Monday, May 31

A 14 Inch Rim Job

I usually have lunch on Mondays with my good pal Dave S. Usually, he drives us around.

Today, Dave calls to confirm the usual arrangements, but this time I

suggest that I drive. I have our car. I'll drive today. Today Dave gets to take it easy.

11:57am - When I get in my car, ready to pick him up, I remember that the right front wheel was low on air. I'll have to get that taken care of right away. But first, I'll get Dave, my friend.

12:02pm - So, I get him and advise him that I'd have to make a quick stop to fill the tire with air. No problem, friend. We'll quickly stop at the Irving, get the air, and then move onto the dining and

adventure part of the lunch.

12:05pm – At an intersection, a car pulls up and the guy driving sees my tire is low. He winds his window down and points to my underinflated tire. I give him an "I understand and acknowledge"

thumbs up. This little incident disturbs me to no-end. It disturbs Dave in a 'friend-helping-friend' way.

12:07pm - A quick stop at the Irving, and I'm out at the front tire with air hose in hand. Delicately I unscrew the valve cap so as not to get my hands dirty. I daintly begin to fill the tire with air, but

before long, I notice a 'hisssssssss' sound emenating from the wheel. A quick search discovers that the rim is bent and the tire will not fill beyond a certain point. I hang my head in sadness, depressed at

the thought of this minor setback interfering with my lunch with my good friend Dave.

12:08pm - I inform Dave that our plans will slightly change. I recommend that I drop my car off for repair at a local garage. It is the garage that my father-in-law frequents, and is close-by eating establishments. Dave suggests that we go get his car, and he'd meet me at the garage. I say I'd rather just motor on to the garage, fearful that the tire may disintegrate at any moment. He concurs. I sense his concurrence is done moreso to placate my rising fears.

12:14pm – We arrive at the garage. I relay the situation of my vehicle to the mechanics, who, with great efficiency tell me that they cannot repair a bent rim. Can I get a used rim somewhere, and you guys fix that up? "No", they say.

12:15pm - Synapses in my brain begin to crackle and burn as I think, at once, about: how this is ruining my lunch: is ruining Dave's lunch; is much more bother than I'd like; why the mechanic guys just can't

fix it or call someone who has the parts to fix it. I'll pay whatever it takes to get it done, just get it done, okay! I want to eat lunch with Dave. Don't you see? A mechanic tells me about a place that has used parts. "It's called Eghsoh Ohfondh…" The frying synapses distort the name. "Okay" I say, defeated, and walk out.

12:17pm – I am at a loss as to what to do about lunch, when Dave suggests that he walk (rather than have me drive him, because he understands my delicate emotions regarding the imminent implosion of the front wheel) back to his work-place, pick up his car and meet me at the place where I'll find my rim. Where is the place? I don't know.

12:18pm – I walk back into the garage and ask the name of the place they just told me, and which I acknowledged I understood. "What's the name of that place?" "It's You're a Moron Salvage Yard" was the

subtext of his answer.

12:19pm – Dave trudges off to his workplace. I begin my drive out past the airport, to the place where I will receive my used rim.

12:23pm – I realise that Dave doesn't really need to pick me up. They won't be doing the work at the auto supply place. (insert rim-job joke here) They'll just sell me a used rim. The reason as to why a drive from Dave wouldn't be necessary is far too complicated for me to get into here. Just suffice it to say that in that story, which involves a Japanese woman and a dead guy, situations conspire so that a car is

available to me, at my home.

12:27pm – I arrive at Island Auto Supply and walk in the door. Who do I see there but Graham (who is part of the Sketch22 show we're putting on this summer), who is apparently searching for a mirror for his car. Small world, and the presence of Graham improves my mood. We chit-chat for a moment, about nothing.

12:29pm – I inform a guy at the desk of my situation, including model and year of car. "14 or 15?" he asks. I know that he means rim size, but all I can muster is: "huh?" "Are your tires 14 or 15 inches?" "Don't know." "Well, we'll need to know that. But I'm sure we've got what you're looking for." Hooray!

12:30pm – I walk out to the car and spend far too long looking at the tire, to see an indication of tire size. I see R14-26-blah-de-blah written there, and assume that means 14 inch.

12:32pm – I inform the guy, who was very pleasant and helpful, by the way, that it is 14. He walkie-talkies to some guy in some back area, and begins doing something else. Feeling lost and alone, I seek out

the comfort of Graham.

12:34pm – while speaking to Graham, the guy yells "Hey, bud." "Yeah?" "No 14 inch rims." "Okay." Sigh.

12:37pm – Dave arrives. I tell him that I’m sorry, but I probably didn’t need him to drive all the way out there, and that I’d drive home and take the Japanese woman’s car to work. Dave suggests he follows me to my home, just in case the other car is not there. I say okay. I drive my car, Dave follows, to my home.

12:42pm – We arrive at my home, and the car is there. On the drive home, I figure that it’s best to have Dave drive me back to work. That would leave the Japanese woman’s car for my wife. If she is able to find a rim, she could go pick it up.

12:47pm – After informing my wife of the situation, I get in Dave’s car and we drive back in town. Dave goes through a Wendy’s drive-thru, and we order an order each. Oddly, for my order, I have trouble hearing the girl over the speaker, yet Dave was able to understand her. For his order, Dave had trouble understanding her, yet I was able to.

12:59pm – We arrive at my workplace. Dave thanks me for picking him up for lunch today.

1:03pm - I eat my fries, drink my pop but am in no mood to eat meat.

My wife called all across the island today, in search of a 14” rim. Nobody had one. She tracked one down in Truro, and it’ll arrive here tomorrow.

