Thursday, October 30, 2008

To Beard or Not to Beard

I am thinking of doing the beard thing again to keep myself warm while taking the bus.
Besides the obvious good reasons of making me more of a hipster and upping my indie cred these demonstrations are really helping me make up my mind.

Here are a few good reasons to have a beard:And of course.....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Songwriters Circle

On Monday night I took a group of friends downtown to the Library and Archives building for a neat little concert that was part of the Ottawa Writers Festival. Not being a writer, I had hardly taken notice of this festival. This sounded interesting enough though and having missed the Great Lake Swimmers show on Friday I sure felt like I needed a concert. Plus Justin Rutledge was there so that pretty much sealed the deal for me. The other two artists were Glenn Noutio and Kyrie Kristmanson.
I really had no idea what it was going to be like but it turned out to be quite an intimate and informal affair of wine sipping and trading song writing info between the artists. After waiting for Junot Díaz to finish a reading from his new book 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' we were let in to the auditorium and introduced to the artists. Glenn Noutio, since he is a super-gay guy, had to make that obvious every time he opened his mouth. I know not all gay guys are like that but really so many are. We know you are gay, now stop reminding us. Kyrie Kristmanson has this amazing voice and she sang a couple a capella and the rest with a guy on double bass. I bought her cd even though it did not have 'Blackwind' on it. Check her out here. Justin was, of course, amazing with his strong voice and sweet guitar. Check out some of his stuff here.They took turns performing and talking about the lyrics and how the songs came to be. I love hearing that kind of background. To me it makes the songs mean something more. I get a deeper satisfaction from them. It turns out that Kristmanson is studying music in Lyon, France. She is transposing some of the first real recorded non-religious music into a more modern playable style. It was written by wives of men who were off in the crusades and apparently it is often said that these 40 women invented love and courtship as we know it today. Rutledge is currently working on a play/reading of a new book by that famous Canadian author whose name is escaping me right now. Was it Ondatje? Anyway, he wrote some songs for one of the characters.

Overall it was a great night although a reaction from one of my friends was 'I liked my Backstreet Boys concert better'. Read into that however you want. It wasn't really a true concert though. But I did like it better than any Backstreet Boys music I have ever heard.

These pictures are courtesy of Lenny Wu (a fellow Radio3 listener and blogger)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pretty bird, yeah pretty bird

I ran across this article about a spider catching a bird in its web and eating it. This, of course, happened in Australia where it is normal to be attacked by insanely huge arachnids.
Now excuse me while I go and kill that spider in my kitchen.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A lesson learned....don't wait for people

We waited to long for some people to make up their minds and now the Great Lake Swimmers show is sold out. I guess we weren't the only ones blown away by the awesome performance with Basia Bulat the last time the played at the Black Sheep.
It will be such an awesome show.
Next time I am just going to buy the tickets for myself and not bother trying to convince other people that they might will like it.

On a brighter note we may get to see Justin Rutledge on Monday night with Kyrie Kristmanson (kind of like Fiest) as part of the Ottawa Writer's Festival. This show is right downtown so hopefully it isn't sold out......

Also on a brighter note, I picked up two cds tonight. Imogen Heap's Speak for Yourself and Kathleen Edward's Polaris nominated 'Asking for Flowers'. Both are fantastic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Steal This DRM-Free Comic

Thank you xkcd. This is one of my favourite web comics and this most recent strip agrees with my view on this situation perfectly.
It is something that our conservative government regrettably is not agreeing with. And for that we can thank the Americans (not the Danes).
Down with Itunes! I'm with AC/DC on this one!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

400% More Caribou

In reference to my previous post about the Polaris winner, apparently his cd sales are up 400% according to Radio3. It was sold out in the entire city of Vancouver and also broke into the Top 30 on Itunes which is no easy feat when you look at the usual bands that are up there.
Not bad for a guy from small town Ontario.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who is even voting for this guy?

I just cannot understand who is voting for Stephane Dion. Check out this clip of an interview he did with CTV Atlantic. The reporter asks Dion what he would have done differently if he was Prime Minister when the markets are collapsing and the economy is crashing. He stalls and says he doesn't understand, asks for a redo and does this 3 or 4 times. Finally he gives an answer that doesn't mean anything.
It is just sad. And this guy wants to be Prime Minister! It makes you feel almost sorry for the guy until you remember that he is trying to ruin our country with his 'good intentions'.
I mean, I would vote for Jack Layton over this guy.
Just vote for Harper people. He even reversed the arts cuts so now he isn't so bad.

Speaking of arts cuts, on the CBC Radio3 blogs that I frequently comment on you can not get away with saying anything that supports the conservatives. Even the DJs are quite blatantly biased. There are people pushing the, Facebook vote swapping and events such as 'This is not a conservative party'. The music is great but the attitude really gets you down. Many of their points are true but when you look at Dion and his Green Shift plan and then Layton who wants to shut down the Tar Sands really what choice do you have. Both of those parties have lost some touch with reality. The only logical choice is Harper.

Monday, October 06, 2008

It's Official

We are going to Spain in November.

I wish I could just move to Europe. No more suburbs, no more SUVs and trucks, no more slow public transit. Only real culture and real history and real transit and chic living and amazing food and lots of Vespas.

Madrid, San Sebastian and Bilbao here we come!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Political Compass

The other day I was directed to a website called The Political Compass by my buddy and co-worker. The website claims to find where you stand in the political spectrum. They say that it is no longer about left vs right. It is more a combination of your stance on social and economic areas.
I took the 5 minute multiple choice test and this was my result:The website administration apparently placed the Canadian political parties based on the same questions:
It looks to me like I am closer to the NDP than even the Liberals. Weird. I thought I would be more of a Libertarian but on the Right side of the economic scale.
I suggest you take the test and let me know where you stand according to this website. I find it hard to believe that they would not be biased in some way but it is not readily apparent if they are. Also, some of the questions are not that great. When it asks if you agree or disagree with the statement "Sex outside of marriage is usually immoral" you could say 'I Agree' or you could say 'I disagree because it is always immoral'. Technically both responses are on the same side but because of the way the survey looks at it they would be reflected very differently in the results.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


This is what I have been waiting for. Leave it to those sneaky Scandinavians to challenge Apple on their DRM system. DRM (Data Rights Management) is really my only hang up with Apple. Honestly, they make really well designed products but when you start getting into Apple they turn out to be just like Microsoft. Both companies feel the need to control their products so tightly that they squeeze out some of the functionality and advantages. With Itunes and DRM you can't just take your Ipod to your freinds computer and copy your songs onto his computer. Song sharing is such a big deal to me (and millions of other people) that I can't buy an Ipod just for this reason. I am forced to use a mildly inferior product (a Sansa mp3 player) which uses the more standard mp3 format.
In Scandinavia there are many bittorrent websites becuase of the very open copyright laws. So it doesn't really come as a surprise to me that a Norwegian consumer advocacy group is suing Apple because of DRM. The consumer ombudsman said "It's a consumer's right to transfer and play digital content bought and downloaded from the Internet to the music device he himself chooses to use, iTunes makes this impossible or at least difficult, and hence, they act in breach of Norwegian law."
I hope they get somewhere with that. Then I can buy a Mac.