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Steverino ex machina.

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Location: Charlottetown, PEI, Canada

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Things are busy, yo.

Time is just flying right now, it seems. Our school's science fair is in about a month, and I am the sole teacher / organizer for it (a role I've not had before). I'm nervous that I won't get the kids to produce projects that are good enough, but I've heard some good project ideas, so I'm tentatively optimistic. Plus, I always have a backlog of stuff to check. Plus, parent-teacher interviews are in 2 weeks. Plus, winter carnival is next week. Plus, I have quizzes to make and give next week. Eek! Man, this job can be nutty.

I finally saw the "Dick in a Box" clip from SNL the other day. Too funny.

"Every single holiday, a dick in a box!"

I guess it'll be good to get back to my usual nonsensical / daily life style of post, given the flood of comments I got from my musical reviews / awards in the last two days. Ahem. Yeah. Plus, I have no pressure to be sensible and fair, so that's good.

Cyn. D. (AKA Parkdale Doris, her link's over <--- there) and I are going to play a game of squash sometime this week, if all works out. It's been so long since I played, which is sad. I so love the sport, and I pretty much went cold turkey (not by choice) since my regular playing partner moved away. I've never met Cynthia, but have enjoyed her bits on radio for years. This should be interesting. I just hope I can still be competitive and don't make a fool of myself, or too easy an opponent of myself. With any luck, I could be like The Eradicator! I'll def. let you know how this athletic return (I hope a regular one) and this first meeting goes. Kind of fun!

I'll leave you with a quote from a student's project today. "I nominate this women for the best looking dog award because... " Do you need any more than that? No, that's perfect just the way it is.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I'll be quicker with this one. Ron Hynes, Joel Plaskett, and Josh Ritter were kind of the runners-up here. Song of the year, for me, is Emm Gryner's "Almighty Love". I poo-poo the bias factor on this one. So what if I've known her for ages and she's always been a looker? Hot damn, this is a great song. The lyrics are good, but it's everything else about the song that really gets me. It's got Emm's trademark slightly breathy vocals at the beginning, with just a guitar (kinda like one of her shows, you know?). As it progresses, some drums and bass join in. Then, it's like BWAAAAH! Holy frickin' frig, what a chorus. That extra booming low bass sound comes in. Great to hum / sing to. The pacing is just right. The harmonies aren't overdone, they're just where they should be. The song is so simple (in a way), so natural / instinctive, yet so powerful... like a one woman (with band) orchestra. The tune's just about (if not) perfect.

Again, kudos to all the other nominees, especially the finalists / runners-up. I can only imagine how your sales will explode after being endorsed at Steverinoland! If you feel compelled to send me free music and / or stuff, feel free to do so. I'm cool like that.

"To me, it's not rocket surgery. It's very simple to put together. And as far as hurt feelings and water under the dam, like what's-her-name says to what's-her-name at the end of the movie 'Chicago' -- 'So what? It's showbiz!'" - David Lee Roth

OK, Diamond Dave... maybe stuff's easy for you. No need to rub it in my face. I'm trying to take great care with these choices, here!

Album Of The Year

Ron Hynes' album is great, but not consistent enough. MCR's is also great, and totally consistent, but maybe too "flavour of the moment". Shaun's really could be album of the year, but I'm kind of biased in this case, plus, I'll make the lame excuse, that much of the album was not totally new (like it matters... that disc is gold!). So, that leaves us with two: Neko Case and John Mayer.

Neko's, like I said, has tons of character. This, to me, is kind of a milestone / landmark for her. Sure, the sounds vary on the disc, but what power and personality. It's like someone you know. Great, great album.

John's is his best yet. It's the middle ground of everything he's done. Bluesy, soulful, at times rockin', reflective & thoughtful, poppish... I get a pretty good sense of him. Like I said in Sept., this one may be viewed, down the road, as a classic.

These two really are neck & neck, guys. But, just to say one, perhaps... I'm going to go with...

Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. While it may be true that I'll probably listen to Mayer's more, his may be somewhat like MCR's - a bit stuck in this time period, perhaps? In any case, it's more in some period than Neko's release. It's not dated, 'cause you can't peg it. It's modern but already sounds time-worn at the same time. It may not gel as well as Mayer's, but... I can't quite put my finger on it, maybe. It really is unique. I'd be lying if I said the album art didn't sway me, too. So... perhaps I like Mayer's more, for all the reasons I've said before, but this one is a critical choice. Is that enough of a fence-sittin' cop-out? Yeah, I guess so.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

As a companion to the below post on the top albums, here is a little stepdance set about the following lean-tos - some of The Best Songs of 2006. Again, the final declaration will happen, oh, by tomorrow.

