Sunday, March 30, 2008

The New Pornographers Myriad Harbour is Christine's 'daily fix' Enjoy!

Myriad Harbour lyrics provided by
I took a plane; I took a train.

Ah! Who cares? You always end up in the city.

I said to Carl, "Look up for once,

See just how the sun sets in the sky."

I said to John, "Do you think the girls here

Ever wonder how they got so pretty?"

(Well, I do.)

Look out upon the myriad harbour. (x3)

All the boys with their homemade microphones

Have very interesting sounds.

All the girls fall into ruin --

Droppin' out of school, breakin' Daddies' hearts -- Just to hang around.

I walked into the local record store

And asked for an American music anthology -- It sounds fun.

They tore at my skirt and stuck it on the walls At P.S. 1.

I took a plane; I took a train.

Ah! Who cares? You always end up in the city.

Stranded at Bleecker and Broadway

And looking for something to do.

Someone somewhere asked me,

"Is there anything in particular I can help you with?"

All I ever wanted help with was you.

Look out upon the Myriad Harbour. . . (x4)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

People who need people By: Mike Gillis

People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.

I like helping people.

Helping people makes people feel awesome, which means more high fives for me and/or me feeling better about myself.

Here are three ways I've decided to help people.

1. - Dress like Santa

"Everyone loves Santa!" Not true. Only kids like Santa. The problem is, all kids today know Santa is fake. The best time to be Santa probably would've been in the '50s, when kids still thought he was real, (but this is problematic because the '50s were also the time when suspicious parents were most likely to accuse Santa of being a "spineless commie.")

Which he was. [Is?]. Anyway, I would dress like Santa and entertain not children, but puppies. Just hop into the suit and roll around in a kennel full of orphaned puppies for a few hours. Delightful. This would actually be a two-pronged attack of people helpage.

Firstly, the puppies would be happier, having been visited by Old Saint Nick, thus making whoever adopted them happier still.

Secondly, immediately after the Great Xmas Puppy Frolic, I'd go visit some lonely and destitute homeless folk, cheering them up by a) being Santa, and b) reeking of fresh puppy. I can see them now, huddled around a clich├ęd but moderately warm thrashcan fire, that first wrinkled face looking up and noticing me, seeing the beard and big red coat and happily exclaiming, "Hey fellas! Look! it's Gary!"

2. - Be a 911 switchboard operator

Manning the phone lines for 911 is a great way to help in and of itself. But I've come up with a way to help even more. Picture an hysterical wife calling. "Oh my God! Oh my God! My husband is trapped under the mower! Please pleaase help!".

I understand ma'am. Please remain calm. I've notified an ambulance and they're on their way. Now go to your husband, and tell him I've also notified Batman. He'll be there shortly.

Bam. The wife will calm instantly, because she thinks Batman is coming to fix everything. The husband, even if he is seconds from death, will somehow, deep from within, find the will and the strength to hang on a little longer. Because he wants to meet Batman. This method also helps the real paramedics, giving them more time to do their job properly AND giving them an opportunity to discuss Batman during a call, which I'm sure they rarely get to do.

Is Batman even a doctor? I would say yes, he probably is.

3. - Always carry a lighter or matches

Always carry a lighter or matches in case a hot girl who smokes asks you for a light.

Visit Mike at

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Most Expensive Tasting Menus By: Lezah WIlliamson

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I was reading Forbes and they had a list of the ten most expensive tasting menus. No surprise, but of the top ten in the world, four just happen to be in the gastronomic capital of the world, Paris. In fact, all four of the top five are from Paris. Here they are:

1. l'Arpege, Paris: $466 for a meal

2. Alain Ducasse Plaza Athanee, Paris: $437
3. Guy Savoy, Paris: $402 for nine courses
4. Masa, NYC: $400 for a 25 course Omakase menu
5. Pierre Gagnaire, Paris: $373 for a 9 course meal from the father of French fusion food
6. Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas: $360 for 12 courses
7. Louise XV, Alain Ducasse, Monaco: $307 for 6 courses
8. La Pergola, Rome: $267 for 9 courses and one of the world's most magical views
9. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Hilton, Maldives Resort and Spa: this restaurant is under the sea, completely encased in glass
10. Eigensinn Farm, Singhampton, Ontario: $250 for 8 courses. The only Canadian restaurant to make the list - and does it all with no advertising.Way out in the boonies.

