Sunday, April 30, 2006 

Rand protect us!

I loves me some Monkey Fluids.


Don't need no dizziness, don't need no nausea

So, that new Neil Young album, the "metal folk" one, with the protest choir? It's pretty fucking stunning (especially given his last few records). And until Friday, you can hear it at his website; slightly muddy sound quality aside, it's totally worthwhile.

Saturday, April 29, 2006 

Random dancing

I've spent pretty much all of the afternoon today helping Aaron and Christa move in, but while waiting for my ride to show up in the morning I caught part of Chori Chori; although most of what I saw was this impressively manic and foreign (to my sensibilities) solo dance scene, which was fascinating and mildly disquieting (the movements were almost laughably strange to someone used to modern/western dance, and she would not stop grinning, which was slightly unnerving), I did see a little of the acting parts, and I was struck at how much of a screwball feeling I was getting from it. Well, lo and behold, Chori Chori is actually a remake of the great, great It Happened One Night, which I watched for film class some years ago. I kind of want to see the whole thing now.

Friday, April 28, 2006 

FYI: you’re all gonna die screaming

Zombies + bureaucracy = hilarity



I loved dinosaurs and Godzilla when I was a kid, so is it any wonder that I stood gawking at a crane fitted with a brontosaurus head-like attachment knocking down a wall brick by brick for five minutes on the way home from picking up my bank card, which I had forgotten in the ATM the night before?

Apparently the most effective way to knock down a wall with this huge claw-crane is to gently nudge it repeatedly. But there's obviously enough mass behind those nudges that bricks go flying. It was awesome.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 

I relentlessly desire your custard tongue between my eyelids

Have a surrealist compliment.


On a (relatively) lighter note

I feel bad that I've really only started to appreciate Chris Whitley's work now that he's gone (except for Hotel Vast Horizon, which was something like my second review for Stylus), but atleast I got the chance to review his last album, which is wonderful in the kinds of ways these posthumous releases normally aren't.


Because I have been sleeping badly lately

So last night I actually got to bed earlier than I needed to, which I was looking forward to since I have been staying up a little too late in general. I had gotten home after seeing Orbax's dinner lecture on the show we call side and then discussing societal collapse, the instrumentality of computers and rules vs. principles (with reference to Nietszche's three stages of man) with Aaron, James and Christa (this also involved drinking), and I fell asleep swiftly.

Unfortunately, over the last few days the lower half of my calves have gotten itchy. I have no idea why. They look totally normal, which only disconcerts me more, since the itch is quite strong. I wound up waking up throughout the night to find myself scratching my legs, which only made the irritation more intense and caused it to spread further up my legs (for example, once I actually did fall back to sleep and woke up now, the itch is restrained to an area just above my ankles and is tolerable although annoying, as opposed to agonizing). This would be bad enough, and it was, but I had also just finished reading this; and at 3 am my head bolted up from my pillow and I knew, just knew there was a zombie directly outside of my door. I have never been more effectively paralyzed by sheer blind panic than the five minutes I spent staring into the dark and waiting for the doorknob to start turning.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 

The light end of the street can still be a dead end

Normally this kind of vitriol would be a bit much, but the article he's talking about really is quite shit. I've never read the good Morley he talks about, but I have read of him, and encountering this year's model is quite a letdown.

Notice also that Marcello refuses to blindly sign on for either rockism or popism (or whatever you'd like to call the two isms), but would like something less stupid instead. Commendable.



I like the Art Brut songs I've heard, and not for some sort of theoretical/rhetorical reason, either. But when Anthony Miccio is this convincing about their suckitude, it does give me pause.


I forgot to post this for five hours

Lots of stuff on the CBC today: Addictions cost Canada nearly $40 billion a year, and these days that much in Canadian dollars is pretty expensive (good news for people I know who are moving to America, though, with the loonie on a 15 year high). It's interesting looking at some of the figures from the first story; illegal drugs only account for 20% of the cost, and as far as deaths go:

37,209 from tobacco, including 17,679 cancer deaths, 10,853 from cardiovascular disease and 8,282 from respiratory disease.
4,258 deaths attributed to alcohol, including 1,246 from cirrhosis, 909 from vehicle crashes, and 603 from drinking-related suicides.
1,695 from illegal drugs, including 958 from fatal overdoses, 295 from suicides linked to drug use, 165 from hepatitis C infection linked to drug use, and 87 from HIV infection connected to drug use.

