Saturday, September 25, 2010

Good morning!

So, you know how Joel Plaskett's back-to-back of "Rewind" and "Precious" work really well?... add these two to the formula.

here is a bit of a sample of the original genius.

(there was no original on the youtube that fit, but this guy kinda rocks out!)


This is the song for Baby Birch.
I will never know you.
And at the back of what we've done,
there is that knowledge of you.

I wish we could take every path.
I could spend a hundred years
adoring you.
Yes, I wish we could take every path,
because I hated to close
the door on you.

Do you remember staring,
up at the stars,
so far away in their bulletproof cars?
We heard the rushing, slow intake
of the dark, dark water,
and the engine breaks,
and I said,

How about them engine breaks?
And, if I should die before I wake,
will you keep an eye on Baby Birch?
Because I'd hate to see her
make the same mistakes.

When it was dark,
I called and you came.
When it was dark, I saw shapes.
When I see stars, I feel, in your hand,
and I see stars,
and I reel, again.

Well mercy me. I'll be goddamned.
It's been a long, long time
since I last saw you.
And I have never known the plan.
It's been a long, long time.
How are you?
Your eyes are green. Your hair is gold.
Your hair is black. Your eyes are blue.
I closed the ranks, and I doubled back--
but, you know, I hated to close
the door on you.

We take a walk along the dirty lake.
Hear the goose,
cussing at me over her eggs.
You poor little cousin.
I don't want your dregs
(A little baby fussing all over my legs).

There is a blacksmith,
and there is a shepherd,
and there is a butcher-boy,
and there is a barber, who's cutting
and cutting away at my only joy.
I saw a rabbit,
as slick as a knife,
and as pale as a candlestick,
and I had thought it'd be harder to do,
but I caught her, and skinned her quick:
held her there,
kicking and mewling,
upended, unspooling, unsung and blue;
told her "wherever you go,
little runaway bunny,
I will find you."
And then she ran,
as they're liable to do.


Man, I was going to post the rest of the lyrics and provide an interpretation with them (for the rest of the songs), but won't now just cuz I think potential misinterpretation is not what I'm looking for here. I'd rather do that in person ;) Basically I think these are just great.fucking.songs that should be listened to!

As for the Joel Plaskett lyrics, I'm damn sure they'll be posted here at some point again and again and again after that. Let's just say that in the absence of cut and paste, dude is pretty straight lovingly forward.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Milan Markovic on The Agenda!

in case you missed it, here's Milan on The Agenda!

Right to Play Spin-a-thon!

Hey there,

I've signed up for a Right To Play Spin-a-thon for this coming Tuesday (the 28th). I'll be biking for an hour for your donations to RTP. This is through Queen's, and although they haven't updated their website:
... I swear this is legit.

Oh, here is something:!/event.php?eid=148563608513392&ref=mf

Anyway, if you would like to donate to RTP (here's some info about what they do:
- their website is kinda meh...) then here is a good opportunity cuz I could get a free t-shirt out of it too.

You apparently can't donate on the internet so just send me an email with some sort of commitment and I'll collect next time I see you. If you know how to do that email bank transfer thing and I don't have to do too much, then that should be fine as well. If you want a tax receipt, include your mailing address. If you don't want a tax receipt, know that I may use it (el taxmano y yo quizás no estamos de acuerdo ;).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Joey Moss Cup

Joseph "Joey" Moss (born September 25, 1963) is the locker room attendant for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Born with Down syndrome, Moss caught the eye of Oilers centre Wayne Gretzky in 1985, when Gretzky was dating Moss's sister, Vicki. Impressed with the dedication Moss brought to a job at an Edmonton bottle depot, Gretzky suggested to team general manager Glen Sather that the young man be given a tryout.

As the summer of 1986 came around, Gretzky was worried that Joey would lose everything he had learned with the Oilers, so Gretzky called up the equipment manager of the Edmonton Eskimos, Dwayne Mandrusiak, and asked him if Joey could work with them during training camp. Gretzky even offered to pay Joey's wages for the team.

Moss's career with the Oilers was destined to long outlast Gretzky's, and his determination and passion for hockey have made him a nationwide celebrity and a major symbol of continuity within the franchise. (In 2006, during a surprising Oiler playoff run, he delayed elective surgery for a hernia in order to see the Stanley Cup playoffs through to the finish.) His main duties with the team include cleaning, handling towels and water, and running errands for former equipment manager Lyle "Sparky" Kulchisky.

In 2003, Moss received the NHL Alumni Association's "Seventh Man Award" in recognition of outstanding behind-the-scenes service to the league. The Joey Moss Cup, a trophy contended for by Oilers players in an annual split-squad game near the end of training camp, is named after him.

