Friday, April 28, 2006


CD in Play: The Flaming Lips, At War With the Mystics.

So this post is really just an excuse to post the picture, but does any one think that the new Cybermen look a tad bit like Marvel Comics' Iron Man? (a combination of the 60's to 80's version) I do. Apparently the Cybermen are the only foes of Dr. Who to get a regular make-over, one that reflects the decade they are in, but they have hit on a winner this time if you ask me. Hell, looking that cool... get rid of my body and dump me in a shell now!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Um... Hi.

CD in Play: Mogwai, Mr. Beast.

Hello. Been a while, but my life has been so very hectic of late. I traded some shifts with a co-worker so I will have a bit more time off this week. (though I have the sneaking suspicion that I may be working 8am to midnight on Sunday) Still have some posts in the work, just have not been able to get to them.

Current Attire: Black tuxedo with a mandarin style collar, black silk vest and a monocle.

Current Song in Head: Despite Mogwai's excellent Mr. Beast, the song I have on my head in "Hung Up on a Dream" by The Zombies from their 1968 album Odyssey and Oracle. Despite the sappy sounding title it is a good song, part of the Psych Out! compilation from the UK music mag, Mojo. (the issue has a picture of Pink Floyd's David Gilmore - surprise, surprise) I have always thought the Zombies were a too often overlooked and underrated band. Kaleidoscope's "(Further Reflections) In the Room of Percussion" is my other favourite song off of the comp.

Current Annoyance: I cannot seem to send email from my gmail account on the computer I am currently forced to use. I can do it from other places, but not here. Not that my friends email that much these days anyway. *Sniff* I am sooo unloved... Anyhow, should you need to get in touch with me do so through the old, spam-ridden Yahoo! accounts. I was about to delete them too.

Current Preoccupation: My friend Gavin has some Doctor Who on video and one on DVD, so I have been watching some of it. He has "The Green Death" on DVD, which I will watch this weekend. Can't say the Patrick Troughton stuff hasn't grabbed me so far. He also has some William Hartnell, (liked the Dalek episodes) John Pertwee, Colin Baker and Sylveste McCoy stuff. I am curious, but not a fan as of yet. If it weren't for Christopher Eccleston's involvement in the newest series, I probably would not have given it a chance. Although, there had been a rumour that Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, Ravenous, The Full Monty) was going to be the Doctor and that I would have watched.
Also resumed the Farscape-a-thon courtesy of Betty's generous gift. Just starting a favourite three parter of mine - "We're So Screwed".

Current Favourite Food: Tofu, I kid you not. Trying to do it the way the Chinese do it. Would also love to be able to make Agedashi tofu, a Japanese dish.

Current Beverage: St. Peter's "Organic Ale". The label on the back says it has been brewing beer in Suffolk, England for over 700 years. I like it, decent brewery. Great bottle too.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Breaking the First Rule of Fight Club

CDs in Play: The Flaming Lips, At War With the Mystics. Mogwai, Mr. Beast. Isis, Oceanic. Mojo's Psych Out!

