King of the Hipsters

Doing a random search on the internet for concerts, I decided to check out The Dodos website.  Now, it just so happened that I went to the site only a few hours after they had posted their winter concert schedule... and Victoria was on the list!  Now, this list featured a lot of major cities, which makes me think that they must've remembered Victoria, and wanted to repeat what was obviously a special show.

I casually made a note on when the tickets would go on sale, and told myself I was absolutely gonna buy a couple.  Because they really are one of the best bands I've ever seen live.

Flash forward to thursday, when I found myself at Ditch Records.  "Two tickets for the Dodos, please"

The guy fishes out the tickets, and then promptly says "Hey, you're the first person in Victoria to buy tickets for this band"

That's right.  Yours truly holds tickets #1 and #2.

You may call me Newt, king of the Victoria Hipsters. 

Oh yeah, I'M responsible

Had a conversation with a half-brother of mine who lives on the other side of the country.  I think he was looking for some "grown-up" advice about sex that wasn't going to just parrot the crap he heard from "responsible" adults around him.

I did the whole "adult" thing, tried to present the facts, gave my honest opinion on his situation, and tried to be rational, reasonable, and responsible.

But of course, I'm a clown with an oversized coconut head.  So I started making jokes about halfway through, to break the serious tone.  And then I said something that, I think, is probably the funniest (and maybe rudest) thing I've ever said:

Remember, a good woman is hard to come by... and even harder to come on.

I'm pretty sure that's the best sex advice any half-brother can give, wouldn't you agree?


One of the things about being an insomniac is that, when you do get uninterrupted sleep for a couple of hours, you tend to have some strange dreams.  It's almost as if your mind is making up for the lack of dreams over the last few days by giving you one doozy of a dream at once. 

I've had dreams where I was attacked by giant robots, where I've stared up at the sky screaming "mendoza!", and where I've had conversations with my dog.  But last night's dream has to be a record.

See, I dreamed I was playing a drinking game.

My brain had invented all the rules for this drinking game, such that when I woke up, I remembered all of them - and then, after thinking about them for a few minutes, realized that they worked.  Not only that, but it was a drinking game that involved gambling - my other favourite vice!

I'm a giver.  And so, in the interests of sharing (and in doing my part in killing livers everywhere), allow me to present to you the official rules of "Calvinball", the world's first gambling drinking game. 
  1. Play proceeds in rounds, with the "dealer" changing each round in a clockwise fashion. 
  2. At the start of a round, the player to the left of the dealer must put a quarter into the "pot" ("little blind").  The player to the left of the little blind player must put two quarters into the "pot".
  3. The dealer then announces the basic rule of the round:  either a "rule", a "challenge", or a "shot". 
  4. Every player that wants to stay in the round puts two quarters into the pot.  Players can fold if they wish.
  5. The dealer announces the specific game:
    1. If the round was a "rule", the dealer announces a new rule for the game, such as "when I touch my nose, everyone that must touch their nose, and the last person to touch his nose has to put a dollar into the pot" or "the dealer must always speak in rhyme or pay a penalty".  Those players still in play can each either fold, put one quarter in the pot and "check", or "Challenge" the Dealer by giving the dealer two quarters and challenging him in some ridiculous challenge (see below) or by forcing him to have a shot.  If the dealer refuses this challenge/shot, the round ends and all players still in play (excluding the dealer, who is considered to have folded) split the pot. 
    2. If the dealer announces a challenge, he suggests a one-time dare of sorts - a yodelling contest, a rap battle, or anything else that springs to the imagination - and puts an amount at least one quarter and no more than one dollar into the pot.  The remaining players can either fold or match the dealer's stake.  After the bets have been matched, the challenge commences - until only one player remains.  That player takes the pot.  
    3. If the dealer announces the shot, he now names the shot.  He can name only one shot (no multiple shots at once, although drop shots and jagerbombs are allowed), and then puts a stake of no less than a quarter and no more than a dollar into the pot.  Players can (in clockwise order) fold out of play, match the dealer's stake, or "raise" him by doubling the amount (and adding a shot of their choice).  Each player has a chance to take place in this, which can lead to many shots being consumed at once (enjoy your alcohol poisoning!) 
  6. Play proceeds until the paramedics arrive.
And yeah, I'm strangely proud of this game.

