Friday, August 31, 2007

It Really Pains Me to See Things Change

Okay, change of plans! Loathe as I am to recant on my previous post predictions, I can tell you guys about outfitting additions when I get back. It's been another big week, nobody will really be too heartbroken if I still my ceaseless chatter for a couple of days, and the speedy completion of this post is all that stands between me and the door as I tear my way up Highway 8 for the weekend.

So, hey, hell with it! I know I'd suggested a post about clothes, and I'm sure you'll be absolutely enthralled by it when I do post it, but--

Lyrics Born - I Changed My Mind (Stereo MC's Rattlesnake Mix) (Same !@#$ Different Day, 2005)
[buy | site | myspace]

(Segue! Whoo!)

Any of you out there familiar with Lyrics Born? Formerly known as Asia Born? Half of Latyrx? Pops up all over the place? Anybody? No?

Well, no worries; all you need to know about this track here is that it will accompany you perfectly in your weekend activities, regardless of what you're up to. Partying? Chilling? Dancing? Walking? Driving? Writing about music after work instead of hitting the damn road already? Perfectly suited! You'll be amazed!

So enjoy your long weekend, dudes and dudettes! I'll be back to help you combat the dread beast September before you know it.

And The Eyes Follow You Wherever You Go

I can't let this pass without posting about it, because I laugh every time I see it.

Milt Stegall, as I'm sure we all know by now, broke the CFL record for touchdown receptions; it was a momentous occasion to highlight his incredible career as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber, and everybody is happy for him. Good on him for breaking the record, good on him for being a class act through and through, and all of us wish him the best in his pursuit of a Grey Cup.

With that said. The Winnipeg Free Press, naturally, wanted to seize a golden opportunity to have themselves associated with this success. As anybody might, and as many people did.

That pre-game ceremony before last Friday's tilt was an eyeroll-inducer, by the way, and I'm putting that mildly. It didn't help that everybody involved seemed to have mysteriously lost their public speaking skills, which is confusing considering half the speakers are politicians. And we could have put Stegall's name on a nice new building somewhere, or at least on a street that people actually use, but at some point somebody in charge realized that there's no arena on Arena Road any more. Did anybody consider that we aren't even sure if there'll be a stadium near Arena Road in the coming years? AND OH BOY LET'S AWKWARDLY BRING UP THE PUBLIC-VERSUS-PRIVATE OWNERSHIP DEBATE DURING A SPEECH JUST SO WE DON'T FOCUS TOO MUCH ON MILT OR ANYTH--I could have gone on for pages about that ceremony if I'd thought of it at the time.

But I digress. The Winnipeg Free Press, seizing the opportunity, had Milt pose for a picture with the paper and used that picture on several different days as an advertisement. None of this, so far, is out of the ordinary -- but I don't know if they arbitrarily decided that his smile is unmarketable, or if they figured nobody would recognize him unless he's wearing his high-intensity gameday face, or what, but instead of smiling while he's holding the product he is staring directly through the camera and into the reader's very soul.

Oh, he's pissed, too. I assume they're trying to work from his well-deserved reputation as an intense competitor, but really now -- that is not a look that conveys the message "please buy the Winnipeg Free Press". That is a look that says "I am deeply angry at you personally".

Which is still pretty funny, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, I'm probably going to start using that whenever something goes horribly awry around here.

For example, just say, hypothetically:

"Winnipeg, I have just finished reading today's installment of the Free Press. The news is composed entirely of people being relentlessly horrible to each other in a crumbling and decaying city, and I'm very disappointed in all of you.

"Especially you, East St. Paul police service."

"Especially you.

"We've already established that the consequences are practically laughable for minors who kill people with vehicles while driving illegally; we've sent a strong message to those children, now, and the message is that the consequences are practically laughable for adults who kill people with vehicles while driving illegally.

