Friday, November 25, 2005

Shoes and Salad Dressing By: Rob Williams

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Well, I did it. I bought a pair of converse high tops. My first ever. They were on sale.

They're white and I know, they're gonna get dirty. But that's ok. I was actually looking for the grey ones, but they were out. i got them at FootLocker in Mission Valley, San Diego. The saleswoman gave me a military discount (must've been my new haircut--thanks Eduardo!). She also talked me into buying a pair of insoles (remember i said converse are cool, but not very comfortable)--she was trying to win a contest for the most insoles sold that day.

Pair white converse on sale: $34

With military discount: $27

A pair of comfy insoles: $19

With military discount: $10

Total price of entire package with military discount: less than $45.

Rob's smile as he walks out of FootLocker: priceless (Albeit butch and militaristic)

Worked another banquet last night. This time for the Hilton. I swear, the moment I started pouring salad dressings into the little silver dressing boats and smelled the buttermilk and italian I was transported back to 1990, to the Cafe Del Rey Moro in Balboa Park-- that old, run-down, rat infested, crumbling WWI building with the moldy stairwells where I was a banquet and restaurant waiter for almost 5 years. Some things you never forget and funny how a song, a touch, a smell can take you back.

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Pix 1 - where Rob spent his formative years. (Well, sort of. I mean, doesn't "after high school and coming out of the closet" count as formative?)

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Pix 2 - I never served these ladies, though I did serve many a wedding party in this room. We used to launch silverware off the balcony and try to make it into the fountain (pictured above).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Excerpt From This Was Not Supposed To Be An All-Night Thing By Mike G

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All of my tests yielded the same results.
The Tilting My Hand At Slightly Different Angles test.
The Dropping Tiny Pieces Of Litter From Various Heights test.
The Staring Into My Lighter For 15 Minutes test.
They all proved the same thing.
That the air around me was not moving.
Not in any substantial way at least.
This meant that the sound I was hearing, the sound of strong winds howling through a large pile of wet animal bones, was entirely in my head and that I was still very much on mushrooms.
It took me two hours to do those tests.
This was not supposed to be an all-night thing.

Fact No. 736 By Mike G

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Someday, I'd like to wake up in a different bed, in a different city, perhaps even in a different time, and discover that I'm a popular and influential Jazz musician.

This would be a strange and unexpected (but welcome) gift.

It would be exciting I think, to wake up in a new life, with the means to be heard, to inspire people.
And what would I do with my sudden acclaim; my instant A1 status in the realm of Jazz music and culture?
I'd release an album of course.

Called Unprotected Sax.

Don't groan.

I was gonna call it Anal Sax.

Loading my iPod Part II 9:17 AM By: Kenn

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It's 5 hours after I started and it's only about half-way through the 2765 items I am transferring to my iPod. Man, USB is slow. My old firewire iPod can be reformatted and everything transferred over in less than 30 minutes. Granted, my Mac is an older G4 with USB 1.0, not the recommended USB 2.0, still, it's glacial. Hey Apple! Fire wire compatibility on the next one, okay?

Saturday November 12, 2005 4:28 am By: Kenn

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The first Saturday I've had off in a month and I wake up at 4 am. Nice. I just can't sleep lately.

So I'm downstairs in my studio updating my new iPod. I have an older one. The last model before Apple added the click wheel. The one with the row of buttons above the wheel. It's pretty good. I gave it to my wife to keep the rugrats entertained in the car. I got the new one.

Like the last one, this one is my Christmas present. It's a pretty extravagant present, I'll admit. But screw it. I work Saturday's. Its pretty nifty. A little buggy though. For instance, if you are playing a video and you pause the video or just surf over to a song and hit the middle button, it will show you that you have switched over to the new song. It lies. The video's picture is gone, but the video's audio continues to play on, in slooowwwmmotiioonnnnn. It's creepy. You have to turn off the iPod to make it stop. You get around this by using the back button to get out of the video completely. Then you can go play a song. I should report this to Apple. They can probably fix it with a software update. They probably already have. Never mind.

