Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hey (Moustache) Man!

I'm a little too busy to take pictures and upload them, but BELIEVE ME, the moustache is back--if only for a couple of days. It's as much a fashionable as rhetorical device this time 'round. No matter what all the sensible people I know say, I think it suits me. But on Saturday morning, I'm getting on a plane to Montreal, and there's no way I'm flying with this bizz under my nez.

So this is just to say that there probably won't be any updates until long after Turkey Day, since as soon as we get back, we're moving (marginally) closer to Hawaii. In the meantime, here's a look at this week in YOU, dear reader.

Number of visits from Regina in the last week: 5
Number by which Regina readers has grown: 3
City from which someone visited that sounds like something you'd expect to see on a sci-fi writer's shelf: Heerhugowaard
Most surprising search term that led someone here (and now will forevermore): "superheroes with moustaches" (let's see: Tony Stark, Vartox, Green Arrow, um, who else? Now I've gotta google that myself!)

See you in October! Be safe! And go see Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup when they come to your town.

MP3: "Hey Man" by Howe Gelb

Monday, September 24, 2007

Timely Words: RDY can't fail

Sunday night I went to a party. Let's call it a Walt Whitman party, for it contained multitudes. It was a Welcome Home Party, a Birthday Party, a Pleased-to-Meet-You Party, and--most relevant for our purposes here--a CD Release Party. I was invited.
I arrived late. As I walked up to the building, just off Main, a smiling face saw me out the window and said, "It's open."
It was. I walked through the door to the main floor apartment, and the first thing I saw was Shaun Brodie, crouched over a cymbal on the floor, rubbing it from the centre out. The smiling face from the window was right behind him, amid a drum kit. I later found out the drummer was Cary Pratt, whose name you might've seen mentioned a few times in the recent Best of Vancouver issue of the Georgia Straight. At the other end of the living room, near a freakishly large frozen dinner, was Mark Beaty on a stand-up bass (not pictured), behind him was CS Rippen, variously known as "Chris" or "Ripper", or "that amazing guitarist from the Tin Cup." In the middle, originally from Lacombe, Alberta (the same small town what issued forth another Bulldozer fave The Neins Circa), stood Roger Dean Young, with his hauntingly clear blue eyes and his trademark cowboy hat, which is more cowboy than hat. All together, that's Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup. Which meant I was in the right place.
Like I said, I was late, and so had missed all but the last two songs of their first set, thus I missed most of the new songs. The CD being released was their own, it's called Threshold, and Roger tells me that it's his pop album. Which means that the atmospheric meanderings that made Casa such a beautifully haunting album are, well, contained a little bit. The songs are, on average, shorter but the ideas are still big. Roger says they're mostly 3-minute tunes, but I did the math, and the average length is about 3.5 minutes.
Otherwise, though, Roger Dean Young is about as trustworthy as musicians come. As a person and as an artist, he's one of the most gentle and humane folks I've ever met. The rest of the band are eminently likable as well.
If Threshold is the Tin Cup's pop album, "Two Step" and "Manyberries Soul Revival" are its hit singles. For sentimental (and self-indulgent) reasons, however, I'm posting "Black Water" for your edification. It's a song about Regina, and Roger says it's inspired by yours truly. I'm humbled.

If you're in Western Canada (and if you're not in Western Canada, you should ask yourself some hard questions), you've got a few opportunities to spend an intimate evening with the Tin Cup. It's perfect timing, since Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup sounds best in the fall. It's harvest music, its tones all orange, brown and gold. It gets under your skin and sticks to your ribs like oatmeal laced with cinnamon and brown sugar.

Sept. 26 at the Railway Club in Vancouver (with Greg McPherson!)
Oct. 2 at the Ironwood Stage & Grill in Calgary
Oct. 3 at the Blue Chair in Edmonton
Oct. 4 at the Exchange (Club) in my dear, sweet hometown, Regina
Oct. 6 at Candor Books & Music in Winnipeg
Oct 13 at Rime, back here in Vancouver

MP3: "Black Water" by Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sometimes I Miss Television: Tracking Readers

So there's a new Gordon Ramsay show, and I missed it. It's a US-version of Kitchen Nightmares, and the part of Ramsay is played by Steve Carell. OR IS IT???