"Nice going, best and brightest. Real smooth. I'll be sure to keep my head up and my hands out so I can try and catch what part of this story was supposed to reinforce our faith in our justice system."

"Shape up, Winnipeg. Or I start busting some heads. Seriously."

Hot Glue Gun - I'll Kill You (I'll Kill You 7'' Single, 1991)
[buy compilation / info | via]

Electric Eel Shock - Scream For Me (Single Edit) (Beat Me, 2005)
[buy | site | info]

Priestess - No Real Pain (Hello Master, 2005)
[buy | site | myspace]

Clark - Vengeance Drools (Body Riddle, 2006)
[buy | site | info]

In conclusion, I'm having entirely too much fun with that picture.

Congratulations on your record, Milt Stegall! I'm sure you have a lovely smile, no matter what the photographers tell you!

Be sure to come back tomorrow this evening, gentle readers; I'll be doing a quick post before taking off out of town for the long weekend. I'll post some more strange music and talk about recent additions to my wardrobe! I bet you're excited already!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Get Too Tired After Mid-Day Lately (or, Wait What Give Me Back My Summer)

Music post! God yes! It's been almost a month since I even posted a single track, and a month is a long time for me to go without trying to push my tastes on anybody I can corner sharing wonderful music with other people as best I can.

At the start of the summer I had intended to be passing along delightful summer songs every so often, but I let myself get caught up in other things and now I'm finding it's increasingly too late.

And here I had promised myself this would be the year that I wouldn't just work all summer and miss everything.

I had grand plans, you know; I had believed my contacts at the placement agency when they told me that my temp gig was, well, temporary. They had given me an exit date (then another, and then another, until eventually they stopped humouring me entirely), and I had been eagerly looking forward to it; imagine my surprise to find myself at the same position, in the same place, two months after my initial exit date came and went. Oh, the things I had dreamed of doing! Go out with my guitar and busk on the street, hop in the car and spend a few weeks hunting down old ghost towns, drive out west to visit my Dad, maybe sneak in a dentist appointment without having to cancel a day of paying employment, organize my paperwork around the house -- you know, fun stuff.

Alas, not. Now I'm going to have to go back in time and tell myself from four months ago that I was lying to him about the whole thing; he always looks so sad when I do that, and I always feel bad about doing it, but maybe next year things will be different.

It's already far too late for this year. This seems certain.

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and stores already have their Halloween decorations up; I walked out my door to go to work a handful of mornings ago and realized I could see my breath. I hope you had a nice summer; if you didn't, I suspect you've missed your chance.

As such, the subject of summer slowly and softly slipping away -- I am given occasionally to brief bouts of alliteration -- leads us into our first track:

Husky Rescue - Summertime Cowboy (Country Falls, 2004)
[buy | site | myspace]

If you've never heard Finnish ambient synth-country before, well, now you have.

I don't know what imagery this song will conjure up in your mind's eye, but my imagination definitely churns out some strange goings-on. I'm envisioning a primary-coloured plastescine rider on a primitive mechanical horse, composed entirely of blunted silver cylinders; the passage of time is represented by different colours of lasers across the sky, and the last thing you want is to be riding out there when the seasons change.

I love the atmosphere going on in this song, as though the percussion is there specifically to power the electronics and the electronics are the only thing that can keep the singer from crumbling in on herself. As a whole the song puts on a brave but hollow face, like a smiling mask hammered out of cheap tin -- and so it shores its determination, grits its teeth and plows ever forward, churning ahead if only because stopping and looking around would be too depressing to contemplate.

Even the tambourine's entrance into the track, a minute in, seems hesitantly timed and comes perilously close to missing entirely; a hair later and it would have been too late, the whole thing would have ground to a halt, and it... and... okay, I can see that look you're giving me. Stop that. I'm in an odd mood today; occasionally when I'm writing I just get going on something, and you have to bear with me until it's out of my system. You know how it is.