Is it weird that I'm proud of this?

Sunday night.  My family, along with my sister's fiance, are sitting around the kitchen table at the family home, looking through some digital photos my brother had taken.  They were of a "guys night out", wherein my brother and I took our brother-to-be out on the town.

Crazy shenanigans were had.  And now, the three of us were trying to explain these photos to my parents. 

Case in point:

NEWT'S BROTHER:  And this here is a photo of Dave, trying to light a match.  With his eyebrow.
NEWT'S MOTHER (Laughing):  What?  Why would you even try to use your eyebrow?
NEWT:  Um.  Because my stubble wasn't working.
NEWT'S BROTHER:  He had red streaks all over his face afterward!
(Everyone Laughs, except NEWT)
NEWT:  The worse part is that this wasn't even the first time I tried to do this.
NEWT'S FATHER:  You're an idiot.
NEWT:  Yeah....

Weekly Haiku #41 - early morning reflections

woke up... it's just eight -
wait, i'm unemployed still, right?
up so soon, feels wrong. 

pfah. Amateurs

I was reading a few blogs this morning, and they were all doing some stupid quiz/questionairre thing.   Those blog quiz things are, of course, the worst - they're where people who have no reason to be writing a blog post in the first place go when they have absolutely nothing to write about.

And holy crap, were the responses lame.

See, it went like this:  turn on your ipod, turn it on shuffle, and list the first 20 songs that come up.  Easy peesy, right?
Problem is, their lists BLEW!  Good Charlotte?  All American Rejects? GREEN DAY!?  What the FUCK, people?  What happened to good taste!?  I wanted to go on their blogs and slap them silly.  I mean, I suppose it's possible that they had good songs on their ipods, and just the shitty songs came up when it was put on random.

But I'm guessing that all of their songs were shitty.  And the worst thing is - they posted it on their blogs.  Which suggests that they don't realize their music is shitty

The whole thing made me shudder.  And then I realized I had to do an experiment, thus breaking my vow to never subject my blog to those lame-ass quiz games.  The experiment was thus - if I did that game, would my list wind up being really shitty?

Here goes:
  1. Miles, Mother Mother
  2. We Gotta Get Out of this Place, The Animals
  3. Lucky, Radiohead
  4. The Fight, Sia
  5. Yesterday, The Beatles
  6. Hurting me Now, Sia
  7. Golden Slumbers, The Beatles
  8. Jodi, The Dodos
  9. Wind Blows, Yukon Blonde
  10. The Year You Were Born (Live), Hey Rosetta!
  11. Size Queen, Kyuss
  12. Section 19 (When The Fool Becomes the King), The Polyphonic Spree
  13. Lacrimosa, Regina Spektor
  14. The Indie Queens are Waiting, Dan Mangan
  15. Hoodoo, Muse
  16. Surrender, Elvis Presley
  17. How to Embrace a Swamp Creature, The Mountain Goats
  18. The Tourist, Radiohead
  19. Fabulous, Dan Mangan
  20. Brotherhood of Death, Apollo Sunshine
Nope.  Looks to me like a halfway decent list of music. 

Regarding the Rain:

Victoria sometimes seems to be a city of transplants.  Everyone here started off somewhere else - they're members of the Canadian Navy who were transferred to the base here;  they're students attending the university;  retirees who want to live somewhere warm while staying in Canada;  provincial government workers who got sent to work at the capital; eco-nuts who want to live somewhere "green" but still be in a city. 

Long story short, the people that love it here are the people that started off somewhere else.  The people that hate it here grew up here.  Generally speaking.

I love the recent transplants, especially those from up north or from eastern Canada (in B.C., everything right of the rockies is "eastern Canada", mind you).  Especially their reactions to Victoria "winter".  During december, they laugh at Victoria's reaction to mild snowfall, making comments about just how "wussy" Victoria is - and it's a fair thing to comment about.  If it snows, even an inch, you'll see every grocery store raided for vital supplies like water, canned goods, and toilet paper.

Like it was the freakin' apocalypse.