It's also slow as hell to update. USB only baby. It takes forever, especially loading up videos. Other that those little drawbacks it's cool as hell. I got the big one of course. I have much, or little depending on how you look at it, to compensate for.

I love the video. I'm trying to figure out a way to pipe the video signal into my Prius display window. You can watch dvds in Japan. I want to watch my iPod here. While I drive. In rush hour traffic.

It takes a while to convert mpegs and .mov file to an iPod compatible format, but I just set those to run overnight. I'm using iSquint which can batch a folder so it's a breeze. The files aren't as small as the ones you get from quicktime and they have more artifacting, but it doesn't show up on the Pod screen and is tolerable when I'm watching on my 13 inch tv at work. Okay. Enough. So I sometimes have to work Saturdays, but I can watch tv at work. It's just that kind of job. A 60 hour week is still a 60 hour week. Alright?

I started this at 4:28. It's now 4:45. I still have about 2 hours to kill before the rest of the family gets out of bed. I guess I'll select another batch of songs to transfer to the new iPod. The last one just finished.

I've got to get some sleep.

On a happier note... By: Andrew Hoshkiew

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The Yukon seems to be experiencing a warm spell, with every day for the last five getting above zero, and with the highest high being +7. Not warm by southern standards, but still a gladly received refreshing break from the -22 (or -34 with the wind-chill) we had a few weeks ago. The forecast for the next five days calls for every day to be above zero as well.

   My long hair is getting hot and annoying, and I vow, if it hits +10 at all, I will shave my head to honour the weather gods.

   The days are getting very short though, with just under seven hours of daylight now, and I think the lack of light is affecting me. It's dark when I leave for work in the morning, and dark when I leave work at the end of the day. But there's only one more month till the days begin to get longer again.

I hate Windows XP By: Andrew Hoshkiew

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I think it's the most awful operating system ever created.
I find it incredibly annoying. It seems like in every way possible it's designed in the most backwards, vile ways. But, as it is what is used at my second job, I must put up with it.

Mostly it's the popups that get to me. It seems like whenever the cursor hovers over anything, there's an annoying yellow box with text that pops up with helpful hints about things which are already blatantly obvious. Often, it covers up whatever it is I'm looking at, making it more of an annoyance than a help.
They're everywhere, associated with everything, and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to turn them off.
When I print something, a box pops up in the task bar telling me I've printed something. Why the fuck do I need that?
And then there's those stupid, shit-kicker animations, the paperclip and the puppy dog, which appear from time to time. Every time I see them I desperately fight the urge to throw the computer out the window.
When I stick a disc in, a box pops up with a list of options, asking me what what I want to do. Why do I need that? I know what I want - I want to open Windows explorer and copy files over. There's a little check mark box which says something like, "don't show this screen again," and I always click it, but the next time I stick a disc in there's that box again.
It's like it's mocking me.
Is there any way I can fix Windows so that it doesn't do all this? If not, I may have to quit the second job soon.

40 ounces of tequila in 14 minutes By: Andrew Hoshkiew

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I've just seen this happen a short while ago, at an experimental theatre performance.
I sat in the front row; heard him crack the seal on the bottle; could smell the alcohol. It was all quite real and very disturbing.
Anyhow, I've been doing a lot of thinking, the last few weeks, about what I want to do with my life for the next few years. I've come up with the following observations.
1. Although I like working for newspapers, I'd rather be making my living from the editorial side. Meaning writing and photography would be preferable to advertising design.
2. I crave a lot of the things big cities have to offer, like higher education, variety when shopping, good live music, and desire to live in one.
3. I still have 30 car payments to make, which is a huge financial burden which is always gnawing at me.
4. I also want to travel again at some point, for an extended period, which will require saving up a lot of money.
5. In this small town where I work as a designer and write on the side, I have enormous opportunities. In terms of arts and culture, I can write about anything that happens here. The Yukon does get a fair amount of quality stuff, and as a writer trying to cover it all I have no competition. I doubt it would be the same way in a big city.
6. I'm earning a shitload of money here. More than any other time in my life. And far more than I'd be making if I was working as a reporter.
So when I consider all that, my future is clear as mud. I can either go be a reporter somewhere and be happier in the moment while slowly paying off the car and not hoping to travel again for years. Or I can stay, endure work I don't really care to do for a year or so, pay off the car, go travelling and then come back and be a reporter.
Which will it be?

