25 February 2009

Buffy Dream

I had a dream last night that Buffy was coming back to TV! Except, the only way Sarah Michelle Gellar would agree to do it was if the show was renamed after her (as opposed to her character), so Joss Whedon renamed the show SMEAT, with the S for "Sarah", and the M & E from "Michelle" but I don't know where the AT came from. And they changed the theme music! It was slow and quiet, completely different from the real theme music. The whole show was really messed up, it was half live-action, half annimation, and Willow was back in a dorm and dating boys again. I'm glad it was only a dream.

And while I'm on the topic of the Whedonverse, I have to say that I'm torn over this new show Castle. I want to like it, because it stars Nathan Fillion, and he was awesome in Firefly and Dr. Horrible, and is just about the best thing to ever come out of Edmonton. But, sadly, the show (at least, in the commercials I've seen) looks a lot like Bones (which, ironically, also stars a member of the Whedonverse). And I already like Bones, so do I have room in my busy TV watching schedule for another comedic, character-driven procedural rife with sexual tension?

21 February 2009

Note for Deb

Okay, so I did finish Book of Negroes. I was so glad it ended the way it did - although I was thinking that she'd find her husband (instead of May) despite what Clarkson had told her (I'm being vague in case others haven't read it yet. And they should read it, because in spite of what I'm about to say, it's a damn good book).

I think the book was too depressing. I mean, I know it's about slavery, so it isn't supposed to be all sunshine and kittens, but the book didn't really leave me with any hope for her or her people. Which is weird, considering that she had hope (I think) and that I know slavery and the slave trade were abolished. I should have been filled with hope. She was such a strong woman, I guess I'm really disappointed that, for all her ability to cope, she never had more than a few moments of happiness.

And when I say it was depressing, I mean depressing. And this is me saying this. My three favourite books involve a school shooting, the end of civilisation, and a slow downward spiral into suicide. I'm no stranger to depressing topics, but none of those leave me feeling as low as this book left me feeling.

20 February 2009

Trip across the harbour

As I said in a previous post, I've been on a mini vacation across the harbour the last couple of days. On Friday, I met up with Alej and we watched movies and ate garlic fingers with donair sauce. How I missed donair sauce! On saturday morning we went to the farmer's market. It's still in the brewery building. I thought they'd be in the fancy, new, eco-building by now, but I don't think it's built yet. All y'all that want to see the market in all its glory and charming crowdedness better come to visit me before it moves!

I was sick on Saturday (and Sunday, and Monday, and still) so we went back to Alej's after the market and napped, then had a lazy rest of the weekend. On Sunday night I went to my Aunt's house to spend a few days. My cousin is visiting with her 4 month old, the smiley-est little kid I've ever seen. His cuteness gives giant pandas a run for their money (although he's not as cute as red pandas, but, really, what is?).

On Monday we took little Smiley to Point Pleasant for a walk. It was a sunny day, the wind was a bit sharp, but it was a great ocean walk anyway. As we left the park we saw a couple with a baby bulldog. It was only 9 weeks old and was absurdly cute. I didn't take a picture, because taking a picture of a stranger's dog is weird. But I got some off google:

On Tuesday we went to Pete's Frootique, which is a wicked grocery store that specializes in produce you've never heard of, and imported stuff from Britian. Every time I go into Pete's it makes me want to learn how to cook, just so that I can use ingredients like carambola, cherimoya, and feijoa. Sadly, Pete's has an extensive collection of seafood products, including chips:
This isn't completely new to me, I once ate cuttlefish-flavoured chips (before my moratorium on seafood), but for some reason, shrimp cocktail pringles completely grosses me out.

After Pete's we went to the Chickenburger for lunch. Chickenburger, unbeknownst to me, is a HRM institution and should not be missed. But if you do miss it, don't worry - it was pretty crappy. Rumour has it, the place recently changed hands and has gone downhill.