Checking in with the reader-tracker for the last week:

Favourite search term leading visitors to this blog: (tie) "rhetorical
terms/comics" and "steven jesse berstein [sic] and explanation of face"
Favourite city to have been read in: San Dimas (excellent!)
Cities in which I continue to be more widely read than my hometown of Regina: Taegu, Kobe, Brooklyn, Viroflay, Calgary, South Gate, Dublin, Pohang
Search term most likely to have led to disappointment: "wrecking ball sound

Affordability Deterioration, A Correction, Addressing Rumours, and a Song

According to the RBC Affordability Index, an average bungalow in Greater Vancouver will consume 71% of an average pre-tax income.

In a recent post, I made some wildly off-base claims about the Roland Kirk Quartet. It turns out that the song I was thinking of wasn't "Now Please Don't You Cry Beautiful Edith", but "Blue Rol". A Bulldozer With A Wrecking Ball Attached apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused. And to make it up to you, there's a special mp3 for you at the bottom of this post!

Speaking of wildly off-base claims, if I really had a 17-foot-tall mechanized dinosaur that shoots flames out of its eyes, destroys SUVs with it's beartrap-like jaw, and occasionally distributes dinosaur justice to obnoxious neighbours, you would already know. You wouldn't have to ask.

MP3: "Blue Rol" by the Roland Kirk Quartet

Tuesday, September 18, 2007



irregular service to resume momentarily

So, like, my computer is no longer busted. I no longer have any real estate worries. I finally got the new Howling Hex alb (more on that soon). And my all-time favourite superhero Green Arrow is getting married tomorrow. My take on it is pretty much the same as Batman's.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An Artist With A Brilliant Disguise

Norwegian pop singer-songwriter Saint Thomas passed away earlier this week. His 2004 album, The Return of Saint Thomas, is very wonderful and sweet, and highly recommended.

A Christian Argument for Harm Reduction

Found this very interesting. The story contains a few factual inaccuracies, eg, St. Paul's is in Saskatoon, not Regina, and the Federal Gov't is not involved in the funding of InSite--at issue is the exemption to the Controlled Substances Act, and the deadline is Dec. 31/07, not Sept. 12/07. But the ideas and arguments put forth are super-fascinating. For more info on Vancouver's Supervised Injection Site, visit Community Insite.


Originally uploaded by emmetmatheson

Here's our weird Regina link of the day.

This is what my house looked like that time the lawn got mowed. It was a group effort. I kinda binged on comics this afternoon, buoyed by a reading of Douglas Wolk's excellent Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean and hungry for some good comics after not visiting RX in three weeks. I don't know if the comics I got are any good--in fact, I'm willing to bet most of them aren't. I've been real ambivalent towards comics lately. Ever since 52 ended and Countdown began, I've felt oddly dissociated from the DC Universe. I suppose the ennui goes back further than that, but 52 was such a remarkably FUN ride, that its absence is sorely felt.

I've quit reading most of the series that initially got me back reading comics a few years ago. Green Lantern, Green Arrow and the Flash have all gotten terrible in the last year or so (though the most recent issue of the Flash, by Mark Waid and Daniel Acuna, shows considerable promise of goodness to come). Titles that were really exciting me only one year ago--Kurt Busiek's Superman, Dan Slott's She-Hulk, and Action Philosophers--have, for various reasons, become less and less enjoyable.

But here are some comics I am enjoying:

The Brave & the Bold (DC) - Mark Waid and George Perez reinvent the team-up book and throw away the rules. I make comments that don't mean anything. Anyway, the scope is huge, the art is grand, and it's everything that's fun about DC Comics.

Punisher War Journal (Marvel) - Matt Fraction and Ariel Olivetti deliver what Frank Miller and Jim Lee think they're doing in All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder. Loud and grotesque ultra-violence that parodizes as it celebrates.

hmmm, that's about it in terms comics that I really look forward to. Whatever Grant Morrison's up to (especially his All Star Superman), Ed Brubaker's surprisingly awesome Captain America, Blue Beetle, Keith Giffen's Midnighter, and Duncan Rouleau's Metal Men are all satisfactorily thrill-engaged. The current Batman Confidential storyline is great, too.

p.s. I have more to say about Reading Comics, and I'll say it real soon. I just want to make sure I finish reading it before I endorse too heartily, just in case Wolk non-chalantly sucks up the joint in the Tomb of Dracula chapter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How I managed to stay one year ahead of Dog the Bounty Hunter