Oh, what? Don't give me that look! Look, fine -- just never mind all that up there, then. (No, Mom, I'm not on 'the drugs'.)

Perhaps the problem is I'm just not starting off with a very accessible song, and then as such I'm trying too hard to draw people into it. Now, I'm sure this song is probably the most natural starting point for a listener to jump into Finnish ambient synth-country -- but, well, it doesn't change the idea that it's still Finnish ambient synth-country. So let's jump from here into something a little more palatable right off the hop, something that most passers-by would enjoy dearly without my prodding... something like--

José González - Killing for Love (In Our Nature, 2007)
[preorder | site | myspace]

Ah! Right on. A timely slice of universal goodness, surfacing from the upcoming sophomore release of a Swedish folk sensation. The previous song might not have been to everybody's tastes, but this song is practically a Voight-Kampf test in audio format; if you can't enjoy this at some level, if this song does absolutely nothing for you, then baby you've just gotta be some sort of android.

José González (not to be mistaken with Invader #1, although I think I'm likely the only one here who would have made that connection) has basically been lighting the internet on fire since his first album hit widespread release a couple of years back, and rightfully so. If you'd missed the previous furor, hop over to his MySpace; both Crosses and Heartbeats stream from there, and between those two songs you'll have heard almost everything we all went mad over. (He's done a few other covers besides the Knife one, including a Massive Attack cover that'll be appearing on this next album.) Given the popularity (and sheer quality) of those two songs, you can imagine the hype surround this upcoming disc -- but if the whole album sounds like this song, then clearly nobody has anything to worry about.

You may have noticed by now that I'm big on songs that could have been written anytime, not just fitting into but easily thriving in any era; this song is timeless right from the second it starts up, beautiful and simple and fiery and classy all at once, a call to arms against anybody who would insist that they just don't write songs like they used to these days.

Twenty years from now, when they're releasing Best Of The '00s compilations, the future compilers will have scores of such instant classics to choose from. They'll go through all the incredible music that rose from the explosion of the internet, countless moments of brilliance spanning and bending genres and styles -- and, after all of that, they're going to jettison José González from the prospective list and instead include the Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps". That is why twenty years from now I will be around specifically to punch compilers' faces clean off of their skulls. Eat shit, replicants! Ha!

So the new album from José González drops September 25th, and it should be pretty good. That's all I'm getting at, really. Moving on!

Nathan - Stone (Jimson Weed, 2004)
[buy | site | myspace]

Every so often I will reminisce briefly about something and then suddenly feel bizarrely old; this is one such time. Local alt-country darlings Nathan (sometimes written 'nathan'; the capitalization seems optional) have been getting the attention and acclaim they justly deserve over the last few years -- and I was happy to see this happen, because I started listening to Nathan in the summer of 2001 (!) when they played the Brandon Folk Festival (!!). I still have my prized copy of their three-song 2000 EP; I say 'prized' because that was the year I won the festival draw and took home a CD from almost every artist.

Yes, that's right -- I own the initial EPs of bands you didn't probably even like for another three or four years! How indie am I? Damn!

Don't worry, though; all three tracks ended up on their first album, Stranger, so you aren't missing anything. I just like to puff up my music-dork reputation from time to time, and by that I mean pretend I have a reputation to puff up. LET ME HAVE MY FUN

Ahem. Anyway.

If you're passingly familiar with Nathan, no doubt you've heard or seen "Sunset Chaser". It was the single from Jimson Weed, their sophomore release which was for all intents and purposes their breakout album.

"Sunset Chaser" is an absolutely lovely piece, very charming, very poised; you'd be hard pressed to find a sweeter, gentler song these days. But still it isn't what I would have chosen as the single. That's how much I enjoy the other song I've chosen.

"Stone" picks up all the best parts of "Sunset Chaser", piles them on its back, and then jogs off into the distance carrying them along at a brisker pace. It brings the same sense of melancholy, the same endearing melodies and harmonies, but the faster tempo better preserves an optimism that refuses to roll over and die; it also makes the song more fun to sing along with, which is a surefire way of enlisting my loyalties.