On a totally different note, here's a headline I didn't particularly expect to see:

"Reward offered for return of Quebec woman's head"

This, however, is the sort of thing I'm used to seeing on Canadian news.


I haven't heard it yet

This is probably the last time I'll mention it here for a while, but I believe you can hear my on today's Singles Jukebox Stycast talking about, yes, "Respekt For Grandiosa". Plus lots of other good stuff - well, actually, this week it's pretty much just that and an adorable song by the Boy Least Likely To, plus a bunch of crap. But sure to be entertaining nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 

Dark age ahead

RIP, Jane Jacobs.


Respekt for Grandiosa

Because as mentioned in the singles column the song really isn't complete without it, the video for that Norwegian pizza jingle:


A shit week for singles

This week's column is up, and it pains me mightily that three crap songs (well, two crap songs and a Coldcut tune I don't care much about) beat the closest thing we have to a good song - and that good song is a Norwegian pizza jingle.

Also, Boy Least Likely To got kind of shafted. As did Snow Patrol, but I expect that.


Against flowers

T-Rex kind of has a point. Although I'm mostly linking today's strip for the book title at the end.

Monday, April 24, 2006 

The guy in the picture is John Foxx

A new Stycast is up. I'd like to get my hands on some stuff by Volcano, I'm Still Excited!!, but I'm not sure how to go about that.


Said "who's the guy with the gun?" like I was involved

Feel good hits of the 24th of April, 2006:

Yo La Tengo - "Saturday"
Pilate - "The Travel Song"
Low - "The Plan (Demo)"
The Wedding Present - "A Million Miles"
Hot Chip - "Crap Kraft Dinner"
Chris Whitley - "I Can't Stand It"
PJ Harvey - "This Mess We're In"
The Pogues - "Boys From The County Hell"
Mountains - "Simmer"
Yo La Tengo - "Our Way To Fall"

Sunday, April 23, 2006 

On a wall

Last night I had occasion to use the Underground's bathroom, which they share with the two other bars that occupy the same building and are reliably filthy and disgusting. For once it wasn't crowded and so I noticed the first grafitti I've ever seen on the wall of their urinal corner: "You will become something different..."

Friday, April 21, 2006 

Girls are sometimes pretty

I would just like to point out, when I write about going to trivia night, it's nothing like this.


Jam & Lewis

Producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have been feted all week long at Stylus, as they're the second inductees into our Hall of Fame (and I've been tempted to link to pretty much all of the content, as it's been excellent), and today the special Singles Jukebox devoted to some of their hits goes up. Weirdly enough, the two blurbs they didn't use from me were for my two favourite songs from the selection:

Cherelle – "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On": I'm not sure this would work at less than full length; you really need all seven minutes of hypnotically sing-song chorus and increasingly compelling synth squiggles. For producers with such a recognizable style throughout most of the 80s and 90s, Jam and Lewis manage to wring an awful lot of songs out of it without ever feeling like they're treading water. I can't decide whether Cherelle is being sincere or this is the sort of song than would inspire O'Neal's “Fake”, but it is utterly irresistible in any case, one big long sinuous chorus. [9]

Janet Jackson – Someone To Call My Lover: The inanity of that “he'll drive a funky car” line (and most of the rest of the chorus) aside, this is a nearly ideal summer single, something even my nineteen-year-old rockist self could realise. The acoustic guitar may be swiftly be becoming overused in this kind of R'n'B single but Jam and Lewis use it right (courtesy of America's “Ventura Highway”, apparently) – witness the way the beat starts out by darting around it and then by the midsection they're perfectly blended. The candy-coated video helped advance the proper vibe, but really, if you're listening to this and not picturing sunshine you may be the Grinch. Janet's voice doesn't even really sound like her (at least not as I was used to her), but all they really needed was a singer who could sound like she was smiling the entire song through, and she knocks that one out of the park. [8]

And of course, if you like the sound of the songs on the Jukebox, there's always the associated Stycast...

Thursday, April 20, 2006 

Good for something after all

So I guess Brian Mulroney was environmentally friendly? You know we've got a bad PM when I start feeling vaguely nostalgic for the Chin. Note, of course, how Harper is being a dick near the end of the article.


I didn't even realise it was 4/20

Apparently it's National High Five Day today. It should be international, I think.