In the meantime, I want to thank Dave for his unyielding support today in an adventure that wasn’t very exciting yet full of turns.

Wednesday, May 26

Ditasia Burguarmo

When Ryan Seacrest brought out Paul Anka, I thought "Paul Anka? This is the exact reason why I should never watch this show ever again. Why the hell would they bring out Paul Anka? How many people watching even know who Paul Anka is?" (yes, 4 seconds of thought which contained the phrase "Paul Anka" three times). I was ready to fume at the absurdity of the whole show. Then, he sang his barely witty version of My Way, and the cuteness of the moment won out over my anger. Damn my softening positions!

Again, 3 songs each confirm my position: Being a singer isn't just about singing. It's about performing. Diana can sing sometimes, but mostly she screams. She cannot perform. Fantasia is always performing.

I am reluctant to give much credence to conspiracy theorists.

Whether her ear-piece monitor had a wardrobe malfunction or not, Diana does not deserve to win American Idol. In fact, she does not belong in the top 3.

If she does win, then God help us all. Well, okay, it wouldn't be that dire. In fact, who cares?

Still, it would be discouraging if The Idiotic Masses of America give the nod to Bush over Gore. I mean, Diana over Fantasia.

In the end, when all is said and sung, I doubt I'll ever buy a cd from either of these ladies.

Two hour finale? What the? Damn their infernal milking!!

Testing The Waters

Well, I was home sick yesterday. Sick to my stomach. It's a recurring problem that doesn't strike me as often as it used to.

Anyway, we got our water supply hooked up to the city's water flow a coupla weeks ago. We've been hooked up to the city's sewage system for a couple of years. Yesterday I really got to test both systems out quite a bit. They work well.

Today, however, I am scared to use the bathroom.

That's all I'll say on that.

Saturday, May 22

WotD: glabrous

My wife much prefers it when my face is glabrous. Someday, I want to my whole head to be glabrous. But if I ever take it to the point where my whole body becomes glabrous, by choice, please shoot me.

Friday, May 21

The Re-Usable Review

I wrote this years ago. With the upcoming Festival season only days away, I thought it'd be a timely post.


Every year after the opening of yet another production of the musical Anne of Green Gables, our admittedly wet morning newspaper rushes to print a brand new review of the show. This review seems inter-changeable with previous year’s reviews, as it appears to follow the same format, style and substance, heaping praise, and little or no negative criticism on the same production highlights, year after year. Why go through the motions of writing a new review, year after year, on a show that basically changes little each year… it’s like having a food critic review McDonald’s restaurant once a year; you’re gonna get the same meal every time. The only thing that changes each year is the people putting your Big Mac together and nuking it.

So, why have a (ahem) critic, year after year, review a show that basically doesn’t change, when the only new comment one can make from season to season is in reference to the colour of Gilbert’s trousers?

As a time-saving device, here follows a template review, free for use by The Guardian, in which only the names of the current year’s actor’s need to be inserted. Now every year they can simply print this same review and forego the pretence of reviewing each production. To make this review as Guardian-like as possible, spelling and grammatical errors have been inserted.

The Anne of Green Gables Reusable Review

[Choose from one of the following headlines]

“The Same Anne As Last Year, Only Better”

“Top Notch Perfofmances Highlight Anne”

“Liberals Claim Road Jobs As Tory Patronage”

“Anne of Green Gables Concert Enjoyed By All”

“Gee I’m Glad You’re You, Anne of Green Gables”

Last night’s opening night perfofmance of Anne of Green Gables last night marked the beguining off the [insert season number]th season of Canada’s Favourite Muscle at the Confederation Centre, in Charlottetown, and by the thunderous standing ovation it received in the end by the packed house that were there on its feet clapping, it seems we loved the red-headed orphan as much, if not more than, as ever.

The young woman, [Insert actress name], who played, Anne Shirley and she suited the role perfectly. [Insert “Anne Shirley” actress, first name only], who studded musical dance and acting in [insert Upper Canada city name], was thoroughly believable as the sprightly young orphan, especially in the second act, Act Two where she was even more so, and when she got older and matured, she has a magnificient sinking voice.

Off the other perfofmances, Elizabeth Mawson once again shine in the roll of Marilla, and was wonderfully stern and unflinching in the role of Marilla. It wood be hard to imagine anyone else other but than Elizabeth Mawson playing the role of Elizabeth Mawson played for so long, and made it her own. That she played for over thirty years and made it her own. Matthew was [‘again’, if applicable] played by [insert actor name] and he instantly douched the members of all the audience in the heart with his gently, warm, and humorous portrayal of the kindling, soft-spoken man. I did thought, however, that [insert ‘Matthew’ actor, last name only] did occasionally tend to go for the laughs a few two many times, suck as wipping the dirt off of his boots and and, while funny, this sometimes took away from his kindliness and the dramatic of the play. My one miner disappointment, one I seem to make every sumner, would half to be with the actor who played Gilbert, [insert actor name]. While he is a very compotent dancer, and very light on his feet, I felt his acting wasn’t as strong as was his dancing was, but he did have a very good job, nonetheless, and didn’t detract from the top notch perfofmances of the others.

A special nog must go out to Island actress [insert actress name] who played [insert name of minor Lady of Avonlea character], one of the Ladies of Avonlea. She did a terrific job with her line, and make us all proud of her to be an Islander.

The sets and costumes never looked bitter any year before than they did last night’s, as it was a freshly painted and brightly lit show. And it was expertly directed by [insert name of choreographer], who kept the pace lively and fats-packed.

By the looks of lat’s night show, and passed seasons, and if they are any indignation, we still have a very special thing here, in Anne of Green Gables, and that Anne of Green Gables is a show that should make Islanders, and Canadians alike, proud to be Islanders.