Emm Gryner - Almighty Love
I mean, hey. It's one of the few songs Bono said he wishes he'd written. It's killer.
Beth Orton - Conceived
I first heard this in video form, on a Paste Magazine disc. Crazy, trippy, puppet video. Very happy and lovable.
The Killers - When You Were Young
I don't know why this record got such bad reviews. This and the next single, "Bones" are fantastic... killer, if you will (oh, I slay me! ba ha ha). This one's an arena-rockin' singalong for sure.
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Kind of like Bohemian Rhapsody for today's kids. All kinds of twists, and plenty o' rock. Like Queen and Green Day.
John Legend & Sergio Mendes - Please Baby Don't
An honest man tells a gal to avoid him 'cause he's a cheetah! Gotta dig the latin rhythms. Deliciously soulful.
Sarah Harmer - Escarpment Blues (even though it's '05)
I heard this while driving up our driveway one day this summer. What a great and environmentally-conscious tune!
John Mayer - Waiting For The World To Change
Very much like Gaye's "What's Goin' On?". A modern anti-war / generational message delivered in a modern tune dressed like a classic.
Sloan - Who Taught You to Live Like That
Sloan's back, baby! Maybe their best CD since One Chord To Another or Navy Blues? Maybe. It's a bit too long and eclectic to make my best-of list, though. This tune's a throbbing Brit-invasion rocker. Lots of singing and clapping to be had.
Joel Plaskett - Nowhere With You
Joel just gets better and better. This is the probably best of the three songs from his CD/DVD combo released last year. Nice choice with Gordie Johnson as producer! Another great, uplifting, hand-clappin' singalong. Can't wait to see what Joel puts out next.
Ron Hynes - Movie Scene
It was hard to decide which tune of Ron's to pick - this, "Movie Scene", "Dark Angel (The Mother Who Bore You In Pain)", etc. This one was a strong story, and a great song, so I just picked it. Love Ron's approach - like a Newfie writing a song about classic Hollywood or something.
Josh Ritter - A Girl In The War
Again, something I discovered through Paste Magazine (go get yourself one!). Very beautiful song. This one builds in emotion as it goes. It starts out all quiet, and never gets loud, but the power sure increases. A great, great song. Nothing too flashy. Good lyrics, too. Like the flow of
"I got a girl in the war, Paul, her eyes are like champagne
They sparkle, bubble over, and in the mornin' all you got is rain".

Elvis Costello, in 1983, said that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's a really stupid thing to want to do."

So, gather 'round and let me highland fling you a tale of some nice little modern bungalows called "The Year's Best Albums".

I'm having a hard time with this best-of-the-year song and album thing this year. Why couldn't it be cut & dry, like two years ago when Feist put out Let It Die? My problem this year is two-fold. I'm trying to remain objective, but I've known a couple of the artists on my lists for nearly ten years now, and question whether I'm weighing them higher than someone else may. My other problem is that all my choices, especially for album, all deserve to win for different reasons. I've been tempted to just name five top albums, but I'm gonna have to just shit or get off of this musical pot & be done with it. So... let's look at the top five albums to start with, and reason it out, shall we?

I wrote about this one before. Check it out here.

A lot of people crap on MCR, 'cause they think their music and their roots are all trendy emo-rock and all that crap. Well, it may not be totally false, but several of their songs up to this year were quite good. Good enough that when I heard the first single from this album, read the good reviews, and read about its theme, that I had to buy it. It's a concept album of sorts, centred around a character called "the patient". It's all based on death, for the most part. Every song on this album could potentially be a single. There is a diverse array of sounds - from ballad, rock opera (think Queen meets Green Day), hard rock, to something almost Greek or Russian. Nothing strays too far from the core sound of the record for long, though. I don't mean it all sounds the same, I just mean to say it doesn't come off as disjointed from being overly eclectic. Very strong record all the way through.

Neko Case has an unbelievable voice. It's a voice that has a sort of classic country music sound. It doesn't sound dated, though. Perhaps it's because it has so much power, and doesn't lack in the emotion department (or any other for that matter). So, number one, the voice. That can't be overstated. This album has a sound that falls in that modern alternative country vein, but it goes beyond that. Her voice, combined with the lyrical topics and the sound of the songs take this album to a separate level. Some of the songs have an upbeat classic feel to them, but some of the others paint a picture - of a small American country town, maybe just a house in the woods, where the wolves watch from the darkness. You get the sense of secretive people who walk with their faces down and won't talk to strangers. There's a real moody and mysterious feeling beneath much of this album that's very visible, and almost tangible. It's a rootsy album that sounds so unique, so full of character, and really distinguishes itself from anything nearly like it.

This is an album that I'd dreamt of. One of my favourite (probably the favourite) bands for many years now has been Wide Mouth Mason. Shaun Verreault is the band's lyricist, tunesmith, and lead singer / guitarist. Now, being totally objective when I say this, Shaun is one of the most talented guitarists and singers in the world. He really is world class, even if the majority of the world doesn't know it. I, like many a WMM fan, always thought it would be awesome to hear Shaun on an acoustic album of his own. Well, holy crap, a dream came true last year. Shaun made this album, all solo, just sitting on a chair in a modest studio, in front of a couple of mics. Many tunes were done in the first or second take, and written not long before their recording, which helps to keep them lively, inspired, & honest. Half of the tunes are esentially WMM covers. They're not all staight-to-solo renditions, though. Several of the songs are virtually nothing like the WMM versions, with Shaun changing the melodies and throwing in tinges of jazz & blues. He weaves tales of love, lost love, & murder, delivering them in songs that run the gauntlet from heartbroken fragility to shoutin' the blues, to upbeat jazz-funk rock. This album, at least to me, as a long-time WMM fan, is a treasure. Anyone who likes the solo singer-songwriter stuff would be almost as equally blown away, I'm sure. Oh, for the record (heh... record), I have #43 of the intial run of... 200, was it? Thanks to one very special Albertan for that! ;)