On waking

This article is mostly bullshit (full disclosure: I use an electric razor and am wholly unconvinced by Crouch's arguments that learning to shave "properly" would somehow make me a better person), but there is one great paragraph nestled within:

There are few experiences of sheer vertiginous despair that can compare to the alarm going off at 4:30 after six hours or so of sleep. The furnace, uninformed of my travel plans, has not yet come on, so the temperature in our bedroom is about 55 degrees. I stumble into the bathroom, shivering, and wince against the light. The hot shower is comforting, but I still feel a vague sickness of fatigue in my stomach and sluggishness in my limbs.

I've had way too many mornings like that, albeit not necessarily at 4:30 in the morning.


Riding ice cream trucks

I don't even care that much about the story, but one of the reasons I love the Arts section at is that they give even less-exciting topics awesome story titles.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 

And I've never met anyone quite like you before

Sometimes after a shitty couple of days, all you need is nice weather, New Order's "Temptation", and some planes flying overhead to feel all right again.


Because the opposite of boredom isn’t interest, it’s distraction

Mike Powell has an abolsutely fascinating post up, drawing links between some excellent writing I'd already encountered (the first three links) and a bunch I hadn't (the rest).

There's a hell of a lot there, but I think the two elements I seize onto the firmest are the art/life continuum (because, obviously, it's not a dichotomy) and the idea of boredom. I think Mike gets Eno precisely right when he talks of Eno's "non-musician" stance as being not about some sort of DIY thing but "there is no this to speak of that can be reasonably separated from just kinda existing" - I am as much a sucker for the gallery as anyone, but if art only existed there we'd all be in trouble. I do think (if I'm reading him right) Mike is if anything being a bit too negative when he talks about the "two societal boxes" we fall into; the problem isn't that we're restricted to one or the other, but that we always think of it that way. The fact that the dichotomy doesn't actually reflect how life is lived by people is unfortunate, and thinking about things on those terms is going to be a little deforming, yes, but the fact is that art (especially music, and Eno's/Mike's point on the analogy of food and music is an apposite one) at a certain level or vantage point blurs into "just kinda existing".

Which leads, for me as for Mike, into boredom. I can't remember if I blogged the k-punk entry Mike mentions (I do try not to blog every single entry there), but I was quite struck by this part of the post. Both what Mike mentions, and some surrounding issues (I'm not going to get into the political side of it too much, although Mark on Capital Realism is always thought provoking):

[T]he state I'm referring to is constituted not by an inability to get pleasure so much as it by an inability to do anything else except pursue pleasure. There is a sense that 'something is missing' - but no appreciation that this mysterious, missing enjoyment can only be accessed beyond the pleasure principle.


There is a sense, of course, in which reading is boring. Upon first encounter, philosophical or literary writing which is genuninely new will be frustrating and difficult. But that is true of the acquisition of any skill - learning to play a musical instrument, for instance, is demanding before it is enjoyable... Some students want Nietzsche in the same way that they want a hamburger; they fail to grasp - and the logic of the consumer system encourages this misapprehension - that the indigestibility, the difficulty
is Nietzsche.

Between that last ellipsis and where I continue the quotation is the part that Mike excerpted. One of the best/most fascinating things in Mike's post, I think, is how he goes on to explore the way in which boredom (or rather, what society calls boredom) can be a good thing. But I think that is distinctly different from a depressive hedonic (the type of person from the above quotation) being removed from the system of stimuli modern life makes possible. I'm not saying Mike shouldn't have quoted Mark, more pointing out that having boredom go from the relatively nightmarish conception of the above to Mike's interesting Warhol/Eno conception is so short a time is giving me conceptual whiplash. These are two different things, and we need two different words, I think; Mike starts his account with "Being truly bored is being enough at peace with something" and it doesn't matter where that sentence is going, the idea of being at peace with something is opposed to the above conception of boredom as a kind of low-grade withdrawal coupled with the shortened attention-span/difficulty threshold to find reading not so much boring as impossible.

In a later post, Mark points to some posts by Dominic Fox that advocate a kind of "militant dysphoria" or "New Puritanism" aimed at reversing or combatting the above. It sounds a little scary, but especially the first post is excellent food for thought. And although I'm thinking of art, not sex, I do look around my apartment and wonder why I have all these things even as I seem unable to stop buying new books and music, even as I'm planning out what to buy next. The digital age means that I rarely buy an album before I have heard it and decide I like it enough to hear it again and again; but why do I feel compelled to actually own these records (pragmatic considerations of hard drive space aside; and I do feel a slight sense of relief every time I delete an album I've bought or one I've given up on off of my hard drive, one that has nothing to do with the law), and what does that have to do with both kinds of boredom?