Thursday, May 20

You'll Never Eat Again, I Swear!!

Last night, Karyn was supping on lobster with her father, so I gave Cameron the choice as to where he and I'd go to eat for supper. He, of course, chose Wendys.

Anyway, we were sitting there eating, and the table behind us was occupied by a mother, father and little girl. Sometime into our meal, the girl begins to whine, which turns into sobs. The mother tells her to stop it. She doesn't. More whining crying. The father sternly (as fathers are wont to do) advises the girl to smarten up. She doesn't. Even more whining and crying. It is unclear as to what is troubling the girl, but my impression is that it was something trivial.

A couple more protestations and warnings from the parents fall on the girl's deaf ears (no, she wasn't really deaf. It's an expression...).

Then this, from the father: "do you want to go to the car? I'll take you to the car. Okay, let's go", followed by inactive muscles that make no effort to go to the car.

And then, it came. From the mother. The emptiest, most desperate warning in so many parents' litany of threats. The statement that is so absurdly impossible to conceive that even the dullest, youngest child doesn't fall for it: "Okay, if you don't stop crying, we'll never eat here, ever again!"

Of course, she doesn't stop crying. Because she sees her parents, heavier than the sun. She sees them scoff down the double burgers with cheese, and Mega-Biggie Size Fries and the Gargantuan Pop. She sees them inhale their food, and oh so love it.

She is not dumb. So she continues to cry.

For the record, I don't believe I've ever made that particular threat to Cameron. Never promise something you cannot deliver. That's my motto.

Wednesday, May 19

Three Times A Diva

I am only continuing to post American Idol reviews because I have strange need to see this to its completion. Can't wait til the awful show is finished.

The problem with only three singers left is that, to fill out an hour, they have to sing three songs each. And that means three sets of dischordant combinations of notes, emitted without emotion through the mouth, via vocal chords (sorry, I meant 'songs') from The Hawaiin Tourism Campaign.

Anything that I could say about the singing talents of the remaining three, I’ve said before, and last night showed me nothing new. Jasmine was awful. Diana was bubbly soda pop that is already getting flat and stale. Somebody put a cork in that bottle, please. Fantasia showed exactly why she is the only person remaining in the competition who deserves to succeed.

Clive Davis was great as a judge. When Randy doesn’t come back next year, they should give Clive his spot. Of course, they won’t because he’s old and nobody from The Idiotic Masses of America™ cares what he says. They’ll want Randy replaced with a cute boy. Speaking of cute boys, I got worried when Paula “stupid” Abdul told Fantasia that she doesn’t even need this competition anymore. TIMoA, were you listening? That means vote for someone else.

"don't need this show"?? What the hell does that mean for the relevance of the stupid show? Why bother following through then? Get down to the final two or three, to hell what The Idiotic Masses of America™ ultimately decide. Push the one who has the most potential to make money for people. That’s what they did last year with Clay Aiken. I’ll bet most people actually think he won the American Idol competition last year. He came second, but he really did win it. Ruben is pretty much just a sandwich again. And an area code.

So, it doesn’t matter who gets kicked off tonight. I’ll be shocked and amazed if it’s Fantasia leaving, but then, I’d be shocked and amazed if she makes it to the final two. Stupid The Idiotic Masses of America.

Wherever she winds up, she’s the only one from this show that anybody’ll be talking about in a year from now.

And you can take that prediction to the Bank of Hawaii.

Tuesday, May 18

Bad Luck

I hate to sound like a school girl.

But, oh. my. god.

You WILL fall in love with this video. (you may not fall in love with the fact that it's Real Video)

The song is "Bad Luck" by Royal City

Monday, May 17

I'm Probsting Again

On a now defunct PEI themed web-board, I created an online game for the members of that board. We called it SurvivorPEI, and it followed, pretty much, the formula of the television version of Survivor. Two teams (eventually merged into a remaining group of individuals) of about 12-16 players competing in (sometimes whacky) challenges of my creation. Challenges that could by played entirely over the internet. The winner receives immunity, the losing team (or individuals) votes one of their own off.

We played it twice before, and each time was incredibly fun and always interesting. It was lots of hard work keeping the games moving, too the point where, despite the fun, I vowed to myself that I'd not 'host' another one.

Well, I'm hosting another one. Over at PEIinfo on their forum, we've just started a new 'season'. I've changed the name of the game to Cut-Throat Island this time around. We are currently in the second round, where each team must send me instructions on How To Shower. The first round challenge was a google-based test: each team's individual members had to send me a three-word google search that, when combined with all the other team searches, came as close as possible to 10,000,000 results.

The two teams this round are Zambooka and Axis of Feeble (names chosen by the players). Zambooka currently has 5 players, having lost one by losing the first round challenge. Axis of Feeble is still at the full complement of 6 players. Most players are Islanders, but there is one forum regular who is from California who is also playing.

If you're interested, drop by the forum and keep updated on who gets their Throat Cut, and who connives enough to remain to the bitter end.

Saturday, May 15

Collecting What?

This morning, two very well-dressed-in-uniform young men from what I suspect is our local cadet regiment, came to our front door.

I opened the door, and immediately notice that the guy closest to me looked like a deer in the headlights. Perhaps I was his first stop? At any rate, he appeared to be pretty nervous. Nervous enought to make me suspect, despite the well-claddedness of the two.

"Hi?" I ask.

"Hi, um, we're collecting. For (I now forget the charity he said, let's say:) Children's Wish Foundation."

Why do I not see a receipt book?

"Collecting what?" I say. I'm surprised by how terse I sound.

