Friday, April 24, 2009

Cold Blooded Old Times

Well, we have passed the Vernal Equinox by this point in time and many people are shivering through the Spring wondering when they can finally kiss Winter goodbye? As it happens, I love cold weather and am thriving this year. However, even I am not so keen on the cold to be able to appreciate the anticipated snow this weekend or predicted lows in the neighbourhood of -11 to as low as -17°C. It is 2°C tonight, but with the wind chill it is -2°C and expected to drop as low as -10°C. Balmy Vancouver in alleged British "California" is currently sitting at 8°C and expected to go as low as 3°C.
Despite the Canadian sterotypes "aboot" the cold snowy Great White North, these temperatures are odd and unseasonally low. Trees in the Lower mainland of BC are only now beginning to bud, I have been told. Fruit trees are later than usual in blossoming. Here in Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan River is now free of ice but I have a feeling that many of the farmers out here are wringing their hands with dread. As it happens we are in a period of decreased solar activity.
A brief accounting of what is happening with our local star can be read at The Guardian online. Sunpots, as I understand it, signify periods of more intense solar activity - meaning warmer temperatures on the average and (appropriately enough) brighter light from the Sun. Our Sun is ever-so dimmer than it was a few years ago and cooler. There has been some speculation that the world (and specifically the Northern Hemisphere) could see the return of another so-called Little Ice Age (or Maunder Minimum) that held our planet in a frosty grip from the 17th century until the mid 19th century.
Regardless of whether or not we could be seeing anything as extreme as the Little Ice Age, we are headed for some leaner and more stressfull times. I think many of us will have to rethink what kind of communities we live in and how we interact with our world.


Song Playing: "This Is Ska", Bad Manners

This weekend when I bought my copy of McMafia from the local Anarchsocialist bookstore - Turning the Tide - I spoke with the one of the guys who works at/runs the store and he talked about how he used to be a member of International Socialists (IS) and was relaying some of his horror stories at having to deal with skinheads in Vancouver. He was kind of nervous when speaking to me. I wasn't entirely sure how the conversation turned in that direction, but then it hit me that have somewhat adopted a skinheadish sort of ensemble. I have a wool donegal hat, (a flat cap) black paramilitary sweater, (warm, comfortable and durable - I have one that has lasted me since 1996!) and have been wearing my black steel toes around. I also shave my head, but then I am bald anyway.
Of course, I haven't seen any actual skins here in Saskatoon. All of the skins I have met in either Vancouver or Montreal weren't the stereotypical racist kind - that's not how the movement started out and these people let you know it. But since I started shaving my head, I have had people taking me for a skin so why be surprised?
Shaved head, penchant for ska, dub and rocksteady, flat cap, working class dress style... could I possibly be a skinhead? No real skinhead would ever mistake me for one of their own, so mmmm... no.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


On the television: A Shot in the Dark (1964)

I recall an article in the paper a few months ago about how people were fighting off muggers and thieves rather than surrender their iPods. The police (Toronto's I believe) stated that they were surprised by the behaviour, but I cannot say that I am. A person's iPod is a terribly personal thing: in a sense, it is the very embodiment of one's own personality. But just how much can one's iPod become part of one's self?
As I was waiting for the bus earlier on, I saw someone who looked like an friend from back in the day. It wasn't said person, but I began to strike up an imaginary conversation in my head with the person I had mistaken this stranger for. I should state that I was listening to my iPod. As the conversation progressed a couple of uncomfortable memories began to surface, things that were a bit embarrassing. Without thinking I forwarded the track and began thinking about something else much more comfortable. I moved from a track I had uploaded from a Mojo sampler - and have no particular emotional or historical involvement with - to the Super Furry Animals "Alternate Route to Vulcan Street". I noted this and recalled that I have actually done this without thinking on a couple of other occasions.
Do other people use to their iPod to reprogram themselves? How did the instinct to do this develop? I have only had my iPod since last October. Has anyone else found themselves doing this?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Currently speaking...

Short meme, but it's what you get.