I first really heard Ron, and was aware of who he was, during last year's ECMA festivties in Charlottetown last year. You see, it turns out he's the guy responsible for "Sonny's Dream", a staple at any maritime pub / singing event. It's a timeless classic you could think has been around for many decades. At any rate, I heard some of Ron's new tunes on CBC radio, and saw a couple on CBC TV (bless you, CBC). I was knocked out, man. His songs were incredible. Great melodies, fantastic lyrics. I don't know of anyone else who could musically tell a tale better than Hynes. Aside from the songs, there's nothing virtuosic about him. He's a good player, a good singer, and that's it. There aren't any big solos, no intense vocals. This CD comes across as a fantastic collection of musical stories delivered by an honest salt-of-the-earth man, weathered by life, but wiser for it and still doing what he knows how to do best. Some of the songs at the disc's end are live, and a little more intimate, which is nice. Several of the songs here are just awesome (the rest are good) - tunes that are incredible now, and come across as instantly timeless. You know, songs that wrap their sounds around you and feel like an old favourite classic. If you're into great songs with well-written lyrical stories, as delivered by an average man with great musical senses and skills, definitely check this one out.

A definite honourable mention to Emm Gryner's The Summer of High Hopes!

As for the winner... I'll tell you... at least by tomorrow.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Mrs. just called me out to the living room to see what she believes is a Wheel of Fortune first... and I think she's right - a wee fellow with a designated spinner. I've never seen any "differently abled" person on WoF or any game show for that matter. It's not weird, really... just quite different to have a person on the show with someone to spin for them. It's understandable, though. His arms seem to wiggle like noodles, bending in the middle of the forearm in addition to the regular places. Plus, he seems so small that even if he got up on his belly, on the rail around the wheel, he could fall over and catch an eyelid on a peg. It'd be quite bad if it was already spinning... like a colourful personal tilt-a-whirl-esque centrifuge. With protruding pegs. At any rate, I think he'll probably win. On the one puzzle I saw (17 mins in now), he won regular letter money, $10,000, a trip to the Caribbean, and a trip to Europe for a total haul of over $26,000. Not bad, my little friend. Call me if your spinner hurts her arm. OK, instant update. Dude won, including the final puzzle! Fifty-something thousand in cash and prizes. Nice one!

Speaking of margarine, C brought home some meat pies (best ever) from Clow's as well as some fresh bread. We had no soft butter to go on it, so we had to use margarine. I told her it reminded me of my mom's "ahem" rhyme from her childhood. C said she didn't know what I meant, even though I know I told her it before. No matter, I told it to her again anyway, and will share it with you here as well. This one's special. Gold, I tells ya. Gold! Island history!

Me mother has gone to church.
She told me not to play with you
because you're in the dirt.
And it's not because you're dirty,
and it's not because you're clean.
It's because you gots the whoopin' cough
and eats margarine!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I only just heard about this clip today, although it's apparently been around for a while.

Basically, three Canucks in Roots gear dupe an intellectual powerhouse brunette reporter (at a football game) into believing they are members of Canada's Olympic hide-and-seek team. It's pretty short and pretty hilarious.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cruise is 'Christ' of Scientology

Apparently, the church of Scientology (I refuse to capitalize church in this case) has told Tom Cruise that he is the church's Christ-like figure, and that "he has been 'chosen' (by who... John Travolta, Jenna Elfman, & Chaka Khan?) and to spread the word of his faith throughout the world." Also, David Miscavige (nutty leader) believes that Cruise will be worshipped like Jesus (what, him in a fighter jet above an altar?) for his work to raise awareness of the religion. "Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But future generations will realize he was right." Bullshit nonsense. I call "bullshit" on the church of Scientology. I also challenge Scientology to a streetfight. They can pick the place and the time. It don't worry me none, 'cause even if they pull out all the stops and send in the big guy... it'll just be little Hay-zeus Cruise. I think I can handle him. Plus, I've been reading up on Chuck Norris, which can only help. Did you know that Chuck Norris doesn't read books? He just stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

So, as for Tom Cruise's new status?