10. Per Se, NYC: $250 for 9 courses

World’s Priciest Cocktails By: Lezah WIlliamson

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I'm not a big drinker, so I have a real hard time wrapping my head around this one!

I wrote the other day about the world's most expensive restaurants, so I figured, hey, why not look into the world's most expensive drinks? Goes hand in hand, right?

Wrong! Looks like drinks far outweigh people's pocketbooks. I'm sure the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous must be spinning in his grave right now...

Anyway, if you are interested in laying down a bunch of dough for the world's most expensive drink, then you have to go to Manchester, England. Up on the 2nd floor bar at Harvey Nichols, you can order the Dazzle Cocktail. The price tag? A cool $51,200. But that's a bit misleading, as the drink includes rose champagne, strawberry and lychee liquor - AND an 18 karat white gold ring with tourmaline and diamonds. (Image from

So that explains the price, I guess.

If that's a bit too much, you can go to the Merchant Hotel in Belfast and drop $1400 for a Mai Tai. Again, there's a bit of an explanation behind the price on this one: made from J. Wray Nephew 17 year old Jamaican rum, of which there are only 6 bottles in existence - and this particular bottle (which is kept locked up in the hotel safe) is the only one available to the public.

Or maybe you'd rather go for a $550 Sidecar at Gordon Ramsey in NYC? This one is not on the menu - you have to ask for it. They use Hennessey Ellipse super-premium cognacs and Gran Marnier.

A little cheaper yet is a $100 truffle martini at the Donovan Bar at Rocco Forte's Browns Hotel in London.

Or maybe, after all this, you'll settle for an ale at your local pub?

Love is the song we sing By: Lezah WIlliamson

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It was Dave's birthday last month, but we didn't see his friend David until this last Saturday. Turns out that David gave Dave (aside: all Dave's friend's are either named Ian or David - it can get quite confusing, at times) a boxed CD set for his birthday. But it wasn't just any boxed set, oh no: this was the San Francisco Nuggets (1965-1970) various artists 4 cd boxed set entitled Love is the Song we Sing. (Image from

Love is the Song we Sing is the 4th Nuggets boxed set from Rhino. But it is so much more than just a boxed set, too: there is a book with writers such as Ben Fong-Torres, Alec Palao and Rock Scully; there is a fantastic, wild collection of photos from the era; there is a history of the art of Ron Nagle (think of those bubble letter rock posters from the '60s and you'll know what I'm talking about). And then of course, there's the music.

This is a various artists collection, with a lot of the better known bands of the time (The Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, etc.), some of the one-hit wonders of the time (Count Five), some early incarnation bands (The Great! Society - Grace's Slick's first band), and some great groups you've never heard of. I guess that's another wonderful thing about regional compilations like this: some of those bands that were on the brink of being lost into the seeds of time are brought forward. There are bands like The Harbinger Complex (when Dave asked, "Where did they get a name like that?", a friend quipped, "College"), and The Charlatans, who started the whole movement. Fortunately, there are lots of pictures of The Charlatans (who look tres cool), as they were more about the whole package than just solely about the music.

And I guess that's part of the beauty of this boxed set, because you do, indeed, get the whole package - the music, the art, the pictures, the history. It's almost as good as actually being there...

Friday, March 07, 2008

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch By Lezah Williamson (The Death of the Airline Meal)

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In the heyday of airline travel following the Second World War, customers were routinely treated to champagne and other 'luxuries'. While the airlines tried their best to serve good quality food, they were admittedly limited by time, space, and cooking facilities on board. But at least they tried.

And then came the world of cut-rate air travel, and the free meal went the way of the Dodo. For domestic flights today, expect nothing more than a drink and a light snack - a bag of peanuts, a cracker or a cookie. You can blame the no-frills carrier Southwest Airlines for that initiative.