Current Reading Material: the trade paperback editions of DMZ a series by Brian Wood and illustrated by Riccardo Burchielli. In the words of the website the series takes place "in the near future, America's worst nightmare has come true. With military adventurism overseas bogging down the Army and National Guard, the U.S. government mistakenly neglects the very real threat of anti-establishment militias scattered across the 50 states. Like a sleeping giant, Middle America rises up and violently pushes its way to the shining seas, coming to a standstill at the line in the sand — Manhattan or, as the world now knows it, the DMZ." If you liked Y the Last Man or are enjoying Ex Machina, check it out.
I also picked up Misha Glenny's McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld. I have only skimmed through it but it looks promising.

Current Listening: Mastodon's Crack the Skye and A Woman A Man Walked By PJ Harvey & John Parish. solid releases all the way around. Mastodon's latest is much more interesting than their last album. Initially, I was smitten with teh album but it lacked staying power. As for Harvey and Parish, well... PJ could could rub her nose all over the microphone for a whole album and I still may find something worthwhile about it. Still vibrant, still talented, still worth the time.

Current Pet Peeve: Whiney lab staff who don't have a clue about is going on elsewhere in the working world. Stand up for what matters people, the piddly crap is just that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I just looked at my Cluster Map and saw that I had a visit from the Faeroe Islands! Cool! Vælkomin!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tidbits and... um? Stuff.

Ipodery: 13th Floor Elevators, Blair Jewers, the dollar store jesus

I finally have internet at my place, but would seem to have picked up the "conficker" virus that prevents me from updating my virus checker. (and no, I do not use Norton) It will be nice when I can access the online world with regularity again, but that will have to wait momentarily. So Geo and J have been kind enough to allow me access to their computer and home while they are away. Which brings me to the first point:

My Thanks

Geo and J have been exceptionally good friends and deserve a big "huzzah" among other things for their openness and generosity towards me. This move to Saskatoon and period of adjustment would have been much more difficult had it not been for the two of them. Exceptional people who deserve exceptional things. Consider that fact that Geo and I have only been in occasional in contact since 1991 and only had the chance to see each other for the first time since then at Pete Chattaway's wedding in 2006. (also my first time meeting J) Not a lot of friendships survive that time and distance. But then I am still friends with Pete and Trent, so maybe it is the "Hoy House" bonds that are tough to sever. (Hoy House requires explanation, don't bother... for now)

Did'ja eva get the feelin' that...

...'chu was writtin' like someone else? I have attempted to be a writer from time to time, but without much success. Mostly because I have hard time seeing things through to completion. I did have a novel outline written, complete with first and last chapters - but apparently Ray Bradbury wrote it first. ("Go get the Banshee Ray!") Then a film starring Aston Kutcher was made along the same lines. (The Butterfly Effect) I tore up the outline and chapters. (I still have the idea in my head though)
Then there were a couple of short stories. The people who read those stories (I think Thoth was one of them) said that I needed to read Tom Robbins. (Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) With that in mind, I have never read Tom Robbins. I bought Skinny Legs and All for my Mother, knowing her sense of humour and tastes. I figured that she would like what other people had told me about Robbin's literature. She does, she loves it. I have never let my parents read anything I have written since the early `90's - mostly because I am neurotic that they will show it to other people (particularly people I don't like) without my consent as they have both done in the past. With that in mind, consider that my Mum has now stated that reading Tom Robbins is like reading something that I would have written. If I had hair I'd be pulling it out. Maybe I can turn this into a weight loss thing? Maybe Tom Robbins has stolen my identity? Maybe I was slated to be a well known and respected writer? Maybe Mr. Robbins was the frustrated, neurotic one with a sharp sense of failure at the things he might have been - but he had a time machine, so he stole my style and made it his own and gave to his younger self to re-write the future with. Maybe I don't have a second-hand imagination after all? But this all sounds far-fetched and crazy, doesn't it? Doesn't it? Hey, Ray Bradbury could plausibly have had a time machine...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Shake Yo' Rump-ah!

For those off you you don't get the title, hang your heads in shame. Classic albums. So, Geosomin has taken up belly dancing. Geo likes to dance in general, so this seemed a natural step. Her husband, J, shot a DVD of her recent recital, but I shot this periodically shaky footage with my camera. The recital was long. Quite long. Reeeeaaaalllly long. However, it was worth it to support a friend. That and to have beheld the dancer Fahima, whom the other dancers have nicknamed "Cat-nip". I don't know her so I didn't shoot footage. Cat-nip and Anasuya. Indeed. Enjoy.