This totally catches him off guard for a moment. His being caught off-guard increases my suspicions. Yet, I also begin to feel sorry for him, for how nervous he is.

"Um, money. Cheques. Um, whatever, like that."

"Yeah" says the second guy. His only contribution to the scene. Even with that one 'yeah', I can tell that he'd be the leader of the two. The Alpha. I wonder why he's not the guy to speak when the door opens.

"Sorry. No." I say. The first guy nods, as if he knew the outcome all along. He was defeated even before his knuckles rapped on the door. I close my door.

I look out another window, and see a whole platoon of kids, all dressed in their cadet uniforms, swarming the neighbourhood.

I feel bad for not giving. But I couldn't, in good conscience, give money to such an unproffesional ragtag duo.

Thursday, May 13

Rukavina, comic san serif?

I came across this comic at the Accordian Guy's site.

I've only seen Peter a couple of times, from a distance, and through dirty glasses, but does the computer guy in the comic look like Peter Rukavina?

Wednesday, May 12

The Idiotic Masses of America (tm)

How uninterested have I become in watching American Idol? Last night, it was a tough decision between watching the final four sing on AI, or paper cutting my body and bathing in rubbing alcohol. Barely, just barely, I chose AI. I’ll save the paper cuts for the weekend.

How many times did guest judge Donna Summer, in her critiques, mention the fact that she, too, sings on stage. That’s how irrelevant Donna Summer has become. She needs to validate over and over again that she too was a star. I’m guessing, too, that Miss Summer missed the afternoon rehearsal, because she looked like she didn’t have a clue as to what was gonna happen next, or when she should talk, or for how long. At least, she warmed up enough to offer some honest-to-goodness criticisms.

Onto the competition:

Jasmine Treehouse: Well, surely, this is the final week for Hawaii’s Spring Tourism campaign. Really, for me, the only thing that disco ever had going for it, was that it can be fun and energetic music. I don’t know how she did it, but, boy, did Jasmine ever suck the fun and energy out of those songs. I pray to the Gods of Maudlin that her crying at the end of her final performance doesn’t sway The Idiotic Masses Of America™ to cast votes for her. Aloha, Jennifer

LaToya NewYorkLondonParisMunich: Thank goodness for Simon Cowell. His criticisms of LaToya were spot on last night. Great voice, consistently excellent singing, but no personality is coming through. Her second performance was better than her first, and both were very well sung, technically, but Dude, there’s nothing more there.

Speaking of “Dude!”, why did they reverse the order of the judges speaking? My theory is that they got tired of hearing Randy say, EVERY time: “It was aiight. A little pitchy, but it was aiight.”, followed by Paula’s “You know I love you. You’re a star already”. Now, though, Simon going first nails the criticism down right away, and leaves nothing left for the others. Also, now Randy doesn’t bother coming up with his own opinions. He just says he agrees with what Simon says. We all do, Randy. We all do.

LaToya will make it through to the final three. And, as good as she is, I think she might get upset next week by the upandcoming Diana. I believe The Idiotic Masses of America™ are tiring of LaToya’s lack of personality. Also, not smart of her to say ‘getting to final four is good enough. We’re all going to be successful’. If I was teetering between voting for her, or voting for someone else, that would have been the deciding factor for me. You’re happy enough to be final four? Okay, someone else gets my vote. Of course, that assumes the voters actually put thought into who they vote for. Never underestimate the lack of potential of TIMoA™

Fantasia Burrito: You may not like her voice. You may not like her personality, or the way she carries herself. But I don’t think you can deny that Fantasia is the only competitor left who has even a shred of “celebrity” in her genetic makeup. Whether you like her or not, she is the only one who would bring anything interesting to the title of American Idol. For the record, I like Fantasia and, with the few remaining beads of care I have left for this show, I am cheering for her.

Diana DelaGuardia: Okay, Diana’s been improving over the last couple of week’s, and she ended the show last night on a high note. Against all odd, I expect her to make a serious grab at getting to the final two. The best thing I can say about her is she is a second-rate Hillary Duff. Here is my problem with Diana: She is fake. In her I see the shallowness of the music industry. In her I see the handlers who are all about greedy potential for merchandise and marketing. And she appears to be more than willing to go along. Barely tolerable when she is singing, her willingness to be a slut to celebrity goes off the radar when she is not singing. Then she is all about smiling and playing along and being phony. Through her mannerisms and the way she behaves, I fully expect her to become whatever type of entertainer ‘those who know’ would want her to be to maximise her appeal to the greatest amount of people.

I see this, but I don’t expect The Idiotic Masses of America™ see this. Or rather, I expect they don’t care. Because of her willingness to be whatever, and America’s apathy, I predict she will win.

Tuesday, May 11

Punk, Meet Dance. Dance, Punk.

Holy Camoley, but this is a fantastic effin song.

I haven't heard the original, which came out in 2003 on Iggy Pop's "Skull Ring" album, but this version, dance-mixed courtesy of Felix da Housekat, is fantastic.

I mean, holy shit. Peaches and Iggy need to give us a whole album of duets because together they are almighty.

This song is raw, funny, rude, rockin'. When Iggy, at about the 2:50 mark, goes into the sex-punk mantra 'titties titties titties...' I always wanna break sumfin in honour of him. Right there, that glorious ecstacy, is the perfect punk moment for me. That it's surrounded by 6 minutes of driving, pulsing dance beat only makes it better.

Check out Felix da Housekat's mix of Iggy Pop's Motor Inn by clicking here (7mb), or follow the arrow.


Monday, May 10

L'Eau and Beholden

For the ever of its existence, our home has used its own well from which we sucked water from an underground stream. This worked very well for us, and the water tastes pretty good.

