Monday, January 26, 2009

back in the game

Okay, two weeks to catch up on. Sorry to the 5 people who actually read this thing.

Anyways last weekend Christy and I went to the SPCA to get a cat. The funniest thing about the SPCA is that beside every animal they have a fake name they’ve given them as well as a hilarious write up of the animal from the perspective of the animal itself. I would be lying if it didn’t have any effect on the cat we ended up choosing, but it totally did. There was one cat in particular we had our eye on who’s name was “Captain”. His write up was so awesome I copied it from the SPCA to write it down:

AHOY! Attenion all potential forever families, this is your captain speaking…..
Are you looking for a dashing and debonair guy? Then look no further. I am a gentle and smart cat who would just love to find a safe and kind Port of Call for my very own. I love to be touched and brushed and the only thing sweeter than the open seas is a warm lap to curl up in. Come aboard and fall in love. Anchors Away!!

Given the awesome name and the awesome write up we decided to pick up the awesome cat. Right from the get go the signs were good. On top of the fact that he looked a ton like my awesome ex-cat Jeff, even while we were taking him out of the cage at the SPCA he was super chill. He panicked a bit in the car (he actually pooped the box. This was the first time I realized we just got a cat with the stinkiest poop in history) but once we got home he was nervous for about 30 minutes then was hanging out chilling with us all. Before you know it Captain, aka Capadonna, aka big daddy butt stink was pretty much running the roost. The people at the SPCA said he was a stray but it’s hard to believe because of how normal and social he is, plus he’s totally house trained. Perhaps they grabbed him off the street when he had snuck out of the house for two seconds or something. Plus he has some pretty hilarious knock knees so I can’t imagine he would’ve lasted too long in the wild.

That night went out to a party for a friend from work who got a new job in Montreal. Despite what the pictures look like I did have an awesome time. Speaking of which, when did I get the thousand foot prison yard stare? I think my default face is a scowl. I got to work on that. To nail the point home, someone on facebook uploaded a picture of me at a hardcore concert when I was 17 (Im the kid in the far right of the picture). Looking at this picture I realized a few things about myself:

1. No wonder I had no interest in playing contact sports in high school. Look at me! I was an SLF.
2. I remember part of the fun of being straightedge and going to all these shows was how dangerous it all seemed. Angry kids getting together listening to loud angry music sounds like trouble right? Ten years later and the thought of a bunch of mid-pubescent kids NOT drinking and NOT doing drugs seems a lot less dangerous.No wonder the straight edge revolution never took over the world like we all thought it would. It just took over my right leg instead.

Besides taking advantage of a shoe sale, the rest of the week was unfortunately spent being sick with the flu. Thankfully, the weather coordinated with how I felt so I didn’t seem to miss much.

This weekend the weather was way more awesome. Saturday was filled with a bunch of obligations to work and writing classes and stuff but Sunday held up pretty awesomely. To start, me and Christy met her mom for brunch at the restaurant down at the Granville Island hotel. On our way down we saw this poster. Now I ask you, did the owner of that cat really need to put the third point down? Do you think there’s anyone who would be like

“Well, I found a black and white cat with one ear and a squawky meow, but you know what? His character isn’t that cheeky. It’s more sassy. Must not be the same cat.”

After that, said “peace” to el capitano, drove through downtown, over the lions gate bridge, pulled out my steelhead tackle and my home made fishing gloves and finally got to spend an hour fishing at the cap. Unfortunately the water was super ridiculously low. I tried a bit higher up the river but all the rocks were super slippery and dangerous. While I was near the top I saw a dude from the fisheries drop off a summer run steelhead in the pool I was standing at. Awesome! After giving up on the fishing early I still wanted to take advantage of the clear day so I drove up the mountains and checked out some parks I hadn’t seen before. When I pulled off the road and walked up to the park I was pretty blown away by the view.

On the way back into town I stopped at famous noodle, a noodle soup place where they make the noodles fresh right in front you. After that me and Christy headed down to meet up with Scott and his Australian girlfriend at an Australian bar for “Australian day”. The place was packed with Aussies and people pretending to be them. It was rowdy, rude and loud, basically what I was expecting from a room full of Aussies. The weirdest thing of the night though happened in the bathroom. It changed my view of Aussies forever.

While waiting in line to pee a guy in front of me in the urinal said “Oi, now it’s gunna cam out the otha end mate”. Then he walked over to the toilet stall yelled “Get out mate.I gutta shet!” So a freaked out looking dude comes out of the stall and this guy runs in. 2 seconds later he blasts a super loud stinky fart. Everyone in the line went “Ohhhhh!” but right after, the guy goes “Wait until you smell it mates. I’ll have you all runnin’ fore the door!” What was so weird about it was that the Aussie on the can and the Aussies in line kept going back and forth talking about the guys poop. Like the entire time I was in the bathroom. What kind of people do that? I’m never listening to Midnight Oil again.