Shawn Horcoff had a goal and an assist while Taylor Hall and Curtis Foster each had a goal for team Blue as they shutout Team white to win the Joey Moss cup 3-0 (yesterday).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Karkwa wins Polaris award

Listening to them on CBC (man, Jian is such a douche - like repeating everything the band members say... we understand them Jian, just like you do. They're speaking English.. anyway) now. For a listen, above is their album for download via torrent.

Formed in 1998, the group consists of vocalist and guitarist Louis-Jean Cormier, keyboardist François Lafontaine, bass guitarist Martin Lamontagne, percussionist Julien Sagot and drummer Stéphane Bergeron. The band's name is a phonetic rendering of carquois (French for a quiver of arrows).

This is their fourth album, mostly acoustic. Good, but I would have gone with the Sadies.

Milan on the Agenda tonight!

My buddy Milan will be on TVO's the Agenda tonight @8pm (replay at 11). The topic is Kosovo's declaration of independence & Quebec.

Milan Markovic: Is Unilateral Independence Legal? | Big Tent Politics

Why an international court decision on Kosovo's declaration of independence could nullify the Clarity Act and permit a unilateral declaration of independence by Quebec. And: Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff recently asked Canadians to come back to the "Big Red Tent", but are big tent politics still possible, or is Canada looking for new ways to build majorities?


What the Kosovo ruling means for Canada: trouble

The true impact of the World Court’s decision will be on separatist groups outside of Serbia that now have a model for how to declare independence Lyle Stafford for The Globe and Mail

The true impact of the World Court’s decision will be on separatist groups outside of Serbia that now have a model for how to declare independence.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Start on E
             A                   E
I’m getting old but I’m not old yet
                 B                  E
I’m already worried that I might forget
How to laugh, how to love
How to live, how to learn
                       B             A       E
I want to die with a smile when it comes my turn

I don’t want to get weary, don’t want to get bored
Don’t want to get tired, walking down this road
I’ve seen that happen so many times
I just want to believe that its still worth trying


But I know that it’s easier said than done
And I ain’t that different from anyone
I worry about my money, got bills that I can’t pay
I swear I’m more like my father everyday


Maybe I’ll start bowling, maybe I’ll play bridge
Maybe I’ll join a band with my own grandkids
I don’t care if it kills me I’m gonna do what it takes
To keep some warmth in my heart and a smile on my face


End on E.


David Myles (born May 12, 1981) is a Canadian songwriter / performer/ recording artist originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He now resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Growing up in Fredericton, David started playing trumpet at 10 years old, playing in his school band. He later attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick where he was studied to completed his degree in political science, with a minor in Chinese. In 2001, David embarked on an exchange to a city two hours from Shanghai, China, to learn Mandarin and purchased his first guitar. He later graduated from Mount Allison University in 2003 with an honours degree in Political Science and is now a full time touring musician. After returning from China, David released his debut solo recording, Together and Alone in 2005 and relocated to Calgary.

In 2006, his second solo recording, Things Have Changed, exposed him to national and international audiences and earned him industry recognition in the form of two Music Nova Scotia Awards, and nominations for both the 2007 Canadian Folk Music Best New Artist Award and the ECMA Galaxie Rising Star Recording of the Year. His original song, “When it Comes My Turn” took home first place in the International Songwriting Competition and was the winning song at the 2008 Chris Austin Merlefest Songwriting Contest.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pleasure music for departures

My friend Tara, who's leaving to study/write at St. Andrew's on a Scotland Saltire Scholarship in a week or two posted the little ditty below not too long ago. To provide a little bit of background to this passage the hints, allegations and things left unsaid all point to Tara staying in Scotland/Europe for a very long time.


"It is music for exile, for the preparations, the significations of departure, for the symptoms of migration. It is the languishing music of picking through your belongings and deciding what to take. It is the two a.m. music of smelling and caressing books none of which you can carry--books you leave behind with friends who say they’ll always be here when you want them when you need them--music for a bowl of apples sitting on your table, apples you have not yet eaten, apples you cannot take--you know they have apples there in that other place but not these apples, not apples like these-- You eat your last native apple and stare at what your life is reduced to--all the things you can stick into a sack. It will be cold, you will need boots, you don’t own boots except these rubber ones--will they do? You pack them, you pack a letter from a friend so you will not feel too alone.

Music for final goodbyes for one last drink and a quick hug as you cram your cigarettes into your pocket and run to the bus, you run, run, your chest heaves, like the bellows of the bandoneon. You try to watch intently to emblazon in your mind these streets, these corners, those houses, the people, the smells, even the lurching bus fills you with a kind of stupid happiness and regret-- Music for the things you left behind in that room: a dress, magazines, some drawings, two pairs of shoes and blouses too old to be worn any more . . . four perfect apples.