Today, we get hooked up to the Charlottetown water supply, aka “city water”, and our well gets decommissioned.

It’s only costing $1400.00 to hook up, and we now get to pay an annual fee to have water supplied to us. Yesterday, water was free for us. We also will now benefit from the bonus of occasional chlorine-y tasting water and the odd boil order.

Good deal!

Of course, we are given the option to not hook up to ‘city water’. For that option, the option of not getting water supplied to us, we are only required to pay the water-supply fee every year. We would have to pay the water-supply fee in order to *not* get water supplied to us.

Good deal!

A Sentence Like Never Before

Inspired by The Accordian Guy from Accordian City, I present to you a sentence that I believe has never been written or thought by any human:

"An eardrum, like a cumquat, cannot possibly be held accountable for the sluice in my shoe."

That is all.

Saturday, May 8

And here I goooooo...

On the sidebar here to your left, is a new feature, where I link to a download of a song that I think - no, I know - that you will like. I will change it on a whim, so if you want it, grab it. Of course, if you like it, buy the album.

I'd also appreciate hearing your thoughts on the selections that you decide to download. Did you like it? Did you not like it?

This first song is "25 Minutes To Go", by Johnny Cash, which is on his Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 compilation, but is also on a number of other Cash albums. It was written by Shel Silverstein, one of my favourite poets.

It's a song sung by a guy who, minute by minute, recounts his final 25 minutes of life, before he gets hanged. I've never heard any other versions of this song, but I love the way Cash sings it. At the beginning of the song, he's rather cocky, a tough guy who kinda scoffs at the whole concept. That he is going to die hasn't quite set in yet. But when the preacher shows up, with only 13 minutes to go, the finality of the situation really takes hold, and we begin to hear some cracks in the voice of that tough guy. Listen to the panic, regret and fear in his voice when there's "just 4 more minutes to go". Fantastic stuff, and perfectly illustrates to me what makes Johnny Cash so great.

I've read this song described as "jokey satire", but I don't agree (perhaps it is with other people's renditions?) There may be humourous elements in the lyrics, and the upbeat tempo may bely the emotions that Cash expresses. But I don't think Cash is joking.

Thursday, May 6

I Just Got Back From Tomorrow

Since my prognosticating prowess is powerfully proper and postive, I’ll let you all know how it’ll go down tonight on Survivor.

Tomorrow, won’t I look like real smart?

Rupert, realizing that this is the last chance to out-number the Rob-Amber alliance, tries to sway Tom and Jenna into an alliance of three. Jenna agrees. Tom says “Ahm gamma petwain chirsa chirsa goat titties.”

This, of course gets back to Rob, who soothes Tom into believing he'll be safe if he promises to go to the final three with him and Amber.

Tom goes along with Rob, and they agree that Rupert must go next. Amber, ever the quiet manipulator in the background, all the while rubs Rob’s back, and nods.

Reward Challenge involves a running phase, followed by a brain-power phase. Rob takes the early lead, but stumbles with his brain. Jenna wins reward, which involves choosing to take someone to a traditional feast that involves a dance by the natives of the land. She takes Amber.

Immunity Challenge involves a brute-strength power and determination type challenge, which Rupert wins.

With Rupert safe, Tom and Rob (Amber nodding), decide it’s Jenna who goes, then.

Off to the vote.

Probst asks if it’s gotten ‘real’ now that there’s only five left. They all agree that it has. Jeff implies that, with 5 left, this would be a good time, perhaps the last time, for people to break any strong two-person alliances. Rob says “Thanks fo-ah tha heads up, Probst.”

Time to vote:

Probst: “The first vote: Jenna. Second vote for Boston Rob. Third vote Jenna. That’s 2 for Jenna, one for Rob. Fourth vote: Rob. That’s two for Rob, two for Jenna… The 13th person voted out is…Rob. Boston Rob, bring me your torch…”

“Well, guys, guess it just goes to show, no matter how sure you are that you’ve got all your bases covered, you just never know. Take your torches and head back to camp.”

Wednesday, May 5

Impregnate These Titles

We had our second meeting of the CD club. Another very interesting, eclectic bunch of songs for me to enjoy.

Here's the list of songs I brought to the table.

To Impregnate These Titles As Fast As Possible

1. Dreams – TV On The Radio, from Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babe (2004)

Broody, moody and threatening to begin, build into a bit of a frenzy. Mix, and repeat. Add more dread. Keep feet moving.

2. Mushaboom – Feist, from Let It Die. (2004)

aka Leslie Feist, a Canadian now living in Paris, worked with Gonzales and with Peaches. This is a great song, but I think the following clip (translated from the French site explains it better than I ever could:

“Mushaboom is emblème of this album. Only its title, makes dream: it sounds nicely with the ear, way bubble gum. Isn't Mushaboom an invention, but the name of a true Canadian city in which Feist failed to live? Attractive song, it will not fail to be encrusted at the fine bottom with your spirit, resonant like a counting rhyme of kid. To impregnate this title as fast as possible.”

3. The Band – Mando Diao, from Bring ‘Em In (2003)

Imagine The Jam as a Swedish band performing in a garage in 2003. Or just listen to this song from Mando Diao.

4. A Menhi Menina – Band of Bees, from Sunshine Hit Me (2002)

From a rocking garage in Sweden, we now head to the Isle of Wight for a swingin’ acoustic fuzzy guitar rock number that might have come out of Jack White if he were happier and poppier.

5. The Dark of the Matinee – Franz Ferdinand, from Franz Ferdinand (2004)

This band, and this album, has seen a lot of chatter on most of the ‘hip’ internet sites the last month or so. From the songs I’ve heard off their debut album, the talk is warranted. Smart sounds and very catchy tunes from this Glasgow group.

