Monday, January 31, 2005 

I'm busy

New journal entry up, but don't except great prose stylings or anything. If you ever did. Which would be silly.


What a day that was

Stylus has our Non-Definitive guide to movies about music up; it's pretty awesome. I managed to sneak in pieces on Stop Making Sense and High Fidelity.


Damn Yankees

So here I am in Cleveland, until Wednesday. We're down to see Low and for K to celebrate her birthday with her family (very belatedly). The drive down was okay, if a bit boring; I have now seen an episode of Iron Chef America, and much to my delighted suprise it was good. This is all I have to sustain me for the next few days:

Readymade - All The Plans Resting
The Futureheads - The Futureheads
The Fall - Code: Selfish
Plumtree - Predicts The Future
Radar Brothers - And The Surrounding Mountains
REM - New Adventures In Hi-Fi
Midnight Movies - Midnight Movies
My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything
Primal Scream - Evil Heat
Elvis Costello - Armed Forces
Prefuse 73 - Extinguished
Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man

Hopefully it gets me through all the billboard for personal injury lawyers and the late night televangelists. Pray for Mojo.

Saturday, January 29, 2005 

Shot by both sides

And some people wonder why I find doctrinaire atheists so annoying. Leave aside for a moment that given what Angier actually speaks about here her epistemological responsability tends towards agnosticism rather than atheism, and leaving aside even further the fact that I agree with her about plenty of this, doesn't the smugness, the repeated mentions of "Kerry Voters", etc, etc, just make you want to heckle someone?

Friday, January 28, 2005 

Uh... what?


Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


The mystery of love

I've been busy this week; my Marianne Faithfull review is up, and of course if it's Friday it must be time for Singles Going Steady.

Thursday, January 27, 2005 


"Hey Bob, if you want to keep your job you'd better quit smoking."

"What, you mean in the break room? If it's that big a deal I'll just go outside."

"No, I mean quit smoking period. 24 hours a day. If you smoke, even at home, we're going to fire you."

"Oh yeah?"


"Fuck you guys and your shitty job."


H E double hockey sticks

This is pretty important and interesting - but let's make sure certain groups don't turn it into a justification to continue/increase pollution rates, okay?


Snow scenes level lonely bastards

I never would have guessed the Wrens would have videos on Launch, but I tried it anyway - and they do! And they're both great!

Note to Aaron in particular: I almost put "Everyone Choose Sides" on the Ontarion album instead of "Boys You Won't", so check that one out if you can.


When I go deaf

My review of the new Low album, which is well worth your money, is up.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005 

Good doggie

I've got a Seconds piece up today about my favorite Elastica song.


Happy Robbie Burns Day (yesterday)

Eric Burns has a priceless rundown of why Robbie Burns is fucking awesome and all, so I'll leave it at that. Go read his post, and have one on me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 

Pattern of behaviour

So Bush wants $80 billion more for the wars, bringing the total (if he gets it) to over $280 billion. Not surprising, but check this out:

"In 2002, Bush administration officials mocked then-economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey for suggesting a war in Iraq could cost $100 billion to $200 billion."

That seems to be the way this administration operates.


Ends in themselves

Good article here that mostly deals with Helen Vendler and her career (and that bit is good, too), but read to the end if you're at all interested in literature, poetry, the arts, etc.


Time zones briefly heal all wounds

From BC to Laval Quebec to my door... the new Readymade record finally showed up. Not that it's late - I've just been waiting for it since last, I dunno, August or so. Album of the year for me, in all probability.

Monday, January 24, 2005 


The FCC may have begun to pull its head out of its ass. Good.


News flash

Older people may be smarter than young people in certain ways.



After reading this and vocally expressing my desire to hear the Honeycombs, William B. Swygart was kind enough to get me the MP3.

It is a thing of utterly mental beauty. Thanks, Will.


Short and sour

Most telegraphic journal post ever. For me, at least.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 

Just because I'm sorry doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it at the time

I already knew I loved "Run", but now I've discovered I love "Chocolate" as well. I may have to buy the album.

[Edited to add: I think my music geek and webcomic reader audiences don't have much overlap, but for some reason "Chocolate" went very well with my reading of the (massive, excellent) archives of CRFH, which is now linked. Melodrama!]