That's about the extent of my trip. I spent a lot of time playing with Smiley. I also spent a lot of time being creeped out. My aunt has two large stuffed dolls (for lack of a better word) that she keeps in a little tableau at the top of her stairs, and pretty much every time I went up the stairs, I thought someone was there.
The eagle-eyed among you will recognize that they're dressed in scouting uniforms. My aunt's a life-long guider and is using Mr. & Mrs. Creepy in celebrations of guiding in Canada (almost 100 years). At night, they come alive and dance a mournful waltz.

You and I will magnify the magnificent

If y'all are like me, and you think that 11 more days is just too unbearably long to wait for the next U2 album (and, even though I've been waiting since 2004, 11 more days does seem unbearable), some blessed soul down under accidentally put the album up for legal download way too early. That's been corrected, of course, but once something is out there, anyone can get it. So, seek and ye shall find.

And ye shall not be disappointed, in my completely biased and enamoured-with-Bono'd opinion. But it's not just me, Rolling Stone gave it 5 stars and said it's the best since Achtung Baby, and Neil McCormack also said it was among their best. Although, he did go to school with them, so he may also be biased.

Here are my first impressions, along with some lyric snippets:

1. No Line On The Horizon ("you can hear the universe in her sea shells") - this reminds me of Miracle Drug from their last album, a pretty song that underwhelmed me on the album, but that was transformed when heard live.

2. Magnificent ("I was born to sing for you/I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up") - This song more than the others, just sounds like U2. You could have played the first 5 seconds and I would known it was them.

3. Moment of Surrender ("I was speeding off the subway/Through the stations of the cross") - One of the longer songs on the album. I love when they have long musical intros, they haven't really done that since Joshua Tree. This also has a gospel-type feel to it that they haven't really had since that era either.

4. Unknown Caller ("restart and reboot yourself/you're free to go") - This one is odd, with the lyrics being almost chanted over a really pretty, uplifting melody. I suspect that this is a song Douglas Coupland would appreciate, it would be right at home on a JPod soundtrack.

5. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight ("every beauty needs to go out with an idiot") - all the reviews I've read say that this will be a really popular song, because of it's sing-alongableness. I agree that it's sing-alongable, but I think Stand Up Comedy will be more popular. However, apples and oranges and all that. They both rock.

6. Get On Your Boots ("candy floss ice cream") - catchy and funky, and a great driving song as I discovered the first time I heard it on the radio.

7. Stand Up Comedy ("Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady" also "be careful of small men with big ideas") - Kickass! I liked this from the first second. Funky and groovy and impossible not to dance along with. It would make a great concert opener.

8. Fez – Being Born ("African sun at last") - Easily the most unusual U2 opening ever, with different music clips and sound effects. So far, though, my least favourite. I'll have to give it some more listens.

9. White As Snow ("As boys we would go hunting in the woods/to sleep the night shooting out the stars") - Not your typical U2, it verges on a folk song, and I can't wait to hear an acoustic version.

10. Breathe ("coming from a long line of travelling salespeople on my mother's side I wasn't going to buy just anyone's cockatoo") - The opening has a great drum beat. I really like this one. Some of the verses are very Elvis Costello, but the rest is very much U2 ("I found grace inside a sound /I found grace, it's all that I found"). This may be my favourite on the album actually.

11. Cedars Of Lebanon ("Choose your enemies carefully cause they will define you") - I like these types of songs, when Bono writes longer lyrics (say, unlike Boots), and there's more of a story there.

19 February 2009

Needs more cowbell

It's almost midnight here, but I'm not asleep because I can't go to sleep until I've read, and I can't read because I'm about 100 pages away from the end of Book of Negroes and this book is so god damned depressing that I can't stand to read the rest. Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic book, well researched, and with a really strong narrative voice in the main character; you just want to transport her through time to keep her safe and warm and give her back her freedom and dignity (not to mention her children). But I can tell that nothing good is going to happen between now and the end of the book and I just can't go on right now.

So, I'm playing on the Internet instead and I came across this acoustic cover of Get On Your Boots.

I really like it. It makes me wonder, though, The cover band (The Wrecking) uses two drummers, but U2 only has Larry [Mullen Jr.]. Does this mean that the song needs two drummers and that for the live performances they'll use backing tracks for some of the drums? Or, does it mean that Larry is as awesome as I have always suspected and he can do the work of two drummer boys?