Music for cold nights under incomprehensible stars, for cups of coffee and cigarette smoke, for a long walk by the river where you might be alone or you might meet someone. It is music for encounters in shabby stairways, the music of lovemaking in a narrow bed, the tendernesses, the caress, the pull of strong arms and legs.

Music for your invisibility . . .

Music for a day in the fall when you buy a new coat and think perhaps you will live here for the rest of your life, perhaps it will be possible, you have changed so much, would they recognize you? would you recognize your country? would you recognize yourself?"

-- from Fronteras Americanas, by Guillermo Verdecchia

Pretty good eh?


In 1993 his one-man show, Fronteras Americanas, premiered at the Tarragon Theatre ’s Extra Space. It was subsequently produced at Festival de Theatre des Amériques (now Festival TransAmériques ) in Montreal, then remounted on Tarragon’s main stage, before moving to the Manitoba Theatre Centre and Vancouver Playhouse . In all of the productions Verdecchia played himself and his alter-ego, Wideload, a flamboyant Latino stereotype. The play is an attempt to resist the objectification effected by naming in terms of race and place through the formation of an “oppositional consciousness.” The Verdecchia persona reflects on his experiences as an immigrant to Canada. He provides a history lesson on the diaspora of “Latin” peoples in order to construct for himself an historical context. Ironically when he returns “home” to Argentina, and he again finds himself an outsider. Wideload comments sarcastically on his reception by a “Saxon” population and contrasts the physical and sexual makeup of a “Latino” with that of a “Saxon.” In the concluding episode, the character Verdecchia asserts that he is building a house on the border, and challenges the audience to consider and celebrate the rich ethnic makeup of those who call Canada home. Fronteras Americanas won a Chalmers Award and a Governor General’s Award . Verdecchia also wrote and starred in a short film adaptation of Fronteras Americanas, called Crucero/Crossroads, which played at film festivals around the world and received nine international awards.


Anyway, the passage reminded me of the following song, music for pleasure by Departure Lounge. I couldn't find the song or lyrics anywhere online so I uploaded them to YouTube and here. I'm not 100% sure about the lyrics as I embrace a biased ear, but they should be close enough.

Departure Lounge - Music for pleasure

Stamp my ticket, pull my plug
I'm tuning out and I'm turning off
I'm not the hero that I thought I was

I don't want to be up there looking down
everything is small from far away
I want to see you up close again

Tap my wire, feed my line
pull me out of my frozen mind
gotta get back into the world outside
music for pleasure

Cover your ears, count to three,
you'll need a torch if you're following me.
I need some air and a new routine
plus some device to help me
stay in touch with how I feel.

Tap my wire, feed my line
pull me out of my frozen mind
gonna get these puppet strings untied
I'm not another broken fairground ride
if your heart is empty, open wide.

Tap my wire, feed my line
pull me out of my frozen mind
I'm going to leave that joker I was behind
music for pleasure.

No more pressure, no more pain,
no more struggle for hollow gain
I want to feel like I'm alive again
Older and wiser
be nice to each other
music for pleasure


Reading and comparing the two passages, at first glance they don't seem to click quite right. I mean, on the surface you have the music, the travel, the transportation of oneself and the sense of the journey, lack of a home. But something just doesn't click, right? There is a complexity to Verdecchia's passage that DL just can't come close to. They are quite obviously not in the same league. The personal examples, the consumption and assimilation of loss, memories and movement.

And then, at least for me, the two passages do click. I feel they are expressing similar feelings in slightly different ways, perhaps emotions connected to a far away place, thing, or even person. Something that you wish you could keep forever but know you probably shouldn't (for the better of you) and really can't in any real sense anyway. If it does come back it won't be the same, which is a good thing; it'll be different and better. A new, fresh start after a disappearance, whether you like it or not. At least, that's the way I interpreted it!

This song is easily in my top 15. Not only is it melodic, but I do love the simple and vague electrically and mechanically related lyrics.


"I need some air and a new routine
plus some device to help me
stay in touch with how I feel.

Tap my wire, feed my line
pull me out of my frozen mind
gonna get these puppet strings untied
I'm not another broken fairground ride
if your heart is empty, open wide."


Basically I've found I love any lyrics to do with wire transmissions (as receivers and as senders: as the transmission goes down the wire you need repeaters or the intended message slowly fades away type analogies... ) and broken, under maintained, neglected mechanical equipment, but that's another story all together.

Listening to this song my mind instantly flashes back 7-8-9 years ago, driving my 1997 silver Acura down a black highway, simultaneously travelling away from and toward loved things and ones.

