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Steverino ex machina.

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Location: PEI, Canada

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I love it when I get mail. Especially when it's stuff! And extra-especially when it's free stuff I won from a contest I entered and never gave a second thought! Above is The New Pornographers' new CD, autographed by the band (there may be one person missing, but it's tough to tell exactly what a couple signatures are). All that really matters is that Neko Case has signed it. Bitchin'. The only downer of it all? The most excellent Neko-designed free T-shirt that came with the package is size small. Anyone want to trade?

Now playing: The New Pornographers - Challengers
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just a quick little distraction from doing up some school work, here at... school. School? On a Sunday? Frigsakes my job isn't fair. After-hours and weekend work just ain't right. But I will cut myself off there, just in case I get all friggin' huffy. Which wouldn't take much. Many job-related things have been making me angry / psycho this year. But I must cut myself off again, lest I go to that dark, negative, anti-school place. After all, I came here for a wee happy post, not a bleak one.

A couple of weekends ago, scored myself a Nintendo Wii at Wal-Mart. Wee! It has provided much fun already. Just the sports game alone (the WiiPlay is only "meh") provides nearly endles entertainment. However, the game that I have been awaiting for days... nay, weeks... nay, months(!) finally got released this morning.

I mean, how friggin' cool of a game is this, anyway? Great songs to play through, a sweet wireless Les Paul controller... oh, the geeky beauty of it all. Now, I wanted to make damn sure I got this puppy for myself (and now that I have, I don't know how I'm going to tear myself away from it to get it modded). So, I phoned Future Slop and Wally World yesterday to see how many they were getting in, and if they knew what prices would be on it. Wally World said they had lots, but didn't know what the price would be. Future Slop didn't know how many they'd have, but their price was $99.99, and you'd get a free ($20, supposedly) guitar stand. One of them, I forget which, also said they expected a line-up in the morning. Really... for a non-holiday-season video game release on PEI? Hmm.

So, this morning, I made sure to get myself up early enough to do a couple of things before I went into town. Both places opened at 12, so I figured I'd show up around 11:45, & see what the scene was like at each place. I drove by Future Slop first, and it was nuts! There was like, what looked like 60 (probably 40) people lined up. I figured I'd never have a chance there. I went down the hill to Wally World, and it looked pretty desolate. Only about, maybe, eight people at the door when I arrived. Score! Surely, they wouldn't all be vying for the Wii version! As the clock approached (and passed) 12, and employees kept filing in, you could sense the tension among us. Talk stopped or was more nervous. People got a little closer and tighter, jockeying for position when the doors opened. Some people butted ahead of others casually and slowly, but they knew full well what they were friggin' doing. They were trying to shaft people who were there longer. Cock goblins. I wanted to tell them to back the frig up, especially the older preppy teen that came with his mom, both sippin Tim's. He just plunked himself right in the middle of everyone. I wanted to go all "teacher" and line everyone up single file according to when we got there, and try and make sure nobody ran when the doors opened.

A few minutes after 12, the doors opened, and we were all like sardines. Elbows and shoulders were bumpin', and people walked quickly up the aisle to the electronics department. Nobody ran, but we all wanted to. I did a brisk, competitive walk up the parallel aisle, and cut back in before the dept. I did a quick scan after my merge, and saw the GH3 display in the middle of the aisle. Wii... Wii... there they are! YOINK! Heart a-beating and body almost a-shaking, I managed to make it through without being an arse, and made my way 15 feet to the cash. By the time I got to the cash, all the Wii GH3s were sold out. It took about 30 seconds from the time the doors opened. Insanity! The price was good, too. $88-something.

Before going to Sobey's, I checked Future Shop out of curiosity. Tons of people inside and out, all holding a copy. They still had a couple when I checked, but an online check said they're out of Wii copies now. The piles of different versions they had were quite large, and they must've been massive before opening time. I considered getting a copy there for the stand, btu it wasn't worth the bother.

After that, driving around town and up University Avenue was hilarious. Staples? Cars with GH3 in the back seat. Sobey's? The same. People were walking and biking all up the sidewalk towards the university with it. It was nuts. I never imagined it would be so huge here.

I got my copy home and played it for about half an hour before coming here. So far, it rocks! I'll probably mention it again some other time. Get one, Rox, you'll like it!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hey. It's only been a month since the show. I told you I'd do a little something on it later!
Just like a few other times, but more on those later...

Like I mentioned a while ago, the last time Colin James was on PEI was about 14 years ago. I was a pretty big fan, but I was too young to get into the licensed show. That sucked. A large, cigar-smoking, bearded friend of mine in high-school got in. I think that sucked worse.

I've been waiting ever since for any kind of a Colin James show on PEI. Big Band, rock band, solo, I didn't care. Early in September, I just happened to hear an ad for a concert on a Summerside radio station. Colin James was coming to PEI! To make it even better, his opener & playing partner would be none other than Craig Northey, another of my never-saw-live Canadian music favourites (he was [in] The Odds, and you may know him from such songs as the Corner Gas theme).

