Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I am headed to iceland tomorrow morning. I am excited, but, boy, is it expensive there. hotdog=$14. Beer=$14. the bus=$14. (800 IKA (Icelandic Krona). we'll see how it goes. I suppose we are looking at Island Effect+Northern Effect+Scandanavian Socialism Effect=super high costs. Lonely Planet says that tinned fish is reasonably priced.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The women behind the counter at Tim Horton's this morning took an order from a deaf women and had a sign language conversation without missing a beat. it was amazing.

Friday, April 20, 2007


boy, you've been a naughty girl

walrus magazine. billed as the "canadian harper's." it doesn't measure to to harper's or the new yorker (duh) but it does give access to a knowledge somewhat more obscure than the other two which can be handy when headed back to cambridge, mass.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


everybody hates the fake encore at rock shows

terribly embarrassing, but I am probably going to keep writing this. why? because in the two days since I ended this, I have reverted to leaving multiparagraph comments on the rest of your blogs. and those overly long comments were actually the thing that started me writing in the first place. so apparently whatever mother lode of solilpsism and need for self-expression that drove me thus far doesn't seem to have gone away.

but this brings me to one of my favorite complaints which is now painfully relevant to myself: the fake encore. when you are at a show and the band goes off stage, but the house lights are still down. you know they are coming back or they would have raised the lights. so you have to sit there and clap and feel like a complete tool until the band comes back on. I feel strong negative feelings during these moments. I feel used. I am not cheering voluntarily, I am being forced to do so. I can see wanting a break to get some water before playing the last couple of songs. but then the band should just say "we'll be right back." anyway, my apologies for performing what could easily be misinterpreted as a fake encore. I would be more than a little unhappy with me if I were you.

what it really was was me having a continuous mid-level freakout about moving. my sincere apologies.

posting is going to get infrequent for the next 2 months as I move and take a blatant junket to iceland and try to take springydog camping.

and anyway, I couldn't end with such a terrible typo as using "than" instead of "then." That is one of my least favorite typos.

Monday, April 16, 2007


leaving las vegas

for all intents and purposes, my time in winnipeg is up. and if I am not sleeping in an igloo than I am just some a-hole in suburban boston. and who wants to read about that?
so long and thanks for all the [smoked goldeye]

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

because undergraduates are stupid in hilarious ways. (Thanks EPA) I was just remarking at how un-stupid my unpronouncable chordate kids were. bet you don't know where the afferent branchial artery is on a mudpuppy.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I must register a complaint about the nickname of Daisuke "Dice-K" Matsazaki. His nickname is just a phonetic spelling of his name. so his nickname and his name are the same thing. this defies the very definition of a nickname. who allowed this? I admit the reimagining of Daisuke (already transliterated) as Dice-K is cute both for the use of "K" (baseball shorthand for "strikeout") as well as any excuse to allude to Andrew Dice Clay. But the syllogism is too much to bear. first MIMS, now this. I think this may be an even worse development in nicknaming than what happened about 5 years ago when everyone started taking the first initial of the first name and the first syllable of the last name to make the nickname (i.e. "T-Mac").

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I was reading an article in slate the other day about the resuscitation of zombie brands. a zombie brand is a brand with a lot of name recognition (like Tab soda orthe Ford Taurus) which has been discontinued due to sagging sales. At this point it is just a dead brand (like and the ford pinto), it becomes a zombie when a new product is introduced that bears only marginal resemblance to the old one, but is sold based on the name recognition that the defunct brand continues to garner. Tab, the original diet soda, has been reinvented as a red bull-style energy drink named "Tab." This phenomenon plays upon the cultural landfill of the brains of young adults. There are snippets of ads and sitcom catchphrases floating in our heads. and these represent the easiest way to make something stick in a media-saturated market.

The TV show "brothers and sisters" uses this same post-modern gimmick to create a hyper-real tv show. actors frequently complain about being closely associated with a single successful role; Once they have played a successful role for a long time, particularly on TV, it is difficult for them to get work playing other characters because audiences still see them as Rachel, or The Fonz. TV is close enough to our reality that we cannot see Jason Alexander as anyone besides George Kostanza. It feels weird to have to resuspend our disbelief that George is out there trying to sell us pretzels. This is where "Brothers and Sisters" gets it right. It is using "zombie characters. The show takes the ultimate pigeon-holed actress, Calista Flockhart (who played Ally McBeal, the neurotic and awkward, but fundementally sweet career woman on "Ally McBeal") and brings her back on "B &S" to play the same character. It is easy to believe Calista in this role, because an awkward and bumbling, but fundementally sweet career woman is what we know her to be. "B&S" continues the trend by making Rob Lowe play a clean cut, handsome, well-spoken politico. This was his long-running role on the west wing. Sally Field plays the burdened, but bouyant and pretty mother, like always (this may be more of a type-cast than a zombie character). Jason Lewis replays his meta-part that he honed on "Sex and the City" as a georgeous movie star who doesn't buy into the hype. On 'SOTC" he was smith jarrod. On "B&S" he is Chad Barry. Watching this show is like seeing long lost friends. It is fantastically comforting and generates no cognitive dissonance---until we meet Emily VanCamp again. After all of this zombie character setup, emily, who once played the pretty, sensible, small town girl next door on "Everwood", shows up on "B&S" as the LA party-girl with a drug habit and a deadbeat dad. The disconnect simply doesn't make sense in an imaginitive framework that encourages the viewer to use stored cultural detritus especially after someone has worked so hard to piece together a TV drama from type-cast actors of the last 15 years.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