Funny thing about me, but the name "Larry Mullen Jr." will forever be heard in my head as "Larry. Mullen. Junior." And if you care to know why, you should watch this performance of Angel of Harlem from the Rattle & Hum doc (I can't embed it, for some reason).

So, I've spent the last 20 minutes watching clips of Rattle and Hum, trying to find my favourites, but I want to put every single one up here. It's just too hard to choose. So I'll put this up, for no other reason that that I'd forgotten about this part of the movie. The song starts with a performance of Exit, which is one of the darkest, if not the darkest, U2 song. The album version starts off very slow, and quiet and it's very effective. I've read that this song was inspired by the works of Flannery O'Conner (if you're familiar with her, you'll know her writing is far from cheery), and what really makes it infamous is that there was a guy arrested for murder once who said that this is the song that told him to kill. The song ends in a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria. To me, the juxtaposition works.

And speaking of songs that make people kill, here's Bono taking back Helter Skelter.

Okay, I think that's enough copyright infringement for one night.

Crappiest generation of spoiled idiots

Celine sent me a link to this, and I can't figure out how to embed it, so I'll link to the place where I saw it originally. It's Conan and some guy I don't know. The guy is going on about how truly amazing our world is and how it's being wasted on the "crappiest generation of spoiled idiots." I couldn't have said it better myself.

18 February 2009

To tide you over

I'm taking what feels like a mini vacation and staying with people on the Hali side of the harbour for a few days. I'll write more on it later. I just wanted to post two things.

1. An article on an interesting connection that I never really thought about before, between U2 and science fiction.

2. A shout out (or, rather, a "bravo!") to Alej for being the first to make themselves an official "follower" of my blog. I suppose I should have created some kind of incentive program to attract followers. The first 20 followers get free shout outs! Join now!

14 February 2009

Happy V Day

If I had hardcopies of this, I'd send it to everyone I know and/or love. As it is, I'll put it here as an open valentine to all the wonderful people who read this site with any kind of regularity (4 and counting!).

12 February 2009

Happy Birthday Darwin!

It rained all day (yes, I said rain, suck it Edmonton!) so I was unable to carry out my plan of disseminating Origin to the masses. Although, I did have to wait 20 minutes in Zellers for a prescription...I suppose I could have used that time more wisely, perhaps they would have let me use the PA system? Regardless, this year's Darwin Day was a bust. (Ooh! I just noticed that today's Google logo is Darwin inspired. Cute).

I did, however, commandeer the TV on Tuesday night and make my brother and sister-in-law watch the NOVA doc on the court trial to teach Intelligent Design. I'm not going to go into a huge rant about ID and how frustrating it is. I did that while I was watching. I think my family was getting tired of hearing me yell at the TV and slam my fists into the couch cushions. But how am I supposed to react when someone criticizes a biology textbook for being "laced with Darwinism"?

The doc is really good, even if you know the story already. I totally love the narrator, at one point he's describing ID as "scientific" and you can hear the finger quotes. If you've got nothing better to do tonight (and you probably don't, because Bones isn't on), watch it and yell at the ID people, and feel admiration for the high school teachers, and find yourself feeling a begrudging respect for the judge, despite his unsavoury connections to Bush.

Hey, "doc" is "cod," backwards.

10 February 2009

Joss Whedon is My Master

Don't forget (like I almost did) that Dollhouse starts this Friday. It should be good, Joss has yet to let me down. I just hope they give this more of a chance than Firefly got.


Copyrights are a funny thing. Like, after awhile they run out and anybody who wants to can take your intellectual property and turn it into something absurd like:

Or, they can turn it into something awesome like:

Which comes out this spring and apparently is ~80% original Austen. And there's going to be a movie! Oh, please, please, please let them cast Colin Firth!

08 February 2009

For One Day Only...