Saturday, January 22, 2005 

Dogma is dogma

Whether you're an atheist or not. Don't get me wrong, I find the fact that over 80% of Americans believe "the deity is regularly performing miracles in today’s world" pretty damned disturbing, but this Sam Harris sounds like a pretty big idiot.

Friday, January 21, 2005 

Procrastinate? Me?

Bold what is true.
Italicize what you aren't sure about.
Add one to the end.

Any comments from me about any of these will be in square brackets.

001. I miss somebody right now. [I can't think of a time in my life when this wouldn't be true]
002. I watch more tv than I used to.
003. I love olives.
004. I love sleeping. [I hate having to sleep, but I love the process]
005. I own a home.
006. I wear glasses or contact lenses.
007. I love to play video games.
008. I've done something illegal. [Don't bother asking]
009. I've watched porn movies. [Ditto]
010. I have been in a threesome.
011. I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship.
012. I like my handwriting.
013. I have acne-free skin.
014. I like and respect Al Sharpton.
015. I curse frequently. [Fuck, yeah]
016. I have changed a lot mentally over the last year. [see comment on #1]
017. I have a hobby.
018. I've been to another country.
019. I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me. [Just a little Swiss Army one]
020. I'm really, really smart. ["really, really"?]
021. I've never broken anyone else's bones.
022. I have a secret that I am ashamed to reveal.
023. I love rain.
024. I'm paranoid at times.
025. I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
026. I need money right now. [Thanks, parents]
027. I love sushi.
028. I talk really, really fast sometimes.
029. I have fresh breath in the morning.
030. I have semi-long hair.
031. I have lost money in Las Vegas.
032. I have at least one brother and/or sister.
033. I was born in a country outside of the U.S. [Well duh]
034. I shave my legs.
035. I have a twin.
036. I couldn't survive without Caller I.D.
037. I like the way that I look. [Depends on the day, really]
038. I have lied to a good friend in the past 6 months. [Honest]
039. I know how to do cornrows.
040. I am usually pessimistic.
041. I have mood swings. [Don't we all? But I think they may be referring to outright pathology here, hence the italics...]
042. I think prostitution should be legalized.
043. I think Britney Spears is pretty.
044. I have cheated on a significant other.
045. I have a hidden talent. [Hidden to who?]
046. I'm always hyper no matter how much sugar I have.
047. I've been sexually intimate with fewer than ten people. [I'm saving myself for death]
048. I am currently single.
049. I have kissed someone of the same sex. [No tongue]
050. I enjoy talking on the phone.
051. I practically live in sweatpants or PJ pants.
052. I love to shop. [For what?]
053. I would rather shop than eat.
054. I would classify myself as ghetto.
055. I'm bourgeoisie and have worn a sweater tied around my shoulders.
056. I'm obsessed with my LiveJournal.
057. I don't hate anyone. [Hate is such a strong word; I'll use it casually, but don't really mean it]
058. I'm a pretty good dancer.
059. I don't think Mike Tyson raped Desiree Washington. [Uh... what?]
060. I'm completely embarrassed to be seen with my mother.
061. I have a cell phone.
062. I watch MTV on a daily basis.
063. I have passed out drunk in the past 6 months. [More like never]
064. I have never been in a real relationship before.
065. I've rejected someone before.
066. I currently have a crush on someone.
067. I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life. [Now if it only paid...]
068. I want to have children in the future. [One, probably. Maybe two. We'll see]
069. I have changed a diaper before.
070. I've had the cops called on me before.
071. I bite my nails.
072. I am a member of the Tom Green fan club.
073. I'm not allergic to anything deadly.
074. I have a lot to learn. [Another "duh" one]
075. I have dated someone at least 10 years older or younger.
076. I plan on seeing Ice Cube's newest "Friday" movie.
077. I am very shy around the opposite sex.
078. I'm online 24/7, even as an away message.
079. I have at least 5 away messages saved.