6. Lost Mi Love – Yellowman, from Mister Yellowman (1982)

I never heard of Yellowman until I downloaded this great song. My only familiarity with Jamaican music comes from Bob Marley and his contemporaries, and what survived of it in the sounds of The Beat, The Specials and the like. If you’re familiar with this dance-hall reggae tune, and with Yellowman in general, my apologies. If you’re not, I hope you groove on this as much as I do.

7. Ka Lifu Laka – Z.C.C Mukhukhu, from The Rough Guide to South African Gospel (2003)

Continuing this musical trek around the world, we now settle into a simple, yet absolutely beautiful choral chant from what I expect, based only on this song, would be a lovely CD.

8. Oxala – Madredeus, from Antologia (2000)

I tend to veer away from World Music. At least World Music that I imagine sucks the soul out of the music of the regions from which it borrows, and ends up as a bland All-World Music Stew. Understand? Me either. Anyway, this is a pretty, soft little song from a band from Portugal that makes pretty music.

9. Steve McQueen – Lambchop, from Aw C’mon (2004)

After that little journey around the world, we come back to North America and relax with this 70’s sounding country song featuring a pop-ensemble orchestra complete with swirling strings. Did I hear you gulp with fear? Don’t worry. Just listen.

10. Laura – Scissor Sisters, from Scissor Sisters (2004)

From New York. You’ll either see this as a bouncy oom-pah throw-back to early 70’s sounds of Ziggy Stardust as if presented through a disco/broadway stage production, or, you’ll like it.

11. Distance – Grand National, from an Output Recordings compilation (year unknown)

I know absolutely nothing about this group, and I can’t find anything online, but I sure like the sound. Yes, I sure like the sound. The background singer reminds me of Sting’s background singing on Dire Straits “I Want My MTV”.

12. The Rat – The Walkmen, from Bows + Arrows (2004)

Kinda used to be Johnathon Fire*Eater. Now they are The Walkmen. I give this information, not because it has any relevance to me, but it may to you. This song is all I know of The Walkmen. This singer kinda sounds like what Bono might sound like if he was younger and pumped up on coke.

13. Bukowski – Modest Mouse, from Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004)

Another I’m not too familiar with. Here are the ‘tones’ uses to describe their sound: Volatile, Cathartic, Earnest, Brash, Rousing, Fiery, Confrontational, Reflective, Urgent. All of these descriptors may apply to this great song.

14. Waiting for the Heartaches – The Coral, from The Coral (1996)

Back to Britain, this time to Hoylake, on the west coast of England. This is from their debut album, which caused quite a stir in GB. The album chops its way through all kinds of genres, a couple of genres in this song alone.

15. If It’s Not With You – Phoenix, from Alphabetical (2004)

Britain again. Another one I know nothing about. Apparently he had a song in “Lost in Translation”, but I don’t have that soundtrack. This album doesn’t get the greatest props, but I quite like this quiet song with its 70’s songwriter vibe.

16. World Of – Jim Guthrie, album unknown (year unknown)

Who? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t mind finding out more. And I highly doubt that ‘World Of’ is the actual name of this track, but this is the way it came to me. After a quick search, I found this quote, source un-named: "If all is right in the universe, it should alert the world to the depths of his talents and dare to be said, his inspiration for a whole generation of post-rockers and lo-fi punks." For god’s sake, don’t let that quote avert your ears from this lovely, delicate song. I’m guessing he’s from Toronto.

17. Solex in a Slipshod Style – Solex, from Solex vs. the Hitmeister (1998)

The story of Solex, as I understand it: Amsterdamian record shop owner, and songwriter, Elisabeth Esselink began to create lo-fi techno pop music, borrowing snippets of songs from records that weren’t selling at her store, and using the made-up character of Solex as the basis of many of her songs. Voice sounds a bit like Bjork’s to me, but don’t hold that against her.

18. Call My Name – Prince, from Musicology (2004)

I, like many, had given up on Prince. Sure, I could buy the claim that his record company was stifling his creative genius. Then came the post-record company albums, seemingly a new one each week, and none getting much positive press. Now I hear about Musicology, and how it’s supposed to be so wonderful, so I download the album. One word review: Yay!! This song, Call My Name, is to be filed under ‘Fantastic Prince Ballad’. I remember, years ago, Gene Siskel gave a thumbs down to Scorsese’s Casino, because Siskel felt it was redundant since Scorsese had so-often traveled the same themes and scenes in past movies. I expect some may feel the same about this song, because it sounds like classic Prince. Fair enough, I suppose, but I think Casino is a fantastic film, and Call My Name is a fantastic song. It gloriously sounds like classic Prince. Yay!!

Cult of (lack of) Personality

First of all, what is happening to Paula Abdul? A coupla weeks ago, she showed up on American Idol with her right arm in a sling. Now, last night, she had on far too much makeup, like she was trying to cover up facial bruising. Paula, is everything okay at home? Is somebody treating you like their personal punching bag? You can tell me.

Whatever the case, that was some ugly Paula makeup last night. Very trampish.

Speaking of Ugly, how about that blue dress the Diana DeGonner was wearing? Yeesh. Nothing like picking a dress that makes you look stumpy while accentuating your tummy roll. Speaking of tummy rolls, I’m afraid Diana is gonna end up going the way of Dawn “Mary Ann” Wells, and Cindy “Shirley” Williams. That is, I fear she’s going to get fat, and sooner than later. You can see it’s in her genes.

But, how did she sing, you ask. Not very well, I answer. On her first song, she sounded nervous and her voice was weak and trembly. The second song, which was more up-tempo, served her better. But she still wasn’t all that good, I didn’t think.