Monday, January 22, 2007

So, uh... yeah. What can I say... wish me luck?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My niece will be four years old on Valentine's Day. Apparently, my niece decided today to not be a mermaid anymore (She's wanted to be Ariel for a while now. Even asked for a bra once, to have the pink clamshelled-chest look). Her new career of choice is the priesthood. After my sis and her hub looked at each other in surprise, they asked her why. She came out with three reasons very quickly (she'd thought this through, you see). They are:
  1. She likes to sing, and she'd get to sing a lot as a priest.
  2. The priest gets to be front and center, getting lots of attention.
  3. The priest gets to hand out the daily bread every week.
Well, who could argue with logic like that, eh? They told her that she could do all that stuff and not be a priest, but she held firm. Priestin' is where it's at. It's a good thing I haven't heard any stories of her streaking lately. That would make a congregation real uncomfortable.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Just a quick post ce soir. I just got back from grocery shopping a short while ago, and made it safely across our icy road and driveway. Ir rained like a bugger last night, and melted a lot of snow. Of course, it didn't melt all of it, and much of that water / snow seems to have flash-froze last night. After I post here, it's off to the cousin's to watch a rotten hockey team play a not great one with some great young talent (ie, Toronto vs. Pittsburgh). Damn CBC or the Canadiens organization... whomever is to blame... for not getting a deal to show regular Habs games!

I looked for accessories for my Sansa at Future Shop after I got groceries, to kill a few minutes before I went to Domino's to pick up some buy-one-get-one-free pizzas (mmm... BBQ chicken feast pizzaaaa... drool). Of course, FS had basically nothin'. Ah well.

Now, it's off to shower with some weird Irish spring soap (they had no regular stuff). It'll be either icy somethingorother, moisturizing, aloe, or microbead whatchamacallit. I'll let you know how it goes. Yeah.

To keep you satisfied while I'm gone:

Chunks, maybe you can use this: Dream Analyzer

Aaaand, this OLD but still great classic fave:
The Infamous Exploding Whale

I came across some other old faves the other day, but really, they're so good they warrant entire posts of their own. Well, off to bathe like a leprechaun. Later!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Gone to play trivia (it's like buttah!). Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic. A weblog is neither a web nor a log. Discuss.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Five Things You Didn't Know About Me (until now!):
  1. Before I was of school age (I think/hope), I ate a dandelion at my to-be school. Man, that yellow bastard tasted bad.
  2. As far as I can tell, the first piece of music I ever bought was Debbie Gibson's Out of the Blue in 1987 (she was hot then, & she's hotter now).
  3. Emm Gryner once referred to me as " biggest fan (pause) in Charlottetown."
  4. When I was born, the docs thought I had cystic fibrosis. Well, I didn't. BUT, what I believe to be my first memory is a grey-green image of a (doctor's?) hand coming into a wee tent to put a mask on my face or something.
  5. I once used a wee handsaw (like, finger-length) I got for Easter in a wee tool kit to cut the hoses connecting the propane tanks to our family's travel trailer. I wasn't being evil. I was just trying to find stuff the little saw could cut. FYI, it worked great on propane hoses.

  1. Bonus! - There's tons more I'm not going to tell you! Mwah ha ha ha haaaa. At least not here.
So... let's "tag" five folks and hear five interesting secrets from... ah, it don't matter. The first five people who read this!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oh. Oh yeah. Oh-oh oh yeah, uh-hunh. Woo! Or... "howoo"! First snow day o' the year. Sweet. I'll try to get some real work done today and not frig away the day like so many snow days of the past.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It wasn't to be for today. We got a delay, but no cancellation. How rude! Well, I guess it wasn't really rude. It was the right call, I suppose, and gave me the needed time to do some scooping of snow and cleaning off of cars. This scooping just makes my stair-magnet back ache. Driving this morning wasn't great (especially on non-sanded and not-too-plowed secondary roads), but it wasn't even the worst this year. HOWEVER... there's supposed to be 5cm or so tonight, plus blowing snow... and then tomorrow = 10-15cm plus a snowsquall warning with those 50-70 kmh winds. Could the second try be the charm? Perhaps.

I recorded some new tunes plus a tune I've been wanting (American Woman 2006) off the radio yesterday with my new Sansa media player. Loves it.

So, I had my last dental appointment until July. Howoo! I mean, "Wohoo"! That first one was a typo, but I liked it. Anyhoo, I was a bit stressed since yesterday about the weather and if I was going to be able to make it to town in time. Time between when kids leave and my appointment: about 45 minutes. Normal weather time: about 45 minutes. Eek! Luckily, I lucked out. The roads were decent enough that I could get there on time. Slow down in the poor spots, pick up the pace in the good spots. Nobody ahead of me, and nobody tailing me (don't you hate that in winter weather?). So, got the teeth all cleaned and fluorided and whatnot. Got the gum health checked, and it's good! Better than last time, which was cool. I was hoping I'd see a difference with this daily flossing and fluoride/antibacterial mouthwash business that I've been good at keeping.

What else... hmm... perhaps THIS gigantic cornucopia of awesomeness!