But the transplants point and laugh, and by January 2nd inevitably say "well, now that winter's over...." 

And then January really gets into full swing.  Rain that slams down sideways.  Wind screaming in from the coast.  Gray skies loom overhead.   Frozen fingertips, frozen toes. 

And then the transplants begin to contemplate the true nature of Victoria's "mild winter".  Because yeah, it doesn't snow.  But once you get caught in a few January rainstorms, you'll find yourself wishing for some "good ol' fashioned Ontario snow".

The transition

Well, the trials and tribulations of insomnia are (mostly) over!  By this I mean that I'm getting at least four hours of sleep a night, and I'm not lying in bed wide awake most nights.  This is a very good thing;  there's nothing worse than being awake on your couch watching TV during the transition from "late night" TV to "early morning" TV. 

Poker After Dark is not a good segue into Dora the Explorer.  Remember that.

A (sleep deprived) update:

Some of you may have noticed I've been a bit lax in posting in the last week. 

It's okay, I have an excuse. Namely, that I've been so sleep-deprived as of late that I have absolutely no creative energy whatsoever.

My insomnia has been kicking my ass lately, to the point where every time I try to make a blog post, I stare at the screen and can't write down a single damned thing.  As I write this, I've had maybe six hours of sleep in the last few days.  I slept maybe three hours on saturday night, and around another three sunday night (last night).  Over the last week, I've been averaging maybe five or six hours a night, but never in any one continual streak - it's always broken by random wake-ups, low blood sugars, or the usual sounds of the apartment/crappy neighbourhood.

About a week ago, I had finally fallen asleep at around 6 am.  I hadn't slept in over 24 hours, and had finally collapsed from sheer exhaustion.  And then, two hours later, my phone rings.  I picked it up, and it was a telemarketer, trying to get me to do some goddamn survey.

I was near tears.  Literally - I was so sleep-deprived and anxious that I nearly started bawling.  I did my best to calmy tell the guy to leave me alone, and he tried to ask me questions until I angrily told him the whole damned story.  He apologized, but of course by then I was wide awake. 

I have all sorts of fun stories from the last week to relate to you, my eager audience.  There's the story of yours truly being a bit of the fool at the bar.  There's the story of the awkward date.  And the story of drinking flaming daiquiris made from 151 (with photos!).  And the rather awesome story of Apollo Sunshine, which was gonna be monday's music article. 

Hell, I even had a Day as Night script figured out.

But try doing any of that shit when you're so zonked out you're making about a bajillion typoes every sentence.  It ain't pretty. 

So that is why there hasn't been much in the way of posts.  It's also why I'm making this post at 2 am - as usual, I can't get to sleep.


Music Mondays - The Black Keys

They're not indie.  They're not from Victoria... or even Canada.  And the release is not entirely recent, even.  But it's still one of those albums I absolutely have to blog about.  Why?  Because it's so jaw-droppingly awesome.

Seriously, when I first heard this album on a good pair of headphones, I think the only reaction I was able to muster was to grab a cloth and wipe the drool that was dribbling down my chin.  It is, after all, very unbecoming to drool while listening to a band.  It's just as bad to be coming while listening to a band. 

Or something like that.  It sounded a lot funnier in my head.  Sue me. 

Recently, I picked up the Black Keys' Brothers and promptly proceeded to call it "a good fusion of electric blues, 1960s R&B and Soul, and modern folk, with a heavy dose of late era stoner rock thrown in for good measure".  And that's a statement I stand behind.  Or at least beside.  Or maybe in front of.  Look, I'm not too sure about positioning, but let's just say we're both in the same photograph, saying "cheese". 

The Black Keys have this great rock sound to them that definitely has some echoes of the past.  They're often called a blues band, and it's true that they definitely have a blues side to them.  But it's blues reimagined and repackaged for the modern audience - there are no blues guitar soloes, no wailing cries for mercy, and no crystal-clear guitar lines.  They are a blues band that has fully embraced muddy distortion, modern sensibilities, and are more than willing to experiment with new instruments and sounds.  And while there are a lot of pseudo blues bands out there ran entirely by white dudes (I'm looking at you, John Mayer and The White Stripes), these guys do the whole blues-rock thing a helluva lot more authentically.