080. I have been rejected by someone.
081. I have made a move on a friend's significant other in the past. [ICK]
082. I own the "SOUTH PARK" movie. [K does, so I haven't picked it up]
083. I have avoided work to play on LiveJournal.
084. When I was a kid I played "the birds and the bees" with a neighbor or chum.
085. I enjoy country music. [Do Johnny Cash and "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)" count?]
086. I love my best friends. [All of them, actually]
087. I think that Pizza Hut has the best pizza.
088. I watch soap operas whenever I can.
089. I'm obsessive, anal retentive, and often a perfectionist.
090. I have used my sexuality to advance my career. [My coworkers are killing themselves laughing...]
091. I love Michael Jackson, scandals and all. [ICK]
092. I know all the words to Slick Rick's "Children's Story".
093. Halloween is awesome because you get give out free candy.
094. I watch Spongebob Squarepants and I like it.
095. I have dated a close friend's ex. [Provisionally ick, but I guess it depends on context...]
096. I'm happy as of this moment.
097. I have gone scuba diving.
098. I've had a crush on somebody I have never met.
099. I've kissed someone I knew I shouldn't.
100. I play a musical instrument.
101. I strongly dislike math.
102. I'm procrastinating on something right now. [Heh. I swear I didn't know that was coming]
103. I own and use a library card.
104. I fall in "lust" more than in "love." [It's the plumbing]
105. Cheese enchiladas rock my socks.
106. I think The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest things ever. [Fuck. Off.]
107. I'm obsessed with the tv show "The O.C."
108. I am resentful that I have to grow up.
109. I am an entirely different person around different people. [Perceptually? Sure!]
110. I think the world would be a better place if people just smiled more often.
111. I think Ramen is one of the best foods in the whole world.
112. I am suffering of a broken heart.
113. I am a nerd. [geek, thankyewverymuch]
114. No matter where I am or who I'm with, I always seem to be lonely.
115. I am left handed and proud of it. [FUCKIN' A]
116. I try not to change who I am for someone. [Not the essential bits]
117. My heart resides below my feet. [WTF?]
118. I have had sex with someone I was not in a relationship with. [ the time]
119. I enjoy smoothies.
120. I have had major surgery.
121. I have adopted a pet from the SPCA.
122. I am listening to Radiohead right now. [Ratatat, actually; "Cherry"]
123. Some people call me by a nickname. [I refer you to #8]
124. I once stole a music stand.
125. I like pumpkin pie.
126. I love NASCAR!
127. I own over 200 CDs. [Heh heh heh]
128. I work 7 days a week.
129. I have mono.
130. I don't have the ability to make decisions without changing my mind.
131. People tell me I have a horrible sense of humor. [In the "why are you making me laugh about dead babies?" sense]
132. I'm still in my PJs.
133. I'm looking for love in all the wrong places.
134. I have a tendency to fall for the wrong girls/guys, or have them fall for me, so I can't help but reciprocate. ["can't help but reciprocate"? Why not?]
135. I'll try anything three times.
136. I've done drugs other than alcohol or cigarettes.
137. I'm having trouble sleeping.
138. I am a cuddler.
139. I like John Waters films.
140. I have made a pornographic videotape.
141. Sloth is my favorite deadly sin.
142. One of my boobs is bigger than the other though not noticed by others.
143. I know all the words to the Firefly theme song.
144. I am abnormally obsessed with all things Buffy/Angel.
145. I love comfort food.
146. I'm a right-winged conservative Christian, and proud of it. [You have wings?]
147. I'm Catholic.
148. I can walk a mile without feeling like I'm going to die over. [Not sure what "die over" means, but I'll risk it]
149. I am a college student. [University, but this is American, so...]
150. I like to cook.
151. I hate vacuuming with a passion. [Hate is such a strong word]
152. I'm addicted to photography and picture frames.
153. I have performed in the Rocky Horror Picture show.
154. I generally get along with my parents.
155. I like Shakespeare.