...I wish I was back in Edmonton. Yes. I said it. And the reason is that Dal is doing absolutely nothing for Darwin Day. Not a single thing as far as I can tell. And not just Dal, all of Nova Scotia is lacking in Darwin celebrations. Back in Edmonton, though, U of A has, like, the geekfest of the millennium planned. Meanwhile, I'm going to have to read aloud from On the Origin of Species on a street corner, just so that when Darwin looks down on us from Heaven he doesn't think Nova Scotia doesn't like him.

05 February 2009


At "work" I feel really old, because I'm probably 7-9 years older than most my students. On Wednesday, my sister-in-law (from now on known as S., because her title is too long to type out all the time) and I went to a book club meeting at a local library branch. With the exception of S., I was the youngest in the room by a good 15 years. Such a contrast. I really need to hang out with people my age more! The book club was actually kind of fun, they were all really nice and sweet and totally went off topic a lot. And, boy, did some of those older ladies really hate The Other Boelyn Girl. I was going to suggest American Psycho as the book for May, but I may rethink that now.

The other day my niece was spelling out her and her brother's name on the fridge with magnetic letters. She can identify the letters, she just doesn't know the order, so you tell her which is next and she puts it in place. At some point, the magnets got pushed around and the names read "Suphie" and "Jock" which I thought would make great bizzaro world names for them.

RicMoo, a friend of mine from high school, has some comics online that I only just discovered, but here is my favourite:

The rest are here at: 0x2121.com.

Also, the 60 year old woman with twins? Crazy! Can you collect the baby bonus and old age pension at the same time? And that other chick in the states who is apparently addicted to having babies? What is it about kids that make women insane? She has 14 kids and still lives with her parents?!

03 February 2009

Maybe I'll like the Grey Cup more?

Once, when I was a little girl, I ran into the kitchen and yelled to my mom: "Look at me mom! I'm Doug Flutie!" Thus began and ended my affection for football.

I've never watched the Superbowl before, but I watched it on Sunday because the family members that are currently supporting me during my unemployment invited some people over and my options were a) sit alone in my room, or b) watch the Superbowl with some drunk people and have a little fun. Only one of us really even liked football, and the rest of us were just watching for no real good reason, as far as I could tell. We made quarter bets on things like first point, first touchdown, first commercial after kick-off, etc. Having no prior knowledge of football, I felt at a bit of a loss. But when I was told that the Cardinals were the underdog, I knew they would win. If a lifetime of inspirational sports movies has taught me anything, it’s that the favourite to win will do well in the first half, but the underdogs will rally in the second half and be triumphant. So, I placed all my bets based on that philosophy. For a while there, it looked like that was a great move, but then in the last few minutes, the other team pulled ahead and my underdogs lost. So sad. I’m down 50 cents.

I gotta say, football makes no sense to me, and I’ll probably never make any effort to learn anything more about it. I mean, if I watch it once every 20+ years, what’s the point? Did you know that some of what we see on the TV screen doesn’t appear on the field? Like, there are lines and signs that we see, but they aren’t there in real life. And the coach for the winning team was very young, and looked like Foreman from House. There was one really funny part, where one of the Cardinals made a leap to tackle someone (I presume) and totally missed, so he was basically just throwing himself on the ground with gusto, nowhere near the action. Oh! And NBC does this thing, when the stats for the players come up, they show little headshots of the players – but they don’t show still pictures, it’s like a film clip of the players staring into the camera and trying not to move and sometimes they blink and some of them were really freakin’ scary looking.

And the commercials sucked, but that’s because we had the Canadian feed, so there was commercials for Dartmouth Sportsplex and some local Liberal guy. Hardly entertaining. I’ve since read that the Springsteen halftime show is being called the best in Superbowl history. My ass. I haven’t seen all the Superbowl halftime shows, but there’s no way there isn't at least one more entertaining that Bruce Springsteen running crotch-first into the camera. And I’m not just saying that because U2 did the halftime show in 2002 (as a 9/11 tribute, no less). I will say that the post-bowl episode of The Office had the single funniest opening EVER in an Office episode. In fact, the first half was probably the funniest 20 minutes the Office has ever done. And that's saying something.