First two classes of law school

So had my first two official law school classes yesterday and my overall impression is that it is going to be fucking amazing. There are obviously going to be some challenges, and maybe not the ones one may instantly think of. What I mean is that personally I'm not worried about the work load, exams, or the written aspect of detailing information to match up the law, cases and the facts. What I'm more worried about, and need to get better at is to be able to (to learn to) get out of my head and coherently express myself and these ideas verbally in a quick, strategic, and systematic manner. To be a bit more precise, I tend to be able to form a logical, well thought out and expressed argument on paper, but when it comes to verbal communication I tend to get stuck in my head a bit.

That's the long term goal (always has been for a bit now.. ) and that's something that Queen's seems to emphasize with the small classes and their omnipresent Socratic teaching. The profs seem to be emphasizing the absolute requirement to make mistakes in class discussions, with marks coming only based on written exams. I'm kinda digging that right now and am looking forward to the personal challenge of trying and fucking up.

Anyway, first class of the day was Property Law. Our homework for this first class was to watch this YouTube clip:


1) "Tell us why?!" Should they have to tell him why?
2) "Who gave you the right to exclude the population?!" Pretty loaded question...
3) "We want to get into the Eaton Centre, it is a public place!" Rights associated with services...

anyway, neat stuff. And not to bore you too bad with anymore but there seems to be 6 general types of property law, with the major distinctions being real estate, personal property, intangibles (stocks and bonds), intellectual, infrastructure and you as a person property. That last one garnered the most attention with examples of tattoos on foreheads, kidney selling vs. donating, and slavery coming into play; basically it's all about drawing a line somewhere.. what should the legal system endorse and what should it condemn. That ambiguity is where good lawyers shine, apparently.

blah, blah, blah..

Other interesting things touched upon in this first class was a definition of property. The take home message was that it came down to not necessarily something that you own or possess but is actually your claims, entitlements, duties and rights associated with the object/issue in question). Moreover, it was touched on that property is something you can potentially give away or sell, so your SIN may not actually be "your property".

Ok, second class was Torts and we started to get into the rules associated with statutory interpretation, the type of thing I think I want to get into. I'll avoid details as I don't think you care, but we played a fun game of interpreting the hypothetical sign "No vehicles in the park". As you can probably guess, different types of "vehicles" were brought up and debated whether they were covered by the sign/law/rule and why and how, and how would one defend each side... and yes, of course bicycle came up!.. along with child buggy, lawn mower, electric wheelchair, ambulance and limo drivers.. all interesting to dissect intent of law vs. learning and being aware of the leaps one is allowed to make in the process of defending your prosecutor or defendant role.

Anyway, near the end of the class the prof emphasized that mistakes should be made in class, learn the skills not the content (not rote memorization), have some fun with these discussions to keep up your interest, keep it simple as laws contain ambiguity and fundamental questions are the best way to work within that ambiguity, that profs are just tour guides and not the be all and end alls, and finally he mentioned that questions on course content could only be asked in class in front of the rest of the class. This is designed to get people talking and to get comfortable with making mistakes.

Pretty great first day, and no more about classes cuz re-reading this it's boring me.

Oh, one last thing.. met with my upper year buddy who eased my mind a bit about summary techniques, work load, exams, future job prospects, and profs, and also hooked me up with some used books. I'm not sure to what extent this happens at other law schools but Queen's is really looking like the right choice for me...

Gladstone's voice

I liked this article in/from Kottke and decided to explore it a bit:

So, this Gladstone fellow...

William Gladstone was very nearly Abraham Lincoln's exact contemporary, both born in 1809 (Lincoln was 10 months older), only he was born in Liverpool, not Kentucky. He was a legendary orator and liberal lion, like an approximation of Lincoln and Ted Kennedy. He served as a member of parliament for almost 50 years, including as Prime Minster four times, before retiring in 1894. (Could you imagine if Lincoln had lived until 1894?)

In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four times (1868–1874, 1880–1885, February–July 1886 and 1892–1894), more than any other person. Gladstone was 84 years old - still physically vigorous albeit with failing hearing and eyesight - when he resigned for the last time, making him Britain's oldest Prime Minister.

He also had a great nickname: G.O.M., for "Grand Old Man." His Tory counterpart Disraeli called him "God's Only Mistake."

no, not G.O.B., but G.O.M.

anyway, his relation to the Gladstone hotel in Toronto is as follows.

The Gladstone was named for Gladstone Avenue, which was named after British prime minister William Ewart Gladstone. The hotel's monthly newsletter, the Gladstone Bag, is named for the suitcase style, also named for William Gladstone.