Between the 1990s and this decade, the quality of airline food had dropped - if you can imagine that. Previously, the average airline would have supplied you with a meal that rang in at $6 (their cost); a decade later, you were being served up a meal that cost $3.50. In 2005, American Airlines issued a statement at meals cost them $30 million a year; two years earlier, Southwest had been spending $17.1 million a year on food and drinks. Considering that between 2001 and 2005, the airline lost $35 billion, I guess that food seemed to be the place to cut. After all, what else can they cut, realistically? Not fuel, and not maintenance.

For domestic flights of over two hours, you can now expect to get some sort of food offered - but it may be at a price. Check with your carrier, as time limits vary - for some airlines, the time limit is 1.5, but for others its a minimum of 3.5 hours in the air before you get any food. Some carriers will still offer free food at this point, but more and more are now charging: expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $11 for a meal.

Bringing food onto a flight is difficult, as you are not supposed to bring food from home, nor are you allowed liquid on a flight. But once you have passed into the boarding area, any food that is offered for sale there is fair game.

Paris Museum Pass By Lezah Williamson

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I've got to admit, I'm always very disappointed when I go to the Vancouver Art Gallery. It just seems so... empty.

But then I've been to galleries like the Tate in London that are just chock-a-block full of fantastic and famous works of art by fantastic and famous artists.

And then there's the Louvre - the dream of all art lovers. I tried to go to the Louvre once - but it was closed! We were in Paris for only two days, and on our last day, a Tuesday, we decided to go to the Louvre - only to find that it's closed on Tuesdays. In fact, pretty much all of the museums in Paris are closed on Tuesdays. But, recently I was looking up some things about Paris, and I discovered the Paris Museum pass.

Get your pass here.

It's a pass that you can order ahead of time (they need ten day's notice), or purchase in Paris at various locations, such as the airport. It's very reasonable, as well: purchase of a 4 day pass is a mere 45 Euros (about $70) - and that grants you access to all the great museums in Paris, like the Louvre, as well as other sites like Versailles. And it operates the same way as those fantastic Disneyland passes do: you don't have to wait in line!

Even better: entrance to all these sites is free if you are under 18!

I think Vancouver has a few things to learn from Gay Paris.

From Page to Stage By Lezah Williamson Adapting Canadian literary works to film

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From Page to Stage is a programming initiative of the CBC that adapts Canadian literary and theatrical works into film for TV audiences today.

Recently commissioned are some well known works by Margaret Atwood (The Robber Bride, broadcast January, 2007) and The Englishman's Boy (by GG winner Guy Vanderhaege), broadcast February, 2008. Upcoming are St. Urbain's Horsemen and Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler; Iron Road, based on the opera by Cha Ka Nin and Mark Brownell; and jPod and Souvenir of Canada by Douglas Copeland.

So far, over $43 million has been spent on this initiative.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

BC's Hottest Hangouts by Lezah Williamson

BC has some hot hang-outs. We're still not in the same league as jet-set hot-spots like London, Paris, New York and the like, but as they say, you've come a long way, baby. Wasn't that long ago that Vancouver was just another provincial town... and here we are, waiting for the world to come to our door for the 2010 Olympics.

If you're looking for some celebs, and you happen to be up in Whistler, you can probably find them at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. The Fairmont is a very upscale chain of hotels that stretches across the nation, and many of its hotels are in the uniquely Canadian 'chateau' style. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is where the Queen usually hangs out when she's in town, just to give you a basis of comparison. So you can assume the Fairmont Chateau Whistler to be of the same calibre.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler was recently voted both the #1 ski resort and the #1 golf resort in North America. Fairmont's Mallard Lounge boasts a number of outdoor fire pits. Celebs such as Tom Cruise, Kurt Russell and Mel Gibson have been spotted there.

Not interested in traipsing all the way up to Whistler? Then try West Restaurant. This four star, award winning restaurant serves up contemporary regional cuisine and is said to be the favourite of Pierce Brosnan.

Image from /

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Beauty Myth

The Beauty Myth

Girls and women are told to embrace themselves and accept their bodies. They are also told to treat their body as if it were a temple (via Oprah). This is all good advice.

