind Cries Mary" that I took him seriously and respected him, though. It's very honest and very good. Then, I read Buddy Guy talking about playing with Mayer, and mentioning that he could really "get down". That was it. I knew I could really like him. He just had to put out the right disc. I think he may have done it with his JM Trio's "Try!" album, but I haven't heard it yet.

For sure, though, he's done it with Continuum. I figure it must be the middle ground of everything he's done before, and must be the bullseye of who he is, musically. Continuum is mostly mellow, and laid-back. It's cool, and somewhat melancholic. Perhaps He could've called it "Melancooly".

At times, it sounds like classic Motown (the lead-off single, "Waiting On the World to Change", sounds and feels a lot like Gaye's "What's Goin' On?"), Fleetwood Mac (tracks 5-7), George Harrison ("The Heart of Life"), soulful bluesy stuff - like, Raitt, or maybe Clapton, perhaps? - ("Gravity", "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room"), Band of Gypsies-era Hendrix (on the Hendrix track, of course, "Bold as Love"), and even a little SRV or some such blues cat ("I'm Gonna Find Another You"). That last song is the perfect ending to the album. After slight ups and downs, and listening to some blue-and-gray things, it's slowly euphoric, triumphant, and feels good. With lines like, "Now I'm gonna dress myself for two / Once for me and once for someone new / I'm gonna do some things you wouldn't let me do / I'm gonna find another you", and "And if I'm forced to find another / I hope she looks like you / And she's nicer, too" (Like, bam! Take that whoever you are!), it leaves you feeling more like you worked something out rather than being left to feel numbish. I guess that's one of the good things about the disc. It's cool, travels over some odd moods, but gets finished off with a refined "frig you honey" blues tune.

The disc still has the Mayer most know (safe and catchy-pop sounding), but he's also wearing some classy influences on his sleeves. When the blues, soul, and classic vibes creep in, it's a real treat. His more familiar sounds just kind of buffer these tunes, and buff them so that the whole thing shines. This record may not be remembered as a five-star classic (it's got potential), but it's at least a 4/5, for sure. With Continuum, Mayer's really showing his true colours. Let's hope he continues to do so.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Flat Daddy

Or even Flat Mommy. No, it's not the latest rapper. It's something you can get from the US Army National Guard. In an effort ro replace a missing parent, the Army will blow up (pun intended) a picture of someone's parent(s) to life-size, stick it on foam board, and cut it out. "See, junior? It's not so bad. You can now have this cardboard cut-out of your parent. Isn't that cool? It'll never tell you to eat your veggies, do your homework, or go to bed. Ain't that awesome?"

Aww... ain't that sweet? America ain't so bad, are they? No issues in that kid's later years...