The stage set-up was simple. And end table with a lamp on it, and a wooden chair on either side. A little lighting and smoke, and the scene was set for some relaxed musicianship.

Northey came out first. He was loose & relaxed, and played just a few of his own things: the above-mentioned theme, The Odds' "Mercy To Go", and "The Little Things" from Northey Valenzuela, on which James backed him up on mandolin. Then James came out, and did his thing, backed up and harmonized with by Northey.

What James did was pretty much what I'd always wanted to see him do. One my favourite records of his is National Steel, a solo, bluesy effort. This was, in parts, very much the same.
James avoided the full-band rock songs like "Just Came Back..." and "Voodoo Thing", but still hit lots of old favourites, like "Five Long Years", and "Why'd You Lie". He also did a Northey cover, "Something Good", that is on one of his more recent releases. After an intermission, James came back and did some solo acoustic blues. Robert Johnson, stuff like that. It was awesome. Northey came back about this time, and we were back to the duets. James told stories about the guitars he had, the people he'd met, the songs he'd turned down - like several that Eric Clapton went on to record on Journeyman, including "Running On Faith". His cover of that tune was one of the eve's highlights, I think. Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" was right up there, too.

James worked through various guitars, like his teal-green Strat (thank God we got to hear him rock out a bit on that, including on The Odds' "Someone Who's Cool"), his acoustic, the Red steel guitar he used at the beginning of "Just Came Back..." (which had good stories about it, too), he did some harmonica, and even some more mandolin on some fast folky stomper that sounded Ukrainian to me.

By any measure, it was a relaxed show that featured some great songs done with outstanding musicianship and a bit of humour by a couple of relaxed Canadian music legends (to me, anyway).

I was kind of hoping that I'd get to meet one or both after the show, but we didn't stick around for long to really try. C had emailed James' management well beforehand, to see if she could arrange a meeting for my birthday, but she got no reply. Ah well. She should have emailed Northey instead! I emailed him the next morning, and I had two replies from him personally before the day was out. Now that was cool, too.

Anyways, there ya go!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

There's so much that's gone on this fall, but so little time to write!
Tonight, though, there's a short snippet I could share...

On my way from P-T interviews to class, for some reason, I was thinking about humour and boundaries. Like, how you can bring things up too soon with someone you don't know that well. I recall, on my very first day of practice teaching, where I mentioned something to another teacher after they said something to me. I meant it totally in jest, just as a ha-ha ice-breaker. But, he took offense, got a bit mad at me, and kind of chewed me out. It wasn't even that bad, I thought, but, still... I felt bad, and still do... like, eight years later. Shamed, even. I wonder if he ever dragged my name through the mud after that. Maybe. He didn't seem like much of a humourous or kind fellow. At any rate, I still feel bad, but I took a good lesson from it; Not everybody has as good of a sense of humour as me. Just kidding. Kind of.

At my French class tonight, there were a couple of new people. One around my age and potentially obnoxious, and the other around my age and kind of good-looking - kind of, due to her single-mom status, chain-drinking Red Bulls, and that she had this "Cosmo, smokes, & drinkin' with the girls" look about her. You know the kind. Sunglasses at night, but on top of her head.

At any rate, for some reason, another pupil (from class one, who I met last week) made some mention / analogy about how class was like riding a horse. Like, you had to fall off to succeed and feel good or something or other. I don't know why, but something kind of morbid popped into my head. I thought, "No, that's too dark for these people." But, I was quite funny at work today, and had already gotten a few chuckles tonight... so I was feeling pretty comfortable. I thought, "I'll just preface it with a disclaimer to make myself seem not so tasteless." So, on the topic of falling off a horse to succeed / benefit, I said something along the lines of,

"(heh, heh) I was just thinking of something... I shouldn't say it, but yes, that can be true about falling off a horse / making mistakes to get better. Just don't ask Christopher Reeve."

There was some chuckling! But more like a groan chuckle. It wasn't all bad, but still. Maybe a bit much for night #2. Wouldn't you know it, too... the woman who said it had some sort of relative / friend have the same thing happen to them! I felt a little bad, then. But, hey, how was I to know? It's not my fault. I don't feel bad now. Still... kind of funny how I was just thinking about humour and its boundaries with newish people. They'd better start catching up to me! Caution with humour be damned!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I know it's nowhere near Christmas yet, but when I saw this yesterday, I got a bit excited. I think it'll be great, and from the soundclips, I think I'm thinking right! And, with Rose Cousins and Jill Barber, I'm cure Colleen will... well, I won't tell you what she will do to her shorts. It could go one way or another, and you could take that more than one way. Ahem. Apparently, it goes on sale Nov 14th @ Lawtons Drug Stores. The price? I dunno. But, click on the pic above, and you'll see some nice promo stuff, hear long sound clips, and see video.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I was thinking this morning about ADD. Is it a coincidence that Attention Deficit Disorder and Accidental Death & Dismemberment have the same acronyms? Or are the people who study hyper kids just telling us something they noticed in a covertly humourous way? I prefer the latter.