But singing along isn't half as fun unless the words have some thought behind them, and the lyrics definitely bring the goods in this one:

I threw a stone in the river for you
I saw the water turn black
and the moon laughed so hard at me
for wanting that stone back

Awwww. If I heard somebody say something like this aloud, I'd feel bad if I did anything but hug them and tell them they were doing the right thing.

So I like "Stone" better than "Sunset Chaser" -- but, then, I'm only one dude. And picking "Sunset Chaser" as the single worked out pretty damn well for them, all things considered. So one day, sometime in the future when I've finally got around to forming a band and we've laid some tracks down, remind me of this discussion -- and then tell me to do the right thing and let somebody else pick the singles, because clearly I can't be trusted with this decision.

Stars - Elevator Love Letter (Heart, 2003)
[buy | site | myspace]

(It's the strangest thing -- I enjoy a great many of the Broken Social Scene-related artists and bands, but I could go the rest of my life without listening to Broken Social Scene as a whole ever again. Beats me why that is, but oh well.)

It would be easy to envision our previous selection, "Stone" as taking place out in a small rural village somewhere -- or maybe alongside a deep, still lake, a short drama of love and loss played out in the space between cottages. With Stars and "Elevator Love Letter", however, there's no question about the scenery -- this is a song that takes place in the big city, and everybody in the song feels worse off for being there.

The effect isn't isolated to this single song, mind you. Remember how I had brought up mental images earlier, mind's eyes and imaginations? Every Stars song I've ever heard sounds to me like a big, cold, lonely city where the sky is always the same shade of gray and snow starts falling lightly across the buildings halfway through the second verse. For all that, though, "Elevator Love Letter" is the one that best conveys this -- or rather it conveys it most explicitly, which I suppose is the same thing.

This could be considered the definitive urban love song, through and through, except that 'love' obviously isn't the right word to use; "I don't know how to love" is the most beautifully straightforward line I've heard in a long time, and I get shivers each time each of the lonely voices sings it. Both sides of the conversation are lost, burned out, overwhelmed and unsure; it's a wonderfully evocative song, and it has a wonderfully evocative video to accompany it.

And as an avowed bass player (I've been playing bass for almost... for... it's been nine years? Oh hell--), let me take this opportunity to marvel at the job the bassist does here to carry the instrumentation along; the bass work is what maintains the aimless urgency that makes the song exactly what it is, and without its prominent force the song sounds absolutely gutted. Good show, Evan Cranley of Stars; make like Barry Horowitz and give yourself a pat on the back.

Music post! Whoo! I was a couple of hours off from squeezing it into the completely arbitrary timeframe that I'd set for myself yesterday extra late Sunday night -- but sure enough I'm getting my form back, and it feels like I've got another few music posts in me yet. It's fortunate for you guys that my music ramblings are way easier to skim past in text form!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shrouded in Secrecy, You Understand

Okay. Today is not the content post. Tomorrow is the content post, and I will swear to that by everything I hold dear.
ha ha just kidding no updates until october you'll never take me alive

In the last little while, I've both started a major blog-related project and encountered a major blog-related development; that's about all I'm going to tell you about either one, right now, both so I won't accidentally ruin them for you and so I won't accidentally jinx them for myself.

I also finally came to a couple of major non-blog-related life decisions, but I'm sure I would bore you by going on and on about those. People don't show up to the blog and say "OH BOY I HOPE HE TELLS US ABOUT HIS PERSONAL GOINGS-ON TODAY"; at least, they don't say that as far as I can tell, and the day this starts actually happening is the day I will desperately need to revamp my writing style. Something will have gone wrong.