I believe everyone has beauty within and without, and my version of beauty will be far different than others'. That's what makes life and love connections so intriguing. How bland and tasteless life would be if we all aspired to some beauty "ideal" and actually bought into that image.

I was skimming through a People magazine (I know, I know... I should know better) when I came across an article about women taking their children's ritalin medication because it made them more focused, able to multitask, and LOSE WEIGHT. Immediately, I shook my head and said, but why...?

I only have to look at the headlines on all the tabloids at the checkout:
"How to lose 10 pounds in 10 days!"
"How to decrease signs of aging!"
"Ten things to do to keep your man happy in bed!"

Excuse me? I must be living in a fog because I don't recall being told by my mother that I had to stay young, thin, and fabulous in bed to be worthy. In fact, she ascribed to the "embrace yourself" philosophy.

Our society has not progressed one iota if women are still looking to outside sources to be "good" or "better". What happened to liberation? Well, we certainly can't look to men and blame them. They sit back and shake their heads at our self-absorbed quests for perfection, dictated to us from some magazine that is usually written by women, for women ie: Cosmopolitan.

Here's a reality check to anyone thinking those cover girls are something we should, and can physically, attain.

1) The models are usually between the ages of 17 and 21.
2) Many of them have already had cosmetic surgery (top surgeries are nose jobs and breast augmentation)
3) They haven't had children
4) They're not menopausal
5) Their skin is airbrushed and any "lumpy" bits are digitized out of the photo
6) They have terrible eating habits and often have eating disorders
7) Finally, believe it or not, you are just as beautiful, if not more, with your body and its life experiences.

Ignore those Beauty Myths on the covers of checkout stand magazines.

Look yourself in the eye and affirm your individual beauty because it is there.

Comedy Death Ray Review: By Terry Lowe

I fear that genuine wit is fast disappearing from the world, pushed aside by sarcasm, crudity, frantic neuroses, and if none of those work, sheer volume.

The Comedy Death Ray show at the Commodore featured plenty of sarcasm, a lot of crudity, the abovementioned frantic neuroses, all delivered at high volume. What it did not feature was much in the way of humour.

According to the Georgia Straight, Vancouver’s entertainment weekly (and not uncoincidentally, the producers of the show):

The lineup may not have the star power of the one that played the Global Comedy Fest last fall, but there’s still some solid talent: Doug Benson, Greg Behrendt, Dana Gould, Janeane Garofalo, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Tim and Eric, and the Fun Bunch.

The draw: This is the hip show in Los Angeles. Sure, it’s only five bucks there, but if you factor in airfare, you’re saving quite a bit.

Target audience: Risk-takers. Go for the celebrity names, stay for the unknowns.

Dana Gould’s marriage jokes were funny, Janeane Garofalo was mildly amusing, and Doug Benson was genuinely entertaining (and he was the only performer who actually connected with the audience). The rest of it sucked. This is not good value for money; I had a comp ticket, and by the end, it wasn’t even good value for no money.

Wikipedia lists many things that might be found in “alternative comedy,” and of those, Comedy Death Ray offers up two:

* Breaking social taboos: Particularly those relating to sex and bad language; alternative comedians swore on stage and, continuing the theme of observational humour, often made jokes about sex acts and sexuality. Toilet humour was not uncommon either.

* Story-telling and personal narrative: Emphasizing story, personal experience and individual rhythm instead of the rigid set-up/punchline jokes and rhythms of mainstream comedy.

Fair enough. Too bad they weren’t funny. Instead, they were abrasive, contemptous, and superficial.

I expect my reaction is a cultural one. One of the things Canadians do very well is comedy. We have very good comics working both here and in the US. I’d recommend seeking out some of these instead. If, however, you prefer your comedy without laughs, you may find Comedy Death Ray - um - “interesting.” I wouldn’t pay more than $5, and I’d look for somewhere with more comfortable seats (the better for some of the more squirm-inducing bits).

Rather than “comedy,” this show should have been billed as “Neurotic people yelling at you for two hours about their pubic hair issues.” If this is the best Los Angeles has to offer, then they need a lot more Canada down there.