Sunday, October 28, 2007

Such high culture...

Really just playing with the camera... still lots to learn- like how to talk to the hand.

New camera....

Here it is.
And my New York view....regular, and 10X zoom.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Going dark...

I'm do a whirlwind tour of the east over the next week - New York for three days, Montreal for one, and Toronto for 5. 80% of it is work. I am looking forward to the other 20%.
So - my blogging my go dark for a bit. I do have plans to scope out digital cameras while in the big apple, so there may be better pictures than this in the future....we can hope.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy 18th.

To my nephew/sometime gardener/possessor of a most excellent, dry sense of humour...

That makes me how old?
(and yes, it ultimately all about me - and at this moment, that includes the pleasure I get teasing you however pathetically with this post... )

Friday, October 19, 2007

How tired is tired?

It's tired. That's all I'm saying. Except maybe that it is too tired to write good concert reviews, but here goes anyway.

The week started with The Fiery Furnaces, which I stumbled into really more on a whim than anything - I only have one album (the quirky Bitter Tea) but had heard good things about their live act. And I've got to say I'm glad I took the chance. Lead singer Eleanor Friedberger has the cool vibe and looks of Patty Smith/Jenny Lewis if you morphed them together. It's been a long time since I've seen a band fronted by a strong female singer, and the rest of the band was great. And tight. All good, once again. There is another (better, likely less tired) review & a good photo here .

And last night was Akron/Family. Brace yourself for a review of another show that was POORLY ATTENDED. Vancouver, I don't get you - pearls before swine, or gortex, or something. I don't get you at all. The last two Akron shows were well attended. And I know, I know. I've gone on about them before. But they deserve my adoration. They deserve everyone's adoration. And granted, the 150 or so that showed up were loving it. But enough of that...

The band has morphed into something quite different than what I've seen the last couple of years - they are up from 4 member to 7, and one of the original members (Ryan Vanderhoof, singing in the link on my earlier post) was missing. It's unclear if he couldn't make the show or he's gone for good, but I hope it is the former. Anyhoo, to be honest there wasn't much room to miss him, between the two drummers, four guitars and keyboards. I am not sure what configuration I prefer. Both have advantages - certainly having 7 moves it into one of my favorite categories - an overabundance of bodies on the stage - but I like the focus of the 4 man shows as well. I'll stop now or I'll just keep going round and round.

It is hard to really explain an Akron show. Except to say it is all consuming, incredibly energetic and leaves you no space to breathe. At all. One song morphs into another, pretty much nonstop. Sounds move from head slamming discord to delicate soft harmony. It is the sort of thing that warrants interpretive dancing. And incense. And probably a mind altering substance or two. I can confirm that at all three things were there, though I won't confirm that I had anything to do with any of them. And I don't know how the band keeps going full bore for so long. The club shut them down at 1am, after at least 2 hours, and it was obvious they would have kept going. And once again Vancouver, for shame for not showing a great band the love they deserve.

I should also mention the opening act - The Dodos. For the second time, Akron/Family has had a really strong opening act - last year it was the Born Ruffians. Both bands have a similar energy and are worth watching out for. I've posted a Dodos clip above - give it a look and listen.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bunkle Fall

The 'hood is changing it's spots ... catch it while you can, before monsoon season hits.

There was also a pool of pink vomit on the road that I was tempted to shoot, but I decided it would break the mood.

(Is it just me, or does that sign look like it is telling you to give your hound a good ol' slapping?)

Is that a banana on your feet, or...

Yes, that's right. Bananas. Anyone have a problem with that?

The banana boots were the only purchase verging on the slightly absurd (at least I hope they are the only thing...) during A. and my rape & pillage of the outlet mall in Tulalip on Wednesday. The boots rock. They even have a little buckle at the top. I bought them under the premise of gardening boots, but ooooh they are gonna be so much more.

This whole shopping in the states thing will come bite everyone in the rear eventually, but this is the first time in my life (to my knowledge) that the dollar is in our favour and dammit I'm going to enjoy it, at least once. And those Americans do know how to do the sales. They also know how to post creepy anti-abortion signs & religious instruction radio station call numbers beside the roadways, but that's another story.

All in all, we were bringing a four-figure amount back across the border. And we declared it all (I don't lie well. At least not to people wearing any sort of uniform.) And they waved us through. Huh? Oh well, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. And make sure you smile at the customs guy.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Mind the fall...

Finally, a sunny crisp fall day.

I spent the morning planting bulbs - lots of bulbs. Tulips. Dwarf tulips. Crocuses (croci?). Daffodils.