Where was I? Ah, yes. I'm just letting you know these things so you don't automatically assume that I spent the entire weekend eating Oreos and watching cartoons. I mean, I totally would have, if given the opportunity -- but never mind that for now.

Music post tomorrow! I promise! Pinky swear!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's Your Downtown Recap Post

Hey, folks! Been a while! Nice to see you!

For a variety of reasons, I haven't been home very often or for very long lately and I've been near my computer even less (I spent all that money to buy the damn thing and I barely even encounter it these days) -- but I remain ever vigilant, paying close attention to my surroundings.

Since I work right downtown, this means that I've been paying close attention to our city's core. And since I've concerned posts with various downtown concerns a few times now, I figure I may as well bring 'em up to speed. So, for the sake of argument, let’s get ourselves caught up on some downtown happenings that I’ve happened to write about before.

Firstly, and probably most germane to the interests of fellow Winnipeggers:

The United Army Surplus clearance sale, which kicked off almost three weeks ago, remains ongoing -- and more importantly, the store-wide discount has finally been bumped up from its original measly 20% to a respectably enticing 40%.

And it turns out that isn't the only change going on in the market. As you'll recall, following the declaration of bankruptcy, the remaining inventory of United Army Surplus was bought out by local outfitting giant S.I.R.; between then and now, S.I.R. has itself been bought out by Americans.

When United Army Surplus finally went under and S.I.R. bought them out, I initially assumed that the town wasn't big enough for two locally owned outfitters; I guess after all of that the town isn't big enough for one locally owned outfitter.

Ah, well. I'm sure we'll survive (or soldier on, if you don't mind the pun); it'll be a bummer knowing the money won't remain in the community when I purchase a much-needed camouflage Mag Lite, but such is business in our modern era.

I don't know where to even begin making fun of the poor decisions that would result in a camouflaged flashlight, so let's move on to the second item of discussion:

The mysteriously absent cop statue remains mysteriously absent. You’ll recall that I was a little sad to see it go, despite myself; now I'm just curious as to what the hell happened to it.

I still hold out hope that it's just being refurbished or something. Or -- I might just be kidding myself on this one, but maybe -- the possibility exists that they switch it out in the summertime for the sake of foliage, then put it back for the other nine or ten months of the year when we can’t grow much of anything. You know? Perhaps they just put it aside for the summer to cultivate the soil, and they're going to bring it back as soon as the flowers start dying.

This seems like a terrible idea, of course – “It’s tourist season! Quick, hide the downtown art!” – but humour me while I grasp at straws. At the very least, if it were gone forever, you would think its placard would have been removed instead of simply grown over.

But then, surely something must be eluding me about all this; I'm not party to the mindset of Portage Place types.

Speaking of which! (A wonderful segue!) This leads us along perfectly into our third topic of consideration:

The Gourmet Cup shenanigans and goings-on remain a complete mystery; I've heard nothing either way since my original post, and nobody else bothered acknowledging the initial protestors in the first place. So I've nothing new to report; the Gourmet Cup may or may not be a wretched hive of scum and villainry, and that's as far as anybody cares to determine right now.

I’m still keeping an ear out for this one, despite its seeming inactivity; feel free to comment or drop me an email if you’re more familiar with the story than I am. I am a man of natural curiosity, and men of natural curiosity do not simply abandon curiosities.

And, hey, speaking of curiously abandonded (I am on fire with my transitions today):

The A&B Sound building remains conspicuously empty -- and, yes, the A&B Sound building also remains wretchedly, unspeakably ugly.

I know by now you're probably tired of hearing about this from me, but come on! Does anybody actually think this is an attractive colour scheme? Unless you are a sports mascot, a tropical bird, or some delicious sherbet, you are better off adorning yourself in a combination of colours that isn’t purple, orange and green simultaneously!

The longer I think about it, the less appealing it even seems. What kind of world would we live in if that was considered a widely acceptable palette? No doubt you’re familiar with our obtuse sculpture of a giant dead fishfly Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge, which is already pretty goofy-looking to begin with –- can you imagine if we had foregone the tacky Salisbury House logo and instead painted the thing in garish secondary colours?