I mean, Robert Plant is a fan.  Robert fucking Plant.  He of the voice.  You know... this guy? 

I've been loving "the Keys" since the first time I heard their album Attack and Release, an occasionally folky, occasionally rocky album that was on constant rotation in my house for a good three months.  And the band just keeps getting better and better.  Brothers starts off with a bouncing, rhythmic bass line that has a good touch of distortion on it - something reminiscent of early Queens of the Stone Age.  But the soul-like vocals layered on top bring this album into a whole new range.

This is popular music that we don't get to hear very often - popular music that is actually good.  It is deep, layered, and a shout-out to all of those great R&B acts that have come before.  "Tighten Up" reminds me of those great bands like Rare Earth (and has an awesome music video, holy crap), while "Howlin' For You" reminds me of that anthemic Gary Glitter song, only with, y'know, far less Paedophilia.  And "I'm not the one" is a classic blues song given an entirely new spin that defies explanation - it reminds me of my absolute favourite B.B. King song, and that's high praise indeed. 

So there. 

True Story:

GIRL:  I wish I lived on the waterfront.
DAVE:  It's nice.  I live, like, two minutes away from the waterfront.
GIRL:  That's awesome.
DAVE:  Yeah.  I go down there sometimes at night when I'm in a bad mood.  You can actually see the parliament buildings from there.
GIRL:  So pretty...
DAVE:  Gotta be careful, though.  I kicked a seal once.
GIRL:  (Pause)  You kicked a seal!?
DAVE:  Well, it was a baby seal...
GIRLYou kicked a baby seal!?
DAVE:  Not on purpose!
GIRL:  (laughing hysterically) YOU KICKED A BABY SEAL!?
DAVE:  It was dark out!  I didn't see it!
GIRL:  Why didn't you start with 'I accidentally kicked a baby seal', instead of 'I kicked a baby seal'?
DAVE:  Well, I don't-
GIRL:  Why would you kick a baby seal?  How bad are you?
DAVE:  It was dark out.  And the seal was sleeping, and...
GIRL:  You kicked a baby seal while it was asleep?
DAVE:  ...Crap.  There's no way I can come out of this looking like the hero, can I?
GIRL:  No way in hell.

Sign of the Apocalypse?

My dear, dear noodle box did something very.... strange.... today. 

Every day, they have a few different specials, asian-themed dishes that I am sure are there to give the cooks something new and fun to play with.  Over the past year, I've ordered the specials fairly often - thai chicken wings, spicy curry satay, chicken kabobs, and so on. 

Today... the special was linguine.  Or, as they called it, "Italian Style Noodlebox".

Linguine noodles in a fettucine sauce, with chicken and pancetta, as well as green beans and peppers.  Probably about as un-asian as you can possibly make a meal, in fact. 

I ordered it, so in the end, I'm really just encouraging them.  It... it wasn't very good. 

That is all. 

Commission Tricks

I had this little trick when I was selling crap at Future Shop.  It was a spiel I would use when trying to convince a customer into buying the service plan for an ipod or something.  Because, while it's generally a good deal, a lot of customers don't like the idea of putting down extra money for an extended warranty.

But the salesmen like pushing for it, because it's where the bulk of their commission profit comes from.  And so, they push.  Everyone pushes for it differently.  I did it with humour. 

I'm pretty sure I stole my joke from somewhere, but I can't remember where.  Oh well.

It'd go like this:
You know, these ipods are great.  About the only complaint I'd have is the batteries.  You can go with our service plan, or trust in the ipod warranty.  Ours will cover the battery, no questions asked.  Theirs, you have to pay shipping and handling, but they give you a little ipod stamp and a card.  When you get eight little ipod stamps, apple will generously give you... a free subway sub.
It'd get a laugh, usually.  And about half the time, I'd sell the warranty, which is kind of the point.  While Future Shop kind of sucks, they do have a good ipod warranty, and I really do recommend it. 

But at least a few times, I'd get a customer who'd hear that spiel and say something like, "A free subway sub?  Can they even do that?  Aren't they owned by seperate companies?" 