The Gladstone was one of the first ten hotels in Ontario to receive permission to allow patrons to drink and play shuffleboard in a licensed alcoholic area. At one time the Gladstone Hotel was the last place to obtain hard liquor before reaching Hamilton.

Ok.. that's part one of this post. In part two I'm gonna take a look at the phonograph, Thomas Edison, and good vibrations.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


So here's my schedule for the fall term...











Intro to legal res.







19 hours for the week, with Tuesday looking a little tough checking in with 6 straight hours. Apartment is all set up now too, and orientation week is going swimmingly. Kingston, is Kingston. Pretty much everything I expected... errr, it's been two days.

The apartment is actually pretty great! Everything you could ever want within walking distance (7 minutes to class, 2 or 10 minutes to the closest grocery stores, downtown location), and because it's facing the back of the street it's been nice and quiet, so far. I'll try to post some pictures at some point.

Skipped an orientation toga party tonight at the Elysium (In Greek mythology, Elysium was a section of the Underworld. The Elysian Fields, or the Elysian Plains, were the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous, and apparently kitty corner to my place), and meet my upper year buddy tomorrow after a few mini-classes in the morning. Oh, and the sponsorship freebee gifts are already rolling in... here's my haul from today.

And what a haul! Even a laundry bag!!!

Tryin' To Live My Life Without You

So after previewing it at Adam's house a few months ago I picked up Bob Seger's Nine Tonight live album, and am loving it. It brought back some good memories...

This isn't the 1980 live Boston version on the album, but it works ok.

I used to smoke five packs of Cigarettes a day
It was the hardest thing to put them away
i drank four or five bottles of wine
I kept a glass in my hand all the time

Breaking those habit was hard to do
But nothing prepared me for the changes
That you put me through

Tryin' to live my life without you babe
Its the hardest thing i'll ever do
Try and forget the love we once shared (yeah)
Its the hardest thing i'll ever do

I had the worst reputation in town
For chasin' all the women around
I thought changin' my way of livin' was hard to do
But theres nothing could prepare me for the changes you put me through

I've done everything i tried to do
But its gonna take a miracle to get me over you

Tryin' to live my life without you babe
Its the hardest thing i'll ever do
Try and forget the love we once shared (yeah)
Its the hardest burden i'll ever know

Tryin' to live my life without you babe
Its the hardest thing i'll ever do
Try and forget the love we shared
Its the hardest burden i'll ever know

Tryin' to live my love without you babe
Hardest thing i'll ever do
Try and forget the love we shared
Its the hardest burden i'll ever know

Tryin' to live my life without you babe
Its the hardest thing i'll ever do
Try and forget the love we shared
Its the hardest burden i'll ever know

"Tryin' To Live My Life Without You" is a song written by Eugene Williams, originally popularized by soul singer Otis Clay. It has since been covered by several other artists, most notably Bob Seger on his 1981 Nine Tonight album.

Here's the Otis Clay version.

Btw, here's Andy Gibb completely destroying the song.

Gawd that's so fucking bad. I can't listen to that, and neither should you.

There doesn't seem to be much (easily obtainable) information on Eugene Williams though...

Seger has claimed that he recorded the song to show how the Eagles stole the song's melody in their song "The Long Run". Seger highlights the similarities between the two songs in the arrangement his version, in the bassline especially. I can't find "the Long Run" online (how sad :(, but here's a cover of it, and you can figure out how much The Eagles suck for yourself.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


While on the topic of good foods, here's some good hummus.

Errr.. I'm no hummus connoisseur, but I know good hummus when I taste it. And this is some good hummus. If you can't read it, it's Roasted Garlic and Onion Hummus from Sunflower Kitchen, and it's delicious. Strong garlic flavour for those that like it.

It doesn't seem to be available everywhere, and where it is available it doesn't seem to be there all the time. But if you can find it, get yourself some.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, the anthropic principle, and God.

When asked if I believe in god (or just a god... any god...) I often fall back on the answer that although I don't believe in any superior being interacting with humans in any sort of way, even after death, I do believe that that there must have been something out there that started this whole universe thing going. I mean, what put all the elements out there in the first place? Why not just nothing?

Well, that qualification for the existence of a god may not be necessary anymore. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (remember him?... the random numbers guy who spoke at the Perimeter Institute.. ) have released a scientific explanation to the origins of the universe without the necessity of a god.

"As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

Our universe seems to be one of many, each with different laws. That multiverse idea is not a notion invented to account for the miracle of fine tuning. It is a consequence predicted by many theories in modern cosmology."

We don't need the almost 1000 comments on this article in the WSJ at the time of posting to tell us that this is obviously still quite a controversial conclusion. However, it would be really interesting to read up on the particular aspects of the laws of gravity and quantum theory that do predict spontaneous creation of universes. Hopefully there'll be a layman's book out soon?!


ps. Is 'god' capitalized? I've heard this before but here's a pretty good article summing it up.