156. I like to sing. [ the shower]
157. I'll take the Pepsi Challenge any day, and STILL pick Coke!
158. I have things that I want to say to people, but I won't/can't because I don't want to hurt/be hurt by them. [Over that phase of my life, thanks]
159. I'm not "mainstream" when it comes to religion. [Heh]
160. I've counted down the days until the summer.
161. I've fulfilled someone's dare at a party or gathering. [I think I did]
162. I challenge people to duels, and when I do, I mean it.
163. I was pigeon-toed at one point in my life.
164. I love Digimon and wear goggles to school.
165. I have been to an anime convention. [I've been to a convention, and there was anime there]
166. I constantly have my head in the clouds daydreaming.
167. I am addicted to roleplaying.
168. I was in labor for 30 hours with no pain medication.
169. I own more than three items of vinyl clothing.
170. I read hardcore Christian Bible Tracts because I think they're funny.
171. I hate to drive.
172. I'm unemployed but would rather sit on my butt and play video games than look for a job.
173. I come from a southern, highly religious family and have chosen to keep a major part of my life secret from my family for now.
174. I have a serious taste for older women.
175. I had a happy childhood.
176. I have an unhealthy obsession with certain child actors.
177. I am an only child.
178. I have more than five different lotions on my desk right now.
179. I have a more active online social life than IRL.
180. Sometimes, I actually like my job.
181. I love animals, and have had at least one pet.
182. I love writing letters.
183. I haven't had sex with a lot of people, but I've had a really wide range of sexual experiences with those few. [Define "really wide range", please; I'll err on the side of discretion, for once]
185. I sleep the entire day but am awake all night long.
186. My two children were born in the same month.
187. I like the taste of blood.
188. I do not know how to swim.
189. I know how to shoot a gun!
190. I am currently pregnant with my first baby!
191. I flew to another state when I was underage without asking/telling my parents.
192. I've experienced natural childbirth.
193. I am a HUGE "Sex and the City" fan. [Not, you know, HUGE]
194. I am currently experiencing physical pain.
195. I've lost time at work this week because my car was encased in an ice flow.
196. I'm looking for a new job that I actually like.
197. I am OCD about at least one thing. [If we're being flippant, yes]
198. I have a child named after a fictional or mythological character.
199. I have a pet named after a fictional or mythological character.
200. I have been paid money for my art. [I've been paid CDs...]
201. I never ever tan. I never try.
202. I still have at least one hobby that I had when I was a kid.
203. I can't stand to be around most of my family
204. I absolutely LOVE Full House.
205. I have knitted at least one thing for a friend/family member.
206. I have owned/currently own a work of visual art (photography, painting, collage, sculpture, etc.) from a local artist.
207. I have lied somewhere on this meme. [No, really]
208. I am a member of The Camarilla, and not ashamed to admit it. [You should be]
209. I am currently reading three or more books simultaneously.
210. I've used my significant other's sexuality to advance my career. [How does that even work?]
211. I want a DNR. [What's that?]
212. I always go from one extreme to the other, I never find a happy medium.
213. I have unhealthy obsessions I am unashamed of.
214. I would sleep with a font if it was possible.
215. I want to cry.
216. I have my driver's license.
217. I have more than four piercings.
218. I can't keep up with the current social climate at all. [I don't know, which might mean "yes"]
219. I like braids.
220. I think Dr. Suess is one of the best author/illustrators ever.
221. I'm over six feet tall.
222. I hate stupid people.
223. Feet disgust me.
224. I stay up too late doing nothing in particular and then feel bad about it. [Obviously]


Speaking of going up your own ass...

Elvis Costello is collaborating with Hans Christian Andersen. Spare me.


We're all disappearing up our own asses


I think it stands on its own, but I will add one thing; anyone who thinks that "Stylus is unfortunately hellbent on transforming itself into Pitchfork" either hasn't been reading us long or has missed the fact that Pitchfork has gotten a lot closer to us than vice versa. I mean, if you read Stylus and come away with that opinion, whatever, that's cool, but I don't think many of the people who actually, y'know work for the site would agree.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 

One of your friends may already be this fucked

As most people who read this probably know, due to the pay structure where K and I work this has been a very tough January. Today was it, the first pay day, the day the sweet cash started flowing. Just a partial paycheck and (due to illness) just mine, but still it should have been around $100, enough to pay for some necessities (i.e. cat food, human food) until the first big paycheck, which would be February's rent.

Only I didn't get paid today. Because, see, the pay period doesn't come in on the 20th. It comes in a week from now. What we were told a few weeks ago was incorrect.

