A1 Great! Part lies, part heart, part truth, part garbage.

community-based social blogging

I find myself shackled with a bit of writer’s block. Both personally and professionally, I can’t seem to make words come out in an effective and interesting manner. I’d even take just effective, really – interesting can be a lot to ask, and I don’t know that I’m my own best judge of what people want of me, especially as it relates to my own personal schedule and lifestyle:

  • cleaning up a lot of vomit for a while there
  • sitting in my basement working all day
  • seriously considering spending money I don’t have right now on this
  • trying not to drink beer all the time, but it’s good, so why not?

And so on.

Professionally, I’ve been doing a lot of design for the past week or so, timely considering my lack of brain for writing. Making other people’s stuff look nicer takes care of a different kind of itch, I guess. I’ve also been participating in some interesting talk about the broad topic of online marketing and where to go next with one company’s particular product. We have been working specifically on the name of their man in charge, trying to make the internet believe that his name is synonymous with the business, and that’s worked well. Now it’s time to tackle something more broad, and I’m developing at least one mini-site for them, taking a PDF and making the keywords pop, as it were.

What I didn’t do was attend that anti-prorogation rally on Parliament Hill last weekend, or whenever it was. I guess I should have, but with absolutely no evidence to suggest that Stephen Harper and his gaggle of inert fucks can even hear the public voice, let alone give a shit about what that voice is saying, well… it just didn’t seem like a good use of my time. So I went swimming instead. That’s another one:

  • occasionally hitting the gym or other physical activity facility

The Plant Bath pool is nothing special. That’s not a very popular white-middle-class thing to say, but I’m saying it. Dirty in there. Old guy showering for a solid thirty minutes, maybe more. Ew.

What was I saying? Right, the government – I’ve been so into Ignoreland by R.E.M. recently, and there are parallels here, I think.

Listen: R.E.M., “Ignoreland”

“The bastards stole their power from the victims of the Us v. Them years,
Wrecking all things virtuous and true
The undermining social democratic downhill slide into abysmal
Lost lamb off the precipice into the trickle down runoff pool

They hypnotised the summer, 1979
Marched into the capital brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready,
Heartless, and labeled. Super US citizen, super achiever,
Mega ultra power doesn’t relax.
Defense, defense, defense, defense. Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland
Yeah, yeah, yeah

The information nation took their clues from all the sound-bite gluttons
1980, 84, 88, 92 too, too
How to be what you can be, junk, damn junk in your energy
How to walk in dignity with throw up on your shoes

They amplified the autumn, 1979
Calculate the capital, offer the public my skinny ass
TV tells a million lies. The paper’s terrified to report
Anything that isn’t handed on a presidential spoon,
I’m just profoundly frustrated by all this. So, fuck you, man (fuck ’em)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland

If it wasn’t them, we would have created them. Maybe, it’s true,
But I’m resentful all the same. Someone’s got to take the blame
I know that this is vitriol. No solution, spleen venting,
But I feel better having screamed. Don’t you?

They desecrate the winter, 1979
Capital collateral. Brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready,
Heartless, and labeled. Super US citizen, super achiever,
Mega ultra power doesn’t relax.
Defense, defense, defense, defense. Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland
Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah
I did not do the revolution
Thank you”

What writer’s block?

2009-06-26: this week’s twat(s) for you

being here

I’ve been working with the latest version of WordPress on the new One Change ‘corporate’ website, and in the process have been reminded of how awesome WP is – and that, you know, I have a blog of my own! I can’t believe I haven’t written since August, especially with the best website design on the planet and all. I am the worst.

It was one of those sorts of half-years, I guess. Summer was lousy and the fall was busy, so here we are, 2009, just like that. What’s new with you?

I’m the lucky benefactor of a quiet weekend at home, after the perfunctory visit to Buttford over Christmastime. On Buttford: why does every third vehicle on the road have to be a pickup truck with an empty bed in the back? Did these people not get the memo (of course, they did not)? And: with all the cancerous growth in the city’s west and north ends, those shiny Big Box parking lot placeholders sure to empty out once the recession really grabs hold, why can Brantford welcome gigantic new restaurants and clothing stores and hardware warehouses (Lowes, of all the insane things) and electronics wastelands but not a bookstore? Reading iz hardd, rite?

Oh, also: can the former Bi-Way/Canadian Tire plaza still be abandoned, a decade after the fact? Hundreds of thousands of square feet in the middle of town forsaken because out near Sobey’s seemed like a better idea?