Things are different enough now that even a poor(ish) student like myself has access to a dizzying array of media, and has been noted by many, the problem now is stemming or controlling or focusing the tide. Because if you don't, how soon until you succumb to depressive hedonia? And if you're going to do so, how imperative is it that you learn to be bored again?

The other night I had the sudden urge (apropos, as far as I could tell, of nothing) to throw out/give away all of my books except a small arbitrary number, and to only from that day forward own that many books. The idea being partially that with libraries and modern technology you can still read as much as you like, but who needs to own anything except the most important (to themselves) works? It strikes me now, as I'm still considering whether following through on this plan is something I want to do, that it never occurred to me for even a second to do the same with my CDs, and maybe that's something I want to think about.

(aaaaand we're far enough astray that I think I'll just stop here, although this is the sort of thing I wish I could sit down with Mike over a drink and really get into)



It's true, I do dislike Scott McClellan as much as any public official in a country I don't live in whom I have never met, but news that he's quitting doesn't exactly cheer me up. So what, now he gets to belly up to the pork barrel full time, not even having to lie to the media?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 


K and I have gotten into the habit of emailing each other after each new episode of House, as we're both addicted:

>Cameron: "Do you have any idea what it feels like to have a six-foot-long
>hose shoved up your rectum?"
>House: "No, but I now have a much greater respect for whatever basketball
>player you dated in college."
>Seriously, could this show's dialogue get any better?

She's got a point. Although Ben and I spent the whole episode yelling at Cameron to eat a goddamn sandwich, already.

(and if you actually watched it and know what I'm talking about, the end scene was a prime example of why I love Foreman)


Fine white foam

As previously mentioned, I finally bought the Mountain Goats' We Shall All Be Healed, and I have yet to be disappointed. Currently listening to it for the second time today, I'm in my favourite phase of digesting a new record by Darnielle, the one where phrases that went unnoticed before (or even ones that annoyed me) start by some mysteriously, quasi-alchemical process becoming my favourite things about the songs. It doesn't matter how lukewarm I feel about one of these albums on first play, I'm going to wind up adoring every track.

I'm not sure anything here will touch me as profoundly as "Have To Explode" still does, but there are already some new candidates for what I could call the Checkerboard White and Grey Hall of Fame, first (chronologically) among them the couplet "we are what we are / get in the goddamn car" from "Slow West Vultures".


Crimes against science

The Great Orbax, who is a drinking buddy of mine as well as a fine, fine entertainer, is in the Toronto Star. It's a pretty good article, and the guy deserves all the exposure he can get - his shows are never less than, well, great.


The anatomy of explanations

I know I'm coming late to this after both A&L Daily and the redoubtable Rachel have linked it, but this New Yorker piece about our reasons for giving reasons is so fantastic I'm going to link it too. On the one hand, it stands alone marvellously; on the other, I really want to go to the library and find a copy of Why?, despite my current reading backlog.



Slacktivist has my favourite take on Easter.

Monday, April 17, 2006 

But people, people, we're not in love

Since today seems to be all about the music, I might as well finish up with a quick word about the Delgados' The Great Eastern, which I listened to while out walking tonight. Hearing "American Trilogy" on The Wedge late one friday night as a teenager was a seriously formative experience; rarely before had I heard one song by a band and been so convinced I was in love with them (I also felt like "American Trilogy" was kind of about me, which it is not and it wasn't back then either; but when you're a teenager, you seize on to these sorts of things). In fact, my main worry when I bought the album was that the rest wouldn't measure up, when in fact it is now only my fourth or fifth favourite song on the album.

I like their two succeeding albums more, and maybe even Peloton, but The Great Eastern was the first. I'll probably never get rid of it, despite thinking it's kind of oddly structured and not liking either the beginning or the end that much (that middle, though!). I kind of miss the fact that they stopped being as destructively loud with their guitars as they are at the end of "No Danger", but I always preferred "Aye Today" anyways. And for the rest of my life, one of my finest concert experience will always be seeing the Delgados for the first time, with string section, and having them blow the roof off of the venue with "Thirteen Gliding Principles". Completely one of those occasions where you just want them to play one song all night, and then they do, and it's BETTER than you expected.


Either your emotions have an echo

Yeah, I know it's not exactly underplayed/hyped (sales records broken in the UK, popping up in Grey's Anatomy, etc), but seriously, if you don't love Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", what's wrong with you? I haven't been this delerious over a genuine pop hit in so long, I can't remember what the last one was. If nothing else, you have to love the way the track pitches and yaws underneath Cee-Lo every time he hits that amazing refrain. Dude sings his ass off.