"Confusion is caused by the fact that Christians don't typically ascribe a personal name to their god - some use Yahweh or Jehovah, but that is pretty rare. The name they use happens to be the same as the general term for the class that being belongs to. It's not unlike a person who has named their cat, Cat."...

Sunday the 5th, Toronto walking tour

Looking to get out of the house Sunday afternoon? Try this:

Back alleys have a rather seedy reputation, disregarded primarily as the sites of rats and garbage. But Graeme Parry has taken it upon himself to shed light on the oft-ignored beauty of Toronto's laneways. Sunday's tour will weave through the labyrinth of alleys in the Queen West, Trinity Bellwoods, and Little Portugal areas, showing walkers the brilliantly coloured, innovative street art sprayed on walls and garages, and the cottages and homes lining the lanes. Parry, who has been offering these tours for seven years, injects a unique perspective on the city's legacy of decay and rejuvenation. Meet in front of Pizza Pizza at corner of Queen and Bathurst streets, Sunday 1 p.m., FREE.

CBC Retrobites

Good morning!...

Old CBC interview bites for yer ass.

Aldous Huxley on tranquilizers and mescaline. Follows to alcohol... need to follow up on this dude...

Margarat Atwood on death, food and babies.

Leonard Cohen (CBC Retrobite with Adrienne Clarkson)

Bobby Fischer on chess and female 'players'...

Stan Lee on human psychology and Spiderman

Friday, September 3, 2010

The acoustics of different environments

A successful multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Bird recently joined instrument and acoustic engineer Ian Schneller to create a novel live music experience, something they're calling the Sonic Arboretum, which premiered as part of the Guggenheim Museum's Dark Sounds series last month.

"Usually you think of acoustics in closed spaces because sound bounces off of things. But if you're in Zion National Park or the Sandstone Cliffs, you create this acoustical space with different textures of the plants in our area....And that's what we're trying to appropriate in this," says Bird (hence the botanical metaphor).

Bird uses his speakers almost like microphones. Using a loop peddle, he'll record and play back musical lines, controlling which horns amplify the sounds.

School dreams

So I'm starting to have dreams about law school, and school in general. These dreams have all been positive so far, but definitely indicitive of a life change.

The first one occurred a few weeks ago, where I was in and out of class from approximately 8am to 9:30pm. There was very little stress, just a sense of being quite exhausted by the last class. So weird. I mean, it's kinda cool how feelings come across in dreams despite not actually being expressed. Perhaps that's all dreams are, just feelings with limited expression. Anyway, there was plenty of teacher interaction and discussion after class in the halls, class mates met over lunch, and light reading during down time. Yup, that's what I have been dreaming about... uhh.. partly.

Another more recent dream included a english lit type class, where I could distinctly see the class reading a text by the author "Leon". The cover had a fox or lion, hand drawn, on the cover. I can remember the text as we read it together high school style. Being unfamiliar with anything Leon (in the dream and otherwise), some light research has brought up very little as well.

Léon the movie. Downloading, will watch in the next few days.

Looking at wikipedia, apparently Leon can refer to quite a bit.

Meh,... it probably means nothing, right? Or, maybe the feeling was more important? I mean, I remember looking at the text and feeling it quite unfamiliar. It looked interesting, but I didn't know it. I suppose I felt like others around me did, and maybe that caused a bit of apprehension, but nothing overwhelming. Anyway, that's about it for now on that.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Roncesvalles construction

A little more than a month into the second and final round of construction, residents and shopkeepers in Roncesvalles Village are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Track work is proceeding quickly. Comments like “Wow, they’re moving fast!” are commonly heard.

Track is in place on nearly half the street, and sidewalk replacement and road repair has begun in the south end. Several blocks are open in the south end, with more opening soon.

Of course, not everyone is happy all the time.

  1. Starbuck's neighbour says:

    Obviously you don’t live in the area where they are doing the damn construction at all hours of the day - well most hours of the day. They take between 6 pm and 11 pm off. That’s right. All of the neighbours at the top of the street have not been able to sleep for the past 5 nights because of the noise levels that are out of control. We sure hope that this damn construction is done soon, because I have come to hate the workers who are extremely disrespectful and I now hate all of the city who are allowing this to happen. To be honest I don’t give a rats ass if it takes longer as long as we can sleep and that means our kids too folks. So enjoy your new road.

    Your cranky ass, sleep deprived bitch of a neighbour who hates the city and everyone who works for it.