With all that said, good weekend. Back in the swing of things again and I’ll start updating this thing again more often. Peace out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

this is a sick post

I haven't been intentionally avoiding this thing, I just caught the flu and feel like garbage. I'll try and write up a real post soon. In the meantime go watch the Obama inauguration.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Boo for bad art.

It seems like a lot of people get freaked out by art because of the way that they’re introduced to it. Unfortunately, like most things in the world, the people who suck the most at it tend to be the most vocal about it. As a result, people get turned off from it before they even begin to explore what art can offer because they assume it's for people who wear ponchos and talk in the third person.

Think of the worst art nerds you had in your high school. The people who wore artitude on their sleeve like it was their job. It gets even worse in University, when people use artsiness as their identity or more specifically as a way to get laid. On top of generally being terrible artists these people tend to want to keep art as something really exclusive. In one case I even know a super talented guy who left art school because he couldn’t handle all the art-dork ego from the people in his class.

It just seems to me like there’s so many exciting and amazing things happening in art; they just aren’t necessarily art per se. Take a look in the worlds of skateboarding, graffiti, design, fashion and music (real music, preferably made by sweaty twenty-somethings with instruments tuned way too loud). There’s still enough frustrated and creative people out there doing great things without maybe realizing how cool what they’re doing really is. Maybe it’s the sold out advertising guy in me, but looking at a really amazing cd layout can be just as inspiring and cool as a great painting.

This isn’t meant to paint (pun intended) traditional art and artists as pretentious or anything, it’s just too bad that often times people don’t see things as art unless it’s done on canvas or with a charcoal pencil. I blame a school system full of jaded old art teachers.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Special Ontario Edition

Went back to Ontario for the holidays. Back to a place where houses are actually made out of brick. A place where people actually like to drink and socialize at bars. A place where I realized for better or for worse how much I’ve actually changed since leaving there. I don’t mean that as some sort of deep foreshadowing for an epiphany I’m going to drop later in the entry, but seriously, all my friends can generally drink harder, party bigger and deal with the cold better than I can now. Unfortunately I’m becoming a bit of a delicate dandy. More about that later.

First, getting out to Ontario was an ordeal itself. I got to the airport at 8 for a flight that was supposed to depart at 9:30. Once I got to the airport it had already been delayed a second time, to 11:30. This was all due to a snowstorm coming towards Vancouver combined with a big chunk of snow that had already fallen.

Vancouver is the most ill equipped city to handle snow. Once there’s an inch of snow on the ground a city known for it’s civility quickly deteriorates into a post apocalyptic hell hole like something out of “Mad Max beyond thunderdome”. People abandon their cars on the highway, buses slide so much they end up forming a barricade across the entire street and you see some of the weirdest accidents you have ever seen. I saw all three of these things on the way to and from the airport. Oh yeah and the concepts of plows and salt are completely foreign to the city so the snow stays on the streets forever.

Back to waiting at the airport: Thankfully I was getting on the same flight as some friends from work so we all waited out the delay in an airport bar drinking. Unfortunately the plane got delayed again to 1 am and the bar had closed. So we went to another bar and kept drinking. Long story short, after that bar closed we waited until 3:30 to board the plane. Once we boarded the plane we sat in it for 4 to 5 hours before it actually departed. Thankfully the combination of beer and sleeping pills knocked me out pretty good, but when I woke up there were clearly some disgruntled passengers, one guy behind me said to the flight attendant “Okay seriously, I’ll just jump out of the entrance, I don’t mind, I just need to get off this flight.” Another woman was just screaming anything she could think of, including “Let me out!”, “This is bullshit!”, “Why won’t the pilots say anything to us? What are they hiding!” and my personal favorite, when all the others failed “I’m a fucking diabetic!” Still not sure how she thought the last one would help the situation.

We landed in Toronto around 5 pm. Roughly 12 hours later than we were supposed to land. However it turns out we were the last plane let out of Vancouver as the impending snowstorm grounded all the flights until boxing day.

My mom had no idea I was going to be home for Christmas eve dinner so it was great surprising her and enjoying the amazing Christmas dinner with her side of the family. The vinaigrette, wild mushrooms and all the other Lithuanian delicacies were top notch. Hung out with my mom, bro and fam then went over to Jeff's to have a beer with some of the dudes. All in all a wicked first day back.

Christmas day, once again was great. Had Christmas morning at my moms then went to see my dad in the afternoon which was great, then finally ended up at Christy’s parents place for dinner. Two things quickly dawned on me that first day:

1. I can’t eat like I used to. Seriously I only had one plate at each meal I had, no seconds. What happened to me?
2. I can’t drink like I used to. 3 beers now and I’m buzzed, 6 beers and I’m starting to have to concentrate on walking. R.I.P. party animal Simon.

