Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Look: I'm on Google Streetview!

I knew I was going to be on Google Maps Streetview. I just noticed that they posted North Kanata so I immediately checked and there ya go!

View Larger Map

I remember this happening because I was about to put my helmet on and then I saw this car going by with a huge round thing sticking out the roof. I caught on pretty quick though I am sure it was after this picture was taken.

Here is the first picture:
Here is my reaction in the second picture....

Yeah pretty lame - I wish I struck some sort of crazy pose. This is taken outside my office by the way. Doesn't the Vespa make the office look stellar?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fleet Foxes in Stop Motion

This is a fantastic little home made stop-motion video that my brother made for my other brother for Christmas. He bought him the cd, made him a custom case and then made this video.

Given that he has never done a video like this before I think it turned out pretty awesome. All the artwork was done by hand and then photographed and then adjusted in Photoshop. Also it helps that the song is one of the best modern indie folk songs out there. It is called 'Blue Ridge Mountains' and was written by one of the members about his love for his brother.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Book Club Update

Yes I have finally joined a book club. I actually joined it late last year when a friend set it up. I have always wanted to do this to force me to read interesting books and then get some great discussion out of it.

The result has been pretty good so far. My favourite book picks have got to be 'Brave New World' (because it was such a defining book for me when growing up), some short stories by Franz Kafka (for the word Kafkaesque) and 'My Name is Asher Lev' (for the great discussion about art and other stuff). That last book really turned out some far better conversation than I expected. If you haven't read it and you are interested in art and artists this is simply put a must-read.

The next book we are reading is more of a return to traditional book club books I think. I am a little torn as to whether or not I will like 'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts. I mean I know I will like the book because it is one of those exciting books that spans continents, has interesting characters and has lots of action. But will it make me think the way those other books did? Does it have the same lasting presence? And what's with the author's weird spiritualism which feels like a cross between Hulk Hogan and Madonna's personal religions.

Well I guess there is only one way to find it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

20 Interesting Apartments

Here is a great list of cool/strange/wierd apartments of the world. Just as a side note can you guess which album features these neat honeycomb buildings on the cover?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why am I blogging about a rapper?

This has got to be a first. I have never posted a rap/hip-hop video or even blogged about it from what I can remember. However here is a Canadian rapper who has been making the rounds on the CEEB and seems to be getting more popular. What is separates him from all the other mainstream rap is his lyrics and attitude. I can't stand the rapping about getting shot and drugs and pimps. It is such a strange culture to be glorifying. This guy is totally down to earth and this song really shows it. Basically he is talking down on how mainstream rap music (at least partially) has created a new form of blaxploitation which has just been encouraged by the average black rapper. Now I can never say something like that because I am as white as they come. I mean I listen to indie-folk and read Kafka. So I really have no credibility.

Shad, however, has much more credibility. Take a listen:

Here are the lyrics Brother (Watching) by Shad:

I try to hold some hope in my heart
For these African youths
Coming up where im from
Many traps to elude
Surrounded by
Mostly white and affluent dudes
And somehow, you expected to have
Mastered this smooth
Swagger and move
With the right walk, the right talk
Fashion and crews
Souls subtly attacked and abused
And whats funny's being black wasn't cool
Where im from til suddenly
you started hearing rap in the school
Admist this madness I grew
With knack for amusing through this little skill
For rappin at dudes
An' we all like to laugh at the truth
But when you young and same facts
Pertain to who you rappin em to
Well, I opted not to bring
That to the booth
But after a while, it sort of starts naggin at you
The crazed infatuation with blackness
That trash that gets viewed
And the fact that the tube only showed blacks
Actin the fool and I was watching...

(saturated with negative images and a limited range of
Possibilities is strange...)

And its sad cuz that naturally do
Sort of condition your mind and over time
That's whats attractive to you
So young blacks don't see themselves in
Scholastic pursuits
Or the more practical routes
Its makin tracks or its hoops
Or God-forbid movin packs for the loot
Even with this music we so limited - its rap or produce
And that narrow conception of whats black isn't true
Of course, still we feel forced to adapt to this view
Like theres something that youre havin to prove
Now add that to the slew
Of justification the capitalists use
For the new blaxploitation
Many actions excused
In the name of getting cash
That's adversely impactin our youth
With mental slavery, the shackles is loose
And its hard to cut chains when they attached at the roots
So what the new black activists do
For our freedom is just being them
Do what youre passionate to
Not confined by a sense that you have to disprove
Any stereotypes, so-called facts to refute
Or match any image of blackness
They've established as true
Perhaps we'll break thru the glass ceilings
Shatter the roof and emerge
From these boxes that they have us in cooped
And grow to smash the bold that they casted of you
I'll keep watching...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

3rd Annual Enjoyment Awards

It is the new year and although it started more than a month ago I figure that I should continue my annual tradition which was started in 2007 and miraculously also happened for 2008. So this is my most enjoyed random stuff of 2009.
Once again, I am not confining my list to music and it is not necessarily only from this year. My list is all about the stuff I got the most enjoyment out of in 2009.
Anyways, here it is:

My most enjoyed artist of 2009 was:
I gotta say Bon Iver. His album came highly recommended to me and I definitely did not regret spending the money on that one.

Some runners up were Sufjan Stevens (of course - after seeing him live), Joel Plaskett and Andrew Bird.