So I just finished Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club. Didn't take me long, about 4-5 very broken up hours all told. I am a slooooow reader so that's pretty good for me. Easy to read in to always and easy read. (stuff that never made into the film) The film did a good job translating the book and definitely stayed true to its overall theme, unlike certain films and series released since claiming to keep "the spirit" or "the essence" of the books they are ever-so loosely based upon in tact.
So I am packing up to move into my friends' place. I am looking at all my stuff thinking I should just render some animal fat, skim the glycerine, mix it with cat litter and blow all this crap to hell. But I am, I hate to say, a sentimentalist at heart. And it isn't like I'm some Ikea junkie collecting empty meaningless objects to fill the void in my life. There is no clever art, politically correct hand blown bowls, $2000 sofa's, etc. Most of it is music and books and old worn out clothes. I have a collection of worn-out jeans stuck in a hockey bag, a kind of mausoleum for the remains of dead denim. My intention is to cut them up, threat them with a primer paint and glue the strips onto a canvas. Waste not, want not and so on.
Fight Club has inspired young men around the world to change their name to Tyler Durden. Hotels and airports have people requesting a page for tyler Durden. Old Fight Clubs started calling attention to themselves. New Fight Clubs began to spring up in the likeliest and unlikeliest of places. My favourites are the Fight Clubs started by Brigham Young students claiming that nothing Mormon Law prohibits it. The son of a mayor of Salt Lake City was arrested for setting up a fight club in a Mormon Church. Big business and the fashion industry all tried to cash in on the Fight Club craze caused by the film. Many people in menial jobs were inspired to service industry terrorists. One waiter in London admitted to Palahniuk to having feed former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher his semen at least five times in one upper-cust establishment.
People tend to focus in on the wrong things about Palahniuk's novel and David Fincher's adaptation into film. My father hated the film because of the violence, he tuned it out. My friend's little brother likes Fight Club because of the violence, because it is about being bad in his mind and, for a while, he wanted nothing more than to be a bad-ass. People love it for the image andthe sentiments on the surface.
I had never heard of the novel when the film was released. I made a conscious effort to ignore it. I focused in on the wrong things too. I am not a huge fan of either Brad Pitt or Ed Norton. Soon friends started telling me I needed to see it. They went and siad it was like hearing my thoughts on screen as related through two Hollywood actors. Brad Pitt as my spokesman? I was even more determined to resist the film. I caved and am glad I did.
My first act of service industry terrorism would have been while I worked at a fast food place in Senior High. People treat you like crap. They come in and make demands. They play with you just because they can. Middle class and lower middle class people love to frequent fast food restaurants and convenience stores not because it is all they can afford, but because there is someone there who has lower status than they do. They come in to the McWendy's Dairy King and act like royalty or a Rockefeller. My saliva and mucous have been ingested by no fewer than 75 people. I never stole and I never targeted someone without cause. I never did stuff to the food that would affect the general population. I knew one guy who used to bleed into stew-like substance made from the bugers no longer fit for human consuption off the grill. When the pattys are too far gone they get chucked in a bucket, sit for hours and then get dumped in a pressure cooker.
The ending of Fight Club is different than the film. The film's ending is a happy Hollywood ending it its own way. The books ending hinges on a haiku that the narrator (Ed Norton's side of the persona) writes. In the film, the haiku is mentioned while the narrator is in the office. (in the book, Tyler Durden is the name the anarchist persona picks for himself) It is kind of creepy and bleak. It also involves the entire melanoma support group.
One thing I had read about Fight Club at was:
"When Palahniuk made his first attempt at publishing a novel (Invisible Monsters) publishers rejected it for being too disturbing. This led him to work on Fight Club, which he wrote as an attempt to disturb the publisher even more for rejecting him. Palahniuk wrote this story in between working while on the job for Freightliner. After initially publishing it as a short story (which became chapter 6 of the novel) in the compilation Pursuit of Happiness, Palahniuk expanded it into a full novel, which, contrary to what he expected, the publisher was willing to publish"
Other acts of service industry guerrila acts undertaken by me included sprinkling washed, pan-fried ants into the chili-dog of a particularly nasty piece of work who used to to frequent the convenience store I worked in. This didn't happen all the time because sometimes he was looking and sometimes I didn't have any ants. At that job I was frequently out of uniform and blasted Metallica and Megadeth at high volumes just in time for the bar rush of drunk angry rednecks. (Metallica was not yet redneck rock) If an employer is good to me and to the others I work with, I do my job and am happy. If an employer is a shit to everyone under him or her, well... all I can say is you lead by example so don't be surprised when your employees start following suit.
Fight Club, like Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, isn't for everyone. For safer anti-establishment reads go back and read George Orwell.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fighting a Nation of Beastly Mystic Rodentia

CD in Play: Mogwai, Mr. Beast

Musical Bliss

Mrs. Bak gave me a gift card from A&B Sound at Christmas. I didn't use it right away because I had known that the FLips would be releasing an album in April. I forgot about the Flips album until Geosomin posted on her blog about it, after which I found the card. The point being, I now have At War With The Mystics for myself. I really do like the album. Very solid and I would have to say that I think ...Mystics is a much stronger album than either Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots or The Soft Bulletin. There is a four song stretch that really gets me - Mr. Ambulence Driver, Haven't Got a Clue, The W.A.N.D. and (of course) Pompeii am Götterdämmerung. Great album, I highly recommend it.
Another album, I was looking forward to but promptly forgot about was Mr. Beast by Mogwai. Thanks to the gift card I was able to pick that up as well. It is the same old Mogwai for the most part, but I do think that Mr. Beast is a slightly different animal than either Rock Action and Happy Songs for Happy People. The later albums really seem more like seperated conjoined twins, very similar in style, tone and structure and eefect. Mr. Beast is certainly by the same band, that could not be mistaken, but they have moved on. The album also includes a few straight forward vocal tunes, an oddity on any Mogwai recording. I picked up the limited edition album for the deluxe packaging and the 40 minute documentary DVD on the making of the album. (I have yet to watch it)
And because I am working again, I went to Audiopile on Commercial and picked up a copy of The Nation of Ulysses' 13 Point Plan to Destroy America recorded way back in 1991. Discord label mates of the better known Fugazi, The Nation is largely unknown to most people but their influence on the music scene has been pretty profound. Bands like At the Drive In, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fatal Flying Guilloteens and especially The Hives, International Noise Conspiracy and Refused (whose groundbreaking Shape of Punk to Come is a little less groundbreaking if you have heard Plays Pretty for Baby) all owe something to The Nation of Ulysses in terms of their sound or the way their political content is expressed. 13 Point Plan... isn't as strong as 1992's Plays Pretty for Baby, but it was a solid buy at $10.00. A little juvenille in many ways, but fun.