Edited to add: Here's a link to the crazy-ass Rorschach blot video.


I've been crowned the king of it

Listening to Slanted & Enchanted today, a record I for too long have passed over in favour of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (not a bad album by any means, but as much as I originally lionized it as a teeanger I now find myself gravitating more to the shards of songs S&E is dotted with), it strikes me that its age means it came out when I was 10. And I think if I'd gotten my hands on Pavement at that age I would have really loved it; the sense of humour would have appealed to me (my parents probably would have asked me to stop singing "Conduit For Sale!" or "Fame Throwa" at the top of my lungs very quickly), as would have the short attention span displayed by the band. And as I wasn't exactly constantly hyper, the quiter interludes like "Zurich Is Stained" and the effortlessly sublime "Here" would have sustained my interest through the years.

Which is kind of a weird sensation, as this is basically the first time I've wished I'd gotten into a particular band earlier than I did. But to have been into Pavement when Brighten The Corners (my favourite album of theirs, I think) came out would have been a fine thing indeed.


It makes me feel just rotten

Another Monday, another A Touching Display; this one does see me break into the 30s, though, and thus pulling ahead of Todd Burns' Mondrian's Sketchbook and becoming the most prolific Stycast. Unless he does one or more this week. But it's not really a contest, so it shouldn't really matter.

Oh, and as far as music goes, this one features a song from my favourite new band since Sweet Billy Pilgrim.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 

Good weekend

The ever wonderful K, late of Cornell Law School (and this story), blessed us with her presence this weekend and boy was it fun. Last night was pretty sloppy, but before that we spent the day catching up with various people and driving out to Kitchener where I bought a ton of records, because K is awesome. My haul:

Mates Of State - Bring It Back
The Ramones - Road To Ruin
Neil Young - On The Beach
Wire - On The Box 1979
The Mountain Goats - We Shall All Be Healed

The Ramones and Neil Young were both $12 a pop, brand new (and remastered, in the Ramones case); I guess Encore has some sort of deal with that distributor. Between these and all the food and booze I bought this weekend (my gin stores are replenished and I just sprung for lunch for six at Wok's Taste before K left today, partly because I owed Erik for the last time I was there), I'm done the small amount of splurging I was doing with some money I got recently. But I'm still in great financial shape; I get paid next week, the bills are all paid, I've got rent and student loan payments socked away, and when I get my taxes all of them are going on the credit card, because my customary indulgence has already happened. And since money issues are pretty much the one thing that consistently stress me out or prevent me from being stressed out, I'm feeling pretty good.

Thursday, April 13, 2006 

I love living in the future dept.

I think I forgot to blog the fat and acne-destroying lasers they're working on when I found that story last week, but I'm not going to forget a new light source:

The organic light-emitting diode (OLED) emits a brilliant white light when attached to an electricity supply.

The material, described in the journal Nature, can be printed in wafer thin sheets that could transform walls, ceilings or even furniture into lights.

The OLEDs do not heat up like today's light bulbs and so are far more energy efficient and should last longer.

They also produce a light that is more akin to natural daylight than traditional bulbs.

They've still got a couple of wrinkles to work out, but this sounds pretty awesome.


Might as well get started early

Somehow I almost forgot to mention that I had an extraordinarily productive meeting with Jeff Mitscherling and he's going to be my thesis advisor. And I'm going to be doing something on philosophy of criticism, if that makes any sense. I'm pretty pumped. I've got some stuff to read over the summer, and I've got the list of grad classes they're offering for the duration; one of the good things about Jeff is he's pretty dead-set on you doing the MA in one year (three semesters), which saves money and time and actually makes me pretty excited. Relatively soon I get to figure out which semester I want to TA in, and then we're off.


Natural's not in it

I don't like a "classic" album as much as some people think I should; film at eleven.

My favourite part is probably that although I'm tough on the band, what comes through the review, especially the end, is a grudging respect and an admission that although they're not especially my thing, they're quite good - but if you fail to pay due respect to a "great record", some people are going to bitch no matter what you say.


We was robbed

Despite a fine performance, we came in fourth at this night's music trivia - I guess those massive tables of 12 people apiece managed to draw on more knowledge than the 6 of us.