My most enjoyed album of 2009 was:
It is a 3-way tie between 'Noble Beast' by Andrew Bird, 'For Emma, Forever Ago' by Bon Iver and Joel Plaskett's album 'Three'.

Some runners up:
Jenn Grant - 'Echoes'
Great Lake Swimmers - 'Lost Channels'
M. Ward - 'Transistor Radio' and 'Post-War'
The Welcome Wagon - 'Welcome to the Welcome Wagon'

My most enjoyed compilation album of 2009 was:
'Dark Was the Night' which features Sufjan, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond and Canadians Feist, Arcade Fire and Buck 65 (among many others). It was put together mostly by the guys from The National as an AIDS benefit album. If there is one indie album you should buy this year it is this one because it gives you a great slice of the sounds and bands who are really doing cool stuff right now.

My most enjoyed song of 2009 was:
I always find this one so tough because it bounces around so much. I have to make a list:
'In the Blue Moonlight' - Joel Plaskett
'Tough City' - Oh Susanna!
'You'll Go Far' - Jenn Grant
'White Winter Hymnal' - Fleet Foxes
'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa' - Vampire Weekend
and so many more.....

My most enjoyed live performance of 2009 was:
Sooooooo many to choose from! Joel Plaskett, Jenn Grant, Sufjan Stevens. Nope I can't really choose between those three.
The spring was a good time for concerts in Ottawa.

My most enjoyed Local Band (Greater Ottawa Area) of 2009 was:
I guess I haven't got into to many local bands this year but as far as Canadian Indie acts go I'd have to pick Octoberman and Dan Mangan - and both have strong ties to the west coast.

My most enjoyed music venue of 2009 was:
It's a tough choice between the First Baptist Church downtown and the Black Sheep Inn out in Wakefield. I'm going to the Church again in a few weeks to see Basia Bulat so maybe that will make up my mind.

My most enjoyed quote of 2009 was:
"I've downloaded hundreds of records....why would I care someone downloads ours? That is such a petty thing to care about. I mean, how much money does one person need?"- Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes when asked when asked whether he minded if people 'stole' his albums.

My most enjoyed beer of 2009 was:
Well I have enjoyed Beau's Lug Tread several times this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is a picture of me enjoying said beer!

My most enjoyed TV show of 2009 was:
Firefly. I know it was made several years ago but I didn't get to watch it until this year. I absolutely love it. Don't think you have to be a sci-fi nerd to watch it either.

Also, I can't remember if I watched Battlstar Galactica this year or last year. It should be a close tie.

My most enjoyed movie of 2009 was:
Maybe the Where the Wild Things Are adaptation. It was pretty cool.

Maybe Serenity, because the finale to that Firefly series sure is better after you watch the series.

My most enjoyed proud uncle moment was:
When my neice, Elyssa, got over her fear of the Vespa (if even for an afternoon) at the Nepean Sailing Club!

My most enjoyed technology of 2009 was:
The continuing world domination by Google which just so happens to be extremely convenient for me since I use almost all their products.

Or maybe the news that foreign owned cellphone companies are coming to Canada. Hopefully I can get the Google Nexus One!!!!

My most enjoyed purchase of 2009:
The new kitchen even though it isn't done yet.

My most enjoyed city of 2009 was:
Kingston, ON Canada - Lots of history, tons of awesome restaurants, small enough to walk around, big enough to spend money on the downtown. Yes I was impressed. Don't judge it by the view you get from the 401.

I have to say that Memphis could have won this. Maybe if I spent more time there and got a better feel for the city.
The other close second had to be Boston. That is definitely a city I could live in (if I could afford it) if not drive in. The roads are insane - almost as bad (read: awesome) as an old European city - but there is lots of beautiful coastal spots and some fantastic architecture. Kingston just won because I really felt like I understood the city after staying there. Boston would take a little longer - must go back!

My most enjoyed architecture of 2009:
It has got to be MIT in Cambridge by Canadian Frank Gehry.
My most enjoyed book of 2009:
It was probably 'Brave New World' by Auldous Huxley which we read for our book club. I have read it before but getting to discuss it was just fantastic.
Other than that I'd have to say 'Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss which is a remarkably well written fantasy story that I picked up on a whim on my way home from Memphis. I say remarkable because usually fantasy books are not all that well written.
Either way this year promises to be great for reading thanks to the Jubilee Book Club I joined.

My most enjoyed Jubilee Church event of 2009:
Probably the Soup'n'Socks initiative that we have going on right now. We run around downtown handing out free soup and socks to anyone who needs it (especially homeless people).

My most enjoyed news item of 2009:

My most enjoyed sport of 2009:
Definitely snowboarding, I don’t have any other regular sports.

Most enjoyed website of 2009:
Definitely xkcd but Neatorama is pretty close. Yup, I'm a geek.

And last but not least my most enjoyed person of 2009 was:
Irene - she wins it again!?! incredible!!!! I'm sensing a trend, is this rigged you think?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Foolishly Seeking True Love

Here is a great short film in the vein of 'Happenstance' or even that other Audrey Tautou film 'Amelie'. It has the fantastic narrator who almost seems to influence the story. It has the that subdued bit of humour. And it has that class that comes only from something foreign (or at least non-hollywood). So if you are a huge fan of Transformers don't bother watching this. :)

Foolishly Seeking True Love from Jarrett Lee Conaway on Vimeo.