Monday, June 22, 2009

Go Daddy

Sunday was a gorgeous day in the Big Smoke and while Angela and her sisters took their Mom to the Sound of Music, Andy did double duty taking both Gina and Lucia to the ROM. The Royal Ontario Museum is a veritable treasure trove of fascinating curios that two little girls can completely ignore as they run around chasing each other.


Friday, June 19, 2009

LAB Mixtapes: Episode 15

After my first listen of the Strokes debut album, I had the feeling I had heard this lo-fi sound before. To my mind it seemed very much like the Velvet Underground but to other ears the music sounded more like the Buzzcocks. The influences in this mix run pretty deep. Artists like Bowie and Iggy Pop followed the Velvet Underground, who in turn collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno. Whether the Strokes were paying homage or borrowing it's clear they are (to borrow a phrase myself) standing on the shoulders of giants. Enjoy. Sunglasses and leather jackets may be required.

Episode 15
Runs 11:23 mins

Links below open the iTunes Music Store
1. Take It Or Leave It - The Strokes
2. Everybody's Happy Nowadays - Buzzcocks
3. I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Cadence Weaponry

Why can't I look this damn smashing when I'm hunched over my bike repairing a tyre?

It had been awhile since I'd actually gone out on a longer ride on a Saturday. Since the weather hasn't been great this spring I guess I've been avoiding it. Counting this Saturday it was only the third time. The first was really pretty short, 30 KM, mainly because I was running out of time and had to get home. The next time I had planned on going a lot further but by 20 KM I had to turn around and barely made it back due to a mechanical problem (that, if I wasn't careful, would've become a medical problem). So that was a 40 KM ride. Saturday, I planned on trying to reach my goal of 80 KM. It was a gorgeous day with a perfect temperature and the bike seemed in good shape so I thought I'd take my time and go the distance. Not only would I try to reach a distance but I would keep an eye on my bike computer and watch my cadence (pedal rate) and try to stay between 80-90 as much as possible. But after more than an hour and a half I looked at the bike computer and I'd only done 33 KM and my average cadence was too brutal to mention, so I decided to head back. At least it had been a good ride, I discovered some new routes and the bike had held… that's when my rear tire felt wooden and began to fish tail. Another flat. I had actually been extremely careful to avoid pot holes but when the road becomes a pot hole held together by mini archipelagos of asphalt it becomes difficult to avoid anything. I was still more than 20 KM from home.

As luck would have it, I'm getting very good at changing tires on this bike. I had a spare inner tube and one of those CO2 cartridges in lieu of a pump. The only thing I don't like about the cartridge is it's kind of a one-shot deal. If you screw up, you don't really get another chance. It did work - sort of. The tire completely inflated but obviously the tube was twisted somewhere thus creating a bulge and thus an uneven ride (your wheel no longer resembles a circle so on every rotation you bump along). Let's just say it was a hard day for the, um, perineal fascia1. There are two things I can say about Toronto's Lakeshore Drive. It's in worse shape than GM and at least every 5 KM there is a KFC. Taunting you. Sickening you. You might think oh for sure I'll see a half a dozen Tim Hortons but nope. It ain't Tim you see, it's the Colonel.

I finally made it home and rested my bones. 80 KM is still within my reach, I think I just need a few more rides. In the end I'd done 66.5 KM and I wasn't broken by a busted tire (though I'm getting a little fed up with it). I said it was sunny though I didn't realize how sunny. I ended up with a nice radiation burn a la our sun. I guess because my shirt and shorts are snug the burn formed perfect edges almost as though they were painted on which looked pretty awesome when I went to the pool on Sunday. 44 laps. 1 KM. Took me 40 minutes. At that rate it would've taken me 44 hours to travel the same distance I did on my bike in 3 and a half (odd symmetry in those numbers). Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Let's just hope I don't blow a flat underwater.

FN 1. Yes I used this phrase, and yes I used the Internet to find it, but I just didn't want this bit to get all R-rated and up in your face but we're all adults here and sometimes there just isn't a good clean colloquial way of saying "soft bits" succinctly. Well, I guess "soft bits" is succinct enough. I've noticed in sports reporting they'll say "sensitive areas". C'mon. The Middle-East is a sensitive area. Let's just call a spade a spade.

UPDATE: On June 13 Peter Rogers achieved his goal by riding 82 KM in 3hrs 27mins. without any mechanical or medical difficulties.

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Seen In May

1st- Waltz with Bashir
5th- 400 Blows
15th - Encounters at the End of the World
16th - Adventureland
18th - Star Trek
25th - the Defiant Ones
30th - Defiance

You'd think that May would be a good movie month but not so much. I think what's becoming clear is that December and January are the months that I hibernate in movie watching while with better weather comes things like exercise (imagine) and doing stuff in the garden. The only "trends" this month were two films about Jews that fight and the people that love them (Waltz With Bashir and Defiance are two sides of Jewish conflict) and films about "escape". 400 Blows and The Defiant Ones are about actually escaping internment while Adventureland is about escaping your family and fate (400 Blows shares that too), and Encounters At The End of The World is about escaping civilzation (maybe that's a stretch). Of course, Star Trek is just pure escapism.


Friday, June 05, 2009

LAB Mixtapes: Episode 14

Guy Maddin made a film called The Saddest Music in the World. Did he have this music in mind? Christine Fellows sings about loss and memory, while Cat Power, sings of regret, pain and forgiveness. The Weakerthans quietly ruminate on a simple prayer in a hospital room. Sarah Harmer may be the odd one out in this mix but this particular song, Lodestar, is to me, beautifully sad but finishes on more of an up note. I just couldn't bring myself to swallow that many downers in a row1.

Episode 14
Runs 14:49 mins

Links below open the iTunes Music Store
1. I Don't Blame You - Cat Power
2. Verterbrae - Christine Fellows
3. (hospital vespers) - The Weakerthans
4. Lodestar - Sarah Harmer

FN 1. That was actually an unintentional pun on suicide. Only one of these artists have attempted suicide that I know of. I've been reading a lot of David Foster Wallace lately and of course have read about his suicide and struggle with depression. Then I found myself reading about Ludwig Wittgenstein's brilliant family. Two of his brothers committed suicide as did another relative. Ludwig thought of it often and as early as the age of ten. It occurred to me that maybe "genius" as we know it, really is a type of damaged brain. A mind swirling with too many things at once, going into dark places where it may not return. We revere the brilliant, the genius, yet is there a kind of intelligence so severe it casts the mind into constantly thinking of ending itself? At any rate, it makes being average seem a little more salable.

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