Oh. Wow.

Okay, you know what? That would have been immensely funny. But my point still stands!

Anyway. That about wraps it up, as far as previously mentioned downtown distractions go; tune in next time, when I might finally get around to posting music again. Remember those days? The very idea!

Friday, August 17, 2007

This is How People Find Me, Part II (But First, Ruminations)

My apologies for my recent lack of posts. Things are afoot.

More specifically, I've come to the conclusion that Winnipeg is a terrible job market for anyone with a degree like mine; after hemming and hawing about the idea for the last little while, I've finally admitted to myself that my best shot lies in going back to university and earning another degree. (This was a rueful admission to make, considering what I paid for the last one and how far that's gotten me -- but I'm sure this is my own fault somehow for having stuck with the disciplines I actually liked.)

What graduate degree do I want to go for, and where do I want to try and get it from? Well, that's another handful in itself; I've come to the conclusion that Winnipeg seems little better for my future education than it does for my future employment. I'll have to leave the province for at least a year or two, unless I want to limit my options dramatically. And I've very little money, of course -- as I mentioned, local employers seem to let out a snort of derisive laughter at anybody who shows up with an arts degree and expects a decent salary -- so that's another consideration entirely to add to the pile.

I'm trying to piece together where I'll be going, what I'll have to do to afford going there, and what I'll even be trying to accomplish when I get there (wherever 'there' is). As you can imagine, this hardly lends itself to decent blog posts -- unless you think you'd enjoy reading fifteen straight pages of me going HEY GUYS WHERE ARE THEY HIDING ALL THE GOOD JOBS WHAT THE HELL, wondering aloud where exactly that proposed tuition rebate for Manitoba graduates went, and then frothing from frustration at my inevitable realization that I would never see a dime of it even if it did materialize because I graduated the year right before the rebate would take effect.

Normally this is when I would threaten to turn to drinking, but I guess I'm going to need that money for school. So that's out.

Anyway. Suffice to say, I've got a lot to consider in the next little while. Bear with me, of course.

In the meantime -- fun with search results! Whoo! (What a segue!)

Since the last time I did this, there's been no shortage of search strings that made me smile a little; granted, I'm easy to please, but still. You can imagine my amusement at the idea that people read my blog accidentally when they were looking for, say:

-- mp3 blog etiquette
-- winnipedia piercings
-- eyebrow waxing pembina hwy winnipeg
-- xscargo guitar
-- xscargo shit
-- guy at a&b sound 2007
-- singing zombis
-- frusciante reanimated
-- murder was all lies to me
-- washable crayola poison marker
-- poison control for classic crayola markers
-- tawny sounds like
-- what was supposed to happen on wwe raw
-- what ever happened to the simpson wrestlers
-- look at my iron fist gen fu
-- david spade jerk antony kiedis
-- the meaning of the devo hats
-- spirited energy sucks

Good times!

Everybody enjoy their weekend; I'll see about bringing some actual content for next time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Coffee is Bad for Children (or, I'm Specifically Holding Back on a Couple Dozen One-Liners)

Holy crap things did not go as planned last night. It was a heck of a storm system out north last night! Perhaps you have heard about it! I was driving through it!

Anyway. Since last night was the Great Woods Music Festival opening night (with a frothing explosion of nature's fury immediately afterwards), and this weekend is the two-day summer tournament amongst the local fighting game scene (and do feel free to come out, if only to say hello), I'll have to figure out when to squeeze in my previously promised Islendingadagurinn post.

(Wait, the Bombers game is on tonight? Son of a--)

But all that can be put aside, temporarily, because I have information of immediate interest to pass along.

Walking to the bus stop from work a few hours ago, to begin my journey home for the day, I heard tell from word on the street -- quite literally, in this case -- that the owner of the local Gourmet Cup coffee shops is a predatory pedophile.