And then I'd have to say "Um, it was a joke" and they'd scratch their heads in complete confusion. 

Another guy in my department had a much better - if totally unethical - way of getting these idiots people to buy the warranty. 
You have to buy the warranty.  Otherwise, the battery won't work.
And they'd unquestioningly put down the ninety bucks for the warranty.  Personally, I say he's selling his soul for a couple of bucks, but whatever.  He's still working there. 

I'm not.

A very strange moral dilemna: (Warning: A bit raunchier than most of my posts!)

I've been talking to an ex over facebook the last few weeks, little three-sentence messages where we catch up with our respective lives.  It wasn't a particularly messy or angry breakup, mind you, but we had been together for a long time when it happened, and I think we both needed a bit of space.  And now, just shy of two years' later, we're able to kind of look back on things.

It's kind of nice.  And it's got me thinking about those times of old, some funny, some not.  I've decided to share one of my particularly uncomfortable stories with you all, for your amusement.  Apparently, it's my job in life to make you ingrates laugh, regardless of my personal comfort with everything. 

Actually, let's call a spade a spade.  I'll do anything for a laugh.  This is a true story, only slightly embellished for comedic effect - I've compressed a few events and tweaked some dialogue, here and there.  Otherwise, it's a completely factual re-telling.

Here goes.
It started with a dildo. 

We had been together for a few years, living together for maybe a year, when we decided we wanted to kind of broaden our sex lives a bit.  We did the usual things that couples do in such situations - I won't go into the gory details, but it was really the standard stuff.  Blindfolds, a bit of rope, and some Star Wars costumes... I won't divulge any details, but one of us was Boba Fett.

After a few months of this, it was decided that we'd pick up a Dildo for her.  You see, my girlfriend had never used one of these "self pleasuring devices", but we both decided it'd be kind of fun to play around with one in the bedroom.  Use it on her as sort of a foreplay thing.  However, after some searching through the busy store, she seemed very nonplussed with the offerings.  So, she turned to me and said something that she probably meant as a compliment.

"These are all way too big.  Why isn't there one more your size?"

Bear in mind, she said this in a fairly crowded place of business.  My face went red, and I went into "inadequate male" mode.  Seriously, if I had felt any more inadequate, I'd have been driving a sports car and talking about quarterbacks.  I wanted to throw something in the air and shout "It's a perfectly normal size!" and then rush out, screaming. 

Instead, I looked nervously at my shoes and smiled awkwardly at the woman working there, counting down from five until my girlfriend realized what she just implied.  Then she got to play a very awkward game those in politics refer to as "Damage Control".

"What I mean is, yours is the perfect size for my, um, no, uh, yours is more than enough, er..."

"Oh god..." I kept muttering to myself, trying to figure out an escape plan.  Throw the mannequin wearing crotchless panties through the window, push those lesbians buying a strap-on out of the way, and make a break for it...

The girlfriend kept going on, "It's about this large, a perfectly normal size" she said, announcing to the room.  "About six inches or so.  Which is much better than these monstrous, huge..."

This went on for about five minutes, by which time I was halfway dead of embarrassment.  This was worse than the time I called my teacher "mom" in the fifth grade, and he decided to tell my parents about it.  This was worse than the time my dad found an issue of Playgirl in my backpack (put there by a friend who thought it'd be the funniest prank ever... actually, it was).  This was even worse than that time I had really bad allergies, and everyone thought I was crying during an assembly about losing your virginity.

Luckily, the saleswoman came to my rescue.  "If you want, there are kits that you can buy, so you can make the perfect replica of your lover."

We all agreed this was a great idea, although I think my contribution to this conversation consisted mostly of tiny yelps and frequent glances at the door.  And so, we ordered one of these kits, and waited for about six weeks for it to be delivered.

It's called a "Clone A Cock" kit, which is probably the best name EVER.  When we got the kit, we were pretty excited, and flipped through the instructions like kids flipping through a dirty magazine- lots of nervous tittering, pointing, and trying to figure out exactly what all the pictures meant

I won't go into the details on how we went about making "Newt #2".  Because it involves a large amount of nudity and what those in the adult entertainment industry refer to as "
fluffing".  But at the end of the process, we had a near exact replica, save for a single air bubble.  And Newt #2 went on to have an illustrious career, which again, will not be detailed here. 

