Saturday, September 30, 2006

They made a Believer out of me

Last year I spent an unusually large amount of cash buying The Believer Magazine's music compilation and a funky Charles Burns t-shirt. I don't claim to understand the weird wonderful world of publishing giant, Timothy McSweeny (giant? I think I meant gnat, no? umm…cipher? Broadly based media concern?), but I was sucked into their beautifully designed, illustrated and written magazine, The Believer, then their quarterly publication Issue 13 edited by Chris Ware and finally, their DVD magazine Wholpin, Issue 1. Their music compilation of last year was an ode to cover tunes (this year's issue celebrated "live recordings"). This isn't like any other covers album you've ever heard. It's not Sid Vicious singing/yelling "My Way" or Johnny Cash doing Nine Inch Nails (though it is closer to that). This is a collection of hardly known acts covering hardly known tunes of their contemporaries. You've got Jim Gutherie (ok, he sang that annoying "Hands in my Pocket" tune - but he's much better here) covering the Constantines and the Constantines covering Elevator to Hell, and The Mountain Goats covering the Silver Jews.

Now you can listen to and download the entire playlist from this blog, called SixEyes, just scroll down until you see "Under the Indie Covers. So, get before you get got, I say.

By the way, it was this Believer CD that opened my eyes to Wolf Parade and that there might be more to them than that sort of drunken intensity I was familiar with.
listen to this fine fine cover of Frog Eyes' "Claxxon's Lament" by Montreal's Wolf Parade...

I hope you discover something you like. By the way, if you can't seem to play the tunes or don't even see the little "Audio" icon ()then you either need to allow javascript in your Web browser or update your Flash Player Plug-in.



Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I have a bone to pick

Well, not so much to pick but get x-rayed and poked at. Yet another repercussion of the injury in January, is that a small bone in my wrist is occasionally popping or dislocating. Let's hear it for the Lunate bone! So it's more x-rays for me and yet another thing to complain about! I just can't get enough of our medical system - waiting time for a non-emergency x-ray? Just over 3 weeks.

More promisingly, the nerve re-generation in my hand continues and at last check with the neurologist it appears to be in the last stages of early healing (yes, you read that correctly). Another follow-up in three months, just a few weeks shy of a year. The neurologist said that despite telling people 6-8 months, he often finds full recovery is a year, but avoids saying it, so as not to depress people too much. How thoughtful.


Sunday, September 24, 2006


It's easy to become complacent. It's easy to assume quietly that someone else doesn't know what they are talking about. It's easy to be smug. It's even easier to have your feet pulled from under you and have your entire self-worth erased in a single sentence that obliterates any walnut-sized piece of self-confidence you hold somewhere behind your sternum.

Friday, September 22, 2006, I received my first rejection notice from a theatre for "Salt Peanuts". Let's be clear here. I've been rejected plenty of times in my life. God knows (Satan too, for that matter), my high school experience was dominated by the singularly teen-aged feeling that everyone had rejected me and I, in good turn, had rejected everyone else. There have been numerous job interviews that failed to illicit a return call. Many designs and creations have been turned aside in favour of another one. Yet, for all those instances, "appropriateness" dominated the rejection criteria. This rejection, while diplomatic, helpful and even graceful should have been devastating. In fact, rejection of a writer's work is considered a right of passage similar to many we face in life - I'm thinking of First Communion, Bar Mitzvah, an aboriginal youth's vision quest, that finding of your animal spirit, or of a rookie junior 'A' hockey player's gentle grasping of Ritz crackers (I will say no more, Sir).

Somehow, it was not devastating. I would say it was more uplifting. Not merely had my play been rejected, more importantly, it had been read. I realize, this particular theatre has the wonderful policy of reading 'everything submitted', still I felt an air of legitimacy. I had taken that long walk, and the door, the first of many, no doubt, had been firmly shut in my face. Like the shock of diving into cold summer waters, it was exhilarating.

I'm certain after the second or third time, this feeling will wear off, and by the twentieth or thirtieth time, it will really have that devastating, soul squishing, life crushing effect I so expect. Every part of life has its opposite. Dark has light, Ying has Yang, Siegfried has Roy, and Rejection has Acceptance.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

(Rider Created Content for the Toronto Transit Commission)
Rather than write a post, I thought I would just post this series of speculative ads I made for the TTC. Basically I was just trying to show how simply an effective ad for the TTC could be created. Of course, there's no chance the TTC would ever think of marketing themselves outside of their own vehicles. Print ads on streetcars and in the subway always struck me as preaching to the choir. I mean, if I'm on a streetcar - I don't have to be convinced to take the streetcar. In any event, this is what happens when you stop watching TV - you make some out of boredom.

This one has a great piece of music, appropriately called, "No Cars Go" by Arcade Fire

Have Rocket - will travel. Stock NASA footage plus funky Broken Social Scene track and voila - a transit ad.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hefty Hideaway.jpg
Originally uploaded by Mikenfer.

So about a week ago, I was on the streetcar coming back from downtown when we passed the old Bank of Montreal building. The bank had been closed for some time and had been used as the campaign headquarters of a federal MP before being abandoned. What I saw was encouraging. It appeared as if someone was putting money into the place as some construction looked as if a new entrance was being made. It looked a little like a faux-50's style diner. Later in the week, what I thought would be a diner, now looked like a vintage clothing store for large-size women. I didn't really think you could sell old clothes to fat women...but what do I know. I liked the new retro looking sign though. "Mr. Pinky's Hefty Hideaway".

Eventually, after cleaning up some old junk mail, I found a flyer announcing road closures for filming in our neighbourhood for the film "Hairspray". That explained "Mr Pinky's". Luckily, I hadn't asked anyone if they wanted to check out that new diner, which turned out to be a film set.

But here's the really interesting part. I wanted to write this entry with a photo, but didn't want to bother going up to Dundas to take one. So, a minute on Flickr and voilĂ  - over 80 photos had already been posted by a half-dozen or so Torontonians. In a way, it makes for an interesting way to gauge the zeitgeist of an area. Just check out what photos people are sharing (but not the naughty ones, they don't tell you anything).


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Seeing as my hand has steadily improved - I thought I would revisit the video clip showing the weird wrist splints I wore a few months ago. Eventually though, I found the splints only enabled me to do things I shouldn't be doing and thus I developed different pains in my wrist and forearm. I stopped wearing the splints altogether and hoped nature would take it's course. By July, I finally had more ability to extend my fingers and today, two weeks shy of eight months, I'm about 80% recovered (4 of 5 digits have extension - so that would be about 80%). I'll try to post a more current video so the comparison will be easier.

Apologies about the sound quality.


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