Wait, what?

You can't see it, but I'm pantomiming a doubletake right now.

As you can read for yourself, I'm not making any of this up:


"WARNING -- The Owner of the Gourmet Coffee Cup is a Pedophile and is stalking our young girls of our Community of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Since June / 2007. He Lure's them with Drugs and Money."

Ho-lee. Well. Huh. That's not something I was expecting to read in passing today.

Now, this is a particularly harsh accusation to be levelling at somebody -- especially when the extent of the evidence offered is a series of mostly identical placards. Mall security had a few representatives standing in, but they clearly had no inclination to move these women from their position:

Mind you, this probably falls outside their jurisdiction. The demonstration was outside the building, nothing was being shoplifted, and no laws were being broken (assuming for the moment that the message isn't defamation); what were they going to do about it? I would have assumed, were this condemnation a baseless claim, that the people specifically hired to protect mall business would have done something about the situation by this point -- but one of my roommates worked security for a while, back in the day, and he later assured me that security does not actually have to do much about these sorts of things.

You can draw your own conclusions from all of this, of course; heck, for all we know so far, the owner of the Gourmet Cup might be out there next week holding a sign that says "Those aboriginal women last week were actually guerilla Starbucks employees out to undermine our proud local businesses." (That's not going to happen, of course -- but I would pay good money to see him try that, now that I've thought of it.)

We'll see what if anything develops from this opening salvo of nastiness, or if it even gets reported in the papers tomorrow; I'm just passing along what I saw, particularly because it was not something I thought I would be seeing.

I swear, if I find out tomorrow that the Fyxx runs an underground drug cartel or something, I'm just going to give up and switch to tea. Multinational corporations are immoral scumsucking world-destroyers, local businesses are allegedly run by sexual predators -- could somebody please just sell me a big cup of black coffee without being all evil about it? Really, now?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Don't Wait Up for Me

If my previous message didn't foreshadow it -- my Islendingadagurinn post is going to be held up, a little.

Now, said post is going to have more than fifty (!) pictures attached to it; your modem will curse my name, the lone intelligible sound in an otherwise unworldly symphony of shrieking, as my future barrage of images drives it mercilessly into a smouldering early grave.

But that's not why I'm anticipating a delay. No, the delay is because my mother won tickets from CBC Radio for the opening night of the Great Woods Music Festival -- which is held right outside Beausejour, and which is starting tomorrow night.

Tomorrow I am going to wake up bright and early, go to work, work a full day, pick up my car from somewhere else entirely that is not my house, drive up to Dunnottar, catch a ride to Beausejour, watch a full evening's worth of music, catch a ride back to Dunnottar, drive back to Winnipeg, and collapse into bed the second I get home.

("The days are just packed", Watterson once wrote.)

I'm quite looking forward to the whole thing, actually. Because I am insane.

But you can see how this hardly frees up time for the writing and photo-editing process; in fact, proper planning would suggest I should have gone to bed... say, three hours ago. Whoops.

It's a busy summer out there, gentle readers! Don't let it pass you by!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rasserfrackin' Technology






Friday, August 03, 2007

Coming Up: Islendingadagurinn

Holy crap, I can spell it correctly without checking it first. I didn't even know I could do that.

Anyway, I'm heading up to Lake Winnipeg for the long weekend. And it's more than likely that I'll be popping by the Icelandic Festival in Gimli while I'm at it -- because A) I can directly trace my Icelandic heritage back over a millennium and a half, and B) ooh, damn, the Saturday night free concert will have both Greg MacPherson and JFK and the Conspirators. That's going to be awesome.

So, yes. Updates resume on Monday or Tuesday or whenever. We'll figure it out then.

The Funny Papers Should, as a Rule, Be Funny

What's fourty-seven years old and never stops sucking? (For the sake of argument, I'm going to pass on the obvious Yo' Mama joke.) That's right -- it's The Family Circus!