She’ll be safe tonight, though, and make it to next week, because she’s the last white person in the competition.

As ugly as Diana De-uglyGowner’s dress was, George Huff looked pretty natty in his dark suit, dark shirt and dark tie. Remember the first time we saw George, he looked really old, like he was mid-30’s. (let’s pause here to give us who are currently past mid-30’s a moment to wipe away our tears). Now, he looks like a boy who’s playing at being a man. How’d that happen? George looks like he should be licking a lolipop.

As for his performance, when he was singing his first song, I was thinking that it was too by the book, too note for note, too safe. Simon concurred with me. I like it when I think the same thing as Simon, because he is always right on about the vocal talent. (sometimes he is way off on things like the performer’s personality or their look, but he is very seldom off on his critique of their vocal qualities). When I heard George say he was going to sing “What A Wonderful World” I shuddered. For me, that song has long stopped being a song, and has become an icon for the Big Chill generation. I was pleased to hear him sing it well, though. He spinned it enough to make it distinct, even though the judges chastised him for not doing that. I think their chastisement was more for the first song, though, which was well sung, but lacking his individuality.

George will be safe tonight because he is the last male participant in the competition.

I can’t recall the dress that LaToya ‘R’ Us was wearing, so I won’t comment on it. Except to say that I expect it was just like her performance: Perfectly styled. LaToya did a fantastic job with both of her numbers. But as I was listening to them I was thinking that I don’t think I’d want to buy a record of hers. Yes, there’d be great singing, but that’d be about it. Not much personality emanates out of the pores of LaToya. She definitely has the most polished and professional voice, and she may very well win American Idol, but I don’t think she’s the best choice.

LaToya will be safe tonight because she has the best voice.

The denims and top with dangling chains that Jasmine Triage was wearing didn’t do anything for me. Then again, neither did her singing. She just doesn’t have the singing chops. And anyone who’s downloaded any of my songs here, should agree that I know all about not having singing chops. I never liked Jasmine as a singer, and her personality does nothing for me.

She’ll be the one who gets removed from the competition tonight.

I also don’t remember the outfit that Fantasia was wearing. I thought she did a great job with her two songs, though. I can understand why people don’t like her personality. It’s because she has one and is willing to display it. I guess there are many who are hoping she doesn’t win, but I’m not one of them. I’d be much more inclined to buy, and much more curious about, the music she’d create than I would any other competitor in American Idol.

She’s safe for another week or two.

Finally, I was always impressed with how quickly the show’s editors could, at the end of the show where they recap snippets from the performances, cut in the final competitor’s recap in time for the recap. Last night, though, I saw how it was possible. In the live performance we saw, Fantasia never ended either of her songs with her now-trademark ‘yeah yeah yeah yeah’ vocal run (thank goodness, as I was getting tired of it). Yet, in the recap, they showed the ending to her song, and there it was, the ‘yeah yeah yeah yeah’ vocal run. So, obviously, the recaps (or at least the final performer’s recap) is/are taken from a rehearsal performance. Fair enough.

In conclusion, bye Jasmine.

Whom Are Me To Talk?

I know, I know, posts about grammar are ho hum. Still.

People, you gotta stop trying to sound smart by using 'whom'. Most of the time, 'whom' gets used improperly. I only say this because I've noticed its incorrect use more often in the past month or so, on various sites that I visit. So, please, just stick with the 'who'. At least when it's incorrect, it's not as noticable. Okay, people? As for which people, you know whom you are.

Also, since I'm here, please be careful with the 'blank and I'. I know teachers drilled it into our heads in elementary school, but, alas, it went to the opposite extreme, and now 'blank and I' is too often used incorrectly. "The pizza was eaten by John and I" is incorrect, for instance. It should be "John and me". Yet, I see this very thing happening all the time. (I am so La De Da)

Here's a simple test to know if you are using it correctly: When you are writing a sentence where you wonder whether it should be 'blank and I' or 'blank and me', separate the names, and read the sentence with each as an individual entity.

The pizza was eaten by John. (that's okay)

The pizza was eaten by I. (that's not okay)

Anytime you're in doubt, just try that test, and you should see which is correct.

I just had to get that off my chest.

Carry on.

Tuesday, May 4

So Exquisite Harbour

This song, I call a Chimp song because it was recorded during the period in which we recorded the Chimp songs. That, and it uses electric guitar while all 'my' other songs are acoustic. Really, though, I think it's safe to call it a Rob song because I wrote it myself, I made all the noises on it myself after Dave went home one night, and, most importantly, it just doesn't sound to me (or to Dave, i'm guessing) like a Chimp song.

Anyway, onto the song.

Does anyone from Charlottetown remember about 15 to 10 years ago, there were posters all around town, on telephone poles, walls, everywhere, with a picture of a guy who was missing? The poster asked 'Have you seen this man" or something similar. I guess he committed suicide or drowned or something, so the rumours go. At any rate, the posters were up, seemingly, for years, and over the course of time, they became pretty disshevelled, some with glasses and moustaches, etc, drawn on them.

I found that lack of respect interesting enough to write a song about them. Or, at least, a verse.

"Have you seen this man" said the posters, in a pessimistic hue.

Been up for weeks on poles, uh oh, does not look good for you.

Your frightened eyes, caught by surprise,

Marker moustache and blackened eyes

Obscure your grainy face.

No sympathy for such an ugly face.

So, I had written that, and thought it'd be good to forge a song around it. Since the guy was rumoured to have drowned, I thought it made sense to talk about the harbour in which he likely drowned. Those of you who know the Charlottetown Harbour would have to agree that it's very pretty. Not the sort of place that we'd want to associate with suicide. Especially us being a tourist town. That was the thinking that led me to the title "So Exquisite Harbour" and to the chorus.

