26 September 2009

Halifax Loves Nazi Zombies in the Arctic**

I got to see Dead Snow last week as part of the Atlantic Film Festival. Apparently this film has been getting pretty bad reviews and I DON'T KNOW WHY. I have never seen or heard an audience enjoy a movie as much as the audience did for last night's show. They were cheering the characters on and there was spontaneous clapping and the jokes got huge laughs. Now, I know, because it was a one-night-only thing that pretty much everyone there (and it was sold-out) wanted to be there. And it didn't start until after midnight, so most people like me were pretty loopy from sleep deprivation, which may have made it funnier. But still - it was great. Think a funnier, more brutal and more ruthless Shaun of the Dead.

I'm interested to see how it compares to Zombieland.

(**Okay, so it's not the Arctic, it's just Norway, but "Arctic" sounds better).

24 September 2009

Ellie Loves U2

A while ago, I was having lunch with some friends at work and I was talking about my upcoming vacation in which I would be seeing U2 in concert, two night in a row. Someone asked "Don't you get bored?" I replied, "Are you crazy?" The chance to see my favourite band two nights in a row? Even if it was the same set list I wouldn't get bored. Even if Bono sat down and read from Ulysses I wouldn't get bored. So great is my love for U2, I don't think they could ever bore me. Another person asked me why I would bother to see it twice in a row - what would be the difference between the two nights? In reality, the set lists didn't change much (titles in bold were only played one night):

Wednesday night:
Breathe, No Line On The Horizon, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Beautiful Day - Alison, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Elevation, Your Blue Room, Unknown Caller, Until the End of the World, Stay (Faraway, So Close), The Unforgettable Fire, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (remix), Sunday Bloody Sunday, MLK, Walk On, One - Amazing Grace, Where the Streets Have No Name, Ultraviolet, With or Without You, Moment of Surrender

Thursday night:
Breathe, No Line On The Horizon, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Mysterious Ways, Beautiful Day, Elevation, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - Moving On Up, Unknown Caller, New Year's Day, Stuck In A Moment, The Unforgettable Fire, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (remix), Sunday Bloody Sunday, MLK, Walk On, One-Amazing Grace, Where the Streets Have No Name, Ultraviolet, With or Without You, Moment of Surrender.

So, really, the nights differed by three songs. But if I hadn't gone to both nights, I would have missed out on either Stay (one of my favourite songs) or Stuck in a Moment, which is the really pretty acoustic version that Bono and Edge do alone. By seeing both shows, I don't miss out on those things. I also didn't miss out on them playing Your Blue Room. If you had asked me for a list of songs that would never be played live, Your Blue Room would have been on it. Mostly because it's from the most obscure U2 album ever - and it's not even technically a U2 song, it's a Passengers song.

I'm pretty sure some of the isolated screams you can make out in the background are the guy who was seated next to my mom. Apparently when the song started he turned to her and said, "This is my favourite song!" I marvel at the luck of U2 playing your favourite song when your favourite songs has been seemingly forgotten by the world, if not U2 themselves.
I love that U2 can still surprise me. Usually the shows open with the band walking onstage together to the opening strains of one of the songs, and I could picture that with Magnificent, so I thought for sure that would be the opener. Then, at the beginning, Larry ambles on stage by himself, sits down at his drums, and opens the show with the drum solo to Breathe. I never get tired of watching Larry play the drums. This clip doesn't show the drum solo, but look how close dude was to the stage!

I knew they would play I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (the pretty, twinkly song in the Blackberry commercials). But I didn't know they would play a whole new dance-mixy version of the song.

One of my favourite moments was the beginning of Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Bono only had to sing the first line and the crowd took over for the first two verses. Odd, that my favourite parts of a concert are when Bono isn't singing, but there's just something so great about thousands of people all singing together.

However, I was disappointed by one thing. They didn't play Stand Up Comedy, a song from the newest album. I thought they would play it for sure because a) it's an upbeat song from the new album, aka: concert gold; and b) some of the tour t-shirts have lyrics from the song on them. So, when they didn't play it the first night, I thought for sure they'd play it the second night. And they didn't. It took me a couple of days to get over that.

So, the music is one good reason to see it twice. Not just to see the songs you would have missed, but to see the songs you love twice.

Another very, very good reason to see it twice is perspective. Observe, our view from the nosebleed section on Wednesday:
And behold our view on Thursday:

I have seen U2 six times now, and I had never been this close before. We were closer than the picture really suggests. I could see the muscles clench in Larry's jaw. I could see the sweat on Bono's face. I could see the details of Adam's pants. It's hard for me to find the words, but it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life, to be that close to a band I've idolised for years. At one point, the moving catwalk was over my head and Adam walked over me. I was less than 2 feet from him. I know I sound all creepy and stalkerish but you have to realize this is my version of a religious experience.