This is my first bulbing at the Bunkle. Last fall, there was too much going on to worry about things like planting.

As I was planting, I thought about a film I saw at VIFF last weekend - How to Cook Your Life - about a zen master who happens to be a great baker and cook. The film was actually pretty funny, but there was one thing the chef brought up that really stuck with me. Mindfulness. "When you chop the carrot, chop the carrot." The point really is to pay attention to and respect everything you do. As my pal A. said, the bonus of mindfulness when cooking is you don't end up with "Chop the carrot, chop your hand". It is so hard to keep your mind from flying to 15 different things when you do something like chop a carrot. Or plant a bulb. And *blink* the task is done, and you can't actually remember doing it.

I can't believe how fast time flies now. Every year, that little bit faster. Kids don't have that problem. Summers last forever. Why? Because when they are drawing a picture or playing tag or punching their friend in the nose, THAT is what they are doing, and THAT is what they are thinking about.

So, that's what I'm trying. To focus and give my mind a rest. And with the bickering Greek chorus that exists in my brain, boy is it hard.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Frankly my dear...

October's concert/VIFF lineup are well underway, but I've been too lazy (busy?) to post anything so here goes...
Black Francis - Frank Black (touring as Black Francis) played Richards for two nights last week. We went Wednesday. We lined up early, just in case the old people seats were going to fill up fast (the Pixies ex lead singer should in theory pull an old people crowd...). And yes, there were actually two people already in line ahead of us, so we weren't the only ones thinking that way. So, we sat on our cherished balcony stools. And waited for the club to fill. And waited. And waited....
It was a bit like my Rock Plaza Central experience. There were maybe 150 people in the end - which for a club that holds about 500 just isn't that impressive. I actually counted the people on the floor - there were 75. I shouldn't be able to count the people on the floor. It should be so crowded that it is like trying to count grains of salt. Once again Vancouver, where were you? I'm hoping you all showed up for the Thursday show.
As for Frank/Francis - it was a really nice show. Good mix of solo acoustic stuff and full on band, a few Pixies tunes mixed in here and there - really, you couldn't fault him. Except perhaps for miscalculating and booking two nights in a row. And maybe announcing the show too close to the date of the gig. And maybe touring as Black Francis instead of Frank Black. I don't know. Anyway, I was there, and I'm glad.

A couple of weeks from now I will be off to the Fiery Furnaces - really more of a whim than anything, I don't know there stuff all that well based on what I have heard of them & read about them I thought it would be worth checking out... & (yay) Akron/Family, which I am really pumped about just because their live shows are such a crazed delight. The show I really wish I was going to is Final Fantasy/Great Lakes Swimmers - which seems to be sold out now. If anyone has an extra ticket, let me know and I'll be your friend forever. Or at least until the show is over.

On the VIFF front - a couple of things worth mentioning - Scott Walker:30 Century Man, a very nicely put together documentary about the 60s pop icon turned avant garde composer/musical influence on many of today's more interesting artists. The director was at the screening & was a funny, articulate open guy. And I have since downloaded The Drift, Walker's most recent album, and it is wonderfully horrifying. I listen and am stuck in the dark in a bombed out building. Is that a good thing? Not sure, but it's an amazing thing.

Sidney Lumet's excellent Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was also a lot of fun. Familiar heist-gone-wrong territory, and another reason to bow and scrape at the feet of Philip Seymour Hoffman (or shudder at the increasingly creepy rat like face of Ethan Hawk). I Just Didn't Do It takes a good look at the horrifying state of the Japanese justice system through the eyes of a young man wrongly accused of groping a girl on the subway (and for the love of god how could you not grope someone on a Japanese subway train? I don't think you could fit a sheet of paper between bodies...and I thought Toronto was bad). According to the director, who was in attendance, 99.9% of those that go to trial in Japan are found guilty....doesn't Lotto 6/49 have better odds than that? And finally (for this post), 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
was gripping, gripping, gripping, well acted, and really nicely filmed in a quiet, focussed way. Another time, you'd get much more detailed reviews but not tonight. Be thankful...

Imagine you are a cat...

...and you feel like throwing up. A fur ball maybe. Or just a plain ol' barf. What would you choose to throw up on? Here are your options: 1)nicely refinished fir flooring; 2) kind of nasty but very wipeable vinyl flooring; 3) very nasty grey stained basement carpet; 4) cheap multicolour striped door mats; or 5) cream coloured virgin wool area rug.

If you chose options 1 - 4, your chances of becoming a good method-actor are slim to nil.