[NB. I feel compelled to point out here that work wasn't fucking with us - we were told that the 20th was "probably" the day, but then were told it would be checked into. In the absence of a correction, we just assumed it remained that day. So there's fault on this side too. Doesn't make the situation any better, though.]

A week. My main bank balance is at -$8, thanks to Greenpeace. And Scotia will probably start kicking in fees any day now. My other accounts are all overdrawn to their limits. There is very little food in the house. The paycheck on the 27th will be decent for me, but very little for K (who is only back for half shifts right now). So our plans for paying rent are shot. New ones will have to be made.

And once again, the irony that kills me is that once our cashflow gets going, in early February, this should be one of the most prosperous semesters K and I have had recently, since we're both at the maximum pay rate for the job and are both working almost all the hours anyone is allowed to. It's just that the job starts late, and gets paid for even later.

If I had some sort of fanbase, this would be when I'd start trying to auction off... something. I don't know what. Oh, except every spare second of my time right now belongs to Spinoza and Merleau-Ponty (hence why my thoughts on Mclusky will appear when they appear). As it is, I'm rather self-mockingly considering going to the food bank, or taking up a collection, or something.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005 

Chin up

Look at it this way; for most of us, after next Monday, it's all uphill.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 

The cold Canadian winter

It's not snowing today, but the pavement outside looks like it's been bleached and salted. Barely any snow on the ground, just that hard rind, and the streets look rather blasted. And when I walk outside the cold hits the palms of my gloves like it's a stiff breeze; there's a tangible pressure.

I'm looking forward to spring.


Down the street, not across the road

My review of the most depressing thing I've heard in months, maybe years, is up at Stylus.


"Gord Bird on bari sax..."

I'm up at the styPod again, with a blast from the past for anyone who attended high school with me.

Monday, January 17, 2005 

Stoicism /= Repression

Interesting article on stoicism in the Globe And Mail that was passed on by Aaron, but I do have a few problems with McDonald's stance. Stoicism is not the repession of negative emotions, it is not saying "Fine" whenever you are asked how you are doing. It is not hiding how you really feel. It is about changing how you really feel by (among other things) really thinking about what's important and what is within our power.

McDonald, instead of focusing on how to lead a good life (as opposed, for example, to an easy life), gets bogged down in the little details. If you're burdening casual acquaintences with a half-hour long litany of complaints when they ask you how your day was then yes, your priorities are off (and you are annoying). But if you're sitting down with your best friend and they know you've had a tough week and when asked your response is "I'm fine", you may very well be repressed.

Meanwhile the part of McDonald's article that bears thinking about, that should be focused on, is actually summed up quite beautifully in one sentence:

"Yes, loss is sad, but where is the comfort in bitterness?"


Muscle robots

I'm sure this scientific advance will eventually be used to do something cool, and I'm certainly not opposed to developing it, but damn does it give me the creeps.


That time of the week

New journal entry up.

Sunday, January 16, 2005 

It's been a good week for radio

So here I am at work, and what comes on the radio? "Always On My Mind", the Pet Shop Boys version. Awesome.


My head hurts when I read this

"President George W Bush has said his re-election has vindicated his administration's policy on Iraq.

Mr Bush said there was no need to hold any of his officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgements in pre-war planning or managing the aftermath.

In an interview in Sunday's Washington Post he said that his re-election was an 'accountability moment'...

On Wednesday, intelligence officials confirmed that the US had stopped searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

Or in other words, we lied to you, you bought it enough to re-elect us, so we can stop pretending otherwise.


Also awesome, but less so

Is the fact that after finding that in HMV, we eventually went to Smart Set so Joy could use a gift certificate; while we were in there they played both Wheat's "I Met A Girl" and Rachel Stevens' "Some Girls". How fucking cool is that?

(A: Very fucking cool.)


I am (not) famous (nor will I ever be)!

I was in the HMV in the mall in my town today to use the gift card Joy had gotten me for Xmas; I was going to pick up Explosions In The Sky's The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place since I love it but had only downloaded it before reviewing it here and wanted my own copy (see, RIAA and Canadian equivalent? Downloading isn't killing music!).