it wasn't all bad

because there are no leaves on the trees in 'toba town I was able to see my first Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus). these guys, and thier congener, the cedar waxwing are my favorite genus of birds because they are so well designed. sleek body shape, clean color placement, nice color contrast. I love most all crested birds. and the yellow retrix (tail feather) tips are so wonderful.

jesus! read this interview/book review. It is for Dana Vachon's "mergers and acquisitions." It is apparently a wall street satire by a former banker. Is it a coincidence or does the back story sound a lot like marisha pessl's backstory as a consultant for pricewaterhousecoopers. (marisha pessl wrote "special topics in calamity physics"). To say nothing of old favorites Nick McDonnelll and Kavya Vishwanathan. Can I turn over a rock without finding a young, pretty, privileged, and "accomplished" author underneath? Am I a numerologist in the sense of the movie "pi" where I see a trend because I am looking for it? or is there really something going on here about trying to grab a generation Y novelist from the young, urban, well-connected northeast set? On aesthetic grounds, I suppose I must exempt ms Pessl to some degree because her novel is actually supposed to be pretty good. but seriously, what is going on? I see there being three alternate explanations.

1. the elitist's theory--the finest writing is being done by the smartest and most motivated people who respresent a functioning meritocratic overclass of bankers and ivy leaguers.
2. the conspiracy theorist's theory--Our publication system is utterly corrupt and runs on a closed system of connections.
3. the media bias theory--upper class young authors make good interviews of upper class media outlets (which I tend to read disproportionately).

Through the first few of these examples, I was very up-front about the fact that jealousy was near the surface of my displeasure. but i think my displeasure at this development no longer stems from my desire to be these authors as from my alarm at the repetitiveness of the pattern. I always thought I was supposed to grow out of populist illusions of "the establishment" not into them.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It normally snows in winnipeg in april. It frequently snows in may as well.

the constantines were a lot of fun. but the fact that I got on the wrong bus this morning is an indication of the danger of weekday shows.

in the cover department, points are awarded to the cons for closing with a complete straight and slightly understated version of "thunderstuck." it was kindof amazing that they resisted the urge to ham it up.

marks were awarded for creativity to jon rae & the river for their cover of townes van zandt's "two hands" In no small part because it is really fun to be the guy who recognizes the cover and gets to sing along. unfortunately, they received low technical merit scores for turning an upbeat spiritual into a half-time, strident blues tune for no visible reason. the song isn't sad or tortured and I don't think there is sadness and angst hidden in it waiting to be revealed. but that is my opinion.

on the topic of music, I am curious if "one great city" by the weakerthans resonates with a larger audience. It is filled to overflowing with specific geographical references to winnipeg. and consequently, is very resonant here. There is an actual male angel on top of the legislative building who faces northward. At the city limits, the signs say "Welcome to Winnipeg--One Great City!". there is a chain of stores called "The Dollar Store." And there is a large underground walkway downtown with polished stone floors not to mention the more obvious guess who and jets references. for those of you who have never been here (most of you), does it work for you or is it a sop to us?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

bombing has lost its luster as we enter the 20th hour of it. I suppose continuing to do something after it has ceased to be fun is the definition of work. or perhaps the definition of rowing. going downtown to see the constantines now. it's still snowing.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

who knew peter gabriel was in the original incarnation of "Genesis"? Not me. I guess I should have read "american psycho" more closely. this website is ingenious. you tap the rhythm with the space bar and the website gives you possibilities for what the song is. It helped to identify Peter, Bjorn, and John's Young Folks which came on in the bar last night. points to patrick/karyn for the heads up.

high marks to champion. I am normally not that into electro-rock, but you have to watch these guys do it. a DJ who also functions as the conductor for 4 live guitarists and a bassist as well as a lead singer who is an unqualified star. There are elaborate hand signals to the other members as well as a exaggerated (full-arm) 4/4 conducting signal when the beat is going to change. it was fun.

honorable mention to malajube whose design team obviously really enjoyed intro bio (check out the copepod legs). there is also a lung-butterfly with a trailing arm of fungus on the album cover.

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