And then, one chilly spring morn, the girlfriend and I broke up.  It sucked, but we both knew it was coming, and we've since both moved on and generally became happier people. 

Anyways, we were dividing our stuff one day.  We divvied up our DVD collection.  Our book collection.  Our music collection.  Utensils, plates, pictures, furniture. 

And then came Newt #2.  Who gets to keep it?  After all, she had been the only person to use it.  But it was completely inappropriate for her to keep it - basically, she no longer got Newt #1, so why should she keep Newt #2? 

And so, I kept it.  Sitting in my bedroom, in the nightstand by the bed, for about a year.

I know, I know.  I should have thrown it out.  There was no use for the thing - I obviously couldn't use it with the next girlfriend.  How would you even introduce such a thing?  "Hey, baby, this was used on a different girl, now I want to use it on you".  There's a reason there's not much of a market for second-hand sex toys, y'know. 

But every time I decided I was going to chuck it, scenarios began to run through my head:  what if the garbageman finds it?  My garbage bags are see through - what if the neighbours see it?  I'm a single male, what will they think? 

I thought about destroying it, but that just felt wrong.  After all, it looked very much like Newt #1, and I'm a pretty big fan of Newt #1's work.  Tearing it in half, or even just slicing off the tip, didn't really sit well in my head (either of them). So it sat there for maybe a year, slowly being forgotten by yours truly until it was nothing more than a hazy memory. 

And then, almost suddenly, I was dating the Special Lady.  One night, we were in my bed, doing all sorts of fun things that are detailed on all sorts of websites that are not this one.  The Special Lady whispered those magic words that every guy likes to hear, and I replied with haiku-like brevity "they're in the nightstand". 

It was dark, and all I could hear were some fumbling noises.  Papers were overturned as she rifled through the contents.  And then:

"What the hell?"

I hadn't caught on yet.  "What's wrong?"

"What is this?"

"aw, crap."

She tittered nervously.  "Is there, um, something I don't know about...?"

This was embarrasing.  It was more embarrasing than that time I called my teacher "mom" in the fifth grade.  It was more embarrassing than the time I got my tongue stuck to the flag pole in front of the school.  It was even more embarrassing than the time my girlfriend implied I had a tiny wang in front of a bunch of sex perverts in a "love shop". 

What do you say in such a situation?  I went for that oldest of guy's cliches:  "It's not what it looks like."

The lights came on.  We got dressed.  And I told her the whole dirty story.  And this lead to the usual questions:  why would you keep it?  do you still love her?  why don't we do dirty stuff like that?  is it me? 

And so on, and so forth.  I slept on the couch that night.  In my own apartment.

We threw out newt #2 the next morning.  It was double-bagged.

Weekly Haiku #40: New Year's Resolutions

twenty eleven.
resolutions to follow many to break?

Day As Night #20: Parental Pressures...

Day as night returns!  At least, for this week it does.  Of course, after hitting "publish", I realized all sorts of niggling little errors that I should have caught the first time around.  I really need to do these more often, to stay in shape. 

Guess that's a new year's resolution, eh?

As usual, click if you want to enlarge. 

Music Mondays - The Barmitzvah Brothers

I really wish my first music post of 2011 would be about some new, cutting-edge band.  But were I to do that, I'd be lying - the bands I've been listening to lately are not brand new musicians, bright eyed and bushy-tailed.  Nope.  The bands I've been listening to have all been around for awhile, and released multiple albums.

And so it is that I mention the Barmitzvah Brothers.  Describing themselves as "Alt Pop", their sound is one that is based upon multiple instruments and simple vocal schemes that are surprisingly witty and layered.  Personally, I'd describe it as "old timey radio songs meets sixties-style folk, all tied together by a ukelele".

The band, which - despite the name - is neither jewish nor brothers (or even predominantly male), makes a point of having every musician play multiple instruments depending on the song.  And they do it with a sense of humour while not being one of those dreaded "comedy acts".

