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Showing posts from March, 2006

it's a learning experience

a few things i've learned while visiting mexico:

1. my knowledge of geography is crap. why was i surprised to see mountains?
2. tequila makes a perfectly adequate breakfast food.
3. it is completely possible to have air that shows no trace of humidity, even when you're surrounded by water.
4. the skill of relaxing in the sun is not a difficult one to acquire.

and there are a couple of beliefs that i've had reinforced:

1. there are few things more depressing than trying to swim in the ocean and getting overwhelmed by the smell of petrol from nearby jet skis.
2. very few women should wear bikinis.
3. very few women are aware of point #2.

south of the border(s)

so i'm spending the next week in mexico. not a bad deal in theory, especially since i'm not paying for it, but lady luck does not smile on me that way. i'm going for work.

i have to spend the next week at a conference, which will involve me doing a lot of speaking i don't want to do to people who don't want to hear me. it doesn't help that the people i'm travelling with, at least the ones i know, would sooner pick up a venereal disease than a book. it also doesn't help that sitting on the beach and unwinding is something i've never acquired a talent for. i give myself three days before i'm climbing the walls.

i know, there are worse places they could send me (and worse places they have sent me), than mexico, but what i desperately need right now is to get away from the people who i'm being forced to spend the next week with. h, it's a maritime thing, i'm a born complainer. i'm hoping i can just cosy up to a magarita and forget ab…

higher primates

music review:: coil:: ape of naples

this is it. this is the last coil album ever. capping off more than twenty years of consistently creative, groundbreaking music is the ape of naples. and what an ending to a glorious career.

the material on this album was drawn from recordings made over an extended period of time (including some dating from the sessions intended for their long-promised, never-delivered international dark skies album for trent reznor’s nothing label), but, as they have done before, coil are able to present a series of unrelated tracks and make something that is stronger than what most artists release as albums. how do they manage this? it’s their own sweet secret.

musically, the album is a fitting memorial to the band, encompassing elements of many of the styles that they have explored, while still remaining strikingly fresh and original. they’ve even stolen some bits from previous releases and dusted them off for a final curtsey. the fragile and lovely sound tha…

machineries of joy

music review:: aavikko:: derek

somewhere far away in the universe, there is a magical world that is ruled by the machines. the machines go to work, they have perfectly efficiently functioning little cubicles that they enjoy and perfectly efficiently organised little homes. they have mild-mannered parties where they chatter, mingle and, occasionally, dance. and at these post-modern tiki parties, aavikko’s derek is the soundtrack.

it is one of the great paradoxes of modern music that popular rock, with its origins in the gritty world of delta blues, more often than not sounds like it was churned out from a pattern on a military computer, whereas music made to sound as far removed from anything remotely human as possible should have such feeling. derek is not emotional in the sense that current 93 records are emotional, but it’s carnival-like organs and hip syncopation is so genuinely joyful that i would venture that it is impossible to listen to this album without cracking a silly gri…

urine nation

there is no gentle way to express this: someone peed in the elevator in my building.

i know there's a guy here who owns a dog (they're officially verboten), there may even be two. i like animals (in a non-sexual way) a lot and i really don't want the owners of these dogs to get in trouble, since they seem like nice enough people. so my first instinct, other than retching, was that i hoped it wasn't the dog, so there wouldn't be any problems for them.

then i clued in to exactly how ridiculous that sentiment was. because if it wasn't the dog, it means that i am living in the same building as someone who doesn't have the social graces to realise that there is a fundamental difference between the floor of the elevator and a public toilet. how far has society sunk when it becomes socially acceptable to pee on the floor? if these people can't control themselves in the elevator, how long before peeing on the floors of their apartment becomes part of their da…

how about a big kiss?

i wish i'd been aware of this on valentine's day, but, i guess, it's the thought that counts... only question is: what is the thought behind these?

hail to the (other) king

this really is going to be the year i overdose on nostalgia. i've seen bauhaus, front 242 and, most recently, the sisters of mercy. i got the chance to see one of my old-time punk heroes, , henry rollins and now the other great pillar of american punkdom, jello biafra. he's doing a spoken word gig at the convocation hall of the univertsity of toronto on april 15th.

where rollins is all piss and vinegar and righteous anger, biafra is more like the shakespearean court jester, making profound points often through the most absurd means.