Before hitting the bar, however, I dropped by the new record store in Guelph and managed to buy Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (overdue, I know), and most importantly the brilliant 2-disc reissue of Slowdive's epochal Souvlaki (the best shoegaze album of all time, if you don't count My Bloody Valentine, which you shouldn't, and with Ride's Going Blank Again a close second). The remastering is accomplished (the job done on "Sing" is worth the price alone), the bonus tracks are given their own disc (a practice I'm a big fan of), and there are more of them (finally, I have no need to track down the In Mind or Outside Your Room EPs). The owner of the store is ordering the remaster of Pygmalion (best post-shoegaze ambient album ever?) for me too.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 

He's good, but a bit overrated

It may be on a humour website, but Dr. David Thorpe's Your Band Sucks column is a must for anyone who likes music and especially who likes reading about music. The "Field Guide to North American Hipsters" are pretty priceless, but today's second installment of "How to Fake It" is priceless. The best part is probably where Thorpe points out you're unlikely to be caught "because people involved in music discussions don’t actually care what other people think, they’re merely concerned about the politics of domination and submission."



Remind you of anything?

Shit, it's even got the smear, albeit on the wrong side.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, maybe you should read more books)



I know a couple of my friends have stopped reading the ever-fantastic Something Positive because it's "too negative" or something, and without recent context I'm not sure this strip will make sense (although a little logical reasoning should make the important bits clear to anyone), but in any case this is about the most heartwarming thing I've seen all week. "Negative" my ass.

(You've also missed the storyline about Davan's parents, which was damned well done, even if I have wanted to hit the author a couple of times - that means it's effective!)


Work radio dept.

My tracers generally listen to shit pop radio during the night, but every so often there's a bright spot. Anyone who questions my love for Natalie Imbruglia should note just what a nice change "Wrong Impression" is after an hour of top 40. It's like going from lead to gold.



Whether or not you like Dinosaur Comics (at Qwantz), you have to admit this cover (more complete picture here, if you scroll down a little) is a thing of genius and beauty.


For the hills

My review of the Black Angels' Passover is up today; it's a bit more heavy-duty than most of my reviews, but I like the way it turned out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 

Criticism is not a buyer's guide

Via the ever-valuable Arts & Letters Daily, here's a fine piece from Slate on book critic Michiko Kakutani. To be critical is to discuss how and why a piece of art does or doesn't work, not merely that it does or doesn't, and Kakutani's focus on "thumbs up/thumbs down" (as Yagoda puts it) at the expense of actual criticism* is one found all too often in musical journalism.

On the other hand, he also mentions "lugubrious" as a "[word] that probably [has] never been said aloud in the history of English", and I spoke it aloud during the last A Touching Display, so clearly Yagoda and I are not 100% on the same page.

*It doesn't help that the forms of "critical", as well as "discriminate", are almost always used in the pejorative sense, which makes talking about "criticism" more confusing than it should be.


I'm sorry that the kitchen is on fire

I first heard of Tamas Wells via the Stypod and David Pullar's praise of them, and sure enough I've fallen under their spell. Everything you can (and should download) via their site is excellent, but in particular the song this post is named after and "Valder Fields" and "When We Do Fail Abigail" - I woke up this morning with the combination of all three running through my head, and if that's not a pleasent awakening I don't know what is.


How the hell did Snook get so high?

Really, their place ought to be taken by Veronica Maggio. What am I talking about? This week's singles, of course.

Monday, April 10, 2006 

That's a physical impossibility

I pulled a muscle in my thumb, or sprained it or something, bowling this weekend. I knew I was using too heavy of a ball, but by the time I realised it I was too stubborn to stop. Damn. Even squeezing out the scrubbing sponge I use for dishes hurt a little.

Also, I am apparently a person who prefers Phantom Power by the Tragically Hip to Phantom Power by the Super Furry Animals. I am okay with whatever this says about me.


Small world

K just sent me an email so awesome I need to post it in its near-entirety:

"I was sitting in Property today, listening to my professor (Alexander, who I adore) talk about landlord-tenant law, specifically whether a landlord has a duty to the tenant to control the nuisance behavior of third parties. We were discussing this in the context of a hypothetical case where the tenant complains about other tenants' loud parties, and Alexander said 'Now, just so you know, Jim Krier (one of our casebook's authors) REALLY knows about this issue. His son's a rock star called ...'

wait for it...

Andrew WK! Half the class (obviously, the half that had heard of the guy) cracked up laughing, and the rest proceeded to crack up when Alexander (short, balding, paunchy, middle-aged) gave us his best rendition of "Party Till You Puke."

I still can't get over that. Jim Krier's son is Andrew Motherfucking WK."