  2. Keith Denning, Coordinator, RVBIA says:

    Actually, I live very close to the Starbucks also, so yes, my family and I have been enduring this too.

    Installing the actual track is noisy, but this is nearly finished. Pouring concrete etc. is usually done during the day and is much quieter.

    The Roncesvalles/Dundas intersection is expected to be completely open on September 7.

Cottage Cheese

Geez, is cottage cheese the perfect food?

High in protein, low in fat, customizable - quality wise and price wise. Filling. Also, it's cheese. Cheese for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It's a topping, it's a meal on it's own, it is fucking delicious.

Don't eat meat? Eat cheese and forget about it.

Also kinda perfect? Peanut butter. I have that in the morning on two pieces of toast and I don't have to eat until dinner.

Finally on this non-sequitur rant? I'm looking into a bread maker... any tips/suggestions?

Well, the vacation is finally coming to an end...

So, I suppose I've been neglecting this blog a bit lately, but I've been on extended vacation for a bit.. whateves... I suppose I should have posted that before I left.

Anyway, with the change of the season comes the fall of the holiday; school starts in a few days. And along with it a restarting of this blog full force. Yup, that's right. Or, at least as full a force as school will allow. I plan to post daily / semi-daily thoughts about Kingston, law-school, maybe even an interesting lecture summary or two, along with all the regular updates. It'll be nice to keep a record again of things I'm reading/thinking about. I tend to use Google Reader quite a bit as it's just the easier way out, but it doesn't really provide a chance to explore, which is what this blog was originally for. So, gonna try to get back to those roots.

But before all that let's get to some of the vacation pictures. First, the Manhattan, Adirondacks, Montreal vacation.

I figure we've all seen NYC and Montreal, so I'll limit those fine pics and stay focused on the wilderness, for the most part. I still can't totally stay away from these street lights...

... or the Manhattan skyline.

Ok, so, after an always great time with Milan in NYC, Jer and I headed to the Adirondack region, which if you can tell by the budget map below is about 1.5 hours south of Montreal in New York State.

The Adirondack Park is a publicly-protected area located in northeast New York. It is the largest park and the largest state-level protected area in the contiguous United States, and the largest National Historic Landmark.

The park covers some 6.1 million acres (9,400 mi²/24,700 km²), a land area about the size of Vermont, or of the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks combined (Wikipedia). I've been camping almost all across Ontario, but never tried the States in any real way, and seeing as Jer had tons of experience from his teen years at Racquette Lake camp, it seemed like a good time to visit. Btw, if you do click on the Racquette Lake link, get ready for a shitty website (I should talk...) and even shittier music.

Anyway, below is about the size of the Adirondacks.

The route pictured below is roughly the one we would be taking by canoe through the river system.

Approximately 95 kilometers of water and 8 kilometers of portaging through Raquette Lake, then via the Raquette River to Forked Lake, Long Lake and finally via the Stony Creek Ponds and the Indian Carry to Upper Saranac Lake. The route then proceeds via Bartlett's Carry to Middle Saranac Lake and Lower Saranac Lake, ending at the New York State Boat Launch on Lake Flower. We budgeted 3 nights and 4 days.

This was our motel the first night before heading into the wilds. Running water, yes. Draining water, no.

Ended up renting a canoe down there instead of bringing one of my own. We figured it would just be easier considering the miles we were putting on the road. Moreover, it probably wasn't the smartest idea to leave a canoe on your car in Manhattan or downtown Montreal.

Jer getting some final tips...

errr... sort of.

For sale by owner. We didn't stop to check how much it was going for, but it doesn't seem that hard to convert your vehicle (30 minute bolt ons... )

So yeah, as you may have noticed the route is a straight one, so we had to drive down to Racquette lake from the town of Saranac (where we rented the canoe), drop the car, and then grab a taxi back to the car after the canoe trip.

Hoss's, where you always get "full-hookups".

There is a slightly longer canoe route that we could have taken that starts at Old Forge but decided for the slightly shorter one due to free parking and being old.

Ok, finally on the water.

Ducks on the pond...

Yeah, it took us a bit to get settled that first day, and yeah, we check the map quite often as the route was not marked very well and there were a few tributaries we needed to avoid. Actually, in general, all the portages, lakes and rivers weren't marked as well as I've seen in most Ontario parks.

Speaking of portages, we decided to skip the first one and try to maneuver our way through the waters... While it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do (we were pretty jacked!), it did turn out to be a highlight of the trip.

Walking the canoe through the water and over beaver dams kicked big time ass.

Another portage, and Buttermilk falls.

Ok, that was about it for day one... We started around noon (with all the driving and renting of canoe that morning) and finished up around 6 to set up camp.

Just as we got the tents up and ate it started to rain.