Now, that view was not without it's price. We got in line at noon, and sat outside in the sun all afternoon. Then, when the doors opened at 5, we had to run out onto the field and into the "inner" stage to get a good spot. Then we had to wait, the whole time defending our spot against the hordes of other U2 fans. There wasn't much room to move, so basically we shifted our weight from one foot to the other from 5-11pm. When I finally went to bed that night (at about 5am, after driving to my cabin) my legs were throbbing from the pain. Really, a small price to pay, and one I'd gladly pay again.

The rest of the crappy pictures I took with my assy camera are in my online album. I didn't want to spend the whole time taking pictures, which I might have done if I had a half-descent camera, so maybe it's a blessing that I don't.

06 September 2009

The Civil Servant's Daughter

I'm no feminist. I mean, I believe in equality, yes. I want to get paid the same amount as a guy would for doing the same job, and I like voting. And the few times I faced real sexism I felt enraged and belittled at the same time. But I also like having the door held for me, and getting free dinners, so I don't know what that makes me. Much like all my other beliefs, it probably makes me a hypocrite. I'm complex. Deal with it.

I had a point, and it's that I'm uncomfortable with all these book titles that imply women can be defined by the men in their lives:

The Piano Man's Daughter
The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Zookeeper's Wife
The Time Traveller's Wife
Ahab's Wife

And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. A quick search of Amazon brings up:

The Imposter's Daughter
The King's Daughter
The Pilot's Wife
Shakespeare's Wife
The Doctor's Wife
The Senator's Wife
The Witch Doctor's Wife

It bothers me how these women are defined wholly by the occupation of the men in their lives. I would never describe myself as the Civil Servant's Daughter. My father's occupation is not somehow a descriptor of my life. I understand that the men in their lives can influence them, but (for example) the Memory Keeper's Daughter would have been the same person whether her father was a photographer ("memory keeper") or not. And, Ahab's wife would have been just as head strong had she never met Ahab. I mean, what the men do are not who the women are and it bothers me. The implication is like the Queen is the Queen, and that's cool and all, but she'll never really be more than the King's Wife.

It bothers me in the same way that bird nomenclature bothers me. We name birds after the male colouration, and the poor girl birds have to live the absurdity of being called the brilliant blue-throated warbler or whatever and they're just brown. Seems wrong, somehow, doesn't it?

05 September 2009

Like Christmas

Douglas Coupland books are like Christmas. You look forward to it for so long, and it's great when it finally arrives, but then it's over and you have to wait for next Christmas. Except in CoupLand, Christmas comes biannually, so the wait is even longer.

My shiny new copy of Generation A arrived last week and I actually held off reading it for about a day, because I new once I started I'd devour it in a day and then I'd be left without any new Coupland for years. It's hard being a book junkie, ya'll, we wait so long for our fixes. It's not like I can just go the Dartmouth ghetto and get a new Coupland in a dark alley. You know?

Generation A is pretty damn great. It didn't evoke the emotional reaction from me that Hey Nostradamus! does, but it made me think more than his other books. Or maybe not. I find that Coupland is so deft at describing and explaining human behaviour that all his books make me fairly introspective. This book is being marketed as the next Generation X, but aside from the story-telling aspect (in both books the characters gather together and tell stories), it didn't remind me of Generation X at all. If anything, it's a next step from Girlfriend in a Coma - an end-of-humanity story done Coupland-style. Both that and this book have elements of science fiction in it, but where Girlfriend in a Coma was apocalyptic, Generation A is more dystopic.

And here is a video clip of Coupland (there are more clips available on iTunes, which I suppose means I need to download iTunes now).

04 September 2009

Hurricane Fluffy-Bunny

I was working on an entry about hurricanes last week, then I got called away on a last minute road trip between Hamilton and Montreal and I never got around to finishing it. As with most things I write, I lost interest in it once I was away from it for awhile. I'm going to put it here in all it's first draftiness:

"Hurricane Bill is barely gone and now we’re watching Hurricane Candidate Danny (although I’m sure he prefers being called Dan). Danny, being completely unoriginal, is planning on hitting us roughly the same time of the week that Bill did. I officially dislike Danny because even if he doesn’t come with us, he’s going to screw up the swells enough that I can neither dive nor surf this weekend. Alej & I have been planning on a dive/surf weekend all summer and stupid Danny has to go and ruin it. [In the end, my last minute work road trip ruined our plans. I suppose I owe Dan an apology].

Here is a list of the storm names for 2009:

Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, Wanda.

Why are Hurricane names so soft? Henri? Mindy?! And there was a Hurricane Larry last year! Are they allowed to recycle the names? Why not Hurricane Luther? Luther is a vaguely evil-sounding name. Why don’t they use names that are inherently more aggressive? Some suggestions: Adolf, Butch, Crowded-places, Dalek, Evil, Father, Gangrene, Hurricane (as an homage to Major Major), Interest, Jerk, Khan, Luther, Mouse, NSF, Oppression, Patton, Q, Rat, Schmurricane, Taxes, Ursula, V, Wolfgang, X, Y, Z. "

So there you have it. I couldn't think of many good hurricane names. Those pesky end-of-the-alphabet letters are hard. Any ideas?