The Guardian’s Top 20 Geek Novels By: Sashi

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We know online polls don’t necessarily mean too much. Actually, most polls of any kind tend to be meaningless anyway.

As such, I’m not about to discuss the validity of this particular poll [Top 20 Geek Novels] or the interpretation of the results [Top 20 Geek Novels - Results!], and instead I’m just gonna see how many of these books I’ve actually read.

So far, 132 people have voted for the best geek novels written in English since 1932, in spite of Survey Monkey’s rubric saying free polls were limited to 100 responses. The top 20 is therefore as follows, with the numbers in brackets showing the number of votes.

1. The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams 85% (102)
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four — George Orwell 79% (92)
3. Brave New World — Aldous Huxley 69% (77)
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — Philip Dick 64% (67)
5. Neuromancer — William Gibson 59% (66)
6. Dune — Frank Herbert 53% (54)
7. I, Robot — Isaac Asimov 52% (54)
8. Foundation — Isaac Asimov 47% (47)
9. The Colour of Magic — Terry Pratchett 46% (46)
10. Microserfs — Douglas Coupland 43% (44)
11. Snow Crash — Neal Stephenson 37% (37)
12. Watchmen — Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons 38% (37)
13. Cryptonomicon — Neal Stephenson 36% (36)
14. Consider Phlebas — Iain M Banks 34% (35)
15. Stranger in a Strange Land — Robert Heinlein 33% (33)
16. The Man in the High Castle — Philip K Dick 34% (32)
17. American Gods — Neil Gaiman 31% (29)
18. The Diamond Age — Neal Stephenson 27% (27)
19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy — Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson 23% (21)
20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham 21% (19

I’ve read some of the top books on the list, while there’re some I’ve been meaning to read for ages but have never got round to yet - books like Asimov’s Foundation series, and the classic graphic novel Watchmen.

Others I’ve yet to get my hands on are Microserfs, Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Diamond Age and Trouble with Lichen.

Anyway, this list comes at a good time for me - I’ve been actively increasing the size of my personal library now with the latest addition being DBC Pierre’s Vernon God Little. At least lists like this make a good reference point for future titles I should look out for that appear to be timeless in nature.

Any other recommendations?

The Goblet of Fire - Kirk’s Movie Review

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If you are between 6 and 11 years of age, this was the most anticipated event of the year. And as I'm lucky enough to witness and share in the excitement of one particular nine year old, I find it difficult to see the cynicism most childless adults have to this iconic series. Being in a full cinema on a Saturday morning and feeling the air buzz with nervous energy and hope for a movie is something very special, whatever the actual film in question is.

Those I know above the age of 13 that have allowed themselves to enjoy the J.K. Rowling’s books say that Goblet of Fire is their favourite - It is deeper, darker, more grown up and 3 times as long as the preceding 3, and as such, must have caused the execs a fair few headaches in pre-production. It was always going to have to be one film albeit a much condensed version of the book, purely for marketing reasons, and even at a popcorn stretching 2hrs and 40 minutes is way too short to represent its print version with any accuracy.

And herein lie all its problems; those who have not read the book will become confused to the point of not caring as key events are skimmed over in 20 seconds (if at all) and very little is explained enough to give the climax its necessary gravity. Not that what is in there is bad, it does have a different atmosphere about it, brought in by the new director, but most scenes are handled very well, especially the last half hour and the re-emergence of Lord Voldemort (a deliciously creepy Ralph Fiennes stealing the show). But there is so much missing the whole falls way short of the sense of doom that should be present as the credits roll.