I look out my front door and see a fat grey squirrel bounding across the grass and think, "I really wish I some hazelnuts to give you."
I am walking through the parkade at work and see a a fat grey rat scurrying along the base of a wall and think, "Man, I wish I either had a gun or some poison."
Note: squirrels do not seem to like brasil nuts or macadamia nuts. Rats do not like guns, though I have not yet put this to the test.


I will be moving in with a friend and his family for a couple of months until I can secure other accomodations. I'll still have internet access, but probably even less time given the commute to work. (Slurrey... *erm* Surrey)

Reading Railroad

This post has nothing to do with railroads whatsoever. It does have to do with reading. I was also able to pick up two books very cheaply, Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Orwell is a favourite writer of mine but I started with Fight Club first. Only a third of the way in, but I am surprised at how faithful the film has actually been to the book.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Still an Uphill Battle

*** This Post will be up top for the next while, all postings subsequent to this one shall appear underneath for at least a month. ***

Friday 17 March, 2006
I was talking with a couple of women about cancer research this week. There was a story in the Vancouver Sun a couple of days ago about how an enzyme in chili peppers had helped to reduce prostate cancer growth in mice and in human cancer samples. The women noted that it was for prostate cancer and that most cancers being reserached are the ones that affect men. I had thought this was changing, but apparently not.
Part of the way the Breast Cancer Society of Canada raises its funding is through hits on its website. As I recall, for every 100 hits they receive on their website they are able to set up a free screening for a woman who otherwise could not afford one. I have posted a link to the Society's website below. Whenever you visit my blog, please click the link so the BCSC can get an increase in its funding. Breast cancer is still a very serious problem faced by women, so please... go ahead and click already.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blog Posts Like Blossom Petals Caught in the Breeze (Yes, More Randomness)

Current Song on Infinite Repeat: "Pompeii am Götterdämmerung" by the Flaming Lips.

At War With the Mystics

As my friend "Geosomin" has stated in her blog, The Flaming Lips have a new album out, At War With the Mystics. (all art by band leader Wayne Coyne) I really like what I have been hearing on their website, sounds very strong. Of course I have mainly been listening to one track - a very Pink Floyd inspired track, á la "Echoes" and "Animals". The bass line sounds as though it had been pulled right out of "Echoes", which is okay since Pink Floyd's bass line for "One of These Days..." was pulled right out of the theme for Dr. Who.

Who be Who?

Well the new season of Dr. Who is finally about to arrive here in Canada. Last year we got to see it two weeks behind the UK because of the hockey strike. Hockey's back and is the CBC's top ratings grabber, so everything else gets pre-empted until after the Stanley Cup Final. Still not sure what I think of the new Doctor played by David Tennent. I've been a fan of Christopher Eccleston's acting for a while and he's the primary reason I started watching the show. Great accent. The Christmas Special was nothing special so I am going into this new season with a certain amount of reservation.
Still, I like the idea the my friend Gavin and I came up with for a North American version of Doctor Who. Gavin had been complaining that he wanted to see and British Indian or Pakistani actor play the Doctor. (a capital idea, I agree) We got to talking and came up with the idea of casting Samual L. Jackson as the Doctor, something along the lines of his characters in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, but as a good guy. It could be shot in Montreal for the flavour that city provides. Yaphet Kotto, now a Canadian citizen, could be cast as The Master or some other bad-ass for the Doctor to tangle with.
A Jackson version of the Doctor could feature dialogue like this:
"It's called the T.A.R.D.I.S... although in your case I may just have to rename it re-TARDIS. Damn man, how'dju get so stupid?"
"Ain't no thang baby, it's just my sonic screwdriver."
"... for you will know that I am the Time Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!"
Although the strong language usually associated with Jackson would definitely have to be dialed down. Jackson has stated in an interview on a PBS programme that he feels it is good for him as an actor to genre hop, so why not give him a lead in a Sci-Fi series?