there's very little i can tell you about this guy that you can't find out through his label. much like henry rollins, someone i really admire and who, mercifully, hasn't mellowed with age. (although i'd be surprised if he attempted one of his signature stage dives.)

general admission tickets are available through ticketmaster.

clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

i've never been a fan of "political correctness". in fact, when i was more actively involved in social causes, i used to get a bit of a cheap thrill by baiting the sort of people who insisted that all evils in the world could be eliminated if we simply imposed restrictions on acceptable language and shamed anyone who didn't share our views.

i worked in an atmosphere that had a lot of that element to it and was routinely put down, sadly by other women, as a "bad feminist" because of the fact that i wore dresses and make-up and didn't apologise for it (feminist don't wear fishnets...), ignoring a lot of the more meaningful parts of my life and personality in favour of what they could see on the surface. so i know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a politically correct diatribe and i don't have a lot of patience for it.

that said, now that i'm out in the "real" world (as opposed to an overly academic, self-reflecting …

bad joke

after hiking fares just a short time ago, the toronto transit commission has seemingly shrugged off the idea that they should now be conecntrating on showing the public that they can use their money wisely.

instead of directing their efforts towards the multiplicity of problems facing the city's public transportation system, the ttc has decided to redirect some cash to its lawyers and has shut down the hilarious anagram remix of their subway map, on the pretext that it violates their copyright.

what a load of crap.

is this seriously the best thing they can think of to do with their time? please join me in contacting them to tell them to quit with the idiocy and start working on the parts of their job that actually make things better for their customers.

exactly as i planned it...

because of a work obligation, i have been out of town, arriving fairly late last night in a zombified condition. too tired to go and see whitehouse (in fact, i think i was tired enough that i would have fallen asleep, even with the racket).

it would have driven me right off the deep end thinking that they were playing and i was missing them, so, for me, it's pretty convenient that they were denied entry into canada (although pretty stupid), because it means i will never say that i missed a whitehouse show because i was too tired.

yay me.

of course, for the second time, i missed a wolf eyes show, but i have a feeling they'll be easier to track down.

deep, blue

music review:: mushroom’s patience:: water

there probably aren’t a lot of die hard mushroom’s patience fans in the world, but they’re one of those groups who, like novy svet (whose members have been part of novy svet since 2001), once heard, become endeared. it’s hard not to love a group of people who are so effortlessly eccentric, so original.

while intensely likeable, i have always found that their albums are inconsistent, mixing stunning atmospheric tracks with pieces that sound too much like studio outtakes. water, however, is a substantial step forward. the killer bits are present in force and the filler is all but banished. finally, this band seems to have brought an entire release up to the quality of their best tracks.

water is an appropriate name for this album. the sound in it undulates and flows, and seems strangely distorted at times, like sounds heard through an ocean. there is a suppleness and fluidity to the sound that captivates the listener immediately. at the same…

seeing red

i think someone needs to put the red cross on suicide watch.

first, they decided that they were going to invest some of their money in suing video game makers who used their logo within their games. because, of course, having their logo show up in a video game hurts the red cross immeasurably.

now, it's the story that they may have used some of the money raised for hurricane katrina relief to recruit stars to help bolster their image.

those in canada will probably be aware that the red cross was given the boot from collecting blood in canada after it turned out that they were passing on blood that was contaminated with aids and hepatitis due to improper screening.

guys, these are not good ways to resuscitate your image. whoever your p.r. person is, kick them to the curb. take the money you've been paying them and use it for the kind of work you should be doing. right now, your actions are kind of resembling a classic cry for help.

if you can read this, you're not in pakistan

the trend of governments repressing free speech is nothing new, but the great white hope was that somehow, the internet, with its quick-response, many-to-many format, would find a way around the roadblocks of censorship and allow speech of all kinds to flourish... ok, it's a bit of a pipe dream and we could debate the merits of giving everyone equal access to a universe of pop-up ads and low-fi porn forever, but it's important that the dream continue. the internet does still offer a great opportunity for unfiltered communication. we just need to be vigilant about removing the filters.

this week, isps in pakistan chose to block all websites hosted under blogspot.com, because some sites under that domain feature images of the now infamous danish cartoons that have so enraged many in the muslim world. however, instead of just blocking the offending sites, the isps have cut off access to the whole domain, which includes numerous sites from pakistanis who deserve to have their poin…