Also, I have to mention the main trio of teenagers... As younger actors it was easier to forgive their inexperience and lack of emotional depth, but they have done 4 of these things now and things really are not improving; now they are just beginning to look stupid surrounded as they are by the cream of British talent. Indeed the adults were outstanding as ever in their roles, but Rickman and the rest were shamefully underused, with Brendan Gleeson as the new dark arts teacher Mad Eye Moody the only one allowed the scope to camp it up in style - he is hilarious, a great character that saves the tone from entering the realm of the mediocre more than once.

What this needs is a longer director’s cut to fill it out. I don't know if such a thing exists, but if not I may even have to think twice about buying the DVD and seeing it again... Who am I kidding? My daughter is nine! Of course we'll buy it - it's the law. 7/10

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cd Review: Goldfrapp

Cd Review: Goldfrapp
Category: Music Profiles
Contributed by Kirk on November 16, 2005
Of the latest batch of albums out there this Autumn there is not a lot that has taken my fancy - the pre-Christmas market seems to get flooded with the bland and the repetitive, and you have to fish a little for something original.
Well, I'm not sure this album can be classified as original, as at times it has deliciously reminded me of Abba, Kate Bush, Gary Newman, OMD, T-Rex and even a bit of Kylie! What are you doing? - I hear you cry - That sounds bloody awful! Perhaps if this had come to me in a different mood I would be agreeing with you, but I put it on in reverence to the one or two tracks I liked from their debut album Felt Mountain and found something almost entirely different but immediately likable - and it lasted the whole album with no breaks!

What we have here then is a collection of superbly crafted pop songs designed to help you get your funk on in style! And for some reason I couldn't be more delighted... All the pretension of earlier works has been swept away and you'd be hard pressed to find anything too deep here, but aurally, as long as you're partial to a little electronica, like me, then you're in for a treat.

They seem to have found the trick of great pop hooks and catchy choruses and layered them with their distinctively European blend of future and retro to create a sensational whole. My favourite track keeps changing between several excellent candidates and I find myself playing the entire album through almost once a day. There may very well come a day when I can't stand the thought of it but for now I just Love it - ooh la la... 9/10

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The Magic Numbers - November 6/05 Max. capacity

The Magic Numbers are the current indie darlings in the music world. When people speak of The Magic Numbers, words like good aura, moving, dreamy, and melodic are often used.

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What makes this band the new ‘buzz’ in the music industry? To the point where some well known music reviewers are proclaiming The Magic Numbers’ June/05 cd release as the best of 2005? This next statement was actually written somewhere in a magazine, and I apologize for the lack of source as the quote’s scribbled on a crumpled napkin - ’The Magic Numbers are... The Beach Boys (Pet Sounds-era) crossed with The Beatles crossed with Pavement crossed with a bright summer day...’

All this hype made sense when the band took the stage. Awards for good looks will not be presented to this lot, however, as soon as they opened their mouths, they went beyond beautiful. Such perfect harmonizing and beautiful melodies! My co-reviewer noted that The Magic Numbers were akin to a more melodic Flaming Lips.

The Magic Numbers are two sets of brother/sister. The group’s core originator is Trinidadian singer, Romeo, who met up with drummer Sean, in London. After the two of them decided they had an act, they invited Romeo's equally talented sister, Michele, to take on bass and vocals, while Sean's sister, Angela, was invited to take on percussion and vocals. Of all the vocals, Angela’s ethereal voice keeps the audience tense with anticipation. As soon as she steps into the spotlight and begins to sing, you can literally feel the exhalations of satisfaction from those around you.