The Pacific Cinematheque has been running their fifteenth Samurai film festival these past couple of weeks, and at least half of the films are brand new 35mm prints. Some of the usual suspects are present - Kurosawa's Yojimbo, Sanjuro, (brilliant sequal to Yojimbo) The Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood (his adaptation of MacBeth, a personal favourite) and The Hidden Fortress. (one of my least favourite Kurosawa films) The festival also included Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri, (Seppuku in Japan) which I have sadly missed seeing.
Sword of Doom is an odd film that I have seen recently on DVD. It is the only film of director Kihachi Okamoto's that I have seen, but apparently his other films are equally odd often to the point of absurdity. Still, Sword of Doom is worth checking out if you are an afficiando of Japanese jidai-geki. (period films) The ending is entirely memorable. Okamoto's over-the-top Kill! is also
playing and both of his films star the excellent Tatsuya Nakadai, who also plays the villians in both Yojimbo and Sanjuro. (Sanjuro has one of the best quick draw sword duels of all time, btw)
Almost all the films at the festival star the great Toshiro Mifune, who was also in Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai Saga. I saw Samurai Saga last night. It is a Japanese re-telling of Cyrano de Bergerac. Not a bad film, but certainly dated in a way that most of the jidai-geki presented in the festival are not.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Video in Play: "Glósóli" by Sigur Rós

Trent sent me this link to yet another beautifully shot video by Iceland's Sigur Rós. The band have essentially put out the same album three times, but "Glósóli" is worth checking out.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Worthwhile Endeavours

CD's in Play: David Bowie, Low. Beck, Sea Change.

I realised a few days back that I have never read The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (or 1001 Arabian Nights, or The Arabian Nights might sound more familiar to some) after watching The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad on TCM. Seems a sad oversight on my part, especially given my penchant for older literature. Anyhow, I looked it up on line and found that there is a full translation of it on line, so I decided to post the link here. It's the Sir Richard Francis Burton translation, and I do not mean the actor. The footnotes are what make this translation especially worthwhile.
But posting just one link seemed a tad... pointless. I decided to post links to other older works, because I do believe that people should go back and read what was written before. I have a problem reading expansive amounts of texts on a computer screen for any sustained period of time, but some people (e.g. Trent) do not.

The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (The Sir Richard Francis Burton Translation. And no, not the Actor)

The Canterbury Tales
We may all have had to read this in Grade 12 at some point (depending on your country/province of residence) , but wasn't it a good experience? If yes, why not look it up again? If not, give it another shot it might be better this time. I am using Wikipedia's entry because it has a whole host of external links on The Tales. I still have a copy of this in Middle English.

Njál's Saga
Highly enjoyable, the easiest saga to get into in my opinion. The "á" is pronounced as "ow" just like "howl", so just say "Njowl".

Egil's Saga
A classic. Read this saga once you have finished with Njál's Saga. I forget who said this, but an 18th Century scholar once said, "All Iceland sagas can be summed up in four words - farmers came to blows." Essentially true, but Egil's Saga goes far beyond this and gives the modern reader a real feel for the so-called Viking Age.

The Eddas
This link takes you to a place where you can read the Eddas in prosaic or poetic forms, and in Old Norse too if you are so inclined to try. Ever wonder where the names Gandalf, Gimli, Kili, Fili and so on came from? Read the Eddas. See Legends and Sagas.
This link leads to a menu with links to Greek and Celtic mythology as well.

Easily the toughest read on the list for many.
Again, the Wikipedia link has a number of links to a number of translations and other tid-bits about Beowulf. If you hit the library, check out the Seamus Heaney translation.
One of the coolest links allows you to listen to Beowulf read in Old English. Even if you aren't English by descent, it is worth checking out. If you are reading this blog, chances are you can speak, read and write in English, so why not check out the earliest form of the language?

Sacred Texts
Just came across this link. Basically, if you want to take a look at the sacred texts of any religion look here. They also have a section on Tolkien with links to the texts that inspired his creation of Middle Earth.
Never read the Vedas? Take a look here:
Zoroastrians texts?
The Talmud?
Christian and Gnostic texts?
European Folklore and Mythology?

In Addendum - I changed the quote at the top of my blog. The Wanderer is a Saxon poem preserved in the Book of Exeter. It's the first five lines of the poem, a series of translations can be found here at Dr. Rick MacDonald's website for The Wanderer Project. I first read the poem when I was sixteen and it has stuck with me ever since.