After all the food, drink, family and friends, I went down to Che to meet the dudes for our traditional Christmas night drinking party. I’m pretty sure it was a good time, I just wish I could remember it.

Between Christmas and new years, with the exception of the Bruyn Christmas, the holidays followed a pretty consistent pattern of drinking, being hung over then visiting people I hadn’t seen in a while.

Realization #3:
I used to think I was a pretty big guy. Then I went to the Bruyn Christmas party and realized I was the smallest guy under the age of 50. Seriously look at me in this picture! When did I become a hobbit? It’s amazing how diluted you get hanging out all the time with people shorter than you.

Realization #4:
The cold still stinks. People always complain about the rain out in BC but in the rain you can still do stuff. In the cold, especially when there’s snow on the ground you really can’t do anything nor do you even want to. It stinks.

Flash forward to the day before New Years eve. Going out for dinner near my bro’s new place in Toronto and meeting up with a host of old friends afterwards. Crashed at the apartment I used to live in that Harold, Mike and Ryan now live in. Calling it an apartment is a compliment, it’s more like a mishmash of filthy rooms. Crack heads would be embarrassed to sleep here.

New Years Eve. Matt pacing around nervously at his house until around 10:45. The early signs on the potential of his party weren’t good. A clogged toilet and a room full of dudes with no girls in sight. Unfortunately the first girl to show up was Matt’s girlfriend, this kicked Matt’s nervousness into high gear; He didn’t want her thinking he was a huge nerd who thought of 6 dudes playing rock band as a wicked new years party.

Thankfully a call from my bro came and the news that his whole party would be joining ours. New Years was saved! Old friends, excessive drinking, drunken tomfoolery, kitchen dance parties. It was an awesome new years.

Long story short, the holidays were awesome. Got some good time with family and friends. Though it never feels really like enough, given the circumstances I think I did okay. Hamilton will always be Hamilton and Toronto is always a wicked spot to party. Seriously Vancouver has nothing on Toronto from a partying perspective.

Next time I visit though I just hope it’s not so stupidly cold.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

first test post back.

Well I haven’t been updating this thing lately because I was back home in Ontario for the holidays. I’m going to do a big update on my travels in Ontario soon but for the time being I thought I would give my take on my favorite albums of 2008. In doing this exercise I realized pretty quickly that very few people I actually think might read this thing would even have a remote interest in any of these albums, but hey, I needed an easy post to get back in the groove. I also realized that my favorite music can basically be broken down into three categories: Long meandering emotional-ish music, heavy metal and party rock. The metal one is the weirdest because most people I used to listen to metal and hardcore with now hate it. Guess I never grew out of it.

So without further ado here’s a list of albums no one will probably care about.

Trap Them – Seizures in barren praise.
If I owned a football team I’d blast the first song on this album before my team took the field. It’s like a super awesome metal arena anthem. Kind of like “We will rock you” times a billion. This is the band I wanted to be like when I was playing in all sorts of terrible hardcore bands during my youth.

Cursed – III
Bummer these dudes broke up. Once again, awesome fast metal stuff.

Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On
Dude from “Queens of The Stone Age” is in this band, but personally I think these guys are better. Wicked album but to be honest I like the other two more. Still just good party rock and roll.

Ladytron – Velocifero
I saw Danzig open for Metallica once. It was in the middle of the afternoon at Molson park. It was weird seeing Danzig play in the middle of the day, it didn’t make sense. Ladytron is the same, they sound better in the dark. But I guess they aren’t totally the same cause they’re a British electro band with 2 female singers. Same diff.

Fuck the Facts – Disgorge Mexico
Token one grind album I buy a year. Last year was Pig Destroyer, this year it was Fuck the Facts. Awesome super fast metal. On a more serious note, can grind bands start naming themselves more normal names so I don’t feel like such an ass every time I go to the sales counter with their CD’s in my hand?

M83 – Saturdays = Youth
This album is awesome. The last M83 album was a little too melodramatic for my liking, this on still has hints of that but not so over the top. I’m sure you could read a giant, ridiculous in depth review of this on pitchfork if you want to know more.

Torche – Meanderthal
This is like if Foo Fighters were a bit more metal. The song “Healer” is one of the best party metal songs ever.

Cult of Luna – Eternal Kingdom
My favorite album of the year. Long, slow metal. Kind of like Isis if I didn’t find Isis to be so boring or Mogwai if they played metal with a growling singer. It’s another weird theme album but hey, what do you expect from a “Post-Metal” band from Sweden?

Okay, real updates to resume this weekend.