Now I had a verse, and a chorus. I wrote the second verse about a fictional character, a nouveau hippy chick who thinks she's 'literary' and drinks herbal tea. She thinks she has it together, but ends up dead in the harbour as well. Happy song!

I am not proud about the lyrics in the bridge, or for the melody of the bridge, for that matter. They aren't horrible or anything, just not very smart or clever. Yet, it seems the song needs them to be there.

After two verses of sad-luck people I thought it needed to become a little uplifting, so I wrote the third verse about a guy (the singer of the song) who remains optimistic (he claims he won't end up dead in the harbour like the others) despite having lost both his arms in a farming accident, and despite the fact that he pisses on himself every time he pees.

So, it ends kinda happily. Yay for the song!

I like the fuzzy sound of the guitar, and it's a pretty tight little tune, mixed pretty well, too for someone who didn't really know what he was doing. I don't even think there are points in the vocals that disgust me. Perhaps it's because I put my vocals through the same kind of fuzz distortion as I did the guitar. Very John Lennon, if you ask me. The distort-your-voice technique, not the song.

Anyway, here it is: So Exquisite Harbour (3.9mb)

Monday, May 3

My New Best Friend

I think I was just out of university when I wrote this song. We're talking at least 15 years ago, anyway.

I met Nick through Dave M. and for a while we all hung out together. When Dave moved away to Montreal, Nick and I became closer friends, mostly because of our similar tastes in music and our mutual desire to create music. Then Nick moved away, to Montreal, and on the day he left, I wrote this sentence "My new best friend left town this morning." Nothing awe-inspiring, but I thought it'd make a neat lyric.

So, I used it as the beginning of this song, and in fact, the whole first verse was pretty much about his leaving.

However, being one who finds it hard to allow personal emotion or truth enter my writing, I couldn't continue to have it be autobiographical. God forbid somebody actually see me...hear me...feel me.

So, I thought I'd try to turn it into a kind of menacing, creepy, obsessed stalker kind of relationship song. Make the singer out as somebody who's rather delusional about this relationship he's singing about.

I rather like the structure of the song, in the way that it's revealed slowly, line by line, just how flaky and deranged the guy is.

Production-wise, I think the double-tracking of the voice adds a nice "voices in his head" element. I also like the way the song builds in intensity, especially at "I like the seashore..." where the harmony/higher octave singing gets accentuated. Which brings us into the little guitar solo. If I were a sensitive man, I'd have to lie and say that the 'off-colour' notes in the solo were on purpose, and represent the character's descent into madness. But we know that's not true. I just can't play a lead on guitar to save my life, is all.

As will be readily apparent and obvious if you choose to download and listen to the song, here's what I don't like about it: one of the greatest tragedies of my life is my inability to sing harmony (some might say my inability to sing at all). Still, I giver a go on this song. But, alas, it turns horribly, horribly wrong. At a couple of points in the "I like the seashore" verse, I am quite literally tossing my voice from note to note, hoping that it catches on any note that will somehow form some sort of semblance of harmonic pleasantry. Of course, it doesn't. Again, I could say that the dischordant notes in my singing are to represent the off-kilter craziness of a madman, but if that's the case, what it really means is that the off-kilter madman can't sing harmony.

I'm guessing I left it that way because I figured that any other attempts at singing harmony would bring about results just as bad, if not worse. So, if you listen, I apologize for that.

Download My New Best Friend (3.7mb)

Now, That's What I Call An Offering

Saturday my wife was helping to serve a ham & scallop dinner at her church. Sometime into the proceedings, I get a phone call from her. Her purse was stolen, could I please call the credit card people and cancel our credit cards, so that any thieving partakers of pork couldn't use our cards to buy themselves bibles.

She had left her purse on the back of a chair, close to the door. When she came back to it, it was gone. The purse, not the chair.

So, I called Mastercard's toll-free number and was very professionally taken care of by a guy who told me that new cards would be sent to us on Monday.

Then I called Visa's toll-free number and was very professionally taken care of by a lady who told me that new cards would be in our possession in 5 to 10 business days. This lady was very helpful, yet I found her professionalism to be rather frantic. She spoke very quickly and was absolutely confident in what she was saying. Yet there was absolutely no emotion in her voice, no sense that I was talking to a human being. As I was speaking to her, I was thinking "This is what robots will sound like when technology moves forward enough."

The second that I hung up the phone from the flesh and blood Visa robot, the phone rang. It was my wife. She found her purse. The custodian had seen it on the chair, unattended, and had taken it and locked it in the church office.

Not knowing what would be the bigger annoyance - trying to re-activate our present cards by calling the companies back and cancelling the cancellation (a feat I wasn't even sure was possible), or going without credit cards for a week or so (not really that much of an annoyance) - I opted for the annoyance of least energy.

Dead Effin Wood

The HBO series "Deadwood" (airs Sunday nights on Canada's The Movie Network), has got to take the prize for continually having the most expletives uttered in any 60 minutes of programming ever.

It's another fantastic series from HBO. (I don't know how they do, those people at Home Box Office) For those who don't know, it's a show that revolves around a newly emerging town that's deep in the Wild West and whose inhabitants live day to day without any sort of system of law to get in their way. The conniving and immoral behaviour from practically all the cast of characters is simply breath-taking to behold. That anyone could maintain and live a moral life in those surroundings is also part of the story.

Great acting. Great scripts. Great storylines.

If you haven't seen it, and have access to it, and aren't put off by every second word being a cuss word, check it out.