I got this from a grand musical friend last week [you know who you are ;)]. I loves me my MattyMatty Matt Matt, ever since I first laid ears on 'im. Nice guy. Great musical taste & instincts, great playing, great voice, character... it just goes on & on. I didn't even know this disc existed until about a couple weeks ago. It's called "Live at Liberty House".It's all cover tunes, but the nice things about it are that: a) it's with other musicians, b) it's all ne'er recorded tunes by him, and c) it's intimate. From what I can tell, it looks / sounds like it's a recording of a Matt Andersen kitchen party. The song selection's great, and as I mentioned above, it helps (with his other two CDs) to give an idea of many of the tunes he does live and what they can sound like. It's a great documentation of a 12-song set of well-picked songs. Great CD, and it's autographed, too! Could it get any better? Nah.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Cause of Death: Sloppy Doctors

Basically, in the US alone, the sloppy handwriting of doctors causes 7000 deaths annually, and injures / harms 1,500,000 people per year. So, if anyone ever tells you (or if you ever tell anyone else) that handwriting isn't important, guess again. Your teachers were right (at least the ones of the people that became doctors)!

Maaaan, oh man... the weather is teasing us. Fifteen cm tonight with snow stopping in the morning, and then flurries / local blowing snow in the afternoon. Will it be enough for our first storm day? Will I have to drive sloooowly 45km to work on a road that is BAD when it's a snowy morning? We shall see...

To get in the snowy spirit... try out Snowman Salvage. I got 2438 points in my first game. I made a stupid mistake and tried to move a whole wee snowman. In essence, I killed myself. Drats. Anyway... anything to get Colleen away from the monkey balls. Click on the pic to play.
By the way, I love the game Ink Link (essentially online Pictionary) on I used to play it all the time and recently rediscovered it. Who wants to sign up and play a few rounds some night?

Oh yeah... narrowed some more down ce soir:
John Mayer - Continuum
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Shaun Verreault - the daggerlip sketches
Ron Hynes - Ron Hynes

Emm Gryner - Almighty Love
Beth Orton - Conceived
The Killers - When You Were Young
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
John Legend & Sergio Mendes - Please Baby Don't
Sarah Harmer - Escarpment Blues (even though it's '05)
John Mayer - Waiting For The World To Change
Sloan - Who Taught You to Live Like That
Joel Plaskett - Nowhere With You
Ron Hynes - Movie Scene
Josh Ritter - A Girl In The War

Sunday, January 14, 2007

So, yesterday was "Hockey Day in Canada". I never got to blog, as I was away, drinkin' Rickard's Red and watching my team get (surprisingly) whumped and then watching the Leafs (unsurprisingly) get whumped. Many chips were eaten, we also went out to eat. Much chatting and laughter.

I've been watching the weather for Tuesday all weekend long. I'm soooo hopeful... could it be our first you-know-what of the year?

A while ago, Sloan put out a best-of package. I saw it on, where they had autographed copies for the first x# of pre-orders. The pre-orders sold out fast, and I didn't get one. I was a bit morose. Back in the fall, Sloan came out with a great new album, "Never Hear The End Of It". Maple Music once again had the auto'd copies for pre-order deal... first 300 copies, I think. I was on the site early, but they were all gone. Sloan's site must've tipped the uber-fans off on it. I was despondent. Pissy, even.

Now, last week, Sloan released their album in the US on a label called Yep Roc. I saw an ad for a pre-release sale on Sloan's MySpace page. I went to the Yep Roc site, and it said that the first 100 pre-orders got an autographed copy, an entry into a swag draw, and two non-album downloads. I was happy! But... unlike on Maple Music, there was no way to tell if the 100 copies were sold already. I didn't want to order it and then not get a signed copy... leaving me with two plain copies, as I'd bought the regular release way back when. Well, I emailed the site's customer service department (this was days in advance of the deal closing), asking them if there were copies left and whatnot. No reply. For days. Granted, some of those were weekend days, but I still never got a reply. I checked the site again, and the offer was done. Morose and despondent again. I sought out a real person's email on the site, and sent them this:


Just sending a note to say I'm not too impressed with the Yep Roc site. I emailed a question a few days ago about the Sloan promo (autographed copy), and how I'd know if I was one of the first 100 to order (there was no message to say "this message will be removed when copies are all sold"). I really wanted to get this, as I missed a similar deal at, but I didn't want to order and just end up with a duplicate, as I have the CD already (unsigned).

Anyway, I never got a response, and the offer's taken down now. I figured I'd mail a person whose title looked like it fit my comments, instead of just emailing customer service again (since it didn't work the first time).

Sorry to dump this in your lap. I hope it helps your site out.

A disappointed almost customer,
Oddly enough, in a day or two, I got a real reply from this real person, which read:

Hi Stephen,

You’ve certainly emailed the right the person – I’m responsible for both the website and customer service. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to answer your question in time for you to make a fully informed decision. I happen to have one autographed copy of the album that I held in reserve just such an occasion as this. Go ahead and place your order and send me your order number, I’ll make sure it goes to you.

Thank you for your patience.

Shanna Oskin

Yep Roc Customer Service
Wow! Good customer service from an American online music store! Go figure! No longer morose, despondent, or pissy, I went to the site, signed up, and ordered me some signed Sloan. Sweeeeet. Now, I was a liiiittle miffed that the shipping was $6.95 US (nearly information superhighway robbery!), making the total, in Cdn dollars, about $27. But, whatever. If I didn't get this, I'd always look back on that as the one time I almost got me some signed Sloan stuff. Plus, I was impressed with Shanna, and kinda wanted to reward the service. I'll scan the disc's cover when it comes in! If you want to check Yep Roc out, click here. Sign up on the site (free!) and get ten free (pre-determined) downloads. I did two on my dial-up already, and they're both good. The site's selection is a bit lean (who are some of these acts?), but the site's still recommended!

