Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This is why I love public transit on a rainy day...

Where else can you get whacked in the nuts repeatedly by some short lady's purse while getting some tall dude talking his phone's elbow in the back of the neck? All for only $2.50!

Two dudes who don't have to worry about riding the bus are Jon and Roy. The name makes me think of Flatt & Scruggs, but these Victoria BC kids don't play bluegrass. They make the folk music inna Nick Drake-meets Jack Johnson stylee. Last weekend they played a boat cruise in Vancouver. This Friday they'll be at Moby's on Salt Spring Island, and on Saturday they're in Victoria at Element, as part of Rifflandia.

mp3: "Another Noon" by Jon and Roy

Careers in Engineering...

Seriously, dudes, the maximum sentence at the RPCC is two years less a day, was it worth it?

mp3: "Don't Kill the Clowns" by Soda Fountain Rag

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Iron Man blasts his repulsors at Batman!

We watched Charlie Bartlett on the weekend. A pretty good flick overall, but what I really liked in it was Robert Downey Jr. The guy makes sitting in a chair running a remote controlled boat fascinating. Then I happened across this interview where he takes some potshots at The Dark Knight. Sez R2D2:
"My whole thing is that that I saw 'The Dark Knight'. I feel like I'm dumb because I feel like I don't get how many things that are so smart. It's like a Ferrari engine of storytelling and script writing and I'm like, 'That's not my idea of what I want to see in a movie.' I loved 'The Prestige' but didn't understand 'The Dark Knight'. Didn't get it, still can't tell you what happened in the movie, what happened to the character and in the end they need him to be a bad guy. I'm like, 'I get it. This is so high brow and so f--king smart, I clearly need a college education to understand this movie.' You know what? F-ck DC comics. That's all I have to say and that's where I'm really coming from."

Now, if anyone can get away with sass like that, it's him. As much as I thrilled at TDK (and thrilled even more anticipating it), there's no question in my mind that R2D2 & Jon Favreau's Iron Man was a vastly superior movie. In the same interview, Downey credits Iron Man's success to it being what he calls "a very simple movie." Yeah, but most of all it was a boatload of fun. TDK has a lot going for it, it's a nearly operatic melodrama draped in gravitas and explosions--and really, is just as accurate a representation of where Batman comics are these days (ie, take themselves dreadfully serious) as Adam West's joyous Batman was in the 1960s. But Iron Man captured the magic of thrillpower with an infectious glee.
What's really got me psyched about the Moviehole interview, though is R2D2's comments on his upcoming Sherlock Holmes flick:
"He's a bare knuckle boxer, a martial artist and a complete weirdo which is why I said I'd love to do this."


mp3: "Dollar Signs" by Snailhouse

Monday, August 18, 2008

Clement officially on the offensive re: supervised injections sites + Advertising on the Prairies

I'll give this to Health Minister Tony Clement, he doesn't seem to be interested in preaching to his choir. After telling the World Health Organization AIDS Conference that curbing the spread of diseases like HIV and Hep C through supervised injection sites are actually "harm addition" over a week ago, today he told the Canadian Medical Association that they're a bunch of unethical quacks.
"Is it ethical for health-care professionals to support the administration of drugs that are of unknown substance, or purity or potency, drugs that cannot otherwise be legally prescribed?" Clement asked out of one side of his mouth.
Out of the other side: "Already there are advocates saying that injection sites are not enough, that government should hand out heroin for free."
So, um, let's see... Clement recognizes the dangers of allowing people to use illegal street drugs of dubious origins, but then he scoffs at removing the criminal element from the addiction equation, the very element which seems to cause the greatest amount of harm not only to those addicted, but also to the communities they live in.
The Vancouver Sun had a very strongly-worded editorial last Tuesday on Clement's words to the WHO. And Barbara Yaffe commented the previous Saturday on how ridiculous the Tory war on drugs has become.

In more fun news, Wade at Signal Response has hooked us up with hours and hours of fun by linking to the Random Image Page of Persuasion: Print Advertising and Advocacy on the Prairies, a digital exhibit from the University of Saskatchewan.

In a similar vein, I don't know if I've linked to this before, but Todd Klein's blog is thirty kinds of fun. Klein was pretty much THE letterer for DC Comics during my heyday as DC nut. While Bob Lappan is my favourite letterer for the outstanding work he did on the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League series, Klein is pretty much the Bob Dylan of lettering. He still does some stuff, but most comics these days are lettered by computers and robots. He has a series on his blog where he talks about logos, many of which he created.