There haven't been many times in the last year that I've been glad not to be an Entertainment Writer in Regina anymore, but this week might be one of them. Monday night, Regina hosted the Canadian Country Music Awards, and I was not there. It's not that I don't like country music (love it, in fact), or that I don't like Canadian country music (hell yeah, Terri Clark!). I just can't stand Canadian awards shows.
Meanwhile, I took my computer in this afternoon. When I called the 1-800 number attached to the warranty, I was told that they could fix it while I wait. When I showed up in person, they told to call if I didn't hear from them in a week, "...or two." Yikes. Worst of all, I packed the damn thing up in its original box, fearing that any damage to it might be attributed to not transporting it properly and thus void the warranty. When I got there, they told me they wouldn't hold on to the box, so I spent the afternoon walking around Vancouver with Scott and my big, empty computer box.
Tomorrow is new comic day, howev, so that's something to look forward to.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Montreal's Appealling

Last week was a giant bummer. My computer died, I had a real estate fear confirmed, and I generally got little sleep.
That means that things can only look up, right? Later this month, I'll be taking my first ever REAL holiday as Nicole and I venture to Montreal. I haven't been in 9 years, and I'm eager to see the city through adult eyes...If I'm adult by then.

and here's the song for your very own:
MP3: "Paris Be Mine" by the Bicycles

Saskploitation Watch: I have now received exactly ONE visit from a Regina reader (and also one from Lethbridge!), but my favourite city that has read my blog is LEIPZIG!!!

Bonus MP3 (speaking of Alberta): "Vallee of Cobras" by The Summerlad

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bring on the Centaurs and Mer-men!

So we're finally going ahead with the human/animal hybrid project. I for one, couldn't be happier. Being as I am in what biologists like to call "the reproductive years", the possibility that I might soon hold in my arms a creature that looks like me, only with shark's teeth, warms my tender heart.

SASKPLOITATION WATCH: Jury's still out on which party this new provision to the Sask. Election Act will favour in the upcoming election.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I Have Precision Autumn

Originally uploaded by emmetmatheson

Things I did on the long weekend:

saw Rob Zombie's Halloween. Saw it at the Rio, which is the place to go if you're going to a see a movie. For some reason, despite Jamie Lee Curtis, I've never liked the Halloween movies as much as, say, Prom Night, The Fog, or This Night I'll Possess Your Soul. The whole Michael Myers as unrelenting killing machine concept (IMDB calls it "indestructible villain" and includes Moby Dick as an example) means that they're usually just a series of chase sequences with brief respites of psychobabble from Donald Pleasance. The overwhelming doom and gloom of the best ones (you know which ones I mean) make me claustrophobic and anxious. Which, y'know, is the whole point I guess. I just don't like feeling claustrophobic and anxious. But Nicole obviously does.

Zombie's remake is gratuitous in its gore, unilluminating in its revelations, the subtext is writ large and everything is generally Rob-Zombiefied. Instead of the more quietly scary suburban origins of the Carpenter version (and nearly all the classic teen-slasher flicks of the late-Cold War era), this time Myers comes from a more obviously troubled family. His stepfather is a lout and his mother's a stripper (but she has a heart of gold, naturally, and is played RZ's wife, a former exotic dancer, naturally). Young Michael looks like a tiny Kurt Cobain might've. In fact, he looks like Bobby Hill dressed up like Kurt Cobain for Halloween.

So there's this grim Columbine-ish backstory, where before there was none. Malcolm McDowell (who for some reason, I keep miscasting in my memory of The Limey instead of Terrence Stamp, and therefore overestimating his awesomeness) brings none of the pathos or urgency to his role that Pleasance did. Scout Taylor-Compton (sounds like walkie-talkie code) in the Jamie Lee Curtis likewise pales in comparison.

By this point, you're probably thinking that I didn't like the movie, but you're wrong. I liked it just fine. Micky Dolenz (best known as "Arthur" from the animated series The Tick or possibly for singing "Last Train to Clarksville") as a gun-shop owner was awesome, and with the smell of fall in the night air, a scary movie hit the spot.

Speaking of hitting the spot, we also hit my favourite Italian restaurant on the weekend. Vita Bella Ristorante might not be the most popular pasta joint on the Burnaby part of Hastings, but it should be. Briefly, it's f$%!ing nice. It wasn't until after we'd ordered, that Nicole and I realized that we'd each chosen the dish the other had last time we were there. That meant salmon and avocado penne for me. F$%!ing nice. I don't mean to sound overdramatic, but by the second bite of this rich and sumptious dish, all the tension my shoulders had accumulated over the work week was g-o-n-e. I've never eaten duck before, but Vita Bella's signature dish is a linguini fumate that's sooo tempting, as is nearly everything on the small, but dignified menu. A nice wine list and warm front of house staff, too.