In other news...

I think I've made more headway in the "Best of 2006" search:

John Mayer - Continuum
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Sarah Harmer - I Am Aglow
Sloan - Never Hear The End Of It
Joel Plaskett - Make a Little Noise
Shaun Verreault - the daggerlip sketches
Ron Hynes - Ron Hynes

Emm Gryner - Almighty Love
Beth Orton - Conceived
The Killers - When You Were Young
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Outkast - Idlewild Blues
Rhymefest - Fever
Robert Randolph w/ Eric Clapton - Jesus Is Just Alright
John Legend & Sergio Mendes - Please Baby Don't
Sarah Harmer - Escarpment Blues
John Mayer - Waiting For The World To Change
Sloan - Who Taught You to Live Like That
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fancy (@ Coachella '06)
Joel Plaskett - Nowhere With You
Bubbles - Liquor & Whores @ the ECMA gala
The Tom Fun Orchestra - The Watchmaker
Ron Hynes - Movie Scene
Buck 65 - Indestructible Sam
Josh Ritter - A Girl In The War

Friday, January 12, 2007

Well... things seem a might slower at the ol' blog today. I must've scared people off by asking them to reply to the last post. Ah well, I'll post something to keep my streak a-goin'. Remember when I told you I was cooking up a best-of 2006 music post? Well, I wasn't lying. I've been sitting on the best albums and tunes of the year, after narrowing them down just once. Before I do the final narrowing (soon), here's what we're looking at:

Album of the year:
(That I actually own in some form)

John Mayer - Continuum
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Sarah Harmer - I'm A Mountain
Sloan - Never Hear The End Of It
Joel Plaskett - Make a Little Noise
K-Os - Atlantis / Hymns For Disco
Shaun Verreault - the daggerlip sketches
Ron Sexsmith - Time Being
Ron Hynes - Ron Hynes
Ian Toms - Open (I don't own this one, I just wanted to give Ian some publicity!)

Song of the year:
Not to say that other songs don't deserve to be on top of ones here... also, I narrowed things down to only one tune per musical act. Again, only tunes I have are listed.

Emm Gryner - Almighty Love
Fergie - London Bridge
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Beth Orton - Conceived
Goldfrapp - Ooh La La (Mike "Spike" Stent Single Version)
Joanna Newsom - Emily
Timbaland / Nelly / JT - Take your pick
The Killers - When You Were Young
Lily Allen - Smile
The Little Willies - I Gotta Get Drunk
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Outkast - Idlewild Blues
The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes
RHCP - Dani California
Rhymefest - Fever
Robert Randolph w/ Eric Clapton - Jesus Is Just Alright
John Legend & Sergio Mendes - Please Baby Don't
Sarah Harmer - Escarpment Blues
John Mayer - Waiting For The World To Change
Sloan - Who Taught You To Live Like That
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fancy (@ Coachella '06)
Joel Plaskett - Nowhere With You
Bubbles - Liquor & Whores @ ECMA gala
Tom Petty - Saving Grace
The Tom Fun Orchestra - The Watchmaker
Peaches - Give 'er
Ron Hynes - Movie Scene
City & Colour - Save Your Scissors
Carmen Townsend - River Rat
Buck 65 - Indestructable Sam
AFI - Miss Murder
OK Go - Here It Goes Again
Corinne Bailey Rae - I'd Like To
Josh Ritter - A Girl In The War
Margot & The Nuclear So-&-So's - Quiet As A Mouse
Billy Talent - Devil In A Midnight Mass

Stay tuned for the exciting (and hopefully soon) conclusion!

What do you think about the lists?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Show yourselves! Perhaps a blog-reader roll-call of sorts.

Just like Rockwell said, "I always feel like... somebody's waaatchin' me-eeee... Tell me, can it be? Who's watching me?"
Just who are these people? Usually you guys are just readin' from within the country. But, in the last few days, this is what my reader map looks like:

Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Oxfordshire (UK), Bogot (Colombia), Singapore, Planken (Liechtenstein)... then there's the Canadians: Ottawa, Halifax, Grande Prairie, Winnipeg, Saint John, Hamilton, Burnaby, Fredericton, Nobleford... then the Islanders: Charlottetown, Hunter River, Kensington, Tracadie, Milton Station, Vernon Bridge, Cherry Valley, Summerside... WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE?

Many of you I can pinpoint fairly well, by location and who I know reads this. Some of y'all, though, I ain't got a clue. So, I ask of you... even if you've never replied on here before, who's reading from where?