UPDATE (19/08/08): Dr. Gabor Mate lays it down solid on Clement's "repugnant" comments. (Via Globe & Mail)

mp3: "Oh, Sinnerman" by Black Diamond Heavies

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Regina Landlord Has Novel Solution to Affordable Housing Crisis

Who would ever have thunk that Regina would find itself in the midst of an affordable housing crisis? Certainly not any of the members of Regina's city council--where you'll find no shortage of realtors and developers--who were pretty quick to pass the buck.
Luckily, Regina landlord Jason Hall isn't afraid to think outside the box. While the North Central Community Association went to City Council with hopes of making slum lords more accountable, Hall thinks that it's the tenants who need to be more accountable to the landlords. But y'know, when you've got people "putting the foot through the wall, the foot through the door, leaving trash in the yard, leaving contents behind and lighting houses on fire" at the Pink Lady, maybe it's time to use a little more discretion in choosing your tenants. Leaving contents behind? That's just tacky.

mp3: "Strike" by Polymaths
mp3: "The Walking Sponge" by Fight the Monster

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer in and out of the city

Great Caesar's Ghost! We're halfway through August! Where has the summer gone?
I shouldn't complain. This has pretty much been the best summer of my post-adolescent/pre-parental life. I saw Ken Vandermark and Jonathan Richman. I saw the new Batman movie (I still have a hard time calling it by its actual title) AND the new Hulk movie. I ate a lot of cheeseburgers and a LOT of Zako's smoked meat sandwiches. I officially became an Auxiliary Responsible Person In Charge. I scored all four Hoke Moseley novels. Oh, and I totally got married.
There's still plenty of summer enjoyment left to be had. Just ask East Van faves The Great Outdoors (or as I like to call 'em, the Grout Eatdoors)(I don't actually like to call 'em that). They've just released their Summer EP, the second in their series of four seasonal releases that kicks it in ways that Vivaldi could only dream about.

mp3: "Summer in the City" by The Great Outdoors
mp3: "Good Days" by the Fembots

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What ELSE I did on my summer vacation

So I've been gone for almost two weeks...I answered no emails, posted no blogs, wrote notes in my little black notebook (more from them as the week wears on), read another Zev Chafets novel, drank more beer than I have in about a year--though never to excess, and generally kept a low profile. I barely even read the paper.
I did a lot of deep meditation on my novel, but very little actual composing. Spent a lot of time with my family and a lot of time alone. Gave the future a lot of thought. Read Final Crisis #3 and picked up a buzz off it, but barely mustered interest in the handful of other comics I scored. My pull list shrinks by the week. I'm nearing the point where the kind folks at RX Comics are wondering if it's even worth holding my weekly comics for me anymore. It's worth it to me! What am I even reading anymore? I tried to make a list, but it just made me depressed. Most of the books I was so excited about just two years ago have either been cancelled, or just fell off the awesome cart. I don't know if I've changed, or if the funnybooks have changed. Probably both. We've drifted apart, just like we did when I was 13. Maybe it's for the best, and I'll come back to them with gusto in another 13 years.
But then, even as I can barely keep my eyes open all the way through most superhero comics, there's still plenty of "other" stuff that's a lot of fun. Like Jason Shiga's Bookhunter, which you can read in its entirety here.
One of the emails I didn't respond to during my time off was one from the Morning Benders, who wanted me to know that they've got an album called The Bedroom Covers of, yeah, covers for free download on one of their websites. It's surprisingly delicious.

mp3: "Mother and Child Reunion" by the Morning Benders
mp3: "He's a Rebel" by the Morning Benders

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Bulldozer With a Buffalo Pound Attached...

When I walked off the airplane, right onto the tarmac just like a Beatle, the air was like warm honey. Thick and sweet, it took more effort to breathe than I was used to. The sun was setting behind me, where I'd just left, and by the time I made it through the terminal I was immersed in that special slow darkening of the Prairies in the summer. In late June, if you're out on the flatlands in the middle of the night, look north and you'll see just the faintest glow of the sun, barely dipped below the horizon and already coming back up.
This is who I am and how I came to be. This is Saskatchewan.
The first time I lived in BC, when I was up in Salmon Arm building bird houses in the afternoon and pushing gravel in a wheelbarrow at dawn, a guy told me that I "look like I'm from Saskatchewan." I do.
I caught my first fish in Pelican Narrows. I've canoed the Battle River. I had my first beer at Beaver Creek. My first job was laying carpet in the the RCMP Depot in Fort Qu'Appelle. And I was married at Buffalo Pound.

mp3: "Let It Ride" by Buffalo Killers

mp3: "Bison Eyes" by Quest For Fire