It had one of those stickers on it with favorable press blurbs, and there among NME, Magnet and Mojo was Stylus. Only two words ("Absolutely essential"), but still... I got a bit giddy over this, of course. It's the first time I've seen myself quoted out in the "real world", even if only for self-serving capitalist ends; can you blame me?

Also, a "bit" giddy may be a small understatement. I believe I stood there and stared at the sticker for five minutes with a smile on my face. Which kind of shows how mercurial I am, since they only took two words, didn't include my name, nobody looks at those anyways, etc, etc...

I'm still keeping that sticker, though.

Saturday, January 15, 2005 

Best. Fight. Ever.

Still making my way through Anacrusis, but all I have to say about this one is:


Friday, January 14, 2005 

The same video store?

The incredible story of the other Russell Jones. Stolen from Justin.

Thursday, January 13, 2005 

But I want it now

I'm not normally much of a geek for gadgets, nor do I love Macs all that much, but this literally made me salivate. It's the first time I've ever felt the grip of actual gadget lust. This kind of computer is what I've wanted for years. Faster than my current computer, 80 gigs of space and not that expensive? 6.5" x 6.5" x 2"? I can still use my old mouse, monitor etc (not that they're great, but that saves money)? I mean, I'd want most of the options (the bigger hard drive, DVD-Rom, wireless card, etc), and tranferring everything over would take a while, but still...

I want one so hard. Pity it'll probably be years before I get my hands on one.


I want to see Glasgow again

The list of the top 50 Scottish bands is flawed, of course (like all lists), but at least it lets me appreciate how many great ones there are:

1 Belle & Sebastian
3 Idlewild
7 Teenage Fanclub
9 Primal Scream
19 Jesus and Mary Chain
20 Mogwai
26 Beta Band
33 Delgados
34 Arab Strap
41 Boards of Canada

And that's leaving off another at least ten that are merely really good or that I haven't heard enough of.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 


Filed for future reflection (mainly because my, heh, first impression of the piece is that there's an important question here neither Shermer nor, at least as presented, Gladwell are asking; I need to think this through, though, as well as hopefully read the book).


30 freakin' pages

So after a quick meet with Jeff Mitscherling today, we've determined that I'll be doing my Honours Research Paper on Spinoza and empathy.

Also, for my Merleau-Ponty class, I've got a one page paper due next week. And one due each of the four weeks after that.

Here I was hoping the academic part of this year would be the easy part.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 

My theme for the night (at work)

It's a Tuesday night and I can't be
With the people that I love tonight

The Beta Band - "Simple"



My review of the Burdocks is up as well.


Take me for a ride

My take on the greatest Spacemen 3 album ever is up at Stylus.



Mclusky have ended it. I posted about it on the Stylus blog, but wanted to mention it here too, since I think it sucks. I didn't like their last album too much as a transitional effort, but if it's their last I may have to pick it up. Don't ask me to explain that. I guess it depends on how much "Slay!" still annoys me.

Anyway, it's late, but if I were a betting man I'd place money on there being a Floating World sometime this week on a Mclusky song. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, surf by the site and check out the video for "She Will Only Bring You Happiness" if you get the chance. Think a cheerfully misanthropic take on Blur's "Coffee & TV", only with bowling pins. Worth a look.

Monday, January 10, 2005 

I'm not sure if I believe this

Either Rainbow was the dirtiest kids show ever, or else this footage is a spoof. It looks old, but the dialogue is kind of incredible.


It's just old naked people

Hearing that parts of Mississippi have banned America: The Book from its libraries was funny enough. Finding out it's because of only one page, the one with the pictures of the Supreme Court Justices sans robes? Hilarious.


Half a decade already

I didn't participate, since by the time it came around I was burned out on lists and I haven't ben keeping track of any years before 2003 anyway, but Stylus' best of the first half of the decade, singles edition is very awesome. I think I'll enjoy reading it even more because I'm not in it.


I've been playing lots of Tetris, too

New journal entry up.