It's kind of funny to look at how people are referred here, too. Like, if you didn't just click a bookmark, how did some people end up here? Here are some good ones from the past couple of days:

  • Various web forums I frequent.
  • Other people's blogs (like "The Annekenstein Monster" where someone came here from a reply I made to an April 26, 2006 post Rob made, entitled "Katharine MacPhee's White Panties").
  • Google searches for "steverinoland" and "steverino PEI"
  • Google search for "Neil Hope" "Pizza Pizza" (he played Wheels on Degrassi, and I think actually worked at that chain after he was on the show).
  • Google search for "Fredericton"
  • Odd blogs:,,, plus some other religious blog over the holidays... man, mention the word "Kabbalah" or somethin' else once, and you're hot! How 'bout I say "Scientology". Now I'll get some whackos.
This site tracker I put on about a month ago is just about the best thing ever. Now you'll all think I'm watching you! Heh...

Oh, and nine posts in the last eight days? That's gotta be some kinda personal record.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It always amazes me how some schools in North America get along with poor teachers... let me rephrase that... unqualified teachers. I remember hearing a few years back that something like 1/3 or two-thirds of teachers in LA had no qualifications at all. Today, I came across this article. Basically, it's cheering on South Carolina teachers for getting National Board certification, and that about 10% of teachers in the state now have this certification. Now, I don't know how the US' system works, but here, all you have to do is get certification in whatever province you want to teach in. Perhaps this National Board stuff is above and beyond state certification, but still... it smacks of slackness to me. "Yeeha! One in ten of our teachers are now qualified! (pistols get fired into air) We ain't never gon' let them Alabamians get ahead of us agin. Yeeha! (more pistols)".
On top of this foolishness, teachers get a $7,500 annual bonus for ten years if they have this certification (maybe they ain't so stupid). Although it's probably on top of their $15,000 / year salary.

Does anyone want to check my science tests for me? I'll give you $7.50!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

(It was better than this. It had stuff in it!)

In my stocking this year, I got a small box (like 4 in it) of Russell Stover chocolates. I totally anticipated duds. You see, the beauty of it, is that it comes pre-wrapped, so it's like I just got to open another present. I opened it up, and on the cover I saw a round one in a cup. I was like, "Fuck yeah!" 'cause you know those round ones in the cups are the best no matter what's in 'em. Who cared what the other ones were! They could be chocolate-covered rabbit turds for all it mattered. I tore that clear plastic off with my nail clippers, opened it up, and it was sweet choco-eatin'. I also ate two of the other three. Both good! One suggestion I have for theRS company is to engineer a better cup or a better machine that picks up the cups. My sweet round chocolate was in six cups. SIX! That's just rundonculously wasteful. OK, I just ate number four. It was good, too. I give the box... hrmm... a 75%.

See? I'm back in teacher mode now.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I just found, downloaded, played, and finished a game of Cross Country Canada.

I turned on the truck, turned on the lights, gave all kinds of compass commands, got two flat tires, ate at Fay's,

slept, got gas, and I delivered apples to Fredericton. It was awesome. Who else remembers this gem?

Man, I need to get back to this whole schoolwork thing.

Steverino, Steverino, he's our man, if he can do it, anyone can! Or something like that...

Just like I was telling Colleen today (so she may see some similarities between this and her last email from me), I've been feeling more like Sir Chunksalot lately. I'm starting to feel that internal motivation to find something energetic & fun (on account of how chubby I think I look / feel now). I just want people to do it with. Well, not "it". You know, exercise... not THE "it"... Just exercise.

C brought an exercise ball home today. We may get another. I can see me liking it, and us doing it together. I'd like to shed about... oh... 30-40lbs. In fat, anyway. If I gain in muscle, whatever. If I really tried, I know I could do it. I think I have a body that responds well to exercise... it just doesn't get it much. I used to do great. No bad fast food, really, in ages, etc. Then, I discovered George's Grill which is, sadly, closed now. Man... two foil-wrapped bacon double cheeseburgers with everything on 'em, toasted greasy buns, and a ton of fries for $5, tax included. It was the best meal ever, and the beginning of the end. That, coupled with my regular squash partner moving away helped to start the adding of poundage. Marriage probably hasn't helped, either... especially since C cooks, bakes, and everything else all the time, and does it so well. Anyhoo, I bet I've gone... in the last, maybe six years... from around 160 to around 200. It's too much. I gotta "man up" and hope I can find something enjoyable.

Oh, and we went back to work today. Blech. Kids return tomorrow. Ugh. When's March Break?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Evidently, ladies like the time-wastin' games, so here's another oldie but goodie.
(Perhaps in honour of our return to work tomorrow... DAMMIT!)
You can see my best streak of the day in the pic. I dunno what my record was years ago when I found it. So, for now, it's 17.
Click the pic to play!
Oh, and Colleen, this one's for everyone, but especially you. ;)
I got 102 first try. Must have been my day on the job with Jim Lahey.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

So, I fell down some stairs today. I was leaving lunch @ my folks', and slipped on the rained-on wooden steps. I slipped on... stair #1... or #2... after the top part of the step. Luckily, it wasn't a long set of steps. I slid down, maybe 3-4 stairs. Something like that. I tried to catch myself, but my human-like reflexes just couldn't do it. I basically fell on the stairs then slid down the front edge of the steps on my lower back, until I landed my arse on the wet gravel driveway. I also must have slid on my left forearm, right thumb, and one of my shoulders, 'cause they're sore or have marks on them. I imagine I'll be sore tomorrow.