Well, I knew Mr. WK's name is Wilkes-Krier, but I never would have guessed his dad wrote some textbook they use at Cornell. And that one of the profs would be familiar enough with WK's music to use it as an example. Awesome.


Grow any further

The 29th edition of A Touching Display is up this Monday; people who have never heard Tilt-era Scott Walker are especially encouraged to check it out, but there's good stuff there above and beyond "Bouncer See Bouncer...", of course.


Man with hammer

We all have days like that.

Sunday, April 09, 2006 

Argument rules

We don't have nearly the debates in the comments here that John Scalzi does, but this post perfectly sums up how I feel about arguing about stuff. Especially this:

I assume that no matter how heated an argument can get in a comment thread, at any point in time we could stop and one of us would say "I'm getting this round." This is in part rooted in my real-life experience with friends; my best friend from high school and I, for example, can get into arguments that to an outside observer looks like we're about to stab each other to death, and then after we're done we'll go get something to eat at the nearest family restaurant. I assume that people who like each other can and do argue passionately and even politically incorrectly and still like each other when the argument is done.

Saturday, April 08, 2006 

Scones are delicious

It's been a bit of an odd afternoon; Ben's gone to Toronto and I wound up having high tea at the Boathouse with Aaron, Christa, James and a few others. Which was quite nice. I had some sort of vanilla tea that was fairly delicious, even if the fact that we met at 3 meant I had basically just awoken. Everyone else had to study and I was enjoying listening to Belle & Sebastian on my new headphones (expensive, but worth every penny) too much to just go home, as the Boathouse is about four minutes away from my building, and walking around on a beautiful sunny day listening to “The Model” and “The Wrong Girl” and “There's Too Much Love” fills me with a bafflingly strong sense of well-being (because if you take out that one song Fold Your Hands, Child... really is their best LP, and I always liked Sarah Martin's voice better than Isobel Campbell's – too cold).

And then I dropped by my local comic book shop and picked up everything they had on reserve for me, including the first two volumes (of four) of Grant Morrison's astounding Seven Soldiers of Liberty thing, which is not just about superheroes at all but is about as giddily thrilling as superheroes can get. Reading a bunch of good Morrison at once makes me positively manic, and the caffeine in the pot of tea I had probably isn't helping either.

And then (this post was delayed due to some asshat with a bad portable phone fucking up our wireless network) I got a call from Erik and joined him, Ange, Jamie and Jer down at Wok's Taste, somewhere I haven't been in months. It was an incredibly satisfying meal.

At some point I am apparently going to go bowling. I am having a ridiculously good day.

Friday, April 07, 2006 


For some reason (possibly the birthday hijinks I attended last night for my friend Kyra, who seems to be recovering well today) I've been very single-minded in my listening today. First I washed the dishes to five or six plays of the Tragically Hip's "Something On", and then I spent three or four hours in an Arab Strap-induced fugue.

I also finally caved and bought Underworld's Second Toughest In The Infants and Massive Attack's Protection today, both albums I've almost bought repeatedly over the years. Especially the Massive Attack, given how much I like all of their other albums. But I guess that's what a sudden infusion of cash will do for you.


Arendt in New York

The brief last paragraph is definitely preaching to the converted, and there's a lot here to plow through, but Eugene McCarraher's lengthy interrogation of Hannah Arendt's work and inconsistencies is so consistently well-argued and written I actually put in the time to get through it all. I think there's a probably an interesting essay to be written from the opposite perspective (where the uncoupling of Arendt's ideas from theology is not just acceptable but necessary), but McCarraher never fails to extend the proper inferential charity despite disagreeing with Arendt's conclusions. Top notch stuff.


A better box of burgers

My friend Jeromy has a good article on Cadence Weapon up today. Nice pictures, too.

Thursday, April 06, 2006 


I did have just a cheap silicone sleeve for my iPod, and it worked okay... I guess, but after seeing Steve's insanely great plastic case for his I ordered one of their Nano models; it came yesterday, and it works spectacularly. Never shall my screen get scratched again; I heartily recommend the brand to anyone else with an iPod.


"Unique in his recollection"

I don't that much about the Plame case and various other crimes committed by the current American government, because really, what's the point? It's all out in the open and no one gives a fuck. Impeachment is still the only reasonable response, but you get the government you deserve, as they always say.


Risk addiction

K-punk has the most interesting review of Basic Instinct 2 that you're likely to see up at his site. Also well worth your time is his examination (linked in the review) of Carpenter's In The Mouth Of Madness, which I haven't seen in far too long.