I hate that city.

Anyway, one good thing from the trip, aside from seeing Jody and wanting to offer him a job and get him the hell out of town but I can’t because 1) I’m not in a position to offer anyone employment, so whatever and 2) I doubt he’d stick around, because he’s the fucking adventuring type – was that I heard a new (or, you know, new to me!) single from the Stills, who I was only aware of before, but fuck if I haven’t fallen head over heels for this:

Before that, it was some banjo pickin’ from 54.40:

Of course, if we’re talking banjo, I can’t not offer some kids’ music from BNL, which will only take you a minute, I promise:

Even more than all this silliness, though, is the latest from Radiohead.

Some things cost more than you realize. No shit!

r.e.m. live review

Laid-Off Dad reminds us that November is NABLOPOMO, or the much-easier-to-remember ‘blop’. Yes, one post on the ol’ web log every day, November 1 through 30, just like last year. Most people I know who have websites of their own are already disqualified from participating, having missed day one. Ah well.

LOD also mentions the new R.E.M. Live CD and DVD set, which came out a couple weeks ago. It’s been met with a shrug by most critics, which is fine – it’s just a live release, not a real album, and the band’s last three discs haven’t exactly set the charts afire.

But it’s a good collection, especially for fans of the band, and those who thought the stuff on Around The Sun sounded a bit off. That album is an unfortunate mix of excellent tracks, great songs that didn’t come out right, and downright mediocre material. Having seen R.E.M. twice on their last tour, from which this Live disc springs, I know that the stage allowed those Around The Sun songs to breathe, to come alive, and to be exciting.

The tour shows that I saw in Ottawa and Montreal started with Begin The Begin, but Live kicks off with I Took Your Name, followed by So Fast So Numb, two excellent rock tracks that could have been released as singles, if rock radio played live cuts anymore. As I’ve mentioned, the Around The Sun stuff shines – Boy In The Well, I Wanted To Be Wrong and Final Straw gain a lot of energy here, energy that was not so evident from their studio takes.

And of course there’s crowd favorite stuff – Everybody Hurts, The One I Love, Losing My Religion, Man On The Moon, perhaps four of R.E.M.’s five biggest hits. And songs like Cuyahoga, and Bad Day, and Walk Unafraid, and Drive, sweet little gems for someone like me. (And let’s not forget Orange Crush, which might be the band’s best live track. I’ve never heard a disappointing take on OC.)

I really wish Life And How To Live It was included here, though. That was one unexpected song that popped up here and there in their sets through the tour, and it would have been nice to have it documented on disc.

So, you know, I guess I don’t necessarily recommend R.E.M. Live for people who are not already fans, but if you’re down with the group already, this is a fine review of their last worldwide jaunt, and a great way to re-live the live experience. If the band tours Canada again when their new studio disc is released next year, I’m going to have to follow them around Ontario and Quebec – two shows will not do, I’m sure.

i think the dust has settled on me

Summer colds are not awesome. I think the head goo has finally broken up to the point where I can walk around without being concerned about passing germs on to the next guy. Good thing, too. I’ve been social. Seen in public. Weird!

Most notable would be having borne witness to performances by Sarah Harmer and the White Stripes at Bluesfest this past weekend. Sarah’s set was fine, but it was a shame she was opening for whoever – she’s pretty much past that now, I think. A performer should not be rushed off stage while thousands of people are cheering her on.

The White Stripes were awesome. Very worth the wait of a few hours, standing around in a sweaty crowd, annoying me with its smoking and talking on cellphones and what have you.

One of these days I’m going to end up getting punched in the head for being obstinate in these situations – no, you cannot slip in front of me for any reason. Yes, I will drop you if you try to crowd surf over me, and I’ll probably try to throw a knee in your general direction while you fall. I got a muddy crowdsurfing boot upside the face during an outdoor set by Hole many years ago, and I promised myself then that that would be the last time. So far, so good.

Miss Vicky, who is on a wicked string of right-on-ness right now, sums things up nicely. This would also be a good time to refer my readers to Zoom, who has linked to the mighty A1 forever and I’ve been terribly rude not to acknowledge. She’s doing the Bluesfest thing too, and using up an awful lot of textspace on the P-Mate.

Which might be useful to some of you. Not this guy. Ask your girlfriends, see if they know.