Their last album, released in 2007, is pretty much on constant repeat on my ipod right now.  And it's really no surprise why - it goes from funny and self-referential jokes right into deep, thoughtful lyrics that shy away from being morose or "broody".  The album, "Let's express our motives:  An Album of Under-Appreciated Job Songs" is dedicated to all those jobs that don't get the praise.

Which brings my main point of contention.  Sure, it has songs dedicated to those who work at animal rendering plants, janitors, rodeo clowns... but it doesn't cover the most under-appreciated job of all time... the blogger

I really am just a tad offended.  Who cares if a guy at a rendering plant has stinky fingers?  Do you people realize just how much diet coke and hickory sticks I burn through every week to bring you blogging gold?  When in the hell do I get my song?

But I'll forgive them, if only because the album is just so awesome. 

It's just amazing just how fast it can go from quirky, upbeat songs such as "Sign Erector" to hauntingly dark songs like "Salvage Diver", a simple vocal/ukelele combination that just happens to have some of the greatest lyrics I've heard in a long time ("All those things the water kept/burned an image that I can't forget/going down to look for bodies").  I'm not much of a lyrics person when it comes to music (which might explain my love of Led Zeppelin), but with this band, I'm really paying attention to just what's being said. 

You see, the primary singer, Jenny Mitchell, sings with such conviction.  Every song is about an occupation - and with each song, I'm convinced she's singing about a job she's personally held.  I am sure, in fact, that she has worked as a Library Page, a Denture Technician, a Show Promoter, a Thrift Store Owner, a Bookbinder, a Piano Tuner, and...

..well, you get the point.  But there is one song that she's held that I'm sure is 100% accurate - she has been a member of The Barmitzvah Brothers.  And yes, they included their own jobs as musicians in an album about under-appreciated jobs.  Remember what I said about funny, self-referential lyrics?

Bad news?  They haven't released an album in three years.   Their main website is a dead link.  And they all have "side projects".  On the plus side, they just did a "reunion tour" last month, so there's still hope yet.  I'd love to catch these guys live - they sound like they'd be a lot of fun.

Recollections of a perfectly good failure

I woke up yesterday morning, noting blearily that if I had woken up only five minutes later, it would officially no longer be morning.  I was still wearing my jeans, but I had taken off my socks and shirt.  The fact that I was wearing my jeans was a little alarming, and for a second I panicked.

What had I done last night?  It was, after all, New Year's Eve, a night of craziness and drunken debauchery. 

Then I remembered the night before.  Having a few drinks with some friends, playing a friendly poker game and winning some money in between flaming shots of 151, counting down the last seconds of the year, and then contendedly walking home in a light rain, wondering what 2011 was going to bring me.

Remembering it all, I sighed in relief.  I hadn't gone crazy last night. 

And then I thought - I hadn't gone crazy last night.  In fact, I woke up on January first with nothing even remotely resembling a hangover.  There were no strange, random women in my bed.  And there was still money in my pocket - in fact, there was more money in my pocket than there was when I left the house the night before.

Had I failed New Year's Eve?


But really, it's the type of failure I really don't mind. 

Chump Change

My friends and I usually make it a goal to show up at my place for New Year's Day, watch the winter classic, and have a few drinks (read as:  leftovers).  There's nothing quite like yelling at hockey players while eating home-made chili. 

It's strangely therapeutic.  Sort of like listening to Radiohead. 

This year, though, I'm stuck working.  Which seems very, very wrong.  In fact, I can't even think of a new year's day in the past in which I've done anything resembling working.  I mean, there was that time I helped move a couch, but that was only so I could get the bottle opener that somebody had dropped underneath it. 

New Year's Day is about lazing about while simultaneously making false promises about how you're going to be "More active this year, I swear."  It's not about selling electronics to people. 

Seriously, who comes in to Future Shop on New Year's Day?  Who is so hard up for electronics that they're going to spend the laziest day of the year trying to save five dollars on a frigging iPod? 

My point it, only chumps would be in Future Shop on New Year's Day.  Unfortunately, I'm one of those chumps.

At least I'm not one of those chumps who's celebrating his 500th post on his blog. 

Oh, wait.