Saturday, January 08, 2005 

Engines of grief

I had to wait until today to link it, as Something Awful doesn't let you link directly to the current day's update, but please go read yesterday's tirade. Zach starts with some awfully good points and then willfully (and explicitly) descends into furious satire:

"I used to see nuance and diversity in religions and their various followers. That luxury has been swept away by the wave propelling quasi-theocratic scum to success and power. I now resort to their weapon; the hateful generality. Religion is the tool of corrupt men and women with shallow principles and reluctance to see the world outside the monochrome. If you are declared evil for what you believe or who you are, surely you are then justified in returning the favor."

I don't agree with the second half, of course, but it's well worth your time. Also: Very fucking funny.


El milagro secreto

The creator of Triangle and Robert discovers he's just been unconsciously copying Borges all this time. Which is pretty awesome. It's even better than he's going to keep going nonetheless.

Friday, January 07, 2005 

One down

I think Jer's nailed it here; Tucker Carlson is a dick. It's good that they're letting him go. But why the hell do they want to keep Bob Novak? Why hasn't his role in the whole Valerie Plame thing discredited him thoroughly?

Oh, I know, don't get me started about that fuckup again...

Thursday, January 06, 2005 


Damn right.


The Floating World: The Same Mistakes

So I like the Cooper Temple Clause again. First I did, after picking up their first album See This Through And Leave and listening the hell out of it. A debut record with only one outright bad song is remarkable, and that the one bad song would be as audaciously bad as "555-4823", where at least they're trying something different, is impressive.

Then I went off that record more than a little (I'm not sure why) and eventually through the Ontarion I managed to get a promo copy of its sequel Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose which I hoped would do the same thing as the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Take Them On, On Your Own, which was to take an interesting but mysteriously unfulfilling debut and come back with more cohesiveness, more force, and so on. I'll be pleasently surprised if there's another BRMC record after TTO,OYO that I feel the need to own, and I was hoping to feel the same way about the Cooper Temple Clause's sophmore effort.

I don't, to make a long story short, although I now love See This Through And Leave again. The new on is a very solid record right up until the end, but whereas "Murder Song" ended See This Through And Leave with a bang, "Written Apology" (and "In Your Prime" as well) left me cold. I didn't even like The Single, "Promises Promises", very much. But there any many songs on there I do like quite a bit, even if in some cases only it's only in part (I love "New Toys", but I'm keeping it in edited form that shears off the last minute and a half).

But above and beyond all that, there's something about the ethos behind the album that intrigues me. It's most present on the first song you hear, "The Same Mistakes". Which is, and I think this is fairly rare, a song about trying to make a good second album.

The tagline is "And you can't go making the same mistakes", of course, but shockingly the band goes on to make good on the claims of shredded notebooks and new paths. Musically the second album is fairly similar to the first one - although with nothing quite as genius as "Who Needs Enemies?", wherein Isaac Hayes' "Walk On By" is revealed to be totally fucking hardcore. I first heard "Who Needs Enemies?" at roughly the same time as the Wu-Tang Clan's equally genius but quite different "I Can't Go To Sleep", which uses the same song to very different ends, and I don't think I really loved the original until then.

But no, what's different is the intensity. After lulling us into a calm and then slapping us viciously for the duration of opener "Did You Miss Me?", the next three songs on See This Through And Leave might as well drive singer Ben Gautry to your house, because he sounds like he's pushing you up against a wall during a barfight the whole time, his sour shred of a voice constantly hectoring you. "Film-Maker' is just about the best song about sick obsession ever, and "Panzer Attack" is one long metaphor for agression; "Who Needs Enemies?", on the surface just another rant about record industry bullshit, actually results in Gautry screaming about "all these animals / that you call friends" while Hayes' "wa-oh!"s thrust the track forward.

Even the relatively restrained "Amber", which comes next, could be the vengeful ghost of the dead-by-drink Brendon Behan, not so much a lament against alcoholism as a rage against it; There's a lull for "Digital Observations" and the strangely joyous "Let's Kill Music" ("We dare you to mean a single word you say!", shouted as only a young band can), but "Been Training Dogs" ("to bite your little princess") ups the ante again before "The Lake" and "Murder Song" end it with death.