Campsite, complete with lean-to (not seen in Ontario...) and our tents.

Keeping the beers cold...

It ended up raining all night but stopped before we got off in the morning. Wet tents but dry clothes.

We stopped in the town of Long Lake that morning (about 6 miles on the water from our camp site) for a $13 lox and cream cheese bullshit bagel. It was pretty tasty, but where the fuck do you get off charging that much for a bagel!... jackass.

More mapping...

... and portaging. Man, I don't remember portaging being this hard! Either it's an age thing, or the rental canoe was a back killer, but man those portages were brutal. I don't think we packed that light (cans of food, two tents) which probably added to the pain.

We did get pretty lucky with the weather though!

Basecamp night two.

So we started to figure out that we were going at quite the breakneck pace. We were just over 3/5ths of the way through the trip with two days left on the schedule. If we could get back to Saranac before 2-3 pm the next day we could easily cut off a full day of canoeing.

Getting up early (and limiting pictures quite a bit!) we stormed off...

Oh, one cool thing we experienced was the lock system. We ran into two different types of locks on the way; one was an older style hand operated lock, and the other a bigger hydraulic one.

I think there's a way to portage around the locks, but I highly recommend you don't. It's kinda cool, very relaxing, and a rare experience.

Our final lunch... pretty typical meal. Beans and pasta cooked over a small burner.

And that's it really! We made it back into the town of Saranac on Flower Lake some time around 2 pm totally exhausted. Like, arms and shoulders falling off exhausted. We probably should have taken our time, but it felt really great accomplishing that distance in the short time we did. We basically got pretty luck with the weather, and we're both experienced campists/canoeists, so we probably over estimated the time required...

However, we aren't at all thinking about entering the Adirondack Canoe Classic, also known as the 90-miler, which is a three-day, 90 mile canoe race from Old Forge to Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks. The race has drawn as many as 500 competitors from California to Florida, New Zealand to Canada paddling 250 canoes, kayaks and guideboats.

Ugh... it felt good moving fast and not paddling and/or carrying a canoe.

That night we went into town to have a cold beer and something not out of a can to eat.

So yeah, great experience, some good pictures, and a greater understanding of the Adirondack area and lake/river system.

One last story... while there wasn't much wildlife on the trip we did see a baby bear crossing a 50 foot wide river not 40 feet infront of us. That was honestly a bit scary as we didn't know if we were paddling toward inadvertently getting between a mother still on the far side of the river and the cub... needless to say we started singing loudly and paddling quite hard for about a 1/4 mile after that...

Next day, we decided to cap off the Adirondack experience by climbing Mt. Marcy, the highest point in New York State, surrounded by the picturesque High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. It was there, it was a non-technical hike, and it is pretty legendary in our circles... ;) A must do.

Oh, and this: On September 12 1901, Theodore Roosevelt and his family arrived at their cabin near Mount Marcy. The next morning, a cold, foggy day, Roosevelt left for a climb to the top of the mountain, accompanied by friends and a park ranger. By noon on September 13, the Vice President and his party stopped to rest at the 5,344-feet-high summit on a large flat rock that offered a panoramic view of the mountains. They climbed back down five hundred feet to have lunch by a lake. At about 1:30, a park ranger arrived, running, bearing a telegram. Roosevelt understood as soon as he saw the messenger what had happened, saying later: "I instinctively knew he had bad news... I wanted to become President, but I did not want to become President that way." The route from Long Lake to North Creek has hence been designated as the Roosevelt-Marcy Trail.

Ok, a few pictures up, from the top, and down...

The trail wasn't that well marked and often extremely rocky. Nothing technical mind you, just sometimes hard to follow...

From the peak!

Cloud Splitter.

The girl in this picture was surveying/drawing a panoramic landscape from the top.

The hike wasn't too bad, and I made it up in about 3 hours, stayed up there for about 40 minutes, and then made it down in about 2.5 hours.

Alright, back down...

.. with a quick stop at Indian Falls.

South of Indian Falls the trail actually isn't that bad... you can definitely see the upkeep and work put into the trail, especially with the cleared spots and logs for irrigation.

Sometimes even rocks were used to guide the water down the mountain, keeping the path as dry, safe and clear as possible.

So yeah, from start to finish it was about 14 miles and an ascent of 3224' with a total height of 5334'. After that epic canoe trip I was just glad I didn't have to use my arms all day.

Lake Placid ski jumps!

Now, the outskirts of Montreal...

After getting down Marcy around 4 pm we drove that night into Montreal for the first of two nights...

.. and Montreal/Montrealers are some pretty fantastic people.

Great 9 day trip.. Bookended by some great cities, that canoe trip is something I won't soon forget.