Together, this group with its odd assortment of musical instruments and vocal arrangements, has a sound that transcends most acts out there. It has that undefined, intangible, forever sought, ‘it’ factor. The Magic Numbers have ‘it’, and it will be interesting to see how much further they take ‘it’ and subsequently, the listeners.

When the opening act The Parallels took the stage, my first impression was that the fashion of old ska/punk bands (Selector, Specials, Madness) was making a reappearance. With that in mind, I was semi-prepared for some opening ska beats.

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What I received was a fabulous and frenetic Joe Strummer meets The Blasters. The Parallels’ set was a tangled, combustible grouping of instruments, movement and vocals. Herky jerky, loud, abrasive and fun. From their first note, The Parallels motivated the audience to move, sway, tap, and shake.

The Parallels are Mike Flintoff, Mike ‘Mick” McDiarmid, Tyler Mounteney and Jarrod O’Dell. Having been a ‘band’ with just a year under their belt, they can be assured that if they keep going in their present direction, they will soon be headlining. Their cd is entitled The Parallels - 1961 McLean.

Fort Langley’s Artisan’s fair

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What a pleasant surprise (in this season of ‘craft fair’ invites) to attend a local event that actually goes beyond the ‘craft fair’ territory and transcends into an ‘artisans’ event. The biggest differences between a ‘craft fair’ and an ‘artisans’ fair’ are quality and creativity of merchandise, and price. Artisans generally belong to a guild and to be in a guild requires a ‘juried’ process. Quite intimidating to the average scrapbooking/crafty person.

Essentially, this fair offered up the high-brow aspect of multi-textural artistic creations. Gone are the doily snowflakes and ribbon tree ornaments, replaced by the one-of-a-kind hand-knitted scarves, hats, ceramics, raku, wood art, stained glass, etc.

I was invited to this fair by Shari Taylor, one of the artisans in the Spinners and Weavers Guild (the organization that arranged the event). The beauty of an artisans’ fair is that it allows you to acquire a one-of-a-kind, unique gift for those difficult people to purchase for on your Christmas list. Rather than describe each item at the fair (which would require a significantly larger column) I’d rather do a photo diary of my personal interests and mention the artist(s) involved. This will also allow you to contact them if you see something that intrigues you.

The first items to catch my eye were the wooden art displays. Four artisans had grouped their wares together in an appealing display. There was Margaret’s Wood Creations (, Woodturnings by Colin Delory ( Rocky Mountain Woodwork by Lance Murphy and hand-crafted wood pieces by Brian Murphy. You could probably get more info re: Lance and Brian via Margaret or Colin.

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The second stop of interest was Sandra Reams whimsical paper art. In particular, her handcrafted card/booklets which come with a particular gift. For example, a book about ‘Mothers’ Sayings’ came with a packet of clean underwear. Gardener card/booklets came with an assortment of seeds.

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Barbara Paulus’ scarves were absolutely beautiful and perfection at its finest - not a flaw to be found

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I found a gorgeous hand embroidered jacket by Heleen that also had intricate stitches in its wool.

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Sandra Harcourt silk-beaded caplet was another item that was so finely crafted that not a blemish could be found.

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The Glass Puffin’s display was beautiful and actually reasonably priced given the amount of hours than must go into the creations. Adrian Renkers stained glass tiffany lamps are a must see. (

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Diane’s Herbal Basket offered an assortment of herbal creams, oils and ointments. The packaging was very professional and Diane is also a ‘Chartered Herbalist’ for anyone in ‘need’ due to a particular ailment. (

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Last, but not least, was Shari Taylor’s beautiful hand spun and sewn purses, hats, etc. I did not catch a website for her, but I do know her email is

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I did not get to profile every item I enjoyed (such as the raku, pottery, jewelry and wool displays as the fair was very crowded and it was difficult getting the information I did.

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The fair turned out to be a success, and I personally walked out with a lighter wallet and with some wonderful gifts.

The fair was held on November 5th and 6th at 9142 Glover Street in Fort Langley. It is an annual event, so be sure to look for it next year.