So what is "The Same Mistakes" saying? There's some bitterness on Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose, and some anger, to be sure, but it's not as breathtaking. "Talking To A Brick Wall" is more frustrated than anything, maybe even a little accepting, "Music Box" is about independance, not killing, "Into My Arms" is a love song, for pete's sake. It's a far distance from howling "I would have made us a killer movie" while a building burns down around you and your victim to Gautry's new determination during the airline crash of "Blind Pilots":

You came along to raise the stakes
To tend to me and my mistakes
I can't pretend that I could be
The man you said you saw in me
But hang around and I'll try and land this thing

None of this change in direction is bad - it's actually quite successful, as "Blind Pilots" in particular is one of the best songs here. There aren't any more "Film-Maker"s (and its beggars belief that "Film-Maker" was a double A-side with the almost as vicious "Been Training Dogs" - I'm pretty sure some religions forbid listening to that single) because there can't be. Why? Well, I don't know. I can guess, and I'd assume it comes down to the fact that you just can't keep up that much intensity for so long. God knows plenty of bands have destroyed themselves trying.

[Interesting to note that the second time Pete and I saw Mogwai they didn't do "My Father My King" (the first time, it was a jaw-dropping 40-minute encore). We asked them about that afterwards, and one of them (Barry Burns, I think) said something to the effect of "well, we can't do that every night - it'd kill us".]

So no, you can't keeping making the same mistakes. And most bands try not to. But how often does the band admit it? Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose isn't terribly meta or self-reflexive, just the odd comment, but you can tell they're trying. That they've sat down and said "right, we're not just going to make some shitty standard second album". They've only half-succeeded, but that gives me great hope for the future. Right now, they're one of the best UK rock bands around, and they haven't even felt their full strength.


We assume God acts in certain ways, and then we get mad at Him for it

Good article in the New York Observer about theodicy and the problem of the tsunami, but whenever this comes up I can't help but think that there's a fairly easy way out if you believe in a God.

To quote, theodicy grapples with "the idea of an all-powerful, just and loving God who intervenes in history". It seems to me the part of that decription that must go, if you're committed to holding on to the rest, is the "intervenes in history" bit. But that's just me.

(To his credit, Rosenbaum does point this out)


It's too early to be up

But as long as I am, I can point out that my review of Hinterlandt's new record is up.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005 

Through all the promises we make

If you ever want to hear me say something nice about U2, this is your chance.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005 

Dean's list, baby

So my Philosophy of Law mark declined a little (say, 2-3%) but I still got 78%, which I'm more than happy about. And after getting low 70s on each midterm, it's incredibly gratifying to find that my final mark for Philosophy of Religion was 81% - I must have absolutely killed the final.

But the mark I'm most proud of? 95% in Indian Philosophy, my most challenging and interesting class this semester. I only took three classes, sure, but that still comes out to an 84.7% average this year so far. and I actually yelled out "Holy Crap!" when I read my Indian Philosophy mark - just ask K.


Dance, rummy

A Bulgarian man has been found alive and conscious and capable of speech with a blood alcohol level of 0.914. The legal limit in Ontario, to give you an idea, is 0.08. The hospital thought its equipment was broken.



Will Eisner has passed away. A giant in his field, if comics ever become respectable (and I think they have a shot, a few decades or centuries down the pike - it took novels a while too), he deserves to be regarded as the form's Shakespeare.


Free songs

I have another stab at the styPod today. Not the most low-profile of MP3s, but good songs nonetheless.

Monday, January 03, 2005 

And now

And to go with the new design, a new entry is up at the journal. Finally.


Plus ca change, etc.

There's a new look up over at the journal, but fiddling around with the html (it was originally designed for diaryland, not diary-x) has kept me up late enough the entry will have to wait until tomorrow.

Well, actually, 90% of the actual work took maybe twenty minutes, but a vain effort to get the archives looking proper took an hour or so and didn't work. For the simple reason that the same diary-x substitution tag apparantly refers to two things at once. I'm very frustrated, and I'm going to sleep now.

Saturday, January 01, 2005 

Life ain't fair

So I'm the one who only had one drink last night, but I've got a pounding headache while K is sleeping peacefully? That girl must have some mighty good karma.

Ah well. Happy new year, everybody, and may your 2005 be blissfully headache-free.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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