Old home week

So Paul and Kara and their son Alexander (who is adorable, even when he's amusing himself by seeing if he can throw his toy car off the table without me catching it) were in town last night, and Pete visited Guelph on the weekend. It has been exceedingly nice to see all of them again; I should probably be better at keeping in touch with people.


I think I lost my headache

I've got a review of Takuma Itoi's Quietude up on Stylus today, which is kind of a nice coincidence considering how I'm feeling. Time to listen to some extremely quiet music and go to work.


The night's results

1st place in the 1st round, and 2nd in the 2nd. I will say, though, that especially in the first round (where we demolished - 18 points, and second place was 12) it definitely wasn't all me this time. We had a really solid team. Much beer was won. I imagine despite brushing my teeth twice, I might still taste it when I wake up tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 

It's only lightning

I haven't owned it for that long, and Scott McKeating's review is still the best place to read about it, but suffice it to say you should be ordering Coil's The Ape Of Naples now, while you still can.

Now, I said.


Audio architecture

Via the ever-valauble Turntable over at Stylus, here's a pretty fascinating article about Muzak, which is almost certainly not what you think it is.


The more you know

I learn something every day at this job; today it's the fact that there is apparently a "Mathers Ave" in West Vancouver. I wonder why it's called that?


New project

The stycast today is the inaugural edition of the new Singles Jukebox podcast; I haven't listened to this one yet, being at work, but it's got some great songs (as well as some truly shitty ones) and possibly the inimitable Todd Burns vocalising one or more of my blurbs.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006 


Every so often, maybe 3-4 times a year, I get a cramp just below and behind my left kneecap so bad that I wake up screaming (these have invariably happened when I am asleep). But yesterday and today, for the first time, that particular muscle has been acting up without actually inducing crippling pain. I went to bed very nervously last night, but I was fine; the gym yesterday and today haven't been a problem; but every so often when walking there's a twitch or a hint of pain. I once heard potassium is supposed to be good for this sort of thing, so I think I'll eat some bananas tonight.

As it is, I almost wish I'd get a full-on attack, if only because that means I can stop worrying about it for a couple of months at least.



Via Warren Ellis:

...matter is not distributed uniformly throughout space but is instead arranged in an intricate “cosmic web” of filaments and walls surrounding bubble-like voids... When the Universe is considered as a whole, this distribution has a similar appearance to a spider’s web or the neural network of the brain.

Amazingly cool and kind of spooky at the same time.



The Chronicle of Higher Education addresses some common misconceptions about evolution.


Everything just sucks

Singles again today; I'm glad my 3 managed to drag the odious Wigwam single down below the Gnarls Barkley one, although of course Bodies Without Organs doesn't get the respect it deserves (Jessica Popper knows where it's at).

Also, I can't link to it but it brightened my morning immeasurably to see that Qwantz is now advertising on Stylus; look for Professor Science!

Monday, April 03, 2006 

I want a name when I lose

Feel good hits of the third of April, 2006:

Hefner - "Tactile"
Steely Dan - "Deacon Blues"
Songs: Ohia - "Didn't It Rain"
Elbow - "The Everthere"
Clinic - "Distortions"
Coil - "A Cold Cell"
Tricky - "Vent"
Rachel Yamagata - "I Wish You Love"
Superchunk - "Ribbon"
Raising The Fawn - "The News"

Between the school's network being down for hours, having to watch the Reception desk for an hour and general shittiness, today has been a total wash. And now I get to buy groceries!


Night turns black 'cause it's rotten

New A Touching Display Today, and a very unusual episode it is; I don't play one "down" song. (Plus, you really need to hear at least the first two songs if you haven't before, they're fantastic.)

Sunday, April 02, 2006 

I found that essence rare

I'm (sadly?) not nearly as political as Mark is, but I still read k-punk with keen interest, and today's post is a whopper. Especially the ending.

Saturday, April 01, 2006 

A lack of uniforms

Wait, so all the people who have been telling me that eventually I'm going to have to stop wearing jeans and a t-shirt all the time may be wrong?

The job stuff is the article is also kind of scarily on target, but parts of the article bear no relation to people I know (especially parenting - would it surprise you to find out Neal Pollock comes across as a bit of a dick?), and of course Sternbergh makes the de rigeur cultural trend-article mistake of writing about "grups" as if they're more prevelant than they actually are, but it's a solid piece of writing nonetheless.

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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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