How do you get away with this? Seriously, how? Where is the entertainment value in this?

Who honestly wakes up in the morning and goes "Oh, boy, sure can't wait to read me some Family Circus"?

God, I miss Gary Larson.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Surplus Customers

Yesterday was the beginning of the liquidation sale at the Army Surplus (as I'd mentioned last post); I had genuinely thought that I would drop in and look around right as it opened, because I am a moron.

See, I work at the same intersection as the former United Army Surplus -- right across, way up high in the Tower of Song One Canada Centre. I had thought I would go for lunch at ten to noon, grab some food from the cafeteria on the third floor, then make my way across to the sale where there might be ten or twenty people gathering at the front door.

No, I'm not being facetious. I actually thought this. I really thought this was how it was going to work.

The cafeteria has windows, of course; I sat down with my food and curiosity compelled me to check the crowd, you know, see if anybody bothered... to...


Oh dear.

Well, that'll teach me to take my lunch break so early in the day.

I gobbled up my purchases and made my way out onto street level to investigate.

From a level perspective, it looked like even more people; then again, it probably was, because the line was still growing.

During this time I was stopped not once but twice by passers-by who saw me taking pictures of the line and asked what was going on; the news came as a surprise to said passers-by. One woman told me that she had been out of town for a couple weeks, which would mean she had missed the whole thing unfold; heck of a way to find out!

My public service as a living NPC ("Welcome to Winnipeg!" "I like Slurpees!" "Welcome to Winnipeg!" "I like Slurpees!") out of the way, I made another discovery. What I hadn't realized originally, from my previous perch a hundred feet up, is that the line of people didn't extend around two walls of the building as it had appeared; it extended around three walls.

(As per my previous post, I wonder how many people in line even noticed the "WARNING" sign. Man, I still can't get over that.)

Well, I could tell that I obviously was not getting into this building during my meager lunch break. (The people at the front of the line had been there since half past eight in the morning, for crap's sakes.)

For the sake of argument:

That was the view from the back of the line. Somehow this dissuaded me.

I decided I would spend my time getting some good crowd shots instead; I couldn't exactly go back to the office and declare a mulligan on my lunch break timing.

Keep in mind, the front doors (or what I would consider the front doors -- the ones along Portage) weren't open; everybody was getting in exclusively through the side door along that one little side street, and the staff weren't letting very many people in at a time. The view from the front doors:

There were a lot of people. I don't think I can stress that enough.

And obviously I wasn't going to be the only person there toting a camera, either.

Man, to have a cameraman job. I tell you. If they're paid even remotely well, I want in and I want in now. Here I was taking still pictures on my own time, with a digital camera originally assembled at the turn of the century, and I was going to have to knock it off because I had to go back to my actual job and photocopy documents. What a world! But alas.

Again -- and to sum up -- there were a lot of people. To think that the collapse and closure of a decades-old downtown mainstay is all that it takes to get shoppers out downtown in droves!

The postscript to all of this is that I went and bought a few things from the store after work; turns out the much-anticipated liquidation discount was a paltry 20%, which is almost insulting. (Clearly S.I.R. doesn't actually want to sell the leftover stock as leftover stock; I suspect their plan is to quietly slip the Surplus inventory into their own and sell it at full price, which they can't do if the closure discount is attractive enough that people actually want to buy things.) I bought some small car supplies and a white camouflage t-shirt, so now I'll have a cute story to tell and some bargain hunter street cred if someone ever asks me where I got it.

Aww, yeah. Not just anybody can make this look work, you know. This is big dog style, right here. (Okay, you got me -- I have no idea what I'm talking about. It's a nice shirt, though!)

To my knowledge, the store is still open and the sale still continues; it's worth dropping in if you're nearby, at the very least. I assure you the crowds are smaller now.