(Holy crap, Souray just hammered home a nice powerplay goal for Montreal)

So, I was looking at MySpace, browsing who's on it in my area these days. One thing I see is an awful lot of gals who have like, one pic, no or few friends, and three things in their profile: single, star sign, and "don't want kids". I wonder if it's some kind of net trickery or mother nature backfiring. Anyway, this pic and profile I found very funny:

She must be a sad girl, or just very unobservant of her own body.

Also, see if you can beat my Monkey Kick-Off score! Colleen tried to one-up me and kick me while I was down, but I have one-upped the one-upper! Ha ha!

Friday, January 05, 2007

So, today's dental appointment was to be at 1:00. Originally, it was to be at 3:20, but, of course, that changed. I'm a pretty punctual guy, so I arrived right at 1:00, took my seat, and started to wait. My dentist came out and said that there was an emergency type thing, and he had to do it right then. He thought it'd take about an hour more or so. So, the receptionist, after we discussed it, said I'd come back in around an hour, at 2:10 or so. She wondered about other days, but I was friggin' well gonna have that work done TODAY.

So, I took my time and went and did what I had to do (very little). I went and exchanged a broken binder at Michael's for C, I got gas (for the car, not me eating beans), and I bought a few things at the grocery store. I got back right on time.

I sat and waited for five minutes or so, and got called in with another gal. My doc turned on the LCD TV on the arm on the room's ceiling, and turned on the World Junior game. Ah well, at least I could watch the Canucks start whoopin' the Russkies (woo!). This was a good thing, 'cause nothing else was going on. I got my freezing done right away (and a lot of it), and then it was a full 40 minutes before I saw the dentist again.

At about five to three, he came back, and was ready to start work. He cranked up the hockey game, "just 'til the drilling's done", and started in on my stupid friggin' cavity-prone mouth. He drilled out a couple of teeth, stopping whenever Canada scored to watch the replay. I really couldn't blame him. Still, though, it added time to the whole drawn-out visit. On my front tooth, the one that had a root canal before, he was taking longer with it. Drilling with different drills, picking with things... then he took a couple of pics to show me what the "problem" was. The old (only a couple of years) filling didn't meet the tooth correctly up by the gums. For him to do it right, he said the tooth had to be totally dry, and this gum wouldn't cut it. Some gum had to go. I pictured tiny slicing with a little blood and a little pain. He said I shouldn't feel a thing, and that it had to be done. I said "you'd know", and let him get at it. It only took a couple of minutes of burning, not slicing, and it was totally painless (but it still cost $74! holy crap!). He showed me a pic of the little brown, burned gum hole, which he said would grow back fine. He finished up the tooth and felt good about it. He then finished up the other tooth, and seemed to think he was done. I was like, "Was it just two or three to do today?" He looked at today's sheet, which said two, and then the original stuff from last year, and it said three. "Oh yeah, there's one on the other side. Good thing you remembered!" No fuck! You'd have sent me home only to schedule and then re-re-re-re-reschedule another appointment. This one was quicker, which was good, although it required more freezing.

The bad part about today was the pain. Usually dentist trips are like "meh" to me now, but when he was working on the tooth that was supposedly dead from the root canal, it was painful! The drilling was rather sensitive, and I think the water / air was worse. Then, the needle to add more freezing for that area was the worst. I think it was between those two front teeth... it was quite piercingly painful and sensitive. There was even some novocaine / water squirting going on!

My God, between the scheduling, the discomfort, hockey breaks, and everything else... this whole dentistry thing is gettin' on my nerves. At least the whole thing (including $74 gum removal) only cost $408 this time. Oh, and because of a 'net glitch, it took me five tries to pay before screeching out of there. The receptionist said she felt bad, like she should owe me something. I agreed, and told her it should be on the house. yeah right. I also said they should be giving me frequent driller points or something. No dice on that one, either. Ah well. I'll be back for my cleaning next week... I hope it's routine, and that they keep the appointment!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I've always liked my most recent dentists. My dentists have, in recent years, done good work (I mean, hey, I give 'em lots of practice!).

I just have two problems with them:

1) They pretty much never keep their original appointments. I bet, conservatively, 75% of my appointments always change. It's infuriating!

2) They seem to be getting more expensive. I had two cavities done the other day (one freezing), two molars in the very back, and it cost (before insurance) $402! Like, holy friggin' frig! I am really prone to cavities, and have had a lot of work done in the past. I always have several cavities to get done each year. I expected a bill of about half as much, or a bit more than half as much. This just seemed way too high.

Am I crazy, or is my dentist doing a wallet extraction?

"Haaand in my pocket, haand in-my-pocket, haand in my pock-et."

My insurance covers $1,000 each year (thank God, 'cause I max it out), but with three more fillings tomorrow, I'm worried I'll be maxed for the year before January's over!